The truth as it is in Jesus does much for the receiver, and not only for him, but for all who are brought within the sphere of his influence. The truly converted soul is illuminated from on high, and Christ is in that soul “a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” His words, his motives, his actions, may be misinterpreted and falsified; but he does not mind it because he has greater interests at stake. He does not consider present convenience; he is not ambitious for display; he does not crave the praise of men. His hope is in heaven, and he keeps straight on, with his eye fixed on Jesus. He does right because it is right, and because only those who do right will have an entrance into the kingdom of God. He is kind and humble, and thoughtful of others’ happiness. He never says, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” but he loves his neighbor as himself. His manner is not harsh and dictatorial, like that of the godless; but he reflects light from heaven upon men. He is a true, bold soldier of the cross of Christ, holding forth the word of life. As he gains in influence, prejudice against him dies away, his piety is acknowledged, and his Bible principles are respected.
Thus it is with everyone who is truly converted. He bears precious fruit, and in so doing walks as Christ walked, talks as He talked, works as He worked, and the truth as it is in Jesus, through him, makes an impression in his home, in his neighborhood, and in the church. He is building a character for eternity, while working out his own salvation with fear and trembling. He is exemplifying before the world the valuable principles of truth, showing what the truth will do for the life and character of the genuine believer. He is unconsciously acting his part in the sublime work of Christ in the redemption of the world, a work which, in its character and influence, is far-reaching, undermining the foundation of false religion and false science.
I feel obliged to write thus because I know your brethren will never say these things to you. I do not want you or your wife to lose the heavenly mansions; for they are worth everything to us, and we should put forth energy and zeal proportionate to the value of the object of which we are in pursuit. Eternal life is worth persevering, untiring effort.
The Lord wants you and your family to be Christians in every sense of the word and to show in your characters the sanctifying power of the truth. If you had formed such characters, your works would stand the test of the judgment; should the fires of the last day kindle upon your works as they now are, they would prove to be only hay, wood, and stubble. Do not think this severe; it is true. Self has been mingled with all your labors. Will you come up to the high standard? It will be like learning the first principles of what constitutes a Christian character. Christ said to the apostle Peter: “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” You, likewise, must be converted before you can do acceptable work for the Master.
My brother, if you will, you can be a strong man in God. You have talents of ability that God has entrusted to your keeping to be sanctified to His service. But if you do not yield up all to Christ, your ability will prove dangerous both to yourself and to others, leading them to walk apart from the truth and away from Christ.
The members of the church in —– need very much done for them. They must have fervent zeal for Christ, must be more humble, more patient, more kind, more teachable, more Christlike in every respect. In their character they should manifest to the world the sanctifying power of grace. God forbid that you should, by precept or example, bar the way to this essential work. Will you work with Jesus? Will you be true to the Lord who has bought you? Will you put into the background all matters of minor importance? You must be baptized into a larger faith, a larger charity. You need
greater reverence for things of eternal importance. It is impossible for me to impress upon your mind too strongly the extent and power of the influence which flows from the example of individual piety and from the exhibition, by the church, of the sanctifying influence of the truth upon the character.
A much greater ingathering could be realized in —– if the church would come into a right position before God, each seeking to set his own heart and his own house in order. Talk less, and let true inward piety shine forth in good works. Be kind; cultivate love and gentleness. Pray more; read your Bibles more. Be diligent students in the school of Christ. Then the members of the church will not be finding fault with their brethren and sisters; this is Satan’s work.
I hope you will be strengthened and established in the faith. The work will surely go forward, whether we advance with it or not. It will be victorious, but the question is: Shall we be victorious with it? May God help you both to feel the need of a deep work of grace in your hearts. Remember that Jesus has bought you with the sacrifice of His own life. “Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Chap. 70 – An Impressive Dream
Dear Brother M: I had an impressive dream last night. I thought that you were on a strong vessel, sailing on very rough waters. Sometimes the waves beat over the top, and you were drenched with water. You said: “I shall get off; this vessel is going down.” “No,” said one who appeared to be the captain, “this vessel sails into the harbor. She will never go down.” But you answered: “I shall be washed overboard. As I am neither captain or mate, who cares? I shall take
my chances on that vessel you see yonder.” Said the captain: “I shall not let you go there, for I know that vessel will strike the rocks before she reaches the harbor.” You straightened yourself up, and said with great positiveness: “This vessel will become a wreck; I can see it just as plain as can be.” The captain looked upon you with piercing eye, and said firmly: “I shall not permit you to lose your life by taking that boat. The timbers of her framework are worm-eaten, and she is a deceptive craft. If you had more knowledge you could discern between the spurious and the genuine, the holy and that appointed to utter ruin.”
I awoke, but it is this dream that leads me to write to you. I was feeling deeply over some of these things when a letter came, saying that you were “under great temptation and trial.” What is it, Brother M? Is Satan tempting you again? Is God permitting you to be brought to the same place where you have failed before? Will you now let unbelief take possession of your soul? Will you fail every time, as did the children of Israel? God help you to resist the devil and to come forth stronger from every trial of your faith!
Be careful how you move. Make straight paths for your feet. Close the door to unbelief and make God your strength. If perplexed, hold still; make no move in the dark. I am deeply concerned for your soul. This may be the last trial that God will grant you. Advance not one step in the downward road to perdition. Wait, and God will help you. Be patient, and the clear light will appear. If you yield to impressions you will lose your soul, and the soul is of great value with God.
I have been writing upon the first volume of Great Controversy, and it makes me feel very solemn as I review these important subjects–creation and the events from the fall of Satan to the fall of Adam. The Lord seems very near me as I write, and I am deeply moved as I contemplate this controversy
from the beginning to the present time. The workings of the powers of darkness are laid clearly before my mind. Most trying times are before us; and Satan, clad in angel robes, will come to souls with his temptations as he came to Christ in the wilderness. He will quote Scripture; and unless our life is hid with Christ in God, he will surely bind our souls in unbelief.
Time is very short, and all that is to be done must be done quickly. The angels are holding the four winds, and Satan is taking advantage of everyone who is not fully established in the truth. Every soul is to be tested. Every defect in the character, unless it is overcome by the help of God’s Spirit, will become a sure means of destruction. I feel as never before the necessity for our people to be energized by the spirit of the truth, for Satan’s devices will ensnare every soul who has not made God his strength. The Lord has much work to be done; and if we do what He has appointed for us to do, He will work with our efforts.
Chap. 71 – Daily Study of the Bible Necessary
Those who are called of God to labor in word and doctrine should ever be learners. They should constantly seek to improve, that they may be ensamples to the flock of God and do good to all with whom they are brought in contact. Those who do not feel the importance of advancement and self-improvement will not grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ.
All heaven is interested in the work going on in this world, which is to prepare men and women for the future, immortal life. It is God’s plan that human agencies shall have the high honor of acting as co-workers with Jesus Christ in the salvation of souls. The word of God plainly
reveals that it is the privilege of the instrument in this great work to realize that there is One at his right hand ready to aid him in every sincere endeavor to reach the highest moral and spiritual excellence in the Master’s work. This will be the case with all who feel their need of help. They should look upon the work of God as sacred and holy, and should bring to Him, every day, offerings of joy and gratitude, in return for the power of His grace, by which they are enabled to make advancement in the divine life. The worker should ever take humble views of himself, considering his many lost opportunities for want of diligence and appreciation of the work. He should not become discouraged, but should continually renew his efforts to redeem the time.
Men whom God has chosen to be His ministers should prepare themselves for the work by thorough heart searching and by close connection with the world’s Redeemer. If they are not successful in winning souls to Christ, it is because their own souls are not right with God. There is altogether too much willing ignorance with a large number who are preaching the word. They are not qualified for this work by a thorough understanding of the Scriptures. They do not feel the importance of the truth for this time, and therefore the truth is not to them a living reality. If they would humble their souls before God; if they would walk according to the Scriptures, in all humility of mind, then they would have more distinct views of the Pattern which they should copy; but they fail to keep their eyes fixed upon the Author and Finisher of their faith.
It is not necessary that anyone should yield to the temptations of Satan and thus violate his conscience and grieve the Holy Spirit. Every provision has been made in the word of God whereby all may have divine help in their endeavors to overcome. If they keep Jesus before them they will become changed into His image. All who by faith have Christ
abiding in them carry a power into their labor which makes them successful. They will be constantly growing more and more efficient in their work, and the blessing of God, shown in the prosperity of the work, will testify that they are indeed laborers together with Christ. But however much one may advance in spiritual life, he will never come to a point where he will not need diligently to search the Scriptures; for therein are found the evidences of our faith. All points of doctrine, even though they have been accepted as truth, should be brought to the law and to the testimony; if they cannot stand this test, “there is no light in them.”
The great plan of redemption, as revealed in the closing work of these last days, should receive close examination. The scenes connected with the sanctuary above should make such an impression upon the minds and hearts of all that they may be able to impress others. All need to become more intelligent in regard to the work of the atonement, which is going on in the sanctuary above. When this grand truth is seen and understood, those who hold it will work in harmony with Christ to prepare a people to stand in the great day of God, and their efforts will be successful. By study, contemplation, and prayer God’s people will be elevated above common, earthly thoughts and feelings, and will be brought into harmony with Christ and His great work of cleansing the sanctuary above from the sins of the people. Their faith will go with Him into the sanctuary, and the worshipers on earth will be carefully reviewing their lives and comparing their characters with the great standard of righteousness. They will see their own defects; they will also see that they must have the aid of the Spirit of God if they would become qualified for the great and solemn work for this time which is laid upon God’s ambassadors.
Christ said: “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth
My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me.” How many of those who are laboring in word and doctrine are eating Christ’s flesh and drinking His blood? How many can comprehend this mystery? The Saviour Himself explains this matter: “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” The word of God must be interwoven with the living character of those who believe it. The only vital faith is that faith which receives and assimilates the truth till it is a part of the being and the motive power of the life and action. Jesus is called the Word of God. He accepted His Father’s law, wrought out its principles in His life, manifested its spirit, and showed its beneficent power in the heart. Says John: “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” The followers of Christ must be partakers of His experience. They must assimilate the word of God. They must be changed into its likeness by the power of Christ and reflect the divine attributes. They must eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God, or there is no life in them. The spirit and work of Christ must become the spirit and work of His disciples.
It is not enough to preach the truth; it must be carried out in the life. Christ must be abiding in us, and we in Him, in order to do the work of God. Each must have an individual experience and put forth personal efforts to reach souls. God requires each to put all his powers into the work and, through continual effort, educate himself to do that work acceptably. He expects everyone to bring the grace of Christ into his heart, that he may be a bright and shining light to the world. If God’s
workers train all their powers thoroughly, then they may work understandingly, in all wisdom, and God will surely respond to their efforts to uplift, refine, and save their fellow men. All the workers must use tact and bring their faculties under the controlling influence of the Spirit of God. They must make it a business to study His word and hear God’s voice addressing them from His living oracles in reproof, in instruction, or in encouragement, and His Spirit will strengthen them, that they may, as God’s workers, advance in religious experience. Thus they will be led on step by step to greater heights, and their joy will be full.
While engaged in the work that God has given them to do, they will find no time and have no disposition to glorify themselves; neither will they find time to murmur or complain, for their affections are centered on things above, not on earthly things. Heart, soul, and body will then be enlisted in the work of the Master. They will not labor selfishly, but will deny themselves for Christ’s sake. They will lift His cross, for they are His true disciples. They will feed day by day upon the precious truths of God’s word, and will thus be strengthened for duty and braced for trial. In this way they will become strong, well-developed men and women in Christ. They will then be true sons and daughters of the heavenly King. The greatness of the truth which they love and contemplate will expand the mind, strengthen the judgment, and elevate the character. They will not be novices in the great work of saving souls, for they are working with the wisdom given them of God. Neither will they be dwarfs in religious life, but will grow up in Christ, their living Head, to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. The conflicts with the enemies of truth will then only strengthen their hopes, and they will have precious victories, because they call to their aid the mighty Helper, who never disappoints the humble seeker. If their efforts are successful, all the glory will be given to God. Heaven
will come very near to them in sympathy and co-operation. They are made indeed a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. They are marked characters because of their purity of heart and life, their strength of purpose, their firmness and usefulness in the cause of God. They are God’s noblemen.
In the religious life of every soul who is finally victorious there will be scenes of terrible perplexity and trial; but his knowledge of the Scriptures will enable him to bring to mind the encouraging promises of God, which will comfort his heart and strengthen his faith in the power of the Mighty One. He reads: “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward;” “that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” The trial of faith is more precious than gold. All should learn that this is a part of the discipline in the school of Christ, which is essential to purify and refine them from the dross of earthliness. They must endure with fortitude the taunts and attacks of enemies, and overcome all obstacles that Satan may place in their path to hedge up the way. He will try to lead them to neglect prayer and to discourage them in the study of the Scriptures, and he will throw his hateful shadow athwart their path to hide Christ and the heavenly attractions from their view.
None should go along shrinking and trembling, under continual doubt, sowing their path with complainings; but all should look up to God and see His goodness and rejoice in His love. Summon all your powers to look up, not down at your difficulties; then you will never faint by the way. You will soon see Jesus behind the cloud, reaching out His hand to help you; and all you have to do is to give Him your hand in simple faith and let Him lead you. As you become trustful you will,
through faith in Jesus, become hopeful.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5 pp. 569-578