(All Bible texts are in the NKJV Bible unless otherwise indicated)
21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.
21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,
4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Dear Sister Harper,—
I have felt somewhat anxious in regard to you. What are your plans? Will you tell me what you intend to do? Six months ago I wrote to your husband in regard to you. Things were opened to me that showed me that you were not altogether happy in your married life.
Walter is quite set to have his own way and to carry out his own plans. But his ways are not always the ways of wisdom. I told him that it would be better for him not to write to you urging your return; for this would only worry you. I cannot uphold him in urging you not to stay with your mother and help her. She is your mother, and there are duties that you owe her. I cannot ask you to disregard her need of your help.
Seek counsel from God, and then follow His will. Your husband should not be so determined that you ought to be separated from your mother. He will see this in a different light, because the Lord has presented the matter to him through His servant.
Your husband has made a mistake in failing to provide you with a home. Rented rooms would have been better than nothing. I do not think he realized how keenly you have felt your position and your separation from your mother and other relatives.
Walter has done much good by his canvassing, but he has not gained the experience that he ought to have gained. He has given himself up almost wholly to the work of selling books. He has not entered into evangelistic work as thoroughly as he might, considering the class of people for whom he worked. Still, he has sold many books, and we cannot estimate the good that these books may do. I have regarded it as his work to sell books in the highways and the byways, and in this work he has been very successful.
But he should have remembered that when he married you, he brought into his life an interest that must come first. A man should not take a woman away from all her former home associations and then leave her without a home.
Walter should give you a portion of his earnings, that you may have something for clothing, for gifts to the work of God, and something also with which to help your mother. He and you should unite in helping her. He took you away from your home; and financial aid, at such times as it is needed, is the least return that he could make your mother.
I know that you have not spoken a word to me in regard to this matter. I have not asked your husband for any particulars, and as you have not given me any, I am in the dark. But I know that you must have needed means to help in the care of your grandfather.
You have never spoken one word of complaint to me in regard to your husband. But I know that he and your mother can never harmonize until there is a decided change in both of them.
Now, my dear sister, I do not ask you to leave your mother. Your place is with her until there is a decided change in the minds of all concerned. For the last few years your mother’s experience has been a very trying one, and it would be very hard for her to give up her daughter. Watch and pray, and trust the living God. You have one Master, even Christ; and you are not breaking the laws of the marriage relation by giving your widowed mother the help that she needs.
I think that it would be well if matters could be so arranged that you could live near your mother, and yet be with your husband when he can be at home, and then with your mother when he is away. But you can study this out with Walter. You need to get together, and seek the Lord, and then heed the light that He sends.
When Walter was here last, he placed twenty-five dollars in my hand to be used as I thought best. He made some remark, which I did not hear, about five dollars of it being a sin offering. I have thought since of this remark, and I think that he meant me to send this money to you. We shall get a draught today for the amount and send it to you with this letter. Please accept the money as part of your right as Walter’s wife.
The cause of division and discord in families and in the church is separation from Christ. To come near to Christ is to come near to one another. The secret of true unity in the church and in the family is not diplomacy, not management, not a superhuman effort to overcome difficulties—though there will be much of this to do—but union with Christ.
Picture a large circle, from the edge of which are many lines all running to the center. The nearer these lines approach the center, the nearer they are to one another.
Thus it is in the Christian life. The closer we come to Christ, the nearer we shall be to one another. God is glorified as His people unite in harmonious action.
In the wonderful prayer that Christ offered for His disciples just before His crucifixion, He said, “I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest save them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy word is truth. As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” [John 17:15-19.]
“Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy word is truth.” [Verse 17.] “Sanctify their understanding. Make them holy through obedience to Thy Word. Strengthen their faith. Fill their hearts with an earnest purpose to do Thy will. Mold and fashion them in harmony with Thy will. Make them complete in Thee.”
The truth of God, with its refining, purifying influence, must do its work on the hearts of human beings before they can be accepted by God. Christ cannot present us to God as complete in Him until we have been conformed to His will.
Let us strive to answer the Saviour’s prayer, that we may be one, as Christ and the Father are one. Those who are thus joined to the Lord are stamped with the same superscription, influenced by the same power, knit together in the bonds of Christian love.
“Neither pray I for these alone; but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” [Verses 20, 21.]
I do not pray for those only who are now My disciples—the eleven and the seventy—but for all who shall afterward believe on My name. All are embraced in the prayer for oneness. All are given opportunity to show the world that God loved His earthly children as He loves His only begotten Son.
The members of Christ’s body are to unite in harmonious action, part acting in harmony with part. The glory of God is reflected from those who labor is love and unity, working in Christian fellowship.
“And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.” [Verses 22, 23.]
These words seem almost too much for us to grasp. But they are true. God does indeed love human beings as He loves His Son.
Workers for God are to set a Christlike example in spirit, in word, in deed, showing that they are sanctified through the truth. Thus they bear testimony to the world that God sent His Son to save sinners, to purify and ennoble sinful human beings.
May the eyes of God’s people be opened, that they may see the importance that the Lord places on the oneness of His people. May their hearts be so filled with the desire to answer Christ’s prayer that they will allow nothing to keep them from fulfilling God’s requirements.
“The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless, we, according to His promise, look for a new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for these things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” [2 Peter 3:10-14.]
12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you,
22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:
8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, “Sons of Thunder”;
54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”
55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.
19 We love Him because He first loved us.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
Some, I saw, have not a realizing sense of the importance of the truth or of its effect, and moving from the impulse of the moment or from excitement, often follow their feelings and disregard church order. Such seem to think that religion consists chiefly in making a noise. Some who have but just received the truth of the third angel’s message are ready to reprove and teach those who have been established in the truth for years, and who have suffered for its sake and felt its sanctifying power. Those who are so puffed up by the enemy will have to feel the sanctifying influence of the truth and obtain a realizing sense of how it found them—“wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” When the truth begins to purify them and purge away their dross and tin, as it surely will when it is received in the love of it, the one who has this great work done for him will not feel that he is rich and increased in goods and has need of nothing.
Those who profess the truth and think they know it all before they have learned its first principles, and who are forward to take the place of teachers and reprove those who for years have stood stiffly for the truth, plainly show that they have no understanding of the truth, and know none of its effects; for if they knew any of the sanctifying power, they should yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness and be humbled under its sweet, powerful influence. They would bear fruit to the glory of God, and understand what the truth has done for them, and esteem others better than themselves.
I saw that the remnant were not prepared for what is coming upon the earth. Stupidity, like lethargy, seemed to hang upon the minds of most of those who profess to believe that we are having the last message. My accompanying angel cried out with awful solemnity, “Get ready! get ready! get ready! for the fierce anger of the Lord is soon to come. His wrath is to be poured out, unmixed with mercy, and ye are not ready. Rend the heart, and not the garment. A great work must be done for the remnant. Many of them are dwelling upon little trials.” Said the angel, “Legions of evil angels are around you, and are trying to press in their awful darkness, that ye may be ensnared and taken. Ye suffer your minds to be diverted too readily from the work of preparation and the all-important truths for these last days. And ye dwell upon little trials and go into minute particulars of little difficulties to explain them to the satisfaction of this one or that.” Conversation has been protracted for hours between the parties concerned, and not only has their time been wasted, but the servants of God are held to listen to them, when the hearts of both parties are unsubdued by grace. If pride and selfishness were laid aside, five minutes would remove most difficulties. Angels have been grieved and God displeased by the hours which have been spent in justifying self. I saw that God will not bow down and listen to long justifications, and He does not want His servants to do so, and thus precious time be wasted that should be spent in showing transgressors the error of their ways and pulling souls out of the fire.
I saw that God’s people are on the enchanted ground, and that some have lost nearly all sense of the shortness of time and the worth of the soul. Pride has crept in among Sabbathkeepers—pride of dress and appearance. Said the angel, “Sabbathkeepers will have to die to self, die to pride and love of approbation.”
Truth, saving truth, must be given to the starving people who are in darkness. I saw that many prayed for God to humble them; but if God should answer their prayers, it would be by terrible things in righteousness. It was their duty to humble themselves. I saw that if self-exaltation was suffered to come in, it would surely lead souls astray, and if not overcome would prove their ruin. When one begins to get lifted up in his own eyes and thinks he can do something, the Spirit of God is withdrawn, and he goes on in his own strength until he is overthrown. I saw that one saint, if he were right, could move the arm of God; but a multitude together, if they were wrong, would be weak and could effect nothing.
Many have unsubdued, unhumbled hearts, and think more of their own little grievances and trials than of the souls of sinners. If they had the glory of God in view, they would feel for perishing souls around them; and as they realized their perilous situation, would take hold with energy, exercising faith in God, and hold up the hands of His servants, that they might boldly, yet in love, declare the truth and warn souls to lay hold upon it before the sweet voice of mercy should die away. Said the angel, “Those who profess His name are not ready.” I saw that the seven last plagues were coming upon the shelterless heads of the wicked; and then those who have stood in their way will hear the bitter reproaches of sinners, and their hearts will faint within them.
Said the angel. “Ye have been picking at straws—dwelling upon little trials—and sinners must be lost as a consequence.” God is willing to work for us in our meetings, and it is His pleasure to work. But Satan says, “I will hinder the work.” His agents say, “Amen.” Professed believers in the truth dwell upon their petty trials and difficulties which Satan has magnified before them. Time is wasted that can never be recalled. The enemies of the truth have seen our weakness, God has been grieved, Christ wounded. Satan’s object is accomplished, his plans have succeeded, and he triumphs.
24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
6 In mercy and truth
Atonement is provided for iniquity;
And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.
16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?
21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
5 Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6 not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, andcoming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
12 Then Esau said, “Let us take our journey; let us go, and I will go before you.”
13 But Jacob said to him, “My lord knows that the children are weak, and the flocks and herds which are nursing are with me. And if the men should drive them hard one day, all the flock will die. 14 Please let my lord go on ahead before his servant. I will lead on slowly at a pace which the livestock that go before me, and the children, are able to endure, until I come to my lord in Seir.”
1 And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi. 2 So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months. 3 But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank. 4 And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him.
5 Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river. And her maidens walked along the riverside; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it. 6 And when she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”
7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?”
8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the maiden went and called the child’s mother. 9 Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. 10 And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.”
17 And the man said, “They have departed from here, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’ ” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan.
18 Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him. 19 Then they said to one another, “Look, this dreamer is coming! 20 Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, ‘Some wild beast has devoured him.’ We shall see what will become of his dreams!”
21 But Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands, and said, “Let us not kill him.” 22 And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit which is in the wilderness, and do not lay a hand on him”—that he might deliver him out of their hands, and bring him back to his father.
23 So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. 24 Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it.
25 And they sat down to eat a meal. Then they lifted their eyes and looked, and there was a company of Ishmaelites, coming from Gilead with their camels, bearing spices, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry them down to Egypt. 26 So Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? 27 Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother and our flesh.” And his brothers listened. 28 Then Midianite traders passed by; so the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.
16 But Ruth said:
“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
17 Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”
18 When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her.
11 And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”
20 Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!” And Naomi said to her, “This man is a relation of ours, one of our close relatives.”
9 And he said, “Who are you?”
So she answered, “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.”
10 Then he said, “Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich. 11 And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman. 12 Now it is true that I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I. 13 Stay this night, and in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of a close relative for you—good; let him do it. But if he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will perform the duty for you, as the Lord lives! Lie down until morning.”
10 Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day.”
13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son.
2 When the Lord began to speak by Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea:
“Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry
And children of harlotry,
For the land has committed great harlotry
By departing from the Lord.”
3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.
6 And she conceived again and bore a daughter. Then God said to him:
“Call her name Lo-Ruhamah,
For I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel,
But I will utterly take them away.
8 Now when she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son.
1 Then the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the Lord for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans.”
2 So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver, and one and one-half homers of barley. 3 And I said to her, “You shall stay with me many days; you shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man—so, too, will I be toward you.”
5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Sanctity of the Family Circle—There is a sacred circle around every family which should be preserved. No other one has any right in that sacred circle. The husband and wife should be all to each other. The wife should have no secrets to keep from her husband and let others know, and the husband should have no secrets to keep from his wife to relate to others. The heart of his wife should be the grave for the faults of the husband, and the heart of the husband the grave for his wife’s faults. Never should either party indulge in a joke at the expense of the other’s feelings. Never should either the husband or wife in sport or in any other manner complain of each other to others, for frequently indulging in this foolish and what may seem perfectly harmless joking will end in trial with each other and perhaps estrangement. I have been shown that there should be a sacred shield around every family.
The home circle should be regarded as a sacred place, a symbol of heaven, a mirror in which to reflect ourselves. Friends and acquaintances we may have, but in the home life they are not to meddle. A strong sense of proprietorship should be felt, giving a sense of ease, restfulness, trust.
Tongues, Ears, and Eyes to Be Sanctified—Let those composing the family circle pray that God will sanctify their tongues, their ears, their eyes, and every member of their body. When brought into contact with evil, it is not necessary to be overcome of evil. Christ has made it possible for the character to be fragrant with good....
How many dishonor Christ and misrepresent His character in the home circle! How many do not manifest patience, forbearance, forgiveness, and true love! Many have their likes and dislikes and feel at liberty to manifest their own perverse disposition rather than to reveal the will, the works, the character of Christ. The life of Jesus is full of kindness and love. Are we growing into His divine nature?
Unity, Love, and Peace—Let fathers and mothers make a solemn promise to God, whom they profess to love and obey, that by His grace they will not disagree between themselves, but will in their own life and temper manifest the spirit that they wish their children to cherish.
Parents should be careful not to allow the spirit of dissension to creep into the home; for this is one of Satan’s agents to make his impression on the character. If parents will strive for unity in the home by inculcating the principles that governed the life of Christ, dissension will be driven out, and unity and love will abide there. Parents and children will partake of the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Let the husband and wife remember that they have burdens enough to carry without making their lives wretched by allowing differences to come in. Those who give place to little differences invite Satan into their home. The children catch the spirit of contention over mere trifles. Evil agencies do their part to make parents and children disloyal to God.
Although trials may arise in the married life, the husband and the wife are to keep their souls in the love of God. The father should look upon the mother of his children as one deserving of all kindness, tenderness, and sympathy.
The Secret of Family Unity—The cause of division and discord in families and in the church is separation from Christ. To come near to Christ is to come near to one another. The secret of true unity in the church and in the family is not diplomacy, not management, not a superhuman effort to overcome difficulties—though there will be much of this to do—but union with Christ.
Picture a large circle, from the edge of which are many lines all running to the center. The nearer these lines approach the center, the nearer they are to one another.
Thus it is in the Christian life. The closer we come to Christ, the nearer we shall be to one another. God is glorified as His people unite in harmonious action.
Let Each Help the Other—The family firm is a sacred, social society, in which each member is to act a part, each helping the other. The work of the household is to move smoothly, like the different parts of well-regulated machinery.
Every member of the family should realize that a responsibility rests upon him individually to do his part in adding to the comfort, order, and regularity of the family. One should not work against another. All should unitedly engage in the good work of encouraging one another; they should exercise gentleness, forbearance, and patience; speak in low, calm tones, shunning confusion; and each doing his utmost to lighten the burdens of the mother....
Each member of the family should understand just the part he is expected to act in union with the others. All, from the child six years old and upward, should understand that it is required of them to bear their share of life’s burdens.
A Fitting Resolve—I must grow in grace at home and wherever I may be, in order to give moral power to all my actions. At home I must guard my spirit, my actions, my words. I must give time to personal culture, to training and educating myself in right principles. I must be an example to others. I must meditate upon the word of God night and day and bring it into my practical life. The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, is the only sword which I can safely use.
As the medical missionary work becomes more extended, there will be a temptation to make it independent of our conferences. But it has been presented to me that this plan is not right. The different lines of our work are but parts of one great whole. They have one center.
In Colossians we read: “The body is of Christ. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.” Colossians 2:17-19. Our work in all its lines is to demonstrate the influence of the cross. The work of God in the plan of salvation is not to be done in any disjointed way. It is not to operate at random. The plan that provided the influence of the cross provided also the methods of its diffusion. This method is simple in its principles and comprehensive in its plain, distinct lines. Part is connected with part in perfect order and relation.
God has brought His people together in church capacity in order that they may reveal to the world the wisdom of Him who formed this organization. He knew what plans to outline for the efficiency and success of His people. Adherence to these plans will enable them to testify of the divine authorship of God’s great plan for the restoration of the world.
Those who take part in God’s work are to be led and guided by Him. Every human ambition is to be merged in Christ, who is the head over all the institutions that God has established. He knows how to set in operation and keep in operation His own agencies. He knows that the cross must occupy the central place because it is the means of man’s atonement and because of the influence it exerts on every part of the divine government. The Lord Jesus, who has been through all the history of our world, understands the methods that should be invested with power over human minds. He knows the importance of every agency and understands how the varied agencies should be related one to another.
“None of us liveth to himself.” Romans 14:7. This is a law of God in heaven and on earth. God is the great center. From Him all life proceeds. To Him all service, homage, and allegiance belong. For all created beings there is the one great principle of life—dependence upon and co-operation with God. The relationship existing in the pure family of God in heaven was to exist in the family of God on earth. Under God, Adam was to stand at the head of the earthly family to maintain the principles of the heavenly family. This would have brought peace and happiness. But the law that none “liveth to himself” Satan was determined to oppose. He desired to live for self. He sought to make himself a center of influence. It was this that incited rebellion in heaven, and it was man’s acceptance of this principle that brought sin on earth. When Adam sinned, man broke away from the heaven-ordained center. A demon became the central power in the world. Where God’s throne should have been, Satan had placed his throne. The world laid its homage, as a willing offering, at the feet of the enemy.
Who could bring in the principles ordained by God in His rule and government to counterwork the plans of Satan and bring the world back to its loyalty? God said: I will send My Son. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. This is the remedy for sin. Christ says: “Where Satan has set his throne, there shall stand My cross. Satan shall be cast out, and I will be lifted up to draw all men unto Me. I will become the center of the redeemed world. The Lord God shall be exalted. Those who are now controlled by human ambition, human passions, shall become workers for Me. Evil influences have conspired to counterwork all good. They have confederated to make men think it righteous to oppose the law of Jehovah. But My army shall meet in conflict with the satanic force. My Spirit shall combine with every heavenly agency to oppose them. I will engage every sanctified human agency in the universe. None of My agencies are to be absent. I have work for all who love Me, employment for every soul who will work under My direction. The activity of Satan’s army, the danger that surrounds the human soul, calls for the energies of every worker. But no compulsion shall be exercised. Man’s depravity is to be met by the love, the patience, the long-suffering of God. My work shall be to save those who are under Satan’s rule.”
Through Christ, God works to bring man back to his first relation to his Creator and to correct the disorganizing influences brought in by Satan. Christ alone stood unpolluted in a world of selfishness, where men would destroy a friend or a brother in order to accomplish a scheme put into their hands by Satan. Christ came to our world, clothing His divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity and divinity grasp divinity. Amid the din of selfishness He could say to men: Return to your center—God. He Himself made it possible for man to do this by carrying out in this world the principles of heaven. In humanity He lived the law of God. To men in every nation, every country, every clime, He will impart heaven’s choicest gifts if they will accept God as their Creator and Christ as their Redeemer.
Christ alone can do this. His gospel in the hearts and hands of His followers is the power which is to accomplish this great work. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” By Himself becoming subject to Satan’s misrepresentations, Christ made it possible for the work of redemption to be accomplished. Thus was Satan to show himself to be the cause of disloyalty in God’s universe. Thus was to be forever settled the great controversy between Christ and Satan.
Satan strengthens the destructive tendencies of man’s nature. He brings in envy, jealousy, selfishness, covetousness, emulation, and strife for the highest place. Evil agencies act their part through the devising of Satan. Thus the enemy’s plans, with their destructive tendencies, have been brought into the church. Christ comes with His own redeeming influence, proposing through the agency of His Spirit to impart His efficiency to men, and to employ them as His instrumentalities, laborers together with Him in seeking to draw the world back to its loyalty.
Men are bound in fellowship, in dependence, to one another. By the golden links of the chain of love they are to be bound fast to the throne of God. This can be done only by Christ’s imparting to finite man the attributes which man would ever have possessed had he remained loyal and true to God.
Those who, through an intelligent understanding of the Scriptures, view the cross aright, those who truly believe in Jesus, have a sure foundation for their faith. They have that faith which works by love and purifies the soul from all its hereditary and cultivated imperfections.
God has united believers in church capacity in order that one may strengthen another in good and righteous endeavor. The church on earth would indeed be a symbol of the church in heaven if the members were of one mind and of one faith. It is those who are not moved by the Holy Spirit that mar God’s plan. Another spirit takes possession of them, and they help to strengthen the forces of darkness. Those who are sanctified by the precious blood of Christ will not become the means of counterworking the great plan which God has devised. They will not bring human depravity into things small or great. They will do nothing to perpetuate division in the church.
It is true there are tares among the wheat; in the body of Sabbathkeepers evils are seen; but because of this shall we disparage the church? Shall not the managers of every institution, the leaders of every church, take up the work of purification in such a way that the transformation in the church shall make it a bright light in a dark place?
What may not even one believer do in the exercise of pure, heavenly principles if he refuses to be contaminated, if he will stand as firm as a rock to a “Thus saith the Lord”? Angels of God will come to his help, preparing the way before him.
Paul wrote to the Romans: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1, 2. This entire chapter is a lesson which I entreat all who claim to be members of the body of Christ to study. Again Paul wrote: “If the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear: for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.” Romans 11:16-22. Very plainly these words show that there is to be no disparaging of the agencies which God has placed in the church.
Sanctified ministry calls for self-denial. The cross must be uplifted and its place in the gospel work shown. Human influence is to draw its efficacy from the One who is able to save and to keep saved all who recognize their dependence on Him. By the union of church members with Christ and with one another the transforming power of the gospel is to be diffused throughout the world.
In the work of the gospel the Lord uses different instrumentalities, and nothing is to be allowed to separate these instrumentalities. Never should a sanitarium be established as an enterprise independent of the church. Our physicians are to unite with the work of the ministers of the gospel. Through their labors souls are to be saved, that the name of God may be magnified.
Medical missionary work is in no case to be divorced from the gospel ministry. The Lord has specified that the two shall be as closely connected as the arm is with the body. Without this union neither part of the work is complete. The medical missionary work is the gospel in illustration.
But God did not design that the medical missionary work should eclipse the work of the third angel’s message. The arm is not to become the body. The third angel’s message is the gospel message for these last days, and in no case is it to be overshadowed by other interests and made to appear an unessential consideration. When in our institutions anything is placed above the third angel’s message, the gospel is not there the great leading power.
The cross is the center of all religious institutions. These institutions are to be under the control of the Spirit of God; in no institution is any one man to be the sole head. The divine mind has men for every place.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, every work of God’s appointment is to be elevated and ennobled, and made to witness for the Lord. Man must place himself under the control of the eternal mind, whose dictates he is to obey in every particular.
Let us seek to understand our privilege of walking and working with God. The gospel, though it contains God’s expressed will, is of no value to men, high or low, rich or poor, unless they place themselves in subjection to God. He who bears to his fellow men the remedy for sin must himself first be moved by the Spirit of God. He must not ply the oars unless he is under divine direction. He cannot work effectually, he cannot carry out the will of God in harmony with the divine mind, unless he finds out, not from human sources, but from infinite wisdom, that God is pleased with his plans.
God’s benevolent design embraces every branch of His work. The law of reciprocal dependence and influence is to be recognized and obeyed. “None of us liveth to himself.” The enemy has used the chain of dependence to draw men together. They have united to destroy God’s image in man, to counterwork the gospel by perverting its principles. They are represented in God’s word as being bound in bundles to be burned. Satan is uniting his forces for perdition. The unity of God’s chosen people has been terribly shaken. God presents a remedy. This remedy is not one influence among many influences and on the same level with them; it is an influence above all influences upon the face of the earth, corrective, uplifting, and ennobling. Those who work in the gospel should be elevated and sanctified, for they are dealing with God’s great principles. Yoked up with Christ, they are laborers together with God. Thus the Lord desires to bind His followers together, that they may be a power for good, each acting his part, yet all cherishing the sacred principle of dependence on the Head.
Christ was bound up in all branches of the work of God. He made no division. He did not feel that He was infringing on the work of the physician when He healed the sick. He proclaimed the truth, and when the sick came to Him to be healed, He was just as ready to lay His hands on them as He was to preach the gospel. He was just as much at home in this work as in proclaiming the truth.
The truth, in all its important bearings, needs to have a much deeper hold on parents than it has heretofore had. Parents are to work for their own children, helping them while they are still in the home to gain a fitness to work as missionaries for Christ when they leave the home. They are to be taught to be faithful in labor. They are to learn to relieve the weary mother, sharing her burdens. The older children may greatly assist her by helping to care for the little ones. And the younger ones may learn to perform many of the simple duties of the home.
Young men and young women should regard a training in the home duties as a most important part of their education. The family firm is a sacred social industry, in which each member is to act a part, each helping the other. The work of the household is to move smoothly, like the different parts of well-regulated machinery. The mother should be relieved of many burdens that the sons and daughters can take upon themselves.
How important that fathers and mothers should give their children, from their very babyhood, the right instruction! They are to teach them to obey the command, “Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” [Exodus 20:11.] And the children, as they grow in years, are to appreciate the care that their parents have given them and should find their greatest pleasure in helping father and mother.
Fathers and mothers should do all in their power to carry forward the work of the home in right lines. The law of God, with its holy principles and solemn injunctions, is ever to bear rule. The principles of the Bible are to be taught and practiced. The parents are to teach their children lessons from the Bible, making them so simple that they can readily be understood.
The more closely the members of a family are united in their work in the home, the more uplifting and helpful will be the influence that father and mother and sons and daughters will exert outside the home.
It is a serious matter to send children away from home, thus depriving them of the care of their parents. It is of the greatest importance that church schools shall be established, wherever there are parents, to which the children can be sent and still be under the watchcare of their mothers, and still have opportunity to learn the lessons of helpfulness that it is God’s design they shall learn in the home.
In our larger schools provision should be made for the education of younger children. This line of work is to be managed wisely, in connection with the work of the more advanced students. The older students should be encouraged to take part in teaching the lower classes.
These things are not trifles, unworthy of our consideration. I wish to state especially that very much more can be done to save and educate the children of those who at present cannot get away from the cities. Church schools are to be established in these cities, and in connection with these schools provision is to be made for the teaching of higher studies, where these are called for. These schools can be managed in such a way, part joining to part, that they will be a complete whole. The Lord has His methods and His plans. His wisdom is far-reaching.