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    “As I Have Loved You.”

    Talk given at Ashfield camp, Sabbath morning,
    November 10, 1894
    EA 214.1

    (823) I had risen one night to write to one very dear to me, and the Spirit and power of God came upon me as I wrote. I realized that God has a deep interest in every one of his children. He is very near to those who are struggling to maintain their faith and confidence in God. The church militant is not the church triumphant. Each one of us is bound by the most solemn obligations of responsibility and accountability to live up to the light that is shining from the cross of Calvary.EA 214.2

    God wants us to stand as brave soldiers of Jesus Christ. We are so apt to learn upon others; and in the future our great danger will be in trusting in man and not in God. God wants us to show to those about us that there is power in God to hold us. He will cut away the tendrils that twine about the rubbish of earth and around human beings who can be no help to us, and leave us to entwine only about Him. Fastened to God, they (824) can never be cut away. In times of perplexity we have looked to men whom we have supposed possessed wisdom. The Lord invites us to take all our difficulties and our interests large and small, to Him. He wants us to have the strength which comes directly from Him, and He is ready to impart it to us, is we will believe.EA 214.3

    It is not because there is no God in Israel that we go to the God of Akron to inquire. The cross of Christ speaks to us of a living Saviour, an advocate. Whatever their profession, we are to look to no human agent for inspiration. When we are in trouble we need go to not go to finite beings like ourselves. Satan loves to have us do this; for then other minds ponder on our dark experiences, and wonder what they mean. There is no grace in the dismal story you are telling to your brethren and sisters. Go to them with the story of Christ and his grace and righteousness, and tell them how precious He is to you. When you have given the grace of God as far as you can to others you will receive more grace.EA 214.4

    The Lord wants us to hide in Jesus Christ. If our life is hid with Christ in God, we shall have power with God. (825) “If any man lack wisdom,” he says, “Let him ask of God.” He is not directed to go to those who are disloyal to God, and try to get light from them. “If any man lack wisdom, let his ask of God which giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”EA 214.5

    We should always stand in an attitude of love and respect and tenderness toward our brethren and sisters; for we do not know their temptations. I have been shown that for years God could not let his richest blessings come upon his people because of their unbelief, their fault-finding, their evil thinking and evil speaking. From the light I have received, I know there is not that respect and courtesy and tenderness that should exist among those who profess belief in the most solemn message ever given to our world. We should watch one another; but not to criticize them, or to make them offenders for a word, not to find something in their labors to suspect and distrust. Some have educated themselves in this school. They have all their lives been receiving an education in these objectionable lines, until a state of suspicion and distrust has become chronic with them. They have no confidence in their brethren, and their course of (826) action is such that their brethren can have no confidence in them. Confidence is a mutual thing. You show honor and respect to a brother, and his spirit leaps forth to show honor and respect to you. It is a heaven born principle. God wants this principle to abide in our hearts and be cherished there.EA 214.6

    Love is a tender plant, that must be cherished and cultivated. The roots of bitterness must be plucked up from around it, in order for it to thrive. Then it will bring under its influence all the powers of heart and mind and soul. We shall love God supremely, and our neighbor as ourselves. This commandment is kept by but one in a thousand. We profess to be commandment-keepers, but in showing so little love for our brethren, by our suspicion and distrust, we break the commandments of God nearly every day of our lives. The Lord wants us to “love as brethren; be pitiful, be courteous” and the richest blessings of God will come to us.EA 215.1

    To the angel of the church at Ephesus John was commanded to write, “These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in His hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and (827) how thou canst not bear them which are evil; and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not; and hast found them liars; and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast labored and hast not fainted.” With such a commendation as this, we might think there is nothing wrong with this people, that they are perfect. “Nevertheless,” he continues, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast lost thy first love. Remember then from whence thou hast fallen, and repent, and do their first works, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”EA 215.2

    God wants us to wake up on these points. Christ has revealed himself to us in the richness of his goodness and mercy and compassion. In decided lines he has represented the character of God as he proclaimed it to Moses on Mt. Sinai: “The Lord the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.” The very love that Christ revealed as the character of God was to be imparted to the children of God, and (828) revealed in their lives, and in this way the children of God were to be a constant revelation of God to the world. “Remember then from whence thou hast fallen,” God says, “and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, expect thou repent.”EA 215.3

    Can you not understand the measure of light and grace and power and glory that God is waiting to pour upon his people, if they will love him supremely and their neighbor as themselves. The first four precepts of the Decalogue reveal man’s duty to God, the last six cover the duty of man to his fellow man; and all are comprehended in the words of Christ. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy souls, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” God wants to circulate through our ranks a love that we have scarcely dreamed of yet. We must have that love, or our candlestick will be removed, and our light quenched.EA 215.4

    The candlesticks represent the churches. Christ is walking among the candlesticks, seeking to imbue his people with this love. All have work to do through God, and this is to love one another. Let us read what the word says about this love; (829) for we need to know a great deal more about it than we now know “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another: as I have loved you, that ye also love another.” How much? “As I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another.”EA 215.5

    God designed that we should experience this love every day of our lives. Let us not hide it. Let us not bottle it up, and after some of us are dead, break the bottle, and let some of the fragrance out. It is while our brethren and sisters are living, that we need to bring all the brightness and tenderness and sweetness and grace of Christ into our lives, that their lives may be blessed. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples.” They will know that communication is open between God and the soul of the human agent.EA 216.1

    It behooves those who deal with human minds, who become messengers to give the word of the Lord to the people, to pray for tact and ingenuity to know how to deal with human minds. This is the nicest work that was ever committed to mortal man and as he stands as the messengers, angels will stand by his (830) Satan rejoices when he can make those in responsible positions swerve from the right. He makes a point of their error to lead others into unbelief. “Here is your representative man,” he says, “the one you trust. You can see how far he believes in God, and follows the example of Christ.”EA 216.2

    God has power for us. Since I have been present at this meeting, God has revealed to me in the night season what great power he will manifest in our labors if we will obey his commands. But we do not obey them. We have not loved God supremely, and our neighbor as ourselves. God wants every one of us to turn over a new leaf, and if we will do it, he will enable us to strengthen one another. No sharp or cutting word must be spoken. Everything of such a nature must be battened down as it were by the Holy Spirit of God, the grace of Christ. The true believer will carry wherever he goes the fragrance of Christ. This may be unexplainable to unbelievers; but they cannot fail to it is there.EA 216.3

    If on the other hand, you educate yourselves to dissect the character of this brother and that sister, and see only their faults and mistakes, you are nothing less than cannibals. You (831) are feeding on the characteristics that you think so detestable. When some servant of God is sent with a message to the people, many feel at liberty to reject the message because of some word of unbelief that has been spoken. They feel too independent to receive the words that they should accept in a spirit of tenderness and love. Then when a discourse is given, they say, “There, why did he say that?” “Why did he do thus?” and instead of gathering the precious light that God sent in that discourse, you pick up some trivial word of mannerism for criticism, and thus destroy all the impression of good you might have received. When you follow such a course, angels of God turn away from you in sorrow. They would have made that word precious to you.EA 216.4

    When the Samaritans refused to receive Christ, and John, anxious to avenge the insult offered to his Master, said, “Wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven to consume them?” Jesus answered, “Ye know not what spirit ye are of.” The son of man is not come to destroy men’s life but to save them.” Every soul who believes in God is precious to the heart of Christ. A wrong done to me of these in words or action or deportment, (832) God charges as done to him. He identifies himself with suffering humanity. If we will unite our heart with the heart of Christ we shall have the spirit of Christ. Every branch in the Vine may become fruitful by drawing sap and nourishment. But if you go into cannibalism, seeking to tear in pieces and devour character, you will be destroyed in the same way.EA 216.5

    The counsel of God and the inspiration of the Spirit is not recognized and followed by those who profess to believe; and for this reason God cannot give the full measure of his grace. It would do us no good; for we would not recognize God as the source of it. We would exalt ourselves, and think we were the ones to be honored for the possession of the grace. God does not wish us to feel this way. We are all branches of the Vine; we partake of its nourishment; we are to reveal the same life that is in the vine. Wherever we go we are to speak to his glory and tell of his power, and daily be growing up into Christ our living head. By beholding we shall be changed into the same image.EA 216.6

    Here is a little cluster of people, the few who believe the truth in our world. Shall we with these form a hollow (833) square turn the weapons of our warfare upon those who are vessels of God to bear the truth and his message? God forbid. Let us turn our weapons against our might foe. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”EA 217.1

    To those who rightly represent him the Saviour says, “My joy shall remain in you, and your joy shall be full. Then he further says, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you, continue ye in my love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and your joy should be full.” Think of it. Our joy will be full. And why should it not be? We stand here as representatives of God, entrusted with a message; upon us is laid the responsibility of giving to the world light that is to shine amid its moral darkness. Let no soul intercept that light. Stand out of the way, and let God’s light shine to the world. “This is my commandment that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, (834) if ye do whatsoever I command you.” EA 217.2

    God help us to be Bible readers and Bible doers. When we come into the light, and get out of our hearts all feelings of distrust and jealousy, of evil surmising and evil speaking, their place will be taken by the love of Christ, a love that will never die, but will be as far-reaching as eternity. If any of you have educated yourselves in the school of jealousy and evil-surmising and fault-finding, come now into Christ’s school. “Come,” He says, “Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart. My yoke is easy, and my burden is light. The meekness and lowliness of Christ make His yoke easy.EA 217.3

    Brethren and sisters, let us work together. Wherever you are, it will take a tremendous effort to present the truth; you will have the force of darkness to meet, and to meet them successfully there must be perfect union in word and deed. We must strengthen and build up one another in the most holy faith. Let us love as God loves. When we do this, blessing will flow into our souls that we have never before experienced. We have never felt inclined to act as Christians, to love our brethren as God loves us. He gave his life for them. When we (835) love God truly, we shall love the purchase of his blood.EA 217.4

    God wants us to have strength; Satan desires that we shall be weak and powerless, and so he tries to upbraid the cords by which God has bound us together. And the silver chain that has bound us to one another and to God has become like a rope of sand. God wants us to have that love that loves with Jesus. There is no distrust in that love. We cannot estimate it; it surpasses our knowledge.EA 217.5

    God help us to work for the eternal world. I want the spirit of Christ in my heart every moment. Since I have seen how much heaven has for us, I have seen the danger of going to any outside power. We must reach up, and ask God for wisdom, and trust in him. God will give us wisdom if we will ask for it. God help us that we may be fitted for the heavenly family.EA 217.6

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