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    March 4, 1897

    “Studies in the Book of Hebrews. No.—12” General Conference Daily Bulletin 7, 1.


    E. J. Waggoner

    (Tuesday Afternoon, Feb. 23, 1897.)

    “Behold I and the children which God hath given me.” That is one of the quotations in the second chapter of Hebrews. Let us finish the statement: “Behold I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in Mount Zion.” Isaiah 8:18.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 247.1

    Yesterday we considered briefly the house of God, the temple of the living God, God’s church, God’s building — ourselves — “for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” There is a good deal of talk in the religious world about the Real Presence. There is such a real presence, the presence of God, and that real presence is to be in every child of God, and in the church. That real presence is through the Spirit. We saw by studying the vision which Ezekiel had of God and his throne, the nature of whatever place where God dwells in: wherever God is, there is life. Even when God came down upon Mount Sinai it could not stand still. The whole mountain was moving. It could not keep still while God was upon it, for there was life there. The whole throne is a living throne, composed of living creatures, and they come and go like a flash of lightning.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 247.2

    Now note, every one of these living creatures was different from every other one — different faces, different appearance, different shape, and they were sent with their faces different ways; but in spite of that there was not a shadow, a suggestion, or a thought of any lack of unity in their movement. Just as one body they moved this way or that way. They turned not when they went. And why? — For “whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went.” But how could that be? — “The spirit of life,” as it reads in the margin, “was in them.” So, necessarily, “whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went,” because the Spirit was in them. We contrasted that with the highest manifestation of human organization possible on earth — an army — that all move as one man. But there must be a word of command. But how is it that these men, that those evolutions, those movements, can be made, accomplished with these men?GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 247.3

    (A voice) They have the mind of the commander.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 247.4

    Yes, but how did they get that? — They are drilled. Did they drill separately? — O, no; first they had to be all brought to one place, under one man. They get orders from him, get accustomed to the word of command, and then by continual exercise get so that they move almost involuntarily at the word of command.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 247.5

    Now then, God has an army on this earth, because we read here of the “Captain of our salvation.” God is “the Lord of hosts.” He has a body on this earth, but he does not gather all his children together in one place to drill them, and he is not obliged to. That is an advantage of God’s organization over human organizations; for, further, every man in that human organization must look to one man and recognize his authority, and submit his mind to that other man’s mind. But every man’s mind is to be submitted to God alone. God is supreme; God has the sole right to control every man’s mind, because the mind of God is the only true, correct, and wise mind.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 247.6

    Talk about the harmony of reason and faith! They are just as wide apart as it is possible for two things to be. Faith is the utmost nonsense to human reason; it is foolishness, utter foolishness; and human reason is the baldest kind of nonsense to faith. They never can come together in this world. The weapons of our warfare are such as cast down human reason, “casting down reasonings.” In the text it is called imaginations. It is all right either way, only the word is properly “reason.” But human reason is only a figment, because there is nothing to it, so that when the human mind reasons, undirected by the Spirit of God, it is only imagination.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 248.1

    The Spirit of God, when allowed to work, casts down imaginations and every thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and brings into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. Reason rests with God alone, and when a man puts himself fully into the hands of God, to be controlled, body, soul, and spirit, utterly controlled, — saying, I am only dust, and have nothing to do with myself; I belong to the Lord; now let him be my thought in my brain, and be my movement, my action; then that man’s action will be right, and his thoughts will be right. “Commit thy ways unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.”GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 248.2

    Now, I say the Lord has a body on this earth. He has left here, as he has gone away, some of his children. He has left us here to represent him here on this earth, as individuals, as a church.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 248.3

    We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 248.4

    Now we may say we do that, but we do not do it at all, unless the same condition obtains in us that obtained in Christ. As preachers we may get up before congregations and say, We are ambassadors for Christ; and “we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God;” but we are not doing that unless we are occupying the same position that Christ occupied. What was that? — He allowed God to dwell in him. How fully? — “It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell.”” Now the Spirit’s desire for us is, —GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 248.5

    That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 248.6

    When we stand in that place, we are indeed ambassadors for Christ, and God beseeches men by us.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 248.7

    The people on this earth say a great deal about organization. We cannot show them anything in that line. We do not begin to have so complete and perfect a system of organization as the Salvation Army has, or the Jesuit body of the Roman Catholic Church. We cannot teach the world anything about that. In the armies of the earth there is organization and uniformity of action as perfect as can be. The people know all about that, and they know how it is done too. But when God’s people, here and there, and all over the world, a people professing in an especial way to be the people of God, having a special message to give to the people, — when they as individuals are filled with the Spirit of God, so that that picture of the throne of God is duplicated here on earth, God enthroned in the hearts of his people, so that whithersoever the Spirit is to go they go, do you not think that the world will see something wonderful in it? Will not God’s children be for a sign, and a wonder to the people?GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 248.8

    How is that brought about? What rules and regulations have you by which that is accomplished? — None. There will be the wonder. Let us read a few verses in the fifty-second chapter of Isaiah:—GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 248.9

    Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.... Now therefore, what have I here, saith the Lord, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the Lord; and my name continually every day is blasphemed. Therefore my people shall know my name [that is what we have been studying here] therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 248.10

    Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. [That means all of us.]GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 249.1

    Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 249.2

    How do we get this cleansing? O, we know that. We confess our sins, and “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.” “Now are you clean through the word that I have spoken unto you,” but not if we let the word lie, neglecting it.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 249.3

    For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward. Behold, my servant shall deal prudently.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 249.4

    That has been to me a blessed assurance of late, — “Behold, my servant shall deal prudently.” Who is the servant of the Lord? O, you say, this is Christ. True, but “as he is, so are we in this world.” Are we not servants of the Lord, too? Are we one with the Lord Jesus Christ? Then is not this promise to us? because whatever is to Christ, is to us, for we are heirs of God, and joint heirs with him. There is no promise to Christ, then, that he does not pass along and share with us. “Behold, my servant shall deal prudently.” That will be characteristic of the servant of God. He will deal prudently. I am glad for that, because I know that I am one of the most imprudent persons in the world; and when I read that God, through faith, brings strength out of weakness, then I rejoice for this promise that “my servant shall deal prudently,” and I am glad that God can work prudence even in me.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 249.5

    He shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonished at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: so shall he astonish many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider. Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground; he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 249.6

    Here is the arm of the Lord revealed in the sight of the nations as power, so that all the ends of the earth see the salvation of God; so that nations shall be astonished, and kings will simply shut their mouths in wonder and amazement. What has not been told them, what they could not dream of even, they will see. They will see a power, without seeing the source of power. They will see a mighty power, and yet no great appearance or show of power. They will see perfect unity of action, and yet no man possessing or claiming authority.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 249.7

    Now, let me call your attention to the fortieth chapter of Isaiah. See another thing that is going to be done. We might study a long while before we could exhaust that fortieth chapter of Isaiah. It tells about —GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 249.8

    The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 249.9

    That is, there is to be no crookedness in this work. It is to be perfectly straight and level. There is no going around in any crooked way, but it is to be done straight and plain before us. God’s work is a straight work. It is not to get around something, nor to follow up men in all their devious ways of error. Not to follow men wherever they may go in their crookedness, and try to expose them, but to go straight ahead. The work of the Lord is a straight work. We are to mind our own business, and let other people do the dodging around. This tells us of the same thing that the fifty-second chapter did:—GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 249.10

    The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken it.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 249.11

    Now the lesson: Whose voice was heard in the wilderness? — John the Baptist’s. But he did not complete this message, because it is to continue until the work is done — until the Lord comes. “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” He is coming. How is he coming? — He is coming with a strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him. Behold his reward is with him, and his work before him. He has not come yet. The work is going on still; that voice crying in the wilderness is still sounding, although not yet very loudly.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 249.12

    It is clear enough without any further spending of time, that our work is identical with that of John the Baptist. “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” Let us then read one verse in the third chapter of Matthew:—GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 249.13

    In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 250.1

    Now, in the first place, as to John the Baptist himself, what kind of man was he? What characterized him? — He was filled with the Holy Ghost. What, therefore, must characterize those who proclaim this message, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” — They must be filled with the Spirit of God. Which is the greater, the beginning of a thing, or the end of a thing? — The end. Then just as surely as the Bible is true, when those who profess to give this message begin to give it, when, with the fullness of the Spirit and of the power of God, they proclaim this message of truth, people will flock to hear it by the thousands; in other words, the whole world’s attention will be called to it, and they cannot help themselves. They will be compelled to hear it. They will not all accept it, we know that. But there will be a power which will attract the attention of the whole world, and the one thing that will be talked about from the lowest south to the highest north, and around the world everywhere, will be the truth of the Lord’s coming, and the preparation to meet him. That will be the one thing that will absorb the attention of the world. They will be obliged to talk of that, because that will be the thing that will come to them with greater force than any other thing in the world that they hear. I do not say that it will continue very long, because when it goes with that power, then men will decide very soon, either one way or the other; they will yield to it, or else throw it away and give themselves no more concern about it. That is going to be done; that must be done. It will be done. I read another text. Isaiah fifty-five:—GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 250.2

    Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 250.3

    Here is something that speaks to us.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 250.4

    Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.... Behold I have given him [the one in whom the covenant was made] for a witness to the people.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 250.5

    Who is given for a witness unto the people? — Christ. Who is the commander? Who is the one who has authority? — Christ has authority and power. I have given him for a witness; for a leader. Is he accepted as being leader, and is he commander?GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 250.6

    (A voice) Yes.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 250.7

    That remains to be seen. What does a commander do? — He gives orders. And to whom does he give orders? — To those who are to receive the orders. He gives the orders so that they can be understood, and if he is indeed the leader and commander of the people, then what about his commands? — They are obeyed; and that determines whether he is leader and commander, or not.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 250.8

    Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel, for he hath glorified thee.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 250.9

    Now mark, they do not run unto us because of us, not because of our good, our glory, because we have none; but nations that know not us will run unto us because of the Holy One of Israel in the midst of his people, and because his presence in the midst has glorified the whole. We have it in the sixtieth chapter of Isaiah:—GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 250.10

    Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall rise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 250.11

    The same story is told all the way through. There is the work of the people of God. That is the way the truth is to go. It does not say that all these kings and nations and Gentiles that run will accept it, but an ensign is to be lifted up, as a standard, something that will per force attract the attention of every man, from the greatest king to the lowest peasant; they will look at it, and when they see it they can do as they please. That will be the proclamation of the truth to the world. Now we go to the world.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 250.12

    A. F. Ballenger. — “And get up a debate to get a crowd.”GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 250.13

    Yes; and we preach certain points of doctrine. We sharpen them to a very fine point, so that we can stick them into people, and prod them. Then we say that they have had the truth; they have had the light. Have they had the truth? — No. They have not had the truth unless they have seen the power and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ through the Spirit. When the truth has come to them in that way, then indeed they have had the truth, and they are responsible to God as to whether they accept it or reject it; and it will not be long until that is done.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 250.14

    I wonder if you believe these things. What are we here for, any how? to listen for an hour or three-quarters of an hour, and then go away and say, perchance, That was very clear to-day; that seemed to be quite plain; that was a very good lesson? Brethren, how long before we are going to wake up? How long are we going to play at believing the Lord.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 251.1

    Now I read yesterday, very hastily, because the time was about expired, one or two sentences, and I will read one or two of them again:—GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 251.2

    Christ breathed upon the disciples and said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Christ is represented by his Holy Spirit to-day, in every part of his great moral vineyard.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 251.3

    But is he represented by his Holy Spirit in every one who professes to be laboring for him, in every part of the great moral vineyard? That is the question. It is for me as well as for you.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 251.4

    He will give the inspiration of his Holy Spirit to all who are of a contrite spirit. Let there be more dependence upon the efficiency of the Holy Spirit, and far less upon human agencies. — Special Test, No. 3, p. 48.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 251.5

    It is speaking about men who do not abide in Christ, are not directed by the wisdom of Christ and the impartation of the Holy Spirit, and cannot be trusted as faultless in judgment. There is no man on earth whose judgment can be trusted. Christ alone is the leader; he can be trusted. Let him through the Spirit dwell in us, think in us, act in us, and then there will be a difference.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 251.6

    Yet in some cases their judgment is trusted, and their counsel is regarded as the wisdom of God. When human agents choose the will of God, and are conformed to the character of Christ, Jesus acts through their organs and faculties. It is no more themselves that live and act, but it is Christ that lives and acts in them.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 251.7

    Now I ask you if in that condition there will be any mistakes, and wrong moves made? Here on another page I read thus:—GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 251.8

    The Lord is soon to work in greater power among us; but there is danger of allowing our impulses to carry us where the Lord would not want us to go.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 251.9

    We must not go a long distance without knowing where we are. Does it say that? — No. It says, “We must not make one step that we will have to retrace.” Then we must do nothing of which we are in doubt; we must not do one thing that there is a possibility of our having to retrace. That is plain and reasonable. Very good. Now suppose here is a subject right here in Conference that we do not know whether it is right, or whether it is wrong. This is a practical question for us. Here is a matter of business, a resolution, or a nomination, or whatever may come up for consideration. We say we will do the best we can, but we are not absolutely sure as to whether it is right or wrong. Then we do not know but that we shall have to retract the action sometime. Then hadn’t we better know, or wait until we find out? Let me read another statement:—GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 251.10


    You are not to limit the Holy one of Israel, whose power is of old, and whose ways are past finding out. If you mark out ways whereby you expect God to work, you will be disappointed. The kingdom of heaven cometh not with observation.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 251.11

    Yes; it comes in just the very opposite way to what we expect it. How is the arm of the Lord to be revealed? — “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground.” You do not expect a tree to grow to any proportions out of the dry ground, in the sand. But that is the way the Lord does. The Lord says that his power is such that he takes the base things of the world, and things despised, yes, and the things that are not, and brings to naught the things that are. That is the power of God. He works just exactly contrary to the manner in which man expects him to work, just contrary to human plans and human organization; because, as we said, human reason and faith are direct opposites.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 251.12

    You are to leave God to work in his own way, and you must walk, not by sight, but by faith. God has a work to be done, and it is a very solemn, sacred work. It is not wise to follow plans of your own devising.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 251.13

    Then are we going to walk as wise men, or as fools? Here is something for every delegate here to consider, for all of us to get. We all agree that we have before us here in these scriptures what is to be the work of God.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 251.14

    How many times does the testimony say the Lord is soon to work with greater power? How many times have we said that there is coming a time when the power of the Pentecost will be seen? Is this going to come? — O, yes; but the way we do would remind one of what an old Baptist said in the days of Carey, when he was talking about going to the heathen. Said he, “Young man, when the Lord wants the heathen to be converted, he will convert them without any help from you or me.” Are we not really saying that when the Lord wants to work with power, — that we will wake up some morning, and find him working with great power? I do not know of any way for us to expect the Lord to work with greater power for us as a people than for us — as many as want to be in the work then — to let ourselves be in his hand as dust. We do not know anything at all. We are utterly helpless. Now let the Lord come in, and build us up anew, — organize us on his own new divine plan, on the model of the divine temple, and live and act and think through us in his own way. And when that is done, there will be mighty power. Now, if that is true, and that can be done, then are we obliged to wait ten years? or shall we plan beforehand, and let all the people know that at the next General Conference we are going to have the power of the Lord? Isn’t it time now for the Lord to work?GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 251.15

    I will read, if I can readily find it, a statement here:—GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 252.1

    Unless those who can help in——[that means everywhere,] are aroused to a sense of their duty, they will not recognize the work of God when the loud cry of the third angel shall be heard. When light goes forth to lighten the earth, instead of coming up to the help of the Lord, they will want to bind about his work to meet their narrow ideas.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 252.2

    Now, brethren, the Lord does not ask us to go back to the past, or to doubt that he has been with us. He is with us. Thank the Lord, he has been with us all these years; but that does not mean that he has approved everything we have done. God has been with even the heathen. Shall the heathen therefore say, “I am all right”? If God had not been with me, I would not be living. But what has the Lord been with us all these years for? — O, he has been calling for us, and pleading that we would let him work in us. He has been with us; I thank him for that. He has been with us, and because he is with us still, brethren, let us give him full control of our minds and bodies, to work in us in any place where he may call us to work.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 252.3

    Let me tell you that the Lord will work in this last work very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning. There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 252.4

    I do not want to be one of them, do you? How are you going to know when the angel joins with the third angel, and the message goes with a loud cry? If we keep on as we have been going, we will not know. Is it not time, then, for us to stop, to call a halt, until we do know where we are, and let the Lord begin to use us now? It is our right and privilege, and I thank the Lord it need not take long.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 252.5

    How much more do we know, how much more does any man here think he knows, than the twelve apostles did after they had been personally with the Lord for three and one-half years? If any man thinks he knows as much, let him raise his hand. Either you do not think so, or you are modest. How many think we are better able to devise plans and carry them out than those twelve men were? Yet the Lord told them, “Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 252.6

    Now if they did not know enough to go about the work after they had been with Christ, and had done a work that we have never done, — worked with power, cast out devils, raised the dead, performed many miracles, and done more powerful preaching than any of us have ever done, — I say, if it was necessary for them to wait until the Spirit of God filled them that they might have wisdom to go forth to the work, what are we claiming if we presume to go forth to the work without doing the very same thing? It was not very long that they had to wait, only ten days.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 252.7

    And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together. Acts 2:1-6.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 252.8

    When they got the Spirit, they had no difficulty in finding a congregation. “Behold, I and the children whom thou hast given me are for signs and wonders from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in Mount Zion.”GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 252.9

    “Studies in the Book of Hebrews. No.—13” General Conference Daily Bulletin 7, 15.


    E. J. Waggoner

    (Wednesday Afternoon, Feb. 24, 1897.)

    At the beginning of our work here I felt and expressed myself thus — That I had no heart whatever to go on in simply an ordinary Bible study. You know that in the study of the Word of God there is life and salvation; but just to take an hour and sit here and study certain words, and then go away again, and think no more of it, — I could not endure that. Just as an ordinary study it seemed as though it would be a waste of time, for we had not very much time to spend, and I knew from the beginning we needed something we did not have. I knew that in the book of Hebrews, in the first few chapters especially, there is life and truth, and that in small compass is the special message for this time. We have passed over a certain portion, but I had no heart to go further until we had taken in the truth of what we had studied. Each day it has seemed as though I could not go on; I did not know what there was for us. But each day, as the time came for the lesson, the Lord gave me the message. Well, I am glad we are where we are, — as far as we are. So this afternoon I thought, “What shall we have? What can we do?” And I said to the Lord, “Tell me what the message is, and whether we shall have anything or not.” Then came these words, “I will put my trust in him.” This is a part of our lesson in Hebrews, the words of Christ. Yesterday we were brought face to face with the fact that the Spirit of God is to do the work, and not we; face to face with the fact that God is waiting to fill his people with the Spirit, that we may accomplish in the earth the work that he designs us to do. There are so many things that we need to know; but I thank the Lord that it need not take us long. But when we receive the Spirit of God, we must receive it understandingly. We are not in the condition that the disciples were when the Spirit was poured out at Pentecost. We are a long way from it. But then I thank the Lord that it need not take us long to get there.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 253.1

    The next summer after the Minneapolis meeting, there was a good brother whom I met for the first time, who, at the close of a meeting, said that he had received help and light; that he had been misinformed, he was sure, in regard to the Minneapolis meeting, and the work which had been done, and he was glad to be able to see some things for himself; glad to see and receive justification by faith. Then thinking how it sounded for a preacher to say that he had learned to accept justification by faith, he added, “Of course, we have always believed in justification by faith, but we have not known what it was.” Well, brethren, I have seen a good many hundred people since that time who believed in justification by faith but did not know what it was, and that among Seventh-day Adventists. There are a great many who think they believe it, and who do believe it, who have accepted it to a certain extent only, as a theory. They have taken it as a new article of faith. There is no such thing as a “theory” of justification by faith. It is a fact, that is all; and there are wonderfully few people who allow the fact to get into them for all it is worth.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 253.2

    Now these words that came to me here, “I will put my trust in him,” cover the whole ground. That text is everything. Justification by faith is not simply one series or line of truth to be presented to the people. It is the whole truth; it is the third angel’s message; there is nothing else. Is there anything else in this world we want except righteousness? Does not that include everything? Because righteousness, we understand is not simply to be a streak in a man’s life; it is not simply something for Sabbath. What is righteousness? — Doing right; doing the right thing, instead of the wrong thing — that is righteousness. Not only doing a certain thing right instead of doing it wrong, but always doing the right thing instead of the wrong thing. Is not that simple enough, plain enough as to what righteousness is?GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 253.3

    Now, of what is a man’s life composed? — His actions. A man’s life is composed of his actions; of what he does. If he acts right, he is right. We are not now going into the cause of the thing. We are considering the thing itself; we are not now considering how, why, or whence, righteousness comes, but simply considering the fact and how much it includes. If a man’s actions be right, he is a man, a righteous man.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 253.4

    Let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 253.5

    That is right. But if he acts wrong, then he is not right, that’s all. These are facts; simple, plain, self-evident truths. They do not need any argument. A man’s life is composed of the actions he performs. That is all the Lord brings to the judgment, — the things that men have done. Now to how much of a man’s life may the adjectives “righteousness and unrighteousness” apply? — To every act of a man’s life. Is that clear? Then righteousness by faith, or in the absence of that, unrighteousness without any help whatever, has to do with a man’s whole life; with every act, doesn’t it?GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 253.6

    (A voice) Yes.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 254.1

    Well, that is righteousness. Is a man a righteous man, and can he be a righteous man, and do right things in some particulars, and then in other particulars go wrong? — No. No; the man is composed of his acts, and righteousness or unrighteousness has to do with all the acts of man. “He that doeth righteousness is righteous.” The righteous man does the right thing under all circumstances of life, and does it in the right way.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 254.2

    Now then, we say we accept the doctrine of righteousness by faith. What does that mean? — Right doing by faith. I know that that language to some seems the wildest nonsense; because the idea of righteousness by faith, of course, is nonsense to some. But many have said that righteousness by faith is a good thing in itself, but it must not be carried to an extreme. That is to say, righteousness by faith is a good thing, but do not be too righteous; do not be too good. Faith in God is a good thing, but do not carry it too far. Don’t trust him too much. Now, does this idea of carrying righteousness by faith to an extreme mean anything else than that righteousness is a good thing and faith is a good thing, but that you may have too much of them, and so get on dangerous ground? I am not imagining anything, but simply repeating what I have heard: “Faith is a good thing, but do not carry it to extremes.” Brethren, how many of you have supposed that fanaticism is simply an excess of faith? I won’t ask you to hold up your hands, but I am sure that I have seen a good many who have supposed that fanaticism was simply an excess of faith; haven’t you? Some of them are in the house now. Let me tell you that as long as a man sticks to this word, “I will put my trust in him,” so long as he holds to that, you can’t make a fanatic out of him, no matter how much you try. He can’t be made fanatical. Fanaticism comes from letting go the Word of God, and substituting one’s own ideas; but nobody in the world was ever fanatical because he believed the Word of God too much. We need to be so well acquainted with the Lord that we will not be afraid that he can’t manage his own business; that he does not know how to do it.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 254.3

    Is it misstating or overstating the ideas that have obtained in the minds of many people among us, to say that they thought that righteousness by faith was a good thing in its place, but that when you come to the steady practical work of the cause, it did not work? Is not that so? That has been a prevailing idea. Now, in the first place we must consider, Do we accept the facts of righteousness by faith? Do we accept the truth that there is no other way of becoming righteous, except by faith? Is there any other way of being righteous? — No. To every act in a Man’s life the term righteous or unrighteous may be applied; then if a man would be righteous, to how many acts of his life must faith come in as the source? — All of them. Righteousness by faith, then, does not mean that it is something that we will have at some point of our life, the goody goody part, but when we come to business, we want something better.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 254.4

    Faith is not something to be put to one side and sneered at; faith is not imagination; faith is not fancy; faith is not sentimentalism; faith is not guess work; faith is an eternal fact. Therefore if a man be in business, and he would be a righteous man in business, that business, being an act, must be done by faith. Righteousness by faith therefore means, the life of Christ coming in to direct everything that man does, and especially in the cause of God, because as a matter of fact, if we are Christians we do not do anything that is not in the cause of God. As Christians we do not have two parts to our lives; it is all Christian, and if we say we have given ourselves to the cause of God, then we have no business to be in the cause of God a part of the time, and then a little part of the time do something else. Therefore as we are altogether in the cause, in the work, I say righteousness by faith means nothing less than that by faith everything that is done shall be done. It means that the Lord shall act. It means that we shall trust the Lord so that we shall understand; because, “by faith we understand.”GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 254.5

    The word of God is true. Man is nothing. When God speaks, we are to take his word. It does not make any difference how it comes, when or by whom it comes, we are to say, That is true. Brethren, God has placed authority in the church. That authority is his word illumined by his Holy Spirit. That is the authority. That is the only authority there is. Christ is the leader of the church. “Behold I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader, and a commander to the people.” He is the leader; we will follow him. His word is authority, and it alone is authority. When we take the word of God, it does not make any difference if some man in higher position says, “It does not mean that,” or, “We cannot apply it; it would do all right in an ideal state, but God must take us where we are, and it cannot be applied here. It cannot be applied there.”GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 254.6

    With all respect to that man, I do not believe a word of it. I know that the word of God is not visionary, and fanciful, simply dissolving into blue clouds and then into nothing, but God’s word is for us to live upon. Brethren, there is that in that word, in the light which God gives to us, — there is that in that word, which will direct us in every thing which we have to do in this world, no matter in what capacity we act. There is instruction in this word for everything that we should do. Numbers who do not believe the truth do not have one iota of effect upon the truth. If ten thousand men do not believe the truth, that does not make it any less the truth. If somebody else cannot see it, that does not make it any the less true that I can see it.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 254.7

    And so God’s blessing is upon us, and God is among us; and things that we ought to have known, every one of us, years ago, and have not known, and have deprived ourselves of, and in consequence have been weak, because of our not taking God by his Holy Spirit, — if we only get the key, if we only get the root, if we only get the thing for all that it is worth, we will have eternity for here and everywhere. Dependence upon God is everything. Righteousness by faith is the key that will unlock all these things. So God in his infinite mercy will teach us in a little while — O, how good he is! — that which we have been holding off for years; he will teach us, and we may go forth from this meeting with the power of God to proclaim the truth to the world. So, brethren, let us put our trust in him.GCB/GCDB March 4, 1897, page 254.8

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