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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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    Lt 122, 1896

    White, J. E.; White, Emma

    “Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, Australia

    August 21, 1896

    Previously unpublished.

    Dear Children:

    I have been writing to you on the resurrection of Lazarus. I feel anxious to complete this second book as soon as possible. My heart is drawn out in earnest prayer to God. I feel a burden to lift up my voice in testimony, in appeals, in warnings, that all who are disciples of Christ shall walk in the light of God’s holy Word.11LtMs, Lt 122, 1896, par. 1

    Time is short, and we cannot afford to walk for one hour in darkness. We need light, precious light. The Word of God is our sufficient rule of life. It teaches the whole will of God concerning us, His human agents. Therefore in it we have a sure guide for our faith and practice.11LtMs, Lt 122, 1896, par. 2

    The Scriptures need not be read by the dim light of tradition in order to be comprehended. As well might we try to give light to the sun with a torch as to explain the Scriptures by human intellect or tradition. God’s holy Word needs not the torch light glimmer of earth to make its glories distinguishable. It is light in itself—the glory of God revealed; and beside it every other light is dim.11LtMs, Lt 122, 1896, par. 3

    Those who suppose that they understand philosophy think that their explanations are necessary to unlock the treasure of knowledge, and to prevent heresies from coming into the church. But it is these explanations that have brought in false theories and heresies, causing men to teach for doctrine the commandments of men. Men have made desperate efforts to explain the meaning of what they thought to be intricate Scriptures, but their efforts have only darkened what they thought to make clear.11LtMs, Lt 122, 1896, par. 4

    The priests and Pharisees thought that they were doing great things as teachers, by putting their own interpretations upon the Word of God, but Christ said of them, “Ye are both ignorant of the Scriptures, and of the power of God.” [Matthew 22:29.] He charged them with the guilt of teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Though they were the teachers of the oracles of God, though they were supposed to understand the Word of God, they were not doers of this Word. Satan had blinded their eyes that they should not see the true import of it.11LtMs, Lt 122, 1896, par. 5

    This is the work of the teachers in our day. The churches are guilty of this sin. There is danger, great danger, that the supposed wise men of today will repeat the experience of the Jewish teachers. They falsely interpret the divine oracles; and souls are brought into perplexity and enshrouded in darkness because of their misconception of divine truth.11LtMs, Lt 122, 1896, par. 6

    In some instances human learning and human interpretation may be a help to a right understanding of the Word of God. But the ignorant, who are without this help, need not despair. When they search the living oracles, the Holy Spirit is beside them as a divine teacher, ready to suggest to the honest, inquiring mind the true meaning of the Word. And this meaning is more easily understood than the interpretation placed upon it by wise men, who are thus designated because of their learning. But they are not truly wise, for they bring in their own ideas and opinions. These make destructive blundering with the plain “Thus saith the Lord.” Often they cover up and make intricate that which is plain.11LtMs, Lt 122, 1896, par. 7

    Let the student of the Word search the Scriptures, not with the lighted torch of tradition, but with an anxious, inquiring heart filled with a hunger for righteousness. God will help him. His heart will be made tender and susceptible to the influence of the Holy Spirit. Even the wayfaring man, though a novice, need not err when he searches the Scriptures with an open mind, and with a heart made tender by the Holy Spirit. If he is taught of God, he will be enabled, through searching the Scriptures, to find the pathway of eternal life. And if he will follow on to know the Lord, he will know that His going forth is prepared as the morning. He is to make his supplications to the Lord—the fountain of all wisdom, the storehouse of all knowledge. As he follows on step by step cherishing every ray of light that shines from the Word of God upon his pathway, he will discern every necessary duty.11LtMs, Lt 122, 1896, par. 8

    The living principles of salvation are clearly stated in Luke 10:25-28. “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” The natural condition of man is sinfulness, but a great sacrifice has been offered in his behalf, making it possible for him to keep the first four commandments, which define his duty to his God, and the last six, which define his duty to his fellow men. Obedience to these commandments is required from all who would enter into life.11LtMs, Lt 122, 1896, par. 9

    It is the work of the Holy Spirit to bring men to repentance, to reveal God in Jesus Christ, and to present to the mind and urge upon the conscience the requirements of God. “He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you;” said Christ, “he shall bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” [John 16:14, 26.]11LtMs, Lt 122, 1896, par. 10

    It is through the Word of God that we receive a knowledge of His requirements, and of the provision made in our behalf. We must understand this Word in order to understand what is comprehended in obedience. O, how thankful we should be for the Word of God—the voice of God speaking to the soul. How important that we feel it to be not only a duty, but a privilege, to study the inspired Oracles. By the Word of God we are “born again;” and made fit for the kingdom of heaven.11LtMs, Lt 122, 1896, par. 11

    We cannot be safe unless the Word of God is to us a treasure, found and appreciated, more precious than gold or silver. Stored up in the mind and heart, it becomes a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. No matter how much we draw from this living fountain, we cannot diminish the supply. By studying the Word of God, we gain a knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, whom to know aright is life eternal.11LtMs, Lt 122, 1896, par. 12

    We need to become acquainted with the Scriptures, that we may draw from this treasure house things new and old to enrich other minds. But those who have had great advantages and many opportunities are beset by the enemy, and may be surprised into indulgence and sin. During the whole period of our probation, we shall be tempted. And where we have once failed, the enemy will try us again. Over and over again we shall be confronted by his temptations, but because of this we need not fail nor be discouraged. From the divine storehouse we may draw refreshing promises.11LtMs, Lt 122, 1896, par. 13

    In God’s precious Word we shall find a standard lifted up for us against the enemy. “Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scripture might have hope.” [Romans 15:4.] When the enemy allures souls by some glowing prospect or bright expectation, then there is danger. He throws out an alluring bait, and many souls are spiritually weak because they yield to his temptations. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” [James 4:7.] Unseen agencies draw near to help every one who feels his need of help; but many are overcome because they do not soon enough draw the sword of the Spirit—“It is written.”11LtMs, Lt 122, 1896, par. 14

    All who follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth will have light, and light chases away darkness. All who cherish this light will have increased light, and will be able to say, “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” [Psalm 119:11.] Many souls are perishing for the knowledge which the Word of God gives. This Word assures us that there is strength for us. When we are severely tempted by the adversary of souls, if we place the shield of faith before us, we shall not sink in helpless despondency, but our hearts will be encouraged. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy, I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” [Isaiah 57:15.] “For God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape.” [1 Corinthians 10:13.]11LtMs, Lt 122, 1896, par. 15

    Let all, and the youth especially, become earnest students of the Word. They may become familiar with the promises of God’s Word, and they will find them most encouraging, adapted to every part of their experience. Encourage all to feed on the Word, that they may obtain a knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ. Meditate upon the Word, and your mind will not be filled with chaff and unprofitable imaginations. Ambition, eager for recognition and distinction, will not be cherished. The elevated standard of purity and holiness, which the righteousness of Christ imparts, will be a source of help, and will kindle in the heart a yearning desire for higher attainments in the divine life.11LtMs, Lt 122, 1896, par. 16

    Converse with God through the study of His Word, and your whole nature will be ennobled. Every soul that is striving for the eternal inheritance must be taught by this Word. “As new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby.” [1 Peter 2:2.] We must not read the Word of God with a stupid indifference, but we must strive to understand, verse by verse, every passage we read. Put the mental powers to the tax; will to comprehend. Seek wisdom from God. Many passages of the Scripture are easily understood; others demand patient digging, as for hidden treasure, close study and painstaking effort. Put to the stretch every spiritual sinew and muscle in the search for the treasure. Seek for it as the miner seeks for the veins of precious ore, concealed beneath the surface of the earth. As you search for truth in this way, the Holy Spirit flashes the gracious heavenly truth into mind and heart. Rich, and apparently hidden passages are discovered only by those who are determined to dig into this mine of celestial gold and sink their shafts deep.11LtMs, Lt 122, 1896, par. 17

    You cannot receive the impressions of the Holy Spirit of God unless you search with a humble, meek, and lowly heart. Search in faith, asking wisdom of God. The Scriptures are given for your “instruction in righteousness,” therefore the Great Teacher means that you shall understand them, and that your mind shall see and grasp light in His light. [2 Timothy 3:16.] O, the light, the precious rays of light, gathered into one great whole, presents truths that have been obscured and hidden beneath a mass of rubbish. Truth will be rescued from the companionship of error, and stand in its native purity as light, precious light, making the heart to glow, and yielding abundant consolation. The golden grains are scattered all over the field of revelation. The Word, appreciated and obeyed, will be as glad springs of heavenly comfort, constantly springing up in our souls by faith in the Word of Inspiration. We may pray for the light of the Holy Spirit to shine upon the sacred page and enable the mind to comprehend it in its true meaning.11LtMs, Lt 122, 1896, par. 18

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