Chapter 6 Teacher  

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." John 14:26.


"A knowledge of the truth depends not so much upon strength of intellect as upon pureness of purpose, the simplicity of an earnest, dependent faith. To those who in humility of heart seek for divine guidance, angels of God draw near. The Holy Spirit is given to open to them the rich treasures of the truth." Christ'sObject LessonsObject Lessons, page 59.

God has always designed that His children be filled with the fullness of His own nature. Of the Son of God who was to become the Son of man as a pattern for mans achievement it was written: "And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord." Isaiah 11:2.

As to the manner in which the child born into a peasant family in Judah was to receive access to those heavenly treasures, we are told by the messenger of the Lord: "With deep earnestness the mother of Jesus watched the unfolding of His powers, and beheld the impress of perfection upon His character. With delight she sought to encourage that bright, receptive mind. Through the Holy Spirit she received wisdom to cooperate with the heavenly agencies in the development of this child, who could claim only God as His Father." The Desire of Ages, page 69.

Would that more mothers would yield themselves so completely to Gods guidance that their sons and daughters might be assured of such heavenly training in their impressionable years. To them also, even as to Mary, is the promise given: "Even the babe in its mothers arms may dwell as under the shadow of the Almighty through the faith of the praying mother. John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from his birth. If we will live in communion with God, we too may expect the divine Spirit to mold our little ones, even from their earliest moments." Ibid., p. 512.

The Third Person of the Trinity had begun His teaching mission long before the Christian Era dawned. He found in Gods holy Son His most perfect and receptive student, but Scripture tells of many others who had been taught thus. The first of such recorded instances goes far back in Old Testament history. "And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath showed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art." Genesis 41:38, 39.

Thus we find that God had to send this lad away from home into slavery in Egypt to save him from the ruinous influence of an overindulgent parent. While there, Joseph came under the tutelage of the divine Teacher. In his more mature years, his wisdom and discretion were so noteworthy that a heathen monarch in the most sophisticated court of his day recognized that he had been taught of God.

Bezaleel of the tribe of Judah was singled out for recognition among those whose handicraft wrought the perfection of Israel'sportable sanctuary. Of him God Himself gives the following recommendation: "And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship." Exodus 31: 3-5.portable sanctuary. Of him God Himself gives the following recommendation: "And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship." Exodus 31: 3-5.

This mans infilling from the heavenly storehouse consisted not in political or economic acumen, but in highly specialized crafts that enabled his hands to design and fashion the lovely things with which Israel honored their God in the first house dedicated to His name here on earth.

Yet another phase of the Spirits tutelage is evidenced in the preparation of Othniel, Caleb's nephew and son-in-law, to free Israel from the yoke of the king of Mesopotamia, under which they had come because of their idolatry. "And when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother. And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the Lord delivered Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushan-rishathaim." Judges 3:9, 10.

Military strategy was strange to peace-loving Israel, but when the necessity arose to throw off the shackles of a foreign master, Othniel, who trusted in God, could be trusted by God to follow the guidance of One who has never lost a battle. It is noteworthy that of this man no unworthy deeds are recorded in his later career. This cannot be said of many of the men who judged Israel during this period of their national history. Still a different endowment of the Spirit of God was given to the youth David, called in from keeping his fathers flocks to be anointed as Israel's future king by the prophet Samuel. "Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward." 1 Samuel 16:13.

The quality of David's statesmanship has never been questioned. The dynasty which he established knew its golden age in his reign and that of his son, Solomon. To him was granted the ineffable honor not only of being an earthly ancestor of the Messiah, but of establishing the royal line under which Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords will rule for eternity. "For unto us a Child is born, Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever." Isaiah 9:6, 7.

Since Eden was closed to the pair who had chosen to doubt their Creator, the Spirit of God has been the One to bring to fallen man the messages his God has so graciously made available to him, recorded by "His holy prophets, which have been since the world began." Luke 1:70. First they were brought by word of mouth and later in written form so that future generations might benefit therefrom. As "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:21), the heavenly messages of counsel, warning, and comfort have come. Such a gracious sharing of His omniscience with a people who could no longer stand confidently in His presence has always been a part of Gods plan for mans restoration. "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets." Amos 3:7.

Indeed, all that man knows of the things of the spirit has been revealed to him by his heavenly Teacher, the divine Spirit of God. "But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." 1 Corinthians 2:10, 11.

The work of the Holy Spirit as teacher is well illustrated in the experiences of the men whom Jesus chose to head up the Christian church. Drawn to Him by the loveliness of His character, fascinated by the daily evidence of His victorious life, they were unaware, it seems, of the true source of such power, or of its accessibility to them. In the light of His presence they were content to bask in its reflected warmth, satisfied with an occasional flash of insight into a greater experience possible to them.

"Even the disciples failed of understanding all that Jesus desired to reveal to them; but from time to time, as they surrendered themselves to the Holy Spirits power, their minds were illuminated. Often as He had presented the Old Testament Scriptures, and showed their application to Himself and His work of atonement, they had been awakened by His Spirit, and lifted into a heavenly atmosphere."

"It was not until after Christ's ascension to His Father, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the believers, that the disciples fully appreciated the Saviour's character and mission. After they had received the baptism of the Spirit, they began to realize that they had been in the very presence of the Lord of glory. As the sayings of Christ were brought to their remembrance, their minds were opened to comprehend the prophecies, and to understand the miracles which He had wrought. The wonders of His life passed before them, and they were as men awakened from a dream." The Desire of Ages, pages 494, 507.

"When on the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples, they understood the truths that Christ had spoken in parables. The teachings that had been mysteries to them were made clear. The understanding that came to them with the outpouring of the Spirit made them ashamed of their fanciful theories. Their suppositions and interpretations were foolishness when compared with the knowledge of heavenly things which they now received. They were led by the Spirit, and light shone into their once darkened understanding." Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 267.

"Under the training of Christ the disciples had been led to feel their need of the Spirit. Under the Spirits teaching they received the final qualification, and went forth to their lifework. No longer were they ignorant and uncultured. No longer were they a collection of independent units or discordant, conflicting elements. No longer were their hopes set on worldly greatness." The Acts of the Apostles, page 45.

If it was true that men who had daily lived with Jesus could not, without the ministration of the Holy Spirit, comprehend His teachings nor the plan of redemption which He demonstrated, how may we, who live so many centuries later, hope to understand without that same Teacher? The very differences manifested in that little group of believers before and after Pentecost should be both an encouragement and a warning to us who live in spiritual Laodicea.

"It is as true now as in apostolic days, that without the illumination of the divine Spirit, humanity cannot discern the glory of Christ. The truth and the work of God are unappreciated by a world-loving and compromising Christianity." The Desire of Ages, page 508.

"Only the mind and heart cleansed by the sanctification of the Spirit can discern heavenly things. Let your hearts be yielded to the power of the Holy Spirit, and they will be made susceptible to the teaching of the word. Then you will be able to discern the deep things of God." Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 301.

Just what is to be the extent of the work of this Third Person of the Godhead in the twentieth century? Has His work as teacher been completed in the centuries since the Reformation started the church back to apostolic purity of belief? Is the church possessed of all the light she needs to lighten the earth with the glory of that other angel of Revelation 18:1?

"Great truths that have lain unheeded and unseen since the Day of Pentecost, are to shine from Gods word in their native purity. To those who truly love God the Holy Spirit will reveal truths that have faded from the mind, and will also reveal truths that are entirely new. Those who eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God will bring from the books of Daniel and Revelation truth that is inspired by the Holy Spirit." Fundamentals of Christian Education, page 473.

"A holy influence is to go forth to the world from those who are sanctified through the truth. The earth is to be encircled with an atmosphere of grace. The Holy Spirit is to work on human hearts, taking the things of God and showing them to men." Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 40.

The pen of inspiration has given us such a graphic description of the magnificent results to human beings from this type of education that we can but stand aghast that there have been so few who have matriculated in this divine school.

"There is a science of Christianity to be mastered, a science as much deeper, broader, higher than any human science as the heavens are higher than the earth. The mind is to be disciplined, educated, trained; for we are to do service for God in ways that are not in harmony with inborn inclination.

"The precious graces of the Holy Spirit are not developed in a moment. Courage, fortitude, meekness, faith, unwavering trust in Gods power to save, are acquired by the experience of years." Ibid., vol. 8, p. 314.

"Those who are under the training of the Holy Spirit will be able to teach the word intelligently. And when it is made the study book, with earnest supplication for the Spirits guidance, and a full surrender of the heart to be sanctified through the truth, it will accomplish all that Christ has promised. The result of such Bible study will be well-balanced minds; for the physical, mental, and moral powers will be harmoniously developed. There will be no paralysis in spiritual knowledge. The understanding will be quickened; the sensibilities will be aroused; the conscience will become sensitive; the sympathies and sentiments will be purified; a better moral atmosphere will be created; and a new power to resist temptation will be imparted." Fundamentals of Christian Education, pages 433, 434.

All these benefits may be ours if we allow the Spirit of God to complete His sealing work in our individual hearts. Indeed, they must be ours if God is to make use of us in the closing work of the gospel. Touching our lives on every side are men and women unsatisfied in their quest for that complete expression of self to be found only when self is utterly lost in Christ. As long as we continue to be occupied in self-expression ourselves, we can never hope to impress them that what we have found is in any way superior to what they have. Only as the precious fruitage of the Spirit becomes daily more and more apparent in our lives can they perceive the true meaning of redemption as God intends it to be demonstrated in us.

We dare not wait for the pastor or some other Christian worker to give them this divine instruction. The wisest counseling along this line will prove meaningless to one who sees no evidence that Gods plan is practicable. From each of us God has a right to expect continual proof that the power He offers through His Spirit is effectual in changing lives and fulfilling mans greatest longing--to be like the One in whose image he was originally created.

The most powerful instruction will fail to open blind eyes unless the individual is willing to be instructed. Each individual must rid his own life of self in all its forms before he can receive the latter rain. When once this has been accomplished, then nothing on this earth can prevent the infilling of the divine Spirit. The initiative is mans.

"Place your mind and will where the Holy Spirit can reach them, for He will not work through another mans mind and conscience to reach yours." Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 214.

 Chapter 7 Voice of Conscience  

"And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." John 16:8.

Voice of Conscience

"Those who would be benefited by the tilling of the soil must go forth with the word of God in their hearts. They will then find the fallow ground of the heart broken by the softening, subduing influence of the Holy Spirit. Unless hard work is bestowed on the soil, it will not yield a harvest. So with the soil of the heart: the Spirit of God must work upon it to refine and discipline it before it can bring forth fruit to the glory of God." Christ's Object Lessons, page 88.

"And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left." Isaiah 30:21. So said the Old Testament prophet of Gods provision for His children's guidance.

The apostle Paul effectively describes his personal experience as he seeks for immortality.

"Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14.

The apostle represents himself as putting all his abilities to the utmost stretch as he strains to reach and grasp an understanding of himself and his potentialities, viewed through the eyes of God. To do this he realizes that he must put behind him the discouraging remembrance of his past mistakes and arrogant sinning, and concentrate on making full use of all the powers with which God has endowed him, henceforth magnified and increased by the indwelling Spirit of God. This is no superman complex which Paul visualizes. It is not even the "power of positive thinking." Instead, it fully comprehends his own nothingness apart from God, while recognizing the limitless possibilities when mans inadequacies are linked up with Gods graciously proffered completeness.

Even as he admits a candid viewpoint of his own slender resources, he leans heavily on God as his only means of fulfillment. He relies confidently on the assurance that "if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you." Verse 15. Thus does God reassure His struggling children that He will not leave them unaware of their shortcomings past the "point of no return." This is the first and most basic work of the Third Person of the Trinity as He sets about to finish in the lives of men what Jesus accomplished on the cross for the ultimate reconciliation between man and God.

In this ministry He is assisted by hosts of loyal angels who are "all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation." Hebrews 1:14. This shadowy ministration is carried on outside the range of human comprehension by beings of a higher order than man. According to the psalmist, man was originally created "a little lower than the angels" (Psalm 8:5), and he has since sunk lower and lower with the weight of the inheritance from ancestors habitually disobedient to physical law. Mans senses, far duller than they were created to be, can never comprehend these compassionate heavenly messengers, who nevertheless are concerned with his redemption from his worst enemyhimself.

Jesus assured His disciples, "It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you." John 16:7. Such sentiments must have been incomprehensible to them. They were no closely knit organization ready to take over the evangelization of the world after their Leader left them. They were but eleven ordinary men who had followed Him about for some three years. They had listened to Him teach wherever He found listeners, watched Him do miraculous deeds. They had been wonderfully impressed by what they had seen and heard, and they were affectionately attached to Him in spite of the disapproval of the Jewish and Roman authorities. Inspired by Him, they had been encouraged to launch out on small forays of their own; but they were still totally unprepared, even under His divine direction, to take over or even to comprehend a work that would make great headway. No, it was impossible for them to understand His use of the word "expedient."

Only from the vantage point of succeeding years could they evaluate what He intended them to understand: that the work of the gospel could be undertaken more comprehensively under the leadership of the Third Person of the Godhead than under Himself, with the limitations he had accepted when He joined the human family and was "in all things made like unto His brethren." Hebrews 2:17.

In this transaction we catch a fascinating glimpse of the gracious interaction of the members of the Trinity. Each is willing to co-operate. None calls attention to His own merits or accomplishments. The Father is pleased that in His Son "should all fullness dwell," "that in all things He might have the pre-eminence." Colossians 1:19, 18. Jesus said simply, from the depths of His self-imposed humiliation, "My Father is greater than I" (John 14:28); and of Him Paul stated, "And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all" (1 Corinthians 15:28). Yet we hear no regrets of His decision to step down to the level of this lost race whom He loves so unselfishly. For our sakes He is glad to remain forever our Elder Brother in order that we may be adopted into the family whence we should otherwise be barred by our natural unfitness for such association. Then, when the Comforter comes to accomplish the work of our sanctification, we know the least about His ministry because "He shall not speak of Himself," but, said Christ, "He shall testify of Me." John 16:13; 15:26.

Here and there in Scripture we catch glimpses of heavens organization to come to the aid of guilty man, helpless to lift himself up to the plane which he was created to occupy. The view of Gods throne afforded us in the fifth chapter of the Revelation shows us "Him that sat on the throne," surrounded by four living creatures, a slain Lamb, four and twenty elders, and angels numbering "ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands." These living creatures surrounding Christ, who is here depicted as the slain Lamb, seem closely related to the cherubim seen in vision by the prophet Ezekiel in chapter 10 of his book, and to the seraphim of the vision of Isaiah 61-3. They symbolize the intricate yet wonderfully efficient organization by which the angels watch over the affairs of men and do Gods bidding in our behalf.

Most interesting and provocative of further study are the "seven eyes" possessed by the "Lamb as it had been slain." John further explains that as he sees them, they are "the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." Revelation 5:6. In Revelation 4:5 he sees them as "seven lamps of fire burning before the throne." These seven are mentioned also in Revelation 3:1 and in Revelation 1:4. Whoever they are, they stand close to the throne of God. Centuries before, when Israel returned chastened from the Babylonian captivity, Gods angel brought a message of comfort to those who mourned over the diminished glory of the new temple being erected on Mount Moriah above the ruins of what had been Solomons magnificent edifice. "For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth." "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." Zechariah 4:10, 6.

God assures spiritual Israel today, which too often tends to be impressed with earthly might, that His successes are to be won on a different plane. Harking back to glories of the past and sighing for departed splendor unfit His people for going forward to the spiritual victories that He wants them to have.

Hanani, an obscure seer in the days when Asa occupied the throne of Judah, was entrusted with a similar message for the king and the nation over which he ruled. "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him." 2 Chronicles 16:9.

King Asa was "in a rage" because this message rebuked his reliance on Syria rather than on God, who hitherto had exerted His power in behalf of Judah. We ought to consider the facts to which Asas petty pride had blinded him. God has an "intelligence system" to keep close watch on all parts of His universe. We thus see Him as a benevolent and efficient Monarch who has wisely surrounded Himself with beings whom He can trust. Men engaged in business now and again find themselves in need of information which they cannot gather personally. They may retain skilled individuals, commonly called "private eyes," to do some investigating for them. So God has His host of "private eyes" to look into the affairs of men and report back to Him, and also to represent Him to this fallen race.

Who are these heavenly beings who are active in Gods vast "intelligence system"? We have already noted that they are "spirits." In Hebrews 1:7 we read that these are angels, and in verse 14 Paul asks, "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" Through their willing and efficient work God sought to accomplish the destiny of ancient Israel. This is the message with which the prophet Zechariah sought to encourage Zerubbabel and his discouraged people. Yet they preferred to lean on the arm of flesh, whether of Egypt, Assyria, Syria, or Babylon; and as a nation they were miserably defeated. And so will Gods people continue to be humiliated in the eyes of the watching world just as long as they depend on earthly might.

Still "the eyes of God" are seeking throughout this earth to find men and women, boys and girls, whose hearts are perfect toward Him." Upon these He waits to pour out all the resources of heaven. And what does it mean to have a perfect heart in the sight of God? Must one have perfected his life before he can have a perfect heart? The perfected life is achieved through the power of God. But the individual must set his will in the right direction. He can reach out after God with all the longing of his heart.

Of this there are examples in Scripture. One enlightening instance concerns Gods own estimate of Solomon in contrast to his father, David. "His heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father." 1 Kings 11:4.

Viewed by any standards, there were incidents in the life of David which were not exemplary. Davids sins were great, but so also were his virtues. How could this man possibly be considered by God to have a perfect heart? By the simple fact of Davids willingness to accept reproof and to humble himself before God and his people whenever a messenger of God rebuked him. Because David was willing to listen to Gods agents and be guided by them, he grew steadily in grace, profiting by his mistakes, and mellowed into a man of whom God could speak with pride. These are the people God is looking for-those who love Him whole-heartedly, and are willing to work with His divine agencies to overcome inherited weaknesses and build in their place a likeness of Himself. Then they will be like those whom John saw in his vision of the saints awaiting translation, "They that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:12. These have profited by the promise, "That ye might be filled with all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:19. It is said of them: "They are without fault before the throne of God." Revelation 14:5.

As we contemplate the action and interaction of the cherubim and seraphim, we begin to understand why Christ made the statement to His disciples recorded in John 16:7. Unhampered by the limitations which Christ had deliberately taken upon Himself, the Comforter could direct in all parts of this earth while Christ could work only in that portion of the earth where He happened to be at the moment.

What the apostle Paul reveals to us concerning things to come, he has learned, as he states in 1 Corinthians 2:9-16, through the revelation of the Spirit of God who "searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." It is the Spirit who understands the things of God as no man can know them, because He is GodGod the Spirit, the Third Person of the Godhead. These things "are freely given to us of God" through the ministry of His Holy Spirit and the angelic host.

The Army in World War II developed a gadget known popularly as the "walkie-talkie." By it a soldier, on a dangerous mission and necessarily separated from headquarters, could at all times keep in contact with his superior officers to give and receive information. Surely it does not stretch our imaginations too far to suppose that God has always known how to operate such communication and that He maintains constant contact between Himself and the angels who do His bidding here on earth.

This is the mighty agency for which the apostles were instructed to wait at Jerusalem before they set out on their world-wide mission. Wait for the promise of the Father," they were told. "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you." Acts 1:4, 8. Verses 13 and 14 describe briefly their ten-day preparation for this momentous experience destined to change the whole course of their ministry. Scripture records the secret of their readiness for an experience which the modern church still awaits. "And when the Day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place." Acts 2:1. Henceforth the One who was to guide them "into all truth" could take over the direction of the work. Those whose lives He would direct into heaven-appointed pathways were now prepared to follow His leadership.

Angels are helping in this work to restore the fallen and bring them back to the One who has given His life to redeem them, and the Holy Spirit is cooperating with the ministry of human agencies to arouse the moral powers by working on the heart, reproving of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment." Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 260.

With all heaven thus enlisted to the aid of man, with its best counsel constantly available, with the full resources of Gods character free at his call, why is it that man still falls short of Gods expectations? The answer must lie in the condition of mans conscience, that marvelous awareness of the voice of God with which man is divinely endowed. The seat of conscience, so closely allied to reason, discrimination, judgment, and will power, is in the forefront of the brain area. It is this that makes man superior to Gods lesser creatures. In this respect it is proof that man was truly created in the image of God. This truly godlike possession is the most sensitive of mans powers, the most delicately poised; therefore, it is first to be disturbed when man is subject to prolonged intemperance, tension, anxiety, fear, or fatigue.

This is the area under attack in the fiendishly clever treatment of war prisoners known as "brainwashing." Many men subjected to this subtle treatment lose their ability to discern between right and wrong. They perform acts and reveal information at which they are horrified when once more in full possession of all their faculties. Whether we like to admit it or not, modem man is prone to inflict upon himself a form of brainwashing that robs his mind of its ability to discern spiritual dangers. Those who are preparing to meet Christ in peace need especially to be on guard lest they deaden the very means God has provided to keep them close by His side. Temperance is one of the most important stages in the development of a godlike character, according to Pauls description in Galatians 5:22, 23. For this reason Gods people living in these last days have been given principles of healthful living, that all their powers, and most especially the higher powers of the brain, be kept active and alert.

"Under the influence of unhealthful food, the con-science becomes stupefied, the mind is darkened, and its susceptibility to impressions is impaired." Counsels on Diet and Foods, page 247.

Not without reason we have been warned to follow a course of temperance in everything. Only thus will the conscience continue to receive warning, comfort, and hope from heaven.

 Chapter 8 Comforter  

"And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in YOU." John 14:16, 17.


"The Holy Spirit is a comforter as well as a reprover." Testimonies to Ministers, page 176.

One of the most heartening aspects of the work of the Third Person of the Trinity is His role as Comforter. This term is translated from the Greek word parakletos, and is sometimes referred to as "Paraclete." Literally it means "one called alongside." This title was first borne by Jesus in His capacity as advocate. 1 John 2:1. Note that He promises in John 14:16 to send "another Comforter," since He is about to leave the immediate presence of His people. Now that He can no longer be personally with those who stand in need, He makes available to us the mighty power of the Third Person.

The church is too prone to see this divine Person as merely a reprover, one who fulfills the promise of John l&8 to keep the saints from becoming too comfortable or complacent. We tend to forget and so make it difficult for the watching world to understand that He is the One who brings joy and peace and hope to the people of God.

"In the great and measureless gift of the Holy Spirit are contained all of heavens resources. It is not because of any restriction on the part of God that the riches of His grace do not flow earthward to men. If all were willing to receive, all would become filled with His Spirit. There is nothing that Christ desires so much as agents who will represent to the world His Spirit and character. All heaven is waiting for channels through which can be poured the holy oil to be a joy and blessing to human hearts. The indwelling of the Spirit will be shown by the outflowing of heavenly love. The divine fullness will flow through the consecrated human agent, to be given forth to others." Christs Object Lessons, page 419.

One has only to study the book of Acts to see clearly the work of this member of the Trinity. When His work is understood as it should be, and the sanctification He guarantees received as it may be, then the saints will present to the world a picture of a people whom God makes happy, holy, and on fire with godly zeal and an overwhelming love for souls. Each of the twenty-eight chapters of Lukes treatise on the progress of the early church provides fresh views of the benefits to those willing to place their lives at the disposal of Christs Vicegerent. Through the mighty Spirit of God His church is more closely united with her Redeemer than when He walked among a few of them in Galilee and Judea. The church has every reason to be comforted and encouraged.

In chapter 1 of the book of Acts we see the angels bringing comfort and hope to the bereaved apostles after the ascension of their Lord, and the spirit of unity coming in among those who had heretofore been jealous and eager for personal advantage. Chapter 2 presents the glorious spectacle of Pentecost, with its endowment of spiritual gifts to meet every exigency, the gift of tongues being the most needed in the first century with its task of spreading the gospel message throughout the Roman Empire with its polyglot population. Chapter 3 records the possession of healing power used to glorify God and awaken interest in the God who bestowed the gift. Chapter 4 pictures the leaders of the infant church as being triumphant over the powers that be, not in their own strength and wisdom, but secure in the possession of the power of the Spirit.

Chapter 5 reassures the church that it need fear no incursion of sin as long as it remains under the control of the Third Person who is quick to detect unrighteousness. This chapter also brings heartening assurance that no prison bars can contain a child of God when God desires him free to present the truth. Chapter 6 teaches that spiritual gifts are for the laity as well as the clergy. Chapter 7 presents the masterly sermon preached by Stephen and assures us that heaven brought comfort and strength to this faithful layman, even though he was called upon to lay down his life as the first Christian martyr at the beginning of a promising career for Christ and the church.

Chapter 8 shows another layman, Philip, doing a mighty work for God in Samaria and proves that God does not depend on the limited vision of man nor on his unpredictable impulses to bring the truth to those in darkness. The Spirit of God knew just where the treasurer of Ethiopia would be at a given time, and He undertook to bring Philip to that very spot in the desert of Gaza, to teach a seeking mind. Chapter 9 brings Gods light and truth to the darkened understanding of the Pharisee Saul, held in the bondage of prejudice and tradition. Although the church could see in him nothing but a persecutor to be abhorred and shunned, the Spirit of God saw in him a potential evangelist to awaken the Gentile world. Chapter 10 brings further heartening evidence that the Comforter of Israel knows the circumstances and longings of individual hearts. The Roman Cornelius is brought into contact with the apostle Peter in a manner calculated to change both their lives henceforth. Chapter 11 affords us the view of the young church accepting its first lesson in the removal of traditional prejudices which was to prepare it for its world-wide mission. Only the power of God could have accomplished this change, and only the agency of the Holy Spirit could make this power available.

Chapter 12 presents the picture of Peter peacefully sleeping in prison on the night before his scheduled execution, secure in the protection of the Comforter a far more reassuring spectacle to the church than was his deliverance by an angel of the Lord, had they but recognized it. Not all the saints were to be thus delivered from the wrath of the "dragon." James had just been executed by orders from King Herod, and Peter had no reason to expect any other fate. His calmness in the face of what appeared to be certain death should show the church all down through the ages that no matter what man can do, Gods own may have power to sustain them in any emergency, available through the mighty Comforter. Chapters 13 through 20 start the church on her missionary career with ample evidence that, through the power of God, she would prevail against determined opposition from the forces of evil. Paul presents to the dominantly Jewish group at Jerusalem the problems faced by the converted Gentiles in joining a church whose members retained some of the old customs. A decision made in favor of this minority group shows a church maturing under the leavening effect of the Spirit of God.

Chapter 21 opens a new phase in the ministry of the apostle Paul. Paul has long desired to see Rome and to conquer that citadel of Satan, but has been prevented from doing so. Now the Spirit of God takes a decided hand in the affairs of the young church and of her most illustrious apostle. Although Paul has been put in chains, the Holy Spirit used this situation for the further spread of the gospel light. In chapter 22 the Comforter provides a Roman captain to rescue Paul from the unreasoning hatred of his fanatical countrymen. In chapter 23 He discloses a plot against Pauls life to a young kinsman, who arranges with Roman authority to foil it. In chapters 24 to 26 the Comforter permits three dignitaries in the Roman government, Felix, Festus, and Agrippa, to have opportunity to hear the message which could mean eternal life should they accept it.

Chapter 27 tells the story of the company en route to Rome imperiled by storm, receiving assurance of safety through the angel of the Lord who "stood by" Paul during the night. They are shipwrecked, but no life is lost. The close of the book of Acts, chapter 28, depicts the apostle as he is permitted to live "two whole years in his own hired house," free to receive "all that came in unto him," while the gospel is preached to the city of Rome, penetrating even to Caesars household. Surely in this one book of Scripture we have encouraging and definite proof of the effectiveness of the work of the Spirit of God as He guided the footsteps of the infant church. The recorded fact that in Pauls day the gospel had been "preached to every creature which is under heaven," so that the opposition in Thessalonica could accuse Paul and his company as "these that have turned the world upside down," attests to the power of the gospel when delivered through the might of the Third Person. Colossians 1:23; Acts 17:6. This accomplishment by a joyous and triumphant people, in spite of the wrath of a decadent church and a pagan society, attests to the function of the Holy Spirit as Comforter of Gods people.

What the church today needs to realize and accept is this wonderfully encouraging phase of His ministry. As Comforter He stands just as ready to support Christians in the twentieth century as He did in the first. "At all times and in all places, in all sorrows and in all afflictions, when the outlook seems dark and the future perplexing, and we feel helpless and alone, the Comforter will be sent in answer to the prayer of faith. Circumstances may separate us from every earthly friend; but no circumstance, no distance, can separate us from the heavenly Comforter. Wherever we are, wherever we may go, He is always at our right hand to support, sustain, uphold, and cheer."

"The disciples no longer had any distrust of the future. They knew that Jesus was in heaven, and that His sympathies were with them still. They knew that they had a friend at the throne of God, and they were eager to present their requests to the Father in the name of Jesus. Pentecost brought them fullness of joy in the presence of the Comforter, even as Christ had promised." The Desire of Ages, pages 669, 670, 833.

"With the consecrated worker for God, in whatever place he may be, the Holy Spirit abides. The words spoken to the disciples are spoken also to us. The Comforter is ours as well as theirs. The Spirit furnishes the strength that sustains striving, wrestling souls in every emergency, amidst the hatred of the world, and the realization of their own failures and mistakes. In sorrow and affliction, when the outlook seems dark and the future perplexing, and we feel helpless and alone,these are the times when, in answer to the prayer of faith, the Holy Spirit brings comfort to the heart." The Acts of the Apostles, page 51.

What the world is awaiting is a living evidence in the lives of Christs professed followers that the transformation of character promised in the word of God is a glorious reality, and not a standard to aim at with no hope of attaining.

"The church members need to know from experience what the Holy Spirit will do for them. It will bless the receiver, and make him a blessing. It is sad that every soul is not praying for the vital breath of the Spirit; for we are ready to die if it breathe not on us.

"Some have treated the Spirit as an unwelcome guest, refusing to receive the rich gift, refusing to acknowledge it, turning from it, and condemning it as fanaticism.

They are not willing to be deprived of the garments of their own self-righteousness. They are not willing to exchange their own righteousness, which is unrighteousness, for the righteousness of Christ, which is pure, unadulterated truth." Testimonies to Ministers, pages 64, 65.

"The Holy Spirit comes to the soul as a Comforter. By the transforming agency of His grace, the image of God is reproduced in the disciple; he becomes a new creature. Love takes the place of hatred, and the heart receives the divine similitude." The Desire of Ages, page 391.

"Joy in the Holy Spirit is health-giving, life-giving joy. In giving us His Spirit, God gives us Himself, making Himself a fountain of divine influences, to give health and life to the world."

"God can use every person just in proportion as He can put His Spirit into the soul temple. The work that He will accept is the work that reflects His image. His followers are to bear, as their credentials to the world, the ineffaceable characteristics of His immortal principles." Testimonies, vol. 7, pp. 273, 144.

"As the plant takes root in the soil, so we are to take root in Christ. As the plant receives the sunshine, the dew, and the rain, so are we to receive the Holy Spirit. So the divine Husbandman looks for a harvest. He is seeking to reproduce Himself in the hearts and lives of His followers, that through them He may be reproduced in other hearts and lives." Education, page 106.

"As those who have been cleansed and sanctified through a knowledge of Bible truth engage heartily in the work of soulsaving, they will become indeed a savor of life unto life. And as daily they drink of the inexhaustible fountain of grace and knowledge, they will find that their own hearts are filled to overflowing with the Spirit of their Master, and that through their unselfish ministry many are benefited physically, mentally, and spiritually. The weary are refreshed, the sick restored to health, and the sin-burdened relieved." Prophets and Kings, page 234.

 Chapter 9 Reservoir of Love  

"The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto US." Romans 5:5.

Reservoir of Love

"The indwelling of the Spirit will be shown by the outflowing of heavenly love. The divine fullness will flow through the consecrated human agent, to be given forth to others." Christs Object Lessons, page 419.

The baptism of love has too long been waiting for the church to receive its blessings. Love alone is the unmistakable trademark of Gods true church, the only characteristic which Satan cannot counterfeit, the sole impulse untainted with self. "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, R.S.V.

The gifts of the Spirit may be counterfeited by Satan. Tongues and prophecies may be simulated so cleverly that all but the wholly consecrated are deceived thereby. Fanaticism may prompt to deeds that will exalt self even while they seem to deny it. Only the pure Spirit of God can impress faulty humanity to open the heart to the inflowing love of God until it flows back to Him in ever-increasing intensity, and then out to encompass the unloved and the unloving.

Through the Third Person of the Trinity man has access to this one characteristic which sums up the nature of his Creator-love. Hence, the first evidence of the developing of Gods nature in His child is love, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love." Galatians 5:22. The world has been told that this mark identifies Christs followers. Small wonder then that the world has lost its way when it sees so little of this heavenly spirit as a beacon to point it to the truth. And how can the world expect the church to bestow love upon it when the church has so little to use among its own members? Yet Christ plainly taught: "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another." John 13:35.

This divine principle was understood and practiced in the early church. The love which Christians bore for one another was noted and commented upon by pagan observers in the early centuries. John, the beloved apostle, taught his charges: "For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that ye should love one another. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him." 1 John 3:11-19.

The evidence of such love in everyday living has been spelled out for us by the apostle Paul in one of the grandest yet simplest of Bible passages: "Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, R.S.V.

Perhaps our most encouraging evidence of the power of the Spirit in this respect lies in the fact that neither Paul nor John was an outstanding exponent of this heavenly characteristic in his early life. The unlovely qualities that made the Pharisee Saul the scourge of the early church speak for themselves in the early chapters of the book of Acts. John, and his brother, James, were early nicknamed "Boanerges" by Christ. These "sons of thunder" exhibited such an unloving spirit toward a certain Samaritan village which had denied Him shelter on a journey to Jerusalem that they sought permission from Christ to call down fire from heaven to consume the people. Luke 9:51-56; Mark 3:17. That these two firebrands could be so changed by the softening, subduing influences of the Spirit is encouraging to us who have so little natural aptitude for loving.

These evidences of divine love were most perfectly demonstrated for us in the life of Jesus. We are plainly told in Scripture that the Second Person of the Trinity "emptied Himself" (Philippians 2:7, R.S.V.) before leaving heaven to enter the human family. Though He entered the human race with no taint of sin, yet "in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren." Hebrews 2:17. In this sense He as a man called to His aid in overcoming sin no power not available to His human companions. In the process of our sanctification Christs overwhelming love for the unlovely humanity that surrounded Him must also be available to us through the ministration of the Spirit.

This is no arbitrary education which God seeks to force upon us. Rather, love is a fundamental principle of the universe which He has created, needful for its harmony and growth. Ours is the one planet out of step in the orderly procession of creation. On our world alone is self-interest dominant. Elsewhere love for God and ones fellow creature is the ruling spirit. Without it none can fit into the plans which our Creator has for our reinstatement in the heavenly family. Lacking this love, none could appreciate His plans for our eternal happiness throughout eternity.

"Love is power. Intellectual and moral strength are involved in this principle, and cannot be separated from it. The excellence and value of pure love consist in its efficiency to do good, and to do nothing else than good. Whatsoever is done out of pure love, be it ever so little or contemptible in the sight of men, is wholly fruitful; for God regards more with how much love one worketh than the amount he doeth" Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 135.

The effects of the reception of the love of God into an individual life will demonstrate beyond the shadow of doubt the relationship between that individual and God. No protestations need be made to convince those about him that he belongs to the family of heaven.

"To all who have accepted Christ as a personal Saviour, the Holy Spirit has come as a counselor, sanctifier, guide, and witness. The more closely believers have walked with God, the more clearly and powerfully have they testified of their Redeemers love and of His saving grace. The men and women who through the long centuries of persecution and trial enjoyed a large measure of the presence of the Spirit in their lives, have stood as signs and wonders in the world. Before angels and men they have revealed the transforming power of redeeming love."

"Holiness is not rapture: it is an entire surrender of the will to God; it is living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God; it is doing the will of our heavenly Father; it is trusting God in trial, in darkness as well as in the light; it is walking by faith and not by sight; it is relying on God with unquestioning confidence, and resting in His love." The Acts of the Apostles, pages 49, 51.

"Whenever one renounces sin, which is the transgression of the law, his life will be brought into conformity to the law, into perfect obedience. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. The light of the word carefully studied, the voice of conscience, the strivings of the Spirit, produce in the heart genuine love for Christ, who gave Himself a whole sacrifice to redeem the whole person, body, soul, and spirit. And love is manifested in obedience." Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 92.

The cumulative effect upon the individual heart and life of this daily reception of the love of God is a growing love for God, but it does not stop there. The love which has God as its Fountainhead must flow in two directions. When Jesus was asked by the lawyer to identify the greatest commandment in the law, He replied, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:37-40.

Here we have the assurance of Christ Himself that one who has received the love of God in his life, will just as naturally respond with a similar love for his fellow men. So it was with Christians in the apostolic church.

"Every Christian saw in his brother the divine similitude of love and benevolence. One interest prevailed. The only ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christs character and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom. So mightily can God work when men give themselves up to the control of His Spirit. Notice that it was after the disciples had come into perfect unity, when they were no longer striving for the highest place, that the Spirit was poured out." Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 20.

And so it was in the early days of this advent movement. We were indeed a peculiar people. We were few in numbers, without wealth, without worldly wisdom or worldly honors; and yet we believed God and were strong and successful, a terror to evildoers. Our love for one another was steadfast; it was not easily shaken. Then the power of God was manifested among us, the sick were healed, and there was much calm, sweet, holy joy." Ibid., vol. 5, p. 534.

When Gods people begin to lose their first love, when self begins to stop up the flow of the divine fountain, not at its source but at the point of its reception into the human heart, one of the first evidences of this loss is to be seen in human relations. The sweet, gentle influence of the Spirit of God on the heart is best manifested in the field of human relations, and its lack is soonest demonstrated there.

"The power of the Lord is magnified when the human heart is tender, sensitive to anothers woe, and pitiful for his suffering. Angels of God are ready to co-operate with human instrumentalities in ministering to souls. When the Holy Spirit works upon our hearts and minds, we shall not shun duty and responsibility, and pass by on the other side, leaving the wounded, helpless soul to its misery."

"Everyone who is a partaker of Christs pardoning love, everyone who has been enlightened by the Spirit of God and converted to the truth, will feel that for these precious blessings he owes a debt to every soul with whom he comes in contact." Ibid., vol. 6, pp. 303, 43.

How imperfectly Christians have represented this characteristic of the divine nature is evidenced in the reluctance of heathen nations to receive the gospel. The crimes committed against mankind under the cloak of so-called Christianity speak so loudly that often men and women cannot hear the words of gospel truth spoken by the messenger.

"The inhumanity of man toward man is our greatest sin." The Ministry of Healing, page 163.

"Said the angel: Lack of love and faith are the great sins of which Gods people are now guilty.

"I lift my voice of warning to all who name the name of Christ to depart from all iniquity. Purify your souls by obeying the truth. Cleanse yourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

"Simplicity of character and lowliness of heart will give happiness, while self-conceit will bring discontent, repining, and continual disappointment. It is learning to think less of ourselves and more of making others happy that will bring to us divine strength.

"Our Saviour's power was not in a strong array of sharp words that would pierce through the very soul; it was His gentleness and His plain, unassuming manners that made Him a conqueror of hearts." Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 475-477.