Chapter 10 Character Builder  

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." Galatians 5:22, 23.

Character Builder

"There can be no growth or fruitfulness in the life that is centered in self. If you have accepted Christ as a personal Saviour, you are to forget yourself, and try to help others. As you receive the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of unselfish love and labor for others-you will grow and bring forth fruit. The graces of the Spirit will ripen in your character. Your faith will increase, your convictions deepen, your love be made perfect. More and more you will reflect the likeness of Christ in all that is pure, noble, and lovely." Christ's Object Lessons, pages 67,68.

The goal of the one who follows his divine Guide can be nothing less than the perfection of character which Jesus displayed. Of course, this cannot be done without Gods help-such a character is a miracle. Were Gods plan for mans redemption less inclusive, it would fail of restoring our world to harmony with the rest of the universe. Many devout Christians fail to accept this obvious fact because they cannot see that God is now accomplishing this miracle in lives round about them. They may even be unaware at the moment of changes being wrought in their own lives. As a result they look for an explanation of the absence of such character transformations and find it in a denial of the possibility of the miracle rather than in mans resistance to the Holy Spirit. Yet the Scripture attests the validity of Gods plan to lift man back to the plane for which God created him.

"Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." "And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God." 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Revelation 14:5.

This perfection of character expected of the saints who will unashamedly greet their returning Lord represents the peak of Christian living. This is righteousness by faith which has been wholly imparted. This is total sanctification. John has pictured it in his thumbnail sketch of the saints: "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:12.

The faith or steadfastness here depicted is the result of the daily infilling of the Spirit of God, completing the transformation of fallen man into the image of his Saviour. This is what marks the 144,000, above described as being "without fault" in the sight of God.

"The sanctification of the soul by the working of the Holy Spirit is the implanting of Christs nature in humanity."

"The religion of Christ means more than the forgiveness of sin; it means taking away our sins, and filling the vacuum with the graces of the Holy Spirit. It means divine illumination, rejoicing in God. It means a heart emptied of self, and blessed with the abiding presence of Christ. When Christ reigns in the soul, there is purity, freedom from sin. The glory, the fullness, the completeness of the gospel plan is fulfilled in the life. The acceptance of the Saviour brings a glow of perfect peace, perfect love, perfect assurance. The beauty and fragrance of the character of Christ revealed in the life testifies that God has indeed sent His Son into the world to be its Saviour." Christ's Object Lessons, pages 384, 419, 420.

The attainment of such a character will cost us all that we possess, even though we are assured that salvation is free. This paradox is made understandable when we realize that nothing we can do will earn for us the right to eternal life, while only our determined clinging to human frailties can prevent our receiving it. The man plowing the field which contained the buried treasure thought his discovery worth giving up all else in order to obtain it. So did the merchant feel who found the goodly pearl. Neither of these thought of sacrifice when he gave up all to obtain these riches. Just so will the earnest Christian view the availability of the heavenly treasure, and will joyfully surrender everything else to obtain title to it. Only thus may we hope to enter into Christ's experience and hence into His joy.

"For the joy of seeing souls redeemed, Christ endured the cross. He became the living sacrifice for a fallen world. Into that act of self-sacrifice was put the heart of Christ, the love of God; and through this sacrifice was given to the world the mighty influence of the Holy Spirit. It is through sacrifice that Gods work must be carried forward. Of every child of God self-sacrifice is required. Christ said: If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. Luke 9:23. To all who believe, Christ gives a new character. This character, through His infinite sacrifice, is the reproduction of His own." Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 449.

It is the failure of man to surrender his life to this process of transformation that accounts for his weakness in things of the Spirit. Satan and not Jesus is the pattern for our stubborn insistence on managing the course of our own lives rather than leaving it quietly in Gods hands.

"Why are so many of us so weak and inefficient? It is because we look to self, studying our own temperaments and wondering how we can make a place for ourselves, our individuality, and our peculiarities, in the place of studying Christ and His character.

"We are not to seek to maintain a peculiar identity of our own, a personality, and individuality, which will separate us from our fellow laborers. We have a character to maintain, but it is the character of Christ. Having the character of Christ, we can carry on the work of God together. The Christ in us will meet the Christ in our brethren, and the Holy Spirit will give that union of heart and action which testifies to the world that we are children of God. May the Lord help us to die to self and be born again, that Christ may live in us, a living, active principle, a power that will keep us holy." Ibid., vol. 9, pp. 187, 188.

We have been given an abundance of instruction as to the transformation of character which God pleases to bestow on those who are willing to surrender to the working of the Spirit. None need remain in ignorance of what God has in mind, nor in doubt as to whether or not he has such a power at work in his life.

"While the wind is itself invisible, it produces effects that are seen and felt. So the work of the Spirit upon the soul will reveal itself in every act of him who has felt its saving power. When the Spirit of God takes possession of the heart, it transforms the life. Sinful thoughts are put away, evil deeds renounced; love, humility, and peace take the place of anger, envy, and strife. Joy takes the place of sadness, and the countenance reflects the light of heaven. No one sees the hand that lifts the burden, or beholds the light descend from the courts above. The blessing comes when by faith the soul surrenders itself to God. Then that power which no human eye can see creates a new being in the image of God." The Desire of Ages, page 173.

"The kingdom of God comes not with outward show. It comes through the gentleness of the inspiration of His word, through the inward working of His Spirit, the fellowship of the soul with Him who is its life. The greatest manifestation of its power is seen in human nature brought to the perfection of the character of Christ." Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 143.

"As the stars tell us that there is a great light in heaven with whose glory they are made bright, so Christians are to make it manifest that there is a God on the throne of the universe whose character is worthy of praise and imitation. The graces of His Spirit, the purity and holiness of His character, will be manifest in His witnesses." The Great Controversy, page 476.

"The Spirit of God produces a new life in the soul, bringing the thoughts and desires into obedience to the will of Christ; and the inward man is renewed in the image of God. Weak and erring men and women show to the world that the redeeming power of grace can cause the faulty character to develop into symmetry and abundant fruitfulness." Prophets and Kings, page 233.

"His Spirit will develop in man all that will ennoble the character and dignify the nature. It will build man up for the glory of God in body and soul and spirit." "All who long to bear the likeness of the character of God shall be satisfied. The Holy Spirit never leaves unassisted the soul who is looking unto Jesus. He takes of the things of Christ and shows them unto him. If the eye is kept fixed on Christ, the work of the Spirit ceases not until the soul is conformed to His image. The pure element of love will expand the soul, giving it a capacity for higher attainments, for increased knowledge of heavenly things, so that it will not rest short of the fullness."

"Zeal for Gods glory is the motive implanted by the Holy Spirit; and only the effectual working of the Spirit can implant this motive. Only the power of God can banish self-seeking and hypocrisy. This change is the sign of His working. When the faith we accept destroys selfishness and pretense, when it leads us to seek Gods glory and not our own, we may know that it is of the right order." The Desire of Ages, pages 341, 302, 409.

"He who is a true Christian combines great tenderness of feeling with great firmness of purpose, with unswerving fidelity to God; he will in no case become the betrayer of sacred trusts. He who is endowed with the Holy Spirit has great capacities of heart and intellect, with strength of will and purpose that is unconquerable." Testimonies to Ministers, page 176.

Not only will the sanctified Christian who lovingly follows his divine Guide receive a character that is like Christ's but he has been promised mental vigor that is beyond his inherited capabilities. Centuries ago an unnamed psalmist recorded this gracious promise of God: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His commandments." Psalm 11:10.

"In your intellectual faculties you are in possession of Gods heavenly endowment, and you should not allow your thoughts to be cheap and low. A character formed in accordance with the precepts of Gods word will reveal steadfast principles, pure, noble aspirations. When the Holy Spirit cooperates with the powers of the human mind, high, holy impulses are the sure result." Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 65.

Old Testament prophets used the graphic illustration of the two rainy seasons in Palestine to depict the work of the Spirit of God in the preparation for and the finishing of the work of salvation in human hearts. To the Occidental mind this illustration is not as pregnant with meaning as it doubtless was to Oriental thinking. "Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month." "Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to everyone grass in the field." Joel 2:23; Zechariah 10:1.

On this natural phenomenon with which literal Israel was so familiar, we find the following comment:

"In the East the former rain falls at the sowing time. It is necessary in order that the seed may germinate. Under the influence of the fertilizing showers, the tender shoot springs up. The latter rain, falling near the close of the season, ripens the grain, and prepares it for the sickle. The Lord employs these operations of nature to represent the work of the Holy Spirit. As the dew and the rain are given first to cause the seed to germinate, and then to ripen the harvest, so the Holy Spirit is given to carry forward, from one stage to another, the process of spiritual growth. The ripening of the grain represents the completion of the work of Gods grace in the soul. By the power of the Holy Spirit the moral image of God is to be perfected in the character. We are to be wholly transformed into the likeness of Christ." Testimonies to Ministers, page 506.

As in the field of nature, where the falling of the early rain in the time of planting presupposed the coming of the latter rain at harvest time, so did the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost indicate a later outpouring of spiritual power on a far grander scale to finish the work of the gospel. Similarly we must understand that all spiritual growth must be accomplished under the influence of the early rain. The showers of the latter rain are not to promote growth but to ripen what has already grown. God, who knew when the Palestinian crops needed the finishing touch of the latter rain, will be watching over spiritual growth in human hearts. It is unthinkable that the gospel message is to close with a lesser degree of intensity than the symbolic picture would indicate. It was the former rain, not the latter, which fell "moderately."

"It is true that in the time of the end, when Gods work in the earth is closing, the earnest efforts put forth by consecrated believers under the guidance of the Holy Spirit are to be accompanied by special tokens of divine favor. Under the figure of the early and the latter rain, that falls in Eastern lands at seedtime and harvest, the Hebrew prophets foretold the bestowal of spiritual grace in extraordinary measure upon Gods church.

"But unless the members of Gods church today have a living connection with the Source of all spiritual growth, they will not be ready for the time of reaping. Unless they keep their lamps trimmed and burning, they will fail of receiving added grace in times of special need.

"Those only who are constantly receiving fresh supplies of grace, will have power proportionate to their daily need and their ability to use that power." The Acts of the Apostles, pages 54, 55.

Here is both the pictured need of the church for the time of the end, and the promise that need is to be supplied by the Spirit of God. We have in this promise of the sure bestowal of the latter rain, assurance that the work of character transformation not only can, but must be brought to completion before our Lord can return for His people. This is an experience for which a wise God has planned and stands ready to provide for all who will submit to the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit. It cannot be realized by earnest desire nor by prayer-alone. It requires steady, constant exercise of the will to remain always at His command. Therefore, it must needs be that the latter-rain experience will be for the few and not the many, not because God has willed it so, but because the many have not made enough effort to know and trust.

"All who consecrate soul, body, and spirit to God will be constantly receiving a new endowment of physical and mental power. The inexhaustible supplies of heaven are at their command. Christ gives them the breath of His own spirit, the life of His own life. The Holy Spirit puts forth its highest energies to work in heart and mind. The grace of God enlarges and multiplies their faculties, and every perfection of the divine nature comes to their assistance in the work of saving souls. Through co-operation with Christ they are complete in Him, and in their human weakness they are enabled to do the deeds of Omnipotence." The Desire of Ages, page 827.

When this work has been completed in the individual life, then the intensity of the latter rain may be borne without damage. It is useless to beseech God for such outpouring before the needful preparation has been accomplished. This special unction from God will simply be the intensification of gifts already belonging to men and women who possess a spirit like Gods. His power stems naturally from the perfection of His nature. It follows naturally then that those who have made room for such loveliness in their lives will have room for "all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:19.

"Character is power. The silent witness of a true, unselfish, godly life carries an almost irresistible influence. When those who profess to serve God follow Christ's example, practicing the principles of the law in their daily life; when every act bears witness that they love God supremely and their neighbor as themselves, then will the church have power to move the world." Christ's Object Lessons, page 340.

 Chapter 11 Cure for Laodicean Blindness  

"And anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see." Revelation 3:18.

Cure for Laodicean Blindness

"We need spiritual eyesight, that we may see the designs of the enemy, and as faithful watchmen proclaim the danger. We need power from above, that we may understand, as far as the human mind can, the great themes of Christianity and their far-reaching principles. Amid the confusion of delusive doctrines, the Spirit of God will be a guide and a shield to those who have not resisted the evidences of truth, silencing every other voice but that which comes from Him who is the truth." Gospel Workers, page 289.

The spiritual lethargy which now enervates the church and limits her impact on minds and hearts, despite her promotional activity, is described in terms no one need fail to understand. Christ's message to the Laodicean church, sent through His servant John, makes plain the strange paradox of a church heralding her Lords imminent return and seeking to prepare others for that glorious event, while she herself still falls far short of His standards.

"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Revelation 3:15-17.

Very human is the church's reaction to her present state of prosperity and popular acclaim. Mission stations in most of the countries and island groups of the world, bolstered by hospitals, schools, and publishing houses in these entered fields; radio, television, Bible correspondence schools, and colporteur ministry already breaching the walls of heathen strongholds not yet opened to Christian missions-all these are surely reason for pride of achievement, from the human point of view. Rarely are mission reports about our church made by other denominations without an admiring glance at the financial results accruing from our application of the tithing principle. Frankly favorable articles lauding our achievements have appeared recently in some of the best publications.

The results of such a reaction on the spiritual condition of the church present crying evidence of the perils of remaining "human." This absorption with the "I" has cost the church incalculable spiritual gains. God has not been able to pour out His Spirit on an institution still leaning so obviously on the arm of the flesh. As long as the church depends on human devising to formulate her plans before calling upon God to bless those plans, just so long will the church present the miserable condition of Laodicea to the critical eye of the world. Man cannot help being enamored of the fruitage of his own mind and the works of his own hands. This has been the human heritage ever since Lucifer turned mans eyes away from God to man himself--his appetites, his vanities, and his ambitions. Mans only hope for salvation is in death to self, so forcibly depicted in the following poem:

The last inward enemy of the believer
to be destroyed is self.
It dies hard;
it will make any concession, if only allowed to live.

Self will permit the believer to do anything,
bear any crosses,
afflict soul or body to any degree-anything,
if only it can live.

It will allow victory over pride, poverty, and passion,
if only it is not destroyed.
It will permit any number of rivals,
so long as it has first place.

It will consent to live in a hovel, in a garret,
in the slums, in far-away heathendom
if only it can be spared.

It will endure any garb, any fare, any menial service
rather than die.
Dying to self is a poetic expression-it
sounds romantic, chivalrous, supernatural, saintlike.

It is beautiful to read about, easy to talk about,
entertaining to theorize about.
Yet it is hard to do.
But it must be done.

There is no abiding peace,
spiritual power,
or prosperity without it.

We must die to good deeds and to bad deeds,
to successes and to failures, to superiority
and to inferiority,
to exaltation and to humiliation
to every manifestation of self, and to self itself.

The Saviour said, "I, if I be lifted up from the earth,
will draw all men unto Me."

Self lifted up repels. Self crucified with Christ draws;
for only then is Christ lifted up in the yielded life.

Happy those who can say with Paul,
"I am crucified with Christ
the life which I now live
I live by the faith of the Son of God."


This is the first work of the Holy Spirit--to lift mans thoughts heavenward and to break that fatal absorption with self. Not until the apostle Paul could truthfully say, "I am crucified with Christ," could he go on to exclaim, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Galatians 2:20; Philippians 4:13. Heretofore his experience had been expressed in that passage which so graphically presents all the frustration and despair of a soul who knows Gods high standard and longs to attain to it, yet who has met only defeat in his efforts to reach it. "I cannot understand my own actions; I do not act as I desire to act; on the contrary, I do what I detest. Now, when I act against my wishes, this means I agree that the law is right. That being so, it is not I who do the deed but sin that dwells within me. For in me (that is, in my flesh) no good dwells, I know; the wish is there, but not the power of doing what is right. I cannot be good as I desire to be, and I do wrong against my wishes. Miserable wretch that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?" Romans 7:15-24, Moffatt.

To the apostle and to all struggling souls who have followed along the straight and narrow pathway to triumph in Christ, the True Witness bears His testimony in faithful diagnosis of spiritual danger. Yet while He first wounds, He also binds up and heals those who will heed His counsel: "I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see." Revelation 3:18.

It was this divine eyesalve which enabled the apostle to evaluate his condition and turn to the only source of wisdom and power through which a man may be rescued from the thralldom of heredity and environment.

"What greater deception can come upon human minds than a confidence that they are right, when they are all wrong! The message of the True Witness finds the people of God in a sad deception, yet honest in that deception. They know not that their condition is deplorable in the sight of God. While those addressed are flattering themselves that they are in an exalted spiritual condition, the message of the True Witness breaks their security by the startling denunciation of their true condition of spiritual blindness, poverty, and wretchedness. The testimony, so cutting and severe, cannot be a mistake, for it is the True Witness who speaks, and His testimony must be correct.

"As a people, we are triumphing in the clearness and strength of the truth. We are fully sustained in our positions by an overwhelming amount of plain Scriptural testimony. But we are very much wanting in Bible humility, patience, faith, love, self-denial, watchfulness, and the spirit of sacrifice." Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 252, 253.

This points out the preparation needful for receiving the latter rain. Until the church has made herself ready, in that she surrenders fully to the cleansing, healing influences of the early rain, she can never obtain the blessings for which she prays. In neglecting the preparation, she stands squarely in the way of Gods being able to answer her prayers. Thus unready, she holds back from the waiting world the powerful display of Gods grace which He designs to demonstrate through her. The world has every right to expect such a demonstration from the church, and God is dishonored that it is long in coming. No amount of scholastic prowess or human eloquence can deliver the testimony which the world awaits. Only a sanctified people can speak for Him.."Without the cooperation of the Spirit of God, no amount of education, no advantages, however great, can make one a channel of light. We cannot use the Holy Spirit; the Spirit is to use us.

"The impartation of the Spirit is the impartation of the life of Christ. Those only who are thus taught of God, those only who possess the inward working of the Spirit, and in whose life the Christ-life is manifested, can stand as true representatives of the Saviour." Gospel Workers, pages 284, 285.

This unction, or anointing, is recommended to the church as a rightful inheritance from God by the apostle John: "But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. " "But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him." 1 John 2:20, 27.

Of this same anointing the messenger of the Lord speaks: "The eyesalve is that wisdom and grace which enables us to discern between the evil and the good, and to detect sin under any guise. God has given His church eyes which He requires them to anoint with wisdom, that they may see clearly; but many would put out the eyes of the church if they could; for they would not have their deeds come to the light, lest they should be reproved. The divine eyesalve will impart clearness to the understanding. Christ is the depositary of all graces. He says: Buy of Me. " Testimonies, vol. 4, pp. 88, 89.

"Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the mind that is devoted unreservedly to God, develops harmoniously, and is strengthened to comprehend and fulfill the requirements of God. The Christian becomes like his Master in character. His discernment is more penetrative, his judgment better balanced."

"When one is fully emptied of self, when every false god is cast out of the soul, the vacuum is filled by the inflowing of the Spirit of Christ. Such a one has the faith that purifies the soul from defilement. He is conformed to the Spirit, and he minds the things of the Spirit. He has no confidence in self. Christ is all and in all." Gospel Workers, pages 285-287.

"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.

"It is not always the most learned presentation of Gods truth that convicts and converts the soul. Not by eloquence or logic are men's hearts reached, but by the sweet influences of the Holy Spirit, which operate quietly yet surely in transforming and developing character. It is the still, small voice of the Spirit of God that has power to change the heart." Prophets and Kings, page 169.

"Those who drink deeply of His Spirit will not be ambitious for themselves. They will realize that they cannot go beyond the domain of God, for God reigns everywhere." Testimonies, vol. 8, pp. 140, 141.

The testimony of the True Witness has its first effect on the individual heart, and this work must be accomplished before the Spirit can use ones life. The church already has too many members still bearing the impress of the faulty Christian experience of the ones who led them into her ranks. Such individuals have been cheated out of a good start in the Christian faith; they are like prematurely born infants, who must fight to stay alive in a world where they are ill-prepared to survive. Unfortunately, the church is not as well equipped to aid them in that struggle as the modem hospital is to help premature babies. There are few spiritual incubators to provide the gently sustaining atmosphere needed until these new citizens of the kingdom gain their balance and learn to cope with the unfriendly influences surrounding them.

And so the situation remains a sort of vicious circle which perpetuates itself on a low level of Christian experience and militates against elevation to the high level where the church might hold communion with God, growing strong to go forth and do exploits to prove her right to speak for God.

"Those who yield to the influence of the Holy Spirit begin war with themselves, those who cling to sin war against the truth and its representatives." The Desire of Ages, page 306.

"Having brought conviction of sin, and presented before the mind the standard of righteousness, the Holy Spirit withdraws the affections from the things of this earth and fills the soul with a desire for holiness. If men are willing to be molded, there will be brought about a sanctification of the whole being. The Spirit will take the things of God and stamp them on the soul. By His power the way of life will be made so plain that none need err therein." The Acts of the Apostles, pages 52, 53.

The heavenly eyesalve held out as the only cure for Laodicean blindness must needs reveal the true condition of Gods church; but the Comforter does not leave Gods awakened people to despair as they view their wretched, miserable state. All the graces of Gods love and wisdom and power are made available under the symbolism of the "gold tried in the fire" and the "white raiment" proffered along with the eyesalve. Seventh-day Adventists have long recognized that these represent the "faith which worketh by love" (Galatians 5:6), that righteousness which is of faith and not of works, Christ's righteousness. So by the utter surrender of the emptied heart to the infilling of Gods Holy Spirit, mans imperfections are exchanged for the perfection of Christ. Then, and then only, can man enjoy the close communion held out to him by the One who represents Himself as standing outside, knocking.

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me." Revelation 3:20.

No more pathetic scene is pictured throughout Scripture-the worlds Creator and Redeemer, who brought life into being by His own word at the beginning, who gave up the glory that was His to become one with the human race that He might buy back what should have been loyally, gratefully, eternally His, still standing outside, pleading with us to accept the benefits of His pardoning love. What has captivated us that we so carelessly turn down His offer? Are we so contented with the mediocre remuneration with which the world pays off its hacks?

Such communion as heaven offers must ever unfit the heart for communion with this world. The pure, lofty, wholly satisfying relationship with the One in whose image we were brought into being must forever ruin the taste for anything impure, ignoble, or tawdry. Man, who was created to commune with his God, can never be wholly satisfied apart from the spiritual heights which he was intended to reach. Adam and Eve were not blank pages when they came from the hands of God at creation. On the healthy, impressionable tissues of the brain must have been traced a pattern of intelligent obedience to the noble plans God had for His creatures. Such a pattern made co-operation with God a natural process, one that did not require the anxious heart searching and the grim resolution such a course often requires today. This did not make of our first parents mere puppets who had no choice but to obey. Their response to stimuli simply followed a natural pattern, just as we perform acts almost automatically once we have established a habit. Their performance of good deeds did not require a struggle of the will power.

When Eve took her first step away from God, along the pathway that Satan suggested, a subtly different pattern began to oppose itself to the life course which had seemed so simple and so satisfying. Issues became confused. The presence of right and wrong presented the necessity of choosing between them. The longer man lives in this world, the less sure he is of what is right and what is wrong. But there still are, in the depths of his heart, occasional stirrings of the desire to know the communion which it was once possible to have with God. The Spirit of God, given the freedom He seeks, will erase the paths which rebellion has traced in the brain, restoring that ancient pattern in the mind.

"The true Christians joys and consolation must and will be in heaven. The longing souls of those who have tasted of the powers of the world to come and have feasted on heavenly joys, will not be satisfied with things of earth. Such will find enough to do in their leisure moments. Their souls will be drawn out after God. Where the treasure is, there will the heart be, holding sweet communion with the God they love and worship. And while they dwell upon those things which are lofty, pure, and holy, heaven will be brought near, and they will feel the power of the Holy Spirit, and this will tend to wean them more and more from the world. The power of attraction to God and heaven will then be so great that nothing can draw their minds from the great object of securing the souls salvation and honoring and glorifying God." Early Writings, pages 112, 113.

 Chapter 12 Keeper of the Seal  

Chapter 12

"And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." Ephesians 4:30.

Keeper of the Seal

"Mark this point with care: Those who receive the pure mark of truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost, represented by a mark by the man in linen, are those that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the church. Their love for purity and the honor and glory of God is such, and they have so clear a view of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, that they are represented as being in agony, even sighing and crying. Read the ninth chapter of Ezekiel." Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 267.

Only when sanctification has changed the individual entirely can God place His final seal of approval on him. No one has any Scriptural justification for the popular belief that since "God is love," He will overlook certain character deficiencies when He makes up the number of His elect. The very fact that He is a God of love ensures the care with which He will choose the citizens for His beautiful new earth. Eternal life is to be bestowed upon them, and God will not admit any who would perpetuate sin in any of its forms. Rebellion against Him and against His way of governing His universe brought about disharmony in Paradise, in His very presence. No seeds of rebellion must be brought over into the new earth. Nothing will ever enter Gods Paradise which will spoil its beauty or mar the happiness and peace of its inhabitants.

The prospect of mans restoration to fellowship with the rest of the universe makes this imperative. Had it been possible for heaven to admit us with our faults and weaknesses, then Christ need never have joined the human family and offered His precious life to provide a propitiation for these sins. The perfection of His life among us, with no more assistance than God is willing to provide for each of us, turns the searchlight of hope on Gods way out for fallen humanity. The Holy Spirit stands ready to aid any and ail to overcome sin and prepare for eternal life.

This does not imply that the mighty power of the Third Person of the Trinity was not unleashed for mankind until after the start of the Christian Era. Beginning with the account of creation, "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Genesis 1:2. The Three have always worked in perfect harmony for the benefit of the dwellers on our planet.

Since the Fall, the gift of prophecy seems to have been the special province of the Holy Spirit. "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." "As He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began." 2 Peter 1:21; Luke 1:70.

Since this gift has been operative from the beginning, we can but conclude that the Third Person in the Trinity has had an active role in the reclamation of our race since rebellion first got a foothold on our planet. Following Christ's ascension to heaven, the Holy Spirit became more real in the minds of believers, making effective in their lives the salvation Christ had purchased for them.

Heretofore the world has had but scanty proof that Gods plan for our redemption is operative. It is true that millions have accepted salvation and have started out along the pathway to the kingdom. They have joyously received Christ as their Redeemer, renouncing the world, as pilgrims bound for another, better country. Yet many of these have halted along the way. They have wearied of the journey and lost sight of their destination, if indeed they have ever had it clearly in view. They persuade themselves that, after all, God wants all His children to be happy. Did not the apostle Paul write, "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost"? Romans 14:17. They reason that God is not interested in such trivial details as eating and drinking; one needs but to believe to be a candidate for heaven, they say.

Believing in God the Father and in Christ must necessarily indicate belief also in the Holy Spirit. Such belief must include an understanding of His role in effecting the character transformation that God has designed for human lives. All down through the ages men and women have struggled along with considerably less to aid them than they might have had. God has watched over them in loving sympathy, understanding their falling short of His standards because of their ignorance, but not able to provide them with all the marvelous resources available, because they did not comprehend. What means He will take to supply the lack of character preparation in those who qualify for life eternal because they lived up to all the light they had, only God knows. We only know that there need not have been such a lack, if man had only understood what God has always been willing to provide.

That this situation continued to exist even after Christ's perfect demonstration is evidence both of Satan's power to deceive, and of the degenerative effects of sin on the minds of mankind. Mans heritage from ancestors who have habitually disregarded the physical laws of God has bequeathed to him a brain that seldom thinks as clearly as it might. Added to this inherited handicap, his own continued transgressions in this field have further weakened his ability to think Gods thoughts. We may be sure that the Father takes into consideration the odds against which man pits his feeble resources in these decadent times. We may also be sure that God has made provision to aid man in overcoming such odds. We have His assurance that "where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." Romans 5:20. We know also that Satan is doing his utmost to keep man from comprehending this heartening truth.

Today Satan has stepped up his campaign against Christians because he is more aware than we are of the shortness of time. Tensions, anxieties, fears, and intemperance have taken their toll ever since Satan first launched his bid for control of the human race. Today we are reaping a fearful harvest, just as he has planned, of wrong thinking and fuzzy-mindedness. In the midst of this sad harvest of the seeds of rebellion, the Spirit of God continues to sanctify those who are willing to trust their lives in His hands. This is part of Gods purpose, and He never needs to change His plans. He it is "who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." 2 Corinthians 1:22.

Here is a commentary on this text: "Paul here uses the figure of earnest money to illustrate the gift of the Holy Spirit to believers, as a first installment, an assurance of their full inheritance in the hereafter. It is the Christians privilege to receive the settled conviction of acceptance with God as His adopted child at conversion and to retain it throughout life, to accept the gift of eternal life, and to experience the transformation of character made possible by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But the joy that comes when the will is attuned to Gods will, when the heart aspires to the stature of perfection in Christ Jesus, and when there is an uninterrupted daily walk with the Saviour--this joy is the earnest of a greater and eternal joy in the earth made new." The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, on 2 Corinthians 1:22.

How many Christians have gone through life with doubts as to their title to eternal life! How needless their tormenting doubts and fears, had they only understood that God would redeem them, not only from the eternal loss toward which Satan and all who follow him are heading, but also from their weaknesses and besetments! Countless Christians have lived mediocre lives when they might have glorified God through continual victories had they but left the direction of their lives to their divinely appointed Guide.

The steps by which the change from doubt to victory may be accomplished are outlined in these words of Paul to the church at Ephesus: "In whom [Christ] ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory." Ephesians 1:13, 14.

By believing that Jesus Christ furnishes the link which connects God in heaven with man on earth, man is led to put his trust and confidence in Christ. Man is sealed as Gods property by the Holy Spirit as He works with man to develop in him a character like Christ's. This is indeed the very process of sanctification. In the eyes of God it demonstrates our fitness for His gift of eternal life. In the experience of man it provides comforting assurance of his heirship to the kingdom of heaven.

That the sealing process represents both these angles is apparent from this statement by the apostle Paul: "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." 2 Timothy 2: 19.

Those who call themselves by the name of Christ have no right to cling to any form of known sin, or iniquity. By continuing in deliberate sinning they advertise to the world that the "foundation of God" is not very secure after all. And thus they show to God that they do not really belong to Him.

"We who believe the truth should be very careful to give no occasion for our good to be evil spoken of. We should know that every step we take is in accordance with the Bible; for those who hate the commandments of God will triumph over our missteps and faults.

" I saw that many do not realize what they must be in order to live in the sight of the Lord without a high priest in the sanctuary through the time of trouble. Those who receive the seal of the living God and are protected in the time of trouble must reflect the image of Jesus fully.

"I saw that none could share the refreshing unless they obtain the victory over every besetment, over pride, selfishness, love of the world, and over every wrong word and action. Let all remember that God is holy and that none but holy beings can ever dwell in His presence." Early Writings, pages 70, 71.

"Courage, fortitude, faith, and implicit trust in Gods power to save do not come in a moment. These heavenly graces are acquired by the experience of years. By a life of holy endeavor and firm adherence to the right, the children of God were sealing their destiny.

"Not all who profess to keep the Sabbath will be sealed. There are many even among those who teach the truth to others who will not receive the seal of God in their foreheads. They had the light of truth, they knew their Masters will, they understood every point of our faith, but they had not corresponding works. These who were so familiar with prophecy and the treasures of divine wisdom should have acted their faith. They should have commanded their households after them, that by a well-ordered family they might present to the world the influence of the truth upon the human heart.

"Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost."

"The seal of God will never be placed upon the forehead of an impure man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of the ambitious, world-loving man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of men or women of false tongues or deceitful hearts. All who receive the seal must be without spot before God--candidates for heaven." Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 213, 214, 216.

This is a high standard, impossibly high when looked at from a purely human viewpoint. Christians have no right to view it so. Christ purchased for us the privilege of becoming "filled with all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:19. Then, like Paul, we should say confidently, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13. If we fall short of Gods standard, we have only ourselves to blame.

The failures of those about us need not hinder our progress in sanctification. Should every other creature on earth fail God, it still is our obligation to vindicate His love and His power by standing firm to the very end, secure in the strength which He provides, reflecting the lovely characteristics of His own nature by our transformed lives.

Soon the great controversy will be finished. As the record of our lives stands on the pages of heavens books in that day, so we shall stand or fall, acquitted or condemned, before the tribunal of the universe. What a solemn obligation and what a high privilege is ours who live on earth in its closing days!

"When the third angels message closes, mercy no longer pleads for the guilty inhabitants of the earth. The people of God have accomplished their work. They have received the latter rain, the refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and they are prepared for the trying hour before them. Angels are hastening to and fro in heaven. An angel returning from the earth announces that his work is done; the final test has been brought upon the world, and all who have proved themselves loyal to the divine precepts have received the seal of the living God." The Great Controversy, page 613.

Now, while the Comforter, whose responsibility it is to place Gods seal upon His people, is still at work shaping and hewing lives to fit the divine pattern, we are privileged to let go the idols which divide our attention. We yet have time to surrender our whole selves, body, soul, and spirit, into His control, that our sharp comers and rough edges may be smoothed down by the circumstances He has appointed to accomplish this work in us.

 Chapter 13 Gift Withdrawn

"And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man." Genesis 6:3.

Gift Withdrawn

"The Spirit of God is departing from many among His people. Many have entered into dark, secret paths, and some will never return. They will continue to stumble to their ruin. They have tempted God, they have rejected light. All the evidence that will ever be given them they have received, and have not heeded. They have chosen darkness rather than light, and have defiled their souls." Testimonies to Ministers, pages 90, 91.

The true significance of these statements must be grasped by each aspirant for eternal life. Gods Spirit will one day leave in the possession of Satan all who have refused to allow Him to take control. The flow from the two olive trees will cease to supply the bowl of the sanctuary lamps. Too late the foolish virgins will rush out to replenish their flickering lights. The divine power which has sustained them heretofore will no longer be available after the withdrawal of the Holy Spirit. The voice that once pointed out the way is no longer to be heard. There is no comforting assurance now of the divine nearness to human problems and needs. No gentle influence prompts the selfish heart to perform loving service for ones fellow man. It is too late to remedy character defects. Eyes afflicted with Laodicean blindness must remain sightless, both to their own unloveliness and to Christ's perfections. Gods seal has been placed on those who have surrendered themselves to Him in love. For all others it is too late.

"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it." Amos 8:11, 12.

Gods Spirit cannot continue indefinitely to perform His services to mankind and to issue His warnings. God is too kind to leave the door of mercy forever open, and so allow millions of His suffering children to continue in the misery of their present lot. There must come a point when a righteous Judge will close the books and declare an end to probationary time. It will surely come just as soon as God is assured that the last man, woman, and child have chosen either for or against Him. God is far less anxious to prolong this maelstrom in our world than is the holiest, most compassionate of His saints. We may be sure, too, that no additional ones would choose to be saved if God should leave the door of mercy open one moment longer.

Centuries ago the psalmist penned the comforting assurances found in Psalm 87:4-6: "I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know Me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there. And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the Highest Himself shall establish her. The Lord shall count, when He writeth up the people, that this man was bon there." Our divine Judge takes into consideration the environment and the heredity of each individual whose case comes before Him in the final judgment. The five localities mentioned in verse 4 are all in heathen territory. Those who have lived under the conditions there are not to be judged by the same standard as are those living in Zion, spoken of in verse 5. Zion, according to Isaiah 51:16, is a collective term referring to the people of God. Hence those born in Zion have advantages of Christian culture and training. At least they have been within reach of the teachings of the Scriptures and hence must always carry greater responsibility in the eyes of God. During the ages of eternity God can always provide further enlightenment to anyone who was willing to follow all the light available to him on this earth. But there is nothing heaven can do for a man or woman who has willfully disregarded light graciously given.

Speaking of Gods judgment concerning the pagan people who lacked the advantages enjoyed by his fellow countrymen, Paul wrote, "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another." Romans 2:14, 15.

God is not helpless to enlighten the heathen peoples because privileged men and women are slothful or selfish and so hinder the spread of the gospel message to the world. The mighty Comforter can speak to the hearts of these other children of God even as He speaks to ours. He is not limited to our voices to bring them salvation. True, their advancement in the knowledge of the kingdom, and their degree of usefulness in giving the message to others, might be greatly enhanced were we to do our share in enlightening them; but God will not doom willing hearts to eternal loss because we have withheld the written word from them. He has other means at His disposal for them, but we shall face irreparable loss if we fail to lay up eternal treasure by giving them Gods saving truths.

Day by day each individual on earth makes decisions for or against eternal life. Moment by moment the voice of the Spirit directs our feet into the ways of peace. No traveler in unfamiliar territory can afford to disregard the advice of an experienced guide. He faces inevitable confusion and the ultimate loss of his way should he do so. Yet how often do men and women flout the voice of Him whom Christ has made available to "guide you into all truth." John 16:13. How sure and dependable is the counsel of the One who guided the footsteps of Jesus past all the pitfalls which Satan prepared to snare His feet as He walked the strange roadways of this world as Son of man. What temptation can Satan lay for any of us which he has not already tried out on the One who "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin"? Hebrews 4:15.

Christ has spoken plainly of the danger in disregarding the counsel of the Holy Spirit. These are awesome words from which proceed the doctrine of the unpardonable sin : "But the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come." Matthew 12:31, 32.

Blasphemy, according to Scriptural definition, is understood in the light of Christ's condemnation by the Pharisees when He claimed equality with His heavenly Father. This equality they stubbornly refused to recognize; therefore they accused Him of blasphemy. "For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God." John 10:33.

Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, then, would be mans insistence that his own way is as right as the way pointed out to him by the Spirit of God, divinely appointed as mans Guide. Such a course, persisted in, can lead only to duller perception of the Spirits leadings until eventually man is too far away to hear the warning voice. Thus, with all connection to heaven cut off, sinners are hopelessly lost. There can be no sense of sinfulness apart from contact with the Spirit of God. When His presence has been lost sight of, sinners are no longer conscious of wrongdoing. Hence they can never confess and forsake and receive forgiveness for their sins, of which they are no longer aware. Throughout the earth today the influence of Gods Spirit is being withdrawn wherever men and women are making irrevocable decisions against obedience to God. Yet they themselves are not aware that the decision has been irrevocable. They have merely continued on in familiar pathways, unaware that they have passed the "point of no return."

"God works by the manifestation of His Spirit to reprove and convict the sinner; and if the Spirits work is finally rejected, there is no more that God can do for the soul. The last resource of divine mercy has been employed."

"God speaks to men through His servants, giving cautions and warnings, and rebuking sin. He gives to each an opportunity to correct his errors before they become fixed in the character; but if one refuses to be corrected, divine power does not interpose to counteract the tendency of his own action. He finds it more easy to repeat the same course. He is hardening the heart against the influence of the Holy Spirit. A further rejection of light places him where a far stronger influence will be ineffectual to make an abiding impression."

"It is a perilous step to slight the reproofs and warnings of Gods word or of His Spirit. Many, like Saul, yield to temptation until they become blind to the true character of sin. They flatter themselves that they have had some good object in view, and have done no wrong in departing from the Lords requirements. Thus they do despite to the Spirit of grace, until its voice is no longer heard, and they are left to the delusions which they have chosen." Patriarchs and Prophets, pages 405, 268, 635.

These warnings from the past have been penned so that we will not choose the wrong pathways that the antediluvians took. Gods warning Spirit was finally withdrawn at the time of the Flood, and it surely will be withdrawn in our day when men and women have gone too far along the road of impiety. "Men cannot with impunity reject the warning which God in mercy sends them. A message was sent from heaven to the world in Noah's day and their salvation depended upon the manner in which they treated that message. Because they rejected the warning, the Spirit of God was withdrawn from the sinful race, and they perished in the waters of the Flood. Looking down to the last days, the same Infinite Power declares, concerning those who received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12. As they reject the teachings of His word, God withdraws His Spirit and leaves them to the deceptions which they love." The Great Controversy, page 431.

Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me." John 10:27. It will be too late to begin following another leader in that day. "Now is the time" (2 Corinthians 6:2) to begin to listen to the Spirits voice. The more familiar we become with His directives now, the more surely will our feet follow naturally in whatever path He indicates. Then, the withdrawal of Gods Spirit from earth will but signal to the heavenly watchers the completed sanctification of the people of God. His work has been finished in their lives; they no longer need His warnings, His teaching, nor His assurance of Gods continual presence with them. Nor will His departure mean the loss of their contact with heaven, for angels of God are to guard and protect them until Christ appears to take them home at last.

"Could men see with heavenly vision, they would behold companies of angels that excel in strength stationed about those who have kept the word of Christ's patience. None can pass the mighty guardians stationed about every faithful soul." The Great Controversy, pages 630, 631.

Meanwhile there still remains much to be done to fit Gods people to stand in that great day. He still holds open the door of probation to allow a little more time for the needed refining process. Yet all the signs announce in clarion tones that the door cannot remain ajar much longer.

"We are living in the time of the end. The fast-fulfilling signs of the times declare that the coming of Christ is near at hand. The days in which we live are solemn and important. The Spirit of God is gradually but surely being withdrawn from the earth. Plagues and judgments are already falling upon the despisers of the grace of God. The calamities by land and sea, the unsettled state of society, the alarms of war, are portentous. They forecast approaching events of the greatest magnitude.

"The agencies of evil are combining their forces and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones." Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 11.

These familiar words were penned more than fifty years ago. There are many today who are asking why these words have waited so long for their fulfillment. But we should remember that God could have brought the proclamation of the last warning message to a glorious conclusion years ago, had He but received mans wholehearted cooperation. We have been reluctant to fulfill our assignment, reluctant to let the Spirit finish His work in our own lives, to make of us usable channels for His grace. This, and not Gods reluctance, has caused the delay. But now the signs in nature and in human relations, in national and international affairs, in science and in religion, have been accumulating with an intensity that leaves us no room for doubt that God will delay no longer.

"Just as soon as the people of God are sealed in their foreheads--it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved--just as soon as Gods people are sealed and prepared for the shaking, it will come. Indeed, it has already begun." E. G. White Letter, 173.


"When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him." Isaiah 59:19.


"It is not necessary that anyone should yield to the temptations of Satan and thus violate his conscience and grieve the Holy Spirit. Every provision has been made in the word of God whereby all may have divine help in their endeavors to overcome." Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 574.

The standard has already been lifted, provision has already been made; none need go down in defeat. The golden oil, in bountiful supply, is daily poured out, fresh from the throne of God, into the bowls of the sanctuary lamps. There is nothing to hinder the lamps of the virgins from burning steadily through the murky atmosphere of this dying civilization.

Since the time when man could no longer hold open communion with God, Heaven has provided a bountiful supply of instructions, counsels, warnings, and comfort, flowing freely earthward. First the writings of the Old and then the New Testament have brought light to illuminate the dark pathways of man. Light has streamed earthward in ever-brighter beams. Now in our days we would be able to walk in a blaze of glory were we willing to turn our eyes toward the light. There is no need for any lamps to be extinguished for lack of the divinely supplied oil. We have the Bible, Gods depository of truth, to supply all our needs. With the ancient prophet we are privileged to say, "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, 0 Lord God of hosts." Jeremiah 15:16.

This very phraseology used by Jeremiah suggests how fully we are to take unto ourselves all that God makes available. Tasting may bring momentary delight, but it can never furnish nourishment. Thorough mastication and digestion of food are needed for physical growth, and so it is with spiritual food. God has never made available to man one revelation which is superfluous. Man needs all of Gods revealed truth for harmonious growth in grace. That which man has had no opportunity to receive, Christ will impute with His righteousness. The virgins, the saints, who will live to greet their returning Lord, must take full advantage of all the available oil if they would be admitted to the marriage feast.

Bible knowledge alone will not help the virgins to keep their lamps alight in these closing hours of history. Lacking the illuminating power of the Spirit of God, the word can become a snare instead of a safeguard. Whence comes His saving power but from the very perfection of Gods nature? And whence comes any loveliness in His creatures except it be a reflection of Him? He alone is all beauty and harmony and wisdom. In Him man finds his only hope of fulfillment. If Satan is not allowed to intercept that divine attraction, nothing in the universe can prevent mans ultimate restoration to the image of God.

It is the continual influence of the Holy Spirit on the reader of the simple words of Scriptural truth, which makes them truly significant. Taken alone they have never prepared a Christian for citizenship in the kingdom. Taken out of context, or viewed through human eyes only, they too often have developed intellectually proud Pharisees, bent on flogging into submission all who dare disagree with their theology. Righteousness must be Christs righteousness, not mans. It is of far more concern to God that His children have His love in their hearts than that they carry His truth in their heads. Heavens gates open wide to the hand that wields the key of love; and love, given opportunity, will not fail of comprehending doctrine, illuminated by "the golden oil of goodness, patience, long-suffering, gentleness, love." Testimonies to Ministers, page 511.

These are the qualities supplied by the indwelling Spirit to all who will furnish Him room. This is Gods very nature; man is but asked to reflect the nature of His heavenly Father, bequeathed to him through the agency of the Third Person of the Godhead. "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit Itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together." Romans 8:15-17.

The unself-conscious possession of these lovely qualities carries with it the quiet assurance of belonging. Like is attracted to like, and the more man reflects his Fathers nature, the more closely he will be drawn into the circle of Gods embrace. More and more he will feel the kinship which can only be sensed in this closest of ties; and the things of earth will diminish in attractiveness in proportion to his approach to God. What used to attract and tempt him will seem unworthy of attention to one whose eyes are becoming accustomed to the dawning light of eternal glory.

The negative side of this principle is equally true. As man progresses toward the ideal God has set for him, he becomes less and less attractive to those who are rejecting God and choosing Satan. Christians must get used to the thought that they cannot hope to remain in favor, even with nominal Christianity. The church must awaken to the realization that her very popularity today stems from her Laodicean condition. Once she recognizes this truth and is willing to receive the heavenly eyesalve, she will discover soon enough that her status will be that of the apostolic church in the days of pagan Rome, a small minority, first ridiculed, then feared and hated, by a vast majority whose complacency she threatens.

Will the church consciously seek such a status to replace her present high estate? The true Israel of God will. Five of the virgins in Christ's parable were ready to go in with the Bridegroom. Even though they had been temporarily caught off guard by His delay in coming, the supply of oil in their vessels was sufficient to see them through. So here and there today Christians are arousing and rubbing sleepy eyes. In response to the rapid development of warning signs, they are looking to the Spirit of God to complete in their hearts the preparation needed before the latter rain can do its work through them. They realize how useless it is to beseech God for such an experience before the early rain has thoroughly prepared the soil of the heart.

They are aware, too, that Satan stands ready to furnish a wholly counterfeit experience for those who remain in ignorance of the work of the Holy Spiritan experience such as will bewitch and enchant some, and terrify and disgust others. Depending on their spiritual atmosphere, the display of Satan's power can either turn man away from belief in all supernatural power, or else bind him irresistibly to a glamorous false god. Spiritism today possesses an incandescence calculated to dazzle the unwary, while the church still has nothing to offer by way of counterattraction. The world is only beginning to catch the glow of this counterfeit light, but those whose eyes have become accustomed to it have little taste for the tame, lifeless performance of a church with nothing new to offer. A warmed-over version of the gospel message which the church has been presenting for a century can have no charms for those who have witnessed the fascinating demonstration of Satan in his role of "prince of the power of the air." Spiritism which has taken unto itself the trappings of evangelism, masquerading as a great religious awakening, is a more formidable adversary than the church has anticipated; and she is ill-prepared to meet it.

It is high time for the church to awaken and trim the many little lamps by whose glow those who are coming late may find the way home. When she has made this necessary preparation, then those who yet await evidence of Gods truth will both hear it and see it in the virgins who bear Gods eternal light. Then at last the world will witness a concerted demonstration of Isaiahs portrayal of Spirit-filled lives in action, as once it saw a lone example in Galilee: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified." Isaiah 61:1-3.

With such a demonstration of holy power the church can meet the challenge of Satan's deadliest competition. Without it she will be the laughingstock of modem civilization. All the universe is awaiting the awakening of the wise virgins to vindicate the confidence of the Bridegroom in His beloved "Fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners." Song of Solomon 6:10.