Beatitudes - ST, May 9, 1892

                    T  H  E      b  e  a  t  i  t  u  d  e  s                                      

                      Writings  of  Ellen G. White  ( published in 1892 )                             page not on Original website

                              Signs of the Times,  May  9, 1892

                                               The  B e a t i t u d e s   

                          [Sermon at N. Fitzroy,  Victoria, Australia,  December 13, 1892.]

    I want to speak to you today from the words of the Saviour found in Matthew the fifth chapter. “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain; and when he was set, his disciples came unto him.” As far as possible we should try to bring before us the scene of our Saviour’s labors, that we may fasten our attention upon the occasion of the lessons which our Lord addressed to the people. The words of our lesson are from the lips of no other than the Majesty of heaven. They are not the words of man, that may be criticised, but are the words of Him who was equal with the Father, one with God. In these words we recognize the voice of the highest authority that ever spake to man. { ST May 9, 1892, par. 1 }


  “And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are”—those who are filled with joyful emotion? who are highly elated? who feel that they are rich in spiritual attainment?—No; “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Do you ask what it means to be poor in spirit? The next verse is of a like character, and says, “Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.” To be poor in spirit means that we feel our deficiency and need because we have sinned and come short of the glory of God. It is this that causes us to mourn. But because the Saviour says, “Blessed are they that mourn,” are we to come to the conclusion that he would have us always lamenting our poverty of spirit, our lack of spiritual grace? Is it necessary to make it manifest that you are mourning, in order to be counted among those whom the Saviour pronounces “blessed”?—No; for by beholding we become changed, and if we talk of our poverty and weakness, we shall only become more poverty-stricken, more feeble in spiritual things. If we talk darkness, we shall have darkness. To be poor in spirit is to be never satisfied with present attainments in the Christian life, but to be ever reaching up for more and more of the grace of Christ. The poor in spirit is one who looks upon the perfection of Jesus’ character, and sees his own unlikeness to him who is glorious in holiness. The poor in spirit is one who is ever responding to the drawing of Christ, and who is obtaining nearer and nearer views of the perfect righteousness of Christ, and in contrast sees his own unworthiness and unlikeness to his Lord. { ST May 9, 1892, par. 2 }


   He is poor in spirit, but he is not making a parade of his poverty; he shows that he is of this class by manifesting humility and meekness, by not depreciating others that he may exalt himself. He has no time for doing this; he sees many defects in his own character which demand his attention, and he knows that he cannot afford to be found criticising others. As he beholds the infinite love and mercy of God towards sinners, his heart is melted. He feels his poverty of spirit, but instead of calling attention to his weakness he seeks continually for the richness of the grace of Christ, for the robe of his righteousness. The language of the heart of him who is poor in spirit is, “Less of self and more of Thee.” He desires Jesus. He knows that there is nothing in him whereby he can procure the freedom which Christ has purchased for him at the infinite price of his precious blood. He sees that the good works which he has done are all mingled with self, and he can take no glory to himself because of his attainments in the Christian life. He realizes that there is merit in naught else but the blood of Christ. But it is because of this very realization that he is blessed; for if he did not feel his need, he would not obtain the heavenly treasure. { ST May 9, 1892, par. 3 }


  When Christ was upon earth, the Pharisees made bitter complaint against him because he was the friend of publicans and sinners. They said to his disciples: “Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” The Pharisees felt that they were whole; they felt that they were rich and increased with goods and had need of nothing, and knew not that they were poor and miserable and blind and naked and wretched. They were satisfied with their moral condition, but Jesus said, “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” It is the needy that Jesus is seeking. Brethren and sisters, do you feel that you are needy? Are you saying, as did the Greeks that came to Jerusalem, “We would see Jesus”? The Greeks came to seek Jesus at the time when the Pharisees were upon his track, trying by every possible way to find something whereby they could accuse and condemn him. How grateful to the Master was the sincere desire and confidence of the Greeks at this time of trial and sorrow. The Greeks wanted to see him because they had heard of his mighty works, they had heard of his wisdom and truth, and they believed on him; for they knew that he was the desire of their hearts. { ST May 9, 1892, par. 4 }


   The great danger with the people who profess to believe the truth for this time is that they shall feel as if they were entitled to the blessing of God because they have made this or that sacrifice, done this or that good work, for the Lord. Do you imagine that because you have decided to keep the Sabbath of the Lord, God is under obligation to you, and that you have merited his blessing? Does the sacrifice you have made look of sufficient merit to you to entitle you to the rich gifts of God? If you have an appreciation of the work that Christ has wrought out for you, you will see that there is no merit in yourself or in your work. You will see your lost condition and become poor in spirit. There is but one thing for the poor in spirit to do, and that is to look continually to Jesus, to believe in him whom the Father hath sent. { ST May 9, 1892, par. 5 }


  When the people came to Jesus, they asked him at one time: “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” Now the question is, Are we doing this? Do we feel our need? God has committed to us sacred trusts. The hereditary trusts of patriarchs and prophets have come down along the lines to us, and with them precious light has shone upon us. We have received divine enlightenment, and yet we have not made the advancement in the pathway of holiness that we should have made. Our obligation and responsibility have been faithfully pointed out, but we have not taken hold upon the strength of God, that we might fulfill our obligations to him. Throughout all the churches there is one subject of vital importance that has been neglected. We have failed to make the Holy Spirit the theme of our thought and instruction. Light has come to us concerning the offices of the Spirit of God, and with burdened heart some have presented to the church the great provision that God has made for the people in the gift of his Holy Spirit. { ST May 9, 1892, par. 6 }


  Jesus said to 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. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” The Comforter is to come as a reprover, as one who is to lay open before us our defects of character, and at the same time to reveal to us the merit of Him who was one with the Father. Jesus says, “He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” In Christ dwelt all the fullness of the God-head bodily, and we are to be complete in him. With all our defects of character, we are to come to him in whom all fullness dwells. { ST May 9, 1892, par. 7 }


   But many of you say, “I have prayed, I have tried, I have struggled, and I do not see that I advance one step.” What is the trouble? Have you not thought you were earning something, that you were by your struggles and works paying the price of your redemption? This you never can do. Christ has paid the price of your redemption. There is only one thing that you can do, and that is to take the gift of God. If you feel that you are poverty-stricken in spirit, you can come in all your need, and plead the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour. But you cannot come expecting that Christ will cover your wickedness, cover your indulgence in sin, with his robe of righteousness. He has come to save his people from their sins. The people of God are to be as branches grafted into the living Vine, to be partakers of the nature of the Vine. If you are a living branch of the True Vine, Jesus will prove you by affliction, that you may bring forth fruit more abundantly. { ST May 9, 1892, par. 8 }


  The reason why we have not more of the Spirit and power of God with us is that we feel too well satisfied with ourselves. There is a marked tendency among those who are converted to the truth, to make a certain measure of advancement, and then settle down into a state of solidity, where no further progress is attained. They stand right where they are, and cease to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. But the religion of Christ is of a character that demands constant advancement. The Lord does not design that we shall ever feel that we have reached to the full measure of the stature of Christ. Through all eternity we are to grow in knowledge of him who is the head of all things in the church. If we would draw upon his grace, we must feel our poverty. Our souls must be filled with an intense longing after God, until we realize that we shall perish unless Christ shall put upon us his Spirit and grace, and do the work for us. { ST May 9, 1892, par. 9 }
              ( To be Continued. ) 


                        Signs of the Times,  May  16, 1892       ( part 2 )


    But as we come to feel our utter reliance upon Christ for salvation, are we to fold our hands and say, I have nothing to do, Jesus has done it all?—No; we are to put forth every energy, that we may become “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” We are to be overcomers, to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. We are to be continually watching, waiting, praying, and working. But do all that we may, yet we can do nothing to pay a ransom for our souls. But while we see our helplessness, we are to be continually looking unto Jesus, who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. We can do nothing to originate faith, for faith is the gift of God. Neither can we perfect it, for Christ is the Finisher of our faith. It is all of Christ. { ST May 16, 1892, par. 1 }


   All the longing after a better life is from Christ, and is an evidence that he is drawing you to himself and that you are responding to his drawing power. You are to be as clay in the hands of the potter, and if you submit yourself to Christ, he will fashion you into a vessel unto honor, fit for the Master’s use. The only thing that stands in the way of the soul who is not fashioned after the divine Pattern is that he does not become poor in spirit; for he who is poor in spirit will look to a higher Source than himself, that he may obtain the grace which will make him rich unto God. While he will feel that he cannot originate anything, he will say, “The Lord is my helper.” { ST May 16, 1892, par. 2 }


   The Lord has commanded us, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” But what does this mean? It means that you feel your necessity, that you are poor in spirit, that you rejoice with trembling. It means that you know that in the very words you utter you may make a mistake, that in the very best of your work self may be so mingled that your efforts may be valueless, that you realize that your efficiency is in Christ. Oh, let the cry of the soul continually be { ST May 16, 1892, par. 3 }


   “Hangs my helpless soul on Thee.”   Look to Jesus when you come in and when you go out, and pray without ceasing. You should realize that temptation is on every side. Around you are those whose conversation is only chaff and nonsense. In the world pride and vanity are displayed, and you will be tempted to feel poverty concerning these things that the world admires, which can never satisfy the soul’s hunger. Oh, then pray, “Lord, make me a jewel for thy kingdom.”! { ST May 16, 1892, par. 4 }


   This is the meaning of working out your salvation with fear and trembling. If you do not work out your salvation in this spirit, your righteousness is of as much worth as was the Pharisee’s who went into the temple to pray, who exalted and extolled himself, and thanked the Lord that he was not as other men were. He was rich in spirit, or thought that he was; for he knew not that he was poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked. But at the same time a poor publican entered the temple, and he would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, and cried, “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner.” The Pharisee saw this man, and thanked God that he was not as this publican, and he went down to his house feeling satisfied with himself-feeling rich in spirit and lifted up in spiritual pride. But he who had so exalted himself in his own eyes was not exalted in the sight of God, for Jesus says that the publican went down to his house justified rather than the other. { ST May 16, 1892, par. 5 }


   “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The humility that Jesus speaks of in the text is not a humility on stilts, as was the Pharisee’s, parading itself before the eyes of men, that his righteousness might be seen and praised of men. Humility is before honor. The apostle exhorts the followers of Christ: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Fear lest you shall make a mistake, and bring dishonor upon the name of the Lord. Cry unto him, believing that he has power to save. This is the humility that we want. We need a physician and restorer for our souls, and when we come unto Christ petitioning for his grace, the Comforter will breathe his words into our souls, “My peace give I unto you.” “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” We are to come as little children to God; and as we realize our poverty, we are not to tell it to men, but to God. Do not tell your weakness to those who can give you no strength. Tell it to God; for he will know just what to do for you. Jesus said: “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 broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; ... 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.” { ST May 16, 1892, par. 6 }


  How thankful we should be that we have a heavenly Intercessor. We may be clothed in Christ’s righteousness, that the Father may bestow his favor upon us. Jesus presents us to the Father robed in his righteousness. He pleads before God in our behalf. He says” “I have taken the sinner’s place. Look not upon this wayward child, but look on me. Look not upon his filthy garments, but look on my righteousness.” When we are forgiven for our sins, when our filthy garments are taken away, then we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling; but we are not left to do the work alone, “for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” God works and man works, and as this co-operation is maintained, the richest blessings will come upon those who labor together with God. The Lord says, “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” { ST May 16, 1892, par. 7 }
      ( To be Continued. ) 


                      Signs of the Times,  May  30, 1892          ( part 3 )                                             


   “Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.” But although the Lord says the mourner shall be comforted, it is not that he shall exalt himself as did the Pharisee. He who has mourned for his sin knows that there is nothing in him whereby he has merited the returns that God has bestowed. He beholds in Jesus “the Chiefest among ten thousand” and “the One altogether lovely,” and he centers his affections upon Christ. If Jesus were the center of attraction to you, the One on whom your affections were placed, would you hide this love in your heart, and never let it out?—No; you would tell of his love, you would catch his spirit, and imitate his example. { ST May 30, 1892, par. 1 }


  “Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.” But the earth promised to the meek will be a better one than this. It will be purified from all sin and defilement, and will bear the image of the divine. Satan has placed his throne in the earth; but Jesus says where the usurper has set up his throne, there will I place my throne, and there shall be no more curse. The glory of the Lord is to cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. Jesus is working for us. He desires to give his children a home where there will be no more sin, no more sorrow, no more death; but all will be joy and gladness. He says: “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing; the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon; they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.” { ST May 30, 1892, par. 2 }


   The Lord desires to take every son and daughter of Adam, and purify them from their iniquity, and lift them up from their state of misery and degradation and wretchedness, and write upon them his divine superscription. But it is man’s sin and unbelief that oppose the work that God would do for humanity. Jesus died for the whole world, but in stubborn unbelief men refuse to be fashioned after the divine pattern. They will not yield themselves to Christ to be molded after the heavenly model. Oh, shall we not submit, and give up our own way, that the Lord may have a chance to do the work for us? { ST May 30, 1892, par. 3 }


    How tenacious are men of their own way. They try to excuse their sinful habits by saying, “Oh, this is my way.” But will your way be acceptable to God? Will you present your way at the gate of the city into which nothing that defileth shall enter, and expect to have an entrance there? The Lord will say: “I know your way, and it is a wicked way. You would not permit me to rule over you on earth, and you are not prepared for an entrance here. You refused to be led by my spirit, you rejected my counsel, and set at naught my grace, and heaven would not be heaven to you, for nothing that defileth can enter here. We emptied sin from heaven when we cast out the great deceiver, and we cannot have sin here again.” Then let us yield our wills to God, that he may mold and fashion us after the Divine Pattern. { ST May 30, 1892, par. 4 }


  How blessed will be the lot of those who enter into that glorious abode where there will be no more sin, no more suffering. What a prospect is this for imagination. What a theme for contemplation. The Bible is full of the richest treasures of truth, of glowing descriptions of that heavenly land. We should search the Scriptures, that we may better understand the plan of salvation, and learn of the righteousness of Christ, until we shall exclaim in viewing the matchless charms of our Redeemer, “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” In the word of God we shall see the infinite compassion of Jesus. The imagination may reach out in contemplation of the wonders of redeeming love, and yet in its highest exercises we shall not be able to grasp the height and depth and length and breadth of the love of God, for it passeth knowledge. In Christ was the fullness of the Godhead bodily. In him every treasure of heaven was given, and he has it in trust for us. Oh, then why do we not trust him? why do we doubt his tender mercy and love? Do you think that he who died for you, cares not whether you are saved or not? Do you imagine that he cares not for the bereaved, the mourning ones, that he looks not with pity on the poor in spirit, who are under the bondage of Satan? The tender, compassionate Jesus, who died for the sins of the world, will not turn away from the cry of the needy. He asks: “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” { ST May 30, 1892, par. 5 }


    Jesus invites the needy to come to him and find completeness in him who is the fullness of the Godhead bodily. The Saviour of men designs to cleanse his children until no particle of selfishness shall remain. While we feel our poverty, we are to eat of the flesh and drink of the blood of the Son of God. We are to co-operate with Christ in working out our own salvation with fear and trembling. The heavenly intelligences are waiting to co-operate with the most helpless, the most sinful soul who feels his need. Those who are great sinners may find great grace. { ST May 30, 1892, par. 6 }


   Jesus said to Simon, “I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors; the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? And Simon answered and said, I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. . . . To whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.” { ST May 30, 1892, par. 7 }


   In view of our weakness, how does it become us to indulge in criticism of others? Do not fault-finding and picking flaws in the character of those with whom you associate make it evident that you are stricken with spiritual poverty? You are feeding on the faults of others, instead of growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We are to be laborers together with him in bringing souls to the knowledge of the truth. But we must not expect that souls are to be converted simply by hearing a sermon. We are to bring them one by one to Christ, and all that have ever tasted of the good word of God and of the powers of the world to come are to be missionaries for God. When you become engaged in the work of Christ, seeking to bring in those who are lost, you will not have time to look for the defects in the character of your brethren. You must now build yourselves up in the most holy faith, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting. You are not to stand to one side as a spectator, looking on to see what this one or that one is doing; your business is to see that you are making straight paths for your feet, that the lame be not turned out of the way. When a follower of Christ turned to one of his brethren and asked, “Lord, what shall this man do?” Jesus answered, “What is that to thee? follow thou me.” The follower of Christ is not to look to any man. He is to look to a crucified and risen Saviour. { ST May 30, 1892, par. 8 }
       ( Concluded next week. )


                  Signs of the Times,   June  6, 1892          ( part 4 )                                             


   “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.” All through this sermon on the mount is a line of advancement for Christian experience. The angels of darkness are to stand back, that the soul purchased by the infinite sacrifice of Christ may attain unto perfection of character. The word is sounded: “Stand back, this soul is not yours, it has been purchased by the precious blood of Christ. Stand back, I and my Father are one, and we have come to draw this soul to righteousness.” If the soul is not drawn to Christ, it is because the will is not on the side of God’s will, but on the side of the enemy. If man will but cooperate with God, God will work in him to will and to do of his good pleasure, and man will work out his own salvation with fear and trembling. The reason you do not realize the help of the Lord to a far greater degree is that you are so self-centered, your will is not on the side of God’s will. The Lord would have you make it manifest in your manners, in your dress, in your spirit, that you are blessed. He would have you show that the line of demarkation between the world and the followers of Christ is a distinct line, so decided that the difference between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not is always discernible. If the people of the world do not see that you are different from those around them, they will not be influenced by your profession of religion; for you will not be a savor of Christ, and you will win no soul to the service of God. { ST June 6, 1892, par. 1 }


     Yet there will be no one saved in heaven with a starless crown. If you enter, there will be some soul in the courts of glory that has found an entrance there through your instrumentality. Then why not entreat the Lord to put upon you his Spirit, that you may be able to awaken an interest in the truth in the minds of those around you? Think of your neighbors and friends and relatives who are out of Christ. Think of those you have left in various foreign lands; how much do you care for their souls? You should be so filled with love for the lost that you cannot forbear working for the salvation of souls. What you need is Jesus. He says, “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” If the rich blessing of Jesus is in your hearts, you will be able to refresh others. { ST June 6, 1892, par. 2 }   { LDE 282.3 }


   How many have their names upon the church books who know not what it means to have Christ abide in their hearts by faith. There are many who make a profession of Christianity who will have to be born again or they cannot see the kingdom of heaven. They will have to become partakers of his love and grace before they can present to others the great salvation that has been provided for those who are dead in trespasses and sins. But the promise is given to those who feel their want, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.” God has promised the fullness of salvation, and yet the world is full of those who are hungering and thirsting after the pleasures, the fashions, the applause of the world. Many are hungering and thirsting, that they may have their own way. But those who are hungering and thirsting after righteousness are directing their desires along the channel where the fullness of heaven shall be given. Why not determine that you will place your will on the side of God’s will, that you may become a laborer together with God. Jesus says, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me.” Then is there any excuse for our weakness, for our coldness, for our lethargy? There are many who seem to think that when they have acknowledged that they are full of weakness, they have put a plaster over their sins. But we are not to talk of our inefficiency, but to find in Christ a full salvation. He says, “Him that cometh unto me I will in nowise cast out.” { ST June 6, 1892, par. 3 }


    When our weakness becomes strength in the strength of Christ, we shall not be craving for amusement. These holidays that are considered so indispensable will not be used simply for the gratification of self, but will be turned into occasions in which you can bless and enlighten souls. When weary, Jesus sought for a place of rest in the desert, but the people had had a taste of the heavenly manna, and they came out to him in large companies. In all their human woe and suffering and distress, they sought his retreat, and there was no rest for the Son of God. His heart was moved with compassion, for they were as sheep without a shepherd, and his great heart of love was touched with the feeling of their infirmities, and he taught them concerning the kingdom of heaven. { ST June 6, 1892, par. 4 }


  Jesus has presented to us precious truth full of spiritual light and vitality. But has this truth been brought into the inner sanctuary of the soul? Does Christ abide in your hearts by faith? If Christ is in you, you will make him manifest to others. We must have more of Jesus, and less, far less, of self. The prayer of our hearts should be, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” Jesus must abide in the heart; and where he is, the carnal desires will be subdued and be kept in subjection by the operation of the Spirit of God. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” { ST June 6, 1892, par. 5 }


  I feel like mourning that the image of Christ is not clearly discernible in those who profess to be his followers; for I know that Jesus is disappointed, that the heavenly intelligences are disappointed, and those who are seeking for the truth are disappointed. Unless Christ is formed within, the hope of glory, you cannot rightly represent him to those with whom you come in contact. { ST June 6, 1892, par. 6 }




       Continue to next article:   June 13, 1892—“Blessed is He that Considereth the Poor”


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