To what extent we are responsible for a correct belief of the doctrines of Scripture, is a question of more than mere curiosity. Opposite views of some of these doctrines are held by those supposing themselves to be wholly consecrated to God's will. That some are in error is evident, and an erroneous belief sometimes leads to a faulty life. It must be admitted that good men—fully consecrated men—have in the past held errors, as "eternal punishment," "the Trinity," etc., to be Bible doctrines. That some of these were very useful in the Master's work, and acceptable to him in their lives, is not to be denied. At the same time, they were not permitted that glorious view of God's character that those in the light now receive. Of his plan for the world's salvation, that causes the hearts of his children now to throb with joy, they were in ignorance. While they preached a gospel, it was not the full gospel that is taught in Scripture, and now due to be understood by all the children of God. Many who in former years built on the true foundation, built much that must perish, and is even now falling to decay, or being burned with fire. (1 Cor. 3:11-15.) Yet if these stood ready, with open eyes and open ears, to receive light and knowledge as it was offered them, what more could be required? But no one to-day can place himself—in responsibility—alongside those who lived half a century ago. The light now shines so clearly, that all who will may see. The errors that were so long cherished as truth, are now shown to be errors. God has raised up men, and set them as watchmen to discover the light in his Word.
Whoever will, may avail himself of helps in Bible study that a few years ago were within reach of none. If the saints of the past, who were not permitted to see the glorious lustre of our favored day, had possessed half the advantages afforded us, they had gladly accepted the truth. We conclude, therefore, that when light is due, and when our Father has placed it within reach of his children, they are responsible for its acceptance. And all true children [saints] will accept the light. They will hunger and thirst for the truth, and search for it as for hid treasure. Its acquirement is their greatest wealth. Nor will they accept all new doctrine as truth, but test it by the written word, and reject whatever is not in harmony therewith. There are no deaf ears, no closed eyes, among them. The traditions of men that make void the word of God cannot retain a place in their hearts. "The law and the testimony" are their sources of light.
What, then, can be said of those claiming full consecration to the will of God, who are yet in darkness regarding his character and plan, "and going about to establish" a plan of their own? While we stand ready to extend the mantle of charity over all that ought to be covered, let us not be too willing to excuse that which God condemns. In God is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we lie.—1 John 1:5-6.
[We believe that in this "harvest" every saint will be brought into contact with the truth—the light now due and now shining. It will test them and gather into oneness (Matt. 24:31) each one, as surely as the "harvest" in the Jewish age sought and found every "Israelite indeed" in whom was no guile. Let us not hinder, but advance, the work of separation of wheat from nominal professors. And while confident that no tares will be gathered, let us have confidence also in the Chief Reaper that not a grain of ripe wheat will be left ungarnered. We might, and do, err in our judgment as to which are wheat and which only the imitation, but the Chief Reaper knows the heart.—EDITOR.]