Soul, Death, & Grace Chapter 8
THE SOUL’S NEIGHBORS
One of the first stories appearing in our Bibles is that of Cain and Abel. The point of the story is its conclusion, I am my brother’s keeper.
In the New Testament one of the best known stories is of course that about the Good Samaritan. The point of the story bearing the message that I am brother to anyone who needs a help I can give. But the New Testament does not stop story telling there, but also teaches that the smallest good deed done for the proper motive will be rewarded.
So what are we to think about the solution to death’s bite? Is this the arena where the neighbor does not appear? In working out the problem of death’s solution are the formula and its constituent parts individualized? We have so far found no direct reference to the ability to do grace work for someone else’s soul.
If one were to assume that the united basic thrust of the gospel is twofold—the salvation of the self, and the neighbors of the self—what would one understand the application of the solution to death’s end to be when one tried to apply it to the neighbor?
To put it simply—the question would be, in the terms of our research, I am my brother’s keeper, what do I do for his soul?
As this report has progressed, we have presented our findings first and drawn summaries and conclusions afterward because that is the way research is effectively communicated. The reader or hearer of the report is thereby enabled to draw developing opinions for himself.
However the resolution to the issue of the soul’s responsibility to its neighbors we found being presented under an unusual vocabulary. A very familiar word and concept bearing a meaning and result that is not expected. Therefore our conclusion—we do do something, very important, for our neighbor’s soul, is presented now, so the reader can evaluate our conclusion as the material we have found is presented.
The very familiar word we have found is atmosphere, and a quality of the soul it is probably originally treated in the sources we are surveying. While the vocabulary is familiar, the application and interaction of the parts, as with all the elements appearing in this report of the soul, grace, and death issue, is in the opinion of this researcher, original. Only to be found here. This developed concept of soul, death, grace and eternal life appears in no other author. This is not only a unique formulation but a very appealing one as well answering our questions about Christian man who works always for others as he works for himself.
“The atmosphere surrounding the souls of Christians is unlike the atmosphere that surrounds the soul of the worlding,…” RH 12/4/1894.
“The influence of every man’s thoughts and actions surrounds him like an invisible atmosphere, which is unconsciously breathed in by all who come in contact with him. This atmosphere is frequently charged with poisonous influences, and when these are inhaled, moral degeneracy is the sure result.” 5T, p. 111.
“When the grace of God reigns within, the soul will be surrounded with an atmosphere of faith and courage and Christlike love, and atmosphere invigorating to the spiritual life of all who inhale it.” PUR, p. 188 (Apr. 13, 1905).
“As you open your door to Christ’s needy and suffering ones, you are welcoming unseen angels. You invite the companionship of heavenly beings. They bring a sacred atmosphere of joy and peace.” DA, p. 639.
“… because the atmosphere of heaven as a living, active agency fills the soul.” 1 MCP, p. 27.
“Those with whom Christ dwells will be surrounded with a divine atmosphere.” MYP, p. 420.
“It is the atmosphere of grace which surrounds the soul of the believer, the Holy Spirit working upon mind and heart, that makes him a savor of life unto life, and enables God to bless his work.” COL, p. 298.
“In fellowship with God, with Christ, and with holy angels they are surrounded with a holy atmosphere, an atmosphere that brings health to the body, vigor to the intellect, and joy to the soul.” 6T, p. 306.
“If we restrain the expression of unbelief, and by hopeful words and prompt movements strengthen our own faith and the faith of others, our vision will grow clearer. The pure atmosphere of heaven will surround our souls.” 6T, p. 462.
“The service rendered in sincerity of heart has great recompense. “Thy father, which seeth in secret, Himself shall reward thee openly.’ By the life we live through the grace of Christ, the character is formed. The original loveliness begins to be restored to the soul. The attributes of the character of Christ are imparted, and the image of the Divine begins to shine forth. The faces of men and women who walk and work with God, express the peace of heaven. They are surrounded with the atmosphere of heaven. For these souls the kingdom of God has begun. They have Christ’s joy, the joy of being a blessing to humanity. They have the honor of being accepted for the Mater’s use; they are trusted to do His work in His name.” DA, p. 312.
“When the grace of God reigns within, the soul will be surrounded with an atmosphere of faith and courage and Christlike love, an atmosphere invigorating to the spiritual life of all who inhale it. Then we can go to the campmeeting not merely to receive, but to impart.” 6T, p. 43.
“Every soul is surrounded by an atmosphere of its own, – an atmosphere, it may be charged with the lifegiving power of faith, courage, and hope, and sweet with the fragrance of love. Or it may be heavy and chill with the gloom of discontent and selfishness, or poisonous with the deadly taint of cherished sin. By the atmosphere surrounding us, every person with whom we come in contact is consciously or unconsciously affected.” MYP, p. 417.
“The atmosphere that surrounds the soul is fraught with influence for good or evil according to the character of the thoughts. It may be full of poison and malaria, or be fragrant and pure and health giving.” ST, Jan. 23, 1893.
“The man who loves God does not measure his work by the eight-hour system. He works at all hours and is never off duty. As he has opportunity he does good. Everywhere, at all times and in all places, he finds opportunity to work for God. He carries fragrance with him wherever he goes. A wholesome atmosphere surrounds his soul. The beauty of his well-ordered life and godly conversation inspires in others faith and hope and courage.” 9T, p. 45.
“Heaven is brought near to earth by that mystic ladder, the base of which is firmly planted on the earth, while the topmost round reaches the throne of the Infinite. Angels are constantly ascending and descending this ladder of shining brightness, bearing the prayers of the needy and distressed to the Father above, and bringing blessing and hope, courage and help, to the children of men. These angels of light create a heavenly atmosphere about the soul, lifting us toward the unseen and the eternal. We cannot behold their forms with our natural sight; only by the spiritual vision can we discern heavenly things. The spiritual ear alone can hear the harmony of heavenly voices.” AA, p. 153.
“Let us not love in word,’ the apostle writes, ‘but in deed and in truth.’ The completeness of Christian character is attained when the impulse to help and bless others springs constantly from within. It is the atmosphere of this love surrounding the soul of the believer that makes him a savor of life unto life and enables God to bless his work.” AA, p. 551.
“God bids us fill the mind with great thoughts, pure thoughts. He desires us to meditate upon His love and mercy, to study His wonderful work in the great plan of redemption. Then clearer and still clearer will be our perception of truth, higher, holier, our desire for purity of heart and clearness of thought. The soul dwelling in the pure atmosphere of holy thought will be transformed by communion with God through the study of Scriptures.” COL, p. 60.
“He bids us, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’ [Ps. 46:10.] Here alone can true rest be found. And this is the effectual preparation for all labor for God. Amid the hurrying throng, and the strain of life’s intense activities, the soul that is thus refreshed will be surrounded with an atmosphere of light and peace. The life will breathe out fragrance, and will reveal a divine power that will reach men’s hearts.” DA, p. 363.
“It is the Spirit that surrounds the soul with a holy atmosphere, and speaks to the impenitent through words of warning, pointing them to Him who takes away the sin of the world.” GW, p. 155.
“The soul dwelling in the pure atmosphere of holy thought is transformed by intercourse with God through the study of His word. Truth is so large, so far-reaching, so deep, so broad, that self is lost sight of. The heart is softening and subdued into humility, kindness, and love.” MH, p. 465.
“In fellowship with God, with Christ, and with holy angels, they are surrounded with a heavenly atmosphere, an atmosphere that brings health to the body, vigor to the intellect, and joy to the soul.” GW, p. 513.
“Faith is essential. It surrounds the soul with the atmosphere that pervades heaven. This is the rest that Christ has promised to all who come to him.” HM, Oct. 18, 1898.
“It is the atmosphere of Christlike love surrounding the soul of the believer that makes him a savor of life unto life, and enables God to bless his work.” RH, Apr. 3, 1900.
“Physical, mental, and moral strength increase, because the atmosphere of heaven, as a living, active agency, fills the soul. Christ is formed within, the hope of glory.” RH, Oct. 15, 1901.
“Although there may be tainted, corrupted atmosphere around us, we need not breathe its miasma, but may live in the pure air of heaven. We may close every door to impure imaginings and unholy thoughts by lifting the soul into the presence of God through sincere prayer. Those whose hearts are open to receive the support and blessings of God will walk in a holier atmosphere than that of earth and will have constant communion with heaven.” SC, p. 99.
“Yet the Christian should not place himself needlessly in the way of temptation. Every soul is surrounded by an atmosphere of its own, laden with the fragrance of love and piety, the heavy fogs of unbelief, or the deadly poison of infidelity and crime. When brought in contact with others, we are unconsciously affected by the atmosphere surrounding them. If this be laden with moral poison, the very life-blood of the soul may become tainted, ere we are conscious of danger.” ST, Feb. 16, 1882.
“If fathers and mothers love the Bible, and talk of the lessons Christ has given; if they love Jesus, and make him the theme of conversation, a heavenly atmosphere will pervade the home.” St, May 4, 1888.
“The atmosphere of His presence will fill the soul with abhorrence of all that is evil. Our spirit may be so identified with His that in thought and aim we shall be with Him.” MH, p. 511.
“Influence is a power that we exert over others, and it is the result of our thoughts and actions. We cannot be neutral; we cannot live without exerting an influence either for good or for evil. We create an atmosphere about our own souls that sways the souls of others. Even after we are dead we still speak, for our works follow us. What we have done has blended with the thoughts and actions of others, and become an everlasting influence. What we have been and what we have said is the seed sown, and it will bear a harvest after its kind. The time to determine what will be our influence is while we live.” PHO66 10. Emphasis supplied.
“Purity of thought must be cherished as indispensable to the work of influencing others. The soul must be surrounded by the pure, holy atmosphere—an atmosphere that will tend to quicken the spiritual life of all who inhale it.” PH088 08
“Those who are often with God in prayer, have holy angels by their side. The atmosphere that surrounds their souls is pure and holy; for their whole soul is imbued with the sanctifying influence of the Spirit of God.” SPTA07 26.