Daily Words of God: Knowing God's Work | Excerpt 154
In the visions are contained many paths to practice. The practical demands made of man are also contained within the visions, as is the work of God that should be known by man. In the past, during the special gatherings or the grand gatherings that were held in various places, only one aspect of the path of practice was spoken of. Such practice was that which was to be put into practice during the Age of Grace, and scarcely bore any relation to the knowledge of God, for the vision of the Age of Grace was only the vision of Jesus’ crucifixion, and there were no greater visions. Man was supposed to know no more than the work of His redemption of mankind through the crucifixion, and so during the Age of Grace there were no other visions for man to know. In this way, man had only a scant knowledge of God, and apart from the knowledge of Jesus’ love and compassion, there were but a few simple and pitiful things for him to put into practice, things that were a far cry from today. In the past, no matter what form his assembly, man was incapable of speaking of a practical knowledge of God’s work, much less was any able to clearly say which was the most suitable path of practice for man to enter upon. He merely added a few simple details to a foundation of forbearance and patience; there was simply no change in the substance of his practice, for within the same age God did not do any newer work, and the only requirements He made of man were forbearance and patience, or bearing the cross. Apart from such practices, there were no higher visions than the crucifixion of Jesus. In the past, there was no mention of other visions because God did not do a great deal of work, and because He only made limited demands of man. In this way, regardless of what man did, he was incapable of transgressing these bounds, bounds which were but a few simple and shallow things for man to put into practice. Today I talk of other visions because today, more work has been done, work that is several times in excess of the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. The requirements of man, too, are several times higher than in ages past. If man is incapable of fully knowing such work, then it would possess no great significance; it can be said that man would have difficulty fully knowing such work if he does not devote an entire lifetime’s effort to it. In the work of conquest, to talk only of the path of practice would make the conquest of man impossible. Mere talk of the visions, without any requirements of man, would also render the conquest of man impossible. If nothing were spoken of but the path of practice, then it would be impossible to strike at man’s Achilles’ heel, or to dispel the conceptions of man, and so too would it be impossible to completely conquer man. Visions are the main instrument of man’s conquest, yet if there were no path apart from the visions, then man would have no way of following, much less would he have any means of entry. This has been the principle of God’s work from beginning to end: In the visions there is that which can be put into practice, and so too are there visions that are exclusive of such practice. The degree of changes in both man’s life and his disposition accompanies changes in the visions. Were man only to rely on his own efforts, then it would be impossible for him to achieve any great degree of change. The visions speak of the work of God Himself and the management of God. Practice refers to the path of man’s practice, and to the way of man’s existence; in all of God’s management, the relationship between visions and practice is the relationship between God and man. If the visions were removed, or if they were spoken of without the talk of practice, or if there were only visions and the practice of man were eradicated, then such things could not be considered the management of God, much less could it be said that the work of God is for the sake of mankind; in this way, not only would man’s duty be removed, but it would be a denial of the purpose of God’s work. If, from beginning to end, man were merely required to practice, without the involvement of God’s work, and, moreover, if man were not required to know the work of God, much less could such work be called the management of God. If man did not know God, and were ignorant of God’s will, and blindly carried out his practice in a vague and abstract way, then he would never become a fully qualified creature. And so, these two things are both indispensable. If there were only the work of God, which is to say, if there were only the visions and if there were no cooperation or practice by man, then such things could not be called the management of God. If there were only the practice and entry of man, then regardless of how high the path that man entered upon, this, too, would be unacceptable. The entry of man must gradually change in step with the work and visions; it cannot change at whim. The principles of man’s practice are not free and unrestrained, but within certain bounds. Such principles change in step with the visions of the work. So God’s management ultimately comes down to God’s work and the practice of man.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God’s Work and Man’s Practice