Testimonies to Southern Africa

Chapter 5—Five Letters to Members of the Wessels Family in South Africa

Letter A

North Fitzroy, Victoria

July, 1892

Dear Brother,

In our experience we have often found that Providence was preparing the way for enlarging the work when the difficulties we were obliged to encounter in planting the standard of truth were neither small nor few. Satan seemed to contest every inch of the way of progress, and trials and obstacles had to be met and overcome, and reproach endured before success crowned our efforts. How many times the workers were heard to say, “If I had only known how much this undertaking would have cost me, I would never have entered upon it.” But if our Saviour was the Leader of the undertaking, He saw the whole length of the dark and discouraging path that would have to be travelled in order to seek and to save that which is lost. Did Jesus hesitate in this work? TSA 36.1

Was the life of the Prince of life and glory without trial? No. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Not a pang that rent His lowly heart, not an insult that was heaped upon His head, not a privation that He was called to endure, but was all open before Him before He laid aside His royal crown, His royal robe, and stepped down from the throne to clothe His divinity with humanity. TSA 36.2

The path from the manger to Calvary was all before His eyes and He knew what fearful anguish would come upon Him. He knew it all, and yet He said, “Lo, I come, in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” Then since the Saviour had to pass through all this experience, shall we expect that Satan will let us alone, undisturbed, to do the grand work of planting the standard of truth in new fields? TSA 36.3

Christ said to the cavilling Jews, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). The very fact that Jesus spoke the truth, and that with certainty, is the reason why the Jews did not believe Him. He said, “Because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not” (John 8:45). TSA 37.1

It was the truth that offended these self-righteous men. The truth exposed the fallacy of error, and it was unwelcome. They would rather close their eyes to truth, than humble themselves to say that they had been in error. They did not love the truth, because it condemned their teaching and practices. They did not love it even if it was truth. Their own ungodly course made them cavillers against a ministry of truth. They treated the truth as heresy and idle tales, and they deceived themselves and deceived others. Christ said to the Pharisees, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” TSA 37.2

We shall find exactly such blindness on every side; but we are never to become discouraged, or to fail in setting forth the truth. Never are we to become impatient, because Christ bore with us in all our perversity, and He will teach us how to labour to present the truth as it is in Jesus. Go forth in the power and Spirit of Christ. With this power is combined the tenderest compassion for those who are in darkness TSA 37.3

Let these words ring like musical bells in our ears and heart. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” How urgently my soul pleads for the heavenly endowment. Of myself I can do nothing. The power and the glory is all of God. “The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself; but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.” I see the work of God is so sacred, that I dare not touch it without the presence of Jesus by my side. All might, all power and all glory belong to Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. TSA 37.4

We are certainly nearing the close of this earth's history, and God hath commended His love toward us in giving us the truth that has filled our hearts with such joy, that we may exercise love toward others. Look to the Man of Calvary giving His life for the sins of the world. Why? That in beholding such love for man, that all who believe shall not perish, we shall manifest the same love for our fellow-men. Love for lost souls brought Christ to Calvary's cross. Love for souls will lead us to self-denial, self-sacrifice in order to seek and to save that which was lost. Ye are labourers together with God. Self must die and our life be hid with Christ in God. Love for souls for whom Christ died means crucifixion of self. TSA 38.1

Love for souls cannot exist without first having supreme love to God. Then all our desires, all our will is on the Lord's side of the question. Pride and desire for display cannot live in the heart where there is love for perishing souls. We want to be diligent students to learn in the school of Christ. Those who do not deny self, and lift the cross and follow Jesus, cannot be His disciples. TSA 38.2

Jesus said of His disciples, “And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” That love wherewith the infinite God loved His Son is to be conveyed to fallen man who believes in Jesus Christ. He transfuses this love through those who believe. As our life-blood, so is the circulating vitality of that love diffused through every part of our nature, that it may dwell in us as it does in Him. Wonderful statement! That it is possible for God to love us as He loves Christ. He loves the believing soul because he is a part of Christ, a partaker of the divine nature. TSA 38.3

Then how grievous to the Spirit of God is anything like alienation, discord and strife. The heart that is filled with the love of Christ will be exercised in love toward all for whom Christ has died. There will be the same self-denial practised by the wealthy man who believes in Jesus, as by men who have little of this world's goods, because he acts from unselfish principles. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.” TSA 38.4

The Lord Jesus has given man an example in His own life. For the selfish heart of sin, He gives the new heart of love. He changes the heart, and produces an entire revolution in the soul. He brings light out of darkness, love out of enmity, and holiness out of impurity, that those who believe in Christ may represent Christ's life and character to the world. Says the Apostle, “We are labourers together with God; ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.”—Letter 28, 1892. TSA 39.1