Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Lt 39, 1874

Temple, Sister

Battle Creek, Michigan

July 6, 1874

Previously unpublished.

Dear Sister Temple:

In looking through one of my boxes I find several pages of foolscap written for you soon after I returned from the journey east, but [it] was overlooked and therefore did not reach you because it was never sent. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 1

I will not now send the entire amount written, but will write out in short the substance. I was shown that you had not borne well the test of prosperity. You had often said, “If I had that man’s property, I would help the cause of God. I would not let the needy suffer.” 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 2

God has tested you. He placed means in your hands to prove you. You allowed the means which He suffered you to gain to be used to your own pleasure and that of your children. Then God in His mercy sent you help while you were in darkness, that you might have another trial to see if you would acknowledge the claims of God upon you, or suffer the claims of your children to come first. I was pointed to the testimonies God had sent you of reproof and of warning. I saw that you were disregarding it. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 3

You were robbing God in tithes and in offerings. You were investing means where you would not realize the returns. Your devotion to your children was far greater than your acknowledged claims to God. You have not been laying up treasure in heaven and becoming rich toward God. God promised ancient Israel that He would make their blessing proportionate to their benevolence. They would be prospered or straitened in proportion as they obeyed or disobeyed His requirements. When all honored the Lord with their substance and the first fruits of all their increase, their barns were filled with plenty. When they robbed God in tithes and in offerings, they robbed themselves. God would impress upon His people that He would have them respond to His bounties which He has lavished upon man by liberal returns from them. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 4

He has instituted a system and plainly stated that one-tenth was His while He allows man the nine-tenths. God knew what was best for man and He was particular to impress His duty upon him to reserve a portion for God. In the more full unfolding of the mercy of God in the gospel dispensation a more noble and extended beneficence is still enjoined upon the people of God. The Saviour of the world in His answer to the question asked, What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? refers the question back to the lawyer, “What is written in the law? how readest thou?” [Luke 10:25, 26.] 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 5

The lawyer answered, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind: and thy neighbor as thyself.” Said Christ, “Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” [Verses 27, 28.] Here there is no separation allowed in their affection from God. It takes the devotion and surrender of all the heart and life to His service and a mutual love for our neighbor as we have for ourselves. These are the conditions of salvation given by the Redeemer Himself. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 6

As God gave the Sabbath to man, He has given the law of almsgiving. God has given to man six days in which he may work to obtain a livelihood, while He has reserved the seventh day to Himself. He set apart the day for His service and He blessed and sanctified the day. He has just as sacredly reserved to Himself the tenth of that bounty which He has entrusted to men, while He has given him the nine-tenths. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 7

The temple, acquiring costly offerings and sacrifices, with its priests, is passed away. But the occasion for giving still exists while there are sinners to be saved and the poor to cry unto us, “give.” We are called upon to acknowledge the continual blessings and gifts of God’s benevolent hand in the tithing system as well as in sin offering, trespass offerings, and freewill offerings. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 8

The command of our great Redeemer is to publish the gospel to every creature and to feed the poor, which He says, “Ye have the poor with you always.” Mark 14:7. This brings the followers of Christ into close relationship with Himself. There is not the slightest ground of inference that our beneficence is to be more stinted under the gospel than under the old dispensation, but as much more abundant as the light and blessings are enlarged. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 9

Christ announced the principle which men were to acknowledge. Where much is given of God, of him will much be required. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 10

The example of the first Christian church is a lesson to all Christians to the end of time. Their love for sinners expressed itself in their active benevolence to extend the truth to others and in their gifts to the needy saints. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 11

The Pentecostal revival was marked in its results by the most unselfish principle of giving of their means, which shows us that their ideas had not contracted but greatly enlarged. Some have thought, by the facts recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, that there was a general relinquishing of all property among Christians and a community was formed, where no man had any claims above another to the general property but all property was put into a common stock. But this was not the case. Christians did sell their possessions, not to have a community system fund, but that there should be no lack among the suffering of God’s poor and that this cause of truth might be sustained. They saw the cause of Christ was extending far beyond their most sanguine expectations, and when they saw how much was accomplished in a short time, they were in ardent expectation that the work would be carried forward with unabated zeal. Those who had property submitted it to the apostles to forward the work. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 12

The apostle states that they had all things common, no man said ought of the things which he possessed was his own. The true light in regard to their possessions was shining upon them. As the glory of God was revealed, they were partakers of His divine nature, and looked at the things they had called their own as gifts and blessings entrusted to them of God to return to Him. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 13

Under the quickening influence of the Spirit of God, selfishness was done away and covetousness could not exist. Christians felt so deeply grateful for the benevolence and sacrifice of Jesus Christ in that He died to save sinners, they regarded all their possession as not their own, but bought by the infinite sacrifice made for man’s redemption. This exhibition of unselfish interest is a rebuke to our low and limited conception of duty. If the first Christians felt the obligations devolving upon them of beneficence in view of the great sacrifice made in their behalf, how should a people be impressed and affected who are living in the last days near the close of this world’s history? 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 14

If each felt in the days of the apostles that he had no claim upon his property that could make the claims of Christ secondary, how should men and women regard the matter who believe we are living under the sound of the last message of mercy? If Christians then let Christ fully into their houses, lands and possessions as far as the needs of His cause required and the needs of the worthy poor, what principle should actuate those in these last days who have means lent them of God which they are handling? 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 15

The last message of mercy is being given. God has, in His wise arrangement, made the wants of the church and of the poor a means to test the characters of His people. He is watching the development of character and weighing moral worth. He designs through the wants of His cause to develop in His people a high elevation of moral perfection that will fit them for translation to heaven. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 16

You have failed, greatly failed, in your duty. You have allowed that entrusted to your keeping to be squandered through mismanagement. Had the cause of God no claims upon you? How much have you invested in the cause of God to send the truth to all nations, tongues, and languages? How meager have been your offerings to God! How small a portion have you sent beforehand into heaven? You have embezzled your Lord’s goods. You have robbed God. And His blessing and His light and His power is not with you. God will, I fear, as He has shown me, scatter what you have. I expect to see you reduced to poverty. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 17

I would not write you if I did not feel your danger. Oh, the deceitfulness of riches. You have entrusted in the hands of your sons the money you would not entrust to God. And verily ye shall receive your reward. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 18

You have not been becoming more spiritual and having a deeper interest in the truth. People will invest the most in that they value the highest and which will, they think, bring to them the best returns. Your course for years has been a denial of your faith. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 19

God has been very gracious unto you. God has dealt very tenderly with you, and yet He is gracious. He would have led you in the investment of means had you unselfishly had His glory in view. Time is very short and I hope you will not be found among the unfaithful stewards when He shall say give an account of this stewardship. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 20

A great and solemn work is before us to devote all our talents of influence and of means to the call of our Master. We must realize God has our first claims; He comes before children, even if these children are His children, but when they are arrayed against the truth and war against you for obeying its principles, you will be held accountable for not making a wise appropriation of your Master’s goods in letting it go into the hands of the great enemy who finds agents in your sons. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 21

Dear Sister, I write this hoping that you will heed the reproofs of the Spirit of God and not trust to your own judgment. Our only safety is in following the light. If we walk in the light, we shall walk surely. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 22

May the Lord enlighten your eyes and help you to see all things clearly is the prayer of your sister in Christ. 2LtMs, Lt 39, 1874, par. 23