Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 13, 1886

Bourdeau, Brother and Sister

Basel, Switzerland

August 22, 1886

Portions of this letter are published in Ev 646-647.

Dear Brother and Sister Bourdeau:

I have been thinking over the testimonies that God has been pleased to give you, Brother Bourdeau, and the thoughts arise in my mind whether you are letting circumstances shape themselves to control you, or whether you are strenuously controlling circumstances. I have feared that you have never seen this in its true light, and that is the reason that you do not make a decided, firm change. 4LtMs, Lt 13, 1886, par. 1

That which has been shown me in reference to Daniel you can see plainly, and yet he cannot see it. He will make any amount of excuses why he did as he did, therefore the testimony does him no good. Daniel sees plainly where you make mistakes, where your danger is, but you do not see it. You think you have sufficient excuse for the course you are pursuing in all things, and you are slow to reform. I fear that you will act over the past; for I was shown Satan would work to make necessities for you, to bind you away from the work of God. Now the tent has been set up for two months in Italy, and will you please to investigate your labors and see if you have heeded the counsel of God, or have taken counsel with your own mind and judgment. Will you consider the words, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” 4LtMs, Lt 13, 1886, par. 2

After what has been shown you in reference to your inclination to be slow and moderate and to allow opportunities to pass by unimproved, you lose time, lose interest, and take things so moderately that Satan outgenerals you again and again. It is no common, indifferent work in which you are engaged amid a people estranged from God, and who need the most zealous efforts made in their behalf. 4LtMs, Lt 13, 1886, par. 3

The truth is to be given to the people to save them individually, and you must come close to the hearts to the people. Have you felt that you could leave the tent to go to your home nearly every night? If you have done this, you certainly have been doing the same thing for which God has reproved you. Have you felt that you could leave the tent burdens and the care upon Brother Geymet and Brother Auditat? Have you felt the burden of the work upon you or laid off the burden upon your fellow workers? I am afraid for you, knowing well your history in the past where you have signally failed in the efforts you have commenced. Have you felt content to preach a discourse now and then and felt that that was all you had to do? Will you see if you have labored for souls as those who must give an account? Have you the blessing of the Lord with you, or have you your attention so cut up and divided with different matters that the days are passing and you have nothing to show for your work? 4LtMs, Lt 13, 1886, par. 4

I feel so burdened over your case, as well as the case of Daniel, that it seems that I shall cry out in agony of mind. Satan is constantly at work to give to your thoughts an earthly, common character. But if anything is done in this cause it must be by the vitalizing influence of the Spirit of God upon your heart. If there is scarcely nothing to show for your labors all this time you have been in the valleys, I think that you are not the man for that field. Short discourses, giving Bible readings, visiting, coming close to the hearts by personal effort will do much more than merely preaching. You have framed all kinds of excuses for the indolent manner that the work has been done in Italy, but God help you to stop justifying yourself and throw yourself into the work, and go forth weeping, bearing precious seed that you may return, bringing your sheaves with you. 4LtMs, Lt 13, 1886, par. 5

Time is passing, the angels are holding the four winds that a work may be done. With the help of Brother Geyette and Brother Auditat, I cannot see why you are not fitted to do a good work. Have you planned to make these meetings as interesting as possible? I hope that you will have the burden of the work upon your soul. Have you stayed by the tent, right on the ground, or have you made a necessity of going home every day and gathering on you burdens that have no part in the work? This work in God’s service to meet the moral darkness requires self-denial, toil, and persevering effort and earnest faith. Many flatter themselves that they could do great things if they only had the opportunity; but something has always prevented them; Providence has hedged their way in so that they could not do what they desired to do. We expect no great opportunity will meet us on the road, but by prompt and vigorous action we must seize the opportunities, make opportunities, and master difficulties. You are in need of vital energy from heaven. We must in our work not only strike the iron when it is hot, but make the iron hot by striking. Slow, easy, indolent movements will do nothing for us in this work. We must be instant in season, out of season. These are critical times for work. By hesitation and delay we lose many good opportunities. You, my brother, need to be sharpened up, not once a month, but daily. Oh, pray that you may have the spirit of the true worker. Duty is above everything else. We are not to look to the right or to the left, but go forward, straight forward. Every single act of duty is an act of faith. To live truly and nobly is to act energetically. Life is a battle to be fought valiantly. A man must stand to his post of duty, not to be turned aside; inspired by high and holy purposes and stand by his post of duty, if he die there. 4LtMs, Lt 13, 1886, par. 6

That which stands most in the way of your performing duty is irresolution, weakness of purpose, indecision. May God help you to gird the armor on and do your Master’s work. 4LtMs, Lt 13, 1886, par. 7

I will leave these lines with you and hope that God will bless them to your good. You have a tent, stick by it, and by your work. Meditate upon the subjects of truth; be constantly increasing in knowledge by being familiar with Bible arguments; be full of the practical subjects; bring from God’s storehouse things new and old. 4LtMs, Lt 13, 1886, par. 8

May the Lord guide you, is my prayer. Love to Martha and to the church. 4LtMs, Lt 13, 1886, par. 9