Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)

39/448

Ms 9, 1883

Walk in the Light

Montpelier, Vermont

September 3, 1883

Portions of this manuscript are published in HP 36. See also ST 09/27/1883.

[The matter which follows was included in Letter 26, 1883, written from Montpelier, Vt., September 3, 1883, to Willie and Mary White, with the heading, “To be read to those assembled in camp meeting, by Mary K. White.” The 1883 California camp meeting was held in San Jose, in September. See Signs of the Times, September 27, 1883.] 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 1

Our meeting at Worcester, Mass., was very encouraging, and I wish able men could go there at once and proclaim the truth. I have but little hope for those who have had light and have worked against the truth, but I do feel courage for those who have never heard the message. If, instead of caviling and doubting, as some of our people are doing, they would humble their hearts before God, close their souls to temptation and open them to faith, they would be laboring for souls. They would be letting their light shine. They would not then be acting the part of Judas or of Peter who denied his Lord, but would be engaged in building up, strengthening the things that remain. 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 2

It is because self is not dead that we see so much caviling, dissension, disunion, and continual doubting. If those who show this disposition had the truth in the heart, they would not notice matters of so little consequence. They would forget self and selfish interest; they would work disinterestedly for the salvation of souls. When I think how strong we might be if we would take hold of the strength of the Mighty One, and then see how weak we are because we do not claim the promises of God, my soul cries out in anguish, “Give not thine heritage to reproach, and let not the heathen say, Where is thy God?” [Joel 2:17.] 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 3

This is a time of general dense darkness to the world, but the true light is shining, and we are favored above every other people upon the earth. Our spiritual blessings are more and greater than were given to those who have lived in any other age of the world. But that which makes me tremble for our people is the fact that they do not respond to the light and render corresponding obedience. Our privileges have not made us, as a people, wise, humble, and holy, and the great light which has shone upon us, as the pillar of fire shone upon the Israel of God, will be darkness to all who do not walk in its rays. 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 4

We are living in the mediation of Christ, a day when all should think seriously and closely examine their hearts to see whether they be in the faith. We have nought to complain of. Not one word of murmuring should escape our lips; not one word of doubt should be uttered. There are many among us who profess the truth but who refuse to be crucified with Christ. The Author of our salvation labored and suffered for us. He denied Himself for us; His whole life was one continual scene of toil and privation. He could have done as many of His professed followers choose to do—pass His days on earth in ease and plenty and appropriated to Himself all the pleasures and enjoyments of this life. But He did not. He considered not His own convenience; He lived not to enjoy, but to do good and save others from shame, suffering, and ruin. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” [Isaiah 53:5.] 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 5

Can those who are partakers of this great salvation, who are objects of this great condescension and infinite love have one breath of complaint, one thought of murmuring because they are not free from trials, toil, and conflicts, because they cannot have a better portion in this life than was given to their Lord? Cannot our enlightened minds comprehend the great privileges which we have through the grace of Christ? 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 6

If Jesus had not died our sacrifice and risen again, we should never have known peace, never have felt joy, but only experienced the horrors of darkness and the miseries of despair. Then let only praise and gratitude be the language of the hearts. All our lives we have been partakers of His heavenly benefits, recipients of the blessings of His priceless atonement. Therefore it is impossible for us to conceive the low and helpless state of ignorance and misery to which we had fallen and from which Christ has raised us. When we feel the pains, the sorrows and bereavements to which we are subject, let not one murmuring thought dishonor our Redeemer. In the hour of trial and affliction consider that we cannot tell how much greater our suffering would be had we not a mediating Saviour; we cannot determine how much less we suffer than our sins deserve. 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 7

Oh, that we might, from the eldest to the youngest, seek the Lord as we have never done before! Oh, that we might renounce our sins, break down our pride, and with contrition of soul cast ourselves unreservedly upon Christ, believing that He accepts us just now, not because we are worthy, but because Christ has died! God grant that all who have named the name of Christ might depart from iniquity. All that a God could do has been done for you. He stands now looking upon the people for whom He suffered and died, and says, “What more can I do for My vineyard than I have already done?” [Isaiah 5:4.] 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 8

Can we wish to be free from trials and reproach for the truth’s sake? Can we look upon Him whom our sins have pierced and not be willing also to drink with Him of the cup of humiliation? Our sins mingled the bitter cup which He removed from our lips and drank Himself, that in its place He might put to our lips the cup of blessing. He endured the cross, despising the shame, that He might lift us up and reconcile man to God, that whosoever would come unto Him might take of the water of life freely. 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 9

Can you, my brethren and sisters, in view of the cross, looking upon Christ crucified, wish or expect to enter His kingdom in any other way than through much tribulation? We have a work to do which we have neglected. We do not love to follow where Jesus leads the way. Our heavenly Father requires of His church and people according to the grace and truth given them, and His requirements are just and right. All His righteous requirements must be fully met, or they remain in force against them. God requires us, as rational, accountable beings, to walk in the light that shines upon us; otherwise our light becomes darkness, and that darkness is in proportion to the amount of light received. 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 10

All who profess Christ are accountable for the talents committed to their trust. In order to meet their responsibility Christians must stand on that elevated ground which the truth has for ages been preparing for them. We entirely fail of meeting the mind of the Spirit of God unless we exhibit to the world in character and works that union and oneness with Christ which is in accordance with the light of sacred truth that now shines upon our pathway. 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 11

It is not the lack of knowledge and understanding that will condemn Seventh-day Adventists, banish them from the presence of the Lord, and witness against them at the last day. It is the truth of God’s Word that has reached the understanding, the light that has illuminated the soul, which will judge and condemn us if we turn away and refuse to be led by it. The light we never had will never be our darkness. If we were blind, we would have no sin, but the Lord has given us great light. Sacred truth has been unfolded to our understanding, but we have not been wise unto salvation. We have not advanced in knowledge and true holiness according to the light and truth which have been bestowed upon us. 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 12

I have been shown that God has been very merciful to you in California. Great light has been shining upon you, but there is a great work to be done for yourselves before He can let His rich blessing rest upon you. The character of many is defective, but this is not the greatest evil. Those who are indulging in sin do not put it away, but smooth over their wrongs. Such must be thoroughly transformed in character and in works. When they meet the high standard of the Bible, then will the Lord be to them a present help in every time of need. But we, as a people who have had solemn truth committed to us, are in every way far from meeting the claims of God. How few will bear the test! How few bear the exposure when examined by the light which God has given them! The true inward heart-work must be experienced by many, or they will drift into the deceptions of Satan because they do not come to the knowledge of the truth. Their works are not wrought in God. 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 13

Oh, that my dear brethren and sisters would make sure for eternity! There is no hope, no remedy, only in confessing and forsaking sins and with full purpose of heart turning to the Stronghold. 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 14

There are advance steps for us to take. There are selfish hearts, covetous hearts, that shut out the blessings of God. The time has come when the Lord requires more of us than merely the payment of the tenth. The message is to go forth, “Sell that ye have, and give alms.” [Luke 12:33.] Those who have large farms should begin to cut down and lessen the principal. There is earnest work to do for God, and we are far behind His opening providence. Recall all the mercies and blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon you and consider that He has made you stewards of His goods. Then let each one closely criticize himself and see if he is honoring the Lord with his substance. There are gratitude offerings, thank offerings, and sin offerings. Our obligation to God is endless. 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 15

The work of God must not languish for the want of means. God’s claims must have attention, and these claims must be discharged first, at whatever cost or sacrifice. God calls upon those who have farms and houses to cut down the principal and make advance moves to extend the work in foreign countries. There are also fields scattered throughout our own land that have not yet been entered. 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 16

John Wesley once gave a powerful sermon on the use of money; he laid down three rules: “Make all you can; save all you can; give all you can.” To handle much means without saving is improvidence; it is squandering. To hoard up money, adding land to land and house to house, is covetousness and idolatry. To make and to save is wisdom and economy. To give of this means acquired is obeying Christ. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” [Matthew 6:19, 20.] 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 17

Those who have not hitherto felt the claims God has upon them should now begin to act. God calls for all to act a part. Let every needless ornament, every extravagance, every selfish indulgence, be given up, and let these little outgoes, these little streams, flow into the Lord’s treasury. Let us remember continually what Jesus has done for us. He for our sakes became poor that we through His poverty might be made rich. Let us put all confidence in God, trusting ourselves and all we have in His hands. Let us do duty faithfully and then trust in God. He wants not only ours but ourselves. 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 18

None can do effectual service unless they do the work He has left for them to do and then leave the result wholly with the Lord. Oh, that those to whom have been entrusted so great and solemn truths would have corresponding faith! They should trust their work in the Lord’s hands, pleading upon their knees for wisdom and guidance, and then instead of taking the burden all back and seeking to plan and execute all themselves and groaning because they are overburdened, let them leave it with the Lord. Avoid a life of constant activity. You will thus find rest to your soul. That which you trust with Him you are not to worry or fret about. 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 19

Those who really trust to Him will find the rest He has promised, will find that His yoke is easy and His burden light. If the Lord had a company of workers who would rely wholly upon Him, He would accomplish a great work through them. One could chase a thousand and two would put ten thousand to flight. The Lord is a mighty helper. If we trust in Him we shall have peace and rest. 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 20

The language of the soul should be that of joy and gratitude. If any have dark chapters in their experience let them bury them. Let this history not be kept bright by repetition. Forgetting the things that are behind, press forward to the things that are before. Cultivate only those thoughts and those feeling which shall produce gratitude and praise. If you have been wronged, forget it, and think only of the great mercies, the loving-kindness, and inexpressible love of Jesus. Learn to praise rather than to censure. 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 21

If you meet with abuse and insult, do not be discouraged, for Jesus met the same. Go forward doing your work. Store the mind with the precious promises of God’s Word and hold communion with God by frequently repeating them. Cease fretting, cease murmuring, cease faultfinding, and make melody to God in your hearts. Think of everything you have to be thankful for and then learn to praise God. “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth God.” [Psalm 50:23.] Oh, if all our moanings and frettings and groanings and complainings and hard speeches were presented before us as written in the book of records, what a sight would be revealed to us! How astonished would we be to see and understand our real thoughts and feelings—nought but unhappy complainings. 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 22

Now I entreat of you never to utter one word of complaint, but to cherish feelings of gratitude and thankfulness. By so doing you will be learning to make melody to God in your hearts. Weave into your experience the warp and woof, the golden threads, of gratitude. Contemplate the better land, where tears are never shed, where temptations and trials are never experienced, where losses and reproaches are never known, where all is peace and joy and happiness. Here your imagination may have full scope. These thoughts will make you more heavenly-minded, will endue you with heavenly vigor, will satisfy your thirsty soul with rivers of living waters, and will set upon your heart the seal of the divine image. They will fill you with joy and hope in believing and will abide with you as a comforter forever. May the peace of God abide with you is my prayer. 4LtMs, Ms 9, 1883, par. 23