Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4

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Lt 17, 1886

NA

NP

December 1, 1886

Portions of this letter are published in TMK 301; TDG 349; 1MCP 104.

My dear:

I earnestly pray that the Lord will give you His grace and His wisdom to take a right view of matters. The enemy is on the track of every one of us; and if we would resist temptations which assail us from without and from within, we need to make sure we are on the Lord’s side, that His truth is in our hearts, that it keeps watch in our souls, ready to sound an alarm and summon us to action against every enemy. Without this defense amid unseen foes we shall be like the willow bending to blast, driven of the wind and tossed. But if Christ abides in the soul we may be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 4LtMs, Lt 17, 1886, par. 1

It is the simple truth of God, the uniting the soul to Christ, that elevates, ennobles, and refines the character. Oh, how certain it is that folly is natural to men. The truth of God obeyed, the living by every word of God, is alone sufficient to make any of us stand in these evil times. Satan is playing the game of life for the soul. There is only one power that can make us steadfast and keep us. The grace of God in truth you must realize, the claims of God upon you you should have learned by this time. You cannot serve God and mammon. 4LtMs, Lt 17, 1886, par. 2

There are opportunities and advantages which are within the reach of all to strengthen the moral and spiritual powers. The mind can be expanded and ennobled and should be made to dwell upon heavenly things. Our powers must be cultivated to the uttermost, else we shall fail of meeting God’s standard. Unless it flows in a heavenward direction, it becomes an easy prey to the temptation of Satan to engage in worldly projects and enterprises that have no special connection with God. And all zeal and devotion and restless energy and feverish desire are brought into this work, and the devil stands by and laughs to see human effort wrestling so perseveringly for an object that it will never gain, which eludes its grasp. But if he can keep them infatuated with the baseless delusion that they will give strength of brain and bone and muscle to the objects they never will realize, he is gratified, for the powers of mind that belong to God, that God claims, are diverted from the right aim, the proper objects. Especially so it is in your case. 4LtMs, Lt 17, 1886, par. 3

To be independent and self-reliant in some respects is duty which we owe to ourselves. But here, where the enemy will come in with his delusive snares, pride takes the place of humility. And when you or I trust to our own resources, our own wisdom, and seek counsel of our own heart, then certain disappointment, shame, and confusion will be our portion at last. We are in a fair way to triumph only when we are closely connected with God and have on the whole armor of righteousness. If we are having, and living, and working with an eye single to the glory of God, we shall realize a Saviour’s love and have a sure defense. But if you bury yourself up in business, or engage in care and burdens that do not pertain to or have connection with the work of God, you are surely and steadfastly withdrawing yourself from spiritual, holy, ennobling influences. The deceitful heart within is constantly excusing a neglect of heavenly contemplations and earnest prayer, and an ensnaring worldly spirit enshrouds the soul like a cloud of darkness which will prove your ruin at last. The truth as it is in Jesus has been kept apart from the life. Schemes and projects which Satan invents ensnare the soul, and poor, deceived human beings go on blindfolded to their own ruin. 4LtMs, Lt 17, 1886, par. 4

It is essential that you feel the power of the truth as well as to believe it. It should have a steady, abiding influence upon the mind. But dream-like projects are favored and bar the way to deep and thorough heavenly principles. The things of this life have the precedence of the interest pertaining to the future, immortal life. The common and earthly deaden the senses of the eternal. There is one safeguard against Satan’s deceptions and snares: that is the truth as it is in Jesus. The truth planted in the heart, nourished by watchfulness and prayer, nourished by the grace of Christ, will give us discernment. The truth must abide in the heart, be felt in its power in spite of all the alluring enchantments of Satan, and your experience and mine must be that the truth can purify, guide, and bless the soul. Satan is watching for your soul. He would tempt you to make your own opinions and judgment your guide. A rash act, a rash word, hasty conclusions, pride, and independence may inflict a wound upon the soul, or a blemish upon the character, that will so weaken your influence that your usefulness will be destroyed and place you where you cannot become a channel of light to others. 4LtMs, Lt 17, 1886, par. 5

I tell you, if you would be a Christian at all, you must be a Christian under all circumstances; then, through Christ, you are safe in being a humble, living Christian at all times and in all places. Lightness and trifling, jesting and joking, cheap talk will be painful to you. Your straight, consistent course may win souls to Jesus. God help you that you may not miss heaven, for it will be a terrible loss. 4LtMs, Lt 17, 1886, par. 6