Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 7, 1885

Bourdeau, Daniel

Healdsburg, California

February 10, 1885

Portions of this letter are published in UL 55; VSS 216.

Much Respected Fellow Laborer:

During the night I have had impressed upon me that you were in trouble. I was in your family, and you were talking extravagantly. You seemed to have no control over your words, your thoughts, or your actions. Said you, “I am done with Europe. I am going to America. I shall lose my life if I stay here. I am misjudged and unappreciated.” 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 1

You seemed to be in an abandonment of grief. I stepped up to you and, placing my hand upon your head, said, “Lord, this dear brother is not in his right mind. Satan thinks to have the control of this intellect, but Lord, forbid it! We rebuke the enemy in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.” I thought your agony passed away, and you said, “You then are not against me; you are my true friend.” I answered, “Brother Daniel, I have always been your friend.” Then a light broke over your countenance, and you said, “Jesus is my friend, and He will not suffer my feet to be moved.” I awoke, and this is what leads me to write to you not very long since God gave me this light in regard to your case. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 2

I have been shown that God has a work for you to do which you can do to His acceptance if you firmly rely upon the arm that is infinite. You must not think that God would have you bear the whole burden. The work is His. The cause is the Lord’s. He will take care of His own work. You have a vivid imagination, and you put much intensity into your work. This wears you. You must always remember that Jesus loves you, and He requires obedience rather than sacrifice. You can do a much greater and more efficient work if you will cultivate a calm trust in God and do not become anxious, and worried, and troubled, as though Jesus were buried in the sepulcher, and you had no Saviour. He has risen, Daniel, He has ascended to the heavens and is your Advocate before the throne of God. You may refer your requests to God, knowing that you have a faithful High Priest who will be touched with the feelings of your infirmities, for He has been tempted in all points like as we are. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 3

Do not feel that God is unmindful of you. He loves you and will give you rest and peace in Him. There is need of your exercising caution toward yourself. You are almost constantly overtaxing both the physical and mental powers because you allow yourself to feel too intensely. You would know just what advice to give another in your case. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 4

Sometimes one of your lengthy discourses might have far better effect upon the people if cut up in three discourses; and most generally you could do more good, and leave a better impression, if one half the time were given to preaching and the other half be used in visiting or to rest your vital organs. The people cannot digest so much at a time; their minds cannot grasp so much; they become weary and confused by having so much matter brought before them in one discourse. There are many of our ministers who err in this respect. Then the result upon themselves is not good. They become brain weary and pity themselves. They feel that they are carrying heavy loads for the Lord and having a hard time. They begin to look to their feelings, and remove their eyes from Jesus who is the Author and Finisher of their faith, and ponder over their painful feelings. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 5

Jesus does not want this sacrifice on their part. This high tone of voice is an expenditure of vital force which is all unnecessary and is a violation of the laws of health. It is not after God’s order. It not only worries the worker, but it wearies and annoys the people for whom he works, so that the interest is not kept till the close of the discourse, and two thirds of those long discourses are lost and the preacher is exhausted. The Lord does not work a miracle [to counteract what persons] do to themselves in their imprudent exercise of the powers He has given them. More than half of the preaching labor of the minister is lost in lengthy discourses. God has spoken to you on this point, but you do not obey His voice. You need to be a wiser steward over yourself. You need to guard D. T. Bourdeau, that he shall not do positive harm to himself in his labors and cut short his life. You must on this point reform. When this intensity of feeling is indulged and cherished; when the mind is kept on a constant strain and the voice wound up to a high pitch, a reaction is sure to come. You do not know how to let down. Your active brain invents more work, and the poor mortal body feels the strain and wear, and there is a depression corresponding to the high taxation put upon the powers. Do not allow yourself to make your labors unnecessarily severe. You tax yourself in writing as well as speaking. God does not want this. Work discreetly. Observe strictly the laws of health, and you will preach less and minister more. You will be fresh to do good work for the Master. Have fresh ideas and fresh manna to feed the sheep in Christ’s pasture. It is not wise to give them such a variety at one time that their minds cannot take in or comprehend the varied points placed before them. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 6

The Lord would have you reform in your manner of labor, that you may preserve to yourself physical strength and a well-balanced mind; that you may be a wise counselor, and that you may have a symmetrical character. There is a great work yet to be done in saving souls. The warning message has but just begun its work in Europe. Men who have had experience in the knowledge of the truth are scarce. Too much so for you to be sacrificed. Those who are ignorant of the truth were not to receive it in large morsels without giving them time to digest what they do hear, one following the other in quick succession. While some minds are quick to catch an idea, there are many who are slow to comprehend new and startling truths, which involve great changes and a cross at every step. Deal out the precious, weighty truths discreetly. God has delegated His servants to carry this solemn, important truth to all tongues and people. But He does not require any one worker to do the work of two men or to do two weeks’ work in one. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 7

The truth is so different in its character and work from the popular errors that are preached from the pulpit, that as it is brought before the people, it almost takes away their breath and senses. It is strong meat and should be dealt out judiciously; then those who listen, if you stop when you should, will be eager to hear more. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 8

God has made His messengers the depositories of His truth, weighty and important with eternal results. Light is to shine forth amid the moral darkness to reveal sin and error. The truth must be given point after point. It must be spoken distinctly and with clear utterance, making a few essential points; then it will be as a nail fastened in a sure place by the master of assemblies. The preacher should labor to carry the understanding and sympathies of the people with him. Do not place the crib too high where the people cannot follow. This would not be wise generalship in teaching the truth. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 9

There should be no efforts to go out of the way to attack other denominations. This creates a combative spirit and closes the ears and hearts to the entrance of the truth. We have our work to do. It is not to tear down, but make up the breach that has been made in the law of God. The nobler work is to build up, to present the truth in its force and power, and let it cut its way through prejudice and reveal the error in contrast with truth. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 10

No work should be left incomplete. Every man who preaches the truth should cultivate the qualities necessary as an educator. He is to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus, establishing the receiver of the truth firmly in the faith, leaving no part of the work incomplete; considering the greatness of the work, God would have His workers keep themselves in the very best condition of physical and mental health, that they may have mental clearness, calm nerves, a quiet, peaceful spirit like Jesus. He would not have them physical and mental wrecks. These teachers are representatives of Christ. They must cultivate a meek and quiet spirit, learning daily in the school of Christ. They must labor as though God were close by their side to do that which it is impossible for them to do. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 11

They are to work in God. “Without Me,” says the Saviour of the world, “ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 12

Every worker should have great care of the vital organs. Labor intelligently, using the precious gifts of God with an eye single to His glory, abusing none of their God-given faculties. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 13

When your efforts have been protracted to an unreasonable length, then comes a feeling of weariness, lack of vitality, and every part of the being cries out with pain and weariness. Your vocal organs cannot bear the strain that has been put upon them by long, loud talking and praying. You can with caretaking, with calm consideration, with self-control, working temperately, yet do a good work for the Master. But you should not go alone. I have been shown that you should unite your labor with your brother or some other preacher. Then you can be a help to each other if you will be entreated and listen to counsel. Neither should tax himself to the utmost limit, for you may be called out at any time to use your long experience to do a work to stand in vindication of the truth which will call for calm nerves, candid reflection, and sharp, forcible arguments. You should consider it a sin to waste your strength, for you can use it all to a wise purpose. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 14

Jesus wants two to be united in their ministerial efforts in teaching and educating the people whom they will bring into the faith. If your brother or some other minister labors with you, God wants you both to be cheerful, hopeful, and trustful, casting all your cares on Jesus and committing the keeping of your soul to Him, as to a faithful Creator, representing Jesus in character. Be strong, yea be strong in the strength of Jesus. The less you talk about yourselves the better will be your influence. Meekness and lowliness are the lessons to daily learn in the school of Christ. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 15

Do not either of you feel that the whole weight and burden of the cause rests upon your souls. Jesus is the great burden-bearer. He is your helper. He says, “Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 16

Jesus will work with your efforts if you take counsel of Him. I was shown that He was looking upon you with the tenderest compassion. He saw you distrustful. He saw Satan tempting you and magnifying your trials before you. If in pain, you thought these were to you the precursors of your speedy dissolution. This is the enemy’s work. You may resist him. You may be conqueror. God wants you to be cheerful; to be free; to be happy; to be trustful, saying, with Paul, “These light afflictions which are but for a moment work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are unseen are eternal.” [2 Corinthians 4:17, 18.] 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 17

Every one of your trials is God’s workman; and if borne with patience, they are preparing for you a recompense of reward; and you should be of good courage, patient under them. You are in a hard field, but you are where God would have you. You had no rest in spirit until you went across the water to this European field. Do not let the enemy outgeneral you now. There is a work to be done, but in order to do the work you will be surprised if I tell you that you must work less. You must husband your vital forces in order to accomplish more and better work. You must not go on your own independent judgment, but counsel with your American brethren, for they will be to you a strength rather than a depressing power. Work in harmony, and do not look to yourself or talk of your grievances. Look to Jesus. Think less and less of yourself and more and more of Jesus. Do not think that the whole cause must be embraced by your arms. Talk less of self and more of Jesus and His sufferings, His great sacrifice. Jesus loves you. He wants you to be happy. He loves your family; but they need to exercise caution and never bring grievances before you, nor a complaint against anyone. There are nerves of the brain that are worn, and these particular nerves are exercised when anything like another’s wrongdoings are presented to your mind. Then you begin a train of thought which is most painful, most distressing; and you concentrate your active brain on these things until small matters grow to gigantic proportion, and you will do or say something to wound yourself and others. You will mar the work of God and lessen your influence. Your brethren do not know your peculiar temperament, therefore they will not know what these things mean. They will not know how to handle your case. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 18

The followers of Jesus will have an experience as Christ had in the wilderness of temptation. And especially those who engage in work for the Master, to rescue souls from the snare of Satan. Those who engage to do the work that Christ came to do will feel the assaults of Satan as did Jesus. They will know something of Christ’s experience in the wilderness of temptation. Christ overcame Satan for us; so may His followers through the grace of Jesus. No one must feel that he is abandoned of God because he is subject to sore temptations. When you remain unshaken by Satan’s temptations, he will leave you; and if steadfast, angels will minister unto you as they did to Jesus. There is no comfort equal to that which Christians enjoy when the tempted soul has patiently suffered and Satan has been vanquished. They have boldly borne witness for Jesus, relied wholly upon the Word of God, “It is written,” and thus resisted every advance of Satan till they have beaten him back as did Jesus in the wilderness of temptation. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 19

Let us in no case depreciate one because he is severely tempted and the billows seem to go over his head. We must remember that Jesus was sorely tempted in all points like as we are, and for the reason that He might succor all who should be tempted, that He might become a faithful High Priest. Let us remember that Jesus identifies His interests with His tempted suffering ones. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 20

When the servants of God are tried and tempted; when they are disappointed in obtaining human sympathy, they may remember Jesus in His hour of greatest agony in Gethsemane. His disciples did not watch with Him one hour. Sleep overpowered their senses. Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. The King of glory, the Son of the everlasting Father, left His royal throne, clothed His divinity with humanity, and became a man of sorrows. No man’s trials or sacrifices could compare with that which His suffering spirit endured. The majesty of heaven walked through midnight blackness, and for what? “Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame.” [Hebrews 12:2.] It was to redeem fallen man. It was that He might bring many sons and daughters to glory that an overwhelming weight of woe was upon Him. He suffered rejection, coldness, contempt of those He came to bless and humiliated Himself to save them. He suffered weariness, persecution, buffeting, loneliness, anguish, betrayal, and crucifixion. The whole flood tide of human woe was gathered to His soul. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 21

The followers of Jesus need not be amazed if they are made partakers with Christ of His sufferings. How can Christ look upon those for whom He has done so much, for whom He has paid so infinite a price, and yet they have never appreciated His great gift for them? The work of Christ’s representatives will be similar to that of their Redeemer. They are not to look to self or trust in self. They are not to place too high an estimate upon their own efforts. And when they see that others do not regard their efforts as highly as they themselves estimate them, they become to feel that their labors might as well cease. But this is the work of the enemy. We live not to men, but to God. God estimates our work at their fullest value. God estimates nobility of character; and whether men appreciate it or not, it lives after the man is gone. After man has nothing more to do with anything under the sun, the example he has set, the golden words he has spoken live through all time and through all eternity. This influence which was after the divine pattern never dies. His life has been connected with God. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 22

We all have a personal influence, and our words and actions leave an indelible impress. It is our duty not to live for self, but for the good of others; not to be controlled by feelings, but to consider that our influence is a power for good or evil. God would have His workmen be that which David charged Solomon to be: “Show yourself a man.” [1 Kings 2:2.] In our associations with men we are bound by the law of Jehovah to influence them in the direction of good. This power of personal influence must be felt on others. The law of God requires that we love our fellow men as we love ourselves. Then every power and action of the mind must be to that end to do the greatest amount of good. To overdo cripples the powers God has given us, wearies and disables us so that much less good is done than might be accomplished if we work intelligently. Had all the powers been treated considerately, what a precious work might have been done. How pleasing to the Giver for man to hold the royal gifts of the soul so that they shall tell with power upon others. It is the connecting link between God and man and reveals the spirit of Christ and the attributes of heaven. The power of holiness, seen but not boasted of, speaks more eloquently than the most able sermons. It speaks of God, it opens to men their duty more powerfully than the language of tongues. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 23

God wants His ministers to communicate that which is heavenly and divine, for they are representatives of Him. God has designed that the power of influence shall be of heavenly birth. We shall be either a light to cheer, to illume, or a tempest to destroy. God is not pleased that any one of His representatives shall worry, weary and wear themselves out, so that they shall not diffuse the sweet fragrance of heaven in their lives. We have but one life to live. Jesus has come to our world to teach us how to live that life, that we may represent the character of heaven. We must never grow faint-hearted, for it will be far worse for ourselves and for others within the reach of our influence. God requires us to behave with dignity under trials and temptations. The Man of sorrows, who was acquainted with grief, is before us as our example. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with My Father in His throne.” [Revelation 3:21.] 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 24

Brother Daniel, you need no urging to do more work, but you do need help. I was shown that experienced laborers were greatly needed in the European field to give mold and character to the work. Brother Augustin Bourdeau should be guarded not to take himself from the work to serve tables. He has too often bound upon himself burdens which prevented him putting his energies into the work. He should consecrate his powers and ability to God to save perishing souls. These brothers are the only experienced workers who understand French, therefore there is a large field for their labors if they will work intelligently in the strength of God. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 25

The light and privileges that you both have had lay you under contribution to God to use this light to bless others. In the past it has sometimes been the case that Bro. Augustin did not cling to an interest with that perseverance and zeal to bind off his work completely and thoroughly so that he could present every man perfect in Christ. He should encourage less devotion to temporal things and more thought and deep earnestness in eternal things. If the enemy can create things to draw you away from your work, he will be diligent in this kind of business. But if he sees that he cannot obtain power over you to draw you away from an urgent interest, that you will not leave your work to ravel out, but will bind it off, then he will not work that device any longer. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 26

God’s work is to be primary; other interests secondary. Satan is playing the game of life for the souls of men, and God’s ministers must watch for souls and work faithfully to repulse the enemy and gain the victory. We have need of wisdom, sharp thoughts, and a better knowledge of Satan’s devices, that he will not, right before our eyes, accomplish the ruin of precious souls. We have a source of strength that is at our command, and we need not become discouraged or be driven from the field through Satan’s devices. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 27

Your family, Bro. Daniel, must keep disagreeable things from you, for the very relating of them magnifies them to your mind. Now Jesus knows your every weakness, and He pities and will help you. The work is great in Europe, and you may act a part in it if you will take hold of the strength and mighty power; and Jesus will help you. You have precious ability if wisely employed. Jesus will recognize you as a co-laborer with Him in the great work if you will stay your soul upon Him. Your motive will be questioned. You will meet with disappointment. Christ endured all this. Consider Him who endured the contradiction of sinners against [Himself] lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 28

Look up, my brother; in the name of Jesus I bid you look up. Do not look at yourself; do not talk doubts. Talk faith, hope, and courage, and Jesus will bring you off more than conqueror. But you, my brother, and your brother Augustin dwell too much upon yourselves. You, my brethren, need to lie low at the feet of Jesus. Daniel does too much, while Augustin needs to weave into his work more life and spirit. His temperament is more sluggish and needs the quickening influence of the Spirit of God. He needs a greater earnestness and more vitality to represent the importance of the truth to the people. Brother Augustin must not have his interest divided. Both of you, my brethren, will show wisdom in not talking of yourselves. Bro. Augustin, you need to be more thoroughly devoted to the work. You allow small things to draw you away from the work. You have need to concentrate your mind upon your ministerial duties. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 29

Be cautious in your labors, Brethren Bourdeau, not to assail the prejudice of the people. There is danger of our ministers’ saying too much against the Catholics and provoking against themselves the strongest prejudices of the Roman Catholic power. The power of the priest over his charge is great, and difficult to break. There are many souls in the Roman Catholic faith who are looking with interest to this people. If the priest can prejudice the people with his stay-away arguments, he will do so. When the truth is uttered against the fallen churches, their ministers will make that an excuse to warn their people not to attend, to hear the truth. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 30

As an interest is about to close up, be careful not to ripen it off too suddenly, but keep the confidence of the people, if possible, that souls who are in the valley of decision may find the true path, the way, and the life. As laborers together with God we are provided with spiritual weapons, mighty to the pulling down of the strong hold of the enemy. Ever preserve the love of Jesus, presenting the truth as it is in Jesus. 4LtMs, Lt 7, 1885, par. 31