Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4

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Lt 5, 1883

Brethren

Battle Creek, Michigan

November 1883

This letter is published in entirety in 13MR 329-333.

Brethren:

Brethren, we are far behind in our missionary work, both at home and in foreign countries. We are a people who claim to believe solemn and sacred truth, and our works in proclaiming the truth should correspond to our profession. Great trouble will soon arise among the nations which will not cease until Jesus comes. The world is becoming more and more lawless. The churches are united in their efforts to restrict religious liberty. What are we as a people doing in this crisis? Are we purifying our souls by obedience to Christ’s words? Are we humbling our hearts before God and confessing our sins? Are we seeking with earnestness and contrition of soul Him who is the source of our strength? Are we claiming the promises, believing that Jesus pardons our transgressions and forgives our sins? Are we educating ourselves to overcome all temptation to murmur and complain? 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1883, par. 1

Brethren, as never before we need to press together, unitedly following with calm faith and confidence Him who has prepared His throne in the heavens and whose kingdom ruleth over all. God has not forsaken His people, and our strength lies in not forsaking Him. Christ died to redeem us. By the infinite price with which He ransomed us He has shown His love for us. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should believe in Him and have eternal life. 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1883, par. 2

With pity and compassion, with tender yearning,the Lord is looking upon His tempted and tried people. For a time the oppressors will be permitted to triumph over those who know God’s holy commandments. All are given the same opportunity that was granted to the first great rebel to demonstrate the spirit that moves them to action. It is God’s purpose that every one shall be tested and proved to see whether he will be loyal or disloyal to the laws which govern the kingdom of heaven. To the last, God permits Satan to reveal his character as a liar, an accuser, and a murderer. Thus the final [triumph] of his people is made more marked, more glorious, more full and complete. The words of the prophet will then be fulfilled, “The day of vengeance is in my heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.” [Isaiah 63:4.] The song of God’s people will be, “The Lord reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims, let the earth be moved. The Lord is great in Zion; he is high above his people.” [Psalm 99:1, 2.] 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1883, par. 3

Now and onward to the close of time the people of God should be wide-awake, not trusting in their own wisdom, but wholly in the wisdom of their Leader. They should set aside days for fasting and prayer. Entire abstinence from food should not be required, but they should deny themselves the food they usually enjoy and partake of [a] plain, simple diet. No one should lift up his soul unto vanity, walking in self-indulgence and pride, for this is a time that demands genuine humiliation and most earnest prayer. We are nearing the most important crisis that has ever come upon the world. If we are not wide-awake and watching, it will steal upon us as a thief. Satan is preparing to work through his human agencies in secrecy. 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1883, par. 4

There is in our churches a decided want of love for Christ and for one another. Christlike simplicity is looked upon as weakness. There is little clear spiritual discernment. Wrongs remain unconfessed. The transgression condemned in the law of God is on the increase in our borders. Sin is cherished, and the result is hardness of heart. Because those who are handling sacred things do not walk in the light, that light is becoming darkness to them, and how great is that darkness. They are making strange mistakes in reading character. Men who do not possess moral worth are exalted, while those who are endeavoring to seek the Lord and walk in His steps are not appreciated. This danger will become more and more apparent. We must awake to the perils that are opening around us. All Pharisaism, all self-righteousness must be separated from the soul. Then we shall realize that we need Christ’s righteousness, and we shall accept it by faith. 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1883, par. 5

In our conferences it is revealed that the brethren do not see eye to eye in understanding the Word of God. There is among us a manifest want of searching the Scriptures. We must know the reasons of our faith. The importance and solemnity of the scenes opening before us demand this, and on no account must the spirit of complaining be encouraged. Are you in danger of cherishing malice, bitterness, and wrath if plans are introduced that do not harmonize with your ideas? Is not this indulging a war spirit rather than a spirit of meekness and humility? Might you not better search the Scriptures together, with earnest prayer? 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1883, par. 6

Ever we need to manifest kindness and true courtesy. We may have to plead most earnestly before legislative councils for the right to exercise independent judgment, to worship God according to the dictates of our conscience. 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1883, par. 7

Thus in His providence God has designed that the claims of His Holy law shall be brought before men in the highest authority. But as we do all we can as men and women who are not ignorant of Satan’s devices, we are to manifest no bitterness of feeling. Constantly we are to offer prayer for divine aid. It is God alone who can hold the four winds until the angels shall seal the servants of God in their foreheads. 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1883, par. 8

The Lord will do a great work in the earth. Satan makes a determined effort to divide and scatter His people. He brings up side issues to divert minds from the important subjects which should engage our attention. Individually we are to feel the importance of uniting in the firm bonds of Christian fellowship. With one heart and mind we are to prepare for the conflict, with faith laying our petitions before the mercy seat. The throne of God is arched by the bow of promise, and the prayers offered in simplicity and faith will be heard. It is God’s glory to answer the supplications of His people. 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1883, par. 9

I have been instructed in regard to the danger of drawing apart. Let us leave to Satan and his agents the cruel world of accusing and faultfinding. Our work is to repent before God because of our unbelief and want of love for Him who died for us and for one another. The gold of love and faith is wanting in our ranks. Christ declares, “Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left they first love.” [Revelation 2:4.] 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1883, par. 10

Many are holding the truth only with the tips of their fingers. They have had great light and many privileges. Like Capernaum they have been exalted to heaven in this respect. In the time of test and trial that is approaching, they will become apostates unless they put away their pride and self-confidence, unless they have an entire transformation of character. 4LtMs, Lt 5, 1883, par. 11