Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 85, 1886

Smith, Uriah

Copenhagen, Denmark

July 24, 1886

Portions of this letter are published in UL 219; 6MR 144.

Dear Brother Smith:

I received your letter while at Basel, and be assured I was much pleased to hear from you from Colorado; and I am pleased every time I hear from you away from your home engaged in labor, because I believe your discourses are needed and that they will do much good. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 1

I was pleased with the news contained in your letter. When so far away from America and with friends who cannot speak your own language, every epistle from old friends is as cold water to a thirsty soul. I think of you and your family, especially your wife, and pray for you that the blessing of the Lord may rest upon you all. Our acquaintance commenced many years ago, more than thirty years, I think; longer with your wife, about forty years. We can review the work, then small and bound about with poverty, and yet the word has come to us again and again, “Go forward.” [Exodus 14:15.] Amid discouragement and financial embarrassment of the cause, the same word has been sounded to us, “Go forward.” And now we look back and see all the way the Lord has led us step by step in advancement these many years, and yet the same voice is making itself heard, “Go forward.” 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 2

We have as a people been singularly led. There have been apostasies, there have been threatened dangers, there have been the deep plots laid by the adversary of souls, but still we are on the move “Forward.” There have been sins among us as among ancient Israel, but thank God we have had an open door which no man can shut. Men may say, “I forgive all the injuries you have done to me,” but their forgiveness would not blot out one sin; but the voice sounding from Calvary—My son, My daughter, thy sins be forgiven thee—is all efficacious. That word alone has power and awakens the gratitude in the grateful heart. We have a Mediator. There is but one channel of forgiveness and that channel is ever open, and through that channel a rich flood of divine mercy and forgiveness come pouring down to us. “The cleansing stream I see, I see,” and the greatest criminal may find pardon. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 3

Many have expressed wonder that God demanded so many slain victims in sacrificial offerings of the Jews, but it was to rivet in their minds the great and solemn truth that without shedding of blood there was no remission of sins. A lesson was embodied in every sacrifice, impressed in every ceremony, solemnly preached by their priests in holy office and inculcated by God Himself—this great truth that through the blood of Christ alone there is forgiveness of sins. How little we feel the force of this great truth as a people! How little, by living, acting faith, do we bring this great truth into our lives—that there is forgiveness for the least sin, forgiveness for the greatest sins. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 4

I wish I could present this matter before our people just as I view it—the great offering made in behalf of man. Justice asked for the sufferings of a man. Christ, equal with God, gave the sufferings of a God. He needed no atonement Himself. It was for man—all for man. All His sufferings were in our behalf, and accessible to us is His free pardon. The sufferings of Christ corresponded with His spotless purity. His depth of agony was proportionate to the dignity and grandeur of His character. Never shall we see and comprehend the intense anguish of the sufferings of the spotless Lamb of God until we feel how deep is the pit from which we have been delivered, how grievous the sin of which humanity is guilty, and by faith grasp the full and entire pardon. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 5

Here is where thousands are failing. They do not really believe that Jesus pardons them individually. They fail to take God at His word. He has assured us that He is faithful that hath promised to forgive us and be just to His own law. His mercy is not wanting in anything. Were there one defective link in the chain, then we are hopelessly ruined in our sins. But I would if I could sound the glad note to earth’s remotest bounds, “If any man sin we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” [1 John 2:1.] His mercy is full. The chain is perfect in all its parts. There is not one flaw in it, not one missing link. Oh, precious redemption! Why do we not bring this great truth more fully into our lives? How broad it is that God for Christ’s sake forgives us—me, even me—the moment we ask Him to, in living faith, believing that He is fully able to do this. He delights in mercy. Glorious truth: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” [1 John 1:9.] Just to His own law and yet the Justifier of all them that believe. Well may we exclaim with the prophet, “Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger for ever, because He delighteth in mercy.” [Micah 7:18.] 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 6

I wish that those who are so often in gloom, gathering the clouds of darkness about their souls, would just make it a business one hour of each day to search the Scriptures and string together the precious promises, as if they were precious pearls. Let them dwell especially upon the mercy and the forgiveness of sins. I think many who have walked under a cloud all their lives would open their eyes with amazement and view the channels of mercies from God rather than the clouds loaded with denunciations and wrath. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 7

We need, as a people, greater faith in Jesus Christ. We need to bring Him into our lives. Then we shall have peace. We shall have joy. We shall know by experience the meaning of the words of Jesus, “If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” [John 15:10.] Here our faith must come in to claim the promise that we abide in the love of Jesus. “These things I have spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is My commandment, That ye love one another as I have loved you.” [Verses 11, 12.] 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 8

Precious opportunities and privileges are granted to us to be a light and blessing to others, talking to them, revealing to them that you gather the sunbeams from heaven to your own soul by believing just what the Lord says. These precious rays of cheerful hope and peace and fulness of joy we can bring into our lives and in so doing into the lives of all with whom we associate. We will inspire hope in the place of strengthening unbelief. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 9

It is my privilege to feel that I am forgiven. It is the privilege of all who comply with the conditions to have an experimental faith, to know for themselves that Jesus does pardon. When we confess our sins, His word is pledged that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Put away unbelief, put away the suspicion that God does not mean these promises for you. They are for every sinner that repents, and you dishonor God by your unbelief. Let us pick up the precious pearls of promises in God’s Word, and in thus doing eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God. “My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.” “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” [John 6:55, 63.] “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” [John 1:14.] 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 10

Let those who have been in doubt only believe the words of Jesus fully, and henceforth there will be rejoicing in the blessedness of sins forgiven. They will have a practical experience of what it is to rely upon the sure Word of God. Having confidence toward God, relying upon the riches of mercy, we show that we honor God. And He declares, “Them that honor Me I will honor.” [1 Samuel 2:30.] 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 11

We keep the Saviour too far apart from our lives. We want Him abiding with us as an honored, trusted Friend. We want to consult Him in all things. We want to tell Him all our trials and then let His peace into our souls, and let our joy be full as we contemplate that this Jesus is our Saviour, that He has said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:20.] Let the peace and joy of heaven into our hearts, and let them be expressed by our lips. Let us make melody to God, and the sunshine of heaven will be reflected to others around us. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 12

I have arisen early, have written these four pages, and yet all are sleeping. I did not think to write just as I have done, but some way my heart is full of this matter. It comes right out without effort. I have had more peace and confidence in God and real heavenly joy within a few months than at any other period in my life. I know not as I shall ever see my home again in California. I do not know what is before me, but I have no anxiety. I trust my all—soul, body, and spirit—in the hands of God. He will keep that which I have committed to His trust against that day. I feel now that I want to lead every soul to that confidence, that faith, that will lead to the honoring of God by bringing all the heaven possible into their lives. The cold shadows have passed away; the precious light shineth. The Lord is good; His mercy endureth forever, are the words that are treasured in my heart and find utterance from my lips. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 13

The prophet of old asked, “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.” [Micah 6:6-8.] 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 14

In the light of divine revelation, through the atoning sacrifice we may see the glorious plan of redemption whereby my sins are pardoned and I am drawn near to the heart of Infinite Love. We see how God can retain all His justice and yet pardon the transgressor of His law. He can retain all His holiness and reveal it to us in greater glory in cleansing us from all sin. We are not simply forgiven, but accepted of God in the Beloved. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 15

The plan of redemption is not merely an escape from the penalty of transgression, that we may be tolerated in heaven as a forgiven culprit, pardoned and released from prison, one who is barely tolerated, but not admitted to friendship and trust. We are not to be thus in heaven—merely admitted. Such a reception would be all that we deserve, but unsatisfying. We want to be taken back to confidence and love, not only to be rescued from the curse, but to be welcomed as accepted children, to be blessed of God. And we shall be amply satisfied. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ has made ample provisions for every repenting, believing soul. We are saved because God loves the purchase of the blood of Christ; and not only will He pardon the repenting, believing sinner, but He will take us back—not only barely permit us to come into heaven, but He, the Father, will wait at the very entrance to welcome us, to give us an abundant entrance to the mansions of the blest. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 16

Oh what love, what wondrous love! In the gift of His beloved Son, the Father has shown His love for the fallen race, and through this sacrifice made a channel for the outflow of His infinite love, that all who will believe on Jesus Christ may be restored again to His favor. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 17

The parable of the prodigal son represents the way that God will deal with the erring who come back in repentance to Him again. Have we not grand themes for thought and a solid foundation for our faith? What more can we ask of God than that which He has given us? Love, infinite love in Jesus’ being our sacrifice. Believing on Him we will be obedient to all of God’s commandments, and we have life in Jesus Christ. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 18

Oh, what joy should fill the heart of the Christian, and what expressions of love should be heard from his lips! Jesus has died for me, making it possible for me to keep the law of God, His filling in the perfection where I cannot supply it. He is making an atonement for me, that I may be one with the Father. Then if I accept by faith this wonderful salvation, I shall never perish as a guilty transgressor of God’s holy, immutable law. Then why should we not have that earnest, living faith, that perfect confidence that in Christ we shall have eternal life? 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 19

Many fail to act upon this faith, and therefore God is dishonored. They go forth in the world, as if under a weight of woe and condemnation, when they might have peace and comfort, hope, and fulness of joy. Jesus brought into their life would make them happy indeed. Oh, why will we, when we have such expressions of God’s love to us, act as if we were continually suspicious of God? Well may He ask, What more could I do for My vineyard that I have not done in it? 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 20

Let us honor God by believing His Word implicitly. We have not a Saviour in Joseph’s new tomb and a great stone before the door of the sepulchre. Jesus is not dead. We have a Saviour who has risen from the dead, who is ascended up on high and ever liveth to make intercession for us. Be not weeping, like Mary, because they have taken away our Lord and we know not where they have laid Him. We know where Jesus is—in the presence of the Father to make intercession for us. We have a living Saviour. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 21

How can men live in transgression of God’s law and yet think that they can claim the virtues of the atoning sacrifice? Why cannot those who claim to understand the Scriptures see that the requirement God makes in grace is just the requirement that God made in Eden—perfect obedience to His law? In the retributive judgment, God will ask those who professed to be Christians, Why did you claim to believe in Jesus and continue to transgress My law? Who required this at your hands, to trample upon My rules of righteousness? “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” [1 Samuel 15:22.] 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 22

The gospel of good news was not to be interpreted by you, that henceforth man might live in continued rebellion against God by transgressing His just and holy law. The gospel is not law diluted or done away. The New Testament is not the Old Testament standard lowered to meet the sinner and save him in his sins. God requires of all His subjects obedience, entire obedience to His commandments. He demands now, as He has ever demanded, a perfect righteousness as the only title to heaven. Christ is our hope and our refuge. His righteousness is only imputed to the obedient. Through faith we must accept the righteousness of Christ, but no one will have any right to claim that righteousness who has dishonored God by trampling upon His holy law. Oh, that we might view the immensity of the plan of salvation! As obedient children to all God’s requirements, resting, believing, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ, our atoning sacrifice. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 23

We have been here in Copenhagen one week. The Lord has strengthened me to speak to the people twice at length and five times for one half an hour in our morning meetings for the benefit of those who anticipate giving themselves to the missionary work. Although I have to speak through an interpreter, yet my soul is often blessed, and I feel the power of the truth upon my own heart, and the blessing of the Lord rests upon those who hear. We have social meetings after prayer, and morning talks. The testimonies are interpreted to us, and I can see that these people have a similar experience to those in America. Some I think appreciate these simple talks as highly as do our brethren and sisters in America, although they do not come to them directly in their own language. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 24

Several have embraced the truth since we visited Copenhagen last fall. These we consider valuable if they only continue to follow on in their search of the Bible for the truth as it is in Jesus. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 25

Day before yesterday the Lord blessed us indeed with His Holy Spirit, as I made remarks from these words: “Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” [Romans 12:11.] 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 26

One intelligent-looking gentleman, a Dane, arose and made remarks like this: he said he had not found much good in Copenhagen. He had not visited Copenhagen for nine years, but he praised the Lord that he was permitted to be in this meeting. He had never heard such wonderful things before. He thought the time had come that is spoken of by the prophet, “I will pour out of My spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” [Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17.] 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 27

This man’s wife had kept the Sabbath for years, and was a devoted Christian, and he had opposed her bitterly. He stated he wished to be with this people. After meeting, his wife came and spoke to me in Danish, pointing to heaven. I could not understand her, but she grasped my hand and held it firmly. She kissed me again and again, thanking the Lord. Sister Matteson came as an interpreter and told me that she said she had manifested this freedom because she was acquainted with me through my writings which had been a great blessing to her. She hoped to meet me in heaven. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 28

We feel grateful for these tokens of good. There are precious ones who believe, here in Copenhagen. There has been a good interest from outsiders to attend our meetings. The hall has been filled evenings. We were glad to see the spirit of labor upon some here newly come to the faith. Some expressed great anxiety for the work in this large city. They appealed to us not to leave them and let the present interest die away. They importuned for someone to remain who would continue to present the truth. We know this should be thus, but who? Brother Matteson had his work arranged to go to Stockholm, that great city, to do what he can for them. Elder Olsen is to commence an effort with the tent in connection with his brother Edwin Olsen. This meeting is to be a special means of instruction to those who are just commencing to preach and do missionary work. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 29

I have been shown that much has been lost to the cause of God in not giving the workers thorough instruction as to how to do their work in a most thorough manner, freeing from the work all eccentricities and the peculiar traits of character of the worker, that a wrong mold shall not be given to the character of others who embrace the truth. If Elder Olsen can, with his experience and with the blessing of God, do this important work of teaching from five to ten men how to labor in a thorough, correct manner, then wherever these men shall labor, they will give to others the same lessons that have been given them, and the cause of God will be in a much more favorable condition every year. If one half of the strength and time expended in sermonizing had been devoted to thorough, systematic training of those who act any part in the work, there would be much greater success attending the efforts made by the workers, and the cause of truth would stand higher by fifty per cent than it stands today in many conferences in America. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 30

This work should be taken hold of as it has never been done heretofore. God will bless the efforts made in this direction. God is not pleased with some who have felt competent to enter the harvest field. Their own souls are defiled with sin, and God will not work with them, and He will not bless them. They are not diligent students of the Scriptures. They have no vital connection with God and are a curse to the cause of God. They mar God’s work whenever they touch it. They need the converting power of God, a cleansing of the soul temple. They need to understand the Scriptures. They have a runway of a few discourses, but that is all. We want special efforts made in these kingdoms to give the sacred work of God the divine mold by educating and training workers before they shall go out to labor for others. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 31

Elder Matteson has consented to remain and work here for some weeks. This is a great city, and how are they to be warned? This is the problem, with no more workers than we now have. It is a constant study, How shall we get the truth before the people in Europe? Why, we inquire, do not some of these nationalities who have received the truth in America become burdened over their countrymen and become missionaries for God? “They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” [Daniel 12:3.] 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 32

I have much more I desire to say, but will not weary you with my already long epistle. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 33

With much love. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 34

If you can use any part of this for the paper, you may do so. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 35

We would not love to live in this country, for the first of July the sun did not set before 9 o’clock, and rises at three. It is scarcely really dark all night. We do not feel like going to bed in broad daylight and remaining in bed when the sun shines brightly in the heavens, so our nights are cut short at both ends. In the winter we found the same difficulty with the shortness of the days. The sun set at little past three, and we did not see it in Christiania till about nine o’clock A. M. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 36

Six o’clock P. M. We have returned from meeting. The Lord gave me great freedom in speaking to the people. There were about seventy-five present, mostly Sabbathkeepers. Today has been a precious day to them. They seldom have such privileges. Many of them live twenty-five miles or more in the country. After I had spoken to them, many excellent testimonies were borne which were translated to us. Since we were here last fall, there have been four intelligent, substantial men who have come into the truth. Two have their families with them. One is a widower. One is a sea captain that I mentioned to you. He has borne today a good testimony. With quivering lips and tearful eyes he thanked the Lord for the blessings and light which the Lord had sent them from America. He said the light had gone from the east to the west, and now it was reversed; it was coming from the west back to the east. He said he thought he had light and was serving the Lord; but this truth had come to him, and it was greater light. And since this series of meetings had been held, he had received still greater light. The thought that Jesus would come personally to our world and we should see Him with our eyes was wonderful. It seemed a great truth and too good to be believed, but it must be so. He was grateful to God for His blessing. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 37

The one I mentioned who had opposed his wife spoke again today. He said he had attended the Sabbath school, and he never saw anything like it before. He had been a Baptist many years, but he never heard such ideas as since coming to these meetings, and when he returned home he would tell his Baptist brethren all about them. And then the words that had come to him through Sister White from America were wonderful. The power of God was in these meetings. Similar testimonies were borne by many. It was a feast to me to hear these intelligent testimonies. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 38

I am glad I came to Denmark the second time, although I did dread it so much. The Lord has blessed me every time I have spoken, and His blessing has rested on the hearers. We know now better how to help them here in these kingdoms. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 39

This letter was enveloped to send to you, but we had such a precious meeting, I wanted to tell you of it. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 40

P.S. This sea captain seems very much like Brother Bates, intelligent, noble in appearance. 4LtMs, Lt 85, 1886, par. 41