Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Ms 35, 1885

Sermon/The Use of Means

Stockholm, Sweden

October 19, 1885

This manuscript is published in entirety in 19MR 133-140. +Note

[First portion missing.]

... [Even though] lofty trees that know nothing should be destroyed, and this beautiful earth should be broken up, they would not believe that message. But if they had, it would have been for their salvation. They had separated so far from God that they did not hear His voice. 4LtMs, Ms 35, 1885, par. 1

The ark was built upon dry land; Noah walked by faith; and when the time came and they saw the beasts, two by two, going into the ark, and the heavens darkened by the fowls that were going two by two into the ark, these were they that were obedient to God; but man was not obedient, but the beasts and fowls were finding a place of refuge; yet notwithstanding this wonderful sight, still the people were unbelieving, and at last God bade Noah and his family to go into the ark, and He shut them in. 4LtMs, Ms 35, 1885, par. 2

There they remained one week enclosed in the ark before it began to rain. How then did these wicked men mock and deride those in the ark. Was it not a trial of their faith to be shut in there for one week and yet have no rain? But after seven days it began to rain. Up to this time there had been no rain, there had a mist arisen to water the earth; but as the rain began to fall slowly at first, then more came, they began to inquire, What shall this come to? And at last the heavens were opened and the rain poured down in torrents, and then every one began to be swept away; but the ark floats upon the troubled waters. What would the inhabitants of the world have given then could they have had a place within the ark. As the heavy clouds were over them pouring down their torrents of rain, the inhabitants of the old world began to climb to the tops of the mountains, but the water reached to the tops of the highest trees, and they were swept into the boiling deep. 4LtMs, Ms 35, 1885, par. 3

Then we read, “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be when the Son of man shall be revealed.” [Luke 17:26, 30.] The wicked will be destroyed, not by water, but by fire. But before the Son of God shall come, He sends the warning that He is soon to come to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth also shall disclose her blood and shall no more cover her slain. Now Christ says that just before His coming such a state of things will exist as existed in the old world. They did not repent before God, but went right on eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not till the flood came and took them all away. Well, is it a sin to eat or drink? When we carry it to excess it is a sin. When we carry the marrying and giving in marriage to excess this is also a sin. 4LtMs, Ms 35, 1885, par. 4

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to save mankind from perishing. He has placed heaven within their reach, and thus He has claims upon every man. He has given them His commandments to observe; and although they may ignore His claims, yet they cannot throw them off; it is His law that is to govern heaven and earth. And when they forget God and serve themselves, the fear of God is not before them, and sin to them is not sin. Iniquity prevails, and just before the appearing of the Son of man in heaven Satan will appear to attract men, and if it were possible he would deceive the very elect. Here are the transgressors of God’s law, and Satan who was the first transgressor, leading them on. Can you wonder that iniquity prevails everywhere? And just prior to the coming of the Son of man, their minds are employed in eating and drinking, and marrying and giving in marriage, and heaven is put out from their minds. 4LtMs, Ms 35, 1885, par. 5

Look at the state of things as they exist today. How little thought of God or heaven there is among the people. Entire families are brought up with no knowledge of God. And your children, that God has given you, what are you doing for them? Are you bringing them up in the fear of the Lord? These little children can be educated from their very babyhood to love and honor God; and if you train them in this way, then you will see that God is helping you in your feebleness. In the morning you want to teach your children that God is your trust. Teach them that they are living for the future immortal life, and not for this world. You want to bring God into your house and family. You want to feel that not one impatient word will be uttered in your family. You want to carry an influence that is heavenly and act as though you believed that Christ is coming. Many act as though riches were indispensable. Why riches cannot save your soul. Looks cannot save your soul. It is a humble confession of all your sins that will bring you into favor with your heavenly Father. 4LtMs, Ms 35, 1885, par. 6

Are you using [what] God has given you to advance His work? Oh, how ungrateful are the children of men! They act just as the inhabitants of the old world. They allow the blessings that God has given them to separate them from Him; and the more He entrusts to them, the more they forget Him. He has put means into your hands to advance His cause, and you use it to your own glory? Jesus came into the world and became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. Listen to His words, “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 and steal; for where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19-21. 4LtMs, Ms 35, 1885, par. 7

We have had an opportunity in California of seeing the result of men’s making riches their hope. One day a man would be a millionaire and the next day a beggar. They were trading in stocks; and when they would fail, they had not courage to live and would put an end to their lives. How much better it would have been had they laid up treasures in heaven. Now God wants men who have riches to appropriate them to His cause. They are not theirs, they are only lent them by trust. 4LtMs, Ms 35, 1885, par. 8

And this is the way we have felt with the means that God has placed in our hands. We believed the message. We believed the warning that Christ was soon to come, and we felt such an earnest longing for those in sin that we were willing to make almost any sacrifice. We have known what poverty is, and it was the best experience of our lives. I have fainted more than once or twice with my children in my arms, for want of bread. 4LtMs, Ms 35, 1885, par. 9

As we went from place to place to proclaim the Word of God, we suffered with heat and with cold; but God sustained us in the work, and at last He began to bring the means in for the work. When this means came in we found many places for it. But affliction came into our house. My husband became a paralytic, but our prayers went up to God, and He raised him to health again. This long affliction brought us to want again. But the Lord told us what to do. 4LtMs, Ms 35, 1885, par. 10

We had a home; and as we found those who were in affliction and had no home, we would open our home to them and let them share our comforts. One widow came to me and said, “I don’t know what to do with my children, I cannot make them obey me.” There was a wealthy man living by her side, and at one time he took me out to show me his buildings and he said, “I have not room for all my goods.” Then he said, “I do not know what will become of that poor widow across the way, another winter she will have to suffer.” I turned to him and said, “What about your granaries, has not God given you this to help the widow and the fatherless?” Well how many are just as thoughtless as that? 4LtMs, Ms 35, 1885, par. 11

I went to the widow and told her that I would take the girl. I did so, and afterwards here came the boy, walking forty miles to our home. Well this is how we got our means; as God saw the use we made of the means He gave us, He intrusted us with more. My husband was a financier. I made the statement last night that we had invested $30,000 in the cause, and this is the way we have done it; when we saw a place where the cause needed means, we would hand it out. When we went over to the Pacific Coast, many were raised up to obey God, and then we wanted means to build a meetinghouse; but the people were poor, so we sent over to Michigan, telling them to sell all that we had; and there we invested our means, and a meetinghouse was built in San Francisco and [another in] Oakland. Often when returning from a long journey, we would look to see if our house had burned down in our absence. And my husband would say, “Never mind if the house does burn, we have a treasure laid up in heaven.” 4LtMs, Ms 35, 1885, par. 12

Now I cannot afford to use my means for my own glory; I want it invested to God’s glory. When the mission started in Basel, the word came we must have means. I had received from a sister a silk dress. This I sold and sent $50.00 to help the mission. And when my good sisters knew what I had done, they followed my example, and the sum was made up. Instead of putting my means on my own body, I would rather it would go to the widow and fatherless to clothe them. And now the reason we have been able to deposit this in God’s treasure: it is because of the benevolence of God, and yet we have some little property left. And since I have seen the missions in such great need, my letters have gone to Healdsburg, California, telling them to sell my house and furniture and send the means over, that I can dispose of it to help these missions. 4LtMs, Ms 35, 1885, par. 13

This is the way we have been working ever since we have had a part in this work. I want you to understand that because God has given us means, we have tried to use it to His glory. I do not feel that anything I have is my own; and when I go to the store to buy anything, I question, Cannot I do without this and put the money into the cause? I repeat it again and again to myself, “Jesus for my sake became poor. He had not where to lay His head, and then shall I who am the subject of His grace have a better time than He?” [2 Corinthians 8:9; Matthew 8:20.] 4LtMs, Ms 35, 1885, par. 14

We should not be like the people of the Noachian world to have our minds all engrossed in eating and drinking, and marrying and giving in marriage. Christ is soon to come, and who is ready to meet Him? Have you felt for the young around you? Have you given your means to send the truth to the far-off heathen? and overlooked the very ones right by your door? Here are souls right around us that we might save if we would give them our help. We want to watch our opportunities to give help to souls. How many of us while gossiping might take the Bible and give a knowledge to precious souls? We must meet the record of our lives in the judgment. Christ says, “Love one another as I have loved you.” [John 13:34.] Do we manifest that love for souls in darkness that Christ manifested for us? Will we take the bread of life and eat it in silence when souls are perishing around us? 4LtMs, Ms 35, 1885, par. 15

Christ is coming; prepare for His coming, if you would be without spot or blemish; then take up the work, and Jesus will help you. He is the propitiation for our sins. He is shedding His blood for us tonight. When I see the youth, my heart goes out after them. They want some one to lead them. I am astonished at the churches of today. We want home missionaries. We want those who are willing to deny themselves for Christ’s sake. We want those who are wide-awake for Jesus, that will labor for souls as those that must give an account. We are responsible for the great light that shines upon our pathway, and we inquire, What are you doing with this light? It is your duty to place yourself in right relation to God, that He can give you more light. 4LtMs, Ms 35, 1885, par. 16

The end of all things is at hand; are we ready to meet Christ when He shall appear? Will He say to us, “Come ye blessed of My Father, enter into the city”? [Matthew 25:34; Revelation 22:14.] When we see the great reward that is in store for the faithful, how our hearts should reach out after others, that they may receive the light. You know not how many hearts are really thirsting for the waters of life, but here is the Bible to open before them. Will you do it? Will you act like men and women that expect the Lord to come? Will you have living faith and pray as never before? Will you wrestle with God as Jacob wrestled with Him? “I will not let You go except Thou bless me.” [Genesis 32:26.] And when His blessing rests upon you, you will be anxious to have others receive it. 4LtMs, Ms 35, 1885, par. 17

Well, the day will come when God will come to take vengeance upon those who know Him not, and we want you to be ready. We want eternal things to have some weight upon your minds. We want you to have on the robes of righteousness, that Christ will bestow His blessing upon you. And He says, I will lead you unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from your eyes. [Revelation 7:17.] Now my brethren and sisters, if you do have that living faith in Christ, He will give you a faith and hope that the world cannot give or take away. 4LtMs, Ms 35, 1885, par. 18