Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Lt 91, 1887

Kellogg, Brother and Sister J. H.


January 1, 1887

Portions of this letter are published in UL 15; OHC 10; HP 245; ML 338.

Dear Brother and Sister:

I wish you a happy New Year. The old year with its burden of record has passed into eternity. Now let every thought, every feeling be that of remembrance of God’s love. Let us gather up one token after another. 5LtMs, Lt 91, 1887, par. 1

We may visit some beautiful garden and look upon the opening buds and blooming flowers with delight; the very tints and grateful fragrance we enjoy. These we regard as an expression of God’s love, and love and gratitude spring up in our hearts to the gracious Giver as we behold them as a whole. But as we go close to these precious ministers’ speaking to our senses of the love of God, as we bend over them one by one and mark their variety and loveliness, as we inhale their perfume, we take in their preciousness, and feelings are awakened in our hearts of trust and confidence in that Saviour who has said, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” [Matthew 6:28, 29.] These precious flowers were given us of God to teach us lessons of perfect trust and confidence in Him. 5LtMs, Lt 91, 1887, par. 2

As with the flowers, so with the promises of God. We look at them as a whole, presented to us in God’s Word, and we find comfort and hope and joy as they speak to us words from the lips of the Infinite One. But to know and appreciate these precious utterances of God we must view them more critically, taking them in detail. How many precious joys we might bring into our life. How much real goodness into our character if we would make these promises our own. 5LtMs, Lt 91, 1887, par. 3

The evidence we have of God’s care and love for us is expressed in the lessons Christ gave to His disciples upon the things in nature. God does so much for the flowers that have not souls. He makes them so perfect, so lovely which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven. How much greater is His care and His love for those who will trust Him continually. 5LtMs, Lt 91, 1887, par. 4

The eye is not to be fastened upon deformity, upon the curse, but upon the riches of the grace of Christ that have been provided so abundantly, that we may live in this world and act our part in the great web of humanity, and yet not be of the world. As pilgrims, as strangers looking for the bright things of God, the joy that is set before us, seeking a city whose builder and maker is God, and by beholding the provisions made for us, the mansions Jesus has gone to prepare for us, talking of the blessed home, we forget the annoyances and the fretting cares of this life. We seem to breathe in the very atmosphere of that better, even the heavenly, country. We are soothed, we are comforted; we are more than this, we are joyful in God. 5LtMs, Lt 91, 1887, par. 5

We could not know the gracious purposes of God toward us but for the promises, for it is from them alone we learn what He has prepared for those who love Him. As the flowers in God’s wise economy are constantly drawing the properties from earth and air to develop into the pure and beautiful buds and flowers and give forth their fragrance to delight the senses, so shall it be with us. We draw from God’s promises all that peace, that comfort, that hope that will develop in us the fruits of peace, joy, and faith. And by bringing these promises into our own life, we bring them always into the lives of others. Then let us appropriate these promises to ourselves. 5LtMs, Lt 91, 1887, par. 6

Should these promises be blotted from the Word of inspiration, it would be like blotting out the sun from heaven, we should have nothing to gladden our earth. So with God’s promises; they are like the precious flowers in the garden of God. They are to awaken our hope and expectation and lead us to a firm faith and reliance upon God. They are to strengthen us in trouble and teach us precious lessons of trust in God. He in these precious promises draws back from eternity and gives us a glimpse of the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Let us then be quiet in God. Let us calmly trust in Him and praise Him that He has shown us such revelations of His will and purposes that we shall not build our hopes in this life, but keep the eye upward to the inheritance of light and see and sense the amazing love of Jesus which is expressed to us in the beautiful things of nature in His unerring Word. 5LtMs, Lt 91, 1887, par. 7

He has given us precious promises to cheer and bless His people, that they may believe how great is His love toward them, and that they may consider Him their Almighty Friend in every trial, in every temptation. His loving kindness should call forth full and grateful response from our hearts. This love that is without a parallel reaches not only into the future life, but it is brought into the present life. As I consider these things, my heart bounds with gladness on this, the first day of the New Year, 1887. 5LtMs, Lt 91, 1887, par. 8

I see that God scatters blessings all along our path, but if we will not gather the precious fragrant flowers and be happy, but will pass them by and grasp the thistles and thorns which sting and wound us, then we shall talk of the bruises we have received and feel that we were hard used because there were thistles and thorns. We may weep and groan and mourn and stumble at every step if we choose, or we may gather up the precious, fragrant flowers and rejoice in the Lord for His goodness in making our path to heaven so pleasant. 5LtMs, Lt 91, 1887, par. 9

God scatters blessings all along our path to brighten our journey and lead our hearts out to love and praise Him, and He wants us to draw water from the well of salvation, that our hearts may be refreshed. We may sing the songs of Zion, we may cheer our own hearts, and we may cheer the hearts of others; hope may be strengthened, darkness turned to light. God has not left us in a dark world as pilgrims and strangers, seeking a better country, even an heavenly, without giving us precious promises to lighten every burden. The borders of our path are strewn with fair flowers of promise. They blossom all around, sending forth rich fragrance. 5LtMs, Lt 91, 1887, par. 10

It is our safe course if we desire happiness to not seek it in selfish amusement. This will divert our thoughts for a time. It is not wise to seek diversion in study, taxing the mental powers, for cares press more heavily as we return to burden ourselves afresh. We must look to Jesus who is the light of life. It is not what is around us, but what is in us; not what we have, but what we are that makes us really happy. We want a cheerful fire on the altar of our own hearts, then we shall view everything in a happy, cheerful light. We may have the peace of Christ. I want to send it to all our people: Jesus lives, His hand is upon the helm. This life will not be the Christian’s summer, but it is his winter. But we have the sunbeams of Christ’s righteousness. 5LtMs, Lt 91, 1887, par. 11

What we fail to receive in this life, if we will be obedient, trustful in God, as a child in its simplicity trusts its earthly parent, we shall have peace. Not the peace that the world gives, but that peace which Jesus gives. Jesus is dishonored when we worry and fret, because it shows that we trust to our own finite powers and not in Him. He who has died for us shows that He loves us. What this life may be we can scarcely conceive because of our want of faith and looking unto Jesus. Comfort, encouragement, and support have been provided for us for every circumstance and every condition. Jesus assures us His grace is sufficient. Today we have His grace, tomorrow we are placed in new circumstances of trial; but the promise stands fast: As thy day, so shall thy strength be. [Deuteronomy 33:25.] Jesus knows us by name. Promises are on every side. 5LtMs, Lt 91, 1887, par. 12

There is no burden that we have to bear that Jesus is not by our side to lift from us its heaviest weight. Yes, life, this life has much brightness in it if we will gather the flowers and let the briers and thistles alone. How helpless we are without God’s help. Bless His holy name. If we are Christ’s, there is no temptation, no trial which we may not bring to Jesus. The good hope of eternal life, how precious. The star in the East will guide us as it did the wise men, that we may find Him whom our souls love. It is a hard thing to endure unto the end, for duty involves a cross. Selfishness will have to be put away in all its varied croppings out. Distraction and cares confuse and dishearten, but there is light above. Look up. The unfailing promises of God will keep your heart in perfect peace. It will elevate you above all that can happen. I am happy in the love of God. 5LtMs, Lt 91, 1887, par. 13

I hope that you are both rejoicing in His love and that the thought that you have a living, loving Saviour will melt your hearts in tenderness as it has melted mine, that the praise of God shall flow forth from finite lips to the infinite God who loves us and has made us royal gifts. Open the heart to gratitude. Let simplicity of the child be cultivated. Nestle in the arms of everlasting love. What we need is more heaven and more Jesus woven into our lives. We think of you, we pray for you. We want you should come off victorious and wear the crown of glory and bear the palm branch of victory. I do not feel as anxious that you should have earthly honor as that you should have the honor which God will bestow upon those who are faithful. 5LtMs, Lt 91, 1887, par. 14

Yours with motherly affection. 5LtMs, Lt 91, 1887, par. 15