Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5

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Lt 36, 1888

Cody, Brother

Burrough Valley, California

June 28, 1888

Portions of this letter are published in WM 218-219. +Note

Dear Brother Cody:

I feel urged by the Spirit of the Lord to write to you this morning. Your case has been opened before me some years ago, and I have written out some things in regard to the matter which <manuscript> is in Healdsburg. I have not felt that the time to send you the matter in regard to yourself had come, but now I feel that the time has fully come. The Bible truth is the mighty lever to take you out of the quarry of the world, and the work was but just commenced for you. You were a rough stone from the quarry. You must have the hewing, the squaring, and the polishing done for you or you would be discarded as unfit for a place in the glorious temple of God. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1888, par. 1

Now, my brother, I know that this process of fitting up has not yet been done for you. I have been shown that you need home religion. Your words and your spirit are not of that character that you will let your light shine in good works. You have not exercised Christian courtesy and tender compassionate love, to your wife. Your talk, <proceeding from your own natural heart,> discourages her. You have not cultivated that Christian courtesy and love in your family that every Christian will do. Your words <too often> wound and bruise the soul and are often like desolating hail. Your wife, in the sight of the Lord, is nearer the kingdom of heaven than yourself. You talk of your wife to others; you treat her as no Christian <man> should treat his wife; you do not give expression to words of tender sympathy, neither do you by acts of kindness and thoughtfulness show that you esteem your wife as you should. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1888, par. 2

She has nearly been driven entirely away from the love of the truth because of your manner of dealing with her and because of your unchristian course of action. You need to be thoroughly converted. I cannot think that the Lord can accept your missionary zeal until you have more spirit of missionary work at home, right in connection with your family, in educating and training your children to love, to respect, and to honor their mother by your own example. I want you to be saved, and if you ever join the society of the redeemed above, you must be a saint here in this world. Here in this world is the workshop of God; here you must feel the chisel and the hammer; here you must be burnished and polished for the heavenly temple of God. You must be a truly changed man, else you will in the place of honoring the cause of truth do it great harm. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1888, par. 3

You should select a pleasant and healthful location for your wife and help her to bear her burdens as best she can. She is a woman of good, sound sense, and a woman of principle, but your way of treating her has been of that character to lead her to lose confidence in you as a Christian and to lose her affection and love for you as her husband. Love will not survive unless it is cultivated. I cannot have confidence in you as a missionary worker while you are unfitting yourself by the company you keep, by the tenor of your conversation, for the Spirit of the Lord to work with you. You cannot serve God and mammon. Your heart is not cleansed; you have an outward form of religious life and faith, but you need to be aroused from your false dreams and false ideas of what constitutes the character of a Christian. You are too content to rest in a theory of the truth, in mere outward privileges, attending meetings, bearing your testimony in meetings, doing a little missionary work, when your heart is not in your work and you are not right with God. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1888, par. 4

“Without me,” says Christ, “you can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] The testimony you bear to those with whom you associate, the living connection you have with God would accomplish a good work for the Master in missionary work. Churchgoing and church worship severed from holiness of heart and purity of words and righteous works will prove a curse to others, for it will confirm and strengthen them in their unconsecrated lives. There is much foolish, low, earthly conversation indulged in by those who profess to be Christians, and their irreligious life is a stumbling block to sinners. Says the true witness, “I would that thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.” [Revelation 3:15, 16.] 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1888, par. 5

I was brought by the angel of God where I could look upon your association with some of your brethren and also with those not of our faith and your course was an offense to God. There was a scheming disposition and a close, selfish spirit manifested, and it was growing into a close, selfish spirit to advantage yourself to another’s disadvantage. A spirit of avarice is being strengthened and cultivated by many in Fresno, and a spirit of coarseness, of lightness, and of trifling. There is much talk that is of an earthly element and the inwardness of the heart is tainted and corrupted. How then can the truth you claim to believe sanctify your soul and refine your character? It is simply impossible, and you will make shipwreck of your faith by being overcome by some masterly temptation of Satan unless you are sanctified through the truth, for your life and your influence is an offense to God. You have a work to do to confess your sins and your neglect to your wife and with true contrition of soul come to God. Fall upon the Rock and be broken. It is not yet too late for wrongs to be righted. Mercy’s sweet voice is still to be heard. Will you heed it? Will you make diligent work now for repentance? Will you be diligent to make your calling and your election sure? I cannot bear the thought of your going on just as carelessly as you have been, for your life as a professed Christian is really perverting the faith. The truth is dishonored by your profession of faith and your unchristlike character. What will you now do, my brother? Will you wear Christ’s yoke? Will you lift Christ’s burden? Will you be a Christian? Please, ever bear in mind that the religion of Jesus Christ never degrades the receiver. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep yourself unspotted from the world. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1888, par. 6

Now many in their own minds and hearts pervert this good lesson given them by the apostle. Like many other things the unconsecrated soul perverts this instruction. There are some who would cover up the purposes of a polluted heart and visit the widow and the fatherless in order to see how they can gain some advantage in their dealing with them and they rob them of their little all. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1888, par. 7

Again, others make an excuse that they should visit the widow and the fatherless, but in these visits they indulge a spirit of flirting and they laugh and joke and trifle with them, and by their flattering attentions mislead them, awakening and strengthening the worst passions of the human heart. There are married men claiming to believe the truth who manifest lovesick sentimentalism. In your association with these <men>, what influence are you exerting over them? 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1888, par. 8

Visiting the widow and the fatherless which the apostle enjoined [James 1:27] is to have a Christian, sanctified sympathy with them in their affliction. They are to sacredly guard their interests to work for them, to put themselves to inconvenience to do them a favor. They are to give them Christlike counsel; they are to unite with them in prayer and to ever bear in mind that Jesus Christ is present in all these visits and [that] a faithful record is kept of the object and the work accomplished. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1888, par. 9

Christians will give evidence that they are converted men and women. They will show that they are Bible readers, Bible believers, and [that] they obey every injunction of the Word of God. They will not seek to create sympathy for themselves by speaking in disfavor of wife or husband. They will <not> become self-centered, but they will have a heart to do good to others and to be a blessing to humanity, for this is Christlike. They will walk circumspectly and reveal the character of Christ. They will in all their dealings with widows and the fatherless do just as they would wish others to do by wife and children were they to leave them husbandless and fatherless. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1888, par. 10

The facts should be borne in mind by all who claim to be children of God that there is a Watcher in every business transaction who records every act and deed of the transactor and [that] this record will stand just as it is written until the great day when every man shall receive according as His works have been, unless their wrongs shall have been repented of and blotted out. Any injustice done to saint or sinner will then be rewarded according to their works. <Christ identifies His interest in all the afflictions of His people.> But God will avenge those who shall treat the widow or the fatherless with oppression, or who shall rob them in any way. (Malachi 3:5) [says:] “And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts.” The reason is now given why the Lord has not executed His judgment against the evil worker, “for I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” [Verse 6.] John was the forerunner of Christ; he was raised up of God to prepare the way of the Lord. There are messengers in this age sent forth of God to do a similar work, to prepare the way of the Lord’s second coming. While the work and message of these men shall be straightforward and earnest, they are not to encourage them to do nothing <in the line of business> in this work-day world. The message God sends is for the object of keeping him to his <legitimate> work, inspiring him to do this work in accordance with the Lord’s great moral standard of righteousness. Lawful business and religion <will not be in collision.> 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1888, par. 11

The sanctifying influence of the truth is to be left on minds in all business transactions. To the common working people the message of the forerunner of Christ was [to] do your appointed work and in it all manifest a spirit of brotherly kindness. He that hath two coats let him impart to him that hath none, and he that hath meat let him do likewise. God has enjoined upon His children that they must let their light shine in good works. A tree is known by its fruit. The truth must be exemplified in the life, in words, in deeds. You are to scorn all that is mean, and base and low and dishonest. Be brave, be good, and true to principle. Let all your actions speak of mercy and compassion, and build others up in the Bible principles, <in the most holy faith.> In all your work be honest, be frank, without one particle of guile, without deceit, without prevarication. Keep yourself away from association with girls and women. They will be a snare to you. Seek not their company; trifle not with them. Never flatter them, and do not insinuate yourself into their favor. Let the barriers never be overstepped. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1888, par. 12

You are to be a daily learner of Jesus; to practice His meekness and lowliness of heart. You are to take broad and noble and generous views of your existence and of God’s claims upon you and that which comprises the individual duties of yourself and your fellow men. Religion must and will be thoroughly incorporated with your everyday life and with every work and business in which you are engaged, and it will be interfused with the fear and love and favor of God. You must know what it is to be in the world and yet not of the world. You are not to meet the world’s standard. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1888, par. 13

John, the forerunner of Christ, was self-denying, and all who are engaged in the work of preparation for these last days must be self-denying. They must control every lust and separate from them the elements of all baseness and coarseness. If Christ is abiding in the heart, you will be weary and sick at heart with all baseness, all corruption of this degenerate age. The pride of life must be overcome. Every thought that would be turned into a wrong channel must be girded about and brought into subjection to the will of God. Any ambition of earthly well-being and worldly advancement will be superseded and expelled by a higher and holier principle. You will have a consciousness of a mission from God that is noble and elevating. The true Christian will be willing to forfeit the prizes which the worldly man will grasp and covet. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1888, par. 14

John was no candidate for worldly honor. The world and all its attractions, all its prizes, all its flattering inducements, were as mere, glittering tinsel in comparison to pure gold. God would have His people faithful as was John the Baptist. What patterns of self-sacrifice would they then be for the world to look upon! God has entrusted to His people high and holy capabilities and [a] most sacred burden of testing truth. I entreat of you not to feel that you are at the present time right with God. He cannot cooperate with you until you are seeking to do all on your part and the things you know you ought to do. You <should> seek to help those you associate with to pure thoughts, [to] holy conversation, to holy works. You mingle your missionary efforts with commonplace things and God is not pleased. Flee to Jesus for your soul’s sake. Be imbued with His Spirit, then you will have a high sense of sacred things. You <should not> bring the sacred things down upon a level with [the] common. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1888, par. 15

May the Lord help you to see where your feet are standing and what material you [are] laying upon the foundation stone. Is it hay, wood, and stubble? If so, your work must perish. Is it gold, silver, and precious stones? If so, it will stand the fires of the last day. Take heed how you build. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1888, par. 16