Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)

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Lt 39, 1887

Bourdeau, D. T.

NP

1887

This letter is published in entirety in 20MR 132-139.

Much-respected fellow laborer:

I have been shown that God has a work for you to do, and you can do it to His acceptance if you rely firmly upon the arm that is infinite. But you must not think that He would have you bear the whole burden of His work. The cause is the Lord’s; He will take care of His own. You could do much greater and more efficient work if you would cultivate calm trust in God and not become anxious and worried, as though Jesus still lay in the sepulcher, and you had no Saviour. He has risen; He has ascended to the heavens and is your advocate before the throne of God. You may prefer your requests to God, knowing that you have a faithful High Priest, who will be touched with the feeling of your infirmities; for He has been tempted in all points like as we are. Do not feel that God is unmindful of you, but always remember that He loves you and is willing to give you rest and peace in Him. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 1

There is a great work yet to be accomplished in saving souls. God has made His messengers the depositaries of His truth, weighty with eternal interests; and He has delegated them to carry it to all tongues and people. Light is to shine forth amid the moral darkness, to reveal sin and error. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 2

Every man who preaches the truth should cultivate the qualities necessary to an educator. He is to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. He should see that all who receive the truth are firmly established in the faith and that no part of the work is left incomplete. God’s work should be primary; other interests, secondary. Satan is playing the game of life for the souls of men, and God’s ministers must watch for souls and work faithfully to repulse the enemy and gain the victory. We need wisdom and a better knowledge of Satan’s devices, that he may not, right before our eyes, accomplish the ruin of precious souls. There is a Source of strength at our command, and we need not become discouraged or be driven from the field. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 3

Considering the greatness of the work, God would have His laborers keep themselves in the very best condition of physical and mental health, that they may have clear minds and calm nerves. These teachers are representatives of Christ and should cultivate that meek and quiet spirit which He ever exhibited, learning daily lessons in His school. They should labor as though they believed that God was close by their side, to do what it is impossible for them to do. They are to work in God. “Without Me,” says the Saviour of the world, “ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 4

Every worker should labor intelligently, with an eye single to the glory of God. He should take special care not to abuse any of his God-given faculties. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 5

The Lord would have you, my brother, reform in your method of labor, that you may have a well-balanced mind, a symmetrical character, and spiritual strength to counsel wisely. Men who have experience in the knowledge of the truth are too few for you to be sacrificed. You are almost constantly overtaxing both your physical and mental powers, because you allow yourself to feel too intensely. You have a vivid imagination and put much intensity into your preaching, which keeps the mind on a constant strain, with the voice raised to a high pitch; and not only are you wearied, but the people are annoyed and their interest lessened. The reaction is sure to come; for you do not know how to let yourself down gradually from such a strain, and the poor mortal body feels the wear. A corresponding depression follows the high pressure. You should not allow yourself to make your labors unnecessarily severe. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 6

When your labors have been protracted to an unreasonable length, then comes a feeling of weariness and a lack of vitality, and every part of the being cries out with pain and distress. Your vocal organs cannot bear the strain you have put upon them by long, loud talking and praying. A high tone of voice is an expenditure of vital force which is entirely unnecessary and is a violation of the laws of health. You can, with carefulness, calm consideration, and self-control, work temperately, and yet do good work for the Master. You should consider it a sin to waste your strength; for you can use it all to a wise purpose. You tax yourself in writing as well as in speaking. God does not require this. Observe strictly the laws of health, and you will be fresh to do good work for the Master; you will have fresh manna to feed the sheep in Christ’s pasture. Preach less; minister more. If one half your time were given to preaching, and the other half to visiting, or resting your vocal organs, you could generally do more good and leave a better impression. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 7

Some of your lengthy discourses would have far better effect upon the people if cut up into three. The people cannot digest so much; their minds cannot even grasp it, and they become wearied and confused by having so much matter brought before them in one discourse. Two thirds of such long discourses are lost, and the preacher is exhausted. There are many of our ministers who err in this respect. The result upon themselves is not good; for they become brain weary and feel that they are carrying heavy loads for the Lord and having a hard time. Thus they begin to ponder over their feelings and pity themselves and remove their eyes from Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith. Jesus does not ask this sacrifice on their part; He requires obedience rather than sacrifice. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 8

The truth is so different in character and work from the errors preached from popular pulpits, that when it is brought before the people for the first time, it almost overwhelms them. It is strong meat and should be dealt out judiciously. While some minds are quick to catch an idea, others are slow to comprehend new and startling truths, which involve great changes, and present a cross at every step. Give them time to digest the wonderful truths of the message you bear them. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 9

The preacher should endeavor to carry the understanding and sympathies of the people with him. Do not soar too high, where they cannot follow; but give the truth point after point, slowly and distinctly, making a few essential points; then it will be as a nail fastened in a sure place by the Master of assemblies. If you stop when you should, giving them no more at once than they can comprehend and profit by, they will be eager to hear more, and thus the interest will be sustained. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 10

Jesus will work with your efforts if you take counsel of Him. He looks upon you with the tenderest compassion. He loves you and wants you to be happy. He knows your every weakness, and He pities you and wants to help you. The work is great, and you may act a part in it, if you will take hold of the strength of almighty power. You have precious ability; and if you employ it wisely, and stay your soul upon God, Jesus will recognize you as a co-laborer with Him. Look up, my brother; in the name of Jesus, I bid you look up. Do not look at yourself; do not express doubts; but talk faith, hope, and courage, and Jesus will bring you off more than conqueror. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 11

Jesus saw Satan tempting you and magnifying your trials before you. You were distrustful. If in pain, you thought it the precursor of your speedy dissolution. This is the enemy’s work; but you can resist him, you can be a conqueror. God wants you to be cheerful, free, happy, and trustful, ready to say with Paul, “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Your trials are God’s workmen; and if borne with patience, they will prepare you for a recompense of reward. Therefore you should be of good courage under them. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 12

You are in a hard field, but it is where God would have you. There is work to be done, but you will be surprised when I tell you that in order to do it, you must work less. You must husband your vital forces, in order to accomplish more and better work. Counsel with your brethren, and work in harmony with them; they will be a strength rather than a hindrance to you. Do not try to go on your own independent judgment. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 13

Your family need to exercise great caution in bringing matters of a disagreeable nature to your attention. They should not tell you of grievances or complaints against any one; for when your brain is tired and worn, anything like another’s wrongdoing awakens a train of thought that is most painful and distressing, and you concentrate your mind on these small things till they grow to gigantic proportions, and then you are liable to say something that will wound yourself and others. Thus you mar the work of God and lessen your influence. Your brethren do not understand your peculiar temperament, and therefore they do not know what your words mean, nor how to handle your case. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 14

It is the plan of Christ for two to be united in ministerial labor, in teaching and educating the people whom they bring into the faith. I have been shown that you should unite in labor with your brother or some other minister. You should not go alone. Two can be a help to each other, if they will be entreated and listen to counsel. If your brother, or some one else, labors with you, God wants you both to be cheerful, hopeful, and trustful, casting all your care on Jesus, and committing the keeping of your souls to Him as to a faithful Creator. Represent Jesus in character. Be strong, yea, be strong in the strength of Jesus. Neither of you should tax himself to the utmost; or you may be called upon at any time to use your long experience in doing a work in vindication of the truth that will require calm nerves, candid reflection, and forcible arguments. You two brothers are the most experienced workers who understand French; therefore there is a large field for your labors, if you will work intelligently, in the fear of God. The light and privileges you have had lay you under obligation to God to use this light in blessing others. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 15

Do not either of you feel that the whole weight and burden of the cause rests on your souls. Jesus is the great burden-bearer, and He is your helper. He says: “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] Talk less about yourselves and more of Jesus and His sufferings. The less you talk about yourselves, the better will be your influence. Meekness and lowliness are daily lessons to learn in the school of Christ. You need to lie low at the feet of Jesus. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 16

Bro. _____ does too much, while Bro. _____ needs to weave into his work more life and spirit. His temperament is more sluggish and needs the quickening influence of the Spirit of God. He needs greater earnestness and vitality to represent the importance of the truth to the people. He should be more thoroughly devoted to the work and not have his interests divided. He allows things of minor importance to draw his mind away from the work, when it should be concentrated on his ministerial duties. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 17

Bro. _____ should be guarded that he does not take himself from the work to serve tables. He has too often bound upon himself burdens which prevented his putting his energies into the work. He should consecrate his powers and abilities to God, to save perishing souls. In the past it has sometimes been the case that Bro. _____ has not clung to an interest with such perseverance and zeal as would enable him to bind off his work completely and thoroughly, so that he could present every man perfect in Christ. He should devote less time and thought to temporal things and more study and earnestness to eternal things. If the enemy can create things to draw you away from your work, he will be diligent to do it. But if he sees he cannot obtain this power over you, he will abandon his object. As an interest is about to close up, be careful not to ripen it off abruptly. Keep the confidence of the people, if possible, that the souls who are in the valley of decision may find the true path and walk in the way to life. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 18

Be cautious in your labors, brethren, not to assail the prejudices of the people too strongly. There should be no going out of the way to attack other denominations; for it only creates a combative spirit and closes ears and hearts to the entrance of the truth. We have our work to do, which is not to tear down, but to build up. We are to repair the breach that has been made in the law of God. It is the nobler work to build up; to present the truth in its force and power, and let it cut its way through prejudice, and reveal error in contrast with truth. There is danger that our ministers will say too much against the Catholics and provoke against themselves the strongest prejudices of that church. There are many souls in the Roman Catholic faith who are looking with interest to this people, but the power of the priest over his charge is great; and if he can prejudice the people by his stay-away arguments, so that when the truth is uttered against the fallen churches they may not hear it, he will surely do it. But as laborers together with God, we are provided with spiritual weapons, mighty to the pulling down of the strongholds of the enemy. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 19

When the servants of God are tried and tempted, and are disappointed in obtaining human sympathy, let them remember Jesus in His hour of greatest agony in Gethsemane. His disciples did not watch with Him one hour. Sleep overpowered their senses. The King of glory, the Son of the everlasting Father, left His royal throne, clothed His divinity with humanity, and became “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” [Isaiah 53:3.] No man’s trials or sacrifices could compare with those which His suffering spirit endured. The Majesty of heaven walked through midnight blackness, and for what? “Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame.” [Hebrews 12:2.] It was to redeem fallen man. He endured the overwhelming weight of woe in order that He might bring many sons and daughters unto glory. He suffered rejection, coldness, contempt from those He came to bless; persecution, betrayal, crucifixion from those He humiliated Himself to save. The whole flood tide of human woe beat upon His soul. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 20

The followers of Jesus need not be amazed if they are made partakers of His sufferings. Their motives will be questioned, and they will meet with disappointments on every hand; but Christ endured all this. How can He look upon those for whom He has paid so infinite a price and “be satisfied” [Isaiah 53:11], when they have never appreciated His great gift to them? “Consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied, and faint in your minds.” [Hebrews 12:3.] 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 21

The work of Christ’s representatives will be similar to that of their Redeemer. They are to communicate that which is heavenly and divine. And they are not to look to self, nor trust in their own efforts. Neither should they place too high an estimate upon their own work. When they see that others do not regard their efforts as they themselves estimate them, they should not feel that their labors might as well cease; for this is the work of the enemy. We live to God, not to men. God estimates our work at its full value. He measures nobility of character; and whether men appreciate us or not in our lifetime, our character lives after we are gone. After man has no more to do with anything under the sun, the example he has set, the golden words he has spoken live through all time and through ald eternity. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 22

True Christians will have an experience like that of Christ in the wilderness of temptation, especially those who engage in rescuing souls from the snares of Satan. They will meet the assaults of the enemy of all righteousness; and as Christ overcame, so may they overcome through His grace. No one should feel that he is abandoned of God because he is subjected to sore temptations. If he remains unshaken by the temptations, Satan will leave him, and angels will minister to him as they did to Jesus. There is no comfort equal to that which Christians enjoy when the tempted soul has patiently suffered and Satan has been vanquished. They have borne witness for Jesus, relying wholly upon the Word of God, “It is written,” and thus have resisted every advance of Satan, till they have beaten him back and gained the victory. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 23

Let us in no case depreciate one because he is severely tempted and the billows seem to go over his head. We must remember that Jesus was sorely tempted in all points like as we are, so that He might succor all who should be tempted. And let us remember, too, that He identifies His interests with His tempted, suffering ones. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 24

We all have a personal influence. Our words and actions leave an indelible impress. It is our duty to live, not for self, but for the good of others; not to be controlled by feelings, but by principle. We should consider that our influence is a power for good or for evil. We are either a light to cheer or a tempest to destroy. God would have His workmen show themselves men. In our association with men, we are bound by the law of Jehovah to influence them in the direction of good. This power of personal influence will be felt by others. The law of God requires that we love our fellow men as we love ourselves. Then every power and action of the mind must be put forth to that end—to do the greatest amount of good. To overdo wearies and disables us, and cripples the powers God has given us, so that much less good is done than might have been accomplished had we worked intelligently. Had all the powers been treated considerately, what a precious work might have been done! How pleasing to the Giver for man to hold the royal gifts of the soul so that they shall tell with power upon others! They are the connecting link between God and man and reveal the Spirit of Christ and the attributes of heaven. The power of holiness, seen but not boasted of, speaks more eloquently than the most able sermons. It speaks of God and opens to men their duty more powerfully than mere words can do. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 25

God is not pleased to have his representatives worry and wear themselves out so that they cannot diffuse the sweet fragrance of heaven in their lives. We have but one life to live in this world. Jesus came to teach us how to live that life, that we may represent the character of heaven. We must never grow fainthearted; for it would be far worse for ourselves and others within the sphere of our influence than if we bore our trials with courage and fortitude. God requires us to behave with dignity under trials and temptations. The man of sorrows who was acquainted with grief is before us as our example. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.” [Revelation 3:21.] Let us ever preserve the love of Jesus, presenting the truth as it is in Him. 5LtMs, Lt 39, 1887, par. 26