Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Lt 92, 1887

Brethren and Sisters in California

Basel, Switzerland

April 13, 1887

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brethren and Sisters in California:

I deeply regret that I cannot meet with you in your April meeting, but this seems now impossible. I shall often think of you with tender solicitude. It seems to be duty for us to attend a camp meeting to be held in Norway, the first ever held in Europe. Then they have appointed conferences in Stockholm, Sweden, and in Copenhagen, Denmark. Then we labor some weeks in England, and [then] take the steamer for America. 5LtMs, Lt 92, 1887, par. 1

I am seeking with my whole heart to do the will of God. Can we be surprised that the enemy of all righteousness should work with intense activity as we approach the end of time? We have said to you, again and again, that God would sift His people; the chaff will be separated from the wheat. The tares are already binding in bundles to burn. There is to be, as we near the end, a revealing of true character. Those who have not the truth in the heart will reveal this, because they will not be sanctified through the truth. They have tacked the truth onto their carnal, unsanctified, unholy characters, and have not brought it into their lives and woven it into their characters. Circumstances will occur that will reveal in unholy works the thoughts and the actions of this unholy class. Would that we could see all who claim to be keeping God’s commandments living by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 5LtMs, Lt 92, 1887, par. 2

We shall often be compelled to “cry aloud and spare not, and to lift up the voice like a trumpet, show my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins, and yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God. They ask of me the ordinances of justice. They take delight in approaching to God.” [Isaiah 58:1, 2.] 5LtMs, Lt 92, 1887, par. 3

Now, this applies particularly to those who claim to be a chosen people of God. Oh, how gladly would we dwell upon the glories of the world to come! But we are often constrained to put forth the terrors of the Lord, while our natural feelings would shrink from dwelling upon the sure retribution which must come upon those who are sinners in Zion, who wear by profession the garments of Christ’s righteousness, but their course of action testifies against them, that they have not put on Christ. Their works deny Christ. Their characters reproach Him. Their words are such that their communications corrupt good manners. And can it be surprising that God’s messengers have to speak words of warning and reproof, laying bare the inconsistences of those who claim to be God’s commandment keeping people, when the fruits borne by professors of godliness are corrupt? Far more pleasant would it be for the servants of God to dwell upon the precious reward to be given to the saints of the most high God, and lives such as those set before us in the gospel. 5LtMs, Lt 92, 1887, par. 4

While there are, notwithstanding the profession, unbelievers among the believers, tares among the wheat, [and] many who do not adorn the doctrines of Jesus Christ, there must be plain, positive testimony borne, however painful to the messenger. The day of the Lord is urged in the Scriptures as a reason for watchfulness and prayer. There is really little in the Christian life that causes unhappiness. It is the unchristian life that weaves entanglements about the soul. There is not always on hand a supply of grace for the imaginary trials of the morrow. When future duties are performed, future dangers met, then there will be a supply of grace to meet the emergency. 5LtMs, Lt 92, 1887, par. 5

Oh, the peace, the joy, which every true Christian might possess if he would take God at His word and trust Him implicitly! It is hard to say things that would ruffle him or permanently disturb [him], for God is his continual helper. Day by day his duties may become more taxing, his temptations stronger, his trials more severe, but he realizes that there is imparted strength equal to the duties and trials to be borne. We must watch and pray constantly lest we enter into temptation. Oh, did those who profess to believe the truth think more and pray more, how many hours of sorrow would be saved them. How much crime [would] be prevented. How many lips would be sealed from giving expression to impure imaginings. How many feet would turn away from the gate of hell. We must have the soul-temple cleansed from defilement. 5LtMs, Lt 92, 1887, par. 6

We must sense the danger of this time. We must have an individual experience for ourselves. The righteous will have to meet the combined assaults of Satan. He is at work with intense activity to corrupt or sweep from the earth the upholders of piety, and success will attend the workings of Satan unless we arise in the strength of God and resist him. There must be a continual striving for unity, for love, for the power and spirit of true godliness. Satan’s work is to inject doubts and suspicions in mind. If he cannot, in his masterly working, lead men to dishonor God and reproach His precious truth, he will harass with temptation, and may with some prevail because they do not sense their own weakness and their great necessity of walking with God. There are blessings for you. Will you take hold of them? They are all upon condition that you walk with God, that you honor God, departing from all iniquity. 5LtMs, Lt 92, 1887, par. 7

The imagery that St. Paul delights to use when illustrating the Christian work [walk?] is derived from the public games so famous in the days of Paul. The competitors in a race, the opponents in wrestling, are the parties to whom he likes to liken himself and other followers of Christ. Here is aptly depicted the struggles and conflicts of the spiritual warfare. Those who entered the lists in the public games were animated by the hope of prizes which their successes were to gain. Those who entered this conflict subjected themselves to any discipline enjoined upon them that they might obtain the valueless laurel of honor awarded by the judge. In like manner it is the privilege of Christians to know that if they are willing to suffer inconveniences, subject themselves to obey every injunction of the Word of God, carefully studying the rules laid down by the Lord, and then faithfully complying with the conditions, they may be faithful to the end and obtain a crown of life that fadeth not away. 5LtMs, Lt 92, 1887, par. 8

Shall the spiritual combatants be languid, lifeless in their exertions? A merely paltry recompense will urge the combatants to submit to training which is painful, to the most thorough temperance, and to the severest discipline, that they may be able to exercise every nerve, every muscle, in the contest. Shall we, then, who are striving for a crown of life, an eternal weight of glory, choose the part of indolence [and] selfish ease, and hope to win? If so, [we] will be disappointed. We must strictly guard every word, every thought, every action, and strain every muscle to win, to run the Christian race for the prize set before us. Shall we, with heaven in full view, grudge the toil or spare the effort? 5LtMs, Lt 92, 1887, par. 9

Study the Bible, for there are rules laid down that must be brought into the life if [we] would strive lawfully to secure that reward of eternal life which will be given to the overcomers. They do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. If the prize is of value to us, [it must be] kept in view that it may have an influence upon our life, upon our characters. It must be often surveyed, admired, and become desirable, and we so long to possess it that no effort or self-denial or self-sacrifice will be considered severe. Why many turn from the rich prize of eternal life that has been presented before them to paltry, earthly things is because they do not appreciate the reward by considering it, dwelling upon it, longing for it. The eyes must be fixed upon Jesus, upon the prize He holds before us, and then, with renewed vigor, press on, running the race with patience. The thoughts of the Christian must be much upon heaven, thinking of the immortal inheritance, becoming more and more in love with Jesus. Meditating, praying, believing with all the heart. 5LtMs, Lt 92, 1887, par. 10

I wish I could portray before you what Christians may be. Commencing in the morning of life, their steady onward progress, governed by the laws of nature and of God, they may progress in life, steadily rising upward and heavenward, where is the crown of life, the harp of gold, the glorious white robe of Christ’s righteousness. Each year’s effort and progress may excel the former year, increasing in virtue, in happiness, in holiness, in usefulness. Like the sun moving in the heavens in an undeviating course, obeying with all precision the principles which control its progress, we may move on, governed by laws of God as certain and better understood, until our path shall be like that of the just “which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” [Proverbs 4:18.] 5LtMs, Lt 92, 1887, par. 11

God help you to fix your eyes upon the Pattern. Turn not from the path of virtue and true honor by leaving the great principles which God has laid down in His Word. So run that ye may obtain. It is a good land toward which we are traveling. We are fully able, if God be with us, to go up and possess this goodly land. The blessings God is willing to bestow are worth all the efforts, all the sacrifice which we shall be called upon to make. Wait upon the Lord, believe the Lord for present good, claim by faith a foretaste of heaven. 5LtMs, Lt 92, 1887, par. 12

Believe—without one doubt, believe. Fix the attention on the rich promises. Jesus loves us. He has died for us. He wants to give us rich blessings, and if you will forsake the lower streams and come up to the mountain brooks, how the soul would be refreshed. The world charms. The world attracts. Turn from these things to the living God. Let love to God and the brethren be cultivated; and may the peace of God rule in your hearts is the prayer of one who loves God. 5LtMs, Lt 92, 1887, par. 13