Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Lt 31, 1888

Butcher, Brother and Sister

Healdsburg, California

March 2, 1888

Previously unpublished.

My dear Brother and Sister Butcher:

I do feel to tremble for you both. God has done much for you. He has wrought in a marvelous manner for Brother Butcher. He has done a miracle for him as verily as He did for the afflicted ones when He was upon the earth. He has restored Sister Butcher to health, raised her up from a long and dangerous sickness. He has heard prayers again and again for Alice, and what returns have you made for all His wonderful mercy and goodness? 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 1

While under the influence of the Spirit of God, under the Divine enlightenment, you have made pledges set on paper of what you would do in returning to the Master to advance His cause a certain portion of the means He has made you stewards of, to be returned to Him again. But your love and zeal have grown cold, and you have made some excuses for yourselves why you have withheld from the Lord His own in devoted service and in entrusted talents of means. Will you closely examine your own hearts and see how much of a spirit of self-denial you have had, how much of a spirit of self-sacrifice you have had for Christ’s sake? 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 2

Christ’s church is to be a blessing, and the members of His church are to be blessed as they bless others. The world has absorbed your thoughts in saving earthly things. “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” [Matthew 6:24.] God requires the undivided affection. The object of God before all the world was not only to adopt them as sons and daughters of God, but through them to confer on the world especial benefits in divine illumination. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 3

When the Lord chose Abraham, He did not elect him simply as His special friend but as His medium through whom He would confer special and peculiar privileges to communicate the same to the world. He was to be a light amid the moral darkness. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 4

When God blesses His children with light and truth, it is not for their own sake that they may have the gift of eternal life, but for the world’s sake. “Ye are the light of the world.” “A city set upon an hill cannot be hid.” “Ye are the salt of the earth” [Matthew 5:13-14], and when God makes you salt, it is not merely for the preservation of yourselves, but that, like salt, you may leaven the whole lump. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 5

The religion of Jesus Christ will not be a selfish thing. It is not to be kept under lock and key, but it is to be a power going forth from every genuine Christian as a means of blessing to those who are in darkness. Every soul connected with us will be made better thereby if we are as God’s light-bearers, reflecting light upon others. It is through Jesus Christ that all our temporal blessings are given us to enjoy. The salvation of Jesus Christ was placed within our reach that we should grasp it by faith, weave it into our life, and practice it that we may be a blessing to the whole human race. None of us can let light shine upon others until we first gather the divine rays of light ourselves from the precious Word of God. We must have the divine mould of character before we can be a true representative of Jesus Christ. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 6

I am forcibly impressed that the truth as it is in Jesus will surely leak out of your hearts unless there is an entire change in your religious life. What can you do without God’s help? We want the Spirit of God working with our efforts. If God’s blessings attend you and your efforts, you will be a channel of light. God could not prosper you in the way you have served Him, and He may see [that] the only way to save you [is] to strip you of your riches and bring you to poverty because you do not learn the lessons He has given you to learn. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 7

God has given you both an experience which, if improved, would bring you up from the lowlands of the earth into close and heavenly relationship with God, which will uproot every fiber of selfishness. Do you shine as living stones in God’s building? Oh, you may say, I am so full of business I cannot give time to religious things. Neither will the Lord give time and command His angels to make all things prosper in your own hands. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 8

Now let me set some things before you which grieve me. I have always taken an interest in Nettie. I have inquired into her circumstances because I know she is capable of earning from 16 to 20 dollars a month, and when I learned that you gave her only ten, I was sad, more on your account than on hers, because you were not doing your duty to her. If she has that care of Alice, which the afflicted child demands, it is all she ought to do, all the draw upon her she should have, and you could get no one to do that which she does for less than 16 or 20 dollars per month. But in addition to this, [there] is the work done in your house by her. This may all look small to you, but place yourself in her place and see if you would call it a small matter or light burden to bear. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 9

I asked her if she nursed Alice when she was so much worse, so very sick; she said [that] she did. I said, “How many weeks?” She said, “Ten.” “Well,” I said, “I suppose you had, then, the usual nurses’ wages which never are less then $16 and [are] generally $20 in our institutions where there are those who share the grave responsibilities.” She answered, “I received no wages for those ten weeks, only my own and my son’s board.” 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 10

Now, Sister Butcher, I cannot feel that this is doing justice, loving mercy, and dealing with Christian principles. Our religion is not of the genuine article unless it has a controlling influence upon us in every business transaction. You want practical religion. Weave it into all your life practice. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 11

My sister, you want the transforming grace of Christ upon your heart—a great deal less of self and far more of Jesus. In the first place you want the Spirit and impress of Christ upon your heart. When you are sick you want the very best care and attention, and you should not have this care and attention without being willing to pay for it fully. You are, when afflicted, quite exacting. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 12

Now Alice is sick—sick in mind, sick in body. She needs attentive, skillful nursing, for her disease is of a character that is very taxing to the nerves, and she requires much attention; and those who take this care from you, releasing you of it, should get what they deserve, for you are not able, neither are you constituted to give to the sick that sympathy, that careful tact and attention which they require, when you are sick yourself. Never begrudge means that is well earned. All means kept in your possession that ought to be paid to those who honestly earn it will be just as surely on the losing side, both as far as means is concerned and as far as spiritual growth is concerned. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 13

You must not be tried with me for speaking plainly. This is my work, and I dare not hold my peace lest that blindness shall come upon you and you lose your soul. You know the truth, but you deal too closely with your hired help, and God is not well pleased and cannot bless you in prosperity in your business. You need the converting, sanctifying power of the truth upon your souls. You need to become Christlike. Much more I will not say on this point. Just make the case of others your own, for just as you deal with them will God deal with you. You are dealing with Christ in the person of His saints. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 14

May the Lord speak to your hearts is my prayer. The truth of God must sanctify the soul, refine and elevate the character, and we be obtaining the heavenly mould in order to be fitted for the heavenly court above. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 15

You are situated where you are brought in contact with believers and unbelievers. All the lower lights must be trimmed and burning that others can catch rays of light from your shining light. We want plenteous of grace for this time of spiritual declension among the churches. We want plenteous of grace to keep us humble, plenteous of grace to make us prayerful, plenteous of grace to make us pitiful, tender-hearted, practicing the Christian courtesy that is essential for us in dealing with our opponents. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 16

Have you let your light shine to your workmen laboring for you, that they shall be laborers together with God? The light and advantages God has given you, you must improve; the blessings He has bestowed upon you, you must let be a blessing to others. What a large missionary field close at home, to speak a word of God’s promises to revive the poor souls who are compelled to labor hard with small wages—men and women struggling in poverty, with scarcely the bare necessities of life! God has given you your speech that you might speak forth His praises, that you might glorify His name. You are Christ’s representatives. Teach those connected with you in regard to the higher, holier interests. Ezekiel 34:26. “And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in His season; there shall be showers of blessing.” 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 17

God has a work for you to do at your own doors. God has given you tongue and utterances for a purpose. Every consideration has been swallowed up in your farming interests. The Scriptures have been neglected. Our Savior said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added.” [Matthew 6:33.] 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 18

Make the eternal welfare of your workmen your very first and most important consideration. They have souls to save or to lose. God expects more of you in interested efforts than you have given. God’s work comes first. You must represent the holy, sacred principles of truth in your home and business transactions. Let the believers and unbelievers see in you a steady, clear, strong light shining forth to others in your zeal, in your devotion, in your nobility of character in your dealing with them. Then the Lord will deal bountifully with you. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 19

Take time to pray. The time is all the Lord’s; then be sure and not give to others in your example a specimen [of] how you rob God, stealing His time that should be given to God’s service to gain spiritual strength, and place it on your side to gain an extra half hour to do temporal business. Oh, God forbid that you, for whom He has done so much, shall at last be found among the foolish virgins who have no oil in their vessels with their lamps! What I fear is that this will be the case, unless you awake and open the doors of your hearts and let Jesus in. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 20

If you are a blessing to one or two, leading them to piety and devotion and energy in the cause of God, these will in their turn be a blessing to others, and they will be a blessing to still others. “I will make all the places round about a blessing.” [Ezekiel 34:26.] Your light is to be far-reaching. You are God’s hired servants to give time, thought, tact to God’s work, if you expect wages of eternal life. Talk the Bible truth, live the Bible truth, and then when Jesus comes, the “Well done” will be spoken to you. [Matthew 25:21.] 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 21

I would not write thus if I had not a sincere interest in the salvation of your souls. I want you to have a full and free reward at last. I want you to have an abundant entrance into the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 22

May the Lord open your eyes to see your opportunities and improve them. Be much in prayer with God. Let no persons or personal interest separate you from God who is the source of your strength. When you rise in the morning gather every hired hand on your farm and invite them to seek God with you in prayer. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 23

If your business presses strongly and urges you to work, then there is need of pressing strongly and firmly to the throne of God, securing His protecting care, His aid, His mercy, His blessing. Do not begrudge the time God requires and just hurry through a faithless prayer that you may rush to your temporal business. God can do much for you, even in your labor, if you ask Him. He can send His angels to preserve you from accidents and from breakages and from losses. The reason you have no more comfort and peace and joy is because you have so little communion with God. Can God pour out His Spirit, can God bless us while such indifference exists? He could not do this according to His order. “Them that honor Me, I will honor.” [1 Samuel 2:30.] 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 24

It is just as convenient and essential for you to pray three times a day as it was for Daniel. Set the example at home before your workmen that prayer is the life of the soul, the very foundation of spiritual growth. Go to the little church of believers, tell them we must keep the communication open between God and our souls. Tell them if they will find heart and voice to pray, God will find answers to their prayers. Neglect not your religious duties. Tell the church, “We must pray; we must seek if we would find; we must knock if the door is opened.” [Matthew 7:7.] If there are no more than six assembled, there are enough to claim the promise. But there are more than six present: the Father, and the Son, and holy angels are there to admire your faith, your steadfast principles, and there you may have the pouring out of His Holy Spirit. God has rich blessings in store for you when you will not only bring all the tithes but all the time and strength of brain, bone, and muscle to give to His services. Then you will walk in the light; then you will triumph in God. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 25

Carry out your godliness in your house. A religious house is the very best proof of genuine piety. It is not strangers, it is not visitors, it is not the minister who are the best judges of your Christian principles; it is the ones you employ in your house, on your farm; it is your children, that must be improved in every way because you love God and keep His commandments. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 26

If your household and your workmen are not better for your Christianity, then you have not the truth in the soul. Let not your workmen say, “This is a queer sort of faith this man has. There are no morning prayers or evening prayers. I began the day with drudgery; I have much to do on the Sabbath; I can scarcely get time for even secret prayer.” 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 27

Carry your Christianity in your family. Let a bright, steady light be burning. Let impressions be left on minds as far-reaching as eternity. Oh, there is abundant necessity for prayers, for tears, for faith. Pray for the ministers; pray for those weak in faith. Let your prayers follow the laborers as sharp sickles in the harvest field. Wrestle with God as did Jacob. You know how, Brother Butcher. You know the answer came. We may have pentecost seasons even now. If there will be more praying and believing, then the world will see a steady light shining forth from believers. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 28

Study the experiences of your days—just as we read and study our proof sheets, and when we find errors we correct it on the margin of the proof—that you may know your errors, your faults, and correct them. Do this daily, noting your faults one by one so that you may avoid them. Do not forget to examine yourselves whether ye are in the faith. Prove your own selves, for unless Christ be in you you are reprobates. Reform every un-Christlike action, seeking the Spirit of Christ. Take your hearts, cold as iron wedges by nature, and let melting mercy fall upon them, that they may bear the image of the divine. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 29

I know not how to stop. I have signed my name several times, and yet I cannot cease to write. Erelong tares will be gathered together with tares and wheat with wheat. Then let us be sure to be found bound up with the precious grain. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 30

May God bless you. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1888, par. 31