Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5

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Lt 35, 1887

Bourdeau, Martha

Basel, Switzerland

February 6, 1887

Portions of this letter are published in DG 145-149.

Dear Sister Martha:

We came here [Tramelan] last Friday, and the Lord has given me some precious tokens for good. I spoke with much freedom to our brothers and sisters from Malachi 3:16. The Lord spoke to hearts. Abel Guenin who has been discouraged for a long time, had taken no part in the meetings, broke down and confessed his wrong, his indifference, and his discouragements. Said he would no longer remain in the place he was then in. He would come into harmony with the church and do his duty in the fear of God. The tears ran down his face while he talked. His mother has taken no part with the church and has been much prejudiced against any one from America; spoke for the first time. She bore a good testimony. 5LtMs, Lt 35, 1887, par. 1

A young man, a baker employed by Oscar Roth, made a humble confession. The Spirit of the Lord was indeed in our meeting. A sweet melting power was there. After meeting, we had a praying season in Brother Roth’s house for the son of Brother Guenin. I prayed while Bro. John Vuilleumier interpreted. The blessing of the Lord came in and the young man with tears running down his face shook hands with his sisters and confessed his wrongs. It was a precious season indeed. 5LtMs, Lt 35, 1887, par. 2

Sunday afternoon I spoke to about two hundred people in the National Chapel. The minister was present. He refused to read my appointment last Christmas or the Sunday after Christmas. This time he opened the meeting by singing and prayer. I spoke with great freedom upon temperance. We hope that good was done. I hope that we will be able to educate the people to have faith in God, not simply feeling, but a firm reliance upon His Word. 5LtMs, Lt 35, 1887, par. 3

My mind goes to you, Martha, in Torre Pellice, and I believe that yourself and husband should attend the meeting of the conference. We want to see you, and we want to see you trusting fully in the precious Saviour. He loves you, who gave His life for you because He valued your soul. I had a dream not long since. I was going through a garden, and you were by my side. You kept saying, “Look at this unsightly shrub, this deformed tree, that poor, stunted rose bush. This makes me feel bad, for they seem to represent my life and the relation I stand in before God.” I thought a stately form walked just before us, and he said, “Gather the roses and the lilies and the pinks, and leave the thistles and unsightly shrubs, and bruise not the soul that Christ has in His choice keeping.” 5LtMs, Lt 35, 1887, par. 4

I awoke; I slept again, and the same dream was repeated. And I awoke and slept, and the third time it was repeated. Now I want you to consider this and put away your distrust, your worrying, your fears. Look away from yourself to Jesus; look away from your husband to Jesus. God has spoken to you words of encouragement; grasp them, act upon them, walk by faith, and not by sight. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1. 5LtMs, Lt 35, 1887, par. 5

Jesus holds His hand beneath you. Jesus will not suffer the enemy to overcome you. Jesus will give you the victory. He has the virtue; He has the righteousness. You may look to yourself to find it and may well despair in doing this because it is not there. Jesus has it. It is yours by faith because you love God and keep His commandments. 5LtMs, Lt 35, 1887, par. 6

Do not listen to Satan’s lies, but recount God’s promises. Gather the roses and the lilies and the pinks. Talk of the promises of God. Talk faith. Trust in God, for He is your only hope. He is my only hope. I have tremendous battles with Satan’s temptations to discouragements, but I will not yield an inch. I will not give Satan an advantage over my body or my mind. 5LtMs, Lt 35, 1887, par. 7

If you look to yourself, you will see only weakness. There is no Saviour there. You will find Jesus away from yourself. You must look and live to Him who became sin for us, that we might be cleansed from sin and receive of Christ’s righteousness. 5LtMs, Lt 35, 1887, par. 8

Now, Martha, do not look to yourself, but away to Jesus. Talk of His love, talk of His goodness, talk of His power, for He will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able to bear. But in Christ is our righteousness. Jesus makes up our deficiencies because He sees we cannot do it ourselves. While praying for you I see a soft light encompassing a hand stretched out to save you. God’s words are our credentials. We stand upon them. We love the truth. We love Jesus. Feelings are no evidence of God’s displeasure. 5LtMs, Lt 35, 1887, par. 9

Your life is precious in the sight of God. He has a work for you to do. It is not unfolded to you now, but just walk on trustingly without a single word, because this would grieve the dear Jesus and show that you were afraid to trust Him. Lay your hand in His; He is reaching over the battlements of heaven [for it] to be laid confidingly in His. Oh, what love, what tender love has Jesus manifested in our behalf. The Bible promises are the pinks and the roses and the lilies in the garden of the Lord. 5LtMs, Lt 35, 1887, par. 10

Oh, how many walk a dark path, looking to the objectionable, unlovely things on either side of them, when a step higher are the flowers. They think they have no right to say they are children of God and lay hold on the promises set before them in the gospel, because they do not have the evidence of their acceptance with God. They go through painful struggles, afflicting their souls, as did Martin Luther to cast himself upon Christ’s righteousness. 5LtMs, Lt 35, 1887, par. 11

There are many who think they can come to Jesus only in the way the child did who was possessed of the demon, that threw him down and tore him as he was being led to the Saviour. You are not of the kind that should have any such conflicts and trials. Richard Baxter was distressed because he did not have such agonizing, humiliating views of himself as he thought he ought to have. But this was explained to his satisfaction at last, and peace came to his heart. 5LtMs, Lt 35, 1887, par. 12

There is no requirement for you to take on a burden for yourself, for you are Christ’s property. He has you in His hand. His everlasting arms are about you. Your life has not been a life of sinfulness in the common acceptance of the term. You have a conscientious fear to do wrong, a principle in your heart to choose the right, and now you want to turn your face away from the briers and thorns to the flowers. 5LtMs, Lt 35, 1887, par. 13

Let the eye be fixed on the Son of righteousness. Do not make your dear, loving, heavenly Father a tyrant; but see His tenderness, His pity, His large, broad love, and His great compassion. His love exceeds that of a mother for her child. The mother may forget, yet will not I forget thee, saith the Lord. [Isaiah 49:15.] Oh, my dear, Jesus wants you to trust Him. May His blessing rest upon you in a rich measure, is my earnest prayer. 5LtMs, Lt 35, 1887, par. 14

You were born with an inheritance of discouragement, and you need constantly to be encouraging a hopeful state of feelings. You received from both father and mother a peculiar conscientiousness and also inherited from your mother a disposition to demerit self rather than to exalt self. A word moves you while a heavy judgment only is sufficient to move another of a different temperament. Were you situated where you knew you were helping others, however hard the load, however taxing the labor, you would do everything with cheerfulness and distress yourself that you did nothing. 5LtMs, Lt 35, 1887, par. 15

Samuel who served God from his childhood needed a very different discipline than one who had a set, stubborn, selfish will. Your childhood was not marked with grossness, although there were the errors of humanity in it. The whole matter has been laid open before me. I know you far better than you know yourself. God will help you to triumph over Satan if you will simply trust Jesus to fight these stern battles that you are wholly unable to [fight] in your finite strength. 5LtMs, Lt 35, 1887, par. 16

You love Jesus, and He loves you. Now, just patiently trust in Him, saying over and over, Lord, I am Thine. Cast yourself heartily on Christ. It is not joy that is the evidence that you are a Christian. Your evidence is in a Thus saith the Lord. By faith, I lay you, my dear sister, on the bosom of Jesus Christ. 5LtMs, Lt 35, 1887, par. 17

Read the following lines and appropriate the sentiment as your own: 5LtMs, Lt 35, 1887, par. 18

“Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, oh leave me not alone!
Still support and comfort me;
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.
Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
Grace to pardon all my sins;
Let the healing streams abound,
Make and keep me pure within!
Thou of life the fountain art,
Freely, let me take of Thee,
Spring Thou up within my heart,
Rise to all eternity.”
5LtMs, Lt 35, 1887, par. 19

I made two copies of the enclosed, one to send to you; but it was too poor, I thought, to be read, so laid it by and did not send it News Year’s as I intended. I think you can read it holding it up to the light. 5LtMs, Lt 35, 1887, par. 20