Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Lt 36, 1887

Frey, Henri

Basel, Switzerland

February 10, 1887

This letter is published in entirety in 18MR 254-262.

Brother Henri Frey:

I am burdened in regard to your case. I view you as in a perilous condition. You have not as yet seen your true standing before God. You are not closely connected with God. My text this morning was for yourself and a few others who are in the same condition spiritually as you are. You cannot do justice to the work in which you are engaged, because you do not bring the wisdom of God into your labor. Your hands are not clean; your heart is defiled; your practices are not right. You need a thorough conversion, and your moral taste needs to be entirely renovated. You need to cultivate the idea that you are handling sacred things, because you are connected with the work of God. Your heart will not be made better while the light of truth is shining all about you and you keep its pure principles out of your life and apart from your character. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1887, par. 1

Unless you feel the need of a thorough transformation, you will ere long be separated from the work of God; you will not, you cannot do justice to the work of God. There will have to be a decided change in the moral atmosphere that surrounds your soul. You are not being sanctified through the truth; your thoughts are not elevated, ennobled, refined. You seek a low level, low and common; your influence is not good. Your associations are of that character to tarnish the moral atmosphere. Evil angels are around you, pressing their darkness upon you. You are not helping those with whom you associate to a pure, elevated, holy life, but you are becoming more like them in character. You profess to believe the truth, but are you practicing the truth? Are you becoming better acquainted with the reasons of our faith? 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1887, par. 2

I have a deep interest for your soul, but I dare not withhold the truth from you. You might have been much further advanced than you are now in genuine religious experience. Angels of God are looking upon the most secret actions of your life. I tell you in the fear of God you are not a Christian. To be a Christian is to be Christlike. You are not practicing truth. You are not open, you are not frank. You are not exerting a correct influence. You are not pure in thought or in actions. “How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21. Religious principles in you are weak; you need to be a thoroughly converted man. But your low principles are constantly dragging you down to a low standard. You need now to turn square about. Take time to consider. You are to decide for yourself. Will you follow bad examples or good? Ask yourself, Am I working in such a manner that my character building will stand storm and tempest? Is Christ Jesus my foundation? Is my soul hid with Christ in God? 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1887, par. 3

You need to act now to break the power of Satan that holds you before you can place your feet in the footprints of Jesus, to be self-denying, pure, and uncorrupted even with bad examples on all sides. While the worldlings would be glad to see you adopting their habits and their ways, you have not moral courage enough to say, I am Christian, trying to be a child of God. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1887, par. 4

Oh, that I could impress upon you, as well as upon every young man, to take heed what kind of timber you put into your character building. It is essential that you thoroughly comprehend the importance of starting in your lifework with correct principles and a proper theory of life. Let young men burst from the bondage of all unmanly selfish indulgences and unscholarly habits, and like a brave, high-toned spirit resolve to stand in their God-given manhood as masters of themselves. Let them constantly ascend to meet a higher level. Let their eyes be single to God’s glory, and let them closely examine every habit, every practice in the light of God’s Word, scorning to be deceived by the devil. Let them bring every motive and every habit and phase of their character to God’s holy standard of righteousness, for they will all be brought into judgment. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1887, par. 5

Let your heart be examined. Do justice to yourself. What are you doing with the light and privileges that God has given you? Are the youth degrading the dignity of the mind as well as of the body? With eternity in view, with God before your eyes, will you let Satan take possession of your thoughts and your affections? I call upon you, my brother, to have regard for your own well-being for time and for eternity. You must choose for yourself. It is life or death with you. Just as long as you are intemperate, you will be unable to appreciate eternal things. The principle you adopt becomes a living, molding influence; it will enter and will dwell in the depths of your nature. You are determining what kind of food your soul shall have, what shall be the complexion of your future life and character. Let not one taint of deception be cherished by you. Do you consider, young man, in choosing your principles of action and subjecting your mind to influences, you are forming your character for eternity? You can hide nothing from God. You may practice evil habits in secret, but [they are] not hid from God and angels. They view these things, and you must meet them again. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1887, par. 6

God is not pleased with you; you are required to be far in advance of what you are now in spiritual knowledge. With all the privileges and opportunities that God has granted you, you do not have corresponding works. You owe a duty to others, and a duty imperfectly understood will be imperfectly performed. There will be mistakes and errors that will not only be injurious to yourself, but will help to fasten wrong practices upon others. You have habits of appetite that you indulge to the detriment of the health of the body as well as the soul. Your habits have been intemperate, after the habits and customs of the world, and your health has been injured by your indulgence of appetite. The brain has been beclouded, and you will never have clear, pure thoughts until your habits and practices are in accordance with the laws of God in nature. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1887, par. 7

Make it the law of your life to touch not, taste not, handle not beer, fermented wine, tea, coffee, or tobacco. Having deliberately decided to be a man, free yourself from every lust which wars against the soul, adopt a right principle of action in all things, reverence and obey God. Make it the purpose of your life to be all that God designed you should be. Let no temptation be of sufficient attraction to you to swerve you from principle. Then God will be to you a present help. He will give you His wisdom as a lamp to your feet. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1887, par. 8

You know scarcely the first principles of true godliness, but you may know; you may arise from this grossness, from this earthliness, and repress all sensuality. Firmness and sanctified decisions are what you need to turn square about, to repent of your sins, to be converted and make it the law of your life to be true to yourself and true to your God. Then, while you work out your salvation with fear and trembling, it is God that worketh in you to will and to do of His own good pleasure. No halfway purpose will do. For you it must be a thorough decision. A conscientious surrender of your entire life to God is essential for you. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1887, par. 9

You have not been standing in such a relation to God that heavenly angels could be round about you. You need a power brought into your mind to elevate it, for it has been allowed to be tarnished. The Bible alone presents a standard for human character and a perfect guide under all circumstances. The Christian soldier is to look to his Captain for orders and to obey promptly. The intelligent mind is one of God’s most precious gifts to man, and He demands of us the full improvement of it. Every person is under obligation to live so that he can look upon his own conduct and character with feelings of respect, and not with shame and mortification. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1887, par. 10

Has Christ been woven into your life experience? It is your privilege to be a partaker of the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust. You have too often been listening to the temptations of Satan, and he has had such influence over you that the grace of Christ has not been a controlling power in your life. The apostle exhorts, “Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” [1 Peter 2:11.] You must aim high. Let your language be, “I study, I work for eternity.” You have no time to lose. Both the understanding and the heart need to constantly maintain the most intimate and conscious connection with the pure, sacred springs from which they will derive their light and inspiration. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1887, par. 11

You are living in hourly contact and conscious communion with the principles of truth and righteousness; and if there is not a corresponding rising in moral and intellectual power, if you do not co-operate with the divine influences, you will become hard and unimpressible. The light will become darkness to you. Your heart must be changed, its principles elevated, and your heart beat, and your eye flash in response to the deep, holy principles which your own strenuous efforts may combine with the grace of God implanted in your nature. Your morals then will be sound, your principles firm. In this aim you may be ambitious, for you are drinking from the true source of wisdom and virtue. Behold in the cross of Christ the only safe and sure path for you to reach true elevation in this life and the great reward of eternal life. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1887, par. 12

You have infirmities which you ought not to have, if your habits were in accordance with the laws of life and health. You must stand on the foundation of temperance in all things. The taste is to be brought under the control of reason, the appetite subdued, and the passions controlled in order for you to secure a well-balanced mind to co-operate with all your efforts and purposes to secure the life which is to come. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1887, par. 13

You cannot with safety pursue the course you have done. There is conniving at sin, a covering up of sin. They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts, and those seeking for heaven are endowed with whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are lovely and of good report. There is an unseen witness in your meetings and your association with those who are corrupted and corrupting. The Word of God forbids our attaching undue importance to our works, but it nowhere forbids self-respect. There is a conscious dignity of character which is not pride or self-esteem, but is the safeguard of youth. He is impressed that he has a reputation to sustain, a character to lose or to keep. In God’s inspired book you will have a faultless instructor, an unerring counselor, an unfailing guide. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1887, par. 14

Let the youth consider that they can serve God by a consistent Christian life in any place and amid any surroundings, if it is their duty to be in such a place. If God calls them, in His providence, as He did Daniel, to positions of trust where temptations would be constantly assailing them, in the place of thinking it impossible to serve God, they would know that the grace of God would brace them to meet and resist temptation in every form. They must not limit the power of God. The great and all-wise God who has given ability and powers to man will give him work corresponding to his ability. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1887, par. 15

Imagine the temptations found in such a court as Babylon, and at a period of life when temptations have a peculiar power to tarnish and pollute morals. It was just such a situation as we would consider favorable for a man to lose his soul in. Certainly it would not be chosen by a man who wanted to save his soul. Daniel and his associates feared God. They determined not to yield their faith or their principles. They were young, and these four youth, in God’s own providence, were placed in this perilous position that through them God’s power might be revealed. These men were not God-fearing and God-loving because circumstances favored it; the godliness was within themselves, and they clung to it and held it fast. Circumstances were continually of that nature to subvert, to attract, to lead to self-indulgence, to crush out godliness. But it was not crushed; genuine purity and God-fearing principles were interwoven with their life and character. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1887, par. 16

Many blame their circumstances and plead as an excuse for their condition that they are unfavorably situated, being thrown into the society of the irreligious and self-indulgent and intemperate. But do not let yourself be deceived. You can shape your surroundings, in the place of bending and being molded in character by circumstances. Godliness will stand the test, because it has a living root to sustain it, a wellspring from which it draws its nourishment. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1887, par. 17

The corruption of the human heart is that which leads it to love the society of the careless and unholy. The true secret of every true follower of Jesus, and his continued, unsullied integrity, is that he loves truth, he loves righteousness. His moral taste is not depraved; and although surrounded by evil, the deep work of the truth wrought in his heart keeps the soul true and steadfast to God, even in very bad circumstances. This is the fruit that grows on the Christian tree, the faith that realizes the presence and help of God at all times. There is a constant dread of incurring the displeasure of God, whom they reverence and whom they love. It was this principle that preserved Joseph amid temptation. You must cultivate real faith in God, in His gracious goodness, faith in His presence. You must pray as you have never prayed before. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1887, par. 18

Albert Dietschy is no help to you and you are no help to him, because you do not exercise the power of influence for good. Your influence is to strengthen the temptations of Satan, to lead each other away from truth, purity, and holiness. Angels blush over your words and your actions. You have become tempters to one another. You both need to greatly humble your souls at the foot of the cross and learn meekness and lowliness of heart. It is genuine godliness woven in the character that will make young men a light in the world. Albert Dietschy has no excuse for his course of irreligion, his proving a tempter to others. He has had instruction from his youth; and unless he is thoroughly converted from his ways, he will become weaker and still weaker in moral power, and the Spirit of God will leave him to carry out his own self-will, to his own ruin. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1887, par. 19

Fearing God—how little of it there is! There are those connected with this establishment who may grow in grace and the knowledge of the truth and become fitted for a holy heaven. There are those who will be like the men who helped to build the ark. They hear the truth, they have every advantage to become men of moral worth, yet they will not choose the good society, but the corrupt. If there is an influence that is not heavenly, they will gather to their side and unite with them; and although they act a part in the preparation of the truth which is to fit a people to stand in the day of the Lord, they will perish in the general ruin like Noah’s carpenters who helped to build the ark. God help you that you may not be of that class. 5LtMs, Lt 36, 1887, par. 20