Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5

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Lt 31, 1887

Bourdeau, Martha

Basel, Switzerland

January 1, 1887

Portions of this letter are published in TDG 9.

Dear Sister Martha:

I wish you a happy New Year. Let us put away everything like distrust and want of faith in Jesus forever. Let us commence a life of simple child-like trust, not relying upon feeling, but upon faith. Do not dishonor Jesus by doubting His precious promises. He wants us to believe in Him with unwavering faith. There is a class who say, I believe, I believe, and claim all the promises which are given on condition of obedience. While they claim everything in the promises of God, they do not the works of Christ. God is not honored by any such faith, it is a spurious faith. Then we see a people trying to keep all of God’s commandments, but there are many of these who do not come up to their exalted privileges and claim nothing. God’s promises are to them who keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1887, par. 1

I find, Sister Martha, that I have to fight the good fight of faith every day. I have to put to the stretch the powers of faith and not rely upon feeling, and act as though I knew the Lord heard me, and would answer me and bless me. Faith is not a happy flight of feeling, it is simply taking God at His word and believing, because God said He would do this, and so I am much interested in your experience. The Lord let His blessing rest upon you at that praying season; and if you had looked and believed on Jesus then fully, you would have received a much larger measure of the Spirit of God. But your husband’s coldness, his unbelief and manifest inability to appreciate a blessing proffered, was a loadstone to you, and you did not swing out fully upon the promises. But I hope you will not allow the want that is evident in the experience of your husband [to] be the means of keeping your soul in darkness and discouragement. While he seems to feel so anxious in regard to you, if he would just leave Martha in the hands of a merciful God and work for his own deliverance through perfect surrender to God, then Martha would come out all right. I hope you will not become in any way discouraged. It will require far more of the Spirit of God to be brought to bear upon the heart of your husband to break up his Pharaseeism—I thank God I am not as other men—then the Lord will work for him; but he does not see himself. He has woven himself into the woof and warp of his experience, that God has but little to do with him. When he is able through grace to see himself, then Jesus will be his restorer. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1887, par. 2

But stand free in God. Let not his ideas become yours. Unless he does empty himself of his supreme self-complacency and humbles himself at the foot of the cross of Calvary, he will deceive his own soul, by relating wonderful incidents in a past experience, but he has not a fresh, new, joyful experience in God. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1887, par. 3

Well, Martha, God wants you to be free; He wants you to be believing, to be trustful, and just cease to doubt, and believe. May God help you. Self-righteousness is a terrible plague-spot, but it does not belong to you at all; you are altogether distrustful of self, and write and talk bitter things of yourself. But a New Year has opened upon us. Let it be a happy New Year. To you, my sister, nestle in the sheltering arms of Jesus, and do not wrestle yourself out of His arms; just believe and praise God and go forward. We are almost home. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1887, par. 4

The Lord is coming. Look up and rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh. I see in Jesus a compassionate, loving Redeemer, one who can save to the uttermost all who come unto Him. Bear your whole weight on the promises of God. Believe it is your privilege to believe. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1887, par. 5

*****

Switzerland

Basel

January 14, 1887

Dear Sister Martha Bourdeau:

I have not been able to write much at all of late. No letters have been written by me except some on urgent matters that could not be put off. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1887, par. 6

I have had a severe attack of malaria, but I am better, though still weak. I hope whatever may occur you will not lose your faith in God. I commenced a letter to you New Years, but could not finish it. May enclose the little I did write in this. I hope that you both will feel at the feet of Jesus that help and blessing that He is willing to richly bestow. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1887, par. 7

I hope, my Brother A. C. Bourdeau, that you will make decided efforts in God to be rid of yourself, praise, talking of self, taking glory to yourself that belongs to God. Self-righteousness in prayer is unblessed: humility in prayer is answered and blessed. These are the great subjects that concern us. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1887, par. 8

I wish, Bro. Bourdeau, you could be repentant as that poor trembling worshiper who scarcely dared to lift his eyes to God. Certainly he did not pray to be seen of men, when that bitter cry came from his lips, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” [Luke 18:13.] His business is with his God, and he must have pardon and peace. He does not go through with a relation of his good deeds. He felt his case was so desperate that no angel could help him. He was before the holy heart-searching God of heaven who reads the secrets of the heart. He must have help, he needed mercy and grace, and he had no claim upon God for this at all. How could he tell how the case would turn with him? It was a solemn moment, he was looking forward to the judgment, and onward to eternity. He bowed his head and smote his breast and threw himself upon the mercy of a sin-pardoning Saviour. Humility is not a mistaken sense of inferiority, which results from a false standard. Whatever a man thinks true excellence consists in, he will think humbly of himself for not possessing it; false humility consists in not condemning oneself for not reaching a false imaginary standard, and this degrades the soul. But true humility consists in recognizing the inferiority that mortals are subject to and feeling our utter and entire dependence upon God. Humility is self-abasement of the soul on account of sin, when the soul has the most distinct views of Jesus, the matchless love of Jesus. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1887, par. 9

Let go of A. C. Bourdeau and forget him if you can, and remember Jesus; He is your only hope, your only helper. God help you to cling to Jesus, and lose sight of self, and no longer talk of self, not flatter self, and pity self, and extol self. All this comes as easy as your breath, and unless you are emptied of self, Jesus will not come in. Should He work for you, you would [not] exalt self. May the Lord help you to see yourself, and surrender self, and talk of Jesus. When the soul is emptied of self and Jesus fills it, your words will be of Jesus, of His love, of His power. Your testimony will not be stale, or spiritless. You will know how to pray in the Spirit. May God help you, my dear brother, to be a free man in Christ Jesus. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1887, par. 10

With much love. 5LtMs, Lt 31, 1887, par. 11