Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6 (1889-1890)


Ms 48, 1890

Reflections on Labors in Brooklyn, New York

Steamer City of Boston

November 26, 1890

Portions of this manuscript are published in UL 344; 4MR 41, 309-311; 13MR 31.

On the Steamer, “City of Boston,” November 26, 1890. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 1

This day I am entering the sixty-fourth year. Sixty-three years are in the past. This day has been one of close application to my writing to prepare an article for the Week of Prayer. I had just time to pack my satchel after finishing my article. Then, in company with Brother Miles and Sara, we stepped on board the streetcar, changed at bridge for elevated rail car, then walked a few blocks, and stepped on board the horse car, then changed again for another car which brought us to the boat. The Broadway street is quite narrow and it was blockaded and very difficult to make our way, but we are now on the boat and in our stateroom. Very comfortably situated. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 2

It is now half past five o’clock, and I am writing. I look back and review the experience of the time we have spent in Brooklyn. It has been a season long to be remembered. Several of our ministering brethren were present at this meeting. There were many more in numbers composing the church in New York City and Brooklyn than we expected to see. We were much pleased with the intelligence of those who had taken their position on the commandments of God. We were happily disappointed to meet so many of like precious faith coming in from other churches. I spoke four times in public assembly and four times in the morning meetings and conference meetings. I was blessed with much freedom. There seemed to be no unbelief and prejudice to block the way and no exercise of a spirit in any way to counteract the influence of the testimony given me to bear to the people. My spirit was refreshed while seeking to comfort others with the same consolation and hope wherewith I was comforted. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 3

Another feature of the meeting was the bright, happy, cheerful faces that were pleasant to look upon and then the testimonies that were so cheerfully and gladly given, almost universally of a hopeful character. The hearts of many were brimming full and running over with gratitude that they had been blessed with the privilege of hearing the truth and with hearts ready to respond to the drawing influences of the Spirit of God. This is that which the true witness describes as “the first love.” [Revelation 2:4.] 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 4

It was evident that these precious souls had something more than formality. They had spirit and life and the manifest ministration of the Spirit. All testimonies borne by ministers and lay-members were explicit upon the point of disclaiming any pretensions or power in themselves in their most earnest reasoning and in the proclamation of the truth, of conveying saving knowledge to any minds. The agency of the Holy Spirit of God alone could touch and subdue the human heart. The necessity was urged upon all hearers to pray for divine illumination and [to] search the Scriptures for themselves. All their most earnest efforts would prove an entire failure unless the Lord Himself should by His divine power combine with the human agency. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6. If they work after the perseverance and untiring energy of Paul, if they bring into their labors the eloquence and melting and subduing love of Apollos, they must, as did those workers, not trust in their ability to accomplish the work but do as they did, trust alone in God to water the seed sown and to give the increase. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 5

I was gratified to see the Spirit of the Lord working its sure work in human hearts. Sabbath, November 22 was a day I can never forget. I was awakened in the night with a burden of supplication. I could not give up the point [that] we must have a deeper realization of the sacredness, the solemnity and necessity of constant connection with the Lord in the work. I had a sense of my own efficiency to do anything, constantly compassed with infirmities, perplexities and trials pressing without, that, if I looked away from Jesus, my only Helper, threaten to overwhelm me. My only hope and courage were drawn from one source. “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” John 14:6. Everything else seemed fading away into hopeless darkness. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 6

This occasion was a season of wrestling in earnest prayer to God. I could say with Jacob of old, “I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.” Genesis 32:26. And like Moses as he interceded with God, “Send me not up to speak to the people unless thy presence go with me.” The work is solemn, the message to be borne so important, I cannot live under the weight of the responsibility. Jesus take it, carry the burden for me, and make me a fit vessel into which Thou canst put the new wine. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 7

I had the revealings of the Spirit of God: “I will give you rest. Quietude and peace you can find only in Me.” I have never been able to see far in the future and understand what I shall do far ahead. One step at a time, and then another and another. Every step must be in faith and simplicity. The Divine power urges rest on the child of God [when we are] unable to tell the future result of our course of action. God says, “Go and do My will,” and we obey. The peace of Christ which passeth knoweth came into my heart. I felt the assurance that the everlasting arms were around me, and I had a solemn sense of His matchless love. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 8

What shall we do when men will not hear and receive the message from God. The message is borne, but frequently how different the result from that which was expected. The hearts we hoped to make glad are filled with distrust and resistance and hatred of the message and messenger because it cannot say peace when there is no peace. Then having done the will of God, it is our place to wait patiently and continue to do the biddings of the Lord, whatever may be the consequences. Bear the message God gives. We must not allow unbelief to see God through circumstances, for circumstances often change. Satan makes circumstances. Faith must put the promises of God, who will not lie, between them and circumstances, and seeing God between themselves and circumstances. We are apt to plan too much ourselves [with] our schemes to do wonderful things, but that [which] we think wise ways, may need much pruning. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 9

Said Jesus, “The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth Him all things that Himself doeth: and He will shew Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.” John 5:19, 20. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 10

This is the very position every child of God should be in—the very same as Christ represents He was in to the Father. Look to Christ, preach Christ, heed the ways of Christ, observe and study the manner of His teachings and copy Christ, and you will work wisely. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 11

Sabbath day was a good day. I had much freedom in speaking to the full house on Sabbath. The Lord Jesus seemed to be close by my side and His presence was everywhere in the house. I spoke from the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah, and I was aware that the Lord sent home the words spoken with thrilling power to the hearts of those who heard. Countenances I saw looked as if the Sun of Righteousness was shining upon them. After the discourse in the social meeting when the testimonies were borne, how heavenly they seemed to me! I knew that the Spirit of the Lord was speaking to these souls. We invited those who desired a living connection with God to come forward. There was a ready response and those who came forward bore a decided, earnest testimony of their purposes and made their requests for prayer for themselves, their fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, wives and husbands. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 12

The period of prayer was marked by fervent, heartfelt petitions and praise and thanksgiving to God. We knew that Jesus was in our midst just as certainly as if we saw Him with human vision. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 13

We have the word, the sure promise of God, that if we seek the Lord with all our heart, He will be found of us. Why do we not believe with all our heart that the Lord means what He says and that He will fulfill His pledged word? 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 14

(Acts 2:38, 39): Peter speaking to the people under the inspiration of the Spirit of God said, “And ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” This promise embraces every son and daughter of Adam who will obey the drawing of the Spirit of God. The manifestation of the Holy Spirit we had in this meeting. When the heart is emptied of self, then there is no obstruction and the Spirit of the Lord will come into the heart. We may claim the promise individually. We are to open the door of the heart and receive the fulness of the Holy Spirit, clothed with salvation as with a garment, then the ministry of the Word will be with power. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 15

But first we must be emptied of self. The Lord cannot fill the heart with His glorious light when the heart is preoccupied and full of self-sufficiency, self-importance. It took the whole of ten days of self-examination and repentance and confession and earnest prayer before the heart and mind were prepared for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Just in proportion as the soul seeking God becomes emptied of self and self-sufficiency and self-esteem, will he see the Lamb of God and appreciate His work and be changed to His image from glory to glory. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 16

Will the individual members of the church let Christ make of themselves new bottles that hold the wine of His kingdom, the oil of His grace? The old self-complacent, self-righteous spirit has so long been cherished that the old bottles cannot contain the new and divine enlightenment. Shall we be content to be empty, broken vessels that cannot receive the new wine? Will we give ourselves in surrender to God that He may make new bottles of us that He can put the wine of His grace into the prepared bottles? Let us surrender to God and give up our way and our will to God’s way and God’s will. If you ask God to work in you to will and to do of His good pleasure, you must keep your plans out of the way and let God plan for you. Present yourself as wholly emptied of self to the workings of the Spirit of God. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 17

Your own stubborn will must be conformed to the will of God. Fall on the Rock and be broken and then will the soul be filled with the fullness of God. If you want the will of God to become your will, He wants this more urgently than you can desire. Just as soon as you clear the rubbish from the door of the heart and open it, Jesus will come in with His holy presence. The bright sunbeams of the Sun of righteousness are waiting to fill all the chambers of the mind and the heart. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 18

How my heart rejoiced to see and know that the Lord drew very near unto His people, and they did not resist and repulse the Spirit of God but recognized the Holy Spirit and opened the door of the heart for its entrance. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 19

Bro. W. became very pale, while a light was shining in his countenance and he acknowledged the Comforter and rejoiced that he felt, as he had never done before, the fullness of the love of God in his soul, and offered tribute of praise and thanksgiving to God. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 20

Brother C. from Chicago had been in great trial and temptation but he was sustained under his trial and he would not allow Satan [to] have the victory, and here the Lord revealed Himself to C. His words in relating his experience afterward were in substance these: “I said I believed others would be blessed, and why not the Lord bless me? The promise is to all who seek Him with the whole heart. Lord, I will, I do believe,” and then he had such a sense of the blessing of the Lord. He never felt, he said, as happy before, such an assurance that Jesus was close by him, not visible to human sight but distinctly viewed by the eye of faith in His attractive loveliness. He viewed the Saviour as possessing such attributes of loveliness as no language can picture. He came to the meeting heavy in spirit, but he was light in the Lord. All depression was gone. He viewed his trials through which he had been passing as a precious portion of his experience. He felt thankful to the Lord that He did not leave him on his own way to follow out the suggestions of the enemy to disconnect himself with the work of God. He would not leave his position of trust, for the Lord Jesus had taken up His abode with him and henceforth the Lord should have His way with him to will and to do of His own good pleasure. He said he longed to see his friends in Chicago, [so] that he could tell them what the Lord had done for his soul and the precious experience he had passed through. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 21

There were several who related a similar experience on that occasion. Jesus of Nazareth did indeed pass by and leave a rich blessing to the hearts of His people. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 22

The surest evidence we have that Jesus is abiding in the soul temple is [that] there is a sensitiveness to sin, tenderness of conscience, and of a growing sense of the preciousness of Jesus. The name of Jesus seems full of fragrance. There is a living sense that the soul is connected with divine power, for the heart is in sympathy with His mind and purposes. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 23

Jesus Christ explains to His disciples His connection with the Father and teaches them the secret of His abiding in His Father’s love. “If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” John 15:10. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 24

Full and entire recognition of the ways and will of God will be revealed by implicit obedience to all the words that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. This is being doers of the word and [not] hearers only. One continued action of disobedience, however small you may regard it, clogs the channel of light and the bestowment of increased sacred gifts of God, and will result eventually in losing the precious evidences of His love we already have. The keeping of all the commandments of God, if we have the mind of Christ, will be the delight of the soul. We will exclaim with David, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful, but his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Psalm 1:1-3. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 25

Those who are resisting the Spirit of God in testimonies of reproof and warnings will be left with their own crooked ways and blind to the necessities, boasting of their riches and increase of goods, “And knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:17. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 26

Here the true and faithful witness makes His declaration of their true condition of those who stood in attitude, saying, “I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” Then the counsel in (verse 18) is the pleading of the Spirit of God. “I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” Revelation 3:18. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 27

To reveal to you your true spiritual destitution, I set your true condition before you in warnings and reproof. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous, therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 3:19-22. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 28

It is rashness and folly to close the ear and refuse the words of warning, reproof, and counsel [that] the Spirit saith unto the churches, for it will be, to those who refuse to hear and correct their course of action, eternal loss. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 29

Satan is constantly alluring away from faithfulness and thoroughness in the essential works of preparedness for the great event which will try every man’s soul. The work in the heavenly sanctuary is going forward. Jesus is cleansing the sanctuary. The work on earth corresponds with the work in heaven. The heavenly angels are at work constantly to draw man, the living agent, to look to Jesus to contemplate and meditate upon Jesus that he may, in viewing the perfection of Christ, be impressed with the imperfections of his own character. The Comforter Christ promised to send, He declared, “shall testify of Me.” [John 15:26.] This is the burden of the message for this time. Go lift up Jesus as the world’s only hope. Stop your controversies, cease your debating, which tends to create prejudice and opposition and leads to immature decisions, that fasten souls against Christ when they might have been gathered with Christ. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 30

We need a continual sense of our entire dependence upon the Spirit of God, laying off the fighting armor, putting on the armor of Christ’s righteousness. “Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures. And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.” Luke 24:45-48. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 31

Talk as Christ talked; work as Christ worked. We must look to Christ and live. Catching sight of His loveliness, we long to practice the virtues and righteousness of Christ. It is by beholding Christ that we become changed into His image. [By] renouncing self, giving our hearts up wholly to Jesus for His Spirit to refine, ennoble, and elevate, we will be in close connection with the future world, bathed in the bright beams of the Sun of righteousness. We rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Then we are commanded to go into other cities and towns and tell them the good news with hearts all aglow with divine love, even to them that are afar off, even as many as the Lord your God shall call. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 32

Tell to others the blessed truths of His Word, and in obeying the words of Christ, we continue in His love. How He urges us by the love we bear to Him to keep His commandments. He does this, not to urge us to do impossible things, but because He knows what it means to keep His Father’s commandments. He wants every soul that heareth His invitation to say the same to others, and to receive His richest gifts, for He knows that in keeping the commandments of God, we are not brought into servile bondage, but are made free through the blood of Jesus Christ. “And in keeping of them (His commandments) there is great reward.” Psalm 19:11. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 33

Tell it to others with pen and voice, with piety, with humility, with love, representing the character of Christ. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 34

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17. 6LtMs, Ms 48, 1890, par. 35