Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6 (1889-1890)


Lt 1d, 1890

Abbey, Ira

Battle Creek, Michigan

January 28, 1890

Portions of this letter are published in TSB 142-145.

Ira Abbey,

Today I have just received your response to my letter, and I cannot rest tonight without writing to you again and saying, Repent of your sins without delay. Your course has been opened before me—your management in business, your reckless expenditure of money, your associations with the vile and corrupt—and yet God is willing to pardon even you. I had hoped so much that when Nathan and Vernelia came from California to your house, things would be different. And had it not been for your unlawful, unholy connection with Miss Saterlee you would not have pursued so unnatural a course toward your own children. You have felt hard and unreconciled with Lucinda, but clung all the time to an harlot, and your commerce with her was of that character that your God-fearing children had none of your love, your sympathy. But my letter is not to condemn you, but to awaken you to repentance. I hear Anna has professed to be converted. This is the only time I dared to write to you or her, knowing it would not do a bit of good, for the hardness of both your hearts and your stubbornness to pursue an evil course has been marvelous. 6LtMs, Lt 1d, 1890, par. 1

The bewitching power of Satan has been upon you. But make no delay; Jesus is at the right hand of God and mercy still lingers. “Come,” says the Lord, “and let us reason together, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be as crimson, I will make them like wool.” [Isaiah 1:18.] Yes, Jesus is the sinner’s only hope. “Ho every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money (no goodness, no righteousness, nothing to recommend him to God) come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk, without money and without price.” [Isaiah 55:1.] 6LtMs, Lt 1d, 1890, par. 2

Cannot you come just now, just as you are, saying, 6LtMs, Lt 1d, 1890, par. 3

“In my hand no price I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling.”
6LtMs, Lt 1d, 1890, par. 4

“Wherefore do you spend money for that which is not bread? And you labor for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” [Verses 2, 3.] 6LtMs, Lt 1d, 1890, par. 5

“Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord; for as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:6-9. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Isaiah 57:15. I beseech you to come to God with contrition of soul. Break this hellish work that you have been carrying on, make decided movements now before it shall be forever too late. 6LtMs, Lt 1d, 1890, par. 6

“Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor his ear heavy that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you that he will not hear, for your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has uttered perverseness. None calleth for justice nor any leadeth for truth; they trust in vanity and speak lies, they conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity.” [Isaiah 59:1-4.] But notwithstanding the terribleness of their departure from God, the Lord speaks: “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well.” [Isaiah 1:16, 17.] 6LtMs, Lt 1d, 1890, par. 7

“Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his evil way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, when a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also, thou hast delivered thy soul.” [Ezekiel 3:17-21.] 6LtMs, Lt 1d, 1890, par. 8

Consider these words: “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened, and another book was opened, and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” [Revelation 20:12.] “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” [Verse 15.] Do not, I entreat of you, sit down in hopeless despair and do nothing. Do not heed any farther the great tempter [when he says] that it is no use for you to try. You could but perish if you came to Jesus just as you are, sinful and polluted, vile and depraved; but Jesus is amply able to save the very hardest and the most wicked and defiled sinner. 6LtMs, Lt 1d, 1890, par. 9

You say you are tempted to cut the brittle thread of life, but if you do then your case is hopeless, for you add the sin of murder to all your other sins. But if you come just as you are, helpless and sin-polluted, and cast yourself at the foot of the cross, poor, miserable, blind, and naked, there is a Saviour to lift you up. I know that you have not for many, many years been in harmony with God. You have for a long stretch of years been following another leader, which is the prince of darkness; but if you will cast off the works of darkness, if you will now look unto Jesus, you will live. 6LtMs, Lt 1d, 1890, par. 10

But you must look in faith. The true Christian life you have known nothing of for years. But while your powers have been so wasted and you have served Satan with a high hand, the Lord has heard prayer in your behalf and has not cut you off in your sins, which He might easily have done if mercy were gone forever. Yes, God has heard the prayers of those whom you have refused to connect with, those who love God and keep the commandments. You have been utterly blind, deplorably deceived, deluded and ensnared by the devil. 6LtMs, Lt 1d, 1890, par. 11

When years ago I warned you to flee from Brookfield as from Sodom, you did not obey the voice of God. You carried yourself, your appetite, your passions, unsubdued, with you, and God could not prosper and bless you. And you again made your home in Sodom, not, like Lot, to stand uncorrupted amid the moral pollution. I was shown that the moral atmosphere, the association of the inhabitants of Brookfield was dangerous to such an one as yourself who was weak in moral power. Now, year after year is gone, and God gives you, through His delegated servant, another chance. Will you repent? Will you confess your sins and forsake them? If you arouse your will power, relying wholly on the strength of Jesus, you will yet be an overcomer. But let the consequences be what they will, you must separate entirely from the class you have associated with. 6LtMs, Lt 1d, 1890, par. 12

The mission and work of Christ, from beginning to end, is full of mercy to those who seek Him, confessing their sins, repenting, believing. There is help for the needy, light for the blind, redemption for the lost. Jesus comes to you, even you, in all the ministrations of His Spirit and His Word, to bring this freely offered grace. Your one opportunity, and the last, is now offered to you. He seeks the guilty and depraved outcast. Jesus of Nazareth passes by. Now, if ever, the pall of darkness must be lifted from you. How precious and valuable is the one opportunity presented to you by a long-forbearing Saviour! 6LtMs, Lt 1d, 1890, par. 13

Now you may call upon Jesus as blind Bartimaeus, “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” [Mark 10:47.] He was told that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. He does not stop to calculate the chances of failure—the precious opportunity may be lost. He wastes no time in studying proprieties of speech or attitude, but cries in his last chance, “Jesus of Nazareth have mercy on me.” He was not only blind of natural sight, but he was a debased sinner; he asks for mercy, such as Christ is pleased to give the guilty. If he has that mercy, he knows that he has everything, and he is determined to have this mercy from Jesus, which means so much to him. When Jesus calls him to come, he does not wait a second bidding, he waits not to be led. He rushes in his blindness in the direction of the voice. He is ready to risk everything, only to hear the blessed words of sins forgiven. Jesus heard the request and answered it. Blind Bartimaeus received his sight and followed Jesus. The beams of righteousness shine into the darkened chambers of his mind, and light, happiness, [and] sight restored, he goes on his way rejoicing. The darkness of the long night of years is rolled back. A new world opens before him, and hope and consolation, so sweet and grateful, has come to his heart. He is made, through faith in Christ, a partaker of the divine nature. I present this case before you; I entreat of you to seize this opportunity, now, while it is called today. “If ye will hear my voice, harden not your hearts.” [See Hebrews 3:15.] There has been, by your wife, fasting and prayer and humiliation for many years. For notwithstanding her hereditary tendencies to complain and find fault, she has ever listened to the voice of God in chiding and reproof and humbled her soul in the dust at His feet. Others have hoped and prayed for you, Oh so earnestly, that God would restore to you the joys of His salvation; that you might be restored to sight, restored to yourself, rescued from the terrible blindness of sin which has blackened your soul. 6LtMs, Lt 1d, 1890, par. 14

Now is your opportunity. There is no madness like that you express in your letter to me—you have given up to be lost. The destiny of your soul depends upon your immediate action. Delay not; hesitate not one moment. Fall upon the Rock and be broken. Jesus, unseen, is by your side. Yes, Jesus of Nazareth passeth by to administer to you of His grace and compassion and to rescue you from the destiny of despair. He hears every sigh of penitence. He knows the longings of the heart for peace, that peace which He alone can give. Jesus puts to every soul the question, “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?” [Mark 10:51.] O, how many souls are today groping in blindness for light, but delay the one chance, the last opportunity to obtain it. Blind to their real danger, they walk on the brink of perdition. Blind to their own happiness and eternal welfare, they lay up for themselves an heritage of woe; blind to their own interest they dishonor and disown the greatest Friend they have in the world, and leave their future eternal interest to take care of itself. 6LtMs, Lt 1d, 1890, par. 15

I cannot give you up to be lost. You have been blind to all the higher interests of the soul, to all the blessed, glorious attractions of a heavenly life in the city of God. You have labored for that which is not bread; you have sacrificed peace and honor, and sacrificed the companionship of the children of God, even your own children, that you might walk without obstructions in your own way. You have striven to content yourself in the secrets of sinful pleasure and base gratifications, irrespective of God and heaven, and yet Jesus offers you that which you most need, that which is of infinite gain, even if it cost the toil and suffering of a whole lifetime. Now you have no hope, you are without God; and yet Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. 6LtMs, Lt 1d, 1890, par. 16

Will you now cry to God with a broken, repentant heart, Jesus of Nazareth, have mercy on me? I press this matter upon your conscience. May God urge it upon your soul with arguments of mighty power. O, that the blind might see the solemnity of eternal judgment and deepen the appeal I make to you at this time. I am writing in the early morning hours, while all in the house are locked in slumber. Be not determined to be lost. You cannot comprehend what a terrible thing it is to be lost. Your conscience has become hardened in sin and transgression and unbelief; but you may, if you will, fall on the Rock Christ Jesus and be broken before it is utterly too late, crying, Jesus of Nazareth, have mercy on me. If you do this, God will not leave you to perish. If you will only come, not waiting for anything, not stopping to reason, [and] throw yourself, even at the eleventh hour, at the feet of Jesus, as did blind Bartimaeus. God alone can touch your heart with a new tenderness. God alone can lead you to a sense of your obligations to Him which you have so long perverted. 6LtMs, Lt 1d, 1890, par. 17

Your senses have not recognized God’s claims, but can you live any longer without a Saviour? Dare you die in the devil’s hands? You have done yourself incalculable harm in separating your soul from God. Will you now break these bands of Satan, that your own wicked course of action has woven about you? This has made you afraid to come to the light, lest your deeds should be reproved. But risk everything, anything. Get out of Brookfield just as quick as you can, get away from the place where so great wickedness prevails. Will you, dare you, venture one step farther in the course you have been pursuing? Will you now commit still greater wrongs against yourself by submitting to be a bond slave to Satan? Will you decline to make one effort to grasp the crown of life? Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. Satan will make desperate efforts to keep silent your voice of supplication, What shall I do to be saved? But heed not the voice of the deceiver. Obey not Satan’s suggestions; they can only be listened to at the peril of your soul and obeyed at the hazard of your life. You are on the very borders of the eternal world. I give you counsel from the Lord; I know your life, your sin; I know you have carried a heavy burden, and [are] at times troubled of soul, I know you have become sin-hardened, and yet I say, Go to Jesus without one moment’s delay. Confess [your sins] to your long-abused wife, confess to God, make thorough work for repentance, whatever and whoever bids you hold your peace. Whatever suggestions Satan may make to keep your soul bound in sin and despair, I still say, go to Jesus, the sin-pardoning Saviour, without delay. And may the Lord who is mighty to save, rescue you out of the snare of the devil, is my prayer. 6LtMs, Lt 1d, 1890, par. 18