Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6 (1889-1890)


Lt 33, 1890

Brethren and Sisters in Norwich

Lynn, Massachusetts

December 4, 1890

Portions of this letter are published in 2MCP 639; 5MR 231; 9MR 132-135.

Dear Brethren and Sisters in Norwich,

Unless we aim to reach a higher standard, we shall fall far below the position we are now in; we will fail to endure the trials of the last days, which will surely come upon us, and that right early. There must be an emptying of self before the heart can be filled with the Holy Spirit of God. 6LtMs, Lt 33, 1890, par. 1

Since the rise of the first and second angels’ messages, I have taken an active part in the work, and the evidence as it is now given cannot be controverted from the Word of God. We have not a shadow of a doubt as to the correct understanding of the order and character of the third angel’s message and the two preceding it. We are now living under the proclamation of the message of the third angel. Many attempts will be made, as there have been in the past to weave into the work human theories. Diligent study will be made to get up something original; but we may say, as did Paul, “Other foundation can no man lay than is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” [1 Corinthians 3:11.] 6LtMs, Lt 33, 1890, par. 2

The Lord has led out representative men to proclaim the first, second, and third angels’ messages. We know that God was with His faithful standard bearers. Many of them held fast their faith until their hands were palsied by death. I labored with the workers, bearing the burden in the heat of the day. Our work was a part of the great web of God’s plans, and nothing can be more offensive to God than to give discredit to those who have fought a good fight, who have finished their course, who have kept the faith unto the end. He says, “Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them.” [Revelation 14:13.] They being dead yet speak. Their words, their influence, their example, have lived after their death. 6LtMs, Lt 33, 1890, par. 3

Let not those who have been placed in responsible positions think that God has given them light to controvert the work of the faithful ones who have died in the faith. God wrought through these old pioneers of the cause, and no voice or pen should be brought into action to demerit their labor which was full of self-denial and self-sacrifice. Their works were wrought in God. The Lord would have the youth now coming on the stage of action be assured that no irreverent hand must touch the Lord’s anointed or do His prophets harm. And not only are the ones sleeping in their graves to be respected, but those who are living also. These men may err, for they are not infallible; but if they confess their mistakes, the Lord will forgive their sins and pardon their transgressions. While they cannot say, We have never sinned, yet if they have the meekness and gentleness of Christ, the Lord will hold them more firmly than they can possibly hold the Lord. None are to boast, or sneer at sacred things. Men may think themselves wise, and in their conceit seek to belittle those whom the God of Heaven loves, but in this they reveal that they are not learning in the school of Christ to be meek and lowly in heart. 6LtMs, Lt 33, 1890, par. 4

In the power and strength and name of the Lord God of Israel, I stand before you and say, I know in whom I have believed. I know that we have the truth in regard to the three messages. I hide myself in Jesus. I am a laborer together with God, to give the message of warning, of reproof, of encouragement, holding aloft the banner on which is inscribed our message: “The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” [Verse 12.] To the church in Norwich I would say, Your only safety lies in walking humbly with God. Let each bear in mind that he is a thread in the great web of humanity, to act a part with his brethren and sisters in church capacity. All are to earnestly seek to make an entire surrender to God. 6LtMs, Lt 33, 1890, par. 5

Any question that Satan can arouse in the mind to create doubt in regard to the grand history of the past travels of the people of God will please his Satanic majesty and is an offence to God. The tidings of the Lord’s soon coming in power and great glory to our world is truth, and in 1840 <to the passing of the time in 1844,> many voices were raised in its proclamation. In the place of those who have not been brought over the ground, who have not had an individual experience when it was a positive <necessity> to know the truth as it was unfolding before them, in the place of these tearing to pieces the building which has been erected on the interpretation of the prophecies, let them in all meekness fall into line and work in harmony with those whose voices are now silent in death, and with the workers who are still living. Fall into line; obey the orders of the Captain of your salvation, and bear witness of the light which the Lord has flashed upon the world in the messages for these last days. Keep in step with your Leader. 6LtMs, Lt 33, 1890, par. 6

The dealings of God with his people should be often repeated. He has worked as a wonder-working God. He has baptized His chosen messengers with the Holy Spirit. The past history of the cause of God needs to be often brought before the people, young and old, that they may be familiar with it. How frequently were the waymarks set up by the Lord in His dealing with ancient Israel, lest they should forget the history of the past. Christ, their invisible leader, commanded Moses to form <the history of> these events into song, that the people of Israel might teach them to their children. 6LtMs, Lt 33, 1890, par. 7

It is the device of Satan to divert the mind from these things and keep it employed with unprofitable conversation, that the Lord’s truth and manifest power in dealing with His people should be regarded as a thing of the past and dropped out of their remembrance. But we are exhorted to call to mind the former days, “after which when ye were illuminated ye endured a great fight of afflictions.” [Hebrews 10:32.] The Lord’s ways and plans were given to His <ancient> people. They were to gather up memorials, and to lay them up where they would be in sight. Special pains were taken to preserve them, that when their children should inquire of their parents what these things meant, the whole story might be repeated. Thus the providential dealing and the marked goodness and mercy of God in His care and deliverance of His people, would be kept a live subject. 6LtMs, Lt 33, 1890, par. 8

If these things formed the conversation of believers today, it would greatly confirm their faith and add to their spiritual growth in a knowledge of God and His ways. Satan is pleased to have the mind dwell upon matters of no consequence, to have the conversation dwell upon trifling things, while these wonderful memorials of God, the manifestations of His power, sink out of sight. This is the reason why so many have lost their first love. 6LtMs, Lt 33, 1890, par. 9

My brethren in Norwich, will you work in altogether different lines than you have been doing in the past. There are minds now occupied with things of little consequence. This is separating from God souls for whom Jesus prayed that they might be one as He was one with the Father. [John 17:22.] Will you allow Satan to throw his hellish shadow between you and your God and between you and your brethren? Will you allow little trifling things to create animosity and heartburnings? Jesus prayed that all who believe in His name might be one as He is one with the Father. Will you seek to answer this prayer? While His arms of love are outstretched to receive you all, will you not be drawn together in the arms of His infinite love? It is Satan who plans to manufacture little difficulties and cause you to build up barriers between you and your brethren of like precious faith. You are making a man or woman an offender for a word. O, how ashamed you make the angels of God in manifesting such weakness. 6LtMs, Lt 33, 1890, par. 10

While you so readily think and speak evil of one another, while you allow the root of bitterness to spring up and be cherished, your influence scatters from Christ, and hardens hearts in resistance of the sweet spirit of unity and peace. Put it all away without a moment’s delay. “Love one another,” Christ says, “as I have loved you.” [John 13:34.] If you love Christ, you will love one another. Do not let Satan make you weak by stealing a march upon you. Do not let him lead you to enlist in his service, to be hateful and hating one another. “Love as brethren, be pitiful; be courteous.” [1 Peter 3:8.] 6LtMs, Lt 33, 1890, par. 11

There is another danger. I warn you not to look to any man as your light, as your strength. Put not your trust in man. All your love and your praise and your exaltation is to be given to Him who loved you and who gave Himself for you. Do as Jesus has told you to do. Strive for unity, to be one as He is one with the Father, but in no case exalt man—not even the ablest speaker that ever lived. Lift up Jesus. Talk of Him, extol His name, and by so doing your own hearts will be warmed and encouraged and strengthened. 6LtMs, Lt 33, 1890, par. 12

There are some who are in doubt and uncertainty. They greatly desire spiritual life; they need the moisture of the grace of Christ in their hearts. They need divine illumination. The promise is that if you seek Him will all your heart, He will be found of you. If you do not recognize that you have light from the Sun of Righteousness, you cannot have life, and the whole moral taste will be in danger of being corrupted. Christ prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” [John 17:17.] As the believer studies the Word and beholds Christ, he will be made more and more like Christ. Through searching the Scriptures, he will know Christ whom to know aright is life eternal. Light and life are inseparable; if you are destitute of the one, you cannot have the other. 6LtMs, Lt 33, 1890, par. 13

No man is to take Christ’s place; no man is to take to himself power or authority. He is not to take the smallest tittle of glory to himself. Christ has said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] Then to whom do all your words of praise belong? Not to man. Although he may have talent and ability, it is only lent him of God. He is not to take the place of the great power of God, or to take to himself any praise. All should go back to the Giver. Man at his best is only God’s instrumentality; God does His work through him. John said, “I am not that Light.” [John 1:8.] He came to bear witness of the Light, and he was ever pointing to the Life, the Truth, and the Way. He was a witness to the glory of Christ. His voice proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” [Verse 29.] So the office work of the minister sent of God is not to attract people to himself, to have their sympathies and praise directed to finite man. 6LtMs, Lt 33, 1890, par. 14

“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.” [Verse 10.] With many professed Christians this is true. O, to what depths of degradation have souls sunk when they know not God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” [Verse 11.] Let the minister of Christ direct every word of praise away from self. Put self out of sight, and never feel that your work is well done till the mind’s eye can see only Jesus, the crucified One. This is not a surface, casual reception. It means to empty the soul of everything that defileth. Make room for Jesus in the soul temple, that He may be all and in all. 6LtMs, Lt 33, 1890, par. 15

“As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” [Verse 12.] Here is faith, that genuine faith which works by love and purifies the soul. Let each be a true home missionary, and without delay begin to empty his soul of envy, all bitterness, all evil thinking and evil speaking. If you indulge in these things, you are working to separate your own souls and the souls of your brethren from Christ. We are either gathering into oneness with Christ by making any and every sacrifice <of self> for peace and unity, or we are separating and scattering from Him. Again I say, Just as long as the praise of any man is in your mind and on your lips, you place him where God should be. You are weak in moral power, and every time you utter one word of praise to man, you are an agent of Satan, who is seeking to destroy every man who has ability or talent. Let heaven register the praises of men. It is not safe for you to do it. 6LtMs, Lt 33, 1890, par. 16

Self-esteem and self-love are eating out the vitals of true godliness in the church. There are some whose names are on the church books, who are not truly converted. They do not feel the necessity of having a living, personal connection with Jesus Christ. To such the preaching of the cross of Christ is foolishness. The heart that has not fallen upon the Rock, Christ Jesus, is proud of its wholeness. Men want a dignified religion, that they can walk in a path wide enough to take in their own attributes. Their self-love, their love of property, their love of praise, has excluded the precious Saviour from the heart; for He cannot accept any heart that is not wholly His. Minds are ignorant of what it means to be a child of God, an heir of heaven. Some have a sneer on their countenances and in their hearts for the simplicity of true godliness. <They suppose they have advanced beyond such weakness.> To these the preaching of the cross is foolishness. They have no experience in it. It is unintelligible to them. They are wise in their own conceits, and know not that they are “wretched and miserable, and blind and naked.” The True Witness says, “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 eyesalve, that thou mayest see:” “For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise.” [Revelation 3:17, 18; 1 Corinthians 1:19.] To those who think they have so great knowledge that [they] have no need to learn anything, God says, “I will bring to naught the understanding of the prudent.” Those who are full of self-conceit, and think themselves to be very wise, should read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Jeremiah 9:23, 24. 6LtMs, Lt 33, 1890, par. 17

I call upon you to die to self. Get together. “Seek 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 unto our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” [Isaiah 55:6, 7.] Jesus is waiting to be gracious. When you have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, then you will understand more of the joys of salvation than you have known all your life hitherto. “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses to me ... unto the uttermost parts of the earth.” [Acts 1:8.] Make your requests known unto God. Moses made his urgent request known unto God. He plead, “Show me thy glory,” and the Lord answered his prayer. [Exodus 33:18-23.] He took that atom of humanity and hid him under His own hand in a cleft of the rock, that His glory might pass before him, and not consume him. May the Lord set home this appeal to your souls is my prayer. 6LtMs, Lt 33, 1890, par. 18