Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6 (1889-1890)


Lt 36, 1890

Gray, Brother and Sister

St. Helena, California

May 11, 1890

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother and Sister Gray:

I meant to have had an interview with you before leaving the camp ground, but I felt the sickness under which I am now suffering coming on me so strongly I dared not trespass upon my strength. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 1

Now my brother, I know the spirit of some in the church was not after Christ’s order. This I wished to impress upon them, but it was so difficult to say anything and to be understood and leave matters in a correct, healthful shape. Minds and hearts need the converting power of God every day—yes, every hour—or Satan will be taking advantage of them to intercept himself between brethren and get one upon the track of another. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 2

My brother, the Lord Himself by the mighty cleaver of truth took yourself and your brother, and Brother Cody and his wife and others, as rough stones out of the quarry of the world. He brought you into His workshop that He might hew you and chisel you and remove the rough edges and burnish you and invest you with His own attributes of character. In this probationary time is the work to be carried on, that you shall become polished stones in the building of God. I have been shown that unless the process is day by day carried on under the hand of God, you cannot be an accepted precious stone. I have been shown that the truth is powerful in its transforming character when brought into the inner sanctuary of the soul. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 3

I am not able to write much. I sit up in bed to trace these lines. The education and training of your mind prior to your reception of the truth must not be made a controlling power to influence your life after the reception of truth. All you employ, saint or sinner, should be regarded by you as the property of Jesus Christ. He has purchased them with His own blood, and all your relations to them in business transactions should be of the strictest integrity, dealing with them promptly and upon Christian principles. The one who employs help is dependent upon the one he employs; the one employed is dependent upon the one who employs him. He is not to regard them beneath him, or treat them with lordly indifference because he pays them wages. In no case be exacting, critical, or overbearing. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 4

The Spirit of Christ abiding in the soul will lead Christians to look upon their fellow men, not merely as human machinery and how their flesh and blood can be turned to the most profitable account, but how these souls can be helped to realize their accountability to God. If the ones employed are indeed servants of Jesus Christ, they will do their duty intelligently, heartily, as unto the Lord, knowing that there is a silent witness by their side [recording] them as faithful or unfaithful servants. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 5

The master who hires them is to beware lest there is the least unfairness in exactions of labor, in the payment of wages. Give no occasion for Satan to present charges against you. Like Abraham, make no inconsiderate speeches, no exactions or unkindness. In ancient days Abraham commanded his children and his household after him “to keep the way of the Lord.” [Genesis 18:19.] The healthful impressions are to be made on the soul by the grace of Christ which illuminates your own heart. In the press of business, in the cares and burdens, pray more than at any other time. Show that you realize that One is your Master, even Christ Jesus. This cannot be forgotten and pressed into the background without injury to master as well as injury to servants. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 6

Let every word you speak be in kindness. Never, never be found guilty of oppressing the hireling in his wages or to keep him long waiting for that which is his own. Never, never pain saint or sinner with a cold, ungracious, lordly manner, for all this hurts the soul and stirs up the worst feeling of the human heart. Keep the conscience unsullied. Staunch Christian principle, my brother and sister, is the only principle God will accept. God is your judge, He weigheth actions. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 7

In your intercourse with your fellow men, remember you are expected of the Master to be laborers together with God. The heart is the citadel of the whole body. That heart must be wholly on the Lord’s side else the enemy will interpose himself and find a stronghold there to insinuate his ideas and suggestions that will be revealed in words and works of requirement and oppression that do harm to souls, that will dishonor the sacred truth and dishonor Jesus. The heart touched by the grace of God will have a love for souls. Because he loves Jesus he will seek to be a representative of Christ. He has a labor of love constantly before him, which is to minister. These are the best sermons you can preach. He will find hard subjects to deal with because the heart and will are opposed to God. They will say and do hateful things, and this often calls forth a response. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 8

But oh, let the words, the spirit, bear witness of you that you are indeed a child of God. Those connected with you, working for you, are to have from you a representation of Jesus Christ. You will not, cannot, practice the old ways and manners you used to have before you accepted Jesus Christ. The truth of God must work by faith, sanctifying the soul; the love of Jesus is expressed in all your dealings with your fellow men. Like one who has true wisdom, there is kept up a constant inquiry, Is this the way of the Lord? Through your representation of the truth you are to be a bright and shining light. Religion in the home, religion in the business, is a constant testimony borne in favor of the truth and holiness. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 9

You too easily become impatient at men’s blindness, when Satan hath blinded their understanding lest the glory of God, as it shineth in the face of Jesus Christ, should shine in their hearts. If the servants of Jesus Christ were only as persevering as the enemy of righteousness, many more souls would be converted. You are responsible for your entrusted talents. Every particle of influence is of God, to be improved and increased in efficiency, and self must be put out of sight. God must be your helper at all times. He must preside over thought, word, and deed. The Lord is to direct us in all things and to give religious character to all our business relations. Why the precious cause of truth is so powerless and really despised is because those who claim to believe the truth forget its righteous claims in dealing with their fellow men. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 10

My brother and sister, there is a higher standard for you to reach. Your dear children, are they not copying your words and being imbued with your spirit? Then let nothing sway you from the Bible rule of right. God will give light and guidance. Every unholy practice will be separated from you; every plan that is not the way of the Lord will be overcome. Now is the period when the rough stones must feel the force of the ax and the hammer and chisel. The Christian graces must be cultivated by you. Although engaged in the activities of life, God demands of you that represent Jesus an entirely different showing before the universe of heaven, and before angels and men, than He does of the worldling. All practice of custom that is not sound in principle should never be brought into business. All should be as transparent as sunlight. Every man who has embraced present truth must never commit himself to a course of action that is not pure, honest, and of good report. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 11

We live in an age of the world when the possession of houses and lands is made the standard of the character. Now every member of the church has pledged himself before God to abstain from even the appearance of evil. They are bound by the most sacred pledge not to sin and not to misrepresent Jesus Christ, bound under the most solemn obligation not to give encouragement to the covetous practices of the world by being partakers of their evil deeds. By the grace of Christ every member of the church is to hold fast his integrity. God’s word is our standard of duty in our business transactions; with meekness and as learners in the school of Christ, practice the lessons of Christ. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 12

“Not slothful in business.” “Fervent in spirit.” “Serving the Lord.” [Romans 12:11.] One is your Master, even Christ; you are responsible to Him in a sense you have not realized. “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” [Colossians 3:17.] If business presses too closely upon the spiritual and eternal interests, and temptations are in consequence constantly arising, then let the business take its subordinate place. The living oracles of God puts a light before your path and tells you to walk in the light heavenward, to become an heir of God and joint heir with Jesus Christ. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 13

There is presented to the follower of Jesus unsearchable riches, an eternal weight of glory. Nothing, Brother Harvey Gray, that God has given you is to be extinguished, but all must be sanctified and refined and ennobled. How? by daily and hourly being [a] partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Then every true believer will have the burden to work in simplicity, in meekness, in love to save souls. The Lord Jesus is drawing men, inviting in melting strains, Look to Me, your Redeemer, and live. Come unto Me, and ye shall find rest to your souls. Oh, think you, if we were laborers together with God our faith would be so weak in eternal realities? Would our sense of sacred obligation to God be so indistinct that we would be continually occupied with unimportant things and our fellow men perishing within our reach? 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 14

May God awaken the churches in Southern California to their duty. May they cease to feel it is their prerogative to seek spot and stain in their brethren. Instead of separating that which ought to blend together in harmony and sweet unity, they should daily answer the prayer of Christ, that His disciples may be one as He is one with the Father. Christ’s love in the heart will lead to oneness. The reason that there is not carried into the Christian life practical love and peace and true Christian courtesy is because the Spirit of God is not accepted as the Divine Teacher. There is no halfway work accepted of God. If we are Christians at all, we will be Christians everywhere, under adversities, under tests, under the proving by trial. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 15

My brother, Christ must be revealed in the business transactions. If those who name the name of Christ have hold from above, they will through grace so freely imparted be peacemakers. There will be no stirring up of strife. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 16

In all your connection with businessmen, in all your words and all your works, never lose sight of the fact that you have a witness. God is present in all your transactions, and He testifies, “I know thy works.” [Revelation 3:15.] The record will be made in the books exactly as it is; there will be no mistake made; and if there is the least injustice to your fellowmen, to saint or sinner, the Lord traces the fact just as it is. He is the Watcher that takes notice of all the transactions of men. He was the Watcher after the warning and reproof given Nebuchadnezzar, and when he ventured to pass over the ground where God had forbidden him to go, when he showed disregard of the warnings given him, the Watcher pronounced judgment against him. He who abhors everything false, He who detects fraud and any species of deceit wherever it may appear, says, “I know thy works.” I wish I could speak in so impressive a manner that every one who may read these lines will have a solemn sense of their responsibility. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 17

God has given men reasoning power. He has given men intellect, which is developed in tact and skill, foresight and judgment. And when these gifts are not used with an eye single to the glory of God they are perverted into wrong channels, misdirected, and they become the servants of sin. Thus Christ is dishonored, denied, placed in a false light before the world. The Holy One is a witness to all we do and say. He is either served wholly, or He is sinned against and false testimony is borne in regard to the Christian character. Whatever violates the true Bible principles of right and wrong is working on the enemy’s side and is benumbing his own conscience. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 18

It did not appear a grievous thing for Eve to do the very thing the Lord had warned her not to do, and by her doing this she led Adam to sin; that disregard of God opened the floodgates of woe to our world. We as Christians must act as if we had an abiding sense that we were under the divine eye. We must adopt the divine standard and remember that God is a party to all our doings. A sense of His abiding presence, His holiness, His justice and truth, should make us to walk softly and reverently before Him; repress everything unfair and unprincipled and encourage the pure, the holy, and uncontaminated. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 19

I speak decidedly of the necessity of heeding the words of Christ, “Watch unto prayer.” “Pray without ceasing” [1 Peter 4:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:17], lest the increase of worldly entanglements should so engross the mind as to exclude true godliness from the soul. Oh, how Satan has exulted to see the power he has obtained over our brethren in such a time of peril as the present. Some with the presentation of the hopes of gaining will embark in scheme after scheme, speculation after speculation, and wrap themselves about with entanglement after entanglement until the power of temptation presses stronger and the fortress of the soul is broken down. Godliness is crowded out, the talents entrusted of God buried, as represented by the unfaithful servant who was entrusted with one talent whom the Lord judges and casts out as unworthy of confidence and trust. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 20

This is our first work. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all things else shall be added.” [Matthew 6:33.] No man can honor God who burdens himself with a multitude of cares so that love and zeal for Bible truth shall become a second consideration. The influence of the pure truth must sanctify the soul. Every moment the Christian will feel the entire dependence of the helpless upon the helpful. Our God requires more than many will give Him—high, devoted endeavor to keep God’s property, His church in a healthful prosperity. This is the solemn trust Christ has placed in the hands of His servants. There must be no robbery of God in these matters of eternal interests. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 21

What if brain and bone and muscle are allowed to be overtaxed, the highest strain put upon them in efforts for the accomplishment of temporal matters, and the higher interests are neglected and thrust aside? The physical and mental are so weary that they give to God no vigorous effort. All that concern the highest service is dull and spiritless as if a paralysis had crippled every spiritual energy. All such, I have been shown, are sinning against their souls, dwarfing their spiritual growth because of over-devotion to temporal matters which results in being unfaithful soldiers in the Master’s service. They are asleep at their post and the enemy works in sowing his tares while men sleep, robbing God of the service which He has given us to do, which He expects us to do, robbing our own souls of the deep, rich, healthful experience it is our privilege to obtain; and the result is, those who do this are weighed in the balances of heaven and pronounced wanting. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 22

Foolish virgins had lamps, but not the oil of grace in the vessels with their lamps. There must be an awakening. Every one who names the name of Christ is to show forth the praises of Him who has called him out of darkness into His marvelous light. How can we be minute men when worldly speculations and schemes fill the thoughts; worldly engrossments burden the soul constantly, which keeps God out of the thoughts and absorbs all the vital energies of their physical and mental powers, leaving neither time nor will power to exercise for the high service of God. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 23

There is not clear spiritual perception of spiritual things, nor fervor of spirit to make the meetings of the church profitable and interesting. Oh, the life of thousands of professed Christians is naught but a complicated robbery of God. The churches languish, dwarfed and crippled; spirituality is perverted everywhere, showing God’s order has been reversed. Man is not seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, but deliberately setting aside one of the most solemn injunctions of our Redeemer who knew the value of the human soul. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 24

In consequence of congestion of the brain and inflammation of the eyes, I cannot complete this; but as I do not want it delayed, I will send you what I have, and [I] want you to read it to the church, for the principles here apply to the entire church. And I implore the church members not to trust this matter with your criticisms and speculations, but as the voice of God to you, and each individual work off against his own house. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 25

God wants you to be in unity, and every power and energy of your being should be exercised to answer the purpose of God. The things spoken and read at Fresno to the church will be sent to you as soon as I am able to put it in shape. 6LtMs, Lt 36, 1890, par. 26