Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6 (1889-1890)


Lt 1e, 1890

Abbey, Ira

Battle Creek, Michigan

January 14, 1890

Portions of this letter are published in TSB 133-137.

Ira Abbey,

My poor, deceived, sinful brother, I will now address a few words to you for whom I have had so great a burden and interest for many years. Ira Abbey, for years your course has been a sinful course. I have written to you, but have received no response, and the reproof given has had no effect upon your course of action. Nathan and Vernelia were not retained because you were under the influence of evil advisers, accusers. You would part from your own children rather than from those who were ungodly. You needed the help of your children every day, but you were glad when you no longer had their presence and their restraining influence. 6LtMs, Lt 1e, 1890, par. 1

You have a work to do for your own soul. Make haste, or it will be forever too late. God will now forgive the scarlet sin if you will do those things you ought to do to make your wrongs right. I do not say your case is hopeless, but you have certainly almost sinned away your day of grace, and yet Jesus is in the sanctuary. Jesus pleads in your behalf. Your brethren and your sisters have labored much for you; so much interest have they manifested for you that you have regarded crime and sins as a light matter. But Jesus loves you and I present, or lift up, Jesus before you. 6LtMs, Lt 1e, 1890, par. 2

Satan tells you that it is not best for you to cease sinning, [that] you have gone so far in disobedience and transgression it is no use for you to try to come back to God. While I feel the full disgrace of your sins is upon you, while I would have you see sin as it is, I would all the time present Jesus as a sin-pardoning Saviour. 6LtMs, Lt 1e, 1890, par. 3

The sands of your life are nearly run out, and now if you will come to God just as you are without one plea, but that He has died to save the chiefest of sinners, you will find pardon even in this, the eleventh hour. Man must cooperate with God. Christ did not die to have the power to cover transgression unrepented of and unconfessed. All sins are not to be confessed publicly, but some are to be confessed alone to God and the parties that have been injured. 6LtMs, Lt 1e, 1890, par. 4

Righteousness of Christ imputed to men means holiness, uprightness, purity. Unless Christ’s righteousness was imputed to us, we could not have acceptable repentance. The righteousness dwelling in us by faith consists of love, forbearance, meekness, and all the Christian virtues. Here the righteousness of Christ is laid hold of and becomes a part of our being. All who have this righteousness will work the works of God. “Verily, verily I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also and greater works than these shall he do because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments.” [John 14:12-15.] “Little children, let no man deceive you: He that doeth righteousness is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil.” [1 John 3:7, 8.] 6LtMs, Lt 1e, 1890, par. 5

The imputed righteousness of Christ is a precious ore whose value is discovered by digging into the mines of truth. The Bible is of the highest value. The Lord Jesus has crowns and harps and white robes prepared for those who are seeking earnestly for them. “Who will render to every man according to his deeds.” “To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality and eternal life.” [Romans 2:6, 7.] But the robes of Christ’s righteousness never cover cherished sins. No one can enter into the marriage supper of the Lamb without the wedding garment on, which is the righteousness of Christ. Without holiness no man shall see God. God is waiting to give divine power to every soul to combine with human effort. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you, both to will and do of his good pleasure.” [Philippians 2:12, 13.] Christ is the perfection of divine character. He is the model we are to follow. Peter’s words are full of meaning: “As obedient children not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance, but as he who hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation, because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy.” [1 Peter 1:14-16.] 6LtMs, Lt 1e, 1890, par. 6

We are not saved because we are sinless. Christ came into the world to make a propitiation for our sins. “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” [Mark 2:17.] “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] “And this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth, cometh to the light that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God.” [Verses 19-21.] 6LtMs, Lt 1e, 1890, par. 7

John, in Revelation, in his description of the New Jerusalem says, “And there shall in no wise enter in anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abominations or maketh a lie, but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” [Revelation 21:27.] Well may you ask, “Is my name written there?” It is registered in that book of life if you have a character that is pure and holy like the character of Christ. Faith in the truth alone will not save us. We must be like Christ if we shall one day see Him as He is. 6LtMs, Lt 1e, 1890, par. 8

“Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure.” [1 John 3:3.] Any hope aside and separate from purity and righteousness is a snare of Satan’s sophistry and fatal delusions. Jesus came to our world and graciously stands inviting us to come unto Him and learn of Him. Believe in Him, and as we come, He grafts us into His life and into His character. Our drawing nigh to Christ is faith, and the grafting process is adoption; and by this mutual act we become sons of God and joint heirs with Christ, partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 6LtMs, Lt 1e, 1890, par. 9

This ingrafting in Christ separates us from the world. No longer will we love the society of the vile and contaminated and contaminating. We will be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Then rich clusters of fruit are borne. The graces of the Spirit are borne in love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness. We have new affections, new appetites, new tastes; old things have passed away, and lo, all things have become new. 6LtMs, Lt 1e, 1890, par. 10

Now I ask you, Brother Abbey, will you serve God with your whole heart, keeping all His commandments, or will you serve the devil? Will you, irrespective of consequences, put yourself on Christ’s side? God will not force your service. It is life or death with you. If you come to Jesus, confessing your sins as an humble penitent, He will forgive you your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. You can not turn from sin until you hate sin and love purity and truth and righteousness. I entreat you now to come, just as a little child, humbling your heart before God, and Jesus will pardon your transgression. 6LtMs, Lt 1e, 1890, par. 11

I hope Annie will no longer hold the influence over you that she has. If she does, it is ruin, eternal ruin, to you both. You have much, altogether too much, sympathy to give to aliens, while your wife is wronged, deceived, robbed of the respect due her, [and] your children [are] robbed of that confidence which you should give them. You have a work to do, and that without delay, or the wages of sin will be your portion. 6LtMs, Lt 1e, 1890, par. 12

Turn away from the society of the ungodly, devote every moment of your time in seeking the Lord while He may be found. You cannot live two lives, one for Christ and one for the devil. How long will you delight in sin itself, which is so abhorrent to God? All the sweet influences of the Spirit of God have become extinguished in your soul. Now change. I tell you not to be despairing, but to come to a merciful, sin-pardoning Saviour. Sever the links, disconnect from them. 6LtMs, Lt 1e, 1890, par. 13

You tremble to do this because you fear exposure. You cannot but be exposed ere long, however much you may conceal your true condition. God has opened matters to me that I might encourage you to make another trial for your soul. You must choose between selfishness and sin on the one hand, and Christ, His purity and righteousness on the other. If you surrender to God, heart, soul, and body, you will no longer be the servant of sin. O, I cannot endure the thought that one who has had so great light shall remain the servant of sin and of Satan. 6LtMs, Lt 1e, 1890, par. 14

There is no hope for you [except] in an entire transformation of character. Then you will try to honor Christ and to be like Christ. His law will be the rule of your life. Make haste to turn your feet in the path of holiness. Save your soul by casting yourself at the foot of the cross. Then come to Jesus and be happy and go to heaven. Preaching is not all you need, but you need sins rebuked as Nathan rebuked David. “Thou art the man.” [2 Samuel 12:7.] You must have godliness, a pure heart, a perfect life, or die in your sins and perish with the ungodly. 6LtMs, Lt 1e, 1890, par. 15

May the Lord convince your soul, is my prayer. 6LtMs, Lt 1e, 1890, par. 16