Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Lt 16, 1892

Holland, Brother and Sister

Adelaide, Australia

November 10, 1892

Portions of this letter are published in 1BC 1092; 9MR 347-348. +Note

Dear Brother and Sister Holland,

Since leaving your home, I have felt an increased interest for you that you should both walk in the light as Christ is in the light. While we are in no case to extol the power of the prince of darkness, we are to be wide awake and <not> be ignorant of his devices. His temptations will come in a variety of ways. He will suggest many things to the mind. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 1

I thought perhaps I might have left the impression on your mind that I did not appreciate the church in this place, but I do; that is why I am here in Adelaide. There are many precious souls in the church. They have their defects and weaknesses, but the Lord does not forsake them for this, He loves them still. The church militant is not the church triumphant. “It doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” [1 John 3:2, 3.] (As God is pure in His sphere, so may the believing, trusting child of God be <pure> in his sphere.) “He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit.” [John 15:5.] We have precious truth, and we want to enjoy it and be sanctified through the truth. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 2

The church here in Adelaide is going to arise, and are you <not> going to arise and be a help to the church? I am praying for you that your faith fail not. The tender, pitying love of Jesus is toward you. My dear sister, the truth is precious, and my heart yearns toward you that you should rejoice in the truth. You have been discouraged, and you need to place yourself in the channel of light as much as possible. When the Lord sends His messengers, He has a message for you—words from the Lord that will let light into the chambers of the mind and inspire hope in the heart and dispel doubts. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 3

The office of the Holy Spirit is to comfort, to bring things to your remembrance that will increase faith. We need to contemplate the love of Jesus, His mission and His works in reference to us as individuals. Jesus so loved me that He gave His own life to save me. The Father loved me. “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.] 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 4

This life is the greatest blessing ever promised to man. But it becomes us to know what are the terms that are made with us. I answer: It is to believe. Yes, we must have a faith that is in accordance with the promise, “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 any thing in my name I will do it.” 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 5

Now the terms. “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye (who love me) know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you ... He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” John 14:12-17, 21. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 6

“He that hath my commandments” means he that hath light upon what constitutes the commandments of God and will not disobey His commandments although it might apparently seem a temporal advantage to do so. The 23rd verse of the same reads, “If a man love me he will keep my words: (my commandments) and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him.” Now the test, “He that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” verse 24. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 7

Now my sister, if it were not possible for human beings under the Abrahamic covenant to keep the commandments of God, every soul of us is lost. The Abrahamic covenant is the covenant of grace. “By grace ye are saved.” [Ephesians 2:5.] “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” [John 1:11, 12.] Disobedient children? No, obedient to all His commandments. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 8

If it were not possible for us to be commandment-keepers, then why does He make the obedience to His commandments the proof that we love Him? (Verse 14) reads, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” [1 John 3:4.] 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 9

How can those who minister in word and doctrine call upon the sinner to repent of his sins, and yet not explain to him or define what sin is? Sin is the transgression of the law. The sinner may well ask, “Sir, tell me, if you please, what is sin of which I am called upon to repent?” We must know of what we are required to repent. If there is no moral standard which defines sin and which we can present to the sinner, then he is left in the dark, as far as an intelligent knowledge of [what] sin is. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 10

In (1 John 2:1-7) [we read], “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin,” you need not give up your hope in Christ. You need not say, It is of no use my any longer attempting to keep His commandments, for this would be placing yourself wholly on Satan’s ground. Satan follows you with his temptations, in order that he may get you to yield and sin; and when you sin, then he tells you it is of no use for you to try, and you might just as well announce yourself an open transgressor of the law of God, for you cannot keep His commandments. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 11

In the name and strength given of God, we may be obedient to all His commandments, and His commandments are not grievous. We are happy in doing them. But we are often taken unawares and led into sin, and that discourages us. Shall we then say, I will no longer try to walk in the way of His commandments? Well, that is exactly the thing Satan wants you to do, and if he sees you will allow yourself to favor his temptations, he knows that his purpose is gained. We cannot afford to do this; it is running altogether too perilous a risk. We shall never be saved in transgression of the commandments of God if we have had light as to what the keeping of His commandments comprehends. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 12

When any one feels that he has committed sin, been surprised into sin, shall he then cease to pray? No, for this is exactly what Satan hoped he would tempt the individual to do—what he would tempt us to do. But the Lord Jesus has left a precious promise full of hope and comfort. “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 13

“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. Brethren I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning.” 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 14

He would not leave the enemy any opportunity to perplex the mind, to leave it to wander about in Satan’s mist and fog as to the commandment of which he is speaking. It is the commandment which He made when the foundations of the earth were laid, “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” [Job 38:7.] Away back in the world’s history, before there were any people distinguished as Jews, he laid the foundation of His law when He laid the foundations of the world. “The old commandment is the word which ye heard from the beginning.” [1 John 2:7.] Who is speaking? John, the beloved disciple, was giving the inspired message as mouthpiece for God, and it comes echoing down the lines, from age to age, to our time. Thank God we are not left in mist and confusion in regard to the commandments. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 15

We are required to keep [His commandments,] and to demonstrate before the heavenly universe <and the world> that we are obedient children, loyal and true to the government of God. We may not expect the world, who are under the power and dominion of Satan, to obey God and keep His commandments. There are but two classes in our world, the obedient and the disobedient, the holy and the unholy. When our transgressions were laid upon Jesus, He was numbered among the unholy on the sinner’s account. He became our substitute, our surety before the Father and all the heavenly angels. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 16

By imputing the sins of the world to Jesus He became the sinner in our stead, and the curse due to our sins came upon Him. It becomes us to contemplate the life of humiliation of Christ and His ignominious death, for He was treated as the sinner deserves to be treated. He came to our world clothing divinity with humanity to bear the test and proving of God. By His example of perfect obedience in His human nature, He teaches us that man may be obedient. How can this be? Jesus took the nature of man while He lay hold on the throne of God with His divine nature. In His humanity and divinity combined, He overcame every temptation of Satan. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 17

Please read 2 Peter 1:2-4. “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Here it is plainly revealed that whosoever believeth in Jesus Christ becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Let divinity and humanity co-operate and fallen man may be more than conqueror through Christ Jesus. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 18

The world’s Redeemer was treated as we deserved, in order that we might be treated as He deserved. He came to our world and took our sins upon His own divine soul, that we might receive His imputed righteousness. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. The world’s Redeemer gave Himself. Who was He? The Majesty of heaven, pouring out His blood upon the altar of justice for the sins of guilty man. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 19

The question is often asked, why do you keep the commandments of God, since Jesus came to abolish the law? Was it essential that the Son of God, who gave the law, should see such a necessity of abolishing it, that He left the royal courts of heaven to die upon the cross of Calvary that He might give the world license to break the law? Is there reason in this? What a wonderful costly process for the Father and the dear Son to go through in order to abolish the law and give men perfect freedom to trample it in the dust! 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 20

The Lord’s standard of righteousness remains firm as His eternal throne. It is His holy law, and because not one precept of this law could be changed or altered to meet man in his fallen condition, Jesus consented, and the Father consented, to give His only begotten Son to die, (To abolish the law? No,) but to save the sinner. The cross of Calvary is the unanswerable argument of the perpetuity of the binding claims of the law of Jehovah. When the great Teacher gave His sermon on the Mount, showing the immutability of the law of God, He was expounding the law that He gave. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 21

Satan had so beclouded the understanding of even the chosen people of God, that in their separation from God they could not discern sacred things. The prophecies are made so indistinct, that truth, precious above gold, or silver, or precious stones, was buried beneath a mass of rubbish and their glorious character hidden out of sight. The precious Sabbath, given at the creation of the world, lost its true significance by the rubbish of human inventions piled upon it in maxims and traditions of men. Said Christ, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” [Matthew 15:8, 9.] 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 22

Jesus Christ was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy. He established the sacrificial offerings typifying Himself. The whole system of types and symbols was one compacted prophecy of the gospel, a presentation of Christianity in which were bound up the doctrines of the gospel. While the multitude, Jews and Gentiles of all nations, were listening to the words of Christ, He presented before them the real truths connected with His kingdom. He would clear away the mist and fog of their false, cherished ideas in regard to His mission and His kingdom that was to be set up. It was not a temporal, earthly kingdom, as they supposed. He unfolds before them the far reaching principles of the law of God; commandment after commandment, He lays [it] open before them in its true spiritual bearing and shows the extent of the requirements that these precepts reached, not only the outward ceremonies, but in conduct, the state of the heart. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 23

The lessons given by Christ were so different in character to anything the people had listened to from the scribes and Pharisees that all were astonished at His doctrines. There were no labored, intricate arguments burying with exactions the commandments of God so that no one could ever hope to keep them. Jesus, the great Teacher, laid open, in the simplest language, the great moral truths, clothing them with freshness and power that they had never heard or seen before. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 24

The Pharisees and scribes were thinking in their hearts that He is making of no account the law of God. He is certainly arriving at a supervision of the law of God. And then fell upon their startled ears these words, as if Jesus had read their hearts as an open book, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:17-19.] 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 25

That is, all the heavenly intelligences will look upon the human agents on earth with favor, estimating their value according to the respect and reverence they manifest toward the great moral standard of righteousness—the holy law of God. “For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” [Verse 20.] How can any one of us in the judgment meet the great Lawgiver over His broken law which is so plainly stated in its importance by the words of the Redeemer. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 26

The righteousness of the Pharisees consisted mainly in a form of ceremonies, complicating the plain and simple precepts, and making them a rigorous burden of exactions to the neglect and contradiction of the vital principles and spirit of the law. This error, fatal to the soul, Christ was, in His sermon on the mount, correcting. The Pharisees, in their false ideas of the keeping of the commandments of God, cherished every sentiment of malice and revenge; but Christ taught that all this malice must be expelled from the soul. The evil done to us by another must remain unresented, unavenged, and the enemy [is] to be loved, because God loved him when he was his enemy. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 27

“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you; pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” [Verses 44, 45.] Here are the principles of true Christianity, and He presented these principles in no hesitating manner, but taught them as one having authority. They must be imitators of God, pure and holy and undefiled by the maxims and traditions of men. These principles were too holy to be corrupted by the inventions of man. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 28

No man can serve two masters, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” [Matthew 6:24.] Why should we have overcarefulness for earthly things? We are but living, human agents, dependent upon God for every breath we draw; and we are not to be so anxious about food and raiment that we will always be distrusting God for the future. The Lord has His thoughts of love, of care for the future which is not ours but is in the Lord’s own keeping. It is God’s will that we are to be anxious to know and to do His requirements at all hazards. We are to trust God implicitly for not only the little things, the temporal things of life, but for the greater which is the redemption of our souls. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 29

Christ’s lessons were given to implant the right spirit and motive power in controlling the actions. Having faith and confidence and trust in God we have everything, and God will never betray our confidence. He is ever loving, and patiently bearing with our weaknesses and infirmities, and ever willing to forgive our perversities. Then let us walk meekly, trustingly, and humbly before him. Commit your way to Him. Cast all your care upon Him, for He careth for you. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 30

Our Lord Jesus who gave His own life that He might save us from death, asks of you the fullest service. You want to know your relationship to Christ and His relationship to you. We are to trust God fully and ask Him to supply the least want as well as the greatest. The Lord encourages your confidence. The Lord Jesus tells us what is the great proof of our union with Him and the best expression of love to Him: “That ye keep His commandments.” [1 John 5:3.] 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 31

If you have love to Jesus Christ, which is an expression for the life of Christ in the soul, then you will do what He commands you, which is practical religion. Redeemed by the ransom money paid for your souls, you will go forth and show how much you love Jesus by obedience to His commandments. Not only does He ask you to bring forth fruit by doing His commandments because you are branches of the living vine, but He plainly states that in doing so, that it is His prayer that His joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 32

What was Christ’s joy? It was, “He shall see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied.” [Isaiah 53:11.] “For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross despising the shame.” [Hebrews 12:2.] That joy was the result of His suffering, His agony, His death, that souls might be rescued from sin. Whenever there is a soul converted and brought to Jesus Christ, there is a thrill of joy circulating through heaven. A soul is saved, a precious soul snatched from Satan’s grasp and given as a precious token to Jesus Christ that He has not suffered and died in vain; and then there is joy and rejoicing in heaven. The lost is found, the dead in trespasses and sins is alive; and Christ prays that this joy may be yours. A joy that is rich, deep, full, and abiding. A joy springing from the triumphs of the cross of Christ. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 33

Christ calls for you. He has given me a message to you. “Return unto me, and I will return unto you and heal all thy backslidings.” [Malachi 3:7; Jeremiah 3:22.] He calls for you to be a laborer together with God. He tells you, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” [John 15:16.] O how true are these words. You did not make the first movement toward Christ, but He made the first movement toward you. He drew you by the cords of His love. He touched your hearts by His grace. Your approach to Him was the response of His drawing. If Jesus had left you alone, you would have perished. Truth you want at any cost. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 34

My dear sister, you know what is truth. Our duties are to be governed by plain precepts which we must attentively obey. I invite you as an ambassador of Jesus Christ to exercise your talents and your influence, to be sanctified, elevated, and refined that you may win souls to Christ. No longer be idle, there is work for you to do, Jesus has purchased you with His own blood. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 35

You are not your own you are bought with a price, and your time, your entrusted capabilities belong to God. He has given you His only begotten Son to a life of humiliation and shameful death for you and me, and in return He has asked us to give ourselves to Him. And through the grace of God we will do this. The Lord will help you, my sister, to plant your feet on solid rock. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1892, par. 36