Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Lt 9a, 1891

Gilbert, Sister D. S.

Petoskey, Michigan

June 3, 1891

Portions of this letter are published in OHC 163; 6MR 18-19, 31.

Dear Sister D. S. Gilbert,

Last evening Sister Whitford and her husband called on me. They spoke of your case and wished I would write to you. I promised to write you a brief letter. It is indeed painful to me to know that you are in affliction, seeing your dear ones suffer, without power to relieve them. This is sorrow that seems almost unbearable, and without help from God it is indeed unbearable. Unless you rely upon Him, you will sink under the burden of responsibilities which bring only sadness and grief. But if you make Christ your dependence, you will not sink under trial. When all seems dark and unexplainable, trust in His love. Repeat the words that Christ has spoken to your soul, “What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter.” [John 13:7.] 7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 1

When souls are converted, their salvation is not yet accomplished. They then have the race to run, the arduous struggle is before them—to do what?—“To fight the good fight of faith” [1 Timothy 6:12], to press forward to the mark for the prize of the high calling which is in Christ Jesus. There is no release in this warfare; the battle is lifelong and must be carried forward with determined energy proportionate to the value of the object you are in pursuit of, which is eternal life. Immense interests are here involved. We are made partakers of Christ’s self-sacrifice here in this life, and then we are assured that we shall be partakers of all its benefits in the future immortal life if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence, steadfast unto the end. 7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 2

My sister, the promise is, “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape.” [1 Corinthians 10:13.] Maintain to the last your Christian integrity, and do not murmur against God. “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.” [2 Peter 3:17.] Consider that eternal interests are here involved. You cannot afford to become discouraged and cast away your confidence; the Lord Jesus is your own only hope. Make sure work for eternity. You must not murmur nor complain; neglect no means of grace, encourage your soul to believe and trust in God. “Take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” [Ephesians 6:13.] 7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 3

Satan is ever seeking to destroy; he is casting his hellish shadow between our souls and the light of the Sun of Righteousness. When you talk doubts and distrust your heavenly Father’s love, Satan comes in and deepens the impression, and that which is shadowed is made the blackness of despair. Now, your only hope is to cease talking darkness. In dwelling on the dark side, you cast away your confidence in God, and this is just what Satan wants you to do. He wants to sift you as wheat; but Jesus is making intercession for you; His love is broad and deep. Perhaps you will say, “How do you know He loves me?” I look where you may look, to the cross of Calvary. That blood shed upon the cross cleanseth from all sin. 7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 4

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.” [Isaiah 1:18, 19.] “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold with thy free Spirit. Then shall I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” [Psalm 51:7-13.] 7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 5

Now, my sister, let your prayers ascend to your heavenly Father, and let this fifty-first Psalm be assurance and comfort to you. Do not keep yourself away from Jesus, for He loves you. You may say, He will not hear my prayers; I am a sinner. But Christ says, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” [Mark 2:17.] Then you are not to wait, but come now, and believe that He will receive you. “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.] You cannot enjoy His blessing without any action on your part. Salvation is a gift offered to you free; on no other condition can you obtain it; only as a free gift. But co-operation on your part is essential to salvation. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in you, to will and to do of His good pleasure.” [Philippians 2:12, 13.] You are to come humbly, saying, 7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 6

“In my hand no price I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling.”
7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 7

Jesus is doing the work in your heart; Satan is seeking to counteract it; but as the Lord works in you, you must co-operate and work out that which He works in your own heart to your own salvation. The Holy Spirit works in us by bringing to mind, vividly and often, the precious truths concerning God’s saving operations in the plan of redemption. We would forget the truths and rich promises of God which we neglect to obey, and for us they would lose their efficiency, but the Holy Spirit works upon our hearts; He taketh of the things of God and presents them anew to our minds. The Lord would not have us forget that we are fitting ourselves for weal or woe. We are daily working out our destiny. We have a crown of eternal life to win, a hell to shun. We certainly can not save ourselves, and we know that Christ wants us to be saved; He gave His own life that He might pay the ransom for our souls. When He has made this infinite sacrifice, He does not regard us with indifference. He is ready to help us when we feel our need of help and come to Him, penitent and believing. 7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 8

Then, my sister, why not put away unbelief? The promise is, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” And then to make assurance doubly sure, the Saviour adds, “For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” [Matthew 7:7, 8.] What you need is faith, living, active faith. Do not go about with a gloomy countenance because affliction is in your home, for this increases the sorrow for yourself and for others. You want to encourage cheerfulness; do not go about as if Jesus were in Joseph’s tomb and a great stone were rolled before the door. This will not have any saving influence upon your friends in their great affliction. In the trial of your faith, show that you know you have a living Saviour: One who is making intercession for you and your loved ones. If they will only come to Jesus, He will receive them. You can show them the way. Jesus ever liveth to make intercession for us. He has no pleasure in the death of the sinner, but rather that he should turn from his sins and live. What more positive language could be employed than the following: “Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth more than over ninety and nine persons who need no repentance.” [Luke 15:7.] To make God’s grace our own we must do our allotted part; we must believe in Christ, we must show the grace of Christ in our lives, bearing fruit to the glory of God. 7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 9

Do not please Satan and glorify him by carrying a sad, mournful countenance. Now is the time, when the furnace fire kindles about your soul, to reveal your confidence, your trust in Jesus. I wish I could say something to the dear afflicted ones. The Bible places the responsibility of our ruin at our own door, for everything depends on our own course of action. When these afflicted ones enquire earnestly, “What must I do to be saved?” the answer comes, Come, suffering ones; come to Christ just as you are. Him that cometh I will in no wise cast out. Do not refuse the drawing of His Spirit. He wants to make you happy even in this life. “Resist not the Spirit of God.” Lay hold of eternal life. Come to Jesus in faith; ask, and ye shall receive. The forgiveness of sins is promised to him who repents, justification to him who believes, and the crown of life to him who is faithful unto death. 7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 10

The arms of Jesus are open to receive you. Will you not come unto Him? Jesus presents to you the gift of eternal life. Will you receive it? Faith and works go together, and each is dead if alone. Not that works will save you; they are the fruit of faith, and living faith will reveal itself in action. The hand of Christ is stretched forth to receive you; will you put your hand in that of the dear Saviour and say, Lead me; I will follow Thee, my Saviour? You must not be neglectful of the conditions of salvation, which are faith and obedience. There must be a co-operation of the human with the divine. 7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 11

Without holiness no man shall see the Lord; but Jesus is ready to receive you now; and if you will only believe that He is your Saviour, that He died to redeem you, He will be found of you as the most precious friend. Simply trust in Jesus, receive Him as your personal Saviour. You will never seek His face in vain; if you are afflicted in any way, He is your present help. He is at your right hand to help you. 7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 12

Again I say to you, Now is your opportunity to look to Jesus, to show that you have not lost Jesus, but that you love Him and trust in Him. Thus you can point souls to the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. There is no need for you to despair. Look away past the hellish shadows of Satan, and open your heart to the bright rays of the Sun of Righteousness. Only trust your loving, compassionate Saviour. His grace is sufficient for you; His strength is made perfect in your weakness. 7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 13

The Lord Himself has pledged His word, “If ye shall ask anything in my name I will do it. 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.” [John 14:14-17.] Now mark the following words: “Whom the world can not receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments” (he that hath light in regard to the binding claims of the law of God) “and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I shall love him and will manifest myself to him.” [Verses 17-21.] 7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 14

Will you believe the promises of God? The Lord will fulfill His word. It is often presented as an excuse for not serving the Lord, that the imperfect lives of those who claim to be Christians have created unbelief. Will this subterfuge avail when we stand before the great white throne? Have you not a Bible that reveals the self-sacrificing, devoted lives of holy men? “By their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.] 7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 15

The complaint is made that the world forms its estimate of Christianity by the imperfect lives of its professors. This is true, but unjust. Men have the sure Word of God, the Bible standard. There is revealed the unpolluted fountain of the Water of Life, clear as crystal, the holy truth of heavenly origin. This received into the heart, works wonderful changes in the character. If men and women profess the truth, and are not made pure, not transformed; if they do not become upright, and in their words and actions show that there is a change in their character, then they are not what they claim to be. The truth brought into the heart is a sanctifier of the life. It helps man up from his depravity and profligacy; it is the power of God unto salvation. By its work in the soul every faculty is brought into subjection and laid unto contribution to Christ. Though professed Christians may set their standard very low and reach no higher, that should not lead us to doubt the truth as it is in Jesus. Christ is the pattern for every believer. 7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 16

I wish to call your mind away from the insinuations of Satan to Christ, the fountain of life. He says, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” [John 7:37.] “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” [John 4:14.] We want to cling to the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Let us be sincere followers of Christ. You will certainly have trials; Satan has his human agencies, the children of disobedience, through whom he works; but we have the sure word of prophecy; we have not followed cunningly devised fables; we have a living Saviour, a living Intercessor; One who will help us in every time of need. When tempted to go into the dark cave of doubt and despair, sing, 7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 17

“Arise, my soul, arise,
Shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice
In thy behalf appears;
Before the throne my surety stands;
My name is written on His hands.”
7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 18

“If any man sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” [1 John 2:1.] How careful is the Lord Jesus to give no occasion for a soul to despair. How He fences about the soul from Satan’s fierce attacks. If through manifold temptations we are surprised or deceived into sin, He does not turn from us and leave us to perish. No, no, that is not our Saviour. Christ prays for us. He was tempted in all points like as we are; and having been tempted, He knows how to succor them that are tempted. Our crucified Lord is pleading for us in the presence of His Father at the throne of grace. This atoning sacrifice we may plead for our pardon, our justification, and our sanctification. The Lamb slain is our only hope. Our faith looks upon Him, grasps Him as the One who can save to the uttermost, and the fragrance of the all-sufficient offering is accepted of the Father. Unto Christ is committed all power in heaven and in earth, and all things are possible to him that believeth. Christ’s glory is concerned in our success. He has a common interest with all humanity. He is our sympathizing Saviour. 7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 19

“If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” [Romans 5:10.] What greater assurance can we have of the willingness, yea, yearning, longing of Christ to have all come to Him, believe in Him that they might have eternal life! O, when we see the sorrows and sufferings of loved ones, shall we turn away from Christ, dissatisfied, murmuring, and complaining? No; I say, no; that is the time to come close to the only One who can be our Helper in every time of need. We have no time for repining now, no time for unbelief now; no time to let go of Jesus. Now is the time, when trial comes, to press close to the bleeding side of Jesus. When the whole world was under condemnation, Christ took upon Himself the guilt of the sinner; He bore the wrath of God for the transgressor, and thus suffering the penalty of sin, He ransoms the sinner. Had it been the choice of God to destroy the disobedient, He might, in justice, have swept the earth clean of the guilty transgressors; but He reveals Himself as a compassionate, loving Father. “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” [Ezekiel 33:11; 18:32.] 7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 20

The Son of God bore the contradiction of sinners against Himself. Behold His agony in the garden of Gethsemane. Hear His thrice repeated prayer, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” Sweating great drops of blood in His human agony, He added, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” [Matthew 26:39.] Hath then God no knowledge of His suffering creatures? Behold the Saviour betrayed, mocked, derided in the judgment hall. Who was this? The Prince of Life, the holy and beloved of God. Faint and weary after His long, agonizing struggle in the garden of Gethsemane, He was dragged from one tribunal to another, testified against by false witnesses, given up to the malice of the Jews by Pilate who pronounced Him blameless, scourged with cruel whips, spit upon, mocked at, fainting under the burden of the cross, and then lifted upon the cross, reproached in His dying agonies, the rude soldiers quarreling over His few garments, the reward for their part in the shameful work, priests and rulers in triumph wagging their heads and taunting Him, “He saved others, himself he cannot save. If he be the king of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now if he will have him.” [Matthew 27:42, 43.] 7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 21

Then could heaven keep silent? Can we wonder at the horrible, unnatural darkness over and about the cross? Can we wonder at the rending of the rocks, the rolling thunder, the flashing lightning, the shaking of the earth beneath the tread of the heavenly army as they behold their loved Commander suffering such base indignity? The crown of thorns He wore, the curse of the cross He carried—who could have imagined that He, the Son of the infinite God, the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, would bow His righteous soul to such a sacrifice! For sinners, for sinners, He died. Wonder, O heavens, and be astonished, O earth! The Son of God has died on the shameful cross that the world should not perish; He died to bring life, everlasting life, to all who shall live. 7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 22

Can we look to the cross of Calvary, and then question the love of Jesus? The stone is rolled away from the sepulcher; Christ has risen. Rejoice, O rejoice, that there is hope for you. Pray to the Lord Jesus that a holy influence may be brought into your life, an influence that shall subdue every passion, hush every murmuring thought, exalt your afflictions, and purify your heart. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptations, for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life,” or the crown of righteousness. [James 1:12.] Look up; look up; come out of the cave of unbelief, and stand with God. If you dwell upon your trials, you will have a hopeless life. If you look across the hellish shadow to Jesus, your only hope, you will see the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. 7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 23

Learn the lessons of meekness and lowliness in the school of Christ. Realize how much He bore for us, and then count it not a mark of God’s anger because you have some trials to bear for Jesus. If you trust God, the trials will always prove a blessing, and your faith will come forth the brighter, stronger, and purer for trial. Satan is always trying to press the soul into distrust of God, therefore we must educate the mind to trust Him. Talk faith and hope when Satan says, as did the wife of Job, “Curse God and die.” [Job 2:9.] If you trust God, you will see more reasons to trust Him. As you talk of His goodness, you will see more of His love to talk about. Thus the mind may be trained to live in the brightness of the Sun of Righteousness and not in the shadow which Satan casts athwart our path. Hope in God who is the health of our countenance and our God. 7LtMs, Lt 9a, 1891, par. 24