Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Lt 11b, 1892

Haskell, S. N.

Preston, Victoria, Australia

July 17, 1892

Portions of this letter are published in 2MR 36-37.

Dear Brother:

I continue to be quite helpless. For three days I was somewhat better; but the old pains came back. We have cold, unpleasant weather. I could not keep warm, and had chill two days. This brought on increased pain. I could not move my arms without pain, and my limbs are quite painful, and having had an easier time for three days makes it harder for me to bear now. But I am of good courage. I repeat when in pain “Hope in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” Psalm 43:5. The first part I cannot truly say “Why art thou cast down, O my soul, and why art thou disquieted within me?” I am not cast down, neither am I disquieted. I am cheerful and hopeful in God. I have faith that I shall receive strength. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 1

I am not free from trials and temptations; yet I feel that God is able to keep me. “He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6. Then I may be comforted in the long, painful hours of the night, and I am comforted. There is not one in the home that is more cheerful than I am now. This is a blessing from God, and I acknowledge it, and in place of murmuring and complaining I am thinking of the goodness and the mercy of God and how beautiful is His word. How precious, more precious than fine gold, is the promise. I do not worship the promise, but I do worship Him who has given them and made them so rich and nourishing to the soul. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 2

Jesus hath said, “I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” Revelation 2:23. We should be thankful that the Lord knows our circumstances and experiences. Jesus is near, close to us, and He has given the precious promise, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” Luke 11:13. What reason we have for encouragement! We are assured that the Lord hears our prayers. The promise is, “Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Luke 11:9 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 3

Who is this that speaks? Is it one whose word is doubtful? One who does not know what He is talking about? No, it is the world’s Redeemer, He who so loved us that He died on Calvary, that “whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. Shall we take His pledged word as verity and truth? 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 4

The Lord hears our sincere prayers, and knows how to answer, for nothing is hidden from Him. The Psalmist says, “Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; thou understandest my thoughts afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.” Psalm 139:2-4 The Lord looks upon the heart. He seeth all its workings, and He “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Ephesians 3:20 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 5

The Holy Spirit indites all genuine prayer. I have learned to know that in all my intercessions, the Spirit intercedes for me and for all saints whose intercessions are according to the will of God, never contrary to His will. “The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities,” (Romans 8:26) and the Spirit being God, knoweth the mind of God; therefore in every prayer of ours for the sick, or for other needs, the will of God is to be regarded. “For what man knoweth the things of man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:11. If we are taught of God, we shall pray in conformity to His revealed will, and in submission to His will which we know not. We are to make supplication according to the will of God, relying on the precious Word, and believing that Christ not only gave Himself for, but to, His disciples. The record declares, “He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” John 20:22 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 6

Jesus is waiting to breathe upon all His disciples and give them the inspiration of His sanctifying Spirit and transfuse the vital influence from Himself to His people. He would have them understand that henceforth they cannot serve two masters. Their lives cannot be divided. Christ is to live in His human agents and work through their faculties and act through their capabilities. Their will must be submitted to His will; they must act with His Spirit that it may be no more they that live, but Christ that liveth in them. Jesus is seeking to impress upon them the thought that in giving His Holy Spirit He is giving to them the glory which the Father hath given Him, that He and His people may be one in God. Our way and will must be in submission to God’s will, knowing that it is holy, just and good. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 7

John says, “This is the confidence which we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us; and if we know that He heareth us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petition that we desire of Him.” 1 John 5:14, 15. Let us dwell much upon these points before the people, that their ideas may be enlarged, their faith increased. They should be encouraged to ask largely, and expect without a doubt the riches of His grace, for through Jesus we can come into the audience chamber of the Most High. Through His merits we have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 8

O that we may have a deeper experience in prayer. With confidence we may come to God, knowing what it is to have the presence and power of His Holy Spirit. We may confess our sins and, right there while asking, know that He pardons our transgressions, because He has promised to forgive. We must exercise faith and manifest true earnestness and humility. We can never do this without the grace of the Holy Spirit. We must lie low at the feet of Jesus and cherish no selfishness, reveal no self-uplifting; but in simplicity seek the Lord, asking for His Holy Spirit as a little child asks bread of his parents. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 9

We should act our part, take Christ as our personal Saviour, and standing under the cross of Calvary, “look and live.” [Numbers 21:8.] God sets His children apart for Himself. And as they connect themselves unto Him they have power with God and prevail. Of our own selves we can do nothing; but through the grace of His Holy Spirit, life and light is imparted, and the soul is filled with longing, earnest desire for God, for holiness. Then it is that Christ leads us to the throne of grace, and then clothes us with His righteousness, for the Lord God of heaven loves us. We would be willfully blind and stubborn to doubt that His heart is toward us. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 10

While Jesus, our Intercessor, pleads for us in heaven, the Holy Spirit works in us, to will and to do of His good pleasure. All heaven is interested in the salvation of the soul. Then what reason have we to doubt that the Lord will not and does not help us? We who teach the people must ourselves have a vital connection with God. In spirit and work we should be to the people a wellspring, because Christ in us is a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. Sickness and pain may test and try our patience and our faith; but the brightness of the Presence of the universe is with us, and we must hide self behind Jesus. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 11

Talk courage to the church, lift them up to God in prayer. Tell them that when they feel that they have sinned, and cannot pray, it is then the time to pray. Many feel humiliated at their failures and that they have been overcome by the enemy in the place of overcoming. Worldliness, selfishness, carnality has weakened them and they think it is no use to approach unto God; but this thought is one of the enemy’s suggestions. Ashamed they may be and deeply humbled; but they must pray and believe. As they confess their sins, He who is faithful and just will forgive them their sins, and cleanse them from all unrighteousness. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 12

Though the mind may wander in prayer, be not discouraged; bring it back to the throne and do not leave the mercy seat until you have the victory. Are you to think your victory will be testified by strong emotion? No, “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4. The Lord knows your desire; by faith keep close to Him and expect to receive the Holy Spirit. The office of the Holy Spirit is to control all our spiritual exercises. The Father hath given His Son for us, that through the Son the Holy Spirit might come to us and lead us to the Father. Through His divine agency, we have the spirit of intercession whereby we may plead with God as a man pleadeth with his friend. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 13

We are now building characters for time and for eternity. Then let us not bring rotten timbers into our character building. The life we live in the flesh must be by faith in the Son of God. It is good that afflictions come upon us, for we may thereby prove the Lord and find Him very precious unto our souls. The Lord designs that His people shall be happy, and He opens before us one source of consolation after another, that we may be filled with joy and peace in the midst of our present experience. We are not to wait until we shall get into heaven for brightness and comfort and joy. We are to have it right here in this life. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 14

I testify to all that love and serve God that we miss very much because we do not grasp the blessings that may be ours in our afflictions. All our sufferings and sorrows, all our temptations and trials, all our sadness and griefs, all our persecutions and privations, and in short everything, works together for our good. The apostle says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” Romans 8:28. All experiences and circumstances are God’s workmen whereby good is brought to us. Let us look at the light behind the cloud. O how much of comfort the murmurers and complainers lose in not bearing all things patiently. Never by thought or word or action give the impression that the Lord is a hard Master, reaping where He hath not sown, and gathering where He has not strewed. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 15

Christ has said, “Ye are the light of the world.” [Matthew 5:14.] Then let us individually send forth clear, steady rays of light to the world. Our light is never to grow dim, never to burn low. The Lord is at the door. Who will prove to be the wise, and who the foolish, virgins? Who will be revealed at last as those who have the lamp, but no oil of grace in their vessels with their lamps? The church has been the depository of truth. Light has been imparted to its members, and they are to have works corresponding to their privileges and opportunities. They cannot correctly represent the truth in a single instance, unless they are sanctified through the truth. To sanctify is to set apart for a special service. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 16

Those who are controlled by worldly ambition will never shine as lights. “Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” [Matthew 6:24.] Those who see the preciousness of truth should conform their lives to its principles and not walk in darkness. They should shine and irradiate the world with their beams of heavenly light. Christ says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16. Many in the church neither burn nor shine. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 17

When those who profess the truth are sad and mournful, they manifest the fact that they are not following Jesus, for He says, “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” [John 8:12.] If they are not following Christ, who are they following? the archdeceiver, who represents himself as an angel of light. Christ is the Light of life, and He designs that all who follow Him shall represent Him in character and show His all-sufficiency and perfection. If they do not do this, they are not a light, but they lead away from the Light. They are bodies of darkness and hinder the rays of the Sun of Righteousness from shining to their fellow men. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 18

If those who hold positions of trust in connection with our institutions or in connection with the church make self first, if their hands are defiled in any way and they do not reflect in character the image of the divine One, they are bodies of darkness. To be the light of the world is to shine, to send the heavenly rays amid the moral darkness that covers the earth, and the gross darkness that prevails among the people. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 19

The Christian must not follow the customs, the practices, of the world. By so doing they will be ensnared. The world has its captain and leader who is the prince of darkness, but every son and daughter of God must look steadfastly to Jesus for an example; if they walk in the light as Christ is in the light, they cannot but shine. They will do honor to their Leader. They will have the light of hope, of joy; they will manifest humility of mind, lowliness and meekness of heart. They will reveal that simplicity and purity of character that will testify to the divine source from which it sprang, and the church will be a power for good. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 20

If the church exemplifies the simple truth, as has been exemplified by our Lord, she will be a power for good. Just as long as the church maintains her simplicity, she will be the light of the world. The prophet says, “Arise, shine; for Thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon Thee.” Isaiah 60:1. “For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6. In letting our light shine to the world, no self-exaltation is exhibited. What have we to bestow that we have not first received of God? Every gift, every talent, every ray of light is ours as a sacred trust, bestowed upon us that we may win souls to Christ. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 21

If Christ shines in us, He will shine out of us to those who need the light. We have no time to lose. We can read the signs of the times in casualties, in disasters by sea and by land. The floods, the storms, the fires, the unsettled condition of affairs throughout our world all testify that the day of God is at hand. All heaven is looking with intense interest upon the church to see what its individual members are doing to enlighten those who are in darkness. The field is the world, and the openings are so many, the work has so enlarged, that it is beyond the proportion of means on hand to supply the necessary demand. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 22

For years the Lord has been warning His people to bind about their wants, to enter into no needless outlay of means. But notwithstanding the counsel of Him who knows the end from the beginning, how needlessly has money been expended. The cautions given have been lightly esteemed, and the minds of men have misinterpreted, turned aside, or wrested the counsel of God, in order that they might follow their own ambitious projects, although by so doing, the very means by which God might have been glorified and honored in extending His truth is lost to the cause. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 23

The Lord has graciously honored man, employing him as the human agent to co-operate with the heavenly intelligences, that the light of truth might shine in all parts of the land. The Lord has His agents who will act a part in the mightiest conflict which the world has ever seen. If the workers remain humble, learning daily in the school of Christ meekness and lowliness of heart, the Lord Jesus will work with them. He who is a co-worker with Christ will realize that in conferring heavenly benefits on others, he himself will be benefited. He will know that “he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” Proverbs 11:25 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 24

The plain testimony must be borne upon the necessity of self-denial. Through extravagant, selfish indulgence, money is embezzled from the Lord’s goods to gratify unsanctified imaginations, and this needless expenditure binds about the work of God. Messengers cannot be sent into missionary fields without money. The expenditure of their travelling expenses, the outlay for food and simple clothing, for shelter, and life’s necessities, must be met. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 25

Satan is continually suggesting ways whereby man can invest their means to get honor and glory to themselves. They build when the Lord does not say build. They will bind up thousands of dollars when the Lord has warned them not to do this, and the result is that missionary interests must suffer. More ambitious enterprises swallow up money that the Lord designs should be invested to set in operation the work in new fields, to aid the missionaries already started that need encouragement and advancement that the work should not be lost. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 26

Those who have the cause of God at heart will suffer some inconveniences, that the work may go forward. If every institution is to be made all which it might become, and we work to that end exclusively, we shall rob some other field where missionaries for lack of help are not able to find a standing place, to exert the influence the Lord would have them exert. We need to think more deeply and keep the glory of God constantly in view, and not mingle self in the superintending of the Lord’s instrumentalities, and thus bring a burden upon the cause of God that it ought not to carry. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 27

I plead with my brethren and sisters who believe that the Lord is soon to come to have more than finite wisdom. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5. We need not go stumbling along in uncertainty, thinking that the larger our institutions become, the more will they exert influence in the world. The strength of our institutions is not found so much in their worldly prosperity as in the character of their managers. They are to be meek and lowly of heart, learning daily their lessons in the school of Christ, seeking by prayer and supplication to know the will of the Lord, and enquiring at every step “Is this the way of the Lord?” 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 28

It is not the imposing building that will strike conviction to souls, but the piety, the humility, the love and fear of God, which actuates the hearts of those who occupy positions of trust in the management of the work. Is it God’s work? Is it receiving the worldly mold? Is the sacred and common so mingled that nothing stands clearly defined? O how the Lord has been dishonored by false ideas. Spiritual things have not been spiritually discerned. Appearance and machinery have been exalted as of power, while the virtue of true goodness, noble piety, and heart holiness have been made a secondary consideration. That which should have been first has been made last and of least importance. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 29

If we only had some of the means that has been invested in buildings to make a display that will never bring honor to the cause of God, what a good work might be done! How does the Lord, looking down from heaven, regard these things? How does He look upon the perversion of His goods when money is put to a wrong use? Will He not inquire, Why did you use My goods in this way? Brethren who believe the truth, we must have more of Jesus and less, a great deal less, of self. None of self, and all of Jesus. We must have a baptism of the missionary spirit. We should feel that we are a part of God’s great whole, united in one common brotherhood. This will lead to a willing consecration of the property to the cause. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 30

Shall the Lord Jesus Christ see His professed followers willing to deny self, to heed the injunction, “Sell that ye have, and give alms” [Luke 12:33]; and render a portion of your property for the same object for which Christ came to our world and gave His own life? “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9. Let no one think that he will meet the mind of Christ in hoarding up property through life, and then at death make a bequest of a portion of it to some benevolent cause. Men are expending millions of money for selfish indulgences, to gratify the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 31

May the Lord lay our human ambitions in the dust, in order that we may understand whether we are following our unsanctified imaginings of the natural heart, or the dictates of the Spirit of God. Self must be abased, and God must be obeyed and exalted. Let every soul who fears and loves God seek for deeper piety, and let those who are walking in darkness and have no light stay themselves upon God. We must have a deeper work of grace wrought in the soul, or we shall not be able to endure the test and trial of the conflict coming upon us in these last days. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 32

We are here in a comparatively new missionary field, and we see much that needs to be done to advance the work; but it cannot be done without increasing a heavy debt that has already been incurred. A school is to be located and set in operation as soon as possible; but where is the means? We are left to the mercy of sharpers in order to secure a place for the school where a beginning can be made. The high rent of fifty dollars per week is asked for a suitable building, furnished in boarding house style; but this cannot be thought of, and another place has been found where there are two buildings in a terrace at the rent of twenty dollars per week. This is the best that opens now, and the accommodation in room is limited. There is no money here that can be invested in purchasing land and building. 7LtMs, Lt 11b, 1892, par. 33