Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Lt 45, 1893

Prescott, Brother and Sister [W. W.]

Sydney, Australia

December 22, 1893

Portions of this letter are published in 2SM 361; CL 25-28.

Dear Brother and Sister Prescott,

We arrived at this place yesterday, being on the steamer a few hours over one week from Wellington by the way to Napier, Gisborn, and Auckland. We are now being accommodated in the Tract and Missionary Society Mission. I thank the Lord that He has preserved us on this journey. December 19 (Tuesday) we had rather a severe gale. The whitecapped billows were revealed over the broad waters as far as the eye could reach. I was glad to keep in the ladies’ parlor, which was given up to me for my sleeping apartment. Here I had plenty of fresh air. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 1

I ventured on deck, which was protected and shielded from the rain and wind by canvass. I laid down on the long seat and was comfortable for a time, but the waves grew higher and more angry until they broke over the deck and drenched all who were in its passage. My prayer was ascending to heaven that the hand raised to still the tempest when the disciples were in peril would be raised again, saying, “Peace, be still.” [Mark 4:39.] While thus lifting my heart to God, the rainbow appeared amid the angry tempest clouds, looking forth upon us as the bow of promise. I felt then that God heard. God revealed His sign, a beautiful rainbow in the heavens, which was a promise of His mercy and love. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 2

With Nellie and another one to help me, we were able to press against the wind and get below into the ladies’ saloon. After ten o’clock I had my cot brought in and Nellie made my bed, and I found relief in it, after a time of retching and vomiting. The wind and tempest soon ceased and the water was calm. I thanked my Heavenly Father and was able to sleep very well during the night. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 3

Your letter tells me, my brother, that there are many who are stirred deeply to move out of Battle Creek. There is need, great need, of this work being done, and now. Those who have felt at last to make a move, let it not be in a rush, in an excitement, or in a rash manner, or in a way that hereafter they will deeply regret that they did move out at all. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 4

Let all calmly consider what were their motives in coming to Battle Creek and leaving the little churches that they might have helped and blessed if they themselves were enjoying a personal Saviour. Then let them consider the influence upon their own souls in making the move which they did. Have its results been deeper spirituality? Has it been an influence over them to make them feel their responsibilities to be laborers together with God? Did it improve them in keenness of discernment, to make them wise in counsel, and give them experience in culture and training of their untrained ability? 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 5

Have they seen things in a clearer light as they have listened to the words of truth? Have they practiced the truth which has been brought home to their souls with power? Have they shown corresponding zeal to be witnesses for Christ nigh and afar off? Have they felt that now was their opportunity to state the truth more correctly, because they understood it better that they could adorn the doctrine of Christ our Saviour with modest simplicity of language, and with a sincere, honest, earnest purpose to so follow the Pattern that they may represent through the grace of Christ a perfect manhood because they live an actual Christian life? 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 6

Each has his work, his own individual work to do. Has he done it in Battle Creek? Is he likely to do it if he has not? Can he recognize that he has been through practice learning to pray more earnestly; and through education in the school of Christ learned through the influence of the Holy Spirit to use better language to address our Heavenly Father in a manner that corresponds to the great principles of truth, that his supplications to God will bear the mark of an intelligent, progressive Christian? 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 7

What is truth? Have you bought the field which contains the precious jewels hidden in that field? Has the human agent come into the possession of the truth, precious truth, revealed in God’s Word? That word gives no uncertain sound. In obeying it, you follow no cunningly devised fables. It speaks with definiteness and with authority, never speaking hesitatingly, never doubtingly. It is a sure word of prophecy. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 8

Now will you take heed that there shall be no rash movements made in heeding [the] counsel in moving from Battle Creek. Do nothing without seeking wisdom of God, who hath promised to give to all who ask liberally, and who upbraideth not. All that any one can do is to advise and counsel, and then leave those who are convicted to regard to duty to move under divine guidance, and with their whole heart open to hear and obey God. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 9

I am troubled when I consider that there may be even some of our teachers who need to be more evenly balanced with sound judgment in any crisis. The messengers who bear the message of mercy to our world, who have the confidence of the people, will be appealed to for advice. Great caution must be exercised by those men who have not genuine experience in practical life, and who will be in danger of giving advice, ignorant of what that advice may lead others to do. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 10

Some men have insight into matters, having ability to counsel. It is a gift of God that in moments when the cause of God is in need of words, sound and solemn and solid, they can speak words which will lead minds perplexed and in darkness, to see as a quick flash of sunlight the course for them to pursue, [the answer to the question] which has filled them with perplexity and baffled their minds in study for weeks and months. There is an unraveling, a clearing up of the path before them, and the Lord has let His sunlight in, and they see their prayers are answered, the way is made clear. But some rash advice may be given—only get out of Battle Creek,—notwithstanding there is nothing clearly defined as to what improvement they will make in spiritual advancement for themselves or others in doing this. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 11

Let every one take time to consider carefully; [and] not like the man in the parable who began to build, and was not able to finish. Not a move should be made but that movement and all that it portends are carefully considered, everything weighed, and [each one] feels that the Lord has something for him to do in educating and training himself to do a more spiritual work, which he can do, to impart to others that which God has imparted to him. To every man was given his work, according to his several ability. Then let him not move hesitatingly, but firmly and yet humbly trusting in God. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 12

There may be individuals who will make a rush to do something, and enter into some business they know nothing about. This God does not require. Think candidly, prayerfully, studying the Word with all carefulness and prayerfulness, with mind and heart awake to hear the voice of God. He does not follow his own imagination, but weighs the words of God and counsels, and seeks wisdom from God. When, in the providence of God, He has a work to be done by the human agent co-operating with the divine, He has a man to do that work, if he will heed the moving of the Holy Spirit upon his heart and mind. To understand the will of God is a great thing. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 13

Divine Wisdom has His handhold of the living machinery in human agencies. Men are selected as fitting instruments to do a given work; and Oh! what a precious ability is given of God to man to know his fellow man, so that he can use, through the grace of God the human agencies and organize a working company to do the best work, according to their recognized ability. This is sanctified gift, genius; it is a wise generalship that can make use of men according to their ability. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 14

When God has a work for men to do in connection with Jesus Christ and the heavenly intelligences, and a revelation to give to men in regard to the eternal salvation of their fellow men, He does not select men who have not a knowledge of God, and truth and His righteousness; He does not choose weak and unsuitable men for this work, for this would misrepresent the work and cast reflection upon God’s wisdom. God makes no mistakes, and He is not glorified when those who profess to follow Him are heedless and make mistakes. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 15

The God of Heaven has not left us to follow impulses, or any man’s guesses and weaknesses and perpetual mistakes, when vital, eternal interests are involved. There are things we need to know, and which we never can know, unless the Lord tells us about these things. Therefore we must call upon God to give us His wisdom. We need to have wisdom, something reliable and sure. We need truth without any admixture of error. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 16

I address words to the church at Battle Creek, to move in the counsels of God. There is need of your moving—many from Battle Creek—and there is also need of your having well-defined plans as to what you will do when you go out from Battle Creek. Do not go in a rush, without knowing what you are about. You may be enthused with the Spirit of God, saying, Now it is time we awake out of sleep; and, Arise, and shine for the light is come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon us. Let not one go to enlighten others, unless his own soul has been touched with the divine love of Jesus Christ. “Thus saith the Lord,” “It is written,” Let it be oft spoken and bring from the treasure house things new and old. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 17

A great work is to be done, an important work for this time; work for the Master may be done any where in His great moral vineyard. O, for generals, wise and considerate, well-balanced men, who will be safe advisers, who have some insight into human nature, who know how to direct and counsel in the fear of God. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 18

I have seen that danger attends every new phase of experience in the church, because some hear things with such a strong spirit. While some teachers may be strong and efficient in teaching in the lines of Bible doctrines, they will not all be men who have a knowledge of practical life and can advise perplexed minds with surety and safety. They do not discern the perplexing situation that must necessarily come to every family that shall make a change. Therefore let everyone be careful what they say. If they know not the mind of God in some matters, let them never speak from a guess or suppose so. If they know nothing definite, let them say so, and let the individual rely wholly upon God. Let there be much praying done, and even with fasting, that not one shall move in darkness, but move in the light as God is in the light. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 19

We may look for anything, now, to break forth outside and within our ranks. There are minds undisciplined by the grace of the Holy Spirit, that have not practiced the words of Christ, and who do no understand the movings of the Spirit of God, and they will follow a wrong course of action, because they do not follow Jesus fully. They follow impulse and their own imagination. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 20

Let there be nothing done in a disorderly manner, that there shall be a great loss or sacrifice made upon property because of ardent, impulsive speeches which stir up an enthusiasm which is not after the order of God, that a victory that was essential to be gained, shall, for lack of level-headed moderation and proper contemplation and sound principles and purposes, be turned into a defeat. Let there be wise generalship in this matter, and all move under the guidance of a wise, unseen Counsellor, which is God. Elements that are human will struggle for the mastery, and there may be a work done that does not have the signature of God. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 21

Now I plead with every soul to trust not too strongly and confidently in human counsellors, but look most earnestly to God, the One wise in counsel. Submit all your ways and your will to God’s ways and to God’s will. If you did not sufficiently consider the glory of God, the good of your own spiritual interest, and the work you might [have done] for the saving of the souls of the neighbors and those with whom you were associated, when you left to make your home in the large church in Battle Creek, duly consider before making another move whether that is sensible and sound, in the right time and order, and under the supervision and direction not of man but of God, who never commits and error. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 22

Should some move hastily and fly out of Battle Creek, and be brought into discouragement, they will not reflect upon themselves for moving unadvisedly, but upon others who, they will charge, brought a pressure to bear upon them. All the discomfiture and defeat is charged back upon those who should not be reflected upon, for the Lord has given to them reason; He has given His Holy Word full of counsel and cautions and warnings and entreaties, and, more, He has invited them, “Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” [Matthew 11:28.] 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 23

Now, just now, is the time when the perils of the last days are thickening round us, that we need wise men for counsellors, not men who will feel it duty to stir up and create disorder, but who cannot possibly give wise counsel and organize and arrange that every stirring up shall bring order out of confusion, and rest and peace in obeying the Word of the Lord. Let every man be found in his true place to do some work for the Master according to his several ability, and not left to drift, to make a vast amount of trouble and confusion that is difficult to arrange and keep in order. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 24

How shall this be done? “Take my yoke upon you,” saith Jesus Christ, who hath bought you with His own precious blood, whose servants and property you are, “and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden light.” [Verses 29, 30.] If every one will come to Jesus in a teachable spirit, with contrition of heart, then they are in a condition of mind to be instructed and to learn of Jesus and obey His orders. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 25

He sees the past movements you have made; He knows every error and mistake of your life which has been a hindrance to your spiritual advancement. He seeth not as man seeth; He knoweth the outcome of every movement; and if you have had little faith mingled with your prayers and movements, cultivate faith and hope and trust in God now; for if there was ever a period that tried the souls of men in the past, there will be a greater necessity in the times before us. We cannot have a weak faith now. We cannot be safe in a listless, indolent, slothful attitude. Every jot of ability is to be used, and sharp, calm, deep thinking is to be done. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 26

The wisdom of any human agent is not sufficient for the planning and devising in this time. Spread every plan before God with fasting, with the humbling of the soul before the Lord Jesus; and commit thy ways unto the Lord, and the sure promise is that He will direct thy paths. He is infinite in resources. The Holy One of Israel, who calls the host of heaven by name and holds the stars of heaven in position, has your individuality in His keeping. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 27

There is a work to be done by the living human agencies which they are slow to comprehend. They need to study the Scriptures, to search the Bible with humble, teachable minds, that they may know their place in the work and not move haphazardly, but fall into line, taking steps with Jesus. “Prepare ye the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” [Isaiah 40:3.] Every talent with which God has endowed the human agent is now to be awakened, to be employed, not solely in worldly transactions, to buy and sell and get gain, not to use your God-given powers selfishly, greedily, to make a place for yourself in the earth; no, you want now to consecrate every entrusted talent of means and ability, [to place] yourself under the influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 28

Not a word is to be spoken unadvisedly to stir up the elements of opposition, not an action entered into to create any deeper enmity than exists in the hearts of the enemies of the truth. Moving with well-balanced minds, holding aloft the banner of truth, grace from God will be given, [and] wisdom will be imparted. Angels of God will be commissioned to minister unto all who walk in humility of mind, trustingly accepting the truth as it is revealed, standing by their colors, not creating by unwise actions persecution, but moving in the footsteps of Jesus. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 29

“Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” [Romans 8:9.] Let each now consider the strong determined traits of their character, and not be misled by them and misrepresent the precious truth, and thus misrepresent Jesus Christ by unguarded statements in public by voice or in publications, for every such thing will they meet again. Those who have the truth let the truth appear, while self is dropped out of sight. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 30

Give no occasion for any one to be harsh, denunciatory, or severe, for there are inexperienced men and women who will catch the manners and indiscreet words that fall from the lips of any one bearing aloft the banner of truth, and in an improper manner will repeat their very words, and in a spirit which will do much harm. Therefore, every man, however gifted, however prominent in the ranks of believers, let him know that caution in expressions is his positive duty to practice, lest his words shall lead astray some soul who will think that he is imitating and following the example of the man, the messenger acknowledged to be sent forth of God to proclaim a message for this time. Let all consider that we are as sheep among wolves and heed the caution of Christ—be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” [Matthew 10:16.] 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 31

The Spirit of Jesus Christ dwelling within the heart of the true teacher of truth will lead him to express in words and character the gentleness of Christ. The Lord Jesus is our Example, our Pattern, our Sufficiency in all things. He has identified His interest with suffering humanity. He knows just what His children need, how much divine power they will appropriate for the blessing of humanity; and He bestows no more than He sees the human agent will employ in blessing others and elevating, ennobling, his own soul, that he may be uplifting and refreshing and ennobling those for whom Christ died. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 32

I would that all could realize what possibilities and probabilities there are for all who make Christ their sufficiency and their trust. The life hid with Christ in God ever has a refuge. He can say: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” [Philippians 4:13.] 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 33

I leave this matter with you, for I have been worried and troubled in regard to the dangers that assail all in Battle Creek, lest they shall move indiscreetly and give the enemy advantage. This need not be, for if we walk humbly with God, we shall walk safely and bear in mind the words of Jesus Christ, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” [John 15:14.] “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.” [Verse 12.] “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one even as we are one; I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and (mark the words) that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me.” [John 17:22, 23.] Blessed, Blessed utterance! Will we believe the words of Jesus? Will we practice His words? If we do, we shall see for greater results, than we have hitherto seen. Oh, we shall be filled with all the fullness of God. We shall possess a power that shall resist every device of the enemy. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 34

Let us then bring the lessons of Christ into our practical life, and we shall then realize the fulfillment of the prayer of Christ in all its specifications, “And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” [Verse 26.] Let the mind embrace the largeness of the promise, and contemplate the rich fullness that is expressed. There is no excuse for unbelief. 8LtMs, Lt 45, 1893, par. 35