Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Lt 6a, 1893

Belden, Byron

Wellington, New Zealand

April 23, 1893

Portions of this letter are published in VSS 144.

Dear Nephew Byron:

I must say a few words to you this morning before I close the letter. On this journey, I see many places where you could find employment which would be much more preferable than the work you have been doing. In this mission, here in Wellington, you and your wife might have a good position. I longed to present your case, but dared not because you have not been gaining an experience in character building that would ensure it safe to present your names. 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 1

You have not felt the necessity of self-control, of disciplining yourself to calmness and propriety of speech, that your words be respectful and courteous and Christlike. You have lost, lost, lost, every time you have given way to your temper. You wrench yourself away from rules of order and discipline, and by your own precept and example encourage a lawlessness which is not after God’s order. 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 2

Your character has received a wrong mold, and the sooner it is remodeled after Christ’s likeness, the better and safer it will be for you. By your own example you would bring in a demoralized state of things, in letting every one follow the bent of his own mind and do as he deems right and righteous. But there are laws and rules which must be considered even in the little things of business transactions. 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 3

It is often thought that the application of great truths to the little things we have to do is not difficult, but burdensome. This is a mistaken view of the matter. The difficulty exists in the mind and heart. An unwillingness is cherished to submit to the control of God’s good and holy will in all things. In proportion as the heart is sanctified by grace, and the love of God is an abiding principle in the heart, the difficulties will become smaller and smaller, and it will please us to work out that which the Holy Spirit works in, which is true and earnest love; and even the thoughts are brought into captivity to Jesus Christ. 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 4

There will be required constant effort in securing perfect self-control, until by repetition it becomes habit. A ceaseless watchfulness will cure these outbursts of passion and words spoken which we shall be ashamed to meet in the judgment day. When the will of God becomes our individual will then all moves in harmonious action. The path of consistency that we walk in, in little things, in the details of all business relations, will prove the great blessing to maintain consistency and order in larger things. “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.” [Luke 16:10.] 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 5

In the family relations there are frequently a loose, careless, reckless practice of saying words that are not really meant. By repetition these things become habits, and these objectionable things are ready to spring into action at the first provocation; and there is a pouring out of words that are after Satan’s order and customs, but not after the order and custom of God. Were self kept under control these serious errors in home and business life would be avoided. 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 6

Through the daily examination of the Guidebook, with a serious mind to know its requirements and do them, bringing into home life and business transactions and church life the practices God’s Word requires, these words burning with passion would never be spoken which is a species of swearing in the sight of God. The directions of the Word of God are to be strictly obeyed; the instruction given, to be practiced. The light given in the living oracles, represented by the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness shining into the mind and heart, sends its light and health-giving rays on all the objects it rests upon. The Word of God is giving us knowledge continually, but unless put to practical use it is no help to us. 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 7

Every relation of life, every position of duty, every affection and habit, every emotion of the mind is to be brought to the moral standard of the commandments of God which are exceedingly broad. In order for any soul to be made into a vessel of honor and the glory of God, it must be sanctified and prepared unto every good work, and the entire mind and heart molded by the Holy Spirit. 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 8

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” [2 Timothy 3:16, 17.] We must have simplicity of heart to understand and willingness of mind to practice all its teachings. The divine power will combine with man’s human efforts in all this grand work of seeking to be complete in Jesus Christ. 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 9

My nephew, I ask you to consider that you must reach a higher condition of subordination to rules and regulations, and then you may become qualified through the grace of Christ to direct other minds. Faithful superintendents are needed in this country. There are so many positions in the work that need a head. 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 10

While you have, in some respects, the qualifications to fill the place of a superintendent, in other respects you have not. You would fail in methods and laws to preserve and maintain regularity, and precision, and exactitude in all things connected with the work of God. There has been sufficient haphazard work in this country. Influence is power if it is under the control of the divine influence. God is a God of order. Authority must be respected. Authority must have its place; but arbitrary authority must have no place, for the law of God gives it no hold. I write this because I expect that you will give heed to these words and change in character. 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 11

I know that the Lord will help every one who most earnestly seeks Him with all the heart and with all the soul. Please consider the parable of the ten virgins. All had lamps, outward semblance of religion, but five only had inward piety. The oil of grace was wanting. The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit, was not abiding in their hearts; without this, all their outward preparation in taking their lamps was worthless. The highest profession may be made, one may receive ordination for the ministry, or one may be appointed superintendent of the Sabbath School or teacher of classes in the Sabbath School; but this does not give him the oil of grace whereby he may feed his lamp that it shall send forth clear rays of light. Although entrusted with high responsibilities, he may not have the heavenly light nor be linked with Jesus Christ. 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 12

We must not, my dear child, have just enough religion to deaden the conscience, deceive the senses, and ruin the soul, just enough outward show to have the name to live while we are dead. There are positions of trust I greatly desire you should occupy; but your experience has been of that order that you know not how to deal with human minds. Whenever the human agent accomplishes anything, it is in co-operation with the divine. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” [Philippians 2:12, 13.] The Lord is soon to come and it is a solemn thought that those who might be laborers together with God are not yoked up with Christ. They went their own way, to do their own pleasure. 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 13

The delay of the Bridegroom is because of the “Longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” [2 Peter 3:9.] O precious, longsuffering, merciful Saviour! Now, I would have you appreciate the value of your own soul and place a proper estimate upon your capabilities given you of God. You may through Christ climb the ladder of progress; you may through Christ bring every power under control to Jesus Christ. You may in character represent the character of Jesus Christ. In the spirit of your mind, in your words, and in your actions, you may reveal a deep, earnest, sincere Christian life that will be a power of influence to others. 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 14

We are living in altogether too solemn a period of this earth’s history to be careless and negligent. God has given you moral powers and religious susceptibilities, and has provided opportunities and facilities favorable to your development. Will you decide to co-operate with the divine agencies, that your salvation may be rendered effectual? Will you seize and appreciate and use every help provided? You must pray, believe, and obey. In your own strength you can do nothing. In the grace of Christ you can employ your powers to the highest good of your own soul and the salvation of other souls. Conscientiously lay hold of Jesus, diligently work the works of Christ, and the reward will be finally granted to you. “We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels and to men.” [1 Corinthians 4:9.] 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 15

A little lad who was permitted to accompany an engineer noticed as he passed the several stations that he always knelt a few minutes before starting, and finally the little lad asked him what he was doing. The engineer replied: “My little lad, do you ever pray?” The boy replied, “Oh, yes sir! I pray every morning and evening.” “Then,” said the engineer, “when I kneel down, I pray. There are, perhaps, two hundred lives now on this train entrusted to my care. A little mistake on my part, a little failure to do all my duty, a little neglect, a little inattention to signals, might send all or many of those souls into eternity. So at every station I ask the Master to help me. All the years that I have been on this engine, He has helped me, and not a single human being, of the thousands that have ridden on my train, has been marred. I have never had an accident.” 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 16

The Lord has imposed upon every human being claiming to believe in Christ a solemn responsibility to represent Him to the world, in good works. The progress of many souls has been in the wrong direction. It is high time that our steps were leading in the path cast up, and not in the path the world travels. We have none too much time to retrieve our errors and lay hold as Christians with earnestness and zeal in this indispensable work of saving souls to Jesus Christ. The truth as it is in Jesus, spoken in love and lived out, will do a work that but few can appreciate. Our words must flow forth from a sanctified heart. We must ever approach and converse in kindness. The Spirit of Christ must dwell in our hearts by faith. 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 17

Our religion is a faith and a power when it is exemplified in all the life interests. Souls are perishing for the Word of life. Shall their blood be found on our garments? God has done His part in the work and wants the co-operation of the living human agents. His plan is not intricate; it is fully developed: the blood of Christ to cleanse away the pollution of sin, and the divine Word and the Holy Spirit co-operate. Many souls are going to ruin. Who will become living channels of light? Who will seek God earnestly and find Him to the joy of their souls, that God may work through them to save many souls? May the Lord reveal Himself to you, my dear brother. 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 18

Monday Morning, April 24

Dear Children, Do not be in any way discouraged. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” [Philippians 2:12, 13.] God works, and you work out that which He works in. 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 19

It is, dear children Byron and Sarah, very essential that you shall receive strength and grace to help you over hard places. The Lord loves you both, and if the truth as it is in Jesus is clearly apprehended and brought into the sanctuary of the soul, it will mold and fashion the character after Christ’s likeness. Lessons will be learned in the school of Christ daily. Criticisms will be put away and the fruit will appear, revealing the character of the tree. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.] 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 20

Jesus requires you to shine as lights in the world. You are to be tender and careful of one another’s feelings, and in no words or actions show a resentful spirit. And when there is the cultivation of traits of character that will add to the peace and happiness and healthfulness of each other, you are learning the lessons in the school of Christ. Now, bear one another’s burdens, and the same lessons will extend beyond the family. You should seek to be bright and shining lights in the world, lighting the pathway of those who are in danger, through manifold temptations, of missing the way. 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 21

If you are connected with God, He will lead you by His Holy Spirit to speak a word in season, and out of season. “Be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” [Matthew 10:16.] It is the duty of every Christian to train and discipline himself under the Bible rules, “that he may be a workman for God that needeth not to be ashamed” [2 Timothy 2:15], then the work coming from his hands will be enduring for time and for eternity. There must be no fiber of the thread of selfishness; there must be no loose, careless work for Christ expects every man to co-operate with the divine intelligences and walk through the world blessing and blessed. 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 22

“Thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and He shall say, Here I am.” [Isaiah 58:8, 9.] The jewel of truth cherished in the soul must shine in bright heavenly luster to those outside. 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 23

A large share of life’s happiness is dependent upon our manners and actions toward others. The sharp word must be left unspoken. The passionate words must be quenched in the love of Jesus Christ, for if this dross is not cleansed from the soul, there is no hope of eternal life. The selfish temper and trade of passionate words is placed in the same dark list with swearing. We must individually cultivate the precious plant of human love, and then we can work in Christ’s lines for the souls that are ready to perish. 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 24

When you, Byron, shall learn your lessons at the feet of Jesus, the Lord will give you His grace to use your entrusted talents to His name’s glory, for you will not abuse or misapply the sacred trust; and you will be a faithful and true witness for the Master. The beauty of Christ’s character we are to behold until we become changed into the same image from glory to glory, thus reflecting the image of Christ, and thus we evidence to the world the power of sacred truth upon the human heart. Men cannot see our hearts, but they can see our good works and hear our calm self-controlled words, and this is to them a living testimony that Christ is abiding in the soul. 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 25

The Lord Jesus would not leave you unwarned on this subject. Seek most earnestly by prayer the grace of Christ, cultivating a genuine humility. Conform your life to the likeness of Christ, and you will grow strong in the grace of Christ, and the outward manners will be consistent with the elevated and ennobling character of the truth. And “let the peace of God rule in your hearts.” Here it is represented as seeking to be let in, “to the which also ye are called in one body and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” [Colossians 3:15, 16.] 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 26

Your Aunt. 8LtMs, Lt 6a, 1893, par. 27