Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8

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Lt 8, 1893

Hare, Joseph

Kaeo, New Zealand

March 8, 1893

Portions of this letter are published in Te 63, 193; 6MR 261-262; 8MR 308. +Note

My Brother,

I have a message for you which I present to you in the name of the Lord. You are a husband and father. The word husband means house-band; you are to bind the family interest together. Will you, my brother, consider that you are responsible for the example and influence you give to your family? Will you consider that your children are watching their father, and you are exerting an influence upon their minds? Without a decided transformation of character, you can never see the kingdom of heaven with open vision, because you have not seen it with your spiritual vision. You have not answered to the claim of God. The kingdom of God comes not in word only, but in power, adapting itself to all the circumstances of actual life; it has to do with every day’s trials, sympathies, and duties. 8LtMs, Lt 8, 1893, par. 1

You have nearly divorced yourself from the Word of God. Will you please look and consider the past of your life, which an angel has faithfully chronicled in the book of records? Have you lost eternity out of your reckoning? Please read your Bible as you have never read it before. “Search the Scriptures,” said Christ, “for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me.” [John 5:39.] You have greatly neglected the searching of the Scriptures. You have not stored your mind with the precious things of God’s Word, and unless you repent, you will surely be deceived by Satan’s manifold devices. 8LtMs, Lt 8, 1893, par. 2

You have left the precious Word of life for a dish of fables, and you are perverting your God-given powers; you are intoxicated with that which is false and deceptive. You have indulged in a kind of reading that gives you not a knowledge of God or of the truth. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:3.] We want to understand every jot and tittle of God’s will as revealed in His Word; but you are filling your mind with rubbish, with trifling things. Time is passing, and you are not gaining an experience for the future, immortal life. 8LtMs, Lt 8, 1893, par. 3

The class of reading you enjoy destroys your appetite for solid reading that would improve the mind and strengthen the intellect. This much reading of unprofitable literature is a snare to your soul. You are like a man intoxicated with strong drink. Your mind is not clear upon any subject which concerns your eternal interest. You are unready for that which is coming upon the earth, unfitted to act your part in the great whole. You place yourself in the way of temptation; and when you stand upon Satan’s ground, you are inviting his assaults. 8LtMs, Lt 8, 1893, par. 4

Kaeo is a hard place for the formation of a Christian character if one allows himself to drift where he will see and hear those things that are after Satan’s own attributes. He has manifold temptations; he has come down in great power, working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness to lead the unwary into his snare. Cardplaying and gambling are devices of Satan <presented on every hand> to bewitch the mind by filling it with vain hopes and schemes. Thus he makes an easy conquest of those who have not cultivated a love for that which is pure, elevating, and ennobling. They degrade their God-given powers by sinful indulgence. In the use of wine or beer or of the poisonous narcotic tobacco, men foster appetites that have no foundation in nature. They place upon their necks a heavy yoke, and bear all the irritating, galling consequences, while they refuse the yoke of Christ, which is easy, and His burden, which is light. They yoke up with Satan and his confederacy of evil, and how difficult to break the yoke. 8LtMs, Lt 8, 1893, par. 5

My brother, you know not whither your steps have been tending, certainly not heavenward, but toward perdition. The narcotic tobacco you have used largely, and Satan exults in his success in tempting the appetite, for the tobacco devotee is paralyzing the sensitive nerves of the brain. Satan entices men today as he enticed Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit. “Yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” [Genesis 3:1.] Read Genesis 3:2-6. In fastening upon men the terrible habit of tobacco using, it is Satan’s purpose to palsy the brain and confuse the judgment, so that sacred things shall not be discerned. When once an appetite for this narcotic has been formed, it takes firm hold of the mind and the will of man, and he is in bondage under its power. Satan has the control of the will, and eternal realities are eclipsed. Man cannot stand forth in his God-given manhood; he is a slave to perverted appetite. 8LtMs, Lt 8, 1893, par. 6

Smoking, cardplaying, gambling, liquor <drinking,> novel reading all are debasing to the intellect and to the moral powers. Appeal to the conscience of him who is enslaved by these habits, and he will answer, “I cannot give up this or that indulgence. I could not get along without these things.” His darling idols are hugged to his soul; they absorb his affection; he is ready to sacrifice heaven. 8LtMs, Lt 8, 1893, par. 7

I have seen many an example of the power of these habits. One woman I know was advised by her physician to smoke as a remedy for the asthma. To all appearance she had been a zealous Christian for many years, but she became so addicted to smoking that when urged to give it up as an unhealthful and defiling habit, she utterly refused to do so. She said, “When the matter comes before my mind distinctly, that I must give up my pipe or lose heaven, then I say, Farewell heaven; I cannot surrender my pipe.” This woman only put into words that which many express by their actions. God, the Maker of heaven and earth, He who created man and claims the whole heart, the entire affections, is held subordinate to the disgusting, defiling nuisance tobacco. 8LtMs, Lt 8, 1893, par. 8

Well may the heavenly angels marvel that Christ, their loved commander, should come from heaven to earth, clothing His divinity with humanity, and humbling Himself that He might reach to the very depth of human woe and misery to lift man up from his degradation. Jesus did not shun self-denial; He suffered shame and reproach, insult and mockery, and died an ignominious death, that man might have another probation. And yet man refuses to be uplifted; he hugs the chain, and chooses slavery with all its degradation, rather than freedom. Those who will indulge appetite at any cost will be just what they choose to make themselves. They do not choose the image and superscription of Christ, but the image and superscription of the arch deceiver. That Christ should be discarded for these soul-and-body-destroying indulgences is an amazement to the unfallen universe. 8LtMs, Lt 8, 1893, par. 9

In this probationary time, man is deciding his own eternal destiny. The promise of Christ is addressed to every soul, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” [Revelation 3:21.] Will my brother heed this invitation? 8LtMs, Lt 8, 1893, par. 10

As Christ’s ambassador I entreat you, for your soul’s sake, to make diligent work; in faith discipline yourself, take hold of Christ as your Saviour. Already your conscience has become burdensome. You do many things that you know, if you could see Jesus standing by your side you would not do. You mourn and complain; you look on the dark side. The eyes of the heavenly intelligences are upon you. Will you allow temporal, earthly employment to lead you into temptation? Will you doubt your Lord, who loves you? Will you neglect the work given you, of doing service for God? 8LtMs, Lt 8, 1893, par. 11

Your associations are with a class who are earthly, sensual, and devilish. You have breathed moral malaria, and you are in serious danger of failing where you might win if you would place yourself in right relation with Jesus, making His life and character your criterion. Now, in order to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust, you must be a partaker of the divine nature. It is your duty to keep your soul in the atmosphere of heaven. 8LtMs, Lt 8, 1893, par. 12

You should not place yourself where you will be corrupted by dissolute companionship. As one who loves your soul, I beseech you to shun, as far as possible, the company of the profligate, the licentious, and the ungodly. Pray, “Lead us not into temptation,” that is, Do not, O Lord, suffer us to be overcome when assailed by temptation. [Matthew 6:13.] “Watch and pray lest ye enter into temptation.” [Mark 14:38.] There is a difference between being tempted and entering into temptation. Often the spell of temptation will hold us like a charm. The suggestions of Satan will stir every element of depravity that still remains in the unrenewed nature. The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. But if you fail in the test and trial of your life now, in probationary time, you will fail forever. 8LtMs, Lt 8, 1893, par. 13

I present before you a warning from the Word of God. In Babylon of old, Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. Intoxicated with wine, he lost all reverence for sacred things, and he commanded that the golden and silver vessels which had been once consecrated to the temple service in Jerusalem be brought forth, that the king and princes, his wives and his concubines, might drink therein. “Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king and his princes, his wives and his concubines drank in them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.” [Daniel 5:3, 4.] This was the tenor of their conversation, and God heard; for there was a witness at that feast. 8LtMs, Lt 8, 1893, par. 14

The Holy One heard their sacrilegious hilarity and glee, and beheld their base idolatry. That witness did not depart from the banqueting hall without leaving His testimony. In the same hour came forth the bloodless fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the king’s palace, and the king saw the hand writing, in letters that seemed to burn and flame like fire—characters which he knew not. Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against the other. All the magicians, and astrologers, and the wise men of the kingdom tried to read the writing, but could not decipher it or make known the interpretation thereof. Finally Daniel was brought before the king. (Read Daniel 5:13-28.) 8LtMs, Lt 8, 1893, par. 15

When you have been in the society of those who fear not God, those who are coarse and rough, have you been as a light shining in a dark place? You have an individual responsibility, and the Lord recognizes this; there is a witness present in every gathering where you are found. God is there as a witness in the person of His delegated angels. Your character is weighed in the scales of heaven, and if your course of action is wrong, a testimony is borne, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” [Verse 27.] Bear this in mind, that you are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. 8LtMs, Lt 8, 1893, par. 16

You are in danger of losing your soul. Will you stop now? Will you heed the voice of reproach and warning? Will you be admonished? Your faith is adulterated, and your only safety is to determine that you will not fill your mind with fiction. You have not wisdom to discriminate, and the indulgence of your love for reading spoils you for your business. Your mind becomes absorbed in the excitement of a story, and you are oblivious to everything else. You gain no useful knowledge and no spiritual strength. 8LtMs, Lt 8, 1893, par. 17

You have less and less relish for the Word of God. Your duties to your family and to your God demand that you be not slothful in business, but be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. “Whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” [Colossians 3:17.] Hold fast your integrity. When tempted of the devil, consent not to his devices. Flee not to your fictitious reading, but to the Word of God. Here you may find strength every day for duty. You may plunge into the world with as little respect and reverence for God’s requirements as others manifest. You may be deceived by your own heart or by the un-Christlike maxims which prevail with others. You may mingle the frauds of men with the truth of God. But “what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” [Mark 8:36, 37.] 8LtMs, Lt 8, 1893, par. 18

The Word of God does not condemn or repress man’s activity, but tries to give it a right direction. While the world is filling mind and soul with excitement, the Lord puts the Bible into your hands for you to study, to appreciate, and to heed as a guide to your steps. The Word is your light. 8LtMs, Lt 8, 1893, par. 19