Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Ms 32, 1893

Thoughts On Isaiah 58

Auckland, New Zealand

February 16, 1893

Portions of this manuscript are published in PM 91; 6MR 376.

There is a subject that urges itself upon my mind that I must open before the Battle Creek Church; it is the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. The Word of the Lord is given to His people, showing them the very things they should do if they would have physical and spiritual strength. Are they individually heeding the Word of the Lord in Battle Creek? Are they making personal efforts right in their own midst for the children and youth, and for every one who needs the help which they can give? 8LtMs, Ms 32, 1893, par. 1

It is specially well to be interested in deeds of charity and love for those not of our faith. But do the household of faith receive all the thoughtful attention that would meet the mind of God, as expressed so fully in the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah? One of the special sins that has been presented before me is the neglect of this very kind of work by the Battle Creek Church. The reproof that has been given to those in positions of trust in the office is [regarding] their heartless dealings with the widow and the fatherless, making no difference in their treatment of those in their very midst, the very ones they should have a special interest in, and those who are not in a measure dependent upon thoughtful plans and care bestowed in order to save their souls. There have been serious neglects in this direction that have brought the frown of God upon His people who have had great light and opportunities and privileges. Will the church in Battle Creek awaken to their God-given responsibilities in this respect? Will they have some thought of the widows and the fatherless? Will they be missionaries for God? 8LtMs, Ms 32, 1893, par. 2

I have felt much burden over neglected duties in this respect. I have felt that there might be zeal misdirected for those who do not have so great struggles because of our faith in keeping the Sabbath of the fourth commandment; and while those in the faith would have eyes wide open to see some needs among unbelievers, they are in danger—of neglecting the very work for youth and children who need personal looking after—[of not having] the grace of God to administer to their necessities in tender, pitying love for Christ’s sake. 8LtMs, Ms 32, 1893, par. 3

I have felt deeply over the case of Martha Lockwood’s family. How do they stand? Are there efforts made to help the children to help themselves? I learn that the second boy has been to Chicago to get work, because he could not get work in the Review office. Are there not unbelievers employed there who have no idea of coming into the truth? And should there not be special efforts made to employ those who are children of Sabbathkeepers, and [are] fatherless? I mention this case as a representative one. Those who are connected with the office may think they have some reason to let him drift, because in every case he has not met their ideas. I ask them, If Jesus Christ should let you drift, as you surely would if He let go His hold on you, where would you go? And how would you stand in His sight? Every soul is precious, bought with the ransom money of the blood of the Son of the infinite God. 8LtMs, Ms 32, 1893, par. 4

I hope that the Lord will awaken an interest in those cases, not a casual half-hearted thought, but a live interest for all those youth who need your special influence to help them in the narrow, royal path that leads to obedience to God and to life eternal. “Feed my lambs,” was the command of Christ to Peter. [John 21:15.] Will you have a watchcare, church of Christ in Battle Creek, you who are at the very center of the work, for those who have not a father’s care, and a father to plan, advise, and counsel them? Will you act [as] the fathers and mothers in Israel? 8LtMs, Ms 32, 1893, par. 5

When my husband was alive and connected with the office, he was ever interested for the sorrowing. As a religious duty devolving on him, he had a care for the widows and fatherless. And I will say, If the ones who made so much of any mistake or error they thought they saw in him would only manifest the spirit of compassion and watchful caretaking of those who needed help and counsel, the Lord would be better pleased with their course of action. Now will someone or ones act the fathers and mothers in Israel? Will they go to Sister Lockwood and make inquiry in reference to her children? The things they know not, like Job “search out” [Job 29:16], and see if they cannot save a soul from death; give this lad a place in the office. That is one of the very things that was presented before me when the reasons from the Lord were given why an office should be established in Battle Creek. It was that parents keeping the Sabbath, and Sabbathkeeping children, should find employment, and that the managers should in every respect be men who have the converting power of God upon them, and should be in living connection with God, that the children and youth should see the tenderness of Christ, the compassion of Christ, in those who are in responsible places. 8LtMs, Ms 32, 1893, par. 6

A disinterested benevolence needs to be practiced. The office was to be a training school—the youth to be under discipline respecting the rules and requirements, and feeling their responsibility to bring themselves under discipline. I saw that many youth would, as the result of wise planning and careful generalship, be saved to Jesus Christ; and they would become faithful and true in service to God. 8LtMs, Ms 32, 1893, par. 7

But if the managers turn heartlessly away from these individual cases because of prejudice, or because of their own un-Christlike traits of character which would lead to indifference and neglect, the Lord will in the book of His remembrance trace their names, and there will be written in distinct clear lines, Weighed in the balance of the sanctuary and found wanting. This will be a terrible sentence passed against any case. 8LtMs, Ms 32, 1893, par. 8

The Lord sees not as worldly men see; His eyes are too holy to behold any wrong practice. Men may do wrong and they may do righteousness; they may exhibit an unsympathizing spirit and judge hastily, and place a soul by their hasty spirit where Satan may delight in their council and action, for he sees he can overcome them by making their surroundings the most unfavorable for the development of Christian character. 8LtMs, Ms 32, 1893, par. 9

Neither occasional good deeds nor occasional bad deeds constitute character, or form habit, but it is training and educating the mind to the feelings of the same kind by repetition. What is done once by impulse one will more readily do a second time. I have been shown that the Lord has not been glorified in such manifest neglect of the children and youth in our midst; special personal labor has been strangely neglected. Some may ask, Am I my brother’s keeper? Yes, you are decidedly so if you claim to be sons and daughters of the heavenly King. Many souls have died unprepared, many live without Christ, because they are neglected by those who profess to believe the truth. 8LtMs, Ms 32, 1893, par. 10

Many in our institutions have been shoved off, disconnected from them as incorrigible; but if the tenderness of Christ had been shown them and personal labor put forth for them, they would have become workers together with God. And as a result of the lack of this love, they have been lost to the cause, lost to Jesus Christ, and some souls will have to give an account in the judgment for this personal neglect, for this want of patience, of long-suffering, kindness and love. 8LtMs, Ms 32, 1893, par. 11

Are there those in the church who are looking for the backsliding ones? Those who have gone on Satan’s ground are the very ones who need your help the most. Said Christ, “I came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” [Mark 2:17.] “Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.” [Revelation 3:2.] There is need of much more of the mind of Christ. 8LtMs, Ms 32, 1893, par. 12

Who has made any Christlike efforts for Edson White? Who has ever come close to his side in love for his soul? Who has conversed with him in real, deep earnestness, evidencing a lively interest to save his soul? His soul is precious in the sight of God, but who has taken any genuine burden in his case? Who has the tender sympathy of a father in Israel? He is in the enemy’s snare, but who has the interest to save him? 8LtMs, Ms 32, 1893, par. 13

There is no excuse for the church in thus neglecting to put forth her hand in determined effort to save the souls that you see are ready to perish. Let those who have helped him [Edson White] by their counsels, and encouraged him from time to time in pursuing a course that has been a snare to him, now become converted and see if they cannot now counteract their work. Those who close the door of their hearts like the Pharisees, let them fall on the Rock and be broken, and then let them work interestedly, pray with him, and not let go, but press this case to the throne of grace as Moses pleaded for Israel. Is not his soul worth making an effort for? Shall the wayward, straying sheep be left to perish because no one who is Christlike, no shepherd, will go to seek and save the one that is lost? There are some solemn questions [that] will be addressed to souls in the judgment in regard to your slothfulness in not doing the very work that needs to be done in saving those souls that are ready to perish. 8LtMs, Ms 32, 1893, par. 14

I remember in Battle Creek when there were those who felt the burden for the unconverted and those who were in darkness and saw no light, then prayer meetings were appointed that they might make the strength of God their strength. In every case the heavenly intelligences worked with these efforts, and souls were saved. This effort was made for Will Sicily, and when ready to perish he was saved. Why is there not true burdens for these souls who might be bright and shining lights if some one would do their God-given duty, and give them proper assistance in time of need? Censures and condemnation you may be excused from giving, but show them you have a care for the souls for whom Christ has died; make earnest, decided efforts, and be determined you will not fail nor be discouraged. 8LtMs, Ms 32, 1893, par. 15

Go hunt for the straying sheep and bring them back to the fold. This work will be rewarded. God sees that you need to come into close union with Jesus Christ and work in His lines. Put away your condemnation, and put on the armor of Christ’s righteousness to save. There are plenty who are ready to crush and to destroy—this is the first element that comes to the surface. They can talk, they can accuse, they can condemn; but to heal, to restore, to bind up, is a work they have no experience in. 8LtMs, Ms 32, 1893, par. 16

Now, may the Lord open your eyes to see a field of work before you, and to enter it without delay, for if you neglect this very work, you will be called unfaithful servants. I call upon you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth to take up these lines of work you have neglected, and see if you will not have a rich harvest to reward such kind of labor. Censuring, accusing, and cutting off is much more in harmony with your feelings; but do you want Jesus to treat you thus? Do you want Christ to cut you loose from Him when you make mistakes and dishonor Him? 8LtMs, Ms 32, 1893, par. 17

I will add a few words more. A letter came to Sister Starr from Martha Lockwood, and she related how they were circumstanced. She said she was trying to sustain herself, and she found it was sometimes quite hard. Her second boy was at work at [the] Review and Herald office, and every cent of his earnings he brought to his mother. But he felt a strong desire to earn more for his mother’s support. An offer was made to him to work for Dr. Kellogg where he would command a higher wage, and he left the office to go into the Sanitarium office. No complaint was made of his work in either place; but when the office was burned then he was thrown out of work, and he tried to get a situation in the Review and Herald office, but they did not give him work. He tried to get work at anything but could not, and as his earnings were so much needed at home he went to Chicago to find work, and succeeded, but could not keep the Sabbath. He, after a time, came home, and I think tried again to get work in the office, but there was no opening. Now, this young man is fatherless, his mother a widow, and he has not given his heart to God. If some earnest missionary work was done, I think it would be a blessing bestowed. Every soul is precious, and not one is to be treated indifferently. This has called up in my mind the light given me of the Lord, and I have felt that it was time that these souls for whom Christ has died were receiving personal labor; and that, if it is a possible thing, the fatherless should be employed rather than unbelievers. 8LtMs, Ms 32, 1893, par. 18

This is the very matter which I have had presented to me again and again. If the young man acted unwisely in leaving the office, as he probably did, older heads have acted in many things with far less wisdom and principle. There should be the greatest care taken to look into these cases by the fathers and mothers in Israel. If there have been mistakes made by the young man, this is no reason why there should not be efforts made to keep him from the great cities by giving him employment. One soul saved to Jesus Christ is of such value that the world sinks into insignificance in comparison with it, and we are to view every soul in this light. 8LtMs, Ms 32, 1893, par. 19

The office was to be an educating, training school for the youth. Those connected with the office should have a deep, abiding love for Jesus Christ, and they will have a care for all the souls for whom He has given His precious life. There will be the tenderest sympathy exercised toward the motherless and the fatherless, and these are to be especially the subjects for determined effort, the subjects of wise, well-directed labor, approaching them with the tenderness of Christ Jesus. Personal religion will reveal itself in bearing good fruit; sanctification is not the work of a day but a lifetime. The human heart becomes a medley of passions, vanities, love of self, love of money, and love of the world. There should be in the heart of everyone grace which can bloom in the garden of God. Selfishness will cut out every precious likeness of Christ, will expel humility and self-denial and devotion. Abide in Christ and then, you will have the mind of Christ appear, and will work the works of Christ. The Lord requires of His people more than they give Him. We are to work in our family, in the church, and in our business, with an eye single to the glory of God; then our work will not be swept away as so much hay, wood and stubble by the fires of the last day. 8LtMs, Ms 32, 1893, par. 20