Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Lt 14a, 1893

Concerning Louis Christie


July 23, 1893

Portions of this letter are published in VSS 145-146.

(This was read to Louis Christie in Auckland by Edward Hare.)

I realize that in Louie Christie we have no ordinary case to deal with; he is a fraud. While he has been endowed with some excellent traits of character, which if properly cultivated and directed would make him a useful laborer, he has hereditary and cultivated objectionable traits of character which will not constitute him a safe associate and companion for youth, or even those of mature age. I speak that [which] I do know. 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 1

Sunday, July 23, 1893. I have spent but little time in sleep the past night. I have been studying what course to pursue to save the soul of Christie. That which makes his case so difficult is that he either has very faint convictions of what constitutes sin, or he is so accustomed to sin that conscience has ceased to warn, to convict, and reprove. We read in (Isaiah 3:9, 10), “The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul; for they have rewarded evil unto themselves. Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.” 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 2

Isaiah 5:20, 21. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” Also vs. 21, “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight.” And vs. 24, “Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.” Please read Isaiah 5:1-7. 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 3

The eyes of the God of Israel are too pure to behold iniquity. These utterances of God, through his prophets, need to be considered by all who claim to be His people. God requires of every man and woman and youth that they shall perfect a Christian character. “Be ye holy for I am holy.” [1 Peter 1:16.] The low standard of Christianity is robbing the church of vitality, and of his power. The standard of piety and Bible religion has been trailing in the dust, because those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ follow their own ways, and reach a standard that God has not given them; but are raised up of themselves. Then they are false lights, false signboards pointing in the wrong direction. They call evil good, and darkness they call light, and professing to be righteous, they are, in their loose practices, after the order of the sinful man who has not the love of God and the fear of God before his eyes. 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 4

Not only is his own soul defiled by sin, but by repetition of wrong actions while professing to be a Christian, he leads others as well as himself to misapprehend, misapply, and misinterpret by practice, the nature and extent of God’s claims upon the human agent. They fail to apply and bring the principles of great truths into the life practice, regarding them as little things. 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 5

When Achan stole the golden wedge and Babylonish garment that was appointed of God to be utterly consumed with fire, he thought it a little matter, and that he might as well be benefitted with the good appointed to destruction as to have it perish. But history shows us that which was to him a small matter was in the eyes of God a very serious matter, for he had disregarded the words of the Lord. One man who was of the tribe of [Judah] had sinned, for he “took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel.” [Joshua 7:1.] 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 6

Because of this one man’s sin the presence of the Lord was withdrawn from the armies of Israel, for the Lord would not serve with their sins. And the Lord permitted the men of Ai to obtain a victory over His people, and there were thirty-six men of war slain, and the hearts of the people melted and became as water. They were surprised that the Lord did not do by them, as He had done, and given them the victory. The General of armies, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the armies of heaven were withdrawn, and the armies of Israel were left to themselves to plan and arrange in their own human wisdom the battle. 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 7

“And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell on the earth upon his face before the ark of the Lord until eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads. And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord God, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan! O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies! 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 8

“For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name?” [Verses 6-9.] You who have spiritual discernment can now see that which was counted a little thing made a great deal of sorrow and anguish of spirit for the responsible men of Israel, and this is always the case when the Lord evidences that He is displeased, His anger is kindled against the people. The men upon whom rests the burden are the men who feel the weight and the agony of soul because of the rebuke of the Lord. 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 9

Achan took it very coolly. We have no account that he felt distressed, no account that he felt remorse and studied from cause to effect, saying, “Is it my sin that has brought the displeasure of the Lord? Is it that Babylonish garment, and that beautiful golden wedge I stole, that is the cause of the Israel of God, his people, being discomfited in battle?” He had no idea of making his wrong right by confession and humiliation of soul. All the gold, and vessels of brass and iron, and the silver were consecrated to the Lord. See Joshua 6:18, 19. “And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the Lord: they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.” 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 10

Now, Achan knew the charge given in (verse 18); he heard it all. He did covet the accursed thing of Jericho appointed to destruction. He did covet the golden wedge, consecrated to come into the treasury of the Lord, and appropriated it to his own use. But there were men in Israel who were acquainted with the ways and words of God, and His dealings with His people, and they were the men that felt the reproach brought upon Israel because the people of God were not sustained and the enemies of God were victorious and triumphing in the defeat of Israel. While Joshua was mourning in humiliation and known distress because God’s cause and truth were dishonored, the word of the Lord came to Joshua. 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 11

“And the Lord said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them; for they have even taken of the accursed thing (they had the thing appointed to destruction) and have also stolen (taken the golden wedge that was consecrated to the Lord’s treasury) and dissembled also, and they have put it also among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed (in consequence of the sin of this offender).” [Joshua 7:10-12.] 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 12

Now hear the words from the lips of Jesus Christ enshrouded in the pillowy cloud, “Neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed thing from among you. Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow: for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.” [Verses 12, 13.] 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 13

Special directions were given of the Lord concerning this matter. See chapter 7, verses 14, 15. “In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be that the tribe which the Lord taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the Lord shall take shall come by households; and the household which the Lord shall take shall come man by man. And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel.” Achan confessed not; but braved it out as though he were innocent. 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 14

“So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; and the tribe of Judah was taken. And he brought the family of Judah; and he took the family of the Zarhites, and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man; and Zabdi was taken. And he brought his household man by man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah was taken.” [Verses 16-18.] Now the Lord reveals that He is acquainted with the hidden things of dishonesty, however men may try to hide the same. 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 15

Now Achan may have continued in his denial, for he had shown such firm determination to cover his sin, but the Lord had fastened his guilt upon him. Many would have sympathized with him and in their human judgment, as they do today, have concluded him misused, because they leave God out of their reckoning. This is the reason that Joshua addressed Achan as follows, “My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.” [Verse 19.] The Lord had told Joshua what he had done, but many who are misled by human sympathy and their own natural feelings sympathize with the wrongdoer. 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 16

The Lord designed to give a lesson to all Israel which shall come down along the lines from age to age to our time, and therefore Joshua entreats the young man “tell me now what thou hast done, hide it not from me.” [Verse 19.] He would have the Lord God of Israel feared and honored, as One who knows all their works, and searcheth out the hidden things of darkness, so that Israel may always know that the Lord God is among them, and acquainted with all their actions, for men who are tempted of the enemy will often cast reflection upon those who are trying to do their duty in the fear of God. 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 17

The guilty transgressor puts on an appearance of injured innocence and will make no confession, only admit things when facts testify for themselves. Had the punishment come upon Achan without the facts of confession from his own lips, the people who were naturally ready to rebel, would have charged the direction given of God upon Joshua that He was unmerciful and severe, and misjudged the young man, and would have treasured up his memory to repeat it to others the harshness and the severity of the men in high positions of trust in Israel. For those who are not heart and soul consecrated to God will rise up against the justice of God in dealing with the sinful and the very men who would, if spared, corrupt others likewise; and the leaven of evil would work to the ruin of many souls. 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 18

Now the Lord God of Israel would not permit such a state of things to exist. Achan confessed and said, “Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done. When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.” [Verses 20, 21.] Achan thought his secret sin was hid from human eyes outside his own family. “So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it. And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the Lord. 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 19

“And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. And Joshua said, Why has thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, the valley of Achor, unto this day.” [Verses 22-26.] 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 20

We see how the Lord regards these sins. Here was a man practicing the sin of covetousness, of theft, of embezzlement appropriating to his own use money dedicated to God and dissembling in the matter, carrying the appearance through all the criticizing examination, of a man innocent of any crime. The Lord has given this history to show His estimate of all such sins, that Israel may fear and honor the God of heaven. His [Achan’s] sins had caused the loss of thirty-six lives. And the man or woman who claims to be keeping the commandments of God show how little they estimate the grievous character of sin when they indulge it. 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 21

And those professing to be Christians and doing similar sins of theft, of embezzling the Lord’s goods, appropriating to their own and their families’ use the means which they should render back to [God to] be put into His treasury, the Lord will judge for these things. When one wants to carry his sins along and indulge them under a cloak of professed righteousness, when he is reproved and corrected by any message from God, his first work will be to make of none effect the messengers, the Joshuas, and the message which God has given him. To declare thus he covers his own sins and errors by falsehoods. He commences a system of cannibalism upon the character of those who cannot accept his services and sustain his character as faultless. In an artful manner of injured innocence, he relates how he has been treated, neglected, slighted and how misjudged, when if all was known as it really was, the facts are not presented in any too strong light; but much more might be revealed. 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 22

But those who are not rooted and grounded in the truth, who are weak in the faith, whose sympathies are, by some things presented before them, easily stirred, may in the process of dealing with those poor deceived souls who have enlisted their sympathies become themselves, through misconception, worried and lose confidence in the very ones who God would have them have confidence in because they carry out the mind and will of God, notwithstanding it is anything but pleasant and agreeable. 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 23

If this man, erring as he is, would fall on the Rock and be broken, the Lord could then put His mold and superscription upon him. But while he shows no real sense of sin he is a dangerous element in any church; and thus now with his present experience, with his present blindness and sense of sin, leavens many. The sin of the blood of souls will be found in his garments. To cover his own course and make it appear righteous, [what] he has done, and will continue to do, [is] pull to pieces the course of others and cast reflection upon those who should be sustained. It is all done in such a spirit, and with such a deceiving power, that those who listen to him unconsciously feel a spirit of indignation stirred within them that there should be those in the church, ministers of the gospel, who will treat such a good, innocent Christian man in such a severe manner. Now, those who will receive the testimony of those pretenders grieve away the Holy Spirit in their own spirit and impressions which they cherish, saying such things as they ought not. 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 24

We must as Christians draw nigh to God under all circumstances. Cry unto God, my brethren and sisters, as David did. “O, Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall show forth thy praises.” [Psalm 51:15.] Lips opened to the praise and glory of God in the family circle, in the society of those with whom they associate, are closed to the service of Satan. When the lips and voice are engaged in prayer and praise and thanksgiving, they have no appetite or desire left to cast, in an insidious manner, artful suspicions upon those upon whom the Lord has laid the burden of His work. 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 25

Slanderous speeches, which is in truth cannibalism, will not be spoken by those who are feeding on that which is the Bread of Life, the Word of the Living God, and delighting themselves on the marrow and fatness of God’s exceeding great and precious promises. Through Jesus Christ the soul is in communion with the heavenly angels and can have no desire to indulge in foolish chit-chat conversation, to sit at the table with slanderers, (cannibals). Jesus Christ would have His children “laborers together with Him” [1 Corinthians 3:9], prayerful, kind, benevolent, and full of activity. 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 26

In Christ’s work there is so much to do to bless, cheer, comfort, and win souls to Jesus, that there must necessarily be activity. The individual desires should be so changed that young girls would not enjoy the frivolous, cheap talk of young men, and the young men should not enjoy the cheap conversations of young women who have no depth of experience in the things of God because of these very cheap, selfish, and unchristian practices. Be careful what you say, lest you wound in your cheap frivolous talk one of God’s little ones who is dear to the heart of infinite love, although he may have some defects. 8LtMs, Lt 14a, 1893, par. 27