Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8

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Lt 12a, 1893

Christie, Louis

NP

1893

Formerly Undated Ms 100. See variant Lt 12b, 1893. Portions of this letter are published in CC 157; 1BC 1114; 5BC 1136; TMK 62; CTr 125; 7MR 172-173.

Dear Brother,

There are dark chapters in your experience that leave a blot upon your life and character. Unless you are transformed, you are wholly unfit to engage in the sacred work of God, for your conscience is like India rubber. You have performed wicked actions that are registered in the books of heaven, although they have not been laid open before me, and I have not been instructed as to what are the special sins. The Lord has opened some things to me in regard to what you are doing to deceive the people, and with this part of the matter it is time to deal. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 1

As did Saul when he was reproved, so may you do, and deny your guilt, even when the evidence of your guilt is plainly manifested. Saul denied his sin even while the lowing of the oxen and the bleating of the sheep where publishing his guilt. But it is not surprising that those who can do the things for which they are reproved can also deny their guilt without compunction of conscience. You have deceived and falsified, irrespective of the shame that results to yourself when your guilt is demonstrated. How much faith can be placed in you? How can we trust to you responsibility in temporal matters, let alone in matters that concern the sacred cause of God? 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 2

Louie Christie, your character must be entirely transformed. You deceive those who are not acquainted with your course of action. You are not keeping the commandments of the Lord. Take them one by one, and read them. “Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not covet. Thou shalt not bear false witness.” [Exodus 20:15-17.] The law of God is the great standard of character by which we must be judged in the last day. You say things that are not true. You mislead and deceive others concerning yourself, and you make all manner of excuses to excuse your wrongs, but will these excuses stand? Oh, dear youth, do you not know that all the refuge of lies is to be swept away in a short time? Will you be swept away with your refuge? I speak plainly when I am compelled to speak at all, and now I feel constrained to speak. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 3

Whatever work you engage in, you should seek to do it with exactitude, with diligence, overcoming your inclination to have an easy time that will not be called upon to exert muscle and nerve, and where you will not have to tax mind and body to accomplish it. You need to bring solid timbers of character into your building. You need to feel the claim that the gospel puts upon you. You profess to believe the truth, but dear youth, the truth has never been brought into the sanctuary of the soul; it has been kept in the outer courts. When the truth is enshrined in the heart, through its sanctifying power virtue will appear in word, in deportment, and character and spirit. You will conduct yourself as a representative of Jesus Christ in every place and under all circumstances, and you will rather lose a right eye, or cut off a right hand, than do a dishonest action. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 4

Have you realized that there was a witness at your side continually, as there was at the feast of Belshazzar when the bloodless hand traced his condemnation on the wall of the palace? Every time you have made a false statement, every time you have misrepresented your brethren, the witness at your side has traced your words in the books of record, and your deeds in the judgment will appear in their true character. The Psalmist describes those who pursue the course you have in these words, “They speak every one with his neighbor: with flattering lips, and with double tongue, they speak. The Lord will cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?” [Psalm 12:2-4.] 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 5

You profess to be a Christian, but you are not. You present to others that which is not true in regard to your work and your deeds, and you know that you are saying what is not true. Now, God will bring all your works into judgment with every secret thing, and why do you stand with the arch deceiver? Why justify yourself? “By their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.] But we do hope most sincerely that you will not succeed in deceiving others by your smooth words and false pretenses. What do you propose to do? work under the garment of deception to the very end? Why did you not fall on the Rock at camp meeting and be broken when the Spirit of God was moving upon hearts? 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 6

You are involving yourself in a labyrinth of inconsistencies and contradictions, and making others suffer by your dishonest practices. You are far from being happy. You are continually under condemnation and are full of disquietude and unrest. By your course of evil for a long time, you have been enfeebling and making more and more corrupt your moral powers. You make feeble efforts to resist temptation, and yet place yourself where you will be easily tempted. Go at some physical labor that will tax bone and muscle, and crucify your inclination to do dishonest things. You have lost your self-respect, lost your self-reliance, lost your confidence in God. You know that you cannot claim the promises of God, because you do not meet the conditions upon which they are granted. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 7

The Holy Spirit is grieved, because in place of being converted from the error of your way, you try to make it appear that you are in the light. Suppose that people are deceived and think that you are not in darkness; suppose that you succeed in arousing sympathy in their tender hearts for you, and they sincerely believe all that you tell them, and look upon you as upon one who has been greatly misjudged and mistreated, and they help and pet and sustain you as you add falsehood to falsehood, will this do you any good? Will you be less liable to repeat your wrongs, and more fortified to overcome the sin that you are now successful in concealing? You may indeed change your appearance, cloak over your true nature with a garment of light, but it will be well for you to bear in mind that God looks beneath that garment of deception and sees every spot and stain. God sees every false action, and you will act out what you really are after a time. How long do you propose to keep up this line of action? 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 8

I have felt very sad over your case, because you are living a lie, and believing a lie in regard to yourself. The converting power of God must come upon you before you can be a blessing anywhere. You have light; you have knowledge, but you have not a pure, sincere, honest character. You appropriate things that do not belong to you. If you will, you can earn an honest living. You have physical power to do this. Of course you will get weary, and it will seem like a very hard thing to do; but all get weary who labor. I get very weary at my work, and weariness is a part of our lot. You should sustain yourself and not always be looking for an easy place, or a place that is agreeable to your feelings. “Owe no man anything.” [Romans 13:8.] This is a command which you have not obeyed. You have no horror of debt. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 9

Should you enter the canvassing field, your standard is so low as to what constitutes honesty that you would not think it stealing to appropriate that which belonged to another. You would be continually spending money before you earned it. You would desire to be in the society of young ladies, and would spend money to be thought very free and courteous and gentlemanly, and to be esteemed by them as a Christian. But they are deceived. Many have a very superficial idea as to what constitutes a Christian character. Many young ladies have superficial ideas about everything, for they know not by experience what it means to be a Christian. They do not know what a depth of Christian experience is, and it is this superficial class that will be charmed by your society. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 10

What is meant by the term Christian can only be understood by a daily, prayerful study of the Scriptures. The struggle which the Christian must wage is a lifelong one, for Satan is ever watching for an opportunity to take advantage of every one who claims to follow Christ, that he may ensnare the soul. When a soul is captured from the ranks of Christ the synagogue of Satan sing in hellish triumph. Jesus says, “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.] There are many things to be overcome. Every day the Christian must battle with the foe. There is no time to be careless, light, trifling, cheap, and easygoing. There is no time to be foolish [and] pleasure-loving, to be enjoying what is called a good time with young men or young women. Those who are satisfied with this kind of nonsense will have all the heaven they will have while engaging in their pleasures, unless they are converted. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 11

God has stated upon what conditions salvation is to be granted, and unless we learn and live up to these conditions, we shall be lost. There must be a cooperation of human effort with divine power. Christ says, “Without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] Those who build superficially do not build upon the sure foundation. They have omitted, as has the young man I now address, the first steps to be taken in the work. They have never prayed until they have known that their prayers were heard and answered, “Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me.” [Psalm 51:10.] 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 12

Louis Christie, I have no light, no permission to answer your questions. I have given you the light which I was commissioned to give you, and you say it is not truth. I have no more to say. If you will not receive that which God has given you, you would not receive further light from the same source. It is not more evidence that you need, but more humility of heart. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?” [Jeremiah 17:9.] I feel sincerely desirous that you shall make thorough work for eternity. When the Spirit of God reveals your heart to you, you will not complain that you have been dealt with in severity, as did the man who went and hid his lord’s money in the earth. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 13

You may say, “I want to work in the cause, for I love the truth.” Your course of action will testify as to how much love you have for the cause of truth. “Ye are a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men.” [1 Corinthians 4:9.] He who is called to act a part in this most sacred work, who has been bidden to prepare a people to stand in the coming of the Lord, will regard it as no light matter and will not be careless and indifferent and heedless as to what his influence shall be. He will not pass his months and years in inactivity and will be careful as to what shall be the record of his words and actions. He will bring forth from the treasure house not falsehood, but truth. He will not be light and trifling in conversation and will have all his deeds correspond with the solemn work that has been laid upon him. He will not permit a blot to remain upon his name that hurts him, and is known to God, but will be constantly reaching for a higher standard, will be perfecting a Christian character, steadily advancing in the path of purity, honesty, unswerving fidelity and integrity. He will see to it that his precept and example are after the character of those of Joseph, who could not be corrupted. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 14

Bible religion is not child’s play. There are dark spots in your experience, and there is a work that you must do to clear yourself. I have taken up your case in a decided way to show, as God has directed me, the loose, lax ideas that many of the people of the colonies have as to what constitutes a Christian. With these ideas unchanged, they will perish with the wicked. The truth has never been brought into the life, into the daily work and character. Godliness has been kept apart from the character. Many have a theory of the truth, but they are like the foolish virgins who went out to meet the bridegroom, and at the very time when it was necessary that their lamps should give out clear, bright rays, it was found that they had no oil in their vessels with their lamps. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 15

The lax, loose way in which canvassers have performed their work shows that both old and young in this branch of the work have many lessons to learn. There has been much haphazard work presented before me, and I might go into details, but that would do no good. The manner in which they have done their work makes manifest what has been their education. They have trained themselves by both precept and example in deficient habits, and this deficiency has been brought into the work of God. They see no harm in doing that which is directly opposed to the principles of Christianity. The matters that are most objectionable are not viewed by these workers as offensive, because their training has been of such an order that it does not seem objectionable; but the Lord has shown me that He does not accept their dishonest service. It is natural as their breath to be dishonest, to be self-indulgent, to go into debt, to borrow and not be particular about paying their debts, to be indolent, and to shun every weight of moral and physical responsibility. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 16

The International Tract and Missionary Society is deeply involved in debt because yourself and others have felt that you were treated in a very bad way if you were required to pay promptly for books received from the office. Yet to require prompt remittal is the only way in which to manage a business of this kind. It has been neither kind nor just for the men at the office to deal with those who have been in the field in the way that has been called “kind and merciful.” One man who has been asked to settle his account feels as though he had been personally abused and has written an unchristian answer, as if to say that those who hold responsible positions had no business to require prompt and honest dealing on the part of those who are engaged in handling the books. This man is not the only one who has felt in this way. One after another has dealt in the same manner, until the office and the Missionary Society is wading in debt. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 17

This is what results when careless, irresponsible workers are permitted to carry out their own way. God is dishonored, and His cause and work is left in an embarrassed condition. The Missionary Society is involved in debt, simply because those who are engaged in the work insist on having indulgence and forbearance, that they may continue to practice their Colonial habits, without regard or care as to what may be the consequences to the cause. Every branch of the work and cause of God is wounded and bleeding as the result of the wretched practices of those who claim to believe and love the truth. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 18

There must be an entire change in all these workers who have brought embarrassment upon the cause of God because of their careless and irresponsible way of working. This change must be brought about even if every man now engaged in the work has to be discharged. But we hope that some will bear correction; we hope that some will see their deficiencies and will make thorough reformation, for if their moral sensibilities are not aroused until they do make reformation, they will fail of being sanctified through the truth, and there will be no hope for them in this life or in that which is to come. If they are not determined to reform, let them take hold of some other work, for the cause of God must not suffer because of their crooked, loose way of doing. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 19

When the Holy Spirit quickens the heart and men are led to see their wrongs, to discern their deficiencies, to recall their failings, to see that they have been an injury rather than a help to the cause of God, to realize that through their indolence and lax, unchristian course they have been a weight upon the cause of God, they will repent and will make restitution. They will not feel that they are badly used because those who are faithful stewards of the Lord will not permit them to play false to God’s holy work. They will realize that they have injured the cause of God, abused their privileges, dishonored the truth by dishonest practices, and that Christ is ashamed to call them brethren. They will see that sin means more than they have thought, that things which they called sharp and cunning were dishonest and corrupt, and that God abhors their course of action, for it is loathsome in His sight. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 20

But while some under correction will acknowledge that they have been an injury to the cause, there are others that will charge the one who has manifested true friendship by pointing out their wrongs with having an unkind spirit, and will either be impudent or disrespectful to the reprover, or will put on the disguise of injured innocence. This martyr-like appearance is a specious hypocrisy and is calculated to deceive those who are easily blinded, who are always ready to sympathize with the wrongdoer. The respect due to the servant of God who dared not be untrue to his position of trust, but accepted and acted upon the charge given him of the Lord, is not given. Let such evil-workers read the charge that is given to those in positions of trust: “I charge thee, therefore, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” [2 Timothy 4:1, 2.] This charge means that the worker for God is to bring closely home the warnings, reproofs, and lessons of God’s Word to see whether the wrongdoer will hear or whether he will forbear. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 21

If the ministers and workers in all our churches had been faithful to this charge, and had dealt with wrongdoers as they are instructed to, if they had guarded the interests of the cause of God and been careful to lift the truth from all stigma and reproach, there would not have been developed among us men who would have followed the example of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. These men of Israel complained and influenced the people to stand with them in rebellion, and even after God stretched forth His hand and swallowed up the wrongdoers, and the people fled to their tents in horror, their rebellion was not cured. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 22

The depth of their disaffection was made manifest even under the judgment of the Lord. The morning after the destruction of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram and their confederates, the people came to Moses and Aaron saying, “Ye have killed the people of the Lord.” [Numbers 16:41.] For this false charge on the servants of God, thousands more were killed for there was in them sin, exultation, and presumptuous wickedness. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 23

Shall the example presented in the history of the children of Israel have any weight with us? Shall those who claim to believe the truth be influenced to judge from their human feelings as did Israel? When the servants of God are called upon to do the disagreeable duty of correcting the erring, let not those upon whom the Lord has not laid this burden stand between the offender and God. If you cannot see matters in the light in which they have been presented, hold your peace; let the arrows of the Almighty fall just where He has directed they shall fall. Let them pierce the very soul of those who have little sense of sin and are in ignorance of the progressive character of the Christian life. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 24

Today the work should have been years in advance of what it is. But now let the people keep out of the way, and let God work upon the youth and upon those of mature age, that they may all be brought up to a higher, holier standard, and realize what constitutes Christian life and character. What can the Lord do to advance the work while in its present state? The Lord will not serve with the sins of those who claim to believe the truth when they misrepresent the character of Jesus Christ, and by their sinful practices lead souls away from the true path into by and forbidden paths of falsehood and sin. But when fathers and mothers practice deceit in the family circle in educating and training their children, what can be expected in the youth who go into the field? 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 25

Reproof and rebuke may, and will, come closer home to individuals than they dream of. God has His work in hand, and declarations will be made that will test the faith and loyalty of the people of God. There are those who have had great light, who are far from God, who in heart are apostates. If they do not meet a higher standard, if they do not take their stand for Christ, if they pursue in the future the course they have pursued in the past, and neglect to search the Scriptures, neglect to pray, refuse to humble their hearts, to deny self and lift the cross, fail to obey the injunctions of the Scriptures, there will be portioned to them an experience of grief and shame. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” [Galatians 6:7.] The harvest is sure. No frost will blight it, no mildew blast it, no palmer worm devour it. The harvest is sure. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 26

But we may still rejoice in the fact that it is not yet too late for wrongs to be righted. Jesus is a risen, living Saviour, our Advocate in the courts of heaven. “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” [1 John 2:1.] As soon as the sinner sees his sins in the light of God’s Word, repents, and seeks pardon with contrition of soul, confessing his sins, the Lord hears and answers. “Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.” [Isaiah 50:10, 11.] “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” [Isaiah 57:15.] 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 27

When true conversion takes place in the heart, it is made manifest in a transformation of character, for those who are converted become Christlike. Pride no longer lives in the heart, sin seems abominable. The converted soul hates the thing that depraves his moral sensibilities. He hates that which crucified the Lord of life and glory. Those who are truly converted grow in the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and as knowledge of Christ increases, they see more clearly where their own weakness lies, they realize the deep depravity of their natures. They understand the strength of sin, and know the power of their old habits, and feel the drawing of the desire that clamors for indulgence in the hour of temptation. They have daily a sense of their entire inability to do anything without the help of Jesus Christ, therefore they say to Him, 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 28

“I cast my helpless soul upon Thee.
‘In my hand no price I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling.’”
8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 29

As the sinner beholds the Lamb of God, he sees more clearly what provision God has made to take away the sins of the world. He sees the sufficiency and adaptation of the Spirit of grace for every conflict. The mysterious provision for the taking away of sin is Jesus Christ. “And if any man sin we have an advocate with the Father Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” [1 John 2:1, 2.] 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 30

Now mark the sure evidence that we do know God—“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; hereby know we that we are in him.” [Verses 3-5.] That is the unmistakable evidence that we are the sons and daughters of God. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” [Verse 6.] “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:29.] “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow in his steps.” [1 Peter 2:21.] “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 2:5.] 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 31

Have the young men and women who claim to be converted the experience that is described in the Word of God? Growth in grace is made manifest by efficiency in the service of God. The true Christian will not refuse to practice self-denial for Christ’s sake. Those who are children of God are earnest workers; they are not slothful servants. There are no drones in the household of God. Every member of the household of faith has his work appointed to him. Jesus has given to every man his work, and every son and daughter of God has some work assigned in the vineyard of the Lord. Each one has his responsibility, and through the exercise of his powers he is to learn how to work for the Master in the most efficient way. If he is a learner in the school of Christ, he will learn how to give a testimony, how to pray, how to be a living witness for the Master. Every one is to learn how to be more and more efficient by putting to use the powers God has given. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 32

The true Christian will be a diligent and constant student. He will realize that he lacks wisdom, strength, and experience, and he will place his will and all his interests in the care of the great Teacher. He will understand that he cannot be indolent, that he must do his best, for this will be the only way that he can attain unto the ability that will qualify him to be an efficient worker for God. Every power must be improved by benefitting and blessing others. What he receives from God he must diffuse to his fellow men, and thus grow up into Christ his living Head. His mind will expand so that he will be better able to comprehend spiritual things; this will be the reward of using his powers to glorify God. Every day, as he diligently works, will give him experience and aid him in devising ways and means to help others. Abiding in the vine, the Christian brings forth much fruit, because he is rooted and grounded and established in the truth. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 33

In your case I see, as I see in the cases of others, that you must have an altogether higher, purer, more elevated idea as to what constitutes devotion to God. Many have received ideas as to what are the requirements of the gospel, and they think that the impression they have received is the correct impression, and that in obeying the standard that has been presented they are obeying the gospel requirements; but it is a mistake. They have received incorrect ideas; they have misunderstood the claims of Christ because of the practices of those who have been associated with them, who claimed to be Christians when they were not. The words and actions of these converts are in harmony with the words and actions of those who have claimed to believe the truth, and yet who have not made manifest its requirement. The truth is either exalted or depreciated by those who claim to believe in Christ, just in proportion to the reality of that claim. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 34

If those who claim to believe the truth misrepresent their Lord, they are false lights. They neither burn nor shine. Their sentiments and practices are so mingled with the sentiments and practices of the world that there is scarcely any difference between then and the world. They cherish the same self-love, have the same hungering after foolish pleasures, the same thirsting for amusement. Of them the Word declares that they are “heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” [2 Timothy 3:4, 5.] They are professedly serving God, but serving Him after the fashion of the world. They are presenting to the world a distorted image of what constitutes a Christian. They are molding the minds of those with whom they associate to a low standard of religious life. The irreligious class are degraded by the example of those who profess to be Christians and yet present to the world only a worldly religion. 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 35

Some professed Christians have so long educated themselves to reach a low standard that they are always misrepresenting the character of Christ. While professing to be Christians, they have enfeebled their moral powers, and have prostituted them to the service of self. They are weak and unstable, and no longer worthy of a connection with the work of God, for they are of no religious benefit to the world. They have become so gross in thought, word, and action, are so weak and unstable, that God cannot use them in His cause. The world is made no better by their living in it, and soon the word from heaven will be, “Cut down the tree; for its fruit is bitter and profitless.” 8LtMs, Lt 12a, 1893, par. 36