Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Lt 65, 1894

To the Ship’s Crew on the Pitcairn

Campground, Middle Brighton, Victoria, Australia

January 6, 1894

This letter is published in entirety in 7MR 198-206.

Dear Friends,

The great controversy going on in the world is waging more sharply today than at any period of this world’s history between the Prince of life and the prince of darkness. Bear the fact in mind that where ever there are plans set in operation to advance the cause of God in the world, Satan will be on hand to counteract, if possible, the workings of our merciful heavenly Father. He will come with his temptations on board the missionary ship Pitcairn. He will use every possible advantage you give him to control minds. I have a word from the Lord to speak to you. 9LtMs, Lt 65, 1894, par. 1

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice, and be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor. ... Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters, according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, (lest ye be unguarded, and be disrespectful of authority.) In singleness of heart, as unto Christ; not with eye service, as men pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will [of God] from the heart,” working from principle and not from selfish motives or impulse. “With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.” [Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:1, 2; 6:5-9.] These words of inspiration are to be studied and obeyed. They cannot be ignored nor disregarded, nor treated with indifference. It is the doers of the Word that are to receive the reward. 9LtMs, Lt 65, 1894, par. 2

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” [Verses 10, 11.] O how eagerly would Satan spring forward to exercise his hellish attributes, to stir up human minds to commit sin, and to become an offence to God. If he could do this, then he would claim it as his right to cause great affliction to come upon the passengers and crew, and were he not restrained, he would destroy the servants of God, and wreck the missionary ship. If the curtain could be rolled back, and we could see how perseveringly Satan works to gain possession of the minds and souls of men, there would be less trifling, less pride, less human inventions, less self-sufficiency, and every soul would walk humbly and tremblingly before God. Especially would this be the case with those who voyage upon the great deep. Although there have been many things transpiring upon the Pitcairn that were offensive to God, and although Satan worked upon the imagination of human agents to cause them to pursue a course that God would be compelled to give them up, yet the missionary vessel has been preserved upon the great deep. The working of Satan and the counterworking of God is the explanation of many things that transpired upon the ship that were inexplainable to the minds of those on board. 9LtMs, Lt 65, 1894, par. 3

Please read Matthew 16:21. “From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders, and priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savorest not of the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” [Verses 21-23.] Peter was not pleased to listen to the words of Christ, for what he said was contrary to the expectation of the Jewish nation. They had been instructed that Christ was to reign as a temporal prince on David’s throne, and break from off them the Roman yoke which brought them into subjection as a people to a nation which they despised. 9LtMs, Lt 65, 1894, par. 4

Although Christ from time to time had striven to impress their minds with the idea that His kingdom was not a temporal, earthly kingdom, but a spiritual, heavenly kingdom, they could not comprehend His teachings and really believe His words. The priests and the scribes had often declared that Christ was to come in glory. The description that applied to His second coming, they applied to His first advent, and therefore their statements were false. They gave utterance to the very suggestions of Satan. Thus it was that when Christ came as prophecy had declared He should come at His first advent, as clearly delineated in (Isaiah 53), the people were looking for a Messiah of an altogether different type. 9LtMs, Lt 65, 1894, par. 5

Those who received the words of their teachers in stead of the words of God, were misled and deluded in their expectations, and when Christ came they would not receive Him. Although the disciples themselves had been taught by the divine Teacher, they were unprepared to receive the words which they interpreted as meaning defeat and disappointment of their expectations of a temporal victory over their enemies. When Christ opened before them how He should be denied and rejected, how He should be condemned and die, Peter was stirred in his soul, and opposed any such idea. What did Jesus see? He saw that which Peter did not see. He saw that Satan had placed himself between Peter and His Saviour, and He said, “Get thee behind me Satan, Thou art an offence unto me: Thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” [Matthew 16:23.] 9LtMs, Lt 65, 1894, par. 6

Satan is ever intruding himself between the souls of men and God. He is ever seeking to make the human agent voice the suggestions of Satan rather than the words of God. This lesson in regard to Peter needs to be studied carefully. “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have thee, that he may sift thee as wheat: but I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” [Luke 22:31, 32.] 9LtMs, Lt 65, 1894, par. 7

How little did Peter understand his own weakness. He could not discern but that his spirit was all right, even when he sought to make of none effect the solemn words of Christ which opened to them a future full of sorrow and of suffering, both to him and to them. Christ saw that unless Peter was changed in spirit, he would not be able to endure the test and the trial of the Lord’s rejection, humiliation, condemnation and death. To his Master’s warning words he responded, “Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.” [Verses 33, 34.] 9LtMs, Lt 65, 1894, par. 8

We see how human nature can be deceived, how human nature can be misled, because Satan is allowed to step in between the human soul and Jesus. The word of Christ needs to be spoken with authority, “Get thee, behind me, Satan.” [Luke 4:8.] Let me come close to my servant, that he may not be overcome, that he may believe my words rather than the words of men, for what I speak is truth and righteousness. 9LtMs, Lt 65, 1894, par. 9

Please consider the words of Zechariah, “And he showed me Joshua the high priest, standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.” The very same adversary is here presented as stood between Christ and Peter. “And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee; O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee; is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.” [Zechariah 3:1-3.] 9LtMs, Lt 65, 1894, par. 10

Satan was charging the people of God with all his attributes, and presenting before them the sins he had instigated them to commit. Satan clothed their characters with his own filthy garments of sin, and nothing was lost in his reckoning of their misdeeds, but these souls who were represented as wearing the black robes of Satan’s weaving in his hellish loom were not as appropriate representation, for they had repented of their transgressions. 9LtMs, Lt 65, 1894, par. 11

The Lord who searcheth the hearts and understandeth the imaginations of the thoughts had set their sins before them, and had given them the promise, “If thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him he will cast thee off forever.” [1 Chronicles 28:9.] The Lord, the everlasting God, is ever present to observe, inspect, and examine all things. The hearts of all are read as an open book. “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth.” [2 Chronicles 16:9.] God’s people, rescued from the fire by Jesus Christ, have a sense of their sins, [and] feel humbled and ashamed. 9LtMs, Lt 65, 1894, par. 12

God sees and recognizes their repentance, and notes their sorrow for sin which they cannot remove or cancel themselves; but as they pray their prayers are heard, and this is the reason that Satan stands by to resist Christ; because he hears their prayers, he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God He regenerates the sinner, and pardon is written off against his name. This stirs Satan up to resistance. He steps in between the repenting, believing soul and Christ. He seeks to cast his hellish shadow before that soul, to dampen faith, and to make of none effect the words of God. He says, “Get thee behind me Satan, let my light and my righteousness shine into his heart.” 9LtMs, Lt 65, 1894, par. 13

If Satan stands between the soul and Jesus Christ, then the love and acceptance and pardon of Christ is eclipsed. Man will be constantly striving to prepare a robe of righteousness to cover his deformity and sin, when Christ wants him to come to Him just as he is, and believe in Him as His personal Saviour. In his tender love a forgiving Father brings forth His best robe in which to array His returning child. 9LtMs, Lt 65, 1894, par. 14

“Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, (that is, the angels that do his bidding,) saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment, and I said, Let them set a fair miter upon his head, and they clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by.” Joshua represents all of God’s people who repent and believe, and accept of Christ as their sin-pardoning Saviour. “And the angel of the Lord protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shall also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.” [Zechariah 3:3-7.] 9LtMs, Lt 65, 1894, par. 15

Will you please study the things I present before you? Will you consider that Satan is a vigilant, untiring foe, and he sleeps not. He knows that his time is short, and he will work until the end with every species of deception to draw souls into his snare and ruin them. I have a message for you, “Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.” [Mark 14:38.] Give no place to the devil to stand between you and Christ, lest you savor of the things that be of men and not of God. If your faith is genuine, it must and will produce obedience. God commands us to do nothing which we cannot do. He will give strength to every believing, trusting soul. Keep Christ with you in the vessel, and you will be safe. The ship may be tossed on the white-capped billows ever so fiercely, the restless sea may heave and the waves roll beneath her, yet Jesus is on board. 9LtMs, Lt 65, 1894, par. 16

You are a crew on the missionary ship. Very many men, women, and children have invested their mites, and offered their prayers for the safety of this ship as she rides upon the treacherous ocean. You need Jesus with you every moment. The vessel that rides upon the waters on this missionary enterprise may be a floating Bethel. The Captain, Brother Christiansen, has a large responsibility upon him. Let every one on board pray for him in faith that he may have the special guardianship of heavenly angels, and an abiding Christ in his soul. Cherish the love of Jesus in the heart, respect each other; for Christ has given His love for you. Every soul is precious in the sight of God. It is a wonderful thing to be remembered and cared for every hour by God. If we should be left alone to ourselves, what a terrible alone it would be. 9LtMs, Lt 65, 1894, par. 17

Satan would immediately take us up and force his terrible companionship upon us. Oh, let us seek every day to obtain a deeper experience, cultivating the love of Jesus. Let everyone on the vessel realize that he is under the protection of God. Christ said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.” [Ephesians 6:12, 13.] 9LtMs, Lt 65, 1894, par. 18

When you meet with unreasonable demands, and unreasonable requirements, bear in mind that those who command you are not working as agents of God, but agents of Satan, through whom he is working. Let your effort be to say or do anything that will help the tempted soul to resist the devil. This is the truest missionary work. Let every one heed the command of the chief Commander, “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breast plate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching there unto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” [Verses 14-18.] Read the 6th chapter of Ephesians with prayerful interest, and may the Lord apply it to your souls with power. 9LtMs, Lt 65, 1894, par. 19

We need much more of the presence and power of God, and it is waiting our demand upon it. Cultivate faith and fervency in prayer. The Lord Jesus loves us, and pleads for us. His Holy Spirit works with in us. When trials come, utter no word of complaint. Let not a murmuring thought enter the soul. Jesus, the precious Saviour, loves us with a love that is infinite. O talk of Jesus, meditate upon Jesus and by beholding Him, we shall become changed into His character. We shall not cease to pray that the blessing of God may rest upon you. 9LtMs, Lt 65, 1894, par. 20