Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Ms 32, 1894

Meeting at Seven Hills

Granville, New South Wales, Australia

July 29, 1894

Portions of this manuscript are published in TDG 219; OHC 168; 4BC 1183; 9MR 91-92; CTr 187; RH 09/10/1895.

Sabbath July 28 Brother Corliss was appointed to go to Seven Hills to meet with a little church in that place. Brother Hickox had left this company to go to Queensland to unite with Brother Starr in beginning the work there. For one week I had been quite ill from exhaustion and heart affection and decided not to attend meeting. It was necessary that we provide some way of conveyance for Brother Corliss, and as I felt sure that the more I could be in the open air the better it would be for me, I decided to take the journey with him. Sister Campbell accompanied me. The meeting was held in a small private house, and as the room was well filled, I did not venture to remain indoors, so I sat in my carriage until Brother Corliss had finished his labors. He did not sermonize, but gave a Bible reading which interested the little flock. The people were called upon to read passages of Scripture, and thus they were instructed in the Word of God. 9LtMs, Ms 32, 1894, par. 1

After Brother Corliss had concluded his reading, I went into the house and spoke a short time, and the Lord strengthened and blessed me in presenting the all-sufficiency of our Saviour, in dwelling upon His readiness and willingness to bless those who would seek Him with all the heart. I sought to impress upon the mind the necessity of constant, vigilant watchfulness and unceasing prayer. We need to watch the signs of the times, for unless we are continually on guard, the enemy will steal a march upon us. There is no need of our being discouraged, for the heart is to be the dwelling place for Jesus. But we are to keep the “heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” [Proverbs 4:23.] 9LtMs, Ms 32, 1894, par. 2

We have been taken as rough stones out of the quarry of the world by the cleaver of truth and placed in the workshop of God. He who has genuine faith in Christ as his personal Saviour will find that the truth accomplishes a definite work for him. His faith is a working faith, and faith works by love and purifies the soul. The Lord Jesus has paid the ransom money for us; He has given His own life in order that those who believe on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Those who receive the truth by faith will bear testimony to the quality of the faith they exercise. They will continually make improvements, looking unto Jesus who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. We cannot create our faith, but we can be co-laborers with Christ in promoting the growth and triumph of faith. 9LtMs, Ms 32, 1894, par. 3

The Lord does not desire us to be sad and disconsolate. Jesus says, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” [John 15:9-12.] If we ask Him, the Lord will give us the Holy Spirit to cleanse the habitation of the soul, for every room of the temple of God must be entered and purified. We need to compare our life and character with the great moral standard—the ten commandments. We have enlisted in the service of Jesus Christ, and under the banner of the Prince of Life, we are to exercise every spiritual and physical power. 9LtMs, Ms 32, 1894, par. 4

The work of Christ in the heart does not destroy man’s powers. Christ directs, strengthens, ennobles, and sanctifies the faculties of the soul. It is through personal acquaintance with Him that we become qualified to represent His character to the world. John says, “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” And again, “Of his fullness have we all received, and grace for grace.” [John 1:12, 16.] Christ is to be represented in the home circle. Fathers and mothers bear a weighty responsibility; for they will be held accountable for giving correct lessons to their children. They are to speak kindly to them, to be patient with them, to watch unto prayer, praying the Lord to mold and fashion the hearts of the children. 9LtMs, Ms 32, 1894, par. 5

But while asking God to mold and fashion the characters of the children, let mothers and fathers act their part, presenting to their offspring a living representation of the divine Pattern. God will not accept haphazard work at your hands. Your children are God’s heritage, and heavenly angels are watching to see that both parents and children are co-laborers with God in building up character after the divine model. “Blessed is he whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching.” [Luke 12:37.] 9LtMs, Ms 32, 1894, par. 6

As I spoke, the melting Spirit of the Lord was in the midst of us. We then had a social meeting. This was a new exercise to those who had newly come to the faith, but Elder Corliss called upon one after another to be witnesses for the Lord Jesus until all but one of the believers bore testimony. Although the social meeting is a new thing, yet they are learning in the school of Christ and are overcoming fear and trembling. We keep before them the fact that the social meeting will be the best meeting in which they may be trained and educated to be witnesses for Christ. 9LtMs, Ms 32, 1894, par. 7

There are some excellent lessons in the book of Malachi for those who profess to be the followers of Christ. Two classes of witnesses are presented in the prophet’s words. Of the first class it is written, “Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinances and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?” [Malachi 3:13, 14.] These words describe those who ought to have better represented the precious truth, who ought to have been an example to those newly come to the faith. For all who follow Him the Lord has prepared a rich feast of heavenly things. He has ordained that those who follow Him shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life, and walk in the light as He is in the light, for in Him is no darkness at all. The Lord does not call upon His believing, obedient followers to cover the altar with tears, but to walk cheerfully and happily along. But what complainings are represented by Malachi! These witnesses say, “It is vain to serve God.” What kind of a testimony do they give to the world? They continue, “And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.” [Verse 15.] When anyone who loves and fears God hears men making a similar complaint, let him not respond in giving a testimony against our good and gracious heavenly Father. Malachi turns away from the dark picture which Satan presents to these professed followers of Jesus Christ, for it is a libel on the paternal character of God. Satan has framed this picture for the contemplation of poor, unbelieving, mourning souls, and they have hung it up in memory’s hall where they can gaze upon it. But the Lord has presented another picture for the contemplation of every believer. “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and thought upon his name.” [Verse 16.] 9LtMs, Ms 32, 1894, par. 8

Do the believers who meet in their small assemblies in humble churches or in private houses often look upon this picture framed by the Lord of hosts? Do they hang it in memory’s hall, and contemplate it with hope and joy and courage? What a hope-inspiring picture is this where the Lord is represented as bending down and hearkening to the testimonies borne by His witnesses! What inspiration it should give us to consider the fact that all the heavenly universe is represented as listening with pleasure to the words that are spoken exalting the name of God in the earth. They may not be words of oratory and they are not words that express doubt, unbelief and complaint; for such words do not honor the Redeemer. 9LtMs, Ms 32, 1894, par. 9

The words to which God and the angels listen with delight are words of appreciation for the great Gift that has been made to the world in the only begotten Son of God. Every word of praise for the blessing of the light of truth which has come in messages of warning, and which has dispelled the darkness of error, is written in the heavenly records. Every word that acknowledges the merciful kindness of our heavenly Father in giving Jesus to take away our sins, and to impute to us His righteousness, is recorded in the book of His remembrance. Testimonies of this kind “show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.” [1 Peter 2:9.] Of such witnesses the Lord says, “And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” [Malachi 3:17.] 9LtMs, Ms 32, 1894, par. 10

The fact that the Lord has been represented as hearkening to the words spoken by His witnesses tells us that Jesus is in the very midst of us. He says, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst.” [Matthew 18:20.] One person is not to do all the witnessing for Jesus, but everyone who loves God is to testify of the preciousness of His grace and truth. Those who receive the light of truth are to have lesson upon lesson to educate them not to keep silent, but to speak often one to another. They are to keep in mind the Sabbath meeting, when those who love and fear God, and who think upon His name, can have opportunity to express their thoughts in speaking one to another. 9LtMs, Ms 32, 1894, par. 11

Let not the little companies think that they can have no meeting when they have no minister. Let them not think that one of their members must stand in the pulpit and preach to them. The time and season are very precious. The assembled believers are in the audience chamber of the universe of heaven. They are to witness for God and the Lord Jesus Christ who gave His life for the world. The little company are to do service to God by offering to Him spiritual worship. When there is no delegated minister to speak to the little companies, let each one witness to the truth and be faithful to speak often one to another of the love of God and thus train and educate the soul. Let each one seek to become an intelligent Christian bearing his responsibility and acting his personal part to make the meeting interesting and profitable. 9LtMs, Ms 32, 1894, par. 12

The world is not to hold the highest place in our esteem. God desires that we so train the intellect and the affections that we shall be able to render to Him pure and holy service. We are to seek for precious jewels of truth as for hidden treasure. We are to have light, that we may diffuse light to others. Those who do this will be among that company who think upon the name of the Lord, and who speak often one to another. They will study the character of God, and will become acquainted with their Redeemer. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:3.] Let the character of God be the theme of your thought, for the Lord Jesus calls the attention of His church to Himself, and would have His people think upon His name and impart the knowledge they receive of Him to those who are around them. 9LtMs, Ms 32, 1894, par. 13

I looked upon the little company who were newly come to the faith, and I said, “My interests are identified with the interests of these precious souls. What possibilities and probabilities are before them! What deep and grave importance is attached to these little assemblies!” Jesus Christ has paid the ransom money of His own blood for their souls, and He is in the midst of them when they meet to worship God. The Majesty of heaven identifies His interests with those of the believers, however humble may be their circumstances, and wherever they are privileged to meet together. It is appropriate that they speak often one to another, giving utterance to the gratitude and love that results from thinking upon the name of the Lord. Thus shall God be glorified as He hearkens and hears, and the testimony meeting will be regarded the most precious of all meetings, for the words spoken are recorded in the book of remembrance. 9LtMs, Ms 32, 1894, par. 14

The Lord calls the attention of His people to the world above, which has been lost from view, and brings it again within the range of our vision. He presents before us the privilege of being taught by the greatest Teacher the world ever knew. As we open our Bibles, seeking to know the meaning of the Word of God, and asking, What is truth? the Spirit of truth is pledged to take of the things of Christ and show them unto us. Every moment of life is to be weeded of vanity, and to be as a seed that will bear eternal fruit, for our entrusted talents are to be used and increased by use in order that we may bring glory to God. Thus in the social meeting let no one fail to improve his opportunity to testify to the praise of the Lord, for failing to take up this duty, he fails to obtain the experience that the Lord would have him [obtain]. 9LtMs, Ms 32, 1894, par. 15

Let all remember that the Lord is hearkening, and that angels are recording in the book of remembrance every word that vindicates the character and mission of Christ. Of those who testify of the love of God, the Lord says, “They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” [Malachi 3:17.] 9LtMs, Ms 32, 1894, par. 16

Those who speak of the goodness of God, who talk of the plan of salvation, who relate their personal experiences, who speak often one to another, are serving God in His own ordained way, and are honoring their Redeemer. And He says that such shall be honored even as a father honors a son who is faithful and affectionate. Let every one consider the value of the social meetings, and let not large or small companies of believers think that they cannot have an enjoyable season unless they are entertained by a preacher. Where this dependency on the minister exists, the people fail to obtain that vigorous religious experience which they so much need wherever their lot may be cast. If the minister alone does all the witnessing, then those who have newly come to the faith become dwarfed and sickly for lack of opportunity to use their spiritual muscle. They have need to learn how to testify, how to pray, how to sing to the glory of God; but failing to do this they have only a one-sided experience. 9LtMs, Ms 32, 1894, par. 17

The children of God are to grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. They are to be faithful in their service to God. They are to learn the trade of being spiritual worshipers of God, and it is only by practice that we may learn to speak and pray to the edification of those who listen. Let us remember that angels are in the assembly of the saints. Christ is in the midst to impress the mind with spiritual truths. The humblest believer who may regard his talent as of little value will find that by exercise of his powers his talents will increase, and using the mites, he may gain pounds by trading with his abilities for the glory of God. Consecrate to God your mental, spiritual, and physical powers, and they will grow as they are used in the service of the Master. 9LtMs, Ms 32, 1894, par. 18

Let each precious soul divest himself of the idea that the preacher of the gospel must always be in the sacred desk to sermonize, or the meeting will not be beneficial. Our meetings should take more of the form of training classes to teach the young convert what it is to do service in the house of God. Every effort made by the believers to glorify God, every comforting thought expressed, strengthens the soul of the speaker, and results in the benefit of those who listen. 9LtMs, Ms 32, 1894, par. 19

After the meeting closed at Seven Hills, I asked the sister who did not testify, why it was that she had been silent. She answered, “O, I could not speak.” I said, “It cannot be possible that you had nothing to say.” I tried to present to her encouragements. I said, “In all your necessities you have a Helper. Put your trust in Jesus.” She said, “I do. Jesus is precious to me. He does help me. His goodness is great toward me, and His grace strengthens me.” The tears were raining down her face. “Well, my sister,” I said, “You have borne a most precious testimony, but why were you not the Lord’s witness in the meeting?” She said, “I will be, the next time.” After these words between us, I felt that my heart was linked to her heart by the golden chain of love which was centered to Jesus, our common Saviour, the object of our soul’s affection. In Him our hopes of eternal life were centered. 9LtMs, Ms 32, 1894, par. 20

In these small gatherings the Lord will use His human agents if they will surrender all to Him, and the soul will gain spiritual strength. I greatly desire that every individual child of God will realize that he is a laborer together with God. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. The Holy Spirit will take the passions of the heart and bring them into subjection to Jesus Christ. 9LtMs, Ms 32, 1894, par. 21