Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Lt 12, 1894

Cornell, Sister

Per Ardua, Williams St., Granville, New South Wales, Australia

May 10, 1894

Portions of this letter are published in 2SM 48-49.

Dear Sister Cornell:

I received your letter in last month’s mail, and I thank you for writing. I thought we should have finished our work here, and should have been in America, before this time; but here we are, and here we are likely to remain until the work shall be placed upon a solid basis. I am sorry that Willie cannot see his children and be with the dear little ones, but so it must be. And we must say, the will of the Lord be done. If the Lord requires our presence here, it is because his cause is to be advanced and souls brought to the knowledge of the truth. 9LtMs, Lt 12, 1894, par. 1

The lack of laborers and of money to use in entering our cities and lifting the standard of truth is our great drawback. Queensland has not yet had the living preacher. The publications, books, and pamphlets have done a good work; in one place there are thirty person keeping the Sabbath; in other localities there are scattered ones. Now these scattered sheep, having not the watchcare of the undershepherd, need the instruction of the living preacher, that they may learn the way of the Lord more perfectly. Elder Starr hopes to visit them shortly, but money has been so scarce for a time back that the treasury is empty. 9LtMs, Lt 12, 1894, par. 2

Never did I feel the great sinfulness of selfish indulgence as at the present time. My heart aches as I go into houses, and the first thing my eyes rest upon are photographs, multiplying the faces of the owners themselves, and of relatives and ministers and friends. If all the money that has been expended in this species of idolatry had flowed in the treasury of God, how many missionaries might be sustained in visiting the “regions beyond.” [2 Corinthians 10:16.] 9LtMs, Lt 12, 1894, par. 3

The words of Christ mean very much to each one of us; but we are not practical doers of His words. “He that will come after me,” says Jesus, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” [Luke 9:23.] “And he that taketh not his cross and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” [Matthew 10:38.] We must follow closely in the footsteps of Christ, then we shall be wholly the Lord’s; soul, body, and spirit will be devoted to doing the works of Christ. Time is short, very short; the end is near. But we are not to be content to remain in idle expectancy, neither should we be practicing selfish indulgence. We want to lay up our treasures in heaven. The time now devoted to fashioning and admiring the little nothings that please the taste should be wholly given to God in labor for our fellow men for whom Christ has given His life. He died for them that through His death they might live. Through faith in Him, not one need perish; all may have everlasting life. 9LtMs, Lt 12, 1894, par. 4

I am so glad of this, and I sincerely hope that all who name the precious name of Christ may be sincere, practical doers of His Word, else they will certainly be numbered with the unbelievers. The Lord will have the whole heart service or nothing. There are so many who profess to be Christians, but who are such in name only. If they should see their name’s written in the books of heaven, they would see also written there, “Wanting,”—weighed in the golden scales of heaven, and found wanting. [Daniel 5:27.] 9LtMs, Lt 12, 1894, par. 5

As Seventh-day Adventists we are ever to bear in mind that we are Christian reformers, and that every effort made to advance the light of truth will be resisted and opposed by the synagogue of Satan. As Christ has His church, composed of the believers in His name in the world, so also Satan has his church, all the human agents who reveal themselves to be children of darkness, children of the wicked one. They oppose the truth; satanic agencies inspire evil men to resist the truth. The first chapter of Colossians is full of instruction to reformers. We wish all who love present truth to make a practical application of the Word of God contained in this chapter. 9LtMs, Lt 12, 1894, par. 6

In (verses 9-14) are presented the reforms called for, and the sure result of accepting the truth, present truth. In this chapter is presented to us the true work of reform. See verses 21-23. The acceptance of the truth in genuine faith does not degrade the receiver, but is ever lifting him up, refining his taste, sanctifying his judgment, elevating and ennobling his character, fitting him for the companionship of angels and of Christ and the Father. The truth received into the heart is opening the door to Jesus, who is the light and the life. Verses 25-29. 9LtMs, Lt 12, 1894, par. 7

There are so-called reforms which are made to serve as a half-way house in the passage to heaven. Many persons are willing to reform in some degree, but when they see that the reformation which the Bible requires is a thorough conversion and transformation, they stop in the half-way house. They say, “I must keep in connection with the world. Should I become a Seventh-day Adventist, I should be removed from the positions of trust that give me influence with the world.” But while they refuse to walk in the light while they have the light, how far will they be able to lead their friends, whose salvation they desire? They can bring them no farther than they themselves see the necessity of going. Then their influence leads their friends to the half-way house; it leads them to stop reforming after they have advanced a certain distance, which is assured by man’s finite judgment. All who are content to stop short of full obedience to God’s commandments will fail of everlasting life. 9LtMs, Lt 12, 1894, par. 8

The law of Jehovah is to be obeyed; it cannot in any wise change its definite distinctions of character in order to meet men in their fallen condition. God did so love the world, “that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] 9LtMs, Lt 12, 1894, par. 9

There are many who will advance in reform until they come up to the most wonderful, soul-stirring truths that can be found in the Word of God; after confronting these for a time, they turn aside from the consequences that will follow obedience. When called to stand in the hedge, to make up the breach made by the leader of rebellion against God’s law, they hesitate and question, “Is it essential? Will it pay to show myself singular in the eyes of the world? If I accept the Sabbath, I shall surely lose my position of trust.” After considering the bribe which the enemy presents, their blinded eyes discern only the sacrifice. 9LtMs, Lt 12, 1894, par. 10

Many who claim to believe have not a living, working faith, a faith that works by love and purifies the soul. They are constantly halting between two opinions, and they will be moved away from the hope of the gospel. Faith of a quality that does not lead every receiver of truth to be a doer of the Word will be a stumbling block to others. Let none cherish the idea that special providences or miraculous manifestations are to be the proof of the genuineness of their work or of the ideas they advocate. If we keep these things before the people, they will produce an evil effect, an unhealthful emotion. The genuine working of the Holy Spirit on human hearts is promised, to give efficiency through the Word. Christ has declared the Word to be spirit and life. “The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea.” [Habakkuk 2:14.] 9LtMs, Lt 12, 1894, par. 11

Satan will work in a most subtle manner to introduce human inventions clothed with angel garments. But the light from the Word is shining amid the moral darkness; and the Bible will never be superseded by miraculous manifestations. The truth must be studied, it must be searched for as hidden treasure. Wonderful illuminations will not be given aside from the Word, or to take the place of it. Cling to the Word, receive the ingrafted Word, which will make men wise unto salvation. This is the meaning of the words of Christ in regard to eating His flesh and drinking His blood. [John 6:54.] And he says, “This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:3.] 9LtMs, Lt 12, 1894, par. 12

We shall encounter false claims, false prophets will arise; there will be false dreams and false visions; but preach the Word, be not drawn away from the voice of God in His Word. Let nothing divert the mind. The wonderful, the marvelous, will be represented and presented. Through satanic delusions, wonderful miracles, the claims of human agents will be urged. Beware of this. 9LtMs, Lt 12, 1894, par. 13

Christ has given warning, so that none need accept falsehood for truth. The only channel through which the Spirit operates is that of the truth. The spirit of truth works upon the human agent to convince of sin, of righteousness, and of a judgment to come. A divine agency is constantly working upon the human agent, and here the divine agency is indispensable. God alone can impart the Holy Spirit, making it a transforming power unto the saving of the soul. Faith is termed the gift of God, and God opens the heart to receive the Word. The Holy Spirit of God produces its effect through the medium of truth. Jesus prayed for His disciples, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” [Verse 17.] 9LtMs, Lt 12, 1894, par. 14

Peter represents Christians as those who have purified their souls “in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren.” And he adds the exhortation, “See that ye love another with pure hearts fervently, being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” [1 Peter 1:22-25.] Our faith and hope are founded, not in feeling, but in God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” [John 1:1.] 9LtMs, Lt 12, 1894, par. 15

I would send a word of sympathy to Sr. Angeline Cornell. I am sorry for her affliction, but am so glad that the anchor of her hope is cast within the veil, whither the forerunner Jesus has for us entered. And the anchor holds. Praise the name of the Lord! When I read your letter, I thought what could we poor mortals do without Jesus to love us and to care for us. And when health and strength fail, “what a friend we have in Jesus, all our griefs and woes to bear; what a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer.” 9LtMs, Lt 12, 1894, par. 16

O, when friends and relatives are losing their hold on this life, what a comfort it is to know that they have a firm hold of the future, immortal life. The promises of God are never failing. Our unworthiness is abundant, but we are not to look upon that, and ponder and be distressed over it, for in so doing we shall lose faith and courage and hope. Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, “looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despised the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” [Hebrews 12:2.] 9LtMs, Lt 12, 1894, par. 17

The faithless position of many is dishonoring to God. We want a continual increase of faith. We must walk by faith, not by feeling, nor by sight. Stormy times are before us, severe tests will come, and if we have not educated and trained ourselves to serve God through faith in Christ our righteousness, we shall begin to look to our own imperfect lives, and lose all hope. We must now learn to believe in Jesus as our personal Saviour. To look unto Jesus as one who is able to save unto the uttermost, is our hope, our assurance. 9LtMs, Lt 12, 1894, par. 18

Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” [John 14:27.] The truth received into the heart sanctifies the soul. We have a faith which enables us to rest, soul, body, and spirit, in Jesus our Substitute and Surety. Good is the Lord, and greatly to be praised. We shall be tried sorely, for Satan will come in every conceivable form to distress, annoy, and delude every follower of Jesus. We must live by faith, not by feeling. We must advance step by step into a more experimental knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom He hath sent. There is need of daily, hourly communion with God. Our life, our soul, hid with Christ in God, is safe. Jesus, precious Jesus, is stronger than the strong man armed. 9LtMs, Lt 12, 1894, par. 19

We must live close to God, abiding close by His throne in prayer. If we have self-confidence, confidence in our own wisdom, then the Lord Jesus leaves us to our own weakness. We must look to Jesus and live. 9LtMs, Lt 12, 1894, par. 20

I have written to Brother Henry Kellogg in reference to the responsibility which rests upon all the followers of Christ. I have my mind upon Asa Lockwood’s children. One son, I have learned by letter, desires to find work among Sabbathkeepers, but they have no work in the office for him. I think this is strange, when the light has been shining from the Word of God in clear, distinct rays, that especial obligation and duty rests upon believers to look after the widows and the fatherless. This is the sacred legacy given to the church in Battle Creek, as a church, and to every child of God personally. It is a solemn charge that is not to be neglected, as duty to be taken up and carried as a part of the work intrusted to every soul who loves Jesus. Will you see if you can refresh minds in regard to these things? Bro. Cornell has a voice in these matters. God help him and all the workers to leave no duty undone. 9LtMs, Lt 12, 1894, par. 21

In love. 9LtMs, Lt 12, 1894, par. 22