Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9

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Lt 22, 1894

Eldridge, C.

Norfolk Villa, Prospect St., Granville, New South Wales, Australia

August 12, 1894

Portions of this letter are published in 3MR 302; 9MR 371; 10MR 389-390. +Note

Dear Brother,

I received your letter yesterday, and was very glad to hear from you. Your words give me much relief of mind because I know that the Holy Spirit is striving with you. “Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” [Hebrews 12:6.] In the press of a multiplicity of responsibilities, we frequently fail to devote a period of time each day to meditation and prayer, when we can closely, critically examine the motives which prompt us to action. We often fail to seek God at the very time when we need divine wisdom in order that we may be braced for duty, and fortified for trial. Thus we are led to walk in self-confidence, not realizing the necessity of being kept by the power of God moment by moment, lest the enemy steal a march upon us. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 1

Those who are called upon to be leaders in the cause of God must realize the positive necessity of being led themselves. Christ says, “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” [John 8:12.] The truth for our time must transform the character. It is when the heart is wholly surrendered to God, that we learn both its waywardness, and how effectual is the grace of God to bring it into subjection, that the character may be fashioned after the divine similitude. If the truth is planted in the heart by the Spirit of God, it will be revealed in the life, and its beauty will be apparent in the character. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 2

I had not learned until I read your letter that you had suffered a severe illness. I know what it is to suffer, and my heart sympathizes with you. It would be a calamity for both time and eternity should you give up your mind to devotion to earthly pursuits, and make God and heaven a secondary matter. Better far would be the cross, the disappointment, the shattered earthly prospect, the neglect of friends, the disapproval of the world, than to sit with princes, and lose heaven. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 3

The greatest riches this world can bestow would only leave us wretched, hopeless, and miserable in the estimation of God. From the light given me of God, I know the prince of this world, the father of lies, has taken possession of many lines in business, and manipulates many matters in harmony with his own attributes; and even those who suppose that they are serving God are infatuated and deluded by his policy. They speak lies, they practice deception, and conscience strives in vain to make her voice heard. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 4

One passion after another, one project after another, sways the heart and expels the Holy Spirit from the soul. The love of the world is permitted to come in and take possession of, and rule, the heart; but the Lord Jesus would have us, as rational creatures, place a right estimate upon eternal things, so as not to lose eternity out of our reckoning. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 5

My brother, let me tell you, if you and my nephew, Frank Belden, had been willing to gratefully accept the counsels of God, you could have been used to His name’s glory. But refusing to come under the discipline of the Holy Spirit, the Lord could not permit you to continue your connection with His work; for you would both have given the work a wrong mold. I was much relieved when I knew that you had both disconnected yourselves from the office by your own action. This was of the Lord. You did not adopt a course of action in managing the affairs of the office that God could approve. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 6

Words were spoken by you, actions were performed, and arrangements were sanctioned in the departments of business which were not in accordance with Bible principles. It is true that they would pass current with the world; but the world’s standard is to be no criterion for those who are the elect of God, who are chosen to do a special work after God’s order. There were threads of selfishness running through the business lines, that God could not approve of, or place His superscription upon, and the same threads of selfishness are apparent still in the management of the office. Selfishness will die in the management of the office just as soon as every managing agent is fashioned and molded after the similitude of Christ. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 7

Christ is to be represented in every business transaction throughout every department of that office, for it is God’s great instrumentality for conveying the light of heaven to the world. There can be no double dealing permitted, no confederacies formed to cloak a wrong. There must not be a particle of injustice done to one man by his fellow man for the purpose of enriching or benefitting the cause of God. God will not serve with the sins of those who handle sacred things. The Lord has no gentle name to apply to any shade of deception. There has been oppression practiced by men in high position. Those who should have had tender regard and sympathy for the erring, who should have spoken kindly words even to those who made mistakes in some things, failed to do this. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 8

Those who needed help often did not receive the courtesy, the regard, the help which they needed. So unprincipled a thing as receiving large wages should never have been carried into action in the office. Selfishness has tarnished the publishing institution, and spots dark and forbidding have been made upon the cause of God because of the perverse spirit that animated some who were in responsible positions. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 9

Those who are called of God should be in touch with God, in order that they may have fine, keen, clear perceptions of what constitutes equity in judgment. Men in responsible positions should remember that the ten commandments are to be practiced in every line of work lest the cause of truth shall bear the imperfections of the mold of man and God be dishonored and stumbling blocks be laid before the precious souls, over which they will stumble to their ruin. The followers of Christ must watch, pray, and work, having the eye single to the glory of God, knowing that they are working in the sight of the universe of heaven. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 10

Men have made the cause of God an excuse for allowing oppression and suffering to come to souls. The cause of God must be represented by men whose hearts are as tender, pure, true, and compassionate as is the heart of Christ. Those who handle the sacred work in Christ’s stead must have a pure heart and clean hands. They must adopt Christ’s maxims, for if they fail to do so, they will be deceived, betray Christ and dishonor the truth of God. Men have cherished an ambition to be considered keen and sharp in working for the financial interest of the Review and Herald office. They have not considered that they must love God supremely and their neighbors as themselves, but have permitted business to crowd out love. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 11

“Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” [Revelation 3:4, 5.] “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments,” is a correct description of the moral atmosphere of the publishing house. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 12

“And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write: These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” [Verses 1-3.] These statements of the True Witness have for years been applicable to the Review and Herald office. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 13

If the love of Jesus had been a living, acting influence in the Review and Herald office, how different would have been the record in the books of heaven. Had those who were in responsible positions cultivated the love of Christ, that love would have had a controlling influence over human nature, and the actions of men would have been brought into conformity to the will of Christ. The affections would have been sanctified, and the workers would have been led to exercise the love of Christ not to a few only, but to all who were needy. It is an easy matter to show respect, to manifest sympathy for one who we think is deserving; but to act out the principles of love and compassion revealed in the life of Christ, to manifest sympathy toward the erring, to reach a helping hand to the needy who do not seem deserving, is not so easy. This work cannot be done suddenly by those who professedly keep the commandments of God, while they do not practice them from the heart. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 14

God will work for you if you will only consent to the operation of His Holy Spirit. I feel sorry that so large a number desire to work the Holy Spirit, in place of permitting the Holy Spirit to work in molding and fashioning them. I have often heard from your lips the expression, “You know I have not an experience.” God has given you an experience. I have more faith today that you will be an overcomer than I have ever had before, for the Lord is working with you, and through trials you are learning what it means to trust in God. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 15

I read this incident, “At the battle of Alma when one of the regiments was being beaten back by the hoards of Russia, the ensign in front stood his ground as the troops retreated. The captain shouted to him to bring back the colors but the reply of the ensign was, ‘Bring up the men to the colors.’” This is the work that devolves upon every faithful standard bearer, to bring up the men to the colors. The Lord calls for wholeheartedness. We all know that the sin of many professed followers of Christ is that they lack the courage and the energy to bring themselves and those connected with them up to the standard. However urgent may be the message coming from the Lord, they fail to act up to its requirements. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 16

I have faith to believe you will not stop at the halfway house, but will follow on to know the Lord, that you may know His goings forth are prepared as the morning. The Lord loves us, and all He asks is that you respond to His love. He is goodness and truth, and we have need to call upon our soul and all that is within us to bless the Lord and praise His holy name. The Lord is good and does not willingly grieve or afflict the children of men, yet we are admonished to “think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you.” [1 Peter 4:12.] 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 17

The blacksmith puts the iron and steel into the fire to test them, that he [may] know what manner of metal they are. The Lord allows His chosen ones to be placed in the furnace of affliction in order that He may see what temper they are of, and whether He can use them and mold and fashion them for His work. “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor [and] glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” [1 Peter 1:7.] 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 18

You did not know how to be tender hearted and pitiful to the very ones who needed your compassion. The Lord saw that yourself, Frank Belden, and others must learn this lesson of compassion, and you are now placed in the training, educating school to learn the lesson that has not been agreeable to you to practice. God saw that it was impossible for you to have the tenderness of Christ, to be pitiful and courteous, until you should yourself be placed in trying circumstances, in order that you might sympathize with those who needed your attention, in kind words and tangible help. They have not received this in the past. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 19

God saw that you could not become qualified to work the works of Christ, manifesting tenderness to all, exerting a thorough Christlike influence, until you were melted over, until every fiber of the root of selfishness was extracted from your life and character. He has permitted the furnace fires to kindle upon you, because He loved you and would mold you through fiery trials into the image of Christ. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 20

I have sought to present before you the principles which should mold the actions of those who bear responsibilities in His cause. There was much dross, much chaff, to be separated from your spirit and character before your course of action could represent the character and work of Jesus Christ. Everything you did was deeply corroded with selfishness, and your influence and that of Brother Frank Belden was of a character to mar the experience of all those who looked to you for an example. Neither of you realized the necessity of attaining to a high experience in divine things so that at all times and under all circumstances you might “keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment” [Genesis 18:19], mingling with your exercise of justice the mercy, the love, the goodness, the long forbearance and tenderness of Christ. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 21

When a sufficient time for test and trial had been given you, and you failed to make a wise use of your capabilities and talents to glorify God, I was shown that He would separate you from His work. But I feel so grateful to God that He has been trying you with His refining fire, for without His discipline, you would not be fitted for any branch of the work. I feel the tenderest heartfelt sympathy for you, my brother, and for my nephew Frank Belden. God has entrusted to him special <valuable> capabilities and talents; but his self-esteem, his independence, his self-confidence, has led him to rely upon himself instead of the Lord God of Israel. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 22

O, how poor we are in ourselves, and how rich we might be in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is light and love and power, and God wishes to endow us with the Holy Spirit. Christ desires to make us channels through which His grace and righteousness shall flow in a rich, full current of life and blessing, of peace and joy to refresh the souls of others. The command is given to us, “Bear ye one another’s burdens.” [Galatians 6:2.] “Pray one for another that ye may be healed” [James 5:16], have a heart that is softened by the Holy Spirit, which will make us kind and tender to, and thoughtful, one of another. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 23

We are to be forgiving one to another and to be to each other in all our intercourse and connection all that we possibly can be. We are to be to others, as far as we are capable, what Jesus was to His disciples when He walked with them and talked with [them] on earth. I know that you will have trials. The very condition of things which your own course of action created in the office through your failure to learn in the school of Christ, through your lack of experience in divine things will react upon yourself. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 24

Had you been filled with tender regard for every soul who needed your help, had you put forth painstaking effort to inspire the erring with hope and faith, had you practiced self-denial, and manifested the love of Jesus, which is positively necessary for all in positions of truth to manifest, your experience would have been of a different character. The Lord has no pleasure in the work of those who do not represent Christ, and after opening before them their defects of character, after bearing long with their mistakes, He will remove them from the work, and test and try others. For even in this life Christ is judge of all the earth and measures characters by the divine standard. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 25

Those who delight in the law of God are not under the law; for the law of God is an instrument of strength to them, a wall of protection, a refuge for guardianship, and does not bring condemnation; for to those who are in harmony with it, it is holy, just, and good. They can declare that “the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” [Psalm 19:7.] 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 26

In every institution the chaff and the wheat are mingled in an indistinguishable manner. But when some crisis comes, when test and trial passes over the people, those who are symbolized by chaff are driven away; but those who are represented by wheat remain. When God takes us in hand He will accomplish His purpose for our good. Though our past course may not have been in harmony with the way of the Lord, though our paths have been turned aside from the ways of God, yet if we will cling to Him He will change our course so that we shall keep the way of the Lord. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 27

In your board and council meetings when self and self-importance was the main spring of action, there was a vast amount of imaginings expressed, many things were said, and much talking done, and angels stood by, veiling their faces and turning away. What was needed in those meetings was the heart of Christ. Some were filled with an ambition to have a telling influence upon the world, and their manner and spirit of working were such that Christ, the center of all power, was largely expelled, as one for whom they had not particular use. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 28

Sanctified activity has an effectual influence, for it is a force that molds after heaven’s order. But the love of Jesus must pervade the hearts of those who would serve Him. Love is born of God. The managers of the institution at Battle Creek have for years been striving to make the progressive work of the institution all absorbing, the beginning and ending of everything. In this lust for power they have been walking in the sparks of their own kindling, and not in the light of the message from the throne of God. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 29

All plans for reform, all activity, must be under the authority and supervision of God. Unless the fruit of Christian character appears, we can trust no man’s mind and no man’s judgment. The right temper of soul must be cultivated; we must become Christlike in character, partakers of the divine nature, having overcome the corruptions that are in the world through lust. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 30

Selfish ambition is not the fruit that grows upon the Christian tree, which is for the healing of the nations. Christlike propositions will not bear the semblence of selfishness. Those who are workers together with God with one hand lay hold of needy, sinful, helpless, fallen humanity, and with the other they grasp the throne of God, and lift, and build men up in the most holy faith. They manifest a perseverance that will not be defeated or discouraged by failure. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 31

The work of saving souls will not be successful if carried on simply by men’s finite methods. Let God work. Yes, let God work by His own conditions and plans and ways, and let men wonder and admire. The branch grafted into the vine will flourish and bear fruit to the glory of God, because the vital forces flow from the living vine to the branch. Christian religion is today on trial for its life; but it will not live through the multiplicity of men’s plans in turning things upside down, but through the life giving properties that are in Jesus Christ. “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” [James 4:8.] 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 32

The universe of heaven is calling upon us, the world is calling upon us, to give a reason of the hope that is within us. We shall not do this by originating many plans in our human wisdom, but by unselfishness, by self-denial, by being full of grace and truth, <by accepting God’s plans and living by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.> We are in great danger of losing Christ, the vital essence of the message. We shall not work the works of God because of possessing <excellent> talents or having great knowledge; far more than mortal ability must be brought in to the devising of successful plans. In their supposed human wisdom, men may turn and overturn, and yet not cure existing, discouraging evils. While professing to preach Christ we are in sore danger of losing the spirit of Christ because of neglecting to practice His words <and His works,> which is called eating His flesh and drinking His blood. We need more of Christ’s love in our life to transform our characters. It is a vitalizing current from Jesus. 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 33

I write with pain of heart that the love of God is very feebly represented among us. God Himself is not in our assemblies because the cold iron of self remains unmelted. We know little of the midnight struggles of Jacob in surrendering all <of his self> to God, and exercising conquering faith in God. The religion of Christ is well nigh choked out of many of the hearts of those who stand in positions of responsibility, and they are putting their own ideas and their own works before the words and works of their professed Master. The woes of God’s creatures are passed by as unworthy of their attention. “Ye will not come unto me,” says Christ, “that ye might have life.” [John 5:40.] 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 34

What can sweep away the delusions that now exist among professed Christians? Men are making painstaking efforts to see Jerusalem; they are digging in the earth for hidden cities, and to find inscriptions which the Lord has seen fit to bury with the corrupted, defiled inhabitants; but the Lord has not laid it upon man to search out these mysteries. “We cannot find out God by searching,” by seeking to understand mysterious problems. [See Job 11:7.] Jesus came from heaven to reveal God. He came to represent the Father. The time, the strength, the money expended in searching out these old, buried up inscriptions, will not bring a greater knowledge than that which Christ has brought to our world. His prayer to His Father is, (and I would that you would listen as for your life,) “and this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent.” [John 17:3.] 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 35

Union with Christ is a union with God through Christ. There is a life in the soul of every one who has formed this mystical, spiritual union with Christ that never fades or fails. We need an abiding Christ, yet many comprehend it not, and the world doubts whether we have the truth or any divine message from God. They judge us by the fruit we bear, <unsanctified ambition.> Through self-love, through self-indulgence, the love of Christ is extinguished from the heart. But let us weave Christ into our plans, and let self have far less importance. Let the voices that have been heard so frequently in your councils be heard less frequently, and let Christ, the light, the truth, the way, preside in your midst as your counsellor. <Then shall the truth triumph.> 9LtMs, Lt 22, 1894, par. 36