Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9

89/315

Lt 65a, 1894

Friends on Pitcairn Island

George’s Terrace, St. Kilda Road, Melbourne, Australia

January 1, 1894

This letter is published in entirety in 2SM 269-274.

Dear Friends on Pitcairn Island:

We were made very sad last Thursday to learn of your deep affliction. Our hearts are pained to hear of the deaths of those of our beloved Bro. McCoy’s family. Our sympathies go out to all who are bereaved by this affliction. We extend our sympathy to the children and members of the family who have been thus sorely bereaved, but we would point you to Jesus as your only hope and consolation. The dear companion of our afflicted Bro. McCoy, and the mother of the bereaved children whom she loved, is silent in death. But while we weep with those who weep, we joy at heart because this loved mother and daughter, and Bro. Young, the elder of your church, and others who may have been removed by death, believed in and loved Jesus. 9LtMs, Lt 65a, 1894, par. 1

Let the words of the apostle Paul comfort you: “I would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that we sorrow not even as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord: wherefore comfort one another with these words.” [1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.] 9LtMs, Lt 65a, 1894, par. 2

We are not like the heathen who have days and nights of mourning, when nothing is heard but dismal chanting of the praises of the dead, for the purpose of arousing human sympathy. We are not to clothe ourselves with mourning clothing, and wear a mournful countenance as though our friends and relatives were for ever parted from us. John exclaims, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” [Revelation 14:12, 13.] 9LtMs, Lt 65a, 1894, par. 3

How appropriate are the words of John in the case of these loved ones who sleep in Jesus. The Lord loved them, and the words spoken by them in their life, their labors of love will be remembered, and will be repeated by others. Their earnest wholeheartedness in the work of God leaves an example for others to follow, for the Holy Spirit has worked in them to will and to do of His good pleasure. 9LtMs, Lt 65a, 1894, par. 4

“But if the spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Jesus from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His spirit that dwelleth in you.” [Romans 8:11.] O how precious are these words to every bereaved soul. Christ is our Guide and Comforter, who comforts us in all our tribulations. When He gives us a bitter draught to drink, He also holds a cup of blessing to our lips. He fills the heart with submission, with joy and peace in believing, and enables us to say submissively, “not my will, but thine, O Lord be done. The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” [Luke 22:42; Job 1:21.] With this submission, hope is resurrected, and the hand of faith lays hold upon the hand of infinite power. “He that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His spirit that dwelleth in you.” 9LtMs, Lt 65a, 1894, par. 5

The very bodies that are sown in corruption will be raised in incorruption. That which is sown in dishonor will be raised in glory; sown in weakness it will be raised in power; sown a natural body it will be raised a spiritual body. The mortal bodies are quickened by His Spirit that dwelleth in you. Christ claims all those as His who have believed in His name. The vitalizing power of the Spirit of Christ dwelling in the mortal body binds every believing soul to Jesus Christ. 9LtMs, Lt 65a, 1894, par. 6

Those who believe in Jesus are sacred to His heart; for their life is hid with Christ in God. The command will come from the Life-giver, “Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs and the earth shall cast out her dead.” [Isaiah 26:19.] The Life-giver will call up His purchased possession in the first resurrection, and until that triumphant hour, when the last trump shall sound and the vast army shall come forth to eternal victory, every sleeping saint will be kept in safety and will be guarded as a precious jewel, who is known to God by name. By the power of the Saviour that dwelt in them while living, and because they were partakers of the divine nature, they are brought forth from the dead. 9LtMs, Lt 65a, 1894, par. 7

Christ claimed to be the only begotten of the Father, but men encased in unbelief, barricaded with prejudice, denied the holy and the just One. He was charged with blasphemy, and was condemned to a cruel death, but He burst the fetters of the tomb, and rose from the dead triumphant, and over the rent sepulchre of Joseph He declared, “I am the resurrection and the Life.” [John 11:25.] All power in heaven and in earth was vested in Him, and the righteous will also come forth from the tomb free in Jesus. They shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world and the resurrection from the dead. “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” [Matthew 13:43.] 9LtMs, Lt 65a, 1894, par. 8

What a glorious morning will the resurrection morning be! What a wonderful scene will open when Christ shall come to be admired of them that believe! All who were partakers with Christ in His humiliation and sufferings will be partakers with Him in His glory. By the resurrection of Christ from the dead every believing saint who falls asleep in Jesus will come forth from his prison house in triumph. The resurrected saint will proclaim, “O death where is thy sting! O grave where is thy victory!” [1 Corinthians 15:55.] “If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so also those which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.” [1 Thessalonians 4:14.] 9LtMs, Lt 65a, 1894, par. 9

Jesus Christ has triumphed over death and rent the fetters of the tomb, and all who sleep in the tomb will share in the victory; they will come forth from their graves as did the conqueror, “for this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain shall not prevent those which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” [Verses 15-18.] 9LtMs, Lt 65a, 1894, par. 10

Dear afflicted ones, so sadly bereaved, God has not left you to be the sport of Satan’s temptations. Let your sorrowful hearts be opened to receive the words of consolation from your pitying Redeemer. Jesus loves you. Receive the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness and be comforted. Thank Him who has risen from the dead, and who ever liveth to make intercession for you. Jesus Christ is a living Saviour. He is not in Joseph’s new tomb. He is risen, He is risen! Rejoice even in this your day of sorrow and bereavement that you have a Saviour who sympathizes with all your grief. He wept at the grave of Lazarus, and identifies His sorrows with those of the sorrowing children. In all your conflicts, in all the trials and perplexities of life, seek counsel first from God. 9LtMs, Lt 65a, 1894, par. 11

The path of obedience to God is as a light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. Follow step after step in the path of duty. Steep places may have to be climbed, but go forward in the path of humility, of faith and self-denial, leaving the clouds of doubt behind you. Sorrow not in a hopeless way, for the living need your care and love. You have enlisted in the Lord’s army; be brave soldiers of Jesus Christ. Let words of penitence and grateful praise come up before God as sweet incense in His heavenly sanctuary. 9LtMs, Lt 65a, 1894, par. 12

You may be disappointed, and your will and your way may be denied; but be assured that the Lord loves you. The furnace fire may kindle upon you, not for the purpose of destroying you; but to consume the dross, that you may come forth as gold seven times purified. Bear in mind that God will give you songs in the night. Darkness may seem to enclose you; but you are not to look at the clouds. Beyond the darkest cloud there is an everlasting light. The Lord has light for every soul. Open the door of the heart to hope, peace, and joy. Jesus says, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” [John 15:11.] 9LtMs, Lt 65a, 1894, par. 13

God has a special work for everyone to do, and each one of us may do well the work which God has assigned us. The only thing we have to fear on our part is that we shall not keep our eyes constantly fixed upon Jesus, that we shall not have an eye single to the glory of God, so that if we were called to lay down our armour and sleep in death we might not be ready to give account of our trust. Forget not for a moment that you are Christ’s property, bought with an infinite price, and that you are to glorify Him in your spirit, and in your body, which are His. 9LtMs, Lt 65a, 1894, par. 14

To the afflicted ones I would say, Be of good comfort in the hope of the resurrection morning. The waters which you have been drinking are as bitter to your taste as were the waters of Marah to the children of Israel in the wilderness, but Jesus can make them so sweet with His love. When Moses presented before the Lord the sad difficulties of the children of Israel, He did not present some new remedy, but called their attention to that which was at hand, for there was a bush or shrub which He had created that was to be cast into the water to make the fountain sweet and pure. When this was done, the suffering people could drink of the water with safety and pleasure. 9LtMs, Lt 65a, 1894, par. 15

God has provided a balm for every wound. There is a balm in Gilead, there is a physician there. Will you not now as never [before] study the Scriptures. Seek the Lord for wisdom in every emergency. In every trial plead with Jesus to show you a way out of your troubles, then your eyes will be opened to behold the remedy, and to apply to your case the healing promises that have been recorded in His Word. In this way the enemy will find no place to lead you into mourning and unbelief, but instead you will have faith, and hope, and courage in the Lord. 9LtMs, Lt 65a, 1894, par. 16

The Holy Spirit will give you clear discernment that you may see and appropriate every blessing that will act as an antidote to grief, as a branch of healing to every draught of bitterness that is placed to your lips. Every draught of bitterness will be mingled with the love of Jesus, and in the place of complaining of the bitterness, you will realize that Jesus’ love and grace are so mingled with sorrow that it has been turned into holy, subdued, and sanctified joy. 9LtMs, Lt 65a, 1894, par. 17

When Henry White, our eldest son, lay dying, he said, “A bed of pain is a precious place when we have the presence of Jesus.” When we are obliged to drink of the bitter waters, turn away from the bitter to the precious and bright. In trial, grace can give the human soul assurance, and when we stand at the death bed and see how the Christian can bear suffering and go through the valley of death, we gather strength and courage to work, and [we] fail not, [neither are we] discouraged in leading souls to Jesus. 9LtMs, Lt 65a, 1894, par. 18