Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10 (1895)


Lt 2, 1895

To those who work at Cooranbong

Norfolk Villa, Prospect St., Granville, Australia

March 4, 1895

Portions of this letter are published in FLB 220, 235, 236; OHC 292, 295; 4Bio 251.

Dear Brethren:

I am burdened over your case. In the night season I was in your company, and was listening to your words, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon me, and I addressed one and then another, and then the company as a whole. At the present time you may either do a great deal of good, or all thoughtlessly commit a large amount of evil. I read the entire chapter of (1 John 3), I presented before you the necessity of manliness and firmness in the Christian character. A cheap Christian character works more harm in the world than the character of a worldling; for professed Christians mislead others by professing to represent Him whose name they assume. “Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” [Hebrews 4:1.] “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” [Romans 12:1.] 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 1

Bro. Rousseau and his fellow helper, Bro. Metcalfe Hare, will need all the help you can give them in spiritual things. Every one of you, both young and old, can be a blessing to these brethren. 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 2

“I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one ... I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you.” [1 John 2:13, 14.] 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 3

The Lord requires that every human agent shall do his best, and those that do their best will have the greatest personal satisfaction, and will bring the greatest satisfaction to those who have an interest in them. The youth need to realize that they need a deep experience in the things of God. A mere surface work will be of no benefit to them. You need to bring the light of God’s Word into your heart, that you may search it as with a lighted candle. “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith: prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” [2 Corinthians 13:5.] 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 4

When you associate together, you may be a help and a blessing one to another if you surround yourselves with an influence that is divine. But there are those who have grave defects, which are gaining a deeper hold upon them and, which, if not overcome, will drive the Spirit of God out of the heart. There is among you too much love of jesting and joking which is not convenient, and which in no way strengthens the soul or the intellect. Jesting and joking may please a class of cheap minds, and yet the influence of this kind of conduct is destructive to spirituality. 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 5

I speak to you as a class and also as individuals: “Guard your words. Let sobriety and sound common sense characterize your conversation. Do not trifle with the purity and nobility of your souls by condescending to indulgence in stale jokes, and in cultivating habits of trifling conversation.” The requirement of God is explicit on these points, and presents before you the obligations that rest upon you as children of God. The Word of God says, “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” [Colossians 3:17.] Again the injunction is given in still more explicit language, “Whether ye eat or whether ye drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” [1 Corinthians 10:31.] 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 6

Bible religion is not one influence among many others, but its influence is supreme, pervading and controlling every other influence. Bible religion is to exercise control over life and conduct. It is not to be like a dash of color, brushed here and there upon the canvas, but its influence is to pervade the whole life, as though the canvas were dipped into color until every thread of the fabric was dyed in a deep, fast, unfading hue. The Lord will give you understanding in all practical Bible truths as you bring them into your life practice. Principles of truth are to be carried out in your practical experience in every day matters. 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 7

If you are determined that you will obey every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, then great and efficient truths will be discovered by you, and you will see that Bible religion has to do with the small as well as larger concerns of life. The broad principles of the Word of God are to regulate the character and conduct of every genuine Christian. Let every one enquire seriously, “Am I a genuine Christian? Am I bearing the true marks of a Christian? Am I doing my best to perfect a character after the divine model? Am I permitting the grace of God to have a molding influence upon me, and am I becoming more and more perfectly conformed to the image of Jesus Christ?” 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 8

Aim to be faithful students in the school of Christ, learning daily to conform your life to the divine Pattern. Set your face heavenward, and press toward the mark for the prize of your high calling in Christ Jesus. 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 9

Run the Christian race with patience, and rise superior to every temptation that shall come to you, however grievous it may be. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and if you are desirous of taking the first upward step, you will find His hand stretched out to help you. It remains with you individually as to whether you walk in the light of the Sun of Righteousness or in the darkness of error. The truth of God can be a blessing to you only as you permit its influence to purify and refine your soul. 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 10

As you are associated together in physical and mental training, be careful what habits you form. If you choose, you can make the occasion that brings you together one in which you can do most essential missionary work one for another. Christian example, manifested in spirit, in words, in the faithful discharge of your duty, both in physical and mental lines, will have an influence upon those with whom you associate. Individually you may be God’s true missionaries, watching for souls as they that must give an account. God has given you reasoning powers, and you are to put to use your capabilities, and [to] consider how you may answer the expectation of Christ in bearing one another’s burdens. 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 11

Let every one exercise the talents entrusted to him by watching unto prayer, and by lifting to the extent of his power. Bear in mind, I beseech you, that it rests with you as to whether or not you will form characters after the divine similitude. It rests with you whether you will go contrary to God and His truth, and become tempters of those with whom you associate. There is nothing more decidedly antagonistic to the pure truths of God than a polluted heart. Do not expect that the Holy Spirit will force your will. It is the Holy Spirit’s office to convict of sin, and to incline the heart toward truth and righteousness. 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 12

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sin: wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind: and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sin, hath quickened us together with Christ, (By grace ye are saved:) and hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” [Ephesians 2:1-6.] 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 13

But while we are saved through grace, the apostle presents the part that we are to act. He says, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, (lest you become an influence to lead others astray) for it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” [Philippians 2:12, 13.] In these Scriptures is presented the co-working of God with man and man with God. How important it is that the work shall go forward harmoniously, so that, as a result, the perfection of Christian character may be obtained through the union of the human and the divine. Where this co-operation is found, these words are appropriate, “And you that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled,” that He may “present you holy, and unblamable, and unreprovable in his sight.” [Colossians 1:21, 22.] Let every soul remember that the Christian armor cannot be laid aside for one moment. We are called upon to keep up the warfare, to resist Satan, to “watch and pray.” [Mark 13:33.] 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 14

Where the heart is purified and refined, and made fit for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the tongue will be sacrificed to the glory of God. When you hear young men jesting and joking, do not join in the merriment which they make that dishonors Jesus Christ who died for them, but rather reprove them. Watch over one another for good. Pray for, and with one another. You can surround your souls with an atmosphere that will be like zephyrs from the heavenly Eden. Open your heart to the Lord Jesus. Guard your tongue. Let not your tongue run at random in jesting and joking. These are signs that your heart needs to be cleansed from its defilement. Those who are earnestly striving to obtain the world to come, will act according to Christian principles in all the concerns of life. They will bring into practice the injunction, “Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” [Romans 12:11.] If we are sincere Christians in meeting, we shall be sincere Christians at all times and in all places. 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 15

I am very desirous that all who are acquainted with Christ shall manifest the fact by the spirit revealed in their words. Christ says, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” [Matthew 12:35-37.] Our words index the state of our heart, and whether men talk much or little, their words express the character of their thoughts. A man’s character may be quite accurately estimated by the nature of his conversation. Sound, truthful words have the right ring in them. Our words have an effect upon our character, for they react upon our thoughts. “The end of all things is at hand, be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” [1 Peter 4:7.] 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 16

“He that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good: let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” [1 Peter 3:10-12.] “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ: as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation: because it is written, be ye holy: for I am holy.” [1 Peter 1:13-16.] 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 17

How is it that many who profess the name of Christ utter so many vain, idle words? Satan watches to obtain an advantage over those who speak in a reckless manner. Those who jest and joke and indulge in cheap conversation place themselves upon a level where Satan can gain access to them. He is playing the game of life for their souls. Can we wonder that the Word of God cautions us, and warns us against sinning with our tongues? 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 18

We are to feed upon Christ, the living Bread from heaven. Our souls are to thirst for the waters of salvation, and we are to study the Scriptures, and practice the truths they teach in our daily life. Those who do this will reveal the fact that they are feasting upon the Bread of life, eating the flesh of the Son of God, and drinking daily of the waters of salvation. If we closely study the words of Christ, and take heed to His lessons, we shall feed upon His flesh, for the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Christ says, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” [John 6:63.] 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 19

When we utter meaningless and silly words, we encourage others to indulge in the same kind of conversation; but it is a great sin in the sight of God to allow ourselves to utter words that do not suggest pure, choice thoughts that will elevate, ennoble and sanctify our characters and the characters of those who hear. The only words that should come from our lips should be pure, clean words. No one can tell how much sin is created by careless, foolish, unmeaning words. The character of those who utter these senseless words is indexed by them. Sensible people are ashamed to listen to such words, and disgusted that their precious time should be wasted in listening to frivolous utterances. 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 20

O that every one of our youth would realize the evil of foolish conversation, and correct the habit of speaking idle words! Let every one who has indulged in this sin repent of it, confess it before God, and put it far from him. In speaking foolish words you have dishonored the name of Christ, for you have misrepresented Him in character. No word of guile was found in His lips, no word of prevarication or falsehood. The people that are described as making up the 144,000 have the Father’s name written in their foreheads, and of them it is said, “In their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.” [Revelation 14:5.] If they had been speaking foolish, senseless, false words, they would not have been found without guile, and without fault before the throne of God. 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 21

John writes further, saying, “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands: and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 22

“And one of the elders answered saying unto me, what are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? and I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said unto me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more: neither thirst any more: neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” [Revelation 7:9-17.] 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 23

O that all our youth would form characters after the divine similitude! O that Christ may be in you a well of water springing up unto everlasting life! Begin at once the work of soul purification. Put from you all nonsense, and refrain from trifling words. Every word you speak is as a seed that will germinate and produce either good or bad fruit according to its character. The words we utter encourage the feeling that prompts them. Exaggeration is a terrible sin. Passionate words sow seeds that produce a bad crop which no one will care to garner. Our own words have an effect upon our character, but they act still more powerfully upon the characters of others. The Infinite God alone can measure the mischief that is done by careless words. These words fall from our lips, and we do not perhaps mean any harm, yet they are an index of our inward thoughts, and work on the side of evil. 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 24

What unhappiness has been produced by the speaking of thoughtless, unkind words in the family circle. Harsh words rankle in the mind, it may be for years, and never lose their sting. As professed Christians, we should consider the influence our words have upon those with whom we come into association, whether they are believers or unbelievers. Our words are watched, and mischief is done by thoughtless utterances. No after association with believers or unbelievers will wholly counteract the unfavorable influence of thoughtless, foolish words. Our words evidence the manner of food upon which the soul feeds. 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 25

Those who love Jesus Christ will contemplate His character, meditate upon His words, practice His precepts, and become living missionaries. The words they speak will be like apples of gold in pictures of silver. The homes about us might be havens of rest and peace, but they have been anything but this because of the incalculable mischief that has been wrought by the tongue. 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 26

Souls have been murdered by harsh, censorious words. If the cases of some could be brought to light, it would be revealed that souls have been lost, because when they were struggling under temptation, persons have united with Satan in casting upon them unkind, discouraging words; men in positions of importance have felt at liberty to speak to them inconsiderately, to give utterance to suspicions, and to judge them hastily. The spiritual atmosphere which surrounded the souls of these men was of a malarious character. They themselves were under the sway of Satan, and the fruit of their words was a soul lost unto death through time and eternity. They placed a rock of stumbling before the feet of the tempted, and caused them to stumble and fall. No after effort was successful in establishing the goings of the fallen soul. 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 27

When men are tempted, how often they drop the bad seed of doubt in to the mind of another, and watered by the suggestions of Satan, it takes root and bears fruit. The man who is thus influenced by the evil word, in his turn insinuates his doubts into the minds of others. The one who first dropped the seed may overcome his error and become established in the truth. He may outlive his temptation, pass into the sunshine of perfect faith, and be entirely unconscious that his words have lived and rankled in the soul of another. He may not know that he is poisoning the atmosphere of another soul forever. Terrible are the results that have come from the sowing of such seed. “The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature: and it is set on fire of hell ... The tongue can no man [tame]: it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” [James 3:6, 8.] 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 28

Will you, to whom I now address these words, take heed to the instruction given you? Let youth take warning; let them not be forward in conversation, but be modest and retiring. Let them be quick to hear things that will profit the soul, and be slow to speak unless it be to represent Jesus, and to witness to the truth. Show humility of mind by modesty of demeanor. Let your conversation be seasoned with grace. Educate the soul to cheerfulness, to thankfulness, to the expression of gratitude to God for the great love wherewith He hath loved us, and thus adorn the doctrine of our Lord and Saviour in all things, at all places, and at all times. Glorify the Master by witnessing in your character to the work of the Holy Spirit upon your soul. Let Christ abide in the soul as a wellspring of life. 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 29

Christian cheerfulness is the very beauty of holiness. Those who are rich in faith will make manifest the grace of Christ. Paul charges Timothy saying, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: if we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” [2 Timothy 2:12-15.] Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity, but in the great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth: and some to honor and some to dishonor. 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 30

“If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meet for the Master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive: but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves: if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth: and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” [Verses 21-26.] 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 31

“Draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” [James 4:8.] When the heart has a deep longing for God, when the mind contemplates the goodness and the loving kindness of God, when the soul hopes and trusts in the Lord, the Holy Spirit will be as a Comforter to the soul. Jesus says, “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 are spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” [John 15:10, 11.] “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” [Colossians 4:6.] Will we be obedient to these inspired words that come sounding down the lines of time? The purpose to which we are called is an exalted one. 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 32

Peter says, “But ye are a chosen generation: a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people: and that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” [1 Peter 2:9.] How can you show forth His praises? By the words that you utter. You can speak in such a way as to bless others, to be a savor of life unto life in working the works of righteousness. “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul: having your conversation honest among the Gentiles, that, whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” [Verses 11, 12.] 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 33

The Lord is to be honored and glorified by His people in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom they are to shine as lights in the world. “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.” [Titus 3:8.] The manner in which we use the gift of speech will tell on the side of good or evil. We are to manifest Christian tact and sanctified judgment. 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 34

Men will present arguments against the truth that will be inspired by Satan for the purpose of leading the advocates of truth into side issues, and to carry the minds of his hearers into the same channels. Satan’s subtility often accomplishes this, and thus confuses and harasses those who are seeking after truth. The advocates of truth should not permit themselves to be led hither and thither after vain objections, but they should lift up the standard of truth, and from the Book of Inspiration crowd in the words of God. Let every soul meet the temptations of Satan in the same manner in which Christ met them when in conflict with the enemy in the wilderness. He said to the tempter, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” [Matthew 4:4.] 10LtMs, Lt 2, 1895, par. 35