Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10 (1895)


Lt 21, 1895

Corliss, J. O.

Granville, New South Wales, Australia

September 13, 1895

Portions of this letter are published in TM 245-251. +Note

There must certainly be a change in our ministers. In heart and character there must be more of Christ and less of self. We are to be representatives of our Lord. Those who have had great light and precious opportunities are accountable to God, who has given to every man his work. They are never to betray the sacred trust, but are to be indeed the light of the world. 10LtMs, Lt 21, 1895, par. 1

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” [1 John 4:10.] Here is language that expresses His mind toward a corrupt and idolatrous people: “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? Mine heart is turned in me, my repentings are kindled together.” [Hosea 11:8.] Must He give up the people for whom such a provision had been made, even His only begotten Son, the express image of Himself? God permitted His Son to be delivered up for our offenses. He Himself assumes toward the Sin Bearer the character of a judge, divesting Himself of the endearing qualities of a father. 10LtMs, Lt 21, 1895, par. 2

Herein His love commends itself in the most marvelous manner to the rebellious race. What a sight for angels to behold! What a hope for man, “that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” [Romans 5:8.] The just suffered for the unjust; He bore our sins in His own body on the tree. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” [Romans 8:32.] 10LtMs, Lt 21, 1895, par. 3

As witnesses chosen of God, do we value Christ’s purchased possession? Are we ready to make any and every sacrifice within our power, to place ourselves under Christ’s yoke, to co-operate with Him, [and] to be laborers together with God. All who are bearing the test of God, obeying His commandments, love the perishing human race as Christ loved them. They follow the example of Christ in most earnest, self-sacrificing labor, to seek out in the highways and hedges the high and the low, the rich and the poor, and to bear to all the message that they are the objects of Christ’s special love and guardian care. 10LtMs, Lt 21, 1895, par. 4

So great is the natural blindness and ignorance of men in regard to God and to the Saviour that every one who loves Jesus may find work to do. Not one who has true love for Christ will remain indifferent and indolent. There is a marked difference between the character and life of those who are obedient to all the commandments of God, and of those who are disobedient. Many who profess to be commandment keepers are commandment breakers. 10LtMs, Lt 21, 1895, par. 5

Parents have not restrained the selfishness of their children. Self-indulgence has been the object of pursuit. Through self-serving, multitudes are bound in servitude to Satan. They are the slaves of their own impulses and passions, which are under the control of the wicked one. In calling them to His service, God offers them freedom. Obedience to God is liberty from the thralldom of sin, deliverance from human passion and impulse. 10LtMs, Lt 21, 1895, par. 6

But we have to meet and contend with men who employ all their power in opposing and slandering those who are loyal to God. Their wit and their God-given reason are devoted to making it appear that obedience to the commandments of God is an irksome service. But those who advocate the claims of the law of God testify, “Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them.” [Psalm 119:165.] “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” [Psalm 19:7.] The Lord presents truth in contrast with error, and presents also the sure result of accepting truth, the experience that always follows willing obedience. It is peace and rest. 10LtMs, Lt 21, 1895, par. 7

The work before the servants of God is to present Jesus. The work for the ministers of Christ is to hang their helpless souls upon His merit. Men who turn away from the path of obedience and make transgression of the law of God a virtue are under the inspiration of the archdeceiver. They are blinded by his power. They need to have before them a representation of what the truth can do in enabling men to preserve a Christlike temper when provoked and tempted to become impetuous and impatient. The enemies of the truth want to provoke those who teach the binding claims of the law of God. If there is retaliation on our part, Satan’s hosts triumph. He has found a weak place in the armor. By their mean course of action, in bitterest opposition, these agents of Satan tempt the advocates of truth to say and do things that will not be commendable. 10LtMs, Lt 21, 1895, par. 8

Christlike meekness, fine perceptions, nobility of soul, are to be cherished and practiced by the believers in truth. The spirit of truth and righteousness is to control our deportment, our words, and our pens. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.” [1 Corinthians 2:14.] If the minister when before his congregation, sees a disbelieving smile upon the faces of opponents, let him be as one who sees not. If any should be so impolite as to laugh and sneer, let not the minister, by voice [or] attitude, reflect the same spirit. Show that you handle no such weapons. The pen so often traces words that are sharp, and by repeating the statements of the advocates of error, our brethren sometimes give currency to the error. This is a mistake. Let your pen trace advanced truth. 10LtMs, Lt 21, 1895, par. 9

The Holy Spirit does not work with men who love to be sharp and critical. The spirit has been cherished in meeting debaters, and some have formed the habit of squaring for a combat. They repeat the errors that their opponents have presented, and endeavored to refute them. God is dishonored in this. Keep back the sharp thrusts; do not learn in Satan’s school his methods of warfare. The enemy is best discomfited when no notice is taken of the errors, when truth is advanced which will make these errors of none effect. The Holy Spirit does not inspire the words of censure and condemnation. A time of trouble is before us, such as never was since the beginning of nations, and every honest soul who has not had the light of truth will then take a stand for Christ. Those who believe the truth are to be newly converted to the Master’s use every day. Then they will be vessels unto honor. 10LtMs, Lt 21, 1895, par. 10

Do not repeat the words of your opponents, or enter into controversy with them. You meet not merely the man, but Satan and his angels. Christ did not bring against Satan a railing accusation concerning the body of Moses. If the world’s Redeemer, who understood the crooked, deceptive arts of Satan, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but in holiness and humility said, “The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan,” is it not wise for His servants to follow His example? [Jude 9.] Will finite human beings take a course that Christ shunned because it would afford Satan occasion to pervert, misrepresent, and falsify the truth? 10LtMs, Lt 21, 1895, par. 11

In this period of the world’s history we have altogether too great a work to begin a new kind of warfare, aside from Christ’s methods, in meeting the supernatural power of satanic agencies. We must put aside personalities, however we may be tempted to take advantage of words or actions. In patience we must possess our souls. Brethren, make it manifest that you are wholly on the Lord’s side. Let the truth of God’s Holy Word reveal transgression and sin and manifest the sanctifying power of truth upon human hearts. A haughty spirit must not come in to mar the work of God’s ministers. We have reason for gratitude to God every moment that we have the privilege of connecting with God. Success in preaching Christ, our crucified and risen Saviour, who ascended to heaven as our Advocate, is the proof of our calling, the practical argument to weaken error. 10LtMs, Lt 21, 1895, par. 12

There is need of contrition of soul every day, and the Lord declares the great advantage of every one who will humble his heart and hide in Jesus. “Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” [Isaiah 57:15; 66:2.] “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.” “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” [Psalm 34:18, 6, 7.] 10LtMs, Lt 21, 1895, par. 13

Let those who hate the law of the Lord rave and pour out their anathemas against such as have moral courage to receive and live the truth. Let them manifest the mob spirit, but take no notice of them. The Lord is our strength. It is safe for us not to build up self, but to let the Lord work His will in and by and through us. Let us preserve a contrite, humble spirit, which the Lord will revive. 10LtMs, Lt 21, 1895, par. 14

Self-esteem and self-flattery will be sure to stir up in the heart resentment against any who venture to question one’s course of action. Everything like counsel or advice is resented with indignation as a design to bruise and wound. This spirit cherished by those who preach the truth will lead to numerous evils. None will venture to tell you when you err, because the faithful one would be regarded as an enemy, seeking to hurt your influence. Thus the kindness and faithfulness that should exist between brethren in the faith is killed because of the jealous interpretation put upon the God-fearing cautions given. Undue stress is laid upon words, imagination exaggerates the matter and creates alienation. In matters where eternal interest are involved, we are to be subject one to another, ready to take advise and counsel. 10LtMs, Lt 21, 1895, par. 15

We must not suffer wrong upon a brother. Self-sufficiency must be overcome, for we are all alike dependent upon God. Love of all applause must be seen as a snare. There is always danger of making grave blunders through conceit of our own wisdom and qualifications. Let these qualifications reveal their true value, and they will be appreciated, because Christ will be revealed in word and action. 10LtMs, Lt 21, 1895, par. 16

I am urged by the Spirit of God to counsel my brethren to unite with one another in labor. Love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous, be true as steel to one another, but crush that feeling of superiority over your brother ministers which leads one to feel that he cannot link up with others in labor, because they do not in his line. God would have no one submerge his individuality in another man. 10LtMs, Lt 21, 1895, par. 17

No one man should feel that he must do the whole work. However well-experienced or well-qualified he may be, there is need of other talent to unite with his. It is a mistake to think that one man’s train of thought will accomplish the work for all hearts in a religious effort. Men of different minds are needed, men whose hearts are tenderly led out to win souls. It is a delusion to think that one man can take all the labor and do the work alone. God has not made this the rule. Different methods of labor are really essential in sowing the seeds of truth and gathering in the harvest. It is often the case that men of the humblest ability will reach hearts that have been sealed against another man’s labors who may have presented the truth with supposed greater ability. Much praying is essential. The soul’s drawing nigh to God in communion, God’s drawing nigh to the soul that is seeking him, can alone do the work that is needed. 10LtMs, Lt 21, 1895, par. 18

There needs to be greater devotion of heart and life in the service of God. More love and unity is needed, more blending of the talents which the providence of God has provided. Much is lost in religious effort when one minister thinks himself capable of managing the meetings, of holding everything in his own hands, when he makes very little effort to share the work and responsibilities with his brethren. The Lord has His own instrumentalities through which to work for the saving of souls; and among these instrumentalities there should be free, hearty unity of action. 10LtMs, Lt 21, 1895, par. 19

If ministers will link up together, hiding self in Christ Jesus and go forward unitedly, not feeling that one man must do almost all the thinking, God will let His Holy Spirit sustain them in their labor. Let their hearts be connected together in free, open companionship; let them esteem each other as brethren; and God will put His seal upon their apostleship by giving them success in winning souls to Christ. 10LtMs, Lt 21, 1895, par. 20