Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10 (1895)


Lt 16, 1895

Bollman, C. P.

Norfolk Villa, Prospect St., N. S. W., Australia

June 18, 1895

Portions of this letter is published in 5MR 65-66.

Dear Brother:

I received your letter, but shall not attempt to answer all your questions, or try to make plain all that you desire to know. But I will say, dear brother, that you need none of self and all of Jesus. When Christ abides in your heart, you will continually manifest the spirit of kindness, love, and tenderness, and will answer the prayer of Christ when he says, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word: that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me.” [John 17:20-23.] 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 1

When you cultivate the love of Christ, it will work like leaven through all your lines of work. You will then represent the character of Christ. When your heart is contrite before God, you will have a realization of your own weakness, and will esteem others better than yourself. You will give attention to your own heart culture, and will seek to rid yourself of every taint of selfishness. The heart is the citadel of the spiritual life, and it is necessary to daily expel worldly maxims and the spirit of the world from our hearts. When you perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord, and manifest this in your words and deportment, you will be a Christian gentleman; for Christ will abide in your heart. 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 2

The Spirit of the Lord in a variety of ways is pleading with those who are worldly-wise men. But though the truth is presented in its rich loveliness, they are like blind men who do not see, and therefore do not appreciate. They do not realize that by practicing the truth it would be unto them a savor of life unto life. There are many who claim to believe present truth, but their souls are preoccupied with selfishness, and they do not relish the truth that comes in conflict with their preconceived opinions. They do not enjoy any proposition that does not originate with themselves. They have the same spirit as is manifested in the world, the spirit that occasions war in families, war in the church, war among those who profess to be the children of God. 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 3

Self is unsubdued. They have not put on Christ, they do not wear His yoke. They have the same spirit that occasions war among nations when passion comes in collision with passion, the spirit that results in tyranny, in oppression of others, in restriction of liberty. It is the spirit that is the beginning of that ambition which leads men to grasp for more and more, that leads them to trample upon all others who oppose their designs. This very spirit is among us. The same spirit that works in the religionists of today is among Seventh-day Adventists. 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 4

The world’s Redeemer saw how in the transactions of life difficulties would arise between man and man, and even between His own followers, and He prayed that the Father would sanctify His disciples through the truth, adding, “Thy word is truth.” [Verse 17.] When the professed disciples of Christ seek to answer the Lord’s prayer, and manifest His spirit in their lives, what a change will appear. The teacher sent of God declared, “For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” [Verse 19.] 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 5

Every man or woman who accepts the responsibility of a connection with the sacred work of God will have an influence for good if they cleanse themselves from all filthiness, and perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord. They will have the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. When truth gains access to the heart, it will become a controlling power. It will work even as leaven works in the meal, converting every portion of the substance into its own nature. 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 6

When the Lord puts His Holy Spirit upon a soul and awakens him to his true condition, he realizes his need of conversion. He sees things in a different light from what he saw them before, becomes contrite in heart, and the Lord makes him a channel of light to others. But the enemy who has had things his own way is disturbed when reformation begins with those who have been associated with him. Worldliness, selfishness, ambition, resist the spirit of reform, and then strife is made manifest. It is evident that two opposing spirits are at work, striving for the mastery. If the truth obtains access to hearts, it is through battling its way inch by inch to the citadel of the man. 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 7

When worldliness and unchristlikeness prevail, there is a sort of peace that seems to exist, but when the Lord begins His work, this corrupt harmony is disturbed. He who comes out in loyalty to God, and manifests firm decision for the right, rebukes others by his example, and in practicing the truth contends earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. He lifts up the standard of character and points out what is justice and equity. 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 8

But it is when the Holy Spirit is thus moving to set things in order that the devoted worker finds that there is a wall of resistance raised against him that seems like granite. This resistance is manifested because false peace and false principles are disturbed. When the straight truth is sent home to the conscience, there is always a class who will seek to blind the eyes and pacify the aroused conscience. But he who yields the citadel of his heart to the truth will keep the commandments of God, not only in the letter but in the spirit, and while experiencing the conflict that must come to the persevering soul, yet at the same time he experiences heart contrition, and lets God reign supreme in the soul-temple. 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 9

“For 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 which is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones ... For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him.” [Isaiah 57:15, 17, 18.] 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 10

But while the Lord presents comforts to those who are of a contrite and humble spirit, He pronounces woe upon those who oppress the needy and turn aside the poor from judgment. He says, “Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed: to turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless! And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far. To whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory? Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.” [Isaiah 10:1-4.] This is the Word of the Lord, and it describes the condition of the world in which we live. 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 11

The predictions of prophecy are being fulfilled, and the religious world is taking the course that has been described. They are becoming corrupted as did the Jewish nation. Though professing to be looking for the Messiah, they did not receive Christ when He came into their very midst. They refused Him who would have healed Jerusalem and saved her from ruin. They pursued their own course, and followed their own ways to their own ruin. There is danger that we also shall take the same course. 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 12

For years, to a greater or less degree, the spirit of oppression has been leavening men in responsible positions in our offices of publication. While they have talked and written much on the subject of religious liberty, they have practiced injustice and oppression at the very heart of the work. The pulsing of the heart is felt through the whole body, and the action of the heart must be sound if there is to be a healthful condition throughout the body. Let the heart be diseased, and sickness is communicated to every member of the body. 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 13

I would raise the voice of warning to our people in Battle Creek, saying, “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” [Isaiah 55:6-9.] “Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. Behold all these that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of my hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.” [Isaiah 50:10, 11.] 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 14

Will the people who are advocating the keeping of the commandments of God themselves obey the divine precepts? Will they keep the first four commandments and thus have supreme love for God, and the last six that reveal our duty to our fellowmen? “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” Jesus says, “This do, and thou shalt live.” [Luke 10:27, 28.] 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 15

In the name of the Lord I want to tell you that those who are connected with the great and solemn work for this time will need to have a living connection with God, in order that they may know who He is and obey His voice, in order that they may know how to love their neighbors as themselves. Satanic agencies are diligently at work, move with a power from beneath, and are seeking to mold everything according to the attributes of the evil one. For years I have been shown that even in our publishing houses men would seek to repress religious liberty to as great an extent as lay in their power, and that many minds would become confused on this question. 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 16

Covetousness and selfishness are blinding men, so that they unwittingly make decrees that deprive men of their rights, and pass judgment on matters that cut them off from their privileges. In so doing they are as verily using oppression as are the powers of the world in restricting religious liberty. Though their power is limited, yet they are actuated by the same spirit which rules the children of disobedience. They make decisions that repress individual action, and God frowns upon their decrees, methods, and laws that bind those whom God would have free to use the power He has given them as a precious endowment. 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 17

I have given them warning on these points, and they have been unheeded and uncared for. The oppressive methods that men use, thinking that they are advancing the work of God, need to be weeded out, for God forbids them. I have been shown that when our publishers see any book that promises to be a success, and they can gain control of it, they take it on such terms that they reap all the benefits possible from it, saying that it is for the advantage of the cause of God. 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 18

That which is done for the advantage of God’s cause must be done according to the ten precepts of Jehovah. He will not accept the advantage that accrues from oppression of His children, and from cutting them off from their just rights. His work has been handled, and is still being handled, by men who have not a vital connection with God. But the invitation of the Lord is extended to those who will turn from their evil ways and seek Him. He says, “Tell ye, and bring them near; yea let them take counsel together; who hath declared this from ancient times? Who hath told it from that time? Have not I the Lord? And there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” [Isaiah 45:21, 22.] 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 19

Suppose that all those who are actively engaged in religious liberty work shall practice what they preach. When Christ came into the world the Jews hated the Romans. They cultivated a spirit of retaliation. They gave utterance to hard denunciations, and pleased the enemy by thus manifesting his attributes. By indulging in boastful words, and in doing violent deeds, they were training themselves to do the terrible deeds to which he led them on. There was nothing in the religious life of the scribes and Pharisees to recommend piety to the Gentile world. They hated all foreigners, and finally did unto Christ whatsoever they listed. Christ arose from the dead at a time when the particulars concerning His death and resurrection could be carried to all nations, tongues, and people. 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 20

The Jews had clear light as to the character and mission of Christ. They had evidence of His divinity in His resurrection and ascension, yet they would not receive Him and become His disciples. In stubbornly resisting clear light and evidence brought to them by the Holy Spirit of God, they committed the unpardonable sin. As in the case of Judas, so it was with the Jews. God gave him sufficient evidence concerning the course he was taking; but he failed to improve the light, and it became darkness to him. God gave abundant evidence to the Jewish nation. He asked “What more could I have done for my vineyard, that I have not done in it?” [Isaiah 5:4.] Jesus told His disciples that the Jews would treat them as they had treated Him, and His predictions were speedily fulfilled. They heaped upon them every indignity, outrage, and cruelty that they could devise. 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 21

There is a lesson to us in all these experiences. Like the Jews we may have much to say about religious liberty, and yet suffer the same spirit to steal upon us as came upon the Jews, and find that oppression is exercised among those who preach liberty. We may find that men may make moves and propose measures that will bind the consciences of their brethren, and they will speak as though they thought themselves God. Let the men in our institutions who are in danger of following in the footsteps of Rome call a halt, and inquire into the methods that, if followed out, will kill religious liberty. Let those at the heart of the work see that they are clear from the practice of oppression. Let there be no lording it over God’s heritage. Let no man, or body of men, imagine that they have the prerogative of lording it over God’s people. 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 22

It has been distinctly presented to me that justice and judgment have been turned away backward, that men’s rights have been interfered with. God has given no command for any institution to carry things with such a high hand as things are being carried at Battle Creek. The means in the Review and Herald Office that has come into the possession of the institution by the infringement of individual rights, and has been gained through avariciousness, by taking advantage of everything possible to further the interests of the office, is not legal in the sight of God. God will punish the least injustice that has been done in any case. Several cases have been presented to me whose cry has come up before God, and He will punish for these things. 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 23

But the men who are handling these responsibilities do not see where they are permitting themselves to be carried. God perceives how things are being turned out of their proper course. Every time you have made it necessary for men to come to your terms, and have so bound them that they could not do otherwise than to concede to your wishes, you have exercised a power which God has not permitted one man to exercise over another. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] Has Christ given Himself for the rescue of man in order that man may be placed under human bondage? There must be a decided change in the policy of action that has been followed. Do not compel your God to humble you as He did the Jews; He will do so if you continue to pursue the course which you have done. 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 24

God has singled out many that He would employ in His work; but there is no chance for them to come in as yet. The sentiments of men who are in positions of trust must change and the counsel of God be heeded, or they will not have the honor of being His instruments, nor will they receive the reward that is promised to His faithful stewards. The Saviour asks, “When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” [Luke 18:8.] 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 25

Study the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. There were ten that went forth to meet the bridegroom, but five of them were wise, and five were foolish. The foolish virgins took no oil in their vessels with their lamps. Are there not many who are following this same foolish course? In probationary time we are to secure the oil of grace. It will be too late to secure it when the last great emergency comes upon us. If we neglect the day of salvation, we may come like the foolish virgins and seek an entrance to the marriage supper, and find that the door is shut. I can hardly express the trouble of my soul. 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 26

Those who think that everything is dependent on them, and on their say so, are often entirely set aside; and help comes to the cause through unexpected channels and through un-thought-of ways. God is not dependent upon any instrumentality, and He is our source of strength—the same yesterday, today, and forever. God is seen and acknowledged and brings effectual help through the weakest of instruments. The hand that has redeemed us will work for us. In His own time God will magnify His name and reveal the nothingness of men. Those who are engaged in His sacred work must understand that they must become partakers of the pleasantness and sweetness of the character of God. The heart must flow forth in grateful offerings to heaven. Let no one dream that his mountain stands so strong that it never can be moved. 10LtMs, Lt 16, 1895, par. 27