Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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Lt 2a, 1896

Anderson, Brother and Sister

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, Australia

February 26, 1896

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother and Sister Anderson:

We received your letter. It was very short, but I thank you for writing. When the question was asked in reference to your going to Norfolk, I thought seriously as to the advisability of this step, because I knew you had traits of character which would disqualify you for such a mission. There is not a vital energy in your manner of speaking, nor a vital current coming from you to the people. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 1

The great difficulty with you is that it is almost an impossibility for you to comprehend the situation and adapt yourself to the necessities of the case. You need to be spiritualized, to be emptied of self, to humble your heart daily before God. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” [Matthew 5:6.] This is the main point—to be filled with the righteousness of Christ. All who hunger and thirst for the bread of life and the water of life shall be filled. If they continue daily to eat of the bread that came down from heaven and to drink of the living fountain, they will never hunger nor thirst for fame or for esteem among men; but will eat of Christ’s flesh and drink His blood. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 2

Christ has invited you, “Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Take my yoke upon you, for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:29, 30.] There are many serious, important lessons for both of you to learn before you can find your way to the hearts of those perishing in their sins. When Christ is abiding in your heart you will reveal Him. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 3

My brother and sister, you have need of the revival of the Holy Spirit in your own hearts, for unless you have the power of the truth in your own souls, you cannot possibly represent the truth to others. It would be sad indeed, my brother and sister, for you to present the truth to others in an unskillful manner, in a dull, listless, tame, commonplace way. You must be converted daily, as a vessel of honor to the Master’s use. No tame, commonplace explanation of the Word will win the attention, and arouse an interest in others. You need to increase in faith and cultivate heart religion. You need a humble contrite heart, else self will seek for the supremacy. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 4

You need to study the truth, the Word of God, with greater diligence. The lessons of Jesus Christ are for you to learn and obey. Be not content with a mere theory, but appropriate the truth to yourself. You must live the truth. You need that faith which works by love, and purifies the soul. Self-sufficiency will not serve the purpose of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The daily work of grace is needed. Study the Scriptures. Christ’s teachings mean everything to you and me. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 5

You may assent to the truth, but you cannot be an acceptable worker for the Lord Jesus unless the truth is inwrought into your heart and practiced in your life. You need to be quick of understanding; you are altogether too dull, too slow of comprehension. You have yet a grand experiment in casting yourself just as you are upon the Lord Jesus Christ, as in need of all spiritual grace and efficiency. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 6

Setting apart any man as an elder does not make him a minister. He needs daily to receive the Holy Spirit by faith. He needs actual faith in the Word of God as the Word of God to him. The Holy Spirit must work the human agent, or else the agent will try to preach and pray without any evidence that he has Christ with him. He cannot feed the flock of God unless he has living bread from heaven to give to those who are hungry. If you have no sense of your short coming as a worker together with God, after Christ’s similitude, you should certainly take up some other calling. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 7

If there is any place in the world where the people need the fresh, vital manifestations of the power of the truth, it is in the islands of the sea. Wake up, Brother Anderson, wake up! I consider it a great misfortune that men who give evidence that the Word of God is not a controlling power in their lives should suppose themselves capable of holding forth the Word of life. The Word should have an all-pervading [influence] upon them, that such an impression may be left upon all who hear the Word that they can with all sincerity exclaim, “Thy Word is truth.” [John 17:17.] 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 8

All who hold forth the Word in such places as the islands of the sea, where religion is taught as a form of sayings, must have tact for the struggles they will encounter. They must not allow themselves to remain in stupidity or think it will be enough for them to retain dull routine, saying the Scriptures from habit, and repeating sentiments in a listless, commonplace way. This makes no impression upon human hearts. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 9

The men who teach the Word must themselves live in hourly contact and conscious, living communion with God. Then the principles of truth and righteousness and mercy are within them. They must draw from the fountain of all wisdom moral and intellectual power. They must be inspired by the divine power; their hearts must be alive with the deep movings of the Spirit of God. A man may be a canvasser, he may be a tradesman, but even in that calling he must possess tact, ingenuity, and natural qualifications. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 10

Let no man enter into the sacred work of explaining the Scriptures unless his own unclean lips have been touched, as were Isaiah’s with the living coal from off the altar, and his iniquity purged away. More ability and tact and wisdom is needed to present the Word, and feed the flock of God, than many suppose. A dry, lifeless presentation of Bible truth belittles the most sacred message that God means shall go to the people. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 11

I call upon you, my brother, to sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself, and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. Your heart has not yet been vitalized by the deep and holy principles of the truth, which give earnestness to the human nature, and light to the soul, so that you can minister light to the hearers. You may show an ambition to do this, but your self-opinion, your self-sufficiency is an offense to God. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 12

There is no virtue in striving for supremacy, in being ambitious for that species of power which God will impart only to the meek and lowly in heart. The source of all power is limitless, and if in your great need you seek for the Holy Spirit to work your own soul, and shut yourself in with God, be assured that you will not come before the people dry and spiritless. Praying much and beholding Jesus more, you will cease to exalt self. If you patiently exercise faith, and trust God implicitly, you will recognize the voice of Jesus saying, “Come up higher.” If this work is first inwrought in your inner life, it will work outward. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 13

The sons and daughters of the Lord should grow in efficiency. Their tastes, their appetites, must be brought into captivity to Jesus Christ. Their passions must be under control, in order that they may have a clear mind for the Spirit to operate upon. It is essential that gospel principles be received in the home life and the daily experience. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, are the fruits that will then appear. “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts.” [Galatians 5:24.] 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 14

I bring you to Jesus; I point you to the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. The chosen ministers of the Lord are to reveal Christ. The gospel demands of the human agent who receives Christ unreserved consecration of body and soul, of all their energies and capabilities, throughout the entire period of their probation. But all that God claims of the human agent, in all His service, is that which a mortal man, aided by the divine grace, can render. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 15

We need to reach a higher standard. We are forming our own destiny for eternity. By our words and works we will be justified or condemned. Every day is precious to you and to me, in making the very best use of every opportunity to improve our talents by using them not to please ourselves, but to glorify God. Galatians 1:1, 10. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 16

Now is our sowing time. It is a very important matter to us what kind of seed we are sowing, for that shall be our harvest. He that soweth to the flesh, to selfish pleasures, selfish indulgence, shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the spirit [shall] reap life everlasting. The warning comes to us, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked: Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.” [Galatians 6:7.] In all our life, day by day, we are sowing seed for the future harvest. Dear brother and sister, will you ask yourselves, “What shall the harvest be?” 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 17

The spirit must be carefully guarded, else words will be uttered and actions performed that will not be a blessing to any one. Words are carelessly spoken and forgotten, but these words, for good or for evil, are accumulating a harvest. If in words we sow wheat, we shall harvest wheat; if we sow tares, we shall harvest tares. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 18

We need to awake and consider now as never before that we shall reap that which we sow in kind, but the harvest will be largely increased. Sow one seed in careless, unkind, harsh, overbearing, self-important words; the ears of our fellow men hear them, [and] put upon them their own construction. They put upon their own construction, which, when worked out in another human agent, is reflected back upon ourselves, and comes back to the originator. Sowing thus, we reap a very objectionable harvest. “They have sown to the wind; they shall reap the whirlwind.” [Hosea 8:7.] 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 19

Every act of thoughtful kindness, obedience, self-denial, prepares the way for others to be influenced for good. The agents who are earnest, active, zealous in doing good, are co-workers with God, and have a rich harvest to gather, some thirty, some sixty, and some an hundred fold. The harvest is proportionate to the seed sown. Then how earnest should be our efforts to work in harmony with the heavenly intelligences. The universe of heaven is waiting to co-operate with the finite human agencies to save perishing souls, that they may win them to Jesus Christ. One soul saved for Jesus may save other souls. Thus the sowing goes on for time and for eternity. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 20

There are many kinds of sowing in temporal business lines, and these works require diligence and activity, and earnest endeavor; but is the glory of God the aim and object of the life? What are you, a professed follower of Jesus Christ sowing to? Every characteristic of selfishness, self-love, self-esteem will bring forth a harvest. Every exhibition of sowing to the flesh is making a harvest of corruption. But all who sow to the spirit, ever keeping the glory of God in view, will reap life, everlasting life. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 21

Dear brother and sister, work intelligently for Jesus Christ. Have faith in God; trust Him; arouse yourselves. You must not allow yourselves to sink down into inefficient nothingness. Wherever you go, whatever you do, you need to put heart and energy into your work. Do to the glory of God whatsoever you have opportunity to do. He is a personal help in every time of need. He knows your every deficiency. He knows you have oft failed where you might have made a success had you put your whole heart into the work. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 22

We are living in a time when every believer must show growth, else he will dwarf into nothingness. We may be complete in Christ Jesus by growing up into Christ, our living head. Think of the One whose feet have travelled the rough thorny path, and O how zealously He worked to save souls. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 23

The church militant is not the church triumphant. We are in the very thickest of the warfare. Shall we obtain the victory? Shall we come near to the Captain of our salvation, and be partakers with Him of His sufferings, that we may be partakers with Him of His glory? You need to be energized, else you will not do good. You need Christ abiding in the soul. You need the quickening influence of the Holy Spirit of God; you need fervor of spirit, zeal, and earnestness, proportionate to the value of the truth. And yet there need not be one grain of presumption and self-sufficiency. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 24

My brother, broaden and extend your ideas, else you will narrow down, and be less and less capable of perfecting a Christian character. You are not to be discouraged, but work, for God has provided every facility whereby you shall have every advantage, that you may be a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 25

The Lord will do everything on His part, but unless the human agent will arouse himself to the necessity of zealous effort to know and understand the terms of salvation, he will sow to the flesh, and will of the flesh reap corruption. You have no time to take things easy. You must have fresh manna from the Lord’s storehouse for your individual self, and then you can be sure that you have the bread of life to communicate to others. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 26

The merciful heavenly Father wants the sheep and lambs of His flock fed. There must be no neglect in this matter. Whatever the prejudices of the people in Norfolk, they may be reached. Our Brother Cole needed the vitalizing influence of the Spirit of God to help him, to arouse him to overcome his slow, tame manner of work. May the Lord help us all is my prayer. 11LtMs, Lt 2a, 1896, par. 27