Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Lt 9, 1896


“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

February 5, 1896

Portions of this letter are published in 3MR 313-314.

Brother _____:

I have been searching over my old writing and letters written long ago in reference to your hereditary tendencies, and while doing this, there seemed to be a voice speaking to me and saying, Write these things again; keep them before him, for he is traveling over the same ground. His words are not My words. He takes responsibilities that no man has a right to assume over any fellow being. These men are in my service, and the words of censure and severity are uncalled for. 11LtMs, Lt 9, 1896, par. 1

In the night season I was conversing with you and saying to you and to others, Thus saith the Lord, when the truth is abiding in the heart as a living principle, the lips will only utter words of truth and righteousness. What is it that creates unhappy disturbances in the elements? It is the meeting of contrary substances. What creates war, devastation, and death? Passion coming into collision with passion, tyrants seeking to oppress their fellow men; because ambition will not be satisfied to walk humbly and meekly with God, seeking to know His will and His way, and doing His work with a contrite heart. 11LtMs, Lt 9, 1896, par. 2

My brother, you need the truth in your heart. You should search the Scriptures most diligently, laying aside all other reading but your Bible. Practice the teachings of the Word, and listen to the voice of duty. Your work is not to take the place that God alone can occupy—to command your fellow men. Those who are associated together in the office of publication are in God’s service, and are ever to be treated as one man should treat another. You are all under the Great Master, Christ Jesus. 11LtMs, Lt 9, 1896, par. 3

Unless the religion of Jesus Christ is in the heart, controlling the life, and is revealed in the character, it will be worthless to the professor. Shall the sanctifying truth be kept far away from the center of your being, lest the man in office shall have that faith that works by love and purifies the soul? Unless your heart is guarded, it will become crowded with many things that ought not to be there; you will not daily seek counsel of God, studying His Word, and keeping it as a living principle in the soul; and your words to your fellow workmen will be of a harsh, sharp, and dictatorial character, arousing the passions of the human heart and creating disturbances in the human minds that soft, well-guarded, respectful words, which should always be spoken, would never create. 11LtMs, Lt 9, 1896, par. 4

Souls are perishing all about you for want of the saving influence that you need to have. Let the influence that pervades the soul, the words that come from the lips, be pure and kindly; let all dealing be of a kindly, thoughtful, upright character. With the gospel of truth ever kept before them and the redemption of Christ offered to them, yet souls are perishing because of the perversity of man toward his fellow man, which keeps bitterness in the soul and poisons the springs that should always be refreshing, like a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. Truth must ever have the ascendancy. If the heart is drinking in the waters of life, the words that flow forth from the lips will be kind, tender, helpful, and refreshing. 11LtMs, Lt 9, 1896, par. 5

Brother _____ there is need that you change at once. From the light that God has given me, no man should continue to occupy a position as overseer in any branch of business unless he has a well-guarded heart and can control his spirit, for otherwise he will stir up the worst feelings of the human heart, and often bruise a soul that he cannot in any way heal. Every individual must take a positive position. The Office has been long afflicted with elements that are not congenial. A holy, heavenly atmosphere does not surround the souls of the workers. The will of God and the truth is opposing and protesting against the passions and perversity of the character of men because of their hereditary and cultivated tendencies, for it is as a spiritual malaria. At times it acts as a cyclone, and then there is war in the heart, passionate words on the lips, and the result is that souls are drawn upon Satan’s battleground to reveal his attributes in retaliation. 11LtMs, Lt 9, 1896, par. 6

The converting power of God upon human hearts creates a blessed, heavenly atmosphere where Satan is not revealed. Satan will oppose this reformation with all his might. He is working in order that spiritual life shall not exist, and when God begins to work upon human hearts, of necessity there is fighting over every inch of ground. Satan works that human agents shall not be brought into living connection with the source of all power, for then his own power over words and actions will be at an end. Ere the truth can do its work to bring the heart of man into conformity to the will of God, there is need of continual, determined resistance. If any heart will love God supremely and his neighbor as himself, it must earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. The enemy of all good will array himself against decisions to keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment. 11LtMs, Lt 9, 1896, par. 7

If truth will take possession of the soul, we must contend for it inch by inch. The Holy Spirit alone can and will work with the human agent to vanquish the enemy. In this conflict man must not war in his own armor. He needs the whole armor of God that he may stand against the enemy, who is seeking to convert to his own service the words and works of the human agent. He may have enemies in his own home, in his own family, but his greatest enemy is in his own hereditary and cultivated tendencies. Nothing but the Spirit of the living God can bring man off victorious in this warfare. We urge truth, living truth, as a positive necessity in the hearts of men, to make them right and keep them right in the sight of God. The truth as it is in Jesus has a living, quickening influence on all the human faculties, working from the inward to the outward. 11LtMs, Lt 9, 1896, par. 8

I have a message from the Lord to the human agencies who are associated together in the Review and Herald Office. If you would have the approval of God, you must begin right. The work must begin at the heart, for from it flow the issues of life. Earnest prayer, coming from a sincere contrite heart, will be heard and answered of God. Let the believer pray, “Create within me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me,” and the promise is sure and unfailing through every phase of experience. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.” [Psalm 51:10; Ezekiel 36:26.] Let the prayer go forth from unfeigned lips, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto thee. ... For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” [Psalm 51:12, 13, 16, 17.] 11LtMs, Lt 9, 1896, par. 9

March 11, 1896

I have written out the substance of what I was impressed to speak. I beseech of you, Brother _____ that you seek the Lord earnestly, and do not relax your effort to become a kind man in your service of God in the Office. If you lack the tenderness of Christ, Satan will use your words to create a disaffection which need not exist. You need a personal abiding Christ in your heart. 11LtMs, Lt 9, 1896, par. 10

All need to experience the converting power of truth. Then men who are in the service of God in their several positions of trust will learn of Christ as superior. Having men who are their equals under their direction, they must begin at the beginning and have the heart right with God through the deep, new, creating power of His grace. Then every man will study the interests of the man with whom he is associated, and the spirit of kindness and Christian love exercised by the men in authority will be reflected back upon others. “All the building, fitly framed together” will grow “unto a holy temple in the Lord.” [Ephesians 2:21.] The church would become a living representation of Christ. The world would not so often be encouraged in its ungodly deeds by the example of men who claim to believe the truth and to be followers of Jesus Christ, but who hold the truth in unrighteousness because they are not daily converted, heart and soul, to the truth. 11LtMs, Lt 9, 1896, par. 11

With many spiritual life is not a living, active principle, because they are not in communion with the living God. I entreat of you to read (Ephesians 2), for this chapter was pointed out to me as applicable to you. Also read chapter 4:1-3 and chapter 6. Supposing all who are associated together in the Office study this chapter. Here is presented the duty of servants: “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eye service, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.” [Verses 5-9.] 11LtMs, Lt 9, 1896, par. 12

Note the following injunction in (verses 10-17): “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of god, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And taking the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” 11LtMs, Lt 9, 1896, par. 13

Also read (Colossians 3:10-17): “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things, put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body, and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And 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.” 11LtMs, Lt 9, 1896, par. 14

Let the heart be melted and subdued by the Holy Spirit of God. The very first daily aspirations should be for the favor of God that the heart may be right with God. Then you will have sweet peace in your heart. The Holy Spirit evidences that He is working the human agent, and the working of the Holy Spirit in the heart will surely reveal itself in the words. The Scripture will have a new power. You will have a keen appetite for the Word of the living God. “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God: strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” [Colossians 1:9-12.] 11LtMs, Lt 9, 1896, par. 15

Brethren who are associated together in the Review and Herald Office, you may inquire, How may I know that I am a child of God, how may I know that I am an heir of God and joint heir with Jesus Christ? When you walk in all humility of mind before Him, when you are habitually studying His Word with a view to gain a set purpose, to have a knowledge of the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent, you may know this. By beholding Jesus, by dwelling upon His perfection of character and striving to be like Him, pure, tender feelings will take the place of hardheartedness. The soul will be stirred to its very depths with intense desire to be like Jesus and to be led by His Spirit. Then the fruit will appear, and you will walk in love. You will love God with your whole heart, and will listen to every whisper of His Holy Spirit. 11LtMs, Lt 9, 1896, par. 16

All who seek the Lord diligently will find Him, but all must seek Him as a little child. The Holy Spirit is sent to take the truth from the sacred page, where God has placed it for the benefit of every soul whom He has created, and stamp that truth upon the mind. It is a terrible loss to keep the truth in the outer courts. By this we close the door of communion with God, and listen to the voice of a stranger, who presents temptations that are flattering to the natural heart. 11LtMs, Lt 9, 1896, par. 17

The lessons of Christ are for every soul to learn and practice. This is higher education. The truth must come into your heart. Then there will be seen works corresponding to the truth. There is no hope for any man, high or low, rich or poor, who will not listen, contemplate, receive, and practice the truth. By his own will his soul is exiled from God. A mortal, moral disease is upon him, for which no human invention can find a remedy. The voice of truth must be obeyed. If one sin is cherished, one wrong practice is retained, the whole body becomes contaminated, and becomes an instrument of unrighteousness. Not to give ear to the voice of God and obey it is to diffuse a spirit of revolt to other souls, and sow the seeds of disaffection. Let such an one step down from his elevated, influential position, and take a narrow sphere, so that his insubordination shall not leaven the minds of many. 11LtMs, Lt 9, 1896, par. 18