Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Ms 24, 1896

Unselfishness Among Brethren

Sunnyside, Cooranbong, Australia

September 9, 1896

Portions of this manuscript are published in 1SM 175. +Note

We are of good courage in the Lord. I have spoken four Sabbaths in succession in the upper room of the saw mill, and have realized the presence of the Holy Spirit in our meetings. If we expect success in any line of our work, we must have faith. We realize in part of the world that we need to keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus. If we constantly put our trust in Him, believing that He will be our strength, we shall see of His salvation. 11LtMs, Ms 24, 1896, par. 1

We rejoice that in every meeting we see those who have heard the truth, and although they have not yet decided to obey, yet they attend the meetings. We also feel thankful that at our meeting of September 3, some were present who have lately decided to obey the truth. One family is fully convinced, but if the husband accepts the truth, he loses his position. This is a heavy cross, and they hardly dare venture, but we must have faith. We must pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will give them His grace and reveal Himself to them as their Redeemer, as One who loves them and cares for them, and who will not leave them to perish. 11LtMs, Ms 24, 1896, par. 2

In several localities here Bible readings are being held, and some are interested in the truth. We hope that they will hear and receive and obey the truth. Since the Institute which was held here last March and April, several have decided to obey the Lord and keep His commandments. 11LtMs, Ms 24, 1896, par. 3

We see that there is much work to be done, and at this time, when outward appearances are not the most flattering, we are drawn out to recount the experiences of the past. We see that in every country the same ground must be travelled over. We can call to mind many times when, after lifting, as we supposed, all that we could possibly lift to advance the work, we have not realized all that we hoped we should. We dared not relax our efforts, for this would have given the enemy an advantage. But God has not changed, and He will work for us if we give Him opportunity. We can now see reasons why the Lord has not wrought in our behalf as we longed to see Him work. We are sure that there has not been among the workers that consecration, that faith, that self-denial, that spirit of sympathy and unity and love which there should have been. 11LtMs, Ms 24, 1896, par. 4

If the workers in the Lord’s moral vineyard do not cherish faith, confidence, and love for their fellow laborers, they cannot expect that the heavenly showers of grace will descend on the barren portions of the Lord’s vineyard, to revive it, to cause hearts to be softened and subdued by the Holy Spirit’s power. 11LtMs, Ms 24, 1896, par. 5

Whatever their calling or mission, men who are presenting the truth to others must keep contrite and humble, laboring in the spirit of Christ wherever they are. If they subdue self, and walk humbly before God, He will reveal Himself to them. They will not only repeat, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” [2 Timothy 3:16, 17], but they will believe and experience it. This experience is essential for all who are seeking to be laborers together with God. 11LtMs, Ms 24, 1896, par. 6

Our Saviour said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:4, 5.] 11LtMs, Ms 24, 1896, par. 7

There must be less working in self, and more working in and by and through Jesus Christ. When the Lord Jesus, who can never misjudge, sees men and women opening and explaining the Scriptures, while they themselves are disregarding the principles which would lead them to cultivate a most tender regard and respect for their fellow laborers, He cannot give them the victories He would be glad to bestow. When He sees that success would injure the human agent and lead him to glorify himself instead of giving God the glory, He withholds the blessing which insures success. Then the large amount of means expended does not accomplish what so many hoped and prayed that it might. Disappointment comes, and faith is lost. But there is seldom a close self-examination in regard to what spirit was manifested by the workers. 11LtMs, Ms 24, 1896, par. 8

Christ prayed for His followers, “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. 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; and that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory (character) 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 17:17-23.] 11LtMs, Ms 24, 1896, par. 9

Here is the sum proved. When the laborers have an abiding Christ in their own souls, when all selfishness is dead, when there is no rivalry, no strife for the supremacy, when oneness exists, when they sanctify themselves, so that love for one another is seen and felt, then the showers of grace of the Holy Spirit will just as surely come upon them as that God’s promise will never fail in one jot or tittle. But when the work of others is discounted, that the workers may show their own superiority, they prove that their own work does not bear the signature it should. God cannot bless them. 11LtMs, Ms 24, 1896, par. 10

To all who humble their hearts before Jesus, putting self out of sight, not in pretension but in genuine humility, the Lord will manifest Himself. There need not be so many failures seen in the expensive efforts put forth in camp meetings and tent meetings; there need not be so few sheaves to bring to the Master. “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” [John 6:29.] 11LtMs, Ms 24, 1896, par. 11

Jesus, our Sacrifice, is the price of heaven; faith in Him is the way to heaven. He asks you first to believe in Him, and then to work in and through Him. When we understand that we must daily conquer temptation, that we must daily refrain our tongues from evil, that they shall speak no guile, then we will show true earnestness in the work of God. Each one of us should put forth definite efforts in this line. 11LtMs, Ms 24, 1896, par. 12

We must show no deadly apathy in respect to examining ourselves in the light of God’s standard of righteousness, His holy law; because it is for our eternal interest that we keep our own souls in the love of God as vessels unto honor. This is no indifferent matter; it cannot be trifled with. By our course of action we are determining whether the Holy Spirit can abide with us. If self is the supreme object of attention, if we seek to be first, the sure result of such a spirit will be seen, and we shall find ourselves last. 11LtMs, Ms 24, 1896, par. 13

The Bible is the voice of God speaking to the souls of all who will obey its teachings, and it declares, “Seeing ye have purified your souls through obeying the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently; being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” [1 Peter 1:22, 23.] 11LtMs, Ms 24, 1896, par. 14

In this country money is greatly needed; more laborers are needed, but the greatest need of all is a vital connection with Jesus Christ. We are to occupy for Christ till He comes. Christ has ordained that His children shall live in such close, loving relation to Himself that they will embrace their brethren in this Christlike love. It is the purpose of the Holy Spirit to make those who believe in Jesus Christ one with Him, that they may radiate upon one another nothing but a cementing spirit of unity. Christ’s divine charge is that we should illustrate before the world the power and excellence of His likeness and character. 11LtMs, Ms 24, 1896, par. 15