Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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Lt 23, 1896

Collins, Brother

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

December 14, 1896

Portions of this letter are published in 4MR 385-386; 7MR 338. +Note

Dear Brother:

Your case has been presented before me, and I feel drawn out to write to you. You are a professor of godliness. You have taken upon you the solemn responsibility of a minister of Christ, yet you are satisfied with a low level in the Christian life. In your mind sacred things are mingled with that which is common and carnal. You have not yet endured as seeing Him who is invisible. You have a high opinion of self, and have nurtured self. You do not comprehend the words of Christ, “Without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] You may be active, you may plan and devise; you study, and you may teach the Scriptures; but unless the transforming grace of Christ shall take possession of your heart; unless the thoughts and the imagination are purified, and brought into captivity to the will of Christ; unless you eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God, you will not, cannot have eternal life. And you will ere long become offended, and turn away from the truth, saying, “These are hard sayings; who can hear them?” [See John 6:60.] Two paths are before you; you must make a decided change in your practical life in almost every respect, and become one with Christ, or you will deny Christ in character, and put Him to open shame. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 1

“The bread of God is he that cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Ever more give us this bread.” But when they had an opportunity to eat of that bread, it was not palatable to them. It was not Christ that they wanted, but self. “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” [Verses 33-35.] Coming to Christ and believing on Him as the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world, places the believer on vantage ground. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 2

The first chapter of John tells you how. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” [Verse 12.] What name? “And lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” [Matthew 3:17.] “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of peace.” [Isaiah 9:6.] Does your faith lay hold upon this? Not yet. You do not know Him whom to know aright is life and peace. Before you shall come to Him, self must be expelled from the soul and crucified. This experience of having an abiding Christ, you do not know. “But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believed not.” [John 6:36.] You have a theoretical knowledge of Christ, but not an experimental knowledge through belief in Him as your personal Saviour. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 3

Jesus says, “All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” [Verse 37.] Connect this with the invitation, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” [Matthew 11:28.] Precious promise, of more value than gold and silver and precious stones. But to every promise there are conditions, either expressed or implied. The Saviour continues, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Verses 29, 30.] When you, my brother, shall come to Christ just as you are, knowing your weakness, your helplessness, your sinfulness, and cast your soul upon Jesus; when you take His yoke and wear it, when you lift His burdens, and learn His meekness and lowliness, you will see a serious solemn phase in human life for you; you will have altogether different ideas of your responsibilities and accountability. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 4

I have been very much distressed in regard to the action of Elder Corliss in laying hands upon you, and setting you apart for the ministry. You were not prepared for this great work. Had Elder Corliss consulted me in regard to the wisdom of ordaining you to the ministry, I should have said, Wait until he has a deeper conviction of what constitutes sacred service to God. Wait until selfishness is expelled from the heart. Wait until he has learned to yoke up with Christ, till he has learned of Christ meekness and lowliness of heart. Wait until self is hid with Christ in God. Wait until he has a more humble estimate of himself, and better understands the meaning of the words of Christ, “Without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 5

Your self-confidence has been shown in your disregard of the light upon health reform. The Lord has given His servants a special message to bear, that His people may become intelligent upon this subject. You have had an opportunity to obtain the light; but self-denial would be a new experience to you, and you have not been willing to see that temperance in eating and drinking and in all things devolved upon you. This in itself was a reason why you should not have been ordained to the ministry. No man should be set apart as a teacher of the people while his own teaching or example contradicts the testimony God has given His servants to bear in regard to diet; for this will bring confusion. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 6

And your disregard of health reform is unfitting you to stand as the Lord’s messenger. Indulgence in meat-eating, and tea-drinking, and other forms of self-pleasing, is injurious to the health of the body and the soul. You remember the inflammation of your eyes from which you suffered so much. It was the indulgence of your appetite which poisoned your blood, and caused the affection of your eyes. Your diet consists largely of the flesh of dead animals, and while you subsist upon such food, you cannot expect to have a pure current of blood. Your body will become diseased, and this in turn will affect the mind. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 7

We are admonished by the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul, “I beseech you by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” [Romans 12:1, 2.] Every one who has a part to act in the service of God is to cultivate pure, chaste, holy thoughts. He is to keep himself from all appearance of evil. You cannot do this while you subsist on the flesh of dead animals. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 8

Every indulgence of perverted appetite is a fleshly lust which wars against the soul. By your large meat-eating you are placing in your stomach that which animalizes you. While strengthening the animal propensities, you are weakening the higher, holier attributes, which you so need to cultivate. Your sensibilities are blunted, so that you cannot discern sacred things. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 9

The violation of principle is eating and drinking perverts your discrimination as to what constitutes sin. If you give loose rein to your appetite, you will give loose rein to your passions. Already corrupt passions are striving for the supremacy. Temptations have come to you in the past. Have you resisted the devil, that he might flee from you? What is your attitude toward women and girls? Let this question be answered to God. Temptation will come to you to indulge unlawful practices, and ruin your soul. If you strengthen the animal propensities by indulgence, you will carry your lustful appetite into forbidden lines. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 10

This is an age of incontinence in the married life, of indulgence of lust in wedlock; but if you do not become transformed in character, you will break down the barriers. I feel so sorry for your family, for if you continue to do as you have done, you will bring sorrow to them. You will choose the society and petting of women. You will enjoy it, and will be led on and on, to habits of dissipation and lustful practices. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 11

Licentiousness prevails in our world. Its inhabitants are becoming as corrupt as were the Sodomites. The sin of Sodom is wide spread. Will you become ensnared? Will you become careless, and gratify sensual appetite and passion, which you know will ruin the soul? 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 12

How are you meeting your obligations as a husband and father? Your children are the Lord’s property. You must give an account to Him of the manner in which you deal with them. What kind of appetites and passions have you transmitted to these children? What kind of instruction and training are you giving them? You are not giving them the education and training they should have. Your family needs health reform. Disease is upon you all. I am alarmed for you and for your family. Gluttony is doing its work. Suffering is brought upon them through the indulgence of appetite. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 13

The food you give your children is stimulating to the lower passions. You are sowing the seeds for a crop you will not care to harvest. Will you have corruption exist in your family? 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 14

It is a sad thing for parents who have the light as you have it, to disregard the light as you are doing. Your family needs to have a different element brought into it. As father and mother, you should make a decided change. Cleanse your thoughts, cleanse the soul temple. Pray, and watch unto prayer. Hold fast to the throne of God, and by faith bring your children to Jesus. Come up from your low level, and adorn the doctrine of Christ your Saviour. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 15

What kind of impression are you making upon the people where you labor? Your selfish indulgence is not making a correct impression upon them. You are not adorning the doctrine of Christ our Saviour. You are not elevating the standard of truth. Will you continue to dishonor God? 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 16

Every impulse and passion has its seat in the body, and the work of reform must include the physical habits if our lives are to glorify God. The Lord has placed every man under obligation to take care of his physical habitation, the house he dwells in. It is essential that every one should understand how to live in order to preserve health. There is no need of ignorance in regard to these things. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 17

You should inform yourself upon the subject of organized life, and should conscientiously obey its laws. Study your Bible carefully. we are not to shut our eyes to light for fear we shall see evils that we are unwilling to correct. The Lord will not work a miracle to restore the suffering body while we are inducing disease through indulgence of intemperate appetite. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 18

According to the light which the Lord has given me, you should make a decided change in your diet. It is your duty to deny appetite, and not allow your taste to rule you. Animalism is already largely developed in you, and it should not be strengthened by the use of flesh meats. Even if you know the meat to be perfectly healthy, it should not pass your lips. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 19

I ask you not to continue in the ministry and yet indulge your appetite for the flesh of dead animals. For your soul’s sake, take heed. Begin at once to make a decided change. Said Christ, “He that will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” [Mark 8:34.] Practice temperance in all things. Give yourself abundance of physical exercise in useful labor. Restrain your animal propensities. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 20

The Lord has given you reason, and has lent you talents to be improved, not abused and misapplied. Christ has given His life for you. Through faith in Christ, a glorious possibility is set before you. By patient continuance in well doing, by seeking for glory and honor and immortality, you may secure eternal life. Begin at once to humble your heart before God. It is now a proud, boastful, self-sufficient heart; but you have the privilege of entering the school of Christ and learning of Him. If you will yoke up with Christ, you can employ all your powers to do the work He has given you to do. “But if while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God; for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” [Galatians 2:17-21.] 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 21

As one who loves your soul, and who has an interest in your wife and your children, I urge you to begin now, while it is called today, to act the flesh and blood of the Son of God. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” [John 6:53.] Read John 6:54-65. The same lesson is taught in the 15th chapter of John, under the symbol of the vine and its branches. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 22

All who claim to believe the Word will reveal in their conversation and their character how much they do believe. If they have faith in the Word, and appropriate it, they will take it into their practical life; and obeying the Word, they have eternal life. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 23

In the tempest of passion, human barriers against the practice of natural and cultivated tendencies have no more powers than has the sand bank against the raging torrent. But all the force of Satan cannot break down one safeguard of truth. All the powers of earth and the satanic agencies combined, cannot give permanence to one lie. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 24

Intensity is taking possession of everything upon the earth. Pleasure-lovers are intensely in earnest to secure all that is possible in that line. Gamblers are intensely in earnest. The betting, the horse racing, the various games, create great enthusiasm, and engross the powers of those interested, as if the reward of the victor were to be an eternity of bliss. What terrible infatuation! What madness and folly! An intense life is moving all the powers from beneath, and permeating all the schemes which the arch deceiver can invent through the agency of all the fallen order. Satanic agencies unite with youth, and with men of all ages to crowd life with spurious pleasure and attraction which shall defile the whole mind and corrupt the whole man. It is Satan’s purpose that man shall have no thought of God, no fear of God, no restraint received from God. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 25

And how is this matter to end? The satanic agencies are to combine with and inspire the professedly Christian world. Those who have the form of godliness, without the power, will rank under Satan’s banner, and will display their zeal in making void the law of God. The whole world will have the opportunity of choosing between Christ and Barabbas. Men who have perverted truth, misapplied Scripture, and who have become blinded by resisting the word which is truth, form the great apostate power of the last day. It belongs to the same order as that power which the Lord Jesus revealed to John as drunken with the blood of saints. It is to pursue the same line of action, determined to rule or ruin. The crisis is right upon us, and many will be deceived. Men who have all their life had opportunity to learn of Christ, but who have tenaciously clung to their own habits and practices, unwilling to change their own course of action and walk in the light, will act like blind men. They will accept everything that will coincide with their own ideas. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 26

There are thousands upon thousands, millions upon millions, who are now making their decision for eternal life or eternal death. The man who is wholly absorbed in his counting room, the man who finds pleasure at the gaming table, the man who loves to indulge perverted appetite, the amusement lover, the frequenters of the theater and the ballroom, put eternity out of their reckoning. The whole burden of their life is, What shall we eat? what shall we drink? and wherewithal shall we be clothed? They are not in the procession that is moving heavenward. They are led by the great apostate, and will with him be destroyed, both root and branch. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 27

No man stumbles into heaven. No man goes there blindfolded. If he will take time to consider, every man may know whether he is in the straight and narrow path or in the broad road that leads to death and hell. Let every soul inquire, is my heart renewed by the grace of Christ? Am I transformed by the Holy Spirit? Have I repented of my sins and confessed them? Are my sins forgiven? Am I a new creature in Christ Jesus? Do I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus? Am I willing to make an entire consecration of every hour that remains, to do service for the Saviour? He gave His life for me; He is risen from the dead, and has brought life and immortality to light, that I might be a partaker of the divine nature. Will I purify my soul by obeying the truth and becoming complete in Him? 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 28

My brother, I beseech you not to risk, your hope of heaven on a possibility or a probability. You have now an opportunity to make your calling and election sure. The question for you o settle is, Am I willing to keep the way of the Lord? The path He marks out is not for women and children alone, but for man, for the youth, the middle-aged, and the aged. It is a narrow, self-denying path. To enter that path and press on through all obstacles and discouragements requires men who are more than weaklings. It requires those who have moral courage, firmness, perseverance, and faith. These will have heavenly intelligences as their companions. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 29

Brother Collins, will you live as for God? Will you humble your heart before God, and at every step inquire, Is this the way of the Lord? Will you teach your family to keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment? Take the Saviour as your Pattern. Follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 30

You have not a sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin. You cannot realize this until you shall draw nigh unto God. By beholding Jesus, you will become changed into His image. Then you will have discernment to see the character of sin; you will resist the devil, and will continue to draw nigh to God, that He may draw nigh to you. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 31

Temptations will not cease. Satan will seek to lead you into sins which would debase mind and character, and leave you like a wrecked vessel, adrift upon the sea. Indulgence in sin will eat away the affections, and you will not give love where it is due. Let not the barriers of the soul be broken down, for Satan will come in like of flood, and overwhelm you with perplexities that will be fatal to your soul. Be on guard every moment. The barriers are already giving way. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 32

Think on Jesus and say, Get thee behind me, Satan. Enter not into the path of those who do wickedly. Pass by it. Turn from it. But do not look upon those who have been overcome, and build yourself up in self-righteousness. If you are fully on the side of God, you may be a co-worker with Him to rescue many souls from death, and hide a multitude of sins. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 33

I ask you to consider these Scriptures: Jeremiah 6:10, 15-19; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; 9:24-27; 2 Timothy 2:19-26. Study and practice the Word. 11LtMs, Lt 23, 1896, par. 34