Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Lt 1a, 1896

Anderson, Brother and Sister; Belden, Brother and Sister

Avondale, Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

January 14, 1896

This letter is published in entirety in 10MR 129-134.

Dear Bro. and Sr. Anderson and Bro. and Sr. Belden:

I have a little counsel for you from the Lord. I have been talking with the brethren, telling them the light which the Lord has given. This word was come to me for you: Be careful, and let not your labors be largely preaching. You cannot, Brother Anderson, accomplish good in thus doing. Speak short; both yourself and Brother Belden, and have the living bread of heaven to give to those who shall come to hear; for if you talk lengthily, there will soon be a loss of interest. Speak the important truth right to the point. If your souls thirst for the water of life, you will have the living water to impart to others, but if your own souls are not quickened by the life and Spirit of the Lord, the Lord would not have you make dry and uninteresting remarks. 11LtMs, Lt 1a, 1896, par. 1

Bear in mind that to be a minister does not mean that you must do much preaching. Brethren, I entreat of you to keep your own souls in the love of God, and never let the wellsprings dry. A cold, joyless discourse will kill the church. Bring animation into your words and prayers. There must be no cheap, faithless sermons given. The truth abiding in the heart, sanctifying the soul, will give you an appetite to feed on Christ, the Bread of Life, and as you partake of the heavenly manna, you will be able to say, Come and eat that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Let all your energies be consecrated ability. The Lord wants you to represent the truth as it is in Jesus. Let there be nothing like striving for supremacy. 11LtMs, Lt 1a, 1896, par. 2

Brother Belden, you should not feel excused from speaking the truth whenever you feel like it. Your long experience has given you knowledge that it is your privilege to communicate; and again, it gives variety. It is good for you both to act a part in interesting those who shall come to the meetings. Let not your zeal be of that order to preach, but to minister. Speak words from hearts warmed with the love of Jesus. Show great respect for Christ in the congregation. Come to the point. Dwell upon the matchless depths of the Saviour’s love. Let these two brethren share the work of presiding in the meetings, but I urge you to be short. Do not weary the hearers by your long talks on matters that do not interest them. There are those in the Island who believe all of Bible truth as far as they have heard it, but reject all the claims of God. The Lord will let His light shine into the chambers of the mind, and into the soul-temple, if they will only let it in. 11LtMs, Lt 1a, 1896, par. 3

Pray much; walk humbly with God; make personal efforts. If self is hidden with Christ in God, you will have scriptural, religious life and energy. We must keep asking earnestly. Make short prayers in meetings, and lengthy prayers when you talk and commune with God in your closet. We daily need to be imbued and sustained by His life-giving power. The requirement is “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.” [Luke 10:27.] Zeal, earnestness, and fervor belong to true worship, for God is a Spirit, and He seeketh such to worship Him who worship Him in Spirit and in truth. 11LtMs, Lt 1a, 1896, par. 4

Do not hold the people in your discourses more than thirty minutes. “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” [Romans 12:11.] We may be instant in prayer. Bear in mind that it is the fervent prayer of the righteous that availeth much. Above all things, try to have a genuine interest in each other. Do not selfishly hold yourselves aloof from one another. Let not the message of the Laodiceans, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot,” be applicable to you. [Revelation 3:15.] 11LtMs, Lt 1a, 1896, par. 5

We have a wonderful truth, and our zeal and earnestness should be proportionate to the great truths we profess to love. Make yourselves friends. David exclaimed, “The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up.” “My soul longeth, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord.” [Psalm 69:9; 84:2.] Christ declared that it was His meat and drink to do His Father’s will. The zeal that comes through such sanctification of the truth, makes the believer in the truth powerful, for he is the repository of sacred truth, and as he partakes of the truth, he will be a helpful Christian. Zeal should always be uniform, manifesting a holiness of character. 11LtMs, Lt 1a, 1896, par. 6

The Lord loves to hear our prayers, and He would have us receive the things we ask of Him; but if we have no faith, then we receive nothing. We have constitutional tendencies and cultivated tendencies, and the Lord would work in our behalf to help us overcome everything [in our] characters that is not Christlike. We need to encourage a vivid sensibility of our obligations to be missionaries indeed. The Holy Spirit must be with us if we would make a correct impression upon souls. 11LtMs, Lt 1a, 1896, par. 7

If there is the same old routine with us in our ministry as in the state church and other denominations, we can do no good. If we have advanced light and truth, we are to reveal that the truth is righteousness and power in the human agent. If we are tame and lifeless, we cannot be living epistles, known and read of all men. We are to awake unto life, for Christ is light and life. Missionaries must have the missionary spirit, and watch for souls as they that must give an account. 11LtMs, Lt 1a, 1896, par. 8

I beseech of you, Brother and Sister Belden, and Brother and Sister Anderson, to feel that you have a work to do for the Master. Your attitude, your words, your spirit, may be a living epistle. Let there be perfect unity and love between you. Let the love of Christ abide in your hearts, and be much in prayer. It is your privilege to walk in the light as Christ is in the light. Share your labors in presenting the truth in your meetings. 11LtMs, Lt 1a, 1896, par. 9

Brother Anderson will make a mistake if he supposes that because he is the elder of the church he must do all the speaking, for a change of gifts is positively to the advantage of the audience. Let these men feel that they are chosen of God to make the most of the talents God has given them, to improve and learn how to be better by practice. Let there be no tedious, long discourses. Just come right to the point. Pray right to the point, short and spiritual prayers. Let there be no striving to be the greatest, for if either of you do this, you will be found in the lowest place, for the spirit that prompts to this will lead you away from God. You will not feel that you must be constant learners in the school of Christ, and will become dead and lifeless, not living epistles. God help you, my brethren to strive lawfully for the crown of eternal life. 11LtMs, Lt 1a, 1896, par. 10

You do not have the privilege of assembling together to hear new views of the truth, which often stimulate to new vigor; and therefore the greater [is the] necessity of keeping your own souls in the love and grace of your Lord Jesus Christ. If you walk humbly with God, if you commit the keeping of your souls to him, he will give you to drink of that living water, that shall be in you a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. You will never feel self-sufficient, never feel that you are capable in and of yourselves. You will press your way onward and upward. You will have words, good words, kind words, Christ’s words to speak, and you will not be dry sticks, but living branches that bear much fruit. 11LtMs, Lt 1a, 1896, par. 11

The Lord God is the strength of His people, and as you are, in the providence of God, situated on one of the islands of the sea, you make God your dependence and your trust, you will be a great blessing to diffuse light. The endowment of grace you need daily, in order to walk circumspectly. Seek to cultivate the traits of character that will win souls to Jesus. We cannot for a moment entertain the idea that we have any sufficiency of ourselves, but we can through faith and the cultivation of every trait of character, striving not for the supremacy but to be more Christlike, grow up into Christ our living head, and become complete in Him. 11LtMs, Lt 1a, 1896, par. 12

Give your own selves to the Lord. Let your Christian life affirm in all your work, temporal and religious, that you are working by the will of God, making His Word your rule of daily life and practice, putting every fiber of selfishness away. You need not fail nor be discouraged. Sow the seeds of truth wherever you have an opportunity. God will water your own souls just as far and as long as you in Christ shall water others. Do all that you possibly can for the promotion of the truth. Do not get into strife, but with Christ in the heart you may contend for the faith in all meekness and assurance and love. Freely you have received, freely give. 11LtMs, Lt 1a, 1896, par. 13

Let it not be said that the laborers in Norfolk Island have no more religion than those of other denominations. We must, as workers together with God, come out of the frosty atmosphere in which our spirits will be inclined to live and breathe. No traditionary sentiments must cling to, and impede our movements. There are souls to be saved. “Ye are laborers together with God; ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] Our faith must be cultivated daily, and increase and grow, and we must understand what it means by enduring, seeing him who is invisible. 11LtMs, Lt 1a, 1896, par. 14

The Word of God must be administered with spirit and with life. It means life eternal to all who receive it. A tame, uncertain delivery will do no good. Improve in manner, voice, earnestness, and assurance, as if you knew what you were handling. O, faith must grasp more, much more than it does now! We can have the most precious truths, and deliver them in such a tame, uncertain lifeless manner in the interpretation, as to crush out from the precious meaning all the power to impress hearts and awaken consciousness, because our own hearts do not take in the solemn monitions. Do we believe the Bible? If we do, we will reveal it. 11LtMs, Lt 1a, 1896, par. 15

I write you this because I have been speaking these words to you in the visions of the night. We have hearts that can feel, and God wants us to have travail for souls; deep earnest feeling that will affect hearts, so that they shall believe. 11LtMs, Lt 1a, 1896, par. 16

Religion with us is a reality. 11LtMs, Lt 1a, 1896, par. 17