Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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Lt 117, 1896

Woods, Brother and Sister

Northcote, Victoria, Australia

November 3, 1896

Portions of this letter are published in 2MCP 624, 676; HP 201. +Note

Dear Brother and Sister Woods:

I should have been relieved to have had an interview with you before leaving Melbourne; but by inquiry I learned that you lived a long distance from North Fitzroy. 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 1

I feel deeply over the situation of the church in North Fitzroy, and the churches located in the suburbs of Melbourne. I was very sorry that neither of you attended the camp meeting. The best thing that you can do is to improve every opportunity to place yourselves where you can hear what the Lord says to you through His servants. 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 2

The Lord Jesus commanded that three times each year His people should assemble at Jerusalem to observe His appointed ordinances. These gatherings were for their good, for their spiritual advantage. In them better knowledge was obtained in regard to their spiritual service. If they would, all might catch the bright beams of light, that with John they could say, “That which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the words of life, declare we unto you; that ye may have fellowship with us.” [1 John 1:1, 3.] 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 3

The deprivation felt when people absent themselves from the gatherings of the people of God is not small. As children of God we are to place ourselves in every gathering of God, where His people are commissioned to be present and give the Word of life. All need light, and all the help that can be obtained, in order that when they have heard and received the precious messages from heaven through God’s appointed agents, they may be prepared to bestow upon others the light given. God met with His people at the Adelaide camp meeting. 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 4

True grace is to be received <before it can be> diffused. It is active, penetrative, aggressive. By the hearing of the Word new ideas flash into the receptive heart and mind of every soul, for God is giving His message to His needy people. Unless the heart is barricaded against light, the seed, the living seed, cast into the living soil will regenerate the heart, and produce fruit which will increase more and more. 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 5

It is man’s privilege to accept the providences and blessings placed within his reach, and then to find others and communicate to them the knowledge of the truth. When this important responsibility is fully appreciated, all will realize the necessity of obtaining all the knowledge of truth and grace <possible,> in order hat they can diffuse it to those with whom they are brought in contact. 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 6

The mind should be kept free from every species of selfishness and <covetousness, which is idolatry,> that the grace of God may rule in the soul temple. Then they will be captivated with their exalted privileges of contemplating God, and will work the works of God. What privileges we may enjoy if we choose to accept and appreciate them. 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 7

In the meetings held at the new church, by the Lord’s delegated servants, a most precious banquet was presented—a feast of heavenly things. But there were but few who would come to partake of the heavenly feast. They felt no need of the rich blessings of heaven sometime they will understand that the Lord had light and knowledge for them which they did not want, although their eternal interests were involved. They refused to see light and knowledge. 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 8

I am pained at heart. How pained I was to hear Brother Miller’s assertion that he had not had so much as the thought enter into his mind to separate from the office. The Lord has opened this matter before me, and I know it to be otherwise. His heart was not in the work. He might have been a great blessing in the office had his abilities been used unselfishly in any position where he could do the best service. All connected with the work of God are highly privileged. If he had put on Christ as he entered the office, and had determined to do his best, even though difficulties did arise, and to be faithful to principle, yourself, Brother Woods, and Brother Miller, could have seen a way out of the difficulties. Had you considered prayerfully the result of this movement, you would have been alarmed. 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 9

A multitude of temptations have encompassed you, and leavened <many of> the church. Rivalries naturally spring into activity, which make it a most difficult matter to discharge the highest moral obligations. Many nameless evils will combine to test whatever integrity and strength of religious principles and habits that may have been cherished. A brief season of trial and test is a wonderful revealer of character. Individually, we have need in this time of trial to have firm reliance upon God. 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 10

Had you both, and all who claim to believe the truth, a keen perception of the importance of every man standing in his place in the publishing house, you would not have been so readily separated from this center, which is especially under the supervision of the Lord. Had every one delayed their decisions to seek the counsels of the Lord, anxiously watching and waiting for the Lord to give light, and praying in faith, the promise of God would have been verified. Wisdom would have been given. But the hurried movements to present the matter, as fast as possible, to a close need not have been. That was not the Lord’s way, but the way and will of the enemy. 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 11

I was <instructed of the Lord> that there is need of a decided change in the church. Earnest piety and vital godliness is scarce. Therefore there are many who will stumble over one misstep made, <and some will recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, while others will> make shipwreck of their faith through the temptations of the enemy, for they have felt free to give expression to their doubts and evil surmisings. One word of doubt, one word of evil thinking and evil speaking makes room for more of the same kind. It is seed-sowing that will prepare for a harvest that few will care to garner. When once this spirit begins to leaven the church, the inclination of the natural heart manifests itself. If at first conscience interposes some obstacle in the way of this kind of missionary work, the heart, unless softened and purified, elevated and ennobled by feeding on the word of God, will accommodate itself to the low level of gossip and tale bearing, which makes the soul empty, hard, <loveless,> and unimpressible to the influences of the Holy Spirit. I have been feeling deeply over these things, and what can I say? I have passed through similar scenes so many times. 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 12

The Spirit of the Lord has presented to me the dangers that are threatening the church. There was great need of a revival effort in the church at North Fitzroy. At the present time tares and wheat are growing together. As never before, there is a necessity for personal, missionary house-to-house labor, and of that kind that will build up, restore, and strengthen the faith, and not weaken and confuse and destroy the souls for whom Christ has died. These souls have been ransomed at an infinite price. God wants every soul to appreciate every faculty, and to use every talent for the glory of God. 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 13

We do not want to strive for the highest place and position and name, but to seek the highest place in being vessels unto honor, cleansed, refined, purified. It is not enough to be apt in speech, ready talkers. <There is enough of this.> Heart and soul must be worked by the Holy Spirit. Truth precious truth, is to be entertained <and cultivated by exercise.> It is to make its impression upon the mind and heart through the means of prayer and meditation, and watching unto prayer. The truth, daily making a deeper imprint on the heart, makes us, individually, blessings to all with whom we come in contact. It is our privilege to continually draw from the Fountainhead, and through the abundant grace of God, we become repositories of Bible truth. 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 14

Living the truth, it is natural to diffuse the truth; and thus we become living channels of light. Then there will be true ministering work done for those who need it. 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 15

We need a deeper knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. We are not to allow the activities of business to crowd the contemplation of the life, spirit, and love of Jesus out of our hearts. At all times and in all places we are to seek Christ. “Learn of me,” said the greatest Teacher the world ever knew, “for I am meek and lowly in heart.” [Matthew 11:29.] This is to be the lesson which we are to practice. We are to reveal the disinterestedness of His love, His pure benevolence, the unselfishness of the religion of Jesus Christ. “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 2:4, 5.] 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 16

“We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves; ... for even Christ pleased not himself.” [Romans 15:1, 3.] “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” [1 John 3:18.] “Wherefore, lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees. Make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord, seeking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” [Hebrews 12:12-15.] 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 17

Let not the unruly tongue sow seeds of doubt, unsettling the little faith that many members of the church have, but let faith and piety be diffused. Evil speaking and evil devising will produce their harvest. Let every soul who will visit from house to house have words that will not encourage weakness, <alienation, and strife,> but encourage faith and hope. 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 18

Truth, precious truth as it is in Jesus, is food for the soul. If we are missionaries in the church, let us not be missionaries under the dictation of the enemy, but missionaries that are in vital connection with Jesus Christ. Christ came to the world to sow the earth with truth, pure, unadulterated truth. The Lord is soon to come. “Prepare ye the way of the Lord; make straight his paths.” [Matthew 3:3.] We are working in sight of the whole universe of heaven. Consider this. I beseech of you to walk in the light. 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 19

In His discourse with Nicodemus, Christ described Himself as having kindled a light in the world. He Himself is the great center of light. While all the children of the day delight to feed and strengthen their spiritual vision at its beams, the doers of evil prefer the darkness; they fear to come to the light, lest their deeds shall be reproved. They fear condemnation will be flashed in their faces. The sermon on the Mount is full of instruction. The material and texture of the whole fabric is like valuable cloth of gold, presenting to all the most serviceable and enduring principles of duty. 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 20

So perfect is the character represented which men must have in order to be Christ’s disciples that the infidel has said that it is not possible for any human being to attain unto it. But no less a standard must be presented by all who claim to be children of God. Infidels know not that celestial aid is provided for all who seek for it by faith. Every provision has been made in behalf of every soul who shall seek to be a partaker of the divine nature, and be complete in Jesus Christ. Every defect is to be discerned and cut away from the character with an unsparing decision. The people of God are to turn every action into devotion. They are to <partake of> every meal as if they knew it was a token of the love of the infinite God expressed to them. The termination of one duty is to be the commencement of the next that presents itself. Then the Christian character will be manifest in a life of continuous obedience and service to Jesus Christ. 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 21

Whatever business engagements men may yoke up with, if Christians, they must wear the yoke of duty to Jesus Christ. This is their allegiance. They are to consider themselves bound by superior obligations. The Master, Jesus Christ, has placed His yoke upon the neck of every disciple; their life-service is pledged to Him <in accepting His yoke.> Anything that will mar or hinder their perfect service to God is to be broken, whatever its nature or character may be. We should not give to our God divided service. 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 22

The Lord has united His nature with humanity, expressly that He might become a more distinguishable and definite object for our contemplation and love. He invites us to draw near and contemplate the great light, the invisible God invested in robes of humanity, emitting a glory so softened and subdued that our eyes can endure the sight. 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 23

Christ is the light of heaven. In His face we shall see God. Bear in mind the prayer of Christ, that His people may be one with Him as He is one with the Father, that they may be with Him where He is, and behold His glory. Think how displeasing it is to God for His people to have a spirit of pride, self-sufficiency, and envy, of seeking to be first. We cannot afford to do this, for it is the work of Satan. Press together; press together; press together. 11LtMs, Lt 117, 1896, par. 24