Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

130/300

Lt 106, 1896

Wessels, Peter

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

June 26, 1896

Portions of this letter are published in 4BC 1148; 5BC 1123-1124; 9MR 109, 266.

Dear Brother [Peter Wessels]:

Since sending you a letter in response to the one which I received from you, I have found something in Testimony No. 33, in reference to confession. This I will ask you to read, as it is right to the point. You have reason to thank God that you have not been left to follow a wrong course of action. It is better to understand sin and its character now, than to wait until the judgment opens it before all assembled. The words then spoken will be low, but every ear will hear the decisions made. Thank God from your heart that it is not too late for wrongs to be righted. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 1

David, the king of Israel, committed a grievous wrong in the sight of God. God sent the prophet Nathan to reprove him for his sin; and Nathan stated the case in a parable, telling him of a poor man who was robbed of his one ewe lamb by a rich man. The king’s pity was excited by the recital of injustice, and he ordered that judgment be speedily executed against the wrongdoer. Then Nathan said to David, “Thou art the man.” [2 Samuel 12:7.] He faithfully portrayed to the king the sin which he had committed against God and against his fellow men. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 2

David learned wisdom from God’s dealing with him. He confessed his sin, accepted the counsel given him, and obeyed in humility before God. He made no tirade against the law which he had transgressed, but exclaimed, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” [Psalm 19:7.] 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 3

After Adam and Eve had sinned, they became conscious that their garments of purity and brightness, the covering given them by God, had fallen away from them. They saw that they were naked, and, ashamed to respond to God’s call, they hid themselves among the trees of the garden. “And God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded that thou shouldest not eat?” [Genesis 3:9-11.] 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 4

When human agents yield to temptation, and give themselves up to obey the will of Satan, they are indeed naked. Deprived of the divine covering of light and innocence, they are afraid to meet their God. God speaks to us in His Word, saying, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” [Revelation 3:18.] 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 5

My brother, you need to put on the white robe of Christ’s righteousness. May God help you to obtain it by repentance toward Him and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. May He anoint your eyes with the heavenly eyesalve, that you may see your sinful propensities, and realize your need of God’s mercy and grace. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” [Verses 19-21.] 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 6

“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:3.] God desires us to realize the inestimable value which an experimental knowledge of good will be to us. But this knowledge cannot be obtained by mingling with it an experimental knowledge of sin. If we have a practical knowledge of evil, if we cherish and nurture sin, making bad habits our companions, we can only think of God as one who despises our works, for the natural influence of a wrong action upon the soul is to separate it from communion with God. We can only think of God with a consciousness that we are unclean, and this makes us cowards. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 7

This view Satan endeavors to keep before us, for he desires that we should ever be conscious of the absence of the covering of light and innocence which God gave to preserve humanity from a consciousness of nakedness. The minds of all who listen to the tempter are burdened with a sense of unworthiness; and they do not delight to associate God with their thoughts. But although Satan understands our situation so perfectly, we must not despair. If we look to, or trust in ourselves, we lean upon a broken reed, but it is our privilege to come to God just as we are, pleading His mercy as our only hope through the merits of Jesus Christ. In this light we must think of ourselves, and of God at the same time. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 8

No sinner need to keep away from God. God is acquainted with the unworthiness of all; “neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” No sinner that comes to Christ, acknowledging his inefficiency, and pleading for divine grace, is ever turned away. “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmity; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Christ took human nature that He might become acquainted with all the temptations with which man is beset. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” [Hebrews 4:13-16.] 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 9

Every provision has been made for our infirmities, every encouragement offered to prevent us from separating from Christ, in whom our hope of eternal life is centered. What excuse then can we offer to God as a reason for not taking hold of the rich promises so plainly set before us? It is Satan’s special device to lead man into sin, and then leave him naked and trembling, daring not to come to God boldly and ask pardon for transgression and sin. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 10

But why should we heed the tempter, when God has promised, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience. ... But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together, with Christ, (by grace are ye saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Jesus Christ.” [Ephesians 2:1, 2, 4-7.] Not in our sins, but from our sins are we saved. Through Christ we have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Hope, faith, and peace are within our reach through His merits. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 11

God requires that everyone who names the name of Christ shall avail himself of His proffered gifts and depart from iniquity. “In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” [2 Timothy 2:20-22.] “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them; but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” [Hebrews 4:1, 2.] I entreat of you for Christ’s sake to rise from your low earthly state through faith in Jesus Christ, and become a vessel unto honor, “meet for the master’s use.” 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 12

The Lord has rules of righteousness which must be maintained, and in no case will He pass over the wrong done by man to his fellow man. “Is not this the fast that I have chosen, to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house, when thou seest the naked that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” [Isaiah 58:6, 7.] 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 13

Please read the 58th chapter of Isaiah carefully. If there were no more light given us, this Scripture would be sufficient to lead us in straight paths. Read it with eternity in view, and may the Lord give you understanding. Each one has a work to do. My brother, consecrate yourself to God, that you may be accepted by Him as a true and faithful servant, having overcome every error, and every evil work. Do not stop where you are, but determine, by the grace of Christ, to reveal a true, noble, and Christlike character. Never give up. Hold fast to Jesus, and He will hold fast to you. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 14

“Thus saith the high and lofty One, that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth; for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him; I hid me, and was wrath, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways and will heal him; I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace, to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord, and I will heal him.” [Isaiah 57:15-19.] 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 15

These words are addressed to those who, awake to their true situation and susceptible to the influence of the Spirit of God, humble themselves before God with contrite hearts. But to those who will not heed the reproof of God, who are determined and froward, and who set themselves to go on in their own way, God can not speak peace. He cannot heal them, for they will not acknowledge that they need healing. He declares their true condition, “The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.” [Verse 20.] 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 16

Of Christ it is said, “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood, falling down to the ground.” [Luke 22:44.] We need to realize the truth of Christ’s manhood in order to appreciate the truth of the above words. It was not a make believe humanity that Christ took upon Himself. He took human nature and lived human nature. Christ worked no miracles in His own behalf. He was compassed with infirmities, but His divine nature knew what was in man. He needed not that any should testify to Him of this. The Spirit was given Him without measure, for His mission on earth demanded this. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 17

Christ’s life represents a perfect manhood. Just that which you may be, He was in human nature. He took our infirmities. He was not only made flesh, but He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. His divine attributes were withheld from relieving His soul anguish or His bodily pains. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 18

We naturally long for sympathy and fellowship in suffering, and Christ felt this longing to the depths of His being. When in His trial in Gethsemane, He asked His disciples to watch with Him. But even they did not witness His greatest agony. He fought out His soul battle alone, for when He came to see His disciples, He found them sleeping. Sorrowfully He asked, “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?” [Matthew 26:40.] Christ poured out His soul to God in an agony that He was not ashamed for His disciples to witness. They would ever afterwards call to mind that scene in Gethsemane, when their Lord bent over them, His face all marred with the bloody sweat which was caused by the agony He was enduring. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 19

Then Christ went back to pray, not now for Peter that his faith fail not, but for His own tempted, tried, agonized soul. His human nature longed to escape the final test. The mysterious cup trembled in His hand. Shall He drink it? “If it be possible,” was His agonizing prayer, “let this cup pass from me.” [Verse 39.] The sins of one human being would be sufficient to crush a finite man, but upon Christ were laid the sins of the whole world. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 20

With all his power, Satan pressed his temptations upon Christ seeking to make Him turn aside from offering Himself as an obligation to God. But Christ looked upon a world of woe, and knew that if He failed it would be lost. Shall He turn aside? No, no. An angel from heaven strengthened Him to firmly put aside the temptation, the intense desire to avoid drinking the cup. And as the wail of a lost world came up before Him, He cried in a voice full of the deepest decision, “Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.” [Luke 22:42.] 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 21

Christ conquered by divine strength, and so must every tempted soul overcome. God was with Christ in the garden of Gethsemane, and by the experience of Christ we are to learn to trust our heavenly Father; at all times and in all places we are to believe that He is tender, true, and faithful, able to keep that which is committed to His care. In the agonizing struggle of Christ, our Substitute and Surety, the Father was beside His Son, and He is beside every soul that struggles with discouragement and difficulty. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 22

My brother, gird up the loins of your mind in the stern conflict of life, for you are molding your own character for eternity. What shall it be? Day by day you may help to ruin or to save souls. Trials will come to every believer, but the record of the sufferings of Christ will help him to endure persecution for His name’s sake. Christ spoke to His disciples with reference to these things, “In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” [John 16:33.] Please read carefully the twelfth chapter of Hebrews. As Moses endured the seeing of Him who is invisible, so also will those who by faith choose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasure of sin for a season, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 23

Those who appreciate truth will realize that we are living in solemn times. We should be deeply in earnest, for the purposes and results of our lives will last through eternal ages. I present to you the necessity of seeking a higher standard. Do not think that you have lost all chance of gaining eternal life, for you have not. There is a door opened before you which no man’s opinions or actions can close. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 24

My brother, I tell you that which God has opened before me. Satan is seeking to lead you and your brothers to make shipwreck of the faith; he desires that you will place yourself where you will recklessly disregard the sanctifying truth which would perfect a Christian character in you. Do not surrender principles, and you will be safe. You have erred, but there is a remedy for you. If you repent of your sins, and forsake them, and believe in Jesus Christ as the sin pardoning Saviour, His blood will cleanse you from all sin. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 25

Study the life of Jesus, and try to be like Him. A mere theory of truth will avail you nothing. You must be purified, and made a vessel unto honor. Whatever others may say or think of you, say, Lord Jesus, Thou knowest that I love Thee. He gave His life for you, and if you will serve Him faithfully, you will be purified from every stain of sin, because Christ will abide in your heart. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 26

You may meet with those who sneer at you, because they do not know how much you love Jesus, or how much you hate any evil course. But do not be dismayed by their scorning. Is not heaven and eternal life worth living for? When you are called upon to bear humiliation, do not become discouraged. Would you not rather bear the sneers of men than risk the condemnation of God? When any one attempts to judge you, do not become angry, but remember that all judgment is committed to Jesus Christ. Keep your heart tender, sensitive, pure, clean, and holy. Do not stifle the convictions of the Holy Spirit in order to gratify a sinful, degrading lust. Do not be tempted to yield one jot or tittle of truth for worldly advantages. And always remember, my brother, that your case is not hopeless, but that in full view of the universe of heaven, you are striving for the crown of life. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 27

Do not cherish romantic ideas of religion. Many Christians are working at cross purposes with God. They tell us that they are waiting for some great work to be brought to them. They fail to discharge faithfully the plain duties of life, which seem to them uninteresting, because they cannot find a place large enough to satisfy their ambition. Day by day, they lose opportunities for showing their faithfulness to God. While waiting for some great work in which they may exercise their Christian duties, their life passes away. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 28

My brother, do not fail to discharge your daily duties with the strictest fidelity. There are no little things in moral obligations. There are really no nonessentials in the life of a Christian. God has lessons for you to learn in your daily experience. Be patient, and perform faithfully the little things of life. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 29

The life of the Son of God when upon this earth presents a great mystery of godliness, yet He paid attention to the so-called little things of this life as verily as to the greater. While He employed His power in performing mighty deeds, His lessons were beautiful in their simplicity. He called attention to the smaller things of life as objects from which important lessons may be learned. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 30

At one time Christ speaks to Martha of the common duties of life, telling her that she is not to be anxious or over troubled about the preparation of table fare, or about her household duties. Then turning to Mary, He tells her of the eternal life which should never be taken from her. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 31

Again, the Saviour is seen sitting at Jacob’s well, telling the Samaritan woman of the living water. It might seem to be a small matter, even to His disciples, for the Saviour to spend His time upon a woman of Samaria. But He reasoned more earnestly and eloquently with her than He did with kings, counsellors, or high priests. The lessons He gave to that woman have been repeated to the earth’s remotest bounds. “If thou knewest the gift of God,” He said, “and who it is that saith unto thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked him, and he would have given thee living water.” “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water, springing up unto everlasting life.” [John 4:10, 14.] O what words! how full of promise! 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 32

After Jesus had given such a manifestation of His wonderful power by feeding five thousand men besides women and children, with a few loaves and fishes, He bade His disciples gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost. He laid down the principle that there must be no improvidence, no careless waste of any good and necessary article of food. It is God’s miracle-working power that provides food from the earth for our sustenance. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 33

As Christ hung upon the cross with the tremendous weight of the sins of the world upon Him, and the words were forced from His pale and trembling lips, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” [Matthew 27:46.] He thought of His weeping mother, and commended her to John, saying, “Woman, behold thy son;” and to John He said, “Behold thy mother.” Thus He provided for her a tender heart, which would comfort her in her keen sorrow. “And from that hour, that disciple took her unto his own home.” [John 19:26, 27.] 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 34

After the resurrection of Christ, the record is that the disciples, hearing of His resurrection, came to the sepulcher, “and seeth the linen clothes lie, and the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.” [John 20:6, 7.] 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 35

Thus the little things and the great things are commingled. Attention to little things is of consequence to those who would act their part aright in this life. Bring these principles into your life and character. You may be accounted as singular by the world for doing this, but remember that God’s people are to be a peculiar people. “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” [1 Peter 2:9.] 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 36

I would say to you, be not discouraged, but trust in Christ, who is your sin pardoning Saviour. 11LtMs, Lt 106, 1896, par. 37