Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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Lt 32, 1896

Hughes, Brother and Sister

“Sunnyside,” Avondale, New South Wales, Australia

March 7, 1896

Portions of this letter are published in AH 416-417; 6MR 262; CTr 343. +Note

Dear Brother and Sister Hughes:

I am awakened at one o’clock. The Lord has laid open before me your perilous situation as a family, and has given me a message for you. Should the Saviour come in the clouds of heaven, not one in your family could meet Him with the assuring words, “This is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us.” [Isaiah 25:9.] Light has been given you before, but your moral courage has been too feeble to rise and meet the emergency. You desire to have things different, but you have not the moral courage to take up your long-neglected duties, and set things in order. 11LtMs, Lt 32, 1896, par. 1

Brother and Sister Hughes, you love your children, but your love has been but human, in nothing resembling the love of Christ. Parents are under a most solemn obligation to train their children in the way of the Lord, but your children are almost wholly left to follow their own impulses, and instead of being controlled by you, they rule you. As they act toward you, so do they act toward God. Their love is not genuine, for they are allowed to be disrespectful, disobedient, unthankful, and unholy. 11LtMs, Lt 32, 1896, par. 2

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” [2 Corinthians 5:17.] Brother Hughes, the converting power of God must come into your home. Rise in the name of God, for He calls upon you, “Go, work today in my vineyard.” [Matthew 21:28.] Often you have tried, but your efforts have only been halfway. You know the truth, but you do not practice it. As you now stand, you are unconverted and unsanctified. The ploughshare of truth must go deeper into your mind and heart than it has yet done. You have assented to the truth, Brother Hughes, but do you love it well enough to make self-sacrifice for it? Do you love Jesus well enough to deny yourself for Him? The use of tobacco is your cherished idol, and it is a barrier to you in your Christian life. Will you cling to this idol till the case of every soul is decided, and you are left shipwrecked, as it were, without God and without hope in this world? 11LtMs, Lt 32, 1896, par. 3

You need to come to Jesus just as you are, asking Him to forgive you for wasting your life, for following your own way, for doing your own will and not walking in the light. “Walk in the light while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you.” [John 12:35.] How long do you purpose to place your idol tobacco before your Saviour? How long will you keep yourself aloof from the church because you are not ready to yield up a hurtful, sinful indulgence? You know the truth, but you do not receive it into your inmost life; therefore it is impossible for you to assert your God-given freedom from the slavery of hurtful habit. Only by having a faith that works by love and purifies the soul can you obtain relief from sin. When by faith we appropriate the truth, it exercises a transforming influence upon the life and character. The truth must not only be accepted by the intellect, but must be brought into the inmost recesses of the heart, that the Holy Spirit may give it a living power. 11LtMs, Lt 32, 1896, par. 4

When the truths of the Bible are brought before you, you feel assured that you would not have denied Christ as did Peter; but you do not discern that unless your present position changes, you are now denying Him. The current of your life must change; no cowardice or fickleness must appear in your character. When in the name of the Lord you say, I will receive Jesus as my Saviour, you will be no longer weak. If you will come to Him, and in penitence and faith ask Him to strengthen your will to resist temptation, He will give you power to overcome the habit which now holds you in slavery. Co-operating with God, you will gain power to expel the use of tobacco; your will will be strengthened, and you will gain moral courage to take your position for God and for heaven. 11LtMs, Lt 32, 1896, par. 5

If you believe that Christ died for you, you will realize that you have been bought with a price; you will see that you are of value in the sight of God, and you will not permit any selfish practice to come between you and Jesus. You will fully consecrate yourself to the service of God. Brother Hughes, you are an intelligent man upon other subjects, but you are making a most vital mistake in neglecting the great salvation presented to you. By your attitude you refuse the light brought to you. Knowing the truth, you do not practice it. 11LtMs, Lt 32, 1896, par. 6

My brother and sister, you must give an account to God for the long years during which you have refused to serve the Lord with full purpose of heart. As parents, you need to rise in the name and strength of the Lord and take up your long-neglected duties. You need to say to some purpose, I think I see where I have failed. I have not corrected evils in my children, and therefore they will not respect me. Without delay I will seek God; I will no longer walk in my own way, but I will walk according to the way of the Lord. 11LtMs, Lt 32, 1896, par. 7

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” [Matthew 6:33.] Is this your object in life? All things needful cluster round this great and glorious point—the kingdom of God. Your only object being to amuse yourself, you will make shipwreck of your faith. Kneel before God just as you are, and say, I bring to Thee my soul which Thou hast purchased. Had I improved my opportunities, I should not now be dwarfed in religious experience. But I have wasted my opportunities. Wilt Thou pardon me for spurning Thy love? Wilt Thou give me strength to war the good warfare in Thy name? 11LtMs, Lt 32, 1896, par. 8

God has enjoined upon parents to teach their children the commandments of God. When parents neglect this work, and permit their children to care more for their own pleasure than for the Word of God, they themselves dishonor God and transgress His law. No child is to be allowed to rule in the house, but parents are to teach their children to do justice and judgment, and to keep the way of the Lord. But your children know not how to reverence or even respect the truth, and they never will unless they turn from fictitious reading—the idol to which they have given soul and body. They keep their minds intoxicated with this reading; it is the god they worship; and while they continue this practice, they are just as much intoxicated as any drunkard. 11LtMs, Lt 32, 1896, par. 9

Children, I have a message for you. You are now deciding your future destiny, and your character building is of that kind which will exclude you from the Paradise of God. The eldest daughter is an exception, but the atmosphere of the home will not help her to perfect a Christian character and become complete in Christ. How sad it is for Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, to look upon a family where the children have no love for God, no respect for the Word of God, but are all absorbed in reading story books. The time occupied in this way robs you of a desire to become effective in household duties; it disqualifies you to stand at the head of a family, and, if continued, it will entangle you more and more closely in Satan’s snare. 11LtMs, Lt 32, 1896, par. 10

Brother and Sister Hughes, the life of your son is almost ruined by the management he has received ever since he was born. You may learn this lesson from nature. Leave a piece of ground uncultivated, and it will bring forth only briars and unsightly weeds. Your son has been left to do just as he pleased, and he has not that education and discipline that he should have. 11LtMs, Lt 32, 1896, par. 11

God has placed a high estimate upon the human soul by giving the life of his only begotten Son that all might be saved. Individually we belong to the Lord by creation and by redemption. You have been bought with a price, even the precious blood of the Son of God. Each member of this family must render an account to God for their own souls, which they have treated so indifferently, caring not to reach the perfection of the Christian character, but choosing instead to follow their own selfish, undisciplined way. 11LtMs, Lt 32, 1896, par. 12

I call upon these blood-bought souls, Awake to your eternal interests, and pass not your time in self-pleasing, which yields no real happiness. God has given you a probation in which to prepare for eternity but you are bringing into your character-building wood, hay and stubble—nothing, absolutely nothing by which God will be glorified. He has given every human being a work to do for Him, and every hour you spend in serving self is lost for eternity. “Yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” [Hebrews 10:37.] What record will you meet in the judgment? What account will you render of the time given you in which to serve God? 11LtMs, Lt 32, 1896, par. 13

What will the books of God reveal, children, in regard to the treatment you have given your mother? What words have you spoken to her that you will not be pleased to meet when the judgment shall sit, and every one shall be judged according to the deeds done in this life? In treating your parents disrespectfully, remember that you are dishonoring your Maker. He has borne long with your perversity, but He now requires that your life shall be very different from what it has been. The message, “Go, labor today in my vineyard” [Matthew 21:28], has been given you again and again, but by precept and example, you refuse to go. An atmosphere surrounds you that diverts the minds of those with whom you associate from God and heaven. 11LtMs, Lt 32, 1896, par. 14

God calls upon you to turn to Him with full purpose of heart. “Today, if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” [Hebrews 3:7.] It is not yet too late for you to choose to do the will of God. If you will hear His voice, if you will lay aside your life of inactivity and idleness, Christ will receive you just as you are. Too long you have trifled with your soul’s eternal interest, too long you have neglected the great salvation provided for you, too long you have put yourself on the side of the enemy. Will you not now consider how it is with your souls? 11LtMs, Lt 32, 1896, par. 15

Although Christ has done everything on His part, this will not save you unless you perform your part by co-operating with God. Yield up those practices which are a willful denial of Christ, and which, if persisted in, will cost you your soul. You are helping one another to resist every overture of mercy. You are educating yourselves to have cheap thoughts, and to be frivolous and irreligious. By refusing to give God your hearts’ best and holiest affections, you are cheating Him of what rightly belongs to Him. You cannot afford to meet the results of this course of action in the judgment. God calls upon you to turn to Him before it be everlastingly too late. 11LtMs, Lt 32, 1896, par. 16

Dear children, you are not bringing piety into your lives. The time will come when you will realize what you have lost, but you will not realize in time, unless you cease filling your minds with chaff. Some of the books you read contain excellent principles, but you read only to get the story. If you would gather from the books you read that which would help you in the formation of your character, your reading would do you some good. But as you take up your books and peruse page after page of them, do you ask yourself, What is my object in reading? Am I seeking to gain substantial knowledge? You cannot build a right character by bringing to the foundation wood, hay, and stubble. In the past you have done so little for God that you have not the courage and educated ability to work acceptably. But must your life forever be dwarfed? God loves you, and He longs to receive you as His children. “Come unto me,” He says, “and I will give you rest.” [Matthew 11:28.] 11LtMs, Lt 32, 1896, par. 17

The language spoken in many homes is a great reproach to the parents who allow such words to be uttered, and daughters who can speak to their parents, as you have done to yours, place themselves where they will sink lower and lower in the scale of rectitude and moral value. Rightly used, the gift of speech is a wonderful blessing; its power for good cannot be estimated; misused, it is a curse to humanity and a dishonor to God. Speech is the means by which thought is expressed, and a mind under the molding influence of the Spirit of God will speak words of tender sympathy; a love for that which is good will be awakened in the heart, and the thoughts will flow out in words. But those who permit themselves to be controlled by satanic agencies will rail against all good in language of unrestrained passion. 11LtMs, Lt 32, 1896, par. 18

I have heard language from you which was nothing less than profanity. When a child curses its parents, it curses God. You have allowed your tongue to have free rein, and have not cultivated the attributes of Christ, our Pattern in all things. Every word you speak is heard and recorded by the Majesty of heaven, who has said, “By your words ye shall be justified, and by them condemned.” [Matthew 12:37.] Could your eyes be opened, could you see the heavenly watcher by your side listening to the words you utter, you would control your tongue, for you would realize that you were speaking these shameful, wicked words before the whole universe. 11LtMs, Lt 32, 1896, par. 19

You have a most serious account to render to God, children, for you have openly transgressed His commandments, especially the fifth. A blessing is pronounced upon those who honor their father and mother, but you do not respect or obey your parents. You belong to God by creation and redemption, and He would have you curb your unruly tongue. I call upon you, if you have any regard for yourself, for your happiness, if you want peace, if you wish to be elevated and ennobled, Stop; do not go one step further in your course of rebellion, for you are running up a terrible account. Do not, like the rebellious Jews, close your eyes and your ears lest you see and hear and be converted, for in proportion as you reject the light, will you reap a harvest of sorrow. 11LtMs, Lt 32, 1896, par. 20