Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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Lt 8, 1896

Brethren in America

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

February 6, 1896

This letter is published in entirety in 1888 1493-1501. +Note

To my brethren in America:

The great office work of the Holy Spirit is thus distinctly specified by our Saviour, “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin.” [John 16:8.] Christ knew that this announcement was a wonderful truth. He was nearing the close of His ministry on this earth, and was standing in view of the cross, with a full realization of the load of guilt that must be placed upon Him as the Sin-bearer. Yet His greatest anxiety was for His disciples. He was seeking to find solace for them, and He told them, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” [Verse 7.] 11LtMs, Lt 8, 1896, par. 1

Evil had been accumulating for centuries, and could only be restrained and resisted by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fulness of divine power. Another spirit must be met; for the essence of evil was working in all ways, and the submission of man to this satanic captivity was amazing. 11LtMs, Lt 8, 1896, par. 2

Today, as in Christ’s day, Satan rules the minds of many. O that this terrible, fearful work could be discerned and resisted. Selfishness has perverted principles; selfishness has confused the senses and clouded the judgment. It seems so strange that notwithstanding all the light that is shining from God’s blessed Word, there should be such strange ideas held, such a departure from the spirit and practice of the truth. The desire to grasp large wages, with a determination to deprive others of their God-given rights, has its origin in Satan’s mind; and by their obedience to his will and way men place themselves under his banner. Little dependence can be placed in those that have been taken in this snare, unless they are thoroughly converted and renovated; for they have been leavened by wrong principles, which they could not perceive were deleterious in their effect. 11LtMs, Lt 8, 1896, par. 3

O if those in the various fields, in America and all over the world, were working according to the Bible rule, and were striving to uproot selfishness, what a work would be accomplished for the church! But sins which have from time to time been pointed out, are lying at the door of many, sins which the Lord regards as of no light character. If men would only give up their spirit of resistance to the Holy Spirit, the spirit which has long been leavening their religious experience, God’s Spirit would address itself to their hearts. It would convince of sin. What a work! But the Holy Spirit has been insulted and light has been rejected. It is possible for those who for years have been so blind to see? Is it possible that in this late stage of their resistance their eyes will be anointed? Will the voice of the Spirit of God be distinguished from the deceiving voice of the enemy? 11LtMs, Lt 8, 1896, par. 4

There are men who will soon evidence which banner they are standing under, the banner of the Prince of Life, or the banner of the prince of darkness. If they could only see these matters as they are presented to me; if they could only see that, as far as their souls are concerned, they are as men standing on the brink of a precipice, ready to slide over to the depths below, I do not think they would stand trembling on the brink another instant, if they had any regard for their salvation. 11LtMs, Lt 8, 1896, par. 5

It is not the will of God that any shall perish, but that all shall have everlasting life. O could I be assured that in the coming Conference my brethren would feel a sense of what pure principles mean to them and to all with whom they are associated, my heart would leap with joy! If those that have wandered so far from God and from true righteousness would show that the Holy Spirit was striving with them, that they were conscious of their guiltiness in departing from the Word of God, and acting as blind leaders of the blind, I should have hope. When these do awake from their paralysis, they will be overwhelmed with a sense of lost time, lost opportunities, which were given to them that they might show their appreciation of the infinite compassion of God for fallen man. 11LtMs, Lt 8, 1896, par. 6

Every soul that will accept Jesus as his personal Saviour will pant for the privilege of serving God, and will eagerly seize the opportunity to signalize his gratitude by devoting his abilities to God’s service. He will long to show his love for Jesus and for His purchased possession. He will covet toil, hardship, sacrifice. He will think it a privilege to deny self, lift the cross, and follow in Christ’s footsteps, thus showing his loyalty and love. His holy and beneficent works will testify to his conversion, and will give to the world the evidence that he is not a spurious but a true, devoted Christian. 11LtMs, Lt 8, 1896, par. 7

Men are now earnestly plying every art and trade in order to satisfy their desire for more gain. If they would use this tact and zeal and careful thoughtfulness in an effort to gain something for the Lord’s treasury, how much would be accomplished. When men who are thoroughly selfish accept Christ, they will show that they have a new heart, and instead of grasping all that they can possibly obtain to benefit themselves, instead of making bitter, stunted sacrifices for the Lord, they will cheerfully do all that they can to advance His work. The spirit of grasping, which has been so largely developed, will die, and they will heed the words of Christ, “Sell that ye have, and give alms.” [Luke 12:33.] They will work as laboriously, with zeal and energy and earnestness to build up the kingdom of God, as they have worked to obtain riches for themselves. 11LtMs, Lt 8, 1896, par. 8

I tell you the truth. We are far behind our holy religion in our conception of duty. O if those who have been blessed with such grand and solemn truth would arise and shake off the spell that has benumbed their senses and caused them to withhold from their God their true service, what would not their well-organized efforts accomplish for the salvation of souls! What a change would be seen in the principles carried out! The world, the flesh, and the devil would not blind men and women as to what constitutes pure, sacred, loyal principles. 11LtMs, Lt 8, 1896, par. 9

The Word of God appropriated is the preparation for eternal life. But men have placed such an interpretation upon this Word that it has been made meaningless. Heart and conscience have been hardened and corrupted. Brethren, in the name of Jesus I ask, Do you believe the Word of God? Are you sons and daughters of God? If you are, it is because you have been converted, and have received Christ into your soul-temple, and your minds have been brought under a new law, even the royal law of liberty. O if I could have the joyful news that the will and mind of those in Battle Creek, who have stood professedly as leaders, were emancipated from the teachings and slavery of Satan, whose captives they have been for so long, I would be willing to cross the broad Pacific to see your faces once more. But I am not anxious to see you with enfeebled perceptions and clouded minds because you have chosen darkness rather than light. 11LtMs, Lt 8, 1896, par. 10

The divine Spirit reveals its working on the human heart. When the Holy Spirit operates upon the mind, the human agent will understand the statement made by Christ, “He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you.” [John 16:14.] Subjection to the Word of God means the restoration of one’s self. Let Christ work by His Holy Spirit, and awaken you as from the dead, and carry your mind along with His. Let Him employ your faculties. He has created your every capability, that you may better honor and glorify His name. Consecrate yourself to Him, and all associated with you will see that your energies are inspired of God, that your noblest powers are called into exercise to do God’s service. The faculties once used to serve self and advance unworthy principles, once serving as members of unrighteous purposes, will be brought into captivity to Jesus Christ, and become one with the will of God. 11LtMs, Lt 8, 1896, par. 11

There is a work to be done in the churches. Young men and women must be trained and educated, and then places will be found for them in the work. You are worried and perplexed because Dr. Kellogg is gathering in disproportionately in the medical missionary work, because his work far exceeds the work done in the churches by the General Conference. What is the matter? It is plain that the light given by God has not been acted upon. Men have supplanted God’s plans by their own plans. The prosperity of the medical work is in God’s order. This work must be done; the truth must be carried to the highways and the hedges. 11LtMs, Lt 8, 1896, par. 12

But the heart of the work, the great center, has been enfeebled by the mismanagement of men who have not kept pace with their Leader. Satan has diverted their money and their capabilities into wrong channels. Their precious time has been passing into eternity. The earnest work that is now being done, the aggressive warfare that is being carried on might long ago have been just as vigorously carried on in obedience to the light of God. The whole body is sick because of mismanagement and miscalculation. 11LtMs, Lt 8, 1896, par. 13

The people to whom God has entrusted eternal interests, the depositaries of truth pregnant with eternal results, the keepers of light that this to illuminate the whole world, have lost their bearings. Has God made a mistake? Are those at the heart of the work chosen vessels that can receive the golden oil, which the heavenly messengers, represented as two olive trees, empty into the golden tubes to replenish the lamps? Are those in Battle Creek, the man and women that God has appointed to do the most solemn work ever given to mortals, in partnership with Jesus Christ in His great firm? Are those whom He has bidden to communicate light from the burning lamps to others, that the regions of darkness may hear the saving message, doing their duty? 11LtMs, Lt 8, 1896, par. 14

What are we doing? Do you believe that this is the period in which we are to labor as never before for the salvation of sinners? How much better you would have been, employed in doing this class of work, than in taking up lines of work which the Lord never set you to do. Who, I ask, in your councils, in your Foreign Missionary Board, are Christians, in heart and soul? O that every one of you could serve for a time in foreign countries! Then you would know, much better than you now do, what self-denial and self-sacrifice mean. And if you were permitted to return, you would work much more diligently, intelligently. Your nay and your yea would be spoken with a much graver burden, and with a sense of the responsibility involved. But as yet, you have not touched even the border. The indifference with which decisions are made in regard to these things is an offense to God. 11LtMs, Lt 8, 1896, par. 15

Where you are, you have every facility for work, and you know nothing about the hardship of starting the work in new fields, among a people that have scarcely any knowledge of missionary work. Workers are appointed as missionaries to these foreign fields, and then they are left to get along as best they can, while those at the heart of the work think it is very important to do something that had better be left undone. 11LtMs, Lt 8, 1896, par. 16

O if you could only once have a sense of how the Lord looks upon your course for several years past, you would hide your heads for shame! You would labor, you would deny self, that you might send all you could possibly gather to foreign fields. If you only knew what you should know, the calls of missionaries would stir every fibre of your being. How intensely you would labor; how self-denying you would be, that you might send facilities to those who must have them. Missionaries must have facilities, or else it is their duty to leave the field, for they consume their God-given strength in doing very little. 11LtMs, Lt 8, 1896, par. 17

O, if those who profess to know the truth had the Spirit of Christ, the self-sacrificing Redeemer, who gave up His riches, His splendor, His high command, and did all that a God could do to save souls, they would deny self, lift the cross, and follow Jesus. How will you who love worldly treasure answer to God in the great day of judgment for your feeble and sleepy efforts to send the truth to regions beyond? The money expended in bicycles and other needless things must be accounted for. As God’s people you should represent Jesus; but Christ is ashamed of you. My heart is pained, I can scarcely restrain my feelings, when I think how easily our people are led away from practical Christian principles to self-pleasing. As yet many of you only partially believe the truth. The Lord Jesus says, “Ye can not serve God and mammon,” and we are to live by every word that proceedeth out of His mouth. [Matthew 6:24.] How many believe His Word? 11LtMs, Lt 8, 1896, par. 18

The Lord abhors your selfish practices, and yet His hand is stretched out still. I urge you for your souls’ sake to hear my plea for those who are missionaries in foreign countries, whose hands are tied by your Nays. Satan has been working with all his powers of deception to bring matters to that pass where the way will be hedged up for the want of means in the treasury. 11LtMs, Lt 8, 1896, par. 19

Do you realize that every year thousands and thousands and ten times ten thousand souls are perishing, dying in their sins? The plagues and judgment of God are already doing their work, and souls are going to ruin because the light of truth has not been flashed upon their pathway. Do we fully believe that we are to carry the Word of God to all the world? Who believes this? “How then can they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” [Romans 10:14.] Who has faith, faith that will enable him to practice this word? Who believes it in the light which God has given? 11LtMs, Lt 8, 1896, par. 20

The Lord calls for united action. Well-organized efforts must be made to secure laborers. There are poor, honest, humble souls whom the Lord will put in your place, who have never had the opportunities you have had, and could not, because you were not worked by the Holy Spirit. We may be sure that when the Holy Spirit is poured out, those who did not receive and appreciate the early rain will not see or understand the value of the latter rain. When we are truly consecrated to God, His love will abide in our hearts by faith, and we will cheerfully do our duty, in accordance with the will of God. 11LtMs, Lt 8, 1896, par. 21

But the little interest that has been manifested in the work of God by our churches alarms me. I would ask all who have means to remember that God has entrusted this means to them to be used in the advancement of the work which Christ came to our world to do. The Lord tells every man that in the sight of God he is not the owner of what he possesses, but only a trustee. Not thine, but Mine, saith the Lord. God will call you to account for your stewardship. Whether you have one talent, or two, or five, not a farthing is to be squandered on your own selfish indulgence. Your accountability to heaven should cause you to fear and tremble. The decisions of the last day turn upon our practical benevolence. Christ acknowledges every act of beneficence as done to Himself. 11LtMs, Lt 8, 1896, par. 22