Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Lt 175, 1896

Durland, Brother and Sister

Sunnyside, Cooranbong, Australia

March 26, 1896

Portions of this letter are published in 1BC 1089; 5BC 1086; 7MR 367. +Note

Dear Brother and Sister Durland:

I have something to say to our people in Michigan. If we can arouse their moral sensibilities upon the subject of temperance, a great victory will be gained. Temperance in all the things of this life is to be taught and practiced in our churches. You are far behind on this important subject. When those who minister in word and doctrine take a right position on this point, much will be gained. This is the great need in Michigan. 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 1

Temperance in eating, drinking, sleeping, and dressing is one of the grand principles of the religious life. Truth brought into the sanctuary of the soul will guide in the treatment of the body. Nothing that concerns the health of the human agent is to be regarded with indifference. Our eternal welfare depends upon the use we make during this life of our time, strength, and influence. 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 2

“When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee; and put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties; for they are deceitful meat. Labor not to be rich; cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; and they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. Eat thou not the bread of him who hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats; for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he; eat and drink, saith he to thee; for his heart is not with thee. The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.” [Proverbs 23:1-8.] 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 3

Eating the rich food generally placed upon the rich man’s table may gratify the taste, but there is danger that by so doing, the entire being will be perverted. “Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way. Be not among wine bibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: for the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.” [Verses 19-21.] Here the drunkard, the indolent, and the glutton are classed together. 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 4

The principles which we should follow are specified in God’s Word. The apostle Paul asks, “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] We should eat and drink in order to nourish the body, to give it strength, that God may be honored and glorified. We are under special accountability to God to strictly guard the appetite, that it may not be gratified at the expense of health. 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 5

“Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” [1 Corinthians 10:31.] This means that every propensity is to be strictly guarded. The body is to be brought as a pure offering to God. 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 6

The relation of the human organism to the spiritual life is the most important branch of education, and it is to receive careful attention in our schools, that students may know how to treat the body intelligently, from a Christian standpoint. The Lord has shown how much value He places upon man by paying such a wonderful price for his redemption. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] We are the Lord’s by creation and by redemption. 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 7

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” [Philippians 2:12, 13.] The soul that is imbued with the love of Christ is one with Him. Christ is formed within, the hope of glory. But the co-operation of divine and human forces is necessary for the formation of right principles in the character. No man can work out his own salvation without the aid of the Holy Spirit. Man is to make the most strenuous efforts to overcome the tempter, to subdue natural passions; but he is wholly dependent upon God for success in the work of overcoming the propensities that are not in harmony with correct principles. 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 8

The Holy Spirit presents before men the agencies provided for his transformation. If he heeds the words of Christ, “He that will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me,” he will receive help from heavenly intelligences. [Mark 8:34.] God has provided help for all who will conform to the conditions laid down. It is a work of co-partnership, a joint operation, and our success depends wholly on our willing obedience to the will and way of God. Our character develops in accordance with our conformity to the divine plan. 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 9

God is the Author of our being, and of our healthful development in mental and physical lines. But man is not to leave all the work with God. He is to use the machinery and facilities God has provided. In order to do this, he must understand the organs of his body, and know how to treat them. He must understand how to use his physical and mental powers. This is essential for the development of the human structure. Every part of the living machinery needs diligent culture. 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 10

Instruction in these lines should be given in the home and in the school. Parents and teachers should take hold of this work decidedly. Care should be taken that the system is not injured by continual use of the mental organs, while the physical organs are left to become feeble and diseased because of inaction. Harmonious action is necessary for the perfect working of the machinery God has made. 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 11

It is necessary that there be co-operation between God and man. God has provided facilities with which to enrich and beautify the earth. But the strength and ingenuity of human agencies are required to make the best use of the material. God has filled the earth with treasure. But the gold and silver are hidden in the earth, and the exercise of man’s powers is required to secure the treasure. It is the Creator’s design that the beings He has formed shall exercise their ingenuity in using the faculties He has provided. Man’s energy and tact is to be used in connection with the power of God in bringing the gold and silver from the mines and trees from the forest. These trees may be skillfully fashioned into beautiful temples for God, that those who love Him may have a place in which to worship Him. But unless by His merciful, miracle-working power God co-operated with man, enabling him to use his physical and mental faculties in the work, the treasures in our world would be useless. 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 12

God desires every human being in our world to be a worker together with him. This is the experience we are to gain from all useful employment, making homes in the forest, felling trees to build houses, clearing land for cultivation. God has provided the wood and the land, and to man He has given the work of putting them in such shape that they will be a blessing. In his work man is wholly dependent on God. The fitting of the ships that cross the broad ocean is not alone due to the talent and ingenuity of the human agent. God is the great Architect. Without His co-operation, without the aid of the higher intelligences, how worthless would be the plans of men. God must aid, else every device and plan is worthless. 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 13

We cannot keep ourselves for one moment. We are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. We are utterly dependent upon God every moment of our lives. 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 14

How did man gain his knowledge of how to devise? From the Lord, by studying the formation and habits of different animals. Every animal is a lesson book, and form the use they make of their bodies and the weapons provided them, men have learned to make apparatus for every kind of work. If men could only know how many arts have been lost to our world, they would not talk so fluently of the dark ages. Could they have seen how God once worked through His human subjects, they would speak with less confidence of the arts of the antediluvian world. 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 15

More was lost in the flood, in many ways, than men today know. Looking upon the world, God saw that the intellect He had given man was perverted, that the imagination of his heart was evil and that continually. God had given these men knowledge. He had given them valuable ideas, that they might carry out His plan. But the Lord saw that those whom He designed should possess wisdom, tact, and judgment, were using every quality of the mind to glorify self. By the waters of the flood, He blotted this long-lived race from the earth, and with them perished the knowledge they had used only for evil. When the earth was re-peopled, the Lord trusted His wisdom more sparingly to men, giving them only the ability they would need in carrying out His great plan. 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 16

My dear friends, you must reach a much higher standard. When dealing with the duties and destinies of human life, you need to examine yourselves closely, to see whether you are in the faith. Study the lessons of Christ. His discourses are full of divine truth. In His sermon on the mount He said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasure upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust doth not corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye. If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness.” [Matthew 6:19-23.] 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 17

The teacher of truth must see eye to eye with Christ. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith: who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” [Hebrews 12:1-4.] 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 18

“No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment. Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” [Matthew 6:24-26.] 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 19

Christ here tells us that we have a heavenly Father who knows all our necessities. We need to do the work before us with an eye single to the glory of God. When men and women are constantly worrying about what to eat and drink and wear, they leave God out of their reckoning. They do not go to God as to a tender heavenly Father, who is able and willing to supply their necessities. 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 20

The question is asked, “Is not the life more than meat and the body than raiment?” [Verse 25.] He who formed the wonderful structure of the body will take special care to keep it in order if men do not work at cross purposes with Him. Life is a holy trust, which God alone can enable us to keep. We have a higher work to do than to spend our time wondering what we shall eat and drink, and wherewithal we shall be clothed. He who created man, who gave him his wonderful physical, mental, and spiritual faculties will surely not withhold what is necessary to keep the life He has given. 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 21

“Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” [Verses 27-29.] The great Master Artist calls our attention to the soul-less flowers of the field, pointing out the beautiful tints and the wonderful variety of shades one flower may possess. Thus God has revealed His skill and care. Thus He would show the great love He has for every human being. 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 22

Every flower is an expression of the love of God. From them parents may teach their children precious lessons of trust. Point the children to the wonderful artistic skill of the great Master Artist, and then tell them of His care for them. The smallest bird is cared for. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without the notice of your heavenly Father. How much more will He care for His children. Let us learn the lesson of perfect trust in God. “If God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take not thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness: and all these things shall be added unto you.” [Verses 30-33.] 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 23

The great and infinite God says to us, Ye are my husbandry: ye are my building. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” [1 Corinthians 3:9, 16, 17.] 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 24

We have a solemn, serious work before us—that of watching for souls as they that must give an account. “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord, when he shall return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching. Verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. ... Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season. Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” [Luke 12:35-37, 42, 43.] 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 25

May the Lord help His people to gather up the divine rays of light, and let this light into the home and the church. True greatness does not depend upon position, but upon purity, fidelity. Our worthiness is not found in self, but in Christ. We are estimated by our faith in the Saviour, by the truth and rectitude of our lives. Be clothed with humility. Shun the perils of self-exaltation. God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. The ministers of Christ should consecrate their lives to his service, revealing his character in the beauty of holiness. 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 26

[February 7, 1899

While looking over my writing in search of an article, I came across this letter. I send it now; for I have been instructed to gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost. I am gathering up from my writings many things that I knew not had been overlooked. I send this now to you.] 11LtMs, Lt 175, 1896, par. 27