Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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Lt 61, 1896

Lane, Sands

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, Australia

April 12, 1896

Portions of this letter are published in Ev 209-210, 494; VSS 274-275.

Dear Brother:

There has been a great burden on my soul during the past night. Some things have been presented before me. I have a message to you, my brother. You need to seek the Lord with all your heart. You are placed where you need to have clear discernment. The mission work is in need of greater ability than you have given it. 11LtMs, Lt 61, 1896, par. 1

“The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers.” [1 Peter 3:12.] You should have more care and tender sympathy for the workers. Bring thoughtfulness, caretaking into your work. There is danger that the women connected with the work will be required to labor too hard, without proper periods of rest. Such severe taxation should not be brought upon the workers. Some will not injure themselves, but others, who are conscientious, will certainly overwork. Periods of rest are necessary for all, especially women. God thought best to make provision for them to have rest at certain taxing periods. 11LtMs, Lt 61, 1896, par. 2

It will be necessary for you to cherish the most tender sympathy. You will become coarse and rough unless you learn your lessons at the feet of Christ, becoming meek and lowly in heart. Put no confidence in self. This you are in danger of doing. Put your entire dependence upon God. Have special seasons for closely examining yourself by the Word of God. Hide in Jesus Christ, I pray you. 11LtMs, Lt 61, 1896, par. 3

My brother, you need to examine more closely the discourses you present to the people. The object of your ministerial labors is not to amuse. It is not to convey information alone, not merely to convince the intellect. The preaching of the Word should appeal to the intellect and impart knowledge, but it comprises much more than this. The heart of the minister must reach the hearts of the hearers. You have adopted a style of preaching that does not have a right influence. It has become a habit with you to cheapen your discourses by the relating of anecdotes. The impression thus made upon the hearers is not a savor of life unto life. You should not bring amusing stories into your preaching. You need, and the people need, pure provender, thoroughly winnowed from all that is not food. “Preach the word,” was the charge that Paul gave to Timothy, and this is your commission. [2 Timothy 4:2.] 11LtMs, Lt 61, 1896, par. 4

Years ago, in speaking to ministers, I dwelt upon this subject in your presence. The minister is using strange fire when he mixes storytelling with his discourses. This habit should not be perpetuated. My brother, you believe the truth, you love the truth, and you are not too old to improve. You are required by our Saviour to take heed how you witness for Him. You need to go deeper, and deeper, and still deeper in the study of the Word. You have men of all classes of minds to meet, and as you deal with the sacred Word, you should manifest earnestness, respect, reverence. Let not the impression be made upon any mind that you are a cheap, surface speaker. Weed out storytelling from your discourses. Preach the Word. You would have had more sheaves to bring to the Master if you had constantly preached the Word. 11LtMs, Lt 61, 1896, par. 5

You little understand the soul’s great need and longing. Some are wrestling with doubt, almost in despair, almost hopeless. You need to understand the fourth chapter of Zechariah. The two olive trees that stand in the presence of God empty, through the two golden pipes, the golden oil out of themselves into the golden bowl, from which the lamps of the sanctuary are fed. The golden oil represents the Holy Spirit. This the heavenly messengers impart to the preachers of the Word. The ministers of righteousness are to be continually replenished, that they in turn may impart to the church, giving it greater strength and efficiency. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Verse 6.] The Lord’s servants can obtain victories, not by mere outward manifestations, but by inward purity, by cleanness of soul, heart piety, by holiness, which is wholeness to God. They are dependent upon the grace of God, represented by the holy oil emptied from the olive trees through the golden pipes into the golden bowl of the candlestick. 11LtMs, Lt 61, 1896, par. 6

What can I say that shall make upon our ministers an impression never to be forgotten? The angels are present in the assembly where the Word of God is preached. If this fact could be riveted in the mind of the speaker, with what awe would he give utterance to the truth of God’s Word. Nothing is as precious in the sight of God as His church. There is nothing regarded with such jealous care. God is offended when His representatives descend to the use of cheap, trifling words. The cause of truth is dishonored. Men judge of the whole ministry by the man whom they hear, and the enemies of the truth will make the most of his errors. 11LtMs, Lt 61, 1896, par. 7

All who preach the Word should be in close fellowship with Jesus Christ. All who assume the sacred responsibility of being mouthpiece for God should be sure that they do preach the Word. They should give evidence that they have the inward adorning, the graces of the Holy Spirit. Christ loves His human agents who honor Him. His love will not cause weakness of character. He gave His own life to ransom us. And when the Lord God gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life, He withheld nothing from His purchased possession. He gave all heaven, from which we can draw strength and efficiency, that we not be repulsed or overcome by the enemy. He will furnish all needful help; but He will not connive at man’s sins, or excuse his defects of character. He expects us to overcome through His name. Only through faithfulness can we expect to enjoy the favor of God. 11LtMs, Lt 61, 1896, par. 8

Of those who minister in word and doctrine, the Lord Jesus requires wholehearted service. They are required to be the representatives of Christ, the heavenly Branch. Light and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit will surely be revealed. O how entirely out of place is pride and vainglory and self-esteem in those that preach the Word, and yet this is common. 11LtMs, Lt 61, 1896, par. 9

Let every minister bear in mind that he has the highest heavenly intelligences in his audience. Let every discourse be short. Grasp the great, forcible points. Bring the truth home to the heart; but keep your stories to yourself. The people are not soul-hungry for these, but they want the bread of life, the Word that liveth and abideth forever. What is the chaff to the wheat? 11LtMs, Lt 61, 1896, par. 10

Remember that in your audience are those who are constantly harassed by temptation, yet they meet temptation with a determination to conquer. They are wrestling with the adversary of souls. Preach the Word. Dwell upon the Word. Then the Master may speak to your softened, humble heart words that will enter into other hearts, and strengthen them for the conflict. O, let those who minister in this sacred, holy calling be all that is possible, to elevate, ennoble, refine, purify the imperfect character. But let not the imperfection of finite men be woven into the service of the ministry. The gospel must stand out in its elevated, sacred character. 11LtMs, Lt 61, 1896, par. 11

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom: Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachers having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. ... Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” [2 Timothy 4:1-6, 8.] 11LtMs, Lt 61, 1896, par. 12