Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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Lt 6, 1896

Brethren Who Occupy Responsible Positions in the Work

Avondale, Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

January 16, 1896

This letter is published in entirety in 1888 1476-1486. +Note

Dear Brethren who occupy Responsible Positions in the Work:

The Lord has a controversy with you. I have no need to specify the reason; you have had them laid open before you again and again. The clean hands, the pure, unselfish, holy purposes have not been brought into your practice, and the benediction of God has not come upon many of those who handle sacred things. The lifting up of the soul and speaking vanity, and the lifting up of men to manage their fellow men, body and soul, is all open before God, with whom we have to do. There is no man or set of men that can manage men. “All ye are brethren.” [Matthew 23:8.] The Holy Spirit of God alone can do this. When you, because of your position, supposed you could say the word, and it would be done just after your idea, you made a mistake. Truth, honor, and integrity have been compromised to gain certain advantages. Justice hath fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. 11LtMs, Lt 6, 1896, par. 1

Religious principles have been corrupted. We will either make more pure, noble, and holy principles held by God’s heritage, or else we will mislead by false proposition, unholy schemes, saying, “The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we.” [Jeremiah 7:4.] The work and cause of the Lord is sacred. There is to be no mingling of human, common, unholy fire with God’s offering. This has been and is still being done. But men are blind, and see not the result of their zealous efforts. The question is, Shall those who are called from place to place act a part in the sacred work of God, use the fire of God’s own kindling, or shall they use the common fire, of which not one spark should be used, to kindle the incense upon the censers which are offered to God. 11LtMs, Lt 6, 1896, par. 2

The spirit which was manifested to the believers by those who established the work in Battle Creek, led them to understand that there was no hidden closet. All was open and clear as the light of day. But the Lord’s holy purpose has been grieved. Heaven has manifested its purpose to impart power to those who believe; and the Holy Spirit has been revealed. “He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered, and said unto him, if a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” [John 14:21-24.] 11LtMs, Lt 6, 1896, par. 3

Obedience is the first price of eternal life. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” [Verse 26.] This is the work of the Holy Spirit. The Comforter is to reveal Himself, not in any specified, precise way that man may mark out, but in the order of God; in unexpected times and ways that will honor His own name. Those who are unbelieving do not receive the richest endowment of grace, which would make them wise unto salvation, patient, forbearing, quick of perception to appreciate heavenly ministrations, quick to discern Satan’s devices, and strong to resist him. God cannot do His mighty works for them because of their unbelief. 11LtMs, Lt 6, 1896, par. 4

Now, just now, is our day of mercy and salvation. The Lord God who dwelleth in the holy place, sees every soul that shows contempt for the manifestations of His Holy Spirit. God has revealed Himself again and again in a most marked manner in Battle Creek. He has given a large measure of His Holy Spirit to the believers there. It has come unexpectedly at times, and there have been deep movings upon hearts and minds, a letting go of selfish purposes, and a bringing into the treasury many things that you were convicted God had forbidden you to have. This blessing extended to large numbers, but why was not this sweet, holy working continued upon hearts and minds? Some felt annoyed at this outpouring, and their own natural dispositions were manifested. They said, This is only excitement; it is not the Holy Spirit, not showers from heaven of the latter rain. There were hearts full of unbelief, who did not drink in of the Spirit, but who had bitterness in their souls. 11LtMs, Lt 6, 1896, par. 5

On many occasions the Holy Spirit did work, but those who resisted the Spirit of God at Minneapolis were waiting for a chance to travel over the same ground again, because their spirit was the same. Afterward, when they had evidence heaped upon evidence, some were convicted, but those who were not softened and subdued by the Holy Spirit’s working, put their own interpretation upon every manifestation of the grace of God, and they have lost much. They pronounced in their heart and soul and words that this manifestation of the Holy Spirit was fanaticism and delusion. They stood like a rock, the waves of mercy flowing upon and around them, but beaten back by their hard and wicked hearts, which resisted the Holy Spirit’s working. 11LtMs, Lt 6, 1896, par. 6

Had this been received, it would have made them wise unto salvation; holier men, prepared to do the work of God with sanctified ability. But all the universe of heaven witnessed the disgraceful treatment of Jesus Christ, represented by the Holy Spirit. Had Christ been before them, they would have treated Him in a manner similar to that in which the Jews treated Christ. 11LtMs, Lt 6, 1896, par. 7

What moved the people at Battle Creek when they humbled their hearts before God and cast away their idols? In the days of Christ, when He proclaimed His mission, all bare witness, and wondered at the gracious words that proceeded out of His mouth. But the unbelief whispered by Satan began to work, and they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” When the Lord Jesus perceived their questioning unbelief, and saw that His gracious words were fading from their minds, He said unto them, “Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself. Whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.” Then Christ stated facts to them, and said, “Verily, I say unto you, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; but unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman which was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel, in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.” [Luke 4:22, 23, 25-27.] 11LtMs, Lt 6, 1896, par. 8

The Jews considered that this was spoken against them, and that those of a heathen nation should be represented as favored by God before the [Jewish] nation, was a statement that should not be tolerated, “and all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.” [Verses 28, 29.] While they were contending among themselves, Christ passed through the midst of them, and went on His way. Certainly this was one of the places where Christ could not do many mighty works because of their unbelief. 11LtMs, Lt 6, 1896, par. 9

The very same spirit has been manifested in Battle Creek. Those who opened the door of their hearts to temptation at Minneapolis, and carried the same spirit home with them, will realize, if not now, in the near future, that they resisted the Holy Spirit of God, and did despite to the Spirit of grace. Will they repent, or will they harden their hearts, and resist evidence? 11LtMs, Lt 6, 1896, par. 10

There is much that needs to be set in order in every institution that is in operation in our world. Finite men are not to make themselves lords, and seek to govern men’s minds and principles, when their own minds and their own principles are very shaky. This uncertainty is being communicated to the churches by men in prominent positions. Unbelief goes in the very atmosphere. Everything is to be shaken that can be shaken, that those things that cannot be shaken may remain. 11LtMs, Lt 6, 1896, par. 11

All who truly love Jesus Christ will now stand enlisted under His banner, eager to magnify His name and accomplish His will. Every opportunity is given in an open field for the manifestation of love and loyalty. There is nothing that Christ hungers and thirsts for so much as whole hearted disciples, possessing His love and gentleness. Who, I ask, will in those days of approaching peril, when the faith of everyone is to be severely tested, comprehend through the Holy Spirit’s teaching the design of God to win all the ability, all the God-entrusted endowments of Christ, to the service of the Prince of Peace? Who will extend the work of God to all places where they are ignorant of the light? 11LtMs, Lt 6, 1896, par. 12

In the cities of America, as well as in foreign countries, a great work is to be done. God calls for cheerful co-workers, and they are not to be repressed, discouraged, and disheartened by counter-working agencies, who themselves refuse to be worked by the Holy Spirit of God. God’s ministers are in service to God. 11LtMs, Lt 6, 1896, par. 13

There are large numbers willing to devote their time to home missionary work if they see that it is pleasant and agreeable to them. They wait for something to do and work to be brought to them, but they lose physical, mental, and moral efficiency in so doing. In every neighborhood, consecrated ability will do much in personal effort, but let not men prescribe for their brethren according to their ideas. Let the oppression of human minds forever cease, and let the Holy Spirit have a chance to work. Let all who can read and discern the signs of the times, know that Christ is nigh, even at the door. Let love for God and Christ grow daily, and let love for your brethren be without dissimulation. Let faith be in constant use. Believe God because He is God. Put your human, world loving spirit under the molding of the Spirit of God. The question is asked, “When the Lord cometh will he find faith on the earth?” [See Luke 18:8.] Faith, then, has become almost extinct. 11LtMs, Lt 6, 1896, par. 14

One of the dangers to which God’s people will be exposed is this: The delusions that are coming upon a world that has turned from the truth. These will be of such deceptive power, that the apostle, under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, declares, “If it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” [Matthew 24:24.] Our work now is to confirm our souls in the faith—that faith which is a working faith, which works by love and purifies the soul. Faith—living, active, working faith—we must have. Christ demands this of us. Verily Christ hath need of us now to represent Him. Not the cold, harsh, denunciatory, overbearing and ruling power of the prince of darkness. 11LtMs, Lt 6, 1896, par. 15

Those who are Christ’s friends will now do whatsoever He commands them. Stand, therefore, having on the whole armor, and having done all, to stand. Let the soul temple be cleansed of prejudice, of that root of bitterness, [and] hatred, whereby many are being defiled. Cling to the mighty one. Communicate to others light, with cheerful words, and with courage in the Lord. Labor to diffuse that faith and confidence that has been your own consolation. 11LtMs, Lt 6, 1896, par. 16

Let it be heard from every lip and voice, “Here is the patience of the saints, here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” [Revelation 14:12; 16:15; 19:7, 8.] 11LtMs, Lt 6, 1896, par. 17

Some have been and are still refusing to put on the wedding garment. They still wear their citizen’s dress, and despise the garment woven in the loom of heaven, which is, “Christ our Righteousness.” “And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” [Verse 9.] Who are friends of Christ today? Do you feel an intense desire for the robe of Christ’s righteousness? Are you sensible of the filthy rags of your own righteousness? Then let the truth come into your practical life. If you are friends of Christ, show it in words, in spirit; manifest love to Jesus, and love for the souls for whom Christ hath died. 11LtMs, Lt 6, 1896, par. 18

The sentiments of truth are the elements that constitute a symmetrical Christian character. We are far, far from being Christians, which is to be Christlike. We need the Holy Spirit’s efficiency. God lives and reigns. The very reason that the Holy Spirit’s manifestations were not accepted as precious tokens from God, is that there was not a receiving of the grace of God. The Spirit of the Lord has been upon His messengers whom He hath sent with light, precious light; but there were so many who had turned their face away from the Sun of Righteousness that they saw not its bright beams. The Lord says of them, They have turned their backs to Me, and not the face. There is need of seeking the Lord most earnestly. 11LtMs, Lt 6, 1896, par. 19

I tell you, my brethren, the American Sentinel should not have become what it has. Scathing remarks are made with pen and voice that cannot reach hearts. The bitterest opponents of truth have not had the light we have had; and after years professing to know God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent, there are many who are not in 1895, wise as serpents and harmless as doves. They are so ready to put on the war dress and show themselves. They do not know what the voice of invitation means, “Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:29.] 11LtMs, Lt 6, 1896, par. 20

Crowd the Sentinel with straightforward truth. Keep out your thrusts, for you dishonor God in making this showing. Let there be a humiliation of soul before God. This lording over God’s heritage as though the endowment of the talents of the mind, the soul, the principles of men are to be under the jurisdiction of men, is permeating our churches with a spirit after the same order. There are many getting where the Lord can do nothing for them. They will not recognize the spirit or voice of God, but treat His words as idle tales. Many have breathed the atmosphere that has surrounded the souls of men in positions of trust, who have not only thought in their hearts but expressed with their lips, “My Lord delayeth His coming,” and their acts reveal the sentiment. [Matthew 24:48, 49.] 11LtMs, Lt 6, 1896, par. 21

Who will now understand these things that I write? There are men who have known the truth, who have feasted upon the truth, who are now divided between infidel sentiments. There is only a step between them and the precipice of eternal ruin. The Lord is coming, but those who ventured to resist the light that God gave in rich measure at Minneapolis, who have not humbled their hearts before God, will follow on in the path of resistance, saying, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice?” [Exodus 5:2.] The banner all will bear who voice the message of the third angel is being covered with another color that virtually kills it. This is being done. Will our people now hold fast to the truth? “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” [Revelation 14:12.] This is our standard. Hold it aloft; for it is truth. 11LtMs, Lt 6, 1896, par. 22