Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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Lt 22, 1896

Colcord, W. A.

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

June 22, 1896

Portions of this letter are published in UL 187; OHC 104; 5MR 348-349.

Elder W. A. Colcord
North Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

My Dear Brother:

I received your letter this morning, and read it with much interest. You may use any matter that you choose for the Echo, leaving out, of course, the personalities. I think that it would be well for the letter to the Cooranbong church in regard to the school, to be put in the Echo. 11LtMs, Lt 22, 1896, par. 1

We are in great need of money, and I scarcely know what to do with my workers. For some months I have not been able to settle their wages. We have almost reached the end of our rope. We are running up bills at Cooranbong and Newcastle, and I shall be obliged to write to Battle Creek and tell them that our orders must not be sent to the Echo Office to be cashed, but must come direct to us. We have poor people working for us who need the money they earn to provide food for their families. Entire families are dependent upon us. We are terribly perplexed to know what to do. If we could only pay off our workmen, such as Brother McCann and his boys, we would be relieved. We cannot allow things to come to this pass if we can possibly help it. But we shall not fail nor be discouraged, but will hope that the Lord will open the way for us all. He will be our helper. 11LtMs, Lt 22, 1896, par. 2

I am looking for something that I have written definitely in regard to the office at North Fitzroy. I will do my best to find it, for it is important. I understand the peculiar temperament of Brother Miller. When he lays down a plan for himself, he does not allow anything to obstruct his course. Opposition only makes him more determined. If possible his will bears down everything. This is the way in which the matter was presented to me before Brother Miller left for America. I saw then that he was not in a position to be any help in setting things in order at the Echo Office. He, with some others, had very wrong ideas in regard to the spirit which should characterize the work there. The same spirit that actuated the disciples when they disputed about who should be greatest, actuated these men. 11LtMs, Lt 22, 1896, par. 3

“The disciples came to Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 18:1-4.] Who will be instructed? Who will humble his heart to learn? In this chapter there are most important lessons, given from the lips of the great Teacher. All should learn these lessons, imprinting them upon their memories as a safeguard against falling into the same error as did the disciples. Read this chapter carefully to those who are now under the influence of temptation, and who are determined to follow the imagination of their own hearts irrespective of consequences. 11LtMs, Lt 22, 1896, par. 4

I was present in your assembly on one occasion, and was speaking to the church in regard to their danger, when One stepped into our midst whom we knew to be a messenger from God. The words that fell from his lips were such that the people sat with their eyes riveted upon him. A few covered their faces and would not look at the speaker, for it seemed to pain them. They writhed under his words, and were desirous to leave, but dared not. He said, “It is the essence of sin to allow yourselves to become a contradiction of God’s will. Had it not been for the perverting influence of sin, the character and conduct of God’s creatures would have <ever> been in perfect harmony with His will. But this is not the case, and because of this, it becomes necessary for every individual to search for the right way. By studying the Word of God, and carrying out its precepts in all their business transactions, men may carefully discern the spirit which controls the actions. In the place of following human impulse and natural inclination, they may learn, by diligent study, the principles which should control the sons and daughters of Adam.” 11LtMs, Lt 22, 1896, par. 5

The Bible is the Guidebook which is to decide the many difficult problems that arise in minds that are selfishly inclined. It is a reflection of the wisdom of God, and not only furnishes great and important principles, but supplies practical lessons for the life and conduct of man toward his fellow man. It gives minute particulars that decide our relation to God, and to each other. It is a complete revelation of the attributes and will of God in the person of Jesus Christ; and in it is set forth the obligation of the human agent to render whole-hearted service to God, and to inquire at every step of the way, Is this the way of the Lord? 11LtMs, Lt 22, 1896, par. 6

The question for the church to settle is, Who is prepared to stand up for the Lord at this time, even in difficult circumstances? After most earnestly asking the Lord in prayer, let the words be heard, “Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me.” [Exodus 32:26.] Let there be no striving for supremacy, no strife, for God’s Word declares, “All ye are brethren.” [Matthew 23:8.] There is a wrong in your midst. Minds in the church are being leavened by an influence that does not proceed from God, but which has been introduced, not suddenly, but gradually, until the whole church needs to inquire diligently, What spirit is prompting us to action? Will it lead to unity of mind and to correct principles? As Christians, we are but one firm, and we are to act in all things as the Lord Jesus would act were He in our place. But there has been and is in the church an unsanctified independence, which does not show submission to God. The members need to feel upon their minds an influence that is from above, not from beneath. 11LtMs, Lt 22, 1896, par. 7

Man is not his own; he has been bought with a price; and what a price? The only begotten Son of God condescended to live a life of humiliation, self-denial, and self-sacrifice, divesting himself of His own majesty and glory as Commander in the heavenly courts, that He might bring life and immortality to the human race. He clothed His divinity with humanity, and came to the world all seared and marred with the curse, in order to give the human family an example of what humanity may become through Jesus Christ if they will abide in Him. He lived the law of God in human nature, to show that humanity may keep that law through His power. All who desire to share His glory hereafter must share His self-denial and self-sacrifice at every step heavenward. They must represent Christ to the world in the same manner that Christ represented His Father to the world. 11LtMs, Lt 22, 1896, par. 8

It is essential for all to practice the lessons given by the Great Teacher. But many minds have been at work independently of the revealed will of God, as though unconscious that there is an inspired Word to regulate their movements and point out the way of the Lord. Changes must be made in human character. For the future safety of His church, God has permitted a condition of things to exist which will develop character. In the providence of God the spirit which is a controlling power over each human agent, will be made manifest. 11LtMs, Lt 22, 1896, par. 9

Only the one who will keep the way of the Lord can be trusted to do the work of the Lord, for he alone will be a faithful steward. The one who works to leave an impression on the minds of his brethren that will mislead them, and cause them to injure God’s instrumentalities, is working against God. The character of Christianity is decidedly practical. Self, and selfish ambition has no place in the mind of him who is daily converted to God. Whatever his hereditary or cultivated tendencies may be, the Holy Spirit’s molding power on his mind and character leads him into more and still more decided co-operation with the upbuilding of the instrumentalities God has established. Never will he take the side of the power of darkness by striving to weaken and discourage, by seeking to leaven minds with suspicion, distrust, and jealousy. Those who will stand firm as a rock to principle will not become corrupted with the leaven of deception and disaffection. 11LtMs, Lt 22, 1896, par. 10

The will of every human being should be under the discipline and control of God, for it is a dangerous element if exercised in selfish schemes, and if the will of the great enemy of God and man is allowed to take control of the mind, and seek to counteract the work of God. A deceiving crookedness is discernible in the minds of those whose eyes are not anointed with the heavenly eyesalve, that they may see all things in the light of God’s Word. The will becomes enslaved, bound to pursue a course which the Word of God will not justify. The will of the human agent is not to be given into the control of any other man. When merged into the will of other men, it is misleading. 11LtMs, Lt 22, 1896, par. 11

The will of man is only safe when united with the will of God. When merged into the will of God, it is a will, joined to conscience, rightly exercised in advancing the honor and glory of God. The Lord has purchased the will, the affections, the mind, the soul, and the strength. Thus he has taken the whole man. Under the supervision of the Divine power the will is to be cultivated to become strong, prompt, and firm; it is not to fail nor be discouraged. 11LtMs, Lt 22, 1896, par. 12

God’s Word sets forth the will that is to be carried into the recesses of the soul. If the human agent consents, God can and will so identify His will with all our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His Word, that when obeying His will, we are only carrying out the impulses of our minds. All such will not possess an unsanctified, selfish disposition, ready to carry out their own wills, but will have a jealous, earnest, determined zeal for the glory of God. They will not want to do anything in their own strength, and will guard strictly against the danger of promoting self. 11LtMs, Lt 22, 1896, par. 13

All who would perfect a Christian character must wear the yoke of Christ. If they would sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, they must learn of Him while on this earth. Our natures are in need of discipline. They must be conformed to the nature of Jesus Christ, that He may accomplish the good He designs to do for all who will submit to be molded, by yielding their natures to His authority. The great Teacher will yoke up with every soul who will bear His yoke. He understands man, and has a full knowledge of all the requirements of human nature. 11LtMs, Lt 22, 1896, par. 14

Christ pleased not Himself. The whole of His life was the development of a pure, disinterested benevolence. He assumed human nature to demonstrate to the fallen world, to Satan and his synagogue, to the universe of heaven, to the worlds unfallen, that human nature, united with His divine nature could become entirely obedient to the law of God, that His followers could manifest the glory of God by their love and unity one for the other, that they could give evidence that God had sent His Son into the world. He rejoiced in the consciousness that He could and would do more for those who are humble and contrite in heart than He had promised, for from Him would flow forth love and compassion, clear as crystal, cleansing the soul temple of those who would receive His grace, and flowing from them to the world. He rejoiced that His prayer that His church might be sanctified through the truth, would be answered, that man would be molded by the renovating, transforming influence of a character after the divine similitude. 11LtMs, Lt 22, 1896, par. 15

The church which Christ has established needs to inquire, “What must I do to be saved?” [Acts 16:30.] God requires humble, contrite hearts, that tremble at His Word. Where is the preparation of the work of God to be obtained? Where? At the throne of grace. Man’s will and heart must be yielded to God’s will and way. Men are altogether too officious in trying to lift up and exalt themselves. All who do this will be found the last and least of all. It is only from the divine altar that we can receive the celestial torch, which, when received, will give us a full view of our incompetence, and reveal to us the dignity and glory of Christ. When this is seen, God places us under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and it will lead us into all truth. It will take of the things of Christ, the words that fell from His lips, and convey them into the heart that is obedient to the will of God, that it may receive the perfect image of God. 11LtMs, Lt 22, 1896, par. 16

Again I ask, Who will be on the Lord’s side? Every individual is forming his own destiny. God has been dishonored by those who should have had an eye single to His glory. God reads character, and if the characters of those who persist in a wrong course are not soon transformed, they will become confirmed in deception, delusion, and stubbornness. 11LtMs, Lt 22, 1896, par. 17