Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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Lt 116, 1896

Wilson, Brother and Sister

Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

January 1, 1896

Portions of this letter are published in TMK 22, 275; 3SM 420-421; FBS 62.

Dear Brother and Sister Wilson:

We had hoped to receive a letter from you ere this, giving us some account of your labors in Hobart, but not a line has been received. I asked Sara to write to you, and she said she would, telling you that we thought it might be best to keep Edith with us. I suppose she has written you about our journey home, which was not the most pleasant. We had everything very convenient in our stateroom; it was large and airy, but we soon learned that it was in the noisiest part of the boat. The noise was continual, and the second night we slept hardly any; I, none. We came into Sydney Harbor twelve o’clock p.m. Thursday night. All that afternoon the noise had been beyond my description. It was inexplainable to me, and sounded as if they were tossing about plates of iron or steel, or rattling chains. Such an uproar I never heard before on any boat. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 1

Brother Caldwell came on board to meet us at Sydney, and as he had brought my family carriage, Sara, Maggie Hare, and I chose the fourteen miles to Granville, rather than remain in the boat. We arrived at our home about quarter past three, and it was daylight before we retired. I slept but thirty minutes. I have been so completely exhausted, since, that I could not rally and have no ambition to do or think of anything. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 2

Christmas day Willie, Sarah Belden, and I came up here. Sister Hamilton, her daughter, Maggie, and Edith came the day after. It was thought best to get me away, so that I should not have the confusion of moving. The weather has been very hot since coming here. We had a most wonderful thunder and lightning storm, with heavy rain, at the beginning of the Sabbath. The rain was a great blessing and continued till yesterday. Yesterday was a beautiful day. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 3

W. C. White meant to take the train for Granville yesterday, but saw it pulling out just as he was coming up the hill to the station. I think it was just as well, for he was needed here. He left Monday morning. Today about eleven o’clock Brother and Sister Starr called in on their way from Queensland to Sydney. Brother Starr will leave for Granville tomorrow morning to see Willie. Friday, Marian Davis, Sara McEnterfer, and May Israel will come up. The carpenters are working all around us, and we hear continually the sound of the hammer and the saw, but these various noises do not trouble me, because they do not worry me. Three men are busily engaged in finishing the house, and it will take all this week to bind off the work. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 4

I have sent Patriarchs and Prophets to Mrs. Cato, and Great Controversy to her son. The books were packed before I thought of my promise to send one to the lady whose house you occupied. If you have any to spare, please let her have the one you deem most appropriate. Write me what you have done, and I will send you the work to replace it. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 5

Edith will remain with us. She is of real service, and is like a transformed girl, ready to do anything. Sister Belden and she get along very well. Fannie Bolton came up here last week, broken down with nervous prostration. Sara McEnterfer will give her treatment. She expected to take the boat this month for America, but I fear she will be unable to do this. Poor soul; she is having a most serious time in having her own way and following her own impulses. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 6

We all need larger faith; we must cultivate faith. Faith is not feeling; faith is not sight. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” “Without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.” [Hebrews 11:1, 6, 24-27.] 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 7

Shall we not, at the very commencement of the year 1896, begin to educate our souls to believe, to have that faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Moses was the prospective king of Egypt while he remained the acknowledged son-in-law of Pharaoh, but while he was sitting under the very shadow of the throne, the Spirit of the Lord stirred his heart to lift the crushing weight that was pressing his brethren into the lowest degradation and slavery. His heart ached with sorrow, as if he himself were in slavery, laboring in the brick kiln, and sharing their degradation. They were slaves, suffering under the cruel lash. They were a reproach and a hissing to all the Egyptians, from Pharaoh down to the lowest serf. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 8

But the Lord had singled out Moses as the one to deliver the oppressed race, and by forty years of exile, under the discipline of God, he was prepared for the work. Understanding the evil disposition of his own countrymen, knowing how many would be perverse and unreasonable, understanding that they might betray him, he was yet considering ways and means to accomplish their deliverance, though supposing that he himself had forfeited all right to be the instrument. But God, in the bush which, though burning, was yet unconsumed by the fire, presented Himself and selected Moses as His agent. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 9

Moses was accepted as a co-worker with God. He knew that scorn, hatred, persecution, and maybe death would be his portion if he should act any part in espousing the cause of the Hebrew captives, but he chose “rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” [Verse 25.] Moses knew that he would meet derision and scorn. He had stood in great popularity, as the general of Pharaoh’s armies, and he knew that now his name would be banded round and falsified, but he esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. He laid down the prospect of a kingly crown, and took up the burdens of his oppressed and afflicted people. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 10

Temptations came to Moses to dissemble in this great interest and enterprise of delivering his brethren from slavery, and to think that when he should be exalted to the throne, he would have power to do as he would. As far as outward reasoning was correct, appearance would have said, “Wait; be reasonable.” But Moses did not receive such counsellors. How many today would enlist in the army of Christ provided they could take their own choice, and follow their own way? But “he that loveth his life shall lose it.” [John 12:25.] He who chooses his own course of action in order to avoid unpleasantness, reproach, or inconvenience, loses the shield of God, and, left to his own planning, will not receive the protection and favor of God in his selfish course of action. He will eventually lose the influence he was so anxious to retain, and the life he was so anxious to save will be lost. A traitor and an apostate, he will have gained nothing, and lost everything. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 11

What if Moses had refused to link himself with the people who were slaves and bondsmen in Egypt, realizing the loss he would sustain in various ways, and had accepted the position of ruler. The ambition which would lead him to ascend the throne would have had a controlling influence over him when there. He would have feared the result of the jealousy of the supposed to be great men of Egypt, and his course would have created obstacles to the deliverance of his brethren; for these Hebrew slaves brought in a great revenue to the kingdom. But Moses “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,” in order that the Lord’s hand might work out the deliverance of His people. [Hebrews 11:24.] 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 12

The deliverance of the Lord’s people was to come from no human source; the throne of Egypt was not able to give deliverance, even though Moses had accepted the position of ruler. Then he would have been obliged to work in the interests of his administration, and no work he could do in his councils would have delivered his brethren. The freedom obtained for the enslaved people was to be wrought out by God’s hand, that His power as Supreme Ruler might be demonstrated to all the nations and kingdoms of the world. Only by separating his interest from that of his brethren, could Moses occupy the position of ruler in Egypt, and this would have worked his own ruin. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 13

A certain ruler came to Christ, saying, “Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these things have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things He said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing; sell all thou hast and distribute unto the poor and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me. And when he heard this he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.” [Luke 18:18-23.] 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 14

He loved his name, his rich possessions of lands, better than the Lord or his brethren. It was altogether too much for him to impart of his abundance as God’s almoner, and thus be a co-laborer with Jesus Christ in the work of relieving the sufferings and necessities of humanity; and in the books of heaven was written against his name, “Unfaithful steward of his Lord’s goods.” He misappropriated the talents entrusted to him by God, and in doing so, he lost his life—that life purchased at an infinite cost—he lost earthly riches, he gave up the treasures of heaven; for Christ assured him that if he followed Him he should have treasure in heaven. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 15

Many come to the same point of conviction as did this young ruler; they earnestly desire to be Christians, to inherit eternal life; but when told that they must forsake all that they have to be His disciples, they are not prepared to make the sacrifice. They dare not trust God with the disposition of His own lent treasure. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 16

Many see force and beauty in the truth; they greatly desire heaven and everlasting glory; but they are not willing to become the obedient agents of God, co-operating with Him in making a right use of the treasure lent them. They do not come to the point where they can give all they possess, as demanded of them by God, to bless humanity in their essential needs, as opportunity shall require. They think they cannot pay this price, and God, after a further test and trial, releases them from their stewardship. They cannot give back to the Lord His own gifts, in the various ways that He designs they shall do. They appropriate the Lord’s entrusted goods to their own use: they covet heaven, but are not willing to co-operate with God by being a faithful steward in blessing humanity. It is for this reason that we have so much want and distress in our world. God has given to man an abundance of goods to be imparted to others, but the temptation to embezzle the Lord’s goods to please and glorify themselves has not been resisted. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 17

God has made to the world the most expensive gift of heaven—His only begotten Son. This was the provision made in order that all who believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. When the believer takes Christ as his personal Saviour, the world’s customs, maxims, and principles are no longer a controlling power. The truth as it is in Jesus rules the heart and the affections. If, when in a position that is favorable for this present life, the human agent sees that in obeying the truth, he will lose his position, and he turns from the truth, refusing obedience to God’s commandments as did the young ruler, he refuses to become an obedient child, he refuses to serve the Lord with full purpose of heart, irrespective of consequences. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 18

Obedience God requires from every son and daughter of Adam, and the consequences belong to Him. Never yet did persecution drive the soul, who was indeed a lover of Jesus Christ, away from Him. The love of Jesus in the soul is all-absorbing, for that great love wherewith God hath loved us, revealed in giving Christ to us, is beyond a parallel. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] For our sake Christ became poor, “that we through his poverty might be rich.” [2 Corinthians 8:9.] 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 19

What will the human agent do to have the privilege of co-operating with God? Will he forsake all that he has rather than forsake Christ? Will he suffer persecution for the truth’s sake? Reproach and persecution have separated many souls from heaven, but never a soul from the love of Christ. If we can bear persecution for His dear name’s sake, His love becomes a ruling power in our hearts, for we have the assurance that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 20

Never is the tempest-tried soul more dearly loved by his Saviour than when he is suffering reproach for the truth’s sake. When for the truth’s sake the believer stands at the bar of unrighteous tribunals, Christ stands by his side. All the reproaches that fall upon the human believer fall upon Christ in the person of His saints. “I will love him,” said Christ, “and manifest myself to him.” [John 14:21.] Christ is condemned over again in the person of His believing disciples. When for the truth’s sake the believer is incarcerated in prison walls, Christ manifests Himself to him, and ravishes his heart with His love. When he suffers death for the sake of Christ, Christ says to him, They may kill the body, but they cannot hurt the soul. “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” [John 16:33.] They crucified Me, and if they put you to death, they crucify Me afresh in the person of My saints. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 21

Persecution cannot do more than cause death, but the life is preserved to eternal life and glory. The persecuting power may take its stand, and command the disciples of Christ to deny the faith, to give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, by making void the law of God. But the disciples may ask, Why should I do this? I love Jesus, and I will never deny His name. When the power says, I will call you a disturber of the peace, they may answer, Thus they called Jesus, who was truth, and grace, and peace. They rejected, insulted, and mocked my Saviour. Why? They were stirred with a power from beneath. Satan inspired men to make the work of Christ as hard and trying as possible. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 22

Christ was, [to] the Jewish people, a rock of offense, while if they had received Him, He would have been the rock of their salvation. “Therefore also it is contained in the Scriptures, Behold, I lay in Zion, a chief corner stone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you, therefore, which believe he is precious; but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is become the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient, whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” [1 Peter 2:6-9.] 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 23

I have received your letter and read it with interest. I wish I could see you, and attend your meetings in Hobart. Remember that we are praying for you. We must hold fast the promises of God, which are yea and Amen in Christ Jesus. We are by faith to lay hold of Jesus, drinking of the water of life freely. We believe we have faith, and we must rest in a “Thus saith the Lord.” 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 24

January 9

I am up this morning at an early hour, long before daylight, finishing this letter; for I want it to go this morning. It is a long, long time since I have written you a letter. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 25

Some days ago Fannie Bolton came here to prepare her things, and then go to America; but she is in a condition of nervous prostration, and will board with Sister Shannan for a time. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 26

Our building has dragged heavily, for want of material with which to finish. I have my room all finished, but not furnished. We hear the sawing and the hammering all around, but we know it to be a necessity, and therefore do not mind it. Our goods will leave Sydney Friday January 10. The heat has been for several days like the blast of a furnace. A change came Monday and we had a thunder and lightning storm, which has been very gratefully received by the things of nature, and we are all revived. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 27

I hope the Lord will give you and Brother Hare sheaves of souls from Hobart. We hope you will keep of good courage. Brother and Sister Starr have come from Queensland. He will leave this morning for Sydney. I have been very weak, but am feeling a little stronger. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 28

May the Lord bless you and Brother and Sister Hare is our earnest prayer. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 29

In love. 11LtMs, Lt 116, 1896, par. 30