Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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Lt 63, 1896

Lindsay, Harmon

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

April 20, 1896

This letter is published in entirety in 1888 1502-1512.

Harmon Lindsay
Battle Creek, Michigan

Dear Brother:

I am constrained to say to you, “The Judgment is to sit, the books are to be opened, and every man is to be judged according to the deeds done in the body.” You look upon things seen as of value, but he who is a citizen of the heavenly kingdom will be constantly looking at things not seen. The power of earth over the mind and character is broken. He has the abiding presence of the heavenly Guest according to the Saviour’s promise, “I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” [John 14:21.] He walks with God, as did Enoch, in continual communion. Only he who walks with the Lord Jesus in this life will be translated or come forth from the grave changed from mortal to immortality, to dwell with Christ in the heavenly courts through eternal ages. There must now be manifest in us the Holy Spirit’s working, a power that will enable us to withstand temptation. 11LtMs, Lt 63, 1896, par. 1

The end of all things is close upon us, but for some of us the end of our probation may be yet nearer. As you look upon your substantial, convenient establishment, as you see the good things of this life with which you are surrounded, I ask you to consider that these must all pass away. You yourself may soon be an inhabitant of the very narrow house, to remain till called forth by the trump of God. As you, your wife, and your children devote your thoughts to earthly things, your characters are receiving a worldly mold. As they are at death, such they will be in the morning of the resurrection. No conversion, no transformation of character, will be made then. How would you and your wife and children appear before the redeemed, holy throng with your present tastes, habits, dress, thoughts, and words? Let every one of your poor, deceived family remember that the reaping time will be as the sowing time has been. None can sow tares and reap wheat. 11LtMs, Lt 63, 1896, par. 2

How can you appear in the last great day without the robe of the righteousness of Christ? The word is spoken, “Why are they here without the wedding garment which I gave my life to purchase for them? Take them out of My presence. It is not possible for them to love and enjoy My presence here. They have not educated themselves to be at home in heaven. It would be no place of joy to them. It does not harmonize with their habits and their tastes. Nothing here can harmonize with the characters they have formed. They have loved, admired, and glorified themselves. They did not choose to heed My invitation to come out from the world and be separate. They did not learn of Me to take My yoke, to bear My burdens; they cannot appreciate the rest that I have purchased for all who are laborers together with Me. 11LtMs, Lt 63, 1896, par. 3

“If Harmon Lindsay had been true to the Word of God, he would have been true to his family, true to the church, true to his neighbor, and true to his fellow men. He would have made his calling and election sure. But he thought his own wisdom all sufficient. I sent my Holy Spirit to testify unto him the truth, and to move upon his soul, for there was hidden in its depths that which needed to be brought to the Spirit to testify unto him the truth, and to move upon his soul; for there was hidden in its depths that which needed to be brought to the surface. Messenger after messenger was sent to entreat his attention. Many times I called. Often I presented my grace before him. Often he was moved by the story of the self-sacrificing Redeemer. He felt the heart touch of the Messenger of peace, and tenderness and love awakened to respond to the call. Often he turned to listen as the voice was heard. But in the home there was vanity, self-indulgence, a very cheap religious influence; the wife was frivolous, trifling, vain, and superficial. He might have led her to receive an altogether different mold had he strenuously set his own heart above the world and turned to Me for help and strength. But he failed to do this, and the heavenly was eclipsed by the earthly. 11LtMs, Lt 63, 1896, par. 4

“Temporal blessings were given him, but vanity and love of show absorbed that which should have been used to lay up a treasure in heaven. Selfishness always grows by exercise, and at last he ceased to appreciate the gift of the grace of Christ. His efforts to gratify the frivolous minds about him absorbed the entrusted talents, and he drifted back into his own natural element. He separated from God, and when the Holy Spirit’s voice was heard to call him to repentance, he did not appreciate the voice; he treated it with neglect, then resistance, then disdain, then refused to have anything to do with the message of warning. He received encouragement from others who were in positions of holy trust, men whom God had used to be faithful watchmen, but who became untrue to their trust. Every favor that God bestowed upon him to turn him from his course, he refused. The manifestation of the gifts of God seemed to make him more defiant, until there was written in the books of heaven, ‘Unfaithful steward of talents of means, unfaithful steward of talents of influence, unfaithful steward, in that he is saying in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming.’ 11LtMs, Lt 63, 1896, par. 5

“He could not be happy; yet he tried to rest in self-complacency, to be at peace with his backsliding heart, and to believe that he was right, that God did not require him to be true to principle. Thus he continued to sow seed of the same kind that had filled his life with evil. The truth was no longer truth to him. To depart from God is to open the heart to infidelity. Inward forces, inspired by the devil, have been weaving about his soul thread after thread of deception and delusion, and his influence has been against the message of the third angel. He cannot see what he is. He cannot see that he has taken up with falsehoods of Satan’s framing. He cannot now see the light of the Holy Spirit which he has quenched in his soul. He is left as blind as were the Jews, who closed their eyes lest they should see, and their hearts lest they should feel. He has called the manifestations of the Spirit fanaticism. His finite lips have expressed sentiments that revealed the working of the power within him. His perception is so perverted that he calls light darkness, and darkness light. The danger is great that he will never again be able to distinguish between light and darkness, truth and error, for he has educated himself in skepticism, deceiving and being deceived. In the work which ought to have been sacred in his eyes, he has mingled the common fire with the holy. He needed to humble his heart before God, and change his entire course of action.” 11LtMs, Lt 63, 1896, par. 6

Eternity, eternity—my brother, how will you meet it? What would be your position should death end your career now? I ask you to consider that you cannot carry the world with you into heaven. Have you supposed that God has accepted your life of deception, that He has been glorified by your course of action? All who enter the city of God, enter there through the strait gate, through agonizing effort. You and some there who have been depended on as trustworthy men, to do the work of God, have been surrounded by an atmosphere that is not divine, but as deleterious to the soul as a poisonous malaria. 11LtMs, Lt 63, 1896, par. 7

Could you have the past years of your religious experience opened up to your view, you would have no more false peace, no more self-complacency. Every fiber of your being would be agonized. If you continue to do as you have done, bear in mind that when the Judgment shall sit, and the books shall be opened, things that have been hidden from human eyes will appear just as they are. Then the forces that have been at work under a pretense of advancing the cause of God will be revealed in an altogether different light from that in which they are now seen. 11LtMs, Lt 63, 1896, par. 8

It is through misconception on the part of your brethren that you have held a position which gives you so much influence. What the outcome will be, God alone can discern. He will judge you by your works. Oh how sad, how sad, will be the future revelation! All the evil seed that you have sown will yield its harvest. By God’s own appointment you must reap the sure result of your own course of action. The selfishness and injustice toward brethren, in thought, word, and deed, will return upon yourself. You may endeavor to justify your course to yourself and to others, but God rejects that vindication. The only reason for what you have done is that found in a perverse heart and a perverse will. You may say, “I did not originate this or that plan;” but just so far as you sanctioned it, you were responsible, and the evil will react upon yourself. In your dealing with your brethren you have acted like a blind man, and have oppressed souls. Others have been of the same spirit with you, and have been even stronger in the wrong than you have been, but I will not now speak of them; it is your individual case that I am dealing with. 11LtMs, Lt 63, 1896, par. 9

Much that has occurred since the Minneapolis meeting gives evidence of the working of things that lie deeper than human reason can fathom. You and others have planned according to your own will, and have been determined to carry out your plans; but God has not planned with you. Much that has appeared on the surface as merely the design of men has had its origin in the schemes of the great master worker of evil. Whenever you try to carry out a policy contrary to that which God has specified, you will, in the outcome, be compelled to acknowledge that, whatever you or those connected with you may do, a power is at work that is not under the control of men, and that, once set in operation, will continue to act and re-act. 11LtMs, Lt 63, 1896, par. 10

The two great powers in controversy are working, one from beneath, the other from above. Every man is under the secret influence of the one or the other, and his acts will reveal the character of the inspiration from which they proceed. Those who are united with Christ will work always in Christ’s lines. Those who are in union with Satan will work under the inspiration of their leader, opposed to the Holy Spirit’s power and action. The will of men is left free to act, and by action is revealed what spirit is moving upon the heart. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.] 11LtMs, Lt 63, 1896, par. 11

Man may become a fellow laborer with God in carrying out the great work of redemption. God allows each man his own sphere of action. While He has given His Word as the guide of life, He has also given the Holy Spirit as a sufficient power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress His own character on the human agent, and, through Him, upon all who shall come within the sphere of his influence. The human agent is urged to co-operate with God, to work out His mercy, His goodness, and His love, thus impressing other minds. Every man is to become instrumentality through which the Holy Spirit can work. He can become this only by yielding all his capabilities to the control of the Spirit. God gave His Spirit upon the day of Pentecost, and through its working upon receptive hearts, He could impress all with whom the believers came in contact. 11LtMs, Lt 63, 1896, par. 12

Through our relation of friendship and familiarity with human beings like ourselves, we may exert an uplifting influence. Those who are united in a common hope and faith in Christ Jesus can be a blessing to one another. Jesus says, “Love one another as I have loved you.” [John 13:34.] Love is not simply an impulse, a transitory emotion, dependent upon circumstances; it is a living principle, a permanent power. The soul is fed by the streams of pure love that flow from the heart of Christ, as a well-spring that never fails. O, how is the heart quickened, how are its motives ennobled, its affections deepened, by this communion! Under the education and discipline of the Holy Spirit, the children of God love one another, truly, sincerely, unaffectedly—“without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” [James 3:17.] And this because the heart is in love with Jesus. Our affection for one another springs from our common relation to God. We are one family, we love one another as He loved us. When compared with this true, sanctified, disciplined affection, the shallow courtesy of the world, the meaningless expressions of effusive friendship, are as chaff to the wheat. 11LtMs, Lt 63, 1896, par. 13

Every man, woman, and youth has an influence upon others. This influence we have from God. It flows from God to the human agent, and we are responsible for its use. “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another; if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity (love), which is the bond of perfectness.” [Colossians 3:12-14.] Will we consider that this pure, unselfishness love, one toward another, is the bond of perfectness in character? “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks unto God and the Father by him.” [Verses 15-17.] 11LtMs, Lt 63, 1896, par. 14

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” [Ephesians 4:29-32.] 11LtMs, Lt 63, 1896, par. 15

This is the instruction of the Word. How has it been obeyed? Oh, if this had been brought into the character of all the workers, what a change would there be in our institution! How different now would be the mold upon the work of God in Battle Creek! The strange developments that have been revealed in the decisions of your councils would not have seen the light of day. Bitter jealousies would not have been thriving in the hearts of those who profess to be followers of Christ. Advice or decisions that would involve a brother in distress or perplexity, or bind him in poverty, would be shunned as you would shun the leprosy. It is a fearful thing for a man to lose his own soul, yet every day men are taking steps that will result in the loss of their souls. The question came from the lips of Christ, “What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man given in exchange for his soul?” [Mark 8:36, 37.] Solemn, fearfully solemn, question! And yet how many are, like Esau, selling their souls for a mess of pottage. And for a man to lose his own soul means more even than this. His words, his example, his evil-spun theories lead others into perplexities and difficulties. He tolls [draws] men away from Christ to rank under the black banner of the prince of darkness. He is, in short, a soul-slayer; he is doing his best to destroy the principles which God has commanded to live. How terrible the thought of destroying the souls of men whom Christ came to our world to save. The result of our lives day by day should be to heal, not bruise; to save, not destroy. 11LtMs, Lt 63, 1896, par. 16

Cannot you see that eternal interests are involved in your life practice? Every one is deciding his own destiny. He who reigns in heaven allows every man to take his position to hasten or retard his Lord’s appearing. All who consent to be freed from their natural selfishness, and to [be] charged with the Holy Spirit of God, are taking part with God. As the human channel they are pouring forth the currents of divine influence. Their work has God’s blessing within it. They are building upon the foundation—gold, silver, precious stones. When the day of judgment shall try every man’s work, of what sort it is, the gold, silver, precious stones are imperishable; the wood, hay, stubble, are consumed, and the life work of the builder is lost. Just in proportion to man’s consecration to God in this life will be his advancement in the future life. According to its character, his work is rewarded, and determines his place in the temple of God. 11LtMs, Lt 63, 1896, par. 17

Each human being is responsible for the salvation of his own soul, and is under the most solemn responsibility for the salvation of the souls of others. He is to exert a saving influence; he is to watch for souls as they who must give an account. Each man, woman, and youth is passing his time here as a probationer. In that great day when the accounts of all are opened, it will be known who is the foolish builder on the sand, and who the builder on the eternal Rock. Then it will be known who have dishonored God’s sacred work by bringing in their own principles and practices. It will be seen who have woven their own spirit into methods and plans, to be passed on to the churches to mold their work. All the pettishness, the envy, the jealousies, the want of self-sacrifice, the stubborn resistance to the Holy Spirit’s working—all this the day will declare. Every work will be judged according to its character. 11LtMs, Lt 63, 1896, par. 18

My brother, I leave these words with you, saying, “Turn ye, turn ye; for why will ye die?” [Ezekiel 33:11.] 11LtMs, Lt 63, 1896, par. 19