Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

127/300

Lt 103, 1896

To the Workers in Sydney

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, Australia

July 17, 1896

See also Ms 47, 1896. Portions of this letter are published in CD 310; 4MR 385; 5MR 220.

To the Workers in Sydney:

Why has the money expended and the labor put forth in Sydney brought such limited results? There is a solution to this problem. The Lord has been pleased to reveal to me that the same efforts put forth in a different place, by the same people and in the same spirit, would have brought the same results. The Lord could not give victory while those who brought the truth to unbelievers did not themselves practice that Word. The Spirit of God was not cherished, and that union which should exist among God’s workmen was not seen. Disaffection existed, and criticism was heard. The workers got in each other’s way. Some earnestly desired to tell what “I did,” and how “I labored,” but said nothing which would show what their fellow workmen had done. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 1

By standing apart and yielding to suspicions of evil, by cherishing feelings of envy and jealousy, the workers have opened a door through which Satan entered. God’s holy name has been greatly dishonored, and the work that needed to be done for the people could not go forward because of the spirit which was manifested. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 2

Those who are engaged in the sacred work of opening the Word of God to others, must be sure that they themselves are eating and digesting that Word. They must keep watch over themselves, weeding from heart and character the fungus growth which causes deformity and weakness. “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” [1 Peter 2:1, 2.] Have you done this, or have you thought that you had no battles to fight with self, and so allowed your unsanctified impulses to control mind and judgment? 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 3

All that is enumerated in this verse—the products of the carnal mind and unsanctified heart—have influenced the workers more or less, and the work which cost so much money, so much weary anxiety, so much hard work, has been made of little effect because the workers did not eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man. Self was mingled with nearly everything, and the wrong influence of this has been far-reaching. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 4

We are fellow pilgrims, seeking a better country, even an heavenly. Will God say to us “Well done, good and faithful servant,” at the end of our journey, if we now cherish a spirit which craves to crowd out and supplant others? [Matthew 25:23.] Malice, guile, hypocrisy, envy, and evil speaking are things which God abhors, and no one who reveals these fruits in their lives will enter the kingdom of heaven. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 5

In the hearts of all those who desire to follow Christ, there is natural depravity which must be uprooted lest the representation of Christ be marred. Even at our camp meetings and special gatherings, selfishness is manifested by those in attendance. Covetousness, vanity, hastiness of temper, is cherished. An inclination to pick at straws, to think and speak evil of others, is too plainly manifested. This is a work which is in direct opposition to the work of God. Sister M., you know not the harm you have done by following this course of action. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 6

Those who make faultfinding their first work may appear to be constantly anxious and interested in regard to the welfare of others. They may seem to be actively engaged in good work. But their work does harm, and by the Lord it is not regarded as of any value. “They say,” is whispered here and there; other minds are filled with suspicion and distrust; uneasiness is created. Those who have listened to the “They say,” call to mind something they have observed in their brethren which might have been wrong, and much is made of that which is worthy of but little notice. These apparently innocent words strike long, fibrous roots into the minds of those that hear them, and untold harm is done. Seeds of bitterness are planted—seeds which rankle in human breasts, and spring up to bear an abundant harvest. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 7

The enemy of all righteousness sets in operation missionary work of this kind. One who is professedly working for Christ is tempted by him to probe the minds of others, and ask their opinion of words which have been spoken. In this way suspicion and envy are planted in many breasts. If those who carry on this missionary work could see it as it is regarded by the Lord of heaven, if for one day they could trace the course of their work, and see its baleful results, they would repent of their actions. To do good to all, to faithfully perform our home duties, to devote our time to comparing our lives with the life of Christ, praying for an humble, sanctified mind—this is the missionary work which the Lord requires us to do. Angels of heaven cannot work with the human agent who loves to sow the seeds of dissension and strife, but evil angels attend him wherever he goes. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 8

“I say unto you, through the grace given unto me,” writes Paul, “to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” [Romans 12:3.] “Be kindly affectioned one to another, with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.” There is need for all to learn lessons of humility and thoughtfulness in the school of Christ. If this is neglected, a harshness and roughness, which misrepresent Christ, will be revealed. “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” Romans 12:9, 10. This whole chapter should be an eye opener to all who accept the statement, “Ye are laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 9

Had the ministers and workers in Sydney heeded this Word, and brought these principles into their daily life experience, had they given evidence by their unity that God had sent His Son into the world, God would have given them special victories. But did you in honor prefer one another? Was your love without dissimulation? These injunctions have been disobeyed, and had God blessed you while you were manifestly disregarding His Word, it would have been to His own name’s dishonor, and it would have ruined the workers. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 10

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance; but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” [1 Peter 1:13-19.] 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 11

The forms of unbelief are varied; for Satan watches every opportunity to crowd in some of his attributes. There is in the natural heart a tendency to be exalted or puffed up if success attends the efforts put forth. But self-exaltation can find no place in the work of God. Whatever your intelligence, however earnestly and zealously you may labor, unless you put away your own tendencies to pride, and submit to be guided by the Spirit of God, you will be on losing ground. Spiritual death in the soul is evidenced by spiritual pride and a crippled experience, which seldom makes straight paths for its feet. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 12

If pride is nourished, the very qualities of the mind which grace, if received, would make a blessing, become contaminated. The very victories which would have been a savor of life unto life, if the glory had been given to God, become tarnished by self-glory. These may seem to be little things, unworthy of notice, but the seed thus scattered brings forth a sure harvest. It is these little sins, so common that they are often unnoticed, that Satan uses in his service. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 13

Men will never be prepared to do the work of God acceptably unless they take themselves in hand, and endeavor, firmly and constantly, to correct their own errors. No one is to take the position that his own way is perfect, that he has no need to reach a higher standard. “Seeing that ye have purified your hearts in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” [Verse 22.] This work is too often left undone. Many are working in an entirely different manner from that which is given to them as a standard of perfect service. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 14

If you would engage in the work of saving souls, that knowledge of God and of His Word must circulate in your heart, as the vital current of life circulates through your body. Jesus Christ must be studied; His Spirit must pervade your work. Self must die. Otherwise you might better choose some other work, for your service will not honor God. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 15

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles; that, whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” For “ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an 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 2:11, 12, 9.] 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 16

*****

Every Christian should understand that there is a decided warfare going on between the chosen people of God and the powers of darkness. Before the truth of heavenly origin is accepted by man, there is no conflict between good and evil. The inclination of the heart unites with the suggestions of the enemy, and his bidding is done. But when men leave the black banner of the power of darkness, and range themselves under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel, the struggle begins, and the warfare is carried on in sight of the universe of heaven. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 17

Every one who fights on the side of right, must fight hand to hand with the enemy. He must put on the whole armor of God, that he may be able to stand against the wiles of the enemy. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 18

Our foes are within and without. We are assailed by temptations which are numerous and deceiving, the more perilous because not always clearly discerned. Often Satan conquers us by our natural inclinations and appetites. These were divinely appointed, and when given to man, were pure and holy. It was God’s design that reason should rule the appetites, and that they should minister to our happiness. And when they are regulated and controlled by a sanctified reason, they are holiness unto the Lord. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 19

But men’s natural appetites have been perverted by indulgence. Through unholy gratification they have become “fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” [Verse 11.] Unless the Christian watches unto prayer, he gives loose reign to habits which should be overcome. Unless he feels the need of constant watching and ceaseless vigilance, his inclinations, abused and misguided, will be the means of his backsliding from God. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 20

Jesus Christ gave His life in order to save us, soul and body. He desires to restore the moral image of God in man. In order that this [might] be accomplished, we must co-operate with Him. The very flesh of our bodies must be consecrated to His service. But can this be done while we place in our stomachs that food which will strengthen feelings which war against holiness and purity? 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 21

A healthy experience demands growth, and growth demands that careful attention be paid to the laws of nature, that the organs of the body may be kept in a sound state, untrammelled in their action. There is great need that temperance in all things be both taught and practiced. Liquors of all kinds and tobacco becloud man’s reason and place him below the brute creation. These things must be strictly avoided. And only food of the most wholesome quality should be taken into the system, for we are composed of the food we eat. That which we place in the stomach becomes flesh and blood, and we can make our blood impure by eating meat and other injurious articles. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 22

God has given great light in regard to the subject of health reform, and important changes have been made by many. Wrong habits have been conscientiously corrected; injurious practices and customs have been given up. Light which God has given has been received and acted upon, and lessons which are right to the point have been given. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 23

The Word of God is very clear in regard to these things. It tells us that our appetites must be closely guarded, and that by eating the flesh, and drinking the blood of the Son of man, our minds are to be kept pure and free to do His will. Among the workers in Sydney there were some who saw the importance of these things, who were God-fearing, temperate, and economical. As these men saw the disposition to gratify appetite, and the selfishness which was revealed, they felt fearful for the progress of the work. Their faith was dampened. Brother S. labored to bring in health reform, but the example of Brother M. and Brother C. was in harmony with those who have just embraced the truth, and who had not received the light in regard to healthful living. Thus the work of Brother S. was made hard by those who ought to have been converted by the light which God has given on this point. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 24

Brother C. has made meat his staple article of diet. He loves meat, and has established himself in the practice of eating it, discarding all the light which God has caused to shine for the benefit of himself and his family. He opens the Word of God to others, but he himself does not carry out its principles. He may be strong enough to stand a meat diet, but it is not so with his wife and family, who are not strong and well. His wife suffers, and cannot explain why, but gratification of appetite is the greatest cause of her ill-health. Brother C. knows what the Word of God teaches in this matter, but he does not practice it. This is not pleasing to God. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 25

“Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do,” the Word of God declares, “do all to the glory of God.” [1 Corinthians 10:31.] Those who neglect to walk in the light, in order that they may gratify their appetites, bring mischief to themselves, and to others. The Lord cannot manifest His glory through men who disregard His Word. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 26

You know not the danger of eating meat merely because your appetite craves it. By partaking of this diet man places in his mouth that which stimulates unholy passions. Unhallowed emotions fill the mind, and the spiritual eyesight is beclouded, for the tendency of self-gratification is to corrupt the taste and the judgment. By furnishing your table with this class of food, you go counter to the will of God. A condition of things is brought about which will lead to a disregard for the precepts of God’s law. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 27

A plain, simple, but liberal supply of fruit is the best food that can be placed before those who are preparing for the work of God. The lower nature with all its inclinations, must be subdued and crucified, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. It is absolutely necessary for Christians to keep the body under, bringing it into subjection, and uprooting every affection and impulse which is contrary to the will of God. The food which we eat will help or hinder us to do this. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 28

But it is not an easy matter to overcome hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong. Self is masterful, and strives for the victory. But to “him that overcometh” the promises are given. [Revelation 2:7.] The Lord presents the right way, but further than this He compels no one to obey. He forces His way upon no man. He leaves those to whom He has given the light to receive or despise it, but their course of action is followed by sure results. Cause must produce effect. Thus the Lord dealt with the children of Israel. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 29

“God brought the Israelites from Egypt that he might establish them in the land of Canaan, a pure, holy, and happy people. In the accomplishment of this object He subjected them to a course of discipline, both for their own good and for the good of their posterity. Had they been willing to deny appetite, in obedience to His wise restrictions, feebleness and disease would have been unknown among them. Their descendants would have possessed both physical and mental strength. They would have had clear perceptions of truth and duty, keen discrimination, and sound judgment. But their unwillingness to submit to the restrictions and requirements of God, prevented them, to a great extent, from reaching the high standard which He desired them to attain, and from receiving the blessings which He was ready to bestow upon them. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 30

“Says the psalmist: ‘They tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust. Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Behold; He smote the rock that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can He give bread also? can He provide flesh for His people? Therefore the Lord heard this and was wroth.’ [Psalm 78:18-21.] Murmuring and tumults had been frequent during the journey from the Red Sea to Sinai; but in pity for their ignorance and blindness God had not visited the sin with judgments. But since that time, He had revealed Himself to them at Horeb. They had received great light as they had been witnesses to the majesty, the power, and the mercy of God; and their unbelief and discontent incurred the greater guilt. Furthermore, they had covenanted to accept Jehovah as their king, and to obey His authority. Their murmuring was now rebellion, and as such it must receive prompt and signal punishment, if Israel was to be preserved from anarchy and ruin. ‘The fire of Jehovah burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.’ [Numbers 11:1.] The most guilty of the complainers were slain by lighting from the cloud. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 31

“The people in their terror besought Moses to entreat the Lord for them. He did so, and the fire was quenched. In memory of this judgment, he called the name of the place Taberah, ‘a burning.’ 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 32

“But the evil was soon worse than before. Instead of leading the survivors to humiliation and repentance, this fearful judgment seemed only to increase their murmurings. In all directions the people were gathered at the doors of their tents, weeping and lamenting. ‘The mixed multitude that was among them felt a lusting; and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic; but now our soul is dried away; there is nothing at all, besides this manna, before our eyes.’ [Verses 4-6.] Thus they manifested their discontent with the food provided for them by their Creator. They had constant evidence that it was adapted to their wants; for notwithstanding the hardships they endured, there was not a feeble one in all their tribes. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 33

“The heart of Moses sank. He had pleaded that Israel should not be destroyed, even though his own posterity might then become a great nation. In his love for them he had prayed that his name might be blotted out from the book of life rather than that they should be left to perish. He had imperilled all for them, and this was their response. All their hardships, even their imaginary sufferings, they charged upon him; and their wicked murmurings made doubly heavy the burden of care and responsibility under which he staggered. In this distress he was tempted even to distrust God. His prayer was almost a complaint. ‘Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favor in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? ... Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat. I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me.’ [Verses 11, 13.] ... 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 34

“Moses was directed to prepare the people, for what God was about to do for them. ‘Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow, and ye shall eat flesh; for ye have wept in the ears of the Lord, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? for it was well with us in Egypt; therefore the Lord will give you flesh, and ye shall eat. Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days; but even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you; because ye have despised the word of the Lord, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?’ [Verses 18-20.] 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 35

“‘The people among whom I am,’ exclaimed Moses, ‘are six hundred thousand footmen; and thou hast said, I will give them flesh, that they may eat a whole month. Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them, to suffice them? or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them?’ [Verses 21, 22.] 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 36

“He was reproved for his distrust: ‘Is the Lord’s hand waxed short? Thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass to thee or not.’ [Verse 23.] ... 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 37

“A strong wind blowing from the sea now brought flocks of quails, ‘about a day’s journey on this side, a day’s journey on the other side, round about the camp, and about two cubits above the face of the earth.’ All that day and night and the following day, the people labored in gathering the food miraculously provided. Immense quantities were secured. ‘He that gathered least gather ten omers.’ [Verses 31, 32.] All that was not needed for present use was preserved by drying, so that the supply, as promised, was sufficient for a whole month. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 38

“God gave the people that which was not for their highest good, because they persisted in desiring it; they would not be satisfied with those things that would prove a benefit to them. Their rebellious desires were gratified, but they were left to suffer the result. They feasted without restraint, and their excesses were speedily punished. ‘The Lord smote the people with a very great plague.’ [Verse 33.] Large numbers were cut down by burning fevers, while the most guilty among them were smitten as soon as they had tasted the food for which they had lusted.”—Patriarchs and Prophets. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 39

Eating the flesh of dead animals was permitted by God because men were determined to break down every rule or regulation in order to gratify perverted taste. But if an appetite for this diet is cultivated, serious diseases will be the result. The evidences of the curse that came upon the earth because of sin abound everywhere. The whole creation was involved, and today animals languish under this curse. Disease prevails among them to an alarming extent. Cancers and tumors are very often seen. The tissues of the swine are peopled with living creatures, and yet this living mass is eaten and relished by men and women. Tubercular consumption is communicated by the practice of meat eating, and thus disease is extended. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 40

Will the Lord work a miracle to counteract the evils of a meat diet? He cannot do this, for in so doing, He would dishonor His name. But He lifts the danger signal in His word, showing plainly the evils from which He would save us, and if people prefer to risk the consequences, their course will produce a sure result. Too soon they will learn that they have brought suffering upon themselves by persisting in their own way. Their appetites craved meat, and the Lord would not force them into the right way. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 41

In the warfare between good and evil the Lord requires each one to remain faithfully at his post of duty. If this is in the home, take hold earnestly and willingly to make home a pleasant place. If your duty lies in the kitchen, seek to be a perfect cook. Prepare food which will be healthful, nourishing, and appetizing, so that the members of the family need not resort to stimulus of any kind. This is the best missionary work that can be done in the home. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 42

Parents should give strict heed to every ray of light which God has given on the subject of health reform, for we are living in a degenerate age, when there is danger that passion will drive the youth into corrupting and revolting sins, into self-pollution, which ruins the mind, destroys the memory, and enfeebles every other faculty. If their consciences are aroused to see this subject in its true bearing, parents can do much to guard their children from temptation. But if they place upon their tables the flesh of dead animals, if they encourage their little ones to eat this food, they sow seeds which will bring forth a harvest of corruption. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 43

Parents have a most solemn obligation resting upon them to conform to right habits of eating and drinking. Set before your children simple, wholesome food, avoiding everything of a stimulating nature. The effect which a meat diet has upon nervous children is not to make them sweet tempered and patient, but peevish, irritable, passionate, and impatient of restraint. Virtuous practices are lost, and corruption destroys mind, soul, and body. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 44

Much injury is done to health by the variety of food which is seen on so many tables. Take the different dishes which are placed on the table for one meal, and put them all together in one vessel. Stir this up together. Does it not make the stomach turn to look at it? Leave it for a few hours, and it will ferment. Yet thousands compel their stomachs to receive just such a mess as this every day. Half masticated meat, condiments, spices, pies, and sweet puddings, are washed down with tea or coffee. The abused stomach is obliged to take them, and do the best it can with them. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 45

Is there not sin in placing upon the table such a variety at one meal? Often the desire for a return of moral integrity is expressed. But this will never be until we return to simple, healthful foods, until we eat and drink to glorify God, not to gratify our perverted appetites. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 46

Died because of bad cooking; died because of sour bread; died of medication, died of an abused stomach—this might be written over the graves of many. This suicidal process is gradual. Nature bears the abuse as long as possible, but in the end she must succumb. The oil in the lamp of life is mixed with a variety of injurious substances, and the lamp refuses to burn longer. It is extinguished, not because God willed it, but because of the manifest disregard of nature’s laws. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 47

What we eat and drink has an important bearing upon our lives, and Christians should bring their habits of eating and drinking into conformity with the laws of nature. We must sense our obligations toward God in these matters. Obedience to the laws of health should be made a matter of earnest study, for willing ignorance on this subject is sin. Each one should feel a personal obligation to carry out the laws of healthful living. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 48

Many turn away from the light, provoked because a word of caution is given, and ask, “May we not do as we please with ourselves?” Did you create yourselves? Did you pay the redemption price for your souls and bodies? If so, you belong to yourselves. But the Word of God declares, “Ye are bought with a price”—“the precious blood of Christ.” [1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Peter 1:19.] The Word of God tells us plainly that our natural habits are to be strictly guarded and controlled. “Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” [1 Peter 2:11.] Shall we do this? The word of God is perfect, converting the soul. If we diligently heed its precepts, we shall be conformed, physically and spiritually, to the image of God. 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 49

“I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” [Romans 12:1, 2.] “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 3:17; 6:19, 20.] 11LtMs, Lt 103, 1896, par. 50