Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)

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Lt 51a, 1897

Judge, Mr.; Jones, Mr.; Redwood, Mr.; Simpson, Mr.

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

July 8, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in 10MR 307 See BEcho 04/25/1898, 05/02/1898.

Dear Friends:

I have a few things to say to you, Mr. Judge, Mr. Jones, Mr. Redwood, and Mr. Simpson who, we are sorry to see, is also being overcome by Satan’s temptations. The Lord has given me a message for you. Your deportment in your rooms is not that which is to be expected of Christian gentlemen. You are young men, and even if you have made no profession of religion, it becomes you, situated as you are, to be at least gentlemen in all that the name signifies. But the Lord has shown me that in your behavior you are not gentlemen. You are not honoring your God-given manhood. 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 1

You are not your own, for you have been bought with a price; and what a price! Even the life of the only begotten Son of God. “Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are Christ’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:20.] The rebuke of God is upon you. Day by day you are privileged to hear the most solemn, sacred truths of God’s Word. These are presented to you in clear lines, and if you will receive and practice the truth, acting upon the principles laid down in God’s Word, you will receive great blessing. 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 2

Your reputation is at stake. Day by day the record of your words, your actions, and your influence is being made in the books of heaven. This you will one day meet. “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. ... And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” [Revelation 20:12, 15.] In that great day will you be pleased to meet the record that you have made while at this school? 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 3

There is a Witness constantly in your bedchamber, who hears every word you utter. Every gesture, every action, is noted by this Witness. “O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain unto it. 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 4

“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day—the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” [Psalm 139:1-12.] 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 5

“I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed,” writes Daniel, “and behold a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; he cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: Let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches: Nevertheless leave the stump of the roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth: let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him. This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones; to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.” [Daniel 4:13-17.] 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 6

Here we are shown that God holds even heathen kings subject to His will. He takes idolaters, and deals with them according to their evil ways and evil doings. 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 7

The same Watcher who came to Daniel was an uninvited guest at Belshazzar’s sacrilegious feast. This monarch had everything to flatter his pride and indulge his passions. He was a great king, presiding over the greatest kingdom then on earth. He held the life and property of his subjects in his hand. His provinces were cultivated by captives, and his capital was enriched by the spoil of nations. To those who ministered to his pride and vanity, Belshazzar was indulgent; they were his chosen favorites; but if at any moment they crossed his will, he was at once a cruel tyrant. His anger blazed forth in a most unseemly manner. 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 8

Admitted to a share in kingly authority and power at fifteen years of age, Belshazzar gloried in his power, and lifted up his heart against the God of heaven. He despised the One who is above all rulers, the General of all the armies of heaven. “Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.” [Daniel 5:1.] The profane orgies of royal mirth were attended by men of genius and education, by masters of architecture. 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 9

On this occasion there was music and banqueting and wine drinking. Decorated women with their enchantments were among the revellers. Exalted by wine, and blinded by delusion, the king himself took the lead in the riotous blasphemy. His reason was gone, and his lower impulses and passions were in the ascendancy. His kingdom was strong and apparently invincible, and he would show that he thought nothing too sacred for his hands to handle and profane. To show his contempt for sacred things, he desecrated the holy vessels taken from the temple of the Lord at its destruction. 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 10

Holy angels looked down on the scene of desecration. A Watcher was present who was unrecognized, but who was making his presence a power of condemnation. Now the unseen and uninvited guest made his presence felt. At the moment when the sacrilegious revelry was at its height, a bloodless hand came forth, and wrote words of doom on the wall of the banqueting hall. Burning words followed the movements of the hand. “Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin,” was traced in letters of flame. [Verse 25.] Few were the characters traced by the silent hand on the wall facing the king, but they demonstrated that the power of God was there. 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 11

The king was afraid. His conscience was awakened. Fear and suspicion seized him. This always follows the course of the guilty. When God makes men fear, they cannot hide the intensity of their terror. Alarm and terror seized the great men of the kingdom. Their blasphemous disrespect of sacred things was changed in a moment. A frantic terror overcame all self-control. 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 12

Belshazzar had been given many opportunities for knowing and doing the will of God. He had seen his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar banished from the society of men. He had seen the reason and intellect, in which the proud king gloried, taken away by the One who gave it. He had seen the king driven from the kingdom, and made the companion of the beasts of the field. But Belshazzar’s love of amusement and self-glorification had effaced the lessons he should never have forgotten. He committed sins similar to those that had brought such signal judgments on Nebuchadnezzar. He wasted the opportunities graciously granted him, neglecting to use the means within his reach for becoming acquainted with truth. “What must I do to be saved?” was a question that the great but foolish king passed by indifferently. [Acts 16:30.] 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 13

This is the danger of heedless, reckless youth today. The footstep of God will awaken the sinner, as it did Belshazzar, but with many it will be too late for them to repent. The words of warning, sent by the Lord to Nebuchadnezzar, are just as verily sent to the young men connected with this school. God would turn you from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God; but you have not, <some of you,> opened your minds that you might understand the truth. Enough has been presented before you to convict and convert your souls if you had taken heed to the voice of God. The truth of God’s Word will never be presented to you more clearly and plainly than it is now. Will you not take heed to it? 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 14

The ruler of Babylon had riches and honor, and in his haughty self-indulgence, he had lifted himself up against the God of heaven and earth. He had trusted in his own arm, not supposing that any would dare to say, “Why doest thou this”? But as the mysterious hand traced the letters on the wall, Belshazzar was awed and silenced. In a moment he was completely shorn of his strength, and humbled as a child. He realized that he was at the mercy of one greater than Belshazzar. He had been making sport of sacred things. Now his conscience was awakened. He realized that he had had the privilege of knowing and doing the will of God. The history of his grandfather stood out as vividly before him as the writing on the wall. He gazed at the burning letters, which no mortal power could evade. But he had found a power too strong for him. He could not read the writing. 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 15

“The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and show me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom. Then came in all the king’s wise men; but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof.” In vain the king offered honor and promotion. Heavenly wisdom cannot be bought or sold. “Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.” [Daniel 5:7-9.] 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 16

There was in the palace a woman who was wiser than them all,—the queen of Belshazzar’s grandfather. In this emergency she addressed the king in language that sent a ray of light into the awful darkness. “O king, live forever,” she said; “let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed. There is a man in the kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar, thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers; ... now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.” [Verses 10-12.] 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 17

“Then was Daniel brought in before the king.” Making an effort to brace himself up to show kingly authority and greatness, Belshazzar said, “Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry? I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee. ... Now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be third ruler in the kingdom.” [Verses 13, 14, 16.] 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 18

Daniel was not awed by the king’s appearance, or confused and intimidated by his words. He answered, “Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation. O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honor. ... But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. ... And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this, but hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk in them, and thou hast praised the gods of silver and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know; and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified.” [Verses 17, 18, 20, 22, 23.] 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 19

“This is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE: God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL: Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES: Thy kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” [Verses 25-28.] Daniel did not swerve from his testimony. He held the king’s sin before him, showing him the lessons he might have learned, but did not. He had not heeded the events so significant to him. He had not read the history of his grandfather correctly. The responsibility of knowing truth had been laid upon him, but the practical lessons he might have learned and acted upon, had not been taken to heart; and his course of action brought its sure consequences. 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 20

This was the last feast of boasting held by the Chaldean king. He who bears long with the perversity of man passed the irrevocable sentence. Belshazzar had greatly dishonored Him who had exalted him as king, and his probation was taken from him. While the king and his nobles were at the height of their revelry, the Persians turned the Euphrates out of its channel, and marched into the unguarded city. And as the king and his lords were drinking from the sacred vessels of Jehovah, and praising their gods of silver and gold, Cyrus and his soldiers stood under the walls of the palace. “In that night,” the record says, “was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom.” [Verse 30.] 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 21

Could the curtain be rolled back before the youth who have never given their hearts to God, with others who are Christians in name, but who are unrenewed in heart and unsanctified in temper, they would see that God’s eye is ever upon them, and they would feel as disturbed as did the king of Babylon. They would realize that in every place and in every hour of the day, there is a holy Watcher, whose eye takes in the whole situation, whether it is one of fidelity or of disloyalty and deception. He balances every account. 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 22

We are never alone. We have a companion, whether we choose Him or not. Remember, young men and young women, that wherever you are, whatever you are doing, God is there. Nothing that is said or done or thought can escape His infinite eye. In the deepest darkness and solitude, He is there. To your every word and action you have a witness—the holy, sin-hating God. He reads the inward anger of the soul when the will is crossed. He hears the expression of profanity. Your words may not be heard by human ears, but they are heard by the Ruler of the universe. No one can deceive God; no one can escape from their accountability to Him. 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 23

I send you the note of warning to take heed. “We ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him?” [Hebrews 2:1-3.] God has appointed each one of us to do His work. He has given you faculties, means, light, and knowledge; and He holds you accountable for the way in which you use these powers. You are appointed to be “laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] This responsibility you may ignore, but your action in so doing will bring its sure result. 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 24

If you will wear the yoke of Christ, and lift His burden, everything in your perverse characters will change. The attributes of the enemy that you have accepted, the impure thoughts, the selfish purposes, will be cleansed from your heart and your character, and the righteousness of Christ will supply the vacancy. In carrying the burdens and difficulties, you will realize that you have a helper in Christ and in wearing His yoke you will find rest and peace. 12LtMs, Lt 51a, 1897, par. 25