Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 123, 1897

Wessels, Philip

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

March 8, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in TSA 47-53.

If we could only realize that Christ crucified is the great object of our faith. Had Christ lived, He could not have been our Redeemer. Our faith must lay hold of the sacrificial offering of His life as a ransom for the world. His holiness of life, the tender compassion, the sympathy He manifested for all human woe, would not have saved us had it stopped there. It was not until, when dying upon the cross, He cried in agony, “It is finished,” that the work was accomplished. [John 19:30.] Not until He had descended to the lowest depths of humiliation, until He could go no further, was the tyranny of Satan broken. It was the death of Christ that satisfied divine justice. This was the price our ransom cost. Nothing is wanting now but for the will of man to bow, self to be crucified, and Christ to live in the heart. The soul temple must be dedicated to Him. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 1

Every part of man is the Lord’s property. Our time, our talents, our influence, must be devoted to Him. Our money is only lent us on trust, to be used in the service of God. It has not been given us in order that we might enhance our own honor, but as faithful stewards we must keep ever in view the honor and glory of God. The Lord requires the whole heart, the undivided affections. We are not to withhold anything from Him, for all are His purchased possession. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 2

There can be no sinless swerving from the standard of God’s Word. The first principles of holiness have yet to be learned by the one to whom God’s will is not paramount. We are deeply sorry that you are in strange and forbidden paths. You know the truth, and yet you have turned from it, and when you should be rendering service to God, you are found denying your Saviour. O, Philip, how could you do this? How long will you venture in the course of transgression? You do not obey the first four commandments, nor the last six. What excuse will you give in the last day why you stepped from beneath the bloodstained banner of Jesus Christ, to stand under the black banner of the prince of darkness? Will you continue to remain in the ranks of the enemy? What will you say when you meet the Judge in that day when every man will meet the reward of his works? 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 3

I appeal to you to break the Sabbath no longer. You are called of God to be a part of His great firm, to be in co-partnership with Him, to trade with the Lord’s entrusted goods, and to show yourself faithful in His service. Read the seventeenth chapter of John. Read and reread the prayer there offered by Christ for His disciples. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 4

It is God’s will that you shall be converted and co-operate with Him. Would that you could see and know as I do the value of your soul and of the work the compassionate Saviour has done for you. When you shall once comprehend this, you will not for one hour stand where you are today. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 5

Your position has had an influence upon your brothers. Not having had the light and experience that you have had, they have placed confidence in you, and have looked much to your course of action. You will not lose your own soul alone. You carry many with you. If you would now repent and, in accordance with the light you have had, take up the weapons of warfare, and fight on the Lord’s side, you would no longer risk your eternal destiny. You would place your affections on things above, and not on things on the earth. You would place a high estimate upon the eternal treasure and realize how meager is all earthly gain secured at the risk of losing your soul. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 6

You need the changes which will mold the life after the divine Pattern. Christ has said of you, “Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” [Luke 22:31, 32.] Brother Philip Wessels, the Lord is inviting you to come unto Him. He says, “Return unto me, and I will return unto you.” [Malachi 3:7.] He will heal all your backslidings; He will love you freely. [Hosea 14:4.] Now is our day of test and trial. The precious hours are passing away. There is no place of safety or repose or justification in the transgression of the law of God. He demands nothing short of absolute surrender to Him. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 7

You must make no reserve. “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them,” He says, “he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him and will manifest myself to him.” [John 14:21.] “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” [John 15:10, 11.] Obedience to God’s commandments does not keep us in a sad, gloomy frame of mind; the contemplation of them is not a sorrow. Through them the cheerful beams of Christ’s righteousness shine into our hearts. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 8

This, Brother Philip, I am commissioned to tell you, may be yours. The Lord understands your every weakness, and He longs to be your sufficiency and your strength. Bear in mind that the reckoning time must come with us all, and you know not the day nor the hour when your probation may close. The Master, in bestowing His rewards, will scrutinize the return of every talent. The great Shepherd will call His sheep by name, and lead them out. Probationary time will then be ended, and the destiny of every soul decided for eternity. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 9

In that day the faithful servants appropriate no merit to themselves. They feel that they have done only their duty, and that very deficiently. They could have acquired nothing without the capital advanced them. The faithful servant says, “I have gained beside them other talents.” [Matthew 25:20, 22.] These talents embrace both money and influence. If it had not been for the capital advanced in money or in capabilities, they would have come out bankrupt for eternity. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 10

When the Master takes account of His servants, He gives His approval to those who have done faithful work with His entrusted capital. He speaks to them words of commendation, and rewards them as if the merit were their own. “Well done, good and faithful servant,” He says, “thou hast been faithful over few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” [Verse 23.] The countenance of Christ is full of joy and satisfaction, He is filled with delight that He can bestow blessings upon them for their faithful service. “Henceforth I call you not servants, but friends.” [John 15:15.] 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 11

The Lord would have every man faithful in His service, if only for his own present happiness and eternal good. And if they are not cheerful in His service, it is because they have not received their talents as God’s gifts; they have not used them as His entrusted treasure. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 12

A man’s interest is proportionate with his faithfulness. The slothful servant, who bound up in a napkin and hid his Lord’s goods, complained that the Lord was not a just Master. This selfish servant took his Lord’s entrusted goods and used them to benefit himself, regardless of the many souls who were destitute of the knowledge of truth and salvation. He left them to perish in their sins, to receive their just sentence. God bestows His rewards according to the faithful use we make in this world of our time, our influence, and the goods entrusted to us. He will reward according to our works. We are to bear in mind that it is not our property that we have in our keeping. It is the Lord’s, to be invested in a way that will glorify Him. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 13

The Lord has given to every man his work. He has never given you permission to use His talents by trading with or investing them regardless of His commandments. This is practicing double robbery toward God. Please consider this. God will require His own with usury. The transgressor of His holy law is robbing God in abusing His holy day, and placing it on a level with common working days. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 14

I tremble for you, my brother. When I think of this unfaithfulness, it amazes me. I do not know how you dare go on as you are doing after you have had a knowledge of the truth, and know that you are trampling upon the Lord’s Sabbath week after week. You must give account for this. O be warned! Be warned! Flee unto Jesus; He is calling for you. Do despite no longer to His Spirit of grace. What can you say for this breach of trust in the great day of reckoning? Will you now place yourself on the Lord’s side, and be determined that you will obey His requirements under all circumstances? I ask you to make no delay lest you pass the boundary of the forbearance of God. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 15

The world is mad. It is rushing on perversely, just as they did in the days of Noah, adding insult upon insult to Jehovah, and trying to put God out of their thoughts. The Lord Jehovah was long-suffering to the inhabitants of the Noachic world. He is “slow to anger,” but He is also great in power, and will not acquit the wicked. “The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.” [Nahum 1:3.] The long-suffering and forbearance of God is wonderful because it indicates that He puts constraint upon His own attributes. It is Omnipotence exercised over Omnipotence. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 16

O, how my heart aches as the situation is presented before me. Those whom God is sparing are abusing His mercies, yet He does not cut them down as cumberers of the ground. Those who have a knowledge of His will have a great tendency to disregard His Word, to be disobedient, unthankful, unholy, abusing the Lord’s mercy, long-suffering and forbearance. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 17

March 9, 1897

I cannot sleep past one o’clock. My heart goes out in yearning of soul for those who are living in the very last scenes of this earth’s history, and yet are insensible to what is just before them. A vast reformation would be wrought upon the world if the veil of the future could be lifted, and all could see and understand that very soon there is to be a change in the attitude of God in His dealings with the perversity of man. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 18

If God had decided in His councils in heaven to visit the transgressor of His positive commands with instant death, there would have resulted a much greater carefulness and restriction of the inclination to do those things that are an offense to God. The very men who seem to be dead to entreaties and warnings sent in mercy by God, those who will not be deterred from their evil course of action, would be prudent to save their lives, even if they have no love for God. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 19

But the Lord’s arrangement, made in council with His only begotten Son, was to leave man a free moral agent to a certain length of probation. His eye would discern all their works, but He would compel no man’s service. If the love displayed in his long-suffering and patience would not bring them to repentance and perfect surrender to the laws of His kingdom, then they must be left to choose whom they would serve. Their life must testify of their choice. If they love transgression and choose to disregard His laws after sufficient test and trial, their case is forever decided. God cannot have such as members of His family in heaven. Their punishment will come in accordance with the aggravating character of their defiance and rebellion against God. God’s long-suffering will give every opportunity for man to repent and turn to Christ as his only hope. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 20

Because of the goodness and long-suffering of God, many have been led to consider and appreciate the mercy and lovingkindness of God, and this has led them to repentance, while on the other hand, others have become more careless, and have abused His mercy. To their everlasting loss and shame they have followed the mind and will of Satan irrespective of the future retribution that will surely come upon them for their disobedience and transgression. They will yet learn that God is jealous of His honor and His glory. He will not have His laws trifled with; He will not allow men to treat them with indifference and defiance without punishing them accordingly. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 21

“Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” [Ecclesiastes 8:11.] The means which the Lord has employed, in the gracious provision of His mercy, to soften and subdue the objects of His love, has, through the workings of Satan, encouraged the depraved and hardened hearts in perversity, resistance and transgression, that even as far back as the days of David led him to exclaim, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work; for they have made void thy law. Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.” [Psalm 119:126, 127.] 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 22

O that all might consider before it is everlastingly too late that there are limits to the mercy and forbearance of God! There are those, who by their impenitence under the beams of light that have shone upon them, are very near the line where the forbearance of God is exhausted. In mind and heart they are saying, “My Lord delayeth his coming,” and they eat and drink with the drunken. [Matthew 24:48, 49.] But God declares of such that “sudden destruction cometh upon them,” “and they shall not escape.” [1 Thessalonians 5:3.] 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 23

At this time, when great light is shining forth from the Word of God, making dark mysteries plain as day, is the day of mercy, of hope, of joy and assurance to all who will be benefited thereby, to all who will open their minds and hearts to the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. But there is an opposite class to this: those who will not come to the Light, who despise the truth because it exposes error and transgression and sin, and as a result, depravity and boldness in transgression is becoming all-pervading. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 24

There are diligent students of the Word of prophecy in all parts of the world, who are obtaining light and still greater light from searching the Scriptures. This is true of all nations, of all tribes, and all peoples. These will come from the grossest error, and will take the place of those who have had opportunities and privileges and have not prized them. These have worked out their own salvation with fear and trembling lest they shall become deficient in doing the ways and will of God, while those who have had great light have, through the perversity of their own natural hearts, turned away from Christ because displeased with His requirements. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 25

But God will not be left without witness. The one-hour laborers will be brought in at the eleventh hour, and will consecrate their ability and all their entrusted means to advance the work. These will receive the reward for their faithfulness, because they are true to principle and shun not their duty to declare the whole counsel of God. When those who have had abundance of light throw off the restraint which the Word of God imposes, and make void His law, others will come in to fill their place, and take their crown. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 26

While many have reduced the Word, the Truth, the holy law of Jehovah, to a dead letter, and by their example testify that the law of Jehovah is a hard, rigorous burden, while they say, “We will lay off this yoke; we will be free; we will no longer remain in covenant relation with God; we will do as we please,” there will be men who have had very meager opportunities, who have walked in ways of error because they knew not any other or better way, to whom beams of light will come. As the word from Christ came to Zacchaeus, “I must abide at thy house,” so the word will come to them. [Luke 19:5.] And the one supposed to be a hardened sinner will be found to have a heart as tender as a child, because Christ has deigned to notice him. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 27

Great is the work of the Lord. Men are choosing sides. Even those supposed to be heathen will choose the side of Christ, while those who become offended, as did the disciples, will go away and walk no more with Him. And others will come in and occupy the place they have left vacant. The time is very near when man shall have reached the prescribed limits. He has now almost exceeded the bounds of the long-suffering of God, the limits of His grace, the limits of His mercy. The record of their works in the books of heaven is, “Weighed in the balances, and found wanting.” [Daniel 5:27.] The Lord will interfere to vindicate His own honor, to repress the swellings of unrighteousness and bold transgression. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 28

What effect will the attempt of men to make void the law of God have upon the righteous? Will they be intimidated because of the universal scorn that is put upon the holy law of God? Will the true believers in the “Thus saith the Lord” become wavering and ashamed because the whole world seems to despise His righteous law? Will they be carried away by the prevalence of evil? No; to those who have consecrated themselves to God to serve Him, the law of God becomes more precious when the contrast is shown between the obedient and the transgressor. In proportion as the attributes of Satan are developed in the despisers and transgressors of the law of God, to the faithful adherent the holy precept will become more dear and valuable. He will declare, “They have made void thy law. Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.” [Psalm 119:126, 127.] It is the ones who have been faithful stewards of the grace of God whose love of God’s commandments grows with the contempt which all around them would put upon them. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 29

Wicked men and the church harmonize in this hatred of the law of God, and then the crisis comes. Then we see the class specified in (Malachi 3:13-15): “Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.” Here are a company of disaffected professed Christians, whose chief business is to murmur and complain and accuse God by accusing the children of God. They see nothing defective in themselves, but very much to displease in others. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 30

But while they are murmuring and complaining and falsely accusing, and doing Satan’s work most zealously, another class is brought to our notice: “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not.” [Verses 16-18.] 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 31

This subject is urging itself upon my mind. I want you to consider it, for it is a matter of vast importance. With which of these two classes shall we identify our interest? We are now making our choice, and we shall soon discern between him that serveth God, and him that serveth Him not. Read the fourth chapter of Malachi, and think about it seriously. The day of God is right upon us. The world has converted the church. Both are in harmony, and are acting on a short-sighted policy. Protestants will work upon the rulers of the land to make laws to restore the lost ascendancy of the man of sin, who sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 32

The Roman Catholic principles will be taken under the care and protection of the state. This national apostasy will speedily be followed by national ruin. The protest of Bible truth will be no longer tolerated by those who have not made the law of God their rule of action. Then will the voice be heard from the graves of martyrs, represented by the souls which John saw slain for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ which they held; then the prayer will ascend from every true child of God, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work, for they have made void thy law.” [Psalm 119:126.] 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 33

When our first parents fell from their high estate through transgression, God’s law was made void. Then Christ entered upon His work as a Redeemer, and probation was granted to the inhabitants of the world. In Noah’s day men disregarded the law of God until almost all remembrance of Him had passed away from the earth. Their wickedness reached so great a height, violence, crime, and every kind of sin became so intensely active, that the Lord brought a flood of water upon the world and swept away the wicked inhabitants thereof. But mercy was mingled with judgment. Noah and his family were saved. In the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, we see that the Lord will interfere; fire came down from heaven and destroyed these wicked cities. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 34

From time to time the Lord has made known the manner of His working. He is mindful of what is passing upon the earth. And when a crisis has come, He has revealed Himself, and has interposed [to hinder] the working [out] of Satan’s plans. He has often permitted matters with nations, with families, and with individuals to come to a crisis, that His interference might become marked. Then He has let the fact be known that there is a God in Israel who would sustain and vindicate His people. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 35

When the defiance of the law of Jehovah shall be almost universal, when His people shall be pressed in affliction by their fellow men, God will interpose. The fervent prayers of His people will be answered, for He loves to have His people seek Him with all their heart, and depend upon Him as their Deliverer. He will be sought unto to do these things for His people, and He will arise as the protector and avenger of His people. The promise is, The Lord will avenge his own elect, which cry unto him day and night. [Luke 18:7.] 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 36

The Protestant government will reach a strange pass. They will be converted to the world. They will also, in their separation from God, work to make falsehood and apostasy from God the law. In the place of those who have the light of truth allowing jealousy and evil surmisings to come in and weaken their love and union one with another, their united prayers should ascend to heaven for the Lord to arise and put an end to the violence and abuse which are practiced in our world. More prayer and less talk is what God desires, and this would make His people a tower of strength. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 37

I cannot pursue this matter further now. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 38

In love. 12LtMs, Lt 123, 1897, par. 39