Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 135, 1897

Wessels, Sister

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

February 8, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in SD 342; TMK 118; 1SM 117-118; CC 353. +Note

Dear Sister Wessels:

I wish to tell you that one school building is finished. The work has been done well, but plainly. We cannot afford to enter into any extras. Money is needed for so many things. We shall bind about the edges, and make the loan of £1,000 extend as far as possible. 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 1

When we can get the means, we mean to build a meetinghouse. This will not be extravagant, but plain, neat, and commodious. We greatly desire to meet for the worship of God in some other place than the loft of a sawmill, which is barricaded with school furniture. A room such as this does not suggest any sacred ideas. The heat of the sun, beating down on the tin roof, is very oppressive. 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 2

The school building which is now going up will only be enclosed. It will not be sealed or plastered. This will serve for dining room and kitchen, and, according to the new plan, part of the upper story will be used as sleeping rooms for the students, and part for a meetinghouse, until we can raise funds to build a humble chapel. 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 3

I hope that you, or I, or any who is co-operating in this, will not tie up our money, or use it only where it will make a show. The greatest show we can make with the means of which we are stewards is to place them where they will be in active circulation in God’s service, trading upon the talents entrusted to us, that they may be so invested and increased that they will bring the truth to many souls in the darkness of error, <and they in their turn work for God.> 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 4

If we place our means where they will be wasted, even on our children, if we permit our children to use money without a thought of glorifying God, we are not clear in His sight. God has a work for our money to do, and He will call upon us to give an account of it. 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 5

It seems exceedingly strange that more is not written on this subject, and that warnings, presenting “It is written,” are not going to all parts of the world. In Malachi, the serious consequences of robbing God are presented in plain language, and I wonder why this matter is not brought more distinctly before God’s people, that they may be kept from the presumptuous sin of robbery. This matter has not had sufficient weight with the professed people of God. 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 6

This is no speculative theory, but a truth of the deepest interest, and of the most weighty importance. May the Lord so work upon the hearts and the understanding of men that they may clearly perceive their duty as it is written in the Word, so that none will have an excuse in the day of judgment for wasting the Lord’s goods upon themselves, or upon others. 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 7

The means invested in the cause of God continually increase, because they are instrumental in bringing souls into the truth who do service for God, and in their turn lead others to God’s side. These become a part of the great firm, and invest their time and talents in it. As the matter is kept before them, the eyes of their understanding are enlightened, and they become more and more consecrated to God’s service. An increased capacity to press the triumphs of the gospel of Christ is gained. 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 8

Facilities are greatly needed for the work of God. Those who name the name of Christ should enter unto no ambitious projects, binding up the Lord’s work by misappropriating His means. We are to behold Christ, that we may have a knowledge of His self-sacrificing life and character. By His life of self-denial, Christ has made a plain path for His followers. He lived not to please Himself: but He bore the guilt of the world. When the eyes of our understanding are anointed with the heavenly eyesalve, we shall not view things in the light that the world views them. 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 9

If Brother Philip Wessels had taken up the work appointed him by God, he would now have been engaged in seeking to bring light and truth to thousands that are in darkness. A great work might have been done in South Africa, by all that have received the truth there, if they had divested themselves of their accusing spirit. If they had believed the words, “All ye are brethren” [Matthew 23:8], if they had realized that with God there is no caste, but that in His sight every soul is precious, God would have worked through them. But there is constant danger of losing the simplicity of the work, and of trying to forward it on lines which the Lord cannot approve. If those whom the Lord has appointed to do His work do not feel the necessity of manifesting Christlike humility at every step, God will entrust His work to other agencies. If these respond to the light, they will take the place of those who refused to go out into the highways and the hedges with the invitation, “Come for all things are now ready. The gospel feast is prepared; come to the royal feast.” [See Luke 14:17.] 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 10

We are brought out of the darkness of the world into God’s marvelous light. If we receive the image of God, if our souls are cleansed from every moral defilement, the seal of God will be placed upon our foreheads, and we shall be prepared for the closing scenes of this earth’s history. But we have no time to lose. The more we study the life of Christ, with a heart to learn, the more Christlike we become. Into the heart of every true doer of the Word the Holy Spirit infuses clear understanding. The more we crucify selfish practices by imparting our blessings to others, and by exercising our God-given ability, the more the heavenly graces will be strengthened and increased in us. We will grow in spirituality, in patience, in fortitude, in meekness, in gentleness. Imbued with love to God and to our fellow men, we shall be “laborers together with God,” in seeking to save the lost. [1 Corinthians 3:9.] We are to work the works of God. 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 11

The Lord permits circumstances to come that call for the exercise of the passive graces, which increase in purity and efficiency as we endeavor to give back to the Lord His own in tithe and offerings. You know something of what it means to pass through trials. These have given you the opportunity of trusting in God, of seeking Him in earnest prayer, that you may believe in Him, and reply upon Him with simple faith. It is by suffering that our virtues are tested, and our faith tried. It is in the day of trouble that we feel the preciousness of Jesus. You will be given opportunity to say, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” [Job 13:15.] O, it is so precious to think that opportunities are afforded us to confess our faith in the face of danger, and amid sorrow, sickness, pain, and death. 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 12

For Christ’s sake, and for your souls’ sake, take heed, and let not your light grow dim. Mistrust your own wisdom; for it is nothing. <But have faith in God.> “Without me,” said Christ, “ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] I wish I could make my voice heard across the broad waters, saying to you as dear children, and to every human being, “Walk carefully and humbly before God. Pray without ceasing. Though you cannot always be on your knees, your thoughts can continually ascend to God in silent, earnest supplication that His Spirit may attend you as you search His Word for directions. Flee from those who would fill your mind with the poisonous malaria of distrust and unbelief. Keep in the channel of light. Associate with those sound in the faith, those that have a deep experience in the things of God.” 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 13

Outward obedience to the Word of God is thought by many to constitute them Christians; but it can never do this. The heart must be touched by the Spirit of God. No one should rest content unless he has the mind of Christ. He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” [John 14:6.] Those who truly accept Him are covered with the robe of His righteousness. By eating His flesh, and drinking His blood, they become partakers of His divine nature. The blood of Christ washes away their sins, and they become true branches of the living vine. 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 14

By her act of anointing Christ, according to His words, Mary will be associated with Him and with the gospel throughout all time, because her act was a demonstration of love for Christ. Religion itself, free and undefiled, is to know God, and Jesus Christ, whom He hath sent. “Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss,” writes Paul, “for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made comformable unto his death.” “I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 3:8-10, 13, 14.] 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 15

“This one thing I do.” [Verse 13.] Here is a decided statement of Paul’s unchangeable resolution. He could not be diverted from the steady purpose of his life. “This one thing I do.” Paul did many things. He was a wise teacher. His many letters are full of instructive lessons setting forth correct principles. He worked with his hands, for he was a tent maker, and in this way earned his daily bread. “These hands,” he said, “have ministered unto my necessity.” [Acts 20:34.] He carried a heavy burden for the churches. He strove most earnestly to present their errors before them, that they might correct them, and not be deceived and led away from God. He was always seeking to help them in their difficulties; and yet he declares, “One thing I do.” In the busy activity of his life he had one great purpose. The responsibilities of his life were many, yet he kept always before him this “one thing.” The constant sense of the presence of God constrained him to keep his eye ever looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of his faith. 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 16

There are obligations resting upon every soul, and there are conditions to be met in regard to the salvation of the soul. With us, everything depends on how we accept the Lord’s terms. As is our spirit, so will be the moral result upon our future life and character. Each individual soul has victories to gain, but he must realize that he cannot have things just as he wants them. We are to observe carefully every lesson Christ has given throughout His life and teaching. He does not destroy; He improves whatever He touches. 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 17

The truth of God is not guesswork, but an experience [by which] divine influences co-operate with human agents. It is to be tested by practical results. There is an actual, vital relation between fallen man and the divine intelligences, between the sinner and his divine Saviour. The Lord Jesus, the great Center, takes men into partnership with Himself. Then, I inquire, why are there so many strings of leadership from man and his fellow man? Why does man look to his fellow man for help and knowledge and understanding as to what [he] must be and what [he] must do? His Word has given special directions that men are to look to Jesus, to work as laborers together with God. “Come unto me, all ye that labor, and are heavy laden,” Christ says, “and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 18

The one great evidence of spiritual growth is that we love to obey Christ, and come into sweet union with Him who makes us sit together in heavenly places with Christ. God requires us to be doers of His Word, and not hearers only. In order to attain a high standard in religious experience, we must cultivate the meekness and lowliness of Christ. We must love obedience; we must love righteousness because it is of heavenly extraction. 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 19

Christ never flattered any one. He has never promised us smooth water; but he has said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation, but in me ye shall have peace.” [John 16:33.] He made an infinite sacrifice that we might become one with Him and one with each other. Every son and daughter of God must work out their own salvation. We have a personal religious experience to gain; they have an individual responsibility resting upon us. If we will avail ourselves of the grace provided for us, God will co-operate with us, and will work in and through us to will and to do of His good pleasure. 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 20

Man cannot be towed to heaven; he cannot go as a passive passenger. He must himself use the oars, and work as a laborer together with God. There are many who profess to be Christ’s followers, and yet are not doers of His Word. They do not relish this Word, because it presents service which is not agreeable to them. They do not relish the wholesome reproofs and close, earnest appeals. They do not love righteousness, but are mastered and tyrannized over by their own erratic, human impulses. 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 21

It makes every difference how we do service for God. The boy who drudges through his lessons, because he must learn, will never become a real student. The man who claims to keep the commandments of God, because he thinks he must do it, will never enter into the enjoyment of obedience. The essence and flavor of all obedience is the outworking of a principle within—the love of righteousness, the love of the law of God. The essence of all righteousness is loyalty to our Redeemer, doing right because it is right. When the Word of God is a burden because it cuts directly across human inclinations, then the religious life is not a Christian life, but a tug and a strain, an enforced obedience. All the purity and godliness of religion is set aside. But adoption into the family of God makes us children, not slaves. 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 22

When the love of Christ enters the heart, we strive to imitate the character of Christ. A Christian is a follower of Christ when he acts the mind and will of Christ. A train of cars is not merely attached to the engine; they follow on the same track as the engine. Who are we following? “The Lord looketh from the heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. From the place of his habitation, he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth. He fashioneth all their hearts alike; he considereth all their works.” [Psalm 33:13-15.] He is our Father; we are His children. As Governor of the universe, He is not far from any one of us; “for in him we live, and move, and have our being.” [Acts 17:28.] “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” [Hebrews 4:13.] 12LtMs, Lt 135, 1897, par. 23