Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12

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Lt 22, 1897

Brethren and Sisters in Cooranbong

Stanmore, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

December 23, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in 4MR 104-105. +Note

Brethren and Sisters in Cooranbong:

We would be much pleased to be with you on the coming Sabbath, but we cannot do this. The work here is at that stage where every jot of influence is needed on the side of truth and righteousness. We are repeating the work that we were called to do in Cooranbong—“Arise and build.” [Nehemiah 2:20.] The work must advance now. Those newly come to the faith need our help. They come forward willingly, giving of their means to erect a house of worship. Brother Humphries has been moved upon by the Holy Spirit to pledge £25, and to loan £100 to start the work here. One man and his wife pledged £5 each. This was the first pledge that was made. They have since doubled it, and another sister has pledged £25. Thus the work is advancing. Still another family who have just taken their position on the truth gave £4. A general interest is awakened. The thought that a house of worship is to be built seems to work like leaven in meal. 12LtMs, Lt 22, 1897, par. 1

Yesterday Brother Haskell and wife and Brother Starr looked at two lots for building, and chose one. Afterwards Brother Humphries came along. He was shown the lots, and he decided on the same one that we had preferred. Now that the decision has been made, the work will go forward immediately. 12LtMs, Lt 22, 1897, par. 2

Just at this time we are needed here, and will remain. We would state further that the blessing of the Lord has rested upon Brother Humphries. His heart is softened and subdued as the heart of a child. He is now prepared to be greatly benefited by present truth. We desire that those who have been long in the truth shall be filled with the Spirit of God. The angels of God are at work for us. 12LtMs, Lt 22, 1897, par. 3

We have an interest for you in Cooranbong. We have manifested this interest, so you cannot doubt it. We desire that our brethren and sisters in Cooranbong shall hold the fort. Let every soul feel that he has a part to act and a work to do in making the meeting on the Sabbath interesting. Help Brother Hughes to help the rest. Let each one form a link which will connect one with the other in the work. Your individual course of action in your every day life has an influence upon those with whom you are connected or brought into contact. In a very real sense these influences touch the very root of a consecrated life. Every jot of your influence is a consecrated trust from God. When this question is settled, not only in theory, but in your practical life, you will seek most earnestly to find your place, your post of duty, and to keep it. Is your Christian life a reality, or is it a pretence? Are you individually enlisted as servants of Jesus Christ to fight the battles of the Lord? The Lord has given to each his work. 12LtMs, Lt 22, 1897, par. 4

Christ has said, “Where two or three are met together in my name, there am I in their midst.” [Matthew 18:20.] Let the meetings held on the Sabbath of the Lord be meetings of deep interest. Those who claim to be children of God are to act with unswerving fidelity. You are not called upon to attend the services on the Sabbath of the Lord to take a nap. 12LtMs, Lt 22, 1897, par. 5

You are to act as if in the presence of a holy God. You would not fall asleep when engaged in your temporal business, because you have an interest in your work. Will you place the service of the Master, which involves eternal interests, on a lower level than the temporal business of life? 12LtMs, Lt 22, 1897, par. 6

Think of these things. You are in God’s service, and you must act as if you understood your business. Brother Hughes is not the only one who is to make your meeting a profit to you, although he has a special part to act in feeding the flock of God, giving to every man his portion of meat in due season. This is the work appointed him. Just now he has a part to act in the cultivation of the soil, and you have your part to act in various lines of business. But never, never allow the temporal to encroach upon the spiritual. You must realize that Friday is the day on which we are to prepare for the Sabbath. 12LtMs, Lt 22, 1897, par. 7

Through the week the energies are not to be so completely exhausted that on the Sabbath, the day on which the Lord rested and was refreshed, we shall be in a tired, worn out condition. Thus we miss the blessings that the Lord designs us to have. We need the refreshing showers of grace on the Sabbath. We need to realize that all heaven is keeping the Sabbath, but not in a listless, do-nothing way. On this day every energy of the soul should be awake, for you are to meet with God and Christ your Saviour. You do not see Him with your natural eyes; you see Him by faith. He is longing to refresh and bless every soul. Spiritual work is to be done. Wide awake energy is to be used in making the Sabbath a time of refreshing, because the Saviour’s presence is in your midst. 12LtMs, Lt 22, 1897, par. 8

Is the Sabbath to be a day of useless idleness? No; a spirit of service is to be manifested in the home and in the church. The Lord has given the human family six days in which to do their own temporal work. But He has sanctified and blessed the seventh, and set it apart as a day on which man is to do His service. On this day the Lord will bless all who appreciate it as a day in which they may in a special manner consecrate themselves to His service. It is to be the happiest and most pleasant day of our lives. Our thoughts are to be brought into captivity to Christ. We are to meditate on the things of God. From beginning to end, Friday should be a preparation day. All disagreeable things between brethren are then to be removed. In a humble spirit confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another. Let all bitterness and wrath and malice be expelled from the soul. 12LtMs, Lt 22, 1897, par. 9

How are you serving the Lord? Have you had the companionship of Christ every day through the week? Have you prayed that the sanctification of the Sabbath might rest on you? Is the Sabbath a blessing? It is if you will make it thus by whole-hearted service. If the Sabbath has indeed been made a sign between you and God, how do you treat that sign? Do you show in your observance of the Sabbath a true sense of how you regard it? Do you show by your actions that you know it to be a sacred day, on which you know that the Lord sanctified you, that He gives you special grace, that all heaven is interested in the people who worship the living God on the Sabbath? 12LtMs, Lt 22, 1897, par. 10

Let the Sabbath be to us all what God designed it should be. “The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: everyone that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 12LtMs, Lt 22, 1897, par. 11

“Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed. And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” [Exodus 31:12-18.] 12LtMs, Lt 22, 1897, par. 12

Read these verses, and understand them in a different way than you have heretofore done. Far more sacredness is attached to the Sabbath than we give it, and our neglect in this is the reason why we do not realize its sanctifying power upon our own hearts, or obtain that peace and rest that we should have. We do not realize that it is a day wherein the Lord delights to reveal Himself to His people in a marked manner. Every moment of the Sabbath is consecrated, holy time. On that day all secular, irreligious papers should be put out of sight, that the eyes may not be diverted, that the ears may not hear harsh, discordant words. The Lord would have every one respect the Sabbath. “Ye shall keep the Sabbath,” He says; “for it is holy unto you.” “Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generation, that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.” [Verses 14, 13.] 12LtMs, Lt 22, 1897, par. 13

It is because of our own perversity of spirit that we do not receive the rich blessings of God. The Lord has peace and rest and joy for us if we will co-operate with Him in keeping our own souls in the love of God. We must not cherish unbelief. It was because of unbelief that all the adults of the children of Israel perished in the wilderness and failed to enter upon the inheritance God designed for them. We must be on our guard lest, through our careless inattention to the counsels of the Word of God, we lose our connection with heaven, and Satan comes in as our counsellor. When we allow carelessness, self-seeking, self-indulgence, self-esteem, or impatience to come in, we are brought into captivity to Satan. We sin, we stumble, when we might, by self-control make straight paths for our feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. We dishonor God because we are not Christians in practice. 12LtMs, Lt 22, 1897, par. 14

Brethren and sisters, you all need to keep the Sabbath day holy unto the Lord. If we are to be for signs and wonders in the earth because we are a peculiar people, we must be altogether different from what we now are. We do not now correctly represent the truth for these last days. We are not sanctified through the truth. We do not practice the truth. Again I say to you, you must reach a higher standard in the observance of the Sabbath and the manner of your service to God. We are within reach of the strong arm of the Lord, and His arm is pledged for our safety if we will look to Him in earnest prayer and faith. The Lord has us always in remembrance. He sympathizes with our trials and makes a way for our escape if we seek Him with all the heart. “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able to bear, but will with the temptation make a way of escape.” [1 Corinthians 10:13.] 12LtMs, Lt 22, 1897, par. 15

But I cannot leave you here without saying to Brother Hughes, Brother Hare, and Brother James, and every one of the believers, The Sabbath is not having its sanctifying influence upon you as it should have. You do not make it what it should be, holy unto the Lord. Those who occupy a leading position in the church must not exhaust their physical and mental strength, so that on the Sabbath they are unable to bring any of the vivifying influence of the gospel of Christ into the Sabbath meetings. Do less temporal, every day labor; but do not rob the Lord by giving Him service on the Sabbath day which He cannot accept. You should not be as men who have no spiritual life. The people need your help on the Sabbath. Give them food from the Word, if not in a discourse, in an interesting Bible reading. 12LtMs, Lt 22, 1897, par. 16

Brethren, put your talents to work for the Lord on the Sabbath. Brother Hughes, do not use all your strength and talent in the cultivation of the soil. You need to bring your choicest gifts to God on the Sabbath. The precious life of the soul is to be given to God in consecrated service. I call upon you who have had such great privileges during the first term of our school to know the truth, to reveal what that knowledge has done for you by being received and appropriated. I call upon you in the name of the Lord to “arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” [Isaiah 60:1.] God is not pleased when you do not lift the standard higher and still higher. 12LtMs, Lt 22, 1897, par. 17

There is to be no apathy, no sleeping, in the house of God. Awake from your inactivity; find missionary work to do for souls that are ready to perish. You have a meager experience and little influence. This should not be so. The fault is in yourselves. Have you individually made use of the knowledge you have? Arouse you to a holy determination. Exert an increasing, persevering influence for Christ, who is formed within, the hope of glory. Do not, I beg of you, keep the Sabbath as you have done. Clothe it with that sacred influence that God has given it. Then the Holy Spirit will work with you and for you to make of you a channel of light. 12LtMs, Lt 22, 1897, par. 18

You draw too much apart. Draw together. Pull in even cords. Are you not branches of the same vine? Then be one. Love as brethren; be strong, yea, be strong. Your good impulses and missionary efforts will grow if you use your talents. Talents grow by exercise, and open before us new fields of usefulness. The one talent may become a talent of the highest order by being properly appropriated. But as you work, do not suppose that your talents are the production of your own energy. They are the gift of God. The good hand of the Lord is upon you. In your personal feelings toward one another, be straight-forward and unselfish. The Lord will be with you if you follow the instruction of His Word. 12LtMs, Lt 22, 1897, par. 19

There is no excuse for any who have not improved their capabilities and increased their influence for good. You are privileged to keep in very close contact with God. Here is your power. All your knowledge and aptitude is as nothing without an indwelling Saviour to sanctify you, soul, body, and spirit. If Christ is formed within, you will individually represent the character of Christ. It is not enough that you have once been converted. You must be converted daily. 12LtMs, Lt 22, 1897, par. 20

God knows the use for which He wants each one of you, and He will supply work for your several abilities; whereby you may best do Him service. But you must keep, not your own way, but the way and will of the Lord, to do justice and judgment. All your life is to be consecrated to the service of God. He endows you with talents, but the manner in which they are employed decides the character. “Ye are not your own,” He says, “ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] 12LtMs, Lt 22, 1897, par. 21

I leave this with you in the name of the Lord. You will not be happy and enjoy your Sabbaths unless you are sanctified through obedience to the will of your heavenly Father. Awake, awake to the time in which we live! Make diligent work for eternity. We are not ready for the appearing of our Lord. Exercise all the energy of your character to improve. Cherish the attributes of Jesus Christ, and you will rise to higher positions of trust. I can write no more now, but will write again if I have time. 12LtMs, Lt 22, 1897, par. 22