Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 64, 1897

Hickox, Brother and Sister

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

September 3, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in CTr 169. +Note

Dear Brother and Sister Hickox:

I have words for you. When tried and tempted, why did you not, in the fear of God, carefully consider every step of the way that you have travelled over? Why did you not look on both sides of the question? Why did you not see and severely criticize your own course of action as readily as you have criticized that of your brethren? You have moved unwisely. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 1

Some things have been presented before me of which I have not spoken to you or any one. The situation you are in is largely of your own creating. You have no one to blame but yourselves. Your brethren in New Zealand might have helped you to help yourself, but it would not have been in the line of canvassing. You have large temptations. Your supposed obligation to help your relatives in California is not your duty under the circumstances, and would be the very worst move you could make for them. The cause and work of God is your first and highest consideration. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 2

There are causes which I have recently had presented before me that leads me to write those words to you. I have withheld them lest, in your tempted condition, Satan would misinterpret them. One case I have had presented before me, just at this time, that has made it necessary for me to write upon some points that I dared not withhold from him. His name I will not now give, but he has brought himself and family into most distressing circumstances through his business management in book canvassing. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 3

He has run up a debt of £250 at office, he has borrowed money of men not of our faith, and also of men and women of our faith, until he is in a position where he could be tried in courts of justice if the ones he has drawn money from were to use their influence in this way. It may still be done. We do not know how the case will turn. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 4

This man is an intelligent and able speaker. He has done excellently in canvassing for petitions that the name of God shall not be put in the constitution. He has talents, but when he is in business, or handling money in any line, the man seems to have the devil right at his elbow. He is now in a most pitiful situation; but what can be done? He thinks the tract and missionary workers are hard upon him. He says Brother Daniells is kind and considerate, but this is only his opinion. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 5

Brother Daniells has lent him money to help him out of difficulty. Now whose money is Elder Daniells handling? It is not his own. What is his position? It is that of a faithful steward of the means over which he has supervision. When men in the canvassing work get into difficulties, they expect that money is to be drawn from the treasury to help them out, only to get into straightened places again, and again to require help. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 6

Thus it has been in the case of the man I am writing about. The reproach this man has brought upon the cause is not small; yet he feels very bad that he is not helped more. These experiences brought upon the men who are stewards of the means in the treasury, make it necessary for them to keep a sharp look out to see the supply is not exhausted by these drafts made upon it. When men cannot by canvassing bring every dollar of money into the treasury that belongs rightly to it, let them act like sensible men and stop right where they are until they can be sure that they can work in the canvassing line, that they can bring means into the treasury in the place of robbing it. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 7

I write these things to you that you may not murmur and complain and consider yourself hardly used. In their dealing with you, your brethren in New Zealand have made a mistake in not giving you a chance in some line of work when you asked for it; but when they afterward graciously tried to help you, did you treat their efforts kindly and respectfully? Were you willing to be helped? Have you humbled your heart before God? Have you not rather, through your own course of action, brought unnecessary burden and perplexity upon those who were stewards in trust of the Lord’s goods? 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 8

My brother, you are walking away from the light and placing yourself in a position that will not recommend you to the confidence of your brethren, as a man walking and working under the supervision of the Master, Jesus Christ. He never leads men in the track you have been traveling. If you had put away your pride, and humbled your heart before God, He would have helped you out of all your difficulties. But will the experience you have had qualify you to stand as a representative man before the people? Are you not disqualifying yourself to be trusted, to be depended upon? 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 9

When Elisha followed Elijah, and traveled with him, he was first given the position of a servant; he had to perform [the] humble duty of pouring water on the hands of Elijah. Yet he kept at the humble work until the last journey. There it was to be revealed to him that Elijah was to be translated. Called as Elisha was from the twelve yoke of oxen and the plough, he followed Elijah without complaint, leaving a wealthy home where he was beloved, to attend the prophet in his uncertain life. He willingly fulfilled the very humblest duties. His connection with Elijah revealed that he had traits of character that would endure test and trial, that he was a valuable young man with precious traits of character. Trials and temptations he had in abundance, but he relied upon God in trying emergencies. His circumstances of wealth and comfort were a temptation. In his home he was fully capable of ruling, but in the service of Elijah he must obtain an experience, he must learn how to serve under a ruler, that he might learn to serve God. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 10

Many errors are entertained by men in their vocations. They overestimate their capabilities, and in test and trial reveal that they need a different kind of experience than they have had in order to be a laborer together with Christ. The men who do not see their need of serving God in little things, doing humble work, give unmistakable evidence that they are not fitted to serve in larger things. In overlooking the humble service as non-essential, they bear testimony that they cannot be trusted with larger responsibilities. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 11

The idea which prevails in some minds, and which it is difficult to change, an idea which they have permitted to be unconsciously woven into their experience, is that a certain position of gentility and dignity must be maintained else their influence will be marred in their work of preaching. But when these learn to minister, they will know that humble, active service means to interest themselves in the duties of everyday life, and [to] obtain the education essential to do the ordinary duties of life in any small vocation—it may be in tilling the soil, in following the plough, in sowing or in reaping. Service to God means work in different lines. It is not merely to study and contemplate and preach, and allow the hands to remain idle. That religion is spurious which does not reveal itself in labor in Christ’s lines. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 12

There is to be no neglect or low estimate of the humble every day duties of life. True conversion to God will act as leaven in every phase of duty in the relationships of life. Then if the Lord sees us faithful in that which is least, diligent and persevering in the use of our physical powers, doing with our hands that which some one must do, He will say, “Come up higher. You may be entrusted with greater responsibilities.” You are to be an educator of the youth who have perverted ideas of the religion of usefulness and duty. They fail to learn the ennobling lessons that will make a man an all-round character in the sight of God, and to be just as useful in the field, in planting, in sowing, in harvesting, in the various duties of the home guard, as in the field of conflict. Such characters will be qualified to discern the deep, hidden treasures of the Word of God. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 13

You have shown yourself willing to do the humble duties, which many men who have entered the ministry do not take in and practice. But there is one thing that you have not learned. You cannot bear one word of reproof or question in regard to your course of action. You have had a self-sufficiency, an egotism, and a will of your own. You desire to have your own way whatever course you choose to pursue. In your scholastic life you have made the atmosphere around your soul offensive to your companions. The Lord has permitted circumstances to occur to reveal to you the imperfections of your character. You have yet to learn the humiliating lessons of submission and service, as Elisha served Elijah. You have been headstrong, you have been willful, you have not been submissive. You have brought trouble upon yourself, and have placed yourself in circumstances where, if you will, you may learn the lesson that it is a terrible punishment to any man or women to have their own way, and choose their own course of action. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 14

It has recently been presented to me that until your heart is transformed by the grace of God in this respect, you will work against great odds. If your will is crossed, you do not respect the person of age or position. There is a sort of determined resistance on your part. Moses was educated of God to know that he was the one who through the power of God was to deliver the nation of the Hebrews. But he began in a rash way, and this drove him from Egypt. He dwelt in Midian forty years before the Lord entrusted him with his work as leader of Israel. When you, my brother, will learn your lessons at the feet of Jesus, and serve there, you will be much better prepared to do the work essential for this time. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 15

I purposed to write you a letter of invitation, and help you both to attend our camp meetings in Sydney and in Melbourne. But the things I now write you have been opened before me, and the Word of the Lord says you are not ready to work in the ministry. Until you shall humble your heart before God, and cease your murmurings and reflections, you would prove a hindrance and not a help. When you are willing to obey God, when your mind is prepared to see and understand that it is your own mistakes that have involved you in difficulty, when your headstrong spirit is subdued by the Spirit of God, then your services will be a savor of life unto life, and not of death unto death. You need and must have a dying to self. You need to humble yourself before God. If your ideas and opinions are crossed, you must not break out like a roaring lion. You have not manifested the meekness and lowliness of Christ, but a harsh untamable spirit which God will not permit to be exercised in His cause and in His work, for you put Christ to open shame by your rudeness and disrespect. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 16

These things you must see. These things you must understand. If Christ is enthroned in your heart, you will never manifest that impetuosity of spirit which is a trait in your character, and which will, if indulged, surely close the gates of the city of God against you. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 17

The same message is applicable to your wife. Do you ask what will be your future, what work or trial awaits you? I do not know; but this I know that there is a work for you to do for yourself in the name of Jesus and by His grace. And “when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” [Luke 22:32.] When self and all wickedness of spirit dies, there is a work you may do for the Lord. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 18

It is a trait of your character to consider your self fully sufficient for any work. It is not a necessity that you should minister in Word or doctrine. But if you will ask the Lord, and be converted; if you will of your own spiritual choice be free and joyous in God; if with gladsome consent of the heart to His gracious call, you come wearing the yoke of Christ, which is that of obedience and service, all your difficulties will be removed, all your murmurings will be stilled, and the many questions that may arise will be solved. You are to learn of Christ and work in His spirit. If your hearts delight not in the Lord, if His ways are not pleasantness and peace, then you want to seek for the first element in genuine religion which is a converted heart, a transformed character. If you will accept this message in simple faith, and act upon it, you will find that many of your ideas and fears and suppositions are groundless. There is need of seeking the Lord right where you are. You have been in danger. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 19

I would be glad to meet you any time when you can return with that preparedness for the work that will qualify you to be a co-laborer with Christ. I feel the tenderest sympathy for you, and greatly desire that you shall obtain that advanced experience that is of highest value with God. The Lord has chosen young men to engage with the more experienced to carry forward His work. “I write unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you.” And what is the result of the abiding of the Word of God in these youthful disciples? “Ye have overcome the wicked one.” [1 John 2:14.] God calls young men and young women to His standard to fight manfully for Him the battles of the Lord. But the most earnest warfare must first be against self. A Christian has no excuse for being as masterful and strong in his own way as you have been all your lifetime when not agreed with or treated as an equal or a superior. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 20

“I will go in the strength of the Lord God: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only. O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is come. Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee! Thou, which hast showed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.” [Psalm 71:16-20.] 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 21

David had once been young, and now was old. His work was almost done. Yet he said, “My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed. My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long: for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt.” [Verses 23, 24.] Young men have a great work to do, but they should always benefit by the counsel of old men of experience. Men of experience have a cheerful, victorious testimony to bear in regard to the faithfulness of the Lord. David served his generation, and he has given to the generations to come his own experience—his failures, in that he departed from the way of the Lord, and his clear, valuable experience when he called to mind the instruction received of God while he was a careful shepherd of the flocks. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 22

My brother and sister, you are making history for the present and the future. The Lord will teach every one who will be taught, everyone who will not become offended with God, and would teach Him, and feels that he could instruct the Lord in better methods of managing. The Lord will teach all the precious truths of His Word to those who will be taught and will be doers of the Word. Then he will engage in the good works to which God would have him dedicate his life. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 23

The Lord God of heaven is your Instructor. He will choose His own agents of they will be taught of Him. All that has been done only shows us that much remains to be done. God opens young eyes to see that which enfolds itself in the great roll of the transactions of life. He Himself gives the new thoughts, suggests the new enterprises which stir the soul to action. He calls for service from young men whose natures are receptive, and who are strong in hope and courage, who are self-sacrificing, strong to will, and apt to devise and plan and execute. The Lord gives the plans by which they are to work. Since this is so, how careful should we all be to inquire, “Is this the way of the Lord?” The Lord God of heaven will lead and guide and teach you if you will not be self-confident and presumptuous. He will open ways for you. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 24

I greatly desire that you shall humble your hearts before God, and seek Him with the whole heart. You must not let Satan take your crown. Sound words must be brought into actual contact with your life practice, leading to right and correct actions. You must feel the curbing power of the truth upon your impulses and actions, or you will become self-conceited and will follow your own impulses. Cast not aside the divine scheme that God would bring into your life. If you refuse the work of guidance and obedience and control, you will never be purified, never become like Christ. You are to obtain your training for heaven through faithfully doing your appointed work. If you do not heed the voice and instructions of God, He cannot use you. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 25

God will make of you a vessel unto honor if you will submit to be molded and fashioned after His divine model. Your own ways, your own natural, impetuous temperament may refuse to submit to the discipline of God. If so, that ends the matter. The Lord will not be dictated to. God forbid that you should become sour and coarse under your training. The Lord will accept you, and work with you, if you will humble your hearts before Him. You have made mistakes, but these are not of a hopeless character if you will see and repent of them before God. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 26

I ask you, Will you become a wiser and better man, a stronger man because you have made mistakes and know that you have done this? Brother, brother, the Lord looks pityingly upon you. You may both be conquerors, even if you never engage in the ministry again. You can engage in the common life work, doing your daily duties in obedience to the will of Christ, in faithfulness and simplicity, as cheerful, patient toilers. But if you decide to become a watchman upon the walls of Zion, then you must decide to watch carefully your own spirit. Watch and pray and work. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 27

Individual work is to be done in consecration to God. You must be prepared to receive the blessing from God, to drink of the living streams yourselves. And the rich blessings received will be within you like a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. God hath prepared a kingdom for you; He is building for us a city. And while He is building mansions for us, we must build our character after the divine similitude. There must be no pride, no self-esteem, no self-exaltation. Everything you do in the service of God must be in no half-hearted manner, but divinely done. With you both your personal influence may be devised and planned by the Lord that you may save souls to His glory. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 28

As the world’s Redeemer apparent failure was constantly confronting Christ. From His birth He contended with poverty. He, the Majesty of heaven, the messenger of mercy to our world, in His own estimation seemed to do so little of that work which He longed to do in uplifting and saving because of the satanic influences that were working in minds and hearts of priests and rulers to oppose His way. “Ye will not come unto me,” He said, “that ye might have life.” [John 5:40.] “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killest the prophets and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together as a hen gathereth her brood under her wings, and ye (could not? no) would not.” [Luke 13:34.] 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 29

Here lies the key to the whole mystery of the impenitence and wickedness and great apostasy of the Jewish nation in Christ’s day, and of the Protestant churches in our day—“Ye would not.” But His lessons are given to us. If you are poor, if you pass through straitened places, Christ also had this experience. He worked at the carpenter’s trade. Many discouraging features pressed His human efforts into hard lines; but He would not fail nor be discouraged, till He had set righteousness in the earth. He did His work with patience and never gave up. 12LtMs, Lt 64, 1897, par. 30