Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12

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Lt 17, 1897

NA

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

April 7, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in ChL 64.

Dear _____:

I am wakened at twelve o’clock p.m. In the night season I was conversing with you, and quite a number of others came in and listened to what I had to say. 12LtMs, Lt 17, 1897, par. 1

We should not be discouraged if things of a trying nature arise. Do not let your passion rise. Control yourself. When things occur which seem unexplainable, which do not appear to be in harmony with the great Counsel Book, do not allow your own peace to be spoiled. Remember that there is a Witness, a heavenly messenger, by your side, who is your shield, your fortress. Into it you can run, and be safe. But a word of retaliation will destroy your peace and your confidence in God. Who then is injured? Yourself. Who is grieved and wounded? The Holy Spirit of God. 12LtMs, Lt 17, 1897, par. 2

On every occasion be armed and equipped with “It is written.” God is your armor, on the right hand, and on the left. A flood of hasty words may seek for expression, but say, “No; no. I will not place my feet on Satan’s ground. I will not sacrifice my peace and honor as a child of God. I will keep in the only safe path, close beside Jesus, who has done so much for me. He was tempted, but not overcome. I will follow the example He has left me.” When tempted by the enemy, Christ used the only weapon whereby He could conquer—“It is written.” These words were inspired by the Spirit of God. 12LtMs, Lt 17, 1897, par. 3

Till the place that the Lord would have you fill is assigned you, do your duty where you are, and know that under a special director you are doing God’s service. You are not serving men, but your Lord and Master. The Holy Watcher hears every word you utter, and marks your every action. He weighs the Spirit that prompts the utterances and actions. 12LtMs, Lt 17, 1897, par. 4

You are fighting for an immortal crown, and those who strive for this crown must fight lawfully. Many who might ride victoriously into the harbor will make shipwreck of the faith. But looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith, you may say as did Peter, when the Lord asked His disciples, “Will ye also go away?” “Lord, to whom shall we go; thou hast the words of eternal life.” [John 6:67, 68.] 12LtMs, Lt 17, 1897, par. 5

Many of those who had been following Christ apostatized almost immediately after the miracle of the loaves. Why did they do this? “Ye seek me,” said the One who knows all things, “not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.” [Verse 26.] Christ made the miracle of the loaves the occasion of His wonderful sermon on the bread of life. The result was that many, when they heard the conditions of eternal life and entrance into the kingdom of God, “went back, and walked no more with him.” [Verse 66.] They came only for the temporal advantages they could obtain. 12LtMs, Lt 17, 1897, par. 6

Be not surprised if great changes are made. Do not wonder if the men who have felt themselves capable of handling the consciences of their fellow men, and of controlling the minds and talents God has given them, should go back and walk no more with those who believe the truth. The truth makes too great a demand upon them. When they see that they must die to self, and practice the principles of self-denial, they are displeased because they cannot gratify their ambitious desire to rule other men. Their true characters will appear. Some will make total shipwreck of the faith. “They went out from us, but they were not of us,” said John, and so it will be again. [1 John 2:19.] 12LtMs, Lt 17, 1897, par. 7

Hold fast to the truth, the precious, sanctifying truth. You are then in the best of company, and the very highest intelligences are beholding your course of action. You are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. Under provocation, your work is to hold the faith and a good conscience, “Which some having put away, concerning faith have made shipwreck.” [1 Timothy 1:19.] 12LtMs, Lt 17, 1897, par. 8

Know that in times of trial you have a helper who will enable you to keep your words choice and your attitude circumspect. I will give you a Bible recipe: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you, but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busy body in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God, and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls unto him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” [1 Peter 4:12-19.] 12LtMs, Lt 17, 1897, par. 9

There are those who profess to be sincere Christians, but who, when they see a soul that has repented of his sin, and is struggling heavenward, will do a work similar to that of Satan, which we read of in the third chapter of Zechariah. Here Joshua represents God’s people, and the angel of the Lord is Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Christ is about to bestow special favors upon His repentant people. But Satan is not in harmony with Joshua. He had been fighting against him continually, and now he brings before Christ the past wrong course of the people, which he tempted them to pursue. With his opposing argument he stands at the right hand of the Redeemer, ready to resist the work that Christ is about to do—to pardon and not to condemn the souls that had come to Him for forgiveness. 12LtMs, Lt 17, 1897, par. 10

How does Christ answer the pretendedly pious angel, who is an apostate, and the originator of sin? “And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee. Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.” [Verses 2, 3.] Christ, the Restorer, said in the hearing of the destroyer, to the angel that stood before him, “Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head, so they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. 12LtMs, Lt 17, 1897, par. 11

“And the angel of the Lord stood by. And the angel of the Lord protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my court, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by. Hear now, O Joshua, the high priest, thou and thy fellows that sit before thee; for they are men wondered at; for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.” [Verses 4-8.] 12LtMs, Lt 17, 1897, par. 12

What is the language of those who stand before God forgiven? “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness. As the bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” [Isaiah 61:10, 11.] Here nature is opened before us as an object lesson, from which we are to learn. 12LtMs, Lt 17, 1897, par. 13

“For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory; and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name; thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” [Isaiah 62:1-3.] Therefore I say unto you, Although you may be sorely tempted by the accusations of those who are helping the enemy in his work of discouraging and disheartening, look to the Word, “It is written,” and hold fast your confidence in God. 12LtMs, Lt 17, 1897, par. 14

Comfort your heart with these words: “Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. ... I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord, and thou forgavest me the iniquity of my sin. For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him. Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble, thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go. I will guide thee with mine eye.” [Psalm 32:1, 2, 5-8.] 12LtMs, Lt 17, 1897, par. 15

I ask you if these words are not as a granite wall, to encompass you. Do not be thrown off your balance by the methods and plans of finite men, who would aid the enemy to clothe you with the filthy garments of your past life, presenting to you in the worst light your past sins, that they may place you at their footstool, and who, if they could, would place you under the rebuke of God. But the Lord has given you consolation. “Many sorrows shall be to the wicked, but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about.” [Verse 10.] 12LtMs, Lt 17, 1897, par. 16

Be not in any way dismayed, for man is not to be your judge. Praise God, all judgment is committed to One who has borne our sins in His own body on the tree. Every man should be exceedingly thankful that God has excused him from climbing on the judgment seat and punishing his brethren as he thinks they should be punished for their past transgressions. 12LtMs, Lt 17, 1897, par. 17

Let not any man yoke up with Satan, and do his work by accusing his brethren. Those who name the name of Christ are to depart from all iniquity. They are to reach out their hands and grasp firmly the hands of their brethren. If those who are so ready to accuse their brethren would think of their own mistakes and covetousness, which is idolatry, they would humble their hearts before God. 12LtMs, Lt 17, 1897, par. 18

“Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous; and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.” [Verse 11.] “The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. ... Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waiteth for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.” [Psalm 33:10-12, 18-22.] 12LtMs, Lt 17, 1897, par. 19

There is hope for the erring. God would have us trust in Him, and walk in faith and righteousness before Him. “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” [Psalm 34:18.] “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found; call ye upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God; for he will abundantly pardon.” [Isaiah 55:6, 7.] 12LtMs, Lt 17, 1897, par. 20

God only can read the motives which prompt to action. Then why should man seek to fill this situation? Why should he say to one, “Sit thou at my right hand,” and to another, whom he does not favor, or who does not sanction his plans and ideas, “Sit thou at my footstool”? This is the work of men who are not worked by the Holy Spirit, who have taken to themselves the privilege of excusing their own sins, and condemning others. To all such God says, “Take heed how you put forth your finger, and speak words of vanity against those whom the Spirit of God has not destroyed, but restored and pardoned.” 12LtMs, Lt 17, 1897, par. 21

My spirit is stirred within me when those who should humble themselves before God exalt themselves and pass judgment upon the transgressions of their fellow men, when these transgressions have been repented of, and in those whom they condemn the prayer has been fulfilled, “A new heart will I give thee.” [Ezekiel 36:26.] What would these Pharisaical ones say were the curtain rolled back, and they could see God and the holy angels rejoicing with singing over those whom they condemned? “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones, for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 18:10.] 12LtMs, Lt 17, 1897, par. 22