Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 21, 1897

My Ministering Brethren

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

December 19, 1897

See also Ms 161, 1897. Portions of this letter are published in OHC 236; LDE 233; 2MR 30-31. +Note

My ministering brethren:

I beseech you to rise to your high calling in Christ Jesus. The prayer of Moses, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory,” is recorded for our benefit. [Exodus 33:18.] We need every day to present ourselves before the Lord, praying with earnest soul-hunger, “Show me thy glory.” 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 1

What was God’s answer to Moses? “I will make all my goodness pass before thee.” [Verse 19.] “And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and unto the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” [Exodus 34:6, 7.] 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 2

It is the glory of God to be merciful, full of forbearance, kindness, goodness, and truth. But the justice shown in punishing the sinner for his iniquity is as verily the glory of the Lord as is the manifestation of His mercy. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 3

“Thou shalt worship no other God; for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” [Verse 14.] The Lord God of Israel is a wonder-working God; and He is jealous for His own glory. How then, we inquire, does He regard the inhabitants of this world, who live in His house, and are provided with food and clothing from His liberal treasury, but who never so much as say, Thank you, to Him. They are not mindful of His goodness. They are like the inhabitants of the antediluvian world, who were destroyed by a flood because they constantly worked in opposition to their Creator. “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. ... And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them, and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” [Genesis 6:5, 6, 13.] 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 4

When Christ gave the solemn warning in regard to His coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, He said, “As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, when the flood came, and destroyed them all.” [Luke 17:26, 27.] 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 5

God warned the inhabitants of the antediluvian world of what He purposed to do in cleansing the earth of its moral impurity. But Noah’s contemporaries laughed to scorn the supposed superstitious prediction of the preacher of righteousness. They mocked at his warning that the Lord would destroy them by a flood. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 6

When Christ was upon this earth, He gave warning of what was coming upon Jerusalem because the people had rejected truth, despising the messages that the Lord sent. The Lord has sent us messages of warning, declaring that the end of all things is at hand. There will be those who will receive these warnings, but there will also be others who will not heed the words of truth which come from the lips of Christ’s ambassadors. When Lot warned the members of his family of the destruction of Sodom, they would not heed the message, but counted Lot as a raving enthusiast. They were unprepared for the destruction that came upon them. Thus it will be, when the Son of man is revealed. Farmers, merchants, lawyers, tradesmen, will be wholly engrossed in business, and the day of the Lord will come upon them as a snare. When men are at ease, full of amusement, absorbed in buying and selling, the prowling thief approaches with stealthy tread. So it will be at the coming of the Son of man. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 7

Christ is represented as one taking a journey, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work. This point we wish to impress on every soul. To every man there is given a work. Each one who claims to be a child of God has a work to do in the interest of His cause. But while some are engaged in giving the last message of mercy to the world, others are living in indifference, careless of God’s requirements and eternal realities. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 8

We are living in a time when it is our duty to watch and pray and work. There is to be no waiting and doing nothing. Our lives are not to be spent in idle expectation. We are not to idle away our precious time thus. Vigilant waiting and earnest watching is to be combined with faithful work in expectation of the solemn events so soon to take place. The end is near. The commission given by Christ to His disciples is to be fulfilled. The gospel is to be preached to all people. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 9

It is a very sad matter to have idlers in the Lord’s vineyard. The man who was given one talent hid that talent in the earth. He did not improve his gift by trading upon it. His powers were given him that he might use them in blessing his fellow men. Had he done this, he would have become a channel through which the Lord would have transmitted light and grace. He himself would have been blessed in making the most of his capabilities, even though they were not so large as those of some others. The grace of God would have been given him in proportion to his capability to diffuse it. But in the place of doing what he could in a humble way, he revealed his lack of faith and love for God by complaining of Him. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 10

According to the gifts received must be the gifts returned. All should do what they can, cheerfully, willingly, as doing service to God. Thus they improve their power to do, and go on from strength to strength. These receive God’s approval. But those who are slothful not only neglect the opportunity of doing the work appointed them, but through their neglect they become hindrances to others. They are channels of darkness, through which Satan works. He pours into hearts and minds the grievances he supposes he has against God. Inspired by Satan, the slothful, indolent, complaining servant says to God, “I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed.” [Matthew 25:24.] 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 11

These complainers, who know so little, think themselves very acute. They claim to have great discrimination. They can, they pretend, see beneath the surface. They can arraign the God of heaven at their bar of justice, and condemn Him. They do it. They talk against the servants of God. Thus they show that they are working on the same lines that Satan worked when he tempted Adam and Eve to part with their faith in God and accept his version of the Creator’s character. When men, disobedient transgressors of God’s law, claim to know so much, they show their ignorance and foolishness. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 12

Those who are satisfied with things that now appear, who fail to look at the future as well as the present [influence] of their course of action, act as blind men. They act like men who have put out their own eyes, who cannot see what is for their present and future interest. If they would reason with that genuine acuteness that it is for their interest to have, they would see that they are working so as to lose in every way. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 13

A duty rests upon those who know the truth to make it known to others. All who are servants of Christ are in a large measure responsible for the honor, well-being, and salvation of the world. They are to be co-laborers with Christ. The church is to give an account to God for her stability and enlargement. The work given her is the gathering of souls to Christ. The members are to be Christ’s workmen, carrying forward His work on the earth. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 14

Please read the fourth chapter of second Corinthians. The entire chapter is a lesson which should be carefully considered. The apostle urges all who have light from God to walk and work in accordance with the light. If they walk in the light, they will not give utterance to the sentiments of Satan by complaining of God. They will be workers together with God. “Therefore seeing we have received this ministry, as we have received, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.” [Verses 1-5.] Precious conclusion. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 15

Self is not to be made prominent. But it too often interposes between the soul and God. It is made so prominent that the souls perishing out of Christ cannot fix the eye of faith on Jesus. Those who minister in word and deed are to exalt Christ. Those whose hearts are imbued with the love of Christ will manifest that love. Through them it will speak in its tenderness. They will reveal an abiding Christ, who is set forth crucified among them. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 16

The lips of a speaker may move under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Thus the words of God find utterance in warnings, in appeals, in reproof, in correction in righteousness. This power is not in the speaker. It is a power put within him by God, that he may be enabled to reach those who are dead in trespasses and sins, and arouse them from their spiritual death to receive life from God. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 17

God works for His faithful servants, who do not shun to declare the whole counsel of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. As messengers of God, we have His endorsement upon our work. The work of the faithful messengers of righteousness is to continue throughout their lifetime. The standard is to be held aloft till the hand is palsied by death, that all may see it. When they sleep in death, the places that once knew them, know them no more. The churches in which they preached, the places they visited to speak the Word of life from the living oracles, still remain. The mountains, the hills, the things seen by mortal vision, are still there. But all the things now seen must pass away. The time is coming when the mountains shall be shaken and removed as a cottage. But the thoughts, the purposes, the actions, of the faithful worker for the Master, although now unseen, will appear again at the great day of final retribution. Things that now seem a light matter will then appear as witnesses, either to approve or condemn. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 18

If this be the case, and we know that it is, why does self seek for such prominence, even in the servants of Jesus Christ, who claim to know the Word? Why is there so much sowing to the flesh to reap only corruption? Why is not every hour used only for God, in and through the grace of Christ? Why do we not improve ourselves by cherishing the attributes of Christ, thus immortalizing goodness? Love, courtesy, amiability, <these> are never lost. When men shall be changed from mortal to immortal, all the deeds of sanctified goodness done by them will be made manifest. These deeds will be preserved through the eternal ages. Not one, however small or simple, is ever lost. Through the merits of Christ’s imputed righteousness, they preserve their fragrance. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 19

In order to fight the Christian battle, you need not hold so closely to yourself. Hold fast to Jesus. Do not talk unbelief, because you have no excuse for doing this. Remember that Christ has made a complete sacrifice for you, that in body, soul, and spirit, you may be wholly sanctified, and stand before the Lord complete in Him who gave Himself for you. The Lord is not pleased with our lack of faith, which always separates the soul from God. We look to self, as if we must furnish our own worthiness. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 20

It is not praiseworthy to talk of our own weaknesses and doubts and discouragements. Each one is to say, I am, what I am; but I am seeking to obtain completeness of character in Christ. I am grieved that I yield to temptation, that my prayers are so feeble, my faith so weak. I have no excuse to plead for being dwarfed in my religious life. God calls me to a higher, nobler life, and I press on toward the things that are before, clinging to Jesus. My life is hid with Christ in God. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 21

The sinner may say, “I have sinned, and yet I did love Jesus. I am sorry that I have grieved the heart of infinite love. I have fallen many times, and yet He has reached out His merciful arm to save me. I have told the Saviour all about it. I have confessed my shame and sorrow that I have dishonored my Saviour. I looked to the cross, and said, All this He suffered for me, for me. The Holy Spirit convinced me of my ingratitude, my sin in putting Christ to open shame. He who knows no sin has pardoned my transgression and forgiven my sin. I love Him, and will serve Him.” The sinner’s sin will not appear against him if he holds fast his faith and the beginning of his confidence firm unto the end. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 22

The grace of Christ must stir the soul because the human agent beholds Him who is invisible. By earnestly striving for goodness, love, mercy, forbearance, and kindness, we bear precious fruit to the glory of Christ. In accordance with the Word, the Spirit witnesses with our spirit that we are the children of God. But if we bring our defective traits of character into our Christian life, and yet claim to be children of God, we bear the responsibility of testifying to a false character. To be a Christian means to be Christlike. “For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.” [Verses 6, 7.] 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 23

Man is here cautioned not to boast in himself of anything. The Lord is his efficiency. God uses the human agent as His instrumentality, to do His work. Man’s capabilities and talents are all to be held in trust. They do not originate with the one who is commissioned to preach the gospel. These gifts are to be looked upon as coming from God. They are to [be] used as wholly His. They are to be consecrated to His service. To the one who does this, the Lord can give higher gifts. If he is called to do a work that demands self-denial, the spirit of consecration and entire self-surrender, leads him to deny self. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 24

The humility that bears fruit on the tree of good emotions, stirring the soul with a living sense of the love of God, will speak for the soul in that great day when every one will be awarded according to his works, whether they be good or evil. It will be a wonderful commendation to hear the words, The Spirit of God never stirred this man’s soul in vain. He went forward and upward from strength to strength. Self was not woven into his life. He received each revelation of correction, warning, counsel, as a blessing from God. Thus the way was prepared for him to receive still greater blessings, because God did not speak in vain. Each step upward on the ladder of progress prepared him to climb still higher. From the top of the ladder the bright beams of God’s glory shone upon him. He never thought of resting, but sought constantly to attain the wisdom and righteousness of Christ, pressing on toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. His thoughts were brought into captivity to Christ. He is one with Christ. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 25

This experience every human being may have and must have in order to reveal Christ. In the great day of judgment no man who has retained the frailty and imperfection of natural humanity, will be vindicated; for he could not enjoy the perfection of the characters of the saints in light. He who has not sufficient faith in Christ to believe that he can keep him from sinning, has not that faith that will give him an entrance into the kingdom of God. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 26

Now, just now is our time of probation, wherein we are to prepare for heaven. Christ gave His life that we might have this time of probation. But as long as time shall last, Satan will strive for the mastery. He works with power to lead the minds of men to embrace every expedient for acquiring money, and he has just as many expedients for getting rid of money. He is inventing every kind of amusement and worldly business whereby he may engross the minds of men with pleasure, indulgence, eating, drinking, and dressing. He would have them forget all about the inward adornment of the soul, the adornment of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. He is determined that every moment shall be filled with ambitious projects, love of money, and amusement. He is determined that men shall find no time to study the Word of God, no time to realize that they are not their own, that they have been bought with a price, even the precious blood of the Son of God. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 27

Satan has used his voice and influence to drown the voice of God and the voice of conscience; and the world acts as if under the control of satanic agencies. Men have chosen Satan as their leader. They stand under his banner. They will not come to Christ that they might have life. They are infatuated with pleasure and amusement. Rather than engage in the good warfare for life eternal and a crown of immortality, they are striving for victories that are of no worth. Intemperance of every kind is corrupting the bodies and souls of men and women, making it impossible for them to give their attention to serious things and prepare for what is coming upon the world. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 28

At this time the message of mercy and warning is to go forth to awaken the world from its sleep of death. A work is to be done today that will live through the eternal ages. We shall meet the Judge of both quick and dead at His appearing in His kingdom. Then we shall each receive according to his works. As ministers entrusted with a special message, we are to keep the day of judgment before the people. Shall we not walk by faith, and not by sight? “Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in the body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” [2 Corinthians 5:9, 10.] 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 29

The Lord is calling for souls. Will they turn away from his call to serve Satan? The great day of the Lord is right upon us. We can see this by reading the signs of the times in the light of prophecy. Shall it be said of us in that day, This man was called by God, but he would not hear, he would not give heed. Time and time again the Spirit moved upon his soul, but it was bidden, Go thy way for this time, and when I have a more convenient season, I will call for thee. Often sinners are touched by the story of the cross. Often they are awakened to accept Christ’s matchless love. This man saw the Saviour’s sacrifice in a beautiful light. But some matter of minor importance came in, and his heart was captivated. When the Spirit spoke again, its call was not respected. Every gracious, heavenly influence was dismissed. The sinner flattered himself that he was not wholly hard-hearted, for he had thought upon things, and he was almost decided. But he turned away from Christ to the world. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 30

How important that the ambassadors of Christ shall watch with unceasing vigilance and diligence, following up every advantage. In Christ’s stead we are laboring for the salvation of souls. We are to watch for souls as they that must give an account. Let God’s servants open the Word of God, and show distinctly that that Word is not yea and nay, but Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus. Bring the mind to a decision before the first powerful impression wears away. Let the messengers of God weep between the porch and the altar, crying, Spare thy people, Lord, and give not thy heritage to reproach. We must confront opposition. False witnesses will invent all manner of lies. But they cannot harm us if we will work with strengthened faith in God. The Lord Jesus is by our side, saying, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” [John 16:33.] 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 31

We know of some poor souls who once rejoiced with us in the truth, who have made shipwreck of their faith. They have reduced themselves to a blank and cheerless spiritual condition, as did the inhabitants of the old world. They are without God and without hope in the world. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 32

The Lord Jesus wants all to stand in their appointed place. He makes use of one believer’s influence, another’s wealth, and another’s attainments. On all is inscribed, Holiness to the Lord. All is sanctified and set apart for a holy purpose. All are to co-operate with God. Mind, heart, soul, and strength belong to God. We are His by creation and by redemption. “Ye are not your own; 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 21, 1897, par. 33

I wish to urge upon all the importance of keeping the Lord Jesus prominently and constantly before them. He is your Advocate in the heavenly courts. He is your Intercessor. Have you property, houses, and lands, have you influence and position? Do you feel that it is an honor for Christ to have you in His service? You can only say as did David, of thine own we freely give thee. All is the Lord’s, entrusted to you as a probationer. All that you call your own, you have received from God. And with a spirit of humility you should feel that you are most highly honored in being a co-laborer with Jesus Christ. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 34

Who is Christ? Whose Son is He? The only begotten Son of the infinite God. What distinction had He in the heavenly courts? He was Commander of all heaven. He laid aside His glory, His royal robe, His high position as Commander of the heavenly angels. He laid aside His princely crown, His majesty, and clothed His divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity. Had He not done this, He could not have approached fallen, sinful man at all. John, full of faith and zeal, cries out, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.” [John 1:29.] He was the Prince of life; but He came to represent humanity, to elevate and ennoble every human being that will come unto Him, that he might have life. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 35

But as you behold Christ, do you see His meekness and lowliness? Do you see that He makes no lofty parade of His honorable distinctions, His lofty title, or draw Himself away from association with fallen, sinful human beings because of His heavenly extraction? He was the only begotten Son of the Infinite God. No man that ever walked our earth has been in any way His equal, or has in any way approached His exalted holiness. Ask Isaiah who He is, and he will tell you: “Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” [Isaiah 9:6.] 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 36

Yet purse-proud men, handling the Lord’s talents, speaking vanity, attach to their names “Reverend,” a name used only once in the Bible, and then applied to God. Poor finite men put on dignity, and claim every great and lordly title. But these men in their pride, are not considered of as much value in God’s sight as one of the lowliest little ones who believe in Him. Do these gods of the earth consider it a condescension on their part to attach their names to the church record? 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 37

There was not in Christ that exaltation that man puts on. He did not exercise tyrannical power. He was Creator of the world. And do men whose lives are in His hands suppose that they are condescending and stooping down when they accept Jesus Christ? In accepting Christ they are raised to a high position. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 38

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ... All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” [John 1:1, 3-5.] Why do men take to themselves great power? Because they do not see Christ, or believe in Him. “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. ... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth ... and of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” [Verses 10-12, 14, 16.] 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 39

Men put on power and greatness because property has been lent them by God. They pervert their trust and embezzle their Lord’s goods, using them in selfish indulgence, in glorifying their poor, weak selves. Are such men glorified by God? No; they are considered the weakest because they are lifted up in their human pride. The men who learn of Jesus will, through examination of His Word, correct such principles. They will avoid all display, all self-aggrandizement, and consider it the greatest honor to be called a child of God. They will learn that Christ’s kingdom is not of this world. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 40

The disciples of Christ are composed of men of varied ability and talent. But the rich and the poor meet together in church capacity. They stand there as disciples of Christ. All distinctions are lost sight of. All embrace each other as Christians. If men are one with Christ, they will be one with each other. “All ye are brethren,” He said. [Matthew 23:8.] They are pilgrims and strangers, seeking a better country, even a heavenly; therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He hath prepared for them a city. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 41

Christianity is to be carried into elevated circles that will adorn the highest class of society. Here the child of God may show how His grace can make those who are converted poor in the estimation of themselves. While they may be in possession of earthly goods lent them by God, they will be humble though elevated, childlike though gifted with the most precious talents. What have you that you have not received from God? All is the Lord’s, to be wisely and judiciously disposed of. All you have is the Lord’s. Lay at His feet riches, honor, influence, not grudgingly, but as a freewill offering to His name’s glory. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” [2 Corinthians 8:9.] Yes; we may all know the fathomless, boundless grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was He who made us what we are, and He will make us what we may be—complete in Him. 12LtMs, Lt 21, 1897, par. 42