Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 102, 1897

Robinson, A. T.

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

March 5, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in TSA 72-74. +Note

Dear Brother Robinson:

Last night I received a letter from Peter Wessels. He feels very much grieved that I should send to you a copy of the letter I sent him. He says that you read it to his mother, and he feels that I have done him a wrong in sending the letter to you, and you also, in reading it to his mother. 12LtMs, Lt 102, 1897, par. 1

I feel sorry that you have done this, because you place me where Peter will not place confidence in me as his friend. He feels that you have no love in your heart toward him; and from the light which the Lord has been pleased to give me, I see that you have not cultivated that tenderness, that Christlike sympathy, that will win hearts. There are men seriously and severely tempted. They have not had the advantage of associations that are the most favorable for the development of a pure, holy, spotless life. Things that are regarded as very grievous sins in America are not so regarded in Africa. In many places, as India, the people have before them constantly the naked bodies of male and female. This exposure of the form is not looked upon as anything indecent. 12LtMs, Lt 102, 1897, par. 2

I speak the things that have been presented to me. That of which Peter Wessels has been guilty is a crime [that] <in America would be> equal to adultery; but with many it is a common matter to make free with the bodies of women. You know what course was pursued in the Southern states of America with the masters and the slaves. All these things have been practiced in Africa, and it is next to impossible to make the people comprehend the mischief of these associations and the wickedness of such practices. Therefore, we cannot deal with these people as we <should> with those in countries where the distinction between right and wrong is more clearly defined. 12LtMs, Lt 102, 1897, par. 3

One thing is positive. You must either mingle more of the oil of love, of tender compassion, with your work—your stiffness and coldness must be melted away, or you will not win your way in such a country as Africa. This country needs men who are as firm as a rock to principle, and who have also the simplicity and love of Christ. These can adapt themselves to the situation; they will not leave upon other minds an impression of sternness, and coldness, and harshness. You need <to be baptized in> the cheerful sunshine of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and <have> far less of the—what shall I call it?—the desire to carry out your own opinions, when it would be better for you to believe that your opinions can and should be modified. 12LtMs, Lt 102, 1897, par. 4

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” [Romans 5:1-5.] 12LtMs, Lt 102, 1897, par. 5

You need to have that love of Christ in your heart, and then you will win your way; but when any wrong exists among your brethren, you handle it in such a way that it creates in the one whom you think wrong a spirit of resistance and defiance. You have not woven into your work the love, the compassion, and the tenderness of Christ. Had you done this, had you encircled Peter Wessels with your love, had you bound him to your heart with the tender bonds of affection, you would have saved him. But you let him drift away, inwardly glad that you would have no more perplexity over his case. 12LtMs, Lt 102, 1897, par. 6

I am not writing this to condemn you, but to warn you. Let your tongue be dipped in the oil of the love and grace of Christ. If this love is an abiding principle in your heart, you will know better how to associate with your brethren at all times. You will not stand off so stiffly, and hold so firmly to your own ideas, irrespective of the consequences. 12LtMs, Lt 102, 1897, par. 7

A correct theory of the truth is excellent and essential; but the love of God, which should baptize all theories, has a power to reach all hearts. This love is what you need. You need the moisture of the dew of heaven, the melting, softening, subduing influence of the Spirit, upon your heart. If you had lived in this atmosphere while you have been in Africa, you would have worked, as a co-laborer with Jesus Christ, as a restorer. 12LtMs, Lt 102, 1897, par. 8

I tell you that which I have not spoken of or written to any other human being. A change must come to you through the moving, melting love of God, a change that will enable you to carry the credentials that you are one who loves souls. I think I have spoken so plainly that you will seek to learn of Christ His ways and methods, and seek to bring more of the sunshine and joy of the truth, the brightness of the Sun of righteousness, into your own individual experience. Let your own heart break; let the routine and precision be broken down. Look unto Jesus, and not to men, to be told what to do. Catch the divine light from the Light of the world, and flash it upon the pathway of others in shaping and molding the work in Africa. 12LtMs, Lt 102, 1897, par. 9

The simplicity of Christ, the melting love of Jesus, will speak to hearts when the mere reiteration of the truth will accomplish nothing. Self must not be brought in as a specialty; it must be hid with Christ in God. A different element must be brought into your work; this I have been shown by the Lord. I wrote it in my diary seven years ago. Why I have not felt a burden to present it to you, I cannot tell. 12LtMs, Lt 102, 1897, par. 10

Nothing has passed between Brother Haskell and me on this matter. I must speak now, for I fear that unless there is a change, some souls that might be saved for Christ will be lost. You have worked out opinions and come to conclusions that have done harm to souls that were under the severe temptations of Satan. You will just as surely balance them in the wrong direction, by your natural temperament, unless your own spirit is softened and subdued, unless your heart is filled with the abiding love of Christ. This has been where you have failed. This is where you need to make changes. May the Lord help you to see this matter as it is. 12LtMs, Lt 102, 1897, par. 11

In the case of Peter Wessels, be kind and courteous, and do not make the least attempt to have him make a public confession. You could not do the cause of God greater harm than insisting on this. Keep the matter to those only who now know it, and if fewer knew of this matter, it would be better. Let the Wessels feel that you are their friend. I am sorry you read the letter to the mother, for this action will tend to produce the very results which you thought to hinder or prevent by reading the letter. 12LtMs, Lt 102, 1897, par. 12

It is a very delicate thing to deal with human minds. You may stand up stiffly and never, never soften their hearts, or you may come close to the afflicted soul and, with a heart full of love, lead him away from the enemy’s battleground, not drive him there, and leave him there to become the sport of Satan’s temptations. 12LtMs, Lt 102, 1897, par. 13

I will pray for you, but for Christ’s sake seek the meekness, the simplicity, and the love of Jesus. Let His love break down every barrier. Come close to your brethren. You need not countenance wrongdoing in a single instance, but you can impress hearts that you long to co-operate with Christ in saving the souls for whom He has died. I entreat you to seek God. I urge you to open the door of your heart and let the love and tender compassion of Christ in, and then let it out in tender words and offices of love. May the Lord give you wisdom is my prayer. 12LtMs, Lt 102, 1897, par. 14

P.S. My brethren, we must all work wisely and intelligently. Ceremonies and forms should not become so essential as to mark out a course whereby the Lord should do His work. The world and all society are looked upon as in disorder. Ideas and methods and skillful inventions are instituted to remodel it, but the system is almost altogether human. The change [that is] essential is conversion from error to truth. The temple lies in ruins, and an attempt to build it with the same old material is useless. Only the power of God can transform the character of man, conforming him to the image of Christ in heart and mind, for even the thoughts are to be brought into captivity to Jesus Christ. Only think of the work to be done. God takes fallen man, a worm of the dust, and transforms him, fitting him to be a member of the heavenly family, a companion, through eternal ages, of the angels and of Jesus Christ. He who submits to this process will see God’s face and hold communion with Him. 12LtMs, Lt 102, 1897, par. 15

All the rounds of ceremony can never fit the human family for membership in the family of heaven. We must submit to the molding, fashioning hand of God. The lethargy of Satan is as a funeral pall upon the people. Insensibility has first to be met and dealt with. The torpor of death must be penetrated. People are dead in trespasses and sins, and they need awakening by the power of God. We must preach Christ and His love to fallen man in that He took human nature and suffered the ill treatment of men professing godliness. His life was a life of constant self-sacrifice. He was hated, despised, and crucified upon the cross. It was the Commander of heaven that thus suffered. But “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] If God gave His Son to atone for sin, sin must be a tremendous evil, grievous in the sight of God and ruinous to man. 12LtMs, Lt 102, 1897, par. 16

We who preach the truth to others must have the love of Jesus burning in our own souls. Our lips must be touched with a live coal from off the altar. Then they will be cleansed; naught but sanctified words that will melt and subdue the soul will pass from them. 12LtMs, Lt 102, 1897, par. 17

In much love. 12LtMs, Lt 102, 1897, par. 18

March 28: I have written this without hearing a word, by pen or voice in regard to it, from Brother or Sister Haskell. We have just seen Sister Haskell. She came to Cooranbong last evening. 12LtMs, Lt 102, 1897, par. 19