Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12

29/457

Lt 26, 1897

Belden, Frank

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, Australia

December 10, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in 1MR 269-270.

Dear nephew Frank Belden:

I sent you letters not long since; but I feel a deep love for both you and your wife. I have a soul-hunger that you should not remain in your present spiritual condition. You will not be accepted by God until you seek Him with all your heart. Let not your spirit remain sour and hard. Cease to criticize every one. If you had only stood in the light, what a help you could be to me in my bookmaking. I am seventy years old, Frank, and yet my faculties are good and my memory excellent, except when through overwork, nervous prostration comes upon me. I have been very sick for three weeks, but am better now. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 1

Last Sabbath and Sunday Sara and I were in Stanmore, where our camp meeting was held. I spoke both afternoons to large assemblies. On Sunday I was compassed with infirmity, but I pleaded with the Lord for strength, and His sweet peace flowed into my soul. I was strengthened, and was able to speak to the people. The blessing of the Lord came upon me in large measure, and I bore the testimony the Lord gave me with power. I have been growing stronger ever since. I know that if you would cease your accusing and fault-finding, if you would take up your work humbly, meekly, in lowliness of mind, you would find plenty of work to do, and you would not have a dyspeptic religion. You have a soul to save or a soul to lose. If you are wise, you will cease your faultfinding. None are what they should be; neither are you what you should be. Would it not be better for you to humble your pride, and open the door of your heart to Jesus Christ? God has not asked you to be a church tinker. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 2

A precious opportunity is now allotted you, before your probation closes, to prepare to meet your God. If your life should close now, you could not join the family above. If the Lord should now gather His saints together, you could not enter in through the gates into the city. Hattie, your wife, could not enter in. Will you please forgive everyone who, you think, has injured you, because you have injured yourself and others to a far greater degree than any one has injured you. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 3

While you look at other people’s faults, you do not see your own mistakes and errors. You do not go humbly to your Saviour, asking Him to pardon your transgressions and receive you and cover you with the robe of His righteousness. You are spoiling your own life and spoiling the life and character of your wife. Is it not time for you both to come as humble penitents to the feet of Jesus, and lay this burden of sin down? 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 4

You will not live long, Frank. Unless you stop now and give your poor, sinsick soul to Jesus, you will surely die in your sins. It is a terrible burden to live to self. There is no peace in such a life, no assurance, no confidence. You are like a lost sheep. Can I help you to return? Will you now, just now, this very hour, as you read this, remove the stumbling blocks you have placed in your own way? Will you, with all the sacred vows upon you, give the Lord all you have and are, all the faculties of mind and body? Will you pledge them irrevocably to your Saviour, who gave His life for you? Day by day you have drawn around your soul an unholy atmosphere. You find fault with others. Will you not consecrate yourself to God, and let Him use you to His own name’s glory? You are bowed down; you are carrying a heavy load of other people’s mistakes. Will it pay you in the end? Throw off the miserable load you have been accumulating. This is a life and death question with you. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 5

As you were presented to me, you were bowed down like a man of years, and under a load that Christ never asked you to carry. You cannot be a sin-bearer. You cannot bear your own infirmities and sins. Why then gather up the sins and mistakes of others? The Lord has given you talents, but you have decided that you could use these yourself. You would not permit the Holy Spirit to work you. To do this, you would have had to sacrifice your self-esteem and pride. This you need to do. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 6

You are growing in years, but you are not gaining a precious spiritual experience, therefore you have had to wrestle with yourself, and struggle with an unsubdued, natural temperament, and inherited and cultivated tendencies, which present appalling difficulties. You sink into despondency, and at times feel desperate. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 7

You and Hattie separated from God. Hattie does not help you, or you her. When you fall all broken at the feet of Jesus, you will help one another, and then you can see the wrongs of others, and in the Spirit of Christ try to help them. You ought to feel sorrow because after Christ has given His own life that you and Hattie and the whole world might be saved, He sees so many who have no inclination to give up self and choose Jesus. Christ’s own nation, for whom He had done so much, too much for human minds and pens to transcribe, rejected Him. When Pilate asked them whom they would have released to them, they cried out Barabbas. “And what shall I do with Christ?” “Crucify him, crucify him.” “Shall I crucify your king?” Then came the shameful answer, “We have no king but Caesar.” [Matthew 27:22; John 19:6, 15.] 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 8

I ask you, Frank Belden, “What think ye of Christ?” [Matthew 22:42.] You are dear to my soul, and I ask you, “What think ye of Christ?” Every man and woman is making his or her choice of their leader. Will you have this man, Christ Jesus, as your personal Saviour? Will you own Him? Will you have Him as your Ruler? Then look unto Jesus and live. I ask you, “What think ye of Christ?” Whose Son is He? If you say He is the Son of the living God, and to whom shall I go but unto my Saviour, He will receive you. Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith, you will be changed into His likeness. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 9

But when you look at the imperfections of others, and eat and think and drink this stale rubbish, your spiritual experience will be of the same quality as the food upon which you subsist. Will you not come into right relationship to God? Beholding Him, you will be changed into His image. His character will then become your character. But while you feed upon the faults of others, you are changed into the same similitude. By beholding, you become changed into the same image. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 10

The Lord has given you talents, and you know that you possess them. Yet they are perverted to a wrong use. Influence is a talent. Have you not perverted it? Do you not continue to pervert it to a wrong use? You will have to give an account of the use you have made of the Lord’s entrusted talents. Almost every question connected with each detail of outward life comes in before the Christian as a matter of influence on others about him. In a very [real] sense, it touches the very root of a consecrated life. You are to recognize the fact that all influence is a heaven-given trust. It does not originate with you; it is given to the human agent by God, to be accounted for to God. When this is accepted, not merely as a theory, but as a reality, very different sentiments from those that now prevail will be cherished by you. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 11

Placing you in the Review and Herald office, in connection with the men that were there, was a mistake. Neither you nor Captain Eldridge were prepared for the position. Your eyes were not anointed to see and understand that your wisdom and his wisdom was imperfect. Your experience there did not help you. The position of influence you gained did not help you. It would have been better for you to have been in the lowest place than in the highest. You became self-important, and you did not grow in the meekness and lowliness of Christ. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 12

You began to regard your position as the result of your talents, natural energy of character, which had made impressions upon others. In many respects your tongue might better have cleaved to the roof of your mouth than to have been heard in councils and assemblies, giving utterance to sentiments directly opposed in principle to the Word of God. But when these sentiments were applied to you, you thought they did not fit, and neither were they appropriate in any place, or for any one. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 13

I would counsel you to dwell on no man’s wrongs, for guilt rests upon you for doing a work directly contrary to the will of God. You say, I repented of that, and the Lord forgave me. Did you forgive your brethren, who hurt you? United with others, you brought in the condition of things that now exists, the injustice of which you complain. It is the result of the very same principles you yourself brought in. The Lord did not work a miracle to prevent these sentiments and unchristlike principles, which you brought into the office of publication, from reacting upon yourself. You are feeling the sting which you, and those who pursued the same course that you did, have made others feel—sore, wounded, and deprived of their rights. It is a shame, and makes my soul ashamed that these things should be done. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 14

I tell you this as God has presented it to me. And now I beg of you not to gather up objectionable things which touch you personally, but remember that these things are the result of your own policy. Sentiments and resolutions which should never have seen the light of day have prevailed. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 15

I beg of you to repent. Confess your sins, and have that repentance that needs not to be repented of. I strike at the very root of the matter. Your self-conceit has been a snare to you, and the sooner you cleanse your soul and life from it, the clearer will be your spiritual eyesight. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 16

I wish now to speak a word upon the responsibility of so employing the talents, not only to obtain a full reward when the Master returns with His servants, but to increase these talents by use and the improvement of them. This should be recognized as a solemn obligation due to the One who entrusted the talents to you. You are faithfully to guard the entrusted endowments, improving them by keeping the glory of God in view. You are not to look at yourself as if you had created these talents by natural energy of character. You are to regard them all as coming from God, to be returned to God again. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 17

Influence, if consecrated to God, will make itself a way. God is the One that is to be praised for this. I am pained beyond measure because there are so many who do not look upon talent in its true bearing. They have activity, energy of character, which might be turned to good account if they co-operated with Jesus Christ, but it simply runs to waste, a jot here and a tittle there, and is not gathered up to do good and only good. Many fail to appropriate their God-given powers in blessing others, and glorify not themselves, but God. How few give back to God His own talents, having gained other talents, and won to Christ’s side other persons, who have been brought to the knowledge of the truth. The work may be enlarged by accumulated influence. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 18

Oh, my brother, we are living in solemn times. How many use all their influence in doing no special work for the Master. They engage in some kind of business, women in the household, in the schoolroom, others in a variety of ways; but many amuse themselves, and use their time in folly and vanity. It is God’s time that they use thus. They have offered sacrifice on Baal’s altar, because they do not see or realize their responsibility. They do not live so close to God that they see the reality of spiritual things. They are not among the number of whom Christ says, “Ye are my witnesses.” [Isaiah 43:10.] 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 19

There are those who think that they have but few talents, and that therefore they can do as they please. Is not the fault in themselves the reason that their talents remain few? Have they sought to use, day by day, that which they call their little influence? Have they not themselves to blame for not having more cultivated abilities? Have they realized that a special season of probation is granted them to improve their influence for good? Have they said, I will use that which I have, and learn of the great Teacher [how] I can best serve Him with one talent? God help us to be wise unto salvation. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 20

Hattie, dear child, these words are written for you. You have an individual case pending in the courts of heaven. May the Lord touch your heart, and lead you to see that you are not your own, but that you are the property of Jesus Christ. You are bought with a price, and what a price! “For 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.] “Therefore glorify God in your body and spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:20.] 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 21

Have a holy determination that you will seek the Lord while He may be found, that you will call upon Him while He is nigh. “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 26, 1897, par. 22

God is calling you, just now. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean, and I will receive you; I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord of hosts.” [2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.] Come, before your eternal destiny shall be forever fixed. Come with your husband, come. You can come if you will. You can both now consecrate yourselves to God. Make Him your Friend, your Alpha and Omega, your sure Refuge. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 23

My brother, Frank Belden, what are you preparing to do? There are places enough demanding help. For a time let your composition of music and various inventions be laid aside. There is need of help everywhere, need of help here in Australia. Consecrated ability is needed here. If both of you were only consecrated, what a help you could be in this field. There is an acknowledged dearth of ministers. You could minister in various lines. But you need first to come out of the spiritual condition you are in, and let the Holy Spirit work upon your mind and heart. When you are transformed in character, when you consecrate all your entrusted talents to God, then there will open to you fields where you can engage in active labor. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 24

The original talent employed multiplies itself, for it grows by exercise. So to every true, honest worker who would do God service is opened new positions of special influence. If we faithfully use what talents we now have, we are entrusted with more talents of a higher order. One talent properly used will make a place for itself and increase in individual influence. But men look upon this as a product of their own energy. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 25

Will you come out to this field, first giving yourself to God? The Lord is dealing with us as individuals. Our talents are measured out and proportioned to each according to his ability to rightly use these talents. The Lord must be sought for. He knows the use he can make of each of us for our best good and His name’s glory. He will co-operate with all sincere workers. If they trust in Him, He will supply the points of character which are essential in doing the work. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 26

Hattie, you have no time to lose. The Christian must make the best use of all her sanctified energies. Thus she grows up into Christ. Fields of work are presented to you, when you give your heart unreservedly to God. The Lord has given you opportunities. You are thrown in contact with people who might be a spiritual help to you. You could receive good from their influence. But avoid frivolous company. You may be the means of helping some souls who are connected with you. If you were under the Holy Spirit’s guidance, they would have help from you. You could speak words for Christ. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 27

There are many ways in which we can help souls if we will. The opportunity is given you to manifest a Christian spirit under provocation. In your conversation, remember to treat your heavenly Guest courteously by introducing his name. Introduce something besides unprofitable talk. Witness for Christ in a winning way, opportunities are constantly passing out of your reach, never to return. Be guarded in your words. A real and abiding sense of responsibility will lead you to speak and act wisely. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 28

My appeal is to the church. The Lord Jesus calls the church the light of the world. [Matthew 5:14.] I call upon you, Frank Belden, and Hattie McDearmon Belden, Christ is inviting you both to come to Him. “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” My dear, tempest tossed souls, will you heed the call? “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 29

Christ never invited the sinner to come to Him to find sanction or vindication of sin. He invited them to come because He felt so sorry that they were unhappy and full of unrest, without a knowledge of His great mercy and abundant love. All that come unto Him, He will save from their sins. This is the only way man may be rescued. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 30

The precious Saviour loves you. He is throwing the bright rays of hope across your pathway, to guide you to a heaven of peace and rest. Christ, the good Shepherd, misses His sheep when they stray from the fold. He is represented as leaving the ninety and nine and going forth to seek the sheep that is lost. He finds it. He bears it upon His shoulders. He brings it with rejoicing to His fold. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 31

Oh, how God looks upon man’s indifference, his coldness, his lack of love, compared with the love evidenced by the world’s Redeemer. He comes to seek and save that which was lost. They are the purchase of His blood. The church is blending with the world, notwithstanding all the light and warnings given. They do not stand out, a peculiar and holy people. A description of the state of the matter in the publishing house may be expressed by the words of prophecy, “How are the things of Esau searched out! how are his hidden things sought up.” [Obadiah 6.] The condition of things that has existed has dishonored God. There is much that my pen might trace, but I forbear. The sins of selfishness and covetousness are as idolatry before God. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 32

The Lord has a controversy with His people, because they have not heeded His Word. Grave sins rest upon those who have held positions of trust, and at the same time have brought in false principles. This has corrupted your judgment, and blinded your eyes, and now you have set the stumbling block before your feet. You have lifted up your heart unto vanity, and this has covered you with darkness and confusion. You will never find rest and peace until you come back to your first love. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 33

At times you have known the moving of the Spirit of the Lord, but self has been too much for you to handle. Will you not now bring your great burden of other’s misdoings, which you have been gathering up, and lay it and yourself at the feet of Jesus? Relieve yourself of your burden. Break from the enemy at once. Sin prevails. The wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand. You can now remember that you are not a sin-bearer. You are having a very hard time to carry your own sins. Do not, I beseech of you, load yourself down with the sins of others. Lay them down, lay them down! You will only have to answer for your own sins. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 34

I would give much could I see you. But this is not possible unless you make us a visit. I wish you would. But it would be useless for you to come and bring with you your baggage of all the misdeeds and misdoings of your associates in the publishing house and out of it. You were wrong in bringing in false principles and working upon the plan that is condemned by God. You have suffered much from the very line of action that your influence, with that of others has brought in. God sent warnings and reproofs, but they were brushed aside as a cobweb. Satan was determined to pervert judgment and take the field. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 35

You cannot measure your influence in these things. You have been left to feel that false theories, wrong and corrupted principles, hurt. When sin strikes inwardly, it assails the most noble part of a man’s being. It makes terrible confusion and havoc with man’s Godlike faculties and powers. While physical disease prostrates the body, the disease of selfishness and covetousness blasts the soul. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 36

The walls of protection that God has raised for His people’s safety have been battered down. The lines of protection of individual rights and interests have been confused through human policy, and a host of satanic agencies have rushed in to make the most of their opportunity. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 37

Every plan brought in to obtain advantage for self opened the door wide for dishonest practices. You know this just as well as did the men whom you condemn for taking from God’s treasury higher wages than they earned by honest effort. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 38

The Lord has shown me that this system of high wages is directly contrary to justice and righteousness. The plea is made that those who carry responsibility are always awarded higher wages than those under them. But those who were supposed to be doing important work in the Review and Herald office were being tried and tested, and every phase of their work was swinging the publishing house in false paths, contrary to the instruction given by Christ in the Old Testament and the New. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 39

Such a masterly confederacy united to carry things its own way that a work entirely human has been mingled with the handling of sacred things. Each felt pledged to sustain and work for the interest of the other. A system of robbery toward God was brought in. “Shall I not judge for these things?” God asks. [Jeremiah 5:29.] The Lord has opened the matter to me, and my heart has burned with indignation. Light has been given that the Lord would in His own time make these men a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. It has been shown me that men, confided in and trusted, looked upon as trustworthy, would betray the cause of God in an emergency, under the inspiration of the enemy. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 40

I cannot mention names, because I have been advised by the Lord that the very ones who have been the most strenuous in carrying out their own plans would show under whose control they had been working while in the cause of God. Spiritual blindness has led to such perversity of principle that the Lord declared He would not bless those who kept these wrongdoers in position when they knew that they had not the right spirit, and that truth was not cherished in the heart. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 41

I will scatter them, saith the Lord. I will blow upon the means they receive, and it shall be as nought. I will take away judgment from them, and forsake them utterly, unless they repent and serve me, not for gain, but because the work and cause is Mine. They are unfaithful stewards. I have given them My only begotten Son, but they have walked away from My statutes, and I will judge for these things. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 42

Frank, clear your own soul, I beg of you. 12LtMs, Lt 26, 1897, par. 43