Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 55, 1897

Brethren and Sisters Assembling in General Conference

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

January 10, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in 6MR 381-382.

To my brethren and sisters who shall assemble in General Conference:

I am unable to sleep past two o’clock a.m. The words spoken by Christ to His disciples are forcibly impressed on my mind. “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me,” He said, “and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal; that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.” [John 4:34-36.] 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 1

Christ had just announced Himself to the Samaritan woman as the Messiah. As this woman had talked with Him, she was impressed with His words, and began to have some conviction of His character. The question arose in her mind, “Might not this be the long looked for Messiah?” She said to Him, “I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. ... And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?” [Verses 25, 27.] 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 2

As the woman heard Christ’s words, faith sprang up in her heart. In her ignorance and sin she recognized the power of the words addressed to her, and she received the wonderful announcement from the lips of the divine Teacher. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 3

This woman was in an appreciative state of mind. She was ready to receive the noblest revelation, for she was interested in the Scriptures, and as she studied the Old Testament promise, “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him shall ye hearken,” the Spirit of the Lord was preparing her mind to receive more light. [Deuteronomy 18:15.] She longed to understand this prophecy; she was hungering and thirsting to know what is truth. Light was flashing into the chambers of her mind, and the water of life, the spiritual life, which Christ gives to every thirsty soul, had already begun to spring up in her heart. The Spirit of the Lord was working with her. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 4

The plain statement made by Christ to this woman could not have been made to the self-righteous Jews. Christ was far more reserved when He spoke to them. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 5

The woman was filled with joy as she listened to Christ’s words. The wonderful revelation was almost overpowering. Leaving her waterpot, she returned to the city, to carry the message to others. Jesus knew why she had gone. Leaving her waterpot spoke unmistakably as to the effect of His words. It was the earnest desire of her soul to obtain the living water; and she forgot her errand to the well. With a heart overflowing with gladness, she hastened on her way, to impart to others the precious light she had received. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 6

“Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did she said, is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city and came unto him. ... And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. And many more believed on him because of his own word; and said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying; for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” [John 4:29, 30, 39-42.] 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 7

How quickly was the harvest received from the words spoken to this woman. Here indeed good seed was sown, and the conversion of the Samaritans was the harvest. The woman carried the light at once to her countrymen. They came and heard Jesus, and believed on Him. They then invited Him to their city, and many more believed on Him. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 8

Just such a work as this the Lord will do in these last days. Dr. Kellogg, with earnest, untiring energy, has testified by his works, that he believes the Word of God, and that he is not content to be merely a theoretical believer. He has put his belief into works. He has faith and works combined. His work in the medical missionary line has had the appearance of being disproportionately large; but he has seen the feeble efforts made by the churches, whose practice has not been proportionate to the light which has been shining across their pathway in strong, steady rays, and he has undertaken to educate his students to do service for the Lord. In this he has only tried to walk in the light. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 9

By carelessly neglecting the light, by failing to walk in the light, as the Lord has bidden them, our people in Battle Creek have not set a right example. This has been an incentive for Dr. Kellogg to undertake the work they were unwilling to do. He has been doing the very work the Lord has specified should be done. The Lord will give His Spirit and favor to those who will work. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 10

Please read Isaiah 58; also Deuteronomy 4; 6:1-9; 15:1-15. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 11

The incident at the well represents the manner in which Christ will work. He was not received by the learned Jews, and He did not tell them as distinctly who He was as He did the humble woman. Thus He shows us how we may reap and sow for Him. The religion that comes from God is the only religion that will lead to God. Every one who hears and believes, and who has a practical faith in Christ, is represented by the Samaritan woman. In them the living water springs up to refresh others. Every true Christian is a fountain of life. He who drinks of the water of life becomes a missionary; the receiver becomes a giver. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 12

“I live;” said the great apostle, “yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” [Galatians 2:20.] All will reveal, by their works, the exact measure of their faith in the gospel of Christ. Heartiness and zeal for Christ’s sake, a readiness to do His will, will testify to the sincerity of our faith. Work for the unfortunate, those lost in the wilderness of sin, is to be carried on during our entire service for Christ; His love and His compassion will appear in our lives. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 13

The invitations of the gospel are not to be narrowed down and presented only to a select few who, we suppose, will do us honor if they accept the truth. The message is to be given to all. “Ho, everyone that thirsteth,” is the cry, “come ye the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” [Isaiah 55:1.] “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.” [Revelation 22:17.] 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 14

We need to broaden our labors, and to encourage our workers to do the work that Christ did when presenting the grand truths of the gospel to one who was waiting for light. The end is near. “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” [John 4:35.] 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 15

The Holy Spirit will work with the human instrumentalities who recognize and co-operate with Him, and who present Christ as the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. Did not Christ feel a travail of soul for the redemption of the world? The Holy Spirit will co-operate with those who long, as He did, for the salvation of those who are ready to perish. But church members are not branches of the living Vine if they feel no burden, no travail of soul, for those who are perishing in their sins. Did not Christ devote all His capabilities and powers to this work, partaking Himself of humanity, that He might reach the human race? All this God expects of every one that believes in Christ. Those who are stewards of His grace and knowledge are to live the truth and, under its influence, seek to win others to Christ. In many cases the seed sowing will be immediately followed by the ingathering, as in the case of the Samaritan woman. Souls will be converted, and led to see the truth as it is in Jesus. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 16

God’s servants are the channels by which light is conveyed to the world. Did not Christ appoint every believing soul, not to be a sermonizer, but to minister to others, conveying the truth to them by precept and example? When this is done, the Holy Spirit empties itself of the holy oil, which is received by the golden tubes, and conveyed to the world, till all are tested and proved. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 17

The work of the church is to use all the ability at its command, and multiply the channels through which the Holy Spirit can work. But no one is prepared to do justice to His work, as a steward of the grace of Christ, unless he is ready to minister, not to those who know the truth, but to those who are perishing in their sins. Any one who seeks, by word or action, to bind about the work of saving perishing souls is working against God. Let all remember that the field is the world. All self-serving must die if we hope to serve God. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 18

I recognize that the work Dr. Kellogg has set his heart to do is the work of God. Through the medical missionary work many souls have been enlightened and helped and convicted. All, and more than all, that has been expended in this work has been returned by the results. This is most taxing labor, but it pays. If professed Christians had engaged in this work when their names were first placed upon the church books, there would not now be such widespread unbelief, such depths of iniquity, such unparalleled wickedness, as is seen in the world at the present time. In the invitation to the gospel supper, the Lord Jesus has specified that this work should be done. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 19

“He that reapeth receiveth wages,” said Christ, “and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labor; other men labored, and ye are entered into their labors.” [Verses 36-38.] Christ pointed out the high and sacred service owed to God by those that received the truth. They are to be His living agencies. He requires their individual service. And whether we sow or reap, we are working for God. The reaper and the sower both receive wages. One scatters the seed; the other gathers in the harvest. One puts the seed in the soil; the other gathers the fruit. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 20

In the work of ministering, we sow the seed of truth. We know not which will prosper, this or that. Our work is to “sow beside all waters.” [Isaiah 32:20.] An earnest word, spoken for God, will be as seed sown in good ground. But spiritless, uninterested professors will sow seeds of selfishness, and that which they sow, they will surely reap, for there is a chain of influence which connects man and his works with other human beings. These unconsecrated workers will have a harvest that they will not care to reap. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 21

In the physical world, the seed rewards the sower. First the blade appears, then the ear, then the corn in the ear, and then the harvest. There is an unseen agency at work from the time the seed is sown till the harvest is gathered. The dew, the blessed showers of heaven, which refresh, enrich, and nourish the tiny seed, the sunbeams, which bring life and warmth and gladness, those are all links in the chain of God’s providence. The seed requires the richness of the soil, the air, the dew, the rain. The chain is forged by an unseen agency, even an omnipotent power, which works silently but effectually, linking together the agencies which produce the harvest. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 22

Seed-sowing is a work which is done by the sower in faith. As it were, he casts away the seed, that there may be an ingathering, and he is rewarded by the harvest. Watch the worker preparing the soil for the seed. The slothful, careless worker only half prepares the soil, and the harvest always bears witness to the character of his work. He was not earnest and diligent in preparing the soil, and he finds nothing but disappointment in the harvest. He did not cultivate the ground thoroughly, and the result is that the crop is a failure, the seed is lost, the worthless harvest bears witness against him. The fruit gathered is not enough to repay him for his labor. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 23

So it is in spiritual things. From this we are to learn that the character of the worker is not always measured by the apparent result of his work, but by the faithful, honest work done. Our Saviour would have all study nature’s laws, for they are a representation of the laws of grace. In all her works, nature is a teacher of spiritual things. As the ground is prepared for the seed, so the heart must be prepared for the seeds of truth. The weeds of sin and selfishness must be rooted out, for they will produce a harvest that the sower will not be desirous to gather. The good seed that is sown must be cultivated and kept free from weeds. The soil of the heart must not be allowed to become hard. It must be warmed by the bright rays of the Sun of Righteousness. The light must not be quenched. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 24

He who gave the parable of the tiny mustard seed is the Sovereign of heaven, and the same laws that govern earthly seed-sowing and reaping govern the sowing of the seeds of truth. The gospel is called a mystery, hidden for ages. Human wisdom gains nothing by trying to sound its depths. Paul declares, “For after that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” “As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” [1 Corinthians 1:21; 2:9, 10.] In the gospel seed-sowing, the Word of God is to be communicated as truth; it is to be interwoven with the whole practical life. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 25

Christ compares a man who hears and is a doer of His Word to a man who built his house upon a rock. Though the floods descended, and the winds blew, the house stood firm. There is a religion of word only. There are those who make a pretense to cultivate the soil and sow seed, but are not thorough; these will never gain salvation. It is only those who hear and do Christ’s Word who will obtain eternal life. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 26

The attributes clearly defined by Christ in the sermon on the mount, if cherished, bring to the worker peace and joy. But if we do not cherish the Spirit of Christ, we are none of His. If we have not the mind of Christ, we cannot do His will. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 27

Chaff is found among the wheat, and among professing Christians there are slothful servants, who do not improve their talents. But all who believe in Christ will be faithful and true to principle. There is a great work to be done, and to everyone God has given a work to do. We are living in the last days of this earth’s history, and the question is asked, “When the Son of man cometh, will he find faith on the earth?” [Luke 18:8.] He is coming again in the clouds of heaven, to be admired in all them that believe; and those who would meet Him with joy must not allow the world to interpose between them and their Maker. The world is to occupy a second place in our life-history. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 28

The kingdom of God is to be our first interest. Heart, mind, soul, and strength are to be given to the Lord. All who are truly united with Christ will be faithful stewards; they will work earnestly for Him. Those who do not give the Lord their entire service may think that they can sit at the great supper without the pure linen garment, woven in the loom of heaven, but they will find that in heaven there is no place for humanity that is not combined with divinity. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 29

The pure in heart shall see God. His presence can be revealed; comprehended it cannot be. This knowledge is too wonderful for us. There are feelings that cannot be communicated. Some things one cannot say. Words are tame, and our thoughts come far short of taking all in, for there is an infinity beyond our thoughts. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 30

If we are to be co-laborers with God, we must hold direct communion with Him; we must ask His guidance in everything we undertake. We cannot commit to another the explanation, or ask them to direct us. But how few know what it is to hold intercourse with God. How readily some place the responsibility of their duty on others, and ask them to tell them what to do. We say to all such, you must know your duty from God. Many have depended on their fellow men until they have no individual experience. They are towed along as a barge by a steamer. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 31

All must see and understand their duty for themselves after seeking wisdom from God. He is the only One to whom you may commit your soul for safe keeping. If you come to Him in faith, He will speak His mysteries to you personally. You may sit together in heavenly places with Christ. We may individually understand God’s will; we may know for ourselves what He would have us do, for He will direct us if we will consent to be consecrated and humble in heart before Him. Our hearts will oft burn within us as One draws nigh to commune with us as He did with Enoch. “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” [Job 38:2.] We need Him who is the true Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 32

A work that has been strangely neglected must be done. We must bear witness of the light. Who can do this, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, in language pure, refined, simple, and clear as the running stream? Much cloud and darkness crowds upon us. Yield yourself, your individual self, to God, that you may be purified, cleansed, and sanctified, and you will be enabled to flash light amid the darkness of a sin-loving world. Study the Word which is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. When you desire wisdom, go to the Light of the world. Do not turn to any living soul; men are but erring mortals; in their human wisdom, they may encourage where they should discourage, and discourage where they should encourage. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 33

Every lightbearer in the world is in God’s service, and all are to kindle their censers with the sacred fire of God’s own kindling. Then His Word will be given to those whom you would save, not through a dull routine, but in such a way that they will be impressed. Those who never come in vital touch with God, cannot be channels for the truth, for they do not honor God. They have not an experimental knowledge of the truth. A wise man’s eyes are in his head. They are not directed to the ends of the earth, seeking for some one to see spiritually for them. The eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 34

It is the privilege of all to receive the heavenly anointing, that they may see the attraction of heavenly things over the things of earth. God calls upon His servants to behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world. He would not have those in His service pry into everything, whether it concerns their spiritual advantage or not. He wants all to turn away from loathsome, dead matter. Have you found peace and joy in believing? We shall certainly know it if you have, for then your first and most earnest work will be to impart happiness to others. Just as surely as the sun shines in the vault of heaven, so surely you will be a light in the world. But if you have no connection with God, there is no Sun in your heaven to shine forth in beams of righteousness to the world. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 35

Thank the Lord, if there are those that cannot lead, they can follow. There is work for all to do. We can but breathe the most earnest prayer that men may be trained to have clear perception, and that they may cultivate their God-given talents, so that they may not be deficient in organizing power. O if all who profess to be in the service of God would feel their individual responsibility, and not expect others to be their prop, but stand in their God-given independence, inquiring of God and doing His will, how much more would be accomplished! “Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out,” Christ declares. [John 6:37.] By yielding yourself to God, you gain a oneness with Him. But until we have given ourselves to God, until we are willing to be used by the Holy Spirit, and to do as God thinks best, we shall continue to work neither wisely nor usefully, and we shall know neither joy nor peace. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 36

The apostle Paul knew that example goes much further than theory or commands. He felt the burden of soul for the poor saints at Jerusalem, and he was constrained to ask the Corinthians to contribute something for them. He presented to them the example of the church at Macedonia. “Moreover, brethren,” he writes, “we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the church of Macedonia; how that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power, they were willing of themselves; praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. Insomuch that we desired Titus that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.” [2 Corinthians 8:1-6.] 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 37

All we have or have ever possessed is the Lord’s entrusted capital. He has given it to us to test us, to see whether we will serve Him in this life. If we prove that we have the attributes of God, if we do right because it is right, we shall receive a crown of glory. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 38

The Lord could carry forward His work without the co-operation of the human family. He is not dependent upon any one for their money, or for their time or labor. But He accepts these as tokens of our loyalty to Him. By our faithfulness in these things, we decide our eternal destiny. If we do not co-operate with the Lord by doing His service, by giving ourselves to Him, we will not be judged fit subjects for His pure, heavenly kingdom. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 39

Our soul, mind, and strength is lent us by God, and He desires us to reach to the highest standard of efficiency. It is our hearts only that God asks for. “My son, give me thine heart,” He says. [Proverbs 23:26.] When this becomes a consecrated temple for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, nothing will be withheld from God. Then God promises, “A new heart also will I give thee.” [Ezekiel 36:26.] With this will come a sense of responsibility, a desire to keep the way of the Lord, and to do justice and judgment. “Ye are not your own, for 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 55, 1897, par. 40

We are God’s by creation and by redemption. No one can live a Christian life and serve himself. We have no assurance of happiness if we do not hold ourselves as God’s consecrated property, ready to do His service with heart, mind, property, and strength. All we have is the Lord’s. All we ever hope to gain by our ability is His, and should be employed in His service. All we possess is lent to us; we are to use it to do the highest service for God. On this earth we are fitting ourselves for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for those that love Him, and when He comes the second time, He will take them to be with Him forever. “Occupy till I come,” He says. [Luke 19:13.] At His coming all must render an account as to the use they have made of their entrusted means and capabilities. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 41

The words of One who took our nature, and became our substitute, are “lo, I come, to do thy will, O God.” [Hebrews 10:9.] This must be the sentiment of our heart and our continual practice if we walk in the footsteps of our Redeemer. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 42

If we would honor God in heaven, we must honor Him on this earth, where we are being tested and tried. But until we consecrate ourselves, soul, body, and spirit, to the Lord, we cannot do good work either for God or man. The shadow of Satan will be mingled with all we do and say. We will pick and choose our work; our lives will reveal envy, jealousy, and selfishness. We shall seek to be first, and if we are buffeted and tried, we think that we are having a very hard time. But these trials are designed to show us that all we do tastes so strongly of the dish that it is not acceptable. When self and selfishness are expelled from the soul, and the human agent longs to be a co-laborer together with God, everything is seen in a new light. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 43

Christ died to save the world, and the least men and women can do with their talents and capabilities is to strive earnestly and humbly to imitate the Pattern set before them. The least that Christ expects, and the least that He requires of all who receive Him, is that they bear His yoke and lift His burdens, learning His meekness and lowliness. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 44

Cast aside every burden that forbids you to follow Christ or that hinders you in this work. Christ came to save the world, and our work is to lift Him up by representing His character. Our life-interest, our first business and calling, should be to work the works of God in harmony with Christ by ministering to our fellow men. Benevolence with all its fragrance, should form, not a part of our character but the whole. Christ has appointed those who receive Him to be channels of light, through which He can shine to the world. They are to be representatives of what grace can do through human agents that are under the influence of the Holy Spirit. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 45

What was the influence of the work of the Holy Spirit through the apostles of Jesus Christ? The church formed after Christ has ascended and sent the Holy Spirit, did not pull apart. The members were full of the grace of Christ. As the apostles waited at Jerusalem for the fulfillment of Christ a promise, being of one accord, and in one place, the heavenly endowment came in copious effusion, and with great power, as if God had long waited and longed to bestow the heavenly gift, that under the holy unction the disciples might declare Christ and Him crucified. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 46

What followed the outpouring of the Spirit? Thousands were converted in a day. This was the result of Christ’s sowing, the harvest of His work. The Word proclaimed by the apostles was as a twoedged sword, subduing all things to Christ. This work was not limited to any one country. Christ’s field is the world. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 47

The Holy Spirit convinced of sin, and all were drawn to unite their interests in the work of advocating truth. One subject was their theme—salvation through Christ. There was no strife for the supremacy. They sought only to see who could best show his loyalty and likeness to Christ. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 48

The whole multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one mind. The fast-increasing community of believers was animated by one spirit. Every pulse beat in unity, and the gospel was carried to the ends of the earth. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 49

The language of Christ concerning the Holy Spirit is, “He shall not speak of himself; ... he shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” [John 16:13, 14.] As the Saviour came to glorify the Father by the demonstration of His infinite love, so also the Spirit came to glorify Christ by employing human instrumentalities [to] bear the truth as it is in Jesus to all parts of the world. 12LtMs, Lt 55, 1897, par. 50