Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 129, 1897

Wessels, Brother and Sister [John]

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

May 18, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in 3SM 58-59; 6BC 1112.

Dear Brother and Sister John Wessels:

I have read your letter, and I think we understand one another. I have no favor to ask of any one in regard to money. I have been using all that has come into my hands in the work of God. The present of a silk dress, which your mother gave me, she made me promise not to dispose of. I have kept my word. I have made the dress up, but the value of it I have put into the cause, that your mother shall not lose her reward. For myself, I do not desire one farthing from any one. But when, some two years ago, my attention was directed to Africa, when the Lord said to me, “I have entrusted my stewards in Africa with means which they will bestow to advance my work in Australia,” I felt the more thankful to mention that a work was to be done here in this country, hoping that you would come and wisely look the field over yourself, and see if you could help in establishing a sanitarium here, to be your own investment, to be your own steward. 12LtMs, Lt 129, 1897, par. 1

Now, if you have no light to do this, I shall not be tried by you or any one. I want you to move exactly as far as you can see the light. Both Brother Olsen and Dr. Kellogg asked me why I did not write to you and set the situation in Sydney and the surroundings before you. They stated that you were going to some place to build a sanitarium, and if I wrote, you might come here to Australia. Dr. Kellogg advised me to make no delay. I answered that I had written to Brother John Wessels one month before their letters came to me. 12LtMs, Lt 129, 1897, par. 2

If I was not your companion in the work of God, doing my very utmost in every line possible, I might have felt a delicacy in writing to you as I did. I supposed that you knew that. There is nought I call my own. [With] every talent the Lord has given me, I inquire diligently, not, What have I of my Lord? but, What do I with what I have? For all is the Lord’s. All is a loan from the Lord. He has paid the wages by His own self-denial, His humiliation, His self-sacrifice, His sufferings, and has given His life to save me, that I should not perish but should have eternal life. And shall He not have my willing service and obedience? Shall I not sense my responsibilities in regard to the committed trust, whatever that may be? I am a steward of His grace. I am trading on my Lord’s goods. 12LtMs, Lt 129, 1897, par. 3

The lowliest talent, the humblest service, may become a consecrated gift if exercised and employed with the high end in view of advancing God’s interest in our world, and promoting His glory. I have not been given the message, Send for Brother John Wessels to come to Australia. No; therefore I do not say, I know that this is the place for you. But it is my privilege to express my wishes, even though I say, I speak not by commandment. But I do not want you to come because of any persuasion of mine. I want you to seek the Lord most earnestly, and then follow where He shall lead you. I want you to come when God says, Come, not one moment before. Nevertheless, it is my privilege to present the wants of the work of God in Australia. Australia is not my country, only as it is the Lord’s province. The country is God’s; the people are His. A work is to be done here, and if you are not the one to do it, I shall feel perfectly resigned to hear that you have gone to some other locality. 12LtMs, Lt 129, 1897, par. 4

I have been shown that it were better for you and the other members of your mother’s family to be in some other locality, because where they are the companionship and associations are not the most favorable to their spiritual healthfulness. Of course you will individually carry yourselves wherever you may go, and if that self is near to God, your mother’s family will have plenty to do for the Master. They can be co-workers with God. Merely having qualities of mind, a disposition to do right, is not all that God requires. He asks for all that there is of any one of us. The more He has entrusted to us, the greater are our obligations and responsibilities. 12LtMs, Lt 129, 1897, par. 5

I know that if each member of your mother’s family possessed moral courage to put forth persevering efforts in devoted service, they would be a power for good just where they are. But if they have not that sanctified determination to be doers of the Word, they will in any place be dead branches. Their life will not have a vital connection with Jesus Christ. If they could sense the value of the human soul, as I do who have had these matters kept before me for more than half a century, they would individually make haste to redeem the time, and would be very thankful that they were not left to repose in security when the time is so short. But there is such a thing as being in a place where a certain kind of temptation will be constantly at work to destroy virtue and steadfast principles. If, by removing to where difficulties would be less pressing, you would place yourselves in the channel where the light was shining in clearer and more distinct rays, go there, for your souls’ sake, go there. But ask the Lord for wisdom. 12LtMs, Lt 129, 1897, par. 6

And work. What little probationary time is left to prepare for the eternal life which Christ would have you all receive! If you were sound in the faith and healthy in your piety, you would have placed yourself in the closest relation to Jesus Christ, and a great gulf would lie between you and the Christless world, because Christ would dwell in each of you, and you would dwell in Christ. The indwelling of Christ and the Spirit is made efficient by constant communion, activity, and prayer. 12LtMs, Lt 129, 1897, par. 7

The word of God came to Abraham, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, into a land that I will show thee; and I will make of thee a great nation.” “So Abraham departed as the Lord had spoken unto him.” [Genesis 12:1, 2, 4.] He was seventy-five years old when the word came. I write you this because I feel it my duty to write. If any member of your family were worth their weight in gold, I would not for your favor abate one word that the Lord gives me for you. All the gold and silver is the Lord’s. He has made some stewards of trust. But I can say of a truth, I covet no man’s silver or gold or apparel. All these riches will be of no avail in the great judgment day. The largest property could not pay the ransom for one soul. 12LtMs, Lt 129, 1897, par. 8

Behold in the cross of Christ the only sure guarantee for individual excellence and success. And the more the heart is wrapped up in Christ, the more secure is their treasure in the eternal world. As stewards you individually need an elevating, ennobling, inspiring motive to sustain you in the perilous conflict with foes within and foes without. Some have manifold infirmities, and they need Jesus as their Helper. 12LtMs, Lt 129, 1897, par. 9

The tastes are to be elevated, the appetites subdued, by everyone who is playing the game of life for an eternal inheritance, a life that measures with the life of God. Let no one bring impediments upon themselves that will hinder their growth in grace. The gospel demands of every member of the Lord’s redeemed family an unreserved consecration of body and soul, with all their energies and all their entrusted capabilities, throughout the round of their probation. The Lord claims all the services which any mortal being, aided and enriched by divine grace, can render. This is the claim of God upon every endowment He has given, every faculty which He has provided for the human being. He has a rightful dominion over all His subjects. To withhold from Him is robbery. Every talent, small or great, is confided to the human agent, to be improved in accordance with the will and design of the great Giver. 12LtMs, Lt 129, 1897, par. 10

I present these thoughts to you. May the Lord help you to see the necessity, wherever you go, instead of being influenced to pursue a wrong course, to be determined to influence every soul to obey God, with heart and soul, and with undivided affections. 12LtMs, Lt 129, 1897, par. 11

Now, my brother, moving to any place will not place any of you beyond the temptations of Satan. But it may do for you as it did for Abraham, place you in different associations, that you may break some of the nets Satan has laid for your feet. But do not move hastily, or in a haphazard way. Move understandingly, from the force of conviction, if you move at all. Be determined that you will win heaven at any cost. Imitate no one’s evil practices. The judgments of God are in the land in whirlwinds, in floods, in fires, in earthquakes, and in desolating pestilences. Man brings disease of every character upon himself because of his polluting, soul-destroying, corrupting habits. These wicked habits are doing more to destroy lives than all the calamities by land or sea. 12LtMs, Lt 129, 1897, par. 12

Will we put on the armor of righteousness? Warnings are given in the Word of God of the deceptions that will come in these last days. Speaking of the men who were working to destroy his influence, the great apostle to the Gentiles says, “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy; for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 12LtMs, Lt 129, 1897, par. 13

“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, yet ye might well bear with him. ... For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no light thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” [2 Corinthians 11:2-4, 13-15.] Let us look steadfastly to Jesus Christ, and not be turned away from the gospel of Christ, but show before the heavenly universe that we have no divided life, but that we are wholly on the Lord’s side. 12LtMs, Lt 129, 1897, par. 14

I say again, my dear brother and sister, know your duty for yourselves, and then, if you have difficulties and trials, you will understand that it is not because you are out of the path of duty. 12LtMs, Lt 129, 1897, par. 15

God bless your entire family. Give my best love to your dear mother. 12LtMs, Lt 129, 1897, par. 16