Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 29, 1897

Belden, Frank; Belden, Hattie

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

January 1, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in 2MCP 376-377; 8MR 293-294.

My dear nephew Frank and niece Hattie:

I wish I could write to you as I greatly desire to write—encouragingly, hopefully. But, my nephew, from the light that the Lord has given me, I regard you as a man that has been confused and bewildered in regard to principle, a man who has lost his clear spiritual vision. This is not because light has not been given to lead and guide you, for God has spoken, saying, “This is the way; walk ye in it.” [Isaiah 30:21.] It is because you have listened to other voices. By so doing, you have gone astray yourself, and have led others astray. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 1

God has given you talents. They are His gifts; but they have not been under the control of His Holy Spirit. You can talk fluently, much more than is for your good, of others’ wrongdoings. You have turned from Christ’s character to the defects of human beings, and by beholding, you have become changed into the same image. You think evil and talk evil, criticizing sharply and sarcastically. This is the work that Satan is doing. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 2

Your expressions of bitterness, your illustrations, your condemnatory spirit have poisoned your home life, and bring you no relief. You may have cause for the sentiments you express against individuals, yet it is greatly to your own detriment to harbor such strong feelings. I am so sorry for your wife, for she is becoming more and more under the deceiving power of Satan. She is without the attributes of Christ—tenderness, compassion, meekness, and lowliness. Imperceptibly, you are introducing poisonous, malarious elements into her mind that will educate your daughter. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 3

From the light which God has given me, I know that spiritual deformity is being developed in you. In the place of giving a faultless exhibition of right principles and correct habits, you are gathering to yourselves sentiments and principles which will exclude you and all who partake of the same spirit from the heavenly courts. Your mind is becoming deformed by the way in which you treat it. I entreat of you to change decidedly about. Check all exaggerated language, for it destroys the harmony of the mind. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 4

The body needs careful culture, that it may be kept in a healthy condition. So the mind needs to be strictly disciplined, lest it shall be unduly developed in some things and insufficiently developed in others. Because these susceptible organs are not in your sight, where you can see the harm that you are doing to your intellectual powers, and how much they need regulating, you are not conscious of the harm you are doing them. You entertain unsound theories, and your mind is made to serve these theories. The way in which you are mismanaging your mental machinery is wearing it out. But you cannot see what harm this is doing. Sooner or later your friends with you will see the unfavorable development of your thoughts and actions. Your stomach is beginning to testify to the action of the mind. A symmetrical and well-disciplined mind would change for the better the powers of digestion. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 5

I cannot forbear telling you that you are as a piece of machinery that has been put out of order by an erroneous course of development and discipline. Your only hope is to place yourself in the channel of light shining from the Sun of Righteousness, closing every avenue that encourages wrong tendencies in the development of character. You need to remove from the [mind] scenes which have been as a training school to destroy your confidence in almost every one. No longer choose the malarious atmosphere you have hitherto lived in. You need to become a Christian in word, thought, and action. You need to be converted. The Holy Spirit alone can renovate and transform you. This Spirit alone can keep you from making your mind and heart a vineyard that Satan will cultivate. As soon as possible you should place yourself as a little child at the feet of Jesus, that you may receive the Holy Spirit’s molding. Then your mental faculties will be invigorated and will bear taxing in right lines. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 6

You are now like a broken down machine. You do those things which harm mind and body, and unless you make a change, a decided change, your life will be sacrificed on the altar of an unwisely conducted and unsanctified ambition. God cannot put His blessing upon you. A continual deception is spoiling your whole life. You have put your mental powers under exhausting taxation! Your mind is already over-stimulated by devisings and plans that have failed. Thus you are wearing away your life forces, making your talents productive of no good to yourself or to others. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 7

Time is golden. We are to be wise in employing our time and talents to the very best purpose. My dear nephew, you are acquainted with individuals whose minds are stored with knowledge of various kinds, politics, history, theology. They have gathered up an accumulation of learning, and this is massed together in a mind that is not under the sanctifying influence of grace. They do not co-operate with God to bring this mass of matter into appropriate action. Therefore they continually lose time by devoting it to matters that bring no satisfactory returns. Should the life of these men cease now, they would never hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant: ... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” [Matthew 25:23.] 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 8

There has been presented before me, as an illustration, a class that has had every opportunity and privilege, as compared with another class that has far less qualifications and information, but who keeps the fear of God before it. Those who belong to this latter class regard their talents as entrusted to them. Their opportunities are limited, but they try to comprehend the grand lesson inculcated in the parable of the talents. They strive to use well their probationary time, vigilantly working in the contemplation of Christ’s coming. By a thorough training in the educational lines within their reach, they discipline themselves, that they may be prepared to learn and digest all true knowledge. Under a sense of accountability to God, they strive to make the most of the gifts entrusted to them. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 9

This constitutes the ideal of Christian character, the all-round man, the perfect man in Christ. He does not spend his life in prayerful meditation only, neglecting to do earnest work for the Master. Neither is his life all outward bustle. He does not engage in active work to the neglect of personal piety. There is a happy blending of both qualities. He is “not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” [Romans 12:11.] 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 10

The greatest work humanity has to do is to keep the lamp of the soul trimmed and the vessel filled with the oil of grace. You need to make every effort to prevent spiritual declension, lest the day of the Lord come upon you as a thief in the night. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 11

I speak to your wife. Is it not time for you to take heed how you build? Is it satisfactory for you to become a woman pleased with attractive dress, but with no pleasure in the white robes of Christ’s righteousness? Is it not your only safe course to use well your God-given power by trimming the inner lamp, that its light may shine forth to others? If you continue to follow the course you have pursued, you will never see God’s face. No infidelity should be cherished or uttered. But the talent of speech is frequently used by you in a way that is dishonoring to God. Unless the root be holy, the speech is not sound, and no sweet fragrance is offered to God. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 12

Frank, what can I say to you? From the light I have received from God, I know that you have a prayerless home. The time of your sojourning here is short. You think that you have surrendered yourself to God, but you have never yet fully given up your bitter feelings against others. You have used your talent of speech to lead them into temptation. Your words have encouraged them in wrong methods and wrong principles; and then, because they develop the ideas and principles which you have inculcated, and as the result injury is done to you, as the Lord designed it should be, to show you the sure result of such actions, you feel wronged. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 13

All are to be workers together with God. All have been entrusted with talents, to use for the glory of God and not for selfish purposes. This capital is the Lord’s; He will require again both principal and interest. Every natural advantage is a talent. The responsibility of each human agent is proportionate to the amount of gifts received from the Lord. On the one blessed with the largest amount of talents rests the heaviest responsibility. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 14

Frank, you and Hattie have not one moment to lose. You are not ready to die, and you are not ready to live to be a blessing to your own family and to others. You are not prepared for the Lord’s coming. The day of reckoning is not far distant. What account can you render to God for the neglect of your appointed work? Give yourselves to the Lord, and then you will have grace to work and watch. Trade diligently on your Lord’s goods, whatever may be the amount, pounds, pence, or farthings. Through the merits of Christ’s grace, consecrate all your talents to God’s service. Thus you can acquire growing, increasing talent. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 15

Your moral responsibilities are not small. Can you continue to trifle with these responsibilities? Will you continue to surround your soul with an atmosphere that is a spiritual malaria? Will you not realize that your words are either right or wrong, that they are either a savor of life unto life or of death unto death? 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 16

Frank, will you take the position that you should? You know not your spiritual blindness. You seem to think that you understand the failures of your brethren and that you know just where they made their mistakes. You think you can see the stone over which they stumbled to make the crooked paths they have made. But you do not feel that repentance for your own stumbling course of action that will not need to be repented of. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 17

By beholding the defects of others, and talking of them, you are doing the very thing the Bible has told you not to do. While you do this work of criticizing, you are creating a malarious atmosphere in your home which is a savor of death unto death. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 18

Our works, our present conformity or non-conformity with the principles of the law of Jehovah, will decide our future destiny. “By thy words thou shalt be justified,” said Christ, “and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” [Matthew 12:37.] “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth evil things.” [Verse 35.] Those who have had a knowledge of the Word of God, and have not complied with that Word, but by word and deed have revealed that they are indifferent to the great salvation presented, are of that class who knew their Master’s will, yet did it not. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 19

The Lord plainly states that all our actions are to be brought into review before God. The two mites given by the widow, the cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, the visiting in the prison, is registered as done to Christ in the person of His saints. The neglect of doing the very work which needed to be done and was not done, the unkind words, all have their weight in the scale. Nothing is insignificant that is as a thread in the great web we are all weaving in point of influence. Every transaction is important upon which holiness and truth has impressed itself, though in faint characters. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 20

Nothing in sin is accounted as unworthy of notice that Satan has brought to the heart of man, and worked out in some shape. We have the statement that there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, and nothing hid that shall not be known. These things that now appear as nothing to man will have their weight in the great tribunal of God, for or against. It is as the mote discerned in the sun’s rays, for the truth in behalf of righteousness, or against the truth in the working out of unrighteousness. The sinner will not merely be condemned for his own impenitence, but he will be judged for the way in which his impenitence has led others in the same evil work. Every soul will be accounted guilty in proportion to the light which God has let shine upon his pathway, and which he has rejected. Those who have had less light, and have accepted the plan of salvation, will lay hold of eternal life. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 21

Those who have had light and evidence, but who have rejected it, will find that in accordance to their measure of light will be their condemnation. These will find themselves confronted by the men of Sodom and Gomorrah, by the men of Tyre and Sidon and Nineveh. The whole world will rise up in judgment to condemn those who have shown that they have despised the day of salvation. There is not an impenitent hearer of the gospel but will be condemned according to the light he has not improved and appreciated, for this light cost the life of the only begotten Son of God. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 22

The judgment is to set, the books are to be opened. Then every man will be judged according to the things written in the books. In that great day of judgment every motive that led to action will be tested. The law of Jehovah will be exalted. The Lord God will reveal the character and power that His law has always possessed. That character is as infallible and unchangeable as the character of the God who sitteth upon the throne of heaven. The force and dignity of this law is only understood by the magnitude of the offering made to compass the redemption of man. Sooner than that one jot or tittle of this law should be changed, God’s only begotten Son died upon the cross of Calvary. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 23

In His lessons Christ laid open the value and greatness of truth in its spiritual importance, and cited all who listened to His teachings to the high and holy principles in the Old Testament Scriptures as the germ in which was the whole legislation of the new economy. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 24

In the last great day, Jehovah’s law will triumph. Then shall the scales fall from all eyes. What now is regarded by the transgressors of the law of God as of no special consequence, or of but little importance in the standard of morality and holiness, will appear as it is, holy, just, and good. It will be seen as taking immeasurable compass. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. Then character and law alone will seem to be as large as eternity. The reign of appearance and deception will cease. Semblance and pretence will drop their mask. People will see themselves just as they are, obedient or disobedient, loyal or disloyal to the law of Jehovah. Then the division of the whole family will be made. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 25

There will only be two classes, the obedient and the disobedient. There will be no middle class. Only two classes will stand in that day, to be rewarded according to the deeds done in the body. The only class [saved] are the chosen of God, the subjects of His grace, exercising in their experience faith and repentance, and revealing to others the light that God has reflected upon them. They are God’s witnesses, and have indeed been, in their obedience to the law of God, a condemnation to the world. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 26

“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. And before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from his goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, and the goats on his left hand.” [Matthew 25:31-33.] Then will be decided the destiny of every soul. All judgment is committed into the hands of the Son of God. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 27

Dear Nephew and Niece:

You have both made a mistake in not being that help that you should have been to each other. Frank, you have not been in your family a light, a comfort, a blessing, a houseband, working diligently to prepare yourself, and then co-operating with God to prepare your family to be wise virgins, [with] their lamps trimmed and burning. You have been so self-confident, so full of the idea that you possess talent. But your talents have not been sanctified. They have not been properly disciplined or used to the glory of God. The end of the world is near. What are you and Hattie going to do? I cry in the name of the Lord, Awake, awake to your peril! 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 28

You are deceived and unhappy. Give up your faultfinding. Stop speaking the sarcastic words that Satan delights to hear. You have yourself, by your confident assertions, done more to bring into the Review & Herald office a questionable condition of things than any other one person. You stepped out. Those left went on, and the course of action developed by these methods and plans has reacted upon yourself. For your soul’s sake, do not begin to justify yourself, for you had light. Consider, be wise, repent, and confess for yourself, and not for any other soul. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 29

You now have the warning. Will you heed it? I want you to be saved. The salvation of your soul is precious. But God alone can break the spell, and show you the mass of rubbish that you have accumulated about your soul. Make haste. Get ready. Wash you, make you clean. Then the angel of the Lord will touch your lips, as he did Isaiah’s, with a live coal from off the altar, and say, “Be clean.” [Isaiah 6:6, 7.] God will give you a clear cut message, burning with holy fire. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 30

Redeem the time, for God has a work for you to do. It is a sacred work. But all this talking in regard to others’ treatment of you will not help your case one whit. Let it cease, that the holy coal from off the altar may touch your lips, and that God may say, “Be clean.” Then pure words of love will be spoken. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 31

O sister Hattie, sister Hattie, your soul is precious; it is bought with a price, even the precious blood of the Son of God. A change of heart must take place in you. You are a worldly woman. If sickness should cut you off from this life, you have no well-grounded hope for the future immortal life. Can it be that you will not see the importance of a thorough conversion, that by your influence you may help your husband and daughter? 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 32

Let it be the steadfast purpose, both of you and of your husband, lose or suffer what you may, to wage eternal warfare against the errors and sins that have a hold upon you. My heart is drawn out to you. I do not want either of you to stand in your own light, seeing others through your defective glasses. Take heed unto your own selves. And as you shall carefully study the holy law of God, the great standard of character, plead for grace that you may meet that standard. Take yourselves in hand. Turn not your sarcasm even upon your own individual selves. This would be wrong, because you are bought with a price. You are of value in the sight of God. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 33

You are carrying out your own way, and when you do this, you lose sight of the Lord’s way, the only way that is pleasant and satisfying. Give to those who know you an evidence of the transforming power of the Spirit of God upon your heart and mind. Walk as intelligent, humble human beings who are saved by the grace of God alone and who are wholly dependent upon His matchless grace for their perfection of character. When you stop wrestling for your own way, the Lord will teach you how much better is His way and will. Then you will manifest a greater desire to show yourself approved by God, workmen that need not to be ashamed. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 34

My brother, will you turn to the Lord with all your heart? Will you bring the simplicity of truth, the meekness and lowliness of Christ into your life? Will you enter the kingdom of heaven stripped of the idea of your smartness or talent? Will you come as one whose life is hid with Christ in God, not as a director, but as one to be directed? When you undertake to direct, you manifest a spirit that is not acceptable to God. Divest yourself of yourself and come to God as a little child, else you will never see the kingdom of heaven. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 35

God bless you and enlighten your eyes, that you may see all things clearly, is the prayer of your aunt. 12LtMs, Lt 29, 1897, par. 36