Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 5, 1897

My Brethren in America

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

March 2, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in SpTA #10 2-12.

To my brethren in America:

“Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” [1 Peter 1:13-16.] 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 1

I wish to say that the work that is being done by Dr. Kellogg is not to be regarded as a strange work, for it is the very work that every church that believes the truth for this time should long since have been doing. But our position as depositaries of sacred truth has been but dimly realized. If the world had before them the example that God demands those who believe in Him to set, they would work the works of Christ. If Jesus were set forth, crucified among us, if we viewed the cross of Calvary in the light of God’s Word, we would be one with Christ as He was one with the Father. Our faith would be altogether different from the faith now shown. It would be a faith that works by love, to God and to our fellow-men, and purifies the soul. If this faith were shown by God’s people, many more would believe on Christ. A hallowed influence would be exerted by the benevolent actions of God’s servants, and they would shine as lights in the world. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 2

“Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward. ... Any they that be of thee shall build the old waste places; thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 3

“If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thy self in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” [Isaiah 58:6-8, 12-14.] 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 4

The work specified in these words is the work God requires His people to do. It is a work of God’s own appointment. With the work of advocating the commandments of God, and repairing the breach that has been made in the law of God, we are to mingle compassion for suffering humanity. We are to show supreme love to God; we are to exalt His memorial, which has been trodden down by unholy feet; and with this, we are to manifest mercy, benevolence, and the tenderest pity for the fallen race. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” [Leviticus 19:18.] As a people we must take hold of this work. Love revealed for suffering humanity gives significance and power to the truth. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 5

When the Holy Spirit works through the human agents, exercising its consecrating influence, they will not seek to evade [their] obligations in regard to the souls perishing around them. Sin and iniquity will not go unrebuked, however important the personage may be who ventures to sin. Benevolence will be more common. There will be no limit to its plans for the salvation of souls. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 6

Souls in our world today are in need of a Saviour. The Lord has given His church the opportunity to work for Him; He has invited them to come to the gospel feast, and to invite others to come with them. Again and again opportunities have been given for God’s people to go out into the highways and hedges, and compel those there to come in, that God’s house may be full. In the providence of God, Dr. Kellogg has entered upon a work whereby he can organize workers to carry forward the work of bringing the truth before thousands that are now in vice and iniquity, that they may be redeemed from a life of dissipation and sin. All the people of God should be interested in this work. But a love of ease and selfish indulgence has been shown by many. We are sorry to say that some who have had every privilege of knowing Bible truth have not brought it into the inner sanctuary of the soul. God holds all these accountable for their misused talents, which were entrusted to them to be improved, but which they have not returned to Him in honest, faithful service. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 7

All such are represented as coming to the wedding supper without having on the wedding garment, the righteousness of Christ. They have nominally accepted the truth, but they do not practice it. They feel at liberty to come to the supper, but refuse to put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness. Professedly circumcised, they are among the uncircumcised in practice, and will be destroyed with the uncircumcised. They have walked with the uncircumcised in their covetousness, and the Lord will not spare them any more than He will the veriest sinner. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 8

Those who are united heart and soul in the work of God will put on the wedding garment that Christ has provided. Then they will be prepared to work in Christ’s lines. They will not receive the grace of God in vain. With humble, devoted reverence, they will labor on the right hand and on the left, thoughtfully conforming their entire service, and all their capabilities to God. With singing and praise and thanksgiving, they rejoice with God and the heavenly angels as they see sinsick souls uplifted and helped, as they see the deluded and the insane sitting clothed and in their right mind at the feet of Jesus, learning of Him. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 9

The work that Dr. Kellogg has been doing is a work that every Sabbath-keeping Adventist should heartily sympathize with and endorse, and take hold of earnestly. The Lord will accept the services of any one who will work in Christ’s lines and scatter His invitation of mercy broadcast throughout the world. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 10

The money expended to prepare ministers for work was essential at the time when there was so much opposition to the light that God was giving in regard to justification by faith and the righteousness of Christ, which is abundantly imputed to all who hunger and thirst for it. But the Lord has set before you another work—the work of extending the truth by establishing centers of interest in cities, and sending workers into the highways and hedges. But this work has not been done. Money has been absorbed in other lines. Altogether too much work has been done among those who know the truth. It is religion, Bible religion, that God’s ministers need. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 11

Satan will furnish an abundance of speculative projects, that are not after God’s order, but are inspired by man’s ambitious devising. Thousands of dollars may be spent in traveling. In this way money is consumed, but it accomplishes little. The only right way is to stop devising wonderful plans that absorb means and create inventions that God does not inspire, and devote the Lord’s means, and your God-given faculties to setting in operation a work that will reach the neglected ones, the oppressed, those that cannot rise of themselves. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 12

Dr. Kellogg is doing a work which, if the churches shall be converted, they can undertake in a limited degree. It gives opportunity for many to minister for God. There are families within the shadow of your own doors in whom you have not shown sufficient interest to lead them to think that you cared for their souls. I entreat of you to read the third and fourth chapters of Zechariah. If these chapters are understood, if they are received, a work will be done for those that are hungering and thirsting for righteousness, a work that will be an advance work, a work that means, Go forward and upward. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 13

“Thus saith the Lord, If thou wilt walk in my ways, and keep my charge, then shalt thou also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee a place to walk among them that stand by.” [Zechariah 3:7.] There are two parties in this world. The angels of heaven co-operate with every unselfish worker; but the angels of Satan will confuse judgment by using elements that put stumbling blocks in the way of those whom God would bring to an understanding of the truth. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 14

If God’s workers will be controlled by the Holy Spirit, if they will keep the preparation necessary for time and for eternity ever before them, the Lord will enable them to do a work that will advance His truth. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 15

Let every one who believes the truth empty himself of his selfishness and self-sufficiency, and his ambitious devising. Let the heavenly messengers empty themselves of the golden oil into the golden tubes, that it may flow into the golden bowls. Every church needs this golden oil; for their lamps are going out, when they should be bright and clear, sending forth to the world a shining light, that will penetrate the moral darkness which has covered the world like a funeral pall. If ever the anointed ones that stand by the Lord of the whole earth were needed, they are needed now. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 16

The Lord has presented to the church in Battle Creek opportunities to work for Him. There are families there that are no help where they are. They should locate in other churches, and communicate to others the knowledge of the truth which God has given them. But let those who make this move first seek God. The spiritual life-blood from Christ is not circulating through their veins of experience because they do not do His service. Growth is impossible. They must be born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. Backsliders know not the virtue of an incorrupted experience. Their counsels are so mingled, the common fire with the sacred, that their decisions are worthless. They are doing harm and misleading others. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 17

The judgment of the men that have composed the Foreign Mission Board has often been wrong. They have often given opinions entirely contrary to a “Thus saith the Lord.” They have made decisions in accordance with their ignorance of missionary work in foreign countries. They have not carried the burden of the Lord, the travail for souls. Self, self, self, has figured largely in their religious experience, and God is displeased with them, for they venture to advance ideas about matters that they know nothing about, either by experience, or by the Holy Spirit of God. For years in the past the opinions of the councils have been largely the opinions of erring men, some of whom have backslidden from God, and are today in the enemy’s ranks. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 18

When these men realize what it means to be in the service of God, there will be fewer words spoken, and less forwardness in advancing human opinions. After much earnest prayer for guidance, matters will be more carefully weighed. And they that seek the Lord with the whole heart shall find Him. Praise His holy name, He is not far from any one of us. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 19

There must be a striving and agonizing to enter in at the strait gate. There are many paths that diverge, and lead into the broad road. Every traveller that walks in the strait road must be divested and stripped of self. There is no room in the narrow way to carry the loads of the world. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 20

As surely as the Lord lives and reigns, the words spoken to Nicodemus are spoken to the men who have been handling sacred responsibilities. God says to them, “Ye must be born again.” [John 3:7.] A conversion, represented by a new birth, must take place. Then the men who have worked according to their supposed wisdom, will become as little children, seeking the Lord as did the children of Israel on the day of atonement, confessing their sins, and purifying themselves from every moral defilement. When they come to the Lord, with a sense of their own weakness, the Lord will hear them, and will answer, “Here am I.” [Isaiah 58:9.] The Holy Spirit will strip them of their self-righteousness, Pharisaism, and hardness of heart, and will give them a heart of flesh, made soft and tender by its indwelling presence. Self will die, and the life of Christ will be revealed in their lives. The life they now live, they will live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved them, and gave Himself for them. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 21

I tell you, in the name of the Lord, that those who have had great light are today in the state described by Christ in His message to the Laodicean church. They think that they are rich, and increased in goods, and feel that they have need of nothing. Christ speaks to you. Hear, O hear, if you have any regard for your souls, the words of the great Counsellor, and act upon them. “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be clean; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” [Revelation 3:18.] 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 22

Practical truth must be brought into the life, and the Word, like a sharp, twoedged sword, must cut away the surplus of self that there is in our characters. “The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” [Hebrews 4:12.] 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 23

The Lord has given me messages of warning for His people, which I have, with much burden and pain of soul, communicated to you. I have been awakened at midnight, and in the small hours of the morning, to write you things which your blind eyes could not discern. “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” [Galatians 4:16.] The message God has given has affected some zealously, but not all well. You do not see, you do not realize the necessity of seeking the Lord earnestly, and fervently, and perseveringly until you know that Christ is formed within you, the hope of glory. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 24

When you have a knowledge of God’s will, you will follow Christ in all things, and He will hide you in a cleft of the rock, and cover you with His hand, that you may lose sight of self, and behold His glory. Moses said to the Lord, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory.” [Exodus 33:18.] “And the Lord passed by before him and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and fourth generation.” [Exodus 34:6, 7.] This is a representation of the passing by of God. It is a true description of the after-influence of all His working in the path where He goes. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 25

Those who become careless and reckless and self-indulgent, do not stop to think of the consequences of their actions. Thus it was with Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron. The Word of God had given specific direction that sacred fire only was to be used in the service of God. But the senses of Nadab and Abihu were beclouded with wine, and they offered strange fire before God. They placed themselves in a position where they could not distinguish between the sacred and the common. They used common fire, which God had commanded them not to use, and they died before the Lord. After they were slain, Moses said to Aaron, “This is it that the Lord hath spoken, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me.” [Leviticus 10:3.] 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 26

How often the actions of these men have been repeated. In a careless manner, the sacred work of God has been mingled with common ideas. This has cheapened the truth. Human opinions have been brought to the front, and unsanctified propositions, born wholly of self, have been acted upon. If those who have done this could see the result of their work, if they could know what it means to turn things upside down, they would tremble before God. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 27

“The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe.” [2 Thessalonians 1:7-10.] Selfish characteristics do not reveal the glory of God, and cannot be practiced by those who are truly united to Christ. There is to be straightforward action in all things. When the people of God begin to walk apart from Him, their actions testify that they are not eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God, that they are not one in spirit with Christ. “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” [Galatians 5:9.] There is among us a leaven of disregard for spiritual and holy practices. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 28

“I would they were even cut off which trouble you. For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say, then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the thing that ye would.” [Verses 12-17.] This is practical godliness. But it has been discarded and strange fire, which the Lord has condemned, has been used. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 29

The Lord would have His institutions cleansed and uplifted to a high, holy standard. “The fruit of the Spirit of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” [Verses 22-26.] 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 30

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things, put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of God dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” [Colossians 3:12-17.] 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 31

Strive to excel in the practice of the Word of God. This is the only lawful strife. Practice God’s Word; eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 32

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus, so walk ye in him; rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” [Colossians 2:6-10.] 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 33

God is to be glorified in us. Please read the eighth chapter of second Corinthians. “This I say, He which soweth sparingly, shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully, shall reap also bountifully.” [2 Corinthians 9:6.] This is the work of the Lord. When God’s people follow his directions on this point, the glory of the Lord shall be their rereward. Who will act on Bible principles, taking the word of God as their counsellor? 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 34

There is a great work to be done. The world will not be converted by the gift of tongues, or by the working of miracles, but by preaching Christ crucified. The Holy Spirit must be allowed to work. God has placed instrumentalities in our hands, and we must use every one of them to do His will and way. As believers, we are privileged to act a part in forwarding the truth for this time. As far as possible we are to employ the means and agencies that God has given us to introduce the truth into new localities. Churches must be built to accommodate the people of God, that they may stand as centers of light, shining amid the darkness of the world. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 35

We must sow beside all waters, keeping our souls in the love of God, working while it is day, using the means the Lord has given us to do whatever duty comes next. Whatever our hands find to do, we are to do it with cheerfulness; whatever sacrifice we are called upon to make, we are to make it cheerfully. As we sow beside all waters, we shall realize that “he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” [Verse 6.] 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 36

“Every man as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” [Verses 7, 8.] Do not draw back after once the Holy Spirit has awakened in your mind a sense of duty. Act on the suggestion, for it was prompted by the Lord. “Whosoever draweth back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” [Hebrews 10:38.] 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 37

It means much to sow beside all waters; it means a continual imparting of gifts and offerings. God will furnish facilities, so that that faithful steward of His entrusted means shall be supplied with a sufficiency in all things, and be enabled to abound to every good work. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 38

Thank the Lord, the subject of beneficence has been made very clear and plain. “(As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor; his righteousness remaineth forever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply the seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness.)” [2 Corinthians 9:9, 10.] The seed sown with full, liberal hand is taken charge of by the Lord. He who ministers seed to the sower, gives His worker that which enables him to co-operate with the Giver of the seed by sowing the seed. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 39

Man is the Lord’s co-laborer. The seed sown, acts of liberality, are first given by the Lord, and in sowing, in supplying the necessities of those who are in need, man returns to the Lord His own. The Lord supplies a sufficiency for this work, that His servants may continue ministering to those that are needy. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 40

This seed-sowing is not merely bestowing temporal blessings. It embraces the precious seed of truth, which is to be given to those that are in need of spiritual enlightenment. They are to be fed with spiritual food, even the bread of life. Words of comfort must be spoken to them; they must be given the invitation to the gospel feast. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 41

Both temporal and spiritual liberality is included in this lesson of seed-sowing. When God’s instrumentalities sow the good seed by distributing to others the temporal blessings God has given them, gratitude and thanksgiving to God are awakened in the hearts of the receivers. They are relieved; their temporal wants are supplied, and the evidence of the love and sympathy of others awakens in their hearts a feeling of thanksgiving to God, and opens the way whereby the seeds of truth may be sown. And God, who ministers seed to the sower, will cause the seed sown to germinate, and spring up until life eternal. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 42

God gave His only begotten Son to bear the guilt of the world, that all who believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. This is an assurance that everything is provided to enable us to be overcomers. We may be “enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men.” [Verses 11-13.] 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 43

This work God would have us do. Christ’s example must be followed by those who claim to be His children. Relieve the physical necessities of your fellow men, and their gratitude will break down the barriers, and enable you to reach their hearts. Consider this matter earnestly. As churches, you have had an opportunity to work as laborers together with God. Had you obeyed the Word of God, had you entered upon this work you would have been blessed and encouraged, and would have obtained a rich experience. You would have found yourselves, as the human agencies of God, earnestly advocating a scheme of saving, of restoration, of salvation. This scheme would not be fixed, but progressive, moving on from grace to grace, and from strength to strength. 12LtMs, Lt 5, 1897, par. 44