Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12

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Lt 61, 1897

Hickox, Brother and Sister

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

April 12, 1897

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother and Sister Hickox:

I felt very sorry when I learned that you had left Melbourne. I would have been so glad could I have had the privilege of seeing you both. I have been desirous of seeing you. I was sorry when I learned that you had left without speaking with Brother Daniells. It was your privilege to speak with him frankly, as one Christian brother would speak with another. You were running behind, but you are not the first one who has been caught in this snare of Satan, and he would lead you into serious difficulty. But you need not have felt that you would be crowded to the wall on that account. I have written frankly to Brethren Daniells and Farnsworth in reference to your case. I feel very much grieved over the way matters have been managed. 12LtMs, Lt 61, 1897, par. 1

When I heard that you were in New Zealand, I thought in a moment, This is the Lord’s work to bring him into a position where he can work in connection with Brethren Crothers, Farnsworth and other experienced laborers in Christchurch. I consider that our brethren have made a mistake. I did not feel just satisfied with your leaving the work of the ministry to canvas; but then I considered the light that had been given that doors would be opened for those in the canvassing field to see the necessities of the different parts of the field. I thought also that it would be a change for you. But my brother, my sister, I am more sorry than I can express that your brethren in New Zealand did not connect you with them in the work. This they should have done. But let not this prove a temptation to you. 12LtMs, Lt 61, 1897, par. 2

There are some things in your character that must be changed. You need to cultivate the grace of humility. You are very strong in your own way, and you will not take caution and reproof, or keep quiet when your fellow laborer, without any suggestion to you, states his ideas. If they do not agree with your ideas, you act as if he were making a drive at you. You hurt yourself by being stirred up over the matter thus. You must learn to yoke up with your brethren and counsel with them. This independence, and the harm it does you in your influence with your brethren, must be seen by you in its true light. 12LtMs, Lt 61, 1897, par. 3

You must not feel so ready to question and oppose the ideas of your brethren with whom you labor. Every time you give way to the impulse of you natural feelings, you are opening the door for the enemy to come in and control your mind and your judgment. Can you not see that you thus make trial for yourself? You set yourself up to be the authority, to be first. A change must take place in your character. 12LtMs, Lt 61, 1897, par. 4

You must not feel that you are above your brethren. You injure the cause of God, and the impression [is] left upon minds that there is no unity, and that the truth we cherish does not make us wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Your feelings will flash out sometimes unexpectedly, and you injure your soul, you hurt the heart of Christ, you give a wrong impression to the minds of those who are in any connection with you. Can you say with the apostle, “For me to live is Christ”? [Philippians 1:21.] That is, Christ is the Author of your spiritual life. His grace is the support of that life, and Christ’s glory the great object for which you are laboring. These words possess a depth of meaning which is the mystery of godliness, better experienced than explained. 12LtMs, Lt 61, 1897, par. 5

“For me to live is Christ.” It is not Paul who is to make himself a center, it is Christ revealed in Paul, with all the graces of the Holy Spirit. Let Christ appear. “I live, yet not I; but Christ liveth in me.” [Galatians 2:20.] When this is the case, the natural temper and attributes of the man will not be ready to spring forth at a word or sentiment advanced. “For me to live is Christ.” I am a Christian. Whatever life, time, and strength I have is Christ’s. 12LtMs, Lt 61, 1897, par. 6

There is a work that you can unitedly do for the Master; but both of you must be willing to bear contradiction, as did your Master, against yourself. Learn in the school of Christ His meekness and lowliness of heart. He is your Pattern. You are both of high temper; but if this temper is molded after the divine Spirit, it will not be your hindrance, your stumbling stone. Is Christ your life? Are your selfish traits of character cut away from your life? Is it His glory alone that is revealed in you and shining in you? Are the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness mellowing your whole heart, bringing your whole spirit, soul, and body into subjection to Jesus Christ? Have you been quickened together with Christ? Do you realize that you are obtaining the mastery at all times, and under all circumstances in your home life? “For me to live is Christ.” [Philippians 1:21.] Are you representing Him in your forbearance, in your patience, in your true Christian courtesy and your tenderness? Are you learning to be like Jesus? 12LtMs, Lt 61, 1897, par. 7

My brother, you must bear the chisel and the hammer in the workshop of God. When the rough and unseemly traits are cut and hewed away with the ax and the chisel, then will come the polishing, until your character shines forth as a living stone that emits light. Your words, your voice, your attitude, your deportment, my brother and sister, must be mellowed in your connection with each other. Let your home life be your lesson book. Keep back every hasty, careless, hurtful word. There must be no revealing of the masterly spirit in your home. You leave self to take care of self too much. Unless you control self, you will experience a molding and fashioning that will not make you companionable. 12LtMs, Lt 61, 1897, par. 8

Your condition is hopeless so far as anything you can do or accomplish for yourself. You may both have impulses that are indeed good; but when test or trial comes, you reveal that there is an unsubdued self ready to spring to life and burst forth in a vehement manner. Bear in mind that it is the heart that needs to be melted over, changed, transformed by the grace of Christ. It is the spiritual life that is needed. “A new heart,” says Christ, “will I give you.” [Ezekiel 36:26.] The beauties of holiness must appear. Self must be crucified. Christ must live in your lives. Satan is the destroyer of Christlike virtues; Christ is the Restorer. 12LtMs, Lt 61, 1897, par. 9

What means has God appointed for you to accomplish the work of grace in your heart? It is a vital union of your soul with the life of Christ. The sinner must have a constant connection with Christ; he must receive the divine life that flows from his life in words, in spirit, and in works. “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine; no more can ye except ye abide in me.” [John 15:4.] Mark and fathom the meaning of the words, “Except ye abide in me.” It amounts to nothing to act as a Christian occasionally. It is not so much great talents that are needed as humble men who will live by earnest prayer and living faith, and thus advance the cause of their Redeemer. There is great need of humble men, not self-sufficient men. We have enough of these. But men are needed who will rely wholly upon God, who are made “a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men.” [1 Corinthians 4:9.] 12LtMs, Lt 61, 1897, par. 10

Now my brother and sister, I want you to live Christ, rejoicing in His unsearchable riches. Yoke up with your brethren, harmonize with them, and do not feel that the work of harmonizing is wholly on the side of your fellow laborer. You need Christ Jesus every hour to make you a savor of life unto life, a fragrant life full of perfume and holiness and grace. That impetuous disposition is always doing you and others harm. Wherever you have hurt your brethren by being impetuous and self-sufficient, I would ask you to take it all away. Confess your defects; confess the injury done to your brother, and then walk humbly and safely before God. He has a work for you to do, but He will not accept the divided heart. The grace of Christ will transform the character so that it will bear any test and trial, and stand in the consciousness that Christ is the Redeemer and sin pardoning Saviour. 12LtMs, Lt 61, 1897, par. 11

Dear brother, dear sister, the Lord wants you to labor for Him in His way, and not in your own way. The question is, Will you become vessels consecrated to the Master’s use? Then your work will be accepted. Study the Word patiently and humbly. The less of self you make to appear, the more will Jesus be magnified. We plead with you to seek the Lord. Make no rash movements, but place yourself where the Lord can use you. Then you will not long be pressed with debt. 12LtMs, Lt 61, 1897, par. 12

In love. 12LtMs, Lt 61, 1897, par. 13