Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 15, 1897

Individual Experience Necessary


March 14, 1897

This manuscript is published in entirety in HM 06/1897.

Side by side, wearing the yoke of Christ, the laborers of God must do their appointed work. The question as to who is our neighbor is answered in the mission fields, at home and abroad, that await our labor. These call for no pharisaical principles, no narrow views. The worker is not to follow his own ideas and plans for work. The Lord’s individuality is to be sunk in no living being. Christ’s followers are to love God supremely, and their neighbor as themselves. 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 1

It is as much the privilege of every individual member of the church to know from the Word God’s will in regard to his course of action as it is for the president of the conference or for any other man in office of trust. The Lord would be sought unto by all who would be instructed and enlightened and worked by the Holy Spirit. God is ready to commune with His people. He declares, “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name in Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 2

“For I will not contend forever, neither will I be always wroth; for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. I create the fruit of the lips: Peace, peace to him that is afar off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord, and I will heal him. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” [Isaiah 57:15-21.] 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 3

Every individual must seek by earnest prayer to know the Word of God for himself, and then to do it. Only in day by day putting his trust in God, and not in the arm of flesh, will any soul obtain the experience essential to answer the prayer of Christ, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:3.] This is the lesson given to every soul who has commenced the new year. In all your temporal concerns, in all your cares and anxieties, wait upon the Lord. Put not your trust in princes, nor in the sons of man because they may be in positions of trust. The Lord has united your heart with Him. If you love Him, and are accepted in His service, bring all your burdens, both public and private, to the Lord, and wait upon Him. You will then have an individual experience, a conviction of His presence and His readiness to hear your prayer for wisdom and for instruction that will give you assurance and confidence in the Lord’s willingness to succor you in your perplexities. 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 4

Live as in the presence of God. “Come unto me,” is the invitation of Christ. By this He does not mean that you shall go to a far country to inquire of the president of the conference what your duty is. He would have you rejoice and praise Him every day for the privilege granted to you in the words of Christ: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] Spread out your case before the Lord, and whatever your anxieties and trials, your spirit will be braced for endurance. The way will be opened before you to disentangle yourself from embarrassment and difficulty. 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 5

You need not go to the next town or to the ends of the earth to learn what course you shall pursue. Trust in God as your Helper, who will overrule all things as One who knows best. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed.” [James 1:5, 6.] 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 6

“Forasmuch then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind; for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.” [1 Peter 4:1.] This is the truest wisdom, certain and not disappointing. This is the very essence of all true service, of pure and undefiled religion before God. 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 7

Christ declares, “All ye are brethren.” [Matthew 23:8.] We are all exposed to the same temptations, the same danger of making mistakes. These is no security, no support, in the midst of trial, but the conviction that God is present, watching over His people, and ready to answer their cries. “Then thou shalt call, and the Lord will answer; thou shalt cry, and He shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday; and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones; and thou shalt be like a watered garden, whose waters fail not.” [Isaiah 58:9-11.] 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 8

“Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee; and the glory of God shall be thy rearward.” “Then shalt thou delight thyself 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.” [Verses 8, 14.] 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 9

The apostle Paul says, “Make full proof of thy ministry.” [2 Timothy 4:5.] In this reference, ministry is not confined to preachers, but those who are doing God’s service. A King and loving Friend and Father is overruling all things. And if this is so of individuals and nations, how much more His church, His chosen ones. His church is built on the Rock Christ Jesus; and when men miscalculate their position of trust, and suppose that this give them power to rule the minds and work of their fellow men, they have made a great blunder which the Lord will not sustain. They are drawing men away, and educating them to look to men and depend upon men and receive their instruction almost entirely from finite beings. 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 10

But the presence of God is guaranteed to the Christian. This Rock of faith is the living presence of God. The weakest may depend upon it. Those who think themselves the strongest may become the weakest, unless they depend on Christ as their efficiency, their worthiness. This is the Rock upon which the church may build successfully. God is near in Christ’s atoning sacrifice, in His intercession, His loving, tender ruling power over the church. Seated by the eternal throne, He watches them with intense interest. As long as the members of the church shall through faith draw sap and nourishment from Jesus Christ, and not from man’s opinions and devisings and methods; if having a conviction of the nearness of God in Christ, they put their entire trust in Him, they will have a vital connection with Christ as the branch has connection with the parent stock. The church is established not on theories of men, on long drawn out plans and forms; it depends upon Christ their righteousness. It is built on faith in Christ, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” [Matthew 16:18.] 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 11

“In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” [Isaiah 30:15.] Take this with you throughout the year. The strength of every soul is in God and not in man. Quietness and confidence is to be the strength of all who give their hearts to God. Christ has not a casual interest in us but an interest stronger than a mother for her child. Says the prophet, “Can a woman forget her sucking child? ... yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” [Isaiah 49:15.] Our Saviour has purchased us by human suffering and sorrow, by insult, reproach, abuse, mockery, rejection, and death. He is watching over you, trembling child of God. He will make you secure under His protection. Through His servant He says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” [Isaiah 26:3.] “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” “They that wait on the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abideth forever.” [Psalm 27:14; 125:1.] 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 12

To the Jewish nation God revealed Himself as a watchful, kind, forbearing father, a God of mercy and truth. He manifested Himself to them through His Son. And this Saviour is our Advocate. Our weakness in human nature will not bar our success to the Heavenly Father, for He died to make intercession for us. 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 13

“In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will the Lord appoint for walls and bulwarks. Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee. Trust in the Lord forever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.” [Isaiah 26:1-4.] I entreat of all families and churches to read and study this Scripture, and act in accordance with the Word of God. 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 14

“Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us; for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. O Lord our God, other Lords beside thee have had dominion over us; but by thee only will we make mention of thy name.” [Verses 12, 13.] Christ is our Ruler, and to man is not given power to lord it over the flock of God. The minister is to be one with the believers, not closing himself with himself as a superior of whom his fellow men must be afraid. 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 15

The Elder Brother of our race is by the eternal throne. He looks upon every soul who is turning his face toward Him as his Saviour. He knows by experience what are the weaknesses of humanity, what are their wants, and where lies the strength of their temptation, for He was tempted in all points like as we are, “yet without sin.” [Hebrews 4:15.] Thank the Lord He is ordained to be our Ruler and the Judge of all men. 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 16

The Lord would have everyone come to Him as their Refuge and for counsel and for comfort, and for hope, in all their anxieties. To Him you may tell your griefs. You will never be told, “I cannot help you. Such an one in authority has placed your case before me in such a light that I can do nothing for you.” To Him all your griefs are worthy of consideration. 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 17

You may have His help under every difficulty. You may, I say, the weakest one in all the ranks of believers may trust in a loving, pitiful, faithful High Priest, who is touched with the feelings of our infirmities. He keeps us safe from Satan’s power, even while we are full of perplexities, discouragements, and trials. Every believer is to keep looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of His faith. All who will do this, will work calmly and quietly as if in view of the whole universe of heaven. They will trust to no man’s opinion of their virtues, but feeling an individual responsibility resting upon them in temporal and eternal things, they will put their trust in God. 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 18

“And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censor; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.” [Revelation 8:3, 4.] 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 19

Let the families, the individual Christians, and the churches bear in mind that they are closely allied to heaven. The Lord has a special interest in His church militant here below. The angels who offer the smoke of the fragrant incense are for the praying saints. Then let the evening prayers in every family rise steadily to heaven in the cool sunset hour, speaking before God in our behalf of the merits of the blood of a crucified and risen Saviour. That blood alone is efficacious. It alone can make propitiation for our sins. It is the blood of the only begotten Son of God that is of value for us that we may draw nigh unto God, His blood alone that taketh “away the sin of the world.” [John 1:29.] Morning and evening the heavenly universe behold every household that prays, and the angel with the incense, representing the blood of the atonement, finds access to God. 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 20

When every soul is dependent on Jesus Christ, our Elder Brother, for mercy and forgiveness of sins, why should one member of the family exalt himself above another? Why should he feel at liberty to take upon himself prerogatives that his position does not give him? Why should he order about and seek to control his fellow man and tell what this one should do, and that one should do. These very ones have been required of God to come directly to Him and ask for the wisdom they need, and the promise is, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” [Mark 11:24.] 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 21

“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench; he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth; and the isles shall wait for his law. 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 22

“Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it: he that giveth breath to the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. I am the Lord: that is my name, and my glory will I not give to another; neither my praise to graven images.” [Isaiah 42:1-8.] 12LtMs, Ms 15, 1897, par. 23