Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 45, 1897

Daniells, A. G. and the Church in Melbourne

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

November 15, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in UL 333; 15MR 271.

Brother Daniells and my ministering brethren and the church in Melborne:

W. C. White has just brought me your letter dated November 10. I would not have you make any move on my account. At the present time I have not any idea of attending the meeting in Melbourne. The meeting in Stanmore on the last Friday morning was a severe tax on me. From the beginning to the close my distress of mind was very great, and in the very midst of the meeting the weight grew more heavy and the outlook more depressing. When I returned to my room, I was all alone for nearly three hours. I suffered such anguish of soul that it seemed to me I could not live. I was deeply impressed with the thought of how far we, as a people to whom is entrusted large responsibilities, are from realizing these sacred trusts. To how many will it be said by lips that always express truth, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting”? [Daniel 5:27.] 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 1

The work of God can advance only as the ministers and workers are themselves worked by the Holy Spirit. Unless they see the importance of the Holy Spirit’s guidance and power to work them, they will be spiritually strengthless. They will make grave blunders, and will grieve the Holy Spirit by their self-sufficiency and self-confidence. It is the constantly humble and contrite ones, who will not exalt their own supposed superior wisdom, to whom the Lord can manifest His power by giving success. Should He give success to him who trusts in self, it would ruin the human agent, and through him ruin many souls who look upon his selfish ideas and selfish ways as the wise and proper way. 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 2

All self-centered ideas and opinions have the cheap and common intermingled with the sacred, so that it is difficult to separate the chaff from the wheat. It is this phase of revealing that has come into Battle Creek, and the end with them is not yet. If they will humble their hearts before God, and be converted, they will work in complete harmony with the Spirit of God. 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 3

The full knowledge before me of matters at Battle Creek has made me full of sorrow. Notwithstanding that the light has come to them, they have not heeded the light, but have misinterpreted warnings, and misconstrued the instruction given, until they have lost their spiritual eyesight, and they call good evil, and evil good. 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 4

I am terribly afraid for our people, afraid that they will be at rest and peace, and have very little spirit of the deep, earnest prayer to God that will prevail. Everyone in the ministry who has had great light, every soul that has been entrusted with sacred responsibilities, is represented as being put into the balances and being weighed, as is done in the temporal affairs of life. Man is put into the balances, and all that concerns him is weighed. O how many are pronounced wanting. The words, the spirit, the actions, all are passing the test, and the value is accurately recorded, to be compared with God’s holy law, which is the standard of character. 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 5

After the impression was made upon my mind that morning of things that I feel no liberty to mention, I decided that I could not attend the Melbourne camp meeting. I am afraid to go. There is so little genuine dependence upon God, so little spiritual eyesight to see and correctly understand the working of the Holy Spirit. I tell you in the fear of God that the truth which is sanctifying in its influence, and that will bring the rich treasures of the brightness of the glory of God, is not understood or considered to be a necessity. The truth as it is in Jesus makes feeble impressions upon the mind, and less upon the heart, to sanctify, purify, elevate, [and] ennoble after the divine similitude. 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 6

We need an abiding, heartfelt dependence upon the Son of God for salvation and for all wisdom and spiritual influences. Unless there is much more love to God and to man, and a continual dependence upon the renewing, sanctifying grace of Christ to work a transformation of character by a divine change in the heart, which will be manifestly seen in word, spirit, and action, we shall fail in our work. What is the reason that the truth so full of grace and so powerful does not make its influence felt upon those who hear? Because the word does not sanctify the hearts of the teachers. Unbelief, unbelief in the God of all power, closes the door so that the sunlight of God’s righteousness does not come in. 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 7

“The word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged 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. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight, but all things are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” [Hebrews 4:12, 13.] This is the experience we may have and must have, as those who have been blessed with great light. “When God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us. Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil, whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus made an high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” [Hebrews 6:17-20.] 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 8

Here is the promise that through Christ we are brought near to God. But our faith is not proportionate to the truth which we advocate. We take ourselves into our own keeping; we plan and devise, and pray little and have but little faith. There is too much cold selfishness woven into our religious experience. 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 9

Loving God supremely comes first; loving our neighbor as ourselves comes second. If we love God with the whole heart, we shall love our neighbor as ourselves. We need increased faith, far less confidence and assurance in what we can do, and far greater confidence in what the Lord is longing to do for us individually, if we will prepare the way for Him. We need, O so much more than we now have, the longing of soul for communion with God. We need to plead most earnestly with Him. If thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, when thou shalt seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.” “He only is my Rock and my salvation; he is my defence, I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory, the rock of my strength and my refuge.” [Psalm 62:5-7.] 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 10

A great desire after large blessings and deep fulness should be cherished. But these we shall never have while we feel so self-sufficient, while we have so tame a love for God and so little Christlike love for our brethren. When self is emptied from the heart, the vacuum will be supplied with the fulness of Christ. Let the soul be less engaged in business matters. Let him put far less trust in the wisdom that bears the marks of being more human than divine. The praise given by word or action to any human being is an offence to God. Yet God will praise every individual that keeps His commandments in truth and righteousness. It is very human to place confidence and trust in man; but not so readily do these same persons themselves walk as seeing Him who is invisible. 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 11

“The Lord God is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him; he also will hear their cry, and will save them. The Lord preserveth all them that love him; but all the wicked will he destroy. My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord; and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.” [Psalm 145:18-21.] 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 12

There are many words spoken in prayer as if to inform the Lord. It is best for the soul that is hungering and thirsting after righteousness to express his real wants. There is a large amount said in prayer that means nothing because it is not the expression of the soul. When Solomon, under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, urged upon the people the necessity of prayer for spiritual wisdom, he sought with the utmost energy of expression to show them the need they must feel for the blessings they asked. “If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice after understanding: if thou seek her as for silver, and searchest her as for hid treasures, then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 13

“For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous. He is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of the saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness and judgment and equity, yea, every good path. When wisdom entereth into thine heart and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul, discretion shall preserve, understanding shall keep thee: to deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man which speaketh froward things.” [Proverbs 2:3-12.] 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 14

The faith we have in the promises of God is feeble in comparison to what it should be. But the encouragement is given that if two or three shall agree, uniting together to ask the Lord in prayer for any one thing, He will give it us. These occasions of united prayer to the Lord, making our requests known unto Him, are not made as frequently as they should be. Seeking the Lord with the heart, represented as asking, seeking, knocking, is profitable. These are terms expressive of urgent need for immediate help from the source of all grace and power. 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 15

James leads us to the throne of grace with faith and confidence, and assures us of success and victory. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” [James 5:16.] Earnest, fervent prayer to God for such things as we need will come from hearts that are impressed with a sense of their necessity. We must press the urgency of the case, as did Daniel in his prayer. One says, “With my whole heart have I sought thee.” [Psalm 119:10.] “Evening, and at morning, and at noon, will I pray,” says David, “and thou shalt hear my voice.” [Psalm 55:17.] 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 16

In the prayer of Daniel, the one who would not be filled with exaltation and pride, although assured that he was greatly beloved of God, every word reveals the longing of the soul after God. His wisdom is longed for. Daniel’s prayer is urgent, it will not admit of denial or delay. “O Lord, hear,” he said, “O Lord forgive, O Lord hearken and do; defer not, for thy name’s sake, O my God.” [Daniel 9:19.] 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 17

Prayer is the want of the heart laid open before God. 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 18

Most earnest preaching is done, but with it there is not a corresponding faith in the truth. There is not that firm belief in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God that makes the heart susceptible to the sin of unbelief. The Holy Spirit’s work is to convict of sin, to break down self-esteem and self-complacency. This cannot come to the heart through any amount of education or talent of speech. It must come through the most precious influence of the Holy Spirit. This will be your great need in Melbourne—the inestimable gift of God. The soul feels its need to drink of the pure snow waters of Lebanon rather than of any human stream of the valley. 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 19

God recognizes the wants of the soul. But our people, who have the great treasure of the Word of God opened before them, do not realize this. Self-esteem, self-sufficiency, so corrodes the soul with the slime and selfishness of earthliness, that the excellence of the things of eternal interest makes scarce a ripple upon the human heart. When the ambassadors of God shall awake, when they sense the truth as it is, there will be strong crying and tears, that they may themselves be sanctified through the truth, and that others may be sanctified through the diffusion of the Holy Spirit, which they communicate in all their life-practice, and weave into all their lines of work. Self no more lives. Habits and customs, the character which has been a hindrance, no longer holds them in a vice-like grasp. 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 20

In the fear of God I tell you the truth. There needs to be a reaching out after God, not once now and then, but a continual earnest, heart-breaking confessing and humbling of the soul before God. God’s people must come into the audience chamber of the Most High. The Holy Spirit alone can open these things to the ministers and to the people. Past warnings, past reproofs, are not heeded. The people travel over the same path, and the soul is in danger through manifold temptation. In their sleepy state they are not able to discern spiritual things. They need to know by experience what true prayer is, and that real, whole-souled petitions alone find their way to the heart of God. 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 21

Those who presume to think that they stand accepted on account of their ministerial commission, their multitudinous duties and exercises of devotion, make a grave mistake. Often their lips express a poverty of soul that their heart does not acknowledge. While speaking to God of poverty of spirit, of the defections of others, the heart is swelling with the conceit of their superior humility, the exercise of their superior righteousness. This is humility upon stilts. When the Lord touches their defects by reproof, they do not receive it, or believe it. 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 22

Many of the church members are incapable of offering the prayer that receives favor from God, because their hearts and not humble and contrite. What is prayer? It is the offering up of the heart to God, telling Him its needs. 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 23

These prayers cannot wait for set times or conditions. A real concern for the soul leads to prayer. This leads to a burden of prayer for all those that are in need of salvation and the enlightenment and grace of God. Prayers may be offered while walking the street; amid the whirl of business. God understands that you need Him, and if you ask, you will receive help, when tempted and tried. Your petitions, made known only to God who searcheth the heart, He will hear and answer. 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 24

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is 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. 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, Lt 45, 1897, par. 25

Let the prayer go forth from unfeigned lips. Let the longing of the soul be breathed into the ears of the Most High, asking for wisdom. Here is the promise. James 1:2-8: “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.” [Verses 5, 6.] 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 26

Every movement made to draw nigh to God meets with a response from that God who hears and answers prayer. The working of the Holy Spirit produces an inward change of the heart corresponding with the necessities of the soul. The time of temptation, when men are led from right to wrong, is when they feel confidence in their own smartness and capabilities. Different kinds of temptations will suggest themselves as circumstances arise around us and impressions are continually made to mold the decisions according to these circumstances. The heart will rise in self-gratulation and pride. Self will rise up to resist that which presents itself in word or thought. Combativeness is the trait of the character, and resistance is awakened into life. Discontent, peevishness, evil surmisings, uncharitable thoughts, and censure are aroused. The apostle exhorts us, “Be instant in prayer.” [Romans 12:12.] This is the charge of one who knew all the assaults of the enemy. “Pray without ceasing.” [1 Thessalonians 5:17.] “Watch unto prayer.” [1 Peter 4:7.] Ephesians 4:1-7. 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 27

I have much more to write, but cannot send it in this mail. I have much to say in regard to the great lack of ministering in churches. May the Lord “make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end he may establish your hearts unblamable and in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.” [1 Thessalonians 3:12, 13.] 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 28

No flattering words are to be used to any favorite, for this will be done at the peril of his soul. “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust of the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.” “That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:4, 5, 11-13. 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 29

May the Lord help us all that we may not be beguiled by Satan. There is constant danger of falling into Satan’s concealed net which is spread for our feet. But the power of the Holy Spirit will be constantly at work to protect and defend us. We have become careless while entrusted with the most solemn truths ever committed to mortals. We but dimly comprehend what that truth can do for preachers and hearers if it is taken into the soul as a reforming power. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children ... according to the good pleasure of his will, ... according to the riches of his grace wherein he hath abounded to us in all wisdom and prudence.” [Ephesians 1:4, 5, 7, 8.] 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 30

God help us to broaden, to reach up for the rich grace provided, and to reveal altogether a deeper experience, a deeper love for God and for one another. Then the baptism of the Holy Spirit will be seen in our midst to the glory of God. We can have a much larger, deeper experience in spiritual things. “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand.” [Verses 18-20.] There is much more for us. Shall we have the heavenly anointing to discern spiritual things? We must recover from this tame experience. We must grasp the power of God, which will make the truth all-powerful in the conversion of souls. 12LtMs, Lt 45, 1897, par. 31