Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 118, 1897

Wessels, Peter

Summer Hill, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

February 1897

Previously unpublished. +Note

Dear Brother Peter Wessels:

I am constrained to write to you this morning. You are often tempted and tried, but the word given to me for you is, “Come unto me, all ye that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” This rest you will find nowhere else but in Christ. “Take my yoke upon you,” Christ says, “and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:28, 29.] You are in no case to suppose that if you yoke up with the enemy, to do his will and ways, this peace and rest will be yours to enjoy. Jesus is acquainted with you. He knows every temptation with which every soul is beset. Your eye must be constantly fixed upon Jesus, “the Author and Finisher” of your faith. [Hebrews 12:2.] The Lord is your Helper. He is at your right hand to strengthen you as you walk in companionship with Him. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 1

The Lord Jesus has given His life for you, and He wants you to behold Him, “the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world,” “the one altogether lovely,” “the chiefest among ten thousand.” [John 1:29; Song of Solomon 5:16, 10.] “But we all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory (character to character), even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” [2 Corinthians 3:18.] “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth in Christ.” “Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, in God; who hath also sealed us, and hath given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” [2 Corinthians 1:3-5, 21, 22.] This we may all enjoy. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 2

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God.” [1 Corinthians 10:31, 32.] “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” [1 Corinthians 15:58.] “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit ye like men, be strong.” [1 Corinthians 16:13.] 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 3

My brother, the Lord has given you <and your brother Philip> talents of influence to use in your own family <and to bless others.> Every entrusted capability is from God. You may now cast your helpless soul upon Jesus Christ, for He sees how Satan tempts, and He knows how to deliver the tempted ones. If you seek Him with all your heart, He will help you to help souls away from temptation, and give evidence that you are led and taught of God. Press close to the bleeding side of your Redeemer. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 4

Keep your hand in the hand of Jesus. Never separate from Him, but keep your mind in captivity to Christ, and your whole being in subjection to Him. Then your language will be, “Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish; to the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” [2 Corinthians 2:14-17.] 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 5

We shall have many things to try us. The enemy of God and man is watching constantly to lead us into bye and forbidden paths. We need to study the Word of God, to be encouraged and strengthened and stablished, and settled in the truth, “knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.” [Ephesians 6:8.] 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 6

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness. And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith where with ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” [Verses 10-17.] 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 7

I cannot bring to you peace and joy, and love of Christ. But Christ Himself will give it you if you will seek Him with all your heart. “For God is my record how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” [Philippians 1:8-11.] In the night season, I have been troubled on your account, and the Lord said, “Write the things I shall give thee.” I have done this. Will you heed the light given you of the Lord, and receive encouragement to be a faithful doer of the Word? 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 8

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, February, 1897 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 9

Dear Brother: I received your letter in the last mail from Africa, but too late to answer it. I thank you most heartily for your liberal act in the means you have sent me. It came at a most opportune time. We were in need of means. My secretary, Miss McEnterfer and I rode over to see the first school building which is now completed. The foundation and cellar is laid for the second building, which <was designed> to be one-story, to be used as cook room and dining room. The question arose in my mind, “Where is the lodging room for the students?” And the answer came, “the upper storey of the mill.” 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 10

This place is wholly unfit for such a use. The great cracks in the floor and boards enclosing it are so large that one or two fingers could be put in them. This would prove a cold, uncomfortable place. We have been compelled for nearly one year to use this upper storey for a meeting place, with the furniture belonging to the school piled up on one side and end of the building. My heart has ached as I have entered this place for the worship of God, and I have felt that it was a dishonor to His Holy name. I could not endure the thought of having to worship God through the winter months in such a place. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 11

I had most earnestly prayed the Lord for guidance in the matter, and also for means to build a chapel. When I was told by Brother Hare that we should have to depend on tents and the upper storey of the saw mill for the accommodation of our students, my heart was deeply pained. I am sure the Lord urged the suggestion upon my mind to put an additional storey above the dining-room and kitchen, partition one half off for the students to occupy for lodging rooms, and the other half we will use for a chapel. The whole structure can be only enclosed, < not finished,> but this will be better than the loft above the mill. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 12

I asked Brother Hare why we could not depart from the plan of the designer, and put up a chamber. The same roofing and shedding would cover the whole. The matter was discussed, and after a few moment’s favorable thought that night, there was a more full consideration, and our decision was made. We could not possibly finish every part of this building, but it will answer our purpose if only sided up, and then we can wait for means to come in to build a chapel and finish this second building. It was thought that one hundred and fifty pounds would do the extra work above the original design, and would accommodate us in our present distress. So this brings us considerable relief. The money you sent will be a help at this time to invest in the enterprise. I felt so thankful that we were just in time to see what was needed, and to have the work done. Nothing need be left undone in carrying out our plans. We thank the Lord for the means sent, and you, the Lord’s agent for sending it. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 13

We have now a congregation of from one hundred to one hundred and twenty-five. But the conference funds are so low we could not support workers in Sydney or in Cooranbong. Yet there is need of workers. Brother Baker is the only minister we have had in all the New South Wales Conference. Brother Semmens, who is entering into the building up of a medical institute, is giving treatment, and doing as well as can be expected; but he needs, and must have, some one co-operating with him as a manager. He does all he can. He has to take two services on Sabbath and one on Sunday. This is too much for him. Brother Baker is called out to long distances where they have never heard a minister. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 14

Three hundred miles from Sydney, the Macedonian cry comes to us, “Come over and help us.” [Acts 16:9.] One letter received from a young man twenty-two years of age says, “We are poor, but we have a minister. We had the loan of Great Controversy, and in that book we found that we are not keeping the right day, that the seventh day is the Sabbath, and not the first day of the week.” The eldest son began to keep the Sabbath. Then his two sisters and three brothers came into the truth. The opposition from the father was very strong. Some of their neighbors were interested, and they thought would embrace the truth and be baptized. He said they were all paying tithes, and he would pay part of his fare if a minister could be sent. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 15

Brother Baker spent about two weeks there. The first night he put up at an hotel a few miles from the place where the family he came to visit were living. Next morning he visited the family. They were living on a large sheep ranch. The house was a very poor specimen of a house, but everything within was clean and neat. The eldest member of the family was a daughter, twenty-four years of age, who managed the concerns of the home. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 16

Brother Baker was made welcome, but was told that the father was hard and unimpressible. He asked if he might not be entertained there, saying he would take any kind of fare. He was told that he must see her father; she dared not say he could stay. He went to the field where the brothers were at work, and put the same question to them, and was answered as the eldest girl had answered him. They dared not say he could stay. “You must ask him yourself,” they said. “Well,” said Brother Baker, “one of you go with me.” “No,” they replied, “that would not be wise; you had better go alone.” He went, and introduced himself to the father, telling him that he had come to hold meetings, and baptize his children. He said he would prefer to remain in the family, and would be willing to receive any kind of fare if he would consent to take him in. The man responded heartily, saying that he was welcome, and in the talk they had, he said that his children were good, obedient children. The father seemed much affected by the conversation. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 17

Brother Baker held meetings at two different places, and quite an interest was manifested. The children said their father never read the Bible, and he was, they thought, an infidel. But he was present in the family, and listened to the explanation of the Scriptures, and seemed to be struggling with deep feelings. At the baptism the father was present. The mother had been dead several years. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 18

When Brother Baker left, the father handed him a pound, and with tears in his eyes invited him to come again. So he was not so hardened as his children supposed. Their courage in taking their position on Bible truth has certainly had its influence. These children work hard and accept what the father will give them, having no stated wages. Quite an interest was manifested by the neighbors, and Brother Baker was well satisfied with his visit. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 19

And now another call comes from two hundred miles away, where they have heard no minister. Several have taken their stand for the truth and want to be baptized. The Spirit of the Lord is working in the regions beyond. O that we could obtain the means that are being wasted in pleasure, and almost thrown away in luxuries! If those who are spending their money for that which is not meat, either for body or soul, would devote their means to the Lord’s service, we would have a day of rejoicing. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 20

O for the money that has been wasted and squandered for pleasure and selfish gratification! Jesus, the Majesty of heaven, came to our world to be an example of perfect obedience. We have this Pattern before us; let us copy it. He in whose heart is enshrined the beautiful and pure image of Christ has a model that is elevated, sacred, and uplifting, by which to shape his life and character. Our Redeemer suffered for us in the flesh, gave up everything for us. He left the royal courts, stepped down from His high position, clothed His divinity with humanity, and being in the form of man, humbled Himself. For our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 21

A young ruler came to Christ, asking, “What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Christ said to him, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” [Matthew 19:16, 17.] In speaking of the commandments, our Lord confined Himself to the last six. The principle of these commandments is embraced in the words, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy self.” [Verses 18, 19.] Here the ruler was shown his lack. Christ showed him the idol of his affections, He revealed the danger that imperilled his soul. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 22

The young man then said to Him, “All these things have I kept from my youth up; what lack I yet?” “Jesus said to him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come and follow me.” [Verses 20, 21.] 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 23

The heart of Christ hungered and thirsted for the love of this young man. He looked upon him with loving interest. He longed to hear him choose the self-denying path of self-sacrifice. He longed to make him a co-laborer with Him in the work of restoring the moral image of God in man. He greatly desired him to transfer his affections to God, and lay up treasure in heaven, and become a partaker of His self-denial and self-sacrifice, sharing His reproach in this life, and in the end receiving the precious boon of eternal life and an imperishable treasure in the kingdom of God. Will he decide for Christ? 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 24

“But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” [Verse 22.] He did not keep the commandments of God. Riches were his idol. He could not keep the commandments while the world was first in his love. He loved the goods which the Lord had entrusted to him, and which, as a faithful steward, he should have used in the service of God, more than he loved the Giver. His affections were placed on his treasure. Christ saw that his only hope was to surrender his riches; and He laid His hand on his possessions; it was the ruler’s only hope of eternal life. The ruler saw that he could not be a follower of Christ and retain his present style of self-indulgence. But to part with his earthly treasure for the heavenly seemed too much of a sacrifice, and he turned away from Christ. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 25

Yet Christ gave up all heaven and submitted to a shameful death to make it possible for that young ruler, as well as for every other human being, to keep His commandments. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 26

The ruler’s possessions, his temporal blessings, were entrusted to him by God, that he might prove himself a faithful steward of his Master by dispensing the goods for the blessing of those who were suffering. And not merely was he to bestow gifts of a temporal character. The poverty of the soul was comprehended and embraced in Christ’s words. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 27

The Majesty of heaven had made it possible for the ruler to do this work. He could have united with Christ as an interested partner in the great firm; he could have been a blessing to his fellow men. What a heritage he was losing! It was unseen treasure; but it was a heavenly possession, an immortalized inheritance, which there would be no possibility of his losing, for it was laid up by the throne of God. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 28

“Thou shalt have treasure in heaven,” said Christ. [Verse 21.] This precious promise was assured to the young man if he would comply with the conditions laid down; but he went away sorrowful, because the conditions appeared to him so hard. Yet the One that laid them down had Himself become poor that He might present to all who would receive it the immortal, heavenly treasure, the eternal substance. But the ruler’s heart was bound up with his earthly possessions, and he refused to give them up, though they were his Lord’s goods, to be used as Christ directed. By obeying these words, he could have honored and glorified the name of the Giver. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 29

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, ... That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of God. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” [Verses 23, 24.] 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 30

There are thousands upon thousands that have the Lord’s goods in their keeping. Our Lord says to them, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” [Verse 17.] It is the only hope for those who love earthly treasure to lay it at the feet of Jesus. If they allow their minds to become absorbed in the world, if they glorify themselves, as though their treasures were their own, to do with as they pleased, their riches become to them a separating wedge to divide them from God. All who are doers of the Word will hold their time, their talents, their means, as sacred trusts, over which God has made them His stewards. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 31

He who uses his entrusted capital and talents, whether rich or poor, with wisdom and does not, through love of self and love of display, misappropriate the entrusted goods but keeps the glory of God in view, and makes his entrusted means a blessing to suffering humanity, and a means of advancing the cause of Christ’s kingdom upon the earth, becomes a partner in the heavenly firm, and a co-laborer with Jesus Christ. He wears Christ’s yoke and lifts His burdens. He wins souls to Christ, because he is a representative of Christ’s character. He will lay up treasure in heaven, and will walk with Christ in heavenly communion. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 32

The young ruler was sorry to part with Christ, but he gave Him up, although he had felt convicted that He could supply the want of his soul. To give up his earthly treasure, that was seen, for the heavenly treasure, that was unseen, was too much of a sacrifice. He decided not to try the experiment. When it was his privilege to choose Christ’s terms, the result showed that he prized the gift higher than the Giver. His claim that he had kept the law from his youth up was a deception, for the commandments of God require the whole man. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, <and thy neighbor as thyself.”> [Luke 10:27.] 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 33

It is not <enough the> having a knowledge of God’s will, or making a profession of obedience, that secures for any one of us eternal life. It is the subjection of heart and soul and mind and strength to Jesus Christ, whose property we are. We are not owners of ourselves. “Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] God’s requirements take in every phase of self-sacrifice. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 34

Then Peter said, “Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered, and said, Verily, I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, or the gospel’s, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. And many that are first shall be last, and the last first.” [Mark 10:28-31.] He who sacrifices for my sake, or the gospel’s, shall receive even in this life the richest blessings. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 35

“Then took he unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written in the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on, and they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things; and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” [Luke 18:31-34.] Christ would impress upon the minds of His disciples that His kingdom is not temporal, but spiritual. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 36

My brother, you will have trials; you cannot avoid them. But do not, at any time, act rashly. Move quietly and pray much. The salvation of your soul is of more value than any amount of gold or silver. The blessing of your family should be highly prized by you as a treasure that cannot be measured with gold or with silver. You will appreciate these responsibilities when you reflect that they are to be prized as your richest <earthly> treasure. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 37

Keep your mind and your thoughts upon Christ. Enshrine the Saviour in your heart. O, I greatly fear, and am troubled in soul for you all. Were it not for the temptations which come because of riches, the Wessels family would now be in a more favorable position to win eternal life by obedience to all the commandments of God. You would all have a clearer insight into the truth. The sacred fences and barriers of the law of God would not be so readily overstepped. You would not feel at liberty to move as you please. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 38

You need to pray more earnestly, and to cultivate the meekness and lowliness of Christ. The Lord Jesus loves you; He looks upon you with divine sympathy, and would draw you with the cords of His love; but there is great danger that you [and] <members of the family> will refuse to be drawn just as <in the case of> the young ruler. Christ loved him, and yet He laid before him the only conditions upon which he could secure eternal life. He refused these conditions. Will this be the case with any one of the Wessels family who have had the light of truth, who have loved the truth, who have enjoyed the grace of Christ? Will you choose to do as you please, irrespective of the eternal interests that are involved in your course of action? 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 39

Your only safety lies in making an entire surrender to God. When you decide to be wholly the Lord’s in heart and soul and strength, you will be given a stability that will be maintained under all circumstances. You will have a much clearer insight into the truth. But all of you are in peril of coming short of the grace of Christ unless you follow on to know <the Lord> more decidedly and firmly than you have done. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 40

The truth, brought into the sanctuary of the soul, will sanctify the receiver. It never leads him to do an unrighteous action. Truth never puts its delicate feet on false or uncertain ground, to accommodate itself to any circumstance, however plausible. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 41

I entreat of every one to build upon the Rock, Christ Jesus. Then you will not be tossed with temptations, or left to drift upon the sea of opinion. Christ stretches out His hand to save every one who will grasp it. He will hold you if you will consent to be helped. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.” [Isaiah 26:3.] This is our assuring promise. Keep your mind stayed on God. Yield not to uncertain flattery or <worldly> attractions, for there is a heaven to win and a hell to shun. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 42

Eternal life is worth a lifelong, persevering effort, an effort proportionate to the value of the treasure you would win. I would address myself to all the Wessels family, believers or unbelievers. Christ invites you <all> to make Him your <daily> personal Saviour. John writes, “I write unto you fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 43

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” [1 John 2:13-17.] Take heed to these words. Again John writes, “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.” [Verses 20, 21.] 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 44

I call upon you, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, to prepare for the coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven. Do not trifle away your precious, God-given opportunities. Day by day cast the love of the world out of your hearts. Understand by experience what it means to have fellowship with God. Prepare for the judgment, that you may escape the things that are coming upon the world, and stand before the Son of man. 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 45

When Christ shall come to be admired in all them that believe, may you be of that number because you have joined yourself to the Lord, because you are on the side of Christ, on the side of the heavenly angels, on the side of God. God is always a majority. “Then shall the righteous man stand in great boldness, before the face of such as have afflicted him, and made no account of his labors. When the wicked shall be troubled with terrible fear, and shall be amazed at the strangeness of his salvation, so far beyond all that they looked for. And they, repenting and groaning for anguish of spirit, shall say, within themselves, This is he whom we had in derision, who was a proverb of reproach. We fools counted his life as madness, and his end to be without honor. Now he is numbered among the children of God, and his lot among the saints.” 12LtMs, Lt 118, 1897, par. 46