Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 127, 1897

God’s Forbearance

Stanmore, Sydney, Australia

November 22, 1897

Portions of this manuscript are published in 3SM 311-312; LDE 111; 3MR 314-315.

Here we are at Stanmore. We were all packed, expecting to leave for Cooranbong waiting Sara’s return from Sydney, but she came a few minutes too late. We hoped to reach our home tonight, but we must wait until morning, and take the morning train. 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 1

I was unable to sleep after half past one o’clock. I commenced writing. I was told that last night’s meeting was a success. The Lord gave me freedom in the afternoon. We had the tent nearly full. The Lord strengthened me to speak to the people assembled. All listened with the deepest interest. In the evening extra seats had been made, and all the seats were packed. About a dozen seats were placed outside the tents, and these were full. There were large numbers standing. 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 2

All listened with the most intense interest to the words spoken by Brother Haskell. He thought it time to make remarks in regard to erecting a church. Those newly come to the faith are twenty-five in number. One and another had been talking of their having a church, and before any request was made, one man and his wife pledged £5 each. This first £10 came from the new converts, and they said that they would do more than that if necessary. 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 3

The subject of building was introduced by me in the afternoon. Elder Haskell spoke under the influence of the Spirit of God on Christ as the Rock. After he had closed his discourse, he said that he purposed to tell them in regard to a meeting house. The subject was placed before them and an invitation given for them to help if they could do this willingly, and render back to the Lord His own. 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 4

We need more to be shut in the audience with God. There is need of guarding our own thoughts. We are surely living amid the perils of the last days. We must walk before God meekly, with deep humility, for it is only such that will be exalted. 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 5

O how little man can comprehend the perfection of God, His Omnipresence united with His almighty power. A human artist receives his intelligence from God. He can only fashion his work in any line to perfection from materials already prepared for his work. In his finite power he could not create and make his materials to serve his purpose if the Great Designer had not been before him, giving him the very improvements first in his imagination. 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 6

The Lord God commands things into being. He was the first Designer. He is not dependent on man, but graciously invites man’s attention, and co-operates with him in progressive and higher designs. Then man takes all the glory to himself, and is extolled by his fellow men as a very remarkable genius. He looks no higher than man. The one first cause is forgotten. This explains why the Lord cannot do much more for man in a variety of ways; man would use his communicated intelligence as did the inhabitants of the old world; and the very things proceeding from God would be made to militate against the purposes and will of God. Selfish workings come in. Dependence is placed on self, as though finite man were some wonderful prodigy. Then the Lord lets man work out his supposed capability, and there is defeat and failure. 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 7

When will Christians know and have a better understanding of God? God says, “I AM THAT I AM,” the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity. [Exodus 3:14; Isaiah 57:15.] “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” [Psalm 90:2.] “I am the Lord, I change not.” [Malachi 3:6.] With Him is no variableness neither shadow of turning. 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 8

The Lord God with whom we have to do expects those for whom He has done so much to search for His way, and pray to know His will. He desires that they shall be faithful to the light that He gives in His Word, and regulate their spirit and disposition and character after the infallible standard of His declared will. Through high and exalted waiting and watching, ever looking to the One infinite in wisdom, man may render effectual enlightenment to the understanding. 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 9

Every one who will have perfect trust in God will do this. God inspires the desire, the devotion, the fervor, of the soul to cry out after the revealing of Himself, that man may behold just as far as finite beings can, the unveiling of His power and glory in the perfection of His character. This will inspire them to say, “Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty: just and true are thy ways, thou king of saints; who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name.” [Revelation 15:3, 4.] 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 10

As our knowledge of God increases, we shall have a more perfect estimate of self. We shall realize the weakness and ignorance of humanity, and will long with intense longing to overcome every defect in our characters, that sin may not dwell in our mortal bodies. Then there will be an intense hungering and thirsting after righteousness and true holiness of heart. This is how Enoch walked with God. He studied the character of God to a purpose. He did not set up his own finite will to carry things his way, but he studied to assimilate himself to the divine likeness. 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 11

The attributes of God are spirit, understanding, will, consciousness, and activity. These are His working agencies, and these the Lord is waiting to impart to every one who will co-operate with Him. His righteousness and glory, He declares, He will not give to another. Shall we not seek to comprehend this? It is because of the little glory that man gives back to God that He is kept in a state where he can receive less and less of the glory of God. Why do not the voice and lips praise God? Why are they so silent? Why is the tongue so dumb? Why does not man see God in all His created works? Why cannot we grasp the privilege and grace and salvation, the truth and righteousness, provided in rich fulness, which God is longing to bestow? If these treasures are received, will we see the human agent appropriating the Holy Spirit as something that belongs to him, which he had not before received? 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 12

O what deficiencies there are in our conversation. How little we talk of God in sanctified, holy strains. How we mingle the common and earthly and sensual with the sacred. God does not receive the pure incense of praise and thanksgiving from the lips and voices entrusted to man for His name’s glory. The fragrance of heaven is not manifested in words or deportment or actions as it should be. God is a spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth and in the beauty of holiness. 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 13

The Lord calls upon us. Shall we hear what He says? “For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord, and hath perceived and heard His word? who hath marked his word, and heard it? ... But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil ways, and from the evil of their doings. Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places, that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.” [Jeremiah 23:18, 22-24.] [Read] Psalm 139. 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 14

I am afraid we have altogether too cheap and common ideas. “Behold the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee.” [1 Kings 8:27.] Let not any one venture to limit the power of the Holy One of Israel. There are conjectures and questions in regard to God’s work. Take off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Yes, angels are the ministers of God upon the earth, doing His will. 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 15

In the formation of our world, God was not beholden to pre-existent substance of matter. “For the things that are seen were not made of the things which do appear.” [Hebrews 11:3.] On the contrary, all things, material or spiritual, stood up before the Lord Jehovah at His voice, and were created for His own purpose. The heavens and all the host of them, the earth and all things that are therein, are not only the work of His hand. They came into existence by the breath of His mouth. 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 16

The Lord had given evidence that by His power He could in one short hour dissolve the whole frame of nature. He can turn things upside down, and destroy the things that man has built up in his most firm and substantial manner. “He removeth the mountains; he overturneth them in his anger, he sweepeth the earth out of its place, and the billows thereof tremble. The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof: the mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence.” [Job 9:5, 6; 26:11; Nahum 1:5.] 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 17

The Lord gives warnings to the inhabitants of the earth, as in the Chicago fire and the fires in Melbourne, London, and the city of New York. When God’s restraining hand is removed, the destroyer begins his work. Then in our cities the greatest calamities will come. Is this because people do not keep Sunday? No; but because men have trampled upon the law of Jehovah. The Lord is slow to anger. This should inspire the heart with gratitude. “The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.” [Verse 3.] 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 18

The Lord puts constraint upon His own attributes. Omnipotence is exerted over Omnipotence Himself. Notwithstanding the perversity of men who are cumberers of the ground, the Lord Jehovah bears with them because there are some in the wicked cities who are within the possibility of forgiveness and acceptance with God. It is something that makes my heart sore and sad and at times in an agony, that those who have great light and knowledge should abuse the mercies of God. His longsuffering and forbearance are scarcely thought of. 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 19

Ere long there will be a sudden change in God’s dealings. The Lord is preparing to visit the earth, for the iniquity of men is swelling to terrible proportions. “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the hearts of the sons of men are fully set in them to do evil.” [Ecclesiastes 8:11.] The Sabbath of the Bible is transgressed, and an idol sabbath framed to take its place. The common takes the place of the sacred. God’s memorial of creation is torn down, and trampled under unholy feet. “Will I not judge for these things, saith the Lord.” [Jeremiah 5:9.] The false has been placed where the true Sabbath should be, and those who have accepted this institution of Papacy with religious frenzy act as did those who thought they had Christ in their power. The priests and rulers crucified the Lord of glory because He would not accept and honor their traditions. 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 20

The Lord is teaching men that there are limits to His forbearance. In fires, in floods, in earthquakes, in the fury of the great deep, in calamities by sea and by land, the warning is given that God’s Spirit will not always strive with men. The times in which we live are times of great depravity and crime of every degree. Why?—-Because men whom God has blessed and favored have reduced His holy law to a dead letter, making void the law of God by the traditions and inventions of the man of sin. A more than common contempt is put upon the commandments of God, while the representative men of the Colonies have exalted the first day of the week to be observed by all men. They would have men bow down and worship it, as did Nebuchadnezzar when he exalted the golden image in the plains of Dura. When wickedness comes to this pass, it is fast reaching its height. Well may the prayer go forth from the people of God, calling for His interference, “It is time for thee, O Lord, to work; for they have made void thy law.” [Psalm 119:126.] 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 21

Will any be tempted by the universal scorn which they see thrown upon God’s law to think slightingly of it, to cease to respect it and give it less reverence? All false Christians in this age of the world will be distinguished from the true. In the words of David, the followers of Christ will say, “Therefore love I thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.” “Thy testimonies are wonderful; therefore doth my soul keep them.” “The entrance of thy word giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple.” [Verses 127, 129, 130.] 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 22

“I opened my mouth and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.” [Verse 131.] “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey in the honey comb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned, and in keeping of them there is great reward.” [Psalm 19:7-11.] 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 23

In proportion as the commandments of God are despised and set aside for the commandments of men, which bear not the least sanctity the appreciation of those who have come out from the world, and have separated from it is strikingly developed. On the other side, Satan through his masterly power will seek to obtain the supremacy. It is the last of the great controversy, and will end in his destruction. There is a point in the iniquity of men when it is necessary that God shall interfere, and this point is being reached; and those who are loyal to God’s commandments are more than ever bound to prize and love the law of God. 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 24

It is a terrible thing for a nation to wear out the patience of God. Each century of profligacy has treasured up wrath for its iniquity against the day of wrath. Christ is now bidding the abandoned of our day to fill up the measure of their fathers in their iniquity. When that time shall come, and their cup of iniquity is filled up, it will be demonstrated that to wear out the patience of God brings tremendous consequences to the disobedient. The nations of earth will act upon a shortsighted policy. Through their own course of action the priests and rulers will restore the lost ascendancy of the man of sin. Today there is ascending to heaven the blood of the martyrs that were slain beneath the altar for their adherence to the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 25

I can pursue this subject no further now. I call upon the people of God to awaken. I call upon all to search the Scriptures for in them they will find the truth for themselves. 12LtMs, Ms 127, 1897, par. 26