Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Lt 42, 1898

Irwin, G. A.

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

May 19, 1898

Portions of this letter are published in SpM 122-124.

Dear Brother Irwin:

In the last mail from America I received a letter from you. I was glad to read your letter, and the next American mail, which leaves here in about two weeks, will take you answers to your questions more to the point than I can now send. I have written largely upon some subjects, and have written some personal testimonies. 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 1

A most decided work needs to be done in our churches in Michigan. There has been a lack of co-operation and harmonious action, but if you will all draw steadily in Bible lines, a change will be wrought in the churches. 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 2

You cannot be surprised at the existing state of things when some of those who have been managers of our institutions have been representing self and selfishness in the place of representing Christ. They have co-operated with those who would not care if the institutions crumbled to pieces if they were separated from them. It is the connection of these men with our institutions, and their management on wrong principles, that has brought about the sad state of things that now exists. 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 3

How can we rightly consider the infinite sacrifice made in our behalf to serve us individually? Each one should realize that his salvation was purchased at an infinite cost, and then should appreciate the value of his own soul as costing the life of the Son of God. It is work, earnest work, that all are called upon to do. They are to cooperate with God in the salvation of their own souls. If they give up the work, leaving God to do it all, they will never know what it means to be co-laborers with Christ. God demands of all what all owe to Him—perfection of character, a life molded after the divine similitude. 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 4

I hope that now, as never before, you will all, ministers and church members, come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty powers of darkness. But I have written so much matter that I need not write largely to you. I will inquire why some of our ministerial brethren are so far behind in proclaiming the exalted theme of temperance. Why is it that greater interest is not shown in health reform? There are many who nourish and keep alive a constant prejudice against Dr. Kellogg. He is doing a large work. Why do they not fill their places in the ministry as well, as zealously, as he is filling his place? Why do not the ministers of our churches do the very work that ought to have been done years ago? I am glad that someone has taken up the work which has been so neglected. 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 5

The complaint comes, Dr. Kellogg has gathered up all the young men he can get, and therefore we have no workers. But this is the very best thing that could be done for the young men and the work. To you, as president of the General Conference, and to Brother Evans, president of the General Conference Association, and to Brother Durland, as president of the Michigan Conference, I would say, Continue to work with tact and ability. Get some of these young men and young women to work in the churches. Combine medical missionary work with the proclamation of the third angel’s message. 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 6

Make regular, organized efforts to lift the churches out of the dead level in which they have been for years. Send out into the churches workers who will set the principles of health reform before every church in Michigan. See if the breath of life will not then come into these churches. 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 7

There are too many today who are merely human moralists. A new element needs to be brought into the work. God’s people must receive the warning and work for souls right where they are, for people do not realize their great need and peril. Christ sought the people where they were, and placed before them the great truths in regard to His kingdom. As He went from place to place, He blessed and comforted the suffering, and healed the sick. This is our work. God would have us relieve the necessities of the destitute. The reason that the Lord does not manifest His power more decidedly is because there is so little spirituality among those who claim to believe the truth. 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 8

There are in our world many Christian workers who have not yet heard the grand and wonderful truths that have come to us. These are doing a good work, in accordance with the light they have, and many of them are more advanced in knowledge and practical work than are those who have had great light, great opportunities. 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 9

The indifference among our ministers in regard to health reform and medical missionary work is surprising. Even those who do not profess to be Christians treat the subject with a greater reverence than do some of our own people, and they are going in advance of us. The word given to me for you is, “Go forward.” “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:18-20.] 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 10

The message has been given to those in Battle Creek to move into places where they could do this very work in connection with their temporal business. Had they moved out by faith, they would have obtained a rich experience in the things of God. But they thought they would find things a little less taxing in Battle Creek than elsewhere. Many crowd into Battle Creek who get no good there because they make no use of the knowledge they receive. They do no good in Battle Creek, and are only swelling the number who need conversion. They have no spirit of sacrifice. They have a great deal of self and a little bit of Christ, a little faith, and a few good works, and they think that they have religion. But it all amounts to nothing. 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 11

What do we read in the seventeenth chapter of John? “I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely (by experimental knowledge) that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.” [Verse 8.] Please read this chapter; for it is full of richness. “As thou hast sent me into the world,” Christ continued, “so have I sent them into the world, and for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” [Verses 18-20.] Are we voicing the words of Christ? Are we sanctifying ourselves through obedience to the truth? 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 12

“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me; that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” [Verses 20-23.] 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 13

Apply these words to the members of our churches, and see if they are teaching the plan of salvation as Christ has appointed. Are they seeking for that perfect oneness that Christ prayed they should have? Have they indeed kept the words of the living oracles of God? I tell you, my brother, that there is a work to do besides preaching—the work of ministering. 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 14

When any one in Battle Creek or in any place shall speak words which depreciate the medical work, ask them what they are doing to perform the work God has given them to do. Let them take up the work just where they are. 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 15

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins, wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God who is rich in mercy, by his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Jesus.” [Ephesians 2:1-7.] 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 16

We are assured that we may be so identified with Christ, the Son of God, as to be wholly one with Him, as He was one with the Father. Who can comprehend this? These words place on us a great responsibility. They are the highest measure of character, and contain the richest blessings that it is possible for any human being to enjoy. 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 17

Brother Irwin, take hold of the work of health reform. If any of the ministers have the idea that the medical missionary work is gaining undue preponderance, let them take the men who have been working in these lines with them into their fields of labor, two here and two there. Let the ministers receive these medical missionaries as they would receive Christ, and see what work they can do. I do not think they will find them dwarfs in religious experience. See if, in this way, you cannot bring some of heaven’s vital current into the churches. See if there is not a class who will grasp the education they need so much, and see if they will not bear the testimony, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (not aside from Christ,) (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together (not in independent atoms,) in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” [Verses 4-6.] 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 18

Suppose that the degrading influence of jealousy and evil surmising, which is death to all spiritual life and symmetrical growth, should be crucified instead of being retained. Would it not be better to do this crucifying, than to do the work that many have been doing—crucifying to themselves the Son of God afresh, and putting Him to open shame? Suppose that individually you take hold of this work and begin to crucify the lust of the flesh, the pride of life, and the love of the world. Forget every other person but yourself, until you decide that you will no longer pierce the Son of God afresh by serving divers lusts and seeking only your own pleasure. Cease to worship idols, and continue no longer in bondage—degraded slaves to Satan and to sin. 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 19

Talk this to our ministers, pray it, and work in Christ’s lines. Think of the blessings brought to all who believe in Jesus. What tongue can express God’s love? It would not satisfy His heart of infinite love to let those who believe in Him occupy any lower place than that of His own sons. Can we wonder at the language of the inspired apostle as, in view of this stupendous grace, he exclaimed, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 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 predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” [Ephesians 1:3-7.] 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 20

Shall we not arise to our high privilege? Shall we not labor as we have never before? Shall we not seek as did Jacob, for the blessing, saying, “I will not let thee go except thou bless me”? [Genesis 32:26.] Oh, what a depth of love, what fulness and completeness there is in Christ Jesus. It is the purpose of God to exceed all our highest imaginations by glorifying His name, through the endless ages of eternity, in the redemption and glorification of the sons and daughters of God. 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 21

But here I must stop. I have written as fast as my pen could move over the paper, today and yesterday and for days before, to get the matter, which I shall send in this mail before you. I desire that the churches should have this; for the Lord has strengthened me and imbued me with His spirit to write it. Educate the churches in every possible way to deny and sacrifice self. Teach them that they must forsake their idols and cherish supreme love for God, and then they will love their neighbor as themselves. 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 22

With much earnest prayer in behalf of our churches, I remain, 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 23

Your sister in the blessed hope. 13LtMs, Lt 42, 1898, par. 24