Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 43, 1898

“Remember the Former Things of Old”

Orange Grove, Balaclava, Melbourne, Australia

March 22, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in 2MCP 533-534, 728; UL 95; 5MR 2.

The Lord directed Moses to repeat to the children of Israel His workings and dealings with them. His mercy, His forbearance, His deliverance, framed in song, were to be brought to their minds. They were ever to sound forth the history of the Lord’s dealings, that they should not forget, but with gratitude remember, their past deliverance so oft repeated, and call to mind their lack of faith when the Lord proved and tested them, and be inspired with hope and with courage to resolve not to dishonor God by unbelief and murmuring. Thus the Lord would brace their courage and stimulate their faith in past mercies and in His great power. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 1

Their present and future safety and prosperity depended upon their appreciation of God’s help, when they had been brought into trying places and peculiar difficulties. If they would call to mind the dangers and perils from which they had been saved, and remember that their extremity was the Lord’s opportunity to show Himself as their strong Helper, they would be strengthened to go forward, singing of His might, and talking of His great power. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 2

It is just as essential that the people of God in this their day should bear in mind where and how they have been tested, where they have been proved, and where their faith failed—at the very crisis when it should have been strong—that they may not repeat the same dishonoring actions before the men with whom they are connected. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 3

Men are tested and proved not only before human intelligences but before the heavenly universe. Unless they fear and tremble for themselves, unless they realize their own weakness and remember their past failures, striving to guard against repeating them, they will make the same mistakes, which were attended with results that they cannot afford the second time. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 4

The Lord would have His people take retrospective views. He would have them see where they have imperilled the cause by their unbelief, and also by their self-confidence. God’s mercy, His provisions, and His never-to-be-forgotten deliverance are to be recounted step by step. As God’s people thus review the past, they will, if thoughtful and considerate, see that God is ever repeating His dealings. They are to remember the warning to beware of themselves, that they may not repeat their mistakes. They should be prayerfully dependent upon the Lord to keep them from again dishonoring His name in a similar manner, for in every one of the victories that Satan obtains, some souls are in peril, some souls become the subjects of Satan’s temptations, never to recover themselves. Let those who make mistakes be careful. Let them walk trustingly in God, and not think that it is safe to trust in their human wisdom. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 5

A constant battle is going on between satanic agencies and heavenly intelligences. Satan is playing the game of life for the souls of men. If all could see the undercurrent of specious temptations, if they could realize the apparently heavenly appearance of satanic deceptions, far greater caution would be shown. There would be far more distrust of human wisdom and far more dependence upon God. But when our spiritual eyesight is blinded, we do not discover the marked incidents that have taken place to turn the footsteps of God’s people from safe paths into paths that are slippery and unreliable. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 6

The Lord would mold and fashion the life aright, and establish the feet upon the Rock of ages. But when men are self-centered and self-exalted, the angels sorrow, for they know that seeds of tares [will] be dropped into the minds of others, to spring up and produce their crop. The only safety for any soul is to walk humbly with God. Then men will watch unto prayer. They will not pray with the lips, when the heart does not unite with the prayer. But how many times have our feet well nigh slipped, our hand well nigh failed to grasp the Hand that is able to save to the utmost all who grasp it in faith. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 7

Many have so beclouded their own minds with self-importance, that they have been very confident where they would do well to be distrustful and cautious. If men could see how easily self and spiritual pride become woven with supposed devotion to the work of God, and how, when this takes place, they are left to mar the work, and set the Weaver’s pattern all astray, they would pray, Anoint my eyes with the heavenly eyesalve, that I may see all things correctly. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 8

Unless there is increased humility of heart and purity of action, things will be done that will lead to a whole train of mistakes. One mismove, because of a lack of faith, has led to many disastrous circumstances. It does not appear such a great evil to let Satan rule and obtain the victory in little things, even when eternal interests are involved. But one misstep leads to a succession of missteps, and then to jealousy and evil-surmisings of the very one, and the very things, that God would have succeed. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 9

When will the people of God learn wisdom? The true religion of Jesus Christ has first to do with the mercy and grace of God in our daily experiences. God in Christ is ever nigh us; yes, nigh unto all them that call upon Him in simplicity and sincerity, realizing their great need of that wisdom that comes down from above. God is our Father, and I have a word of warning from Him. There is always a danger of putting too much confidence in the wisdom and judgment of human agencies, and not placing that confidence in God that we should. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 10

Unless we become as little children in simplicity and faith, unless we have trustful confidence in our heavenly Father, trusting His wisdom above all human wisdom, grave mistakes will be made by those who are in positions of trust, because they can and will put their mold upon the important work that will thus bear their characteristics, instead of the mold and features of God. The reason why the work of God bears the defacement of man is because men put God last instead of first. After they have brought in their own devices, and sowed their seed here and there, they call upon God to water the seen sown and give success to their self-born plans. God does not hear their prayers, but Satan does, and he makes everything appear flattering and successful. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 11

God must be first and last and best in everything. Our daily work must be done with God-fearing exactitude. Those who have trifled with conscience need now, as never before, to be faithful sentinels, guarding their words and the impulses of the heart, and doing their daily work as if they could see the heavenly universe looking down upon them. They are to do their work in the fear and love of God, under His special direction. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 12

Those who will honor the Lord, by putting self out of sight and trusting in Him, will not lack any good thing. Let the one who is connected with the work of God in any line move carefully, for he must give account to God for his words, for his spirit, for every plan, every device, every method, that he may set in operation. God is the owner of every talent, and those who have capabilities are to remember that these are God’s gifts, to be invested in His work. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 13

If you have a mind that is true to principle, never let it be swerved to the wrong by the plans of any man who has shown that this spiritual eyesight is deficient, and that his ideas are obtuse in regard to the elevated character of any work that has a relation to the advancement of the kingdom of God. Treasure a sense of the sacredness of the cause and work of God. Cherish and cultivate the thought of the honor that God has showed you by giving you the privilege of co-operating with Him to prepare a people to stand in the great day of test and trial that is to try every man’s soul. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 14

A great and solemn work is before us, and God calls for men who will not swerve one inch from their work, who will give all their talents and executive ability to the cause of Him who gave them their ability. The Echo office is an institution that needs picked men, men who will not betray sacred trusts, men who remember that they are bound up with the work of God and must give all their ability and strength to make this work a power amid the moral darkness of the world. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 15

Surely Christ felt the pressure of every inconvenience when He hid His divinity under the garb of humanity. But He bore the test in behalf of all humanity. He showed what humanity can do availing itself of the opportunities and privileges of being partaker of the divine nature. Christ overcame all corrupting influence. He knows just man is beset. He knows the strength of every temptation. He knows how to meet man under all circumstances, how to uplift and strength and imbue him with the divine nature, how to breathe the breath of life upon him, saying, Receive ye the Holy Ghost. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 16

The promise is not, I will be, but, He is nigh unto all who call upon Him in sincerity. Many call upon God and receive nothing. They do not know what they need, and would be greatly surprised if God answered their prayers. If we would remember the words, “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], there would be an altogether deeper consecration to God. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 17

He says again, “We are laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] Those who have strength, let them take care of it, obtaining an intelligent knowledge of the house in which they live. They are not to draw upon their strength unduly, lest at some time they draw, but find that there is no deposit to meet the demand. Then is the time Satan uses to gain the victory. We have need to guard the health and life and interests of those who are united with us in the work. Temperance in labor is essential to some of weak constitutions. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 18

Again, let those who earn wages be careful that they do not put their means into a bag with holes. Put it into the Lord’s treasury. Lay it up in heaven. Money is of value only as it is placed in God’s treasury, and used to bless suffering humanity and to sustain His workers in their fields of labor. Much more could be done for the cause of God than is being done if God’s people practiced self-denial and economy. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 19

The Lord would have the Echo office a school. Those who work in its various branches should study carefully whether it is the voice of God that calls them away from this institution, even to Cooranbong to attend school, or the voice of inclination. To every man God has given his work. There is work to be done for the Lord in the Publishing house and in the Tract and Missionary Society, and these may be the very places for those who would do service for God. Let all be careful in urging those who are engaged in our institutions to break away from places where their absence will make a vacancy and bring confusion into the work. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 20

The Echo office should be a school. Advantages should be provided whereby the workers may learn to do the work in a more perfect way. Those who have talent and influence are the ones the publishing house needs. The Lord, has given man his ability and judgment, and these talents, with the improvement of them, should be returned to Him. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 21

The Echo office is a standardbearer. It is bearing its weight of influence, and it will continue to increase in efficiency just in proportion to the self-denial and consecration of the workers, including the ministers. There must not be one selfish plan instituted, for selfish plans will not bear the sanction of God. Every worker is to feel that he is to be a faithful sentinel over himself. He is to do his work with prayer and humility of mind. Thus he will be fitted for any position of responsibility. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 22

I wish that all could see that they may do the highest service for God by filling the very place that God would have them fill, mind strengthening mind, hand strengthening hand, piety and true service linked together to make the work elevated and ennobling. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 23

The Lord is looking from heaven upon His workmen. They have no mean position. The Echo office will give character to the work of God just in proportion to the consecrated devotion of the workers in all its departments. The question of commercial business in worldly lines being brought into connection with the Echo office once threatened to prove a dangerous snare for souls. But God helped in the crisis, for He pitied the ignorance of those who should have been wise in counsel but who were misleading. Narrow-minded plans are never to be brought into any line of the work. Let every worker study how to make the work a success through the grace of God. A much greater work is to be done in Melbourne. Let all the workers remember the words, “We are laborers together with God.” [Verse 9.] 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 24

How solemn is the truth of God for this time. When I study it in all its bearings, my heart is greatly grieved that while the Lord is opening to us the treasures of His Word, that Word is not practiced. The truths of the Bible are testing the life and character of every man and woman. The Lord’s work has a center in Melbourne, and this work will be more pronounced in the city than it has yet been, that the warning may go forth in a more decided manner. But the Lord is not pleased with the lack of harmony that exists among the workers in the Echo office. The Holy Spirit of God cannot work upon their hearts. Self is cherished. Self wishes to be seen and displayed. Thus God’s Spirit is grieved. When Christ abides in the hearts of those who are first in influence, they will be a power for good to all with whom they are connected. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 25

One thread of selfishness woven into the work dishonors God. Christ is put to shame by those who claim to be Christians, and yet who draw in different ways, and work at cross purposes. The Lord has been waiting for the men who had had clear light to stand in their lot and place, whether they are on the ground where the work is being done, or absent from the center of the work. God calls upon all to be wide awake, not working on the side of the enemy, for there is danger of this being done, but on the Lord’s side. Pray, pray, pray; without ceasing, pray. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 26

Youth will embrace the truth who will have to be provided with work. If they should go to the Echo office, they must be educated in all lines of the work. Less work must not be carried on. Every soul must seek to stand in the counsel of God, learning how to act his part with heart and soul, and with a cheerful interest. But the Lord would not have apprentices taken into the office, unless those who know perfectly well the spirit and principles that should pervade the office are bound together in love. By wrong actions you can give Satan an invitation to come in and create selfish principles, which the Lord hates. By his artifice the enemy of God and man will use your selfish independence. The Lord cannot bless anything like self-seeking. It is a curse to the soul. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 27

It is one thing to read and teach the Bible, and another thing to have its life-giving, sanctifying principles engrafted on the soul by practice. God is in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. If those who claim to be His followers draw apart from each other, showing no affection or compassionate interest, they are not sanctified to God. They have not His love in their hearts. I have heard people tell God in their testimonies and prayers that they were full of sin and iniquity, miserable and poor and blind and naked. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 28

Are these words the true sentiment of your soul? If it is, turn to the Lord with all your heart, asking Him to take away your sins and make you His child, that you may be able to speak to Him in different language, that you may bless the Lord with all the energies of your being for the evidence of His great love and tender compassion for sinners. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 29

Christ has shown His great love for us by giving His life that we should not perish in our sins, that He might clothe us with His salvation. If this divine love is cherished in our hearts, it cements and strengthens our union with those of like faith, he that dwelleth in love dwelleth with God and God in him. The strengthening of our love for our brethren and sisters strengthens our love for Christ. This principle of love for God and for those for whom Christ died, needs to be quickened by the Holy Spirit, and cemented by brotherly kindness, tenderness, and acts that testify that God is love. This union, which joins heart with heart, is not sentimentalism, but a healthful principle. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 30

Faith works by love and purifies the soul from all selfishness. Thus the soul is perfected in love. And having found grace and mercy through Christ’s precious blood, how can we fail to be tender and merciful? By grace ye are saved, through faith. The mind should be educated to exercise faith rather than to cherish doubt and suspicion and jealousy. We are too prone to look at obstacles as impossibilities. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 31

To have faith in the promises of God, to walk forward by faith, pressing on without being governed by circumstances, is a lesson hard to learn. Yet it is a positive necessity that every child of God learn this lesson. The grace of God through Christ is to be ever cherished, for it is given to us as the only way of approaching God. Faith in the words of God, spoken by Christ enshrouded in the pillar of cloud, would have enabled the children of Israel to leave a record of a very different character. Their lack of faith in God gave them a very checkered history. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 32

The faith mentioned in God’s Word calls for a life in which faith in Christ is an active, living principle, expressed in prayer. He who has this faith relies on the promises of God as able to keep the soul and its vital energies pure. Faith is to be interwoven with all prayer. We show our faith in God by obeying His commands. Faith is always expressed in words and actions. It shows practical results, for it is a vital element in the life. The life that is molded by faith develops a determination to advance, to go forward. Faith in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, the One who pardons our sins and our transgressions, the One who is able to keep us from sin and lead us in His footsteps, is expressed in the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. Here is presented a faith that works by love and purifies the soul from all selfishness. Faith and works are here combined. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 33

“Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out of thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 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 the Lord shall be thy rearward. ... 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, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” [Verses 6-8, 11.] 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 34

What does this mean? Christ is our righteousness. He goes before us, and we follow Him, working in love and compassion for the needy and destitute. 13LtMs, Ms 43, 1898, par. 35