Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Lt 54a, 1898

Ministers of Our Conferences

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

June 15, 1898

See also Lt 54, 1898. Portions of this letter are published in 4MR 371-372.

To the Ministers of Our Conferences:

Why do you not co-operate with those who are carrying forward the medical missionary work? Is it for you, who have the example of Christ before you, to stand off and criticize? 13LtMs, Lt 54a, 1898, par. 1

“And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms, saying unto them, When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room, lest a more honorable man then thee be bidden of him; and he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room, that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher; then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. 13LtMs, Lt 54a, 1898, par. 2

“Then said he also unto them that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbors; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee, for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. 13LtMs, Lt 54a, 1898, par. 3

“And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: and sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come, for all things are now ready. And they with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come: I pray thee have me excused. So that servant came and showed his lord these things.” [Luke 14:7-21.] 13LtMs, Lt 54a, 1898, par. 4

None of those bidden are represented as making a flat refusal to the invitation. All gave frivolous excuses as the reason why they did not obey the call. Other things took their attention, and they said, “I pray thee have me excused.” 13LtMs, Lt 54a, 1898, par. 5

The servant told his lord, and the master of the house was angry; for those he had bidden had insulted him by refusing his gracious invitation, which was a great condescension for him to make. “And the Lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.” [Verses 23, 24.] 13LtMs, Lt 54a, 1898, par. 6

Have our churches in America understood this parable? It was the outcasts, the publicans and sinners, the despised of the nation, of whom Christ said, “Compel them to come in.” [Verse 23.] Has not this class been overlooked by us, as though they were not worth any effort? 13LtMs, Lt 54a, 1898, par. 7

“Verily I say unto you,” Christ said to the Pharisees, “That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterwards, that ye might believe him.” [Matthew 21:31, 32.] 13LtMs, Lt 54a, 1898, par. 8

This is applicable to many in our day. Light—clear gospel light—has been given, but many of those occupying the highest positions of trust in connections with the work of God have not received the heaven-sent message. Having taken the place of instructors, they have not been willing to humble themselves and take the place of learners. 13LtMs, Lt 54a, 1898, par. 9

The ministers to whom have been committed the oracles of God should have the most intense interest and travail of soul to see the Master’s table filled. But they have not felt this burden. The command has come, Go into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. To obey, we must go to the heathen, “the publicans and harlots,” and present to them the Saviour’s invitation, which is a compelling message to those sunk to the lowest depths of spiritual wickedness, without God and without hope in the world. “Wherefore remember that ye, being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands, that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” [Ephesians 2:11, 12.] 13LtMs, Lt 54a, 1898, par. 10

What is the message we are to give, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your souls shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. 13LtMs, Lt 54a, 1898, par. 11

“Behold, I have given him for a witness unto the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found; call ye upon Him while He is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” [Isaiah 55:1-7.] 13LtMs, Lt 54a, 1898, par. 12

Please read also the thirty-third chapter of Ezekiel. Can those who believe the gospel of Christ not see that the work now being done in medical missionary lines is the very work Christ commanded should be done? What is clearer than that those who are doing this work are fulfilling the Saviour’s commission? Brethren, do you believe the Word of God? Would you know how you can best please your Saviour? It is by laying aside your self-assumed dignity, and learning in the school of Christ how to wear His yoke and carry His burdens. 13LtMs, Lt 54a, 1898, par. 13

The world needs evidence of sincere Christianity. Spurious Christianity may be seen everywhere. When the power of God’s grace is felt in our churches, the members will work the works of Christ. Their natural and hereditary traits of character will be transformed by the Spirit that dwelt in the greatest Minister that ever trod the soil of this fallen world. The indwelling of this Spirit will enable them to reveal Christ’s likeness, and in proportion to the purity of their piety will be the success of their work. 13LtMs, Lt 54a, 1898, par. 14