Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Lt 96, 1898

Robinson, A. T.


November 18, 1898

Portions of this letter are published in Ev 498; BTS 10/1916, 11/1916. +Note

Dear Brother Robinson:

The year 1898 is fast passing away. The year 1899 will soon open before us, and nothing has been of real value to us but pure and undefiled religion. The pure in heart, the clean in hands, will be rewarded; for they shall see God. That is, they will have an experimental knowledge of God. His ways and His works will be discerned. All sham and pretense will be unveiled. Empty professions, human projects and devising, will be as wood, hay, and stubble. The gold, the silver, and the precious stones that compose the character will be unconsumable. 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 1

The truth stands out clear and distinct in its native purity, and those who believe the truth will be charged with an inspiration from on high. The truth will bind up heart with heart, and its followers will answer the prayer of Christ: “Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also 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, 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.” [John 17:17-23.] 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 2

The people of God will be consolidated as one with Christ in God, just in proportion as false theories become more and more prevalent. As we near the close of time, the distinction between those who are Christ’s and those who are on the side of the apostate will become more marked. Only two great centers will appear—Christ, the Prince of heaven, the Prince of life and immortality, and Antichrist, the center of the rebel forces of apostasy. The separating line is now being drawn, and in that great conflict the parties will be forever separated. That day will come as destruction came upon the inhabitants of the world in Noah’s day. 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 3

Then “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air. For it repenteth me that I have made them. ... The earth also was corrupt before God and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them. And, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” [Genesis 6:5-7, 11-13.] 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 4

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken; and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. ... As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came and took them all away, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” [Matthew 24:29-31, 37-39.] 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 5

In all the beautiful city of Sodom ten righteous persons could not be found. The blessing of God had been upon the land, and yet none had responded to those mercies and blessings. Their land was rich, resembling the land of Eden. But the goodness of God did not bring them to repentance. “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the days when the Son of man is revealed.” [Luke 17:28-30.] 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 6

The Lord is coming, and of all the people upon the face of the earth, those who have the Word of God and do it not, will be found the most guilty. If those who claim to believe the truth will believe the Word of the Lord and obey a “Thus saith the Lord,” they will represent Christ. The truth will become a part of them, their meat and their drink. 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 7

I would that I could trace with pen and ink all that the Holy Spirit has presented before me. The ten lepers were brought before me. All were cleansed, but only one appreciated the work wrought for him, only one returned to give God the glory. The representation is true of those who claim to be converted. Apparently the lepers in their loathsome condition were not worth caring for, but Christ knew that among them was one who would appreciate the work done for him, and would honor the Lord. Christ looked with tenderest love upon the one who appreciated the great gift of cleansing. He asks, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? There are not found to give God glory save this stranger. Arise, he said, go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole.” [Verses 17-19.] 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 8

Here are lessons that all of God’s people should learn. The one of ten, a despised Samaritan, appreciated the great gift of God, while the others for whom the great work of healing had been performed gave not God the glory. This is a representation of many who have had opened before them the living oracles of God. When those who have great light do not walk in the light, Christ’s gracious work for them cannot be appreciated. 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 9

In the parable of the great supper, Christ brings to view another class. “A certain man,” He said, “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 all 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 yoke of 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: So that servant came and showed his lord these things. 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 10

“Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the Lord said unto his 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.” [Luke 14:16-24.] 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 11

These things mean very much to every one who has had the light of truth, who has been invited to partake of the provisions of grace which God has provided through His only begotten Son. The man who came in and took his seat at the table without having on the wedding garment is presented as a warning to all. It is not enough to accept the privileges of the gospel supper. Have you put on the righteousness of Christ, the wedding garment? Have you stripped yourself of all your miserable inherited and cultivated traits of character? All who do not put on the character of Christ, but retain traits of character which dishonor God, make Christ ashamed of them. They may have laid the foundation in building that tower, but they have not counted the cost. 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 12

There are hundreds who are a reproach to the cause of truth and who by their lives counteract the influence of pure, sacred truth. Their words are not right words, because their heart is not cleansed with the washing of the Word. Their actions are not such as to magnify the sacred influence of truth. Many, while claiming to be teachers in Israel, weave so much of the rubbish of selfishness into their habits of character that they are represented by those who bring to the foundation wood, hay, and stubble. 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 13

“If any man come to me,” Christ said, “and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” [Verse 26.] These words mean that every action, every principle of disobedience, every violation of God’s holy law, is to be hated. Every influence of word, or action, that is in opposition to the laws of the kingdom of righteousness if it is in father, in mother, in sisters, in brethren, or in our own minds and hearts, is to be despised. The invitation is given, the gospel feast is prepared, and all are invited to come. 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 14

The excuses made by father, mother, brethren, or friends for their disobedience to God’s requirements are not to draw any from entire willing, glad obedience. Everything savoring of excuse is to be turned from with decision. Everything that would lead us to seek our own personal advantage is to be repudiated, and hated as a temptation of Satan. Said Christ, “Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me,” practicing the self-denial of which I have given an example in My life, “cannot be my disciple.” [Verse 27.] 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 15

Christ then presented before His hearers the parable of the building of the tower. “Which of you,” He said, “intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another King, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand. Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an embassage, and desireth conditions of peace.” [Verses 28-32.] 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 16

The Lord would have every one considerate. We are not to be rash and impetuous. We are to consider what our strength is. Is it sufficient to enable us to stand our ground? We are to take time for wise thought before action, whether with our ten thousand we can engage in conflict with twenty thousand. Those who take their position against God and the truth would do well to consider this matter. Before we can overcome the difficulties in the warfare which each must encounter, we must have a preparation. Be not presumptuous. Despise not the strength and power of your enemy. 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 17

When Christ was about to raise the body of Moses, Satan disputed with him about it. The enemy had tempted Moses to lose his patience, and to speak as one man should not speak to another. In the attitude of Moses, in charging and condemning, the long forbearance of God was lost sight of. He spoke that which God had not advised him to speak. He acted presumptuously, and for this the Lord said that he could not enter into the promised land. Satan claimed Moses as his property, but Christ did not dare to bring against him a railing accusation. By this we are taught to give no advantage to our foes by discussion or controversy, lest the powers of darkness obtain the victory. We must move with great caution, lest by word or attitude we manifest the same spirit as our adversaries. The Lord will not justify His people in being harsh and denunciatory, even though all that is said may be true. These are the best methods of desiring conditions of peace. Satan and his synagogue will take advantage of every wrong trait of character, every act of retaliation to vindicate his own course of action. 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 18

All who become followers of Christ are to take the consequences, and be prepared to meet them by having the mind of Christ. Says the apostle, “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels of mercies, fulfill ye my joy that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 2:1-5.] 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 19

In temporal matters many act with far more prudence and consideration than in spiritual things. They do not begin their worldly transactions in a haphazard, thoughtless way. They teach God’s people a lesson. We are not to rush into the acceptance of the gospel without any fixed stability of purpose. If we receive Jesus Christ, we must receive all the conditions, all the requirements, and make it our life business in everything to make the kingdom of God our first consideration. Difficulties will present themselves as obstructions. But the greatest difficulties originate with self. It will cost all there is of the man, for Christ demands the heart, the soul, the strength, and the mind of every human agent. 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 20

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.] It will cost self-humiliation, self-denial, self-sacrifice, a constant conflict with human passions. Our natural temperaments cannot be carried along in the road cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. Shame and weakness and disgrace are the sure result of professedly following Christ while walking in the ways and practices of unrenewed, unconverted men. 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 21

To be half for Christ and half unrenewed, having the mind of the enemy, means to be a stumbling block to one’s self and a stumbling block to others, a reproach to Christ, and a weakness in the church and in the ministry. If we do not propose to be wholly converted, to be doers of the Word, then for Christ’s sake let us not spoil the Christian experience of others, causing them to be led astray by our serving sin and the devil while professedly serving the Lord. 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 22

Without the absolute surrender of self, soul, body, and spirit, the contest is hopeless. Self must be hid in Christ. Said Paul, “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ, yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ, and be found in him, (day by day, under all trials and difficulties and temptation,) not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” [Philippians 3:7-11.] Read this chapter, and practice the lessons given. We are in need of these cautions and safeguards. 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 23

Much importance is attached to hearing and practicing the sayings of Christ. When the divine Teacher gave His sermon on the mount, He was surrounded by a large congregation. After specifying the characters that should be blessed, He said, “Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” [Matthew 5:13.] All must possess Christlike attributes of character if they have any saving influence on the world. Profession of faith is nothing. 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 24

Unless the truth is a living principle in the heart, it will not be revealed in precious talents of appropriate speech. No one can impart that which he has not. If we receive grace from the source of all correct influence, from the great fountain of good, it is that we may impart. If we have not in our characters the precious attributes of Christ, if we do not cherish His meekness, patience, longsuffering, kindness, and love, we may profess to know Christ, but we know Him not. 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 25

A connection with Christ in God will establish principles in youthful disciples, and in those who claim a longer experience, that will enable them to reveal that they have walked with Christ to some purpose. They have loved His ways, and learned His meekness and lowliness, and have cultivated purity of speech. The soul-temple has been cleansed, and they can speak good, wholesome words to the young. The love of God is the crowing glory of their characters. They have not lost the saving qualities of the salt. They never violate the dictates of purity, either in action, language, or thought. The spoken word, the outward action, is the expression of the inward thought. Out of the good treasure of the heart proceed good things; out of the evil treasure of the heart proceed evil things. 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 26

There must be a living connection with God in prayer, a living connection with God in song and praise and thanksgiving. The church may be converted, and demonstrate the truth of Christ’s words, “Ye are the salt of the earth.” [Verse 13.] May the Lord help us every one, through Christ, to obtain an experience that will enable us to place a proper value on our individual selves. We cannot avoid, while we live, being in the company of ourselves. If we do not expect much from ourselves, if we sink into cheap habits and common talk, we meet with continual disappointment in the Christian life. We are unable to rid ourselves of the idea that we are spurious coin. We have not the right ring. Self may pretend a great many things, and yet be untrue to the position it should occupy. But self may be lost in Christ, and Christ’s character appear. 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 27

As professed Christians we are making a great mistake in being so well pleased with self. It would be far better if our liberal distrust and our free criticism were given to self instead of to others. If our eyes were anointed with the heavenly eyesalve, we would not make the great blunder many are now making of believing themselves to be rich in the knowledge of the truth. Their riches are riches that spoil the individual life. Self-satisfaction is a terrible element to cherish. Christ looks upon us, and His estimate of us is in marked contrast to our own. “I know thy works,” He says, “that thou art neither cold nor hot. I would thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” [Revelation 3:15-17.] 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 28

How many are in this very position! In their ignorance they are in a deplorable, selfish condition. They are as salt without a savor. They are separated from the Lord Jesus, in whom their hope of eternal life is centered, yet they are satisfied with the knowledge of their smartness, thinking themselves wise. But their eyes are blinded; they do not discern their wretchedness. They do not keep the law of God, but fail to do those things that are pleasing in His sight. “I know thy works,” Christ declares. They are an offense to God. His righteousness is not in them. They have not kept their garments from worldly defilement. They do not keep the correct standard of character uplifted before them. 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 29

It is a knowledge of practical godliness, a daily conversion, that is the great need in our world. Paul writes to the Ephesians: “Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in heavenly places.” [Ephesians 1:15-20.] 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 30

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” [Galatians 5:22-25.] 13LtMs, Lt 96, 1898, par. 31