Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Lt 118, 1898

Henry, Sister [S. M. I.]

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

December 1, 1898

Portions of this letter are published in 3SM 57; 7MR 155-158; MRmnt 118.

Dear Sister Henry:

Yesterday I received your letter of October. I was up at half past two o’clock in the morning, and wrote fifteen pages before breakfast, which was to go to the church at Rockhampton. In the middle of the afternoon the mail brought me your letter, but I had an article which I was obliged to finish for my workers before I could read it. It gave me much pleasure to hear from you. But I have not had time to give your letter as much thought as I must. 13LtMs, Lt 118, 1898, par. 1

This morning I woke at half past twelve, and as I could sleep no more, I arose, and asked the Lord to work through me, and help me to write the matter which I must send. I had important letters to go to Africa, which must be ready for the nine o’clock mail. And now at three o’clock p.m. I write to you. But I can write only briefly because of my tired brain. 13LtMs, Lt 118, 1898, par. 2

I am thankful that the Lord is leading you. Your letter was refreshing, the more so because your ideas are in harmony with my mind. I believe that the Lord has appointed you to do His work in His way. Let us in our work have faith in God and trust Him. While we may take pleasure in counselling our brethren, an individual work is to be done which is beyond the power of any mind to comprehend. 13LtMs, Lt 118, 1898, par. 3

In the night I am aroused from my sleep, and I write in my diary many things that appear as new to me when read as to any who hear them. If I did not see the matter in my own handwriting, I should not think my pen had traced it. At times matters come up for decision, when all are not of the same mind. Then I read to them the writings given, and they accept them, and become one in their decisions. 13LtMs, Lt 118, 1898, par. 4

I thank the Lord with heart, and soul, and voice that you have been a prominent and influential member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. In the providence of God you have been led to the light, to obtain a knowledge of the truth, and the education you have received in the grand temperance work, in connection with your sister workers, is the education you need to bring into the work with women whose hearts are softened by the Spirit of God, and who are searching for the truth as for hidden treasure. 13LtMs, Lt 118, 1898, par. 5

For twenty years I have seen that the light would come to the women workers in the temperance lines. But with sadness I have discerned that many of them are becoming politicians, and that against God. They enter into questions and debates the theories of many things that they have no need to touch. Christ said, I am the light of the world. He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. [John 8:12.] How can they walk in opposition to His holy law, in the footsteps of the great apostate, and yet have clear, sharp discernment? 13LtMs, Lt 118, 1898, par. 6

The Lord, I fully believe, is leading you that you shall keep clear and distinct in all their purity the principles of temperance in connection with the truth for these last days. They that do His will shall know of the doctrine. The Lord designs that women should learn of Him meekness and lowliness of heart, and co-operate with the greatest Teacher the world has ever known. When this is done, there will be no strife for the supremacy, no pride of opinion, for it will be realized that mind, voice, every jot of ability, are only lent talents, given by God to be used in His work, to accumulate for Him, and to be returned to the Giver with all the increase. We are expected to grow in capability, in influence, and in power, ever looking unto Jesus. And by beholding, we shall become changed into His likeness. 13LtMs, Lt 118, 1898, par. 7

The woman’s work is a power in our world, but it is lost when with the Word of God before her, she sees a “Thus saith the Lord,” and refuses to obey. You see the point. The great and difficult thing for the soul to do is to part with its own supposed righteousness, contending most earnestly against its own supposed works of merit. It is not an easy matter to understand what it means to refuse self the least place of honor in the service of God. All unconsciously we act out the attributes of our own character and the bias and freedom of our own mind in the very presence of God, in our prayer and worship, in our service, and fail to see that we are absolutely dependent upon the leading of the Holy Spirit. Self is expected to do a work that is simply out of its power to do. 13LtMs, Lt 118, 1898, par. 8

This is the great peril of woman’s work in Christian temperance lines. The Lord does not bid you separate from the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. They need all the light you can give them. You are not to learn of them, but of Jesus Christ. Flash all the light possible into their pathway. You can agree with them on the ground of the pure, elevating principles that first brought into existence the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. “I,” said Christ, “send you forth as lambs among wolves.” [Luke 10:3.] If He sends His disciples on such a mission, will He not work through you to open the Scriptures to those who are in error? Cherish the fragrance of that love that Christ has revealed for fallen humanity, and by precept and example teach the truth as it is in Jesus. 13LtMs, Lt 118, 1898, par. 9

And please do not devote all your strength to those who have had the privilege of knowing the truth. Do not work without periods of rest. Corruption extends everywhere, and the self you will meet in those who have been devoted working women will cause sadness. But I fear we often give up too easily. Through Jesus Christ, giving up self and taking Him, you will be enabled to reveal the spirit of pleasantness, joy, and love. 13LtMs, Lt 118, 1898, par. 10

The Holy Spirit alone is able to develop in the human agent that which is acceptable in the sight of God. The Lord has given you capabilities and talents to be preserved uncorrupted in simplicity. Through Jesus Christ you may do a good work. As souls shall be converted to the truth, have them unite with you in teaching those women who are willing to be taught to live and labor intelligently and unitedly. Be assured, we should be rejoiced to see you in Australia. When you feel that the cloud moves toward Australia, we shall be glad to receive you to help us here. I have thought at times, Well, we shall work one more year, and then, perhaps, we shall see the work so established that we may return to America. But the next year there comes increased work, and the cloud does not seem to guide me toward America. I believe the Lord is leading you, and will work through you to His own name’s glory. 13LtMs, Lt 118, 1898, par. 11

Next mail I will write you more fully, if the Lord will. My speaking to the people and my writing so largely has wearied my brain, so that I cannot write much now. I have made it a point not to fail nor be cast down. I will not be mournful, but keep up in Jesus, that I may not give the enemy a chance to obtain the victory. 13LtMs, Lt 118, 1898, par. 12