Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)

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Lt 146, 1900

Farnsworth, Brother and Sister [E. W.]

St. Helena, California

October 8, 1900

Portions of this letter are published in 7MR 185-186; 5Bio 34. +Note

Dear Brother and Sister Farnsworth:

I thought I had a letter ready to go to Australia by this mail, but it is not prepared as carefully as I wish, and therefore must lie over for another mail. I came from the boat with an experience which I wish to present carefully, but I cannot do it for this mail. 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 1

Through lack of forethought I have contracted a cold, and riding in a carriage not adapted to me has hurt my weak member, my right hip. This has kept me awake for several nights. But although I am somewhat crippled, I shall overcome this soon by the blessing of God. I am admonished that I am human. I am of good courage in the Lord but must bear in mind that I am naught but a feeble mortal, and that I must be guarded. 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 2

I am so thankful to my heavenly Father that He has provided a home for me. I had decided never to purchase another place. I sold my home, with all the furniture and the cows and horses, at a sacrifice, and it was some months before I could feel that I should go to America. How could I leave a field where the Lord has so greatly blessed our labors and where the hearts of the people were bound up with our hearts. This was a sore trial, but I could not feel clear to stay. We decided to leave in August, and here we are in America. We look back on our journey across the ocean with great thankfulness to God. 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 3

All the way, excepting one day, the sea was as smooth as a lake. Thursday, the day before we landed, was rough, but this was in answer to prayer. We prayed that the Lord would interpose to prevent the amusements, dancing and carousing, which, as usual, had been planned for the close of the voyage. Thank the Lord, our prayers were answered. Thursday was a bright day, not stormy, but the sea was very rough. Nearly all the passengers spent the day in their berths. The sea was so rough that the sailors walking on the deck were almost thrown off their feet. 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 4

During this voyage we have seen all we desire to see of smoking and liquor-drinking and dancing, and coarse, bellowing laughter, coming from men who claim to believe the Bible and to read and teach it. But I cannot give the particulars of this now. 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 5

After reaching Oakland, we obtained a horse and carriage and went house hunting. But we found no house that was suitable without paying a rent of twenty-five or thirty dollars a month. This, you know, would soon eat up our little stock of money, and it would cost something to buy furniture and other necessaries for housekeeping. We found that for six thousand dollars we could purchase a beautiful house with two and a half acres of land near Fruitvale, about three miles from Oakland. But we did not want to settle near Oakland. The climate is too cold and foggy. 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 6

A few days after reaching Oakland, we came to St. Helena, to attend a camp meeting in the Napa Valley, and to see if the Lord would not open up a way for us. As soon as I met Sister Ings, she said, “There is a house in the Pratt Valley, just at the foot of the hill, which I wish you to see.” 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 7

In this place the brother of our Brother Pratt invested twelve thousand dollars, building a house and planting an orchard. But he and his wife were growing old, and when their last daughter married they decided to sell the place. Mr. Pratt owned a large share in the springs which supply the sanitarium. The sanitarium purchased his right to this, paying for it two thousand dollars. Brother J. Burden bought the place. 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 8

We went to see this place, and found that we could purchase it, with two old horses, several good carriages, some chickens, and a house furnished throughout, for the same sum for which we sold our place in Cooranbong, and that the house would be vacated for us by next Monday. 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 9

The sanitarium agreed to pay me one thousand dollars for ten acres of land for sewerage, and would also pay one hundred and seventy-five dollars for five acres on which to build a food factory. So the whole place will cost me only six thousand dollars, and I shall not have to spend any money in buying furniture or carriages. It is like stepping out of our home in Cooranbong into one already prepared for us, without any time or care on our part. 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 10

I feel greatly humbled under a sense of the goodness of God, to think that we could have a home in such a pleasant place, where the atmosphere is so wholesome and the water fresh and clear from the mountains. W. C. White will build him a cottage not far from my house. Our work of preparing books is to be done at once, and W. C. White will help me. There is work enough out-of-doors on the grounds to provide exercise for all the family. I feel so grateful to God for bringing me here just now to secure this place. Brother Burden will sell us enough canned fruit to keep us supplied through the winter. We are now eating grapes from the vines, on which there is a large quantity of fruit already sold. In the orchard there are first class prunes, apples, apricots, nectarines, peaches, and olives; but all the fruit except the grapes is done. 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 11

Our family is not large just now, but as our work of bookmaking progresses, we may have some additions. Willie will begin at once to build a house for his family. I do not think it my duty to go to Battle Creek or to live in Michigan. The Lord has given me my work and has instructed me that I am not to enter into controversy with contending parties. The work given me by God is well known. God said to me, “Speak My word. I will be with your mouth, and will guide your pen. More evidence will not confirm the faith of those who though knowing the work I have given you to do, are yet unbelieving. It is not evidence they want, but their own perverse way. Speak the truth. Lift up the banner on which is inscribed, The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This is present truth for this time.” 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 12

Then instructions were given me in regard to what I would meet. There was to be no turning aside to the right hand or to the left. The Lord said, Bear the same message that you have borne in the past. Be not dismayed. Every soul will be tried and tested and proved. Everything will be shaken that can be shaken, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. The deceptions of Satan will lead astray many who have not been obtaining that clear, deep experience which it is essential for each one to have, an experience proportionate to the advantages and light which God has given. 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 13

In the sixth chapter of John is recorded the plain testimony which Christ bore to His disciples. But this testimony offended many. By their actions they showed that the truth was not palatable to them. They closed their eyes and their hearts against reproof, and chose the praise of men rather than the admonition of God. Today souls are being tested as were the disciples in Christ’s day. And today many turn away from Jesus when the truth is brought home to their hearts and they see that a rebuke is upon them because their lives are not in accordance with truth and righteousness. To take up the work of self-denial is too humiliating; therefore they are angry with those whom Christ has commissioned to point out to them their defects of character. Praise and flattery is the food upon which they live. They are pleased with words of human praise. 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 14

As in this day of test and trial these poor souls shall refuse to reform, a spirit not of God will take possession of the heart, to control their spirit, their words, and their actions. They cooperate with the enemy of truth. The things they once valued and appreciated are no longer interesting to them. They seek to make the words of God’s faithful servants of none effect, by falsely interpreting them. They take Satan’s side, cooperating with him. They work with the disaffected and disloyal, gathering up every item from the speech of the disaffected to eat as a sweet morsel. They turn against the ones they once loved. In this time they will say, Report, and we will report it. They have filed under the banner of the one who is an accuser of the brethren, and falsehood is regarded as a rare and palatable morsel. Scandalous, shameful statements are made, statements which have not in their fabric the least thread of truth. 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 15

The Lord Jesus declared before the worshipers in the synagogue, “This is the bread that cometh down from heaven.” [Verse 50.] It was necessary that He should speak the truth in regard to His work, that He might test those who claimed to be His disciples. They needed to be proved, and this before He should leave them, lest their apostasy should come as a surprise to the true disciples, and the trial be too severe for them. Christ saw that this test was essential for the safety of His future work, that it should not be swayed into wrong paths. 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 16

The truth, plainly spoken, did its work, and many turned away from following Christ, because they willingly misapprehended His words. With yearning heart the Saviour watched the result of His words, and saw that many were departing from Him. He felt keenly that His compassion was unappreciated, His love unrequited, His mercy slighted, His salvation rejected. It was such developments as these that made Him a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 17

Jesus did not call the people back and enter into controversy with them. He did not seek to remove from their minds the impression that resulted in their leaving. The news quickly spread that Christ had Himself declared that He was not the Messiah. This garbled statement turned the people away from Him, and changed the popular feeling. But Christ did not try to explain away His words. Looking upon the remaining twelve He said, “Will ye also go away?” Peter responded by an inquiry, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” “To whom shall we go?” Away from the teaching of Christ, what would they receive? Should they leave His lessons of love and mercy to receive the unbelief and wickedness of the world? No; while the Saviour was forsaken by many who had witnessed His mighty works, Peter declared, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” [Verses 67-69.] 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 18

Christ said to the people, “There are some of you which believe not; ... therefore said I unto you that no man can come unto me except it be given unto him of my Father.” [Verses 64, 65.] He desired to impress them with the fact that if they were not drawn to Him, it would be because they were not sensible of the greatness of the Father’s love for fallen man. The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit; for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them; for they are spiritually discerned. It is by a living, ever-increasing faith that the soul sees and enjoys the holiness of Jesus Christ. This is the glory that pure faith receives, and it kindles in the soul the decided action that demonstrates the power of God. 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 19

What course did the reproved ones pursue? They were offended, and showed that they were by becoming alienated from Christ. They united with His enemies, and by turning from Him in disdain, greatly encouraged the Pharisees in their purpose of taking His life. They could not bear the test sent to save them from fatal deception. They turned their backs on the Saviour purposely, to show Him that His words were nothing to them. 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 20

Many are passing over the same ground. When tested by the Word they reject the heavenly Teacher, and their decision, like that of the offended disciples, is never reversed. They walk no more with Christ. Thus are the words fulfilled, “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into his garner.” [Matthew 3:12.] On that occasion, by the words of truth, the chaff was being separated from the wheat. This will be repeated, because men are altogether too self-sufficient to receive correction. 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 21

To those who are being worked by the Holy Spirit, the lessons of Christ appear divinely significant, complete in their important bearings and in harmony with His mission of love. As we become partakers of His divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust, our hearts will melt into tenderness. When we are imbued with the Spirit of the great Master, we shall not be so dull to discern the great work to be accomplished for the souls who might be saved. We shall not be no slow to manifest the pitying tenderness revealed in His words and in His works. We shall reveal that wealth of love which underlies all His teachings and all His dealing with men. 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 22

Every true, earnest, self-sacrificing, self-denying soul will be one with Christ, and will understand more and still more of the mystery of godliness. Why? Because the Spirit of Christ abides in him. He has become a co-laborer with Christ, and to him the Saviour reveals the mystery of godliness. All that surface work which leaves the development of Christian character imperfect, dwarfed, feeble, and sickly will have been overcome. He is growing in that true grace and godliness which recognizes the mercy that administers reproof, that reaches out the hand to restrain evil. There will be a development of character that will bring to light the purposes of the heart and the simplicity of the truth that works by love and purifies the soul. 15LtMs, Lt 146, 1900, par. 23