Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15

321/339

Ms 88, 1900

Sabbath Meeting in West Maitland

NP

January 20, 1900

Portions of this manuscript are published in 17MR 27.

I spoke to the new Sabbathkeepers in West Maitland Sabbath, January 20, from Colossians, (chapter 1), reading verse by verse to the close of the chapter. 15LtMs, Ms 88, 1900, par. 1

You will see that the tenor of this letter is not marked with complaining but with thankfulness and praise to God. This letter is addressed “To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be with you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.” Colossians 1:2-5. 15LtMs, Ms 88, 1900, par. 2

Here is presented the greatest reasons why we should always be full of gratitude, cultivating love for God and always expressing that love in every prayer offered for the saints. This means that we should be ever mindful of the words of the gospel, the truth which has come to us to soften, to subdue, and melt our hearts into tenderness, giving evidence in words that we have that faith in our hearts that works by love and purifies the soul. 15LtMs, Ms 88, 1900, par. 3

“Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth: as ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.” Verses 6-8. 15LtMs, Ms 88, 1900, par. 4

This is the fruit the Lord expected everyone to bear, a love for Christ; and the same love that Christ has expressed for the souls He came to save we must all cherish and express in our lives and in our characters. Then we shall not have any murmuring, any faultfinding, any criticism. The expression of dissatisfaction hurts every soul who speaks disheartening words. We have so much to dwell upon that is cheering, encouraging, uplifting. 15LtMs, Ms 88, 1900, par. 5

The apostle was encouraged by the good report, born of the love in the Spirit of those who knew the grace of God in truth; the faith was a genuine article. It worked like the good leaven as the truth of the gospel always works when received with all its precious grace into the heart. 15LtMs, Ms 88, 1900, par. 6

What a testimony every one can bear if he will only open the windows of the soul heavenward and close fast the windows of the soul earthward—windows through which are wafted into the heart the earthly dust and rubbish which mar the experience that the Lord designs every believer in Christ to have! We are privileged to contemplate all heavenly things and to behold them with the eye of faith. 15LtMs, Ms 88, 1900, par. 7

The Lord cannot be pleased to have those who know God, and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent, converse upon the common, cheap, earthly things, and keep the eyes of their minds dwelling upon the disagreeable things in the characters of others. In doing thus the believer bears thorns and briars which wound his own soul, and bruise the souls of all who are connected with him in the family circle and all who associate with him in church capacity. The Lord will bring to such murmurers and complainers some chastisements in genuine trouble in order to bring them to their senses, that they may understand how to be thankful for the tender mercies and loving-kindness of God. He will arouse them from the state so displeasing to God, which gives no comfort or grace to their own souls and misrepresents the precious view they should give to others in word and spirit, which is bearing precious fruit to the glory of God. 15LtMs, Ms 88, 1900, par. 8

The Lord is seeking fruit to be borne by His branches. Every branch drawing nourishment from the true Vine will express the character of Christ in words, in kindness, in benevolence, in hopefulness, in patience, in faith, and love. This is the reflection of Christ’s character, which is what it means to bear a true witness to the world as His believing disciples. 15LtMs, Ms 88, 1900, par. 9

The fallen nature of man is like the vine’s tendrils grasping the stubble and rubbish. But Christ is represented as coming down from heaven and taking the nature of man, thus making it possible for the human arm of Christ to encircle fallen man, while with His divine arm He reaches to the very throne of God so that He can place man on vantage ground with God. The Lord sees that man is too much inclined to grasp the rubbish of the earth; his tendrils clasp objectionable things. These tendrils were formed to clasp and [to] hold the Vine upright, climbing heavenward in the place of twining around weeds and bushes, and having no strength to rise, but, fruitless and corrupt, binding themselves up and mingling with the base things of the earth. The Lord Jesus, the true Vine, can support His branches, and the tendrils must entwine about Christ Jesus to be upheld and to bear the “much fruit” which God designed they should bear. [John 15:8.] 15LtMs, Ms 88, 1900, par. 10

“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.” Colossians 1:9-11. This is the most precious fruit that can be borne for Christ’s sake. None of us are left to our own feeble, natural efforts. We have reason to praise God every hour for the great love which Christ has expressed to us. 15LtMs, Ms 88, 1900, par. 11

“Being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” [Verse 10.] God has given talents to every soul to be improved, and to be used, and to increase in use. And both principal and interest are to be returned to God. The improvement of the sacred trust is to be recognized; and heart, soul, mind, and strength are to be drawn into the service of Jesus Christ. 15LtMs, Ms 88, 1900, par. 12

In this first chapter of Colossians are seen the great possibilities opened up through the abundant provisions made in behalf of man. The prayer and the desire of Christians for their brethren in the faith is that they may be “filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” [Verse 9.] This, then, we all seek for in faith, moved by that love that is refining, uplifting, and purifying. Sanctified and holy in aspirations, we must advance step by step upward, still upward, to the purer, holier atmosphere of heaven. What abundant encouragement we have! 15LtMs, Ms 88, 1900, par. 13

Satan is continually working at the business as accuser of the brethren. I beseech my brethren and sisters to refuse to unite your talents of influence with the great accuser. Withdraw every thread of influence that has been exercised on Satan’s side. Bring every jot and tittle of our influence under the bloodstained banner of Jesus Christ. Has He not purchased you? “Ye are not your own. You are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your spirit and in your body which are his.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] 15LtMs, Ms 88, 1900, par. 14

The same spirit which took possession of Achan has been working in those who were in important positions. It is not purged away, for it reveals itself as a living thing which is unrepented of. Restoration has not been made. There is not yet a falling on the Rock and being broken, and I am so very sorry. There is no hope for our institutions unless the leading men let the Word of the Lord into the mind. Without this, deceptions enveloped in mist and fog, increasing blacker than velvet, will take place; and the men will never know at what they stumble. 15LtMs, Ms 88, 1900, par. 15

The men who ought to know God do not know God or Jesus Christ. The Lord has been calling, and saying, “Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.” Luke 21:34, 35. The very men who should feel that they cannot do without most earnest prayer to God do not pray as they should pray—with humble, broken hearts—for the Lord to save them lest they perish. 15LtMs, Ms 88, 1900, par. 16

God will surely humble these men unless they humble themselves. (Ezekiel 9) will be fulfilled, and if it does not touch our institutions it is because there has been a thorough transformation of the heart. It is no use to expect those whose hearts are not softened and subdued with the love of Christ to manage wisely and to show that they understand their responsibility to God. Jesus will understand the spirit which controls the judgment and manifests itself in their authority. There is need of special training under the divine theocracy. 15LtMs, Ms 88, 1900, par. 17

From the time that Adam lost his sovereignty because of his disobedience, government in the hands of men who are not fully controlled by the Holy Spirit has always represented instability toward right ways and great tenacity in clinging to wrong methods and wrong principles. The spirit of compromise, the sacrificing [of] truth and heavenly principles, and the carrying out of corrupt policies have marked the whole of the history of men in responsible positions. There are hereditary, natural, and cultivated tendencies, which work in the disposition of men to counter the work of God. They are destitute of the gentleness of Christ. They do not represent Christ. They act out the hard, untameable spirit of uncontrolled habits and practices, and the Lord is dishonored. They are destitute of love, compassion, and mercy. It is not ingrained in them. There is a destitution of equity and justice, and the love of Jesus Christ. Being destitute of the personal goodness of Christ, they cannot impart that which they have not received. 15LtMs, Ms 88, 1900, par. 18

The question may be asked, What shall we do, if we cannot do righteousness because it is not in us? Fall on the Rock and let self be broken, is the only hope. You have tried the piecing of new cloth into or on an old garment. The first strain tears away the new from the old, and the rent is made worse. Everyone who learns the lesson of the meek and lowly One will have the mind and spirit and will of God. 15LtMs, Ms 88, 1900, par. 19

I see no hope whatever for our institutions until the managers shall be born again. Then “not I, but Christ, liveth in me.” [Galatians 2:20.] Unless an entirely different spirit prevails in the men in positions of trust because they eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God, there will be more and more growth in selfishness, and more and more dealing as they have been dealing in unrighteousness to the injury of the children of God and their own souls. 15LtMs, Ms 88, 1900, par. 20

Every true partaker of Christ’s nature and character will be sending his cry to God through Jesus Christ, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” [Acts 9:6.] We know not what is before us. Men handling sacred things are not worked by the Holy Spirit. They have tampered with conscience so long that they feel self-sufficient to manage their own cases. Oh, it is no use to try to get along, no use to make a shallow pretense of serving the Lord, when that service is so tainted with selfishness that there is an exhibition of the traits of character which will never pass the narrow road, never enter the strait gate! They are altogether too large in dimensions. Like the spreading vine, grasping rubbish, stones, and stumps, they need too much room. They must have their tendrils cut away, and they must become entwined about the Lord. Then He binds them up with Himself. But they cannot discern their defects and will never be restored until they do have an awakening from their present position. They feel not the need of being broken and of humbling themselves before God. They do not sense how worthless are all their doings without Christ. 15LtMs, Ms 88, 1900, par. 21