Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)

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Lt 58, 1900

Starr, Brother and Sister [G. B.]

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

April 11, 1900

Portions of this letter are published in 7BC 905-906, 918; 5Bio 180.

Dear Brother and Sister Starr:

Yesterday we closed up our American mail. I decide over and over again that I will not exhaust my time and strength in producing so much matter for the mail, but vain are such resolutions. Letters come which, if not noticed at all, must be carefully answered. In answering them, every word must be guarded, so that there will be no misunderstanding. The hardest matter now is to make people see the principles they have worked away from and refused to accept. Having eyes they see not and ears they hear not. The conscience has been so long perverted that they perceive not; therefore the truth is not truth to them. 15LtMs, Lt 58, 1900, par. 1

Fearing that I shall not have time to answer your questions this morning, I think I will defer them. I must speak at the school this morning. Today is the anniversary of the opening of the school. 15LtMs, Lt 58, 1900, par. 2

I have been reading some chapters of the book on education. Sister Peck has been gathering this matter from a mass of my writings, carefully selecting precious bits here and there, placing them together in harmonious order. I have read three chapters this morning, and I think the arrangement is excellent. I want all our teachers and students to have this book as soon as they possibly can. I can hardly await the process of publication. I want the principles contained in this book to go everywhere. We must take a higher stand on education. 15LtMs, Lt 58, 1900, par. 3

We are praying for you in Geelong. It may be that you will have a hard fight against the influence of the ministers. But keep at work. The Lord will give you the victory. He has a people in Geelong. There are those there who are precious in His sight, who have not knowingly bowed the knee to Baal, though they may have ignorantly. 15LtMs, Lt 58, 1900, par. 4

In regard to Brother Abromivitch, I believe that he is a man chosen by the Lord. By all means give him encouragement. Because there are unfaithful men, who have not borne the test, do not let this lead us to pass by one whom God has chosen. If our confidence has been misplaced, let us learn from this the lesson the Lord would have us learn. We are not to condemn ourselves when we have done our very best, and the only thing we could do under the circumstances. You know as well as the rest of us who have had experience that some men apparently firmly grounded in the truth have fallen an easy prey to Satan’s temptations. God permits a crisis to come now and then, that His children may go to their heavenly Father, who seeth and knoweth all things. He desires them to feel their helplessness and to plead with Him, casting their helpless souls upon Him. Then they are prepared to be taught. Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you. Those who do this always receive new and advanced light. 15LtMs, Lt 58, 1900, par. 5

Paul wrote to the Colossians, “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 wisdom and in 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 long-suffering with joyfulness.” [Colossians 1:9-11.] These words present an advancing experience in religious faith. 15LtMs, Lt 58, 1900, par. 6

There are some things which we need to guard. Letters will come asking questions in regard to the sealing of the people of God, who will be sealed, how many, and other prying questions. I think we must tell them to read and speak of the things that are plainly revealed. We have encouragement in the Word that if we walk humbly with God, we shall receive instruction. But prying curiosity is not to be encouraged. 15LtMs, Lt 58, 1900, par. 7

To the second chapter of Second Timothy we may refer those who are desirous of originating some new and strange thing, which is the product of the human imagination, and as much below the grand and noble sentiments of Holy Writ as the common is below the sacred. We may answer foolish questions by saying, Wait, and we shall all know what it is essential for us to know. Our salvation does not depend on side issues. 15LtMs, Lt 58, 1900, par. 8

“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” [Verses 1-5.] These words mean a great deal. Those who give heed to this precious instruction will be encouraged to go forward in progressive work. 15LtMs, Lt 58, 1900, par. 9

Then come the warnings appropriate for this time: “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words of no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.” Then comes a charge which will often need to be given to some who suppose they have a work to do for the Lord. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” [Verses 14, 15.] This is the important point. We are to learn to take the many truths that have been revealed to us, and handle them in such a way that they will be food for the flock of God. 15LtMs, Lt 58, 1900, par. 10

“But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness,” leading into paths of supposition and imagination with which we are to have nothing to do. [Verse 16.] These are vain, unessential theories of human creation, foolish items, which keep the mind dwelling upon nothingness. They have in them nothing sure or substantial. Satan helps men to create and present in a new light erroneous theories, which are as chaff. Paul says, “Their word will eat as doth a canker; of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” [Verses 17, 18.] 15LtMs, Lt 58, 1900, par. 11

In the days of the apostles the most foolish heresies were set forth as truth. History has been and will be repeated. There will always be those who, though apparently conscientious, will grasp at shadows, preferring them to the substance. They take error instead of truth, because error is clothed with a new garment, which, they think, covers something wonderful. But let the covering be removed, and only nothingness appears. 15LtMs, Lt 58, 1900, par. 12

“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor.” [Verses 19, 20.] The “great house” represents the church. In the church will be found tares as well as wheat, the vile as well as the precious. The net cast into the sea, gathers both good and bad. 15LtMs, Lt 58, 1900, par. 13

“If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” [Verse 21.] He is not to accept human theories, which if received would corrupt. He is to purify himself from the presentation of unrighteous sentiments, which lead away from the sure Word of God to unstable human devisings, degradation, and corruption. He is to purify himself from the cheap sayings which are presented as some needful thing. He is to resist the enemy’s working through vessels of dishonor. By searching the Scriptures with much prayer, he will find a path to follow, not the crooked path of man, but a path that leads to heaven. 15LtMs, Lt 58, 1900, par. 14

The work of purification is an individual work. No one can do this for another. “If a man therefore shall purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meet for the Master’s use.” [Verse 21.] The Spirit of God will work through human agencies, leading them to do missionary work. Ability and grace will be provided for the work. There will be a disposition to teach the truth of the gospel, firmly, decidedly in clear lines, from love to God and man. The cleansed vessel is prepared for the holy oil. 15LtMs, Lt 58, 1900, par. 15

“Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches, which through the two golden pipes empty the oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, no, my lord. Then said he, these are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. ... This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Zechariah 4:11-14, 6.] Human might, human talent, does not establish the church of God, neither can human power destroy it. 15LtMs, Lt 58, 1900, par. 16

The men entrusted with sacred responsibilities as teachers of spiritual things are the representatives of Jesus Christ. Having His meekness and lowliness, they are day by day witnessing for Him, the heavenly Branch. They manifest the Spirit of Christ in most earnest endeavor, and they receive the unction represented by the holy oil. The impartation of God’s Spirit is an overflowing of the holy oil from the divine fountain into human vessels cleansed, purified, and prepared for it. Thus, under the power and grace of God, and under His superintendent care, His work is carried forward in right lines, in the face of mighty foes. This work is never to cease until its completion amid the triumphal shout of victory, Grace, grace unto it. 15LtMs, Lt 58, 1900, par. 17

“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strife. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient; in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” [2 Timothy 2:22-26.] 15LtMs, Lt 58, 1900, par. 18

The members of the church need converting. Unless they are converted, they will lead away from Christ, making crooked paths for their own feet and turning the lame out of the way. There is just as much need of repentance in and among believers who err from the principles of Christ as among those who have not a knowledge of the way of the Lord. Let the question come home to every soul, Am I walking in Christ’s footsteps? True religion has its influence not in fits and starts, but in a living principle that tells in word and deed. True Christians are kind and courteous; and their longing desire for the salvation of souls that are ready to perish gives them decided victories. 15LtMs, Lt 58, 1900, par. 19

The manifestation of real goodness is the bearing of fruit in good works. This bears the indorsement of heaven. Read the first chapter of Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians. The instruction it contains is of the highest value. The religion of Christ makes all who possess it truly benevolent. It countenances no littleness, no mean transactions. True Christians have a nobility which allows none of the cheap, covetous actions that are a disgrace to the doer of them. Men in responsible positions need to make straight paths for their feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. 15LtMs, Lt 58, 1900, par. 20

But when we see that men have departed from right lines, why should we afflict our souls because they have dishonored the cause of God? They have disappointed us, bruised our souls grievously; and they have wounded the dear Saviour, and put Him to open shame. But shall these things lead us to be cold and unbelieving, suspecting of fraud those to whom had it not been for the ones who have disappointed us so much, we would have given the right hand of fellowship? 15LtMs, Lt 58, 1900, par. 21

Let the words of Paul to Timothy instruct us, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” [2 Timothy 2:19.] What calls forth these words? Some in the church had gone astray. Paul writes, “For the which cause I also suffered these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed; for I know in whom I have believed, and persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” [2 Timothy 1:12, 13.] 15LtMs, Lt 58, 1900, par. 22