Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)

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Lt 75, 1900

Irwin, G. A.

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

May 21, 1900

Portions of this letter are published in PM 212, 215-216; TDG 150; CM 121, 126-127; 6MR 274-275.

Dear Brother Irwin:

Your letter was duly received. I thank you for writing. You have told me some things; but other things have taken place or will take place, which you did not mention. These things I cannot write of now. 15LtMs, Lt 75, 1900, par. 1

I have written you a letter in regard to the illustrations of The Desire of Ages. I cannot find this letter now, but may be able to send it to you in the next mail. It may not be wise for you to read to others the letters I have written regarding these illustrations. The book is out, and I have no one to censure. All thought they were doing their best to place the book before the largest number. Nothing should be said or done that will in any way hinder the sale of this book. 15LtMs, Lt 75, 1900, par. 2

I have been instructed that there would be a tendency on the part of some to strive for the supremacy in the matter of profusely illustrating books in which there was but little reading. One would strive to excel the other, and a wrong condition of things would be brought about. The passion for illustrations coming in was causing jealousy and envy, threatening the success of the book business as a whole. Everything of this order must be bound about. If it had continued, spirituality would have died out, and the future of our book work would have been blighted. Envy and jealousy has been rebuked by the Lord. There must not be in the book business the least contention or strife for the supremacy. 15LtMs, Lt 75, 1900, par. 3

The Lord desires His people to move understandingly and intelligently. They are not to create large expenses, yet everything is to be done in perfect order. Our books should be bound with good, durable covers. The sewing should be firm and strong. This should always be. But care should be exercised in the matter of illustrating. Much money should not be invested in this line. When there are lessons in the pictures which lead to a study of the book itself, it is well; but when the pictures draw the attention from the truth contained in the book to themselves, the effort to help the book by illustrations is a failure. 15LtMs, Lt 75, 1900, par. 4

Poems and stories have been recommended in the columns of our papers in a way that seemed quite out of harmony with their value. The small storybooks that are being handled by our people, what are they? Many of them contain nothing of more value than can be obtained in any bookstore. We have books of great value, which should be recommended to the people; but it pains me to see our papers recommending and our people handling so many storybooks. These books may be excellent in some ways, but they do not contain the knowledge we should hunger and thirst to obtain in this period of the earth’s history. 15LtMs, Lt 75, 1900, par. 5

The Lord calls upon His people, saying, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” [Isaiah 60:1-3.] 15LtMs, Lt 75, 1900, par. 6

What does this promise mean? That the Holy Spirit will come upon those who diligently search the Scriptures, presenting the truth in such simple language that it can be understood by old and young, learned and unlearned. “The words that I speak unto you,” Christ said, “they are spirit and they are life.” [John 6:63.] 15LtMs, Lt 75, 1900, par. 7

We need to bring our minds to the close study of the Word. Christ represents this as eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God. “I am the living bread which came down from heaven,” He said; “if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever, and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” [Verse 51.] 15LtMs, Lt 75, 1900, par. 8

“The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. ... It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth no thing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” [Verses 52-55, 63.] 15LtMs, Lt 75, 1900, par. 9

This is a spiritual figure. By offering Himself on the cross of Calvary, Christ gave His flesh and blood for the salvation of the world. Those who believe in the Son of God as a personal Saviour, those who work His works, receiving His Word, believing His teachings, practicing His principles, show that they are nourished by the sap flowing through the vine. Christ’s lessons of instruction are the food and drink of the soul. Those who have this spiritual union with Christ are constantly seeking to do His will. They strive, under all circumstances, and in every line of work, to do as He would do. They look to Him who is the Author and Finisher of their faith, inquiring earnestly, What would Jesus do? What words would He speak? If I speak words that He would not speak in my place, I am not abiding in Him or He in me. I must learn to be like Him in speech. I must learn His meekness and lowliness. 15LtMs, Lt 75, 1900, par. 10

Oneness with Christ depends on the renewing of the mind by the Holy Spirit. Thus we are strengthened to walk in newness of life, receiving from Christ the forgiveness of our sins. He who has that faith which works by love and purifies the soul is a cleansed vessel, sanctified and meet for the Master’s use. Self is dead. His words are, “I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” [Galatians 2:20.] There is a daily reception of the Holy Spirit, and this brings eternal life to the soul. 15LtMs, Lt 75, 1900, par. 11

Those who eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God have a vital, saving union with Him. They are partakers of the divine nature. Christ dwells in the human tenement. True Christians are one with Christ as Christ is one with the Father. The quickening of the Holy Spirit brings life to the believing soul. Then this is believed, understood, and known by experience; the character of God is revealed in the human agent. Christ abides in the soul. 15LtMs, Lt 75, 1900, par. 12

All disunion, all selfish thoughts, words, and actions, are the fruit of the working of an unholy spirit upon the mind. Under the influence of this spirit, words are spoken which do not reveal the Saviour. Christ is not formed within, the hope of glory. Those who live thus are sinners, though they may be disguised as saints. They are without faith. They do not practice the principles of Christ. Many who claim to be Christians commit grievous sins because they do not eat the Bread that came down from heaven. 15LtMs, Lt 75, 1900, par. 13

Those who receive Christ are meek and lowly in heart. Christ opens within their hearts a living fountain of water, which springs up unto eternal life, refreshing the souls of others. The lives of those who eat the bread of life and drink the water of salvation are purified by the grace of God. They claim and receive all that the giving of Christ’s flesh and blood signifies. Vivified by the Holy Spirit, they are enabled to work the works of Christ. 15LtMs, Lt 75, 1900, par. 14

“Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness; ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast as I have chosen, a day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day unto the Lord?” [Isaiah 58:4, 5.] 15LtMs, Lt 75, 1900, par. 15

Let all study the Word. Let not any man burden his soul with so many burdens that he cannot study the precious lessons Christ has given. Let us seek to walk and work as Christ walked and worked, guarding against becoming arbitrary and overbearing. 15LtMs, Lt 75, 1900, par. 16

Let all the publications issued from our presses be of a character to give food to the soul. The Word of God is not half comprehended. If each one would proclaim a fast for his own soul, studying the Word of God with earnest prayer, and reading only those books which would help him to gain a clearer knowledge of the Word, God’s people would have much more spiritual health and strength, much more spiritual knowledge and understanding, than they now reveal. We need to seek God, that we may find Him precious to our souls. We need to keep Him as our abiding guest and companion, never parting from Him. 15LtMs, Lt 75, 1900, par. 17

To be one with Christ in God is the privilege of every soul. But in order to be this, we must be meek and lowly, teachable and obedient. Shall we not be of that number who make a business of securing, by earnest prayer and faithful practice, the faith that works by love and purifies the soul? 15LtMs, Lt 75, 1900, par. 18

Let canvassers handle books which bring light and strength to the soul, and let them drink in the spirit of these books. Let them put their whole soul into the work of presenting these books to the people. If they are imbued with the Spirit of God, heavenly angels will give them success in their work, and they will gain a deep, rich experience. God would be pleased to see The Desire of Ages in every home. In this book is contained the light He has given upon His Word. To our canvassers I would say, Go forth with your hearts softened and subdued by reading of the life of Christ. Drink deeply of the water of salvation, that it may be in your heart as a living spring, flowing forth to refresh souls ready to perish. 15LtMs, Lt 75, 1900, par. 19

Those who will read attentively the words, which the human agent has tried to present clearly to enlighten the minds of others, will receive God’s blessing. He will be with every one who seeks to understand the truth, that he may set it before others in clear lines. Make no delay. God has spoken plainly and clearly, giving instruction to be given to those who need it, that they may be brought to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. 15LtMs, Lt 75, 1900, par. 20