Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901)


Lt 40, 1901

Brethren and Sisters in the Iowa Conference

St. Helena, California

June 1, 1901

Portions of this letter are published in 5BC 1101-1102; 7BC 937; ML 111.

To my brethren and sisters in the Iowa Conference,—

I am so grateful to our heavenly Father for the work He has been accomplishing for His people. This is the work of the Lord, and we will praise and glorify His name. And now let the churches in Iowa bring their offerings to the Lord. The work that ought to have been done in Iowa has not been done. There is great need of advancement. There are in the Conference those who have long been acquainted with the reasons of our faith, but they have not yet learned the meaning of self-control. Had they put aside their controversies, feeling that upon them rested the solemn duty of making God their trust, had they buried self and selfishness, the work in Iowa would have been far in advance of where it is today. They do not realize how much advancement they would have made had they walked before God in humility and contrition, confessing and forsaking their sins, and searching the Bible with soul-hunger to understand the will of God. 16LtMs, Lt 40, 1901, par. 1

There is need of deeper piety and greater earnestness. The words given me by the Lord for the Iowa Conference are: “You have lost the spirit of earnest prayer.” The Lord inquires, “Where is the vivifying influence of your prayers?” Tame, lifeless, heartless prayers are not accepted by Him. The voice of prayer should rise to God from hearts burdened with a sense of a defective Christian experience. 16LtMs, Lt 40, 1901, par. 2

The Lord desires you to improve in your manner of opening the Scriptures to others and in your manner of prayer. God does not accept the long prayers which are as destitute of His Holy Spirit as the hills of Gilboa were destitute of dew and rain. He calls for repentance, else He will remove the candlestick out of his place. The Lord desires the candle to burn brightly, sending forth light to all parts of the world. When the church turns fully to the Lord, lifeless, spiritless prayers will no more be heard. 16LtMs, Lt 40, 1901, par. 3

Intercede with God for the salvation of souls that are perishing. Learn to wrestle with God in prayer as Jacob wrestled with the angel. I beg our people in Iowa to humble their hearts before God. Seek the Lord most earnestly. Heed the message of Revelation, “Unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God, I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous, therefore, and repent.” [Revelation 3:14-19.] 16LtMs, Lt 40, 1901, par. 4

God brings against ministers and church members the heavy charge of spiritual feebleness. He calls for a revival, a reformation. Unless this takes place, those who are weak and lifeless will continue to grow more and more abhorrent to the Lord, until He will spew them out of His mouth. A lifeless body of professed Christians is so worked by the enemy that a most unwholesome, sickly spiritual atmosphere is produced. 16LtMs, Lt 40, 1901, par. 5

Shall the counsel of Jesus Christ have any effect upon the churches? Bible religion is worth everything. Why halt, ye who know the truth, between two opinions? “If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.” [1 Kings 18:21.] Christ’s professed followers have no time to stand on the ground of neutrality. There is more hope of an open enemy than of one who is neutral. 16LtMs, Lt 40, 1901, par. 6

The case of Judas has been presented to me as a lesson for all. Judas was with Christ through the entire period of the Saviour’s public ministry. He had all that Christ could give him. Had he used his capabilities with earnest diligence, he could have accumulated talents. Had he sought to be a blessing instead of a questioning, criticizing, selfish man, the Lord would have used him to advance His kingdom. But Judas was a speculator. He thought that he could manage the finances of the church, and by his sharpness in business get gain. He was divided in heart. He loved the praise of the world. He refused to give up the world for Christ. He never committed his eternal interests to Christ. He had a superficial religion, and therefore he speculated upon his Master and betrayed Him to the priests, being fully persuaded that Christ would not allow Himself to be taken. 16LtMs, Lt 40, 1901, par. 7

Judas was a religious fraud. He held up a high standard for others, but he himself utterly failed to reach the Bible standard. He did not bring the religion of Christ into his life. 16LtMs, Lt 40, 1901, par. 8

How many today are, like Judas, betraying their Lord? Those who follow dishonest practices in business sacrifice Christ for gain and reveal a wisdom that is after Satan’s order. Speculation for selfish gain will not be brought into the life of the man who has that faith which works by love and purifies the soul. 16LtMs, Lt 40, 1901, par. 9

“Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God.” What is the result of this? We cannot draw nigh to God and behold His loveliness and compassion without realizing our defects and being filled with a desire to rise higher. “And he will draw nigh to you.” [James 4:5-8.] The Lord will draw nigh to him who confesses to his brethren the wrongs he has done them, and then comes to God in humility and contrition. 16LtMs, Lt 40, 1901, par. 10

He who feels his own danger is on the watch lest he shall grieve the Holy Spirit and then draw away from God because he knows that He is not pleased with his course of action. How much better and safer it is to draw nigh to God, that the pure light shining from His Word may heal the wounds that sin has made in the soul. The closer we are to God, the safer we are, for Satan hates and fears the presence of God. “Submit yourselves therefore to God; resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” [Verse 7.] 16LtMs, Lt 40, 1901, par. 11

“Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep; let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” [Verses 8-10.] Precious promise! How good and acceptable it will be to the Lord when His people draw nigh to Him and humble themselves before Him. 16LtMs, Lt 40, 1901, par. 12

“Speak not evil one of another, brethren.” [Verse 11.] How much merchandise has been made of a brother’s mistakes and a brother’s sins by those who are far more guilty in the sight of the heavenly Father than the one they condemn. “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?” There is but one answer to this question. No, it is impossible. “Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” [James 3:11, 12.] The sin is proved by One who never makes a mistake. The contradiction between the life and the profession is self-evident. 16LtMs, Lt 40, 1901, par. 13

“Who is a wise man, and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.” [Verse 13.] How many sins this consistent conduct would prevent! How many souls it would turn from crooked paths into paths of righteousness. By a well-ordered life and godly conversation God’s people are to demonstrate the power of the great truths which He has given them. 16LtMs, Lt 40, 1901, par. 14

“But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not,” though you may suppose you have gained the mastery in argument, “and lie not against the truth.” [Verse 14.] You may be keen in argument, but God is not pleased with a controversial spirit. “This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” [Verses 15-17.] “Easy to be entreated.” It would rather suffer wrong than do an injury to God’s heritage. 16LtMs, Lt 40, 1901, par. 15

Do not cherish and cultivate the desire for supremacy. Do not seek the highest place. Wait for God to assign to you your post of duty. 16LtMs, Lt 40, 1901, par. 16

A contrast is drawn between those who think themselves to be wise and those whom God has gifted with wisdom because they will not use their powers to hurt or destroy. A man may speak fair words, but unless his life reveals good works, his wisdom is human. Genuine wisdom is full of gentleness, mercy, and love. The worldly policy which men call wisdom is by God called foolishness. Many in the church have become spiritual bankrupts because they have been satisfied with this wisdom. They have lost the opportunity to obtain knowledge and to use knowledge aright, because they have not realized that the efficiency of Christ is essential to make a successful merchant for God, one who can trade wisely on His entrusted goods. They have failed to supply themselves with heavenly merchandise, and the value of their stock has continually decreased. 16LtMs, Lt 40, 1901, par. 17

It is not enough to have knowledge. We must have the ability to use knowledge aright. God calls upon us to show a good conversation, free from all roughness and vanity. Speak no words of vanity, no words of harsh command; for they will gender strife. Speak instead words that will give light, knowledge, information, words that will restore and build up. A man shows that he has true wisdom by using the talent of speech to produce music in the souls of those who are trying to do their appointed work, and who are in need of encouragement. 16LtMs, Lt 40, 1901, par. 18

“Let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.” [Verse 13.] Let every action be such that it will win the divine approval. Into every business transaction bring mercy, justice, and the love of God. 16LtMs, Lt 40, 1901, par. 19

Let sin be called by its right name, and let it be purged from the church by confession, by repentance, by reformation, that the church may not present before angels and before men a misrepresentation of the truths she professes to believe. 16LtMs, Lt 40, 1901, par. 20

Let the words of the apostle, spoken so clearly and distinctly, and with such tenderness and love, break every barrier down. Let God’s people make earnest, thorough work for repentance. Humble yourselves. Be not zealous to humble one another. Take hold of your own case and by humble confession stand clear before God. Confess your faults to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. How many there are who are trying to carry a load of unconfessed wrong-doing. They try to shape matters so that their dignity will not be hurt. To make wrong right from the very first departure looks to them like extinguishing themselves. They think their usefulness would be destroyed. If they would cease this reasoning and place themselves in the hands of God, to let Him work His will in them, how much safer they would be. Delaying the confession of injustice to others is the most dangerous course that can be followed. Thus a compromise is made with Satanic agencies. The burden of unconfessed evil is the heaviest burden that can be borne. Jesus, the great Burden-bearer, asks you to transfer your load to Him. Draw nigh to God and never again separate from Him. Satan shuns the company of those with whom he was once connected in the heavenly courts. 16LtMs, Lt 40, 1901, par. 21

Be faithful in little things, then you will be faithful in larger trusts. “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much; and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” [Luke 16:10.] Perform faithfully the preparatory work in the perfection of Christian character, and you will gain a grand, eternal victory. “For the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever.” [Isaiah 32:17.] 16LtMs, Lt 40, 1901, par. 22