Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901)

377/447

Ms 129, 1901

Continuation of the Situation in the Southern Field

South Lancaster, Massachusetts

December 7, 1901

Portions of this manuscript are published in CD 52; LHU 321; VSS 151-152. +Note

The Lord calls upon men who claim to believe the truth to show a zeal proportionate to the great truth they profess. Bible truth is the test and proving of souls for this time. Those in the South who know the truth are in great need of a thorough conversion. I am instructed to say that the religious sentiments must be adjusted to work in different lines. The work neglected brings the denunciation of God upon a large number who are not doing the work God has given them to do. The Laodicean message is appropriate for a very large portion of those who claim to believe present truth. There are many receivers of light who do not accumulate by trading upon their talents. They are neither cold nor hot. “I would,” said Christ our Saviour, “thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” [Revelation 3:15, 16.] 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 1

Whoever now claims to believe the truth will show how much he believes it by the Bible test—revealing the principles of our holy faith in his life. It is the eternal law of Jehovah that whosoever has the truth, the last message of mercy to a fallen world, will be wide awake to proclaim that testing message to those who have not a knowledge of it. 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 2

If those in the Southern field wait to see a large work accomplished, and do not invest first themselves and then their self-sacrificing efforts, with much prayer and daily consecration, they will be disappointed. God cannot use men while they do not sincerely co-operate with the ones whom God has accepted because they gave themselves to do all possible to make a beginning. Will God look with favor upon their finding fault whenever things do not go in accordance with their ideas? 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 3

There has been with the responsible men a blocking of the way, and throughout the Southern field men have stood with stones in their hands to put before the car wheels, instead of behind them, when the men who have tried to do something were trying to push the car uphill. When the hand of God has through unseen agencies opened the way, influences have been exercised by unconverted men to propose suggestions and theories to block the way and sow the seeds of jealousies and evil surmisings. The Lord can do without these men. The message He would have them give He can give to the stones of the field to proclaim, for this is the very work that prophecy has pointed out shall be done. Why do not these men take some part of the field and go to work themselves? Why do they show their willingness to do all in their power to hinder? Let every man in the South do to the uttermost of his ability rather than let this work continue to be neglected, bringing dishonor to God. 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 4

I wish now to urge these important matters of truth upon you, that you may be impressed in a decided manner, for your eternal happiness depends upon your submission and obedience to the words of Jesus Christ, to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” Now the explanation: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” [John 6:57, 63.] Connect these words with (John 15), and we can better understand their meaning: “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” [Verse 3.] Will we understand? 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 5

All who abide in Christ will reveal the same spirit which Christ possessed. Whoever is converted to God, and made a partaker through faith of the Spirit and love of Christ, is set apart to do the same works that Christ did. They lose their identity in Christ, become one with Christ. They have a knowledge of the plan of salvation. This is found by searching the Word of God diligently, receiving the Word as the leaves of the tree of life and eating them, that there may be an appetite for the Word which, eaten and digested in the religious life, is eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God. There must be an appetite created in the newborn soul for that bread which came down from heaven, which, if a man eat thereof, he shall never die. Our physical health is maintained by that which we eat; if our appetites are not under the control of a sanctified mind, if we are not temperate in all our eating and drinking, we shall not be in a state of mental and physical soundness to study the Word with a purpose to learn what saith the Scripture—what shall I do to inherit eternal life? Any unhealthful habit will produce an unhealthful condition in the system, and the delicate, living machinery of the stomach will be injured and will not be able to do its work properly. The diet has much to do with the disposition to enter into temptation and commit sin. 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 6

“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory [character] which thou gavest me I have given them: that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” [John 17:16-23.] 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 7

What a wonderful prayer was this! Consider it carefully, study every word, lest you lose the impression, which is of the greatest importance to all who are striving for salvation. All who have this word of possibilities, which reveals our positive privilege of being in covenant relation with God, but do not avail themselves of this privilege, will have to answer in that great day for their non-improvement of this greatest gift placed within their reach. I say, had they repented, God would have given the people confidence in their work since the Conference. 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 8

The Lord is working. The salvation of His striving people is promised to the Saviour. “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” [Psalm 110:3.] The Source of all divine agencies gives an energy to souls by His Holy Spirit, whereby He works in the children of disobedience, causing the dead in trespasses and sins to become transformed, to put away their sins and live to Christ. The men heretofore blinded by the enemy may see the worldliness in believers, and they will be disgusted at its truly hideous character in the light of Christ’s divine glory and beauty through the revealing of the truth as it is in Jesus. It is the light of life. It is a soul-energizing light. 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 9

Let God’s Spirit work with all who are at Nashville, but let no man try to work the Holy Spirit. I wish you to have no murmuring. I wish you, my son, to cast no reflection upon the men at the head of responsibilities in Battle Creek, although guilt has rested upon the managers in the past, for it is not your work to do this. If you have words of encouragement to speak, then speak; if not, then keep silent. And I have a word from the Lord, that you grieve not the Holy Spirit of God by expressions and feelings because your soul is bruised, and you feel the need of more means to advance the work. If you are tied up in hard places for the want of means, carry the whole business to God, for men who moved so darkly, unless transformed, will never see all things clearly. The treasury is depleted, and when letter after letter comes calling for means to meet emergencies, what can they do but feel discouraged? If you were in their place, you would perhaps feel as nervous and disturbed as they do. It is not the Lord that has brought things around, through lack of principle and dishonesty in dealing, so that the people have no courage and faith. 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 10

Then let your words be carefully chosen, choice words, clean words, pure words, fraught with Christian sympathy and love. Then you will not bruise souls already smarting under the results of their own course of action, but give strength. Silence is often eloquence. 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 11

I see everywhere I go men chafing under their need of help from the Conference, but very few will do as they should do—strip for the race and harness for the battle. But when they have no help to give, can you not see it galls the soul? They placed themselves just where they are, and the sure result has come, and they suppose they must fasten the guilt on some one. 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 12

We all need to learn in the school of Christ meekness and lowliness of heart, then we shall find restfulness in the wearing of Christ’s yoke and the lifting of Christ’s burdens, and can say that His yoke is easy and His burdens light. The Lord would have you all forbearing. Cease your murmuring. 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 13

Brother Evans has need of your prayers and your sympathies. He has been like a man dazed, and these reproaches will not be health to his soul until the converting power of God takes hold of him, and he is born again. I have pity and deep sympathy for Brother Evans and all who are connected with him. We want him to know that God will sustain every action that is in accordance with His will, and we want him to work himself out on right lines. God alone knows the full wretchedness of His people in all their present circumstances. They might have been corrected had they received the Word of the Lord. 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 14

Let all in Nashville seek the Lord in prayer. Let all bear in mind that there is help to come from those whom God has helped to be a blessing to others when no one lifted the burden. I have hired money on which I pay interest, <to carry on my work,> but I will not utter a word of complaint, although I am often tempted of the enemy to do this. When there is not money in the treasury, it cannot be paid out. 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 15

There is help for us in God, and the Lord has means which are in the hands of His stewards. It may be wealthy unbelievers will be moved upon to return means to the Lord which is His own. There have been men and women moved to advance the work in New York City. Men not of our faith, yet favorable, have helped in many ways, and we are praying and expecting that they will help more. The Lord wants us to learn our lessons of humiliation, and then we will also learn our lessons of encouragement. The eyes of the mind will become enlightened as [one] sees how feeble he is to bring about favorite schemes upon which his mind is set. 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 16

At this time do not write or speak one word of censure or recrimination to any one, notwithstanding it may appear to you they are justly deserved. Brother Evans is seeking to carry out the light God has given to reduce the wages of some that were getting twenty dollars. If this had been done at an earlier date, the miserable trash that has come from the press would have been cut off, for it dishonored God. But they would not work for less wages, and quite a number left, so he has had to perform the work which they refused to do. Shall we say this was unwise in Brother Evans? No. We cannot avert the crisis, but let it not crush out the life and courage of the one who is trying to do what he can in a case of emergency. <Let none of those who have left be accepted to take the work unless they are converted.> 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 17

I am glad the Lord knows the full measure of all the trials He permits to come upon His tried and tested people. In Christ we will say, There is help for us in God. The dreadful impossibilities that lie in the way, the Lord can and will remove. 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 18

The Lord knows all about those men who have left the office and their positions of trust, and He will deal with them in His wisdom. But let not one word of discouragement come from the lips of any in Nashville. God in His providence has given you advantages for the publication and sale of books. Thank Him for this. You will soon be able to handle my books with facility. 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 19

While I feel all the interest in the Southern field that I have ever felt, I must consider when the great State of New York is presented before me, and also New York City with all that it embraces. I see this field as another portion of the Lord’s neglected vineyard. The sight presented to me is what brought me from St. Helena. I see now that the present is the time to work this field and all that it embraces. New Jersey and Brooklyn, with their suburbs, are all embraced. I was so glad we had a <hired> hall which could accommodate seven hundred people on Sabbath and first day. There had been a good work done to purge away dissension and strife, and to unify the people of God, that the work might be performed here in the spirit of love and unity, that God might be glorified. This people are to bear to the world in their unity the credentials that God hath sent His Son. Then do not let any one feel it to be a virtue to stand constantly as accusers, after the testimony God has given has come to His people. Let all read John 17:26. Study constantly how much consequence and eternal importance is given to this unity specified in the prayer of Christ for His disciples. How shall this prayer be answered? Only by every sincere believer’s putting away all evil thinking, all evil expressions. (Verse 21): “That they all may be one.” That means that we are to feel that we are under claims to Jesus Christ to will to do the expressed will of God. “That they all may be one:as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, tat the world may know that thou hast sent me. And the glory (character) which thou gavest me I have given them: that they may be one, even as we are one.” [Verses 21, 22.] 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 20

Who can comprehend such a statement as this? Is it deeper and broader than our faith can reach? “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one: and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou has loved me.” [Verse 23.] Can we comprehend such largeness of expression? How can these things be? many may ask. Wonderful, amazing condescension and love for fallen humanity! It is the privilege of every one meeting these great, deep, and far-reaching expressions. “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. ... Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” [Verses 16-18, 24-26.] 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 21

This is our work—constantly to cherish love and not hatred in our hearts. (John 15:17): “These things I command you, that ye love one another.” (Verse 14): “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” Who can look into the heart of this great mystery, and find it to be love, without catching the same spirit, and binding up his very life and soul with Christ in God, without feeling it thrill through every faculty of his soul? The voice that makes this last prayer for His disciples is the voice of Christ our Redeemer. Does not that voice thrill through every faculty of your soul? That love expressed throws open to us the gates of Paradise. Henceforth the surrendered soul lives in complete harmony with God. The Spirit has taken the things of Christ and shown them unto us with so transforming an effect that we become new creatures in Christ Jesus. 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 22

“Ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] Every part and property of the human nature is the Lord’s, paid for by the precious blood of Jesus. Then what we are to show is respect and kindness and love to all who love God. They may not always please our taste or meet our comprehension, but although there is a difference in expression of character, we must press together in the unity of Christian fellowship. 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 23

I will not prolong this letter. I have much to say to James Edson White and Brother Palmer. I would have you always to be found workers on the plan of God’s love. We are to fit ourselves with the selfsame spirit that was in Christ Jesus. Christ is working for us; will we work for Christ in His lines? Children, cultivate patience and faith and hope. May the Lord increase our joy of faith in this ever-living Intercessor. Try to let no day pass in which you fail to realize your accountability to God through the sacrifice of His only begotten Son. Jesus does not receive glory from any one who is an accuser of the brethren. Let not a day pass that we are not healing and restoring old wounds. Cultivate love, and let no words of evil surmising escape our lips. Close this door quickly, and keep it closed; open the door where Christ presides, and keep it open, because we know the value of Christ’s sacrifice and His unchangeable love. Drink in the ever-refreshing waters of life from the wells of Lebanon, but refuse the murky waters from the valley—the dark, suspicious feelings. There is much truthfulness in the cause, but shall we spoil our fragrance of spirit because others clothe themselves with bitterness? God forbid. There is not one tithe of the imaginings of evil that is worth the time we give to consider it and repeat it. Cut away from our speech all severity; talk sweetly; and hold your confidence in Jesus firmly. 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 24

We have an ever-living Advocate who is making intercession for us. Then let us become advocates in principle in behalf of those who err. “And having an high priest over the house of God [here is His intercession in our behalf]; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering.” He is a “faithful high priest in things pertaining to God.” [Hebrews 10:21-23; 2:17.] 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 25

Then as He is working for us, let us work just as earnestly and interestedly to promote union with one another. Christ prayed that we might be of that same nature and oneness as that existing between Himself and His Father. Try in everything we do to secure confidence and love one for another, and thus we will answer the prayer of Christ Jesus. Reports will be made because it is habit to make them, but do not stop <and defile your spirit> to turn off a mass of dead rubbish. Not all our suppositions and our ideas of our brethren are correct; neither are you, Brethren White and Palmer, to admit a wrong when God has not charged you with wrong. Let us put away these ugly supposings and imaginings, keep close on the side of Christ, and think of the rich encouragement He has given us, that we may in our turn give to others. 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 26

There are many more who need a medical missionary hand held out to them than we suppose. There are many fainting souls to whom kind, compassionate, sympathizing words would be like a cup of cold water to a thirsting soul. Are you doing Christ service in succoring depressed and weary souls? “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.” [Verses 10-13.] There is Christ’s work and the work of His disciples completely mingled. He suffered, being tempted, therefore He always sympathizes with the tempted ones whom Satan is seeking to destroy. Christ was made like unto His brethren in all things for this very purpose. “Who can have compassion on the ignorant and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed about with infirmities.” [Hebrews 5:2.] He is therefore acquainted with all our perplexities. 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 27

Then shall we think it becomes us as children of God to be so ready to complain? Certainly we greatly weaken and endanger our souls by so doing. Has not your experience in the assurance that God has gone before you been sufficient to prove to you that false reports are not placed in the books of heaven as truth? Close the door of the ears from hearing complaints. Close the door of the heart that prejudice may not take possession of our souls. Let envy and jealousy be quenched in the flow of love from the fountain of God’s love. The cry of them that are ready to perish finds swift entrance into His ear. “He shall deliver the needy when he crieth, the poor also and him that hath no helper.” [Psalm 72:12.] 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 28

Let not your hearts become discouraged. The Lord Jesus would have us trust fully in Him, and bear patiently delays we cannot help. The Lord Jesus remembers every word which He has given in encouragement for His redeemed children to trust in Him, for He is ever mindful of His covenant. Many things will come as tests and trials, but keep the door of the lips from hastily spoken words that may be very displeasing to the Lord; they hurt the soul of the speaker. The Lord’s Word will never fail; He is not glorified by complaining and faultfinding and suspicions that are unjust. 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 29

Speech is a wonderful talent. How much more will God be glorified with pleasant speech of, or in regard to, His blood-bought heritage, than with faultfinding. Clouds will come; wicked speech will come from those who are enemies of the truth, to oppress the righteous; but never let haughty and accusing words come from any believers against other believers. Have we not enough of God’s tokens and blessings to keep our mouth filled with thanksgiving and praise, and glorify Him? Will you be justified in uttering expressions of ill feeling and ill repute against those whom we suppose have erred? Have we never made any mistakes ourselves? Have we never been in the slough of despond? God help us to bear in mind how hard it is when tempted of the devil to have our own brethren step on the side of the devil and try to hurt and destroy. When tempted to speak words of faultfinding, begin to sing, “Praise ye the Lord. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation” of the righteous. “The works of his hands are verity and judgment, all his commandments are sure. ... The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. A good understanding have all they that do his commandments. His praise endureth forever. ... Unto the upright there ariseth light in darkness. He is gracious and full of compassion and righteousness.” [Psalm 111:1, 7, 10; 112:4.] 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 30

There is to be a great reformation in all our churches in regard to evil surmisings, evil feelings, and speech against one another. They create many stumbling blocks over which sinners stumble to perdition. Many things are misjudged and many words are dropped that are creating great disturbance that should not exist at all. Many things are imagined that have no foundation in truth. Let those with whom the Lord in His compassion has dealt mercifully say, “Not one good thing has failed me, of all that the Lord hath spoken.” [See Joshua 23:14.] “All the paths of the Lord are truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.” [Psalm 25:10.] “All the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” [2 Corinthians 1:20.] Let us open the door of the lips to speak words that are refreshing. In His love and in His pity He redeemed us, and shall we not impart to others the grace of God? 16LtMs, Ms 129, 1901, par. 31