Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901)


Lt 78, 1901

Burden, Brother and Sister [J. A.]

St. Helena, California

July 10, 1901

Portions of this letter are published in CG 170, 562-563; 4BC 1154. +Note

Dear Brother and Sister Burden,—

I would be pleased to see you and to talk with you in regard to many things. I can write only a very little, until the Lord shall give me greater physical strength. But I thank God with heart and soul and voice that He spares my life. I am willing to remain as long as it pleases Him to use me to the glory of His name. 16LtMs, Lt 78, 1901, par. 1

I know that every work now done on the Lord’s side will require a power greater than human power. Then let our grasp be firm upon the One who has said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:18-20.] 16LtMs, Lt 78, 1901, par. 2

The Lord desires the Sanitarium in New South Wales to be erected. He desires it to prosper and to do the good work which it is His purpose it shall do. But O, how much need there is of heart-conversion among physicians and managers before God can be honored and glorified. The glorification of the human agent is labored for and cherished as if it were something that must be sacredly preserved. This is why the work of advance has not been more decided, more certain, more continuous. 16LtMs, Lt 78, 1901, par. 3

Brother and Sister Burden, a great work is to be done in Australia and New Zealand. The work of God at Cooranbong must make constant progress. Our brethren in different parts of the world need to understand that no mistake has been made in locating the school on the land which the Lord directed us to secure. 16LtMs, Lt 78, 1901, par. 4

Every child of God is to do his very best to uplift the standard of truth. He is to work in God’s order. If self is exalted, Christ is not magnified. In His Word God compares Himself to a potter, and His people to the clay. His work is to mould and fashion them after His own similitude. The lesson they are to learn is the lesson of submission. Self is not to be made prominent. If due attention is given to the divine instruction, if self is surrendered to the divine will, the hand of the Potter will produce a shapely vessel. 16LtMs, Lt 78, 1901, par. 5

Again, the Lord compares Himself to a gardener, and His people to trees and plants which He has planted in His garden. As a gardener seeks to straighten the trees which are growing crooked, so the Lord seeks to straighten His people. And we are to co-operate with the masterly and efficient hand which works to remedy that which is defective in the character. 16LtMs, Lt 78, 1901, par. 6

But how common it is for defects to be regarded as virtues. The clay refuses to be moulded; the tree refuses to be made straight. Thus deformities are brought into the growth. Wrong tendencies, often incurable, mar the character. There is not seen the beautiful perfection which God desires every human being to reveal. 16LtMs, Lt 78, 1901, par. 7

These are the great lessons which I was shown should be taught in all the schools which our people shall establish throughout the world. The Bible presents a perfect standard of righteousness, purity, holiness. How important for the human agent to cease to feel that it is his duty to straighten the characters of others, when in his own character-building, from his youth even to manhood, the most marked defects have been seen. God desires men to criticize themselves. “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith.” [2 Corinthians 13:5.] Be sure to make the examination of self thorough and critical. If we fail to see our characters in the mirror of God’s Word, we will never see the kingdom of God. The Lord desires each one of us to stand before His mirror, that we may see what kind of characters we are forming. 16LtMs, Lt 78, 1901, par. 8

Please read in the assembly of the people of God the instruction found in the first chapter of Colossians. “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church; whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God, which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints, to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory; whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus; whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” [Verses 23-29.] 16LtMs, Lt 78, 1901, par. 9

Dear children, here our work is laid open before us. Every man who is doing this work is in Christ’s stead beseeching men to be reconciled to God. God will build him up in the most holy faith. God co-operates with His workers. He works daily with all who will be controlled by Him. He will straighten out all the crooked places in the character. 16LtMs, Lt 78, 1901, par. 10

The youth are to be carefully, judiciously trained. They are not to be left to grow up as they will. As the gardener straightens the young trees in an orchard, so they are to be straightened. While still children and youth they should be taught to form symmetrical characters, characters that God can approve. Their perversity is not to be indulged. If it is not checked, they will carry it with them into their religious life, and it will make them crooked church members. The wrong habits formed in youth often remain through the entire life, marring the life-work. 16LtMs, Lt 78, 1901, par. 11

This world is God’s school. In it men and women are placed to form habits for eternity. The wrong habits formed in childhood and youth, the habits of self-indulgence and self-gratification, cling to men and women in their character-building, and some are never made straight because they do not discern their own tendencies to evil. God help His people, ministers, physicians, and church members to see the necessity of reforming while the clay is in the hands of the Potter. After it is put into the oven and baked, there is no opportunity for reform. 16LtMs, Lt 78, 1901, par. 12

The gates of Paradise will be closed against those who will not work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. Those who do not make the crooked character straight in this life can have no part in the future, immortal life. O, how important it is for the youth to keep straight. Parents act an important part in this matter. On them rests the sacred responsibility of training their children for God. To them has been given the work of helping their little ones to form characters which will gain for them entrance into the courts above. And in our schools children and youth are to be educated day by day to obey the requirements of God’s Word, that they may be accepted as members of His church. Parents and teachers are to be laborers together with God, working unitedly to help the youth to gain a preparation which will fit them to be members of the royal family. 16LtMs, Lt 78, 1901, par. 13

Let parents and children remember that day by day they are each forming a character, and that the features of this character are imprinted upon the books of heaven. God is taking pictures of His people, just as surely as an artist takes pictures of men and women, transferring the features of the face to the polished plate. What kind of picture do you wish to produce? Parents, answer the question! What kind of a picture will the great Master-Artist make of you in the records of heaven? Remember that this world is God’s daguerreotype office. The pictures of all who live here, old or young, are being made in the books of heaven. What shall the likeness be? We must decide this now. Hereafter, when death shall come, there will be no time to straighten the crooked places in the character. 16LtMs, Lt 78, 1901, par. 14

To us individually this should be a most important matter. Every day our likeness is being taken for time and for eternity. Let each one say, “I am having my likeness taken today.” Ask yourself daily, hourly, “How will my words sound to the heavenly angels? Are they as apples of gold in pictures of silver, or are they like a blasting hail, wounding and bruising?” 16LtMs, Lt 78, 1901, par. 15

Look at that passionate youth. See his face; read his spirit. When he is crossed, his eyes flash like a tiger’s. He is fierce, determined, stubborn. His face is marred by his evil disposition. There is no hope for him unless he is led by repentance to see himself as God sees him. 16LtMs, Lt 78, 1901, par. 16

When parents are tempted to do wrong, let them ask themselves, How will it appear on the heavenly record? How will that impatient, unkind word, that unrighteous action, affect the picture that God is making of me? The Scriptures declare, “By thy words thou shalt be justified and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” [Matthew 12:37.] And not only our words and actions, but our thoughts, make up the picture of what we are. Then let every soul be good and do good. Let the picture made of you be one of which you will not be ashamed. Every feeling we cherish makes its impress upon the countenance. God help us to make our record in our families what we would wish it to be in the heavenly record. Remember that God is taking your picture. Set an example which you will not be ashamed to have others follow. Guard your words and actions. Let all you do and say be straightforward and honorable. Then, “when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then we shall also appear with Him in glory.” [Colossians 3:4.] 16LtMs, Lt 78, 1901, par. 17