Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901)


Ms 11, 1901

Words of Instruction to the Church at Healdsburg

St. Helena, California

February 5, 1901

Portions of this manuscript are published in AH 37; 6BC 1102; 7BC 968; ML 341; 1MR 323-324. +Note

In the wonderful prayer which Christ offered for His disciples and for us just before His crucifixion, He said, “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them me, and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all thine are mine, and mine are thine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” [John 17:6-11.] 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 1

“This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” [Verse 3.] These words are of the greatest importance to us. Every member of the church of God should manifest a deep, earnest anxiety to be like the Redeemer in character. Believers should dwell upon Christ and His character. Then they will be changed into His likeness. Let each examine himself critically, to see whether in the home, in the church, and in the world he is revealing the Christlikeness, so that the Saviour can say of him, “I am glorified in him.” 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 2

“I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world,” Christ continued, “but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” [Verse 15.] Church members should exercise every ability God has given them to answer this prayer. They are to ask God earnestly and frequently to keep them from the evil that is in the world. Christ has charged His followers to pray without ceasing. Never fail to importune with God in private prayer. Never cease to intercede with Him; for when you fail to pray you are strengthless to resist Satan’s temptations. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 3

Our sanctification is the work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is the fulfilment of the covenant God has made with those who bind themselves up with Him, to stand with Him, His Son, and His Spirit in holy fellowship. Have you been born again? Have you become a new being in Christ Jesus? Then co-operate with the three great powers of heaven who are working in your behalf. Thus you will reveal to the world the principles of righteousness. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 4

As we strive to represent Christ to the world we must exercise faith in Him. He says, “According to your faith be it unto you.” [Matthew 9:29.] It was by faith that Enoch walked with God. Do not ask others to exercise faith in your behalf. You are yourself to obtain a daily experience in the things of God. You are yourself to realize the truth of the words, “All things are possible to him that believeth.” [Mark 9:23.] 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 5

When you accept Christ, you are in one sense cut away from the world. You are dead to its ambitions, dead to its greed for advantage over your brethren and neighbors. God says, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate ... and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters saith the Lord Almighty.” [2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.] This is the pledge of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit made to you if you will keep your baptismal vow, and touch not the unclean thing. You are to turn aside from all that would pervert the pure, sacred principles of truth. You are to enter into no intrigue. Sharp practice, with believer or unbeliever, is an offence in God’s sight. It is a sin which places those who commit it in connection with the father of all sin. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 6

It becomes every son and daughter of God to remember daily that a wrong done to a fellow being places the doer where he is a transgressor of the law. He needs to understand the words, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul,” transforming the character from disobedience to obedience. [Psalm 19:7.] 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 7

Those who come out of the world in spirit and in all practice may regard themselves as sons and daughters of God. They may believe His word as a child believes every word of his parents. Every promise is sure to him that believes. Those who unite with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who show by their lives that they are no longer following the course they followed before they united with these divine instrumentalities, will receive wisdom from above. They will not depend on human wisdom. In order to deal righteously with the world, as members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King, Christians must feel their need of a power which comes only from the heavenly agencies who have pledged themselves to work in their behalf. After we have formed a union with the great threefold power, we shall regard our duty toward the members of God’s family with a much more sacred awe than we have ever done before. This is a phase of religious reform that very few appreciate. Those who seek to answer the prayer, “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” [Matthew 6:10], will seek by living pure, sanctified lives to show to the world how the will of God is done in heaven. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 8

“Enoch walked with God; and he was not; for God took him.” [Genesis 5:24.] And when God takes the members of His church to heaven, it will be because they have walked with Him here on this earth, receiving from above strength and wisdom which enables them to serve Him aright. Those who are taken to God will be men and women who now pray in humility and contrition, whose hearts are not lifted up unto vanity. In their dealing with believers and unbelievers they represent Christ. Those who dishonor God in the church, acting like those of the world, are one with the world. They will at the last great day be found among the number who knew their Lord’s will and did it not. Full of evil in heart and practice, they readily discern defects in the course of others. They treat their own precious souls meanly. They have no real confidence in themselves, and are therefore very quick to see the mistakes made by others. They make all the capital they possibly can out of the errors of their brethren. As they judge, so they will be judged. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 9

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit call upon those who have united with them, who have pledged themselves to die to the world and live unto God, to properly represent their profession of faith. If they are partakers of the divine nature, the principles of sacred brotherhood will be sacredly cherished by them. They will manifest tenderness, sympathy and compassion for the children and youth. They will treat them as the younger members of the Lord’s family. With hearts filled with Christlike love they will come close to the children of believers and unbelievers. By patience, hope and persevering effort they will win them to Jesus Christ. They will treat those who have grown old in the faith with Christian politeness and courtesy. This will not be merely worldly politeness, but politeness after the divine similitude. They will reveal Christ’s longing to receive the members of His family and to feed their hungry souls with the bread of life. It is as necessary that attention should be paid to the cry of the soul for spiritual food as that attention should be paid to the cry of a hungry child for temporal food. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 10

It is God’s desire that greater attention shall be paid to the spiritual necessities of the children and youth in the Healdsburg school and in all our schools. When the managers of our schools make up their minds to carry out the principles which for years God has been presenting to them, they will be far better prepared to give attention to the spiritual needs of the students. If in the past those in charge of the Healdsburg school had had spiritual foresight, they would have secured the land near the school home which is now occupied by houses. The failure to furnish the students with outdoor employment, in the cultivation of the soil, is making their advancement in spirituality very slow and imperfect. The result of this neglect should lead the teachers to be wise unto salvation. It is a mistake for so many dwelling-houses to be crowded close to the school home. This is working greatly to the disadvantage of the students. A lack of wisdom was shown by the failure to secure the land round the school home. This will make the work of preserving order and maintaining discipline harder than it otherwise would be. But order must be preserved at any cost, and the workers in the school must plan how this shall be done most successfully. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 11

The Lord will give all needed wisdom to those who ask Him aright. The teachers in our schools are to be pure and noble in character and disposition. They are to rise above all pettish impatience. In their lives they are to reveal the Christian graces. Their only safety is in daily walking humbly with God, faithfully doing His will. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 12

Teachers, remember that as laborers together with God you must show your true relationship to Him by doing His will. Those who accept Christ, who believe in Him as the Lord their Righteousness, who delight to do His will, will never be disappointed when they ask for wisdom. They will find that Christ is a very present help in every time of need. Let us show more pure, living faith in Christ. It is a great astonishment to the heavenly universe that we place so little dependence upon Christ. Only those who walk with Christ will walk safely. It is only such who will not lift up their souls unto vanity. We are to live as seeing Him who is invisible. Nothing but the righteousness of Christ will entitle us to the blessings of the covenant of grace. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 13

The Lord calls upon His people to unify. This is especially necessary in Healdsburg, because in that place there has been little understanding of this matter. “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” [John 3:19.] The first chapter of second Peter contains so much precious instruction that those who do not place themselves where they can understand the difference between the principles of God’s kingdom and the principles of the world, would be condemned if there were no other instruction in God’s Word. The apostle says, “Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [Verses 5-8.] 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 14

Why do not men and women place themselves under the control of Christ? Many professing Christians know so little of practical godliness that in their business transactions they are on the side of the world rather than on the side of Christ. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 15

The greatest events in this world’s history have hung upon apparently small things. The desire for a single gratification of appetite introduced sin into our world, with all its horrible consequences. Disobedience to God’s express command banished Adam and Eve from Paradise. Disobedience caused the old world to be destroyed by a flood. Our salvation depends upon our full and entire obedience. We need spiritual knowledge in order to obey, and this knowledge we can obtain only by studying the living oracles of God. Teachers must study this Word if they would have spiritual understanding. And in order to impart what they receive, they must take time to talk with the students. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 16

Teachers, study the words, “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.” [John 17:17-19.] Look back over the past showing, and do not repeat the mistakes that have been made. Let not wrong impressions be made upon the minds of the students. Keep in mind the words, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” [Verse 20.] The testimony that true Christians bear will bring many to a belief of the truth. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 17

“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.” [Verse 21.] These words present the great result of unity. The believers are to be one in Christ. By their unity they bear witness to the world that Christ is the Sent of God. All true disciples will realize that this is the standard they must reach. They will strive continually to help one another. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 18

Christ is the greatest Teacher the world has ever known. From Him teachers must learn what to teach, that by their lessons they may show that they are striving to answer His prayer. The fruits of His rich grace will appear as they receive His glory, or character. Their unity will be complete. Their lives, hid with Christ in God, will be made perfect in one. The excellence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit will appear in them as, in conformity with their baptismal vows, they give themselves to obedience to God’s will. The Redeemer gives them the glory given to Him. The three great Instrumentalities of heaven co-operate for their complete and perfect unity, that the world may see in their lives the fruit of heaven and the excellence of the principles of truth. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 19

Men may claim to believe the theory of truth, but unless they sanctify themselves, that through their example others may be sanctified, they fail as utterly as did ancient Israel of being God’s light-bearers. It is by the exemplification of pure and undefiled religion that souls are won to Christ. An experimental knowledge of Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life is declared to be eternal life to the receiver, if he holds the beginning of his confidence firm unto the end. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 20

Christ says, “I am the bread of life. ... This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. ... 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. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. ... 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 6:35, 50, 54-57, 63.] We have been given the opportunity of eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of Man. Those who do this grow up into the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 21

The soul needs spiritual food and drink. This is supplied in the words of Christ. Those who receive Him as a personal Saviour, and look constantly to Him, receive nourishment sufficient for all the needs of the soul. Those who are united with Christ through the daily, hourly exercise of the faith which works by love and purifies the soul, receive the forgiveness of their sins, and are sanctified unto eternal life. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 22

These are the great truths essential for this time. Let us walk in the light which is shining upon our pathway. Christ pronounced a terrible woe upon those cities in which many of His mighty works had been done, because though they had been given every opportunity and advantage, they made no change for the better. Their assent to the wonderful truths they heard wrought no change in them. They received Christ courteously, and listened to His words with apparent interest, but they did not hear with a living faith. It is possible for us to have the Bible and all the light God sends through the testimonies of His Spirit, and yet fail to reveal Christ in our lives. Today many are ignorant of the knowledge of God and Christ and of the manifestation of the Spirit which molds and fashions the character after the divine similitude. This is not because they are not warned, because they do not know how to gain eternal life, but because they encourage a combative spirit, and oppose all that does not harmonize with their unsanctified, unholy practices. Their eyes are blinded. The heart has lost its sensitiveness. It is not humble and contrite. They are controlled by self-indulgence and a desire to contend. They fight over the Scriptures when nothing but their own ideas is at stake. Through debating and cavilling they lose opportunities to receive precious jewels of truth, which would make them rich unto eternal life. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 23

The way to heaven is through Jesus Christ. He is the light which lighteneth every man that cometh into the world. He has given us most precious truths. But there are many who have not a right appreciation of what it is essential for them to know and practice. Let not the people of God spend precious time on side issues which are of no importance. Let not the teachers in our schools introduce these side issues to the students. Let us instead strive to reveal to the world that love for Christ and the truth has knit our hearts together in unity and love, and that this leads us to obey God’s commandments. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 24

The only question asked in the judgment will be, “Are they obedient to My commandments?” The petty strife and contention over questions of no importance is an education which our people do not need. Let them seek instead to answer the prayer <of Christ>, “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.” [John 17:21.] 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 25

“And the glory 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.” [Verses 22, 23.] Then why are not men afraid to place themselves on the enemy’s side by their contentions and bickerings over questions which are of no profit? A knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, this is what all need to obtain by practical experience. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 26

“I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me.” [Verse 9.] They are on My side. They stand under My banner. By receiving Me as their personal Saviour they have pledged themselves to keep My holy law, to reveal Me in all their transactions in the church and in the world. I have purchased them by My manifestation in their behalf of My power and love. I have sanctified Myself in their behalf to the work Thou hast appointed Me, that they also may be sanctified to the work Thou hast appointed them, that by their union with Me and with one another they may reveal to the world that Thou didst send Me into the world to save sinners. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 27

It is the duty of those who have received a knowledge of the truth to seek to realize the grave responsibility resting upon them to impart the truth to those in their families, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. The first work of Christians is to be united in the family. Then the work is to extend to their neighbors nigh and afar off. Those who have received light are to let the light shine forth in clear rays. Their words, fragrant with the love of Christ, are to be a savor of life unto life. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 28

Please take to heart that which God has given me to say to you. There are many things to be set in order, not only in the Healdsburg church, but in the churches throughout California. Missionary work is to be carried forward in all its purity. It is to enter every family and be carried into every church. Christ is the greatest physician, of the body as well as the soul, that the world has ever known. He came to give health to diseased Christians. I am instructed to say that our institutions in California need this precious healing in all its fulness. The remedies that heaven has provided are sufficient. The church must rely upon the great Physician. They have not in the past taken the prescription given in the Word of God, or else they have counteracted its effect by their neglect to do the work God has given them. They have opened the windows of the soul earthward when they should have opened them heavenward. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 29

When the church is purified from all evil speaking, there will be a growth in grace. If the soul is nourished by an intelligent belief of the truth, if it makes a personal appropriation of the principles of truth, it will reveal before the family, the church, and the world the effect of these principles on the life. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 30

In Paul’s epistle to Titus, the Holy Spirit has given important instruction to the church. The apostle writes, “A bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers, especially they of the circumcision; whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.” [Titus 1:7-11.] 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 31

The members of the church in Healdsburg are to strive continually for improvement, that in this place, where our school is located, spiritual healthfulness may be seen. The souls of the church members are to be sanctified through the truth. The practice of the pure truth of God’s word never degrades; it always elevates and refines. God calls upon the Healdsburg church to get ready for the coming of Christ. There are many who, should they be suddenly called to meet death, would not be ready to close their earthly history. In the great day of judgment they would be weighed in the balances and found wanting. God forbid that they should by their evil practices continue to pervert His Word. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 32

The world needs to see a correct presentation of the principles of the gospel. As the people of God, it is our solemn duty to show by our unity that the principles of truth are uplifting and sanctifying. We have a great work to do, and oh, we need so much to close the windows of the soul earthward, and open them heavenward. God will keep the current of His grace flowing earthward to those who will become channels of light. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 33

Will the church in Healdsburg dig deeper and make their foundation sure, riveting their souls to the eternal Rock? As they strive to love God supremely, they will learn what it means to love their neighbor as themselves. Rich blessing will flow to them from the throne of God. All will labor for the souls ready to perish. Brother Leininger will be fairly dealt with. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 34

In regard to the case of Brother Leininger, I have been cited to the history of David. He had almost reached the close of his long reign, but he felt that he could not lie down in the grave without making an appeal in behalf of the sanctuary which was to be built for the Lord. After telling the people what was needed, he said, “Who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?” [1 Chronicles 29:5.] 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 35

“Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds with the rulers of the king’s work, offered willingly.” [Verse 6.] The people answered David’s call as a band of devoted warriors would respond to the trumpet peal of loyalty. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 36

That was a good day for Israel. Songs of praise and thanksgiving echoed through the congregation. David’s heart was made glad as he saw the evidence of the people’s willingness to give. He knew that God was impressing their hearts to return to Him His own, and to God he gave all the glory. He praised God, saying, “Now, therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.” [Verse 13.] 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 37

God’s people in Healdsburg would have received great blessing if they had shown less selfishness and greater love for their brethren. God is not glorified by their delinquencies. They should now redeem the past by repentance and confession. When they are sanctified through the truth, they will show a willingness to give back to Him a portion of what He has given them, saying with David, “All things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.” [Verse 14.] 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 38

If one man gives to another, he ceases to have any claim on what he has given. But when a man gives to God’s cause, and is afterward reduced to poverty, having no means of making a livelihood, his brethren should relieve his necessity, remembering that he is the Lord’s child. They should say, He is our brother, and we must divide with him the blessings our Father has left in our possession. Our brother has made many gifts to the work of God. We will now return to him a portion of the benefits we have received through his gift. 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 39

Thus the people of God did after the Spirit had descended upon them on the day of Pentecost. “Neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own.” [Acts 4:32.] 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 40

Those who give to the cause of God belong to God, and He is displeased when He looks down from heaven and sees that one who has given liberally to His work in a time of necessity has been allowed to fall into poverty, while his brethren have permitted him to descend step after step in humiliation without doing anything to help. Will our brethren make the case of Brother Leininger their own? Will they act toward him as they would wish their brethren to act toward them were they in his place? 16LtMs, Ms 11, 1901, par. 41