Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16

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Lt 165, 1901

Brethren and Sisters of the Iowa Conference

Des Moines, Iowa

November 6, 1901 [typed]

This letter is published in entirety in 1888 1762-1771. +Note

Dear brethren and sisters of the Iowa Conference,—

I wish to write a few lines to you. In Iowa there are many places to be worked. As a general rule, the laborers in the Iowa Conference should go out from the churches into new fields using their God-given ability to a purpose in seeking and saving the lost. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 1

In the Iowa Conference there are many precious souls who will make good workers. These need to be awakened to the necessity of taking hold of the Lord’s work and doing service for Him. They should be educated and trained that they may go forth to labor for others. Let them gain an experimental knowledge in seeking to save those perishing around them. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 2

God has appointed to every man his work. While so many in the towns and cities around us are perishing for lack of knowledge, how can God’s people sleep on in indifference? If those who know the truth fully realized the awful peril of their fellow men, they would have a burden to work for the Master. Going out into new fields, they would by the power of example lead others to unite with them. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 3

All sin is selfishness. Satan’s first sin was selfishness. He sought to grasp power, to exalt self. A species of insanity led him to seek to supersede God. And the temptation which led Adam to sin was the false statement of Satan that it was possible for him to attain to something more than he already enjoyed—possible for him to be as God Himself. Thus seeds of selfishness were sown in the human heart. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 4

God desires everyone to understand the hateful character of selfishness and to co-operate with Him in guarding His human family against its terrible, deceptive power. The first result of the entrance of sin into the world was the birth of principles of selfishness. The design of the gospel is, by means of remedial missionary work, to confront this evil of selfishness and destroy its destructive power by establishing enterprises of benevolence. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 5

As a remedy for the terrible consequences into which selfishness led the human race, God gave His only begotten Son to die for them. And in this gift He gave Himself. How could He give more? “I and My Father are one,” said Christ. [John 10:30.] By the gift of His Son, God has made it possible for man to be redeemed and restored to oneness with Him. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 6

Sin has extinguished the love which God placed in man’s heart. The work of the church is to rekindle this love. She is to co-operate with God by uprooting selfishness from the human heart, placing in its stead the benevolence which was in man’s heart in his original state of perfection. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 7

Love is the great principle that actuates the unfallen beings. With what amazement then do the angels behold the indifference of those who have light and knowledge! The heavenly host is filled with an intense desire to work through human agencies to restore in man the moral image of God. They are ready and waiting to do this work. The combined power of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost is pledged to recover man from his fallen state. Every attribute, every power, of divinity has been placed at the command of those who unite with the Saviour in winning men to God. O that all would appreciate the truth as it is in Jesus! O that all would love God in return for the love wherewith He has loved them! 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 8

My brethren, I wish to present before you the necessities of the unworked fields in your sight. In His great mercy the Lord has furnished these fields with laborers who have precious talents. Means are now needed to carry forward the work. I present this matter before the churches in Iowa, and may the Lord impress hearts with the needs of His work, that gifts may flow into His treasury for these barren fields! Our neglect of the fields ripe for the harvest is our condemnation. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 9

God is calling upon His people to give to Him of the means that He has entrusted to them, that institutions both small and great may be established to glorify His name. By giving for His work, God’s people show in a practical manner that they love Him supremely and their neighbor as themselves. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 10

If sinners repent, their pardon is procured through the merits of Christ. Then work interestedly, trying to lead souls to repentance. <This will be your everlasting rejoicing.> All who see this matter in its true bearing will more fully comprehend the wondrous, glorious plan of salvation. There will be no desire to argue over just what is meant by Christ’s being our righteousness, or to try to explain some questions which do not in any way make more plain the terms of salvation. It is not so essential to understand the precise particulars in regard to the relation of the two laws. It is of far greater consequence that we know whether we are transgressing the law of God, whether we stand in obedience or disobedience before the holy precepts. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 11

Carelessness in regard to the principles that must be brought into the life-practice is a fatal mistake and needs special attention. He who is saved must set things right in his heart. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 12

Christ reproved the Pharisees, saying, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.” [Matthew 23:23, 24.] 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 13

Some in our day, by their attitude toward the law as revealed in Galatians, have brought a sad chapter into their life-experience. <Repeat not the past.> Let none indulge in speculative theories or call attention to things that do not pertain to the great and solemn work of deciding their own eternal destiny. The twenty-third of Matthew describes the condition of those who are blinded, who cannot discern the relative importance of things that they should understand. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 14

Because the spiritual eyesight of some in positions of trust has been clouded, God’s great and sacred work has been neglected. Justice, mercy, and the love of God have not been manifested. By their deeds some have shown that they have not been actuated by right principles. A practical evidence of love for their brethren has been wanting. While very scrupulous about little matters, making a man an offender for a word, they have not scrupled, by dealing unjustly with the heritage of the Lord, to commit sins that are great in the sight of God. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 15

The time is very near when all these matters will be adjusted by a power that no one can evade. The scenes enacted in the day of judgment will put everything on its proper basis. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 16

Christ’s righteousness has been misrepresented by some in positions of responsibility, who, supposing they were doing God’s service, have done things which show that they are spiritually blind. Men have been overbearing and imperious in spirit, and their wrong course of action, their want of principle, will cause them to be denounced by the Lord as surely as the Pharisees were denounced. The woes that fell on the Pharisees will as verily fall on all who are engaged in a like work, unless they repent. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 17

Spiritual guides, whose spiritual eyesight is blinded, tamper with the conscience, and by subtle reasoning make imaginary and false distinctions among the guilt of various transactions. They lightly pass over some very great wrongs, and with great severity condemn other wrongs that do not begin to compare with the measure of their own sin in creating and working upon false principles. God calls for a decided and thorough change. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 18

It is righteousness that exalts a nation, and it is sin that brings ruin. With humble, contrite hearts let all study the Bible. That which is revealed in the Scriptures is for you and for your children. Eat the Word and digest it, for it is the bread of life. But do not be eager and troubled to know something in regard to things that are not revealed. Some do not seem to comprehend that which is plainly opened before them in the Scriptures concerning their eternal salvation, and as a result their practical life is greatly deficient. If they studied the Word of God and obeyed it, their minds would not be so full of conjectures in regard to things they need not understand or comprehend. <Some seem unwilling to understand the last two chapters of Malachi.> 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 19

In every place in the world God is working to bring men to a knowledge of Christ and His righteousness. He speaks to them in His Word. The Bible is the key that unlocks the mysteries which it is essential for human beings to understand in order to know what they must do to gain eternal life. The Bible is its own expositer. Its bright beams are to be carried to all parts of the world, that sin may be revealed. The Bible is a chart, pointing out the waymarks of truth. Those who are acquainted with this chart will be enabled to tread with certainty in the path of duty wherever they may be called to go. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 20

God’s people should exercise faith, bringing practical religion into the home, the neighborhood, the church, and the institutions that have been created to advance the work of God on this earth. There should be a far more genuine practice of faith in the everyday life. God’s people must reveal the attributes of Christ—the meekness, the generosity, the tenderness, that He always exercised in behalf of the poor, the distressed, and the needy. “Whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” [1 John 3:17.] Let there be no shutting up of the bowels of compassion, for those who do this are weakened and deprived of the Spirit of God. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 21

In many, the absence of a Christlike spirit has been very marked. Many who claim to follow Christ do not have His fragrance of character. By performing deeds of mercy and by speaking words that are like apples of gold in pictures of silver, they should exercise an uplifting influence over those with whom they have to do. But too often the words are harsh and the actions unbecoming to a Christian. God cannot approve of such words and actions, for they are an offence to Him. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 22

Let us notice the answer which the divine Teacher gave to the lawyer who asked, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” “He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?” [Luke 10:25-29.] 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 23

In answer to this question, Christ gave the parable of the good Samaritan. In this parable He called to the minds of His hearers an incident that had actually taken place: “A certain man,” He said, “went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.” [Verses 30-37.] 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 24

In this parable are summed up all the principles contained in the law. Eternal life is the theme. And when the principles of justice and mercy are in any way violated in word or in practice, those who thus disobey God’s expressed injunctions commit a sin of far greater magnitude than was the sin committed in Eden; because sin was a new thing to our first parents. All have before them the result of Adam’s transgression of God’s law. The taking of the forbidden fruit—seemingly so small a matter—resulted in opening the floodgates of woe upon the world. All the violence and crime now existing in the world can be traced back to this transgression. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 25

Those who are called to be superintendents or managers in our institutions must, as soon as they come into office, lay aside all wrong practices, and, with a full realization of their high obligations, solemnly dedicate themselves to God, asking Him to preside over the sacred work which He has appointed them to manage. They should expel all selfishness, all desire for worldly gain, all crookedness and deception, all overreaching in business transactions. Never, never are they to stain their work with the sin of greed, or with corrupt, fraudulent actions <as overreaching in trade>. God will not bless any proceeding that is not carried on in accordance with holy, sanctified principles. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 26

Let everyone be assured that a worldly policy and a worldly spirit are not sanctified by connection with God’s institutions. If Christ were on earth today, He would cleanse His institutions of everything unlike the pure principles of heaven. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 27

Those who have had these principles kept before them, and yet continue to go contrary to them, should be separated from the institutions. Those who, in their work in the institutions that are to give to the world a representation of God and of heavenly things do not give evidence of purity and elevation of character, should labor elsewhere. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 28

Those who are under training to work for God should have instructors who possess the very highest talents—teachers who will ever keep before them the way in which Christ dealt with the minds of those who were seeking after truth. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 29

It is time for God’s people to reveal Christ’s righteousness and for them to show that they are not of this world, but of the kingdom of heaven. When those connected with the service of God are clean and pure and holy, the Lord will give power and grace and prosperity and success to the teachers of truth, and souls will be converted. 16LtMs, Lt 165, 1901, par. 30