Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901)


Ms 24, 1901

“This afternoon I had a conversation ...”


March 4, 1901

Portions of this manuscript are published in 1MCP 327-328; OHC 106. +Note

This afternoon I had a conversation with Brother Taylor in regard to the work that has been done in Healdsburg. I thank the Lord that in His great mercy and love He has visited the Healdsburg church. We sincerely hope that the members will not now settle down and make no advance movements, supposing that all has been done that can be done. The work has but just begun. It is to be carried on from victory to victory. Remember that Christ is the author and the finisher of our faith. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 1

I feel very sorry that Brother McElhaney has not done thorough work. He will not stand justified before God until he sees his error, confesses his wrong, and does all in his power to make restitution. In connection with Brother Bond, in his work as real estate agent, he has done that which he will not wish to meet in the judgment. Brother Leininger has stood before his brethren, those who have done him a great wrong, striving by the hardest kind of work to support his family. He has stood before them as a Christian man whom God loves, who, through the untruthful course of his brethren, lost his all. Of these men the words are written clearly and distinctly in the books of heaven, Unfaithful stewards. Will they allow time to pass until it is too late for wrongs to be righted? God help them, while mercy’s sweet voice is still heard, to see their error and do thorough work in restitution. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 2

As Brother McElhaney now stands, he is not accepted of God, neither can he be while he utterly ignores his past course of action. God says, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” [Matthew 25:40.] If Brother McElhaney had cleansed the soul-temple, his course would not now be as it is represented to be, disapproved by God. If he continues in the business in which he is now engaged, he will be drawn into temptation, and his understanding of the truth will be perverted. In principle he is not a Bible Christian. Measured by worldly policy he will pass, but let him look into the mirror of God’s law, the transcript of God’s character, and he will see how far short he falls of meeting the requirements of God. Unless he repents, he will be weighed in the balances and found wanting. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 3

From the light given me, I know that Brother McElhaney has looked into the mirror and has read there the words, “Weighed in the balances of the sanctuary and found wanting.” [Daniel 5:27.] He has been deeply convicted. He has seen that the laws of worldly policy are not to be the criterion of the people of God, unless these laws are in strict conformity with the law of God. But he has gone on in his own way, forgetting what manner of man he was. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 4

Will our brother, holding a position in the church and in the Sabbath school, continue to set such an example before the church and the world? 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 5

“What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” a lawyer asked Christ. There were a large number of Pharisees present waiting to hear how Christ would answer this important question. They hoped to hear Him say something which they might construe to hurt His influence or destroy His life. Christ understood the situation, and He put the burden of the answer upon the one who asked the question. “What is written in the law? how readest thou?” He asked. The lawyer answered, “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.” “Thou hast answered right,” Christ said. “This do, and thou shalt live.” [Luke 10:25-28.] 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 6

This question has been answered for all time and will decide the case of everyone who in the last great day will stand before the bar of God. The law of Jehovah, not human policy and human inventions, will decide the destiny of men and women. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 7

John writes, “I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” [Revelation 20:11, 12.] 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 8

“Behold, I come quickly,” unexpectedly, Christ says, “and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his works shall be.” [Revelation 22:12.] The books of heaven bear the record of every life. Men will be judged by the way in which they have treated their fellow men and the way in which they have treated God, whose they are by creation and by redemption. Unless man keeps his heart with all diligence, he will rob God of His rightful claims. He will keep the Lord’s portion, the tithe, upon which the Lord has laid His hand, saying, It is mine. The tithe is the Lord’s money, by which He designs to sustain His work in the world. Those who keep back the tithe are robbing God of that which He has declared to be His, to be used in advancing His work. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 9

All the world is under tribute to God. He supplies man with all that he enjoys. By returning to Him the portion which He has specified as His own, we are to acknowledge His claims upon us. Those who are dishonest in their dealing with God will one day be called upon to give an account for their unfaithful stewardship. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 10

We are familiar with the prayer, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is done in heaven.” [Matthew 6:10.] Do we individually try to act so that the Lord’s will may be done in earth as it is done in heaven? How does the third chapter of Malachi present itself to the minds of the members of the Healdsburg church? Do you all pay a faithful tithe, that the work of proclaiming the gospel message may go forward with power? Thus you may do the will of God on earth as it is done in heaven. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 11

Let the whole of this chapter be read slowly, solemnly, and with proper emphasis, in the Healdsburg church. The terms which God makes with His people are positive and clearly defined. All who disobey will be without excuse. God’s claims are clearly stated. The result of dealing falsely with God and with one another is plainly pointed out. God says, I who know your selfishness and your covetousness, which is idolatry, “will come near you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me. ... For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” [Verses 5, 6.] 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 12

What does this mean? “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.] It was God’s decision that a probation should be granted to men, in which they would be tested and tried. Thus He would prove whether they would choose to live the life of Christ. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 13

Will fallen man avail himself of the opportunities and privileges granted him? By complete obedience to God’s requirements, man shows that he has accepted the life of Christ. Through faith in His power and grace, he may resist the temptations of the enemy and overcome his hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil. Looking to Jesus, beholding His character, seeking by faith to work the works of Christ, he becomes a partaker of the divine nature, having overcome the corruption that is in the world through lust. “Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” [Hebrews 12:1, 2.] A lack of faith in Christ as our sufficiency is the sin which so often and so easily besets us, causing the fall of many. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 14

The longsuffering of God, expressed in the words, “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed,” means a great deal to us. [Malachi 3:6.] The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked. The longsuffering of God is wonderful, because it means that God puts a constraint upon His own attributes. It is Omnipotence exerted over Omnipotence. Do we realize that it is owing to God’s divine forbearance that our lives are prolonged? Had the Lord acted toward us as we have acted toward one another, what would have become of us? God is to be honored and glorified, in that He has not cut us asunder and appointed us our portion with the hypocrites and unbelievers. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 15

But there is in human nature a tendency to be unappreciative of the longsuffering of God. Men show this lack of appreciation by continuing in sin, by not hating the awful thing that made it necessary for Christ to offer Himself as a sacrifice. He died to save the sinner, not in transgression, but from transgression. But “because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” [Ecclesiastes 8:11.] “The wicked will do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand.” [Daniel 12:10.] 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 16

There are limits even to the forbearance of God. It is possible to so far presume upon His mercy as to exhaust it, and then His protecting care is removed. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 17

If sin were immediately punished, there would be a change in the moral government of God. Instantaneous retribution would produce a fear of the sure consequences; but God delays the punishment of sin, because He would give the sinner ample time to turn from sin and seek righteousness. In His great mercy God does not at once consume the transgressor, yet punishment is no less certain to fall upon the impenitent. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 18

David said, “It is time, O Lord, for thee to work; for they have made void thy law.” [Psalm 119:126.] The world refuses to receive the law of God as a rule of life, and the same spirit has entered the church. There are in the churches wheat and tares. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 19

“Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you.” He does not leave them hopeless and discouraged. “Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Malachi 3:7.] 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 20

“But ye said, Wherein shall we return?” [Verse 8.] Blind in regard to spiritual things, they vindicate their course as though there were no need of such language being addressed to them. They are righteous in their own estimation. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 21

“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?” Had they read the Scriptures, they would have known where they were robbing God. When they asked, “Wherein have we robbed thee?” God answered, “In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruit of your ground, neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed, for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Verses 8-12.] 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 22

O what beautiful words, and how encouraging! 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 23

“Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord, yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? Ye have said, It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts? Yea, now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.” [Verses 13-15.] 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 24

Those who are robbing God do not receive His favor, because they are not walking honestly before Him. They fail to return to the Lord His specified portion, and then murmur and complain because He does not recognize them as they think He should. But the Lord sees in them nothing of good works, of self-denial, of love. They do not work as His helping hand in ministering to the needy. They are not rich in good works. Constantly they draw into the pattern they are weaving the threads of their own selfish thoughts and plans. They close their hearts and minds against those they should help and bless. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 25

The Lord looks beneath the surface. He reads every purpose of the mind, and He says to these delinquents, who are robbing Him and neglecting the work of mercy He has given them, “Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied Him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them, or, Where is the God of judgment?” “I will come near to you in judgment, and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Malachi 2:17; 3:5.] 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 26

At this very time, in contrast to the picture of those whose hearts and minds are blinded by selfishness, a more pleasant picture is presented. “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” [Verses 16, 17.] 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 27

When this takes place, the difference between the two parties in our world is made manifest. That which many cannot now see or understand is made plain. “Then shall ye return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not.” [Verse 18.] 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 28

We need to pray earnestly for the purifying, refining influence of the Spirit of God. The Jews had long been waiting for the Messiah, but when He came, they rejected Him, as prophecy had foretold. They had become unfaithful, and they would not be brought to true repentance. They would not confess their wrongs. They could not endure the searching purity of the Saviour’s doctrines, and they crucified Him. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 29

Many today claim to be standing in a position of exalted righteousness. They pray for the revealing of Christ’s presence, but when He sends messages to them, they are unwilling to have their sins pointed out, and they continue to work in accordance with the principles condemned by the Word of God. If they will not repent and confess their sins, and be converted, they will be a hindrance to the outpouring of the Spirit of God. O, it would be for the good of the church in Healdsburg if those who have long believed the Word would cut away all selfishness from their hearts, no longer retaining their objectionable traits of character. If they would receive the Holy Spirit and make a radical change in the life-practice, I know that many souls would be converted. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 30

It is God’s plan to have a spiritual priesthood, who can bring to the Lord an offering in righteousness. A solemn responsibility rests upon those who have been long in the truth. By their piety, their unselfishness, their good works, they are to be object lessons to others. It makes every difference to the church whether they do good or evil. If they are unfaithful in regard to the tithe, they give those newly come to the truth an excuse for being unfaithful. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 31

If those who profess to believe the truth enter into the real estate business, buying and selling for worldly gain, they place themselves in positions where they are tempted to mislead and prevaricate. They are not true to God or to their fellow men. They call evil good and good evil. They are on the losing side for time and for eternity. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 32

Those of our brethren who are engaged in this business should give it up, and thus close the door firmly against temptation. Then the truth will triumph. They are doing their part in the work of saving their own souls. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 33

God says, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” [Philippians 2:12.] This work needs to be done by the members of the Healdsburg church. When their spiritual discernment is revived, they will fear and tremble as they see that they were standing on the brink of perdition, ready to perish. For years I have seen their danger, and I pray that the Lord will open their eyes before it is everlastingly too late. Do thorough work in purifying the soul; “for it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” [Verse 13.] “Ye are God’s husbandry; ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 34

Every room in the soul temple has become more or less defiled and needs cleansing. The cobwebbed closet of conscience is to be entered. The windows of the soul are to be closed earthward, and thrown wide open heavenward, that the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness may have free access. The memory is to be refreshed by Bible principles. The mind is to be kept clear and pure, that it may distinguish between good and evil. As you repeat the prayer Christ taught His disciples, and then strive to answer it in the daily life, the Holy Spirit will renew the mind and heart, and will give you strength to carry out high and holy purposes. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 35

The rubbish of questionable principles and practices is to be swept away. The Lord desires the mind to be renovated, and the heart filled with the treasures of truth. He can and will give His people sanctified memories, that they may work to His honor and glory. But how can He work with those whose spiritual perceptions are so beclouded that they cannot see the duties so plainly stated in the third chapter of Malachi? 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 36

The Lord is in earnest with us. We must carefully study His Word, lest we turn aside from His express commands. The mind must be well stored with sacred counsel, that the instruction given may combine to make a complete whole. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 37

God’s people must follow holy, uplifting principles. The education of the intellect and of the heart must be combined to make a perfect character. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 38

Much has been said about the college and the church standing distinct and separate. This cannot be. The same education is necessary in the church as in the school. The gospel preached in the sanctuary is to be the gospel taught in the school. Those who attend the school are to be fitted for service in the church. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 39

The church is not to stand aloof from the school as a separate affair. When God sees fit to establish a church and a school in the same part of His vineyard, it means that great light is to shine forth from that place. The school and the church are to uplift each other. They are not to militate against one another; for they both worship in the same temple, where God meets with His people. In the church and in the school there are young men and young women who are to be educated to act as missionaries at home and abroad. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 40

With the school should be connected different lines of mechanical work, such as blacksmithing and carpentering. And the medical education is to be given a place of honor in the school. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 41

In many schools the playground is a place where children learn lessons which have results which are far from good. There wicked things are done. Crooked principles are practiced. The children learn to cheat and deceive, and their hearts become fixed in deception. Wrong traits of character are developed. The twig of evil develop firm fibers of great strength, till it is almost impossible to bend it. Habits formed during school life remain through manhood and womanhood. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 42

Let teachers remember that a sacred responsibility rests upon them. They are to so mold the habits of the students that they will form characters that will influence others for good. This world is God’s school for His people, and it is His design that families shall locate where their children shall be under saving, reformatory influences. The work of the teacher is made very difficult when parents do not co-operate with them in their work. Let parents remember that they are educating their children for eternal bliss or for eternal death. The parents residing in Healdsburg can, by their indifference and want of spirituality, work on Satan’s side of the question. By injudicious words, by criticizing and questioning, they can destroy the confidence of their children in their teachers. They can do much harm by taking sides with certain talkative ones, of whom—were the apostle in Healdsburg—he would say, “Whose mouths must be stopped.” [Titus 1:11.] 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 43

The church and the school in Healdsburg are to be bound together, working earnestly to glorify God. They are to reach the high standard of perfection in Christ. Let the history of the past never be repeated. By devotion and spirituality the church should help the school and the school should help the church. The members of the school faculty should show by their lives what it means to follow Jesus. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 44

The members of the church must reach a higher grade in strength of mind, soul, and body. Those in the school should constantly improve. They are to be bound together. Their hearts are to be knit together in the bonds of love for Christ and for perishing souls. Children and teachers are to be bound together, bringing love and fellowship into every line of their work. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 45

In all humility of mind the stronger must support the weaker. Each must work in holy Christian love for the good of the other. Then the fruit of good words, fitly spoken, will be seen. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 46

If parents felt more travail of soul for the salvation of their children, they would have more of the Lord’s blessing. My brethren and sisters, This is the best opportunity you could have to seek for the straying lambs. Rest not until every child is brought into the fold. Begin with your own little flock. Take special pains to make the home pleasant and cheerful. May the Lord help fathers and mothers to understand that they are dealing with their children for time and for eternity. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 47

The world is the Lord’s photograph office. Every day your likeness is taken in the books of heaven. If you have been walking apart from God, this is plainly shown in His books. If during the entire lifetime the character has been deformed by crooked works, the crooked lines can never be made straight. Some repent, but the crooked lines of a God-dishonoring lifetime can never be straightened. Every man will be judged according to his works. Christ is ready to pardon the sincere, repentant sinner, even though he has but a few more hours to live, but who is willing to run the risk? He who knew his Lord’s will, and did it not, will be beaten with many stripes. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 48

Remember that by your course of action many souls will be blessed or injured. In the judgment those who are now fretful and accusing, who strive for preference and supremacy, will appear just as they are. Let all remember that they are working for eternity. Let the prayer daily ascend, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” [Psalm 51:10.] Seek earnestly for that repentance that needeth not to be repented of. The only safe way is to keep all crookedness out of every business transaction. Let not Satan make his marks upon your character. Learn the lesson, “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.” [Matthew 7:12.] Christ’s disciples must be honest men, men who are determined to make the most of themselves for Christ’s sake. Their business transactions must show that they are in harmony with the principles of that law which is a transcript of the law of Jehovah. 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 49

“Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men; knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be free or bond. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening; knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him. Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” [Ephesians 6:4-10.] 16LtMs, Ms 24, 1901, par. 50