Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)

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Lt 187, 1902

Brethren in the Southern Field

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

December 2, 1902

Portions of this letter are published in HP 237. +Note

To my brethren in the Southern field,—

Remember that union with Christ is your strength. Remember that if you attempt to work for Christ in your own strength, you will meet with utter failure. Never forget that you are on test and trial. Light has come to you. Those who continue to cherish traits of character that God’s Word forbids, those who yield to feelings of envy and evil-surmising, must be separated from God’s work; for they will act as evil leaven. 17LtMs, Lt 187, 1902, par. 1

Through workers who may not seem to be the most talented, the Lord will accomplish a great work, if they will rely wholly on Him and walk and work in humility. These workers, because they do not bring self-importance into their work, will be enabled to do that which more talented workers fail to do. God is just as willing now as anciently to work through human effort and to accomplish great things through weak instrumentalities. We shall not gain the victory by numbers, but by entire surrender to Jesus. 17LtMs, Lt 187, 1902, par. 2

Neither evil men nor evil angels can destroy the work of God or shut His presence from His people, if, with subdued, contrite hearts, they put away their sins and in faith claim His promises. Every opposing influence, whether open or secret, may be successfully resisted, “not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Zechariah 4:6.] He who is meek and lowly in heart is our efficiency. He says to us, “Come unto me, ... and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] 17LtMs, Lt 187, 1902, par. 3

Guard well your words. One passionate word will give Satan the advantage, wounding your own souls and turning others away from the light. Have not such words as these been spoken? My brethren, you need to be shut in, as it were, with Jesus; and, as you hold yourselves in this position, it will have a telling influence upon the people. Remember that the work in which you are engaged is not a commercial work, but a divine work. 17LtMs, Lt 187, 1902, par. 4

Make an entire surrender to God of all that you have. Many charge God with being a hard master, because He claims their possessions and their service. But we can bring to God nothing that is not already His, because He has first given it to us. Everything was lost by sin. Man forfeited his title to every blessing. It is only by divine grace, through the infinite sacrifice of Christ, that we could be reinstated in the favor of God and permitted to enjoy His gifts. We are not our own. Christ has brought us with His blood; we belong to Him. All we possess, our physical and mental powers, all the blessings we daily enjoy, are delivered to us stamped with the cross of Calvary. Therefore the charge that God is a hard master, reaping where He has not sown, is false. When God calls for our gifts or our service, He is but calling for that which is His own. “All things come of Thee,” said king David, “and of thine own have we given thee.” [1 Chronicles 29:14.] Every talent lent you by God is a precious treasure to be wisely used in the service of God, extending the influence of the truth. 17LtMs, Lt 187, 1902, par. 5

The sincere Christian is a doer of the Word of God. He lays up treasure in heaven, in accordance with the directions given him by Christ. Transformed by grace, his life is hid with Christ in God. His energies are employed in striving for high spiritual attainments; and all his entrusted talents are appreciated as God’s gifts, to be used to His glory. His property is prized as a means of advancing the cause of God, of enabling him to work as Christ worked for the blessing of humanity. 17LtMs, Lt 187, 1902, par. 6

What a man is has greater influence that what he says. The quiet, consistent, godly life is a living epistle, known and read of all men. Holiness is not shaped from without, or put on; it radiates from within. If goodness, purity, meekness, lowliness, and integrity dwell in the heart, they will shine forth in the character; and such a character is full of power. Not the instrument, but the great Worker in whose hand the instrument is used, receives the glory. The heart, filled with the Saviour’s love, daily receives grace to impart. The life reveals the redeeming power of the truth. 17LtMs, Lt 187, 1902, par. 7

The witness borne concerning Jesus was, “Never man spake like this man.” [John 7:46.] The reason that Christ spoke as no other man spoke was that He lived as no other man lived. If He had not lived as He did, He could not have spoken as He did. His words bore with them convincing power, because they came from a heart pure and holy, burdened with love and sympathy, beneficence and truth. A man’s worth is not measured by the position of responsibility that he occupies, but by the Christlike spirit that he reveals. When the Saviour abides in the heart, the work bears the impress of the divine touch. Self does not appear. Christ is revealed as the One altogether lovely. 17LtMs, Lt 187, 1902, par. 8

While the shepherds were watching their flocks on the hills of Bethlehem, angels from heaven visited them. So today while the humble worker for God is following his employment, angels stand by his side, listening to his words, noting the manner in which he does his work, to see if larger responsibilities may not be safely entrusted to his hands. If he trusts constantly in God, these angel-watchers will not allow his work to deteriorate. They will not permit it to be warped into line that will imperil the cause of God. 17LtMs, Lt 187, 1902, par. 9

The Lord is looking upon the work that comes from the hands of His people. He will judge every piece of work, to see of what sort it is. 17LtMs, Lt 187, 1902, par. 10

Pure and undefiled religion speaks for itself. It transforms the characters of all who receive it, improving their usefulness and beautifying all with which it is brought in contact. In the web of life, its golden threads of faith are interwoven with the coarsest as well as the finest material. 17LtMs, Lt 187, 1902, par. 11

Soul-saving—this is the great object of our ministry. In the work of soul-saving, divine and human agencies are to combine. God has done His part, and Christian activity is now called for. God expects His people to act a part in the work of bringing the light of truth to all nations. My brethren, plead with God for power for service. Your understanding needs to be quickened and purified. You need to know that you know the real principles of the truth. You need too cherish humble faith and true godliness. Then when you meet opponents, you will not meet them in your own strength. The angel of God will stand by your side, to help you in answering the questions that may be asked you. Satan will stir up your opponents to say things hard for you to bear, in order to provoke you to speak inadvisedly; but speak no words that Satan can take advantage of. We read of Christ that He did not bring a railing accusation against Satan, when contending with him about the body of Moses. Had he done this, He would have placed Himself on the enemy’s ground. In all that you do and say, reveal the meekness of Christ. 17LtMs, Lt 187, 1902, par. 12