Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Lt 136, 1902

Iowa Conference

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

August 28, 1902 [typed]

This letter is published in entirety in 16MR 340-349. +Note

To the Iowa Conference

My dear Brethren and Sisters,—

“The end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth; that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever.” [1 Peter 4:7-11.] 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 1

The churches in Iowa are in need of far greater spiritual life. When we separate from God, we assert our own independence and raise the standard of revolt. Men desire to govern their fellow men, to gain jurisdiction over them. But it is impossible for man to exercise authority over his fellow men without making himself liable to collide with their interests, which should be carefully guarded. Every man is to remember that every other man has an identity, which must not be submerged in any human being. Supreme love for God is the great principle that keeps men close to one another in unselfish fellowship. The love of Christ leads man to see the good there is in his fellow beings. But he who is absorbed in correcting his neighbor neglects to give attention to his own defects and loses God out of his reckoning. He does not appreciate God enough to seek to be like Him, and he loses the power to bring forth the fruits of righteousness. He watches for the defects in his brother, forgetting that he is the purchase of the blood of Christ. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 2

For three years the disciples had before them the wonderful example of Christ. Day by day they walked and talked with Him, hearing His words of cheer to the weary and heavy laden and seeing the manifestations of His power in behalf of the sick and afflicted. When the time came for Him to leave them, He gave them power to work as He had worked. He bestowed on them His grace, saying, “Freely ye have received, freely give.” [Matthew 10:8.] They were to go forth into the world to shed abroad the light of His gospel of love and healing. The work He had done they were to do. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 3

And this is the work that we also are to do in the world. In sympathy and compassion we are to minister to those in need of help, seeking with unselfish earnestness to lighten the woe of suffering humanity. As we engage in this work, we shall be greatly blessed. And by it souls will be won to the Redeemer; for its influence is irresistible. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 4

The practical carrying out of the Saviour’s commission demonstrates the power of the gospel. This work calls for laborious effort, but it pays; for by it perishing souls are saved. Through its influence men and women of talent are to be brought to the cross of Christ. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 5

Man has a body as well as a soul to save. Both are to be restored to health by God’s simple but efficacious methods, which appeal to men and women of intelligence. As the health of the body is restored, the powers of the mind are put forth to grasp the great truths of the gospel. And through a belief in the truth, souls are awakened to their need of a preparation for life’s duties. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 6

The denominational churches in our land are doing something in the line of Christian help work. Some are working actively, walking in all the light they have. They would do much more if they understood the truth. And many of those who know the truth, who claim to believe that the last message of mercy is being given to the world, are fast asleep. Many, like the sluggard, are folding their hands in inactivity. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 7

The Lord has a work for every one to do. There are those who suppose that they can be saved by merely assenting to the truth. But this cannot be. True conversion acts like leaven, permeating every part of the being, filling man with a desire to serve Christ. Received into the heart, the truth transforms the entire being, bringing it into conformity with the Spirit of Christ. There is a development of all the powers; for the heart is changed. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 8

Man can increase in knowledge without experiencing a change of heart, but this does not bring salvation. Paul declares, “Though I ... understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, ... and have not charity, I am nothing. ... Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.” [1 Corinthians 13:2, 1.] It is not position or profession that makes a man of value in God’s sight. It is being good and doing good. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 9

Christ says, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” [John 3:3.] He who has only an emotional religion is controlled by “another spirit,” not the Spirit of Christ. [2 Corinthians 11:4.] Flighty and sentimental, he is a burden to the church. At times his imagination soars high, but it goes down correspondingly when the cause of excitement is removed. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 10

By the death of His only begotten Son, God has made it possible for man to reach the high ideal set before him. We can do God no greater dishonor than to remain in indolence and indifference, caring not to save the souls perishing in sin. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 11

Is Christ your personal Saviour? Do you depend on Him for your acceptance with the Father? He says, “Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me.” [Isaiah 27:5.] There is power in Christ to enable us to gain the victory over the enemy. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 12

I am carrying a burden for the Iowa Conference. The Lord has instructed me that as a Conference you are living far beneath your privileges. Although you have been greatly blessed with a knowledge of the truth, many of you have not realized your duty to give this advanced light to others. In the Judgment, God will call you to account for the way in which you have used the light given you. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 13

In the Iowa Conference there are many precious souls who would make good workers. These need to be awakened to the necessity of taking hold of the Lord’s work and doing something 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 who are perishing around them. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 14

God has appointed to every man his work. While so many men and women in the towns and cities round about us are perishing for lack of knowledge, how can God’s people sleep on in indifference? If those who know the truth realized fully the fearful peril of their fellow men, they would be aroused to work for the Master. Going out into new fields, they would by the power of a godly example lead others to unite with them. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 15

Let married men and women who know the truth go forth to the neglected fields to enlighten others. Follow the example of those who have done pioneer work in new fields. Wisely work in places where you can best labor. Learn the principles of health reform, in order that you may be able to teach them to others. By reading and studying the various books and periodicals on the subject of health, learn to give treatment to the sick, and thus to do better work for the Master. Many who now rest in their graves would today be alive, had they been careful to improve precious moments in seeking to obtain a knowledge of the light <upon health reform> that God has given for their benefit. Wilfully ignorant of the laws of their being, they have died for lack of knowledge. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 16

Let every member of the churches in Iowa carefully study the instruction given in the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah and in the third and fourth chapters of Malachi. Will my brethren consider these Scriptures? In the fifty-eighth of Isaiah there is light for those who rejoice in the hope of the soon-coming morning. The Lord desires to send us the reviving, healing beams of His sunshine. “The fashion of this world passeth away” [1 Corinthians 7:31], but the fashion of the world to come will endure forever. With what infinite bliss will the righteous be rewarded! What boundless joy will be theirs! 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 17

Christ has gone to prepare mansions for those who are faithful. To the immortal inheritance those who love God and keep His commandments have a clear title—a title that will never be questioned. Those who by faith take God at His Word have an everlasting life-insurance policy. Those who now by faith enter the kingdom of God hold fast their profession of faith will possess the kingdom forever and ever. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 18

To the brethren and sisters in Iowa, those who claim to believe in Jesus as a personal Saviour, I would say: Remember that you are not your own; you are “bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] I beseech you to consider your individual responsibility. In view of all that you are to receive and enjoy in the world to come, why, O why do you not rise above the sordid influences of this world, putting away all earthliness? 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 19

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.” [1 John 2:1-7.] 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 20

The church is the bride, the Lamb’s wife. She should keep herself pure, sanctified, holy. Never should she indulge in any foolishness; for she is the bride of a King. Yet she does not realize her exalted position. If she understood this, she would be all-glorious within. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 21

The world does not acknowledge that, at an infinite cost, Christ has purchased the human race. They do not acknowledge that by creation and by redemption He holds a just claim to every human being. But as the Redeemer of the fallen race, He has been given the deed of possession, which entitles Him to claim them as His property. “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” [John 1:10-12.] 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 22

The Lord is ready to do a great work for every church in the Iowa Conference. In order that the world may be left without excuse, He desires His representatives properly to bear witness of Him. Will those who have named the name of Christ be as clay in the hands of the potter? Will they submit to be molded and fashioned into vessels unto honor? Thus they may be qualified to stand in their lot and in their place. By their unselfish lives they may give to the world an illustration of practical Christianity. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 23

The churches in this Conference have a work to do. Plans should be made to advance the Lord’s cause. The Master is calling for men who will do His work with humility of heart. He works through those who have a contrite spirit. The clear light of truth should shine forth from the churches. Every church should be as a city set upon a hill, the light of which cannot be hid. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 24

The Psalmist says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” [Psalm 119:105.] In these days of test and trial, we should take the Bible as our counselor and our guide, that we may make straight paths for our feet. The beautiful, glorious light of heaven is shining from the precepts of the law, clearly lighting up the pathway leading to the gates of the New Jerusalem. Those who walk in this light will never go astray. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 25

The Lord’s people should often come together to engage in earnest supplication for divine blessing, that they may better understand where and how to work. Let no selfishness or jealousy be manifested. Let the laborers knit their souls with Christ and with their brethren. Let them unitedly use their powers in doing genuine, advance work, bearing to others the light of present truth. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 26

In Iowa there are many places to be worked. As a general rule, the Conference laborers should go out from the churches into new fields, using their God-given ability to a purpose in seeking and saving the lost. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 27

An Appeal for the Barren Fields

My brethren and sisters, I wish to present before you the necessities of the destitute 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, praying that the Lord may impress hearts with the needs of His work, that gifts for these barren fields may flow into His treasury. Our neglect of the fields ripe for the harvest is our condemnation. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 28

God is calling upon His people to give to Him of the means that He has entrusted to them in order that institutions both small and large may be established to glorify His name. By giving of their substance to sustain His work, God’s people show in a practical manner that they love Him supremely and their neighbor as themselves. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 29

I have a message to bear in regard to the Southern field. We shall have to work this field. Its present condition is a continual rebuke to all who claim to be followers of Christ. The outlook is not pleasant. In some sections of this field the nominal churches have done a good work in gospel ministry and by establishing schools for the people. But as a whole, the field has scarcely been touched. If the words of the gospel commission had been studied and obeyed by our people, the South would have received its proportionate share of ministry. If those who have received light had walked in the light given them, they would have realized that they should cultivate this long-neglected vineyard. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 30

Many of the Southern cities have never been worked. Look at the destitution of this field. Consider the ignorance, the poverty, the misery, the distress of many of the people. What do they know in regard to the Bible? They are not acquainted with the Lord Jesus Christ. And yet this field lies at your door! How selfish and inattentive you have been to your neighbors! You have heartlessly passed them by, doing little to relieve their suffering. The condition of this field is a condemnation of our professed Christianity. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 31

It is too late now to cling to worldly treasures. Soon, unnecessary houses and land will be of no benefit to any one; for the curse of God will rest more and more heavily upon the earth. The call comes, “Sell that ye have, and give alms.” [Luke 12:33.] This message should be faithfully borne—urged home to the hearts of the people, that God’s own property may be returned to Him in offerings to advance His work in the world. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 32

God calls for men who will educate. During the time that has passed into eternity, many should have been in the South, laboring together with God by doing personal work and by giving of their means to sustain themselves and other workers in that field. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 33

My dear brethren and sisters in Iowa, the Lord is calling upon you to come to your senses. Awake to a realization of your responsibilities. God has given to every man his work. You have a most earnest work to do. You may live lives of usefulness. Learn all that you can and then be a blessing to others by imparting a knowledge of truth. Let every one do according to his several ability, willingly sharing in the bearing of the burden. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 34

Let us in the name of the Lord press perseveringly forward in the race for eternal life. We have a great work to do in enlightening our own souls and in living up to a higher standard. Let us place a proper estimate on the preciousness of a knowledge of the truth. Then we shall have a clearer understanding in regard to God’s goodness to us and our obligations to others. While seeking to save the lost, let us keep our minds constantly uplifted in prayer for divine guidance. We are not to look to men, but are to behold Jesus. Let us not lose our spirituality. Christ desires His people to be greatly revived by the Holy Spirit. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 35

Although we are now passing through the night of tribulation, we need not be discouraged by the darkness that surrounds us. The Lord desires us to exercise faith, with spiritual vision looking beyond the gloom to the scenes of the morning so soon to dawn. In faith and hope we may confidently say, The morning cometh, when there will be no more night. Soon we shall see the dawn of the eternal day in all its glorious beauty and splendor. 17LtMs, Lt 136, 1902, par. 36