Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)

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Lt 96, 1902

Magan, P. T.; Sutherland, E. A.

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

July 4, 1902

Portions of this letter are published in Ev 327-328; 7T 267-274.

P. T. Magan and E. A. Sutherland
Berrien Springs, Michigan

My Dear brethren,—

The Lord will work in behalf of all who will walk humbly with Him. He has placed you in a position of trust. Walk carefully before Him. He is leading you. God’s hand is on the wheel. He will guide the ship through the rocks into the haven. He will take the weak things of this world to confound the things which are mighty. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 1

You are not amendable to any man, but are under God’s direction. Keep close to Him. Do not take worldly ideas as your criterion. Let there be no departure from the Lord’s methods of working. Use not common fire, but the sacred fire of the Lord’s kindling. I pray that you will make God your Counsellor. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 2

Be of good courage in your work. For many years I have kept before our people the need, in the education of the youth, of an equal taxation of the physical and mental powers. But for those who have never proved the value of the instruction given us to combine manual training with the study of books, it is hard to understand and to carry out the directions given by the Lord. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 3

The Lord God of Israel is hungry for fruit. He calls upon His workers to branch out more than they are doing. The apostle Paul went from place to place, preaching the truth to those in the darkness of error. He labored for a year and six months at Corinth and proved the divine character of his mission by raising up a flourishing church composed of Jews and Gentiles. The Gentile converts were more numerous than the Jewish converts, and many of them were truly converted—brought from darkness into the light of the gospel. They were in a more favorable condition than the Jews to receive the truth; for they were not walled in by the maxims and traditions of priests and elders. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 4

Today the Lord desires His workers to make the world their field of labor, rather than to work for the churches only. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 5

After choosing His disciples, Christ appointed them as His representatives, and gave them their ordination charge, their commission. They were to go forth as His witnesses, to declare what they had seen and heard of Him. Their office was the most important to which human beings had ever been called and was second only to that of Christ Himself. They were to be workers together with God for the saving of the world. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 6

He who called the first disciples is still calling men to His service. And He is just as willing to manifest His power through us as through the first disciples. However imperfect and sinful we may be, the Lord holds out to us the offer of partnership with Him, of apprenticeship to Christ. He invites us to come under the divine instruction, that, uniting with Christ, we may work the works of God. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 7

*****

Christ’s Greeting to the World

After the ordination of the disciples, Christ gave the sermon on the mount. This discourse was given to mankind to be to them the law of duty and the light of heaven, their hope and consolation in despondency. It is heaven’s benediction to the world—a voice from the throne of God. Here the Prince of preachers, the Master-teacher, utters the words that the Father gave Him to speak. He is the Eternal Wisdom, who was with the Father before the world was created. He knows the Father; for He is one with Him. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 8

The beatitudes are Christ’s greeting, not only to those who believe, but to the whole human family. He seems to have forgotten for a moment that He is in the world, not in heaven; and He uses the familiar salutation of the world of light. Blessings flow from His lips as the gushing forth of a long-sealed current of rich life. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 9

Christ leaves us in no doubt as to the traits of character that He will always recognize and bless. From the ambitious favorites of the world, He turns to those whom they disown, pronouncing all blessed who receive His light and life. To the poor in spirit, the meek, the lowly, and sorrowful, the despised, the persecuted, He opens His arms of refuge, saying, “Come unto Me, ... and I will give you rest.” [Matthew 11:28.] 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 10

Christ can look on the misery of the world without a shade of sorrow for having created man. In the human heart He sees more than sin, more than misery. In His infinite wisdom, He sees man’s possibilities, the height to which he may attain. He knows that even though human beings have abused their mercies, and destroyed their God-given dignity, yet the Creator is to be glorified by their redemption. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 11

The discourse is an example of how we are to teach. What pains Christ has taken to make mysteries no longer mysteries, but plain, simple truths. There is in His instruction nothing vague, nothing hard to understand. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 12

“He opened His mouth, and taught them.” [Matthew 5:2.] His words were spoken in no whispered tones, nor yet with harsh, disagreeable utterance. His voice was as a voice from the throne of God. He spoke with clear, emphatic utterance, and with solemn, convincing force. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 13

“And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine; for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” [Matthew 7:28, 29.] 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 14

An earnest, prayerful study of the sermon on the mount will prepare us to proclaim the truth, to give to others the light we have received. We are first to take heed to ourselves, receiving with humble hearts the principles of truth and working them out in perfect obedience. This will bring joy and peace. Thus we eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God, and we grow strong in His strength. Our lives are assimilated to His life. Our spirit, our inclinations, our habits are conformed to the will of Him of whom God declared, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” [Matthew 3:17.] 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 15

Throughout all time, the words that Christ spoke from the Mount of Beatitudes will retain their power. Every sentence is a jewel from the treasure house of truth. The principles enunciated in this discourse are for all ages, for all classes of men. With divine energy, Christ expressed His faith and hope as He pointed out class after class as blessed because of having formed righteous characters. Living the life of the Life-giver, through faith in Him, every one can reach the standard held up in His words. Is not such an attainment worth life-long, untiring effort? 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 16

*****

The Outlook

We are nearing the close of this earth’s history. We have before us a great work—the closing work of giving the last warning message to a sinful world. There are men who will be taken from the plough, from the vineyard, from various other branches of work and sent forth by the Lord to give this message to the world. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 17

The world is out of joint. As we look at the picture, the outlook seems discouraging. But Christ greets with hopeful assurance the very men and women who cause us discouragement. He sees in them qualifications that will enable them to take a place in His vineyard. If they will continually be learners, He will through His providence make them men and women fitted to do a work that is not beyond their capabilities; for He will give them tongue and utterance through the impartation of His Holy Spirit. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 18

Many of the barren, unworked fields must be entered by beginners. The brightness of the Saviour’s view of the world will inspire confidence in many souls, who, if they begin in humility, and put their hearts into the work, will be found to be the right men for the time and place. Christ sees all the misery and despair of the world—the sight of which would bow down some of our ministers of large capabilities with a weight of discouragement so great that they would not know how to begin the work of leading men and women to the first round of the ladder. Their precise methods are of little value. They would stand above the lower rounds of the ladder, saying, “Come up where we are.” But the poor souls know not where to put their feet. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 19

Christ’s heart is cheered by the sight of those who are poor in every sense of the term; cheered by His view of the ill-used ones who are meek; cheered by the seemingly unsatisfied hungering after righteousness; by the inability of many to begin. He welcomes, as it were, the very condition of things that would discourage many ministers. He sees an opportunity to help those so much in need of help, by meeting them where they are. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 20

The Lord Jesus corrects our erring piety, giving the burden of this work for the poor and needy in the rough places of the earth, to men and women who have hearts that can feel for the ignorant and for those that are out of the way. The Lord teaches them how to meet these cases. These workers will be encouraged as they see doors opening for them to enter places where they can do medical missionary work. Having little self-confidence, they give God all the glory, taking none of it to themselves. The Saviour is present to help to make a beginning through those whose hands are rough and unskilled, but whose hearts are susceptible to pity and awakened to do something to relieve the woe so abundant. He works through those who can discern mercy in misery, gain in the loss of all things. When the Light of the world passeth by, privileges appear in all hardships, right order in confusion, the success and wisdom of God in that which has seemed to be failure. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 21

My brethren, in your ministry come close to the people. Uplift those who are cast down. Teach the first principles of the message. Treat of calamities as disguised blessings, of woes as mercies. Work in a way that will cause hope to spring up in the place of despair. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 22

We must have workers. We must arouse the people. The common people are to take their place as workers. Sharing the sorrows of their fellow men, as the Saviour shared the sorrows of humanity, they will by faith see Him working with them. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 23

“The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly.” [Zephaniah 1:14.] The world must be warned. New fields must be entered. To every worker I would say, Go forth in humble faith, and the Lord will go with you. But watch unto prayer. The power is of God. Work in dependence upon Him, remembering that you are laborers together with Him. He is your Helper. Your strength is from Him. He will be your wisdom, your sanctification, your righteousness, your redemption. Wear the yoke of Christ, daily learning of Him His meekness and lowliness. He will be your Comfort, your Rest. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 24

*****

Our Helper

God gave His Son to die for us, that we might have everlasting life. Christ volunteered to become sin for us, to redeem us from the curse of sin. In his own person He bore the punishment that rightly belonged to man. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 25

“Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? This that is glorious in His apparel, travelling in the greatness of His strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with me. ... I looked, and there was none to help, and I wondered that there was none to uphold; therefore mine arm brought salvation unto me. ... In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them, and carried them all the days of old.” [Isaiah 63:1-3, 5, 9.] 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 26

This is our hope. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, ... full of grace and truth. ... And of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” [John 1:14, 16.] 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 27

Christ is God as well as man. He who was with the Father before the world was became flesh, and dwelt among us. We may behold His glory. Those who receive the Son of God become sons of God. They are His spiritual children, born again, renewed in righteousness and true holiness. Their minds are changed. With clearer vision they behold eternal realities. They are adopted into God’s family, and they become conformed into His likeness, changed by His Spirit from glory to glory. From cherishing supreme love for self, they come to cherish supreme love for God and for Christ. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 28

No man inherits holiness as a birthright or as a gift from any other human being. Holiness is the gift of God through Christ. Jesus is the light of the world. Those who do not receive Him as a personal Saviour can never, never come to the light. They can never have eternal life. But those who follow Him have the light of life. He who commanded the light to shine out of darkness shines into their hearts, reflecting through their lives the light of the knowledge of Christ. In His light they see light. “But,” the apostle added, “we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.” [2 Corinthians 4:6, 7.] 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 29

*****

July 18, 1902

May the Lord greatly bless you in your work, my dear brethren. I want you to guard one point. Do not be easily disturbed by what others may say. Know that you are right, and then go ahead. God will certainly lead all who will be led. The great trouble is that we are so unwilling to walk with God. Maintain the simplicity of Christ. Ask God to separate from you everything that would separate you from Him, and then walk before Him in all humility. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 30

As the divine endowment—the power of the Holy Spirit—was given to the disciples, so it will today be given to all who seek aright. This power alone is able to make us wise unto salvation and fit us for the courts above. Christ wants to give us a blessing that will make us holy. “These things have I spoken unto you,” He says, “that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” [John 15:11.] Joy in the Holy Spirit is health-giving, life-giving joy. In giving us His Spirit, God gives us Himself, making Himself a fountain of divine influence to give life to the world. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 31

As God so liberally bestows His gifts on you, remember that it is in order that you may return them to the Giver, multiplied by being imparted. Bring into the lives of others light and joy and peace. We need every day the discipline of self-humiliation, that we may be prepared to receive the heavenly gift, not to hoard it, not to rob God’s children of His blessing, but to give it in all its rich fulness to others. When more than now shall we need a heart open to receive, aching as it were with its longing to impart! 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 32

We are in duty bound to draw largely from the treasure house of divine knowledge. God wants us to receive much, in order that we may impart much. He desires us to be channels through which He can impart His grace to the world. Let earnestness and sincerity and faith characterize your prayers. The Lord is willing to do for us “exceeding abundantly, above all that we ask or think.” [Ephesians 3:20.] Talk it, pray it! Do not talk unbelief. We cannot afford to let Satan see that he has power to darken our countenances and sadden our souls. Pray in faith, and be sure to bring your lives into harmony with your petitions, that you may receive the blessings for which you pray. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 33

Let not your faith weaken; for the blessings received are proportionate to the faith exercised. “According to your faith be it unto you.” [Matthew 9:29.] Believe that ye receive the things ye ask for, and ye shall have them. Pray, believe, rejoice! Sing praises to God because He has answered your prayers. Take Him at His word. “He is faithful that promised.” [Hebrews 10:23.] Not one sincere supplication is lost. The channel is open, the stream is flowing. It carried with it healing properties, pouring forth a restoring current of health and life and salvation. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 34

I long at times to be with you, but I dare not leave my work. I commit you to a covenant-keeping God. May He give you peace and grace and health. Do not cease to claim the fulness of His promise. Do not be troubled by the opinions of those who talk for the sake of talking. Let us pray that their tongues may become active and eloquent in the praise of God. 17LtMs, Lt 96, 1902, par. 35