Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)

151/469

Lt 146, 1902

Belden, Brother and Sister [S. T.]

Los Angeles, California

September 22, 1902

Portions of this letter are published in 10MR 140-144.

Dear Brother and Sister Belden,—

I have risen at one o’clock to write to you. I do not forget you. I think of you often and would be glad to visit you on your island home and talk with you, but this will never be. I see that the cause of God needs me here in America, and I must work here while He spares my life till He directs me elsewhere. I am sometimes greatly burdened in the night season. I rise from my bed and walk the room, praying to the Lord to help me bear the burden, and say nothing to make the people believe that the message He has given me is truth. When I can lay this burden on the Lord, I am free indeed. I enjoy a peace that I cannot express. I feel lifted up, as if borne by the everlasting arms, and peace and joy fill my soul. 17LtMs, Lt 146, 1902, par. 1

I am again and again reminded that I am not to try to clear away the confusion and contradiction of faith and feeling and unbelief that is expressed. I am not to be depressed, but am to speak the words of the Lord with authority, and then leave with Him all the consequences. I am instructed by the Great Physician to speak the word that the Lord gives me, whether men will hear or whether they will forbear. I am told that I have nothing to do with the consequences, that God, even the Lord Jehovah, will keep me in perfect peace if I will rest in His love and do the work He has given me. 17LtMs, Lt 146, 1902, par. 2

Be assured that I do not forget you. I pray for you, that the Lord will open up ways whereby you will be enabled to do good on Norfolk Island. I shall try to send you some money now and then. All that I have sent you since coming to this country has been hired on interest, but while I live, I will care for you. May the Lord give you peace and comfort. He is our only Hope and our only Helper. I shall be glad to hear from you as often as you can write, and I will write to you as often as I can. When it is not possible for me to write I will communicate to you through others. In this mail I will send you copies of letters I have written to the brethren in Australia. 17LtMs, Lt 146, 1902, par. 3

I am sorry that your prospect of earning money through your dentistry has been cut off. I am very much pleased to know that you have a good house. This relieves me of a great burden. 17LtMs, Lt 146, 1902, par. 4

The Lord desires us to put our trust in Him. I am keeping on the watch, not knowing how soon I may be called on to lay off my armor. I want my every word and impulse and action to be such that in the judgment I shall not be ashamed of them. I realize something of the time in which we are living. Our time of discipline on this earth, yours and mine, is very limited. Old age is telling on us. I have no time to devote to contention, and the Lord has told me that I am to have none with any soul, but that I am to go forward, believing, trusting, working. 17LtMs, Lt 146, 1902, par. 5

I am at present in Los Angeles, where for the last two weeks we have been attending camp-meeting. I have spoken seven times in all. The meeting closed last night, but for two days the leading brethren will be in committee and council meetings. 17LtMs, Lt 146, 1902, par. 6

The attendance at the camp-meeting was very good. On Sabbaths and Sundays the large tent was well filled, and during the week the evening meetings were well attended. 17LtMs, Lt 146, 1902, par. 7

Last Sabbath, before starting for the meeting, I felt so weak that I almost excused myself from going. But I did not, and just as soon as I stood on my feet before the people, I felt the strengthening power of the Lord upon me. My voice was clear and reached all in that large tent, though I made no effort to make them hear. 17LtMs, Lt 146, 1902, par. 8

At one time, after returning from my trip to New York, I feared that I had lost my voice altogether. But the Lord has given it back to me again, blessing and strengthening me, and I am able to continue camp-meeting work, which it seems to be very necessary for me to do. 17LtMs, Lt 146, 1902, par. 9

I never realized more decidedly than at the present time the help of the Lord in my speaking and writing. I shall stand on the field of battle until the Lord releases me. I am afraid for our people—afraid that the love of the world is robbing them of godliness and piety. I am trying to arouse them to see the danger of being decoyed by the enemy on to enchanted ground. I am trying to show them the need of cultivating faith and love at all times and under all circumstances. It is only by strong faith that a strong love for the Saviour can be kept alive in the heart. Our faith in Christ must be a pure, strong, genuine faith. There is a spurious faith which leads only to confidence in self and to criticism of others. Such faith quenches every spark of Christlike love in the soul. 17LtMs, Lt 146, 1902, par. 10

God calls upon His people to be united. But our union can be genuine only as we move upward to the cross of Calvary, every day crucifying self. All efforts at union that are not founded on the softening, subduing love of Christ in the heart will most assuredly fail. 17LtMs, Lt 146, 1902, par. 11

“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you, through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue; whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” [2 Peter 1:2-4.] 17LtMs, Lt 146, 1902, par. 12

There is power in genuine religion. Through faith, through conformity to the will of God, we shall become so Christlike that men will see that we are partakers of the divine nature, and that we are making constant advancement in the knowledge of Christ. As we co-operate with the Saviour, working on the plan of addition outlined in the following words, He works for us on the plan of multiplication: “Beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall; for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” [Verses 5-11.] 17LtMs, Lt 146, 1902, par. 13

These words contain the science of Christianity. They show us how we may obtain an insurance policy to the life that measures with the life of God. Let us cultivate the precious graces of the Spirit. Let us use the talent of speech aright, speaking only words that will bless and strengthen those who hear. Let us crucify self, that in our hearts may grow up a strong love for Christ and for one another. Let us bring into the daily experience the instruction contained in the thirteenth chapter of first Corinthians. Believers must bring into their lives a stronger love for one another, a growing interest in one another. 17LtMs, Lt 146, 1902, par. 14

Self must be surrendered to God before there can take possession of the life that strong, steady belief in the truth that is broad and comprehensive, taking in the whole plan of salvation—its purposes of love and mercy; that uproots from the heart all enmity, all petty differences, and transforms indifference and coldness into Christlike affection. 17LtMs, Lt 146, 1902, par. 15

Tell the believers on Norfolk Island for me that they need this belief in the truth. Pray humbly together. Repent of your sins, and confess your faults to one another, that you may come together in unity and love. Let all be exceedingly careful to do or say nothing that will create ill will. 17LtMs, Lt 146, 1902, par. 16

Why should not believers love one another? It is impossible to love Christ and at the same time act uncourteously toward one another. It is impossible to have the Christlove in the heart and at the same time draw apart from one another, showing no love or sympathy. The more love we have for Christ, the more love we will have for one another. 17LtMs, Lt 146, 1902, par. 17

There must be a reformation on this point, else there will be in our churches a perilous departing from God. “We have known and believed the love that God hath for us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, so are we in the world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God, whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” [1 John 4:16-21.] 17LtMs, Lt 146, 1902, par. 18

Brother Belden, I wish you to read to the church on Norfolk Island such parts of this letter as may benefit them; for they need these words. 17LtMs, Lt 146, 1902, par. 19