Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18

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Lt 219, 1903

Butler, G. I.

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

October 13, 1903

This letter is published in entirety in 17MR 310-315. +Note

Dear Brother Butler,—

I have received two or three letters from you recently, but have not been able to answer them; for I have been very busy preparing matter to be sent to the brethren in council at Washington. I will now try to write you a few lines. Your letters were all most interesting. I wish that I could see you and talk with you, but this cannot be. I say to you, Be of good courage in the Lord. He knows the perplexities that we must meet in our labors, and He will give us strength according to our need. 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 1

I ask you again not to overwork. We must keep a little strength in reserve to meet the emergencies that will arise. Do not, because you have a deposit in the bank, keep drawing on it until you have overdrawn. You and I both need to heed this caution. 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 2

I rejoice to know that you realize that our strength is wholly in the Lord. Let us daily offer the most earnest prayer to Him. Yesterday morning I was up at two; and this morning, a little after two, I dressed and then knelt in prayer to ask God for special help. I long to see the salvation of God. 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 3

I am glad to hear that there is a prospect of Brother Amadon’s coming from Battle Creek to help in the publishing house at Nashville. This will be a good move. 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 4

I am very sorry that Hiland does not come to your help. I realize your loneliness, because I have seen it, and I sympathize with you. If Hiland were with you, you could lay part of your work on him, and then you would not have to carry so heavy a burden. You need him, and he should allow nothing to prevent him from going to you and standing by your side. Do not worry that this has not yet been brought about. The word of the Lord to Hiland was that he was to go to you and help you in your work. This has been signified as his duty, and I am sure that ere long God will bring it about; for He lives and reigns. The wheel of God’s providence may turn slowly, but it will turn. I may not live to see this, but I know that it will turn. 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 5

I am glad that your coming meeting is not to be at Graysville. Nashville is the place for it. Nothing has been revealed that would make the holding of such a meeting at Nashville, wisely conducted, out of harmony with the will of God. We have telegraphed Edson the following message: “Institutes in large cities, accompanied by public effort greatly needed. Go ahead in Nashville.” So feel at rest in regard to this matter. Do not worry, but believe and hope in God. Trust His living Word. 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 6

I wish to speak of another point. In regard to Brother Rogers’ connecting with the Huntsville school, I thought at first that this might be best, but light has come to me that he can accomplish a much greater work in Vicksburg. In a short time, as the work opens up in the large cities, he will be needed as a man who can be depended on. At present he is needed in Vicksburg. Let God use the men of capability just where their influence will tell for the most good. Brother Nicola has been placed in charge of the Huntsville school. Give him another trial, and keep looking for a man to take hold there who is sound and solid in every respect and who will stand firm for principle. 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 7

At this time we need, not men who will catch up new, fanciful ideas, but men who will catch the notes that sound from the heavenly courts and who, without consulting any man, will obey God’s orders. We have been warned that the enemy will bring in his deceptive working. In so subtle a way will he work that he will appear to be an angel of light. I am bidden to lift up my voice and say to all our people, Beware, beware. Those who, having had warnings and entreaties and counsels, still follow their own will are not laborers together with God. 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 8

There are proud, Pharisaical men who think that it would be a great humiliation to confess that they had sinned. Thus Satan thought. Pride, self-sufficiency, a life of untruth—these things are barring their way to heaven. Could they see themselves as they are looked upon in the heavenly courts, their garments of self-righteousness would fall from them, leaving them ashamed, naked, condemned. For years they have had hardly a glimmer of light from the throne of God, and they have forgotten what it means to have a clear sense of justice and righteousness. They have given place to underhand working to take advantage of others, and they know not what it means to be filled with spiritual life. When the time of test comes, they will find that their refuge of lies will not shield them from the searching eyes of Him who sees every discrepancy, every falsehood. 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 9

It has been long since such an one has taken a candid view of himself in the divine mirror. So long has he thought that the end justifies the means that he has scarcely a conviction of sufficient force to work a reformation. If he should in parable have presented to him the difference between the genuine and the false, the eternal contrast between truth and falsehood, if he would see the need of integrity in the everyday life, his heart would be filled with humiliation and sorrow, as he thought of the influence of his departures from righteousness and of the many who had learned from him how to act under similar circumstances. Would he not strive to break the yoke of habit? Would he not cease to do evil, no longer remaining feeble in moral power, lacking the grace of Christ, feeling no right to claim pardon and to put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness? 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 10

He has sometimes “swept and garnished” his house and put on the garments of joy and gladness. But he did not surrender himself fully for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and after a time old habits re-asserted their power. He failed and went back to his evil practices, and his condition became worse than it was before he made the attempt to reform. 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 11

Christ says, “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return unto my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in, and dwell there.” [Matthew 12:43-45.] 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 12

There are those over whom the control of Satan seems for a time to be broken; through the grace of God they are set free from the evil spirit that has held dominion over the soul. But they do not surrender themselves to God daily, that Christ might dwell in the heart; and when the evil spirit returns, with “seven other spirits more wicked than himself,” he is wholly dominated by the power of evil. [Verse 45.] 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 13

When the soul surrenders itself to Christ, a new power takes possession of the new heart. A change is wrought which man can never accomplish for himself. It is a supernatural working, bringing a supernatural element into human nature. The soul that is yielded to Christ becomes His own fortress, which He holds in a revolted world, and He intends that no authority shall be known in it but His own. A soul thus kept in possession by the heavenly agencies is impregnable to the assaults of Satan. But unless we do yield ourselves to the control of Christ, we shall be dominated by the wicked one. 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 14

“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 may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And besides 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 be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [2 Peter 1:2-8.] 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 15

As we work upon the plan of addition, adding these graces to our character, God works for us upon the plan of multiplication. 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 16

Then comes the warning to those who fail to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that it is God which worketh in them. “He that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” [Verse 9.] He has not purified his soul daily by praying and watching unto prayer, and he makes a new record of sin. He drifts with the current of worldliness. 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 17

“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 10, 11.] This is the eternal life insurance policy granted to those who in this life obey the dictates of the Holy Spirit. Is it not well worth striving for? 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 18

“Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance.” [Verses 12, 13.] 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 19

I thank God for these words of encouragement. Why should we not all stop grumbling and putting stones in front of the wheels of the car of progress? 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 20

“We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” [Verses 16-19.] 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 21

I send you these words that you may be encouraged to press forward when great difficulties arise. Preserve your health. We must be prepared to meet every conceivable form of the working of Satan. 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 22

I am called upon to lift the danger signal, and I call upon you, Elder Butler, to bear a plain testimony before the people. But do not speak lengthily; for this wearies you, and those who hear can not remember what is said so well as if the talks were shorter. Let your discourses be short and right to the point. May the Lord help you and me to speak the word of truth plainly and clearly. 18LtMs, Lt 219, 1903, par. 23