Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903)


Lt 44, 1903

Burden, Brother and Sister [J. A.]

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

March 9, 1903

Portions of this letter are published in SpM 259-260; TDG 77; 7BC 943, 963; OHC 32. +Note

Dear brother and sister Burden,—

I should have been very much pleased to meet you at Conference, but I learn that you are not coming; therefore I will write you a letter to go by this mail. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 1

I understand that you are having at the Sanitarium some difficulty in regard to the diet question. I am very sorry for this, because I know that unless the workers can agree, their differences will be a source of constant temptation. You and Dr. Kress and his wife are to co-operate. Things would have come to a strange pass should either of you say, We cannot work together, because we do not see alike on the diet question. Be sure that you are heeding Christ’s prayer for unity. He says: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth. As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone; but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word, that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.” [John 17:16-21.] 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 2

Since the oneness of Christ’s followers is of such weighty consequence, be sure that you come to an agreement. By your unity you bear witness to the world that God has sent His Son to save sinners. Only the power of Christ’s grace could work the miracle of bringing into perfect harmony men of different dispositions and ideas. The truths of God’s Word, brought into the practical life, will enable believers to live together in complete unity. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 3

It is well for Brother and Sister Burden and Brother and Sister Kress to have strong minds. Each is to maintain his individuality. Each is to preserve an individuality that will not be submerged in the individuality of another. No human being is to be the shadow of another human being. But God’s servants are to labor together in a unity that blends mind with mind. Do you think that this unity can exist among the workers in the Sanitarium unless you all take a judicious, sanctified position? 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 4

“The glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one.” [Verse 22.] Are you willing to make sacrifices to answer this prayer? Or will you, because there is a difference of opinion regarding certain articles of food that one or the other thinks should or should not be set on the table, or regarding the hours for meals, will you say that you cannot work together? Is this Bible sanctification? 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 5

“I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.” [Verse 23.] 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 6

What a wonderful statement. The thought is almost too great for the mind to comprehend. But the promise is to be believed and acted upon by Christians, that Christ’s prayer may be answered. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 7

The Saviour says, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you.” This is the restraining of the human will, human appetite, human inclination. “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.] The will is to be yielded to the will of Christ. As this is done, rest is found, and the testimony is borne, “Christ’s yoke is easy, and His burden is light.” 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 8

My brother, a firm will is a good thing when it is sanctified. But I know, from the light that the Lord has given me, that you and your wife need to yoke up with Christ and to learn that in some respects your ideas and plans and methods would be improved if modified. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 9

The Sanitarium has been established that all classes may be reached by the truth. I ask you and Brother and Sister Kress to do all in your power to bring into the Sanitarium the unity for which Christ prayed. Reveal His love. Let the truth rule in the heart, and you will be one with Christ in God. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 10

You say that you are dyspeptics. Is it not possible that your plan of eating may not be the best? I am instructed to say that you need to change in some things, else you will injure your digestive powers. I do not say what you shall or shall not eat. But if, while eating the things you choose, you have dyspepsia, I think you ought to make a decided change. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 11

If you are convinced that your habits of eating are just as they should be, and that there is no possibility of your being able to make a change for the better, you could try perhaps [to] board by yourselves instead of in the institution. But if I were a dyspeptic, I should make changes in my diet until I knew for a certainty that I was eating the food that my stomach could best care for. A craving for certain things may need to be brought into subjection. Self is rebellious and must be strictly disciplined. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 12

Be regular in your habits of eating, and be sure not to overburden the stomach by eating too many kinds of food at one time. Stop eating before you feel entirely satisfied. The stomach is the most abused organ of the whole body. It is often wearied by the effort to take care of food that should not be eaten at the same time. A disturbance is created by the kinds of food brought together. Soon there is an all-gone feeling, and many think that this is hunger. But it is not. The trouble is that the stomach has too much to do. Let it be given less to do, and it will recover its healthy tone. The simpler the food eaten, and the fewer the kinds, the easier is the stomach’s work. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 13

The same rules of eating cannot be made for all. I make it a rule never to eat custards; for when I eat them, they always make a disturbance in my stomach. But there are those in my family who suffer no inconvenience from eating custards, and because I cannot eat them, I do not say that they ought not to eat them. We must each experiment and know for ourselves what is best for us to eat. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 14

We may have to abstain from many things that others can eat without inconvenience. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 15

The Education of Israel

The Lord chose Israel for His own people. When He brought them out of Egypt they were a people just set free from slavery. For four hundred years they had been bondmen under the discipline of force. Now, under the instruction of Christ, the One who had pledged Himself to redeem the world, they were to learn the philosophy of heaven. They were to become an educating power in the world. Through them God designed to make known the laws of His kingdom and His rules of government. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 16

The Lord Jesus took this despised race out of the house of oppression and slavery to make them His own peculiar people. He took them away from the kingdoms of the world and for forty years led them in the wilderness to prepare them to be a representation of what His people should be. Through them He manifested His supreme authority. All other nations were afraid of them, because Jehovah was with them. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 17

Their journey through the wilderness was to be to them a school of preparation, a training. They were to learn under the special supervision of Christ. Enshrouded in the pillar of cloud, He gave them instruction through Moses. By a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night He guided them. The record says: “Moreover thou leddest them in the day by a pillar of fire, to give them light in the way wherein they should go.” [Nehemiah 9:12.] The ark containing the law of God led the way. The place of encampment was indicated by the descent of the pillar of fire. As long as the cloud rested on the tabernacle, the people remained in camp. When it lifted, they pursued their journey. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 18

At Sinai God sought to impress Israel with the holiness of His character and requirements and the exceeding guilt of transgression. But the people were slow to learn the lesson. Accustomed as they had been in Egypt to material representations of the deity, and these of the most degrading nature, it was difficult for them to conceive of the existence or the character of the Unseen One. In pity for their weakness, God gave them a symbol of His presence. “Let them make me a sanctuary,” He said, “that I may dwell among them.” [Exodus 25:8.] 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 19

It was under His direction that the tabernacle was built. Great was the privilege and honor granted Israel in the preparation of the sanctuary; and great also was the responsibility. A structure of surpassing splendor, demanding for its construction the most costly material and the highest artistic skill, was to be erected in the wilderness by a people just escaped from slavery. It seemed a stupendous task. But He who had given the plan of the building stood pledged to co-operate with the builders. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 20

“The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, See, I have called by name Bezaleel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship. ... And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahismach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee.” [Exodus 31:1-3, 6.] 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 21

The education of the Israelites included all their habits of life. Everything that concerned their well-being was the subject of divine solicitude and came with the province of divine law. It was because the Lord desired to make them His representatives that He provided them with a special bill of fare. They were placed under careful restrictions in regard to their diet. The use of flesh food was almost entirely prohibited. The people were to be holy, and the Lord knew that the use of flesh meat would be a hindrance to their advancement in spiritual life. By a miracle of mercy He fed them with the bread of heaven. The food provided for them was of a nature to promote physical, mental, and moral strength; and though so many of them rebelled against the restriction of their diet and longed to return to the ways “when,” they said, “we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full” [Exodus 16:3], yet the wisdom of God’s choice for them was vindicated in a manner that they could not gainsay. Notwithstanding the hardships of their wilderness life, there was not a feeble one in all their tribes. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 22

If the Israelites had been given the diet to which they had been accustomed while in Egypt, they would have exhibited the unmanageable spirit that the world is exhibiting today. In the diet of men and women in this age there are included many things that the Lord would not have permitted the children of Israel to eat. The human family as it is today is an illustration of what the children of Israel would have been if God had allowed them to eat the food and follow the habits and customs of the Egyptians. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 23

Lessons for Us

The history of the wilderness life of Israel was chronicled for the benefit of the Israel of God till the close of time. The record of God’s dealing with the wanderers in all their marchings to and fro, in their exposure to hunger, thirst, and weariness, and in the striking manifestations of His power for their relief is fraught with warning and instruction for His people in this age. The varied experiences of the Hebrews was a school of preparation for their promised home in Canaan. God would have His people review in these days, with a humble heart and a teachable spirit, the trials through which ancient Israel passed, that they may be instructed in their preparation for the heavenly Canaan. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 24

The record of the journeyings of Israel in the wilderness contains communications direct from heaven. These lessons are for us. Let us read and understand. There the divine laws are plainly stated. There are recorded sacred principles of morality, justice, reverence for God, respect for man made in the image of God. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 25

The teachings of the representative men of Israel, who received their message directly from God, is not Yea and Nay, but Yea and Amen. The instruction that they received we are to bring into our service for God today. The words were spoken by the same Christ who afterward came to the world to stand at the head of the race as a divine-human Saviour; and these words are as verily spoken to us as to them. They are given to help us to reach the standard of righteousness, to show us how to advance in conquest of the world. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 26

In His Word God reveals what He can do for human beings. He molds and fashions after the divine similitude the characters of those who will wear His yoke. Through His grace they are made partakers of the divine nature and are thus enabled to overcome the corruption that is in the world through lust. It is God who gives us power to overcome. Those who hear His voice and obey His commandments are enabled to form righteous characters. Those who disregard His expressed commands will form characters like the propensities that they indulge. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 27


On Which Side Shall We Stand? 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 28

In the world there are but two parties. One acknowledges as its head the prince of darkness, who caused the fall of our first parents. The other stands under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel. The great movements of providence will bring out a people who are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. Let us be sure under which banner we are standing, the banner of Satan or the banner of Christ. There is no middle ground. All in the world are standing on one side or the other. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 29

There are those who, though professedly serving God, are witnessing against Him. To them the message to the Laodicean church is given. Christ says to them, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot.” [Revelation 3:15.] When the avenging angel shall pass through the land, Christ cannot say of them, “Touch them not. I have graven them upon the palms of My hands.” [See Isaiah 49:16.] No; of these halfhearted ones He says, “I will spew them out of my mouth. They are offensive to me.” [See Revelation 3:16.] 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 30

Halfhearted Christians are worse than infidels; for their deceptive words and noncommittal position lead many astray. The infidel shows his colors. The lukewarm Christian deceives both parties. He is neither a good worldling nor a good Christian. Satan uses him to do a work that no one else can do. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 31

The line of demarcation between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not is ever to be kept clear and distinct. To be a Christian is to link up with Christ. To those in the service of God who stand half with believers and half with unbelievers, God says, “Stand aside. I cannot endorse your influence. Your course is misleading. The service of such as you has made many infidels. Stand aside.” 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 32

The time will come when all will show plainly on whose side they are standing. Moses and Aaron were often compelled to stand on the mount of advantage, in opposition to their brethren, decidedly asserting their loyalty. Today God’s servants are to show plainly where they are standing. Those who have any part to act in the education and training of the people of God, who are to act so important a part in the last work to be done for the world, must be faithful and decided and wholly in earnest. Those who stand wholly on the Lord’s side will be given the clear light of truth. There will be no uncertainty in the minds of others as to where they are standing. God will give strength to those who will stand fast in the liberty wherewith He makes free all who choose to stand with Him. He will give them His insignia and will give them freedom from all bondage. He will give them wisdom to use their capabilities for Him. He will help them to speak inspiring, uplifting words to those who need encouragement—words that will give believers and unbelievers confidence that they bear a message of importance from the throne of God. Such workers do not seek to exalt self, but to glorify the Lord of heaven. They have a deep experience in the things of God. The message that they bear means something to them and to those who hear. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 33

It is for our present and eternal good to bear aloft the banner on which is inscribed, “The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” [Revelation 14:12.] Those who do this exert a strong influence on the side of right. But a halfhearted confession of faith will never rebuke unbelievers for their transgression of God’s law. God says: “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters.” [2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.] 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 34

“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord.” [2 Corinthians 7:1.] Our present and future welfare call for this entire separation from the world. Those who occupy positions of trust in our institutions are to give evidence that they are thoroughly converted. Those who do not give this evidence should not be allowed to mold the work of God. Those who are connected with this sacred work should never play a double game, exerting an influence on both sides. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 35

God is not pleased with the position that His people are taking. Instead of gathering with Him, they are scattering abroad. They are using common fire instead of the sacred fire of the Lord’s kindling. God would save them from their sins. He would keep them from wasting their endowments and from the bitter remorse that will come to them if they do not make their life the success that God desires them to make it. There are those who, if they do not immediately retrace their steps, will at last bear the sad message: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” [Jeremiah 8:20.] In many things they are unwise and unfaithful. Their voices strengthen unbelief; and because they make strange paths for their feet, many are cast into uncertainty and confusion. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 36

God calls upon His people to stand out upon the platform of eternal truth. To those who will put on the whole Christian armor, placing themselves unreservedly under God’s control, will be given strength to honor God day by day, to do His will and follow His way. Such ones will gain the mastery over the deceptions and insinuations of satanic agencies. They will discern the enemy’s falsities and enticements. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 37

The worldly minded and unrighteous see in the truth only confusion and a mixed-up jumble of opposites. Christ has no beauty that they should desire Him. We shall be compelled to leave some in the entanglement that for years they have been preparing themselves. There are those that we must allow nothing to hinder us from reaching—the sorrowful and the brokenhearted. We have a message to bear to those who will be benefited. We cannot exhaust our powers upon those who will not hear. Many close their eyes in death who might have been spared had they been relieved of the burdens placed on them by the course of those who refused to come to Christ. I am obliged to say, “Some are joined to their idols; let them alone.” [See Hosea 4:17.] If they continue to feel that they are in no need of change, the change that they must have before they can be saved will never come to them. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 38

I entreat our people not to allow the enemy to take advantage of them, so that believers will have no confidence in the work that since 1844 the Lord has been doing in our world. There are those claiming to believe the truth who are lost in the wilderness of unbelief, as was Baalam. Baalam was once acknowledged by God as a prophet of the Lord, but he proved unfaithful to his trust; and had the Lord permitted, he would have placed the people of God in a false light. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 39

The true follower of Christ alone has the promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. The lowliest disciple of Christ will stand higher in the kingdom of God than the one who, in seeking to exalt himself, has left a wrong impression on the minds of unbelievers. The humbleminded one, who is willing to wear Christ’s yoke, will learn His meekness and lowliness and will keep in subordination the natural desire to be first. His character will be after the divine similitude, and God will exalt him above those who strove to exalt themselves. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 40

Looking to Jesus for help and guidance, seeking to understand and to proclaim the message for this time—this is our work. God says to us: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sin.” [Isaiah 58:1.] “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” [Isaiah 60:1-3.] We need to awake. Many have long been in a state of confusion and uncertainty. Christ came to seek and save that which was lost. When the spirit of the third angel’s message takes hold upon the hearts of Seventh-day Adventists, there will be a work done that God can approve. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 41

In this time of peril we need men who serve God with all the powers of body, mind, and soul, and who will stand firm for the right. God will give such men power to be faithful sentinels over themselves. But He cannot trust His work to halfhearted, halfconverted men, men who cannot discern between righteousness and unrighteousness, truth and error, men who, though they have had great light and many opportunities, reason in a way that leads minds into confusion. The cause of God needs men and women who will stand on the platform of truth without wavering, and who will hold the banner of truth firmly aloft, so that no one can fail to see on which side they are standing. Their position is to be clearly defined. Their hearts are to be pure and holy, free from pretense or deception. Those who cannot give the plain “Shibboleth” [Judges 12:6], those who know not the meaning of the ministry of godliness, God cannot accept, whatever their profession may be. 18LtMs, Lt 44, 1903, par. 42