Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 19 (1904)


Lt 107, 1904

Butler, G. I.

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

February 28, 1904

Portions of this letter are published in 6BC 1106; 7BC 905; CC 342. +Note

Dear Brother Butler,—

I hear, through a letter from Edson, that you have been sick. He tells me that you went North to attend some meetings, and to try to raise some means for the work in the South, but that you did not receive the encouragement or the means for which you hoped. Well, my brother, you did your duty, did you not? You presented before the people the needs of the Southern field. The journey was not one that you would have chosen to take for pleasure. Travelling at this season of the year is not very enjoyable. You went to do the will of God. If the response made by the people had been proportionate to the necessities of the case, how little you would have cared for the disagreeable experiences connected with the performance of your duty. It does indeed seem as if your appeals ought to have met with a heartier response; and yet, we do not know all the circumstances. 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 1

Do not become discouraged. Gain courage from the experience of the apostle Paul. He had many trials. He was an unwearied worker and traveled constantly, sometimes through inhospitable regions, sometimes on the water, in storm and tempest. Far harder than ours was his lot; for traveling then had not the conveniences that it has now. But Paul allowed nothing to hinder him from his work. He was the servant of God and must carry out His will. By word of mouth and by letter, he bore a message that ever since has brought help and strength to the church of God. To us living on the eve of the close of this earth’s history, the message that he bore speaks plainly of the dangers that will threaten the church and of the false doctrines that the people of God will have to meet. 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 2

Paul was a tentmaker, and he supported himself by working at his trade. While working thus, he spoke of the gospel to those with whom he came in contact and turned many souls from error to truth. He lost no opportunity of speaking of the Saviour or of helping those in trouble. 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 3

Paul went from place to place, from city to city, preaching the gospel of Christ and establishing churches. Wherever he could find a hearing, he labored to counterwork error and to turn the feet of men and women into the path of right. 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 4

Those who by his labors in a place were led to accept Christ as their Saviour he organized into a church. No matter how few in number they might be, this was done. These souls were to help one another, remembering the promise, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” [Matthew 18:20.] 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 5

And Paul did not forget the churches thus established. However small a church might be, it was the object of his care and interest. He watched the smaller churches carefully, regarding them as in special need of care, that the members might become throughly established in the truth and taught to put forth earnest, unselfish efforts for those around them. 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 6

From a zealous persecutor of the followers of Christ, Paul became one of the Saviour’s most effective and devoted workers. Suddenly arrested in his career of persecution, he was given a view of the Saviour, and a complete transformation took place in him. Henceforth his life was wholly devoted to the Crucified One. Afterward, when engaged in service for Christ, he would relate, in the power of the Spirit, the way in which he had been converted. So impressive were his words that those only who were filled with the bitterest hatred against the Christian religion could withstand them. 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 7

Paul was a safe expositor of doctrine. He was often in vision, yet he did not relate what he saw, but worked it out in his life. 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 8

Paul’s calling demanded from him service of varied kinds—working with his hands to earn his living, traveling from place to place, establishing churches, writing letters to the churches already established. Yet in the midst of these varied labors, he declared, “This one thing I do.” [Philippians 3:13.] One thing he kept steadfastly before him in all his work—to be faithful to Christ who, when he was blaspheming His name and using every means in his power to make others blaspheme it, had revealed Himself to him. The one great purpose of his life was to serve and honor Him whose name had once filled him with contempt. His one desire was to win souls to the Saviour. Jew and Gentile might oppose and persecute him, but nothing could turn him from his purpose. 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 9

Writing to the Philippians, he describes this experience before and after his conversion. “If any man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh,” he says, “I more; circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law,a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is of the law, blameless.” [Verses 4-6.] 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 10

But a change came in his life. On his way to Damascus to persecute the followers of Christ, he was suddenly stopped. Christ revealed Himself to him. Henceforth his testimony was: 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 11

“Yea, verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may gain Christ, and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.” [Verses 8, 9.] 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 12

The righteousness that heretofore he had thought of so much worth was now worthless in his sight. The longing of his soul was: “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” [Verses 10-14.] 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 13

To know Christ and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering—this was the one aim and purpose of his life. 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 14

“Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded; and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 15

“Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction,” whose god is indulgence of appetite, “whose glory is their shame, who mind earthly things. For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.” [Verses 15-21.] 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 16

The Christian life is a battle and a march. The warfare is unceasing. With earnest, determined effort we must constantly oppose the forces of the enemy. 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 17

I am in earnest, Brother Butler, in urging you not to become discouraged. Move steadily forward in the path of duty, and leave the consequences with God. The enemy is working in the hearts of some who profess to be Christians. Some who have been connected with our institutions have failed to meet the requirements of God. But as you bear your testimony and preach the Word, you must not keep your eyes fastened on the things that are seen. Look to the things that are not seen. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith. 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 18

Because circumstances change and disappointment comes, because you did not receive as much help as you hoped to receive for the building up of the work that has been so long delayed, you are not to become disheartened. Take it to the Lord in prayer. I know that you have done this in sincerity of heart, and yet I know how deeply you must feel the lack of comprehension on the part of the churches. I know that the lack of hearty co-operation makes you heartsick and makes your burdens much heavier. But all that you can do is to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 19

Mark one thing, my brother. Never fail to show that there is a marked difference between the one who serves God and the one who serves Him not. The “no difference” doctrine has not the slightest foundation in the Word of God. There is a decided difference between Christ’s disciples and worldlings. Satan comes with the merciful story that God is love. Yes; God is love, but He will not excuse wilful disregard of His commands. His word is Yea and Amen. He declares that He will honor those who honor Him, exalting Him by a faithful observance of the day which He has set apart as holy. 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 20

God has not left His requirements indefinite. The enactments of His government are such that men do not escape, even in this life, the consequences of disloyalty. His government takes cognizance of the whole of a man’s life. Man’s conduct in this world decides his eternal destiny. As he has sown, so he must reap. Sooner or later after the sowing comes the reaping. Even in this life men receive good or evil, according to their deeds. Cause must be followed by effect. 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 21

At the great day of judgment every case will be forever decided. God will so present the justice of heaven’s laws that the nothingness of man’s false theories will be plainly seen. To every deed done there are unseen, heavenly witnesses. Men will be judged according to the light and the privileges they have had and will be rewarded or punished according to their works. Men may reason and make assertions, but this will not change anything that is written in the books of heaven. 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 22

The things which God commissioned John to send to the churches are not to be set aside as idle tales while speculations regarding what will be in the future life are brought in. God has never revealed just what will be in the future life, neither has He authorized any one to bring in theories regarding this subject. The salvation of souls does not depend on such theories. Yet precious time is given to the discussion of such subjects as whether children will be born in the new earth, while vital, important truths are passed over and neglected. Let our people remember that on subjects regarding which God has not spoken, silence is eloquence. “What think ye of Christ?” [Matthew 22:42.] This is the all-important question for every one to answer. Do you receive Him as a personal Saviour? To all who receive Him He gives power to become sons of God. 19LtMs, Lt 107, 1904, par. 23