Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 19 (1904)

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Ms 24, 1904

Words of Instruction

NP

March 8, 1904 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in CG 420-421; 1SM 86-88. +Note

“The Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire; ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. And He declared unto you His covenant, which He commanded you to perform, even ten commandments, and He wrote them upon two tables of stone. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 1

“And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it. Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves, ... lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, the likeness of anything that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters under the earth; and lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.” [Deuteronomy 4:12-19.] 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 2

This charge, given to ancient Israel, is given also to God’s people today. Let those who have been denominated as His peculiar people remember that the things He has created are not God, that they but testify of God. Let them battle against the inclination to give way to the unsanctified propensities that strengthen with every indulgence. Let every church member remember that in order to be a co-worker with God, he must serve the Lord in the way that He has marked out in His Word, submitting wholly to His will and His way. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 3

Those who would be workers together with God must look at things from His side of the question, not from the side of those who are unconverted. There are those who all through their lives have given way to inclination altogether more than is for their spiritual good. They have come to think that they cannot be happy unless they are favored as they think they ought to be. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 4

“Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden,” Christ says, “and I will give you rest.” [Matthew 11:28.] The moment that you submit your will to My will, trusting in My ability to understand your needs, believing My promise, you will find rest. Place your dependence on the validity of My promise. Rest on the word that I have spoken. Then your heart and mind will expand to discern the far-reaching character of My love. You will see that it is a saving love, a love that you may freely express to others. When your life is bound up with My life, the influence of your words and acts will be as salt that has not lost its savor. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 5

An unconverted life manifests itself in desire for recognition and self-gratification. He who lives such a life may profess to be a Christian, but he is entirely out of harmony with Christ. He does not reveal Christ in his words, his acts, his dress. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 6

Economy in Dress

There are professing Christians who spend so much on dress that they have nothing to spare for the needs of others. They think that they must have expensive clothing, and they are regardless of the needs of those who find it difficult to provide themselves with even the plainest clothing. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 7

This describes the real condition of things in many churches. O how much better it would be if those who indulge their taste for expensive dress would, instead, deny themselves and with the means thus saved help the needy ones among them. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 8

My sisters, I ask that there be more harmony between your dress and your profession of faith. Bring your manner of dressing into conformity to the rules given in the Bible. Then the religious services that you attend will indeed be love-feasts, hallowed by the presence of Christ. And you will have means with which to help your poorer sisters. Remember that these sisters may need something more than the aid of your means. Help them with your suggestions, your tact and skill. Show them how to dress simply and yet tastefully. This is missionary work that is most acceptable to God. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 9

Will you not talk these things over together, and see what you can do toward economizing in dress, that you may have something with which to help your poorer sisters. You are members of the royal family. Your names are enrolled in the Lamb’s book of life. Will you not dress in harmony with the instruction found in God’s Word. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 10

“I will therefore,” the apostle Paul writes, “that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” [1 Timothy 2:8-10.] 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 11

And Peter writes, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” [1 Peter 3:1-4.] 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 12

Worldlings spend much on dress. But the Lord has charged His people to come out from the world and be separate. Gay or expensive apparel is not becoming to those who profess to believe that we are living in the last days of probation. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 13

My sisters, it is not your dress that makes you of value in the Lord’s sight. It is the inward adorning, the graces of the Holy Spirit, the kind word, the thoughtful consideration for others that He values. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 14

Practice economy in your outlay of means for dress. Remember that what you wear is constantly exerting an influence upon those with whom you come in contact. Do not lavish upon yourselves means that is greatly needed elsewhere. Do not spend the Lord’s money to gratify a taste for expensive clothing. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 15

In every particular our dress is to be in harmony with the truth that we profess. Those of our sisters who are connected with our institutions should be very careful to dress in a way that will give others a correct representation of the truth for this time. Let them show that Christ has given them strength to deny the inclination for expensive dress. The young women who are nurses will see much expensive clothing as they are brought in contact with the patients. But let them look away from this to the One who left His high position in the heavenly courts and came to our world to live in our behalf a life of self-denial and sacrifice. Let them walk in the light that shines from the cross of Calvary. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 16

Willing to Spend and be Spent

He who loves God supremely and his neighbor as himself will work with the constant realization that he is a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. Making God’s will his will, he will reveal in his life the transforming power of the grace of Christ. In all the circumstances of life, he will take Christ’s example as His guide. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 17

Every true, self-sacrificing worker for God is willing to spend and be spent for the sake of others. Christ says, “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” [John 12:25.] By earnest, thoughtful efforts to help where help is needed, the true Christian shows his love for God and for his fellow beings. He may lose his life in service. But when Christ comes to gather His jewels to Himself, he will find it again. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 18

My brethren and sisters, do not spend a large amount of time and money on self for the sake of appearance. Those who do this are obliged to leave undone many things that would have comforted others, sending a warm glow to their weary spirits. We all need to learn how to improve more faithfully the opportunities that so often come to us to bring light and hope into the lives of others. How can we improve these opportunities if our thoughts are centered upon self? He who is self-centered loses countless opportunities for doing that which would have brought blessing to others and to himself. It is the duty of the servant of Christ, under every circumstance, to ask himself, What can I do to help others? Having done his best, he is to leave the consequences with God. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 19

I desire so to live that in the future life I can feel that during this life I did what I could. God has provided for every one pleasure that may be enjoyed by rich and poor alike—the pleasure found in cultivating pureness of thought and unselfishness of action, the pleasure that comes from speaking sympathizing words and doing kindly deeds. From those who perform such service the light of Christ shines to brighten lives darkened by many shadows. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 20

God is dishonored when we fail to speak the truth plainly to one another. But we are to speak the truth in love, bringing tenderness and sympathy into our voices. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 21

The perils of the last days are upon us. Those who live to please and gratify self are dishonoring the Lord. He cannot work through them; for they would misrepresent Him before those who are ignorant of the truth. Be very careful not to hinder, by an unwise expenditure of means, the work that the Lord would have done in proclaiming the warning message to a world lying in wickedness. Study economy, cutting down your personal expense to the lowest possible figure. On every hand the necessities of the cause of God are calling for help. God may see that you are fostering pride. He may see that it is necessary to remove from you blessings which, instead of improving, you have used for the gratification of selfish pride. The truth that we hear will save us only as we gladly accept it, showing in our lives the result of its working, growing in grace and in a knowledge of God. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 22

Help in Every Time of Need

Those who are laboring in places where the work has not long been started will often find themselves in great need of better facilities. Their work will seem to be hindered for lack of these facilities; but let them not worry. Let them take the whole matter to the Lord in prayer. When trying to build up the work in new territory, we have often gone to the limit of our resources. At times it seemed as if we could not advance further. But we kept our petitions ascending to the heavenly courts, all the time denying self; and God heard and answered our prayers, sending us means for the advancement of the work. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 23

Lay every care at the feet of the Redeemer. “Ask, and ye shall receive.” [John 16:24.] Work, and pray, and believe with the whole heart. Do not wait till the money is in your hands before doing anything. Walk out by faith. God has declared that the standard of truth is to be planted in many places. Learn to believe as you pray to God for help. Practice self-denial; for Christ’s whole life on this earth was one of self-denial. He came to show us what we must be and do in order to gain eternal life. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 24

Do your best, and then wait patiently, hopefully, rejoicingly, because the promise of God cannot fail. Failure comes because many who could put their means into circulation for the advancement of God’s work are lacking in faith. The longer they withhold their means, the less faith they will have. They are barrier builders who fearfully retard the work of God. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 25

My dear fellow workers, be true, hopeful, heroic. Let every blow be made in faith. As you do your best, the Lord will reward your faithfulness. From the life-giving fountain draw physical, mental, and spiritual energy. Manliness, womanliness—sanctified, purified, refined, ennobled—we have the promise of receiving. We need that faith which will enable us to endure the seeing of Him who is invisible. As you fix your eyes upon Him, you will be filled with a deep love for the souls for whom He died and will receive strength for renewed effort. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 26

Christ is our only hope. Come to God in the name of Him who gave His life for the world. Rely upon the efficacy of His sacrifice. Show that His love, His joy is in your soul, and that because of this your joy is full. Cease to talk unbelief. In God is our strength. Pray much. Prayer is the life of the soul. The prayer of faith is the weapon by which we may successfully resist every assault of the enemy. 19LtMs, Ms 24, 1904, par. 27