Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 20 (1905)

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Lt 354, 1905

Vincent, Brother

New Mexico, [On train, en route to California]

June 11, 1905

Portions of this letter are published in 11MR 105.

Elder Vincent,—

Your letter from Florida has just this day been placed in my hands. I will say I am sorry for you indeed. We have had in our experience just such people to work with, and all who will not purify their souls by leaving off every habit that corrupts soul and body cannot honestly claim the name of Seventh-day Adventist. How do you suppose that the practice of such indulgences could make a clean vessel for the reception of the truth? A few nights since, in a meeting, I was bearing a testimony to those who practiced the habit of using tobacco, notwithstanding the evidence of the injury done to brain, bone, and muscle. All the precious truths in the Word of God will not be appreciated, and I was saying of just such parties, they are joined to their idols; let them alone. All alone in the inspired Word are educational lessons of the highest quality to those who will purify themselves from all filthy, soul-and-body-destroying practices. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 1

I talk upon temperance and the practicing of self-denial. Every penny spent in the use of tobacco, liquor, beer, or coffee is carrying a self-destructive, poisonous influence through every vein and nerve of the bodies of those who use these things. Those who will not deny self, but expend the Lord’s money in purchasing that which injures brain, bone, and muscle, are so catering to their appetites that they cannot distinguish between truth and error, between light and darkness. True faith works by love and purifies the soul, body, spirit, and words from all spiritual and moral defilement. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 2

I ask the tobacco devotee to reckon up every penny, every shilling you spent for the evil thing you place in your mouth that is constantly weakening the physical, mental, and moral powers. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1, 2. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 3

Trace the whole chapter through. We must know that the use of the narcotic tobacco, in smoking, in chewing, and in spitting, is a defiling practice; and the spiritual discernment is very much clouded by this disgusting practice. To pray to God with mouth defiled with tobacco is very dishonoring to the place where saints meet to worship God. The use of tobacco is unchristian. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 4

I was riding in Texas in the carriage that was taking me several miles to attend meeting. The driver was smoking his pipe. I said, “Brother, you claim to be a teacher. What example are you giving children and youth? Can you afford to be in discord with Christ? Would you be pleased to see the world’s Redeemer working among the suffering, the diseased, with a pipe in His mouth? He states, What I see My Father do, I do, and what I do you must do.” The man writhed. He groaned. His face was very pale. “Oh,” he said, “I never thought of the matter in this light.” He snatched his pipe from his mouth and said, “Never, never will I touch a pipe or smoke a cigar or use tobacco in any form.” I raised his hand to heaven as he made this solemn vow. I have not seen him since, and yet some time after this I heard he had kept his vow. My Saviour, the honored Son of God with a pipe in His mouth! Let everyone who claims to be a Seventh-day Adventist consider this subject. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 5

“We are laborers together with God.” 1 Corinthians 3:9. The whole chapter is to be carefully read, then let humble prayer go up to God and see how we are filling the measure in Christ Jesus. Bear in mind that “ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” Such was the speech I was making to a party I thought I might meet on this journey somewhere. I was speaking and the Spirit of God was upon me. I said, “Will you please to reckon up how much of the Lord’s money you have worse than misappropriated? In the use of tobacco, you have abused your own consciences and your claim to be a Seventh-day Adventist. Every penny that is in your possession is to be used to place yourself in the best condition, both physical, mental, and moral, to be healthy, able to discern between righteousness and unrighteousness. The sooner you give up the name, Seventh-day Adventist, the better will it be for the cause of God; for your practice is demoralizing the whole man. How much money you have used to gratify your bad, sinful self-indulgences! When you are willing to be a missionary for God, you will be a thorough reformer.” 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 6

“If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24. I beseech each member of this church to now break from this habit which is brutalizing his nature and piling up for him hindrances and stumblingblocks that his own feet are turned out of the way. The Lord calls for reform. Those who will not deny themselves hurtful indulgences are certainly placing themselves where God cannot work with them, because they are using God’s talent of means to dishonor their minds, to decrease brain power to choose between good and evil, and are sowing the seed for premature sickness and maybe death. God’s money expended to indulge appetite is worse than to bury it in the earth as did the unfaithful steward. They are, by using an unhealthful drug, doing great damage to the temple of God, defiling the temple, destroying its useful service by weakening its faculties. If they will now be converted and use the means to advance the work of God, what a change there would be! 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 7

Will the church do this in love for their Redeemer? If they continue in the same course they are pursuing, they are constituting themselves as the party Christ addressed in Matthew 11:20-24. This representation is precisely as it will be with those who have heard the truth and have not kept it, who spend their talents needlessly in putting into their mouths the most disgusting, defiling indulgences, using the means so much needed to work our cities, to work in the highways and in the byways. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 8

The burden of souls should be felt keenly by all who claim to be Seventh-day Adventists. Christ’s work—who has undertaken it? Christ has given Himself, His whole being. He was rich in the heavenly courts. Ask Isaiah, “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in His apparel, travelling in the greatness of His strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art Thou red in Thine apparel, and Thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with Me.” Isaiah 63:1-3. Read the whole chapter, and (Isaiah 55), the whole chapter. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 9

The Lord calls to every man that has heard the truth and professes to be a Seventh-day Adventist to read, read, and understand. Oh, will souls give an example to their children? Will they lead them to hurtful self-indulgence? Will they by their own example place their children under temptation by their own practice? Will parents dishonor God? Will they give no heed to the testimonies God has given? 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 10

I call upon you to sign the temperance pledge. Drink no wine, no liquor, nor strong drink, and pledge yourself and prevail upon your children to sign the pledge to abstain from tobacco and to become thoroughly temperate in the food placed upon your tables. It is time every soul shall return unto the Lord and reform in the preparation of food. We need conversions all through our churches. Let there be economizing in means in every household. When strong faith and love for souls are cherished in the heart, when we behold the cross of Calvary and the gift of God to our world, it should call into exercise the higher claims of God upon us. Dwell upon the theme, and when the love of Christ pervades the heart every feeling of pride will be subdued. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 11

I call upon all in the South to arouse now. Many of you can do much more than you have done. It is because of the absence of the love of Christ in the heart that enmity springs into life like a strong man armed. Let all persons in every place pray, pray, confessing their sins. The melting mercy of Christ in the human heart will create a stronger love, stronger faith, stronger temperance in preserving the soul-temple from all moral defilement. Cleanse the soul-temple from all selfish greed of wanting to be first—greed of grasping things to which you have no right. Move toward the path of self-denial and self-sacrifice. The Lord would not sanction one penny spent on the indulgence of appetite to destroy the moral image of God in man in smoking or chewing. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 12

I call upon every church in the name of the Lord to have stronger faith in the love of Christ and greater appreciation of that love than have hitherto been exercised. To brotherly kindness must be added charity, not that weak charity that covers a multitude of sins unconfessed and unrepented of, because thorough work has not been done to deal plainly—brother with brother and supposed friend with friend. It is the time when a strong work is to be done, to break from Satan’s chain. There is to be no more work of daubing the souls over with untempered mortar, and God calls upon every soul who has done this work to weep and pray and confess the lack of discernment that has countenanced evil. Obedience to the law of God, the fruit of gospel repentance is a something of which no man is to be ashamed. Faith, hope, love, and every species of charity are to be magnified. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 13

The twelfth and thirteenth chapters of First Corinthians are in need of study and application to the members of the church, for the continuous humbling of individual self and taking self critically in hand. This is the beginning—self-examination. The very first step is to heed the words of Christ, “Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross” (Mark 8:34), not lay his cross on somebody else to carry. Each is to bear his own cross of self-denial and self-humiliation and self-sacrifice. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 14

Let each begin the work with himself. Tear away the self-blunders you have put on, and go to work for your soul’s sake. Every soul on earth must reflect the love, peace, and grace of heaven. It seems impossible for some to break the seductive influences Satan has exerted and will build to close the door of mercy. Will any soul dare to continue as he has done for years, working out his own plans through the arts of satanic influences? The Lord will save all who will be saved in the Lord’s appointed way. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 15

A great work is to be done for the Jewish nation, and there will be men whom God has appointed who will give the message God has for them to bear, and Gentiles will be converted, for the Lord Christ is the power that is going before His people. The Lord calls for His people to give no place for sophistries in our ranks. We must arise, put away all pomposity of self, and fall on the Rock and be broken. All who receive Christ, to them He gives power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in Him. God and Christ are love, and all who love and work in harmony with Christ will keep peace. It is not love that builds on a false theory to ruin the soul. Love is vital tenderness born of God. It reflects the pattern of God. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 16

The greatest work that the world has ever known is before us. Truth will go forth as a lamp that burneth. Forces will blend to do a work that will stand the last test. It will be not a bit of use to make any more efforts for those who will not see. Our time must be given and our means employed in doing the special work for this period of time. Cities are to have special attention. Men are to go forth from their employments and teach the truth. Many will make the work self-sustaining. What is the impulsive power back of true, genuine faith? It is the bearing of a message appropriate for the closing up of the work. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 17

Youth who have been centered in Battle Creek to get their education [are to get] out of Battle Creek. When the Lord gave His directions in regard to Battle Creek, the voice of men spoiled God’s plan. Now there is to be the stepping upon the platform of eternal truth that remains truth and will continue to be truth. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 18

Some have given years of study to science that God never ordered. It has been revealed it has not made them safe standards or beautified the Christian character. The hindrance that has been for years—working away from truth and God’s way for human inventions—must not remain a hindrance to God’s work. The Lord has spoken and men would not hear, and now let prayer and faith take the field, and let those who have means come to the understanding how this means shall be handled—to work against the truth or for the truth? There is to be far less time devoted entirely to the knowledge of many things. Come right to the very things that will be demanded in these last days, a preparation that the study of books cannot give. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 19

Physicians who have been doing the work of surgery ought to have been qualified with the time spent, but now are to learn under other education. They are to make the most of what Christ can teach them and not what they will have to take years to complete. Every one under Dr. Kellogg should have come forth practical practitioners. The Great Physician should be invited by earnest prayer to come to the bedside and work. I have seen the hand of God placed upon the hands of Doctor Kellogg again and again to guide him in operations. That is why the Lord has bidden us make every effort to save the man; but while he understood what the Lord desired him to do, he has failed, decidedly failed, and we must now go forward in the strength of the Great Physician. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 20

The Lord requires men to draw into the fabric through faith the certain wisdom God has given. The Lord God of heaven has a great work to be done. All the expenditure of means in large display must be avoided. It is not God’s way. Those who have houses and lands will dispose of them as the Lord shall direct them, and God’s money will be invested in the completion of the work of soul-saving. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 21

While Satan is rejoiced to see the work retarded, strange ways of expending large means to make a display that counts very little should not and cannot be afforded. God will help every one of His churches who work in the meekness of Christ. We should all care much more than we have done to follow Christ’s example. He invites, “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 11:29, 30. Who will heed this testimony? 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 22

If there are in the cities to be worked properties that can be purchased for a small sum, let these be purchased, as in the case of the church at Nashville, to be able to get the truth before the people. These purchases should be made, and let many take hold to help; but great display in many ways cannot be afforded, for others would suppose they must pattern after them. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 23

The word was spoken, The great universe of God is to unite with men whose whole influence is a power. Carry the work that has been hindered for years, but God forbids shall be hindered longer. The heart of the Great Healer works inwardly and outwardly in the preparation of a people to bear the message for these last days. The men who have devoted years to the study of science need now the education they could have obtained to become acquainted with God and His words and His works. His knowledge would have been of the highest value. We shall have abundance of science brought to the front, but we cannot use it; we want, every soul of us, the science of a living, trusting simplicity of truth—clean, sanctified knowledge—and in this day to keep pace with God’s benevolence. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] He who believes in Jesus Christ will work with Christ, and the angels of God will be the strength of His people. His benevolence, working with His grace, is divine. Infidels will prate about their infidelity, but there cannot be raised upon the strength of infidelity anything that meets the finger of God. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 24

Jews and Gentiles are to be converted. Bible coverts will be our refuge in the coming conflict. The only thing we are to dread is the men who have studied science under the specious guidance of satanic agencies. In a little time it will be seen that the great science is to take the world, as they suppose, under their specious reasons, and those who have been weakening through frequent introduction to Satan’s sophistries will not understand the works of God or His ways and His will. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 25

There must be economy in all of our work in any lines wherever we shall start in anew. All in high or in moderate circumstances must contract their luxuries through love for souls, to enlarge their charities and gain victories by love and by cheerfully submitting to God’s ways. Economizing will provide the resources in ways that they have not supposed would be. All will bear on its face the labor of love, the self-denial that is set forth in the Scriptures. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 26

Christ is our example in all things. To the young man who was rich and came to Christ with the supposition that he had kept God’s commandments from his youth up, Christ said, Go, sell all that thou hast and come, follow Me, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven. Here was his test, to sell, and give to the suffering poor to help them. The bread of life was in the gift of making these sacrifices. If ye eat My flesh and drink My blood, ye shall have eternal life. This means that Christ is to be the circulating current of life in the soul. 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 27

Christ explains in (John 6:40): “And this is the will of Him that sent He, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” 20LtMs, Lt 354, 1905, par. 28