Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 20 (1905)


Lt 11, 1905

Those Assembled in Council at Nashville


January 10, 1905 [typed]

Portions of this letter are published in UL 24; 2MCP 522; 6MR 281-282. +Note

To those assembled in council at Nashville

Dear Brethren,—

I am deeply interested in the work that is being done in the Southern field, and especially in the work of the Huntsville School. This school farm was represented to me as having on it fruit trees in full bearing, and also a variety of grains and vegetables, which were in a flourishing condition. Then the words were spoken: “This land is a precious treasure. If thoroughly cultivated, it will yield a valuable increase for the support of the school. But special pains must be taken in its cultivation. Much more may be realized from it than now appears possible. If properly treated, this land will be a lesson book to the students, and to our people, and to those not of our faith.” 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 1

There was presented before me a gathering in of the harvest with much rejoicing. Painstaking effort had gained a liberal reward. Then the explanation was given: Thus it may be in the lives of the students, if they will put forth patient effort to acquire knowledge and will respond to the painstaking effort put forth in their behalf. The seed sown by the diligent efforts of the teachers will be seen in the development of valuable faculties, which will be of use in the Lord’s cause. The students will gain knowledge that they can give to their own race. 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 2

When I was last in Nashville, I was asked whether it would not be best to dispose of the Huntsville school farm and purchase land elsewhere. Those who asked this question thought that perhaps there was more land in this farm than could be properly managed by the students. 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 3

When I was on the steamer Morning Star, the matter was opened before me. I wrote out the instruction given and read it to a large number at the Huntsville meeting. I will have this matter copied and sent to Brother Rogers and to other workers in the South. 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 4

I will not repeat in this letter the lengthy message given me, but will say, Be of good courage, my brethren. Be of good courage in the Lord. A way out of present difficulties will be found. Our part is to reach forward and upward toward the mark of the prize of our high calling of God in Christ Jesus. He who is in harmony with God ever stands bravely for the right. His influence is always exerted on the side of truth. 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 5

There is a power for good in intellect, if it is conformed to the mind of Christ, sanctified and controlled by the Spirit of God. But intellect alone cannot give a fitness for heaven or enable us to reach the divine standard. In order for a man to be what God desires him to be, he must have a pure, noble character. The right that one has to claim that he is a man is determined by the use that he makes of his intellect. Before man can be acknowledged as a laborer together with God, he must get out of and away from the self-confidence that claims much and gives little. 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 6

Many who have grown to the physical stature of men have kept in their characters a childishness that makes it impossible for God to be glorified in them. In order to be partakers of Christ’s character, we must leave all childishness behind. 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 7

Human beings have no right to think that there is a limit to the efforts that they are to make to represent the goodness and love of God in the work of saving souls. Did Christ ever become weary in His work of soul-saving? Did He ever draw back from self-denial and sacrifice? When church members bring into their lives the self-denial that Christ brought into His life, when they put forth the continuous, persevering efforts that He put forth, they will have no time and no inclination to weave into their experience the false threads that would spoil the pattern. 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 8

As church members we cannot afford to stop to quarrel; for time, precious time, is passing into eternity. We are to watch, and work, and pray, never letting self obtain the mastery. We are to be all ready, through watchfulness and prayer, to spring into action in obedience to the Master’s command. Wherever we see work waiting to be done, we are to take it up and do it, constantly looking unto Jesus. If our church members would heed this instruction, hundreds of souls would be won to Jesus. 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 9

Let those who are easily irritated refuse to retaliate when words that vex them are spoken. Let them seek the Lord in prayer, asking Him to show them how to work for souls perishing in sin. He who keeps busy in this work will be so thoroughly imbued with the Spirit of God that his manners, his voice, his whole life will be a revelation of Christ. Try it, brethren, try it. Crucify self in the place of seeking to crucify your brethren. “If any man will come after Me,” Christ said, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” [Matthew 16:24.] 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 10

Self-denial means much. It means a denial of the natural desires and the natural disposition. It means a denial of the inclination to find fault and accuse. It is a neglect of this self-denial that needs now to be corrected. My brethren, take yourselves in hand on this point, and you will find that you will not have so many provocations to anger. Be kind in word and spirit. Is it not high time that you were preparing for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for those that love Him? Will you not stop censuring one another? Will you not cease speaking words of faultfinding to your brethren and to your children? Your happiness depends on refusing to speak one disagreeable, impatient word. 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 11

For Christ’s sake, watch and pray; and during the year that we have just entered, strive to restrain all harsh words. Resolve that you will not speak words that will cast a shadow over the lives of others. Do not stop to ask whether those around you appreciate your efforts to deny self. Open the windows heavenward. Think of Christ, and try to please Him. “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against all the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Ephesians 6:11, 12.] Satan will use every possible device to make you like himself and thus separate you from the One who gave His life for you. Evil angels will strive for the mastery in your life. If you have not on the whole armor of God, you will be overcome. Shall it be thus, or will you sign the pledge that you will not be intemperate in word or in spirit, that you will keep the divine Pattern ever before you? 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 12

This warning was not given by the apostle without a purpose. We should all feel that it is our duty to stand at our post, on guard over ourselves, lest the evil agencies warring against us shall be successful in leading us to say and do that which will please the enemy. 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 13

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” [Verse 13.] What is meant by “all”? Read the words of Christ in the Old Testament and in the New, and you will see. 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 14

“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” [Verses 14-17.] The words and deeds of Christ’s followers are to be fragrant with the holiness of truth. 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 15

“If so be that ye have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus; that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor; for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath; neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more; but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good, to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” [Ephesians 4:21-32.] 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 16

God forbid that our church members should stay any longer on the lowlands, subject to Satan’s plans and suggestions and devisings. I pray that they may have the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. We belong to one body, one church. One interest is to animate us, one Spirit guide us. 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 17

Pray for a thorough transformation of character, and then work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure. 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 18

Were all the useless books destroyed, were all the money saved that is expended for reading that does not cause one ray of light to shine upon the pathway, were the Word of God studied with the deep interest that its importance demands, there would be a wonderful increase of appetite for the bread of heaven. 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 19

Read and study the Word of God. Do not fill your minds with the reading contained in magazines and novels. Reject this, and spend the money thus saved in sending our papers to those who have them not. Keep searching the Scriptures and eating the bread of life. 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 20

There are many who have not kept their baptismal vows. Christ and His disciples had a clear, decided testimony to bear in the power of the Holy Spirit. Such a testimony we also must bear, or we shall be unprepared for the coming of the Lord. How does your record stand in the heavenly courts? Will you not now, for Christ’s sake, examine your own souls. Will you not love God supremely and your neighbor as yourself. Remember that every time you stir up strife, every time you accuse and condemn others, the enemy lays a snare to destroy your usefulness. 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 21

For many nights I have not been able to sleep for more than a short time. My soul bears a heavy burden as the situation of our people is presented before me. I am saying in my sleep, You are unready to do the work that should be done. There are grave dangers before you. O that my soul might be relieved of this burden! It is represented to me that all through our ranks there are those to whom the messages of the third chapter of Revelation are applicable. “I know thy works,” God says, “that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die; for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received, and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” [Revelation 3:1-3.] 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 22

Now, just now, humble your hearts before God, and make earnest work for repentance. Arouse from your careless indifference, and seek the Lord with all the heart, and soul, and mind, and strength. Confess your sins before Him, and repent with the whole heart. The wickedness that is in our world is very great, and every day it is increasing. How long it will be before the great day of trouble comes, we do not know. 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 23

May the Lord open blind eyes, that His people may understand wondrous things out of His law. I entreat you to heed the warning I bear to you. I entreat you to cease finding fault and censuring, and set your hearts in order, that you may labor for those who are perishing in sin. 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 24

Are your lives, your characters controlled by the Holy Spirit? We are living amidst abnormal wickedness, but we may stand free from it all. Serve God zealously and faithfully, and thus be preparing for the great day when Christ shall come to take His jewels to Himself. Oh, awake out of sleep. Without transformation of character you cannot be ready to meet the Lord in peace. Christ will save all who will make an entire surrender to Him. Make a covenant with God by sacrifice. Humble yourselves before Him, and remember that you cannot repent of other men’s sins. It is of your own sins that you are most thoroughly to repent. You are to work for others, that they may believe in Jesus, and be washed in the blood of the Lamb. 20LtMs, Lt 11, 1905, par. 25