Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 20 (1905)


Ms 34, 1905

A Call to the First Love

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

February 9, 1905

Portions of this manuscript are published in 7BC 958.

I feel intensely anxious that as a people we may stand without fault before the throne of God. God is not pleased with our present condition. It is of the utmost importance that every one of us stand on higher and holier ground. In Revelation we have a message to those who have gone out of the way. 20LtMs, Ms 34, 1905, par. 1

“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write: These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks: I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil; and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars; and hast borne, and hast patience, and for My name’s sake has labored, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove the candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” [Revelation 2:1-5.] 20LtMs, Ms 34, 1905, par. 2

God chooses faithful, self-sacrificing men to do a special work for Him. The Lord Jesus imbues them with His light and gives them influence. As His servants they are under His special protection; He will guard them from the fierce attacks of their enemies. But they are to abide in their first love. God’s faithful ministers are of more value to the church than is the sun to the world. They will not lose their luster, so long as they continue to seek their light from Christ. Looking unto Him, they become changed into His image. 20LtMs, Ms 34, 1905, par. 3

Would that I could show to others, as I have been shown, how the church on earth is to give clear and unmistakable evidence that God sent His Son into the world, that through Him His people might represent the heavenly family. 20LtMs, Ms 34, 1905, par. 4

He who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks is closely related to His church and His ministers. His church is His beautiful garden, His choice husbandry. He walks in their midst, observing their order. He is grieved by the course of those, whatever their calling, their education, or their positions of influence, who have lost their first love and who trust their own capabilities as though they were complete in themselves. He is dishonored when the members of His church exalt themselves, draw apart, and do not express the warmth of life in their words and in their relations one to another. He desires them to present to the world a copy of the heavenly pattern. 20LtMs, Ms 34, 1905, par. 5

But Jesus looks with pleasure upon those who put their dependence upon Him. They will have His joy in their hearts. They will meet experiences that try the soul, but they will not give expression to feelings of annoyance. Their trials will soon pass, and the peace of Christ will fill their hearts. If God sees fit to reprove in them a course of action that He cannot commend, they will be thankful for His correction. The reproofs sent to His servants will be to them a blessing if they will turn from the errors that are pointed out. Jesus beholds each day the work of His ministers, teachers, and medical missionaries. 20LtMs, Ms 34, 1905, par. 6

“I know thy work, and thy labor,” He says. [Verse 2.] He has graven us upon the palms of His hands. Shall we not show ourselves worthy of His commendation? Shall we not love Him and love our ministering brethren? 20LtMs, Ms 34, 1905, par. 7

Let us press together in unity. Let not coldness or evil surmising come in. Let us heal the wrongs that exist, and give no further place to Satan. 20LtMs, Ms 34, 1905, par. 8

A decided rebuke is given to the church, “Thou hast left thy first love.” [Verse 4.] There are men today who are drifting away from the ark of safety. They are too proud to let others think they need to repent. But unless they heed the message of Christ, their candlestick will be removed out of its place. The third chapter of Revelation also contains important messages. “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write: These things saith He that hath the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars: I know thy works, 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.” [Verses 1-3.] 20LtMs, Ms 34, 1905, par. 9

A warning is given of a time when errors would come in as a thief to steal away the faith of God’s people, when they must watch diligently and be constantly guarded against the delusions of the enemy. In Sardis many had been converted through the preaching of the apostles. The truth had been received as a bright and shining light. But some had forgotten the wonderful manner in which they had received the truth, and Jesus found it necessary to send reproof. One after another of the old standard-bearers had fallen, and some had become wearied of the oft-repeated truths. They desired a new phase of doctrine, more pleasing to many minds. They thought they needed a wonderful change and in their spiritual blindness did not discern that their sophistries would uproot all the experiences of the past. But the Lord Jesus could see the end from the beginning. Through John He sent them the warning, “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.” [Verse 3.] 20LtMs, Ms 34, 1905, par. 10