Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 22 (1907)


Lt 86, 1907

Churches in the Large Cities

St. Helena, California

March 4, 1907

Portions of this letter are published in UL 77; TDG 72; WM 161-162.

Our Duties and Perils

To our churches in the large cities: 22LtMs, Lt 86, 1907, par. 1

We have a large work to do for the year 1907. God’s Word teaches that those who will follow the footsteps of the Man of Calvary in these last days will have to press forward under the greatest difficulties; for Satan has come down with great power, knowing that he has but a short time to work. 22LtMs, Lt 86, 1907, par. 2

In the past, the servants of God who held the truth in its purity suffered to maintain that purity. Prophets who were sent to bear a decided testimony against the cruel workings of satanic agencies, ministers sent to do a special work and give a special message, were assailed and imprisoned. Under the deceptive influence of satanic agencies, men invented all manner of cruelties to make them yield their faith; and many died under the persecution they suffered. In every age God’s people have had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings. 22LtMs, Lt 86, 1907, par. 3

He whom the Father gave to the world to be its Light—He who led the armies of Israel to their possession in the land of Canaan—was rejected and persecuted by the people who professed to know God’s will. The light shone amid the darkness, but the darkness comprehended it not. 22LtMs, Lt 86, 1907, par. 4

Christ had been the leader of ancient Israel, guiding them by a cloud in the day, that light and heat should not oppress them, and at night by a cloud lighted by the brightness of His presence. But when “He came unto His own, His own received Him not.” [John 1:11.] They were absorbed in their study of forms and symbols and were walking in the ways of their own choosing. They would not be reformed by the messages from heaven, nor heed the counsel and admonitions of God. They crucified the Lord of glory, taunting Him as He hung dying upon the cross, “Let Him come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.” “He saved others; Himself He cannot save.” [Matthew 27:42.] 22LtMs, Lt 86, 1907, par. 5

Enmity between truth and falsehood has existed ever since the fall of Satan. The being who now works so constantly to sow the seeds of error once occupied one of the most exalted positions in the heavenly courts. But he was not satisfied with his position. He determined to be more highly exalted, and he worked to further his ambitious projects until there was war in heaven. 22LtMs, Lt 86, 1907, par. 6

Satan, and those whom he had deceived, and who fought with him, were cast out of heaven; but the warfare has been continued on the earth. In every age Satan has worked through men who have departed from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and teaching deceptive doctrines and principles of satanic origin. Christ taught His disciples how to meet the deceptive work of Satan and his followers. Under a variety of symbols, the Saviour presented the work of extending His kingdom of truth and righteousness throughout the world. It is by teaching the truth that we are to defeat the purposes of Satan. 22LtMs, Lt 86, 1907, par. 7

Christ illustrated this work in the parable of the sower. “Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower,” He said; “when anyone heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he that received seed by the wayside. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while; for when tribulation or persecution ariseth, because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received the seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground, is he that heareth the word and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty.” [Matthew 13:18-23.] 22LtMs, Lt 86, 1907, par. 8

The teacher of sacred truth can impart that only which he knows by experience. “The sower sowed his seed.” [Luke 8:5.] Christ taught the truth because He was the truth. His own thought, His character, His life experience were embodied in His teaching. So with His servants: those who would teach the Word are to make it their own by a personal experience. They must know what it means to have Christ made unto them wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. In presenting the Word of God to others, they are not to make it a suppose-so or a may-be. They should declare with the apostle Peter, “We have not followed cunningly devised fables when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of His majesty.” [2 Peter 1:16.] Every minister of Christ should be able to say with the beloved John, “The life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.” [1 John 1:2.] 22LtMs, Lt 86, 1907, par. 9

“Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: but while he slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? And he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest, I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.” [Matthew 13:24-30.] 22LtMs, Lt 86, 1907, par. 10

The teaching of this parable is illustrated in God’s own dealing with men and angels. Satan is a deceiver. When he sinned in heaven, even the loyal angels did not fully discern his character. This was why God did not at once destroy Satan. Had He done so, the holy angels would not have perceived the justice and love of God. A doubt of God’s goodness would have been as evil seed, that would yield the bitter fruit of sin and woe. Therefore the author of evil was spared, fully to develop his character. 22LtMs, Lt 86, 1907, par. 11

Through long ages God has borne the anguish of beholding the work of evil. He has given the infinite Gift of Calvary, rather than let any be deceived by the misrepresentations of the wicked one; for the tares could not be plucked up without danger of uprooting the precious grain. And shall we not be as forbearing toward our fellow men as the Lord of heaven is toward Satan? 22LtMs, Lt 86, 1907, par. 12

Not condemnation and judgment of others, but humility and distrust of self is the teaching of Christ’s parable. Not all that is sown in the field is good grain. The fact that men are in the church does not prove them Christians. The tares closely resembled the wheat while the blades were green; but when the field was white to the harvest, the worthless weeds bore no likeness to the wheat that bowed under the weight of its full, ripe heads. Sinners who make a pretension of piety mingle for a time with the true followers of Christ, and the semblance of Christianity is calculated to deceive many; but in the harvest of the world, there will be no likeness between good and evil. Then those who have joined the church, but have not joined Christ, will be manifest. 22LtMs, Lt 86, 1907, par. 13

“Another parable spake He unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in thee measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. All these things spake Jesus unto them in parables; and without a parable spake He not unto them. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet saying, I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.” [Verses 33-35.] 22LtMs, Lt 86, 1907, par. 14

The parables of Christ are educating in their nature, and we need to study them until we know their meaning. The leaven hidden in the meal represents the work of God’s messengers in carrying the gospel to places where it is not known. Leaven is all-pervading and powerful in its influence. Though silent and hidden, it works until it affects the whole mass. It is a symbol of the truth, and the parable was spoken that we might understand what a power divine truth may be in its influence on individuals and communities. 22LtMs, Lt 86, 1907, par. 15

The Lord has presented before me the work that is to be done in our cities. The believers in these cities can work for God in the neighborhood of their homes. They are to labor quietly and in humility, carrying with them wherever they go the atmosphere of heaven. If they keep self out of sight, pointing always to Christ, the power of their influence will be felt. 22LtMs, Lt 86, 1907, par. 16

It is not the Lord’s purpose that ministers should be left to do the greatest part of the work of sowing the seeds of truth. Men who are not called to the ministry are to labor for their Master according to their several ability. As a worker gives himself unreservedly to the service of the Lord, he gains an experience that enables him to work more and more successfully for the Master. The influence that drew him to Christ helps him to draw others to Christ. The work of a public speaker may never be laid upon him, but he is nonetheless a minister for God; and his work testifies that he is born of God. 22LtMs, Lt 86, 1907, par. 17

Women as well as men can engage in the work of hiding the truth where it can work out and be made manifest. They can take their places in the work at this crisis, and the Lord will work through them. If they are imbued with a sense of their duty, and labor under the influence of the Spirit of God, they will have just the self-possession required for this time. The Saviour will reflect upon these self-sacrificing women the light of His countenance, and this will give them a power that will exceed that of men. They can do in families a work that men cannot do, a work that reaches the inner life. They can come close to the hearts of those whom men cannot reach. Their work is needed. Discreet and humble women can do a good work in explaining the truth to the people in their homes. The Word of God thus explained will begin its leavening work, and through its influence whole families will be converted to the truth. 22LtMs, Lt 86, 1907, par. 18

In Christ’s day, the truths and the evidences of truth that He presented did not convert the many. His wonderful miracles were made of none effect to the majority by the work of the priests and rulers—those who professed to believe in a coming Messiah. When He raised Lazarus from the dead, they sought to put Lazarus also to death, lest his testimony to the power of Christ should convince the people that this was the Messiah. An increasing hardness of heart overcame all their convictions; unbelief became stronger and stronger; and when such light and evidence was given that they could not fail to discern His divinity, they determined to kill Him and be rid of Him. 22LtMs, Lt 86, 1907, par. 19

In our day we meet those who, while claiming to believe the truth, do not conform their lives to its teachings. They are not converted. There are among us ministers and physicians who connive at wrongdoing and by their influence lead others to join them in their course of unbelief. All the evidence that God has given loses force with them. They do not choose to give up their way for God’s way. They link together to do their own will, to follow their own devisings, and to lift up their soul unto vanity. God asks these souls, “What shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” [Mark 8:36, 37.] 22LtMs, Lt 86, 1907, par. 20

A supreme desire to follow one’s own way will destroy all the saving efficacy of the truth for the conversion of the soul. Our only safe plan is to give up our devotion to self and self-interests and accept the way and will of Christ. 22LtMs, Lt 86, 1907, par. 21

Means are provided by which temptation may be resisted and overcome. The Word of God is an educating power. My brethren and sisters, Gain a knowledge of the Word, and learn why God would have you resist temptation. The promises of God are Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus. He is faithful that hath promised. He will not suffer any obedient soul to seek His help in vain. He knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and He will effectually restrain the power of the enemy that may come upon us through human agencies. 22LtMs, Lt 86, 1907, par. 22