Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 22 (1907)


Lt 100, 1907

Campbell, M. N.

St. Helena, California

March 13, 1907

Portions of this letter are published in 3BC 1134; CTr 185. +Note

M. N. Campbell
12 Graves Avenue
Battle Creek, Michigan

Dear Brother:

I have had the privilege of reading your letter to W. C. White, and I was much interested in its contents. 22LtMs, Lt 100, 1907, par. 1

For some time I have been writing on the subjects of Old Testament history. I have now nearly completed the book of Ezra. I have been encouraged as I have studied the experiences of this remarkable man. I am now writing on the seventh chapter, which deals with the time when the king’s decree went forth, that permitted Ezra to go up from Babylon and take with him the help he needed for the work to be accomplished in Jerusalem. Please read this chapter. 22LtMs, Lt 100, 1907, par. 2

“This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him. And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the singers, and of the priests and of the Levites, and the porters, ... And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him. For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” [Verses 6-10.] 22LtMs, Lt 100, 1907, par. 3

Ezra was of the sons of Aaron, a priest, whom God chose to be an instrument of good unto Israel, that he might put honor upon the priesthood, the glory of which had been greatly eclipsed during the captivity. Ezra was a man of great piety and holy zeal. He was also a man of learning and a ready scribe in the law of Moses. These qualifications made him an eminent man. 22LtMs, Lt 100, 1907, par. 4

Ezra was impressed by the Spirit of God to search the historical and poetical books of the Bible, and by this means he became familiar with the sense and understanding of the law. During the captivity the knowledge of God’s will had to some extent been lost. Ezra gathered all the copies of the law that he could find. He published copies of these among God’s people and became a teacher of the law and the prophecies in the schools of the prophets. The pure Word, thus diligently taught by Ezra, gave knowledge that was invaluable at that time. 22LtMs, Lt 100, 1907, par. 5

Ezra was a man of piety and holy zeal, because the truth was a sanctifying power in his soul. With earnestness he prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord. Some of the prophecies were about to be fulfilled; he would search diligently for the light that had been obscured. He sought this knowledge that he might educate the people how to bring into their practical life the principles of the Word of God. He made it his business to inquire into the matter diligently, that he might exert an influence in accordance with the expressed will of God, binding heart and mind and will in obedience to that Word. He felt that for himself he must do the will of the Lord; for only as he brought his own mind into harmony with truth could he be taught how to labor, how to come into harmony with the Word of God. He made it a rule to yield his mind and will and sentiments to the mind and will of God, thus bringing into his life sanctifying principles that molded the minds of the youth who learned of him, and of all who associated with him, desirous of being taught the laws of heaven. 22LtMs, Lt 100, 1907, par. 6

That which Ezra knew he desired to teach others, and thus he became a mouthpiece for God, educating those about him in the holy principles that govern in heaven. To live according to the commandments of God—that was the rule of his life, his purpose. He first learned, and then he taught. He learned to conduct his own life according to truth and righteousness; then he set himself to teach Israel the statutes and judgments of God. That which he had learned of truth he communicated to others, that the same saving influence might work in their lives. Teaching thus he educated his fellow men in the knowledge of truth that would live through eternal ages. 22LtMs, Lt 100, 1907, par. 7

Ezra’s life, like the life of Christ, sowed the seeds of truth in a revelation of the pure principles that can save the soul. Far happier would professing Christians be today if they would in the same way reflect the light of heaven upon the pathway of others, teaching in the life the statutes and judgments that rule in the heavenly courts. As Ezra labored to communicate what he had learned, his capabilities for labor increased and developed. He became the Lord’s witness to the world of what Bible truth is, revealed in the daily life of the receiver. 22LtMs, Lt 100, 1907, par. 8

Ezra’s example, in words and deeds, carried with it a weight of influence; for the Spirit of God was with him. He took pains with his studies. He diligently prepared his heart to do the work that he believed was appointed him. He searched out the words that had been written concerning the duties of God’s denominated people, and he found a solemn pledge that man had given that he would obey the words of God and the pledge of God’s blessing to the obedient. He searched for all those statements in history which relate to the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai, and for those that referred to the law written in books, and which were to be carefully preserved as the commands of God. 22LtMs, Lt 100, 1907, par. 9

The laws contained in books were not a new revelation, but the former laws repeated and commented upon. Before Moses was separated from the children of Israel, and went at the command of God to die in the land of Moab, the laws that were formerly given were repeated and enlarged upon. Some methods of enforcing them were given; some precepts were explained, and the reason given for them. Upon several occasions the judgments of God had fallen on transgressors, and commands that had been transgressed were repeated to give force to the requirements of God. Transgressors were to know assuredly that disobedience would surely bring the punishment of God. In this his last work for the people of God, Moses was as truly recording the mandates of heaven as when he received the ten commandments written on tables of stone, when God’s presence was visibly manifested, and Mt. Horeb trembled and cast forth fire and smoke. The commandments written in books were the words of God to the people as truly as were the words He spoke with an audible voice from Mt. Sinai. 22LtMs, Lt 100, 1907, par. 10

I ask you to study the life of Ezra, and learn to serve the Lord with heart and mind and strength. We each have an appointed work to do, and this can only be accomplished by consecrated effort. Shall we let the example of Ezra address itself to us individually, and teach us the use we should make of our knowledge of the Scriptures? We need to set ourselves first to know the requirements of God, and then to practice them. Then we can sow the seeds of truth that will bear fruit unto eternal life. 22LtMs, Lt 100, 1907, par. 11