Lt 28, 1897

1897

Lt 28, 1897

Belden, Brother and Sister

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

July 29, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in HP 245; 2SM 84; LDE 33, 76; 10MR 275. +Note

Dear Brother and Sister Belden:

I wish, if it were for the best, that you lived within a little distance of us, for it would please us very much to have an opportunity to converse with you. But if the Lord has a work for you to do in Norfolk, He will certainly open ways before you. He will strengthen and sustain you, that your influence may be for good. Lt28-1897.1

We are having interesting times for all in Australia. The pressure of the Sunday law has come and is coming. It has been ordered that all stores shall be closed on Sunday, and this is being rigidly enforced. The government is trying to have God acknowledged in the constitution. Our people are making just as vigorous a stand as possible that it shall not be. They have been securing names to a petition to this effect. We can see that that which we have been talking about for the last thirty-five years—this law causing the Sunday to be exalted and making human inventions take the place of God’s holy day—is now being fulfilled. There is much excitement now in regard to these matters. Lt28-1897.2

The second epistle of Paul [to the Thessalonians] should be read in connection with these things. The same work of oppression and persecution which was suffered by the saints of God in Paul’s day is soon to come to all who believe in this age. Lt28-1897.3

“Paul and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians, in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. We are bound to thank God always for you brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of you all toward each other aboundeth; so that we ourselves glory in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you.” [2 Thessalonians 1:1-6.] Lt28-1897.4

Here we see the interest of these churches for one another. The persecution they endured drew all hearts together and bound them together. They were scattered abroad. The errors and superstitious faith and doctrines of the Jewish nation so bitterly opposed to Christ left the little flock as sheep without a shepherd. But the seed was being sown. Christ was lifted up as the One crucified among them, and efforts were constantly made to alleviate the poverty and oppression of the brethren because of their faith. Lt28-1897.5

Directions were given to offer prayer to God that the seeds of virtue and truth sown by His appointed servants, the prophets, might not be in vain, that a rich harvest might reward their efforts, and that other laborers might be raised up to reap the harvest. Lt28-1897.6

In doing this work there was great opposition. It was no light task to carry forward the work, and many suffered for their belief in the truth of the gospel. With all kinds of persecutions Satan inspired human beings to annoy and distress the conscientious souls who loved God and kept His commandments. Lt28-1897.7

“And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” [Verses 7-10.] Lt28-1897.8

In sowing the seeds beside all water, we are to meet the same difficulties that the followers in Paul’s time encountered. But the Lord did not then leave His persecuted ones to be overcome. He gave them the opportunity and privilege of being overcomers. “Wherefore also,” said Paul, “we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power; that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” [Verses 11, 12.] Lt28-1897.9

It is just such epistles as this that we will be privileged to write, strengthening and encouraging one another, “building up one another in our most holy faith.” [Jude 20.] Lt28-1897.10

We are living in a very solemn period of this earth’s history. Then how appropriate for this time that we watch unto prayer. In prayer for our oppressed ones who will feel the most severely the opposition and test and trial of persecution we shall find comfort and consolation. We are to keep the lamp of faith burning brightly. We are to watch for opportunities of doing good to those who are called to suffer, for our afflicted brethren will need our words of consolation, of courage and hope. Lt28-1897.11

Christ said, “Woe unto you who laugh now, for ye shall mourn and weep.” [Luke 6:25.] This does not contradict the apostle’s statement when he enjoins upon Christians the necessity of rejoicing in the hope set before them in the gospel. The cheerfulness of the Christian is created by the consideration of the great blessings we enjoy because we are children of God. “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved,” he says, “and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” [Philippians 4:1.] The cheerful enlightenment of the mind and the soul temple by the assurance that we have reconciliation with God, the hope we have of everlasting life through Christ, and the pleasure of blessing others, are joys which bring no sorrow with them. Those who indulge in chaffing, mirth, levity, and vanity of spirit, which arise from a superficial, cheap experience, have no real, solid foundation for hope and joy in the love of God and belief of the truth. The giddy, the heedless, the gay, the jovial spirit is not the joy which Paul is anxious that Christ’s followers shall have. This class spend their time in frivolity and excessive levity. Time is passing, the end is near; yet they have not laid up for themselves a good foundation against the time to come that they may lay hold on everlasting life. Lt28-1897.12

We need not encourage that mirth which dissipates reflection, leaves no time for consideration, and establishes habits of lightness and cheap talk, which grieve the Holy Spirit of God and unfit us for the contemplation of heaven and heavenly things. This is the class that will have cause to mourn and lament because they are not prepared for the elevated joys of heaven. They are banished from the presence of God. But by the light of God’s presence, the righteous are enlightened and made supremely happy. Lt28-1897.13

“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” [2 Thessalonians 2:1, 2.] Lt28-1897.14

In this view of the final gathering together unto Christ, there would be erratic movements and a danger of deception. Paul would have the church looking for Christ’s appearing, and preparing for that day when He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather His elect together from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. God’s people must not only be waiting and watching, they must be diligently working as well. There will always be false and fanatical movements made by persons in the church who claim to be led of God—those who will run before they are sent, and will give day and date for the occurrence of unfulfilled prophecy. The enemy is pleased to have them do this, for their successive failure and leading into false lines cause confusion and unbelief. There is enough revealed and substantiated by the Word of God to show the lines upon which they can work. The labor performed in harmony with the mind of Christ will produce most healthful impressions and a genuine experience. Lt28-1897.15

The secret things which belong to God are to be left with Him; but the things which He has revealed are for us and for our children. We are not now back in Paul’s time. We are nearing the great day of God. The signs are fulfilling. And yet we have no message to tell us of the day and hour of Christ’s appearing. Lt28-1897.16

The Lord has wisely concealed this from us, that we may always be in a state of expectancy and preparation for the second appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds of heaven. We are to search the prophecies that point to the roll of fast fulfilling events, and which Christ has plainly told us will take place prior to the end of this earth’s history. We are to watch and pray, wait patiently, and work faithfully to save perishing souls. Time is a most precious talent, and every moment is to be improved in doing our work wisely and well, so that if we are suddenly called to lay off the armor, we may be prepared to give up our account to God. Lt28-1897.17

“Be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh.” [Matthew 24:44.] The day and hour of Christ’s coming is pronounced by lips that speak the truth and the truth only, to be beyond the ken of man. Even the angels, the heavenly intelligences, are not informed of this. “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” [Verse 36.] Lt28-1897.18

Satan is watching his chance to destroy those souls who have not developed such characters as will fit them to rise in the first resurrection and be numbered with the redeemed, with those who have appreciated the great privilege of washing their robes and making them white in the blood of the Lamb. Lt28-1897.19

The emotional nature of some is easily affected. Christ would have every one educate themselves to calmly contemplate His second appearing. They are to search the Word of God daily, but not neglecting present duties. There were some who had listened to the earnest teaching of Paul in regard to the soon coming of Christ, and had overlooked their present duties to provide for their daily necessities, and in thus doing were a burden to their brethren. Lt28-1897.20

“Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” [2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4.] Who are studying this portion of the Word among the churches of today? Lt28-1897.21