Lt 21, 1894

Lt 21, 1894

Eldridge, Sister

Williams St., Granville, Australia

April 1894

Portions of this letter are published in 2SM 185-186; 3MR 302; 9MR 371. +Note

My Dear Sister Eldridge,

I feel deeply over your case. I am very sorry that temptations have come in your way that you had no power to resist. Pride has compassed you about as with a garment. When the large wages were accepted by the leading managers in the office, these brethren went directly contrary to the will of the Lord. In the confederacy formed in these matters they were virtually opposing their own finite will to the will of God. This action presented temptation before you; pride flourished, and as selfishness and pride compassed you about, the love of Christ, the love of the truth, died out of your heart. 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 1

The extra amount paid to their workers should have been left in the treasury of God, to do its work in bringing the truth before many souls, and then the principles of self-sacrifice manifested in the office at Battle Creek would have exerted an influence in all places where our institutions are located. 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 2

How quickly was the heart fired with unholy ambition for extravagant display, in the furnishing of the house, in the robing of your person, and all this at the expense of holy principles. “What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God.” God has given me a message for you: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” [2 Corinthians 6:14-18.] 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 3

The line of demarkation between the children of God and the world is distinct, it can never be obliterated. We are to be in the world, but not of the world. Are we to follow Baal? No! Shall we serve mammon as God? No! God requires you to be a follower of the meek and lowly Saviour if you would inherit the mansions He has gone to prepare for all who love Him. Jesus went about doing good. This is our work. 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 4

The Lord God of heaven singled out Israel from the surrounding nations to be the depositories of His holy law, and to communicate it to the world. He erected barriers about His people, giving special injunction that they should not mingle with the idolatrous nations and follow their ways, for this would lead to their separation from God. It was a positive necessity for them to observe the words of the Lord, to obey them in all their ways. He had given His people landmarks which they were always to respect both for their own good and the benefit of the world that knew not God. Through their faithful devotion to God, the Lord could bless them and make them living channels of light to reveal Him to the world as the only true and living God. If they would obey God, keeping His statutes and His laws, they would be a continual witness to the world of the power and majesty of the Lord God who created the world and all things therein. 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 5

There is a lesson for us in the history of Solomon. The early life of this king of Israel was bright with promise. He chose the wisdom of God, and the glory of his reign excited the wonder of the world. He might have gone on from strength to strength, from glory to glory, from character to character, ever approaching nearer the similitude of the character of God, but how sad his history. He was exalted to most sacred positions of trust but he proved unfaithful. He grew into self-sufficiency. Pride, self-exaltation, the lust for political power and self-aggrandizement, led him to form alliances with heathen nations. 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 6

The silver of Tarshish and the gold of Ophir were procured at a terrible expense, even the sacrifice of integrity, the betrayal of sacred trusts. Associations with idolaters corrupted his faith, one false step led to another, there was a breaking down of the wise barriers which God had erected for the safety of His people, his life was corrupted by polygamy, and at last he gave himself to the worship of false gods. A character that had been firm and pure and elevated became weak, marked with moral inefficiency. 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 7

Evil counsellors were not wanting who swayed that once noble, independent mind as they chose, because he did not make God his counsellor and his guide. His fine sensibilities became blunted, the conscientious, considerate spirit of his early reign was changed. Self-indulgence was his god, and as the result, severe judgment and cruel tyranny marked his course of action. From the wisest king that ever swayed a sceptre, he became a despot. His extravagance to please and gratify himself and his many wives exerted an influence upon the nation, the result of which can be fully known only when the works of all shall come in review before God and every man shall be judged according to the deeds done in the body. King Solomon was the idol of the nation, and that which he did and said was copied. The extravagance practiced in selfish indulgence necessitated a grinding taxation of the poor of the nation. 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 8

O, how can God bear with the misdeeds of those who have had great light and advantages, and yet follow the course of their own choosing, to their eternal harm? Solomon, who had solemnly charged the people at the dedication of the temple, “Let your heart be perfect with the Lord your God” [1 Kings 8:61], chose his own way, and in his own heart separated from God. The mind that was once given to God and inspired of God to write the most precious words of wisdom (the book of Proverbs)—truths which are immortalized—that noble mind, through evil associations and yielding to temptations, became inefficient, weak in moral power, and Solomon dishonored himself, dishonored Israel, and dishonored his God. 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 9

I present this picture before you that you may see what human beings become when they venture to separate their souls from God. One false step prepares the way for a second and a third, and every step is taken more easily than the last. Thus souls are found following another leader than Christ. My sister, you have gone far away from God. The warning given me for you I dare not withhold. It becomes every dependent human being to love and fear God. We should beware of accepting any influence that would endanger the simplicity of our faith and grieve the Holy Spirit of God by perverting the affections which belong to Him alone. If the Lord is our strength, if we love God supremely, we shall love our neighbor as ourselves, and we shall make the most of our God-given abilities to exert an influence that will be a blessing to those with whom we associate. We shall draw others to Jesus and shall make straight paths for our feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 10

Said Christ, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” [Luke 9:23.] Who is it that speaks? It is the self-denying, self-sacrificing Redeemer, the Majesty of heaven, the Adored of angels. Seraphim and cherubim bow to do His bidding. 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 11

I entreat of you, my sister, to repent of your backslidings and return unto your God with full purpose of heart. Had you wealth, had you position, have you intellectual gifts, whose are all these, and who requires their service? He who so loved you that He gave His only begotten Son to pay the ransom for your soul. You are not your own; you are bought with a price; therefore God calls upon you to glorify Him in your body and spirit, which are His. Certainly you have not been glorifying your Lord. 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 12

The incarnation of Christ was an act of self-sacrifice; His life was one of continual self-denial. The highest glory of the love of God to man was manifested in the sacrifice of His only-begotten Son, who was the express image of His person. This is the great mystery of godliness. It is the privilege and the duty of every professed follower of Christ to have the mind of Christ. Without self-denial and cross bearing we cannot be His disciples. 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 13

When the resolutions were proposed and accepted to pay the large wages to those working in the Review and Herald office, the enemy was succeeding in his plan to turn aside the purposes of God, and to lead souls into false paths. The selfish, grasping spirit accepted the large wages. Had the workers practiced the principles set forth in the lessons of Christ, they could not conscientiously have received such wages. And what was the effect of this increase of wages? The expenses of the family living were greatly increased. There was a departure from the instructions and examples given in the life of Christ. Pride was awakened and indulged; means were invested for display, for needless self-gratification. Love of the world took possession of the heart, and unsanctified ambition ruled the soul temple. The large wages became a curse. The example was not after Christ, but after the world. 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 14

Love to Christ will not lead to self-indulgence, it will not lead to any unnecessary expenditure of means to please and gratify self or to foster pride in the human heart. The love of Jesus in the heart ever leads the soul to humility and entire conformity to the will of God. 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 15

In the education and training of their children, parents have a sacred responsibility. By precept and example they should repeat the lessons which Christ gave to His disciples to give to the world. The salvation of the souls of both parents and children is to be the first great consideration of life. These children are the Lord’s heritage, and they are to be educated, trained, and sanctified for the Master’s service. The Lord Jesus has claims upon all that he has ransomed, having paid the price of his own life to redeem them. Children need to have this lesson often repeated to them by both precept and example. How mysterious the process by which they become absolutely the Lord’s property—soul, body, and spirit bought and paid for by the life of the Son of the infinite God. Parents who understand that eternal interests are here involved will make diligent work in their home life. They will discern that loveliness of character is of far greater value than all the outward adorning. 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 16

We have no right to use our time, our strength, or our money for selfish gratification; because all that we have and are has been bought with a price. We are dependent upon God every moment, deriving our life and being from Him whose we are by creation and redemption. In body and soul and life we are God’s; He claims all there is of us, and we cannot appropriate our time, our strength, or our money to serve our own inclination and pleasure without practicing robbery toward God. A great and solemn lesson is learned when individually we recognize the Lord’s claims upon us, our time, talents, and property. This claim upon the human agent is the claim of love as well as right. 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 17

Shall we not, my sister, give to God all that He has redeemed—the heart, the conscience, the undivided affections? He has made every provision whereby we may be purified from all the dross and be refined, elevated, and ennobled to become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly king. Is not this exaltation higher than any earthly ambition? I do not present to you a cheap, spurious kind of spirituality. I present the pure principles of truth. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” [Psalm 19:7.] This conversion testifies to all the heavenly intelligences our loyalty to God. 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 18

The grandest missionary work that a truly converted soul can do is to love God with the whole heart and our neighbor as ourselves. It is Christ working in and through the human agents that makes them Christians. He works to promote spirituality and heavenly affection; and the receiver, quickened by the vitalizing current, the Spirit of God, communicates the same to others. This is pure and undefiled religion. 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 19

My sister, I cannot consent that you should become the sport of Satan’s temptations, that you should choose to set your affections on earthly things and neglect the great salvation offered to us in a personal Saviour. The love of God must be first and last and best in everything. The Lord calls for you. Will you give yourself to Him? Will you open the door of the heart to Jesus, that He alone may occupy the throne of the heart? Shall every rival influence that holds the affections away from God be given up? God grant that your eyes may be anointed, that you may see it is not for your happiness or safety to follow inclination in any one thing; it is dangerous business. You have a soul to save or to lose, and you are required to be a faithful sentinel over your own soul’s interest, lest lower and defective things shall steal the heart from God. 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 20

Christ is inviting you. Will you heed His voice? Will you open the door of the heart to Jesus? O, you must learn to maintain strict watch over yourself and over your affections, for the temptations of Satan have been gaining the ascendency, little by little, until the heart has been stolen from God and has come to love the world and the things of the world. But you are not really and truly happy. In the words of Holy Writ I bid you, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” [1 John 2:15.] 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 21

I can pursue this matter no farther now, but will try to write you again. The American mail will close tomorrow and I have several letters still to write. Please tell me, my sister, will you give your undivided affections to God? I love your soul; Jesus loves your soul; all heaven is interested in the salvation of your soul. Will you watch? Will you pray? 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 22

In much love. 9LtMs, Lt 21, 1894, par. 23