Lt 45, 1899

1899

Lt 45, 1899

Brethren and Sisters in Battle Creek

NP

March 17, 1899

Portions of this letter are published in 2SM 17. +Note

My Brethren and Sisters in Battle Creek:

Be careful in every move that you make. We are now very near the great crisis. The Lord would have every action performed with an eye single to His glory. To create a new issue on the dress question would be the very thing that would please the enemy. There would be much talk, much burden one for another because all do not dress exactly alike. The agitation on this subject is not demanded. Tests are not to be manufactured. We have a test for this time—the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and nothing is to be brought in to draw the mind and heart from the great work of preparation for this time. The dress question is not to be our present truth. Should our sisters think that they must adopt a certain style of dress, controversy would arise, and minds which should be wholly given to the work of the third angel’s message would spend their time making an aggressive warfare on the outward dress. This zeal, which would be regarded by some as an evidence of piety, would only be an evidence of the want of true piety, of the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price. Lt45-1899.1

Satan would have minds diverted to any subject by which he can create a division of sentiment. There is a work to be done in the individual heart lest it shall become a desecrated temple of selfishness, of self-exaltation, of a Pharisaism that will cheat the soul by mere illusions, by zealous activity in lines of work which God has not appointed to be done. Zeal in those things which God does not require leads to a neglect of the important works of righteousness, which men and women must do in order to be accepted as vessels unto honor, to work in any line where the Lord shall call them. Lt45-1899.2

There is a work which I call upon our sisters to take hold of, earnestly, perseveringly, and with prayerful contrition of soul. Search the heart. Penetrate into the daily acts of life. Work earnestly to weed out from the character the defects that exist. Christ has died for you and you are to live as unto God. Let your reasoning powers, refined, purified, sanctified, be brought to God. The Lord requires the sanctification of the whole being. The mind as well as the body is to be refined, elevated, ennobled. God has claims upon mind, soul, and body. “Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] All must make the choice for themselves. “If the Lord be God, follow him; if Baal, then follow him.” [1 Kings 18:21.] The principles that are adopted after careful consideration will, if right, become a living, molding influence, which will take hold of the very depths of your nature and will be as a well of water, springing up unto eternal life and overflowing the soul. Lt45-1899.3

Our sisters should clothe themselves with modest apparel. They should dress with simplicity. Your hats and dresses need not the extra trimmings that are put upon them. You are to be clothed with modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety. Give to the world a living illustration of the inward adorning of the grace of God. Place yourselves under the discipline of the living oracles of God, subjecting the mind to influences which form the character aright. Lt45-1899.4

Seek to have the mind of Christ. God calls upon every member of the church to adorn the doctrines of Christ our Saviour. A child of God, a daughter of God, you are called upon to exert an influence for right that is positive. It is your privilege to obey the living Word of God as a truly converted and transformed soul, to perform the highest service as a free, heaven-born spirit, to walk worthy of your high profession, to give evidence that you are worthy of the sacred trust God has given you by sending His only begotten Son to die for you. If you believe in Christ as your personal Saviour, you receive every grace, every spiritual endowment, necessary for the perfecting of the Christian character. Show that you appreciate the sacrifice made as too great to allow you to make a mockery of your religious profession by being molded and fashioned after the world’s criterion. Lt45-1899.5

Why do I trace these words? Because I would have those, who under the Holy Spirit’s prompting have adopted the Bible principle of action, respect and reverence in their deportment the Author and Finisher of their faith. Make it a settled principle in your life to eat, to drink, to dress in obedience to the Word of the Lord. From this let nothing induce you to swerve. Make it the law of your life to eat, to drink, to dress, to do everything you do, to the glory of God. Let no influences or circumstances seduce you from conscientious, holy piety. Lt45-1899.6

In answer to the questions that have recently come to me in regard to putting on a new style of dress, called the reform dress, I would say that those who have been agitating this subject have not been inspired by the Spirit of God. The end is near. The children of light are to work with earnest, persevering zeal to lead others to prepare for the great event before us, that they may be able to resist the enemy because they have allowed the Holy Spirit to work upon their hearts. New and strange things will continually arise to lead God’s people into false excitement, religious revivals, and curious developments. Let them keep advancing, with their eyes fixed alone upon the Light and Life of the world. Know that everything that is called light and truth in the Word of God is light and truth, an emanation from divine wisdom, not an imitation of Satan’s subtle arts. The light of God’s wisdom will be to every true, steadfast, contrite soul as a lamp to his feet. Lt45-1899.7

Now, just now, without delay, build for time and for eternity. Many, very many, have built their house upon a sandy foundation. Build upon the rock Christ Jesus. Then all the false philosophy, the science falsely so-called, will not deceive you. Come what will, though heaven and earth pass away, be determined that not one jot or tittle of the Word of God shall be marred or dishonored, made void or shorn of its authority. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” [Psalm 19:7.] This is your wisdom. You can say, “The wicked have laid wait to destroy me; but I will consider thy testimonies. ... O, how love I thy law; it is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies; for they (the wise instructions of the law), are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers; for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients (ministers), because I keep thy precepts.” [Psalm 119:95, 97-100.] Lt45-1899.8

The great conflict that is coming will be over the commandments of God. Then let us not spend as much time in the consideration of outward dress as of the inward adorning, the need of being clothed with the robe of Christ’s righteousness, woven in the loom of heaven. Be sure that this robe clothes you. Then as the test comes to you, this righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rereward. This representation is better than genius or eloquence. It simplifies all the movements of the religious life, while it elevates the receiver. The religion of Christ never degrades the receiver, never makes a son or daughter of God rough, unkind, or uncourteous. It prepares the way for every emergency and gives discernment to know temptation when it comes disguised as an angel of light. Lt45-1899.9

The surrender of heart, soul, and mind to obedience to the commandments of God is as a thread of gold, binding up the precious things of God, and revealing their value in the time of trial. Therefore I say to my sisters, Enter into no controversy in regard to outward apparel, but be sure that you have the inward adorning of a meek and quiet spirit which is in the sight of God of great price. Let all who accept the truth show their true colors. Ye are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. False prudence, mock modesty, may be shown by the outward apparel, while the heart is in great need of the inward adorning. Stand ever committed to the right. Do not look round to see if there are not tests that are now to be brought upon God’s people. God has given a test—the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. “Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep;” He says, “for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. ... Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.” [Exodus 31:13, 16, 17.] Lt45-1899.10

All who bring to the observance of the Sabbath a heart consecrated to the observances of God will find that the Sabbath is more to them than they have any idea of. “I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.” [Verse 13.] “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, not finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own word, then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord, and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” [Isaiah 58:13, 14.] Lt45-1899.11