Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Lt 5b, 1891

Burke, W. P.

Harbor Springs, Michigan

May 30, 1891

Portions of this letter are published in OHC 32, 147, 216. +Note

Dr. W. O. Burke
St. Helena, Cal.

Dear Brother,

I have had a burden on my soul for you. The Lord has shown me that you are not walking altogether in the light which He has been pleased to give you through His word and through the Testimonies of His Holy Spirit in instruction, warning, and reproof. In all circumstances and conditions, closely examine yourself, whether you be in the love of God. With His grace you are safe, but except Christ be in you, you are reprobate. “Take heed” is the word of warning that comes so often from the lips of Jesus. You are in a position of sacred trust; let no temptation cause you to swerve from your loyalty. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 1

You are not alone to bear the responsibility of the Health Retreat. All who are laborers in that institution must, as faithful sentinels, guard the fort. You may be complete in Christ. “Without Me,” says Jesus, “ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] If you or any other of the workers are looking round to find something to supplement the Lord Jesus, you will be deceived and will deceive others, for Satan as an angel of light is watching to supplement Christ. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 2

Coming to Christ does not mean coming now and then, but always coming, always asking, always seeking, always knocking. Here is your strength. Jesus says, “Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” “If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it.” [John 14:13, 14.] I point you to the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 3

My brother, I am troubled on your account. You are before me day and night, and warnings are given me for you. I am convinced that Satan desires your soul, that he may sift you as wheat. I want you to cling to Jesus. If Satan does not find an entrance into the Health Retreat and encouragement with his specious temptations, it will be because you have spiritual eyesight to discern his deceptive suggestions. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 4

I do not want to discourage you, Dr. Burke. I want you to be a man whom the Lord can trust with responsibilities; but I am warned that everything is not as it should be. I have not received letters from any one at the Health Retreat, and have heard nothing concerning any particular difficulties. But in my thoughts I am conversing with you, presenting right principles and repeating to you the words spoken in regard to Christ, “He will not fail nor be discouraged.” [Isaiah 42:4.] 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 5

The Lord has appointed you your post of duty. It is Christ that you are working for, and the voice said to you, “Always remember this, and never be ignorant of Satan’s devices. Unless you remember this and depend upon Christ for grace, unless you are a partaker of the divine nature, you will fail at your post of duty.” I have a deep interest in you and in your wife, whom I regard as faithful, and God grant that she may ever be true as steel to principle. May no temptation overcome you or her, is my prayer. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 6

You, my brother, are making history—a record that you must meet again. Will it be written in the books of heaven that in your position of trust at the Health Retreat, after your confession, and while passing over the ground the second time to bear the proving of God, you did not deviate to the right or to the left, but went straight forward in the line of duty, without partiality and without hypocrisy? Can it be said that you proved yourself to be a truly converted man, walking humbly with God; that while refusing to compromise principle, you would not trust to your own judgment, knowing that large responsibilities must be shared with wise counselors, that one man’s judgment was not sufficient to direct the work? 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 7

The time is near when we must stand before the great white throne to be rewarded as our works have been. If you would not have your record such as you will be ashamed to meet in that day when every man shall be judged according to the deeds done in the body, you must abide in Christ and have Christ abide in you. In all your plans, in all your labors, you must be one with Him. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 8

I call your attention to Abraham, the father of the faithful. How strict was his regard to the will of God. “I know him,” said the Heartsearcher, God, “that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment.” [Genesis 18:19.] He who blesses the habitation of the righteous says, “I know him,” “I know him that he will command.” There will be no betrayal of trust on his part, no yielding to any guide but one. There is a law, and Abraham will keep it. The Holy One demands faithfulness of all His stewards; He has given us rules for the guidance of all; these rules form the standard of righteousness from which none can swerve and be guiltless. The will of God must be honored as supreme. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 9

I know that in the hurry of business and under the pressure of care and responsibility, when you most need special help from above, you will feel that you cannot devote time to prayer; but your only help is in God. This one and that one are ready to take your hand and lead you where it would not be wise to follow. Your only safety is in watching and praying lest you enter into temptation. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 10

You are in a position where it is not only your privilege but your duty to minister to the diseased soul as well as to the diseased body. The sayings of the world steal in upon your senses with some effect. “All things continue as they were from the beginning,” “My Lord delayeth His coming;” but when one who has had the light says this, even in his heart, he shows that he is an unfaithful servant. [2 Peter 3:4; Matthew 24:48.] His influence tends to quiet the conscience, to lull to spiritual slumber. These things affect us unless we are daily learning in the school of Christ His meekness and lowliness of heart. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 11

With a sense that Jesus is by your side, you will have cheerfulness, hope, courage, and joy in all your duties and in all your endeavors. The Lord is not pleased with your being in uncertainty; your faith <and joy> must be cast as an anchor within the veil; this will keep you unshaken in the storm and tempest of trial. Wisdom from heaven will guide your mind and brace your spirits; your service for the Master will be spiritualized. You need to keep looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 12

It is well for you to think carefully, solemnly, of what Christ is to you, and what you are to Christ. Christ and eternity should be to you a living reality. You need the truth, not kept in the outer court, but brought into the inner sanctuary of the soul, sanctifying the entire man. If the heart is not constantly under the holy influence of the truth as it is in Christ, the soul temple will be defiled with the buyers and the sellers. Can I impress your mind with the fact, as Jesus has presented it to me, that the truth must find an abiding place in the heart? Then through the power of the Holy Spirit it will exert its influence in all you do and say. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 13

Shall we try to keep the truth out of sight? No, no, not for a moment; it is to be sacredly regarded. Its principles are to be consulted in all your transactions; it is to be a counselor in all your difficulties, a guide in all your relations of life, “a present help in every time of need.” [Psalm 46:1; Hebrews 4:16.] In public, in private, where no human eye can see, where no ear but God’s can hear, there the truth should control us, directing our thoughts, prompting our words and deeds. The Lord demands your whole heart, that He may put His image upon the soul. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 14

I tell you, in the fear of God, you must not swerve one jot from principle. You may pursue such a course that Jesus can work with all your efforts; His blessing, rich and abundant, may supply all your necessities; and when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up for you a standard against him. I know, for I have seen, how the enemy is at work to lead you away from your post of duty. Just wait, faithful and true, until the Lord releases you. None of us should live to please self. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 15

If men who profess to believe the truth that sanctifies the soul will retain vital godliness, they may be conquerors. They will have a religion that meets the highest standard. But because iniquity abounds, the love of many waxes cold. We are now watched by the heavenly intelligences with intense solicitude. Will men who are placed where they carry heavy responsibilities surrender themselves, without thought as to the consequences, to engrossing cares which claim their attention, or will they watch and pray, inquiring, “Is this the way of the Lord?” We cannot afford to become religious wrecks. We want more of heaven and less of earthliness. Even among physicians, many are making gold their god. Everything is to be shaken, that those things that cannot be shaken may remain. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 16

Many things that I desire to say I have not now time to write, and fear I shall not be able to do so for some days to come. I wrote something for you weeks ago and may be able to find that and send it. I feel the deepest interest that you shall be all that the Lord would have you [be], and that the Health Retreat shall be constantly improving. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 17

I have something written showing how important it is that every soul connected with the institution shall bear the responsibilities in the fear of God, doing all in love to Jesus. We are either serving God with the whole heart or sinning against Him in all we do. As the Lord has presented the matter to me, I know that many are not faithful; they forget that a Witness is with them at all times, in all places, to mark all their proceedings: a Witness to all partiality, to every dishonest transaction. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 18

He who cannot look on sin with allowance marks every action, detecting fraud and deceit wherever they exist. Many who profess righteousness make the Holy One to serve with their sins. He, the God of Israel, supplies the power, the skill, the reason, which they pervert, denying Him instead of acknowledging Him in all their ways. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 19

We cannot swerve from truth, we cannot violate justice, we cannot let go our integrity, without forsaking God and harming our own souls. Whatever God disapproves can be of no benefit to us. We may settle this matter now and forever, it may be written on the conscience, that the eternal principles of righteousness must be jealously guarded. There is nothing that can lessen the denunciation pronounced against him who misinterprets the truth and the character of Christ. Men may praise, but the eye of God sees him as he is, disloyal to sacred trusts. He has fallen under temptation, he has paid homage to Satan, an act which Christ refused to do. Though the whole world may league together against the principles of righteousness, they cannot change the truth of what God declared. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 20

Again I say, cleave to Jesus. Brother Burke, you have too much to do. You need a helper, and should have one—one with whom you can counsel, and who can labor side by side with you. Even then there will be all the work that two can do well. There is need of one who could go out to attend calls in other places. Thus you could be extending your influence, working unitedly, not to please and glorify self, but to honor God, saying with John, “He (Jesus) must increase. I must decrease.” [John 3:30.] 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 21

Brother Burke, my heart is drawn out for you, I am not at rest. I want you to enjoy the blessing of the Lord in rich measure. O, we must be more heavenly minded. The Lord, who has made the infinite sacrifice in our behalf, calls for our ceaseless gratitude and our faithful service. I know that many things arise to cause you perplexity, to worry you. These come to all; whoever is fighting in the Lord’s army will often be hard pushed. But Jesus lives; do not faint nor be discouraged; hold fast the hand of Christ. Shall we not give to Jesus wholehearted service and devotion? 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 22

Think of Daniel in the courts of Babylon, surrounded by influences that, had he yielded to temptation, would have ruined him. An elevated saint was Daniel. Plotters were on every side; how eagerly they watched, hoping to find some unfaithfulness in the noble statesman; but they could detect no stain upon his spotless record. What does God call this man of lofty principle and untarnished honor? “O man greatly beloved.” [Daniel 10:19, 11.] By whom? By the unfallen universe. What information does the Lord give to Daniel? The most satisfying: “Thy prayer is heard.” [Verse 12.] 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 23

Brother Burke, among all who have been presented before me, there are none who would more enjoy the knowledge of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit than yourself. You may have the love of Jesus burning in your heart. “If any man sin we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” [1 John 2:1.] Open your heart to the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. Then the image of Jesus will be reflected in you. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 24

Never, never separate from Jesus: He never separates from us. By the cross of Calvary He has given evidence of His deep love for us. He does not leave us to fight the battle in our own finite strength. He says, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” [Hebrews 13:5.] “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:20.] Jesus does not cast us off, even when we grieve Him; He clings to us still. Let your heart be animated by the love of Jesus to ardent activity for His glory. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 25

If your soul is flooded with the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness, you will reflect light to others. By your own example, by your fervent charity, your brotherly love, your unswerving fidelity, you will invite others to love and good works. Love and humility will melt the way into hearts that seem barricaded. O, my brother, heed the words of counsel from the Lord. Abound in faith and love and devotion. “They overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” [Revelation 12:11.] 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 26

Draw from the treasure house, the living oracles of God: promises, encouragement, knowledge. You are in a position where you want to know that you do know what is truth. You want to take your place at the feet of Jesus and learn of Him who is mighty in counsel; and the Holy Spirit will guide you on and on into all truth. All heaven is interested in God’s human agents. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 27

As you have an increasing sense of your own weakness and unworthiness, you will have a greater appreciation of the blood which speaketh better things than that of Abel. God’s Word is your guide, saying, “This is the way; walk ye in it.” [Isaiah 30:21.] Seek the Lord earnestly; you need Him, and when you seek Him with all the heart, He will be found of you. Finding Jesus, you find everything. Your fellowship is with the Father and with the Son, and you grow into the knowledge of the divine perfection. You grow in reverence, you gain confidence in communion with God. Looking steadfastly to Jesus, you grow in faith, and learning to distrust self, you appreciate the words of Christ, “Without Me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 28

“Watch unto prayer,” and you will steadily grow in grace and in a knowledge of Christ. [1 Peter 4:7; 3:18.] Your experience will not be one-sided, deformed, but healthful, symmetrical. All unawares to yourself, you will have expanded like the wide spreading cedar, and many will profit by your counsel; your association with them will have the fragrance of heaven. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 29

There are many professors of religion who for years have not grown one inch. The rubbish of the world, selfishness, indolence, have separated them in sympathy and in their works from Christ. While having a form of godliness, they are destitute of the power. If you are living in the sunlight of Christ, you will diffuse light to those poor souls who are dwarfs in the religious life. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 30

With the righteousness of Christ covering you as with a garment, what may you not do to bless others! And yet you will be unconscious that you are doing anything great or noble. The spirit of the world must not be allowed to gather clouds about your soul; you cannot afford to lose time now. It is too late in the day to take one backward step. I tell you, Jesus loves you; He testifies daily to you of this measureless love as you look to the cross of Calvary. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 31

You are not standing where you might stand. You may have a fervent spirit, your heart all aglow with the love of Jesus. Abide in Christ as the branch abides in the vine; drawing sustenance from the vine, you will be a flourishing branch, and will bear much fruit to the glory of God. O you much need to fixedly gaze upon Jesus. Keep beholding His charms. As you behold, they will keep brightening and enlarging until you are filled with all the fullness of God and bear much fruit to His glory. The branch is too firmly connected with the parent stock to be swayed by every breeze. Strength and vigorous growth tells to the world that your root is in Jesus, that your foundation is sure. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 32

Being a Christian, you are a man of faith, and therefore a man of principle, of sterling integrity. You follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. Through evil report and good report, Jesus is all, and in all. Faith is revealed in action. You must build for time and for eternity. Through a living connection with God, you may [be] a noble and serviceable servant of Christ, one whose convictions are firm, whose knowledge of truth is assurance forever, whose character is so strong that nothing can affright you, no flattering inducement can bribe you to forsake your post of duty. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 33

Now, I have presented before you what you may be and what God wants you to be. The heavenly intelligences are interestedly working that you may not disappoint the dear Saviour who died for you. Let your spiritual life be no longer chilled and frozen with unbelief and through your seeing the defects of others. Rise above discouragement; become a new man in Christ Jesus, bearing much fruit. 7LtMs, Lt 5b, 1891, par. 34