Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Ms 12, 1888

Testimony to Dr. Burke

Oakland, California

April 1888

Portions of this manuscript are published in 5MR 337; 10MR 121, 287-289.

The law of God is presented in the Scriptures as broad in its requirements. Every principle is holy, just, and good. They lay men under obligation to God; they reach to the thoughts and feelings of the soul; and they will produce conviction of sin in every one who is sensible of having transgressed them. If the law extended only to the external conduct, men would not feel guilty over their wrong thoughts, desires, and designs. But the law requires that the soul itself, the spiritual agent, be pure, the mind holy, that all thoughts and feelings shall be in accordance with the law of love and righteousness. By its light men see themselves guilty before God. 5LtMs, Ms 12, 1888, par. 1

Man must be removed as far as possible from Satan if he would become a partaker of the divine nature. “Wherefore,” says the apostle Peter, “laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” [1 Peter 2:1, 2.] There can be no spiritual growth, no Christlike meekness and humility where there is no life. 5LtMs, Ms 12, 1888, par. 2

“Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.” [James 5:8-10.] “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing: knowing that ye are thereunto called; that ye might inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil and his lips that they speak no guile.” [1 Peter 3:8-10.] The truth of the Bible may be no truth to us if these words of God are not brought into actual contact with the soul. It is not enough that we have a knowledge of the truth. Our faith must grasp its deep principles. We must perceive the truth and weave it into our practical everyday life. 5LtMs, Ms 12, 1888, par. 3

There is danger of you, my brother, believing a falsehood and acting on this belief because you do not pay heed to the warnings that the Lord sends you. If you would only doubt those things that the Lord would be pleased to have your doubt, the specious works of Satan and your own self-righteousness; if you would believe the Word of God coming to you through His own appointed agencies, then the power of the enemy would not be so successful. To doubt that which originates with God is a dangerous business; to believe the falsehoods of Satan is fatal to your soul. The work of truth is to alarm and bring to repentance. That faith and doctrine, whose results to the soul are the destroying of sin, is from above, and produces all the fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, forbearance, meekness. 5LtMs, Ms 12, 1888, par. 4

I have a deep love for your soul; and I would assure you that when the world comes to our side and praises and extols our merits, we may well be alarmed. We are in danger of learning to love the praise of men rather than the praise of God. The lower we fall at the feet of Jesus, the more clearly will we view our Saviour in His purity and matchless loveliness. 5LtMs, Ms 12, 1888, par. 5

Then we shall be able to see how weak and unworthy we are, and we will tax every nerve and muscle of soul, body, and intellect, that we may meet the divine Pattern. And the more we have of Jesus, the less will worldlings care to associate with us. They will feel embarrassed in our company. 5LtMs, Ms 12, 1888, par. 6

God is seeking to exalt us to His high, pure, heavenly standard. For this purpose His Spirit is constantly striving with us. The corruptions of the world and all unholy influences will be working through the masterly energies of Satan to drag men down to their level, blinding their sensibilities, degrading their desires, enfeebling the conscience, and in every way making their religious faculties weak and inefficient. Our natural tendencies, unless corrected by the Holy Spirit of God, have in them the seeds of moral death. The flesh with all its promptings lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh. If the higher, holier attributes are not cultivated, if we allow ourselves to deceive, to prevaricate, there is a false tongue that needs to be treated with the hot “coals of juniper.” [Psalm 120:4.] 5LtMs, Ms 12, 1888, par. 7

You will not long stand where you are. Either you will respect the delegated power in the church, or you will break down the bands of control and choose to have your own way and your own will. The soul must feel its sickness before it will feel its need of a physician. When you come to your right mind, which I hope and pray you may, you will then lift up your eyes and mind to God; you will obey His directions. You will see that Christ loves you, that He was wooing you by all the tender, lofty graces of His Spirit, but that you did not sense His love. Then, far higher and purer ambitions, holier joys, ennobling motives, and endearing sympathies will bind you in a bundle with the precious sheaves of wheat. You will be one with Christ. You will turn with grateful, humble emotion to lay hold on the hope set before you in the gospel. You will not lean upon and confide your secrets to the Lord’s bitterest enemies. You will not go into their secret chambers or enter into their councils. You will not dishonor the name of Jesus by any connection with the Lord’s enemies. Unless you come to God with a broken and a contrite heart, He will not accept you. You have a work to do to get ready for the judgment. You need to stop just where you are and see what road you are traveling. Compare your life with God’s great moral standard of righteousness. 5LtMs, Ms 12, 1888, par. 8

You are now in the precious hours of probation, and you may, by the grace given you, go on step by step, growing up in the likeness of Christ. You may and will become a partaker of the divine nature if you will do your part of the work. In the measure of man’s limited abilities, the powers can be pure, holy, and undefiled. You can, through the grace of Christ, reproduce this truth. And you will find in Christ Jesus, who is the Source of all power, a supply of grace for every emergency. 5LtMs, Ms 12, 1888, par. 9

I am alarmed for you. I feel a deep interest for your soul. You must see that you are not in harmony with the body. And there are those who are blinded and deceived like yourself who will help you in your self-deception. But do not be led away from God’s people. All who have followed the path that you are pursuing have made shipwreck of their faith. I have feared to say these words, knowing that it would wound your vanity; but I cannot sit passively by and not warn you. I beg of you, for Christ’s sake, to make a decided change. Do not work any longer on the enemy’s side. I so hoped that you would see and understand that you were going away from Jesus and would come back to His side and become a learner in His school. 5LtMs, Ms 12, 1888, par. 10

You must work in harmony with the body and strive for unity. Counsel together. Workers together with God must obey the orders of their Captain. Wait not for some magical change to be wrought in you without taking the requisite steps yourself. Life must be with you a humble working out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God that worketh in you to will and to do of His good pleasure. Halt not, but escape for your life. 5LtMs, Ms 12, 1888, par. 11

Many of your brethren and sisters have been helping you in a wrong course. May God forgive them. They have caused dissension and confusion in the church. Christ requires that we shall press together, that we shall be one with Him as He is one with the Father. You must depend on God, be disciplined and trained for the higher life. Yes, depend on God; wait His pleasure; follow Him; rely in obedience on the strength of His Word. 5LtMs, Ms 12, 1888, par. 12

To obey when it seems the hardest is true surrender to God. This will quicken your moral nature and subdue your pride. Learn to submit your will to God’s will, and you will be made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. 5LtMs, Ms 12, 1888, par. 13

You have lessons to learn, my brother. The testing and trying of your character has come. Would you fall under the displeasure of God? I point you to the immortal inheritance. I point you to the crown of everlasting life. I entreat you, Do not turn away from this warning; do not hold yourself apart from the Lord’s people. I want to see you repenting before God and confessing your errors and mistakes in the place of justifying yourself. You may seek to frame excuses that you think will vindicate your pursuance of the course you have taken, but this I know, God has pronounced wrong. Then cease your self-justification. Make thorough work for eternity. 5LtMs, Ms 12, 1888, par. 14

What a work we have before us! Do you want a part in this closing work? It is a work that will triumph. Do you wish to triumph with it? God will use you to act a part in this work if you will be obedient to Him. But if the grace of God is [to be] made your own, you must do your part. Cooperate with God. You must place yourself in right relation to God. You must be a transformed man. You must bring froth fruit meet for repentance. The fountain of salvation is now standing open for you, but you must make not delay. Be diligent to place yourself in the most favorable position to secure all the privileges and help the Lord is ready to give you in the work of overcoming. God is speaking to you through His servant. Will you hear His voice? We are to fight, to wrestle, to labor, to strive, to run the race with patience, laying aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us. The Bible leaves the responsibility of our ruin at our own door. 5LtMs, Ms 12, 1888, par. 15

God has been speaking to us through His Word, through His testimonies, pointing out our errors and showing us the right way. I do not give you up. You must come to the light. You must cast off the works of darkness and put on the whole armor of righteousness. The forgiveness of sin is promised to him who repents, justification to him who believes, the crown of life to him who is faithful to the end. The condition of our receiving an increase of grace is that we improve that which we already have. You are called upon by the voice of God to keep yourself unspotted from the world if you would stand without spot and blameless before the Judge of the whole earth. 5LtMs, Ms 12, 1888, par. 16

Now, my brother, you have a work to do. Do not delay it. You have made representations to the enemies of our faith which you will not be pleased to have appear against you in the day of judgment. You should not be deceived in this matter. You are working counter to the work of the Spirit of God. You must change materially in your course of action. You have not told the truth at all times. O, the record of your words! Your must meet these again, for there has been an ear that has heard your every statement, a silent, unseen witness to your every action. I entreat of you to be wise now while mercy’s sweet voice is still inviting you. Make no delay. I care for your soul for it is the purchase of the precious blood of Jesus Christ. 5LtMs, Ms 12, 1888, par. 17

All who would enter heaven must enter in by the strait gate; they must travel the narrow path, daily denying self, daily lifting the cross, the symbol of Christ’s humiliation and shameful death. How must your past and present life appear in His eyes? How can He look upon your self-esteem, your self-applause, your self-inflation? Yet there is no need for despair. Work with agonizing effort to the light and then help those whose minds you have confused, whose judgment you have clouded by your statements and whom your influence has led to withdraw their confidence from those whom God has been leading. God has not been leading you, and I do not want that you should think that He has been your Guide. You must meet your work just as it is in the judgment. O, pass the time of your sojourn here in fear, lest a promise being left you of entering into His rest, any of us should seem to come short of it! Keep a high, clean, correct standard before you and then look continually for grace to meet this standard. 5LtMs, Ms 12, 1888, par. 18

We hear much of faith; but the quality of our faith is discerned by our works. There is much need of alarm, much need of self-examination, much need of humility and lowliness of mind. Only come, hanging your helpless soul upon Jesus Christ, and He will say to you, “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.” [Mark 2:5.] He will not quench the faintest spark of spiritual life. He will not break the feeblest reed. He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might, He increaseth strength. Humble sincerity in the ways of God will make us obedient children, and we may claim His promise. Do not cherish the feeling that you are whole and are in no need of a physician. Fall on the Rock and be broken. We are nearing the time when every man’s work will be brought into judgment, when all will receive according to the deeds done in the body, whether they be good, or whether they be evil. 5LtMs, Ms 12, 1888, par. 19