Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Lt 1a, 1894

Gates, Brother and Sister

1 George’s Terrace, St. Kilda Road, Melbourne, Australia

January 1, 1894

Portions of this letter are published in TMK 45; Ev 630-631; SD 191.

Dear Brother and Sister Gates:

We were made very sad to receive communication that came through the telegrams to Brother McCoy, of the death of his dear wife and daughter, and of Elder Young. Brother McCoy was prostrated with the news. We have comforted him according to the best of our finite capabilities, and we believe that the Lord has given us wisdom, and great tenderness of heart and compassion in Jesus Christ for our much respected brother. He has suffered keenly. The information was so sad, so unexpected, that it had a paralyzing effect upon his heart. His hands were numb. But I thank the Lord that he was with us when this distressing news came. I felt relieved to know that you were on the island. We have sought to comfort Brother McCoy, and Jesus has been in our midst, as we have called upon Him in the day of our special distress and great necessity. At such a time as this our best words seem altogether too tame and feeble to meet the occasion; but the presence of the Lord was manifested among us in the same tender, pitying compassion as He manifested by the grave of Lazarus when He stood and wept. He has been ever ready to apply the soothing balm, to heal the afflicted and oppressed. 9LtMs, Lt 1a, 1894, par. 1

God has ordained according to the law of ministry that we should comfort one another in tenderness and love when great sorrows come upon us. “No man liveth unto himself.” No one dieth unto himself. [Romans 14:7.] Life and death both mean something to every human being. Men are to keep God’s commandments, and thereby express His large mercies and represent His exalted character. God has enjoined the duty upon His human agents to communicate the character of God, testifying to His grace, His wisdom, and His benevolence, by manifesting His refined, tender, merciful love. It is written that “His tender mercies are over all His works.” [Psalm 145:9.] 9LtMs, Lt 1a, 1894, par. 2

God would have us look unto Him continually, that by beholding Jesus we might become changed into His likeness in our characters. He was ever touched with human woe, and our hearts should be softened and subdued by His Holy Spirit, that we may be like Him, working in His lines, wearing His yoke, learning His meekness and lowliness of heart. The blessed Redeemer has set us an example in living out the precepts of the law. He says to His followers, “Freely ye have received, freely give.” [Matthew 10:8.] We are to have an open heart to receive the rich treasures of heaven, and our hearts are to be opened to let those rich treasures out to others. Oh, we need to abide in Christ, then we will be a constant channel through which God will communicate to our brethren and to the world His own gracious Spirit. 9LtMs, Lt 1a, 1894, par. 3

Brother Gates, our work is to restore the moral image of God in man through the abundant grace given us of God by Jesus Christ. Everywhere we shall find souls ready to die, and how essential it is that the compassion of Christ shall be given us of Him, in order that we may never place one soul in defiance by not manifesting long forbearance and pitying tenderness. Oh, how satanic influences are exercised to cut off from human souls the knowledge of God, the realization of His mercy and pitying love to fallen, perishing souls! Every believer who lives in the light and presence of Jesus Christ will keep the way of the Lord, and will have a steady, firm, unyielding faith in God who hath given us exceeding great and precious promises. They will associate Jesus Christ with their practical life, and will grow into the habit of looking unto Jesus, and of keeping their souls in the love of God. 9LtMs, Lt 1a, 1894, par. 4

When we have an assurance which is bright and clear of our own salvation, we shall exhibit cheerfulness and joyfulness, which becomes every follower of Jesus Christ. The softening, subduing influence of the love of God, brought into practical life, will make impressions upon minds that will be a savor of life unto life. But a harsh, denunciatory spirit, if manifested, will turn many souls away from the truth into the ranks of the enemy. Solemn thought! To deal patiently with the tempted requires us to battle with self. But God has given Jesus to us, and believing on Him as our personal Saviour, all heaven is at our command. The purchased possession of Christ is around us on every hand. There is want, there is wretchedness and sin on every side. “Freely ye have received, freely give.” [Verse 8.] 9LtMs, Lt 1a, 1894, par. 5

“Oh, hearts are bruised, dead,
And homes are bare and cold,
And lambs for whom the Shepherd bled,
Are straying from the fold.
“To comfort and to bless,
To find a balm for woe,
To tend the lone and fatherless
Is angel’s work below.
“The captives to release,
To God the lost to bring,
To teach the way of life and peace,
It is a Christlike thing.”
9LtMs, Lt 1a, 1894, par. 6

I inquire, will we ever learn the gentleness of Christ? Oh, how much we need to know Jesus, and our heavenly Father, that we may represent Him in character! All blessings are bestowed upon those who have a vital connection with Jesus Christ. Jesus calls us to Himself not simply to refresh us with His grace and presence for a few hours, and then to send us forth from His light to walk apart from Him in sadness and gloom. No, no. He tells us that we must abide with Him and He with us. Wherever His work is to be done He is present—tender, loving, and compassionate. He has prepared for you and me an abiding dwelling place in Himself. He is our refuge. Our experience should broaden and deepen. Jesus has opened up all the divine fullness of His inexpressible love, and He declares to you, “Ye are laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] O what meaning these words have—“Abide in Me,” “take My yoke upon you.” Will we take it? For the promise is, “ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [John 15:4; Matthew 11:29.] There is rest, complete rest in abiding in Christ. 9LtMs, Lt 1a, 1894, par. 7

My dear brother and sister, I wish I could see you, but I fear that this cannot be. I am anxious that you should both go to America as soon as possible, and place yourselves under the best circumstances for recovery. Christ will be your physician, if you put yourselves in His hands, and yet He will work through human instrumentalities. Only be of good courage. Sister Gates, let the sunshine of Christ’s love into your heart, that it may warm your entire nature. You are not that warm, sunny Christian that Jesus means His followers to be. Draw nigh to God. Talk courage, talk faith, talk hope. My brother and sister in the Lord, be of good courage. 9LtMs, Lt 1a, 1894, par. 8

Oh, how little we know what is before us! We will give ourselves entirely to Jesus, to be wholly His, and then say, “Not my will, but Thy will, O God, be done.” [See Luke 22:42.] You have our sympathy, you have our prayers. You have the tender love and compassion of your Saviour. Look to Him always. Trust in Him continually, and doubt not His love. He knows all our weakness, and that which we need. He will give us grace sufficient for our day. Only look to Jesus continually, and be of good courage. 9LtMs, Lt 1a, 1894, par. 9

In much love. 9LtMs, Lt 1a, 1894, par. 10