Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Lt 112, 1902

Rice, Brother and Sister [J. D.]

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

July 20, 1902

Portions of this letter are published in Ev 177-178, 293; 1BC 1118-1119; 3BC 1153. +Note

Dear brother and sister Rice,—

Be of good courage in the Lord. Put into your work all the enthusiasm that you can. Let your discourses be short. There are two reasons why you should do this. One is that you may gain the reputation of being an interesting speaker. Another is that you may preserve your health. You should both labor to guard carefully your physical, mental, and spiritual powers. From all who see its importance, God’s work demands the very life, the highest powers of brain, bone, and muscle. But you must not be prodigal of your strength. You must not waste any of it in useless effort. 17LtMs, Lt 112, 1902, par. 1

How does the climate of Petaluma suit you? I found it better for me than the climate of Healdsburg or St. Helena. Since returning from the camp-meeting, I have not slept nearly so well as I did while there. I have had much writing to do and many burdens to carry. 17LtMs, Lt 112, 1902, par. 2

Judge Arthur and his wife have been here from Battle Creek. We had a very pleasant visit together. An important council was held while Judge Arthur was here. I attended several of the meetings. I had matters to read to the brethren, and I had to bear my testimony, as the Lord’s witness, to the things that He had presented before me. The power of God rested upon me. 17LtMs, Lt 112, 1902, par. 3

The last time I spoke was at an early morning meeting. Judge Arthur was not present at the first part of the meeting. He was very tired and decided that he would not get up. But something seemed to keep telling him that he ought to attend the meeting, and he rose and dressed and came in. He said afterward that he would not have missed being at that meeting for a thousand dollars. The Lord was by my side, and He gave me tongue and utterance as I spoke in regard to the way in which, at this most important time, the work of God is to be carried forward. 17LtMs, Lt 112, 1902, par. 4

I told the brethren that we are surely in great peril, but that God does not want His children—for this we are, the members of His family—left to become the sport of the enemy’s temptations. He does not want them to be overcome and perish. He wants every one to stand in his place. A thoughtful kindness runs through His enactments. He does not leave it optional with us as to how we are to treat our fellow beings, rich or poor. By divine authority, with gracious promises to the obedient, He enjoins us to be compassionate and merciful in our dealings with one another as His channels of mercy, His helping hand. 17LtMs, Lt 112, 1902, par. 5

Each law of God is an enactment of mercy, love, and saving power. These laws, obeyed, are our life, our salvation, our happiness, our peace. “Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them.” [Psalm 119:165.] 17LtMs, Lt 112, 1902, par. 6

Christ enshrouded in the pillar of cloud, guiding His people through the wilderness, is a beautiful illustration of God’s mercy. Let us study the Old Testament. As we give it carefully study, we shall find living springs bubbling up where a casual reading revealed only a desert. Deuteronomy contains much instruction regarding what the law is to us and the relation we shall sustain to God as we reverence and obey His law. 17LtMs, Lt 112, 1902, par. 7

We are God’s servants, doing His service. Into the great web of life we are to draw no thread of selfishness; for this would spoil the pattern. But O how thoughtless men are apt to be. How seldom do they make the interests of God’s suffering ones their own. The poor are all around them, but they pass on, thoughtless and indifferent, regardless of the widows and orphans who, left without resources, suffer, but do not tell their need. If the rich would place a small fund in the bank, at the disposal of the needy ones, how much suffering would be saved. The holy love of God should lead every one to see that it is his duty to care for some other one, and thus keep alive the spirit of benevolence. 17LtMs, Lt 112, 1902, par. 8

But I will return to my subject, from which I have wandered. With what goodness, mercy, and love God lays His requirements before His children, telling them what they are to do. He honors us by making us His helping hand. Instead of complaining, let us rejoice that we have the privilege of serving under so good and merciful a Master. 17LtMs, Lt 112, 1902, par. 9

Well, morning after morning I had important work to do in the meetings until all was said. Brother Clarence Crisler reported my talks, and in time they will be published. 17LtMs, Lt 112, 1902, par. 10

The next Sabbath morning I spoke in the Sanitarium chapel. On Sunday morning I felt so worn out after so much speaking that I dared not tax my brain by writing; and we rode seven miles up Howell Mountain, to a cherry orchard, in which there are several trees of small, black cherries. Brother Leininger’s son-in-law lives on the place, and he told us that for the picking we might gather as many of these cherries as we pleased. Our platform wagon was drawn under one of the trees; and standing on the seat, Sara and I picked the fruit, holding the branch with one hand, and picking with the other. I picked eight quarts. We took home a large box of fruit, and that afternoon Mrs. Nelson put up thirty-seven quarts. I found that the cherry-picking was a change and a rest for me. 17LtMs, Lt 112, 1902, par. 11

The next morning, at half past six, I met with a number of the brethren and sisters in the Sanitarium chapel and spoke to them on the church-school question. I spoke for an hour. The next morning I was sent for to attend a committee meeting at the Sanitarium. The Lord gave me a message for those present in regard to the work to be done in Oakland and San Francisco. 17LtMs, Lt 112, 1902, par. 12

I do not think that I can go to Petaluma at present. I may go after I have completed the writing on which I am now engaged. Lately I have applied myself closely to my writing, working early and late. At the same time the carpenters have been building a new room for me, and there has been much hammering and pounding—more noise than a brain worker desires. But nevertheless, I have kept at my writing. I thank the Lord that it is as well with me as it is. 17LtMs, Lt 112, 1902, par. 13

I hope, my brother and sister, that you will be free in the Lord. Do personal work among the people. This, together with the work of the public meetings, will fasten the truth in hearts. Have faith and hope, and draw, yes, draw souls to the gospel banquet. We pray for you. 17LtMs, Lt 112, 1902, par. 14

Give our best love to Brother and Sister Burr and to all the brethren and sisters in the Petaluma church. 17LtMs, Lt 112, 1902, par. 15