Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 102a, 1897

Robinson, Brother and Sister [A. T.]

Stanmore, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

December 22, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in Ev 439; Te 58, 239.

Dear Brother and Sister Robinson:

I received your letter yesterday, and was much pleased to hear that some souls are taking their stand on the platform of eternal truth. This is the important time in the work. The soldiers in the army of the Lord are to be wide awake, diligent, watching for souls as they that must give an account. I am sorry that at the time when workers are most needed, you do not have them. It is at this time that those who anticipate entering the service of the Lord should feel a responsibility to lift every ounce they possibly can to be diligent workers. There is no release in this warfare. 12LtMs, Lt 102a, 1897, par. 1

But while the workers who carry responsibilities should labor with all the energy they can command, there is danger of those in your position overworking. You must rally every individual possible to do his best. Avoid long, taxing committee meetings. There are more of these than there should be. They are held at too late hours. Avoid lengthy sermons. The people cannot retain one half of the discourses which they hear. Give short talks and more Bible readings. This is the time to make every point as plain as mileposts. Prayer to God for counsel, faith that He will work, are of more, far more, consequence than long, wearisome, trying committee meetings. 12LtMs, Lt 102a, 1897, par. 2

For years the Lord has been sending His cautions. Depend less on the wisdom of finite men, and far more on the wisdom of God. Educate the workers to pray with that faith that will not be denied. Come to your heavenly Father as a child comes to a parent. Lay hold of the arm of infinite power. Hold fast, do not let go. The Lord is our Strength; the Lord is our Fortress; the Lord is our Righteousness to go before us; the glory of the Lord is to be our rereward. How much more, then, do we need to place our dependence upon God than upon the wisdom of finite men. God help us to learn this lesson. “Without me,” says Christ, “ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] A Paul may plant, and Apollos water, but God giveth the increase. 12LtMs, Lt 102a, 1897, par. 3

I do not favor the arrangements made for our camp meetings. For weeks time and labor should not be spared to plough in the truth. There should be efficient workers, and they must not be left lame-handed. This is a great error, and yet it has been committed again and again. If our people would only heed the instruction that God has given, our camp meetings would be of far greater value and would show far greater results. The Lord will move upon the minds of our workers if they will lean upon His omnipotent power. There is a divine science in prayer, and the many prayers ascending in faith to God come up as the fragrance of holy incense before Him. 12LtMs, Lt 102a, 1897, par. 4

The Lord will honor and respect the living faith that comes from humble and contrite souls. We may have a weak working force, but the Lord has powerful efficiency. Human forces are but finite, the heavenly are invincible. The heavenly intelligences will do that which man cannot do. 12LtMs, Lt 102a, 1897, par. 5

Each one engaged in the service of God has an experience to gain in a better knowledge of God. The prayer of Christ to the Father in behalf of the disciples was an educational prayer. “And this is life eternal,” He said, “that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:3.] There are sharp, bright, brilliant men in our world, but they do not yet know God nor Jesus Christ whom He has sent. They flash up like a meteor, and go out as quickly. But when the gospel enters into the mind and heart, it makes a decided change in the life’s habits and practices. When this knowledge is obtained by every follower of Christ, there will be a sense of individual accountability that few of the workers at present have any real sense of. 12LtMs, Lt 102a, 1897, par. 6

When Jesus began to open the future to His disciples, and showed that He must bear suffering, endure scoffing, mocking, [and] the crown of thorns; that He must be scourged and crucified, the picture was unpleasant to Peter. He rebuked his Lord for holding up such a picture. “Be it far from thee, Lord,” he said. [Matthew 16:22.] Wesley translates this, “Favor thyself, Lord.” Our Saviour’s words to Peter seem to be very severe. “Get thee behind me, Satan,” He said, “thou art an offence unto me.” [Verse 23.] These words were not directed, as is supposed, to Peter, but to Satan, who was implanting his insinuations in the mind of Peter. The words were understood by the wily foe: “Get thee behind Me, Satan. Why interpose yourself between My servant and Me? Let Me come to Peter with My words, not your suggestions.” “Thou savorest,” said Christ to tempted Peter: “not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.” [Mark 8:33.] 12LtMs, Lt 102a, 1897, par. 7

Christ continued the lesson: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever shall save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with the angels: and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” [Matthew 16:24-27.] 12LtMs, Lt 102a, 1897, par. 8

The lessons given to His disciples Christ intended for all the world. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” [John 1:12.] Christ taught all who would be His followers that instead of listening to the suggestions of the flesh and the world, instead of sparing themselves, they must begin with self-denial and self-sacrifice as He had given them an example. He taught them that they must not shun the cross, but lift it, and bear it after Jesus, walking in His footsteps. He assured them that to save one’s temporal life by shunning the cross of reproach would mean eternal loss—loss of the soul, of heaven, of the life that measures with the life of God. They lose everything and gain nothing. The Son of man, when He comes in the glory of His Father, will reward every man. He will gather every obedient child into His kingdom, to possess the eternal inheritance. 12LtMs, Lt 102a, 1897, par. 9

Who can give a proper impression of these things to those who claim to be Christians? Many do not understand what the term signifies. The gospel is diffuse and aggressive. It is represented by the saving salt, the transforming leaven, the bright, shining light which shines amid the moral darkness. This light does not become darkness by association with it. It penetrates and dispels the darkness. As soon as one is converted, the old customs and habits and practices are seen in their true bearing. Every soul who is converted kindles his taper at the divine altar. He does not make an effort to shine; he simply shines. He tells some other one with whom he comes in contact, and thus he draws souls. How can he do other than draw them? He has an earnest soul-hunger to see souls saved. 12LtMs, Lt 102a, 1897, par. 10

This is an age of apostasy, and it calls for reformatory action. “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven having great power, and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a loud voice saying, Babylon, the great, is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” [Revelation 18:1-5.] 12LtMs, Lt 102a, 1897, par. 11

This is a decided message, and the light and glory of God attends it. The clear light of truth that lightens the earth with its glory does not, like the flash of lightning, leave only darkness in its track. It continues to shine. The very earnestness and power of the message bears its own credentials—that it is a voice from the throne of God. It is given with a distinctness in proportion with its importance. The world is to see the light that has been shining in ages past through the Lord’s messengers who have made their protest, which has distinguished us as Protestants. And Protestants will continue to be Protestants in the first, second, and third angels’ messages. 12LtMs, Lt 102a, 1897, par. 12

There is to be no daubing with untempered mortar now. The co-workers with God of the past have born a decided testimony, and have labored to secure reformations in the religious churches, to uplift the standard of Christianity which had been left to trail in the dust. There is need of reforms everywhere, in every town, in every city; and no half-and-half testimonies as witnesses for the downtrodden law will be saving in their influence. The suffering and the oppressed are the special objects of the care of God. All who are followers of Christ will participate with Him in the work of reform, and they will need the spirit which was in Christ Jesus in fulfilling their mission as co-workers with God. 12LtMs, Lt 102a, 1897, par. 13

Intemperance of every kind is holding human beings as in a vise. Tobacco inebriates are multiplying. What shall we say of this evil? It is unclean; it is a narcotic; it stupefies the senses; it chains the will; it holds its victims in the slavery of habits difficult to overcome; it has Satan for its advocate. It destroys the clear perceptions of the mind that sin and corruption may not be distinguished from truth and holiness. This appetite for tobacco is self-destructive. It leads to a craving for something stronger—fermented wines and liquors, all of which are intoxicating. 12LtMs, Lt 102a, 1897, par. 14

If all could trace the lives of those who have acquired this appetite, what scenes would be revealed of its desolating curse. Unholy appetites destroy. They increase until indulgence becomes habit. Satanic inspiration has full power upon the human mind that is overcome by appetite. The conflict against this evil, which is destroying the image of God in man, must be vigorously maintained. The warfare is before us. No tame message will have influence now. God looks upon our world as revolted and corrupted, but He will send His holy angels to aid those who will engage to destroy the worship of these idols. 12LtMs, Lt 102a, 1897, par. 15

Work diligently we must. “The time is at hand.” [Revelation 1:3.] “Ye are laborers together with God,” says the apostle. [1 Corinthians 3:9.] This is no time to follow out your own ideas, your former education and training. These are defective. You need to be born again. The new birth is something that many church members and church workers have never experienced. They have thought that self must come largely into the new life, and therefore there is a little of Christ and very much more of self. 12LtMs, Lt 102a, 1897, par. 16

Brother, brother, be sure and do all that you possibly can to secure to Jesus Christ those who will not bring with them all their inherited and cultivated attributes, for this unfits them for the service of God. They have to battle with an unchanged, unsanctified disposition, and the work of God is marred. Let the plowshare of truth go deep. Then those connected with these souls will not follow their habits and practices. The standard of truth will not be dragged down to meet their defective characters. 12LtMs, Lt 102a, 1897, par. 17

There are men and women, ready to be very active, who are in need of being converted. There is a very lax state of things coming into the ranks of Seventh-day Adventists. There will be no excuse for any who cannot stand the test of the judgment. They make excuses why their characters are so defective, but none will pass in that great day. 12LtMs, Lt 102a, 1897, par. 18

I call most earnestly upon the churches in Melbourne to be converted. By your sluggish indifference you are misrepresenting Christ and the truth. Souls are perishing close at your side for the lack of that soul-stirring message—even the third angel’s message. There is most earnest need of prayer, of faith, of most zealously seeking the Lord. This is the lack with a large number of our churches. It is impossible for them to retain the favor of God, to retain the communion of a Saviour’s love. They are themselves unconverted. They have a name to live, but they are dead at a time when everyone who names the name of Christ should be a living epistle, known and read of all men. They have not brought into their Christian life that spirit, that mind, that was in Christ Jesus. They know not how to draw with Christ. 12LtMs, Lt 102a, 1897, par. 19

Many marvel that there is so little vital, pure godliness, so little love and tender compassion, so little tender regard for one another. Many of Christ’s followers have lost their first love. They have not a knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent. The persons with whom we associate, those with whom we come in contact, need our help, our guidance, a word [in] season. They may be in such a condition of mind that a word in season will be sent home by the Holy Spirit as a nail in a sure place. Tomorrow some of these souls may be where we can never reach them again. God help us all to work while the day lasts, for the night cometh, when no man can work. 12LtMs, Lt 102a, 1897, par. 20

Hundreds might be saved if the professed churches that profess the truth of Christ were only what God would have them be—lightbearers in the world. The church in North Fitzroy needs the converting power of God upon hearts and characters. There are many who give themselves to much unbelief, much faultfinding, much bearing of false witness; but this is all the working of the evil spirit so that unity and love shall not exist. O, let the church be purged of all these corrupting elements. Let the truth accomplish its work upon hearts until we, the human agents, shall be complete in Him, is the earnest prayer of 12LtMs, Lt 102a, 1897, par. 21

Your sister in Christ. 12LtMs, Lt 102a, 1897, par. 22