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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901) - Contents
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    Lt 117, 1901

    Sanderson, Sister [A. J.]

    St. Helena, California

    August 23, 1901

    Portions of this letter are published in 1MCP 27, 200, 316; 2MCP 412, 596; 5Bio 128.

    My dear sister,—

    I have been alarmed for you because you are not a practical Christian. Your salvation depends upon a change, not a spasmodic change, but an entire, lasting change of heart. You cannot be a child of God unless this change takes place. If serious thoughts and a study of God’s Word are distasteful to you now, would they not, unless you change, be distasteful to you should you be admitted to heaven?16LtMs, Lt 117, 1901, par. 1

    You are not fitted to take charge of classes. This work should not be given to you. You might have qualified yourself through reformation of the spiritual life to bear responsibilities, but in your education you have served and pleased yourself, and you have not the qualifications which would warrant the institution’s employing you as an instructor. You must reform before your connection with any institution will have satisfactory results. For many years you have been a professing Christian, but you are so deficient in religious experience that you cannot be accepted as a Christian teacher.16LtMs, Lt 117, 1901, par. 2

    You do not make a success as a teacher because you have not patience or adaptability. You do not know how to deal with human minds or how to impart knowledge in the best way. If your expectations are not met, you are impatient. You have had every advantage of education, but nevertheless, you are not a wise teacher. It is very disagreeable to you to inculcate ideas into dull minds. In your youth you needed discipline and training. But the spirit which you manifested under correction has spoiled your life.16LtMs, Lt 117, 1901, par. 3

    The parable of the wise and foolish virgins should be prayerfully and carefully studied. The wise virgins represent those whose hearts are filled with the grace that comes from Christ. They have an increasing desire for peace and joy.16LtMs, Lt 117, 1901, par. 4

    At times you have a great desire to be that which God can bless. But these feelings are of short duration. You have not brought into your life the sweet savor of goodness, the fragrance of the righteousness of Christ. You are self-centered. You expect everyone to help you, to hold you up. You must look away from self to a higher power than humanity.16LtMs, Lt 117, 1901, par. 5

    It is possible to keep busy at that which is not profitable. You fritter away time in the pursuit of pleasure, but you derive little pleasure from that which you obtain. Time is wasted to no purpose. You show great enthusiasm and earnestness when planning for an entertainment. You rise to the occasion and exercise your capabilities. This is your happiness. But it is not true happiness. You need to search the Scriptures. You will not gain eternal life unless you give the soul food altogether different from that which it has received in the past. Let the books you read be those that will teach you how to speak and act in a way that will secure for you the life which measures with the life of God.16LtMs, Lt 117, 1901, par. 6

    As hurried eating of temporal food is detrimental to physical health, so the greedy swallowing of everything bearing the semblance of pleasure dwarfs the mind, causing it to refuse the spiritual food which is presented. The mind is educated to crave pleasure as the inebriate craves the glass of liquor. It seems impossible to resist the temptation. Sober thinking is distasteful because the presentation is not satisfying. There is nothing pleasing in the idea of reading and studying the words of eternal life.16LtMs, Lt 117, 1901, par. 7

    Is it not time that you put away childish things? Your first consideration should be, How is it with my soul? You are lacking in spiritual experience because you do not live with an eye single to the glory of God. You are anxious to have many cisterns from which to draw selfish happiness. But you have no desire to crucify self. You long for indulgence in worldly pleasure, and in this you show an enthusiasm which you do not bring into religious things. You seek for happiness in many ways, but not by serving God in singleness of heart. Your mind does not delight to dwell upon Him who gave His life for you.16LtMs, Lt 117, 1901, par. 8

    Hitherto self has been the mainspring of action in your life. You have lived to please and magnify self. You have a desire to mingle with the world. You do not keep your eternal well-being in view. When self is crossed, you are despondent and complaining. You find no pleasure in beholding yourself in the mirror of God’s law. Therefore your life is full of inconsistencies.16LtMs, Lt 117, 1901, par. 9

    “Upward to God be the soul’s adoration, from whence are flowing pure streams of salvation.” God’s grace and power, if earnestly sought for, will make the soul the possessor of comfort and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.16LtMs, Lt 117, 1901, par. 10

    Personal religion is of the highest importance. John wrote to Gaius, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” [3 John 2.] Health of body depends largely upon health of soul; therefore whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God. Personal religion is revealed by the deportment, the words, and the actions. It causes growth, till at last perfection claims the commendation of the Lord, “Ye are complete in him.” [Colossians 2:10.]16LtMs, Lt 117, 1901, par. 11

    Religion is a principle of the heart, not a magical word nor a trick of the mind. Look to Jesus only. This is your only hope and your husband’s only hope of gaining eternal life. This is the true science of healing, for body and soul. The mind must not be centered upon any human being, but upon God.16LtMs, Lt 117, 1901, par. 12

    The road leading heavenward is straight and narrow. For this reason many choose the wide road of the world. In it they find room for self-gratification. They pick up by the way those things which please temporarily, casting longing glances at the attractions which the world holds out. They refuse to hear Him who, desiring to save them from death, points to the strait gate and the narrow path, saying, “This is the way; walk ye in it.” [Isaiah 30:21.] O, how many there are who say, “What need is there to hurry? Sometime in the future I will make a decided change.” There is a positive dislike to turn from selfishness. Thus the poor lover of pleasure is borne along in the wide road of destruction.16LtMs, Lt 117, 1901, par. 13

    No one can reach heaven by the broad road. The narrow way alone leads to the city of God.16LtMs, Lt 117, 1901, par. 14

    It is not what you profess but what you are that has weight. God sees that you and your husband are in great danger, because you have not lived for His glory. Beware how you allow human wisdom to satisfy you.16LtMs, Lt 117, 1901, par. 15

    Once formed, habit is like an iron net. You may struggle desperately against it, but it will not break. Your only safe course is to build for time and for eternity.16LtMs, Lt 117, 1901, par. 16

    Many neglect to make their calling and their election sure, comforting themselves with the thought, God is merciful. But this assurance is for those only who know their Master’s will and do it. Those who know His will and do it not will be beaten with many stripes. When men accept the conditions of salvation and depend upon God’s mercy, He will work out their salvation for them.16LtMs, Lt 117, 1901, par. 17

    Do not the wrecks by sea and by land, the earthquakes, the wars, and the famines show that the end is near? Are not disease and death multiplying as a result of the indulgence of appetite, the letting loose of passions? The cruelty of Satan is seen in every town and city. Will God overlook the violation of His law to save the lawless? Let all beware of thinking that God will serve with sin. He presents His love and mercy to those who will appreciate them. He gave His only begotten Son up to death to secure eternal life for every one who will accept His holy law as the rule of life. By this sacrifice He showed the universe that His law is holy and unchangeable. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” [Psalm 19:7.]16LtMs, Lt 117, 1901, par. 18

    God’s promises are made to those who keep His commandments, those who with a broken and contrite spirit accept His conditions and bear witness to the world that they are loyal subjects of His kingdom.16LtMs, Lt 117, 1901, par. 19

    Reconciliation between man and God comes when man reveals true penitence. He who trusts in Christ with living faith is protected from all danger, for he is under the shadow of His wing. When you confess and forsake your sins, you have touched the golden scepter of mercy and assurance, and your life is safe.16LtMs, Lt 117, 1901, par. 20

    Watch and pray. Be suspicious of your judgment, your motives, your words, your influence. Accept nothing in your faith without the challenge, “Watchman, what of the night?” The answer comes, “The morning cometh, and also the night.” [Isaiah 21:11, 12.]16LtMs, Lt 117, 1901, par. 21

    Constant, critical self-examination is your safety. Bring yourself to task. Ask yourself, What am I bringing to the foundation? Are you bringing wood, hay, and stubble? All this will be consumed. Only gold, silver, and precious stones will remain unconsumed by the fierce fires of the last day.16LtMs, Lt 117, 1901, par. 22

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