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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902) - Contents
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    Lt 144, 1902

    Kress, Brother and Sister [D. H.]

    Los Angeles, California

    September 18, 1902

    Portions of this letter are published in CC 49; 9MR 211.

    Dear Brother and Sister Kress,—

    This morning I received and read your letter. Thank you for writing. I know, my brother, that you do not suppose that you will escape the temptations of the enemy. Continual trials will come. Cling close to the Lord Jesus, and do your best. And, my dear brother, do not think that Brother and Sister Farnsworth think triflingly of you, because this is not so. Ever since you have been in Australia, they have spoken of you in the highest terms in their letters to me. And there has been no change in the tone of their letters of late. Do not be troubled. Do not let the enemy cast one shadow over your mind. Be of good courage in the Lord. Rest in His love.17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 1

    Do not try to carry too many burdens lest you become over-wearied. I am so grateful to the heavenly Father for sparing your life. The letters we receive from Australia express much gratitude to Him for your and Sister Kress’s labors there. The Lord will bless you and keep you. Be of good courage in Him. By His lovingkindness He has comforted and upheld you.17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 2

    I am constantly thankful to God that it was possible for you to go to Australia, though I should indeed have been glad for you to remain in this country, had it been the will of the Lord.17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 3

    One thing is essential for you, and for me also. We must be cheerful, keeping our eyes fixed on Christ, the Sun of Righteousness. We shall have to do earnest, deep, solid thinking. We shall have to bear a clear, straightforward message to all with whom we are brought in contact. We are constantly to keep the way of the Lord, constantly to obey His holy requirements. When the truth is planted in the heart by the Spirit of holiness, it spreads outward and covers the life with beauty. Then is revealed the power of the grace of Christ. Like the ever-widening circles in a lake, whose smoothness a pebble has disturbed, the wave of truth, flowing from the heart of the Christian, first touches those with whom he is most closely associated; then moves on with constantly widening influence.17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 4

    It is in the daily life that the power of godliness is seen. In God’s sight, a man is just what he is in his family. The life of Abraham, the friend of God, was signalized by a strict regard for the word of the Lord. He cultivated home religion. The fear of God pervaded his household. He was the priest of his home. He looked upon his family as a sacred trust. His household numbered more than a thousand souls, and he directed them all, parents and children, to the divine Sovereign. He suffered no parental oppression on the one hand, of filial obedience on the other. By the combined influence of love and justice, he ruled his household in the fear of God, and the Lord bore witness to his faithfulness.17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 5

    He who blesses the habitation of the righteous, the high and holy One in whose mouth there is no flattery or deception, declared to Abraham: “‘I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.’ [Genesis 18:19.] I know that there will be in his life no betrayal of truth. I know that he will yield to no will and follow no guidance but Mine. He will keep My law. He will be true to principle.”17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 6

    Are the households that compose the church today households of prayer? Do fathers and mothers keep the way of the Lord? Do they realize that God’s eye is ever upon them? Do they walk before their children in a perfect way? Do they make the law of God the rule of life, realizing that from it there can be no sinless swerving? Do they give the principles of holiness the first place in the life?17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 7

    This, my dear brother, is my great sorrow—that there are so many Seventh-day Adventist families who need to learn what a Christian family should be. O that we could see every father and mother in our ranks showing the interest in their children that God desires them to show.17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 8

    From the experience of Cornelius we may learn many precious lessons. Cornelius was “a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house.” He “gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.” [Acts 10:2.] We have every reason to believe that he lived his prayers, that they did not come from lips defiled by passionate words.17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 9

    Of him we read, “He saw in a vision, evidently about the ninth hour of the day, an angel of God coming to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter. He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the seaside; he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do. And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually, and when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.” [Verses 3-8.]17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 10

    From this we see that the Lord knows every family and just what standard of piety each maintains. Cornelius did not know Christ; but he feared God, and the Lord recognized his piety and arranged circumstances in such a way that he was brought in contact with the apostle Peter to receive from him advanced truth.17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 11

    God could have commissioned the angel to tell the gospel story to Cornelius. But in His wisdom the Lord brings those who are seeking for truth in touch with fellow beings who know the truth. The experience of Cornelius should bring great encouragement to those who are seeking the Lord with an earnest desire to know His will. All who seek the Lord with full purpose of heart will find the blessing for which they seek.17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 12

    The angel gave Cornelius full particulars as to how to find Peter, telling him just where he was living and with whom he was lodging. All heaven knows what position of trust we occupy. The very street on which we live is known to God.17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 13

    “On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour; and he became very hungry, and would have eaten; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, and saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth; wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice; and the vessel was received up again into heaven. Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision should mean, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate.” [Verses 9-17.]17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 14

    Mark how close the connections made. While Peter was thinking about the vision, wondering what it meant, the men sent from Cornelius stood before the gate of his lodging house, and the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men seek thee. Arise, therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.” [Verses 19, 20.]17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 15

    “Then Peter went down to the men which were sent him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek; what is the cause wherefore ye are come? And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned by a holy angel to send for thee into his house, to hear words from thee.” [Verses 21, 22.]17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 16

    “Then called he them in and lodged them.” [Verse 23.] Peter treated the messengers with great respect, feeling that heaven had indeed come very near to earth.17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 17

    “And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him. And on the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends. And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshiped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together. And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an awful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company or come unto one of another nation; but God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for; I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 18

    “And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, and said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the seaside; who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee. Immediately therefore I sent unto thee; and thou hast done well that thou hast come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.” [Verses 23-33.]17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 19

    “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ; ... that word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew, and hanged on a tree; him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 20

    “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell upon all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” [Verses 34-48.]17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 21

    What wonderful instruction this record contains. It shows the simplicity of the Lord’s plans for the advancement of His work. And it shows that the agencies of heaven are ever ready to co-operate with human agencies in working out the Lord’s plans. It should lead us to place ourselves in readiness to work for those who, though not having received the whole truth, are serving God with sincere, earnest purpose. In our world there are many such men as Cornelius, and for them the Lord desires his servants to make personal efforts. The Lord showed Peter, the Jew, that there were Gentiles who were serving God as acceptably as he. I am instructed that in the churches there are souls who are much nearer the kingdom of heaven than we suppose.17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 22

    My brother, consider the way in which the Lord worked in the case of Cornelius; and take courage. Angels of God are co-operating with His servants in their efforts to bring to the full light of truth those who are walking in all the light they have received. In this dark world of sin, the Lord has many precious jewels to whom He will guide His servants.17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 23

    Christ and His angels come to us in the form of human beings, and as we converse with them, light and grace and joy fill our hearts. Our spiritual energies are quickened, and we are strengthened to do the will of God. Though we know it not, we were conversing with an angel, an angel in human guise.17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 24

    There is a close connection between God’s revelation of Himself to us, and our earnestness in seeking Him. “He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” [Hebrews 11:6.] We are to receive the Lord Jesus by faith, delighted to find Him, whether He comes in the humble garments in which He walked over the hill and valleys of Palestine, or, as He comes sometimes, in the bright raiment of the mount of transfiguration.17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 25

    We certainly need increased faith. If we will but put our trust in God, things that now seem to be impossibilities will appear easy of achievement. We need to realize that all heaven is interested in the proclamation of the gospel message.17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 26

    My brother, everywhere there are those who will take their stand for present truth. Beside all waters we are to sow the seeds of truth. Let us never allow ourselves to be controlled by feelings of hopelessness. God’s work will be done. The Lord knows those that are His. In His providence, He will direct them as He directed Cornelius.17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 27

    Have we not a work to do for the Lord, and should we not labor more intelligently, more earnestly, than we have labored in the past for those who need help? Let us remember that we are God’s helping hand. With the Bible as our Guide and Counsellor, let us go forth to work for the Lord, serving Him in the way He has appointed, proclaiming the message of present truth in a way that makes it impressive and acceptable. We are weak, but God will give us His enduring strength if we will but believe.17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 28

    God will use His believing ones as His instrumentalities, through them ministering to souls fainting for the bread of life. Words of hope and cheer, falling from lips that have been touched with a live coal from God’s altar, will revive and comfort those who are weary and distressed.17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 29

    God’s people would put on joy and gladness as a garment if they would only receive that which God is waiting to give them—that which would make them strong to help those in need of help. Our people need the breath of life breathed into them, that they may revive to spiritual action. Many have lost their vital energy and are sluggish, dead, as it were. Let those who have been receiving the grace of Christ help these souls to rouse to action. Let us keep in the current of life that comes from Christ, that we may kindle life in some other soul. Healthy, happy action is what is needed in the church today.17LtMs, Lt 144, 1902, par. 30

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