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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903) - Contents
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    Lt 203, 1903

    Nashville Publishing House

    “Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

    September 14, 1903

    Portions of this letter are published in SD 321; TDG 266.

    To those in positions of responsibility in the Nashville Publishing House

    My dear brethren,—

    I am charged with a message to you from the Lord. Seek Him earnestly while He may be found. He is acquainted with the spirit that you reveal in your purposes and plans. Do not carry yourselves proudly. You need to clear the King’s highway. There are to be no gods amongst us. One is our God. He is to be feared and honored by every one. All plans of worldly policy are to be abolished. A spiritual order of things is to be brought in.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 1

    The Lord desires the men connected with our publishing houses to be men who are worked by the Holy Spirit. If the spirit continues to control those in positions of responsibility in the publishing house at Nashville that has controlled them in the past, the same commercial spirit will be brought into this institution that was brought into the publishing house in Battle Creek. Those who have been leavened by this spirit—I shall not call them by name—are in need of the converting power of the Holy Spirit on mind and heart.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 2

    I copy some extracts from my diary. On March 1, 1903, I wrote:18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 3

    “There are some things that I cannot forbear stating to my brethren standing in positions of responsibility in the Nashville Publishing House. Your danger is in supposing that position gives you power. You are constantly to learn of Christ. While you are influenced by the same spirit that has borne sway in the past, it will be impossible for unity and love and sympathy and deep humility to exist amongst you.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 4

    “The cold barrenness of soul that is seen is detrimental to the missionary work which the Lord desires to see done. The leaven of selfishness and self-exaltation will grow and prevail unless, every day and every hour, humility of mind and heart is cherished.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 5

    “Let the men who stand as leaders in the work of God, and whose work affects others, feel the obligation resting on them to stand ever under the orders of Him who declares that their work is to bear the stamp of heaven. My brethren, unless the commercial work received into the office bears the index and symbol of the divine, it will be a sure snare to the apprentices, who look to the men in responsibility for instruction in business and spiritual lines.”18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 6

    On July 29, 1903, I wrote:18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 7

    “I am carrying a heavy burden for the work in the Southern field. He who bears responsibilities that bring him into contact with others needs a heart that is not a stranger to the influence and teaching of the Holy Spirit. I hope and pray that the men who shall act a part in the publishing house at Nashville will not steel their hearts against the ministration of the Holy Spirit. Angels are watching every movement made.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 8

    “The experience of the past will be repeated by the course of the leading men in this institution unless their self-sufficient spirit is exchanged for the spirit of truth, candor, and Christian courtesy. A thorough conversion alone can make them men that God can use. There is much self-confidence, combined with worldly policy methods. The Lord calls for a change of heart, mind, and character. These men must lay off their self-assurance. The love of Jesus does not rule in their hearts as a living, transforming power. I say to them, Be sure that you are not fit to occupy a position of trust in God’s cause unless you are daily learning of the great Teacher. Remember that you are under God’s orders.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 9

    “The work of God in the South has not been appreciated or wisely carried forward. It is years behind because there has been, on the part of those engaged in it, a lack of true courtesy, of genuine Christian fellowship. Their long-continued need has been the light and love of God.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 10

    “When men are chosen to fill positions of trust in the work of God, they are placed on trial. If they do not bear the test, if they show that they are not converted, they must not be allowed to remain where they will hinder the progress of God’s work by bringing in wrong methods. Such men place a heavy burden upon those connected with them. What do they need?—A reconversion. They need to know what it means to seek for and receive wisdom from on high. They need to realize that in thought, words, and deed they must undergo an entire transformation before they can offer God acceptable service.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 11

    “The prayer recorded in the ninth chapter of Daniel was offered by one who had long been in the service of God, and who had received the commendation of God. Yet Daniel appeared before God as a sinner, pleading the great need of the people he loved. His prayer is eloquent in its simplicity; for he was intensely in earnest. Read this prayer, and then ask the Lord to indite your prayers. Ask Him to help you to pray with Christlike fervor. With humility and contrition confess your mistakes and errors, and repent before God. Oh, your prayers mean very little; for they are cold and lifeless. You have not a personal acquaintance with Jesus of Nazareth. How can you, then, bring light and power and grace and righteousness into your work for Him?18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 12

    “When men feel their deficiency, there is hope that they will take hold of Him who is their power and efficiency. But while they are self-complacent, content to move in accordance with their deficient human judgment, there is no hope of a change for the better.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 13

    “The Lord calls upon those who claim to be His children to make no deceptive pretensions, but to seek Him in earnestness and sincerity. Let them remember that their words, their acts, their work, their worship of God have an influence upon those connected with them.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 14

    “My brethren, if you have a realization of the responsibility resting on you, you will seek earnestly for true conversion. We need men now who have been proved and tried and tested. The position in which you stand demands men who fear and tremble because of their inefficiency. Remember that you will either grow in grace, or in a spirit of cold pharisaism. Will you now change your attitude? Will you now make thorough work for eternity?”18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 15

    Harmony and unity are to prevail amongst those in charge of the publishing work at Nashville. These men are to conduct themselves in all humility. Some who in the past have acted a part in this institution have had their secret councils, which pleased themselves, but at which the presiding office, the great I AM, was not present. They supposed that they were doing the will of God, but by their spirit and actions they greatly retarded the work of God. Two or three, destitute of the Holy Spirit and of the warmth of Christ’s love, linked themselves together and thought that in their own wisdom they would carry matters forward. Evil was the result.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 16

    Abraham was chosen by God to be a representative of Himself. He was bidden to leave his kindred and his father’s house and go into a land that he knew not. He was chosen to introduce a new order of things into the country to which he was called. He was to live in close communion with God. He was to receive his orders from God, and his life and character were to be fashioned according to God’s designing. He was to receive instruction from God and give it to the members of his family. He was to be the priest of his household. Upon him was enjoined the cultivation of home religion. He was to cause the will of God to be respected and obeyed. He was to do nothing in a scheming, underhand way, nothing that would in any sense dishonor God.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 17

    Abraham obeyed the word of the Lord. His large household, consisting of more than a thousand souls, was controlled by Christian principles. The searcher of hearts, He who blessed the habitations of the just, said of him, “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.]18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 18

    It is the omnipotent God who is speaking, and in His words there can be neither hypocrisy nor deceit. “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him. There will be on his part no betrayal of the truth, no yielding to the guidance of any one but God. I know that he will obey the laws of heaven.”18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 19

    Why was Abraham thus honored by the Lord? He was a man whom God could trust. He was a man of faith, who always followed principles of the strictest integrity. In all his business transactions he was courteous and honorable. His life was controlled by Christian politeness, and he placed the service of the Lord before all else. He would not swerve a hair’s breadth from pure, Christian principles. He did not forget that his first duty was to God.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 20

    The history of Abraham should be studied by those who are building up the work in Nashville. The same spirit that was to control in the home of the patriarch is to control in the institutions established for the advancement of the work of the Lord.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 21

    Some who have been handling sacred things have lost a sense of their sacredness and treat them as common matters. Unless they change, the Lord will remove them from His work. He will not have His work carried on in the way in which it has been carried on in the past. The Lord’s name will be magnified if His servants will serve Him. Let them not regard the time as lost that is spent in spiritual devotion. Let them devote every capability of mind and body to keeping the way of the Lord.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 22

    Those who stand in the work of the Lord as counselors and teachers, but who have not the education and the training that the Lord declares essential for this work, might better stop right where they are and do as the disciples did—make prayer and confession and humiliation their first work until they understand that they are but finite, erring men, who must daily learn their lessons from Him who taught Abraham how to be a Christian gentleman.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 23

    The Lord revealed Himself to Abraham in the visions of the night and word by word gave him his instruction. O that today men would humble their proud hearts and let the sight of the Omniscient One so impress them that they would strip from them their self-importance and self-assumed dignity, feeling that they are only the Lord’s little children, and that they must learn from Him how to behave as gentlemen and gentlewomen. Through careful training under Bible precepts, they may become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 24

    The principles that guided Abraham must be followed by the members of the Nashville church, if they would be lights in the world. The members of this church must be living witnesses for God. They must be filled with zeal; for there is a heaven to win and a hell to shun.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 25

    “I know him that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord.” [Verse 19.] Parents are never to show harshness and roughness in their treatment of their children. They are to show the gentleness of Christ. They are to keep the way of the Lord, guiding their children in this way, daily revealing the Saviour’s love and tenderness, daily obeying the principles of truth.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 26

    The Christian parent should never lose the sense that he is one of God’s little children, and that he is to cultivate a courteous, compassionate disposition, because he is an educator. He is to represent Jesus to his children. In his dealing with them, there is to be seen no impetuosity, and neither is there to be seen the cold, icy dignity that freezes love in the heart. He is to be so kind, so tender, that the hearts of the children will be softened and subdued, prepared to receive the love and grace of Christ.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 27

    No harsh words are to be spoken by a Christian to any one, old or young. Such words are prompted by the enemy.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 28

    My brethren, do not be so coldly proper toward those with whom you meet in service and worship that you freeze the souls that are in need of the warmth of the love of Christ. Do not let your children or the young people in your charge in the office learn from you to be cold and hard and unapproachable. This is a sin in the sight of a gracious, loving Saviour. Let your hearts break before God. Let Christ come in and bless you. Let the light of His love shine into your poor selfish hearts, making you sweet tempered and amiable.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 29

    We are taught in the Word of God to be kind, tender, pitiful, courteous. Cultivate Christlike love. Let all that you do bear the impress of this love. Those who do not speak the words and do the works of Christ are trying to climb into heaven by some other way than through the door.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 30

    In the prayer that Christ offered for His disciples just before His crucifixion, He said, “For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” [John 17:19.] My brethren, you who occupy positions of responsibility in the Lord’s service, remember that Bible truth is not of the least value to you unless by it you are sanctified. Do not endeavor to preserve your cold, unchristlike dignity. This is not religion; it is not Christianity. What you need is the light that shines in the face of Christ, to cause your faces to shine with the brightness of His love. Put away your cast-iron dignity. God has not told you to cherish any such thing. Let your hearts be filled with the love of Christ. Then Christlike sympathy will shine forth from your faces.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 31

    “Neither pray I for these alone,” Christ continued, “but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me, I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one; I in them, and Thou in Me.” [Verses 20-23.]18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 32

    Do you not desire to do that which will make it possible for God to answer this prayer? It is by your Christian conduct, your righteousness, your unity, that you make it possible for Him to answer it. Do you think that you honor Christ by standing apart, determined that you will not blend with your fellow workers? Can conduct of this kind answer the prayer of Christ?18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 33

    Bring pleasantness and sweetness into your words and deeds. Then you will understand the meaning of the words, “The glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one; I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one.” [Verses 22, 23.]18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 34

    Then comes the reason that shows why it is so important that Christ’s followers should be united: “That the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.” [Verse 23.]18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 35

    “Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me; for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee, but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me. And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” [Verses 24-26.]18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 36

    Do you understand this? You have the Word of God. Might you not better read and practice its teachings? You have lost your first love. Unless you repent, God will come to you quickly, and will remove the candlestick out of its place. I am bidden to tell you that when you love God and keep His commandments, you will possess Christlike characters. You will then be as different from what you are now as light and sunshine are different from shadow and tempest.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 37

    There are some serving in holy things who have no faith in God or His power. They multiply their efforts to gain salvation by their own devices. How pitiful are their vain endeavors to justify themselves and to hold their footing against the downward current of evil. They are powerless; for they do not make God their trust.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 38

    My brethren, cultivate gratitude. Praise the Lord for His goodness. When a man begins to depart from God, there is no gratitude in his soul. He receives the temporal and spiritual blessings that come to him as if they were his by right. O that the Lord’s goodness were appreciated! Then would gratitude well up in the soul at the remembrance of His goodness. The heart would be warmed by a sense of His love and filled with joy and thanksgiving.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 39

    God is the eternal, uncreated fountain of all good. All who look to Him and trust in Him find Him to be this. To those who serve Him, cleaving to Him as their heavenly Father, He gives the assurance that He will fulfil His promises. His joy will be in their hearts, and their joy will be full.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 40

    May the Lord give you all a determination to do His will, and may He greatly bless and strengthen you, is my prayer.18LtMs, Lt 203, 1903, par. 41

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