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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903) - Contents
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    Lt 39, 1903

    Wessels, John J.

    “Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

    February 28, 1903

    Portions of this letter are published in TDG 67; UL 73.

    My dear brother John Wessels,—

    I have received and read your letter. About a week ago I took the letter over to your wife, that she and her mother might read it. We were all pleased with the spirit in which the letter was written, and we have been and are still hopeful that you will fully return to the Lord and will not allow the enemy to steal a march on you.18LtMs, Lt 39, 1903, par. 1

    I have felt very sorry for you, because you have walked contrary to the will and way of God and have done despite to His grace. In the past I have been deeply grieved by your course of action in regard to my work, and especially in regard to the report that you made to Dr. Kellogg. This report was not true, and the impression left by it on the doctor’s mind was in no way helpful to him. O how sorry I felt to think that you should lose your spiritual discernment and do me such harm by false representation, when I had tried in every way to be your friend.18LtMs, Lt 39, 1903, par. 2

    The Lord gave me a testimony for you, and had you received and obeyed this testimony, had you exerted all your influence to draw your mother and your other relatives from Africa, how changed all would now be. From the light given me, I know that had you remained away from Africa, you could have drawn your mother and your brothers away from the fascinating temptations prepared by the enemy to ruin them. It was the Lord’s desire that every member of your family should be out of Africa during the Boer war, and this is why I pressed the matter so urgently. I did not then see all the results, but I was shown in figures that you were in great danger of giving up the faith; and afterward, you did practically give it up.18LtMs, Lt 39, 1903, par. 3

    You are now in Africa again. My brother, be as firm as a rock to principle, unmoved by the seductive influences that have led your brothers to become untrue to the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of satanic agencies. I cannot help weeping as I think of how merciful the Lord has been to you, notwithstanding your perversity. His hand has ever been stretched out to save you. I am much encouraged by the stand that you have taken. And I have hope for Philip, I have hope for Peter, I have hope for Henry and Dan and Andrew. God has not given them up to be lost. In His great mercy He still suffers His Spirit to strive with them.18LtMs, Lt 39, 1903, par. 4

    In the visible creation, divine wisdom is manifested in an endless variety of processes. Uniformity is not the rule that is followed in the kingdom of nature. Neither is it the rule that is followed in the kingdom of grace. In different ways God works to attain one purpose—the saving of souls. By different methods the gracious Redeemer deals with different minds. The change of heart is as truly wrought out by one process as by another. It is the Lord working upon minds and molding characters.18LtMs, Lt 39, 1903, par. 5

    All are not led to the Lord in precisely the same way. Human beings are not to define, arbitrarily and narrowly, the characteristics of God’s working on minds. It may be given to one to gain spiritual strength and discernment easily, while another has to contend with “a thorn in the flesh,” and at times is ready, apparently, to step off the heights over the precipice. [2 Corinthians 12:7.] Yet who dare say that God does not still love and regard as His child the one so sorely beset and that His hand is not still stretched out to save?18LtMs, Lt 39, 1903, par. 6

    The heavenly Shepherd knows where to find the lambs that are straying from the fold. He will gather them in. He calls upon ministers and lay members to arouse to their responsibility and unite with Him in this work. It is the special duty of Christians to seek and save the lost. Ministers and laymen are to encourage and help those who, sorely beset by temptation, know not which way to turn. My brother, through the grace of God you may become one who is able to bring back to the fold the wandering ones.18LtMs, Lt 39, 1903, par. 7

    As in the days of Elijah God had seven thousand who had not bowed the knee to Baal, so today He has in the world many who are walking in all the light they have received. A whole firmament of chosen ones has He in reserve that will yet shine forth amidst the darkness. In places where there might be expected only briers and thorns, fruit-bearing trees of righteousness will appear. In such places as these there are those who will bloom more sweetly for the Lord than many who live in more favored places. All around them they will shed the fragrance of His grace as they bloom in most unpromising places.18LtMs, Lt 39, 1903, par. 8

    Everywhere divine grace is to make itself felt. In places that are now spiritual deserts, there will be found those of whom the servants of the Lord can say, “Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.]18LtMs, Lt 39, 1903, par. 9

    God has souls to be saved in Africa. There are many to be sought out and kindly and tenderly labored for. At present, some may not be ready for the revelation of Christ’s grace; but the sons of mother Wessels—the subjects of so many prayers—may be saved if they will break up their present associations which have led them to disregard heavenly things. I was shown that the Wessels family, if they will, may be transformed into the Christlikeness. The Lord is waiting to be gracious to every member of this family. But in order for them to place themselves where He can work for them, they must leave their present surroundings, one going here and another there, placing themselves under influences more favorable to the growth of grace in the soul. Pride, folly, and extravagance can find no place in the kingdom of God.18LtMs, Lt 39, 1903, par. 10

    My brother, while you are in Africa, do all that you can to change the order of things. By your prayers and your repentance toward God, show the transformation that His grace has wrought in your character. Heaven—eternal life—is worth more than ten thousand times ten thousand worlds. I thank God for you, my brother, that your eyes are being opened to discern the truth. “It is the Lord; let Him do what seemeth best unto Him.” [1 Samuel 3:18.] Walk carefully before God. Many eyes will be upon you. Your desire to accumulate means has been a snare to you, and this desire must be separated from your life.18LtMs, Lt 39, 1903, par. 11

    “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him; for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? ... No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” [Hebrews 12:1-7, 11.]18LtMs, Lt 39, 1903, par. 12

    My brother, will you study and obey this instruction? Encourage faith in the truth for this time. Walk by faith, not by sight. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” [Hebrews 11:1.] You need at every step the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. This faith quickens and uplifts the soul by the nobility of holy practice. It is essential to every one who is running in the race for eternal life. It raises the soul into a purer, holier atmosphere, enabling its possessor to look forward to higher and still higher attainments and to discern clearly the dangers of a life of self-indulgence. Look by faith above yourself, and see in the work of God the way to gain the riches that can be laid up beside the throne of God. O the height and depth of the knowledge that may be obtained by unreserved consecration to God. The Lord will have the whole man, or none at all. His favor cannot be purchased with gifts of money. He calls for the gift of the whole heart.18LtMs, Lt 39, 1903, par. 13

    It is not necessary for us to know the results of our course of action before we surrender wholly to God. We do not need to see the way or to know what the future will be. One thing we do know, because God has said it—the man that fears God and works righteousness will be accepted by Him. This is enough for us to know. Day by day walk before the Lord in humility and contrition. Your future destiny depends on your own course of action. “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.” [Joshua 24:15.] “If the Lord be God, then serve Him; but if Baal, then serve him.” [1 Kings 18:21.] Be one thing or the other. “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” [Matthew 6:24.] Your present happiness and your future well-being depend on your own choice. If you choose to follow Jesus, you must obey the Word, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” [Matthew 16:24.]18LtMs, Lt 39, 1903, par. 14

    Eternal life is for all who eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God—living by every word that proceeds out of His mouth. Those who do this will gain a clear understanding of what it means to be one with Christ.18LtMs, Lt 39, 1903, par. 15

    “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” [James 3:17, 18.] Two people may engage in the same acts of outward worship, yet the service of one, when weighed in the golden scales of the sanctuary, may be found wanting, while the service of the other may be accepted. Only the service that is performed in sincerity, with a humble, contrite heart, is acceptable to God.18LtMs, Lt 39, 1903, par. 16

    My brother, neither you nor I can afford to do haphazard work. We must make Christ our Alpha and our Omega, the first, and last, and best in everything. He is ashamed of those who have no desire to follow Him. He prepares for them no mansion in the city of God. He will not accept them as His. They can never be acknowledged as heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ to the immortal inheritance.18LtMs, Lt 39, 1903, par. 17

    No sacrifice is too great to make for the truth, for Christ, for heaven. Not a farthing of the money that we handle is our own. All is the Lord’s, entrusted to us to test us, to see if we will make a right use of the Lord’s goods. He who in this life does not prove true and faithful will have no second trial. Those who choose the world will perish with the world. A cloud of heavenly witnesses is watching the conflict between good and evil. Those who live for their own pleasure must one day answer to the Judge of all the earth for their misspent privileges and neglected opportunities. They will lose an eternity of bliss and the riches of everlasting life. God forbid that any should delay until it is too late, and should at last have to say, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and I am not saved.” [Jeremiah 8:20.]18LtMs, Lt 39, 1903, par. 18

    May God help you, John, to help others. “Lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord; looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” [Hebrews 12:12-15.] Walk straight forward in the path of duty. Show those with whom you associate that you will not turn from your integrity to gain advantage for yourself. Fix your mind on the things of heaven, saying, I must see the King in His beauty. He gave His life for me, and I will not, to please any human being, exert my influence against the truth of Christ.18LtMs, Lt 39, 1903, par. 19

    All are being tested and tried. God will heal the spiritual infirmities of all who sincerely strive to obey Him, at any cost to themselves. The Lord calls upon His people to live the life of Christ. This all must do who enter the gates of the city of God. No one can be a Christian, and at the same time live in conformity to the world. Will you remember, John, that eternal life begins in this world? Our course of action is to be in accordance with the divine similitude. We are to have in us Christ’s life, which is eternal life.18LtMs, Lt 39, 1903, par. 20

    I leave these lines with you. We shall pray for you. Our word to you is, Courage in the Lord. Whatever course your brothers may take, place your feet in the footprints of Christ. Follow the Saviour in the path of self-denial, lifting the cross and bearing it after Him; and thus show your brothers a better and more desirable way than the way of the world.18LtMs, Lt 39, 1903, par. 21

    May the Lord bless you, my brother. May He give you strength to walk in the path of duty, and may He fill your heart with love and faith and hope and courage.18LtMs, Lt 39, 1903, par. 22

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