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EXTRACTS FROM INTERESTING LETTERS
Philadelphia, Pa., Sep. 12, 1886.
BELOVED BROTHER: I should feel ashamed to be always ready with an excuse from more active service to any of the household who may yet be without the truth with which we are so richly blessed.
I seem to have become partially forgetful and drowsy (spiritually) lately, and for that reason my interest and appreciation became slightly dulled, and the enemy took advantage of it.
I pray our dear Master to bring the whole truth home to my own heart, and inspire me with greater love for him and his words.
One thing that withholds me from such outside work as visiting from house to house, open air preaching, etc., is the saying of our Head: „Give not holy things unto the dogs; neither cast ye your pearls before the swine, lest they trample upon them and turn again and rend you.” In this connection I have just found in the gospel by Mark, 6:30,31, something which might apply to us at present. Is it a forced application? Have we all truth, or do we not need a little „leisure to eat” when He has girded himself and is serving us with meats in due season?
A brother in Christ, R. W. H__________.
We are glad to know that the brother’s natural timidity has not full control of him. Mark 6:31 should be read in connection with verses 34 and 37. We think it had reference merely to needed physical rest from arduous and incessant TOIL AS PREACHERS, and that it was by no means an intimation that preaching was not proper, and not their special work. Jesus said, „I send you forth” and „as ye go preach”; and of the Christ head and body it was prophetically declared, „The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the good tidings to the meek.” All the anointed body, following the example and footsteps of the Leader and Head, are preachers; they cannot help it; the good tidings are too precious to keep. Their anointing impels them to preach, so that to us, as to the earlier members of the anointed body it is, „Woe is me, if I preach not the good tidings.”
It would be a serious loss if the Lord would refuse to use us as his ambassadors and heralds—a loss of our chief joy and privilege in the present life.
Yes surely, our Lord wishes us to „eat” while he serves us with the food; but, we should observe how the Lord serves. Is it not by using willing members of the body, that he serves the various members? It is to the very few indeed, that the Lord hands truths direct, and not through others. In fact we may say that it is only to those who are serving the others, that the Master directly hands the precious viands.
„Cast not your pearls before swine,” should not be used as the brother has applied it. Jesus did not class all Israelites as swine in his day; for he spent three years preaching to them the kingdom, etc., and sent forth twelve and then seventy other disciples also, to preach the same, saying, „The harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few,” „Go ye also into the vineyard,” etc., etc. Jesus and the eighty-two ministers he sent forth, did not go forth casting pearls before swine. And so in this harvest: those who go forth to seek the wheat, to gather the elect from every part under heaven, should not thus apply it in their work.
The meaning of the expression is in brief this:—There are „deep” as well as surface truths. The rich pearls and nuggets of truth are for those who will dig and search as men search (self-denyingly and faithfully) for silver. Those who have received the truth know that they received the simpler features first, and thus they should try to give it out to others. Before showing the „deep things of God,” our precious pearls of divine wisdom and grace, to those about us, we should make sure that they are such as would appreciate them. We should first present the simpler features of truth, and those requiring less faith and spiritual discernment. If they are not interested in these, then do not cast the (to you) yet more precious truths before them; for surely they would not appreciate them, but would think you foolish and injure your influence and the truths you advocate.
God blesses the messengers of his glorious truth as they dispense it to others. He that watereth others is more abundantly watered himself than if he attempted to merely sponge, or absorb the truth.
Was it not the most active apostle that had visions and revelations and knowledge more than all the others? Work in and for the truth, thus differs from working in and for sectarianism.—
— October, 1886 —