Adam Hutchinson - Letter - Forest Range, South Australia - 1916

TO THE CHURCH AT FOREST RANGE.

My dear Brothers and Sisters,

Just a few lines to cheer you on your upward way. There are a few things which are essential to life and health all along life’s journey both in the natural way and in the spiritual. As we grow up from childhood to manhood, there are many things we leave off as we see they are of no more use to us. As Paul says, "When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man I put away childish things." As with the child so with God’s babes - as they grow up they put away those petty, thin-skinned, want their own way ideas and settle down to a steady constant walk with God. This thing of getting offended, or taking the pet because they don’t have their own way or ideas accepted, is not their experience now. They are willing to fit in anywhere and do their best. It’s not their experience now to be influenced by anyone’s flattery, for they have learned of Him that it is not the Spirit of Christ. Then children are liable to many troubles, ailments, diseases, get up above normal mumps - get their heads swelled a bit for the time being - get many tumbles, knees skinned or peeled, and you would think they were killed, but somehow they soon get restored again. A very little trips a child. Now it’s very serious if a grown-up person gets these diseases, or falls, for it might mean death, and thus those who have gone on and grown don’t become a victim to many things that once troubled them in their convert days. They don’t get swelled heads now or erratic or heady, neither do they allow every straw of circumstance that blows along to trip them up because they are no more children tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, but speaking the Truth in love they have grown up into Him in all things, doing things as He would have them, because He is their Lord, and their one desire is to be like Him. But there are some things we needed when we were children and which we need today. Here are a few of them. We needed to get washed daily, and if we would be strong and healthy in the Lord, we must allow Him to cleanse us every day. Then we needed food, and we must have the bread from Heaven if we would be overcomers. It was those who did not value the bread from Heaven that were overcome in the wilderness in the various pitfalls of the devil. We needed sleep, and we need rest today for the child of God needs to rest, as sleep restores the body and gives the heart time to recuperate the waste of the body during the day when all organs are at rest. So we need to wait upon the Lord daily so that He can renew us and create fresh desires in our heart to go forth again, fit and able to labour again in His vineyard. The way that love grows in the child for its parents, more so than for anyone else, is because it obeys its parents. You watch any home where children are and you will find that those children who are taught to obey their parents are always the best. Therefore this is the way the love of God grows in our hearts — by implicit obedience in everything. Children who obey their parents won’t suffer much - none will ever suffer much who obeys their heavenly Father. Children believe anything their parents tell them and this is a true mark of God’s children - they believe anything God shows them, just like a child without doubting. Now the childish simplicity must be maintained all along our life’s journey if His Will and way and purpose is to be sweet to our souls. When you see anyone becoming foxy or cute or suspicious, or as in Hebrews unbelieving (for that word explains all) meaning unwilling to live by or live out what God says from day to day, you know they are drifting towards the rocks. How real the pattern - He was led as a lamb to the slaughter - not like some easily led for a year or two, or even ten years, and then get high and heady and wayward - but led to Calvary as a lamb - how essential to see that we have the marks of the Lamb of God. Children soon forget any quarrel they have had, whether they have been wronged or not; they don’t keep up spite. I know of nothing more fatal or surer of the curse of God than anyone who would nurse or cherish any grudge or ill feeling against anyone. Nothing is more defiling or degrading; it makes the one that would do so a victim to the wiles of the devil and their heart a hot bed for all sorts of diseases to germinate - such as envy, jealousy, backbiting, evil speaking, evil surmising, covetousness, high mindedness, headiness, selfishness, waywardness, despising others. No one dare violate the Will of God - our attitude towards our brothers and sisters determines our attitude towards God. The way we act towards one another is the way we act towards God. Another thing we must maintain as at the beginning, and that is the love of God. God’s children will go anywhere, do anything, willing for all God shows them, which shows that they have the love of God shed abroad in their hearts and that same true, sterling, genuine love must be maintained if we are to reach the goal. The way the love of God grew in our hearts in our convert days was by a quick response always to His voice, nothing else in our hearts - no other purpose or aim, but simply to please Jesus. We gladly put our all into it, and that is still the way that love of God is to go on and grow in our hearts and so enable us to be more than conquerors over world, flesh, and devil. Surely the love of God shone brightly that night in Jerusalem when Jesus their Lord and Master began to wash and minister to the needs of the disciples with all their unworthiness. No wonder John, who wrote his epistle many years after Peter and Paul and the others, emphasized so much having the love of God. He wrote about 60 years after Jesus returned to His Father, and as the years went past, as he watched how the saints went on, no doubt he could see where many of them lacked and where some were overcome and he would know why. He begins with what things were at the beginning and what is the same today - the prevailing thought through it all is the love of God. Not the soft-soap pharisaic rubbish that is only talk, but that true, genuine, sincere, loyal love as was seen in Jesus, that will constrain us to lay our all at His feet every day and all along the way. God does His part if we would keep in step with Jesus. We must do our part or else lag behind. The love of God in one’s heart is a kind of safety valve, for if we truly respect one another, we won’t despise them nor speak evil of, or against another, neither will we receive any yarns about such; we will esteem them and do our best for them. The various things that happen in our individual experience is just God’s thermometer to show us how the love of God is running high or low, hot or cold, and whether there is a calm or storm inside and just makes manifest whether the love of God is reigning in your heart or not. Just as the bond of love between us and God must be daily maintained by sacrifice, so must the bond between one another be maintained in the same way. That love has to be fed every day. The way that Paul enabled that love to grip his heart and hold him was by truly laying himself gladly upon God’s altar, and nothing else will do. Wherever you see a person ceasing to give God their all, affection, love, desires, then the love of God will wax cold and then death will set in, being cut off. God must have all every day and all along the way. It’s not how much we can take in, or give out about the Truth that God looks at or values, but those who offer themselves daily a whole burnt offering upon God’s altar. If ever you are conscious of not having the same appetite as hitherto for God’s Way and Truth, look into your life and you will find out it’s because you are withholding from God what is His. No person dares trifle with God. How easy to keep up the outward show…take your place at meetings, give your testimony, pray and be the same as ever you were, and yet because you have left your first love, or allowed the love of God to get cold, you are only drifting toward the precipice. If we have not the same hotness as in by-gone days, we know that something else is taking the place of God in our heart, and unless willing to get found out, can only lead us to doom. We measure our love to God by our love to one another. If, as time goes on, we become familiar, then we know that familiarity breeds contempt. Where the love of God is, we won’t get familiar - but the more we know of others, the deeper and higher our respect will be for them, because we will have learned to know some of their battles and adverse circumstances and will be more able to minister to them. Nothing surely is so pleasing in the eyes of God than to see a worthy saint minister and seek to help one that may be less worthy. Jesus showed His love to the disciples by what He did, and so will we to one another.

I don’t mean that anyone would seek to take advantage of a loaf, or sponge on other’s generosity (which alas has been done), for such a one could not be a brother, nor could such a one have the nature of God - but if the bond of love that God would bind us to one another does not grow stronger, then it’s high time to call a halt and see where the cause is. For I maintain that if the love for one another is not growing in our hearts, then depend upon it, envy, jealously, hatred, despising, etc must be growing. If the good seed is not growing, the weeds will surely be growing there. John gives us what is the love of God to our brethren – "We ought to lay down our lives for our brethren. He that loveth not his brethren abideth in death."

To close - Will quote John’s words, "This is the love of God that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not grievous."

May God keep us all wise and may the love of God be shed abroad in our heads so that in coming days our life and actions will adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour and prove that we have the love of God abiding in our heads.

Your Brother in His Name,

Adam Hutchinson

P.S. The love of God is just the opposite to the world’s love. The world’s love is like the mushroom, grows quickly and decays as soon. The love of God is like the light that shineth more and more unto perfect day.

A. H.