Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Ms 6, 1874

Testimony to Wisconsin Workers


June 1874

Portions of this manuscript are published in 4MR 341-342.

The conference in Wisconsin has not all that wise generalship that is necessary for the best advancement and success of the cause of God. The Lord would work mightily with their efforts if they were wholly swallowed up in His will, not having their own righteousness, but having the mind of Christ. 2LtMs, Ms 6, 1874, par. 1

Brother Sanborn has been more or less confused and trammeled for years by the enemy. Brother Thurston has not all that fitness for the position of leader. There are peculiarities in his character which are against the best prosperity of the cause of God. His religious experience has not been as sound and healthy as to give him a healthy growth in the truth and knowledge of the divine will. He has been too self-sufficient. With this self-complacency it was impossible for him to attain to the perfection of Christian character. God cannot do anything great or good for man because he will selfishly take the glory to himself, as though there were goodness and righteousness in himself—as though he were worthy. 2LtMs, Ms 6, 1874, par. 2

Brother Thurston, your high estimation of your ability and your judgment will bring you into trouble and the church of God into a state of barrenness and inefficiency. You have a measuring line of your own—a course you wish others should pursue—but that is not, in every respect, the fullest harmony with the body. You have original views and original plans you think just right; but in your seeking to carry these out, prosperity does not attend your plans. There is a serious lack in your department of the work. You, my dear brother, need to die to self. You need your will brought into subjection to the will of God. You have held views of sanctification and holiness which have not been of that genuine article which produces fruit of the right quality. Sanctification is not an outward work. It does not consist in praying and exhorting in meeting, but it takes hold of the very life and molds the words and actions, transforming the character. 2LtMs, Ms 6, 1874, par. 3

Brother Thurston has made mistakes because he ventures to take responsibilities upon himself, thinking his way is the best, when God has laid the burden upon His servants to lead out in plans and in devising means and methods to back a flourishing system which will exert a healthful influence in the cause of God. There is not, with brother Thurston, a seeing the necessity of perfect union of method and plans in the operation of the work. He has plans that bear the stamp of Brother Thurston rather than of the divine Hand. 2LtMs, Ms 6, 1874, par. 4

Brother Thurston’s ideas are too narrow. He does not take in the breadth of the work. He wants things brought too much into his line. He wants to work in his peculiar order, which is not always the best. He needs to enlarge, to widen, to take broader views. He needs himself a self-sacrificing spirit. He is conscientious and wants to do right, but he errs in his ideas of proposing and carrying out plans original with himself. 2LtMs, Ms 6, 1874, par. 5

No one man’s mind is capable of leading and directing and following methods of his own. Men of God have studied and planned and wept, and have presented the case before God, asking Him for wisdom and the sanction of His Spirit; and the Holy Spirit of God has set His seal to these plans and methods. But all have not seen this. They have felt inclined to pull off and vary a little, and choose a track of their own, and not follow the plan, the method, generally acknowledged among our brethren as the right and correct way to keep up the prosperity of the work, that a healthy influence might be exerted for the advancement of the cause. 2LtMs, Ms 6, 1874, par. 6

Brethren have capabilities in many respects to bear responsibilities. Some have looked upon the errors of their brethren with a jealous eye, but at the same time have felt that they could certainly shun many errors and mistakes that have been made in some directions. But these very brethren are in danger of making mistakes perhaps more deleterious to the cause than the brethren they are watching and feeling tried with in regard to their course. They might not commit the very same errors, but the defects in their character would be manifested in other directions. They need the caution of the apostle, “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12. 2LtMs, Ms 6, 1874, par. 7

There are Brethren Olds and Pratt, and there are others, all of whom love the truth and are anxious to see the cause advance; but these brethren have something to do. While they would make a success in some respects, they may be deficient in other directions. Brother Olds, in some respects, could bear responsibilities well if everything moved according to his mind, but Brother Olds is too self-sufficient. He is too impulsive and rash and would be inclined to mar the work of God, because his personal feelings have been hurt. He has to labor earnestly to control his feelings and to be patient, having generosity of feeling, brotherly love, charity. All personal feelings must be laid aside. 2LtMs, Ms 6, 1874, par. 8

Brethren Bartholf and Olds are in danger of having too narrow plans and views. They do not take in the breadth and compass of the great work, and there is danger of self being mixed with their efforts. Now all self must be separated from the work of God. All these men love to see the work advance, but they need a deeper work accomplished for them that all their thoughts and all their feelings should be sanctified to the rise and progress of the work of God. 2LtMs, Ms 6, 1874, par. 9

Brother Pratt is qualified in some respects to work in this cause for its success and its advancement. But Brother Pratt should have great care that he does not err in reproving his brethren and in dealing too strongly, mixing in with his efforts a sternness and severity that wounds. All this savors of self. Brother Pratt should move very circumspectly. His words should be select, well chosen. All his connection with his brethren should be in humility, in brokenness and tenderness, not using sharp words or suffering himself to [speak] words that savor of censure. 2LtMs, Ms 6, 1874, par. 10

Brother Pratt can act an important part in this work if he will see the necessity of consecration and devotion to God. He needs to be spiritualized. He has zeal and earnestness, but it needs to be mingled with the softening influence of the Spirit of God. He needs the pruning knife of the Spirit of God to remove the rough surface from his character and polish him, that his words might be in wisdom, that all his acts might be in reference to the glory of God, and that he might not make enemies, but friends. 2LtMs, Ms 6, 1874, par. 11

There seem to be important positions that need to be filled by men who are truly sanctified, having the spirit of the Master. And there is a most positive necessity of overcoming self that their work and efforts should not be marred by the defects in their character. Too much is at stake. Important and eternal interests are involved. Souls for whom Christ died are in danger. Any one of these brethren who has these errors uncorrected will be liable to wound the cause of God with his special peculiarities. 2LtMs, Ms 6, 1874, par. 12

It is a great work and a nice work to deal with minds. All who have anything to do in this work must have true Christian courtesy and politeness. They should not have these prominent traits of character exercised in molding the work of God to meet their peculiarities. Were these men only to have their means limited to their farms and various occupations, these defects would not be so dangerous; but in places of responsibility, these brethren must positively be fitted for these prominent positions by restraining and overcoming their peculiar traits of character. Their only safety and the safety of souls demand it. Former old experiences and stereotyped views will not do to be made prominent or to be brought in here and made a part of the Third Angel’s Message. This message, of infinite importance, should stand in its purity without being combined with the erroneous views and former experience of any one. 2LtMs, Ms 6, 1874, par. 13