Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2

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Lt 31, 1872

Andrews, J. N.

NP

1872

This letter is published in entirety in 13MR 341-347.

Elder J. N. Andrews:

God has committed to us each sacred trusts, for which He holds us accountable. It is His purpose that we so educate the mind as to enable us to bring into exercise the talents He has given us, in such a manner as will accomplish the greatest good and reflect back the glory to the Giver. We are indebted to God for all the qualities of the mind. These powers can be cultivated, and so discreetly directed and controlled as to accomplish the purpose for which God gave them. 2LtMs, Lt 31, 1872, par. 1

Brother Andrews, you can so educate your mind as to bring out the energies of the soul and develop every faculty, that they may accomplish the purpose for which they were given. The intellect may be strengthened by every faculty being exercised. You, my brother, are not doing the greatest amount of good, because you exercise the intellect in one direction but neglect to give careful attention to these things for which you think you are not adapted. Therefore, some faculties that are weak are lying dormant for want of exercise, because the work that should call them into exercise, and consequently give them strength, is not pleasant to you. 2LtMs, Lt 31, 1872, par. 2

All the faculties should be cultivated, all the powers of the mind exercised. Perception, judgement, memory, and all the reasoning powers should have equal strength in order to have a well-balanced mind. In that case you would be a whole man. Otherwise you are in danger of being but a part of a man. If certain faculties are used to the neglect of others, the design of God is not fully carried out in us, for all the faculties have a bearing and are dependent in a great measure upon each other, and one cannot be effectually used without the operation of all the faculties, that the balance may be carefully preserved. If all the attention and strength is given to one while others lie dormant, the development is strong in that one and will lead to extremes, because all the powers have not been cultivated. Some are dwarfed and the intellect is not properly balanced. 2LtMs, Lt 31, 1872, par. 3

All minds are not naturally constituted alike. We have varied minds and strong points of character, and great weakness upon some points. These deficiencies, so apparent, need not, and should not, exist. If those who possess them would strengthen the weak points in their characters, by cultivation and exercise they would become strong. 2LtMs, Lt 31, 1872, par. 4

It is agreeable, but not to the greatest profit, to put into exercise the faculties which are naturally the strongest while we neglect those that are weak, that need to be strengthened. The feeblest faculties should have careful attention that all the powers of the intellect may be nicely balanced, all doing their part like well-regulated machinery. Brother Andrews, you fail to turn your powers to the best account. Your power to concentrate your mind upon one subject to the exclusion of all others is well in a degree, but this faculty is constantly cultivated, which wears upon certain organs that are called into exercise to do this work, which will tax them too much and you will fail to accomplish the greatest good, and will shorten life. All the faculties should bear a part of the labor, working harmoniously, each balancing the other. You put your whole soul into the subject you are now upon; you go deeper and deeper into the matter. You see knowledge and light as you become interested and absorbed. 2LtMs, Lt 31, 1872, par. 5

But there are very few minds that can follow you, unless they give the subject the depth of thought you have done. There is danger of your ploughing and planting the seed of truth so deep that the tender, precious blade will never find the surface. Your labor will be appreciated by only a few. 2LtMs, Lt 31, 1872, par. 6

If you had taken hold of your Sabbath History and made that your principal but not exclusive business, but labored a portion of the time to keep up other branches of the work, it would have been better for you and better for the interests of the cause of God. You love just the kind of work you are now doing. But while you are going so thorough and covering so much ground, you are not getting out a work calculated to do the greatest amount of good by awakening a general interest. Minds become weary in reading and following you. When you get engaged in matter that you are now at work upon, you scarcely know where to stop. 2LtMs, Lt 31, 1872, par. 7

In this age, when pleasing fables are dropping upon the surface and attracting the mind, truth presented in an easy style, backed up with a few strong proofs, is better than to search and bring forth an overwhelming array of evidences. The point does not stand as distinct in many minds as before the objections and the evidences were brought so definitely before them. In very many minds, assertions will go farther than long arguments in proof. Many things may be taken as granted. Proof does not help the case in some minds. You, my brother, are in danger of carrying minds beyond their depth. 2LtMs, Lt 31, 1872, par. 8

Preble is an unprincipled, dishonest man. Those who are best acquainted with him have not confidence in him. They will take what he will say, however untrue and unjust and even ridiculous, and make it to bear against the truth if possible. But minds that will receive and be pleased with the productions of his pen are not the ones to be convinced of the truth or that would honor the cause of God, if they should accept the Sabbath. And you are in danger of presenting objections to thousands of minds that they never thought of, and which many will use if they become disaffected. 2LtMs, Lt 31, 1872, par. 9

If you and other men take a position to investigate and show the fallacy and inconsistency of men who dishonestly turn the truth of God into a lie, Satan will stir up men enough to keep your pen and the pens of several others constantly employed, while other branches of the work are left to suffer. We must have more the spirit of those men who were engaged in building the walls of Jerusalem: “We are doing a great work and we cannot come down.” [Nehemiah 6:3.] If Satan sees he can keep men’s voices silenced from the most important work for the present time in answering objections of opponents, his object is accomplished. 2LtMs, Lt 31, 1872, par. 10

The History of the Sabbath should have been out long ago. You should not wait to have everything so exactly as strong as you can possibly make it before you give it to the people. This is a busy world; men and women, as they engage in the business of life, have not time to meditate and read even the Word of God enough to understand it. And long, labored arguments will interest but a few for as the people run they have to read. You can no more remove the objections to the Sabbath commandment in the minds of the First Day Adventists who oppose the law than the Saviour of the world could by His great power and miracles convince the Jews that He was the Messiah, after they had once set themselves to reject Him. Like the obstinate, unbelieving Jews they have chosen darkness rather than light, and should an angel direct from the courts of heaven speak to them they would say it was Satan. 2LtMs, Lt 31, 1872, par. 11

Your Sabbath work should be given to the public, [even] if not in all that perfection you could desire. Souls need the work now. Plain, pointed arguments standing out as mileposts will do more in convincing minds generally, than a large array of arguments covering a good deal of ground that none but investigating minds will have the interest to follow. After one edition is circulating and the people have the benefits, then if greater improvements are to be made, you can do it, until you are satisfied you have done all in your power. Our success will be in reaching common minds. Those who have talent and position are so exalted above the simplicity of the work, and so well satisfied with themselves, that they feel no need of the truth. They are exactly where the Jews were—self-righteous, self-sufficient that they are whole and have not need of the physician. 2LtMs, Lt 31, 1872, par. 12

While you are following Preble so fully, you anticipate that which you will never realize. Your time can be better employed in having a more general interest and giving to the people food, meat that will feed them now. While your time is employed in following the crooks and turns of Preble you are not wise. You are bringing to their notice a work which has but limited circulation, and interesting minds in objections that they would never have been troubled with. You manufacture a train of quibbles and doubts for thousands of people, and present his work to those who would never have seen it. This is just what they want to have done, to be brought to notice and we publish for them. This is what Carver wants. This is their main object in writing out their falsehoods and misrepresentations of the truth and the characters of those who love and advocate the truth. 2LtMs, Lt 31, 1872, par. 13

They will die out the soonest if left unnoticed, treating their falsehoods and their errors with silent contempt. They do not want to be let alone. Opposition is the element that they love. If it were not for this they would have but little influence. The First Day Adventists are a class that are the most difficult to reach. They will generally reject the truth as did the Jews. We should, as far as possible, go forward as though there was not such a people in existence. They are the elements of confusion. Immoralities exist among them to a fearful extent. It would be the greatest calamity to have many of their members embrace the truth. They would have to unlearn everything and learn anew, or they would cause us great trouble. There are occasions when their glaring misrepresentations will have to be met. When this is the case, it should be done promptly and briefly and then pass on to our work. 2LtMs, Lt 31, 1872, par. 14

The plan of Christ’s teachings should be ours. He was plain and simple, striking directly at the root of the matter, and the minds of all were met. It is not the best policy to be so very explicit and say all upon a point that can be said, when a few arguments will cover the ground and be sufficient for all practical purposes in convincing or silencing opponents. You may remove every prop today and close the mouths of objectors so they can say nothing and tomorrow they will go over the very same ground again. Thus it will be over and over, because they do not love the light and will not come to the light lest their darkness and error should be removed from them. It is a better plan to keep a reserve of arguments and reasons than to pour out a depth of knowledge upon a subject which would be taken for granted without labored arguments. 2LtMs, Lt 31, 1872, par. 15

Christ’s ministry lasted only three years and a great work was done in that short period. In these last days there is a great work to be done in a short time. While you are getting ready to do something, souls will perish for the [lack of] light and knowledge. 2LtMs, Lt 31, 1872, par. 16

In haste. 2LtMs, Lt 31, 1872, par. 17