Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3

375/473

Manuscripts

Ms 1, 1880

Church Difficulties

Battle Creek, Michigan

February 18, 1880

This manuscript is published in entirety in 12MR 274-295.

In the vision given me one year ago last fall, I was shown many things in regard to the churches in Indiana in reference to ministers and people; but now I have time to refer only to one church, the church at Ligonier. I saw them in trouble; they were a spectacle to the world, angels, and to men. They professed to be the repositories of God’s law, but difficulties and dissensions made them a weak church; and because of their lack of union, they were bringing the precious, sacred truth of God into disrepute. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 1

There were some who did not meet the minds of others in the church. These were not all as they should be, and as God would have them to be, and some leading spirits in the church had a controlling influence, which they exercised unwisely. It would have been better for the cause of God had these zealous ones sought most earnestly for the Spirit of the Lord to soften, subdue, elevate, and ennoble their characters, that they should be correct representatives of Jesus Christ. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 2

But those who had a ruling influence in the church were not right in heart themselves, notwithstanding they made high profession of faith. The outside was apparently right, as far as belief and profession were concerned, while the inward work of the heart, the grace of God in the life developing characters, was very much at fault. They had not the Spirit of Christ, and they labored with another spirit, exhibiting self. Strong feelings would rise up under contradiction, or if others differed with them in their ideas or opinions, their own hearts being controlled by selfishness, they sought to exalt themselves and censure and judge their brethren, a work God had not given them at all. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 3

They had left the anxious work of taking care “lest they should fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up [trouble you,] and thereby many be defiled.” [Hebrews 12:15.] They turned their eyes outward to watch lest others’ characters should not be right, when their eyes should have been turned inward to close searching of their own motives, scanning and criticizing their own characters, their own feelings, and emptying from the heart love of self, envy, evil surmisings, jealousy, malice, unkindness, and self-esteem. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 4

When they do this, they will esteem others better than themselves and will not be climbing upon the judgment seat to pronounce sentence upon others. This has caused all the difficulties in the church. Young churches may have leaders in elders and deacons chosen to have a burden and care for the prosperity of the church, yet these men should not feel at liberty in their own judgment and responsibility to cut off names from the church. They should not have so much zeal as to make decisive moves of so grave a character. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 5

They should communicate with the one who has been appointed as president of their conference and confer with him. At some appointed time have the matter particularly considered. With great wisdom and in the fear of God, with much humility and earnest, humble prayer, should erring ones be dealt with. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 6

The matter should be thoroughly investigated. What is the charge brought against the erring one? Has he willfully transgressed the law of God? Has the offender been dishonest in his deal or trade with his brethren or the world? Has he been untruthful? Has he practiced deception? Has he been licentious? Has he been severe, overbearing, and abusive in his family, with his neighbors, with his brethren, or worldlings? Has he shown a spirit of penuriousness, selfishness, covetousness, of questioning doubts, of faultfinding, of talebearing, of talking of his brethren’s faults, magnifying their wrongs, having a spirit of bitterness against them? All these things are grave matters and deserving of consideration. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 7

But the next question is, What course has been pursued toward the erring? Have the Bible rules been followed to the letter? Read before them the rules given by their Captain. Have they obeyed orders like faithful soldiers in the army? To go contrary to the positive orders of the Captain of our salvation is deserving of severest censure. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 8

“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 9

And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:15-18. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 10

Jesus is united to His people by a love far greater and more enduring than ever bound human kindred hearts together; and this love, so deep, so unchanging, is a continual assurance, a guarantee of this faithfulness to you. O wondrous love that should lead the Son of God, in order to secure us to Himself and ensure our eternal salvation, to yield up His honor, His glory, His royal throne, and royal court, and for our sakes become poor, that we, through His poverty, might be made rich. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 11

He gave all that He had, His riches and His glory, and then gave His own precious life. For us He endured the agony in the garden of Gethsemane, where the mysterious cup trembled in His hand and His anguished soul cried out, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” [Matthew 26:39.] Three times from His pale and quivering lips came this agonizing prayer, and then, “Nevertheless, not my will, but thine, O God, be done.” [Luke 22:42.] An angel from heaven strengthened the royal Sufferer to tread His bloodstained path to Calvary and to drink the cup of suffering to its very dregs. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 12

Oh! Why was all this suffering, this agonizing, and torturing agony? It was that by the sacrifice of Himself His love might stand revealed and move men from their ways of transgression. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 13

His arms are outstretched to clasp the repentant, believing ones to His heart of love, with all the tenderness of divine affection. And after man had cost so much, will He leave him now? Oh! no! no! He is faithful that hath promised. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 14

In Jesus we have an enduring, unchanging Friend: and though all worldly prospects fail and every earthly friend prove unfaithful and treacherous, yet He is faithful still. His servants are as dear to Him as the apple of the eye. In trial, in want, in perplexity and distress, we are not alone: at every step, in tones of assurance, He bids you, “Follow Me, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” [Hebrews 13:5.] But this blessed assurance is given only on condition of your obedience and faithfulness to Him. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 15

After man has cost such an infinite price as the Son of God, that He might make him a being of His throne, how tenderly should man deal with his fellow men. How fearful should brethren and sisters in the church feel lest they shall hurt the oil and the wine, and push and destroy one of God’s little ones. How patiently, kindly, and affectionately should they deal with the purchase of the blood of Christ. How faithfully should they labor, and how earnestly, to lift up the desponding, the discouraged, and those whose surroundings may not be as favorable as their own. How tenderly should they treat those who, while seeking to obey the truth, have no encouragement at home but have constantly to breathe the atmosphere of unbelief. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 16

Jesus’ eye is constantly upon these little ones of His fold and those who are trying to leave all to follow Him. If a brother or sister is supposed [i.e., presumed] to err, do not whisper among yourselves, commenting upon, magnifying, and exaggerating supposed errors of others. Do not backbite with your tongue. A great deal of this is done in our churches, and the result is the displeasure of God and exulting of Satan that he can weaken and annoy those who might be strong in God. The world sees their weakness; the world judges the truth they profess to love by the fruits they see manifested by these who claim to believe the truth. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 17

“Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.” Psalm 15. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 18

Here the backbiter is excluded from abiding in the tabernacle of God and from dwelling in the holy hill of Zion. He that taketh up a reproach against his neighbor cannot receive the approval of God and abide in His tabernacle. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 19

How many ministers, while laboring in a good work amid a precious interest, are summoned from their work while souls are being converted, to help in some church trial. Satan instigated and originated it all for the purpose of distracting and confusing minds and throwing souls off the track. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 20

Ministers, after repeated urgent calls, are called from a profitable field of labor to let the interests waver and die, in order to settle some matters in the church, among brethren, which they have manufactured by disregarding the orders of their Captain. While in this divided state of feeling, their hearts are unimpressible, and the minister’s efforts are like blows upon cold iron: each party is more firmly set in its own way, and will, after making so much of little matters that might have been adjusted at the outset by following the rule Christ has given them, refuse to make any concession. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 21

The minister makes his home with one of the brethren, but some are watching lest the minister shall receive impressions unfavorable to themselves. If the minister gives counsel, some will say, There! such a one has been talking with him: and his [the minister’s] words have no weight with them. Thus the souls are armed with prejudice and distrust and evil surmisings, and the minister is made the sport of their prejudices and their jealousies. He generally leaves the matter much worse than he found it. The dye has set the colors, and the impressions are almost indelible. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 22

Had the minister given words of advice in accordance with the Bible rule and stated like Nehemiah, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down” [Nehemiah 6:3], that church would be in a far better condition. This has been acted over and over again, and many souls have been lost as the result. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 23

Satan knows just how to work upon unconsecrated, unconverted men and women who thought more of maintaining their dignity and their own opinions than the salvation of souls; therefore he works upon hearts and minds to get up something to call the minister away from his labors just at the time when souls are interested and leaning in favor of the truth. And should the minister leave, he knows that that interest will never be revived again; Satan then secures souls in his toils who cannot again so easily break his fetters from off them. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 24

In such cases a minister is placed in a most miserable position. He may decide ever so wisely, [but] if his decision is not in favor of certain ones, they think less of him, and a party spirit is strengthened. Had he refused to leave his work, his influence would have been preserved, for his decisions must displease some who have a mind of their own and who are not willing to yield to any man’s judgment. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 25

Ministers and lay members of the church displease God when they allow individuals to tell them of the errors and faults of their brethren. They should not open their ears to these reports. They should inquire, “Have you strictly followed the injunction of your Saviour? Have you told him his faults between thee and him alone? And then if he refused to hear, have you carefully and prayerfully taken two or three others and labored with him, in tenderness, in humility, in meekness, your heart throbbing in love for his soul?” If you failed here, there was only one more step you could take—tell it to the church and let action be taken in the case according to the Scriptures. Then it is that heaven will ratify the decision made by the church in cutting off the offending member. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 26

If these steps have not been taken, do not listen to a word, close the ears, and refuse to take up a reproach against your neighbor. Listening to the reports of evil is lifting or taking up the reproach. If there were no brethren and sisters to take up the reproach against their neighbors, evil tongues would not find so fruitful a field in which to labor, backbiting and devouring one another. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 27

This is the great wrong existing in the church at Ligonier. There have been talebearing, gossiping ones, seeking spots and stains in the characters of others, while their own souls were open to Satan’s temptations and closed to the compassion, pity, and love of Christ. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 28

Instead of cherishing the spirit of the truth, they were glorifying themselves [by saying], “We are rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing,” while they are “miserable, poor, naked, and blind.” The gold which is love, they do not possess. Says the true Witness, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold, that ye may be rich; white raiment, that ye may be clothed, and that your nakedness may not appear; and eyesalve, that ye may see.” [Revelation 3:17, 18.] 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 29

This is what the church in Ligonier wants, and must have, or it would [be] better [if it had] never been raised up, for they are a curse to the truth they profess. They need to seek white raiment, which is a pure and spotless character; they need eyesalve, that they may clearly see their own defects of character, the lack of the grace and spirit of God. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 30

There has been a decided wrong with those who have carried their strong spirit into the church and ruled it. Women have had this strong, untamable spirit, which has been thought by some to be zeal for truth and for God. It is their own natural, self-sufficient, unyielding spirit that would never endure control or contradiction. They exalt themselves, but God sees their wicked ways and His curse is resting upon them. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 31

This spirit has ruled in the family, in the neighborhood, and in the church. This spirit is threatening the ruin of the church at Ligonier. One, only one, such element, if countenanced in the church, will destroy its peace, its unity, and its prosperity; but where there are relatives near and distant connected with this element, the danger is increased to just that degree of the number of connections and the sympathy given this ruling influence. The leader in the church is not the man for the place. Paul writes to Titus: 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 32

“For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” Titus 1:5-9. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 33

It would be well for all of our ministers to take heed to these words and not hurry men into office without due consideration, without much prayer that God would designate by His Spirit whom He would accept. The families of those who are suggested as officers are to be considered. If the father has had a good influence at home, if he has shown piety in his family and has brought up his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, they will show reverence for sacred things. They will be kind, obedient, respectful, and courteous. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 34

If the father has felt no special burden for the conversion of his children and has not brought them up to be peaceable, kind, pure, and respectful, it is enough to show that the same influence he has had at home will be exerted in the church. He will not show an entirely different phase of character in the church from that which he has manifested at home. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 35

This influence is read in the manner in which the family conduct themselves. Here the Bible has been disregarded, and in consequence, much, very much, trouble has been brought upon the church. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 36

The leader at Wolfe Lake has not the right qualification to build up and create that interest which the members of the church shall need to become laborers. There is not tact and judgment used to preserve the life and vital interest in the church. Old habits have been dragged into the church. A living connection with God would give a living, fresh experience. Old stereotyped prayers and exhortations [and] dry, prosy hymns and labors are not in place at all. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 37

The leaders of churches in every place should be earnest, full of zeal and unselfish interest. They should make their request to God in faith, pray short and to the point, speak short and interestingly. Long prayers and exhortations are all uncalled for. If the brethren and sisters have something to say that will edify and refresh others, they will be men and women connected with God, drawing their supplies from His exhaustless storehouse. They will bring from the storehouse of God things new and old. If their own souls have been sanctified by the Spirit of God, they will cheer, strengthen, and encourage others. If they themselves have not drunk at the fountain of salvation, they will not know how to lead others to the fountain. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 38

God has precious souls in these churches who would become ministers if they grew in the knowledge of the truth, and [would] teach others the way of salvation and lead them to righteousness. Satan will use every device in leading young men to form marriage connections which will defeat the purpose of God. He will seek to lower the standard of spirituality and holiness, so that the church will not be a living, working church and its members be fitting themselves to work in the cause of God. Oh! how careful should those who take the leading position in the church be that their lives and deportment shall not scatter from Christ instead of gathering with Him. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 39

Experimental religion must be urged upon those who embrace the theory of the truth. Ministers must not neglect to keep their own souls in the love of the truth and of God and then impress upon the people the necessity of an individual consecration, a personal conversion, and a living experience to be obtained for themselves, or the profession of faith is of no value. It is indeed worse than if they had never embraced the truth, for they are as salt without the savor. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 40

Unless Christ is enshrined in the soul, His Spirit controlling the affections, the profession of truth is useless. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 41

“Lay hands,” said the inspired apostle, “suddenly on no man.” [1 Timothy 5:22.] Do not be in such haste to manufacture leaders, ordaining men that have never been tested or proved. Let the church be conducted in this manner: alternating with several, one leading one week and choosing another for the next week or two, thus keeping individuals at work in the church. After a suitable trial, select by the voice of the church someone to be the acknowledged leader, for never more than a year at a time. Then elect again a new one, or the same one if he has been a blessing to the church. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 42

There are many who run risks, doing things at a venture, and do not move with proper discernment and wisdom in these important matters in which vital interests are involved. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 43

The church must not be entrusted to inefficient, unsanctified men, for Satan works through them to ruin the church. There have been some professing the truth who have not been dealt with considerately, because the men in responsible positions have not known how to treat such cases, as they themselves were not right with God. There has been such a course pursued toward men whom they should respect even if they were erring. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 44

Dr. Osborn is a man of intelligence, a man who loves the truth but one who will need to be dealt with considerately for his years and for his position as a man of influence. Those who have had no authority and who should not feel that it devolved upon them to handle such men have felt free to move and act in a most unwise manner. Their course has made the Doctor regard them with contempt. The course pursued toward Doctor Osborn has been all wrong. Had this man been handled judiciously he would have been a blessing to the church. He has used tobacco to a greater or less degree, but this habit was not as offensive in the sight of God as the defects in the characters of those who might judge him, for God weighs the motives. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 45

The ruling, driving, storming spirits need to take their hands off and turn their attention to themselves. Their own destitution of the Spirit of God is the reason of their unquiet, censorious, condemning spirit. Could the Doctor have been dealt with in a kindly manner, in a spirit of tenderness, had respect been shown to his years and to his position, then his heart would have been impressed. God has His eye upon him and will deal with him in a very different manner from that in which his brethren have dealt with him. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 46

The Doctor has character moulded and habits confirmed, and to take the truth at his age and be transformed is a great work. This may not be expected in a day or a week or a month. The indulgence of tobacco is an evil which God would have him overcome. He can do this in the name and strength of Jesus. He can be conqueror and wear finally the victor’s crown. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 47

He has not submitted to the treatment which he has received with a good grace. He has been harsh, severe, and unyielding. He has been excited and has manifested strong feelings. His human nature could not bear the unintelligent, unreasonable, unchristian course pursued by men and women who had more zeal than knowledge. God has been displeased with and dishonored by them. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 48

Some have taken a position that those who use tobacco should be dealt with and turned out of the church. In all of our experience for many years not a case of this kind has thus been treated by us. We have borne with them and labored with and prayed with them for years, and if after a time they did not reform they became lax in other things, and causes of a grievous character occurred which required an action on the part of the church. But then the responsibility was not assumed by merely the resident elder, the deacon, or any church member, but the church waited in patience for help, for wise counselors, and then moved with the greatest caution. These hasty movements in such cases tend to ruin a church. It shows a self-sufficient, self-important, bigoted spirit which if indulged will ruin any church. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 49

God loves the soul of Doctor Osborn. He is a man who, if converted soul and body to God, would do good. The Master has entrusted him with talents of influence and means. He has made him His steward and He will ere long require him to give an account of his stewardship. Many souls will come to the knowledge of the truth through his efforts to spread the publications. There is a large circle of his acquaintances and relatives to whom he can be the means of presenting the truth, some of whom will receive it. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 50

He may be an instrument in the hands of God of great good, but narrow minds and self-important, self-righteous ones do not discern this. They are too much shut up to themselves, too far separated from God, to see the great good that one such man may do if he is indeed converted, heart and soul, to God. They would push off such a soul; they would pursue a course which would result in his being lost to the cause, for the sake of carrying out their own spirit and will. Doctor Osborn has not pursued that meek and Christ-like course which the Bible requires, but those who have condemned him have pursued a course far more objectionable in the sight of God than that pursued by him, and they are answerable for their influence upon the Doctor. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 51

God calls upon Doctor Osborn to come near to Him by faith and obedience. The grace of God can subdue, sanctify and refine, and make him an honor to the cause and a chosen vessel fit for the Master’s use. The natural heart may be transformed by the grace of God. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 52

I was shown that the same injudicious treatment has been exercised toward others. Some precious souls that could not justify the unchristian course pursued toward the Doctor were crowded until they have separated from the church, and others have been cut off. Such a spirit has taken possession of those who have ever carried things by storm that Satan, instead of the Spirit of Christ, has triumphed. Some of those who have been deprived of the fellowship of the church have been more worthy of a place in the church than those by whom they were cut off. God calls upon these to repent and learn of Christ the spirit of meekness, of self-denial, and love. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 53

Those persons who have been so officious need to become acquainted with the dear Saviour. He is the eternal and universal Guardian of justice. You can never exclude Him from any matter in which the rights of His offspring are concerned. He takes the part of His children against all who would wrong them. His hand is spread over them as a buckler. No man or woman can wound them without smiting that hand. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 54

Sister Graham, see that you smite it not, for that right hand holds the sword of justice. It is in your organization to hurt, to mar, and to wound the feelings of others while you exalt yourself. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 55

If you could see yourself as God sees you, you would take up the duties neglected at home and would in the fear of God, correct your own ways, and have a subdued, meek, and quiet spirit, that you might work the works of God. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 56

You need unbending integrity. Unless you are a thoroughly converted woman, you will never enter the city of God. You should deal with the precious souls under your charge with gentleness, with kindly consideration, with affection, with love, for you will then reveal the Christ side of your character instead of the repulsive, satanic side. Practice the highest standard of moral integrity. Show your children that you love them and want them happy. This will be of more value than all of your teachings in reference to religion and truth. Practical godliness goes a great ways in influencing others to come to Christ. You make high claims of godliness, while your influence is to corrupt and deceive souls. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 57

A harsh manner, a repulsive spirit, a cold, unsympathizing, unlovely bearing toward our children, is moulding and fashioning the character, and this spirit is brought into the church to be acted over there and to sow discord and malice and strife. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 58

The only safe course to pursue is to search the heart, try the motives by the Word of God, and test the spirit, and see what is the influence of words and actions. Conversion is needed. A transforming influence of the Spirit of God upon the character must be felt and demonstrated in the words and actions. There are very many who are copying the spirit of Sr. Graham. This spirit is certainly not the Spirit of Christ. If her eyes could be turned inwardly and she could see how offensive is this spirit in the sight of God, she would make determined efforts to sit at the feet of Jesus and, like Mary, learn of the Master meekness and lowliness of mind. She would be a learner in the school of Christ rather than a teacher. We cannot with safety look away from our Saviour for one moment, for a dart of Satan will be hurled at our weakest points. In the exercise of a living faith in the merits of Christ alone are we safe. The helpless soul of the sinner must hang on Jesus. If he lets go his hold for one moment, he is in imminent peril of hurting his own soul and of imperiling the souls of others. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 59

The commission of any known sin, the neglect of the duties of life at home or abroad, will destroy faith and disconnect the soul from God. Sin is a heinous and offensive thing. It is highly offensive to God. There is a sad history in the life of Peter, which should be a lesson to all. He had been warned by his Master of approaching danger, but, self-confident and presumptuous, he affirmed a constant fidelity and zeal superior to the other disciples and declared himself willing to follow his Master to prison and to death. The test came for Peter when the storm of opposition came upon the followers in the humiliation of their Master. Mournful words traced by the pen of inspiration, “They all forsook Him and fled”! [Mark 14:50.] And Peter, the ardent, self-confident, zealous Peter, repeatedly denied his Lord. He afterwards bitterly repented, but this example should admonish all to beware of self-confidence and self-righteousness. Mark the lesson of Christ upon humility and of the tenderness and care which should be manifested for the erring and those who need sympathy and love. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 60

“At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 18:1-14. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 61

There are those who have not honored the cause of God but have the deformity of sin revealed in their lives and in their characters; but even these must be borne with, remembering how Jesus bears with us and how wicked and sinful we have been, and yet He bears with us still. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 62

“Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” Matthew 18:23-35. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 63

Here we are to take home the lessons of Christ in regard to the spirit which we should manifest towards each other. We should not be severe and exacting with the erring; it is all out of place. Christ has been merciful to us, forgiving our sins and transgressions. He paid an infinite price to redeem us from hopeless despair, and with the same tenderness, forbearance, and love, and with hearts filled with gratitude to God, we should exercise the same spirit. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 64

When we need grace constantly and forgiveness daily and mercy and compassion every moment of our existence, how unbecoming and out of place for Christians to be so ready to criticize, censure, and condemn their brethren of like passions with themselves. The reproof is here given by our Redeemer for all such conduct. Much of this spirit is the result of self-esteem and of self-exaltation, striving for the supremacy lest others shall come in and fill a place higher than ourselves. But the lessons given on these points are marked, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” [Verse 3.] Meekness and humility must be cultivated continually in order to preserve the true spirit of Christianity. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 65

Here again is presented the lost sheep. The ninety and nine are left while search is made for the one lost, perishing sheep. When the sheep was found, the shepherd elevated it to his shoulder and returned with rejoicing. He did not reprimand the straying sheep. He did not say, “Let him go, if he will,” but he goes forth mid frost and cold, storm and tempest, to save the one lost sheep; and patiently he continues his labor until the object of his search is found. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 66

In this very manner we are to treat the erring and the wandering. We are to practice self-denial and self-sacrifice. Ease and comfort are not to be considered when a soul for whom Christ died is in peril. Said Christ, “Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” [Luke 15:7.] As joy was manifested over the recovery of the lost sheep, so will thankfulness and exceeding joy be manifested by the true servants of Christ when one soul is saved from death. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 67

There has been a reckless disregard manifested for the souls of men and women in Ligonier. There has been a spirit of push and crowd and thrust out from the church. In this there has not been exercised the spirit of the true Shepherd who has an interest for the souls for whom Christ died. The spirit of the self-righteous Pharisees has been cherished by men and women who profess to believe the truth. They were working to be first in everything. They loved the uppermost rooms at feasts and the chief seats in synagogues, but shut up the kingdom of heaven against men, neither going in themselves nor permitting others to enter, and for a pretense, made long prayers, but secretly devoured widows’ houses; they paid tithe of mint and anise and cummin, but neglected the weightiest matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and the love of God. They externally appeared to love the truth and to be very zealous for the cause of God, while the heart was left unsubdued, unsanctified, unhumbled, open to jealousy, hatred, and malice. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 68

The Christian reformer should be first to reform himself, to obtain the spirit of the Master, willing, like Him, to suffer reproach and practice self-denial to consummate the great purpose which brought him into the world. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 69

Christ teaches all who profess His name to humble themselves and bear the cross, walking in His footsteps. Instead of sparing themselves and seeking their own glory, they should continually have a just appreciation of the value of one soul. The whole world sinks into insignificance when compared with the value of one soul. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 70

A spirit to rule and exercise authority, lording it over God’s heritage, is a work which will do great harm and result in the loss of souls. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 71

Those who really love Jesus will seek to labor in His spirit and strive to conform their own lives and characters to the great Pattern. In reforms, the Spirit of Christ must continually abide with the reformer. Men may be attracted and won into the ranks of Christ and reform; but they cannot be forced or driven by censure, reproach, or harsh measures. A course of Christian forbearance, of candor, and of consideration and courteousness toward all who do not see the truth as we do will be a power for good. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 72

Order must be preserved in every change. We must learn not to be too fast and require too much of men. It is impossible to exert a proper influence unless the heart of the believer is in connection with God. Souls that were precious in the sight of God have been oppressed, censured, abused, and severed from the church. The body of Christ is, as it were, bleeding from these terrible movements. The most thrilling appeals may be made from the pulpit, logic and eloquence may fail to move men to see the truth and accept it, but meekness and piety exhibited in the daily life, in the management and right training of families, have power which even disarms infidelity. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 73

It is truth seen in the words, in the conduct; it is the Word of God burning in the heart, shining upon the countenance, expressed from the lips; it is the humble prayer of the lowly and contrite which moves the arm of Omnipotence. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 74

Christ prayed to His Father just prior to His crucifixion: 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 75

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:17-26. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 76

We profess to be the repositories of God’s law, and as a people professing [to have] greater light and to live up to a higher standard than any other people upon earth, we should show greater perfection of character and a deeper devotion, exalting sacred and eternal things. A most solemn message has been entrusted to those who have received the light of truth, and our light should shine forth in clear beams to brighten the pathway of those who are in darkness and thus daily glorify God in our lives. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 77

Every member of the church has an individual responsibility as a member of the visible church and a worker in the vineyard of the Lord and should do his utmost to preserve harmony, union, and love in the church. Mark the prayer of Christ, “that they may all be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” [Verse 21.] 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 78

The evidence that the world cannot withstand and controvert, that God has sent Jesus into the world as its Redeemer, is in the oneness of the church. Their unity and harmony is the convincing argument. Satan is therefore constantly at work to prevent this harmony and union, that in witnessing the bickerings, strifes, and dissension, unbelievers shall become disgusted with Christianity and fastened in unbelief and infidelity. God is dishonored by those who profess the truth while they are at variance with one another. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 79

If our profession [to have] greater truths than other denominations does not lead to deeper consecration and purer and holier lives, of what advantage is this truth to us? It would be better for us if we had never seen the light of truth, than to profess to accept it and not be sanctified by it. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 80

To determine how great a matter is involved in the conversion of a soul from error to truth, we must appreciate the value of immortality; we must sense the pains of the second death. We must comprehend the honors and glory awaiting the ransomed and understand what it is to live in the presence of Him who died that He might elevate, ennoble, and give to the overcomer a royal diadem. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 81

The worth of a soul cannot be fully estimated. How gratefully will the ransomed and glorified ones remember those who were instrumental in their salvation. Not one will forget his self-denying labors, his persevering efforts, his patience, perseverance, and earnest heart yearning for these souls who might have been lost to Jesus Christ, had he neglected his duty or became weary in well doing. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 82

Now these white-robed ones are gathered within the fold of the great Shepherd. The faithful instrument and souls saved by his labors are greeted by the Lamb, which is seated in the midst of the throne, and led to the tree of life and to the fountain of living waters. With what joy does he behold these redeemed ones, who are made sharers of the Redeemer’s throne! How much more precious is heaven to those who have been faithful in the work of saving others. “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever.” [Daniel 12:3.] 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 83

I have written these lines with feelings of deep concern for my brethren and sisters. I would plead with you as one who is deeply interested in your salvation to heed the words of reproof and warning here given. Do not delay to seek the Lord, each making a personal application to his own case of the lessons Jesus would have him learn. If each one now seeks the Lord, [if] each one now humbles himself before God, He will accept you. Make diligent, earnest work to set your hearts in order. The consecration must be complete; you must be willing to do and to suffer cheerfully for Christ’s sake. Hide yourself in Jesus. Jesus loves you; He can be honored by you if you will abide in Him. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 84

Cultivate kindness, gentleness, and love in your heart and in the hearts of your families, at home and in the church of God. The channels of thought, desire, and action must be refined, purified, and ennobled. Rich blessings are in store for the church if they will come into a position to receive them. Look to Jesus constantly, not at the faults of your brethren. Purify the soul temple that has become defiled. Heaven is rich in blessings. Our heavenly Father is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him, than parents to give good gifts to their children. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 85

Ask in faith, earnestly in humility; ask in faith, steady, constant faith, and He will answer. Remember, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” [Galatians 5:22, 23.] 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 86

Let no man or woman, whether his name be on the church book or not, presume to cherish the idea that he is a child of God, an heir of heaven, whatever his profession may be or experience he may have, unless these evidences are in his heart and developed in his character. 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 87

These clusters of Christian graces will grow upon the Christian tree. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.] 3LtMs, Ms 1, 1880, par. 88