Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)


Lt 24a, 1882

Brownsberger, Sister


October 1882

Previously unpublished.

Dear Sister:

During this camp meeting in Healdsburg, I am desirous that you should obtain an experience that you greatly need. I have conversed with Sister Grainger and sought you that I might speak to you words that I knew you needed, but you were not where I could find you. 3LtMs, Lt 24a, 1882, par. 1

I know that you are not right with God. You will injure all who associate with you and who sympathize with you because you have a decided faculty of making the worst in you appear the best. When at Brother Harmon’s, when your wishes were crossed, you threw yourself into antics calling fainting fits. They were spasms of your own creating to make a sensation, and, as I have talked with you freely in regard to the sin of this, I shall now write some things for the paper, not personal but general. Take it, if you please, as personal, as I have presented to you in writing the injury you are doing to yourself by making yourself the center of your thoughts and imaginings. 3LtMs, Lt 24a, 1882, par. 2

You live in an unreal world. You are changeable in your feelings, and the strain of your moods upon your husband is confusing his brain and oppressing his heart so that he will, when the truth is known that you have practiced deception, lose his confidence and his love. Once you have forfeited this by your own course of action it will never be regained. All the warning you have had seems to have no decided influence upon you. 3LtMs, Lt 24a, 1882, par. 3

I have told you you were not a Christian, that you acted a lie almost every day of your life. Think you this will not be discovered? It will, for I shall bear my testimony to your husband. 3LtMs, Lt 24a, 1882, par. 4

There is a deception that is upon many minds because they think they have good impulses which frequently arise from impulse which may be uncontrolled by reason and principle. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity [true, Christlike love] suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked [is not looking out for slights, and think themselves wounded], thinketh no evil.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-5. 3LtMs, Lt 24a, 1882, par. 5

Is not this Scripture the voice of God to men? Why, I ask, do they dare to go so contrary to its teachings? The whole senses seem to be under a spell. They cannot see aright. They cannot hear aright. They cannot understand aright. The worst construction is put upon words and actions. Motives are judged and the person who sees things in this perverted light will have thought and memory brought under the subjection of Satan. Little things will be magnified. Words and little actions are interpreted as if meant to injure them and the good things fade from the memory. 3LtMs, Lt 24a, 1882, par. 6

Memory’s hall is hung with pictures of Satan’s own framing to make the soul unhappy, miserable, and satanic. There are men and women who make a very bad showing when they are crossed in anything. This proceeds from self-will and pride and self-love. 3LtMs, Lt 24a, 1882, par. 7

What do these poor souls need? The Spirit of Christ, which would eradicate the evil disposition, for they are possessed of the devil. Physical applications for disease will not cure the soul. It is the heart that needs to be sanctified. No person living who is self-centered can pass pleasantly through life. Unless he learns of Jesus to be meek and lowly of heart; unless he is subdued by His Spirit and submits his will and his way to the will and ways of God; [unless he] yokes up with Christ and is willing to take a humble place, he will not have the character of Christ and will not have any place in His kingdom. 3LtMs, Lt 24a, 1882, par. 8

The Lord is proving His people during probationary time. He is, in His providence, placing them in a variety of positions under tests to show them the evil lurking in them that they may repent and be converted. The Lord would have His children subdued by His love and then there will be a spirit and disposition to adapt themselves to circumstances, to be kind, forbearing. The word that would irritate must be left unspoken. 3LtMs, Lt 24a, 1882, par. 9

Often in excuse, the plea for hasty words and harshness in households is “I am so nervous.” The husband may be nervous; the wife may be nervous; but is not the grace of Christ sufficient to give power to overcome? Why is this thing to continue year after year in the experience of those who claim to be children of God? The only answer is [that] there is an idolatry of self. There is a spirit of stubbornness and willfulness that has never been rooted out of the disposition. 3LtMs, Lt 24a, 1882, par. 10

No one can do this work but the individual, and it will never be done unless he sees his own nakedness and feels that he must be clothed upon with the righteousness of Christ or perish. The Lord would have us conscious of our own imperfections and not harshly blame others. 3LtMs, Lt 24a, 1882, par. 11

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering ... And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Colossians 3:12, 17. 3LtMs, Lt 24a, 1882, par. 12

Jesus has invited, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11:28, 29. 3LtMs, Lt 24a, 1882, par. 13

One has advantages of self-culture that another has not had. Will this be the cause of self-esteem, of pride of heart, of self-exaltation? So far as results are concerned, the measure of capacity or learning is of far less importance than the spirit which prompts to action. The Lord God of heaven has a place for every one who believes in Him. In His vineyard He employs a variety of talents. He honors every worker, man, woman, according to the fidelity with which the work is done. There needs to be a consecrated spirit to do the Lord’s work. There must be no compromise made with self; no feelings that you must be esteemed or appreciated [or] else you cannot work. 3LtMs, Lt 24a, 1882, par. 14

“Quit you like men, be strong.” [1 Corinthians 16:13.] Take your eyes and thoughts away from yourself, and let the whole heart be surrendered to God. Ask of Jesus, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” [Acts 9:6.] Lay yourself, all you have and are, at the cross of Calvary. You can achieve nothing of yourself worth your living in this world, for “Without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] Divine resources are at the command of everyone who shall seek God in a spirit of helpless nothingness. 3LtMs, Lt 24a, 1882, par. 15

But some who claim to be children of God are constantly making a false representation of Jesus Christ. It is the privilege and duty of Christians to be daily overcomers, and the greatest conflict will be with self. What is there in the spirit and temper of each one individually? Have they fragrant dispositions? Are they proving to be savors of life unto life? Are they alive unto God, or are they sensitively alive unto themselves, ready to watch and take exception to the [counsel] of others? 3LtMs, Lt 24a, 1882, par. 16

This disposition to require decided attention, [or] else feel we are neglected and injured, is a species of selfishness which will be excluded from the mansions above. An unhappy, miserable disposition lies back of all such external actions and makes an impression on human minds that is not at all desirable. The feelings and conduct of others toward us are seen by the imagination in a false light. A disposition is cherished not to be pleased, not to be satisfied, but to think evil. This leads to speaking evil, and this faultfinding is indeed a grave difficulty. 3LtMs, Lt 24a, 1882, par. 17

We feel deeply pained at heart when we see a disposition and spirit of faultfinding and complaining, a temper which nothing satisfies. If the imagination is strong, then you see a disposition to magnify little things and make them grave offenses. Some have the disposition upset if the weather changes. They are irritable and chafed; everything frets them. The poor nervous system is made the pack horse, loaded down with a variety of burdens. 3LtMs, Lt 24a, 1882, par. 18

Now the body is often blamed when the soul is defiled. The heart needs the transforming grace of Christ. There are those whose disposition is not good. There is a close union between the mind and the body. A disordered nervous system has in many cases been made so by a selfish, willful, stubborn disposition which has never been trained in childhood as the case demanded. Then when everything did not move in the line to please the individual, he would imagine he was not appreciated, that slights and neglects were designed to hurt him. Brooding over these unpleasant things makes one sour and fractious and faultfinding and suspicious. The nerves and will that ought to be brought into subjection to Christ are left for Satan to play upon after his order. 3LtMs, Lt 24a, 1882, par. 19

These unhappy feelings arrest or enfeeble digestion. The nervous system is partaking of the disorders and outbreaks of a self-willed, stubborn heart, and in many cases with which we are familiar, all the untrained undisciplined disposition is excused on the ground of nervousness. The true spirit of evil is in the long habits of indulgence, in selfishness which has never been seen as such, in pride and large self-valuation, which makes them think they do not occupy positions which they are fitted to fill. The whole soul is diseased; the whole heart is sick. The prayer should go forth from unfeigned lips, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10. The truly converted soul can testify that “Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. “Whereas I was blind, now I see.” [John 9:25.] 3LtMs, Lt 24a, 1882, par. 20