Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Ms 11, 1883

Christ our Counselor



Formerly Undated Ms 1a. Portions of this manuscript are published in ChL 63.

[Perhaps a talk given at the 1883 General Conference. See Gospel Workers, 234-239, (1892 ed.).] 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1883, par. 1

Christ, the “Counselor,” has said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” [Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 11:28.] And again, by the apostle James, “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.” [James 1:5.] But instead of carrying their perplexities to Jesus, as He has told them to do, many lay their burdens upon human souls; they seek counsel from men, place them where God should be; and as the result, they receive only human help. No other can do our work. By diligent use of our own powers we are to gain knowledge and intelligence. God never designed that another man’s mind should do your thinking. 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1883, par. 2

Brethren, do not depend on the president of your conference or the president of the General Conference to think for you. God has given “to every man his work.” [Mark 13:34.] When men look to the president of the conference as their helper in all their difficulties, the bearer of their burdens, the counselor in their perplexities, they are doing the very opposite of that which Christ told them to do. 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1883, par. 3

If, while your pens have been employed in writing letters to one already perplexed and over-burdened, you had taken the perplexing things to Jesus and had asked Him to teach you, would it not have been honoring God? Would you not have been showing that you make Him your trust and counselor? 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1883, par. 4

The men appointed to positions of trust are only human. They must receive wisdom and grace from the same source that is open to you. It may be argued that the Lord gives special wisdom to those intrusted with important responsibilities. True, if they walk humbly before Him, He will give them help for their work; and He will give you help for yours, if you seek it in the same spirit. 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1883, par. 5

He who is walking in the counsel of God will seek to lead his brethren to turn to the only Source that is untainted with the errors of humanity instead of looking to him to define their duty. He should see the peril of encouraging any to look to man for wisdom and should refuse to be brains and conscience for his brethren. If all, laymen and workers, are thus taught to look to God in humility for wisdom, many dangers will be averted. 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1883, par. 6

If the leader errs, if he permits human influence to sway his judgment or yields to temptation, he can be corrected and helped by his brethren. Those who learn to rely upon God in their difficulties will be growing in faith, in experience; they will be gaining spiritual strength. It is the neglect to do as Christ has told them to do that makes men so destitute of the fruits of the Spirit of God, so dwarfed in religious experience. 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1883, par. 7

There has been on the part of our people a trifling with personal responsibilities. They have not wrestled with difficulties with earnest prayer and diligent effort, and they have looked for the approval of mortal man with far greater anxiety than for the approval of God. 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1883, par. 8

Satan exults as he sees men looking to and trusting in man, for often a two-fold evil is thus wrought. The one who is the object of this undue confidence is exposed to strong temptation. In consequence Satan will, if possible, lead him to self-confidence in order that human defects may mar their work. He will be in danger of encouraging his brethren in their dependence upon him and feeling that all things which pertain to the movements of the cause must be brought to his notice. Thus the work will bear the impress of man instead of the impress of God. 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1883, par. 9

In order to perform his work in the very best manner to meet the approval of God, each laborer must think and plan for himself, while at the same time he should be ready to receive counsel from his brethren. While brethren should counsel together in laying their plans for the work, there should be on the part of all far more earnest effort in seeking God for higher counsel. Thus each will have an experience that does not have its foundation in any human being, but in the living God. 4LtMs, Ms 11, 1883, par. 10