Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)
Lt 11b, 1886
Daniels, Brother and Sister E. P.
[August 6, 1886]
An edited copy of Lt 11a, 1886. Previously unpublished.
Dear Brother and Sister ______:
Again my mind is much exercised in regard to you. I dreamed that I was in your home, sitting at your table, but I could not see that the teachings which you have given others on self-denial and health reform were carried out. I groaned in spirit, and said, “Brother _____, you and your wife are going into darkness.” The Lord has shown me that you have such traits of character that, should you be prospered financially, you would be in danger of losing your soul. You would not be economical. Your wants would increase, and you would not practice self-denial. The Lord in mercy has kept you in the school of poverty, that He might save your soul. 4LtMs, Lt 11b, 1886, par. 1
Sister _____ has lessons to learn in economy. I saw that you, Brother _____, have been tested by poverty, and that the Lord would test you with prosperity. If your use of His blessings and the advantages He gives you should not be in accordance with your faith and your instructions to others; if you should not appropriate in accordance to your faith the means God brings into your hands, then He would come closer to you by affliction, disappointment, and privation; for I saw that you do not know yourself. You would be led on and on by your natural inclinations, building high hopes on future prospects, but God would put His hand against you. He can in a moment remove your wisdom. He can in a moment take from you the power He has entrusted to you, by which you should glorify Him. If left to yourself, to follow your own will and judgment, you will surely ruin your soul. Both you and your wife need to learn in the school of Christ. 4LtMs, Lt 11b, 1886, par. 2
Nebuchadnezzar was warned by God not to pursue a certain course; but his prosperity elevated and deceived him, and in a unguarded moment he exclaimed, “Is not this great Babylon that I have built for the house of the kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?” [Daniel 4:30.] The instant he uttered these words, the sentence was issued that felled the tree. The blessings God had bestowed upon him were removed, his reason was taken away, and the mighty ruler was driven from men to find his place among the beasts of the field. 4LtMs, Lt 11b, 1886, par. 3
There are many ways in which God can punish, and punishment will surely follow whenever pride is indulged. “Pride goeth before destruction.” [Proverbs 16:18.] Let a man be lifted up by a sense of his own ability, and, trusting in his human strength, he will surely be overcome by temptation. God will bring him down. He will teach him his utter weakness, that he may feel his need of divine aid. Let any one glory in his wisdom or his talents, or in anything but Christ and Him crucified, and he will learn that the Lord alone is to be exalted. My heart is very sad when I think of the state of things in _____. I know that the church is not in a right condition. I know that your plans and ideas have fashioned some of its members, not to their spiritual advantage, but to their injury; and the end is not yet. I was in my dream led into the church, into the college, and into your house. I saw the working of things at present, and what it would be in the future, and it was far from being according to God’s arrangement. In regard to your own family, I saw that dangers threaten your children. They are liable to receive a wrong stamp of character, a mold that will not be easily effaced—vanity, pride, love of dress, self-will, rather than the meek and quiet spirit which is in the sight of God of great price. May the Lord open your eyes to see and your heart to feel the necessity of an entire change. 4LtMs, Lt 11b, 1886, par. 4
The Lord would have all who act a part in His work bear testimony in their lives to the holy character of the truth. The end is near, and now is the time when Satan will make special efforts to distract the interest and separate it from the all-important subjects that should arrest and hold every mind to concentrated action. An army could do nothing successfully if its different parts did not work in concert. Should each soldier act without reference to the others, the army would soon become disorganized. Instead of gathering strength for concentrated action, it would be wasted in desultory, meaningless efforts. A limited number united under one head, all obeying orders, will accomplish more than ten times the number if they are drawing apart and expend their strength on many things at the same time. Whatever good qualities a man may have, he cannot be a good soldier if he acts independent of brotherly counsel. Occasionally, good may be done, but often the result is of little value, and frequently the end shows more mischief than good. They make a show of doing something, attract attention, and flash out brightly, then they are gone. All must pull in one direction in order to render efficient service to the cause. 4LtMs, Lt 11b, 1886, par. 5
Some in _____ and in other churches have worked from self-will. They have a high appreciation of their own ability and are ready to take offense at the doings of others. They put a high estimate on their own plans and refuse to act in concert with others. These, I have seen, were attracted to you; but God’s blessing cannot attend them, because His Spirit does not rule in their hearts or control their actions. God requires of His soldiers concerted action; and in order to have this in the church, self-restraint is essential. They must learn to forego their own wishes and preferences for the good of others. 4LtMs, Lt 11b, 1886, par. 6
We have determined adversaries, but we know not their number or their position. Satan works through agencies that we do not always see, and some that we do not suspect. When we think that he is routed, he is only preparing for another attack, to discomfit and repulse us. It is when we fancy ourselves secure that we are in the greatest danger. Watchfulness and prayer, with persevering effort to keep rank and file unbroken, are more necessary that ever before. The work and cause of truth are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. Satan has brought elements into the church that will ever be a source of trial unless they see their defects of character, as they have never yet seen them, and repent of their evil surmising, their envy, their faultfinding, their accusing of the brethren, and their walking after their own independent judgment, thinking themselves right and others wrong. These will make independent assertions, and will be bold and forward, not knowing their place, nor regarding the authority or order that must be observed in the church of God. 4LtMs, Lt 11b, 1886, par. 7
Now these are a far greater affliction to the church than any of the influences we meet from unbelievers. The very worst elements will become instruments in the hands of Satan to obtain sympathizers. For this reason we see the need of great caution in selecting persons to take responsibilities in the school, and in the church; for Satan will set unsanctified elements to work to clog the wheels, to question, to find fault, to create suspicion, disunion, and a disordered state of things; and all the time they will think they are doing God service. These elements are already at work in the church; but their work is not yet fully developed. Much is kept in the dark. An undercurrent is working. Satan lays hold of those who are self-willed, and who move from impulse, and skillfully diverts them into channels where they will be an element of weakness in the church. 4LtMs, Lt 11b, 1886, par. 8
The enemy will use these rebellious ones to worry and confuse and perplex those who would stand as bold, faithful soldiers for Jesus. Our conflict with Satan and his hosts will now be earnest and determined. We wish you to understand your danger and the gins and snares he has set for you. The warfare is waging now, and will continue to the end. The church must be a unit. 4LtMs, Lt 11b, 1886, par. 9
I wish, my brother, that you had spiritual discernment, but in this you are deficient. I entreat you in the name of Jesus to seek wisdom from God; for Satan is surely coming to you with temptations as an angel of light. It is not easy to meet and withstand foes who are wearing the same dress as do the soldiers of Christ. But let God come in and work with your efforts. God would have you and your wife consecrated to His service; but you both need divine enlightenment. Be careful with whom you connect and in whom you confide. The Lord will help you if you feel the need of His help. But He is found only of those who seek Him in earnest, humble prayer, with faith. May the Lord guide and control you, is my prayer. 4LtMs, Lt 11b, 1886, par. 10