Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)

38/448

Ms 8, 1883

Testimony Regarding a Young Licentiate in Minnesota

NP

September 3, 1883

Previously unpublished.

I have been shown some things in regard to [G. A. Carlsbadt]. He is not fitted to teach the truth for he is not connected with God and cannot therefore receive the Word from Him to give to the people. He cannot be a mouthpiece for God. It is not enough to have a theory of Bible truth and preach it to others while the heart and life are unsanctified by that truth. [Carlsbadt] shows by the fruits he bears that he is still in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity. He needs to attend the school of Christ and there learn the meekness, gentleness, and lowliness of the Son of God. In short, he needs to copy the perfect Pattern; then he will talk as Jesus talked, and his writings will breathe the Spirit of Christ and not savor of the satanic. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 1

Had this man been willing to listen to counsel and reproof and to correct his wrongs, he would have made progress in overcoming his self-importance; but because he will not be instructed and learn to do well, he has settled more firmly in his own ways and wrong habits. He excuses his wrongs and flatters himself that reproof and counsel come because of prejudice against him. He does not search his heart, distrustful of self and with a desire to see his mistakes and correct them, but he hugs his self-importance to his bosom and would teach those at whose feet he should sit and learn. This importance and self-confidence, this disposition to dictate and order others is nothing short of lording it over God’s heritage; and by so doing he disgusts all those who become acquainted with him. Oh, if he had only been willing to see himself and to take advice and counsel, he might have learned the fact that he was much smaller in the eyes of others than in his own eyes. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 2

Souls perishing for truth will accept almost anyone who can explain the Scriptures to them; and this is the class that unsanctified men like [Carlsbadt] are ever ready to take advantage of. When he enters a new field, he first gains the sympathy and confidence of the people, and then he begins to insinuate against Battle Creek and tells a deceptive story, making them believe that he has been an abused man, when the abuse and imposition has been on the other side. Finding that his words are received, he continues to sow seeds of doubt in regard to those in whom God would have the people have confidence. This was the course pursued by Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. These wicked men had many sympathizers. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 3

This man cannot be trusted to labor in the gospel field. It would be like trusting an officer in the army who, if counsel and commands involving risk and responsibilities were given by a superior officer, would turn in rebellion against those whom he should support with his life, if need be; and [who], taking advantage of the influence given him, would fill the minds of his men with distrust and prejudice against the higher officers and would seek to tear down what they had been building up. [Carlsbadt] is in just this position; therefore it is dangerous to give him influence. Every particle of influence given him will be used against the cause, for his conscience is not good; it is not sensitive. He does not deal out pure provender, but, as it were, mingles arsenic with his teachings. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 4

The seeds of doubt, envy, and prejudice, which he has already sown, have placed some beyond the possibility of being again brought into harmony with the truth and the men whom God has entrusted with its advancement. Some may see where they have been deceived, and return; but it will cost a terrible struggle, and they will carry the scars through life. While a few make such thorough work that they succeed, defeat turning to victory in their cases, many go through life crippled and halting, questioning and doubting. Instead of gathering the good and rejoicing in the truth, they watch for evil and are corrupted. In a crisis such will be found on the side of the enemy. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 5

Satan knows that one man whom he can control can tear down faster than ten men can build up because humanity naturally inclines to the wrong and more easily chooses the evil. Many cannot or do not take time to reason from cause to effect, and consequently their sympathies are allowed to go with one man, although he may mingle small doses of poison with the truth. The root of bitterness which is being planted by this man’s hand will spring up and bear its fruits whereby many will be defiled. Give no place to such an one, no, not for a moment. Those who bid him Godspeed and enlarge his usefulness will be partakers of his evil deeds and will be responsible for the results of his course. He must be a converted man before God will acknowledge him as His son. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 6

His course in the Office at Battle Creek was unchristian. He treated those connected with him in the work as though they were far beneath him and would chastise them with severity if they did not meet his mind. Envy, contempt, and prejudice reign in his heart against those who labor with a degree of success in the cause of God. They may not possess as much natural or acquired ability as he, but if they are willing to take advice and counsel, they will be far in advance of him. Some do not always move with the best wisdom and judgment, and mistakes are made. Every such mistake that he can use to build up himself and make those in error appear in the worst light possible to their brethren, he stands ready to seize hold upon. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 7

These words of the apostle are applicable to [Carlsbadt]: “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God.” Hebrews 5:12. He now stands in his own light, whereas he might have been an able man in Christ Jesus and be anchored firm as a rock upon every point of present truth. He carries himself too independently to be advised or counseled by any living being, and also sets aside the voice of the church to whom Christ said, “Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19. Thus the voice of the church is placed as the highest authority God has upon the earth, and those who move out independently of that voice place themselves in a position where God cannot correct their wrongs and give them warnings. Therefore they are confirmed in their own deceptions and blinded in their own errors. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 8

God designs that there shall be order in His church. “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5, 6. Any man who seeks to confuse and distract minds and to create differences will receive a heavy retribution from God, for he is doing Satan’s work. Christ and holy angels are working for the unity of the church, but [Carlsbadt] is working to divide and distract. Those who have the cause of God at heart and wish to guard its prosperity fear that the inexperienced will be led astray by him, while he feels no solicitude on his own account. Warnings have made but little impression upon him, and advice he despises because he feels that no one should advise one who knows so much. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 9

If [Carlsbadt] had genuine modesty and unaffected diffidence and was willing to be instructed, he might do much good. “Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.” Job 32:7. “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool.” Proverbs 28:26. Solomon would here impress upon youth a constant dependence on the Word and providence of God. It is a hard matter for [Carlsbadt] to respect age because he has no respect for anyone but himself. He will not show deference to the opinions of hoary hairs and will reject the advice of old men. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 10

The spirit and manner of this man are offensive to God. He is deficient in those graces which should characterize a true gentleman and minister of Jesus Christ, and his influence is detrimental wherever he remains long enough to develop his true character. He has good natural abilities, but these are not an equivalent for the graces of the Spirit. He has a knowledge of the truth, but he mingles so much self with it that when he presents it to others it tastes so strong of the dish that it becomes unpalatable even to those whom God is impressing with His truth. He may put forth his best efforts, trusting in his own strength, and yet his work be so deficient that it would have been better had it never been done. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 11

The General Conference should not allow a man to go out under its direction, even if he has natural ability, unless he has evidenced that he has fixed principles and knows his frailties and imperfections. He should first show that he has established habits of devout trust, of holy endeavor, and of unhesitating obedience. These traits of Christian character are the result of a steady growth in grace. The spiritual vision will become clear and intensified by contemplating the plan of salvation and viewing the glorious manifestation of the Redeemer’s character, and the heart, having felt the mighty throbs of a Saviour’s love, will be enraptured by the charms of the gospel message. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 12

A minister of Christ must be a guide and example to others. He should know that to be a minister requires work; God never designed an indolent man to be a minister, for a minister must be willing to be a servant and be ready to do or bear whatever work or responsibility his position may impose. His eye should not be single to himself, magnifying and glorifying himself, but it should be single to God’s glory. He will then labor diligently to perfect Christian character himself, and to be so thorough and successful in the gospel field as to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. When a man ceases to grow in grace, his usefulness closes, for instead of elevating others to the true standard of Christianity, he brings them down to his own standard, and their Christian experience becomes sickly and dwarfed. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 13

The low cast of [Carlsbadt’s] mind makes the knowledge he has gained of but little use, and leads him to wish to mold everything after his pattern. Had he been an industrious man, he could have accomplished tenfold more than he has. No man should think that he should entirely cease his temporal pursuits if he would be a Christian. “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11. As [Carlsbadt] has opportunity, he should work with his hands. It would have been better all along had he exercised the physical as well as mental powers by engaging earnestly in manual labor. This, he thought, would be derogatory to his dignity. But Paul, a man of learning, able in the Scriptures, and an orator, did not feel that it detracted from his dignity as a minister of Christ to labor with his hands. Listen to this hero of faith: “Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:34, 35. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 14

All sincere Christians belong to the family of workers. They do not toil selfishly, however, but labor that they may have to give to him that hath need. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” Ecclesiastes 9:10. Labor earnestly and energetically. [Carlsbadt] has followed inclination, not the path of duty; he has studied his own pleasure, not the will of God. As yet the world has not been made much better by his having lived in it. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 15

He is decidedly a lazy man. The lesser responsibilities of life he has not borne, not even performing a father’s duty toward his children, but leaving them to suffer if others did not care for them. Indolence has disqualified him to bear the responsibilities connected with the cause of God. Unless a man is self-denying, industrious, and faithful in the temporal things of life, he will not be in the cause and work of God. The real fitness of a man for important trusts may be estimated by the course he pursues toward those who are dependent upon him. A man who will allow himself and family to come upon others for support, has not the abiding qualities and capacities for a shepherd of the flock of God. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 16

He himself is the center of all his thoughts. He has a family to sustain, but he does not feel the responsibility of caring for them. He that provideth not for his own household hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel. God has not bound Himself to fill any man’s barns with His bounties nor his granaries with plenty while he neglects to do his part. Man is to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 17

On entering a new field, [Carlsbadt] is generally kindly received by the honest-hearted; he then leans more and more heavily upon them until he bears his whole weight, becoming burdensome. He eats at their tables, sleeps in their beds, is waited upon by them, and studies his own ease and convenience without seeming to have any idea of the tax he is upon them. He is not at all sensitive in regard to his claims, but feels that all are under great obligation to him for what he is doing. For a time he will from necessity carry himself with propriety, not showing his disposition to lord it over others, and it may seem to those who do not know him that it is uncharitable to suspect his character or that of his labors. But a little time will show that nothing was wanting but an opportunity to exhibit the unsound state of his heart. Just when the crisis comes and firmness and loyalty are most needed, in order to make himself conspicuous, or to serve his own purposes, he will become an Arnold or a Judas. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 18

A practical exhibition of the purity and power of the gospel is of far greater value to the world than sermons of boasted learning. The world watches and criticizes with keenest severity the professed followers of Christ. A favorable or unfavorable impression is constantly being made upon their minds in regard to Bible religion. A gospel minister should demonstrate to the world that the religion of Christ produces not only industry but frugality, and by his words and actions show that he is a true Christian gentleman. Christ will thus be revealed in kindness, forbearance, gentleness, meekness, and disinterested love for those for whom He died, and effective service will be rendered the cause of Christ. But if those with whom we are brought in contact see the opposite traits of character manifested—coarseness, severity, self-importance, lack of courtesy and refinement—they will say that religion has made them no better, and thus a barrier is erected to the salvation of souls. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 19

The exhibition of a well-regulated temper has a good influence upon all around. When a man controls himself, he will receive the respect and confidence of those with whom he is connected. The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit the world can but admire, and in the sight of God it is of great price. One who carries a pleasant atmosphere with him wherever he goes is representing in this particular the great Pattern. The greatest difficulties in life often spring from an unbridled temper. The necessity of family discipline and church order is not felt. More meekness and greater self-distrust would save us a great many troubles. Moses incurred the displeasure of God for just once losing control of his temper and assuming the position which was God’s alone. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 20

God has not yet accepted [Carlsbadt] as His representative. He cannot be trusted to present the truth, for wherever he goes he will create disaffection against those who do not exalt him and his work. The cause has no need of his labors. It will be harder to bring those who embrace the truth under his labors and are under his influence into harmony with the church, or into working order, than if they had never heard the truth from him. In regard to the testimonies of God to this people, he will not be corrected by them. He will maintain his own mind and judgment independent of the church, and if he can obtain sufficient influence to get up a faction, he will do so without compunction of conscience. Unless there is a radical change, he will be a second Lee, will apostatize, and do all the harm he can. He will take the position as judge of those whom God has used in His cause before he was born. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 21

God is concerned in all we do or speak or write. How can I sufficiently impress this upon the minds of all? God stands as a defense to all who are wronged. If we by word or act wrong another, God takes his part against us, and if anyone wrongs us He takes our part against him. His hand is spread as a shield over all His creatures, and whoever attempts to wrong another strikes against the hand of God, and that hand bears the sword of justice. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 22

[Carlsbadt] has an indomitable will. In his youth he was coarse, untamable, rough, and self-conceited. He is now bearing the stamp of character then received. His education and manner of life have been such that he should feel himself excused from any sacred trust and engage in physical labor. Until he shall be a converted man, the flock of God entrusted to his care would be led on to ruin. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 23

The man who is constant and fervent in prayer, who has a glorious sense of eternal things and a love for souls for whom Christ died will not have hard work to establish himself in the hearts of God’s people. Such a person will spend no time in self-exaltation. He knows who is the Source of his strength. God is the only One to be praised. His sense of his dependence on Him brings him often on his knees in humility, and his sense of duty summons him to earnest, self-denying, persevering effort. Prayer and work are the business of his life, and he is an earnest worker in whatever position he may be placed. With a humble, longing heart he seeks God, and the cry of the lowly and contrite heart God will not despise. 4LtMs, Ms 8, 1883, par. 24