Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Lt 64, 1888

Collie, Brother and Sister [Joseph]

Minneapolis, Minnesota

November 5, 1888

Portions of this letter are published in OHC 239; 12MR 42.

Brother and Sister [Joseph] Collie:

I have many fears that you will fail to be Bible Christians and will be firmly weighed in the balance and found wanting. I beseech of you to make a business of seeking God. You have both been very weak in self-control. You have not moral power to hold in restraint your own impulses and passions. If you could only have opened before you the books of heaven and read there the record that has been daily carried up by God’s appointed messengers, you would be so overcome with the sight, that you would know that if your case should come up in the judgment just as it now appears, it would be eternal loss on your side. To lose heaven is to lose everything. The lesson that you both must learn is that true goodness alone gives true greatness. 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 1

Sister Collie, you have need of the converting power of God upon your own heart. You do not exert that influence upon your husband that you should. You do not control your tongue, and where there are many words there wanteth not sin. You talk at random and do not always speak the truth. You frequently stir up the fires of passion in your husband by presenting before him in a perverted light the words and the faults of your brethren. You work at this until he looks at the matter in an exaggerated light. Frequently there is no real cause for your statements. If there is some truth in your utterances, there is much spoken that is from your own evil imaginings. You complain and murmur, first at one thing, then at another thing, charging your brethren unjustly until the seeds of evil have been sown and the fruit is envy, jealousy, evil surmising, hatred, strife, variance. 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 2

You ought to know well the influence these things have upon your husband’s character. He becomes exasperated, like a man who has lost his reason. He certainly did not need you to stir him up. He becomes excited easily and manifests passion that is unreasonable, untamable, and in the place of humbling his heart before God and confessing his sins, he encourages this wicked spirit, prompted by Satan, by his unreasonable talk. His tongue, the unruly member, is set on fire of hell, and he goes to great lengths. Satan exults, hell triumphs. It may well be said, “How great a matter a little fire kindleth.” [James 3:5.] 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 3

Do you both consider that there is a Watcher looking upon you, a pen tracing your words, your deeds, that you must meet these words with their effect in the judgment, and that you must render an account to God for all your works? Christ says, “I know thy works.” [Revelation 3:15.] Will you please consider, when you lose your patience and self-control, that you are in the presence of God and angels, that you grieve the Holy Spirit of God and put your Redeemer to open shame? Whom do you represent in words and character? Certainly not Jesus Christ. You bear not His stamp and His image, but you bear the image of the enemy of God and man. You represent him in character and deny Christ before the world in representing His worst enemy when you become angry. 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 4

Remember, now is your day; now, in this thy day, seek for those things which make for your peace. It is not pleasant or profitable for you to be giving way to envy, to jealousies, to evil surmisings. They make you very wretched. But remember this is not Christ’s yoke, but a yoke you have manufactured for your own stubborn necks, and the yoke galls you and is grievous to be borne. You both have been drawing in uneven cords. You have been cultivating traits of character that grieve Jesus and make you anything but representatives of Jesus Christ. 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 5

I must tell you, you are not Christians until you will, in meekness and lowliness of heart, learn in the school of Christ the precious lessons of humility, to be blameless and harmless, the children of God in a wicked and crooked generation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world. Then you will be happy and you will be Christlike. You will serve God from principle, not serve God a little while, then mammon, then the devil a while. All the money or possessions you may have will not make you precious in the sight of God. It is moral worth that the Lord estimates. Now with such service as you give God is not well pleased. Who would once suppose when they see you excited, unreasonable, without power of self-control, your tongue speaking perverse things in harmony with your perverse spirit, that you were representing Christ, that you were shining as a light in the world, showing forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light? 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 6

I wish, if possible, to present to you a picture of yourself. The moral law, the great looking glass, reveals the defects in your moral character. I have been shown your case as it is. At times you have good and generous feelings. Then you will give of your means to the cause of God. And when anything transpires to displease you, when your track is crossed, you get provoked. Then you act in a revengeful manner, and you are full of a spirit of revenge, and God hears your words which are against Himself. Supposing He should take you at your word and count your offering as a gift taken back, do you not see that you would have no treasure laid up in heaven? A black cross is placed by your offering as a gift taken back. He does not accept gifts that are bestowed in this way, and He bestows no rewards for any such offerings. 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 7

How can God be glorified with such service as you render to Him? If you think your brethren do not praise you and show you honor, then you are both filled with discontent and envy and jealousy and evil-surmising and hatred. They cannot justify your course, for it is not right. Oh, my dear Brother and Sister, this is an offense to God. 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 8

I present your cases before you as the Lord has presented them to me. Wherever you go you will keep yourselves stirred up by imaginary trials just as long as you shall live in any place where you shall go, because you carry your own selves with you. You will talk against every one with whom you associate and see no good in your own relatives because they do not come up to your ideas. You will be at constant variance with humanity until your own hearts are changed and you are converted. Out of the heart are the issues of life or of death. Your words, your characters, are unlike Christ, and unless His transforming grace shall take possession of your souls you cannot see the kingdom of God. 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 9

You have no respect for God’s messengers if they do not please you. You do not regard them as the Lord’s delegated ambassadors, but as common men, and you talk against them and make the burdens of God’s workmen more grievous and perplexing than they otherwise would be; and you think you are misused, and you appeal to your own sympathies and mourn and weep and afflict your soul over something that has no foundation in truth. All this pleases the enemy. 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 10

We are in this world to meet with persons of varied minds and different temperaments, and you must consider that they do not differ with you any more than you differ with them. Kindness, forbearance, and love are the elements to be brought into the Christian character. By mutual contact our minds should receive polish, refinement, and elevation. We are dependent upon one another, and it is the duty we owe to one another to keep back our free-flowing words of bitterness. Words are spoken which bruise the soul of others, but our own souls more. Our evil surmisings are to be put away. We are to cultivate forbearance, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, and love, and be bound together by the ties of human brotherhood. 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 11

May the dear Saviour be a welcome guest in your heart. If Christ is abiding in your heart, you will manifest Christ in your words, the law of kindness will be upon your tongues, and you will have peace within. Then all will be peace without, and you will make melody to God in your hearts. Then you will be happy. You will take sweet counsel with your brethren, those of like precious faith. You will love to talk of Jesus and to dwell upon His matchless love. The battle is before you. Will you enter upon it without delay? 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 12

Christ addresses you, “This is the way, walk ye in it.” [Isaiah 30:21.] You must, if a servant of Christ, be strictly honest in all your dealing in business transactions. You must give to the world an example in purity of principle and incorruption in your words. You must not give yourself to the practice of deception, prevaricating, misstating facts, or the least dishonesty in dealing with your fellow men, because, if you do, God marks it against you, and the world judges your doctrines by your actions. You must be firm as a rock to principle, and then you will give evidence to the world that the truth has a sanctifying power upon your heart and your character. Jesus is coming. You have not any time to lose. Should Christ come and find you with the character you now possess, Brother Collie, you are lost. But I know that Jesus will not leave you to perish in your own unworthy defects of character if you will humble your heart before God. 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 13

Your wife is afraid of you and afraid of your violent passions, and she has a long list of equivocations, misrepresentations, and falsehoods marked against her name in the books of record in heaven. All this may be changed. If you, Brother Collie, are a man who loves God and the truth, if you see yourself in the light in which the Lord views you, you will control your unhappy temper; and your wife should now plead with God in behalf of herself for a pure heart and clean lips. She talks too much about everything and everybody with whom she has had association by acquaintance. I dare not place myself while in Minnesota under the power of her tongue, for I should be misinterpreted, misrepresented. Oh that she would feel that Jesus is her helper! By the aid of His Spirit she can gain victories over her own spirit day by day. Through Jesus Christ you may both gain daily victories. The transforming power of His grace upon your minds and hearts, deformed by false habits and defiled by sin, may make you Christlike in character. It will require effort, persevering effort, to overcome self. Christ may be in your hearts, abiding there, if you will cleanse the soul of its moral defilement. 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 14

You have a work to do which no one can do for you. Will you neglect it? Will you lose eternal life? Watch and pray. Read your Bible together and when you begin to feel that your spirit is like a boiling caldron, begin to pray and sing psalms and the devil will be cast out. Your health will indeed improve. Your spirit will be sweetened by the love of Christ. Your works will be in conformity to the will of God. You will be fitting for a holy heaven. Then work and watch and pray. 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 15

Ellen G. White.

Brother and Sister Collie, I would that you were altogether that which the Lord would have you. I would that Sister Collie were a woman who possessed discretion, that she would hold her peace and not stir up strife in the heart of her husband. Keep thy tongue as with a bridle. The words that are struggling for the mastery, subdue, hold back, let them not be uttered. Would, my dear sister, that you loved to pray as well as you love to talk; but your much talk unfits you for sincere prayer. 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 16

“Finally be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing; but contrariwise, blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile. Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?” 1 Peter 3:8-13. 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 17

“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” James 1:26. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Proverbs 18:21. “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matthew 12:37. “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Verse 36. “Whosoever keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles. Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.” Proverbs 21:23, 24. 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 18

Will my brother consider this statement carefully and prayerfully? Will he see how often his pride and self-esteem are touched, and he deals in proud wrath? Consider, my brother, my sister, that day by day, hour by hour, we are laying up the material for that searching judgment. Our whole lifework is bound up very solemnly with the second coming of our Lord. We are trading with our Lord’s entrusted goods. It becomes you both to consider. 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 19

“Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. ... But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 20

“My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish; for where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that cometh from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” James 3:5-18. 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 21

Will you carefully review your life, your practice, and see wherein you have failed to be Bible Christians? Will you seek diligently for the grace of God that you may overcome the satanic traits in your characters? You are filled with pride, self-esteem, self-importance. “God resisteth the proud and giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your minds, ye double minded.” James 4:6-8. 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 22

This means just what it says. You are not to say words that you do not mean. That false tongue needs to be treated with the hot coals of juniper. “Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy into heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. Speak not evil one of another, brethren.” James 4:9-11. God’s Word is speaking to you, and will you hear it? I want you to be saved, but I know you cannot be saved unless you are thoroughly transformed in character. 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 23

Now is the time, Brother and Sister Collie, for you to put away evil speaking, evil thoughts, evil doings. If you have aught against your brethren settle up this matter not by charging guilt upon others, but in confessing your own sins. Your hard spirit has led to hard speeches. You have hated your brethren. You have said most bitter things against those who were far more righteous than yourself. You have not known what manner of spirit you were of. You certainly have not been under the control of the Spirit of God. Hear what the Word of God saith: 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 24

“He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because the darkness hath blinded his eyes.” 1 John 2:9-11. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:7-9. 5LtMs, Lt 64, 1888, par. 25