Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Lt 13, 1888

Daniels, E. P.

Burrough Valley, California

July 3, 1888

This letter is published in entirety in PH096 39-46.

Dear Brother [E. P.] Daniels:

I have read your letter, and it has made me sad at heart. I asked, Can a fountain send forth from the same place sweet water and bitter? Cleanse the fountain and the stream will be made pure. If the stream coming from the fountain in the letter sent to me, when tested by the royal law, is pure, then I have altogether a wrong idea of what it means to be a Christian. As a Christian you have no right to write as you do and manifest so little self-control. 5LtMs, Lt 13, 1888, par. 1

I have been shown repeatedly that you must be transformed before you can do the work of God acceptably. You are of an ardent temperament; you view things in an intense light, but the softening, sanctifying influence of the grace of Christ must be made manifest in your life, in your words, in your tastes, in your habits, in your character. I shall not let the matter rest until I see that you have undertaken the work that must be done in order that you may labor acceptably for souls that are ready to perish. 5LtMs, Lt 13, 1888, par. 2

Stop and think what spirit controlled you when you wrote that letter. I cannot for a moment admit that it was the spirit of Christ, that you had meekness and lowliness of heart. If you read the Bible carefully, you will see that reformation is needed in yourself in order for you to be a faithful shepherd of the flock of Christ. Compare scripture with scripture, and then open your own heart. Gain light yourself, and then from an experimental knowledge, you can set before the people of God what constitutes Christian character. The power of the Holy Spirit will accompany your words if your own life is a representation of the truth which sanctifies the character, for you will then be a living epistle, known and read of all men. You will not appeal to your own sympathies and seek to excuse yourself for using strong, hard, unbecoming, unchristian language towards your brethren. You have done this many times, and your brethren in the faith commit sin against God when they listen to you and do not reprove you. Your language reveals the fact that the fountain is not cleansed. When you are under the controlling influences of the Spirit of God, you will be a new man in Christ Jesus. Hereditary and cultivated tendencies will be overcome, and Jesus will be formed within, the hope of glory. Oh, that you would fall upon the Rock and be broken! 5LtMs, Lt 13, 1888, par. 3

I cannot encourage your laboring as a minister until you are converted. You must first be a Bible Christian yourself before you can lead others to Christ. Take heed to thyself and then to the doctrines. I long to see you what you ought to be and what I know you must be if you are to receive the benediction, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” [Matthew 25:23.] You must not only be faithful, but you must be good, self-denying like Jesus. Now is your sowing time. By precept and example you may scatter the seeds of truth with an unsparing hand. Make no frantic bounds, but in self-abasement go forward intelligently, steadily, calmly, step by step in the grand work of learning self-control. The talents God has given you are not to be abused, perverted, or misapplied. He has given them to you for wise improvement. You are not to cease advancing; you are not to become self-confident, careless, and irreligious while you are professedly a shepherd of the flock. All heaven has looked with sorrow upon your light and trifling ways. 5LtMs, Lt 13, 1888, par. 4

I speak to you plainly, for it is my duty to do so. While the unwise may flatter and praise you, and strengthen in you your large love of approbation, I shall deal plainly and faithfully with you according to the light God has given me for you, because I have a love for your soul. I shall not try to pacify or pet you, but I will urge upon you the necessity of having a pure heart and clean hands. From a pure fountain will proceed pure and holy streams to refresh others. Oh, will you go on as you have in the past, or will you have steadiness of purpose to put away everything unbecoming to a gospel minister? 5LtMs, Lt 13, 1888, par. 5

I cannot allow you to misrepresent the great and solemn truths which we have to present to the world, which have been committed to us by the Lord. Serving tables, the absorbing cares of temporal life, must not be mixed with your work of ministering; for Satan will make this the means of loss in your influence and to your own soul. Christ said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] You must have far less of self and far more of Jesus. You must meditate; you must pray; you must examine yourself in the light of God’s Word. If you lose eternal life you lose everything. I cannot endure the thought of one soul being lost, but when I think of one who has preached the truth to others becoming a castaway, my soul is stirred with anguish. 5LtMs, Lt 13, 1888, par. 6

My brother, you should not bear down upon others, for you need far more grace yourself; you have much to correct in your own life and character. The work of reformation must not on any account be neglected. When you would cut others, remember this testimony that I have given you from God. There are only two courses which it is possible for you, your wife, or me to pursue. We must yield ourselves wholly to the guidance of the Holy Spirit or follow our own natural impulses, and these impulses are not as harmless as we think they are. Things which are offensive to God are often construed by us into virtues. The eyes of the Lord are too pure to behold iniquity; He registers evil as fruit borne by an unsanctified heart. When the heart is fully surrendered to God and our will is in harmony with God’s will, then the fruit will be good, for “the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits.” James 3:17. The grace brought to us through Christ will enable us to be pure, uncorrupted, holy. 5LtMs, Lt 13, 1888, par. 7

The natural man always remains the same. He is what hereditary tendencies, nationality, education, and circumstances have made him. But when the natural man is changed by the grace of Christ, then the transformation is seen in the new man, the new heart, new purposes, new impulses. The Word of Christ is received, which is spirit and life; then we eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God. Then there is fruit in the heart, fruit in the lips, fruit in the character, some bearing thirty, some sixty, and some one hundred fold. 5LtMs, Lt 13, 1888, par. 8

It is dangerous to be simply hearers of the word and not doers. He that hears and obeys every word that proceeds from the lips of God is building upon the Rock. He that hears but does not bring the words of God into his life-practice builds on the sand and will surely fall. Everything is to be shaken that can be shaken. We shall realize this in our experience. 5LtMs, Lt 13, 1888, par. 9

Brother and Sister Daniels, you must have a firm hold from above; you must hear, receive, and practice the truth daily, applying its earnest requirements to your life, lopping off every offensive branch that makes the tree unseemly and unfruitful, else these branches will sap the life and nourishment from the tree, and it will wither and perish. The world creeps in stealthily and picks away one precious grace after another, and the heart is filled largely with worldly schemes, and the truth does not sanctify the character. 5LtMs, Lt 13, 1888, par. 10

You need to be changed; in your family you should put away childish things. You need to improve in your manner of preaching. You need greater solemnity in attitude, in voice—in short, you need to practice that which you teach to others. Nothing but true conversion of the whole man will make you a wise shepherd of the flock. Will you fight inch by inch the warfare against your own defects of character? Will you be a man that God shall choose? 5LtMs, Lt 13, 1888, par. 11

There must be more candid thought, more sanctified power in your preaching. You are not what you might be and what God has made every provision that you should be. The diligent, earnest labor put forth on yourself will not be lost. Your labor will produce good fruit. You can afford to take time; put up your supplications to heaven for that grace which is needful for you, that you may be a successful warrior over your own lusts. Then you will be a winner of souls, and your example will not contradict your teachings. The self-denial and self-sacrifice others have practiced should be imitated by you. Prayer, sacrifices, and sanctified effort are the conditions of success. We shall not be able to give full proof of our ministry unless we are connected with God. 5LtMs, Lt 13, 1888, par. 12

We too often regard ourselves as completely our own, the owners of our time, property, speech, and other faculties. We are only stewards in trust of faculties and goods given to us of the Master. He is the source of our power. Not only does God own us, but He alone has a right and is competent to determine the proper use of all His entrusted gifts. He can guide and control them to the very best purpose, worthy of such endowments. The power of social influence is entrusted to us of God, but oh, how sadly this power is perverted! I appeal to you to dig deep, to lay your foundations sure; draw water daily from the wells of salvation, and the Lord will make you as a spring of water to refresh others. 5LtMs, Lt 13, 1888, par. 13

Now Brother Daniels, I shall not attempt to answer your letter, for that is impossible. It is the production of your impulsive, erratic nature. But one matter I must set before you as it is. You have surmised evil, but your imaginings are without foundation. Not one in Healdsburg has passed any words with me in regard to Zua. Your own lips told me the only story I know anything about in the matter, aside from the light God has been pleased to give me. No one has talked to me in reference to you, to censure or condemn you. If you possess no more of the spirit of wisdom and of self-control, no more of the sanctified mind than is displayed in this letter, my advice is, Tarry in Jerusalem until God shall give you a better mind, clearer and more sanctified judgment, for it is evident that you have not a living connection with God. 5LtMs, Lt 13, 1888, par. 14

It will not answer, my brother, for you to feel at liberty to give loose rein to your tongue or your pen. If your children have been misjudged, the Lord knows all about it. The Lord understands it. He can work for your good, if you rest the case with Him; but your feelings are wrought up to a high pitch, and the letter indicates that your mind is unbalanced. And now I beg in prayer to God that you may have a sound mind. Your feelings are changeable. You want more of Jesus and less of self. Then you will be a happy man, where now you are often miserable. 5LtMs, Lt 13, 1888, par. 15

You may think I am your enemy. You feel desperate, but I shall not feel free unless I do my duty to you in the fear of God. I want you to win the crown of life. I have not written to you to make you fling yourself into the snare of Satan, but to help you to help yourself and to help your children. If in Healdsburg they have given you occasion to say all you do say, God knows all about that. That you have been a source of trial and perplexity to them as well as a means of some good, I know to be the case; and now be careful how you condemn and charge upon them things that your own course has given occasion for. Let us be Christians in heart and in tongue. Do learn in Christ’s school to be meek and lowly of heart, for this will save you from great trials. 5LtMs, Lt 13, 1888, par. 16