Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Lt 23, 1888

Daniels, Brother and Sister E. P.

Oakland, California

April 24, 1888

This letter is published in entirety in PH096 22-39. +Note

Dear Brother and Sister,

At times I feel much burdened on your account. I am fearful that you will not keep self under control, that you will not move discreetly in all things, and so lose the confidence of your brethren. I do not wish them to feel at one time that you are a man of great value because you are led and taught of God and at another time to be disappointed in you because of your unconsecrated life and your great want of spiritual wisdom. I want you to preserve your influence with the people, and I know that you can do it if you put the power of your will on the right side, if you will ever feel your weakness and the necessity of constant help from God. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 1

I was very much surprised at the remark you made to Bro. and Sister Maxson, referring to your mistakes in Healdsburg. You told them that Sr. White said, “Stop just where you are, or you will meet with disappointment and failure.” And when you presented the interest that you had in real estate and in the mine, you said Sr. White did not advise you to have nothing to do with them, but said, “Yes, it will prove a success.” And it has proved just as she said. Have you forgotten, my brother, that I urged many reasons why you should not connect yourself with these financial speculations? But you presented the matter with so many words and said so much about its being no tax to you, as you claimed to be only a figurehead in the real estate business. You had nothing special to do, your brethren did the work, and it was through the interest they had to help you that you were induced to engage in it, hoping to make money—that I concluded to say no more just then; but I thought that when I was rested, I would lay it open before you just as I viewed it from a Bible standpoint. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 2

I have tried to study over this matter to find out where or when I sanctioned your engaging in real estate business or in the mining, but I cannot remember even an assent of my mind and hence could not have given you any encouragement. You had no authority for making that statement. I shall need to be very careful of my words, not to say anything in conversation that can be taken by any of my brethren as an assent to their plans in entering into financial enterprises. From the light the Lord has been pleased to give me from time to time in regard to your case, I know your dangers and the peculiarity of your temperament too well to give you any encouragement to interest yourself in business of this kind, for you are not successful as a financier. You had already entered into this business when you asked counsel of me, and I knew that anything I might say in direct opposition to your plans would only create unpleasant feelings. I had a large amount of work on hand just then, for I had to make many personal efforts for individuals whose feet had wandered away from the right way. I knew it would be difficult for me to obtain from you the real bearings of the case, because you would see great success where I would only see peril to your soul. It is perilous for you to engage in or even to taste of these enterprises. And as I understand matters more fully, I am more and more convinced that these business enterprises will bind about your testimony and greatly injure your influence. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 3

Have you not been set apart by the Lord to do a special work, to be a representative of Christ upon the earth? Then it is your duty to give yourself wholly to His work. Your heart, your mind, and your body belong to the Lord and should be entirely subject to Him. You cannot engage in any of these business transactions and keep your heart and mind unaffected and uninjured. The Lord wants all there is of you. I believe this to be a scheme of the enemy to weaken your influence as a minister of Christ and to imperil your soul. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 4

Your business entanglement in Michigan injured your influence there as a representative of Jesus. Had you attended to the preaching of the Word in Healdsburg, had you wisely brought your own habits in domestic life in harmony with the holy law of God, you would today stand in a position before the people there where you could do them great good. You should feel the necessity of working perseveringly day by day to overcome the natural defects in your character. If you would do this, you would not be so strongly tempted to branch out and devise plans to make more money to meet your increasing expenses. With your present remuneration for your labors and the consideration which will be made in regard to your wife’s wages, if her influence is what it should be, you will be supplied abundantly with means, if you will only study to live within your means. But you seldom do this. You use money altogether too lavishly. Jesus is your example in all things. You ought to be careful that your expenses do not exceed your income. Bind about your wants. <Take yourself in hand, and have your conversation without covetousness.> 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 5

It is a great pity that your wife is so much like you in this matter of expending means, so that she cannot be a help to you in this direction, to watch the little outgoes in order to avoid the larger leaks. Needless expenses are constantly brought about in your family management. Your wife loves to see her children dress in a manner beyond their means, and because of this, tastes and habits are cultivated in your children which will make them vain and proud. If you would learn the lesson of economy and see the peril to yourselves and to your children and to the cause of God in this free use of means, you would obtain an experience essential to the perfection of your Christian character. Unless you do obtain such an experience, your children will bear the mold of a defective education as long as they live. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 6

Your expectations in a business line have always been large and flattering. You are a man who talks things out just as they appear to you, and when you are engaged in financial enterprises, you present them in such glowing colors that you injure yourself and those with whom you associate. Your conversation has savored of covetousness. It is not your business to lead men and women to invest means in worldly enterprises. Your eager hopes and pursuits in worldly matters have proved a curse to you spiritually, and you really mar the work of God that is in your hands. You have not only been reproved, but faithfully warned in the Word of God and by direct testimony in regard to your individual errors. “If the Lord be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” [1 Kings 18:21.] “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” [Matthew 6:24.] 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 7

My brother, you know but little about voluntary self-denial. God has held a firm, restraining hand upon you all your life, because He loves you and wants to save you. But with morbid views and impulses, you have sought to break away from these barriers that were holding you—you thought cruelly—away from good. It is your salvation to be saved from yourself. You must be sanctified to God, soul, body, and spirit. This is your only hope. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 8

God has given to everyone his measure of power. He has entrusted him with light which is to shine forth to the world. No one lives to himself. We each compose a part of the great web of humanity. We are to draw nigh to God daily and hourly, to contemplate the life and work of Christ, and then [to] deny self, take up the cross, and follow Jesus, our Pattern. We must practice the truth that we preach. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 9

You do some good, but if you were a Christian in every sense of the word, what a power you would take with you in your ministerial labors! You profess to love the truth; I believe you do love it, but you do not reach the Bible standard. God wants all there is of you and yours. Your children are the Lord’s property, the younger members of the Lord’s family, to be brought up, not in the ways and customs of the world, but in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It is your place to learn what the Lord approves and what He disapproves and not to follow the wishes and pleasures of your children. You should ask, What is God’s will concerning me and my children? Has He not admonished my children in the course they are now taking? 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 10

A voice spoke to me in the night season while I was in Europe, “Write the things which I shall show you.” Your children and yourself were presented before me in connection with things that had transpired in Healdsburg. A portion of this I wrote to you, but not all. Now these things are before me when I see the very same condition actually existing which I saw would meet the disapproval of God and counteract your influence. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 11

God said, “His children are My children, purchased at an infinite cost. The eldest daughter is an offense to Me, and her parents are deceived and being deceived and know not that Satan is seeking to obtain full control of her. She is corrupting her ways before God, doing discredit to her parents, dishonoring her God. These parents are not wise stewards of the souls of their children.” 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 12

The Lord holds the parents responsible for the souls of their children. You have neglected your duty, been unfaithful in your homework. Truth is one of the loveliest virtues, but it has not been cherished. Her [your daughter’s] course is not upright and truthful. God reads every species of dishonesty. I cannot even now say some things to you that were open before me, for you cannot bear them yet. When you made some statements to me in regard to the foolishness of your daughter’s course in Healdsburg and admitted that she was wrong, I thought to myself, “He does not know; he does not understand the heart of his child.” Evil is carried forward right in your presence, and you do not seem to see or realize it. You are not a faithful watchman to discern wrong. You have taken altogether too worldly and commonplace a view of the characters that your children should have. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 13

I had not seen the face of your oldest daughter and did not know her by sight (until since coming to California) for her face was covered or where I could not look into it, but the words spoken of her I shall never forget. “Her heart is not right; her lips are not truthful; her habits are not correct. A child of truth is one who is open in all his dealings. There will be no betraying of sacred trust, no double dealing, no insinuations. The words of the lips and the conduct of the life will agree with each other.” 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 14

The child [of truth] will not have one appearance in your presence and, when out of your sight, do and say things she would not have you know. When before you, she [your daughter] will utter smooth things as though her heart was filled with truth, when she has no love for the truth. You are and have been asleep. You are just as much deluded as Eli was, and this is why I write to you so plainly, for unless I do, you will go on as indifferent, as blindfolded and deceived, as you have been in the past. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 15

Should your daughter lose her life as she now is, she would surely come up with the wicked in the second resurrection, for every sinner will find his true place then. Can you not discern the peril she is in? I do not write these things to sting and burn into your heart; I write them that you may recover your daughter from the snare of the enemy, in place of fastening her forever in his power beyond remedy. God says, “I know thy works.” [Revelation 3:15.] Should anyone else mention these subjects to you as I have done, you would, perhaps, deal with them without mercy. But I must speak, I must tell you these things. The Scriptures declare, “Be sure your sin will find you out.” [Numbers 32:23.] There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid that shall not be made open as the day. Attend earnestly to the welfare of the souls of your children. The presentations and representations made to you by your daughter are fair, but if you knew all, you would not feel as easy as you do. I am surprised at your blindness and at the course you both pursue. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 16

The Lord declares, “Whoso covereth his sins shall not prosper.” [Proverbs 28:13.] The all-seeing eye is upon each of us. Every secret thought and action are known to God. Darkness and night cannot hide them. If this thought does not lead you to arouse and to be watchful and faithful stewards to guard the younger members of the family of God entrusted to you, then I may have to press the matter more decidedly upon you, whether you will hear or whether you will forbear. Whatever position you may take, I must be faithful. Not one of your children is in Christ; not one of them is in the truth; not one of them is in a position to represent our faith. The relation you sustain to your children places you under the most solemn obligation, an obligation which is plainly enjoined in the Word of God. Parents may indulge their natural affection at the expense of God’s holy commandment, you may allow what God has forbidden, you may neglect what He has enjoined, but you must meet your work in the judgment. You are not only to remonstrate with your children, but you are to command them to keep the way of the Lord. You must wake up, for duty imperfectly understood will be imperfectly performed, and unless you heed the true Counselor and teach your children to walk in the ways of the Lord, when it is too late, you will see reason for great sorrow and realize your fatal mistake. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 17

It is not enough to have a knowledge of Bible doctrines; the truth must be brought into your home life and have a sanctifying influence upon the character. I cannot justify your inclination to mix up with business matters or say it is well for you to place the hand of your children in that of the world. You have your work to do, and if you do your duty as parents and teach your children obedience and economy, you can support yourselves comfortably, without receiving presents as you have done from your brethren. This practice is a snare to you. Your conversation is too often prompted by selfishness. You seek to draw upon your brethren for sympathy and gifts. You should stand in the sight of God as a true, unselfish Christian, ready to practice as well as preach self-denial. I would not influence you to hoard up means—it would be difficult for you to do this—but I would counsel you both to expend your money carefully and let your daily example teach lessons of frugality, self-denial, and economy to your children. They need to be educated by precept and example. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 18

You should learn to be just, before you are generous with yourself. Principle must be observed in making donations for the cause of God. Your brethren’s stewardship belongs to them, and you have a stewardship of your own. God does not make you a steward of their means. May God help you to look upon all these matters in the right light. Wherever you go to labor and the Lord gives you success, many become attached to you. When God works with your effort, you can accomplish much good, but when your weakness is developed and the brethren see that your practice is contrary to your teaching, it throws them into confusion and begets doubt and suspicion in their minds in regard to your whole ministry and the arguments you have presented. Those who have genuine belief in the truth say, “I cannot see how Eld. Daniels can preach as he does and retain his influence with the people when he does not practice what he teaches.” Although you may have the sound, ennobling doctrines of the Bible, although you may preach the word, presenting line upon line and precept upon precept, yet if your discourses are not backed up out of the pulpit by personal piety and devotion, if you do not practice your own teachings, you become a stumbling block to those who are weak in the faith. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 19

I have been shown that you could do a greater and more substantial work if your life practice were in close harmony with the principles of truth. The power of the Spirit shown in heart and conscience in your home life and in association with your brethren will have a decided influence upon others. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” [Matthew 12:34.] You cannot be mixed up in financial matters without giving the burden of your thoughts to worldly plans and calculations. As soon as you are out of the desk, you become enthusiastic over business ventures and show that you are intoxicated over the matter of obtaining means. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 20

An important work has been given you of the Master, to preach the gospel of the Old and New Testament. You are to feed the flock of God. Do not flatter anyone’s imagination with high hopes of earthly treasure; point men to the heavenly inheritance; call their attention to the mansions Christ has gone to prepare for those who love Him and keep His commandments. As a faithful watchman, you are to warn the souls that are in peril through worldliness of their danger. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 21

Supposing it is no sin for those whom God has not called to minister in word and doctrine to engage in real estate business and mining stocks, would it not be altogether another matter for you, a watchman upon the walls of Zion, to do so? Your mind should be on altogether different themes. Eternal interests demand your whole soul, your whole might, mind, and strength. You need to be constantly digging in the precious mine of the Scriptures, that you may bring forth from the treasure house of God’s Word things new and old. Great light is opening to all God’s people whose hearts are open to receive it, but those who are satisfied with their present knowledge will not desire the rich blessings God has for His people. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 22

Now, my brother and sister, will you not come into a different position in your family that you may give the right lessons in religious life to your dear children and become living epistles at home? By your circumspect conduct, teach them to have solidity of character, for we are forming characters here for the future immortal life. Teach them to deny appetite, to be grateful for the plain, simple diet God gives them. It is not for you to allow them to dictate to you what they shall eat, but you should dictate to them what is best for them. It is a sin for you to allow your children to murmur and complain about good wholesome food just because it does not suit their depraved appetites. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 23

Practice self-denial yourself. It is sin to use the Lord’s money in selfish indulgence. I have been shown that the Lord has had pity upon you and used you not because you were defective in character, but notwithstanding these defects. He has connected you with Himself that through His grace you might perfect a Christian character. How much better service you could have done for the Master, whose servant you are, if you were well balanced and sound where now you are weak! Will you not remember that it is the Lord’s money you are handling and that He requires you to use it wisely? You must render an account to God for your expenses. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 24

You have been self-indulgent in your travels, for you do not generally study to save expense to the cause of God. In many ways you needlessly expend entrusted means. You are very deficient in keeping track of your outgoes. You trust too much to memory, which is very defective, in keeping your accounts. If you can command money, you will use it for your own gratification and to please the desires of your children. You do not remember that you are handling another’s means. I cannot see how you can have any valid excuse in the sight of God for letting Zua attend Snell’s Seminary. Either you or someone else must bear that expense. Your children have both their father’s and mother’s traits of character transmitted to them as their legacy, and how carefully should you educate and train them that these defects may be overcome. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 25

I cannot let this matter stand before the people in the light in which they now view it, as though I sanctioned and approved of your management. You have the blessed Bible, you have the testimonies which have appealed to you to correct your deficiencies, but if you walk in the light of your own understanding, what excuse can you offer when the books of heaven shall reveal your great loss as God’s hired servant? While you should appear free from everything like stinginess, you must remember that justice in dealing with your brethren comes before liberality. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 26

Conference officers are not favorably impressed with the way matters have developed in regard to you. Wages have been paid to you by the conference, and other means has flowed from its true channel in gifts to you. You keep yourself embarrassed by your own management; you talk discouragingly and groan over your situation, and your brethren, who are grateful to see that you have success in the pulpit and that souls are brought into the truth, give you, not only their sympathy, but their money. Although they have thought that they were doing God’s service in so doing, they have done you a great wrong. You may say, “I put a portion of it into the cause.” Would it not be well to say, “Brethren, will you not place this means which you propose to give to me in the treasury of God yourselves, that you may not lose your reward, but lay up for yourselves a treasure in the heavens?” 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 27

All the heart is to be given to God, all the mind, all the soul, and all the strength. Until this is done, we come far short of loving God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves. Unless the law of God is written in the heart, we do not obey it in truth. The truth of God can only profit and illuminate the soul when it is taken into the heart. There is much guile and selfishness in human nature, but the truth must expel these; then it will become woven into the character, and the possessor will become a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 28

I felt sad as I was shown how little you resemble Christ. Instead of being self-denying, you indulge and gratify self on every hand. My brother, you must reach a higher standard, that the truth you preach may be sustained by your influence and example. You cannot remain in your present condition and reach the hearts of the people, for many will stumble into perdition over your defects. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 29

Men who profess to be watchmen on the walls of Zion may preach the gospel as well as the law; they may bring to bear on the minds of sinners the love, pity, the self-sacrificing compassion of Jesus; they may make the most touching appeals and urgent entreaties and mingle them with the most cheering promises, and yet souls may not be reached, hearts may be proof against them all. The Bible truth will not be received, the love of Jesus may not exercise a constraining power, and these souls may perish in their sins. This will sometimes be the case when the Lord’s co-workers do all they can do in the fear and love of God. But if such is the case, they will be blameless. But if God’s ambassador brings the precious saving truth to bear upon the heart, and yet in his deportment errors are made prominent, then he lays a stumbling block before the feet of his fellow men over which they may stumble into perdition. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 30

If souls do accept the truth, the defects in the messenger are in many instances reproduced in their conduct, and the Heart Searcher knows that His professed ambassador is perpetuating sin. The reason of this is that the Word of God has not been received into the heart, has not done its office work upon the soul. The Word of God and the testimonies that have been given for the enlightenment of God’s people are as a dead letter. A nominal assent may be given when the truth is presented, but the heart’s undivided affection is not given to the Lord. God’s Word is perverted; the affections are not set on things above. The heart is the citadel of the man, and unless it is wholly given to the Lord, the enemy will come in and establish himself therein and make it his stronghold, from which no power on earth can dislodge him. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 31

There must be a trimming up with you. You are not guilty of outbreaking sins, but it is the little foxes, the little neglects, the little deficiencies, the little dishonesties, the prevarications and misstatements, the little departures from the principles Christ has given us, that blind the soul and separate it from God. These little things become larger, and others see the man who is guilty of these things professedly a messenger of God, a watchman on the walls of Zion, a co-laborer with Christ, and they think that they can follow his example in saying and doing things not at all in harmony with the will of God. The practice of evil is positively ruinous to your influence. Christ is dishonored, His name is brought into disrepute, [and] the standard for the ministry is not elevated or sanctified by such a course. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 32

My brother, I must urge these things home upon your soul. You should disconnect with everything that would have the least influence for evil upon your mind and character as a minister of the gospel of Christ. You should drink deeper and still deeper every day of the water of life. You should be imbued with the spirit of Jesus Christ. You are greatly lacking in devotion and faith. I cannot lend my influence in any way to prompt you or any of my brethren to gain wealth by speculation and extortion; you are not to be united with those who certainly do this. The men of solid worth are most apt to be found with those who possess little of this world’s goods, and what they do possess they have gained by diligence, honesty, and economy, and not by speculation. Those who are suitably renumerated for their labors ought not, if they practice economy, to be in rags or on the verge of pauperism or overwhelmed in debt. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 33

Paul charged Timothy to be “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, that commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also.” “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth, entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. ... Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” [2 Timothy 2:1, 2, 3, 4, 15.] 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 34

My brother and sister, much beloved in the Lord, I do not want you to lose your reward. Please read and put into practice the following words, “Know ye not that those who run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air; but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” [1 Corinthians 9:24-27.] 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 35

It is the privilege of every minister to consider these words. They are full of warning, counsel, and reproof for those who go contrary to the principles here laid down. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” [2 Timothy 3:16, 17.] 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 36

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” [1 Timothy 6:6.] There is danger that ambition will lead to presumption. “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition; for the love of money is the root of all evil, which while some have coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” [Verses 9, 10.] “But thou, O man of God, flee these things and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness, fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hath professed a good profession before many witnesses.” [Verses 11, 12.] 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 37

My brother, I wrote the foregoing while at the April meeting in Healdsburg and Oakland, and then so many and severe burdens came upon me, I could not venture to gather more upon my soul. I am sorry, very sorry, that I did not give it to you then and there, without further delay. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 38

I again caution you in reference to your children. Do not indulge them. How does it agree with our profession of faith and your teaching to others to do as you are doing? Zua has qualities that with proper education and training would make her a useful woman. But her parents’ false ideas of life and their vanity in regard to their children are in danger of spoiling her. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 39

You now have light on this point and should work together in harmony. Will you heed this light? I encouraged Sister Daniels to go with her husband in his work, for I thought, yes, I knew, that another influence must be brought to bear upon the children if they were to be saved for the future immortal life. When you take your children with you and encourage them in self-indulgence and give to others an example of lax government, then I know the influence will not be as God would have it, and you would do better to all remain at home. You are not able to get your daughter a saddle pony and necessary equipment, neither are you able to get Paul a pony. You should encourage your oldest son to work with his hands. You should encourage your daughter to take up domestic duties. As a poor man’s daughter, she should be useful and bear her own weight. Work will not be unhandy or disagreeable to her unless your own instructions and the society you place her in shall give her an education that will mar her prospects for both worlds. 5LtMs, Lt 23, 1888, par. 40