Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Lt 37, 1887

Waggoner, E. J.; Jones, A. T.

Basel, Switzerland

February 18, 1887

This letter is published in entirety in 15MR 18-28.

Dear Brethren Waggoner and A. T. Jones:

I have something to say to you that I should withhold no longer. I have been looking in vain as yet to get an article that was written nearly twenty years ago in reference to the “added law.” [Galatians 3:19.] I read this to Elder [J. H.] Waggoner. I stated then to him that I had been shown his position in regard to the law was incorrect, and from the statements I made to him he has been silent upon the subject for many years. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 1

I have not been in the habit of reading any doctrinal articles in the paper, that my mind should not have any understanding of any one’s ideas and views, and that not a mold of any man’s theories should have any connection with that which I write. I have sent repeatedly for my writings on the law, but that special article has not yet appeared. There is such an article in Healdsburg, I am well aware, but it has not come as yet. I have much writing many years old on the law, but the special article that I read to Elder Waggoner has not come to me yet. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 2

Letters came to me from some attending the Healdsburg College in regard to Brother E. J. Waggoner’s teachings in regard to the two laws. I wrote immediately, protesting against their doing contrary to the light which God had given us in regard to all differences of opinion, and I heard nothing in response to the letter. It may never have reached you. If you, my brethren, had the experience that my husband and myself have had in regard to these known differences being published in articles in our papers, you would never have pursued the course you have, either in your ideas advanced before our students at the college, neither would it have appeared in the Signs. Especially at this time should everything like differences be repressed. These young men are more self-confident and less cautious than they should be. You must, as far as difference is concerned, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Even if you are fully convinced that your ideas of doctrines are sound, you do not show wisdom that that difference should be made apparent. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 3

I have no hesitancy in saying you have made a mistake here. You have departed from the positive directions God has given upon this matter, and only harm will be the result. This is not in God’s order. You have now set the example for others to do as you have done, to feel at liberty to put in their various ideas and theories, and bring them before the public, because you have done this. This will bring in a state of things that you have not dreamed of. I have wanted to get out articles in regard to the law, but I have been moving about so much, my writings are where I cannot have the advantage of them. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 4

It is no small matter for you to come out in the Signs as you have done, and God has plainly revealed that such things should not be done. We must keep before the world a united front. Satan will triumph to see differences among Seventh-day Adventists. These questions are not vital points. I have not read Elder Butler’s pamphlet or any articles written by any of our writers and do not mean to. But I did see years ago that Elder (J. H.) Waggoner’s views were not correct and read to him matter which I had written. The matter does not lie clear and distinct in my mind yet. I cannot grasp the matter, and for this reason I am fully convinced that the presenting it has been not only untimely, but deleterious. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 5

Elder Butler has had such an amount of burdens, he was not prepared to do this subject justice. Brother E. J. Waggoner has had his mind exercised on this subject, but to bring these differences into our general conferences is a mistake; it should not be done. There are those who do not go deep, who are not Bible students, who will take positions decidedly for or against, grasping at apparent evidence; yet it may not be truth, and to take differences into our conferences where the differences become widespread, thus sending forth all through the fields various ideas, one in opposition to the other, is not God’s plan, but at once raises questionings, doubts whether we have the truth, whether after all we are not mistaken and in error. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 6

The Reformation was greatly retarded by making prominent differences on some points of faith and each party holding tenaciously to those things where they differed. We shall see eye to eye ere long, but to become firm and consider it your duty to present your views in decided opposition to the faith or truth, as it has been taught by us as a people, is a mistake and will result in harm, and only harm, as in the days of Martin Luther. Begin to draw apart and feel at liberty to express your ideas without reference to the views of your brethren, and a state of things will be introduced that you do not dream of. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 7

My husband had some ideas on some points differing from the views taken by his brethren. I was shown that however true his views were, God did not call for him to put them in front before his brethren and create differences of ideas. While he might hold these views subordinate himself, once [they are] made public, minds would seize [upon them,] and just because others believed differently would make these differences the whole burden of the message and get up contention and variance. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 8

There are the main pillars of our faith, subjects which are of vital interest, the Sabbath, the keeping of the commandments of God. Speculative ideas should not be agitated, for there are peculiar minds that love to get some point that others do not accept, and argue and attract everything to that one point, arguing that point, magnifying that point, when it is really a matter which is not of vital importance and will be understood differently. Twice I have been shown that everything of a character to cause our brethren to be diverted from the very points now essential for this time should be kept in the background. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 9

Christ did not reveal many things that were truth, because it would create a difference of opinion and get up disputations, but young men who have not passed through this experience we have had would as soon have a brush as not. Nothing would suit them better than a sharp discussion. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 10

If these things come into our conference, I would refuse to attend one of them; for I have had so much light upon the subject that I know that unconsecrated and unsanctified hearts would enjoy this kind of exercise. Too late in the day, brethren, too late in the day. We are in the great day of atonement, a time when a man must be afflicting his soul, confessing his sins, humbling his heart before God, and getting ready for the great conflict. When these contentions come in before the people, they will think one has the argument, and then that another directly opposed has the argument. The poor people become confused, and the conference will be a dead loss, worse than if they had had no conference. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 11

Now when everything is dissension and strife, there must be decided efforts to handle, [to] publish with pen and voice these things that will reveal only harmony. Elder J. H. Waggoner has loved discussions and contention. I fear that E. J. Waggoner has cultivated a love for the same. We need now good humble religion. E. J. Waggoner needs humility, meekness, and Brother Jones can be a power for good if he will constantly cultivate practical godliness, that he may teach this to the people. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 12

But how do you think I feel to see our two leading papers in contention? I know how these papers came into existence, I know what God has said about them, that they are one, that no variance should be seen in these two instrumentalities of God. They are one, and they must remain one, breathing the same spirit, exercised in the same work, to prepare a people to stand in the day of the Lord, one in faith, one in purpose. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 13

The Sickle was started in Battle Creek, but it is not designed to take the place of the Signs, and I cannot see that it is really needed. The Signs of the Times is needed and will do that which the Sickle cannot. I know if the Signs is kept full of precious articles, food for the people, that every family should have it. But a pain comes to my heart every time I see the Sickle. I say it is not as God would have it. If Satan can get in dissension among us as a people, he will only be too glad. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 14

I do not think that years will wipe out the impressions made at our last conference. I know how these things work. I am satisfied that we must have more of Jesus and less of self. If there is a difference upon any parts of the understanding of some particular passage of Scripture, then do not be with pen or voice making your differences apparent and making a breach when there is no need of this. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 15

We are one in faith in the fundamental truths of God’s Word. And one object must be kept in view constantly, that is harmony and co-operation must be maintained without compromising one principle of truth. And while constantly digging for the truth as for hidden treasure, be careful how you open new and conflicting opinions. We have a world-wide message. The commandments of God and the testimonies of Jesus Christ are the burden of our work. To have unity and love for one another is the great work now to be carried on. There is danger of our ministers’ dwelling too much on doctrines, preaching altogether too many discourses on argumentative subjects, when their own soul needs practical godliness. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 16

There has been a door thrown open for variance and strife and contention and differences which none of you can see but God. His eye traces the beginning to the end. And the magnitude of mischief God alone knows. The bitterness, the wrath, the resentment, the jealousies, the heart burnings provoked by controversies of both sides of the question cause the loss of many souls. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 17

May the Lord give us to see the need of drinking from the living fountain of the water of life. Its pure streams will refresh and heal us and refresh all connected with us. Oh, if the hearts were only subdued by the Spirit of God! If the eye were single to God’s glory, what a flood of heavenly light would pour upon the soul. He who spake as never man spake was an Educator upon earth. After His resurrection He was an Educator to the lonely disappointed disciples traveling to Emmaus, and to those assembled in the upper chamber. He opened to them the Scriptures concerning Himself and caused their hearts to bound with a holy, new, and sacred hope and joy. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 18

From the Holy of Holies, there goes on the grand work of instruction. The angels of God are communicating to men. Christ officiates in the sanctuary. We do not follow Him into the sanctuary as we should. Christ and angels work in the hearts of the children of men. The church above united with the church below [is] warring the good warfare upon the earth. There must be a purifying of the soul here upon the earth, in harmony with Christ’s cleansing of the sanctuary in heaven. There we shall see more clearly as we are seen. We shall know as we are known. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 19

It is a melancholy and dispiriting thing to observe how little effect the solemn truths relating to these last days have upon the minds and hearts of those who claim to believe the truth. They listen to the discourses preached, they seem to be deeply interested as they hang upon the lips of the speaker; and if his words are sublime, they are delighted, tears flow as the love of Christ is the theme brought before them. But with the close of the discourse the spell is broken. Enter the homes, and you will be surprised to not hear one word that would lead you to think that a deep impression was made as the circumstances warranted in the presentation of such elevating things. It was exactly as if they had listened to some pleasant song or melody. It is done and the impression gone like the morning dew before the sun. What is the reason of this? The truth is not brought into the life. They did not accept the truth spoken as the word of God to them. They did not look past the instrument to the great Worker within the heavenly sanctuary. You did not take the word as a special message from God of whom the speaker was only the one who was entrusted with the message. Is it then any marvel that the truth is so powerless, that with a large number, if there is some excitement, a little animal ecstasy, a little head knowledge, the influence is no deeper? 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 20

There is altogether too much sermonizing. There is too little listening and hearing the voice of God. But hearing only the voice of man, and the hearers go to their homes with souls unnourished, but empty as before and prepared to sit in judgment upon the sermon, commenting upon it as they would upon a tragedy, reviewing the matter as a human effort. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Fill the mind with the great humiliation of Christ, and then contemplate His divine character, His majesty and glory of the Highest, and His disrobing Himself of these and clothing His divinity with humanity. Then we can see a self-denial, a self-sacrifice that was the marvel of angels. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 21

Oh, it was poverty indeed apportioned to the Son of God that He should be moving upon a province of His own empire and yet not to be recognized or confessed by the nation He came to bless and to save. It was poverty that when He walked among men, scattering blessing as He trod, the anthem of praise floated not around Him, but the air was often freighted with curses and blasphemy. It was poverty that, as He passed to and fro among the subjects He came to save, scarcely a solitary voice called Him blessed. Scarcely a solitary hand was stretched out in friendship, and scarcely a solitary roof proffered Him shelter. Then look beneath the disguise, and whom do we see?—Divinity, the eternal Son of God, just as mighty, just as infinitely gifted with all the resources of power, and He was found in fashion as a man. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 22

I wish that finite minds could see and sense the great love of the infinite God: His great self-denial, His self-sacrifice, in assuming humanity. God humbled Himself and became man and humbled Himself to die, and not only to die, but to die an ignominious death. Oh, that we might see the need of humility, of walking humbly with God and guarding ourselves on every point. I know that Satan’s work will be to set brethren at variance. Were it not that I know the Captain of our salvation stands at the helm to guide the gospel ship into the harbor, I should say, Let me rest in the grave. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 23

Our Redeemer liveth to make intercessions for us, and now if we will daily learn in the school of Christ, if we will cherish the lessons He will teach us in meekness and lowliness of heart, we shall have so large a measure of the Spirit of Jesus that self will not be interwoven into anything that we may do or say. The eye will be single to the glory of God. We need to make special efforts to answer the prayer of Christ that we may be one as He is One with the Father. He who declared Himself actually straitened while in the days of His humiliation, because He had many things to say to His disciples which they could not bear now, the wonders of redemption are dwelt upon altogether too lightly. We need these matters presented more fully and continuously in our discourses and in our papers. We need our own hearts to be deeply stirred with these deep and saving truths. There is danger of keeping the discourses and the articles in the paper, like Cain’s offering, Christless. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 24

Baptized with the Spirit of Jesus, there will be a love, a harmony, a meekness, a hiding of the self in Jesus that the wisdom of Christ will be given, the understanding enlightened; that which seems dark will be made clear. The faculties will be enlarged and sanctified. He can lead those He is fitting for translation to heaven to loftier heights of knowledge and broader views of truth. The reason that the Lord can do so little for those who are handling weighty truths is that so many hold these truths apart from their life. They hold them in unrighteousness. Their hands are not clean, their hearts are defiled with sin; and should the Lord work for them in the power of His Spirit, corresponding with the magnitude of the truth which He has opened to the understanding, it would be as though the Lord sanctioned sin. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 25

That which our people must have interwoven with their life and character is the unfolding of the plan of redemption and more elevated conceptions of God and His holiness brought into the life. The washing of the robes of character in the blood of the Lamb is a work that we must attend to earnestly while every defect of character is to be put away. Thus are we working out our own salvation with fear and trembling. The Lord is working in us to will and to do of His good pleasure. We need Jesus abiding in the heart, a constant, living wellspring; then the streams flowing from the living Fountain will be pure, sweet, and heavenly. Then the foretaste of heaven will be given to the humble in heart. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 26

Truths connected with the second coming of Christ in the cloud of heaven will be talked of, written upon more than now. There is to be closed every door that will lead to points of difference and debate among brethren. If the old man was purged from every heart, then there would be greater safety in discussion, but now the people need something of a different character. There is altogether too little of the love of Christ in the hearts of those who claim to believe the truth. While all their hopes are centered in Jesus Christ, while His Spirit pervades the soul, then there will be unity, although every idea may not be exactly the same on all points. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 27

The Bible is but yet dimly understood. A life-long, prayerful study of its sacred revealings will leave still much unexplored. It is the deep movings of the Spirit of God that are needed to operate upon the heart, to mould character, to open the communication between God and the soul before the deep truths will be unraveled. Man has to learn himself before God can do great things for him. The little knowledge imparted might be a hundredfold greater if the mind and character were balanced by the holy enlightenment of the Spirit of God. Altogether too little meekness and humility is brought into the work of searching for the truth as for hidden treasures; and if the truth were taught, as it is in Jesus, there would be a hundredfold greater power, and it would be a converting power upon human hearts; but everything is so mingled with self that the wisdom from above cannot be imparted. 5LtMs, Lt 37, 1887, par. 28