Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6 (1889-1890)


Ms 13, 1889

Standing by the Landmarks



Formerly Undated Ms 35. This manuscript is published in entirety in 1888 516-519.

While the [General] Conference was in session at Minneapolis, there was coming over the wires from Battle Creek decided messages from Brother Butler to bring the people to a decision then, at that meeting, on the controverted point of the law in Galatians. 6LtMs, Ms 13, 1889, par. 1

This matter was treated as though there was no one or ones at that meeting through whom God could work. This is a condition of things brought about by human agencies. Could not those in Battle Creek trust the Lord to work in that meeting? Had the Lord no one on the ground through whom He could communicate? 6LtMs, Ms 13, 1889, par. 2

It is well for us all to give the Lord some chance to work on human minds, and not to feel that one human mind must mold all other human minds. 6LtMs, Ms 13, 1889, par. 3

Now, at that meeting were many different characters and as many different temperaments. There was a striving about words to no profit, and the spirit manifested was uncourteous, ungentlemanly, and not Christlike. I know that hearts were spotted and stained with sin, yet they were the most zealous and vehement in spirit in that meeting. Then how could there have been any fairness in decisions made at that meeting? I have been shown that it was the same ruling spirit that was revealed in the condemnation of Christ. [And] when the papists were in controversy with men who took their stand on the Bible for proof of doctrines, they considered it a matter that only death could settle. I could see a similar spirit cherished in the hearts of our brethren and I would not give room to it for an hour. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” [Matthew 12:34.] 6LtMs, Ms 13, 1889, par. 4

I know Satan was just as busy among some of those assembled to make false impressions, and to lead the people to arrive at false conclusions, and to misapply and wrest the Scriptures from their true meaning, as he was in the days when the Saviour was upon the earth. Then what kind of a condition was that people in to decide what is truth? 6LtMs, Ms 13, 1889, par. 5

At that meeting, in rooms where the brethren were accommodated and congregated, there was not much praying, though some rooms were an exception. I was taken to one room and bade to hear the conversation of men who were in the position regarded as mouthpiece for God. I heard the jesting, the sarcastic remarks in regard to the messengers and the message—that doctrine that differed from their ideas of truth. I was told there was a witness in every room as surely as the witness was in Belshazzar’s palace at that festival, mingled with the praise of idols and of wine. The angel on that occasion traced the characters over against the walls of the palace; so there was a witness writing in the books of heaven the unkind speeches of those who knew not what manner of spirit they were of. 6LtMs, Ms 13, 1889, par. 6

There was opened to the minds precious light that should have been a blessing to them, but God could not do many mighty works in that conference because of their unbelief. There should have been at that meeting patient study of the Scriptures with fasting and earnest prayer before God that we might see eye to eye. This is the only way. There can be no safety in contention of spirit in investigating points of truth, as it must be done in the spirit John had when he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease”—more of Jesus, less of self. [John 3:30.] And as the investigation continues in the spirit of Christ, it will be at last all of Jesus, none of self. 6LtMs, Ms 13, 1889, par. 7

There is a bracing of the mind, an opposition of the soul, brought to the investigation of the Scriptures. This leaves such souls where Satan can impress them. In Minneapolis God gave precious gems of truth to His people in new settings. This light from heaven by some was rejected with all the stubbornness the Jews manifested in rejecting Christ, and there was much talk about standing by the old landmarks. But there was evidence they knew not what the old landmarks were. There was evidence and there was reasoning from the Word that commended itself to the conscience; but the minds of men were fixed, sealed against the entrance of light, because they had decided it was a dangerous error, removing the “old landmarks,” when it was not moving a peg of the old landmarks, but they had perverted ideas of what constituted the old landmarks. 6LtMs, Ms 13, 1889, par. 8

The passing of the time in 1844 was a period of great events, opening to our astonished eyes the cleansing of the sanctuary transpiring in heaven, and having decided relation to God’s people upon the earth, [also] the first and second angels’ messages and the third, unfurling the banner on which was inscribed, “The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” [Revelation 14:12.] One of the landmarks under this message was the temple of God, seen by His truth-loving people in heaven, and the ark containing the law of God. The light of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment flashed its strong rays in the pathway of the transgressors of God’s law. The non-immortality of the wicked is an old landmark. I can call to mind nothing more that can come under the head of the old landmarks. All this cry about changing the old landmarks is all imaginary. 6LtMs, Ms 13, 1889, par. 9

Now at the present time God designs a new and fresh impetus shall be given to His work. Satan sees this, and he is determined it shall be hindered. He knows that if he can deceive the people who claim to believe present truth, [and make them believe that] the work of the Lord designs to do for His people is a removing of the old landmarks, something which they should, with most determined zeal, resist, then he exults over the deception he has led them to believe. 6LtMs, Ms 13, 1889, par. 10

The work for this time has certainly been a surprising work of various hindrances, owing to the false setting of matters before the minds of many of our people. That which is food to the churches is regarded as dangerous, and should not be given them. And this slight difference of ideas is allowed to unsettle the faith, to cause apostasy, to break up unity, to sow discord, all because they do not know what they are striving about themselves. Brethren, is it not best to be sensible? Heaven is looking upon us all, and what can they think of recent developments? While in this condition of things, building up barriers, we not only deprive ourselves of great light and precious advantages, but just now, when we so much need it, we place ourselves where light cannot be communicated from heaven that we ought to communicate to others. 6LtMs, Ms 13, 1889, par. 11

The men in responsible positions have disappointed Jesus. They have refused precious blessings, and refused to be channels of light as He wanted them to be. The knowledge they should receive of God, that they might be a light and blessing to others, they refuse to accept, and thus become channels of darkness. The Spirit of God is grieved. Never can the heart be stirred up with envy, with evil-surmising, with evil reports, but the intellect becomes unbalanced and cannot decide correctly any controverted point. The attributes of Satan which have found entrance to the soul cannot harmonize with truth. 6LtMs, Ms 13, 1889, par. 12