Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6

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Lt 8, 1889

Daniels, E. P.

Battle Creek, Michigan

November 5, 1889

This letter is published in entirety in PH096 65-80.

Brother Daniels:

Your case has again been presented before me so clearly that I understand your danger, and I cannot hold my peace, for I have a care for your soul. I am not at liberty to tell you all that has been shown me concerning you; sufficient now is the fact that you have not an eye single to the glory of God; your course of action is not in harmony with the Spirit of Christ. If the Lord Jesus were working upon you at all times and in all places, the fruits of righteousness would appear, but the fruits you bear are frequently of such a character as to declare distinctly that your works are not wrought in God, that the Spirit of God does not have a controlling power to subdue and sanctify your nature and place Christ’s mold upon you. Your powers have at times been unselfishly used to glorify God, but when your own spirit prevails, the very blessings God has given you are perverted to serve your selfish purposes. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 1

How stands the record in the book of God in regard to your dealing in financial matters? “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much; and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” [Luke 16:10.] Christ declares that a selfish use of our possessions in this world proves us unfaithful to God and therefore disqualified for the higher, heavenly trusts. We are not to live an inactive life in heaven. The faithful steward will there be entrusted with much. “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who shall commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?” [Verses 11, 12.] Christ has purchased us by the price of His own blood; He has paid the purchase money for our redemption, and if we will lay hold upon the treasure, it is ours by the free gift of the Son of God. In this probationary time we may show ourselves unworthy to have the heavenly gift entrusted to our keeping. Money is not ours; houses and grounds, pictures and furniture, garments and luxuries, do not belong to us. We are pilgrims, we are strangers. We have only a grant of those things that are necessary for health and life. But Satan places the temptation before us to desire many things with [which] the children of light should have nothing to do. Our temporal blessings are given us in trust, to prove whether we can be entrusted with eternal riches. [If] we [endure] the proving of God, then we shall receive that purchased possession which is to be our own—glory, honor, and immortality. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 2

Money is not necessarily a curse; it is of high value, because, if rightly appropriated, it can do good in the salvation of souls, in blessing others who are poorer than ourselves. By an improvident or unwise use, as is evident in your case, money will become a snare to the user. He who employs <money> to gratify pride and ambition makes it a curse rather than a blessing. Money is a constant test of the affections. Whoever acquires more than sufficient for his real needs should seek wisdom and grace to know his own heart and to keep his heart diligently, lest he have imaginary wants and become an unfaithful steward, using with prodigality his Lord’s entrusted capital. When we love God supremely, temporal things will occupy their right place in our affections. If we humbly and earnestly seek for knowledge and ability in order to make a right use of our Lord’s goods, we shall receive wisdom from above. When the heart leans to its own preferences and inclinations, when the thought is cherished that money can confer happiness without the favor of God, then the money becomes a tyrant, ruling the man; it receives his confidence and esteem and is worshipped as a god. Honor, truth, righteousness, and justice are sacrificed upon its altar. The commands of God’s Word are set aside, and the world’s customs and usages, which King Mammon has ordained, become a controlling power. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 3

In our use of money we can make it an agent of spiritual improvement by regarding it as a sacred trust, not to be employed to administer to pride, vanity, appetite, or passion. We should ever remember that in the Judgment we must meet the record of the way we use God’s money. Much is spent in self-pleasing, self-gratification, that does us no real good, but positive injury. If we realize that God is the giver of all good things, that the money is His, then we shall exercise wisdom in its expenditure, conforming to His holy will. The world, its customs, its fashions, will not be our standard. We shall not have a desire to conform to its practices; we shall not permit our own inclinations to control us. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 4

It is not best to pretend to be rich or anything above what we are, humble followers of the meek and lowly Saviour. We are not to feel disturbed if our neighbors build and furnish their houses in a manner that we are not authorized to follow. How must Jesus look upon our selfish provision for the indulgence of appetite, to please our guests or to gratify our own inclination? It is a snare to us to aim at making a display or to allow our children, under our control, to do so. Notwithstanding the testimonies given you in regard to the management of your children, you have not corrected the errors that have been thus pointed out. You have placed your own stamp of character upon these children as a birthright—a sad legacy; then, with all the light before you, you have indulged them until they reproduce your defects; they have the same desire for self-gratification, the same spirit of self-indulgence. In the training and education of children, a firm, kind, restraining influence is to be exercised over them day by day. Teach them, as did Abraham, to keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment, that the fear of the Lord may be ever before them. Patiently instruct them to walk humbly with God. They should be trained to habits of industry and not allowed to be indolent. Seek to strengthen everything that will make their characters solid, well balanced, and noble. Let every God-given faculty be developed for usefulness, not perverted by pleasure-loving, by indolence, or by wild liberty. Self-love, self-admiration, is a terrible curse. Teach your children to make the cause of Christ their first and highest consideration and to deny their selfish desires, that they may do good to others. You as parents are standing under [a] weighty responsibility. Restrain your own inclinations in the expenditure of means and give your children the precious lesson that outward display will not make the lady or the gentleman. It is the inward adorning, that meek and quiet spirit which is in the sight of God of great price, that demands our earnest attention. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 5

Elder Daniels, my heart is sad for you, for your wife and your children, for I say to you in the fear of God, You are making a record that will be lasting as eternity, “and if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?” [Verse 12.] We are placed here as probationers to prove whether we will, through the grace of Christ, develop all that the Lord exacts of us. We have been entrusted with great light in regard to the truths of His holy Word and with mental faculties susceptible of the highest cultivation. You are to love God supremely and your neighbors as yourself. You are to prove yourself faithful even in the least temporal matters. If you disregard the plainest directions given by our Lord in His holy Word and by the testimony of His Spirit and choose to walk in your own way, to follow the impulse of your own heart, you will be pronounced an unfaithful steward. If you prove yourself unfit to hold the smallest interests which your Master has placed in your hands here, how can God trust you with eternal interests? You may give your money quite freely to our institutions or to individuals, but does God honor you for this? If the money has been obtained unjustly will He accept this offering at your hands? You may ease your conscience by saying, “I give to the cause what others have given me.” Tell these persons they should be stewards of their own means. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 6

You do not know how to use money economically and do not learn to bring your wants within your income. Your spendthrift habits are a snare to you. The Lord has warned you, but your habits of prodigality have taken such a hold upon you that His cautions and warnings have been alike unheeded. Your wife, while she may be a help to you in many things, does not help you as she should in this respect. In order to live the life of a true disciple of Christ, you must day by day deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow your self-denying, self-sacrificing Redeemer. You have not yet learned the lesson of meekness and lowliness in the school of Christ. You have an eager desire to get money, that you may freely use it as your inclination shall dictate, and your teaching and example have proved a curse to your children. How little they care for principle! They are more and more forgetful of God, less fearful of His displeasure, more impatient of restraint. The more easily money is obtained, the less thankfulness is felt. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 7

I have been shown of God the sinfulness of the course you have been pursuing. You have engaged in mining and real estate business, and while an acknowledged minister of the gospel, you have worked upon the minds of your brethren and have influenced [them] to invest their means in real estate and in mining shares. You told them the investment would bring large returns, that they would more than treble their money and could help the cause so much more. You represented that this was a golden opportunity which you did not want them to lose and urged them to avail themselves of the advantages that God had placed right within their reach. With your powers of exaggeration, you represented the matter in such a light that many were deceived, and some lost their <money, which should have gone into the cause of God.> 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 8

Now you have urged upon others the duty of confession; have you made confession of the wrong that you have done your brethren? Have you told them of your errors? Have you told them of your schemes to obtain means because your extravagant expenditures brought you into embarrassing positions? Have you fulfilled your promise, that if they did not realize the glowing expectations you had kindled, you would repay the money they had invested? Have you felt that you must confess your sin in reverting to city lands and mining stocks the means which should have been invested in the cause of God? You and your brethren who were engaged with you have a work of restitution to do. When you, Elder Daniels, can say with Zacchaeus that if you have received aught of any man unjustly, you will restore to him fourfold, then there will be evidence of a genuine work of the Spirit of God in your heart. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 9

At the late camp meeting at Oakland, many came to me and inquired if there was nothing to be done in your case. The strong influence you <had been> exerting in behalf of these speculative enterprises to the injury of the work of God, brought great trial and perplexity to our brethren. But notwithstanding the wrongs on your part that called for confession, you came to that meeting and held yourself aloof, neither seeking to right your wrongs nor showing an interest in the work of God. You necessarily had some care of your wife, but this was not sufficient excuse. You needed all the help and blessing which the Lord was waiting to bestow upon you if you would seek Him with humility of heart. If you were envious, dissatisfied, feeling that due honor had not been shown you, the Lord could do nothing for you. What conclusion could the people draw from your attitude at that meeting? Had you, as a humble learner in the school of Christ, tried to obtain all the help possible from your brethren and sisters, you would not at the close of the meeting have been barren and unblessed; you would not, when you left, have been under temptation, dissatisfied, and unhappy. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 10

I am pained to learn that you have entered upon another money-making scheme. You are teaching voice culture, and by your exaggerated statements, made with such a professed knowledge of the benefits of this exercise many are deceived and are led to give you their patronage. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 11

The secret of all these movements is this: When you get into difficult places financially, on account of the extravagant expenses of your family, you set about extricating yourself by some of your inventions. You extort money from those who believe you to be so good a man that everything you say is truth and righteousness. Your method of dealing savors of dishonesty and perversion of facts; it is more like fraud than like honorable, straightforward integrity. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 12

Now the fact that you hold credentials from the conference and are receiving your pay from the money brought in by the tithing makes the conference responsible for your influence among the flock of God. The Lord will not hold them guiltless of your wrong course of action and the misrepresentations to which you have resorted to draw money from your brethren. Unless you change your course, I advise the brethren to withdraw your credentials and not let you carry their influence to sanction your proceedings. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 13

Your course is causing great perplexity among those best acquainted with you. You seem to have a power which many would think it a sin to term anything but the power of God, but your influence does not tend to strengthen, stablish, settle them as to the operations of the Spirit of God. They see you acting in direct opposition to your own work and your own teaching, and that which they suppose to be a divine influence seems to be so blended with the perversity of your nature that they know not how to distinguish between the two. The Lord has shown me that you employ human <and mesmeric> influence to move upon minds. In your labors it is often the case that that which is attributed to divine power is from a human source; you yourself have at times been amazed that your brethren and sisters should regard you as moved by the power of God. You are deceiving and being deceived. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 14

Your mind is not well balanced. You are moved by impulse. You make statements in the pulpit and then go away and contradict them in your conversation. You preach, but do not practice. You have good qualities, but you abuse them, because you do not train your powers to serve God only. You serve yourself, and attract the people to yourself. Your brethren and sisters are certainly deceived in you. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 15

The worst of the matter is that you become impatient if any effort is made to correct these evils. Your pride is touched, and when your brethren seek to counsel and help you, you regard them as personal enemies and count their reproofs and corrections as designed to work evil against you. You are not right with God. It is only when one unduly esteems himself that he imagines evil of those who would help and save him. God has borne long with your perversity. For years He has sent you messages of warning; He has called to you and held to you as a mother to her erring son, and yet His goodness and mercy have been abused. In the place of heeding the testimonies of the Spirit of God, you have treated them according to the frame of mind you were in when you received them, and your heart is hardened by the very goodness and mercy of God. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 16

You make statements wholly untrue in regard to the testimonies. You belittle them. You represent things in a distorted light. You do this in order to break down everything that would prevent you from carrying out your own plans for self-advantage. Well-balanced, judicious minds cannot long be abused in this manner, but after one class has been deceived, you take another class; you begin your operations where your mistakes are less known. Your brethren have borne long with you, until forbearance has ceased to be a virtue. I would not write to you as I do if it were not enjoined upon me to do this. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 17

One day you stand in the pulpit and strongly advocate the testimonies which God has sent to His people; in a few days, if you feel like it, you do your best to unsettle faith in them among those with whom you associate, and then, in a day or two, you advocate the testimonies again. Now, my brother, are you anchored anywhere or are you not more like the waves of the sea, tossed to and fro, unstable, unreliable, moved not by principle, but by emotion? Will not your work be of the same character? Will it not ravel out? Both you and your wife are under the reproof of God. What are you going to do about it? Will you draw nigh to God. Will you set your own house in order? Will you <unitedly> make earnest work for eternity? Or will you throw down the yoke of Jesus, refuse to lift His burdens, and choose to be independent, perverse, willful, uncontrollable? God is faithful to His Word. A watcher is beside you in the house of God. A watcher is beside you when you sit in converse with your brethren and say things that have no foundation in truth. A watcher will write the record of every word and action and the motive that prompted it. There can be no denial of that record, as here you often deny what you have said or done. The watcher will write it all, and he will do the bidding of God in regard to your case. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 18

Brother and Sister Daniels, must I conclude that the Word of the living God has no special weight with you? Must I decide by your course of action that the testimonies of warning, reproof, and entreaty, calling you to God’s Word, to listen to His voice, are set aside by you as unworthy [of] your notice, as an idle tale? I have not spoken to you my own words, but the words given me of God. You speak your own words with such intensity and assurance that you make those whom you address believe error to be truth and that the testimonies which God has set in the church are of but little weight. Tell me, if you can, what will have weight with you? Tell me what reserve force the Lord has to meet your case. You ride over all counsel; you pay not the least heed to advice unless it pleases you and accords with your mind. When you happen to be so disposed, you will make of none effect the testimonies of the Spirit of God if they reprove and correct your course. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 19

One thing is certain: I have held my peace as long as I shall do so. Now the only thing I can do is to put before our people, in some form, the light which God has seen fit to give me in your case. If the testimonies have no influence upon you, they may at least guard the flock of God from deception. You may <say you will> give up your credentials and step out of the work. Better, far better, to do this than to cast such an influence as you are now exerting upon the work of God. But what would gladden my heart and please the dear Saviour who gave His life for you, is for you to humble yourself under the hand of God. You are a very weak man, but God can give you strength, that you may finish your course with joy. I warn you, my brother, to prepare for the Judgment. Let not the blood of the souls of the flock and the blood of your children be upon your garments. Never boast of your endowments or position or achievements. All our talents are from God, to be rendered back with interest. From Him come all the gifts you have misapplied. May the Lord help you to see and repent of your abuse of His blessings before it is forever too late. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 20

“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might; let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” [Jeremiah 9:23, 24.] I am pained beyond measure to see the little discernment existing among our people who have had so great light. They listen to a sermon that stirs their emotions, and the language of their hearts is, “Evermore give us the ministry of this man; he moves our hearts, he makes us feel.” They forget God and praise and exalt the man, to his injury and the injury of their own souls. When will those who claim to believe the truth cease “from man, whose breath is in his nostrils”? [Isaiah 2:22.] When will they trust in God, make Him just what He is, all and in all? 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 21

You have earnest work to do if through Christ’s righteousness you win the crown of life. Oh, you must have a transformation of character before you can be a safe teacher of the truth! A profession of faith avails little without a personal, living experience in the truth. A casual or nominal faith is of no value. We must have a faith that works by love and purifies the soul. That faith has strength; it requires on your part supreme preference, holiest love for God, reliance upon Him, entire consecration, not one day in seven, but day by day. It identifies you in your feelings, your interests, your service, with Christ. Having this faith, you will be constantly receiving strength that is out of and above yourself. You will partake of the grace of God, which is without limit. When you have this communion with the divine, there is an identification of Christ’s interest with yours before all the universe. Your sins are reckoned to Jesus; His righteousness is imputed to you. For God “hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” [2 Corinthians 5:21.] Thus your prayers are accepted, becoming unto God a sweet-smelling savor in the Beloved. Thus you enter into His rights and become an heir with God and joint heir with Jesus Christ. You will enter into His victories, and the reward of eternal life will be given you. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 22

Again I inquire, What are you going to do? Will you be wholly on the Lord’s side? Will you be a converted man? Remember, I do not say you never have been converted, but will you now have a new consecration? Will you die to self? Will you put away every wrong and watch, watch for the stealthy approach of the enemy? Watch [for] the old habits of sin that will steal back upon you and that need to [be] shaken off again and again. Watch over a careless, unruly tongue. Watch your spirit, lest, because you cannot have your own way, you become desperate, reckless, profane. Watch for opportunities to do good. Be ever learning humility and meekness at the feet of Jesus. Oh, when will every child of God learn to unite with Jesus and not depend upon frail, erring men, and expect to be towed along to heaven by their faith and zeal? Genuine conversion unites the soul in clinging faith to the one helper, Jesus Christ. Make no more half-way efforts, to fall back worse than before, but, oh, make thorough work! Begin in your neglected family. Your neglect has not been a lack <in your> indulgence, but a neglect of their souls. May the Lord make you a priest in your own household. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 23

Do not, I entreat you, continue the same course of extorting money from your brethren and robbing the Lord’s treasury. You have done this work altogether too long. You have now a work to do to right up your wrongs. When you read this, pray earnestly to God. Do not throw it aside, do not become impatient, do not become desperate, but consider thoughtfully and candidly what is your real state. Utter no threats, make no false statements, for many of these now stand registered in the books of heaven, unrepented of, even during the year now almost ended. Let not this year close and you be found at variance with God. I must now leave you, but with only a small part written of that which is upon my mind. If this does not lead you to pursue a different course, I have more to write. God help you to be wise unto salvation! 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1889, par. 24