Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6 (1889-1890)


Lt 8, 1890

Church, Brother

Battle Creek, Michigan

July 7, 1890

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother Church:

In the night season I was visited by a heavenly messenger who said, “Follow me.” I then heard Elder [E. P.] Daniels making certain statements before men who were taking down his words. He was pouring forth a tirade against the ministers in the truth, but when I told him what he had said, he denied having spoken them. Did he forget what he had said? Or does he speak many things and afterwards deny having said them because it has become a habit with him? For certainly he did speak the words that he declares he never said, and you, my brother, have uttered things against the ministers of Christ to our enemies. You have both made statements that have betrayed the brethren and the cause of God into the enemy’s hands. Did either of you know the nature of the work you were doing? I would not wish to refer to these things had not God made known to me that neither of you could stand in the light of His approval until you sincerely repented with that repentance that needeth not to be repented of. Neither of you can walk in the light as Christ is in the light until you realize that you have betrayed your brethren, reproached the cause of God, and trailed the banner of Christ in the very dust. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 1

From the confession that was made by Elder Daniels, I was led to hope that he would go onward and upward and make it evident that the work of repentance was a genuine work, but the Lord has presented his case before me in the night season again. Brother Daniels is not walking out of darkness into light, and he cannot in any way be a light to others unless he changes his course. While we were in Fresno his heart seemed to be melted, and I thought that he had fallen on the Rock and had been broken, that the Lord might make him a vessel unto honor, that the Lord would put His image and mold upon his character; but I am disappointed. The Lord has spoken to me concerning him; the spirit that prompts him to action is not the Spirit of Christ, but another spirit. Your case was also presented before me, and I saw that you were not walking in the light. You need to be converted. Your efforts to exalt yourself will, if continued, confirm you in what you have already done—lead you to walk in the sparks of your own kindling and to lie down in sorrow. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 2

Brother Church, you have ever been a friend to me. I have appreciated your favors and your kindnesses, and I dare not be less kind to you. I dare not say it is well with you when I know it is not well. I dare not cry, “Peace! Peace!” when there is no peace. You cannot be a blessing to the church until you are a changed man. You are earnestly seeking to write your name as a great man in the earthly annals, but oh, what if it is not written in the Lamb’s book of life as the name of one who is pure, divested of selfishness, hiding self in Jesus, [one] who is unflinching in fidelity, rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s, fully imbued with the spirit of this truth? It is righteousness alone which exalteth a nation. If you had this spirit and experience, you would not weaken the cords of Zion by depreciating the efforts of your brethren, simply because they do not meet your ideas. Your ideas are often out of harmony with the mind and will of God. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 3

Why do you and Elder Daniels stop short of cleansing yourselves from all sinfulness of the flesh and spirit? Why do you not make thorough work? Why do you not carry the battle to the very gate? Do you think it exalts you to depreciate men who are better than you are? There are mighty adversaries round about us, enemies whose name is Legion, who see no beauty in the truth, no attractiveness in the character of those who advocate it; and when God has reproved the wrongs of some who advocate the truth, you and Elder Daniels have joined with the Lord’s enemies in justifying wrongs condemned by His Spirit. You have declared with them that the charges of the Spirit of God were not true. Unbelief and selfishness are at the root of your failures, declensions, and defects of character. When God speaks, it is best for you to hear His voice, and to blame no one but yourself when you are reproved. Think how you have grieved and displeased the Spirit of God by your want of faith. You have refused to hear and to receive the correction of the Lord. You have controverted the words of the Lord by your carnal reasonings, justifying yourself as did Saul when he was reproved by the prophet Samuel. He stoutly declared in the very presence of the prophet, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord.” Oh, that God would pity your blindness and the blindness of Elder E. P. Daniels! Oh, that you might break the snare of Satan and gain spiritual strength for spiritual conquest. You should be true to God, valiant, courageous, self-sacrificing. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 4

In the work of reformation thousands begin and go a certain length to correct their evils, and then Satan suggests that they have done all that is necessary to save their good name, and they cease to make thorough work. They are satisfied to make languid, fitful efforts, to stop when they ought to persevere. They knock off a few branches from their ways, but they cherish the old root of sin to throw out fresh shoots. They begin to ascend the hill, but they stop short after taking a few steps. They make it evident that they are not in earnest. They gain ... [half a line not readable] ... a little insight of themselves and see faintly their defects, but they leave, unvanquished, corruptions that may break forth again into incurable evils. When influences not in harmony with the Spirit of God are exerted upon them, they find them like a mighty tide that washes away all good resolutions, and the impressions of the Spirit of God are effaced. The last state of such a man is worse than his first state. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 5

Oh, that men would appreciate and act upon the light given them of God; then they would no longer walk in the sparks of their own kindling, but in the ways of the Lord. We should remember that we each exert an influence, not confined to circumstances, place or time. Our influence, in words and in actions, will not be fully comprehended until the judgment. We are not to be controlled by human influences, likes or dislikes, but without partiality, with an eye single to the glory of God, we are to press closer and closer to Christ, catching His spirit, speaking His words, and reflecting the light beaming upon us from the Sun of Righteousness. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 6

We should be careful not to harden our hearts against the warnings and admonitions of God. Manasseh’s sin was aggravated by his repeated, stubborn rejection of divine warning. “The Lord spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.” 2 Chronicles 33:10. God has spoken to Elder Daniels in many ways and under varied circumstances. He has also spoken to you, Brother Church, but neither of you have practically accepted the blessing of correction, and He will speak to you both in chastisement that the arrow of conviction may be sent home to the soul. I desire you to consider, to think upon with patience, the forbearance of God with His guilty, daring, aggravating servants. He might cut them down in a moment. He might send them sudden disease ... [a line not readable] ... controlling power. The Lord says, “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thy help come.” [Hosea 13:9.] 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 7

My brethren, I write unto you because I dare not look on and see you ruin yourselves. Will you not now begin the work of reformation? Will you not permit your spirit to be subdued? Do now surrender your whole being to God, and place your heart and mind under divine influence. Have not a fickle faith, a presumptuous spirit, but in all humility follow where God leads the way. Be as clay in the hands of the potter, and have that simplicity of faith which takes the Lord at His word. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 8

Brother Church, you claim to believe the testimonies in regard to health reform, and you make your belief in this matter quite prominent. You have respect for the testimonies because you believe that God has spoken, but have you heeded the light that has been given to you through this instrumentality? Do you accept only that portion which meets your own ideas, and turn away from that which rebukes your error? God has given light to you in testimonies written in the plainest language, so that you could not misunderstand their import had you a desire to do so. You have had light on the tithing system. God devised that plan, but you have robbed Him in tithes and offerings as the whole nation has robbed Him. Is it not best for you to place yourself in harmony with God’s arrangements on every point, in place of devising a plan to meet your own ideas? 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 9

Our God is a jealous God. He will not be trifled with; He will not be insulted by finite beings with whom He has entrusted His goods that they might be invested as He has designated. What can be plainer than the instructions contained in the book of Malachi? “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” [Malachi 3:10.] 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 10

What about your vows, my brother? How have you met them? How have you respected your pledges? Have you not failed to fulfil them? How can God look upon your defection in this respect? Will a man rob God? The question is asked as though such a thing could not be, and yet the Word of God testifies to the fact that men have robbed Him in tithes and offerings. Do you presume to imagine that you can devise a better plan than that which the wisdom of God has given? 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 11

Now my brother, is it not best for you to devote some time to the reviewing of your past actions and to settling up your account with God? I have seen that money had been passed from your hands simply to exalt your own name. Would it not have been vastly better to let your name lie in the dust rather than deal dishonestly and unjustly with God? 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 12

When you come to the judgment what can you say to the Lord for not having followed His injunctions to the letter? “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Verses 10-12.] 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 13

Let your name be unknown among men, but oh! be thoroughly anxious and diligent that it shall live among the holy angels and be immortalized in the books of heaven as the name of a man whose heart was honest toward ... [several words are unreadable] ... that “it is required of stewards that a man be found faithful.” [1 Corinthians 4:2.] 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 14

Instead of seeking to exalt your name as a great man among men, exalt Jesus and let your life be hid with Christ in God. Let Christ alone appear as the One worthy to receive all honor, all majesty, all praise, for He is the first and the last. When men high or low, rich or poor, seek to obtain the praise of men, they always forfeit the commendation of God. They are wise in their own conceit, and show their greatest weakness in their over-estimation of themselves. A name written in the earth is as written in the sand, to be obliterated by the waves of the seas. See that your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life and it will live through eternal ages. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 15

I write thus plainly to you because you do not look upon these things in the correct light; you have not the mind of Christ. In many respects you are weak where you should be strong. You ought to be a good man, one who would exert an abiding influence that would not die with you. Your days are short at the very most, and the few days that you have of probationary time should not be spent as the past has been. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 16

Your work should be, from this time forth, to make your calling and election sure by adding grace to grace. You should give “all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-11. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 17

This is your work, Brother Church, and if you neglect to do it you will lose your soul. I desire you to have a crown of life. No earthly glory, no lifting up of yourself, will make you a great man in the sight of God. The doing of His express will alone will give you a lasting honor, and bring you to the eternal Rock. Self-righteousness will avail you nothing; to patch together the miserable fragments of your own merit will be utterly worthless. Come to the cross of Calvary, helpless as you are, and by faith lay hold on the righteousness of Christ, and you will have the wedding garment that Christ has provided for you instead of your old citizen’s dress. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 18

I want you to be just what the Lord designs you to be—a good man. You are continually striving to stretch yourself beyond your measure, but you must lie low at the foot of the cross where you may see your own unworthiness and discern the loveliness of Jesus. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 19

I was pained when I heard that you stated what strong faith you had in the testimonies and how you had advocated them, when I knew how inconsistent were your actions with this profession. Several times I have stated both by pen and voice that the church at Fresno had made too much of Elder Daniels, and had placed him where God should be. Instead of making God their unerring counselor, instead of looking to Him as the One mighty in power, as their helper, they have looked to God through Elder Daniels; and when I have made this assertion, you have risen, declaring that it was not ... [two lines unreadable] ... have agreed with your ideas; you have acknowledged them, but when they have been diverse from your mind, you have cast aside the Word of God and have placed the ideas and words of M. J. Church as more full of wisdom and discrimination. Which will the church at Fresno accept, the words of the testimonies of God’s Spirit or the statements of Brother Church? How much value can I place upon your profession of faith in the testimony? How can I measure your belief in the word of God? 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 20

Brother Deiver accepted the testimonies upon temperance in eating, but he rejected them when they laid out before him in clear lines the duty of paying tithes, of making gifts and offerings to the cause of God. Of what weight were his professions of faith in the testimonies when he gave not the least heed to their practical teachings? He withheld from God His own; he was an unfaithful steward of the goods that the Lord had entrusted to him. He robbed God in tithes and offerings. You might have helped him, but instead of this you strengthened him in his unbelief by your own manifest neglect of this duty. Brother Deiver was very much exercised because he thought the church did not appreciate health reform, but his soul was not disturbed because he was indifferent to his duty in regard to tithes and offerings. Oh consistency, thou art a jewel! 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 21

How long God has borne with the perversity of men! Again and again He has been disappointed in those who, while they claim to be His followers, act on impulse and, although the voice of Jesus calls to them, “This is the way, walk ye in it” [Isaiah 30:21], they take the path of their own choosing. Jesus said, “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. If you really believe the testimonies, you will not be partial in your observance of the messages, exalting one part—one portion—because it suits your own ideas and rejecting another because it fails to meet your mind and reproves a course of action that you choose to follow. This is the way in which many believe in Christ. They are hearers of His word, but not doers of them. Men show by their fruits just what faith they really have. Those who declare that they believe the words of Christ and yet do those things that please themselves, neglecting to do that which the Lord has specified, are not obedient children. They are not the sons and daughters of God. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 22

The character of one and all is to be tested by an unvarying rule—by God’s holy law. The spirit and character of Christ will be revealed in His true disciples. Daily they will be bringing into their lives the life of Christ, for they will realize that vital and eternal interests are at stake. There are no moments to waste in selfish gratification, in building up selfish interests. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 23

Brother Church, God calls upon you to consecrate yourself and all that you have to His service without delay. [One line unreadable.] ... why the managers of the Retreat did not accept the assistance from Brother Church. One says, He told me he went there with $25,000.00 in his pocket, ready to help the Retreat; but that he was treated so indifferently and coldly that he did not do as he had intended to, but took his money and went away. Then was repeated a tale of grievances. Letters of this character continue to come to me reiterating the story. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 24

I know things were not all right at the Health Retreat, for I have had the matter placed before me by divine power, and have worked diligently to set things in order. Brother Church, you knew this, but in order that you might have an excuse to build an institution in Fresno, contrary to the light which God has given you, you sought to represent the Health Retreat in a bad light. In this instance you again have shown your lack of faith in the testimonies. God has signified His purpose that there should be an institution in St. Helena, but you have labored to build up that which God has shown should not be built up. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 25

Did the Lord send Brother Church his money and influence to help the Retreat in a time of great necessity? Did He not move upon your heart and mind to do this work? And why did you not do it? Should the words of one man, or the wrong moves of a man connected with the institution, change your purpose and thwart you in doing your duty? 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 26

The Lord knew all about the institution before you went there with your money, and if you were directed to go, it was that you might help at the very time when your help was most needed. Afterward, when you saw that God was laying the burden upon His chosen ones to set things in order, did you come forward to be a laborer together with God? Did you then come to the help of the Lord against the mighty? It was not your work to set things in order, to cleanse from all evil and ... [one line unreadable] ... the wounds that God was seeking to heal; but you went forth to sow seeds of doubt and suspicion, to spread evil reports, to undermine faith, and tear down what God was seeking to build up. While God was saying, “Let it live,” you were saying by your influence and actions, “Let it die.” 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 27

If it was the desire of God that you should help the institution with His entrusted goods, why did you not do as the Lord directed you, as a good steward should do? When you saw it struggling for an existence, you should have put forth a helping hand; but if you misdirected the means which God lent you for this purpose, then you will have to answer to the Lord for your mistakes. If the Lord did not guide you that you might help the institution, then I thank Him that you put your money in your pocket and went away. If you intended to invest your means on condition that you should have sole control of the Health Retreat, then it is far better that your money should not be placed in it, for this condition could never be met. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 28

One man has not sufficient brain power to run a sanitarium or a church alone. We cannot place the slightest dependence upon humanity when it is not sanctified by the Spirit of God. If you had loved God supremely, and your neighbor as yourself, you could have been a blessing to the Health Retreat. Although the Lord has shown that you are not qualified either in experience or judgment, to be at the head of any health institution, still you could have been a help, connected with others; and your means might have been of great service to that instrumentality of God. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 29

It would not meet the mind of God for you to be the governing power in the Health Retreat. Your traits of character, your past experience has made such a position impossible to you, and you would not be moving in the order of God if you were tempted to fill such a place. You could act as counsellor with others, and could exert an influence in its favor instead of against it. The motives that have prompted you to action have been laid open before me, and therefore I will lay them open to you. My heart is sad as I contemplate the feelings that have prompted you. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 30

Brother McPherson wrote me a long letter in regard to the great things you purposed to do, but did not do, for the Health Retreat. He deplored the location of the institution. He stated that you said the curse of God was upon this place and told me many things that you had related to him concerning the past mistakes of your brethren. Why did you not seek to set things in order? If you had carried the burden that you should have carried, you would have seen the hand of God in the work, for the workers that had done wrong would have humbled themselves; and the institution, the child of God’s care, would have been restored to a healthful condition. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 31

While Satan lives to tempt, there will be weak souls who will yield to his suggestions in all our institutions; but disinterested, God-fearing workmen will not leave wrongs uncorrected. There is need of enduring patiently; there is a need of forbearance and charity. You should manifest invincible faith in the work of God in all its departments. If God should treat you, my brother, as you have treated the Health Retreat and the college, there would be little hope for you, for you have despaired of them because you have seen imperfections in their management. Souls are to be saved through these God-appointed agencies; then beware that you do not act contrary to the purposes of God, for you will surely be called to an account if you do so. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 32

Our institutions have had hard lessons because some who have been connected with them ... [two lines unreadable] ... are discovered and evil things crop out in those engaged in the work. Shall we act as co-laborers with God and seek to set things in order, or shall we stamp the institution out of existence? Have you shown wisdom and submitted to the discipline of God? Have you sought to lay hold on the burden and to carry the load when there was a load to carry? 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 33

Many drop the burden when it grows heavier, and shrink from the painstaking necessity of setting things in order. They will not undertake this work, and yet they complain bitterly of the management of those who throw their heart and soul into the work, who seek to build up, to strengthen the things that remain that are ready to die. But those who try to do their best to build where God is building, who carry heavy, perplexing burdens with but little sympathy from these fault-finding lookers-on, are registered in the books of heaven as co-laborers with God. Those who are discouraged by this influence, who have been indifferent to the situation of God’s institutions, will receive according to their works. If the hearts of those who find fault and discourage were right with God, they would encourage the institutions that they now depreciate and condemn. When Dr. Maxson and his wife see things as God sees them, they will understand that they have something to do, to lift the reproach that came upon the Health Retreat through their unwise moves. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 34

All are required to be workers in the vineyard of the Lord. There are to be no idlers, and the heaviest obligation rests upon the worker whose means and opportunity are the greatest. Today is a day of trust and opportunity; by and by will come the day of reckoning when it will be shown how our accounts stand. You have a heart to feel for the woes of others; you have helped men who have not appreciated the efforts shown them. This lack of gratitude has had a tendency to make you suspicious and distrustful. [Two lines unreadable.] ... your aid, at times you have become hard and exacting, and have felt that you were wronged, that your brethren did not deal honestly with you. At times experiences of this kind have dried up the milk of human kindness in your heart, but those who have been helped by you because you wanted to help them, who have abused the kindness and interest you have shown for them, must themselves bear the sin of ingratitude. They cannot be justified in their course of action in wounding and bruising your soul. Some men are deficient in financial ability, because they never learned how to expend means carefully, to bind about their wants, to educate their children in habits of economy. Such persons are always complaining of poverty; but when you aid these men and they fail to appreciate it, they suffer greater loss than you do. You have made a mistake sometimes in helping them too much, and when your interest was not appreciated, you have made another mistake and have gone too far in another direction. You have felt that you could not tolerate such brethren, and your efforts to help them in the end hurt them, because you expected too much of them and were disappointed. Through this [you were] led to take an unchristian course toward them. The church of Christ is made up of vessels large and small, and the Lord does not expect the smaller vessel to hold as much as a larger one. The Lord expects interest from the talents He has entrusted in proportion to the amount of capital He has given. Each one is responsible for the use or abuse of entrusted talent in proportion to his ability and opportunity. 6LtMs, Lt 8, 1890, par. 35