Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6 (1889-1890)


Lt 18d, 1890

Larson, Matthew


March 6, 1890

This letter is published in entirety in 1888 584-589.

Dear Brother Larson,

Since our conversation I have felt urged by the Spirit of the Lord to write to you. I had hoped that I should not be compelled to give any personal testimony in this meeting, but that the Lord would require me only to dwell upon general principles. In the interview with you, I sought to say nothing that would agitate or stir up your mind, and I had hoped that the words addressed to those assembled in the ministers’ meeting would have a different result than they have had. I now see that your call upon me was to utter complaint against me. You say, “While I shall accept your explanation that you intended nothing against me, the manner in which you spoke to me, and the response you made when I explained to you why I was smiling, i.e. that ‘if the illustration fits you, take it’, seems to have left the impression that I had done something that I ought not to have done; and this made it necessary that you should give me a public rebuke, and in a rather keen manner upon the minds of those who were present.” 6LtMs, Lt 18d, 1890, par. 1

I had hoped when you left this meeting you would be in an entirely different spirit than that which you brought to it. I bore my testimony in regard to things which transpired in Minneapolis. This I did because it was urged upon me by the Spirit of the Lord. But what influence did the words and reading of the manuscript have upon your mind? What effect did it have? Not that which it should have had, by any means. I labored in the morning meeting to help my brethren. I presented the state of things as God had presented them to me. I illustrated the positions we should occupy as they had been presented to me. I had no personal feelings in the remarks made to you that morning. In the line of my work I speak the things the Lord gives me. And in my words to you I would no more dare to say that the Lord did not move me to make the remarks which I made in that talk all the way through. It is not in me to wish to hurt the feelings of my brethren, not the least or the greatest. I had a word for you, and I wanted you to explain the demonstrations that you made. I asked you to do so, and when you explained that it was because you appreciated the remarks, the Spirit of God brought that answer to my lips. You needed those words or they would not have been spoken. From the lines you have traced to me, I am thoroughly convinced that you needed those words. 6LtMs, Lt 18d, 1890, par. 2

I see that you regard my work and my mission as on a level with your own work. It is now evident to me that the demonstration that you made in effect was, “Now, this is what you need, my brethren; this applies to you.” But to make an application of the word spoken to yourself was the fatherest thing from your mind. When I stand before the people I do not stand in my own spirit. My words are not mine but His who sent me and has given me a message to bear. If you consider the words a rebuke, take them, for the Lord meant them to you as such. The Lord has not left me in ignorance of the spirit which some of my brethren have brought to this meeting. It savors not of the Spirit of God. 6LtMs, Lt 18d, 1890, par. 3

I have no explanation to make, no apologies to make. I have spoken to you the words of the Lord; I stand before the people bearing a testimony which is not premeditated, and which I do not manufacture. You have now opened the way so distinctly that I cannot forbear to further make known the word of the Lord for you. Unless you humble your heart as a little child, and are willing to receive the lessons which the Lord has for you in His school, lessons of humility of mind, meekness, and lowliness of heart, you will not see the kingdom of God. 6LtMs, Lt 18d, 1890, par. 4

I hoped not to be compelled to give you a personal testimony, and shall not now, further than the Spirit of the Lord urges me; but in His name who has sent me and given me words to speak to the people as they need it, I speak to you. Humble yourself under the hand of God, “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” [Isaiah 55:6, 7.] I say unto you in the name of the Lord, You will never come to a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, until you put away the spirit which has controlled you at this meeting and has led you to take the place of teacher rather than that of a learner. 6LtMs, Lt 18d, 1890, par. 5

I will not to you refer to others who have had the same spirit; but I now say to you, my Brother Larson, that you are not fitted to teach the truth to your brethren until you have the transforming grace of Christ upon your own heart. Then you will sit at the feet of Jesus and learn lessons from Him that will be of the highest consequence to you in this life, and in the future immortal life. You need to come to the searching of the Scriptures with a heart softened and subdued by the Spirit of God; you need to talk far less and to pray far more than you do. You get such lofty ideas of yourself that the Lord’s voice is not heard. How few of those who claim to believe the truth carry it out practically in their characters. He who possesses the Christlike spirit will possess the child-like faith. God’s blessing is on those who hear and those who recognize the light which He sends, who behold the traces of His footsteps and hear His voice. Of yourself you can do nothing. Yet in God’s hands, and in the name of Jesus, when commissioned of divine authority, you can do all things, God Himself being your strength. 6LtMs, Lt 18d, 1890, par. 6

You, who have not spiritual enlightenment, may ask, Why do ye so? Why do you speak these words? Men may want to put words in my mouth which would save them from any embarrassment, but God is my shield; I lift up my head in the storm, for He, the Lord, whose I am and whom I serve, will not allow the billows to go over me. If God strengthens me as He did on the last Sabbath and every day since then, I shall feel myself strengthened with a courageous and joyful spirit, for I experience within me a divine power by which, and through which, I can accomplish the work He has given me to do. Satan’s work has been to erect barriers against me and my work that would keep my message from coming to the people. He would rejoice to have me in weakness, and to see me trembling at the sight of dangers which surround me and mountains of difficulties which rise before me. My nature shrinks, but, notwithstanding, I advance with holy boldness to meet one difficulty after another which arises to obstruct my way; yet I move forward in the name of the Lord in simple faith to meet them, relying upon Him who is eternally near and who will go with me and who will, when it is for His name’s glory, rebuke with a word the ocean’s wave, and thrash the mountains that they shall become a plain. 6LtMs, Lt 18d, 1890, par. 7

Again, my brother, I tell you that you know not what manner of a spirit you are of. You have great zeal, but it is not a zeal that God imparts. The Great I AM speaks to you, Know thyself. The spirit you have brought to the investigation of Scriptures is the very same spirit the Jews possessed in the days of Christ. They thought they knew it all; they thought they were wise and could learn nothing. Christ said, “Ye have ears, but ye hear not; ye have eyes, but ye see not.” [Jeremiah 5:21.] The prejudice, the self-esteem, the pride of heart which you now possess, unless it is removed by the Spirit of God, will cause you to walk in the sparks of your own kindling, and lie down in sorrow. There can be no calamity greater that could come to our conferences, than for men to go to the different churches with such a blind zeal and such a lofty self-sufficient spirit as some have carried through this meeting. Yourself being one of them I tell you, in the name of the Lord, to search your own heart. Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, else He will humble you. Seek the Lord; break your heart by falling on the Rock, Christ Jesus. 6LtMs, Lt 18d, 1890, par. 8

Many things I might say to you, but I stop right here, and again I say, Do not leave this place till you are fitted up for the work. You can be a blessing for the cause of God, or you can be a curse. Which will you be? I have to refer you to One mighty in counsel, who gave to the Laodicean church a message which is wholly applicable to this time. I am willing you should show this letter to anyone and everyone you choose. I hope it will be received in a different spirit than the words spoken to you Tuesday morning. 6LtMs, Lt 18d, 1890, par. 9

The Lord casts down all who dare present themselves before Him on their own footing, according to their own ideas, and who behold Him and serve Him in their own way and in their own strength, or lift up their heads before Him in their own righteousness. But to the contrite and penitent and humble He says, Lift thyself up; stand before Me; behold My face with comfort and assurance and with joy; be not afraid. He who would lift himself up in His presence must first prostrate himself at the foot of the cross of Calvary. Then can man be reconciled to God in Christ Jesus, and be clothed with Christ’s righteousness. What is it to stand before the Lord? It means to desire His way above all things, that the will of the Lord may be at all time plainly manifested to us, and that we may do nothing from moment to moment but what shall please Him and promote His glory. Self is put out of sight; we are to watch for any tokens from the Lord, listen attentively with our mind and heart to hear His voice, His directions and His reproofs and commands, that we may know the way of His commandments. This is walking with God, and this is standing before the Lord. Let self die in you; have humble ideas of yourself; you are not fit to be a teacher, unless you are daily a learner in the cause and work of the Master. 6LtMs, Lt 18d, 1890, par. 10