Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6

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Lt 10, 1890

Fulton, John

Battle Creek, Michigan

January 2, 1890

Portions of this letter are published in 1MR 374-382. +Note

Dear Brother John Fulton,

I am much pained at heart to see your course of action. If I should judge you by the fruits you bear, I should suppose you were not a tree in the Lord’s garden, but a bramble bush. I supposed when you were connected with Homer Salisbury that you would be a blessing to him as a soldier of Christ, leading him to Jesus while the sweet invitation of mercy is heard, that you would listen to its voice yourself and draw Homer to the attractive loveliness of Jesus Christ. We see you working in entirely an opposite line from this. Had it not been for the influence that you have had over him, I have not a doubt but that he would have been seeking the Lord most earnestly and repenting of his sin. I am deeply disappointed in you. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 1

I inquired Monday evening just before the close of the old year if Homer would be at the meeting for the youth and was told by Sister McDearmon that she feared that he would not. Then she told me that her heart was sorely distressed on Homer’s account; that in company with you he was doing that which she never allowed him to do—going to parties in the evening and not coming home until a late hour in the night. She was greatly burdened and distressed for Homer. She feared that if he did not seek the Lord during the special meetings he would go on as he had done, in careless neglect of his own soul. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 2

I asked her if she had talked with Homer. She said she had, but she—to whom he ought to listen and whom he ought to obey—has but little influence over him now, because your influence is so much stronger. I asked her, “Have you talked with John?” She said she had, and you stood up boldly and asserted that there was no harm in your visiting good society and her words of solicitude and remonstrance had no effect. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 3

Last night I was solicited to go to the meeting for youth in the tabernacle, although I had sent for the doctor, because several of us were sick and I myself was sick; yet my interest was so great for the young I went to the meeting. I looked to find you and Homer present but you were not there. Sister McDearmon thought you would be at the meeting but you were not of the number present. We had a very precious meeting. Fifty came forward for prayers and many of them were seeking the Lord for the first time. I was sorry that you and Homer were not present. It might have been the time when the Lord would have impressed his heart and he would have heard the voice of the dear Saviour inviting him to open the door of his heart and let Jesus in. I watched everyone that came in but you were not among them. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 4

At such a time as this, when the servants of God are bearing the heavy burden of souls, some are on the devil’s enchanted ground. They have no deep work being done for them. God has been sending messages of warning, of reproof, of entreaty for the youth to awaken from their careless sleep, to lift the burdens of Christ, and to be obtaining a valuable experience, for now we are having golden opportunities that we shall not always be privileged with. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 5

I have, while speaking in the desk, set forth the duties and responsibilities of young men, dwelling upon the principles that should govern and control the actions, and I had your case before me and made it plain. Did you take heed to these warnings? If you had discernment you could know it was your own situation that was on my mind, although I did not specify you by name. I suppose you had such an estimate of yourself as a Christian that the words spoken made no impression on your mind and heart, for I have seen no change in you. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 6

While I enjoy seeing young men and young women cheerful and happy, I am pained greatly to see them pursue the path you are traveling, because your influence and example lead others away from Jesus. You are cultivating the tastes and appetite in yourself and others for those things which do not give solidity to your character and do not represent the Christian life. Homer says to his grandmother, “John is a Christian; he belongs to the church; he will not do anything that is wrong.” But his grandmother who has had charge of him from his childhood, feels greatly distressed over the way things are going. When God’s servant, a mother in Israel, expostulated with you, did you respect her heart feelings? Were you so engrossed in your own amusements and pleasure-loving propensities that all your course seemed righteous in your eyes? Did you have more confidence in your limited experience than you had in the experience of one who has lived a holy, devoted life for scores of years? 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 7

I want you to look in the mirror of God’s Word and see yourself, if you have been exerting an influence over Homer to be a doer of the Word. Have you been teaching him to obey all the injunctions of God, especially the fifth commandment, which is the first commandment with promise? I have been much surprised at the quality of your experience in religious things, for it certainly is greatly wanting in the elements essential to stand the test of the proving of God. Everything is to be shaken that can be shaken, that those things which can not be shaken may remain. Where will you stand in the testing time? 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 8

Are you, my brother, growing up heavenward? Are you growing to the full stature of a man in Christ Jesus, your living Head? Are you becoming fixed, rooted and grounded in the truth as it is in Jesus, who is your source of joy, your peace and your happiness? Is He the crown of your rejoicing? If so, you will reveal this. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 9

“I am the true vine, my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me ... that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit ... Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing ... Herein is my Father glorified that ye bear much fruit; so ye shall be my disciples.” [John 15:1-8.] 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 10

Can you, my brother, claim the right of discipleship? Are your fruits unto holiness? “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are [my] friends if ye do whatsoever I command you.” [Verses 10-14.] 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 11

Will you thoughtfully and prayerfully not merely read but study these words? They mean much to you—yes, everything to you and to me and to Homer. Every word spoken by Christ should be graven upon the tablets of the soul. From the lips of Jesus are the words spoken, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” [Verse 8.] Here is the evidence of your discipleship. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.] 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 12

Will you consider what is the quality of the fruit that you are bearing? Are you a fruit bearing branch in the parent vine stalk or are you producing fruit that bears no resemblance to the living vine? I ask you seriously and solemnly, What is the character of the fruit that you produce? Does it do good to souls? Is it the fruit of self-denial, of self-sacrifice, the fruit of meekness, patience, long forbearance, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness and love? Is this fruit budding and blossoming for God and His glory in working as Christ worked to save perishing souls? 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 13

Remember, if “ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be My disciples.” [John 15:8.] Without this evidence ye are not Christ’s, neither is Christ yours. You have no right to the Christian name. “Yet is not a man crowned, except he strive lawfully.” [2 Timothy 2:5.] Your striving for grace and perfection of Christian character must be according to the will and ways of God. If you abide in Christ, the fruits you bear will be unto eternal life. I tell you frankly, you bear no such fruits and Christ is not abiding in your heart by faith. You love just such amusements as the world loves and you are not abiding in Christ and the love of God is not revealed in your works. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 14

“This is my commandment that you love one another.” What quality is this love? A love just as Christ revealed in His life? “Love one another as I have loved you.” [John 15:12.] A love for the soul that would part with selfish gratifications and practice stern self-denial, to elevate, ennoble, sanctify those with whom we associate. “And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified through the truth.” [John 17:19.] 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 15

Do you love those with whom you associate well enough to forego your desire for amusement and self-pleasing that you will not place these souls in the path of temptation, that you will not beckon them to pursue a course of fun and frolic which leads to the extinguishment of serious thoughts in regard to the salvation of their souls? Do you cultivate personal piety and living principles, plainly inculcated by Christ, that your youthful friends may follow where you lead the way, upward and forward to obedience to God? 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 16

No doubt you please the unconsecrated and unconverted. It is no marvel they enjoy your companionship, for your course of action gives no disturbance of conscience, where Christ’s love and praise and honor is not expressed in words or actions. But what is the quality of your love? Is it of a character to make your associates more Christlike? Will it have a tendency to bring the solid timbers into their character building? 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 17

What sort of a character would you like to possess before the whole world? Would you like to be respected and valued by those who are good and God-fearing? Then act in a manner to gain their respect. You will surely have an account to render to God for the fruits revealed in your associations with Homer and the youth generally. All the excellency of character you obtain must be through the grace of Christ and the fruit of your own labor. You are living an un-Christlike life. You are a false guidepost, pointing the wrong way, misleading souls who are blinder than yourself, who have never known what it is to be under the control of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 18

Those whom you suppose to be your friends may love the half-hearted, unconsecrated, un-Christlike life you are living. They may, through their association with you, encourage you to think that in order to be happy you must have pleasurable enjoyments called innocent amusements, but masked by Satan to destroy your spirituality and theirs. They cannot pay a ransom for your soul, neither can you pay a ransom for theirs. Every one who is saved must be saved by his faith in Jesus Christ. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 19

All who are daily Christians will present good fruit. They will put forth most earnest efforts putting to the use their skill to make those with whom they associate look to the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 20

Here is the young man Homer, the offspring, left [to her] mother by a much-loved daughter. The grandparents have loved him, labored for him, and prayed for his salvation, that he might meet his mother in the kingdom of God, and that they might say, Here is your child that we have educated and disciplined, prayed for and labored for. He is made white in the blood of the Lamb. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 21

But here has this young man been in your society, and the hearts of those who love him and want him to be saved see that you, who should be a laborer together with God to draw and attract this youth to Him, are leading him away from God. If you, the leading element, are indifferent at such a time as this, when ministers of God are burdened and pressed as a cart beneath sheaves and are wrestling day and night for these souls to be wrenched from the snare of Satan, as a brand plucked from the burning, how can the universe of heaven look upon you? At the very time when every jot of your influence should be on Christ’s side of the question, your name is registered as a trifler, a vain, self-sufficient, self-confident person, leaving the character to form itself as chance may direct. Will not your name be spued out of the mouth of God because you are neither cold, or hot, but lukewarm? How little foresight, how little spiritual discernment is revealed in your course of action at such a time as this. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 22

Now is the golden opportunity to seek the Lord yourself, and the golden opportunity for you to work in harmony with God’s delegated servants for the salvation of perishing souls. Now, while mercy’s sweet voice is inviting, “And let him that is athirst come and partake of the waters of life freely,” is your chance to say, “come.” [Revelation 22:17.] It is your chance to yoke up with Jesus Christ. “Ye are laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 23

How do you know that there will ever be another opportunity so favorable for Homer and other of your associates to fall in with the overtures of mercy? Why do you not reflect as to what seed you are sowing if you deliver yourself up at such a critical time as this to indifference, spiritual sloth and pleasure loving? Whom are you serving, God or the devil? If you refuse to listen to the words of counsel and follow your own humor and inclination and enjoy amusement, if you allow yourself to float carelessly down with the current on the tide of life, ready to receive any impression, or go in any direction the current of pleasure may lead you, what kind of a harvest do you expect to gather? 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 24

You need to seek God now while He is to be found, for I know that God is not pleased with you. Would you demerit or leave the slightest question in regard to the influence exercised by his grandmother? Homer needs to cultivate respect for age and gray hairs. Do not communicate irreverence to one who is not governed by religious principles and confirm him in the idea that his parents and guardians are too particular and exacting; that he need not regard their feelings, and their advice and counsel need not make any material difference with him. Are you leading a youth to disregard parental counsel, for Mother McDearmon has been such to Homer. You may think the boy is safe with you. But we know he is in danger, in your company, of receiving impressions contrary to the way and will of God that will be enduring as eternity. Impressions have already been made upon his susceptible mind by yourself that will, unless speedily counteracted, do much harm. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 25

What kind of fruit are you bearing? Is there any safety in wrong doing? Is your heart being made softer and nobler and more holy by the course you are now pursuing? Deceive not yourself. You are in danger. Your character is not what you would wish it had been when everyone will receive his just reward. Character must be made, and it is the work of a lifetime through patient continuance in well doing. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 26

It requires much meditation, forethought, steady, undeviating principles to build day by day for time and eternity. Now is our probationary time, now is the period to prepare for eternity. Where is your burden bearing? Where is your drawing nigh to God? Where do you show decided fruits of righteousness? You are losing precious time when every moment is golden. Now you can work in the Master’s vineyard. “Now while it is called today harden not your heart.” [Hebrews 3:13, 15.] 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 27

How many souls, as precious sheaves, have you brought to the Master? Are you sowing beside all waters? Are you a faithful soldier of Jesus Christ? Has it not entered your mind that it is not only your privilege, but your duty, to be a sweet savor to Jesus Christ? If you have the grace of Christ transforming your character, you will discern that it is not becoming. It is not rank or wealth that elevates man, but consecration to Christ and His Cause, and for His glory, that are required to accomplish great things. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 28

You are educating Homer to receive ideas that will lead him to superficial views of what constitutes a Christian character. You do not come up anywhere near to the Bible standard yourself, and your influence is to lead others to be satisfied with low attainments. While we have been earnestly laboring for the conversion of the youth, you have been with other youth leading them to be satisfied with hopes and pursuits that will disqualify them to stand amid the perils of the last days. You have had great light. You have been placed where you have had opportunities and privileges to know God’s requirements, and you are quick to discern evidence presented as to what is truth. You will be without excuse in the great day when every soul will be judged, not by his own ideas of the standard of righteousness, but [by] God’s own moral standard of holiness; by that he will stand or fall. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 29

I love your soul. I have been deeply interested in you. I want you to be right with God. I greatly desire you should be truly and unmistakably converted to God and sanctified through the truth. Eternal life is worth everything to you, or it is worth nothing. Truth will produce beauty in the soul. A mere profession of faith will never save you, for it is as a sounding brass and tinkling cymbal. God forbid that you should longer remain in a deception, that the fountain which should send forth sweet water should be poisoned; the vine which should bear rich clusters of grapes produce only wild berries. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 30

May God help you to see the value of the soul for which Christ has paid the purchase money of His own precious blood. Take right hold in earnest to work for the salvation of souls. God requires this of you. I will leave these lines with you. I deeply deplore that the fear and love of God is not circulating more thoroughly through the family where you make your home. We are amid the perils of the last days, and now if a man is to be connected with God he needs to cleave close to the only power which can give him the victory, and that power is Jesus Christ. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 31

John, I had hoped that you would do honor to your Redeemer. You greatly need depth of thought and deep heart work. Youth are generally ready to say, when appealed to, “I am as good as that young man. He loves pleasure and sport, and practices no more self-denial and self-sacrifice than I do. He belongs to the church as a Christian. I am not a Christian, and I fear I would do no better than this young man I mentioned.” 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 32

Because [of] so many half-hearted professors, very many youth are inclined to think that religion that needs fun and frolic, jesting and joking, would not be any benefit to them, and the subject of religion is presented in an unfavorable light. Religion should not be made to appear gloomy and unattractive, something calculated to detract from their happiness, making life tasteless and unenjoyable. Those who really enjoy the love of God will have joy and peace. Religion was never designed to make one pleasureless. What can be productive of greater happiness than to enjoy the peace of Christ, the bright sunshine of His presence? Can darkness or discontentment surround your soul? Will dark despair brood over you? Never, while your faith is in Jesus Christ. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 33

John, you have been cultivating your fun and frolic-loving propensities. Have you grown in grace? Have you felt the great importance of daily educating the heart and mind to cultivate your higher, nobler faculties? You need to obtain more correct views of religion. You are impulsive, emotional, spasmodic in your religious service. Great caution needs to be exercised by you, else you will make great mistakes. You do not go to the bottom of things. You must not follow the bent of your own mind. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 34

You have hereditary tendencies not the most favorable for the perfection of Christian character, and you may lose your soul unless you view the great matter of eternal interest in a different light. There is such a want of harmony in the truth and in your practical life; there is most complete contradiction. I hope you will take to heart what I have written and let it sink deep in your heart. You can be kept by the power of God alone. Then yoke up with Christ. Make your aim high, and dig deeper than you are now doing. Lay your foundation on the rock. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 35

Will you serve God or Baal? “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.” [Joshua 24:15.] I know you are not serving God with your undivided affection. Stand not in the way of sinners—which you are certainly doing now. Make straight paths for your feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. I hope you will put away your trifling and be watchful unto prayer. Be sober, be serious and yet cheerful and a sunny Christian. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 36

Is it possible you have ever tasted of the blessings which come from genuine service to Jesus Christ? Is it true you have enlisted under Christ’s banner, and shall we be compelled to look upon you as a deserter to the ranks of the enemy? It appears thus to us. You certainly are not today under the banner of Jesus Christ. Your influence is against Christ and is opposed to the work of God, opposed to the work now being done by His delegated ministers. You are working to destroy interest in the things of the greatest consequence to every soul which is the turning of minds from the truth to pleasure loving, pleasure seeking. What, I ask you, as a man claiming to be a Christian, what are you doing for the Master? Who, I ask with the great apostle, has bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth? The Christian life is repeatedly set forth under the figure of a warfare. Those who are standing under the blood-stained banner of Jesus Christ have a special service to do to communicate every particle of light in religious instruction and religious practice to those who they desire shall enlist under Christ’s banner, enforcing spiritual truths which come in clear straight lines from the lips of the servants of God. They bear their message and your words, your deportment, and your influence has counteracted the work of God. Have you been an honor to the dear Saviour? Have the words spoken by the servants of Jesus Christ found an enlodgement in your heart and subdued, refined and ennobled your life? 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 37

Is not Christ ashamed of such a soldier as you have been for at least the larger part of the year that has rolled into eternity with its burden of record? How will your self-indulgence stand in the sight of God and in the sight of holy angels as the representative of Jesus Christ, in self-denial and self-sacrifice to save the souls of those who are ready to die? What answer can you give in the judgment when your name shall stand as it now appears in the heavenly records? What have you done in harmony with the life of Him who gave His life for you? What has been done by you to evidence that you appreciated the great sacrifice made in your behalf for the great and priceless treasure of the Son of God? What have you done at this important time when the servants of Christ are exerting every power they possess to awaken conviction in the hearts of the impenitent? What have you done for Jesus? How stands your record in the book of God’s account? Oh, the fickleness of unsanctified human nature! Many think they belong to Christ, but Christ will not own them at all. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 38

When you pursue a course which will have a tendency to efface the mold upon one human soul that has been made in respect and reverence for one who bore him on her soul during his babyhood and motherless childhood and whose prayers have ascended in his behalf when he was sick and suffering, who supplied his wants in his necessity, who gave him in her watchful care the love and greater love than flowed to the mother who gave him birth, you, John, have done the work in your unsanctified course of action which has placed your mold upon Homer, where the mother, for such she is to him, has been trying to place the image of Jesus Christ. You have nearly broken her heart and need to humble yourself and repent before God. How could you cause sleepless nights and a crushing burden to come to this mother who has been deeply interested in the soul of this youth for whom Christ has died. You would pursue a course that causes pain to tug at the heart of one of God’s loved ones, precious as gold. I do not think you know what you are about. Homer should not be influenced by one who claims to be a Christian to break the fifth commandment and show less reverence and less respect for the mother. He has not had enough respect and reverence. He needed to be encouraged and strengthened, both by precept and example, never to slight or go counter to the advice of his godly grandmother. But you are cutting him away from his guardian who could hold him by the hand of faith and prayerful influence from the dangers and actual perils [to] which youth are exposed. Homer is bound to attention to his mother in her widowhood and she has been kind and true and patient to him in his wayward boyhood. He should cling to the one who has loved him, worked for him, sacrificed for him. Let Homer now look at the past as God looks at it and be dutiful and kind and attentive to her who has been both father and mother to the motherless boy. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 39

Must it be that Mother McDearmon shall have her soul burdened, her heart bruised, to see Homer’s scruples brushed away by your precept and example who claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ? You are leading him away from duty and from God. I think you must have easily forgotten your own mother, and your standard of duty to her must be of a very low character. Your discerning powers of duty are very dim to make a boy naturally inclined to be thoughtless more so by your training. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 40

How did that mother’s heart, before she closed her eyes in death, yearn longingly over her helpless little one. She was comforted in thought that she had a good, conscientious, tenderhearted, God-fearing mother to whom she could commit her child; that if the father should forget his duty and the claims of his son upon his care and purse, the grandmother would be faithful and true, and never leave, never suffer any influence to come in to swerve her from her position of trust or to forsake this son of her motherly care. Homer should not have the tiniest seed sown to lessen the effect and counsel and the influence of the instruction that has come from the godly grandmother. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 41

There are those who are very thoughtless and inconsiderate of the feelings and their duty to those faithful guardians. They do not willfully mean to be selfish, but they are absorbed from their own private interests and forget and slight, dishonor, the very ones whom God honors, whose heart would break if they had not learned to cast their care upon one who is faithful and true and never forgets. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 42

Do you attend the Sabbath School? Do you encourage or discourage Homer from attending? You should never be associated with a youth like Homer Salisbury. He hears your words and you are not slow of speech. You tell him your opinion of different ones. You express just that which comes into your head. You do not stop to think that by your words ye shall be justified and by your words ye shall be condemned. Words that are so carelessly spoken have frequently a power of influence. One who listens to them takes assertions for truths, presumption for promise. Your much talk without forethought or consideration does harm. You are a reckless talker. I beseech you to be more choice of your words, think before you speak and then do not speak everything that comes into your mind. May the Lord help you to be a full Christian, entire, wanting nothing. 6LtMs, Lt 10, 1890, par. 43