Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6

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Lt 38, 1890

Church, Brother; Bell, Brother; Church in Fresno

Battle Creek, Michigan

February 21, 1890

This letter is published in entirety in PH028 20-28. +Note

Brethren Church and Bell, and all the church in Fresno:

I hope that you will not be so greatly misled as to consider E. P. Daniels a suitable man to be trusted to preach the Word of God to the church in Fresno, until he is a thoroughly converted man; and I have some little hope that he will be. You will have the privilege of reading the testimonies that have been sent to him during past years. His course of action shows what influence these testimonies have had upon him. I have no confidence that the man is under the direction of the Spirit of God. I have felt it duty, as one upon whom the Lord has laid special burdens, to lay open before the churches the warnings and counsels given me of God; and if, after knowing them, you are so unwise as to accept E. P. Daniels as your minister, may the Lord pity you and the poor church. I dare not hold my peace. Better never have a sermon preached in your church, than to have it from the lips of a man through whom the Lord cannot speak. 6LtMs, Lt 38, 1890, par. 1

Eld. Daniels has knowledge enough; it is heart-work that he lacks. You in Fresno have acted a part that God cannot approve. You have encouraged, praised, and exalted the man, when to your certain knowledge his course was unlike that which a minister of the gospel should pursue. I cannot allow you and the churches to cloak over a man’s wrong course, and set him in the pulpit to preach the Word of God to the church, without remonstrating. He can move the feelings; but so can men who have not a particle of the Spirit of God. They can make the people laugh or cry at will. Some will be pleased with the smartness of E. P. Daniels, because they have not had their own eyes anointed with the eyesalve of true spiritual discernment. Sin is interpreted to be righteousness; black is made to appear white. 6LtMs, Lt 38, 1890, par. 2

I tell you, you would better stand on the right side now, in the integrity of the gospel of Christ, with your doors closed to the enemy, than to open the door and invite him in; for God will not work with E. P. Daniels until he is transformed in character. If you want a human influence mingled with mesmeric power in place of the divine, you can have it. You in Fresno have a spiritual pride which will surely be a snare to you unless the last vestige of it is taken out of your hearts, and the meekness and simplicity of Christ put in its place. I cannot see you go forward in a wrong course, making false moves, without lifting my voice of warning. 6LtMs, Lt 38, 1890, par. 3

Satan is at work now to make of none effect the truth of God upon human hearts. Will you encourage a man to stand in the sacred desk when God cannot stand by his side? Better, far better, for the man to be working with his hands, than standing in the desk; for this religious labor throws a covering of sanctity over the crooked course of action he has taken. Be careful how you extol the man. I know that the course you have taken toward him in the past, soliciting his labors as though he was the only instrument through whom God could work, has had a disastrous influence upon him, and placed him where all the reproofs and warnings and counsels of God cannot reach him, or have the effect God designed they should have upon his heart and character. The church in Fresno will have something to answer for in the judgment; because, in doing so much for him, and making so much of him, you have turned the man’s head. Let every man stand for what he is in the sight of God—a finite man. 6LtMs, Lt 38, 1890, par. 4

Bro. M. J. Church, do not exalt to the heavens one who is full of weakness because he is ready of tongue, and cast down another because he does not please you in all things, or because his ideas cross yours and he will not sanction all you do. May the Lord God of heaven give His people wisdom in these days of peril. I have been shown, Bro. Church, that you must have the sanctifying influence of Christ upon your heart continually, or you will reject the counsel of God and follow your own counsel to your eternal ruin. Without Him you will most assuredly walk in your own ways, in the sparks of your own kindling. You will approve that which God does not approve, and disapprove that which is excellent. You will bless that which God does not bless, and condemn that which God does not condemn. You need divine enlightenment. You must work where God works, and listen to His voice, as to your Leader and Captain. 6LtMs, Lt 38, 1890, par. 5

I speak things I dare not withhold. I consider that now is my time to say some things which I hoped to correct by dwelling on principles when I was with you in Fresno. I have more to say, but not now. May the Lord have compassion on His people at Fresno. Many of them have drifted into the place without the Lord’s counsel or approval. Many should be elsewhere, lifting up the banner of truth, warning the world to get ready for the great day of God, which is just upon us. 6LtMs, Lt 38, 1890, par. 6

Bro. Church, you talk of independence, of one man’s mind being all-sufficient to control institutions and churches; and you feel that that mind must be your own. But your mind, I have been shown, often comes to view things in the wrong light. Thus you make many mistakes. Your money does not give you any such prerogative as you have been inclined to claim. The Lord lives and reigns. When you are little in your own sight, He can use you to His own glory. When you walk softly before Him, and in humility, He will guide you with His counsel; but when self becomes sufficient and you put yourself where God has not placed you, then you are a channel of darkness. 6LtMs, Lt 38, 1890, par. 7

You have a disposition to want just what Israel wanted—a king to lead their armies and to judge them, that they might be “like other nations.” [1 Samuel 8:5.] They were told, as I have been telling you, what would be the result if their desire was granted; but they were persistent to have their own way. They would have a king who pleased them, instead of being satisfied to have God for their ruler. God had ruled them through wise men—men who had waited upon Him for counsel. You are well acquainted with this history. God manifested His displeasure by thunder and lightning and hail. They could have retracted their decision, but were too proud to do it. God told Samuel not to oppose them, but to let them have just what they called for and all its consequences. They had not rejected Samuel, but the Lord God of Israel. He was the One who had been dishonored. 6LtMs, Lt 38, 1890, par. 8

If you place Eld. Daniels in the church to be its minister, you will be responsible for all the consequences resulting therefrom; for God is dishonored by you. You refuse men whom God has used. They have made mistakes, but are ever ready to be corrected and to reform, because they fear God and obey His voice. 6LtMs, Lt 38, 1890, par. 9

What I wished to say to the church in Fresno is, every one is accountable to God for his own course of action. If one has light, it is not to be placed under a bushel or a bed, but it is to shine forth through their good works. “Ye are the light of the world.” [Matthew 5:14.] They are not to be living epistles of E. P. Daniels, but of Jesus Christ. He will give them His light, which they are to give to the world in clear, sharp rays. Every true Christian is Christlike; he is a doer of the Word of God. Fathers, mothers, children, neighbors, superior or inferior, must walk as Christ walked, in all humility, all purity, all meekness and forbearance and Christian fidelity, or else they are not Christians. 6LtMs, Lt 38, 1890, par. 10

The Christian’s faith must be strong, his zeal consistent, his prayers fervent, and his faithful, incessant admonitions must be heard against all wrong; for he is responsible for the salvation of other souls. Teach it in the home and in the church that all religious manifestations which do not proceed from heartfelt piety must necessarily be utterly powerless for good. A religion which shines out in good works emits a clear, sure, safe light. 6LtMs, Lt 38, 1890, par. 11

Every believer should become spiritual, by laying hold of the provision God has made through the humiliation and death of His beloved Son. The excellency and power of the living oracles of God are to be manifested to the world. God requires every soul who names the name of Christ to be a spiritual worshiper, in order that he may do his part toward the divine illumination of the world. The war cry of the brave English captain, with a single change, might well serve as a watchword for the armies of the Lord—“Christ expects every man to do his duty.” The very best capabilities of high or low, rich or poor, great or small, are to be put into action; not for the sake of getting praise and honor of men, but of presenting to God work done in an intelligent, workmanlike manner. If this is neglected, “weighed in the balances and found wanting” will stand registered in the books of heaven. [Daniel 5:27.] 6LtMs, Lt 38, 1890, par. 12

God employs earthly, human workmen. You cannot lay your responsibilities upon any one man. God has given to every man his work. Each must let his light shine out before the world in good works. If you, <as a church in Fresno,> let your light burn low, if you sleep over your responsibilities, your light will go out in darkness, and souls will not have that light which God depended upon you, as His followers, to give them. You lack the light you ought to have, which it is the privilege of every one to have, in Christian experience. You are deceivers, because you do not represent Christ as He is. You give no strength to the church and no light to the world. In consequence, souls are misled, and perish. 6LtMs, Lt 38, 1890, par. 13

God calls upon <the church> to be like the wise virgins, to trim your lamps, to have the oil of grace in your vessels with your lamps. Your example should be pure, elevating, ennobling. “I sanctify myself,” said Christ, “that they also [His disciples] might be sanctified.” [John 17:19.] It is the duty of every Christian to be sanctified. The church must take up her individual responsibility; it cannot be vested in any minister. They may help you, but they can never do your work. The church of God is the great depositary of truth. They must have skill, efficiency, and ability as home missionaries. 6LtMs, Lt 38, 1890, par. 14

All have a solemn part to act at home, in the family, in the church of God, and in the world. In the great day of reckoning, God will require of you according to the talents you have received; and all the improvement you might have made, but did not, because you were not true to your sacred trust, will be required at your hands. You will be unfaithful servants if you merely retain the capital, and do not trade upon it, if you do not improve the talents by putting them out to the exchangers. 6LtMs, Lt 38, 1890, par. 15

It is not the ready speaker, the sharp intellect, that counts with God. It is the earnest purpose, the deep piety, the love of truth, the fear of God, that has a telling influence. A testimony from the heart, coming from the lips in which is no guile, full of faith and humble trust, though given by a stammering tongue, is accounted of God as precious as gold; while the smart speech, the eloquent oratory, of the one to whom is entrusted large talents, but who is wanting in truthfulness, in steadfast purpose, in purity, in unselfishness, are as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. He may say witty things, he may relate amusing anecdotes, he may play upon the feelings; but the Spirit of Jesus is not in it. All these things may please unsanctified hearts, but God holds in His hands the balances that weigh the words, the spirit, the sincerity, the devotion, and He pronounces it altogether lighter than vanity. 6LtMs, Lt 38, 1890, par. 16

The truly converted soul is illuminated by the light shining from the Sun of Righteousness. That light tells upon hearts, lightens the pathway, dispels the darkness, because it comes from Him who says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” [John 14:6.] Let every one, to a man, now rise and let his “light so shine before men that they may see his good works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16.] Do what you can, and do it at once, cheerfully, heartily, prayerfully, joyfully, not as unto men, but unto God. Settle it in your hearts that you are not on the earth to exalt self, to make a great name, but to sink self wholly out of sight in Jesus Christ. Let Jesus be lifted up. Let the great truths connected with the salvation of man be the theme of your meditation day and night. Your work, both by precept and example, is to hold forth the Word of life, to seek with all your power to bring souls in the knowledge of the truth. 6LtMs, Lt 38, 1890, par. 17

Let not a soul in Fresno entertain the thought that he has nothing to do for the salvation of others. Every shining star which God has placed in the heavens obeys His mandate, and gives its distinctive measure of light to make beautiful the heavens at night; so let every converted soul show the measure of light committed to him; and as it shines forth the light will increase and grow brighter. Give out your light, brethren in the Fresno church; pour forth your beams mirrored from heaven. O daughter of Zion, “Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” [Isaiah 60:1.] 6LtMs, Lt 38, 1890, par. 18

Has your light burned dim since you located in Fresno? If so, trim your lamps. It may be you have moved from unsanctified motives in coming to Fresno and will lose your love for the truth, your burden for souls, unless you go forth where you can lift the standard of your faith. Look well to these things. 6LtMs, Lt 38, 1890, par. 19