Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6 (1889-1890)


Lt 53, 1890

Ballenger, Brother; Smith, Leon

Battle Creek, Michigan

January 17, 1890

This letter is published in entirety in 1888 528-532.

Dear Brethren:

Why do you pursue the course you do in keeping away from meetings where points of truth are investigated? If you have a position, present it in clear lines. 6LtMs, Lt 53, 1890, par. 1

I have been shown that our brethren are not frank and open as the day. “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me.” John 5:39. There is great need of searching of the Scriptures. 6LtMs, Lt 53, 1890, par. 2

The position that you take is very similar to that of the scribes and Pharisees, constantly criticizing but refusing to come to the Light. If you have truth, tell it; if your brethren have truth, be humble and honest before God and say it is truth. 6LtMs, Lt 53, 1890, par. 3

I have been shown that there is a way to search the Scriptures. If you have truth, state it; if your brethren have ideas that are not in harmony with your ideas, come to the “Thus saith the Lord.” Do not keep up criticism and objections in an underhanded way. You are not taking a proper course and you must see it in this light. 6LtMs, Lt 53, 1890, par. 4

The Jews’ manner of warfare against Christ was objectionable and condemned. If you pursue the same course that other denominations have pursued in refusing to hear evidence, refusing to investigate anything except that which they believed, you will be in the same position before God as they were. If the ideas presented before the Ministerial Institute are erroneous, come to the front like men and present candidly your Bible evidence, why you cannot see the point as they do. This is your duty. Now is your opportunity to have your ideas investigated. Do not stand in the position you do as leaders in the Sabbath School, resisting the Light, or views and ideas presented by men whom I know to be agents whom the Lord is using. You [are] making of none effect, as far as you can, their words, and not coming yourselves to the light like Christians come to the Word to investigate it together with humble hearts, not to investigate the Bible to bring it to your ideas, but bring your ideas to the Bible. It is your duty to do this. 6LtMs, Lt 53, 1890, par. 5

There has been plenty of this fencing about with no real, genuine desire to know every jot of evidence that can be produced upon the points where there is difference of opinion. If you work in this way, it will not be to your honor or credit. You have the example of the Jews how they treated everything that did not harmonize with their opinions of doctrines. They settled the matter that they had the truth on every subject and could be instructed in no point, and in the place of producing reasons from the Old Testament to show that Christ and His disciples were in error, they would not hear Him and condemned Him, and misstated His positions and His doctrines, treated Him as a criminal and guilty of grievous wrongs. The priests and rulers sent men claiming to be just men for the purpose of catching Him in His words or that something would drop from His lips that would justify them in their prejudice—words that they could present clothed in a different light, that they could interpret as they chose, to present to the people in their own way and make Christ appear as a deceiver, a heretic. These Jews were not doing God’s work, but the work of the enemy of all righteousness. 6LtMs, Lt 53, 1890, par. 6

When I see men passing over the same ground, I recognize it, and I am worried and distressed, not that truth will not appear as it is truth, but for those who have no inclination to listen to evidence. Priests and rulers could watch, question, and criticize. This is easy work, but to bring Scriptural proof that shall establish ideas which they entertain, they do not venture to do. 6LtMs, Lt 53, 1890, par. 7

Are we Christians or bigots? I say in the fear of God, search the Scriptures. The interpretation of some portions of Scripture may not be truth in all points, but let in all the light you can upon these points. 6LtMs, Lt 53, 1890, par. 8

It is the easiest matter in the world to stand [to] one side where God cannot impress your mind and heart, and then bring objections. If you come where you can hear, you close firmly the door so that not a crack shall be left to let light in. 6LtMs, Lt 53, 1890, par. 9

Brother Leon Smith, you are a young man and you need a much deeper experience in humbly walking with God. You need to be divested of self. You need to closely and critically examine your own heart, that you will not make a mistake now and consider your knowledge is greater than it really is. Our young men laboring in the cause of God need a thorough change of spirit, and to so humble their hearts before God that He can make them living channels of light. Jesus is waiting to open to their minds and hearts a new and living way that they have not walked in. He is waiting to open to them the riches of His glory and His divine grace in His methods of saving souls. 6LtMs, Lt 53, 1890, par. 10

When this shall take place, you, with other youth, will be astonished at your present ideas of what constitutes a religious life. You will see you are way above the simplicity of true godliness. You will see the meekness and lowliness of Christ has not formed an important part in your religious experience. You have yet to learn to imitate the humble example of Jesus Christ. All pride, all lofty ideas, will disappear and Christ will be revealed as the Sanctifier. 6LtMs, Lt 53, 1890, par. 11

Be clothed with true humility, I now ask you, like a humble disciple. Come and learn just the ideas advanced, and then in the fear of God take your Bible, not other men’s ideas, but with much prayer, ask God to teach you. Take on no consequential feelings, but as a learner come to the Scriptures. You know but little, yet, what there is to be learned out of God’s Word. We are to set no stakes. Thus far is my boundary. 6LtMs, Lt 53, 1890, par. 12

Your souls are of value with God. You need to put on Christ and be clothed with humility. Remember the declarations in the Word of God. “The high and lofty One who inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit.” Isaiah 57:15. 6LtMs, Lt 53, 1890, par. 13

Although heaven is His throne, and the earth His footstool, yet He says, “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and that trembleth at my word.” Isaiah 66:2. 6LtMs, Lt 53, 1890, par. 14

O, that the cold Phariseeism that binds about souls might be broken and that there might be such revealings of God’s glory that the very faces would shine. 6LtMs, Lt 53, 1890, par. 15

If you young men stand in the position you do before the youth, you need the baptism of the Holy Ghost. You need every jot of light you can obtain. You need to have the closest communion with God. If you occupy the position you now do in the editorial line, you need divine enlightenment which you do not now have. You need thorough and entire consecration and transformation of character. 6LtMs, Lt 53, 1890, par. 16

I entreat you young men to seek the Lord that He may work with your efforts. “Without me,” says Christ, “ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] You want sound minds and a softened heart. Talk more with Jesus and less with one another. Pray until you know that you do know what is truth. Come to the front in simple, conscientious confidence with the Bible in your hands and tell your ideas of what you believe to be the truth. If you think error is being taught in the Sabbath School, your positions make this your duty. And more, it is your duty, while the opportunity and privilege is brought within your reach, to grasp the blessing, eagerly, of learning some things you do not know. You will, in attending the Ministerial school, gain new ideas. You will, by digging in the mines of truth, be rewarded with precious ... [Remainder missing.] 6LtMs, Lt 53, 1890, par. 17