Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Lt 27a, 1892

Waggoner, E. J.

George’s Terrace, Melbourne, Australia

December 27, 1892

Portions of this letter are published in 3SM 26; Ev 580-581.

Elder E. J. Waggoner
London N., England

Dear Brother,

By this day’s mail I forward to you a copy of an article relating to organization which I have just sent to the General Conference. The letters from Elder Holser which I have heard read have troubled me not a little. As we near the final crisis, instead of feeling that there is less need of order and harmony and action, we should be more systematic than heretofore. All our work should be conducted according to well defined plans. 7LtMs, Lt 27a, 1892, par. 1

I am receiving light from the Lord that there should be wise generalship at this time more than at any former period of our history. In our churches, men and women of capability and experience should be organized into a working force to devise plans for the benefit of the youth. In these things the denominational churches are getting the start of us. Well defined plans should be set in operation by judicious persons to raise up an army of useful workers. It is not enough to show how much needs to be done, and urge the youth to work. They must be taught how to work in the very best way. The youth must be trained, disciplined, drilled in the best methods of putting to use their capabilities and powers in winning souls to Christ. It is because everything in this line has been left to haphazard, spasmodic effort, that so little has been effected. 7LtMs, Lt 27a, 1892, par. 2

Youthful talent, well organized, well instructed, is greatly needed in our churches to do actual service. There are many youth of excellent ability, full of activity, who must be doing something with their overflowing energies, and unless directed in the right channels, they will be employed in that which will hurt their own spirituality, dwarf and cripple their Christian experience, and as the sure result, will be an injury to others with whom they associate. Now the Lord would have us do far more than has been done that the active, restive energies of the children and youth may be employed in good work. Thus not only will the youth be led to use their entrusted talents in the cause of God, but their example and influence will be constantly working for the benefit and uplifting of other youth. 7LtMs, Lt 27a, 1892, par. 3

With proper, well organized effort, a large army of soldiers for Christ might be raised up from the youth among us, to do a work which the adults could not do. The Lord can communicate with these children and youth as He did with Samuel. Now, as anciently, older persons sometimes become so set in their own course of action that although God may send His messages to them, as He did to Eli, they do not hear with a firm will to obey His voice. The youth are more impressible. The Lord can instruct them and mold their minds as He did Samuel’s. I am much impressed by the Spirit of the Lord in the matter I have presented before you, and I hope to see a determined effort made in regard to it. 7LtMs, Lt 27a, 1892, par. 4

The lessons taught to children and youth make an impression upon their minds which influences their characters in a far greater degree than older persons imagine. In my childhood a minister who came to my father’s house at Portland [Poland?], Maine, read the chapter in Acts in regard to the deliverance of Peter, when an angel of God took the prey from the enemy who had determined to destroy him. The chapter was read slowly and solemnly, and it made an impression on my young mind that has kept the narrative vividly before me to this day. 7LtMs, Lt 27a, 1892, par. 5

Now, from the light given me of God, I know that as a people we have not improved our opportunities for educating and training the youth. We should teach them how to read and understand the Scriptures. Wherever there is a Biblical institute for ministers and people, we should, in connection with it, organize a class for the youth. Their names should be registered; all should feel the importance of the scheme of educating the youth to understand the Scriptures. Let the work be taken hold of in the very simplicity of the truth itself. Lead the minds of the youth from truth to truth, up higher and higher, showing them how Scripture interprets Scripture, one passage being the key to other passages. Thus the Scripture itself will be the educating power, holding the thoughts in captivity to Christ. 7LtMs, Lt 27a, 1892, par. 6

My breakfast has just been brought to my room, so I will have a recess for refreshment. This morning Sister Starr brought me your letter to her husband. I told her to lay it on the table. It takes some time for me to eat now, as I have a troublesome tooth, and I will read the letter while taking food to refresh the body. 7LtMs, Lt 27a, 1892, par. 7

I am much pleased with the ideas your letter suggests. Your plan of Bible study is the one that will meet with success. This very thing I wrote out while in Basel, Switzerland. I will find the matter if I can. 7LtMs, Lt 27a, 1892, par. 8

In the days of Christ the scribes and Pharisees had so many of their own ideas and suggestions to present, so many elaborate expositions to make, that the words which God had spoken to patriarchs and prophets were almost completely buried beneath a mass of rubbish. After these teachers had attempted to explain the Scriptures, the people knew far less of their meaning than before. Christ said, “Ye teach for doctrines the commandments of men.” [Matthew 15:9.] The Jewish leaders despised the common people; they did not expect them to understand the Word of God, and did not try to explain the Scriptures so that they could understand. 7LtMs, Lt 27a, 1892, par. 9

But Jesus, the great Teacher, preached the gospel to the common people. When He gave His lessons explaining the Scriptures, He did not speak in a hesitating, undecided manner, but with power and authority that impressed and convinced the hearers. The officers who came from the Jewish authority to take Christ returned without Him. The rulers asked, “Why have ye not brought him?” The answer came, “Never man spake like this man.” [John 7:45, 46.] This did not please those religious teachers, for it was extolling Christ before them. They had heard similar words again and again, and they were stirred to envy and greater hatred of Christ. 7LtMs, Lt 27a, 1892, par. 10

Now, I have been shown that in our Bible study far less heed should be given to the words and assurances of men, and far more to the voice of the Lord God from the living oracles. Let Scripture explain Scripture. The reason why the minds of the people are in such darkness is that they do not discern what is purely from man and what are the words of God. This is why the words of God have so little place in their minds. Now, as in Christ’s day, the common people are told that they cannot understand the Scriptures for themselves, that learned expositors must interpret their hidden meaning. This is virtually putting the words and ideas of men in the place of God’s Word. 7LtMs, Lt 27a, 1892, par. 11

The living, vital truths communicated from Him are to be, not darkness, [but] all light. The Bible was written by inspiration of God, that the common people might understand its precious utterances. The mist and fog of human ideas have, to a great extent, made of none effect the Word of the great I AM. This was the special work of the powers of darkness. I must now leave this subject. But if I can find the matter written in Switzerland, I will write further in regard to it. 7LtMs, Lt 27a, 1892, par. 12

In your letter you mentioned the report that I was on my way to America. I have not had one serious thought of leaving this field until I should know that I accomplished the work which I came [to do]. My friends have written, “Come back, come back on the first boat that leaves for America. You should not stay and suffer as you do in that climate.” Now, I have not a murmuring thought toward God or my brethren in regard to my being here in Australia. I believe it was the will of the Lord that I should come to this country, and I am fully confident that my ten-months’ illness was a part of the great plan of God. I am perfectly reconciled to all my sufferings during this trying time. I have had the richest blessings of God in the midst of the most severe sufferings. I have learned the most precious lessons from the Great Teacher. I have been instructed [and] comforted. “My grace is sufficient for you,” is truth in my experience. [2 Corinthians 12:9.] 7LtMs, Lt 27a, 1892, par. 13

My love to Jesus and my heavenly Father has increased in depth and breadth. When hope has for a moment seemed dim, when pain seemed almost beyond endurance, I have prayed as did Jacob, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me” [Genesis 32:26], and after an earnest struggle, what light has come into my heart! What blessings! I could say as never before, “I know that my Redeemer liveth to make intercession for me before the Father.” I have found a refuge in Christ. He has seemed to be as a wall of fire about me. Sometimes there was a soft, subdued light all about me. I seemed to understand as never before these words of the Psalmist: “The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” [Psalm 46:7.] “For this God is our God forever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.” [Psalm 48:14.] “My soul, wait thou upon God; for my expectation is from him. 7LtMs, Lt 27a, 1892, par. 14

“He only is my Rock and my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the Rock of my strength, and my refuge is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.” [Psalm 62:5-8.] “Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus shall I bless thee while I live, I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings shall I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee; thy right hand upholdeth me.” [Psalm 63:3-8.] 7LtMs, Lt 27a, 1892, par. 15

My reason has been preserved, my memory was never better than during my illness. Since coming to this country, I have written twenty-hundred pages of letter paper like this. I have had precious light to communicate, and, the Lord be praised, I am improving in health. I can now dress and undress myself. Within a week I have been enabled to ascend the stairs by the help of the balusters. One week ago I was borne in an arm chair up the stairs to the meeting hall in the Echo office; that is the last time I have been carried upstairs. O, praise the Lord for His goodness. 7LtMs, Lt 27a, 1892, par. 16