Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Lt 26, 1891

Smith, Leon

St. Helena, California

October 9, 1891

Portions of this letter are published in 3SM 232-233; 4MR 47-51. +Note

Mr. Leon Smith
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Dear Brother:

I received your letter in due time, but I have been too sick to answer it before this time. In company with May Walling, I ventured to ride to this place, and I endured the ride better than I expected to. For four weeks I have been struggling with malaria, which has principally affected my head, probably because I have used it constantly both early and late. 7LtMs, Lt 26, 1891, par. 1

Today I have spoken to the patients and to those connected with the Health Retreat upon the words found in John the fifteenth chapter. The chapel was full. When I entered the desk I was so weak that I could scarcely stand, but the Lord gave me His Holy Spirit, and I know He spoke to hearts today. 7LtMs, Lt 26, 1891, par. 2

It is very warm, and yet I feel that I must answer your letter. May the Lord help me to write to you. I fear that I have left your letter in Healdsburg, but your question, I think, is distinct to my mind. I have been shown some things in reference to those who are now students in Ann Arbor, and I know that I speak intelligently when I say that if you could have had the advantages of the college [institute] at <Petoskey,> you would have received light and knowledge in regard to heavenly things that would have been of the highest value to you all. From the light I have had, I know that the students at Ann Arbor are in danger of not preserving a living connection with God and will fail to impart knowledge and light unless they do receive wisdom from God. 7LtMs, Lt 26, 1891, par. 3

As to your question: In connecting with unbelieving students in discussion of religious liberty there is danger of reaping results which you do not anticipate. There are those connected with you who delight in controversy and who will assume positions simply for the sake of maintaining an argument even though it places them on the side of the opposers of truth. To do this is to place yourselves on ground that is dangerous at any time and under all circumstances. Satan and his angels are ever on the alert to impress the mind, and the smart arguments you study to present that you may overthrow your opponent, under pressure of circumstances through the device of the enemy, may come to be regarded by you as truth. It is not safe to place yourselves in a position where the subtlety of the enemy is invited in order that, for mere argument’s sake, error may be brought in opposition to the truth. Satan will surely imbue those who do this with his own sophistry. 7LtMs, Lt 26, 1891, par. 4

Do not seek to cultivate those qualities that will make you sharp debaters, for if you do, Satan will weave into your spirit his own attributes; rather seek to be like Jesus, teachers of good things. When any point of truth is controverted, do not follow the twistings and turnings of the opponent, but confuse the enemy by crowding in new and forcible points of truth that will strengthen your position. Do not take up the new objections that are presented <simply> for the sake of answering them, but rather present heavenly light and disappoint the enemy <by advancing arguments of truth.> 7LtMs, Lt 26, 1891, par. 5

Brother Blakeley is in danger of taking positions that will not lead to beneficial results, either to himself or to others. He encourages controversy and discussion, and those who do not know the truth but who serve God according to the light they have, are likely to become afraid of the truth and those who advocate it. The very best and only safe course for this brother to take is to pray more and talk less. He needs to eat of the flesh and drink of the blood of the Son of God. “The flesh profiteth nothing,” says Christ, “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” [John 6:63.] All of you, especially the one named, need a deeper and more thorough experience in the school of Christ. “Learn of me,” says Christ, “for I am meek and lowly in heart.” [Matthew 11:29.] The lesson which every Christian should learn is that of the meekness and gentleness of Christ. 7LtMs, Lt 26, 1891, par. 6

Instead of creating an issue and bringing about division of feeling, unite with the students in their meetings in a judicious <manner,> not striving for the mastery, but watching for an opportunity to flash bright rays of light before them. In advocating religious liberty sentiments, you might be pressed in argument to take so decided a stand that you would build a wall between yourself and those whom you sought to enlighten, and failing to draw them toward the truth, you would fail to do them good. 7LtMs, Lt 26, 1891, par. 7

That which you might say in regard to religious liberty might be <all> truth, and yet because of an untimely introduction, an over positive utterance, you might bring about alienation between yourself and those you would instruct. In all meekness, in the Spirit of Christ, live out the truth. Be often in prayer as was Daniel, for the Lord will surely hear the prayer of all who call upon Him in sincerity, and He will answer. We have no time in which to bring in needless things. Study to know God and Jesus Christ, for this is eternal life to every one of you. 7LtMs, Lt 26, 1891, par. 8

If you walk humbly with God, you may unite with the students not of our faith, agreeing with them as far as possible by dwelling upon points wherein you harmonize. Make no effort to create an issue. Let them do that part of the work themselves. Let them see that you are not egotistical, pharisaical, thinking no one loves God but yourselves, <but> draw them to Christ, thus drawing them to the truth. All heaven is engaged in this work. Angels wait for the co-operation of men in <drawing> souls to Christ. “Ye are laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] 7LtMs, Lt 26, 1891, par. 9

I have been shown that our young men should be, as was Daniel, true to principle; and the God of all wisdom will give them understanding and knowledge. <We all> need wisdom. Seek for it with a determined purpose. You will not have wisdom if you trust in yourselves. Walk in the Spirit. Be followers of God as dear children. Seek to be conformed to the image of Christ; and do not seek for the mastery in discussion, but speak the truth in love, because the truth dwells in you. 7LtMs, Lt 26, 1891, par. 10

If the truth is in you, Christ is in you, and you are then becoming sanctified through the truth, conforming to the image of Christ. Then you can represent Christ to all with whom you associate, and your spirit and actions will speak louder than your profession. You may live in the Spirit, walk in the Spirit, and bear the fruits of the Spirit; you may be filled with all the fulness of God. Then you will be living channels of light, having your life hid with Christ in God. And though the world does not see the heavenly character of the life <that is> hid with Christ, the effects of that life will be manifest, for those who are partakers of the divine nature will walk as children of light. 7LtMs, Lt 26, 1891, par. 11

Young men, let not your efforts be weak in consequence of sins that easily beset you. “I write unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome that wicked one.” [1 John 2:13.] Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Seek, oh seek, for a healthful growth into the full stature of men in Christ <Jesus.> As you press onward and upward for the attainment of perfection of Christian character, your defects will grow less and less, for daily you will die to self and sin, and become spiritually vigorous in God. My heart yearns after you. I know what you may become through the grace of Christ. Through the deepening power of the refining, purifying, ennobling grace of Christ, you may become a beautiful temple for the Lord. 7LtMs, Lt 26, 1891, par. 12

I know that opportunities are now before you for the accomplishment of much good to those who have not the light of the truth. But that this may be accomplished, Christ must be your personal Saviour. You must actually receive Him, live in Him, be rooted and grounded and built up in Him. 7LtMs, Lt 26, 1891, par. 13

To many of our youth there is great danger in listening to the discourses that are given by those who <in the world> are called great men. These discourses are often of a highly intellectual nature, and prevailing errors of science falsely so-called, and of popular religious doctrine, are mingled with wise sayings and observations, but they undermine the statements of the Bible and give the impression that there is reason for questioning the truth of the inspired Word. In this way the seeds of skepticism are sown by great and professedly wise men, but their names are registered in the books of record in heaven as fools, and they are an offense to God. They repeat the falsehoods that Satan put into the mouth of the serpent and educate the youth in delusions. 7LtMs, Lt 26, 1891, par. 14

This is the kind of education the enemy delights in. It is sorcery. <The great apostle inquired,> “Who hath bewitched you that ye should not obey the truth?” [Galatians 3:1.] Those who receive and admire the sentiments of these so-called great men are in danger, for through the subtlety of the enemy, the sophistical reasoning of these false teachers takes root in the heart of our youth, and almost imperceptibly they are converted from truth to error. But the conversion should be just the other way. Our young men who have seen the evidences of the verity of truth should be firmly established, and able to win souls to Christ from the darkness of error. 7LtMs, Lt 26, 1891, par. 15

The youth who go to Ann Arbor must receive Jesus as their personal Saviour or they will build upon the sand, and their foundation will be swept away. The Spirit of Christ must regenerate and sanctify the soul; and pure affection for Christ must be kept alive by humble, daily trust in God. Christ must be formed within, the hope of glory. Let Jesus be revealed to those with whom you associate. 7LtMs, Lt 26, 1891, par. 16