Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8

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Lt 4, 1893

Brethren and Sisters

Sydney, Australia

December 23, 1893

This letter is published in entirety in 14MR 189-199.

Dear Brethren and Sisters:

I have a message to you from the Lord. Brother Rice is not engaged in the work which the Lord would have him do. God has given to every man his work, and Brother Rice is stepping out of the lines to which the Lord has appointed him. He cannot see the outcome of this work which he has taken up. Anna Phillips is being injured; she is led on, encouraged in a work which will not bear the test of God. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 1

Anna Garmire was thus injured. Her father and mother made her believe that her childish dreams were revelations from God. Her father talked to the child as one chosen of God; all her fancies and dreams were written down as Anna’s visions. She had figures and symbols presented to her, and had reproofs for her mother and for her father. After a scathing reproof, there followed the most flattering representations of the wonderful things the Lord would do for them. These things I was pointed to as spurious, a deception. They descended to the most minute and trifling matters, and commingled common, cheap things with important subjects. The imagination was largely developed; there was a mingling of the sacred and the common. The truth of God was belittled, and yet some received these pretended revelations and carried out their teaching. A little party was formed who were apparently inspired by them, and the visions were declared to be more spiritual than the visions of Sister White. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 2

Then Mr. Garmire issued tracts teaching that probation would close at a certain time and setting the time for the Lord to come. Testimonies on moral purity were borne, and next came the most loathsome theories concerning the third angel’s message, theories too revolting to place upon paper. Some honest, God-fearing, trembling souls accepted these things, and some were defiled. One died brokenhearted; another was within a hair’s breadth of moral ruin, when a testimony came from Sister White revealing the plottings of Satan and breaking the spell. Others were deceived and taken in the snare whom we would have thought to be proof against all such delusions. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 3

I had personal interviews with Garmire; he advocated the visions of his daughter and in eloquent language and with power described the figures and symbols presented to her. The man was inspired, but not by the Spirit of God. I told him the Lord had shown me the character of that work, and that his daughter, who was not then at home, was corrupt in morals—in short, a prostitute. Yet there was such a semblance of inspiration in her work that it was very deceptive. Anna Garmire went away from home, became pregnant, and where she is now I know not. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 4

I have received from God the warning which I now send to you. Anna Phillips should not have been given the encouragement she has had. It has been a great injury to her—fastened her in a deception. I am sorry that any of our brethren and sisters are ready to take up with these supposed revelations and imagine they see in them the divine credentials. These things are not of the right character to accomplish the work essential for this time. Childish figures and illustrations are employed in describing sacred, heavenly things, and there is a mingling of the sublime and the ridiculous. While the work has an appearance of great sanctity, it is calculated to ensnare and mislead souls. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 5

Not a line concerning these things has been permitted to come to me, and yet the false statement has been made that they were endorsed by Sister White. I was shown Brother Rice presenting these things as manifestations of the Spirit of God. Some cannot discern that persons can read and copy and imitate the revealings of the Holy Spirit which have for years been before the people in our publications. The spurious must be a close imitation of the genuine, else it would not be a counterfeit. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 6

The results of a counterfeit holiness, [an extreme position on] moral purity, makes me afraid to urge the subject of purity. There is a manner of treating this subject which results in producing impurity. There is need of extreme caution in regard to this matter, that it may not be treated unwisely and produce an effect the opposite of that which it purports to secure. Various things will appear claiming to be revelations from God, but which flow from the imagination of a conceited and deceived mind. We had to meet these things in our early experience. There were youth and children as well as those of mature age who claimed to be led and taught of God, having a special message to declare. They were springing up on every side, having the truth on some points and error upon other points. For years the message from God came to me, “Believe them not, for they lead into false paths. God hath not sent them.” 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 7

There were false dreams and false visions in abundance. Persons were reproving and rebuking others, accusing them of pride and selfishness, impurity and corruption. The light was given me, “Believe them not.” They mingled with their work a commonness, a cheapness of talk and action, that was earthly and sensual. They met some with censure, then healed the wound with flattery, telling them they would do some great thing. The flattery part was pleasant, and deceived souls received the message as from God. The manifestations through Anna Phillips present the same features as did those we met in our experience long ago, and similar results will follow. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 8

Brother Rice, if God has given you a work to do, it is to proclaim His truth, to hold forth the Word of Life, planting the feet on the eternal Rock. As represented to me, the work of Anna Phillips in connection with Brother and Sister Rice is a work that God has not set in operation, and its fruits will testify that it is not of God. Take your Bible, teach the Word of God, not the revealings of Anna Phillips. Let all be educated to search the Scriptures, to be constantly looking unto Jesus and not to human agents to be their guide. The Word of God is to be the man of our counsel. That Word is infinite. Obeyed, it will guide us into safe and sure paths. But the Word diluted with human devices and imaginings is not a safe guide. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 9

I caution all to walk carefully, to take the Word of God individually. We may meet Satan with the weapon, “It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” [Matthew 4:10.] The Bible is the great mine of truth which we are to work as those seeking for hidden treasure. In no case is the attention to be diverted from that Word. “This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:3.] Christ declares His Word to be spirit and life. [John 6:63.] 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 10

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” [1 Peter 1:23-25.] “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” [2 Timothy 3:16, 17.] 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 11

In this time, above all others, every soul needs to have the eyes anointed with eyesalve that he may see. God gives no one a mission that will cheapen and lower His work for these last days; He calls upon us to bring it up, to elevate, ennoble, honor and advance His truth, revealing His wisdom as supreme. Talk Bible truth, and bring from the treasure house things new and old. Talk the principles of our faith firmly and constantly, giving a “Thus saith the Scriptures.” 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 12

Living the truth, practicing the lessons of Christ, always refines, ennobles, and sanctifies the soul. My burden is to uplift men and women by uplifting Jesus before them. When God is recognized as the theme of all thought, as the object of love, reverence, and worship, when the Lord Jesus, the Pattern, is kept before the mind, the heart is being cleansed from all moral defilement. Then the soul becomes an accurate judge of propriety of action. Every attitude is touched with grace. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 13

The sense of personal accountability to a personal, all-seeing God, places every human agent on elevated ground; and there will be deep thinking and genuine self-denial on every point, because God is working on the hearts of the children of His love, who are His heritage. The love of God ever tends to the fear of God—fear to offend Him. Those who are truly converted will not venture heedlessly upon the borders of any evil, lest they grieve the Spirit of God and are to their own way, to be filled with their own doings. The Word of God is the Guidebook; turn not from its pages to depend upon the human agent. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 14

That book contains the warnings, the admonitions from God, the rebuke of every evil, the clear definition of sin as the transgression of the law which is God’s great standard of virtue and holiness. The Word is full of warnings, of the most merciful invitations, and also of words in decided condemnation of evil. Not one who will study the Word of God and apply its teachings will miss the way. By the love of God, by the fear of God, by the reverence and honor we feel for the Author of truth and righteousness, we are instructed, admonished, and profited. All such revealings as come from the human agent, as in the case of Sister Phillips, turn the mind away from the words of inspiration to the words of inexperienced humanity. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 15

Let the Word of God speak to the soul. Teach this, impress it upon every mind. “The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” 2 Timothy 2:19-26; 1 Timothy 6:10-14. I shall not attempt to write all that is impressed upon my mind. This is a delicate subject to deal with. But this I am instructed to say to our friends everywhere, in California and in other places: Your only safety is the deep searching of the sure Word of prophecy, making that Word your counselor. Turn not from the fountain of living waters to drink at broken cisterns. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 16

Men and women, young and old, I have a message for you: Seek God for yourselves individually. Look to God alone. Search for the truth as for hidden treasure. Let every mind be enlarged and every soul vitalized by the heavenly current. The Word of God is not a dry theory, but light and life to mind and soul. Eating this Word, and drinking it in, practicing it, is eating and drinking the flesh of the Son of God. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” [John 6:53-57.] Jesus explained these sayings, which seemed so hard for the disciples to understand: “It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” [Verse 63.] 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 17

The lessons of Christ are a firm foundation, an elevated platform. Let nothing that is presented by Sister Phillips induce any soul to apply to the human agent for light to be imparted through that channel. The words spoken by the human agent are, oh, so much weaker and more feeble than the words of the Great Teacher! In comparison with the words of Jesus they are as chaff compared with the wheat. Symbols are manufactured and interpreted by the human agents, which are false from beginning to end. Things have been misconstrued in your minds by the artful power of the deceiver, and you do not discern the outcome. Let every soul come to the cool snow waters of Lebanon, and no longer drink of the turbid streams of the valley. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 18

Here is where many are led into by-and-forbidden paths. The human is so mixed with the divine declarations that fables are taught as truth. Turn to God and to your Bibles, and learn the true standard of Christian character. “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” John 5:39. Hear the words of the Great Teacher, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden.” Matthew 11:28. “Unto me”; bring everything to Jesus, make Him your dependence, make Him your trust. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 19

He says, “Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29, 30. Go to Jesus as He has invited you. There is but one Mediator, one Intercessor, who can help wisely, and not make one indiscreet move. I point you to the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. In Him is all sufficiency. Tell Him your failings, and receive instruction from His words. This is eating His flesh and drinking His blood, becoming partakers of the divine nature. Oh, let every one who nameth the name of Christ depart from all iniquity! 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 20

I beg of you to make a wise use of that which I write. Sister Phillips is not to be condemned and denounced; she has been led along step by step in false paths. There have been those who have given her wrong impressions; they have flattered and encouraged her, and their words have had an influence upon her life and upon the work she is doing, which she thinks God has given her. I feel sorry because our brethren and sisters have not kept their eyes steadfastly upon Jesus; and confusion and weakness are sure to follow. May the Lord by His Holy Spirit transform minds and characters, that they shall bear the mold and superscription of heaven. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 21

Ideas have been given to this sister by Brother Rice, and encouragement by Brother A. T. Jones and several others, that have given her confidence and assurance. Now, in this Brother A. T. Jones was not guided by the wisdom of God. He has not had experience in the many things of this character that have arisen among our people as some of us have had. I have expected that some account of these matters would be sent to me, and that counsel would be asked, and thus the way would be opened for me to let the light from my past experience shine forth. But nothing has come to me, and now I have my commission to speak concerning these things. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 22

I am so sorry that brethren in whom our people have confidence should appear in any way to endorse these things that claim to be from God, when no real ground for faith has been given. It is a terrible mistake to accept and present before the people that which we have not had unmistakable evidence is the revelation of God when so many deceptions are presenting themselves. Why? Because this is to open a door whereby the enemy can enter with messages purporting to be of God, and can thus lead other minds to take up a similar work. Thus a deceiving power will work among us to cheapen the work of God and confirm minds in unbelief of all testimonies from God, and to lead astray some souls who are easily deceived. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 23

There are many avenues through which the enemy will work, and those who are placed as watchmen on the walls of Zion must be reliable, discerning every device of the enemy. Christ has given warning of deception and falsehood that will come to us, and His warning should be strictly heeded. The senses of every one should be awake. They should study from cause to effect and see the necessities of the situation, not only in one line, but in all lines. They should understand what is to be endorsed and what is to be set aside. They should discern the spirit of everything purporting to be a direct message from heaven. They should see when deceptions are multiplying in the very midst of us. They should see that the education and training of the people in these last days is to be that of firm reliance upon the Word of God, which is Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 24

There is great danger in encouraging these things that come from the human agent, which are but a weak repetition of the words of inspiration from God, and that make feeble that which is sufficient, full and complete. I would counsel every one, Study your Bibles, and obey the Word so plainly given to us. None need to turn from the Word to human agencies, and accept a lower standard than that which is given in the exposition of the ten holy requirements of God. The great principles of the law of God are made plain to the comprehension of all who in their hearts desire to discern truth from error—“to the law and to the testimony.” [Isaiah 8:20.] Let the Word of God dwell in you richly. Let every one of the messengers lead souls to plant their feet on the sure Word of God. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 25

Oh, I beseech those who are holding forth the word of life to present to all the necessity of individually searching the Scriptures for themselves that they may know the expressed will of God. There is need of a firmer, closer connection with God, and to all who have this connection there will be imparted wisdom, caution, farseeing discernment, and executive ability which will make them far more efficient than are mere worldly businessmen. Let there be no blundering work; every soul must look deeper than the surface. God does not generally lay out in His revelations the minute transactions of life. His Word, the Guidebook, deals with great and elevated themes, opening up the principles which should underlie all our actions, and presenting them in language of such simplicity that all may comprehend them. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 26

Satan has come down with great power; he is working with desperate energy, playing the game of life for the souls of men. We need now men of discernment and understanding, who will look deep and reason soundly, men in living touch with Christ, the risen Saviour. Falsehoods are everywhere, but God’s Word is the solid rock. We are in the day of waiting; we are to be looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God. We are to be climbing, ever climbing heavenward. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 27

I entreat all who shall read or hear these words to be instant in season and out of season. Believe God, but do not without question sanction everything that claims to come from God; there will be many voices saying, Here is Christ, here is truth. Watch carefully, guard every point, lest you be taken unawares. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 28

Your Sister in Christ. 8LtMs, Lt 4, 1893, par. 29