Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Lt 68, 1894

Prescott, W. W.; Jones, A. T.

Williams Street, Granville, N. S. W., Australia

April 16, 1894

This letter is published in entirety in 14MR 184-188.

Dear Brethren Prescott and Jones:

You may be perplexed to know just what is the best course to pursue in reference to the writings of Anna Phillips. I would suggest that nothing should be done rashly. I feel very tenderly toward this sister. I would not say or do anything to harm her. And as the writings have been so eagerly grasped and scattered broadcast with so little test and proving, let there be no abrupt moves to call them in and destroy them as if they were poison. Where they have already been sent out with the sanction of our responsible men, let them remain. To make abrupt moves now would do harm. 9LtMs, Lt 68, 1894, par. 1

The great wonder to me is that our brethren should accept these writings because they could see nothing objectionable in them. Why did they not consider what there is in them that is of a character to be endorsed and sent forth with the power of influence which gives them their force? 9LtMs, Lt 68, 1894, par. 2

There are many things I shall not say now, which it will be necessary to say hereafter. While I would do nothing to hurt this sister, I would not dare to keep silent. I have thought that I would not speak one word in reference to these productions; I should not have done so had not the impression been given, and reports circulated, that Sister White endorsed them as of God. Then when the matter was urged more especially upon my mind by the Spirit of God that pressed me to speak, I decided to do so without further delay. 9LtMs, Lt 68, 1894, par. 3

I am placed in a peculiar position, and this matter should never have been so treated as to make it necessary for me to speak on such a subject. It hurts my heart to do it, and were it not that I see the future dangers, I would not utter one word in regard to the matter, but would let it develop and leave my brethren and sisters to pursue their own course in regard to these manifestations, which are not at all peculiar. 9LtMs, Lt 68, 1894, par. 4

Now I would say, Do not place yourselves in a position of danger; do not imperil your influence unless there is a positive necessity of so doing. I fail to see in the writings of Sister Phillips anything of a character that should create such movements as have been made. And if things of this nature are to be so eagerly grasped, you will have plenty of them, varied in some respects, yet such as you could treat with as much confidence. I am so sorry, so sorry. 9LtMs, Lt 68, 1894, par. 5

You seem to think I should be able to point out just where the particularly objectionable sentiments lie. There is nothing so very apparent in that which has been written; you have been able to discover nothing objectionable; but this is no reason for using these writings as you have done. Your course in this matter is decidedly objectionable. Is it necessary that you should discern at once something that would produce harm to the people of God to make you cautious? If nothing of this kind appears, is this a sufficient reason for you to set your endorsement to these writings? 9LtMs, Lt 68, 1894, par. 6

But I thought to pen only a few words to you, for the warning has been given us that you are both in need of moving more certainly in some things. You will need to walk very carefully, and avoid excitement and extremes I fear that you will not now move discretely. You should not repeat what you have done. Do not spread abroad writings of this character without more consideration and deeper insight as to the after-consequences of your course of action. 9LtMs, Lt 68, 1894, par. 7

The Word of God is your counselor; the Word of God is your authority. Be very careful how you bring anything weaker to take its place. You may, my brother, feel much more certainty in regard to the movements made in Battle Creek, after reading the writings of Anna Phillips in connection with the communications from Sister White given her of God. I deeply regret that you should make this connection. I discern the future more clearly than you do. Take your Bibles, and dwell upon the truth. Preach the Word, and let the Holy Spirit of God impress the hearts of the hearers. 9LtMs, Lt 68, 1894, par. 8

I see nothing flattering in the publicity given by the secular papers to our ministers and the work they are doing. I am not at all sanguine as to the result of these productions. I see nothing in them that will remove prejudice or that will increase faith. Our work is a solemn, sacred work. While we shall work in God’s lines, we should see much of the movings of His Spirit; but it is not for the human agent to use the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is to use the human agent. 9LtMs, Lt 68, 1894, par. 9

Fanaticism will appear in the very midst of us. Deception will come, and of such a character that if it were possible they would mislead the very elect. If marked inconsistencies and untruthful utterances were apparent in these manifestations, the words from the lips of the Great Teacher would not be needed. It is because of the many and varied dangers that would arise, that this warning is given. The reason why I hang out the danger signals is that through the enlightenment of the Spirit of God I can see that which my brethren do not discern. It may not be a positive necessity for me to point out all these peculiar phases of deception that they will need to guard against. It is enough for me to tell you, Be on your guard; and as faithful sentinels keep the flock of God from accepting indiscriminately all that professes to be communicated to them from the Lord. 9LtMs, Lt 68, 1894, par. 10

If we work to create an excitement of feeling, we shall have all we want, and more than we can possibly know how to manage. Calmly and clearly “preach the word.” [2 Timothy 4:2.] We must not regard it as our work to create an excitement. The Holy Spirit of God alone can create a healthy enthusiasm. Let God work, and let the human agent walk softly before Him, watching, waiting, praying, looking unto Jesus every moment, led and controlled by the precious Spirit which is light and life. 9LtMs, Lt 68, 1894, par. 11

The people want a sign, as in the days of Christ. Then the Lord told them that no sign should be given them. The sign that should be manifest now and always is the working of the Holy Spirit upon the mind of the teacher, to make the word as impressive as possible. The Word of God is not a dead, dry theory, but Spirit and life. Satan would like nothing better than to call minds away from the Word, to look for and expect something outside of the Word to make them feel. They should not have their attention called to dreams and visions. If they would have eternal life, they must eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God. 9LtMs, Lt 68, 1894, par. 12

In the days of Christ this statement offended many of His professed disciples, so that they went back and walked no more with Him. The Lord Jesus explained His own words. He said, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life.” [John 6:63.] “Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” [Verse 54.] This living bread of which Jesus spoke is of consequence; it is His Word, which He has given us. 9LtMs, Lt 68, 1894, par. 13

Teach these things; educate the people to have a sound, solid experience, and do not create in them an appetite for something new and strange and startling. These are the very things which those who are weak in moral power crave as the liquor drinker craves liquor, and the result is that they are not sound in the understanding of the Word. They have not root in themselves, and when the masterly working of Satan shall be made manifest, and he shall perform miracles to testify that he is Christ, those who have been controlled by feeling, who have fed on the sensational, and have been seeking for strange things, will be carried away, because they are not feeding on Christ. “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.” [Verse 56.] They receive life from Christ, just as the branch receives its nourishment from the vine. 9LtMs, Lt 68, 1894, par. 14

God help us to move soundly, solidly, because we are eating and drinking the flesh and blood of the Son of God. “Preach the Word.” [2 Timothy 4:2.] Compared with the Word, everything else is weakness itself. The Word of God is the weapon of our warfare. Educate, train the people to be doers of the Word, and they will then abide in Christ, and Christ will abide in them. Then they will discern the delusions of Satan; they will not be ignorant of his devices. 9LtMs, Lt 68, 1894, par. 15

I can write no more. This mail carries out more than one hundred pages that I have written. I am tired. God bless you, my fellow laborers in the Lord. 9LtMs, Lt 68, 1894, par. 16