Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Ms 96, 1894

Tact Needed in Meeting Strangers at Camp Meeting



Formerly Undated Ms 46. Previously unpublished.

I want to say a few words to our brethren and sisters who will meet with strangers on the campground. I may not have an opportunity to say it before this day shall close unless I say it now; and it is important that we realize how new and strange our ideas are to the people. If every one that believes the present truth had done their duty, if every one had done it, these cities might have a better knowledge of what we believe, but they don’t know. And why? It is because the people of God have not stood in their lot and in their place. They seem to feel, excepting the ministers there is nothing special for them to do. 9LtMs, Ms 96, 1894, par. 1

Why, every one of us have a light, and that light must shine; not in the desk, [but] it is in words, in our families, in our deportment, in our attitude toward the world. Now, here is the influence that is to go forth from us as a light that burneth. Then it [does not] become us—after we have been recreant to duty—it does not become any one of us, as we see blindness that is upon the people, to be sharp and to be critical, and to throw back upon them as though they were ignorant. How long has it taken many of us to learn? And yet we have not learned our lessons. We are grown up children, wanting our own way, our own will, our own ideas, and we don’t seem to feel our characters must be reshaped in order for the Holy Spirit to communicate [through] us to those who are in the very depths of darkness and of sin. We don’t seem to feel that. 9LtMs, Ms 96, 1894, par. 2

Now, let every soul teach every other soul, those that I speak to this morning, that whatever you have to do with the unbelieving element, it is best for your words not to cut, but remember that Michael when disputing with the devil in regard to the body of Moses, (now, [let] all hear the words) durst not bring against him a railing accusation. Why? Because Satan in a moment would say, “That is the way I was; he is railing right out;” and he would tell all his synagogue, and all his evil angels all about it, and he would proclaim it to every one. 9LtMs, Ms 96, 1894, par. 3

Now you can’t afford to be working with the devil’s weapons. You let the truth of God cut, and hide yourself right in Jesus. Don’t try to say some sharp thing or smart thing; you must meet the people where they are. Satan is working in every line that he can to keep back the truth. We ought to be years in advance of what we are; and as long as there has been a neglect of the people to do their duty, it becomes us to be very humble as we see the dense darkness that covers the mind. It is like the pall of death over the people; and if you expect that some words of yours shall strip away that blindness, you will be greatly disappointed. 9LtMs, Ms 96, 1894, par. 4

You are to work patiently; you are to work kindly; you are to show that Jesus Christ is formed within, the hope of glory. You are not even to tell all the truth. Christ did not tell it even to His disciples after they have been with Him a long time. He said, “I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” [John 16:12.] How do you expect that those who are standing under the black banner of the forces of darkness, how do you expect that they can bear the clean and cutting truth that is so different from everything that they have heard from priests and ministers and educators? 9LtMs, Ms 96, 1894, par. 5