Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Lt 66, 1894

Prescott, W. W.

Granville, New South Wales, Australia

April 10, 1894

Portions of this letter are published in OHC 309; 2SM 92-93; 3SM 403-405; 7BC 962, 964; LDE 21-22, 77; CTr 131; 10MR 347. +Note

Dear Brother Prescott,

I received your letter, and was much interested in its contents. I have had little time to write. It is about two weeks since we came to this place, and through various circumstances we are not yet fully settled, but we are placed where we can live. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 1

In regard to education, I cannot discern that your ideas are incorrect. When we consider that history is being made so fast, we can but be convinced that perils are fast crowding upon us, and we cannot deliver even ourselves from that which we must meet. All we can do is to seek heavenly wisdom from our only source of help. If by constant contemplation of the Author and Finisher of our faith, we grow into the similitude of Christ in character, we shall have our life hid with Christ in God. We are not to fold our hands in idle expectancy of the Lord’s soon coming, but we are to keep looking unto Jesus, hanging our helpless souls upon his merits, opening our hearts to the Holy Spirit’s moving, our petitions ascending to God for his fashioning hand to be upon us. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 2

Unholy ambition will seek to secure a place in all our devising, but O, as never before, there is now the greatest necessity that in humility we sit at the feet of Jesus, and learn lessons from the greatest Teacher the world ever knew. One day at a time we must be working and praying, waiting and watching, calling upon God for wisdom at every step. We cannot walk in our own strength. If this has been perilous in the past, as we know it has been, it is doubly so now. It is no time to be off guard, for even one moment. Eternal interests are involved, and our faith needs strengthening; it must be growing in the place of decreasing and becoming dwarfed. We have not a moment’s time to serve or glorify self. Lift Him up, the Man of Calvary, and let every influence, every voice, point to Jesus, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” [John 1:29.] It is none of self and all of Jesus that will give the right mold to our experience. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 3

I feel deeply for the students of the school. My heart is drawn out for the youth. I see so large a work which they can do if they consecrate their life to Jesus. The Lord will give the youth power of influence as they lift their voice in the invitation, “Come, for all things are ready.” [Luke 14:17.] Every evil practice must be hated and overcome. Christ is to be formed within, the hope of glory. Then He will shine forth in the character. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 4

I am rejoiced that some are working up, to give themselves unreservedly to the service of Christ. The opposing influences are at work; men, women, and youth, standing under the black banner of the power of darkness, moving under the inspiration of the power from beneath, are at work to seduce souls into forbidden paths. And God is waiting to inspire the youth with power from above, that all who stand under the bloodstained banner of Jesus Christ may work to call, to warn, and to lead souls into safe paths, and to plant the feet of many upon the Rock of Ages. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 5

The Lord will reveal Himself to all who seek Him with the whole heart. “Ye are laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] All who will be learners in the school of Christ will be accepted as workers. There will be the deep movings of the Spirit of God upon human hearts now and onward, as never before in our experience. But our brethren must be guarded now as never before. They need the eyes anointed with heavenly eyesalve, that they may discern all things clearly, and not accept and bring to the front that which will, in its tendencies, switch some poor souls off the track. Test everything before it shall be presented to the flock of God, for when persons see that they have been accepting as a “Thus saith the Lord,” words that were not from God, their faith will be unsettled; and they will be ready to doubt the words that come from God to them; some will no longer be reached by the warnings, invitations, and messages from heaven. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 6

For this reason our brethren and sisters need to keep sharp, clear discernment. In messages that profess to be from heaven, expressions will be made that are misleading, and if the influence of these things be accepted, it will lead to exaggerated movements, plans, and devisings that will bring in the very things Satan would have current—a strange spirit, an unclean spirit, under the garments of sanctity, a strong spirit to overbear everything. Fanaticism will come in, and will so mingle and interweave itself with the workings of the Spirit of God that many will accept it all as from God, and will be deceived and misled thereby. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 7

There are strong statements often made by our brethren who bear the message of mercy and warning to our world that would better be repressed. Every statement should be carefully considered. Not one word should be spoken that will give the opposers of our faith advantage over us. Let nothing be said in a spirit of retaliation, nothing that will bear even the appearance of railing accusation. Let every one read and ponder the signification of the Scripture which relates how Christ, when contending with Satan about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a railing accusation. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 8

Truth will bear the test of all opposition. Let it be put strongly, as in Jesus, and let the characteristics of the worker be hidden in Christ. Let not one word be expressed to stir up the spirit of retaliation in opposers of the truth. Let nothing be done to arouse the dragon-like spirit, for it will reveal itself soon enough, and in all its dragon character, against those who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus. There are hereditary tendencies and natural dispositions that will wrestle for exhibition, but self must be lost in Jesus. The truth must appear in its beautiful, solemn character, dignified, uplifting, and ennobling. Let souls that are ready to perish receive from the teacher of truth only such impressions as are not perishable, but enduring as eternity. Give opportunity for the Holy Spirit to place the acceptable mold upon the souls that are turning from error to truth, from darkness to light. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 9

May the Lord help His messengers who bear the last note of warning to our world, to speak from the very depth of wisdom. Guard every word, control every emotion, giving no occasion for Satan to triumph over the believers. The time will come when we shall be called to stand before kings and rulers, magistrates and powers, in vindication of the truth. Then it will be a surprise to those witnesses to learn that their positions, their words, the very expressions made in a careless manner or thoughtless way, when attacking error or advancing truth, expressions that they had not thought would be remembered, will be reproduced, and they will be confronted with them, and their enemies will have the advantage, putting their own construction on these words that were spoken unadvisedly. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 10

Satanic agencies in disguise are on the track of every true worker of the Master. Let this be borne in mind: all who strive for the faith must strive lawfully; then when brought into strait places they will not be confused and confounded at meeting their own careless assertions, and words spoken from impulse. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 11

Victory will come to all who are loyal, steadfast in their allegiance to the cause of truth. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” [James 1:12.] Let all inquire, Are we individually faithful stewards in trust of the last message of mercy to be given to the world, the message that decided their eternal destiny? Are we faithful to closely examine self, to see what manner of spirit we are of? Are we constantly aiming to represent the truth as it is in Jesus, or is it molded by the peculiarities of the human worker? Will the fires of the last conflagration consume our work? 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 12

Fidelity, thorough wholeness to God, is essential for every worker now if we would receive from Christ the benediction, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” [Matthew 25:23.] The exhortation to Timothy from his father in the gospel was, “Take heed unto thyself and unto the doctrine.” [1 Timothy 4:16.] (The great question is: How shall we meet the future? Our only safety is in doing our work for each day as it comes, working, watching, waiting, every moment relying on the strength of Him who was dead and who is alive again, who lives forevermore.) Every step must be guarded; as we advance, our tread may be firm, and [then] we may move solidly onward and upward. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 13

But many are Laodiceans, living in a spiritual self-deception. They clothe themselves in the garments of their own righteousness, imagining themselves to be rich and increased with goods and in the need of nothing, when they need daily to learn of Jesus His meekness and lowliness, else they find themselves bankrupt, their whole life being a lie. Shall not we who bear the last message of mercy to a guilty world represent Jesus in purity, in self-denial, that the word may be sounded from human lips inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, “Open the door of your heart, and let Jesus in”? The great Vendor of spiritual riches is inviting your recognition. He says, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear: and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” [Revelation 3:18.] 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 14

Will this voice be neglected, disowned? Will the faithful and true Witness call in vain? Will the importunities fall on ears that will not hear? Yes, we are sorry to say it, many will wrap about their guilty souls the garments of their own unrighteousness. They do not listen to the voice of the great and merciful Merchant Man. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 15

The Saviour comes with jewels of truth of the richest value in distinction from all counterfeits, all that is spurious. He comes to every house, to every door. He is knocking, presenting His priceless treasure, urging, “Buy of me.” He proclaims in the hearing of the inmates of every dwelling, “Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” [Verse 17.] He offers the gold of faith and love, which is become almost extinct in our world, and which is without alloy, more precious than the gold of Ophir. He says, “Buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment,” the righteousness of Christ, the garment woven in the loom of heaven to cover the naked soul; and eyesalve “that thou mayest see.” [Verse 18.] Correct discernment is of the highest value now. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock. If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” [Verse 19.] 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 16

This is our work for this time, to open the door to Jesus, and He will so fill the soul that there will be no room for self and selfishness. O listen, Jesus knocks. Will the answer be, “Come in, thou blessed of the Lord. Why standest thou without?” The imputed and imparted righteousness of Christ is a garment sufficient to cover the nakedness of the soul. I scarcely dare not to give counsel or advice, fearing it may not be interpreted aright. I beseech of you, my brother, whom I respect in the Lord, to make Christ your counsellor. You may go to Him in all your troubles, you may rely upon His wisdom, you may know that He will not upbraid you or refuse your prayer. Every burden or uncertainty you may bring to the Burden-bearer. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 17

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.” [James 1:5, 6.] “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” [1 John 3:22.] “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children keep yourselves from idols.” [1 John 5:20, 21.] The Lord is soon to come. We want that complete and perfect understanding which the Lord alone can give. It is not safe to catch the spirit from another. We want the Holy Spirit, which is Jesus Christ. If we commune with God, we shall have strength and grace and efficiency. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 18

I want to say just as little as possible in regard to Anna Phillips. The less this matter is talked over and agitated, the better. There is a “dead fly in the ointment.” [Ecclesiastes 10:1.] Before this reaches you, you will have received a letter giving a more complete statement in regard to what we may expect in the case. I am more sorry than I can express to you the matter has been handled unwisely. We shall have scores of just such developments, and if our leading brethren shall catch up things of this character and endorse them as they have done in this case, we shall have one of the most sweeping tidal waves of fanaticism that has been seen in our experience. There will be the wildest performances. Satan has already begun his work. To give ready credence to these things, and make loose, unguarded statements endorsing them without sufficient evidence of their genuine character, is one of Satan’s devices. The Lord Jesus has certainly given cautions sufficient in regard to this matter, so that none need be deceived. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 19

In such cases as these, it is essential that we let our moderation be seen. The Lord is at hand. We cannot afford to work in such a way as those have done that have given Anna Phillips’ productions to our churches without clear and certain evidence that God is speaking to His people through her. For our ministers to rush a thing before the people as bearing the divine credentials, unless they know for a surety that it is of God, will do a work that God has told them not to do. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 20

Many things intended to deceive will come, bearing some of the marks of truth. Just as soon as these shall be set forth as the great power of God, Satan is all ready to weave in that which he has prepared to lead souls from the truth for this time. Some will accept and promulgate the error, and when the reproof comes that will place matters in the true light, those who have had little experience and who are ignorant of the oft-repeated workings of Satan, will cast away with the rubbish of error that which has been before them as truth. Thus the light and warnings which God gives for this time will be made of no effect. Souls have now become perplexed and confused through the injudicious movements of our brethren who should be faithful guardians of the flock of God. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 21

This rushing matters to a climax I cannot see any light in. What is there, that appears as truth in these productions, that has not been presented before our people for years? All that any have to do is to gather up matters already published, and a few strong expressions, making a special supplication, and weaving in their own peculiar spirit, and these exaggerated, untimely expressions are caught hold of and acted upon, inspiring a zeal not according to knowledge. These things do create an excitement, notwithstanding all the assertions to the contrary, and unhealthy developments will be made. In this time we must guard against any rash movements, for they will greatly mar the work of God, casting suspicion and doubt upon the work, and this will spread like wild-fire wherever the truth is presented. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 22

Every conceivable message is coming to counterfeit the work of God, and always bearing the inscription of truth upon its banner, and those who are prepared for anything new and sensational will handle these things in such a manner that our enemies will charge all that is inconsistent and overdone upon Mrs. E. G. White, the prophetess, and my way will be hedged up. To explain matters would be impossible. The world feels in want of some excuse for turning away from the testimonies of God. If Mrs. White the prophetess, as they are pleased to call her, says things that are not true, the unbelievers and rejecters of truth are cheered and encouraged. When my writings are mingled with those of Anna Phillips, so that the hearers cannot tell which is which, they are made to stand on the same basis and all are taken as testimonies from Sr. White. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 23

It is no light matter to substitute for God’s revealed will opinions and assertions, dreams, symbols, and figures, from human, finite beings. Our actions, words, spirit, and influence are watched and criticized. Those whom God has chosen to be His ministers are to settle solidly into His Word, and let the Word of God be their authority. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 24

A small and apparently good act may, if not entirely correct, lead to very important results of evil. The slightest word or deed that gives a wrong impression is a false step, which leads to another, and every following step becomes more rapid, and the impulse strengthens until it becomes almost irresistible. Human actions multiply themselves by their reflected influence. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 25

At this time above all others, hasty judgment, opinions formed carelessly without sufficient evidence, may lead to most disastrous results. When we trace from cause to effect, we shall find that harm has thus been done which in some cases can never be remedied. O, what wisdom and fine spiritual perceptions are needed in giving food to the flock of God, that it be pure provender, thoroughly winnowed. The natural, hereditary traits of the character need a firm curb, else earnest zeal, good purposes, will run into evil, and the excess of feeling will produce such impressions upon human hearts that they will be carried away by impulse, and will allow impressions to become their guide. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 26

A curb must be kept upon the spiritual impulse, that no injudicious words shall be spoken, no over-wrought ideas expressed that shall cause impulsive persons to lose their bearings. There are some whose feelings are quickly stirred by strong assertions, and their imagination magnifies the statement to large dimensions; it all appears real to them, and they become fanatical. The spiritual experience is fevered, diseased. When persons yield their will in perfect submission to the will of God, and the spirit is humble and teachable, the Lord will correct them by His Holy Spirit, and lead them into safe paths. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 27

April 13

Since writing the above, we have had a practical illustration of the result of following impressions. Last night a young man, a stranger to us all, but professing to be a brother from Victoria, called upon us, and asked to see Sister White. It was evening, and I declined seeing him. We invited him to remain with us during the night, however, and to take breakfast. After our usual morning worship, as we were about to go to our various employments, this young man arose, and with a commanding gesture requested us to sit down. He said, “Have you any hymn books? We will sing a hymn, then I have a message to give you.” I said, “If you have a message, give it without delay, for we are very much pressed to get off the American mail, and have no time to lose.” He then began to read something he had written, which stated among other things that the judgment has <now> begun upon the living. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 28

He read with strong emphasis, gesticulating as he read. His voice trembled, and tears came into his eyes. Brother Starr was present, with the other members of our large family. The young man had at first inquired for the concordance; he could not find it in the bookcase, but read considerable scripture about praying for the sick and their being healed. He spoke decidedly of faith, and read from Great Controversy. He then stated that he had a message from God that he himself would be persecuted, and would be arrested by the officers of the law. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 29

I listened as he went on, and finally said, “My brother, you are not exactly in your right mind. State plainly how your message concerns us. Please let us know at once. Your mind is over-strained, you misapprehend your work. Much that you have said is in accordance with the Bible, and we believe every word of that; but you are over-excited. Please state what you have for us.” Well, he said that we must pack up and move at once to Battle Creek. I asked his reasons, and he responded, “To give this message that the judgment has begun upon the living.” I answered him, “The work which the Lord has given us to do is not yet finished. When our work here is completed, we are sure the Lord will let us know that it is time for us to move to Battle Creek, instead of teaching you our duty.” 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 30

I continued: “If you should go into other families in the manner you came here, they would call you insane, and might think the asylum the proper place for you.” He said this was the first time he had given his message, except to his own family, who were greatly affected by it. His father had sold his place and was ready to go into the work with all his heart. He himself has been a backslider and had been brought under deep conviction; he was led to see his lost condition, and to repent, and now the Lord had been teaching him. I told him that in his present condition he was not fitted to labor for any one. In the conversation it came out that he wanted our ministers in Melbourne to come to his father’s house; his sister was at the point of death, and he believed that the Lord would hear prayer and raise her up and this would be a sure testimony confirming the message he had to bear. At this point I left him for Brother Starr to talk with further, while I resumed my writing. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 31

He told Brother Starr that when Sister White spoke to him so kindly, and yet with such authority, he began to see that he had made a mistake, that the impressions which had moved him so strongly were not consistent or reasonable. Although our family is large, consisting of ten members, beside three visitors, we decided to have this young man stay with us for a time. We dare not have him go with people who will treat him harshly and condemn him; neither do we want him to repeat his revelations. We will have him remain for a little time where we can associate with him, and if possible lead him in safe, sure paths. “They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” [Luke 5:31.] He is sick spiritually, and needs a physician. Already he begins to see the inconsistency of his ideas, and we hope that by kind treatment he may be healed, and be led to give up his wild ideas. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 32

It is as I have told you; there will be counterfeit messages coming from persons in all directions. One after another will rise up, appearing to be inspired, when they have not the inspiration of heaven, but are under the deception of the enemy. All who receive their messages will be led astray. Then let us walk carefully, and not open wide the door for the enemy to enter through impressions, dreams, and visions. God help us to look in faith to Jesus, and be guided by the words He has spoken. 9LtMs, Lt 66, 1894, par. 33