Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Lt 9a, 1894

Corliss, J. O.

Fairlight, New South Wales, Australia

December 8, 1894

Portions of this letter are published in GCB 04/1895 501-502. +Note

Dear Brother,

Just before I left Granville, the question sent from you was asked me, “Have you anything to say to me in regard to the proposed discussion?” I answered, “I am very sorry that matters have taken the turn they have, but I cannot see how the discussion can now be avoided.” 9LtMs, Lt 9a, 1894, par. 1

Wednesday night, while in Fairlight, I seemed to be in an important council meeting. There was a solemn season of prayer, which was followed by silence for some minutes. Then there was heard a voice from One who spoke with gentleness, yet with dignity and authority. I will present briefly the principles that were laid out before us. 9LtMs, Lt 9a, 1894, par. 2

The Speaker said: You are now placed in a most trying position; but ever bear in mind that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.” [See Ephesians 6:10-18.] 9LtMs, Lt 9a, 1894, par. 3

The Speaker called you, John Corliss, by name, and said, Your opponent is the adversary of truth, his inspiration is from beneath. He is a sharp debater and will employ every device to stir you up, so that you shall lose your self-control. If you appear sharp, and say unwise things, words which show that you are sensitive and easily irritated, the host of hell will triumph. You have not always been self-controlled and wise in contending for the truth with wily opponents; for this reason you have lost victories. 9LtMs, Lt 9a, 1894, par. 4

The enemies of the truth know that they have not strong arguments to sustain their position, therefore they will try the metal of the one who presents the truth. In the position where you are placed, to vindicate the truth, keep self out of sight, make no boast of knowledge, place your feet upon the Word, the eternal <Word of> truth. Make no reference to any sly thrusts of your opponent. Do not manifest a spirit of retaliation. But ever maintain the gentleness of Christ. Put on Christ. Your physical infirmities urge you to hasty feelings and hasty words, which give your opponent an advantage. Abide in Christ. For the truth’s sake, for Christ’s sake, preserve the dignity, the elevated and ennobling character of the truth. Your zeal will need to be controlled by the Holy Spirit of God, lest it quicken into impatience as you see the Scriptures wrested and fables and human assertions presented as truth. Men who know that they have the truth can have power only as they present the truth as it is in Jesus. 9LtMs, Lt 9a, 1894, par. 5

Granville, December 10th. If men who know that they are on the side of God, of Christ, and of the holy angels, possessed the gentleness of Christ, they would express themselves in language which would show up the opponent’s reasoning in a manner to multiply a hundred-fold the force of truth against the sophistries and commandments of men. Let the truth cut; keep self out of sight. You are in danger of permitting egotism to weaken the effect of truth upon the minds of others. If your opponent can in any way make apparent your personal defect of a hasty, inflammable spirit, it will tend greatly to destroy the force of your strongest arguments. Will you bear in mind to put on the whole armor of God? 9LtMs, Lt 9a, 1894, par. 6

Cities, nations, a world, are ignorant of the truth; they are deceived and deluded by false shepherds. Let not the truth be brought into disrepute by being handled unskillfully. You have had too much self-confidence; now hide in Jesus; let not self appear; speak in the simplicity of Christ. Souls are now in the valley of decision, and Satan sees that for him the time for determined action has arrived. God alone must be your trust; nothing less than a divine agency will be able to counterwork the power of Satan. 9LtMs, Lt 9a, 1894, par. 7

You are not in one instance to use the same weapons as do your opponents. If you do, they will turn against the truth. You are to act on principles directly opposite to those held by men who are seeking to make of no effect the law of God, the great standard of character. You love the truth, you love God; but you must more fully learn of Jesus His meekness and lowliness of heart. A great work is to be done in our cities, and the fields are all ripe for the harvest. Our attention will be called in every direction, for repentant souls in both Christian and heathen lands will lift up their voices for help. There must not be one particle of lifting up of self; your only safety is to trust in God. While you walk in humility, you walk safely. 9LtMs, Lt 9a, 1894, par. 8

Dwell as little as possible upon your opponents objections, but press in the truth, new and convincing <arguments> to cut away and undermine error. Keep your own spirit <ever> calm, even against personal abuse. Never retaliate. Let the spirit of kindness, [of] Christian courtesy, rule your every action. The Holy Spirit will help your infirmities. People will pass judgment upon the men. Those in error have learned that their strength is to maintain self-control, while the fires of hell may be stirring every fibre of the being. 9LtMs, Lt 9a, 1894, par. 9

Your opponent will say words which will irritate a sensitive mind. Pass these by unheeded. Do not once forget that you are speaking for God’s truth. Your spirit, if kept gentle under provocation, will speak louder than any force of argument. Do not imperil the truth by an unwise word. Remember how, when provoked, Moses spoke unadvisedly, and dishonored God. You need larger experience as a student in the school of Christ, in copying His meekness and lowliness. 9LtMs, Lt 9a, 1894, par. 10

The universe of heaven will be comprised in your audience. Bear this in mind. God has given you talents of influence; He has let His light, in clear, distinct rays, shine upon your pathway; He has greatly blessed you; now let your disinterestedness, your self-consecration, do honor to God. If you look to, or trust, in your own ability, you will destroy the effect of actual effort. God alone can give the victory, and He will vindicate the truth, if men will not take credit to themselves God will do honor to those who live not to self but to Him. 9LtMs, Lt 9a, 1894, par. 11

Seek God most earnestly. Your brethren <also> should seek the Lord with you. From communion with God, come before the people imbued with the Holy Spirit. Exalt the Word, exalt Jesus, in all humility of mind crowd in important, soul-testing truth. Let the glorious conceptions of God possess your mind. God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, is willing to shine in your hearts who give the light of the knowledge of His glory in the face of Jesus Christ. You weaken the truth when in the least degree you extol self. Hide in Jesus; without His presence and power you can do nothing. 9LtMs, Lt 9a, 1894, par. 12