Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10

90/284

Lt 71, 1895

Brethren in the Review and Herald

Norfolk Villa, Prospect St., Granville, N. S. W., Australia

February 12, 1895

Formerly Undated Ms 3a and Undated Ms 69. Portions of this letter are published in VSS 303; 7BC 933, 934.

Brethren in the Review and Herald Office:

I have a duty that I must do to you, and I cannot longer forbear writing to you in regard to Edson White. The history of affairs connected with him from the time we left for Australia has not been pleasant for me to contemplate. While I was lying upon a bed of sickness, I heard of the perplexity into which Edson was thrown by the action of Mrs. Mason. I was suffering severely through physical maladies, but the burden I bore for Edson caused me the most suffering of all. I wrote to a brother who was a father of boys, and poured out my soul-anguish to him, for I was too far away to do any personal labor for my son. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 1

In the night season the Lord instructed me to write and to lay the burden of his case upon those who were near enough to do the work for him that I was too far away to accomplish. I wrote to one who I thought would be as a shepherd of the flock, and who would go forth to seek and to save that which was lost. I thought he would be as the true shepherd, and would leave the ninety and nine, and would make it his special work to seek and to save a soul that was in peril and ready to die. I anxiously waited for every mail, hoping to learn that some special effort had been made to seek and to save my lost son, but I waited in vain. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 2

I remembered what travail of soul both my husband and myself suffered for the erring ones! We labored earnestly for the children of others. My husband encouraged souls not only with his sympathy but with his means. He sought in every way to lift up those who were fallen. Over and over again I said, “We shall surely hear something about Edson,” but not a line came to encourage us in the hope that anyone was taking an interest in my erring child. I prayed that the Lord would inspire the hearts of some of our brethren, and fill them with His love, and tender, pitying sympathy, so that they would labor for him who was ready to perish. After this, Edson wrote us the most discouraging chapters in regard to his case. I wrote a letter to him. I also wrote to those who held responsible places in the Review office, but I did not send this letter. The word came to me to wait, that God was testing and proving these men, that He had given His life, not only to save Edson, but to save them from eternal ruin. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 3

Christ left the royal court, gave up His heavenly command, turned from the inhabitants of worlds unfallen, and volunteered to come to a world that was seared and marred with the curse. He clothed His divinity with humanity, and for our sake became poor, that we through His poverty might become rich. He came to seek the one lost sheep, the one world that had fallen by sin. He endured every humiliation and suffering in order that He might save that which was lost. All that a God could do was done to save a perishing world. Christ died upon the cross so as to make it possible that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. But when He ascended to heaven to become our Advocate in the heavenly courts, He left His work in the hands of His disciples. Those who believed in Him, those who heard His word were to become His representatives to the world. Through them His character was to be revealed to men as it was revealed to Moses. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 4

When Moses prayed earnestly, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory,” the Lord said, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee ... And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth”—The character of God is His glory. [Exodus 33:18, 19; 34:6.] Jesus said, “And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me. Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am: that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me; for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world.” [John 17:22-24.] 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 5

Those who are united with Christ as the branch is united with the living vine, will represent Him in character. Jesus gives us instruction, saying, “Abide in Me, and I in you: as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him: the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing ... Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you. Continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I written unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.” [John 15:4, 5, 8-12.] 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 6

Many, many, many are professing to keep the commandments of God, and yet they are breaking them every day they live by their manifest want of love. The course that Brother and Sister Mason took in regard to Edson White was unjust and unrighteous. Edson, it is true, was not under the influence of the Spirit of God, and undoubtedly did wrong, but the very ones who censured him, who represented him as clothed in filthy garments were themselves not walking circumspectly, but were full of selfishness, greed, and suspicion, and were sustaining one another in a confederacy which was demoralizing to principle. In their hardness of heart they were much like the relentless servant to whom much had been forgiven, but who refused to forgive a small debt. I have been shown that those who judge unmercifully will themselves have justice without mercy. “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged. And with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” [Matthew 7:1, 2.] Those who hear but do not practice the words of Christ are running tremendous risks. Jesus says, “Every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the wind blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” [Verses 26, 27.] 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 7

I was not permitted to send the matter that I had written to you. The Lord said, “I have this matter in My own hands. I will cast down, I will build up.” Self must either be laid aside, or God will lay the human instrument aside. In those who have stood in responsible places in the Review and Herald Office self has been prominent. It was Satan who introduced self-seeking into the heavenly courts; but it did not remain there. Selfishness was cast out and will never again find its way into heaven. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 8

If those who are in connection with the sacred work of God were abiding in Christ, they would be fruitful branches of the living vine, and would bear a very different kind of fruit than that which they have borne in the past. They have been misleading examples in their life and conduct. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 9

Every one was undiscovered traits of character that must come to light through trial and test. God allows those who are full of self-sufficiency, self-righteousness, self-importance, who flatter themselves that they know a great deal, to be sorely tempted so that they may understand their helplessness. Whenever self-confidence exists, where men have a high estimate of self, it will be made known in some way. The roots of covetousness may be deeply buried, but self-esteem will bring the roots to the surface. The evil that has been cherished will be made known in many ways. It is because human agents are so devoid of the love of Christ that they are so deficient. Those who cherish unholy principles, who bring them into their life practice, will deteriorate in character. Like the inhabitants of the old world they will find that every imagination and thought of the heart will be evil, and evil continually. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 10

There were men who looked upon Edson White as being an incurable case. They looked upon him in his helplessness and passed by on the other side, but the Lord looked upon them as greater sinners than he was. They were standing in worse spiritual condition before God than was Edson White. The Lord discerned the thoughts, intents, and purposes of their hearts. But although they were far from blameless, yet they felt free to condemn him because his defects were developed and known, and theirs were hidden and undiscovered. They put their own construction upon his course of action, and painted him the blackest of colors. They did not realize that God saw and read every hidden motive of the heart. He knows every secret of the soul, He weighs character, not in the balances of man’s opinion, but in the balances of the sanctuary, and He registers men as guilty or not guilty according to the true condition of the heart. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 11

The course that was pursued towards Edson White was most grievous in the sight of God, and the reason that I write these reproving words is [so] that this course may not be repeated toward anyone else, whether he be saint or sinner. That which was not done for him constitutes the built of many in responsible positions. They neglected to do the work of a faithful steward, and are in danger of leaving undone the work that they should do for others who are in similar circumstances. Edson was left like the one whom Christ represented as wounded and bruised and ready to die by the wayside. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 12

Those who show no greater wisdom in dealing with Christ’s purchased possession than have those who were willing to leave Edson helpless and despairing prove that they are unfit to bear responsibilities of such vital interest as the responsibilities that are laid upon them in connection with the cause of God. They are in danger of leaving other souls to perish without a ray of hope. They are in danger of failing to become laborers together with God. Some withheld their sympathy from Edson, spoke no word of comfort, but rather repulsed every advance he made, and believed the worst report that could be made of him, condemning him in a wholesale fashion in taking this course, were themselves not free from selfishness and self-service. Sin lies at the door of these men who as stewards of God should have sought to save the one whom they believed to be in so great danger, and that which they failed to do stands registered against them on the book of heaven. Their neglected duties will hang upon them as a weight. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 13

Neglect of the Lord’s purchased property is plainly condemned in the Word of God. Those who are neglectful of the souls for whom Christ died will have to change their course or will have to meet an account in the day of God that they will not care to meet. If Edson’s case was the only case in which injustice had been done, I would not now present the matter before you; but there have been many other souls who might have been saved that have been lost because those who stand in official positions profess so much, and practice so little, of the love and tenderness of God. They do not manifest the wisdom of God in saving souls for whom Christ died. Many who profess to be followers of Christ do not represent Him in their daily lives. They misrepresent Him in character, in spirit, and in action. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 14

Actions speak louder than words. The sermon that is preached in the pulpit is counteracted by the sermon that is preached in the lives of those who claim to be advocates of truth. It is because of a lack of the practicing of the words of Christ that a curse is coming upon our churches. If Christ is not living in His human agent, then, when circumstances are favorable to their development, the attributes of Satan will appear. A noble life is the most powerful sermon in favor of Christianity. If we would live such a life, our consciences must be quickened by continual contact with the Word of God. Our souls must be familiar with the heavenly standard, and we must avoid every course that diverges from the right. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 15

God calls upon you in Battle Creek to take heed lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. The Lord has not placed men in authority, or given them liberty because of that authority, to treat any soul that is in need of help as they have treated Edson White. Some of you gave Edson no chance for his life, allowed him no opportunity to say whether the charges brought against him were true or false. You gave him no chance to recover himself. He supposed that his mother and his brother would come to his help, but under the circumstances we dared not do it. The word to me was that the Lord Himself take matters in charge. That he was suffering these things to be brought about in order to develop character and to reveal hearts. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 16

If those who were on the ground had had bowels of mercy, they would have considered how they would have felt if they had been placed in circumstances similar to those in which Edson White was placed. Instead of putting themselves in his place, they passed hasty judgment upon him, supposing that they were passing an honest judgment. But they did not consider themselves lest they also should be tempted. They did not think how hard it would be for them to be placed in a similar position, and to receive similar harsh treatment. They did not think how it would seem to be regarded as unworthy of a respectful or an encouraging word. If they are not thoroughly converted, they will treat others as they have treated Edson White. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 17

The Lord will bring them through experiences that are similar to those of the persons whom they have condemned, that in a measure they may realize the painful feeling they are willing others should endure, and understand how discouraging is such a course of action. What serious injury it does to the soul, how it imperils the prospects, and ruins the reputation before the church and the world! 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 18

I did not fully know the course that had been pursued towards Edson until [after] he had returned to his Father’s house. I carefully interviewed one of the brethren, who presented to me both sides of the question. Since then the Lord has presented before me the way in which He regards such transactions. Edson was driven into desperation and hopelessness, and men left him upon Satan’s battle ground to be torn in pieces. When he took his most desperate position, he was pointed at as one who vindicated the very worst suppositions that had ever been imagined against him. But it was the course of treatment that he received, the sentence pronounced upon him, the injustice done to him, that made him what he was. Humanity dropped out of the hearts of those who pronounced upon him, and they exhibited the attributes of Satan. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 19

Since Brother Edwards wrote me, I have felt that it was time to speak plainly; but I refrained from so doing because the Lord bade me to wait and watch, for He had these matters in hand. But now that the restraint is removed, I must speak. You saw a soul perishing, and who among you bore the burden upon your hearts? Who among you asked yourselves, Would I wish to be treated as Edson White is being treated were I in his place? 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 20

Who among you manifested interest to watch for Edson’s soul as he that must give an account to God, who has paid the purchase money of an infinite price for his soul? Did you consider that your course of action has [opened], and will continue to open, a door of temptation to the souls of men? Did you consider that your course would bring upon others great suffering of mind, cause great discouragement, and instead of binding hearts in confidence to you, would weaken your faith and trust? Did you consider that you were not answering the prayer of Christ when He prayed that His disciples might be one, as He is One with the Father? [John 17:11.] Was your course one that was likely to inspire confidence in the hearts of those whom the conference had accepted as those who were laboring together with God? Did you care whether you brought suffering to the soul, or inspired men with hope and gladness? 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 21

Your transactions have been presented to me, and the burden was placed upon me to write words of encouragement to the souls that you bruised, and cared not to save. The Lord has presented principles to me that, should I write them out, would fill a volume. Precious lessons have been given to me, and I have been impressed to send warnings and entreaties to Edson White, saying to him, “Do not trust in men nor make flesh your arm. Let no man or set of men come between your soul and God. You have failed on this point in the past. You have often thrown yourself down in discouragement and abandonment. But by so doing you have encouraged those who have taken a course contrary to the will of God, to think that they were justified in the course they have pursued toward you. God lives and reigns, and has given you lessons in the eighteenth chapter of Matthew for your encouragement; “for the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” [Verse 11.] 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 22

You had an opportunity to show an interest in him for whom Christ died, but you left him bound, afflicted, and broken. You turned from him whom the Spirit of God was taking up, and was striving with to bring him from darkness to light. You would not plead for him for whom Christ is acting as advocate in the courts of heaven. The angels of heaven were looking upon every transaction that transpired, were listening to every word that was spoken. Did you remember that “by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned”? [Matthew 12:37.] 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 23

You did not manifest the spirit of the true Shepherd toward the wandering sheep. Jesus says, “How think ye? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” [Matthew 18:12-14.] Whom among you has acted the part of a faithful shepherd, seeking to bring back the wandering sheep to the fold. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 24

God Himself has seen your indifference, your careless disregard for those who are ready to die. He has acted the part of a true shepherd. He has gone after the lost sheep, and has spoken to the distressed soul, saying, “Return unto me, and I will return unto you.” [Malachi 3:7.] “I will heal their backslidings, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.” [Hosea 14:4.] All heaven rejoices in the finding of the lost sheep. But instead of partaking of this spirit, how many have manifested the spirit of the elder brother in the parable of the return of the prodigal son. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 25

I have been shown that many who are handling sacred things have acted the part of the elder brother. He felt that his own course of action was righteous, he supposed that he had been faithful in the discharge of his home duties, and that he himself needed no repentance. He contrasted his own course of action with that of the prodigal, and could not sympathize with the joy that was manifested by the father in receiving back his wandering one. Although he thought himself in a position to be commended and honored, yet he made manifest the fact that he was in need of repentance. In his selfishness he was unwilling to receive his repenting brother, and would not rejoice at his return. These lessons of Christ are given to us for our benefit, that we who claim to love God may properly represent Him in our service. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 26

Oh, that none may assume the attitude of the complaining elder brother when the prodigal returns to his father’s house. I cannot present all that I would be glad to present at this time in regard to these parables. They mean much, and the practicing of these lessons involves eternal interests. We should carefully study the parable of the lost sheep, the lost piece of silver, and the prodigal son. In practice we have strangely departed from these practical lessons. Instead of seeking the lost sheep, some have wounded and driven it away. Jesus says, “Woe unto the world because of offenses. For it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! ... Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea.” [Matthew 18:7, 6.] 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 27

It rests with us individually as to whether or not we will be doers of the Word of God. It will be for our soul’s present and eternal good, it will be for the present and eternal good of souls who need our help, for us to learn these lessons. We are representatives of Christ, and he has entrusted to our faithful watchcare the sheep of His pasture. He had bidden us watch for souls as they that must give an account. A record is given of the way in which we deal with others and as we deal with others we shall be dealt with. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 28

When we take heed to the instruction that Christ has given to His disciples, a wonderful change will take place in the sentiment and attitude of our Seventh-day Adventist churches. Then the spiritual leaven will work in every family, and precious will be the results, for every father and mother will have their hearts softened and melted by the gracious mercy of a long-suffering God. They will be able to cheer and encourage others, and their influence will be felt in the church. They will realize that it makes a great difference whether their words are like thorns and thistles, or like fragrant roses and lilies. They will have a realizing sense that their works are a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 29

Bible religion means far more than many have demonstrated it to mean in their life practice. Many are now busy and active in the work connected with the cause of God who are taking the course of the foolish virgins, and are not supplying their vessels with the oil of grace. They are registered as those who have a false religion, for they do not practice the lessons of Christ in their daily life. They do not manifest the meekness and lowliness, the gentleness, tenderness, sympathy and love of Christ. They do not make manifest that they are working out the divine purpose. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 30

Christ stands at the head of humanity, and it is His purpose to lead us into high and holy paths of purity. By the wondrous working of His grace, we are to be made complete in Him. But in order to manifest the character of God, in order that we may not deceive ourselves, the church, and the world by a counterfeit Christianity, we must become personally acquainted with God. If we have fellowship with God, we are His ministers, even if we never preach to a congregation. We are workers together with God in presenting the perfection of His character in humanity. This we may do by having the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Christ is full of grace and truth. Are we thus? He condescended to take upon Himself humanity in order that He might show us what humanity may become by being united with divinity. He showed us what we might manifest of goodness, mercy, love, and truth, in the human character, by union with Himself. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 31

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” [Isaiah 57:15.] The word of the Lord to Zachariah the prophet should be heeded by us. He says, “Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassion every man to his brother. And oppress not the widow nor the fatherless, the stranger nor the poor; let none of you imagine evil against his brother in his heart. But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of Hosts hath sent in His spirit by the former prophets. Therefore came great wrath from the Lord of Hosts.” [Zechariah 7:9-12.] 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 32

Those who are handling sacred things need to tremble and to fear, even as is represented by the trembling of Isaiah in the sixth chapter. He says, “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train fulled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 33

“Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone: because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have been the king, the Lord of Hosts.” When this grand and awful glory was presented to the prophet, he realized his sinfulness. “Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with a tongs from off the altar: and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips: and thine iniquity is taken way, and the sin is purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” [Verses 1-8.] 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 34

When the majesty and glory of God is revealed, self will sink into insignificance. Those who view the glory of God will not wrap the garments of their own self-righteousness around them. They will not exercise a proud, lofty, overbearing, iron will that will lead them to rule or ruin; but their words will be words of contrition and meekness, and they will realize that they are men of unclean lips, and dwelling in the midst of a people of unclean lips. Men who are now regarded as reliable business men in connection with the work of God must be converted. They do not bring the spirit of truth into their work. The fragrance of Christ is not with them, and they are not a savor of life unto life, and yet the end is near. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 35

This is the great Day of Atonement, and our Advocate is standing before the Father, pleading as our Intercessor. In place of wrapping about us the garments of self-righteousness, we should be found daily humbling ourselves before God, confessing our own individual sins, seeking the pardon of our transgressions, and cooperating with Christ in the work of preparing our souls to reflect the divine image. Unless we enter the sanctuary above, and unite with Christ in working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, we shall be weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, and shall be pronounced wanting. This is our day of grace. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 36

The Lord gave lessons, opportunities, and privileges to Judas, but he did not improve them. He persisted in acting out his own temper, in manifesting his own spirit, until at last he developed the attributes of Satan, and went forth to betray his Lord. He refused to be united with Christ in spirit and word and action, and chose to be a partner with him who was an accuser of his brethren, and a murderer from the beginning. If we continue to despise our privileges, like Judas we shall finally pass the lines, and place ourselves irretrievably with the hosts of rebellion. 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 37

Wearing the yoke with Christ means to work in His lines, to be a co-partner with Him in His sufferings and toils for lost humanity. It means to be a wise instructor of souls. We shall be what we are willing to be made by Christ in these precious hours of probation. We shall be the sort of a vessel that we allow ourselves to be molded into. We must unite with God in the molding and fashioning work, having our wills submitted to the divine will. Christ has promised an inheritance to those who are thus submissive. He says, “Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.” “Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.” [Matthew 5:5, 7-9.] 10LtMs, Lt 71, 1895, par. 38