Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10 (1895)


Lt 36, 1895

Jones, A. T.

Norfolk Villa, Prospect St., Granville, Australia

October 13, 1895 [May 1895, see note at end of letter.]

Portions of this letter are published in 6T 394-401; LDE 90, 216; VSS 240-242. +Note

Dear Brother:

I would be pleased to see you, and converse with you face to face. But as I cannot do this at present, I will write some things to you that I wish you to consider. There is danger that you and others will work too ardently in presenting matters on religious liberty. You are in danger of taking a course that is not wise. Many things have been spoken and written that are interpreted to mean antagonism to government and law. It is not wise to continually find fault with what is done by the rulers of government. This course will not help Seventh-day Adventism in any way. It is not our work to attack individuals and institutions, but to set forth the truth in the power of the Holy Spirit. 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 1

It is our work to magnify and exalt the law of God, and to exercise great care lest we be understood as putting ourselves in opposition to civil authorities. It is true that our warfare is aggressive, but the weapons that we are to use are those found in a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” Our work is to prepare a people to stand in the great day of the Lord. We are not to be switched off in lines that will educate <a spirit of controversy and> a debating spirit, or arouse a spirit of antagonism in those not of our faith. <They think they are right and Seventh-day Adventists are wrong.> We should remember that we war 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. 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 2

We should not work in such a manner as will mark us out as a people who seem to advocate treason. We should weed out every expression in our writings, our utterances, that if taken by itself could be misinterpreted so as to make it seem antagonistic to law and order. Everything should be carefully considered lest we place ourselves on record as uttering things that will make us appear disloyal to our country and its laws, for if we speak unguardedly, we shall be treated as disloyal to government before the crisis comes that will put us to the test. <We are not required to defy authorities.> We shall be treated as traitors at some time <in advocating Bible truth,> but let it not be because we <have moved unadvisedly and> have stirred up animosity and strife, and by uttering things that will close up our way before our work is done. 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 3

We are to go forward in the name of the Lord, unfurling His banner, advocating His Word, <the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus Christ.> When the authorities command that we shall not do this work, when they forbid us to proclaim the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, it will be time enough for us to say as did the apostles, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have received and heard.” [Acts 4:19, 20.] Let the truth of God’s Holy Word be made manifest. Hold up the Scriptures as the rule of life. My dear brother, you need to give your attention fully to proclaiming the truth as it is in Jesus, and as it is applicable <as present truth> to the situation of these last days. In all modesty, in the spirit of grace, and in the love of God, point out the fact to perishing souls that the Lord God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord. 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 4

The less you make direct charges against authorities and powers, the greater work you will be able to accomplish in America and in foreign countries. Foreign nations will follow the example of America. Though she lead out, yet the same crisis will come upon all our people in all parts of the world. The Holy Spirit alone will be able to make the word you speak effective. Victory will be gained and held only through the Spirit’s power. The human agent must be worked by the Holy Spirit. The workers must be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. They must have divine wisdom in order not to utter anything that will by any means stir men up to make extra efforts to close up our way. 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 5

It is not our work to continually <charge> against governments and rulers. Through the inculcation of spiritual truth, we are to prepare a people who shall be able to give a reason for their faith in meekness and fear <before the highest authorities in our world.> How greatly we need to present the truth in its simplicity, to advocate practical godliness, personal holiness, and to do this in the gentleness of Christ. The manifestation of such a spirit will have <the very best influence upon our own souls, and> a convincing influence upon those who hear. Give the Lord a chance to work through His own human agents. <Let everyone in responsible positions remove their> hands of authority, and let God work as He will. Do not imagine that it will be possible to lay out your plans for the future. 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 6

Let God be acknowledged as standing at the helm to guide and control <at all times and> under every circumstance. He will work by means that will be suitable and will maintain, increase, and build up His own people. His agents should have a <sanctified> zeal that is wholly under His control. Stormy times will come rapidly <enough> upon us, without our taking any <special> course <of our own> that will hasten them. Tribulation will come <of> such <a character> as will drive <all those> to God who wish to be His and His alone. We do not know ourselves until we are tested and proved in the furnace of trial, and it is not proper for us to seek to measure the characters of men and condemn those who have not yet had the light of truth. Many who have not the privileges that we have had will go into heaven before those who have had great light, and who have not walked in it. 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 7

Many have lived up to the best light they have had, and will be judged accordingly. But the Lord requires those who have had light to walk as children of light. They are to manifest His compassion toward those who have not had the truth. If we wish to impress upon those who are in error, and who occupy high positions, that the truth we believe sanctifies the soul and transforms the character, let us not be continually charging them with vehement accusations, <for we are in danger of having a zeal that is not according to knowledge.> In this way we will force the <opposing elements> to the conclusion that the doctrine we profess cannot be the Christian doctrine, as it does not make us kind, courteous, and respectful, but <has an influence to make us> manifest roughness and unkindness. Christianity is not manifested in pugilistic accusations and condemnations. 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 8

Some who are now so ready to take up weapons of warfare, in times of real peril will make manifest the fact that they have not built upon the solid Rock <themselves,> and they will yield to temptation. Our mission is set forth by the apostle when he says, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: which in the past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles, that, whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they may by your good works which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” [1 Peter 2:9-12.] 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 9

Our work is a most solemn one. We are in danger of presenting to our own brethren, and to those who are ignorant of our faith, themes that are <not in season and that are> objectionable, ideas that are not likely to attract to the truth as it is in Jesus Christ. In doing [it] this way we may create <our own selves> stumbling blocks which may greatly <hedge> up the progress of the truth in the most important centers. <Quietly work. Let unbelievers make the raid.> Satan is presenting every worldly attraction to allure the souls of men. The churches are teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. Ministers in <their churches> are declaring that there is no law. But many do not see their error, nor understand that if there is no law there is no sin in the world, for sin is the transgression of the law. 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 10

To those who are in error, to those who are in sin and ignorance, we must proclaim the truth as it is in Jesus in all simplicity. The last message of warning and of mercy is ours to give to the world. We must bring the truth into [the] practical life, we must be one with our brethren, that the prayer of Christ which He uttered just before His humiliation and crucifixion, will be answered. The love of God, the love of our brethren, will testify to the world that we have been with Jesus and learned of Him. As trials thicken around us, separation and unity will both take place in our ranks. Those who have had great light and precious privileges, and who have not improved them, will go out from us under one pretext or another, <for all will be tested.> Not receiving the love of the truth, they will be taken in the delusion of the enemy, they will give heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils, and will depart from the faith. But on the other hand, when the storm of persecution really breaks upon us, the true sheep will hear the true Shepherd’s voice. 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 11

Self-denying efforts will be put forth to save the lost, and those who have strayed away from the fold will come back to follow the great Shepherd. The people of God will draw together and present a united front to the enemy. <Dissension and variance are the work of the enemy.> In view of the common peril, strife for supremacy will cease, and there will be no more disputing as to who shall be accounted greatest! No one of the true believers will say, I am of Paul, or I am of Apollos, or I of Cephas. The testimony of one and all will be, I cleave unto Christ, I rejoice in Christ as my personal Saviour. 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 12

But now how careful should we be not to say or do anything that will place us in a position where our actions may be interpreted as disloyal and lawless, <for this will be working against the truth.> The time will come when unguarded expressions of a denunciatory character, that have been <carelessly> spoken or written by our brethren, will be made use of by our enemies to condemn us. These will not be used merely to condemn those who have made the statements, but will be charged upon the whole body of Adventists. They will say, On such and such a day one of their responsible men said thus and so against the administration of the laws of this government. 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 13

Many will be astonished to see how many things have been cherished and remembered that will give point to the arguments of our adversaries. Many will be surprised to hear their own words strained into a meaning that they never designed them to have. Then how careful should our workers be that they do not speak impulsively, but that they speak guardedly in all things. Let all be careful lest by unguarded statements they bring on a time of trouble before the crisis comes that will try men’s souls. 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 14

God will be with us in the work of proclaiming the truth as it is in Jesus. Preach the Word, be instant in season and out of season. Let gospel lessons be given in so simple a way that even children may comprehend their meaning. Children should have far more attention than they have received. Many of our people are in danger of exercising controlling power upon others, and of bringing oppression upon their fellow men. But those who handle sacred things should be under the special guidance of the Holy Spirit, in order that they may be doers of the words of Christ. 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 15

We should heed the lesson given by Christ to His disciples when they came unto Him saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” “And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me. But 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. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come: but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh. ... 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 16

“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that which is lost. 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 18:1-7, 10-14.] 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 17

There is danger that those who are entrusted with responsibilities will acknowledge but one power—the power of an unsanctified will. Some are exercising this power unscrupulously, and are causing great discomfiture to those whom the Lord is using. One of the greatest curses in our world, and it is seen in churches and in society everywhere, is the love of supremacy. Men become absorbed in seeking to attain popularity. It is in the ranks of Sabbath keepers to our grief and shame. But spiritual success comes only to those who have learned meekness and lowliness of heart in the school of Christ. 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 18

We should remember that the world will judge us for what we appear to be. Let those who would represent Christ be careful that they do not exhibit inconsistent features <of character.> When we bring ourselves fully to the front, let us see to it that the Holy Ghost is poured upon us from on high. When this is the case, we shall give a certain message, but it will be of a far less condemnatory character than that <which some> have been giving, and all who believe will be far more earnest for the salvation of our opponents. Let God have the matter of condemning authorities and governments, wholly in His own keeping. Let us defend <as faithful sentinels> the principles of the truth as it is in Jesus in the spirit of meekness and love. 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 19

The one thing needful to be found among the ranks of God’s professed, commandment-keeping people, is peace and love. Where love is lacking, irretrievable loss is sustained, for souls are driven away from the truth, even after they have been connected with the cause of God. Our brethren who are in responsible positions, who have strength of influence, should remember <the words of> Paul, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of those that are weak and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.” [Romans 15:1-3.] Again he says, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness: considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” [Galatians 6:1, 2.] 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 20

Bear in mind that the restoring <work> is to be <our burden,> not in a proud, officious, masterly manner. Do not do <the work> as saying by your manner, “I have the power, and I will use it,” and pour out accusations upon the erring one. Do your restoring, “in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” [Verse 1.] The work set before us to do for our brethren is never to cast them aside, not to press them into hopeless discouragement, not to drive them into despair by saying, “You have disappointed me, and I will not try to help you.” 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 21

He who sets himself up as full of wisdom and strength, and bears down upon one who is oppressed and distressed and longing for help, manifests the spirit of the Pharisees, and wraps himself about with the robes of his own self-constituted dignity. In his spirit he thanks God that he is not as other men are, and supposed that his course is praise worthy, and that he is too strong to be tempted. “If a man think himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” [Verse 3.] He is in constant danger himself. He who ignores the grave necessities of his brother in the providence of God will be brought over the <very same> ground that his brother has traveled in trial and sorrow. And by a bitter experience it will be proved to him that he is as helpless and needy as was the suffering brother he repulsed. 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 22

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption, but he that soweth to the spirit, shall of the spirit reap life everlasting.” The character of the sowing is plainly set forth in the following verse: “And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” [Verses 7-9.] Will it not pay us to put far from us the spirit that would cause us to discourage and destroy those who feel wretched, miserable, wounded, and bruised by our course of action toward them? 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 23

Is it not a good and gracious work to restore and heal those who are broken in heart? Let us not bring ourselves under the rebuke of God. “Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works: or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” “I know thy works that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent, If therefore thou shalt not watch I will come upon thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” [Revelation 2:4, 5; 3:1-3.] 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 24

Let us not take a course that will make these Scriptures applicable to ourselves. Would it not be well for us to be jealous of ourselves, and to become doers of the Word of God? “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels of mercy, fulfill ye my joy that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 2:1-5.] 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 25

Who are doers of the words of Christ, and not hearers only? How many live up to the profession they make? If we would draw men from the pit of sin, we ourselves must have a firm platform beneath our feet. The closer we keep to Christ, the more meek and lowly, the more self-distrustful, the firmer will be our hold upon Christ, and the greater will be our power through Christ to convert sinners, for it is not the human agent who moves the soul. Heavenly intelligences co-operate with the human agent, and impress the truth upon the heart. Abiding in Christ, we are able to exercise an influence over others, but it is because of the presence of Him who says, “Lo I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:20.] 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 26

The power we have to overcome Satan is the result of Christ working in us to will and to do of His good pleasure. The truth should be presented with divine tact, gentleness, tenderness, and come from a heart that has been softened and made sympathetic. Only such will be enabled to reach those who are approachable, <to save those who are in deceptions and error.> We need to have close communion with God lest self rise up as it did in Jehu, lest we pour forth a torrent of words that are unbefitting <to be connected with the truth, words> that are not as dew and as the still showers that fall upon the withering plants to revive them. Let our words be gentle as we seek to win souls. God will be wisdom to him who seeks for wisdom from a divine source. We are to seek opportunities on every hand; we are to watch unto prayer, and be ready always to give a reason for the hope that is within us with meekness and fear. 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 27

Lest we shall impress some <soul for whom Christ died> unfavorably, we should keep our hearts uplifted to God, so that when the opportunity presents itself, we may have the right word to speak at the right time. Thus you will undertake work for God, and the Spirit of God will help those who are workers for Him. The Holy Spirit will apply the word that is spoken in love to the soul. But let it be understood that no good is accomplished when the voice or the pen expresses that which is harsh, or even expresses the truth in a harsh manner. Let the region of human passion be passed by, lest the truth be misapprehended, misinterpreted, and misconstrued. The truth will have quickening power that is spoken under the full <influence> of the grace of Christ. God’s plan is first to reach the heart. Speak the truth and let him carry forward the reformatory power and principle; but let us not work according to our own individual impulse. 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 28

What matter of good can be accomplished for souls who are in darkness by castigating them with denunciations? Those who have not a knowledge of the truth, who are blinded and warped in judgment, do not understand what it means. Speak the truth in love. Let the tenderness of Christ come in to the soul. Make no special reference to what opponents say; but let the truth alone be spoken—“It is written.” The truth will cut to the quick. Let not your own spirit and passions mingle with the truth as common fire with the sacred flame. Plainly unfold the Word in all its impressiveness. 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 29

Many who are now the bitterest opponents of truth are acting up to their honest convictions of duty, but they will yet see the truth and become its warm advocates. Those who now treat them with ridicule, who manifest a harsh spirit toward them, will fall under temptation and bring reproach upon the cause of God and cause the loss of souls through their indiscretion. Many who go into the field at the call made at the eleventh hour will, through the grace of Christ, so present the truth that they will be accounted first. 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 30

We are not to voice inconsistency. It is our work to advance the light, to inculcate ideas in the spirit of meekness and dependence upon God. We are to leave issues with God. Let us seek to become overcomers, and thus receive the overcomers’ reward. Do all in your power to reflect light, to bring souls to a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, but abstain from speaking irritating and provoking words. Present the truth in its simplicity, for it must be confessed before men as it involves their eternal interest. 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 31

<This letter was written last May but we could not get it copied before it was edited.> 10LtMs, Lt 36, 1895, par. 32