Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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Lt 68, 1896

McCullagh, S.

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, Australia

July 12, 1896

Portions of this letter are published in 2MR 27-28; 5MR 342-343.

My Dear Brother:

In the past I have been in great perplexity in regard to the work in Sydney. I saw that the only hope for the success of that effort was for the workers to labor together in unity and love, and make a consecrated, self-denying, self-sacrificing endeavor to spread the truth as it is in Jesus. This I presented before you and the other brethren at different times. But I have been shown that much good could not be accomplished because of the disagreements existing between the workers. 11LtMs, Lt 68, 1896, par. 1

Jesus bade His disciples eat His flesh and drink His blood, saying, “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth in me and I in him.” “It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” [John 6:56, 63.] God’s servants are to feed constantly upon His Word; its principles are to circulate through the entire life-practice. The Word of God had been taught by the workers in Sydney, but it has been disobeyed in their practice. They have not continuously eaten the flesh or drank the blood of the Son of man. 11LtMs, Lt 68, 1896, par. 2

A spirit has been cherished by them that is an offense to God, a spirit that kept the workers from blending one with another for fear that their own poor, feeble efforts would not be seen. The universe of heaven beheld the spirit that was manifested. God could not honor such self-exaltation, for His Word declares, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” [Matthew 5:3.] 11LtMs, Lt 68, 1896, par. 3

Elder McCullagh, you and Elder Corliss were appointed to work as fellow laborers in the same field, but harmony did not exist between you. Elder Corliss was not perfect, but neither were you. Elder Corliss was a diligent student of the word of God, and from him you might have learned much that would have been a help to you in your ministry. He had a large fund of knowledge, and had you drawn close to him in brotherly love, you might have helped him in many ways, and at the same time you could have learned many valuable lessons and increased your treasure of truth. It would not have detracted from your usefulness in the least had you thought, God blesses Elder Corliss, and enables him to bring the most precious lessons from His Word. I will appropriate the light, receiving every fresh idea that God may send, let it come through whom it may. 11LtMs, Lt 68, 1896, par. 4

But though you needed the knowledge Elder Corliss could have given you, you did not realize this fact. You did not like Brother Corliss, and showed this by being busy here and there, occupied in different places, instead of trying to improve your opportunities by receiving the help he could have given you. Was it necessary that your time should be so fully occupied that you could not allow yourself the privilege of obtaining a more thorough knowledge of the truth? If you had felt the need of obtaining this knowledge, you would now be better qualified to present the Word of God to others. 11LtMs, Lt 68, 1896, par. 5

The most has been made of the defections and mistakes of Brother Corliss. Dislike of him has been cherished; his faults have been magnified. This Elder Corliss knew, and he was hurt by it. Brother McCullagh, your attitude in this matter was disapproved by God. He did not sanction the harsh feelings that were cherished. At times his light shone upon the workers in Sydney, but how could His blessing be given while such a spirit existed? 11LtMs, Lt 68, 1896, par. 6

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness,” craving for a knowledge of the Word of God, as children hunger for bread. [Verse 6.] This hungering and thirsting for righteousness means praying, believing, receiving Christ as an indwelling Saviour. This is continual sanctification. But self interposed, and hindered you in this work. By drawing apart from Elder Corliss you have wounded his soul, and have lost much yourself that you could have gained, for his knowledge of the Word of God was greater than yours. Even though he tried you in some ways, you should not have held aloof from him. Do you not often do things that displease God, my brother? But does God leave you to yourself because you are so weak and erring? No, indeed; He continues to look upon you in mercy and love and pity. 11LtMs, Lt 68, 1896, par. 7

Unless we have a sense of our own soul poverty, we are not fitted to do the work of God. Unless we can feel brotherly love for those around us, the Holy Spirit cannot work upon our hearts and minds. Brother Corliss has not always worked in the right way. At times he loses control of himself. You could have been a help, a blessing, and an encouragement to him had you taken the right attitude; but with the other workers who were employed by the conference at no small cost to me, you stood ready to catch at any mistakes he might make, and [you] made these mistakes the occasion of drawing away from him. In short, unity and brotherly kindness did not exist between the workers: Brethren Pallant, Collins, Corliss, and yourself. 11LtMs, Lt 68, 1896, par. 8

It is impossible with pen and ink to present this matter so that the same impression will be made on your mind as was made on mine. The Lord opened before me the evils existing among the workers in Sydney, showing me that He could not give them His Spirit as He longed to do; for they had not yet learned to hide in Jesus. Humility was lacking; each one was afraid that the next one would make a better showing than himself. But when God gives men a work to do, they are to do that work, irrespective of what others may think or do, looking not at the mistakes of their brethren. And in humility and meekness, they are to strive to preserve unity and harmony. 11LtMs, Lt 68, 1896, par. 9

From the root of humility, meekness, and lowliness springs the most precious greatness of mind—greatness which leads men to conform to the image of Jesus. Those who possess this greatness gain an experience that is of the highest value to them. They have patience and trust in God, and a faith that is invincible. Their true heart-consecration and devotion keeps self out of sight. Having a sense of their own weakness, they appreciate the help which the Lord gives them. They crave the grace of God, that they may do that which is right and pure and true. 11LtMs, Lt 68, 1896, par. 10

“A new commandment I give unto you,” said Christ, “that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples.” [John 13:34, 35.] “This is my commandment, That ye love one another as I have loved you.” [John 15:12.] “Beloved,” writes John, “let us love one another; for love is of God, and he that loveth is born of God.” [1 John 4:7.] 11LtMs, Lt 68, 1896, par. 11

It has been revealed to me by the Lord, my brother and sister, that your influence has not been altogether that which God can approve. You are employed by the conference to preach the truth, that souls may become rooted and grounded in the faith; but you have fallen into the habit of seeking to gather sympathy to yourself. In your conversation you have left the impression upon the minds of others that your great devotion to the cause of God has not been appreciated. God is not pleased with this, for it is not true. The influence you have exerted in Sydney and its suburbs has not been of the right kind, and will not cause others to have confidence in the truth. 11LtMs, Lt 68, 1896, par. 12

God cannot be glorified until you surround your souls with a different atmosphere. He cannot give you success in his work until your spirit is changed. Sister McCullagh, if you were truly converted, you could be a great help to your husband in his labors; but if you continue to manifest the same spirit that you have in the past, you will, unconsciously to yourself, do harm instead of good. If your experience is not entirely changed, you will cast a wrong influence wherever you go. Why? Because self will be made prominent, and in God’s work self must not appear. 11LtMs, Lt 68, 1896, par. 13

If Christ were formed within, “the hope of glory,” we would seek with all our power to bring solid timbers into our character-building. [Colossians 1:27.] If we were clad in the garments of Christ’s righteousness, clad in meekness and lowliness, we would find our highest joy in talking about Christ. And daily we would enjoy the sense of His converting power upon our souls. No time would be devoted to talking of the defects of others, no inclination would be felt to stir up strife. Instead, we would dwell upon the best characteristics of those for whom Christ has died. 11LtMs, Lt 68, 1896, par. 14

It is not only the wise, the great, the beneficent, the teachers of Bible doctrines, that will gain a passport into the heavenly courts; not only the busy workers, full of zeal and restless activity. No; the pure in heart, in whose lips there is found no guile; the peacemaker, who is actuated by the Spirit of an abiding Christ; the humble worker, whose highest ambition it is to do God’s service—these will gain an abundant entrance. 11LtMs, Lt 68, 1896, par. 15