Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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Lt 29, 1896

To the General Conference of 1897

NP

December 27, 1896

This letter is published in entirety in TM 331-340.

To the General Conference of 1897:

I have words to speak to our brethren who shall assemble in conference in 1897. There is a power moving from beneath which is after the working of the great enemy. The present financial controversy has been presented to me as one of Satan’s masterpieces for these last days. I supposed our own people would step very softly and more very guardedly and keep themselves aloof from all these new issues in regard to the circulating currency. This is not of the devising of God—the changing of the circulating currency. What will it effect? It will cause a state of things that will bring oppression to the poor, and create great distress. It is one of the devil’s schemes, and I thought those who believed the truth would not be deceived in the least degree upon this matter. But within the year 1896 matters have been presented to me which have made me tremble for our people. I have been where I heard conversations from those in positions of trust in our institutions, and there was great warmth in controversy over the different positions taken. The light given me was, This is the policy Satan has arranged to bring distress. 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 1

Would we know how we may best please the Saviour? It is not in engaging in political speeches, either in or out of the pulpit. It is in considering with fear and trembling every word we utter. Where the people assemble to worship God let not a word be spoken that shall divert the mind from the great central interest, Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The third angel’s message is to be our burden of warning. The side issues are not for us to meddle with. The burden of the work is, Preach the Word. There are those who have had an experience in seeking the salvation of souls for whom Christ has given His precious life. That work is the special enterprise to engross everyone who feeds the flock of God. It is a time now when voices will be heard: “Hear. This is the way, walk in this path.” But the Lord Jesus says, “Follow thou Me. They that follow Me shall not walk in darkness.” [See John 8:12.] The saving of souls is to be our personal work, from which nothing is of sufficient moment to divert the mind. Christ came to our world to save souls, to diffuse light amid moral darkness. A living voice is heard, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” [John 14:6.] 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 2

I was surprised as I saw men who claim to believe the truth for this time all excited in regard to matters—which relate to the Lord Jesus and eternal interests. No; but they seemed to be wonderfully excited in regard to the currency. Some ministers were distinguishing themselves by weaving these subjects into their discourses. They were excitably involving themselves, taking sides in regard to these questions that the Lord did not lay upon them the burden to engage in. These persons seemed to have a large share of self-sufficiency. But they themselves really did not know what they were advocating. They knew not whether they were defending principles that originated in the councils of heaven or in the councils of Satan. 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 3

The voice of one in authority spoke with great decision: Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. Read the directions given by the only begotten Son of God when enshrouded in the cloudy pillar. When that voice is obeyed, ye will not give your voice or influence to any policy plan to enrich a few, to bring oppression and suffering to the poorer class of humanity. There is in this excitement just what separates those of the same faith. Is this bearing the divine credentials? Beware. See that your arm is not linked in the arm of a personal demon. He is in appearance as a man. He is walking about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, and he finds them among Seventh-day Adventists. He can terrify by his roaring; but, when it serves his purposes best, he has the sweet voice of an angel of light and speaks of heavenly things. Does he not know all about heavenly glory? 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 4

I inquired why those who could read their Bibles and see the perils of these last days were so ready to snatch up matters they had best let alone. How can they connect with men who are advancing principles that originated in the councils of demons? Why do they not see that this is no work the Lord has set them to do? The answer came, because their hearts are lifted up unto vanity. They are beguiled. They do not know how weak they are. There are many who will be deluded and who by pen and voice will cast their whole influence to create a condition of things—that will exist just the same whatever they may do—but they should not be bound up with the evil workers. All who are longing for some engagement that will represent Jehu riding furiously will have opportunity enough to distinguish themselves. Their arm will be linked with his who was once an exalted angel, and who has not forgotten his manners in the heavenly courts, which he will assume; and in representing persons, he will allure many who life is not hid with Christ in God. 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 5

Because iniquity abounds, the love of many waxes cold. Why should their love wax cold? Because they have not humbled their hearts and fled to their refuge, Jesus Christ. They thought they know so such that they became fools and allowed themselves to be depraved. Thus many souls will be lost. Worldly plans and devisings, and strange sentiments, and principles will be put forth by the prince of the power of the air, which are directly opposed to the law of God. Here we should reserve all our influence to act, in upholding the truth. 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 6

The sentiments brought to the front by politicians will be voiced by some who claim to be Sabbath-keepers. What angels will attend those in the pulpit as they stand up to give the flock poison instead of pure wheat, thoroughly winnowed? Here is the working of satanic agencies to bring in confusion, to bewitch the minds of old and young. Those who have been walking humbly with God will not be engrossed in advocating either side of this question. They will place themselves under his guardianship, and reveal that they are learning lessons from the Great Teacher, who has said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” [Matthew 11:28.] (See Scripture). 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 7

All this excitement and unrest is placing the mind where it will not dwell upon the truth. Do you suppose that the world, the flesh and the devil would be able to link up those souls who were humble and lowly of heart, and blind their understanding, so that they could not tell what sort of companions they were choosing? If the eyes of many could be opened in their heedless march, they would see a mighty procession of people of all classes, all kinds, all nations, passing in the same ranks, classing themselves as the companions of demons, rapidly moving on in a continually swelling procession to certain ruin. 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 8

What shall I say? The faith of many, including those who preach the Word, must be something different from what it is now, else their future eternal destiny is settled. The Word of God, studied carefully and obeyed, is the only thing that will make man pure and keep him pure. This alone can save him from meddling with all the iniquities that prevail. Christians are to bear the stamp of the King of kings. All in our world are taking sides. This political money strife we are not to take part in. It has come into our ranks. 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 9

There are those who are now under the reproof of the Word of God, even among Seventh-day Adventists, because of the way they acquired their property and use it, as if they owned it and created it, without an eye to the glory of God, and without earnest prayer to direct them in acquitting or using it. They are grasping at a serpent which will sting them as an adder. 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 10

Of God’s people He says, “Her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the Lord; it shall not be laid up.” [Isaiah 23:18.] But many who profess to believe the truth do not want God in their thoughts any more than did the antediluvians or the Sodomites. One sensible thought of God, awakened by the Holy Spirit, would spoil all their schemes. Self, self, self, has been their God, their Alpha and Omega. 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 11

Christians are safe only in acquiring money as God directs, and using it in channels which He can bless. God permits us to use His goods with an eye single to His glory, to bless ourselves that we may bless others. Those who have adopted the world’s maxim and discarded God’s specifications, who grasp all they can obtain of wages or goods, are poor, poor indeed, because the frown of God is upon them. They walk in paths of their own choosing, and do dishonor to God, to truth, to His goodness, to His mercy, His character. 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 12

Now, in probationary time, we are all on test and trial. Satan is working with his deceiving enchantments and bribes, and some will think that by their schemes they have made a wonderful speculation. But lo, as they thought they were rising securely and were carrying themselves loftily in selfishness, they learned that God can scatter faster than they can gather. 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 13

“I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree, yet he passed away, and lo, he was not; yea, I sought him, and he could not be found.” [Psalm 37:35, 36.] He who sees the end from the beginning and who brings order out of confusion, is doing all things well. We will view another side of the picture: “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace.” [Verse 37.] The Word of God is offering all the preparation for eternal life. Our faith must be a faith that works by love and purifies the soul, not defiles faith and practice. Do we believe the Word of God? Are all who profess the truth faithful and true, steadfast to principle? Are we doing missionary work with the spirit of Christ? 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 14

There are men who stand in the pulpits as shepherds, professing to feed the flock. But the sheep are starving for the bread of life. There are long-drawn-out discourses, largely made up of the relation of anecdotes; but the hearts of the hearers are not touched. The feelings of some may be moved, they may shed a few tears, but their hearts are not broken. The Lord Jesus has been present when they have been presenting that which was called sermons, but their words were destitute of the dew and rain of heaven. They evidenced that the anointed ones described in Zechariah (see chapter 4) had not ministered to them, that they might minister to others. When the anointed ones empty themselves through the golden pipes, the golden oil flows out of themselves in the golden bowls, to flow forth into the lamps, the churches. This is the work of every true, devoted servant of the living God. The Lord God of heaven cannot approve much that is brought into the pulpit by those who are professedly speaking the Word of the Lord. They do not inculcate ideas that will be a blessing to those who hear. There is cheap, very cheap fodder placed before the people. 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 15

When the speaker shall, in a haphazard way, strike in any where, as the fancy strikes him, when he talks politics to the people, he is mingling the common fire with the sacred. He dishonors God. He has not real evidence from God that he is speaking the truth. He does his hearers a grievous wrong. He plants seeds which will strike their fibrous roots deep, and they spring up and hear poisonous fruit. How dare men do this? How dare they advance ideas when they do not know certainly whence they came, or that they are the truth? 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 16

Will our brethren bear in mind that we are living amid the perils of the last days? Read Revelation in connection with Daniel. Teach these things. Let discourses be short, spiritual, elevated. Let the preacher be full of the Word of the Lord. Let every man who enters the pulpit know that he has angels from heaven in his audience. And when these angels empty from themselves the golden oil of truth into the heart of him who is teaching the Word, then the application of the truth will be a solemn, serious matter. The angel messengers will expel sin from the heart, unless the door of the heart is padlocked and Christ is refused admission. Christ will withdraw Himself from those who persist in refusing the heavenly blessings that are so freely offered them. 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 17

The Holy Spirit is doing its work on the hearts. But if the ministers have not first received their message from heaven, if they have not drawn their own supplies from the refreshing, life-giving stream, how can they let that flow forth which they have not received? What a thought, that hungry, thirsty souls are sent away empty! A man may lavish all the treasures of his learning, he may exhaust the moral energies of his nature, and yet accomplish nothing, because he himself has not received the golden oil from the heavenly messengers, therefore it cannot flow forth from him, imparting spiritual life to the needy. The tidings of joy and hope must come from heaven. Learn, O, learn of Jesus what it means to abide in Christ! 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 18

If the Christian minister receives the golden oil, he has life, and where there is life there is no stagnation, no dwarfed experience. There is constant growth to the full stature of Christ Jesus. If we have a deep, growing experience in heavenly things, we walk with the Lord as did Enoch. Instead of consenting to the propositions of Satan, there is most earnest prayer for the heavenly anointing, that we may distinguish the right, the heaven-born, from the common. 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 19

If we are fighting in the strength of the Mighty One, we are on the side that will win at last. In the end we shall conquer. The greatest work, the most perilous scenes, are before us. The deadly conflict we must meet. Are we prepared for it? God is still speaking to the children of men. He is speaking in many different ways. Will they hear His voice? Will we place our hands confidingly in His and say, “Lead me, guide me”? 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 20

There is cheap religion in abundance, but there is no such thing as cheap Christianity. Self may figure largely in a false religion but it cannot appear in Christian experience. “Ye are workers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] “Without me,” said Christ, “ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] We cannot be shepherds of the flock unless we are divested of our own peculiar habits, manners, and customs, and come into Christ’s likeness. When we eat His flesh and drink His blood, then the element of eternal life will be found in the ministry. There will not be a fund of stale, oft-repeated ideas. There will be a new perception of truth. 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 21

The Word is the preacher’s light, and as the golden oil empties from the heavenly olive trees into the bowl, it makes the lamp of life flash with a clearness and power that all will discern. Those who have the privileges of sitting under such a ministry will, if their hearts are susceptible to the Holy Spirit’s influence, feel an inner life. The fire of God’s love will be kindled within them. The Bible, the Word of God, is the bread of life. He who feeds the flock of God must himself first eat of the bread which came down from heaven. He will see the truth on every side. He will not venture to come before the people until he has first communed with God. Then he is led to work as Christ worked. He respects the varied minds that compose his audience. He has a word that touches the case of all, not worldly, confusing ideas. He has no right to introduce the worldly perplexities. The bread of life shall satisfy every soul hunger. 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 22

Some who stand in the pulpit make the heavenly messengers in the audience ashamed of them. The precious gospel, which it has cost so much to bring to the world, is abused. There is common, cheap talk, grotesque attitudes and workings of the features. There is with some rapid talking, with others a thick, indistinct utterance. Every one who ministers before the people should feel it a solemn duty to take himself in hand. He should first give himself to the Lord, in complete self-renunciation, determined that he will have none of self, but all of Jesus. 11LtMs, Lt 29, 1896, par. 23