Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Lt 15, 1896

Corliss, J. O.

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, Australia

July 20, 1896

Portions of this letter are published in 8MR 331.

Dear Brother:

In the past I have been much perplexed with reference to the work in Sydney and its suburbs. I could not understand why the work did not prosper, but I now have a better understanding of it, and it is no marvel to me that prosperity did not attend it. A decided change was needed in the hearts of those who were giving the truth to the people, for God could not work while the spirit that was cherished by some of the workers was manifested. 11LtMs, Lt 15, 1896, par. 1

Elder Corliss, you have not always manifested the spirit of Christ. You did not link up closely enough with your brethren, and they stumbled over the spirit you manifested. The hard feelings which you cherished against W. C. White were the out growth of the imaginations of your own heart, and your tirade against him was ill-adapted to better the mistakes you thought he had made. Willie kept this matter entirely from me, but the scene was presented to me by the Watcher who was present. Your wife and daughter heard your words to W. C. White. Was what you said likely to be as a soothing medicine to your wife? Did you give your daughter an object lesson which would be of value to her in after years? 11LtMs, Lt 15, 1896, par. 2

Look back, and see the impetuous temper you have shown at the very time when fiery zeal needed to be repressed. These outbursts do great harm to others, and your life is endangered every time you lose your self-control. No matter what your position in life, all such manifestations of temper are inspired by the enemy of God. Keep out of the pressure of important responsibilities, for if you attempt to carry them, your natural temperament will burst forth like a sweeping hurricane, and this too, when you know that your deeds are witnessed by the universe of heaven. Your greatest danger is your unwillingness to submit to the control of God, who alone can keep you from becoming a channel through which Satan will work, and your inclination to perform an amount of labor disproportionate to your strength. 11LtMs, Lt 15, 1896, par. 3

You overwork, undertaking labor for which you are unfitted by weariness. Your brethren do not require this of you. They beg of you to take a rest; but you are not willing to give the work into other hands. Self wrestles for the mastery, and if it is allowed to gain control, Satan fills your mind with false thoughts against those who are trying to help you. My brother, by your course of action you have done harm to those with whom you are associated, and your brethren have been thrown into great perplexity by your conduct. 11LtMs, Lt 15, 1896, par. 4

Had you linked up with your brethren, had they done far more, and you far less, you would not have lost control of yourself through overwork, and exhibited such an un-Christlike spirit. Far better preach less, and take time to reveal the truths of the gospel in your daily life. If fulfilled, your ambition to carry heavy responsibilities will work harm, not only to yourself, but to others. You have not the experience, gained by faithfulness in little things, which would fit you to fill hard and important places. Christ says to you, “Come apart from the confusion of battle, and rest awhile.” [See Mark 6:31.] 11LtMs, Lt 15, 1896, par. 5

I saw that the Holy Witness came near to you, saying, In mercy and love your brethren have relieved you of heavy responsibilities. This has been a wise course for them to take. You have [felt] yourself competent to undertake important trusts, but you have not rightly estimated your own qualifications. Is it safe for you to feel that you can control and lead the minds of others when you cannot be depended upon to control yourself? 11LtMs, Lt 15, 1896, par. 6

The Lord has helped you in a special manner, but did you give Him all the glory, or did you think that J. O. Corliss should be credited with the ability? The Lord has watched over you, and when He has seen that you were in danger, He has sent you warnings, to save you from the sinful exhibition of yourself, but you have taken yourself into your own hands, shaking off the hands of the Lord, who was trying to place you in a correct position. 11LtMs, Lt 15, 1896, par. 7

Not only do you wrong yourself by this course, but you place stumbling blocks in the way of other feet. Your wife and children will see things just as you see them. You can give a coloring to their ideas which is false and misleading. The Lord loves Sister Corliss; but she has failed decidedly to exercise proper restraint and government over His children. God is not in this. His heart in grieved when by word or action we leave an example which will lead others astray. 11LtMs, Lt 15, 1896, par. 8

God has given you talents and ability, but these gifts are not to be misused and consumed faster than the supply is furnished. What you can do calmly, under the divine guidance of God’s Holy Spirit, that you may venture to do. There must be a change made by you. Before you can properly represent Christ, you must consent to be molded by His Spirit. The zeal you have manifested in your own behalf has been caused by the false impressions you have received. You have given heed to the phantoms Satan has placed before you. 11LtMs, Lt 15, 1896, par. 9

You feel no difficulty about doing what you like, and because of your self-confidence, bungling work has been done. This self-confidence must die, or it will kill your spiritual life. Submit yourself to God, and then you will like to do God’s will. Do not strive eagerly to do some great thing, but be willing to do what ever comes to your hand, if it is the Lord’s work. Keep self under discipline. Keep your tongue as with a bridle. Learn in the school of Christ His meekness and lowliness. Let the peace of God abide in your heart; lean heavily upon God, but do not depend one jot or tittle upon your own strength. The submission God requires of you will make you strong in His strength, wise in His wisdom, a vessel “sanctified and meet for the Master’s use.” [2 Timothy 2:21.] You can be a vessel unto honor only by being meek and lowly. 11LtMs, Lt 15, 1896, par. 10

The Lord has done great things for you. He has greatly blessed you by giving you light upon His Word. If you would eat and digest that Word, which is the flesh and blood of the Son of man, the Lord would give you most precious victories; but He cannot use you in His service while you permit self to appear in your work. You must repress these uprisings if you would be a successful worker in the Lord’s vineyard. If your heart is worked by the Spirit of God, you will impart that which you have received. 11LtMs, Lt 15, 1896, par. 11

God will not work a miracle to counteract a wrong course of action in the home, in the church, or in any line of work. He requires you to follow a consistent course of obedience. He calls for efforts which are in harmony with the Holy Spirit’s action. Your physical and spiritual life are at stake. Watch unto prayer, watch with ceaseless vigilance over the foes which surround you. 11LtMs, Lt 15, 1896, par. 12

God will give you wisdom to use your entrusted talent aright if you will make Him your dependence at all times and in all places. Of yourself you can do nothing, but if you will abide in Christ, if you will yoke up with Him, the tendency to worry and complain, to sympathize with yourself, will be taken out of your life. If you will put your trust in Christ, whose you are by creation and by redemption, consistency will make your performance of the smaller as well as the larger duties. If you will consent to be guided and directed by Him, you will make straight paths for your feet, and the lame will not be turned out of the way by your example. 11LtMs, Lt 15, 1896, par. 13

Your religion must be practiced in the home. You know how to give detailed directions from the Word of God for the guidance of others. If you would carry out these directions in your own life, many a serious error, which now mars your representation of Christ, would be removed. More pleasantness and cheerfulness needs to be brought into your home life. Let no shadows darken your mind, for your home needs an atmosphere of cheerfulness, contentment, and peace. Rich blessings will reward those who endeavor to bring the religion of Christ into the family. God’s Word is true, and must be followed in all the walks of life. 11LtMs, Lt 15, 1896, par. 14

By excluding from our hearts and lives the influence of God’s truth, we exclude the richest blessings God is waiting to bestow upon us. By despising restraint when in the wrong, by taking offense at what others may do, we dishonor God. Think you that the true followers of Christ will meet with not trials and offenses in this life? “Woe unto the world because of offenses,” Christ declares, “for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” [Matthew 18:7.] My brother, cease to fret and complain. Hide yourself in Jesus, and seek power from on high, that you may reveal His meekness and lowliness. If you would have your brethren place confidence in you as a representative of Christ, you must overcome as Christ overcame. 11LtMs, Lt 15, 1896, par. 15