Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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Lt 28, 1896

Eldridge, Captain

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

August 30, 1896

Portions of this letter are published in PM 247; 5Bio 231. +Note

Dear Brother:

I cannot trace with pen and ink the disappointment of my soul as I consider what you might have been had you used and improved your God-given capabilities. But the Lord cannot save the man who has a greater desire to win the crown than he has to bear the cross. The Lord wants men who manifest more anxiety lest they shall fail to do their duty in every respect than they do for their reward. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 1

I speak to you in the name of the Lord. I know you do not see things clearly. When you were receiving large wages from the office you did not give their equivalent in <faithful> influence and work. You were not faithful to keep the charge of the Lord. You have ever valued your labors far more highly than their worth. By exaggerating the value of your own work, you have received the credit of the knowledge and experience which others have brought in to the publishing work. I must tell you the truth: I cannot see how you can ever be connected with such important interests again when the principles interwoven into the work have been so entirely contrary to the light God has given in regard to how His work in business and religious lines should be conducted. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 2

When the complaints came in against Edson, and I was so burdened it seemed to me that I should lose my life, I then had opened before me the principles that had been steadily gaining a foothold in every department of the office. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 3

In intents and purposes, Edson was not guilty of the charge made against him. Those who looked upon him with Pharisaical horror were themselves dealing unjustly, and were working in a concealed manner to carry out their own imaginations. Their influence was doing far more harm, right at the heart of the work, than was Edson, for they were disregarding justice, mercy, and the love of God. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 4

In your letter you speak of helping Edson. At one time I had confidence in you that you did try to help him; but when a true insight into matters was given me, your help was proved to be really a hindrance. Your ideas and work were not of that value you supposed them to be. Still, you shall have the one hundred dollars which, from your standpoint, you think is your due. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 5

I have been shown the inward workings and decisions of your councils and board meetings, the strange positions that have been accepted, the mutual obligations involved, and the binding up of plans and inventions that God does not endorse. But nothing that I could say would change the current of selfish, dishonest practices, for you <and those connected with you> are indifferent to the messages given you of God. You <virtually> say, “I do not care for the testimonies. Men in important and responsible positions do not believe in them, and pay no regard to them, and why should I have faith in them?” This is the spirit that has come in, and controls the work at the present time. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 6

When God sends His messages of warning, and they are turned from with the words, “I do not believe it,” what means has He left to call the deluded soul back to repentance? They care not to obey the “Thus saith the Lord” <in His Word,> and when the message comes through His chosen instrumentalities, they say, “I do not want to hear any more on this subject.” One <has, when reproved,> taken the written words of reproof and throw it in the fire, and another treats it with perfect indifference. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 7

Thus they go on in their own way, doing their own will, and confederating together to devise methods and plans to take from the treasury large wages which they do not earn; they work to rob the workers to whom God has entrusted talents, in order to supply the unjust measure they extract. In other matters also, they deal unfairly, but the books of heaven contain a record of all these dealings. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 8

“Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor.” And why should we do this? The reason is given: “for we are members one of another.” [Ephesians 4:25.] 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 9

There are no men among whom friendship can be preserved true and untainted, without partiality and without hypocrisy, but those who are united by the truth in Jesus Christ. Pure love is not an impulse, a spasmodic feeling, but a principle that is divine, a permanent power. We imbibe it fresh from the current of love that flows from the heart of God. Quickened and sustained by this strong motive, heart is bound to heart, taught by the Holy Spirit of God. The true sons and daughters of God love Him supremely, and one another truly, sincerely, and unaffectedly, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. As branches of the living vine, brothers and sisters of one family, members of one body, branches of one root, we will respect and love one another with pure hearts fervently. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 10

Mutual responsibility, natural obligations, are involved when friendships are formed. Mutual confidence is powerful for good or for evil—the stronger minds over the weaker ones, and also the weaker minds over the stronger. God has given us talents that can, but being sanctified, be exercised for the benefit of one another, or, by being perverted, they may be employed to hurt and injure our fellow men. Our influence is unconsciously always tending to good or evil. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 11

The association one with another of the workers in our publishing institution at Battle Creek has not been pure and clean from dishonest inventions and practices. I cannot possibly give a tithe of the inward workings that have been presented to me; but I can give something of how the Lord regards the principles underlying their course of action, in its perversion of righteousness. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 12

In business transactions, true Christians will use their influence conscientiously and truthfully, in the love and fear of God. But it is a terrible thing to see perverted principles creeping stealthily in as a thief until the self-deluded actors know not, and care less, what they do. The money accepted in the high wages, by those who were deluded by the tempter, was dishonesty. <Even> had they done real service, they had not tact, ability, nor skill to demand such wages. But when they were bringing in their own imaginings, and showing a masterly spirit, as though they were lords over minds and hearts, they were doing the work of the enemy. Money was received for introducing wrong plans and methods and principles, which have misrepresented the teachings and character of true Christianity. <Some> were traitors, rather than co-laborers with Jesus Christ. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 13

Now, my brother, I do not know that you yourself would do any better than these have done, or are doing. Surely your experience in the past has not been of that character to evidence that you were fitted, by experience, to stand in so a responsible a position. When light was shining forth upon you in clear distinct rays from heaven, when I stood [for] over two years in Battle Creek <in vindication of right against wrong,> you were continually saying, “I have no experience.” The class of experience you received in your connection with the publishing institution was not of the right quality. It did not bear the right credentials. Sacred, eternal interests were brought down to a level with common things. Those who should, by precept and example, have been a help to you were as guide posts pointing in the wrong direction. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 14

Being placed in a responsible position as you were, in connection with the highest interest that exists in our world, with as limited an experience as you <acknowledged you> possessed in regard to the work which you were handling—surrounded with men in various positions of trust, of grave and solemn responsibility, who manifested that they were not led and taught and controlled by the Spirit of God—left such impressions upon your mind, and exerted such an influence upon you, that in place of doing the work as God would have it done, that it might bear the inspection of His all-seeing eye, there has been marked deficiencies. You could not bear the test. Far less could you now stand in a high position of trust with the elements that are now composing council and board meetings; where, if things move in a wrong direction, and a dissenting voice is heard, “Why do ye so?” that voice is speedily silenced—a special position is found for him in some place “where his help is needed.” Council and board meetings will not make room for him; his room is considered far better than his company. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 15

The man who is willing and anxious to be educated in regard to the fulfillment of his duties, in fear and love of God as a moral accountable agent, will find a Helper who is higher and mightier than can be found in connection with any human companion. God is the presiding power to whom man is to look for his orders. “As a man thinketh, so is he.” “A tree is known by its fruit.” [Proverbs 23:7; Matthew 12:33.] Every man decides his own destiny. If he insists upon conditions of favor and remuneration which he supposes his services command, but which are out of proportion to the work performed, he is doing a wrong that will mold his spirit, and form a character that is unlike the character of Christ. The spirit of selfishness bears the rebuke of God. It is in opposition to the lessons we are to learn during our probationary time from our great teacher Jesus Christ, and is contrary to the spirit of the gospel. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 16

Every one who strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. The enlargement of conveniences, the desire for self-indulgence, will lead to an extravagant disposition of means that will make the human agent a slave to circumstances. If he would restrict his wants, the lust of the eyes, conquer the pride of position and appearance, and would manifest an earnestness in doing the work of God intelligently, if he would strive to become a faithful steward of God’s sacred trusts, he would grow in wisdom, strength, and understanding, and would obtain increased ability with every encumbrance and difficulty and apparent adversity. Trials and obstacles are the Lord’s chosen methods of discipline, and His appointed conditions of true success. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 17

Those who will have sumptuous fare, and selfish temporal indulgences, are not the men to be connected with God’s sacred work. They will be seduced by ambitious projects and unbelief, from the humble, self-denying path that every Christian must consent to travel. Any other path but the “way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment” [Genesis 18:19] is a byway that leadeth not to the city of God. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 18

Jesus has plainly specified the conditions of discipleship: “He that will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me, so shall he be my disciple.” [See Luke 9:23.] Those who appreciate these words, and are doers of the Word will maintain a close connection with Christ. They are permitted to become partakers with Christ of His sufferings, that they may have the joy of being partakers also with Him of His glory. They will all be tested and tried; they will all pass through periods of temptation and darkness. There will be times of serious self-examination and close investigation of the Word of God, to see whether they are in the faith; but these experiences will give them a higher perception of what Christ is to them, and of what they may be to Christ in co-partnership in His great work. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 19

The Holy Spirit will impress the mind and form the character for their high and sacred vocation of being co-laborers with God. Such souls will grow in faith. There will never come from their lips the words, “I have no experience.” They <will determine they> will have an experience of a high order. Fancy and ambition will not be woven into their experience; but they will have a sober, sacred sense of the holy character of their work. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 20

God’s Word is to discern between true religion and false, between the divine and the earthly; and that Word is the standard by which actions are weighed. What that Word teaches is spirit and life. That which it forbids, the Christian conscientiously avoids. He yields his understanding, his conscience, his will, his affections—his life—to its control. Its teachings—by precept and example—are the very life of the believer. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 21

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] Do we inquire what God will require of us in return for the life of His only begotten Son? The Lord will accept of nothing less than entire consecration. His sons and daughters are to be one with Him, ever ready, not only to receive favors at His hands, but to suffer privation and to endure shame for His sake. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 22

Every soul entrusted with responsibilities in the work and cause of God have an experience to obtain—an experience of an entirely different order than that which they have been passing through—if they would escape from the net with which Satan has entangled their feet. There is only one way of escape: they must repent and be converted, for unless they do this, they will never see the kingdom of heaven. God calls upon them to return to their first love, and live in the sunshine of divine grace, to discard the idea that they can walk in the sparks of their own kindling. Instead of being filled with pride and self-sufficiency, manifested in a domineering spirit, God would have them come under the power of Omnipotence. Faith and joy and hope in the Holy Ghost will impart to them light and strength to guide them in the path of obedience to the Word of God. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 23

Every human being must humble himself if he would be lifted up. Those who are now occupying positions of trust will have to overcome all their masterly dictation, and authoritative control, or the Lord will humble them under His mighty hand. It would be far better for the cause of God if every soul who will not learn the meekness and loveliness of Christ, who will not wear His yoke and help to bear His burdens, would choose some other calling than to remain in connection with a work that is holy. God wants none to enter His work who will not carry into their lives the deep laid holy principles which He Himself has established. Man-made theories and maxims cannot be productive of happiness and joy. All who are controlled by the spirit of selfishness, who are working to serve their own special interest, who are determined not to come into line with Christ, had better separate themselves at the earliest opportunity from the work of God. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 24

I have only touched on matters in this letter; but I now entreat of you to try your past and present experience by the Word, the living oracles of God. “Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of.” [2 Corinthians 7:10.] If you can discern the mistakes of the past, you can be made to sorrow after a godly manner. I beseech of you to obtain a genuine experience in the things of God. Do not, for your soul’s sake, rest upon a supposed hope, but have a genuine experience in vital piety. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 25

I have too great love for you, my brother, to flatter you; this is Satan’s special work. I love you both, Brother and Sister Eldridge, and I ask you to come up from the lowlands of earth into a pure and more elevated atmosphere. Seek the Lord, O, seek Him while He may be found; call ye upon Him while He is near. Do not accept the record of your past service in connection with the work of God as just about right. God has not written it thus in the books of heaven. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 26

“Unto you who believe he is precious.” [1 Peter 2:7.] Have you sought the Lord for divine enlightenment? Do you prize the blessings of God and the righteousness of Christ above worldly inducement and the praise of men? May the Lord open your eyes that you may see where you have made mistakes, The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness and peace in the Holy Ghost. The religion of Christ consists in walking uprightly. The interest of the universe <of heaven is deeply interested> in the choice which humanity shall make. A heaven of happiness and bliss is prepared for the overcomer. All heaven will enter into co-partnership with you if you will come to Christ for eternal life. Then come to Him in meekness, as a little child, as one who has made a surrender to God, and then stand under the bloodstained banner of Prince Immanuel. Then you will keep God’s principles firm and uncorrupted, and He will work in you, increasing your intellectual and moral efficiency. Daily you may grow in favor with God and man, and be fitted to have God’s image restored in you. Then you can and will act in connection with Christ, as a brother and benefactor in the great web of humanity. May God bless you is my prayer. 11LtMs, Lt 28, 1896, par. 27