Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Lt 67, 1896

McCullagh, Brother and Sister

Sunnyside, Cooranbong, Australia

March 30, 1896

This letter is published in entirety in 18MR 42-53. +Note

Dear Brother and Sister McCullagh:

I have been glad to receive encouraging letters from you. I am anxious that in every respect both of you shall meet the approval of God. Bear in mind that in every place which you may visit, your influence needs to be strictly guarded. From the light which God has given me, I see that you need to feel a pure, unselfish interest in your work. Unknown to yourselves, you have exerted an influence which has had a tendency to <disparage> your fellow laborers. Your words have created disaffection in the churches which you have visited, and you have given the impression that your ability was not appreciated. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 1

By mentioning little things which others have done or said, by talking of that which was born of your own imaginings, you have cast suspicion upon others and gathered sympathy to yourselves. Your course of action should have been different from this, for seeds of this kind soon render your labor useless, and deprive the churches of the help they should receive from the one who is appointed by the Lord to work among them. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 2

The Lord has given you talents for His service, and He longs to see you reveal Him to others. You have an influence with people; your speaking is acceptable to them. But you need to give more time and more earnest study to the Bible. I have been shown that you have done too much preaching and have given too little time to the study of the Word of God, which alone can make you an able and efficient workman. In your speaking, you too often wander from the subject, not giving necessary clearness to a few vital points. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 3

When you thus rapidly advance, touching here and there, every thought does not stand out clearly and distinctly. Before your hearers can see the thought which is of essential importance, you pass on to something else. Because of this, sufficient force is not given to each point. The power that would rivet the thoughts in the mind is wanting, and your hearers cannot carry away with them all that they might were the subject presented differently. They do not realize that they have heard the Word of God, not the word of man. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 4

You need to gather every ray of light that you can find upon the essential points of truth, and then when you are speaking, make the most of these points. Give them all the force you can by presenting them in a clear, concise manner, fastening down the evidence on these points like a nail in a sure place. Make a straight, clear application, and then call for a decision. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 5

It is upon this point that Brother Starr makes a decided mistake. You have noticed this error in him, and remarked upon it, but you yourself have needed to reform. I hoped that you would improve the opportunity given the workers in Sydney to learn of these things, that you might present the evidence of our faith in a clear, connected manner, and also teach others to do this. You could have learned many valuable lessons from Elder Corliss on this point. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 6

Elder Corliss is a man of power. He has a clear conception of vital truth, and has an influence over others. He was grieved that you did not receive the help in the study of the Bible that he thought you needed. He erred in feeling hurt that you did not manifest a deeper interest in the study of the Word of God that was conducted in Sydney; but you erred also in withdrawing yourself from needed help. The Lord has not given you, or any other brother or sister, liberty to withdraw from the help and knowledge which Elder Corliss’s long experience would have given you. You cannot be his judge; for you are finite, and cannot read the hearts of men. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 7

I am sorry that Elder Corliss, by his impetuous spirit, has weakened his influence with you and others. But this has not weakened his influence with me. I know that this hastiness of temper in his infirmity. He will always have to guard against this failing. But rejoice to think that he has made such good use of the time and ability which God has given him. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 8

Had Elder Corliss made a tirade against me, whom he calls mother, I should have felt sorry, because of the injury done to himself and to the cause of God. But I would not have turned away from him. He loves the truth, and the Lord loves him. After these outbursts, he feels sorry enough, and at such times he needs the grace of the Lord and the help of his brethren, that he may make decided efforts to overcome. “Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned; behold the judge standeth before the door.” “Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.” [James 5:9, 17.] 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 9

There is danger that much will be made of the supposed mistakes of Elder Corliss during the progress of the work in Sydney, and that this will be given as a reason for the failure of this effort. But if this is done, it will be doing Elder Corliss great injustice, for it is not true. The hearts and minds of all the workers in Sydney needed to be purified; for the spirit evidence by them grieved the Holy Spirit of God. Some were covetous; they desired promotion; they sought to be first; they were too ready to accuse their brethren of making mistakes, attributing the failure of the work to these mistakes. But God would have his workers lay down the burden of upholding and sustaining themselves lest they be not properly esteemed. Let them put their trust in the Lord God of Israel, He will keep them by His power, enabling them to do their appointed work acceptably. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 10

All who are laborers together with God should regard the salvation of souls as their highest interest. Self must be hid in Christ. The conversation should not take a pitying, self-righteous turn, for when this is done, Christ is eclipsed and self is made prominent. We interpose ourselves between Christ and those whose Christian experience is weak and who need help in many lines. Under this influence, those whom we try to help will in their turn exert a wrong influence, and will hinder the spiritual advancement of other souls. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 11

My brother, the Lord loves you, and I am aroused at two o’clock in the morning to write you these things which force themselves upon my mind. By your own choice you may place yourself under influences which will help you to form a character for the kingdom of God and make your work acceptable, or you may receive into your life that which will make your life a failure. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 12

It is of the greatest importance that ministers and workers set a right example. If they hold and practice lax, loose principles, their example is quoted by those who love to talk rather than to practice, as a full vindication of their course of action. Every mistake that is made grieves the heart of Jesus and does injury to the influence of the truth, which is the power of God for the salvation of souls. The whole synagogue of Satan watches for mistakes in the lives of those who are seeking to represent Christ, and the most is made of every defection. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 13

Take head lest by your example you place other souls in peril. It is a terrible thing to lose our own souls, but to pursue a course which will cause the loss of other souls, is still more terrible. That our influence should result in being a savor of death unto death is a terrible thought, and yet it is possible. With what holy jealousy, then, should we keep guard over our thoughts, our words, our habits, our dispositions, and our characters. God requires more deep personal holiness on our part. Only by revealing His character can we co-operate with Him in the work of saving souls. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 14

The Lord’s workers cannot be too careful that their actions do not contradict their words, for a consistent life alone can command respect. If our practice harmonizes with our teaching, our words will have effect; but a piety which is not based upon conscientious principles is as salt without a savor. To speak, and do not is as a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. It is of no use for us to strive to inculcate principles which we do not conscientiously practice. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 15

Watch unto prayer. In this way alone can you put your whole being into the Lord’s work. Self must be put in the back-ground. Those who make self prominent gain an education that soon becomes second nature to them, and they will soon fail to realize that instead of uplifting Jesus, they uplift themselves; instead of being channels through which the living water can flow to refresh others, they absorb the sympathies and affections of those around them. This is not loyalty to our crucified Lord. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 16

We are ambassadors for Christ, and we are to live, not to save our reputation, but to save perishing souls from perdition. Our daily endeavor should be to show them how they may gain truth and righteousness. Instead of trying to elicit sympathy for ourselves, by giving others the impression that we are not appreciated, we are to forget self entirely; and if we fail to do this, through want of spiritual discernment and vital piety, God will require at our hands the souls of those for whom we should have labored. He has made provision that every worker in His service may have grace and wisdom, that they may become living epistles, known and read of all men. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 17

By watchfulness and prayer we may accomplish just what the Lord designs that we shall. Be faithful, painstaking discharge of our duty, by watching for souls as they that must give account, we may remove every stumbling block out of the way of others. By earnest warnings and entreaties, with our own souls drawn out in tender solicitude for those that are ready to perish, we may win souls to Christ. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 18

I would that all my brethren and sisters would remember that it is a serious thing to grieve the Holy Spirit; and it is grieved when the human agent seeks to work himself, and refuses to enter the service of the Lord because the cross is too heavy or the self-denial too great. The Holy Spirit seeks to abide in each soul. If it is welcomed as an honored guest, those who receive it will be made complete in Christ. The good work begun will be finished; and holy thoughts, heavenly affections, and Christlike actions will take the place of impure thoughts, perverse sentiments, and rebellious acts. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 19

The Holy Spirit is a divine Teacher. If we will heed its lessons, we shall become wise unto salvation. But we need to guard well our hearts, for too often we forget the heavenly instructions we have received, and seek to act out the natural inclinations of our unconsecrated minds. Each one must fight his own battle against self. Heed the teachings of the Holy Spirit. If this is done, they will be repeated again and again, until the impressions are, as it were, lead on the rock forever. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 20

God has bought us, and He claims a throne in each heart. Our minds and bodies must be subordinated to Him; and the natural habits and appetites must be made subservient to the higher wants of the soul. But we can place no dependence upon ourselves in this work. we cannot with safety follow our own guidance. The Holy Spirit must renew and sanctify us. And in God’s service there must be no halfway work. Those who profess to serve God and yet indulge their natural impulses will mislead other souls. Said Christ, “Thou shalt love the Lord with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” [Mark 12:30.] “This do, and thou shalt live.” [Luke 10:28.] 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 21

“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we are incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air. But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, ... I myself should be a castaway.” [1 Corinthians 9:24-27.] 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 22

The Lord has given His people a message in regard to health reform. This light has been shining upon their pathway for thirty years, and the Lord cannot sustain His servants in a course which will counteract it. He is displeased when His servants act in opposition to the message upon this point, which He has given them to give to others. Can He be pleased when half the workers laboring in a place teach that the principles of health reform are as closely allied with the third angel’s message as the arm is to the body, while their co-workers, by their practice, teach principles that are entirely opposite? This is regarded as a sin in the sight of God, and is one reason why He could not give greater success to the work in Sydney. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 23

My brother, you must no longer <disparage> the messengers and the message God has sent you in regard to the principles of healthful living. Testimony after testimony has been given which should have brought about great reforms; but at home and abroad your life has been a decided witness against the warnings which the Lord has sent. And nothing brings such discouragement upon the Lord’s watchmen as to be connected with those who have mental capacity, and who understand the reasons of our faith, but by precept and example manifest indifference to moral obligations. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 24

The light which God has given upon health reform cannot be trifled with without injury to those who attempt it; and no man can hope to succeed in the work of God while by precept and example he acts in opposition to the light which God has sent. The voice of duty is the voice of God, an inborn, heaven-sent guide; and the Lord will not be trifled with upon these subjects. He who disregards the light which God has given in regard to the preservation of health revolts against his own good, and refuses to obey the One who is working for his best good. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 25

It is the duty of every Christian to follow that course of action which the Lord has designated as right for His servants. He is ever to remember that God and eternity are before him, and he should not disregard his spiritual and physical health even though tempted by wife, children, or relatives to do so. “If the Lord be God, follow him; if Baal, follow him.” [1 Kings 18:21.] 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 26

The principles of health reform, right or wrong, which are adopted by those who give the Word of God to others, will have a molding influence upon his work, and upon those with whom he labors. If his principles are wrong, he can and will misrepresent the truth to others. If he accepts the truth which appeals to reason rather than to perverted appetite, his influence for the right will be decided. The truth will be in his heart as a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 27

God’s instruction is not “Yea and Nay,” but “Yea and Amen” in Christ Jesus [2 Corinthians 1:18-20], and His workers are called upon to remember that they cannot drift alone with unsettled principles, which are warped and distorted by impulse, without misrepresenting the truth which they profess, and doing a lasting injury to their own souls. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 28

My brother and sister, if you would be a savor of life unto life, it is essential that a change be made in your experience, and in the experience of your child. Sister McCullagh’s management in the home has not pleased the Lord; your daughter has not had proper training; she has not been brought up with the careful restraint that God requires. In the home and in the world the [love] of God must occupy the first place. God must be enthroned in each heart. Every rival influence, be it husband, wife, or child, which would take the homage which rightly belongs to him, must be given up. There must be no mismanagement on the part of the mother in the training of the child for this example will do injury to other mothers and children. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 29

Every true servant of God will guard closely the citadel of the soul, lest the things of earth steal his affections from God. God lays no burden upon His servants that they are not able to bear. “He knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” [Psalm 103:14.] “In the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength” [Isaiah 26:4], and this strength He waits to bestow upon every asking soul. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 30

It is a very easy thing to talk of the truth with the lips; but if the heart is not true and loyal to God and His requirements, our preaching does no good. This is Sister McCullagh’s danger. She draws nigh to God with her lips, but her heart is far from Him. While professing the truth, she does not practice it. And her influence has done more to darken the mind and experience of Brother McCullagh than all other influences combined. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 31

My brother, set your own home in order. If this is not done, you will be more trammeled by the wrong influence felt there than by any other power that can be brought against you. Day by day you are both determining what your soul shall live upon. Will you eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God, which is His Word, or will you allow your future to be piloted by influences which are opposed to the truth of God, because the wishes of your natural heart are contrary to the principles given by God to His people? 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 32

From the light which was given me while in New Zealand, I must advise you to find a home for your wife and child where they may stay while you go out and labor among the people. It is not best that they accompany you where God may call you, for they do not add to your influence, but rather detract from it. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 33

As soon as you decide where you wish to go, I will renew the offer which I made to you when you were in Cooranbong. I will help you to get a little home of your own, where your wife and child can be pleasantly located. They can have a cow, some chickens, and a garden. This would not only be a blessing to them, but to you, for you would have a place to which you could go when tired, where you could obtain rest and physical exercise. If this is done, your life may be long spared to do the work of the Lord. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 34

I have written many things to you, but have withheld them knowing that you were not in a condition to hear them. But I fear that you will never be where the Holy Spirit desires you should be unless you receive the testimony which the Lord has given you. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 35

God would have you pure and free and happy. Put self out of sight, and keep the glory of God in view. Depend on God for enlightenment in regard to your spiritual growth. Do not neglect to look to Jesus, who is seeking to mould and fashion you after His image. If you will consent, He will lead you on till at length you reach perfection. He will renew you more and more till you are complete in Him. Never depart from your Leader. He alone can lead you in safe paths. He alone can heal all your wounds. In every time of need He will give you comfort and consolation. Will you trust in Him? 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 36

But if the Lord gives you success in winning souls to Him, never entertain the idea that your own hand has gotten you the victory. Give the praise and honor and glory to Him. And while you may speak the Word of God with all fervor to the people, laboring for Christ’s sake to save perishing souls, do not forget that you are to take care of yourself. Do not injure your vocal organs by rapid speaking. Educate yourself to speak slowly, using the abdominal muscles. Do not pitch your voice in a high key, for this strains the throat, and the Lord desires that you shall preserve your vocal organs. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 37

I know, Brother McCullagh, that you have a very sensitive spirit. These plainly spoken words may displease you, but I offer no apology, for I have only done my duty in laying the truth before you. I write them in the fear of the Lord because I love you both. I have a deep interest in you, not because I think you are perfect, but because the Lord loves you, and longs to see you revealing Him to the world. Think me not your enemy because I tell you the truth; let not the words I have written discourage you, but let them restore, strengthen, and uphold you. I respect and love you both, and, for this reason I entreat you heed the message God has given me for you. Do not lightly esteem the voice of the Holy Spirit. God wants you to have liberty in Him, and by placing yourself in His hands, you may abound in every good work, and represent Him to the world. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 38

In much love. 11LtMs, Lt 67, 1896, par. 39