Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 115a, 1897

A Plea for Brotherly Unity


October 27, 1897

Portions of this manuscript are published in SD 30; 3MR 249, 308-309; 9MR 163-164. +Note

I have been listening to the words of my Guide in regard to Elder Corliss, and the substance of them was this: 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 1

The blood being attracted to the weakest point, there is a wearing of the channel through which the blood flows. This condition of things is making his condition a critical one, and his brethren will need to exercise great caution, that they may not excite by any course of action. Unless this human agent shall change his course of action in continuous labor, and submit to have the peace of God rule in his heart, there will be a rush of blood to the brain, which will disqualify him for labor. He will counteract his own work. The Lord will not, cannot, help His servant, unless he will co-operate with God, unless he will stop worrying and trust in the Lord. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 2

When the enemy stirs up his mind to dwell upon subjects which will lead him to speak unadvisedly, he speaks many things which he supposes to be truth, but which are not true. He is led on and on to great lengths in evil, criticizing in a most unsparing manner. If he would consider Christ, if he would learn in the school of Christ His meekness and lowliness, if he would realize that of himself he is nothing, the Lord Jesus would be his Pattern, and his efficiency to reach that Pattern, and make him to sit together in heavenly places with Christ Jesus. He would absorb and manifest the spirit of Christ. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 3

All the grace of God is given to every individual who teaches the truth, if he himself will be a learner in the school of Christ. That meekness and lowliness which is revealed in the character of Christ is the most important lesson he can daily and hourly learn. It is the Spirit itself that teaches and enlightens. The most powerful preaching of the Word, the reading of the Scriptures, will not be able to transform the character and save souls unless the Spirit works with and through the human agents. The planning and devising must not be of a character to draw attention to self. The Word is a power, a sword, in the hands of the human agent, but the Holy Spirit in its power is the efficiency to impress the mind. “They shall be all taught of God.” [John 6:45.] It is God that causes the light to shine into hearts. Will all my ministering brethren remember this? It is essential that God be recognized as the source of our strength, as a Comforter. The reason why God can do so little for us is that we forget that living virtue in the Holy Spirit is to combine with the human agent. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 4

Elder Corliss, look away from yourself. Trust not in yourself. Have faith in God. Through your strong feelings, the blood veins are filled with blood, and you are in serious danger of losing your life. Therefore you need to place yourself in a position where you will not have upon you a pressure of the necessity of continuous labor, and where you must have the guidance and control of others. Your impetuosity must be under the control of higher powers, else you will make great trouble for yourself and for those who are associated with you. Wherever you may be you will utter words of accusation against the brethren. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 5

When Moses spoke unadvisedly, it caused the displeasure of God. Moses represented God before the people, and in this instance gave great occasion for others to quote him and God to be dishonored in His representative man. Satan obtained vantage ground. Satan is watching his chance to make impressions upon the minds of others, and these impressions will be just as he designs them to be. But God would have every soul yoke up with Him, and not pull their own way, which is sometimes decidedly counter to the way and will of God; and on any occasion when this is done, Satan means to use it to unsettle the faith of these. Men will be blessed in drawing evenly with Christ, elevating in Christ’s ways, and blessing others. Abraham and Lot in their tents could not agree. Strife arose between the herdsmen because the grazing ground for their cattle was not sufficient for their large herds and flocks. Abraham was always seeking for peace. He would make any sacrifice if he could glorify God in so doing. And the Lord was pleased with Abraham. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 6

The Lord will lead and guide the human agent if he will only be guided. But there is constant danger of man placing himself in God’s place, and feeling all sufficient in himself. The Lord will continue to work through the human instrumentality if he will be molded by the Holy Spirit of God, for then he will represent the character of Christ and the truth will maintain its divine power. Fresh manna will be given to the hungry sheep of the Lord’s flock. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 7

Some are much more inclined than others to mingle self with their work. Human wisdom leads away from holiness. The words that are spoken unadvisedly, in expressions of doubt and in accusing of the brethren, are as seed sown which will spring up and bear fruit, when circumstances shall be favorable, producing a harvest of unbelief and apostasy. Elder Corliss must be converted every day, else his words are liable to do great injury to minds and hearts of those whom Satan shall tempt. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 8

I was shown that we must carefully guard every moment. O how little the brethren understand the workings of Satan, his vigilance, his unceasing efforts to overcome the human mind. Why do we not awake? Why not arouse? Why not cling to God? 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 9

The case of Moses should ever be a lesson to our ministering brethren. The Lord sees the human temperament, and He knows our every danger. The case of Moses is placed on record that we shall not do as Moses did—speak unadvisedly with his lips and give Satan an opportunity to triumph over the people of God. If the eyes of our ministering brethren could be opened, they would see that the Lord requires of them a most thorough transformation of character. They are not vessels emptied of self. The course pursued by Elder Daniells on the Ashfield campground was not a right course. He excluded from his confidence and counsel his brother ministers. He linked up with Brother Rousseau, and both were on the wrong boat. The two gave little heed to the instruction of the Spirit of God, and would leave the encampment and remain away for hours in the city of Sydney, without giving their brethren any reason for their absence. Was God in this? Not at all. This is the danger of Brother Daniells. He has not keen perception to reason from cause to effect concerning his own course of action. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 10

The movements of these brethren caused us a great deal of trouble. Elder Daniells and Rousseau have placed W. C. White and myself in very unpleasant circumstances. Brethren McCullagh and Corliss felt very much annoyed. They left the grounds, giving no counsel as to what they should do. These ministers needed to counsel together in reference to many things. A spirit of disaffection came in. W. C. White would not participate in the murmuring and complaints of Elder Daniells. He tried to quiet their minds, and because he did not unite with these men, they accused him of being two-sided. They knew that he must see the inconsistency of the course of Elders Daniells and Rousseau. From that time Brother McCullagh talked his doubts, and declared that he would not link up with Brother Daniells, saying that he was not designing in this movements. This brought these men no nearer to each other. W. C. White would not increase the fever of disaffection, and urged me to say everything possible to show them that it was wrong to give expression to their feelings. Where this thing will end we know not. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 11

O why cannot men be wise, and true and God-fearing? Abraham would do anything to save contention. He was always seeking for peace. He would make any sacrifice rather than have contention. He gave Lot, who was the younger, the choice of the country, and advised a separation without strife. In the simplicity and the greatness of his soul he said, “If thou wilt go to the left, I will go to the right. If thou wilt take the right hand, I will go to the left.” [Genesis 13:9.] 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 12

This is the spirit that should prevail in our association with one another. If there is to be a constant distrust of brethren in the ministry one with another, let them take one the right hand and the other the left. Let not God be dishonored with dissension, jealousy, and strife. But, Brother Corliss, you will take the same body, the same spirit, with you wherever you go. The Lord can and will work in your behalf if you will let Him. But if you take yourself out of the hand of God, you will mar the interest in every place that you go. By your impetuous, restless self becoming mixed in the truth, you will spoil its effect. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 13

You are to be careful not to set aside the wisdom of God. Truth and righteousness will always prevail. Others, Elder Corliss, as well as yourself have a dispensation of the gospel committed to them. What attributes are the most prized and most sought for in man by our Redeemer—He who was crucified to save and uplift mankind?—charity, purity, and fidelity. “Everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. ... If we love one another God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. ... God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him.” [1 John 4:7, 12, 16.] 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 14

Be careful, Elder Corliss, be careful. The gospel demands that man shall love God with all the heart, and his neighbor as himself. Upon these two principles hangs the entire law and the prophets. This is glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, goodwill toward men. The Holy Spirit and the Word agree, and the Word is to be acted out. In all hearts from age to age there is to be the divine unity expressed in the universal infinity and brotherhood. Then there will be order and harmony in the church. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 15

Brother Corliss, when you change your course of thought, your actions will change. The Lord says to you, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your soul.” [Matthew 11:29.] This will fit you up. This will have a controlling influence upon your impetuosity. This will make you one with Christ. But I have a word from the Lord to you. Enter into no controversy with any opposer of the truth. It is calculated to awaken in you a retaliating spirit. Keep your own soul in love and peace and quietude with God. Then the Lord will be your mouthpiece. You are not to be ever thirsting after a fairer range and wider sphere in which to exercise your powers. Take them you will, but your restless spirit becomes disappointed, and the responsibilities are your own. You can never get beyond the domain of God, but too often you revolt against His authority and control. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 16

This morning I awake at one o’clock. I try to sleep, but cannot, and I must relieve my soul of its burden. Elder Corliss, we were talking yesterday of the dangers that threaten the conference under the administration of Elder Daniells. Last night I was in a solemn meeting, and from the light given me in that counsel, there is great danger on your part. While I see the danger of Elder Daniells thinking that he constitutes the conference, and that his mind and judgment is to be the controlling power, you are in danger of acting a similar part. Were you in Elder Daniells’s place, you would not do as well as he has done. You may not realize this, therefore be sparing in your words of censure and condemnation of his course of action. You and Brother McCullagh are in positive danger. You would exalt self, and become a power to rule. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 17

Therefore be chaste in your words, and let not the leaven of disaffection work in you, and out of you to others. The servants of God must not strive. By patient continuance in well-doing you will receive the approval of God. The praise of any man is not of much value, because he may often make a mistake, and flatter where he should admonish. The Lord is waiting to do more for His people, much more through human agencies, if they will consent to be worked [by], and not want to work, the Holy Spirit. The Lord will be constantly unfolding the precious truths revealed in His Word. But there should be a constant striving for unity in judgment, in spirit, of those who minister in the Word. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 18

The Holy Spirit is not imparted alone to one man or to the ministry alone. The Holy Spirit has been given to the church, that through her individual members she may be a light burning in the world. If she will not take the glory to herself, the Lord will be her constant guide. For this reason there must not be one man who will consider himself so perfect in judgment that he needs no instruction. We are not to lead the people to look to any human being to be told their duty, but to depend upon God, and then freely to counsel together in the spirit of kindness. Amid a multitude of counsellors there is safety. If these men will look for instruction from God, they will have something to present which God has given them. The truths, which have been lost sight of and buried up by error, will be made to appear and shine as precious jewels amid the moral darkness. The Holy Spirit is to be our enlightener. It is needed by every agent. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 19

There is danger of ministers and presidents of conferences assuming to know too much themselves, and manifesting little genuine love for, and confidence in, our people. The people are to be educated to search the Scriptures for themselves. The Holy Spirit is to work, molding every man after the similitude of Christ, but they are to be subject one to another. The great mistake of those who minister in Word and doctrine has been in failing to consider that God works in His church as well as with the preacher. They must see in the individual members those whom God has selected as His chosen ones, to do a work in well-matured, thoughtful labor for the saving of the souls of those who are in the darkness of error. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 20

The ministers must give ample encouragement. Then there will be less contention, less striving for the mastery to secure the highest places where they will become leaders. The Holy Spirit has much more to teach the church, when its members will become attentive hearers. Then there will be a setting forth of divine truths, precious and glorious. The Lord would have the teachers lead the church upward, and in no case give the impression that it need not be shouldered by responsibilities, for if the church members will walk humbly with God, the Spirit of God can and will reveal to them with power the divine truth from His Word. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 21

The Lord honors and gives wisdom to the men who are content to receive instruction at the hands of God. His voice is heard in His Word. Their meekness, their submission to God, their love for the brethren is the credentials they bear to the world that God has sent Christ His Son into the world. The truth is adapted to the soul’s pressing needs and to the demands of a perishing world. But, my brother, you must realize that in order to retain the Christian confidence of your brethren, you must put the bridle on the spirit, the tongue will not utter perverse things. The Lord would have you act a prominent part in this holy warfare of error against truth, and you be permitted to shine as a living stone that compiles the temple of God. God has a work for you to do just as your life shall be linked up with Christ, and you are meek and lowly in heart. Will you allow your heart to be distrusting God? You do this when you utter words of fault-finding with your brethren. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 22

Put away your feelings against Elder Daniells right here on the ground. You are to be in unity, not because he is perfect; he makes mistakes. He is making mistakes on this ground. But the Lord’s eye is upon him; he is beloved of God. And if you do not cling closely to God, you will make much graver mistakes than he has made. The Lord pities and loves you, and wants that you should bear the banner of truth to the very close of the warfare. The Lord loves Elder Daniells, and He will reprove and instruct you both when you err. It is not best for you to pull apart from Elder Daniells. Come close together in brotherly unity. Be sure that God has a right to interfere with your plans and his plans if they do not honor His holy name. Neither of you are any too good or too wise to be under the control of God. Will you seek to empty your soul of everything like accusing? 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 23

“Ye are laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] Both yourself and Brother Daniells are highly favored in being called the sons of God. Brother Corliss, you are to be an ensample to the flock. Your hasty, unadvised words are harmful, and are giving to the world and to your brethren an education which they do not need. They close the hearts of others to divine influences. They foster a spirit of self-esteem, and contradict the instruction you have given to the people in regard to practical godliness. While proclaiming the allegiance of the people to the law of God, you are departing from its holy precepts by bearing false witness against your brethren. You are leavening the minds of others with distrust, and weakening their faith in God’s instrumentalities as they behold your strength and understanding in opening the Scriptures, while you do not come under the discipline of the Word yourself. If your mind is not changed, the result will be that the experience of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram will be realized in our very midst. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 24

It is this that has weakened the confidence of your American brethren in you, and the same will be the result in Australia. You know not what will be the result of your course of action. I lift the danger signal, for you need to be warned. Unless a decided change shall take place in you, you will have no rest in spirit. Wherever you may be called to labor, and you still cherish this spirit of criticism and faultfinding, and allow your feelings to run riot, you cannot have the right influence upon the workers. A teachable, expectant spirit must be encouraged, that the truth can be revealed in the power of the Spirit. Your words are calculated to undermine the faith of some you do not dream of by creating suspicion and lack of confidence in men whom God is teaching and leading and guiding, and you will not find it an easy matter to take out of the mind that which you have planted of questioning and of doubt. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 25

There are individuals who will find as much cause to question you as you have found to question and criticize in others. Your life and work will testify that you are under the Holy Spirit’s guidance, else you will give Satan every advantage to create distrust and envy and evil surmisings, and they will make shipwreck of their faith. It is the leading of the Spirit that is essential for every individual. It becomes you to submit to the molding of the Holy Spirit. You are to close your own mind to the suggestions of Satan. It is for this very reason that you are so fitful in feeling, so impulsive, so rash and reckless in your words—that you would not be a safe man for a president of any conference. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 26

If men and women would follow the minister only as he shall follow Christ, then great evils would not follow the impulsive movements of the minister. God has given you large opportunities; he has given you understanding of His Word; but some whom you might bless and strengthen by association with you, lose their confidence in you because of your feelings against your brethren finding expression. You may recover from the evil; some never will. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 27

This subject is one of deep importance to you. The Lord will work in you, with you and through you if you will prepare the way for Him. The church needs from you a correct example. In renewed faith open your heart to Jesus, and He will continue to open your heart to the truth. In the consistent life of a believer in the truth, a teacher of the truth, you will grow in intensity. As you surrender to the truth, you will reproduce the truth—a living epistle, known and read of all men. 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 28

All unseen a warfare is going on continually between the believer in Jesus Christ and satanic agencies. The prince of the world is working with all his unseen agencies to lessen our faith. We may do this effectually when we dishonor ourselves and dishonor God by a hasty, passionate spirit that whirls us away into a hasty torrent of speech, that only awakens the worst passions in those we are connected with. When Christ comes into the soul, He brings the calmness of heaven. We have a great work given us to do, and it may be a terrible failure to us and to the souls whom, through Christ’s help and efficiency, we might have been instrumental in saving. Shall self rule in our hearts? “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than himself. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” [Philippians 2:3, 4.] 12LtMs, Ms 115a, 1897, par. 29