Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Lt 43, 1898

Gage, W. C.

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

May 19, 1898

Previously unpublished. +Note

Dear Brother:

I have received your letter of inquiry as to whether you are standing in such a relation to God and His cause that your judgment would be acceptable to Him. I am very glad that you express the idea [that you] should not accept the position on the board if, spiritually you were not in a condition to serve. 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 1

I will now write you some things that have been presented to me in reference to the matter of principle. The method which some have adopted of gathering up the proxies, and using them to carry their own plans, is not prompted by correct principles. It is using a power to oppose the decisions of a people who are properly instructed in regard to matters which require an intelligent conviction of right and wrong. For any person to obtain proxies and use them to accumulate votes is a fraud. Those votes speak, and under certain circumstances produce a power to bring into important positions of trust, unworthy, unreliable persons. 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 2

Satan is watching every avenue, that he may divert the minds of those who believe present truth, and steal a march upon them by introducing his subtle workings. And more can be done through those who claim to believe the truth but do not obey it, than through those believers who are not wide awake to the situation. Every advance step in the straight and narrow path prepares the way for another step. 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 3

Those who attempt to use proxies place themselves in a very precarious position. If I send my proxies to Battle Creek, I cannot be there in person to see and become intelligent in regard to circumstances and the relation that one proposition may have to another phase of the work. Were I on the ground myself, I could handle my proxies. But some plan must be instituted to use no proxies for the purpose of securing the majority of votes unless the one who has these proxies is present to know personally and intelligently what use will be made of the votes they give to the questions that are brought before them. If by fair means, or by misrepresentation, men have secured proxies to add numbers to their own schemes, those placed in position by these votes will, if they are anxious to do the right thing, refuse to accept the nomination. They should give no influence to the votes obtained by proxies. 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 4

The important work of God will go forward although the Lord has been greatly dishonored by men who have had no connection with God and have put their mold upon the work. Let great vigilance be exercised at this time that men who would control the various lines of the work, in their selfish, authoritative manner, may have no standing or place, for in such men heavenly angels cannot find appropriate channels through which to work. Hard and unimpressible [men] have been prepared to say Yea to things to which they should have said Nay with decision. 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 5

I have written this because there is danger now from men who become offended as did the disciples who walked no more with their Master. 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 6

Brother and Sister Gage, I would gladly be released from addressing you at this time, but I dare not refrain. The warning which has been given you both in connection with Mary Roth has not been heeded, and you are both in a dangerous condition spiritually. You and she must answer to God for walking directly contrary to the light which He has given. You are gaining nothing in spiritual efficiency, or in the experience you might have if you were taking heed to the warning. You have not been conducting your life in lines that are most favorable to the high development of mental and moral capabilities. The springs of your mental and spiritual activity do not find their source in Jesus Christ. Your influence is not such as the true children of God can respect—a mind that is led captive by Satan at his will. 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 7

“Why then is the children of Jerusalem slidden back by perpetual backsliding? They hold fast deceit. They refuse to return. I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? Everyone turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle. Yea, the stork in the heavens knoweth her appointed times, and the turtle and the swallow observeth their coming, but people know not the judgment of the Lord. How do ye say, We are wise? and the law of the Lord is with us? 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 8

“Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain: the wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken; lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord, and what wisdom is in them? ... For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abominations? nay, they were not at all ashamed: neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall, in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the Lord.” [Jeremiah 8:5-9, 11, 12.] 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 9

This is the word I am commissioned to bear unto you: “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord are these; for if ye thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if ye thoroughly execute judgment between man and his neighbor: if ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: then will I appoint you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, forever and ever. 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 10

“Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; and come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I even I have seen it, saith the Lord. ... But this thing commanded I to them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded, that it may be well with you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.” [Jeremiah 7:3-11, 23, 24.] 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 11

“Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money: come, come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live: and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” [Isaiah 55:1-3.] Read also Isaiah 6, 7. 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 12

On a certain night I was unable to sleep. A voice said to me, “Look ye,” and some matters were presented before me, which I was able to understand. But I have so little confidence that you will see, that you will understand. You are both sustaining each other. Sister Gage is as blind in discernment as if the darkness of the earth and the gross spiritual darkness of the people were in covering her like a pall. There is no more hope for either than for the veriest sinner unless you are born again. You have corrupted your ways before the Lord, and your spiritual blindness must be removed. You must see your condition as it is. Your intellectual accomplishments are tainted and corrupted, and have become the instruments for the gratification of your heart’s imaginings, your appetites and desires. Your intelligence should teach you that it is wise for you to restrain yourselves, rather than to place yourselves in channels where Satan can lure you and gloss over evil as righteousness. 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 13

The Lord sees you, and is acquainted with all your doings. You are not progressing in grace or in the knowledge of the truth. You demonstrated how difficult it was for you to change or modify your habits when you allowed your mind to run in a certain channel. You were presented to me as standing up before intelligent minds, and in a most decided manner expressing your opinion, just as freely as though, like Daniel, you were receiving your light from God. It is not safe for you to be connected with any of our institutions. “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot. 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 14

“So that because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable and poor, and blind and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve that thou mayest see.” [Revelation 3:15-18.] This seventeenth verse gives an accurate description of your condition. Will you heed the counsel given to the Laodicean church? 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 15

Your association with Mary Roth is working to her soul’s injury, and to the ruin of your own souls. The warning has been given you, and you are indeed in a most pitiable state of darkness, unfit to hold forth the Word of life to others. You may preach, no one can hinder you, but your words will be like your prayers; you will give lip service when your heart is far from God. Your own son has justified his errors by the example you have given him. 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 16

“So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” [Verse 16.] Your labors in connection with the work and cause of God in any line are described in the words of Christ as nauseating to Him. The figure of spewing out of His mouth means that He cannot offer up your prayers or your expressions of love to God. He cannot endorse your teaching of His Word or your spiritual work in any wise. He cannot present your religious exercises with the request that grace be given you, because there is a dead fly in the ointment of your religious services. “And knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” [Verse 17.] O that there might be a turning away from the idols that you love and worship to the living God. 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 17

Sister Gage also is destitute of discernment and spiritual perception as to the propriety of her course of action. By speaking smooth words and fair speeches to her husband regarding his course of action, she makes herself a partaker of his defects and sins. Your folly is made manifest, and there is no excuse for this species of idolatry. God says to you both, as He said to Cain, “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at thy door.” [Genesis 4:7.] You cannot incorporate light with darkness. Christ with Belial, purity with impurity, good with evil. You will receive the sure result and penalty of transgression. You will lose your sensitiveness of conscience, and become indifferent to the religious experiences. 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 18

Genius, a bright intellect, has been entrusted to you, but you have cherished such a selfish indulgence, that to gratify your own unsanctified appetite, bearing no genuine responsibility in your enjoyment. Some time [ago] Sister Amadon wrote to me that she thought your intelligence and capabilities were not appreciated as they should be. I made no response; I should not encourage the idea of giving you influence, for this would have been giving my voice to your leading souls astray by loose, unprincipled ideas and habits. 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 19

Genius can be perverted. Prosperity can deceive and ruin the soul. I would warn all who would obtain the hope set before them in the gospel not to follow your example, but counterwork your influence. I would warn poor souls that they are to beware of all that would endanger the purity and simplicity of our faith and religious character. If God has entrusted wealth, prosperity, or talent to any, let them beware how they prostitute the gifts of God to their own spiritual ruin. These precious blessings of God are not to be tampered with, for they are the divine safeguard to ensure peace and to elevate and ennoble the entire man. If you refuse to hear and obey the caution given by God, if the warning, Come out from among them and be separate, is not received and acted upon, the door is opened and kept open for you to invite the devil’s temptation which you have become fearless to resist. 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 20

Had you spiritual discernment to see your own case, could you see the influence of your course of action, and how offensive this course is to God, what carefulness would you exercise in the formation of friendships and companionships of men or women! How careful you would be to avoid lowering by your influence the standard of religious principle or sapping the foundation of religious faith of those who are looking at you. You are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. Unsanctified, frivolous connections will produce fatal results to spirituality. By such connections you show that the word spoken of Solomon, “His heart was not perfect with the Lord his God,” are true of you. [1 Kings 11:4.] 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 21

This theme cannot be treated indifferently, for just as surely as it is, the scenes of your misspent lives will be held before you both. When it is too late to redeem the failure, you will review with bitterness the loss you have sustained by living a superficial life, frittering away in frivolous excitement and selfish pleasure the hours which belong to God, not to yourself. “Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 22

The Lord takes no pleasure in you. Your influence, all three of you, is of a character to counterwork the work of God. O, how much more valuable to you than all else is the wealth of clean hands and the golden treasures of a pure, undefiled heart. The nobility of the soul for whom God has given His [Son] to save it from corruption, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price. These you can render to God for all His benefits. 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 23

Bear in mind the perpetuating power of evil influences. Shall the sad state of apostasy from correct, elevating, ennobling influences be laid at the feet of Satan? The question, “Who made Israel to sin?” will have to be answered. Talk not of taking part in board meetings or councils, for you have no true, genuine connection with God. You have talents, but they are tainted and corrupted, and for their misuse you must answer in the judgment. Is your influence a blessing or curse to your children? Shall your name be whispered with saddened looks and tearful eyes? Shall your children say, “His influence, irreligious when he claimed to be religious, ruined me,” or, shall they say, “His piety, his elevated, noble principles, saved me from ruin”? 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 24

This warning now comes to you, and what will you do with it? Will you say, “Have no fear of me?” But beware of that which the old writers called the world’s trinity—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. If you trifle and tamper with these, they will prove your ruin. Unless you are born again, unless your objectionable hereditary tendencies are changed, unless purity and sanctification work a transformation in your lives, your barque will be shipwrecked, your souls lost. 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 25

Take a retrospective view of your life, [to see] if you have followed Him who said, “He that will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” [Mark 8:34.] “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” [John 14:6.] 13LtMs, Lt 43, 1898, par. 26