Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 19 (1904)

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Ms 94, 1904

The Sin of Evil Speaking

College View, Nebraska

September 23, 1904

Portions of this manuscript are published in VSS 146; UL 280.

Let our people take up their appointed work—the work of soul-saving. Let them not think that upon them has been laid the burden of watching and criticizing the work of others. Those who will put their whole souls into the work that God gives them will have no time to criticize the efforts of their fellow workers, no time to weaken the hands of those who are straining every nerve and muscle to advance the work. 19LtMs, Ms 94, 1904, par. 1

Let not any man or any woman feel that he or she has been appointed to carry evil reports from church to church and from conference to conference. I have been grieved beyond measure to see how easy it is for men to excuse their own past failures to do the work plainly laid out before them in the Southern field. In that field the car of the gospel message has moved very heavily. God forbids that in the future any one shall put his foot on the brake, to cause further hindrance. 19LtMs, Ms 94, 1904, par. 2

The proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages is now to be our burden. Those who spend their time in thinking and speaking evil are bringing to the foundation material represented by hay, wood, and stubble, which will be consumed by the fires of the last day. They will one day see their time has been spent in weakening churches, institutions, and conferences. 19LtMs, Ms 94, 1904, par. 3

God hates all such work. He will call to account every man engaged in this kind of business. “Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle; and who shall dwell in Thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoreth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.” [Psalm 15:1-5.] 19LtMs, Ms 94, 1904, par. 4

Let those who fear God and believe the truth put a guard on their lips. Let them be determined not to speak words that will injure the cause of God or give a wrong representation of the work being done in any of His institutions. Let them be careful not to speak words that will be a temptation to some one else to withhold the confidence and the words of courage that ought to be given to those who have been severely tried and who, perhaps, have been working early and late to fill the many calls of duty coming to them, until it seems as if the mind would give way under the strain. Often, at such times, false impressions regarding such workers are made on minds by cruel words, full of surmisings. The seeds of suspicion and distrust, like thistledown, are carried far and wide and can never be gathered up. 19LtMs, Ms 94, 1904, par. 5

I have to testify that there are those who have made institutions appear in the worst light, when they had no message from God, but a message of their own creating, merely. How long is merchandise of this kind to be carried as stock in trade? How long are the hearts of God’s people to be made sad by the misrepresentations that are carried from conference to conference? 19LtMs, Ms 94, 1904, par. 6

A pledge against evil speaking is as much needed as a pledge against drinking intoxicating liquor. Confidence is destroyed and hearts are made sad and sore by the evil reports that are carried from place to place. The lame, those who are weak in the faith, are turned out of the way. Our church members are in great need of taking a pledge never to speak evil of any person or any institution. If it be thought that things are not as they ought to be, the matter should be investigated, not by one man only, but by wise, true-hearted men, whose lives give evidence that they are able to judge wisely and discreetly. 19LtMs, Ms 94, 1904, par. 7

Why do our church members love to talk evil when they know that by reporting things from place to place, they will work harm to the person or the institution against whom they speak? Do they not realize that in order for the work of God to be advanced, the workers must have trust and confidence in one another? 19LtMs, Ms 94, 1904, par. 8

I am bidden to say to our church members, Repent, repent, and be converted, that God may heal the wounds that you have made. Let every one who has been reproved make diligent work for repentance. Come to the Saviour, and be converted. Has not God called you again and again, by pen and voice, to come into line, to unify? Has He not spoken to you in His Word, at sundry times and in divers manners, telling you to cease accusing and finding fault? We are to love as brethren; we are to be gentle, courteous, kind, speaking no evil. 19LtMs, Ms 94, 1904, par. 9

Will not the people of God, in this the great day of atonement, come before Him in meekness and humility, confessing only their own sins? Will they not repent and be converted, that their sins may be blotted out? God calls for pure, unselfish workers, whose hearts have been cleansed from all jealousy and evil surmising. Thousands more might have been converted if those who know the truth had been sanctified through the truth. God will do a great work with those who will come to Him for His grace. He will give them the quietude and simplicity of a little child, and then they will be able to help and bless others. 19LtMs, Ms 94, 1904, par. 10

As the veil which conceals Christ’s glory from our view is drawn aside, the Saviour is shown to be in His high and holy place, not in solitude, careless and indifferent to our needs, but surrounded by thousands and thousands of holy angels, each one of which has a commission to fulfil for the blessing of humanity. 19LtMs, Ms 94, 1904, par. 11

The Saviour is in communication with every part of His vast dominion. He stoops from His throne to listen to the cries of His children. His heart of love is filled with pity and compassion for them. But His greatest grief, I am instructed to say, comes when grief is brought to those whom He has appointed to do a certain work, when some one who does not understand the will of God urges his way in to cloud judgment by many words. Months and years may be needed to undo the wrong wrought in the few minutes spent in speaking unadvised words. Oh, we must not grieve the Saviour by our lack of love for one another. The Lord is very explicit regarding the tenderness that we are to show for one another. At one time the disciples came to Jesus with the question, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in My name, receiveth Me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea.” [Matthew 18:1-6.] 19LtMs, Ms 94, 1904, par. 12

“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to seek and save that which was lost. 19LtMs, Ms 94, 1904, par. 13

“How think ye? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” [Verses 10-14.] 19LtMs, Ms 94, 1904, par. 14

We are engaged in a great and solemn work, and we should follow the Saviour closely. He will lead us to higher and still higher planes of truth. “Ye shall see greater things than these,” He says, “only be diligent students.” He opens to inspection the books where the name of each follower is inscribed, and they see with astonishment the record of actions dishonoring to God and actions commended by Him. Each day’s record shows the workings of providence—the efforts of the Lord to keep men meek and lowly, tenderhearted and pitiful. 19LtMs, Ms 94, 1904, par. 15

Christ hears every word spoken in disparagement of His children. He knows when they become almost distracted in their work because meddlesome persons, instead of attending to their own work, carry a great burden for the work of some one else. Christ cannot impress His love upon the hearts of those who seek to injure the influence of another man because he thinks him in danger of being uplifted. Could the eyes of the one who is cherishing evil surmisings be opened, he would see the Saviour drawing near to the one whom he has accused, bending over him as, full of perplexity, he kneels beside his couch, weeping, and begging the Lord for strength, for wisdom, for His keeping power. The worker feels the burden of souls, and he robs himself of sleep and rest in order to advance the work of soul-saving. And at the same time, there are those who carry evil reports regarding him, and work, not to help him, but to disappoint, disparage, and dishonor him. 19LtMs, Ms 94, 1904, par. 16

Be assured that I am not telling idle tales. There are those who have done and are still doing this very work. To them comes the message, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” [Revelation 2:4.] What are the first works?—“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” [Luke 10:27.] “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” [Revelation 2:5.] 19LtMs, Ms 94, 1904, par. 17

If the work outlined in this scripture is not done in these meetings, there will be a hardening of heart. Unless there is a decided change, the perceptions will be dulled, and there will be less and less inclination to do thorough work. Wake up, my brethren and sisters, and let the love of God into your hearts. Take yourselves in hand. Confess your sins, and come to Jesus. Humble yourselves beseechingly before God, lying low before Him. Pray that He will grant that we may be able “to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” [Ephesians 3:18, 19.] We are preparing for the future, immortal life. All that we do and say should promote Christlikeness. 19LtMs, Ms 94, 1904, par. 18

Let every soul be sure that he is doing the work which the Lord would have him do. Let him be sure that he is blessing and not confusing minds. Let God deal with His disciples, and let each bear in mind the words, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” [Matthew 16:24.] 19LtMs, Ms 94, 1904, par. 19

Are we doing the work that Christ did as a medical missionary? Are we setting in operation means to relieve the needs of suffering humanity? Are we giving the bread of life to those who are hungry for it? Those who are not doing this work would better go apart till they can give evidence that they are used by the Lord, that they are fishers of men. Our American brethren need in their meetings the converting power of God. They need the sweetness and fragrance of true sympathy. They need to see what is to be done and do it. They need to learn the art of saving souls. They will then realize how much hard, painstaking effort is called for in order to gain success in this work. And if any one lack wisdom, “let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed.” [James 1:5, 6.] 19LtMs, Ms 94, 1904, par. 20