Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 23 (1908)


Lt 52, 1908

Corliss, J. O.

St. Helena, California

January 28, 1908

Previously unpublished. +Note

Elder John O. Corliss

My dear Brother:

I am commissioned to give you a message regarding your work during the past year; for the Lord has not accepted it in all respects. The warnings given me for you at San Jose and since that time have not been accepted by you. You have chosen to follow your own ideas rather than the instruction the Lord has given. 23LtMs, Lt 52, 1908, par. 1

You know that for many years I have had the interest for you and your work that a mother feels for the welfare and prosperity of a son. And now I ask, Why do you not humble your heart before God and for Christ’s sake consider carefully your course of action? There is in you a spirit which the Lord cannot acknowledge as pure, and obedient, and holy. 23LtMs, Lt 52, 1908, par. 2

The action of the Conference Committee some time ago in placing several hundred dollars in your hands, in addition to your salary, was not an act that was ordered by the Lord; and it brought perplexity and questioning. 23LtMs, Lt 52, 1908, par. 3

You are receiving pay from the conference as a shepherd of the flock. As such you are to consider that you are to labor faithfully and humbly for the spiritual welfare of the church. You are to discern what is essential truth and give it to the people. 23LtMs, Lt 52, 1908, par. 4

The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power; that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God.” [1 Corinthians 2:1-5.] 23LtMs, Lt 52, 1908, par. 5

And again he writes: “Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God; in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” [2 Corinthians 2:14-17.] 23LtMs, Lt 52, 1908, par. 6

Every man who realizes his responsibility as a worker together with God will demonstrate in his words and works that he does not belittle the sacred office he bears as guardian of the flock of God. He will be circumspect in his deportment; he will use his capabilities with tact and skill in the work of winning souls. He will have a zeal according to knowledge. And the church has a right to expect this of the minister of God. Those who claim to be doing the work of God in the earth are to be as a sweet savor of Christ in every place. But unless we represent the meekness of Christ, and become true witnesses of the great Teacher, we set before the church an example that God cannot acknowledge in the day when every case shall be decided by the Judge of all the earth. 23LtMs, Lt 52, 1908, par. 7

There are many churches that need to awake from sleep and arouse to a new life that will be shown in acts from which our fellow men can take knowledge that we have been born again. Our lives are to become sacred, consecrated lives, because we reflect the spirit of Christ in words and works. We cannot afford to live lives of selfishness. Consider the words of Paul, “We are not as many which corrupt the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” [Verse 17.] Oh, how much time has been lost by teachers of the gospel in pretension—in deceiving their own souls and in deceiving others. 23LtMs, Lt 52, 1908, par. 8

“Do we begin again to commend ourselves?” the apostle asks. “Or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you. Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistles of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God: not in tables of stone, but in the fleshly tables of the heart. 23LtMs, Lt 52, 1908, par. 9

“And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything of ourselves: but our efficiency is of God; who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stone, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away; how shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory which excelleth. For if that which is done away is glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. 23LtMs, Lt 52, 1908, par. 10

“Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: but not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: but their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 23LtMs, Lt 52, 1908, par. 11

“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” [2 Corinthians 3:1-18.] 23LtMs, Lt 52, 1908, par. 12

These words have been given me as a message for you and for Elder Knox. The fourth chapter of Second Corinthians also has precious lessons for every believing soul. Take every word of this blessed instruction to your individual selves. You both need them; for to some extent you have lost your bearings. If you will take time to consider that which is of eternal interest to yourselves, if you will humble your own hearts before God, you will not remain in your present condition of deficiency in those things that God requires of the teachers of His church. 23LtMs, Lt 52, 1908, par. 13

My brethren, study the instruction of Christ. You have need to be taught of the One who is holy, harmless, undefiled. Unless you and every minister and physician shall follow His teachings, you can never be a blessing to any church, nor can you enter in through the gates to the city of God. 23LtMs, Lt 52, 1908, par. 14

My burden of soul for you has been very great. I have an intense interest in your spiritual welfare. You need to place yourselves under the molding influence of the Spirit of God. 23LtMs, Lt 52, 1908, par. 15