Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 23 (1908)


Lt 382, 1908

Irwin, G. A.

St. Helena, California

December 23, 1908

Portions of this letter are published in 1MCP 41-42; 3BC 1145-1146; 11MR 165. +Note

Elder G. A. Irwin
Takoma Park Station, Washington, D.C.

Dear Brother Irwin:

May the Lord bless and strengthen you, is my most earnest desire. There is much earnest work to be done in the cities of the South, and the men who hold positions of responsibility, as you have done, need to put their entire trust in God. 23LtMs, Lt 382, 1908, par. 1

In the night season I seemed to be saying to you: My brother, be careful how you treat your stomach. Herein lies one great difficulty with many of the workers in the southern field. You are in danger of not acting wisely in the matter of your diet; but unless you do this, you will have serious trouble with your digestive organs. A greater work would be accomplished in the South if every worker there would carefully guard the health. 23LtMs, Lt 382, 1908, par. 2

Many have supposed that the expense of entering the cities of the South would be extremely large; but I have been shown that had our people taken up this God-given work twenty years ago, they would now be reaping decided advantages. They have neglected fields that might have been opened, and in which there might now be churches established. There is decided missionary effort to be put forth for this field that has been so strangely neglected. 23LtMs, Lt 382, 1908, par. 3

Madison speaks for itself, and telling what might have been accomplished if the messages sent by God to His people had been heeded. All through the Madison district, confidence is felt in the men who stand at the head of that enterprise. As the people, both colored and white, have seen the industry and ingenuity shown by our workers, they have taken knowledge of them, that they were dealing with the students in an understanding way and qualifying them to become practical missionaries. 23LtMs, Lt 382, 1908, par. 4

Throughout the southern field, just such object lessons are needed. Such schools would prove of the highest advantage to the people, demonstrating that education embraces more than the mere study of books, that it also includes useful employment in any line. And one of the most useful employments for the people of the South is the cultivation of the land that has run to waste for lack of care and attention. The exercise of the muscles and the reason in the performance of physical labor is to be combined with the exercise of the mental powers in the study of books. This is the kind of education that will recommend the students if they should be called to work in foreign countries. 23LtMs, Lt 382, 1908, par. 5

This equal taxation of the mental and physical powers was part of the Lord’s plan in the beginning. I ask you to read the first and second chapters of Genesis. “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He rested from all His work which God created and made. 23LtMs, Lt 382, 1908, par. 6

“These are the generations of the heavens and the earth, when they were created, in that day that the Lord made the earth and the heavens, and every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth; and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. And the Lord formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into His nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. 23LtMs, Lt 382, 1908, par. 7

“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. ... And the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to dress it, and to keep it.” [Genesis 2:1-9, 15.] 23LtMs, Lt 382, 1908, par. 8

The Saviour declared that before His second coming there would be “wars, and rumors of wars,” and “earthquakes in divers places.” [Matthew 24:6, 7.] The reports that have recently reached us of the terrible earthquake in Italy and Sicily tell of another fulfilment of the signs of the end. The Chronicle, edited in San Francisco, has given startling accounts of this awful disaster which has caused such enormous damage and loss of life, and rendered so many thousands homeless. 23LtMs, Lt 382, 1908, par. 9

These calamities are becoming more and more common, but every report of calamity by sea or by land is a testimony to the fact that the end of all things is near. The world is filled with iniquity, and the Lord is punishing for its wickedness. As crime and iniquity increase, these judgments will become more frequent and more marked, until the time shall come when the “earth shall no more cover her slain.” [Isaiah 26:21.] 23LtMs, Lt 382, 1908, par. 10

In view of all this, our schools should have little to say now of “degrees,” and of long courses of study. The work of preparation for the service of God is to be done speedily. Let the work be carried forward in strictly Bible lines. Let every soul remember that the judgments of God are in the land. Let degrees be little spoken of. Let the meetinghouses that are needed in our cities be plain and simple, and erected without unnecessary expense. Let time and means be wisely invested. 23LtMs, Lt 382, 1908, par. 11

Let humility of soul be evidenced and entire surrender to God be made. Let our churches put away selfishness and pride and cease to lift up the soul unto vanity. The end is near, and we are to give the message of warning and mercy to the world. And not only are our lips to proclaim this message, but by lives of simplicity and meekness and right doing we are to reveal that we believe the truths of the Word of God. 23LtMs, Lt 382, 1908, par. 12

The Lord would have us awake to our true spiritual condition. He desires that every soul shall humble heart and mind before Him. The words of inspiration found in the nineteenth and twentieth Psalms are presented to me for our people. It is our privilege to accept these precious promises and to believe the warnings. I pray that our hearts may be fully awake to the perils that surround those who are indifferent to the soul’s eternal welfare. We need to search the Scriptures as never before. The Word of God is to be our educator, our guide. We are to understand: What saith the Scriptures. 23LtMs, Lt 382, 1908, par. 13

In the night season I seemed to be repeating these words to the people: There is need of close examination of self. We have no time now to spend in self-indulgence. If we are connected with God, we shall humble our hearts before Him and be very zealous in the perfecting of Christian characters. We have a grand and solemn work to do, for the world is to be enlightened in regard to the times in which we live; and they will be enlightened when a straight testimony is borne. They will be led to earnest examination of self. 23LtMs, Lt 382, 1908, par. 14

This is a time when we need to be very watchful and to guard carefully the character of the work done. Some will seek to bring in false theories and will come with false messages. Satan will stir human minds to create fanaticism in our ranks. We have seen something of this in the year 1908. The Lord desires His people to move carefully, guarding the expressions and even the attitude. Satan will use peculiarities of attitude and voice to cause excitement and to work on human minds to deceive. 23LtMs, Lt 382, 1908, par. 15

By such fanaticism as we have lately had among us in California in peculiar exercises and the claim of power to cast out devils, Satan is seeking to deceive if possible the very elect. These persons, claiming to have a special message for our people, would charge one and another with being possessed of an evil spirit. Then after praying with them, they would declare the devil cast out. The result of their work testified of its character. I was bidden to say to our people that the Lord was not in these strange exercises; but that such exhibitions would deceive souls to their ruin unless they were warned and Bible truth would be perverted. 23LtMs, Lt 382, 1908, par. 16

We had just such fanaticism to meet after the passing of the time in 1844. I was at that time given definite messages to bear to meet this evil, declaring that this was a deceptive power and that it did not bear the divine credentials. The Lord would guard His people against every phase of fanaticism. 23LtMs, Lt 382, 1908, par. 17

“O ye priests, this commandment is for you,” God declares through His prophet. “If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto My name, saith the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings; yea, I have cursed them already, because ye have not laid it to heart. ... And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that My covenant might be with Levi, saith the Lord of hosts. My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared Me, and was afraid before My name. The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips; he walked with Me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. For the priests lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Malachi 2:1, 2, 4-8.] 23LtMs, Lt 382, 1908, par. 18

I write these things to you, Brother Irwin, that you may be prepared to meet the evil of fanaticism if you should encounter it in your experience. These persons may read the testimonies that God has given for His people, claiming that they are doing just as the testimonies enjoin. But it makes a great difference whether or not they are under the Holy Spirit’s influence. The messages of these misguided souls should find no place in our confidence, though they may claim that their message is of God. Let them see that their course is wrong, and be converted, and take their positions as learners before they become teachers. They may claim to be under the control of the Holy Spirit, but the Spirit will never testify to a lie, never. Our work is a sacred, solemn work. We must now stand stiffly for the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, teaching, as He taught, that no lie is of the truth. 23LtMs, Lt 382, 1908, par. 19