Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 23 (1908)


Lt 352, 1908

Haskell, S. N.

St. Helena, California

December 16, 1908

This letter is published in entirety in 6MR 59-62. +Note

Elder S. N. Haskell
523 Twenty-fifth Street
Oakland, California

Dear Brother Haskell:

I have a message to bear to our people. Some of them are in danger of being deceived by the workings of the enemy. At the present time there are in this conference a man and his wife who have strange manifestations that they believe to be caused by the Holy Spirit. But I am instructed that these manifestations are caused by the same spirit that wrought fanaticism after the passing of the time in 1844. 23LtMs, Lt 352, 1908, par. 1

At that time, as you are well aware, we met and opposed the work and influence of many who supposed that they were exercised by the Holy Spirit, but who had gone into fanaticism. They had what they supposed were visions from God; and to vindicate their wonderful power, they would pray loudly and would sometimes sing with a loud voice, dancing or working the body from side to side and to and fro. These experiences are brought to my mind as forcibly as if they had happened but yesterday. 23LtMs, Lt 352, 1908, par. 2

I have already written you something of my visit with Mr. and Mrs. Mackin. I did not sanction their experience. I told them about some of the experiences that we had had to meet and of the things that had happened in the past, and I hoped that they would regard as a warning this story of fanaticism in early days. I appealed to them to have an experience based, not on wonderful manifestations, but on the Word of God. I pointed out how the enemy would use fanaticism as a means to place us before the world in such a light as to hedge up our way, to a large extent. 23LtMs, Lt 352, 1908, par. 3

We are not surprised to find that Satan will work today as he has worked in the past. We must live by faith; for without faith it is impossible to please God. He is ready to hear our prayers, and to impart to His people the Holy Spirit for service; but I have been warned that the manifestations that are seen in this brother and sister are not the workings of the Holy Spirit. Boasting claims of righteousness and noisy demonstrations are calculated to lead to a fanatical experience that will confuse many minds. If such things are encouraged, a wave of fanaticism will come into our ranks that will be detrimental to the work of God and that will sweep away many souls in a dangerous delusion. These things are designed by Satan to deceive, if possible, the very elect. 23LtMs, Lt 352, 1908, par. 4

It is our privilege to preach the Word in the demonstration of the Spirit. It is the privilege of every soul to exercise faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. But pure spiritual life comes only as the soul surrenders itself to the will of God through Christ, the reconciling Saviour. It is our privilege to be worked by the Holy Spirit. Through the exercise of faith, we are brought into communion with Christ Jesus, for Christ dwells in the hearts of all who are meek and lowly. Theirs is a faith that works by love and purifies the soul, a faith that brings peace to the heart and leads in the path of self-denial and self-sacrifice. 23LtMs, Lt 352, 1908, par. 5

The promise is that if we follow on to know the Lord, we shall know that “His going forth is prepared as the morning.” [Hosea 6:3.] It is essential that we have daily the converting grace of God in the heart, that all our words and deeds may give evidence that we are in submission to the mind and will of God. In doing with meekness and humility our appointed service, we are to reveal the converting power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Then we become the Lord’s agencies to do His work. 23LtMs, Lt 352, 1908, par. 6

With humility and meekness, and yet with great earnestness, we are to render our service to God. Christ is our Pattern, our Example in all things. He was filled with the Spirit, and the Spirit’s power was manifested through Him, not by bodily movements, but by a zeal for good works. 23LtMs, Lt 352, 1908, par. 7

Among God’s people there is need of deep, thorough heart-searching, that we may be able to understand what constitutes true religion. Christ is a wonderful Educator. His life and words are based upon sound principles. His manner of teaching was very simple. He was fashioned after the divine similitude, and if we follow Him, we shall make no mistakes. 23LtMs, Lt 352, 1908, par. 8

Let there be no oddities or eccentricities of movement on the part of those who speak the Word of truth; for such things will weaken the impression that should be made by the Word. We must be guarded; for Satan is determined, if possible, to intermingle with religious services his evil influence. Let there be no theatrical display; for this will not help to strengthen belief in the Word of God. Rather it will divert attention to the human instrument. 23LtMs, Lt 352, 1908, par. 9

Let your conversation be “honest among the Gentiles; that whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” “Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.” “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be always ready to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” [1 Peter 2:12; 3:8, 15.] 23LtMs, Lt 352, 1908, par. 10

Our lives must be hid with Christ in God. We must have a personal knowledge of Christ. Then only can we rightly represent Him before the world. Wherever we are, we must let our light shine forth to the glory of God in good works. This is the great, the important work of our lives. Those who are really under the influence of the Holy Spirit will reveal its power by a practical application of the eternal principles of truth. They will reveal that the holy oil is emptied from the two olive branches into the chambers of the soul temple. Their words will be imbued with the power of the Holy Spirit to soften and subdue the heart. It will be manifest that the words spoken are spirit and life. 23LtMs, Lt 352, 1908, par. 11