Special Testimonies to Ministers and Workers—No. 3


January 30, 1895

Christian Courtesy

Dear Brother,

We have just received letters from you, and Willie has just read them to Brother Sisley and myself. I regard your reasoning and statements as correct. I am very much pained as I see how readily those who write for our papers make unkind thrusts and allusions that will certainly do harm, and that will hedge up the way, and hinder us from doing the work that we should to reach all classes, the Catholics included. It is our work to speak the truth in love, and not to mix in with the truth, the unsanctified elements of the natural heart, and speak things that savor of the same spirit possessed by our enemies. All sharp thrusts will come back upon us in double measure when the power is in the hands of those who can exercise it for our injury. Over and over the message has been given to me that we are not to say one word, not to publish one sentence, unless positively essential in vindicating the truth, that will stir up our enemies against us, and arouse their passions to a white heat. Our work will soon be closed up, and soon the time of trouble such as there never was will come upon us, of which we have but little idea. SpTA03 24.1

Writers and speakers among us will have to learn that the highest obligations of the Christian life involve the giving of careful attention in heeding the messages that God has sent to us. It is essential that we have a knowledge of our own motives and actions in order to have constant self-improvement. I long to see men in responsible positions feeling the burden in regard to themselves, so that they will exercise Christian politeness, and speak and write in a courteous manner. The Lord wants his workers to represent him, the great missionary worker. The manifestation of zeal and rashness always does harm. The proprieties essential for Christian life must be learned daily in the school of Christ. He who is careless and heedless in uttering words or in writing words for publication to be sent broadcast into the world, is disqualifying himself to be entrusted with the sacred work which devolves upon Christ's followers at this time. Those who practice giving hard thrusts are forming habits that will have to be repented of. To discharge every duty that devolves upon those who are entrusted with sacred responsibility, in the right manner, calls for humble prayer, and a close study of the life of Christ. SpTA03 24.2

A surgeon, a physician, a teacher, a guide, needs to study carefully and attentively the way in which to do the work which is entrusted to his hands, and how much more should those who are entrusted with the sacred responsibility to watch for souls as they that must give an account, study to work in harmony with the truth, and in accordance with the wisdom which is from above, which is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy, and “the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” SpTA03 25.1

I am pained when I see the sharp thrusts which appear in the Sentinel. I speak to my brethren who are communicating with the people through that paper: It is best for you to be as wise as serpents, and as harmless as doves. We should carefully and severally examine our ways and our spirits, and see in what manner we are doing the work given us of God, which involves the destiny of souls. The very highest obligation is resting upon us. Satan is standing ready, burning with zeal to inspire the whole confederacy of satanic agencies, that he may cause them to unite with evil men, and bring upon the believers of truth speedy and severe suffering. Every unwise word that is uttered by our brethren will be treasured up by the prince of darkness. But I would like to ask, How dare finite human intelligences speak careless and venturesome words that will stir up the powers of hell against the saints of God, when Michael, the archangel, durst not bring against Satan a railing accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan”? It will be impossible for us to avoid difficulties and suffering. Jesus said, “Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!” But because offense will come, we should be careful not to stir up the natural temperament of those who love not the truth, by unwise words and by the manifestation of an unkind spirit. The truth works by love and purifies the soul. It is the privilege and duty of every child of God to have spiritual apprehension. If we are children of the light, we should walk in the light as Christ is in the light, and testify before the world, before angels and men, that the truth has power to transform human character, and to cause men to represent Christ. With David our testimony should be, “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” O that we might have divine perceptions, and be able to appreciate the holy, sacred efficiency of the truth which fell from the lips of Christ! O that a permanent impression might be made upon the hearts of all! SpTA03 25.2

The words Christ has spoken, the spirit he has revealed in all his lessons to his disciples, are as the bread of life, the flesh and blood of the Son of God. He said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” But all he has said is contested by the confederacy of evil, nevertheless precious truth must be presented in its native force. The deceptive errors that are widespread, and that are leading the world captive, are to be unveiled. Every effort that is possible is being made to ensnare souls with subtle reasonings, to turn them from the truth to fables, and to prepare them to be deceived by strong delusions. But while these deceived souls turn from the truth to error, do not speak to them one word of censure. Seek to show these poor, deluded souls their danger, and to reveal to them how grievous is their course of action toward Jesus Christ, but let it all be done in pitying tenderness. By a proper manner of labor some of the souls who are ensnared by Satan may be recovered from his power. But do not blame and condemn them. To ridicule the position held by those who are in error will not open their blind eyes, nor attract them to the truth. The followers of Christ may receive divine illumination daily, and have clear conceptions of the great mercy and love of God toward us poor sinners. As we behold the love of Christ, we shall begin to reflect it. “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” In Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. How are they hid?—Under the veil of humanity and deep humiliation. The abundance of his knowledge covers all the treasures of wisdom; for in Christ all fulness dwells. SpTA03 26.1