Lt 4, 1889

1889

Lt 4, 1889

Miller, Madison; Miller, Howard

Battle Creek, Michigan

July 23, 1889

This letter is published in entirety in 1888 388-428 Materials. +Note

Elders Madison and Howard Miller

My Brethren:

There are lessons that are essential for you to learn. You have a theory of the truth, but you have not the spirit of it. You have not the power of God in your hearts to draw souls to Jesus. Brother Madison Miller has been placed in a responsible position where he could be a great blessing to the churches if he were in right relation to God himself, but he thinks that he has all the qualifications necessary for his position, when he has not the sanctifying grace of Christ. He has not the blessed assurance that the promises of God are for him. He does not know what it is to walk by faith. He fails to carefully consider points of doctrine that are new to him and is ever ready to question and cavil over that which he does not understand, and unbelief is the first thing that presents itself. He scatters seeds of doubt and does not seek earnestly for the grace of Christ in his soul. He does not possess a personal interest in the truth as it is in Jesus. He does not glorify God for the marvelous display of His love in bringing salvation within his reach. He is imbued with the spirit of Pharisaism, which excludes from the soul the light of heaven. Self-satisfied, he does not see his own spiritual destitution. Lt4-1889.1

If he would be a successful soldier of the cross, he must be transformed by the power of divine grace. His spirit must be softened and subdued before he can work in harmony with Christ. Lt4-1889.2

Brother Miller, why did you and your brother Howard appear so listless at the Wexford meeting? The Spirit of the Lord was manifestly at work, but you did not recognize the fact. You bore no testimony that harmonized with the testimony of those through whom God was working. Why did you come to the meeting, have your expenses paid, your time recompensed, when you could offer nothing that would bring light to the souls of others? Did you think your indifference would be counted a virtue? You acted no part to advance the meeting. You did not partake of the spirit, and it would have been better for you to have remained at home with your doubts and criticisms than to come to the meeting. Lt4-1889.3

The Lord was in the encampment. Souls were cheered, encouraged, and blessed, but you remained outside of the healing benefit of the Spirit of God. A stream of water will rise to the height of its source. So it is with religion; if it comes from God, it will lead to God. He who has a connection with Christ is a living missionary. As he receives the water of life, he gives it again to others. Have you been drinking of the living waters? Have you been giving it to others? The Lord has committed to us a message full of interest that is as far reaching in its influence as eternity. We have tidings to give to the people which should bring joy to their souls. Lt4-1889.4

You act a part in the Sabbath school work. In this work, men are needed who do not labor mechanically, but with earnestness, because the transforming grace of Christ is upon their hearts. We want men in this branch of the cause who can avail themselves of the privilege of drinking at the fountain of life, whose souls are full of gratitude and praise, and who can lead others to the well of living waters. Lt4-1889.5

Brother Howard, in your labors in the track and missionary work, you should have the spirit of Christ in all you do and say. You need the spirit of the great Teacher. You need the spirit of a little child, conscious of your weakness and willing to be instructed in the right way. If you had this spirit, you would not be dry and formal and lifeless. You would learn from the great Teacher precious lessons of wisdom. Lt4-1889.6

Self-esteem, which is hateful to God, has been nourished and strengthened by many of our brethren, and some of them have thought it a virtue to criticize the <ideas> and work of others. Brethren Madison and Howard Miller have taken a prominent part in criticizing plans which were made for the advancement of the work. They have felt that they must fasten upon everything objectionable and make every difficulty apparent, and if their opinions had been received and their counsel acted upon, far less would have been done than has been accomplished to advance the work of God. While they are ready to suggest plans and to criticize the efforts of others, they do not put their whole soul into the work, even to carry out their own plans. It is not pleasant for others to unite with them, because of their habit of holding back and criticizing. It is hard for workers to advise <with them or for them> to take advice. When these men are placed upon committees to consult in regard to ways and means to advance the cause of God, they <often> burden the work <with criticism> so that it is difficult to carry it forward. Their words not only fail to give encouragement, but often they are a positive hindrance. Lt4-1889.7

Brother Fargo would have been a wise counselor to Elder Van Horn had he not had the unfortunate experience that he did at Minneapolis. His understanding has been perverted since that meeting. Brother Howard Miller, in his present condition, will be a hindrance in any meeting of counsel. He will keep silent, or if he speaks, he will frequently speak to discourage those who lay plans before him for his consideration. Time and again, methods wisely devised have been set before him, and because <he did not originate them himself,> he disapproved them, and they have been given up, when they should have been carried out. <It is most unfortunate that he was connected with Brother Van Horn, for he has not helped him as he ought to have done.> He should not think that his main business in his official capacity is to raise objections and block the wheels. Elder Van Horn needs no such hindrance. He needs men who will lift and push, <and supply his deficiencies unselfishly.> If these Brethren Miller think their course is wise, they are greatly deceived. They must have a transformation of character in order to be useful men in the cause of God, that they may be able to receive the overcomer’s reward hereafter. Lt4-1889.8

It is an easy matter to find objections to plans and see difficulty in the way of carrying them out. <Far better venture some risks than stubbornly do nothing but question.> The unfaithful spies had no trouble in seeing and presenting obstacles that appeared insurmountable in the way of the advancement of the people of God. Satan is ever ready to suggest unbelief, to point out objections over which to quibble, to reveal difficulties that seemingly cannot be overcome. But those who are on the Lord’s side, on the faith side, must <not allow the voice of men to turn them aside from the voice of God. They> must press on with more determined effort. They must press forward in the way of the Lord with as much earnestness as the doubters manifest in seeking to hinder them. Those who <are so ready to> find fault know not what spirit they are of. They think they love the truth and the cause of God, but their own ideas, their own ways, are dearer to them than the advancement of the Lord’s work <if it does not go according to their own mind.> It is like plucking out a right eye or taking off a right arm to give up their own way or will and receive and act upon the counsel or direction of others. Lt4-1889.9

Separation from the world is required of all the children of light, but separation in feeling and sympathy from brethren in the faith is a mistake and comes through the working of Satan. May the Lord help these brethren to work in His way. They are now enshrouded in darkness; they know not at what they stumble. Lt4-1889.10

The Brethren Miller have walked in unbelief, Pharisaism, and darkness to such an extent that they do not know what it is to breathe the <free> atmosphere of heaven, of faith, love, confidence, and truth. If they stood in the clear light, they would not see anything in the way of hearty cooperation with the work of others. God is displeased with the spirit that prompts them to combat and oppose their brethren. But they do not realize that their criticism results from the natural and cultivated traits of their <own> characters. They have never seen these to be evil <as they really are> or the necessity of overcoming them. The Lord can do without the aid or cooperation of these men. He does not need their acknowledgment and is not really hindered by their objections and resistance, <for God will work just the same.> But some are influenced by their example, and they themselves are losing much because they have not a teachable spirit. <Brother Howard is self-sufficient and feels not his great poverty.> Lt4-1889.11

“Who is a wise man and imbued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above 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.” [James 3:13-18.] Lt4-1889.12

[The next paragraph is from a variant copy:]

Your attitude at the Wexford meeting was not pleasing to God. You preached to the people, but it was not the message that God would give to His people at this time. The trumpet gave no certain sound. You did not seem to be in harmony with the spirit of the meeting. You did not lift where the servants of God were lifting. You seemed to have no burden for the work. You were like the men described by the prophet, like the heath of the desert, knowing not when good cometh. I beg of you, for Christ’s sake, be truly converted that you may know when to speak, when to lift with those through whom God is working to give light to His people. Lt4-1889.13

If Christ should come in contact with these objectors, He would say to them, as He said to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” [John 3:3.] An entire surrender of the will to God, repentance, faith, and reception of Christ, in the spirit of a little child, will ever bring freedom, light, blessing, and peace to the soul. Lt4-1889.14

When in meetings of counsel, you should be under the influence of the Spirit of God. You should be ready to advance along the line, keeping step with the soldiers of Christ. There is a great work to be done. Will you not take hold with heart and soul to do this work as a faithful sentinel for God? Will you let others carry the load and then seek to hinder them to the extent of your ability, or will you be baptized with the Spirit of God and let the truth have its molding, fashioning power upon your life and character, that you may come into union and harmony with your brethren? Lt4-1889.15

At the meetings at Minneapolis, at Potterville, and at Battle Creek, I presented general principles before you, hoping that you might hear, be impressed, and be converted, that I might not be under the painful necessity of addressing you personally. But as you have had the privilege of hearing the message which God has given me and others to bear, and yet your doubts and unbelief have been strengthening instead of diminishing, I am alarmed for you. I know you <and others in a similar position> are not in the light; you are on the enemy’s ground. Both of you are placing yourselves were the Spirit of God can no more find access to your hearts than it could find access to the hearts of the Jewish people when they gave themselves up to unbelief. Through Christ light is shining to man, heaven is connected with earth, and the angels of God are ascending and descending upon the mystic ladder. <They bring> messages of warning, reproof, instruction, encouragement, and love. The glory of God is above the ladder and shines down all its length. God will not devise some new way to reach the hearts of those who have shut themselves away from the light. It is at the peril of their souls that they refuse the light. Lt4-1889.16

Brother Howard Miller, you have encased yourself in an armor of unbelief and spiritual pride. You do not recognize Him whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting. Lt4-1889.17

The King of glory appeared in the form of a servant, clothed in the garb of humanity. When He began His public ministry in Nazareth, there was a sad and terrible exhibition of what human nature <can and> will be when Satan works on the heart. Jesus proclaimed Himself to be the Anointed One. No man had before ventured to assume as much, not the learned or noble of the earth, not even the prophets or kings. He arose in the synagogue and read from the prophet Isaiah these gracious words: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” [Luke 4:18, 19.] Lt4-1889.18

The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened upon Him, for divinity flashed through humanity, and with one voice they witnessed to the “gracious words” that proceeded from His lips. [Verse 22.] God had spoken to their hearts and given them a testimony which they acknowledged to be the truth. But soon doubt and unbelief arose. Who was this who claimed to be the Messiah? They did not expect Christ to come in this way. His family connections were humble, pious people, but not distinguished for riches, learning, rank, or power. Lt4-1889.19

The Jews expected the Messiah to come with pomp and ceremony as a great king. They looked for Him to appear as a conqueror, to deliver Israel from the Roman yoke. They thought they would be able to cry, “This is the king that will reign on David’s throne.” But this Man, who made the claim that He was the anointed One of God, was from the humble walks of life, the son of Joseph and Mary. They had seen Him going up and down the hills. They had seen Him toiling daily at the carpenter’s bench, and could He be the Messiah? Lt4-1889.20

The very humiliation which Christ bore was foretold in the Scriptures as a specification of His divine character and mission and should have commended Him to every home and heart in the land. But to proud and unbelieving Jews His humility was an offense. Lt4-1889.21

The men of Nazareth refused the Prince of Life. The power of God, which had stirred their hearts as He read and expounded to them the Scriptures, was resisted, and their passions were stirred as He spoke truths that revealed to them their real condition. The lips that had so recently acknowledged and blessed Him now uttered curses, and with the fury of demons they laid hands on Him and dragged Him from the synagogue, out of the city, and thought to thrust Him over the brow of the hill. But the angels of God protected Him and hid Him from the sight of the infuriated throng, and He passed on His way unnoticed. Lt4-1889.22

The men of Nazareth did Satan’s work, but Christ could not give them up without granting them up another opportunity for salvation. After His fame had spread through the country to every region, after they had had time for prejudice to subside and reason to take control of their minds, He came again to test them, that they might redeem their past rejection of Him. Lt4-1889.23

Jesus had given the people of Nazareth clear and distinct evidence that His mission was just what He had claimed it to be. Would they now retrace their steps? With such tokens of His truth before them, would these blind, fanatical men see in Jesus nothing more than the carpenter of Nazareth, the son of Mary? At the beginning of His ministry they had taken their first steps in the rejection of Christ. They had committed themselves to the work and the will of Satan, and their pride was so strong, their prejudices so great, that at His second call they would not acknowledge Him as the Messiah, although they had the most convincing proof of His divinity. Oh, what will not pride, unbelief, and prejudice lead men to do! Lt4-1889.24

<The Lord has shown me that> we are in just as much danger [of rejecting truth] in our day as were the people in the days of Christ. The Lord is speaking through His delegated messengers, but the same unbelief is exhibited. Men close their hearts against Jesus and hold themselves in the veriest bondage to Satan, supposing that they are preserving their dignity as free men, that they are <maintaining> their right to think and act for themselves, to believe or doubt. And like the despisers of the gospel in the apostolic times, they wonder and perish. Lt4-1889.25

Those who on special occasions of controversy have taken a course similar to that of the men of Nazareth should take heed lest they follow their example when a second opportunity is given to accept the gracious light of truth. After the first rejection, when excitement and confusion are over, you may again be called upon by the Divine Messenger, and you should beware lest you harden your hearts in prejudice and pride and in final rejection of the message that would work for your salvation. Lt4-1889.26

You may encase yourselves in pride and continue to reject Christ in the person of His messengers. If you do this, the words of the apostle will find an application in your case, as in the time of the Jews: “He came to his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” [John 1:11, 12.] Said Christ, “I am come in my Father’s name, and you received me not. If another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” [John 5:43.] Lt4-1889.27

We are less excusable than were the Jews, for we have before us their example of rejection of Christ and His apostles, and we have been warned not to fall after the same example of unbelief. Throughout the history of the church in all ages, and especially in that of the Seventh-day Adventists, we have examples of those who have refused the light God sent them by His chosen agents. They have had opportunities and privileges that should have enabled their faith to rest on God, and yet they have revealed the evil heart of unbelief. Their course has been similar to that of Pharaoh. The light that the Lord sent to the king of Egypt was <spurned and> rejected by him. His stubborn heart caused him to brace himself against the light. Lt4-1889.28

My brethren, the Lord is not pleased to have us settle down in unbelief and question and quibble over matters <of truth> as you have done to a greater or less degree, through all your life. It is indeed human to err, and the wisest often make mistakes, but it is noble to confess error and not enclose the heart in prejudice <and make yourselves and others believe you have pursued a right course.> You reject Christ by rejecting the message He sends; in so doing, you place yourselves under the control of the prince of darkness. Your spiritual discernment has been blunted. God has sent messages of light to <His people> which would have been as healing balm had <they> received them, but you <with others> did not do this. Like the men of Nazareth, you set yourselves to refuse the light. You exalted your own opinion and judgment as more valuable than the judgment of those whom God has made channels of light. This course has brought you where your faith has become confused. The sweet, subduing love of God has not characterized your labors. You have presented dry theories of doctrine, which are not productive of fruit. <You would be satisfied with the present understanding and exposition of what is truth, but remain dry and spiritless.> Lt4-1889.29

When you receive the words of Christ as if they were addressed to you personally, when each <applies the truth to> himself as if he were the only sinner on the face of the earth for whom Christ died, you will learn to claim by faith the merits of the blood of a crucified and risen Saviour <in your own case.> Your religious experience will have a different mold from what it now has. <Pharisaism will not then exist.> You will think it the highest honor to lift up Jesus before the people, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” [John 1:29.] Your manner, your attitude, your voice, your language, your thoughts, will represent Jesus, <and then there will be a great change in your presentation of truth.> Lt4-1889.30

The message you bear, the efforts you make in the work, do not now rightly present Christ. Jesus is not now lifted up by you as the supreme object of thought, as the One who can draw all men to Himself. We must teach those for whom we labor that they must hear, obey, and follow Christ. You need not wait for a great occasion to do His work. You need not ask for great ability; all you need is to hide in Jesus, that your works may be wrought in God. If you do this, your work will not be merely mechanical, but it will have life and power; it will arouse and vivify. You will tell the story of Christ from a heart softened by His love. With simple faith, as a little child tells its trials and sorrows to its mother, so the child of God will go to his heavenly Father, never doubting the reality of His love, to tell Him all his griefs and joys. Lt4-1889.31

“Learn of me,” says the divine Teacher; “for I am meek and lowly in heart,” and the promise is positive, “ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:29.] Oh, that all who are in any way connected with the work of God were endowed with heavenly wisdom, that they might reveal the fact that they have learned in the school of Christ. If every man who has entered the ministry depended upon the Lord and not upon self, the power of God would attend the efforts of His servants and great good would be accomplished. Those who labor in Word and doctrine must be men who search the Scriptures daily, who pray earnestly and constantly for divine enlightenment <and who receive it when it does come because they have the heavenly anointing.> Lt4-1889.32

If the ministers would individually hang their helpless souls upon Christ, there would be much more moisture in their discourses. Those who, to a large degree, give evidence of being dry and fruitless should realize that the reason for this is found in the fact that they are not connected with Christ. They do not draw sap and nourishment from the living Vine. Christ says, “Without Me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] Self has been woven into the labors of many <workers>, but the true child of God will feel as did John the Baptist when he said, speaking of Christ, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” [John 3:30.] Lt4-1889.33

Many feel that their faults of character make it impossible for them to meet the standard that Christ has erected, but all that such ones have to do is to humble themselves at every step under the mighty hand of God. Christ does not estimate the man by the amount of work he does, but by the spirit in which the work is performed. When He sees men lifting the burdens, trying to carry them in lowliness of mind with distrust of self and with reliance upon Him, He adds to their work His perfection and sufficiency, and it is accepted of the Father. We are accepted in the beloved. The sinner’s defects are covered by the perfection and fullness of the Lord our righteousness. Those who with sincere will, with a contrite heart, are putting forth humble efforts to live up to the requirements of God are looked upon by the Father with pitying, tender love. He regard such as obedient children, and the righteousness of Christ is imputed unto them. Lt4-1889.34

Self must be kept hid in Jesus. Oh, if I could but set Him forth before you! Oh, that our brethren could be brought to see the necessity of self-crucifixion, then I would have hopes that they might not only be useful, in this life, but might attain unto the future, immortal life. Oh, <may the Lord imbue me with His Holy Spirit constantly> that I could present the attractions of Christ so as to engross the whole mind! Oh, that my brethren might appreciate the promises of God in all their breadth and fullness! Then they might be saved from themselves, from self-confidence, criticism, unbelief, and Pharisaism. Then self-exaltation would not be increasing, but decreasing. <Spiritual pride would die.> There are many who claim to believe in Christ, who have not yet fallen upon the Rock and been broken. Self lives and is exalted. To such Christ does not appear what He is, or what He will be to all those who believe on Him. Lt4-1889.35

We should know for ourselves what constitutes Christianity, what is truth, what is the faith that we have received, what are the Bible rules, the rules given us from the highest authority. There are many who believe without a reason on which to base their faith, without sufficient evidence as to the truth of the matter. If an idea is presented that harmonizes with their own preconceived opinions, they are all ready to accept it. They do not reason from cause to effect. Their faith has no <genuine> foundation, and in the time of trial they will find that they have built upon the sand. Lt4-1889.36

He who rests satisfied with his own present imperfect knowledge of the Scriptures, thinking this sufficient for his salvation, is resting on a fatal deception. There are many who are not thoroughly furnished with scriptural arguments, that they may be able to discern error and condemn all the tradition and superstition that has been palmed off as truth. Satan has introduced his own ideas into the worship of God, that He might corrupt the simplicity of the gospel of Christ. A large number who claim to believe the present truth know not what constitutes the faith that was once delivered to the saints, <Christ in you the hope of glory. They think they are defending the old landmarks, but> they are lukewarm and indifferent. They know not what it is to <weave into their experience and> possess the real virtue of love and faith. Lt4-1889.37

They are not close Bible students, but are lazy and inattentive. When differences of opinion arise upon passages of Scripture, these who have not studied to a purpose and are not decided as to what they believe fall away from the truth. We ought to impress upon all the necessity of inquiring diligently into divine truth that they may know that they do know what is truth. Some claim much knowledge and feel satisfied with their condition, when they have no more zeal for the work, no more ardent love for God and for souls for whom Christ died than if they had never known God. They do not read the Bible <to appropriate the marrow and fatness to their own souls.> They do not feel that it is the voice of God speaking to them. But if we would understand the way of salvation, if we would see the beams of the Sun of Righteousness, we must study the Scriptures <for a purpose,> for the promises and prophecies of the Bible shed clear beams of glory upon the divine plan of redemption, <which grand truths are not clearly comprehended.> Lt4-1889.38

The Lord is not glorified by your lack of spirituality, by your dry formalism. While your labors have not been worthless, they have been exceedingly defective. Oh, that your past Christian life could be opened before you, just as it has been, and you could see how angels look upon the work, in all its bearings, which has come forth from your hands. Lt4-1889.39

God has sent you a message which He wishes you to receive, a message of light and hope and comfort for the people of God. It is not for you to choose the channel through which the light shall come. The Lord desires to heal the wounds of His sheep and lambs through the heavenly balm of the truth that Christ is our righteousness. May God forbid that it shall be said of you, “The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost.” [Ezekiel 34:4.] Lt4-1889.40

The sheep that need to be fed are scattered upon the mountains of Israel; they are starving to death on dry theories. My brethren, you do not feed the flock; you do not have faith, humility, and love. The most sacred responsibility rests upon those who have accepted the position of shepherds to the flock of God. But if the professed ministers of Christ are not endowed with the power from on high, they are not fit for the work of this time. The work calls for men who have spiritual energy and farseeing discernment. God sends light to His people that they may live in His light according to their privileges. There are many who feel satisfied with their meager attainments, and they refuse the light that God sends them, <saying by their attitude, “I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing.”> [Revelation 3:17.] In so doing, they not only rob their own souls of spiritual knowledge, but they rob the souls of others. Those <whom they> endeavor to help have to suffer loss because the teachers fail to employ their talents in the way that God would have them and choose to place their own limited, narrow experience before the people instead of the glorious gospel of Christ. They are like guideposts pointing in the wrong direction. They will forfeit the favor of God and come under His displeasure unless they change their course <decidedly and humble their hearts before God.> Lt4-1889.41

It is a grievous sin in the sight of God for men to place themselves between the people and the message that He would have come to them, <as some of our brethren are now doing.> There are some who, like the Jews, are doing their utmost to make the message of God of none effect. Let these doubting, questioning ones either receive the light of the truth for this time, or let them stand out of the way, that others may have an opportunity of receiving the truth, that the wrath of God may not come on them because they are bodies of darkness when He desires them to be bodies of light. Lt4-1889.42

Those who live just prior to the second appearing of Christ may expect a large measure of His Holy Spirit. But <if God has ever spoken by me, some of our leading men are> going over the same ground of refusing the message of mercy as the Jews did in the time of Christ—if they do not watch and pray. If they turn away from the light, they will fail to meet the high and holy claims of God <for this important time.> They will fail to fulfill the sacred responsibility that He has entrusted to them. Lt4-1889.43

The character and prospects of the people of God are similar to those of the Jews, who could not enter in because of unbelief. Self-sufficiency, self-importance, and spiritual pride separated them from God, and He hid His face from them. The apostle exhorts us, “If God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.” [Romans 11:21.] “Because of unbelief, they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high minded, but fear.” [Verse 20.] Lt4-1889.44

The Jews despised the good that was proffered them in the time of Christ, and after long forbearance of God, the things that were for their peace were hidden from their eyes—<that which, if received, would have been to them their greatest blessing became their stumbling block. Thus it is today among us.> They thought that Christ’s teaching was counteracting the influence of the old and only religion that had been from the beginning. After they had once rejected the light, their minds were blinded, and they thought Christ’s teaching was a deception of the enemy. Christ was bringing out the old religion in its <true> light, but they had separated themselves from the old paths, from the old truths, and had permitted the customs and traditions of men to take the place of the only vital faith. Lt4-1889.45

Sufficient light was given to the Jewish people so that they might have known “the time of their visitation.” God had sent them “the way, the truth, and the life” [John 14:6] in the gift of His Son. Christ came as the Messenger of Jehovah, and His path was marked with blessings. He was sent to make known the Father. His whole life to its final sacrifice was a revelation of God to men. Calvary itself announced Him, “The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth, ... forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.” [Exodus 34:6, 7.] From Christ, the light of the world, shone forth the clear, bright beams of His Father’s glory. Yet the Jews comprehended it not. Lt4-1889.46

Thus it is in our day. The light of truth is shining upon us as clearly as it shone upon the Jewish people, but the hearts of men are as hard and unimpressible as in the days of Christ <because they know not what they oppose.> Many who claim to be standing in the light are in darkness and know it not. They have so enshrouded themselves in unbelief that they call darkness light and light darkness. They are ignorant of that which they condemn and oppose. But their ignorance is not such as God will excuse, for He has given them light and they reject it. They have before them the example of the past, but they will not be warned, and unbelief is enclosing them in impenetrable darkness. <They refuse to accept the testimonies they ought to believe, and are ready to accept tidbits of gossip and testimonies of men, showing their credulousness and readiness to believe that which they want to believe.> Lt4-1889.47

There is an alarming condition of things in our churches. Says the Word of God, “Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you. For among My people are found wicked men; they lay in wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men ... the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so, and what will ye do in the end thereof?” [Jeremiah 5:25-31.] “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” [Jeremiah 6:14.] “And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the Lord, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not; therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by My name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh, and I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren.” [Jeremiah 7:13.] <God will surely fulfill His word to those who will not hear, will not see, and refuse the light which He sends them.> Lt4-1889.48

The very men who ought to be on the alert to see what the people of God need, that the way of the Lord may be prepared, are intercepting the light God would have come to His people and rejecting the message of His healing grace. Brethren Miller, I beseech you to come into harmony with the work of God for this time. Oh, that you would have less confidence in your own opinions! Oh, that you might see that it is your inherited and cultivated stubbornness of heart which is keeping you away from the light of truth! Your self-esteem, your persistency in having your own will, are not according to God’s order. You need to cultivate humility and meekness, that the Lord may have room to work for you. We all need the blessing of God every day, and you must have a realization of His abiding Spirit in the heart. Your will is none too strong, if you place it wholly on the Lord’s side, to be educated and trained by Christ. Lt4-1889.49

The success of every work depends upon the blessing of God. If the Lord works with you, you will be able to do what He has appointed you to do. With God, one can chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight. But just as long as you maintain this spirit of Pharisaism, God’s Spirit will not, cannot, work with you, because you do not feel your utter dependence upon Him. When you become learners in the school of Christ, you will have the simplicity and meekness of little children and will be willing to counsel with your brethren and sisters, and will pray earnestly for help from God. Your ears will then be opened, and you will be enabled to say from the heart, “Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth.” [1 Samuel 3:9.] Lt4-1889.50

God wants to put His Spirit upon you; but He cannot do this while you are so full of self. When self dies, you will feel the quickening influence of the Spirit of God. God’s people are enjoined to seek for unity, that they may be framed together into an holy temple for the Lord. <“Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.”> [1 Corinthians 3:9.] This is no time for alienation and discord, for the indulgence of a selfish, perverse spirit. Will you take yourselves in hand, or will you be ready to regard your stubborn, unyielding disposition as an evidence of faithful integrity? God forbid that you should be blinded, as were the Pharisees, and place good for evil and evil for good. You will never have any greater evidence than you have had as to where the Spirit of God is working. The Lord never proposes to remove all occasion for <men to> doubt. He will give sufficient evidence to bring the candid mind to a right decision, but if you are determined to have your own way, if you are like Saul, unwilling to change your course because of pride and stubbornness of heart, because of ignorance of your own condition of spiritual destitution, you will not recognize the light. <You will say with Saul, “I have performed the commandment of the Lord.”> [1 Samuel 15:13.] Lt4-1889.51

The language of your soul has been, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” [Revelation 3:17.] You have not known that you were poor and wretched and miserable and blind and naked. You need to hear the words of Him who is the first and the last: “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear: anoint thine eyes with eyesalve that thou mayest see.” [Verse 18.] Lt4-1889.52

Selfish pride is holding you from good, and your only hope is to fall upon the Rock and be broken. As these words come to you, you will say, “Are there no others who need the same reproof?” There are many who need to see that the Laodicean message applies to them <who do not see it.> I write out your case definitely <not only that you may be benefitted, but> that others may see [that] they are in the same condition and that they, with you, may make decided changes in their attitude before God and before His people. Lt4-1889.53

You must stop inquiring about the duty of others and go to work for your own soul. Through faith in Christ, you may come to the light. When you view Christ as He is, you will decrease in your own estimation, and He will increase. The words of God spoken to Saul by Samuel are worthy of your consideration, for they apply in your case: “Obedience is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams; for rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” [1 Samuel 15:22, 23.] You have set yourselves to stoutly resist the light. The Lord will not compel you to have faith in Christ, but without faith it is impossible to please God. The faith that works by love and purifies the soul produces the fruit of humility, patience, forbearance, long-suffering, peace, joy, and willing obedience. Says the Scripture, “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” [Romans 14:23.] “He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” [Hebrews 11:6.] Lt4-1889.54

The promises of God comprehend all the spiritual blessings needed by weak, sinful mortals, who cannot save or bless themselves. That which should cause us the deepest joy is the fact that God forgives sin. If we take Him at His Word and forsake our sins, He is ready and willing to cleanse us from all <unrighteousness>. He will give us a pure heart and the abiding presence of His Spirit, for Jesus lives to intercede for us. But bear in mind, my brethren, that spiritual things are spiritually discerned. It is a living, active, abiding faith that discerns the will of God, that appropriates the promises and profits by the truths of His Word. It is not because we are righteous, but because we are dependent, faulty, erring, and helpless of ourselves that we must rely upon Christ’s righteousness and not upon our own. He that is rich and honorable and righteous in his own eyes cannot feel his destitution; therefore he cannot ask and receive. He feels no lack; therefore he is sent empty away. Lt4-1889.55

Christ has said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” [John 14:6.] If your good works were the way, then Christ would not have said, “I am the way.” It is not our doings and deservings that will save us. If man could have gained heaven by his own efforts, Christ need not have died to make an atonement for our sins. Yet all who tread the narrow path that leads to heaven will bear the fruits of godliness and give evidence that they are the light of the world. Lt4-1889.56

Blessed is the man who draweth not back but believeth every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Let there be no standing still, no drawing back unto perdition. The Lord commands His people to go forward from light to a greater light. Some have had great light, they have been blessed, they have believed that God, for Christ’s sake, forgave their sins, but there they have stopped and have made no further advancement. They have not attained unto a greater faith or broader experience, because they have not received the light of the truth which is constantly unfolding to those who follow the Light of the world. The blood of Christ cleanseth from all unrighteousness, but just as soon as a soul ceases to walk by faith, he becomes enshrouded in darkness. The only safety for anyone is to advance, to increase in the knowledge of the truth, to be sanctified by it. Those who are content with preaching old discourses and praying stereotyped prayers fail to improve the talents that God has given them, and these talents will be taken from them. My brethren, if you had the penetration you think you have, you would discern spiritual things. “By their fruits you shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.] Lt4-1889.57

Brother Howard Miller, you have heard the testimony which God has given me to bear, but while you have professed to believe, you have in spirit rejected the message. It is my duty to say to you that you have had all the evidence that the Lord will give you in regard to the special work He is doing at this time to arouse a lukewarm, slumbering church. Those who accept the message given will heed the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans and will buy the gold, which is faith and love; the white raiment, which is the righteousness of Christ; and the eyesalve, which is spiritual discernment. Says Christ, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock. If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” [Revelation 3:19, 20.] Lt4-1889.58

If the church refuses to hear the voice of the Heavenly Merchantman, refuses to open the door, then Christ will pass on, and it will be left destitute of His presence, destitute of true riches, but saying in self-righteousness, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” [Verse 17.] Lt4-1889.59

Many who refuse the message which the Lord sends them are seeking to find pegs on which to hang doubts, to find some excuse for rejecting the light of heaven. In the face of clear evidence, they say, as did the Jews, “Show us a miracle, and we will believe. If these messengers have the truth, why do they not heal the sick?” These objections recall to mind what was said concerning Christ. “His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth anything in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, show thyself to the world. For neither did His brethren believe in him.” [John 7:3-5.] “And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, and saying, ‘Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildeth it in three days, Save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.’ Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.” [Matthew 27:39-43.] Lt4-1889.60

How can any of our brethren who have before them the history the Lord of life and glory open their lips to utter words similar to the taunting words of the murderers of our Lord? Does the Lord lead our brethren to say these things? I answer, No. They know not what spirit they are of. Could their eyes be opened, they would see evil angels exulting around them and triumphing in their power to deceive them. The day is just before us when Satan will answer the demand of these doubters and present numerous miracles to confirm the faith of all those who are seeking this kind of evidence. How terrible will be the situation of those who close their eyes to the light of truth and ask for miracles to establish them in deception! Lt4-1889.61

When men close their eyes to the light that God sends them, they will reject the most evident truth and believe the most foolish errors. It is Satan that leads men to take false positions. Well might we ask, as did Paul in his day concerning brethren who had turned away from sound doctrine, “Who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth?” [Galatians 3:1.] Those who claim to be children of God are, in their ignorance, working against Him, rebelling against His providence, opposing His plans, and refusing to do the work that He has placed upon them. Instead of doing their duty, they strive to bring everything into harmony with their own narrow views. Instead of bringing their will into subjection to God that His purpose may be accomplished, they choose their own rebellious ways and will not yield to His guidance. Lt4-1889.62

The Lord has been appealing to His people in warnings, in reproofs, in counsels, but their ears have been deaf to the words of Jesus. Some have said, “If this message that Brother A. T. Jones has been giving to the church is the truth, why is it that Brother Smith and Brother Butler have not received it and have not united with him in heralding it? These good intelligent men would surely know if this were the message of truth.” Lt4-1889.63

Sentiments similar to these were expressed in the days of Christ, when He came to bear to the earth the tidings of salvation. The people looked to their leaders and asked, “If this were the truth, would not the priests and rulers know it?” Says the Scripture, “Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said unto them, Why have you not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers of the Pharisees believed on him? But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.” [John 7:45-49.] Lt4-1889.64

In the days of Christ there were many who incurred deep guilt because they denounced His teaching without carefully investigating its claims to their attention. We are sorry to say that similar guilt is incurred today through a similar cause. There are many who hear the words of Christ, but they do not in moral independence go to the Word of God to search the Scriptures and see whether or not these things are so. Though they have souls to save or to lose, they dare to rely upon the interpretation and application that their religious teachers give. God has endowed men with reasoning powers that they may compare scripture with scripture and know for themselves what is truth, that they may be able to give a reason for the hope that is within them, with meekness and fear. When the Lord graciously sends to us the means of knowing the truth and we turn from the precious privilege and are indifferent to His message, we insult the Spirit of God, and we shall walk in darkness and stumble in unbelief. Lt4-1889.65

When Christ told Peter what should come upon him because of his faith, Peter turned to John and asked, “Lord, and what shall this man do?” The Lord said, “What is that to thee? Follow thou me.” [John 21:21, 22.] If Elder Smith or Elder Butler should reject the message of truth which the Lord has sent to the people of this time, would their unbelief make the message error? No. We are to follow no one but Christ. If men who have occupied leading positions feel at liberty to despise the message and the messenger, their unbelief is no excuse for others to do the same. Our salvation is an individual work. Neither Brother Smith, Brother Butler, nor any other mortal man can pay a ransom for my soul or yours in the Day of Judgment. In that day there will be no excuse to offer for neglecting to receive the message the Lord sent you. Lt4-1889.66

Sins of the most revolting character exist in the church today. The alarming situation of the people of God requires more than tame, spiritless, Christless sermons to cut through the fleshy tablets of the heart and to arouse the moral sensibility. Satan is appealing to the lowest propensities of human nature. But these do not need cultivation. Like thistles and briers, selfishness, self-love, envying, jealousy, evil-surmisings, self-esteem will grow up luxuriantly if only left to themselves. But the highest, noblest faculties need to be kept in exercise that they may be developed. Christians who are overcoming day by day, who are seeking the glory of God and His approbation, will be careful not only to avoid wrong, but continually to perform what is right. Lt4-1889.67

We should take no man for our pattern, for we are to see and know for ourselves what is truth. It is of vital importance to us that we allow no one to come between us and our God. We should not accept any man’s opinions and ideas unless through careful searching for ourselves we find that they bear the credentials of heaven. It is of the greatest importance that we individually open our hearts to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. Let God speak to us through His Word; let God impress the soul. Lt4-1889.68

It is your duty to grasp every ray of light. You owe it to yourselves, to your family, and to your God to overcome your objectionable traits of character. If these are not checked and overcome, they will develop so as to work not only your ruin but the ruin of others. Sanctified resolution, self-control, supreme love for Christ, will place you in right relation to God and to humanity. God has sent message upon message to His people, and it has nearly broken my heart to see those who, we thought, were taught and led by God fall under the bewitching power of the enemy, who led them to reject the truth for this time. Lt4-1889.69

Do not men know from the Word of God that just such a message as has lately been going to the churches must be given in order that the very work which has been going on among us might be accomplished? Some who ought to have been first to catch the heavenly inspiration of truth have been directly opposed to the message of God. They have been doing all that was in their power to show contempt for both the message and the messenger, and Jesus could not do many mighty works because of their unbelief. However, truth will move on, passing by those who despise and reject it. Although apparently retarded, it cannot be extinguished. Lt4-1889.70

When the message of God meets with opposition, He gives it additional force that it may exert greater influence. Endowed with vital, heavenly energy, it will cut its way through the thickest barriers, dispel darkness, refute error, gain conquests, and triumph over every obstacle. I speak that [which] I do know. I testify of that which I have seen. Those who would triumph in the truth will have to act a part in the sight of the universe which will bring to them the reward of “Well done.” [Matthew 25:21.] They will be known as “laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] Lt4-1889.71

Misunderstanding, misapplication of the truth will alienate the hearts of those who have been brethren. But this would not be if self and self-esteem, if customs and traditions, were not disturbed by the message of truth. Patience, moderation, self-control, and carefulness of speech should ever be cultivated and manifested. But while we show these commendable traits of character, for Christ’s sake let us cry aloud and spare not. Says the Word of God, “Lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sin.” [Isaiah 58:1.] Lt4-1889.72

The watchmen on the walls of Zion are asleep. Many have no burden of the work; they have no positive warning to give. There are many who have heard the message for this time and have seen its results, and they cannot but acknowledge that the work is good. But from fear that some will take extreme positions and that fanaticism may arise in our ranks, they have permitted their imagination to create many obstacles to hinder the advance of the work, and they have presented these difficulties to others, expatiating on the dangers of accepting the doctrine. They have sought to counteract the influence of the message of truth. Suppose they should succeed in these efforts, what would be the result? The message to arouse a lukewarm church should cease, and the testimony exalting the righteousness of Christ would be silenced. Lt4-1889.73

Suppose that prejudice should do its baleful work, suppose the work should be given into the hands of these opposers and faultfinders and they should be permitted to give to the church the doctrine and the labor they desire to give, would they present anything better than the Lord has sent to His people at this time through His chosen agents? Would the message of the doubters arouse the churches from their lukewarmness? Would its influence tend to give energy and zeal to uplift the souls of the people of God? Have those who have opposed the light, openly or in secret, been giving the people the food that would nourish their souls? Have they been presenting the message which the time demands, that the camp may be purified from all moral defilement? Have they anything to offer to take the place of the truth which has been given with fervor and zeal to prepare the way for the Lord’s coming? Lt4-1889.74

The character, the motives and purposes of the workmen whom God has sent, have been, and will continue to be, misrepresented. Men will catch at words and statements that they suppose to be faulty and will magnify and falsify these utterances. But what kind of work are these lookers-on doing? Has the Lord placed them in the judgment-seat to condemn His message and messengers? Why do not these opposers lay hold of the work, if they have so much light? If they see defects in the presentation of the message, why do they not present it in a better way? If they possess such farseeing discernment, such caution, such intelligence, why do they not go to work and do something? Lt4-1889.75

The world is a second Sodom, the end is right upon us, and is it reasonable to think that there is no message to make ready a people to stand in the day of God’s preparation? Why is there so little eyesight, so little deep, earnest, heartfelt labor? Why is there so much pulling back? Why is there such a continual cry of “Peace and safety” [1 Thessalonians 5:3], and no going forward in obedience to the Lord’s command? Is the third angel’s message to go out in darkness or to lighten the whole earth with its glory? Is the light of God’s spirit to be quenched and the church to be left as destitute of the grace of Christ as the hills of Gilboa were of dew and rain? Certainly all must admit that it is time that a vivifying, heavenly influence should be brought to bear upon our churches. It is time that unbelief, pride, love of supremacy, evil-surmising, depreciation of the work of others, licentiousness, and hypocrisy should go out of our ranks. Lt4-1889.76

All the good will have a tendency to press together, and all doubting, unbelieving ones will keep each other in countenance and strengthen the very elements of character that the testimonies of God’s Spirit have reproved and urged men to overcome. We would ask every man and woman, On which side is your influence? Are you working where God is working, or are you working with the enemy? Says Christ, “He that is not with me, is against me, and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad.” [Matthew 12:30.] Lt4-1889.77

The idea is entertained by many that a man may practice anything that he conscientiously believes to be right. But the question is, Has the man a well-instructed good conscience, or is it biased and warped by his own pre-conceived opinions? Conscience is not to take the place of “Thus saith the Lord.” Consciences do not all harmonize and are not all inspired alike. Some consciences are dead, seared as with a hot iron. Men may be conscientiously wrong as well as conscientiously right. Paul did not believe in Jesus of Nazareth, and he hunted the Christians from city to city, verily believing that he was doing service to God. Lt4-1889.78

In view of these things, we can see that there is great need of seeking counsel of God, of searching the Scriptures with a humble, prayerful spirit, that the Lord may enlighten our understanding so that we can carefully weigh every point of truth that is presented. We should watch the tendency of it and see whether its fruit testifies that it is of God. Lt4-1889.79

Says the Scripture, “Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you.” [John 12:35.] No church can live by sparks of its own kindling, neither can Christians be the light of the world if they fail to diffuse the glory derived from a heavenly source. Says the Saviour, “If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” [Matthew 6:23.] Lt4-1889.80

The message of God has been presented to the people with clearness and force; it is the very message which God means that His church shall have at this time. Your refusal to listen to it, your rejection of it, while it will not stop the work, will result in great loss to your souls. Every ray of light that God has given to His people is necessary for them in the emergency that is to come. But if the rays of heaven’s light are not discerned, if they are not appreciated, accepted and acted upon, you will lose the heavenly benefit yourselves and keep the light from others whom God designed should receive it through you. Lt4-1889.81

It is little enough that the most educated and well-disciplined disciples of Christ can do to reflect light to the world and attract others to the source of light. But everyone can do something. Every day brings its privileges and opportunities to make unselfish efforts for the glory of God and the salvation of men. The duty of setting a good example must be considered. We must weigh faithfully the results of our actions. If we think a certain course will do us no harm, we should then look at it from the standpoint of others and ask how will it affect them? There are sins of omission as well as sins of commission, and all of us are influencing the course of others. A neglect when the work is laid before you is as wrong as to perform some sinful action, for in neglecting your duty, you fail to supply your link in the chain of God’s great work. Your influence does not sustain the cause of God. Lt4-1889.82

Many who ought to obey their Captain’s orders in this time of emergency are unfaithful. They cannot be depended upon in the day of peril. They begin to inquire and question and make propositions, when the foe is gaining every advantage. The only right thing to do is to obey the Captain’s orders without question, not stopping to reason about the matter or to make suggestions or to quibble over some minor point. We see thousands upon the very brink of ruin, and prompt action, and this alone will avail to save the souls of many. Lt4-1889.83

In this time of danger, if Satan can work upon the unconsecrated elements of men’s characters so as to keep them quibbling and questioning until it is too late to rescue souls who are rapidly getting beyond the reach of help, he will do it. I have been shown that this is just what he is doing. He is holding men away from the work that they should do, holding them back from obedience to their Captain’s orders, in subservience to their own supposed wise judgment and criticism of plans for the advancement of the work of God. There are many who preach discourses, lamenting the extensive and deplorable depravity now existing in the world, but they fail to do their part in shedding heaven’s light into the world’s moral darkness. Lt4-1889.84

Oh, that we had teachers who would show men by precept and example what it means to believe and live the truth! Why are our teachers walking and acting like those who are spiritually blind? As in the days of Christ, they have eyes, but they see not; they have ears, but they hear not, lest they should be converted and be healed. There is need that the converting power of God should come upon our ministering brethren, for many of the people are far in advance of them in experience in the things of God. The highest interest of souls, both for time and eternity, is involved in a proper understanding of the work for this time. Lt4-1889.85

We deplore the fact that men idolize their own opinions, that they are willing to be governed by their own preconceived ideas rather than by a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” It is the most difficult thing in the world to convince men who do not want to be convinced. Satan beclouds the perceptions and hardens the heart so that men will not give up their own ways that they may work for the salvation of a backslidden church, and point sinners to the “Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” [John 1:29.] Instead of engaging heartily in this work, they hold back and almost hope and pray that those upon whom the Lord has laid the burden will not succeed, for if success crowns the efforts of the burden bearers, it will prove these doubters to be in the wrong. Lt4-1889.86

When men open their hearts to unbelief, they open them to the great deceiver, the accuser of the brethren. With the glorious light of truth emanating from God, with abundant evidence that the work for this time is ordained of heaven, beware that you do not harden your hearts and ask for further proof, saying, “Show us a miracle.” The rich man of the parable prayed that one might be sent from the dead to warn his brethren, that they might not come to the place of torment in which he found himself. He said, “If one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.” But the answer came to him as it comes to us today, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.” [Luke 16:30, 31.] Lt4-1889.87