Manuscript Releases, vol. 18 [Nos. 1301-1359]


MR No. 1339—All Gifts of the Spirit to be Utilized; Christians not to be Controlled by Feelings; Look to Jesus as Example

(Written in 1851 to “Dear Brother Pierce.”)

Duty compels me to write a few lines. In vision the Lord has shown me some things of late which I feel duty to write you. I saw that all was not right with you, that you are in a place where your influence can tell but little; you are in too narrow a compass. I saw that Brethren Pierce and Phillips can be of use in the cause of God. Both their gifts are needed where they have not yet been, where their gifts are new and can affect more. The King's business is important, and requires haste. Jesus is coming, and there is no time to dally. With energy and zeal souls must be pulled out of the fire. 18MR 248.1

The past was opened before me. I was shown that there was a lingering of that spirit that Bennet and Libby had that has not been sufficiently shaken off by Bro. and Sr. Phillips, and as long as this spirit, the last of it, is not shaken off, it tells, and it has its influence. It is foreign to the Spirit of God. 18MR 248.2

I saw that the spirit that both Bennet and Libby possessed while Brother and Sister Phillips were in union with them, was an unclean spirit and an unholy spirit, and Brother and Sister O have not as yet realized and admitted and shaken it off. The spirit moved strongly on the feelings, and these feelings—many of them—are yet cherished as sacred, as [indited by] the Holy Ghost. 18MR 248.3

But many times when it was upon Brother and Sister Phillips, they knew not what the spirit they were of. At the time these men were professing so much of the Holy Ghost, especially Bennet, his life was corrupt, his heart vile. I was shown that a great many have been entirely thrown off their balance by not understanding the spirit that some of these [seemingly] very good and professedly holy men possessed; that they have felt the influence of and received great blessings through the influence of their prayers and apparent faith. It has stumbled many an honest soul, and here they have run aground and made shipwreck of faith. They trusted to feeling, to an influence or power that was brought to bear upon their feelings. 18MR 249.1

I saw that many, very many, had been truly converted through the influence of persons who were living in open violation of the commandments of God, their lives vile and corrupt. Others, I saw, were very sick. A case was held up before me of one of my relatives, a Methodist minister. Eighty miles he was sent for to pray for a sick sister in compliance with the teaching of James who sent for him. He went and prayed in earnest, and she prayed. She believed the minister to be a man of God, a man of faith. Physicians had given her up to die of consumption. She was healed immediately. She arose and prepared supper, a thing she had not done for ten years. Now, the minister was vile, his life was corrupt, and yet here was a great work. He took the glory all to himself. 18MR 249.2

Then again the scene mentioned above passed before me. I saw [that] the woman was a true disciple of Christ; her faith was that she should be healed. I saw their prayers: One was misty, dark fell downward; the other prayer was mixed with light or specks which looked to me like diamonds, and arose upward to Jesus and He sent it up to His Father like sweet incense, and a beam of light was immediately sent to the afflicted one and she revived and strengthened under the influence. 18MR 249.3

Said the angel, God will gather every particle of true, sincere faith; like diamonds shall they be gathered up and will surely bring a return or answer; and God will separate the precious from the vile. Although He bears long with the hypocrite and sinner, yet he will be searched out. Though he may flourish with the honest a while like the green bay tree, yet the time will come when his folly will be made manifest, and he be brought to confusion. 18MR 250.1

Said the angel, Shall He leave the poor, suffering saints, who are deceived, destitute entirely of His Spirit? Oh no! I saw He would win and woo them, that if they clave to Him and if they would listen to His voice, He would say to them, “This is the way; walk ye in it.” 18MR 250.2

But I saw there is great danger always of those who are brought so close, so near, this unclean spirit as you have been, Brother and Sister Phillips. I saw that God would separate the precious from the vile. There would be truth or something from God to call for a decision, and the corrupt would have no disposition to receive that call for a decision, but are separated from the precious by the precious receiving this truth [that] by the others [was] neglected. Here is the separation made. God will work in mysterious ways to save the true, honest ones. 18MR 250.3

I saw the great danger of those who have been connected with this spirit setting down this or that as the power of God, and, knowing this to be His power, if they yield this or that they give up their whole Christian experience. I saw, Brother and Sister P, [that] this was your case, and the only safe course for you was to shake off entirely that spirit, [get] out from it entirely, call it a deception you were under, as it really was, and then feast upon the truth, the present truth. I saw there is among you a spirit of linking up with a few, making everything of this one or that one who has any leading out to pray for the sick; and others who do not engaged in it as zealously as you, are of but little account or have but little influence. 18MR 250.4

Oh, I saw that this was not all of the requirements of Jesus, and those who pray for the sick are not all who have faith in Jesus. The faith of Jesus takes in the whole life and divine character of Christ. I saw that you are too exclusive; also Brother Pierce. You are leaning too much on Sister Phillips. Sister P has too much confidence in herself, and you have too much confidence in her judgment, in her feelings. God is willing to teach Brother Pierce his duty that he may know it for himself. You all go too much by feeling. 18MR 251.1

I saw Brother Pierce would often try to talk the truth; if he did not have that liberty and success, that freedom he anticipated, he settled down, [thinking] that God did not call him to that work. Now, if it had not been for this, Brother Pierce might have been more useful than he has been. All, every one of God's called and chosen servants, have had just such times, and if they had followed their feelings, would have given up, [thinking] that that was not the work God had given them to do. But the servants of God will always have obstacles to surmount. But do not yield up readily; keep trying, and plow your way through the darkness. Look away to Jesus; depend on Him entirely. 18MR 251.2

You follow feelings too much, and if you feel clouds come over you, you let it influence you too much. Feeling is as unsafe a guide as you can follow. You make altogether too much of a happy flight of feeling or a shouting time. These times will come, but they are not always an undoubted evidence that we are right. You have made too much of these seasons, and in some of them there has been a fanatical spirit not in accordance with the spirit of truth. I saw that there was a more useful place for your gifts to be occupied where they can move and stir souls. 18MR 251.3

Now is the time for God's people not to be in a corner, not where they have been over and over, but where their gifts are new. Brother Phillips’ gift of exhortation is needed. God calls for it. He calls Brother and Sister P to shake themselves from the last and least particle of that spirit that is mentioned above, for it is against the Spirit of God. God is about to work for His people; a great work is being done. I saw that this call to the Laodicean church will affect souls. A becoming zeal is called for by God on our part. We must repent, throw away our whole feelings, feel our destitution, buy gold that we may be rich, eye salve that we may see, white raiment that we may be clothed. 18MR 252.1

Sister P, I saw that you had a too high opinion of your own judgment, too much exalted. Brother Pierce has listened and looked up to you as though your judgment was unerring. Just so long as you are all so closely shut in with yourselves, your usefulness is comparatively nothing. Your linking together is too close for your own good. Said the angel, Each one strike out on your own individual responsibility as to each other, yet relying wholly upon God for victory. Look away from each other; measure not yourselves by yourselves. Jesus is the Pattern; look to Him as the Example, not to each other. Lean wholly upon God. 18MR 252.2

Brother Pierce, you have been silent too much; too much shut up with yourself. In the paper you could speak to hundreds, but you have a few of you contented yourselves together. Your talent, Brother P, has been almost buried up; it must be brought into use. But you have so little confidence in your own success that if you do not have that freedom that you expect, you sink down and give it up. Arouse, arouse, let not feelings guide you; but a sense of your duty, a sense of the truth, the important truth, let that influence you and move. Brother Pierce, your gift is needed. Brother Phillips, your gift is needed in exhortation. 18MR 252.3

I saw there had been considerable feeling with you and others in Vermont about the brethren coming West. You have not felt right about the matter. I saw that the greater work would be West. Many fields have not yet been visited that should be. It is true that many of those that have moved have not answered the design of God. God directed them to go, but not to do as they have done. After they were West, they should have lived out their faith; but they have acted like drunken men. But God is working for them. They see their sin and error, and are laying their possessions upon the altar, and preparing to labor for God.—Letter 2, 1851. 18MR 253.1

Ellen G. White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

January 22, 1988.

Entire Letter.