Manuscript Releases, vol. 5 [Nos. 260-346]


The Nature of Sin

What Sin Does—I was present in your assembly on one occasion, and was speaking to the church in regard to their danger, when One stepped into our midst whom we knew to be a messenger from God. The words that fell from his lips were such that the people sat with their eyes riveted upon him. A few covered their faces, and would not look at the speaker: for it seemed to pain them. They writhed under his words, and were desirous to leave, but dared not. 5MR 348.2

He said, “It is the essence of sin to allow yourselves to become a contradiction of God's will. Had it not been for the perverting influence of sin, the character and conduct of God's creatures would have ever been in perfect harmony with His will. But this is not the case, and because of this, it becomes necessary for every individual to search for the right way. But studying the word of God, and carrying out its precepts in all their business transactions, men may carefully discern the spirit which controls the actions. In the place of following human impulse and natural inclination, they may learn, by diligent study, the principles which should control the sons and daughters of Adam.”—Letter 22, 1896, p. 3. (To W. A. Colcord, June 22, 1896.) 5MR 348.3

Your case has been presented before me, and I have felt very anxious for you.... Satan has been watching you closely. Only a little farther on his ground, and the Spirit of God would have been driven forever from your heart, the Lord would have left you, and Satan, cruel in his power, would have cut you off in your sins.—Letter 46, 1888, p. 1. (To Brother Frisbie, December 30, 1888.) 5MR 349.1

When It Is Not Willful Sin—Those who are in connection with God are channels of the power of the Holy Spirit. If one who daily communes with God errs from the path, if he turns a moment from looking steadfastly unto Jesus, it is not because he sins willfully: for when he sees his mistake, he turns again and fastens his eyes upon Jesus, and the fact that he has erred does not make him less dear to the heart of God. He knows that he has communion with the Saviour, and when reproved for his mistake, in some matter of judgment, he does not walk sullenly and complain of God: but turns the mistake into a victory. He learns a lesson from the words of the Master, and takes heed that he be not again deceived.... 5MR 349.2

The wisdom of so-called intellectual men cannot be relied upon, unless they have learned, and are daily learning, lessons in the school of Christ. Men in their supposed wisdom may plan and devise theories and systems of philosophy, but the Lord calls them vain and foolish.... 5MR 349.3

The people have not been educated to bear their testimonies as they should have been, although the Lord has been pleased to give much light upon this matter. There has been altogether too much preaching, and not enough pains taken to educate those who have newly come to the faith to speak and to pray, and learn how to do service for the Master. This kind of work is of far greater importance than is frequent preaching. It is a mistake for the preacher to do all the speaking. He should do faithful labor to teach the people who have not had an experience to learn how to speak, to learn how to pray in such a way that they may improve week by week.—Letter 54, 1894, pp. 10-12. (To Elder O. A. Olsen, June 10, 1894.) 5MR 350.1