Lt 53, 1894

Lt 53, 1894

To the Ministers of the Australian Conference

“Norfolk Villa,” Prospect St., Granville, New South Wales, Australia

November 11, 1894

Portions of this letter are published in 9MR 177-180. +Note

Dear Brethren,

Last night I was in a council meeting, and those in council did much talking, and read concerning plans and details, and thus consumed much time. Those in council were slow in doing the business, and did not express things in a distinct, definite way, to make progress in business. While deliberating much upon minor matters, important matters, which needed clearness of mind, activity of thought, and weighty consideration, were left almost untouched. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 1

One who spake with no uncertainty laid his hand upon Elder Daniells’ shoulder and said, “God hath given to every man his work. Will you please leave God room to work with His individual workers. He has not left His burden of work upon your hands. He has never placed upon one man, or upon any board of men, impossibilities—the burden of entering into the minutia in regard to how workers shall carry on their work. He has never laid upon anyone the burden of making rules of action which will bind about and restrict the work, and confine the workers to a certain course of action.” 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 2

The fact that a man has been selected to be the president of a conference, does not mean that he shall have authority to rule over his fellow workmen. This is after the practice of Rome, and it cannot be tolerated, for it restricts religious liberty, and the man is led to place himself where God alone should be. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 3

Work has been done in the conference before the ruling president was placed as its head. If he assumes to restrict individual action and confine men to his own ideas, which he supposes to be right, or if a board shall make rules that enter into the details of what the workers should do, no help will in any way come to those who are engaging in the work. The workmen are compelled to decide on the spot as to what they will do. The place, the circumstances, the interest, the moral sentiment of the people, will have to decide in many cases the course of action to be pursued. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 4

It would be inconsistent for the worker to feel that he is compelled to write to the president or to the board for permission to pursue a certain course which his experience and judgment tell him is the best course to pursue under the circumstances. Wherever an earnest effort is made to bring souls to the knowledge of the truth, the angels of God guard the interest. The only course that can be pursued by the worker is not to look to or depend upon <any> man, but to look to Jesus, and to do his work in harmony with His revealed will. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 5

Laborers in the field must be trusted to do the work committed to their hands. As emergencies shall arise, they must depend upon the grace of Christ, and obtain wisdom from above, in order to make decisions that will be advantageous to the work. Those who are on the ground must decide, as the work develops how much time it will be necessary to devote to that field of labor. It is not consistent to prescribe how much time shall be given to work in certain localities. The decision on this point must be left to the judgment of the workers. They must not be confined to certain places, or directed as children as to how or when the work shall be done. Mistakes have been made in this line. <The small hand of man [often] is thrust out to manage the work and the workers, when, if they have far greater faith and less dictating, the work would shape itself.> 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 6

Those who do the work know better concerning these matters than anyone outside <as spectators.> God moves upon human minds to work according to His will and according to His purpose. Workers for God are to look to a higher Source for direction than to human minds. The minutia and detail of how they are to work is not to be laid down by human minds. When we decide that Jesus Christ will not do as He has said He will do, <“Lo, I am with you alway even unto the end of the world” [Matthew 28:20],> when we decide that God has not power, or has not time, to notice His workmen, then it might be more consistent to plan out every detail <of the work.> But we would encourage faith in those who give themselves to the work of God; we would inspire them to believe that God is not unmindful of their labors and trials. He values His human agents, and appoints divine agencies to work with them. <“Ye are laborers together with God.”> [1 Corinthians 3:9.] 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 7

It is necessary to carefully consider many things that have been left without due thought. It is necessary to drop out other things that have occupied much time, when <but little> time should be devoted to them. God has not laid upon any living man the burden of jealously guarding the movements of His fellow men, for this would restrict his intelligent freedom. In following a course of this kind men are pursuing a similar course to that of the Roman Catholics who center in the pope every power of the church, and ascribe to him authority to act as God, so that those below him in station lay every plan at his feet, that he may prescribe the rules for men and women in every minutia of life. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 8

In following a course of this kind there is danger that no chance will be left for God to answer the prayers of His delegated servants, according to His promise, in giving them wisdom in pursuing their work. God does not purpose to have one man prescribe how his fellow workmen shall perform His work. When this manner of action comes in among our people there is need of a protest. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 9

Let every intelligent soul wonder and adore because of the fact that God has so valued His human agents as to say to them, “Ye are laborers together with God, ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” [Verse 9.] In view of this fact, let every workman treat his fellow workman with peculiar delicacy. The cross of Calvary discloses the value of the soul in the sight of God. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 10

The better acquainted we become with the mystery of godliness, the more we understand how Christ has valued His human agents. He has undertaken to become their Surety, and though He was the Lord of glory, He was willing to endure any inconvenience, to experience any suffering, in order that men might be placed in a favorable position to form characters that God should approve, to be workmen that need not to be ashamed, but able to labor in any part of God’s moral vineyard. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 11

Those who labor in the cause of God will find plenty of assaults from the enemy of God and of men. But shall any who profess to be followers of Christ become the adversary of their brethren in weakening, wounding, and bruising the souls of their fellow laborers? This is the very work which Satan is trying to do. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 12

The Lord has done everything that a God could do for His heritage, and He expects that those for whom He has done so much shall love one another, shall value each other in the light of the cross of Calvary. Consider the prayer of Christ, “For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth, Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also that shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” [John 17:19-23.] 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 13

The prayer of Christ presents men in the light of wonderful value with God. Every man has a right to value himself. In the light reflected from the cross of Calvary, he may understand that individually he has been highly valued by One as high and exalted, as full of majesty and glory as the Lord Himself. Would that men could view this subject in the light in which it has been presented to me. He has valued us, and He still values us, for He came to our world to suffer inconvenience, insult, and abuse, though it came from the very ones whom He sought to bless. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 14

For our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. “He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.” [Isaiah 53:3-5.] 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 15

In consideration of the amazing condescension on the part of God in paying such a price for the ransom of men, should not every human agent humble himself, and learn to respect his fellow men, and not show the slightest contempt or feel the least indifference for those for whom God has displayed such amazing love? “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 16

Since God has placed such value upon man, shall his fellow men encourage the spirit of indifference and carelessness toward him? No; men who labor in the gospel field are to be respected <and loved.> The Holy Spirit has engaged to work for man, and unless the Holy Spirit shall do its office work upon our hearts, our labors will be in vain. When men undertake to work the Holy Spirit, they will find that their weak ideas, their prescribed rules and regulations which they have felt to be necessary to the work, are of no honor with God. God calls for the finite to stand aside, in order that His delegated workers may be operated upon by the Holy Spirit. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 17

The words spoken in the council were solemn and earnest. There is need that every man should humble his heart and walk in all humility before God. No man should consider that position gives him power to lord it over God’s heritage. The consciousness of being appreciated is a great <encouragement and> satisfaction to any man. To treat others with delicacy and respect will do much towards closing the door of temptation, and opening their hearts to respect and love. Men in office, and men out of <special> office, are laborers together with God for the helping of God’s heritage, and the Lord will not sanction any species of disrespect or oppression toward those for whom He has paid the price of His own blood. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 18

You have your Bibles, and I would ask you, Are you appreciating the words of Jesus Christ? “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 19

“But whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. ... Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that which is lost.” [Matthew 18:1-6, 10, 11.] 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 20

This entire chapter needs to be carefully considered by every church member. When men who claim to be disciples of Christ shall be doers of the lesson which He has given in this chapter, they will know what it means to have Christ’s precious promises verified unto them, as unto those who are building their house on the Rock. Would it not be well for those who stand in responsible positions to be practical Bible doers as well as Bible readers? 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 21

When ministering brethren come together in council, let deference be shown to the expression of intelligent principles, let intellectual freedom be freely accorded to all. There should be unity and love and freedom in communicating one with another. It should be a pleasure to consult one with another, to compare ideas, and to review plans<—to meet and write in hearty confidence and Christian fellowship [with] their ministering brethren.> An atmosphere of goodness, confidence, and love should be diffused, for this is the assurance of the presence of the Holy Spirit. The presence of God should be felt, and the soul should be humbled in acknowledging the condescension of these brethren in planning for every soul for whom Christ has died, and thus hearts would be softened and broken, <drawn together and not drawn apart.> 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 22

As president of the conference you have manifested little love in spirit, in word, and in action, in reference to your ministering brethren; and this is an offense to God. You must change decidedly in spirit and in attitude, or you will imperil the work of God, and will be left <very much alone> to your own ideas and plans. Your heart will lose its softness of penitence, so appropriate for every soul to feel. You will lose the divine moving of the Holy Spirit. You need to put away your suspicions, your criticism, or else your love will grow less and less, and your influence will leaven others, and there will be no unity among you. You will hold together only as ropes of sand. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 23

Look to Calvary, and put away your infidelity and your loveless spirit. You have not the confidence in any one that you should have, and a hard, unfeeling spirit, destitute of the love of Jesus, is coming in to occupy your soul. Link up with your brethren, if you would have them link up with you and give you their confidence. Confidence and faith will beget confidence and faith. You should gather into your confidence not only your ministering brethren, but those with whom you are brought in contact, and show them that you have confidence, and that you believe that they are taught of God as much as you yourself are taught of God. Open your plans before them. One will be free to speak, and another will be free to speak, and they may call your attention to some things that you had not thought of before. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 24

God does not open everything to one mind, but he teaches one, and another, and still another. Men are to stand in God, and without having the fear of criticism <constantly> before them, they are [to] speak as God shall give them utterance, and to write as God shall dictate. After they have written their thoughts, let them be free to read their articles to their brethren, and let them receive any kindly word or caution that the brethren may see fit to offer in the spirit of brotherly kindness and love. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 25

The cautions which God has given are to be regarded. Christ has said concerning His disciples, “All ye are brethren.” [Matthew 23:8.] Everyone is to give an account of himself to God. Confidence and respect must be cherished in the heart of Elder Daniells towards God’s ministers and agencies. Do not lay down any specified rules or prescribe any details of actions as to how God’s agents shall do their work. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 26

Those who are accepted as workers together with God are under the tutorship of God. He is just as willing and ready to lead and teach them as He is to lead those who feel like laying out the work for His workers in precise lines. This manner of action is not after God’s order, and is aside from His plan, <leading the workers to weakness and inefficiency.> This burden has been gathered to the soul, but it has not been given to men [by] God. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 27

The Teacher said, “While you are so earnest to call to mind the details, the time that is of so great value has been consumed, and the prayer that was so necessary for invoking the presence of God to preside in your councils has been neglected; and the minds of the workers have been called to dwell upon nonessentials which should have been left for workers in the field to plan for themselves, for they understand the situation and circumstances and have reasoning powers to know what is necessary for the success of their labors. Many things that are too important to be set aside have been lightly dwelt upon, and many things that are of little consequence have been largely dwelt upon, when there is no reason why men should dictate concerning the matters they have laid out in detail.” 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 28

It is our place to instruct the people that they are not to make men their trust, no matter in what position they may be placed, but that they are to look <beyond the human> to Jesus for their orders. The Lord has entrusted His servants with His household goods, and it is the responsibility of every worker to improve his Lord’s entrusted talents and to become a laborer together with God in inculcating special truths that have been committed to him. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 29

Let men leave the work for the worker to do with an eye single to the glory of God. God may see that it is necessary to release every president of his charge who does not understand what is comprehended in his special work. He who mistakes his duties is in danger of working at cross purposes with God, and of imperiling the souls of his fellow workers as well as his own soul, because he does not recognize the fact that his fellow laborers are to be linked up with him. Christ said, “All ye are brethren.” [Verse 8.] 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 30

The position of president gives to no man liberty to be voice and conscience for his brethren, to leave some out of his confidence, and to take some into his counsel <who he is sure will voice his words and plans.> He is to embrace those to whom God has committed sacred trusts according to their several ability. One man may present a plan, and another may discern a fault in the plan, while still another may suggest another plan which needs to be fairly considered. But the details that have been laid <out> for those to follow who are laboring in the field are such as to make them blush with indignation, for they are of such a character as to suggest that they are not worthy to be trusted, when God regards them with love and tenderness and has committed to them His goods <in endowments [and] talents to be improved.> The communication is open between God and their souls, for they are workers together with God. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 31

The heaviest responsibilities rest upon the workers who have had the largest experience and have been privileged with the most opportunities in connection with the work. The largest responsibility rests upon him to whom God has entrusted a great work. Many things that men would prescribe for others would better be left <to the intelligent judgment of the workers under> the guidance of God. Many parts of the work that men take it upon themselves to judge would better be left for God to judge in that great day when He will try every man’s work of what sort it is. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 32

Your prescribed rules concerning details are not inspired of God. You have wearied minds that were already worn by causing them to dwell upon these matters when more important matters were to be considered by all interested workers. That which pertains to the growth and advancement of the work has had to give place to these nonessential things. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 33

Be as explicit as you please in regard to enforcing Bible rules of love, sympathy, and true Christian courtesy one toward another, for to depart from God’s commandment in these particulars means condemnation to the soul. The selfish, narrow ideas which lead to the formation of rules that would circumscribe God’s workers, and would give no chance or room for the working of God <in the guidance of His chosen ones> [and] in the intellect and judgment of His own hired servants, is not only injurious to the workers but a sin against Jesus Christ whose property they are. If you accustom yourselves to take the work of God out of His hands into your finite hands, and employ your time in dwelling on little and larger details while neglecting matters that are more essential, you will belittle and cripple God’s work. You will lose sight of the great, eternal interest, as the enemy would have you, and the work of God will be left in a wounded condition. Let the leading men weed out from their propositions all that can be more properly handled by individual workers themselves. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 34

Men who have borne responsibility, men who have judgment, men who manifest sympathy, who act under the supervision of God, are in as close relation to Christ as is the branch to the vine, and as branches of the vine are to derive their sustenance, not from each other, but from the parent stock. They are not to feel the least lifted up or boastful one over another, but are individually to please God by bearing much fruit. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 35

You preach Christ, but you do not realize your dependence upon the divine influence to make you Christlike. If every man will hide in Christ, then Christ will appear as all-sufficient. All do not give due consideration to the fact that the Holy Spirit is to take possession of hearts and mold their characters. Self-sufficient workers will not have Christ with them. The inventive mind of man is likely to form speculative opinions of every variety, but mere opinions are of little weight. “What is the chaff to the wheat,” said our Counselor. [Jeremiah 23:28.] 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 36

Men have defective sight, and things of the largest proportion, if removed a short distance, lose their importance while smaller matters brought nigh to the vision become magnified, and seem to gain wonderful importance, and to be of the most essential character. The Lord Jesus finds many of His human agents mistaking phantoms for realities, and realities for phantoms; He hears them calling an atom a world, and a world an atom. Such agents need the work of the Holy Spirit upon mind and heart to mold the character after the divine similitude. If this work is not done, the whole interest will be absorbed in spiritual delusions. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 37

No one is safe in attempting to work the Holy Spirit, and yet you are in danger of supposing you can do this. The Holy Spirit must work the individual, human agent. The most powerful sermons are in vain unless the Holy Spirit accompanies the words. Christ expects every man to do his best. Brethren who are constantly suspicious of their brethren make manifest the fact that evil influences have wrought upon the mind, and that they have become doubtful, distrustful, full of evil surmising and evil-thinking; and they think that plans must be laid to prevent the very thing that their suspicions tell them exists or will exist. Their very suspicions help to create the state of things that they imagine, and then they believe that they have had great discernment in forming plans to meet a situation that they have helped to create. But the fact was that they were treating their suspicions and suppositions as realities until their course of action made them so. Unless such a mind is brought under the controlling influence of the Spirit of God, its working will greatly retard the cause of God, until it may be necessary to disconnect the man from the work. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 38

Men are to speak and write, not under a man’s inspiration, but according to the dictates of the Holy Spirit. This dictation on the part of human agents to God’s delegated workers is an offense to God. Those who are handling the subject of religious liberty, must in no case educate themselves in the practice of religious intolerance, even on a small scale. In the course they have been pursuing, they are wearing out not workmen whom they have raised up and appointed, but men whom God has delegated to do a certain work according to their several ability, whose hearts God has touched by His Holy Spirit. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 39

Again words were addressed to the men who were in council, to the effect that as God’s workmen associating together, they were to have hearts of flesh and not hearts of steel. They were in danger on this very point, but God cannot work with such material. There are men who need to be broken by falling upon the Rock, for they become firm and unimpressible and tenacious of their own ideas. But if they were left to have their own way, and it appears to them to be just and prudent and wise, the cause of God would bear an impress not after the similitude of Christ’s image. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 40

God never designed that one man’s mind and judgment should have a controlling power over His heavenly appointed agencies, or over any class or organization. Again and again this matter has been repeated. But it is Satan’s object to place finite men where God should be. “Blessed is the man who trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and which spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green, and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” [Jeremiah 17:7, 8.] 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 41

When men think that it is a good plan to exclude the people who believe the truth from having any special, expressed voice in matters concerning the management and working of the cause, they make a great mistake. It is the people’s interest and money that largely sustain the work, and as the work advances step by step, the people should be enlightened, for they are part and parcel of the work in all its movements, and in no case should their judgment be ignored. You may say, “They have not a correct understanding of the work.” But when and how can they become intelligent on these matters if the work is not opened up to them? 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 42

There are men from among the people who are of quick understanding, and who possess talents, and if they follow on to know the Lord, they will be fit to understand His work, although they are not ordained ministers. If they are consecrated, humble men, if they serve the Lord with consecrated minds, they will be entrusted with the Lord’s goods to trade upon. 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 43

Christ said to the humble fishermen, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men, and straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. [Mark 1:17, 18.] Those who have genius which shines with brightness in the kingdoms of this world, often [do] not have a desire for a place in the Lord’s kingdom. High birth, hereditary greatness, wealth, and high sounding titles do not bring men into special favor with God. The Lord passes these by, and today accepts that which He accepted when He walked among men in the garb of humanity. He chooses men from the humble walks of life and esteems them for their piety alone. He says, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and keep them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:19.] 9LtMs, Lt 53, 1894, par. 44