Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Lt 17a, 1891

Ings, Brother and Sister; Fulton, John

On Steamship “Alameda,”

November 18, 1891

This letter is published in entirety in 18MR 237-247.

Dear Brother and Sister Ings, and Elder Fulton:

I have learned of Dr. Burke’s resignation. I am sorry indeed for this, for he is repeating his first experience. I see now, as ever I have, the danger of binding up in connection with, or in association in labor with, worldlings, professors or non-professors, who are in opposition to our faith, and who have no faith in the testimonies of reproof which the Lord sends. Not the least good can come of such a combination, or marriage in business, believers with unbelievers. There can be in this our work no more combination than oil can mix with water. Here is where the delusion and deception have come in. The world has been placed in front to carry out the workings of the enemy by his own subjects, the children of disobedience, and the children of God have been belittled, suspicioned, accused, and defamed by the agents of the wicked one. 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 1

It is time our people who profess to love God heed the voice of the Spirit of God. Press together, press together. In unity there is strength, in dissension and drawing apart there is weakness. God would not have the soldiers in His army give away their fellow soldiers to the enemy, while they are overflowing with sympathy for the enemies of Christ and the truth. O consistency, thou art a jewel! God’s people who have for many years been engaged in the work of God are set aside for a complaint coming from the enemies of God and the truth, and these enemies of Christ take their place. 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 2

Where all of one faith should stand true as steel to the interests of each other, there is watching as spies, there are testimonies drawn out from persons, and an educating school is formed through this process of surmising and reporting evil that will separate the souls from God and open the door wide for the polluting, corrupting power of Satan to have full sway over the minds of the workers. There will be a suspicion created against one who is entirely innocent of any wrong but who was simply discharging his duties as best he knew how. God is not at all in this business, of those of the same faith thinking the worst of believers in the truth, while the mantle of sympathy and love covers those who are full of bitterness against Jesus, who is the Truth, the Way, and the Life. 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 3

God calls for all who claim to be His followers to show their faith by their works. We are not to enter into secret confidences with those who love not God nor keep His commandments. We are to seek most earnestly to keep in sympathy and harmony with those of like faith, and we will do this if we are indeed a living branch of the True Vine. They will be one in Christ, brought into practical sympathy with Christ in His mission and in His work, to save the souls for whom Christ has died, not in their sins but from their sins. 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 4

But these sinners are not in any case to have the supremacy over the children of obedience and light. 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 5

The children of God are to appreciate and love that which Christ loves, and His saints are to be one in sympathy, as He, Christ, is one with the Father. They are not to draw apart from one another and work away from the prayer of Christ, and associate with worldlings, willing to be divided and stand apart from God’s chosen ones, while they link up in bonds with unbelievers. In this they are showing what manner of spirit they are of, speaking bitterness to one another, thinking evil of one another, yet expiating largely on the sympathies to be bestowed on those who hate God and the truth. All uncharitableness is to be excluded, and God’s people are to be bound together in the holy bonds of unselfish love. 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 6

“I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And 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 which 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.” [John 17:14-22.] 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 7

Here are truths, deep, broad, and eternal, to govern every church in our land that accepts the truth of heavenly origin. “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.” [Verse 23.] Here are the principles to be acted upon in the church and in all our institutions. To take any other course of action is not to keep the way of the Lord but to walk in the sparks of one’s own kindling, and bring in principles after the fashion and order of the world, which will take the strength and vital godliness from the church, however much they may claim to be the followers of Christ. 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 8

Listen to Him who spake as never man spake to His children who believe in Him: “If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments, and I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him, but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” [John 14:14-17.] 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 9

Then I ask, How can it be possible that those who love God and the truth will be truly estimated and kindly received by the world who seeth not the truth because they see not and love not the Author of truth? “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?” Let everyone mark the answer, “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” [Verses 21-24.] 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 10

Here is presented the line of demarkation clear and distinct between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not. Will those who are associated together in our important institutions see the difference Christ has placed between the believers and unbelievers? Then let them not advocate by precept and example that the disobedient, unbelieving element possess so much of the grace of Christ that they will appreciate the spirit and the work of those who love God and keep His commandments. Christ says they will not know the truth, because they see not Christ and the Father. Satan is well pleased if he can so impose upon inexperienced minds that they shall believe that all is good of the disobedient, all is virtue and truth in the words of those who are of the world, agents of the wicked one, while they must regard with suspicion those who love God and keep His commandments, and believe all is bad of them which the disobedient may arraign and forge against them. 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 11

There has come in a wonderful blindness in consequence of the perverted experience of men who have joined in bonds of affinity with the world. These men have not a vital connection with Christ. They see not Jesus as He is, and see not the beauty, loveliness, and exalted character of the truth. They put darkness for light and light for darkness. 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 12

Dr. Burke has placed himself on the world’s side, and I feel very sorry for him, for his moral and spiritual eyesight is blinded. He sees nothing clearly, and after every effort shall be made to open these blind eyes, and if he refuses to see, then by all means accept his resignation. God would have men in responsible positions who are praying for uncorrupted, unstained, pure religious discernment that they may educate correctly in our health institutions. There must be no betrayal of sacred trusts for this would be the traitor’s work. The institutions for health should not be a school where surface work is done and the heart uninstructed, but where there shall be education after the Divine mind and will; for, in order for our medical institutions to be what God would have them there must come into them a regenerating power, a spiritual life, that each worker must strive to live by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. They are not one of them to receive their inspiration from those who are bitter against the truth, to institute a criticizing judging against their own brethren and sisters whom they are taught by Christ to respect, to love, to esteem better than themselves. The workers at the Health Retreat need to unlearn many things. Those who are in positions as teachers need, indeed, that one teach them the first principles of Christianity, which is to love one another as Christ has loved them. 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 13

Whatever moral power any of us possess it does not come by inheritance, it is attained only by [a] minute-by-minute fight of faith. This is the only way anyone can come into possession of the higher wisdom which is first pure, then peaceable, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits. These words are to be carefully pondered. Unless they are practiced, the souls will be lost. “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.” [Ephesians 4:25.] These words need to be acted upon, for the Lord looketh upon the heart, and He cannot be in any way deceived by pretense and by hypocrisy. 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 14

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore, be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” [Ephesians 5:11-17.] These Scriptures were presented to me as applicable to the situation at the institution at St. Helena, and much more has been opened before me, but I hope and pray that God will give them hearts of flesh and take away their hearts of stone that they may be converted and saved unto eternal life. 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 15

God will not be trifled with. There needs to be a complete renovation in the Health Retreat. A working from Christlike principles, then the cloud resting upon that institution will be rolled back. Never, never will the Lord vindicate the work that has been going on for some time in the institution at St. Helena, where there is no distinction made between the precious and the vile. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” [Ephesians 4:29-32.] 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 16

We have the fullest faith in laboring for sinners to be converted, but we have not a particle of light from God to regard sinners as saints, and those who love God, our brethren, regard as sinners because sinners mistrust them and complain and murmur against them. “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ hath also loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor. But fornication, and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not be once named among you as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather the giving of thanks.” [Ephesians 5:1-4.] Here is where there is something that is essential to be set right: If Jesus should stand in the gentlemen’s bathroom, He would purge it from its uncleanness and unholy conversation and its low cheap sentiments that proceed from unsanctified lips and impure hearts, “neither filthiness, nor foolish talking.” O, what examples in words and deportment have been given unbelievers! 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 17

Educating needs to be carried on through the departments of the various branches of the work of entirely a different kind than has been given in times past. Read the words found in Ephesians 5:5, 6. “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things, cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: Walk as children of the light: (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness); proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” [Verses 6-10.] 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 18

This work of close investigation has been strangely neglected, while there has been a seeking spot and stain, or catching up some little supposed mistake, in those who were far nearer the kingdom of God than those that accused them. This mold that has been given to the institution must be changed. “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather reprove them.” [Verse 11.] 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 19

O, there is need of the grace of Jesus Christ passing into the heart of every worker in the institution, from the highest to the least, if you meet the condition of the heavenly Father’s blessings. The question is asked by Dr. Burke, What do you care for right or wrong? A great deal, Dr. Burke. If I did not, I would have held my peace. I would not have given the exhortations and reproofs that I have done to bring sinners to repentance who think themselves just. Jesus loves these deceived souls, although they are blinded, deluded by Satan and his agents. 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 20

Jesus loves His children, even if they err. They belong to Jesus and we are to treat them as the purchase of the blood of Jesus Christ. Any unreasonable course pursued toward them is written in the books as against Jesus Christ. He keeps His eye upon them, and when they do their best, calling upon God for His help, be assured the service will be accepted, although imperfect. Jesus is perfect. Christ’s righteousness is imputed unto them, and He will say, Take away the filthy garments from him and clothe him with change of raiment. Jesus makes up for our unavoidable deficiencies. Where Christians are faithful to each other, true and loyal to the Captain of the Lord’s host, never betraying trusts into the enemy’s hands, they will be transformed into Christ’s character. Jesus will abide in their hearts by faith. 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 21

All this spirit of picking flaws in a person’s words or deportment, setting one and another on their track to think evil and to communicate evil, is of Satan. Dr. Burke accuses me of having the spirit of the evil one. Dr. Burke, the Lord be judge between thee and me. I present this charge before the Lord. When Ahab met Elijah after he had been doing wicked actions, and when his apostasy affected all Israel, he said to the man whom God had given a message to the king, “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” Elijah answered, “I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim.” [1 Kings 18:17, 18.] 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 22

God has given me my work, and that message He gives me I shall bear whatever the consequences may be. I expect to meet in the judgment the words spoken to Sr. Gates. Whatever report she has made which inspired Dr. Burke to speak, with pen, words to me as no man or woman has ever addressed to me by pen or voice, reveals the spirit that has been fast becoming a controlling power in the Health Retreat. Now, all the words I uttered, I did because I could not endure the wrong practices which were perverting souls as is evidenced in the spirit and the manner of working that Sister Gates has been engaged in. The rebuke of God is upon her, and upon those who have inspired her to engage in a work that God has never set her to do—to judge and accuse and condemn, while the one in error was left unwarned, uncorrected. 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 23

This is the manner of Satan’s working, but the rebuke of God is upon all who participate in this kind of work from the greatest to the least. The precious children of God whom Satan and his angels are seeking to destroy, are to be strengthened and encouraged, and not to be torn in pieces. The best missionary work that can be done is to help and strengthen her sisters in the faith, all seeking to be faithful and true in a humble way, never stabbing in the dark, and neglecting the plainest duties marked out in the Word of God, to deal faithfully with those she thinks in error. 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 24

I have done only the work God has given me to do, the very work I have been doing for the last fifty years. What means this spirit of denunciation because I have not shunned to declare the counsel of God? And I have other things to say at the right time. When God says speak, I shall do this. But I feel great pity for Dr. Burke, because he is departing from the living God, and for what? O, let him answer, For what? Dr. Burke, For what? A mess of pottage. Selling your eternal interest for a cheap price. Will he yet see? I ask myself, Will he repent? Will he be converted? Will he renew his covenant at the cross of Calvary? “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” [Joshua 24:15.] Will he now cleanse the soul-temple of its moral defilement, and let the Spirit of God supply the vacuum? 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 25

He has so fully established the idol self in the heart and worshiped at its shrine, there has been no room for Jesus, no room for light, for love, for meekness, and lowliness of heart. Self is magnified into wonderful proportions. His only hope is to die to self, crucify self. If not, he loses that life which measures with the life of God. It is life or death that is set before Dr. Burke. “Choose ye this day, whom ye will serve;” “If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.” [Joshua 24:15; 1 Kings 18:21.] I would give my own life if such a gift would save his soul, but it would not. Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in the land, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness, which is the imputed righteousness of Christ. 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 26

The end is near. It is not long before the passions of the carnal, selfish heart will be revealed and every secret thing brought to light. O, that angels of heaven would impress upon human hearts the peril of choosing to walk in the sparks of their own kindling and refusing to walk in the way of the Lord. Now, Dr. Burke, in the judgment you cannot say you received not the warning the Lord has sent you. I have told you that unless you turn from every evil way, separate from sin and sinners, and no longer make them your confidence, and you come out from them and be separate, you will become darker and darker until you will not hesitate to do very many things you now think it impossible for you to do. 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 27

The Lord is still gracious; the Lord will still pardon, but your character must be transformed. There must be no guile found in the mouth of those who stand on the sea of glass. All this exaggeration, all misstatements, everything untrue must be put away from you, and you stand forth out of every secret work, open as the day, and you living as seeing Him who is invisible. This is the last appeal I expect to make to you. I have still a letter, packed away by mistake, I shall send you if the Lord bids me, then our communication ends if you remain of the same mind. 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 28

[Note in margin:] Will you please read and return to me as I have not another copy. Reserve a copy, if [you] please, but return this and oblige. E.G.W. 7LtMs, Lt 17a, 1891, par. 29