Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Ms 47, 1896

The Lack of Unity a Cause of Failure



Drawn from Lt 103, 1896. This manuscript is published in entirety in 14MR 289-300.

To those who were working in _____.

Dear Brethren:

The question has often presented itself to my mind, Why has the labor put forth in _____ at such large expense brought such limited results? There is an answer to this question. The Lord has been pleased to reveal to me that the same efforts put forth in another place, by the same persons and in the same spirit, would have brought the same results. The Lord could not give victory while those who taught the truth to unbelievers did not themselves practice that Word. The Spirit of God was not cherished, and that union which should exist among God’s workmen was not seen. Disaffection was working, and criticism was heard. The workers got in each others’ way. Some earnestly desired to tell what “I did” and how “I labored,” but said nothing which would show what their fellow workmen had done. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 1

By standing apart and yielding to suspicions of evil, by cherishing envy and jealousy, the workers have opened a door through which Satan entered. God’s holy name was greatly dishonored, and the work that needed to be done for the people could not go forward because of the spirit manifested. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 2

Those who are engaged in the sacred work of opening the Word of God to others, must be sure that they themselves are eating and digesting that Word. They must watch over themselves, weeding from heart and character the fungus growth which causes deformity and weakness. “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and all evil speaking, as new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” [1 Peter 2:1, 2.] Have you done this, or have you thought that you had no battles to fight with self, and so allowed your unsanctified impulses to control mind and judgment? 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 3

All that is enumerated in this verse—the products of the carnal mind and unsanctified heart—have influenced the workers more or less, and the effort which cost so much money, so much weary anxiety, so much hard work, has been made of little effect, because the workers did not eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of man. Self was mingled with nearly everything, and the wrong influence of this has been far-reaching. This spirit of rivalry is not from God, but from beneath. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 4

We are fellow pilgrims, seeking a better country, even a heavenly. God will never say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant” [Matthew 25:23], at the end of our journey, if we now cherish a spirit which craves to crowd out and supplant others. Malice, guile, hypocrisy, envy, and evil speaking are things which God abhors, and no one who reveals those fruits in his life will enter the kingdom of heaven. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 5

In the hearts of all who desire to follow Christ, there is natural depravity which must be uprooted, lest the representation of Christ be marred. Even at our camp meetings and special gatherings, selfishness is manifested by those in attendance. Covetousness, vanity, hastiness of temper, are cherished. An inclination to pick at straws, to think and speak evil of others, is too plainly manifested. This is a work which is in direct opposition to the work of God. Sister _____, you know not the harm you have done by following this course of action. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 6

Those who make fault finding their work, may appear to be constantly anxious and interested in regard to the welfare of others. They may seem to be actively engaged in good work. But their work does harm, and by the Lord it is not regarded as of value. “They say,” is whispered here and there; by blind suggestions other minds are filled with suspicion and distrust; uneasiness is created. Those who have listened to the “They say,” call to mind something they have observed in their brethren, which might have been wrong, and much is made of that which is worthy of but little notice. These apparently innocent words strike long, fibrous roots into the minds of those that hear them, and untold harm is done. Seeds of bitterness are planted; evil suggestions rankle in human hearts, and the seed springs up to bear an abundant harvest. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 7

The enemy of all righteousness sets in operation objectionable missionary work of this kind. One who is professedly working for Christ is tempted by him to probe the minds of others, and ask their opinions of words which have been spoken. In this way suspicion and envy are planted in many breasts. If those who carry on this missionary work could see it as it is regarded by the Lord of heaven, if for one day they could trace the course of their work and see its baleful results, they would repent. To do good to all, to faithfully perform our home duties, to devote our time to comparing our lives with the life of Christ, praying for a humble, sanctified mind—this is the missionary work which the Lord requires us to do. Angels of heaven cannot work with the human agent who sows the seeds of dissension and strife, but evil angels attend him wherever he goes. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 8

“I say unto you, through the grace given unto me,” writes Paul, “to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every men the measure of faith.” [Romans 12:3.] “Be kindly affectioned one to another, with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.” There is need for all to learn lessons of humility and thoughtfulness in the school of Christ. If this is neglected, harshness and roughness, which misrepresent Christ, will be revealed. “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” Romans 12:9, 10. This whole chapter should be an eye opener to all who accept the statement, “Ye are laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 9

Had the workers in _____ heeded this Word, and brought these principles into their daily experience; had they, by their unity, given evidence that God had sent His Son into the world, God would have given them special victories, but did you in honor prefer one another? Has your love been without dissimulation? These injunctions have been disobeyed, and had God blessed you while you were manifestly disregarding His Word, it would have been to His own dishonor, and it would have ruined the workers. See 1 Peter 1:13-19. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 10

The forms of unbelief are varied, for Satan watches every opportunity to crowd in some of his attributes. There is in the natural heart a tendency to be exalted or puffed up if success attends the efforts put forth. But self-exaltation can find no place in the work of God. Whatever your intelligence, however earnestly and zealously you may labor, unless you put away your own tendencies to pride, and submit to be guided by the Spirit of God, you will be on losing ground. Spiritual death in the soul is evidence by spiritual pride and a crippled experience; those who have such an experience seldom make straight paths for their feet. If pride is nourished, the very qualities of the mind which grace, if received, would make a blessing, become contaminated. The very victories which would have been a savor of life unto life, if the glory had been given to God, become tarnished by self-glory. These may seem to be little things, unworthy of notice, but the seed thus scattered brings forth a sure harvest. It is these little sins, so common that they are often unnoticed, that Satan uses in his service. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 11

Men will never be prepared to do the work of God acceptably unless they take themselves in hand and endeavor, firmly and constantly, to correct their own errors. No one is to take the position that his own way is perfect, that he had no need to reach a higher standard. “Seeing that ye have purified your hearts in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” [Verse 22.] This work is too often left undone. Many are working in an entirely different manner from that which is given to them as a standard of perfect service. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 12

If you would engage in the work of saving souls, the knowledge of God and of His Word must circulate in your heart, as the vital currant of life circulates through your body. Jesus Christ must be studied; His Spirit must pervade your work. Self must die. Otherwise you might better choose some other work, for your service will not honor God. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 13

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; have your conversation honest among the Gentiles; that, whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they may by your good works which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” For “ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” [1 Peter 2:11, 12, 9.] 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 14

The Dangers of Indulging Appetite

Every Christian should understand that there is a decided warfare going on between the chosen people of God and the powers of darkness. When men are content to live merely for this world, the inclination of the heart unites with the suggestions of the enemy, and his bidding is done. But when they seek to leave the black banner of the power of darkness, and range themselves under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel, the struggle begins, and the warfare is carried on in the sight of the universe of heaven. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 15

Every one who fights on the side of right, must fight hand to hand with the enemy. He must put on the whole armor of God, that he may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 16

Our foes are within and without. We are assailed by temptations which are numerous and deceiving, the more perilous because not always clearly discerned. Often Satan conquers us by our natural inclinations and appetites. These were divinely appointed, and when given to man, were pure and holy. It was God’s design that reason should rule the appetites, and that they should minister to our happiness. And when they are regulated and controlled by a sanctified reason, they are holiness unto the Lord. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 17

But men’s natural appetites have been perverted by indulgence. Through unholy gratification they have become “fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” [Verse 11.] Unless the Christian watches unto prayer, he gives loose reign to habits which should be overcome. Unless he feels the need of constant watching, ceaseless vigilance, his inclinations, abused and misguided, will be the means of his backsliding from God. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 18

Jesus Christ gave His life in order to save us, soul and body. He desires to restore the moral image of God in man. In order that this may be accomplished, we must co-operate with Him. The very flesh of our bodies must be consecrated to His service. But can this be done while we place in our stomachs food which will strengthen feelings that war against holiness and happiness and purity? 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 19

A healthy experience demands growth, and growth demands that careful attention be paid to the laws of nature, that the organs of the body may be kept in a sound state, untrammeled in their action. There is a great need that temperance in all things be taught and practiced. Tobacco and liquor of all kinds becloud man’s reason and place him below the brute creation. These things must be strictly avoided. And only food of the most wholesome character should be used, for we are built up from the food we eat. That which we place in the stomach becomes flesh and blood, and we can make our blood impure by eating meat and other injurious articles. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 20

God has given great light in regard to the subject of health reform, and important changes have been made by many. Wrong habits have been conscientiously corrected; injurious practices and customs have been given up. Light which God has given has been received and acted upon, and lessons which are right to the point have been given. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 21

The Word of God is clear in regard to these things. It tells us that our appetites must be closely guarded, and that by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of man, our minds are to be kept pure and free to do His will. Among the workers in _____, there were some who saw the importance of these things, who were God-fearing, temperate, and economical. As these men saw the disposition to gratify appetite, and the selfishness which it revealed, they felt fearful for the progress of the work. Their faith was dampened. Brother _____ labored to bring in health reform, but the example of Brother _____ was in harmony with those who had just embraced the truth, and who had not received the light in regard to healthful living. Thus the work of Brother _____ was made hard by those who ought to have been converted by the light which God has given on this point. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 22

Brother ----- has made meat his staple article of diet. He loves meat, and has established himself in the habit of eating it. He may be strong enough to stand a meat diet, but it is not so with his wife and family, who are not strong and well. His wife suffers and cannot tell why, but gratification of appetite is the greatest cause of her ill-health. Brother ----- knows what the Word of God teaches in this matter, but he does not practice it. This is not pleasing God. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 23

“Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do,” the Word of God declares, “do all to the glory of God.” [1 Corinthians 10:31.] Those who neglect to walk in the light, in order that they may glorify their appetites, bring mischief to themselves and to others. The Lord cannot manifest His glory through men who disregard His Word. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 24

You know not the danger of eating meat merely because your appetite craves it. By partaking of this diet, man places in his mouth that which stimulates unholy passions. Unhallowed emotions fill the mind, and the spiritual eyesight is beclouded; for the tendency of self-gratification is to corrupt the taste and the judgment. By furnishing your table with this kind of food, you go counter to the will of God. A condition of things is brought about which will lead to a disregard of the precepts of God’s law. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 25

A plain, simple but liberal diet of fruits, vegetables and grains is the best for those who are preparing for the work of God. The lower nature, with all its inclinations, must be subdued and crucified, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. It is absolutely necessary for Christians to keep the body under, bringing it into subjection, and uprooting every affection and impulse which is contrary to the will of God. The food which we eat will help or hinder us in doing this. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 26

But it is not an easy matter to overcome hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong. Self is masterful, and strives for the victory. But to “him that overcometh” the promises are given. [Revelation 2:7.] The Lord presents the right way, but He compels no one to obey. He leaves those to whom He has given the light to receive or despise it, but their course of action is followed by sure results. Cause must produce effect. Thus the Lord dealt with the children of Israel. See Patriarchs and Prophets, 365-368. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 27

Eating the flesh of dead animals was permitted by God because men were determined to break down every rule or regulation in order to gratify perverted taste. But if an appetite for this diet is cultivated, serious diseases will be the result. The evidences of the curse that came upon the earth because of sin abound everywhere. The whole creation was involved, and today animals languish under this curse. Disease prevails among them to an alarming extent. Cancers and tumors are very often seen. The tissues of the swine are peopled with living creatures; and yet this living mass is eaten and relished by men and women. Tubercular consumption is communicated by the practice of meat eating, and thus disease is extended. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 28

Will the Lord work a miracle to counteract the evils of a meat diet? He cannot do this; for in so doing He would dishonor His name. But in His Word He lifts the danger signal, showing plainly the evils from which He would save us, and if people prefer to risk the consequences, their course will produce the sure result. Too soon they will learn that they have brought suffering upon themselves by persisting in their own way. Their appetites craved meat; the Lord would not force them into the right way. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 29

In the warfare between good and evil, the Lord requires each one to remain faithful to his post of duty. If this is the home, take hold earnestly and willingly to make home a pleasant place. If your duty lies in the kitchen, seek to be a perfect cook. Prepare food which will be healthful, nourishing, and appetizing, so that the members of the family need not resort to stimulants of any kind. This is true missionary work. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 30

Parents should give strict heed to every ray of light which God has given on the subject of health reform, for we are living in a degenerate age when there is danger that passion will drive the youth into corrupting and revolting sins, into self-pollution, which ruins the mind, destroying the memory and enfeebling every other faculty. If their consciences are aroused to see this subject in its true bearing, parents can do much to guard their children from temptation. But if they place upon their tables the flesh of dead animals, if they encourage their little ones to eat this food, they sow seeds which will bring forth a harvest of corruption. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 31

Parents have a most solemn obligation resting upon them to conform to right habits of eating and drinking. Set before your children simple, wholesome food, avoiding everything of a stimulating nature. The effect which a meat diet has upon nervous children is not to make them sweet tempered and patient, but peevish, irritable, passionate, and impatient of restraint. Virtuous practices are lost, and corruption destroys mind, soul, and body. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 32

Much injury is done to health by the variety of the food which is seen on so many tables. Take the different dishes which are placed on the table at one meal, and put them all together in one vessel. Stir them up together. Does it make the stomach turn to look at it? Leave it for a few hours and it will ferment. Yet thousands compel their stomachs to receive just such a mass as this every day. Half masticated meat, condiments, spices, pies, and sweet puddings are washed down with tea and coffee. The abused stomach is obliged to take them, and do the best it can with them. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 33

Is there not sin in placing upon the table such a variety at one meal? Often the desire to return to moral integrity is expressed. But this will never be until we return to simple, healthful foods, until we eat and drink to glorify God, not to gratify our perverted appetites. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 34

Died because of bad cooking; died because of sour bread; died of medication; died of an abused stomach—this might be written over the graves of many. This suicidal process is gradual. Nature bears the abuse as long as possible, but in the end she must succumb. The oil in the lamp of life is mixed with a variety of injurious substances, and the lamp refuses to burn longer. It is extinguished, not because God willed it, but because of the manifest disregard of nature’s laws. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 35

What we eat and drink has an important bearing upon our lives and characters, and Christians should bring their habits of eating and drinking into conformity to the laws of nature. We must sense our obligations to God in these matters. Obedience to the laws of health should be made a matter of earnest study, for willing ignorance on this subject is sin. Each one should feel a personal obligation to carry out the laws of healthful living. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 36

Many turn away from the light, offended because a word of caution is given, and ask, “May we not do as we please with ourselves?” Did you create yourselves? Did you pay the redemption price for your souls and bodies? If so, you belong to yourselves. But the Word of God declares, “Ye are bought with a price,” “the precious blood of Christ.” [1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Peter 1:19.] The Word of God tells us plainly that our habits are to be strictly guarded and controlled. “Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” Shall we do this? The Word of God is perfect, converting the soul. If we diligently heed its precepts, we shall be conformed, physically, spiritually, into the image of God. 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 37

“I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” [Romans 12:1, 2.] “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” “What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 3:17; 6:19, 20.] 11LtMs, Ms 47, 1896, par. 38