Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901)


Lt 79, 1901

Daniells, A. G.

St. Helena, California

July 11, 1901

Portions of this letter are published in TDG 201; UL 206; 4MR 261. +Note

Elder A. G. Daniells

Dear brother,—

I received a letter from you and from J. E. White today, and I will now write you a few lines. I am surprised that it takes so long to receive answers from the letters sent. But ere this you will have received the letter I sent you in reply to the ones I received from you and Brother Kilgore. When these letters came, I had not sufficient strength to properly consider them. I was prostrated with feebleness. I had just returned from the General Conference, and as you know, my journey was not an easy one. In twenty-three days I spoke twenty-three times and travelled nearly three thousand miles. When I reached home I was suffering from an affliction of the throat. This is a new thing to me, and I am so glad that I am now better. One morning Willie read yours and Brother Kilgore’s letters to me, but I was too weak and confused to give them attention. I could not think; my heart troubled me; and I told Sara that I must be much in the open air. We decided to drive to Vallejo, thirty-five miles from here, and then take the train for Oakland, where we were to attend the camp-meeting. I knew that the Lord would certainly meet me in the meeting. I reached Oakland Wednesday afternoon, and on Thursday afternoon I spoke to a large congregation on the camp-ground. During the meeting I spoke eleven times. 16LtMs, Lt 79, 1901, par. 1

Since returning from the meeting, I have had another attack of bloody flux. The distress of my mind for the Southern field has been a heavy weight upon me, and the attitude taken by you and by Brother Kilgore was a great perplexity. I could not understand what these things meant. But at last all is clear to my mind. In the night season I was in a council meeting where Brother Smith Sharp was speaking of dividing the working force at Nashville and taking part of it to Chattanooga. Several other matters were introduced. Then the Counsellor who never makes a mistake spoke words which changed the whole atmosphere of the meeting. He laid down principles which showed that the working forces were not to be divided. That which is needed to make one center should not be used to make two centers. Put all the force into one center, and unite to make that center a success. Nashville is to be made a center, and from it light will radiate to the regions beyond. Should the suggestions urged by Brother Smith Sharp be followed, two sets of buildings would have to be put up, when there is scarcely financial strength to make one place a success. To try to separate the work and establish it in two places would weaken the force of both. Make the work in one place as complete a whole as possible. 16LtMs, Lt 79, 1901, par. 2

Let it be understood that the advice given and the propositions made by one brother were untimely and should not have been brought forward. The disposition to differ from his brethren has in the past been shown altogether too much by Brother Smith Sharp. He works persistently to have his own ideas carried out on his own lines. His influence over Brother Robert Kilgore is not good. I was permitted to hear his words and to see the result of the working out of his suggestions, and also the spirit that prompts him to action. 16LtMs, Lt 79, 1901, par. 3

There are in Brother Smith Sharp traits of character which the Lord will use to His name’s glory when Brother Sharp is converted and moulded according to God’s mind, as clay is moulded in the hands of the potter. But Brother Sharp is inclined to seek for the supremacy. It is his disposition to differ from others, to be at variance with them. He does not see the cruelty of this spirit. He supposes that to have the faculty of discovering objectionable features in almost every movement is the sign of a superior mind, and he has his criticisms always ready. But this is no evidence of a superior mind or of correct judgment. A child may ask questions that experienced minds cannot answer. When a man makes criticism and opposition his stock in trade, he should not be placed in positions of trust; for he is as one who places a stone in front of the carriage wheel to hinder its progress, instead of behind the wheel, to keep it from rolling backward. 16LtMs, Lt 79, 1901, par. 4

Brother Smith Sharp has knowledge which would help in the work if it were sanctified and available, but at the very time when it might be a power for good, his mind becomes impressed by his own superior traits of character, and his words and actions are a distressing hindrance, blocking the wheels in front instead of behind. He says many things which sound wise and critical, but these things have brought great sorrow and hindrance to the work. The way in which he has traded upon the Lord’s goods has been unprofitable to his own soul; and the wrong does not end there. His ideas are seeds sown in other minds, which spring up and bear fruit. 16LtMs, Lt 79, 1901, par. 5

I present this case as an illustration of the condition of the minds of several others. There are men who bring their peculiar traits of character into every council meeting. They talk away many excellent propositions placed before the members of the council. Thus the reformation which is essential is stopped. No advancement is made. This has been done so often that the work which ought to have moved forward step by step has been greatly hindered. Propositions have been introduced which have put a period to the work which needed to be pushed forward without delay, with every eye seeing clearly and every mind acting rapidly. We have no time now to stand still. Wait not; but do the work and do it without delay. We would need a temporal millennium to work out the plans and methods for which some argue, and every work that ought to be done would show the result of hindrance. 16LtMs, Lt 79, 1901, par. 6

At times some men are wonderfully economical. To save a little inconvenience and a supposed outlay of means, camp-meetings are appointed in out-of-the-way places. Thus the very object of camp-meetings,—to reach the unbelieving world and awaken an interest in present truth, letting the light of truth shine forth amid the moral darkness with a brightness proportionate to its importance,—is frustrated. 16LtMs, Lt 79, 1901, par. 7

Christ has laid out in figures the plans which we are to study and upon which we are to act. The fifth chapter of Matthew is full of precious instruction. Read this chapter, and write it upon the tablets of the soul. The Saviour declares, “Ye are the light of the world. ... Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. ... Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” [Verses 14, 16, 13.] If the character is not under the moulding influence of the Holy Spirit, if we have not that faith which works by love and purifies the soul from all objectionable hereditary and cultivated traits of character, what does our profession avail? If the truth that is professed is not allowed to sanctify the temper, the disposition, the words and actions, if there is a constant denial of faith, the truth is greatly dishonored, being mixed with worldly principles. Where there should be seen the sweetness of humility, combined with firmness and solidity of character, there is seen a hard spirit, which is not a savor of life unto life, but a savor of death unto death. 16LtMs, Lt 79, 1901, par. 8

God requires us to exercise toward our brethren the compassion which we desire them to exercise toward us. God requires those who claim to believe the Bible, the standard of Christian character, to bring the Christlikeness into all their service, that not one particle of the salt shall lose its preserving influence. The Christlikeness is ever to be preserved. The mind and heart are to be cleansed from all sin, all unlikeness to Christ. God has duties for every one in His service, for every church member, to perform. His people are to exalt the power of the law above human judgment. By bringing the entire being, body, soul, and spirit into harmony with the law, they are to establish the law. 16LtMs, Lt 79, 1901, par. 9

God will open the way for His subjects to perform unselfish actions in all their associations, in all their business transactions with the world. By their acts of kindness and love, they are to show that they are opposed to greed and selfishness and are representing the kingdom of heaven in our world. By self-denial, by sacrificing the gain they might obtain, they are to avoid sin, that in accordance with the laws of God’s kingdom they may represent the truth in all its beauty. 16LtMs, Lt 79, 1901, par. 10

But if our words and actions are unchristlike; if the spirit we cherish is not helpful; if we retain the old, unsavory traits of character, studying how we may get the best of the bargain to the disadvantage of someone else; if, unmindful that it is our duty to help one another, we care little whether we hurt and destroy a brother’s prospects, we are as salt which has lost its savor,—good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden underfoot as valueless. We may gain some advantage ourselves, but what help are we to the world? 16LtMs, Lt 79, 1901, par. 11

How can we have preservative qualities of character, as salt which retains its savor? How can we exert a saving influence? By obeying to the letter in every transaction of life, the plain commands of God: by being kind, benevolent, generous; by seeing the necessities of the cause of God, and trying to relieve them; by doing the work that must be done to represent the truth as it is in Jesus. 16LtMs, Lt 79, 1901, par. 12

Read the fifty-first Psalm. Let its lessons be practiced. Not a tithe of what we should be are we in word, in spirit, in purity, in Christlikeness. This is the reason we have not more power with God. We profess to believe the most sacred truth, which God declares will refine and sanctify those who truly believe, leading them to live lives in marked contrast to the lives of worldlings. But if we have merely a nominal profession, as many church members have today, we may be sure that our influence is not good, but unpalatable, unsavory. We are as salt without savor, fit only to be cast out as worthless. 16LtMs, Lt 79, 1901, par. 13

Humility is greatly needed. If cherished, it would be an ornament of great value in the sight of God. It is essential in the work. But there is no virtue in thinking that humility consists in cheap inefficiency. While humility is always essential in the service of God, while it must always be cultivated, be careful that it does not degenerate into the timidity which leads men to waver when circumstances require them to stand firmly for the truth. There must be no half-and-half service offered to God. To every man the Lord has given his work. Every one is to be a channel through which the Lord can work to communicate the will of heaven. The ministers of God will often have to speak plainly to correct errors. They are to call unrighteousness by its true name. There is no virtue in calling good evil or evil good. 16LtMs, Lt 79, 1901, par. 14

Arduous and unpleasant duties have to be performed. None are to place themselves where they will sanction wrong by silence. They aid and abet the schemes of the enemy by keeping their lips closed when they should speak decidedly, though not on a boasting, self-sufficient manner. They are to speak the truth in love. Is Israel a servant? Why, since he is God’s firstborn son, is he spoiled as if he were a slave? In the place of God men are to make known the will of God to their fellow men. Under God they are to direct what shall be done. Why is it so hard for men to believe God? Why is it so hard for even the best of men to carry out in all things the purpose of God? Many who might today be far advanced in spiritual knowledge are far behind. Were it not for the boundless compassion and grace of God, in the place of being saved, they would perish. In their unbelief, they make many blunders. They cannot endure the seeing of Him who is invisible. 16LtMs, Lt 79, 1901, par. 15

God in His great mercy will give to all His believing people efficiency and power for His work and service, even as He gave power to Joseph, Samuel, Daniel, Timothy, and scores of others who availed themselves of His promises. They believed Him and relied upon Him; and this was their righteousness. Men and women have to move by faith. They have to press their way through the cloud of objections which Satan brings up to hinder their progress. When God sees that they will trust Him as their Helper and their Efficiency, they may pass safely through the great darkness of men’s unconsecration. 16LtMs, Lt 79, 1901, par. 16

Decided changes must be made in the methods and plans that are followed, that the cause of God may be placed upon a higher basis. But those who for many years in the past have not felt the revival and reformation of the power of the Holy Spirit are not the ones to be trusted to plan and devise ways and methods of advancing the work. They have had years in which to show whether their wisdom was of God or man. Those who are always ready to raise objections do not do this because they are wise, but because they have been so long as salt without savor that they do not know what it means to walk in the faith and meekness and lowliness of Christ. When they are yoked up with Christ, they will understand His voice, and will not raise objections against doing what it requires self-denial and self-sacrifice and battling against many impediments to perform. Have they themselves borne the trials and burdens of definite service? Have they a cheering record of success? If for years in the past they have been obtaining such an experience, why have they not something to show as a result of their superior judgment? 16LtMs, Lt 79, 1901, par. 17

God is not pleased with the way in which the work in America has been managed for the past ten years. It would be highly appropriate for those who object to and criticize the changes that are being made, to fall into line. If we (stand still? NO!) if we follow on to know the Lord, we shall know that His going forth is prepared as the morning. As the sun ascends in the heavens, gathering brightness continually, so the Lord desires His people to advance. 16LtMs, Lt 79, 1901, par. 18

“Gather my people together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare his righteousness; for God is judge himself. Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee; I am God, even thy God. I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me. I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains; and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee; for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High; and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. 16LtMs, Lt 79, 1901, par. 19

“But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and casteth my words behind thee. When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers. Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother’s son. These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself; but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver. Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me; and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I show the salvation of God.” [Psalm 50:5-23.] 16LtMs, Lt 79, 1901, par. 20

Without the constant help which comes only from God, even those who are looked upon as the most eminent believers are in danger of falling into the sins which Satan has prepared to dishonor God. Bear in mind, all who claim to be believers, that it is only when you have that faith which works by love and purifies the soul, only when you have the joy of Christ’s salvation in the heart, that you are qualified to guide sinners to repentance and reformation. It is the genuine believer, who not only assents to the truth, but believes and practices the truth, who is not satisfied unless he has with him the presence of God, that is a power for good in the world. 16LtMs, Lt 79, 1901, par. 21

“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write: These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, I know thy works.” [Revelation 2:1, 2.] The words fall from the lips of one who cannot lie, and the figure reveals eternal vigilance. Christ is in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, walking from church to church, from congregation to congregation, from heart to heart. He that keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. If the candlesticks were left to the care of human agents, how often the light would flicker and go out. But God has not given His church into the hands of men. Christ, the One who gave His life for the life of the world, that all who believe in Him may not perish, but have everlasting life, is that true Watchman of the house. He is the Warder, faithful and true, of the temple-courts of the Lord. We have reason to thank God that we are not dependent upon the presence of priest or minister. We are kept by the power of God. The presence and grace of Christ is the secret of all life and light. 16LtMs, Lt 79, 1901, par. 22