Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 20 (1905)


Lt 67, 1905

Brethren and Sisters

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

February 18, 1905

Portions of this letter are published in 15MR 168-171. +Note

Dear Brethren and Sisters,—

The message given me for Brother W. O. Palmer is: We shall be placed in trying positions; but if we examine ourselves carefully, and see what our defects of character are, and then brace ourselves against temptation, with watching and prayer, God will help us to overcome. As difficulties arise, we must so conduct ourselves that our conscience will be free in Christ. If our conscience does not condemn us, then we may thank God that we are kept by His power. We can all act some part in the Lord’s work if we exercise great care that our feet do not stray from the path of righteousness. From day to day our hearts must be drawn out after victory. 20LtMs, Lt 67, 1905, par. 1

“If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.” [James 1:5-7.] 20LtMs, Lt 67, 1905, par. 2

Let your words be few and well chosen. The men in the office of publication know that God has committed you to me as a charge. I was surprised at the time. I could not understand why this should be done. But the experience of the past explains the matter. At times you show but little wisdom. You do not move discreetly. If, at such times, your brethren would speak to you kindly regarding your faults, and then pray with you, they would be following a course in accordance with the mind and will and example of Christ. 20LtMs, Lt 67, 1905, par. 3

I have frequently been instructed to have a special charge over some who were in danger through special temptations. There are many who have weak points of character. I am instructed that when they shall be overtaken in a fault, and overcome, I am not to leave them to the unadvised words or unchristlike methods of those who have not the love and pity and grace of Christ in their hearts. 20LtMs, Lt 67, 1905, par. 4

Those who can see the weakness and mark the faults of an erring one have a special responsibility to try to help him. If they push him off and crowd him away, I am to hold out to him the hand of hope, that he may grasp it and never let go. I am to say to him, Never be discouraged. I am to tell him of his mistakes, manifesting the kindest sympathy. Thus a soul may be saved and a multitude of sins hidden; for if he confesses his faults, the Lord will pardon him. And from his own experience he will learn how to deal with others who make mistakes. 20LtMs, Lt 67, 1905, par. 5

In dealing with the erring, Christ showed tender, forgiving love, and we are to practice the lessons He has given. 20LtMs, Lt 67, 1905, par. 6

When Christ ate with publicans and sinners, the priests and rulers made all the capital possible out of His action. But Christ did this that He might speak to erring men the words of encouragement that the priests and rulers were not willing to speak. He would satisfy the inmost longings of the soul and help the sore-troubled ones who needed guidance and encouragement. His words were always spoken with wisdom. They always exalted the truth. He presented principles that searched the recesses of the hearts of those who listened. He said that which reached the diseased imagination and drew the mind out after eternal realities. 20LtMs, Lt 67, 1905, par. 7

While Christ accepted invitations to feasts and gatherings, He did not partake of all the food offered Him, but quietly ate of that which was appropriate for His physical necessities, avoiding the many things that He did not need. His disciples were frequently invited with Him, and His conduct was a lesson to them, teaching them not to indulge appetite by overeating or by eating improper food. He showed them that portions of the food provided could be passed by and portions chosen. 20LtMs, Lt 67, 1905, par. 8

Christ went to these feasts because He wished to show those who were excluding themselves from the society of their fellow men how wrong their course of action was. He wished to teach them that truth was given to be imparted to those who had it not. If they had truth, why keep it selfishly to themselves. 20LtMs, Lt 67, 1905, par. 9

“I came not to call the righteous,” Christ declared, “but sinners to repentance.” [Mark 2:17.] This was His work. 20LtMs, Lt 67, 1905, par. 10

In church capacity there are many things that we must do if we would be laborers together with God. If we would study Christ’s methods, we would see many things to be reproved and corrected. But in doing this, we are to be sure to follow Christ’s methods. 20LtMs, Lt 67, 1905, par. 11

Christian fellowship reveals duties to be performed and responsibilities to be borne. In all, we are to follow Christ’s example. In failing to deal faithfully with one who has erred, in refusing to speak kindly to him, we commit a grievous sin in the sight of God. In acting a harsh, stubborn part, in treating the one who has made a mistake in accordance with our own unchristlike traits of character, we discourage a soul that is in danger and leave him to settle down into spiritual warfare or to relapse into spiritual death. 20LtMs, Lt 67, 1905, par. 12

A disregard of Christ’s directions as to how to deal with the erring leads to contention and strife. A desire to cast a mote out of the eye of a brother often creates a beam in the eye of the accuser, because of his neglect or refusal to work in Christ’s way. 20LtMs, Lt 67, 1905, par. 13

If the directions of Christ, so explicitly given in His lessons to His disciples, are not followed; if church members engage in accusing and condemning their brethren and sisters, refusing to heed the words of the Saviour, serious estrangements will come into the church as the result. 20LtMs, Lt 67, 1905, par. 14

Christ says, “First cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” [Matthew 7:5.] The one who neglects to follow the directions of Christ, who accuses his brother without first going to him, and talking the matter over with him, in the spirit of the Saviour, has a beam in his eye. He pays no attention to the remedy that Christ has given for the cure of dissension and strife. He does not go to the one he has condemned, telling him kindly what appears to be against his character. An explanation might clear away the difficulty, but he does not give the one he condemns an opportunity to make the explanation. 20LtMs, Lt 67, 1905, par. 15

Is it not time that we heeded the lessons of Christ, learning from Him how to proceed in wisdom in dealing with the erring? The Saviour pities the one who does wrong and in love corrects him and, if he confesses and forsakes his sin, forgives him. Christ cannot save the purchase of His blood without, through reproof and correction, administering His discipline. This is necessary for the safety of the church, for the preservation of a wholesome atmosphere in the church. But he sees the danger of unwise judgment, and he gives the following injunction: 20LtMs, Lt 67, 1905, par. 16

“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, and considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then thou shalt see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” [Verses 1-5.] 20LtMs, Lt 67, 1905, par. 17

To make His people perfect, the Lord points out their mistakes and dangers. If they give no heed to His words, He permits the sure consequence of wrongdoing to come upon them. But He does not forsake them and turn from them unless they are willfully stubborn. If after reproof on reproof has been sent to them, they still refuse to reform, He says, “Separate them from the church, lest others be defiled; for their example is detrimental to the health of the church.” 20LtMs, Lt 67, 1905, par. 18

But let all remember the words, “First cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then thou shalt see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” [Verse 5.] Let us not be so ready to accuse. God will make His people perfect if they will be molded and fashioned after the divine similitude. If they err, and then repent, He forgives them. His reproofs and corrections are sent to make His people perfect. Then let us accept reproof, and acknowledge our errors, and seek to avoid them. 20LtMs, Lt 67, 1905, par. 19

No unlikeness to Christ will be permitted in the holy city. The process of gaining perfection of character is to be carried on in this life, that we may be prepared for the future immortal life. It is God’s purpose that His church on earth shall reach perfection. It is essential that His directions be strictly obeyed. The members are to help and strengthen one another. No self-exaltation or accusing or harshness are to be shown in our dealings with one another. We must purify our souls through love and obedience to the truth. We must act like saints toward one another, preparing ourselves, drilling ourselves, to be without fault in character, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. 20LtMs, Lt 67, 1905, par. 20

“We have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live. For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous, nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way, but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord; looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” [Hebrews 12:9-15.] 20LtMs, Lt 67, 1905, par. 21