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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903) - Contents
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    Lt 152, 1903

    To All Whom it May Concern

    “Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

    July 22, 1903

    Portions of this letter are published in RY 35-38.

    The Work of the Pioneers in God’s Cause

    To all whom it may concern

    My dear brethren and sisters,—

    In 1890 I was given the following message to bear to our people:18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 1

    “A mistake has been made in putting young men forward to speak at our camp-meetings, before large congregations, when they had not the vital truths to present that were appropriate for the occasion. Precious time has been occupied by those who did not themselves know the true message for this time. Pioneers in the cause—men who had the bread of life to give to the people, men whose hearts and minds were filled with the vital truths needed by the hundreds and thousands of people assembled—have sat and listened to young preachers who could not do justice to the occasion. Not even half work was done in the presentation of the gospel message.”18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 2

    I am now called upon to present a similar message to our churches. Our aged ministering brethren are not to be overtaxed, but when they are at any of our churches, those in the church should remember that it is always courteous to ask them to speak. It is only showing these brethren the respect due them to say, “Brethren, you are older in the faith than we are. Have you not the word of the Lord for us at this time?”18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 3

    The time of these workers is precious. They have words to speak that the people need. When they come among you, give them all the time that they can possibly fill. Make arrangements that will enable you to obtain all the help possible from them during their stay.18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 4

    At our camp-meetings, when large congregations assemble, the time given to public speaking should be occupied, as far as possible, by old experienced workers, who have the word of the gospel to present. Do not place before the large congregation a young man who has not been proved. He may do his best, but his words will not have the weight of the words of men of grey hairs, who have been long in active service, and who, understanding the deep things of God, can present them with clearness and power.18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 5

    It would be doing a young man a great wrong to place him before a large congregation before he had been proved. It would not leave the best impression on the minds of the hearers.18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 6

    In our camp-meetings call to the front men of long experience and of the very best talent—men who can impress hearts by bringing forth clearly the strong reasons of our faith; men who obey the words, “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” [Ephesians 6:14-17.]18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 7

    Our camp-meetings are not held for the purpose of putting men on exhibition, of showing off their capabilities. The people come together to receive spiritual food. There are among them those who are thirsting for the water of life. Give them opportunity to drink until their thirst is quenched. Let them hear a message fraught with the love of God. Let them have opportunity of listening to men of ripe talent, men whom God has been educating and training. The minds of these men are filled with truth that the people need. Do not bring in men who have not been proved, while men sit by in silence who have the Word of God burning in their souls, and who may never again have opportunity to hear the message given them. Give these tried warriors all the opportunities to speak that they can improve without overtaxing themselves; for they can present the truths that are the very pillars of our faith.18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 8

    The younger ministers are not to think, because they are not called to speak to the large congregation, that there is nothing for them to do. There is work for all to do. Let them hold meetings in the smaller tents. Let the occupants of several tents meet in one tent for prayer and social meeting. In such meetings as these the younger ministers can do good service. Let them speak a few words right to the point and then give those present an opportunity to speak. All our people should learn to bear witness for God in social meeting.18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 9

    Let the younger ministers work for the children and youth, holding special meetings for them, and also putting forth personal efforts for them.18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 10

    Let the old standard bearers go from place to place, from meeting to meeting. Let our people have the benefit of their long experience. Let them speak the truth in all its force, but let them be sure that their feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Let them present the truth, not in a way that will arouse the worst feelings of the human heart, but in love and tenderness and compassion. “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, ... fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” [Philippians 2:1-3.]18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 11

    To our people as a whole, and to our younger and less experienced workers, I am instructed to say, “Let it be plainly seen that you respect and honor our aged workers, the men of grey hairs, who have seen long and faithful service in the cause of God, and who are recognized and honored in the courts of heaven as laborers together with God.”18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 12

    “After the Tradition of Men, ... and Not After Christ”18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 13

    I have been instructed to say, also, that it is not new and fanciful doctrines that the people of God need. They do not need suppositions, which cannot be sustained by the Word of God. They need the testimony of men who know the truth, men who understand and obey the charge given to Timothy: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come that they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth; and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” [2 Timothy 4:2-5.]18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 14

    In some instances in America, men have been turned away from the truth to listen to fables. Efforts have been made to set right the poor souls thus deceived; but some had drunk so deeply from the fountain proceeding not from the throne of God, and had become so impregnated with false impressions, that it was impossible to undeceive them. They had come to believe that it was more profitable to eat of the food offered in the strange doctrine presented than to eat of the food contained in the Word of God.18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 15

    Christ calls upon His people today to eat His flesh and drink His blood, to receive and believe and practice His words. Those who eat God’s Word and digest it, making it a part of every action, of every attribute of character, will grow strong in the strength of God. It will be seen that their faith is of heavenly origin. Before angels and before men, they will stand as men who have a strong, consistent Christian experience. They will not wander into strange paths. Their minds will not turn to a religion of sentimentalism and excitement, which does great injury to those who accept it. Those who have such a religion think that they must be filled with ecstasy and excitement, or they are great losers. Unless they have these feelings, they are depressed and discouraged. May the Lord have compassion on the poor souls who think that this is true gospel ministry.18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 16

    The Lord wants His ministers to have the vital power that comes from faithful service. I beseech those who labor in word and doctrine not to accept the spurious for the genuine. I beseech them not to bring in tests that are mere nothingness. We have a whole Bible full of the most precious jewels of truth. We have no need for supposition, or fables, or false excitement. In the golden censer of truth as presented in Christ’s teachings, we have that which will convict and convert souls. Present in the simplicity of the gospel the truth that our Saviour came to this world to proclaim, and the power of your message will make itself felt. Do not present theories or tests that have no foundation in the Bible. We have grand, solemn tests to present. We need no fabulous tests. “It is written” is the test that must be brought home to every one.18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 17

    Walk firmly, decidedly, your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. God has not laid upon any one the burden of encouraging an appetite for strange, odd doctrines and theories. My brethren, keep these out of your teaching. Do not allow them to enter into your experience. Let not your lifework be marred by them.18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 18

    The minds of the Jewish teachers were filled with maxims and suppositions. They interpreted the Word to mean that which God never designed it to mean, enforcing their oddities on the common people.18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 19

    A warning against such teaching is found in Paul’s letter to the Colossians. The apostle declares that the hearts of the believers were to be “knit together in love; and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” “And this I say,” he continues, “lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. ... As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him, rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” [Colossians 2:2-4, 6-10.]18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 20

    Brethren, look well to the character of your religion. Do not forget that Christ is your pattern in all things. You may be sure that His religion is not a sensational religion. A religion of this kind I learned to dread in my very earliest experience in the cause of God. I was at that time bidden to warn those who were cherishing fanciful ideas, declaring their strange movements to be inspired by the Spirit of God.18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 21

    I am now instructed to say to our people, Let us follow Christ. We may safely discard all ideas that are not included in His teaching. I appeal to our ministers to be sure that their feet are placed on the platform of eternal truth. Beware how you follow impulse, calling it the Holy Spirit. Some are in danger in this respect. I call upon them to love solidly, and to be sound in the faith, able to give every one who asks a reason of the hope that is in them. Do not get up doctrines of your own and say that they are of heavenly birth.18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 22

    Into the hearts of many who have been long in the truth there has entered a hard, judicial spirit. They are sharp, critical, faultfinding. They have climbed into the judgment seat, to pronounce sentence on those who do not meet their ideas. God calls upon them to come down, and bow before Him in repentance, confessing their sins. He says to them, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” [Revelation 2:4, 5.] They are striving for the first place, and by their words and acts they make many hearts sore.18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 23

    Against this spirit, and against the false religion of sentimentalism, which is equally dangerous, I bear my warning. Take heed, brethren and sisters. Who is your leader?—Christ, or the angel who fell from heaven? Are you sound in the faith? My prayer for you all is that God “would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” [Ephesians 3:16-19.]18LtMs, Lt 152, 1903, par. 24

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