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    Conflicts and Victories of the Church

    North Fitzroy, August 30, 1892.

    Elder Uriah Smith
    Battle Creek

    Dear Brother:

    I am deeply interested that in every move you make, you should have the Lord to move with you. God bestows upon his people great blessings in giving them faithful, upright ministers. In all ages he has wrought through human instrumentalities to give decided messages of warning to his people, that they may be aroused and convicted of their sins and be led to repent and reform. But at the very time when he is thus empowering men by his Holy Spirit to cry aloud, to spare not, to lift up his voice like a trumpet, and show his people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins, there are other influences at work to counteract the working of God through his appointed agencies. There are those to whom this scripture is applicable: “They have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, Peace; when there is no peace.”1888 1004.1

    We need to walk very carefully before God. I have in times past had many heart-aches as I have been shown your dangers. When once you have taken a position in regard to any subject, there is a set determination to hold to the stand taken. You have not pursued a right course in reference to questions upon which there is a difference of opinion. At times you are altogether too sharp and severe toward your brethren who are younger in years, and yet whom the Lord is manifestly using to give light to his people.1888 1004.2

    The One who has paid the purchase money for our souls, prayed just prior to his crucifixion, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”1888 1004.3

    Here are the credentials we are to bear to the world that the Lord hath sent his Son Jesus, “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” When so much importance is attached to the unity of believers, why is there so little effort to preserve unity? Why are not the words of our Saviour more decidedly practiced? Why is not greater caution exercised that differences shall not exist; and if there are differences of opinion, why swell them to as large proportions as possible, and make the breach as wide as possible? Why present these differences conspicuously before the world?1888 1004.4

    This matter grieves my soul, because it grieves the soul of him who died for us, that we should be one in him and one in God. I have great respect and love for you, my brother, and it hurts me to see you in any way taking a course that in the least resembles the course pursued by the Jewish nation, which separated them from God and bound up their minds in prejudice and unbelief, that the true light shining all about them was not discovered and acknowledged. I have had the deepest interest in Elder Butler. You know how he decidedly refused to listen to anything I might say, because he was deceived and blinded by reports that had no foundation in truth. You were influenced in the same way. Both of you have had evidence that the Lord was still using Sister White as he had done; this has had some influence with you, but not enough with Elder Butler to lead him to retract one thing he has said and done to counteract my influence. Now the Lord is acquainted with this whole matter. There is pride of heart, there is prejudice, there is resistance to the Spirit of God, and this crops out on every occasion where there is a chance.1888 1005.1

    How pleasing it would be to our Saviour, whose children we are, if all would cherish love for one another, and make every exertion in their power to see eye to eye, to be at agreement. Jesus said, “The glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one even as we are one: 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.” “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” In what way is our light shining? The influence of our work upon the world, will be affected to a great degree by the attitude we maintain toward one another. When you publish to the world that there is variance among those who are warning the world of Christ's soon coming, what will be the effect upon those to whom we would give the message of truth? Will it increase their faith in the work that is committed to us?1888 1005.2

    The world is watching us as a people, and our enemies are not slow to take advantage of any indication of variance among us. A sister in Australia lately received a letter from her sister in Michigan that shows the influence of these things. The parents of the girls are not Sabbath-keepers, but were becoming somewhat interested in our faith, when the minister of their church informed them that the Adventists were at variance among themselves. Some were advocating one position, he said, and some another, in decided opposition to the first. The people could not agree as to what they did believe, and the whole thing would prove to be a delusion.1888 1006.1

    My brother, these things ought not to be as they have been. We expose our weakness to our enemies when there is no occasion for so doing. If the workers were all brave and consecrated men, this thing would not be done. The heavenly intelligences look with amazement upon the way the battle is turning. Those who ought to stand like valiant heroes of faith, shoulder to shoulder, are turning their weapons of warfare against their fellow workmen.1888 1006.2

    Why is this course pursued? I have been shown it is because the feelings of the natural heart, unsubdued by grace, have the supremacy. If they had an understanding of the word of God, men living amid the perils of the last days would rather sacrifice their dignity, though dear as the right arm or the right eye, than disregard the plainest precepts of God's word as they have done. It is a terrible thing! The enlightenment of the Holy Spirit is needed. Then the lessons of Christ to his disciples would have more weight than they have had.1888 1006.3

    In the eighteenth of Matthew is an important lesson for us at this time. “In that hour came the disciples unto Jesus saying, Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And he called to him a little child, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. And whoso receiveth one such little child in my name receiveth me: but whoso shall cause one of these little ones which believe on me to stumble, it is profitable for him that a great millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depth of the sea.” Read this whole chapter with humble heart softened by penitence and prayer. Does it mean anything to us?1888 1007.1

    Then said Jesus unto them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” “It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” O, that we may heed the words of Christ.1888 1007.2

    “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, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars; and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast labored, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless, 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.” The chosen people of God have lost their first love. Without this all their profession of faith will not save a soul from death. Suppose the attention should be turned away from every difference of opinion, and we should heed the counsel of the True Witness. When God's people humble the soul before him, individually seeking his Holy Spirit with all the heart, there will be heard from human lips such a testimony as is represented in this scripture, “After these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.” There will be faces aglow with the love of God; there will be lips touched with holy fire, saying, “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”1888 1007.3

    It is sin in some form that brings variance and disunion. The affections need transforming, a personal experience of the renewing power of Christ must be obtained. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”1888 1008.1

    The apostle, speaking to Christian believers called by God's grace, says, “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Here are conditions plainly stated. If we walk in the light as he is in the light, the sure result will follow: we shall have fellowship one with another. All jealousies and envyings and evil surmisings will be put away. We shall live as in the sight of God. It has become altogether too common to indulge our hereditary tendencies and natural inclinations, even in our religious life. These can never bring peace and love into the soul, for they always lead us away from God, away from his light. “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”1888 1008.2

    When differences arise among brethren as to the understanding of any point of truth, there is one Bible rule to follow. In the spirit of meekness and love for God and one another, let brethren come together, and after earnest prayer, with sincere desire to know God's will, study the Bible with the spirit of a little child, to see how closely they can draw together, and not sacrifice anything but their selfish dignity. They should regard themselves as in the presence of the whole universe of God, who are watching with intense interest as brother tries to see eye to eye with brother, to understand the words of Christ, that they may be doers of the word. When you recall the prayer of Christ, that his disciples may be one as he was one with the Father, can you not see how intently all heaven is beholding the spirit you manifest toward one another? Are those who claim to be saved by the righteousness of Christ, seeking with all their entrusted capabilities to answer the Saviour's prayer? Will they grieve the Holy Spirit of God by indulging their own unconsecrated feelings, struggling for the supremacy, and standing as far apart as possible?1888 1008.3

    There is need of wise generalship at the great head and heart of the work. One great and important trust is to see that no advantage is given to the enemies of God by publishing expressions detrimental to those of like precious faith. When a worker hears his fellow-laborer present views that do not in all respects harmonize with his ideas, and without having a kindly interview to see if they cannot come into harmony, publishes the difference to the world in as marked a manner as possible, he brings dishonor upon God and the truth, and causes Satan to triumph.1888 1009.1

    The Lord Jesus is dishonored whenever brethren of the same faith accuse another and lessen the influence of one of God's delegated messengers. The enemies of truth will make the very most of the least item by which they can excite suspicion of the men through whom God is giving light to the people. To place any obstruction in the way of this light coming to the people, will be registered as a grievous sin in the sight of God. Better lose the right arm or the right eye than to be found in this kind of work. “It must needs be that offenses come; but woe unto that man by whom the offense cometh.” Let not the influence graciously given you of God to save souls from ruin be employed in weakening the influence of others whom the Lord is using.1888 1009.2

    The solemn, important hours intervening between us and the judgment are not to be employed in warfare with believers. This is Satan's work; he began it in heaven, and he has with unabated energy kept it up ever since his fall. “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” Let there not be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief. The time has come when the cry of the faithful watchman is to be heard, calling to his fellow watchmen, “What of the night?” to be answered, “The morning cometh, and also the night.”1888 1009.3

    I have been deeply impressed that I should write more decidedly to our leading brethren in Battle Creek; for they are in peril, and do not know it. Today when, for the first time, I read in the Review the article by Brother A.T. Jones, and your article in the same paper opposing his position, I could understand more clearly some things that have been urged upon my mind. During my illness I have had precious experiences. Jesus has seemed to be close by me, and again and again I have been in earnest conversation with you. Your dangers have been presented to me. I said to you: “Elder Smith, the Lord loves you, but you do not discern all things clearly. There are those who are looking to you, influenced by the position you may take; and if you take a position that is not correct, you will lead others to a wrong course of action. We as a people are to reach a very different condition of spiritual life, from that we have yet attained to. All the heavenly intelligences are at work, but the human agencies are slow to cooperate with them in doing the work that is needed to be done in our world. The false ideas that were largely developed at Minneapolis have not been entirely uprooted from some minds. Those who have not made thorough work of repentance under the light God has been pleased to give to his people since that time, will not see things clearly, and will be ready to call the messages God sends a delusion.1888 1010.1

    The enemy has been making you wide awake to discern error in those whose views in some points differed from yours. You have thought that you could see inconsistencies in A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner and those who were in harmony with them. My dear brother, those men are human; in the intensity of their feelings they may make mistakes; their expressions may sometimes be stronger than will impress minds favorably. But have you as a colaborer, one who has had long experience in the work, gone to these men with your soul imbued with the love of God, feeling pained to the very heart to perceive a shade of difference in views and positions, and said to them, “Brethren, we must be a unit. Christ prayed that we might be one as he is one with the Father. Let us together bring our ideas to the Scriptures. Let us lay aside prejudice, and be determined we will cherish brotherly love, and in meekness and lowliness of mind try to see eye to eye.”1888 1010.2

    But few have courage to do this; yet it is the only Christlike course that will prevent divisions. It is the work of Satan to cause alienation. He knows that it will separate brethren from one another, and more than this, separate them from God. And if ever there was a time in this earth's history when this would be an offense to God and perilous to our souls, it is now. O, if all would be aroused to know what is close upon us, if they would awake out of sleep and draw nigh to God, many souls would be saved. But there are many who are as blind as were the Jews in the days of Christ. Some who have preached the truth, and some who are still preaching, are spiritually blind, and spiritually deaf. They will never have their eyes opened, they will never hear nor understand, any more than did the Jews. One who is in blindness of mind leads another who is also blind. Would it not be well for us individually to examine closely our own position before God in the light of his holy word, and see our own special peril? God does not separate from his people, but his people separate themselves from God by their own course of action. And I know of no sins greater in the sight of God than cherishing jealousy and hatred toward brethren, and turning the weapons of warfare against them.1888 1011.1

    I point my brethren to Calvary. I ask you, What is the price of man? It is the only begotten Son of the infinite God. It is the price of all the heavenly treasures. And yet how men treat a brother who presents a view that is not in exact harmony with their understanding of the Scriptures. Self arises, a fierce and determined spirit is aroused. They will place the brother in a position that hurts his influence. If Christ has given that brother a message to bear, upon whom does the hurt come? Upon the Son of the infinite God. It is not the man, but Jesus Christ, who has become his substitute and surety, that is censured and accused. Your brethren are not as worthless rubbish, that they can be held so cheap as some have been during the past few years. In the books of heaven there are stern records to be examined, in regard to the manner in which some have dealt with the purchase of the blood of Christ.1888 1011.2

    I beg of you, my brother, to draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Let your zeal, your ambition, be no less than it has been, but let it be wisely directed. Upon those points where you erred in the past, be on your guard against temptation. For Christ's sake, for your soul's sake, be afraid to place yourself in circumstances where you will be tempted to err again. Every time you fall under temptation, it becomes easier for you to repeat the same. When by God's appointment, we are placed in the way of temptation, the Lord will give the special, gracious influence of his Holy Spirit, to enable us to resist evil; he is giving us an opportunity to meet difficulties and obstacles, and overcome them, and thus obtain the record in the books of heaven, Overcomer. But if we begin a warfare against our brethren, we go into the battle alone. The Father of light is not with us. Having taken the case into our own hands, we have to fight the battle in our own strength, and we shall be defeated.1888 1012.1

    When the Lord chose the Jewish nation, and bade them not to unite themselves with another people, it was that they might not be corrupted, that the light might be communicated to them to be given to the world. Did the Lord refuse to let his light shine upon other nations? No; but those idolatrous nations were raising up barriers, interposing obstructions, turning farther and farther away from the light; they were going deeper and deeper into the moral darkness, and becoming more and more blinded. One nation must be made the depository of sacred truth, so that there might be at least one channel through which the rays of light could shine forth to the world. So in this age God has committed to his people most sacred truth; he means that they shall have light to shed amid the darkness which surrounds them.1888 1012.2

    True Christianity will always be aggressive, and wherever it exists it will arouse enmity. All who live a conscientious life, who bear testimony of the claims of God, of the evil of sin, of the judgment to come, will be called the disturbers of Israel. Those whose testimony awakens the apprehension of the soul, offend pride, and arouse opposition. The hatred of evil against good exists as surely now as in the days of Christ when the multitudes cried, “Away with him!” “Release unto us Barabbas.” There is no kind of evil in our world but that some have an interest in maintaining it. Evil is ever warring against good. And since we know that the conflict with the prince of darkness is constant and must be severe, let us be united in the warfare. Cease to war against those of your own faith. Let no one help Satan in his work. We have all that we can do in another direction.1888 1013.1

    “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.” Let us give heed to this injunction. If it were not possible for us to be strong, God would never have commanded it. “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.1888 1013.2

    The first thing recorded in Scripture history after the fall was the persecution of Abel. And the last thing in Scripture prophecy is the persecution against those who refuse to receive the mark of the beast. We should be the last people on the earth to indulge in the slightest degree the spirit of persecution against those who are bearing the message of God to the world. This is the most terrible feature of unchristlikeness that has manifested itself among us since the Minneapolis meeting. Sometime it will be seen in its true bearing, with all the burden of woe that has resulted from it.1888 1013.3

    A passive piety will not answer for this time; let the passiveness be manifested where it is needed, in patience, kindness, and forbearance. But we must bear a decided message of warning to the world. The Prince of Peace thus proclaimed his work, “I came not to send peace on earth but a sword.” Evil must be assailed; falsehood and error must be made to appear in their true character; sin must be denounced; and the testimony of every believer in the truth must be as one. All your little differences, which arouse the combative spirit among brethren, are devices of Satan to divert minds from the great and fearful issue before us. The true peace will come among God's people when, through united zeal and earnest prayer, the false peace that exists to a large degree is disturbed. Now there is earnest work to do. Now is the time to manifest your soldierly qualities; let the Lord's people present a united front to the foes of God and truth and righteousness.1888 1013.4

    God expects every man to do his duty. “Ye are my witnesses,” saith the Lord. Call men to repentance. Set before them in clear, distinct lines, their danger; point them to him who taketh away the sin of the world. Carry the offer of Christ's mercy and righteousness to those who are lost. Many will resent your testimony; you can expect nothing else, for they resented the testimony of the Son of God. But if we stand in God, faithful and true, our testimony will be as a hammer breaking in places the rocky hearts, a fire consuming the refuge of lies.1888 1014.1

    Those who are under the influence of the Spirit of God will not be fanatical, but calm, steadfast, free from extravagance. But let all who have had the light of truth shining clear and distinct upon their pathway, be careful how they cry peace and safety. Be careful how you make the first move to suppress the messages of truth. Be careful what influence you exert at this time.1888 1014.2

    Those who profess to believe the special truths for this time need to be converted, and sanctified by the truth. As Christians we are made depositories of sacred truth, and we are not to keep the truth in the outer court, but bring it into the sanctuary of the soul. Then the church will possess divine vitality throughout. The weak shall be as David, and David as the angel of the Lord. One question will be all absorbing,—who shall approach nearest the likeness of Christ? Who shall do most to win souls to righteousness? When this is the ambition of believers, contention is at an end; the prayer of Christ is answered.1888 1014.3

    When the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the early church, “the whole multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul.” The spirit of Christ made them one. This is the fruit of abiding in Christ. But if dissension, envy, jealousy, and strife are the fruit we bear, it is not possible that we are abiding in Christ. To draw nourishment from the Living Vine is the same that Christ represents as eating his flesh and drinking his blood. And if we are feeding upon him we shall manifest his spirit.1888 1015.1

    Jesus longs to bestow the heavenly endowment in large measure upon his people. Prayers are ascending to God daily for the fulfillment of the promise, and not one of the prayers put up in faith is lost. Christ ascended on high, leading captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. When, after Christ's ascension, the Spirit came down as promised, like a rushing, mighty wind, filling the whole place where the disciples were assembled, what was the effect? Thousands were converted in a day. We have taught, we have expected, that an angel is to come down from heaven, that the earth will be lightened with his glory. Then we shall behold an ingathering of souls similar to that witnessed on the day of Pentecost.1888 1015.2

    But this mighty angel comes bearing no soft, smooth message, but words that are calculated to stir the hearts of men to their very depths. That angel is represented as crying mightily with a strong voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Are we indeed as the human agencies, to cooperate with the divine instrumentalities in sounding the message of this mighty angel who is to lighten the earth with his glory?1888 1015.3

    How great and widespread must be the power of the prince of evil, which can be subdued only by the mighty power of the Spirit. Disloyalty to God, transgression in every form, has spread over our world. Those who would preserve their allegiance to God, who are active in his service, become the mark of every shaft and weapon of hell. If those who have had great light have not corresponding faith and obedience they soon become leavened with the prevailing apostasy; another spirit controls them. While they have been exalted to heaven in point of opportunities and privileges, they are in a worse condition than the most zealous advocates of error.1888 1015.4

    There are many who have been preparing themselves for moral inefficiency in the great crisis. They are wavering and undecided. Others who have not had so great light, who have never identified themselves with the truth, will, under the influence of the Spirit, respond to the light when it shines upon them. Truth that has lost its power upon those who have long slighted its precious teaching, appears beautiful and attractive to those who are ready to walk in the light. The Spirit sets home the truth in such a manner as to arouse the conscience to discern and acknowledge the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent. Men see themselves as transgressors of the law of God. By faith they behold the infinite love of God in the gift of Jesus to our world. By faith they see the sentence of condemnation erased, and their names recorded in the book of life. They see the robe of Christ's righteousness presented to them, preparing them for the mansions above, that they may stand spotless before the Father. These are the things of Christ which the mind grasps, and which are food to the soul.1888 1016.1

    Amid the confusion of delusive doctrines the Spirit of God will be a guide and a shield to those who have not resisted the evidences of truth. He silences every other voice than that which comes from him who is the truth and the life. God gives to every soul opportunity to hear the voice of the True Shepherd, to receive the knowledge of God and our Saviour. When the heart receives this truth as a precious treasure, Christ is formed within, the hope of glory, while the whole heavenly universe exclaims, Amen and amen.1888 1016.2

    We have absolute need of the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. We have no time to confer with flesh and blood. The power of Satan is apparently in the supremacy, he is seeking to convert all things in the world to his own purpose, to imbue human beings with his own spirit and nature. The conflict will be terrible. The minds and hearts of men seem surcharged with hostility against divine revelation; the passions are stirred with envy against purity and holiness and devotion to God and his requirements; the will is set like granite against all that is called God or that is worshiped. The confederacy of Satanic agencies, united with evil men, are as instruments of unrighteousness, throwing their whole force into the battlefield, evil against good.1888 1017.1

    We have need of divine illumination. Every individual is striving to become a center of influence; and until God works for his people, they will not see that subordination to God is the only safety for any soul. His transforming grace upon human hearts will lead to unity that has not yet been realized; for all who are assimilated to Christ will be in harmony with one another. The Holy Spirit will create unity.1888 1017.2

    “He shall glorify me.” “This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” The Holy Spirit glorifies God by so revealing his character to his people that he becomes the object of their supreme affections, and by making manifest his character in them. They see clearly that there was never any righteousness in the world but his, no excellence in the world but that derived from him. When the Spirit was poured out from on high, the church was flooded with light, but Christ was the source of that light; his name was on every tongue, his love filled every heart. So it will be when the angel that comes down from heaven having great power, shall lighten the whole earth with his glory. May the Lord help his people to see and understand what is truth.1888 1017.3

    E. C. C.
    - 3 - mailed Sept. 2, '92.
    1888 1017.4

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