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Manuscript Releases, vol. 13 [Nos. 1000-1080]

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    MR No. 1058—How to Meet Temptation and Controversy; the Importance of Unity

    (Written July 3, 1900, from “Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, N. S. W., to Elder and Mrs. S. N. Haskell.)

    I shall venture to write a few words to you, though I cannot think as clearly as before my illness.13MR 323.1

    There is a matter which I wish to present to the Illinois Conference. I donated $1,000 to the Chicago Mission when Brother Starr was in charge. I hear that they have recently received a donation, and that they propose to use this money to pay a certain man who has been laboring in New York City to come to Chicago and meet a man there who is a smart opponent.13MR 323.2

    From this time on to the end men will spring up, men who are remarkably sharp, with whom those who have not an intelligent knowledge of the truth or who do not have special help from God, can in no way contend. Some human agents will be imbued with the spirit of the great fallen angel, who will be present in every meeting to help the human agent to voice his words and to speak in such a manner that many will be deceived—if possible, the very elect.13MR 323.3

    Our only safety every day and every hour is to be on watch. We cannot become indolent and careless. I tell you that God would have His people to be ever on guard. The brother who may suppose that he can meet the adversaries of truth is to know that he is directed of the Lord. What can be done? may be asked. Unless we know that we have a commission from on high, we are to refuse to enter into controversy with anyone, because this is not our work. We are none of us to seek to cast out devils, lest we ourselves be cast out.13MR 323.4

    Let all remember how adroitly and cunningly did Satan command Christ to cast Himself from the temple, quoting Scripture to show Him that it was the very thing for Him to do, for in this way He could give evidence to all the people that He was what He claimed to be. “If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone” [Matthew 4:6].13MR 324.1

    In quoting this Scripture, Satan left out a very important point, which reads in Psalm 91:11: “For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” In consenting to do Satan's bidding, Christ would be venturing into Satan's ways, not in ways that God had devised for His Son. That was a dare, and Satan's agents are full of presumptuous dares to get a chance to work his will with those who will accept his dare. But Christ would not accept the dare of Satan. Christ would not enter into controversy with the arch deceiver and tempter. He said, “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” This means more than some understand. These words acknowledge the prerogative of the law of God, whom Satan was tempting, because Christ in His assumed humanity was working out the plan of redemption for the fallen race.13MR 324.2

    Let all who will seek to read or to interpret the Scriptures, consider, when they have ends to gain, that they should do everything openly and fairly, not trying to cover up the point by reading half of the words as did Satan. The Lord Jesus, although weak and faint through hunger, spoke words which enabled Him to maintain the character that He knew God had given to endure this test. Yet it was a temptation.13MR 325.1

    Angels, as ministering spirits, are in the path where duty calls the heirs of salvation to travel, and God will protect them from all evil. But when Satan marked out a path of his own, suggesting that Christ should evidence His divine character, Christ had no right to walk in that way. He was to keep His feet in the path which the Lord had marked out. Thus Christ in His humanity gave an example of what man should do when tempted by Satan's suggestions. We are to remember what Christ our Head did, and never to accept a dare to prove the truth to men who are inspired by Satan to make proposals that God has not originated; for in this way Satan would lead us to step out of the path of God's providence, and place ourselves in a position where we might be worsted by the enemy and be overcome to our own hurt and to the injury of the cause of God.13MR 325.2

    When the Lord gives a man a work to do, he will know that in doing the very work which God has given him to do he is keeping the ways of the Lord of heaven and earth. In doing this, God will protect him from all evil and sanctify the dispensation to his highest good.13MR 325.3

    I wish I might make all upon whom rest responsibilities, whom Satan shall tempt to do things to prove that their position is impregnable, see in all these presumptuous ventures the hand of a foe to whom they should not yield. For several reasons the Lord is not pleased that any of His workers shall join in issues of controversy with the wily deceiver. Keep out of controversy. In a debate over questions of Bible truth, you do not fight with men, but your warfare is with principalities and powers.13MR 325.4

    [Ephesians 6:10-18, quoted.]

    Thus are the soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ to be equipped to meet, not flesh and blood, but principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world.13MR 326.1

    All who believe the truth are to be united in faith and hope and patience and love. Then there will be strength. There is to be no one-man power set up in our work to rule God's heritage. We must now stand with a united front. Every element will be stirred to bring in confusion, teaching errors that will not stand. Read Second Corinthians; talk about it, make it plain.13MR 326.2

    I have just been interrupted. Dr. Caro and Brother Sharp have been in. Some time ago I told them that if money did not come without placing themselves in bonds to do thus and so with the income of the Sanitarium, they were to stand still and wait for money to come from other sources. The warning was given just in time; for in about two weeks or less after I had warned them so faithfully not to subscribe to any presentations, nor enter into any contract with any persons, because temptations would come as a result, the temptations came, just as I had told them, and they wrote decidedly that they could not put their names [on any documents] and subscribe to any of the contracts which Dr. Kellogg had specified. So, you see, the Lord as well as Satan is at work.13MR 326.3

    The man who is to come to Chicago must not on any account enter into any controversies with any man. It is necessary for him to obtain a deeper experience. He will seek to be original, and in doing this will get odd notions, and we want nothing of the kind to come in. Our work must move in a dignified, elevated, ennobling manner. I want you to study 2 Corinthians 11. Here Paul gives a relation of his experience. Make this chapter talk.13MR 327.1

    Our brethren have just left, and at six o'clock Brother Sharp will take this to post in Sydney. But I want you to make this chapter speak decidedly.13MR 327.2

    We must have our anchor cast into that within the veil. God will not approve self-exaltation, selfishness, or avariciousness. It is the duty of our conference to support our ministers, but it has been a matter worked up by Dr. Kellogg that the slum work is the great power of God. It certainly has become a great power to absorb and not produce means. The gospel ministry is placed as the footstool, and the so-called medical missionary work is made the whole gospel. But the Lord will bring order out of chaos.13MR 327.3

    It is the duty of the people to respect the ministers of the gospel. The ministers are Christ's ambassadors, and are as entitled to their wages as are the workers in our institutions. There are some who minister for the truth's sake that it shall not languish. These ministers will freely assist the perishing and needy missions at home by giving a portion of their wages as they are able, although it is by self-denial and self-sacrifice. The labor and trials and sacrifice of the ministers are all known to God.13MR 327.4

    [Jesus said:] I sanctify Myself, consecrate and devote Myself to the work appointed Me of My Father, that My disciples also may be sanctified through the truth, and be prepared to do their work. [See John 17:17-19.] [Verses 20-23, quoted.]13MR 328.1

    Ministers and church members should do everything in their power to answer that prayer of Christ. For this, Christ has given His life—to bring all believers into an inward, living union with Himself and with the Father, and thus bind up by golden, spiritual links, brother with brother, in peace and love and unity, and with Christ in God, so that heaven will be represented upon the earth, that the world may believe that God has sent His Son. This unity among believers is the credentials they bear to Christ that God has sent His Son into the world. This great mission can be made successful.13MR 328.2

    I have much more to write, but I must stop or I shall not be able to sleep. I have written many communications but have been too weak even to remember to have them copied. We remember you in our family prayers. We pray most entreatingly to God to give you both strength and a great measure of grace.—Letter 96, 1900.13MR 328.3

    White Estate

    Washington, D. C.,

    April 12, 1984.