Brother O: While I am writing out the dangers of others, your case presses upon my mind. For several months I have been seeking an opportunity to write to you and to others; but constant labor has hindered me from writing out all the testimonies given me for individuals.
Your case has frequently burdened my mind, but I have not felt clear to write to you. I have written out very many testimonies which have been given for others, some of which, in many particulars, would apply to you. The object of publishing the testimonies is that those who are not singled out personally, yet who are as much in fault as those who are reproved, may be warned through the reproofs given to others. I thought it would not be my duty to address you personally. Yet, as I write out individual testimonies to those who are in danger of neglecting their duty to the cause of God, and thus of sustaining an injury, a loss, to their own souls, I do not feel clear to leave your case without writing to you.
The last view given me was above two years ago. I was then directed to bring out general principles, in speaking and in writing, and at the same time specify the dangers, errors, and sins of some individuals, that all might be warned, reproved, and counseled. I saw that all should search their own hearts and lives closely to see if they had not made the same mistakes for which others were corrected and if the warnings given for others did not apply to their own cases. If so, they should feel that the counsel and reproofs were given especially for them and should make as practical an application of them as though they were especially addressed to themselves.
Those who have a natural love for the world and have been remiss in their duty can see their own faults specified in the cases of others who have been reproved. God designs to test the faith of all who claim to be followers of Christ. He will test the sincerity of the prayers of all those who claim to earnestly desire to know their duty. He will make duty plain. He will give all an ample opportunity to develop what is in their hearts. The conflict will be close between self and the grace of God. Self will strive for the mastery and will be opposed to the work of bringing the life and thoughts, the will
and affections, into subjection to the will of Christ. Self-denial and the cross stand all along in the pathway to eternal life, and, because of this, "few there be that find it."
God is testing the characters of all. He is proving their love for His cause and for the promulgation of the truth which they profess to consider of inestimable value. The Searcher of hearts is judging, by the fruits they bear, who are truly followers of Christ; who, like their divine Pattern, will renounce the honors and treasures of the world, and consent to be of no reputation, preferring the favor of God and the cross of Christ, that they may, in the end, secure the true riches, the treasure laid up in heaven, the recompense of reward--eternal glory.
Those who do not really wish to know themselves will allow the reproofs and warnings to pass to others, and will not discern that their own cases are met, their errors and dangers pointed out. Earthly, selfish motives blind the mind and so operate upon the soul that it cannot be renewed in the divine image. Those who do not, by their own perverse natures, resist His will, will not be left in darkness, but will be renewed in knowledge and true holiness, and will even glory in the cross of Christ.
I have been shown that, at the right time, God would press the burden upon me to say to individuals, as Nathan said to David: "Thou art the man," Many apparently believe the testimonies borne to others and, like David, give judgment in reference to them, when they should be closely searching their own hearts, analyzing their own lives, and making a practical application of the close reproofs and warnings given to others.
Brother O, I have been shown that your affections are more upon your earthly treasure than you are sensible of. You have been confused in your perceptions of duty. And when the Spirit of God operates upon your mind and would lead you
to do what is according to the will and requirements of God, other influences that are not in harmony with the work of God for this time hinder you from obeying the promptings of the divine will; the result is, your faith is not made perfect by works. Your affections should be withdrawn from your earthly treasure. At times when, contrary to your wishes and calculations, means was passing from you into the enemy's ranks, and was thus lost to the cause of God, you have seemed much perplexed and troubled. Talents of means have been entrusted to you by the Master for you to improve to His glory. You are His steward and should be very cautious lest you neglect your duty. You are naturally a world-loving man and will be inclined to claim as your own the talents of means committed to your care. But, "Give an account of thy stewardship" will be heard by you by and by.
The children of God are wise when they trust in that wisdom alone which comes from above, and when they have no strength but that which is from God. Separation from the friendship and spirit of the world is needful for us if we would be united to the Lord and abide in him. Our strength and our prosperity consist in our being connected with the Lord, chosen and accepted of Him. There can be no union between light and darkness. God intends that His people shall be a peculiar people, separate from the world, and be living examples of holiness, that the world may be enlightened, convicted, or condemned, according as they treat the light given them. The truth that has been brought before the understanding, the light that has shone upon the soul, will judge and condemn if it be neglected or turned from.
In this degenerate age, error and darkness are preferred rather than light and truth. The works of many of Christ's professed followers will not bear the test when examined by the light that now shines upon them. For this cause, many
do not come to the light lest it shall be made manifest that their works are not wrought in God. Light discovers, makes manifest, the evil hidden under darkness. Men of the world and men who are Christ's servants indeed may be alike in outward appearance; but they are servants of two masters whose interests are in decided opposition to each other. The world does not understand or discern the difference; but there is an immense distance, a vast, separation, between them.
Says Christ: "Ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world." The true followers of Christ cannot enjoy the friendship of the world and at the same time have their life hid with Christ. The affections must be withdrawn from the treasures of earth and transferred to the heavenly treasure. How difficult was it for the young man who had great possessions to withdraw his affections from his worldly treasure, even with the promise of eternal life before him as his reward!
When all that we have and are is not consecrated to God, selfish interests close our eyes to the importance of the work, and the means that God calls for is withheld. But He who has lent us this means for the advancement of His cause will frequently withdraw His prospering hand and in some way scatter the means thus withheld, and it will be lost to its possessor and lost to the cause of God. It is not preserved in this world or in the world to come. God is robbed, and Satan triumphs. The Lord would have you closely search your own heart, Brother O, and get the love of the world out of it. Die to self, and live unto God. Then will you be of that number who are the light of the world.
I have been shown that you were cherishing erroneous views in regard to the future, views savoring of the pernicious sentiments of the Age-to-come. You sometimes talk out these ideas to others. But they are not in harmony with the body.
You do not make a right application of Scripture. When Jesus rises up in the most holy place, and lays off His mediatorial garments, and clothes Himself with the garments of vengeance in place of the priestly attire, the work for sinners will be done. The period of time will then have come when the mandate will go forth: "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: . . . and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be."
God has given His word for all to investigate, that they may learn the way to life. None need err if they will submit to the conditions of salvation laid down in the word of God. Probation is granted to all, that all may form characters for eternal life. An opportunity will be given to all to decide for life or death. Men will be judged according to the measure of light given them. None will be accountable for their darkness and their errors if the light has not been brought to them. They have not sinned in not accepting what has not been given them. All will be tested before Jesus leaves His position in the most holy place. The probation of all closes when the pleading for sinners is ended and the garments of vengeance are put on.
Many entertain the view that probation is granted after Jesus leaves His work as mediator in the most holy apartment. This is the sophistry of Satan. God tests and proves the world by the light which He is pleased to give them previous to the coming of Christ. Characters are then formed for life or death. But the probation of those who choose to live a life of sin, and neglect the great salvation offered, closes when Christ's ministration ceases just previous to His appearing in the clouds of heaven.
Those who love the world, and whose minds are carnal
and at enmity with God, will flatter themselves that a period of probation will be granted after Christ appears in the clouds of heaven. The carnal heart, which is so averse to submission and obedience, will be deceived with this pleasing view. Many will remain in carnal security and continue in rebellion against God, flattering themselves that there is then to be a period for repentance of sin and an opportunity for them to accept the truth which now is unpopular and crossing to their natural inclination and desires. When they have nothing to venture, nothing to lose, by yielding obedience to Christ and the truth, they think they will take their chance for salvation.
There are in the Scriptures some things which are hard to be understood and which, according to the language of Peter, the unlearned and unstable wrest unto their own destruction. We may not, in this life, be able to explain the meaning of every passage of Scripture; but there are no vital points of practical truth that will be clouded in mystery. When the time shall come, in the providence of God, for the world to be tested upon the truth for that time, minds will be exercised by His Spirit to search the Scriptures, even with fasting and with prayer, until link after link is searched out and united in a perfect chain. Every fact which immediately concerns the salvation of souls will be made so clear that none need err or walk in darkness.
As we have followed down the chain of prophecy, revealed truth for our time has been clearly seen and explained. We are accountable for the privileges that we enjoy and for the light that shines upon our pathway. Those who lived in past generations were accountable for the light which was permitted to shine upon them. Their minds were exercised in regard to different points of Scripture which tested them. But they did not understand the truths which we do. They were not responsible for the light which they did not have. They had the Bible, as we have; but the time for the unfolding
of special truth in relation to the closing scenes of this earth's history is during the last generations that shall live upon the earth.
Special truths have been adapted to the conditions of the generations as they have existed. The present truth, which is a test to the people of this generation, was not a test to the people of generations far back. If the light which now shines upon us in regard to the Sabbath of the fourth commandment had been given to the generations in the past, God would have held them accountable for that light.
When the temple of God was opened in heaven, John saw in holy vision a class of people whose attention was arrested and who were looking with reverential awe at the ark, which contained the law of God. The special test upon the fourth commandment did not come until after the temple of God was opened in heaven.
Those who died before the light was given upon the law of God and the claims of the fourth commandment were not guilty of the sin of violating the seventh-day Sabbath. The wisdom and mercy of God in dispensing light and knowledge at the proper time, as the people need it, is unsearchable. Previous to His coming to judge the world in righteousness, He sends forth a warning to arouse the people and call their attention to their neglect of the fourth commandment, that they may be enlightened, and may repent of their transgression of His law, and prove their allegiance to the great Lawgiver. He has made provision that all may be holy and happy if they choose. Sufficient light has been given to this generation, that we may learn what our duties and privileges are, and enjoy the precious and solemn truths in their simplicity and power.
We are accountable only for the light that shines upon us. The commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus are testing us. If we are faithful and obedient, God will delight in us, and bless us as His own chosen peculiar people. When
perfect faith and perfect love and obedience abound, working in the hearts of those who are Christ's followers, they will have a powerful influence. Light will emanate from them, dispelling the darkness around them, refining and elevating all who come within the sphere of their influence, and bringing to a knowledge of the truth all who are willing to be enlightened and to follow in the humble path of obedience.
Those who possess the carnal mind cannot comprehend the sacred force of vital truth upon which their salvation depends, because they cherish pride of heart, love of the world, love of ease, selfishness, covetousness, envy, jealousy, lust, hatred, and every evil. If they would overcome these they might be partakers of the divine nature. Many leave the plain truths of God's word and neglect to follow the light that shines clearly upon their pathway; they try to pry into secrets not plainly revealed and conjecture and talk and dispute in regard to questions which they are not required to understand, for they have no special reference to their salvation. Thousands have been beguiled in this way by Satan. They have neglected present faith and present duty which are clear and comprehensive to all who have their reasoning powers; they have dwelt upon doubtful theories and scriptures which they could not comprehend, and have erred concerning the faith; they have a mixed faith.
God would have all make a practical use of the plain teachings of His word in regard to the salvation of man. If they are doers of the word, which is plain and powerful in its simplicity, they will not fail to perfect Christian character. They will be sanctified through the truth, and through humble obedience to it will secure everlasting life. God wants servants that are true, not only in word, but in deed. Their fruits will show the genuineness of their faith.
Brother O, you will be subject to Satan's temptations if you continue to cherish your erroneous views. Your faith will be
a mixed faith, and you will be in danger of confusing the minds of others. God requires His people to be a unit. Your peculiar views will prove an injury to your influence; and if you continue to cherish them and talk them, they will finally serve to separate you from your brethren. If God has light which is necessary for the salvation of His people, He will give it to them as He has given other great and important truths. Here you should let the matter rest. Let God work in His own way to accomplish His purposes in His own time and manner. May God enable you to walk in the light as He is in the light.