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On Circulating Writings of Those who have Turned Aside

By J.B. Stoney

      As to using and circulating the writings of 'those who have not gone on in the separate path' I see grave moral objections to it;

      I do not think that everything depends on the words used, but on the intent with which they are used.

      I believe the Lord judges, and therefore blesses according to the intent of the heart. The words used might not be objectionable, and yet the intent might be evil ...

      I very much fear that often with perfectly unobjectionable statements, there may be underneath an evil intent - an intent to propagate the doctrine which sways oneself.

      The words may not betray the bias of one's mind, and yet the bias, like the atom of infection, is in the words, and will, unless counteracted by the truth which is the specific or antidote for it, surely be the scorpion's egg, and become at length a poisoned sting.

      It is impossible for a person either to write or to speak without imparting in intent that which has weight with himself.

      Be he as guarded as he may, he imparts it, and thus, in my mind, he is the agent for good or for evil.

      I feel it a great mercy that the Lord regards the intent, and blesses accordingly; and though the same words may be uttered by two, yet if one had a deeper and more spiritual intent in them than the other, though the Lord may in a measure bless both, that the deeper and fuller blessing will be where the deepest and most spiritual intent is.

      The spirit, not the letter of the statement, is the essence of it. If the spirit or essence be evil, no amount of sweetness or dilution in the vehicle will counteract the effects of the poison; but, thank God, if the essence be of the mind of God, though the vehicle be unattractive and even insufficient, it will speak for itself.

      My judgment is that no amount of useful or orthodox statements should warrant me to circulate the writings of one who at the time is under an evil bias, for though he may indite such apparently good things, yet there must be a poison in his mind which sooner or later will betray itself.

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