The Ellen G. White Letters and Manuscripts: Volume 1


Lt 20, 1859

[Circa September 24, 1859],1 n.p. 1EGWLM 722.1

Letter to
Lewis Bean.2
1EGWLM 722.2

Previously unpublished.

Testimony to Lewis Bean: “You have mistaken your calling—it is not to travel and preach.” 1EGWLM 722.3

Brother B:

I will try to write you what has been shown concerning you. I was shown that if God had called you to devote yourself to His work, when you have not a special errand to do for the Lord, you should labor with your hands the thing that is good. You can be of use in your place. You have thought the Lord had laid more upon you than He has. 1EGWLM 722.4

Brethren should be careful, and know that the Lord has laid the burden upon men before they encourage them into the field. Even if the Lord is fitting up individuals, the brethren are in danger of hurrying them along and hurting them. They should be left to work their way through and let the Lord fit up and qualify men before urging them into the field. If God has called them, they will feel the deep weight of the work upon them. Let them endure hardships, suffer some severe trials, and obtain an experience in the work. Those who are able and are not especially called of God to devote their whole time especially to the work of teaching the truth, should labor with their hands and supply their own necessities. 1EGWLM 723.1

I have seen that those who, by the sanction of their brethren and the Holy Spirit, are set apart for the work will have something to carry; they will give unmistakable evidence of their calling. Some who think they are called of God are altogether too easy. They enter into other men's labors and build on another man's foundation. 1EGWLM 723.2

Dear brother, you have mistaken your calling—it is not to travel and preach. You cannot command attention, you cannot hold a congregation. If the Lord had called you to the work of teaching He would have qualified you for the work.3 It is a great thing to stand between the living and the dead. It is a great thing to feel the burden of souls and to move judiciously and with wisdom as a servant of Jesus Christ should. You have moved too fast and accomplished but little. In the absence of ministers you can move forward to administer baptism if it is necessary, or attend to the ordinances of the Lord's house. You should hold yourself in readiness to advocate the truth whenever you can. This is the duty of everyone who has an understanding of the truth. All should glorify God and seek to save their fellow men in whatever circumstances they are placed. 1EGWLM 723.3

I saw it was a fact that the brethren, instead of the Lord, were calling men into the gospel field. You have not been called of God to give yourself to the work of teaching the truth. You can do errands for the Lord. There are places and times where and when you can help in the work of God; but this is no evidence that God has laid on you the burden of teaching. The Lord did not call you to travel in Massachusetts.4 Your call to journey there was of no higher authority than your brethren. You cannot get the ears of the people. You are not fitted for the work. And there are others who have been thinking the Lord has a work for them to do to teach the present truth, but they are mistaken in this matter. If they should go, they would be self-made messengers. 1EGWLM 723.4