Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 2 (1869 - 1875)


Ms 3, 1871

Elder White’s Labors, and Errors of His Brethren Toward Him



Portions of this manuscript are published as edited in 3T 88-95.

[December 10, 1871.]

[From a vision at Bordoville, Vermont]

[First part missing. See 3T 85-88 for a published version of the missing material.] ... God as great a sin as that of neglect and unfaithfulness of His servants in reproving wrongs. Those who praised the unfaithful and flattered the unconsecrated were sharers of their sin of neglect and unfaithfulness. 2LtMs, Ms 3, 1871, par. 1

God has given my husband especial qualifications, natural ability, and He selected him and gave him an experience to lead out His people in the advance work. There have been murmurers among Sabbathkeeping Adventists, as [there] were among ancient Israel, and these jealous, suspicious ones have given occasion to the enemies of our faith, by their suggestions and insinuations, to distrust my husband’s honesty. These jealous ones have both placed matters before their members in a false light. These impressions stand in the way of many embracing the truth. They regard my husband as a schemer, a selfish, avaricious man, and they are afraid of him and the truth we as a people hold. 2LtMs, Ms 3, 1871, par. 2

Ancient Israel, when their appetite was restricted or when any close requirement was brought to bear upon them, reflected upon Moses. That he was arbitrary, that he wished to rule them, and be altogether a prince over them, when Moses was only an instrument in God’s hands to bring His people into a position of submission and obedience to God’s voice. 2LtMs, Ms 3, 1871, par. 3

Modern Israel has murmured and become jealous of my husband because he has pleaded for the cause of God. He has encouraged liberality, he has rebuked those who loved this world, and has censured selfishness. He has pleaded for donations to the cause of God and he has led off by liberal donations himself to encourage liberality with his brethren. But by many murmuring and jealous ones even this has been interpreted that he wished to be personally benefited with the means of his brethren, and that he had enriched himself at the expense of the cause of God, when the facts in the case are that God has entrusted means in his hands to raise him above want so that he need not be dependent upon the mercies of a changeable, murmuring and jealous people. Because we have not selfishly studied our own interest but have cared for the widow and the fatherless, God has in His providence worked in our behalf and blessed us with prosperity and an abundance. 2LtMs, Ms 3, 1871, par. 4

Moses had sacrificed a prospective kingdom, a life of worldly honor and luxury in kingly courts, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasure of sin for a season, for he esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt. Had we chosen a life of ease and freedom from labor and care, we might have done so. But this was not our choice. We chose active labor in the cause of God, an itinerant life with all its hardships, privations and exposure to a life of indolence. 2LtMs, Ms 3, 1871, par. 5

We have not lived for ourselves, to please ourselves, but we have tried to live for God to please and glorify Him. We have not made it an object to labor for property, but God has fulfilled His promise in giving us an hundredfold in this life. He may prove us by removing it away from us. If so, we pray for submission to humbly bear the test. 2LtMs, Ms 3, 1871, par. 6

While He has committed to our trust talents of money and influence we will try to invest it in His cause, that should the fires consume, and adversity diminish, we can have the pleasure of knowing that all our treasure is not where fires can consume or adversity sweep away. The investment of our time, our interest and our means in the cause of God is a sure bank that can never fail, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not. 2LtMs, Ms 3, 1871, par. 7

I was shown that my husband has had threefold the care he should have had. He has felt tried that brethren Andrews and Waggoner did not help him bear his responsibilities, and has felt grieved because they did not help him in the variety of business matters in connection with the Institute and Association. There has been a continual advance of the work of publication since the unfaithful have been separated from it. As the work increased there should have been men to have shared the responsibilities, but some who could do this had no desire to because it would not increase their possessions as much as some more lucrative business. There is not that talent in our office that there should be. The work demands the most choice and select persons to engage in it. With the present state of things in the office, my husband will still feel the pressure that he has felt, but which he should no longer bear. And it is only by a miracle of God’s mercy that he has stood under the burden so long. 2LtMs, Ms 3, 1871, par. 8

But there are now many things to be considered. He has by his devotion to the work, and persevering care, shown what may be done in the publishing department. Men with unselfish interests combined with sanctified judgment may make the sacred work at the office a success. My husband has so long borne the burden alone that it has told fearfully upon his strength and there is a positive necessity for a change. He must be relieved from care to a great degree and yet he can work in the cause of God in speaking and writing. 2LtMs, Ms 3, 1871, par. 9

When we returned from Kansas in the autumn of 1870 we both should have had a period of rest. Weeks of freedom from care were necessary to bring up our exhausted energies. But when we found the important post at Battle Creek nearly deserted we felt compelled to take hold of the work with double energy and to labor beyond our strength. I was shown that my husband should stand there no longer unless there are men who will feel the wants of the cause and bear the burdens of the work while he shall simply act as counselor. He must lay the burden down, for God has an important work for him to do in writing and speaking the truth. Our influence in laboring in the wide field will tell more for the upbuilding of the cause of God. 2LtMs, Ms 3, 1871, par. 10

There is a great amount of prejudice in many minds. False statements have placed us in a wrong position before the people and this is in the way of many embracing the truth. If they are made to believe that those who occupy responsible positions in the work at Battle Creek are designing and fanatical, they conclude that the entire work is wrong and that our views of Bible truth must be incorrect, and they fear to investigate and receive the truth. But we are not to go forth to call the people to look to us; we are not to generally speak of ourselves and vindicate our character, but to speak the truth, exalt the truth, speak of Jesus, exalt Jesus, and this, attended by the power of God, will remove prejudice and disarm opposition. 2LtMs, Ms 3, 1871, par. 11

Brethren Andrews and Smith love to write; so does my husband, and God has let His light shine upon His Word and led him into a field of rich thought that would be a blessing to the people of God at large. While he has borne a triple burden, some of his ministering brethren have let the responsibility drop heavily upon him, consoling themselves with the thought that God had placed Brother White at the head of the work and qualified him for it, and he had not fitted them for the position; therefore, they have not taken the responsibility and borne the burdens they might have borne. There should be men to feel the same interest my husband has felt. 2LtMs, Ms 3, 1871, par. 12

There never has been a more important period in the history of Seventh-day Adventists than at the present time. Instead of the publishing work diminishing, the demand for our publications is greatly increasing. There will be more to do instead of less. My husband has been murmured against so much and has contended with jealousy and falsehood so long, and he has seen so little faithfulness in men that he has become suspicious of almost everyone, even of his own brethren in the ministry. The ministering brethren have felt this, and for fear that they should not move wisely, in many instances have not moved at all. But the time has come when these men must unitedly labor and lift the burdens. These men lack faith and confidence in God. They believe the truth and in the fear of God they should unite their efforts and bear the burden of this work which God has laid upon them. 2LtMs, Ms 3, 1871, par. 13

After one has done the best he can in his judgment, and the other things he can see where he could have improved the matter, he should kindly and patiently give the brother the benefit of his judgment, but should not censure or question his integrity of purpose any sooner than he would wish to be suspected or unjustly censured himself. If the brother who feels the cause of God at heart sees that in his earnest efforts to do, that he has made a failure, he will feel deeply over the matter, for he will be inclined to distrust himself and lose confidence in his own judgment. Nothing will weaken his courage and Godlike manhood like a sense of his mistakes and errors that he has made in the work God has appointed him to do, which work he loves better than his life. 2LtMs, Ms 3, 1871, par. 14

How unjust then for his brethren who discover his errors to keep pressing the thorn deeper and deeper into his heart to make him feel more intensely, when with every thrust he is weakening faith, courage, and confidence in himself to do, and to work successfully in the upbuilding of the cause of God. Frequently the truth and facts are to be plainly spoken to the erring to make them see and feel their error that they may reform. But this should ever be with pitying tenderness, not with harshness or severity, but consider their own weakness lest they also be tempted. When the fault is seen and acknowledged, then comfort should be given instead of grieving and seeking to make him feel more deeply. 2LtMs, Ms 3, 1871, par. 15

In the sermon of Christ upon the mount, He said, “Judge not that ye be not judged for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again.” Our Saviour reproved for rash judgment. “Why beholdest thou the mote in thy brother’s eye; and, behold a beam is in thine own eye.” [Matthew 7:1-3.] It is frequently the case that while one is quick to discern the errors of his brethren he may be in greater faults himself and is blind to his own errors. 2LtMs, Ms 3, 1871, par. 16

We should all, who are followers of Christ, deal with one another exactly as we wish the Lord to deal with us in our errors and weaknesses, for we are all erring and need pity and forgiveness of God. Jesus consented to take human nature that He might know how to pity and that He might know how to plead with His Father in behalf of sinful, erring mortals. He volunteered to become man’s advocate, and He humiliated Himself to become acquainted with the temptations wherewith man was beset that He might succor those who should be tempted, and be a tender and faithful high priest. 2LtMs, Ms 3, 1871, par. 17

In the prayer Christ taught His disciples was the request, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” [Matthew 6:12.] We cannot repeat this prayer from the heart and dare to be unforgiving, for we ask the Lord to forgive our trespasses against Him in the same manner we forgive those who trespass against us. But few realize the true import of this prayer. If they did, would [they] dare to repeat it and ask God to deal with them as they deal with their fellow mortals? And yet this spirit of hardness and lack of forgiveness exists even among brethren to a fearful extent. Brother is exacting with brother. 2LtMs, Ms 3, 1871, par. 18