Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)

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Ms 6, 1878

Testimony to the Oakland Church

NP

1878

Portions of this manuscript are published in TMK 196, 313, 325.

I was shown that God would work for His people upon the Pacific Coast if they would come nigh to Him by living faith. But those who profess the truth must not flatter themselves that the work will go forward prosperously, even if they do not manifest a personal interest in it, and do not do all in their power, with their influence and their means, to aid in its advancement. God has greatly honored you in Oakland, in placing in your midst the publishing house, which gives character to the truth and work upon the Pacific Coast. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 1

There has been, with some, no special interest to do their best to make the advancement of the truth, in connection with the publishing house, a success. Their own selfish interest has come in first, and their acquisitiveness and covetousness have amounted to idolatry. Any enterprise connected with the work of God, which called for an outlay of means, was seen by some in California to be met with murmurings and complaints of the expense incurred. Their money is their idol, and they hold it with a miser’s grasp. Such will have an account to settle by and by, with the Master who made them His stewards of means for the very purpose of advancing the cause of God in every line that is required for the success of the work. They have seen again and again where the cause of God might be benefited with their means just in an emergency, but, like the man with the one talent, they were so afraid that they went and hid it in the earth, for fear there would be some call for their means. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 2

These selfish ones hide their Lord’s money in the world. Some entrust it to sharpers, risking the chance of losing it altogether, rather than to let the cause of God be benefited by its use, but they seldom feel that they must render to God an account of thus robbing His treasury. As the man was dealt with who hid his talent away in the earth, so will be their retribution. “Thou oughtest to have put My money (not yours) to the exchangers, and then at My coming I should have received Mine own with usury.” Matthew 25:27. That money wisely handled, invested in the work of the Lord, would have the blessing of God attending it and marked would have been the results. Our Saviour has presented before us this forcible illustration of that unfaithful steward that we may be benefited by the lesson and not repeat the mistake of the man who hid his talent that God might not be benefited with its use. Matthew 25:24-36. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 3

Short-sighted mortals do not comprehend the advantages and privileges which God has given them in locating the house of publication in their midst. God asks of you who profess to believe the truth in California to be wholly consecrated, to become meek and lowly of heart and life. Put away your selfishness, and learn diligently and cheerfully the lessons of God’s providence now before you. Have you faith in God? Although you cannot see what the result will be in all matters connected with the cause and work of God, you must reveal your faith and advance, and by and by the vail will be lifted and you will learn how much God was doing for His people and for His own glory. While you were sometimes fearful and trembling and discouraged, the Lord was working out His own purposes in His own time and in His own way. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 4

He has pledged Himself that if you will be children of obedience and faith, you shall never want for any good thing. He has given you assurance that He cares for you with more than an earthly parent’s love. He has declared in His Word that “no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.” [Psalm 84:11.] We may ask infinite blessings of Him without fear that His bounty will ever be exhausted. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 5

After God has given us such expression of His love, we should show that we respond to that love, by self-denial and self-sacrifice for His dear sake, to advance His cause in the earth. You will be called to help the work and establish the work in other places; therefore guard the outlay of your means. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 6

God has planted on your coast in California a bright, shining light, the publishing house, which, in the great and beautiful city of Oakland, is to stand as a witness for Him amid the moral darkness of error, shedding its bright rays in the publication of truth to be sent to all parts of the world, heralding the third angel’s message, the commandments of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 7

I was shown your attitude—that this blessing is not appreciated. God in His providence established the publishing house to be a witness, a light, a reprover of superstition, error, and sin. It is a continual preacher. Those who are unacquainted with our faith, as they pass in large numbers to the churches on the first day of the week, see the spacious building and hear the groaning of the press as it rolls off its sheets of precious truth. At once the inquiry arises, What does this mean? Are these Jews? Do they work on Sunday? What kind of an office is this? They are curious to learn something of this people and their faith. Thus the minds of many are directed to the truth. On the Sabbath, the seventh day, they pass the building, and all is silent. Some who have business to transact try to enter, but the doors are bolted. In the windows they see a notice: “No business done in this office upon the seventh day, which is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” Here is a sermon to arouse the conscience and call attention to the fourth commandment just as it reads: 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 8

“Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man servant, nor thy maid servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 9

Truth must be made prominent to arrest the attention of the people in these large cities. The printing house cannot be overlooked. Inquiries bring forth facts of truth for future study. As the people become acquainted with the business done in the printing house, they see that these people are not novices. They should have reason to consider them men of moral worth, who know what they are about. This elevates the truth in their estimation. The seeds of truth are being sown in hearts and will spring up and bear fruit sometimes after many days. The Pacific Press office is a power in the city of Oakland, although it is not appreciated by those who should see it as the wonderful work of God and should sustain it with their money, their personal influence, and their prayers. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 10

God has stationed in your midst another faithful sentinel for the truth. In a prominent position stands the Seventh-day Adventist Church, a building of tasteful appearance, yet humble proportions, with large and costly churches looming up around it. On the seventh day a little company repairs to this building to worship the Lord of the Sabbath, who placed His sanctity and blessing on this day and hallowed it as the one upon which He had rested. People are constantly passing, and as they hear the songs of praise and the sound of prayer, they are curious to know what all this means. All is bustle and confusion in the streets, in the stores and market-places; more business is done on the last day of the week than on the other six; but here is a people out of harmony with the world, leaving their business and cares, and repairing to the tabernacle to worship God. Curiosity turns the steps of many into this chapel. They are anxious to hear what this people believe, and seed is sown, which will produce fruit in some hearts. That church and congregation bear their weekly testimony to the city of Oakland that the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord our God. Here is a testimony borne to the world that God has a people upon the earth who keep His original Sabbath, instituted in Eden. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 11

Many inquiries are made in reference to this people, who are so different from all the rest of the world. The answer is given by unbelievers—by some with candor and by others with ridicule—“These people keep the seventh day, the old Jewish Sabbath.” But these words impress the mind, and some are led to a careful reading of the fourth commandment and to serious reflection. Custom is strong and the love of popular opinion so great that they do not have strength to obey the convictions of conscience; nevertheless, they have been warned. Lectures given upon the prophecies bring those who will hear down step by step, until they are made to see and feel the power of the truth. But as in Christ’s day, when the truth fell from His lips, many are charmed with the beauty and harmony of truth; but they love their old habits and the favor of the world too well to obey. Yet this does not change the fact that they were enlightened and warned. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 12

Should the people of God, who have the precious, sacred truth for these last days, and the most solemn message ever entrusted to man, be so hidden that the world will know nothing about them? Should they seclude themselves in some out-of-the-way hall or building which would be a disgrace to our faith? This would be hiding the most precious light of truth under a bushel or under a bed; yet many who have been blessed with the knowledge of the truth are content to do this. They reason that this is a mark of their humility, but in some cases it bears greater evidence of being narrow-minded and of their stinginess. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 13

The Saviour of the world said, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” “Let your light so shine before men (not hidden away in some corner as though afraid men would see it), that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14, 16. The light is to shine before men, to be brought to their notice, and to attract them that they may see it. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 14

The Seventh-day Adventist Church, standing amid other churches, is silent on the first day of the week, showing that its workers do not revere the day instituted by the man of sin, who thought to change times and laws. God’s truthful witness testifies against the Sunday worshipers. God has ordained that just such witnesses shall bear the warning message to the city of Oakland and to the world. The church and the printing house at Oakland are institutions that He will not be ashamed to own, that the Lord will honor if they will make Him their entire dependence. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 15

These witnesses of God should be of such a character as to show that they have truth of vital importance, and that those connected with them have an important work to do. The buildings are none too good. They should not be of an inferior order. The sanctuary built for God, to invite the presence of the Most High, is none too good. It is God’s faithful witness every Sabbath, carrying the mind back to the creation. When the Lord laid the foundation of the earth, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy, He laid the foundation for His Sabbath. This is God’s memorial, never to be back in the background, out of sight. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 16

God would have His people appreciate the truth, and show their appreciation for it by carrying it out in their daily lives. The perishable things of this world should not engage so much of their attention. Now the precious golden moments of probation are given us, that we may lay hold on things heavenly and divine. Man is of but little worth unless he is closely connected with God. I have been shown that God would now have His people in California go forward. If they keep their eyes always upon the things of earth, they will walk in darkness and stumble at every step. If they will yield their pride and love of the world, and look up to heaven and to God, they will walk safely in the light as He is in the light. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 17

If you make it the business of your life to lay up treasures upon earth, you will be wretched and poor and blind and naked, notwithstanding you may pass in the world as one of the wealthy and prosperous. Those who lay up treasures in heaven will be rich indeed if they have not a foot of land. God calls for self-denial and self-sacrifice from His people who profess to believe the truth. But there are those who are connected with the office who are not sanctified through the truth. They do not bear the proving of God. They are selfish and ease-loving, so wrapped up in themselves that they do nothing for the cause of God if they can avoid it. They rob Him in tithes and in offerings, claiming that they cannot see the matter in the light of the Lord’s claims. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 18

I was shown that the office of publication has been poorly managed. Brother Glenn has made a failure in his management in the office in regard to the wages to be paid the hands. Such prices are ruinous to the office. Notwithstanding light was given on this point, it was not acted upon. The leaks were not stopped. Brother Glenn cannot take in many things. He should have one position. If he has a variety of things to look after, he fails in all. A great neglect is seen in everything, and yet Brother Glenn is inclined to gather responsibilities and business which he cannot successfully manage. From what has been shown me, it is by God’s mercy alone that the office has not gone to pieces before this hour. A decided change must now take place. If Brother Glenn is left to manage the business of the office, it will go to pieces. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 19

No better evidence should be required than the facts before you in one matter, that of the high wages paid to the workmen. The office cannot afford such wages in these close times, and do the work of sending the light of truth to all parts of the world. Those who are in the faith should now show a spirit of self-sacrifice in harmony with that of those who denied self and sacrificed to build up the office. Some who have received high wages have not made a right use of the money. If they should have twenty or thirty dollars a week, they would do no good with their means. They would live up all they have and still be involved. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 20

Economy should be practiced in every branch of the work in the office. Unless there shall be better management in the job office, it should be closed. Decided changes must be made in this time of financial pressure. God is proving and testing those connected with the printing office. Will they show a spirit of self-sacrifice? Will they practice self-denial and rigid economy in all their outlay of means? 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 21

Do not squander the Lord’s means by indulging the appetite or gratifying pride. The time has come when God must be served with the whole heart. Character will be developed. Those who are willing to be benefited by the office, who talk as if they wished to give themselves to the work of God and help the cause of God, yet make no return to benefit the office, are not the ones whom God would have retained in it, and connected with His work. If they have only selfish purposes the labor of worldlings would be as acceptable. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 22

Those who have a spirit of sacrifice will show it. God may bring the financial pressure still closer, to serve His purpose in testing and proving those who are connected with His work. God does not want connected with His work those who show an ambition to get all they can from the office in point of wages in such a time of pressure as this. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 23

I was shown the office upon the very brink of bankruptcy. Leaks here and there and everywhere have not been stopped. Everything is at loose ends. Brother Glenn should have seen the financial embarrassment that would result to the office from his paying such high wages to the workmen. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 24

The wages of Sisters Hall and Frisbie have been more thoroughly earned than those of any other hands. Sister Hall has carried the burden of that office on her soul day and night. She has worked early and late, but it has been beyond her power to change the course of things. She has had an unselfish, anxious interest for everything connected with the office. She has not made a selfish use of her means, but has been ready to respond to any call of duty; and many dollars have been used for the office that others have known nothing of. Notwithstanding the responsibilities which Sister Hall has borne, she is willing to receive lower wages, in accordance with the present emergency. If all would follow her example of self-sacrifice, there would be no trouble. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 25

All who are honored with a position in the office should be men and women of undeviating integrity; not vain and fickle and trifling, and needing to be guarded continually lest they show by their deportment that they have greater love for a social gathering than for the prayer meeting, or that they prefer the reading of a storybook to their Bibles. To some the Word of God is uninteresting. The reason is, they have so long indulged in the bewitching stories to be found in the literature of the present day that they have no relish for the reading of God’s Word or for religious exercises. This reading disqualifies the mind to receive sound Bible principles and to work out practical godliness. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 26

Persons of this class are of no benefit to the office. God cannot connect with them; angels cannot cooperate with them. Their mind is vain and foolish, and as they have not the spirit of Christ, and have no disposition to become acquainted with Him, they will show very plainly that they feel under no moral obligation to make any sacrifice for the truth’s sake. Worldlings could be found who have a higher standard of moral integrity, according to the light they have, than some of these professed Christians. “I would,” says the True Witness, “thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.” Revelation 3:15, 16. Those who see nothing interesting in the Word of God are yet in their sins, connected with Satan, who controls their minds and thoughts. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 27

When reading the Bible with humble, teachable heart, we are holding intercourse with God Himself. The thoughts expressed, the precepts specified, the doctrines revealed are a voice from the God of heaven. The Bible will bear to be studied, and the mind, if not bewitched by Satan, will be attracted and charmed. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 28

Some of the hands in the office sadly fail to keep the heart pure, the temple of the soul cleansed from desecration, so that Jesus may come in and control the mind and affections. The light which beams through the Scriptures is light from the eternal throne flashed down to this earth. The truth revealed comes from the Shekinah. An earnest study of the Scriptures is exactly what the Sisters White need, that the Spirit which they find there may be received and carried out in their lives. The youth in the office have not given to the Word of God one-twentieth part of the study which it should receive; and this is the reason why they do not better understand how to reach the Bible standard. Knowledge is contained in its pages. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 29

All who make the Word of God their guide in this life will act from principle. Those who are vacillating, vain, and extravagant in dress, who are gratifying the appetite, and following the promptings of the natural heart, will, in obeying the teachings of God’s Word, become balanced; they will devote themselves to duty with an energy that never falters, and they will rise from one degree of strength to another. Their characters will be beautiful and fragrant and devoid of selfishness. They will make their way and be acceptable anywhere among those who love truth and righteousness. “Search the Scriptures” was the injunction of our Saviour; “for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of Me.” John 5:39. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 30

There is not, with every one connected with the office, that strict fidelity which meets the mind of God. Said Christ, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.” Luke 16:10. In the little matters some do not think it necessary to be so very exact; but this is the deception of Satan. Selfishness is at the root of all unfairness and all lack of fidelity. There must be a deeper work of grace wrought in the hearts of all connected with the office at Oakland. Then they will need no appeals to be liberal to the cause of God, self-denying and self-sacrificing; for all will seek to do their utmost to get the truth before perishing souls. Those who realize the sacrifice which Christ has made for fallen man will have their hearts and hands open to aid in the work of God. Even if they are as poor as the widow who gave her two mites, it will be a principle with them to save, that they may have something to put into the Lord’s treasury. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 31

God looks tenderly upon Frank Belden, but he needs to reform in many things. He should be careful that his outgoes are within the limits of his income. And there are others who must learn this. Brother Glenn will be brought into great embarrassment unless he shall learn this lesson. Oh, that God would set before you all the necessity of seeing and remedying the defects of your characters which Satan sees and takes advantage of, and which, if not overcome, will prove the ruin of the soul! 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 32

Again, there is not with all a careful improvement of the time for which they are paid. Those who fritter away their time, or fail to put it to the best use, are robbing God. Some who are engaged in the work in the office have incorrect views of what constitutes a gentleman; they have a very favorable opinion of those who are careless, reckless of money, and reckless of time; but God regards all these things in their true character—frauds which He will avenge. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 33

Time, talents, and skill are to be brought into use and put to the very best account; for they belong to the Lord if you are engaged in His work. He would have those connected with His sacred work who will bear the test of temptation and come forth pure gold. God calls for you to elevate the standard in that office. Let every one be true to principle, as if the eye of the Infinite were upon him. You may, young men and women, make of yourselves what you will, by the grace of God combined with earnest efforts and determined will to resist inclination to indulgence: _____’s example here is not a correct one, worthy of imitation. God calls upon him to reform. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 34

There is with many of the youth who profess to believe the truth a vanity, pride, profligacy, and carelessness that are making them reckless and disqualifying them for a noble and elevated life here, and unfitting them for the future life hereafter. Some of these persons are connected with the office. Their inclinations show that their hearts are not in harmony with God. They are not acquainted with His will, because they do not search the Scriptures that they may be thoroughly furnished to all good works. The very many foolish remarks made, the jesting, the levity, the attempts at witticism, the reckless use of precious moments all tend to injure the character and degrade the man or woman to a low level. These persons are not walking in the love of God, but are cold and lifeless, bearing no fruit to His glory. They are poor, blind, miserable, naked, yet have much self-complacency, and flatter themselves that they are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 35

Christ gave to man a perfect example; but those who move out on what they call a liberal plan, and become careless in the little matters, will soon show a wide deviation from Christ’s example, the only true pattern. Young men and women, will you study more closely and prayerfully the life of Christ, and make that life your criterion, your standard? Christ will then have no need to be ashamed of His professed followers. They will not be so disgusting to Him that He will spue them out of His mouth. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 36

Why will not the youth learn a lesson from the case of Adam? His failure in not bearing the slight test of God was followed by a terrible retribution. And yet Satan has such power to bewitch the mind that with this beacon of warning before us, many will talk of liberality and not being so particular in regard to God’s requirements; and they go on with defects of character, and instead of reforming they become more faulty, because they lose sight of the true Pattern. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 37

It is a most solemn duty to keep the spirit pure, as a sanctuary for the Most High God. Heart and mind and soul are to be devoted to the service of God and the good of our fellow men. It is a very small offering, at best, that we can make to our heavenly Father. In view of our accountability to God, we are all under the strongest obligation to bring our appetites and passions under the control of the intelligent will. Taste has done more to pervert the understanding and becloud the spiritual sky than everything else besides. Satan benumbs the intellect of many through indulgence of appetite, and then he makes these intemperate ones special objects of temptation, to go still further from the path of obedience and holiness. Those who have been entrusted with valuable talents will miss eternal life unless they shall see the necessity of daily self-denial, of what it means to be an overcomer. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 38

Said the apostle, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” Romans 6:12. He urges upon his disciples the necessity of temperance, telling them that “every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.” 1 Corinthians 9:25. He again makes a most earnest appeal: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.” Romans 12:1. Again, he says of himself, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” 1 Corinthians 9:27. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 39

There is not, with many of the hands in the office, one half the vigor there might be, because of ailments brought on through indulgence of appetite and debasing habits. What clearness of perception the youth might have if they would adhere strictly to the laws of health, as did Daniel and his three companions! What freedom from pain, and with how much greater ease could they perform their duties! How much greater would be their spiritual fervor! And how much more good, by precept and example, would they do to others! You who would fear God and work righteousness, I call upon you to consider the things I have written. Nine tenths of your evil propensities, your temptations to depart from God, are caused by the indulgence of appetite. Your selfishness is attributable to the same cause. The lack of love for the souls of men is in a great degree caused by the sinful indulgence of perverted appetite. The Lord calls upon you to reform. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 40

God is able to make all grace abound toward you. We have no right to claim the promises of God till we comply with the conditions revealed in His Word. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you.” 2 Corinthians 6:17. Will you do it? God calls for you to set things in order in that office. Let all enter into a covenant with the Most High to serve Him with the whole heart, the undivided affections. His promises have never failed, and they never will fail. You must come up to the high standard of God and make decided reforms. 3LtMs, Ms 6, 1878, par. 41