Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 34, 1886

Butler, G. I.

Basel, Switzerland

March 1, 1886

See variant Lt 34a, 1886. Portions of this letter are published in PM 230; PH102 15-17; SpM 132-134.

Dear Brother Butler:

Your letters have been received. Your last in reference to the college came this morning. I was not aware that our college was in debt twenty thousand dollars. This must make it a necessity to call for donations. That which led me to write as I did was the great need of business managers—godly, devoted men to take hold of the work and push it in a God-fearing manner. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 1

The evils of centering so many responsibilities in Battle Creek have not been small. The dangers are great. There are unconsecrated elements that only wait for circumstances to put all their influence on the side of wrong. I can never feel exactly safe in regard to B. C. or B. C. College. I cannot at this time state all my reasons. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 2

Whatever may have been the object in placing the tuition of students at so low figures, the fact that the college has been running behind so heavily is sufficient reason for changing the price that this shall not be the showing in the future. The low price is not in its favor even if the college is not so largely patronaged. Those who really want the advantages to be obtained at Battle Creek will make extra exertions to receive these advantages, and a large class who would be induced to come because of the low tuition would be of no benefit to other students or to the church. The larger the number, the more tact, skill, and vigilance [are] required to keep them in order and from becoming demoralized. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 3

Some provision should be made in having a fund raised to loan to the worthy, poor students who desire to give themselves to the missionary work; and in some cases they should even receive donations. Then these youth should have it plainly set before them that they must work their way, as far as possible, and partly defray their own expenses. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 4

The churches in different fields should feel that a solemn responsibility rests upon them to train youth and educate talent to engage in missionary efforts. When they see any in the church who give promise of making useful workers, but who are not able to educate themselves, they should lift that responsibility and send them to the college to be instructed and developed with the object in view of becoming workers in the cause of God. There is material that needs to be worked up and that would be of good service as laborers for God, but are too poor to obtain the advantages of the College, and all the churches should feel it a privilege to bear the responsibility of defraying their expenses. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 5

The tuition should be placed higher; and if there are some who need help, let them be helped as above stated. When the college was first started, there was a fund placed in the Review and Herald office for the benefit of those who wished to obtain an education, but had not the means. This was used by several students until they could get a good start and earn enough to replace the amount they had drawn, that others might be benefited by it. That which costs little will be appreciated little. That which costs something near its real value will be estimated accordingly. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 6

If there were less students and those of a hopeful character, it would be a blessing to Battle Creek. If there are men as teachers in the college and associated with it who are well balanced, who have a strong moral influence, who know how to deal with minds, and who possess the true missionary spirit, then if the college were crowded so as to necessitate the building of another equally large, it would be the best missionary field in the world. But it is the ability that is greatly needed in the college. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 7

If these superior qualities were found in the men connected with the office at Battle Creek so that they could have a controlling influence over the students, then the outlook would not be so discouraging. Whatever the men employed there may think of their ability, I have reason to say that they will have to be greatly improved before they will fill the bill. They may feel competent to give counsel, but they are in need of counsel from Him who is unerring in wisdom. I know whereof I speak. Great and important interests are in danger of being misshaped and of coming forth defective from their hands. If some felt their ignorance more, and would depend less on self, be less self-sufficient, then they might learn of the great Teacher meekness and lowliness of heart. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 8

I would say, in regard to the college, increase your prices and have a better class of students. But provision should be made to do the very best for those who do come; to secure to them every advantage healthwise and every advantage for intellectual strength and moral power. I do see the need of still another boarding house, and there may be need of another building for the students, but I cannot see how you can do better than to do as you have done in calling for means while that debt is on the college. It ought not to be there; and if there had been the right kind of planning, it would not have been there. I mean if those especially employed in the college were all enterprising men, they would not be narrowed down. Their ideas would be broader. They would constantly be exercising tact and ingenuity and devising means whereby the college should not become burdened with debt. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 9

There are not men of sufficient breadth and depth in your councils or in the office, and this is the reason I wrote as I did. Now I will have nothing more to say in the matter. Go ahead according to your best light. I have confidence that the Lord will look upon us in mercy and will surely help us in every time of need. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 10

If we only had devoted, spiritually minded workers connected with our important institutions, who relied upon God more than upon themselves, then we should certainly look for far greater prosperity than we hitherto have had. But where is a decided want of humble trust, and an entire dependence upon God, then we are sure of nothing. Our great want today is men who are baptized with the Holy Spirit of God. Men who walk with God as did Enoch. Men who are not so narrow in their outlook that they will bind about the work in the place of enlarging it. Men who will not say as did Aldrich, “Religion is religion, business is business.” Oh, we need men who can take in the situation. Men who are far-seeing. Men who can study from cause to effect. Well, I will say no more. Do what you can for the college. But I could not say this without saying more, which I have done. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 11

I will give extracts from a letter written to Bro. Haskell Nov. 8, 1880. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 12

“Dear Bro. Haskell:

“The interest of every part of the cause is as dear to me as my life, and every branch of the work is important. I was shown that there is great danger now of making the tract and missionary work so absorbing that it will become intricate through a multiplicity of plans, that it will become perplexing and absorb every other interest. I was shown that there was too much machinery in the tract and missionary work, and in the Sabbath school. There was form and arrangement, but little Christlike simplicity felt and practiced by the workers. We want less machinery and mechanical arrangement and more heart work, more real piety and true godliness. Especially in the missionary workings everywhere there needs to be piety, purity, and wise generalship, and then far greater and much better work would be done with less expenditure of means.” [A page possibly missing here. See Lt 2, 1880.] 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 13

There is a broad field to be covered, and there is a getting above the simplicity of the work. Now is the time to work and to work in the wise counsel of God. If you connect unconsecrated persons with the mission fields and with the Sabbath schools, our work will take on the formal mold and be without Christ. The workers must study carefully and prayerfully in every part of the field how to work in the simplicity of Christ and in an economical manner, to plan and devise the most successful manner of reaching hearts. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 14

We are in danger of spreading over and starting into enterprises to do more work than we can possibly attend to properly. There is danger of overdoing and of leaving some important parts of the work to be neglected. To undertake a large amount of work and do nothing perfectly would be a bad plan. We are to move forward, but not get so far above the simplicity of the work that it will be impossible to look after the enterprises entered into without sacrificing our best helpers to keep things in working order. Life and health must be regarded. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 15

While we should be ever ready to follow the opening providence of God, we should lay no larger plans, occupy no more ground in branching out than there is help and means to bind off the work well and keep up and increase the interest already started. While there are larger plans and broader fields constantly opening for the laborers, there must be broader ideas, and broader views in regard to the workers who are to labor to bring souls into the truth. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 16

Our young ministers must be encouraged to take hold of the work with energy, and labor must be given as well as encouragement to these men. They must be trained and disciplined to carry forward the work in simplicity. I am astonished to see how little some of your young ministers are appreciated and how little encouragement they receive. Yet some of them cling to the work and do anything and everything with unselfish interest. These will yet be lost to the cause because they are not receiving proper encouragement. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 17

Narrowness and dishonest dealing must not come into the settlement with the workers high or low. The course pursued towards Eld. Lane while he was laboring in the East was after the eastern fashion, but not after God’s plan. The support in sympathy and union of help was withdrawn from him. He felt it keenly, and it nearly ruined him. He never fully recovered from this wound. The course pursued toward Elders Lane and Corliss in the South was not after God’s order. The course Eld. L. Whitney pursued in New York in his sharp criticism, and giving them limited wages, was not as God would have it. It was his ways, but not God’s ways. There must be more of Christ’s ways and less of self. Sharp criticisms should be repressed. Sympathy, compassion, and love should be cultivated in every worker. Unless Jesus comes in and takes possession of the heart; unless self is subdued and Jesus exalted, we shall not prosper as a people. I testify that which I have seen. I beseech of you, my brethren, to labor in God wholly. Do not have too many plans, but strive to have the work carried on healthfully, circumspectly, and with a thoroughness, that it will not ravel out. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 18

There is a subject that I wish to mention to you. It is the matter of royalties on books. W. C. White has received letters since he returned from America from A. R. Henry of a very decided character on this point. W. C. W. has stated the positions taken by your board in Battle Creek. I am sorry that they are not farseeing in judgment. They evidence that they are narrow in their views and comprehension. They will arouse much unpleasantness of feeling in the bookmakers and will not accomplish that which they have undertaken. This movement will create a want of harmony. God will not sanction any such plans as they have in view, because they are not just. Here is where the danger comes in when such men as Russell Hart and Will Sisley are depended upon to make decisions. They cannot be proper judges in this matter. While I respect the men, I do not honor their judgment. Bro. A. R. Henry is not a proper judge in this matter. None of these men take in the situation. They are not writers or bookmakers. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 19

Selfish policy is not heavenborn, but it is earthly. The leading maxim is, “The end justifies the means.” And in pursuing the course entered upon, it stops at nothing, but will seek for its own success. This may be traced in every department of business. It is the presiding element in every class of society, and in the grand councils of nations, and presides in the council of every meeting where the spirit of Christ is not the ruling principle. Prudence and caution, tact and skill need to be cultivated by every one who is connected with the office of publication and with those who serve in our college and sanitarium. But the laws of justice and righteousness must not be left [to] one side, and the principle of all prevailing be to make their own branch of the work a success, regardless of other branches of the work. The interest of others should be closely investigated to see that no one’s right is invaded. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 20

The policy plan is a snare. While the council may pride themselves in the thought that they are doing a very nice thing, they show a short-sighted wisdom which will cripple their own efforts for success. The structure must be built upon a right foundation in order to stand. When the board of the Publishing Association takes it upon them to urge the matter that all the profits of books shall go to the Publishing Association, they are seeking to control matters which do not come under their jurisdiction. They are taking upon themselves a work which they cannot carry out. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 21

These brainworkers have as much interest in the cause of God as those who compose the board or council, who are willing to be conscience for them. Some of these have had a connection with the work almost from its infancy. God has not placed upon this board the work of being conscience for others. They should not seek so persistently to force men to their terms. The policy plan is not to be classed with discretion, although it is too often mistaken for this. The policy plan is a species of selfishness in whatever cause it is exercised. It will stop at nothing which will make them successful. But discretion uses judgment and is never narrow in its workings. It has large and broad ideas, and the eye of the mind is capable of taking in more than one object. It views things from all sides of the question, while policy has a short range of vision and can see every object near at hand, but fails to discover objects at a distance. It is ever watching for opportunities to obtain advantage which belongs not to them. They would build themselves up by pulling out the foundation from another man’s building. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 22

Let it not be necessary for God to send a rebuke to men in responsible positions who should be guardians of the people, and especially of the interests of those who have long served in the cause of God, whose pen and voice have been active in bringing up the work to its present proportions. I wish I could lay these matters before these men in their true light. I have been connected with the work of publishing from its commencement; and since the Publishing Association was formed, light has been given in perplexity and the Lord has ofttimes spoken and laid down principles and rules which must be carried out by all the workers. The grave responsibilities resting upon those in positions of trust were continually kept before us, and we sought the Lord from three to five times a day to give us heavenly wisdom, that we should sacredly guard the interests of the cause of God and the interests of His chosen people. I have been repeatedly shown that we must sacredly guard the interests of God’s cause as well as the interests of His chosen people. I was shown that those who preside over these institutions should ever bear in mind that there is a chief Director which is the God of heaven. There should be strict honesty in their business transactions in every department of the work. While there should be firmness in preserving order, there should be compassion, mercy, and forbearance incorporated into their characters. Justice has a twin sister which is love. These should stand side by side. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 23

It has been repeatedly presented before me that God was observing every transaction in that office. “Thou God seest me” [Genesis 16:13] should be ever in the mind, and there should be with every one who bears responsibilities in the office courtesy and Christian politeness exercised. They should have a sense of the ever-abiding presence of Christ which will prevent the encroachment upon others’ rights which is so common in the world’s practice, but which is an offense to God. The board of directors should ever act as under the divine eye, and with a continual sense that they are only finite men, and are liable to make mistakes in judgment and in decisions and plans, unless they are closely connected with God. As they are only weak and erring men themselves, they should feel kindness and pity for others who may err. The divine standard must be met. You should take the Lord with you into every one of your councils. If you sense that God is in your assemblies, every transaction will be conscientiously, carefully, and prayerfully considered. Every unprincipled act will be repressed and uprightness characterize the dealings in small as well as great matters. There should be the cultivation of universal kindness with every worker. Seek counsel of God first, for this is necessary in order for you to properly counsel together. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 24

There should be a watchcare lest the busy activities of life, the engrossment of business, should so accumulate as to lead the workers to neglect prayer when they most need the strength prayer would give them, because of business matters which are in danger of crowding godliness out of the soul through overdevotion to business. Here come in all the evils, because they defraud their souls of the strength and heavenly wisdom which are waiting their demand upon them. They need that illumination which God alone can give them, and they are unfitted to transact business unless they shall have this wisdom. There are a few words of formal prayer uttered at the commencement of the meetings, but the heart is not brought into sympathy and harmony with God by earnest, importunate prayer offered with broken hearts and contrite spirits in living faith. If they divorce themselves from the God of wisdom and power, they cannot preserve that high-souled integrity in dealing with their fellow men which God requires. Without divine wisdom, their own spirit and the objectionable traits of their own character will be woven into the decisions they make. And if these men are not in communication with God, Satan will just as surely be one in their council and take advantage of their unconsecrated state in their decisions. There will be acts of injustice because God was not presiding in their councils. The Spirit of Christ must be an abiding, controlling power over the heart and mind. In the world, the god of traffic is the god of fraud. It must not be thus with those who are dealing with God’s cause. The worldly principle and standard is not to be the standard of those who are connected with sacred things. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 25

Some years ago the matter of the publication of books came up, and plans were laid which I cannot now call to mind. It was something like this, that no individual was to be benefited by the publication of their books. I think it was as far back as when J. Aldrich was serving as highest authority in the publishing association. [Line illegible regarding Elder White’s suffering from disease] ... and a proposition was then made to us which my husband, without ability to fully consider, assented to, that the publishing association should have the benefits of his books. I was considering the matter and thought like this: I wish the testimonies to go to as many as possible. It was a message from God to His people, and I wished no benefits personally for this work. And thus we stated the matter. But shortly after, I was shown that this was not wisdom to relinquish our rights to manage and control our own writings: that we would know better how to handle the profits of these books than those who had far less experience; that publications were to be multiplied, and the profits that we would receive would enable us to lead out in the advancing work and to build up the interests of the cause and to carry others with us in the work; that there was a principle to be maintained to guard the interests of the true workers—ourselves were not the only ones that this decision would effect; that there was justice to be maintained; that the cause of God would be continually widening; it would take in its embrace the whole world as its field; that the wants of the cause of God would not be determined by one man’s mind and one man’s obscured vision; that there would be important work done in God’s moral vineyard, and no man should feel that the part of the work over which he presides is to be all absorbing and swallow up all other interests. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 26

This settled our minds upon this point, and we have had no reason to change them. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 27

I have been shown that brain workers have a God-given capital. The improvement of their brain belongs to God, not to man. If the worker gives the time to his employer for which he receives his pay, then he has no further claim upon him. If by diligent and close economy of moments he prepares matter for publication, it is his to do with in the fear of God as he thinks he can serve the cause best. If he gives up all except a small royalty, he should not be urged to do more; he has done a good work for the one who handles the books; but if the publishers want the whole, and cannot see how they are exceeding their rights in this urgency, it would be the worst thing that could be done, for the author to accommodate this grasping, avaricious spirit, even with the plea that it is for the cause of God. These authors are responsible for the means which they receive and how they use them. There will be many calls for means. I was shown that there would be many interests to build up, that my husband and myself would be called upon to invest in meetinghouses that would have to be erected that would never come into existence unless some one could feel and know the needs of the cause and lead out in investments of means themselves. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 28

I was shown that mission fields would have to be entered which would require means. And those to whom God has entrusted talents are to trade upon these talents according to their ability, for they are to act their part in carrying forward these interests. I was shown that we would not be working for the best and most successful interests of the cause of God to have our income barely enough to sustain life, for we would see many ways and opportunities to help the cause, because of our experience, which others would not discern. God had in His wise providence given the ability to write, and He designed means should come into our hands to be used wisely. We were not to be restricted by compromise, but use the means that we should obtain as God’s stewards to invest in His cause when and where the Spirit of God should indicate. It was not our duty to shift our stewardship upon any man or men. God Himself had given us the ability to write, and God called upon us to use this entrusted talent for the advancement of His cause. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 29

I was shown that there were poor men whose only means to obtain a livelihood was by the use of their brainwork. The position we would at that time take would surely affect others as well as ourselves. There were men who had not grown up with our institutions and been benefited with the instructions that God had given from time to time, businessmen who would not incorporate in their business management religion and the Spirit of Christ; they would separate religion in a large degree from their business; therefore even the publishing association should not be made an all-controlling power. Individual talent and individual right must be respected. Should rules then be established, arrangements entered into to invest the benefits of personal talent in the publishing association, other important interests would be crippled; men would have a controlling power in connection with the publishing association who would not at times have compassion and make a difference, ever guarding the interests of those in poverty and in distress. There would be one iron rule to bear upon all after the worldly policy rather than the Spirit of Christ. Principles established would mean more to others than to us; we must therefore guard every decision. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 30

I was shown that we should not, my husband and myself, be dependent upon others, for there would be men connected with our institutions who have been educated and trained as businessmen of the world who would make us feel our dependence if they had a chance; for all men are not in character as God would have them—tender, compassionate, and Christlike. He would have us guard the means entrusted to us to use in different branches of His work; we should have to lead out in different enterprises by investing means, and by this act stimulate others. We should not make donations largely to any one institution; for our message was a world-wide message, and there would be necessities continually arising that would demand means. To every man He has given his work, talents of means and of influence, and those who have the cause of God at heart will understand the voice of God telling them what to do. They will have the burden to push the work where it needs pushing, while some engaged in some other branch of the work will see only the interest of that branch. Other branches of the work would be left to suffer because of the want of far-seeing judgment. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 31

I have several times been shown that there has been a close, ungenerous spirit exercised toward Bro. Bell from the very first of his labors in Battle Creek It makes me sad to state the reasons: because he came to them in poverty, and a stranger; because he was a poor man, he has been placed in unpleasant positions and made to feel his poverty; because that men connected with our institutions have thought that they could bring him to their terms, he has had a very unpleasant time. There are unpleasant chapters in his experience that would not have passed into history, if his brethren had been kind and dealt with him after the manner of Christ. The record in heaven has been of that character that some will not be proud to meet in the day of final settlement of all accounts. The Lord’s cause should always be free from the slightest injustice. Any work connected with God’s cause should be free from the slightest act of littleness or oppression. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 32

There were some men and women who invested means in the publishing association as a donation. Afterward these individuals through misfortunes were brought to actual distress and want. When my husband was stricken down by disease, they came to the ones who occupied his place and begged that some of the means which they had invested in good faith should be returned to them again as they had no means at their command. The matter was treated on the policy plan: business is business, religion is religion. They reasoned that nothing donated to the cause should any portion of it be returned to the donor under any circumstances; and they took no means whatever to relieve the situation of those in distress. When my husband returned to his position in the office, these persons laid the matter before him. Some of the means received from widows my husband had objected to when they freely offered it and made statements upon the books that they should have their means back when they needed it. But notwithstanding this, their cases were past by with indifference. Every such matter treated in this way is after the worldly policy, but not in accordance with the character of Christ. The cause of God can best be served in ever considering in tenderness the cases of suffering humanity. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 33

In the cause of God, Christ’s spirit and manner of working is to be carried out in every particular. The laws of mercy and justice will be a ruling principle in every department where Christ abides. Men in connection with the work of God, in order to be qualified for their position of trust, must be Christlike in all their dealings with one another. These Bible principles we have labored to have maintained from the very first in our publishing association. We have had to fight these battles over and over with men connected with the publishing association. This is God’s institution. We prize this instrumentality too highly to allow one blot or stain to rest upon it if we can do or say anything to prevent it. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 34

The policy which worldly businessmen adopt is not to be chosen and carried out by men connected with our institutions. I think it was in 1881 that the precious light was given me upon the scenes of the judgment. Then the books registering the deeds and actions of men revealed [that] the dealings of men professing godliness in our institutions were after the worldling standard, but not in strict accordance with God’s great standard of righteousness. That which bears some close relation to the question in dealing with others, especially those connected with the work of God, was opened to me quite fully. I had a message for Dr. Kellogg and Henry Kellogg, reproving their spirit and manner of dealing with one another. Neither of them was meeting the standard of God’s law. The Spirit of Christ did not enter in and control their business arrangements. Their dealing was too much after the sharp policy plan, but not according to God’s rule of right and justice. Each was suspicious and jealous that the other was trying to be advantaged at his disadvantage. Their attitude toward each other was not as should exist between Christians. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 35

I saw that there should be no close, sharp dealing with these brethren who were representative men of two important institutions of a different character, but branches of the same work, that both of these men should ever maintain a noble, generous, Christlike spirit in their deal with one another. The spirit of avarice and grasping should have no place in their dealings. God’s cause could not be advanced with any action on their part contrary to the spirit and character of Christ. Both of these men should show an unselfish interest, and should seek to advance the interest of the other, for the cause of God and truth can afford to be fair. Any sharp dealing in a single instance would be an offense to God. That which they sewed in their deal to one another they would reap again. A selfish manner of dealing would provoke the same in his brother. Liberality and true courtesy, manifesting the Christian gentlemen in all words and in all business arrangements, would be reflected upon them again in the same kind. But I was shown that a spirit was coming into the councils and board meetings that was after the order of the worldly policy, but not in accordance with God’s great rule of righteousness. Anything of this order is as distinct from the spirit of Christ as light is distinct [from darkness]. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 36

There is a critical spirit brought in and personal feelings molding to a greater or less degree decisions that are being made. There is a hard and unsympathetic spirit that is bearing control which is ruling out the spirit of kindness, of compassion, and of love. Those who compose our councils need daily to sit at the feet of Christ and learn in His school to be meek and lowly of heart. They are not prepared to deal justly, and love mercy, and to have the true courtesy which characterized the life of Christ, unless they see the necessity of yoking up with Christ and lifting all the burdens of Christ. The love of Christ must be incorporated into the branches of the several departments of work in the office in order to do justice not only to the work, but to the worker. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 37

Your councils and your board meetings in 1886 need all this instruction just as much and more so than in 1881. Let such men as Russel Hart receive a mold of character and discipline in Christ’s school, learning meekness and lowliness of heart of Jesus; then he will be less self-sufficient, less self-confident of his own ability, will not have so high an opinion of himself, and will be regarded by those connected with the office as a Christian brother walking humbly with God, trying to serve in any capacity where he can do the most good without exalting himself at all. This is a lesson he never yet has learned. Therefore he has a new character to form, a new experience to gain in order to give him a fitness to come close to the hearts of his brethren and to deal with minds who are acting a part in the work. He will have to guard himself closely or he will be dictatorial and officious, ready to speak and to give orders and have oversight of things that he is entirely ignorant of, and will disgust the workers in the office. If he takes hold in an humble way, trying to learn in every thing as much as he can, taking the position of a learner rather than a director, then he will make to himself friends and will have influence in the office. Unless he can, by a right manifestation of humbleness and universal kindness, take the position as one of his working brethren, not above them, not esteeming himself more highly than he ought, he cannot bind their hearts to his own, and he will utterly fail in the position that he is expected to fill. He should be swift to hear and slow to speak. He has nearly everything to learn before he can be an instructor to others. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 38

Every one that serves in the board meetings needs to seek most earnestly the wisdom from above. The influence of the Spirit of Christ upon their hearts will then place a right mold upon the work. The transforming grace of Christ should transform every board meeting. It will be able to quell tumultuous actions and charm away the unhallowed effects of business, worldly policy which makes them sharp, critical men, ready to accuse and make them overbearing. There will have to be most earnest reformation in the characters of men who are now connected with our important institutions. There is most valuable talent in some respects which these men possess, while in other respects they must bring into their character a different mold after the divine character of Christ. Every one of them must remember they have not yet attained, that the work of character building is not yet finished. If they will improve every ray of light that God has given, and walk in this light, then they will be learning lessons from Christ. They will compare their lives with Christ’s life and character, they will discern where they have failed to meet the requirements of God’s holy law, and will seek to make themselves perfect in their sphere even as God in heaven is perfect in His sphere. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 39

In these hours of probation they are to seek for perfection of character. They must learn daily of Christ. They are connected with the work of God not because they are perfect, unerring men without defects of character, but notwithstanding their defects, God expects them while connected with His work to be constantly learning and studying how to copy the pattern. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 40

Jesus connected John, Peter, and Judas with Him in His work, making them co-laborers with Him, but at the same time they were to be constantly learning lessons of Christ. They were to gather from His divine teaching instructions which were to correct their wrong ideas and incorrect views of what constituted Christian character. John and Peter were not perfect men, but they improved every opportunity to learn. Peter did not learn the lesson to distrust himself, to be jealous of himself, until he was overcome by the temptations of the devil and denied his Lord. Judas had the same opportunity that these disciples had to learn the valuable lessons from the teachings of Christ, but he was a hearer only and not a doer. The result was seen in his betrayal of his Lord. God has connected men with His instrumentalities, and He wants them to be learners. They are not to feel that there is no improvement for them to make because they stand in responsible positions. If they are to be representative men, to be guardians of the most sacred work ever committed to mortals, they must take the position as learners. They must not feel self-sufficient or self-important, but ever feel that they are treading on holy ground, that angels of God are ready to minister unto them, and they must be in reception of light and heavenly influences daily, or they are no more fit for the work than unbelievers. A transformation will be wrought in the characters of these men which will repress unfavorable traits of character and develop the Christlike, bringing them up to the highest standard of Christian perfection. Judas failed to be benefited because he did not see the importance of being molded in character after Christ’s example. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 41

These men today, if they had realized the importance of their position, would have been far in advance, far more qualified to fill the positions of trust. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 42

The Lord guards every man’s interest. The interest of the poor man He would have sacredly guarded. He was always the poor man’s friend. There is the most wonderful dearth of Christlike love in the hearts of nearly all who are handling sacred things. I want to echo from one part of the earth to the other the love of Christ. The love of Christ should be cultivated and well up in the soul of the Christian like streams in the desert refreshing and bringing gladness, peace, and joy into their own life and the life of others. No one liveth to himself. If there is shown the least oppression of the poor or unjust dealing with them in small or great things, God will hold the actor accountable. The very first work with my brethren is to secure the blessing of God in your own hearts. Here the work begins. Then bring this blessing in your own homes; put away your criticisms, overcome your exacting spirit, let the atmosphere of cheerfulness and kindness pervade your homes. The atmosphere of your homes will be carried with you in the office. Heavenly peace should be the atmosphere surrounding your own souls. Wherever the love of Jesus reigns, there is pitying tenderness and thoughtfulness of others. Here is the most precious work that my brethren can engage in. It is the work of fitting up the character to be Christlike, that they may enter into the mansions which Christ has gone to fit up for them. I cannot be a partaker in any way to injustice in dealing with any one of God’s children. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 43

Do not seek to make terms either with Eld. Smith or Prof. Bell or any other brainworker which is not just and fair. Do not urge these men to drive them to accept the terms of those who do not know what it is to make books. In this matter these men have a conscience and are accountable to God for their entrusted capital of talent and what use they make of its improvement. They want the privilege of investing the means which they will acquire by hard labor when and where the Spirit of God shall indicate. My brethren must remember that the cause of God covers more than the publishing house at Battle Creek and the institutions there established. No one knows better than U. Smith how that publishing association came into existence. He has been connected with the publishing work from its earliest years, when it was oppressed by poverty; when the diet upon our tables was hardly sufficient to sustain the wants of nature because self-denial had to be carried into our practical life in eating and in dressing and in the receiving of wages, in order that the paper might live. This was positively necessary then. Those who obtain this experience would be ready under similar circumstances to do the same again, for they know how it is done. It does not come with a good grace for those to come in who have had no experience to take the work and cause when it is prosperous, who have had naught to do in bringing it up in this condition and to press and urge and force the early workers to submit to their terms which these men can see justice in. U. Smith loves the cause of God. He loves the truth, and he will invest his means in advancing the cause of truth where he sees there is a necessity. But leave this burden upon the men whom God has intrusted with talents of influence and of means. They are responsible to God for this. The publishing association or its chief workers are not to assume their stewardship. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 44

If these men on the board should be able to bring these workers to their terms, would these writers feel that they had been dealt justly by? Would there not be open a door of temptation before them which would break up the sympathy and harmony of action between these men? The plan that these men would carry out to grasp all the profits for the publishing association would be the worst plan for them that they could imagine. There would a train of evils grow out of this arrangement that would be disastrous to the publishing association. Encouragement would be given to a spirit of intolerance that is coming in to preside in your council rooms—a narrow, conceited spirit which God cannot approve, but which Satan enjoys and longs to have take possession of the men who are connected with the sacred work of God. The Bible precepts must be carried into the every day life. It must be a lamp to your path. There can be no greater deception than for man to think that he can find a better guide in difficulty than the Word of God. It is the worst kind of folly to leave the Lord out of your councils and put confidence in the wisdom of men. You are in your positions of trust in a special sense to be the light of the world. You should feel an intensity of desire to place yourselves in connection with the God of wisdom, light, and knowledge, that you may be channels of light. Important interests are to be considered that relate to the advancement and prosperity of the cause of present truth. How then can you be competent to come to right decisions, to make wise plans, and to give counsels, unless you are thus connected with the source of all wisdom and righteousness? Your councils have been considered in altogether too cheap a light. Common talk, common remarks, comment made upon others’ doings have come in for a place in these important meetings. You should consider that the eternal God is a witness in all your councils. The all-seeing eye of Jehovah measures every one of your decisions, and they are compared with His holy law, His great moral standard of righteousness. Men in the position of counselors should be men of prayer, men of faith, unselfish men, men that will not dare to rely on their own human wisdom, but who will pray earnestly for light and intelligence as to the best manner of conducting their business. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 45

Joshua, the commander of Israel, searched diligently the books written by Moses, in which he had faithfully chronicled the directions given of God in His requirements, in His reproofs, in His restrictions, lest he might move unadvisedly. He was afraid to trust his own impulses and his own wisdom. Everything that came from Christ, who was enshrouded by the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, was to him a matter of sufficient importance to be sacredly cherished. He meditated upon the words which had been spoken to [God’s] servant Moses day and night. He wanted to know God’s will. He wanted to do it. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 46

He was commanded of God to study all the directions which he had been given, to meditate upon them: “For then shalt thou make thy way prosperous, and thou shalt have success.” [Joshua 1:8.] This was the secret of Joshua’s victory, that amid his accumulated cares and responsibilities, he dared not trust to his own finite wisdom, but he made God his counselor and guide. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 47

The Pharisees and the scribes and elders in Christ’s day manifested an avaricious spirit. This brought them under the control of Satan, and was the main cause of their hatred to Christ, because His teachings and His example rebuked everything of this character. If this spirit should be cherished in our institutions under any policy, God cannot abide there. There should not be a grasping spirit toward their brethren, for this is not heaven-born but from beneath. Any injustice done to one of God’s children is registered in the books as done unto Christ, as done unto His saints. That success which is gained in taking advantage of another in sharp-dealing will prove to be loss in the end. And that which appears to be failure through the practice of principles that represent the life of Christ is divine success. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 48

The men in connection with the work of God have not yet the crown of immortal glory upon their brow. They are yet engaged in the earthly battles; the work of character building is still going on. They are on probation, being tried and tested by God’s great standard of righteousness, and it is their business to show themselves men, true men, loving righteousness and hating every evil practice which makes our world today as was the old world before the flood. They must be men willing to venture something in order to carry out the precious principles laid down in the Word of God. They should make determined efforts to be representative men after God’s pattern and rejoice in success only as it flows from obedience to duty and truth. They need not strive to show their wisdom, for the confession of their weakness and a sense of their inefficiency throw them upon the strength of Jesus Christ. They that are whole need not a physician. The greatest loss which they need to deplore is the want of elements woven into their character through life practice of earnestness to do right at whatever cost to themselves. The loss of humility, the loss of faith and sterling integrity should cause them intense sorrow. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 49

If the soul is filled with earthly things, then there is no room for the heavenly intelligence. The affections have not been kept in close communion with God. There is an earthliness in every project that is devised. The communication must be opened. Clear the channel in some way. Man that is to plan and devise for the interests of God’s cause must see that his connection with heaven is not cut off. This must be established before he should dare to come into the room for counsel; unless this is the case, Satan will come in with him and manipulate his thoughts and his plans to suit his own satanic majesty. The heavenly atmosphere must surround you in order that your works and plans may be in harmony with heaven. Oh, how important that these representative men keep themselves in the love of God that they may be quick to discern the signals from heaven and ready to respond to them. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 50

March 2

I could not complete this last night in time to mail it; my head became too weary. I wish to say, my brother, that Michigan has been shown me as bound about with extreme caution and with a determination to save means to the conference. Both caution and economy are essential in our work; but unless the mind is broad and can take in the real wants, these elements will be a block before the wheel of progress. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 51

There is talent in Michigan, but it needs to be educated and disciplined. There are those who have some experience who should, with every effort they make in dying churches as well as in new places, select young men or men of mature age to assist in the work. Thus they will be obtaining knowledge by interesting themselves in personal effort, and scores of helpers will be fitting for usefulness as Bible readers, as canvassers, and as visitors in the families. But this kind of work is not being done because there is so great fear that some of the conference money will be used. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 52

There should always be two and two of our brethren to go out together and then as many more as they can rally to engage in the work of visiting and seeking to interest families, making personal efforts. But those who would do something are not encouraged. If mistakes are made, they are not with tender compassion corrected, but they are disheartened. Michigan is one of the best fields in the world, but it wants men of far-seeing judgment who will push the work. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 53

God would have those in responsible positions show tact, skill, and wise generalship in seeing talent, in seizing it, and of putting it to use. God will not work a miracle to advance the truth. He has material in men and women, and He wants the generals in His army to have intelligence to bring it out and put it to use, not be constantly studying how to bind about the work so that it shall not branch out and make a demand for means. Set men to work under those who have some knowledge of the work, who can educate them. Thrust the workers out into the harvest field. All they want is encouragement. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 54

Eld. Fargo’s mind must grow with the work, or he must be replaced by someone who will take a more extensive view of what is needed to be done to warn the world. Do something, do it now. Let the pull-back principle go and the go-forward principle come in. The angel with the third message flies swiftly. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 55

E. G. White.

P.S. I have spoken to you the truth because I dared not to withhold it. My words are not for the purpose of discouraging, but of opening before you the fact that although you may have good business qualities and business tact, yet something higher than this is necessary in the work in which you are engaged. You can become men valuable as gold, and this is why I have written as I have. Your characters must bear the character of Christ. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 56


I have received a good letter from Dr. Kellogg. He says he has had a talk with Dr. Maxson and finds him very much changed for the better. [I thought] perhaps the Dr. has changed somewhat, and this brought them where they could work together. I was more pleased than I can express at the reception of this letter. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 57

Brother Whitney and W. C. White have been absent the two last Sabbaths, one week ago at Neuchâtel and last Sabbath at Lausanne. There was much that needed to be looked into. It is the hardest matter to tell what to [do] in the Bourdeau cases. Daniel is in a perfect distress and agony at the thought that any one shall have a word to say in regard to his plans, while he wants to have everything to say about everybody else’s work, and on the French paper in regard to their work. He takes upon himself too much responsibility. He was about to send two men into France to work, so Eld. Whitney and W. C. W. have gone down to Lausanne. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 58

His efforts at Geneva proved about fruitless. A. C. Bourdeau joined him, but he has done so little in studying and in laboring that he is rusty. Neither of these men can see his mistakes. I pray that the Lord will help them and imbue them with His Spirit. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 59

Brother Coggeshall and Jenny have just gone to the civil authorities to be married. I have not seen much of her for I have been sick for some weeks. I am better now, but I fear I will have to resort to crutches because of my lame ankles. The one I injured in Battle Creek I dare not bear my weight on. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 60

I have written two articles on our Sabbath schools and sent one to Edson and the other [to] U. Smith. 4LtMs, Lt 34, 1886, par. 61