Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 6, 1883

Andrews, R. F.



Portions of this letter are published in 9MR 165-168.

Dear Brother:

The conversation we had has left a disagreeable impression upon my mind. Do not think me severe in my remarks in regard to the Chicago mission. You spoke with great satisfaction about the way the mission was carried forward: that Brother Thompson and those connected with him were willing to do any way to get along; that they had a little bit of a room in a loft, and there they were preparing their food and were doing a good work in the most economical way. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 1

Your ideas are not correct. The light which God has given us, precious above the price of silver and gold, is to go forth in a manner to give character to the work. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 2

These brethren are not above the infirmities of humanity, and unless attention is given to the health of their bodies, their work must be greatly embarrassed. Those who stand at the head of the work and fill responsible positions should not permit such things to exist. They should educate the people to give of their means that no such pinched want should be experienced by the workers. As the stewards of God, the responsibility rests upon men to see that one or two do not have all the sacrificing to do, while others are ease-loving, eating, drinking, and dressing without thought of these sacred missions or of their own duty with reference to them. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 3

I have been shown, Elder Andrews, that you do not take a right view of the work; you do not realize its importance. You have failed to bring the people up and to educate them in the true spirit of self-sacrifice and devotion. You have feared to urge duty upon wealthy men. And when you have made a feeble effort in the right direction, and they begin to make excuses and to find a little fault with some one in regard to the management of the work to cover their own selfishness, the impression is left upon your mind that perhaps it is so; and this subterfuge, which has worked in them the seeds of doubt and unbelief, has taken root in your own heart. Seeing this, they turned it to their account and learned just how to treat your efforts. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 4

When they were encouraging doubt and unbelief in regard to the testimonies, you have not done what you should have done to uproot this. You should have shown them that Satan was always picking flaws and criticizing and accusing the brethren, questioning and laying reproach upon the brethren, and that it was unsafe to be in any such a position. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 5

This same kind of work was carried on in Oregon and Washington Territory until the truth was quenched in many hearts. We should give this spirit no quarter for it is death to any church and death to any that indulge in it; and it makes Satan glad. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 6

My brother, you have not taken a course to encourage men to give themselves to the ministry. In the place of bringing the work down to a low figure, it is your duty to bring up the minds of people to understand that the “laborer is worthy of his hire.” [Luke 10:7.] And if these men feel the missionary spirit, they will economize in every way possible that they may have it in their power to help these missionaries. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 7

The churches need to be impressed with the fact that the duty is resting upon them to give to the cause of God, to be true, and to deal honestly with God and not to be guilty of the worst kind of robbery, that of robbing God of tithes and offerings; and when settlements are made, not to force the workers to accept small remuneration because there is a want of money in the treasury. Many have been defrauded of their just dues in this way, and it is just as criminal before God as for one to keep back the wages of those who are employed in any other regular business. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 8

There are many who want to go out and labor in our several conferences—who have ability, but no courage—because they must have means to support their families. It is the worst kind of generalship to allow conferences to stand still or to fail to settle their honest debts. There is a great deal of this done, and wherever it is done, God is displeased. If the president does his duty and the laborers do theirs, impressing upon the minds of the people in the various fields and churches where they labor the character of the crime of robbing God of tithes and offerings; and if these laborers have the true spirit of devotion and a burden for the work, God will make their labors a blessing to the people, and fruit will be seen as the results of their toils. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 9

The ministers have failed greatly in their duty to so labor with the churches. They should have educated, trained, and disciplined the people to be workers in the cause of God. There is important work to be done aside from the work of preaching. It is to build up, elevate, and bring every member of the church into working order. Had this been done as God designed it should be, there would be many more in the field as laborers than there are now. And furthermore, if the ministers in the churches would do their duty to educate every church member, rich and poor, to accept and work after the Lord’s plan to give of his substance as God has prospered him, there would be a full treasury to pay the honest debts of the workers. And this would greatly advance the missionary effort in all our borders. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 10

God has shown me that many souls are in danger of eternal ruin through selfishness and worldliness. And the watchmen are guilty because of neglecting their duty; they do not watch for souls as they that must give account, and this Satan is exulting to see. How successfully he controls the minds of men! And how wonderfully he works through the very ones that think themselves devoted to the work of God, to cause them to neglect to warn, to reprove, to exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine! This is a branch of the work neglected by the ministers, and God will hold them responsible. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 11

It is not God’s order that someone should follow after those who do not do their duty and bind off their unfinished work. It is not the duty of the conference to be at the extra expense of employing other laborers to follow after and pick up the dropped stitches of these negligent workers. It is the duty of the president of the conference to have an oversight of the laborers and their work and to teach them to be faithful in these things, for no church can prosper that is robbing God. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 12

The spiritual dearth in our churches is frequently the result of an alarming prevalence of selfishness in their midst; and for this cause their eyes cannot be single to the glory of God. Their selfish, worldly pursuits and schemes have interposed between them and their God. These are double-minded, clinging to the world, fearing if they should let it go, the Lord would cease to care any longer for them. And so they will take care for themselves—anxious, troubled, distressed for themselves, holding to their large farms and adding more, robbing God in tithes and offerings so that God’s work is crippled on every hand. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 13

Such a showing in your conference testifies that you are not laboring as the apostle Paul labored: “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Does the Word leave this mark in us? If not, then we do not bear the divine credentials. “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man, in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Colossians 1:25-28. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 14

Here is something that is of more importance than every earthly consideration. Men are to be educated; men are to be taught in all wisdom. Have these ministers that connection with God, that separation from the world and worldly ambition and worldly lust? Have they that close walk with their God that by faith they can give the right mold to the ones for whom they labor? “Whereunto,” says Paul, “I also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” [Verse 29.] 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 15

This should be the experience of every minister of Jesus Christ. And for the want of this kind of labor the churches are destitute of the power and grace of God. The day of the Lord is coming on apace, and the people are not getting ready for it, to stand in the day of His appearing. It is in this day of His preparation that He will work a strange work upon the earth. The church has within its borders cold, worldly, sensual men and women. Where is our faith, what is our calling, what is the fruit of our labors? The presidents of our conferences are so fearful that some one else will be preferred before them [that] they bar the way against the introduction of other talents; and God’s displeasure is kindled against this spirit. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 16

Men who have the true missionary spirit, humbly engaged in their work, have to meet and labor against this condition of things resulting from the careless and half-hearted course of those ministers who preach but do not labor to keep the churches in order and to faithfully discharge those other duties which are not agreeable to do. They endure privation, hardships, and rebuffs, that the work may advance and prosper, while others seem to think that their faithfulness is an encroachment upon their labors, and they stand back and fold their hands and render no assistance. The converting power of God should come upon these ministers. Then there will be hope for the churches, and their labors will improve. Give humble men your support and encouragement if they consent to accept the work of picking up your dropped stitches. They will have their reward at last, though they receive no credit in this life. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 17

Brother Sawyer made no complaint to me, but I told him not to present himself before the conference in clothes that were not at all decent. He told me that he had no money to buy clothes. I then investigated the case and drew out facts from him of the wages he had received. He was working fully as hard as yourself and in not near as agreeable [a] business, for his labors were more taxing and less appreciated; but these things were not taken into consideration in the settlement. Now I present this one case to represent your true condition as it is and to impress you with the state of things as they are in your conference as they were presented to me. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 18

You have neglected an important part of your work as a president of a conference. You have not educated the people to work with all their means and abilities, engaging all their earthly powers in the cause of God. You have been raising a family when you should have been bringing many sons and daughters to God. You have been hedging up your own way, as many of our ministers are doing, in which they show their great want of wisdom and the possession of that true missionary spirit to deny self, lift the cross, and push the work of the Master. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 19

Should your ideas be narrowing instead of broadening and enlarging? Yet this has been the case. You have had secular interests which have taxed you both mentally and physically, exhausting those powers which should have been given without reserve to the work of God. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 20

But what need have I to present this, and more than this, to you? Have I not presented this matter before you in the conference and urged it upon ministers and presidents? You have not been faithful in your conference; while you have tied men to yourself, you have not united them to the self-sacrificing Redeemer. You have not harnessed them to the car of progress. Your conference is in a deplorable condition, all for the want of a thorough-going, judicious minister who will bind off the edges that his work may not ravel out and present an unpolished appearance. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 21

Yours is not the only conference that is in this condition. The condition of Iowa makes angels weep; Wisconsin is years behind; and Illinois, in some respects, is at loose ends. The ministers that ought to be encouraged in the field have no inducement. They cannot live upon the small wages allowed them. The Word of God declares, “The hire of your laborers are kept back by fraud.” [James 5:4.] This is generally understood to apply to wealthy men who employ servants and do not pay them for their labor; but it means more than this; it applies with great force to those that are enlightened by the Spirit of God, who act out and work in any degree upon the same principle that these men do in hiring servants to do their work, and then grind them down to the lowest price. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 22

There has been work you ought to have done that you have not done: to preach the truth everywhere just as it is, pleasant or unpleasant: to impress upon the churches and individuals their God-given responsibilities in tithes and offerings, in selling, and giving alms; impressing them that God had entrusted them with means that must be used to advance His work, that they were handling the Lord’s money. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 23

The question is asked, “Will a man rob God?” And the reply comes, just as it will come from the conference over which you have presided, “Wherein have we robbed thee?” The answer comes from God’s messenger, “In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: ... even this whole nation.” [Malachi 3:8, 9.] The same sacred obligation rests upon you and upon the people. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 24

You have not done your duty as an overseer of the churches of God in Illinois. You have abilities, but home cares and home responsibilities have borne heavily upon you. These things hedge you about so that it makes it almost an impossibility for you to use your tact, your ability, and strength, to the great work entrusted to you. Ministers who fill their houses with children take cares upon themselves which God never designed they should. The management of these self-imposed burdens detracts from their usefulness, their devotion, their time, and their duties in the service of God. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 25

All this is because they do not feel the necessity of having their works correspond with their faith. The cause of the Lord does not stand before them as the all-important thing. They do not see that it demands the entire manhood. His work is not made the highest and holiest of all; self and selfish plans, and the execution of them, interpose between them and God’s holy work. And the children come forth from your management showing deficiency in training and molding of character. The churches are suffering from the same management. Stitches are dropped all along the way and not carefully picked up and kept up. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 26

Oh my brother, there is work for you to do. It is a solemn thing to die, but it is a far more solemn thing to live. Your ideas are not high, devoted, broad, and noble. The whole conference feels the want of an education that they do not possess. There are men that would come up to the help of the Lord if they only had someone to lead the way. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 27

There are grumblers, murmurers, and skeptics, and your labors have not been of that character to produce a healthy state of things in the conference. Unbelief has not been suppressed and faith encouraged in the “Testimonies.” A high state of spirituality has not existed, therefore spiritual things have not been discerned. There is a great want of spirituality, devotion, self-sacrifice, and self-consecration to the work for these times as they are. What can be done for the people? What can be done for the president? Under the present administration there will not be much change for the better; things will not be placed on a much better basis while murmurings in regard to the General Conference and excuses for the neglect of duty are encouraged rather than repressed. I mourn for you, a man possessing ability and yet so little advancement to show in your conference. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 28

You have robbed the workers of their just dues by the small amount you have granted them. You have belittled the sacred work of God. The ministers have had to suffer in consequence of your not doing your duty to them and to the churches. You wanted to please and not incur displeasure. But you have incurred the displeasure of the Chief Shepherd for you have, both by precept and example, allowed the people to do wrong. What can be done in this matter? What can be done? 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 29

Will the ministers awake? Will the presidents take the “Testimonies” of mercy which God has given them? Will they do something, and do it now? Will they heed the prayer of Jesus, “I sanctify myself that they may be sanctified”? [John 17:19.] Generally, the people rise no higher than the minister or the president. If he is a devoted man, losing self and selfish interest in Jesus Christ, his example will have a telling power in that direction on the people. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 30

There was neglect anciently on the part of Israel. God established them in the land of Canaan and said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” [Hebrews 13:5], but there was to be an aggressive warfare carried on between them and the inhabitants of the land. His words to Joshua were, “And there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.” [Joshua 13:1.] This was a rebuke to them. God would have had this land filled with His own people who loved and feared Him, but to their shame the land was not taken up, and the idolatrous Canaanites were permitted to come in and gain strength until God’s name became less and less a power in their midst and His glory less and less manifested with them. This applies in one sense to Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and many other states where there has been time enough and enough of opportunities to have extended the truth and to have made it a power to lead the churches up to God. He has entrusted you with capital, might, means, and intellect. He has given you opportunities and privileges, but these presidents have not had the devotion, the wisdom, courage, and unswerving fidelity to make the most of these blessings, to plant the cross of Christ in triumph in their conferences. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 31

Had the president of Illinois Conference counselled, encouraged, and sustained the ministers there, and had they labored with wise generalship and devotion, souls might have been saved that are now in the ranks of Satan. They might have been keeping the Sabbath today. This is so in every conference to a greater or less degree, but it is especially so in the Illinois Conference. God pity the people, is my prayer. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 32

The field is the world. There has been in several of these conferences a spirit of jealousy, a desire to stand ahead. And influences have been shut away from them that God would have blessed them with had they only prized them and put self and self-honor and love of supremacy out of their hearts and out of their borders. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 33

Should the proposition be made either in the conference of Wisconsin or Illinois to change gifts, there would be a spirit that would spring into life among the churches and oppose it. They know that there needs to be a work done that has not been done. If the attitude of the president is an unsanctified one, if it is selfish and self-serving, then he will have an influence to gather sympathy and to excite [in the churches] the spirit of faultfinding and complaining about general decisions. [They will] make the matters just as hard for the conference as they can, giving the impression that the conference is unjust. A man can absorb a sympathy to himself that has not its origin in the love of Christ but in an unsanctified disposition to carry the matter through, as though injustice had been done to the president. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 34

I was shown that had these men been consecrated manifestly to the work, had they been wise, sanctified workers for God, they would have had eyesight to discern the situation and to understand that there must come a different element into the conference that it might receive a different mold than that they were giving it. But the presidents and ministers who are standing as watchmen on the walls of Zion have not watched and [have not] been preparing with unswerving fidelity to give the warnings to the people. They have needed their own eyes anointed with eyesalve. The enemy has worked surprisingly in their midst; but they are as blind men and discern it not. Thus it has been with the conferences in Illinois, in Wisconsin, and in Iowa. Soothing powders have been given to the people, with a few exceptions. They are not aroused; they are not alarmed; they are not making ready for the day of the Lord; they are asleep, and the people are asleep. The day, the day of God’s wrath is upon us. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 35

“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Isaiah 58:1. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 36

Wake up, wake up, brethren; make decided moves for God! We are in the day of God’s preparation, and yet you are asleep. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 37

Elder Andrews, health reform is one branch of the work, and while you have stood indifferent to this point, you have been backsliding. You have a work to do to subdue your sensual passions and control your appetite. God has spoken on this point, and while you do as you do, you show to the people that the “Testimonies” have no influence upon you. 4LtMs, Lt 6, 1883, par. 38