Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Lt 61, 1886

Church, Brother


December 12-20, 1886

Portions of this letter are published in CD 289; 7MR 296-297.

Dear Brother Church:

I have received good reports from the camp-meeting in Woodland. I am glad that you were present and that you have a prospect of selling out. I hope sincerely that you will succeed, that the Lord will open the way before you. I learned that you proposed to pay all your pledges. I hope that this will be your first work because a pledge is as sacred as a note, and our brethren do not regard it in the right light. They will frequently invest means that come into their hands in some enterprise where they think they can make more money and forget that which they owe to God and His cause. Thus His work is left to suffer for the want of the means that they pledged to support it. My brother, I hope that you will feel that you are under the most solemn obligations to God to pay Him that which thou owest Him. Do not invest in anything until this is done. I cannot remember how much you pledged to the college. I hope you will not neglect this branch of the work. It takes students at so low a figure that it is impossible to make it pay. It will be a missionary branch of the work. It has done great good, and it will continue to do a good work for the Master. Do not then forget the college. As the Lord’s steward, seek wisdom from Him. Do not follow your mind and judgment, but seek to know what the will of the Lord is in the matter. Leave your heart open to the teachings of the Spirit of God. If ever you needed an unerring counselor, you need Him now. 4LtMs, Lt 61, 1886, par. 1

I learned that great gratitude is awakened in your heart because of the work that has been done for your wife. I learned that you propose to largely help the Health Retreat. This is worthy of your attention. I have been pleading earnestly with God that He would open the way for help to come to that poor, neglected institution. It is one branch, and not the least, of the work of God. I was shown years ago large building on that hillside. People were coming and going. Cottages were built, and there was a great and good work being done for the suffering and for those who had no knowledge of the truth. Therefore I have worked, I have planned, I have prayed over that institution that it might be prospered and that Satan might be defeated in his plans to destroy it. God’s eye is upon it. 4LtMs, Lt 61, 1886, par. 2

I am glad we connected Elders Loughborough and Rice with it, for these men have given the people confidence, because they are cautious men and would not involve the institution in debt and would not consent to have a wrong mold given to the institution. These are men of experience in religious things. They are men who love the truth, men who fear God and who work righteousness. It was the best move that could be made to connect these men with the institution. They would not rush their improvements so fast without the prospect of funds to carry on their enterprises. But this important instrumentality of God I knew would not always go crippled and feeble. God would look upon it with favor. And I am so glad that you have it in your heart to use the means that our heavenly Father has entrusted to you to help this branch of the work. I have heard recently of its being shabbily furnished with facilities in the household department. As the patronage increases, they must have additional bedding, dishes, stove-room, and so forth, and the best quality of all sorts of healthful food. 4LtMs, Lt 61, 1886, par. 3

Those who have been in the habit of indulging the appetite with every luxury, if they come to the Retreat and find at their first meal a meager diet, the impression is made at once on their minds that the reports which they have heard concerning the Adventists living so poorly and starving themselves to death is true. One meal of short rations will do more to the discredit of the institution that all the influences in other directions that can be made to counteract it. If we ever expect to meet the people where they are and bring them up to a sensible health reform diet, we must not begin by setting before them a radical diet. There must be placed upon the table nicely cooked dishes and an abundance of good, palatable food, else those who think so much of what they eat will think they shall surely starve to death. We want to have good dishes nicely prepared. We want no pork, have a limited supply of flesh meats, such as beef, mutton, or poultry, and use these things with discretion. We must have eggs, cream, and milk to take the place of meats. We must be very well furnished in the eating line, or you will not be able to keep patients or visitors long. The inside of the house must be thoroughly fitted up [to] make patients and visitors comfortable. Then the outside needs to be attended to. The large main building, I thought, was to be raised last summer or a new building erected. There must be commodious rooms to accommodate those who come. Now if you can furnish means as a thank offering to God to make necessary improvements, I believe your means will be well invested and that you would never regret it. In regard to the new road, let the essential things be done first and then the road a second consideration. 4LtMs, Lt 61, 1886, par. 4

My brother, I have sent letters to Eld. Loughborough that I wish you to read. Our European missions are opening for laborers in every direction, and there are not means in the treasury to support men in the field. My heart aches day and night so that I can seldom sleep later than half-past three o’clock, thinking of the cities of Europe to be entered while the angels are holding the four winds for the message to go to all nations, tongues, and people. If you could only see how poor the people are in Europe you would know just what to do with some of your means. There is not a man in all the European field that has means to help us out when we get into a straight place, not one that we can call upon. It is not so in California; it is not so in the States. We are in need of means, and may the Lord teach you just how to apply yours wisely. Let there be no extravagant outlay of means, no elaborate plans made in any place to consume means unless positively necessary for the progress of the work and cause of God. This is a hard field because of its poverty, and those who embrace the truth have a hard test; starvation seems to stare them in the face. All in the office work for limited wages, not over six dollars per week and room and board themselves. This is considered good wages. But, my brother, I leave these things with you. I received a letter Dec. 19 stating that Brother Church has sold his ditch property. I felt like praising the Lord. Now do not invest this in earthly treasures. You have an opportunity to lay up your treasures in heaven. The end is near. Christ is coming. We want to do with men, with voice, with means, the very work that God would have us do to advance His cause. 4LtMs, Lt 61, 1886, par. 5

The work is nearing the close. Let us make haste to get our treasure before us into heaven. I hope you will read carefully the sketches of travels and the work in Europe. No one can tell or understand the real situation of this mission field unless he stays long enough to get the inside view of the matter and the workings of the people. Such efforts are made to suppress the truth by the ministers as you would hardly think credible. Brethren Ertzenberger and Conradi are making an effort here in Basel. They have a good attendance, and six have already embraced the truth. Many more are deeply interested. The ministers called upon one man thirteen times to get him to not attend the meetings. He told them that they were only listening to the Bible explained in a plain, clear light. Said the minister, You must not read the Bible and try to understand it. You must let the ministers explain the Scriptures. These were Protestant ministers. Is not this a ray of papacy? 4LtMs, Lt 61, 1886, par. 6

Well, the Lord bless you and yours. I stop abruptly for I have already written twenty-nine pages today. 4LtMs, Lt 61, 1886, par. 7