Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Lt 44, 1887

Trustees of the Pacific Publishing House

Basel, Switzerland

April 19, 1887

Portions of this letter are published in 5T 580-586; 2SM 209; 4MR 117-118.

To the Board of Trustees of the Pacific Publishing House:

I have written so much matter recently to come before our brethren that it may not be necessary for me to write much more, but I feel somewhat anxious in regard to matters in California. I see that the greatest danger with us as a people is of being separated from the Source of our strength. I fear that our brethren in California will deem it their strength to enlarge and keep building addition to addition, while your income is not sufficient to warrant any such outlay. I know that this is your danger. Your plans need binding about. Our strength is not in the large buildings and in constantly increasing facilities of machinery, but it is in having God as our Counselor and our Manager. 5LtMs, Lt 44, 1887, par. 1

I tell you that troublous times are before us, and whether you will be able to hold your position in Oakland any great length of time remains to be seen. There is already too much invested in enlargements, and I fear you may be planning to do more of the same. Do not, I beg of you, invest more means in buildings. The time will not justify this. And again in your meetinghouse, I fear that the minds of some will run for display. Better, far better, have a tabernacle built not like the one in Battle Creek, but more simple. I wish that the Hamilton church could have been purchased and no building done. 5LtMs, Lt 44, 1887, par. 2

We have a work to do which but few realize—it is to carry the truth to all nations. Take this in its fullest significance, and there will be a binding about the natural inclinations for convenience and display. 5LtMs, Lt 44, 1887, par. 3

Many to whom the truth is brought here in Europe see it, but there are poverty, hunger, and want that stare them in the face. There will have to be for many in all parts of Europe homes prepared in America. There are men here with four, six, or eight in their families, and can earn only forty cents per day, and they are in danger of losing even that. It is a sorry picture. If our brethren could see what is necessary to be done in foreign fields and how limited the means in the treasury, they would not gratify taste and inclination to expend means for appearances. We shall stand better in the eyes of the community if we have buildings that are neat, modest, and without display. 5LtMs, Lt 44, 1887, par. 4

There is a work that is to be done, and it seems to me that our people cannot understand the work in foreign fields. Little things will come up that are made prominent and that draw minds apart in views and also in feelings. Ideas vary, hearts are not in harmony when every thought and power should be devoted to concentrated action for this important time to draw together. Satan is playing every game to weaken God’s people. There must be a reaching higher, not seeking to excel in the outlay of large buildings and in display, but in the powers, the capabilities, the capacity that they may know how to manage these large interests. Provisions should be made, means invested—a fund secured to educate men and women of other nations and in our own country to be fitted to reach the higher classes. We have too little working talent in the different branches of the cause. 5LtMs, Lt 44, 1887, par. 5

We want new enterprises set on foot. We want talent, ability to devise and plan how souls that are in the darkness of error can be reached. We want the light and intelligence of varied minds—not to quarrel with them because their ideas do not just fit our ideas. We want wider, broader plans, not in buildings, but in workers to spread the light of truth. There have been mistakes made in not seeking to reach the higher classes. There have been mistakes made in not seeking to reach the ministers, opening the truth to them. There is a large work to be done, and how few have any sense of it. We must wake up, we must work from a higher standpoint. 5LtMs, Lt 44, 1887, par. 6

Those who embrace the truth now have every advantage in some respects, their accumulation of knowledge in the light of truth brought out in our publications. The light of rich and varied experiences is that which should be appreciated now. We know how hard the work moved at first, how much was arrayed against it, how little facilities at our command to use in the advancement of the truth. But now all is changed; light is shining in clear rays. There is not that kind of training given to our churches that there should be to walk in all humility of mind, to put away all pride of external display, and to labor for the inward adorning. 5LtMs, Lt 44, 1887, par. 7

The efficiency and usefulness of the church are precisely what the zeal, purity, self-denial, intelligent labor of its ministers make it. There must be a living missionary spirit which will characterize its individual members. We must have deeper piety, stronger faith, and larger views. We must by faith move forward in setting in operation facilities to do more thorough work in personal effort. What we need is a living religion. A single individual of enlarged conceptions of duty whose soul is in communion with God will have a living zeal for Christ. He drinks at no low, turbid, polluted streams, but from the pure, higher waters at the Fountain Head, and he can communicate a new spirit and power to the church. God would have His church who are believing solemn, sacred truths vitalized as the pressure from without increases. 5LtMs, Lt 44, 1887, par. 8

The Spirit of God from heaven, working with the sons and daughters of God, will surmount obstacles and hold the vantage ground above the enemy. What victories God has in reserve for a truth-loving, commandment-keeping people. Could the host of young men as well as those of mature age awake to their God-given responsibility and gird on the armor with alacrity and zeal to do the work of faithful soldiers of Christ, they would realize great results. The fields are already whitening for the harvest; and if primitive Christianity will enter the heart of those who claim to believe the truth, it would be as a new life, a power. The people who are in darkness would see the contrast between truth and error, between darkness and superstition, and the sanctifying, elevating power of truth. Those who believe the truth, who love the truth, who practice the truth have done nobly in giving of their means to God who made them stewards, lent it them in trust to do this very work and sustain these God-like enterprises. But there is a lack of capable workers. The cause already reels under the burden it has undertaken to carry. We have truth, we have light, we have rich and glorious endowments from heaven in truth made ready at our hands; but there has been a neglect to educate, to train and discipline men and women to work in the opening, ripening harvest fields. 5LtMs, Lt 44, 1887, par. 9

It will not be wise to be constantly expending means to open untried fields while there is so little being done in plans and enterprises to prepare workers to enter these fields and supply the great necessity. God’s work must be done, but it is hindered, bound about for the want of agents to execute the work. God calls for men—pure-minded men, large-hearted, large-minded, devoted, humble men—to send into these new fields. There has not been all done that should have been done to have men fitted to do missionary work. God’s work for this time calls for cultivated men who are Bible students, who love the truth that they open to others, [and who bring it] into their own lives and characters. Christ calls for workers, cultivated, sanctified, self-sacrificing, brave men; and when those do to the utmost of their capabilities, then the Lord will work with their efforts. We want men who cling to Jesus, who love Jesus, who will appreciate the infinite sacrifice made in behalf of fallen humanity. We want lips touched with holy fire, hearts pure from the defilement of sin. 5LtMs, Lt 44, 1887, par. 10

We have allowed men to think themselves fitted for the work, without a proper education. [Those] with shallow piety and large ambition to be thought first, are not the men for this time. The men who think more of their way than of the work are not wanted. 5LtMs, Lt 44, 1887, par. 11

Teachers are needed—men who have moral qualities, who can be entrusted with the culture of intellect. Men sound in the faith, who will have tact and patience. Men who are Christian gentlemen. Men who walk with God, who will abstain from the very appearance of evil, who will stand closely connected with God, that they can be channels of light. They are engaged in making impressions that will never be effaced, but be as enduring as eternity. They are giving to minds developments and tendencies that they will bear through eternity. What [they] neglect to do in this training process will remain undone. Who will undertake this work? We would that strong young men who are rooted and grounded in the faith would be so connected with God that they could safely enter the higher schools and obtain a drill there, and they could become acquainted with theology there taught, and it would be a process of fitting them up to meet the prevailing errors, and all the time they could be a channel of light, dropping the seeds of truth into other minds. 5LtMs, Lt 44, 1887, par. 12

There has been a keeping away from the people who are not of our faith altogether too much. While we should not associate with them to please inclination, there are honest souls that we should labor for cautiously, wisely, and intelligently, full of love for their souls. Much good could be done by youth who are established, who are not easily influenced or swayed from the right by surroundings. 5LtMs, Lt 44, 1887, par. 13

Who will walk with God? Who will pray much? Who will put forth most earnest endeavors to gather all the light he can? The worker should come to the work prepared to put forth the highest mental and moral energies with which nature and the grace of God and cultivation has endowed them. Success will be proportionate to the consecration and self-sacrifice in which the work is done more than to the natural or acquired endowments. But God requires the most earnest efforts and continual endeavors to acquire qualifications for usefulness, then earnestness in the use of them. God must work with the human effort or nothing can be done. Christ says, Without Me ye can do nothing. [John 15:5.] Divine grace is the great element of saving power; it co-operates with the clearest, strongest, and most earnest human efforts in the inculcation of truth. 5LtMs, Lt 44, 1887, par. 14

We have had altogether too much talk of coming down to the common mind, and there is a careless, irreverent, slip-shod class of men attempting to preach who would better be toiling in the soil than preaching the sacred truth of God. God wants men of mind and of talent who can weight arguments, men who will dig for the truth as for hid treasures. These men will be able to reach not only the common, but the higher classes. Such men will ever be students of the Bible. They will keep their soul alive to the sacredness of the responsibilities of the work. These will make full proof of their ministry. God knows every man according to the fidelity and spirit of consecration with which he fulfills his mission, but there is no place for the slothful in this great work—no place for the self-indulgent and those who are incapable of making life a success in any calling—no place for half-hearted men who are not fervent in spirit to endure hardness, or opposition or reproach, or death for Christ’s sake. The Christian ministry is no place for drones. “Be ye strong, quit ye like men.” [1 Corinthians 16:13.] Ask of Him who suffered reproach, insult, and mockery for your sake, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” [Acts 9:6.] 5LtMs, Lt 44, 1887, par. 15

None are too highly educated to become the humblest disciple of Christ. Those who feel it a privilege to give the best of their life, their learning to Him from whom they received, these will shun no labor, no sacrifice, to render back to God in highest service His entrusted talents. In the great strife in many of the workers, the solemnity and sacred character of the mission is lost sight of. Deadly curse of sin continues to blight and blot and deface the moral image of God in these unsanctified men because they refuse to work as Christ worked. We see the need of a lifting up of low, common ideas and the necessity of [all] men accepted for this great and holy work being trained men and continuing their education after they engage in the work. If they have not obtained an education before, they are not competent for the work and to accept this holy trust and to carry forward the work of reformation. These workers must have the Word of God abiding in them. 5LtMs, Lt 44, 1887, par. 16

Now in short we want more uplifting, greater cultivation and refinement and nobility of soul in our workers, and then it is an improvement that will show results in eternity. We must have men fitted for the great and solemn work. Young men must soon bear the burdens older ones have borne before them. We have lost time in neglecting to bring to the front young men and preparing them with a higher and more solid education than they are now receiving. The work is constantly moving forward, and we must obey the command, Go forward. 5LtMs, Lt 44, 1887, par. 17

I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him which was from the beginning. These links one after another constitute the link of connection between the old disciples and those who are younger, who have not had an experience in the special events of prophecy. The young in the rise of this message will have to be educated by the old standard-bearers. They must come into the front. They must become counselors in this work that older ones have been doing; and considering this these teachers must feel that too great pains cannot be taken to fit men for the holy trust, while the standard-bearers are still able to hold the banners aloft so long as they live. We hope to see these who have fought in the battles still winning victories. We hope ever to rely upon these, confidently looking upon them as so thoroughly acquainted with the wiles of Satan that nothing will move them from the old paths, turning not to the right hand or to the left. They remember the days of old. They know Him who is from the beginning. They will, we hope, be ever light-bearers, faithful witnesses for God. Their trumpet will ever give a certain sound. They are living epistles known and read of all men. 5LtMs, Lt 44, 1887, par. 18

Let us thank God that a few are left as was John to repeat their experience in the opening of the truths and the reception of them which we now hold dear. But one after another are falling at their post, and it is only wisdom that we should be preparing for others to come in and lift the burdens and take the work where these experienced ones leave it. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the Word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. Then there must be efforts made to fit men for the work. They must come in contact with burdens and responsibilities. Those who are now young must be strong men. The Word of God abiding in them will make them pure men, and men who are full of courage, full of hope, of devotion, of faith. They must give counsel, and they must plan and execute. 5LtMs, Lt 44, 1887, par. 19

We see the work is greatly retarded because of men unfitted now for responsibilities which they are appointed to carry. Shall this great want continue and increase? Shall these great responsibilities drop from the hands of the old experienced workers into hands unable to manage them? This great field in Europe as well as in America is God’s moral vineyard and must have laborers. Are we not neglecting a very important work of educating and training and seeking the blessing of God upon these students with the object before them to fill important positions of trust? Keep the work high, reaching the highest possible standard, and yet let the worker be educated [to] be meek and lowly in heart, not ignorant, not novices, but those who can meet men of the higher class and reason with them out of the Scriptures. This work I wish to call your attention to and then have all see that we must have men trained for labor. This is our part, and God will do His part. 5LtMs, Lt 44, 1887, par. 20

(After reading, please let the Cal. Conf. Commitee and the trustees and faculty of the Healdsburg College read it also.—E.G.W.) 5LtMs, Lt 44, 1887, par. 21