Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6 (1889-1890)


Lt 23, 1889

Underwood, R. A.

Battle Creek, Michigan

February 8, 1889

This letter is published in entirety in 1888 263-266.

Brother Underwood:

My son has placed in my hands a letter from you, making inquiry in reference to Brother Rice. After you have placed him in positions of trust, why do you ask us to state what we know of him? I do not feel free to write to my brethren the particulars of a matter concerning him and thus commit myself upon paper by giving facts which may be used against Elder Rice. He has confessed all that he has done with humiliation of soul. 6LtMs, Lt 23, 1889, par. 1

During the meeting at Minneapolis, I passed through a painful experience because of the attitude of our ministering brethren, which I knew was not in harmony with the Spirit of God. Since then I have not been confident that they have been entirely under the control of the Spirit of God, and I have had to admit that under a pressure of circumstances (for reasons that I will not attempt to explain) some of my brethren in the ministry may be led by another spirit. I dare not repose confidence in communications concerning other of my brethren, for if favoring circumstances should arise, they would make a wrong use of the light given and injure them or me. I feel sad to state this matter as I do. 6LtMs, Lt 23, 1889, par. 2

I wish prosperity to my brethren, every one of them; but I tremble for their souls when I see them following their own wisdom and their own judgment, and receiving impressions one from another that are wrong, which I know will lead them into difficulties and separate them from God. 6LtMs, Lt 23, 1889, par. 3

Did not my son relate to you some things in regard to Elder Rice? If he would show his repentance by making restitution for the injury he has done the Health Retreat, he would make it evident that God is moving now upon his heart. 6LtMs, Lt 23, 1889, par. 4

In regard to the health home that has been erected at Mount Vernon, I cannot give you the encouragement you want. If there were an abundance of money in the Ohio Conference, so that the brethren could invest in such an enterprise, and not yet withhold their means from important missions that need aid so that the truth shall be brought before many who are now in the darkness of error, then I would not feel so sad in regard to this matter. But this Health Home enterprise is a channel to divert means from far more important branches of the cause that are crippled for the want of the very means that has been invested and will need to be invested to keep this institution running. 6LtMs, Lt 23, 1889, par. 5

You have yourself a care and responsibility on you that is absorbing thought and energy that might be wholly devoted to the vital interests connected with the last great work for this time. You will be disposed to call the minds of your brethren in the churches to this enterprise, to set it before them in the most favorable and hopeful light, to solicit their means, and their expectations of its success will not be realized. If they do invest means, they will be tempted, and if they refuse to invest, you will be tempted to feel unkindly and in an unbrotherly manner. I look upon the whole investment as a mistake. I have looked upon it thus from the first. I look upon the whole scheme as one not devised of the Lord. 6LtMs, Lt 23, 1889, par. 6

You need in Cleveland just such [a] building as will place the work upon a becoming standard in keeping with the greatness of the truth which we believe. This could be done if our brethren could now invest in these much needed buildings the means which is swallowed up in the enterprise at Mount Vernon. While a heavy debt is on that building, there is not much heart to make a call upon the churches in Ohio to do the very work which it is in their power to do if this enterprise in Mount Vernon did not stand in the way. 6LtMs, Lt 23, 1889, par. 7

While I consider that our brethren in Ohio have moved unadvisedly, I could not lend my influence in any way to push them further into this enterprise without evidence that I had the Lord to approve my effort and work with me in the matter. I know that there will constantly be grave difficulties arising in managing such an institution, for I do not think it possible to bring any such institution up where it should be, unless there is a spirit of self-denial and great economy exercised by all who are interestedly connected with it, including physicians and helpers. 6LtMs, Lt 23, 1889, par. 8

Some have started in wrong and will never make a success until they are thoroughly converted. And that which makes the situation of these more difficult is they do not feel the need of improvement in the very things where they are so deficient. I am seeking the Lord daily to know His will, that I may do it. It is not safe to follow our own ways or our own judgment. Every dollar which the Lord has sent us in trust is to be wisely invested, to tell to the very highest interest in the work and cause of God. 6LtMs, Lt 23, 1889, par. 9

I have been shown that the enemy of God and man is constantly at work to invent plans and enterprises to absorb means so the work which is greatly in need of it may be hindered and crippled. These enterprises which will be less efficient for good than others will result in constant perplexity by calling for additional means and ability which might be employed in other directions with far greater success. The Lord would have us look matters squarely in the face and consider the beauties, the demands, and liabilities of every new work or enterprise in which we engage. We are to contemplate with well-balanced minds the conditions of success. Everything we undertake now in this period so fraught with solemn importance must be undertaken under the guidance of divine wisdom. It is essential that the work be begun with the union and co-operation which it demands. If there has been a mistake made at the outset, a following on in the same course of error will lead more and more from the path of safety and success. To follow on in a doubtful path will only retard the advanced movements that should be made in the earnest work of saving souls. If the enemy can engage means and ability in a matter of less importance to crowd out larger and more vital interests, he counts his work a success. 6LtMs, Lt 23, 1889, par. 10

There are buildings to be erected for the worship of God in the different churches of Ohio. There are missions to be prepared, and if those who must lift in these essential enterprises are cumbered with other interests, perplexed and worried and oppressed with enterprises that God has not laid upon them, they can only engage in more important things with divided hearts and minds. 6LtMs, Lt 23, 1889, par. 11

The principles of selfishness were manifested in the very first arrangements and plans concerning the establishment of your institution. There are pressing wants on every hand that need to be met in order that perishing souls may be saved. There are those who can be laborers together with God, who can act a disinterested unselfish part in the aggressive work to be carried on against error and sin. The whole heart and soul should be engaged in the work of winning souls to the Master. The work must be done intelligently and in faith. 6LtMs, Lt 23, 1889, par. 12

All the tact, piety, and devotion that is possible to attain through Jesus Christ should be exercised in meeting the daring revolt against the authority of God. Satan well knows that he will be exposed, that his designs and purposes will be opposed, and the more perplexities he can invent to engross the means and the ability of workers, the more he can take from the force that should be given to larger and more necessary branches of the work. But I will close here. 6LtMs, Lt 23, 1889, par. 13