Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6 (1889-1890)


Lt 18, 1890

Kellogg, J. H.

South Lancaster, Massachusetts

October 18, 1890

This letter is published in entirety in 8T 133-144. +Note

Dear Brother,

We had some conversation in Petoskey in regard to establishing a home for orphan children at Battle Creek. I said that it was just what was needed among us as a people, and that in enterprises of this kind we were far behind other denominations. In our conversation, I spoke to you my fear that we were centering too <many> weighty responsibilities at Battle Creek, and I am of the same opinion now. I have been looking over some of my past writings and I find that warnings were given to me years ago upon this very point, and we were instructed not to accumulate special interests in Battle Creek. There is danger that it would become as Jerusalem of old, a powerful center. The evils that ruined Jerusalem will come upon us if we do not heed these precautions. It is perilous to center everything in Battle Creek; for while you are expending means in this one center, you are neglecting cities that will become more and more difficult to work as time goes on. Pride and self exaltation, neglect of the poor, and the partiality to the wealthy, were the great sins of Jerusalem. When we build up large interests in one place the temptation will be to become lifted up in self, and when we begin to work in this line we are not laborers together with God. Instead of seeking to increase our responsibilities in Battle Creek, we should carry the responsibilities we have already on hand bravely and willingly and in a Christlike manner. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 1

Ye are a spectacle unto the world, to angels and to men. Your mission is the same as that which was pronounced by Jesus as His mission at the beginning of His ministry. He said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bound, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” [Luke 4:18, 19.] “Ye are laborers together with God. Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] We are to carry forward the work placed in our hands by the Master. “As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” [Luke 6:31.] “If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shalt thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” [Isaiah 58:10, 11.] 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 2

“But thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” [Isaiah 57:15.] “The poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I commend you, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy in thy land.” [Deuteronomy 15:11.] 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 3

We shall be tempted to be covetous, to be avaricious, to cultivate an insatiable desire for more, and this will bring upon us the same perils that fell upon ancient Jerusalem. Thus we shall fail to know God and to represent Him in character. Christ represented God as paternal in character, full of tender compassion and yearning love. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] We need to closely watch ourselves, lest we fall after the same example of unbelief as did the Jews. We must work unselfishly. We must feel a deep interest in the establishment and growth of other institutions besides those over which we have superintendency. I almost wish that the sanitarium was miles away from Battle Creek. I know it would be better for its spirituality and usefulness. The college in Lincoln will take a large number from the Battle Creek College, and this is as it should be. The light should shine forth from other localities as well as from Battle Creek. God designs that the light should shine forth from different cities, and from various localities. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 4

I find, in looking over my writings, that it is plainly stated that buildings should not be enlarged, that building should not be added to building to increase facilities in Battle Creek. The enlarging of your facilities, the increasing of your numbers is not after the order of the Lord. Large buildings call for large patronage, and large patronage calls for men of education and talent, for men of deep religious experience to conduct them in the ways of God and to manage them with tact and skill. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 5

It demands that there should be a general increase of humble, spiritual experience, that the fear of God should circulate through the institutions in order that popular patronage shall not mold and fashion the Sanitarium and thus cause it to cease to be a refuge for the poor and the lowly. The class who are steadfast in the truth should not be set aside in favor of the worldly class. Prices should not be set so high to meet current expenses that the poor, to a large degree, will be excluded from the benefits of the Sanitarium. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 6

A limit must be set to the expansion of institutions in Battle Creek. The field is the world, and God has an interest in other parts of His great vineyard. There are churches and institutions in other parts of the field that are struggling for an existence. Let the institution that is prospering keep in mind the institutions that are straining every nerve to get standing room that they may live. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 7

Let our prosperous institutions see to it that they strengthen the things that remain and are ready to die. How easily might the large church at Battle Creek appropriate some of its means to the aid of the poorer churches, who are nearly crushed with discouragement beneath a weight of debt. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 8

Why is it that these sister churches are left to struggle with poverty and debt from year to year? “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (as it is written, He hath dispersed abroad: he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. For the administration of this service not only supplies the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; whilst by the experiment of this ministration they glorified God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ and for your liberal distribution unto them and unto all men; and by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” [2 Corinthians 9:6-15.] 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 9

To cherish selfishness in the churches will bring only spiritual death. Centering so much in Battle Creek savors of selfishness, and is a mistake. Were these important interests divided and subdivided, and located in other communities, strength would be diffused to other churches. We are to work in the Lord’s great moral vineyard in an unselfish way, and divide up our time, money, educational interests and ministerial institutes, so that as large a number as possible may reap the benefits. To plan so largely for Battle Creek is not a wise thing. The world is the field of labor, and the money expended in this one place would go far toward doing successful, aggressive work in other places. The ambition that leads to spreading out your facilities in one place should be bound about. Other territories could be blessed with the benefits you have planned to center in Battle Creek. In centering everything in Battle Creek, you are giving a wrong education to the people. Battle Creek is having more than her share of light, and the facilities accumulated there call for strenuous activity, for talent of a varied character. They call for every agent to find his place, and to work without crowding another. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 10

Instead of centering all the talent at Battle Creek, men of sanctified ability should be assigned posts of activity in different localities. They should have a living interest in many places, studying ways and means by which to advance the work. They are not to move upon their own independent judgment but blend together in the great work. From year to year as they strengthen, let them send help to other places. What great good the more able church might do if they would aid their poorer sister churches and bring them to a condition of healthful prosperity. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 11

Under the providence of God the sanitarium has greatly prospered and this coming year those in charge should bind their many wants and not do all that they would desire to do in enlarging their responsibilities. Instead of gratifying their ambition they should do some unselfish work for God in reaching out the hand of charity to those interests that are not centered in Battle Creek. What benefit they could confer upon the Health Retreat by donating a few thousand dollars to that enterprise! Such a donation would give courage and inspire those in charge to move forward and upward. Donations were made to the sanitarium in its earlier history, and should not the sanitarium managers consider carefully what they can do for the Health Retreat on the Pacific Coast? 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 12

Does it not seem that it is according to God’s order to bind about your wants at Battle Creek and to curtail your building operations and not extend our institutions in that center? Why should not those at Battle Creek feel that is their privilege and duty to help those who need help? I have been shown that there needs to be a reformation along these lines and that more liberality should prevail among us. There is constant danger that even Seventh-day Adventists will be overcome with selfish feeling and will desire to center all the means and power in the interests over which they specially preside. There is danger that men will permit a jealous feeling to arise in their hearts and become envious toward interests that are equally as important as those which they are handling. Those who have the grace of pure Christianity cannot look with indifference upon any branch of the work in the Lord’s great vineyard. They will feel an equal interest in the work in all parts of the vineyard and will be ready to help whereever there is need that help should be rendered. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 13

It is selfishness that hinders men from sending help to those localities where the work of God is not as prosperous as it is in the institutions over which these men have supervision. Those who bear responsibilities should carefully balance the good of every branch of the work of God; and as far as consistent, they should encourage and sustain the interests in other localities, as well as in their own. Thus the bonds of brotherhood would be strengthened between the believing members of God’s family on earth, and the door would be closed to petty jealousies and heart-burnings, which position and prosperity are sure to start into operation unless the grace of God controls the hearts of men. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 14

With the present talent and facilities, it is impossible to carry forward, with wisdom, so mammoth an institution for the sick as that of the sanitarium. It is impossible that there should be proper development in all parts of the work when there are so few competent, reliable physicians to help in its management and to exert a controlling influence. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 15

It is impossible for Dr. Kellogg to do all the work, much as he may desire to do the work that is essential to be done in the various branches and departments. It is not possible for him to give personal supervision to all parts of the work. This matter has been opened before me again and again. While there is continual growth in the sanitarium and the buildings are continually enlarging, there is not a corresponding growth in talent and capability for the management of so large an enterprise. Will Doctor Kellogg and the Board consider this matter as it is? Doctor Kellogg, you are not immortal. Thank the Lord that you are as wise concerning your own health as you are, but you cannot always do as you are now doing. Your health might fail. Life itself is insecure, and it has been set before me that there ought to be three times the forces that there are engaged in the work at the sanitarium. Even then all would have an abundance to do if they did it well. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 16

There is need that institutions should be opened in different localities so that men and women might be set to work to do their best in the fear of God. No one should lose sight of his proper mission and work. Every one should aim to carry forward to successful issue the work that is placed in his hands. All our institutions should keep this in mind and work for success, but at the same time men will find that with God’s help their success will largely increase. It will increase in proportion as they exercise disinterested liberality, in sharing their abundance with others who are struggling. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 17

Our prosperous institutions should care for those which God has said should live and prosper and which are yet struggling for an existence. There is a very limited supply of real true love among us. The Lord says, “Every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love ... If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” [1 John 4:7, 8, 12.] It is not pleasing to God to see every man looking upon his own things and closing his eyes to the interests of others. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 18

The great standard of God’s law is fulfilled only as men love God with all their heart, might, mind and strength, and their neighbors as themselves. It is the manifestation of this love that is glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will to men. The Lord is glorified when the great end of His law is achieved. It is the work of the Holy Spirit from age to age to implant in human hearts love, the living principle of brotherhood. Not one nook or corner of the soul is to be a hiding place for selfishness. God desires that heaven’s order, heaven’s plan, heaven’s divine harmony that is manifested in wisdom and mercy, should exist in every family, in every church, and in every institution. Did love leaven society, we should see Christian refinement of feeling, the outworking of noble principles in true heavenly courtesy and Christian charity toward the purchase of the blood of Christ. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 19

Moral transformation should be seen in all our families, in our schools, in our institutions and churches. When this takes place, these agencies will become instrumentalities by which God shall impart heaven’s light to the world and thus, through divine discipline and training, fit men and women for the society of heaven. Jesus has gone away to prepare a mansion for all those who are preparing themselves through His love and grace, for the abodes of bliss. Selfish persons will not compose the family of God in heaven. No one who is rough and unkind will be found in heaven to mar its peace and harmony. No one who exalts self in the work given him to do will see the kingdom of God unless he is changed in spirit, and becomes meek, sincere, and have the simplicity of a little child. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 20

Those who bear responsibilities in our institutions should daily seek the ways of the Lord. They should not feel qualified to choose their own way, for in so doing they will walk in sparks of their own kindling. God alone should be their chosen guide. Those who seek a wider sphere, who would have greater freedom than God appoints, who fail to make Him their counsellor, their wisdom, their sanctification and righteousness, will never win a crown of life and will never come into the possession of the immortal inheritance. Day by day the soul needs the religion of Christ. Those who drink deeply of the Spirit of Christ will not be ambitious for themselves. They will consider the fact that they cannot go beyond the domain of God, for God reigns everywhere. Heaven is the treasure for which they must seek. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 21

He who is fully content to receive his commission from above will be cheered by the promises of God as he seeks the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment. To have an unwavering trust in God, to be a doer of His Word, is to pursue a safe course. The counsel of God simplifies all perplexities of business transactions and domestic affairs. The followers of Christ, who have an eye single to the glory of God, have heavenly wisdom. But it is a painful fact that there is a great want of true Christianity among the churches and in all our institutions. May the Lord help the men who are bearing responsibilities to unite together and to become laborers together with God. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 22

Christ said of his disciples, “Ye are the light of the world.” [Matthew 5:14.] Then how important it is that every soul shall keep his light trimmed and burning in order to give light to all those with whom he comes in contact. God has made His people the depository of sacred truth. Talents have been committed to them for wise improvement, for God designs that by constant use our talents shall be multiplied. As God’s living agents we are to have hearts of flesh, full of charity that will prompt us to be helpful to those who are more needy than ourselves. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 23

If we see our brethren and sisters struggling under poverty and debt, we see churches that are in need of financial help, we should manifest an unselfish interest in them and help them in proportion as God has prospered us. If you who have charge of the institutions see other institutions bravely struggling for standing room to do a similar work to your own, do not be jealous. Do not seek to push any working force out of existence and seek to exalt yourselves in conscious superiority. Rather, curtail some of your large plans and help those who are struggling for an existence. Seek to aid them in carrying out some of their limited plans to increase their facilities. Do not exhaust every dollar in enlarging and increasing your responsibility. Reserve a fund for locating Health Institutions and limited schools in other localities. You will need great wisdom to know just where to locate these institutions so as to most benefit the people; but all these things must receive candid consideration. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 24

You will need to be guarded in order to deal justly, to love mercy and to exercise it not simply toward a few, but toward every individual with whom you are associated. Christ identifies His interests with those of His people, no matter how poor or weak or needy they may be. Missions must be opened for the colored people, and every one should seek to do something and to do it now. The Sanitarium is in a prosperous condition and its managers should not insist on the low rate of wages that was necessary during its earlier years. Those who are worthy, efficient workers should receive reasonable wages for their labor. Let them be stewards of their own means, and in no case allow them to over work. Doctor Kellogg himself should have larger wages. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 25

Doctor Kellogg, though you do not have the matter of wages under your personal supervision, yet it is best for you to look carefully into this matter, as you are responsible as the head of the institution. Do not call upon the workers to do so much of the sacrificing, but bind about your ambitions to extend the institution and to accumulate responsibilities. Let some of the means flowing into the sanitarium be donated to the aid of other institutions that need help. This is certainly right and consistent and in accordance with God’s way and will, and it would bring the blessing of God upon the sanitarium. But bear in mind the fact that the workers should be paid in accordance with their faithfulness in the work. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 26

I am speaking of this more particularly to the Board of Directors than to Dr. Kellogg personally. God requires that we should deal, one with another, in strictest faithfulness. Some of you are over-burdened with cares and responsibilities, and yet I have been shown that there is danger of your becoming selfish and of wronging those whom you employ. You should seek to have every transaction, though it be in relation to the humblest soul connected with the sanitarium, such as God would approve. Walk in the light while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you. It would be far better to expend less in the building line and to give more to those whom you employ, exercising toward them the mercy and justice which you should. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 27

From the light which the Lord has given me, I know that He is not pleased with many things that have taken place at the sanitarium in reference to the workers. God has not laid open every particular before me, but warnings have come to the effect that there is reformation needed in many things. I have been shown that there is need of having mothers and fathers in Israel united with the sanitarium. Devoted men and women should be employed there who are not continually pressed with cares and responsibilities, who can look after the spiritual interests of those who are connected with the sanitarium. It is necessary that men and women of talent and influence should be continually at work in missionary lines in this large institution. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 28

Not one half is being done in this line that should be done. It should be their business to work with decided interest in behalf of the employees. They should have instruction of such a character as would teach them how to win souls, not by much talking, but by a consistent Christlike deportment. This is a positive necessity. The workers are exposed to worldly influences; but instead of being molded by them, they should be submitted to an influence that will ever elevate and refine them, and thus be learning how to meet outsiders and how to exert an influence over them that will win them to Christ. 6LtMs, Lt 18, 1890, par. 29