Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6 (1889-1890)


Ms 26a, 1890

A Warning Against Financial Speculation

Battle Creek, Michigan

January 7, 1890

Variant of Ms 26, 1890. This manuscript is published in entirety in 15MR 71-75.

Financial speculations are Satan’s snares—laid to catch souls. In all business transactions the only safeguard for a man is the love and fear of God. In our world today there are seen the same dishonest practises which prevailed before the flood swept this earth of its moral pollution, and which prevailed in Sodom before fire from heaven consumed its wicked inhabitants. Satan engrosses men’s minds with dreamlike prospects of great gain, and in their greed for gain, those who yield to him make representations which are positively untrue. God and the truth are forgotten. Many unwary souls are beguiled and make an easy conquest, as they listen to a minister, whom they have heard proclaiming the truth, presenting the great advantage to be gained from speculation in mines and land, telling how, by the means which will accrue from the investment, workers may be supported in new fields. By the exaggerated accounts of what can be thus gained, men are induced to invest their means in the hope of making money easily. To gain money for the cause of God is the plea offered by the one asking for means, and his glowing descriptions fascinate God-loving, God-fearing men, leading them to invest money which should have been given to God’s cause in schemes from which, when it is too late, they find that they receive no equivalent. 6LtMs, Ms 26a, 1890, par. 1

We have no confidence in a man who today preaches to a congregation about the solemn truths of God’s Word, and tomorrow yields to the temptations of Satan to engage in land and mine speculation. The ungodly are quick to see that his practises are wholly inconsistent with his teaching, and while they speak smooth, flattering words to him, at heart they despise him. 6LtMs, Ms 26a, 1890, par. 2

Look at the history of our brethren at Fresno. Men left churches that needed their help to go to Fresno, some for their health, others in search of riches, attracted by glowing representations. The temptation to speculate came fierce and strong. Young men and men of grey hair, and even ministers of the gospel, were drawn into the sweeping current, their hopes raised high by their interest in mining shares and city lots. This was Satan’s plan to bind up the means that were needed for the advancement of the cause of God. But the bubble burst. The unreasonable hopes failed. The transactions, recorded in the books of heaven as gambling, bore their bitter fruit. 6LtMs, Ms 26a, 1890, par. 3

God desires His servants to avoid all speculation. Satan may pave the way by making the first investment successful, but O, how bitter will be the final outcome! If the professing Christian has success in his first speculation, his ruin is almost certain. Visionary schemes are wildly entered into as schemers present promising enterprises which they declare will pay a large percentage on all money invested. Good men are fascinated and deceived. Shares are purchased. Then comes confusion and loss. Some are totally ruined, having in the excitement invested all they had. In the thirst for riches, reason seems to depart. One or two may gain wealth, to their own injury, but many, many are bitterly disappointed. 6LtMs, Ms 26a, 1890, par. 4

Man proposes, but to save him from ruin, God disposes. The Lord has instructed me that should our brethren who are engaged in speculation realize their expectations it would be the greatest curse that could come to Seventh-day Adventists. Thus others would be led into the snare, to the peril of their souls. Those who can earn an honest living would give up their business to speculate in mining stock, selling their souls for the hope of gain. 6LtMs, Ms 26a, 1890, par. 5

God requires His people to deal justly and in all kindness, never oppressing their fellowbeings in any way. Instead of entering into speculation, let those who know the truth find some steady, honest employment in which they can earn their living in a way that glorifies God. Those who encourage the thirst for speculation will extinguish the light that God has given to guide their feet aright. Making money easily, they will spend it unwisely, and their prodigality will be their ruin. To maintain their habits of selfish indulgence, they must continue to make money rapidly. The effort to make money fast enough to meet their extravagant expenses draws many into the gambling hall. 6LtMs, Ms 26a, 1890, par. 6

Man cannot prosper while he tramples on God’s principles and ignores His wisdom. Those who refuse to obey the words of Christ will in time reap what they have sown. When, in any sense, God’s way is departed from, when His will is violated, whether by nations, churches, institutions, or individuals, it is written in the books of heaven, and retribution will surely follow. 6LtMs, Ms 26a, 1890, par. 7

Once speculation is entered into, there is ever after an unrest, a thirst for gain, a desire to engage in some enterprise by which means can be obtained with ease, to be spent with prodigality. If by the grace of God the error of this course is seen, and therefore does not prove fatal, the character bears the scars for years. 6LtMs, Ms 26a, 1890, par. 8

The Ruler of the universe has protested against the greed of the natural heart, saying, “He that hasteth to be rich shall not be innocent.” [Proverbs 28:20.] God records them as guilty of fraud and transgression. “Trust not in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” [1 Timothy 6:17.] “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure.” [Leviticus 19:35.] “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.” [Proverbs 22:4.] “Let your conversation be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have; for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” [Hebrews 13:5.] “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver, nor he that loveth abundance with increase.” [Ecclesiastes 5:10.] He who says to gold, “Be thou my confidence,” shall find himself “pierced through with many sorrows.” [Job 31:24; 1 Timothy 6:10.] “What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul.” [Mark 8:36.] 6LtMs, Ms 26a, 1890, par. 9

My prayer to our heavenly Father is, Lord, let the clear light shine forth. Carefully and prayerfully studied, God’s Word keeps men well-balanced. In this Word we find God’s way clearly defined. No one who searches the Word with sincerity will walk in darkness. But we cannot cast aside the light God sends and at the same time walk in its rays. To be Christians at all, we must be Christians in all things, revealing His virtues, doing His works. The truth is our safeguard. Planted in the heart by the Holy Spirit, it enables us to see clearly the difference between what is right and what is wrong. Those who cherish the truth will refuse to be drawn into speculation. 6LtMs, Ms 26a, 1890, par. 10