Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Lt 44, 1891

Gates, Elsie

Healdsburg, California

September 29, 1891

Previously unpublished. +Note

Dear Sister Gates,

I wish to address a few words to you. You seem to think that it is necessary for you to receive the patients and guests at the Retreat, then you would be better prepared to give them Bible studies. I cannot see that it has any special bearing on your work whether you are the first to receive the guests and patients, or otherwise. After they are located in their rooms, and the strangeness has worn away, then is the more favorable time for you to approach them in the wisdom and fear of God. You need, my sister, to learn daily in the school of Christ, just as He has invited you, saying, “Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:29.] Unless you cultivate meekness and the simplicity of a little child, you will fail of reaching the hearts of those for whom you labor. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1891, par. 1

You have thought that you could fill the position of matron at the Health Retreat. But supposing you had the qualifications for this work and should take this position, you would then be compelled to give up your Bible work, for you must not suppose, my sister, that you could fill both positions. My advice is that Sister Ings keep her position and do the work she has been doing, while you, Sister Gates, give your time to missionary work. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1891, par. 2

I see no sufficient reason for dismissing Sister Ings. We have very few women of experience and habits of neatness who will put themselves into the work. Such qualifications are too rare in this age of the world to be thrown away for any slight reason that may be urged against the one possessing them. Who knows that you would do any better in the same matters for which you blame Sister Ings. We shall consent to no change, for we do not want to move unadvisedly in any way. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1891, par. 3

There are, in the Health Retreat, a large number of patients who are in no degree saints. Some are complainers, and always will be. They want this and that indulgence, and their wishes should be gratified so long as this can be done without compromising the principles of the institution. But because every whim is not promptly gratified is no reason why the matron should be discharged. We should learn to act with consideration for one another. Let the workers talk over together the difficulties that arise. Dr. Burke is the very man to educate and train the workers in responsible positions, and I know that Sister Ings would labor earnestly to carry out his instructions. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1891, par. 4

None but kind words and tones of voice should be used toward the patients. These complainers may find in the conduct of the institution that which they feel gives them cause for complaint, or they may have no foundation at all for their murmurings. If the doctors lend to such, a ready ear and sympathize with their complaints, the way is opened for Satan to unsettle faith and confidence in those in whom there should be every confidence. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1891, par. 5

I am not willing that any others should be misrepresented as May Walling was. The one who complained of her to Dr. Burke was envious and jealous. I knew this after I had tested May Walling myself. We cannot afford to repeat such experiences as this either at St. Helena or at Battle Creek. It is a cruel thing to make one an offender for a word and allow the one being dealt with to remain in ignorance of the real facts in the case. Rather should the workers labor in love for such a one, in order that the fault may be corrected. As representatives of truth, we are to deal justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1891, par. 6

If Sister Ings has so comported herself that she is unworthy of confidence, then let this fact be made clear to her, and not to others, that the one put in her place may not be likely to offend in a similar manner. I am heart and soul sick of seeing Christians harboring in their hearts evil surmisings and treating their suspicions as verity and truth. I am bruised and wounded in soul because of the want of frankness with one another that is apparent among us. And Jesus is grieved over this condition of things. He would have His people as open as the day in all their dealings with one another. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1891, par. 7

The course pursued toward May Walling I protest against as unjust and wrong, whoever was at the bottom of it; and it has grieved my soul, not solely because of her individual case, but because the same course would be pursued in other cases that might arise and the same plan of operation followed. It is thus that souls are thrown on Satan’s battle ground, often never to recover themselves from his temptations. Had I not been on hand to make an excuse for May, requiring her assistance, what impressions would have been left on the girl’s mind to embitter her experience, I cannot say. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1891, par. 8

Many of us have yet to realize that every soul is Christ’s property, bought with the precious blood of the Son of God, to be educated and trained, refined and ennobled and fitted for the future life. When one is in error, let there be those who will deal kindly with the erring, acting the part of a mother or father to her or him. The object of the institution at St. Helena is not to destroy souls, but to save. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1891, par. 9

Only a few months since I was taken by my Guide through the Health institute, and was shown the spirit and disposition of some of the patients. I was instructed that some then present were Satan’s own agents to do evil; their tongues were set on fire of hell. Satan controlled them; they possessed his spirit and acted out his suggestions. Evil angels surrounded them and made them channels through whom to communicate. I was shown that Satan would use these patients to leaven the institution with distrust, fault-finding, and complaining, for even one sinner may do much harm. I was also instructed that the Lord will give the managers discernment and wisdom to understand these things if they will keep themselves in living connection with God. Listening to His voice, they will not listen to the voice of a stranger; and a stranger will they not follow. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1891, par. 10

The course to be pursued toward that class whose hearts seem to be opened to Satan and closed to Christ is to let them go to their own <unconverted party> as soon as possible. It is the duty of those who are placed in trust at the Health Retreat to close every door possible to the murmurers and complainers. Do not be harsh, but give no place to the devil who works through these his subjects. You may treat them, while there as kindly as possible, but they will not recognize your efforts; but will bite and devour you if they can. Sympathize with them, and you encourage Satan. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1891, par. 11

My sister, there will ever be with us those who make mistakes. You yourself are not perfect; and unless you look to Jesus minute by minute, clinging to Him; unless your heart is constantly renewed by His grace, you will make mistakes just as the matron you are now holding in question has made mistakes. I have seen and heard many things that need correcting along the line which your narrow vision discerns; but there are things far more deleterious, far more objectionable, matters that are doing far greater mischief. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1891, par. 12

When the spirit of divine enlightenment comes in, without which none can move in the order of God, there will be thorough reformations made. What each worker needs is more of Jesus and less of self. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1891, par. 13

Those who do the Lord’s work can afford to be as open as the day; they can afford to be fair. In a Christlike spirit let them devote the time they might spend in criticizing in talking kindly but frankly with the one they deem at fault. If they are faithful stewards of Christ they will do this, spending their zeal in an effort to reform and correct and build up. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1891, par. 14

My labors at Harbor Heights were on this very point—how to act the Christian part toward erring scholars and erring church members. I endeavored to show the workers that it was their duty to work for these erring ones with exactly the same diligence that they would want exercised toward themselves. Just as they would have the Lord deal with them, they should deal with one another. In expelling students and church members, Did you follow the Bible rule to the letter? I asked. Was your own heart softened with the love of God? Did you love their souls, and in the spirit of Christ seek to reform them? They replied that they wished that they had given more time to the matter, but they had so much business on hand that they did not have time for that. Yet they were not too much engaged to be zealous to expel. They cut off a member, but had no time to follow the Bible rule to save. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1891, par. 15

I am too sick to finish this letter now, but will send it as it is. I ask you, my sister, to seek God; seek Him earnestly. Hide self in Christ. 7LtMs, Lt 44, 1891, par. 16