Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7

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Lt 34, 1891

Workers at the Health Retreat

Harbor Springs, Michigan

May 31, 1891

Portions of this letter are published in 1MCP 297; 2MCP 760, 784. +Note

To the Workers at the Health Retreat: 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 1

I have been troubled in mind in regard to the workers at the Health Retreat, because I know your weak points of character, which some would construe into virtues. From what the Lord has been pleased to show me, I know that you are not walking in the light. You were represented to me as under a cloud. Manifold temptations were besetting you, and you were not standing with a firm, decided hold upon Christ in order that you might resist these temptations. You do not discern them to be temptations. You have faults of character which you must, by the grace of God, overcome, or you will be overcome. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 2

Please read over carefully the testimonies of warning which have been given you, for the enemy will attack you again and again upon the same points of character—those where you are weakest. The Lord has presented to you warnings and reproofs, not to discourage you, but because He loves you and would unfold to you the deceptive power of the enemy. If you have resisted Satan on one point, and the books of heaven record a victory through the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony, then Satan will come again with his deceiving wiles, if possible attacking you unawares. Therefore, your only safety is in constantly watching unto prayer. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 3

You have gained some victories and have still many more to gain before you can be accounted a conqueror. You are to hold firmly the weapons of your warfare, and fight the good fight of faith day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. There is no release in this warfare. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual. The Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit. With this Jesus met the wily foe in the wilderness of temptation, and conquered on every point. He is our example in all things. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 4

You are in danger, and as the Lord’s appointed watchman, I will not refrain from lifting the danger signal. Your souls are precious, for they have been purchased by an infinite price, and you must not give yourselves into the enemy’s power. You need to watch and pray, and walk in all humility of mind, if you would not be overcome by temptation. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 5

The Christian life is a constant battle. You can conquer only through your connection with Christ. It is easier than many suppose to change leaders and follow the guidance of another as zealously as though you were following Christ. You cannot go forward independently, trusting in yourselves. Christ must be all in all to you. You must come out from the world and be separate. You must not link yourselves with unbelievers to be controlled by their spirit or influence. You must show your loyalty to Christ in every movement. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 6

There is such a thing as growing without Christ, but it is an unhealthy growth. Growing up into Christ means conformity to Him in spirit, in action, knowing more and more His manner of working, and having more and more the mind of Christ. Be not puffed up with a high opinion of your own wisdom. You need faithful counselors, and you must have humility of heart in order to feel this need. Be daily learners in Christ’s school. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 7

There is in the heart, perhaps imperceptible to yourselves, a love of flattery that grows as it is indulged. Even those who profess to believe the truth often walk so far apart from Christ that they lose sight of Him, and hence have so little discernment as to extol finite, erring men, and really honor them in the place of Christ. Such praise is very poor food for a Christian to subsist upon. If you accept it, there is a continually growing feeling that you are sufficient in yourselves. And this is a very unsafe position. From whom does this adulation usually come? Is it from those who have the praise of God upon their lips? No. It is from those who make a god of money, of position, who are ambitious to excel that they in turn may be lauded and honored. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 8

Do not shape your course in any way to invite such praise, for it is only a temptation to you. No human praise can make us of any more value than Heaven has accounted up. If He who created the heavens, who marshaled the host of the stars in their order, notices the fall of a sparrow, will He overlook those whom He declares to be of more value than many sparrows? [Matthew 10:31.] What need have we, then, of human praise—praise which comes from deceiving lips? Words of men are very cheap, but they prove terribly dear to him who puts his trust in them. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 9

You may be disappointed because like words of appreciation do not come from those who believe present truth, who are really loyal to God and zealous for His honor. But they see the danger of using flattery. There are some, even of our own faith, who do flatter, but they are mouthpieces for Satan. All such praise imperils your souls, dishonors God, and is a snare to the one who receives it. Unsanctified human affection always misleads, for it beckons in other paths than the way God has pointed out. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 10

Messages from God have been coming to our people for the last forty-eight years, in testimonies of warning, to show them the sinfulness of accepting flattery from the world. All the praise and the glory should be given to God and the Lamb. This is the song that is resounding through the heavenly courts and will continue to resound through eternal ages. Men whose lips are so ready to praise the finite are destitute of the grace of Christ. They have lost sight of the perfection of Christ’s character. They are groping in darkness, and without divine enlightenment they will ever remain in darkness. When they shall, by beholding, become changed into the image of Christ, they will no longer flatter any man. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 11

The Lord has uttered His voice in His Holy Word. Those blessed pages are full of instruction and life, harmonious with truth. They are a perfect rule of conduct. Instructions are given, principles are laid down, which apply to every circumstance in life, even though some particular case may not be stated. Nothing is left unrevealed which is essential to a complete system of faith and a correct line of practice. Every duty that God requires at our hands is made plain; and if any one fails of eternal life, it will be because he was self-sufficient, self-confident, full of vain conceit, and did not rely solely upon the merits of the blood of Christ for salvation. None will err from the right path who meekly and honestly take the Bible as their guide, making it the man of their counsel. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 12

I would say to you all, Look to Jesus; look and live. He alone has the words of eternal life. In looking to Jesus the pride of man is humbled, lofty looks are brought low. Only keep the channel of light, ready to do, not your own will, but the will of God, and you will have constant enlightenment and will advance in the light and be prepared to impart light to others. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 13

I know that you are all in danger through manifold temptations. Be sure not to swerve from principle in order to please others, for in so doing you will blind your own eyes. Work upon principles that are just and equitable, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 14

The Lord has placed you where you can have an influence for good, but if you are not watchful, other influences will draw you away from your post of duty. I was shown that paths were opening before you in other directions, and voices were inviting you to enter. Bribes may be presented to draw you away from the Retreat into dangerous paths. You cannot discern where these paths may lead; hence it is well for you to ask counsel of your brethren, and of God, to know which paths you may take and what plans you can safely adopt. You need wise counselors in this matter. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 15

Some have resisted many temptations, but not all of them as decidedly as they should have done. Where you have failed in your loyalty, you will have to go over the same ground again and be proved still more closely. Do not fail in the trial, for it costs too much. You need evidence clearer than your human wisdom, a judgment more sure than the word of worldly men, to guide you. If you turn to your relatives, your dearest, earthly friends, you may find no help to solve perplexing questions. Your brethren, unless they are daily sanctified through the truth, will be no help to you in spiritual discernment. You need a stronger intelligence than is found in any human being; you need counsel direct from Heaven. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 16

Of yourselves you have not wisdom to bear responsibilities. At every step of the way you must seek counsel of God and of your brethren who have had experience and who are true to the interests of His cause. It is your privilege to do this, and you should feel it such. Some of you do not feel right when anything you do is called in question. But this is wrong. All the workers in the Retreat need counsel from those who are governed by the truth. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 17

One man’s mind, one man’s judgment, is not to be a controlling power. The opposite principle has been presented and urged by M. J. Church, and it was his own mind that he thought sufficient to control all the interests with which he was connected. I have tried to show him that this is all wrong. Elder E. P. Daniels and men of like character have held the same view and have presented it in a false and dangerous light. This theory has again and again opened a door of temptation to many; it has been a snare, and always will be. It is not in accordance with truth, nor with the principles that should govern our institutions. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 18

“Counsel together, counsel together,” has been repeated to me by the heavenly angels for the past forty-five years. At the same time you must constantly feel the need of higher counsel. Do not fail to seek wisdom from God. Unless you do go to God for wisdom, and understand for yourselves the way of the Lord, you will not be able to understand things clearly. You must have the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit to give you clear views of Jesus and His love. I know that the Lord desires you all to learn daily lessons in the school of Christ, to be meek and lowly of heart; then He can lead and teach you. The Word of God is our rule. Pray much. Humble your soul before God. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 19

The Lord would have the workers in the Health Retreat obtain an experience which will be of more value to them than gold. When you see your need, if you will, in all humility, heed the counsel of the True Witness, “Buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed; ... and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see” [Revelation 3:18], then you will not be walking in sparks of another’s kindling, nor even of your own kindling; but you will see the light of the Sun of Righteousness and will walk in its beams. God will inspire you to do work for Him. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 20

I speak decidedly to the workers in the Rural Health Retreat. You are in danger. Will you take heed now to the admonitions and warnings in the Word of God and in the Testimonies? Will you pray? And will you watch unto prayer lest you be overcome by Satan’s temptations? He is lurking in your path to ensnare you. I write to you because I love your souls, but there is One whose love exceeds mine or that of your brethren and sisters as far as the heavens are higher than the earth. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 21

These are the words I have heard spoken to you by heavenly intelligences: “Ye are laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] The angels have no commission to perform in planning or executing the work which has been committed to man; but as soon as man is willing to enter upon his work, they are ready to help him and to co-operate with him. But they cannot be man’s substitute. There is no degree of light or conviction or grace that can convert the soul, only as the human agent rouses up not only to resolve but to co-operate with the divine agencies. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 22

The Holy Spirit is constantly putting forth divine energies to break the spell of infatuation that the Satanic agencies have devised to deceive and ruin man; but if the power of good were a hundredfold stronger to draw man to Christ, it would be of no avail without the co-operation of the man himself. The intellect may be convicted, and the heart may well nigh break under the pressure, and yet the stronghold may not be yielded to God. Conviction may press upon the mind and heart, and yet no conversion follow. Why? Because human co-operation is indispensable. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 23

The heart, the will, the affections, must be given to Christ without reserve. Consecration in the Christian life means entire surrender to God. Then the Holy Spirit works in the heart and has a permanent influence upon the life and character. What every worker is required to do is to follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit and not the impulses of his own heart and mind. The inspiration received from the cross of Calvary will prompt to holy purposes and decided action. Then the Spirit of God can draw you not only to resolve, but in the strength of Jesus to will and to do. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 24

I tell you that now is the time to break the fetters of the enemy. And you must do this, not once only, but again and again. For want of discernment you may say, What does Sister White mean? I mean this: The Lord has shown me that you lack full and entire trust in Him. You should be afraid to lean to your own understanding. You need the truth of heavenly origin, with all its sanctifying power, to abide in the heart as a living principle; then your will, and even your thoughts, will be brought into subjection to Christ. You need to see the necessity of always being loyal to God. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 25

Remember, you are building character for eternity. You have failed in some points again and again, as many others have done. You need to bring more solid timber into your character-building and to remove every specked, worm-eaten, decaying piece. The world passes judgment upon us, our words, our actions, our failures to stand true to principle. The Lord weighs us in the scales of the heavenly sanctuary. He gives each one of us a post of duty and expects us to look to Him for orders, to be reliable and trustworthy, for sacred, solemn responsibilities are placed upon us. The steward must be found faithful. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 26

We are unconsciously making a record in heaven of all our actions, of our neglected opportunities of doing service for God. Does heaven’s record say of you, “Perfectly reliable; he will not swerve from principle to please any one”? It may seem to you that too great self-denial and sacrifice is required of you; but does God so regard it? No, for in doing the will of God you place yourselves on the side of One mighty in counsel, One who is able to do more in your behalf than you can ask or even think. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 27

Indeed, there are many hardships to endure, many temptations to resist, if you stand as God’s representatives; but it is well worth a life-long struggle against inclination to have such a record as this in heaven. It is better to you than gold, yea, than much fine gold. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 28

It is for our highest interest to be just what God wants us to be. The Lord is not dependent upon any of us. He can raise up new messengers, whomsoever He will; but while it is our blessed privilege to be workers together with God, let us appreciate the advantages He gives us. He can do His work without us, but we cannot do our work right without Him. The power of the heavenly agencies must combine with the human. This is the only way for us to be successful. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 29

When one man fails to accomplish a certain work because of defects in his character, another takes his place and is likewise tested. Should he fail, another is tried, until the work is accomplished. And all the time the heavenly intelligences are watching each one, to see if, like John, he will learn of Jesus, and not forget to be a doer of the Word. The Pattern is before us. Will we, by looking at Christ’s perfection, see our own defects? Will we by beholding Christ be changed into His image? Will we grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ? To be like Christ, to be complete in Him, to win the crown of glory—this is something to be sought with intensity of desire. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 30

Men fail because they trust to their own understanding, their own sufficiency, rather than in Him who has said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] When they flatter themselves that they are doing so much, the scales of the sanctuary register them as nothing, because the image and superscription of Christ are wanting. O, is there one man who has a sense of what Christ is to him, and what he is to Christ, who will serve the Master with an eye single to the glory of God? 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 31

In order to grow up into the full stature of Jesus Christ, we must be ever learning of Him, ever beholding Him, and thus becoming changed from glory to glory—from character to character—from our own imperfection and inefficiency to the perfection of Christ’s character, seeking always more and more the higher life, to follow the principles of Heaven. Through the pure, unselfish example of such a life, others would learn of God’s ways and will, their hearts would be warned, and their course of life would be onward and upward. Uprightness and integrity would mark their course of action. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 32

The warnings, reproofs, and encouraging promises in the Word of God and in the Testimonies are designed as blessings. But will they do permanent good to those who say they will receive them only so far as they can understand their meaning? They will accomplish their purpose only in those who heed the voice of warning, take heed to their ways, and turn to God, not half-heartedly, but thoroughly. Then they will have a true sense of God’s gifts and blessings and mercies. They will see His care for them in cutting the tendrils which bound them to the world and its rubbish, and they will acknowledge His love. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 33

The human heart must continually cry for the living God, to know His will, and to make the life conform to it. Yield not to every influence with which you are brought in contact. Determine, as Daniel did, that you will not gratify self at the expense of principle. Seek for a character so consistent, so meek, so resolute, so cheerful, so devout, that sin will find in you no sanction, and as you walk in the light of the Sun of Righteousness, you will walk in a wise and perfect way. Christian elevation will pervade your demeanor. You will know in your own experience the meaning of the injunction of Paul, “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts.” [Colossians 3:15.] Let its power strengthen you in firmness, courage, and trust, that the world may see in you a faith with which they cannot tamper. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” [2 Corinthians 5:17.] 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 34

But while you look to Jesus, and have faith and hope in Him, you will be painfully aware of your own deficiencies. It is only those who are separated from Christ by the hellish shadow of Satan that lose sight of their deficiencies and are self-confident. As you perceive the high standard that the Word of God presents before you, you cannot be lifted up in pride, but will humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God. The more humble your ideas of self, the more clearly do you evince that you are beholding Jesus, the Lord of Glory. 7LtMs, Lt 34, 1891, par. 35