Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7

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Ms 23, 1891

Diary, March 1891

Battle Creek, Michigan

March 12-19, 1891

Portions of this manuscript are published in PM 213; 18MR 380; 5Bio 227-229. +Note

Battle Creek, Michigan, Thursday, March 12, 1891. Nearly the entire day I have been entertaining visitors who desired counsel. Brother Robinson, superintendent of the New York and Washington district, came in company with Brother Wright to consult with me in regard to the advisability of building a church in Washington, D.C., combining a church, a mission home, and a reading room in one building, to cost probably twenty-five thousand dollars. They proposed to invite our brethren all over the field to give one hundred dollars each toward this enterprise. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 1

When we were in Washington City during the week of prayer, I had made a similar suggestion to Elder Washburn. I could see no better way of obtaining a standing in the capital of the United States, than to build a meetinghouse there. The brethren of the Washington City Church are poor; and while they will do all that they can, they are not able to carry the whole burden. The church must be located in a desirable part of the city. The purchase of a suitable lot and the erection of a plain, but large and well-ventilated, building will require a considerable sum of money. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 2

Elder Rice and his wife next came in to see me. We had a long interview in regard to the Mt. Vernon Sanitarium, whether it is advisable to try to utilize this property as a sanitarium or let it go into the hands of those who hold a mortgage against it. I did not feel clear to decide this question. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 3

Elder Olsen was the next one to call on me. We had a long council over the question of what can be done for our publishing house in Battle Creek. The selfish, un-Christlike spirit pervading the publishing house is revealed by a certain kind of loud, boisterous talking and unsanctified zeal in council-meetings. Very few are the words that Christ loves to hear. The spirit of those present is not refined and expressive of the Spirit of Christ. Many bold propositions and loud-voiced speeches are made. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 4

Business is carried forward in a spirit of combativeness. The actions taken by those in positions of responsibility are not inspired of God, but are in accordance with man’s wisdom and will work injury to their fellow-men. While they make an effort not to be slothful in business, they forget to be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; and their souls become more and more dry and sapless, as withered branches of the vine. Religion and business are becoming divorced. Worldly, selfish plans are coming in. Those who should seek to be inspired by God are content to act in accordance with man’s wisdom. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 5

Many who know not what spirit they are of are ready to reach out their hands to grasp and gather in that which they have not earned. Many are under condemnation because of the grave sin of selfishness which is leavening the institution. One confederates with another. “You stand by me, and I will stand by you,” they say to each other. Thus they lead others into false paths, bringing in the strange fire that God has positively forbidden to be used in His work. With some, serving the Lord has but little place. They think they have no time to pray. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 6

Friday, March 13, 1891

I again attended the morning meeting, bearing a decided testimony and reading a number of pages relating to matters similar to those I presented Wednesday morning. The Lord is indeed giving me close and cutting testimonies to bear to His people. I have no rest in spirit day nor night. Constantly I am passing through scenes of that which will be in the future as the result of the present and future actions of men in high positions of responsibility. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 7

And what will be the result of their course of action? The mouth of God’s Messenger spoke words most solemn and significant: “Since you assumed most important responsibilities, you have not before God been increasing in humility and in tender love for the souls for whom Christ has died. Had you been a doer of the Word, you would have heard and obeyed Christ’s invitation: ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.’ [Matthew 11:28-30.] 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 8

“In your council-meetings you are forgetting that your words are written in a book and that the results of these words will be seen in the future works they produce. Sooner or later your own propositions will surely react upon yourselves. This I declare to you in the name of the Lord. You know not what manner of spirit you are of. The Lord is present at your council-meetings and witnesses all your transactions. You are either serving Him with pure, unadulterated love, or else you are sinning against Him in everything you do. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 9

“There is a dead fly in the ointment. Let not those who serve in connection with the sacred work of God forget that He is associated with you in the publishing house, and in the general management of His cause. My brethren, remember that He witnesses all your transactions. Remember that the heavenly universe hears every selfish, avaricious, unjust proposition (and many are now being made). 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 10

“The God of truth observes every act of injustice which you commit by making decisions that have a tendency, in any degree, to cripple the influence of usefulness of one of His human agencies. He will not look with approbation upon the least deviation from righteous principles in plans and methods. He will not sanction the least departure from kindness and unselfishness. He will punish every violation of the laws of truth and righteousness.” 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 11

Doth not God see? I am instructed to tell you that God sees our every act; and He records in His books every departure from Heavenly principles. He detects every underhanded confederacy to benefit self under pretense of serving the cause of God. He will blow upon every dollar thus gained and covetously appropriated. It shall not benefit the receiver, for God will blow upon it. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 12

Every act of fraud and deceit is detected by the Eye that never slumbers or sleeps. Fraudulent, deceptive plans and methods of working, which will exalt self by the selfish appropriation of means, will not be allowed to go unpunished. God will call to an account the men whose disposition it is to depress and to look with indifference upon these who do their work in simplicity and with faithfulness. All these things are written as with a pen of iron and with lead in a rock, there to live. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 13

Many other words of a similar character were spoken. I will write these out later. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 14

Sabbath, March 14, 1891

I spoke in the Battle Creek Tabernacle, from the first chapter of Acts, on Christ’s commission to His disciples. Again I had a pointed testimony to bear to the great congregation. The brethren and sisters listened with apparently intense interest. But while I talked, my heart was heavily burdened. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 15

The Lord laid upon me the burden of writing out the instruction that He has given me, instruction that was to come before the people without delay. The men connected with the publishing house who have taken upon themselves the responsibility of doing a work that is not honorable, just, and in accordance with the will of God, will pass through a hard, painful experience. They will reap that which they have sown. The working out of the methods and principles they are following at present will bear bitter fruit. They do not discern the results of their present course of action. Blinded by Satan’s sophistry, they cannot see afar off. The Lord declares that they shall feel His displeasure. If they walk contrary to Him, He will walk contrary to them. God will work at cross-purposes with those who work at cross-purposes with Him, until they see their sins and are converted, or else until they are cut off from His people. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 16

In the future there will be manifested the same blindness that is now manifested in regard to the publication of important matter. Men will go over the same ground that is now being gone over. The principles underlying the plans being followed are faulty. When a book comes from the press to fill a certain want in the world, the interests of that book must be guarded by the men who have received pay for publishing it, even if the matter contained in the book is not of sufficient importance to demand a large circulation without delay. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 17

I have been shown some things that will be done in the future. One man will prepare a book for publication, and after it is in circulation, some one else will think that he can publish a book similar in appearance and covering nearly the same ground as the first book placed on the market. The writer of this second book will use different words, but will treat of the same subjects that are treated of in the other book. Thus two different books will be in existence when one would have been all-sufficient. There will be instances when even before the author writes the book that he contemplates publishing, some one else will write on the very same subjects, in order to forestall the one who has expressed his purpose to write on certain subjects. The second book published diminishes the sale of the first one, and he who takes advantage of his neighbor in this way does not treat him fairly. His book largely takes the place and the patronage of the first book in the field. He has worked contrary to the principles of righteousness, for he has robbed his neighbor. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 18

Sunday, March 15, 1891

I attended the morning ministers’ meeting. The blessing of the Lord came upon me, and I spoke in the demonstration of the Spirit of God and with power. There are those who are working out a great circle. The Lord has given Christ to the world for ministry. Merely to preach the Word is not ministry. The Lord desires His ministering servants to occupy a place worthy of the highest consideration. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 19

In the mind of God, the ministry of men and women existed before the world was created. He determined that His ministers should have a perfect exemplification of Himself and His purposes. No human career could do this work; so God gave Christ in humanity to work out His ideal of what humanity may become through entire obedience to His will and way. God’s character was revealed in the life of His Son. Christ not only held a theory of genuine ministry, but in His humanity He wrought out an illustration of the ministry that God approves. Perfection has marked out every feature of true ministry. Christ, the Son of the living God, did not live unto Himself, but unto God. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 20

*****

The Lord specified what the office of publication should be. The same unselfish principles that actuated those who brought the institution into existence, if maintained, would result in God’s honoring the office before all the world. He would sustain it in power. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 21

Monday, March 16, 1891

I attended the morning meeting, and spoke on faith. If men and women had the faith that works by love and purifies the soul from every species of selfishness, they would not crowd into Battle Creek, where, having nothing special to do, they lose their spiritual vitality and their love for God. Instead, they would seek homes among those who are in darkness, those who have not so much as heard that there is a third angel’s message to be given to the world. The negligent ones, who will continue to leave undone the work that they should do, will be weighed in the balances of the heavenly sanctuary and pronounced wanting. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 22

Tuesday, March 17, 1891

I gave a discourse today, speaking for an hour and a half in regard to missionary work in Battle Creek and the necessity of doing missionary work in other cities, towns, and villages. The Lord’s standard must be uplifted in cities where the truth has never yet been really presented. I tried to present before the people a great work which is to be done and which heretofore has been left undone. Many of those who should be engaged in this work are devising plans and methods to serve their own selfish interests. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 23

A failure to do the work that God desires to have done will bring condemnation upon the selfish ones who neglect their God-given work in order to plan and devise contrary to God’s way. Time is short. Difficulties will increase because of these finite plannings. The conflict will come between those who keep the Sabbath of the fourth commandment and those who keep the spurious Sabbath. Who is prepared for this issue? Many of the people of God, negligent and asleep, are planning and working in darkness. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 24

Wednesday, March 18, 1891

I spoke words of encouragement to those assembled in the ministers’ meeting. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 25

I then went into the east vestry of the Tabernacle, and spoke to those assembled in regard to faith, dwelling particularly upon Colossians 3:10-16. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 26

Thursday, March 19, 1891

Again I attended the early morning meeting. The Lord gave me a decided testimony to bear to the people, on faith and works. I tried to point out to them that at the present time there is great danger of taking false positions. Satan is ever ready to imbue us with his wisdom. I told the brethren how little of God they had in their councils. Satan, if he could, would make cavilers and skeptics of us all. I fear that some poor souls will become confused and walk in darkness in consequence of the words and example of unconsecrated men. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 27

A man whose heart has not been changed by a genuine religious experience in the things of God cannot discern spiritual matters and should not undertake to guide and direct God’s servants. Satan will try to make men believe that the messages from God’s throne are forgeries. At the same time, he will endeavor to lead them to accept as truth the lies that he has forged. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 28

The men in leading positions in the office of publication do not respect either the messenger or the messages graciously given them of God. They have talked over their devisings together. Brother [Church] was a man who needed the wise counsel and help of men whose influence and example were good. He needed to learn to cultivate altogether a different spirit from the spirit he has manifested, before being connected with the men with whom he has worked. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 29

It is not safe for men who have so little of the Spirit of Christ, so little divine enlightenment, to hold positions where they themselves, through temptation, may become tempters to lead into false paths those with whom they are associated. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 30

Christ said concerning His Father, “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.” [John 7:17.] We should bear no more tame testimonies in Battle Creek. Matters have gone too far for this. The times and the surrounding perils require something fresh from God. The only safety there is for any of us is to have implicit, childlike faith in God’s Word, and a teachable, submissive spirit. We need discernment to know when God cometh. We need to perceive Him in our assemblies, as the life and the soul of all that is true and good and enduring. Let us follow the counsels of heaven. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 31

Day after day God is speaking to His people in the testimonies that He sends: but these testimonies are nothing to those who hear, unless understood. There are stout hearts of opposition who endeavor to beat back the Spirit of God. If men of trust cannot recognize in the testimonies the voice of God speaking to their hearts in accents that admit of no questioning, no resistance, no appeal, if they refuse to hearken, even if the Sword of the Spirit cuts them to the quick, they will be guided by another spirit. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 32

Men entrusted with positions of responsibility, when sitting in council-meetings and deliberating as committeemen, must bear in mind that if the One mighty in counsel is not welcomed in their meetings, there is present one who will work with a will to suggest unwise plans, and they will not have discernment to perceive the speciousness of the arguments presented and will move in accordance with unjust, unwise principles. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 33

I can but have freshly brought to my mind the view of the time when Satan, standing in a high position in heaven, began with crafty reasoning to induce the loyal angels to assent to his theories and accept them as truth. In his interviews with other angels, after succeeding in finding sympathizers, he arranged his arguments and presented them as if they were sentiments that had originated in the minds of those whom he first led astray. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 34

Today Satan works as he has always worked in the past. Unless the men in the office of publication who know so little of the deep movings of the Spirit of God shall lay aside their self-confidence, their self-will, their natural stubbornness—a stubbornness that has been greatly strengthened by constant resistance of the Spirit of God, constant rejection of light, constant determination to walk in accordance with their own wisdom—they will have a bitter harvest to garner. They do not see this harvest now. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 35

Not only in words are we to acknowledge God’s authority, but in very deed and truth we are to bow meekly before Him as our Guide, the Lord of our life. We are to empty the heart of self-confidence, self-esteem, selfish ambition, in order that, cleansed from self, we may be filled with the treasures of Infinite wisdom and knowledge. When God speaks, let all His creatures listen, believe, and obey. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 36

O how many are ready to resist anything and everything that does not suit their ideas or please finite self! When testimonies are given them by the Lord, they are very eager to grasp anything that they think they can interpret to uphold their own opinions: and they make the most of these expressions. They treat sacred things lightly, bringing truth down to a level with that which is common. God cannot but be grieved by the unchristian course pursued by them in their business dealing and in their association with others, even their fellow brethren. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 37

When some one attempts to correct and set right these unsanctified workers, they condescend to sarcasm and criticism. If there is brought into the office a man whose faith in God and in the testimonies of His Spirit is strong, a man whose principles are sound and straightforward, the workers whose hearts are filled with selfishness do not have the courage to acknowledge that they are not walking in the counsel of God, but they do far worse than this: they take no account of the man of principle, except to criticize him and make it very hard for him. They call his principles “strait-jacketed” and speak triflingly, jesting and joking over these matters. Their minds filled with foolish thoughts, they speak foolish words, as the humor prompts them, and create an atmosphere that the heavenly angels can not tolerate. The good angels are compelled to leave such men to their corrupt imaginings. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 38

I am pained to the heart. Blindness in part hath happened unto Israel. Men in high places are to be distrusted and feared, lest they be led astray by the enemy, and lest they shall lead astray other souls. I fear lest they shall seek to hurt and destroy, if possible, those whom they cannot control. Inspiration represents such men as biting and devouring one another. Into their management will be woven partiality, favoritism, hypocrisy, and bribery. Strange fire will be offered to God in the place of the fire of His own kindling. Diligence, integrity, and godliness must be combined in God’s service. 7LtMs, Ms 23, 1891, par. 39