Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Lt 16, 1891

Irwin, Brother and Sister

Petoskey, Michigan

June 9, 1891

See variant Lt 16a, 1891. Previously unpublished. +Note

Dear Brother and Sister Irwin:

Some things have been presented to me in regard to the mission in Cleveland. I have felt great interest in that mission, for the Lord has presented before me that He had many precious souls in that city. I was shown that a house of worship should have been erected three years ago. A much larger work would have been done, had the leading men stood where they should, in piety, in devotion, and spiritual discernment. Time is passing, and the lack of personal piety and earnest, sanctified energy is felt all through the conference. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1891, par. 1

The Lord did not lay upon Bro. Underwood, or any of the brethren who were associated with him, the burden of establishing a health institution at Mr. Vernon. In this work they had not an eye single to the glory of God. All the energy and tact and labor that was bestowed on this institution should have been given to more specific work in making the Ohio Conference what it ought to be, but what it is not now. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1891, par. 2

Had the energies been directed to the building of a church in Cleveland and the establishing of a mission, properly planned and managed, the movement would have been well pleasing to God; it would have given character to the cause of present truth in that city, and very many souls would have been added to the church, of such as should be saved. Satan says, I will defeat that: there shall be no triumph of the truth in this city. So through unsanctified ambition and attention, the energies and the means were directed to the establishing of an institution at Mt. Vernon. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1891, par. 3

An effort has been made to have all the means available turned into this one channel. Men have been urged to moves that their own judgment told them were not best. Brethren are disappointed, and some are discouraged, as they see that their money is invested where they receive no benefit from it themselves and where it is doing no real good to the cause. And yet there has been a bitterness of spirit with some of the responsible men in this enterprise because they could not make all see the matter as they did and act according to their judgment. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1891, par. 4

An undue pressure has been brought to bear upon the people; flattering prospects of future prosperity for the institution have been presented; but in all this work, self has been largely interwoven, and the eyes of many have been blinded, so that they do not discern spiritual things. Thus some souls have become disaffected. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1891, par. 5

Great effort has indeed been put forth to make the Mt. Vernon institution a success. But is it a success? What if it should become self-sustaining? At what a cost! The important work that ought to have been done to bring prosperity to the cause of God is not done. Advance moves, which should have been made in other branches of the work, have not been made; angels of God have waited for the human agencies to co-operate with them, but they have met with a feeble response. The missionary spirit, diverted from the proper object, has been waning, and dissension, disunion, and discouragement have been leavening the conference. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1891, par. 6

Had the same energy, zeal, and devotion been given to the real, living issues concerning the cause of God in the Ohio Conference, and especially in the city of Cleveland, many souls <now in darkness of error> would now be rejoicing in the truth. The Lord’s cause has been betrayed by worldly, ambitious projects that will prove an injury to those who devise them, hurting their influence by shaking the confidence of the people in these leading men. The work of God, that ought to have been increasing in power and efficiency, is left to struggle along as best it can, while every string is drawn to secure means that the Mt. Vernon institution may not prove a failure. I wish that everyone who has been misled by this matter might see the bearing of this enterprise upon the Ohio Conference. In time they will know something of this, but they cannot know the full extent of its influence. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1891, par. 7

I have much to write on this subject if I can find time. Ohio is years behind her appointed work and sacred responsibilities. The various endowments of the members of the church are so many entrusted talents which the Lord expects us to increase by constant use. He has made men almoners of His providence, to supply the necessities of the poor, who are always with us. There should be no swerving from duty in this line and no robbery toward God in withholding the tithes and offerings from His treasury. In this matter I appeal to the believers in Ohio to take correct observation of their bearings. What has the Lord signified that you should do to advance His work in your state? 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1891, par. 8

When Jonah was commanded to bear God’s message to Nineveh he fled to Joppa, but the journey was not a prosperous one. His experience has a lesson for us. If the Lord had a work to be done in Cleveland, if a house was to be erected for His name’s glory, a place prepared to gather in souls who embrace the truth, and all the interest, the energy, and money were turned into another channel, making it impossible to do what ought to have been done <years ago,> can you be surprised that the work has been hindered, that God has been dishonored, and that selfish projects have not succeeded? No man can serve two masters. 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1891, par. 9

All the devotion that has been given to the Mt. Vernon Sanitarium was called for in another direction. If Jesus were on the ground, He would repeat the words spoken eighteen hundred years ago, “Say not ye, there are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already for harvest.” [John 4:35.] “Why stand ye here all the day idle?” [Matthew 20:6.] “The night cometh, when no man can work.” [John 9:4.] 7LtMs, Lt 16, 1891, par. 10