Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10 (1895)


Ms 22a, 1895 [Copy 1]

Interview Regarding the Religious Liberty Question

Armadale, Victoria, Australia

November 20, 1895

Three versions are on file. See copies 2 (Ms 22b, 1895) and 3 (Ms 22c, 1895), the latter of which is published in entirety in SpM 19-26. +Note

Elder W. C. White called a meeting this morning to consider some phases of the religious liberty question. Recent stands taken by some of the brethren seem to indicate a necessity for a more thorough understanding of the principles involved on this subject. 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 1

The following persons were present: Professor W. W. Prescott, Elders W. C. White, A. G. Daniells, M. C. Israel, L. J. Rousseau, W. A. Colcord, M. G. Kellogg and Sister E. G. White, Sister Prescott and Sister Burnham, and Brethren Salisbury, Smith and Caldwell. 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 2

Several letters were read from and to different parties with reference to the points at issue; and then Sister White read a letter written to Elder A. T. Jones last May, which had been unavoidably withheld until just lately. 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 3

In this letter reference was made to the necessity of our speakers presenting the truth in such a simple manner that even the small children could comprehend the lessons which it was designed to teach; and remarking on this point, Sister White said, “According to the light which has been given me, when the heavenly intelligences see that men will no longer present the truth in its simplicity, as Jesus did, these very children will be moved upon by the Spirit of God, and will go forth proclaiming the truth for this time.” 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 4

After the letters have been read, the brethren were invited to discuss the points treated in them, but all seeming most desirous of hearing from Sister White, she made the following remarks—many of the points were brought out in answer to questions asked by different ones present. 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 5

“There is a terrible crisis <which seems to be> just ahead of us <which all must feel, but> especially at Battle Creek. My mind has been much troubled over the positions some of our brethren are taking with regard to the work to be done among the colored people in the Southern states. There is one point I want to lay before those who work in the Southern field. They will have to labor on different lines among the colored people. They cannot take the position of encouraging the colored people to work on Sunday, for the same spirit that has held the colored people in slavery is alive today. Many have the spirit of the devil working in them still. In every way possible will they will oppose everything that has a tendency to lift up the colored race. 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 6

“Understand these facts as they are: When the whites show the least inclination to help the colored people, it is terribly annoying to some. They do not want them to make their own living. They want them to work their plantations for them <and to feel dependent upon them.> 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 7

“Just as soon as the truth begins to be proclaimed in the South <more fully,> if there should be a marked difference in regard to the <working on> Sunday, we might just as well <leave the field, for our way will be blocked by counterworking agencies,> for we will have all the whites against us, and they will not work openly, but in secret organizations, and will hinder our work in every way possible, <and stir up the blacks to deeds of cruelty.> 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 8

“From the light that I have, If you get the truth before these Southern people, you must not encourage them <as a free people> to work on Sunday. There must be some provision made about this, and an understanding of it. You need not publish <that which you purpose to do> in the papers, but you must teach these people as you would children. <Work [as] quickly as possible.> Words must not be spoken to prejudice them or the whites, else the spirit of the evil one will cut the workers off. There must not be any effort made to have them work on Sunday. 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 9

“You can see that this will cut off that which Bro. _____ has written. It is not on the right principle. You have to conform to the practices of the people when they do not come in <decided> conflict with the law of God. If you do not <exercise wisdom> you will cut yourself <away from> those for whom you would labor altogether. 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 10

“Do you understand this? That is the way God has presented it to me. We cannot work so freely among those whose prejudices are so entirely different. We must let the Holy Spirit work. Men and women cannot convince <men > of the wrong traits of character; we must accommodate ourselves to the situation <and let the Lord work for us.”> 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 11

(Question: Should not those in the Southern field go ahead and work on Sunday?) 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 12

“As soon as <the whites—the members of the church—shall become filled with hatred against the truth, they leaven the colored people with them.> As soon as they can get the slightest chance, they will stir up one another, and pick off them whom they hate. Sunday is not the mark of the beast in such a field at present. The time will come when this test will be made, but not now. 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 13

“This should not be understood to refer to our own people in that field. I have no light on that, and I cannot advise them so. 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 14

“Slavery will be revived in the South again, and it will not do for the whites who labor for the colored people to take their stand <against Sunday> as firmly as in other places. If they feel that they have the right and the sanction of those who have brought them the truth, they will take the opportunity to defy their oppressors. 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 15

“There is certainly a terrible condition of things opening before us. According to the light given me in regard to this Southern field, they must go as carefully as possible to work on the lines of the lessons which Christ gave. The people will soon find out all you believe and ask you about it; then you can educate them, but not in such a prominent manner as will attract attention to your work and thus cut you right off from work.” 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 16

(Question: Should the same position be taken in other foreign fields where the prejudice is so strong?) 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 17

“Yes. Just the same, exactly. The light that I have is that they should go quietly [to] work preaching the grand truths of the Bible—Christ, and Him crucified. Why, the reason Christ died was because the law is eternal. And the Spirit of the Lord will awaken them, and bring them (the commandments) to their remembrance. You cannot think how [this] has been presented to me: ‘I have sent mine angel to the churches.’ [Revelation 22:16.] Have any of you seen His angel? Here is the messenger of heaven right beside those who stand in the desk, God’s chosen messengers. It is not the best way to present those things that will arouse prejudice <as you commence your labor. You need to be guarded at every point. There are honest, sincere people in the South who are hungering for the truth, and there are those who are now deeply prejudiced against white people coming in to the South. If a sure course is pursued, if you can obtain their confidence, souls will be won to Christ.”> 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 18

(Professor Prescott here related a case that came to his notice: a man kept coming to the meetings hoping that he would hear the Sabbath question taken up. He heard nothing but Christ preached. Still in his mind the truth was constantly being repeated, “The seventh day is the Sabbath.” The Holy Spirit was working on his mind.) 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 19

Resuming, Sister White said, “These things that I have been presenting to you will need to be brought out with great care.” 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 20

In answer to a question, she said, “I have given you the light which has been presented to me. If followed, it will change the course of action of many. Refraining from work on Sunday is not receiving the mark of the beast, and where it will advance the interests of the work, it should not be done. We should not go out of our way to work on Sunday. We need not take our sawhorse and set it out on the front side walk to let our light shine. 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 21

“The time has not yet come to be defiant, and go right along as if there was no prejudice—Be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves. If you see that if you do certain things which you have a perfect right to do that you cannot work with human minds, you should refrain from doing that which will close their minds against the truth. There is no use of our cutting our own heads off; there is a world to warn. ‘All things are lawful, but all things are not expedient.’” [1 Corinthians 6:12.] 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 22

“We may put ourselves where we will shut doors against the truth which God has opened. We have no right to do anything which will obstruct the light which is shining from heaven. The issue on the Sabbath question has not yet come, and we may bring on the crisis before the time. You may have all the truth, but you need not let it all flash suddenly on minds, lest it become darkness to them. I have had to come right out against Bro. _____ on this point. He would take his chart, go out and knock at a door, and say, ‘I have come to give you the third angel’s message, and to tell you that the seventh day is the Sabbath.’ Why, even Christ said, I have many things to say unto you but ye cannot bear them now. [John 16:12.] We must not go into a place, open up our satchel, show all we have, and tell everything we know. 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 23

“I tried to bring these out at Harbor Heights. Those who go to these institutions are to live the truth, just as Daniel and Paul did. There is something else they are to do; each one should study to see what is the best way to get the truth into these schools. 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 24

“The Waldensians went into the schools as students. They made no pretensions; they apparently paid no attention to any one; but they lived what they believed, and their principles became known right off. They never sacrificed principle. This was different from anything the students had ever seen in the schools, and they began to ask themselves, What does this all mean? Why cannot these men be swerved from the right? And while their minds were considering this, they heard them praying in their rooms, not to the Virgin Mary, but to the Saviour; and the students were encouraged to make inquiries, and so the simple story of Jesus was told them, and their minds took hold of it. This is what I tried to present at Harbor Heights. You should take those who have the Spirit of God, who have the truth wrought into their very being, and let them go right into these colleges. And let them work point by point. Let them show that they respect all the laws and rules of the school. [The] first thing they know, the leaven begins to work. We can depend much more upon the power of God, manifest in the life of His children, than upon any words that can be spoken; but they should speak in just as pure words as possible. 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 25

“Jesus was a teacher when He was but twelve years old. He went in before those doctors—He went as a learner—but in every question, He was pouring light into their darkened minds. If He had caused them to suspect that He was trying to teach them, they would have spurned Him. And so it was all through His life. They could not find a single thing to blame Him for, and yet He was at work all the time. He worked in His own home until He did not have any home. His lot was no more pleasant than that of the young people who try to walk in His footsteps now. If all our people would work in this way—in Christ’s way—what a blessing it would be. 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 26

“Let your light so shine that men may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven. This spirit will inspire others to do the will of the Lord also.” 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 27

Professor Prescott remarked that where there was the most said about being persecuted there was not always the teachable spirit. Reference was then made to Ephesians 6:12. And Sister White said, “Talk about schooling, it’s the Bible we want to be educated in. There is a great deal in that statement that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness. Christ, when wrestling with Satan over the body of Moses, did not bring a railing accusation against him. He did nothing to stir up the powers of darkness. Taking different individuals and showing them that what they say is not the truth does not advance the truth. These sayings will be treasured up against us, and the enemy of truth is already taking advantage of them to make the work as hard as possible. We have got to be in the world, but must not be of the world. 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 28

“This is God’s world, and wicked men are simply permitted to be in it. This earth was deeded to Abraham and his children, and we will come into possession of it before long. We must not feel that we will receive any help from those around, but we must be where we can help them. 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 29

“When you begin to work with parliaments, that sets the devil to work, and if he cannot make the work hard for us, who can? Do not let your work be known any more than necessary. Let the truth work. Our best course is not to get up an exemption. God has given light that the least said about these things the better. The devil and all his hosts are working to destroy God’s law, and when you begin to work on those lines, he will stir up men be believe that we do not regard their laws, nor obey their decrees. 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 30

“We are not to reveal all our purposes and plans to men. Satan is working in an underhanded way, and he will continue so to work. He will not work open and above board. His power is to work upon human minds to make a start, to set a powerful movement on foot before the people’s minds are prepared for it.” 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 31

(Question: Can we not get the truth before the minds of the members of parliament in a quiet way, by furnishing them reading?) 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 32

“From the light that has been given me, we should fear that these men and rulers will take their position against the work and then they will act like the devil; but every advantage should be taken to get acquainted with these men; not in a way produce anything like prejudice. We must appear to them as trying to help others, working on the lines of the Christian help work. As they see the good work we do in these lines, their prejudice will be removed in a large measure, and their hearts will be open for more. Then we should not present the Sabbath, but let us present Christ. What if they should begin to oppose you and say, O, that’s a Seventh-day Adventist?—Lift up Christ higher and still higher. It means a great deal to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 33

“The world is not to be condemned until after they have the light. We must tell them the simple story of conversion. The people are to be pitied, and we want to soften the message to them just as much as we can. This will soften them so that the Spirit of the Lord can mold them. They have been receiving false ideas. If we come close to them, and show them the love of Christ, we can do much more for them.” 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 34

In answer to a question, Sister White said that there is no harm in the brethren’s working out their fines. “Christ, the King of Glory, carried the cross upon which He was about to be crucified. Just think of the indignities to which He submitted. The people had not the slightest semblance of a right to inflict them upon Him, but He did not refuse to submit. Let the servant pay tribute, as the Master did, lest they be offended.” 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 35

(Question: Would it not be as well for us to present principles rather than to dwell upon what the governments will do?) 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 36

“We have nothing to do with the government’s actions. It is our duty to obey God, and when they arrest you, Take no thought what you shall do. What you are to do is to follow Christ step by step. We need not commence weeks beforehand to examine the question and plan out what we will do when they do so and so, neither what we are to say. Study the truth, and the Spirit of the Lord will bring to your remembrance what you shall say. 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 37

“The light given me is that in our meetings the speakers should keep a reserve force, so that when the enemy begins to work, we need not resort to strange fire, become combative, and kind of throw the sword. We may thus betray the cause at the very point where victory is ours. If we should let loose of Jesus and take up our own spirit, it may take months, or perhaps years, to counteract that one wrong move. Unless many of us are converted and become as little children, we shall never see the kingdom of God. These are just the lessons we need to bring into our schools. They do not need science so much as these principles. 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 38

“In cases where we are brought before the courts, we are to give up our rights unless it brings us in collision with God. It is not our rights we are pleading for, but God’s right to our service. 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 39

“Instead of resisting the penalties imposed unjustly upon us, it would be better to take heed to the Saviour’s words: ‘When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another; for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.’” [Matthew 10:23.] 10LtMs, Ms 22a, 1895, par. 40