Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Lt 88, 1896

Prescott, Brother and Sister [W. W.]

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, Australia

September 1, 1896

This letter is published in entirety in 1888 1616-1620.

Dear Brother and Sister Prescott:

Today I was informed that the paper states that the steamer for Africa leaves tomorrow. I shall send you some enclosures, but I am sorry that I did not learn sooner that the boat was to leave tomorrow. 11LtMs, Lt 88, 1896, par. 1

We have received two letters from you, and two from Elder Haskell. Before receiving these, I had begun a letter to you, expressing my surprise that we did not hear from you. I thought that if you were so busy that you could not write, Sister Prescott might communicate with us. 11LtMs, Lt 88, 1896, par. 2

Yesterday we sent off a large American mail. I did not think it prudent to write today, and will respond to your questions by sending you copies of letters which I have written upon the subject which you mention—the question of the inconsistency of sending to Battle Creek for counsel, leaving them to decide questions which concern far off parts of the world. 11LtMs, Lt 88, 1896, par. 3

The matter in regard to centralizing all the power in one body in Battle Creek has become serious. From the light given me, I see that this administration is embracing altogether too much, and is trying to carry burdens and interests which it has not strength or wisdom from heaven to bear, or to conduct successfully. The Lord is just as willing to impart wisdom and ability to men in distant fields as He is to impart wisdom and ability to the men in Battle Creek. 11LtMs, Lt 88, 1896, par. 4

There are general matters about which it will be necessary to consult the business men in Battle Creek, but a few men in that place should not be depended upon to pass resolutions with reference to local affairs <in countries they know nothing of.> They are not on the ground, and they cannot take in the situation. The Lord is willing to lead the ministers and missionaries in distant countries. He is willing to guide them in the superintendence of their work. 11LtMs, Lt 88, 1896, par. 5

If, after being tried, men prove to be failures, let them be relieved, and others chosen in their place, not ministers only, but men who can give counsel, and devise plans and methods which will be for the advancement of the work of God. Distant conferences should not be compelled to depend upon Battle Creek to manage for them. In every country men should be appointed to assist the presidents of the different conferences. The carrying forward of the message should be entrusted to willing men, men who, in the fear of God, will minister in His service. As these men do their best, according to their ability, working with a deep, earnest love for the souls for whom Christ has died, God will help them. 11LtMs, Lt 88, 1896, par. 6

Separate councils of administration should be appointed. These councils should exercise supervision over the work where sanitariums and schools are being established, and wherever important interests are located. Those who are accepted as members of these councils, as being men capable of taking an active interest in the instrumentalities for the advancement of the work and cause of God, should be allowed to work. It is not in the order of God that men, supposed to be men of mind and judgment, should lay aside their privilege of acting for themselves to depend on the decisions of the councils at Battle Creek. 11LtMs, Lt 88, 1896, par. 7

If the Lord has located His sanctuary at Battle Creek, and in no other place, it is right and sensible to refer all questions to that place. But we know that He presides over every portion of His moral vineyard. To every man, according to his ability, He has given work, and this work is to be done. 11LtMs, Lt 88, 1896, par. 8

In order that the Lord’s work be done, councils in different localities must decide important matters without waiting for the decisions of the councils at Battle Creek. The men at Battle Creek are no more inspired to give unerring advice than are the men in other places, to whom the Lord has entrusted the work in their locality. 11LtMs, Lt 88, 1896, par. 9

Let men seek the Lord for wisdom. Let Him be inquired of and depended on. Finite men must not be depended on to decide what shall be done and what shall not be done in far distant fields. All should remember that if the Lord has a special work in any vicinity, all heaven is interested in that work. 11LtMs, Lt 88, 1896, par. 10

Those whom is entrusted the privilege of being laborers together with God must accept the invitation of Christ, “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.] Why then do we carry our burdens to our fellow men, asking them to bear them for us? If the Lord has placed us in positions of responsibility, why do we, instead of asking Him for wisdom, go to our fellow men? In yoking up with Christ, we link ourselves with One who is mighty in counsel, One who never makes a mistake. 11LtMs, Lt 88, 1896, par. 11

When power is exercised by men <over men,> they must give evidence that their power and their wisdom comes from the source of all power and wisdom. If men use their power to do strange deeds, and link themselves with men whose influence is not Christlike, it is dangerous to put confidence in them. “Learn of me,” said Christ, “for I am meek and lowly in heart.” [Verse 29.] 11LtMs, Lt 88, 1896, par. 12

This self-sufficient, over-bearing spirit, which desires to rule others, is an element which men have received from beneath. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.] 11LtMs, Lt 88, 1896, par. 13

The church of Christ must depend on the source of all power for its efficiency. Christ is all and in all. The great sin which has been entering the ranks of Seventh-day Adventists is the sin of exalting man and placing him where God should be. This was demonstrated at Minneapolis. There are few who will be pleased to meet the record of the transactions of that conference—how long and hard the battle was, before men could be led to see that they were only men, finite, erring men, and that God was dishonored by men making flesh their arm. 11LtMs, Lt 88, 1896, par. 14

When Satan has found that men at the very heart of the work refuse to admit the truth for this time, he has worked upon these men, leading them to bring in principles and methods and plans which have clothed <that> acting power with robes of darkness and uncertainty. Conscience violated becomes a tyrant over other consciences. 11LtMs, Lt 88, 1896, par. 15

It is not right that minds should be directed to look to Battle Creek for advice upon everything. In every place there are special interests which must be managed according to the circumstances which present themselves. At times there is necessity that action be taken at once. But if the people are educated to think that nothing can be done by local councils, unless the matter is referred to Battle Creek, the conferences are made weak, dependent, and one-sided. 11LtMs, Lt 88, 1896, par. 16

God is the ruler of His people; and He will teach those who give their minds to Him how to use their brains. As they employ their executive ability, they will grow in efficiency. The Lord’s heritage is made up of vessels large and small, but each one has his individual work. The mind of one man, or the minds of two or three men, are not to be depended on as certain to be safe for all to follow. Let all look to God, trust in Him, and believe fully in His power. Yoke up with Christ, and not with men, for men have no power to keep you from falling. 11LtMs, Lt 88, 1896, par. 17

I want to say something in regard to the work here. Souls are coming into the truth. Last Sabbath several were present at the meeting who have been attending Bible readings <held in several localities.> Two young men by the name of Symons have taken their position for the truth. Others are interested. But I must write no more now. It is about seven o’clock, and Maggie must copy this tonight, ready for tomorrow morning’s mail. 11LtMs, Lt 88, 1896, par. 18

Love to your family and to your niece. 11LtMs, Lt 88, 1896, par. 19