Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Lt 124, 1896

White, J. E.

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

August 9, 1896

This letter is published in entirety in 1888 1816-1821.

Dear Son Edson:

We have received a letter from Captain Eldridge. He claims that you owe him one hundred dollars. 11LtMs, Lt 124, 1896, par. 1

When light was given me in reference to Captain Eldridge’s relation to the work in the Office, I saw that his ability and talents were overrated. He did not give an equivalent for the high wages he received, even from a business standpoint. In regard to the religious side of the question, he was not to be depended on. He did not conscientiously maintain principle. He worked in a way that could not receive God’s endorsement. 11LtMs, Lt 124, 1896, par. 2

In regard to the canvassing business, he and _____ knew very well that they could swing things as they pleased: for they had the inside track. But they had no more respect for the testimonies than for any other literary production, and left them far behind, unnoticed and neglected. They put Bible Readings in the place of Great Controversy. I was treated by them with an indifference savoring of contempt. They had the power which position, but not the Lord, gave them, and the wages allotted them were contrary to the principles which the Lord had revealed as those that should ever be strenuously maintained. 11LtMs, Lt 124, 1896, par. 3

It was this that made me willing to leave my home in Battle Creek. It was as though I was drawn away by the shape matters assumed. The Lord was willing for it to be so; but I had not one ray of light that He would have me come to this country. I came in submission to the office of the General Conference, which I have ever maintained to be authority. I have no wish to return to America. I feel a holy indignation striving within my soul as I review the past eight years. Testimony after testimony has been sent from God to those in our publishing houses and to the managers of the work who stand at the very head; but they have turned away from the God-given light, to listen to the voice of men. 11LtMs, Lt 124, 1896, par. 4

However skillful Captain Eldridge may have been in guiding vessels upon the high seas, he was incapable of managing the responsibilities at the heart of the work. Had he been converted and sanctified, and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, his qualifications would have presented a far different showing. But he was connected with men who were not connected with God. There was not that harmony and love in the hearts of the workers, high or low, which could have made them strong and efficient, a complete whole. Those who were connected to the most sacred work ever given to men in these last days—the work of preparing a people to stand in moral integrity as representatives of the character and work of Christ—dishonored God by mingling selfishness with the work. Man-made methods and practices that the Word of God has positively refused to acknowledge were brought in. The wisdom of finite men was placed in opposition to the wisdom of God. 11LtMs, Lt 124, 1896, par. 5

The sophistries used by selfish, avaricious men, to bring in self-serving, were wrong from the very first. Their wisdom was earth-born, and the Lord declared He would blow upon all that was acquired in this way. All their ability, all their talents, were lent them by God; they did not create them. Had they been eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God, what would have been their experience? “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.” “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father, ... even so he shall live by me.” [John 6:56, 57.] 11LtMs, Lt 124, 1896, par. 6

Not one of these men who were so very masterly in their efforts to uplift self, not one of those who put so high an appreciation upon their wisdom and their ability to manage, was first managed by the Holy Spirit. These men failed to remember the words spoken by lips that will not lie, “Without me ye can do nothing” (aright, as it should be done). [John 15:5.] 11LtMs, Lt 124, 1896, par. 7

Unless men study God’s Word and practice His teachings to the letter, rendering willing obedience to Him, they will have no more moral wisdom to discern the spiritual import of the words of Christ than had the disciples who were offended, and left Him. Messages may be brought to them from the Lord, but these messages will be just as incomprehensible as the words spoken by our Saviour to His disciples. Like the disciples, the will see some ideas that offend them. They will think that some fundamental doctrines are in peril. 11LtMs, Lt 124, 1896, par. 8

Poor, weak, foolish, finite men! They think they understand what they are talking about, yet they are acting like blind men. In some of their sayings they are no more under the divine enlightenment than were the disciples who were offended at the words of Christ, and walked no more with Him. Whom did these disciples follow? Another leader. 11LtMs, Lt 124, 1896, par. 9

In this way men at the heart of the work have been acting. But to whom are they responsible for their reason and ability. “As I live by the Father, so he that eateth me shall live by me.” [John 6:57.] Unless those who are connected with the work of God bring the words of Christ into their every day practice, they will see something at which to be offended, as did the disciples, and will turn away from Christ. “It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” [Verse 63.] 11LtMs, Lt 124, 1896, par. 10

“From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” They never recovered from the offense they had received because of His words. “Then said Jesus to the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” [Verses 66-69.] 11LtMs, Lt 124, 1896, par. 11

As all divine wisdom comes from God, to whom are men, whether of high or low degree, responsible for every capability and reasoning power, but to God? If left to themselves, they will soon reveal their natural temperaments; unsanctified selfishness will be exhibited; human wisdom will occupy the throne of the heart. Men supposed to be sensible men, having discerning minds, will follow their own light, light which heaven has not originated. They will use strange fire in their service, but the Lord will not accept them. When these men see their own inefficiency, and discern how small all their human calculations are, they will realize that without a living connection with God, their influence will be misleading. They will see that the advancement and healthy growth of God’s work is not dependent upon unsanctified men. 11LtMs, Lt 124, 1896, par. 12

God chooses men of a humble and contrite spirit through whom He can work, and imparts to them His wisdom. They are little in their own eyes, and will not interpret success as the result of their own smartness, but will glorify God. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord.” [Zechariah 4:6.] If men are entrusted with great responsibilities, this is no assurance of their fitness for their position. The assurance comes after test and trial. If they evidence that they sense their own weakness, if they make God their trust, the Lord will supply them with His wisdom. If they ask in faith, they will increase in knowledge and ability. If they depend upon God day by day, the stages of development will show a symmetrical growth heavenward. If they walk day by day in humility and contrition and wholeheartedness, in the strictest integrity doing justice to their fellow men, showing reverence and honor to God by being obedient and true to Him, keeping the living principles of righteousness, God will honor them. 11LtMs, Lt 124, 1896, par. 13

The path of sincerity and integrity is not a path free from all obstruction. In the place of becoming faint-hearted and discouraged, those to whom God has entrusted responsibilities are to see in every difficulty a call to prayer. They are to consult, not finite men, who are boastful and show a masterly independence, but the great Teacher who has given to every man his work in His vineyard. They are to be faithful workers, always in co-partnership with the great Worker. Then they will not call slackly done work faithful and thorough service. They will stand fast against wrong, discerning the right from the wrong, the evil from the good. They will appreciate that which God estimates. There is no favoritism with God; and no partiality, no hypocrisy should be introduced or maintained in our households, churches, or institutions. 11LtMs, Lt 124, 1896, par. 14