Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Lt 5, 1896

To those in Responsible Positions in Battle Creek


December 18, 1896

This letter is published in entirety in 1888 1628-1635.

Dear Brethren:

I tell you in the name of Jesus that those who teach <and work> the most effectively and those who devise and execute plans for the glory of God are those who wait humbly upon God, who wait and watch hungrily for His guidance and His grace. The Lord has pledged His word to give to him that is athirst of the water of life freely. This will be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. He promises to satisfy the deepest and the most urgent wants of his children. 11LtMs, Lt 5, 1896, par. 1

The prayer of Paul for his brethren was that they might be filled with all the fulness of God. Those who are thus filled will never disappoint us or grieve the Spirit of God. They are more anxious to be rich in faith and abundant in experience than to possess the richest treasure that earth can give, for they have Christ in the soul as the well spring of life. And what then? They reveal a fountain of inward piety, making it manifest that they have the mind of Christ, and that they live and breathe in a pure, wholesome atmosphere. 11LtMs, Lt 5, 1896, par. 2

My brethren, how could you think that the Lord would direct His people to place confidence in the men that are working in council in Battle Creek? Would the Lord lead those in your councils to reach out the arm of power to gather in more and more responsibilities, loading down the General Conference with the new order of things, and with new methods? Would He direct them to take the responsibility of embracing everything? Consider the spiritual condition of those who are willing to accept the position of stewards of money, stewards of other men’s consciences. If you had any just sense of what these things involve, you would not venture in such a line, even though you had twice the talent you now possess. You simply do not know yourselves what you are about. In order to manage the responsibilities connected with the essential work of the Conference, a board of men who understand justice and equity is needed. They should be able to take in the situation of the work at the very place where they are located, where so many people are collected together. 11LtMs, Lt 5, 1896, par. 3

Not one twentieth part of the home missionary work is being done in Battle Creek that should be done to set things in order in the large business establishment of the public house. A most thorough reformation is needed at the heart of the work, and yet there is such blindness, such blindness, that men have allowed things to drift as they have. Where are the men who have the fear of God before them, who love God, who love their fellow men, who feel a tender regard for the youth, who can be trusted with the work? Where is the man who can act as president of the General Conference in its present tangled, confused, crippled condition? Any man, even though he did his very best, would now be criticized and regarded with suspicion, because the people have been educated to look to Battle Creek as the power of God, the sanctuary where dwells the presence of God. 11LtMs, Lt 5, 1896, par. 4

O that men would learn to consider and to move cautiously where sacred responsibilities are to be borne. If the people only knew the true inwardness of the management at Battle Creek and the workings for a few years past, many would start back with pain and horror. I fear that their faith would be so uprooted that they would never again have faith. Why do not men consider? Why are they not slow to move when taking up new methods and when grasping increased responsibilities under the management of men who do not hesitate to assume the responsibility of other men’s consciences and other men stewardship? 11LtMs, Lt 5, 1896, par. 5

There are men at the heart of the work who do not realize their responsibilities. They do not realize how many there are who are in positions of trust who have not a correct knowledge of God, whom to know aright is life eternal. They know not what it means to sanctify the Lord God in their hearts. They do not know what it means to make God their fear and their dread. Had they known this, they would now be humble men, fearing God, the living God. But like Jehu, they have been driving furiously forward, to assume burdens which they cannot carry. It is because men know so little of true godliness, because they have so little genuine experience in the building up, little by little, of the work and cause of God, that they make long strides without God to lead the way. 11LtMs, Lt 5, 1896, par. 6

I beseech you to seek God, emptied of self. You will then be in a favorable position to be taught. Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts. He is high and exalted, and the train of His glory fills the temple. He is too wise to err or to be deceived, too just to be biased by any human opinions, too mighty to be resisted, too great and awful in His majesty to be contemplated. Read Isaiah’s description of what he saw, and as you read, bow low in the dust before Him. Reverence the Lord of hosts. 11LtMs, Lt 5, 1896, par. 7

Self-abasement is highly appropriate for all who handle sacred things in Battle Creek. Self is to be abased, not now and then, but continually. God has commanded you to put sacred fire upon your censer, but you have used common fire altogether too much. There are men who, if God allowed it, would assume absolute control over the mind and conscience of their fellow men, though they know not by experience what self-control is. The Lord may forgive your iniquity, and O, if the Lord will in His great mercy turn His face toward you, appreciate His love as you have never done before. In proportion as you, who stand as guardians of faith and trust, have correct views of God and His holiness and glory, your fear to offend Him will increase. This is positively essential before you can be where God can impress your minds by giving you views of Himself. 11LtMs, Lt 5, 1896, par. 8

Sometimes the case seems hopeless to me, because you have been treading in the very footsteps of the Jewish nation. You are repeating their history. The whole heavenly universe is astonished at the spiritual condition of things in Battle Creek. Now and then there is a comfortable, easy feeling, but this is not the deep moving of the Spirit of God. All heaven sees that if you had a more correct experimental knowledge of the truth, you would never assume jurisdiction and command over your fellow men as you have done. You would never think that you could take control of the great interests all over the field, nigh and afar off. It is because of a departure from God that such gross ignorance in regard to the management of His work has come in. 11LtMs, Lt 5, 1896, par. 9

You have given the heavenly intelligences no chance to co-operate with you, for you suppose yourselves to be wise in judgment and in making decisions. Your supreme love for self is an over-mastering power. You know not by practice what genuine love for your neighbor means. But Christ says, “Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” [James 2:10.] It is, as you may know by Adam’s transgression, not the greatness of the act that constitutes it a sin, but the fact that you are at variance with God’s expressed will in the least particular. This shows that sin reigns in your heart. You still have communion with the enemy, and you cherish his attributes. The heart is divided. There has been a virtual denial of the Holy Spirit of God and a rebellion against His law. 11LtMs, Lt 5, 1896, par. 10

Were men permitted to have their will and their way with regard to their fellow men, their brethren in the faith, we have had a representation of what would be if God’s hand did not cover His people. Such positions I have never seen assumed by Seventh-day Adventists. I have been made to appreciate the value of the human soul, and have some little sense of how much one soul is valued by God. Then I have been shown how little men value the souls for whom Christ has died. 11LtMs, Lt 5, 1896, par. 11

A spirit that has ruined the faith and corrupted the principles of many has had a controlling power in the office of publication in Battle Creek, and to a large extent has pervaded the whole office. The little respect shown to some of those employed has done much harm. This spirit has been exercised toward men far more righteous than those in position of trust. Again and again my soul has been agonized beyond expression over these things, as they have been transacted before me. You have departed far out of the way. By unfair practices you have perverted your sense of righteousness. The love of self predominates, and the love of Christ is almost extinguished. 11LtMs, Lt 5, 1896, par. 12

No action is transacted toward one of your fellow men in which God is not concerned. He is the eternal, universal guardian of justice. You cannot get away from His presence, if you would. He takes part against all who would commit one act of wrong against their fellow men, high or low, rich or poor. His own hand is spread out as a buckler over the rights of brother toward brother. No man can wound or bruise the soul or rights of his brother without smiting against the hand of justice which holds the sword. 11LtMs, Lt 5, 1896, par. 13

Were men free to depart from the Lord’s requirements and could set up standards of duty for themselves, there would be a variety of standards set up, to suit different minds. Men would feel competent to take the government out of the Lord’s hands, and act as gods themselves. The law of self would be exalted. The will of men would be made supreme, and the high and holy will of God, His purpose of love toward His heritage would be dishonored and disrespected. When men feel free to choose their own way, they are in controversy with God. There is no place for gods in the heaven above. God is the only true God. He fills all heaven. Those who now submit to His will shall see His face; His name will be in the foreheads of all who are pure and holy. 11LtMs, Lt 5, 1896, par. 14

All who work for God in our land should have the Martha and the Mary attributes blended. Self and selfishness must be put out of sight. God calls for earnest women workers, who are prudent, warm-hearted, tender, and true to principle. He calls for persevering women, who will think far less of self and their personal conveniences, who will take their minds from self, and center them on Christ, speaking words of truth, praying with the persons to whom they can obtain access, laboring for the conversion of souls. Lukewarm, self-indulgent, self-centered, covetous souls will be found to be the chief stumbling blocks to the work of God. Those are to be found in every enterprise that God has instituted. 11LtMs, Lt 5, 1896, par. 15

Those who work for God will find some people inapproachable. They appear to be offended that you should invade the privacy of their faith and devotion, and do not look graciously upon those who are workers together with God. These workers must look away from self to Jesus, giving careful attention to the directions found in His Word. Christ must be formed within, the hope of glory. The soul must be divested of all self-complacency. Look away from self to Jesus. Make a most earnest effort to imitate your Pattern, Christ Jesus. The human agents who are working together with God will have the spirit of prayer. They will strive to have transcribed on their hearts and expressed in their lives the holiness and righteousness of the Son of God. No stiff Pharisaism will be seen, but forbearance, mercy, love, humility, and peace will appear in their lives. 11LtMs, Lt 5, 1896, par. 16

O what is our excuse, my sisters, that we do not devote all the time possible to searching the Scriptures, making the mind a storehouse of precious things, that we may present them to those who are not interested in the truth. Will our sisters arise to the emergency? Will they work for the Master? They must have the Spirit of Christ as well as being called by His name. They must walk even as He walked, purifying their souls from everything that defileth, even as Christ is pure. When Christ died to redeem the entire human race from ruin, he certainly meant greater things than our eyes have witnessed. The Lord never intended that the very large majority of the people in the world should die in their sins. 11LtMs, Lt 5, 1896, par. 17