Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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Lt 4, 1896

To the Men who occupy Responsible Positions in the Work

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, Australia

July 1, 1896

This letter is published in entirety in 17MR 181-195. +Note

Dear Brethren:

I cannot sleep after twelve o’clock, for matters have been laid open before me during the past night that have been presented to me from time to time since the Conference at Minneapolis. Some things which were then shown me, I could not fully comprehend, but I saw that methods were being devised and planned which would bring in corrupted principles. Some matters have been presented to me several times, in order that I might comprehend them. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 1

The light which God has been pleased to give me upon matters relating to His work, I cannot now fail to understand too distinctly, for the things which I have been shown have become realities. I presented no false vision before the men in Battle Creek [when] I said that some were handling responsibilities which they were not fitted to undertake. When men like A. R. Henry and Harmon Lindsay refuse to be worked by the Holy Spirit, and yet consent to accept important responsibilities, Satan takes possession of their minds, and plans and devises for them. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 2

When these men entered upon this work, they did not foresee the results, but step by step has been taken under the generalship of satanic agencies, who knew from the beginning what the results would be. Had they kept in touch with the divine character, they would not have done the work they have done, but while at Minneapolis they both closed their eyes to the light, and padlocked their hearts against evidence, in order that the Holy Spirit might not find entrance; and their course has testified to the result. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 3

When Elder Olsen linked himself with these men, he perverted his spiritual eyesight, and saw things in a strange light. He knew that they were resisting the Spirit of God, but thought that by uniting with them, he could convert them. The result has been contrary to this, for to a large degree, they have converted him. His clear discernment between right and wrong has been injured. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 4

From the beginnings of his work as president of the General Conference, Elder Olsen’s policy has been a mistake. Instead of upholding that which he knew to be according to the law of God, instead of standing firmly as a faithful guardian for those holy trusts which would keep the <great> heart of the work pure, at any apparent expense or financial loss, he has tried to occupy a position on both sides. He has not been altogether in harmony with the men I have referred to, but so much so that Satan has stolen a march upon him. Unconsciously he has been ensnared, and his principles of integrity and purity have been corrupted. God has been dishonored, and His Spirit has been grieved. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 5

Christ taught His disciples that the measure of divine attention bestowed on any of God’s work is proportionate to the rank which that object occupies in the scale of creation. The little brown sparrow, apparently the most inferior of birds, is watched over by Providence. Not one falls to the ground without the notice of our heavenly Father. The flowers of the field, the grass which clothes the earth with verdure—all share the notice and care of our heavenly Father. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 6

“Behold the fowls of the air,” Christ said, “they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature. And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” [Matthew 6:26-29.] If the lilies of the field are objects upon which the great Master Artist has bestowed care, making them so beautiful that they out-rival the glory of Solomon, the greatest king that ever wielded a scepter; if the grass of the field is made into a beautiful carpet for the earth, can we form any idea of the regard which God bestows upon man, who was formed in his image? 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 7

God has given man intellect in order that he may comprehend greater things than these beautiful objects in nature. He carries the human agent into a higher department of truth, leading the mind higher and still higher, and opening to him the divine mind. And in the book of God’s providence, the volume of life, each one is giving a page. That page contains every particular of his history. Even the hairs of his head are numbered. God’s children are never absent from His mind. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 8

And though sin existed for ages, seeking to counteract the merciful tide of love flowing from God to the human race, yet the love and care that God bestows upon the beings He has created in His own image has not ceased to increase in richness and abundance. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] He crowned His benevolence by the inestimable gift of Jesus. By this sacrifice, a healing flood of life and heavenly grace was poured upon our world. This was God’s gift to man—a gift that defies all computation. By giving His Son, God made it impossible for man to say that he could have done more; and the mind of man is put to the utmost stretch in the effort to comprehend this wonderful love. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 9

By thus pouring the whole of treasury of heaven into this world, by giving us in Christ all heaven itself, God purchased human affection and human ability. By yielding our minds to him, they will be cleansed from all selfishness and covetousness, and filled with unselfish love. The Lord directs every mind that will be captivated by His love, and reveals to it the mystery of godliness. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 10

But when sin entered the world, it corrupted men, so that every imagination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. For centuries God looked with patience and forbearance upon the awful presumption of the antediluvian world, and upon His broken law, which a degenerate race was trampling under foot. Then He came forth out of His hiding place, and punished the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, sweeping them away by a flood. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 11

But no sooner was the earth re-peopled than men resumed their hostility to God and heaven. They transmitted their enmity to their posterity, as though the art and device of misleading men, and causing them to continue the unnatural warfare, was a sacred legacy. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 12

Christ came to announce to our world that He had brought to men the donation of eternal life. “To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believed on his name.” [John 1:12.] But so constantly had satanic hatred against the law of God been cherished in the heart, and so widely had it spread throughout the entire race, that at the time of Christ’s advent, every human agent who showed friendship to God and advocated the law was accounted as a traitor to the common cause. A wakeful impiety was exercised by the enemies of God, and those who departed from evil made themselves a prey and were treated as enemies <to the welfare of man.> The principles of injustice and fraud were wide spread, and a masterly power was constantly at work, seeking to bring into confederacy the forces of evil. This contemptible confederacy of boasted of its power in the very face of heaven. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 13

The Lord of life and glory is coming the second time, without sin unto salvation; and I present the above picture for your consideration, for it has been presented to me as a representation of the state of things which <Satan is seeking shall> exist at Battle Creek. I might enlarge upon this subject, for it is deep and broad and high; but other matters must be presented before you. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 14

The men who have been connected with the greatest interests upon this earth have tainted and corrupted the work of God. The instrumentalities which He designs shall be used in advancing His cause have been used to forward unlawful schemes, which are in direct opposition to the work which God has specified as His, <and which He cannot vindicate.> God has been forsaken by <the> men who have voiced decisions regarding His work, which has thereby become entangled. Men have seemed determined to place the mold and superscription of their human wisdom upon the work of God. They refused to be worked by the Holy Spirit, and brought in their own wisdom and devising. The result of this has been seen in various ways. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 15

The sacred character of the cause of God is no longer realized at the center of the work. The voice from Battle Creek, which <has been> regarded as authority in <counselling> how the work should be done, is no longer the voice of God; but it is the voice of—whom? From whence does it come, and where is its vital power? This state of things is maintained by men who should have been disconnected from the work long ago. These men do not scruple to quote the Word of God as their authority, but the god who is leading them is a false god. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 16

Men whom we had reason to believe would maintain their integrity against all wrong have proved to be <unreliable,> unable to bear the test of trial. Brother H. W. Kellogg was not proof against the representations of Brother A. R. Henry and some others. Professedly, these men were working for the interests of the publishing institution, and though Brother Henry Kellogg at first declared that he would not adopt certain resolutions, or act upon certain methods, which he knew were not fair in business lines or in keeping with the way of the Lord, yet he finally accepted these propositions, which meant act after act of complicated robbery, robbery which was clothed in angels’ garments. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 17

I say complicated, for everything seemed to have reference to some other line and some other interest. This, <if you desire you can> define, but my guide cautioned me in no case to accept propositions coming from the board of directors of the publishing house in Battle Creek, for they meant robbery, robbery of those dependent upon the talents and abilities which God had given them. They meant robbery on the right hand and on the left, even more so than the men who advocated them could discern. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 18

I have been brought where I heard conversations which must not remain a secret much longer. Brother Kellogg should have stood firm to principle, listening to no flattering representations, for he had a much longer experience than many others. But he sanctioned methods that he should never have approved. Had he stood firm in the love and fear of God, had he borne the test, holy angels would have anointed his eyes with eyesalve; he would have seen the cupidity, selfishness, and oppression that were robbing God’s servants of their rights; he would have realized that the men who proposed these measures to him were actuated by unholy impulses and devisings, that they were men who did not plan with God. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 19

It is impossible to designate to what extent the false has taken the place of the true, or how far deceptive principles have been carried in business deal. But the father of deception has been working through men, and has taken possession of one line after another, working in an underhanded manner to gain control of the whole, and conduct the work on principles which would be carried out at the expense of integrity. Satan has spread his net to entangle souls, in order that religious instruction shall not come to the people in God’s way, but through men who would misapply, control, tear down, or exalt, just as they should see best. This deception took with Brother Henry Kellogg, and his approval gave strength to falsehood. The men who had power in their hands could then say, It is done. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 20

They met with similar success when it came to my nephew Frank Belden’s turn to be tempted. When he went to the office he was not prepared for the temptations which surrounded him, and he too sacrificed <right> principles. Thus the leaven worked. Others, whom I will not name, when brought into connection with the perverting influence, listened to representations that were not founded upon truth, but which were the inventions of human minds. All who adopted these resolutions confederated together to accomplish certain ends. They dismissed the Word of God from their counsels <in thus doing,> and consented to be guided by human influence in their high sphere of action. Thus souls were sacrificed on the altar of mammon. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 21

The men who originated these specious inventions nourished and cherished them until they believed them to be truth, and set aside the simplest, plainest, and most decided injunctions in the Word of God. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 22

Again and again I have been taken by my guide to hear words and assertions which were untrue, but which were spoken with great earnestness, in order to captivate the minds of men with reference to authors and their books, and in regard to money and how it should be used. This seemed to be a subject upon which A. R. Henry was crazed, but his enthusiasm was the inspiration of Satan, and by the influence of the tempter the moral depravity has spread, till their is danger that it will corrupt every right principles in the life of Brother Henry. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 23

Harmon Lindsay is no more pure in his integrity than is A. R. Henry. I have seen different ones come from interviews with them, dazed and bewildered, accepting theories concerning the course to be pursued toward their fellow men that were in direct contrast to the counsel of God. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 24

Those who have gone to Battle Creek for the purpose of attending the General Conference, have been leavened by this wrong influence. The mind of Philip Wessels was leavened and corrupted by the false representations made to him when there. He has retained the arguments of some of the men in responsible positions, and the result is seen in his separation from God and his work. The men who were supposed to be trustworthy betrayed their trust and so corrupted his principles that he can see nothing clearly. I pointed out his danger to him, but he would receive no message from me. The fact that Sr. White received royalties was the stumbling block which was placed before him in Battle Creek. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 25

I speak that which I have seen, and which I know to be true. The speculative spirit has been gaining supremacy in the Battle Creek publishing house, and oppression is seen in a marked degree. I must speak plainly, for a power from beneath, a power that works in the children of disobedience, is working in the men who are acting in opposition to the leading of the Holy Spirit. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 26

Speculations <for years> have been entered into by some in responsible positions for the purpose of erecting large buildings, which would give the idea of great prosperity. The men who have planned this, put forward as their reason that it would give character to the work, but the real reason is pride, selfishness, avarice, and covetousness. These large buildings would not be erected by self-denial and self-sacrifice on the part of the men to whom God has entrusted his work. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 27

Some seek to erect large buildings in order to give an impression of the blessing of God, while in their hearts they devise every possible plan to take from their brethren that which is their due. They have <evidenced [that] they have> no conscientious scruples in regard to receiving all that they can possibly grasp, for Satan gives them the impression that in their cruel business dealing, they are doing God a service. Large buildings can give no Christlike character to the work, be they ever so imposing. Correct principles maintained, a righteous character developed by those in God’s service, firm resistance against evil—these will do more to honor God than the finest buildings. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 28

“Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” [Jeremiah 9:23, 24.] 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 29

Not only have these men corrupted minds in Battle Creek, but they have carried their un-Christlike principles with them wherever they went. Elder Olsen made them his staff of honor, and as they accompanied him on his journeys, they tainted and corrupted the minds of the people <in various lines.> The president of the conference has no right to burden the conference with a multitude of cares which will endanger the truth of God in his own heart, and in the hearts of others. He must not spend his time in trying to assist men who have devised plans and methods of dealing with are unfair, and the men that do this should not be paid the highest wages ever paid any one in the Office. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 30

The president of the conference should learn whether the business transactions are carried on with the strictest integrity; he should know whether they are presided over by men who have pure, clean hands. His indignation should be aroused against the slightest approach to a mean, selfish action. Let one wrong deed be practiced and approved, and the second and third will follow in the same line of fraudulent deception. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 31

“Hear ye now what the Lord saith; arise, contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice.” “Wherewithal shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my first born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? The Lord’s voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name; hear ye that rod and who hath appointed it. Are there yet treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abominable? Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights? For the rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.” [Micah 6:1, 6-12.] 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 32

This Scripture is applicable to those who, unwilling that any besides themselves shall have a chance, have been devising and planning to make merchandise of their fellow men. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 33

I have been shown that some <men> worked with Elder Smith, in an underhanded manner, in order to lead him to place the lowest possible royalties on his books. Elder Smith was deceived in <the object of> these men; he thought that they were really trying to advance the cause of God; and they obtained their desire. Then they came to me and to others, telling us that Brother Smith only received so much for his books, and urging them that canvassers would rather handle books that would sell rapidly. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 34

But the night after this plea was made, the matter was opened before me. I saw that they had visited Brother Smith, and obtained his consent to a low royalty, in order that they might present this as that which I and others should do. This was obtaining terms of royalty by fraud. I was shown the spirit that prompted these men to action. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 35

In the days of Nehemiah “there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews. For there were that said, We, our sons, and our daughters are many; therefore we take up corn for them, that we may eat, and live. Some also there were that said, We have mortgaged our lands, vineyards, and houses, that we might buy corn, because of the dearth. ... Yet now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children; and lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and some of our daughters are brought into bondage already; neither is it in our power to redeem them; for other men have our lands and our vineyards. And,” writes Nehemiah, “I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words.” [Nehemiah 5:1-3, 5, 6.] 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 36

I have heard from many the cry of unjust dealing, and knowing something of the inward working of these matters, I have been stirred with indignation. For years men have been working contrary to God’s Word, ignoring judgment and justice. Shall we be compelled to follow the same course pursued by Nehemiah? We read of him, “I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one against his brother. And I set a great assembly against them.” “Also I said, It is not good that ye do: ought ye not to walk in the fear of our God, because of the reproach of the heathen our enemies? I likewise and my brethren, and my servants might exact of them money and corn: I pray you, let us leave off this usury.” “The former governors that had been before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver, ... but so did not I, because of the fear of God.” [Verses 7, 9, 10, 15.] 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 37

Shall we call a halt? Shall we present the condition of things to the people? The most inconsistent plans have been devised by men whose minds were not moved by the Holy Spirit. Men have striven to bring their fellow men under their jurisdiction, but we cannot endorse their actions, for God regards not those who practice oppression, who make man an offender for a word, and who lift up and cast down at their pleasure, placing men in close places, that they may gain their own unjust ends. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 38

Any one who has had courage, moral courage, to call these things by their right name, and who has refused to be drawn into the net spread for the unwary, who would not be robbed without making a protest, were not looked upon with favor by those with whom they disagreed. Members of councils and boards who would not uphold exaction and double dealing, but who took a firm stand for the right, were not invited to be present at the meetings where these plans were discussed. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 39

A great crisis is coming upon us. If men still yield to men, as they have been doing for the last fifteen years, they will lose their own souls, and their example will lead others astray. God’s soldiers must put on the whole armor of God. We are not required to put on human armor, but to gird ourselves with God’s strength. If we keep God’s glory ever in view, our eyes will be anointed with the heavenly eyesalve; we will be able to look deeper, and see afar off what the world is. As we discern its dishonesty, its craftiness, its selfish eye service, its pretence, and its boasting, its want of fair honest dealing in the ordinary intercourse of life, and its grasping covetousness, we can take our stand, by precept and example, to represent Christ, and convert <souls from> the world by our sound principles, our firm integrity, our hatred of all dissembling, and our holy boldness in acknowledging Christ. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 40

Do not let the world convert you. Hold fast your profession of faith, maintaining your religious principles firmly but not stubbornly <refusing light.> Your religion cannot be in any other man’s keeping. Honor the cross of Christ, and the cross will honor you. Let every man stand in God, not to be bought, not to be sold, but to reveal a Christian fortitude. Serve no man through fear of what that man can do <to you> that is disagreeable. Christians you cannot be if you depend on any other man’s conscience. Christ died to give men moral independence, freedom to exercise their God-given ability. His servants are to be circumscribed by no man or council of men unless they have decided evidence that the men or council of men are worked by the Holy Spirit. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 41

God has given us all that we possess. It all belongs to Him, and we are not to sit at the footstool of any man to obey his orders, for God has made us free moral agents. He requires us to preserve our moral independence and not be bound about by any man. Our consciences are to be controlled by no power on earth. The Holy Spirit will work upon minds if we will hearken to its faintest whispers. It is the voice of your Advocate in the heavenly courts. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 42

There has been merchandise carried on in our institutions. Why have my brethren upheld and sanctioned wrong? Why have they allowed their judgments to be controlled by those who neither fear God nor regard man? Why have their principles of right and justice been swayed and guided by another mind in matters of conscience? They may think it a better mind and a better judgment; but they are not to exchange their judgment for that of another man. Place your will and mind where the Holy Spirit can reach it, for it will not work on another man’s mind and conscience to reach yours. But those whom it was thought had pure religious principles have shown themselves too ready to give up their own religion for that of another man. 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 43

God’s servants are to resist sternly any deviation from righteous principles. Nehemiah took his stand decidedly against the first encroachment of man’s rights. He had his own brother officers to meet, but he separated himself from them and rebuked their plans to obtain control of everything. He stood as a reprover, frowning down their course, which was contrary to the Bible standard of righteousness. When urged to confederate with them in their course of injustice, he gave a decided testimony, “So did not I, because of the fear of God.” [Verse 15.] 11LtMs, Lt 4, 1896, par. 44