Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Lt 129, 1896

Miller, Sister

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, Australia

September 10, 1896 [Copied May 9, 1898]

Previously unpublished. +Note

Dear Sister Miller:

I have been awakened at one o’clock. I am unable to lay off the burden that is upon my soul. Your case has been presented before me. I speak to you especially as one who, as a mother of boys, is in a responsible position. When I was lying sick in Melbourne, the subject of Brother Miller’s going to America to learn more perfectly the methods of the publishing work was presented to me. He was to enter the Pacific Press Publishing House, and was then to return to Australia and use in the Echo Office the knowledge he had gained. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 1

My son, W. C. White, asked me whether I thought it advisable for this expense to be incurred in order to qualify Brother Miller for work in the Echo Office. Another obstacle was presented. Brother Miller wanted his family to go with him. W. C. White asked, Would I appropriate means sufficient to pay her passage, that she might accompany her husband. He assured me that Brother and Sister Miller would both receive much good by this move. I understood that this outlay of means was to help Brother Miller to become better qualified for work in the office, and I consented, for I knew that in America he would have opportunities and privileges that he would not have if he remained in the office at North Fitzroy. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 2

At first I thought that I could not advance the money. We were contemplating starting a school, and every dollar would be needed there. But I could see the situation of the office and its great need, and I knew from the light given me that Brother Miller needed the advantages of an experience in America. If I could remove the hindrances, I would. I talked with the Lord about it, and that night light came to me that Brother Miller should have every opportunity to obtain knowledge that would qualify him to do the work needed in the office. The work of the Lord must not be done in a bungling manner. Brother Miller’s brothers were also in a position to be helped, and if they would fear the Lord, He would increase their understanding and ability; if they would walk circumspectly before Him, He would give them wisdom. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 3

This investment of means, made by myself and the Australian Conference, was not for the purpose of qualifying Brother Miller to better serve his own private interests. It was made that he might better serve the cause of God. Wholly for this reason did I engage to act a part in sending Brother and Sister Miller to America. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 4

When Brother Miller returned to disconnect from the office, my heart was grieved within me, and I asked myself, Have we invested means for the purpose of placing Brother and Sister Miller where they could be a greater blessing to the cause of the work of God in Melbourne, only for them to follow their own inclinations by making arrangements to carry on business for themselves? 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 5

We are laborers together with God. Had the Lord been at Brother Miller’s right hand, had Brother Miller taken counsel of God, he would have returned from America to labor for God’s cause with increased knowledge, in hope and faith and courage. The Lord would have delighted in them both, and blessed them because they feared and honored Him. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 6

Brother Miller has had the advantages we were desirous that he could receive, but since his return from America, he has not been a help to the Echo Office. He has been planning largely for his own selfish interests. He has waited for an opportunity to sever his connection with the office. While at the Pacific Press, he laid plans to carry on business for himself, meaning to disconnect from the Echo Office if he were not placed at its head as manager. He cherished ambitious projects for his own interests. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 7

In the providence of God, who sees the end from the beginning, Brother Miller was not placed as manager in the Echo Office. God knew the thoughts of his mind. He knew that his heart was not right with God, and He permitted events to come about which revealed his thoughts. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 8

When Brother Miller returned from America, the Echo Office was laboring under a heavy pressure because of a dearth of means. Brother Miller took a discouraging view of matters at the office. He enlarged upon the objectionable features, and misrepresented matters, weakening the faith of others in its standing and prosperity. He made wrong statements. Although working at the time in the office, he was divorced in heart from true service. He refused to help when he might have helped if he had chosen. I was shown that he was prompted by the same spirit as was the one who began the work of disaffection in the heavenly courts. He took advantage of the financial embarrassment of the Echo Office to instill ideas into the minds of others. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 9

As our brethren, especially Brethren Daniells and Salisbury, investigated the financial standing, they found themselves in an embarrassing situation. Satan took advantage of this, and tempted them. An effort was made to curtail expenses, and Brother Miller proposed that he and Brother Woods should disconnect from the office and unite in business for themselves, thus relieving the office as far as their expenses were concerned. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 10

We are sorry to trace that this proposition was favorably received, and partially consented to, but a request was made for time to consult with Brother and Sister White before any advance moves were made. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 11

This matter was a test and trial from the Lord. But much unbelief was manifested, and many doubts were expressed. Had Brethren Daniells, Salisbury and Colcord looked in faith to God, they would have shown confidence in Him at this time. But Brother Salisbury, and especially Brother Daniells, saw the darkest side of the situation, and this gave Brother Miller a chance to carry out his plans. He had fully made up his mind to leave the office, and he now presented its financial standing in the worst light, making some think that it would not be long before the office was broken up, and the workers left to shift for themselves. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 12

The matter was laid before me, and I was asked if I had any advice to give. That night things that the Lord had shown me before I left America were revived in my mind. I was shown that there were in the office those that were not in a condition to resist temptation when hints were thrown out that the office would become involved, and collapse. Among the rest, Brother Miller’s case needed to be improved. There was danger of his planning, not openly and frankly, but in an underhanded way. If the capabilities entrusted to him were placed under the control of the Holy Spirit, he would be of great service to God, but if he followed the leading of his own mind, he would not appreciate the publishing institution in Melbourne as one of God’s instrumentalities, but as a common business firm. His battle is to be as true as steel to principle. His ideas are not wholesome or pure, but are marred by selfishness. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 13

Brother Miller is not inclined to receive the counsel, advice, or admonition from his brethren, for he looks upon his judgment as superior to theirs. His only hope of being an overcomer is to learn constantly in the school of Christ, rendering obedience to God at all times and in all places. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 14

From the very first of the work, the Lord has been giving His people light through His testimonies. But Brother Miller did not have that connection with God that would have enabled him to discern and appreciate these messages. The light given in counsel, in reproof, in instruction, he would not accept; for seeds of doubt had been dropped into his mind. His selfishness was strengthening. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 15

Brother Miller has not a faith or experience adapted to the soul’s pressing necessity or to the demands of a perishing world. Unless his ideas and principles are thoroughly changed, he will counterwork the work of God. As he now is, he cannot act as a faithful steward of the grace of God. God calls for men who are as true to steel to act a heroic part in the holy warfare against sin. But Brother Miller has not been learning in the school of Christ to be meek and lowly in heart; therefore the Holy Spirit cannot mold or fashion him to bear responsibilities in the church or in the office. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 16

I was shown that the Lord permits His instrumentalities to pass through seasons of trial and embarrassment, in order that hearts may be revealed, in order that the faith and true metal of the workers in His institutions may be tested and tried, [and] that they may be led in times of trouble to go to their heavenly Father in humility of heart, as children when in trouble go to their parents. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 17

The minds and hearts of the workers in the Echo Office needed cleansing from moral imperfection. The Lord has permitted trial to come to reveal unbelief, both in the hearts of those employed in the office and those in the church. They have been entrusted with the care of God’s instrumentality, that they might guard and sustain it as a sacred blessing and treasure, which will give character to the work of God. But by very many, this precious trust has never yet been seen in its true character. The Lord is displeased by the lack of faith and sanctified zeal shown by the workers and the church members in this His center. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 18

What do the larger number of members of the North Fitzroy church understand in regard to the Echo Office? Some do not understand its character at all. They regard it as they would any other worldly enterprise. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 19

Sister Miller, you have been doing a work that is according to the suggestions of the enemy, although you do not see that it is contrary to Christ. Imperceptibly, step by step, you have been led into false paths. In harmony with your son, you have insinuated your unbelief in the testimonies of the Spirit of God, whenever they have crossed your ideas. Those who link up in sympathy with you, discard the light that for the last fifty years, God has been giving to His people. Would you feel safe in continuing to follow the path you have been travelling? You are educating your children to regard lightly the Holy Spirit’s teaching. Your sons are also in danger of doing the same work. In time, in a short time only, the seeds of doubt and unbelief you are now sowing will produce a harvest that you will not care to reap. Into minds that have had temptation and trouble, you have insinuated doubt. You have used, not the sacred fire, but the sparks of the fire of your own kindling. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 20

Instead of being a help and blessing to the church, your words and spirit have created alienation, distrust, unbelief. Have you power to ransom the souls you have perplexed and led into temptation? Are you able to help these doubting ones to have confidence in the message the Lord may give me for them? What will you answer to the Lord in that great day when all are judged by their words and their works? You are hurting souls by your cruel, suspicious surmisings and evil-speaking. I am so sorry for your children. You have confused their faith, and when will it be pure, earnest, and sincere again? You have perverted their power to discriminate between sacred and common principles. For all these a sword shall pierce your own heart. You are imposing upon yourself burdens which, if you continue on in the way that you have been going, will lead to dire defeat. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 21

The interests of both worlds are equally concerned in the choice you are now making. Will you heed the words of admonition, and step back into safe paths, leaving your conscience free to approve a course of action that is righteous? God will then be free to strengthen, guide, and bless you. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 22

I would speak to those who have been shaken by words and sentiments that have their origin in self-seeking and selfish ambition. Whatever justification those who have spoken these words may claim for themselves, they cannot be trusted unless a transformation of character shall take place. All who are connected with the Echo Office are to remember that it is due to the institution for them to see where they have erred. When difficulties are to be encountered, do not receive the words of those who magnify difficulties, but stand saying, I will keep at my post of duty, and help the institution that has helped me. When true, staunch, loyal service is needed, I will be on hand. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 23

At this time no one can be neutral. An enemy has been among us; an important crisis has arrived. The interests of the cause of God demand action. Those connected with the Echo Office are to be its representatives, its sentinels, living witnesses of truth and righteousness. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 24

In the experience through which we have been passing, we may read a chapter of a betrayal of sacred trusts. From henceforth more effectual methods for the formation and vigorous maintenance of sound, uncorrupted sentiments, must be introduced. Let no one hereafter sin against God by seeking to weaken His institutions. Let no one be more solicitous for promotion than for principle. Every one should feel bound to manifest his principles to the world, and should strive with an intense interest to keep these principles plainly exposed to his own view. We are called upon to respect the principles that are sustained by the Word of God. The soul should be pervaded by a deep, abiding sense of the sanctity and power of Christ. The understanding, the heart, the conscience should work together to maintain pure, uplifting principles, strengthened by a conscious connection with the Spirit from which all light and inspiration is derived. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 25

God permits trials to come, that true, steadfast principles may be revealed in contrast with selfish, ambitious sentiments, which have been and are still entertained by some in the office. This trying process is our Rephidim. This will reveal gold of character, and show the faith cherished by some in the Lord’s instrumentalities. But the spirit that has been developed by others has shown that there are some who could never glorify God by occupying a leading position in His institution, unless they are convicted by the Holy Spirit, and experience a thorough conversion of heart, mind, and strength. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 26

This Rephidim will prove a blessing to the office and a blessing to the church, for it will lead to self-examination. The faith of many will be established on better principles. They will strive for higher moral perception and a better preparation for their various lines of work. Sincere, honest, God-fearing souls will see all things in a clearer light, and will walk in the light. Some minds now biased in a wrong direction will be set right, and will learn a lesson they will never forget. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 27

Trials are permitted to try the hearts of all who have any connection with the church and the Echo Office. They reveal how easily some souls are deceived and misled by temptation. When adversity comes, those who are inclined to view things in the worst light express their sentiments. By the experience through which the office has passed, it has been shown how much faith some of the professed believers of the truth have in God, and how much confidence they have in themselves. In some families the conversation carried on has left a wrong impression. Doubt and unbelief in regard to the mission God has given Sister White has been expressed. Was this seed you have sown in your conversation of a character to make your children wise unto salvation? Have not the remarks you have made in regard to those in the office, been such as will unsettle the simple trust and confidence of all, from children to those older in years? 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 28

Humanity has little enough respect and reverence for sacred things, and Satan has united most zealously with parents in the work of cherishing the spirit of unbelief, envy, jealousy, and disrespect. By this, injury which time alone will reveal has been wrought. One heart open to the suggestions of the enemy will sow many seeds of disaffection. Thus it has been at North Fitzroy, and the influence of this work has extended to the churches in the suburbs. 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 29

The Lord requires every one to co-operate with Him in keeping the standard uplifted. “Make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” [Hebrews 12:13-15.] 11LtMs, Lt 129, 1896, par. 30