Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 5, 1897

Remarks Made by Sister White at a Council Meeting Held January 17, 1897


January 17, 1897

Previously unpublished.

The meeting I had with Brother Lawrence on Friday was very encouraging to me. I felt that the Lord had been working with Brother Lawrence. He said that he did not want the work to stop; he wanted it to go deep; he wished everything that was hindering him to be taken out of the way. That is the position every one of us should take. We should desire that everything that is hindering our spiritual advancement be removed. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 1

I have heard something in regard to the sale of a horse by the Board to Brother Lawrence. The facts in reference to it were laid before me. I thought that we had better have this matter understood, so that it could be put in right order, for Brother Hare must give an account of this horse, and of his disposition of it, and I must say, I was very much astonished at the way this matter has been managed. I do not think Brother Hare can render a very good account, and I want it brought out so that we shall understand it. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 2

A statement made by Brother Hare in regard to the sale of the horse was then read, after which Sister White said: 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 3

These things should be straightened out. We want Brother Lawrence to go free. He want him to feel that he is free. In his blindness Brother Lawrence has looked only to himself, studied himself, figured for himself. There ought to be a different showing. There ought to be a change in this respect. I am glad that Brother Lawrence has paid Brother McCann. It was right and just to do this. I am glad that he has turned the cow over to the school, because, under the circumstances, it seemed the right thing to do. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 4

Now we want to understand about the horse trade, because from the light that I have received, it has been next to an impossibility for Brother Lawrence to purchase anything unless it was put down to the lowest figure. But if he wished to dispose of anything, he wanted the highest that he could get. In these lines he has educated himself, but they are not the right lines to work on. We must follow the principles laid down by our Saviour when He was enclosed in the pillar of cloud. He spoke to Moses and told him what principles should guide the people. We should study those principles a great deal more than we do. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 5

We are called the Israel of God, and we should follow closely the principles given by Christ in regard to our conduct one toward another, for we shall one day meet Him who gave these principles face to face. They apply to us just as surely as they did to the children of Israel, and they will be alive in the judgment. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 6

I desire that Brother Lawrence shall free his soul. But it is going to be as hard as death for him to change his practice of accepting things at the lowest price, and when disposing of them, selling them at the highest figure. This practice is killing his soul; unless it is given up, it will draw from it every particle of sap and nourishment. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 7

The principles he has followed are wrong from the very beginning, wrong from the very start. If he ever recovers from the way he has treated those with whom he has had dealings, it will be by the help of God. By giving His life for the world Christ has placed a high value upon human beings; and when we deal with our fellow men, we are dealing with God’s property. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 8

No matter what the transaction was, it was for Brother Lawrence, when he saw that it was taking too much from the school, to refuse to accept the terms. No matter whether Brother White or Brother Hare made the arrangements, if Brother Lawrence’s vision had been clear, he would have seen that they were cheating themselves. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 9

We should work in this way: Supposing I enter into a business transaction with Brother Hare. I do not clearly understand the matter, but after he has explained it to me, I accept his terms. Afterwards, in looking over the matter, Brother Hare sees that I am being wronged. It is his place to say, “This is not right. I am giving Sister White a poor chance.” Then he should come and explain matters to me, that I shall not cheat myself. This is the right way to look at it. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 10

I know that everything has been done to keep Brother Lawrence here, and keep him satisfied. I said to Willie, “You have gone just as far in trying to keep Brother Lawrence satisfied as you ought to. I know that God does not approve of it. You are encouraging his selfishness, selfishness that God despises.” I told him that this thing had been a great trouble to me, because I saw matters differently from him. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 11

Willie seemed to think that we ought to do all we could to keep Brother Lawrence here, because if he went away dissatisfied, his influence would not be good. But this matter was opened before me. I saw the past, present, and future, and how matters would go, just as plainly as if it had been written in a book. Therefore, I feel that this is a matter of life and death, that everything that is wrong should be cut up by the roots. If Brother Lawrence would crucify his avaricious spirit, if he would refuse to accept it, if he would drop it as he would drop a serpent that was stinging him to death, he would be the man for the place. It is stinging him to death; it is driving all right principles out of his heart. This is why I felt encouraged by my talk with him on Friday. I saw that an opening had been made. If we would kill his avaricious spirit, if he would commence to work as God would have him, God could work with him, and use him. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 12

But it has been opened plainly before me that Brother Lawrence thinks that his labors are worth more than they are. He cannot accomplish the work that he thinks he can. He places a higher value on his labors than they can bear. A younger man could come in and do as much harder work than Brother Lawrence, and for less wages. But because Brother Lawrence could not have what he thought he ought to have, it has been represented to me that for weeks and weeks he sat on the enemy’s idle stool, tempting the devil to tempt him, tempting him to fill his mind with conjectures and doubts, and count this thing an offense and that thing an offense when they were not offenses at all. Brother Shannon never would have taken the position he has unless others had set the example of doing nothing. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 13

When a man is in the prime of life, he can do much work. But when he gets beyond the prime of life, he cannot possibly do the work he could do when he was younger. It is not right for a man who has grown old to demand such and such wages. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 14

Brother Lawrence knows very little of the true missionary spirit, although he came out here, that his religious influence might help to upbuild the cause and work of God. This has been a terrible disappointment. If he had been a faithful sentinel, when matters were being arranged for the sale of the horse he would have gone to his brethren and said, You are cheating yourselves; I do not want you to do this. Had he done this, he would have raised himself in the estimation of God, who has said, “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; yea, a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” [Isaiah 13:12.] 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 15

Brother Lawrence says that he wants this work to go deep. I do, and as one of God’s children, I felt that this matter must be taken hold of. He must see it as it is. Not for the value of the horse; no, no; for the value of his own soul, for the value of correct principles, for the value of the right that should be seen and understood. Every one should understand it. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 16

I have tried to present before our people how we should deal one with another, and if ever God helped me, He helped me when I spoke to the students in the hotel, trying to present Christian principles. “Ye are laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] If we profess to be laborers together with God, and yet do not deal with strict rectitude one toward another, the Lord does not acknowledge us. I must tell you this, Brother Lawrence, because I want my soul to be clear in the judgment. It is not because of the value of the horse sold that I tell you these things, but because of the value of your own soul. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 17

I love your soul, and I want you to be saved. I desire to see the qualities that have been buried beneath the rubbish, brought to the surface. I hope this may be done. Your soul is too precious to be trifled with. You cannot afford to sell it for a mess of pottage. I speak not because of this particular transaction, but because of the principle that is involved. Heaven is worth something to us, and if it is worth anything, it is worth everything. Christ died for your soul, Brother Lawrence. He appreciates your soul, and He would have you saved. But I know it is a case of life or death with you. As for the money involved in the sale of the horse, it is not a straw in comparison with the eternal result. We shall reap what we sow. The reaping time is coming; we want to be prepared for it. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 18

“And Jesus entered, and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, who was chief among the publicans and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who he was, and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him; for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him and said unto him Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house. ... And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord, Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” [Luke 19:1-5, 8.] 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 19

I desire that Brother Lawrence shall know what the blessing of the Lord is. I hope that when he sees anything that is hindering his Christian advancement, he will take it out of the way. Let us be Christians in every sense of the word, and the blessing of God will rest upon us. I would give more for the blessing of God than for this house full of gold. Your soul has been purchased at an infinite cost—the blood of the Son of God—and God would have you center your life in Jesus. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 20

We should each ask ourselves the question, “Am I doing as I would be done by. Would I feel that my actions were right if I were in my neighbor’s place.” The enemy strives to lead us to indulge our natural temperaments, but we are to conquer in the name of Christ. Our souls must be clean in the sight of God. It is only on the Lord’s side that we can do the Lord’s work. If we are not on His side, we must be aiding the enemy. It is only as we have the mind of Christ that we can reveal Christ. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 21

The great point we should keep always before our minds is that those who are in connection with this work must manifest a spirit of sacrifice. If we come here desiring to receive all we can for ourselves, we might better stay away. It is not the right spirit to manifest; it will eat away all missionary spirit. It is God’s design that the school shall be established here, and He desired us to co-operate with Him by working unselfishly for His cause. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 22

Those that are here to grasp everything they can get, even though the interests of the school suffer, should go away. God cannot use them. He calls for workers who are willing to deny themselves, who will take up their cross daily and follow Him. “We are laborers together with God; ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] God longs to see us manifest the spirit of sacrifice. He longs to see us wearing Christ’s yoke, and working as He worked. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 23


I want to tell you, Brother Hare, that you are making a mistake in selling the land right round the school buildings, letting anyone that pleases come in. Do not do it. You do not know who you will get on it. Keep the coast clear. There is land enough without selling that so near the school. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 24

When the Health Retreat was being established, they said to me, Come up here, and we will give you land. I went up, and asked Brother Pratt the price of his land. He told me, and I decided to buy seven acres. Why did I buy it? Because I knew that if I did not, others would come in and commence to build right around the institution. These would settle there, and criticize everything that was done. Some did settle near, and there are families there now that the managers would give ten times the price paid for their land if they could get them away. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 25

It is a great mistake to allow families to settle close to the buildings. The land near the buildings must not be occupied. A ray of light has come to me on this point since I came here. If families settle near the school, the students will visit them, and tell them of their wrongs. There will be those who will work against the school if things do not move according to their mind. The devil will put his glass right before their eyes, and they will see everything in a perverted light. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 26

This criticizing spirit has found its way here. It has gone to Melbourne and Africa. It is seen all over. What the result will be, we cannot tell. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 27

I hope you will not encourage people to settle close round the school buildings. If you do, you will have trouble, what trouble you cannot tell. You have all you can handle. Do not bring any more families in to settle right round the school site. Just as fast as I can get means, you shall have it. I want to do all I can to help the school. 12LtMs, Ms 5, 1897, par. 28