Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 24, 1897



March 15, 1897

This manuscript is published in entirety in PH157 10-21.

There are exceptional cases where poverty is so deep that, in order to secure the humblest place of worship, it may be necessary to appropriate the tithes. But that place is not Battle Creek or Oakland. Let those who assemble to worship God consider the self-denial and self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Let those brethren who profess to be children of God study how they can deny themselves, how they can part with some of their idols, and carefully economize in every line. In each house there should be a box for the church fund, to be used for the needs of the church. When such churches as those in Battle Creek and Oakland shall practice greater self-denial than they have hitherto done, there will be an overflow of money in the treasury to deal with equity with the men who labor in word and doctrine. 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 1

I have been shown case after case where men working in the ministry, who are just as deserving of their wages as those who are employed in the publishing houses, are left without sufficient means to support their families. If they work at all for the Master, they have to depend on charity. The censure and frown of God is upon the church that will permit these things to exist. Let not those, to whom are entrusted responsibilities, allow the treasury, that God has appointed to sustain the ministers in the field, to be robbed to supply the expenses incurred in keeping in order and making comfortable the house of God. Thousands upon thousands of dollars have been taken from the tithes and used for these purposes. 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 2

This is not as it should be. The gifts and offerings that have cost some self-denial are to be brought in. A separate fund for the purpose of defraying the expenses, which every church member should share according to his ability, should be instituted in every place where there is a church. Let the pennies, the sixpences, and the shillings be saved that may be looked upon as altogether too meager for charitable purposes. But these, if brought into its treasure house, will be received and blessed of God and that which God blesses is blessed indeed. Self can be denied of many needless things. 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 3

In the Battle Creek church the sisters will have an account to render to God for the Lord’s money which they have worse than wasted in order to make an appearance, which appearance hangs out the sign that they are one in spirit with the worldling. Their chief desire is to gratify vanity and pride. 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 4

Every talent is to be used as the Lord’s entrusted gift. No outlay of means is a sin that is employed to defray the church expenses, or for any religious work. But that expense is not to come out of the tithe. The treasury of God must not be robbed; that means must be used to supply the wages and fully to sustain those who give themselves to the work of the ministry. 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 5

There may be cases where human judgment may decide that a certain one does not accomplish much in advancing the work, and that the cause of God would be just as well without him. But who will dare to venture on the work of weeding out the ones supposed to be of little value? The Lord must judge in this matter. This measurement is not left to finite, human agencies. The one whom they question may produce results more directly in spiritual lines and interests for eternity than the persons who would set them aside. I know this has been the case in many instances. Judas was officious in this direction. And Christ said of him that he had a devil, because his mind was open to the devil’s work. 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 6

If all could see themselves as they file into the house of God in Battle Creek, the great heart of the work, and know the record which the Lord’s Watcher bears to heaven of the means squandered on themselves, if they could see the array of figures standing against their names, they would not feel very much satisfaction or real enjoyment in the exhibition of themselves before the heavenly universe. It is written off against their names, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and found wanting.” [Daniel 5:27.] These cannot but be the ones included in the number who had the gay apparel, or those who occupied the highest seats. The very principle that leads them to dress as they do, that makes heaven ashamed of them, will reveal in them a love of dress, a love of outside appearance, at the expense of the soul. 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 7

These persons may have constant opportunities for serving God, but they are not in vital connection with Him. If they only would do the words and works of Christ, they would realize a blessing which they could never enjoy in the service of self. There is a reward offered for the right use of our talents in devising methods for doing highest service for God, irrespective of, and forgetful of, poor, vain, self. Dress and love of the world may take the first place in their thoughts, but Jesus appoints them the lowest place. They gather to themselves, they drink in vanity. They live to please self. Self is the center of their thoughts, and they are never fully useful. Although they may have a connection with the work of God, they grow earthward, not heavenward. The human agent must use his God-given talents of mind, of strength, of thought, in the service of the Master. But they are often misapplied, and occupied with poor, weak, unworthy self. 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 8

Unsanctified self will never see the kingdom of God. It must die. Christ must live in the thoughts and be enshrined in the hearts. His glory is to be kept ever in view, else they will occupy the lowest seat—not in His service, for they will have no part in God’s work. God will not accept the selfish, divided soul. “He that will come after me,” He says, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” [Mark 8:34.] The love of display, the love of adornment, is an effectual barrier to the obtaining of the inward adorning. God exhorts His people, “Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and wearing of gold, and putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” [1 Peter 3:3, 4.] Then shall we not seek to secure to ourselves that which the Lord pronounces of great price? 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 9

When the church is converted, there will be a very great reformation in dress. Church members, under the Holy Spirit’s striving, will feel a solemn responsibility resting upon them in the use of the means that comes into their hands. Will you, my sisters, forget the account you must give to God for every talent, whether it is spent to please and gratify your vain desires for appearance, or whether the cause of Christ and the salvation of souls is ever a constraining power upon you, as it will be upon every one who makes Christ his personal Saviour. Many of you who profess the name of Christ, both old and young, have walked away from Jesus into much appearance and display. And the result of this is great spiritual feebleness. There is no soundness, no healthfulness, in your spiritual pulse, no fervor or zeal for the perishing souls around you. The love of Christ is a sentiment strange to your hearts. You have long since forgotten that you are not your own, that ye are bought with a price. 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 10

Your mind, your soul, your strength are all the Lord’s. None of these talents will be left out by the Master in the reckoning that is soon to be made. We may leave them out of our reckoning, but the Lord measures with exactitude every possibility for service. He has a right to expect us to acquire other talents. The unused capabilities are just as much brought into account as those which we improve. Our talents can only increase by faithful improvement of them. And those who faithfully employ their capabilities in trading upon the Lord’s goods will, through their influence, bring many souls to Jesus Christ. 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 11

A strict account must be rendered at that great day when Christ shall come. Day by day, and hour by hour, we are making our own record. The amount we received, and the amount we return will all be closely scrutinized by the Lord. Our whole life is bound up with the great reckoning of that solemn scene when the second advent shall take place. 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 12

We are trading with our Lord’s goods. Pharisaism will appear in abundance. But a formal church will have far less to account for in the sight of God than those who have had so great light, so many opportunities, and yet are found among transgressors. Vice and dishonesty in trade have prevailed in Battle Creek and have been carried to other cities. Their speculation in lands, their attempts to secure money by making glowing representations, have in nearly every case proved a fraud. Their brokers’ business is an acted lie. The church bears the sin and disgrace of all such business done by its members. 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 13

Those who are foolish enough to invest their money in these speculative schemes, supposing the ones engaged in this business to be honest, are under a delusion which will work disaster to themselves. Many will keep up their dishonest speculation, although their names are on the church books, until they are bankrupt in this world and for eternity. These things are a disgrace to the truth. And church members have permitted these things to exist in their midst, because they have not had their eyes anointed with the heavenly eyesalve that they may discern the wily workings of satanic agencies to rob the widows and the fatherless in their speculation. 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 14

The men who engage in the real estate agency business are on perilous ground. They are engaged in a work that will bring dire results to their own souls. Satan is inventing every scheme possible to divert the means which should be invested in the cause of God into his own channels. 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 15

I have no heart to write out many things that might be given for the example and practice of those who have been often reproved. Those at the center of the work have manifested an avaricious spirit; they have, as it were, clothed fraud and double dealing [and] conniving—principles which God condemns in His work—with a garment of righteousness. They have so perverted their imagination that they have supposed gain to be godliness. If the sin of Achan, theft and dissembling and covetousness, were considered by God to be of such a grievous character that God said, “Neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you” [Joshua 7:12], how will He regard the sins that are practiced among His professed people? 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 16

During the week of prayer God would have wrought in a manner you have not yet realized were it not for the corrupting principles existing in the church at the very heart of the work, where it was supposed and where it has been taught that the counsel coming there from was of God. But the neglect of the measures that should have been taken to cleanse from our institutions and from our church their moral defilement has brought the wrath of God upon His people. There should not be any who act as brokers among the members of the church. This influence in many ways has caused misapprehension and confusion of principles that has left a terrible curse upon the practical workings of the cause in the various conferences. 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 17

God in His own good time will give the message to men whom you least expect to come [i.e., change] from men’s policy to the policy of God. These will find there is something more they should have contended for in purity and honesty and straightforward working, which is of an hundredfold more value than their criticisms of words lest the great fundamental doctrines be departed from. The doctrine of justification by faith and righteousness by faith was opposed, and masterly efforts made, through opposition and denunciation, by a formal church whose attitude was of a character to discourage integrity and faithfulness and good works. 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 18

And the result is just as it was in Christ’s day. Those who were blinded by the enemy would, from their standpoint, pronounce judgment against the living principles of truth as heresy, and, if they dared, would make the press voice their sentiments with warnings and anathemas, because their own preconceived opinions were not considered supreme and without a flaw. 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 19

God has given His Word power, but at what a cost! What labor and pain and anguish of soul has been endured! What time and money has been bestowed! And how much of God’s talents have been wasted, under misconception, in counterworking the work of God at the very time the message was to go with a loud voice and ripen off the harvest of the earth. Men in high places of trust have gone from place to place, as agents working on the enemy’s side. While the workers of God, sent forth with a special message, have prosecuted their work as men that must give an account, they have not been appreciated. Their way has been hedged up, and their labors counterworked as far as possible. 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 20

The work offered to the church at Battle Creek was not accepted. But the Lord increased the faith of some, and stirred Dr. Kellogg up to work for the souls and bodies of men through the medical missionary work, in ministering to the apparently lower orders, in striving to work a reformation through correct principles. And blessed results have been seen. Among those who have been rescued, there are some, not all, who shall embrace the truth. It is the loudest proclamation of the gospel that reaches men where they are, and accomplishes a grand work for time and for eternity. 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 21

If the schools in Battle Creek, if the publishing office, if the Sanitarium workers, in the place of looking on to criticize and denounce, had humbled their souls before God and had allowed the Holy Spirit to work them, to soften their hard, icy hearts; had they worked on Bible principles in the place of studying up new methods and wonderful inventions and schemes, they would have discerned the work to be done and brought all their powers into the work. There would have been less ministerial institutes, and every minister would have devoted his time and talents and worked to save souls by communicating to them the light from heaven. This would have had a purifying effect upon the church, and the duties God has plainly revealed in His Word would have been performed. But many are too blind spiritually to discern these duties, and they are left undone, in order to take up a work which the Lord has not so much as intimated to them to do. 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 22

There are lines of work that have become almost entirely extinct. The power of heaven has been wanting to give new perceptions in reading the truth out of the Word. But blind minds and hardened hearts have condemned the truth of God as presented because they rebel against the fundamental doctrines received. They are not half enlightened as to what the fundamental doctrines really are. If they had known for themselves, they would not have possessed the spirit and attributes they have revealed. They would have known that spirit of truth that is comprised of the principles of truth and righteousness. It is only by doing God’s will that we can know of the doctrine. 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 23

What is wanted is experimental, individual piety and integrity on thoroughly Bible principles. The attainment of a living faith in Christ is essential. The pardon of sins, the contrite heart, the reception of the blessed atonement through sanctification of the spirit, and belief of the truth must be wrought through personal, individual agencies. This cannot be obtained or wrought out by a substitute. Each individual must arm himself with the high purpose of doing the will of God. When he does this to the full, his decision of fundamental doctrines and principles will be considered worthy of attention. 12LtMs, Ms 24, 1897, par. 24