Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Lt 8, 1899

Kellogg, J. H.


January 23, 1899

Portions of this letter are published in TDG 31; 11MR 276. +Note

Dr. Kellogg:

Night after night I am in much burden and perplexity. In my letter dated December 18, 1898, I mentioned the Gospel Wagon. Soon after the photograph of this wagon came, I was looking at it alone in my room, when there seemed to be presented before me the present and future effect of this method of labor. I must say that your investment in this wagon was not the best way of investing means. This method of labor is not the best for the successful accomplishment of the work of God <for this time>, neither does it give the workers the best experience in winning souls to Christ. It may awaken some thought, but whether it will give the necessary impression of solemnity and order, whether it will ripen the harvest, is very uncertain. It does not leave on the mind the impression that leads to conviction of sin. The hearers are led to think, It would be pleasant to unite with this people, to drive about and sing and gather a company to whom to read the Scriptures. 14LtMs, Lt 8, 1899, par. 1

Dr. Kellogg, you are represented to me as having your day and opportunity to develop into a trustworthy man, not a man who can act in only two or three lines, but a man who can help the work of God to bear [His] stamp and His likeness. It is your place to fall into line in God’s providence. See that the truth is inscribed on your banner at all times and in all places. 14LtMs, Lt 8, 1899, par. 2

All human beings are dear to the heart of God, for they are bought with a price. As a nation the Jews refused to receive Christ. He had led them in their travels as their invisible, infinite Leader. He had communicated His will to them, but in the test they rejected Him, their only Hope, and their only Salvation, and God rejected them. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in his name.” [John 1:12.] To all who receive and obey the conditions, God’s gifts flow steadily, without repentance, without recall. God has imparted His gifts to man to be used, not according to hereditary <or fanciful> ideas, not according to natural impulse or inclination, but according to His will. 14LtMs, Lt 8, 1899, par. 3

No one can become clean and spotless, fit for God’s service, without first becoming as a little child, willing to be taught as Moses was taught. The Lord instructed Moses in His will, and Moses was to repeat these instructions just as he received them. 14LtMs, Lt 8, 1899, par. 4

My brother, you are safe only as you work out of self into perfect conformity to the mind and will of God. You have not yet reached this place. You have never made that surrender of self that will place you where you can bear the likeness of Christ. At times, you have been in great danger, the more so because you have not steadfastly kept Christ, your Pattern, ever before you. There is a work to be done for you. All self-glorification must be cut away by a realization of the fact that you are only the Lord’s steward, and that to Him you owe every faculty you possess. 14LtMs, Lt 8, 1899, par. 5

Who has given man inventive power? Who gives man the scientific skill which bears the stamp of heaven? Who gives him organizing tact, power to restore order to distracted elements? Who gives him power to place God’s work upon a solid basis of industry and durability? 14LtMs, Lt 8, 1899, par. 6

It is God’s will that those to whom He has entrusted talents should look ahead, and with far-seeing judgment, with tact and ingenuity, establish the work aright. This is not done by making the proudest show among the nations of earth. God designs that those whom He has appointed to do His work shall have ingrained in their character the words, “All ye are brethren.” [Matthew 23:8.] 14LtMs, Lt 8, 1899, par. 7

When Christ was upon this earth, His brothers thought He was devoting Himself too constantly to constant labor. They determined to stop His work, to find for Him periods of rest. The word came to Christ as He stood before the people, “Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.” Looking about Him, Christ answered, “Who is my mother, and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” [Matthew 12:47-50.] 14LtMs, Lt 8, 1899, par. 8

There are in this country, Australia, those whom the Lord has used to lay the foundation of His work in different places. The brethren in America should remember that in this country, which so nearly resembles America, a work is to be done similar to that which has been done in America. You only need to reflect, to reason from cause to effect, to see the prejudice and opposition that the workers here have to meet in business and religious lines. In this hour of need, those in America who have become strong through the power of God are to relieve the necessities of those who are holding up the work in other countries. To this end, they are to brace all their energies, inspired by an unselfish desire to help their fellow workers to plant the standard where the truth has not yet found a standing place. 14LtMs, Lt 8, 1899, par. 9

Before Jesus of Nazareth commenced His public ministry, John the Baptist was to fulfil his mission as God’s appointed messenger. His message was to prepare the way for God’s work in a fallen world. His voice was to be heard, not in the synagogues, but in the wilderness, saying, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” “This is he,” writes the evangelist, “that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” [Matthew 3:2, 3.] 14LtMs, Lt 8, 1899, par. 10

We need to understand the meaning of these words. Those who feared God were to think for themselves. They were no longer to leave other men to do their thinking. Their minds were no longer to be chained down to erroneous maxims, theories, and doctrines. Ignorance and vice, crime, and violence, oppression in high places, must be unveiled. The light of life had come to this world to shine amid the moral darkness. The gospel would now be proclaimed among the poor, the oppressed. Those in humble life would be given opportunity to understand the real qualifications necessary for entrance into the kingdom of God. 14LtMs, Lt 8, 1899, par. 11

And today men from the lower ranks are to take their place in obeying the command, “Go forward.” By faith they are to meet difficulties, not daring to yield to the strife and babble of unbelieving tongues. They are to press forward from one degree of success to another, praying always, and exercising that faith which answers prayer. 14LtMs, Lt 8, 1899, par. 12

Thank God for men who understand something of pioneer work, who can wrestle with difficulties, who will not fail nor be discouraged. Notwithstanding the false reports that have gone forth from babbling tongues <in regard to the work we are doing here>, doing the cause of God great injustice, God still works through His instrumentalities, continuing to make clear, to those who will see, the precious things of heaven and the responsibilities of the spiritual life. 14LtMs, Lt 8, 1899, par. 13

God designed that the work in this country should be built up, and those standing in responsible places in America should have realized their duty with regard to it. But Satan drew a veil of tradition over their eyes, so that <some> exchanged the sentiments of God for the maxims of men. The work of God <in Battle Creek> was marred, and it still bears unhealed wounds. Men have gone into wrongdoing, but so imperceptibly that they do not realize that their moral perception has been darkened. The same temptations overtake them again and again. Again and again they do things which show not the image and superscription of God. Some will continue to take sides, not with God, but against Him, until the Lord says, “He is joined to his idols; let him alone.” [Hosea 4:17.] 14LtMs, Lt 8, 1899, par. 14

There is need for a variety of gifts in the Lord’s work. Read carefully the fourth chapter of Ephesians. The entire chapter is a description of the Lord’s manner of working. “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” [Verses 11-13.] Every gift is to be acknowledged as essential to the success of the work. 14LtMs, Lt 8, 1899, par. 15

Experienced men are needed for the work in this country, men who are not narrow in their measurement, but broadminded, with quick, perceptive faculties, who can discern a thought and catch its meaning without a week’s time in which to think it over. Those who are laying the foundation for God’s building are addressed in the words, “Ye are God’s husbandry; ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] The agencies of God are many! But all those who are willing to work according to God’s plan are included in the words, “Ye are God’s husbandry; ye are God’s building.” God’s servants are to move so that no spiritual gift shall be lost. Their will is to be held in abeyance, and when God’s time comes, the rod will blossom. What form the work will take no one can know, but God’s servants are to be minutemen, able to understand the ways and will of their Leader. 14LtMs, Lt 8, 1899, par. 16