Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Lt 120, 1899

Those at the Head of the Work


August 14, 1899

Portions of this letter are published in Ev 375-376; 2SM 188. +Note

To Those at the Head of the Work

Dear Brethren:

Light has been given me that sufficient, careful consideration is not given to the matter put into print. What good does the public receive by learning all the business that is transacted in our conference? There are matters which do not concern the outside world at all, and these should be kept within our own borders. 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 1

When the Lord gives cautions through His servant, why do certain men understand the message according to their own ideas, which are often contrary to the light given. Satan, the great schemer for souls, rejoices when he sees the work of God in a tangle through his management, and money laid out in such a way as to bring perplexity into the fields where help is given. This state of things brings discouragement upon the people of God. Our institutions have been unwisely managed, and debts are accumulating on them because men do not heed God’s warning. Notwithstanding His messages, they plan for more outlay of means in the erection of buildings. 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 2

Let each one now bind about his desire to create buildings, and place the money where the Lord would have it—to make a beginning in places where the warning message has not yet found a foothold. Our institutions should make every effort to get free from the oppressive influence of debt. Let God’s people humble their hearts before the Lord, and make a covenant with Him by sacrifice. The Lord would have His cause prosperous, and He will be pleased to see His churches converted anew, and working, not with spasmodic enthusiasm, but with solid good sense to free His cause from the dishonor of debt. 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 3

We need anointed eyes at this time, that we may see nigh and afar off and work understandingly. Then we shall see those portions of the vineyard which are yet a barren waste no longer neglected. The reformatory message is to go to every place. Clear rays of light are to shine forth at every camp meeting, that the churches may be educated to do their God-given work. Instead of appealing for more institutions, plead for workers who will act as faithful canvassers and Bible workers. Appeal to the churches to work within their own borders, that every church member may become a living stone in God’s building. 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 4

For years the light has been shining in clear lines, and if the messages sent had been received and acted upon, there would today be an altogether different showing. But the outlay of means for the sustenance of institutions, which have been years in operation, has been so large that the work has not been advanced in other places as God designed. Finite wisdom is not to plan for a few sections in America, while men close their understanding to those places where God has indicated a special work shall be done. Many more are to come to a knowledge of the truth. This message is to go to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples. 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 5

When an interest is aroused in any town or city, that interest must be followed up. The place must be thoroughly worked, until a humble house of worship stands as a sign, a light amid the moral darkness. These memorials are to stand in many places as witnesses to the truth, but in their erection there must be no needless expenditure of means. God in His mercy has provided ministers of the gospel to go to all countries, tongues, and peoples, until the Lord’s standard of truth shall be established in all parts of the inhabited world. 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 6

The workers must arouse themselves to see afar off. With many, self-denial and self-sacrifice are dead, and these elements must be raised to life again. Men must understand that the large wages which they demand are sapping the Lord’s treasury. They are binding up God’s money in private interests, and by their actions are saying to the world, “My Lord delayeth his coming.” [Matthew 24:48.] Shall not this thing be changed? Who will come up to the great example of the Master-worker? If you have money, my brethren, use it in doing missionary work. For Christ’s sake heed the Word of the Lord. Christ declared that in these last days men would act as they did in the days before the flood. Do not, I beseech you, act the part of the antediluvians. 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 7

God calls for His capital of means to be used in saving the souls that are ready to die. Our money is to be used to the very best advantage, that it may do permanent work in establishing souls in the truth. When souls are converted, they are to be educated to bring other souls to Christ. God calls upon every worker to lift every jot and tittle possible from now on to the close of earth’s history. Selfishness is to be cut away from the people of God. Every soul is to be sanctified through the truth. Our dress and furniture, let them cost as little as possible, for there is a world to be saved. The time is not far distant when every man must give an account for the means he has handled. “How much owest thou unto the Lord?” [Luke 16:5.] 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 8

The educational work is to be taken into account. How shall our schools be carried on? Church schools should be established, and teachers employed who will teach the students in the common branches. The Bible should be made the foundation of all study. Many of the churches should carry this work themselves. 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 9

Sanitariums—not large, expensive buildings, but institutions where effectual work can be done—are to be established in many places. This work is to be begun solidly, and enlarged as circumstances shall demand. But ever remember that the medical missionary work sustains the same relation to the third angel’s message as the right arm does to the body. The arm is not to be made the body. It is to be the helping hand of faith, which is to lead people to Christ. Medical missionary work should always be connected with the work of establishing souls in the truth. 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 10

Beginnings may be made in every prominent place where camp meetings are held. Instead of following the example of the workers in America in creating building after building, make small beginnings. Count the cost of every undertaking, that you may know that you will be able to finish. Draw as little as possible from the treasury. It needs men of faith and financial ability to plan and devise economically, for sanitariums must be erected with a limited outlay of means. Buildings in which to begin the work can often be secured at low cost. Christ invites every worker, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:29.] 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 11

All the talent and money and sympathy must not center in the work of seeking out the depraved in the large cities, for other lines of work need to be carried forward. Yet an interest in this kind of work needs to be created in all our churches, for this is preaching the gospel to the poor. The churches established in Australasia, in New Zealand, in Victoria, in New South Wales, should commence work just where they are, and labor in Christ’s lines. The work is going so rapidly into new fields that it is becoming necessary for workers to plan how they can deny self. This is to be an individual work. Money cannot be drawn from the conference for medical missionary work. A deep interest must be awakened in every church to take up the work. The Lord calls for undivided self-sacrifice. 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 12

Let none think that the medical missionary work is to be independent of the ministry. This work is a part of the gospel. And as worldlings shall see the good work being carried forward, they will be convicted of its genuineness, and will help. But unless the ones who labor are rooted and grounded in the truth as it is in Jesus, there will be danger of them leading away from the principles of truth in order to reach a certain class. These souls need the truth. The truth is their only foundation for a solid building, and unless they build solidly, they will not stand the test of temptation. No dependence can be placed on souls who are only half converted. 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 13

We must move forward, not according to the devising of men, but as God shall direct. There must not be such ample distribution of labor in certain lines, with such poor returns as have been presented to me. A way should be devised to connect the medical missionary work with the churches. The conference is not to be responsible for this work. Let church members be instructed that this is the gospel they are to practice. The various institutions which have been established will require means to keep them in running order, else they will witness against the truth rather than for the truth; and if a large number of these institutions are left for the conference to carry, there will not be means enough to advance all the interests, and the foreign missionary work will be neglected. 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 14

Dr. Kellogg has had a special work to do, but he has been gathering too many responsibilities to himself. God did not appoint him to do this. The so-called medical missionary work cannot be carried on as it has been without endangering the general prosperity of the cause. Should these burdens crush him, he will suppose it is because he did not have the co-operation of his brethren. But it will be because he has loaded himself down with a class of work which demands more than he can give to carry it forward. “Who hath required this at your hand?” was asked. [Isaiah 1:12.] 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 15

In Australia we are not to pattern after the example of any in America. The work we do must be solid, and thus be a witness for the truth. We who have had light from God must take heed. Every line of work is to be carried on in Christ’s lines. We are in very poor business when we live for pretense and display, that we may gain the admiration of the world. The service of God is not mingled with common fire. Everything is to be done in God’s way and according to God’s will. The Lord will help all who give themselves unreservedly to Him. 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 16

The message we give to the world at this time is to bear the signature of heaven. Self-denial must characterize our work. Christ was the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, and what a life of earnest work and self-denial He lived. For our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. He did all this for you, my brethren and sisters, that He might save you from eternal ruin. What response are you making? What have you done for Him? Christ declares, “Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” [Luke 14:27.] Shall we not die to self? Christ calls us to follow Him, to be laborers with Him, to be faithful to every trust which His life of sacrifice imposes upon us. Then be faithful to your stewardship. Be firm as a rock to principle. Be earnest and steadfast in every good purpose, courageous in every effort, and united in building up and enlarging the kingdom of God. 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 17

We need to understand that God is in every enterprise. Nothing that is said or done or thought can escape His notice. He is in every institution. He sees every deposit made, every income and outgo. He keeps an account of every dollar drawn by those who are selfishly making large draughts on His treasury. Every conscientious denial of self, every manifestation of a grasping, covetous spirit, is registered in the books of heaven just as it is. 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 18

A Watcher is present who notes every word and transaction of our individual lives, who weighs every motive that prompts to action. The hand that traced the characters on the wall of Belshazzar’s palace is ever writing, God is here; God is in every place. All our words, all our plans, all our secret motives, are weighed in the balances of infinite justice and truth. Shall fatal defects be found in our characters? Shall the compassionate, self-denying, self-sacrificing Saviour find us wanting in tenderness, love, courtesy, and compassion for those for whom He gave His life, or shall our names be found written in the Lamb’s book of life? 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 19

God has given us gracious opportunities for doing good. He has provided us with every facility, every faculty, and we are answerable to Him for our use or abuse of them. If we use them well, God can call us laborers together with Him, the great Character-builder. If we cleanse ourselves from every impure and selfish principle, the blessed benediction can be pronounced upon us, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant; ... enter thou into the joy of the Lord.” [Matthew 25:21.] 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 20

Christ calls upon every one to do His work. “Go work today in my vineyard,” He says. [Matthew 21:28.] “Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] Satan must be cast out and overcome. Speaking of Satan, Christ declared, “He abode not in the truth.” [John 8:44.] He was an exalted angel, possessed of a heavenly home where all was holiness and joy. But he swerved from his allegiance. He fell from his high estate, and with a large army of associate rebels was cast out of heaven. From his position as covering cherub, he became the avowed antagonist of God. He planted his standard on the earth and established a rival empire, where all the powers of evil combined in opposing the influence of God. The prince of darkness, actuated by the principle which works in all the children of disobedience, left no means untried to attract the attention of men to himself and conform them to his nature, stimulated by his intense hatred of the God whom he had dishonored, he tried to eclipse every ray of light from the world, and to efface the likeness of God from men by making them recipients of his own apostate character and stamping his image on their souls. 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 21

Two classes are presented before us, the followers of Christ and the followers of Satan. Who will take sides with the enemy to practice selfishness and withhold from God His own? Satan calls all who will acknowledge him to come under his banner. By selfishness and covetousness, which is idolatry, he has planted his throne between the human worshippers and God. The talents which God has entrusted to man to be used in serving Him, Satan has caused to be invested for the building up of His kingdom. Satan, and not God, is worshiped. 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 22

In order that men might not forget the true God, Jehovah has given them a memorial of His love and power—the Sabbath. He says, “Verily, my Sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath, therefore; for it is holy unto you: everyone that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 23

“Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest; holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh he rested, and was refreshed.” [Exodus 31:13-17.] 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 24

Satan has worked with masterly power to make null and void the fourth commandment and give to the world a spurious sabbath, that the sign of God might be of no effect. He found a co-partner in this work in the papal power, which sought to change times and laws. The false sabbath was exalted by princes and rulers, while the true was trodden under foot. Our work for this time is to undeceive the world if possible. Satan has interposed between man and his God, that man may not bear the sign which God has said should exist between Him and His people; and the whole Christian world has been imbued with satanic enthusiasm to depreciate the seventh day and exalt the idol sabbath. 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 25

But God has chosen a people who will be loyal to Him. He has erected a temple for the maintenance of His worship, and He designs that His work shall be carried forward in establishing churches as memorials of the people who bear His sign. These houses of worship, however humble, will continually proclaim the treason of Satan and the genuineness of the Sabbath—that Sabbath which was instituted in Eden when all the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. 14LtMs, Lt 120, 1899, par. 26