Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)

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Lt 136, 1900

Sharp, Brother [F. L.]; Caro, [E. R.]; Kellogg, [M. G.]

St. Helena, California

October 29, 1900

Portions of this letter are published in 1MR 72-73. +Note

Dear Brethren Sharp, Caro, and Kellogg:

Today Brother Burden and his family left us for San Francisco, their first stopping place en route for Oregon, where they are going to visit their relatives. In two weeks they will return to San Francisco, and will then take the next steamer for Australia. We were very loath to have Brother and Sister Burden and their sisters leave us, but we are pleased to think that they will be a blessing to you in more ways than one. Brother Burden is a man who can minister. He has been an excellent help here in many ways. You need not be afraid to place responsibilities upon him. He is capable of superintending your work in almost any line. As he has managing ability, he will be able to stand by your side in counsel with you. 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 1

Brother Burden is a good, practical speaker, and knows how to conduct meetings. He will not disappoint you if you will give him standing room. We sincerely hope that he will be of good courage, and that you, my brethren, will link him with you as a fellow helper in managing the work. Sister Burden is a good financier, and an excellent bookkeeper. Her sisters may wish to attend the school at Cooranbong. I know not what they may do. 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 2

We appreciate these friends very highly, and it is with deep regret that we see them leaving us. We would certainly have opposed the move had it not been that we knew you needed the very talents the Lord has entrusted to them to improve to His own name’s glory. 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 3

Sister Gotzian has been visiting us in our new home. We saw her words and attitude that influences had been brought to bear upon her to deter her from sending to Australia the ten thousand dollars she had promised to loan to the work there. We have been working cautiously to counteract this influence. We could not rest until we knew that she had again decided to send this money to Australia, and W. C. White would not rest until the order was sent to Dr. Kellogg to forward the money immediately. We think now that there will be no counter-influence exerted to retain the money. But if we had not been <here> in person, I greatly fear that in the great <temptation> your work of building the tower would have been hindered in its completion. May the Lord help you all in the work, is our most earnest prayer. Since leaving you, we have not had you out of our minds and plans. 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 4

As yet we have not become sufficiently settled to begin our book work. We are now trying to adjust W. C. White’s family and my family of workers as they should be. We are fitting up as an office an old cottage near our dwelling. This will give us four rooms for our workers, and we hope it will be ready this week. Many things in various lines have detained us, but now we shall do our best to advance and get settled. Marian is at the sanitarium taking treatment, that she may be better prepared for her work when our goods are unpacked and the office is prepared to open up the book material. Mabel has been suffering again, but she is better now. In the providence of God she will have improved health if she will not be so ambitious to do things she ought not to do. 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 5

In the sanitarium here we see the great danger of the head physician supposing that he must be superintendent and manager of everything in the institution. We see the results of this here, although within the last twenty years the Lord has sent message after message to correct this supposition. It is not according to the Lord’s order to lay so many responsibilities upon one man. God has a work for the physician. He is to work under His supervision, and is in no case to suppose that a physician is qualified to be superintendent and manager, and to make a success of this extra burden-bearing, at the same time doing the work that he should do as a physician. 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 6

The Lord sees the material upon which He can operate to communicate wisdom in His own way to the one who trusts in Him as his Teacher and his Guide. His Holy Spirit will work upon all Christian physicians, for if they are Christians, they will be molded and fashioned in the divine likeness. Unless the divine influence is recognized and respected, human wisdom will become exalted in preference to the divine wisdom, and the work will surely be swayed in wrong lines. The result for good is certain when God is exalted as the divine Counsellor. 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 7

When the truth is received into the heart, the godly physician is like “a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” [Psalm 1:3.] God says, “Them that honor me, I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.” [1 Samuel 2:30.] Those who stand as physicians in our sanitariums often make a mistake by putting the means for the end. 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 8

There is a positive danger, which should be strictly guarded against, of physicians desiring to do something great, that will reveal their superior wisdom, without solemnly and thoroughly criticizing their motives with severe exactness, to see if they are not weaving into the web threads of selfishness which will spoil the pattern of the fabric. Solemnly and earnestly they should inquire, “Is this my way or thy way, O Lord?” Strict search at every point is essential. No man, whatever his position, is safe in reposing upon something he has done, unless he solemnly and prayerfully inquires of God, “Have I reached the correct result in my work? Have I sanctified my soul as a channel of light for others, that they may safely follow my example?” 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 9

In every plan we must act in entire dependence upon God, else we shall be deceived by a semblance instead of the reality. As stewards of the grace of Christ, we are to inquire in every movement, “Is this the way of the Lord?” The Word of the Lord is a character detector, a motive tester. We are to read this Word with a heart and mind open to receive the impressions God will give. We must not think that the reading of the Word can accomplish that which only He whom the Word reveals, who stands behind the Word, can accomplish. Some are in danger, because they hold firmly doctrines in the Word, of hastening to the conclusion that they are actually in possession of the blessings which these doctrines declare shall come to the receiver of the truth. 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 10

Many keep the truth in the outer court. Its sacred influence has not a controlling power over the words, the thoughts, the expression. They do not possess that faith which works by love and sanctifies the soul. An assent to the truth may quiet the conscience, but let every human agent inquire, “Does my faith make me a daily, hourly follower of Jesus Christ? Has it a sanctifying influence upon my own soul? Can I say, The gentleness of Christ hath made me great?” A faultless creed and a carnal life are often found together among professed believers. To be a means to a saving end, the Word of God must be intelligently and practically understood. Christ’s death is the means to the end of our salvation. 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 11

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them: that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” [John 17:17-23.] 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 12

Here is the standard which all who believe in Christ must reach if they are members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. The end of our faith is the perfection of human character in holiness, the whole being sanctified unto God through the truth. 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 13

Never will those in our sanitarium become what God designs them to be until the physicians learn lessons of a different character from those which they have learned. The lesson they must learn is plainly expressed in the prayer of Christ. Unless there is less selfishness manifested in aspiring to occupy the chief place in our institutions, the wisdom of men will appear, and the Christlikeness will disappear. 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 14

A spirit has been cherished that the associate physician must not be considered equal to the head physician, who regards himself as first. It is feared that if the associate physician stands on an equality with the one who has the first place, it will hurt the influence of the head physician with the patients. Therefore an effort is made to obtain as associate physician a learner, who will do just what he is told, a young man with limited experience, who will not desire to stand as an equal or a counsellor. The workers do not remember that the Lord is watching, that He has the supervision of the work in every department. When in His providence He shall so order it that a man of understanding and efficiency shall be prepared to unite with the presiding physician in any of our sanitariums, give that man every chance possible to be proved. 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 15

The Lord has been greatly dishonored by the spirit and attitude of the head physicians in our sanitariums [in] placing themselves first, so managing matters that they reveal a spirit entirely opposed to the prayer of Christ. There must be a continual striving for unity. We can do nothing to advance the work till Christ dwells in our hearts by faith, till His truth is our spiritual food, and we reach the highest attainment which the prayer of Christ enables us to reach. “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” [Verse 23.] To the physicians, managers, and directors in the sanitariums, I would say, On this subject of unity you cannot be too urgent. Everything which savors of selfishness in striving for the power of mastery is an offense to God. On this subject Paul writes, “And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.” [Colossians 2:19.] This symbolizes the relation which those in every line of work in our sanitariums should sustain to one another. And it is written also for the laborers in the gospel ministry. These are not set to pick and choose, receive or discard, the laborers as they will be inclined to do if they follow the suggestions of their hereditary and cultivated traits of character. The members of Christ’s body have not all the same office, but the different members are to be united to one Head, and each member is to be respected and is to do <his or her> individual work under the one Head. 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 16

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness, and let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” [Colossians 3:12-16.] 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 17

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” [Ephesians 4:1-3.] Will every institution established in the interests of the work of Seventh-day Adventists take heed to that which is written, and bring this Word of the Lord into the practical life? “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” [Verses 4-6.] 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 18

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” [Romans 12:1, 2.] 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 19

The great weakness in the churches is the result of the spirit of rivalry, of seeking to be first. This creates jealousy and evil surmising. Some become suspicious and jealous of those with whom God in His providence has ordained that they should work in unity to meet the assaults of the enemy who will come in to control the weak points of our characters. We need to be riveted and grounded in the truth, answering the prayer of Christ. We must be united with Christ and with one another. Christ dwelling in the heart will manifest deeper, better, more elevating teaching than that of men. Christ’s life must circulate through the whole being, just as the blood circulates through the body as a vitalizing power. Then the life will be hidden with Christ in God. 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 20

I write of these things just as the Lord has presented them to me. Guard against the hindrances to the proper and helpful work to be accomplished in building up our sanitarium. There is to be no self-exaltation, no striving to be head over all others. We are to unite in the work as brethren. If the Lord sends men to connect together, He knows what elements He desires to unite in harmonious action. The laborers are not to choose who shall unite with them. 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 21

One man is not to carry an undue load of responsibility when there is a brother who can yoke up with him to supply the deficiency existing in his own character-building. The Lord sees that a wrong mold would be given to our sanitariums if one man’s mind and one man’s judgment is regarded as all-sufficient. Opening the door to envy [and] jealousy is a sin which shows that the servant is not yoked up with Christ Jesus. He has not the mind of Christ; he does not labor for unity, but to create dissension. Shall not all this be crushed out of our lives? 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 22

“And 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: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive: but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body, fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” [Ephesians 4:11-16.] 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 23

“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” [Verses 30-32.] 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 24

There is a special work committed to the managers of the sanitarium. The physicians have a serious responsibility resting upon them, and should have connected with them men of experience, men <of prayer> who are faithful to the trust which is given them, whatever that trust may be. They are to be subject to one another. All things that are questioned they are to take to the Lord in prayer. They are to treat with deference and respect those whom God shall appoint to unite with them in their work, just as they would like to be treated. Let superintendent, physician, manager, and matron be up and doing their appointed work; for soon their opportunities will be past, and the recompense will follow. Let all who lead in the various lines of the work remember that it is best to make an entire surrender of themselves to the Lord. Temptations and trials will come, but the Lord says, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” [James 1:12.] 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 25

I cannot write more now, as the mail goes today, but will continue the subject in another letter. 15LtMs, Lt 136, 1900, par. 26