Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)

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Lt 122, 1900

Irwin, G. A.

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

August 12, 1900

Portions of this letter are published in 7BC 946; 6MR 52-53. +Note

Dear Brother Irwin:

I received and read your letter. I have written a letter to Brother Haskell, a copy of which I will send you. Remember, my brother, as you read this letter, that there is just as much truth in the statement made by John Wessels as in the report that Brother Healy of California sent to Elder Butler before the Minneapolis meeting. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 1

I feel more than sad over the case of Brother John Wessels, because, if connected with misleading influences, he has not the makeup of character which would enable him to become rooted, settled, and grounded in the truth, which is his life. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 2

There is truth in the statement that a true missionary spirit would have led those who are in responsible positions of trust, instead of drawing means from the Wessels family, to have unselfishly remembered that there were missionary workers in Africa who should have the means to use in that field. Thus the Lord has presented the matter before me. We must love our neighbors as ourselves. This is the spirit that should ever characterize medical missionary workers. Had those in positions of trust been inspired by God, the Wessels brothers would have been told that there was need of every dollar of that money in Africa. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 3

If less money had been expended in Africa in following the example set in Battle Creek, the enormous debt incurred in Capetown would not have been. The desire for appearance absorbed much money. The plans for unnecessary display were carried out on borrowed capital. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 4

Brother John Wessels has made the statement that we are doing here as they have done in Battle Creek. But of course you have been on the ground and can speak intelligently in regard to this. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 5

In regard to the sanitarium, Brother Merrit Kellogg drew up the plan for the building. I was instructed by the Lord that the sanitarium should not be a mammoth building, because there are other places where sanitariums must be established. All these buildings must be erected in the most economical manner, that the most possible good may be done. In all our designs the expenditure of means must be carefully considered. We must be careful how we spend the money so essential to sustain the work in new fields, to commence and advance the work in places where the truth has never yet been represented. The question came up as to whether we should build the sanitarium of brick or of wood. I said, “Brethren, build it of wood. If you hear the patients discussing the matter, saying that wooden buildings are not safe, on account of fire, tell them that wooden buildings are more healthful than brick buildings.” I related the experience I had while living in brick and stone buildings in Rochester, N.Y., and in Preston, Melbourne. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 6

They discussed the matter for some time, arguing pro and con, and finally decided unanimously that wooden buildings are more in accordance with our belief in the third angel’s message than brick buildings. We found that by reducing the size of the building, and using wood instead of brick, we could save eight or ten thousand pounds. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 7

We were sent for again to come to Summer Hill and consider the building plans. We did this, and before we left, there was some talk of lessening the size of the building still more. With these changes we think the plan will succeed. Dr. Kellogg came to Cooranbong and told us that he had made some more changes. He had taken two sections out of the plan, to reduce the expense all that he possibly could. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 8

Thus we have cut down the expense, using wood instead of brick, and reducing the plan, until we think that it will pass before the Lord as an acceptable building, fit to be used as a sanitarium. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 9

All our school buildings were erected upon the most strictly economical plan. Our meetinghouse in this place is built on wooden piles to save expense. I do not see how we could have put up the building with more economy. You will bear testimony with us to this. After the word had gone forth in regard to our extravagance in the expenditure of means, and had been plainly and decidedly corrected, it is strange that Brother John Wessels should make his way to America and Battle Creek, and make the same false statements that others have made. He knows better; he has judgment and eyesight; but when the human heart is yielded to the temptations of the enemy, Satan can lead where he will. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 10

We shall not be worried over these things. When men who are spiritually blind lead other blind men, both will fall into the ditch. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 11

I have greatly desired that the will of the Lord should be done in the Wessels family. The Lord’s way was pointed out to them. They were instructed that they should move away from the place where they were located, break up the family, and place themselves under a saving influence. This was the truth, and therefore I worked to this point. But the last appeal has been made. I have no more to say. I have done my duty. John’s position has been taken strongly in reference to me, and his work has closed the door to all my efforts. The Wessels family will, I fear, have no more warnings, but will be left to follow their own mind and their own judgment. I feel so sorry for the course John has pursued. What confidence can I have in him? I can see as never before that when we place ourselves on the side of truth and righteousness, and fix our dependence where alone it ought to be, trusting not in men, making not flesh our arm, the God of our salvation will work out for us plans and ways and means whereby we may glorify Him. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 12

Brother Irwin, we must have some substantial men to act as physicians in this country. We dare not make Dr. Caro a leader. He has not sufficient depth of experience. If he is left to do as he is inclined, he will surely mislead. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 13

What do you think of Brother and Sister Kress coming to Australia? It may be that the climate will be just what Brother Kress needs. Think of this. They would be reliable, and could unite with Dr. Caro, acting as a balance wheel. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 14

Brother Irwin, I am so sorry for the fabrication that it is our secret purpose to depose Brother Irwin for Elder Daniells, and that W. C. White is to figure as president of the Mission Board. There is work of this kind here, in which we could engage if we wished. It is to be free from these responsibilities that W. C. White has consented to go to America. He is planning to locate at a distance of ten or twenty miles from printing offices and schools. Take this for granted, my brother, and let not the enemy have any power over your mind because of these temptations. I wish to say to you that I hope you thank the Lord that you have been enabled to stand firm. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 15

Brother Irwin, the things have happened that I feared in regard to Dr. Kellogg. I am so sorry. Our trust must be wholly in the Lord. O, how earnestly it becomes us to cultivate those things which are approved unto God. Steadfastly looking unto Jesus will strengthen, stablish, and settle us. In all things it becomes us to give God praise and glory. We must keep Christ ever before us. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 16

My brother, do not become depressed. Do not believe the reports which you hear. There are those who have been waiting for an excuse to make a break. The enemy through his agencies will furnish them with material enough. It is those who hold fast the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end who will come off victorious. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 17

To our own people God was very gracious in the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. When like children, in the childhood of our experience, we were seeking for light, when we moved weakly and tremblingly, dependent on the Lord at every step, what a great work was accomplished! What deliverances were wrought! We have been strengthening and confirming our confidence, and the Lord calls upon us to cooperate with Him in the closing up of the work. We are not to depart from the faith once delivered to the saints. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 18

When false theories and false representations are brought in, say to the people, Hold fast to your faith in the work of God, for the past and for the present. You have no excuse for unbelief, no excuse for rejecting the messages God sends, every word of which will be verified, whether you believe or disbelieve. How many times have disaffected elements risen up to make war with the messages the Lord sends! How many times have men taken a part in opposing and ridiculing these messages. They have made crooked paths for their feet. Let these words be spoken: “Ephraim compasseth about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit, but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints.” If our obedience to the commandments of God is true and hearty, our service will be acceptable to Him. Aid from on high will be given to every contrite soul. But when the commandments of God are treated as a strange thing, all our worship, however much we may exalt it, will be as sin. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 19

If after the Lord has given great light, He in His mercy sends messages to human agencies, to instruct and reprove them or to condemn their course of action, they take the side of atheism, refusing to acknowledge the Lord’s presence and supreme control, if they become rebellious and draw themselves up in proud self-exaltation, they will not long have either stability or prosperity. One violent change will follow another, until they become most ingenious, subtle workers in the enemy’s ranks. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 20

There is to be no form of idolatry in our business transactions. We are not to make idols and then present them as something in accordance with the will of Jehovah. Those who are charmed with this kind of salvation will find themselves left out of the ranks, for they have forsaken the way of the living God. Gradually and almost imperceptibly they have been led to put their trust in alliances with men who have no respect for a plain Thus saith the Lord. They do not heed the testimonies which come to them to save them from making shipwreck of faith. They will therefore bind themselves up with men as weak in human judgment as themselves and in spiritual things as ignorant as to whither their steps are tending. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 21

All the efforts made to obtain help and deliverance from human agencies, while we are establishing our own plans, persevering in a course that leads to apostasy from God, will end in shame and ruin. I speak that which I do know. The Lord says, Say unto My people, It is the Lord whom you set at naught. Again and again you have been relieved and delivered from great perplexity. God has changed the condition of things and had made the human suppliants strong in His strength; but how ready men are to depart from God, turning away from Christ their Redeemer, and putting their trust in the work of their own hands, rather than in the grace which calls for humility and contrition. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 22

Men do not commonly understand that in the business affairs of this life, all their success is from God, neither do they acknowledge God’s hand in it. When they are lifted up and blessed and comforted, they do not realize that it is God who is keeping and blessing and healing them, leading them in paths of righteousness. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 23

Memory’s hall should be hung with pictures of God’s unspeakable goodness and tenderness toward us in the days of our spiritual darkness and despair, humiliation and weakness. Every soul should keep very humble, very near to the mercy seat. No soul is safe who ventures on the ground of the enemy, to do his soul-destroying work. A sowing time necessitates a reaping of the harvest. Those who desire to cut asunder the cords which bind them to God, wherewith God has drawn poor sinners to Himself, must bear the consequences. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 24

The Lord says, Speak unto My people, and say, Why do you follow the backsliding course of others? Why do you in the pride and self-sufficiency turn from the Lord, who hath redeemed you? Every moment the Lord’s grace is exercised in behalf of human agencies. Unless the Lord keeps the heart, we are overcome by the enemy. When will My people learn? I accept not their intelligence as a tribute when they are not walking in the way of my commandments. To fear the Lord in holiness, to walk before Him in contrition and humility, is the only way to true exaltation, for nations and for individuals, while to walk boastingly and proudly, in presumptuousness and transgression, ends in speedy humiliation, defeat, and ruin. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 25

Thus saith the Lord, Men may forget, men may deny their wrong course of action, but it is bound up in My book of remembrance, and in the great day of judgment, unless men repent and walk humbly in the fear of the Lord, they will meet the dread record just as it stands. If they repent and keep the fear of the Lord before them, their sins will be washed away. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 26

I am instructed to say to the people claiming to believe the truth, God is infinitely gracious, and waits for us to return to Him by heart-humiliation, confession, and repentance. He will have mercy upon all and will save all who cherish humility and contrition of soul. The renunciation of self-confidence prepares the way for true faith in God. The moment that human beings renounce their selfishness, covetousness, and idolatry, that moment God will become their all-sufficient Helper. In the infinite fulness of His grace He can impart whatever is needed for the souls and bodies of those who believe, for time and for eternity. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 27

We must not cherish the idea that God does not a part in the business affairs of human life. The business of every one who is doing God’s service in any line of His work is a matter in which God must act a part. The ways of God’s providence are the ways to be followed in all temporal matters, as well as in spiritual matters. All our business transactions should bear the superscription of God. Those in His service are required to maintain the strictest integrity in every phase of life. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 28

The Lord deals with His servants as members of His great firm. The principles that governed in His dealings with Israel are the principles which govern in His dealings with His people in this age. God’s requirements are just as valid today as they were then. The memory of His dealings with His ancient people, of the way in which He required purity of heart and holiness of action, should be carefully perpetuated. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 29

Every new enlargement of God’s kingdom, in the advanced work of the gospel ministry, has been introduced by a new conflict with the opposing powers in the church and outside the church. Everything is to be shaken that can be shaken. Every false hold is to be broken up. God is infinitely holy, and He hates every species of iniquity. He is great in power, and He will punish the mightiest with the most depraved. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 30

I say to you, my brother, Be not discouraged. Stand in the power of God. Remember that God will not punish any people unless He first warns them and tries the effect of His oft-repeated warnings. If the heart is hardened, if it refuses to heed the warnings given, and to accept the means of salvation, He will make men feel that as He has exalted and favored them, so He has to do with their casting down. When God has forsaken those whom He has so highly favored, no earthly power can avail. God is long-suffering, not willing that any should perish; but His forbearance has a limit, and when the boundary is past, there is no second probation. His wrath will go forth and He will destroy without remedy. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 31

When men, being in power, oppress and spoil their fellow men, and no earthly tribunal can be found to do justice, God will interpose in behalf of those who cannot defend themselves. He will punish for every act of oppression. No earthly wisdom can secure wrongdoers against the judgments of heaven. And when men put their trust in earthly powers instead of in their Maker, when they become lifted up in pride and self-confidence, God will in His own time make them to be despised. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 32

I have written you these things because it is my duty to do this. I shall see you soon. I leave this now with you. Take no notice of how men credit the words of men against God’s servants. There are those who swallow false statements greedily, without waiting to know whether they are true. But I will forbear. Keep close to Jesus. 15LtMs, Lt 122, 1900, par. 33