Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901)


Ms 108, 1901

Diary/“I had an interview with Brethren ...”

Los Angeles, California

August 14, 1901

Portions of this manuscript are published in UL 240; 4MR 447. +Note

I had an interview with Brethren McClure and Knox, and the Lord helped me to speak words to them in reference to the work to be accomplished in this new Conference. We then attended a council meeting in the tent, and the brethren asked me questions in regard to the relation of the Conference to the Medical Missionary Board and to the work in other parts of the Union Conference. I told them I could not tell them anything but that which was distinctly impressed on my mind by the Holy Spirit, but that they might ask me questions; for then I would know better what formation they desired. 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 1

I spoke about the relation of this new Conference to the Union Conference. Some of the brethren here have the idea that in its work the Southern California Conference should stand independent, to a large degree, of the work in other parts of the Union Conference; that it should conduct sanitarium work and health food work on independent lines. But in all the work done, this Conference is to blend in harmonious action with its sister conferences on the Pacific Coast. It is to have its own Board of judicious counsellors, but is to receive counsel and advice from brethren in other parts of the field. 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 2

The establishment of a sanitarium and a food factory is a matter which needs careful consideration; for there is constant danger of running into debt. These lines of work should be established and conducted with reference to the many other lines which their success or failure will affect. I told the brethren that they had neither financial strength nor managing ability to carry such weighty responsibilities without counsel and aid from experienced brethren. While it is time for the brethren in Southern California to begin to move out in the establishment of a sanitarium, let them make haste slowly. They should not think of establishing a food factory at the present time; for they have neither the talent nor the money necessary to carry forward such an enterprise. Men with the tact, skill, and ingenuity necessary for successful business management are rare. 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 3

Dr. Moran and his brother have had marked success in conducting the vegetarian restaurant; but they must remember that the establishment of a sanitarium will bring many more responsibilities. And Dr. Moran has his work as a physician. He is not to add to this work the extra burden of financial management. To do this would be to make a mistake which he cannot afford to make. 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 4

In all the economy of the Jewish nation, nothing is so strikingly presented as the plan for using a diversity of gifts. In our work today we are to show respect for God’s plan with regard to His gifts, looking upon it as sacred. These gifts are like the stars in the heavens, differing in magnitude and brightness. The Lord gives to one five talents, to another two, and to another one. All are to learn by trading to what use to put their talents so as to gain the best results. The Lord expects every one to make improvement. 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 5

In every conference there are men of varied capabilities. All are not fitted for the same work. Each should be given the work for which he is best adapted, in which he can use his talents to the greatest advantage. There are those who would make successful ministers who would fail in business management. 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 6

As a people we have much to learn. Men are continually making the mistake of striving to do great things in their own supposed strength. By their actions they say, “See what I can do, what great service I can accomplish for the Lord.” They are unwilling to take time to do with faithfulness the humble duties which fall to them. God requires His servants to perform the very smallest duty with exactness, fidelity, and unselfishness. To him who shows faithfulness in that which is least, God says, “Friend, come up higher.” [Luke 14:10.] But let God, not man, do the exalting. 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 7

God’s work is to be carried forward with more sanctification and elevation than it has been in the past. All business transactions are to be closely investigated in the light of God’s holy Word. Never allow worldly policy or pretense to become stock in trade. A close, grasping spirit is an abomination in the sight of God. This spirit is never to be cherished by those connected with His service; for it is opposed to the laws of Christ’s kingdom. 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 8

God’s servants are to remember that they are in this world on test and trial. Day by day they are to learn in the school of Christ the lessons of the present, in preparation for translation to the higher grade. Perfection in the work God gives to be done in this life constitutes fitness for entrance into the higher courts. The perfect man in Christ Jesus is the one God will honor. To those in our institutions who unite with God in their efforts, bringing His principles into all their work, He will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” [Matthew 25:23.] But He separates from those who misrepresent Him by following sharp, underhand plans, lowering His work in the estimation of those with whom they deal. They may think themselves talented, but their practices create and strengthen an appetite for greed and selfishness. Their talents are defiled by worldly practices. Their work is dishonoring to God. At the last great day He will say to them, “I know you not.” [Verse 12.] 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 9

God’s injunction to us is, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” [Matthew 7:13, 14.] I beseech those connected with God’s work to be sure that they have found the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 10

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” [Verses 15, 16.] Thus will appear the work of those who have educated themselves to deal sharply and unfairly with their fellow men. The leprosy of selfishness, which God hates, taints and destroys their work. Their manner of dealing with their fellow men introduces Satan’s principles into sacred places, destroying the sweetness of fellowship and love. Thorn berries are gathered where there should be grapes. The words and actions, which should be like figs, pleasant and nutritious, are more like thistles, pricking and wounding the soul. 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 11

“Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” [Verses 17-23.] 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 12

These words portray the sad ending of the self-deceived. They see the good that they might have done in this life, and they plead that they have performed some good actions. But their good was so alloyed with selfishness and greed that they turned souls away from the truth, causing them to lose faith in all professed Christians. On the minds of those with whom they were connected, they left a sense of suspicion, distrust, and injustice, which strengthened the spirit of criticism. Evildoers, though in the service of God, they educated themselves in dishonesty. Their sense of justice became confused. Their hearts were hardened, and they left undone many things which would have glorified God. Self-complacency filled their hearts, leading them to say, “I have done this and that good work.” But the Lord did not accept their work, because it was defiled by robbery and injustice. 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 13

Their wrong course began with the doing of unprincipled actions. The spirit of cupidity, not at first apparent to themselves, grew till it led to actions which meant robbery. Their unfaithfulness, commended by the world, was cherished for a lifetime under the decent garb of frugality and honest industry. Constantly it was working the destruction of themselves and many others. Those who have not the virtue of true godliness are shams, not Christians. Parsimoniousness is covetousness. It is the frugality of selfishness. 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 14

Handling the Lord’s goods is a sacred matter. Those who act in this capacity are to represent Christ, doing as He would do under similar circumstances. God’s divine benevolence is to be revealed by those connected with His work. His vineyard is to be worked in a way that will bring forth the fruit thereof. 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 15

Selfishness is as contagious as the leprosy. The sin of selfishness in dealing with the Lord’s goods ought to be seen as it is; for it is the greatest curse that can come into any man’s life. It is hard to reconcile the selfishness shown by church members with their claim to be the Lord’s helping hand. The halfhearted Christians working in the vineyard are the cause of the great dearth of means in the treasury. Will those to whom this is well known continue to manifest a hardheartedness that is lessening the resources brought in through church members? Godliness is becoming more and more rare. Unless the divine leaven of renovation works in the church, little will be done to convert souls who will be not only consumers but producers. The church is now as a vast hospital, filled with the spiritually sick, who need to be placed under the influence of the refining furnace, until all dross is consumed. 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 16

The future of the church depends on the efforts made by the members to understand the sinfulness of selfishness, and their willingness to take the remedy which will cure the disease from which they are suffering. Let a reformation take place, that those who accept the truth in the future shall not be contaminated by the corrupting influence of Satan. 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 17

As Seventh-day Adventists we must reach a higher standard. God brings a terrible charge against His professing people: “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God: I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked; I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent.” [Revelation 3:14-19.] 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 18

Many who are condemned by men are vindicated by God. Many who are exalted by human judgment are by God pronounced to be wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. Human judgment often errs. Often man condemns his brother because his discernment is defective. God looks at the heart. He reads the motives which prompt to action. 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 19

God prompts the question, “Ought I to do this?” Satan leads man to say, “I can.” Right is a loyal subject. Might is a haughty tyrant, leading to warfare, the scourge of the world. Right is a representation of the perfect man in Christ Jesus. It is the foundation of all righteousness and peace—the oil which fills the divine flagons. 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 20

“The angel which talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man is wakened out of his sleep, and said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof; and two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. So I answered and spake unto the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? And the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain; and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.” [Zechariah 4:1-7.] 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 21

“Then answered I and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches, which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” [Verses 11-14.] 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 22

Read this chapter over and over again, until you grasp its full meaning. Keep inquiring, “What are these, my Lord?” [Verse 4.] 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 23

There is a work to be done among the churches of Seventh-day Adventists which has not yet been done. Ministering angels are waiting to see who will take up the work in the right spirit. You may say, “Wherein must we change? What have we done?” It is not my work to enter into details. Let all humble themselves before God, asking for grace and wisdom, that they may see wherein they have violated His holy law. Unless His Spirit enlightens them, they will never know, even though it is set before them by their brethren. Those who refuse to come into right relation to God, who will not obey the rules of His government, do not bear His mark. 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 24

Let all who claim to be reformers be reformers in the fullest sense of the word. The Lord is merciful. He does not chastise His people because He hates them, but because He hates the sins they are committing. He must chastise them, that they may return to their loyalty. He designs their punishment to be a warning to them and to others. No one need walk in darkness. No one need say, “Specify to me the precise wrongs of which I am guilty.” To those who say this, I give the word of the Lord: “Search prayerfully, and you will know.” 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 25

If the warnings and reproofs given in the Word of God and in the testimonies of His Spirit are not plain enough, what words would be sufficiently plain to bring about a revival and a reformation? 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 26

If God’s people will turn from their wrong ways and seek counsel from Him, He will be spared a repetition of their chastisement. He waits long for His erring people to repent, that He may remove the rod from them, and grant them His forgiveness and favor, filling their hearts with His peace and joy. But those who in self-complacence strengthen themselves in following their own way, must be left to suffer the consequence of their wrong course. Cause will be followed by the sure result. 16LtMs, Ms 108, 1901, par. 27