Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Lt 49, 1902

Haskell, Brother and Sister

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

February 5, 1902

Portions of this letter are published in Ev 63, 89-90, 264-265, 501, 509, 672; MM 275; 3MR 279; 8MR 331; 9MR 387-388; BTS 06/1902. +Note

Dear Brother and Sister Haskell,—

I have every reason for gratitude to God that I have been able to continue my writing. Even when I was sick in Nashville, my head was clear, and I could write. I am still unable to use my voice. Sometimes when I attempt to speak, I can make no sound. But while I continue weak, I now have an excellent appetite, and my food tastes good. For this I am thankful. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 1

How many disasters are now taking place! These are admonitions to us that we are living in the last days. Daily we read of earthquakes; of the going down of many ships, with great loss of life; of destructive floods; and of the burning of immense buildings costing millions of dollars—buildings which men have pronounced fireproof, but which, when touched by the finger of God, are consumed. With a loud voice these things speak to us, saying, “The end of all things is at hand.” [1 Peter 4:7.] 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 2

We are living in the closing period of this earth’s history. What shall we do to awaken the people to a realization of their dangerous condition? Already the plagues of God are coming upon the world; yet many of those who for years have been expecting to behold Christ at His second appearing are assuming an attitude of listless indifference to the daily events which show that His coming is drawing near. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 3

In the twenty-fourth of Matthew is recorded Christ’s prophecy in regard to the signs that precede His second coming. After mentioning some of them, He says: “Now learn a parable of the fig-tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. ... But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” [Verses 32, 33, 36-39.] 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 4

As the inhabitants of the antediluvian world “knew not” the time in which they were living, so the inhabitants of the world today know not, because they do not choose to know, that they are living in the last days. Christ has warned us to watch for His second coming. He says: “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. ... Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?” Every one of us may well ask, Does this Scripture refer to me? Lord, is it I? “Blessed is that servant,” Christ says, “whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming, and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” [Verses 42, 45-51.] 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 5

Every Christian is now to stand in his lot. This is no time to be careless. The judgments of God are in the world. They will surprise many. Vessels filled with passengers will suddenly go down, and all on board will perish. Some one may be saved to bear witness to the intemperance of those on board—the drinking, the card-playing, the swearing, the wickedness of every description. We need to watch, the Lord says, lest, coming suddenly, He will find us sleeping in dreamland, or engaged in worldly projects and foolish diversions. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 6

In these perilous times we should leave untried no means of warning the people. We should be deeply interested in everything that will stay the tide of iniquity. Work on. Have faith in God. Christ has said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” [Matthew 28:18.] This is the power that He longs to bestow upon all. He declares that those who seek Him with all the heart shall find Him. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 7

Both Brother Haskell and Brother Franke have a work to do. There is great danger, however, that Brother Franke will not co-operate with God, but will carry on the work in a strange way. While giving God’s message to the world, he should have a most solemn sense of its sacredness. In every attitude, in every word spoken, he should be reverential. He is handling the Word of God. He should act as he would if he could see the Saviour personally in the congregation. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 8

The one who teaches the Word of God needs to do so with great solemnity, because of the elevated character of this work. In every assembly where the truth is presented are angels of God. It is because of the connection of the human agent with the divine agencies that the minds of the hearers are impressed as Christ desires them to be. Heavenly intelligences can do work on the minds of those in the congregation that, as people leave the place of meeting, realize that Christ was there. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 9

The minds of the people whom you address are to be correctly impressed. Christ says, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Verses 19, 20.] He who while on this earth declared that He had many things to say that His hearers could not bear, is today in the congregation with those for whom He gave His precious life. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 10

Gospel meetings can be conducted in such a way as to consume much money from the Lord’s treasury in an effort to make a display. When teachers of the Word depend upon outward appearance, they forget the nobler scene before them. They forget the great and mighty Worker who has promised to be with them alway. They forget that there is present One who can enlarge the faculties of the speaker, One who can make impressive the presentation of the power and grace of the truth. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 11

The gospel minister should realize that he is a laborer together with God. He should reflect into the hearts of others the divine rays of light that shine into his heart. Thus he will co-operate with God in stamping upon human hearts the divine likeness. The speaker should never put self into his work; for by drawing the attention of his hearers to himself, he turns their attention from Christ. He may say and do many things that affect the minds of his hearers; but the power of his influence is counterworked by methods that bring the human agent into prominence, causing the people to lose sight of Christ. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 12

Let no man weave himself into the work of God. The Lord does not give all the same talents. The gifts of His workers are varied. Each worker must stand in his lot and in his place, doing his work in an acceptable manner. There are men to whom God will give a message for the people; but in giving the message these men are not to reveal themselves. Christ is to appear as the only hope of salvation. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 13

Those who make use of devices that are theatrical in nature to hold the attention of the people, lose the realization of the presence of Christ. Those who use so much time in preparing for their meetings, depending to a large extent on outward appearance to impress the people, give Jesus no opportunity to work on hearts. They mingle the common with the sacred. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 14

We shall have to gain a deeper knowledge of Christ’s manner of working. Our faith must reach lofty, sacred heights. In His ministry the Majesty of heaven has given us a perfect pattern by which to shape our methods of labor. We must know by experience that the best and only way to learn how to reach hearts is to study this pattern. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 15

In the Christian life there is no preparation that can take the place of that enjoined by the words, Watch, Pray, Work. The co-operation of God with man is all-sufficient. There is such a thing as excluding Christ from our meetings. This we do by neglecting to pray and by neglecting to recognize His presence as our light and life—the One who has power to give us success in all our efforts. The great Teacher will instruct every soul that waits upon Him. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 16

Many things have been presented to me that worry my mind. I am writing this at twelve o’clock at night. In the night season the case of Elder Franke has been presented before me. He was in great excitement. In seeking to carry on the work in a way that the Lord does not approve, he was going beyond his depth, breadth, and height. By the use of charts, symbols, and representations of various kinds, he can make the truth stand out clearly and distinctly. This is a help, and in harmony with the Word of God. But when Brother Franke makes his labor so very expensive to himself and to others, he is not working in harmony with God’s plan. It is not necessary to use so much of the Lord’s money in New York City, when the funds in the Lord’s treasury are so scarce that ministers cannot be paid for their labors. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 17

Let our workers do some careful thinking, earnest praying, and wise planning. The Lord wants His work to be carried on solidly and intelligently. He says that we are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. [1 Corinthians 4:9.] The presentation before me was that if Elder Franke would heed the counsel of his brethren, and not rush on in the way he does in making a great effort to secure large congregations, he would have more influence for good, and his work would have a more telling effect. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 18

He should cut off from his meetings everything that has a semblance of theatrical display; for such outward appearances give no strength to the message that he bears. When the Lord can co-operate with him, his work will not need to be done in so expensive a manner. He will not need then to go to so much expense in advertising his meetings. He will not place so much dependence on the musical program. This part of his services is conducted more after the order of a concert in a theater, than a song service in a religious meeting. It makes an impression on minds for time and for eternity. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 19

One of authority asked, “Brother Franke, who has required this at your hand?” The time has come for Brother Franke to consider that this great effort and excitement in preparing for a meeting does not bear the stamp of divine approval. It is mingled altogether too much with human devising. Christ has very little to do with these preparations. Brother Franke is not taking into consideration the efficiency of the Holy Spirit. Like the man who began to build a tower, he is endeavoring to do a large work without first counting the cost. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 20

I speak to our brethren in New York City. You must follow Elder Franke no further than he follows the Lord Jesus. The time has come when there must be a decided change. If Elder Franke cannot labor as did the Lord Jesus Christ and His disciples, in planting and sowing the seeds of truth; if he cannot work in the large cities without making so much labor for himself and others by his preparations, and without expending so much money, he might better come apart and rest awhile. He is in danger of becoming unbalanced in mind because he cannot have all the money he wants for a certain line of work. But what does he accomplish by the methods of labor that he follows? His work of explaining the prophecies would make a deeper impression on the minds of people of the higher class if it were stripped of all preliminaries and eccentricities. Let present truth be presented with solemnity and the utmost simplicity. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 21

Let Elder Franke begin to lay a different foundation for his work, not depending so much on outward display and expensive preparation to call the people out to hear the truth. Brother Franke, in this yourself and your family are brought in, and God is left out. The creature is put before the Creator. The appetite of the people for a theatrical style of preaching may be satisfied, but the effects made have not saving results. Outward display, expensive arrangements, do not give the people the education in gospel missionary work that the Lord desires them to receive. These things work against the truth, hindering instead of advancing it; for the truth is mingled with common, worldly methods. God’s money is not to be expended in this way. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 22

The injury this manner of working is doing to Elder Franke terrifies me. He is presented to me as a man almost desperate when he cannot get funds to invest in his extravagant preparations. His mind becomes unbalanced, and in the effort to secure money, he makes wild moves. He is exhausted. His nervous system has been severely taxed. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 23

Elder Franke uses with prodigality money that should go to the sustaining of workers in different parts of the field. He needs to remember that others besides him are to have opportunity to use their talents in the Lord’s work. And they are to be given facilities for work, so that they can labor without sacrificing health and even life itself. One worker is not to absorb a large amount of money to carry on his line of work according to his own plans, leaving his fellow worker without the means he ought to have in order to do the work assigned him. <Even if this money comes from outsiders, it is still the Lord’s money.> God has not ordained that one worker should have a superabundance, while his fellow worker is so bound about by a lack of means that he cannot accomplish the work that should be done. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 24

I see Brother Franke’s danger. It is the greatest injury his brethren can do him to lend him money. He must not involve himself in debt to keep up an extravagant display, to hire the most expensive halls and the best singers. He is to cut down his expenses. In the place of display, he is to put <into his work> solid piety and earnest prayer. In the meetings held, the singing should not be neglected. God can be glorified by this part of the service. And when singers offer their services, they should be accepted. But money should not be used to hire singers. Often the singing of simple hymns by the congregation has a charm that is not possessed by the singing of a choir, however skilled it may be. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 25

Let the work be carried on with greater economy. The Lord is not pleased with Elder Franke’s extravagant outlay of means in his work in New York. This must not be permitted, for such an example is injurious to his fellow workmen. Should he continue to carry on the work in such an extravagant way, means would have to be gathered from every available source for its support, and the work in other parts of the vineyard would be crippled. Elder Franke himself would become bankrupt, and those sustaining him would become confused and perplexed. He would suffer from the thought that he had done thus and so, bringing disaster and defeat to his work. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 26

Elder Franke overworks, and then, supposing that he needs a stimulus, he has recourse to a meat diet. His energies are taxed to the utmost. He does not give himself sufficient time to sleep, and his brethren suffer with him because they love him. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 27

God does not require His workers to tax themselves to get up new and strange schemes for interesting the people. There is fanaticism in this kind of labor, and God disapproves of it. Christ’s example does not call for such service. Let not fanaticism mingle with the proclamation of the most solemn truth ever given to the world. God is dishonored when His servants give place to love of display and love of power. The religion that trusts in display is not a sanctified religion, and we need to be afraid of it. Elder Franke should be afraid of it. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 28

The object of all we do, whether we eat, or drink, or whatever we do, is to be the glory of God. The health and strength that He has given us is to be carefully guarded. We are never to plan our work in a way that calls for a prodigal outlay of means or for an undue taxation of the mental and physical powers. The worker who plans his work in this way does great harm to himself. He worries, and his mind is worn out by his anxiety to make everything appear to what he supposes to be the best effect; for he gets nervous if he cannot obtain all the means he needs to carry out his plans to his satisfaction. While a worker follows such methods, he cannot be guided by the Holy Spirit. He is working in a worldly way to satisfy a worldly appetite. He forgets that true success is dependent on the One who has said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] The things that should have taken the first and highest control of the mind are lost sight of in the effort to make a striking impression. The common fire, not the sacred fire of God’s kindling, is used. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 29

In our efforts to proclaim the truth, God’s glory is ever to be kept in view. We are to worship Him in spirit and truth and in the beauty of holiness. We are to appear before Him cleansed and purified, so that He can teach us the meaning of the words, “We are laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 30

While we are to be economical, we are not to carry economy to excess. It is one of the sad, strange things in life that great mistakes are <sometimes> made in carrying the virtue of self-sacrifice to an extreme. It is possible for the Lord’s workers to be presumptuous and to carry too far the self-sacrifice that prompts them to go without sufficient food and without sufficient clothing, in order that they may make every dollar go as far as possible. Some laborers overwork, and do without things they ought to have, because there is not enough money in the treasury to sustain the number of workers that ought to be in the field. There would be more money if all would work in accordance with Christ’s injunction: “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” [Mark 8:34.] 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 31

Absolute truth and righteousness and honesty are always to be maintained. Every one is to feel that he is the Lord’s property. There is to be no sacrifice of the precious gift of health to satisfy narrow, contracted minds. We are to do nothing that will give the people an excuse to call us fanatics. In dress and behavior we are to reveal propriety. Never are we to be slack or untidy in our appearance or our work. And never are we to show the selfish indulgence that is a denial of our faith. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 32

The work in Greater New York is to be carried on in a way that will properly represent the sacredness and holiness of the truth of God. Vegetarian restaurants, treatment rooms, cooking schools, are to be established. The people are to be taught how to prepare wholesome food. They are to be educated by showing the need of discarding tea, coffee, and flesh meat. There are to be suitably furnished rooms where people can be received and given religious instruction. These things are necessary for the advancement of the work. The work is not to be carried on in such a self-sacrificing way that an unfavorable impression will be made on the minds of the people because of its meager showing. All that is done is to bear favorable witness to the Author of truth. The worship of God in the beauty of holiness demands a dignity and nicety that is in harmony with the sacredness and importance of the truth. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 33

Missions are to be established in all our cities. A work of equalization is to be done. All the workers are to be properly sustained in their respective lines of work. The work in one place is not to be carried forward without thought of the work in another place. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 34

Those who are filled with unselfish love for the souls for whom the Saviour died will make every effort to save them. But even in good work, care is to be exercised. God’s workers are to move cautiously. They are not to exhaust their strength, thus bringing reproach upon God because their health and strength have greatly decreased. Some are indolent. They love their ease and therefore do little good in the world. This is a great evil. But it is a greater evil for earnest, self-sacrificing laborers to overwork, and perhaps lose their lives just at the time when they are most needed. Prevention is better than cure. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 35

God’s ministers, deeply conscious of their weakness and their many infirmities, yet doing the best they can, find unspeakable consciousness in the assurance, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:20.] God’s Word will not return unto Him void; it will accomplish that whereunto He sends it. The great Master-worker moves on the minds of His human instrumentalities, teaching them to speak words that are right to the point. The truth presented is effectual because the worker relies on the One who is mighty, the One who has power to prepare hearts for the seeds of truth. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 36

The duty and delight of all service is to uplift Christ before the people. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” [John 1:29.] All our efforts are to tend to the uplifting of the Redeemer. This is the end of all true labor. Let Christ appear; let man be hidden behind Him. This is self-sacrifice that is of worth. Such self-sacrifice God accepts. “Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” [Isaiah 57:15.] “The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. ... But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” [Isaiah 66:1, 2.] 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 37

I thought that the subjects on which I have touched in this letter had been so fully dealt with in letters already written that I did not try to collect all that had not been copied. I am now very busy, but when the present stress is over, I shall gather together everything I can find on the subject. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 38

Keep the work of health reform to the front, is the message I am given to bear. Show so plainly the value of health reform that a widespread need for it will be felt. But never advocate a starvation diet. It is possible to have a wholesome, nutritious diet without using flesh meat. Think of placing the flesh of animals on our tables! Abstinence from all hurtful food and drink is the fruit of true religion. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 39

Men and women have many habits that are antagonistic to the principles of the Bible. The victims of strong drink and tobacco are corrupted—body, soul, and spirit. Such ones should not be received into the church until they give evidence that they are truly converted, that they feel the need of the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. The truth of God will purify the true believer. He who is thoroughly converted will abandon every defiling habit and appetite. By total abstinence he will overcome his desire for health-destroying indulgences. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 40

At this stage of the earth’s history, meat eating is dishonoring to God. It is meat eating and liquor drinking that are making the world as it was in the days of Noah. These things are strengthening the lower passions of human beings, animalizing the race. By giving way to base passions, man is corrupting body, soul, and spirit. The murders committed by men under the influence of strong drink show what a cruel, satanic spirit strong drink inspires in a man. Often the liquor sold is adulterated, poisoned; and those who drink it are made mad. Under its influence they show a satanic ferocity. They place themselves under Satan’s control, and he works through them. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 41

Liquor drinking encourages the vilest debauchery and strengthens the most satanic propensities. Yet the law legalizes the liquor traffic, because it brings the country a revenue. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 42

As we face these things, and see the terrible consequences of liquor drinking, shall we not do all in our power to rally to the help of God in fighting against this great evil? At the foundation of liquor drinking lie wrong habits of eating. Those who believe present truth should refuse to drink tea or coffee; for these excite a desire for stronger stimulant. They should refuse to eat flesh meat; for this too excites a desire for strong drink. Wholesome food, prepared with taste and skill, should be our diet now. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 43

Those who are not health reformers treat themselves unfairly and unwisely. By the indulgence of appetite, they do themselves fearful injury. Some may think that the question of diet is not important enough to be included in the question of religion. But such make a great mistake. God’s Word declares, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” [1 Corinthians 10:31.] The subject of temperance, in all its bearings, has an important place in the working out of our salvation. Because of wrong habits of eating, the world is becoming more and more immoral. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 44

We are deeply pained as we see men and women of talent and influence, who are handling sacred truth and at the same time ruining their digestive organs by eating unwholesome food. We ask them to go further than abstaining from liquor and tobacco. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 45

The work of teaching people how to prepare food that is at once wholesome and appetizing is of the utmost importance. Greater interest should be shown in the education of workers for this line of work which is far behind, because those who ought to be foremost in advocating the need for instruction in the intelligent preparation of wholesome food are standing back, unwilling to see the reform extend. 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 46

I am instructed to say to health-reform educators, “Go forward.” [Exodus 14:15.] The world needs every jot of the influence you can exert to press back the tide of moral woe. Let those who believe the truth stand true to their colors. “I beseech you ... 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.] 17LtMs, Lt 49, 1902, par. 47