Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 19 (1904)

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Ms 54, 1904

Talk/The Berrien Springs Work

Berrien Springs, Michigan

May 23, 1904

This manuscript is published in entirety in SpM 352-355. +Note

We may find valuable instruction in the words of Christ: “If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” [Matthew 5:23, 24.] 19LtMs, Ms 54, 1904, par. 1

In moving the college from Battle Creek and establishing it in Berrien Springs, Brethren Magan and Sutherland have acted in harmony with the light that God gave. They have worked hard under great difficulties. Upon the school there was a heavy burden of debt that they had not created. They labored and toiled and sacrificed in their endeavor to carry out right lines of education. And God has been with them. He has approved of their efforts. 19LtMs, Ms 54, 1904, par. 2

But who has appreciated the work that has been done in this place? Many have taken an attitude of opposition and have spoken words that have caused sadness and have made it hard to carry forward the work. Wicked prejudice and false accusations have been met. With some there has been a settled disposition to complain and to find fault with those who have striven with all their might to carry out the Lord’s instruction. 19LtMs, Ms 54, 1904, par. 3

Sister Magan worked with her husband, struggling with and praying that he might be sustained. She did not think of herself, but of him. And God did sustain them, as they walked in the light. From her small store of money, Sister Magan gave five hundred dollars to erect the Memorial Hall. She strove untiringly to maintain a perfect home government, teaching and educating her children in the fear of God. Twice she had to nurse her husband through an attack of fever. 19LtMs, Ms 54, 1904, par. 4

But it seemed to her as if some of our brethren had not a heart of flesh. After the General Conference in Oakland, a report was circulated that Sister White had turned against Brother Magan. There was not a word of truth in this statement. But his poor wife, who had toiled and sacrificed and prayed with him, was informed that Sister White had taken a stand against her husband. O why did any one ever say such a thing? Sister White never turned against Brother Magan or against Brother Sutherland. But Sister Magan was so weighted down with sorrow that she lost her reason. 19LtMs, Ms 54, 1904, par. 5

I ask, Who, in the day of judgment, will be held responsible for putting out the light of that mind that should be shining today? Who will be accountable in the day of God for the work that caused the distress which brought on this sickness? She suffered for months, and the husband suffered with her. And now the poor woman has gone, leaving two motherless children. All this, because of the work done by unsanctified tongues. 19LtMs, Ms 54, 1904, par. 6

Her husband has the comfort of the promise, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.” [Revelation 14:13.] Sister Magan was a Christian. She was one of Christ’s followers, and He loved her. Her works do follow her. 19LtMs, Ms 54, 1904, par. 7

You see the work that has been established here. You see that advancement has been made, and that the education has been carried forward in right lines, under many discouraging circumstances. This work of opposition and dissatisfaction has come from the enemy. It has cost the life of a wife and mother. But it has not taken away her crown of eternal life, nor hindered her from receiving the commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant, ... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” [Matthew 25:23.] 19LtMs, Ms 54, 1904, par. 8

I would say to Brethren Magan and Sutherland, God has looked with pleasure upon you as you have struggled through the difficulties you have had to meet here. Now the work has reached a point where you can go to labor elsewhere. You have written to me that you had a burden to work in the Southern field. There is plenty of room for you there. They are in need of more workers. They need school teachers, they need managers. We have been looking and praying for men to take up the work there, and we are glad that God has opened the way for you to work in that field. 19LtMs, Ms 54, 1904, par. 9

And to our brethren I can say, Brother Sutherland and Brother Magan do not go out from this place as men who have made a failure, but as men who have made a success. They have taught the students from the Bible, according to the light given from the testimonies. The students that have been with them need not be ashamed of the education they have received. 19LtMs, Ms 54, 1904, par. 10

To the students I would say, You are to let your teachers go willingly. They have had a hard battle here, but they have made a success; and as they leave, the Lord will go with them. His arms will be beneath them. If they will follow on to know the Lord, they shall know that His going forth is prepared as the morning. Let the teachers and students who remain take hold of the work in the name of the Lord. Do not be discouraged or depressed. 19LtMs, Ms 54, 1904, par. 11

The burdens here have rested heavily upon Brother Magan. He has not yet fully recovered from the effects of the first long attack of fever. He should be allowed to rest for at least one year, that he may have opportunity to regain his strength. 19LtMs, Ms 54, 1904, par. 12

Brethren and sisters, has there not been among us enough of this work of criticizing and accusing? Think you that you can carry this spirit with you to the heavenly courts? You might far better have been asking the Lord to bless these men; you might far better have been doing the work of the Lord, than trying to discourage those who were endeavoring to carry out the educational principles that God has presented before them. Now let there be a thorough examination of your past lives. And wherever you see that you have in any way taken advantage of one of your brethren, repent of it, and make it right. 19LtMs, Ms 54, 1904, par. 13

I speak the truth as God has presented it to me. Sister Magan died as a martyr, right among her own brethren. My brethren, this work of hurting one another does not pay. May God help you to cleanse your hearts from this evil thing. Ask pardon of God, and ask pardon of those whom you have wronged. Soon it will be too late for wrongs to be made right, and while we have a little opportunity granted us, let us, O let us right every wrong. 19LtMs, Ms 54, 1904, par. 14

Every one is to be judged in the courts of heaven according to the deeds that are done in the body. And this work of oppressing souls, of making the work doubly hard for those who are willing to make any sacrifice to advance the cause of God, will make a very poor showing in the books of heaven. Shall we not cease this work? We need sanctified tongues, we need our lips touched by a live coal from the altar. Our voices should give forth melody. When you speak to those who are in discouragement, let them know that they have your sympathy. How much better to speak kind and tender and loving words than words that will bruise and wound the soul. Will you remember that these souls are the purchase of the blood of Christ? He says, As ye do these things unto one of the least of these, My brethren, ye do them unto Me. They are Christ’s property, and we want to lift them up, that they may be in health, in courage, in faith, in hope. 19LtMs, Ms 54, 1904, par. 15

Let us seek the Lord. Let us seek Him as we go from this meeting. Let us make a covenant with Him by sacrifice. God longs to meet us here. He does not want us to go away as we are now. He wants every soul to melt into tenderness before Him, that He may bestow His rich blessing upon us. Will not you, who have been accusing your brethren, come off Satan’s ground? Will you not learn to speak words that will encourage? It will not blister your tongue to speak words of tenderness and kindness. It will do you good. It will encourage in you the spirit that should dwell in you. Gather with Christ, but do not, by word or action, discourage those who are putting to the strain every nerve and muscle to carry out the work that God has directed to be done. 19LtMs, Ms 54, 1904, par. 16

Let us humble ourselves before God, lest He shall punish us for our course of action in these things. We want to walk humbly with God, and let the spirit of kindness reign in our lives. Let affection and love be cultivated. Let the sweet spirit of Christ come in and abide with us. When you sit together with Christ in heavenly places, let me tell you, you will reveal in your countenances the very light of heaven. 19LtMs, Ms 54, 1904, par. 17

If Brethren Sutherland and Magan shall leave Berrien Springs, and I believe it is their duty to go, I beg of you, for Christ’s sake, not to follow them with criticism and faultfinding. And take right hold to help and strengthen whoever comes in here to take their place. 19LtMs, Ms 54, 1904, par. 18

Several times, even before they took up the work in Berrien Springs, Brethren Magan and Sutherland expressed to me their burden for the work in the South. Their hearts are there. Do not blame them for going. Do not put any impediments in their way. Let them go, and may God go with them, and may His blessing attend them. They will take with them from this place many pleasant memories of seasons of peace and joy. There have been times of sorrow, but they do not go because of that. They think that they can better glorify God by going to a more needy field. This is their own choice; I have not persuaded them. They did not know but that Sister White would stand in their way. But when they laid the matter before me this morning, I told them that I would not hinder them for one moment. Any one who takes up work in the South has before him a hard battle. The work there should be far in advance of what it is now. We should encourage the men who go there, and hold them up by our faith, by our prayers, and with our means. 19LtMs, Ms 54, 1904, par. 19

In the South also, our brethren have had to work under a spirit of faultfinding and accusing. I say these things to you now, that you may realize that you are not called by God to say depressing things or to manifest a spirit of coldness and indifference to those who go to carry burdens in the South. We hope that you will remember these words, and that the terrible history of the past may not be repeated. 19LtMs, Ms 54, 1904, par. 20

For over twenty years, the work of the Southern field has been held up before you, but you have not done for the work what should have been done. There is a large field there, and the burden of sustaining the laborers in this field belongs to the people of America. 19LtMs, Ms 54, 1904, par. 21

If any of the students and workers here desire to go with Brother Magan and Brother Sutherland, let them go and help them to carry the light to those who have never heard the truth, to a class of people that has been suffering with neglect and poverty. I know that Brother Haskell and Brother Butler will be glad to have the help of Brethren Magan and Sutherland and will unite with them in the work of God. They will have a hard time of it at the best; but if God is with them, they may know that He will sustain them. 19LtMs, Ms 54, 1904, par. 22