Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 22 (1907)


Ms 81, 1907

“To Seek and To Save That Which Was Lost”


August 15, 1907 [typed]

Extracts from 5T and Lt 17, 1900.

(A statement from the writings of Mrs. E. G. White, compiled by C. C. Crisler, showing the relation that Seventh-day Adventists may sustain toward temperance organizations.) 22LtMs, Ms 81, 1907, par. 1

In former years, when health and temperance meetings were held regularly in many of our churches, cautions were given against the tendency, on the part of some, to lower the standard. In Testimony for the Church, No. 31, published in 1882, is the following instruction regarding this matter: 22LtMs, Ms 81, 1907, par. 2

“The temperance work is ... worthy of your best endeavors. But great care should be taken to make the temperance meetings as elevated and ennobling as possible. Avoid a surface work and everything of a theatrical character. Those who realize the solemn character of this work will keep the standard high. But there is a class who have no real respect for the cause of temperance; their only concern is to show off their smartness upon the stage. The pure, the thoughtful, and those who understand the object of the work should be encouraged to labor in these great branches of reform. They may not be intellectually great, but if pure and humble, God-fearing and true, the Lord will accept their labors.”—Testimonies for the Church 5:127. 22LtMs, Ms 81, 1907, par. 3

By some, this paragraph was taken as a permission to regard with disfavor the health and temperance movement in our church and kindred organizations in other churches, and it became necessary to write out the instruction found in Testimony for the Church, No. 32 (published in 1885), as follows: 22LtMs, Ms 81, 1907, par. 4

“Some of you in _______ developed wonderful zeal in denouncing the red-ribbon clubs. So far as you were actuated by a desire to condemn the evil in these societies, you were right; but when you acted as though it were a crime to speak at all in their favor, or to show them the least good will, you carried matters to extremes. You should be consistent in all things. You have cherished a hatred for the very name ‘red-ribbon club’ that savors not of the Spirit of Christ; and your feelings of bitterness have not helped you or any one else. 22LtMs, Ms 81, 1907, par. 5

“You have taken the Testimonies given in reference to our people mingling with the temperance societies to the detriment of their spiritual interest, and by perverting them have used them to oppress and burden souls. By this treatment of the light given, you have brought my work into disrepute. There was not the least necessity for this, and some of you have a work to do to make this matter right. You would make an iron bedstead for others; if too short, they must be stretched; if too long, they must be cut off. ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.’” [Matthew 7:1.]—Testimonies for the Church 5:355, 356. 22LtMs, Ms 81, 1907, par. 6


A similar mistake was made by some of our brethren several years ago, regarding the attitude we should sustain toward the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. In 1898, testimonies were sent to some of our brethren in America, cautioning them against the inclination to give undue praise to the leaders of the W.C.T.U. In these communications, the following important principles were set forth: 22LtMs, Ms 81, 1907, par. 7

1. That many of the members of the W.C.T.U. are unwittingly working in opposition to the divine law, in their efforts to enact and enforce Sunday laws—laws that will bring oppression upon God’s commandment-keeping people. 22LtMs, Ms 81, 1907, par. 8

2. That those who are engaged in such work are neither to be demerited nor extolled. 22LtMs, Ms 81, 1907, par. 9

3. That if the members of the W.C.T.U. had not lent their influence toward the support of the Sabbath Reform Movement, they would have had far greater power than they now have in their warfare against intemperance. 22LtMs, Ms 81, 1907, par. 10

4. That these noble women must be dealt with tenderly, patiently, in order that they may be won to the truth. 22LtMs, Ms 81, 1907, par. 11

5. That wise, discreet workers are to unite with them on the temperance question and seek to enlighten them regarding the things concerning which they are ignorant. 22LtMs, Ms 81, 1907, par. 12


A little over a year after this instruction was given, there appeared in one of our periodicals a series of articles pointing out the relation sustained by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union to the National Reform Association, and critically analyzing the statements of the leaders of the W.C.T.U. with respect to their attitude toward Sunday legislation. A testimony was sent to the author of these articles, showing the great danger of repelling those whom we desire to win to the truth. A portion of the letter is as follows: 22LtMs, Ms 81, 1907, par. 13

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, Australia

Feb. 6, 1900

Dear Brother:

My attention has been called to your articles in reference to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. In the work of temperance, all church members are supposed to stand upon the platform of union. The putting on of an appearance of antagonism is natural to the human heart, but it is not after the order of Christ. You are building up barricades that should not be made to appear. After reading these articles, will those who know not what our faith is feel inclined to make an attempt to unite with us? The tone of such articles savors of Pharisaism. The man who expects to enlighten a deceived people must come near to them and labor for them in love. He must become a center of holy influences. One concession made on their part would prepare the way, after patient enlightenment, for a second concession. ... 22LtMs, Ms 81, 1907, par. 14

If far move earnest, devoted, determined efforts were made for such associations as the W.C.T.U., light would shine forth to souls who are as honest as Cornelius. It was the Lord’s design that work should be done for the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, that those who are seeking the light might be gathered out from those who are so bitterly opposed to the message God is giving to the world. 22LtMs, Ms 81, 1907, par. 15

The ideas expressed in your articles savor so strongly of antagonism that you will do harm, more harm than you can possibly conceive. Remember that if by the injudicious use of your pen you close the door to even one soul, that soul will confront you in the judgment. Oh, how much has been said that has turned souls to bitterness and gall against the truth! Words that should have been a savor of life unto life have been made a savor of death unto death by the spirit which accompanied them. 22LtMs, Ms 81, 1907, par. 16

“Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me,” Christ said; “for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:29, 30.] Have you made this appear as Christ has stated it? For what reason do you put on the armor of warfare and battle so strongly? Sit down with Christ and learn of the divine Teacher. “The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” [2 Timothy 2:24-26.] 22LtMs, Ms 81, 1907, par. 17