Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 22 (1907)


Lt 224, 1907

Cottrell, H. W.

St. Helena, California

July 10, 1907

Portions of this letter are published in 4BC 1165; 6Bio 133.

Elder H. W. Cottrell
Mountain View, California

Dear Brother:

We have received and read your letter. In answer I would say that unless the Lord gives me clear evidence that it is my duty to attend the Los Angeles camp-meeting, I shall not venture to leave my home. In the meetings, I would be called upon to meet that which is not in harmony with the work of the Lord in these last days, and which is contrary to the light God has given me. These experiences always cause me great suffering of mind. Yet if the Lord reveals to me that it is my duty to attend this meeting, I am willing to go. 22LtMs, Lt 224, 1907, par. 1

On Sabbath, July 13, I spoke in the sanitarium chapel. I took as my text the first six verses of the third chapter of First John. At the close of the service Elder Behrens introduced me to an aged minister, who has been for some time a patient at the sanitarium, and one who has done an important work in gospel lines. As we parted, he said, “Mrs. White, you have preached an excellent gospel sermon.” 22LtMs, Lt 224, 1907, par. 2

The Lord has shown me that a great mistake has been made in keeping men in positions of authority who suppose it to be their duty to forbid other ministers from exercising their right to go from place to place as the Lord may direct them to hold meetings, unless they have been authorized to do so by these men holding official responsibility. By thus restricting the liberty of the workers, they are given a wrong education. By this method men are encouraged to look to men for guidance in the place of seeking light and knowledge from the Lord. We must not teach men to look for wisdom to men who are no more capable of teaching them their duty than they themselves are capable of knowing it without the wisdom of God to guide them. 22LtMs, Lt 224, 1907, par. 3

God has not given to conference officers the work of telling each minister or servant of God just what his duty is. Such a work would call for supernatural discernment. When power is placed in the hands of man to dictate to his fellow men, it is a dangerous thing. 22LtMs, Lt 224, 1907, par. 4

Man’s most imperative duty is to look after his own soul’s efficiency and to give a faithful example in his own household. The home is the most sacred of all educational agencies. Our schools, our sanitariums, and other branches of the Lord’s work are established for the education and training of the youth; but the home is the first and most important place of training. It is to the child what the root is to the plant; it supplies the necessities of the child from its earliest years. 22LtMs, Lt 224, 1907, par. 5

One of the most earnest prayers recorded in the Word of God is that of David when he plead, “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” [Psalm 51:10.] God’s response to such a prayer is, “A new heart will I give you.” [Ezekiel 36:26.] This is a work that no finite man can do. Men and women are to begin at the beginning, seeking God most earnestly for a true Christian experience. They are to feel the creative power of the Holy Spirit. They are to receive the new heart that is kept soft and tender by the grace of heaven. The selfish spirit is to be cleansed from the soul. They are to labor earnestly and with humility of heart, each one looking to Jesus for guidance and encouragement. Then the building, fitly framed together, will grow into a holy temple in the Lord. 22LtMs, Lt 224, 1907, par. 6

Minister and officers in the church are chosen to be workers together with God. All, in their several lines of work, are to learn their lessons of God. But any arrangement that may be made by which men whom He has chosen for His work are asked to accept the dictation of finite men is a violation of the principles of the Christian church. God has never appointed one man to stand as the dictator of his fellow man. This is placing man as the guide and teacher of man, when every church member should be instructed to seek the counsel of God. 22LtMs, Lt 224, 1907, par. 7

In some of our churches there are teachers and leaders who are unconverted, unsanctified, and many of the church members stand in a doubtful position before God. The plans of God have been exchanged for the plans of men. There is a form of service, but the spirit of self-sufficiency steels the heart against the truth that sanctifies the soul, and the truth cannot do its sanctifying work. But connected with these churches are some whom the Spirit of God is guiding in the strait and narrow path that leads to eternal honor and glory. 22LtMs, Lt 224, 1907, par. 8

The minister who would guide souls to find the one thing needful must himself die to self and surrender the heart to God to be cleansed of its selfishness. Then the wayward disposition will be conquered, and he will be strengthened and settled in the faith. A spiritual freedom will come into his experience; for he becomes a son of God and enjoys the liberty of the sons of God. 22LtMs, Lt 224, 1907, par. 9

To our conference officers I am bidden to say, Do not step in between man and his God by teaching the workers to look to finite man to learn their duty. Point men and women to God through faith in Jesus Christ. When your brethren come to you, asking where they shall go and what they shall do, say to them: I cannot direct you; but we can study the field together, and pray to God for wisdom, and together we can seek His counsel in this matter. 22LtMs, Lt 224, 1907, par. 10

I am instructed to say to those who are impressed with their duty to bear a message to the people, and who feel the need of guidance: Look to the Lord for light. “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering; for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” [James 1:5-8.] It is the Lord whom you must seek. He is the source of wisdom, of light, and of life. Do not dishonor God by placing weak and erring man in the place where He should be. The time has come when every heart should be making its petitions to the God who is too wise to err, and too good and merciful to do us harm. 22LtMs, Lt 224, 1907, par. 11

We need to study carefully the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. “Is not this the fast that I have chosen,” the Lord through His prophet asks, “to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” [Verse 6.] It is time to break every yoke with which Satan has sought to bind God’s people and to let the work of reformation go through our midst. It is time that there was a turning unto the Lord. 22LtMs, Lt 224, 1907, par. 12

Let our churches in every place fast and pray, each man humbling his own heart before the Lord. Do not seek to humble the soul of your brother or sister, but let each set his own heart right before God. Confess your sins one to another, and pray one for another. Continue to pray until the yokes are all broken from the necks of our brethren and the desire to rule has been quenched. Pray that the Lord shall become the Leader and Guide of His people. 22LtMs, Lt 224, 1907, par. 13

It is the privilege and duty of every Christian to trust in God at all times and under all circumstances. This trust means confidence and reliance. The psalmist confessed the need that God’s people have of this divine guidance. “Shew me Thy ways, O Lord,” he prayed; “teach me Thy paths. Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me; for Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day. ... Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will He teach sinners in the way. The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way.” [Psalm 25:4, 5, 8, 9.] 22LtMs, Lt 224, 1907, par. 14

If we will individually seek by faith for the wisdom that cometh from above, we shall have clear and noble conceptions of our duty. Solomon declares: “How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul. Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud. He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord happy is he. The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning. Understanding is a wellspring of life to him that hath it; but the instruction of fools is folly. The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips. Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. ... The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness. He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” [Proverbs 16:16-24, 31, 32.] 22LtMs, Lt 224, 1907, par. 15

I am bowed down with sorrow when I see those who have had great light engage in a work of self-exaltation. God forbids any man to take up a work that will endanger his own soul. To every man God gives a work, and this work is to be done intelligently. Any line of work in which he engages that makes him conscience for another takes him out of the place that God has assigned him. 22LtMs, Lt 224, 1907, par. 16

The Lord permitted the city of San Francisco to be destroyed by earthquake and fire; and since that time what a revelation of wickedness and crime has come to light, what a record of spoiled integrity. If the members of the churches in Oakland and San Francisco had been true to God, there would have gone forth from these churches many missionaries to work as Christ worked, preaching, praying, and working for the relief of suffering humanity. 22LtMs, Lt 224, 1907, par. 17

Elder Simpson, under trying circumstances, gave the note of warning to thousands; but how little did the men in responsible positions in the conference, the men to whom the workers looked for counsel, give of the strong support and encouragement which was needed. I bore a message to Brother Simpson, warning him not to load himself with burdens which would crush him down and which should be shared by his fellow workers in the conference. 22LtMs, Lt 224, 1907, par. 18

The work that the Lord has done in the city of San Francisco, in unveiling the corruption of the men in office, will be done in other cities. Now is the time for our people to work. Now is the time for believers to carry out their baptismal vows. Every soul who has become a member of the church has pledged himself to be a laborer together with God, and he is to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord. Ministers who are ordained to preach the gospel are not to be placed under the instruction of men who will restrict their work according to finite judgment, telling them where they may go and what they may do. They are to do their work wisely under the direction of God. The prayer taught by Christ to His disciples is to be offered by every soul and should be answered in their lives. “Our Father, which art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” [Matthew 6:9, 10.] This is possible, or Christ would not have taught His followers to make this petition. 22LtMs, Lt 224, 1907, par. 19