Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 22 (1907)


Lt 186, 1907

Butler, G. I.

St. Helena, California

May 29, 1907

Portions of this letter are published in Ev 97; PC 286-288. +Note

Elder G. I. Butler
24th Avenue, North, Nashville, Tennessee

My dear Brother:

I received your letter for which I thank you. I am always glad to hear from you. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 1

For nearly six weeks I have been absent from St. Helena, traveling in Southern California. During this time I have had several ill turns, some of which were very painful. But I will not dwell upon this; it is sufficient to say that notwithstanding my weakness the Lord helped me to bear my testimony to a large number of people in several places. Many were surprised that I could speak with such clearness and power, and not once did I fail to keep the appointments that were made for me. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 2

Sabbath and Sunday, April 20 and 21, I spent at Fernando. Our school this year at Fernando has been greatly blessed. Many of the students have offered themselves for service in the Master’s vineyard. On Monday I left for Loma Linda. I remained there a little over a week and returned again to Loma Linda after a visit to Paradise Valley, San Diego, San Pasqual, and Escondido. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 3

On Sabbath, May 18, the members of several churches gathered at Loma Linda, and we held meetings under the pepper trees on the lawn at the back of the sanitarium. In the forenoon I spoke for one hour, and the Lord helped me wonderfully. Before closing my remarks I presented to those present the needs of the sanitarium and expressed the desire that sufficient money might be received to complete the payments on the additions that have been made to the main building. Before we purchased the property the main building had been used mostly as a hotel, and the bathroom facilities were limited. In order to do efficient work in the sanitarium, it was necessary to make additions to the buildings already standing. Dr. White, Brother and Sister Burden, and the sisters of Sister Burden invested in the sanitarium at Loma Linda all that they could possibly spare, but there still remains an indebtedness that must be cleared off. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 4

After the morning service, a lunch was provided by the sanitarium for the visitors and served on the lawn. Brother Burden felt that the sanitarium would not be a loser by this entertainment, and I agreed with him; for I remember the experiences we have had in the past in making similar provision. Such acts of hospitality are sometimes the means of sowing seed in the hearts of those who are inquiring after truth. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 5

In the afternoon Elder Luther Warren gave an excellent discourse. Brother Warren is an able worker, and we hope that he may labor for a time in this needy field. At present he is resting somewhat on account of the condition of his own and his wife’s health. After his service, the visitors left for their homes, and all were agreed that they had spent a pleasant day and had been blessed by the discourses. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 6

After the Sabbath Brother Nichols came to my room, his face glowing with happiness, and said, “I want to tell you what your words today have accomplished.” He then told me that one sister had come to Brother Burden and given him ten dollars, and that a gentleman had offered to lend him one thousand dollars for a year without interest. I felt to praise the Lord at this response. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 7

Later Brother Burden gave me some particulars concerning this man who had loaned the money. He was brought to the sanitarium in such a diseased condition that his case was thought to be hopeless. But he was carefully treated, and the crisis was safely passed. He is one of the most grateful patients they have had. He has become interested in the truth, and by his loan he has shown his appreciation of what has been done for him. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 8

I had promised to speak at Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon, so it was necessary for us to hasten away by the early train from Loma Linda. We had about sixty miles to travel. On our arrival at Los Angeles, we went up to our restaurant and treatment rooms on Hill Street, and while waiting there before the service, I prayed to the Lord for strength for the work before me. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 9

At the church we found that a large crowd had gathered. Every foot of room was occupied, even the aisles being filled, and I was told that some were unable to find entrance to the building. Among those present were a large number not of our faith. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 10

I presented the importance of obedience to the commandments of God, dwelling upon the instruction given in connection with the proclamation of the law from Mt. Sinai. Never before had these Scriptures appealed to me so forcibly. I spoke for a full hour, and the interest was marked throughout. As I felt my voice weakening, I paused to send a prayer to heaven for help. Then the power of the Holy Spirit strengthened me, and I knew that angels of God were by my side. At the last I became somewhat hoarse, but I felt very thankful that the Lord had permitted me to speak so long and so distinctly. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 11

After this service we went out to Glendale, six miles from Los Angeles. There I rested until Wednesday night, when we took the cars for Merced, where the camp-meeting for the California-Nevada Conference was to be held. Our train left Los Angeles at 11:30. I was very weary, but was unable to sleep very much during the night. It was a clear, moonlight night, and from my berth I could look out of the window and see that we were passing through a very lonely desert. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 12

We arrived at Merced a little after noon the next day. I spoke in the large tent Sabbath and Sunday to the people assembled there. This camp-meeting is the first effort our people have put forth in this city, and I felt my heart drawn out to this people. We had a very good attendance from the outside public. Nearly all the ministers and several leading men have attended the evening meetings. We hope that a company of believers may be raised up as the result of this camp-meeting, and the tent meetings that are to follow. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 13

I am now at home again, and trying to rest again after the strain of the past six weeks. I do not regret having made this journey; for the Lord has given me strength to bear testimony to His people in every place I have visited. I do not know how long I shall be permitted to remain at home. We need to realize more than we do the importance of encouraging one another in the work. We are to “lift up the hands that hang down.” [Hebrews 12:12.] While God does not want us to move from impulse, He is not glorified when we stand still. He desires that we shall make steady advancement, step by step, helping and encouraging one another in the work. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 14

We feel very thankful that our people have responded so nobly to the calls made for means. We still pray for help, and we believe that our people will keep their hearts open to the needs of the cause. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 15

My brother, let us work in harmony. If you have reason to believe that any brother or sister is losing heart, and is failing to put forth disinterested efforts to sustain the cause of God, help that one with cheerful, encouraging words. Let no discouraging words fall from your lips. Individually we are preparing for the kingdom of heaven. We are to be overcomers by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. We are to grow more and more heavenly minded. All who believe in Jesus have to battle with satanic agencies. Let us renew our covenant with God by continual fulfilment of His Word. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 16

Our lives are being spared that we may be fitted for the future immortal life. There must be ever less of self and more of Christ. Our example is to reveal our faith in Christ. We are ever to be doers of His Word. Our truest worship of God will be given in a life of devotion to His will. Preaching, praying, and singing will take their proper place when we are doers of God’s will. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 17

I have been shown the experience it is our privilege to have if we will cherish a belief in the love, the mercy, and the compassionate works of Christ. It is our privilege to grow in grace continually. If we would become partakers of the divine nature, we must follow on to know the Lord; we must worship Him in spirit and in truth and in the beauty of holiness. Our feet must follow in the footsteps of our Leader. In faith, in love, in meekness, we are to grow to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. Patterning after His self-denial and self-sacrifice, believing in God and referencing His Word, we are to grow in faith and love with all who with us are striving to overcome through the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 18

God has set us in the world to be light-bearers. Our lives should be an acknowledgement of His holy precepts. We should bear to the world a living testimony of the possibility of spiritual growth. It is the good and faithful servant who is promised eternal life and entrance into the joy of his Lord. The good and faithful servant is he who performs unselfish acts to those with whom he comes in contact, in his life representing the beautiful character of Christ. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 19

There is too much selfish love among us. If there is a brother who encourages all we do and suggest as right, then we esteem that brother above others. If there is another whom we imagine does not look with favor on our way of doing things, we withdraw from that one and seek to demerit his work. The Holy Spirit is grieved with such a selfish religion as this; and unless it is realized and put away, a spirit of prejudice and alienation will mar the work of God. God is dishonored when His people do not “love as brethren” [1 Peter 3:8], when the pattern is not correctly represented. We are not all required to do exactly alike in the work. Each has his individual work to do. Spiritual life will lead to unity. We are in the world for work—earnest, spiritual work. But one man is not given the same work that is given to another. If a worker does not follow the plan of work that another thinks is right, this should not cause difference and alienation. The manner of accomplishing the work may not be precisely the way in which another would do it, but if the labor is conscientiously performed, God accepts the effort. God asks for the performance of good works, and the results of the efforts made will testify to the virtue of the worker. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.] 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 20

Serious mistakes have been made in setting one worker to control the labors of another. In taking such a course, man has been placed where God should be. God is to be the guide and counselor of His servants. We are to obtain our light from Him who is infinite in wisdom, and who never makes a mistake. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 21

God would have His servants understand that they are to keep their hands off their fellow workers and let them receive their orders from the Lord. In many cases hard judgment has been measured out when encouragement and commendation should have been given; for the results of the work done have shown that the blessing of God was upon it. Wherever this principle has been brought in, God wants a change to be made; for it is contrary to His plan. When man’s mind is allowed to become the controlling power, both parties are injured—the one who allows himself to be conscience for another, and the one who permits himself to be controlled by human wisdom. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 22

As workers we need to counsel together over difficult matters. It is right that brother should consult with brother. And it is our privilege, after we have done this, to bow together in prayer and ask for divine wisdom and counsel. But for one human voice to be a controlling power is a sad mistake, and this should not continue. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 23

God calls upon us to make a different showing than we have made in the past as laborers together with Him. In all matters pertaining to the work of God, the workers should cherish feelings of consideration and sympathy for one another. The old, natural, selfish ideas must die and a new birth take place. In all his actions the worker is to be governed by Christ’s laws of justice and judgment. He is to accept as his creed the command of his Master, “Love one another, as I have loved you.” [John 13:34.] He will regard his neighbor and his brother with the same respect that he bears for himself. Truth and righteousness will be the regulators of his course of action. 22LtMs, Lt 186, 1907, par. 24