Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 23 (1908)


Lt 32, 1908

Brethren in Positions of Responsibility

St. Helena, California

January 6, 1908

This letter is published in entirety in SpM 419-424. +Note

To our brethren in positions of responsibility:

God has given me a message for the men who are carrying responsibilities in Washington and other centers of the work. This is a time when the work of God should be conducted with the greatest wisdom, unselfishness, and the strictest integrity by every conference; a time when there should be the closest observance of the law of God on the part of every worker; a walking and working under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 1

God needs men and women who will work in the simplicity of Christ to bring the knowledge of the truth before those who need its converting power. But when a precise line is laid down which the workers must follow in their efforts to proclaim the message, a limit is set to the usefulness of a great number of workers. I am charged to speak, saying, God seeth not as man seeth. Those who occupy responsible positions need to place a lower estimate upon the value of human wisdom and to esteem more highly the sanctification of the Spirit revealed in the lowliness and gentleness of Christ. They need to have the Holy Spirit come into their hearts and minds, to control their wills and to sanctify their tongues. When soul and mind and body are converted to God, our physical strength and our desires will become working agencies for God. When the converting power of God transforms the life, we shall be educated by God Himself to speak His words and work His works. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 2

The law of God is to be magnified. Its claims must be presented by our workers, in our books and papers, and through the spoken word. The knowledge of its holy character is to become widespread. The message of Christ’s righteousness must be proclaimed from one end of the earth to the other. Our people are to be aroused to prepare the way of the Lord. The third angel’s message—the last message of mercy to a perishing world—is so sacred, so glorious. Let the light go forth as a lamp that burneth. Mysteries into which angels have desired to look, which prophets and kings and righteous men desired to know, the church of God is now to unfold. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 3

An Illustration

Ezekiel writes: “Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward; for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side. And then the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 4

“Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass over, for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 5

“Again he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river. Now when I had returned, behold at the brink of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass that everything that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the river shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and everything shall live whither the river cometh. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 6

“And it shall come to pass that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto En-eglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. But the miry places thereof and the marshes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt. And by the river upon the back thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed; it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issue out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.” [Ezekiel 47:1-12.] 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 7

This representation is an illustration of the way in which the truth for this time is to go. A large work is to be done by many who have commenced in a small way. Many souls will be reached, not through display, not through any devising on the part of man, but because of the working of the Holy Spirit on the hearts of the human agencies. The Saviour worked in this way. When His methods become the methods of His followers, His blessing will attend their labors. Let us always remember that our schools are not to be conducted after the worldly plan. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 8

The Work of the Madison School

In the work being done at the training school for home and foreign missionary teachers in Madison, Tennessee, and in the small schools established by the teachers who have gone forth from Madison, we have an illustration of a way in which the message should be carried in many places. I would say to the workers there, Continue to learn of Christ. Do not be daunted. Be free in the Lord; be free. Much acceptable work has been done in Madison. The Lord says to you, Go forward. Your school is to be an example of how Bible study, general education, physical education, and sanitarium work may be combined in many smaller schools that shall be established in simplicity in many places in the southern states. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 9

My brethren in responsible places, mourn not over the work that is being done at Madison to train workers to go forth into the highways and the hedges. It is the will of God that this work should be done. Let us cease to criticize the servants of God engaged in this work and humble our own hearts before the Lord. Let us strengthen this company of educators to continue the good work in which they are engaged and labor to encourage others to do a similar work. Then the light of truth will be carried in a simple and effective way, and a great work will be accomplished for the Master in a short time. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 10

When the Lord favors any of His servants with worldly advantages, it is that they may use those advantages for the benefit of others. As laborers together with God, men are to keep constantly in mind the need of giving the message of Christ’s soon coming to the people who have not been warned. In this we are not left to human intelligence alone, for angels of God are waiting to encourage us in a life of patience and self-denial. We are to learn to be content with simple food and clothing, that we may save much means to be invested in the work of the gospel. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 11

The gospel of Christ calls for entire consecration. The Christian sower is to go forth to sow. But many by their fretting and contentions are disqualifying themselves for labor. Their sluggish senses do not discern how feeble are their efforts and how strong is their unbelief. Let our church members now arise to their responsibilities and privileges. Let them spend less on self-indulgence and needless adorning. The money thus expended is the Lord’s and is needed to do a sacred work in His cause. Educate the children to do missionary work and to bring their offerings to God. Let us awake to a sense of the spiritual character of the work in which we profess to be engaged. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 12

I have said only a little in comparison with what might be said on this subject. But I call on our ministers, our teachers, and our physicians to awake out of sleep, and see the opportunities for work that are within their reach, but which for years have been allowed to pass unimproved. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 13

Our lack of self-denial, our refusal to see the necessities of the cause at this time, and to respond to them, call for repentance and humiliation of heart before God. It is a sin for one who knows the truth of God to fold his hands and leave his work for another to do. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 14

It is a sin for any to criticize and find fault with those who in their manner of working do not exactly meet their mind. Let none blame or censure the men who have labored at Madison. In the place of complaining at your brother’s work, take up your own neglected work. Instead of picking flaws in your brother’s character, search your own heart, confess your sins, and act honesty with God. Let there be condemnation of self for the work that lies undone all about you. Instead of placing impediments in the way of those who are trying to accomplish something in the South, let your eyes be opened to see that time is passing and that there is much for you to do. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 15

The Lord works through various agencies. If there are those who desire to step into new fields and take up new lines of labor, encourage them to do so. Seventh-day Adventists are doing a great and good work; let no man’s hand be raised to hinder his brother. Those who have had experience in the work of God should be encouraged to follow the guidance and counsel of the Lord. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 16

Do not worry lest some means shall go direct to conscientious laborers who are trying to do missionary work in a quiet and effective way. All the means is not to be handled by one agency or organization. There is much business to be done conscientiously for the cause of God. Help is to be sought from every possible source. There are men who can do the work of securing means for the cause; and when these are acting conscientiously and in harmony with the counsels of their fellow laborers in the field which they represent, the hand of restraint is not to be laid upon them. Those who are laborers together with Him who gave His life for the salvation of souls must not be bound about with territorial restraints. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 17

Brethren Sutherland and Magan should be encouraged to solicit means for the support of their work. It is the privilege of these brethren to receive gifts from any of our people whom the Lord impresses to help. They should have means—God’s means—with which to work. The Madison enterprise has been crippled in the past, but now it must go forward. If this work had been regarded in the right light, and had been given the help it needed, we should long ere this have had a prosperous work at Madison. Our people are to be encouraged to give of their means to this work which is preparing students in a sensible and creditable way to go forth into neglected fields to proclaim the soon coming of Christ. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 18

The Lord directed Brethren Sutherland and Magan, as men of sound principles, to establish a work in the South. They have devised and planned and sacrificed in order to carry forward the work there on right lines, but the work has been greatly delayed. The Lord guided in the selection of the farm at Madison, and He desires that it be managed on right lines, that others, learning from the workers there, might take up a similar work and conduct it in like manner. Brethren Sutherland and Magan are chosen of God and faithful, and the Lord of heaven says of them, I have a special work for these men to do at Madison, a work of educating and training young men and women for mission fields. The Spirit of the Lord will be with His workers if they will walk humbly with Him. He has not bound about and restricted the labors of these self-denying, self-sacrificing men. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 19

To those in our conferences who have felt that they had the authority to forbid the gathering of means in certain territory, I now say: This matter has been presented to me again and again. I now bear my testimony in the name of the Lord to those whom it concerns. Wherever you are, withhold your forbiddings. The work of God is not to be thus trammeled. God is being faithfully served by men whom you have been watching and criticizing. They fear and honor the Lord; they are laborers together with Him. God forbids you to put any yoke on the necks of His faithful servants. It is the privilege of these workers to accept gifts or loans, that they may invest them to help in doing an important work that greatly needs to be done. There are some who have wrong views regarding the responsibility which God has placed upon them with their official position. They bear a heavy burden to control—a burden that has never been laid upon them by the Lord. Those who are standing free on the high platform of truth will not accept the responsibility of framing rules and regulations that hinder and cramp God’s chosen laborers in their work for the training of missionaries. When men learn the lesson that “all ye are brethren” [Matthew 23:8], and realize that their fellow workers may know just as well as they how to use in the wisest way the talents and capabilities entrusted to them, they will remove many yokes that are now binding their brethren and will give them credit for having love for souls and a desire to labor unselfishly to promote the interests of the cause. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 20

The Character of the Work

The school at Madison not only educates in a knowledge of the Scriptures, but it gives a practical training that fits the student to go forth as a self-supporting missionary to the field to which he is called. In his student days he is taught how to build simply and substantially, how to cultivate the land and to care for the stock. To this is added the knowledge of how to treat the sick and care for the injured. This training for medical missionary work is one of the grandest objects for which any school can be established. There are many suffering from disease and injury who, when relieved of pain, will be prepared to listen to the truth. Our Saviour was a mighty Healer. In His name there may be many miracles wrought in the South and in other fields through the instrumentality of the trained medical missionary. Therefore it is essential that there shall be a sanitarium connected with the Madison school. The educational work at the school and the sanitarium can go forward hand in hand. The instruction given at the school will benefit the patients, and the instruction given to the sanitarium patients will be a blessing to the school. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 21

The class of education given at the Madison school is such as will be accounted a treasure of great value by those who take up missionary work in foreign fields. My brethren, let no hindrance be placed in the way of men and women who are seeking to gain such an education as those at the Madison school are receiving. If many more in other schools were receiving a similar training, we as a people would become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. The message would quickly be carried to every country, and souls now in darkness would be brought to the light. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 22

It would have been pleasing to God if, while the Madison school has been doing its work, other such schools had been established in different parts of the southern field. No soul should be left in darkness if by any possible means he can be enlightened. There is plenty of land lying waste in the South that might have been improved as the land about the Madison school has been improved. The time is soon coming when God’s people, because of persecution, will be scattered in many countries. Those who have received an all-round education will have a great advantage wherever they are. The Lord reveals divine wisdom in thus leading His people to the training of all their faculties and capabilities for the work of disseminating truth. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 23

Every possible means should be devised to established schools on the Madison order in various parts of the South; and those who lend their means and their influence to help this work are aiding the cause of God. I am instructed to say to those who have means to spare: Help the work at Madison. You have no time to lose. Satan will soon rise up to create hindrances; let the work go forward while it may. This is no time for weakness to be woven into our experience. Do not spend your money for unnecessary things, do not waste it on story magazines or cheap literature, but take your surplus means, and say, I will use this in employing men and women to give the last message of warning to the world. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 24

When the Holy Spirit is allowed to mold our hearts and lives, there will be much more confidence expressed in the workers who are struggling with difficulties in hard places. Let every one take his own individual case before the Lord and study his own faults instead of the fancied shortcomings of his brother. We each need to realize our own weakness and be constantly on guard. Satan is watching to take us unawares, and many are ignorant of their own defects of character. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 25

We need to read and understand the message of (Ezekiel 2): “And He said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee. And the Spirit entered into me when He spake unto me. And He said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me, even unto this very day. For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God. And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 26

“And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. And thou shalt speak My words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear; for they are most rebellious. But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee, Be thou not rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee.” [Verses 1-8.] 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 27

Again the prophet writes: “The word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore hear the word at My mouth and give them warning from Me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, when a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.” [Ezekiel 3:16-21.] 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 28

The Lord is calling for men and women to guard their own houses and families and, instead of watching their fellow workers, regarding with jealousy their outgoings and incomings, to turn their attention to self. The Lord has a report to make of every soul who would restrict the liberty of another. There is a watcher who is taking the measure of character and who will judge accordingly. The jealousy revealed by some who claim to be in the truth plainly reveals that unless their hearts are changed they will never be overcomers. Unless they respond to the subduing, sanctifying influences of the grace of God, they will never wear the crown of life. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 29

Those who desire to wear Christ’s yoke will heed the invitation, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:28, 29.] To all who would mark out a course for their brother to pursue, the Lord says, Stand out of the way. Satan and his emissaries are doing enough of this kind of work. We are altogether too near the close of earth’s history to seek to block the wheels of the chariot of truth. God’s workers are to come into line, to pray together, to counsel together. And whenever it is impossible for them to gather for counsel, God will instruct through His Spirit those who sincerely desire to serve Him. 23LtMs, Lt 32, 1908, par. 30