Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 23 (1908)


Lt 88, 1908

Cottrell, H. W.; Haskell, S. N.

St. Helena, California

February 16, 1908

Portions of this letter are published in 7MR 404-405. +Note

Elders Cottrell and Haskell

Dear Brethren:

Since the Union Conference I have had many things to write regarding the past administration in the California Conference; and yet it is not all told. The testimony that I have had to bear is one that has rested upon me for two years. Many things regarding the work in California have been presented before me in a clear light as offensive to God; and notwithstanding all the meetings that have been held, all the appeals that have been made to the people, all the urgent instruction that now was the golden opportunity for the rapid spread of the third angel’s message, the influence of men in responsible places has worked to retard the message. By their course of action these workers have given evidence that they needed to be reconverted, needed to become humble men who possessed the meekness of Christ. 23LtMs, Lt 88, 1908, par. 1

Soon after my return from Australia the work began. I remember a meeting we held in a small room of the Signs office. What a meeting that was. I had a message to bear, and the angels of the Lord were present on that occasion. Their presence was apparent to us all. They reflected bright light to many minds, and we obtained a decided victory and precious assurances of help. 23LtMs, Lt 88, 1908, par. 2

On several occasions the Lord made His presence known to us by preventing the carrying out of plans which would have placed unsanctified men in positions of responsibility in the publishing work. One night I was awakened at two o’clock. I had been instructed to write out a message regarding Brother C. H. Jones, saying that he should retain his position in the Pacific Press. All were surprised at that testimony, for plans had been laid that Brother Jones should be displaced. But I was shown that the men who would be chosen to take his place were not at all qualified to act in his position. I was shown that Brother Jones needed a work done for him that would bring blessings to him in his official work. He needed to come into close connection with God, to be clothed in the garments of Christ’s righteousness, and to be girded with His strength. But when I looked to see the men that were thought to be better qualified for the work, I was shown that if these men were given influence, a work would be done in the publishing house similar to the work that has been done in this conference during the past three years—a work that would not bear fruit to the glory of God. 23LtMs, Lt 88, 1908, par. 3

The spirit of contempt manifested for Elder Rice and his wife was a wicked and cruel thing which must never be repeated. The Spirit of the Lord has been with these workers, and through their efforts many souls have taken their stand for the truth. Brother and Sister Rice have been willing to put themselves to any inconvenience for the sake of the work of saving souls, and the Lord has vindicated their efforts. As long as they watch unto prayer, and labor in the spirit of the Master, His blessing will be upon their work. 23LtMs, Lt 88, 1908, par. 4

Brother and Sister Rice would have reached many more souls had it not been for the false reports that have gone out concerning them, and which were circulated by professing believers. They have been slighted sometimes at the public meetings, and many have received impressions regarding them that were untrue. The angels of God have marked all these things, and they have recorded the actions of Brother and Sister Rice wherein they have been zealous workers in doing that which they saw was needed to be done. Their work has been done under discouragements created by men whom the Lord has reproved. God forbids that such presentations be made that would cause them to become dispirited. 23LtMs, Lt 88, 1908, par. 5

I have a message for Brother and Sister Rice: Thus saith the Lord, Make God your trust, and He will bless you and vindicate your work. Work prudently, lest evil reports be circulated such as have gone out in the past. The Lord would have you devote yourselves faithfully to the work, and give no occasion for evil speeches. Those who in the past have spoken unkindly regarding you may still do so; but your trust must be in the Lord. He has worked by His Holy Spirit to give you your hire, even souls for whom Christ has died. You have stood under unreasonable pressure for years; and sometimes you have erred; but the Lord witnessed your repentance and forgave your mistakes. The Lord will give you wisdom for your work. Stand as free as possible from censure. Give no semblance of excuse for evil reports to go out concerning you. 23LtMs, Lt 88, 1908, par. 6

Advice to the Laborers

Wise counsel for church and conference officers is given by Peter in the following words: 23LtMs, Lt 88, 1908, par. 7

“Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.” [1 Peter 5:2-7.] 23LtMs, Lt 88, 1908, par. 8

Let the experienced workers be educators, being themselves under the discipline of God. Let the young men feel it their privilege to study diligently and to carry every burden that their health and youth will allow. It was thus that Elijah educated the youth of Israel in the schools of the prophets; and young men today are to have a similar training. It is not possible to advise in every particular the part the youth should act. But they should be faithfully taught and counselled by the older laborers and taught to receive wisdom from Him who is the author and finisher of our faith. The Lord is waiting for our workers, young and old, to unite their forces harmoniously. They should “love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.” [1 Peter 3:8.] They should advise with one another, and pray with one another, and respect one another. 23LtMs, Lt 88, 1908, par. 9

“I have written unto you, young men,” the apostle says, “because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. ... But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth.” [1 John 2:14, 20, 21.] 23LtMs, Lt 88, 1908, par. 10

And the apostle Paul writes, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace. ... Unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore He saith, when He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all heaven, that He might fill all things.) 23LtMs, Lt 88, 1908, par. 11

“And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry; for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up unto Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ: that the whole body, fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” [Ephesians 4:1-3, 7-16.] 23LtMs, Lt 88, 1908, par. 12

The work must not be hindered as it has been and God’s people discouraged by the undue exercise of human authority. These words of the apostle clearly reveal that there is given to God’s servants a special work, to be done as the Spirit of God shall impress the heart and mind of the individual. <All have not the same form of work to do.> Let the workers lift the voice of rebuke against presumptuous rulership over God’s heritage. We are safe only when we individually commit ourselves fully to works of righteousness. Then all, church members, and men of the world, will know where we stand. Our words and spirit will testify to the glory of God. 23LtMs, Lt 88, 1908, par. 13

In no case should men handling sacred responsibilities so misrepresent the Lord’s purpose concerning His work as to say arbitrarily to a fellow worker, You shall not do this; or, You must do that. By His Holy Spirit, the Lord impresses His workers to go to certain places and to do a certain work. He does not desire to have the human mind interpose itself to forbid any work that He has bidden shall be carried forward. 23LtMs, Lt 88, 1908, par. 14

Those who walk in the light will be drawn by the Spirit of God toward that line of work which the Lord wishes them to do. They are to be encouraged to follow their convictions. I have been shown that if our workers had been encouraged to follow the leading of the Spirit of God, that many, at the close of our general meetings, would have gone forth under the Spirit’s guidance to different places to labor for souls; and the result would have been a wide communication of light and truth to men and women who needed instruction in the Word. There are many workers who needed just such an experience as this; but they have not obtained this experience; because human agencies have interposed themselves between them and the Lord. Thus men have been counterworking the plans of God and the influences of the Holy Spirit and heavenly angels who are ordained of God to co-operate with His servants in their labors with Him in the gospel. 23LtMs, Lt 88, 1908, par. 15

This spirit that has ruled in the past God has instructed me must never again appear. He has been dishonored, and the work has been hindered by men who were careful to secure high wages for themselves while they restricted the wages of others. It is time now that the work of God move forward after a decidedly different order. God has various lines of work to be carried, but for years a man-ruling power has counterworked His plans. It was because of this hindering influence that God instructed me to bear testimony against those in authority who were seeking to guide the experience of others while they themselves were not under the control of the Spirit of God. The Lord will judge those who seek to judge others; and those who disregard the reproofs He sends, He will leave to follow out their own human will and devisings. 23LtMs, Lt 88, 1908, par. 16