Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 24 (1909)


Ms 107, 1909

A Confusion of the Sacred and the Common

St. Helena, California

March 5, 1909

Portions of this manuscript are published in 1SM 38-39; 7MR 290-291.

I am troubled in regard to Brother E. S. Ballenger, who for some years has been a worker in Southern California. He has made some strange statements, and I am pained to see him denying the testimonies as a whole because of what seems to him an inconsistency—a statement made by me in regard to the number of rooms in the Paradise Valley Sanitarium. Brother Ballenger says that in a letter written to one of the brethren in Southern California, the statement was made by me that the sanitarium contained forty rooms, when there were really only thirty-eight. This Brother Ballenger gives to me as the reason why he has lost confidence in the testimonies. 24LtMs, Ms 107, 1909, par. 1

Brother Ballenger is making the statement to others that he has not the confidence in the testimonies of Sister White. This brother’s confidence certainly is easily uprooted if such a circumstance could cause him to lose faith. The letter to which Brother Ballenger refers I do not now call to mind at all. He should send me the written words and see if I can call to mind this special statement which was not a testimony. The information given, concerning the number of rooms in the Paradise Valley Sanitarium, was given not as a revelation from the Lord, but simply as a human opinion. There has never been revealed to me the exact number of rooms in any of our sanitariums; and the knowledge I have obtained of such things I have gained by inquiring of those who were supposed to know. In my words when speaking upon these common subjects, there is nothing to lead minds to believe that I receive my knowledge in a vision from the Lord and am stating it as such. 24LtMs, Ms 107, 1909, par. 2

This experience of Brother Ballenger’s carries me back to my first experience in the message in correcting errors that came in among us after the passing of the time in 1844. The believers were sadly disappointed and scattered in different localities in small companies. Certain ones who claimed to be taught of the Lord would visit these companies, and in prayer and song and preaching they would introduce to the believers sentiments of a fanatical nature, sentiments that were misleading to the people of God. 24LtMs, Ms 107, 1909, par. 3

At this time I was only seventeen years old, but the Lord gave me a message for these fanatical leaders and bade me declare to them the truth. Accordingly, in Portland, Maine, I spoke decidedly against the fanatical work that was being carried on, showing that the common things of life were to be treated by them as if they were intelligent beings. I told them that it was their duty to pray together and to study the Word of God together, but that the fanatical things they were gathering up and dwelling upon were not of the Lord, but from their own devising. 24LtMs, Ms 107, 1909, par. 4

Here were four ministers who were trifling with sacred things, mingling the trivialities of life with their religious worship, and doing this as if such were ordered by the Lord, and making tests of their impressions. But the Lord does not work in this way. I said to them, Your fasting and your strange exercises are not of God. He does not accept that which is cheap and common as part of His worship. At the same time I was instructed not to mingle this class of experience, that which was cheap and common, with my religious experience, for it was misleading the people of God. 24LtMs, Ms 107, 1909, par. 5

When the Holy Spirit reveals anything regarding the institutions connected with the Lord’s work, or concerning the work of God upon human hearts and minds, as He has revealed these things through me in the past, the message given is to be regarded as light given of God for those who need it. But for one to mix the sacred with the common is a great mistake. In a tendency to do this, we may see the working of the enemy to destroy souls. 24LtMs, Ms 107, 1909, par. 6

To every soul whom God has created He has given capabilities to serve Him; but Satan seeks to make this work of service hard by his constant temptation to mislead souls. He works to dim the spiritual perceptions, that men may not distinguish between that which is common and that which is holy. I have been made to know this distinction through a life’s service for my Lord and Master. 24LtMs, Ms 107, 1909, par. 7

There are souls who are struggling with doubts, with none to enlighten them but those who understand the will of the Lord and appreciate His great sacrifice in the gift of His only begotten Son. The statement is, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] He gave Him to live a life of humiliation and to die an awful death, that all mankind might hear His blessed invitation and be brought near to God. What a work is given to those who will take up this work for fallen sinful beings. Go, says the great Teacher. Give them the message I have given you. Act the part that heaven has given you to act. I make you responsible for the bearing of this message. My angels will be with you to sustain you and to help you, giving you courage to surmount all difficulties and distinguish the common from the sacred. 24LtMs, Ms 107, 1909, par. 8

The message came to me, Dedicate yourself to the highest work ever committed to mortals. I will give you high aspirations and powers and a true sense of the work of Christ. You are not your own, for you are bought with a price, by the life and death of the Son of God. God calls for your child’s heart and service under the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. 24LtMs, Ms 107, 1909, par. 9

I gave myself, my whole being, to God, to obey His call in everything; and since that time my life has been spent in giving the message with my pen and in speaking before large congregations. It is not I who controls my words and actions at such times. 24LtMs, Ms 107, 1909, par. 10

But there are times when common things must be stated, common thoughts must occupy the mind, common letters must be written and information given that has passed from one to another of the workers. Such words, such information, are not given under the special inspiration of the Spirit of God. Questions are asked at times that are not upon religious subjects at all, and these questions must be answered. We converse about house and lands, trades to be made, and locations for our institutions, their advantages and disadvantages. 24LtMs, Ms 107, 1909, par. 11

I receive letters asking for advice on many strange subjects, and I advise according to the light that has been given me. Men have again and again opposed the counsel that I have been instructed to give because they did not want to receive the light given, and such experiences have led me to seek the Lord most earnestly, that the blindness shown by these men in positions of trust against reason and common sense should not be allowed to prove an injury to the cause of God. 24LtMs, Ms 107, 1909, par. 12

In several instances the Lord has pointed out to me certain properties which He had appointed to have secured to His cause, that the work of health reform might be advanced. I have carried heavy burdens when the presidents of conferences have made determined efforts to resist these advance moves and have set their minds and their plans against the Lord’s will and plan. The Lord has been dishonored by the unbelief expressed by some men in authority who have persistently worked to counterwork the way of the Lord. Whenever the Lord has given instruction for the securing of property which He has designed shall be used for the advancement of His work, there have been some who have stood ready to oppose the work; but in every instance the Lord has blessed with prosperity the work of His faithful servants. 24LtMs, Ms 107, 1909, par. 13

Now the question is asked, Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? We have had heavy burdens brought upon us by wrong, opposing influences. I have felt sad when special advantages, which the Lord desired His people to have in different fields, have been lost through the unbelief and opposition of men who should have had faith. Over and over again we have had to meet this unbelief and opposition; but God desires to have His work go forward without these opposing elements. 24LtMs, Ms 107, 1909, par. 14

It was not the woman, through whom God was working to secure these properties, against whom these men were fighting, but against God and His work. The Lord was dishonored before His people. The real nature of the opposition is not understood. It is lack of faith that holds men back when the Lord says, Go forward. In every forward movement, the Lord knew all about the hindrances that would have to be met. Let us not be drawn away by human agencies from following the definite directions of God. 24LtMs, Ms 107, 1909, par. 15

We have a forgiving God, one who pardons transgression and sin. 24LtMs, Ms 107, 1909, par. 16