The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials


Chapter 143—To F. E. Belden and wife


Bank's Terrace, Wellington, New Zealand

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Belden,

Dear Nephew and Niece,—

I have read your letter with deep interest hoping to catch the vibration of the right ring in it; but if it is there I do not discern it. I am much concerned in regard to your spiritual condition. For several years you have not been walking in the light. I have had much concern for you, but when I learned by experience my words had not much weight with you I felt sorry indeed, but could do nothing to change the course of things. 1888 1185.1

Before, and especially after the Minneapolis meeting, I had not union and harmony with you. When you made some acknowledgments in letters received while we were at Adelaide; I was rejoiced, hoping a work had begun that would progress until you would be walking in the light, as Christ is in the light. I have trembled for you lest you would clothe yourself with garments of your own self-righteousness, and would not follow on to know the Lord that you might know his goings forth is prepared as the morning. I have been shown your connection with Captain Eldridge has not been for his good nor your good. You seem to feel some bitterness toward me in that you say, I said you were selfish. Now just how this was stated I cannot now recall. I might have said many things in truth as your case was presented to me, that I have not said, because I knew you were walking in blindness, and knew at that which your feet were stumbling, and anything I might present before you would not be correctly represented to your understanding, and you would not benefit thereby. I have kept silent since receiving your letter. I perused my writings for the one I read on one occasion when you and quite a number of others were present. I had looked for this during my eleven months illness but could not find it. I sent that which I could find and then decided this testimony was left in Battle Creek. But in the last search made the mystery was explained the first two or three pages were stitched in: I turned these pages over and find the very article I read to no less than thirty. I am relieved to find this, and I will have it copied as soon as possible, and you and others shall have a copy. 1888 1185.2

Yes my Dear Nephew matters are laid out plain and distinct. I found the article just after the operation with my teeth. They were extracted last Wednesday, and I am not yet able to write much. 1888 1186.1

While you and Captain Eldridge were so firmly linked in one, your influence over each other was not good. You might with your knowledge of what is truth, and of the principles that have controlled the work and cause of God have helped him: but I say again self and selfishness was so strongly mingled with your work and while connected with the office as it was presented to me in life and works that the Spirit of the Lord could do little with you, and little for him. In the meetings of councils I have been present, and was bid to see and mark the spirit which controlled these councils of which I had an insight. There was not one in these councils whose voice was heard in propositions, plans, and resolutions [more] than the voice of my nephew Frank Belden. There was a self-sufficiency, a molding of matters and things not all after God's own order. There was a mixture of policy and principles, so interwoven and calculated to mislead minds, and lead in false paths. From these meetings decided impressions were made on my mind. I saw from the working of things, the spirit controlling the movements, that the enemy was gaining the ground, and misleading minds; but you were insensible to the fact. Warnings I was constrained to give continually in Battle Creek for I saw danger; but the warnings given by pen and voice had but little effect. They were not heeded because minds were so blinded that they were not seen to be applicable. The Lord moved upon me to bear a decided testimony in reference to the office; but it was felt not to be appropriate. But this writing is before me and has been read to no less than thirty. I shall have it copied that you may see, and others may see how much such testimonies were effective to cure existing evils. There was with those put in trust the grave responsibilities of managing the office, a feeling of self-sufficiency, self-confidence because of inexperience in sacred things. They thought they were too wise to be taught, and too secure to need caution, and if no one makes shipwreck of faith and a good conscience, I shall be surprised. Mistakes I saw would be made, and the men who are handling sacred things were not inclined to be controlled. Were they confidently relying upon the wisdom from above? No, but on their own supposed superior wisdom and prudence. O how sad to see men of little experience put on airs of importance, and acted as though there own judgment of men and things were infallible. I know that things are not right now in the office. 1888 1186.2

You speak of Henry Kellogg. I know that Henry Kellogg has not been learning lessons in a school that will better qualify him to be clothed with the spirit of meekness and dependence upon God to stand as a wise director in the publishing house. And had you felt your weakness and humbled your heart before God, in the place of leaning to your own understanding it would have been so much better for you and Captain Eldridge, who had everything to learn in the religious life. If Captain Eldridge grows in grace and the knowledge of the truth, he has some hard lessons to learn. The sooner he learns these lessons the better for him and his family. When men feel self-sufficient, even if they have been Captain to command men a long time, if they are not brought under perfect obedience to God's will, to be under control, learning daily submission to God, they will not become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. 1888 1187.1

Our God will not be trifled with. I entreat of you for your souls sake to waste no time. You have been luke warm long enough. Does it pay you to throw your reflections upon me, because someone says I said you were selfish. Is this an impossible thing, my brother in Christ Jesus I repeat the Lord did show me you were selfish, and you must see yourself as you have not yet done else you must assuredly make shipwreck of faith. When, O when has been your depth of piety, your zeal for God corresponding to the position you occupied. If you will resolve now to be whole hearted and unselfish, and persevering in your Lord's service, and will act with an eye single to his glory, discharging every duty, and improving every gracious opportunity then you will unlearn some lessons you have been learning the past few years, and will come into the school of Christ to learn of Jesus, and will if a diligent student realize a transformation of character, and receive Christ mold upon you, and become complete in Christ Jesus. You will be a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. The Lord will make you then a channel of light. In regard to yourself, you have been far from leading a life which would meet the requirements of God. And should accidental death surprise you I fear greatly for your future. I could not say it is well with Frank for he sleeps in Jesus; but I should greatly fear that you would in that great day be weighed in the “Balance and found wanting”. You had better lose everything on earth than heaven. No man can know what it means to be sanctified to God, unless he seeks first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. He must humble his soul before God, be ready to sacrifice anything and everything rather than the favor of God. Cultivate love and affection for religious devotion. Better far give up earth than heaven. You need now to look well to your ways, that your feet slide not. The character of every desire and purpose, is as clear you well know before God as the sun in the heavens. You have my dear brother in Christ not cultivated spirituality and grown in grace. Self in you must die. Self-importance must be laid in the dust. O remember that God is a present God, and that you have a fearful account to render at his bar unless your sins are washed away in his atoning blood of Jesus Christ. You should be able to say, “I have seen the Lord always before me, because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” You must be renewed, transformed, converted, and your whole life should be ordered and fashioned after the likeness of Christ. God has given you capabilities, and talents to use wholly to his glory. God will not accept a divided half and half service. The comprehension of spiritual things has been growing dim, and the several years of experience you have had has not made you more susceptible to holy influences. The channels of thought, desires and actions have been growing deeper and broader by separation and habit and tending to a fixedness of character, and unless this is broken up as soon as possible, and your experience is of a different, higher and more unselfish order, it may be pursued as long as life lasts. There needs to be a great breaking up with you, and habits formed to meet the mind and will of God. For Christ's sake lay hold of the work. You will make a success if in performing Christian duties with faithfulness and regularity, if you will die to self and obedience will become habitual. You will consult your Bible. You will be much with God in prayer. You will bear an humble heart, broken testimony in the congregation. In all appropriate places you will be as humble as a little child. You work to save souls to Jesus Christ and shun the very appearance of evil and endeavor to constantly build up the kingdom of Jesus Christ. We must all soon meet him as he is, and you want sheaves to present to the Master. Your time, your talents are God's, use them to his glory. I press it home to your soul; you have no time to lose. It is life or death with you. Your Aunt Ellen loves your soul too well to gloss over your present condition. God has a work for you to do, and you can do it if you are truly and genuinely converted. You must not be hesitating and unreliable as you have been at times, your light flickering, and bewildering and betraying rather than guiding them in safe paths. O you must have a different experience. God help you my dear brother in Christ. God help you and Hattie that you will not turn away as you have done from his testimony given to you; but walk in the light. Put on the robe of Christ's righteousness. Prepare for heaven by yielding your soul, body, and spirit to God. Jesus has bought you with a price, God loves you both, and I am constrained by the love I have for Jesus and your souls to warn you to make no delay. Seek God day and night till you find him to the joy of your souls. I have labored earnestly for Byron. I expect he will be a laborer for the Master. I send you a letter I sent to him. He is in the school: I told him I would see him through this term. He is in need of all the light and knowledge of the word he can obtain. He is putting his whole mind to the work. God will help him. Your father is in straightened circumstances. I wrote to Willie to draw $2.00 per week from the Echo Office to add to what he shall earn to keep him, if he needs it. He shall not be brought in straightened, uncomfortable places, if I have to support him entirely; but he earns something carrying the students to and from the school. Vinnie is doing laundry work for the students, and she earns something, and your father works on the school grounds, and earns something there so we think he will get along. Byron has helped him a great deal, so much so, that when he lost his situation in the Office he had nothing left to use to go to school. But Byron has acted nobly to your father, constantly helping him, purchasing him entire suits of clothing and in many ways he has helped. Byron has been unselfish, liberal, and kind hearted may the Lord bless him, and give him wisdom and understanding. 1888 1188.1

We are guilty of sin every hour we delay and neglect this great salvation; for before the world and angels and men we are in character saying, I will not have this man Christ Jesus to reign over me. We resist God's methods of transformation of character and grace. Men heap up wrath for themselves against the day of wrath. The continually refusing to yield the will to God's will hardens the heart, and finally God leaves the human agent to his choice. There is less and less tenderness of soul, less and less susceptibility of the Spirit's warnings, entreaties and drawings. The human agent refuses to incline his heart religiously, he will not take a step from the ranks of Satan to stand under the blood stained banner of the cross of Christ; but stands a mournful spectacle of resistance to the world, to angels, and to men. 1888 1191.1

And when he came near he beheld the city and wept over it, saying, “O that thou hadst known, even thou in this thy day, the things that belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes.” Why did not that guilty nation know? Because they could not? No’ because ye would not. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, (and ye could not, no,) and ye would not! 1888 1191.2

In much love, Aunt Ellen G. White.