The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials


Chapter 152—To C. H. Jones


Per Ardua, Williams St., Granville, N.S.W.
May 6, 1894.

C. H. Jones,
Pacific Press, Oakland, Cal.

Dear Brother,—

Some months ago I wrote to Elder Haskell in regard to the wants of the cause in Australia, the need of building meeting houses in our cities, that we might have a place in which to gather those who embrace the truth; I urged also the necessity of entering new fields and lifting the standard of truth where as yet no effort has been made. This letter Elder Haskell read to some of our brethren in California, and the Lord moved upon the hearts of two men to pledge $5000.00 each for the work in Australia. By the last mail but one, Brother Haskell wrote to me of these pledges, stating that one thousand dollars would be sent by the same mail if possible, or if not, it would come by the next. I read the glad news to a council of our brethren, and we were much encouraged; for fields for labor have been opening in cities and other localities that have never been entered. 1888 1233.1

In Queensland, through reading alone, thirty Sabbath-keepers have been raised up, who have never seen the living preacher. They are calling for help, but there is such a dearth of means throughout our Conferences that we hardly know how to answer the call. Bro. Starr is planning to go to this field soon, if the necessary means can be obtained. We have all been crippled for want of funds, we have had to borrow, and the work is in pressing need of money. The plan now is for Bro. Starr to go alone to that new country. I have pleaded that this should not be done; it is contrary to the Lord's order. Christ sent out his disciples two and two, and this is the plan that should be followed. At first it was planned for Brother Hickox and Brother Starr to go together to this field, but this cannot be, both for want of money to pay the expenses of the two, and because Bro. Hickox is in the midst of a growing interest, which until we moved here, he had carried alone. Elder Starr consents to go to Queensland alone to investigate the field; and at a later date Bro. Hickox will follow. 1888 1233.2

The people in this country move slowly, but at Seven Hills, where Bro. H. has been laboring, twelve have taken their position upon Bible truth, and the interest has not abated. I have spoken there in the large tent three Sundays in succession with much freedom: We have had excellent attendance. For three successive Sabbaths there has been a new family to take their stand for the truth I speak at Seven Hills again tomorrow, Sunday. 1888 1234.1

When I received Brother Haskell's letter explaining that you had detained the money we so much need, I wanted to ask you, my brother, What right had you to do this? Could you know how much that money was needed, and how much pressure will be brought upon the work of God in this country by your action in detaining it at the Pacific Press? There are resources for you in America which are not open to us in this country. The Echo Office could not even let me have the money I had deposited with it, without crippling the work there. Our brethren are presenting the truth in several localities about Melbourne. Bro. Daniells is urging that it is not best to work in that large city; but I know that that city must have an opportunity of hearing the message now, and God has men and means. The camp-meeting has done wonders in removing prejudice, and now is our time to work. This takes workers, and money to sustain the work, and every source from which we could draw has seemed to be cut off. The treasuries were empty, not able to afford help now, because such large drafts had been made upon them of late. The location of the school will soon be settled if the offer we have made for a tract of land is accepted; we await the response. If it is favorable, several thousand dollars will be called for at once. And that one thousand was not permitted to come to the object for which it was pledged, but must be stopped at the Pacific Press. Who has been your counsellor in this movement? Are not the individuals who pledged the money responsible to God? Is not a man to be left free, when moved upon by the Spirit of God, to place his means where he sees fit? Have we not a God who says that the silver and the gold are his, and the cattle upon a thousand hills? Can he not do what he pleases with his own? Shall man put his hand upon the money that God designs should come to these destitute fields to carry forward the work he has ordered to be done? 1888 1234.2

I cannot for a moment suppose that Elder Olsen was your adviser in this matter; for he has been on the ground, and knows our necessities? I do not wish to distrust his wisdom, I do not believe he would divert one dollar from this field. The Lord has not given orders to any man to divert money from the channel in which it should go. Who owns the men, the General Conference, the Pacific Press? Who has heard the voice of God directing that this means should be diverted into other channels? If this is the course our leading brethren are to pursue, what confidence can men have to follow out their convictions in making donations to the cause of God? Let the money that comes from those whom God has made his stewards be received and treated as a sacred offering, and be applied where it was designed this will tend to inspire confidence and encourage liberality in those whom God has made his stewards. But if men, with their finite judgment feel free to appropriate these gifts as they see fit, they will confuse that mind that in all sincerity was moved to bestow his goods on some branch of God's work. When our brethren undertake to work according to their own ideas, they will do great harm to souls, they will create doubt and questioning. Why should men want to interpose their own ways and ideas to defeat the purposes of God? 1888 1235.1

I have been made sick at heart at this management. I must believe that you would not have done this if you had only known the situation. I am now able to understand more perfectly the light given me when my husband was so feeble in Greenville, Michigan. That was the beginning of divine directions concerning means. I was shown that the Lord would have my husband and myself independent of all our institutions, in financial matters. Our brethren would make many plans to gain control of the profits from our books and other publications, but we must keep the means to use as the Lord directed us. We could understand the wants of the cause better than others; God would teach us how to dispose of the means. He would bring into our possession to be used to his own name's glory. Again, at a later date, cautions were repeated, that since my husband's death propositions would be made in regard to our books and publications, that the profits should be under the control of one organization. But I was warned not to shift the responsibility of my stewardship upon any institution or organization; when I should see the needs of the cause in its various branches, then I must act, even though my brethren did not discern the necessity as I saw it. If I called upon men in responsible positions, even for the means which God has intrusted to me, unless they themselves were in a condition to understand the wants of the cause as they were presented before me and urged upon me, these brethren would give counsel to divert that means into other channels. This is why I did not feel free to accept the proposition that I should assign the royalty on my books. I could not conscientiously do so. When after the Minneapolis meeting, the canvassing agents in the field so managed the work that my books fell nearly dead from the press, and when I endeavored to draw means from the publishing house at Battle Creek, and was informed that I had over-drawn my account, and could have no more money, I was made to feel keenly how little safety there would be in leaving my brethren to bear my responsibility. God knows all about this matter. I have had sufficient experience to teach me what I can depend on from my brethren. 1888 1236.1

When I returned home from Europe, I donated $1600.00 to the Chicago Mission and other enterprises. Since coming to this country, I have been giving almost constantly. The amount paid me for my labor by the Conference is all I would be willing to take, but it cannot cover my yearly expenses, travelling as I do, taking with me the help I must have, and making the donations I am called upon to make in nearly every place where meetings are held. I have pledged one thousand dollars towards the purchase of land for the school. Willie is in a situation similar to my own as regards giving; he has to put his name to subscriptions nearly every where we go. We are constantly meeting persons who must be helped, and if I depended alone upon that which I receive from the Conference, I should be brought into most trying places. But thank God for the light he has given me; I will take heed to it, and will endeavor to be a faithful steward. 1888 1238.1

When my brethren connected with our large institutions have sought counsel of me in regard to adding building to building, I have tried to dissuade them. I have told them of the needs of the cause in fields already opened in these new countries, and of the demand for means in new fields in regions beyond. I have written, I have pleaded with all my capability, that my brethren should look afar off, and not feel it their special duty to restrict the work in these new fields. Books have been donated to the work in Australia, it is true, and they sell better than could be expected in these hard times when money matters are so close. But books are not enough; we must not be left to rely on the means obtained by book sales. I helped in making these donations of books, by giving up my royalty on them; but I begin to doubt the wisdom of my brethren in asking me to do this, when I have given myself and all that I have and am to the work of God. I hope that my brethren will not take a course that will destroy the confidence we ought to have in their wisdom and judgment. If they cannot trust to our judgment in regard to the wants of the cause in this country, then we will give up this responsibility to wiser heads. 1888 1238.2

I have now said that which I felt it my duty to say, that you may understand how I view matters. I have not heard a word from Willie in regard to these things. I consult with no one in writing this letter. I have written it from a sense of duty, that you may know my true position. 1888 1239.1