The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials


Chapter 163—To A. O. Tait


Norfolk Villa, Prospect St., June 6, ’95.

Eld. A. O. Tait,
Battle Creek, Michigan, U.S.A.

Dear Brother:—

To answer your letter will require of me some very plain statements. The matters you refer to have been presented before me for years. Long before the meeting at Minneapolis the leaven that is now working was at work. The spirit of disaffection was gathering strength up to that time. Since that time some <have confessed their wrongs and> have decidedly changed their attitude, and have not manifested the same spirit. For years previous they withstood the pleadings of the Spirit of God, and were aided in their rebellion by the great adversary of souls. But there are some <in influential positions> who are still seeking to leaven the minds of canvassers, and to influence those who assemble in conference meetings. They work contrary to truth and righteousness, making use of any and every <expedient> to carry forward their own ideas. Many think that because these men are in responsible positions, because they have an appearance of being calm and rational, they must be reliable men. But God has no use for men who are disloyal in heart. He has not given his people into the hands of any man or set of men to make use of as their impulses dictate. In the name of the Lord God of Israel, I protest against this work. 1888 1369.1

God who sees the end from the beginning can easily provide, and certainly will provide for the carrying forward of his own work; but it will not be after the spirit and impulse of men. We are not to be educated to work after a worldly policy, neither are we to educate others after this line of working. At every step we are to exercise faith, to be much in prayer, to feel dependence upon God, and manifest devotion to his work. Working after this order will bring large blessings in return; but dependence upon men, who make manifest that they are not in vital connection with God, but are moved by their own feelings, will end in placing us under another leader than Jesus Christ. The reasoning in which they indulge is not according to truth and equity. 1888 1369.2

There are men holding responsible positions, and many think that they would prove traitors to the cause and work of God, should they intimate that these men were in the wrong. But the Lord has a controversy with these men who have followed the natural tendency of their own minds, and have been led by their own selfish impulses <passing for zeal for the Lord.> The way in which they have dealt with Frank Belden's case, will not afford them any pleasure when they have to face the record on the books of heaven in the great day of God, and stand before him who says, “I know thy works.” The time is coming when there will be an investigation of the characters of the living and the dead. 1888 1370.1

I wrote nearly a hundred pages long before my husband died of what would be transacted in the Review & Herald Office. If I can find this matter, I will send it to you. Men are travelling over the very ground that was presented to me years ago. It was made clear to me that light would be rejected, that warnings would be despised, that a spirit of selfishness would be cultivated in the Office, and that men would act from worldly principles, and depart from the law of God. They would give heed to the promptings of the enemy, and would turn human agents away from their right. Religious and business liberty they would labor to control. They would work to have every Seventh Day Adventist institution in subordination to the institution in Battle Creek, and manipulate things so that every branch of the work would be centered and controlled by responsible men in the Review & Herald Office. This is what men are doing, and acting as if every branch of the work, both high and afar off, must come under the jurisdiction of men in Battle Creek, and that every one must circle around their orbit. But the Lord has given light to the effect that our different institutions must stand by themselves. These men are carrying on their counsels, and acting as though God in person had spoken by them. They bear themselves loftily toward the purchase of Christ's blood. They act as though every individual must acknowledge their sway, and use his ability and talent as they may direct. If he will not come under their control they crush him out or treat him with indifference. They consider it is an abomination to be unsubmissive, and those who do not submit to their jurisdiction are left without sympathy, without help or support. They say by their spirit and action, “If he dies, let him die.” 1888 1370.2

Men at the heart of the work have much to learn and much to unlearn. They themselves are to realize that they are in God's domain. Their proud, unbroken hearts must know that there is a Ruler who will call them to account. The time will come when it will be the duty of Christ's ambassadors to declare God's will in plain terms, to let men know that they are God's workmen to be led and taught of God, and that they must carry out their elevated mission as he shall dictate. Religious liberty means more to us as a people than many take it to mean. For years we have proclaimed the message that men cannot deal with the purchase of the blood of the Son of the infinite God on the plan of worldly wise men. They cannot heal the distemper of souls by their interference, or restore the sin-sick soul to health by their harshness. By manifesting repentance toward God, by exercising faith in the Mighty Healer, they can magnify Jesus, and lift their voice in proclaiming, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” 1888 1371.1

Before my husband died, I was warned that I must not put confidence in a friend or trust in a brother. Men with whom I would have to deal because of their business education would not have power to resist the temptation to over-reach and to take advantage. They make God altogether such an one as themselves, and think that their sharp conniving and dealing is after God's order. They make every effort possible to take advantage where they can; for they do not daily experience conversion to God. They enter into plans, and go according to methods, that they suppose will succeed, but they are far from fair, or just, or righteous. They spare themselves, but how hard they press others. They work to destroy the power of their fellow-men. They do not consider the truth or the honor of God. 1888 1372.1

I had an experience in these matters when at Battle Creek. I was not the only sufferer at their hands. I am not sorry though for the experience I passed through; because God gave me counsel that I must be guarded about accepting the propositions of men, who proposed that I should do certain things, alleging that in so doing, I would be helping the cause of God. But should I make the contract that they designed to have me, I would be bound, and could not move independent of men or councils to do things that were necessary to be done to advance the cause and work of God. If I should do as they desired me to, then I would be unable to speak, to correct evil principles when they should be brought to bear against others. 1888 1373.1

It was needful that there should be those who would speak out against that which was wrong, <for God would> cleanse the publishing house from plans of injustice and fraudulent dealings, even as the Saviour cleansed the temple from its moral pollution. I was shown that schemes would be made to deprive men of their rights; but such plans were not after Christ's order, but after the order of Satan. My guide said, “I have warned you. Speak my word fearlessly, whether men will hear, or whether they will forbear.” 1888 1373.2

What men need in the Review & Herald Office is a change of heart, and then their whole attitude will be changed. Those who have Christ enthroned within will manifest Christlike principles. They will make it evident that the Holy Spirit has imparted a new life to them, and that they are nourishing and cherishing that life. Its beginning is found in spiritual union with the Lord Jesus Christ, and as they go on increasing in the knowledge of God, they will manifest growth in grace, and will show Christlike love to others. Men in responsible positions are to guard the interests of others as jealously as they would guard their own interests. Thus they are to love their neighbors as themselves. Christians are to be channels for currents of heavenly wisdom and grace. They are to connect themselves, not with the low streams of the valley, but with the living snow-waters of Lebanon. All outward forms and ceremonies that are not after the pattern shown them in the Mount will prove valueless. The grace of God is made manifest in the exercise of the love which dwelt in the bosom of Jesus, and which bringeth salvation to the lost. The kingdom of God cometh not by observation. Unselfish love is to work through every plan that is made, and the fruit of unselfish love is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Those who are not spiritual often appear to have a zeal that far exceeds the zeal of the true children of God. This is because they are determined that their ways and their plans shall succeed. They say to themselves, I will put the whole force of my being into this plan, and I will work continually until I see it succeed. I will persist until I prevail. But all the religion that a man has is <frequently> found in this ambitious zeal <which> he thinks is after the Christlike order. Take away this, and nothing is left. They are like the Pharisees who tithed mint, and arise, and cummin, but neglected the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and the love of God. The truth is of the deepest importance. In the sacrifice of Christ for fallen men, mercy and truth met together, righteousness and peace kissed each other. When you separate these attributes from the most wonderful, and apparently the most successful work, there is nothing to it. Those who work with Christ unite their business services with spiritual consecration. Where this combination exists, there is no lordly oppression, no compulsion of manner. God has given to his children their work individually. If they work in their own spirit, manifest their ways, they will develop the forbidding attributes of the evil one. 1888 1373.3

God has not singled out a few men, and left others uncared for. He loves the purchase of his blood, and he will not neglect one child and exalt another. He will not lift up one, and cast down and oppress and trample upon another. Every man has individual rights, and it is for the interest of his fellow-men to respect those rights. Any lording it over God's heritage will be charged to the man who ventures to exhibit this presumptuous spirit. Those who are truly converted, those whose characters are shaped after the divine model, will hold the truth in love. It will be far more profitable for men to deal rigorously with themselves, rather than to deal rigorously with God's purchased possession. Those living in these last days need to have a right understanding of many things. We should be careful to treat our fellow-men as we would treat Christ in the person of his saints. Let no one ignore the rights of another. 1888 1375.1

<In answer to your questions I will respond briefly now but more fully soon.> 1888 1376.1

I have never felt that it was my duty to say that no one should taste of meat under any circumstances. To say this when the people have been educated to live on flesh to so great an extent, would be carrying matters to extremes. I have never felt that it was my duty to make sweeping assertions. What I have said I have said under a sense of duty, but I have been guarded in my statements, because I did not want to give occasion for anyone to be a conscience for another. 1888 1376.2

Sister Davis has just called my attention to an article printed in the Youth's Instructor of May 31, 1894. The question asked is, Did I design to have this sentence just as it appeared in the Instructor? I am surprised to see it just as it appears—“A meat diet is not the most wholesome of diets, and yet I would take the position that meat should not be discarded by everyone.” I cannot explain why this appears just as it does. Since the camp meeting at Brighton I have absolutely banished meat from my table. It is an understood thing that whether I am at home or abroad, nothing of this kind is to be used in my family, or come upon my table. I have had such representations before my mind in the night season on this subject that I feel that I have done right in banishing meat from my table. I would desire that the sentence should be modified by changing the not—“yet I would not take the position that meat be wholly discarded by everyone,” for instance, by those dying of consumption. 1888 1376.3

I have been passing through an experience in this country that is similar to the experience I had in new fields in America. I have seen families whose circumstances would not permit them to furnish their table with healthful food. Unbelieving neighbors have sent them in portions of meat from animals recently killed. They have made soup of the meat, and supplied their large families of children with meals of bread and soup. It was not my duty, nor did I think it was the duty of anyone else, to lecture them upon the evils of meat eating. I feel sincere pity for families who have newly come to the faith, and who are so pressed with poverty that they know not from whence their next meal is coming. It is not my duty to discourse to them on healthful eating. There is a time to speak, and a time to keep silent. The opportunity furnished by circumstances of this order is an opportunity to speak words that will encourage and bless, rather than condemn and reprove. Those who have lived upon a meat diet all their life do not see the evil of continuing the practice, and they must be treated tenderly. 1888 1376.4

But in the very month in which this article was published, one of my family asked me whether we should not kill some of the fowls of which we had a large number, and prepare them for our table. I said decidedly, “No.” I have signed the pledge to my heavenly Father, and have discarded meat as an article of diet. I will not eat flesh myself, nor set it before any of my household. I gave orders that the fowls should be sold, and that the money which they brought in should be expended in buying fruit for the table. 1888 1377.1

Since coming to this country, I have made inquiries concerning the condition of animals that are killed for the market, and I have learned that whole herds are slaughtered when not more than one in twenty were without disease. Pulmonary diseases, cancers, and tumors, are startlingly common among animals. It is true that the inspectors rejected many of the cattle that were thus diseased, but many were passed on to the market that ought to have been refused. Inspectors and herdsmen, <I am told,> have entered into confederacy in this matter. Some inspectors say, “This herd or this flock <will pass.> Leave me this or that sheep, or this or that steer.” Thus unwholesome flesh has gone on to the markets for human consumption. In many localities even fish is unwholesome, and ought not to be used. This is especially so where fish come in contact with the sewerage of large cities. We seldom have any fish upon our table. The fish that partake of the filthy sewerage of the drains may pass into waters far distant from the sewerage, and be caught in localities where the water is pure and fresh, but because of the unwholesome drainage in which they have been feeding, they are not safe to eat. 1888 1377.2

We have a large family, and besides have many guests, but neither meat nor butter is placed upon our table. We use the cream from the milk of the cows which we feed ourselves. We purchase butter for cooking purposes from dairies where the cows are in healthful condition and have good pasture. 1888 1378.1