The Paulson Collection of Ellen G. White Letters


September, 1895

Granville, N. S. W.

September, 1895 PC 409.1

To Men in Responsible Positions in Battle Creek

Dear Brethren,

You have no right to absorb in Battle Creek the means that is sent in by our people, and leave mission fields impoverished. The funds that accumulate in Battle Creek have not been created by those who handle the means. It is the faith of the people in the cause and work of God that has brought tithes and offerings to the treasury. PC 409.2

The efforts made to induce our people to move away from Battle Creek have not succeeded. And why? Because the enlargements constantly going forward have been encouraging people to move in. There was represented to me a mammoth vineyard, requiring much labor to tend and care for it. Men were working in one part of the vineyard, while other parts were left unworked, to grow thorns and briers. One of dignified bearing said, Why are you setting out so many plants in this part of the field? Take some of the plants to other portions of God's vineyard. More ground may be brought under cultivation. Thus the work will be greatly extended, and new elements will be brought in. When the people are congregated together as they are in Battle Creek, it requires more labor to keep the church in a right condition than would be required to minister to the same number if they were scattered as they should be in different parts of the field. PC 409.3

Consolidation means that all institutions are to be merged into the Battle Creek institutions. For years something of this kind has been proposed by one and another. But according to the light I have had, the plan is wrong, decidedly wrong. Let every institution stand in its own individuality, doing its respective work in its own locality. There are not in Battle Creek men of sufficient clearness of discernment, sanctified by the grace of Christ, to carry the responsibilities which they now assume. If there is any action taken to merge everything into one institution under the dictation of those now presiding, it will be one of the worst pieces of business that were ever transacted in Battle Creek in connection with the cause of God. PC 409.4

The Pacific Press should stand in its own moral independence, carrying on its work beyond the Rocky Mountains, in a little world of its own. Its managers are responsible to God to do their work as in full view of the universe of heaven. PC 410.1

Men are coming to trust in men, and to make flesh their arm; and when that arm is not linked in the arm of Christ, they will find that they are leaning upon a broken reed. The publishing houses were established in America in the counsel of God, under his direction and supervision, and they should stand in their own individuality, as sister institutions. Never should they be so related to each other that one shall have power to control the running of the other. If one institution shall adopt a policy which the other does not sanction, the other institution is not to be corrupted, but is to stand in its God given responsibility, true to the principles that were expressed in its establishment, and carrying forward the work in harmony with those principles. PC 410.2

Our people do not know what they are about. In some of their movements they act like blind men. The managers at Battle Creek are taking altogether too much on their hands; but they do not understand the result of this confederacy. Every institution should work in harmony with the other institutions, but farther than this they should not go toward confederacy or merging into one. Already there are men, who, supposing themselves wise, are trying to shape matters according to their ideas. Things may for a time appear to prosper in their hands, but the result will be that which they do not now anticipate. PC 410.3

For years a spirit of oppression has been coming into Battle Creek. The human agents are lifting up themselves unto selfishness and domination. Not a work can be published but they try to gain control of it, and if authors do not concede to their propositions, those who publish the work will exert an influence with canvassers and other agents that will hinder its sale, and this wholly irrespective of the value of the book. And when every institution is merged into the one that is greatest - that is, measured by her power of control - that one will indeed be a ruling power, and if the principles of action in the most powerful institution are corrupted, as is now the case, and as has been in the history of the past, every other institution must follow the same path, also a determined influence will be brought to bear against it. The difficulty is not in the institution, but in the members. PC 410.4

This disposition to press men into hard places if you cannot bring them to your ideas, is not according to God's order. Those who do this when it suits them, are bringing souls into unbelief and temptation, and driving them on Satan's battlefield. They forget that God will deal with them as they deal with their fellow men. God's cause is not to be molded by one man, or half a dozen men. All his responsible stewards are to bear a share in the devising, as well as in the execution of the plans. Men must not forget that the God of heaven is a God of justice; with him is no partiality, no hypocrisy. He will not serve with men's selfishness, nor sanction their plans to rob one soul of his rights because they can press him inconsiderately, and make statements and plans that compel surrender or leave him helpless. PC 410.5

Shall everything pass under the control of men whom we know have not a living connection with God? He who says, “I know thy works,” hears all their suggestions, listens to all their plans. The institutions of God's creating, which he established upon principles of justice and equity, they are seeking to make a means of oppression, forcing the Lord's workers to accept terms which they themselves were the situation reversed, would not accept. PC 411.1

God's instrumentalities are not chosen of men, or under their jurisdiction. They are to prepare a people to stand in the day of the Lord. God is a party to every transaction, and He is sinned against and misrepresented. The Lord's powerful instrumentalities are made as a cutting sword to weaken and destroy, because those who are managing these instrumentalities possess attributes that lead them to do this. When men swerve from truth and righteousness, violate justice in deal, making contracts that bind others according to their will, and violate contracts, let them remember that for all this, God will bring them into judgment. By no sharp dealing or underhand advantage is the Lord to be glorified or his truth served. Money acquired in this way to supply the treasury will benefit no one; for God will not serve with the sins of oppression and selfishness. PC 411.2

It should be written on the conscience as with a pen of iron upon a rock that no man can achieve true success while violating the eternal principles of right. There must be a cleansing of the institutions similar to Christ's cleansing of the temple of old. “It is written,” saith the Lord, “my house shall be called a house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves.” There are in our institutions today transactions similar to those that took place in the temple court in Christ's time; and all heaven is looking on. PC 411.3

God is dishonored by those who are in responsible places of stewardship, yet do not realize the necessity of being, both in spirit and words, an example to those connected with them, who have learned to do as they require. Every one must have the grace of God for his own soul, he must confide in the pardoning mercy of God through the merits of Christ. Then he will not manifest a harsh zeal to bruise and wound, but a sanctified zeal to answer the prayer of Christ, which he offered before his crucifixion, zeal not for human uplifting, but for the glory of God. PC 411.4

The change of the natural, inherited, and cultivated tendencies of the human heart, is that change of which Jesus spoke when he said to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see (discern) the Kingdom of God.” Nicodemus did not understand Christ's words. He inquired, “How can these things be?” The answer comes home to every man in responsible positions, “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen: And ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven.” PC 412.1

The change of heart represented by the new birth can be brought about only through the effectual working of the Holy Spirit. Self love and pride resist the Spirit of God. Every natural inclination of the soul withstands and opposes the change from self importance and pride to the meekness and lowliness of Christ. It is only through receiving divine light, only through the cooperation of heavenly intelligences, that we can discern the spiritual character of the kingdom of God. Only thus can we have a lively sense of the duties due to all with whom we are connected in labor, or with whom we are brought in contact. We are under contract to God. The express requirements of the Old Testament are in perfect agreement with the teaching of the New Testament. PC 412.2

The Lord Jesus spoke from the pillar of cloud, “And now, Israel, what doth the Lord require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? For the Lord your God is a God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh regards: he doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, and giveth him food and raiment.” Compare this with the words of Christ in the New Testament: “A certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law, how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” “A father of the fatherless and a judge of the widow is God in his holy habitation.” “The Lord preserveth the strangers: he relieveth the fatherless and the widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.” “If thy brother be waxen poor, and falleth into decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him; yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee; Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase. I am the Lord your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God. Thou shalt not rule over him with vigor, but shall fear thy God.” See also Deuteronomy 15:7-11; 24:14, 15, 19-21; Leviticus 19:32-37. “Owe no man anything, but to love one another.” The oppression of the poor, which is nothing less than actual robbery, is not punishable by human course, except in very extreme cases; but it is marked by the God of heaven as the abhorred practise which he would in no case tolerate. PC 412.3

The apostle James says to the rich, “Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.*” God condemns injustice wherever manifested, whoever the person, whatever the business. Wherever schemes are devised to withhold money from those to whom it is due, or to deprive any man of his rights, there God's disapprobation rests. It is for the interest of every soul connected with the work of God to receive his warnings and reproofs, and die to that stubborn will which has opposed the will of God. PC 413.1

The publishing houses were brought into existence in a spirit of sacrifice, and no persons should have been permitted to hold a responsible position in the work, who desired to work according to the world's policy. The consecration and purity of the worker will be evidenced by the principles manifested in his attitude toward every child of God. The publishing house was established for the purpose of doing business upon the principles of justice and equity, judging every case without partiality and without hypocrisy. In our institution the Spirit of Christ was to be a witness to the world of the character of God, a living epistle, known and read of all men. These institutions were to reveal nothing like oppression; the managers were to be those who showed decidedly that they were under the control of God. Selfishness and the love of money was not to set aside those principles of sacrifice which characterized the establishment of these instrumentalities. PC 413.2

No one should be allowed to engage in the sacred work who could be bought or sold for money. No one is to take advantage of any man's ignorance or necessity, in order to charge exorbitant prices for work done or for goods sold. The managers are not obeying the commandments of God when by any selfish devising they secure the benefit of the time or talents of the workmen. Such a course is robbery of your neighbor. God has given everyone of his workers certain qualifications for which he is responsible, not to any man or set of men, but to God. He is so to use them that they will be a blessing to himself by having it in his power to be a blessing to others. The practises that have prevailed in the Review and Herald office, and which are now leavening the managers of the Conferences, are not correct. I can not specify all the departures from righteousness; they are too many to be enumerated, and I am not told to do this. PC 413.3

Some will urge that in dealing with sharpers, those who have no conscience, one must conform in a large degree to the customs that prevail; that should he adopt a course of strict integrity, he will be compelled to give up his business, or fail to secure a livelihood. Where is your faith in God? He owns you as his sons and daughters on condition that you come out from the world and be separate and touch not the unclean thing. There will be violent temptations to diverge from the straight path; there will be innumerable arguments in favor of conforming to custom, and adopting practises that are really dishonest. PC 414.1

When one worker enters into a confederacy with another, as has been done, seeking to supply that other's lack of aptitude or knowledge, he is doing that one an injury, and assisting in a deception. That worker receives pay for qualifications which he has not, and his failures in duties which he is supposed to perform, are many. Yet the largest wages are received, and the treasury is robbed. God has been greatly displeased by these things. PC 414.2

These may be regarded by men as little things, but was it a little thing for Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit which God had forbidden them to eat? The smallness of the act did not avert the consequences. It was disobedience to God's commandments, and the floodgates of woe were opened upon our world. We cannot be Christians and connive at any dishonest practise or breach of trust. The Christian will not be found spending extravagantly means that he has not earned. God requires every man to be punctual, just, and without guilt in his lips or in his heart. Be righteous in all dealings with your fellow men if you would have not only the name but the character of a Christian. Those who depart from Bible principles, and vindicate their defects as righteous, have never received the true knowledge of Christ or the experience of being in truth doers of the word. There is nothing in the word of God that glosses over or excuses one phase of selfishness, one approach to overreaching or dishonesty. PC 414.3

God pledges his most holy word that he will bless you if you will walk in his way, and do justice and judgment. “Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small: thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small: but thou shall have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteousness, are an abomination unto the Lord thy God. Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way when we were come forth out of Egypt; how he met thee by the way, and smote the hindermost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary: and he feared not God.” Notwithstanding that the children of Israel had often grieved the Lord by departing from his counsel, he still had a tender care for them. The Lord Jesus Christ saw their enemies taking advantage of their circumstances, to do them an injury; for that work was to bring suffering against the weary, who were journeying under God's leading. Hear the judgments which God pronounced: “Therefore it shall be, when the Lord thy God hath given rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.” PC 414.4

I pen these words of God that those who profess to be his children may not receive the curse pronounced upon Amalek because they have followed the practises of Amalek. If the heathen received this denunciation from their course for overcoming the faint and weary, what will the Lord express toward those who have had light, great opportunities, and privileges, but have not manifested the Spirit of Christ toward their own brethren? The Lord sees all the dealings of brother with brother, which weaken faith, and which destroy their own confidence in themselves as men dealing with justice and equity. In the most positive language he expresses his displeasure at the iniquity practised in trade. He says, “Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?” The very wrong here mentioned may not have been committed in our institutions, but acts which these things represent have been, and are still being done. Page after page might be written in regard to these things. Whole conferences are becoming leavened with the same perverted principles. “For the rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.” The Lord will work to purify his church. I tell you in truth, the Lord is about to turn and overturn in the institutions called by his name. Just how soon this refining process will begin, I cannot say, but it will not be long deferred. He whose fan is in his hand will cleanse his temple of its moral defilement. He will thoroughly purge his floor. God has a controversy with all who practise the least injustice; for in so doing they reject the authority of God, and imperil their interest in the atonement, the redemption which Christ has undertaken for every son and daughter of Adam. Will it pay to take a course abhorrent to God? Will it pay to put upon your censors strange fire to offer before God, and say it makes no difference? PC 415.1

It has not been after God's order to center so much in Battle Creek. The state of things now exists that was presented before me as a warning. I am sick at heart at the representation. The Lord gave warnings to prevent this demoralizing condition of things, but they have not been heeded. “Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” PC 416.1

I appeal to my brethren to wake up. Unless a change takes place speedily, I must give the facts to the people; for this state of things must change; unconverted men must no longer be managers and directors in so important and sacred work. With David we are forced to say, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work; for they have made void thy law.” PC 416.2

(Signed) Mrs. E. G. White -