Lt 143, 1899

1899

Lt 143, 1899

Managers of the Claremont Sanitarium; South African Conference Committee; Wessels Family

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

September 24, 1899

Previously unpublished. +Note

To the Managers of the Claremont Sanitarium, the South African Conference Committee and the Wessels Family:

I have written largely to South Africa, setting before you the will of God concerning John Wessels. Brother Wessels was willing to come to our help in Australia, but influences were set strongly against his coming. The call to come was counterworked by his friends and relatives, and as a result his means was invested in a large building in Cape Town. Thus the money which was needed so much to help advance the work here was diverted. Lt143-1899.1

God is not pleased with this turning away from the counsel of the Lord to the will of men. By this working, we are placed for two years in most unfavorable circumstances; and now we are losing, we fear, the third year because men will consult their own wisdom instead of doing that which the Lord has planned. Lt143-1899.2

We are praying for means to establish a sanitarium in this country, and the Lord has poured upon us the spirit of intercession that He would provide the facilities. Light was given to me to solicit help from our friends in South Africa. I was shown that John Wessels had means which would be a blessing to us, and which would bring blessing to him if he would employ it in the work in this part of the Lord’s vineyard. Lt143-1899.3

God instructed me that He had need of the means elsewhere that were being invested in buildings in South Africa, and that this money should be used where it would serve in His cause to the highest advantage, carrying forward the work that needs to be done in medical missionary lines. The institution which we were to build in Australia was to be as the right arm to the body. It was a positive necessity if we would teach the people the right methods of caring for the sick. Lt143-1899.4

This request was made by God to the people in South Africa to test them, for they had already sufficient facilities to meet the necessities for this time. A larger outlay of means in that field would not advance the work of God as it would in places where there was nothing with which to do medical missionary work in connection with the proclamation of the third angel’s message. And this was not all, there was great danger that the Wessels family would become more and more wedded to the world, and would regard lightly the obligations they were under to God. Lt143-1899.5

There was danger that they would expend their means to gratify self and to please the sight of the eyes. There was danger that they would forget their Pattern, who for their sakes became poor that they through His poverty might be made rich. Their moral taste needed to be cultivated. Before every outlay of means they needed to stop and inquire, “Am I doing as Jesus would do? Am I following in His footsteps?” Christ says, “He that will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” [Mark 8:34.] This is the only path of safety for you, my brethren and sisters, whether you live in Africa, Australia or America. Lt143-1899.6

When we were sent to this missionary field, we found a great dearth of facilities with which to work; and in 1895 I was shown that it was the first duty of the sanitarium in America to act a generous part in helping to establish a sister institution in this field where we could not depend for help on our church members. Sanctified eyesight would have led the managers of the institution in America to discern Bible principles and help in this field, where there was nothing to give an active working arm to the solemn message to be proclaimed. It was the duty of the managers of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, in the place of creating so many buildings there, to see that the work was advanced in Australia, where we had not the donations they had received in America to make a beginning, but where the Lord had seen fit to send us with the last message of mercy. Lt143-1899.7

These principles I tried to lay before the people in America, as the Lord had presented them to me. I sent my appeal to the last General Conference, and something was done. A few thousand dollars were sent. But it was very little in comparison with what might have been done. The managers of the Battle Creek Sanitarium have known our wants. They had kept before them, under the special instruction of God, that this place was to be the center for a work just as necessary and fully as important in character as the work done in Battle Creek. Lt143-1899.8

Had these men followed the principles of the gospel, in the place of continually laboring for the establishment of sanitariums in America, they would have seen how essential it was that they divide their abundant facilities, and aid the work in this new world. They would have done the work which the Lord required them to do five years ago. Without pressing or urging, they would, like Job, have searched out the cause they knew not. It was God’s purpose that the Australian sanitarium should be established years ago, as the right arm of the third angel’s message, but although they have had the Lord’s plans laid distinctly before them, the sanitarium managers have given us very little help. Lt143-1899.9

In America and many other places the medical missionary work is firmly established, but in all Australia we have not one sanitarium building to give character to our work. We have erected a country hospital in Cooranbong, but this is heavily in debt. We cannot pay our workmen, and the building is yet to be finished. Our brethren pledged one thousand pounds for the Sydney sanitarium at the conference some weeks ago. This was the extent of our ability. But we would not mention the Health Retreat we were building, lest by placing two objects before the people, we should lessen our chances of obtaining money for the sanitarium. Yet we are in great need of this building where we can take our sick. We have had to bring suffering ones to our own home for treatment, for we could not visit them in their own poor cottages. Lt143-1899.10

I can only keep pleading like the importunate man of the parable, who went to his friend for food to supply the needs of the belated traveller. The man appealed to tried to excuse himself from answering the demand made upon him, but the persistency of his friend forced him to comply with the request. This case represents the work God has called me to do. I shall continue to plead until my request is attended to, until the large investments where the work is established shall cease, and the destitution of this country and other missionary fields is relieved. Lt143-1899.11

I now place this matter before you in South Africa, and I ask you to consider it, and ask yourselves, why did you hold John Wessels there to follow out your mind, when the Lord indicated that He had work for him to do in this place, where men and means are so greatly needed. That delay has bound up in buildings the means which should have been invested in more needy places. It is not for the advantage of men, or for the glory of God for men to make such mistakes. Lt143-1899.12

In our last letters we presented before you the best course to be pursued. The Wessels family should separate and settle in different localities. While there are so many in South Africa, they will not find there the best spiritual atmosphere for the life of the soul. God sees that which human beings do not discern. He saw that the means which He had entrusted to advance His work was being bound up in buildings and worldly enterprises. Like the man with the one talent, these brothers were afraid to employ their money in carrying forward the Lord’s work. They bring only the one talent to the Lord, whereas, if they had that faith which works by love and purifies the soul, they would have traded diligently with their Lord’s goods, and would have brought in their returns by winning souls to Christ. Lt143-1899.13

It means very much to every soul how he uses his Lord’s goods. “At that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people, and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. ... And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament: and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever. ... Many shall be purified and made white and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.” [Daniel 12:1, 3, 10.] Lt143-1899.14

I speak to those who would lay up treasure in heaven. Christ left His heavenly home, His high command, His kingly crown and royal robe, and became poor, that through His poverty fallen man might obtain eternal riches. The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough that the disciple be as his master, and the servant as his lord. “Lay not up for yourselves treasure upon earth,” Christ says, “where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Lt143-1899.15

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, the whole body shall be full of light. And if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” [Matthew 6:19-23.] “Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 10:33.] Lt143-1899.16

Christ calls upon every soul whom He has purchased with His blood to become a co-worker with Himself. Through self-denial and self-sacrifice he must win the royal crown, and the life which measures with the life of God. God has given directions which are for our present and eternal good. We must be willing to deny every inclination of self. Lt143-1899.17

The Lord would have done a great work with the means which has been used in South Africa to gratify self and for pride of appearance. Jesus did not do this, when He left His riches and honor and clothed His divinity with humanity, and does it become those who are bought with a price to make a display and gratify the carnal desires? Heaven is worth everything to us, or it is worth nothing. God calls for the means which is being wasted, and which should be used in carrying forward the work of the Lord, in lifting the standard of truth in places where the message of mercy has never been heard. Every soul converted is His instrumentality to convert other souls. Thus the talents, kept in active exchange, accomplish the work of establishing Christ’s kingdom in the world. Lt143-1899.18

Those who have no love for God and for the truth are heaping up to themselves treasures for the last day. Of this class the Lord says, “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for the miseries which shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted and your garments are moth eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered, and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.” [James 5:1-3.] But to His faithful stewards of means, He says, “Be patient therefore brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and the latter rain. Be ye also patient: establish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth near. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold the judge standeth at the door.” [Verses 7-9.] Lt143-1899.19