Manuscript Releases, vol. 6 [Nos. 347-418]


MR No. 368—The Pioneers and Personal Sacrifice

I was shown while at Lancaster, Mass., that the work of God was progressing in the West, and that you must be narrowing down your large farms. Do not talk your faith. Sell that ye have and give alms, says the angel. Not moving fast enough, said the angel. Cut loose, cut loose from your treasures here; lay up a treasure in heaven.... 6MR 130.1

Tell Brother John ... I sent a letter to Mary and there was something in it I wished you to see, so I sent it to you. There was two dollars in it, a little present I sent her. Did you receive it?—Letter 2, 1856, p. 1. (To Brother Everts, July 12, 1856.) 6MR 130.2

We know how our cause started. We know that we have counted pennies and means in every way in order that we might have enough means for the bare necessaries of life and to carry us from place to place, to present the truth to others. I well remember the first conference that was ever held by our people. It was in Connecticut [1848]. My husband worked at cutting cordwood at twenty-five cents a cord to earn money to take us to this meeting. He was not accustomed to this kind of labor and the rheumatism came in his wrist. He was unable to sleep nights, and night after night our prayers ascended, that God would relieve him of pain. He said, “Wife, we must keep five dollars on hand, and even if we get short of food we must not use that.” I fainted to the floor, with a nursing child in my arms more than once for the want of necessary food to eat. But when the call came from a few faithful souls, Cannot you come and hold a meeting with us in Connecticut, we felt the Lord would have us go. When my husband settled with his employer, he had ten dollars. With this we made the journey.... 6MR 130.3

Urgent invitations came from New York for us to hold a series of meetings among them. What could we do? We had no means, we were poor. We prayed over the matter and my husband decided to buy a scythe and go into the harvest field, and earn money for to take us to New York. He was an invalid, could not retain food upon his stomach but we prayed over the matter, morning and night, and he was strengthened. He worked thus until he earned forty dollars, which paid our fare to New York. 6MR 131.1

I was shown at that time that light was shining out from my husband's pen and these rays of light were penetrating the darkness of error and the beams of light were increasing and growing brighter and more powerful. 6MR 131.2

It was at this meeting that the truth began to spread in New York. My husband worked at handling stone for months until his fingers were worn through and dropped blood, and this, too, was the very place where he had stood in the desk before thousands of people to proclaim the coming of Christ. Through injustice of his employer he did not receive the money for his labor and we were in want. He obtained a few things for our absolute necessities. 6MR 131.3

My husband went through the streets of Brunswick, Maine, with a bag upon his shoulder in which were a few beans, and a little meal and rice and flour to keep us from starvation. When he entered the house singing, “I am a pilgrim and I am a stranger,” I said, “Has it come to this? Has God forgotten us? Are we reduced to this?” He lifted his hand and said, “Hush, the Lord has not forsaken us. He gives us enough for our present wants. Jesus fared no better.” I was so worn that as he said this, I fainted from the chair. The next day a letter came asking us to go to another conference. We had no money. When my husband went to the post office for his mail he found a letter containing five dollars. When he returned he gathered the family together and offered a prayer of thanksgiving. This is the way the work began. 6MR 131.4

At one time light came that we should go to Portsmouth. But we had no money. We got all ready and were waiting when a man came riding very fast to our door. Jumping from his wagon, he said, “There is somebody here that wants money. I have come fourteen miles at the highest speed that my horse would go.” Said my husband, “We are all ready to start to attend an important meeting, but were waiting for money. We shall not have time to catch the cars now unless you take us.” He did so, and we had just time to reach the cars, step upon the platform without purchasing tickets when the car started. This was the way the Lord educated us to trust in Him. In this way the truth has entered many places. Our faith and trust in God has been tested and tried again and again. For years we labored constantly to carry forward the work under the pressure of feebleness and great poverty. We have tried to the best of our ability to save means in every way possible that the work of God might go forward. 6MR 132.1

I had about the time of Brother Ertzenberger's visit to America a present of a nice silk dress which cost forty-five dollars. Brother Andrews had just sent word that there was a great need of money to carry forward the work. I thought it was my privilege to so use the gift I had received that those who generously presented it to me would receive a reward and lay up treasure in heaven. I went to a merchant and told him to sell it for me for all he could get. He sold it for fifty dollars, and I sent the money to this mission. When others knew what I had done, they donated much larger sums. Thus the act of my doing this little, brought in the means from other individuals, so that Brother Andrews wrote us that the very sum needed came at the right time, and he expressed gratitude to God for this timely response.... 6MR 132.2

I have lain awake night after night, turning over in my mind, how we could help the different missions in the best way, and I am in just as much perplexity now as before. I can see no other way but to pray, believe and act as God gives us wisdom. The Lord has gold and silver. The earth and all its treasures belong to Him. The cattle upon a thousand hills are His also. If we trust in Him, exercising living faith, He will send help to advance His work. He has always proved Himself a prayer-hearing and a prayer-answering God.—Manuscript 19, 1885, 1, 2-6. (“European General Council,” September 21, 1885.) 6MR 133.1

I often think of the facilities you have in America in rich abundance, and how bound about we are here, for want of money and for want of consecrated workers. If those who have so great light would walk in the light, all needless expenditures in dress, in houses, in furniture, in picture-taking, would cease; there would be decided reformation in these matters, and thousands of dollars that are now spent to foster pride and selfishness would flow into the treasury to spread the gospel in foreign lands. But where is the self-denial for Christ's sake?—Letter 21b, 1892, p. 9. (To Dr. and Mrs. J. H. Kellogg, December 23, 1892.) 6MR 133.2

A good work is begun in Melbourne, and the work is only started. Men and means is our cry. As far as possible we are educating the workers to make the work self-sustaining by their contributions and by the practice of strict economy. This we present by our own practice. Not a piece of furniture is purchased merely for appearance. We buy at auction odd pieces of furniture, not seeking to have the pieces harmonize, if they will answer the purpose. If they are odds and ends, defaced and worn, we touch them up with stain and varnish, which costs but little. We are determined to maintain the principle that we are pilgrims and strangers, and we are soon to move from this country to a better country, even an heavenly. 6MR 134.1

Bro. Starr came from a sale of goods a few days ago. He said, “I did so want to purchase a wardrobe, a beautiful piece of furniture, with mirror in front, that went for less than four pounds when it must have cost ten, but I remembered we are pilgrims and strangers, and decided not to buy it.” I said, “You did right. I do not want even the appearance of costly furniture in my house; for it would contrast strangely with the other articles.” He bought two plain, old-fashioned little bureaus for me, one costing five, the other three dollars, and a second-hand washstand for himself for a small sum. This is the way we have worked. We are getting everything for durability, things that will bear rough handling and transporting from place to place, and not break and crush to pieces. We have been and still are very hard-pressed for means. The Lord sees it all, He will not leave us in destitution, although in strait places. The one thousand dollars which you say is forthcoming will supply our present necessities and keep the machinery moving.—Manuscript 23, 1894, 9. (Untitled, April 9, 1894.) 6MR 134.2

We purchased half a box of the lemon oranges at four cents per dozen. I call them superior; and then we returned home without our two cases of oranges. The oranges are excellent here, and are about eighty cents per bushel in American money. In Parramatta in the markets on Tuesdays and Fridays, the fruit growers sell their fruit at auction sale. We purchased oranges at nine pence a bushel last market day; that is about eighteen cents in American money; but the fruit is not first class. The cheapness of all the products of farms and orchards will explain why there is so much poverty in this country. Farmers do not receive enough for their produce to pay their expenses in raising it. Cauliflower is bought for a mere song. We have purchased large bags full for eight and ten cents. We purchase a large amount, and feed it to the cow and horses.... 6MR 135.1

We are now expressing juice from the oranges and canning the same. We have pressed out the juice from the lemons also, in order that we may furnish palatable drink for hot weather.... 6MR 135.2

Two years ago I purchased a horse for forty dollars. She was a good-looking gray horse, but was very poor, and for a time it was a question as to whether or not I should give her away or what I would do with her; but kind treatment, and plenty of good feed have brought her up both in flesh and spirits. She has paid her way in one year. At one conference she transported our ministers from Prahan to North Fitzroy, and thus saved the conference twenty-five dollars in carfare. When I went to New Zealand, the school needed her, and she served them well. When I returned, she was in good condition. She is a perfectly safe animal, frightened at nothing, and is not up to any mean tricks. We transported her to New South Wales. She has had an attack of rheumatism, and for weeks we have been unable to use her. Your Uncle Belden went to the stockyard sale in Sydney, and from a herd of wild horses selected a horse for me for which he paid five pounds—twenty-five dollars. I paid three pounds for breaking the horse. So I have now a three-year-old colt which I put by the side of Maggie, and so have a nice team to draw my phaeton.—Letter 89a, 1894, pp. 4, 5, 9, 10. (To Edson and Emma White, August 22, 1894.) 6MR 135.3

We are nearing the end of time, and it is most essential that we walk humbly with God. We cannot fit up the building with carpets or enter into any preparation that requires outlay of means, for we have none. I have been constantly handing out means, investing thousands of dollars to keep the work moving; but I know that we must heed the instruction given me in Melbourne to study economy in every line. Christ said of the scribes and Pharisees: “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” These both, let us learn in the school of Christ. We must make the Scriptures our counselor, and be doers of the word if we would have a knowledge of the power of God. Our desires will have to be bound about. We are of necessity obliged to plan and devise and economize. We cannot manage as if we had a bank on which to draw in case of emergency. Therefore we must not get into straitened places. I am glad that Brother and Sister Haskell in their experience have learned that there is a limit to means, and while we would be pleased to have many things that we have not in our school building, we must look at the old furniture, the bureaus, tables, washstands, and other articles, and say, we must make them do.—Manuscript 136, 1897, 10, 11. (“Principles of Education for Avondale,” December 21, 1897.) 6MR 136.1

The time has come for those who have a large amount of means invested in houses and lands, to begin to dispose of their possessions. “Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” 6MR 137.1

My brethren and sisters in the faith of Christ's soon coming, I ask you how it will be with you when you stand before the great white throne, to answer for the talents He has entrusted to you? If you hoard your money, if you invest it in houses and costly furniture, how can you meet your Lord in peace? Your heart will be where your treasure is 6MR 137.2

Brethren and sisters, now is our time to make haste to do something. Will you now give of your means to advance the work in the South? If you have in your possession houses and lands that you do not need, will you sell them, and invest the means thus obtained in more firmly establishing the various lines of work that have been begun in the Southern field?—Letter 72, 1902, pp. 3, 4, 8. (“To Our Churches in America,” typed May 18, 1902.) 6MR 137.3

Proof-readers in the Office receive their wages; those who are working at housework receive their wages, two dollars and a half and three dollars a week. This I have had to pay and others have to pay. But ministers’ wives who carry a tremendous responsibility, some of them devoting their entire time, have nothing for their labor.—Letter 137, 1898, pp. 9, 10. (To Brethren Irwin, Evans, Smith and Jones, April 21, 1898.) 6MR 137.4

I am deeply interested in you and your family. I have a message for you from the Lord. You are in danger, as some others have been, of depending on appearance to create an influence in your favor. My brother, you should dress becomingly and you should have a comfortable home, but you are never to forget the lessons of self-denial taught by the great Teacher. In the night season I was listening to words spoken to you by One who never errs. He looked about the rooms of your house, and speaking very solemnly and with great earnestness, he said, “These furnishings are expensive. Much might have been saved by purchasing something not so rich or costly. These things will not increase your influence for good.” 6MR 138.1

You should have in your home all that is necessary for the preservation of health, but much less expensive furniture would indicate a desire to be in harmony with the faith of the Bible. Do not think that in order to have influence, you must put on an appearance of influence and wealth. “Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones”.... 6MR 138.2

You cannot be in sympathy with Christ unless your practice is in harmony with His teaching. Do not strive to emulate worldlings by following inclination in making purchases for your home, when money is so much needed in the cause of God for the saving of perishing souls. You see this need, and it hurts you to think that you have not money to give to the Lord. Do you not see that you would have more to give if you practiced economy in your home? 6MR 138.3

You are too self-indulgent. Deny yourself, take up the cross, and follow more closely in the Saviour's footsteps. Before you spend money, ask yourself, “Can I not save this money? I will deny myself for Christ's sake. He gave His life to purchase eternal life for me. I must imitate His self-denial. It was by the sacrifice of Himself that the Saviour placed at my disposal the riches of His grace. He was under no compulsion, no obligation to give me His favor. Had He withheld all from me, it would have been no more than I deserved”.... 6MR 139.1

Temptations will come to you to indulge selfish desires. Yield not to them. Restrain your inclination for expensive clothes and rich furniture.... 6MR 139.2

Do not suppose, as you associate with wealthy men, that you are at liberty to spend money freely. It is not dress or houses or lands that measures your worth. Your highest recommendation will be in doing just as Christ did. Study His life. Seek for His grace. All the wealth you could obtain would never bring back the health you have lost through self-indulgence.—Letter 178, 1902, pp. 1-3. (To W. O. Palmer, July, 1902.) 6MR 139.3

At present I am very short of funds. I have no money in the bank; in fact, I have over-drawn my account there. I hope that some money will come in soon. I think I shall bend my energies toward getting out some new books, until things become more settled. Then we shall better understand what we ought to do in regard to getting out a new edition of Patriarchs and Prophets.—Letter 150, 1903, p. 1. (To “Dear Son Edson,” July 19, 1903.) 6MR 139.4

God has said that the Southern Field is to be worked. In the very midst of us there are those who know not God. Their ignorance cries out against those who spend their money in building elegant mansions or in erecting costly monuments over the dead. What help are these monuments to the dead or to the living? What honor do they bring to God? The cries of souls hungry for spiritual food are ascending to God.—Manuscript 38, 1904, 23-24. (“Our Work in Washington,” May 3, 1904.) 6MR 140.1

Released April 16, 1974.