Manuscript Releases, vol. 21 [Nos. 1501-1598]


MR No. 1586—Preach the Message, Not Irrelevant Theories

(Written April 15, 1887, from Basel, Switzerland, to “Dear Brother Brown.”)

In your letter to me you make inquiry in regard to yourself, if you were one who was to be blamed. You are one who thought that your course of action was all right, but you have not moved in wisdom. 21MR 412.1

The letter you sent to Elder Butler, in reference to Elder Wilbur Whitney's course, pained my heart. I felt then, and have since, that you were betraying your brother. Since I read that letter, I have not had that confidence in you as formerly. 21MR 412.2

When the burden was rolled upon me in regard to New York, light was plainly given that your course had not been perfect before the Lord. You have helped to place matters where they now are, and have let the whole load of censure rest upon Wilbur Whitney. I have not talked a word with Brother Whitney about this matter. I may do so some time in the future. 21MR 412.3

I have expected that you would fall under temptation. I feared after the part that you have acted, that the prospering hand of God could not sustain you. You needed Brother Wilbur Whitney in your conference, but after such a course had been pursued toward him there, the brethren had no confidence in him and in his management. He could do you no good, so we urged his coming here where his help is greatly needed and will be appreciated. 21MR 412.4

The Lord reads the purposes of the heart. He will bring out all this to His glory. But the unwise course pursued, not the fact of the financial embarrassment, has left an influence upon the conference which will prove the ruin of souls, and those who have done this work will see it as it is in the judgment when the books shall be opened and every man will be judged out of those things that shall be written in the books. Satan has exulted at the turn things have taken. The work is retarded for years by the same spirit that moved the unfaithful spies to bring their evil report. 21MR 412.5

I learn by letters from New York that Brother Brown has accepted and is now preaching the flat world theory. Is it possible that this theory has been brought by Brother Wilcox from England and that you have accepted it and are teaching it? My brother, our work is to teach the third angel's message. Stick to the message. It is a weakness of Elder Wilcox to get hold of hobbies and to stick to some things that he had better let alone. 21MR 412.6

Any kind of theory or hobby that Satan can lead the minds of men to dwell upon, he will draw their attention to, so that they shall not be engaged in giving the solemn message for this time. Do not, my brother, become entangled with ideas that have no connection with the work for this time. It is better to be teaching the truth as it is in Jesus. Better to be seeking for true godliness, heart holiness, freedom from all selfishness, freedom from all envies and jealousies. 21MR 413.1

It is better to pray and humble the soul before God and let the world, round or flat, be just as God has made it. Try most earnestly by faithful continuance in welldoing to seek for a clear title in the inheritance in the earth made new. Better lead the flock of God to drink at the higher streams; better by precept and example seek God while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near. There is a revival needed in the church. When the teachers are drinking fresh draughts from the well of Bethlehem, then they can lead the people to the living stream. My soul is weighed down with the burden of the condition of things in New York. May the Lord raise up helpers, men whom He can teach, humble men whom He can lead to bear a clear, sharp testimony in faith. God help you to seek His face, to walk carefully, to put self out of sight, and exalt Jesus. 21MR 413.2

I hope Brother Wilcox will be a truly converted man. This is his great need at the present time. He wants meekness, he wants humility, he wants genuine piety, and without it he is as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. His soul and your soul need the indwelling of Jesus. Whether the world is round or flat will not save a soul, but whether men believe and obey means everything.—Letter 43, 1887. 21MR 413.3

Ellen G. White Estate

Silver Spring, Maryland,

May 9, 1991.

Entire Letter.