Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 22 (1907)


Lt 342, 1907

Workers in Southern California

St. Helena, California

September 2, 1907

This letter is published in entirety in LLM 255-258.

To the workers in Southern California:

This morning my prayers have ascended to God for spiritual grace and a clear comprehension of His will. 22LtMs, Lt 342, 1907, par. 1

I have been instructed regarding the mistake that has been made in placing men in positions of large responsibility to meet emergencies which they think it necessary to be met. 22LtMs, Lt 342, 1907, par. 2

Complaints of a grave character were made to the effect that some of our ministers, while drawing pay from the conference, were out of their place in taking the responsibility of going to various places and of spending means to pay their traveling expenses when they had not been told to go to these places by the president of the conference. These complaints led to certain rules being laid down by which these ministers could not receive from the conference the monies expended unless they had first, in taking up any line of work, gone to the conference president to ask his consent. Thus these workers were put under the rule of their fellow minister. 22LtMs, Lt 342, 1907, par. 3

The evils that will result from the adoption of such a course are not discerned by those who favor it. But the Lord has plainly revealed to me that this is not right, and that He is greatly dishonored when ministers are instructed to go to their fellow men for permission to do the work that He had pointed out was their duty to do. 22LtMs, Lt 342, 1907, par. 4

Man is not to be made amenable to his fellow man. I am bidden to write decidedly regarding this matter. The work of exalting men as rulers is a dangerous work, for it educates the workers to look to human agencies instead of looking to God, and this spoils their religious experience. Their minds are diverted from the only true source of their strength. 22LtMs, Lt 342, 1907, par. 5

I have been shown that the evangelistic labors of the gospel minister are not to be directed by a fellow minister. The workers for God should inquire of Him, the fountain of wisdom, in regard to their labors. They are to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God. God is able to move upon their minds and to guide them with judgment. “The meek will He guide in judgment; and the meek will He teach His way.” [Psalm 25:9.] God will work with those who will listen to His voice. 22LtMs, Lt 342, 1907, par. 6

The Word of God is to be the man of our counsel and is to guide our experience. The lessons of Old Testament history, if faithfully studied, will teach us how this can be. Christ, enshrouded in a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night, was the guide and the light of the children of Israel in their wilderness wandering. Here was an unerring guide. In all their experiences, God was trying to teach them obedience to their heavenly Guide and faith in His power to deliver them. Their deliverance from affliction in Egypt, and their passage through the Red Sea, revealed to them His power to save. When they rebelled against Him, and went contrary to His will, God punished them. When they persisted in their rebellion, and were determined to have their own way, God gave them that for which they asked and in this way showed them that that which He withheld from them He withheld for their own good. Every judgment that came as a result of their murmurings was a lesson to that vast multitude that sorrow and suffering are always the result of transgression of the laws of God. 22LtMs, Lt 342, 1907, par. 7

The history of the Old Testament was recorded for the benefit of those who should live in the generations following. The lessons of the New Testament are as greatly needed. Here again Christ is the instructor, leading His people to seek that wisdom that cometh from above, and to gain that instruction in righteousness that will mold the character after the divine similitude. Both Old and New Testament Scriptures teach the principles of obedience to the commandments of God as the terms of securing that life which measures with the life of God; for it is through obedience that we become partakers of the divine nature and learn to escape the corruptions that are in the world through lust. Therefore its maxims are to be studied, its commands obeyed, its principles, which are more precious than gold, brought into the daily life. 22LtMs, Lt 342, 1907, par. 8

The light that has been given at this time is only a repetition of the message that was sent in the past: 22LtMs, Lt 342, 1907, par. 9

“Let every department of our work, every institution connected with our cause, be conducted on considerate, generous lines. Let every branch of the work, while maintaining its own distinctive character, seek to protect, strengthen, and build up every other branch. Men of varied abilities and characteristics are employed for carrying forward the various branches of the work. This has always been the Lord’s plan. Each worker must give his own branch special effort: but it is the privilege of each to study and labor for the health and welfare of the whole body of which he is a member. 22LtMs, Lt 342, 1907, par. 10

“Not consolidation, not rivalry or criticism, but co-operation is the Lord’s plan for His institutions that ‘the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure in every part,’ may make ‘increase of the body unto the edifying (building up) of itself in love.’ [Ephesians 4:16.] 22LtMs, Lt 342, 1907, par. 11

“God desires to bring men into direct relation with Himself. In all His dealing with human beings, He recognizes the principles of personal responsibility. He seeks to encourage a sense of personal dependence and to impress the need of personal guidance. His gifts are committed to men as individuals. Every man has been made a steward of sacred trusts; each is to discharge his trust according to the direction of the Giver; and by each an account of his stewardship must be rendered to God. 22LtMs, Lt 342, 1907, par. 12

“In all this, God is seeking to bring the human into association with the divine, that through this connection man may become transformed into the divine likeness. Then the principle of love and goodness will be a part of his nature. Satan, seeking to thwart this purpose, constantly works to encourage dependence upon man, to make men the slaves of men. When he thus succeeds in turning minds away from God, he insinuates his own principles of selfishness, hatred, and strife. 22LtMs, Lt 342, 1907, par. 13

“In all our dealing with one another, God desires us carefully to guard the principle of personal responsibility to and dependence upon Him.”—Vol. 7, pp. 174, 176. 22LtMs, Lt 342, 1907, par. 14

When Christ sent out His disciples, He sent them out two and two, and commanded them, saying, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into every city of the Samaritans, enter ye not. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” [Matthew 10:5, 6.] Why was this restriction made? This was their first trial, the first time that they should attempt to labor without the personal presence of their Lord. They were not to go into the way of those caviling religionists who would draw them into controversy. “Go rather unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils; freely ye have received, freely give.” [Verses 6-8.] 22LtMs, Lt 342, 1907, par. 15

“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves,” the Saviour continued; “be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men; for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues.” [Verses 16, 17.] 22LtMs, Lt 342, 1907, par. 16

It was those who claimed to be religious whom Christ declared would do this work of persecution. Ministers today need to look carefully to their own hearts, that they may understand where they really stand. The gospel of Christ is to be carried to all nations and peoples, but it is to be carried in meekness and lowliness of spirit, “with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace.” [Ephesians 4:2, 3.] 22LtMs, Lt 342, 1907, par. 17

“There is one body,” the apostle says, “and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” [Verses 4-7.] 22LtMs, Lt 342, 1907, par. 18

“And He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers: for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the fulness of the stature of Christ; that we thenceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive: but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him, in all things, which is the head, even Christ; from whom the whole body, fitly framed together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” [Verses 11-16.] 22LtMs, Lt 342, 1907, par. 19