Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Ms 154, 1899

Restitution Due to the Southern Field


November 18, 1899 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in 3MR 262-263. +Note

God has established institutions among us as a people to give character to His work. But in these institutions unfaithful men have been placed in positions of trust, and have been given the management of the funds. The warnings of the Lord have been given over and over again in regard to the perversion of right principles, and in regard to the scars and deformity brought upon His work through selfishness and covetousness. Yet men with unclean thoughts and unholy hearts have continued to pervert the truth. The third angel’s message is not doing its work. Some who serve as ministers, who should be diligently searching the Scriptures, are entertaining fanciful ideas which have no foundation in the Scriptures, and these they are presenting as truth. Truth is not being woven into the web. 14LtMs, Ms 154, 1899, par. 1

The time is at hand when a fearful confederacy will be formed, a brotherhood inaugurated by Satan. Unholy human agencies will combine with the demon forces, and the whole will be imbued by satanic impulses. Satan has come down with great power, and he is working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish. He is now marshalling the hosts who will be ready to voice his words, “Who is like unto the beast, and who is able to make war with him?” [Revelation 13:4.] Well may every soul, from now until the close of this earth’s history, heed the words of Christ, “Let him take hold of my strength that he may make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me.” [Isaiah 27:5.] Let every agency fall into line; let him fall into the hands of the living God; for His mercies are great; let us not fall into the hands of men. 14LtMs, Ms 154, 1899, par. 2

Our work for this time is to lift the banner on which is inscribed, “Here are they which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” [Revelation 12:17.] But those who have had an experience in the first proclamation of the third angel’s message are passing off the stage of action, and the message in its great importance is scarcely recognized by some. Many of those who claim to be preaching the third angel’s message have no experience in the message. They present fables, which are to the truth as the chaff is to the wheat. Much is woven into their teaching which has never been inspired by the Holy Spirit. 14LtMs, Ms 154, 1899, par. 3

I fear that I cannot express myself fully. I have worked so hard lately that I have had several spells of exhaustion. Yet I dare not hold my peace. Every one occupying a position in our institutions needs to walk softly before God. He needs to be careful what influence he exerts, lest he sway the minds of others in such a way that the Lord cannot use them as channels of light. Unless a marked work is done in every heart, an influence will be exerted which will keep eyes blindfolded in regard to the selfishness and covetousness which has robbed destitute fields of the means they should have had. More than once I have asked the question, What has been done with the donations contributed by the churches to the Southern Field? The Review & Herald and the Pacific Press have misapplied, according to their own ideas and plans, the money raised by the people for the work in the South. 14LtMs, Ms 154, 1899, par. 4

For years testimonies have been given to the men in responsible positions in the work to clear the Lord’s highway and make His paths straight. Let the means raised for the colored people be used in that destitute missionary field. To each one who has acted a part in robbing the Southern Field of the means designed for it God says, “I cannot trust you until you do thorough work in repenting and making restitution.” He declares that He will not work with those who give evidence that the gifts of the people would not, if sent through them, flow in the channels specified by the donors. 14LtMs, Ms 154, 1899, par. 5

The Lord in mercy sent a warning to save the Conference from bankruptcy, from a confusion that would have been as complication upon complication. Men had been wronged by those who were stewards of sacred responsibilities. A confederacy was formed time and again to take authors unawares and work with them by deceptive representations. The concession of one or two authors to the terms of this confederacy was presented as an inducement for all others to follow their example. Thus a work was done that heaven did not endorse, and God was dishonored. Then when a movement was made to correct the evil by making restitution, the very men who had created the wrong state of things were on hand, preparing by their covetousness to make capital of the matter. But in His mercy God did not permit this to be. Those who had been wronged were advised to wipe out the claims which they might have made; for by insisting on these claims being met, a great evil would have been created. 14LtMs, Ms 154, 1899, par. 6

But those who were stewards had no right to treat this matter as they did. Special cases were pointed out as needing to receive restitution, as, for instance, The Gospel Primer. I was permitted to hear the voice of one man, loud and inspired by an evil spirit, as he said concerning the book published to help the Southern Field, “It is bringing in much means, and it should not be.” Those who acted a part in the false dealing in regard to The Gospel Primer will one day stand before the throne of God. Then they will see the result of their wrong course of action. Every man will be rewarded according as his works have been. Those who diverted into other channels the means God designed should flow into the Southern Field made the work very had for the workers in that field. How men standing in positions of sacred trust, claiming to be sons of God, could make the work of their brethren so difficult, the judgment alone will reveal. 14LtMs, Ms 154, 1899, par. 7

Some claim to believe the testimonies God has given. They speak of them, and appear to appreciate them, but faith without works is dead, being alone. God declares, “Shall I not judge for these things?” [Jeremiah 5:9.] He knows who are faithful and true and who are unfaithful and dishonest; and one day He will cause those who have acted any part in bringing in the principles which He condemns to see the cause and the effect of their selfishness and covetousness. 14LtMs, Ms 154, 1899, par. 8

A call was made for the poor, distressed colored field: Let those who in this work have acted as unfaithful stewards repent and be converted. God calls for the means sent in response to a special call and for a special purpose, to be restored to the distressed, poverty-stricken field from which it was taken. The work in the South has been greatly hindered, yet I am thankful that by the mercy of God a work has been done amid difficulty and discouragement, and this work God has endorsed. Although the means that would have advanced the work has never been placed in the hands of the workers, yet the Lord has blessed the work. Little sympathy and less means has made the struggle hard, yet the foundation has been laid for an influence that will be as enduring as eternity. But what might have been accomplished if those whose work it was to encourage every jot and tittle of missionary work had done their part! 14LtMs, Ms 154, 1899, par. 9

Missionary work is a part of the ministry angels are appointed to perform. The work done in the South amid poverty and hardship has not been recorded in the books of heaven as a failure. In the courts above those who have done missionary work under the pressure of adverse circumstances are registered as truly successful. God says not always, “Well done, good and successful servant,” but, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” [Matthew 25:23.] 14LtMs, Ms 154, 1899, par. 10

Let us be up and doing our appointed work, for soon the time in which we can work will be past, to be followed by the time of reckoning. 14LtMs, Ms 154, 1899, par. 11

I ask, Why have not you who profess to believe the testimonies received them? Why have you not heeded the light that has come to you? When I have been asked, “What has been done with the money raised for the Southern Field?” I could have said, “The Review & Herald and the Pacific Press must answer that question.” It was these institutions that blocked the way, so that the money raised for the South never reached that field. God designed that the movements made at the last General Conference should be tested and tried. He permitted the Norman case to represent the after work of that conference. Shall this case stand as a sample of the resolutions made at the General Conference? Light has been plainly given that there must be a restitution of the money of which the Southern Field was robbed, and those who knew of this work and did not raise their voice in condemnation, even if they had nothing to do in it, are placed on the list as partakers of the wrongdoing of the men who have dishonored God. Righteousness must rule in God’s service. 14LtMs, Ms 154, 1899, par. 12

The high wage plan should never have seen the light of day. Those in charge of our institutions have no greater burdens to carry than have the faithful workers in other parts of the Lord’s vineyard. There will never be an end of the controversy which God has with the men in positions of trust until thorough work is done in cleansing the institutions from the stain which has rested upon them. 14LtMs, Ms 154, 1899, par. 13

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried he shall receive a crown of life, which the Lord the righteous Judge shall give him.” [James 1:12.] When there are presented to you wrongs to be righted, why are you so loath to do that which men of principle ought always to be forward to do? These wrongs will have to be righted, for unless the matter is corrected, I shall be obliged to appeal to the people. They have lost confidence in those at the heart of the work, and I have also lost confidence in them. The heart of the work is diseased. 14LtMs, Ms 154, 1899, par. 14

God will not be trifled with. He says, “I hate robbery for burnt offering.” [Isaiah 61:8.] No one in the ranks of Sabbathkeepers has worked more unselfishly than Edson White. He thought he was doing a necessary work in preparing a boat as his home. The Lord showed me that Edson would be in danger if he entered into business management. He is adapted to another work, the work of seeking and saving lost sheep. His knowledge of the principles of truth would make him a living channel of light. But God showed me that if he should give himself up to secular business, he would not be prepared to be impressed by the Holy Spirit to open the living oracles of truth. 14LtMs, Ms 154, 1899, par. 15

Edson did heed the testimony, as he thought, but by fitting up his boat he incurred debts. This placed him at a great disadvantage and in an embarrassing situation, which the Lord did not want him to occupy. God knew that any mistakes Edson might make would be greatly exaggerated. Those who ought to have shown sympathy would give him no words of encouragement. Whatever good they might see accomplished, they would think evil and talk evil of his work. 14LtMs, Ms 154, 1899, par. 16