Ellen G. White Writings

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Lt 26, 1903

Lt 26, 1903

Burden, Brother and Sister [J. A.]

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

December 10, 1902 [filed 1903]

This letter is published in entirety in 4MR 74-78.

Dear brother and sister Burden,—

The Lord desires you to be of good courage. He has a work for you to do in evangelistic lines, a work demanding more distinctly spiritual efforts than the work in which you have been engaged. The greatest and most important work in which we can engage is the preparation of a people to stand in the day of God, upon which we are just entering. May the Lord help you, my brother, to devote your God-given capabilities to winning souls to Christ. Rest in God, and walk humbly with Him. You will need much of the rich grace of the Saviour, and a deep, settled conviction that the work of the people of God is to prepare for the events of the future, which will soon come upon them with blinding force.

In the world gigantic monopolies will be formed. Men will bind themselves together in unions that will wrap them in the folds of the enemy. A few men will combine to grasp all the means to be obtained in certain lines of business. Trades unions will be formed, and those who refuse to join these unions will be marked men.

It is time for us to take our work out of the cities. Our sanitariums should be furnished with facilities for giving the sick the best of care, and they should be properly conducted; but they should be as far as possible from the cities. The whole world is to be tested, and obedience to the law of God is to be the test.

Unionism has revealed what it is by the spirit that it has manifested. It is controlled by the cruel power of Satan. Those who refuse to join the unions formed are made to feel this power. The principles governing the forming of these unions seem innocent, but men have to pledge themselves to serve the interests of these unions, or else they may have to pay the penalty of refusal with their lives.

These unions are one of the signs of the last days. Men are binding up in bundles ready to be burned. They may be church members, but while they belong to these unions, they cannot possibly keep the commandments of God; for to belong to these unions means to disregard the entire decalogue.

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” [Luke 10:27.] These words sum up the whole duty of man. They mean the consecration of the whole being—body, soul, and spirit—to God’s service. How can men obey these words and at the same time pledge themselves to support that which deprives their neighbors of freedom of action? And how can men obey these words and form combinations that rob the poorer classes of the advantages which justly belong to them, preventing them from buying or selling, except under certain conditions? How plainly the words of God have predicted this condition of things. John writes, “I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. ... And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” [Revelation 13:11, 16, 17.]

The forming of these unions is one of Satan’s last efforts. God calls upon His people to get out of the cities, isolating themselves from the world. The time will come when they will have to do this. God will care for those who love Him and keep His commandments.

Brother and Sister Burden, we must now put on the whole armor of righteousness. We must be as true as steel to principle, standing steadfastly against every species of corruption. It is this steadfast adherence to principle that is to distinguish those who bear the seal of the living God from those who have the mark of the beast.

I write you this that in a guarded but decided way you may advise our people to keep out of the cities. But the cities must be worked; yes, and our people have been asleep, while Satan has been sowing his tares.

I have said little in regard to moving the Food Factory from Cooranbong to Sydney or even to Wahroonga, because I do not see what advantage there would be in doing this. The farther away we are from the cities, the better it will be; for they are filled with men who have no sense of honor or true elevation, men who are ambitious for gain and who to obtain gain will resort to any means.

Even some among those who profess to believe the truth will through following wrong principles become greedy for advantage. There are those in our institutions who have for so long worked for selfish ends that they cannot be trusted. They have no sense of honor or truth holiness or righteousness. Selfishness and greed have expelled from the heart the sanctifying principles of the truth. They have lost all sense of distinction between right and wrong. And because they are in responsible positions, as if position made the man, they say, “The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we”—holy because we are handling holy things. [Jeremiah 7:4.] But the fact that they occupy an exalted position of trust only makes their guilt a hundredfold greater.

Those who love God and keep His commandments will not grasp for the highest wages. But there are those who strive to add to their wages without stopping to ask themselves whether in so doing they are not robbing a fellow worker whose lines have not fallen to him in pleasant places. Those who reason from this selfish standpoint will receive punishment with the open sinner, only they will be punished more severely, because they had opportunities and light that the open sinner had not.

There are many who will so outrage conscience and the law of God that in their hearts the pure, holy principles of truth will be corrupted. Between righteousness and truth and unrighteousness and fraud they will see no difference. Their judgment is perverted, and the position of trust they occupy is made a means of doing dishonest transactions when they think that they can do this without detection.

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