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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899) - Contents
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    Lt 9, 1899

    General Conference


    January 24, 1899

    Portions of this letter are published in WM 275; TDG 32; FLB 138, 140; Ev 682-683. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

    To those occupying important positions in the General Conference:14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 1

    Dear Brethren:

    The Lord requires that principles be followed which are different from those that have been followed in the past. We who believe in Christ and receive His grace are members of His great firm. “Ye are God’s husbandry: ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] Every one engaged in the work of God exerts an influence. The General Conference has had an influence, and this influence would have been increased had it kept to its legitimate work. But its influence became of none effect when it embraced so many interests, thus mingling the sacred and the common. Because of this, the voice of the General Conference lost its sacredness. But by the strictest observance of principles that cannot be corrupted, it may win back what it has lost. The people may then be addressed in the words, What God has cleansed, call not thou common or unclean.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 2

    Satan commenced his work in Battle Creek through men who occupied important positions in God’s work, but who were not the men for the place; for they had no correct sense of its sacredness. The work of the gospel must be exalted. But careless work has been done in the selection of men for certain positions in the church.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 3

    In the sixth chapter of Acts we are shown how when men were to be selected to fill positions in the church, the matter was brought before the Lord, and most earnest prayer was offered for guidance. The widows and fatherless were to be supported by contributions from the church. Their wants were not to be relieved by the church but by special donations. The tithe was to be consecrated to the Lord, and was always to be used for the support of the ministry. Men must be chosen to oversee the work of caring for the poor, to look after the proper distribution of the means in hand, that none among the believers should suffer for the necessaries of life. These men must not be like Judas, who robbed the treasury to enrich himself. They must not be men who would work in a scheming, underhand manner, but men who would work faithfully and unselfishly for others. They must be “men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost, and wisdom.” [Verse 3.]14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 4

    When these men were found, they were set before the apostles, “and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased, and the number of disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly: and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.” [Verses 6-8.]14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 5

    The Word of God shows plainly that there is a special work to be done for the people of God. This work requires men who can use their talents with wisdom. They are to be men who will do the work of God conscientiously, men who are free from all selfishness, all covetousness.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 6

    This is presented in the Old Testament Scriptures. Moses spoke to the children of Israel, saying, “I am not able to bear you myself alone: the Lord your God hath multiplied you, and behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude. (The Lord God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye are, and bless you as he hath promised you!) How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance, ... and your strife? Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you. And ye answered me, and said, The thing which thou hast spoken, is good for you to do.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 7

    “So I took of the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes. And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.” [Deuteronomy 1:9-17.]14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 8

    The great mistake of placing in positions of responsibility men who have no genuine religious experience has been made at Battle Creek, the center of the work. Men were appointed by men to act in important places, who should never have been entrusted with the handling of sacred things until they gave positive evidence that they had been converted. These men were not able to bear test and trial, and the leaven of fraud and injustice brought in because of their course of action has not yet been purged from the work.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 9

    We need now to review the past, that we may see where the Word of God has been disobeyed in our transactions one with another. We need to show genuine repentance. Little regard has been shown for the Word of God. Little heed has been given to the testimonies of His Spirit. Those at the center of the work have been continually warned that truth and righteousness should always be exercised. But notwithstanding this, men have been retained in office who were not worthy, who were full of covetousness. Their work did not leave a right impression upon the cause of God. Sacred things were clothed with commonness. The leaven of covetousness and selfishness pervaded every institution, every church, to a greater or less degree.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 10

    Finite men have felt capable of carrying responsibilities that they were unqualified to carry. They did not feel the necessity of obtaining the essential qualifications for doing the work of God successfully. Men have been placed in positions of sacred trust because they were supposed to be sharp businessmen. They were full of worldly policy. They did not deem it essential that their judgment should be controlled by the Holy Spirit, but went forward in their own way. These men, full of self-sufficiency and self-importance, were placed in charge of the most solemn work.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 11

    Has not God seen the departure from righteous principles? Has he not seen men working contrary to truth and righteousness, practicing dishonesty in the handling of books? Has He not heard the appeals made in behalf of the Southern Field, and seen the money raised to relieve the situation there? How was this money used?14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 12

    Heaven saw all the scheming for higher wages. Those who bore the laboring share of the work were not the ones who benefited by this scheming. The corrupting influence that has created so much disaffection in the world’s business houses, has been felt to a degree in the business working of the Review office. God looked down from heaven, and was displeased. All impurity and irregularity, all perversion of righteousness, must be cleansed from every institution, every church, every household, every individual, before God can bless us as He desires to.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 13

    The Lord [did] not design that one man shall carry all the responsibilities. “And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening. And when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning until evening? And Moses said unto his father-in-law, Because the people come unto me to inquire of God: when they have a matter, they come unto me: and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his law.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 14

    “And Moses’ father-in-law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good. Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou are not able to perform it thyself alone. Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: and thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 15

    “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, and rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: and let them judge the people at all seasons; and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so it shall be easier for thyself and they shall bear the burden with thee. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall go to their place in peace. So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father-in-law, and did all that he had said. And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, ... and they judged the people at all seasons, the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.” [Exodus 18:13-26.]14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 16

    When preparations were being made for the building of the tabernacle, God said to Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, and understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to devise cunning work, to work in gold and in silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wisehearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee.” [Exodus 31:2-6.]14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 17

    “Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wisehearted man, in whom the Lord put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the Lord had commanded. And Moses called Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wisehearted man, in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, even every one whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it. And they received of Moses all the offering, which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of the sanctuary, to make it withal. And they brought yet unto him free offerings every morning. And all the wise men, that wrought all the work of the sanctuary, came every man from his work which they made.” [Exodus 36:1-4.]14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 18

    This is the way in which the Lord has arranged matters. He designs that men shall be appointed to do His work. Confusion is not to enter the work. Men should be chosen who will stand shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart, in the great work for this time, for there are wonderful things to be done. Dr. Kellogg carries too heavy a weight. Others should be qualifying themselves to bear responsibilities, so that if one drops out of the work, there will be others who can step in to prevent a break. It is the duty of all who have a connection with the Lord’s work to diligently cultivate his powers. He is responsible to God to do his very best.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 19

    Everything is to be done as in the presence of a holy God. Right principles are to be maintained when dealing with those who are small as well as with those who are influential. There is to be no haphazard work done in the service of God. The reason why so many difficulties arise is that those who complain most, who require perfection in others, exalt self and excuse their own defects.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 20

    In God’s Word we read of the qualifications which must be possessed by those who connect with His work. “If a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, ... and hath not oppressed any, hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment; he that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man, hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly, he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord.” [Ezekiel 18:5, 7-9.]14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 21

    God requires moral perfection in all. Those who have been given light and opportunities should, as God’s stewards, aim for perfection, and never, never lower the standard of righteousness to accommodate inherited and cultivated tendencies to wrong. Christ took upon Him our human nature, and lived our life, to show us that we may be like Him by partaking of the divine nature. We may be holy, as Christ was holy in human nature. Why then are there so many disagreeable characters in the world? It is because they do not suspect that their disagreeable ways and rough, impolite speech is the result of an unholy heart. We ought to be holy even as God is holy; and when we comprehend the full significance of this statement, and set our heart to do the work of God, to be holy as He is holy, we shall approach the standard set for each individual in Christ Jesus.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 22

    No one can be Omnipotent, but all can cleanse themselves from bitterness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord. God requires every soul to be pure and holy. We have hereditary tendencies to wrong. This is a part of self that no one need carry about. It is a weakness of humanity to pet selfishness, because it is a natural trait of character. But unless all selfishness is put away, unless self is crucified, we can never be holy as God is holy. There is in humanity a tendency to suspicious imagining, which circumstances quicken into lively growth. If this trait is indulged, it spoils the character and ruins the soul. It is written, “Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 23

    “Nicodemus said unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, or whither it goeth; so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.” [John 3:3-8.]14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 24

    The Lord never withholds His wisdom from those who are truly consecrated. Those who fear God and seek Him daily walk in security. The men who humble themselves even as a little child are the men who will be taught by God. The Lord is not dependent on any man’s talents, for He is the Source of all perfect gifts. The very humblest man, if he loves an fears God, is the possessor of heavenly gifts. The Lord can use such a man, because he does not strive to work himself according to his own standard. He works with fear and trembling lest he will spoil the pattern. His life is an expression of the life of Christ.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 25

    The man who does not honor himself can fill a place in God’s plan that no self-sufficient man, however learned and well-prepared he may think himself to be, can fill. It makes every difference whether a man walks with God, or whether he is satisfied to walk with himself, glorifying his own abilities.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 26

    It is the fragrance of our love to our fellow men that reveals our love for God. It is patience in service that brings rest to the soul. It is through humble, diligent, faithful toilers that the welfare of Israel is promoted. God upholds and strengthens the one who is willing to learn Christ’s way that he may bear the divine likeness.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 27

    God would have His workers in every line look to Him as the giver of all they possess. All right inventions and improvements have their source in Him who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working. Whatever we do, in whatever department of the work we are placed, God desires to refine and ennoble us. He desires to control man’s mind, that he may do perfect work.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 28

    The delicate touch of the physician’s hand, his power over nerve and muscle, his knowledge of the delicate organism of the body, is the wisdom of divine power, to be used in behalf of suffering humanity. The skill with which the carpenter uses the hammer, the strength with which the blacksmith makes the anvil ring, comes from God. He has entrusted men with powers, and He expects that they will look to Him for counsel. Thus they may use His gifts with unerring aptitude, testifying to God’s glory that they are workers together with Him. Thus they purify their souls by sanctification of the Spirit through the truth. In their experience, the words of Christ are fulfilled, “The pure in heart shall see God.” [Matthew 5:8.]14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 29

    All should feel that they are working to one great end. The work in every department is God’s, and those who do that work with exactness, without blunder, represent God’s perfection. But God’s work cannot be perfectly done by men who are selfish, who devise plans and methods whereby they can strengthen themselves and stand high in the esteem of the world as wise men.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 30

    Those who have any part in the work of the Lord are to show that they love and fear God. The Lord desires them to be as sensitive as a child to wrongdoing, cherishing a vivid conviction that all the strength of soul and body comes from above. Those who become careless and opinionated, must be separated from the work, if, after kind admonition and earnest prayer, they refuse to repent. They are workers of evil, and God cannot hold communication with them.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 31

    It means much to learn to do God’s will. He who is entrusted with the training of youth in our schools or institutions needs to learn daily in the school of Christ. God says, Ye are my husbandry; ye are my building. He is seeking to control the hearts of men and women. If they will be controlled by Him, His name will be glorified. They may walk with certainty, knowing that they are laborers together with God.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 32

    By the acceptance of Christ, as a personal Saviour, in whom we humbly trust, we are cleansed from sin. He calls, “Follow me.” “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:29.] The mercy of Christ has made us overseers of His workmen. The record of the opportunities and privileges that are now ours will be irrevocable. Shall we be among those who shall respond with joy to the words, Where is the flock that I gave you, my beautiful flock?14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 33

    There are always two parties in our world. One is ready to hear the call of God, and obey, saying, “What wilt thou have me to do?” [Acts 9:6.] The great anxiety of the other is to discover what is the most pleasant to do. Inclination must be severely tested, for inclination is no evidence of duty. Take everything to God in prayer. Let those who have an experience in the things of God make no hasty decisions in selecting men to fill important positions. Let no man strive to be placed in position, but let everyone be careful in regard to accepting a position of trust. Let them subject themselves to close self-examination. Let them counsel with the experienced followers of God, and seek by earnest prayer to know their duty. Let all be willing to be led and guided by God. Do not think that because you have made mistakes, you are excluded from the work of God. There are many with great opportunities who make great failures.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 34

    God desires all to consecrate themselves, soul and body, to Him. Young men and young women, learn that as you use the talents God has given you, you will obtain a genuine experience, a real knowledge, that will make you dissatisfied with yourselves. You will see the great work that is to be done. You will see the need of cutting away all habits and practices that are hurtful, lest you shall hurt some other soul.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 35

    There are conscientious young men who are preparing to move into line, to strengthen the outposts. If they walk humble with God, He will talk with them, and instruct them. To them I would say, Work where you are, doing what you can to pass along the truth which is so precious to you. Preserve simplicity, and then, when there are vacancies to be filled, you will hear the words, Friend, come up higher. You may be reluctant to advance, but move forward with trust in God, bringing into His work a fresh, honest experience and a heart filled with the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. As you thirst for the water of life, ask Christ for it, and He will give you to drink of the water of life freely. He will be to you a well of water, springing up unto everlasting life.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 36

    Open the door of the heart to the knock of Christ. Welcome the heavenly Guest. Then you will not lift up your soul unto vanity because you are placed in a position of responsibility. There are truths in the Word of God the meaning of which you scarcely comprehend, but these will open to you in their native beauty and loveliness; for Christ is your teacher. If you have improved the past, it is still yours, because you have garnered the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness.14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 37

    You have a treasure of knowledge to which you are constantly adding. Thus you are being raised up to a higher level of service. Impart all that you receive, and keep imparting to receive. The secret of wining souls is only learnt by wearing Christ’s yoke and copying His meekness and lowliness. Only thus can you find constant rest. “They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” [Daniel 12:3.]14LtMs, Lt 9, 1899, par. 38

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