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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899) - Contents
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    Ms 126, 1899

    Words of Warning


    August 28, 1899 [typed]

    Portions of this manuscript are published in 2BC 998; CM 29; 3MR 239. +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.

    Some things have been opened before me. I seemed to be present with others in a meeting in which the debt on Battle Creek College was being discussed. The interest on the principal had not been paid, and thus twenty thousand dollars, besides the large principal, had accumulated. After some discussion, it was decided to strike off the interest; and an appeal was made that the whole debt be cancelled. It was urged that the Lord would bless this liberality. Some pressed this matter as though it were duty to forgive the debt. They said that a great blessing would be the result of doing this.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 1

    One present, who bore on His face an expression of heavenly dignity, said, The Conference has not money in the treasury to give for this purpose. It has not the wherewithal to cancel its own debts. And if it were free from debt itself, it would have no moral right to place the indebtedness of the school upon the center, the heart of the work. The school interest should be considered, but in an altogether different way. There has been a misapplying of the means taken from the Lord’s treasury. Men not led and taught by God have been swaying lines of the work in wrong directions. There is a large debt upon the school, which as been left to accumulate.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 2

    This debt has been increased by the creation of buildings directly contrary to the warning not to build. Men concluded that they knew best, and the building went on. The words of Christ were not thought of: “Which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him.” [Luke 14:28, 29.] Christ’s words should lead us to follow this precaution.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 3

    God’s people are not to manage any part of His work, spiritual or temporal, with carelessness. The cause of God must not be imperilled, as it has been, by men neglecting to take inventory, and know how they stand financially. You all have reason to examine yourselves closely, and see why you are thus bound about for means to work with. Is there not a cause? It is not an honor to God to carry on schools when by so doing a mountain of debt is piling up to weaken the hands of the teachers and to discourage the people. The confidence of the people is shaken in the wisdom of the managers who year after year make no change, who show little determination to change the manner of carrying on the schools. They do not seek to find out how this matter could be reformed. Religious light is to shine through those who know the truth, and men of understanding should be appointed to change the order of things.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 4

    Sanitariums are not to be built on borrowed capital. It has not been wisdom to incur large debts by erecting buildings. Adding building to building, without becoming free from debts previously incurred, is a snare to the soul. Embarrassment should not be thrown on the Lord’s instrumentalities by placing on them debts incurred by human mismanagement. Wisdom is not exercised in these things. God’s people need to remember that the world is to be illuminated by light. The servants of God, who are engaged in the last grand work that is to be accomplished for the world, should not hasten to erect buildings in large indebtedness. This is contrary to faith and consistency.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 5

    There are great changes to be made. Ancient Israel was directed to dispossess the land God has given them of the corrupt, idolatrous inhabitants, and [to] take possession of the land. This warfare the Lord assured them would be His, and He would give them the victory if they would obey His commandments. But they were constantly working half according to the Lord’s plan and half according to their own convenience. They pleaded that it was so much more to their advantage, and cost so much less, to be a consolidated company, so that if their adversaries made an attack upon them, they would not prevail against them.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 6

    The Lord assured them that they must dispossess the land of those who were a snare to them, who would be thorns in their side. This was the word of the Lord, and His plan was that under His guardianship His people should have larger and still larger territory. Wherever they should build houses and cultivate the land, business firms should be established, that they would not have to borrow from their neighbors, but their neighbors from them. Their possessions were to enlarge, and they were to become a great and powerful people. But they stopped halfway. They consulted their own convenience, and the very work God could have done for them, by placing them where the knowledge of God should be made known and the abominable practices of the heathen banished from the land, was not done.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 7

    With all their advantages and opportunities and privileges, the Jewish nation failed to carry out God’s plans. They bore little fruit, and continually less, until the Lord employed the barren fig-tree, with His curse upon it, to represent the condition of the once chosen nation. The work we do must be done with the unworked portions of the Lord’s vineyard in mind. But today it is in a few places only that means are expended and advantages provided. The Lord would have the means and advantages more equally distributed. He would have provision made for many places that are now unworked. The present condition of things is very disappointing to the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave His life for the life of the world.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 8

    The Lord calls upon all who have the light to work in His vineyard, to take up some decided line of service for the Lord. He calls for most earnest, vigilant working, as well as for waiting, preparing, and watching for His appearing. All who believe in Christ as a personal Saviour are to show active virtues, that others may see that they too are to illustrate the truth and its saving power upon the life. The parable of the vineyard shows that it is not alone the priests and rulers who bear responsibilities. To every man God has given talents, from the lowliest and most obscure to the highest and most influential. A diligent use of these talents, whether they be great or small, will bring returns. This is the Lord’s portion, which He expects to receive from His vineyard.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 9

    It was God’s purpose that His work should be far in advance of what it now is. By spending so much money in one locality, you are intercepting the light which God has given to go to many places. Thus the impression is left upon minds that the work bears not the signature of God. Careful consideration must be given in regard to the means invested in land and buildings. The cost must be counted. All must be united. Every laborer for God is to act his part, investing the Lord’s entrusted capital of means with due regard to the needful illumination of other localities.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 10

    Activity is needed, yet this may be carried too far. Responsibilities may be gathered which will work disaster and defeat to the healthful, solid carrying forward of the work. Men must now come to the front. There is to be conscientious consideration given to every part of the whole vineyard. Centers are to be made in places which the Lord shall designate. From these special centers light is to radiate to regions beyond. God’s people hold in their power, through a living connection with Him, the great remedy which will heal all who receive and obey the Word of God. The Lord has made His church the great depository of light, and from it the truth is to go forth with efficiency to heal the spiritual and physical maladies of those who are hungering for the bread of life. Make no more extravagant outlays which will place on the cause a heavy burden of debt.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 11

    Had the General Conference walked in the counsel of God, the Lord would have given wisdom in every movement. The evangelizing movements would have been carried forward harmoniously. But pride, self-assertion, and self-will has greatly dishonored God, and placed the people in a position where they have not confidence in the men in positions of responsibility, who do not plan as God would have them. The erection of so many large buildings in one place as there are in Battle Creek is not according to the light and wisdom received from God. Scattered in many places, these buildings would be so many luminaries, from which light would shine. This would be more after God’s order. Plants should be made in many places. Interests should be created in many cities; many lights should be kindled to shine forth brightly. This is the Lord’s plan. Holy, beneficent actions will be rewarded.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 12

    Embarrassment has come upon the Lord’s instrumentalities because the work has not been aggressive. Sufficient efforts have not been made to bring to a knowledge of the truth those who full of joy would prove their sincerity by making offerings to God. Jesus was rich, but for our sakes He became poor, that through His poverty we might be made rich. There are precious souls in the darkness of error who would have accepted the truth if they had only had a few of the abundant opportunities that have been brought to Battle Creek, until the people there have groaned under the burden, and have lost the sense of the preciousness of the truth. The labor that has been bestowed in Battle Creek, the money there expended, was needed in other portions of the Lord’s vineyard, and if proportionately spread over a large territory, would have brought the angels of heaven to the help of human agencies.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 13

    The vineyard is the world, but the enemy is working to intercept every ray of light sent from God to man. Those who know the truth are to impart this knowledge to those who know it not. This work is not to rest merely upon the ministers but upon the church members also. If this work were done as it should be, those now in darkness would rejoice in the light. Men and their means would be converted. These men would hunt for opportunities to signalize their gratitude to God as almoners of His gifts. This is what the Lord desires to see. Angels of God will work with human hearts when ways are opened for them to work.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 14

    Strange, eventful history is being recorded in the books of heaven. You are appealing to human judgment and speaking of compassion. But from whence will the compassion come to reimburse the treasury of the General Conference if they settle the school debt? Can you not reason from cause to effect? The Lord’s cause has been betrayed. You can replenish the treasury only by quickening and converting the hearts of the men who carry responsibilities.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 15

    It is not the great buildings you erect in disregard of the work God requires to be done in regions beyond, not the robbery of God by human methods and plans, that will place His work on a high and exalted basis, where He can be glorified. It is not changing men from the heart of the work to different places that will remedy the difficulties. The education of years has been molding and fashioning the work of false theories. False theories, human policy, selfishness, pride, self-esteem, and corrupting principles have been brought in, to sacred things. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation. Sin, selfishness, and covetousness are the ruin of any people.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 16

    Everything in our world is in agitation. Events are changing to bring about the day of God, which hasteth greatly. It becomes those who are now in positions of trust not to catch the spirit of confusion, and drift, drift, they know not where. God’s people need thorough conversion of heart, revealing harmony amid the disorderly elements of the world. In the general discord there should be one place where harmony and unity should exist because the Bible is the study book. When its principles are followed, it becomes a bright light shining in a dark place.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 17

    All who build on the Rock can be sure that, their house will stand amid the tempest. Speculations have spoiled the piety and purity which should have been strictly guarded. Unholy principles have been mingled with sacred responsibilities. Disjointed, disconnected, erratic movements have placed uncertainty upon the sacred work of God. But the Word of God liveth and abideth forever, and when God’s faithful people stand forth upon this Word, human calculations will appear as they are.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 18

    You talk of the mercy and compassion to be exercised by the Conference, which has been stripped of its means and influence by mismanagement, so that the people are ashamed, and have lost heart and courage. Where is the mercy and compassion to come from to heal the wounds that sin has made by false theories and false principles? The General Conference had no moral right to invest its funds in buildings, even though they were to relieve the sufferings of humanity in any special location, when the money was needed to carry on aggressive warfare.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 19

    Little attention was given to the various entreaties for help to carry forward the work in new fields, but means are still called for—to erect more buildings in the very places where thousands upon thousands of dollars have already been spent in erecting buildings, which it was not positively the duty of the General Conference to erect, for there were new fields to be entered. The truth was to be preached in camp meetings, the standard of truth was to be uplifted, and humble houses of worship built in new territories, where people have never heard the last message of mercy that is to be given to the world. An immense amount of money has been expended in America in opposition to the light God has given. This abundant outlay of means has not been after the Lord’s devising.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 20

    The Lord has a lesson for His people to learn. It was not His purpose that so many buildings should be erected in Battle Creek. He would have had plants made in many directions, that His truth might make an impression on the people. A light goes forth from those who have a knowledge of the law of God, a knowledge that the Sabbath is the Lord’s memorial of creation. The Sabbath is a sign between Him and His people, that they may know that it is God who sanctifies them. There should be double the number of Sabbathkeepers that there now is upon the record books of heaven; and there would be if the standard of truth had been planted in many localities.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 21

    It was the departure from the Lord’s plans that caused the discomfiture of the Hebrew people. It is the working away from God’s plan, the failure to give heed to His counsel, that is the cause of the dearth of means to carry forward advanced work today. There is much more of a showing in Battle Creek than there should be, to the neglect of other places. Had the word of the Lord been regarded, there would now be many more smaller centers. There would be settlements of Sabbathkeepers in every city in our land. The light would be shining amid the moral darkness of an apostate religious world, who are boldly lifting their human laws against the divine law of Jehovah. There would be an accumulation of interests and an increase of light, which would penetrate to regions beyond.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 22

    As a sacred trust the truth was to be given to the world, but in Battle Creek a world has been made of an atom. A return proportionate to the privileges given has not been made to the Lord. The banner of truth has not been uplifted in places which have never heard the truth. There has been a great neglect of duty, and the Lord cannot and will not prosper a people who study their own convenience and spend means in places where there are already abundant advantages. By the numerous buildings and facilities in Battle Creek, a large number of people are called there who should be scattered in the barren portions of the world. The consecration and sanctification that comes to the people is as dew upon the grass, and will be until the self-centering principle is broken up.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 23

    Men and women have been tied in Battle Creek who should have taken the light to other localities, where it would have been communicated to souls worth saving, for whom Christ died. If a portion of the means invested in medical missionary work, in order to get into touch with the lower classes, were spent in lines of work which would bring the workers in touch with the higher classes; if those in the highways were labored for as earnestly and perseveringly as the outcasts, money and talent, the Lord’s lent treasures, would have been brought into His service.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 24

    Each place is to have its proportion of work done in it. When this is done, God will co-operate with the workers. Churches will be built to establish the work. The saving message of eternal truth will be heard. Sinners will learn that obedience to God will bind up the souls ready to perish, that united with Christ in God we may become partakers of His holiness, partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruptions that are in the world through lust.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 25

    When we might have had large increase, only a few have been added to the number of believers because of our lack of faith. But it is not the Lord who has failed. Had there been a deep consecration to God, had the principles of self-denial and self-sacrifice been constantly practiced, there would have been a limit to the location of buildings in one or two places. This would have relieved the difficulty. Centers would have been made in many places where God’s vineyard now lies a barren waste. In the place of having immensely large gatherings for convocation meetings, there would have been smaller gatherings in more places. Thus the people would have been better educated, and many more would have been sharers of the knowledge and presence of God.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 26

    There is a selfish ambition to make a grand display and multiply advantages. If the Lord had been honored, there would have been less of man’s devising and more of God’s wisdom. God declares, “I will instruct thee ... in the way which thou shouldest go; I will guide thee with mine eye.” “The meek will he guide in judgment; the meek will he teach his way.” [Psalm 32:8; 25:9.] Ministerial institutes have been held where many have been taught and blessed; but when this is continued, and institutes are held at great expense, thus incurring debt, the matter becomes a species of selfishness. Ministers are withdrawn from the field to be held for weeks in meetings, because a few young men design to enter the ministry. Thus the field is robbed of ministerial help, and the flock of God is not supplied with meat in due season.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 27

    A better way to educate young ministers is to place them for a time in connection with experienced, stable ministers, who are well grounded in the faith. Then set them at work in small places to teach the truth. Canvassing is the best way in which to obtain experience. Be sure that these souls are soundly converted before encouraging them to labor in any line. Then let them work, and God will work with them.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 28

    Souls converted are talents gained, and one talent gained often brings in a hundredfold, and even more, in return. It is unbelief in God that blocks the wheels. It is unfaithful stewardship in God’s vineyard that brings such large numbers to Battle Creek, to the weakening of their own souls. They are exposed to many temptations which have a corrupting influence upon the church. If the many who have moved into Battle Creek could only see that they have done so without counsel from God, changes would be made.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 29

    Many who have thought to gain much knowledge in medical missionary work by studying in Battle Creek would have gained far more by taking hold of the work in some place, and in the fear of God practicing what they did know. In the canvassing work many lines of work present themselves, in doing which, men learn how to labor for God, for the Lord impresses the mind in regard to what to do in an emergency. There are some who need to learn much before they engage in giving treatment. In getting ready to work, some are losing the opportunity to save souls who are ready to perish. There are some who might study a lifetime, and then not be successful in medical missionary work.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 30

    Money, time, and workers must now be improved, that one hundredfold more work may be done than has been accomplished. Seek the Lord in prayer. Urge your petitions before Him, and He will help you. He will open your understanding. He will give you knowledge. Begin to work just where you are, and do the work nearest you, praying earnestly and with faith. Many have heard the invitations from the Lord’s servants. Their spirit is stirred within them because the Lord has sent His Spirit to write the truth on the tablets of the soul. These are not to waste time by attending classes and hearing a large amount of matter which they cannot retain because it is thought that this will fit them for the ministry or medical missionary work.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 31

    Isaiah had a marked experience. “In the year that king Uzziah died,” he says, “I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims; each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 32

    “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar; and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.”14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 33

    Some have had this experience, but, not depending on God, they placed them where, as they thought, they could learn, and circumstances connected with the instruction, which was supposed to be fitting them for the work, confused their ideas and marred their experience, so that they were less qualified for doing the work the Lord had given them than before they were encouraged to take time for education.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 34

    “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not?” [Isaiah 6:1-9.]14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 35

    The fields are ripe for the harvest. Let souls solemnly dedicate all their talents to the Lord, and go forth in His name. As they advance by prayer and in faith, the Lord will surely be their Instructor. Altogether too much reliance is placed upon men and too little upon God. At this time there should be representatives of the truth in every city and in the remote places of the earth. Those whose hearts the Lord opens will listen to the message God sends them by His servant. The heart will be touched. The faith of the hearers is mixed with the Word, and the message is remembered. No one can be benefited by a forgotten message.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 36

    We know and believe the truth in vain, unless we cultivate the memory of the Word. “By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” [1 Corinthians 15:2.] Many are hearers of the Word, but not doers; and “if any man be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass; for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.” [James 1:23, 24.] He does not look closely enough into the mirror to see the defects that need to be corrected. Many things are brought before him, but he soon forgets what the mirror revealed to him as needing reformation. God calls for an earnest, thorough change in the manner of working for the advancement of His truth in the world.14LtMs, Ms 126, 1899, par. 37

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