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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899) - Contents
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    Lt 170, 1899

    Wessels Family

    Strathfield, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

    October 25, 1899

    Previously unpublished. +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 the Mother and the Children of the Wessels Family:

    I have received the communications that were kindly sent to me by Annie Lindsay and others.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 1

    I wish to write you a few lines to send by this mail. In two hours Brother John Wessels and I will go to look at a piece of land that he hopes will prove to be a favorable place for the location of our sanitarium.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 2

    After the camp meeting at Toowoomba, Brethren Daniells, Salisbury, Morse, and Sister Graham visited Brisbane to complete the organization of the Queensland Conference. On the return journey to Sydney they will stop off at Hornsby junction and meet us, and from there we will go to look at the piece of land in which we are interested. While we are waiting for the train, I am tarrying at John Wessels’ home.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 3

    We have not had time to consider as thoroughly as we desire the propositions you have made, but we are sure of one thing, You are on the right track. From time to time I have had this matter laid open before me. Dr. Kellogg wrote to me of the large donation made to him by two of the Wessels brothers. This was presented to me as a mistake. Wise plans should be laid by wise instrumentalities in the wisdom of God, who sees the end from the beginning. The giving of large sums of money to one person to handle is not after the plan of God. The management of such matters needs more than one man’s mind and judgment.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 4

    However much confidence may be reposed in one man, he is still subject to the temptations of the enemy. Satan will always seek to endanger his soul and lead him to invest the means where he in his human judgment thinks best. By thus giving up a large amount of money to be controlled by one man’s judgment, the work is often limited. To the one handling the means every dollar may be invested in the work which to him appears most essential, but other minds should have a voice in this matter. The money thus used should have a broader range and do a much larger work.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 5

    Again and again one man has taken the large sums of money placed in his hands for the advancement of the cause, and invested it in the work which he himself was handling, because to him this has seemed the proper thing to do. In receiving the gifts, he has taken it for granted that the Lord has chosen him to carry out the plan which to his finite judgment seemed the best; and mistakes have been made, and selfishness has come in. He can only see the work over which he has supervision, though in other parts of the Lord’s vineyard the work which needs to be done is left undone. Some parts of the work receive much attention, while other portions are left untouched.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 6

    The means which has been placed in one man’s hands to use in a way that suited his ideas should, under the counsel of God’s faithful servants, have been employed in establishing the truth in new fields and building up the Lord’s cause in new localities. Thus the work would be strengthened and broadened and the truth go forth to the world as a lamp that burneth. Instead of centralizing the work in one place, let small centers be established and new territory be entered.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 7

    I have much to write on this subject, which I shall try to explain. The Lord has presented much to me in regard to the stewardship of the Wessels family. The Lord would have them understand from past experience that their talent of means is to be carefully handled. It is not to be bound up in worldly business schemes. Each member of the family is to use his means in such a way that he will teach every other member to use the talents, entrusted by God, in such a way as to be a blessing to himself and to humanity. Shall the Wessels family shun their responsibility by placing their talent of means where they can have no control of it, where others will do with it as seems best to them?14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 8

    I am obliged to communicate to the children of Sister Wessels that which I have received. These fatherless children needed divine counsel, and the Lord gave it to them through His own appointed agencies.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 9

    The enemy tempted Philip, the very one who should have been a guide, a solid, God-fearing counsellor to his mother and her children. Had he held fast his loyalty and stood firm to principle, the Lord would have given him a large influence over his mother and brothers and sisters, an influence which would have been as far-reaching as eternity. Plans would have been devised similar in many respects to those now being considered. The Lord would have given His wisdom, and methods would have been devised that would have separated this family from worldly elements and placed them where God’s means would not be used to gratify the tendency to shine in a wrong way, to exert an influence for extravagance and selfish outlay of means for show. This cannot add one jot to their own peace and happiness or to the glory of God. There would have been careful consideration, so that their talents might be invested where they would produce other talents because wisely traded upon.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 10

    Sister Wessels’ family needed Christian culture under the best of influences, and this they were supposed to be receiving; but wrong influences, under the working of the enemy, was the seed sown in Battle Creek, and this seed brought forth its fruit. Expensive furniture, an unnecessary outlay of means, was sapping the faith and piety of Henry, and his example had its influence on the minds of his younger brothers. The needs essential for their eternal well-being in this life and the life to come were not considered.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 11

    Philip’s disloyalty also had its influence. Had he remained steadfast, he would have been the natural guide of his younger brothers; but neither Philip nor Peter have done the work they ought to have done. The candlesticks were terribly shaken. The enemy has worked in different lines to make of none effect the truth of God in their hearts. Had their influence been what it should have been, Peter and Philip would have been a stay, a staff of influence, connected with John, to build up the waste places in the family. They could have bound the family together with a golden web, whose threads of divine texture would have stood the test of trial.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 12

    The money of Philip and his mother and Brother and Sister Lindsay was being bound up in worldly schemes. Philip was dishonoring the Sabbath, God’s great memorial of creation. If Brother Philip had taken heed to the works of the Lord in (Exodus 31:12-18), a different state of things would now exist. God has positively declared what He will do in giving large success and blessings to the obedient, those who keep His commandments, and He has plainly specified what He will do to the transgressors of His law, those who cast their influence on the side of the enemies of God. Every jot and tittle of Philip’s influence could have been exercised to the very best account in behalf, not only of his mother’s family, but of relatives and friends, to bring many souls to the knowledge of the truth.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 13

    The arrangement now being considered, had it been earlier advised and formed, would have resulted in the saving of the souls of brothers and sisters. Those who have left the truth would have remained steadfast. The Lord did not want to lose these souls; His love is toward the whole family. But He cannot let His blessing rest upon those who walk in their own way, who follow the ways of the ungodly and feel no responsibility to give to God the whole of their talents and service, who are not laying up for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 14

    God’s mercy has been exercised toward Philip in not blessing him with increased talents to use in dishonoring God’s sacred memorial, the holy Sabbath. God will not be trifled with. But now in His great mercy He has drawn Philip by the cords of His love, and if Philip will walk humbly with his God, the Lord will fulfill His word in showing him His loving-kindness and tender mercy.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 15

    Because donations have been asked for and accepted from them, the enemy has tempted the family to think that it was their money that was wanted. But it was to benefit them that God asks for their money. By some members of the family means has been used unwisely for the gratification of self, and their investment has brought no returns to God. Far better had it been for those in responsible positions of trust if, instead of accepting the stewardship of large sums of money, they had devised some plan by which this means might have been transferred where it could do good and only good to its family and the cause. It might have been invested in the work of God, so that its increase, instead of being used to gratify pride and pleasure-loving, would have helped forward the interests of the truth in various lines. The Lord would bless the investment if guarded so that selfishness would not be woven into the work to spoil its purity. If the talent of means were thus devoted to God, He would cause it to increase instead of diminish, and the possessor would have more talents to work with.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 16

    Every member of the Wessels family may act a part in the work if they will be converted, heart, mind, and soul, to love God supremely and their neighbor as themselves. There is a way of living very free with the Lord’s money, using it to gratify the carnal desires of associates who have no love for God. The children of Mother Wessels may think they are showing love to their neighbors in helping them to gratify selfishness, but in this they are not honoring God at all. The Lord’s money is melting away, and in the place of doing good it is doing evil, encouraging self-gratification, which only injures the user, lessening his prospect of being a child of God and an heir of the kingdom of heaven.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 17

    Some are at the present time regardless of the Lord’s will and pleasure; but that which they gain in the way of selfish indulgence will prove as the apples of Sodom. They do not study from cause to effect. The Lord will not work miracles to save the transgressors of His law from the sure result of their course of action. He will not interfere to prevent the consequence of their own actions. They will sink into impiety and willful ignorance, and they will reap the harvest in loss of health, of self-respect, and a recklessness that encourages deplorable evils.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 18

    What satisfaction will these careless ones receive in thus dishonoring their Redeemer, fettering their energies for good, and weakening their moral power to resist the suggestions of the enemy? There are individuals in the family who, in the place of putting up the bars against the enemy, are putting up the bars against the Holy Spirit’s striving. They are locking the door of the hearts lest the Lord Jesus shall come in and abide with them. Will it pay? Is such a life worth living? All this may now change, if these souls will repent and be converted, and help one another to resist the devil, that he may flee from them.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 19

    The propositions made are apparently to be an agreement with human agents that are handling the Word of God and seeking to advance His cause in our world. The Lord requires truth in the inward parts. He that seeth in secret will reward every good work openly. The plans that are being devised need to be carefully considered by all parties. No hand should be placed to the signing of agreements that will in any way dishonor God. As far as possible keep out threads of selfishness. These will be revealed unless great care is exercised.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 20

    It is by the combination of all classes and all talents that any association of this kind will prosper in any business transaction. It is the design of Christ to strengthen and edify and bless workers bound up together. There is to be a combination of energies and talents, not all of money, but of mind, of intellect, of experience. All who are doing God’s service are bought with a price, and there can be a combination that will contribute to enlarge and broaden the work. Managers are needed who will feel that they are handling God’s money, not their own. Money is a talent; it is a blessing if wisely used, a curse if used to please and glorify self.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 21

    The Lord will have nothing to do with any scheme which, under pretense of serving God, shall serve self more earnestly, for then there will be an aristocracy revealed which the heavenly universe will not tolerate. Without proper management money is of little use in any place. Let the talent of sanctified intellect be united with the talent of money, and the work will reveal a symmetry that cannot otherwise by secured. There is unity in diversity. Let all understand that it is the possession of wisdom in the investment of money that will make it efficient in upbuilding and sustaining the work of God. Minds sanctified and prepared to use money in a wise way as God’s talent will reveal that this co-operation is of God’s devising.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 22

    Talents of money and of capability, of intellect to use money, will make a combination that will advance the work and cause of God. We are not merely to advance in special districts. One section of the Lord’s vineyard must be considered in its relation to other parts of the vineyard. There has been and will be, if the agents are not sanctified, a selfish management in the absorbing and appropriation of means in some favorite line of work in order to make that line a success. While God’s money is used in one department of the work, other work that God would have done cannot be done. An overplus has been placed in the few things, and other parts of God’s cause and work, fully as essential, are deprived of that which they should have had to advance the work.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 23

    There are at the present time fields where talent and influence act not at all, or but feebly, because of being deprived of the very means which is needed to strengthen and solidify the work, advancing the great general interest of preparing a people to stand in the day of the Lord. God’s facilities for the saving of the world are not to be used exclusively. They are not to generate a spirit and power that will make a show in one section which will be a hindrance to the general advancement of the work that God designs shall be far more widespread than it has hitherto been.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 24

    Talent, wealth, any prosperous showing, will not give to the work in one locality the credentials of heaven, while the universal work that ought to be done is not done for want of the very facilities which have been provided without stint. The work must be advanced in every place, that each locality may aid other localities to send the message of God on, and on, all over the world. There is to be no religious aristocracy in our work. Nothing is more dangerous or more offensive to God than selfishness in regard to spiritual advantages while so many are laboring to break new fields and to carry the work along, hindered at every point for the very necessities that are so abundantly supplied in a few places.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 25

    The Lord has presented to me the danger of placing in one man’s power and leaving to one man’s judgment the disposition of means. There will be a misinterpretation of the confidence thus reposed in one man and the power to do what he will with large means. And his soul is endangered. He is placing himself upon a lofty eminence, and is all unconsciously acquiring a habit of looking down upon his fellow laborers. This becomes a snare to him and to them.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 26

    I therefore testify that I have seen that something must be done, that the Wessels family may help to advance the cause of God in some other way than by large donations given out and out, and placed beyond their power to have any voice in its disposition. Plans that have now been laid before me by the Wessels family were largely presented to me after the report came of the donations made to our institutions through Dr. Kellogg. Men of wisdom should be chosen to receive funds from men of means, who will honor God by loaning or investing in some enterprise for advancing the cause of God.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 27

    The talent of money, by being used, is multiplying talents, and one special line is not advanced to the neglect of other lines of work that are just as essential. We need and must have wise managers, men with sanctified ability to go from church to church as God’s agents to aid the men who have means in placing their money where it will help the cause of God. The owners might receive a low rate of interest, and they would have the satisfaction of knowing that they were really helping the cause of God.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 28

    It has been urged by some of our brethren that we should not hire means. But some who do not feel that they can donate all they have will invest their money in the cause of God at a low rate of interest. When this is done, they can at any time, if the Lord moves their hearts to willingness, make gifts and offerings to Him. They have something to do this with. But when they give six thousand dollars, ten thousand dollars, to another man to handle for them, they do not do the best for the man nor the best for themselves.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 29

    No man is above temptation, and to make great and repeated gifts to any one man to use as his individual judgment shall dictate is simply despising the individual stewardship, as Esau despised his birthright, and sold it for a mess of pottage. Men are at liberty to make donations to God’s cause and work, and He will bless them in doing this, but let all consider how they use their Lord’s entrusted talent. The Lord will be inquired of. Where there are institutions established that have every facility that is needed, let gifts be donated from these institutions for other places where there is great need of just such instrumentalities, fields that have none of God’s memorials. Then inquire where the fields are just opening, Shall I not invest something in those parts of the vineyard that have never been worked?14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 30

    The Wessels family have done a good and liberal work for Australia. The light I have had is that this family must be bound up with the interests of the cause of God. Their talents of means, of brain power and mechanical power, can be used to work in various ways. Set all there is of them at work.14LtMs, Lt 170, 1899, par. 31

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