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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901) - Contents
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    Lt 73, 1901

    Those who occupy responsible positions in Battle Creek

    St. Helena, California

    July 7, 1901

    This letter is published in entirety in 13MR 215-225. +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 who occupy responsible positions in Battle Creek

    Dear brethren,—

    Elder Daniells has written to me in regard to moving some old wooden building, which is now standing beside a brick building, and through which there might be danger of fire. He has also written in regard to putting up a new building in the place of the old building. He says that this will not cost more than four thousand dollars. The removal of the old building may be necessary, but I could not advise the erection of another building, even though it costs only four thousand dollars. I wish I could speak to you face to face. I do not want any of you to make a mistake. If this extra building is put up, its influence will be in direct opposition to the will of the Lord. By its influence our people in other parts of the field will be led to make light of the testimonies. <Be careful how you encourage this.>16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 1

    I wish you could look at this matter in the light in which it is presented to me. There is much work to be done in our world, and the Lord would be pleased if centers were made in other places besides Battle Creek. Let the light shine forth from some other place.16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 2

    A Jerusalem has been made of Battle Creek, but this has not been after the Lord’s direction or order. You may see some advantages in colonizing, but there are many more advantages to be obtained from making plants in different places.16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 3

    The work has been begun in Nashville, and it should be placed on a firm foundation, that the light of the truth may shine forth from there to the regions beyond. It is God’s purpose that the work shall thus be carried forward. The building you are planning to erect in Battle Creek is not necessary. To invest money in this way would set a wrong example. Our people in Battle Creek have continually been tempted to find some excuse for investing more money in building. Thus other parts of the field have been robbed of buildings which they should have had. There are already more buildings in Battle Creek than there should be in one place. It is a mistake to crowd so many institutions into one place. In this, the wisdom of men, not the wisdom of God, has been shown.16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 4

    Too much has been centralized in Battle Creek. Broader plans should have been laid. The work should have been extended, not centralized. Plants should have been made in other cities. These warnings the Lord has been giving for years. An influence in accordance with our Saviour’s words, “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me,” should have been exerted. [John 12:32.] The influence of the Battle Creek church is not what it should be. Whatever the moral condition of the world may be, the church is to stand forth in purity and true godliness. When the church stands thus, the gospel will have a transforming influence upon the outside world.16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 5

    Let there be a division of responsibility. Make centers in other places. There will then be plenty of room for the Lord to work, and there will be all in Battle Creek than can be properly managed. Far less is to be centered in Battle Creek. Then the institutions there will [be] conducted more in accordance with the divine mind. Now as matters are conducted, so large a number are jealously looking and striving for gain from this quarter. Where so many are associated together, as there are in Battle Creek, it is hard for things to be properly adjusted. It is almost impossible to have perfect harmony.16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 6

    Those to whom have been given the goods of the Lord are not to live for themselves, but for the cross of Calvary. A law has gone forth from heaven, “He who liveth to himself is not a Christian.” No more additions should be made to the pile of buildings already erected in Battle Creek. Limit your expenses, and practice the strictest economy. Show day by day that you believe that the Lord’s means is to be invested where He shall choose, not where men’s wisdom may dictate. Labor and money is to be invested where they will produce more means to use in the work of the Lord.16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 7

    Time is short, and there is a world to be warned. Souls are to be hunted for, fished for. The Lord has given to every man his work. Everyone is under obligation to obey the law of God. He who is a doer of the will of God, who conscientiously holds his talents in trust as a precious gift to be used in the Master’s service, will be accounted a wise steward. Each worker is to say from the heart, “I have come into close relationship with Christ. I have taken upon myself sacred vows. When I was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, I was buried with Christ in the likeness of His death and raised in the likeness of His resurrection. I am pledged to consecrate my life to His service.”16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 8

    “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him, through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven all your iniquities.” [Colossians 2:12, 13.]16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 9

    As you openly renounced sin and Satan, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost pledged themselves to be your sufficiency. As you forsook sin and became dead to the world, you were raised to newness of life by the power which raised Christ from the dead. You came forth from the watery grave, pledged by the solemn covenant of baptism to devote your life to the service of God. You are henceforth to live a new life, as if reason, knowledge, affection, speech, property had been anew entrusted to you, with a distinct declaration from the Word of God that these gifts are to be recognized as coming from Christ, to be used and improved for Him. You are to take up the life of cross-bearing, <cheerfully> partaking of the sufferings of Christ. Your life is to be bound up with the life of Christ in obedience to the law of God.16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 10

    “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” [Colossians 3:1-4.]16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 11

    Jesus, the Son of God, our Sin-bearer, the Giver of eternal life, speaks to His disciples. Hear what He says: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” [Matthew 16:24.] He understands every temptation. He can turn the cross into a means of eternal happiness. We must live His life. We must be co-laborers with Him. He calls upon His followers to tread in His footsteps of self-denial and self-sacrifice. The character of the Christian is to be a re-production of Christ. The same love, the same grace, the same unselfish benevolence, that characterized the life of the Redeemer, is to characterize the lives of His followers.16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 12

    Let those who have been baptized be true to the vow they have made. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things that are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.” [Colossians 3:1.] “You cannot serve God and mammon.” [Matthew 6:24.] “If God be God, follow Him; if Baal, then follow him.” [1 Kings 18:21.] No one is compelled to serve God. The full results of a man’s choice rest upon himself; for he chooses of his own free will. Let him remember that if he chooses the principles of God, respecting and maintaining them, they become a part of his life, moulding him according to the divine similitude. They are “in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.” [John 4:14.]16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 13

    I am obliged to say that those who claim to believe the truth reach too low a standard. What nourishment do you give your soul? Do you follow the prescription of the heavenly Physician? He says: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth, they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.” [John 5:24-29.]16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 14

    I am instructed to say, Had those who have done so much preaching to the churches labored as the Master has given them example, seeking to give to others the blessing of light that has come to them, they would have been following in Christ’s footsteps. We have the light, but it will not save us unless we appreciate it and impart it to others.16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 15

    Christ came to our world to work out in His own life the gospel of salvation. He is the world’s great Medical Missionary. He was appointed by the Father to heal the maladies of suffering humanity and to dispense life to the dead.16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 16

    “When Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Elias [Esaias] the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light, and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” [Matthew 4:12-17, 23.]16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 17

    Read of the work which the Saviour did when He was upon the earth. He said to His disciples: “Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life; which the Son of man shall give unto you; for him hath God the Father sealed. Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. They said therefore unto him, What sign showest thou then, that we may see and believe thee? what dost thou work?” [John 6:27-30.] Were they ignorant of the miracle of the loaves and fishes, which had just been performed? No; those who asked Him the question, “What sign showest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee?” had been among the multitude miraculously fed. [Verse 30.] They came to Christ in the hope that in response to their words, He would again work a similar miracle. They desired to see <just> how He increased the food, <supposing it was some science they could catch and be benefited by>. Christ desired to awaken faith in their hearts, to lead them to accept Him <the Son of God> as the Bread of life; but they despised the lesson He sought to teach. They had witnessed many of His wonderful miracles, but they were not willing to receive Him as the Son of God.16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 18

    Concerning God’s dealing with the children of Israel, we read in Nehemiah: “Thou didst divide the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; and their persecutors they threw into the deeps, as a stone into the mighty waters. Moreover, thou leadest them in the day by a cloudy pillar, and in the night by a pillar of fire to give them light in the way wherein they should go. Thou camest down also upon Mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments: and madest known unto them thy holy Sabbath, and commandest them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy servant: and gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them. But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and harkened not to thy commandments, and refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return unto their bondage: but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness, and forsookest them not. Yea, when they had made a molten calf, and said, This is thy God that brought thee up out of Egypt, and had wrought great provocations, yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsook them not in the wilderness: the pillar of cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to show them light, and the way which they should go. Thou gavest also thy good Spirit to instruct them; and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst. Yea, forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, so that they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not.” [Nehemiah 9:11-21.]16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 19

    Thus Christ had wrought for ancient Israel. Enshrouded in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, He led them through the wilderness. “Nevertheless, they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew their prophets which testified against them to return unto thee; and they wrought great provocations.” [Verse 26.] <Let every soul be careful now else they will do as did the children of Israel. Many who do not know it are taking sides today.>16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 20

    Christ was their Redeemer, Protector, and wonder-working God. But the miracles He wrought in their behalf did not save them, because they were not willing to walk in obedience to His will. And when He came to their children in person, He found them filled with the same rebellious spirit. The sin charged to the disbelieving Pharisees was, “I know that ye have not the love of God in you.” [John 5:42.] Shall these words be said of those who today have been given great light and wonderful opportunities?16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 21

    From first to last God has wrought in mighty power for His people, and He desires that they shall praise Him. “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth God.” [Psalm 50:23.] He is glorified by those who worship Him in spirit and in truth and in the beauty of holiness. Obedience to His law is the righteousness of His people. Those who love Him and trust in Him will reveal His love and compassion, His long-suffering and holiness.16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 22

    “The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” [Romans 7:12.] This law is to be obeyed. In him who loves God supremely and his neighbor as himself, holiness will be perfected. When man submits to the control of the Holy Spirit, he works out his own salvation with fear and trembling, in humiliation and self-distrust. He depends upon God’s power, allowing Him to will and to do of His good pleasure. So God, the divine agent, and man, the human agent, work in co-operation. As man receives the Holy Spirit, he loves God with all the heart and soul and strength and mind. Putting on Christ, he sits in heavenly places with Christ and his brethren.16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 23

    I am instructed to say that the church needs to take a much higher view of what is comprehended in yielding all to God. When the individual members of the church are obedient to the commands of God, following in the way which Christ has trodden before them, they will find fewer difficulties to encounter. The distress and sorrow that are the result of wrong moves, will no more prove their destruction. Self-sufficiency will be purged from the soul. God’s people will eat the flesh of Christ and drink His blood. From the heart they will obey the commandments.16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 24

    “When ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” [Romans 6:20-23.]16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 25

    These are not the words of Sister White, but the words of the Lord, and His messenger has given them to me to give to you. God calls upon you to no longer work at cross purposes with Him. Much instruction was given in regard to men claiming to be Christians when they are revealing the attributes of Satan, counteracting in spirit, word, and action the advancement of truth, <and are surely following the path where Satan is leading them>. In their hardness of heart they have grasped authority which in no way belongs to them, and which they should not exercise. Saith the great Teacher, “I will overturn, overturn, overturn.” [See Ezekiel 21:27.] Men say <in Battle Creek>, The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we; but they are using common fire. Their hearts are not softened and subdued by the grace of God.16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 26

    Many claiming to obey the truth are captives to Satan’s rule, <and they have no power to go from his snare. They have submitted to his way so long.> How long will they act on the principles of the power of darkness? I am instructed to say to you, my brethren in every place, “It is high time that ye awake out of sleep. Put off the works of selfishness and darkness. No longer abuse the sacred principles of heaven by your unrighteousness, lest in your experience the history of the children of Israel is repeated. Take heed lest ye fall after the same example of unbelief. <We are now a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. [To those] who have given him opportunity, Satan has linked your arm within his arm.>16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 27

    While we inscribe on our banner the words, “The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” [Revelation 14:12], we must not forget to cleanse the heart, that it may be a fit dwelling-place for the Holy Spirit. By your words and your works show that you love God supremely and your neighbor as yourself. The members of Christ’s flock are the objects of His constant favor. In holy love to their Saviour and to one another, they are to be hid with Christ and God. Discord and strife testify that the union with Christ is imperfect. God desires us to be bound heart to heart by His Spirit. He will save those who are imbued with His grace, for in dealing with one another, they reveal His love and tenderness. They deal generously with one another.16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 28

    The goods you handle, <whatever they may be,> belong to God. They are to be used where help is needed, that God’s work may go forward. He who is working for God is to strengthen the hands of his brethren, as he would like to have his own hands strengthened. But the spirit of selfishness has been allowed to enter. Many professing Christians have carried out the devices of the enemy, hindering the Word of God. The vineyard is barren where today thousands should be rejoicing in the truth. The seeds of truth have not been widely scattered. The work has been bound about, and this has left the vineyard unworked. Facilities have been multiplied in Battle Creek, while in other parts of the field souls are starving for the bread of life. God says, “Shall I not judge for these things? Men have withheld money, so that My vineyard could not be worked, and as a result I have withheld My goods from them. They have disregarded My Word. There should today be one hundred laborers where there is but one.”16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 29

    “For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. The Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory; and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” [Isaiah 62:1-3.]16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 30

    A great lack of wisdom is shown in centralizing the work in one or two places, gathering the people together in large congregations, when the believers should be spread over a larger surface, where they can <be working agencies and> proclaim the message of warning to those who have no knowledge of present truth. And in the place of preaching Sabbath after Sabbath to those who know the truth, until they have no soul-hunger for the Word of God, let ministers go to new places where, in the power of the grace of God, they can warn those in the darkness of ignorance. The truth must extend over the world. Let men beware lest they misapply the means which should be used to give to the world the last message of mercy. It is not more buildings that you need, but more re-conversions to right methods of labor, more men who are wide-awake, men who will go to God and with strong crying and tears plead for the precious souls who are going to ruin. There can be no harvest without seed-sowing. God knows how hard has been the labor of those who have been engaged in pioneer work, while in other places where the work is established, means has been invested for which nothing can now be shown. Leave behind the principles of death. Go forth to enter and work new fields. God will not bless you in erecting additional buildings in places where there are already too many buildings. Facilities are needed in destitute regions. I call upon the institutions which have been established by sacrifice to be ready to do more than they have done to place the work upon a correct basis.16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 31

    Christ gave His life to save sinners, and He says to His people, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” [Mark 16:15.] Shall we do nothing but try to keep the churches together? Shall we leave those in darkness to perish? It is doing the churches great harm to treat them as though their salvation depended on the sermons of our ministers. Every church member should be actively engaged in the service of the Master <to bring souls to Christ>.16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 32

    Heed the message to the Laodicean church: “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God, I know thy works, that thou art neither cold not hot: I would that thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear, and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent.” “Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” [Revelation 3:14-19; 22:12.]16LtMs, Lt 73, 1901, par. 33

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