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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901) - Contents
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    Lt 22, 1901

    Brethren and Sisters in California

    Healdsburg, California

    February 3, 1901

    Portions of this letter are published in 7BC 986; 3MR 434-435. +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 my brethren and sisters in California,—

    There is a work to be done in this part of the Lord’s vineyard that should have been done long ago. According to the light God has given me, if this work had been done, there would now be a much larger number of believers, and a spiritual church which would indeed be the light of the world, fulfilling Christ’s words, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16.]16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 1

    I will write some things which on several occasions the Lord has made known to me. Several years ago a decided reformation was called for in Healdsburg among those who claimed to be Christians. Reproofs from the Lord were given and confessions were made; but there was not a decided reform. Because former customs and practices were not forsaken, they were a constant temptation. The work done was not thorough. Souls were not cleansed from all spiritual defilement. Many failed to keep the vows they then made. Since then there has been that in the practice of the church members which has not honored or glorified God. There has been too much selfishness, too little conformity to the divine likeness.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 2

    One of the arrangements of the divine government is that all shall receive to impart. The Christian is to be a benefit to others. Thus he himself is benefited. “He that watereth shall be watered also himself.” [Proverbs 11:25.] This is not merely a promise. It is a law of God’s divine administration, a law by which He designs that the streams of beneficence shall be kept, like the waters of the great deep, in constant circulation, perpetually flowing back to their source. In the fulfilling of this law is the power of Christian missions.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 3

    No words can express the blessing received by those who work disinterestedly to carry out the commission Christ has given. Hear His words, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:18-20.]16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 4

    No narrow views are to be taken of the Lord’s work. Those who work in any part of the Lord’s vineyard are to keep constantly in view the parts of the vineyard that are not worked. The schools established in different localities are to so educate and prepare students that they will have a thorough knowledge of what constitutes Christian character and a fitness for work in Christian missions. There must be intellectual and divine enlightenment, all under the sanctification of the Holy Spirit, the help pledged to God’s people when they are baptized into Christ’s death and raised from the water in the likeness of Christ’s resurrection.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 5

    “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection 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. ... Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things, put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the Word of God dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” [Colossians 3:1-4, 12-17.]16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 6

    We cannot now enter into the many transactions which have made up the life record of church members. These transactions are registered in God’s book of records. How will this record appear in the great day when every one shall receive according as his works have been? “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die; for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” [Revelation 3:2-5.]16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 7

    “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” [Revelation 20:12.] Then men will have a clear, sharp remembrance of all their transactions in this life. Not a word or a deed will escape their memory. There will be trying times. And while we are not to mourn over the time of trouble to come, let us, as Christ’s followers, search our hearts as with a lighted candle to see what manner of spirit we are of. For our present and eternal good, let us criticize our actions, to see how they stand in the light of the law of God. For this law is our standard. Let every soul search his own heart.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 8

    Please read carefully and prayerfully the fifth chapter of Galatians, noting especially the fruit that grows on the Christian tree. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vainglory, provoking one another, envying one another.” [Verses 22-26.]16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 9

    “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me,” Christ says, “to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” [Revelation 22:12-14.]16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 10

    If Satan has his way, he will control the church which should be strong and firm, established in the faith, shining as a light amid the darkness of sin, revealing to the world the graces of the Spirit, after the similitude of Him who took human nature upon Himself, to show by a sinless life that men and women can fulfill all righteousness. Christ was tempted in all points like as we are, yet He was not overcome in a single point. He has conquered for us.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 11

    It is not for the interest of human beings to work partially in Satan’s lines and partially in Christ’s lines. God will not accept divided service. The whole being, heart, life, and character, is to be moulded according to the Pattern given us in Christ. With the gift of His Son, God gave all the facilities of heaven to enable man, through the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour, to reach the highest standard of excellence. No halfway work will prove a success. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” [Psalm 19:7.] This law will decide the case of every person. Therefore it becomes our duty and is for our present interest and our future happiness to make our calling and election sure. “If ye do these things, ye shall never fall; for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” [2 Peter 1:10, 11.]16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 12

    From the light the Lord has given me, I know that the church is in need of purification. There is need of self-examination, of wrongs being righted, of restitution being made, not only in word, but in deed. There has been dishonest dealing. Sharp, scheming, worldly-policy plans have been brought into the practice and have been followed for nearly a lifetime. The Lord has been greatly dishonored. Neither the first four commandments nor the last six have been obeyed. The Lord sees every corner of the human heart, and He knows that there are very many who have defilement to cleanse away. He calls for thorough searching of heart.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 13

    The eleventh chapter of Matthew contains important instruction. We read there of Christ, “Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be brought down to hell; for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.” [Verses 20-24.]16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 14

    These words are plain and decided, and are applicable to all places where great light and many evidences have been given in regard to the truth for this time, yet where the people who have been so highly favored have not appreciated the light or the painstaking efforts made by Christ to bring them into conformity to the principles given for the guidance of believers in all times, but especially at the present time, so that by their unity and their obedience to God’s requirements they will bear a powerful witness in favor of the truth. They are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 15

    Christ’s words in (Luke 10:25-37) should be studied critically by the people of God, and should be applied by them to their individual cases. The question is asked by the lawyer, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Christ lays the burden of the answer upon the questioner. Before that large crowd of Scribes and Pharisees, who were eagerly watching to see if they could not catch Him in His words and then accuse Him and put Him to death, He said to the lawyer, “What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy strength and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.”16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 16

    Here is the substance, in short, of the terms of salvation, and these terms hold a binding claim upon every soul that lives. There is no half-and-half work in this matter. It is a life-and-death question. The whole man is to be converted, represented by a new birth.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 17

    Those who ignore or make little of Christ’s answer to the lawyer will find themselves weighed in the golden balances of the sanctuary and pronounced wanting. God accepts not a divided heart.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 18

    A strange work has been done in the church at Healdsburg, a work that but poorly meets the requirements of God’s Word. The members have neither loved God supremely nor their neighbor as themselves. There has been sharp practice in business deal. Professed believers in the truth have hurt their brethren, spiritually and financially, by a wicked example; and God has been greatly dishonored. There are men whose spiritual eyesight is dim, who cannot see the tendency or the result of their own actions. God calls upon them to halt, and to ask, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” [Verse 25.]16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 19

    There have been men who have helped the cause of God in an emergency. These men have devised liberal things, but the Lord in His providence has permitted them to sink from prosperity to a state of poverty. Brother Leininger is one of these men. His case has been an object lesson, kept before the church to test the sincerity of their religious principles. Brother Leininger was once a prosperous fruit grower. In this work he acquired a valuable property. When he embraced the truth, He sold his farm that he might come in connection with the school where his children might have its advantages. He showed his faith by his works. He gave some thousands of dollars to the college in Healdsburg, some thousands to the church in Healdsburg, and some thousands to the Health Retreat. He did not give grudgingly. He felt that it was a privilege to work for the advancement of the truth. If he had had a much larger portion, he would have used it all to help where help was needed.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 20

    But adversity has come upon him. He has sustained losses. And in some instances he lost through the devising of his professed brethren. But the Lord has kept a much more accurate record of his liberality to the cause than either his brethren or he has kept. Brother Leininger has reached a very low condition financially, and has stood as a spectacle before the world, before angels, and before men. God has been cognizant of all the suffering that His servant has endured. It is all written in the books. But the church [members] have been thoughtless, and though the light of the Word of God has been shining upon their pathway, they have neglected a most sacred duty. Thus they have dishonored their profession of faith. They have given the world opportunity to say that the Adventists have stripped a man of all he had and then left him in his misfortunes.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 21

    Those at the Pacific Press have done something to relieve Brother Leininger in his emergency, but he has stood before God’s people helpless in his poverty. Little interest has been manifested to return him a portion of his means with which he could secure a home for himself and for his children. He freely gave to relieve the necessities of the work in different lines, and to those who <for years> have had the benefit of the use of this money, both principal and interest, belongs the solemn obligation of giving back to this <man, a father of a family,> means which will place them in a comfortable home with several acres of land on which Brother Leininger can raise his own produce, and at the same time do work which will support his family.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 22

    The California Conference has something to do in this matter, and that without delay. The help they give is not to be given grudgingly. The whole vineyard is the Lord’s, and His servant, Brother Leininger, has done the very best he could do in his poverty to sustain himself and his family. His wife has had to go out to nurse the sick, leaving her little children who needed the special instruction of the mother. This has been very unfavorable for the family. The elder children needed a mother’s guidance and instruction. The younger members of the family needed the strictest diligence to restrain every wrong tendency and to encourage every right principle. The younger members of the Lord’s flock should be taught correct habits. While their hearts are susceptible to right influences, they are to be disciplined and taught to act in accordance with pure principles. The work of the mother in the family is a sacred one. She is to train and discipline her children. She is to require obedience from them.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 23

    Money can never make up for what has been lost by neglecting to do the right thing at the right time. This object lesson has been kept before the church, but the need of restoring to Brother Leininger the privileges and comforts which he deserved has not been discerned. Years of plodding through poverty, in suffering and distress, have been doing their work. The children have not received the labor and encouragement which they should have had. Think ye that these children, situated as they have been, have not received most unfavorable impressions? This case has been before you for years. You have seen it all, and passed by on the other side.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 24

    The Lord is greatly displeased with this neglect of His faithful servant. It has given Satan opportunity to bring the truth into disrepute. God’s judgments will surely fall upon those who look on with indifference and suffer His servant to remain in poverty. Our people were willing to accept all that Brother Leininger would give to the cause. They should be just as willing to help him, now that he is in adverse circumstances. God says, “If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of the gates of the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: but thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need in that which he wanteth. Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the Lord against thee, and it be sin unto thee. Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him; because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. For the poor shall never cease out of the land; therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.” [Deuteronomy 15:7-11.]16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 25

    “If thy brother be waxed poor, and fallen in decay with thee, then thou shalt relieve him; yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. Take thou no usury of him, nor lend him thy victuals for increase. I am the Lord your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God.” [Leviticus 25:35-38.]16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 26

    It is necessary for our people in California to take hold of Brother Leininger’s case and work most earnestly to redeem the past. Do your duty to the family which is in such great necessity.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 27

    God has laid upon us the obligation of giving special attention to the poor among us. But Brother Leininger is not to be ranked with the poor. He has laid up for himself a treasure in the heavens that faileth not. His money, which served the conference in its necessity, is now to serve him and his family in their necessity. The members of the Lord’s family are now to help the one who helped the cause of God in its extremity.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 28

    This family has been in need for a long time. Church members in comfortable circumstances have looked on and have said, “Be ye warmed and clothed,” but they have not done anything to help. [James 2:16.] Let all now take an interest in this matter. Repent, for Christ’s sake, repent for failing to do that which you should have done.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 29

    The Lord has permitted this case to be, to test and prove His people, to see if they would heed the instruction He has given them. He is looking on, marking every circumstance. He has an account to settle with those who have done Brother Leininger an injury by leading him to place confidence in their word, and then have failed to fulfill their promises, closing the last door to his hope of recovering himself. They have left him to lose the little he had. They have become hard-hearted and regardless of principle. They are in need of pardon and forgiveness.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 30

    I again urge that something be done now, just now, for Brother Leininger. Let it be no stinted restoration. Brother Leininger has been brought into a position where he cannot build himself up. Now his brethren must put their hands under him and lift him to a position where he can get a comfortable home and have employment to support himself and his family.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 31

    It would be to the advantage of his elder children to be connected with the school for a time, that they may have opportunity to improve their entrusted gifts and be enabled to help their parents. In doing this they will be much happier than they would be if they neglected to do what they might to encourage their father and mother. The young man who is at home needs the benefit of the school. He should bring his will into submission that he may exert a good influence over his younger brothers and sisters.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 32

    To Brother and Sister Leininger I would say, God will co-operate with your efforts if you will take hold of His strength and learn how to bring more decided government into your home.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 33

    Set things in order in the very best way you can. Begin just where you are. Do not wait one day. Brother Leininger, you will receive much of God’s blessing in exercising your prerogative as a father. Sister Leininger, God will help you if you will take the position that a mother should in disciplining your children and training them to habits of order and diligence. Upon you rests the responsibility of taking the lines of government into your own hands. We hope to see you both carrying forward the work of reform which is essential in your family. No father or mother can safely neglect their responsibilities.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 34

    I cannot finish this letter today, for I wish to send it in this evening’s mail. My brethren, go right ahead. Wait for nothing. Work with all God-given wisdom.16LtMs, Lt 22, 1901, par. 35

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