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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902) - Contents
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    Lt 83, 1902

    Butler, G. I.; Burden-Bearers in the South

    “Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

    June 3, 1902

    Portions of this letter are published in LHU 263; WM 18, 177, 243; 5MR 216; 13MR 305-306. +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.

    Elder G. I. Butler and the burden-bearers in the Southern field

    Dear brethren,—

    Help must be given to the Southern field. Until funds are sent there, the work will be bound about. Every effort is to be made to strengthen the interests that have been established in Nashville. There is more meaning than many suppose in God’s direction to begin the work in Nashville. It was His purpose that the work should be started there. In that place much interest is taken in the colored people by those not of our faith. There is not in Nashville one quarter of the feeling against the education of the colored race that there is in some other cities of the South. The establishment of large institutions for the education of this people has removed much prejudice and has prepared the way for the proclamation of the special truths for this time.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 1

    These educational institutions should be a point of special interest to the workers in Nashville. Efforts should be made to become acquainted with the teachers and students in these schools. Those who have taken so noble a stand for the uplifting of the colored people are doing a grand work. Thus God has prepared the way for the proclamation of truth.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 2

    Into these schools of learning the truth is to find entrance. There are those in these schools who are to be reached by the third angel’s message. God’s workers are to study out ways and means of reaching them. To them the light of truth is to be communicated. Everything that can be done to interest these teachers and students in the message of present truth should now be done, and it should be done in a wise and understanding manner. From them, lessons may be learned regarding the best ways of reaching and helping the colored people. Let no haphazard work be done. God is ready to co-operate with those who will labor wisely and well.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 3

    It is Brother Palmer’s work to become acquainted with the teachers and students of the schools of Nashville. Approach these persons wisely, and God’s name will be glorified. Give the Lord room to work.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 4

    Those who are connected with the work in Nashville are to live so near the Lord that light will shine forth from them as from a lamp that burneth. When there is shown a deep, earnest determination to press together, the very oneness of the workers will proclaim the truth with power, making a deep impression on those not of our faith.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 5

    God’s people are to take a special interest in the work in Nashville. At the present time, this is the point of greatest importance in the Southern field. The interests in this place are to be built up and strengthened. The work of the publishing house and of the sanitarium, if carried on in the way God designs, will have a decided influence for good on the people of Nashville.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 6

    The means coming from the sale of the books published for the advancement of the work is sacred and holy. It should be carefully handled. In no case should it be diverted into commercial business. It is to be used for the work of saving souls.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 7

    The health food work and other industries connected with it will provide employment for Sabbath-keepers, both black and white, and will bring in means for the carrying forward of the work. The development of this line of work will take time and thought.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 8

    The work in Nashville is to be linked with the work that has been done and is being done in Graysville and Huntsville. The work in these latter places is to be a help and strength to the work in Nashville.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 9

    The efforts made are not to be confined merely to a few places in the South. In every city that can be entered, the truth is to be proclaimed. The workers are to labor guardedly and with humility, each having respect for the work of the other. They are to be a united whole in Christ.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 10

    The Lord will lead His people on to victory if they will be willing to be led.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 11


    J. E. White’s Work

    The Lord has specified the work that He has given to Edson White. It is the ministry of the Word. Financiering is not his work. He is not adapted to this work. The Lord desires him now to do the work appointed him. He is to seek the Lord earnestly, that he may be prepared to counsel with his brethren, all seeking by prayer the Spirit of the Lord, and refusing to let go until they know that the Lord has answered their prayers. If seeking the Lord in earnest prayer is made a secondary matter, human wisdom takes the place of the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and mistakes are made.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 12

    Edson White’s wisdom is not in financial lines. He is so liberal that he wrongs himself. His great desire is to help those whom others neglect, to clothe the naked, to feed the hungry, to make the heavy burdens lighter if possible. This is well; for there is little enough of this kind of work done, and it is by this work that the very people are interested in the truth who should be interested.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 13

    To help the needy has been a part of Edson White’s education from his childhood. His liberality has often brought him to the place where he himself has needed help.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 14

    The poor we shall always have with us. And while we are to do our duty to this class, caution is to be exercised, so that those we help shall not be led to depend on gifts that are not earned. But overwillingness in relieving the wants of the needy is a sin that very few are guilty of, and one that should be freely forgiven.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 15

    Want and poverty there will always be. However high the standard of knowledge and morality may be, whatever heights we may reach in civilization, poverty will always continue as a display of the riches of the grace of God, a standing memorial to the truth of the words “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Zechariah 4:6.] It would not be for the benefit of Christianity for the Lord to remove poverty from the earth. Thus a door would be closed that is now open for the exercise of faith—a means whereby the hearts of the afflicted can be reached by the gospel of goodness. By Christian liberality souls are reached that could be reached in no other way. It is the helping hand of the gospel.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 16

    Medical missionary work is to lose none of the power that comes from action. The name alone is not enough. The work done must, to all intents and purposes, justify the name.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 17

    When in the synagogue at Nazareth Jesus stood up to read, He opened to the prophecy of His work written seven hundred years before, and read: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” [Luke 4:18, 19.]17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 18

    “Therefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men; therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. ... And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off; that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought. Therefore thus saith the Lord who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face wax pale. But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel. They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.” [Isaiah 29:13, 14, 18-24.] <This is a work that needs to begin without delay. It is the message of truth and righteousness the people need as a witness to the good fruit borne.>17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 19

    We are living in the last days of this earth’s history, and medical missionary work is to be all that the name signified. To the poor the gospel is to be preached. The poor man as well as the rich man is the object of God’s special care and attention. Take away poverty, and we should have no way of understanding the mercy and love of God, no way of knowing the compassionate and sympathetic heavenly Father.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 20

    Those who have the truth for these last days will bear a message adapted to the poor. One would think that the gospel was inspired in order to reach this class. Christ came to the earth to walk and work among the poor. To the poor He preached the gospel. His work is the gospel worked out on medical missionary lines, <in justice, mercy, and the love of God, which is the sure fruit borne because the tree is good.> And today in the person of His believing, working children, who move under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Christ visits the poor and needy, relieving want and alleviating suffering.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 21


    Edson White must be released from <the burden of> business responsibilities. He must husband his strength of body and mind. The strength of both will be needed to brave the difficulties that he will meet in his ministry of the Word. He must stand unflinchingly at his post of duty. He can do great good if he will connect closely with God in the work of teaching the Word. But God does not lead him to take responsibilities that involve financial cares, and He does not bless him in taking these responsibilities, when He provides others qualified to take this work. The time has come when he must be left so free from the business details of the work that he can give his mind to the <bookmaking work and the> work of winning souls to Christ. Let the united strength of the Southern Union Conference be brought to the bearing of the burdens heretofore carried by Edson White and a few of his associates. Let there be a liberal spirit shown to the colored workers and to the white laborers working among the colored people. Let the appeals for assistance be made to our brethren throughout the world, and let all appeals go forth with the sanction and full authority of the Southern Union Conference.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 22

    Let the plans prepared at the recent councils in Nashville regarding the relations of the Union Conference and the Missionary Society be accepted; but let provision be made for the one who has been a pioneer in successful work among the colored people, to have a voice and a vote in the committee that shall be chosen to govern this part of the work.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 23

    Edson White is to preach the Word. This work he can do successfully if the Lord blesses him. But he is not constantly to fill appointments to speak to large congregations. Into this work he puts a great deal of nervous energy, and he is in danger of wearing himself out. He is to have opportunity to meet the people in personal work. The Lord will be very near him if he will calmly trust in Him, saying, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” [Psalm 46:1.] “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” [Luke 1:46, 47.]17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 24

    Workers for God will meet with turmoil, discomfort, and weariness. At times, uncertain and distracted, the heart is almost in despair. When this restless nervousness comes, the worker should stop and rest. Christ invites him, “Come apart, and rest awhile.” [Mark 6:31.] “He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. ... They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.” [Isaiah 40:29, 31.]17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 25

    Those who are associated together in a work such as is being done in Nashville should have much patience; and they should take time to rest. My son Edson and Brother Palmer, and all others who put all there is of them into the work, should remember that they are to sit together in heavenly places in Christ. This is not merely a momentary pause in Christ’s presence, but a sitting down in companionship with Him.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 26

    A worker cannot gain success while he hurries through his prayers to God and rushes away to look after something that he fears may be neglected or forgotten. He takes time to give only a few hurried thoughts to God, that is all. He does not give himself time to think, to pray, to wait upon the Lord for a renewal of spiritual and physical strength. He soon becomes jaded. He does not feel the uplifting, inspiring influence of God’s Spirit. He is not quickened by fresh life. His jaded frame and tired brain are not soothed by personal contact with Christ.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 27

    “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord.” [Psalm 27:14.] “It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.” [Lamentations 3:26.] There are those who work all day and far into the night to do what it seems to them needs to be done. The Lord looks pitifully upon these weary, heavily laden burden-bearers, and says to them, “Come unto me, ... and I will give you rest. ... For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28, 30.]17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 28

    God is testing and proving each worker. Edson White has carried burdens that were very heavy and at times very discouraging. He has gained a knowledge of the meaning of self-denial and self-sacrifice. It is not now that he is to leave the Southern field. When God releases him, it will be that he may take up in a special manner the work of ministry. And when the Lord has a work for him to do elsewhere, He will let him know. He is not at this time to be divorced from the Southern work.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 29

    But he is not, as formerly, to take such a leading position in the councils regarding the work, because the Lord in His mercy has laid this burden upon others. He is to lay off the heavy burdens and financial responsibilities that he has been carrying. The caution has been given him that he must lay off the burden of business care, that he may prepare to do the work of the Lord in preaching the Word. He has still a work to do in the South; but in the place of gathering more burdens by engaging in the health food business, or entering upon enterprises for the sale of books, or carrying large financial burdens in connections with the Hildebran School, he is to lay off the burdens that he already has. His voice must not be the deciding voice in the councils, as it has been. He must advise with his brethren in all his plans and must respect their counsel, working unitedly with them. He is not to carry out his plans in his own understanding, independently of his brethren. Calm consideration is to be given to every question. The money that comes to him as royalties from the sale of his own books he is not to use for self-pleasing, but for the advancement of God’s work.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 30

    Business is not his line of work. In the past, he has had to do this line of work; but now there are others to <share with him and> carry the burden, and he is to lay it off. In the ministry of the Word and in writing <and publishing> books for the work, he will find true success and happiness.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 31


    Great changes are to take place. But let not those who have labored so earnestly to bring to the work in the Southern field the advancement that it now has become discouraged. God will not sanction anything done to discourage them. God has reproved those who have stood off and criticized, who, though they have been given opportunity to assist, have not interested themselves to see what needed to be done, <and do it.> They did not lift where they might have lifted.17LtMs, Lt 83, 1902, par. 32

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