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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902) - Contents
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    Lt 76, 1902

    Executive Committee of M. M. & B. Association and Sanitarium Managers

    “Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

    January 25, 1902

    Portions of this letter are published in 4BC 1149, 1151. +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 Executive Committee of the M. M. & B. Association, and to sanitarium managers

    Dear Brethren,—

    The views that you take regarding the object and management of the health food work and of the sanitarium work are in some respects decidedly contrary to the light which God has given me in regard to the use of the goods entrusted to us as His stewards.17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 1

    The burden of going into details, of saying what shall be done and what shall not be done in every particular, has not been placed upon me. But I am called upon to bear a decided testimony, whether men will hear or whether they will forbear, that some are not working in harmony with God in their plans. They are doing a strange work among God’s people, placing themselves in a position that God does not approve. They are trying to make them amenable to human jurisdiction. But the Lord has not given man the work of putting yokes on the necks of His people, binding them in such a way that they are not free to look to God and to be led and guided by Him. It is not the Lord’s design that His people shall be made amenable to their fellow men, who are themselves wholly dependent on God.17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 2

    I am astonished at the thought of our sanitarium work, which should be rapidly developing in all parts of the world, being governed by rules such as those contained in a proposed agreement which, since my return from the General Conference, was sent to me for approval or disapproval. Heaven will not endorse the signing of such agreements. The Lord will not approve of our people entering into such agreements. It seems so strange that such rules should be formulated. I am instructed to say that the Holy Spirit did not indite these regulations. They are an evidence of distrust or a lack of confidence in one another. This lack of confidence will react on you, leading your brethren to show a lack of confidence in you.17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 3

    Please read carefully the accompanying copy of the proposed agreement, and consider its influence upon your plans and work were you endeavoring to establish sanitariums in New York City or any other place remote from Battle Creek. The documents that provide that many institutions shall be brought under the control of one management are of human invention. They are a mistake, an error. They do not give a correct representation of the manner of God’s working. It is not after God’s order that our medical institutions should be under the control of the men who are managing the Medical Missionary Association and the Battle Creek Sanitarium. These men already have all the responsibilities they can handle. Unless there is a decided reformation in the Battle Creek Sanitarium, it will become a place that God cannot honor, a place in which He cannot abide.17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 4

    My dear brethren, you and all others who are engaged in the Lord’s service must be closely bound up with Him. The Lord sent me to Battle Creek with a message to help you, and especially Dr. Kellogg, so that no strange methods should be brought in that would misshape His work. Dr. Kellogg needs to unload, to lay off many of the responsibilities that he is carrying. The message to Dr. Kellogg and to several of his associates is that they are to move carefully, to walk humbly with God, to take fewer responsibilities, and to believe that God has a people, chosen and precious, through whom He will work to carry forward His work in clear, well-defined lines. God does not choose a few men, but many men, for the fulfilment of His purposes.17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 5

    If the sentiments that some of you have been advocating should prevail among Seventh-day Adventists, it would not be the mind of God that would control. You must bind about your strange plans. Once let such plans prevail in regard to the establishment and management of sanitariums, as are expressed in the proposed agreement, and a state of things would result that you cannot now imagine.17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 6

    It is to Christ, not to man, that we are to go for aid and guidance. What do those become who believe the Word of God, receiving Christ as a personal Saviour? “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name, which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of men, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, ... full of grace and truth.” [John 1:12-14.] This is the honor that is bestowed on the sinful, repentant, believing ones who accept Christ for all that He has promised to be to them. “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” [Verse 16.] God says to us, “Freely ye have received, freely give.” [Matthew 10:8.] Impart to others the blessings you receive.17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 7

    The Holy Spirit has been given as our Guide and Comforter. Christ said to His disciples, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. ... When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he shall show you things to come.” [John 16:7-11, 13.]17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 8

    My brethren, you need to study more carefully the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. This chapter marks out the only course that we can follow with safety. In the fifty-seventh chapter we read: “Thus saith the high and lofty One, that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend forever, neither will I be always wroth; for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him; I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him, and to his mourners. I create the fruit of the lips: Peace, peace to him that is afar off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” [Verses 15-21.]17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 9

    Then the prophet receives this word from the Lord—a message startling in its clearness and force: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” [Isaiah 58:1.] Though they are called the people of God, the house of Jacob, though they profess to be linked with God in obedience and fellowship, they are far from Him. Wonderful privileges and promises have been given to them, but they have betrayed their trust. With no words of flattery must the message be given them. “Show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Show them where they are making a mistake. Set their danger before them. Tell them of the sins they are committing, while at the same time they pride themselves on their righteousness. Apparently seeking God, they are forgetting Him, forgetting that He is a God of love and compassion, long-suffering and goodness, dealing justly and loving mercy. Worldly policy has come into their business and religious life. Their hearts are not purified through the truth. God looks on their outward ceremonies of humility as a solemn mockery. He regards all religious sham as an insult to Himself.17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 10

    The people of whom the prophet spoke made a high profession of piety and pointed to their fasting and to other external forms as an evidence of their piety. But their deeds were tainted by the leprosy of selfishness and covetousness. They had nothing except that which they had first received from God. He bestowed His goods on them that they might be His helping hand, doing what Christ would do were He in their place, giving a true representation of the principles of heaven.17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 11

    God will endorse the actions of those only who are sincere and unselfish. He makes known the works of true repentance. “Is not this the fast that I have chosen?” He asks, “to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” [Verse 6.]17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 12

    What kind of a spirit has been coming in among Seventh-day Adventists, as the stealthy advances of a thief? Is there not manifested a desire to put yokes on the necks of God’s people, to bind them with cords of compulsion? This matter has been presented before me in a figure. Men were being required to sign certain agreements that would restrict them in various lines of Christian work. Their arms were being bound, and a yoke was placed on their necks. They were required to sign documents which said, “You must not do this,” and, “You must not do that.” They were bound down to fulfil man-made agreements. Everything seemed to be going as men pleased; and God was not in the matter. Things that had been done were condemned. Charges were brought against the workers that made their actions appear in a grievous light. It was claimed that what had been done should not have been done, and that what should not have been done had been done. And it was declared that these difficulties could be adjusted if certain bonds and agreements were signed.17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 13

    One of authority stepped forward and severed every bond and broke every yoke. Then the words were spoken, “God has given to every man his work. He has not appointed any man to rule over his fellow men. Christ is the Priest over His own house. He is our Advocate, the propitiation for our sins. His children are not to be placed under human jurisdiction. As a Priest, He has atoned for the sins of His people by the shedding of His blood. As a King, He has received from His Father all power in heaven and in earth.”17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 14

    Every cord was cut, every yoke broken. Then the Speaker declared, “Every man is responsible to God. All are to strive to do the work that Christ did in our world. And in doing this work, they are not to be in any way lorded over by their fellow men. They are God’s husbandry, God’s building, and they are under the divine Theocracy. God’s purposes are infallible. They extend to all the affairs of this life, and they will be executed in accordance with His eternal will. God’s glory will be made known if human beings will not interpose between Him and His people.”17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 15


    [Copy of agreement referred to in Letter 76, 1902. Ellen White added these words at the end of the document: “I am instructed that not one of our people can accept any such document. This is not the Lord's devising, but human agencies have formed it and God positively forbids all such arrangements, for it is originated by human agencies and will not glorify God.”]17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 16

    AGREEMENT, made this _______ day of _______ 190__ by and between the International Medical Missionary and Benevolent Association, a corporation of Battle Creek, Michigan, of the first part, and __________________________ of the second part, WITNESSETH:17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 17

    That said first part agrees to furnish said second parties with the following articles, viz: _____________________________________________________ and such other articles, appliances, and fittings, as may hereafter be found useful, and necessary, and which may be agreed upon between the said parties, for the equipment and outfitting of treatment-rooms to be located at No. _______, ________ Street, City of _______, State of _______, to be used for giving hydriatic, electrical, and other treatment, and the employment of rational agents, for the relief of the sick and poor, and as centers for the diffusion of hygienic reforms, all in accordance with the principles of rational medicine as taught and practiced at the Michigan Sanitarium and Benevolent Association, of Battle Creek, Michigan; said parties agreeing to maintain and operate said treatment-rooms in the manner and for the purpose aforesaid, upon their own individual responsibility without said first party becoming liable in any way for any of its cost, expense, debts, or obligations of any kind whatsoever, and to operate and conduct the same, and to receive and disburse the receipts there from with the advice and assistance, and under the control and direction of the trustees of the first party, subject to the conditions and limitations herein contained.17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 18

    It is further agreed that the price of said outfit and equipment to be furnished is to be refunded to said first party out of the first earnings of the said treatment-rooms over and above the actual expenses of maintaining the same and affording the said second parties a bare subsistence; or it may be that the price aforesaid may be raised by the sale of treatment tickets in advance, or by gift from those interested in the enterprise, or otherwise, but however it may be provided, it is to be refunded to said first party as aforesaid; but notwithstanding such refunding and no matter how the money may be obtained, the said equipment, outfit, and appliances are always to remain the property of the first party, it being expressly understood and agreed that said second parties, neither collectively or individually, or any other person or persons, are to have any personal ownership in the said property and effects of said treatment-rooms, or of its business, in any way whatever.17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 19

    It is further agreed that the board of trustees of the first party shall appoint one person among the parties of the second part who shall be the executive head of the business, and who, with his associates herein before mentioned, shall constitute the managing committee, who, under the control and with the advice and assistance of the board of trustees of the first party, shall be in actual charge of said work.17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 20

    It shall be the duty of said executive head to make a report in writing each and every month, both to the managing committee and the board of trustees of said first party, of the financial condition and work of the enterprise for the preceding month, and he shall exercise a prudential care over its said affairs, calling the attention of the said committee and the said board of trustees from time to time to such matters as he thinks for the best interest and betterment of the work. It is also agreed that said board of trustees may at any time, when the majority is of opinion that the best interest of the work requires such action, remove said executive head, or any member or all of said managing committee, and appoint others in their places without further notice after said second parties have been informed as to the matters not satisfactory, and have failed to correct same, said second parties agreeing under such circumstances to at once deliver up all of said aforesaid property to said first party in as good condition as when received, ordinary wear and tear excepted, together with all improvements and betterments, accumulation from gifts, earnings, or otherwise, bank and book accounts, account books, list of patients’ names, good will, and everything else pertaining to said business in the same city or in any competitive way; it being expressly agreed and understood, however, that said delivery shall not be made until said second parties shall be fully reimbursed for actual cash, if any, which they or either of them may have remaining invested in said business, and for any personal obligations they may have assumed on account of the business, and until all arrearages for their services are fully paid up at the regular rates previously agreed upon.17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 21

    It is further agreed that the remuneration of those engaged in the enterprise must be obtained from the work itself, the amount of compensation to each being apportioned in proportion to the responsibilities borne, the work done, and the individual needs of the person. The salaries are to be fixed by a committee of the aforesaid board of trustees at a reasonable sum, having due regard for the apportionment in accordance with the responsibilities borne, the work done, and the individual needs as above mentioned. Whatever earnings are left after paying expenses and salaries shall be devoted to the extension of the work as may be needed, the paying for and maintaining of equipments, the support of visiting nurses, and other lines of medical missionary work, and in such ways as may be agreed upon by the aforesaid board of trustees, and said managing committee. It being distinctly agreed and understood that there shall be no personal or individual ownership in the enterprise, but that all the accumulations shall belong to the first party, to be disbursed for such purposes as may be agreed upon between its aforesaid board of trustees and the aforesaid managing committee.17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 22

    It is further agreed that the International Medical Missionary and Benevolent Association, and so far as it can influence its action, the Michigan Sanitarium and Benevolent Association, will co-operate with said second parties by sending patients for treatment, furnishing list of old patients and aiding in their efforts educational and otherwise in whatever way circumstances may permit and demand. On the other hand, the second parties are to co-operate with the Michigan Sanitarium and Benevolent Association by sending to such institution, so far as they are able to do so, such patients as are in need of sanitarium care and surgical treatment, and in all things and under all circumstances to maintain an attitude of loyalty and fidelity to the work and the principles it represents.17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 23

    It is also agreed that said second parties are not to organize sanitariums, nor to take in boarders, nor start or operate hygienic restaurants, or enter upon any other distinct or definite enterprise or line of work without first submitting the matter for the consideration and decision of the board of trustees of the first party, so far as possible to guard against the unwise expenditure of funds or the premature starting of new lines of work.17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 24

    IN WITNESS WHEREOF, said parties have hereunto set their hands and seals the day and year first above written.17LtMs, Lt 76, 1902, par. 25






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