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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902) - Contents
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    Ms 140, 1902

    Principles for the Guidance of Men in Positions of Responsibility


    November 6, 1902 [typed]

    This manuscript is published in entirety in SpM 279-282. +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.

    While at Fresno, I passed through a peculiar experience. I seemed to be in an assembly where a number of brethren were in council. There seemed to be a cloud over the company. I could not discern faces, but I could hear voices. I thought that in one speaker I recognized the voice of Elder Daniells, but his manner of speech and his words seemed to be Brother E. R. Palmer’s. At first I could not understand the things that were said by this speaker. Afterward I heard something said in regard to the way in which he thought the publishing work should be carried on. The assertion was made that this work should be placed on a more sure and elevated basis.17LtMs, Ms 140, 1902, par. 1

    When I heard these words, I thought to myself, What do these statements mean? I have been instructed that the arbitrary authority exercised at one time in Battle Creek to control all our publishing houses was never again to have sway. To make such prepositions was more like going back toward Egypt than on to Canaan.17LtMs, Ms 140, 1902, par. 2

    From the light given me, I knew that such a change as was proposed by this speaker would bring into the publishing work a ruling power claiming jurisdiction over the entire field. This is not God’s plan. No man’s intelligence is to become such a controlling power that one man will have kingly authority in Battle Creek or in any other place. In no line of work is any one man to have power to turn the wheel. God forbids.17LtMs, Ms 140, 1902, par. 3

    Many more things were said, and I became more and more heavily burdened, because I knew that the great changes proposed would take us back to where we should have to wrestle with the same difficulties with which we wrestled in past years. I knew that those who advanced these ideas were blind as to the results.17LtMs, Ms 140, 1902, par. 4

    Among the things said was the statement that great changes were to be made—that the plans, which in past years our brethren formulated to advance the publishing work, would have to be remodeled.17LtMs, Ms 140, 1902, par. 5

    Then One of authority stepped forward and said: “The plans that have been made are not to be torn to pieces. Instead of doing this, the men who are handling sacred things are to cease looking to men for wisdom and begin looking to the One from whom alone any man, great or small, learned or unlearned, can receive wisdom. A change must take place in the hearts of all who have any connection with God’s work. At this stage of the publishing work no man is required to come in and so arrange matters that any one human being shall become a voice for the whole, a ruling power, having kingly authority. In the past, the Lord’s work has been carried on altogether too much in accordance with the dictation of human agencies. The propositions made in this meeting were originated in blindness and throw no light on the situation. A time of great perplexity and distress is not the time to be in a hurry to cut the knot of difficulty. In such a time are needed men of God-given ingenuity, tact, and patience. They are to work in such a way that they will ‘hurt not the oil and the wine.’17LtMs, Ms 140, 1902, par. 6

    “Too heavy responsibilities are not to be placed on any one man. In the direction of the canvassing work, the Lord will exercise His power and grace through various men in all parts of His vineyard. He will use men of Christian experience, men who are daily growing in grace and in a knowledge of the truth, men who are capable because they are yoked up with Christ.17LtMs, Ms 140, 1902, par. 7

    “Let those in positions of responsibility accept the Saviour’s invitation to wear His yoke. ‘Come unto Me,’ He pleads, ‘all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.’ [Matthew 11:28-30.]17LtMs, Ms 140, 1902, par. 8

    “The advice that was given to Moses when he was overburdened with cares and perplexities is of highest value today to those who are in positions of responsibility in God’s cause. The counsel given him should be carefully studied by those entrusted with the management of the work in the Lord’s vineyard. No one man or set of men is to have supreme authority to shape and to control the policy of the workers in the entire field, even with respect to the canvassing work; for every section of the country, especially the Southern field, which has been so long neglected, has its peculiar features and must be worked accordingly. Let men be willing to understand these features, and in their work for these fields prepare themselves by putting on every piece of the Christian armor, not forgetting to wear the gospel shoes.”17LtMs, Ms 140, 1902, par. 9

    The apostle says: “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.17LtMs, Ms 140, 1902, par. 10

    “Stand therefore,
    Having your loins girt about with truth,
    And having on the breastplate of righteousness;
    And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
    Above all, taking the shield of faith,
    Wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
    And take the helmet of salvation,
    And the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God:
    Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,
    And watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” [Ephesians 6:11-18.]
    17LtMs, Ms 140, 1902, par. 11

    My brethren, these are the directions given you by God. Let no man complicate or mystify the plain directions given by the highest Authority. Preach the Word; speak according to a “Thus saith the Lord” with all the earnestness of the Holy Spirit. Never remove from your feet the gospel shoes. Be sure to keep them on. Your feet are always to be “shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” [Verse 15.]17LtMs, Ms 140, 1902, par. 12

    Observing carefully every direction that the Lord has specified in regard to the Christian armor, you will walk before Him softly, and will work discreetly. You will not carry with you any yokes to bind men to your plans, nor will you attempt to make the Lord’s workers amenable to any finite mind. The maxims and precepts of men are not to control his laborers. Let no man be placed in a position where he can lord it over God’s heritage; for this imperils alike the soul of him who rules and the souls of those who are under his rule.17LtMs, Ms 140, 1902, par. 13

    No man is so high in power and authority but that Satan will assail him with temptation. And the more responsible the position a man occupies, the fiercer and more determined are the assaults of the enemy. Let God’s servants in every place study His Word, looking constantly to Jesus, that they may be changed into His image. The inexhaustible fullness and the all-sufficiency of Christ are at our command if we walk before God in humility and contrition.17LtMs, Ms 140, 1902, par. 14

    Christ has laid the only foundation on which we can safely build. “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” [1 Corinthians 3:11.] Build on this foundation. On doing this depends your present peace and happiness and your future wellbeing. Be careful how you build. Do not bring to the foundation material represented in the Word of God as wood, hay, and stubble. Do not bring your own inventions into your character building. These are perishable and will be consumed. Do not put human wisdom in the place of the wisdom of Him who is the light of the world, the Sun of righteousness, our peace and assurance forever.17LtMs, Ms 140, 1902, par. 15

    Among the Lord’s servants there is to be no commanding. No yokes are to be placed on the necks of God’s blood-bought heritage. Every yoke is to be broken. Men and women are more precious in the sight of God than the human mind can estimate. Christ understands their value; for He sacrificed Himself for their redemption. We are His property, the purchase of His life-blood. Sign not away your allegiance to any human jurisdiction or power. “Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.]17LtMs, Ms 140, 1902, par. 16

    Take unto you the whole armor of God, and never forget the gospel shoes of peace. Go not to any man with a heavy tread or with anger in your voice. Let all God’s servants, from those occupying the highest positions, to those in the lowliest service, walk humbly before Him.17LtMs, Ms 140, 1902, par. 17

    Learn of Christ, and the peace that passes all understanding will come into your hearts. In Him there is an unfailing supply of grace. Daily eat of the bread of heaven, and daily drink of the water of life. Carefully and prayerfully study the Saviour’s words, and you will grow strong in His strength. Make the Scriptures the man of your counsel. Worship God, not man. Christ is your hope and your crown of rejoicing. Bring into the daily life His meekness and lowliness. This will make your experience of value. Thus you will gain a preparedness for service.17LtMs, Ms 140, 1902, par. 18

    Just before His crucifixion Christ said to His disciples, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” [John 13:34.]17LtMs, Ms 140, 1902, par. 19

    To the disciples this commandment was new; for they had not loved one another as Christ had loved them. He saw that new ideas and impulses must control them; that new principles must be practiced by them; through His life and death they were to receive a new conception of love. The command to love one another had a new meaning in the light of His sacrifice. During every hour of Christ’s sojourn on the earth, the love of God was flowing from Him in irrepressible streams. All who are imbued with His Spirit will love as He loved. The very principles that actuated Christ will actuate them in all their dealings with one another.17LtMs, Ms 140, 1902, par. 20

    “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another,” Christ declared. [Verse 35.] Let us follow the Saviour’s example. Let none take upon himself the grace responsibility of ruling the conscience of his fellow men. This God forbids. We are all God’s little children. No kingly power is to be exercised.17LtMs, Ms 140, 1902, par. 21

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