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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902) - Contents
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    Lt 64, 1902

    White, J. E.

    “Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

    April 24, 1902 [typed]

    Portions of this letter are published in UL 128. +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.

    My dear son Edson,—

    I see dangers that I am afraid you do not clearly discern. I am cautioned to consider carefully the case of Brother and Sister Shireman. He has done a work that many in like circumstances could have done and ought to have done, but did not do. Had they ventured out in this work, the Lord would greatly have blessed them, and as a result of their efforts, much fruit would have been borne to His glory. The Lord has worked through Brother Shireman. Brother Shireman has been rewarded in this life, and he will be rewarded in the future life, if he will hold the beginning of his confidence firm unto the end.17LtMs, Lt 64, 1902, par. 1

    I was writing a letter in commendation of Brother Shireman when something appeared before me in print that led me to refrain from writing further. I was strongly impressed that it would not be best to praise Brother Shireman; that at the present time praise would be inappropriate and unwise; for it would prove a temptation to him.17LtMs, Lt 64, 1902, par. 2

    Those who do faithful service for the Master have His commendation. But circumstances will arise in their experience that will lead them to take the words of the Lord, spoken to encourage them in a time of emergency, when they were in great difficulty, and use them in a way that will tarnish their future experience. When they should walk softly before the Lord, and tremble at His word, they will repeat His words of encouragement as a vindication of their course of action. Their misconception of the Lord’s approval places them in great danger. He spoke these words to them to show them that He was not unmindful of their works and their labor of love, not to lead them to become self-sufficient.17LtMs, Lt 64, 1902, par. 3

    I was about to write some words of encouragement to one who had helped in the work in the Southern field at a time when it was going very hard. A hand was placed upon the paper, forbidding me to write, and a voice said, “These words of commendation will do harm to the one you are addressing. God is the Master-worker. Glorify Him, not man.”17LtMs, Lt 64, 1902, par. 4

    My son, let us be very careful not to praise or flatter any human being. Do not place before the Lord’s servants the temptation of human praise. It is God who enables men and women to accomplish good. He is behind every worker. Without His power, man is helpless.17LtMs, Lt 64, 1902, par. 5

    Light has been given me that sufficient has been said and done to place Brother Shireman in a proper light before his brethren. Brother and Sister Shireman’s danger is in thinking they can carry forward to a successful completion the work they have begun. But should they be allowed to follow their plans, the work would not develop as it should, and they would be a hindrance instead of a help.17LtMs, Lt 64, 1902, par. 6

    There are those who by self-denial and self-sacrifice have prepared the way for a good work, yet who have not the capabilities that enable them to carry this work forward successfully when it has reached a certain stage of advancement. They would not be able to give it the right mold.17LtMs, Lt 64, 1902, par. 7

    Brother Shireman has been greatly blessed by God. The Lord used him to start the work at Hildebran. But he is not to think, because of this, that he is fitted to carry the school work forward on the broad, elevated plane on which it must be carried. Others, whose education and training fit them for it, must take up the work in its advanced stages, <and carry it onward and upward>. But the Lord does not value the less those who in self-sacrifice and self-denial prepared the way for the work to advance.17LtMs, Lt 64, 1902, par. 8

    The Lord’s workers must not think that they must be their own judges of the position they should fill. Let all remember that there are many different lines of work, and that all these lines of work are necessary. The hewers of wood and drawers of water do acceptable service and make a success where others would certainly make a failure.17LtMs, Lt 64, 1902, par. 9

    Cannot Brother and Sister Shireman see that each laborer has a distinctive work, that from the lowliest worker to the most highly educated, the most efficient, each has his place to fill in the work of soul-saving. “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” [Ephesians 4:11-13.]17LtMs, Lt 64, 1902, par. 10

    Brother Shireman should feel thankful that the work he began is growing, and that there is a demand for men of larger talents to carry it to the place the Lord desires it to occupy. Neither Brother nor Sister Shireman can do this. They are not fitted to carry the work forward after it has reached a certain stage of development. They must leave this to others. The Lord desires both of them to see this matter in a right light. Temptation will come to them, but the Lord speaks to them the words He spoke to Peter, “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” [Luke 22:32.]17LtMs, Lt 64, 1902, par. 11

    Brother and Sister Shireman have a work to do for the Lord. But they are to bear less responsibility than they have borne in the past. Sister Shireman needs quietude and rest. She has strong likes and dislikes. Let her beware of hindering the work of God.17LtMs, Lt 64, 1902, par. 12

    Do you remember, Edson, when Brother Shireman was doing the self-sacrificing work that he began in Kansas City, how he was, in his humility, taught of God? Under the impressions made on his mind by the Holy Spirit, he knew that he could not carry forward the work he had started, and he called for help, for some one to come and make a success of the work he had begun. This same spirit he should show in connection with the work in Hildebran.17LtMs, Lt 64, 1902, par. 13

    May the Lord help you in arranging matters at Hildebran. The Lord desires us to exercise great caution. From the light given me, I know that the work at Hildebran, if properly managed, will be a great blessing to the surrounding country. We are glad that the Lord directed Brother Shireman to this place. I have been shown that we must establish schools in just such places, away from the cities and their temptations. The sights and sounds of the cities make it almost impossible for children to receive a proper education while living in them. The youth living in the cities need constant help from God. They need to pray constantly for guidance, that they may escape the temptations surrounding them. They need friends. They need to be hedged about by faithful watchcare. Earnest prayer should ascend to heaven in their behalf. They need to be prayed for and with, that they may give themselves to the Lord.17LtMs, Lt 64, 1902, par. 14

    I hope that what I have written will not confuse Brother and Sister Shireman. The Lord desires them to be sanctified daily to the truth. He desires them to close the heart against every phase of selfishness. The Lord is acquainted with our dangers. He has tasted of the fruit of the tree of self-denial. He knows the meaning of love to God and man. God forbid that Brother and Sister Shireman, whom I love in the Lord, should turn to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, to eat of the forbidden fruit, the fruit of selfishness. The Lord is full of tenderness for them. How deeply it would grieve Him for them to have a wrong conception of their position or their work.17LtMs, Lt 64, 1902, par. 15

    Edson, look to Jesus. Do not spoil your record by giving way to despondency and distrust. Make straight paths for your feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. The Lord has a work for you to do. But in doing His work, you must move in harmony with your brethren.17LtMs, Lt 64, 1902, par. 16

    The man who is nearest the Lord is the man who waits for Him as one waits for the morning, the man who has the least confidence in self and the strongest confidence in God as the One who can save to the uttermost all who come to Him.17LtMs, Lt 64, 1902, par. 17

    I have written this letter a little at a time; for my eyes will not bear any strain. The Lord has an interest in all the work you are trying to do for Him. Do not worry. The day of trust is in our hands. The day of reckoning will bear faithful witness as to how we have done our work. Let us do our best. If the Lord is with us, we shall be prospered.17LtMs, Lt 64, 1902, par. 18

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