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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902) - Contents
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    Lt 128, 1902

    General Conference Committee and the Medical Missionary Board

    “Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

    July 6, 1902

    This letter is published in entirety in KC 70-75. +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 General Conference Committee and the Medical Missionary Board

    Dear brethren,—

    Over and over again instruction has been given me that all must be done that can be done to draw our people away from Battle Creek. I was shown that the Sanitarium there was deteriorating for the want of men of capability and consecration to carry forward in pure, upward lines, in accordance with Bible principles. Very clearly it has been presented to me that it would be in God’s order for the work of the Battle Creek Sanitarium to be divided and plants made in many other places, in the cities that are in need of sanitariums. More true medical missionary work would then be done, and from many centers the light of truth would be shining forth with saving power.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 1

    I am instructed to say that our people must not be drawn upon for means to erect an immense sanitarium in Battle Creek; the money that would be used in the erection of that one mammoth building should be used in making plants in many places. We must not draw all we can from our people for the establishment of a great sanitarium in one place to the neglect of other places which are unworked for the want of means. It is not the Lord’s will for His people to erect a mammoth sanitarium in Battle Creek or in any other place. In many places in America sanitariums are to be established. These sanitariums are not to be large establishments, but are to be of sufficient size to enable the work to be carried forward successfully.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 2

    Cautions have been given me in reference to the work before us. We are not to encourage students in large numbers to receive their education at Battle Creek. Battle Creek is not the only place to which we are to look for the education of nurses and other medical missionary workers. In every sanitarium established, preparation must be made to train young men and young women to be medical missionaries. The Lord will open the way before them as they go forth to work for Him.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 3

    The evidence before us of the fulfilment of prophecy declares that the end of all things is at hand. There is much important work to be done out of and away from Battle Creek. There will be need of sanitariums in many of the cities of the South, as well as in other parts of America.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 4

    It is time for us to think soberly. Taking all things into consideration, we should read the providence of God in His movements. Was the Battle Creek Sanitarium consumed by fire in order that the plans might be enlarged, greater buildings erected, and more display made? I think if there were more praying, more earnest study of God’s ways and purposes for the advancement of His work, we should see our brethren taking a course altogether different from the course that some are now taking.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 5

    When we bring into a garden a stream of water to irrigate it, do we provide for the watering of one spot only, leaving the other parts, dry and barren, to cry, “Give us water”? This is a representation of the way in which work has been carried forward in Battle Creek to the neglect of other places. Shall the desolate places remain desolate? No! Let the stream flow through every place, carrying with it fertility and gladness.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 6

    Never are we to rely upon worldly recognition and rank. Never are we, in the establishment of institutions, to try to compete with worldly institutions in size and splendor. We shall gain the victory, not by erecting massive buildings in rivalry with our enemies, but by cherishing a Christlike spirit of meekness and lowliness. Better far the cross and disappointed hopes, than to live with princes and forfeit heaven.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 7

    The Saviour of mankind was born of humble parentage, in a sin-cursed, wicked world. He was brought up in obscurity at Nazareth, a small town of Galilee. He began His work in poverty and without worldly rank. Thus God introduced the gospel in a way altogether different from the way in which many deem it wise to proclaim the same gospel in 1902. At the very beginning of the gospel dispensation He taught His church to rely, not on worldly rank and splendor, but on the power of faith and obedience. The favor of God is above the riches of gold and silver. The power of His Spirit is of inestimable value.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 8

    Thus saith the Lord: “Buildings will give character to My work only when those who erect them follow My instruction in regard to the establishment of institutions. Had those who have managed and sustained the work in the past always been controlled by pure, unselfish principles, the selfish gathering of a large share of My means to one or two places, regardless of the requirements of other places equally needy, would never have been. Institutions would have been established in many places. Seeds of truth, sown in many more fields, would have sprung up and borne fruit to My glory.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 9

    “The plants in Battle Creek have been unduly increased, when centers of influence should have been made in many other cities. There should have been more of an equalizing of facilities. The institutions in one place are not to embrace the whole land, swallowing up the means required for other places. The places that have never had the advantages that a few places have had are now to receive attention. My people are to do a sharp, quick work. Those who with purity of purpose fully consecrate themselves to Me, body, mind, and spirit, shall work in My way and in My name. Every one shall stand in his lot, looking unto Me, his Guide and Counselor.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 10

    “My name has been greatly dishonored. Let no one erect large, costly buildings, even in Battle Creek; for the managers of the work there have been reproved for doing this in the past. God does not make such plans, and He cannot endorse them. He has reproved and rebuked many for errors that they have made. Many wrongs have been corrected, but an earnest, thorough work is still to be done.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 11

    “I will instruct the ignorant and anoint with heavenly eyesalve the eyes of many who are now in spiritual blindness. I will raise up agents who will carry out My will to prepare a people to stand before Me in the time of the end. In many places that ought to have been provided before with sanitariums and schools, I will establish My institutions, and these institutions will become educational centers for the training of workers.”17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 12

    The Lord will work upon human minds in unexpected quarters. Some who apparently are enemies of the truth will in God’s providence invest their means to develop properties and erect buildings. In time, these properties will be offered for sale at a price far below their cost. Our people will recognize the hand of Providence in these offers and will secure valuable properties for use in institutional work. They will plan and manage with humility, self-denial, and self-sacrifice. Thus men of means are unconsciously preparing auxiliaries that will enable the Lord’s people to advance His work rapidly.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 13

    In various places, properties are to be purchased to be used for sanitarium purposes. When opportunity offers, our people should purchase properties away from the cities, on which are buildings already erected and fruit orchards already in bearing. Land is a valuable possession. Connected with our sanitariums there should be lands, small portions of which can be used for the homes of the helpers and others who are receiving a training in medical missionary work.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 14

    In proclaiming the message, God’s servants must wrestle with perplexities. Obstacles must be removed. Sometimes the work will go hard at the beginning, as it did when we were establishing institutions in Battle Creek, Michigan, and Oakland, California. In Cooranbong, Australia, we began in a very crude way, pitching our tents in the woods, felling trees, and clearing the land, preparatory to the erection of buildings. What conflicts we had! What victories we gained! Unconsecrated workers and false friends have at times been connected with our institutions in that country; but the Lord has set things in order. By the power of His Spirit a reformation has been brought about. All can see the stately steppings of the Lord God of Israel in our work in Australia.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 15

    Work is to be done in all parts of the vineyard. In the early days of the message a right beginning was made, but the work has not developed as God desired it to develop. Too much has been centered in Battle Creek and Oakland, and a few other places. Our brethren should never have built so largely in one place as they have in Battle Creek. In many fields very little has been done to establish memorials for God. This is wrong. Years ago very many of our workers and people had the spirit of self-denial and self-sacrifice. Success attended their efforts. The Lord has signified that His work should be carried forward in the same spirit in which it was begun. The world is to be warned. Field after field is still unworked. Shall we as a people, by our actions, our business arrangements, our attitude toward a world unsaved, bear a testimony altogether different from the testimony borne by us twenty or thirty years ago? Shall we give evidence of spiritual disease and a lack of wise planning?17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 16

    Upon us has shone great light in regard to the last days of this earth’s history. The sight of the souls perishing in sin should arouse us to give the light of present truth to those now in darkness. God’s messengers must be clothed with power. They must have a reverence for the truth that they do not now possess. The Lord’s solemn, sacred message of warning must be proclaimed not merely in our churches, but in the most difficult fields and in the most sinful cities—in every place where the light of the third angel’s message has not yet dawned. Every one is to hear the last call to the marriage supper of the Lamb.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 17

    My brethren, let your building plans be reconsidered. Bring your building within your means. The Lord sees the work that must be done. He sees the fields that are unworked and destitute of facilities. From all in His service He requires equity, just judgment. In all parts of the world there is work that ought to have been done long ago. A large amount of means is not to be absorbed in one place. Every building erected is to be erected with reference to the other places that will need similar buildings. God calls upon men in positions of trust in His work not to block the way of advance by selfishly using in one place or in one line of work all the means that can be secured.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 18


    A Peculiar People

    It has been stated that the Battle Creek Sanitarium is not denominational. But if ever an institution was established to be denominational in every sense of the word, this Sanitarium was. Why are sanitariums established if it is not that they may be the right hand of the gospel in calling the attention of men and women to the truth that we are living amid the perils of the last days? And yet, in one sense, it is true that the Battle Creek Sanitarium is undenominational in that it receives as patients people of all classes and all denominations.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 19

    Do not the following words point out a denominational people: “The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you; every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord; whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” [Exodus 31:12-17.]17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 20

    “What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord, and His statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good.” [Deuteronomy 10:12, 13.]17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 21

    Now and ever we are to stand as a distinct and peculiar people, free from all worldly policy, unembarrassed by confederating with those who have not wisdom to discern the claims of God so plainly set forth in His law. We are not to take pains to declare that the Battle Creek Sanitarium is not a Seventh-day Adventist institution, for this it certainly is. As a Seventh-day Adventist institution, it was established to represent the various features of gospel missionary work, thus to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 22

    We have come to a time when God has been greatly dishonored. Those who have long known our belief, and what we teach, have been surprised by the statement that the Battle Creek Sanitarium is not denominational. No one has a right to make this statement. It does not bear the witness that God wishes His people to bear before men and angels. In the name of the Lord we are to identify ourselves as Seventh-day Adventists. If any one among us is ashamed of our colors, and wishes to stand under another banner, let him do so as a private individual, not as a representative of Seventh-day Adventist medical missionary work.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 23

    Let us take our position as Seventh-day Adventists. The name is a true expression of our faith. I am instructed to call upon God’s people to bring their actions into harmony with their name, of which they have no need to be ashamed. The Seventh-day Adventist faith will bless whenever it is brought into the character building.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 24

    Recent movements made in connection with the Sanitarium enterprise at Battle Creek make it necessary for us to take our position decidedly before the world as a people who have not changed their faith. We are to show that we are seeking to work in harmony with heaven in preparing the way of the Lord. We are to bear witness to all nations, kindreds, and tongues that we are a people who love and fear God, a people who keep holy the seventh-day Sabbath—the sign between God and His obedient children that He sanctifies them. And we are to show plainly that we have full faith that the Lord is soon to come in the clouds of heaven.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 25

    We have been greatly humiliated as a people by the course that some of our brethren in responsible positions have taken in departing from the old landmarks. There are those who, in order to carry out their plans, have by their words denied their faith. This shows how little dependence can be placed on human wisdom and human judgment. Now, as never before, we need to see the danger of being led unguardedly away from loyalty to God’s commands. We need to realize that God has given us a decided message of warning for the world, even as He gave Noah a message of warning for the antediluvians. Let our people beware of belittling the importance of the Sabbath in order to link up with unbelievers. Let them beware of departing from the principles of our faith, making it appear that it is not wrong to conform to the world. Let them be afraid of heeding any man’s counsel, whatever his position may be, who works counter to that which God has wrought in order to keep His people separate from the world.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 26

    The Lord is testing and trying His people to see who will be loyal to the principles of His truth. Our work is to proclaim to the world the first, second, and third angels’ messages. In the discharge of our duties, we are neither to despise nor fear our enemies. To bind ourselves up by contracts with those not of our faith is not in the order of God. We are to treat with kindness and courtesy those who refuse to be loyal to God, but we are never, never to unite with them in counsel regarding the vital interests of His work; for this is not the way of the Lord. Putting our trust in God, we are to move steadily forward, doing His work with unselfishness, in humble dependence upon Him, committing ourselves and all that concerns our present and future to His wise providence, holding the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end, remembering that it is not because of our worthiness that we receive the blessings of heaven, but because of the worthiness of Christ, and our acceptance, through faith in Him, of God’s abounding grace.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 27

    I pray that my brethren may realize that the third angel’s message means much to us, and that the observance of the true Sabbath is to be the sign that distinguishes those who serve God from those who serve Him not. Let those who have become sleepy and indifferent awake. We are called to be holy, and we should carefully avoid giving the impression that it is of little consequence whether or not we retain the peculiar features of our faith. Upon us rests the solemn obligation of taking a more decided stand for truth and righteousness than we have taken in the past. The line of demarcation between those who keep the commandments of God and those who do not is to be revealed with unmistakable clearness. We are conscientiously to honor God, diligently using every means of keeping in covenant relation with Him, that we may receive His blessings—the blessings so essential for the people who are to be so severely tried. To give the impression that our faith, our religion, is not a dominating power in our lives, is greatly to dishonor God. Thus we turn from His commandments, which are our life, denying that He is our God and we His people.17LtMs, Lt 128, 1902, par. 28

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