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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903) - Contents
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    Ms 20, 1903

    Talk/Our Duty to Leave Battle Creek


    April 3, 1903

    This manuscript is published in entirety in GCB 04/06/1903.

    Friday, April 3, 1903

    Talk by Mrs. E. G. White at General Conference

    It will be impossible for me to do justice to the question before us unless I take some time. The question is one that should be clearly and distinctly understood by us all. Few of our people have any idea of how many times light has been given that it is not in the order of God for so much to be centered in Battle Creek. Much was gathered there; many meetings were called there. A school and a sanitarium and a publishing house were there. These institutions had an influence upon one another. If this influence had always been good, more of a missionary spirit would have been developed. There would have been a clearer understanding of what must be done in the various cities of America. It would have been seen that in every city the standard must be planted and a memorial for God established.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 1

    It is God’s design that our people should locate outside the cities and from these outposts warn the cities and raise in them memorials for God. There must be a force of influence in the cities, that the message of warning shall be heard.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 2

    For years the warning had been given to our people: Get out of Battle Creek. But because of the many interests established there, it was convenient to remain, and men could not see why they should move. At last Brother Magan and Brother Sutherland began to think of the advisability of moving the College from Battle Creek. They came to me, asking what they should do. I said, Take the school out of Battle Creek, if you can possibly do so. Go into a place where there are no people who believe as we do, and there establish the school on a location with plenty of land, that the students who come may be educated in right lines. They obeyed the instruction given. This was the first move made. It has been a success. God has been pleased with it. He endorsed the effort made to get away from the congestion of Battle Creek.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 3

    For the last fifteen or twenty years light has been given that our people, by crowding into Battle Creek, have been leaving their home churches in a weak state. Some seemed to think that when they reached Battle Creek, they would not have many temptations. They did not understand the situation; they did not know that it was in Battle Creek that the enemy was working the hardest.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 4

    Again and again testimonies were given in regard to the principles that were coming in to leaven the publishing house. And yet, though the messages kept coming that men were working on principles which God could not accept, no decided change was made. The apprentices in the office were not given the advantages that they should have had. They were not being prepared to go as missionaries into various places, as they might be called. They were not being prepared to stand as God’s representatives. The influence of the office was not what it should have been. God declared that this institution should be a sacred place, that angels of God were walking up and down through it. The words of contradiction spoken in the office and the general irritation shown were condemned. He designed that it should be a school where workers should be trained to uphold the principles that God had ordained should ever be maintained by His people.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 5

    Before the fire came which swept away the Review and Herald factory, I was in distress for many days. I was in distress while the council was in session, laboring to get the right matter before the meeting, hoping, if it were a possible thing, to call our brethren to repentance and avert calamity. It seemed to me that it was almost a life-and-death question. It was then that I saw the representation of danger—a sword of fire turning this way and that way. I was in an agony of distress. The next news was that the Review and Herald building had been consumed by fire, but that not one life had been lost. In this the Lord spoke mercy with judgment. The mercy of God was mingled with judgment to spare the lives of the workers, that they might do the work which they had neglected to do, and which it seemed impossible to make them see and understand.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 6

    Notwithstanding the condition of things at the publishing house, a suggestion had been made to bring still more of our work to the Review office, still more power into Battle Creek. This greatly alarmed me, and when the fire came, I breathed easier than I had for a long time. We were thankful that no lives were lost. There was a large loss of property. Again and again the Lord had shown me that for every dollar that was accumulated by unjust means, there would be ten times as much lost.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 7

    God desired that every move should be in accordance with Bible principles. There was to be no sharp dealing, and God has been displeased. For the last twenty years God has been sending reproofs and warnings regarding this. The very worst thing that could now be done would be for the Review and Herald office to be once more built up in Battle Creek. The way has been opened for it to break its association there—association with worldly men, which ought to be broken. Unjustifiable commercial business has been carried on, because the money that it brought in was needed. I saw One of undisputed authority go into the office and look over the accounts, with the leading men, noting how much had been taken in for the publication of matter that should have never seen the light of day. He asked, “How much do you gain on this work?” When the answer was given, He said, “The outlay to do this work is larger than you estimate, but were your estimate correct, the loss in spirituality far outweighs the estimated gain.” Pernicious matter has been published right in our office, and if some part of the work had to be delayed, it was the work on the books containing the light of truth. This was greatly displeasing to the Lord. The apprentices were being educated in the false doctrines contained in the matter brought in. And the Review and Herald presses were sending these false doctrines out to the world.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 8

    When the printing office was first established, in a little wooden building, the Lord showed me that its presses were to be used to send forth to the world the bright rays of truth. They were consecrated to the Lord. Light was to shine all through the office, which was to be a training school for workers. But as the result of association with the world, many in the office grew worldly and worked more and more on plans of worldly policy, and neither the discipline nor training of the youth employed in the office were as they should be.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 9

    I must say to our people that the Lord would have that institution established in an entirely new place. He would have the present influences of association broken up. Will those who have collected in Battle Creek hear the voice speaking to them and understand that they are to scatter out into different places where they can spread abroad a knowledge of the truth and where they can gain an experience different from the experience that they have been gaining?18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 10

    In reply to the question that has been asked in regard to settling somewhere else, I answer, Yes. Let the General Conference offices and the publishing work be moved from Battle Creek. I know not where the place will be, whether on the Atlantic Coast or elsewhere. But this I will say, Never lay a stone or a brick in Battle Creek to rebuild the Review office there. God has a better place for it. He wants you to work with a different influence and connected with altogether different associations from what you have had of late in Battle Creek.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 11

    There has been an anxiety to adopt a worldly policy. Warnings and reproofs and entreaties—you would be astonished to know how many—have been sent in regard to this. But they have not been heeded. Many have come to the point where they do not care to follow the directions that the Lord sends. They have walked in their own counsel until the Lord has come near by judgment and swept away the printing plant. Will you build up again in the same place that you were before? I ask you, brethren, shall we, because our books and papers have long borne the imprint of Battle Creek, again lay the foundation in the very place where our work has been destroyed by fire? Will it make a confusion to move? Better to have a little confusion. Let us have another imprint. Let us see if we cannot make a reformation.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 12

    The Sanitarium

    I need not speak any more on this point. I wish to speak now in reference to the Sanitarium in Battle Creek. Our brethren say, “Sister White has confused us. She said that we must not let this Sanitarium go into the hands of worldlings. And she said also, that we must try to place the Sanitarium upon a right foundation.” Yes, this I did say. Now, I repeat it. For years light has been coming to me that we should not center so much in one place. I have stated distinctly that an effort should not be made to make Battle Creek the sign and symbol for so much. The Lord is not very well pleased with Battle Creek. He is not pleased with all that has been done in Battle Creek. And when the Sanitarium there was burned, our people should have studied the messages of reproof and warning sent them in former years and taken heed. That the lives of patients and helpers were spared was a providence for which every one of us should praise God with heart and soul and voice. He gave them an opportunity to live and to study what these things mean. I had many things written out, but I thought, I will not say a word to condemn any one. I will keep quiet. When the planning for the new building was taken up, I think there were no questions or propositions sent to me about it from those in charge.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 13

    It has been stated that when the Sanitarium was first established in Battle Creek, my husband and I endorsed it. Certainly we did. I can speak for my husband as well as for myself. We prayed about the matter a great deal. So it was with the printing office, which was first established in a little wooden building. As the work grew, we had to add to it, and later, when ambitious men came in to take part in the management, more additions were made than should have been made, because these men thought that the buildings would give character to the work. That was a mistake. It is not buildings that give character to the work of God, but the faithfulness and integrity of the workers.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 14

    The Sanitarium grew, and in 1887 Dr. Kellogg talked with me in regard to the necessity of having a hospital. I said, “Some months ago I was shown that we must have a hospital.” Our brethren did not know what had been presented to me about this, and the opposition came hard and strong. They sat right down upon Dr. Kellogg. I took my position close by his side and told them that the light God had given me was that we should have a hospital in Battle Creek. The hospital was erected, and it was soon full of patients.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 15

    Understand, brethren, that at that time we had not numerous sanitariums, as in later years we came to have. The Battle Creek Sanitarium was almost our only place for the care of the sick.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 16

    After a time the question came, “Shall we build a small, neat chapel in which the patients and helpers can assemble to worship God?” As soon as I possibly could, I sent off a letter, saying, Yes. Wherever there is a sanitarium, there should be a church, to which the patients can go to hear the word of life; and God will soften their hearts, leading many to accept Christ as the Healer of the soul. I was in perfect union with this move.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 17

    But of late some things have been brought in that I could not endorse, and one of these is the attaching of many enterprises and lines of medical work to the medical association in Battle Creek. The Lord showed me that this should not be done. Many here know what I said to them—that we must not center so much in Battle Creek; that if we did not take heed, God’s judgments would visit Battle Creek. When I saw such earnestness on the part of the leaders to connect all branches of the medical work with the association at Battle Creek, I told the brethren that the instruction given me was that they should not make the scratch of a pen to bind themselves to the restrictions of the rules and regulations that were arranged for them to come under. God wants His institutions to stand in fellowship with one another, just as brethren in the church should stand in fellowship. But they are never to be bound by written contracts to any one man or any group of men. They are to stand, in their own individuality, accountable to God. The Lord of heaven is to be the Leader and Guide and Counsellor of His people. His institutions are to be managed under His theocracy. His people are to act as a chosen people, a people who are to do a sacred and an unselfish work.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 18

    When one institution gathers a large amount of responsibility and a large number of guests, the religious part of the work is in danger of being neglected. The managers of the Battle Creek Sanitarium have done nobly in the past in regard to trying to maintain a right religious influence in the Sanitarium. For a long time there were men connected with the institution whose work it was to hold Bible readings with the patients, as the way opened. Dr. Kellogg fully accorded with this. After the meeting at Minneapolis, Dr. Kellogg was a converted man, and we all knew it. We could see the converting power of God working in his heart and life. But as the institution has grown in popularity, there has been danger that the reason for which it was established would be lost sight of. Repeatedly I have given the instruction that was given me—that this institution should not be conducted after the manner in which worldly medical institutions are conducted; that pleasure-loving, card-playing, and theatrical performances should find no place in it. True piety was to be revealed in the lives of physicians and helpers. Everything connected with the institution was to speak in favor of the truth, and then the truth in regard to the Sabbath would come to the patients.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 19

    It was the piety of the workers, not the largeness of the buildings, that was to bring conviction to hearts. Many souls have been converted; many wonderful cures have been wrought. The Lord stood by the side of Dr. Kellogg as he performed difficult operations. When the doctor was overwrought by taxing labor, God understood the situation; and He put His hand on Dr. Kellogg’s hand as he operated, and through His power the operations were successful.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 20

    I wish this to be understood. Over and over again I have encouraged Dr. Kellogg, telling him that the Lord God of Israel was at his right hand, to help him, and to give him success as he performed the difficult operations that meant life or death to the ones operated upon. I told the doctor that before he took up his instruments to operate upon patients, he must pray for them. The patients saw that Dr. Kellogg was under the jurisdiction of God, that he understood His power to carry on the work successfully, and they had more confidence in him than in worldly physicians.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 21

    God has given Dr. Kellogg the success that he has had. I have tried constantly to keep this before him, telling him that it was God who was working with him, and that the truth of God was to be magnified by His physician. God will bless every other physician who will yield himself wholly to God and will be with his hand when he works.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 22

    This was the light given. God worked that the medical missionary work might stand on the highest vantage ground; that it might be known that Seventh-day Adventists have a God working with them, a God who has constant oversight of His work.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 23

    God does not endorse the efforts put forth by different ones to make the work of Dr. Kellogg as hard as possible in order to build themselves up. God gave the light on health reform, and those who rejected it rejected God. One and another who knew better said that it all came from Dr. Kellogg, and they made war upon him. This had a bad influence on the doctor. He put on his coat of irritation and retaliation. God did not want him to stand in the position of warfare, and He does not want you to stand there.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 24

    Those who have turned away from the Battle Creek Sanitarium to get worldly physicians to care for them did not realize what they were doing. God established the Battle Creek Sanitarium. God worked through Dr. Kellogg, but men did not realize this. When they were sick, they sent for worldly physicians to come because of something that the doctor had said or done that did not please them. This God did not approve. We have the authority of the Bible for our instruction in temperance.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 25

    But God has nothing to do with making every institution amenable to the work and workers in Battle Creek. His servants should not be called upon to submit to rules and regulations made there. God’s hand must hold every worker and must guide and control every worker. Men are not to make rules and regulations for their fellow men. The Bible has given the rules and regulations that we are to follow. We are to study the Bible and learn from it the duty of man to his fellow man. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” [Psalm 19:7.]18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 26

    You were surprised to hear me say that we should not let the Battle Creek Sanitarium go into the hands of the world, that we are to make another effort to place our institutions on solid ground. If you will trust in the Lord, this institution can be placed on vantage ground. When the Sanitarium is placed on its proper foundation; when our people can see it as it was when it was first established; when they can understand that the institution belongs to the work of the Lord, and can see that no one man is to have the control of everything in it; then God will help them all to take hold with courage to build it up. Today you do not know just where it is. God wants us to know every timber of the foundation, where it is and what it is; then He wants us all to put shoulder to shoulder and labor understandingly. The Lord wants us to do our duty. He wants us to understand that Dr. Kellogg shall not be pushed out of his place, but that he shall stand acknowledged and supported in his God-given work. This he will be if his feet are planted on the truth of the living God. If they are not planted on this truth, specious temptations will come in through scientific problems and scientific theories regarding God and His Word. Spurious scientific theories are coming in as a thief in the night, stealing away the landmarks and undermining the pillars of our faith. God has shown me that the medical students are not to be educated in such theories, because God will not endorse them. The most specious temptations of the enemy are coming in, and they are coming in on the highest, most elevated plane. These spiritualize the doctrines of present truth, until there is no distinction between the substance and the shadow.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 27

    You know that Satan will come in to deceive if possible the very elect. He claims to be Christ, and he is coming in, pretending to be the great Medical Missionary.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 28

    He will cause fire to come down from heaven in the sight of men to prove that he is God. We must stand barricaded by the truths of the Bible. The canopy of truth is the only canopy under which we can stand safely.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 29

    Our leading brethren, the men in official positions, are to examine the standing of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, to see whether the God of heaven can take control of it. When, by faithful guardians, it is placed in a position where He can control it, let me tell you that God will see that it is sustained.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 30

    God wants His people to place their feet on the eternal Rock. The money that we have is the Lord’s money; and the buildings that we erect with this money, for His work, are to stand as His property. He calls upon those who have received the truth not to quarrel with their brethren, but to stand shoulder to shoulder, to build up, not to destroy.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 31

    God would not have let the fire go through our institutions in Battle Creek without a reason. Are we going to pass by the providence of God, without finding out what it means? God wants us to study into this matter and to build upon a foundation in which we all can have the utmost confidence. He wants the interests started to be conducted in such a way that His people can invest their means in them with the assurance that they are part of His work. Let us labor intelligently and understandingly. There is altogether too little humiliation of soul.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 32

    The crisis is coming soon in Battle Creek. The trades unions and confederacies of the world are a snare. Keep out of them and away from them, brethren. Have nothing to do with them. Because of these unions and confederacies, it will soon be very difficult for our institutions to carry on their work in the cities. My warning is: Keep out of the cities. Build no sanitariums in the cities. Educate our people to get out of the cities into the country, where they can obtain a small piece of land and make a home for themselves and their children. When the question arose in regard to the establishment of a sanitarium in Los Angeles, I felt that I must oppose this move. I carried a very heavy burden in regard to the matter, and I could not keep silent. It is time, brethren, that we heeded the testimonies sent us in mercy and love from the God of heaven.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 33

    Our restaurants must be in the cities; for otherwise the workers in these restaurants could not reach the people and teach them the principles of right living. And for the present, we shall have to occupy meeting houses in the cities. But ere long there will be such strife and confusion in the cities, that those who wish to leave them will not be able. We must be preparing for these issues. This is the light that is given me.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 34

    May God help you to receive the words that I have spoken. Let those who stand as God’s watchmen on the walls of Zion be men who can see the dangers before the people—men who can distinguish between truth and error, righteousness and unrighteousness.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 35

    The warning has come. Nothing is to be allowed to come in that will disturb the foundation of the faith upon which we have been building ever since the message came in 1842, 1843, and 1844. I was in this message, and ever since I have been standing before the world, true to the light that God has given me. We do not propose to take our feet off the platform on which they were placed as, day by day, we sought the Lord with earnest prayer, seeking for light. Do you think that I could give up the light that God has given me? It is to me as the Rock of Ages. It has been guiding me ever since it was given. Brethren and sisters, God lives, and works, and reigns, today. His hand is on the wheel, and in His providence He is turning the wheel in accordance with His own will. Let not men fasten themselves to men by documents saying what they will do and what they will not do. Let them fasten themselves to the Lord God of heaven. Then the light of heaven will shine into the soul temple, and we shall see the salvation of God.18LtMs, Ms 20, 1903, par. 36

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