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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903) - Contents
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    Ms 94a, 1903

    Lessons From the Past—1


    August 27, 1903 [typed]

    Edited copy of Ms 94, 1903.


    As Noah’s descendants increased in number, apostasy soon manifested itself. Those who desired to forget their Creator, and to cast off the restraint of His law, decided to separate from the worshipers of Jehovah. Accordingly they journeyed to the plain of Shinar, on the banks of the river Euphrates. Here they decided to build a city, and in it a tower which should be the wonder of the world. This tower was to be so high that no flood could rise to the top, so massive that nothing could sweep it away. Thus they hoped to secure their own safety and make themselves independent of God.18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 1

    God had directed men to disperse throughout the earth, to replenish and subdue it; but these tower builders determined to keep their community united in one body and to found a monarchy which should eventually embrace the whole earth.18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 2

    Among the men of Babel there were living some who feared God, although they had been deceived by the pretensions of the ungodly and drawn into their schemes. These men would not join this confederacy to thwart the purposes of God. They refused to be deceived by the wonderful representations and the grand outlook. For the sake of these loyal ones, the Lord delayed His judgments and gave the ungodly time to reveal their true character. But the great majority were fully united in their heaven-daring undertaking. They heeded not the counsel of the Lord, but strove to carry out their own purposes.18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 3

    This confederacy was born of rebellion against God. The dwellers on the plain of Shinar established their kingdom for self-exaltation, not for the glory of God. Had they succeeded, a mighty power would have borne sway, banishing righteousness, and inaugurating a new religion. The world would have been demoralized. The mixture of religious ideas with erroneous theories would have resulted in closing the door to peace, happiness, and security. These suppositions, erroneous theories, carried out and perfected, would have directed minds from allegiance to the divine statutes, and the law of Jehovah would have been ignored and forgotten. Determined men, inspired and urged on by the first great rebel, would have resisted any interference with their plans or their evil course. In the place of the divine precepts they would have substituted laws framed in accordance with the desires of their selfish hearts, in order that they might carry out their purposes.18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 4

    But God never leaves the world without witnesses for Him. At the time of the first great apostasy after the flood, there were men who humbled themselves before God, and cried unto Him. “O God,” they pleaded, “interpose between Thy cause and the plans and methods of men.” “And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower (the great idol building), which the children of men builded.” [Genesis 11:5.] Angels were sent to bring to naught the purpose of the builders.18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 5

    The tower had reached a lofty height, and it was impossible for the workmen at the top to communicate directly with those at the base; therefore men were stationed at different points, each to receive and report to the one next below him the orders for needed material, or other directions regarding the work. As messages were thus passing from one to another, the language was confounded, so that material was called for which was not needed, and the directions received were often the reverse of those that had been given. Confusion and dismay followed. All work came to a standstill. There could be no further harmony or co-operation. The builders were wholly unable to account for the strange misunderstandings among them, and in their rage and disappointment they reproached one another. Their confusion ended in strife and bloodshed. Lightnings from heaven broke off the upper portion of the tower and cast it to the ground. Men were made to feel that there is a God who ruleth in the heavens, and that He is able to confuse and to multiply confusion in order to teach men that they are only men.18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 6

    God bears long with the perversity of men, giving them ample opportunity for repentance; but He marks all their devices to resist the authority of His just and holy law.18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 7

    Up to this time men had spoken the same language; now those that could understand one another’s speech united in companies; some went one way, and some another. “The Lord scattered them abroad from thence, upon the face of all the earth.” [Verse 8.] In our day the Lord desires that His people shall be dispersed throughout the earth. They are not to colonize. Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” [Mark 16:15.] When the disciples followed their inclination to remain in large numbers in Jerusalem, persecution was permitted to come upon them, and they were scattered to all parts of the inhabited world.18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 8

    For years messages of warning and entreaty have been coming to our people, urging them to go forth into the Master’s great harvest fields and labor unselfishly for souls.18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 9

    From testimonies written in 1895 and 1899 I copy the following paragraphs:18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 10

    “True missionary workers will not colonize. God’s people are to be pilgrims and strangers on the earth. The investments of large sums of money in the building up of the work in one place is not in the order of God. Plants are to be made in many places. Schools and sanitariums are to be established in places where there is now nothing to represent the truth. These interests are not to be established for the purpose of making money, but for the purpose of spreading the truth. Land should be secured at a distance from the cities, where schools can be built up in which the youth can be given an education in agricultural and mechanical lines.18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 11

    “The principles of present truth are to become more widespread. There are those who are reasoning from a wrong point of view. Because it is more convenient to have the work centered in one place, they are in favor of crowding everything together in one locality. Great evil is the result. Places that should be helped are left destitute.18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 12

    “What can I say to our people that will lead them to follow the course that will be for their present and future good? Will not those in Battle Creek heed the light given them by God? Will they not deny self, lift the cross, and follow Jesus? Will they not obey the call of their Leader to leave Battle Creek, and build up interests in other places? Will they not go to the dark places of the earth to tell the story of the love of Christ, trusting in God to give them success?18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 13

    “It is not God’s plan for our people to crowd into Battle Creek. God says: ‘Go work today in My vineyard. Get away from the places where you are not needed. Plant the standard of truth in towns and cities that have not heard the message. Prepare the way for My coming. Those in the highways and hedges are to hear the call.’18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 14

    “God will make the wilderness a sacred place as His people, filled with the missionary spirit, go forth to make centers for His work, to establish sanitariums, where the sick and afflicted can be cared for, and schools, where the youth can be educated in right lines.18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 15

    “It has been urged that there were great advantages in having so many institutions in close connection; that they would be a strength to one another, and could afford help to those seeking education and employment. This is according to human reasoning; it will be admitted that, from a human point of view, many advantages are gained by crowding so many responsibilities in Battle Creek; but the vision needs to be extended.”18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 16


    Notwithstanding frequent counsels to the contrary, men continued to plan for centralization of power, for the binding of many interests under one control. This work was first started in the Review and Herald office. Things were swayed first in one way and then in another. It was the enemy of our work who prompted the call for the consolidation of the publishing work under one controlling power in Battle Creek.18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 17

    Then the idea gained favor that the medical missionary work would be greatly advanced if all our medical institutions and other medical missionary interests were bound up under the control of the medical missionary association at Battle Creek.18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 18

    I was told that I must lift my voice in warning against this. We were not to be under the control of men who could not control themselves and who were not willing to be amenable to God. We were not to be guided by men who want their word to be the controlling power. The development of the desire to control has been very marked, and God sent warning after warning, forbidding confederacies and consolidation. He warned us against binding ourselves to fulfil certain agreements that would be presented by men laboring to control the movements of their brethren.18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 19

    An Educational Center

    The Lord is not pleased with some of the arrangements that have been made in Battle Creek. He has declared that other places are being robbed of the light and advantages that have been centered and multiplied in Battle Creek. It is not pleasing to God that our youth from all parts of the country should be called to Battle Creek, to work in the Sanitarium, and to receive their education. When we permit this, we are often guilty of robbing needy fields of their most precious treasure.18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 20

    Through the light given in the testimonies, the Lord has indicated that he does not desire students to leave their home schools and sanitariums to be educated in Battle Creek. He instructed us to remove the College from this place. This was done, but the institutions that remained failed of doing what they should have done to share with other places the advantages still centered in Battle Creek. The Lord signified His displeasure by permitting the principal buildings of these institutions to be destroyed by fire.18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 21

    Notwithstanding the plain evidences of the Lord’s providence in these destructive fires, men have not hesitated to stand before their brethren and council meetings and make light of the statement that these buildings were burned because men had been swaying things in directions which the Lord could not approve.18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 22

    Principles have been perverted. Men have been departing from right principles for the promulgation of which these institutions were established. They have failed of doing the very work that God ordained should be done to prepare a people to “build up the old waste places,” and to stand in the breach, as represented in the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. In this Scripture the work we are to do is clearly defined as being medical missionary work. This work is to be done in all places. God has a vineyard; and He desires that this vineyard shall be worked unselfishly. No parts are to be neglected. The most neglected portion needs the most wide-awake missionaries to do the work portrayed in the following Scripture:18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 23

    “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, ... and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? ... [If thou draw out thy soul] to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build up the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” [Verses 6, 10-12.]18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 24


    For His own name’s sake, God will not permit the froward and the independent to carry out their unsanctified plans. He will visit them for their perversity of action. “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” [Isaiah 57:21.] But I am instructed to say that in His judgments the Lord will remember mercy. He declares:18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 25

    “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 far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him.” [Verses 16-19.] “The spirit of My people should fail before Me, saith the Lord, if I were to deal with them in accordance with their perversity. They could not endure My displeasure and My wrath. I have seen the perverse ways of every sinner. He who repents and does the works of righteousness, I will convert and heal, and restore him unto My favor.”18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 26

    Concerning those who have been deceived and led astray by unconsecrated men, the Lord says, “Their course of action has not been in accordance with My will; yet for the righteousness of My own cause, for the truth’s sake, for the sake of those who have preserved their fear and love of God, I, who create the fruit of the lips, will put My message into the lips of those who will not be perverted. Although some may be deceived and blinded in their ideas of men and the purposes of men, I will heal every one who honors My name. All the penitent of Israel shall see of My salvation. I, the Lord, do rule, and I will fill with praise and thanksgiving the hearts of all who are nigh and far off, even all the penitent of Israel who have kept My ways.”18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 27

    “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.” [Verse 15.]18LtMs, Ms 94a, 1903, par. 28

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