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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 24 (1909) - Contents
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    Lt 178, 1909

    Leading Ministers in California

    St. Helena, California

    December 6, 1909

    Portions of this letter are published in PC 296-300. +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 leading ministers in California

    Dear Brethren:

    In the night watches of November 22, I seemed to be bearing my testimony in a meeting where believers and unbelievers were assembled. I spoke to them in regard to the short work to be done in the earth, and our need of keeping before the world the evidences that the Lord is in our midst. This evidence may be given in words of praise and thanksgiving. “Whoso offereth praise glorieth God.” [See Psalm 50:23.] The Lord calls for faithful witnesses. With our lips and in our works, we should praise Him. As a people we have received special advantages from the Lord, but we do not render to Him sincere thanksgiving. Daily His praise should be spoken by every one of us.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 1

    My attention was called to these words, which are profitable for our study:24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 2

    “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside Me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known Me: that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside Me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. Drop down, ye heavens from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it.” [Isaiah 45:5-8.]24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 3

    “Thus saith the Lord, in an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; that thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show thyselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor the sun smite them; for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the spring of water shall He guide them. And I will make all My mountains a way, and My highways shall be exalted. Behold these shall come from far: and lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 4

    “Sing, O ye heaven, and be joyful; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted His people, and will have mercy on His afflicted. But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she may not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands; thy walls are continually before Me.” [Isaiah 49:8-16.]24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 5

    “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto Me; hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given Him for a witness to the people, a leader and a commander to the people. Behold thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not; and nations that knew not thee shall run after thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for He hath glorified thee.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 6

    “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thought; and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and unto our God, for He will abundantly pardon.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 7

    “For My thoughts are not your thoughts; neither are My ways your ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater: so shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth; it shall not return unto Me void; but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and shall be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign, that shall not be cut off.” [Isaiah 55:1-13.]24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 8

    Let the instruction given in the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah be studied in connection with these Scriptures. Wonderful would be the results if ministers and church members would be converted and adopt Christ’s manner of witnessing to the power of the Lord.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 9

    In many places, and especially in Southern California, plans and methods of labor have been followed that have hindered the Lord’s work, so that those upon whom the Lord has laid special burdens could not do the work to which they were appointed. In some cases watchers were set to restrict the work and to hedge up the way of some who were laboring most earnestly for advancement. Unsanctified plans were laid that worked counter to the plans of God. All this was greatly displeasing to the Lord, and it was a work which He repudiated. There were cities that might have been entered and a good work begun, but through lack of faith there developed a counterworking influence. With unbelief, jealousies arose, and with sacred missionary enterprises were linked up men who themselves needed to experience the converting power of God and to learn to walk humbly before Him.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 10

    To those who had kept the way hedged up, I wrote out the instruction given me and trusted the result with the Lord. The burden was heavy, and I feared I should not live to see the results of my efforts to break the yokes which men were placing upon their fellow workers. The Lord presented before me in decided representations that it would take years to root out the evil resulting from placing in the hands of finite men the power to hinder and delay the work of God. Repeated messages of reproof and counsel were necessary, that capable men whom the Lord had specified as the ones to do a special work might be set free to follow the light that God was giving.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 11

    There were strong men in Southern California who stood decidedly against the light the Lord was giving His messenger regarding the work to be done. They were following their own counsel and judgment and were imperiling the cause of God. I was instructed that the only way to counterwork this evil was to have placed in positions of trust men who would be guided by the counsel of the Lord, and who would not be turned aside by those who were deficient in faith.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 12

    The Lord has wrought in a remarkable manner to uphold the messages sent to correct the strange work that was being done. The evil has been checked, but it has not yet been fully rooted out; and if there were not a continuation of the messages from the Lord to His people, the will and ways of men would yet prevail to bring in strife and contention, and a deformed work would be the result. I was shown that human power is constantly working to weave itself into the work of God. This brings in disjointed and inharmonious action. The messages of pure and unadulterated truth are in danger of being trampled under foot by self-willed, unconverted men who work to destroy confidence in the warnings that God would speak to the hearts of His people to correct error and to encourage righteousness.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 13

    A great many of the difficulties that have come into our work in California and elsewhere have come in through a misunderstanding on the part of men in official positions concerning their individual responsibility in the matter of controlling and ruling their fellow laborers. Men entrusted with responsibilities have supposed that their official position embraced very much more than was ever thought of by those who placed them in office, and serious difficulties arose as the result.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 14

    Simple organization and church order are set forth in the New Testament Scriptures, and the Lord has ordained these for the unity and perfection of the church. The man who holds office in the church should stand as a leader, as an adviser and a counselor and helper in carrying the burdens of the work. He should be a leader in offering thanksgiving to God. But he is not appointed to order and command <the Lord’s laborers.> The Lord is over His heritage. He will lead His people if they will be led <of the Lord in the place of assuming powers God has not given them.> Let us study the twelfth and thirteenth chapters of First Corinthians, and the fifteenth chapter of Acts.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 15

    Let the men carrying responsibilities treat those who labor with them with the same consideration that they would wish to receive were they the helpers and others the leaders. “All ye are brethren,” the Saviour declared. [Matthew 23:8.] Position does not give a man kingly authority. The meekness of Christ is a wonderful lesson given to the fallen world. Learning this meekness from the great Teacher, the worker will become Christlike.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 16

    For several years there have been leading men in the Northern California Conference who exercised an authority which they supposed was theirs by virtue of their office, to control the work according to their own disposition and judgment. The work was becoming confused, and the Lord gave me a message regarding the movements that should be made. Because of the strange conditions in the conference, Elder Haskell was to be called to take the presidency.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 17

    Elder Haskell and his wife have been engaged in the work for years, and their faith in the truth and in the testimonies given by the Holy Spirit is strong. They have unitedly served according to the Lord’s appointment, and we have sought to sustain them in their work. Conditions in the churches have changed decidedly, but the Lord has shown me that some in responsible positions are not yet converted; and without thorough conversion, they cannot conduct the work in right lines. Some who have been reproved and warned are not established and settled and fully yielded to the guiding power of the Holy Spirit. Satan is not yet fully cast out of the minds of some, and it would take very little to produce again the conditions that existed two years ago.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 18

    The cause of God in Oakland, San Francisco, and the surrounding places needs men of solid Christian character <who fear God and take counsel of God,> or believers will be misled by those who attach themselves to the work and who desire to guide and control according to human judgment and plans. The Lord desires to work through men of clean purposes and decided experience, men who will learn from the testimonies of His Spirit, where they have not been in harmony with the Lord’s will, and who will be converted. Then decided changes will be made. The perils threatening the work will be seen, conversions will be experienced, and our people will be preparing to stand firmly and unitedly with God to build up His kingdom in the earth.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 19

    Men who repudiated the teachings of the Spirit of God are not the proper persons to be placed in office as leaders in the church. There is danger that the teachings of men who are not soundly converted may lead others into by and forbidden paths. In our efforts to secure consecrated leadership, we may expect to encounter opposition; for the enemy is seeking through unconverted men in positions of trust to mold the work, and he has too much at stake lightly to lose their influence.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 20

    Many have refused to see and adopt the light, because they would not humble themselves before God and be daily converted to Christ. Yet this must be the experience of all who overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. When men humble their hearts, and are daily converted, following the example of the meek and lowly Jesus, then there is hope that they will become wise in their religious experience.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 21

    The St. Helena Sanitarium

    Some years ago I was shown to what great peril the St. Helena Sanitarium was exposed by the physician’s giving his mind to the control of his wife, that her strong mind might be exercised to give force to his power of influence. I was instructed to write a decided warning against such work and to condemn every jot and tittle of any such influence coming in to the sanitarium. When I look over the past and see the peril that has at times threatened this institution, and the power which has sometimes worked to keep it from accomplishing that for which it was designed, I feel deeply grateful to God that victories have been gained, and that we now have connected with it men who will work after the Lord’s ordering, and not after man’s devising.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 22

    “Sing, O barren, that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child; for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord. Enlarge the place of thy tent; let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations; spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 23

    “Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed; neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame; for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. For thy maker is thine Husband; the Lord of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer, the holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall He be called.” [Isaiah 54:1-5.]24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 24


    I see a crisis before us, and the Lord calls for His workmen to come into line. Every soul should now stand in a position of deeper, truer consecration to God than during the years that are past.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 25

    God corrects His people when they are in danger of being corrupted by those who obey not the truth. I have been charged to stand faithfully in the position in which the Lord has placed me among His people, that they might be instructed and counseled.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 26

    I have been shown that there are men helping to form committees and men filling important positions in the churches, who are self-righteous, men walking after the counsel of their own hearts. Neither these self-righteous men nor those who have been influenced to hurt the work of God should now be put in places of large responsibility; for the work of God will be marred by such steps. There are some who will always be deceived. We are living amid the perils of the last days. Let the Word of God teach righteousness. Let the chaff be separated from the wheat.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 27

    The work of Elder Haskell and others who have labored in Oakland and the nearby places might have been a much greater blessing, had they not been obliged to meet strong influences in opposition to the counsels that God has given to build up and prepare a people for the final conflict that is before us.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 28

    It is not in harmony with the plan of God that men who are working counter to the spirit of the messages that the Lord gives to bless and strengthen His people should be given places of large influence in our churches. Such men are not a help, but a hindrance. Their work is to unsettle minds, and they sow the seed which will spring up and bear its fruit to make of none effect the counsels that the Lord has so graciously given to His people.24LtMs, Lt 178, 1909, par. 29

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