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    Chapter 185—TO A. O. Tait


    “Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, Aug. 27, ’96.

    Eld. A. O. Tait,
    Battle Creek, Michigan.

    Dear Brother:—

    I have not written you much because I knew that that which I should write you would only increase your burden and intensify the painful feelings you must have, while there is no hope that you can in any way relieve the situation.1888 1607.1

    I feel very sorry for brother Olsen. I have written him much in regard to the situation. He has written back to me, thanking me for the timely letters, but he has not acted upon the light given. The case is a mysterious one. While travelling from place to place he has linked with him as companions men whose spirit and influence should not be sanctioned, and the people who repose confidence in them will be misled. But notwithstanding the light which has been placed before him for years in regard to this matter, he has ventured on, directly contrary to the light which the Lord has been giving him. All this confuses his spiritual discernment, and places him in a relation to the general interest, and wholesome, healthy advancement of the work, as an unfaithful watchman. He is pursuing a course which is detrimental to his spiritual discernment, and he is leading other minds to view matters in a perverted light. He has given unmistakable evidence that he does not regard the testimonies which the Lord has seen fit to give his people as worthy of respect or as of sufficient weight to influence his course of action.1888 1607.2

    I am distressed beyond any words my pen can trace. Unmistakably, Elder Olsen has acted as did Aaron, in regard to these men who have been opposed to the work of God ever since the Minneapolis meeting. They have not repented of their course of action in resisting light and evidence. Long ago I wrote to A. R. Henry, but not a word of response has come from him to me. I have recently written to Harmon Lindsay and his wife, but I suppose he will not respect the matter sufficiently to reply.1888 1608.1

    From the light God has been pleased to give me, until the home field shows more healthful heart beats, the fewer long journeys Elder Olsen shall make with his selected helpers, A. R. Henry and Harmon Lindsay, the better it will be for the cause of God. The far away fields will be just as well off without these visits. The disease at the heart of the work poisons the blood, and thus the disease is communicated to the bodies they visit. Yet, notwithstanding the sickly diseased state of things at home some have felt a great burden to take the whole of believing bodies under their parental wings. But if the institutions which God has established have spiritual discernment, they will not concede to these paternal propositions. It is not in the order of God that a few men shall manage the great interests throughout the field.1888 1608.2

    Many of the men who have acted as counsellors in board and council meetings need to be weeded out. Other men should take their places; for their voice is not the voice of God. Their plans and devisings are not after the order of God. The same men have been kept in office as directors of boards until under their own management and their own opinions, common fire is used in the place of sacred fire of God's own kindling. These men are no more called Israel, but supplanters. They have worked themselves so long, instead of being worked by the Holy Spirit, that they know not what spirit impels them to action.1888 1608.3

    The College at Battle Creek would be better if it had been only one half as large, and if the other half had been located far from Battle Creek.1888 1609.1

    The spiritual blindness which rests upon human minds seems to be deepening. There are men handling sacred things who are unconverted. All such should be replaced by men who not only have a knowledge of the truth, but who practice the truth, and have respect enough for the Bible to obey a “Thus saith the Lord.” Many of the men who have long been connected with the Office and with other important lines of work are really ignorant of the influence of the decisions they make. If they had a sense of the importance of these decisions, and comprehended what they mean with reference to the work, they would be far more modest in advancing ideas, and voicing by their vote the propositions others make.1888 1609.2

    Piety is needed. Less self-confidence and far more humility must be seen. The work of God has come to be looked upon as a common thing. It would have been much better to have changed the men on boards and committees than to have retained the very same men for years, until they supposed that their propositions were to be adopted without a question, and generally no voice has been lifted in an opposite direction. There are men who sit in counsel who have not the discernment that they should have. Their comprehension is narrow and egotistical. A change is needed. It will not be wise to carry out one half or one quarter of the enterprises which have been planned.1888 1609.3

    Let all who sit in counsel and in committee meetings write in his heart the words, I am working for time and for eternity. I must give an account to God for all the motives which prompt me to action. Let this be his motto. Let the prayer of the psalmist go up to God, “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the doors of my lips. Incline not my hand to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity, and let me not eat of their dainties.1888 1610.1

    I have been led to see that too much confidence is placed in the men in Battle Creek who are in positions of trust. Those living in distant countries will not do that which their judgment tells them is right unless they first send for permission to Battle Creek. Before they will advance, they await yes or no from that place.1888 1610.2

    This condition of things is brought about by the finite wisdom of man. God did not inspire any such dependence upon a few finite minds. God is to be inquired of; God is to be sought in humble prayer by men living in Australia, in Africa, in any distant land. Who alone can give mind and judgment to the men in Battle Creek? If they possess judgment of any value, that judgment is found in God. Is he any nearer to the men in Battle Creek than to the workers who are laboring in his service in far off lands? Has the Lord to go to Battle Creek, and tell men there what the men working in distant countries must do?1888 1610.3

    Those working in places far off from Battle Creek have made a mistake by depending on a few minds in that place. These men do not know the situation of the cause and work in different localities. Let those who are on the ground in these countries remember that God has given them brains and intelligence to use their talents. If they err in some things as they work in their own borders, they are not to be blamed. Those who would blame them have perhaps committed greater errors. Let these men put their trust in God, asking wisdom of him who has promised to give to all who ask him, and upbraid not. God is a God at hand, not afar off. “Come unto me; said Christ, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls” O how differently from this have the men in Battle Creek felt and acted when consulted. They did not show the meekness and lowliness of heart manifested by the great Teacher and Saviour of men, but have shown instead a selfish superiority, an overbearing spirit. By this they showed that Jesus did not abide in their hearts. Thank the Lord, all are not of this spirit; but the conferences are fast being leavened with this self-righteous sense of superiority.1888 1611.1

    Let those in different countries walk by faith. Let them inquire, Am I serving the men at Battle Creek, or am I serving the Lord? They are to feel their individual accountability to God, not to men who give evidence that they themselves need to seek the Lord for wisdom. As the Lord's delegated servants seek him for wisdom, he will answer their prayers. Those in distant countries who are on the ground should consult together, pray together, opening the word of God for counsel. Where two or three are agreed together, this word declares, as touching anything they shall ask in the name of Jesus, it shall be done for them. “Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Bow down before God. With reverential awe approach the throne of grace. Present the word of God which is not Yea and Nay, but Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus.1888 1612.1

    “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” “Do not err, my beloved brethren, Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your minds and hearts through Christ Jesus.1888 1612.2

    Brethren, shall we educate ourselves to depend upon men rather than to make God our trust and dependence in every emergency? Whatever work is attempted with reference to the cause and work of God, we are under Christian obligations to God. Let him be consulted. A few men, whatever their position, whatever office they may hold, should not be mind and judgment for the wide-spreading work all over the large vineyard, which is the world.1888 1613.1

    Let those in every far off country work unselfishly in the fear and love of God to advance the work. As missionaries for God, they can do much for <the Master> if they are connected with him. They should draw nigh to God with full assurance of faith, lifting up holy hands, without wrath or doubting. God will make known unto them his pleasure; but all who do not work with a single eye to the glory of God, making him their dependence and trust, who lean rather upon human wisdom, will make blunders. It is doing the work of God that the richest experience is to be gained. Here is where you get wisdom and find the promises of God verified.1888 1613.2

    It is a mistake to encourage the separate Conferences to place everything before the finite minds of those at Battle Creek, asking them what they shall do. Men will never develop wisdom in management, either in business matters or in spiritual things, if they are educated to depend upon other men's brains to think and plan for them. If they make mistakes, these very mistakes may be permitted by the Lord, to be turned into victory if they will learn to improve in these things. Do men want always to remain shadows of other men's minds? God has made no exception in his promise. “If any one lack wisdom, let him ask of God.”1888 1613.3

    O how little men, even presidents of conferences, know of the power and helpful strength that God gives to the earnest, humble seeker who puts his trust in God and does not place men as counsellors, in that place where God alone should be. There are thousands upon thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand angels that minister unto those who shall be heirs of salvation. God is waiting to help all who look unto him. But what opinion can the angels, who wait to do the will and command of God, to come to the help of his work in every place, have when they see that the faces that should be uplifted to God, and the voices that should be heard in supplication with thanksgiving to God, are turned away from God, and send their petitions to Battle Creek, asking counsel of human, erring men. Shall we not have a change in these things? Verily, there must be a decided change. God's servants are amenable to him. No man is to be conscience for them. The Lord wants men who know how to do the work of God to labor in his vineyard.1888 1614.1

    When the President of the General Conference is standing overloaded with work, let some young men, or some men of age and experience come close to the weary man, and lift the burdens, sustaining him with encouraging words, standing in his place, and doing the work he would have done, even though he fell under the burden which was disproportionate to his strength.1888 1614.2

    In time of pressure there are spiritual forces to be called in which should always share the burdens; but more than this, the field should be apportioned off in sections to men who will stand as burden-bearers. There must be a number of forces which may be relied upon, but must not be held in one position of responsibility year after year. The field is too large for this. We have learned to send every petty request to Battle Creek, until the elevated sacred work has passed through so many human elements that it has become contaminated. The tainted influence of unsanctified human nature has been brought in, so that nothing is sure, sacred, and holy. But it is little use to make appeals to the men who have held their superior position until in their mind the sacred is blended with the common.1888 1615.1

    I have just touched upon three important matters. More yet to come.1888 1615.2

    Ellen G. White.

    (M. H. Aug. 30, ’98.)

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