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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)

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    Lt 13, 1902

    Caro, Brother and Sister

    “Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

    February 3, 1902

    Portions of this letter are published in MM 46-47, 135; Ev 347; 3SM 80; 6MR 63. +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.

    Dear brother and sister Caro,—

    I have just been reading in my diary snatches regarding Dr. Caro’s experience in connection with the work in Australia. I have by no means lost my interest in you. I have an intense desire that you shall both take hold in the right way to fight and win the battle of life. There are victories for you to gain. Keep your eyes fixed on the ideal God has set before you; then day by day you will triumph over your defects of character.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 1

    You began your experience in the work by viewing things in a false light. You acted with regard to outward display. You failed to go to the root of things. You did not see the need of conquering self daily, and thus making true progress. In a large degree you have lived for self, to meet the world’s standard. Let your powers now be exerted to obtain the higher education. And do not become discouraged.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 2

    You are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. My brother, my sister, make it your life work to be a man and a woman of uncommon goodness. Let the world see that you have a deep sense of your accountability to God, that you realize what He desires you to be and to do in this life. You cannot afford to slight or abuse your talents; for in the great day that is right upon us, God will call on you to give an account of the way in which you have used these talents. Let all see that you are the Lord’s stewards and that it is your highest desire to magnify His truth by your practice.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 3

    My brother, God desires you to carry forward your life work in straight lines, in accordance with the principles of the law that will judge every man’s work of what sort it is. Follow the light of Christ’s manhood. Take Him as your pattern. You may be sure that genuine merit will be seen and appreciated.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 4

    You have sought the highest seat, but the very motive that prompted this seeking has brought you to a low level. When you lose the desire for gloss and pretense, and build on the sure foundation, you will be more precious in God’s sight than fine gold. When you strike deep root in Christ, you will bear fruit to God’s glory. Your good works will be fragrant to Him. But if you make men your trust, you will surely place yourself where you cannot be depended on. Financially, you will be a helpless invalid, obliged to be lifted out of financial embarrassment as you have had to be all your life, because you thought your success in your profession depended on making a striking impression before the world.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 5

    What amazing revelations will be made in the great day of God, when His measurement of character testifies as to what He estimates of worth! True advancement in life is not measured by outward show. God does not wish His servants to appear to be great men, in order that they may be recognized by the world as such. There is an abundance of show and pretense in our world. God does not estimate a man by his position or occupation, but by the character he forms. It is the one who feels the burden of his responsibility to live out the principles of heaven, who strives to honor and obey the law of Jehovah, who builds his life work on pure, ennobling principles, who will be recognized and honored by the Lord of hosts as a man of worth.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 6

    He who strives to form a character after the divine model will surely advance in the higher education. But when a man’s life is guided by principles that God does not endorse, principles that find no entrance into the heavenly city, the righteousness of Christ does not go before him; the glory of God is not his rereward. How much such a man misses! The seal of God is not set on anything that is not after the similitude of heaven.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 7

    This, my dear brother, is the presentation placed before me.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 8

    In the life of every one there is a time when he stands at the parting of two ways, when he begins either to ascend or to descend. And before any one can take steps of sure advancement, he must sit down and count the cost. You are a man that begins to build without first sitting down to count the cost of the tower. Because of this, your structures are always unfinished.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 9

    A physician may prescribe for a patient, but the prescription will avail nothing unless the patient follows it. The Lord God of heaven would have been the right arm of your strength, had you acknowledged Him as such. He graciously gave you light and grace and opportunities to stand forth as one following His plans, working on Christlike methods. But the course you pursued when working in Maitland was not after God’s order. You were not walking in the light. You turned away from Christ, choosing human wisdom. You were lost in the fog.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 10

    God is dishonored when men are placed where He should be. He is dishonored when His children go to human beings for the help He only can give. Make not flesh your arm. Human agencies are untrustworthy. They allow circumstances to change the atmosphere surrounding them. When they should be dwelling in the sunlight of Christ’s righteousness, they are surrounded by a thick fog of unbelief. With God, their wisdom is foolishness. Let God be true, and every man a liar. The time has come when unconverted humanity cannot be trusted. “Trust ye not in a friend; put ye not confidence in a guide.” [Micah 7:5.] Man may be deceived. In his ignorance or his inexperience, he may mislead by his words, when he supposes that what he is saying is the truth. In every case, under every circumstance, we must depend as did Christ on the word, “It is written.” When He was assailed by the enemy, He did not attempt to argue or to reason. “It is written” was the weapon with which He met every attack of the enemy.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 11

    The faith in Christ that works by love leads those who cherish it to apply for help to Him who is light and life and truth. And they receive for the asking.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 12

    The Lord Jesus invited you to Him, saying, “Come unto me, 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 in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] This instruction is to be brought into every phase of the work undertaken for God. Man is to humble himself before God, letting the Saviour do the lifting up.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 13

    If you continue to follow the course you have pursued in the past, you will become confused, and you will make crooked paths for your feet. In trying to climb to the highest place, you will fall to the lowest. You have tried to be a Dr. Kellogg, without having his stern, self-denying, determined purpose, without having passed through the experience that would make you a man of solid worth—a man of wisdom and sound judgment. You have tried to grasp the higher rounds of the ladder without climbing round by round from the bottom.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 14

    The plans you lay appear to you in a very flattering light. You are certain that they will have wonderful success, but when they are tried, lo, there is failure and disappointment. You are full of ardent expectations of success, but you do not commit yourself, body, soul, and spirit, to God’s keeping. Self comes in. A bewitching desire to do something great takes possession of the mind.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 15

    It is not too late for you to learn the Lord’s method of working. But with you in the work there must be connected men of experience and forethought, who will carefully consider the plans you present with the glowing assurance that they are just the plans that should be adopted.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 16

    Do not refuse to unite with your brethren, fearing that if you put yourself on an equality with them, you will not be able to do all that your own judgment might suggest. God’s workers are to counsel together. Ministers, physicians, or directors are walking in false paths when they regard themselves as a complete whole, when they feel no need of counsel from men of experience, who have been led by the Lord, who, as they have moved forward in self-denial to advance the work, have given evidence that they were led and controlled by the Holy Spirit, and were thus enabled to speak and plan and act wisely and understandingly.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 17

    The Lord calls for men who are willing to yoke up with Christ and with their brethren; men who are willing to strive to be altogether that which they must be in order to carry forward the work of God intelligently; men who look to Jesus, complying with the invitation, “Come unto me, ... and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Verses 28, 29.]17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 18

    In ploughing, the farmer keeps his eye on a mark before him, else his crooked furrows will testify to his ignorance of his calling. God’s servants are to keep their eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith, pressing forward in His strength.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 19

    In recording the parable of the sower, Luke says, “And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.” [Luke 8:7.] Matthew speaks more definitely: “He also that received seed among thorns is he that heareth the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” [Matthew 13:22.]17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 20

    Many who profess to be Christians are so engrossed with earthly cares that they have no time for the cultivation of piety. They do not regard true religion as of the first importance. A man may seem to receive the truth, but if he does not overcome his unchristlike traits of character, these thorns grow and strengthen, killing the precious graces of the Spirit. The thorns in the heart must be uprooted and cast out, for good and evil cannot grow in the heart at the same time. Unsanctified human inclinations and desires must be cut away from the life as hindrances to Christian growth.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 21

    “And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundred-fold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?” [Luke 8:8, 9.]17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 22

    Then Christ gave the explanation of the parable. “The parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a time believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” [Verses 11-15.]17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 23

    “Take heed therefore how ye hear; for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.” [Verse 18.]17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 24

    The Lord loves you, my brother. Do not, I beseech of you, make a failure in your character-building. Your experience must be entirely different from what it has been if you ever hear the voice of Him who never makes a mistake, saying, “Friend, come up higher.”17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 25

    My dear brother, can not you put your whole heart and soul into the work of building up the sanitarium in New South Wales? Will you not place yourself in Christ’s school, constantly learning lessons from Him? Then you could connect with the new sanitarium as one able to give wise and helpful instruction to your fellow workers. But it would not be for the best interest of the institution for you to connect with it as the leading physician. You must bear the test and proving of God before you can stand in that position, which means so much to the institution. You show indiscretion in some things, and notwithstanding your past experience, you do not realize that God cannot endorse all your movements. You do not see that some of your actions are of a nature to hinder the work of God. You are not prepared to conduct a sanitarium in right lines. You are not prepared to give the patients and helpers instruction in the higher education, to lead them in spiritual lines. Why, my dear brother, you have never yet learned what it means to have success in spiritual work.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 26

    If you had pursued a right course from the beginning of your student-life in America, you might have followed on to know the Lord and to know that His going forth is prepared as the morning.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 27

    Your spendthrift habits must be reformed. It is contrary to the Lord’s will for you to make an appearance of having plenty of money to spend freely. Extravagance is to be strenuously avoided. You need to put a strict guard over your propensity to use money extravagantly. Your lack of economy, your inclination to follow your own impulses, makes it necessary for you to be connected with men of experience, who have learned from the great Teacher how to use their stewardship.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 28

    And let me tell you that your practice of charging a large fee for a few minutes’ work is not pleasing to the Lord and has hurt the medical missionary work. Cut down some of your expenditures. Then you will not have to charge such high prices. Do to others as you would they should do unto you.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 29

    There are serious accounts that will certainly have to be met unless physicians engaged in so-called medical missionary work are converted. The charging of these exorbitant fees is just as surely robbery as is robbery in other lines. The commandments of God mean just what they say, and any disregard of them must be met.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 30

    The inexhaustible fulness and sufficiency that is in Christ is for you, my brother. You need to build upon an elevated level and upon a foundation of the firmest integrity. Build not on the sand, but on the Rock of Ages. Christ will supply what you lack when you are willing to see and understand your danger. When you draw nigh to God, He will draw nigh to you, and will lift up for you a standard against the enemy.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 31

    But never seek to justify your past course in all things. If you cannot see that you need to make decided reforms, lest the cause of the Master shall be imperilled by your course, then do not attempt to place yourself in responsible positions.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 32

    Christ requires undivided service. He calls for the whole heart, for unreserved surrender. His call to you is His rightful claim to immediate and entire surrender and willing obedience. He will accept no excuse for the defects of your character. Give Him the homage of your heart, and He will create you anew.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 33

    My brother, you cannot afford to run the risk of setting your ideas in opposition to the pure principles that must be practiced on this earth by all who become citizens of the heavenly country. If you will now take hold of the Lord’s work in earnest, willing to serve Him in any position, you will become that which the Lord desires you to be, but which now you are not.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 34

    I have written faithfully to you, but you have taken what you chose out of the messages sent you by the Lord and have put the rest in the waste-basket, because it did not please you to receive the counsel it contained. Do not feel it your privilege to select certain encouraging portions of the testimonies sent you and to cast the warnings aside. The Lord’s eye is upon us. He marks our spirit and words and actions. And when He sees one walking in a path that leads to death, He sends him a message, that he may heed the warning and leave the path of danger.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 35

    This message I have for you, my brother, whom I love in the Lord. I have the most tender feelings toward you, and this is why I speak so plainly. I cannot endure the thought that you should fail of securing the life that measures with the life of God. I want to make no failure in reaching God’s high standard of righteousness and true holiness; and I do not want you to fail. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] I want to lay down my pen and fall on my knees and thank God for the way that has been opened for you and for me.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 36

    I have just bowed before God, and from the depths of my heart prayed in your behalf. I am so thankful that probation has not ended. I plead with you not to allow the enemy to rob you of your heirship to the eternal inheritance.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 37

    “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? How readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength. And with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right; this do, and thou shalt live.” [Luke 10:25-28.] This is the standard you may reach if you will give yourself to Christ. Will you not strive to reach it?17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 38

    God has given you precious talents. They are His gifts and are to be employed to His name’s glory. The Lord did not bestow His gifts on you for your glorification, but that you might honor Him and bless your fellow men by their right use, by revealing goodness, mercy, and righteousness. His service is too pure to be perverted into wrong lines.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 39

    I have just asked God to quicken the understanding of His people. “Hear ye now what the Lord saith: Arise, contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice. Hear ye, O mountains, the Lord’s controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel. O my people, what have I done unto thee; and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me. For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal; that ye may know the righteousness of the Lord. Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousand of rivers of oil? shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” [Micah 6:1-8.] All these things God requires. He requires of His people humiliation of spirit. The Lord will not be trifled with. He will surely punish those who persist in misrepresenting His character.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 40

    “Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abominable? Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights? For the rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.” [Verses 10-12.] Fraud is a common sin. God abhors sharp dealing. Such dealing is never to be brought into any line of His work. There is to be nothing about this work that savors of a grasping, selfish spirit. God will surely turn aside any advantage gained by selfish, unjust dealing.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 41

    My brother, our senses must be cleansed and sanctified. We must reach a higher standard. We must watch, we must pray, always standing ready for action.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 42

    The illumination of the Spirit is for God’s commandment-keeping people. Those who are not controlled by the Holy Spirit will be controlled by the enemy of God. Only the sufficiency of the Redeemer can enable man to behold His glory.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 43

    “Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice; for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.” [Isaiah 56:1, 2.] “For 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.” [Isaiah 57:15.] The Lord knows how to distinguish the righteous from the wicked. To the obedient He will give peace and comfort in this life, even amid trial and affliction, and in the life to come He will give them glory, honor, and immortality.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 44

    My brother, I plead before God for the salvation of you and your wife. It is not too late for both of you to gain a new and rich experience. I have prayed for you, and I am comforted in the Lord.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 45

    While praying for you this afternoon, this assurance came to me to send to you: In the gift of His Son, God has given His believing, trusting, working, waiting people the greatest gift heaven can bestow. He could give us no stronger pledge of His willingness to receive those who return to Him and obey the laws of His kingdom.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 46

    For many months, excepting for a few nights, I have not been able to sleep past one o’clock. I find myself sitting in conversation with you, <and others>, pleading with you as a mother would plead with her son. “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 thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” [Isaiah 55:6, 7.] What are the conditions of receiving pardon? “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found;” and, “Let him return unto the Lord.”17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 47

    You are doubtless surprised, as I expected you would be, that I write to you in so plain and decided a manner. But this I must do; for I am made a steward of the grace of Christ, and I must do this errand for the Lord. You may feel well satisfied with yourself. You may deny the representation given me of your case. <Some are doing this today.> Read a little further. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” [Verse 8.] This is the reason men and women do not always see their errors and mistakes, even when these are pointed out to them. They claim to believe the testimonies that come to them, until the message comes that they must change their plans and methods, that their character-building must be altogether different, else the storm and tempest will sweep it from its foundation. Then the enemy tempts them to justify themselves.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 48

    After reading this message, you will doubtless be tempted to say, This is not so. I am not as I am represented here. Some one has filled Sister White’s mind with a mass of trash about me. But I tell you in the name of the Lord that the words of this writing are from God. If you choose thus to dispose of the matter, you show the measure of your faith in the work that the Lord has given His servant to do.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 49

    If the Lord bids me to write to you again, I shall do it. But my heart is pained as I understand how the messages I have sent are regarded—that you receive only that which you wish to receive, and say, as so many say when receiving a message to correct wrong, “Some one has told her.” You may refuse correction because you are right in your own estimation. But I pray that the converting, sanctifying power of God will touch your heart and mind.17LtMs, Lt 13, 1902, par. 50

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