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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)

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    Ms 167a, 1902

    Diary/Regarding the Work in Nashville

    Fresno, California

    October, 1902

    Variant of Ms 167, 1902. Previously unpublished.

    In the night season I was in a meeting in which matters regarding the work of the publishing house in Nashville were presented in an exaggerated light. By the statements that were made by some present, false impressions were left on minds in reference to the publishing work at Nashville. Should these men be judged as they were judging others, their cases would appear worse, far worse, than the cases of those whom they were accusing.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 1

    The room in which the meeting was held was dark, and I could not see the faces of those present. I listened to the words of accusation spoken and then asked myself what course I could take to prevent the evil’s going any farther, to check the work of misrepresentation. The word spoken to me by One in authority was: “Let the matter rest. It will be made plain. This accusing will re-act on the accusers. They will have to bear the retribution of God.” More was said on this subject, but I am forbidden to tell now all that was said.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 2

    To those who in that meeting were accusing and condemning their brethren, the One of Authority said: “You are certainly thrusting blindly. Mistakes have been made in the work in Nashville, it is true. But were you to maintain your present attitude, you would sweep away all the good in your effort to get rid of the evil. This would lead those who have found fault to think that their wisdom is the wisdom of God.” <And then words were spoken by One of authority that I will try to faintly express.> “Your words are as sharp arrows; and they have bruised and wounded souls. If you had spent more time on your knees before God, you would not have spoken as you have. By thrusting in the dark, you are impugning motives, and this is a cruel, unchristlike thing to do. It becomes you to go to those you have accused, and find out, through kind, faithful investigation, in a merciful spirit and a kindly manner, the real truth of the matter.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 3

    “Let not those who are accused offer one word of retaliation. Silence is eloquence.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 4

    “You all stand in need of contrition and humiliation of soul. Those who have spoken in such a way as to destroy, instead of to heal, have not received their message from God. It is directly opposed to the light that God has given, and has been inspired by a prejudiced mind and a tyrannizing spirit. In masterly self-confidence they are trying to bring about a reform that would prove to be a deform.”17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 5

    Corruption of principle has been allowed to enter our ranks, and has been doing great harm. The high, noble faculties that should be devoted to God’s service, have been used by Satan to do that which is grievous in the Lord’s sight. Under the direction of the enemy, men have thought and spoken evil.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 6

    There are in human nature elements of destruction which, under certain conditions, break forth to consume. The moral powers are prostrated. The excited passions tyrannize over the higher, nobler faculties; and Christlikeness is not revealed. The Infinite One—He who alone was able to bring order and beauty out of the chaos and confusion of nature’s darkness—is able to subdue the rebellious heart of man, and bring his life into conformity to the divine will. His Spirit can quell man’s rebellious temper.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 7

    Pray that your lips may be touched with a live coal from the divine altar, that you may speak only pure, Christlike words, and that you may see that it is a crime to speak harshly and unadvisedly.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 8

    Some have joined the enemy to become accusers of the brethren. How could they do this wicked thing? In thought, word, and deed they are transgressors. They have spoken words that God condemns as cruel and unjust. Remember that your words and acts are recorded in the books of heaven, and that many of them are written in the great catalogue of delinquencies. But God has promised to pardon all who come to Him for forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” [1 John 1:9.]17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 9

    Humble your hearts before God. Some of you have watched for a chance to accuse your brother, and you have condemned him most unmercifully and unjustly. Unless you repent and cease your warfare against your fellow worker, God will surely judge you as you have judged others.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 10

    Let no one utter rash, untrue words. Let no one disparage a worker because the work with which he is connected is hindered for lack of means. It may be in the Lord’s providence that the dearth of means exists. He may be testing the workers. He will help, and that right early. After He has proved the faith of the workers, He will bring them forth purified, as gold tried in the fire. In answer to prayer, He will sweep away the unjust suspicions cast upon the work of those who are striving to do His will. The riches of the universe belong to Him. From Him come all the temporal and spiritual blessings that His children enjoy. Upon Him we are dependent for breath, for food, for every moment of grace, for strength to preserve our integrity. It is He who gives us physical and spiritual life. From His abundant fulness He can supply all our necessities. When in our need we come to Him, He will not send us away empty.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 11

    We are all equally dependent on Him. No one has a greater claim than another upon His mercy. We are His children, and it is His desire that we shall work together in harmony and unity. Thus we bear a witness that convinces the world that God has sent His Son to save sinners. Why then are those whom God has so greatly blessed so ready to hurt and destroy one another? Why do they refuse to work in harmony? Why do they listen to the reports breathed into their ears and then repeat these reports as charges against their brother? Why do they stoop to employ Satan’s cruel methods and plans, discouraging and hindering one another? Shall I not judge for these things? saith the Lord.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 12

    Elder Daniells, my dear fellow laborer, you are not bring molded after the right similitude. You have been using strange fire. The only remedy is to quench it as soon as possible. Our first interest should be to see that the work begun at Nashville is firmly established. This city is to be a center for the work in the South. If the work anywhere must be deferred, let it be in places not so important. Let no hand be outstretched, readily and selfishly, to bind about and discourage those to whom God has entrusted a special work. If there are those who have no disposition to build up the work in new places, let them keep away altogether. Let them not try to tear down the work that they have in no wise helped to establish.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 13

    The Southern field, the most destitute portion of the Lord’s vineyard in America, stands as a reproach to those who know the truth. Thousands of suffering people have been left to perish in their sins. For years this field has been kept before Seventh-day Adventists, but that which He would have had accomplished in it has not been accomplished because there have been those who have done little except to hinder and discourage.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 14

    The efforts that have been made against the work in Nashville show a zeal that is not according to wisdom. These efforts are unreasonable and unjust and altogether uncalled for. When the people of God are filled with a zeal to wipe out the miserable past, with its questioning and criticizing and judging, by thorough conversion and repentance that needs not to be repented of, a decided effort will be made to carry forward the work in the Southern field. In the name and fear of God, Seventh-day Adventists will strive to redeem their neglect.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 15

    Those who have a zeal that leads them to find fault with the work that has been done in this field are not led of God. Their words of criticism might better be left unsaid. Instead of criticizing, let them go to work in this field, which needs help more than Europe, or any other country.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 16

    Brother E. R. Palmer, I must tell you that your principles and your words have not been right in the sight of God. You have made mistakes, and you need to bow before God in humility. In some respects you need to reform your sentiments. The changes that you propose are not right and will not be endorsed by God.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 17

    The Lord calls for perfect faith in Him. He calls upon His people to cease accusing their brethren, confusing them, and making their way difficult by censure and condemnation. He calls upon them to love their brethren, not to destroy them. He calls for prevailing prayer, for an earnest seeking of Him, that His servants may know how to build up and advance His work. Prayer is not merely the addressing of words to God. Words of prayer are lifeless and meaningless unless they are imbued with a spirit of real soul hunger. To formal, lifeless prayers, there will be no response.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 18

    The Lord says, “Cease complaining and finding fault. Thus you greatly injure your spiritual experience. This is not the work given you. It is not God, but Satan, who is inspiring you to do it. The enemy is ever on the watch for opportunities to weaken the Lord’s forces. It is easy to discourage and tear to pieces. Let those who do this try instead to restore and build up, and they would look upon their criticism and condemnation as a strange and uncalled-for work.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 19

    Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Take up the work that has not yet been touched in the Southern field. Do what you can to enlighten those in the neglected cities in this part of the Lord’s vineyard. The Lord has in the South a tenderhearted people who, if they receive proper labor, will respond to His call.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 20

    I cannot tell you how my soul has been grieved by the wrong impressions left on souls in regard to the Southern work. I bow my head and weep. The light was so plainly given that Nashville should be worked, that interests should be established in this city, where institutions have been founded by those not of our faith, for the benefit of the colored race. If our people will move wisely, if they will seek counsel of God, they can do a good work among the teachers and students of these schools. I was instructed that if the workers would refuse to be influenced by the words and sentiments of those who are not in harmony with the Lord, the King’s highway would be cleared, and the truth would go forth in Nashville as a lamp that burneth. The Lord would have young men unite with these schools as students and then labor wisely and judiciously to sow the seeds of truth. In these schools the Lord has those with precious talents who, if converted, would be a mighty power to radiate light throughout the South.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 21

    A good work has been done in the South. We do not say that no mistakes have been made; it would be a miracle if some mistakes had not been made. But mistakes have been made in other places, and yet the work there has not been abandoned. The Lord will not leave the Southern field to be possessed by the enemy. He calls upon every one to do his duty. He has prepared the way for this field to be worked. My brethren, move forward judiciously. Establish the work in Nashville, and let the work there be an object lesson of what may be accomplished by united, unselfish effort. It is just as much our duty to save the publishing house in Nashville from bankruptcy as it was to save the publishing house and sanitarium in Scandinavia.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 22

    We repeat the prayer, “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” [Matthew 6:10.] Are we doing our part to answer this prayer? We claim to believe that the commission that Christ gave to His disciples just before His ascension is given also to us. Are we fulfilling it? May God forgive our terrible neglect in not pressing into the cities of America that as yet we have scarcely touched with the tips of our fingers. When will this work be done? It makes my heart sick and sore to see such blindness on the part of the people of God, such an unwillingness to take hold with men who have almost sacrificed their lives in an effort to advance certain lines of work, supposing that they were doing that which would call forth commendation.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 23

    There is a work to be done in America that calls for our means in America. In the last fifteen years I have given thousands of dollars to the work in Europe. I have not withdrawn my gift from this field, even though I have had to borrow money for my own use and pay interest on it. I have no call to help more than I am helping in the European field. The Lord Jesus has commissioned me to speak in behalf of the Southern field. My plea for this field is disregarded, and I know too well why this is. But I shall continue to endeavor to provoke my brethren to love and good works.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 24

    God will bring test and trial to His workers in the South to prove them. But He does not lay upon other men the work of confusing, perplexing, and discouraging these workers. When men are down, they need to be lifted up, not left hopeless, their words and actions misinterpreted and their mistakes exaggerated. Is God in this?—Nay. He gives to no one the work of watching for and talking of the faults of others.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 25

    God’s hand is on the wheel of providence, and He will turn it so that an altogether different showing will be presented. O that men were wise, not in their own conceit, but in the wisdom of God. My brethren, if you had a realization of what has been done in the South, you would praise God, and work earnestly to bring to greater completion that which has been begun. Instead of picking flaws, you would commend the good that has been accomplished. What we need is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The church on earth is to become the court of holy love. Those who by the Lord’s appointment occupy in it positions of trust are to bring into it the pity and self-sacrifice of the great Head of the church.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 26

    The Lord desires His people to take up the work that lies nearest them, remembering that every work of goodness is identified with the goodness, mercy, and love of God. Christian fellowship is one means by which character is formed. Thus selfishness is purged from the life, and men and women are drawn to Christ, the great Center. Thus is answered His prayer that His followers may be one, as He is one with the Father.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 27

    My brethren, fasten your grasp upon the unworked Southern field, and labor for it zealously and untiringly. Let not all the means be absorbed in places that have already been worked, leaving the work in other places to present unfinished plans and unfulfilled purposes. As you travel from place to place, and hear our people saying that they wish to help the Southern field, beware how you dissuade them from doing this. Thus you rob a needy field of the place that God designs it to have.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 28


    Christ has told us plainly how we are to deal with those whom we think have injured us. “If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. If he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church; but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.” [Matthew 18:15-17.]17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 29

    Let us cease to feed on the faults of one another. It is worse than cannibalism. God cannot bless His people until they believe His Word and follow His methods. A reform is needed in our churches, that God’s cause may be saved from the strife of tongues. Skilful character builders are needed. And let our ministers and people remember that “other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” [1 Corinthians 3:11.]17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 30

    God does not call men to work, and then, after they have toiled amidst difficulties and discouragements, take them away and put others in their place. It is easy to find fault. Let those who pick flaws in the work that others have done ask themselves whether they could do a work in which no fault could be found. God does not appoint any man to tear down the work that others have done. There may be times when it is necessary for a work to be reorganized. But let those who do this remember that they have the advantage of aftersight, and let them deal tenderly with those who have made mistakes.17LtMs, Ms 167a, 1902, par. 31

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