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Manuscript Releases, vol. 21 [Nos. 1501-1598]

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    MR No. 1537—Spirituality and Financial Integrity Needed at Church Headquarters

    (Written March 15, 1897, from “Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, N.S.W., to W.C. White. Portions of this manuscript appear in the E.G. White Biography, vol. 4.)

    I send you, my son, a copy of all that I send to Battle Creek, and I trust you make a right use of this matter. I want that the presidents of conferences shall have the matter I send. You will see that there is need now of the greatest care being exercised. Do not feel anything but sincere pity, and show at this time that you are levelheaded because you move by faith and put your trust in God, and that He is your Helper, your Counsellor.21MR 183.1

    I feel so distressed over the matter of Elder Olsen going on and on in the face of so great light. How he can be excusable I cannot define. He has acted like a blind man, like a man dazed. There can be no spiritual union between a man who puts his entire trust in God and a man who is walking contrary to God. Their hearts, their sympathies and feelings cannot sympathize upon the most momentous of all topics, the Holy Spirit's manifestation. “Ask and ye shall receive.” “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” The Lord was anxious to do more, much more, for His people than they could conceive of, in His benevolence toward man, His unexampled love as opposed to their limited conceptions of His goodness.21MR 183.2

    I have written very much for Africa. Night after night I have been unable to sleep past 11:00, 12:00, or 1:00 o'clock. Then I have not been able for several nights to get to rest before half past ten o'clock. This morning I am up at 2:00 o'clock a.m. Cannot write much directly to you; I will write a few words.21MR 183.3

    You will see all this matter I have written under the constraining influence of the Spirit of God. My health is greatly improved but I have not ventured to indulge myself to ride out, because I wanted this to go and it is not all that I must send. Next mail will carry more matter, all written.21MR 183.4

    I feel deep sorrow of soul that is almost too painful to bear at the state of things that exists in the church at Battle Creek. From the light given me from time to time, altogether too heavy responsibilities are laid upon one man. Whoever is chosen as president, there should be another man who should share all the responsibilities, and they should work unitedly. They should be consecrated men, such as there are in all our ranks, men who shall feel the necessity of communing with God and relying upon a “Thus saith the Lord” rather than putting their trust in men who are deficient and weak in spirituality, who can talk but who seldom pray. The burning desire to bring in something wonderful of men's devising that will make an appearance has dishonored God and put a complexion upon His work that is a dishonor to God. Oh, that the past record might be blotted out of the books of heaven!21MR 183.5

    I want you to see Brother Henry and make every effort possible to inspire him with hope, to surrender to God. I am sure he could have been helped if Brother Olsen had not led him to suppose he sustained him. Had Brother Olsen not acted the Aaron and the Eli, but stood leaning upon the arm of God in the place of the arm of man, God would have worked for him and been his strength, his front guard, his rereward.21MR 184.1

    But, oh, it has been so different than this! The eyes of men who have officiated in Battle Creek have been more or less blinded and their whole experience has become so confused they cannot discern light from darkness, truth from error. They do not know many things as they ought to know them, and yet the education of our people has been to look to Battle Creek for guidance, when those in the school and in the publishing house have been so destitute of the true light that many consider themselves rich and increased in goods and having need of nothing, and know not that they are wretched and blind and miserable and naked. And all because they did not heed the counsel of the True Witness.21MR 184.2

    I am surprised and sore displeased as I see the course that many have taken. And then to put their hands into the treasury that God has appointed to sustain the ministers in laboring in service to God, to hold forth the Word of life to others, is another evidence of unfaithful guardianship of the means to be used to sustain the missionary work by the tithe money.21MR 184.3

    But oh, the dearth of means to carry forward the work of God in foreign countries, while the large churches in Oakland and San Francisco and Battle Creek are taking from the treasury the means God has appointed [for the ministry, and using it] to defray the expenses of keeping the church building in order and in paying the expenses of fuel and lights!21MR 184.4

    Where is the straight work being done? Where is the example in self-denial and self-sacrifice? Ministers are not all sufficiently paid. Elder Bourdeau says he has labored and received no wages from the treasury. Others complain of being unable to sustain their families. Where are the men of God's appointment?21MR 184.5

    When the Lord's portion, which He has reserved as His own in tithes and offerings, is used for common purposes while the church is displaying a love of self-indulgence and selfish gratification, the Lord will not, cannot bless churches and will withdraw His Spirit from all who serve themselves and dishonor God.21MR 185.1

    There is a great need of setting things in order. Ministers are becoming discouraged, but their piety has not been of the right quality. A great work needs to be done that has been left undone in both the publishing centers. In the place of talking about hard times, dearth of means, and large expenses, let the watchmen on the walls of Zion, the editors of our periodicals, sound an alarm in all “My holy mountain.” Let them deny themselves and take up the cross and follow Jesus.21MR 185.2

    Let there be no more complaints of hard times when families and individuals indulge themselves in dress, in eating, in drinking, in obtaining all the enjoyable things that they desire. Let self-denial come in. If times are hard, bring the living expenses to the situation, and do not think they can make the times better by having fewer ministers to support, and using the means the Lord has consecrated for a special purpose to defray common expenses which do not mean souls.21MR 185.3

    The tithe money is God's. A system of robbery has been going on for years, and men are spiritually blind and do not discern that they are drying up the resources to keep ministers in the field. And what else can the young men do but unite with the medical missionary workers?21MR 185.4

    There has been but little encouragement for ministers to be accepted and sent out as laborers, because there is no money in the treasury to give them encouragement. The result is that there is a great dearth of laborers. Men must either enter the canvassing field or unite with the medical missionary workers, and then those who have given them no suitable encouragement will blame Dr. Kellogg for gathering up those whom they do not accept and set at work.21MR 185.5

    When there is a clear-cut testimony borne by men who officiate in Battle Creek, when the live coal from off the altar has touched their lips, the heavenly Watcher will say, “Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sins purged.” There needs to be a deep humiliation, far deeper than has yet been manifest.21MR 185.6

    When men shall come into close relationship with God, when their spiritual vision can discern the things presented to Isaiah, there will be a living ministry that will show results in stirring the hearts of the people that they shall be converted, and then there will be an awakening as men awaken out of deep sleep. The tame, commonplace discourses that have been preached and have lulled the people to a carnal security, will be broken up. Penitent men, praying men, will bear a living testimony of warning, of reproof, of rebuke of selfishness and pride and covetousness, and God will return to His people.21MR 185.7

    The warning over the dearth of means shows that sin is upon the people, that selfishness and self-indulgence are eating out the vitals of the people of God. Where is the faith of the people of God? What are they doing? “Sell that ye have and give alms” will be proclaimed, and when the Lord sees that men and women are repentant and contrite of heart, that they are willing to be converted from their sins, God will work with them. Read Isaiah 57:13-20. “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” [verse 17]. When the people will humble their hearts by repentance and confession to God and the forsaking of sins which have stirred the wrath of God against them, then the Lord will fulfill His word.21MR 186.1

    “I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also” [verse 18]. This is the very thing that is needed in Battle Creek and in Oakland and in all our churches.21MR 186.2

    “I will lead him.” Men have been led by men and depended on men and turned their faces from God to listen to the counsel of men. When we all repent of doing this and greatly dishonoring God, [we shall] look higher than human wisdom. Let every one seek God for his individual self. Ministers and people are far from God. The living testimony must be revived, and the message of the Lord will go forth from unfeigned lips, the whole heart contrite and no more lifted up, but humble and meek and lowly.21MR 186.3

    Thus saith the Lord to every person, “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].21MR 186.4

    There has been great dishonor to God by church members engaging in the real estate agent's business. It is not proper or consistent. In every case there is injustice and fraud, and this has been allowed to do great harm to the cause of God. There is a business that is more nearly like the broker's business, and many have been deceived, deluded, and brought into want. Widows and orphans have had to suffer. There is fraud and dishonesty and corruption, and these things are carried on without decided measures to purify the church from these things that defile the soul and rob the widow and the fatherless and poor.21MR 186.5

    The Lord declares, “Neither will I be with you any more.” “Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also” [Joshua 7:12, 11]. All this is defiling the churches throughout our borders—dissembling and theft and robbery. Oh, how things have been left to drift into perverted channels forbidden of God! There must be an awakening to save the situation.21MR 187.1

    I will write no more now. It is just daylight. I must write a few words to Edson. Be sure and see Edson. Do not neglect this. Please read this to Edson and please see that he has all the matter I send you to read. Herbert [Lacey] is at the health home. Lillian is with me. He is reduced to skin and bones. The case is critical, but I believe the Lord will raise him up. We are praying for him. He is having everything done for him possible. Sara returned evening after the Sabbath and bears the report I now give you. She could not do anything. Brother Semmens gives his whole time to the sick man, and they are having Dr. Deek, who is watching the case of the hygienic methods of treatment with great interest. He says he is doing just as well as he could possibly do under this attack.—Letter 181, 1897.21MR 187.2

    Ellen G. White Estate

    Silver Spring, Maryland,

    December 13, 1990.

    Entire Letter.

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