I was shown that with you, I and mine have come to be first. You have had so great a care for yourself that the Lord has had no room to work for you. You have given Him no chance. He has, in a great measure, given Brother L and yourself up to work according to your own judgement, that you might be convinced that your wisdom is foolishness. You
have not worked for the interest of the widow and fatherless, as the Lord has especially enjoined upon His followers; neither have you made the cases of the Lord's poor your own, by taking a special interest in them, nor have you sought to glorify God and magnify His name; therefore the Lord has suffered you and Brother L to pursue a course of your own choosing. He has permitted you to look out for yourselves. Your own selfish interests have been the foundation of your actions, and you will reap the harvest which you yourselves have sown. I saw that you would verily receive the reward that sooner or later follows the serving of your own selfish interest. "Give an account of thy stewardship," must be heard by you. You are accountable to God for the work entrusted to you, which you have shamefully neglected in order to serve yourselves.
Had you been seeking to show yourselves approved unto God, seeking the kingdom of heaven and the righteousness of Christ, you would have been doing the works of Christ. The poor, the widows, the fatherless, would have called forth from you the tenderest pity and sympathy; you would have been interested in them and treated them as you would wish your wife and children treated were they left dependent and afflicted to the cold mercies of the world or of unfeeling, heartless professed Christians. There has been on your part a sad, unfeeling, heartless neglect of the unfortunate. You have served your own interest, irrespective of their great need. God cannot bless you until you see your sin in regard to these things.
I saw that the Lord's work has not been more sacred in your eyes than your own business. Eternal things have not been discerned. The Lord has sent warnings and reproofs to arouse you to a sense of your duty by letting you know what is expected of you, but you have not regarded these warnings. You have not realised that you were dealing with God. You have robbed God and served yourselves.
There are many who in good faith have sent in to the office means which they had to make a sacrifice to obtain. Some, both men and women, have worked very hard, and consecrated to the Lord the means obtained by hard labour and the closest economy, and have sent it to the office to advance the cause. Poor widows have sent nearly their whole dependence, trusting in God to take care of them, and the means has been consecrated with prayers and tears, yet sent with joyfulness, they feeling that they were aiding in the great work of saving souls. Poor families have sold their only cow, denying themselves and their little children of milk, feeling that they were making a sacrifice for God. They have put their means into the office in good faith. Selfishness and mismanagement have helped to squander this means. God holds those accountable who have had the handling of it. "Give an account of thy stewardship," will soon be heard. May the Lord help you to free yourselves from every blemish.
Battle Creek, Michigan, Jan. 17, 1870.