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Manuscript Releases Volume Fifteen : Page 68

13. Speculation in Lands and Mines

Dealing in mining stocks is a snare to any of our brethren who invest in them. And buying and selling city lots, selling the lots at figures far above their real value, is another species of robbery. It is not lawful business. It may meet the world's standard, but it cannot meet the standard of an impartial God. These are Satan's traps, laid to catch souls. Our safeguard in all business transactions is the love and fear of God.

There are in our world today the same dishonest practices that prevailed before the Flood swept the world of its pollution, and that prevailed in Sodom before the wicked inhabitants of this city were consumed by fire from heaven. Satan will devise dream-like prospects of great gain. Thus he seeks to enlist men in his service and to engross their attention with the things of the world. Representations are made that are positively untrue.

Many unwary souls are beguiled and made an easy prey as they listen to the voice of a minister, which they have heard proclaiming the truth, now presenting the great advantage of speculating in land and mines. By the exaggerated accounts presented to the people, money that ought to flow into the treasury of God just when it is needed is diverted to other purposes. Investments in mines and land are described as a sure unfailing source of gain; and to obtain means for the cause is the plea. The glowing descriptions have led God-loving,

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God-fearing men to invest thousands of dollars in mines. They were told that thus they would be enabled to assist the cause. But what does the after-sight show? They lost all they invested, getting nothing for their money.

The intoxicating craze for these investments originates with Satan. Thus he seeks to absorb the revenue which should be used to good advantage in God's work. We are safe only as our souls are sanctified by the truth. If the truth is planted in the heart by the Holy Spirit, God will make the discernment clear as to what is right and what is wrong. We have no confidence in a man who will preach to the congregation today, proclaiming solemn truth, and then yield tomorrow to the temptation of Satan to engage in land and mine speculations. The ungodly are lynx-eyed. They see that his conduct is wholly inconsistent with his teaching, and while their words are smooth and flattering, they despise him in their hearts. God wants His messengers to keep clear of everything of this character.

If Satan paves the way for further evil by making the speculation successful, how terrible is the result. The man's ambition is aroused. He wants money to spend as he desires. The means he obtains so easily he spends unwisely and unlawfully.

If we are Christians at all, we must be Christians always, looking constantly to Jesus, practicing His lessons, doing His work. Then we are safe. Those who live the word of Christ, as well as hear it, will in due time reap that which they have sown. God's Word, carefully and prayerfully studied, will keep all well-balanced. The Ruler of the nations has protested against man working out his own will, trampling on righteous principles and ignoring the

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wisdom of God. He declares, "He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent" [Prov. 28:20]. The books of heaven mark him as one guilty of fraud. "Nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy" [1 Tim. 6:17]. "By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honor, and life" [Prov. 22:4]. "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have; for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" [Heb. 13:5].

You cannot set aside the light God has sent to shine upon your pathway, and yet walk in its rays. You are to deal justly, never oppressing your fellow-men. We must study God's word to find out His way. No one who does this in sincerity will walk in darkness. Those who are trying to secure means by speculating in mines or land might better cease this work, and find some steady, honest business. Those who encourage the thirst for gaining riches by speculation will extinguish the light God has set for his feet. If he makes money fast, he will spend it unwisely, and this prodigality will be his ruin. He must continue to make largely in order to keep up his habit of living. Thus many are drawn into the gambling hells to gain money fast enough to meet expenses.

If the professed Christian has success in his first speculations, his ruin is almost sure. Scheme after scheme will be entered upon. Lands will be represented as teeming with gold. A large percentage will be promised for all investments. Thus many are deceived. Shares are taken. Then come loss and ruin, in which some lose all they possess.

Man proposes, but in order to save Him from utter ruin, God disposes. God protests against the greed of the natural heart for gold. Whenever His way is

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departed from and His will violated, by nations, churches, institutions, or individuals, it is recorded in the books of heaven, and retribution will surely follow. "He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver, nor he that loveth abundance with increase" [Eccl. 5:10]. He who says to gold, "Thou art my confidence" [Job 31:24], will find himself "pierced through with many sorrows" [1 Tim. 6:10]. God would have His people keep themselves from all speculations.--Manuscript 26, Diary entry, January 7, 1890.

A Warning Against Financial Speculation

(Written January 7, 1890, at Battle Creek, Michigan.)

Financial speculations are Satan's snares, laid to catch souls. In all business transactions the only safeguard for a man is the love and fear of God. In our world today there are seen the same dishonest practices which prevailed before the Flood swept this earth of its moral pollution, and which prevailed in Sodom before fire from heaven consumed its wicked inhabitants. Satan engrosses men's minds with dreamlike prospects of great gain, and in their greed for gain, those who yield to him make representations which are positively untrue. God and the truth are forgotten.

Many unwary souls are beguiled and make an easy conquest, as they listen to a minister, whom they have heard proclaiming the truth, presenting the great advantage to be gained from speculation in mines and land, telling how by the means which will accrue from the investment, workers may be supported in new

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fields. By the exaggerated accounts of what can be thus gained, men are induced to invest their means, in the hope of making money easily. To gain money for the cause of God is the plea offered by the one asking for means, and his glowing descriptions fascinate God-loving, God-fearing men, leading them to invest money which should have been given to God's cause, in schemes from which, when it is too late, they find that they receive no equivalent.

We have no confidence in a man who today preaches to a congregation about the solemn truths of God's word, and tomorrow yields to the temptations of Satan to engage in land and mine speculation. The ungodly are quick to see that his practices are wholly inconsistent with his teaching, and while they speak smooth, flattering words to him, at heart they despise him.

Look at the history of our brethren at Fresno. Men left churches that needed their help, to go to Fresno, some for their health, others in search of riches, attracted by glowing representations. The temptation to speculate came fierce and strong. Young men and men of grey hair, and even ministers of the gospel, were drawn into the sweeping current, their hopes raised high by their interest in mining shares and city lots. This was Satan's plans to bind up the means that were needed for the advancement of the cause of God. But the bubble burst. The unreasonable hopes failed. The transactions, recorded in the books of heaven as gambling, bore their bitter fruit.

God desires His servants to avoid all speculation. Satan may pave the way by making the first investment successful, but Oh, how bitter will be the final outcome! If the professing Christian has success in his first speculation, His ruin is almost certain. Visionary schemes are wildly entered into as schemers

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present promising enterprises which they declare will pay a large percentage on all money invested. Good men are fascinated and deceived. Shares are purchased. Then comes confusion and loss. Some are totally ruined, having in the excitement invested all they had. In the thirst for riches, reason seems to depart. One or two may gain wealth, to their own injury, but many, many are bitterly disappointed.

Man proposes, but to save him from ruin, God disposes. The Lord has instructed me that should our brethren who are engaged in speculation realize their expectation, it would be the greatest curse that could come to Seventh- day Adventists. Thus others would be led into the snare, to the peril of their souls. Those who can earn an honest living would give up their business to speculate in mining stock, selling their souls for the hope of gain.

God requires His people to deal justly and in all kindness, never oppressing their fellow-beings in any way. Instead of entering into speculation, let those who know the truth find some steady, honest employment, in which they can earn their living in a way that glorifies God. Those who encourage the thirst for speculation will extinguish the light that God has given to guide their feet aright. Making money easily, they will spend it unwisely, and their prodigality will be their ruin. To maintain their habits of selfish indulgence, they must continue to make money rapidly. The effort to make money fast enough to meet their extravagant expenses, draws many into the gambling hell.

Man cannot prosper while he tramples on God's principles and ignores His wisdom. Those who refuse to obey the words of Christ will in time reap what

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they have sown. When in any sense God's way is departed from, when His will is violated, whether by nations, churches, institutions, or individuals, it is written in the books of heaven, and retribution will surely follow.

Once speculation is entered into, there is ever after an unrest, a thirst for gain, a desire to engage in some enterprise by which means can be obtained with ease, to be spent with prodigality. If by the grace of God the error of this course is seen, and therefore does not prove fatal, the character bears the scars for years.

The Ruler of the universe has protested against the greed of the natural heart, saying, "He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent" [Prov. 28:20]. God records them as guilty of fraud and transgression. "Nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy" [1 Tim. 6:17]. "Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure" [Lev. 19:35]. "By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life" [Prov. 22:4]. "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" [Heb. 12:5]. "He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver, not he that loveth abundance with increase" [Eccl. 5:10]. He who says to gold, "Thou art my confidence" [Job 31:24], shall find himself "pierced through with many sorrows" [1 Tim. 6:10]. "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" [Mark 8:36].

My prayer to our heavenly Father is, Lord, let the clear light shine forth. Carefully and prayerfully studied, God's Word keeps men well-balanced. In this

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Word we find God's way clearly defined. No one who searches the Word with sincerity will walk in darkness. But we cannot cast aside the light God sends, and at the same time walk in its rays. To be Christians at all, we must be Christians in all things, revealing His virtues, doing His works. The truth is our safeguard. Planted in the heart by the Holy Spirit, it enables us to see clearly the difference between what is right and what is wrong. Those who cherish the truth will refuse to be drawn into speculation.--Manuscript 26a, 1890. Ellen G. White Estate Washington, D. C. August 1, 1985 Entire Manuscript