Ellen G. White Writings

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Lt 119, 1895

Lt 119, 1895

White, J. E.; White, Emma

Norfolk Villa, Prospect St., Granville, N. S. W., Australia

February 18, 1895

Portions of this letter are published in SpTA #3 39-41; 14MR 17-25; PC 398-400.

Dear Children, Edson and Emma:

We have just sent off a large mail, and I am very, very tired. Elder McCullagh and Brother McCann came in this forenoon and took dinner with us. I was too weary to go to the dining room, and a tray was brought to my room, but I ate very lightly. After dinner Brother McCullagh presented several important matters before me for consideration. Among others was the urgent request for me to speak next Sabbath at Ashfield, and next Sunday evening in the tent at Petersham. It is considered necessary for me to speak there quite frequently now. My prayer is that the Lord will strengthen me and imbue me with His Holy Spirit that His name may be glorified by my work. The Lord is very good to me, and I praise His holy name.

Although the work seems to have only just begun in Ashfield, they have pitched the tent at Petersham, two miles nearer Sydney, and hold meetings in it every evening except Saturday. The tent is full every evening. Last Sunday the collection in Ashfield was $6, and the collection in Petersham was something over $6. This will go far toward defraying the expenses of these meetings.

Brother McCullagh and his co-laborer, Brother Hare, are much encouraged. Several of the most influential men are much interested in the meetings. Brethren Collins and Pallant are visiting and giving Bible readings, which creates some interest, and brings the people to the tent to hear the truth. There are many more calls for this kind of labor than can be filled. Brethren McCullagh and Hare think they will be able to organize a church of about forty members in Ashfield. This is good news indeed.

Brother McCullagh also made my heart glad by telling me of a married lady named Robertson who has just decided to keep the Sabbath. The minister of her church, the Wesleyan, I think, visited her, and she told him she had decided to become a Sabbathkeeper—to obey the fourth commandment. He said, “I believe the seventh day to be the Sabbath, and the right day to be observed, but what could I do if I should keep the seventh day? I should lose my position, and they would not permit me to preach.” This woman is a well-appearing lady and has been a teacher in the Sunday school for ten years. Her minister said they could not think of such a thing as losing her. “Oh,” said she, “I can teach in the Sunday school just as I have done.” Said he, “That is just what I wish to speak to you about. The church is not willing for you to continue to teach if you keep the Sabbath.” Her husband has not the moral courage to take his position, although he is fully convinced on the Sabbath question. He is just trembling under the cross. May the Lord give him strength and grace to be obedient to all of His commandments.

February 19

I could not sleep after twelve o’clock, and am now seated on my bed writing this to you. I thought I would catch up the little items as they occur. They will interest you, and I can send you a diary letter next mail. I pray most earnestly that your faith fail not under trial. All who are seeking to save perishing souls will have the power of darkness to contend with, but the Lord will not leave them nor forsake them. Help is laid upon One who is mighty to save.

Many are strongly convinced of the truth, but either husband or wife prevents their stepping out. How can one who is in fellowship with Christ’s sufferings refuse to obey His will and do His work? They know the terms of salvation, which are plainly revealed in the Word of God. They listen to the message which the Lord sends through His delegated servants, but although they assent to the truth, they will not obey. They have not genuine faith to appropriate God’s promises to themselves. They do not regard Him as their personal Saviour, in whom they may trust as a child trusts its loving parents. They do not regard God as a loving heavenly Father who has provided for them a perfect Saviour, a never-failing Friend, an infallible Guide and Teacher. It is surprising that they can read the promises in the Word of God, the gracious calls to the heavenly feast, and yet refuse to accept them. Holding themselves aloof from the source of their strength and efficiency, they are as sapless branches. Not having become united with the living Vine, can we suppose that they will have spiritual eyesight to discern the exalted privilege of those who serve God, and the unfavorable position those are placed in who fail to follow Him?

Oh, so many have not the real faith that works by love and purifies the soul; therefore they choose to labor for the approbation of men rather than of God. No real heavenly brightness is brought into their religious life, and the future is devoid of the assurance which leads them to trust and hope. Many of our neighbors are living in transgression and rebellion against God. They choose to indulge their carnal impulses rather than to yoke up with Christ, lift the cross, and follow Jesus. There is a cross to lift, and self-denial to practice in all the ways of practical godliness. It is through loving care and helpfulness for others that we learn the precious lessons God designs for us. The great sacrifice of love made by the only begotten Son of God won the victory on our behalf. When will the people of God become pure and true and Christlike? When will they come out from the world and be separate? When will they open the doors of the heart and welcome the heavenly Guest?

We cannot overestimate the value of simple faith and unquestioning obedience. It is by following in the path of obedience in simple faith that the character attains perfection. Adam was required to render strict obedience to God’s commandments, and no lower standard is presented to those who desire salvation in 1895. Christ has promised us sufficient power to reach this high standard. He says, “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive.” [John 14:13-17.]

Consider this statement a moment. But why “cannot” the world receive the truth? “Because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him.” [Verse 17.] The world is leagued against the truth, because it does not desire to obey the truth. Shall I, who perceive the truth, close my eyes and heart to its saving power because the world chooses darkness rather than light? Shall I bind myself up with the bundles of tares because my neighbors refuse to be bound up with the wheat? Shall I refuse light, the evidence of truth which leads to obedience, because my relations and friends choose to follow in the paths of disobedience which lead away from God? Shall I close my mind against the knowledge of truth because my neighbors and friends will not open their understanding to discern the truth as it is in Jesus? Shall I refuse to grow in the grace and knowledge of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ because my neighbors consent to remain dwarfs?

6:30 a.m. The sun is beginning to penetrate the clouds and reveal its beams of light. I am thankful for this, and I will praise the Lord for all His goodness. We have a very pleasant household. May Lacey is like a sunbeam all the time. We appreciate her very much, and Willie will be greatly blessed in his union with her. Today I must commence in earnest the work of writing on the life of Christ.

I cannot tell what matter has been sent to you, as I was at Dora Creek, but hope that it was all of that character which will prove a blessing to you and your company. We are a long distance apart, but we will be thankful that there is a line of communication between us. I am very glad to know that the Lord is your Helper. To Him you may look, and in Him you may trust; and He will be to you a present help in every time of need.

I AM means an eternal presence; the past, present, and future are alike with God. He sees the most remote events of past history, and the far distant future with as clear a vision as we do those things which are transpiring daily. We know not what is before us, and if we did, it would not contribute to our eternal welfare. God gives us an opportunity to exercise faith and trust in the great I AM. The Lord must keep the city, except the watchman labor in vain. This wonderful truth was revealed by Christ during His mission on earth. Our Saviour says, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” Fifteen hundred years before Christ laid off His royal robe, His kingly crown, and left His position of honor in the heavenly courts, assumed humanity, and walked a man among the children of men, Abraham saw His day, and was glad. “Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him” because of that saying. [John 8:56-59.]

Christ was using the great name of God that was given to Moses to express the idea of the eternal presence. Isaiah also saw Christ, and his prophetic words are full of significance. He says, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” [Isaiah 9:6.] Speaking through him, the Lord says, “I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel; thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honorable, and I have loved thee: Therefore I will give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; even everyone that is called by my name; for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

“Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears. Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and show us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them bear and say, It is truth. Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God. Yea, before the day was, I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of mine hand: I will work, and who shall let [i.e., hinder] it? ... I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.” [Isaiah 43:3-13, 15.]

The Pharisees were horrified at this declaration of Christ’s, “Before Abraham was, I am.” [John 8:58.] They were beside themselves with rage that He should express such awful blasphemy, claiming to be the I AM. They would have stoned Him then and there, but the I AM blinded their eyes that they should not see Him, although He went out of the temple, passing through the very midst of them. As Jesus passed through the multitude He saw a man who had been blind from his birth, and healed him.

When Jesus came to our world, He proclaimed Himself, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: No man cometh unto the Father but by me.” “Hereafter ye shall see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” [John 14:6; 1:51.]

Although our Lord ascended from earth to heaven, the Holy Spirit was appointed as His representative among men. “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless.” [John 14:15-18.]

Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally; therefore it was altogether for their advantage that He should leave them, go to His Father, and send the Holy Spirit to be His successor on earth. The Holy Spirit is Himself, divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. He would represent Himself as present in all places by His Holy Spirit, as the Omnipresent. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall [although unseen by you] teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. ... Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” [John 14:26; 16:7.]

It is not in the order of God that any man, or any class of men, should assume that God has made them conscience for their brethren, or to put forth their finite hand in a patronizing manner to control the Lord’s delegated workers, thus endangering the safety of the Lord’s heritage as well as their own, retarding the work of God. God does not confine Himself to one man, or to a set of men through whom to accomplish His work, but says of all, “Ye are laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] This means that every believing soul should have a part to act in His sacred work, and every individual believer in Jesus Christ is to manifest to the world a symbol of Christ’s sufficiency, to represent to His church the higher laws of the future, immortal world, and an obedience to the mandates of heaven that is without a parallel. They should reveal a depth of knowledge independent of human inventions.

The Lord must be believed and served as the great “I AM,” and we must trust implicitly in Him. [Exodus 3:14.] Let not men prescribe laws to take the place of God’s law. Never educate men to look to men, to trust in men, for man’s wisdom is not sufficient to decide as to their right to engage in the Lord’s work. When God lays a work upon individuals, men are not to reject His sanction. God must not be impeded in the working out of His plans by man’s interference, but this has been done again and again. If the church on earth is to resemble a temple, let it be built according to the pattern shown in heaven, and not according to man’s genius. The invention of man often counteracts the working out of God’s plans. The golden measuring rod has not been placed in the hands of any finite man, or any class of men, whatever their position or calling, but is in the hand of the heavenly Architect. If men will not meddle with God’s plan, and will let Him work upon minds and characters, building them up according to His plan, a work will be accomplished that will stand through the severest of trials.

March 9

I arise this morning at half past two. I could not sleep after two, and have passed rather a restless night, but feel no pain. I have been pleading with my heavenly Father for myself, for my son Edson, for Emma, and for their companions, that the Lord will keep them in safety, and protect them from “the pestilence that walketh in darkness,” and from the “destruction that wasteth at noonday.” [Psalm 91:6.] I pray for W. C. White, and for his children, who are so far separated from their father. I shall be happy to see parent and children once more united. W. C. White has lived a lonely life lately.

The truth is progressing in Ashfield and Petersham, where the tent is pitched; but the work moves slowly in this country. A longer time is needed here for people to come to a decision. They cannot be hurried; and while some grasp the truth eagerly, others move slowly, counting the cost, for it means much to them to lose their position and not know where they shall find employment. May the drawing power of the Holy Spirit bring them to a decision. The truth is truth; unbelief cannot make it error.

The power of Christ, a crucified Saviour, to give eternal life should be presented to the people. We should show them that the Old Testament is as verily the gospel in types and shadows as the New Testament is in the unfolding power. The New Testament is not a new religion, and the Old Testament is not an old religion to be superseded by the New. The New Testament is only the advancement and unfolding of the Old. Abel was a believer in Christ and was as verily saved by His power as were Peter and Paul.

Enoch was a representative of Christ as surely as was the beloved disciple John. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. To him was committed the message of the second coming of Christ. “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” [Jude 14, 15.] The message preached by Enoch, and his translation to heaven, were a convincing argument to all who lived in Enoch’s time. These things were an argument that Methuselah and Noah could use with power to show that the righteous would be translated.

That God who walked with Enoch was our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. He was the light of the world then, just as He is in 1895. Those living then were not without teachers to instruct them in the paths of life, for Noah and Enoch were Christians. The gospel is given in precept in Leviticus. Implicit obedience is required now, as then. How important it is that we understand the meaning of this word. Only two classes will be developed in the world—the obedient and the disobedient. This must be made apparent in all our labors. If we could only bear in mind that Christ, in disguise, is constantly by our side. “I am at your right hand to help you.” [Isaiah 41:13.] We are to be His witnesses to convince the sinner of sin. No one can be compelled against his will, but he can be convinced. Christ is the miracle-working power that can do this.

Men, fallible men, are not to think it is their prerogative to control, to mark out, or to prescribe the labors of their fellow men. When God works upon the human instrumentality, let men be very careful how they intermeddle; for in its process, the work of God is divine. The work of God has often been hindered by men considering that they had power to say, “Go here” or “Go there,” “Do this” or “Do that,” without consulting the individual himself, or respecting his convictions as a laborer together with God. God has promised His presence to every believer; and let those who are in positions of authority—presidents of conferences and board councils, and everyone who has to do with the human mind—respect the individuality of mind and conscience. These workers are in co-partnership with Jesus Christ, and you may interpose yourself so as to interfere with God’s plans, for the human agent is under His special authority and dictation.

When men composing boards and councils are themselves walking at a distance from God, of what value is their discernment and wisdom to decide in reference to the work of God’s delegated servants? The human mind is open to jealousies, evil surmisings, and selfish considerations, and God’s plans are often turned aside by the caprice and by the plans of unconsecrated men. If the door is not closed to the enemy, he will enter and will figure largely in human inventions. The Lord requires the men who have a directing influence in His work to be wholly consecrated to Him. He wants them to have hearts of flesh, and not of steel.

Men who do not control their own impulses are not chosen by the Lord to deal with human minds. For this work there is need of much prayer, much humiliation before God, much deep sensibility of the value of the human soul for whom Christ has paid so great a price. It was to seek for the pearl of great price that He left the enjoyments of heaven, and when that pearl is found, all heaven rejoices. When this is the case, why do not men tremble when they see the pearl in danger of being lost? Why are they not working conscientiously to secure that pearl for Jesus Christ? God sees that men in official positions are lifted up in self-confidence and self-importance. He sees that they are speaking and acting wrongly toward those who need wise instruction, and who need to come in contact with men who have hearts of flesh and not of steel.

Christ is our example, and everyone placed in a position of trust needs the subduing influence of the Spirit of God upon the heart day by day. Christ wept with those that wept. In all their afflictions He was afflicted, and was touched with the feeling of their infirmities. He is a tender and faithful High Priest. He considers the cases of the tempted and tried ones as verily His own, and He ministers unto them. These weak ones of the flock are to be carefully nourished with the manna Christ has supplied. They are to be educated, not to look to men and trust in men, whatever may be their calling.

God would have all such confederacies broken to atoms and remodeled upon Christlike principles. The foundation stone must be mercy. Human minds are not to be trammeled and harnessed and driven by human hands. The Lord Jesus must hold the reins in His own hands that were pierced to bring peace and comfort and hope to every soul who will believe on Him. He gives to the purchases of His blood the guardianship of His grace; they shall move in His light, clad in the robes of His righteousness. To every man is given his work, and while souls are brought into church capacity, work is assigned them of God. They are to move as minds that are under the controlling influence of God.

Men are educated to look to men, to be dependent on men. One man, by virtue of his position, exercises authority over others as if they were to be led by lines, this way and that, as dumb animals. God has not directed in this way. God is our chief, God is our instructor, and to Him we must look. We must ask the Holy Spirit’s guidance and expect to be led and controlled by it. The church organization is to be respected, but it is not to be made in any way a galling yoke. Men are not to assume the prerogative of God and think to rule and coerce and oppress the souls of God’s purchased possession. All heaven is indignant at what men, with complacency, will do to their fellow men, claiming at the same time to be representatives of Jesus Christ. They too often represent the spirit and character of Satan.

Christ has found His pearl of great price in lost, perishing souls. He sold all that He had to come into possession, even engaged to do the work and run the risk of losing His own life in the conflict. How then should man regard his fellow man? Christ has demonstrated the way. He says, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” [John 13:34.] When those words are heeded and obeyed in the spirit and in the letter, we will be doers of the Word, and not hearers only. When these words are practiced by those who claim to have wisdom to guide the sheep of the Lord’s pasture, there will be far less selfishness, far less boasting, far less putting forth the finger and speaking vanity. Jesus is to superintend all events in the present and future of His church. John was instructed to write the things which he had seen, “and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” [Revelation 1:19, 20.]

Oh, that men would revere the great Head of the church, and would manufacture less human methods, bringing down spirituality to the very dust with human inventions! God has been left out, and the church is not prepared to advance to the conflict under the banner of Jesus Christ. It is not doing the work for suffering souls, [who] Christ owns, as if done to Himself. But the church, defective as it is, and enfeebled with so much chaff, is the only object on earth upon which He bestows His highest regard. In His estimation, the church in heaven and the church on earth are identical. He has promised to come personally into the midst of His church. He said to everyone holding a position of truth, “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 11:29, 30.]

Men in official position must realize that their position gives them no license to be unkind or uncourteous, no license to be oppressive and to let their tongues, which should be sanctified, speak words which will open a door of temptation and help the great adversary in his work of discouraging souls. God has given us a work to do in saving souls from the companionship of Satan.

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