Ellen G. White Writings

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Lt 122, 1899

Lt 122, 1899

Haskell, Brother and Sister [S. N.]

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

August 14, 1899

This letter is published in entirety in BEcho Supp. 9/18/1899. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

Dear Brother and Sister Haskell:

I have not been able to sleep after one o’clock. I have written several pages to Brethren Sutherland and Magan. I will send you a copy of the same. In the night season I was instructed in many things. The danger that threatens our churches is that new and strange things will be brought in, things that confuse the minds of the people, and give them no strength, at the very time when they most need strength in spiritual things. Clear discernment is needed, that things new and strange shall not be laid alongside of truth as a part of the burden of the message to be given at this time. The very messages we have been giving to the world are to be made prominent. The books containing the light God has given must be brought before the people.

Canvassers should have the fact impressed upon them that the canvassing work is the very work the Lord would have them do. The work of the canvasser is to bring before the world as fast as possible the light that God has given. The publications will do a far greater work than can be accomplished even by the ministry of the Word, because the canvassers reach a class that ministers who teach in Word and doctrine cannot reach. From the light given me, I know that where there is one canvasser in the field, there should be one hundred. Persons should be encouraged to take hold of the work, not to handle the little story books, but to bring before the world the books so essential at this time.

The Lord will be with steadfast, consecrated workers. The time has come when a large work should be done by the canvassers. As watchmen they are ringing the warning bell to awake the sleepers to a sense of their danger. The work to be done is great; the world is asleep, and the churches know not the time of their visitation. How can they best learn the truth? Through the efforts of the canvasser. Thus the reading is brought before those who otherwise would never hear the truth. Those who go forth in the name of the Lord are His messengers to give to the world the glad tidings of salvation through Christ in obeying the law of God.

The multitudes are in darkness, in error, and the Lord would have the light of truth shine forth to the world. To every man is given his work. Here is a work that man can lay hold of and do. All who will consecrate themselves to God to work as canvassers are giving the last message of warning to the world. They will be drawn out to speak the truth, and will have opportunities to explain the Word of God. In doing this itinerant work they are flashing rays of light upon the pathway of those who are in the darkness of error.

Those who are fitting for the ministry can engage in no other work which will give them so large an experience as will the canvassing work. All who want an opportunity for true ministry, and who will give themselves unreservedly to the Lord will find in the canvassing work opportunities to speak upon many things that pertain to the future immortal life.

Doctrinal points should not be forced upon the people by the canvassers. But if the people lead out by asking questions, give them “the reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” [1 Peter 3:15.] What fear? Fear lest your words should savor of self-importance, lest unadvised words should be spoken. The words and the manners are to be after Christ’s likeness.

Pray and work. More will be accomplished by the Christlike, humble prayer than by many words without prayer. Work in simplicity, and the Lord will work with the canvasser. The Holy Spirit will impress minds just as He impresses the minds of those who listen to the words of God’s delegated ministers, who preach His Word. The same ministry of holy angels attends the one who gives himself to canvassing for books for the educating of the people as to what is truth.

Men and women can work in lines effectually if they feel in their hearts that they are doing the work of the Lord in ministering to the souls who know not the truth for this time. They are sounding the note of warning in the byways and highways to prepare a people for the great day of God which is about to break upon the world. We have no time to lose. We must encourage this work. Who will go forth now with our publications? Let them read the sixth chapter of Isaiah and take its lesson home to their hearts.

“Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” [Verses 5-8.]

This representation will be acted over and over again if the canvassers are pressing close to the side of Christ, wearing His yoke, and daily learning of Him how to carry messages of peace and comfort to the sorrowing, disappointed ones, the sad and brokenhearted. By imbuing them with His own Spirit, Christ the great Teacher is fitting them to do a good and important work.

This work has not, of late, had the spirit and the life infused into it by the leading agents that once made it a specialty. Painstaking effort is required; instruction must be given; a sense of the importance of the work must be kept before the workers; all must cherish the spirit of self-denial and self-sacrifice that has been exemplified in the life of our Redeemer.

The Lord Jesus, standing by the side of the canvassers, walking with them, is the chief Worker. The Holy Ghost by their side makes impressions in just the lines needed, if the worker recognizes Christ as the One who is with him to prepare the way. Thus the worker can move forward representing the sacred truth he is handling, in the books for which he is finding a home in families.

Just as the truth presented in the books becomes woven into his own experience and developed in his character will be his strength, his courage, his life. The experience gained will be of more benefit to him than all the advantages he might otherwise obtain in fitting for the work of the ministry. It is the accompaniment of the Holy Spirit of God that prepares the workers, both men and women, to become pastors unto the flock of God. As they cherish the thought that Christ is their companion, a holy awe, a sacred joy, will be felt by them amid all their trying experiences and all their tests. They will learn now to pray as they work. They will be educated in patience, kindness, affability, [and] helpfulness wherever they may be. They will practice true Christian courtesy, bearing in mind that Christ their Companion will not approve of any harsh, unkind words or feelings. Their words need to be purified.

The power of speech should be regarded as a precious talent, granted them to do a high and holy work. The human agent is to represent the divine Companion with whom he is associated. To that unseen, holy Companion he is to show respect and reverence because he is wearing the yoke of Christ and is learning His pure, holy ways and manners.

Those who have faith and confidence in this divine Attendant will develop. They will be gifted with power to clothe the message of truth with a divine, sacred beauty. In all the self-denial and self-sacrifice required, amid all the unpleasant things that occur, they are ever to consider that they are yoked with Christ, partakers with Him of His spirit of patience, forbearance, kindliness, self-denial, and self-sacrifice. This spirit will make them a place and give them success in the work, because Christ is their recommendation to the families. They will not be easily repulsed, for they know that the household needs the instruction these books contain.

Some will lay them on the parlor table, and seldom look into them, until some sorrow comes. Perhaps sickness enters their home. Then they will look for those books, and the stricken ones will find peace and rest, and fall asleep in Jesus, resting in His love because He has forgiven their sins and is precious to their souls. This has been the testimony of many. The Lord co-operates with the self-denying human workers. His own mind, His own spirit, is communicated to them.

God has His workmen in every age. The call of the hour is answered by the human agencies. Thus it will be when the divine voice cries, “Whom shall I send? and who will go for us?” The response will come, “Here am I, send me.” [Verse 8.] The Lord imparts a fitness for the work to every man and woman who will cooperate with divine power. A great work is to be done in our world, and human agencies will surely respond to the demand. And all the requisite talent, courage, perseverance, faith, and tack will come as they put the armor on. The world must hear the warning. When the call comes, “Whom shall I send? and who will go for us?” send back the answer clear and distinct, “Here am I; send me.”

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