Ellen G. White Writings

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Ms 8c, 1891

Ms 8c, 1891

Relationship of Institutional Workers

Harbor Heights, Michigan

July 26, 1891

This manuscript is published in entirety in OHC 333 with 1MR 333-339 and 7MR 71-73. +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.

A spirit of independence has been coming into our institutions, and many feel that they are not amenable to anyone. The lessons of the Lord Jesus are not deemed worthy of acceptance as rules for the practical duties of life. Many have created a standard of their own, and are satisfied to walk in sparks of their own kindling. Christ says, “Without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] Then would it not be better to walk in the footsteps of Jesus?

The Lord desires to make man the repository of divine influence, and the only thing that hinders the accomplishment of God’s design is that men close their hearts to the light of life. Apostasy caused the withdrawal of the Holy Spirit from man, but through the plan of redemption this blessing of heaven is to be restored to those who sincerely desire it. The Lord has promised to give all good things to those who ask Him, and all good things are defined as given with the gift of the Holy Spirit. The more we discover our real need, our real poverty, the more will we desire the gift of the Holy Spirit; our souls will be turned, not into the channel of ambition and presumption, but into the channel of earnest supplication for the enlightenment of heaven. It is because we do not see our need, do not realize our poverty, that we do not pour forth earnest entreaties, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, for the bestowal of the blessing.

This is the one thing that is needed at the Health Retreat. If the workers there only knew their need, their cry would ascend with ceaseless importunity that they might have the Spirit of God to rest upon them. They would see nothing but danger in walking in the sparks of their own kindling. Devising and planning without the Lord to plan with you is to be ensnared by the enemy. Let every soul seek the Lord.

Jesus has said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” [Matthew 7:7.] It is in proportion to our appreciation of the necessity and value of spiritual things that we seek for their attainment. “Without me ye can do nothing,” says Jesus [John 15:5], and yet many think that man can do very much in his own finite strength and wisdom. Satan is ready to offer his counsel that he may win souls in the game of life. When men do not feel the need of counseling with their brethren, something is wrong; they trust to their [own] wisdom. It is essential that brethren should counsel together. This I have been compelled to urge for the last forty-five years. Again and again the instruction has been repeated that those who are engaged in important work in the cause of God should not walk in their own ideas, but counsel together. They may regard their plans as without a flaw, but other minds may be enlightened on some points where they cannot see or may take heed to suggestions and counsels of those who see not the truth. The Lord may have plans of a different order, not after the plans of finite man.

The Lord has not endowed one man with all the qualifications essential to accomplish the work in our institutions. One man may be strong in one direction and weak on other points, and Satan understands how to take advantage of that weak point; and another may be strong in another direction, each making up for the deficiency of his brother. Let no man think himself sufficient of himself, with breadth of mind enough to carry the weighty responsibilities of running such institutions as the publishing house, the college, or the health institutions. Among a multitude of counselors there is safety.

It is essential that men in responsible positions in any branch of the work of God take advantage of religious ordinances and the means of grace to obtain all the counsels of heaven they can. Special efforts should be made by those in the medical profession to place themselves in the channel of light because they are continually exposed to a variety of temptations.

Physicians are deprived of many opportunities to attend important meetings where they might obtain a better understanding of the working of the cause of God. But they can do far better than they do if they will devise and plan with determined purpose. They do not hear the statistics of the work, they lose the direct appeals that are made to the heart, that they may recognize the voice of God in entreaty, in warnings, in testimonies of His Spirit that they may be assured that the Captain of their salvation is leading His people. They lose sight of the importance and force of spiritual truths and fail to reach a position of exalted faith. Those who are in this position need wise counselors who shall alternate in attending the religious meetings for the benefit of the churches. Imbued with the Spirit of God, they may catch the holy inspiration and rehearse the messages of warning, and keep fresh in mind the providences of God, while they live lives of purity and faith and gladness of spirit.

The Lord is at work in a variety of ways to bind His people together. Through heavenly and human agencies He is at work that His professed followers may all become partakers of the Divine nature, that His church may be brought up to the highest standard of Christian excellence. God has made the line of demarkation between the church and the world very distinct, and He designs that it shall be discerned and practiced. The Lord Jesus has not spoken at random when He says there can be no union between Christ and Belial [2 Corinthians 6:15], and yet there is danger that the worldly element will be permitted, as it has already done, to have a molding influence at the Health Retreat. If this is permitted an element will be encouraged and developed that will be full of the subtilty of Satan, and the more intelligent the irreligious workers, the more and greater is the evil to those who are associated with them.

The Lord is seeking by the working of His power and grace to bring His people into a condition where eternal principles may live in their hearts, where indelible impressions may be made upon the souls, so that as Satan comes with his specious temptations as an angel of light, he may be overcome. His sophistry, his deceptions, his policy will work constantly for the subverting of souls, that he may be able to obliterate the marks of Christian discipleship from the servants of God and draw them into confederacy with those whom he leads and commands, the enemies of Christ and the truth. We need to be thoroughly awakened from the spiritual paralysis that has come upon us. We have, many of us, lost our first love; and we love not our brethren because we have been breathing the malaria of the world.

You may say at the Health Retreat there is no danger of this at all; but I tell you there is danger. This work is continually going on. If souls are not overcome, if their feet do not go into strange paths, it is because they have their eyes anointed clearly to discern the wiles of the enemy and have their lives hid with Christ in God, and a new, supernatural, divine life is linked with theirs. Those who are one with Christ do not boast of their wisdom or their capabilities, for they feel their inefficiency and weakness, and this leads them to hunger and thirst after righteousness. They trust in One mighty to save to the uttermost all that come unto Him and put their trust in Him. The value of the fellowship of those who love and serve God, the benefits of their counsel, will not, cannot be discerned by those who are mingling their interests with those who care not for the Lord or His truth. By beholding, men become changed; and those who mingle with the world find the world more to their natural taste than do those who love and fear God, who seek to conform their lives to His requirements. But Jesus has said concerning those who do His will, “I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the wind blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock.” [Matthew 7:24, 25.]

Again He says, “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 [not deception]; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not [Jesus, the author of truth], neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” [John 14:15-17.] What is the work of the Comforter? “And when he is come, he will”—praise, flatter, exalt? No;—“he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” [John 16:8-14.]

The believers in all ages are to be one, and the Holy Spirit is the living essence that cements, animates, and pervades the whole body of Christ’s followers. The duties devolving on the members of Christ’s church are tasks set by the Lord, and although each one of the workers is but an atom, a fraction of the stupendous fabric, inhabited by the Holy Spirit, how sacred, how holy do these duties appear! The Jews had an appointed guard whose duty it was to watch the temple night and day, and although the guard was made up of a large number of men, each one felt that he was under obligation to stand in his lot and place; for he was entrusted with a solemn charge. Suppose that the numerous body of guards had been dismissed, and the whole burden of responsibility had been placed upon one man, and that [it was] at a time when particular danger was near because of the efforts of a vigilant foe. This would be presumption. Would not the solitary guard be liable to be overcome because overcharged? Thank God, important interests are not to rest on one man’s mind or one man’s judgment. Every soul is to be on the alert to catch every sound, to note every movement on the part of the enemy that would endanger his God-given charge. This is the spirit that should characterize every worker at the Health Retreat, for each one of you is entrusted with a sacred responsibility, that you may help one another, strengthen one another in keeping the fort. There is to be a building one another up in the most holy faith, and no one is to receive the least sanction in tearing others down. The Holy Spirit must abide upon every worker, else he that watcheth keepeth his watch in vain.

Let every one do his work as unto God and not unto man. Let your conduct accord with the sacred trust that has been given you. This you may do, for the foundation of life has been opened for you, and principles of a new and heavenly order are to control your spirit and actions. Let not anyone receive the impression that a confederacy may safely be formed with worldlings. Confidences are not to be encouraged with those who are enemies of Christ. No compromise can be made with the enemy. Are you sentinels for God? Then be careful lest you betray God’s people into the enemy’s hands. Satan is seeking to insinuate some scheme that will result in separating God from the workers, but I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Let every one stand in his lot and place, and do the part assigned him with unwavering fidelity, and he will see and realize the fulfilment of the gracious designs of the Lord.” If you become restless, as did Abraham and Sarah, and work up plans of your own in order to bring about God’s promises, a condition of things which you deem desirable after your own ways and ideas, you will find that it will result in sorrow, misery, and sin.

Jesus comes to you as the Spirit of truth; study the mind of the Spirit, consult your Lord, follow His way. If you yield to the dictates of the mind and flesh, your spirit will lose its proper character and balance, and you fail to discern and cannot appreciate moral power. Then you will seek to carry out the maxims of worldlings. Their voices are heard on every side, Here is the path of success. Your mind will, if you follow their suggestions, be deceived, carnalized, and you will esteem the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit as less than human invention. God calls upon you to close the door to human inventions and to open the door to divine illumination. Be careful that you do not resist the Spirit of God in its office work upon the temple of the soul. Be determined to please God, to magnify His name, to enjoy the sweet influence of His grace.

Every element of your nature is to be dedicated to God; lay not one attribute upon the altar of Satan. There is none too much of any of the workers, be they possessed of large or small talents, to render themselves to God that they may be sanctified and fitted for His service. Give all you have and are, and it is all nothing without the merit of the blood that sanctifies the gift. Could those who hold responsible positions multiply their talents a thousandfold, their service would have no worth before God unless Christ was mingled with all their offerings. Let all the glory of what is accomplished redound to the glory of God; it belongs to Him. The world cannot discern Jesus; then let me not be anxious to unite with the world, lest I, too, become blind as the worldling, so that I cannot see the beauty of the truth. By beholding, by studying the ambitious plans and projects of the world, I become more and more favorable to their methods, and become willing to listen to the suggestions of the enemy and to take the bribes of Satan, when I should instantly reject them as did Jesus when He was tempted.

There are some who talk in a regretful way concerning the restraints that the religion of the Bible imposes upon those who would follow its teachings. They seem to think that restraint is a great disadvantage, but we have reason to thank God with all our heart that He has raised a heavenly barrier between us and the ground of the enemy. There are certain tendencies of the natural heart that many think must be followed in order that the best development of the individual may result, but that which man thinks essential God sees would not be the blessing to humanity which men imagine, for the development of these very traits of character would unfit them for the mansions above. The Lord places men under test and trial that the dross may be separated from the gold; but He forces none. He does not bind with fetters and cords and barriers, for they increase disaffection rather than decrease it. The remedy for evil is found in Christ as an indwelling Saviour. But in order that Christ may be in the soul, it must first be emptied of self, then there is a vacuum created that may be supplied by the Holy Spirit.

The Lord purifies the heart very much as we air a room. We do not close the doors and windows and throw in some purifying substance; but we open the doors and throw wide the windows and let heaven’s purifying atmosphere flow in. The Lord says, “He that doeth truth cometh to the light.” [John 3:21.] The windows of impulse, of feeling, must be opened up toward heaven, and the dust of selfishness and earthliness must be expelled. The grace of God must sweep through the chambers of the mind, the imagination must have heavenly themes for contemplation, and every element of the nature must be purified and vitalized by the Spirit of God.

Many seem to feel that religion has a tendency to make its possessor narrow and cramped, but genuine religion does not have a narrowing influence; it is the lack of religion that cramps the faculties and narrows the mind. When a man is narrow, it is an evidence that he needs the grace of God, the heavenly anointing, for a Christian is one whom the Lord, the God of hosts, can work through that He may keep the way of the Lord in the earth, and make manifest His will to men.

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