Ellen G. White Writings

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General Conference Daily Bulletin

February 4, 1893

“I feel deeply ...”

“I feel deeply over the little burden many carry for the missionary work in the foreign fields and in the home missions. There are thousands of places to be entered where the standard of truth has never been raised, where the proclamation of the truth has never been heard in America. And there are thousands who might enter the harvest field who are now religiously idle, and as a result, go crippling their way to heaven, expressing their doubt whether they are Christians. Their need is a vital union with Jesus Christ. Then it can be said of them, ‘Ye are laborers together with God.’ I want to say to many, You are waiting for some one to carry you to the vineyard and set you to work or to bring the vineyard to you, that you will experience no inconvenience in labor. You will wait in vain. If you will lift up your eyes you will see the harvest ripe, ready for the sickle, whichever way you may look; you will find work close by and far off. But of how many will Christ say in the judgment, ‘Good and faithful servants’? I think how the angels must feel seeing the end approaching, and those who claim to have a knowledge of God and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent, huddle together, colonize, and attend the meetings, and feel dissatisfied if there is not much preaching to benefit their souls and strengthen the church, while they are doing literally nothing. If they are branches, really and truly, of the True Vine, nourished by the sap which flows from the vine to the branches, they are indeed partakers of the divine nature. They have moral power from Christ to overcome Satan, to hate sin; and these cannot be silent. Souls are perishing for the light and knowledge of the truth which these have. It is their duty to put that knowledge to use to save souls. If their temporal, financial prospects are not as prosperous by moving to localities where the truth has not been proclaimed, or where there has been but a glimmering of light, will they not be doing just the work that Jesus has done to save them?

“I do not urge any one to change their location to please their own ideas, for Christ lived in our world, all seared and marred with the curse, that humanity might touch humanity, to save souls from eternal ruin. Jesus did not leave the royal throne, the royal crown, and his high command, and come to our world to please himself. “For our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich.” What is the character of these riches? Is it houses and lands and bank stock in this world? Or is it that the unsearchable riches of Christ may be presented before their minds, that they shall attract them, their hearts, that they shall accept them, and shall count all things but loss and dross that they may win Christ? We join the Lord's army, fight the battles with the power of darkness, set up the standard of the cross of Calvary in every place where we can possibly find access. My heart is pained when I think how little our churches sense their solemn accountabilities to God. It is not ministers alone, but every man and woman who have enlisted in Christ's army, are soldiers; and are they willing to receive a soldier's fare, just as Christ has given them an example in his life of self-denial and sacrifice? What self-denial have our churches as a whole manifested? They may have given donations in money, but have withheld themselves.

“The heavenly agencies are waiting to co-operate with human agencies in the grand work of reflecting light to the world. Wherever there is even one soul converted on the earth there is a response of joy circulated through heaven. Wherever one soul is snatched from Satan's hand and given as a trophy to Jesus Christ, there is joy in the presence of God, Jesus Christ and the holy angels, because the lost is found. I send my appeal to the churches to ‘rise and shine; the glory of the Lord has risen upon thee. ‘Ye have not,’ said Christ, ‘chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth much fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name he may give you.’ What depth of meaning in

these words. We can say from the heart, Truth, Lord. We are not the ones to make the first movement toward Christ; it was our Redeemer who made the first movement toward us. ‘And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.’ He touched your hearts by his grace, you responded and drew toward Jesus. Man could not make the first movement. Christ was lifted up on the cross. It was his love that brought him to our world. His love that is expressed for fallen man, that led him to make an offering of his soul for sin. And as the heart responds in gratitude for this unspeakable love, the language of the soul is, ‘Thy gentleness hath made me great.’

“What, then, is the duty of every enlightened soul? How should he feel as he looks upon the infinite sacrifice of the only begotten Son of God, ‘that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life’? What are you doing by personal effort to lead souls to believe? There are not many ordained ministers; this makes it necessary for you to deny self, lift the cross, and carry the burdens of Christ. Have you tasted of the powers of the world to come? Have you been eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God? Then if ministerial hands have not been laid upon you in the world, Christ has laid his hands upon you and said, ‘Ye are my witnesses; go trade on the talents I have given you. Ye are the light of the world. A city set upon a hill cannot be hid; let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ There will be an antagonism between the church and the world, but the church is to shine. Let yourselves become the consecrated living channels of light to the world, whatever may be the consequences to you financially.

“Let those who truly love God step out from where there are large churches of Sabbath-keepers, and the cause they knew not be searched out. There is work to be done by every branch that has a vital union with the living vine. ‘Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.’ Where is the fruit borne by the branches in these large churches? ‘Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away.... If a man abide not in me he is cast forth as a branch and is withered, and men gather them and cast them into the fire and they are burned.’ Does not this statement from the lips of the Great Teacher alarm you who have taken such an easy position, having no burdens, gratifying self, lifting no cross, and not following Jesus?

“Let us ask why there are so few martyrs now? What is the reason that Christians and the world confederate together in confidence? Has the world become converted, or has the church lost her peculiar and holy character, and assimilated with the world? They do not come out and separate from the world, and do not maintain her high and holy character. Many of the professed followers of Christ feel no more burden for souls than do the world. The lusts of the eye, and the pride of life, the love of display, the love of ease, separates the professed Christians from God, and the missionary spirit in reality exists in but few. What can be done to open the eyes of these sinners in Zion, and make hypocrites tremble? The spirit of truth must become a living principle in the soul. ‘What shall we do that we might work the works of God?’ is asked by many souls today. The answer comes, ‘This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.’ When you have true faith this will be evidenced, for your works will testify of the fact; you will be one with Christ as he was one with the Father. You will constantly be drawing near to Christ; exercising your minds to hear, devising means to save perishing souls. You will cultivate love, you will deny self, because you love Jesus who died for you; you will love your neighbor as your own self, and you will shine as lights in the world; if you have eternal light you will diffuse light.

“I have been alarmed for some years as I have seen the line of demarkation between the church and the world almost obliterated. The design of God in the formation of the church was that the very action of the separation from the world would itself be sufficient to attract attention. Their formation in church capacity has a meaning in it which the world can read. They are formed into a distinct power. They are to consider themselves a peculiar people of God, an object to be rendered conspicuous, detached from other objects, standing apart. Believers are to be one, as Christ is one with the Father. The sons and daughters of God are to stand a distinct, pure, holy people from the world. And if these signs are not seen in the members of the church, it is the duty of the church faithfully to investigate the matter, for if there is not a decided transformation of character from a life of sin to a life of holiness, then why? For if sin is practiced in daily life, there is no real value in all their profession, and they will not act in harmony with God as his agents in the regeneration of the world.

“The children of God will not answer the purpose of God, unless they are united as the branches to the parent stalk; so will the divine branches be centered in Jesus Christ, combining their influence with the conversion of sinners. All believers in truth will shine as lights in the world, in union with Christ, and oneness with him. All the works are wrought in God, and they really believe in him whom the Father hath sent. All ye are brethren, and individually we carry with us in all communication with the world an influence and atmosphere that is surrounding the soul which is distinct from the world, and in every way superior to it. Whatever influence for good as followers of Christ, as believers in the truth, they may have to improve, refine, and elevate the world in their association with it, and personal effort put forth, will depend upon their vital connection with the breadth and distinctness of the line of demarkation which characterizes them as separate from the world, and the perfection of contrast to the world which they reveal in spirit, in words, in works, from the world. The world loves not God, the world is disobedient to God, the world is selfish and acts without feelings of dependence on God's will, without reverence and respect to God's commandments. If the professed followers of Christ, even in part, act the same as the world, they may have their names on the church books, but when joined to the church they are not joined to Christ. Therefore the same spirit has to a limited or large degree a controlling power upon the minds, heart, will, and temper. Their stand in the church is what Christ named hypocrites,—a stone of stumbling to those who but for them would have an altogether higher idea, and a sanctified effect on the character.

“Christians in deed and in truth will have the spirit of Christ, they will naturally develop the mind and spirit which dwelt in Christ. They will consecrate the solemn import of the words of Christ, ‘He that will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me, and so shall he be my disciple.’ It is a solemn statement that I make to the church, that not one in twenty whose names are registered upon the church books are prepared to close their earthly history, and would be as verily without God and without hope in the world as the common sinner. They are professedly serving God, but they are more earnestly serving mammon. This half-and-half work is a constant denying of Christ, rather than a confessing of Christ. So many have brought into the church their own unsubdued spirit, unrefined; their spiritual taste is perverted by their own immoral, debasing, corruptions, symbolizing the world in spirit, in heart, in purpose, confirming themselves in lustful practices, and are full of deception through and through in their professed Christian life. Living as sinners, claiming to be Christians. Those who claim to be Christians and will confess Christ should come out from among them and touch not the unclean thing, and be separate.

“The work of every Christian parent has ever been to sprinkle the door-posts with blood, gather his children into his house with him, that the destroying angel might see the mark of God pointing to the only begotten Son of the Father; for whoso believeth on him shall not perish but have everlasting life. But the end is near. Every soul will have in the judgment exactly the character of morals he cultivated in this life. Every soul will have in the judgment just such a spirit and character as he cherished in his home life, in association with his neighbors and with members of his family. And according as he has appreciated the words of Christ and has obeyed them, will be the judgment pronounced upon him by that man Jesus who came into the world and gave his life a sacrifice for him.

“I lay down my pen and lift up my soul in prayer, that the Lord would breathe upon his backslidden people, which are as dry bones, that they may live. The end is near, stealing upon us so stealthily, so imperceptibly, so noiselessly, like the muffled tread of the thief in the night to surprise the sleepers off guard and unready. May the Lord grant to bring his Holy Spirit upon hearts that are now at ease, that they may no longer sleep as do others, but watch and be sober. Who will consent even now after wasting much of his lifetime, to give his will as clay into the hands of the potter, and co-operate with God in becoming in his hands molded a vessel unto honor? O, how must the clay be in the hands of the potter, how susceptible to receive divine impressions, standing in the bright beams of righteousness. No earthly, no selfish motives should be suffered to live, for if you give them place, you cannot be hewn into the divine image. The spirit of truth sanctifies the soul.

“When the greatness of this work is comprehended, it will bring even the thoughts into captivity to Christ. This is beyond our private comprehension, but thus it will be. Then is it wisdom on our part to put dependence on our own works? We must let God work for us. Is there any excellency that appears in our characters or our conduct? Does it originate with finite human beings?—No; it is all from God, the great center of expression of the power of the potter over the clay.

“Oh, that those whom the Lord has blessed with the treasures of truth would awake and say from the heart, “Lord what wilt thou have me to do?” Light is increasing to enlighten every soul who will diffuse the light to others. God will have his witnesses. We want men and women to settle in Australia who have a solid, Christlike influence. The burden of this work should not rest upon the Conference wholly. Many can come to this missionary field and improve in health, not by following the customs of the people here, but by being careful and prudent, and sensible, respecting, and acting in reference to, the laws of life and health; and at the same time they can be educating others, and can have a molding influence. Oh that many may be uprooted from where they are to become workers with Jesus Christ.

“What can be done to make every believer feel that the heavenly intelligences are working for the consecration of the human living agents to carry the truth of God where it is not known?

“Unbelief, like the pall of death, is surrounding our churches, because they do not exercise the talents God has given them, by imparting the light to those who know not the precious truth. The Lord calls for the pardoned soul, those who rejoice in the light, to make known the truth to others. The living agents are needed to communicate the light of truth, and the result will be those who are now ignorant of the truth, will, through the grace of Christ, become precious in the sight of the Lord, and will exert an influence to the glory of God. I trust you will keep this matter agitated. Those who wish to sacrifice for the truth's sake, let them answer to the call, ‘Whom shall I send?’ ‘Here am I, send me.’ The truth is soon to triumph gloriously, and all who will triumph with it must be laborers together with God. The time is short, the night cometh when no man can work. We must do what is possible for us to do now in earnest determined effort. A city set upon a hill cannot be hid. We not only have lessons to learn for our own benefit, but in our improvement of the talent entrusted to us, and the privileges and opportunities granted us, we are helping others to follow our example.”

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