Ellen G. White Writings

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The Home Missionary

November 1, 1893

Our Need of the Holy Spirit: The Source of the Believer's Power

Reading for Friday, December 29

The people who will now see what is soon to come upon us by what is being transacted before us, will no longer trust in human inventions, and will feel that the Holy Spirit must be recognized, received, presented before the people, that they may contend for the glory of God, and work everywhere in the byways and highways of life, for the saving of the souls of their fellow-men.

O how we need the divine Presence! For the baptism of the Holy Spirit, every worker should be breathing out his prayers to God. Companies should be gathered together to call upon God for special help, for heavenly wisdom, that the people of God may know how to plan and devise and execute the work. Especially should men pray that the Lord will choose his agents, and baptize his missionaries with the Holy Spirit. For ten days the disciples prayed before the Pentecostal blessing came. It needed all that time to bring them to an understanding of what it meant to offer effectual prayer, drawing nearer and nearer to God, confessing their sins, humbling their hearts before God, and by faith beholding Jesus, and becoming changed into his image. When the blessing did come, it filled all the place where they were assembled; and endowed with power, they went forth to do effectual work for the Master.

We should pray as earnestly for the descent of the Holy Spirit as the disciples prayed on the day of Pentecost. If they needed it at that time, we need it more today. Moral darkness, like a funeral pall, covers the earth. All manner of false doctrines, heresies, and Satanic deceptions are misleading the minds of men. Without the Spirit and power of God, it will be in vain that we labor to present the truth. We must have the Holy Spirit to sustain us in the conflict; “for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

We cannot fall as long as we hope and trust in God. Let every soul of us, ministers and people, say, as did Paul, “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air,” but with a holy faith and hope, in expectation of winning the prize. Say to your soul, “Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance and my God.” By precept and example encourage faith, confidence, assurance. This is the work of the Comforter, and it is your work to co-operate with God's agencies.

It is true that every moment is precious, and not one of them is to be wasted; but it is when you obtain the grace of the Holy Spirit through faith in God that you are qualified for the performance of your various duties, and can work with an eye single to the glory of God. Look at the days and weeks and months of the past, and see if your life service has not been one long, complicated robbery of God, because you have failed to remember him, and have left eternity out of your reckoning. By neglecting spiritual things, you have not only robbed your own soul, but the souls of your family; for by seeking temporal enrichment to the neglect of heavenly enlightenment, you have not been in a condition, either physically or mentally, to educate and train your children to keep the way of the Lord.

You have a serious, solemn work to do to prepare the way of the Lord. You need the heavenly unction, and you may have it. “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” There needs to be an elevating, uplifting power, a constant growth in the knowledge of God and the truth, on the part of one who is seeking the salvation of souls. If the minister utters words drawn from the living oracles of God; if he believes in, and expects the co-operation of, Christ, whose servant he is; if he hides self and exalts Jesus, the world's Redeemer, his words will reach the hearts of his hearers, and his work will bear the divine credentials. The Holy Spirit must be the living agency to convince of sin. The divine agent presents to the speaker the benefits of the sacrifice made upon the cross; and as the truth is brought in contact with the souls present, Christ wins them to himself, and works to transform their nature. He is ready to help our infirmities, to teach, to lead, to inspire us with ideas that are of heavenly birth.

How little can men do in the work of saving souls, and yet how much through Christ, if they are imbued with his spirit! The human teacher cannot read the hearts of his hearers; but Jesus dispenses the grace that every soul needs. He understands the capabilities of man, his weakness and his strength. The Lord is working on the human heart; and a minister can be to the souls who are listening to his words, a savor of death unto death, turning them away from Christ; or, if he is consecrated, devotional, distrustful of self, but looking unto Jesus, he may be a savor of life unto life to souls who are already under the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, and in whose hearts the Lord is preparing the way for the messages which he has given to the human agent. Thus the heart of the unbeliever is touched, and it responds to the message of truth. “Ye are laborers together with God.” The convictions implanted in the heart, and the enlightenment of the understanding by the entrance of the word, work in perfect harmony. The truth brought before the mind, has power to arouse the dormant energies of the soul. The Spirit of God working in the heart, co-operates with the working of God through his human instrumentalities.

Again and again I have been shown that the people of God in these last days could not be safe in trusting in men, and making flesh their arm. The mighty cleaver of truth has taken them out of the world as rough stones that are to be hewed and squared and polished for the heavenly building. They must be hewed by the prophets with reproof, warning, admonition, and advice, that they may be fashioned after the divine Pattern; this is the specified work of the Comforter,—to transform heart and character, that men may keep the way of the Lord.

Many who are explaining the Scriptures to others have not conscientiously and entirely surrendered mind and heart and life to the control of the Holy Spirit.

The message we have to bear is not a message that men need cringe to declare. They are not to seek to cover it, to conceal its origin and purpose. Its advocates must be men who will not hold their peace day nor night. As those who have made solemn vows to God, and who have been commissioned as the messengers of Christ, as stewards of the mysteries of the grace of God, we are under obligation to declare faithfully the whole counsel of God. We are not to make less prominent the special truths that have separated us from the world, and made us what we are; for they are fraught with eternal interests. God has given us light in regard to the things that are now taking place in the last remnant of time, and with pen and voice we are to proclaim the truth to a world, not in a tame, spiritless way, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power of God.

But it is the life of Jesus Christ in the soul, it is the active principle of love imparted by the Holy Spirit, that alone will make the soul fruitful unto good works. The love of Christ is the force and power of every message for God that ever fell from human lips.

When one is fully emptied of self, when every false god is cast out of the soul, the vacuum is supplied by the inflowing of the Spirit of Christ. Such a one has the faith which works by love and purifies the soul from every moral and spiritual defilement. The Holy Spirit, the Comforter, can work upon the heart, influencing and directing, so that he enjoys spiritual things. He is “after the spirit,” and he minds the things of the Spirit. He has no confidence in self; Christ is all and in all. Truth is constantly being unfolded by the Holy Spirit; he receives with meekness the engrafted word, and he gives the Lord all the glory, saying, “God has revealed them to us by his Spirit.” “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things which are freely given to us of God.” The Spirit that reveals, also works in him the fruits of righteousness. Christ is in him “a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.” He is a branch of the True Vine, and bears rich clusters of fruit to the glory of God. What is the character of the fruit borne?—“The fruit of the Spirit is love.” Mark the words,—love, not hatred; it is joy, not discontent and mourning; peace, not irritation, anxiety and manufactured trials. It is “long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

Those who have this spirit will be earnest laborers together with God; the heavenly intelligences co-operate with them, and they go weighted with the spirit of the message of truth which they bear. They are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. They are ennobled, refined, through the sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. They have not brought into the treasury of the soul wood, hay, stubble, but gold, silver, and precious stones. They speak words of solid sense, and from the treasures of the heart bring forth pure and sacred things according to the example of Christ.

Day after day is passing into eternity, bringing us nearer to the close of probation. Now we must pray as never before for the Holy Spirit to be more abundantly bestowed upon us, and we must look for its sanctifying influence to come upon the workers, that the people for whom they labor may know that they have been with Jesus and learned of him. We need spiritual eyesight now as never before, that we may see afar off, and that we may discern the snares and designs of the enemy, and as faithful watchmen proclaim the danger. We need spiritual power that we may take in, as far as the human mind can, the great subjects of Christianity, and how far-reaching are its principles.

When God's people humble the soul before him, individually seeking his Holy Spirit with all the heart, there will be heard from human lips such a testimony as is represented in this scripture: “After these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.” There will be faces aglow with the love of God, there will be lips touched with holy fire, saying, “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

Those who are under the influence of the Spirit of God will not be fanatical, but calm, steadfast, free from extravagance. But let all who have had the light of truth shining clear and distinct upon their pathway, be careful how they cry peace and safety. Be careful what influence you exert at this time.

When the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the early church, “the whole multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul.” The Spirit of Christ made them one. This is the fruit of abiding in Christ.

Jesus longs to bestow the heavenly endowment in large measure upon his people. Prayers are ascending to God daily for the fulfillment of the promise; and not one of the prayers put up in faith is lost. Christ ascended on high, leading captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. When, after Christ's ascension, the Spirit came down as promised, like a rushing, mighty wind, filling the whole place where the disciples were assembled, what was the effect?—Thousands were converted in a day. We have taught, we have expected that an angel is to come down from heaven, that the earth will be lightened with his glory, when we shall behold an ingathering of souls similar to that witnessed on the day of Pentecost.

Amid the confusion of delusive doctrines, the Spirit of God will be a guide and a shield to those who have not resisted the evidences of truth. He silences every other voice than that which comes from him who is the truth and the life. God gives to every soul opportunity to hear the voice of the True Shepherd, to receive the knowledge of God and our Saviour. When the heart receives this truth as a precious treasure, Christ is formed within, the hope of glory, while the whole heavenly universe exclaims, Amen and amen! We have absolute need of the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. We have no time to confer with flesh and blood.

We have need of divine illumination. Every individual is striving to become a center of influence; and until God works for his people, they will not see that subordination to God is the only safety for any soul. His transforming grace upon human hearts will lead to unity that has not yet been realized; for all who are assimilated to Christ will be in harmony with one another. The Holy Spirit will create unity.

“He shall glorify me.” “This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” The Holy Spirit glorifies God by so revealing his character to his people that he becomes the object of their supreme affections, and by making manifest his character in them.

They see clearly that there never was any righteousness in the world but his, no excellence in the world but that derived from him. When the Spirit was poured out from on high, the church was flooded with light, but Christ was the source of that light; his name was on every tongue, his love filled every heart. So it will be when the angel that comes down from heaven having great power shall lighten the whole earth with his glory.

The church of Christ, enfeebled and defective as it may be, is the only object on earth on which He bestows his supreme regard. While he extends to all the world his invitation to come to him and be saved, he commissions his angels to render divine help to every soul that cometh to him in repentance and contrition, and he comes personally by his Holy Spirit into the midst of his church.

The gift of his Holy Spirit, rich, full, and abundant, is to his church as an encompassing wall of fire, and the powers of hell shall not prevail against it. In their untainted purity and spotless perfection Christ looks upon his people as the reward of all his suffering, his humiliation, and his love, and the supplement of his glory,—Christ the great center from which radiates all glory.

How can we stand in the day of test if we do not understand the words of Christ? He said: “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” It is the Holy Spirit that is to bring to our remembrance the words of Christ. The theme Christ chose to dwell upon in his last discourse to his disciples was that of the office of the Holy Spirit. He opened before them a wide tract of truth. They were to receive his words by faith, and the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, was to bring all things to their remembrance. The consolation given by Christ in this promise was found in the fact that the divine influence was to be with his followers to the end. But this promise is not accepted and believed by the people today, and therefore is not cherished by them, nor is its fulfillment seen in the experience of the church. The promise of the gift of the Spirit of God is left as a matter to be little considered by the church. It is not impressed upon the people, and the result is only that which might be expected,—spiritual drought, spiritual darkness, spiritual declension and death. Minor matters occupy the mind and soul, but divine power which is necessary for the growth and prosperity of the church, which would if possessed, bring all other blessings in its train, is lacking, although it is offered to us in infinite plenitude. Just as long as the church is satisfied with small things, it is disqualified to receive the great things of God.

But why do we not hunger and thirst after the gift of the Holy Spirit, since it is the means whereby the heart may be kept pure? The Lord designs that divine power shall co-operate with human effort. It is all-essential for the Christian to understand the meaning of the promise of the Holy Spirit just prior to the coming of our Lord Jesus the second time. Talk of it, pray for it, preach concerning it; for the Lord is more willing to give the Holy Spirit than parents are to give good gifts to their children. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

We are living in the last days, when error of a most deceptive character is accepted and believed, while truth is discarded. The Lord will hold both ministers and people responsible for the light which shines in our day. God calls upon all who claim to believe present truth to work diligently in gathering up the precious jewels of truth, and placing them in their position in the framework of the gospel. Let them shine in all their divine beauty and loveliness, that the light may flash forth amid the moral darkness. This cannot be accomplished without the aid of the Holy Spirit, but with the aid of the Spirit we can do all things. When we are endowed with the Holy Spirit, we by faith take hold of infinite power. There is nothing to be lost of that which comes from God. The Saviour of the world sends his divine messenger to the soul, that men may dig for the truth, that by its revelation they may dispel the multitude of errors. This is the Christian's work.

The work of the Holy Spirit is immeasurably great. It is from this source that power and efficiency come to the worker for God; and the holy Spirit is the Comforter, as the personal presence of Christ to the soul. He who looks to Christ in simple, child-like faith, is made a partaker of the divine nature through the agency of the Holy Spirit. When led by the Spirit of God, the Christian may know that he is made complete in Him who is the head of all things. As Christ was glorified on the day of Pentecost, so will he again be glorified in the closing work of the gospel, when he shall prepare a people to stand the final test, in the closing conflict of the great controversy.

When the earth is lightened with the glory of God, we shall see a work similar to that which was wrought when the disciples, filled with the Holy Spirit, proclaimed the power of a risen Saviour. The light of heaven penetrated the darkened minds of those who had been deceived by the enemies of Christ, and the false representation of him was rejected; for through the efficacy of the Holy Spirit, they now saw him exalted to be a Prince and Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel, and remission of sins. Christ was glorified through the power of the Holy Spirit resting upon men.

The revelation of Christ by the Holy Spirit brought to them a realizing sense of his power and majesty, and they stretched forth their hands unto him by faith, saying, “I believe.” Thus it was in the time of the early rain; but the latter rain will be more abundant. The Saviour of men will be glorified, and the earth will be lightened with the bright shining of the beams of his righteousness. He is the fountain of light, and light from the gates ajar has been shining upon the people of God, that they may lift him up in his glorious character before those who sit in darkness.

It is Christ in his fullness as a sin-pardoning Saviour, that the sinner must see; for the unparalleled love of Christ, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, will bring conviction and conversion to the hardened heart.

O that we as a people might humble our hearts before God, and plead with him for the endowment of the Holy Spirit!

November 1, 1893

Christ Our Helper in the Great Crisis

[This reading sent from Australia for this week of prayer, was made up from manuscript already prepared, as the time was too limited to admit of Sister White's writing anything especially for the purpose. It will be seen, however, that the matter is especially fitted for the present crisis, and contains the very counsel which the Lord evidently has for us at this time. In reading, it may be borne in mind that the first portion of the article was written in 1887.]

Reading for Sabbath, December 30

“I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

It is through one who is “a brother and companion in tribulation” that Christ reveals to his people the fearful conflicts which they must meet before his second coming. Before the scenes of their bitter struggle are opened to them, they are reminded that their brethren also have drunk of the cup and been baptized with the baptism. He who sustained these early witnesses to the truth will not forsake his people in the final conflict.

It was in a time of fierce persecution and great darkness, when Satan seemed to triumph over the faithful witnesses for God, that John in his old age was sentenced to banishment. He was separated from his companions in the faith, and cut off from his labors in the gospel; but he was not separated from the presence of God. The desolate place of his exile proved to him the gate of heaven. He says:

“I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book.... and I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man .... And he had in his right hand seven stars .... and he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.”

Christ walks in the midst of the golden candlesticks. Thus is symbolized his relation to the churches. He is in communion with his people. He knows their true state. He observes their order, their vigilance, their piety, and their devotion. Although he is High Priest and Mediator, in the sanctuary above, yet he walks up and down in the midst of the churches on earth. He goes from church to church, from congregation to congregation, from soul to soul. He is represented as walking, which signified untiring wakefulness, unremitting vigilance. He observes whether the light of any of his sentinels is burning dim or going out. If the candlesticks were left to mere human care, the flickering flame would languish and die. But he is the true watchman in the Lord's house, the true warden of the temple courts. His continued watchcare and sustaining grace are the source of life and light.

Again the prophet says, “Behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone.” The rainbow of God's promise, which was a token of his covenant with Noah, was seen by John encircling the throne on high,—a pledge of God's mercy to every repentant, believing soul. It is an everlasting testimony that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” It declares to the whole world that God will never forget his people in their struggles with evil.

Once again the Saviour was presented to John, under the symbol of the “Lion of the tribe of Judah,” and of “a Lamb as it had been slain.” These symbols represent the union of omnipotent power and self-sacrificing love. As the Lion of Judah, Christ will defend his chosen ones and bring them off victorious, because they accepted him as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Christ the slain Lamb, who was despised, rejected, the victim of Satan's wrath, of man's abuse and cruelty,—how tender his sympathy with his people who are in the world! And according to the infinite depths of his humiliation and sacrifice as the Lamb of God, will be his power and glory as the Lion of Judah, for the deliverance of his people.

To John were opened the great events of the future, that were to shake the thrones of kings, and cause all earthly powers to tremble. “Behold” he said, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.” And he heard Christ's promise to the overcomer, “I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”

John was now prepared to witness the thrilling scenes in the great conflict between those who keep the commandments of God and those who make void his law. He saw the wonder-working power arise that was to deceive all who should dwell upon the earth, who were not connected with God, “saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” Read Revelation 13:14-17.

The prophet heard the solemn warning against the worship of this blasphemous power: “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.”

Of the loyal and true, who do not bow to the decrees of earthly rulers against the authority of the King of heaven, the Revelator says, “Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Read Revelation 14:1-3, 5; Revelation 15:2-4.

These lessons are for our benefit. We need to stay our faith upon God; for there is just before us a time that will try men's souls. Christ upon the Mount of Olives rehearsed the fearful scenes that were to precede his second coming: “Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars .... Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” While these prophecies received a partial fulfillment at the destruction of Jerusalem, they have a more direct application in the last days.

Already the restraining Spirit of God is being withdrawn from the world. Hurricanes, storms, tempests, fire and flood, disasters by sea and land, follow each other in quick succession. Science seeks to explain all these. The signs thickening around us, telling of the near approach of the Son of God, are attributed to any other than the true cause. Men cannot discern the sentinel angels restraining the four winds that they may not blow until the servants of God are sealed; but when God shall bid his angels loose the winds, there will be such a scene of strife as no pen can picture.

The important future is before us. To meet its trials and temptations, and to perform its duties, will require great faith and perseverance. But we may triumph gloriously; for all Heaven is interested in our welfare, and awaits our demand upon its wisdom and strength.

In the time of trial just before us, God's pledge of security will be placed upon those who have kept the word of his patience. If you have complied with the conditions of God's word, Christ will be to you a refuge from the storm. He will say to his faithful ones: “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee; hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.” The Lion of Judah, so terrible to the rejecters of his grace, will be the Lamb of God to the obedient and faithful. The pillar of cloud will speak terror and wrath to the transgressor of God's law, but light and mercy and deliverance to those who have kept his commandments. The Arm, strong to smite the rebellious, will be strong to deliver the loyal. Every faithful one will surely be gathered. “He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together the elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Brethren, you to whom the truths of God's word have been opened, what part will you act in this momentous time of the closing scenes of earth's history? Are you awake to these solemn realities? Do you realize the grand work of preparation that is going on in heaven and earth? Let all who have received the light, who have had the opportunity of reading and hearing the prophecy, take heed to keep those things that are written therein, “for the time is at hand.” Let none now venture to tamper with sin, the source of every misery that has come upon our world. No longer remain in a state of lethargy and stupid indifference. Let not the destiny of your soul hang upon an uncertainty. Know for yourselves that you are fully on the Lord's side. Let the inquiry go forth from sincere hearts and trembling lips, Who shall be able to stand? Have you, in the precious hours of probation mercifully granted you, been putting the best material into your character building? Have you been purifying your souls from every stain? Have you followed the light? Have your works corresponded to your profession of faith?

It is possible to be a formal, partial believer, and yet be found wanting, and lose eternal life. It is possible to practice some of the Bible injunctions, and be regarded as a Christian, and yet perish because you are lacking in essential qualifications that constitute Christian character. If the warnings which God has given are neglected or regarded with indifference, if you cherish or excuse sin, you are sealing your soul's destiny; you will be weighed in the balances and found wanting. Grace, peace, and pardon will be withdrawn forever; Jesus will have passed by, never again to come within the reach of your prayers and entreaties. While mercy still lingers, while Jesus is making intercession for us, let us make thorough work for eternity.

God's Word must be Held Supreme

The adherents of truth are now called upon to choose between disregarding a plain requirement of God's word or forfeiting their liberty. If we yield the word of God, and accept human customs and traditions, we may still be permitted to live among men, to buy and sell, and have our rights respected. But if we maintain our loyalty to God, it must be at the sacrifice of our rights among men. For the enemies of God's law have leagued together to crush out independent judgment in matters of religious faith, and to control the consciences of men. They are determined to put an end to the long-continued controversy concerning the Sabbath, to prohibit all further spread of the truth upon this point, and to secure the exaltation of Sunday, in the very face of the injunction of the fourth commandment.

The people of God will recognize human government as an ordinance of divine appointment, and will by precept and example teach obedience to it as a sacred duty so long as its authority is exercised within its legitimate sphere. But when its claims conflict with the claims of God, we must choose to obey God rather than men. The word of God must be recognized and obeyed as an authority above that of all human legislation. “Thus saith the Lord,” is not to be set aside for a Thus saith the Church or the State. The crown of Christ is to be uplifted above all the diadems of earthly potentates.

The principle which we are called to uphold at this time is the same that was maintained by the adherents of the gospel in the days of the great Reformation. When the princes assembled at the Diet of Spires, in 1529, it seemed that the hope of the world was about to be crushed out. To this assembly was presented the emperor's decree restricting religious liberty, and prohibiting all further dissemination of the reformed doctrines. Would the princes representing the states of Germany accept the decree, and consent that the blessed light of the gospel should be shut out from the multitudes that were still in darkness? Mighty issues for the world depended upon the action of a few heroes of faith. Those who had accepted the truths of the Reformation met together, and their unanimous decision, was, “Let us reject the decree. In matters of conscience the majority has no power.” And they drew up their protest, and submitted it to the assembled states.

“We protest by these presents, before God, our only Creator, Preserver, Redeemer, and Saviour, and who will one day be our Judge, as well as before all men and all creatures, that we, for us and our people, neither consent nor adhere in any manner whatever to the proposed decree in anything that is contrary to God, to his word, to our right conscience, or to the salvation of our souls.... We cannot assert that when Almighty God calls a man to his knowledge, he dare not embrace that divine knowledge.... There is no true doctrine but that which conforms to the word of God. The Lord forbids the teaching of any other faith. The Holy Scriptures, with one text explained by other and plainer texts, are, in all things necessary for the Christian, easy to be understood, and adapted to enlighten. We are therefore resolved by divine grace to maintain the pure preaching of God's only Word, as it is contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, without anything added thereto. This word is the only truth. It is the sure rule of all doctrine and life, and can never fail or deceive us. He who builds on this foundation shall stand against all the powers of hell, whilst all the vanities that are set up against it shall fall before the face of God.”

The banner of truth and religious liberty which these reformers held aloft, God has in this last conflict committed to our hands. Those whom he has blessed with the knowledge of his word are held responsible for this great gift. We are to receive the word of God as supreme authority. We must accept its truths for ourselves, as our own individual act.

And we shall be able to appreciate the truth only as we shall search it out for ourselves, by personal study of the word of God. Then as we accept it as the guide of our lives, the prayer of Christ is answered for us, “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” The acknowledgment of the truth, both in word and by example, is our confession of faith, and it is only as we thus acknowledge the truth that others can know that we believe the Bible.

God will hold men accountable who have the plain teachings of his word, but disregard them and accept the sayings and customs of men. And yet how many are doing this! They reject the light in regard to the Sabbath, and trample upon God's holy day. Ministers and people, with the Bible open before them, show contempt for the words of God in his holy precepts, while they exalt a spurious Sabbath, which has no other foundation than the authority of the Roman Church. The claims of this spurious Sabbath are to be enforced upon the world. The Protestant churches, having received doctrines which the word of God condemns, will bring these to the front, and force them upon the consciences of men, just as the papal authorities urged their dogmas upon the advocates of truth in Luther's time. The same battle is again to be fought, and every soul will be called upon to decide upon which side of the controversy he will be found.

When men are not willing to see the truth and receive it, because it involves a cross, they are opening the door to Satan's temptations. He will lead them, as he led Eve in Eden, to believe a lie. The truth through which they might have been sanctified is set aside for some pleasing delusion presented by the destroyer of souls. It is often the case that the most precious truth appears to lie close by the side of fatal errors. The rest that Christ promised to all who should learn of him lies close beside indifference and carnal quietude, and multitudes overlook the fact that this rest is found only in wearing Christ's yoke and bearing his burden, in possessing his meekness and lowliness. The great truth of our entire dependence upon Christ for salvation lies close to the error of presumption. Freedom in Christ is by thousands mistaken for lawlessness; and because Christ came to release us from the condemnation of the law, men declare that the law itself is done away, and that those who keep it are fallen from grace. And thus, as truth and error appear so near akin, minds that are not guided by the Holy Spirit will be led to accept the error, and in so doing place themselves under the power of Satan's deceptions. In thus leading men to receive error for truth, Satan is working to secure the homage of the Protestant world.

Every soul needs to be on guard against his devices. We must be Bible readers, and obedient to the Scriptures. However much it may inconvenience us, every question is to be settled by the law and the testimony.

The inquiry should rise from every heart, What is truth? If we would stand against the deceptive teaching that now meets us on every side, that is turning the truth of God into a lie, we must have the heavenly anointing. The Holy Spirit alone will enable us to distinguish truth from error, sin from righteousness. It is of the greatest consequence that we avail ourselves of every means and every facility for learning what is truth. And if we seek for the truth as for hid treasure, we have the assurance that our light shall shine more and more, unto the perfect day.

Those reformers whose protest has given us the name of Protestants, felt that God had called them to give the light of the gospel to the world, and in doing this they were ready to sacrifice their possessions, their liberty, and their own lives. Are we, in this the last conflict of the great controversy, as faithful to our trust as were the early reformers to theirs? In face of persecution and death, the truth was spread far and near. The word of God was carried to the people; and all classes, high and low, rich and poor, learned and ignorant, eagerly studied it for themselves; and those who received the light became in their turn messengers to impart it. In those days the truth was brought home to the people through the press. Luther's pen was a power, and his writings, scattered broadcast, stirred the world.

The same agencies are at our command, with facilities multiplied a hundredfold. Bibles, publications in many languages, setting forth the truth for this time, are at our hand, and can be swiftly carried to every part of the world. We are to give the last warning of God to men, and what should be our earnestness in studying the Bible, and our zeal in spreading the light! Let every soul who has received the divine illumination seek to impart it. Let the workers go from house to house, opening the Bible to the people, circulating the publications, telling others of the light that has blessed their own souls. The preaching of the word will have power in reaching a class who would not receive the truth through reading; but the ministers are few, and where the living preacher cannot come, the published truth can reach. Personal effort will accomplish far more than could be accomplished without it.

The truth must be proclaimed in the dark places of the earth. Obstacles must be met and surmounted. A great work is to be done, and those who know the truth should make mighty intercessions for help now. The love of Christ must be diffused in their own hearts. The Spirit of Christ must be poured out upon them, and they must be making ready to stand in the judgment. While they are consecrating themselves to God, a convincing power will attend their efforts to present the truth to others. We must sleep no longer on Satan's enchanted ground, but call into requisition all our resources, and avail ourselves of every facility with which Providence has furnished us. The last warning is to be proclaimed “before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings;” and the promise is given, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”

Mrs. E. G. White

November 1, 1893

The Call from Destitute Fields

The following Testimony has been received, addressed to our brethren in America:

Wellington, New Zealand, August 1, 1893

Dear Brethren in America,

I am thankful to be able to write to you that I am improving in health; and although I have passed this winter in the city of Wellington, which has not a healthful climate because of constant storms and high winds, yet the Lord has blessed me. I was nearly prostrated for some weeks, about two months since. I had an appointment at Petone, and the subject I thought to speak upon was the necessity of growth in grace; but it was taken from me, and in its place a most solemn warning was given me for the congregation in regard to the withdrawal of the Spirit of God from the world, and the judgments of God, which were plagues of sickness, disasters by sea and by land, destruction everywhere in our world by fire and floods, earthquakes in “divers places,” and the words of Christ: “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat; they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the days when the Son of man is revealed.”

I felt deeply the power of God resting upon me as I warned the people that the end of this earth's history was soon to close, and we could see the fulfillment of the words of warning of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are indeed in the time which Christ has foretold would come upon the world.

The Spirit of the Lord was upon me, and from that time I have had physical strength. For a while before, I was unable to write, my mental machinery was about ready to stop; but it was quickened by the power of God, and I praise his holy name for what he has done for me in giving me the “balm of Gilead,” and the healing power of the great physician. We see a great work to be done in this field, and long to have facilities to work with. I will speak of Wellington. It is a place where churches are abundant, and there are plenty of ministers. But I have never been in a place where prejudice was so perseveringly and determinedly carried on as it is in this place. This is the capital and great center of New Zealand. A mission should be established here. A church, if ever so humble, should be erected. It will take money to do this.

It is not God's plan, although the gold and silver are his own, to send his angels from heaven to build churches in any town or city. He has made man his almoner, his steward and trust, and the Lord's field is a very extensive one. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” This was the commission given to the disciples, and here has been a place where the people have determined that the banner of truth should not be lifted.

And yet God has a people in this place, and how can we reach them?—Only through a steady, persevering effort, carried on judiciously. A humble house of worship should be erected, that the people may know that they are not to be left out in the cold. Many minds are half persuaded, but dare not make the final decision. Workers are needed, and money is needed to erect a house of worship. If we can get a hold here, then the door is opened to get a hold in other large cities.

I cannot express my feelings. Sometimes I think it is best for me to return to America; for we can do so little. When our people in America shall feel that this field is as important as the fields in America, that souls are just as precious here as there, I think they will not take the whole, or nearly all the money from the treasury, to add building to building; and in the face of all our pleading and warnings given in reference to this subject for years, carry so light burden for those foreign fields, tying our hands so we cannot work, only to the greatest disadvantage. We have nothing wherewith we can make even a start by calling out the people.

I entreat of you to extend your vision and broaden your ideas. In the place of investing so largely in your supposed necessities, and swallowing up the available means in the treasury, give us something that we may work in cities where there are not any souls who have an interest in the truth, who must be warned and aroused that the kingdom of God may be built up. God does not purpose to do your work; but he requires that you give some chance that the seeds of truth may be sown in places where the soil has never been broken; and the seed sown in these cities will be watered by the Lord of heaven, and there will be an increase. The leaven of truth must be first hidden in the meal before it will leaven the lump. Once get the truth planted in new fields, in cities where they have never heard the message, and then the increase and progress will follow. The people know nothing of the truth. They are ignorant of truth. They know nothing of the reasons of our faith. They believe what the church ministers tell them. And is there, then, to be no effort made, that they shall know what is truth for this time? What can be done in these cities, without money to start the work? And if you continually see places where you think you may use to advantage the means, must these countries be left and the ground not plowed or sown? Will the Lord be pleased with this kind of neglect? The field is the world. America is not the whole world,—only a little piece of it. I know there are many calls for means in all foreign countries; but here there is such a condition of things financially that we cannot depend on any help coming from these fields, until we have some facilities to till the soil and sow the seed.

I think I shall have to turn my face homeward and go among our churches in America, and see if I cannot arouse an interest that something shall be done; for all I may trace with pen and ink, seems to be regarded as idle tales. I never expect to return to this field; but I can see that some workers, even private families, ought to get the missionary spirit, and come this way.

I am reminded of a family of children. One is more prepossessing than the others, and that one is favored. Gifts and considerations are made without stint and partiality, and the others are left to get along as best they can. I think this is a good symbol of the present state of things in America and this country. God knows we have done what we could, but crippled in every way; our hands tied without workers or money. The places that have nothing done in them need money, and devising, and planning to create an interest. I rejoiced when I heard that the Holy Ghost had been poured out upon our people in America, and I have been anxiously waiting new developments in America as was seen after the Holy Spirit descended on the day of Pentecost. I thought similar fruits would be seen, that the missionary spirit of God would burn in the hearts of all upon whom the Spirit of God was manifestly moving.

There should be a decided change in the spirit and character of the work. If men and women have received increased light, what are they doing? What are they doing to warn men and women who do not understand that the Lord is soon coming? He goeth out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the world for their iniquity. “The earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” Where, I ask, is the burden for souls that are perishing out of Christ? Who will go forth without the camp bearing the reproach? Who will leave pleasant homes and dear ties of relationship, and carry the precious light of truth to lands afar off, but not beyond the domain of God? Every day and every moment comes to those intrusted with the light of truth with terrible significance, while men and women in every clime and land are fitting themselves for weal or woe, fixing their own destinies for eternity.

God has expended amazing sacrifices upon men, and mighty energies for the reclaiming of man from transgression and sin to loyalty and obedience; but I have been shown that he does nothing without the co-operation of human agencies. Every endowment of grace and power and efficiency has been liberally provided, and the strongest motives presented to arouse and keep living in the human heart the missionary spirit, that divine and human agency may be combined. What more has been done in self-denial in moving out of Battle Creek? in carrying the light, the influence of God's Spirit, testifying to the truth in regions where the standard has never yet been lifted? Did the Lord open to you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing at the last Conference? What use have you made of the gift of God? He has supplied the motive forces of which he has made a lodgement in your hearts, that with patience and hope and untiring vigilance you might set forth Jesus Christ and him crucified, that you might send the note of warning that Christ is coming the second time with power and great glory, calling men to repent of their sins. If the brethren in Battle Creek do not now arouse and go to work in missionary fields, they will fall back into death-like slumber. How did the Holy Spirit work upon your hearts? By the energies of the Holy Spirit it was stimulating you to the exercise of the talents God has given you, that every man and woman and youth should employ them to set forth the truth for this time, making personal efforts, going into the cities where truth has never been and lifting the standard. In the blessing God has bestowed upon you, have not your energies been quickened, and the truth been more deeply impressed upon your soul, and its important relation to perishing souls out of Christ? Are ye witnesses for Christ in a more distinct and decided manner, after the manifest revealing of God's blessing upon you? The Holy Spirit's office is to bring decidedly to your minds the important, vital truths. Is this extra endowment to be bound up in a napkin and hidden in the earth?—No, no, it is to be put out to the exchangers; and as man uses his talents, however small, the Holy Spirit takes the things of God, and presents them anew to the mind. He makes the neglected word to be a vivifying agency. Through the Spirit, it is quick and powerful upon human minds, not because of the smartness, the educational power of the human agency, but because the divine power works with the human, and to the divine belongs all the credit.

Shall selfishness and ease, and love of earthly comforts and attractive homes allure us? Shall we cease as moral agencies to use our powers to the saving of souls? Shall our voices be indistinct? Then God will put his curse upon us that have had so great light, and inscribe upon the walls of our home, “Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.” He will put a tongue in the stones, and they will speak; but God demands of you in Battle Creek to go forth. Resolve not in your own strength; but in the strength and grace given of God that you will consecrate to God, now, just now, every power, every ability. You will follow Jesus because he bids you, and you will not ask where, nor what reward shall be given. It is well with you if you obey the words of the Master, “Follow me.” Your work is to lead every one to the light by judicious, well-put-forth efforts, under the guardianship of the divine Leader. Will to do, resolve to act, without a moment's delay make terms with God. Let every ray of light that God has been giving you shine forth in good works. You are not alone. God's grace stands forth to work with every effort to enlighten the ignorant and those who do not know that the end of all things is at hand. But he will not be your substitute to do your God-given work. Light may shine in abundance, but the graces given will convert your soul only as they arouse you to co-operate with divine agencies. You are called up to be active soldiers, to put on the divine armor, and put forth energies, divine power working with the human to break the spell of worldly enchantments.

Again I call for the help that we ought to have had, the means we must have if anything is accomplished in this country. Let your minds be drawn out for perishing souls. Obey the impulse given by High Heaven. Grieve not the Holy Spirit by delay. Resist not God's methods of recovering poor souls from the thralldom of sin. To every man was given his work. Then do the very best with the powers God has given you, and he will accept your efforts put forth with an eye single to his glory. To every man he has given his work according to his several ability.

Mrs. E. G. White

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