Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

January 27, 1903

The Meaning of God's Providences

Mrs. E. G. White

We have been made very sad by the news of the terrible loss that has come to the cause in the burning of the Review and Herald Office. In one year two of our largest institutions have been destroyed by fire. The news of this recent calamity has made us feel very sad, but it was suffered by the Lord to come upon us, and we feel that we should make no complaints, but learn if possible the lesson that the Lord would teach us. The destruction of this institution should not be passed by as something in which there is no meaning. Every one connected with the Review and Herald Office should ask himself, “Wherein do I deserve this lesson? Wherein have I walked contrary to a ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ that he should send this lesson to me? Have I heeded the warnings and reproofs that he has sent, or have I walked in my own way?”

Let the heart-searching God reprove the erring, and let each one bow before him in humility and contrition, casting aside all self-righteousness and self-importance, confessing and forsaking every sin, and asking God, in the name of the Redeemer, for pardon and forgiveness. God declares, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,” and those who thus present themselves before him will be pardoned and justified, and will receive power to become the sons of God.

I pray that those who have resisted light and evidence, refusing to listen to God's warnings, will see in the destruction of the Review and Herald Office an appeal to them from God to turn to him with full purpose of heart. Will they not see that God is in earnest with them? He is not seeking to destroy life, but to save life. In the recent destruction, the lives of the workers were graciously preserved, that all might have opportunity to see that God was correcting them by a message coming not from a human source, but from heaven. God's people have departed from him; they have not followed his instruction, and he has come near to them in correction, but he has not brought extinction of life. Not one soul has been taken by death. All have been left alive to recognize the Power that no man can gainsay.

Let us praise the Lord that the lives of his children have been so precious in his sight. He might have cut off all the workers in their heedlessness and self-sufficiency. But no! He says, “They shall have another chance. I will let the fire speak to them, and will see if they will counterwork the action of my providence. I will try them as by fire, to see if they will learn the lesson that I desire to teach them.”

When the Battle Creek Sanitarium was destroyed, Christ gave himself to defend the lives of men and women. In this destruction God was appealing to his people to return to him. And in the destruction of the Review and Herald Office, and the saving of life, he makes a second appeal to them. He desires them to see that the miracle-working power of the Infinite has been exercised to save life, that every worker may have opportunity to repent and be converted. God says, “If they turn to me, I will restore to them the joy of my salvation. But if they continue to walk in their own way, I will come still closer; and affliction shall come upon the families who claim to believe the truth, but who do not practice the truth, who do not make the Lord God of Israel their fear and their dread.”

Let every one examine himself, to see whether he be in the faith. Let the people of God repent and be converted, that their sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. Let them ascertain wherein they have failed to walk in the way that God has marked out, wherein they have failed to purify their souls by taking heed to his counsels.

There must be entire conformity to the will of God. There must be less self measurement, and more, very much more, Christlike practice. There must be more earnest, persevering prayer. Prayer is acceptable only when offered in faith and in the name of the Redeemer. Our faith must grasp the glorious fact that God hears and answers the prayers of every sincere seeker. As the believer bows in supplication before God, and in humility and contrition offers his petition from unfeigned lips, keeping his eyes fixed steadily on the Mediator of the new covenant, he loses all thought of self. His mind is filled with the thought of what he must have in order to build up a Christlike character. He prays, “Lord, if I am to be a channel through which thy love is to flow day by day and hour by hour, I claim by faith the grace and power that thou hast promised.” He fastens his hold firmly on the promise, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.”

How this dependence pleases the Master! How he delights to hear the steady, earnest pleading! How quickly the sincere, fervent prayer is recognized and honored! How intensely interested the heavenly angels are! “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” With wonderful and ennobling grace the Lord sanctifies the humble petitioner, giving him power to perform the most difficult duties. All that is undertaken is done unto the Lord, and this elevates and sanctifies the lowliest calling. It invests with new dignity every word, every act, and links the humblest worker, the poorest of God's servants, with the highest of the angels in the heavenly courts.

The salvation of human beings is a vast enterprise, that calls into action every attribute of the divine nature. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have pledged themselves to make God's children more than conquerors through him that has loved them. The Lord is gracious and long-suffering, not willing that any should perish. He has provided power to enable us to be overcomers. How full of comfort and love are the words of Christ to his disciples just before his trial and crucifixion. He was about to leave them, but he did not want them to think that they were to be left helpless orphans. “I go my way to him that sent me,” he said, “and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, 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.”

Then comes the wonderful prayer recorded in the seventeenth chapter of John,—a prayer that means much more to us than we realize. Let us receive it into the treasure-house of the soul, and make it the daily lesson of our lives:

“As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me; be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Satan understands this prayer better than do the members of churches and the heads of families. He does not want the people of God to understand it, lest they should see the advantage God has bestowed on them, and know the day of their visitation. He would keep them in discord and strife over little misunderstandings and little differences, which, dwelt upon, grow into variance and hatred. He knows that if he can keep them thus, they will present before the world a showing exactly the opposite of that which God desires them to present.

I urge our people to cease their criticism and evil speaking, and go to God in earnest prayer, asking him to help them to help the erring. Let them link up with one another and with Christ. Let them study the seventeenth of John, and learn how to pray and how to live the prayer of Christ. He is the Comforter. He will abide in their hearts, making their joy full. His words will be to them as the bread of life, and in the strength thus gained they will be enabled to develop characters that will be an honor to God. Perfect Christian fellowship will exist among them. There will be seen in their lives the fruit that always appears as the result of obedience to the truth.

Let us make Christ's prayer the rule of our life, that we may form characters that will reveal to the world the power of the grace of God. Let there be less talk about petty differences, and a more diligent study of what the prayer of Christ means to those who believe on his name. We are to pray for union, and then live in such a way that God can answer our prayers.

Perfect oneness,—a union as close as the union existing between the Father and the Son,—this is what will give success to the efforts of God's workers. “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me,” to bring about this union, this sanctified harmony. “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” It is this union that convinces the world that God has indeed sent his Son to save sinners. Christ gives to his true disciples the glory of his character, that his prayer may be answered. Through the impartation of his Spirit, he appears in their lives.

Let us during the year 1903 cast all selfishness out of our lives. Let us live for the Master, striving to help one another. “The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is in the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Let us in our life-work strive constantly to answer the prayer of Christ, that we may be united with one another and with him. Let us always before undertaking anything, ask ourselves the question, Will this please my Saviour? Is it in harmony with the will of God? The consciousness that we are bringing the Christ-life into the daily experience will give a sacred dignity to the every-day duties. All that we do will be done with faithfulness, that the Master may be honored. Thus shall we show to the world what Christianity can accomplish for sinful human beings, giving them constantly increasing efficiency for service in this life, preparing them for the higher life in the world to come.

January 27, 1903

An Open Letter

[This letter is printed in a small leaflet, envelope size, and can be obtained free from all our publishing houses and tract societies.]

From Mrs. E. G. White, to All Who Love the Blessed Hope

(Concluded.)

It was Christ's joy to help those in need of help, to seek the lost, to rescue the perishing, to lift up the bowed down, to heal the sick, to speak words of sympathy and consolation to the sorrowing and the distressed. The more fully we are imbued with his Spirit, the more earnestly we shall work for those around us; and the more we do for others, the greater will be our love for the work, and the greater our delight in following the Master. Our hearts will be filled with the love of God; and with earnestness and convincing power we shall speak of the crucified Saviour.

I ask those to whom the light of truth has come: What are you going to do during the year that is just opening? Will you stop to quarrel with one another, to weaken and destroy the faith of humanity in humanity? or will you devote your time to strengthening the things that remain, that are ready to die? As our people engage in earnest work for the Master, complaints will cease to be heard. Many will be roused from the despondency that is ruining them body and soul. As they work for others, they will have much that is helpful to speak of when they assemble to worship God. The testimonies they bear will not be dark and gloomy, but full of joy and courage. Instead of thinking and talking about the faults of their brethren and sisters, and about their own trials, they will think and talk of the love of Christ, and will strive earnestly to become more efficient workers for him.

Many are sad and discouraged, weak in faith and trust. Let them do something to help some one more needy than themselves, and they will grow strong in God's strength. Let them engage in the good work of selling our books. Thus they will help others, and the experience gained will give them the assurance that they are God's helping hand. As they plead with the Lord to help them, he will guide them to those who are seeking for the light. Christ will be close beside them, teaching them what to say and do. By comforting others, they themselves will be comforted.

I ask you, dear Christian workers, to do what you can to circulate the books that the Lord has said should be sown broadcast throughout the world. Do your best to place them in the homes of as many people as possible. Think of how great a work can be done if a large number of believers will unite in an effort to place before the people, by the circulation of these books, the light that the Lord has said should be given them. Under divine guidance, go forward in the work, and look to the Lord for aid. The Holy Spirit will attend you. Angels of heaven will accompany you, preparing the way.

If you have neglected the sowing time, if you have allowed God-given opportunities to pass unimproved, if you have given yourselves up to self-pleasing, will you not now repent, before it is forever too late, and strive to redeem the time? The obligation to use your talents in the Master's service rests heavily upon you. Come to the Lord, and make an entire surrender of all to him. You cannot afford to lose one day. Take up your neglected work. Put away your querulous unbelief, your envy and evil-thinking, and go to work, in humble faith, and with earnest prayer to the Lord to pardon you for your years of unconsecration. Ask the Lord for help. If you seek him earnestly, with the whole heart, you will find him, and he will strengthen and bless you.

In your work you will meet with those who are fighting against appetite. Speak words that will strengthen and encourage them. Do not let Satan quench the last spark of hope in their hearts. Of the erring, trembling one, struggling with evil, Christ says, “Let him come to me;” and he places his hands underneath him, and lifts him up. The work that Christ did, you, as his evangelists, can do as you go from place to place. Labor in faith, expecting that souls will be won to him who gave his life that men and women might stand on God's side. Draw with God to win the drunkard and the tobacco devotee from the habits which debase them till they are below the level of the beasts that perish.

The Lord calls for many more to engage in the canvassing work in the year 1903. For Christ's sake, my brethren and sisters, make the most of the hours of the new year to place the precious light of present truth before the people. The Angel of the covenant is empowering his servants to carry the truth to all parts of the world. He has sent forth his angels with the message of mercy; but, as if they did not speed on their way fast enough to satisfy his heart of yearning love, he lays on every member of his church the responsibility of proclaiming this message. “Let him that heareth say, Come.” Every member of the church is to show his loyalty by inviting the thirsty to drink of the water of life. A chain of living witnesses is to carry the invitation to the world. Will you act your part in this great work?

Jesus is calling for many missionaries, for men and women who will consecrate themselves to God, willing to spend and be spent in his service. O, can we not remember that there is a world to labor for? Shall we not move forward step by step, letting God use us as his helping hand? Shall we not place ourselves on the altar of service? Then the love of Christ will touch and transform us, making us willing for his sake to do and dare.

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