Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

May 18, 1911

An Appeal to Our Churches Throughout the United States

Sanitarium, Cal.

Dear Brethren and Sisters,

I wish to make an appeal to you in behalf of the work in Portland, Maine. The believers in Portland are endeavoring to complete the building of a suitable house of worship; and unless they receive help from their brethren and sisters, they will be greatly embarrassed.

The city of Portland was remarkably blessed by God in the early days of the message. At that time able ministers preached the truth of the soon coming of the Lord, giving a startling warning of the near approach of the end of all things. In halls, in meeting-houses, and in private houses, the mighty power of God was revealed in the messages borne. The light of the Lord shone from one end of the city to the other. Meetings were appointed in various sections of the city, and the genuine work of the Holy Spirit was evidenced. The first and second angel's messages sounded all through Portland, and the city was greatly moved. Many were converted to the truth of the Lord's soon coming, and the glory of the Lord was revealed in a remarkable manner.

In the city of Portland the Lord ordained me as his messenger, and here my first labors were given to the cause of present truth. After a period of despair, the blessed Saviour revealed to me his love, and brought joy and happiness to my soul. When I was but a child, the Lord placed upon me a burden for souls. I worked earnestly for the conversion of my playmates, and at times ministers of some of the churches would send for me to bear testimony before their congregations. After the great disappointment, the Lord revealed himself to me in a special manner, and bade me bear his messages to his people.

For years I have cherished a hope that I might once more speak to the people in Portland. This hope was realized at the camp-meeting held in July, 1909, in a favorable place in Portland. Elder S. N. Haskell and several other experienced ministers were present. Day after day the large tent was well filled with earnest people. The Spirit of the Lord came upon me, and gave me power to make appeals to the people.

The last Sunday afternoon every seat in the tent was full; and in order to accommodate all who came, it was necessary to bring all the available chairs from the tents of the campers. We had one of the most solemn meetings that I have attended for years. After a discourse accompanied by the manifest power of the Holy Spirit, nearly the entire congregation arose, pledging themselves to search the Scriptures, and to follow the light of the Word of God. As a result of this camp-meeting and of the efforts that followed, some have taken hold of the truth.

I am now urging that a strong effort be put forth to give the last message of warning to the city of Portland, Maine. Let the third angel's message be proclaimed from one end of the city to the other.

It is right that there should be a commodious house of worship in the city of Portland. Our brethren there have done well in securing a piece of land favorably situated between the business part of the city and the great park called “The Deerings’ Oaks.” While I was in Portland, I saw the beginning that had been made on their church building,—the first meeting-house to be erected in that city by Seventh-day Adventists. I encouraged the brethren to go ahead with the work of building as rapidly as possible, and promised that I would do what I could to rise means to help in its erection. The building is now erected, but it is not finished in the interior. Our people are meeting in the basement.

While not one penny should be expended unnecessarily in the erection of this church building, no second-class work should be done. It is planned to use the basement of the church for church-school purposes. This is right, that provision may be made by which our children can be guarded from the evils that prevail in the public schools. If this plan is carried out, the basement will have to be well finished; and this can not be done without means.

The city of Portland must not now be neglected. This meeting-house should be complete and furnished. Work must be opened in different sections of our cities. The various lines of work should be courageously carried forward by different companies of workers. The grace of God will accompany the effort, and the light of truth will be given in clear, straight lines. This work should go forward without delay.

The Lord has given instruction that the work of uplifting the banner of truth in the Eastern States must now go forward with new power, and that the vigor of healthy, devoted labor shall be given to those cities where the first and second angels’ messages were preached. Portland has been especially pointed out as a place that should be labored for without delay. This city has been especially noticed by the God of Israel; should we not unite our efforts to have there a house of worship that is worthy of the notice of the people? I invite our churches throughout the States to lend a helping hand.

It has been proposed by friends of this enterprise that I make an appeal to our churches throughout the States, asking each church-member to make a donation of ten cents for the erection of this meeting-house in Portland. It was thought that such a small offering would scarcely be felt by the givers, while if all our churches united in giving, a sufficient sum would be raised to enable the believers in Portland to go forward and complete their meeting-house.

Let all the churches, large and small, have a part in the work. Let the children as well as the older members of the Lord's family have a share in it. Parents can certainly make this small donation; and the children, by practising self-denial and economy, can also have a part. We ask you in the name of the Lord to do what you can. I pray that this may be the beginning of a work that will result in the extension of a knowledge of the truth for this time throughout the State of Maine.

Ellen G. White.

May 18, 1911

Proclaiming the Truth Under Difficulties

Mrs. E. G. White

“Sent forth by the Holy Ghost,” Paul and Barnabas, after their ordination by the brethren in Antioch, “departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.” Thus the apostles began their first missionary journey.

Cyprus was one of the places to which the believers had fled from Jerusalem because of the persecution following the death of Stephen. It was from Cyprus that certain men had journeyed to Antioch, “preaching the Lord Jesus.” Barnabas himself was “of the country of Cyprus;” and now he and his fellow worker, Paul, accompanied by John Mark, a nephew of Barnabas, visited this island field.

The mother of Mark was a convert to the Christian religion, and her home was an asylum for the disciples. There they were always sure of a welcome and a season of rest. It was during one of these visits of the apostles to his mother's home, that Mark proposed to Paul and Barnabas that he should accompany them on their missionary tour. He felt the favor of God in his heart, and longed to devote himself entirely to the work of the gospel ministry.

Arriving at Salamis, the apostles “preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews.... And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.”

Not without a struggle does Satan allow the kingdom of God to be advanced in the earth. The forces of evil are engaged in an unceasing warfare against the agencies appointed for the spread of the gospel; and these powers of darkness are specially active at times when the truth is being proclaimed before men of repute and sterling integrity. Thus it was in the days of Paul and Barnabas, when Sergius Paulus, the deputy of Cyprus, was listening to the gospel message. The arch-enemy of souls, working through the sorcerer Elymas, sought by false reports and specious deceptions to prejudice the mind of the deputy against the gospel. The deputy had sent for the apostles, that he might be instructed in the message they had come to bear; and now the forces of evil sought with their baleful suggestions to thwart the purpose of God. Thus does the fallen foe ever work to keep in his ranks men of influence who, if converted, might be of great service to the cause of God.

But none need fear defeat at the hand of the enemy; for it is the privilege of the gospel worker to be endued with power from above sufficient to enable him to withstand every satanic influence. Thus it was with the workers who, during their visit to the isle of Cyprus, were brought into direct conflict with the powers of darkness. Although sorely beset by Satan in the person of Elymas the sorcerer, Paul nevertheless had the courage to rebuke the deceiver. “Filled with the Holy Ghost,” the apostle “set his eyes on him, and said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand. Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.”

The sorcerer had closed his eyes to the evidences of gospel truth; therefore the Lord, in righteous anger, caused his natural eyes to be closed, shutting out from him the light of day. This blindness was not permanent, but only for a season, to warn him to repent, and to seek pardon of the God whom he had so grievously offended. The confusion into which this man was brought, with all his boasted power, made of no effect his subtle arts against the doctrine of Christ. The fact of his being obliged to grope about in blindness, proved to all beholders that the miracles which the apostles had performed, and which Elymas had denounced as being produced by sleight of hand, were in reality wrought by the power of God. The deputy was convinced of the truth of the doctrine taught by the apostles, and embraced the gospel of Christ.

Elymas was not a man of education, yet he was peculiarly fitted to do the work of Satan. Those who preach the truth of God will be obliged to meet the wily foe in many different forms. Sometimes it is in the person of learned, more often of ignorant men, whom Satan has educated to be successful instruments in deceiving souls. It is the duty of the minister of Christ to stand faithfully at his post, in the fear of God and in the power of his might. Thus he may put to confusion the hosts of Satan, and triumph in the name of the Lord.

Paul and his company now continued their journey, going to Perga, in Pamphylia. Their way was toilsome; they encountered hardships and privations, and were beset with dangers on every side. As they advanced, they were compelled to face “perils of waters,” and “perils of robbers.” In the towns and cities through which they passed, they were still surrounded by dangers seen and unseen. But Paul and Barnabas had learned to trust in God's power to deliver. Their hearts were filled with fervent love for perishing souls. As faithful shepherds in search of the lost sheep, they had no thought of their own ease and convenience. Forgetful of self, they faltered not when weary, hungry, and cold. They had in view but one object,—the salvation of those who had wandered far from the fold of safety.

It was here that Mark was overwhelmed with fear and discouragement, and wavered for a time in his purpose to give himself whole-heartedly to the Lord's work. He had labored with success under favorable circumstances; but now, upon encountering the opposition and the perils that so often beset the pioneer worker, he failed to endure hardness as a good soldier of the cross. He had yet to learn to face danger and persecution and adversity with a brave heart. Unused to hardships, he was disheartened by the perils and privations of the way. As the apostles advanced, and still greater difficulties were apprehended, Mark was intimidated, and, losing all courage, refused to go farther, and returned to Jerusalem.

This desertion caused Paul to judge Mark unfavorably and severely for a long time. At a future period there was a sharp contention between Paul and Barnabas concerning Mark, who had again decided to devote himself to the work of the ministry. This contention caused Paul and Barnabas to separate, the latter following out his convictions, and taking Mark with him in his work. At that time, Paul was not inclined to excuse in any degree the weakness of Mark in deserting them and the work upon which they had entered, for the comforts and safety of home; and he urged that one with so little stamina was unprepared for taking up a work requiring patience, self-denial, bravery, devotion, and faith, with a willingness to sacrifice even life if need be.

Barnabas, on the other hand, was inclined to excuse his nephew, because of his inexperience. Barnabas felt anxious that Mark should not abandon the ministry; for he saw in him the qualifications of a useful worker for Christ. In after-years, his solicitude in Mark's behalf was richly rewarded; for Mark gave himself unreservedly to the Lord and to the work of proclaiming the gospel message in difficult fields. Under the blessing of God, and the wise training of Barnabas, he developed into a valuable worker.

Paul was afterward reconciled to Mark, and received him as a fellow laborer. He also recommended him to the Colossians as one who was a fellow worker “unto the kingdom of God,” and “a comfort unto me.” Again, not long prior to his own death, he spoke of Mark as profitable to him in the ministry.

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