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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898) - Contents
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    Ms 158, 1898

    The Gift of the Holy Spirit


    December 7, 1898

    Portions of this manuscript are published in 11MR 158, 178-179; 12MR 144-145; MR311 36. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

    “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.” [John 14:26.] There is a multitude of errors in our world, but the truth is a unit always. Those who cherish the truth in the heart will manifest its sanctifying power; for true faith works by love and purifies the soul. “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth,” Christ declared, “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.” [John 16:7.]13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 1

    This was the arrangement of the divine government. Christ’s ascension was the event which in heaven’s order was to mark the descent of the Holy Spirit. A vital work was to be carried on. The world’s Redeemer designed to show His followers on earth His union with the Father and with man.13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 2

    “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” Christ continued. “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father; and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” [John 14:15, 21.]13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 3

    When God’s people search the Scriptures with a desire to know what is truth, Jesus is present in the person of His representative, the Holy Spirit, reviving the heart of the humble and contrite ones. “If a man love me, he will keep my words,” Christ said, “and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” [Verse 23.] “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you that my joy right remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” [John 15:10, 11.]13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 4

    The Study of the Word

    No earthly blessing can be obtained without earnest, patient, persevering effort. In business transactions, if men attain success, they must have a will to do, and a faith to look for results. And we cannot expect to gain spiritual knowledge without earnest toil. Those who would find the treasures of truth must dig for them as the miner digs for the treasures hidden in the earth. No half-hearted, indifferent work must be done. It is essential for old and young to read God’s Word, and further than this, to study it with wholehearted earnestness, praying, toiling, doing, searching for truth as for hidden treasure. Those who do this will be rewarded, for Jesus will quicken the understanding.13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 5

    Our salvation depends on knowing the truth contained in the Scriptures. It is God’s will that we should know this. Search, O search, the precious Bible with hungry hearts. Explore God’s Word as the miner explores the earth to find veins of gold. Never give up the search until you have ascertained your relation to God and His will in regard to you. Christ declared, “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.” [John 14:13, 14.]13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 6

    Never cease asking and searching. You need to discover what is truth. You need to realize your duties and responsibilities. Do you ask, What shall I do to be saved? You must lay your preconceived opinions, your hereditary and cultivated ideas, at the door of investigation. If you search the Scriptures to vindicate your own opinions, you will never reach the truth. Search in order to learn what the Lord says. If conviction comes as you search, if you see that your cherished opinions are not in harmony with the truth, do not misinterpret the Word to suit your belief, but accept the light given. Open mind and heart, that you may behold wondrous things out of God’s Word.13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 7

    What is truth? This is to be the earnest inquiry of every soul. Whatever you may have practiced and taught in the past, if it is condemned by God’s Word, it must not be allowed to control your understanding. Do not read the Bible in the light of your creed. Do not drive down a stake as the limit of your advancement. Find out what is written, plant your feet on the foundation stone, and you are safe.13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 8

    In our schools the work of opening the Scriptures to the students is not to be left to only one teacher. This would not be wisdom. Other minds should be brought in. One man may seem well able to present the truth, and yet this is not evidence that he should teach the students from the Word of God through term after term. Others should aid in this work, for it is a great work. The Lord has given to our school the labors of Brother and Sister Haskell, and great light has been received through their work. But others must be brought in to cooperate with them.13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 9

    The Lord does not design that one man’s mind is the only one that shall be used, that one man’s ideas are all that shall be presented, that one man shall continually present the truth in our schools, even though the others [who are] brought in to help may not have so full an understanding of the Scriptures. He would have the students taught by different ones. Minds of different molds should have an opportunity of giving others the impressions God has given them. One mind may view matters in a much more decided light than would others. Different minds should be blended in the work of teaching the Scriptures, that the students may have the benefit of all their talents.13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 10

    This is the Lord’s plan. And Brother Haskell should have as a helper a young man who can act as his amanuensis. As far as possible, he should lay the burden upon others. The Lord has a work for Elder Haskell to do in our large meetings. He is not to carry the whole burden, but is to stand in his lot and place in connection with his ministering brethren, for a diversity of gifts is to be brought into the work. All minds are not cast in the same mold, neither do they present the same truth in the same way. The methods of one man are not to be looked upon as the methods to be followed by all. There are all classes of minds among those who compose the body of believers. All have not the same talents, but all are needed to strengthen the work.13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 11

    The Need of Unity

    The instruction given in the fourth chapter of Ephesians shows us that one man is not to be looked upon as a whole. We need to understand the lessons contained in this chapter. Paul writes, “I therefore the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended, first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 12

    “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ; from whom the whole body, fitly framed together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” [Verses 1-16.]13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 13

    This is the arrangement that the Lord has made for those who unite in church membership. The Lord gives light through His apostles, prophets, evangelists, and teachers. These are to work together in fellowship, counselling one another. They are chosen men, to whom the Lord has committed sacred trusts, according to their several ability. He imparts His Spirit to them, that they may work under the great head, standing in their lot and place as laborers together with God.13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 14

    The Lord has given us light and knowledge and understanding, but we do not appreciate our blessings. It is God’s design to bestow gifts on His workers, to open to those who are laborers together with Him the mysteries of His Word, that they may confer these gifts on others. They are to perform earnest, willing service, uniting in their work, fitting together as the different parts of God’s temple, each part connecting perfectly, each timber finding its place.13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 15

    The Lord endows His workers with power. By the influence of this power they are fitted to be wise directors and teachers, each doing his appointed work. Then the truth goes forth as a lamp that burneth. But God does not design that the teachers of truth shall each be strong on one point. There is to be unity in diversity. Every one is to be earnest in endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace. One man’s thought is not to control, but minds are to be united under the great Head, as the branches are united to the vine. Believers in the Saviour who gave His life for them, they are to work together in harmony. There will be no friction, for they will realize that they are called to the belief and knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. Those who are partakers of the divine nature will be one in spirit with Christ. “For he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” [1 Corinthians 6:17.]13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 16

    “A new commandment I give unto you,” Christ says, “That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” [John 13:34, 35.] Those who cherish this love carry with them the credentials that God sent His Son to save sinners. Christ’s Spirit, pervading the hearts of those who believe in Him, develops Christ like traits of character. Christ gives them His own attributes. This is what God requires, and Jesus gives the promise of the Holy Spirit, that this result may be produced.13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 17

    The positions and offices of those in God’s work are appointed by Christ. All our talents are His gifts. Let us not disappoint the Lord by an improper use of the talents entrusted to us. Let us not fail to recognize the position and capabilities God gives to another. Be not envious or suspicious as your brother uses his gifts to do something for the honor of God. In no case should we demerit the gift and work God has given another.13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 18

    “For their sakes I sanctify myself,” Christ prayed, “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.” [John 17:19-23.] With this instruction before us, let us strive against all variance. Let every man esteem and improve the gifts given him by God. Let God’s workers be careful not to hinder another worker because he does not place his feet in the exact track they are making.13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 19

    Man is not to use God’s gifts as his own, but as given him for God’s glory. Neither is he to shape his course by the course of any man that lives. He is to look to God and trust in God, keeping his eyes fixed upon his Leader, and walking in His footsteps. The servants of Christ will represent Him by drawing together in constant love and unity. The word of the Lord is pledged, that if they will be one with each other in the bonds of Christian fellowship, the Holy Spirit shall work with them, and they will be a strength and power, for the inspiration of the Spirit will be upon them, and the Lord will work through them. Thus the world will be convinced that God sent His Son to die for fallen humanity.13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 20

    Yielding to a desire for diversity has placed the church where God cannot glorify His name through His people. The question is asked, Why are not the sick among us healed? It is because of the lack of unity and love that exists in the church. Perfection of character means perfection in unity. “That they [all] may be one,” Christ said, “as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee.” [Verse 21.] What possibilities are before us! Shall not our faith grasp them? It is this fitful, careless, indifferent spirit, expressed more loudly by words than by actions, that wounds the heart of Christ. “O righteous Father,” Christ prayed, “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.” [Verses 25, 26.]13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 21

    Each worker is to stand in his appointed station, speaking the truth in love. The apostle presents before us the symbol of the human body, formed by the union of all its members, which work under the head as a well-regulated machine. Each part is to be respected, encouraged, sustained. There are to be no fitful, spasmodic movements. Each member has its own office and place in the body. And as the usefulness [of the] body is to be increased by harmonious energy and action on the part of every member, by the sympathy of every part with the whole, so the church of Christ is to be strengthened by the well-regulated action of every part, by the exercise of every gift of God. Each individual is to work for the benefit of the whole. By comparing the church to the human body, Christ would teach us that there is to be no envy, no evil-thinking, evil-speaking, or evil-acting. Under the supervision of God every worker is to render due respect and recognition to his fellow worker. This they owe to God, who has given to every man his work.13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 22

    “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, he shall speak; and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall give it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine; therefore, said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.” [John 16:13-15.] By employing our entrusted gifts aright, by accepting the grace which Christ would give us, we may glorify God. He desires us to seek to extend the knowledge and influence which Christ desires the church to possess.13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 23

    Please study the twelfth chapter of First Corinthians. “Ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts.” [Verses 27-31.] The Lord would have his church a power of consistency, each part adapted to the other part, growing unto an holy temple in the Lord.13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 24

    “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. Nevertheless, brethren, have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given me of God.” [Romans 15:13-15.]13LtMs, Ms 158, 1898, par. 25

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