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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899) - Contents
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    Ms 18, 1899

    The Call to the Feast


    March 3, 1899

    Previously unpublished. +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 kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding; and they would not come. Again he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: and the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.” [Matthew 22:2-10.]14LtMs, Ms 18, 1899, par. 1

    The king sent his messengers first to the higher classes, those who were called his chosen people. But these, wholly intent on securing worldly gain, sent in their refusal, saying, “I pray thee, have me excused.” [Luke 14:18, 19.] They did not feel sufficient respect for the master of the feast to respond to his invitation. They are represented by the words. “Them that are turned back from the Lord; and those that have not sought the Lord, nor inquired for him.” Thinking their own wisdom sufficient, they have much to say, as though they were oracles of wisdom. The Lord declares, “Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God; for the day of the Lord is at hand; for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests. And it shall come to pass, in the day of the Lord’s sacrifice, that I will punish the prince, and the king’s children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel. In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their master’s houses with violence and deceit.” [Zephaniah 1:6-9.]14LtMs, Ms 18, 1899, par. 2

    When the princes of the land refused the invitation, the king sent his messenger into the highways, where were found those who were not so absorbed in the work of buying and selling, planting and building. Building transactions were not made of such importance that eternity was left out of the reckoning. “The wedding is ready,” the king said, “but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.” [Matthew 22:8-10.]14LtMs, Ms 18, 1899, par. 3

    “And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: and he said unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.” [Verses 11-14.]14LtMs, Ms 18, 1899, par. 4

    This teaches us that there are those who come in to enjoy the privileges of the banquet of truth who have not eaten the flesh and drank the blood of the Son of God. They claim to believe and teach the Word to others, but they work the works of unrighteousness. “But ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus, that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor; for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil.14LtMs, Ms 18, 1899, par. 5

    “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and evil-speaking be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” [Ephesians 4:20-32.]14LtMs, Ms 18, 1899, par. 6

    And Paul writes to Titus, “Put them in mind ... to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward men appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs [according to the hope] of eternal life.” [Titus 3:1-7.]14LtMs, Ms 18, 1899, par. 7

    Those first called, who refused the invitation, represent the Jewish people. God declares, “Since the day that your fathers came forth out of Egypt unto this day, have I even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them; ... but ye heard not.” [Jeremiah 7:25, 13.] Had they heeded the call which meant so much to them, they could have united with the messengers in giving the invitation. But they with one consent they began to make excuses. Still the blessing of the truth must be set before them, to give them an opportunity to heed the message.14LtMs, Ms 18, 1899, par. 8

    The invitation was first given to those in the higher walks of life. Let the Lord’s messengers bear this in mind. It comes to the shepherds of the flock, the teachers divinely appointed, as a word to be heeded. Those belonging to the higher ranks of society are to be sought out with tender affection and brotherly regard. This class have been too much neglected. Men in business life, in positions of trust, men with large inventive faculties and scientific insight, men of genius, are to be the first to hear the gospel call. It is the Lord’s will that men to whom he has entrusted many talents shall hear the truth in a manner different from the way in which they have heard it in the past.14LtMs, Ms 18, 1899, par. 9

    There are men of the world who have God-given powers of organization, which are needed in the carrying forward of the work for these last days. All are not preachers; but men are needed who can take the management of institutions where industrial work is carried on, who can act as leaders, captains, and educators in our conferences. God needs men who can look ahead and discern what needs to be done, men who can act as faithful financiers, as presidents of conferences, men who will stand as solid as a rock to principle in the present crisis and in the future perils that may arise.14LtMs, Ms 18, 1899, par. 10

    We need and have needed talent that it was God’s purpose we should have. But so much selfishness has been woven into our institutions that the Lord has not wrought to connect those with the work who should be connected with it, because He has seen that they would not be recognized or appreciated.14LtMs, Ms 18, 1899, par. 11

    There are conscientious men who have not yet seen the light of truth, who need to be taught. Those who have labored in the temperance cause, who in their work have had the Lord behind them, should have had far more labor put forth in their behalf. We need to feel our responsibility in this work. Do not go to those in the higher ranks of life and call them in such a disrespectful manner that they will not listen.14LtMs, Ms 18, 1899, par. 12

    Those in the highways must first be warned. The teachers, the leading men among the people, must be called. To them the invitation must be given. They must be dealt with personally and earnestly; for if one teacher is gained, he will be able to communicate the light received to many others. More work should have been done for those in high places. Those who give the last message of mercy to a fallen world are not to pass by the ministers. God’s servants are to approach them as those who have a deep interest in their welfare, and then plead for them before God in prayer. If they refuse to accept the invitation, tell the Master about it, and then your duty is done.14LtMs, Ms 18, 1899, par. 13

    Lest we should think only of great and gifted men, to the neglect of the poorer classes, those who are in humble circumstances, Christ instructed His messengers to go also to those in the byways and hedges, to the poor and lowly of this earth. When those first invited refuse the invitation, the command is given, Go ye to those in gross darkness, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the feast. This is the work we are to do. Labor is to be put forth for all classes. The guests who come are a mixed company. Some are true believers; others have not on the robe of Christ’s righteousness. Many will accept the invitation, and apparently take their stand as believers who have never put on Christ. But the work of separation is not given to any human being. The servants cannot take the responsibility of refusing admittance to any who may come. Yet there is laid upon them the work of carrying out the Bible rule in regard to disorderly members.14LtMs, Ms 18, 1899, par. 14

    Those in the byways and hedges came in response to the call of the messenger. They had no fitness for the feast in their common, inappropriate dress; and therefore fitting apparel was provided for them. So we must put on the righteousness of Christ before we shall be ready for the banquet He has prepared. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” [John 1:12.]14LtMs, Ms 18, 1899, par. 15

    The humblest men and women have their appointed work. The most lowly, if they will receive the truth for this time, will be accepted by Christ to do His work. The Lord will do a great work through humble men in reaching humble men. He will accept the talents of the greatest men in the world, but if these refuse to return to him their entrusted gifts, he uses humbler workers. It is God who has given men all the power they possess. Those who refuse to use God’s gifts in his appointed way will be left to their own finite wisdom, to lose the powers they possess. God will accept the humble, patient, loving service of lowly people. Through the skill of a multitude of humble workers He will carry on His work.14LtMs, Ms 18, 1899, par. 16

    From the arrangements made for the building of the tabernacle we see from whence man gets his strength, skill, and education. We read, “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, See, I have called by name Bezaleel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: and I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahismach, of the tribe of Dan, and in the hearts of all who are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded them.” [Exodus 31:1-6.]14LtMs, Ms 18, 1899, par. 17

    Christ must be all and in all to every soul. Those who try in their own strength to solve the mystery of the creation of men, the mystery of mercy in redemption, the mystery of eternity will be baffled. The wedding garment was prepared for us at infinite cost. It is the righteousness of Christ, provided for every soul who comes to the supper. Those who have put on Christ have on the wedding garment.14LtMs, Ms 18, 1899, par. 18

    The man who came in to the feast without the wedding garment represents those who violate God’s law. Christ gave his life to make it possible for God to pardon sin. Violation of the law caused Adam to lose Eden. The disobedient can never enter in through the gates of the city. They can never have a right to the tree of life. The Lord has made every provision that no one shall in any way dishonor him. He was provided the wedding garment, the righteousness of Christ, and it is essential that we be clothed with this garment, that we may show faith in Christ. Those who think they are complete without the righteousness of Christ will find in the end that they have lost their souls. Faith is made perfect by works. Those who make no change in character, yet claim the privilege of being called Christians, are without the wedding garment. They think they are good enough, virtuous enough, in themselves. Without faith in Christ, they rest upon their own merits. True repentance for sin they have never felt. Therefore when Christ comes in to examine the guests, the command goes forth, “Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into outer darkness.” [Matthew 22:13.]14LtMs, Ms 18, 1899, par. 19

    “Many are called, but few chosen.” [Verse 14.] This is a true statement of the final outcome. Many come in not having on the wedding garment. They do not accept Christ’s righteousness. They have not repented and made peace with God. They have not received the free gift. Man is very dear to the heart of God, and all are invited to the feast. Those who clothe themselves in the garment provided find abundant entrance. As they receive the righteousness of the Saviour, God places His stamp upon them.14LtMs, Ms 18, 1899, par. 20

    We are to receive Christ’s righteousness as a free gift, and in receiving it we acknowledge that in bestowing it God confers on us a great favor. The wedding garment was prepared for us at an infinite cost. Only one can bestow this priceless gift, but all may receive it, and thus become entitled to a place at the feast. The call to the feast is a call to partake of the richest spiritual provision. All who respond to this call find awaiting them an abundant supply of grace, and the more grace they receive the more they desire. Those who partake of this feast may turn to their heavenly Father, and say, Thou has kept the best wine until now.14LtMs, Ms 18, 1899, par. 21

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