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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901) - Contents
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    Ms 96, 1901

    Instruction to Church Members

    Healdsburg, CA

    September 24, 1901

    Previously unpublished.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.

    We are in the midst of our teachers’ institute. This is a very important meeting, at which much work is being done.16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 1

    W. C. White; Sister Peck, who has gained a valuable experience in school work; Brother Crisler, my stenographer; Sister McEnterfer; and myself came to Healdsburg at the beginning of the institute. We shall stay part of the time and shall help all we can to make the institute a success.16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 2

    We believe that those in charge of the meetings are doing excellent work. I am sorry that a much larger number are not here to enjoy the advantages afforded by this institute. I wish that the teachers in Southern California could have come to the institute. As it is, the work done here will have to be repeated in Southern California. We regret this, for there is great demand for laborers in the fields that are white for the harvest. Time and effort would have been saved if these two institutes could have been combined. It would have cost little more for the teachers in Southern California to come to Healdsburg than for the laborers to go to Southern California to hold another institute.16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 3

    Teachers’ institutes cannot be held without expense and taxation. Arrangements should be made to save the time and strength of the workers as much as possible. When a teachers’ institute is held in a state, plans should be laid for all the teachers in the state to attend so that the instruction given will not need to be repeated in another institute. It is not a wise plan to hold two institutes in one state when this can possibly be avoided.16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 4

    Brethren and sisters, we must put forth every effort to unify and move intelligently. Let us be wise in all our planning.16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 5

    I would be pleased to attend the institute in Southern California, but I must now give special attention to getting out the book on Christian education. It is my duty and the duty of my workers to push this work just as fast as the Lord gives us strength. I would be glad to have the privilege of speaking in the teachers’ institute at Santa Ana, but I dare not overlook the duties which cannot be neglected without great loss.16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 6

    My prayer is, Lord, lead us and guide us at every step, that we may work intelligently, preserving our energy and refusing to become overwearied, unable because of physical exhaustion to answer important calls of duty.16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 7

    The mind must not be overtaxed. God desires His servants to labor in such a way that they will have the needed strength to meet the important issues which arise. Again and again I am admonished not to take up brain-wearying work which others can do; for I must preserve the powers of my mind, that I may be able to understand what God says. I must be able to say, “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.” [1 Samuel 3:9.]16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 8

    To the members of our churches I am instructed to say, As a church bear your own burdens. Keep your own souls in the love of God. Remember that He has ordained you to help one another to be burden-bearers. If you preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace, the church will make spiritual advancement. As the members walk in the light, they will grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. As they are called upon to make decisions, they will find that wisdom from on high is given to them.16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 9

    Let church members pray unitedly. With fervent prayer let them make known their requests to God, believing that it is their privilege to advance in spiritual experience, to live to the glory of God and for the saving of precious souls ready to perish, thus acting as the helping hand of God. Then they have a convincing argument in favor of the truth, for God works with them. Jesus is their sufficiency. With earnest zeal they work harmoniously under the divine Head, provoking one another to love and to good works. The lukewarm are led to work with spiritual zeal, the desponding are encouraged to trust in God.16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 10

    Because church members follow their own inclinations, they cut themselves off from much light. They do not think it a sin to rob God daily by withholding the service He requires. When the powers of the being are not used in spiritual lines, the character is dwarfed. The reason is placed on the side of the enemy.16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 11

    Let church members examine with jealous scrutiny their reasons for carrying on the work in which they are engaged, asking themselves, Am I using my abilities to guide souls in the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord? Am I entirely subject to the inspiration of the heavenly forces?16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 12

    To each one the divine Teacher gives the invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.]16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 13

    As the character is transformed by the grace of Christ, rest is found by actual experience.16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 14

    God’s people are commanded to shine as lights in the world. With sanctified reason, under the guidance of Christ, they are to use the powers and facilities God has given them in the great mission field. As you do this work, you will find it necessary at times to consult the ministers. But do not lay your burden on them. Do your appointed work as individual members of the body of Christ. O, what a work would be done for God if each church member would accept his responsibilities, realizing the wonderful possibilities and probabilities before the consecrated worker!16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 15

    “The field is the world.” [Matthew 13:38.] There are many thousands who have not yet been warned. The members of our churches in city and country are to encourage one another to make every effort for the salvation of the souls in their neighborhood. They are to be earnest and industrious, active in the service of God, and with this activity they are to unite an unreserved consecration of all they have and are. This they must do in order to fulfil their baptismal vows.16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 16

    Let the members of our churches arise and fulfil the commission given them by the Saviour—a commission they have long neglected. The Word of God declares, “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” [James 5:20.] “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” [Daniel 12:3.]16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 17

    Let the youth remember that the indolent forfeit the invaluable experience gained by a faithful performance of the common duties of life. Not a few, but thousands of human beings exist only to consume the benefits which God in His mercy bestows on them. They forget to bring the Lord gratitude offerings for the riches He has entrusted to them in giving them the fruit of the earth. They forget that by trading wisely on the talents lent them, they are to be producers as well as consumers. If they had a realization of the work the Lord desires them to do as His helping hand, they would not feel it a privilege to shun all responsibility and be waited on.16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 18

    Real happiness is found only in being good and doing good. The purest, highest enjoyment comes to those who faithfully fulfil their appointed duties. To every man, according to his ability, God entrusts a work. No honest work is degrading. It is ignoble sloth which leads human beings to look down on the simple, everyday duties of life. The refusal to perform these duties causes a mental and moral deficiency which will one day be keenly felt. At some time in the life of the slothful, his deformity will stand not clearly defined. Over his life record is written the words, “A consumer, but not a producer.”16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 19

    He who is indolent and willingly ignorant places in his pathway that which will always be an obstruction. He refuses the culture which comes from faithful toil. By failing to put forth a helping hand in behalf of humanity, he robs God. His career is very different from the career which God marked out for him. To despise useful employment encourages the lower tastes and effectually paralyzes the most useful energies of the being.16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 20

    From all the vocations of life, useful spiritual lessons may be learned. Those who till the soil may, while they work, study the meaning of the words, “Ye are God’s husbandry.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] In the human heart the seeds of truth are to be sown, that the life may bear the beautiful fruit of the Spirit. God’s impress on the mind is to mold it into graceful symmetry. The crude energies, both physical and mental, are to be trained for the Master’s service.16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 21

    The youth who is studying for a physician has before him the very highest example, even the example of Him who left heaven to live on this earth a man among men. To all, Christ has given the work of ministry. He is the King of glory, yet He declared, “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” [Matthew 20:28.] He is the Majesty of heaven, yet He willingly consented to come to this earth to do the work laid upon Him by His Father. He has dignified labor. That He might set us an example of industry, He worked with His hands at the carpenter’s <trade>. From a very early age He acted His part in sustaining the family. He realized that He was a part of the family firm, and He willingly bore His share of the burdens.16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 22

    Children and youth should take pleasure in lightening the burdens of father and mother, showing an unselfish interest in the home. As they lift faithfully the everyday burdens, they are receiving a training which will fit them for positions of trust and usefulness. Each year they are to make steady advancement, gradually but surely laying aside the inexperience of boyhood and girlhood for the experience of manhood and womanhood. In the faithful performance of the simple duties of the home, boys and girls lay the foundation for mental, moral, and spiritual excellence.16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 23

    Remember, dear young friends, that each day you are weaving the web of your own destiny. Each time the shuttle is thrown, it draws into the web a thread which either mars or beautifies the pattern. If you are careless and indolent, you spoil the life which God designed should be bright and beautiful. If you choose to follow your own inclinations, unchristlike habits will bind you with bands of steel. And as you walk away from Christ, your example will be followed by many who, because of your wrong course, will never enjoy the glories of heaven.16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 24


    Christ gave lessons suited to all phases of life, all classes of work. The children were not forgotten by Him. Hearing the stern, forbidding words of the disciples to the weary mothers who had brought their children to receive His blessing, He said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 19:14.] And He laid His hands on them and blessed them, and took them up in His arms, where, wearied by their journey, they fell asleep, drawn close to His heart of infinite love.16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 25

    Again and again this experience was related to these children, and it had a wonderful effect on their lives. They became earnest followers of the One who in their childhood had treated them so lovingly.16LtMs, Ms 96, 1901, par. 26

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