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

    Testimony to the Battle Creek Church


    February 25, 1901

    Portions of this manuscript are published in 1SM 112-115; UL 70; ChL 15. +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 church in Battle Creek has become very large. The Lord is not pleased to have it thus. When the spirit of self-denial and self-sacrifice shall come into the church, when the Holy Spirit is received, there will be seen decided reforms.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 1

    A spirit of criticism regarding health reform has entered the Battle Creek church. The members, though living right at the heart of the work, have not received the light on this subject. They have made the work of those conducting the medical missionary work exceedingly hard, notwithstanding they have professed to believe the testimonies in regard to the reformatory work which must be carried forward in all lines of the work. The Spirit of the Lord has been grieved by the position many have maintained.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 2

    Had the school been moved away from Battle Creek years ago, the temptation to move into Battle Creek would not have been ever at work with families. The school could have been moved away from the rush and crowd and many other things which have been unfavorable to its spiritual advancement. But one excuse after another was urged against moving the school, and these excuses controlled matters.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 3

    Had the Battle Creek school been divided and located in different sections, where the students could have been given opportunity to cultivate the soil and to gain an education in other practical lines of work, they would have had far less temptation to meet. There would have been fewer members in the Battle Creek church to look after. And plants would have been made in several places. This would have been more in the order of the Lord than the course which has been followed.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 4

    Every student should pay a reasonable sum for his tuition. The managers of the school should not allow debts to accumulate. In the school he who gives instruction on the Scriptures should be paid from the tithe; for his labor is in every way as essential as that of the minister. The laborer is worthy of his hire.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 5

    For his own benefit and for the benefit of the students, the Bible teacher should engage in physical labor. This will help him physically and mentally, and will enable him to encourage the students and teach them how to put forth their powers to good advantage.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 6

    The great trouble in the Battle Creek school for some years was that health reform was not taken up as it should have been. The diet question was not managed in accordance with the principles of health reform. Had all the teachers been taught by God, things would have been different, but there was a lack of unity among the teachers. The difference of their views on minor matters brought in more or less division, as circumstances revealed the sentiments of different ones.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 7

    All held one Lord and one baptism, but on the different lines of study and on the diet question the teachers were not in harmony. The principles of health reform were neglected at a time when Dr. Kellogg was making every effort possible to educate students regarding these principles.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 8

    There was not a burden of soul regarding the difference of opinion on the vital points which called for decided unity and earnest missionary effort. The variety of ideas cherished brought in a spirit of opposition. This did not tend to unite teachers and students, but instead brought in a spirit of repulsion, dividing teachers and students. Some said, I am of Paul; others, I am of Apollos; others, I am of Cephas. Had the hearts of all been submitted to Christ, these differences would have disappeared as down before wind.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 9

    At times there would be seen a drawing together and unifying. Then some little matter would again give rise to criticism and variance.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 10

    The Bible was opened to the students, but the teachers needed to wear the yoke of Christ, to do His will and His way, to learn in His school meekness and lowliness of heart. Had they done this, selfishness, jealousy, and evil-surmising would have been given up as expensive lines of goods, unprofitable to trade upon. Had they complied with the invitation, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me” [Matthew 11:29], they would during the school term have gained an experience of the highest value. While wearing the yoke of Christ and lifting His burdens, laboring together with Him, they would have lost themselves in Him. Seeking to strengthen and bless and uplift one another, they would have forgotten their supposed differences. Trying to exert a right influence upon one another, they would have brought to the foundation not hay, wood, and stubble—differences and selfishness—but gold, silver, and precious stones—Christlike words and deeds—which will stand the test of fire, for they are imperishable.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 11

    If in word and work the teachers had expressed the love shown by Christ, what a different showing there would now be. But God’s hand is not yet withdrawn. It is stretched out still, bearing the brightest beams of His glory, the marks of the crucifixion. In the short period of time left in which to repent and be converted, He desires those who claim to be His children to take His outstretched hand, saying, “In my hands no price I bring; simply to thy cross I cling.” Then a great work will be done among God’s people. Those in our institutions will bow unreasonable, untamable self before the Desire of Ages. There is a deeper experience to be gained, an experience which leads to the words, “All of Christ and none of self.” The Saviour desires those who claim to be His servants to carry out His will.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 12

    Christ was the great Medical Missionary to our world. He calls for volunteers who will co-operate with Him in the great work of sowing the world with truth. God’s workers are to plant the standard of the truth in every place to which they can gain access. The world needs restoring. It is lying in wickedness and in the greatest peril. God’s work for those out of Christ should broaden and extend. God calls upon His people to labor diligently for Him, so that Christian efficiency shall become widespread. His kingdom is to be enlarged. Memorials for Him are to be raised in America and in foreign countries.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 13

    The work of health reform, connected with the present truth for this time, is a power for good. It is the right hand of the gospel, and often opens fields for the entrance of the gospel. But let it ever be remembered that the work must move solidly and in complete harmony with God’s plan of organization. Churches are to be organized, and in no case are these churches to divorce themselves from the medical missionary work. Neither is the medical missionary work to be divorced from the gospel ministry. When this is done, both are one-sided. Neither is a complete whole.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 14

    The work for this time is to appeal to the Christian’s mind as the most important work that can be done. It is the question of cultivating the Lord’s vineyard. In this vineyard every man has a lot and a place which the Lord has assigned him. And the success of each depends on his individual relationship to the one divine Head.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 15

    The grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ and His tender relationship to His church on earth are to be revealed by the growth of His work and the evangelization of people in many places. The heavenly principles of truth and righteousness are to be seen more and still more plainly in the lives of Christ’s followers. More unselfishness and uncovetousness is to be seen in business transactions than has been seen in the churches since the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Not a vestige of the influence of selfish, worldly monopolies is to make the slightest impression on the people who are watching and working and praying for the second coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 16

    As a people we are not ready for the Lord’s appearing. If we would close the windows of the soul earthward and open them heavenward, every institution established would be a bright and shining light in the world. Each member of the church, if he lived the great, elevated, ennobling truths for this time, would be a bright, <shining> light. God’s people cannot please Him unless they are surcharged with the Holy Spirit’s efficiency. So pure and true is to be their relationship to one another that by their words, their affections, their attributes, they will show that they are one with Christ. They are to be as signs and wonders in our world, carrying forward intelligently every line of the work. And the different parts of the work are to be so harmoniously related to one another that all will move like well-regulated machinery. Then will the joy of Christ’s salvation be understood. There will then be none of the representation now made by those who have been given the light of truth to communicate, but who have not revealed the principles of truth in their association with one another, who have not done the Lord’s work in a way that glorifies Him.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 17

    It is professed believers who need converting. God calls upon those who stand in responsible positions in our institutions to represent the principles of truth in every business transaction. In all their dealings with those connected with them they are to show in word and deed and spirit that they esteem others better than themselves. They are to come down from their self-bestowed exaltation, so that in practical life they may live out the words, “All ye are brethren.” [Matthew 23:8.] When, like the apostles on the day of Pentecost, they are all of one accord, the glory of the Lord will be revealed. Of the experience of the apostles at that time we read: “When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” [Acts 2:1-4.]16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 18

    After Christ rose from the dead, He proclaimed over the sepulcher, “I am the resurrection and the life.” [John 11:25.] Christ, the risen Saviour, is our life. As Christ becomes the life of the soul, the change is felt, but language cannot describe it. All claims to knowledge, to influence, to power are worthless without the perfume of Christ’s character. Christ must be the very life of the soul, as the blood is the life of the body.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 19

    The apostle Peter writes, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue; whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall; for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” [2 Peter 1:2-11.]16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 20

    Working on the plan of addition here outlined, we are to make constant improvement. There is no time to be lost.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 21

    The standard of character which Christ has made it possible for us to reach can be compared with nothing else. It is a perfect standard. In trying to measure [up to] it, the senses become confused. The question is asked, “Who by searching can find out God?” [Job 11:7.] Yet He has made it possible for us to become like Him in character. Oh, what will impress men and women with their need of that transformation which will enable them to reflect the divine image?16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 22

    Many who claim to follow Christ present to the world an inferior representation of Christianity because they do not reach the standard which makes them the elect of God. He who fails to keep constantly before him the standard of God’s holy law creates a standard of his own. He becomes destitute of the life-giving principles of the gospel. He is an unprofitable servant, for he lives and works on a low plane of action. Christ’s presence does not sustain him, and his spiritual representations are deformed. His life is a farce. He does not draw the higher life from God, and is unfitted to become a member of the royal family, a child of the heavenly King. Spiritually he is dead, for he does not assimilate into his own life the life which Christ has provided. He does not grasp the power which heaven has provided to enable him to be an overcomer.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 23

    No one can take to heaven his natural and cultivated traits of character. He who has carried these traits with him through his period of probation has misrepresented Christ by acting upon principles which God cannot endorse. The principles of true spiritual life are not understood by those who know the truth, but fail to practice it.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 24

    The Lord calls for reforms, marked, distinct reforms. Those in whose hearts Christ dwells will reveal His presence in their dealings with their fellow men. But the principles of some have been so long perverted that they have lost their discernment, and the arrow seldom reaches its mark. How can this be cured? Only by heeding Christ’s prayer, “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth. 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.” [John 17:17-19.] There is no roundabout way in which the work of sanctification can take place.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 25

    I tell you in the name of the Lord that Israel has sinned. Those handling sacred responsibilities have done strange things. The Lord has not been able to send the dew and showers of His grace; for before He can do this, there must be a change of principles and actions. The Lord longs to see reformatory repentance and good works, that He may send showers of grace to bless His work in every place. He has sent the message, “O Israel, return thou unto the Lord thy God.” [Hosea 14:1.] He does not want to send His judgments. He wants to descend as the gentle showers and refreshing dew, that He may revive the spiritual life of His people.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 26

    “O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and turn to the Lord; say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously, so will we render the calves of our lips. ... I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely; for mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel; he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. ... They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn and grow as the vine; the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols; I have heard him, and observed him; I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them; but the transgressors shall fall therein.” [Verses 1, 2, 4, 5, 7-9.]16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 27

    Heed this instruction, and be wise.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 28

    “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” [John 17:20.] O precious, blessed Saviour, I thank Thee for Thy Word. I praise Thy holy name. We are all included in that prayer. “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.” [Verse 21.] This is the purpose which God wishes to see fulfilled. All heaven is longing to see men turning from their unrighteousness, their crooked ways, and seeking grace from the Spirit of Jesus Christ, that each may work from pure, unselfish motives. Love for God and the Redeemer, and tender regard for one another, which leads to unselfish effort to help and bless, these are the credentials Christians are to bear to the world that God sent His Son to this earth that all might believe in Him and be saved.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 29

    Let us remember that variance and sharp dealing never serve the cause or enrich God’s institutions. By His providences God takes away the money gained by sharp devices. By sharp practice dissatisfaction and disunion are created. Lack of confidence comes in. There is a constant impression that someone is trying to get the best of someone else in trade. There are those who try to make terms that are not just and righteous, because they think they can do this <and they will do it>. Let the wrong principles which have been coming in for years now be cut out by the roots. Let brotherly love prevail. Those who think by sharp practice and worldly policy to get gain for the cause do not glorify God. He will not accept a jot or tittle of such offerings. <God hates all such demonstrations.>16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 30

    Holiness to the Lord means having Christ enthroned in the soul, His life circulating through the being just as the blood circulates through the veins. When the Saviour reigns in the hearts of His professed followers, there will be no sharpers in the church. The Lord has no need of these. Let none suppose that they are co-operating with God when in any way they take the least advantage of their brethren. Remember that God will not vindicate the least selfishness toward your brethren. Remember that in all your dealing with your brethren, you are dealing with Christ in the person of His saints. Every block placed in the way of their success is a block placed in the way of Christ.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 31

    True love for God and for one another is that which distinguishes true Christianity from the false sentiments and false sympathies which are by some called good works. The lump must be holy if the evidences appear which show that gold, silver, and precious stones are being brought to the foundation.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 32

    It is a life and death question which is before us. The way in which we settle this question will decide our eternal destiny. God help us, by our unity with Christ and with one another, to present to the world unmistakable evidence that God has wrought a miracle in our lives, removing from them all guile, all hypocrisy, all evil work.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 33

    “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.” This is the standard—to reveal the oneness which exists between the Father and the Son. “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.” [Verses 22, 23.] Who will now seek to reform in character, to answer the prayer of Christ by being made perfect in one, that by this tender, Christlike union the world may be assured of the miracle-working power of Him whom God sent into the world?16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 34

    In this work of transformation, all our institutions should act their part, now, just now, making no excuse. They should see that by their lack of unity and Christlike love they are encouraging positive unbelief. Shall not this hindrance to the advancement and upbuilding of Christ’s kingdom be removed at once? Will not men, women, and youth repent and be converted, that their sins may be blotted out, and that they may begin to live an elevated, spiritual life, in harmony with Christ’s standard?16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 35

    We have no time, not a moment, to consider self. God calls for proof of a change of heart. There has been such a departure from Christlike sympathy and tenderness, and so much conformity to worldly policy and selfish principles that the high standard of righteousness has been lowered. The members of the church have so long neglected to eat the bread of heaven that many of them have lost all relish for the celestial food. By their actions they say, “Our soul loatheth this light bread.” [Numbers 21:5.] The food is provided from the Lord’s own table, but they have no desire for it; because depraved appetite clamors for the gratification of unholy practices.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 36

    Will you study your Bibles? The principles of heaven are unchangeable. Our safety lies in studying the Word of God. Eat it; digest it; for it is as the leaves of the Tree of Life. It is the life of the soul, but it is this only as its teachings are practiced. The Bible furnishes us with intellectual and spiritual feasts as we bring its sacred, elevating treasures into the soul-temple.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 37

    Faith is the clasping of the hand of Christ in every place, in every emergency. “Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me.” [Isaiah 27:5.] Every soul may take hold of the efficiency of Christ. The Saviour will never disappoint the one who trusts in Him. Those who are renewed unto righteousness will always bear good fruit, the fruit of the Spirit—good words and works. But before the fruit can be good the tree must be made good. The fruit of righteousness is shown forth by pleasant words, true courtesy, unselfish actions. Thus the character is made fragrant. The life is freed from all signs of overbearing and oppression.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 38

    “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law” to bring them into bondage. “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” This is the evidence of true conversion. “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” [Galatians 5:22-26.]16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 39

    Good works! How much we need to understand what constitutes good works! These can only proceed from a heart under the control of the Holy Spirit. They spring from a living faith in the Word of God. They are the evidence of transformation of character.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 40

    Many fail to practice the Word of God because it bars the way of their ambitious plans and projects. They refuse to work for the glory of God, and take upon themselves the responsibility of being their own judge in matters which they propose to carry forward. This may appear right in their own eyes. They may have strong faith in their own methods. But saving faith will never lead men to do evil that good may come. A pure faith, clothed with the righteousness of Christ, works by love and sanctifies the soul. Under its influence every action is performed for the advancement of the kingdom of God in accordance with the divine thoughts and plans. The faith that is sanctified by Christ never places her delicate feet upon questionable ground. Man must have a conscientious faith, proceeding from a good conscience, a faith which works for justification and sanctification, before he can perform good works with an eye single to the glory of God.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 41

    The man who makes the standard of the world his pattern may be in many respects outwardly fair, but his inward principles will not stand the test of the judgment. When his motives are scrutinized by the One who sees not as man sees, he will appear as he really is. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so is the Lord’s standard of character higher than man’s standard of character.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 42

    Those who are connected with the service of God must be purified from every thread of selfishness. All is to be done in accordance with the injunction, “Whatsoever ye do, in word or deed, do all to the glory of God.” [1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17.] God’s laws of justice and equity must be strictly obeyed in the transactions between neighbor and neighbor, brother and brother. We are to seek for perfect order and perfect righteousness after God’s own similitude. On these grounds alone will our works bear the test of the judgment. In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avail anything, but a faith which works by love and purifies the soul from all earthliness.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 43

    There is a work to be done, for God is in earnest with us. “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God; for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” [Isaiah 55:6-9.]16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 44

    Christianity is the revealing of the tenderest affection for one another. The Christian life is made up of Christian duties and Christian privileges. Christ in His wisdom gave to His church in its infancy a system of sacrifices and offerings, of which He Himself was the foundation, and by which His death was prefigured. Every sacrifice pointed to Him as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, that all might understand that the wages of sin is death. In Him was no sin, yet He died for our sins.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 45

    The symbolic system of ceremonies worked to one end—the vindication of the law of God, that all who believe in Christ might 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.” [Ephesians 4:13.] In Christian work there is ample room for the activity of all the gifts God has given. All are to be united in carrying out God’s requirements, revealing at every advance step that faith which works by love and purifies the soul.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 46

    Christ is to receive supreme love from the beings He has created. And He requires also that man shall cherish a sacred regard for His fellow beings. Every soul saved will be saved through love, which begins with God. True conversion is a change from selfishness to sanctified affection for God and for one another. Will Seventh-day Adventists now make a thorough reformation, that their sin-stained souls may be cleansed from the leprosy of selfishness?16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 47

    I must speak the truth to all. Those who have accepted the light from God’s Word are never, never to leave an impression upon human minds that God will serve with their sins. His Word defines sin as the transgression of the law.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 48

    “Behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said, Thou hast answered right; this do, and thou shalt live.” [Luke 10:25-28.]16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 49

    As a people, many <who claim to believe the truth> are transgressing the law of God. Many to whom God has entrusted great responsibilities have ventured to become a law unto themselves. Those who strive to keep the commandments of God in deed and in truth will find that they have lessons to learn in regard to their attitude toward their fellow men of which they never dreamed. The high and holy One, who inhabiteth eternity, recognizes as His representatives those who bow before Him in humility and contrition. But He will show displeasure against those who in word and action have been indifferent to their fellow men, working to hurt, and destroy, and tear down. God calls for repentance and conversion.16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 50

    In one of His last lessons, Christ said to His disciples, “A new commandment I give unto you, 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 for another.” [John 13:34, 35.] Might we not better without delay realize that we have fallen far short of loving one another as Christ has loved us?16LtMs, Ms 16, 1901, par. 51

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