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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902) - Contents
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    Ms 53, 1902



    April 18, 1902 [typed]

    This manuscript is published in entirety in 18MR 137-145. +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 Work of God’s Servants. God’s true servants will not be ashamed of the banner of truth, however unpopular it may be. They will not hold their peace from proclaiming the truth in all places. Throughout the world they will herald the glad tidings of salvation. They will be missionaries for God, for the truth’s sake facing danger, enduring privation, suffering reproach. The third angel is represented as flying swiftly through the midst of heaven, proclaiming his message with a loud voice. This representation symbolizes the work of God’s agencies near the end of time. With joyful countenances and uplifted heads, with the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness shining upon them, with rejoicing that their redemption draweth nigh, they go forth as soldiers of the cross. They make it manifested that they have tasted the power of the world to come, that they are not standing on sliding sand, but on the solid rock, that they cannot be easily moved away from the faith once delivered to the saints. They are strengthened by their Leader to cope with difficulty and are messengers of righteousness, representing Christ and revealing the triumphs of His grace.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 1

    There are men and women of refinement and education who will throw the whole weight of their influence on the Lord’s side, who, ignoring worldly interests and parting with friends, will go forth to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ. Their lives show the world that in Christianity there is a power that exalts the character in righteousness and true holiness. Through them the gospel is seen to be the power of God unto salvation.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 2


    Heroes of Faith. From age to age, the heroes of faith have been marked by their fidelity to God. They have been brought conspicuously before the world in order that their light might shine forth to those in darkness.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 3


    Bending the Mind. You may bend a twig to almost any form you desire. Bend it, and let it grow bent, and soon it will resist all effort to straighten it. So it is with the mind. In childhood, easily bent in the right direction or the wrong, it is in manhood almost proof against change. The habits formed in childhood grow with the growth and strengthen with the strength.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 4

    The Christian’s Winter. If we had perpetual summer, we should not value as we do now its bright days and beautiful flowers. Through the winter months we look forward to the time when summer with its beauty will once more gladden the earth.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 5

    So it is with the Christian Life. We are pilgrims and strangers on the earth. Our sojourn here is as it were the Christian’s winter. But our faith and hope reach forward and upward to the better life, to the home that Christ has gone to prepare for those that love Him. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” [1 Corinthians 2:9.]17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 6

    “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also have overcome, and am set down with my Father on his throne.” [Revelation 3:21.] There are many things to be overcome. Day by day the battle goes on. The struggle is lifelong; for Satan watches every opportunity to take advantage of us, that he may ensnare us to our ruin.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 7

    “Resist the devil.” [James 4:7.] Be not seduced by his flattering presentations. Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. All the good resolutions we make in our own strength are as ropes of sand. But when we come to God in sincerity, and give ourselves to Him, He will strengthen us to stand against the wiles of the enemy. In the power of Jesus Christ, resist the enemy, and he will flee from you.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 8

    In humble, trustful dependence make known your wants to your heavenly Father. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Every step you take toward God is taken in response to the drawing of the Holy Spirit.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 9

    We are on test and trial. Satan is playing the game of life for our souls. No matter what may be our inherited or cultivated tendencies to wrong, we can overcome through the power that God gives. The Holy Spirit is our Helper. “As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation, because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” [1 Peter 1:15, 16.]17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 10

    The Scriptures declare, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” [Matthew 6:24.] He who tries to serve God and the world is unstable in all his ways. He cannot be trusted. His words may be fair, he may be professedly righteous, but in heart he is deceptive and deceitful, a rebel against God.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 11

    “Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into heaviness.” [James 4:9.] It is right to be cheerful and joyful. But words of jesting and joking, of lightness and trifling, show that the profession of Christianity is not genuine. The hearts of those who speak such words need to be purified. They need to show genuine sorrow for sin. What virtue is there in the religion that leads to the words, “Christ has pardoned my sins, and there is no need for me to resist temptation”? John declares, “He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” [1 John 3:3.]17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 12

    Can a human being remove from his heart one stain of sin? No. Looking into the law of God, he sees himself a sinner; but he has no power to cleanse himself from sin. Only by faith in Christ can he be purified. He is the one who takes away the sin of the world. “He was wounded for our transgression; he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” [Isaiah 53:5.]17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 13


    Talents. The slothful servant hid in the earth the talent given him for wise improvement. Just what he did, many today are doing. He gave back to the Lord the talent he had received. But with this the Lord was not satisfied. He required more than this. He held the slothful servant accountable for the talents he might have possessed. Every provision had been made for him to increase in knowledge. But he did not recognize God’s claim on his time, his influence, his capabilities.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 14

    It is God’s purpose that the soul shall continually progress in knowledge and virtue. For this Christ clothed His divinity with humanity. For this He came to the earth and lived a life filled with suffering and privation.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 15

    The denunciation of God is not confined to the most revolting sins. So far is this from being the case, that in the day of judgment reference will not be especially made to the actual transgressions, but to the neglect of doing what might have been done, but what was not done because of a lack of the qualifications that Christ died to place within the reach of every one.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 16

    The servants and the talents belong to God. “Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are his.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] Your capabilities and powers are a purchased possession. You are to train the mind to think right thoughts, the tongue to speak right words, the eye to see right things. The heart is to be cleansed and purified, that it may be an abiding place for Christ.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 17

    Remember that God has given to every man according to his several ability. Whether his powers be few or many, they are to be devoted to God’s service. The Lord expects every one to use his ability in doing good. He who does not improve his talents is regarded by the Lord as a slothful, untrustworthy servant, unworthy of admittance into the heavenly courts. The good he might have done, the good that Christ gave His life to make it possible for him to do, he did not do. He has disappointed the Master. Upon him must fall the penalty of failing to fulfil God’s purpose. Busied during his lifetime with the things of self, he forgot God.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 18

    Take the case of a man who claims to know the truth, but who neglects the duty plainly specified in the Word of God. He does not watch and pray. He does not make the Lord his counsellor. He becomes self-sufficient, acting as if his wisdom and strength and knowledge were sufficient for his needs. He fails to improve his talents, disqualifying himself for the sphere of usefulness he might have filled in the Lord’s work. From him will be required the good he might have done but did not do. Through his unfaithfulness, souls are lost. God holds him responsible for the evil resulting from his neglect, for the souls he might have saved had he been faithful to his trust. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” [Galatians 6:7.] The harvest is sure. No frost shall blight it, no palmerworm destroy it. The truth rejected becomes a savor of death unto death. Every hour spent in careless inaction, in indifference to God’s claims, is an hour lost forever. Every opportunity allowed to pass unimproved means an eternal loss.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 19


    “Go forward.” [Exodus 14:15.] Act your part as my stewards to prepare a people to stand in the great crisis just before us. Should not the man to whom the Lord speaks thus strive to make his words and deeds correspond with the trust laid upon him? Should he not strive constantly to reach the standard God has set before him, steadily advancing in the path of holiness and unswerving fidelity?17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 20


    The Result of True Conversion. “My little children, these things write I unto you that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.” [1 John 2:1-6.]17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 21

    When true conversion takes place, there is a transformation of character. Christlikeness is seen. Pride no longer rules the heart.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 22

    To every son and every daughter of God some work has been assigned, some part of the Lord’s vineyard to cultivate.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 23

    Growth in grace is shown by an increased ability to work for God. He who learns in the school of Christ will know how to pray and speak for the Master. Realizing that he lacks wisdom and experience, he places himself under the training of the Great Teacher, knowing that only thus can he attain perfection in God’s service. And daily he becomes better able to comprehend spiritual things. Every day of diligent labor finds him at its close better fitted to help others. Abiding in Christ, he bears much fruit.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 24

    Jesus is a risen Saviour. He is our Advocate in the heavenly courts. As soon as the sinner sees his sin in the light of God’s Word and repents, seeking with contrition of soul for pardon, the Lord hears and answers. The clearer our view of Jesus, the clearer our view of our own weakness. Those who behold Him realize their inability to do anything good without His help. They say, “In my hands no price I bring; simply to Thy cross I cling.” They bow in adoration before God at the thought of the wonderful provision made to take away the sin of the world.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 25

    There is only one way to heaven. Christ declares, “I am the way.” [John 14:6.] When the Saviour spoke these words, He declared that the gulf between heaven and earth had been bridged, and that man, though he had wandered far from God, could return and be accepted in the Beloved.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 26


    Achan’s Sin. The standard of piety has been allowed to trail in the dust. Those who claim to be followers of God are following their own way instead of the way of God. They are false signboards pointing in the wrong direction.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 27

    Achan thought it a very small matter to take the wedge of gold and the Babylonish garment—part of the spoil that the Lord had declared was to be utterly consumed. But what was to him a very small matter was in the sight of the Lord a very serious matter. He had sinned against the Lord, and because of his sin the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel. The presence of the Lord was withdrawn from their armies; for God would not serve with sin. He permitted the enemy to triumph over them.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 28

    “The men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men; for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down; wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water. And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the Lord, until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads. And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord God, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites, to destroy us; would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan. O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies. For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth; and what wilt thou do unto thy great name.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 29

    “And the Lord said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face! Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant, which I commanded them; for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their back before their enemies, because they were accursed; neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow; for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel; thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.” [Joshua 7:5-13.]17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 30

    The Lord desires to give Israel a lesson that they should never forget. “In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes; and it shall be, that the tribe which the Lord taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the Lord shall take shall come by households; and the household which the Lord shall take shall come by man. And it shall be that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath; because he hath transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel.” “And Achan ... was taken.” [Verses 14, 15, 18.]17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 31

    “And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, I pray thee give glory unto the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.” [Verse 19.]17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 32

    Had Achan been punished without making a confession of his guilt, the people, ever ready to rebel, would have charged God with being unmerciful and severe. They would have reproached Joshua with harshness and severity.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 33

    “And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel. ... When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth, in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.” [Verses 20, 21.]17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 34

    Let no one excuse his sin by saying, It will not matter; it is only a little thing. That sin, small though it may seem to you, may cause the loss of a soul.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 35

    “They have taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen and dissembled.” [Verse 11.] Let not the people of God today covet the things He has appointed to destruction. These things are a snare to the soul. They are cursed of God; for they lead to vanity and pride and self-exaltation.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 36


    The Need of Greater Earnestness. The work ought to have moved forward with a hundredfold more power than it has. Believers have themselves barred the way against its advancement by their lack of faith. The have limited the Lord God of heaven. Where there is now one at work, there should be hundreds, and there would be if men would trust God and obey His Word.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 37

    If all had been doers of the Word, a great work would have been done for the Master, zealously, faithfully, untiringly. Light has been given me that if the Lord’s people do not strive more earnestly to make the truth of the Word of God more widely known, the Lord will raise up other instruments, who, in the spirit of John the Baptist, will do His work. Darkness has covered the earth and gross darkness the people. But the Holy Spirit can speak and will speak to the hearts and minds of men. Those god chooses are taught of Him.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 38


    The Bible Our Guide. The Bible is our guidebook showing the way to heaven. It is the revelation of God’s will. The value of this Word is beyond estimate. It is the bread of life and the water of salvation to all who make it their study. What it means to be a Christian can be understood only by a careful and prayerful study of the Word of God.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 39

    In Christ’s day the Gentiles had not the Word of God. Paul speaks of the Jews as having unmeasured advantage over the Gentiles, because to them had been committed the oracles of God.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 40

    Those who believe the Word of God as it reads are walking in the light; for the Bible is its own interpreter.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 41

    Many, without the help of any human being, will be converted by the teaching of God’s Word. The great Teacher will impress their minds.17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 42

    Even men who profess to be infidels, who will not admit the inspiration of the Bible, admire the beauty of its teaching. The only means of purification is a knowledge of God. But how can we know Him if we do not study His Word?17LtMs, Ms 53, 1902, par. 43

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