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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902) - Contents
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    Ms 166, 1902

    The Need of Earnest Effort


    December 17, 1902 [typed]

    This manuscript is published in entirety in 18MR 185-196. +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 living in the time of the end. Thrones and churches have united to oppose God’s purposes. The association of man with man, which God designed should be a means of strengthening goodness and happiness, has been a means of strengthening evil and of developing tendencies to rebellion. Men have assumed despotic power, and human laws have been put in the place of the law of God.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 1

    It is the reign of antichrist. God’s law is set aside. The Scriptures are exchanged for the traditions of men. Satan has become the ruler of the world; and in his hands temptation has become a science. He rules over a vast, well-organized empire. Sin has stimulated his followers into fearful activity. Men have combined to perpetuate evil. The sale of intoxicating liquor, destructive alike to soul and body, is legalized by Christian governments. And those who authorize the sale of that which makes men demons make Sunday laws, which they give to the world under the solemn name of religion. God’s people are to show their loyalty to Him by keeping holy the day of His rest. They are to work earnestly to set in operation influences that will counterwork the efforts that Satan is making. The light of truth is to be shed abroad in the earth. God’s law is to be proclaimed. An intense interest in the message of present truth is to be awakened.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 2

    The establishment of sanitariums is one means by which this is to be done. Thus men and women are to learn of the character of the work of Seventh-day Adventists. It is the Lord’s design that in many places sanitariums shall be established.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 3

    In the future some of our sanitariums will be moved from their present locations to more favorable places. It has been presented to me that properties will be offered to us for sale on which there are buildings in which our work can be carried forward. I have recently received a letter saying that such a place has been purchased not far from Boston. I recognize in the offer of this place the providence of God. With a sanitarium established there, much can be done to enlighten the city of Boston. Now as never before this city is to be worked.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 4

    God’s people are to have clear spiritual eyesight, else they will fail of securing advantages that God desires them to secure. We have plain evidence that God’s hand is upon the wheel of His providence. The great crisis is before us. Now is the time for us to warn the world by the distribution of our publications and by the establishment of sanitariums and schools. And let us never lose sight of the great object for which these interests are established—the advancement of God’s work.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 5

    Hygienic restaurants are to be started in our cities. Thus a good work may be done. God will give His people skill and wisdom to make wholesome, palatable foods. He who in the wilderness gave manna to the children of Israel is our God, ready to give light and knowledge to those whose desire it is to glorify Him. Those in charge of our restaurants should take a firm stand to close them on the Sabbath. Thus they proclaim the Sabbath truth.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 6

    Let God’s work go forward. Let plants be made in many places. Let the cities of America be warned. There are many cities in which nothing has been done to proclaim the message of warning. What does it mean that so many fields are left unworked? To God you must answer. He will call to account those upon whom the light of truth is shining, if they pass by these needy fields.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 7

    The light given me is that if, instead of having immense medical institutions, such as the Battle Creek Sanitarium, many smaller sanitariums were established in many places, a strong influence for good would be exerted on those who are strangers from the covenant of promise.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 8

    Influences are to be set in motion that will proclaim to the world the first, second, and third angels’ messages. The time has come of which John writes, “The temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament, and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” [Revelation 11:19.] “The ark of His testament”—the two tables of stone, upon which are written, with the finger of God, the ten commandments. The ark is a symbol of the presence of God. In clear, steady rays the light shines from it to the world. The time has come when the law of God is to be proclaimed with strong, decided utterance. The world is to be warned, and I beseech those who know the truth to do all in their power to sound the warning, “Prepare to meet thy God.” [Amos 4:12.] The temple of God was opened in heaven in answer to the prayers of His people, and by terrible things in righteousness will He reveal His power.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 9

    “It is time, O Lord, for Thee to work,” David said; “for they have made void Thy law.” [Psalm 119:126.] “They have made void Thy law,” he says. The well-nigh universal scorn thrown on God’s law did not change his sentiments in regard to it. “Therefore I love Thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.” [Verse 127.]17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 10

    David lived many hundreds of years ago, and he thought then that the time had come for God to interfere to vindicate His honor and repress the swelling unrighteousness. Today men have almost filled the cup of their iniquity. The Lord does not execute the death penalty on the transgressors of His law until they have heard the warning and have been given opportunity to see the fallacy of the doctrines they believe. How wonderful is His forbearance and patience! He is putting a constraint on His own attributes. Omnipotence is exerted over Omnipotence.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 11

    “The Lord is slow to anger and great in power,” “plenteous in mercy and forgiveness;” but He “will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.” [Nahum 1:3.] Soon there is to be an awakening of His displeasure, and who then can stay His wrath?17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 12

    A Call to Repentance

    There is work to be done in our cities, work to be done in every place. God will take men from the plough, from the sheepfold, from the vineyard, and will put them in the place of those who think that they must have the highest wages. Those who grasp high wages will find in the money they get all the reward they will ever receive. Such ones cannot be expected to feel a burden for the salvation of perishing souls. The Lord wants no such workers. Until they banish selfishness from their hearts, their efforts are worthless. The Lord will take out of the way those workers who are not moving forward in His lines.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 13

    “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” [Revelation 2:5.] Those addressed in these words had lost their first love—the love of which Christ declared, “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” [John 13:35.] They had done that for which God had highly commended them. “I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil; and how thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars; and hast borne, and hast patience, and for My name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted.” [Revelation 2:2, 3.] But in spite of these good works, the leaving of their first love made their efforts unacceptable to God.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 14

    God says to His people today, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” [Verses 4, 5.] Will they heed the reproof? Will they dare to trifle with so direct and decided a statement, and keep their command excellencies blasted as with a mildew because they allow Satan to steal in among them? “Thou hast left thy first love,” and therefore there is no steadfastness of purpose. Without this love, all knowledge, all capabilities, all outward zeal and service, are worthless. You do not receive from Christ grace to impart to others. And while you do not reveal the love that Christ has commanded you to reveal, your light is not shining forth to the world.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 15

    How does your love for sinners compare with the love that Christ has manifested? He died a shameful death to save human beings from perishing. His love is expressed in the prayer that He offered just before His crucifixion, and in this prayer also is shown the power of Christlike love as it is revealed among human beings.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 16

    “Neither pray I for these alone,” Christ says; “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. Father, I will that they also whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me; for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world.” [John 17:20-24.]17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 17

    “By their reception of Me as their Saviour, I am glorified in them, and their lives reveal the power of the truth to purify and ennoble. Through belief and practice of the truth they are sanctified. My Spirit molds and fashions their characters after the divine similitude. I manifest Myself to them, giving them correct views of truth, and their obedience to the truth sanctifies them.”17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 18

    “That they all may be one.” [Verse 21.] Christ brings His disciples into an inward, living union with one another and with God. And under the influence of His Spirit they live lives that bear uncontrovertible evidence to the power of the truth. In Christian love they are bound up with the Father and the Son, and their unity is a convincing proof that God has sent His Son into the world to save sinners. And the glory that God gave Christ as His obedient Son, Christ gives to them, by His participation with them in humanity and by the promises that He makes to them.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 19

    Through the love that the church at Ephesus had dropped out of their practice, the knowledge of God and Christ is to be revealed to the world. Let those who today are living without this love remember that their eternal salvation depends on their heart-felt repentance. God says to them, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” [Revelation 2:5.]17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 20

    Obedience to this word is their first work. They are in positive danger. No one who continues to cherish a stubborn, querulous spirit will ever pass through the strait gate into the glorious beyond. Let the converting power of truth set the heart right with God. Let the fretful, complaining disposition be changed for Christlikeness of spirit and word and action.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 21

    There are among us ministers and church members who are not courteous and kind, who seem to have forgotten that in all they do or say, they are either following a righteous or an unrighteous course, gathering with Christ or scattering from Him. Self is idolized. The burning ambition of the heart is to exalt self. Whether or not they are fitted for positions of trust in our institutions, they want to be first. They seek to grasp responsibilities that they have neither tact nor ability to carry. They have lost a sense of what is due from man to his fellow man, and in God’s sight they are novices. By the spirit they cherish, by the words they speak and the deeds they do, they show that they have lost their first love. They have not the love of Christ in their hearts. They do not love God or their fellow beings; if they did, they would follow a course that would surround their souls with a sweet, pleasant atmosphere. Into their work they bring harshness and self-exaltation, and unless they repent, their candlestick will be removed, and their hearts will be as a dark room. The light of the Sun of righteousness has shown on them, but they would not walk in the light, and it has become darkness to them. They walk in accordance with impulse, like a family of unruly children. They are not kind and considerate, but harsh and unchristlike.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 22

    Christ delights in no such workers. Those who truly receive the glorious truth of the gospel will show forth in their lives the saving, uplifting, sanctifying power of the truth. The heavenly bears no resemblance to the earthly. Those who are indeed in the truth, those who eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God, will daily gain increased knowledge and wider experience. Daily they will become more skilled workmen, as they co-operate with Christ, making the best possible use of their talents. They are members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 23

    Leaving the first love represents a spiritual fall. Many have fallen thus. In every church in our land, there is needed confession, repentance, and reconversion. The disappointment of Christ is beyond description. Unless those who have fallen speedily repent, the deceptions of the last days will overtake them. Some, though they do not realize it, are preparing to be overtaken. Temptation comes suddenly, and the light is quenched. Henceforth light is to them darkness and darkness light. God calls for repentance without delay. So long have many trifled with salvation that their spiritual eyesight is dimmed, and they cannot discern between light and darkness. Christ is humiliated in His people. The first love is gone, the faith is weak, there is need of a thorough transformation.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 24

    My brethren, seek the Lord; humble your hearts before Him. I have an intense desire to see you walking in the light as Christ is in the light. I pray most earnestly for you. But I cannot fail to see that the light God has given me is not favorable to our ministers or our churches. You have left your first love. Self-righteousness is not the wedding garment. A failure to follow the clear light of truth is our fearful danger. The message to the Laodicean church reveals our condition as a people.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 25

    Give heed to this message. “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” [Revelation 3:14-18.]17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 26

    O what a description! How many there are in this fearful condition. I earnestly entreat every minister to study diligently the third chapter of Revelation; for in it is portrayed the condition of things existing in the last days. Study carefully every verse in this chapter; for through these words Jesus is speaking to you.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 27

    If ever a people were represented by the Laodicean message, it is the people who have had great light, the revelation of the Scriptures, that Seventh-day Adventists have received. In the place of exalting self by manifesting pride, self-reliance, and self-importance; in the place of revealing personal weakness of character by remaining proud, boastful, and unconverted; God’s professed people should realize their need of the graces of the Spirit of truth and righteousness. They should come to Jesus in childlike trustfulness, the melting love of God filling every heart. Never should they cherish thoughts of self-exaltation or dependence on human capabilities. Never should they think that they can exercise the power that comes from God alone.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 28

    There are souls who are striving to keep themselves in the love of God. In the third of Revelation two classes of church members are brought to view. Christ Himself declared to His servant John, “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white; for they are worthy. He that overcometh shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot our his name out of the book of life; but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” [Verses 4-6.]17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 29

    The manifestation of genuine humility is the evidence that we are guarding against the mastery of self. Satan is seeking with all his subtlety to corrupt mind and heart. And O how successful he is in leading men and women to depart from the simplicity of the gospel of Christ. Hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong are roused into activity. Ministers and church members are in danger of allowing self to take the throne.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 30

    Human wisdom, human ability, is nothingness in God’s sight. He who supposes that he is superior to his fellow men in wisdom will sooner or later reveal traits of character that do not possess the fragrance of Christlikeness. In the church today there are many of this stamp—men and women in whom the loveliness of Christ is hidden by traits of character that unfit the possessor for membership in the Lord’s family in the heavenly courts.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 31

    A Failure to Understand

    When these matters are revealed to me, I cannot sleep. Night after night I am in deep distress of mind. Our people, both ministers and lay members, are not prepared to understand Christ’s lesson as recorded in the eighteenth of Matthew. When the disciples came to Jesus with the question, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He “called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” [Verses 1-4.]17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 32

    There are many who are not Bible Christians. They are following a standard of their own devising. If they would see their defective, distorted characters as they are accurately reflected in the mirror of God’s Word, they would be so alarmed that they would fall upon their faces before God in contrition of soul, and tear away the rags of their self-righteousness.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 33

    The church members are not Christians who fail of representing Christ’s character; who receive His blessings, not in a spirit of thankfulness, gratitude, and joy, but in a spirit of complaint and faultfinding, manifested in criticizing those who are indeed members of the royal family. They heed not the lessons that Christ has given them.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 34

    The Saviour’s instruction is unmistakably plain. He says: “If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” [Matthew 5:23, 24.]17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 35

    “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” [Mark 11:24-26.]17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 36

    To cherish resentful feelings and to feed upon them gives one a very poor appetite for reading the Scriptures; for God’s Word condemns the one who permits the enemy so to control the feelings that resentment is harbored. The Lord cannot answer the prayers of any one who cherishes an unforgiving spirit.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 37

    My brethren, I feel great sorrow of heart. I shall not appear before you again in our general gatherings unless I am impressed by the Spirit of God that I should. The last General Conference that I attended gave you all the evidence that you will ever have in any meeting that shall be convened. If that meeting did not convince you that God is working by His Spirit through His humble servant, it is because the candlestick has been moved out of its place. I thought that after the last General Conference there would be a change of heart; but during that meeting the work was not done that ought to have been done that God might come in; nor has this work been done since that time. God is knocking at the door of the heart; but as yet the door has not been opened to let Him enter and take full possession of the soul temple.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 38

    My brethren in the ministry, you ought to be reaching higher and still higher in Christian experience—higher not by self-assertion, self-assumption, and self-confidence, but by growth in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Press forward toward the mark of the prize of your high calling in Christ Jesus. How much we need to be faithful watchmen over self, to make sure that we have not the spirit which leads us to hurt and destroy in the place of using our God-given talents in awakening the inhabitants of our world to a realization of their lost and undone condition. Let us not be content to be as men who have left their first love.17LtMs, Ms 166, 1902, par. 39

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