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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902) - Contents
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    Ms 106, 1902

    An Aggressive Work

    “Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

    July 21, 1902

    Portions of this manuscript are published in 7T 18-19. +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.

    I have received instruction that I must present to our people. The Lord has a work for every one to do, and He will bless every faithful worker. We have been called “out of the darkness into His marvelous light.” [1 Peter 2:9.] We cannot afford to walk in our own wisdom; for this is not safe.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 1

    I wish to encourage my ministering brethren to work for those who have not heard the truth. We have a plain, straightforward message from the Lord to bear to the world—a message that is to be borne in all the rich fullness of the Holy Spirit’s power. There is a special work to be done, and we have no time to lose. Let our ministers feel it their duty to seek to save that which is lost. Direct appeals are to be made to the unconverted. “Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?” the Pharisees asked Christ’s disciples. The Saviour responded, “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” [Matthew 9:11, 13.] This work He has given us to do. And never was there a greater need of it than at the present time. Darkness has covered the earth, and gross darkness the people.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 2

    God has not given His ministers the work of setting the churches right. No sooner is this work done, apparently, than the same work must be done over again. Church members who are thus looked after and labored for become religious weaklings. If nine tenths of the labor that has been put forth for those who know the truth had been put forth for those who have never heard the truth, what a change would take place. God has withheld His blessings, because His people have not labored in harmony with His directions.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 3

    In many of our churches in the cities, the minister preaches Sabbath after Sabbath, and during the week none of the members work to carry out the instruction given. The church members come to the meeting on the Sabbath with no words to tell of the blessing they have received by imparting their blessing to others. Thus much is lost. While church members have to be kept alive by sermons, and while they make no effort to use the help given them to help and strengthen others, the result must be great spiritual feebleness. It only weakens the people for our ministers to spend on them time and talents that should be given to the unconverted. The greatest help that can be given to the churches is to teach them to work for God and to depend on Him, not on the ministers.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 4

    The members of our churches are to be taught to work as Christ worked. They are to join the army of spiritual workers and do faithful service for God. There will be times when it is fitting that our ministers shall give on the Sabbath short discourses full of life and grace and the love of Christ. But the church members are not to expect a sermon every Sabbath.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 5

    We need to humble our souls before God and to remember that we are pilgrims and strangers on the earth. We are to do the work of God in our world with such earnestness that we shall constantly bring eternal realities before those who are seeking for truth. Those who have united with the Lord in sacred covenant are under bonds to co-operate with Him in the great, grand work of ministering to those ready to perish. Let the church members, during the week, act their part in the service of the Lord and then on the Sabbath tell their experience. The meeting will be like meat in due season; for all will bring precious offerings to the Lord. When God’s people see the great need of sinners’ being converted, turned from the service of Satan to serve the living God, the testimonies borne in the Sabbath service will be filled with life and power. The members of the church will be living witnesses for God, and they will testify with joy of their experience in working for souls. Thus it should be. A living church is a working church.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 6


    Souls in the darkness of heathenism are often more susceptible to the truth than the people in the cities where for many years the light of truth has been before them without impressing hearts or making converts to the faith.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 7

    Too much has been done in a few places, while in other places little or nothing has been done. Battle Creek is an object lesson to us. For the last thirty-five years the people of this city have had the light. They know the evidences of our faith. But they have not received the truth. Powerful conviction has come to their hearts, but they have refused to yield to evidence. Let each worker remember that he is to labor with reference to the other members of God’s working force. Every one is to realize his dependence on God’s other instrumentalities. There is no such thing as independence, except in one respect. We are to stand before God, having on the whole armor, having done all, to stand. But we are never to forget the reciprocal relation that should exist between God’s workers. We are to receive from on high grace and blessing for the benefit and blessing of our fellow workers. We are to perform kindly acts and speak words of good cheer. Because we see some little defect in another’s work, we are not to lose sight of the good that he has done. Let not those who know the truth pick at flaws, but be ready to commend every good work. Never leave a fellow worker in doubt or discouragement. Speak the truth as it is in Jesus.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 8

    Lessons From the Eleventh Chapter of Hebrews

    “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go into a place that he should afterward receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. ... These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of the country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly; wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He hath prepared for them a city. By faith, Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac; and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son. ... By faith Moses, when he was born was hid three months of his parents, because they saw that he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” [Hebrews 11:8-10, 13-17, 23-27.]17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 9

    The history of these faithful servants of God is the experience that God’s servants today must expect.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 10

    God commended Noah in that he was righteous in his generation. Enoch also was faithful and true. The record declares that he walked with God, and that he was not; for God took him. These men maintained their integrity against great odds, at a time no more favorable to the formation of a righteous character than the present time.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 11

    Abraham pleased God by walking with Him. He had confidence in Him. He held communion with Him, opening his heart to Him. He moved with godly fear at every step, because he believed God’s Word.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 12

    By faith these men walked with God, reaching greater and still greater heights of faith. And the word comes sounding down along the line to our time that God was not ashamed to be called their God, because they honored Him by their faith, justifying their faith by their works.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 13

    “And these all, having received a good report through faith, received not the promise; God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” [Verses 39, 40.] Till the end of time their example of steadfast integrity is to be an encouragement to those who follow the Lord.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 14

    “He that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” [Matthew 12:30.]17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 15

    The unconsecrated Christian exerts a more harmful influence than the open sinner, because he professes to be serving the Lord, while in his words and works he denies Him. His life is a denial of his faith. He scatters from Christ, instead of gathering with Him. He confuses believers. Some are deceived by him and praise him for his good works. They decide that he cannot be evil. He professes much, but his course of action is a denial of Christ.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 16

    Such ones are suspicious of others, because of their own departure from the straightforward path of duty.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 17

    Let all understand that we cannot serve God and mammon. Christ declares, “He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” [Verse 30.] In word, in action, in spirit, in his home life, his business dealing, and his church relations, a man is a Christian or he is a sinner. The garments of Christ’s righteousness cover no soul polluted by sin.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 18

    “Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted. It is henceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and trodden underfoot of men.” [Matthew 5:13.] As salt that has lost its saving properties is of no use as a preservative, so Christians who have lost their Christlikeness can exert no preservative influence in the world.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 19

    To be converted means just what it says. It means that the old prejudices, the selfishness, the natural inclinations, are cast out and their place supplied by the love of Christ. Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. He who is truly converted seeks to achieve new objects. His character is decidedly changed. His former ideas are discarded. He casts away his selfishness. He cherishes new sentiments, seeking to become Christlike in character.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 20

    The highway of salvation made by God in giving Christ, the sinless One, to bear the punishment of all who repent is not an indistinct path. “The path of the just is as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” [Proverbs 4:18.] The way to heaven is plainly pointed out. All may follow where Christ has gone before. Prophets and apostles, walking under God’s direction, have left us an example of the way in which we are to go.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 21

    To men in positions of trust, to ministers, to teachers, to those who are stewards in any line, there will come a personal message “Thou art the man” [2 Samuel 12:7], when their way is not according to a “Thus saith the Lord,” when there is a departure from pure principles. They themselves must make the application. Neither for fear nor favor are they to turn aside from the warning.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 22

    God’s people are to bear His mark—the sign specified in the thirty-first chapter of Exodus. They are to know how to give, in a few words, in plain, simple language the reasons of their faith.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 23

    The voice of God reaches down to us in 1902, telling us to follow a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” He who yields to worldly ambition destroys his spirituality, He no longer bears the sign of God, but conforms to the world, avoiding the characteristics of the faith that is to mark God’s people as separate from the world.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 24

    “Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people. Ephraim is a cake not turned. Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not; yea, grey hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth it not. ... Ephraim is like a silly dove without heart; they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria. ... They do not return unto the Lord their God, nor seek him for all this. ... Woe unto them; for they have fled from me; destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me; though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me. ... Though I have bound and strengthened their arms, yet do they imagine evil against me. They return, but not to the Most High; they are like a deceitful bow; their princes shall fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue; this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.” [Hosea 7:8-11, 13, 15, 16.]17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 25

    “O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away. ... Come, and let us return unto the Lord, for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the former and the latter rain unto the earth.” [Hosea 6:4, 1-3.]17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 26

    The Result of Rejecting Light

    Christ’s lament over Jerusalem was for those also who today have had great light and who have seen wonderful manifestations of His power and goodness and mercy, but who have not fulfilled God’s purpose for them. Those who hear God’s voice and co-operate with Him, using their capabilities in His service, and walking in all humility of mind before Him, will receive His blessing. But those who forget His instruction, and follow their own way, are a dishonor to Him. A time will come when their wrong course of action, with its results and consequences, must be met.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 27

    “Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine,” Christ declared, “and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew; and beat upon that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.” [Matthew 7:24-27.]17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 28

    The more earnest and faithful and praiseworthy is the minister whom God sends to a people, the more blameworthy the people if they do not heed the message he bears, but go on in their own way.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 29

    Christ uttered a fearful denunciation against those who, though privileged to have Him among them, did not profit by His ministry. “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell; for if the mighty works which have been done in thee had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee.” [Matthew 11:21-24.]17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 30

    Christ set forth in parable the condition of the Jewish nation. But He seemed to hesitate to speak the words that must be spoken. “Whereunto shall I liken this generation?” He asked. [Verse 16.] He sought for a fitting representation. The calamity that was soon to come upon the Jewish people was no greater than they deserved. They had heard the best of gospel sermons, but they did not appropriate the truth that would make them wise unto salvation. They heard the message of John the Baptist, but it did not lead them to form characters that would give them entrance into the kingdom of heaven. They trifled with the things of eternal interest. They were filled with proud conceit. Christ made every effort to bring them to a realization of their true position, that they might repent and be saved. But they rejected His warnings and despised His entreaties.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 31

    The people of Christ’s day had great light. They had clear evidence of His miracle-working power. But they misrepresented Christ and John, His forerunner, saying of John, “He hath a devil.” [Verse 18.] They imputed his severe denunciations of their sins to satanic inspiration, saying that he was not in his right mind, that he was a poor hypochondriac, full of fancies, led by a crazed imagination. And of Christ they said, “Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.” [Verse 19.]17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 32

    In sorrow Christ wept over those who, having the plainest evidence of the divinity of His mission, turned from Him. His soul was filled with sadness as He thought of the result of their hardness of heart in rejecting Him and closing their eyes to the light. But He rises above His painful thoughts and offers God thanksgiving, saying, “I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in Thy sight.” [Verses 25, 26.]17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 33

    Christ looks up to heaven with thanksgiving for the security of the covenant of redemption. He opens His heart of love, and looking round on the people, beyond the priests and Pharisees, He makes an offer of salvation to all the children of men, rich and poor, high and low, learned and unlearned. To all the children of men He presents the inestimable gift of eternal life. All are invited to unite with God in the covenant of grace. He offers to all a balm for all sorrow of sin, all disquietude of thought.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 34

    In our work today we meet with the same spirit that Christ met in His day. The world is filled with the same baleful influence that led the Jews to reject Christ. Transgression is developing in a most marked manner. We shall meet with those who have received light and evidence, but who in their perversity reject all that does not harmonize with their own plans, persisting in the determination to follow their own way. They refuse to receive good things themselves and do all in their power to lead others to regard with indifference the Word of the Lord.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 35

    The greatest scholars, the greatest statesmen, the world’s most eminent men, will in these last days turn from the light, because the world by wisdom knows not God. “The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. ... God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things that are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things which are.” [1 Corinthians 1:18, 19, 27, 28.]17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 36

    Men learned in the wisdom of the world may think that they can explain the mysteries of the world, but in the explanation of the mysteries of the gospel, babes and children in Christ are far in advance of them. Unlearned and ignorant men are chosen by the Lord as teachers, because He sees that they are willing to learn as well as to teach. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” [2 Corinthians 4:7.] The power that gives success is of God.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 37

    The truth is to be placed before the great men of this world, that they may choose between it and the world. God is not the author of their ignorance. He sets everlasting truth before them—truth that will make them wise unto salvation—but He does not force them to accept it. If they turn from it, He leaves them to themselves, to be filled with the fruit of their own doings.17LtMs, Ms 106, 1902, par. 38

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