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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903)

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    Lt 16, 1903

    Haskell, Brother and Sister [S. N.]

    “Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

    January 1, 1903

    Portions of this letter are published in 1SM 163; 1MR 40-41, 58-59; 7MR 401; BTS 06/1903, 07/1903. +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.

    Dear Brother and Sister Haskell,—

    I have begun letter after letter to you, but every time something has pressed in that demanded immediate attention; and this made it necessary for me to lay aside your letter, which would always become lost among many other manuscripts.18LtMs, Lt 16, 1903, par. 1

    My mind has been burdened over the matter of writing on Old Testament History. I am troubled to see my brethren and sisters bringing into the daily life so little Bible truth. I tell my dear friends that in order for us to be overcomers, we must realize that there is a battle to be fought. We rejoice to know that through the strengthening power of God’s grace we are sure to win. God is stronger than all the powers of the fallen foe.18LtMs, Lt 16, 1903, par. 2

    The apostle Paul says: “And now abideth faith, hope, and charity (love).” In all our words and acts these three Christian graces are to be interwoven. “The greatest of these is love.” [1 Corinthians 13:13.] If we will cultivate Christlike love, we can have this grace in large measure.18LtMs, Lt 16, 1903, par. 3

    The early Christian church left their first love. To John on the Isle of Patmos was given the message: “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write: These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and 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. Nevertheless 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.” [Revelation 2:1-5.]18LtMs, Lt 16, 1903, par. 4

    As members of God’s remnant church, we must pray with firm faith for the gift of the grace of love. Love is the fulfilling of the law and is manifested altogether too little among those upon whom has been shining great light. Genuine religion is life and light to every believer.18LtMs, Lt 16, 1903, par. 5

    The Christian graces are given not as ornaments to win admiration, but as talents to be used in accomplishing a work for God. We are to heed the words of Paul, “Quit you like men, be strong.” [1 Corinthians 16:13.] “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” [Ephesians 6:10-18.]18LtMs, Lt 16, 1903, par. 6

    If it were impossible for us to meet these requirements, they would never have been given. In divine grace there is a wonderful power. It can subdue the outbursts of passion in professing believers.18LtMs, Lt 16, 1903, par. 7

    No one should ever permit his mind to get into such a state that he will speak words prompted by Satan. To accuse the brethren, to discourage them in their work, is to personify Satan and to be his helping hand by putting into the minds of others the evil leaven of criticism, as leaven is put into meal. This evil leaven, so thoughtlessly introduced, leavens the whole lump. The apostle Paul says: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: looking diligently, lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” [Hebrews 12:14, 15.]18LtMs, Lt 16, 1903, par. 8

    How long will those who claim to be Christians tolerate the evil of listening to the criticisms of their brethren and in turn communicate these criticisms to others, thus strengthening one another in an evil work? How long will they question the good work that is being done by a few and stand in the way as hindrances? To clear the pathway of the accumulated rubbish placed there by accusers of the brethren takes precious time and robs faithful workers of their strength and hope and faith. God’s work can be carried on among unbelievers with far greater success than among those who, like the Pharisees, desire to have all things shaped and carried on in accordance with their ideas and preferences.18LtMs, Lt 16, 1903, par. 9

    Plain, definite instruction has been given us. When the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” “Jesus 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. And whoso shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth Me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” [Matthew 18:1-6.]18LtMs, Lt 16, 1903, par. 10

    Again: “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” [Verses 15-18.]18LtMs, Lt 16, 1903, par. 11

    If this instruction is not heeded because we choose to disobey, doing the very opposite of that which Christ has told us to do, how will it be with us in our religious life? We shall be found communicating to one another the faults of our brethren in the church, and these evil reports will spread. Thus evil surmisings and suspicions of dishonesty will be passed from lip to lip, notwithstanding the plain directions given by Christ not to sow the seeds of evil by speaking evil of our brethren. Those who pursue a course contrary to this instruction are creating within their own hearts the evils that they condemn in others, and thus are themselves brought under condemnation. The Bible plan of avoiding and remedying difficulties among brethren is the only safe plan. Christ is grieved to see some disregarding this instruction, following their own plans—plans opposed to His. When those who claim to be Christians work in harmony with divine instruction, there will be far less evil surmising and evil speaking in the church.18LtMs, Lt 16, 1903, par. 12

    Brother and Sister Haskell, dwell upon the lessons that Christ dwelt upon. Present them to the people as He presented them. Dwell upon questions that concern our eternal welfare. Anything that the enemy can devise to divert the mind from God’s Word, anything new and strange that he can originate to create a diversity of sentiment, he will introduce as something wonderfully important. But those things that we cannot clearly comprehend are not a tenth as important to us as are the truths of God’s Word that we can clearly comprehend and bring into our daily life. We are to teach the people the lessons that Christ brought into His teachings from the Old Testament Scriptures. The language of divine truth is exceedingly plain.18LtMs, Lt 16, 1903, par. 13

    Christ sent His angel from heaven to teach John the Revelator in regard to the message that must be understood by us—a message of warning that concerns all who live in the last days of this earth’s history. We are to study the testing message given for this time. John declares: “The temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament.” [Revelation 11:19.] This ark contains God’s law, the ten commandments. A knowledge of this law is of great consequence to all who have light and to all who minister in word and doctrine.18LtMs, Lt 16, 1903, par. 14

    Christ desires every minister, every one who lives by faith in Him, to realize that upon him there rests a sacred responsibility. To all who have enlisted in God’s service is given the gospel commission to carry to all nations a knowledge of the truth for this time. To inspire us with confidence, God has preserved for us a record of the giving of this commission. After His resurrection, Jesus spake unto His disciples, saying, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:18-20.]18LtMs, Lt 16, 1903, par. 15

    Brother and Sister Haskell, we must not permit ourselves to be taken unawares. Satan has come down with great power and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness to work against the advancement of the truth. Every soul who believes the truth and who has had great light should be on guard, lest he be enlisted in Satan’s army of workers. The enemy will strive to cause believers to search out matters of minor importance and to dwell at length upon these matters in committee meetings and council meeting. But by turning their attention to questions of so little consequence, the brethren hinder the work instead of advancing it. We are to proclaim the third angel’s message to a perishing world, and we are not to permit our minds to become diverted by minutiae that practically amount to nothing. If our brethren would consider the important matters pertaining to eternal life and eternal death, many of the smaller matters that they desire so much to adjust, would adjust themselves.18LtMs, Lt 16, 1903, par. 16

    The Lord calls upon His ministering servants to proclaim the message of truth, dwelling upon those things that are of great importance. When Jesus shall lead us by the side of the living waters flowing from God’s throne, He will explain to us many of the mysteries of the Bible that we cannot now comprehend. He is the Great Teacher of His Word, which cannot be fully understood in this life, but which in the future life will be clothed with the brightness of the light of clear understanding.18LtMs, Lt 16, 1903, par. 17

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