Larger font
Smaller font
The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials - Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
  • Weighted Relevancy
  • Content Sequence
  • Relevancy
  • Earliest First
  • Latest First
    Larger font
    Smaller font

    Chapter 180—To S. N. Haskell


    “Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, N.S.W. May 30, 1896

    Eld. S. N. Haskell

    Dear Brother:—

    I write you a few lines to you this morning by lamplight. Before receiving this, you will have met Prof. Prescott. We would gladly have retained him in this country, but we dared not do this, for it would have savoured of selfishness. We hope he will do the brethren much good in South Africa, and that he will be received cordially, in brotherly love. He has the truth in the heart, as well as on the lips. God is with him, and will work by him if our brethren will receive him as one who bears to them a message from God. May it not be true of them as of the people of Nazareth, that Jesus could not do many mighty works because of their unbelief. There is no virtue in refusing to receive the light which God shall send; we need every ray of light from heaven. We should appreciate the love of God which sends the light, and should accept the light joyfully.1888 1536.1

    Many need to learn that it is one thing to assent to truth, and another thing to receive the truth as the bread of God, of which if a man eat, he shall live forever. Day by day we must feed upon the living bread that we may receive spiritual sustenance, as we partake of temporal food to give us physical strength. What is the bread of life? Jesus said, “Whose eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.” He does not leave us to misunderstand him. “He says, “It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. The words of Christ are to be received with no half-hearted, weak, hesitating faith. The word gives light and assurance to all who educate their souls to believe. The heart needs the presence of the heavenly Guest,—Christ abiding in the soul. We are to dwell in Christ, and Christ is to dwell in us by faith.1888 1536.2

    The largest promise that Christ could give to his disciples when he left them was the promise of the Holy Spirit. He was in search of the strongest consolation he could leave them, to do the good after his departure. Of all the subjects that were of the most important to them, he chose that of the Holy Spirit. And what did he predict concerning the Spirit? “He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” Truths had been buried beneath the rubbish of misinterpretation, the maxims of men, the sayings of finite beings that had been exalted as being of more consequence than the word of the living God.1888 1537.1

    In our day the church has been to a great degree content with the surface truths of revelation, made so plain and easy to be understand that many have thought these supplied all that was essential, and in accepting them they have been content. But the Holy Spirit, working upon the mind, will not allow it to rest in indolence. It awakens an earnest desire for truth uncorrupted with error and false doctrines. Celestial truths will reward the diligent seeker. The mind that is really desirous to know what is truth, cannot be content in indolence.1888 1537.2

    The kingdom of heaven is likened to treasure hid in a field, “the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field; “he buys it that he may work it, plough up every part of it, and take possession of its treasures. It is the Holy Spirit's office to direct this search and to reward it. The searcher, while digging the field, finds leads of precious ore of which he seeks to estimate the value, and he sinks the shaft deeper, for still more valuable treasure. Thus many a rich lode is discovered. The gold fields of the earth are not so interrelated with veins of precious ore as in the field of revelation with leads that bring to view the unsearchable riches of Christ.1888 1538.1

    The Lord would have every one of his believing children rich in faith; and this is the fruit of the working of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. From the heart the Spirit works outward, developing a character that God will approve. What a vast field of the treasures of truth did Christ add to the domain of faith to be appropriated by his disciples. We need greater faith if we would have better knowledge of the word. The greatest hindrance to our receiving the divine illumination is that we do not depend on the efficiency of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is freely given us of God if we will appreciate and accept it. And what is it? The representative of Jesus Christ. It is to be our constant helper. It is through the Spirit that Christ fulfills the promise, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life”. (The bell is sounding for morning worship, I must stop here).1888 1538.2

    I have returned from our season of prayer. The spirit of intercession came upon me, and I was drawn out in most earnest prayer for souls at Battle Creek. I know their peril. The Holy Spirit has in a special manner moved me to send up my petitions in their behalf.1888 1539.1

    God is not the author of anything sinful. None should fear to be singular if the fulfillment of duty requires it. If it makes us singular to avoid sin, then our singularity is merely the distinction between purity and impurity, righteousness and unrighteousness. Because the multitude prefer the path of transgression, shall we choose the same? We are plainly told by inspiration, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.” Our position should be clearly stated, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”1888 1539.2

    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehendeth it not.... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” Would that every one whose name is written in the church books could from the heart utter these words. The church members need to know from experience what the Holy Spirit will do for them. It will bless the receiver, and make him a blessing. It is sad that every soul is not praying for the vital breath of the Spirit, for we are ready to die if it breath not on us.1888 1539.3

    We are to pray for the impartation of the Spirit as the remedy for sin-sick souls. The church needs to be converted, and why should we not prostrate ourselves at the throne of grace, as representatives of the church, and from a broken heart and contrite spirit make earnest supplication that the Holy Spirit shall be poured out upon us from on high? Let us pray that when it shall be graciously bestowed, our cold hearts may be revived, and we may have discernment to understand that it is from God, and receive it with joy. Some have treated the Spirit as an unwelcome guest, refusing to receive the rich gift, refusing to acknowledge it, turning from it, and condemning it as fanaticism. When the Holy Spirit works the human agent, it does not ask us in what way it shall operate. Often it moves in unexpected ways. Christ did not come as the Jews expected. He did not come in a manner to glorify them as a nation. His forerunner came to prepare the way for him by calling upon the people to repent of their sins and be converted, and be baptized. Christ's message was, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand; repent ye and believe the gospel.” The Jews refused to receive Christ, because he did not come in accordance with their expectations. The ideas of finite men were held as infallible, because hoary with age. This is the danger to which the church is now exposed,—that the inventions of finite men shall mark out the precise way for the Holy Spirit to come. Though they would not care to acknowledge it, some have already done this. And because the Spirit is to come, not to praise men or to build up their erroneous theories, but to reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment, many turn away from it. They are not willing to be deprived of the garments of their own self-righteousness. They are not willing to exchange their own righteousness, which is unrighteousness, for the righteousness of Christ, which is pure, unadulterated truth. The Holy Spirit flatters no man, neither does it work according to the devising of any man. Finite, sinful men are not to work the Holy Spirit. When it shall come as a reprover, through any human agent whom God shall choose, it is man's place to hear and obey its voice.1888 1540.1

    Just before he left them, Christ gave his disciples the promise, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.” “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.” While these words were upon his lips, he ascended, a cloud of angels received him, and escorted him to the city of God. The disciples returned to Jerusalem, knowing now for a certainty that Jesus was the Son of God. Their faith was unclouded, and they waited, preparing themselves by prayer and by humbling their hearts before God, until the baptism of the Holy Spirit came.1888 1541.1

    “And 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 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.” In that assembly there were mockers, who did not recognize the work of the Holy Spirit, and they said, “Those men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, Be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: for these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel.” Read the history. The Lord was at work in his own way; but had there been such a manifestation among us, upon whom the ends of the world are come, would not some have mocked, as on that occasion? Those who did not come under the influence of the Holy Spirit, knew it not. To this class the disciples seemed like drunken men.1888 1542.1

    After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the disciples, clothed with the divine panoply, went forth as witnesses to tell the wonderful story of the manger and the cross. They were humble men, but they went forth with the truth. After the death of their Lord, they were a helpless, disappointed, discouraged company,—as sheep without a shepherd: but now they go forth as witnesses for the truth, with no weapons but the word and Spirit of God, to triumph over all opposition. Their Saviour had been rejected and condemned and nailed to the ignominious cross. The Jewish priests and rulers had declared in scorn, “He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the king of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.” But that cross, that instrument of shame and torture, brought hope and salvation to the world. The believers rallied; there hopelessness and conscious helplessness had left them. They were transformed in character, and united in the bonds of Christian love. Although without wealth, though counted by the world as mere ignorant fishermen, they were made by the Holy Spirit witnesses for Christ. Without earthly honor or recognition, they were heroes of faith. From their lips came words of divine eloquence and power that shook the world.1888 1543.1

    The third, fourth, and fifth chapters of Acts give an account of their witnessing. Those who had rejected and crucified the Saviour, expected to find his disciples discouraged, crest-fallen, and ready to disown their Lord. With amazement they heard the clear, bold testimony given under the power of the Holy Spirit. The words and works of the disciples represented the words and works of their Teacher; and all who heard them said, they have learned of Jesus, they talk as he talked. “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.”1888 1543.2

    The chief priests and rulers thought themselves competent to decide what the apostles should do and teach. As they went forth preaching Jesus everywhere, the men who were worked by the Holy Spirit did many things that the Jews did not approve. There was danger that the ideas and doctrines of the rabbis would be brought into disrepute. The apostles were creating a wonderful excitement. The people were bringing their sick folk and those that were vexed with unclean spirits into the streets, crowds were collecting around them, and those that had been healed were shouting the praises of God, and glorifying the name of Jesus, the very one whom the Jews had condemned, scorned, spit upon, crowned with thorns, and caused to be scourged and crucified. This Jesus was extolled above the priests and rulers. The apostles were even declaring that he had risen from the dead. The Jewish rulers decided that this work must and should be stopped, for it was proving them guilty of the blood of Jesus. They saw that converts to the faith were multiplying. “Believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.”1888 1544.1

    “Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees),” who held that there would be no resurrection of the dead. The assertions made by the apostles that they had seen Jesus after his resurrection, and that he had ascended to heaven, were overthrowing the fundamental principles of the Sadducean doctrine. This was not to be allowed. The priests and rulers were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. The disciples were not intimidated or cast down. The words of Christ in his last lessons to them were brought to mind,” He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him and will manifest myself to him.” “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: and ye also shall bear witness of me, because ye have been with me from the beginning. These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yes, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them.”1888 1544.2

    “The angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.” We see here that the men in authority are not always to be obeyed, even though they may profess to be teachers of Bible doctrines. There are many today who feel indignant and aggrieved that any voice should be raised presenting ideas that differ from their own in regard to points of religious belief. Have they not long advocated their ideas as truth? So the priests and rabbis reasoned in apostolic days. What mean these men who are unlearned, some of them mere fishermen, who are presenting ideas contrary to the doctrines which the learned priests and rulers are teaching the people? They have no right to meddle with the fundamental principles of our faith. But we see that the God of heaven sometimes commissions men to teach that which is regarded as contrary to the established doctrines. Because those who were once the depositaries of truth became unfaithful to their sacred trust, the Lord chose others who would receive the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness, and would advocate truths that were not in accordance with the ideas of the religious leaders. And then these leaders, in the blindness of their minds, give full sway to what is supposed to be righteousness indignation against the ones who have set aside cherished fables. They act like men that have lost their reason. They do not consider the possibility that they themselves have not rightly understood the word. They will not open their eyes to discern the fact that they have misinterpreted and misapplied the Scriptures, and have built up false theories, calling them fundamental doctrines of the faith.1888 1545.1

    But the Holy Spirit will from time to time reveal the truth through its own chosen agencies; and no man, not even a priest or ruler, has a right to say, You shall not give publicity to your opinions, because I do not believe them. That wonderful “I” may attempt to put down the Holy Spirit's teaching. Men may for a time attempt to smother it and kill it; but that will not make error truth or truth error. The inventive minds of men have advanced speculative opinions in various lines, and when the Holy Spirit lets light shine into human minds, it does not respect every point of man's application of the word. God impressed his servants to speak the truth irrespective of what men had taken for granted as truth.1888 1546.1

    Even Seventh-day Adventists are in danger of closing their eyes to truth as it is in Jesus because it contradicts something which they have taken for granted as truth, but which the Holy Spirit teaches is not truth. Let all be very modest, and seek most earnestly to put self out of the question, and to exalt Jesus. In most of the religious controversies, the foundation of the trouble is, that self is striving for the supremacy. About what?—About matters which are not vital points at all, and which are regarded as such only because men have given importance to them. See Matthew 12:31-37; Mark 14:56; Luke 5:21; Matthew 9:3.1888 1547.1

    But let us follow the history of the men whom the Jewish priests and rulers thought so dangerous, because they were bringing in new and strange teaching on almost every theological subject. The command given by the Holy Spirit, “Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life, “was obeyed by the apostles; “they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within. Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow. Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people. Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.” If the priests and rulers had dared act out their own feelings toward the apostles, there would have been a different record; for the angel of God was a watcher on that occasion, to magnify his name if any violence had been offered to his servants.1888 1547.2

    “And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them saying, “Did not we straitly command ye that ye should not teach in this name? And, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.” See Matthew 23:34, 35. “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.”1888 1548.1

    Then the Holy Spirit moved upon Gamaliel, a Pharisee, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people. His advice was, “Refrain from these men, and let them alone; for if this counsel and this work be of men, it will come to nought. But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. And to him they agreed.”1888 1549.1

    Yet the attributes of Satan so controlled their minds, that notwithstanding the wonderful miracles that had been wrought in healing the sick and in releasing God's servants from prison, the priests and rulers were so filled with prejudice and hatred that they could hardly be restrained. “When they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.1888 1549.2

    We can see what evidence was given the priests and rulers, and how firmly they resisted the spirit of God. Those who claim superior wisdom and piety may make most terrible and (to themselves) fatal mistakes if they allow their minds to be moulded by another power, and pursue a course in resistance to the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus, represented by the Holy Spirit, was in the presence of that assembly, but they did not discern him. For a moment they had felt the conviction of the spirit, that Jesus was the son of God, but they stifled conscience, and became blinder and more hardened than before. Even after they had crucified the Saviour, God in his mercy had sent the additional evidence in the works wrought through the apostles. He was giving them another call to repentance, even in the terrible charge brought against them by the apostles, that they had killed the Prince of life.1888 1549.3

    It was not alone the sin of putting to death the son of God, that cut them off from salvation, but their persistence in rejecting light, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The spirit that works in the children of disobedience worked in them, leading them to abuse the men through whom God was giving a testimony to them. The malignity of rebellion reappeared and was intensified in every successive act of resistance against God's servants and the message he had given them to declare.1888 1550.1

    Every act of resistance makes it harder to yield. Being the leaders of the people, the priests and rulers felt it incumbent on them to defend the course they had taken. They must prove that they had been in the right. Having committed themselves in opposition to Christ every act of resistance became an additional incentive to persist in the same path. The events of their past career of opposition are as precious treasures to be jealously guarded. And the hatred and malignity that inspired those acts is concentrated against the apostles.1888 1550.2

    The Spirit of God revealed its presence unto those who, irrespective of the fear or favour of men, declared the truth which had been committed to them. Under the demonstration of the Holy Spirit's power, the Jews saw their guilt in refusing the evidence that God had sent; but they would not yield their wicked resistance. Their obstinacy become more and more determined, and worked the ruin of their souls. It was not that they could not yield, but they could, and would not. It was not alone that they had been guilty, and deserving of wrath, but that they armed themselves with the attributes of Satan, and determinedly continued to be opposed to God. Every day, in their refusal to repent, they took up their rebellion afresh. They were preparing to reap that which they had sown. The wrath of God is not declared against men merely because of the sins which they have committed, but for choosing to continue in a state of resistance, and, although they have light and knowledge, repeating their sins of the past. If they would submit, they would be pardoned; but they are determined not to yield. They defy God by their obstinacy. These souls have given themselves to Satan, and he controls them according to his will.1888 1551.1

    How was it with the rebellious inhabitants of the antediluvian world? After rejecting the message of Noah, they plunged into sin with greater abandon than ever before, and doubled the enormity of their corrupting practices. Those who refuse to reform by accepting Christ, find nothing reformative in sin; their minds are set to carry their spirit of revolt, and they are not, and never will be, forced to submission. The judgment which God brought upon the antediluvian world, declared it incurable. The destruction of Sodom proclaimed the inhabitants of the most beautiful country in the world incorrigible in sin. The fire and brimstone from heaven consumed everything except Lot, his wife, and two daughters. The wife, looking back in disregard of God's command, became a pillar of salt.1888 1551.2

    How God bore with the Jewish nation, while they were murmuring, rebellious, breaking the Sabbath and every other precept of the law. He repeatedly declared them worse than the heathen. Each generation surpassed the preceding in guilt. The Lord permitted them to go into captivity, but after their deliverance, his requirements were forgotten. Everything that he committed to that people to be kept sacred was perverted or displaced by the inventions of rebellious men. Christ said to them in his day, “Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law?” And these were the men who set themselves up as judges and censors over those whom the Holy Spirit was moving to declare the word of God to the people. See John 7:18-23, 27, 28; Luke 11:37-52.1888 1552.1

    Read these Scriptures to the people. Read carefully, solemnly, and the Holy Spirit will be by your side, to impress minds as you read them. But do not fail to read with the true sense of the word in your own heart. If God has ever spoken by me, these scriptures mean very much to those who shall hear them.1888 1552.2

    Finite men should beware of seeking to control their fellowmen, taking the place assigned to the Holy Spirit. Let not men feel that it is their prerogative to give to the world what they suppose to be truth, and refuse that anything should be given contrary to their ideas. This is not their work. Many things will appear distinctly as truth, which will not be acceptable to those who think their own interpretation of the scriptures always right. Most decided changes will have to be made in regard to ideas which some have accepted was without a flaw. These men give evidence of fallibility in very many ways; they work upon principles which the word of God condemns. That which makes me feel to the very depths of my being, and makes me know that their works are not the works of God, is that they suppose they have authority to rule their fellow-men. The Lord has given them no more right to rule others than he has given others to rule them. Those who assume the control of their fellow-men, take into their finite hands a work that devolves upon God alone.1888 1553.1

    That men should keep alive the spirit which ran riot at Minneapolis is an offense to God. All heaven is indignant at the spirit that for years has been revealed in our publishing institution at Battle Creek. Unrighteousness is practiced that God will not tolerate. He will visit for these things. A voice has been heard pointing out the errors, and in the name of the Lord pleading for a decided change. But who have followed the instruction given? Who have humbled their hearts to put from their every vestige of their wicked, oppressive spirit? I have been greatly burdened to set these matters before the people as they are. I know they will see them. I know that those who read this matter will be convicted.1888 1553.2

    The church of Christ, enfeebled, defective as she may appear, is the one object on earth upon which he bestows in a special sense his love and his regard. The church is the theatre of his grace, in which he delights in making experiments of his mercy on human hearts. The Holy Spirit is his representative, and it works to effect transformations so wonderful that angels look upon them with astonishment and joy. Heaven is full of rejoicing when the members of the human family are seen to be full of compassion for one another, loving one another as Christ has loved them. The church is God's fortress, his city of refuge, which he holds in a revolted world. Any betrayal of her sacred trust is treachery to Him who has bought her with the precious blood of his only begotten Son.1888 1554.1

    Christ speaks of the church over which Satan presides, as the synagogue of Satan. Its members are the children of disobedience. They are those who love to sin, and choose to sin, always laboring to make void the law of God, which is holy, just, and good. It is Satan's work to mingle evil with good, and to confuse the distinction between good and evil. Christ would have a church that labors to separate the evil from the good, whose members will not knowingly tolerate wrong doing, but will expel it from their own hearts and lives. How careful should we be in passing judgment on the work of others, how careful lest we become guilty of ascribing to evil agencies the manifestation of the Holy Spirit.1888 1554.2

    Larger font
    Smaller font