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    January 28, 1893

    Dear Brn-Srs. in Battle Creek



    December 21, 1892.

    Dear Brethren and Sisters in Battle Creek,

    I feel deeply over our situation here in this new country, where, against many difficulties, the cause of present truth is struggling for standing room and existence. I feel it my duty to ask you to consider our situation. Advanced moves must be made, if these fields are properly worked. Workers will have to be sent from America to these cities, to labor from house to house in giving Bible readings, canvassing, and in other ways presenting the truth to these vast populations, as Providence opens the way. The people are calling for the living preacher to open to them the words of truth. But where are the men for the work, and where is the money to sustain them?GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 1

    We are on the ground, and I fear we have not said one half that we should have said concerning the urgent needs of the work here, else many in America would be moved to do something, and do it now. The work has not advanced in the cities of Australia as it should. How shall we, here in this far-off country, speak to you in America so that you will hear and understand what we say in the name of the Lord?GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 2

    We mean, while here, to do our best; but we are burdened as we see how much more might be done, if we had the funds and if those who have a knowledge of the truth would come to this field as consecrated missionaries. We want men and women who will give themselves to God to do real service for Christ. Such laborers can find abundance of work.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 3

    I ask of you at the heart of the work in Battle Creek, while you have felt it a necessity to add to your facilities, expending large sums of money in various enterprises, have you considered that the Lord has in these countries a people who are just as precious to him as you are? All over the world there is great destitution of the knowledge of the truth. If the Lord is no respecter of persons, what, I inquire, is your responsibility, as churches and as individuals? Is it not to deny yourselves daily, to lift the cross, and follow Jesus where he has led the way? No means should be expended unnecessarily in dress, in houses, or in any other line; many supposed wants may be denied, and desired conveniences dispensed with, and God will bless you in your self-denial.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 4

    In our work here the study has to be, How shall we bind about our wants so as to have money to spend for the one great purpose of enlightening the world? How much can be done by the most judicious use of our means for the advancement of the cause of God? Everything in connection with the school expenses is carefully studied. We consider the need of broadening the work, and make special efforts to educate the youth, which must be done in order to give character to the work. We talk of some plan that seems to be desirable, but the impossible stares us in the face. There is no money.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 5

    If ever in any place there was need of workers and means, it is in this country. We would have felt it a necessity to hold a conference here in Melbourne, the center of the work, and call in the brethren from the churches to gain a more perfect knowledge of the truth and of what the Lord expects of us; but “Too poor” confronts us. Again, we have no place in which to hold such a meeting. We had to give up the idea, and fall back and narrow down, requesting that only a few delegates be sent to the Conference. How can the work advance as it should with this poverty-stricken condition of things?GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 6

    In all Australia we have but one meeting house where we can worship God. This one has been erected in Parramatta, a town near Sydney, where a company has recently been raised up to obey the truth. All our other churches are dependent upon hired halls in which to hold their meetings. In winter these are so cold and damp that I am unable to meet with the churches, and I know that many endanger health and life in these places. During the winter they are not safe for even the Australians themselves. Some who are full of blood in good circulation may endure this tax with no special ill effects, but for women and children and those who are rheumatic or have lung difficulties, it is presumption to remain in these places during divine services.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 7

    And such halls are far from being suitable places for meeting at any season. The hall in which I spoke last Sabbath cannot be properly ventilated; it is completely surrounded by other rooms, and is lighted only from the roof. The air was so impure as to be really sickening. A curtain stretched across the end of the hall, back of the platform, separates this apartment from the next, but there is such a draft that the speaker's stand has been removed from this platform and placed upon a lower one made for the purpose. Notwithstanding this precaution, the draught was so strong that I had to keep a heavy shawl drawn close about my neck while speaking. Now my lips are swollen and painful from the effect of the cold and the foul air. Last Sabbath the hall was full; it is narrow and long, and in our social meetings on the Sabbath it is very difficult to hear what is said.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 8

    The halls are used for all kinds of gatherings, and many say that it is impossible for them to teach their children or themselves to regard the place of meeting as a place where God is to be worshipped. Many will not come to a religious meeting in such a place. They feel that it is irreverent and almost sacrilegious to attempt to worship God amid such surroundings. But with present prospects it will be simply impossible for this people to purchase land or put up the plainest kind of a house of worship. Ought we to be thus situated? And how long shall this state of things continue? We have changed about from hall to hall, with little benefit; we must have a meeting house. We need a school building also, but the meeting house must come first.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 9

    I hear that in Battle Creek you talk of purchasing a pipe organ for the tabernacle. Do you think this is more essential than to help our brethren in foreign countries to erect churches that they may have suitable places in which to worship God? After the appeals that I have felt it my duty to make, entreating you to bind about your inclinations, can you feel that in this plan you are moving in the order of God? I warned you against investing means freely to enlarge and improve that which you were especially interested in, without a thought of the terrible struggles being made to erect the standard of truth in foreign countries. Your lavish expenditure makes it difficult, if not impossible for you to aid your brethren in erecting churches where they are so much needed.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 10

    The influence of a house of worship is greatly needed, not only in Melbourne, but in our other churches. A plain, neat, commodious building, of proper dimensions, would fill their hearts with gratitude, and would give those not of our faith an opportunity to come into our assemblies, and hear the words of life. There need be no costly organ, nothing for mere display; what is wanted is a house that can be dedicated to God, to which the people can come as their home, where there would be extempore preaching and prayer, and singing in which all the congregation would join, and where the surroundings would be entirely in harmony with the faith we profess.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 11

    In some places the truth has been introduced, and souls have taken hold of it, but they are in limited circumstances, and can do but little toward securing advantages that would give character to the work. This renders it hard to extend the work to new fields. When the truth is presented, and persons become interested, they are told by the ministers, and it is echoed by the church members, “This interest will all die down; you will give up these new ideas about the seventh-day Sabbath and the coming of the Lord. This people have no church, and you have no place of worship. You are a small company, poor and illiterate, there are few talented men among you.” Can we expect that this will bring no temptation to those who see the reasons of our faith and feel the conviction of the Spirit of God in regard to the Bible truth presented? It has to be often repeated that from a small beginning large interests may grow. If wisdom and sanctified judgment and skillful generalship are manifested by us as a people, in building up the interests of our Redeemer's kingdom in the world, humble sanctuaries will be erected, where those who lift the cross in obeying the truth may find a home, a place in which they can worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 12

    Those who are accounted by the world as illiterate, may by connecting themselves with the God of wisdom, have the divine enlightenment to work on mind and heart. “The entrance of thy words giveth light: it giveth understanding to the simple.” Who are those that are here called the simple? Those who are deficient in intellect or good sense? No indeed; but those who are not so self satisfied, that they will not take the trouble to search the Scriptures. The Bereans were called “more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so.” God is drawing those who listen to conscience, take counsel with right reason and with God, and surrender their will, their entire prospects, with the whole heart to God. It is then, and then only, that the human agents learn how wayward is the heart, and how unwilling to give up all for Jesus. But if they walk in the light while they have the light, they soon receive another kind of knowledge; they learn how mighty is the grace of God to subdue selfishness, and expel it from the soul. Truth has the ascendency. There is a sense of spiritual freedom, they rejoice in the glorious liberty of the sons and daughters of God.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 13

    And now opposition has to be encountered. In the world they were gliding along peaceably, but now they have to stem the current of popular opinion. As they turn from the maxims and customs of popular professors of religion, the conflict begins in earnest. They must contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, or be carried away from light, away from truth, into error and darkness, to final ruin. What is it that causes this contention? It is the collision of error against truth. The tyrant is seeking to oppress man's conscience, that Christ has made free. Persecution will come more definitely and decidedly upon the people of God, because the godly are seeking for uprightness and holiness, and the disobedient are in sin. The sin-loving do not choose the way of God; and the obedient, in their character and course of action, are a constant rebuke to the sinful. When the truth finds access to the heart, it must fight every inch of the way.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 14

    Now those who have recently come to the faith in new fields have strong opposing influences to meet. As these light bearers present the truth to others who are in worldliness and sin, some souls will be converted. Then the collision comes, then comes the warfare; and if the heart has yielded to Jesus in obeying the commandments of God, there is a jealous contest, error rising up to condemn truth, and in its God-given principles setting strongly against error. This is the experience the world over.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 15

    The only way in which men will be able to stand firm in the conflict, is to be rooted and grounded in Christ. They must receive the truth as it is in Jesus. And it is only as the truth is presented thus that it can meet the wants of the soul. The preaching of Christ crucified, Christ our righteousness, is what satisfies the soul's hunger. When we secure the interest of the people in this great central truth, faith and hope and courage come to the heart. If God has given his Son to die for sinners, he means to counteract sin. He has made the great gift because of his love for sinful, fallen man. We must make it plain that he is able and willing to save all who come unto him and believe in him as their personal Saviour. Present this again and again, until the mind can take it in. Let every teacher put his whole heart, his whole mind and soul, into this work, lifting up Jesus, and bidding the people look and live. Let the sinner fix his eyes on Jesus, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. As he looks to Christ, he will feel the power of God. He must not devote the precious time to deploring his sinfulness, looking upon the wounds and bruises he has received in the services of Satan. By faith carry the mind up within the vail to view Christ as our intercessor before the mercy-seat. Let the sinner behold Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life, and his soul will be open to receive the truth as it is in Jesus.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 16

    The transforming influence of truth sanctifies the soul. He loves the commandments of God. His fear and condemnation are gone. The love of Christ, expressed in his great sacrifice to save man, has broken every barrier down. The love of God flows into the soul, and gratitude springs up in the heart that was as cold as a stone. Christ crucified, Christ our righteousness, wins the heart and brings it to repentance. This theme is so simple that children can grasp it, the wise and learned are charmed with it, while they behold it in its depths of wisdom, love, and power which they can never fathom. We want to present this precious truth to the people who are bound in sin. Let all see that Christ was slain for their transgressions, that he desires to save them.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 17

    Brethren and sisters in Battle Creek, who have had those precious truths set before you, I ask you to think of the many, many souls who need to hear the message of redeeming love. Jesus said unto the woman of Samaria, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith unto thee, Give me drink, thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life.” While you at Battle Creek have the privilege of receiving from Jesus the living water, will you let these opportunities and gracious invitations and promises all be given and you receive no benefit? Will you feast your souls upon the riches of his marvellous love and grace, and yet feel no special burden for those who are still in darkness and error? I ask you to present some tangible proof that you appreciate the love of God in sending his Son into the world, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 18

    We want to know if you will love your neighbor as yourself? Will you make any personal sacrifice that these saving truths may go to the destitute regions, where the people are perishing for the bread of life? Are you disciples of Christ? Are you living as seeing him who is invisible? Are you abiding in Christ, and becoming fitted for any work that the Master calls you to do? “Ye are laborers together with God.” You are not to wear a yoke of your own manufacture. Christ says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly of heart.” Are you willing to walk in humility, to lift and carry the cross, and follow the Master? Are you willing to deny self daily, for Christ's sake? Will you co-operate with Jesus? If you appreciate the truth, wherein do you earnestly labor that it may be carried to others?GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 19

    How can those who have been long in the faith, as at Battle Creek, expend more and more upon their own enjoyment, when they know, by actual representation of the case, the great necessities of the work in foreign countries? Must the truth be kept in a very narrow compass because a portion of those who claim to believe it use their means to gratify themselves, while there are so many who are pressed and crippled and distressed for want of the very means which God has placed in the hands of stewards to be used in extending the truth to others? We envy not the position of these self-seeking ones in the judgment, when all will be tried by God's measurement, not by their own standard.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 20

    The matter of purchasing a pipe organ for the tabernacle at Battle Creek was placed before me by Brother Barnes and others; I told them that as God had presented before me the necessities of the missionary work, the great need of sending men and means to carry the truth into new fields, I could not for a moment give the least encouragement to this piece of extravagance. Those who have felt so great a desire for this extra indulgence in our church at Battle Creek have a lethargy upon them that paralyzes their senses and blinds them to the real poverty in our missionary fields. My heart is sick and sad and sore. Pride and selfish gratification on the part of churches and individuals is keeping the word of God from thousands who might sing the songs of Zion; many harps that have been hung upon the willows might be taken down and made to give forth sweet music, if every one would have a true missionary spirit to work in love, as Christ worked, to save the lost.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 21

    I can only wish that you who want everything you can get to minister to your pride, might in the providence of God be placed for a few years in some new field, and have the burden of souls upon you. Then you would see how much might be done in a humble way, to exalt the truth and save the lost. As your interest should be drawn out for others, your humble songs, coming from pure hearts, and poured forth in reverent strains, would call forth joy from angel choirs. But the songs coming from hearts where selfishness reigns, will not blend with angels’ songs.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 22

    As you meet from Sabbath to Sabbath, you need no expensive organ in order to sing praises to Him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. Let the heart's adoration be given “Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” Let the love of Christ be the burden of the minister's utterance. Let it be expressed in simple language in every song of praise. Let the inspiration of the Spirit of God dictate your prayers. From Sabbath to Sabbath let the song of gratitude, the fruit of the lips, ascend from the family altar, let it be heard from the pulpit, and echo through the aisles and galleries of the church. As the minister speaks to you the words of life, let your heartfelt response testify that you receive the message as from heaven. This is very old fashioned, I know, but it will not be praise to the minister, but a thank-offering to God for the bread of life he has given to feed the hungry soul. This response to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit will be a strength to your own souls, and an encouragement to the assembled congregation. It will give some evidence that there are in God's building living stones that emit light. Will not this be more acceptable to God than the sounds you may produce from the most costly instrument of music?GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 23

    The instrument you now have will serve the purpose as an aid to your voices. You might invest many hundreds or thousands of dollars in an instrument of music that would produce pleasing sounds but it would be to you an idol. It would not be an agency to convict and convert souls. The human voice that sings the praises of God from a heart filled with gratitude and thanksgiving is far more pleasing to him than the melody of all the musical instruments ever invented by human hands.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 24

    Our probation is about ended. Can you not wait a little for the gratification of your desires? Deny self, walk in the light while you have the light, and then if you are saved in the kingdom of God, there will be the richest music of heaven for you through the ceaseless ages of eternity.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 25

    Brethren and sisters, would that I might say something to awaken you to the importance of this time, the significance of the events that are now taking place about us. I point you to the aggressive movements now being made for the restriction of religious liberty. God”s memorial has been torn down, and in its place a false Sabbath stands before the world; while the powers of darkness are stirring up the elements from beneath, the Lord God of heaven is sending power from above to meet the emergency by arousing his living agencies to exalt the law of heaven. Now, just now, is our time to work in foreign countries. As America, the land of religious liberty, shall unite with the Papacy in forcing the consciences of men to honor the false Sabbath, the people of every country on the globe will be led to follow her example. Our people are not half awake to do all in their power with the facilities within their reach, to extend the message of warning to the world. New churches must be built, new congregations organized. Let the light shine to all lands and all people.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 26

    The whole earth is to be lightened with the glory of God's truth. The Lord will not close up the period of probation until the warning message shall be more distinctly proclaimed. The trumpet must give a certain sound. The law of God is to be magnified, its claims must be presented in their true, sacred character; that the people may be brought to decide for or against the truth. Yet the work will be cut short in righteousness. The message of Christ's righteousness is to sound from one end of the world to the other. This is the glory of God which closes the work of the third angel.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 27

    Are the people in Battle Creek asleep? Are they paralyzed? Will the light that has been shining in new and clear rays, beam after beam, move them to action? You have long expected the wonderful startling events that are to take place just prior to the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Now I ask, Are you prepared to give the trumpet a certain sound? Do you know that you are connected with God, and living in the light of his countenance? Who feels day by day that he belongs to the great co-partnership for honoring Christ by working out the Lord's plan for the redemption of men? The best way to keep your own souls in the love of God is to become diligent workers for the salvation of others.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 28

    The Lord is coming; the scenes of this earth's history are fast closing, and our work is not done. We have been waiting in anxious expectancy for the co-operation of the human agency in advancing the work. All heaven, if I may use the expression, is impatiently waiting for men to co-operate with the divine agencies in working for the salvation of souls. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation.” Who will arise and shine because the light has come, and the glory of the Lord hath risen upon them? Who have joined themselves to the Lord in holy covenant to become channels for the communication of heaven's light and grace to our world.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 29

    Unworthy as we all are, God has granted to us his forgiving mercy; undeserving as we are of the least of his favors, he has poured rich blessings upon you in Battle Creek and throughout America. The more unworthy the receiver, the more glorious the mercy of God, and the more earnestly should we show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light. Meditate upon the mercy of God, and praise him for his wonderful, pardoning love. Cherish the lessons of Christ upon the grace of humility and meekness and self-sacrifice. Let every one draw nigh to God, exercise faith in him, and tear every idol from the soul. Meet every temptation of Satan with “It is written, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” God is our strength. Through Christ we can do all things. Let it be the ambition of the church at Battle Creek to walk humbly with God, that the Lord may work in and through them by his Holy Spirit for the salvation of souls.GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 30

    The great day of God is at hand. “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.”GCDB January 28, 1893, par. 31

    Ellen G. White.

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