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Manuscript Releases, vol. 21 [Nos. 1501-1598]

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    MR No. 1504—Giving Proof of the Call to the Ministry

    (Written September 24, 1859, from Topsham, Maine, and October 10, 1859, from Roxbury, Vermont.)

    I was shown the state of things in Vermont. Their condition is not pleasing to God. They should have order among them, and have everything done up exact, straight, and square. There is too much leaving things at loose ends, and I saw there has been too much leaving the important truths to dwell on little things. There has been a stiff, unbending spirit with some in Vermont, and a desire to bend others to their ideas or notions.21MR 13.1

    There has been a moving by feeling, and neglecting the living principles. Dwell on the great principles of our faith, and do not descend to the little particulars. There has been a faultfinding spirit, a watching others that there should not be. I saw that brethren in Vermont must change their course. They must not move from impulse, but from principle.21MR 13.2

    I was shown the case of the brethren who feel that God has a work for them in the field, Brethren Bean and Evans. If God has called them, the weight and burden of the message will rest in power upon them, and their gift will not be exercised among believers only, but the great burden of their work will be to go out in new fields and raise up a company to keep the truth. But I saw that these brethren had not understood their work fully. God has not called them to give themselves unreservedly to the work. Oh no. They can assist in the work and do errands for the Lord, but they should not feel to throw themselves on the church as messengers or as called and chosen servants of Jesus to travel from place to place, or State to State, to labor and preach.21MR 13.3

    Their time should not be occupied visiting the different churches. They do not [do] good this way in traveling from church to church. The churches generally are just as well off without them. They have a duty to do, in case ministers are absent, to baptize or administer the ordinances. It is pleasant to visit the brethren and churches of Sabbathkeepers, but still the church is just as well off without such laborers, unless they have a special message to deliver; and these should be careful of their time when they are not on a special errand for God, laboring with their hands the thing that is good. Both of these brethren can be of use in their place, but they have thought the Lord has laid more upon them than He has.21MR 13.4

    Brethren in Vermont should be careful and wait until the Lord lays the burden on men before they encourage them to labor; then even if the Lord designs to use individuals, the brethren are in danger of hurrying them along, hurting them by encouraging them too much. They should be left to work their way along, and let God fit them for the work. Let them come along with the deep weight of the work upon them. Some are entirely spoiled by being hurried into the field before the Lord has prepared them for going. Let them endure some hardships and obtain an experience in the work. Those who do not devote their whole time to labor in new fields, and carry the truth, should labor with their hands, and do what they can to supply their own necessities.21MR 14.1

    I saw that those whom the Holy Spirit and the brethren have set apart to the work will have something to carry, and as they have the burden and weight of the message, they will give unmistakable evidence of their calling, and they will not be content merely to travel among the churches, but God will give them the burden to go out in other places where the truth has not been preached, and bring out individuals or a company into the truth.21MR 14.2

    They should not enter into other men's labors and build on other men's foundations. This evidence will the Lord give His church if He has called men into the field in visiting the different churches. The churches are generally just as well off without these laborers. They have a duty to do, and in case ministers are absent, to baptize or administer the ordinances. I saw that especially Brother Bean should be careful of his time when he has not a special errand to do for the Lord. He should labor with his hands the thing that is good. He can be of use in his place. He has thought the Lord has laid more upon him than He has.21MR 14.3

    Brethren should be careful and know that the Lord has laid [a] burden upon men before they encourage them in the field. Even if the Lord is fitting up individuals, the brethren are in danger of hurrying them along and hurting them. They should be left to work their way through and let the Lord fit them for the work. Let them come along with a deep weight of the work upon them, let them endure some hardships, some severe trials, and obtain an experience in the work. Those who are able and are not especially called of God to devote themselves entirely to the work of teaching the truth, should labor with their hands and supply their own necessities.21MR 14.4

    I saw that those who by the sanction of the brethren and the Holy Spirit are set apart to the work will have something to carry, and as they have the burden and weight of the message will give unmistakable evidence of their calling, and they cannot be content to travel among their brethren, but they will be burdened to go out into new places, and bring out individuals into the truth; and if those who have strength, work and preach, it will not require their influence at all, but give them better success. This evidence will God give those whom He has especially called: they will feel such burden for souls, such yearning for others out of the truth, they can but listen to His teachings, and with the Lord with them, they will convince souls.21MR 14.5

    But some are too easy who think they are called of God; they enter into other men's labors, and build upon other men's foundations. Brother Pierce—the Lord has blessed him and given him freedom of speech; he should not be handing out his means to help others, but should seek to save his wife care and labor. He should study her convenience and comfort, but should not hand out his means at present. His time is money. His labor is needed in the field, and he must take a different course from what he has.21MR 15.1

    Brother Phillips has the gift of exhortation. He can do good, but he lets feeling govern him too much. He should lift when the work goes hard. He is not called to devote [all of] his time, but can fill in here and there, and when he is not especially engaged in the work of God should be economical of his time. [He] should not seek to be eased while others are burdened and have all they can do to get along.21MR 15.2

    Brother Evans can do errands for God, can interest a congregation, but cannot travel extensively or be a thorough laborer. I was shown the case of Brother Bingham. He has a good gift, and can do good, fill in here and there, but his labors cannot tell unless he has corresponding works. He is not careful studying how he can best approach individuals, but broaches the subject abruptly, and injures his influence and the cause he loves. I saw that he should labor at home to set a holy, godly example, [and] be patient, kind, and tender to his relatives and friends, especially his wife and children. His good influence should tell in the neighborhood. He must not have a driving spirit, but a winning one. He cannot drive souls into the truth but he can win them much more successfully than he can drive.21MR 15.3

    *****

    Dear Brother Phillips,

    I was shown that you had the gift of exhortation; you can do good but you let your feelings govern you too much. You should lift when the work goes hard. I was shown that you were not called to devote your whole time [to the work], but can fill in here and there. When you are not specially engaged in the work of God, you should be economical of your time and seek to be eased when others are burdened and have all they can do to get along. Your time should be spent to glorify God. It has troubled the minds of many from what I saw that you are eased when others are burdened.21MR 15.4

    Those who have property have a duty to do to dispose of their means to God's glory, but the burden does not rest alone upon them. Many of them have acquired their property by hard labor. They used the strength lent them of God to obtain what they have. Responsibilities rest upon them to dispose of their means in a right manner to glorify [God], and those who have strength of body should use their time and strength to God's glory and provide for themselves. And some I saw could do more than this, could bless others by advancing the cause of God with the means earned by the sweat of the brow. They should not live on the bounty of others, but be diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.—Manuscript 1, 1859.21MR 16.1

    Ellen G. White Estate

    Silver Spring, Maryland,

    May 10, 1990.

    Entire Ms.