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Manuscript Releases, vol. 21 [Nos. 1501-1598] - Contents
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    MR No. 1557—Evangelism in Melbourne Suburbs; God's Law Everlasting; Truth to Triumph Over Error

    (Written February 16, 1894, from St. George's Terrace, St. Kilda Road, Melbourne, to Friends in America.)

    I have been wishing that I could write a letter to you and to other friends in America for this mail, but fear that I cannot write much this time. I have had many trying things in my experience since the camp meeting. My soul has been distressed and burdened. Now I feel somewhat relieved; matters are adjusting themselves more pleasantly. We are now in the heat of battle in this country. I feel to the depths of my being that now is the time to work. There are three suburbs where meetings are now in progress—Brighton, Williamstown, and Prahran.21MR 280.1

    At North Brighton a tent is pitched and Elder Corliss and Robert Hare are working unitedly and with success. The Congregationalist minister in Brighton is a man of wide influence; he occupies a position in relation to the different churches similar to that of Crafts in America. He was the founder of the Council of Churches in this country. Several members of this church have embraced the truth and it hurt him.21MR 280.2

    He came to the tent a few evenings since, accompanied by a large portion of his members, determined to carry out his plans. He asked [for] the privilege of speaking after Elder Corliss had spoken, but was told that this could not be permitted, for it would do no good and only create confusion.21MR 280.3

    He insisted and said, “Will you put the matter to vote?” This was his scheme, for he had brought in his church members in order to carry the day and have things his own way. But Elder Corliss said, “No, I cannot give away this meeting.” He had stated this to him in a previous interview. Before the whole congregation Elder Corliss said, “I will give this minister the tent, free of expense, any night in the week except Sunday night, to speak the whole evening upon this subject, but I cannot permit him to divert the minds of this congregation from important points. I wish them to hear and to investigate the Scripture for themselves, that they may see if this is not the truth that I present to them.” To the minister he said, “I will give you five minutes to decide upon the evening you will appoint to speak in this tent.” The man turned very white, but answered not a word. The five minutes were a dead silence.21MR 280.4

    Then Elder Corliss went on with his discourse, showing the fallacy of the minister's position on the subject in question, which Elder Corliss had, stated in print, in his hands. After the meeting closed the minister gave out that on Wednesday evening he would answer the discourse in his own church.21MR 280.5

    Brethren Hare and Colcord were present to hear this review. It was a repetition of the same objection that Canright had put forth in his books. The minister had Canright's book. But the congregation were not at all satisfied. Now his own people are so thoroughly stirred up that the minister feels compelled to do something, for his reputation is at stake. He has sent a challenge to Elder Corliss to meet him in discussion and there is no way of evading this question now, for the enemies of the truth would triumph if the matter were not taken up.21MR 281.1

    Elder Corliss feels very much troubled over it, but he has agreed to accept the challenge if the minister will consent to continue the discussion for six evenings, for one night would not be sufficient to do justice to the subject. He hopes that the proposition will be rejected, for the interest is great and is extending through all the region round about. Meanwhile he has decided to go on, pressing into his discourse all the important matter possible, and carrying the interest as far as he can before the discussion shall begin. We think the minister will not accept the conditions, for all he wants is to throw in a mass of objections to confuse the minds of the hearers; and as he has no weapons furnished him in the Bible with which to war against the truth, he must supply the great necessity from the armor of the prince of darkness—with assertions, Satan's falsehoods prepared for him to handle, such as are presented in Canright's book. These he can use in one evening and claim that he has extinguished the law of God and the Sabbath. But when he has to keep to the point for six evenings, the weakness of his arguments will become apparent to the people.21MR 281.2

    One week ago I spoke in Brighton with earnest, pointed words upon the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. An excellent class of people were present and a good impression was made. The Lord is moving upon minds. About twelve are now keeping the Sabbath in Brighton, and a large number are convinced but have not courage as yet to come out on the Lord's side. Last Sunday I spoke at Williamstown, twelve miles from Melbourne, where Brethren Baker and Israel are working with the tent. I had chosen John 3:16 for my text, but I could not dwell upon the great love which God has expressed to men without presenting in clear lines the fallacy of claiming that the commandments are abolished, when we have not in the Scriptures one single word or intimation of such a monstrous idea.21MR 281.3

    Were the law abolished, then sin, which is the transgression of the law, would be immortalized and the whole question would be given up to Satan; he would have everything he asked for in heaven. His demand was not granted there, and for this reason there was war in heaven and Satan was expelled. Now he comes to the human agents and gains them to his side; he leads them to believe his falsehood, which is directly opposed to the words of Christ, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: for I come not to destroy but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” [Matthew 5:17, 18].21MR 282.1

    This is the statement coming from the mouth of God through Jesus Christ. How then can ministers in their pulpits declare that the law was abolished at the cross? The fourth commandment is unchanged; the seventh day is God's memorial, testifying of His creative power in making the world in six days and resting on the seventh day. Every voice that shall be heard in the pulpits on Sunday testifying that the first day of the week is the Sabbath is echoing the words of the first great deceiver. In this teaching the ministers are giving themselves away, for where there is no law there is no transgression, no sin, and if no sin, there is no need of the gospel, no need of a Saviour.21MR 282.2

    I said, “Sensible-minded people are before me. You can see the result of taking this position. Christ, the Lamb of God, came to take away sin. He died for the transgressor, that man might be brought back to His loyalty and not continue to sin.” The importance of the subject I pressed home upon the soul, and the Lord gave us His Holy Spirit. Brother Baker expressed to one a fear that Sister White was premature in presenting that question. His wife came up and said that the arguments of the Methodist minister in his forenoon discourse had all been taken up and answered by Sister White, and yet she knew nothing of the discourse.21MR 282.3

    This minister has taken the boldest positions against the Sabbath and against the Bible itself. He stated that not all the Bible was inspired, that the first books of the Old Testament were from the devil himself, that the law was done away at the crucifixion.21MR 282.4

    The tent was full to overflowing when I spoke on Sunday afternoon and a deep impression was made upon the people. From that meeting the interest has steadily increased. Captain Press and his wife, the president of the W.C.T.U. of Victoria, were present. Mrs. Press had visited me at my tent on the campground and she was urgent that I should speak to their society. After the discourse on Sunday she came to me and, grasping my hand, said, “I thank you for that discourse. I see many new points which have made a lasting impression upon my mind. I shall never lose their force.” I was introduced to her husband, a most noble looking man. He is a pilot and fills a very important position. Brother and Sister Starr took dinner with them and formed a very pleasant acquaintance. Mrs. Press, in behalf of the W.C.T.U., has made a very earnest request for instruction in hygienic cooking. We have arranged to have a cooking school, to be held in Melbourne in the room adjoining the hall of the W.C.T.U. Four lessons are to be given, one each week, beginning next Thursday. The cooking of eight different dishes is to be taught at each lesson. Great enthusiasm has been created on the subject. Mrs. Press is a vegetarian, not having tasted meat for four years.21MR 282.5

    Well, the very first class of people attend our meetings in Williamstown. Mr. Press and his wife attended some of the meetings on the campground, and they say that the Bible is now a new book to them. They see that it is full of precious truth which is a feast to the soul. I learned that the meeting in the tent last night was excellent and the attendance large.21MR 283.1

    Next Sabbath I meet with the people in North Brighton. Next Sunday I am to speak in Prahran, and for the next Sunday Brother Starr is trying to secure the largest hall in Melbourne, which will cost six guineas. One year ago I spoke in one of the largest suburbs on the other side of the city. Thirty dollars was taken in contributions. Thus I have the privilege of speaking in the suburbs and in the city of Melbourne itself.21MR 283.2

    The Lord alone can touch the hearts of those who hear. We want to have more workers who are in vital connection with God. We want the power of God to rest upon the human agents. Without Christ we can do nothing. There is a wonderful interest awakened in all the region round about. We need human instrumentalities to cooperate with the heavenly agencies in order to set forth the pure, unadulterated truth that the minds of inquirers after truth may be divested of all unscriptural superstitions, idolatrous views, and feelings. It is only thus that the Holy Spirit can reshape the character. Human instrumentalities possess no power or holiness of their own. The agency employed is powerful and efficacious only as God shall make it so. The treasure of the truth is in earthen vessels.21MR 283.3

    The third angel's message is to be sounded in clear, distinct language. The trumpet is to give a certain sound. But a Paul may plant and Apollos water, but God alone giveth the increase. We must watch, we must pray, and we must work, that the message of heaven, sent as a warning to the people by the mouth of His servants, may not be refused but accepted. The people have long been under deception through false theories, but error, although it may be hoary with age, cannot be converted into truth. The idols of error must be expelled from mind and heart that the healing waters of life may flow into the soul. The fetters of education must be broken. Prejudice and superstition must be given up. Habits, maxims, and customs have been woven into education and experience, but they must be yielded up. Humbly and earnestly souls must inquire of the Lord. He will speak the truth without a vestige of error.21MR 283.4

    The believers in the truth are guarded jealously as the heart of God. In the fierce conflict before us, mind with mind, truth in collision with error, principle with principle, this world will witness scenes that are intensely interesting, of immense importance. In many churches the truth will be sacrificed and error presented in its place. Those who cease to occupy the elevated position as watchmen, receiving the word from God and giving the warning to the people, are not aware that they are ranging themselves under the black banner of the power of darkness, with the enemies of God and the truth. The people receive the words from their lips and in their turn repeat the same errors to those brought in connection with them. Thus the wine of Babylon is received and all nations become drunken with the spiritual poison. We see that those who will not receive the truth are preparing to resist its influence. They refuse to be recast in faith and character. They are unwilling to be remodeled in the image of Christ's character.21MR 284.1

    We see that all the interest now manifested means work; it requires great wisdom, more fervent prayer and better ability to devise and execute. Meetinghouses must be built to accommodate those who shall come out from the popular churches. We must educate the believers to have root in themselves. We want devoted, godly men who will live the truth and whose example will be such as shall recommend the truth to others. But I must close this long epistle. May the Lord bless you and yours is my prayer.—Manuscript 6, 1894.21MR 284.2

    Ellen G. White Estate

    Silver Spring, Maryland,

    February 28, 1991.

    Entire Ms.