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

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    MR No. 1564—The Meaning of Consecration

    (Written August 11, 1886, from Basel, Switzerland, to Brother and Sister Ings.)

    We received your welcome letter a few days since, and were so glad to hear that you had a favorable passage. I wish I was in England this moment; I want to see you both so much.21MR 306.1

    I have been very earnestly at work here. We have been seeking to do everything in our power to educate the people here to understand what it means to be a Christian. We have been holding morning meetings the past week at half past five, lasting one hour. All who are connected with the office and all in the building attend these meetings. I talk to them about 30 minutes and then we have a social meeting. In the past two weeks I have spoken nine times; three times at length.21MR 306.2

    I feel deeply that we must do everything in our power to educate the people to be Bible Christians. Not only must we show in our character the meekness and lowliness of Christ, but we must educate the people who profess present truth so that they will not be satisfied to merely have a nominal faith in the truth for this time but have that faith brought into their character as a sanctifying power. How few of us see the importance of living by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God; that is, not depart from a Thus saith the Lord.21MR 306.3

    I feel deeply in regard to the fact that our people talk the truth, but do not live the truth, thus carrying its principles in their life practices. Every church that has been organized needs a work done for them that God alone can do. They talk consecration, mention consecration in their prayers, and say over and over again, “We give ourselves wholly to Christ,” when they hold tenaciously to their own ideas and will and are not consecrated to Christ.21MR 306.4

    Saying consecration, praying consecration, are not enough. We must practice consecration. We feel deeply pained to see the absence of consecration in the individual members of the church. These reach too high. When they bring their consecration down into their very words and actions, into their associations with one another, they will bring consecration into their practical life. It is present religion we need, not an imaginary religion. It is a Saviour today to help us. It is to reveal Christ in our words today; it is to be kind, tender, and affectionate today; it is to esteem others better than ourselves today. Each separate word and action is to show consecration not to ourselves, but to God. We are fitting up for heaven. The Spirit of Jesus dwells in us richly by faith.21MR 306.5

    Consecration is a very simple thing when brought daily into our individual life in practice, but it is our spiritual power. We shall know far more by consecration daily than by trusting to our experience. Each day, each hour, let the heart go out after God: “Here, Lord, am I, Thy property; take me, use me today. I lay all my plans at Thy feet; I will have no way of my own in the matter. My time is Thine; my whole life is Thine. Thou hast bought me with a price.” Let the heart be constantly going forth to God for strength, for grace every moment.21MR 307.1

    Let not one evil word escape our lips, because our lips, our voice, belong to the Lord, and must be consecrated to the Lord and to His service. These lips must not dishonor Jesus, for they belong to Him. He has bought them and I must speak nothing that will offend Jesus. My ears must be closed to evil. Thus day by day we can consecrate ourselves to God. The ears must not be defiled by listening to any gossip that faultfinding ones would have us hear, for I not only cause them to sin in allowing them to talk of others’ faults, but I sin myself in listening to them. I can prevent much evil speaking in thus having ears consecrated to God. I can say before the evil is done, “Let us pray,” then ask God to enlighten both our minds to understand our true relation to one another and our true relation to God.21MR 307.2

    Let us open our hearts to Jesus with all the simplicity that a child would tell its earthly parents his perplexities and the things that trouble him. Tell him you are not to listen to evil speaking, to hurt others. Thus we can restrain evil not only in ourselves but in others. Practice consecration to God daily; then there will be no danger in the life of service to God. We want gratitude brought into our life, words, and works.21MR 307.3

    Every word, every thought of complaining indulged in, is a reflection upon God, a dishonor to His name. We want our hearts attuned to His praise, full of thankfulness, talking of His love, our hearts softened and subdued by the grace of Christ, full of sweetness and peace and fragrance. We shall be patient, kind, tenderhearted, pitiful, courteous, even when dealing with those who are disagreeable. Oh, how many precious blessings we lose because we esteem self altogether too highly and have so little esteem for others. We want to live a life that will please God, one that will bear witness that we are children of God and not children of the wicked one.21MR 307.4

    This is the nature of the instruction that we are giving in the morning meetings, and we hope some good is being effected. I feel Jesus verily present. I tell you in the fear of God, our churches are altogether too formal. The love, the tenderness of Christ, is not expressed in practice in their intercourse with one another. We must not demerit ourselves and lightly esteem the ability given us of God, neither should we overestimate our own importance and trust to our human ability. Those who have far less ability may verily be doing far more for the Master because they put out to the exchangers every talent they possess. They keep up an unfaltering purpose, a brave heart, and a calm, peaceful, trusting confidence in God because they believe His Word.21MR 307.5

    Heaven recognizes the loyalty of the soul that is struggling to do the will of God, and to grow into the likeness of Christ. Each has to win his way by struggles and efforts to elevation of character and noble attainments. Jesus has divine help to give every one of us in our aspirations to seek to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. God is ready to give abundant grace, and the door of the heart must be open to receive. Open the door and let the Saviour in. Then we must teach this, reveal it in our lives. What rich promises we have, how deep, how full, how abundant! If we do not grasp them, we meet with a great loss, and those with whom we associate also meet with a loss.21MR 308.1

    Jesus would reflect His light and grace through us to others. Then come close to Jesus; open the door of the heart that the bright beams of Christ's righteousness may shine into our souls to be reflected upon others. We are to be constantly reaching upward to God. Think much, and talk little of ourselves, but talk of Jesus; dwell upon His matchless charms. Talk not of our trials, brood not over our privations, but remember Jesus, the Son of God.21MR 308.2

    Study His life of self-denial, self-sacrifice, His life of privation, and how much abuse He endured for our sakes on the cruel cross, and then let us never exalt ourselves or think we have a trying time, but let us be thankful. God does not want us to be in gloom, but walk in the light as He is in the light. Jesus lives; He is not in Joseph's new tomb, but lives to make intercession for us. He does not forget us for one brief moment. He encouraged His disciples to [obey] that which He commanded them, [then promised], “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” [Matthew 28:20]. Then let peace come into the soul, joyfulness into the heart, and speak forth the words Christ has given us, and show forth by our piety, “the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” [1 Peter 2:9].21MR 308.3

    I have written altogether differently than I had designed. Well, you may see some who need these words which I have written.21MR 308.4

    I understand a tent meeting is to be held in Grimsby. I want to know about this meeting. We may be able to leave here one week or two before the council shall begin. If it is thought best, I should like to speak in the tent where I need not an interpreter. I wish to hear from you again. How are you getting along? I wish so much Sister Ings was here in Basel, but it may not be best as we are coming there so soon.21MR 309.1

    I think in the meetings held in Grimsby that there should be Bible lessons given in the place of many discourses. There should be visiting from house to house to get at the people. Pray with them, talk with them, and, above everything else, I hope those who labor will plead with God for His Holy Spirit. This is what is needed. There is the Salvation Army, the Holiness Band with their cheap Christianity, and yet it pleases because there is no warfare. They present all smooth sailing. The truth brings before the people heart religion. It is not, they will say, who are in error [or] the works we do, but it is what Jesus does for us. This is all true, but our works must be like the works of Christ. Now, if God works by His power, the hearts of all must feel it. This, then, is the way to reach the people, through God. Be in earnest, agonize in prayer, and you will see the salvation of God.21MR 309.2

    With much love and a welcome to Europe, I remain your sister in Christ.—Letter 7a, 1886.21MR 309.3

    Ellen G. White Estate

    Silver Spring, Maryland,

    April 18, 1991.

    Entire Letter.

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