Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)

35/448

Ms 5, 1883

Sermon/Sermon at the 1883 General Conference

Battle Creek, Michigan

November 20, 1883

This manuscript is published in entirety in 2SAT 10-19.

Sermon by Mrs. White

[Delivered at the last meeting of the 1883 General Conference.] 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 1

I want to say, brethren and sisters, that this conference—the Bible studies and other meetings and all indeed connected with the conference—has been one of deep interest to me; and I feel very grateful to God that I have enjoyed these meetings as I never have any meetings of the kind before. I know that we have had the presence and the blessing of God in our midst. And as we are about to separate, and our ministers will go to their different positions of labor, the question arises, Shall we meet again? Shall all of us ever meet again in conference? Probably not. We may never all assemble in meeting again as we are here today. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 2

In this morning’s meeting, as we were listening to the testimonies borne here, and as the last hymn was sung—“When shall we meet again, meet ne’er to sever?”—I almost forgot myself. My mind reached over to the other shore, to the time when there will be a grand meeting in the city of God around the great white throne, and the redeemed will be singing there of triumph and of victory and of praise to God and to the Lamb. Well now, it brought such a solemn, sweet feeling upon me; it softened my heart, and I could not prevent the tears from flowing. Oh, what happiness we shall enjoy, gathered round about the throne, clothed in the white robes of the righteousness of Christ! No more sorrow, no more separation, but to dwell in peace, to dwell in happiness, to dwell in glory throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. What a happy, happy company we may be! 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 3

Now let us consider the same privileges here. When we consider the infinite sacrifice of our Saviour that we might become children of God and members of the royal family, when we consider this exaltation, when we consider that all these privileges will be ours and may be ours every day, that we may have the privileges which belong to the sons and daughters of God, how can any one of us have any word of complaint? How can anyone utter one word of murmuring? How can it dwell in our hearts? 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 4

We ought to be the most grateful people on the face of the earth. Our happiness is dependent on our faith in God—our confidence in Him. And then when we think of what a hope we have, of what a faith we have, that it reaches right into the other world; when we know that it will continue unto the ceaseless ages of eternity, I want to know how you feel in regard to these pleas that have been presented to you tonight? They call for one here and one there among these ministers to go to another field, and it is almost impossible to take one minister to go to another field without robbing the field from which he comes. When we consider that there are large cities where there has been no special labor bestowed, how do you feel, my brethren? Well, I feel as if a sword were piercing through my heart. I feel as though the time has come for God to raise up men to go into this labor. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 5

If there is anything I can put into this work, that shall go. But there are many who are willing to give of their means, but they withhold themselves. Why is it we do not find more who give themselves to this work? It is because selfishness lies at the root of the matter. There are those who come to this college, and they come to it with the object of laboring in the field, but there has been so little effort, there has been so little appreciation of their object and purposes, so little zeal to help them, that they have become discouraged. And the attraction has been so very small, the help given them so little, that many have been very slow to devote themselves to the ministry. There have been young men who could have given themselves to the ministry. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 6

It is not the want of ability, it is not because the prospect of their being fitted for the ministry was hopeless, but selfishness lies at the root of the matter. They thought they could make a little more money in worldly business, and so selfishness has drawn them away from the work. There might have been twenty laborers where there is one that has come out of the college prepared to labor. There is this disinclination to labor for God. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 7

What is the matter? The truth we advocate is not popular; it is unpopular and ever will be, because the Sabbath truth ever involves a cross. There are enough men who are willing to preach, but they are unwilling to be laborers: they shun the working part. They are not willing to visit by the fireside, to take the Bible and try to teach its sacred doctrines in the family, to carry the burden of souls upon them, to weep between the porch and the altar, crying, “Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach.” Joel 2:17. They are not willing to feel an interest for those who listen to their discourses, to become acquainted with the individual member of families, to put forth personal efforts for them, to pray for them and with them, to show the youth that they have a deep love for their souls, to lead them kindly, tenderly, lovingly, to the fold of Christ. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 8

This kind of work will drive the minister to his knees in prayer, and to his Bible, and will compel him to make God his trust, to walk by faith, sowing the seed of truth beside all waters, praying that God may water it. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 9

This is labor; this is the kind of work that devolves upon every minister of Christ. And the reason why some of our ministers are almost faithless, why they are desponding and walking under a cloud, is because they do not work as faithful shepherds should, watching for souls as they that must give an account. True watchmen are faithful shepherds. The qualification of a minister is not his brilliant talents, for this knowledge might prove his ruin. It is the entire surrender of the heart to God, to be molded and impressed as God chooses. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 10

When Christ called His ministers He did not go to the “school of the prophets,” but to fishermen. He took those men that He could bring into connection with Himself, so that He could place His mold upon them. And this is the kind of workers the Lord wants—men who are willing to sit at His feet, men who can work anywhere and do anything for the Lord, and who will not be constantly striving for the supremacy. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 11

If you feel that the responsibility in the harvest field is too great, there are other branches of labor before you. You can do a smaller work. And if you do that smaller work with fidelity, you are fitting for greater responsibilities, and God will entrust to you larger work. Here are men who can take hold of the larger part of the work in bearing the burdens, in teaching the truth, while others are fitted for canvassing. I have thought how great a work might be done through canvassing in reaching hearts and dropping the seed of truth. Almost anyone with an intelligent mind can make his labors acceptable, and if self is hid in Jesus Christ, he can spread the knowledge of the truth of God among his neighbors and into those large cities that have never yet been entered, for Christ will work with his efforts. It is because the lay members do not do the work they ought to do that they feel so weak. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 12

When I listened to the testimony of Brother [L. R.] Conradi, I could see how he was so successful. He was thoroughly in earnest in the work. He takes hold of it as though he meant to do something. It is not ability alone that gives success, although sanctified talent and ability are as polished instruments in the hands of God; it is to be thoroughly in earnest in the work. If the worker has access to the hearts of the people, the people will say, “Well, that man is in earnest; he is good at heart.” 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 13

When one was speaking in a simple, earnest manner in Market Street, there was a man present who was on his way to South America. He attended the meeting and said, “That speaker is thoroughly in earnest, and the things uttered seem to be a reality. There must be something in what is presented.” He stated to our brethren that he was about to sail for South America, and he said, “I will carry all the papers and pamphlets that you give me.” Brother [J. N.] Loughborough furnished him with the publications. He took all we gave him. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 14

Now brethren, we do not want to act as some have done. I have heard of a man who was about to cross a bridge, and he asked, “Is this bridge safe?” One said, “I have crossed several times, but it was not very safe; however, after all, I passed over without harm.” He went quite near to the bridge when another man approached, gesticulating earnestly and crying out, “Don’t go over that bridge; if you go on it there is danger there! It is unsafe!” We are compelled to think the man understood the condition of the bridge, felt it was not safe to venture on it. Why did the second man stop him, and not the first? Because the second was thoroughly in earnest. He had the other’s welfare at heart. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 15

What the Lord wants in His service is thoroughly earnest men. If there has been any indolence about any of us, and if there has been any indifference and careless inattention among those who handle such solemn, testing truths, the Lord wants you to put it away. He wants you, when you talk the truth to the people, to act as though you believed it yourself and had zeal and earnestness to bear some comparison with the truth you profess. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 16

Do not give the same discourse over and over again. Leave some chance for the Spirit of God to impress you, to give you fresh ideas and increased light. We all need hearts susceptible to the impress of the Spirit of God, hearts thoroughly imbued with His Spirit. That which we learn in the school of Christ will be meekness and lowliness of heart. We are ever to be learners, Bible students. We cannot study the Scriptures with a heart to learn and understand without obtaining fresh ideas, increased light. Do not have your set discourses, going over the same ground, having the same ending, and leave no chance for the Spirit of God to bring to your mind things new and old from the treasury of truth. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 17

We must make it a matter of thought and of diligent study to present the truth in that sincerity and earnestness that will inspire confidence and faith that we have learned of Jesus. A flash of light will come upon the pages and bright gems of truth will be revealed to you, and it will be the voice of God to you as a fire shut up in your bones. You will want to speak of the Bible truths, for you will feel that they are the most precious riches, treasure the earth cannot give, and while you are talking to the people, light will be given from heaven. We want to search the Scriptures for ourselves and to be thoroughly in earnest. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 18

And, dear brethren, in your different positions in your fields of labor there is not that feeling of love and tenderness cultivated that there ought to be. Love is a tender, heavenly plant that needs constant cultivation. We meet here in this conference as a family of God’s chosen ones, and as we are God’s children we will have nothing in us that will love strife or love to quarrel one with another. We should be guarded, not to tear down that which our brethren or ourselves have been building up. When you are disposed to dissension, think that it will not do, it will not do. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 19

Christ has said: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35. This, then, is the credential we bear to the world that we are indeed children of God. Satan knows that if we cease to cultivate love, we bear his stamp rather than the impress of heaven. We should inquire, Are we to dwell together in heaven? Then it must be in peace and harmony, and we must learn to harmonize in this world. Our work, our feelings, our actions must be Christlike. There are laborers that can work together in harmony. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 20

There are men, wholehearted men, whom God wants to engage in His work, and He wants every one of them to be abiding in Christ. Many claim that they are abiding in Christ, and preach the truth of heavenly origin. Yet if their words and works reveal that they are suspicious and envious of their brother ministers, they are not trying to build up the work, but are trying to work one against one another. One wants to be a little ahead of the other—not in meekness, in lowliness of heart, but in the estimation of others. Some of you are contending one against another, yet all claim to be abiding in Jesus. Is there anything in Christ that wars against Christ? This, my brethren, you see cannot be. And if there is any contention at all, it is because there is some enemy in the camp. It is Satan working in your hearts and putting his enmity there, and not Christ’s persuasive love. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 21

Some, if there has not been contention, if they cannot have the credit of superior work which they think will elevate them, will become downhearted and will not do anything. There has not, thank the Lord, been a great deal of this in our ranks; but there should not be the first seed of it sown among us. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 22

While Christ was with His disciples, as they were going to a certain place, they were disputing which should be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus asked them of what they were disputing by the way. He then took a little child and set him in their midst and said, “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 23

This self-sufficiency and this combativeness and this selfishness and wilfulness that are indulged separate the soul from Jesus. We want this will, this strong purpose [to] be turned into the right channel. Brethren, we want to have a will that will be God’s will. It is right for us to have a will and way, but it must be God’s way and God’s will. When the mind and will are turned into the right channel, we shall have success. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 24

The angels of God will be much better pleased and will be attracted to us when the servants in the field can come together and bow down together and pray with tears and contrition of heart; when they can talk about the work, no matter whose that work will be—whether it be the work of Brother [O. A.] Olsen, of Brother Cudney, or whoever it might be. Christ is working in that work. The workers will love [one] another. They will fall upon the necks of one another, and in time of sorrow and sadness they will comfort one another, pray for one another, bless one another. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 25

Oh, that we might be children of God! Oh, that we might every one be humble sons and daughters of God! Oh, that we might have another touch of the Holy Spirit, and every heart be moved before we leave this house! Oh, that we might have a baptism of the Holy Ghost before we separate! Oh, that the love of Jesus might gladden our hearts with sweet music like a song of heaven, because the wickedness of our hearts is broken down and it may be truly said, “See how these brethren love one another!” 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 26

God wants every one of us to support these German brethren who will work in the same neighborhood with English brethren. If every one of us should strive for that love which ought to dwell in the hearts of every one of us, we would be a power on earth such as not one of us conceives. No one knows this better than Satan. He tries to sow the seeds of envy and hatred rather than love in the hearts of the brethren. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 27

Two brethren are working in the same field. They each have their work; but Satan has tempted them and they are at variance. Shall these brethren labor separately in the field because they do not harmonize? Shall we separate them if they do not harmonize here? No, no. Let them work together until they do labor unitedly. In heaven they must harmonize in songs of triumph to the glory of God and of the Lamb. Well, when is this unity to take place? Are we to wait until we get home to heaven? No, it should take place right here before we leave this house. The melting power of God may be felt right here and the rough edges of our hearts are to be melted right down. From our hearts are to flow forth love, peace, and harmony. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 28

If you open the door, Jesus will come in. Remove the rubbish Satan has piled up before the door of the heart, that Jesus may enter in. He says, “If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 29

Will you open the door? Jesus will give this communion and you may have His light and rest. Can there be any difference? Can there be any dissension? Well, when I think of this I do not know what to say. My heart is full of tenderness and love to all. If we have any right to heaven it is because that human arm of Jesus encircles every one of us. “Hid with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3. There is the union, “Hid with Christ in God.” 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 30

Then how dare you allow one thought of opposition against one child of God? How dare you to do it? We want melting mercy to fall upon us. And Jesus says it is not possible for the Father to love us if we do not love one another. It is possible to love one another. Therefore you must not make up your minds you cannot do it. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 31

But he says, “Love one another, as I have loved you.” John 15:12. Oh, my soul, we profess to love the Bible, do we not? Do we plant ourselves upon the Word of God as it is? I was going to tell you a little of what I thought. We want to feel here that we are one family, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. He is pleading for us. He says, “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:16. It is the religion of Christ we want. We want to drink deeper when we are converted men and women. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 32

I can tell you we can feed not only the sheep, but also the lambs. Three times Christ asked the impetuous Peter, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” John 21:15-17. He said, “Yea, Lord.” Peter was to feed not only the sheep, but also the lambs, those who need to have tenderness shown them. Brethren, can we do it? “If you love me, feed my lambs.” We want a deeper understanding of the love of God. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 33

You may be doing something. You are not to choose that which pleases you, but to choose that which pleases the Master. I have found light and happiness in bowing with perfect submission to the Master. I love Him because He has been revealed to me in such condescension. He came down to reach me, and He brought me up. Will you imitate His spirit of condescension? Will you leave off your selfishness and dignity to reach the souls that Christ has died for? What sacrifice will you make? There are some here clothed in the glorious robes of humility. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 34

You might have gained one hundred workers that might have come from the college. But here are men in responsible positions who have been blending to worldly lines, who have had a worldly motive and a worldly stamp, and then the worldly spirit and the worldly feeling come in. Let us answer the purpose of God. Let all be working for God. Is it only the ministers that bear this work? No, it is the men and women of the church. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 35

Let me tell you, you do not know Christ. You have not become acquainted with Him. If you would begin to study and labor to know what means you could use to bring souls to a knowledge of the truth, as diligently as you would devise means to work for your own selfish interests, you would be saving souls. Oh, the blood of souls will be upon many here in Battle Creek who have neglected their responsibility. May the God of heaven have mercy upon them. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 36

And here are the ministers of Jesus Christ watching upon the walls of Zion to give the note of warning to the people, the laymen. Are you not to watch with your brethren, that jealousy may not arise in you because your brethren may have the name of doing a little more work than you do? But you are to watch for souls. There is too much work for one word of contention to arise in your heart. But your deportment will express your interest, and you gifts will express it. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 37

Well, I am happy to say this is the very best conference I ever attended in my life. It has been a feast to my soul from beginning to end. And when there is a prospect that my brethren will go into the fields that they may work in every branch in every way, why I have felt a spring of joy that was greater than I could express. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 38

Brethren and sisters, Jesus has loved us with a love that cannot be expressed. Then, brethren and sisters, let us love one another with that love wherewith Christ has loved us. And when an evil thought comes in against a brother, just bow down in prayer asking that God will bless him, that heart may beat in unison with heart. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 39

Feed the sheep; feed the lambs. Here is the work in which you need to be very tender, to be very courteous, and to be very kind. You should show Christian politeness everywhere, showing that you are a son of God, or a daughter of God. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 40

You profess to be leading others to heaven and to have a commission from the kingdom of heaven to go forth and proclaim the gospel. What a responsibility, to go forth and proclaim the gospel everywhere! When you go forth, what a responsibility! How can you bear it? O God, who is sufficient for these things? I have felt it. Who is sufficient for these things? 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 41

God will let His blessing rest upon us if we will open our hearts to Him. Every step is by faith. We will have to know by experience what it is to fight the good fight of faith. But do not, for your soul’s sake, for Christ’s sake, express one word of mistrust or want of faith. When you get that word of thankfulness in your heart, there will not be one word of murmuring, but instead of that, praise. Whoso offereth praise glorifieth God. It is not only our privilege but our duty to sing and make melody in our hearts to God. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 42

Well now, I am taking up altogether too much time, but I want to say, brethren and sisters, I want to thank God for the light and unity that has rested upon the work. A great responsibility rests upon the ministers. While they are engaged in the service of God they are placing themselves in the position where God can bless them. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 43

“They that turn many to righteousness” shall shine “as the stars for ever and ever.” Daniel 12:3. That is how we shall shine. The glory of God will rest upon you. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 44

You cannot become interested in a soul but that an angel of God will be close at your side and will move that soul. If you want the companionship of angels, go to work, and then you will have no time to gossip or to get into the prevailing fashion of gossiping. God help you to work for time and eternity. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 45

I may never have the privilege of standing in this house again, but I want to say, brethren and sisters, I love Jesus. We may never meet here again, but shall we meet around the great white throne? May we work so we may bring a harvest of souls to the Master. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 46

The influence of the Holy Spirit has gone from ministers because there has been a spirit of contention. Let it forever cease. Come unto the Master and let Him breathe His sweet Spirit into you hearts. The tender plant of love must be cherished. If we should not have the privilege of meeting here again in conference, what a meeting will it be when we shall greet each other when Christ comes in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory! What a scene of glory that will be! If we can hear the “Well done, good and faithful servant” [Matthew 25:23], the light and glory of God will beam upon us from the face of Jesus Christ. I will pray for you. How I have prayed for you in the night seasons, that you may save other souls! 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 47

When we get home to heaven and look around us, we will say, Here is one, and here is another one. How earnestly I labored for his or her salvation. And here they are, with crowns of glory upon their heads. Oh, we shall see those who were brought to God through our instrumentality. Satan will not step in to divide and cause separation. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 48

Work in love. Walk in unity. Esteem others better than yourselves. Only a little moment longer, only a little moment to spare, and then it is the coming of the millennial year I see. May I behold the King in His beauty, with all His matchless charms. May we follow on in the light until we shall have an abundant entrance into the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1883, par. 49