Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Ms 39a, 1887

Special Testimony to the Kettering [England] Church

Grimsby, England

July 23, 1887

Variant of Ms 39, 1887, which is published in entirety in 3MR 1-4.

I have been unable to sleep much during the past night. I have thought of the church at Kettering, which must be left much of the time without a minister. It is the duty of those connected with the church to feel an individual responsibility to work with the utmost of their ability to strengthen the church and make the meetings so interesting that outsiders will be attracted to them and interested in them. 5LtMs, Ms 39a, 1887, par. 1

Nothing so manifestly weakens a church as disunion and strife. Nothing so wars against Christ and the truth as this spirit. By their fruits ye shall know them. [Matthew 7:20.] “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries, either the vine figs? So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” “Who is a wise man, and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.” [James 3:11-13.] 5LtMs, Ms 39a, 1887, par. 2

We are none of us to look upon ourselves as having great wisdom and ability. He who has talents is not to make them prominent by his boasting. It is those who have no confidence in their own ability, who distrust self, that God can use as His willing instruments. These show by their conversation that they have held communion with God, that they have been learning the lessons of meekness and lowliness which Christ is willing to teach all. Filled with the love of Christ, His wisdom flows from their lips in words which stir other hearts. Their works are made manifest, not by pompous words of self-praise, but by the meekness of wisdom. They never disparage others, but hold a very humble opinion of themselves, because they have a clear and well-defined view of Christ, His character, His self-denial, His self-sacrifice, and His mission. Those who obtain this view of Christ have ever a humble estimate of self. It is when men lose sight of Christ, His purity, His spotless perfection, that they become self-sufficient, self-important, self-inflated. When others do not give them all the deference and respect they think they should have, they are uneasy, unsatisfied. They think that they are unappreciated and ill-used. In an unmistakable manner, they reveal their true character. They find fault and complain, combating everything that does not meet their mind, even when assembled to worship God. If they had true wisdom, they could see the influence of their unchristlike course. But blinded by self-importance, they do not see their weakness, and they show to all that they cannot be trusted. 5LtMs, Ms 39a, 1887, par. 3

These do very little good as they go through the world. Boisterous, rude, obtrusive, they push themselves to the front. By this lack of wisdom they demerit the truth and dishonor the religion of Christ. In the place of winning souls to the Saviour, they turn them away from the truth. Many are lost because of the want of Christian grace to lead them to pursue a course of meekness and lowliness. 5LtMs, Ms 39a, 1887, par. 4

“If ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.” [Verse 14.] If I should say these words of myself, how many would say, “Sister White has a hard spirit; she does not understand me.” But God understands you, and He plainly declares that if you cherish envy and strife, you need not glory, calling it Christian boldness; for it is not of God, but of Satan. You may profess to believe the truth; your judgment may assent to it, but if the truth as it is in Jesus does not abide in your heart, you can present it only in your own way. By your words, your manner, and your appearance, you show that you have not brought the truth into the life or woven it into your character. It is as though the truth were only tied to you and you continue to bear thorn berries. 5LtMs, Ms 39a, 1887, par. 5

“This wisdom descendeth not from above; the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, easy to be entreated, full of mercy, and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” [Verses 15, 17.] And there are those in the church who argue and control to get their own way, who in self-confidence hold their own ideas, refusing to give them up, who talk as though they were the only ones whose ways were perfect. These are not easily entreated because they are not converted. They are full of self-sufficiency and are sure to disgust believers by talking with all proud boastfulness and self-confidence of the objectionable features of our faith. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.] “The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” [James 3:18.] 5LtMs, Ms 39a, 1887, par. 6

There is danger that the small meetings held by our people will be killed by imprudence. Let there be no long prayers. Save long prayers for your closet. Let not your prayers wander all over the world. Pray right to the point, asking for the blessing of God upon those assembled. When you pray alone in your closet, lay before God all the burden of your heart; but in an assembly, such long prayers are out of place. They kill the interest by making the meeting tedious. Look at the prayer Christ gave His disciples as a sample. How brief it is, how comprehensive! When you approach God, pray in simplicity. Do not dishonor Him by offering Him oratorical prayers, by preaching Him a sermon in your prayer. Come to God in your sore need, and tell Him just what you need. Trust your heavenly Father just as a child trusts its earthly parents. 5LtMs, Ms 39a, 1887, par. 7

When the meeting is carried on by church members in the absence of a minister, let some one take the lead. He is not to devote much time to sermonizing, but is to speak in the Spirit and for the love of Jesus. Let no one talk merely for the sake of talking and killing the time. Thus the interest of the meeting is killed. Let each state his individual experience, the soul struggles endured, and the victories gained. Let all offer to God a tribute of praise from a thankful heart for the gift of His Son. Here is a subject that each may dwell upon with profit. All should feel it their duty to contribute something to the life of the meeting. Do this, and the blessing of God will come into your midst in large measure. 5LtMs, Ms 39a, 1887, par. 8