Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 13, 1897

Counsel to a Person Living in Ellen White’s Household

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

February 20, 1897

Portions of this manuscript are published in HP 142, 161; 1MCP 124-125; 2MCP 663.

My heart is troubled. I cannot rest. The Lord is opening before me the dangers of your case, and I am afraid for you. The powers of hell have conspired together for your destruction. Unless you shall be heart and soul with Jesus Christ, I feel that it is not wisdom for you to remain in my employ. We shall be made accountable for your course of action. You not only dishonor God, but you dishonor us, and bring a reproach upon me and my family. Therefore, I feel it my duty to say to you, If you can find some place where you desire to go, please go there. I am much troubled in mind. My heart aches. You could be a help, but you are disappointing us. You have no heart and show but little interest in the work here. You are doing injury to yourself, and bringing trouble to my soul. You go hither and thither evenings, and are not home until a late hour. The question is, Where do you spend your time? The temptations of Satan are strong. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 1

We have felt sad when we hear the frivolous remarks made, or have read letters full of representations of a cheap character. If you cannot write plain common sense, then wait until you can. If it is not for your spiritual advancement to be here, if it is doing you no good, then we wish you to find some other place. We want to understand just what we can depend on. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 2

I ask you to cultivate a greater relish for the study of the Word of God. You have a revelation from God in which your way is plainly marked out, your duty relation, and privileges as a child of God. This Word demands your attentive perusal. How eager you are for the newspaper! How eagerly you peruse it. But this kind of food to which you give your mind and soul is not the bread of life. What about your Bible? This Word contains the most important information in regard to your soul’s eternal welfare, and tells you what you must do to be saved. You are answerable for your own soul. What others have done or may do will not save or lose your soul. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 3

What earnest efforts are you making to do service for God? You have the light of truth, but if you have not appropriated the light of truth, you are in darkness. You are in danger of losing your soul. Your only happiness can be found in making an unpreserved surrender to God of soul, body, and spirit. I do not expect to receive faithful, persevering effort in my service unless your heart is wrought upon by the Holy Spirit of God. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 4

The Word of God is yours, and reveals to you what is comprehended in being a whole-hearted Christian. You are making your choice between Christ and Barabbas. Your course of action will reveal your choice. If you choose Christ, live Christ. Live this roving disposition no longer. The only course for you to pursue is to fill your mind with pleasant thoughts, with the thrilling appeals and interesting narratives of the Holy Scriptures. Let your soul be absorbed in meditating upon the glorious truths contained in the Word of God, and you will have no constant craving for something which you have not. You will despise cheap, vain thoughts. You will be ever trying to meet the elevated standard of virtue and holiness which is kept before you in the gospel. You will seek for higher attainments in the divine life. Converse with God through the medium of His Word. This will ennoble your whole nature. Contemplate the Saviour’s love portrayed in the Scriptures. The Word of God is our counsellor, our Guidebook. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 5

Man whom God has created has no permission to bring hay and wood and stumble into the foundation that God has laid at infinite cost to Himself and to all heaven. God has given man a second probation in which to bring the very best material into the foundation He has laid. This He represents as gold and silver and precious stones. These are not consumable, but are works which improve the worker, and all who have any connection with him. Every element that will add to future happiness is to be brought into the character building. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 6

The Lord Jesus told Nicodemus, “Ye must be born again.” [John 3:7.] You need to experience this new birth. And God has declared, “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.” [John 1:12-14.] 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 7

This is the experience that you must gain. Without this, you will never see the kingdom of God. If you desire to be a Christian, you must change square about. You now reveal that you are not in service to God but in the gall of bitterness. When you shall cultivate altogether different habits, you will not have excited within you any wish that needs to be repressed. Having Christ within the hope of glory, there will be wrought in you a radical change of thought and capacity for enjoyment, an altogether different character to what you now possess. When Christ shall dwell in your heart by faith, your frivolity and cheapness of mind will be seen by you in all its objectionable character. God will be all and in all, the very perfection of happiness. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 8

At the present time you are wrapping about you the garments of uncleanness and unholiness, and you will just as surely perish in your sins as did Judas unless you cast off Satan and accept Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit must work you and purify your entire nature from all moral defilement. God stands ready to endow you with His Spirit. He designed that your capabilities should be employed to do Him service; but while you act out your own impulses, you are acting as a child, refusing any repression or restraint. You want to control yourself, and do as you please, and this is more than you can manage. Your only hope of reform and improvement is to be converted, to give yourself up entirely, without reserve, into the Lord’s hands, and let His will be done in you. There is no place on earth that you can go where it will be an easy matter for you to overcome your hereditary and cultivated tendencies. It lies wholly with yourself whether you will be a child of God or a child of Satan. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 9

There is need for you to consider this matter seriously. If you decide to go on just as you have been doing, and make no decided change, then it will be better for you to separate from my family, for it cannot be any advantage to you to remain. You have an opportunity to choose the good and refuse the evil. No one can do this for you. If you choose to maintain a low level, you can do this. But you have an individual case pending in the courts of heaven, and it will not be long before the final decision will be made by you. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 10

Man has revolted from God, and has ever since endeavored to make his scheme of doing as he pleased a success in securing happiness. But whenever he has sought to fill his mind with any other object than God, he has been disappointed. There must be an altogether higher grade of thought, an altogether higher class of studies, and higher objects for you to seek to obtain than you have had in the past. The disorders and imperfections of human words and human characters can only be restored by the Lord Jesus Christ. He, then, should be the object of your contemplation, the theme of your conversation. You must have an altogether high exercise of thought and action if you would understand the great plan of redemption. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 11

Wisdom, intelligence, and power proceed from God. But at present you are making no approach to knowing God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. You must give an account to God of your thoughts, of words, your time, and your actions. You cannot be in service to me and do as your please. You cannot be in service to God and yet have your own way and will. You must realize that you are not your own to do with as you please. You are to consider seriously whether you will become a servant of Jesus Christ or the servant of the devil: you are, and will, continue to be one or the other. You will either gather with Christ by representing Him in character, or you will scatter from Him. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 12

When you come to receive Christ as your personal Saviour, there will be a marked change in you; you will be converted, and the Lord Jesus by His Holy Spirit will stand by you. There will no longer be the restless uneasiness and dissatisfaction which you possess. You love to talk. If your words were such as would glorify God, there would be no sin in them. But you do not realize peace and rest and enjoyment in the service of God. You certainly are not a converted man to do God’s will; therefore, you cannot feel the cheering, enlivening influence of His Holy Spirit. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 13

When you decide that you cannot be a Christian and still do as you please, when you realize that you must surrender your will to God’s will, then you can comply with the invitation of Christ, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 14

Do you believe this? You have not placed yourself in the channel of light. Light and truth has been flashing all around you; but you have not cherished the light or walked in it. When you decide that you must love God supremely, and your neighbor as yourself, and that this is your only hope of eternal life, you will have much clearer higher, and holier conceptions of God, of eternity, and of what obedience means than you have ever yet had. God will then be, in a literal sense, your strength and portion forever. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 15

You can never enter heaven unless you enjoy the communion of God here below, for this is our fitting place for heaven. God should be the object of the soul’s highest reverence, love, and fear. This world is the only school in which you can receive a preparation for the higher grade. Those who do not love to retain God in their thoughts in this world, those who consider it irksome to be in subjection to God in this life, will never have enjoyment with Christ in the future life. The very things they choose and love here in self-pleasing are educating their tastes so that heavenly discipline will be a restraint. Let your soul be brought under discipline to God. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 16

Your heart needs to be cleansed, refined, disciplined and ennobled. If you feed on the Word of God, you will secure a healthful spiritual development. You will obtain strength and wisdom, which will settle you in healthful experience, and the Lord Jesus will not be ashamed to call you His child. The sooner you meet with the sword of the Spirit, under the shield of God which is able to quench all the fiery darts of he enemy, the sooner you will understand what it means to enlist in the army of the Lord, and as a faithful soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ hold the standard high. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 17

“To whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey.” [Romans 6:16.] The kingdoms of this world have not yet become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ. Sin seems to be pervading the whole earth, and only a portion of the human family will try to obtain a knowledge of God, and will consent to come under rule to Jesus Christ. The Lord has given evidence of the value He places on man in that He gave His life for the salvation of the human race. And He who created man, who paid such a price for his redemption, is greatly dishonored when man chooses a low, earthly level, a life of frivolity and cheapness. God has done everything that a God could do, according to His name’s glory, to purify and cleanse from earthly defilement, and to restore His moral image in man, in order that man shall reveal to the world the power of Bible religion upon human character, and that the world may know that God hath sent His Son into the world. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 18

We are individually now testifying to the world of the power of the grace of Christ in the transformation of the human character from glory to glory, from character to character. In beholding Christ our Pattern, who is pure and holy and undefiled, we are being prepared for the society of the heavenly angels. If Christ is to be our Head and Prince in the heavenly courts, it becomes us to inquire, What is Christ to us now? Can we say as we contemplate our Redeemer, “Whom have I in heaven but thee: there is none on earth that I desire beside thee”? [Psalm 73:25.] 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 19

We have retained you in the family, hoping, praying that the Lord would create in you an appetite for spiritual things. Conversion means much more than profession. There is no relief to be found in seeking to serve God when the heart is not enlisted in the work. But when we submit our hearts to Him, the yoke of Christ is easy, and His burden is light. There must be no reserve in serving God. He requires all the mind, the heart, and the strength. He will not accept a polluted offering. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin. I counsel you to receive with meekness the engrafted Word which is able to save your soul, to understand thoroughly every passage you read. There are truths in the Bible which you need to dig for as for hidden treasure. The truths that lie concealed beneath the surface are like veins of precious metal, and will only be discovered by those who dig for them prayerfully. Those who, in order to know what is truth, will dig perseveringly for the hidden treasure will find celestial gold. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 20

Those who do not eat the Word of God will never have spiritual efficiency. The Holy Spirit is close by the side of every searcher after truth. There are few who know us as we really are, and therefore their words, in comfort or reproof, may often go far from the mark. The devil deals in flattery, as well as in accusation and condemnation. But the Word is made applicable and appropriate to all. “He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance.” [John 14:26.] 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 21

The more we learn of Christ through His Word, the more we feel our need of Him in our experience. We should not rest until we can rest in wearing the yoke of Christ, and lifting His burdens. The more faithful we are in service to Him, the more we shall love Him, the more we shall magnify Him. Every duty, large or small, that we perform will be done with faithfulness, and as we follow on to know the Lord, the greater will be our desire to glorify Him. All who are content to turn away from that knowledge which will make them wise unto salvation in this life and the future, who accept of earthly, frivolous things, are feeding their souls upon the brackish water, when Christ invites them, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” [John 7:37.] 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 22

“Thus saith the Lord: Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth form the Lord. For he shall be like the heat in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.” [Jeremiah 17:5, 6.] This is the Lord’s representation of the man who turns his face away from God, and chooses to please himself. He has his own way, and is filled with his own doings, but what a valueless heap of chaff and rubbish he will gather to himself. But such are of no profit to God, and therefore are decidedly of no profit to the world. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 23

“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” [Verses 7-10.] 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 24

“Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this Potter? saith the Lord. Behold as the clay is in the potters hands, are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it: if that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn form their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 25

“Now therefore, go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord: behold I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good. And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart. Therefore thus saith the Lord; Ask ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things: the virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing. Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that cometh from another place be forsaken? Because my people have forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up.” [Jeremiah 18:5-15.] 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 26

Will you read and profit by the words of this chapter? I want you to be saved. I want you to make a business of serving God. You are not to look to any one member of the human family as perfect, and expect that they will surround you with an influence that will be for the saving of your soul. We wish, O so much, that every member of the family were keeping their mind refined and purified and ennobled by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God. We wish that the principles of the Word were circulating through every vein of their religious experience. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 27

We wish that all, yourself included, were living in the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness as it is their privilege to do. But will there be any excuse for you, in the great day of final reckoning, in that fact that this one or that did not meet your expectations as Christians? If you know what the Lord will accept as a perfect sacrifice of the human agent, then for Christ’s sake, do your duty, and no longer confer with flesh and blood. If you would learn in the school of Christ His meekness and lowliness, it will be in wearing His yoke and lifting His burdens. There is only one way that leads to eternal life, and that is through Christ and Him alone. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 28

May the Lord help you to come to a rational understanding, and serve Him. If you have decided that it is your choice to have your own way and do as you please, you will find plenty of room for this kind of work under another general; but never, never can you be a child of God, unless your whole soul and mind are brought into captivity to Jesus Christ. You can be a whole-hearted Christian, but it will only be in forsaking all your sin, and serving the Lord with your undivided affections. There are thousands who profess to be children of God who do not know Jesus Christ nor the Father. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 29

Jesus lived a social life in our world. But not one foolish word was expressed, no foolish action marred his life. His life was held in abeyance to His great mission to the world. When His parents lost Him for three days, and found [Him] among the doctors in the temple, asking them questions, he started in their minds trains of thought which would never be forgotten. His parents were astonished at His questions and His answers. They inquired of Him, “Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.” His answer struck the note of His whole life and ministry: “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business.” [Luke 2:48, 49.] Divinity flashing through humanity expressed in his countenance that which made Joseph and Mary wonder, but Mary remembered the lesson afterward. Everything was made subordinate to His work, His great work of redemption, which He came into the world to accomplish. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 30

And the same devotion, the same self-denial and self-sacrificing spirit, the same subjection to the claims of the Word of God, Christ requires of His disciples. We all have a mission to fulfil in the world. This is not to serve or please ourselves, it is to glorify God, to co-operate with Him in saving sinners. But this cannot be done by those who are continuing in sin, for in this they dishonor Christ, and are in need of conversion. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 31

I now leave this matter with you. I ask you to seek the Lord, and never rest until you know that you are a child of God. Then you will find special help in every time of need. 12LtMs, Ms 13, 1897, par. 32