Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16

375/447

Ms 127, 1901

Fragments/“This is my seventh-fourth birthday ...”

NP

December 23, 1901 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in Ev 75, 378; 4MR 44; 5MR 331; 6MR 320; 10MR 14-15; 5Bio 140-141.

South Lancaster, Mass.

Tuesday, November 26, 1901

This is my seventy-fourth birthday. I thank the Lord for the grace and health He has given me up to this time. At present I am suffering from a severe cold. My throat and mouth are very sore. I always suffer when speaking in a small, crowded hall, as I did at Trenton. Our people there are in great need of a plain, neat, substantial meeting house. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 1

Some may ask, Why does Sister White always use the words, “plain, neat, and substantial” when speaking of buildings? It is because I wish our buildings to represent the perfection God requires from His people. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 2

“But,” some say, “if the Lord is so soon to come, why do you urge our builders to put the best material into the buildings they erect?” Would we dare to dedicate to God a house made of cheap material, and put together so faultily as to be almost lifted from its foundation when struck by a strong wind? We would be ashamed to put worthless material into a building for the Lord. And I would not advise any one to put worthless material into a house. It does not pay. The floors of our houses should be made of well-seasoned wood. This will cost a little more, but will in the end save a great deal of vexation. The frame of a building should be well matched and well put together. Christ is our example in all things. He worked at the carpenter’s trade with His father Joseph, and every article He made was well made, the different parts fitting exactly, the whole able to bear test. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 3

Whatever you do, let it be done as well as upright principle and your strength and skill can do it. Let your work be like the pattern shown you in the Mount. The buildings erected will soon be severely tried. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 4

From house-building precious spiritual lessons may be learned. “Ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] The Lord desires His people to teach their children the importance of bringing good timbers into their character-building, to teach them that what is worth doing at all is worth doing well. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 5

All the work done in the home should be done with such painstaking effort, such care and thoroughness, that God can place His signature upon it. Nothing is to be slighted. Some may say, “I cannot spend so long over one piece of work. Time is so short.” But for this very reason—because time is short—we are to do our work well. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 6

While we are to guard against needless adornment and display, yet all about our persons and our buildings is to be neat and attractive. Our young people are to be taught the importance of presenting an appearance above criticism, so that the world cannot speak of us as cheap and common. They are to be taught that while our work must be carried forward with strict economy, it is not therefore to lose the charm of good taste and perfect order. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 7

*****

I have been asked the question, Is it right for our people to purchase the hall in which Elder Haskell has been holding meetings in New York, seeing that this hall was once used for wicked purposes? 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 8

I reply, Were I at liberty to express my mind in regard to many of the fine houses in our cities, I could tell you much that would astonish you. And most revolting disclosures could be made regarding some who attend our meetings. But we do not say to our ministers, “Why do you spend your time on such a wicked audience?” What said Christ when accused of eating with publicans and sinners? “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” [Matthew 9:13.] 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 9

This world is our field of missionary toil, but how few among Seventh-day Adventists have realized this! The condition of our large cities is represented by the condition of the world before the flood when “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” [Genesis 6:5.] God-dishonoring sins are practiced by people living in lordly houses; but some of these very people, under the preaching of the last testing message, will be convicted and converted. From His inexhaustible store of grace God can endow all who come to Him. Looking upon humanity, fallen and degraded, He declares that the Holy Spirit shall be poured out upon all flesh. Many who have never heard the truth shall feel the conviction of the Spirit as they listen to the message of startling importance. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 10

If the hall mentioned is in a position favorable for our work, and if God sees fit to open the way for us to purchase this hall, and it is changed from a place where God is dishonored to a place where He is honored—taken away from those who have corrupted it, and placed in the hands of a people who are striving for sanctification and holiness, will not a victory be gained for the Lord? 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 11

Look at this matter in a rational light, and you will see that the building is innocent of any crime. The disgrace has been brought on it by men who have perverted their God-given powers. The building itself has done nothing wrong. The behaviour of wicked men has given it a bad name. Not the building, but the men who have dishonored their Creator by a wrong use of it, should be stigmatized. They have perverted their powers by the use of strong drink—a curse that has made thousands of buildings a hell on earth. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 12

The Lord knows what is best. He sees the end from the beginning. Let us leave all in His hands, accepting what He in His providence may decide is best. Do not allow the mind to be confused by erroneous reasoning or influenced by idle tales. Be at peace and rest in Jesus. He will verify His Word. If you do not obtain the hall, do not look on this as a great misfortune—a reason for becoming discouraged. Say always, The will of the Lord be done. Do what He directs, and remember that He sees that which you cannot possibly see. Do your part, and then if the way closes so that you cannot purchase the hall, you have the satisfaction of knowing that you did your best. And you may rest in the assurance that for some reason the Lord did not bring to pass that which you desired. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 13

I am so glad that we have a wise, compassionate heavenly Father who will not indulge His children to their injury. At times He withholds from us that which we greatly desire, that which it seems to us it would be for our good to possess. Let us trust Him, for He loves us. It is because He loves us that He does not always permit us to have our own way. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 14

The mission established in New York by Elder Haskell must be sustained. Elder Haskell must be assisted to locate himself and his workers in a more retired place. To live in such a noisy place, so near the elevated railways, is not best for him or his workers. Elder Haskell’s strength must not be drawn on too heavily. He needs more prayer and less criticism. Let those who in the past have cherished the spirit of criticism take themselves in hand and keep careful watch over every thought and word. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 15

*****

I have been asked, “Shall Elder Franke take up the work in the various cities, as invited?” 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 16

I answer, “Leave this matter with the Lord. Let Elder Franke follow his best judgment.” From the light God has given, it seems that now is the time to plan for work in Greater New York. When wise plans have been laid for this work, let these plans be decidedly and thoroughly carried out. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 17

God has a people in New York City. We say to Elder Franke, Do all in your power to reach the people of New York, and let all who can sustain you in the work. The treasury is empty, but there are minutemen who will help. For Christ’s sake, Elder Franke, lift the standard of the cross. Seek to diffuse light to those who are in darkness. In the name of the Lord, go forward. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 18

In our large cities the truth is to go forth as a lamp that burneth. God will raise up laborers for this work, and His angels will go before them. Let not any one hinder these men of God’s appointment. Forbid them not. God has given them their work. Let halls be hired, and let the message be given with such power that the hearers will be convinced. God will raise up workers who will occupy peculiar spheres of influence, workers who will carry the truth to the most unpromising places. Men will say Yea where once they said Nay. Those who were once enemies will become valuable helpers, advancing the work with their means and their influence. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 19

Beside all waters God’s messengers are to sow the seeds of truth. With intense interest God is looking on this world. He has noted the capacity of human beings for service. Looking down the ages He has counted His men and women, and has prepared the way before them, saying, “I will send My messengers to them, and they shall see great light shining amid the darkness. Won to the service of Christ, they shall use to the glory of My name the talents entrusted to them. They shall go forth to work for Me with zeal and devotion. Through their efforts the truth shall speak to thousands in a most forcible manner, and men spiritually blind shall receive sight and see My salvation. Truth shall be made so prominent that he who runs may read. Means shall be devised to reach hearts. There will be a great difference in the methods used in this work, but let no one because of this block the way by criticism.” 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 20

The means in the control of wealthy men will be used to sustain the cause of the Lord. God will set in operation many plans for the accomplishment of His work. His people will concentrate their forces more and more directly on the great consummation, believing and obeying the commission: 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 21

“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:18-20.] “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word with signs following.” [Mark 16:19, 20.] 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 22

O, what a work there is before us! Place after place is to be visited; church after church is to be raised up. Those who take their stand are to be organized, and then the minister is to pass on to other equally important fields. Our ministers are not to hover over those who have received the truth. With Christ’s love burning in their hearts, they are to go forth to win sinners to the Saviour. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 23

Just as soon as a church is organized, the members should be set to work, taught to go forth in God-given power to find others and tell them the story of redeeming love. The power of the gospel is to come upon the companies raised up, fitting them for service. Some of the new converts will be so filled with the power of the Lord that they will at once enter the work, imparting that which they have received. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 24

The newly formed churches will need to be educated. The minister should not devote so much of his time to preaching as to educating. The people are to be taught how to extend the knowledge of the truth. If they do this work successfully, they will labor so diligently that they will have no time or disposition to weaken the hands of their brethren by unkind criticism. Their one desire will be to carry the truth to the regions beyond. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 25

While the new converts should be instructed to ask counsel of those more experienced in the work, they should also be taught not to put the ministers in the place of God. Ministers are not gods, but human beings, men compassed with infirmities. Christ is the one to whom all are to look for guidance. “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. ... And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. ... As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” [John 1:14, 16, 12.] 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 26

“For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; and, having made peace by the blood of the cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometimes alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight; if ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God, which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints, to whom God would make known what is the riches of this glory among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory; whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus; whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” [Colossians 1:19-29.] 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 27

“I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.” [Colossians 2:1-5.] 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 28

“I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you.” What was the apostle’s great desire?—“that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love.” [Verses 1, 2.] Such a union is our great need. Upon it depends our success in the work of the Lord. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 29

These Scriptures outline true ministry. But today the labor put forth for the churches is to a large degree made up of preaching. There is a great lack of real missionary work—earnest labor for the building up of those who need instruction in regard to the formation of a Christlike character. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 30

The Sign of Discipleship. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 31

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” [John 13:34, 35.] 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 32

“As I have loved you.” [Verse 34.] The crowning act in the sacrifice of love was yet to come. Soon, in the scenes of the Saviour’s betrayal, trial, and crucifixion, the disciples were to see the measure of His love. They were to see Him hanging on the cross in dying agony, bearing the sins of the world. In this, and in his resurrection and ascension, they were to see a love so broad and deep that all doubt as to the meaning of the new commandment would be swept away. The knowledge of the Saviour’s matchless love for them was to bind them heart to heart, preparing the way for the Lord to anoint them with His Spirit. United by this love, they were to go forth to witness with convincing power to the divinity of their Leader. And their Christlike love for one another was to be the sign of their discipleship. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 33

How much of this love have we shown for one another? Might we not better begin without delay to love one another as Christ has loved us? Would we not then be a power for God in the work? “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another.” [Verse 35.] 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 34

“As my Father hath loved me, so have I loved you, continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.” [John 15:9-12.] 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 35

What a change would be seen in our world if fathers and mothers would reveal this love in the home. No unkind words would be spoken. There would be no jealousy or envy, no scolding or fretting, nothing to mar the peace of the home. O that all knew the meaning of the words, “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, ... and be ye thankful.” [Colossians 3:15.] 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 36

I wish to speak of some things that have been represented to me as taking place in the assembly of God’s people. Some have taken offence at things entirely unworthy of notice, and have dishonored God by giving way to the feelings of the unsubdued heart. They have misinterpreted the truth and weakened its influence. They have strengthened Satan’s kingdom; for church members who speak words that stir up strife are doing Satan’s work much more effectively than his own subjects. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 37

O my brethren, why are you so easily irritated? Why do you so readily separate from one another? Do you realize that your hasty words are written in the books of heaven, to receive the same punishment as the words of a profane man? The same spirit that led him to swear led you to speak words that stirred up strife in the assembly of God’s people. Remember that by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 38

O that those who are proclaiming the most solemn message ever given to the world would realize how greatly their influence is weakened when they are suspicious of their brethren, when they allow angry words to pass their lips! The displeasure of God rests upon every one who speaks harsh, unkind words. Nothing so dishonors the Lord Jesus as a readiness on the part of church members to take offence when something occurs to displease them. The Holy Spirit is to rest upon God’s children. This is the Lord’s plan and will. But this can never be until they seek for unity, forgetting self in the desire to extend His kingdom. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 39

The Saviour’s prayer for His followers is: “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” [John 17:17-21.] 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 40

The conversion of unbelievers depends on the distinctness with which Christ is revealed in the lives of believers. When our hearts are filled with love and compassion, when our conduct toward one another is marked by Christlike tenderness and courtesy, then our words will have power to convict souls. It is the unity of God’s followers that convinces the world that God has indeed sent His Son to die for sinners, to make them partakers of His perfection, changing the sinful heart and forming the character after the divine likeness. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 41

“The glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me; for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee; but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” [Verses 22-26.] 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 42

These words mean what they say. How much do they mean to us? 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 43

Christ declares, “There shall be one fold and one shepherd.” [John 10:16.] He came to our world to live the life that was to be the pattern for all His children. He came to reveal the love that was to bind them heart to heart. And He made unity the badge of their discipleship. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 44

God’s people are to be united in the accomplishment of one great work. They are to make a combined effort of consecration. By a tender, respectful regard for one another, they are to cherish the influence that works for the recovery of sinners. In their love and unity, they are to be on this earth a symbol of the family in heaven. As good soldiers of the cross they are to strive to win sinners to loyalty. Righteous principles gain more and more power over the life as their influence softens and subdues the natural, untamed disposition. This is the mystery of godliness. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 45

We are living in the testing time. God is proving His people to see who are worthy of admittance into His family. He desires His followers to carry out the instruction contained in the seventeenth chapter of John. The practice of this instruction is to begin in the home. God measures church members by what they are in the home. When Christ’s words are obeyed in the home, the influence extends to the church. Grieve not the Spirit of God from your home by an unchristlike course of action. Work the works of Christ in the home. Then your lamp, burning brightly and clearly, will give light to those in darkness. Have you accepted your trust? Does your light so shine before men that they, seeing your good works, glorify your heavenly Father? 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 46

Parents should make the Word of God their study. Their first work should be to interest their children in the holy, uplifting truths of this Word. Then in turn the children will become instruments in the Lord’s hands for interesting and instructing others. Thus the truth works with power to win souls to Christ. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 47

Those who accept the truth are pledged by their baptismal vows to live the truth before the world. As soon as men and women come to a knowledge of the truth, they are to use their powers in shedding abroad the light of the glorious gospel of Christ. God wants His people to be light-bearers. As Christians multiply their talents by use, the church becomes the light of the world. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 48

A living church is a working church. It is the do-nothing position of those who profess to be converted that robs the church of vitality. Souls are to be saved, and those who claim to know the truth, yet do not make any effort to win sinners to Christ, will sooner or later be revealed as spiritual dwarfs. God calls for workers who will unite their varied gifts in laboring for Him. His people must show missionary courtesy, missionary hospitality, missionary zeal. He has grace for every worker. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 49

God’s servants are to make use of every resource for enlarging His kingdom. The apostle Paul, a faithful steward of the grace of God, declares that it is “good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth,” that “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.” [1 Timothy 2:3, 4, 1.] And James says, “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” [James 5:20.] Every member of the church is pledged to unite with his brethren in giving the invitation, “Come, for all things are now ready.” [Luke 14:17.] Each is to encourage the other in doing whole-souled work. Earnest invitations will come from a living church. Thirsty souls will be led to the water of life. 16LtMs, Ms 127, 1901, par. 50