Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903)


Ms 18, 1903

A Call to Repentance


November 10, 1902

Portions of this manuscript are published in 4MR 321; 6MR 217.

It is not too late for wrongs to be righted. But the work will be tenfold harder now for those who at the last General Conference had opportunity to repent, but who did not heed the voice of God. They were convinced that He was speaking to them in reproof and warning; but instead of confessing and forsaking their sins, they hardened their hearts. Those who have despised the testimonies are not few in number, and one mind filled with unbelief will leaven other minds. The leaven of evil that was not cast out at the last General Conference has been working and has done a great deal of harm. A strange work has been going on. Deception and falsehood and selfish ambition have been allowed to enter. 18LtMs, Ms 18, 1903, par. 1

Those who at the last General Conference listened to the testimonies borne, but did not humble themselves before God, and change square about, have done despite to the spirit of grace and have placed themselves in a fortress of unbelief. Great light has shone upon them, but they have opposed the message borne to them and have thus placed themselves in opposition to the Lord Jesus Christ. 18LtMs, Ms 18, 1903, par. 2

At the last General Conference, God gave men as plain evidence as they will ever have. His Spirit witnessed to the message borne. Christ was in the assembly of His people, and His message of mercy was sufficient to convince all present. But men turned a deaf ear to the Saviour’s voice. They would not hear, they would not humble their hearts before God. Refusing the robe of Christ’s righteousness, they clothed themselves with their citizen’s dress. They were within the very shadow of Christ’s uplifted hand, within the circle of His life-giving power. They could have received the Holy Spirit, but they did not, because they would not. Their hearts have been growing harder and more unimpressible. They have been cultivating unbelief, strengthening themselves in resistance, turning from the light instead of coming to the light. Disloyal to the truth, they have not honored or glorified God. Their effort now is to make it appear that the testimonies which God has given His people are not reliable. 18LtMs, Ms 18, 1903, par. 3

This work has been ripening, and some of those who have stood in responsible places have resisted the Spirit of grace. A malignant influence has taken possession of the will. The seductive power of Satan will certainly lead them further into unbelief unless they yield the will to God and make thorough work of repentance. In this their day of opportunity they are unblessed and unsaved. 18LtMs, Ms 18, 1903, par. 4

I have a plea to make of those who at the last General Conference refused to yield the will to Christ’s will. The Saviour asks them, “Wilt thou be made whole?” [John 5:6.] Will they turn from Him, or will they at the coming Conference surrender themselves to Him who will save to the uttermost all who come to Him? They have been doing a strange work. They have been planning to resist the Spirit of God by unbelief and falsehood. They have cherished opinions that have no foundation in truth. The deceitfulness of sin has been making its mark upon them. But God lives. If they perish it will not be because of His dealings with them, but because they are determined to resist light and evidence. They will never, never have greater evidence than that given them at the last General Conference. The testimony then given was borne in the demonstration of the Spirit and in power. 18LtMs, Ms 18, 1903, par. 5

The messages that God gave to the churches of Ephesus and Sardis are applicable to those who in this age have had great light but have not opened the door of the heart to the knock of Christ. The Lord has shown plainly that He has a controversy with His people. The fires that have lately raged in New York and other cities were no accident. It was the hand of omnipotent power. The Spirit of God is withdrawing from the world because the warnings of heaven have not been heeded. We need to beware; for a similar condition of things is coming in amongst us as a people. 18LtMs, Ms 18, 1903, par. 6

At the last General Conference the Lord called upon His people for decided humiliation of soul. But the work that should have been done was not done. The Lord says: “Repent, and do the first works, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove the candlestick out of his place.” [Revelation 2:5.] If God’s people will repent, wholly and entirely, He will save them from so humiliating a rebuke. Those who repent from the heart will have confessions to make before God. He will accept their brokenness of heart, even though they have so long trifled with His grace. Those who stand in positions of trust in the Battle Creek Sanitarium and the Review and Herald Publishing House have dishonored God; yes, they have mocked Him by walking stubbornly in their own way, in unholy independence. His wrath will be exercised toward them unless they fall upon the Rock and are broken. Sin and selfishness have entered into the institutions of which God is the foundation. Let men remember that the God who laid the foundation of these institutions can destroy as well as build up. 18LtMs, Ms 18, 1903, par. 7

Why should men defy God? Why should they follow a course of which they will be ashamed to meet the record in the books of heaven? God is in earnest with us. If the heart is pure, there will be purity in action and nobility of purpose in all the work done. Among God’s people every mind is to be cleansed, every heart purified. All are to understand that sin is not to be tolerated by the people who have received the most precious light ever given to mortals. Only a little while, and He who shall come will come and will not tarry. Those who choose to cleave to their sins must perish. But God will have compassion, even now, on all who will make thorough work for eternity. 18LtMs, Ms 18, 1903, par. 8


The Lord has wrought for His people, but they have treated His voice as a strange voice. In proportion as God has multiplied blessings toward them, so have they multiplied rebellion toward Him, moving with masterly self-confidence in their rebellious course, giving men and angels a most painful evidence of the deceitfulness of sin and the evil of refusing to heed God’s counsel. 18LtMs, Ms 18, 1903, par. 9

At the last General Conference God’s people were given the precious opportunity of returning to Him. Had they confessed their sins, God would have come in and worked for them in a most wonderful manner. But they did not want to humble their hearts or to make thorough confession, and ever since the Conference many have steadily advanced in strange paths, doing the same work as they did before. 18LtMs, Ms 18, 1903, par. 10

Merely being members of the church will avail nothing in the controversy before us. God is weighing men and their doings in the golden scales of the sanctuary. The time of trouble will surely search out and try every pretender. Those who claim to be Christians and yet act as sinners will be punished as sinners. Proportionate to the degree to which they have used their opportunities and talents to hinder the cause of God will be the severity of their punishment. 18LtMs, Ms 18, 1903, par. 11

When those claiming to be the people of God conduct themselves in a way that gives license to selfishness and dishonest practices, they greatly dishonor God. They would do less harm if they were avowed infidels. They have not the fear of God before them or the love of God in their hearts. In order to serve God acceptably, men must honor Him by a well-ordered life and a godly conversation. They must wear the yoke of Christ and learn of Him His meekness and lowliness. They must take the Saviour as their Guide and Leader. They are to be under God’s supreme control. The whole being—heart, soul, mind—and strength are to be under His training, that the life may bear witness to what union with Christ will do for human beings. 18LtMs, Ms 18, 1903, par. 12