Appeal and Suggestions to Conference Officers

The Need of a Converted Ministry

What can be said, what movements made to cleanse and purify the ministry? The truth is all powerful, and can and will do the work upon the human heart, if practiced, but the illustration of the ten virgins is an appropriate symbol for our time. Five of them were wise, five of them were foolish. The grand, life-giving truth of the Bible, if practiced, would make men wise unto salvation; but the acceptancy of the Holy Spirit is not felt to be a positive necessity. The teaching of the Bible would, if obeyed, make men pure and keep them pure. “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Mark this charge of the apostle to the Corinthians, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” PH002 23.1

The Bible religion has been regarded by those who profess to believe the truth, as one influence among many others to act a part upon the human agent. The only correct position is to regard it as the one influence over all others. We should constantly ask ourselves, “Is this the way of the Lord?” “Am I in all my words and all my actions treating God, my sovereign Ruler, as supreme? and do I love God with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul, might, and strength, and my neighbor as myself?” If the Bible truth were carried into every-day practice by those who teach the truth to others, they would represent Christ in the home life. There would be earnest work done, and souls would be given them as the reward of their ministry. Where the individual himself is wanting in practical appreciation of the truth, God cannot administer to sin, he cannot co-operate with the man who is not a doer of his word. PH002 23.2

We need a converted ministry; but you, my brother, must not feel that you are all out of the way, because you see so little likeness to Christ in some who preach the truth to others. If they pass on year after year, in the same foolish-virgin way, the only course you can pursue is to let them out of the ministry. Anything, anything but men who have had all the privileges of the ministerial institutes, and yet do not absorb the truth, and therefore cannot give the truth to others. The trouble is, the commandments of God are not in their hearts, and are not practiced in their lives. The grand truths that have come to our people have been haggled over; and although presented in a clear, forcible manner, have been treated indifferently as though they might touch them, they might have some connection with them, but as to being nourished and strengthened by them, they are not. They are put [to] one side. Some speak in commendation, as though it were a horse or a cow they were inspecting with a view to purchasing, if the terms suited them. The truth needs to be brought into their very life experience, the Holy Spirit to be an abiding power in the life, sanctifying the soul day by day, and preparing, moulding, and fashioning the character after the divine model. To some this seems unessential. The fact is, there are many who expect to go into the marriage supper of the Lamb with their old citizen's garments, in the place of putting on the robe of Christ's righteousness, a free gift made to all, and if all could have spiritual discernment, they would see that they could not offend the Lord Jesus in so marked a manner as to keep on their old citizen's garments as good enough for them. And when accosted by the Master's friend who said, “Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment?” what excuse can you render? There was the wedding garment, provided at great cost, but passed by, by the self-satisfied one who preferred his own ideas, customs, and practices, and in his self-importance takes his seat among the company without the wedding garment. PH002 24.1

The glorious, sanctifying truths of the Bible have been left in the outer court. The truths of eternal interest that should govern and control the life, are considered by many altogether too sublime for common life. But it is essential that the great and grand truth,—the imparting of the Holy Spirit, should be brought into contact with, and impregnate little things, and supply the powerful motive to holiness, and lay out in clear lines, broad principles for the regulation of the character and conduct of every day, revealing Christ to the world. The purification of the sinner through the atoning sacrifice of the Son of God, means much more than the finite minds of many can seem to grasp. This is because the words, the spirit, the mind, and heart are all bound down to earthliness and to sensuality, which is a controlling power in the bed-chamber, where there should be pure and holy aspirations after God. The Holy Spirit will not contaminate its purity by associating with impurity, and Christ says, “Without me ye can do nothing.” Unless the Holy Spirit is with the worker, his efforts are without avail. Why! Have we not had the most ennobling, elevating truths? What more can we have than that we have had? And they are presented to us in the simplest form, that the ignorant and unlearned may grasp them. PH002 25.1

The forgiveness of sins and iniquities and transgressions, belongs in a special sense to this time. We are in the anti-typical day of atonement, and every soul should now be humbling himself before God, seeking pardon for his transgressions and sins, and accepting the justifying grace of Christ, the sanctifying of the soul by the operations of the Holy Spirit of Christ; thus the carnal nature is transformed, renewed in holiness after the image of Christ's righteousness and true holiness. The precious, golden links of truth are not separate, detached, disconnected doctrines; but link after link, form one string of golden truth, and constitute a complete whole, with Christ as its living center. Salvation comes through practical godliness and faith in Jesus Christ. Faith is made perfect through works, and is evidenced in the character. To those who are teaching the truth, whose hearts are impure, and who have not been converted, Christ says, “What hast thou to do to declare my statutes? Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.” Oh, what truths we have—full of power, and it is not possible to controvert these Bible doctrines. There is no truth in heaven or in earth that would affect some characters, although it might be presented in all power and matchless purity and loveliness, because the heart does not love the practice of these holy sentiments. The truth we have set before us for the past few years, is immense in its importance, reaching into heaven and compassing eternity. Satan and his confederacy of evil have made every effort to cover up, to confuse minds, to make of none effect the precious, glorious truths of God's word. We are living in strangely solemn times, and at the very time when the people of God should be wide awake, and many are asleep or dead spiritually. There is great need of much work being done. Every individual member of the church should look to the Captain for orders. PH002 25.2

We are now on the very borders of the heavenly Canaan. You know how it was with ancient Israel. Satan, through his agents, worked with his temptations, and licentiousness came into the camp in a very bold defiant attitude. The very harshest punishments alone could stop the bold advance of impurity and crime. Well, we are now on the borders of the heavenly Canaan, and those who are not now with all the advantages, all the light and evidences of truth shining upon us as a people, purifying their souls by living up to these advantages, are like the inhabitants of Sodom and the antediluvian world, walking in the imaginations of their own hearts. What guilt rests upon those who make this choice! The wickedness of the antediluvians and Sodomites was such that God could not perpetuate their headstrong, independent, wicked lives. In mercy he proved himself a God of vengeance. He who could so abundantly bless, who was so full of compassion, ready to pardon, going forth to meet the returning prodigal, humbling himself at every step to meet man in his fallen condition, ready to heal the bruised and smitten, will show himself strong to punish the persistent, independent despisers of his grace. PH002 26.1

It is a terrible thing to exhaust the mercy and patience of our compassionate God, for God delighteth in mercy. O, it is so painful to the heart to see ministers, favored with every spiritual advantage of clear, pure, unadulterated truth take the course which they do. We have messages of mercy and love presented before us,—an open fountain of eternal truth, continually flowing with mercy,—and attending them, the gift of eternal life. Yet they turn away, saying to the Spirit of God, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a more convenient season, I will call for thee.” But there is another voice that makes itself heard; it is the voice of the arch-deceiver; and to him they give heed, and continue to profess the truth and protract their rebellion against God. They have less and less conviction of sin, less and less power to break the spell that is upon them, less and less inclination to resist temptation, and, like Cain, sin lieth at their own door. God is willing to be to them a God of love, of peace, a reconciled God. The Lord God through Christ holds out his hand all the day long in invitations to the needy. He will receive all. He welcomes all. He rejects none. It is his glory to pardon the chief of sinners. He will take the prey from the mighty, he will deliver the captive, he will pluck the brand from the burning. He will lower the golden chain of his mercy to the greatest depths of human wretchedness and guilt, and lift up the debased soul contaminated with sin. But the human agent must come, and co-operate in the work of saving his soul, by availing himself of the opportunities given him of God. The Lord forces no one. The spotless, wedding garment of Christ's righteousness is prepared to clothe the sinner, but if he refuses it, perish he must. Convictions will not save him; resolutions anticipated for some future time are never realized. PH002 27.1

Satan has his bribes, his baits in advance, and one attraction after another is presented. All this will I give thee if thou wilt worship me. O, why do they delay? Why not lay hold now, without one moment's delay? Why are they not seized by a terrific fear that it will be too late for them,—too late, no oil in their vessels with their lamps! My soul is in agony at times, and then I look to Jesus and quiet myself in God. If they will not hear his dear voice and drink of the water of life, what will any other voice avail? The end is near. We are on the very borders of the eternal world, and O, how tardy, how dilatory to secure the oil of grace to replenish the lamps that are going out! God help the sinners in Zion. PH002 28.1

Ellen G. White

Hanover Road, Victoria Park, Adelaide, S. A.,

November 23, 1892.