The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials


Chapter 33—To My Dear Brethren


[Cir. April, 1889]

My dear Brethren:

I must speak to you in reference to the meetings in Minneapolis. I at one time decided to leave the meeting because I saw and felt the strong spirit of opposition that prevailed. I could not for one moment acknowledge the spirit which moved with a controlling power upon Brother Morrison and Brother Nicola. I cannot for a moment question what manner of spirit you were of. Certainly it was not the Spirit of God, and lest you should continue in this deception I now write to you. 1888 277.1

The night after I had decided not to remain longer in Minneapolis, in a dream or vision of the night—I cannot tell certainly which—a person of tall, commanding appearance brought me a message and revealed to me that it was God's will for me to stand at my post of duty, and that God Himself would be my helper and sustain me to speak the words He should give me. He said, “For this work the Lord has raised you up. His everlasting arms are beneath you. From this meeting decisions will be made for life or for death; not that anyone need to perish, but spiritual pride and self-confidence will close the door that Jesus and His Holy Spirit's power shall not be admitted. They shall have another chance to be undeceived, and to repent, confess their sins, and come to Christ and be converted that He shall heal them.” 1888 277.2

He said, “Follow me.” I followed my guide and he led me to the different houses where brethren made their homes, and he said, “Hear the words here spoken, for they are written in the book of records, and these words will have a condemning power upon all who act a part in this work which is not after the spirit of wisdom from above, but after the spirit that descendeth not from above, but is from beneath.” 1888 277.3

I listened to words uttered that ought to make every one of those ashamed who uttered them. Sarcastic remarks were passed from one to another, ridiculing their brethren A. T. Jones, E. J. Waggoner, and Willie C. White, and myself. My position and my work were freely commented upon by those who ought to have been engaged in the work of humbling their souls before God and setting their own hearts in order. There was seemingly a fascination in brooding over imaginary wrongs and expressions of imagination of their brethren and their work, which had no foundation in truth, and in doubting and speaking and writing bitter things as the result of skepticism and question and unbelief. 1888 277.4

Said my guide, “This is written in the books as against Jesus Christ. This spirit cannot harmonize with the Spirit of Christ, of truth. They are intoxicated with the spirit of resistance and know not any more than the drunkard what spirit controls their words or their actions. This sin is peculiarly an offense to God. This spirit bears no more the semblance to the Spirit of truth and righteousness than the spirit that actuated the Jews to form a confederacy to doubt, to criticize and become spies upon Christ, the world's Redeemer.” 1888 278.1

I was told by my guide that there had been a witness to the Christless talk, the rabble talk which evidenced the spirit that prompted the words. When they entered their rooms evil angels came with them, because they closed the door to the Spirit of Christ and would not listen to His voice. There was not a humbling of the soul before God. The voice of prayer was seldom heard, but criticism and exaggerated statements and suppositions and conjectures and envy and jealousy and evil surmising and false accusing were current. Had their eyes been opened they would have seen that which would have alarmed them, the exulting of evil angels. And they would have seen also a Watcher who had heard every word and registered these words in the books of heaven. 1888 278.2

I was then informed that at this time it would be useless to make any decision as to positions on doctrinal points, as to what is truth, or to expect any spirit of fair investigation, because there was a confederacy formed to allow of no change of ideas on any point or position they had received any more than did the Jews. Much was said to me by my Guide that I have no liberty to write. I found myself sitting up in bed in a spirit of grief and distress, also with a spirit of firm resolve to stand at my post of duty to the close of the meeting and then wait for the directions of the Spirit of God telling me how to move and what course to pursue. 1888 278.3

There are ways by which the Lord leads and guides His people. God has all wisdom and all knowledge. He has said, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5. Oh that all those who claimed to be God's chosen servants would have felt that they were in need of wisdom, in the place of their feeling the perfect wholeness which they did feel. Much talking and inflaming one another were not wanting, and ridiculing those whom God had raised up to do a special work. They had, like brethren, taken their Bibles and searched the Scriptures and bowed upon their knees before God in earnest prayer, claiming the promises of God for divine guidance. In this time of peril, as we are nearing the period of an important crisis, it is only reasonable that we should expect something of the revealings of greater light to the people; and how did these men who had allowed their minds to be filled with prejudice and jealousy know but God had made these men messengers to give light and truth to the people? What right had they to set themselves in dead array against these ministers of Christ, even if they thought that their ideas did conflict with previous ideas on some points? Why not spend the hours together in prayer to God, in fasting, in deep heart-searching? “Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven of the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” James 1:6, 7. The true, earnest seeker will give up his way for God's ways, that he may be guided into paths wherein God may choose to lead him, where the Lord has great blessings awaiting him, although it may seem to short-sighted human beings there is only loss and disaster. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8, 9. 1888 279.1

I have been shown the low spiritual condition of the churches in Iowa, and I knew that the influence of Elder Morrison and others who united with him was not of a character to uplift the people unless there were great changes made by the Spirit of God in their faith and manner of labor. Christ joined His divine nature with humanity to show us that God would have us in the closest union with Himself. “God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” 1888 280.1

* * * * *

April 7, [1889]

We left Battle Creek for Chicago, accompanied by Sister Fanny Bolton, March 28. We have up to this time, April 7, been having meetings almost continuously. Elder A. T. Jones has labored faithfully to instruct those assembled, and in breaking to their souls the Bread of Life. We have felt sorry that not only every Seventh-day Adventist church but every church, whatever their faith and doctrines, could not have the precious light of truth as it has been so clearly presented. I know it would have been a rich feast to very many souls not of our faith to see the plan of salvation so clearly and simply defined. We must remember that the Lord has very many souls in all the churches throughout the world who are living up to the very best light they have; and could these hungry souls, as well as those of our own faith, have the instructions that have been given here for the last ten days, and their hearts accepted the light and truth of the gospel, they would have been greatly blessed. 1888 280.2

The religion of Jesus Christ has not been as clearly defined as it should be, that the souls who are seeking for the knowledge of the plan of salvation may discern the simplicity of faith. In these meetings this has been made so clear that a child may understand that it is an immediate, voluntary, trustful surrender of the heart to God—a coming into union with Christ in confidence, affectionate obedience to do all His commandments through the merits of Jesus Christ. It is a decisive act of the individual, committing to the Lord the keeping of the soul. It is the climbing up by Christ, clinging to Christ, accepting the righteousness of Christ as a free gift. The will is to be surrendered to Christ. Through faith in the righteousness of Christ is salvation. 1888 281.1

We have seen evidences in this meeting how far apart has been faith and the righteousness of Christ, from the religious life of those even who claim to be keeping the commandments of God. There has been the great want of a knowledge of Jesus Christ. The want in the religious experience is the acceptance of Jesus Christ as presented in the gospel. Many have not yet received Christ. They have accepted a theory of the truth, and have been in a large degree left to this kind of experience. And how hard it has been to impress the minds with the necessity of justification by faith! “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 1:12. 1888 281.2

Faith in Jesus Christ's righteousness in the behalf of every individual soul should be held before the people for their study and for them to contemplate thoroughly. This theme cannot be dwelt upon too often and too earnestly. The people are suffering for the gospel of Christ. The mind and heart need to be informed and educated to believe in Christ. Truth must be communicated and through patient, painstaking effort the people must learn to take advanced steps in faith. All who have teachable minds, all who are unprejudiced, will see the simplicity of faith in Jesus Christ. 1888 281.3

It has seemed really discouraging at first to see how hard it was for some to give up their dependence on their own merits. But as minds were fastened upon the truth presented we were hopeful that the palsy of unbelief which paralyzes all the powers of mind and soul would be broken, and that the words so fitly spoken would not be to the hearer as idle tales. Jesus spoke of those who heard Him, having ears but hearing not, having eyes but seeing not, lest they should be converted and He should heal them. Attentive hearing, with desire to know the truth, will be the opening of the understanding that the soul may really have possession of the truth, that it may be sanctified through the truth. The individual soul must itself accept the truth which the Lord has sent through His messenger to him. You accept the gracious words and thus show honor to God who has sent you a message in love. 1888 282.1

This work was being accomplished for the hearers, and wrongs and sins were confessed. Their hearts began to be softened, self-righteousness was seen to be worthless. They cannot understand the great mystery of godliness. They cannot understand how our sins can be removed by the Substitute, and Christ's righteousness imputed to sinners deserving of wrath. The mind faints in its effort to define it, to comprehend it. But has not God said it? Has He not plainly stated in His Word that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ does expiate human guilt? “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” Romans 3:24-26. 1888 282.2

Is not this a true declaration of God? We must take it as such. We may not understand how it can all be, and theologians may try to explain it, but we can see it no better and can do no better than to believe God is true. He says it and it must be so. Take the gracious gift in the promises of God, believe all the Scripture tells us, although you cannot explain it and no one can explain it to you. Herein is faith put to the stretch. Christ died for the ungodly. 1888 282.3

We have been earnestly and steadily at work to encourage faith in our brethren. This seemed to be as difficult as to teach a child to take its first steps alone. But thank the Lord, all this labor has not been thrown away. The gracious Spirit of God has witnessed to the words spoken, and those who have heard could only understand as they moved in faith. “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:10. Souls are depending on the promises of the gracious power of Jesus Christ to combine with human effort. They move by faith, not by feeling. Such efforts God owns. The Holy Spirit has been convicting the hearts of men and women, convincing them that “Without me, ye can do nothing.” 1888 283.1

The testimonies from Thursday had a different ring. The tame, lukewarm tone was gone. They were characterized by deep, earnest feeling. Men and women confessed how destitute of the love of Christ in the soul and of love for their brethren their religious experience had been. They humbly and thankfully expressed their gratitude for the light received. They had been clinging closely to their own righteousness; now by faith they trust in Christ's might and His power and His righteousness. They can do literally nothing without divine help. Their prayers now are filled with earnest, simple faith that takes God at His word. All now seem to have warm hearts. The love of Christ is assurance to them of their acceptance, and they long to speak and acknowledge the great goodness of God in providing them a righteousness which is pure, spotless, efficacious. Well may we trust in Jesus. Who is so worthy of honor and confidence as He who suffered and died for us? 1888 283.2

We are glad in the Lord that our brethren and sisters have begun to see and to understand what Jesus is to them. Just in proportion as they humble themselves will be their discernment and appreciation of Jesus Christ. The Lord is in our midst. Praise His holy name. 1888 284.1

Friday was a precious day. The rubbish has been removed from the door of the heart and they have opened it to Jesus. Everything has been without excitement or extravagance. The leaven of Christ's righteousness has been introduced into the experience and has energized the soul. Oh, that it may continue to work in its mysterious power until its diffusive influence quickens the lukewarm souls with whom it is brought in contact. Softly and silently the power of the divine Spirit does its work, wakening the dulled senses, quickening the soul and arousing its sensibilities, until each member of the church shall indeed be the light of the world. 1888 284.2

When the Sabbath came to us, with the going down of the sun, we assembled to welcome its sacred hours with thanksgiving and praise. Many bore precious testimonies that they never loved Jesus, never viewed Him in the character of such a Friend and so gracious as they now did. 1888 284.3

In the morning all nature seemed to be full of joyfulness. We assembled at half past five for social meeting. The Spirit of the Lord was in our midst. Many stated that they came to the meeting with hearts as hard as a stone, but as soon as they opened their lips to confess their faith in the love of Jesus, the light came in and their hearts were melted and subdued with the love of Jesus. One brother said he would bear his testimony for he knew it to be right, but he had no feeling. But his heart was broken; he fell upon the Rock and he was so impressed with the love of Jesus that he wept aloud. Ministers bore testimony that when they came to the meeting they were cold and their hearts hard, but when by faith they confessed to God their backslidings they knew Jesus forgave their sins and they were happy, newly converted, and they now bear a testimony that is free and joyful. “Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.” 1888 284.4

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April 19, 1965       MMO