The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials

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Experience Following the 1888 Minneapolis Conference; The Danger of Legalism; Emphasizing Religious Liberty

We found when we reached Battle Creek that some of our brethren and sisters had been preceding us with letters from the meeting of the same character that we had met at the meeting, evidencing that those who made these reports had not received at that meeting the benefit that the Lord designed they should have. There were also a number of delegates who returned to Battle Creek before us who were forward to make reports of the meeting at Minneapolis, giving their own incorrect version of the matter, which was unfavorable to Brethren A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner, W. C. White and myself, and the work I had been compelled to do at that meeting. Some who had not seen me since the General Conference in Oakland, California, met me as almost a stranger. 1888 352.1

I knew that the same work that had leavened the camp in Minneapolis had not been confined to that place but had reached over to Battle Creek through letters sent from Minneapolis and by word of mouth of those who preceded us to Battle Creek. Reports had come to Elder Butler that were not correct or true. Those reporting were deceived by the enemy and were in their turn deceiving him, putting a wrong interpretation upon many things. In his weak condition of health he accepted everything as verity and truth, and acted accordingly. He solicited no interview with me and did not come to call upon me although several times he passed almost by the door where I was rooming. He did not ask me if the statements brought to him were true, but accepted all that had been unwisely told him. Have those who made these impressions upon his sick mind been as zealous to remove them as they were to make them? Let them answer this to God, for they must be met in the judgment and answered to there. 1888 352.2

I met with the brethren in the tabernacle, and there I felt it my duty to give a short history of the meeting and my experience in Minneapolis, the course I had pursued and why, and plainly state the spirit which prevailed at that meeting. I told them the position I was compelled to take at that meeting which was not in harmony with my brethren, and the efforts I there made with select brethren to convince them that they were not moving in the counsel of God, that the Lord would not sanction any such spirit as that which prevailed at that meeting. 1888 353.1

I told them of the hard position I was placed in, to stand, as it were, alone and be compelled to reprove the wrong spirit that was a controlling power at that meeting. The suspicion and jealousy, the evil surmisings, the resistance of the Spirit of God that was appealing to them, were more after the order in which the Reformers had been treated. It was the very order in which the church had treated my father's family and eight of us—the entire family living in Portland, Maine, were excluded from the church because we favored the message proclaimed by William Miller. 1888 353.2

I had been writing out Volume 4 of Great Controversy. It was fresh in my mind how those men, upon whom the Lord was moving to bear to the world a message of light and of truth, were treated, and because it did not coincide with their opinions men closed their eyes and ears to the message sent of God. What effect did this resistance and opposition have upon those to whom God had given light to be flashed amid the moral darkness that had been gathering over the church like the pall of death? Did they cease their efforts? No. The Lord had placed the burden upon them: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1). 1888 353.3

The Lord was working, and I must be faithful to speak the words given me of God although I was passing through the most grievous trial of my life, for from this hour that confidence which I had hitherto had that God was leading and controlling the minds and hearts of my brethren, was not as heretofore. I had felt that when a call came to me, “We want you at our meeting, Sister White; your influence is needed,” I should not consult my choice or my feelings but would arise by faith and try to act my part and leave the Lord to do the work that was essential to be done. Now a greater burden falls upon me. From this time I must look alone to God, for I dare not rely upon the wisdom of my brethren. I see they do not always take God for their counsellor, but look in a large degree to the men they have set before them in the place of God. 1888 354.1

I tried at the meeting in Battle Creek to make my position plain, but not a word of response came from the men who should have stood with me.* I stated that I stood nearly alone at Minneapolis. I stood alone before them in the conference, for the light that God had seen fit to give me was that they were not moving in the counsel of God. Not one ventured to say, “I am with you, Sister White. I will stand by you.” 1888 354.2

After the meeting [in Battle Creek] several shook hands with me and stated, “I am glad to be here. I am entirely relieved. So many reports came to us from Minneapolis and were told us by those who arrived here before you came, of positions Sister White took and what she had said at the conference, that we really thought that Sister White must be a changed woman; but I feel happy and grateful that I could be at this meeting and hear from her own lips the truth of the matter, that Sister White is not changed, that her testimony has not changed in its character. We recognize the Spirit of the Lord speaking through Sister White as heretofore.” 1888 354.3

But there were quite a number who held fast their evil surmisings and clung to the distorted representations made of me, as though these reports were too precious to be given up, although they had not one real vestige of evidence that I had changed. It seemed to be their preference to believe the false reports. I felt deeply grieved that my brethren who had known me for years and had evidence of the character of my labor should continue to remain in the deception they were in and, rather than confess that they had been mistaken, hold on to the same false impressions as though they were truth. 1888 355.1

I was invited to speak the next Sabbath in the tabernacle, but afterwards—because the impressions were so strong that I had changed—I think the brother felt a little sorry he had asked me. Two elders visited me on Sabbath morning, and I was asked by one what I was going to speak upon. I said, “Brethren, you leave that matter with the Lord and Sister White, for neither the Lord nor Sister White will need to be dictated to by the brethren as to what subject she will bring before them. I am at home in Battle Creek, on the ground we have broken through the strength of God, and we ask not permission to take the desk in the tabernacle. I take it as my rightful position accorded me of God. But there is Brother Jones, who cannot feel as I do, and who will wait an invitation from you. You should do your duty in regard to this matter and open the way before him.” 1888 355.2

The elders stated they did not feel free to invite him to speak until they had consulted Brother Smith to know whether he would sanction it, for Elder Smith was older than they. I said, “Then do this at once, for time is precious and there is a message to come to this people and the Lord requires you to open the way for the light to come to the people of God.” 1888 356.1

I had freedom in speaking to the people the words of life. I was strengthened and blessed of God. But days passed and there came no invitation for Elder Jones to present to the large church in Battle Creek the message given him of God. I sent for the elders of the church and asked again if they designed to give Elder Jones an opportunity to speak to the people. The answer was, “I have consulted Brother Smith and he has decided it would not be best to ask him because he took strong positions, and carried the subject of national reform too far.” 1888 356.2

I then felt my spirit stirred within me, and I bore a very plain testimony to these brethren. I told them a little of how matters had been carried [on] at Minneapolis, and stated the position I had taken, that Pharisaism had been at work leavening the camp here at Battle Creek, and the Seventh-day Adventist churches were affected; but the Lord had given me a message, and with pen and voice I would work until this leaven was expelled and a new leaven was introduced, which was the grace of Christ. 1888 356.3

I was confirmed in all I had stated in Minneapolis, that a reformation must go through the churches. Reforms must be made, for spiritual weakness and blindness were upon the people who had been blessed with great light and precious opportunities and privileges. As reformers they had come out of the denominational churches, but they now act a part similar to that which the churches acted. We hoped that there would not be the necessity for another coming out. While we will endeavor to keep the “unity of the Spirit” in the bonds of peace, we will not with pen or voice cease to protest against bigotry. 1888 356.4

We see a people whom God has blessed with advanced light and knowledge, and will the people thus favored become vain of their intelligence, proud of their knowledge? Will men who ought to be more closely connected with God think it better to trust in their own wisdom than to inquire of God? There are ministers who are inflated, self-sufficient, too wise to seek God prayerfully and humbly with the earnest toil of searching the Scriptures daily for increased light. Many will close their ears to the message God sends them, and open their ears to deception and delusion. 1888 357.1

Such a state of feelings as existed was painful to me. I labored with pen and voice, doing all in my power to change this order of things. A meeting was conducted at Potterville by the Michigan ministers. I was urged by Brother Van Horn to attend the meeting. I was glad to do this, hoping that the prejudice would be removed. The Lord gave me of His Holy Spirit at that meeting. The Lord seemed to be close by my side, and I had freedom when bearing my message to the people. On this occasion, when only our brethren were present in the morning meeting, I spoke plainly, stating the light that the Lord had been pleased to give me in warnings and in reproof for His people. 1888 357.2

In leaning upon man—placing so many responsibilities upon one man, as though God had not given intelligence of reason and spiritual strength to other men to bear responsibilities—there is not only danger that they themselves will become weak and inefficient, but they do a serious wrong to the one whom they treat in this manner, Human beings cannot endure this dependence placed upon themselves. Their danger is great that human influence will stand where the Lord should be. 1888 357.3

Our brethren separate themselves from God, by reason of the homage they give to human beings. They may esteem themselves, they may esteem others, and look to themselves and to others with that confidence which should be given to the Lord of Israel. The remedy for these things is the heartfelt belief of Bible truth, taking the plainest declaration of the Scriptures. There is great need for all who are placed in positions of trust, who have an influence over other minds, to take heed that, in their positions of trust, they do not prove to be agents through whom the enemy can work, to the detriment of souls. If the weak brother perish, the blood of his soul will be required at your hand. 1888 358.1

Has God given men places in His vineyard? Then let their talents be employed, and let them increase in efficiency by consecrating soul, body, and spirit to God. The mind must be brought under control, its powers educated, disciplined, and strengthened in the same way that the physical powers are brought under control by right exercise. I warned our ministers to put to exercise every spiritual muscle, improving their talent and making the most of their acquirements in the service of God, for I had been shown that in their special meetings but little good was accomplished because they did not have such a living connection with God that He could impress them by His Holy Spirit. When not under the control of the Spirit of God, another spirit had control of their thoughts, words, and actions, and in place of growing in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ they were becoming dwarfs in spiritual things. 1888 358.2

There was a loose, haphazard way of doing the work of God. There was an atmosphere surrounding their souls that was not heavenly, but earthly, common, and cheap. In this atmosphere spirituality could not strengthen, but would decrease. There was laughing, jesting, joking. There seemed to be very little solemnity, very little appreciation of the sacredness of the work. There was much talk, but very little of the mind of Christ. And as long as they carried with them this atmosphere, the gifts and abilities given them of God were misused, and the enemy often employed them in his service. In their blindness they could not discern spiritual things, and under the influence of the great deceiver would take a position to oppose the most sacred things of God. 1888 359.1

There must be no defying of human beings, for this is highly displeasing to God. There must be no rings of men to unite together in unholy fellowship to strengthen each other in ways and ideas that are opposed to the Spirit of God. All these preferences, these ardent attachments for individuals, are not after God's order. It is an injury to all parties, for one thinks he is bound to stand by him who is his fast friend. 1888 359.2

But let my brethren consider, is this a sanctified union? I know that it is not. The power possessed over minds leads you to look to and trust in each other rather than to trust in the living God. It leads you to consult with each other when you should be on your knees pleading with God, the mighty Counsellor. It leads you to strengthen each other to find things you can question and construe in a way to encourage your unbelief. What one man would not think of by himself, another will supply with his suggestions. 1888 359.3

I stated that the course that had been pursued at Minneapolis was cruelty to the Spirit of God; and those who went all through that meeting and left with the same spirit with which they came to the meeting, and were carrying on the same line of work they did at that meeting and since they had come from it, would—unless they were changed in spirit and confessed their mistakes—go into greater deceptions. They would stumble and know not at what they were stumbling. I begged them to stop just where they were. But the position of Elder Butler and Elder Smith influenced them to make no change but stand where they did. No confession was made. The blessed meeting closed. Many were strengthened, but doubt and darkness enveloped some closer than before. The dew and showers of grace from heaven which softened many hearts did not wet their souls. 1888 360.1

I went on my way, returning to Battle Creek wearied but blessed of the Lord. I had repeated interviews with my brethren, explaining my position and the work for this time. 1888 360.2

I thought it was my duty to go to Des Moines, Iowa. I hoped to meet most of the ministers in that State. I came near fainting in the cars, but the Lord strengthened me to bear my testimony to those assembled. I wished I had all the conference that I could address, for my heart was full of the Spirit of God, just as it was at Minneapolis. The Spirit of the Lord came into our morning meetings, and many humble testimonies were borne with weeping. I will say to the glory of God that He did sustain me and hearts were touched. I did hope to see some who had taken an active part in Minneapolis bend their proud wills and seek the Lord with their whole heart. I believed this would be done, but although the Lord was manifestly at work upon hearts no thorough confessions were made. They did not fall upon the Rock and be broken, so that the Lord could put His mold upon them. Oh, if they had only yielded their pride, the light and love of God would have come into their hearts! 1888 360.3

There was Brother Leroy Nicola, whom the Lord has blessed with ability. If his will were subdued to God's will, then a work would be accomplished for him that would make him an instrument of righteousness; but just as long as he cherishes doubts, as long as he feels at liberty to criticize, he will not grow spiritually. The dark shadows will encompass him, uncertainty and discouragements will take possession of reason, and he who feels too proud to bend his will is found weak as a child in moral strength and often almost helpless. Why will he not be healed? He has not the consoling consciousness that he has the Spirit and favor of God. He is educating his mind to doubt and criticize. 1888 361.1

How my soul longed to see these ministers walking in the footprints of Jesus, pursuing the path He trod, rough and thorny though it may be, but with the assurance that Jesus has traveled it before them and commanded them to follow in His steps. When the will consents to do this, when there is a crucifixion of self, then can they cheerfully take hold of every duty. Then how joyfully is everything begun, carried through, and finished in the name of the Lord God of hosts! Then they can run and not be weary, walk and not faint. Perplexed about the ways and works of God, a cloud of uncertainty hanging over them, and often grievously disappointed and almost loosening the hands to let go, they have but little consciousness of the Lord's presence and are fitful, undecided. 1888 361.2

Oh, what a blessed privilege to know that we are entirely submissive to the will of God, that we are walking at all times in the light of His countenance, hearkening to the words that He shall speak concerning us, and not venturing a step without His counsel and His direction. May the Lord move upon the minds of these brethren by His Holy Spirit, and may the thick darkness which has clouded their minds and hung over their souls be rolled back and the Sun of righteousness arise in their hearts with healing in its beams. 1888 362.1

I left Des Moines hoping and praying that these men in responsible positions would be wholly transformed by the grace of Christ, that their labors would not be in vain in the Lord. I was disappointed that no reference was made to the meeting in Minneapolis, no word of retraction of the course pursued there. At the Des Moines meeting an invitation was made by a standing vote for me to attend their conference. I said if it was in the line of my duty, if I was this side the Rocky Mountains, I would gladly comply with their request. But after many months no line reached me from them, no word came that they desired me. 1888 362.2

I wrote them from the Kansas meeting that I had been disappointed that no word had come to me since the good meeting we had had in Iowa. I was much worn from labor. My heart had suffered so keenly since I left California, in passing through the trials of seeing my brethren in the condition they were in spiritually, that I felt every day that I might not be found alive in the morning; and yet I could not cease my labors of reproving, of standing firm for that which I knew was right. 1888 362.3

I asked my brethren in Iowa if they deemed it to be their duty to counteract my labors if I attended their meeting, bearing the message the Lord should give me, in case it did not coincide with their ideas. If they felt thus, I could do them no good. Letters were pressing me to go to Williamsport [Pennsylvania, 1889]. I had promised them I would attend their camp meeting but did not know these meetings would be appointed at the same time. I had to choose which meeting to attend. 1888 363.1

As not one word came from Iowa I had no chance to know that there had been any change of their feelings, and I decided it could not be my duty to place myself in the atmosphere of resistance and doubt and opposition when there were urgent entreaties for me to attend meetings of those who would receive the testimony given me of God and profit by it because they had not shrouded themselves in an atmosphere of unbelief and proud resistance to the light God had permitted to shine upon them. I cannot believe it to be the will of my heavenly Father for me to tax my strength and lift burdens when those for whom I labor feel no responsibility to lift with me, but feel at liberty to criticize if they think they can do so. We should ever seek to use our ability where we can accomplish the most good, where souls feel their need and are willing to be helped. 1888 363.2

Oh, how interestedly is the universe of heaven watching to see how many faithful servants are bearing the sins of the people on their hearts and afflicting their souls; how many are colaborers with Jesus Christ to become repairers of the breach which the ungodly have made, and restorers of the paths which others have sought to obliterate. The path of faith and righteousness must be restored. Our salvation is not built upon works of righteousness which we have done, but upon God's mercy and love. We may put all the works of our own righteousness together, but they will be found to be as sliding sand. We cannot rest upon them. 1888 363.3

It is God's purpose that we should be educated by providential experience and be habitual learners, building securely on Jesus Christ, the only sure foundation, which will stand fast forever. The blood of Jesus Christ alone can atone for our transgressions. We must claim His righteousness by living faith, and depend on Him and abide in Him alone. We are always to feel our continual dependence upon God. This will scatter our self-sufficiency, our pride and vanity, to the winds. 1888 364.1

[E. G. W. Marginal Note: “Letter to Elder Butler to stay after the week of prayer (Dec. 15-22) comes in here.” See E. G. White Letter to G. I. Butler, Dec. 11, 1888 (Letter 18, 1888.)] 1888 364.2

This extract from a letter written to Brother Butler expressed the earnest desire of my soul in his behalf, but the answer I received to this letter pained my heart, for I knew he did not understand the work God has given me to do, neither did he understand the spirit which prompted the answer to this letter. 1888 364.3

Brother Ballenger became very much distressed in mind. He was almost in despair, and he solicited an interview with me, but I was engaged in other work and could not see him at that time. He tried to obtain an interview with his brethren but he was not favored in this, and then he decided there was no help for him except in God. He began to see that without Him he was in a state of spiritual nakedness and in the dark midnight of despair. He went to the dear Saviour just as He had invited him to come. “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” He sought the Lord with earnestness of purpose and he found Jesus was close by him. The atoning death, the sufficient propitiation, was presented to him. He laid hold on Christ by living faith, and the cloud was rolled back and he was clothed in the righteousness of Christ. 1888 364.4

He came into the meeting full of peace and hope, for the Lord had put a new song in his heart, even praise to our God. He then made confession of his great want of spirituality in his labors, and how he had received a view of Jesus and His love, and that this should be his theme in his future labors. 1888 365.1

Such experiences as these characterized all our meetings after the first week. One brother bore testimony that he had been a Sabbathkeeper many years but he had felt the great lack of faith in Jesus Christ. Coldness and the want of the love of God and of spiritual fervor had discouraged him. He went to other denominations to find that for which his soul hungered, but he found greater dearth among them than among Seventh-day Adventists. He said he had heard at this meeting just the truth for which his soul hungered. “This,” he said, “is the truth, present truth. I accept it. And as I have withdrawn from the church of Seventh-day Adventists, I now want to unite heart and soul with you.” 1888 365.2

During the week of prayer in Battle Creek [Dec. 15-22] we labored earnestly, speaking at the sanitarium in the early morning, and at the office chapel to the workers in the office, and at the tabernacle. I had reason to give praise to God that strength was given me for this labor. At times the power of God rested upon me in large measure. It seemed at times while I was speaking that the unseen realities of the eternal world were opened to my view, and I know that the Lord was speaking through me to His people. I take no credit to myself. It was all of God, every bit of it, and the Spirit of God rested upon the congregation. I was glad of this for the sake of the people, for I knew that those who had been in doubt and evidence for their faith if their hearts were open to receive the impression of the Spirit of God. 1888 365.3

I longed to hear those who had considered it a virtue to brace themselves against light and evidence acknowledge the movings of the Spirits of God, cast away their unbelief, and come to the light. I knew that unless they did this their path would become darker, for light unconfessed and unacknowledged and unimproved becomes darkness to those who refuse to receive it and walk in it. Up to this late date there are souls still in darkness, who know not at what they stumble. And it will be much harder now for them to go back and gather up the rays of light which they have scorned to receive, and to acknowledge the light God graciously gave them to heal them of their spiritual diseases. 1888 366.1

The first step taken in the path of unbelief and rejection of light is a dangerous thing, and the only way for those who have taken this step to recover themselves from the snares of Satan is to accept that which the Lord sent them but which they refused to receive. This will be humiliating to the soul but will be for their salvation. God will not be trifled with. He will not remove all reason to doubt, but He will give sufficient evidence upon which to base faith. 1888 366.2

If my brethren had sensed their own weakness, their own inability, and had never lost sight of this, they would have humbled their hearts before God, confessed their errors, and come into light and freedom. Are we ready to boast in pride that we are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing? This has been done and is being done still. The voice of the True Witness is heard: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing” (Revelation 3:15-17). All this boasting is vain. Christ sees to the very center of the soul and tells us just what we are and what we must be in order to be saved. 1888 366.3

The message that was given to the people in these meetings presented in clear lines not alone the commandments of God—a part of the third angel's message—but the faith of Jesus, which comprehends more than is generally supposed. And it will be well for the third angel's message to be proclaimed in all its parts, for the people need every jot and tittle of it. If we proclaim the commandments of God and leave the other half scarcely touched, the message is marred in our hands. 1888 367.1

There was precious truth and light presented before the people, but hearts that were obdurate received no blessing. They could not rejoice in the light which, if accepted, would have brought freedom and peace and strength and courage and joy to their souls. 1888 367.2

The blessings of that week of prayer extended through the church. Confessions were made. Those who had robbed God in tithes and in offerings confessed their wrong and made restitution, and many were blessed of God who had never felt that God had forgiven their sins. All these precious fruits evidenced the work of God, and yet those who had set their feet in the path of doubt and unbelief did not backtrack and confess their wrongs and come to the light. God was at work, but those who had been pursuing a course of their own devising, contrary to God's word, contrary to His will, in place of yielding their wills and wishes and permitting their hearts to be melted with thankfulness, felt more confirmed and determined to resist. What shall we name this element? It is rebellion, as in the days of Israel, when they stubbornly wanted their own way and would not submit to God's way and God's will. 1888 367.3

We have the example of the children of Israel to warn us off that ground. The Lord wrought in our midst, but some did not receive the blessing. They had been privileged to hear the most faithful preaching of the gospel, and had listened to the message God had given His servants to give them, with their hearts padlocked. They did not turn unto the Lord with all their heart and with all their soul, but used all their powers to pick some flaws in the messengers and in the message, and they grieved the Spirit of God, while those who did receive the message were charmed with the presentation of the free gifts of Jesus Christ. 1888 368.1

The Lord forces His blessing upon no one. There will be those who stand in resistance against light and will say the same words as did the Jews, “Work a miracle and we will believe. If this is the message of God, why do they not heal the sick, and then we will believe.” Others truly may comprehend that miracles have been wrought far greater than to heal bodily infirmities. Has not the divine power of God taken hearts cold as steel and softened them and subdued them so that they became as little children? Their legal religion was seen as it is in its true light—worthless. 1888 368.2

The religious feelings of many were more natural than spiritual, and although they tried to be satisfied they felt an unrest—cold, dark, and Christless. They remained in ignorance of how they stand toward God, ignorant as far as experimental knowledge was concerned of the office work of our Mediator and Intercessor. When they by faith laid hold of Christ, their hearts were contrite and broken. Christ was being formed within, the hope of glory. This was everything to them. It was the intelligence of what constituted the mystery of godliness. The miracle is wrought. The Lord and His Spirit break in upon the soul. Life and joy take possession of the heart. How quickly is the soul made sensible of its deficiency. Everything is laid open before Him with whom we have to do. 1888 368.3

But those who close their eyes to evidence God is pleased to give—as did the Jews—and ask for miracles, will be passed by. The evidences they refused to receive, others will receive, and others will receive the blessing God tendered to them but which they refused because they were proud, self-sufficient, and self-righteous. 1888 369.1

We thank God for every token of His love and of His grace. We will praise God and take courage. We will not sit as criticizers. We will not turn from the heavenly benefits, neither will we sit in judgment to condemn God's ways and God's manner of working because others feel like doing it. They have no reason for saying the things that they do, no reason to resist the Spirit of God. 1888 369.2

Jesus upbraided His disciples for their unbelief. Unbelief is the occasion of all sin and is the bond of iniquity. Its work is to make crooked, things that are straight. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. When we become as little children, sitting at the feet of Jesus, learning of Him self-denial and what it is to live by faith in every word of God, then the soul finds rest and peace. 1888 369.3

A woe is pronounced upon all such unbelief and criticism as was revealed in Minneapolis and as was revealed in Battle Creek. By their fruits ye shall know them. Evidence at every step that God was at work has not changed the manifest attitude of those who in the very beginning pursued a course of unbelief which was an offense to God. With this barrier they themselves had erected, they—like the Jews—were seeking something to strengthen their unbelief and make it appear they were right. Therefore they could not drink in the great salvation that the Lord proffered them. The riches of divine grace they refused. The longsuffering of God, His goodness, and His love and wonderful forbearance have not broken their hearts because they have not looked upon it and appreciated these favors. I lay these things open plainly before all, for I know their danger. I have labored earnestly to one end—the good of souls and the glory of God. 1888 369.4

When we see men unconvinced and unchanged, notwithstanding all the marked evidences God has given, we feel sure that they will see no greater evidence. I thought of another thing that I could do—to get out a testimony and set before the questioning, doubting ones general principles, hoping this would bring some to see things in a correct light. I know that it has had an influence upon many minds, but it seems to be no help to others. They stand ready to block the wheels rather than to help pull the car up the steep ascent. 1888 370.1

I have not left anything undone that I have had any evidence it was my duty to do. And as far as Battle Creek is concerned I can do no more than I have done. Those who have not united with me and the messengers of God in this work, but whose influence has been to create doubt and unbelief, I do not judge. Every jot of influence that has been cast on the side of the enemy will meet its reward according to its works. God was working with me to present to the people a message in regard to the faith of Jesus and the righteousness of Christ. There have been those who have not worked in harmony but in a way to counteract the work God has given me to do. I must leave them with the Lord. 1888 370.2

We attended meetings in South Lancaster [Jan. 11-22, 1889], and the fruits were good. We had the same spirit and power that attended the first and second angels’ messages. I have given you an account of these meetings. The Lord wrought upon all hearts, and many were able to say, “The Lord hath put a new song in my mouth, the matchless love of Jesus.” His excellencies were kept before the mind's eye, and souls began to see the delights in Jesus. They could speak of His love and tell of His power. The Sun of righteousness was rising in the hearts of nearly all present. Many were zealous and were repenting of their lukewarmness and complying with the invitation of the Merchantman, “Buy of Me gold tried in the fire,” “and white raiment,” “and eyesalve.” Their testimony was, “I have found the Pearl of great price.” Hearts were impressed, confessions were made of wrongs to unbelievers and believers, and restitutions were made. 1888 371.1

We inquire, as Christ inquired of the Jews, The preaching of this message, is it of heaven or is it from beneath? Jesus rejoiced in spirit as He saw men who had not had the continuous opportunity and privileges the Jews had had, convicted and converted to the truth. He said, “I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes” (Matthew 11:25). The Lord rejoiced that the plan of salvation was so plain that a child in its simplicity could understand it, while those who were not spiritual and humble and willing to learn, who were puffed up in their own self-conceit, could not see the beauty of the gospel, because it is spiritually discerned. But all who are honest, teachable, childlike, who desire to know the truth, will see the power of God when it is revealed, and will acknowledge it. 1888 371.2

Earnest discourses have been given in the power and Spirit of God by His servants, in regard to the hope set before us in the gospel. The love of Jesus and the righteousness of Christ have been presented, and they are so plainly seen the mind grasps them by faith. They have come to many who have long been Christians, as a new revelation. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Oh, this is meat in due season from first to last! 1888 372.1

The Jews looked upon a veiled Saviour whom they had never seen unveiled, and many even who claim to be God's commandment-keeping people are looking upon a veiled Saviour. They have thought so little upon the great plan of redemption, the atoning sacrifice, and the truth that through the shedding of a Saviour's blood alone the angels could proclaim peace on earth and good will to men. Talk it. Pray it. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. Then why not dwell upon the necessity of faith in the blood of Jesus Christ? 1888 372.2

It is said that Wilberforce once took the great statesman Pitt to hear the celebrated Mr. Scott preach. The preacher's theme was the way by which a sinner can be saved, and it was presented with great plainness, fervor, and earnestness. At the close of the service Pitt was asked what he thought of the sermon. He replied, “I did not know what he was aiming at.” Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. The things of the Spirit, the preaching of the cross, are “to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” 1888 372.3

We visited Washington, D. C. [Jan. 24-31, 1889], and labored there, and we saw the same fruits attending the message. We felt to thank God for the evidences of His rich grace. We visited Illinois, and there we saw the work of God. His Spirit was poured out in rich measure. I will here insert a letter written while I was at that meeting. (Insert letter to W. C. White.) 1888 373.1

I will pursue this history no further, but I will in a very imperfect manner state [that] the law points to Christ and Christ points to the law. Because man has broken the law, the day in which we live is a period when the law of God is almost universally made void. How few realize their personal responsibility to God. The power of free, independent action may fill us with awe. God speaks. What does He say? He says, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.... This do and thou shalt live” (Luke 10:27, 28). 1888 373.2

It is impossible for us to realize the far-reaching nature of God's law unless we view Christ upon the cross of Calvary—the atoning sacrifice. Through the law is the knowledge of sin. God's moral law is the sin detector, and how can we have an intelligent knowledge of what constitutes sin unless we acknowledge God's moral standard of righteousness? He who has the fullest conceptions of the infinite sacrifice of Christ for the sins of the world, and by faith seizes and appropriates the righteousness of Christ as his righteousness, can see the holiness, beauty, and glory in the law of God, and exclaim with David, “O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). 1888 373.3

God's law reaches to the internal as well as to the external actions of men. It is a discerner of the thoughts and intents and purposes of the soul. A man may be guilty of sins which God alone knows. God's law is indeed a searcher of hearts. There are dark passions of jealousy and revenge and hatred and malignity, lust, and wild ambition that are covered up from human observation, and the great I AM knows it all. Sins have been contemplated and yet not carried out for want of opportunity. God's law makes a record of all these. These hidden-away, secret sins form character. 1888 374.1

The law of God condemns not only what we have done but what we have not done. We will, in the day of final accounts, find a register of the sins of omission as well as the sins of commission. God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing. It is not enough that by your own measurement of character you prove you have done no positive wrong. The fact that one has done no positive good will be enough to condemn him as a wicked and slothful servant. 1888 374.2

By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified. There is no power in law to save the transgressor of law. If man, after his transgression, could have been saved by his utmost energy to keep the law, then Jesus need not have died. Man could have stood on his own merits and said, “I am sinless.” God will never bring down the law to man's standard, and man can never lift himself up to answer to its claims of perfection. But Christ comes to our world and pays the sinner's debt, suffers the penalty for transgression of the law, and satisfies justice, and now the sinner may claim the righteousness of Christ. “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20). 1888 374.3

But grace does not come in to excuse the sinner in the continuance of sin. God's grace does not detract from the law, but establishes the law as changeless in its character. Here “mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Psalm 85:10). God looks upon His Son dying upon the cross and is satisfied, and Jesus is called “the Lord Our Righteousness.” Then let the sinner by faith appropriate the merits of the blood of a crucified Redeemer to his own case—“the Lord my righteousness.” 1888 375.1

The Lord is not pleased to have man trusting in his own ability or good deeds or in a legal religion, but in God, the living God. The present message that God has made it the duty of His servants to give to the people is no new or novel thing. It is an old truth that has been lost sight of, just as Satan made his masterly efforts that it should be. The Lord has a work for every one of His loyal people to do to bring the faith of Jesus into the right place where it belongs—in the third angel's message. The law has its important position but is powerless unless the righteousness of Christ is placed beside the law to give its glory to the whole royal standard of righteousness. “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12). 1888 375.2

A thorough and complete trust in Jesus will give the right quality to religious experience. Aside from this the experience is nothing. The service is like the offering of Cain—Christless. God is glorified by living faith in a personal, all-sufficient Saviour. Faith views Christ as He is—the sinner's only hope. Faith takes hold of Christ, trusts Him. It says, “He loves me; He died for me. I accept the sacrifice, and Christ shall not have died for me in vain.” 1888 375.3

We have not only lost much to our own souls, but as ministers [we] have neglected the most solemn part of our work in not dwelling upon the blood of Jesus Christ as the sinner's only hope for eternal life. Tell the story of Christ's leaving the heaven of bliss and the coming to our world, practicing self-denial and self-sacrifice, calling for all to come and learn of Him, for He is meek and lowly of heart, and promising that they should find rest to their souls if they would wear His yoke and lift His burden. Oh, how many will have to have their false props swept away—their self-congratulation, their self-esteem! Nothing will God accept of you but an indwelling Jesus; Christ alone, Christ all and in all. 1888 376.1

The conversion of souls has been made mysterious and complicated. Oh, tell the sinners, “Look and live.” Study and practice Christ. “Thy gentleness,” said David, “hath made me great” (Psalm 18:35). Just open the door and let Jesus come in, and He will abide in the soul temple, and we may abide in Christ and rejoice in His love. 1888 376.2

Bible religion is not made up of theological systems, creeds, theories, and tradition, for then it would not remain a mystery. The worldly would understand it through their own natural abilities. But religion, Bible religion, has a practical, saving energy, elements proceeding wholly from God—a personal experience of God's power transforming the entire man. 1888 376.3

Many are ignorant of the deception which palms off falsehood for truth. They entertain ideas that men may be saved by their own merit. A false religion has come in among us, a legal religion. We will not keep silent. The church must be roused. We will secure halls in the cities and put out handbills and the people shall be enlightened. God has sent a message of warning. We must soon wrestle with the powers of the land, and we have every reason to fear that falsehood will gain the mastery. We shall call upon our churches in the name of the Lord to view this struggle in its true light. It is a contest between the Christianity of the Old and New Testaments and the Christianity of human tradition and corrupt fables. 1888 376.4

This contest is to decide whether the pure gospel shall have the field in our nation, or whether the popery of past ages shall receive the right hand of fellowship from Protestantism, and this power prevail to restrict religious liberty. The struggle is right upon us. We are years behind, and yet men in responsible positions will in their blindness keep the key of knowledge, refusing to enter themselves and hindering those who would enter. The message must go broadcast, that those who have been imperceptibly tampering with popery, not knowing what they were doing, may hear. They are fraternizing with popery by compromises and by concessions which surprise the adherents of the papacy. But let us hope it is not yet too late to do a work that our people ought to have done years before this. 1888 377.1

God has children, many of them, in the Protestant churches, and a large number in the Catholic churches, who are more true to obey the light to the very best of their knowledge than a large number among Sabbathkeeping Adventists who do not walk in the light. The Lord will have the message of truth proclaimed, that Protestants may be warned and awakened to the true state of things and consider the worth of the privileges of religious freedom which they have long enjoyed. 1888 377.2

This land has been the home of the oppressed, the witness for liberty of conscience, and the great center of Scriptural light. God has sent messengers who have studied their Bibles to find what is truth, and studied the movements of those who are acting their part in fulfilling prophecy in bringing about the religious amendment which is making void the law of God and thus giving ascendancy to the man of sin. And shall no voice be raised of direct warning to arouse the churches to their danger? Shall we let things drift, and let Satan have the victory without a protest? God forbid. 1888 377.3

The Lord Jesus understands the pressure that is brought to bear against those who are loyal and true to Him, for He has felt the same in the highest degree. Those who witnessed a good confession in behalf of truth in the Reformation counted not their lives dear unto themselves, that truth might be vindicated. God and angels are looking on as witnesses from their holy dwelling place, and marking the earnestness and zeal of the defenders of the truth in this age. What do they defend? The faith once delivered to the saints. Then let the message go to all nations, tongues, and people. 1888 378.1

Stand out of the way, Brethren. Do not interpose yourselves between God and His work. If you have no burden of the message yourselves, then prepare the way for those who have the burden of the message, for there are many souls to come out of the ranks of the world, out of the churches—even the Catholic church—whose zeal will far exceed that of those who have stood in rank and file to proclaim the truth heretofore. For this reason the eleventh hour laborers will receive their penny. These will see the battle coming and will give the trumpet a certain sound. When the crisis is upon us, when the season of calamity shall come, they will come to the front, gird themselves with the whole armor of God, and exalt His law, adhere to the faith of Jesus, and maintain the cause of religious liberty which Reformers defended with toil and for which they sacrificed their lives. 1888 378.2

The watchmen must sound the alarm. If men are at ease in Zion somebody must be awake to give the trumpet a certain sound. Let the blaze of the beacon light be seen everywhere. Let the ease-loving awake, the tranquil be disturbed, and let them labor for religious liberty. And after we have done all we can, then leave our Lord to do His work. 1888 379.1

There was at last an opening made for Brother Jones, but it was not pleasant to fight every inch for any privileges and advantages to bring the truth before the people. The message borne had a wonderful effect on those that heard it. There were many not of our faith who were deeply stirred with the importance of doing something and doing it now, in the struggle for religious freedom. Many were awakened to see what this religious amendment meant—turning from a “Thus saith the Lord, the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” A spurious sabbath is presented to be legislated into power, compelling the observance of a sabbath which God has not enjoined upon man. 1888 379.2

The persecutions of Protestants by Romanism, by which the religion of Jesus Christ was almost annihilated, will be more than rivaled when Protestantism and popery are combined. The darkest pages of history will be opened in that great day when it will be too late for wrongs to be righted. Registered in the book are crimes that have been committed because of religious differences. We are not ignorant of the history. Europe was shaken as though with an earthquake, when a church, lifted up in pride and vanity, haughty and tyrannical, devoted to condemnation and death all who dared to think for themselves, and who ventured to take the Bible as the foundation of their faith. 1888 379.3

Our own land is to become a battlefield on which is to be carried on the struggle for religious liberty to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience. Then can we not discern the work of the enemy in keeping men asleep who ought to be awake, whose influence shall not be neutral but wholly and entirely on the Lord's side? Shall men cry peace and safety now, when sudden destruction is coming upon the world, when God's wrath shall be poured out? 1888 380.1

And shall there be with the people of God the cropping out of the very same spirit which they have condemned in the denominations, because there was a difference of understanding on some points—not vital questions? Shall the same spirit in any form be cherished among Seventh-day Adventists—the cooling of friendship, the withdrawal of confidence, the misrepresentation of motives, the endeavor to thwart and turn into ridicule those who honestly differ with them in their views? I have in my last few weeks’ experience learned what little dependence may be placed in man, for these things must be met. Alienation and bitterness give evidence that if possible Satan will deceive even those who claim to believe the truth for this time, showing that they have need to study the character of pure and undefiled religion. God forbid that Satan shall do this. 1888 380.2

Godliness, which the gospel enjoins, never bears briars and thorns, never—because all do not see exactly alike—breaks the closest links of association, dividing those who have been one in faith, one in heart, in their relationship. But a difference in the application of some few scriptural passages makes men forget their religious principles. Elements become banded together, exciting one another through the human passions to withstand in a harsh, denunciatory manner everything that does not meet their ideas. This is not Christian, but is of another spirit. 1888 380.3

And Satan is doing his utmost to have those who believe present truth deceived on this point, for he has laid his snare to overcome them, that those who have accepted unpopular truth, who have had great light and great privileges, shall have the spirit that will pervade the world. Even if it is in a less degree, yet it is the same principle that when it has a controlling power over minds, leads to certain results. There is pride of opinion, a stubbornness that shuts the soul away from good and from God. Warnings have been scorned, grace resisted, privileges abused, conviction smothered, and the pride of the human heart strengthened. The result is the same as with the Jews—fatal hardness of heart. It is not safe for the soul to rise up against the messages of God. All who are handling sacred truth are only mortal men.—Manuscript 30, 1889. 1888 381.1

Ellen G. White Estate
Washington, D. C.
October 2, 1986. Entire Manuscript.