The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials

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Chapter 49—To the General Conference

B-24-1889

To The General Conference:—

Dear Brethren,—

I have presented before you matters which the Lord has shown me, and I have a warning to give to this body now assembled in Battle Creek. You are in danger from the fact that plans may be formed, ways may be devised, propositions may be followed that mean, not success, but defeat. I dare not let this Conference close, and those assembled return to their homes, without bidding you to consider carefully every proposition that has been presented. Look well to every plan that has been proposed, and give not your Yea and Amen hastily, as I have heard from the lips of some men whose understanding is beclouded, and they know not what is the character of the sentiments and propositions they are saying Amen to. Be not carried away with proposals that appear innocent, when their end is disaster and a forfeiture of the favor of God. There is danger, and I sound the signal trumpet of warning. 1888 439.1

God calls upon you to humble yourselves under his mighty hand, and to confess your sins and put them away, and he will lift you up. Draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you. Ministers, high and low, you have no time now to complain of your unsuccessful labor. Flee to Jesus, take hold of him by living faith, lay hold of his strength, and make peace with him. You have too great a desire for the praise of men. “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not as your thoughts, neither are my ways your 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.” “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: (mark the words) I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” “Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee. Thus saith the Lord, in an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; that thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them; for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. And I will make all my mountains a way, my highways shall be exalted. Behold, these shall come from afar; and lo, these from the North and the West; and these from the land of Sinim. Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains; for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. But Zion saith, The Lord hath forsaken me, my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” 1888 439.2

Let not men exalt themselves, and seek to carry through their ideas without the co-operation and sanction of the people of God. Your strong spirit, your loud, contemptuous speeches are out of harmony with Christ and his ways. O, had you made your voice to be heard on high, God has seen you smiting with the fist of wickedness. You must bear the divine credentials before you make decided movements to shape the working of God's cause. As surely as we believe in Christ, and do his will, not exalting self, but walking in all humility of mind, so surely will the Lord be with us. But he despises your fierce spirit, he is grieved with the hardness of your heart. Pray that he will give you a heart of flesh, a heart that can feel the sorrows of others, that can be touched with human woe. Pray that he will give you a heart that will not permit you to turn a deaf ear to the widow of the fatherless. Pray that you may have bowels of mercy for the poor, the infirm, and the oppressed. Pray that you may love justice and hate robbery, and make no difference in the bestowal of your favors, except to consider the cases of the needy and the unfortunate. Then the promises recorded in Isaiah 58 will be fulfilled to you, “If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday; and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones; and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters fail not.” 1888 441.1

But you will need to make straight paths for your feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. We are surrounded by the lame and halting in the faith, and you are to help them, not by halting yourselves; but by standing like men who have been tried and proven, and are firm as a rock to principle. I know that a work must be done for the people, or many will not be prepared to receive the light of the angel sent down from heaven to lighten the whole earth with his glory. Do not think that you will be found as vessels unto honor in the time of the latter rain, to receive the glory of God, if you are lifting up your souls unto vanity, speaking perverse things, in secret cherishing roots of bitterness brought from the conference at Minneapolis. The frown of God will certainly be upon every soul who cherishes and nurtures these roots of dissension, and possesses a spirit so unlike the Spirit of Christ. 1888 442.1

There is a work to be wrought in the heart of each one, that you may not sow tares. When the lips of the watchman are touched with a live coal from off the altar by the Lord of hosts, the trumpet will give a certain sound, very different from the sound we have hitherto heard. God has a living testimony for the world. This tame, lifeless sermonizing is not after God's order. I appeal to you, men in responsible positions, do not seek to meet the world's standard, to catch the world's ideas. Do not speak smooth things, prophesying deceit. The Comforter, the Holy Spirit of God, whom “the Father shall send in my name,” said Christ, shall convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.” The ministers of the Lord are to “reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and doctrine.” 1888 442.2

We have a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. We are under obligation as those who have made solemn vows to God, and who have been commissioned as the messengers of Christ, as stewards of the mysteries of the grace of God, to declare faithfully the whole counsel of God. Ever remember that we are surrounded, encompassed, with a great cloud of witnesses; for the heavenly intelligences are looking upon us as ambassadors of the King of kings and Lord of lords. We have a right to lift the standard high. He who understands the dignity of our calling, the sacredness of our work, commands that we declare the message with unshrinking heart. We may well humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, or he will humble us; but if we walk modestly and humbly before the Lord, he will accept us. 1888 443.1

The Lord looks with disfavor upon those who would please the men of the world, while at the same time they accuse those whom God is using, and manifest a satanic disrespect toward those whom they should highly regard. The tenderness of spirit, the kindness, the courtesy, the refinement of feeling, that characterizes those who are learning in the school of Christ, has passed out of the heart and life of many who think that God is using them. The True Witness says, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” If there was far more repenting and confessing and forsaking of sin, and less self-sufficiency, and less self-boasting, we should see spiritual things more clearly. God desires that you come into vital connection with himself, and then Christ will abide in the heart, and a pure flame of devotion will be kindled in the soul. 1888 443.2

There has been a departure from God among us, and the zealous work of repentance and return to our first love essential to restoration to God and regeneration of heart has not yet been done. Infidelity to God has been making its inroads in our ranks; for it is the fashion to depart from Christ, and give place to skepticism. The cry of the heart has been, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” Baal, Baal, is the choice. The religion of many among us will be the religion of apostate Israel, because they love their own way, and forsake the way of the Lord. The true religion, the only religion of the Bible, that teaches forgiveness through the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour, that advocates righteousness by the faith of the Son of God, has been slighted, spoken against, ridiculed. It has been denounced as leading to enthusiasm and fanaticism. Take it back while it is not too late for wrongs to be righted; for you have sinned against God. But it is the life of Jesus Christ in the soul, it is the active principle of love imparted by the Holy Spirit, that alone will make the soul fruitful unto good works. The love of Christ is the force and power of every message that ever fell from human lips. What kind of a future is before us, if we shall fail to come into the unity of the faith. 1888 444.1

When we are united in the unity for which Christ prayed, this long controversy which has been kept up through Satanic agency, will end, and we shall not see men framing plans after the order of the world, because they have not spiritual eyesight to discern spiritual things. They now see men as trees walking, and they need the divine touch, that they may see as God sees, and work as Christ worked. Then will Zion's watchmen sound the trumpet in clearer, louder notes; for they will see the sword coming, and realize the danger in which the people of God are placed. 1888 445.1

There is no time now to range ourselves on the side of the transgressors of God's law, to see with their eyes, to hear with their ears, and to understand with their perverted senses. We must press together. We must become a unit, to be holy in life and pure in character. Let us no longer bow down to the idol of men's opinions, no longer be slaves to any shameful lust, no longer bring a polluted offering to the Lord, a sin-stained soul, which is represented by the offerings of the Moabites and Amorites. 1888 445.2

O, shall not repentance take the place of unbelief and rebellion. Or shall this state of impenitence and blindness continue until it shall be said unto us, as to the cities that spurned the offered mercies of Christ in the days of his ministry, “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you”? “And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.” 1888 445.3