The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials


Chapter 55—To Brethren and Sisters


Battle Creek, Mich. Nov. 20, 1889

Dear Brethren and Sisters,

“Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.” (Psalm 97:11) The year 1889 is almost ended. Struggles, defeat and trials mark the history of our experience, but we have something beside this. We have had peace and joys and victories amid weakness. We have been made strong. With the advantages of the experiences of the year now about to close, are we not better prepared to enter upon the New Year? There have been discouragements but have we not learned better to trust God in the hard places? 1888 498.1

Let us consider our opportunities and privileges of the year which will all soon be in the past and inquire, “Am I not better qualified to know how to do my work as laborers together with God than heretofore?” 1888 498.2

Look over your experience in the past and see what good things you have learned from the lessons of God in these experiences. Increased light has shown upon us. Old and precious truths have been presented to us in new forms which, if we fully appreciate, will prepare us for the entering aright upon the near year, 1890. Will not the many discouragements as well as many of our hasty conclusions be avoided if we fully learned the lessons daily in the school of Christ, that God has the guiding of events in human life? And if we will only stand out of the way, in his own time and by ways that will surprise us, He will answer our prayers and will bring about His purposes in His own wisdom in ways and means. Shall we not be thankful that God knows our frailties and we ought to know them more in harmony with God's knowledge. The warfare with temptation and resistance of sin is not known and understood except by the sons and daughters of God, and those will never know the power of sin until they begin to resist it. 1888 498.3

It is well that we fall into the hands of the living God and not into the hands of men. It is something that we should be grateful for that God, the all-wise, merciful God holds the golden scales that weigh character. As long as Satan lives there will not be apparent triumph to Christians but continual conflict. But yet we are not to waver in our service to Jesus Christ. Our faces are toward the foe, warring “not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12) 1888 498.4

Judgment must not be passed hastily on any man or on his work or his purposes. There is need of humble hearts and contrition of soul. The message we bear at this time is from above. Its influence upon human hearts of all who have received it is good and the fruits are good; while some stand criticizing and passing judgment both upon the message and the messenger sent of God. They are self-sufficient. They say in their hearts, “I will do as I please and work as I please on my own judgment. I will do just as I have done,—talk these old truths but I will have nothing to do with the matter now brought to us,—Justification by faith and the righteousness of Christ. I will be religious, “in fact they continue to whiten the sepulcher but do not cleanse it. From the heart proceedeth evil thoughts, the lips speak evil, jealousy, envy, evil surmisings. The soul temple needs cleansing. These who will not accept of the message the Lord sends will soon begin a tirade against it. They see evidence enough to balance the mind in the right direction but they are too proud to submit. They are not willing to say that which they decided was all wrong is right and then the mind begins to seek some excuse, some subterfuge to evade the issue. They are resolved not to obey God in this urgent call for the will to be yielded. They will make a mountain of some minor question and seek to get up a controversy on minor points. The longer he remains as he is the more is he puzzled and perplexed. Questions arise against the testimonies for Satan will bring every doubter and unbeliever over this ground. The work is before him to give himself up to God; His will be no longer arrayed against God's will. 1888 499.1

There are objections against church government, objections and questions in regard to many things. Satan is sowing the seed of doubt and questioning, murmuring and fault-finding. He chooses the darkness. His own hand has closed the door of knowledge. He has refused to comply with God's will, If he rejects the process through which the Lord works he will see no light, The doubts and cavils are all the time setting his soul in stubborn rejection. God says, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness.” (John 8:12) 1888 499.2

But the wilful ones say, “I will not move a step till I see all things plainly. “When they close the understanding lest they shall see, they say, “Explain.” This brings questions with no spirit to receive if they are answered satisfactorily but when they see they cannot turn down with (one) question, they will start another, and still another, not admitting the rays of light that do shine upon them. Will God teach such ones? No. They had light enough to take the first step and if they had put away that pride of will which makes them cruel to themselves, they would, in taking the first step (have) taken the second; but when light is rejected the Lord will not work a miracle to make that man believe. If he will walk by faith he has light enough to move at God's bidding to see where God is working and to work with Him. 1888 500.1