The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials


The Spirit of Discernment

Sermon by Mrs. E. G. White, March 9, 1890
(Re Minneapolis Meeting)

I want to read a few words from the first chapter of Acts—[the] eighth verse: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Now we read in the second chapter [verses 1-4], “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” 1888 606.1

Now, brethren, the blessing that is here spoken of we may receive when we come to God with our whole heart, when we empty it of every kind of prejudice and all this doubting and unbelief; then we can expect the Spirit of God. But it is the case as I presented before you one morning in regard to the presentation of Christ in the temple. The priest took Him in his arms, but he could see nothing there. God did not speak to him and say, “This is the consolation of Israel.” But just as soon as Simeon came in, the Spirit of God led him, and because he was under His influence, the Holy Ghost being upon him, he sees there that little Infant in His mother's arms and every indication of the little family being in poverty, but the moment he beholds that, God says to him, “This is the consolation of Israel.” 1888 606.2

Now we have two distinct characters. The priest that was there officiating did not know Him; but here was one who recognized Him because he was where he could discern spiritual things. He was living in close relation with God. He was living in connection with the future eternal interest, and therefore he recognized the Spirit of God. 1888 607.1

And how is it with us individually? We know that the Spirit of God has been with us. We know that it has been with us time and again in the meetings. We have not a doubt but that the Lord was with Elder Waggoner as he spoke yesterday. We have not a doubt of that. I have not a doubt that the power of God in rich measure was hanging over us, and everything was light in the Lord to me yesterday afternoon in the minister's meeting. Now, if there had been a throwing open the door of the heart and letting Jesus in, we would have had a precious season there yesterday. I have not a doubt of it. 1888 607.2

It makes every difference to us in what kind of spirit we come to the investigation of the Scriptures. If we come with a teachable spirit, ready to learn, with our hearts emptied of our prejudices, not seeking to bring the Scriptures to our ideas but to bring our ideas to the Scriptures, then we shall know of the doctrine. We shall understand it. But let me tell you, brethren, if you have discernment you can understand where God is working. You do not need wonderful miracles to testify of this, because you see the miracles did not do any good to the Jews. They had it right in their sight but it did not do any good to them. 1888 607.3

The woman of Samaria who came and listened to Christ—she accepted Him without miracles at all, because she believed His word. She was glad for the light and went and published it to her neighbors. Here were the very ones who were hated of the Jews. The Samaritans were receiving the light. When Christ came to the Jews with all the power of His majesty, all His grace manifested in mighty healings and in the mighty out-pouring of His Spirit, they would not recognize that. Well, why? Because the very same prejudices that had been in their hearts reigned there, and the most mighty miracles that He could do would have no effect on their hearts at all. 1888 608.1

If we place ourselves in a position that we will not recognize the light God sends or His messages to us, then we are in danger of sinning against the Holy Ghost. Then for us to turn and see if we can find some little thing that is done that we can hang some of our doubts upon and begin to question! The question is, has God sent the truth? Has God raised up these men to proclaim the truth? I say, yes, God has sent men to bring us the truth that we should not have had unless God had sent somebody to bring it to us. God has let me have a light of what His Spirit is, and therefore I accept it, and I no more dare to lift my hand against these persons, because it would be against Jesus Christ, who is to be recognized in His messengers. 1888 608.2

Now, I want you to be careful, every one of you, what position you take, whether you enshroud yourselves in the clouds of unbelief because you see imperfections; you see a word or a little item, perhaps, that may take place, and judge them from that. You are to see what God is doing with them. You are to see whether God is working with them, and then you are to acknowledge the Spirit of God that is revealed in them. And if you choose to resist it you will be acting just as the Jews acted. You have all the light and all the evidences that they had. They rejected the light notwithstanding the mighty miracles of God were there. Their hearts were so filled with prejudice that they said at last, Oh, He does miracles by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of devils; that is how He does His miracles. 1888 608.3

Now, brethren, God wants us to take our position with the man that carries the lantern; we want to take our position where the light is, and where God has given the trumpet a certain sound. We want to give the trumpet a certain sound. We have been in perplexity, and we have been in doubt, and the churches are ready to die. But now here we read: “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird” [Revelation 18:1, 2]. 1888 609.1

Well now, how are we going to know anything about that message if we are not in a position to recognize anything of the light of heaven when it comes to us? And we will just as soon pick up the darkest deception when it comes to us from somebody that agrees with us, when we have not a particle of evidence that the Spirit of God has sent them. Christ said, “I come in the name of my Father, but ye will not receive me” [see John 5:43]. Now, that is just the work that has been going on here ever since the meeting at Minneapolis. Because God sends a message in his name that does not agree with your ideas, therefore [you conclude] it cannot be a message from God. How dare you run the risk of trying in the least to shut 1888 609.2

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