The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials


Chapter 153—To S. N. Haskell


Per Ardua, Williams St., Granville, N.S.W. June 1, 1894.

Dear Brother Haskell,—

I received your letter last Thursday and read it with much interest. Today I received a short letter from both Eld. Olsen and yourself which, I read to Eld. Daniells, McCullagh, and Willie. I have been much interested to understand more fully the true condition of Annie Phillips. I feel sorry for her. I feel sorry that our brethren have done her so great an injury as they have, by encouraging her in the work she has been doing. I feel sorry that brother Rice has not followed the counsel of God. I have nothing but tender feelings toward her. I am indeed sorry both for brother Prescott and brother Jones. I have felt very anxious in regard to them both, but especially in regard to Bro. Jones who is so ardent in his faith, and does not manifest the caution he should in his statements by pen or voice. I did pray that these dear brethren would be so completely hid in Christ Jesus, that they would not make one misstep. I have more confidence in them today than I have had in the past, and fully believe that God will be their helper, their comfort and their hope. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth those who love and fear him. O, how very busy Satan is to destroy, he is never vigilant to build up, but to tear down, to weaken, to leave souls shorn of their strength. When he succeeds in depriving souls of their strength, he finds <agents to> help him in his work in those who claim to be the brethren of the ones he has cast down. In place of the brethren considering their own weakness, and their own tendency to yield to temptation; instead of feeling humbled lest they also should fall, they are lifted up in vanity, and triumph over those who have made a misstep, when they ought to watch and pray, and fear lest their own feet may slide. 1888 1240.1

Many things will occur in this day of God's preparation that will be hard to comprehend. I have been shown that the workers will reveal the manner of spirit that moves them to action. Those who manifest the attributes that have been manifested by those who have triumphed over a mistake in their brethren, instead of seeking to encourage and heal, and strengthen those who have erred, reveal the fact that they are walking apart from Jesus, and encouraging the companionship of <evil angels.> We are bound to stand by those who have made a mistake, and who see it, and acknowledge it. The motives which the Lord Jesus Christ recognizes as pure and holy move us to take this position. If we have the Spirit of God, we will think right thoughts, utter right words, and keep the heart with all diligence lest by one unwise impulse, we shall grieve and distress one of the Lord's chosen messengers. “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” 1888 1241.1

I have the most tender feelings toward our brethren who have made this mistake, and I would say that those who depreciate the <ones> who have accepted reproof, will be permitted to pass through trial which will make manifest their own individual weakness and defects of character. Bro. Jones and Prescott are the Lord's chosen messengers, beloved of God. They have co-operated with God in the work for this time. While I cannot endorse their mistakes, I am in sympathy and union with them in their general work. The Lord sees that they need to walk in meekness and lowliness of mind before him, and to learn lessons which will make them more careful in every word they utter and in every step they take. These brethren are God's ambassadors. They have been quick to catch the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness, and have responded by imparting the heavenly light to others. If they have felt afraid to refuse that which bore the appearance of being light, if they have grasped too eagerly that which has been misleading, believing it to be the counsel of God, should anyone be disposed to find fault, to criticize or complain, when they now acknowledge that they have not been as careful as they should have been to distinguish the tendency of a testimony that had an appearance of being divine? Shall those who have been manifestly refusing to accept real light, refusing to accept the power of the Holy Spirit, strengthen themselves in their resistance of light, and apologize for their hardness of heart, which has brought to them only darkness and the displeasure of God, because some other brethren who have receive the light of God's Holy Spirit, have made a misstep? Let every soul who has received the theory of the truth now take heed how they treat God's messengers. Let no one be found working on Satan's side of the question, as an accuser of the brethren. Let every bruise and wound be healed. Let every one who has named the name of Christ, walk in all humility of mind, and let no hard, unChristlike feelings be cherished in the heart to develop <into> satanic attributes in the character. Those who have <not> been in close connection with God are now put to the test by this circumstance, and they are now being proved to see whether they will lift up their souls unto vanity in self-confidence saying “I knew it would be so.” 1888 1241.2

If our brethren, who have been betrayed into error, now manifest the right spirit and humble their hearts before God, their mistake may prove a great blessing to them. Some of our brethren have looked to those <ministers> and have placed them where God should be. They have received every word from their lips., without carefully seeking the counsel of God <for themselves.> I thank the Lord with heart, and soul, and voice that the trial came upon men who truly loved and feared God, who would receive the warning and reproof of God, who would not refuse the correction of God like stubborn children, and wait long in resistance, as those did who were reproved at the important meeting at Minneapolis. Bro. Jones and Prescott have made it manifest that they do indeed hear the voice and accept it as from God. 1888 1243.1

I would say to our dear brethren who have been so eager to accept everything that came in the form of visions and dreams, Beware that you be not ensnared. Read the warnings that have been given by the world's Redeemer to his disciples to be given again <by them> to the world. The word of God is solid rock, and we may plant our feet securely upon it. Every soul must needs be tested, every faith and doctrine must needs be tried by the law and the testimony. Take heed that no man deceive you. The warnings of Christ on this matter are needed at this time; for delusions and deceptions will come in among us, and will multiply as we near the end. “Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch and remember.” Bear in mind that trials of this character are to come upon us, not only from without, but from within our own ranks. Our individual safety is in entire consecration to God. Those who shall proclaim the truth in love and in the demonstration of the Spirit, are in danger of being considered self-confident and presumptuous. God alone can keep His people from the snare of putting confidence in self, and of failing to feel their dependence upon Him moment by moment. There are men and women who will exalt the messenger above the message, who will praise and extol the messenger, forgetting that it is God working wondrously through him for His own name's glory. They should give God praise that many souls are receiving through the human agent instruction that is making them wise unto salvation. They should give glory to God because they see through the interpretation of the word from the lips of the messenger, marvelous things out of the living oracles. They are filled with admiration, and their hearts burn within them as did the hearts of the disciples, as they journeyed from Jerusalem to Emmaus with a crucified but risen Saviour, who comforted their hearts as he opened to them the Scriptures. He showed them that their disappointment in relation to his mission and work had been a theme of prophecy, and that every specification had been fulfilled. When they had learned that the one who had walked and talked with them was no other than Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, they said one to another “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 1888 1243.2

Some will ask why it is that these messengers who fed us with the bread from heaven, should make a mistake? They will say, Why did we accept some things that we needed, and why did we accept other things that we should have let alone? Why was not the danger-signal lifted? There has been danger for years. Men who have been chosen of God to do a special work have been imperiled because the people have looked to the men in the place of looking to God. When Eld. Butler was president of the General Conference, ministers placed Eld. Butler and Eld. Smith and some others where God alone should be. The brethren made grave mistakes, and the Lord sent messages of truth to correct their errors, and to lead them into safe paths. But in spite of the reproofs that have been given to the people, they still make men their trust, and exalt and glorify the human agent, and this grave error is repeated again and again. The Lord has chosen men to bear light and messages of great importance to the people in these last days. After years of perseverance under difficulties, the Lord has given marked success to his truth, and the “lo, here! and lo, there!” have arisen on every side, and yet the message has sounded on. Every inch of the ground had to be fought in presenting the present message, and some have not been reconciled with the providence of God in selecting the very men whom he did select to bear this special message. They ask, why it is that he has not chosen the <men> who have been long in the work? The reason is that he knew that these men who had had long experience would not do the work in God's way, and after God's order. God has chosen the very men he wanted, and we have reason to thank him that these men have carried forward the work with faithfulness, and have been the mouth-piece for God. Now because they have not seen all things distinctly, because they were in danger, the Lord sent them a warning, and let every soul who loves God, thank the Lord for his mercies. What! Shall we thank God that these men were going too fast, and were endorsing productions that were not of heavenly origin?—No, but thank the Lord that they did not resist the message of warning that the Lord saw fit to give them, and thus they did not repeat the grave error that some have made for years in resisting the Spirit of God. Thank God they did hear his voice, and at once obeyed it. In this matter, the churches have the greatest evidence that these men are chosen of the Lord. He has given them a message, and has wrought through them; for they knew the voice of counsel from heaven, and have obeyed it. The voice of warning, of counsel, of instruction has appealed to men who have been intrusted with sacred duties, and who bear weighty responsibilities in the Review and Herald office, and yet, though God has warned them early and late to do certain things and to leave certain things undone, all have not heard the voice, or listened to the words of instruction. Did the men who have thus been warned step quickly into the path that was marked out for them, as these two brethren have done?—No, they did not. They chose to follow in their own selfish, human counsel, and have led others into false paths. Some who have been warned have imperiled their souls, some will never more see the way, because darkness has come upon them, and they have virtually said, We want not thy way, O God, we want our own way. Now had the men who had been intrusted with God's word, walked with fearfulness and trembling before him, and not in the imagination of their own hearts, God would have been glorified, and souls would have been saved unto eternal life. Let them now engage in close searching of heart. Let them examine themselves as with a lighted candle; for the perils of the last days are upon us. Let not those who have neglected to receive light and truth take advantage of the mistake of their brethren, and put forth their finger, and speak words of vanity, because the chosen of God have been too ardent in their ideas, and have carried certain matters in too strong a manner. We have need of these ardent elements; for our work is not a passive work; our work is aggressive. Let those men who have not received <the> draught from the wells of Bethlehem, <that has been presented to them> consider how much has been lost in their not finding their place and their lot in doing the very work that God would have them do. Had these men of experience who have failed to do their part, stood in the paths of God's choosing, and followed not the counsel of men but the counsel of God, they would have connected with the men who were <chosen> to give the message which the people needed in these last days. God would have worked through them, and the work would have advanced much more rapidly <and solidly> than it has <done.> They could have done a most precious work, if they had not cherished a spirit that was not pleasing to God, and that closed their hearts to the working of the Holy Spirit. They entered into temptation, and did not yield to evidence, but began to question, to find fault and to oppose. This was their attitude, and because of their unbelief, God could not use them to his name's glory. They grieved the Spirit of God <time and again.> Had they walked in obedience to the light <sent them from heaven,> their experience in the rise and advancement of the third angel's message would have been of <great> value in helping to make complete the work for this time; but they refused to fill the position for which they were fitted, and failed to do the work for which God had qualified them, and they <stood as criticizers and> thought they could discern many flaws in the men whom God was using. The chosen agents of God would have been rejoiced to link up with the men who held aloof from them, questioning, criticizing, and opposing. If the union had existed between these brethren, which Christ in his lessons has enjoined upon his disciples, <some> mistakes and errors which have occurred would have been avoided. But if the men who should have used their experience in furthering the work, have labored to hinder it, and mistakes have occurred that would not have occurred if they had stood in their allotted place, whom will God hold accountable for these late errors? He will hold the very men accountable who should have been <gathering light and> united with the faithful watchmen in these days of peril. But where were they?—They were holding themselves in the position of those who were non-receivers of the light for themselves, and intercepting the light that God would send to others. They placed themselves between God and the light, and they have lost the precious light and peace which they did have, and have lost also, the most precious draught from the fountain of light and life. They have placed themselves where reliance could not be placed upon them as upon God's chosen men of opportunity. 1888 1244.1

God wants an entirely different order of things. He wants these men who think it is their duty to block the wheels, to put their shoulder to the chariot of truth, and roll it up the steep ascent. They should remember that Christ says of his disciples, “All ye are brethren.” Those who have despised the men who have borne the message of God, have despised not the men, but the Lord who has given them their message and their work. All this God will require at their hands. The Lord's work needed every jot and tittle of experience that he had given Eld. Butler and Eld. Smith; but they have taken their own course <in some things> irrespective of the light God has given. Had Eld. Littlejohn walked in the light, he could have been a great blessing <in many ways;> but selfishness has <in a large degree> closed about his soul, and he has been watching and criticizing the course of the men to whom God has given the message of truth to give <to the world at this time.> The Lord in his providence has permitted these brethren who have been doing his work to make some mistakes. For what reason?—To reveal what is in the hearts of men who have also made mistakes, and whom God has repeatedly <graciously> pardoned. God is testing and proving them to see what manner of spirit they are of. He endorses not their work <of holding themselves aloof from light and the Holy Spirit of God.> They will not receive a reward for their opposition in spirit to the work of God. 1888 1248.1

The men that should have been years in advance of what they are, who should have learned of God, humbling their hearts before him, catching the Spirit of Christ, raising their voices in warning, and giving the trumpet a certain sound, have no cause to triumph now. God will hold them responsible for the good they might have done had they kept pace with the messages God has given <and did not do.> If they had day by day been imbued by his Spirit, they might have done the very work that has been done by their brethren whom they have criticized and condemned. That which is essential for the promulgation of truth is the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is to guide and lead and to keep the soul from Satan's deceptive power in these last days of snare and delusion. The Holy Spirit must do a work for human intelligences that is scarcely yet comprehended by human minds. New aspects of truth are to be opened to our view. O the riches of the word of God are but dimly appreciated. Unless the Holy Spirit shall do its office work upon the human heart, the character will not be developed after the divine similitude. 1888 1249.1

The Lord will enrich the minds of those who are searching for the hidden treasures of truth. What promise did our Lord Jesus Christ make to his disciples to furnish them with consolation in view of his departure from them? It was the promise of the Holy Spirit of God. The divine influence of the Holy Spirit was to co-operate with the human mind and bring to their remembrance whatsoever Christ had spoken unto them. The great need of this time of peril is the Holy Spirit; for it will bring to the receiver all other blessings in its train. The truth believed will transform the character. In the light of the truth that is shining in our day, we are reproved for the dearth of the Holy Spirit. This lack is an evidence that there is not an abundance of that faith which works by love and purifies the soul. As long as individuals are content with a theory of truth, and are yet lacking in the daily operation of the Spirit of God upon the heart, which is manifested in outward transformation of character, they are cutting themselves off from the qualification that would fit them for greater efficiency in the Master's work. Those who are devoid of the Holy Spirit cannot be faithful watchmen upon the walls of Zion; for they are blind to the work that ought to be done, and do not give the trumpet a certain sound. 1888 1249.2

The baptism of the Holy Ghost as on the day of Pentecost will lead to a revival of true religion, and to the <visitation of angels and> the performance of many wonderful works. Heavenly intelligences will come among us, and men will speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Spirit of God. But should the Lord work upon men as he did on, and after the day of Pentecost, many who now claim to believe the truth, would know so very little of the operation of the Holy Spirit, that they would cry, “Beware of fanaticism.” They would say of those who were filled with the Spirit, “These men are drunk with new wine.” The time is not far off now when men will want a much closer relation to Christ, a much closer union with his Holy Spirit than ever they have had, or will have, unless they give up their will and their way, and submit to God's will and God's way. The great sin of those who profess to be Christians is that they do not open the heart to receive the Holy Spirit. When souls long after Christ, and seek to become one with him, then those who are content with the form of godliness, exclaim “Be careful, do not go to extremes.” When the angels of heaven come among us, and work through human agents, there will be solid, substantial conversions, after the order of the conversions <after> the day of Pentecost. Now brethren, be careful and do not go into <or try to create> human excitement. But while we should be careful not to go into human excitement, we should not be among those who will raise inquiries, and cherish doubts in reference to the work of the Spirit of God; for there will be those who will question and criticize when the Spirit of God takes possession of men and women, because their <own> hearts are not moved; but are cold and unimpressible. 1888 1250.1

Conversion among the people is what we must see before they are made ready to stand in the great day of God. Truth is always aggressive it is not a passive, dead element; it is a working power, that operates upon the hearts of those who believe. The Lord never honors cold Phariseeism and unbelief. Let all our brethren read the first few chapters of Acts, and see how the Lord has worked and how he will work where faith is cherished in the hearts of his people. Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but let everyone serve God with pure, clean, unselfish hearts, having an eye single to the glory of God. We need power from above, a more than mortal power to accompany the proclamation of the last message of mercy to our world. With this power victories will be achieved that will make manifest that divine power accompanies the words of the human agents whom God is using to defeat the lying wonders of this degenerate age. 1888 1251.1

God has intrusted to us our capabilities, in order that we may make the most of them for his glory. Christ said, “A little while is the light with you, walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you.” The intellect may be cultivated, and through the harmonious use of our faculties, <under the control of the Holy Spirit,> we may develop a strong, firm character. A righteous character formed after the likeness of Christ's character has a value above that of gold or precious stones. Those who co-operate with the Lord Jesus Christ in the formation of a righteous character will become laborers together with God. They will act their part as the human agent through whom God will reach the hearts and minds of men and women who are separated from him by sin, and will win them to Christ. No one can copy the pattern Christ Jesus without becoming a channel of light to influence others. No man liveth unto himself. God has claims upon us individually and in our short probationary life he requires us to put into exercise the powers he has granted us, to love one another as he has loved us. We are not to labor merely keeping this short life time in view; but to act as if in sight of eternity, we are to act as if the curtain between us and the universe of heaven was withdrawn, and we could with the eye of faith, see Christ looking upon us, and encouraging us in our work. Study diligently the lessons he gave to his disciples; for he declared, “The words I speak unto you, they are Spirit and they are life.” There is marrow and fatness in these lessons. Christ has prayed to his Father for his disciples. He said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” 1888 1252.1

My brethren, preach Christ. We need to keep him lifted up before the world, that men may behold his mercy and righteousness. Meditate upon the lessons Christ gave to his disciples to be given again to the world. This is the word which became flesh and dwelt among us. The world's eternal interest depends upon men knowing Christ as their individual, personal Saviour. “This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” The pen of inspiration has traced the words which Christ spoke in order that those who believe in him may give to others the words which he has given to them. Ministers should set before the people the lessons which are to be brought into the home life. Parents are to be taught to feel a solemn responsibility to teach their children the lessons given them by Christ in both the Old and the New Testament. The children have been strangely neglected, and the people must be enlightened in regard to what constitutes home-religion. 1888 1253.1

The Holy Spirit is presenting the grand and ennobling theme of Christ and his righteousness, and the eyes of many are being anointed to discern spiritual things. Many are gaining a fuller comprehension of the lessons contained in the holy Book than they have seen in the past, and they discern a higher standard of piety. They see that there is a work to be done for the world which will require earnest zeal and energy, self-denial, and self-sacrifice for Christ. A higher, holier type of Christianity than we have seen for many years will be revealed. We need so much, the divine touch, that we may no longer work on according to our ease-loving, indifferent, low standard. But when the church is properly educated, and its members wisely trained, both old and young will have a mind to work. The great enterprise of sending the light into all parts of the world will require missionaries in much larger numbers than we have yet sent out. Children have not been educated, disciplined and trained as God would have them in order that there may be a great army of workers raised up to advance his cause. 1888 1253.2

At Christ's first advent the angels broke the silence of the night with acclamations of praise, and proclaimed glory to God in the highest peace on earth; good will toward men. He is soon to come again with power and great glory. Those who are not wedded to the world will realize that the time demands something more than a weak, faint, methodical discourse. They will see that there must be earnestness and power accompanying the word which will arouse the powers of hell to oppose the warnings God designs to come to the people to awaken men out of their carnal security, that they may prepare themselves for the great event right upon us. The promise is, “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.” God will accept no sleepy, tame message at this time. In old time “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” and we may expect such teaching in our day. I know that the Lord has wrought by his own power in Battle Creek. Let no one attempt to deny this; for in so doing they will sin against the Holy Ghost. Because there may be need to warn and caution every one to walk carefully and prayerfully, in order that the deceptive influence of the enemy shall not lead men away from the Bible, let no one suppose that God will not manifest his power among his believing people; for he will work and none can hinder him. His name will be a praise in the earth. “After these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.” Some souls will see and receive the light; but those who have stood long in resistance of light, because it did not come just in accordance with their ideas, will be in danger of calling light darkness, and darkness light; but the power of God will sweep away the refuge of lies, and his glory will be revealed. Let not one ray of light be resisted, let no operation of the Spirit of God be interpreted as darkness. God will not leave his people to wrestle with principalities and powers, with the rulers of the darkness of this world, with spiritual wickedness in high places, without the co-operation of heavenly angels. The power of God will be manifested to hold in check the power of the enemy. God will give victory to the truth. 1888 1254.1

Ellen G. White.

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