Manuscript Releases, vol. 18 [Nos. 1301-1359]


MR No. 1354—Counsel Against Foolish Talking and Jesting; Christ our Example

(Written circa 1868.)

I was shown the case of Sister Doude; that a work must be accomplished for her before she can be without fault before the throne of God. 18MR 368.1

She possesses a peculiar organization. She has not seen the necessity of educating herself in carefulness of words and acts. She has felt it to be her privilege to act herself unfettered; that if she restrained and gauged her course of action she was becoming a hypocrite. This sister deceived herself. She has not seen the necessity of entirely controlling the tongue, the unruly member. James 3:2-18. (See note at end.) 18MR 368.2

Sister Doude has not seen the force of these scriptures. She has not carefully considered them, laid them to heart, and formed her character according to them. 2 Timothy 3:16, 17. 18MR 368.3

I was shown that it was impossible to carry out the principles of the ten precepts of Jehovah without especially regarding these truths taught in the above scripture. The Word of God should be carefully studied and carried out into the daily life. 18MR 368.4

My sister, you talk too much. I was pointed back and shown that your life has not been the best calculated for you to make an exemplary Christian. You lack the elements of peace and harmony in your organization. You love variety and change, and your tongue has done much mischief. It has been a world of iniquity. It has not only changed the course of nature with yourself but with others. In your past life you have been one that has stirred up strife, and then you have enjoyed the fruit of evil which has followed. Your tongue has kindled a fire, and you have enjoyed the conflagration. All this has no part in the truth. When you received the truth you believed it from the heart and were ardent in its proclamation, and here has been shown a lack of wisdom in using the truth in a manner to raise opposition, arouse combativeness, and make war instead of possessing a spirit of peace and true humbleness of mind. 18MR 368.5

Dear sister, there must be in you an entire transformation of character. The tongue must be tamed. Your words must be select, well chosen. If Christ is formed in you the hope of glory, fruits will appear unto righteousness. You sport and joke and enter into hilarity and glee. Does the Word of God sustain you in this? It does not. 18MR 369.1

Christ is our example. Do you imitate the great Exemplar? Christ often wept but never was known to laugh. I do not say it is a sin to laugh on any occasion, but we cannot go astray if we imitate the divine, unerring Pattern. We are living in a sad age of this world's history. Violence is in the land, corruption is on every hand, the inhabitants of the earth are fast filling up the measure of the cup of their iniquity. Everywhere we go we see men and women controlled by Satan, captives to do his will. They are blinded and know not that their destruction is near. When the deception shall be removed, they will find how much is meant in being without God and hope in the world. A day of destruction and anguish removes the security which enclosed them, and then fierce anguish comes upon them. Probation is ended and they must remain filthy forever. 18MR 369.2

As we view the world bound in darkness and trammeled by Satan, how can we engage in levity, glee, careless, reckless words, speaking at random, laughing, jesting, and joking? It is in keeping with our faith to be sober, watching unto the end for the grace to be brought unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 18MR 369.3

We profess to believe that the end of all things is at hand. “What manner of persons,” the apostle inquires, “ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?” 2 Peter 3:11. James exhorts us, “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.” James 4:8-10. 18MR 370.1

James would impress us that this condition of mind is more appropriate for the times in which we live than to be seeking friendship with the world and engaging in the folly, levity, pride, and vanity which worldlings are engaged in. We are exhorted to humility. Instead of possessing a boastful self-confidence, the opposite is becoming [for] believers in present truth. 18MR 370.2

Christian cheerfulness is not condemned by the Scriptures, but reckless talking is censured. Those who live in the last days should be circumspect in words and acts. Sobriety is more in accordance with our faith than levity. Those who realize the solemnity of the times in which we live will be among the number who bear about with them a weight of solemn influence. They are rich in good works, bearing the burden of souls, and by holy example faithfully represent Jesus Christ and win souls to accept Christ as their Saviour. Ezekiel 9:3-6. Notice particularly [that] the sighing and crying ones are alone marked. Those who have engaged in afflicting their souls before God are especially remembered of Him, and the angel is bidden to place a mark upon them. 1 Peter 5:5-9. 18MR 370.3

Satan and his host are arrayed against the saints of God, and the armor must not be laid aside for a moment. Our only safety is in being instant in prayer, on the watch every moment. There is no release admitted in this warfare. It is a constant battle for life. 1 Peter 3:10-13; Colossians 4:5, 6; Ephesians 4:1, 2, 3; 5:1, 2, 4; Philippians 4:8; 2 Timothy 3:16; Matthew 5:9. 18MR 370.4

The truth received in the heart and carried out in the life will correct the erring. Let love, affection, tenderness abound in your heart. You possess fortitude, courage, firmness of purpose. You can, when you see the necessity, control your words. Study the effect of your words, whether their influence will be saving upon others. Never talk for the sake of talking, but for the edification of those who hear. Your heart has loved the truth and those who believed it. You are a lover of hospitality, and these excellent traits qualify you to exert an influence that will be saving upon others but for the lack named in this letter, which counteracts it all and greatly injures your usefulness. 18MR 371.1

I commit this to you in the fear of God, entreating you to lay these things to heart and bring forth fruits unto righteousness that at last you may hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” The Lord has blessed you with a kind, true, God-fearing husband to aid your efforts in the right direction.—Manuscript 11, 1868. 18MR 371.2

[Note from secretary.] Sister White: I have copied the above testimony except the scriptures which I only refer to, giving the chapter and verse. Sister D. has made a public confession before the churches of tuscola county and appears to have some fruit of repentance. She has made some confessions to individuals, but a great work is before her. M.E.C. 18MR 371.3

Ellen G. White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

January 22, 1988.

Entire Ms.