Manuscript Releases, vol. 16 [Nos. 1186-1235]


MR No. 1233—Earnest Labor to be Bestowed on the Erring

(Written April 21, 1887, from Basel, Switzerland, to Elder G. I. Butler.)

There is not the mingling of the elements of character that bring justice and mercy and the love of God into beautiful harmony. There is altogether too much talking, too many strong words and strong feelings that the Lord has nothing to do with, and these strong feelings influence our good brethren. I am compelled to deal plainly, and rebuke sin, and then I have it in my heart, placed there by the Spirit of Christ, to labor in faith, in tender sympathy and compassion, for the erring. I will not let them alone; I will not leave them to become the sport of Satan's temptations. I will not myself act the part of the adversary of souls, as is represented by Joshua and the angel. Souls cost the price of my Redeemer's blood. When men, themselves liable to temptation—erring mortals—shall be free to pronounce upon another's case, who is humbled in the dust, and shall take it on themselves to decide by their own feelings or the feelings of their brethren just how much feeling the erring one should manifest to be pardoned, they are taking on themselves that which God has not required of them. 16MR 338.1

When I know that there are those who have fallen into great sin, but we have labored with and for them, and God has afterward accepted their labors, when these have pleaded for me to let them go and to not burden myself for them, I have said, “I will not give you up; you must gather strength to overcome.” These men are now in active service. [Either] this course toward them was wrong, or the course that is now pursued is not that which Jesus would pursue under similar circumstances. 16MR 338.2

If our hearts were more fully imbued with the Spirit of God, we should have His melting love, and should work with spiritual power to restore the erring and not leave them under Satan's control. We need good, heart religion and divine wisdom to deal with human minds, that we shall not only reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine, but we shall take the erring in our arms of faith and bear them to the cross of Christ. We must bring them in contact with the sin-pardoning Saviour. 16MR 339.1

I am more pained than I can express to see so little aptitude and skill, [so little] self-denial and self-sacrifice, to save souls that are ensnared by Satan. I see such a cold Phariseeism cherished, holding off at arm's length the one who has been deluded by the adversary of souls, and then I think, What if Jesus treated us individually in this way? Is this spirit of coldness and lack of sympathy to grow among us? If so, my brethren must excuse me; I cannot labor with them. I will not be a party in this kind of management. 16MR 339.2

I call to mind the shepherd hunting the lost sheep, and [the story of] the prodigal son. I want those parables to have their influence upon my heart and mind. I think of Jesus—what love and tenderness He manifested for erring, fallen man; and then I think of the severe judgment one pronounces upon his brother who has fallen under temptation, and my heart becomes sick. I see the iron in hearts, and think we should pray for hearts of flesh. Oh, how I long for Jesus to come! How I long for Him to set things in order! Come, Lord Jesus, and come quickly, is my prayer.—Letter 16a, 1887. 16MR 339.3

Ellen G. White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

April 6, 1987.

Entire Letter.