Manuscript Releases, vol. 3 [Nos. 162-209]


MR No. 162—The Work in England

I have been unable to sleep much during the past night. I have thought of the church at [Kettering] which must be left much of the time without preaching. But it is the duty of those connected with the church to feel an individual responsibility to do to their utmost ability to strengthen the church, and make the meetings so interesting that outsiders or unbelievers will be attracted to your meetings. 3MR 1.1

Nothing can weaken a church so manifestly as division and strife, and if this does exist, nothing can so war against the truth, and against Jesus Christ, as this spirit. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom” [James 3:11-13]. 3MR 1.2

Now let not anyone place himself as having great wisdom and ability. But if he have these talents he will not be the one to make them the most prominent, for it is those who have the most distrust of self, who have no special confidence in their own ability, whom God will use as His willing instruments. These will show by their conversation that they have been communing with God, and that they have been receiving of the lessons Christ has taught to all, who would teach them meekness and lowliness of heart. But with most exalted views of Jesus, filled with His love, the words of wisdom will flow forth from the soul in words that will stir their hearts. His works are made manifest, not by pompous words of self-praise, but in the very opposite, in meekness of wisdom. These have no words to demerit others, but a very humble opinion of themselves; because they have had a more clear and well-defined view of Jesus, of His holy character, His self-denial, His self-sacrifice, and His holy mission. 3MR 1.3

When men have these views of Jesus, they always have very humble views of themselves. It is when men lose sight of Jesus, His purity, His spotless perfection, that they lift up themselves, and are self-sufficient, self-inflated; and if others do not give them all that deference and respect that they think they should have, they are uneasy, unsatisfied, think themselves ill-used and unappreciated. They reveal their true character in an unmistakable manner, showing their defects in faultfinding, complaining, ready to combat anything that does not meet their mind, even when assembled to worship God. 3MR 2.1

If they had wisdom, they could see the influence and result of their un-Christlike course. But, blinded with self-importance, they do not discern their weakness, and manifest to all that they cannot be trusted; neither will they bear to be estimated as they estimate themselves. 3MR 2.2

These will go through the world doing but very little good, boisterous and obtrusive, pushing themselves to the front, and thus, by their want of wisdom, demerit the truth, and misrepresent in every way the religion of Jesus Christ. They, in the place of bringing souls to Christ, disgust them and turn them away from the truth. They are lost because of the want of Christian grace to lead them to take a course of meekness and lowliness, as did Christ. “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.” 3MR 2.3

If I should say these words of myself, how many would say, “Sister White has a hard spirit; she does not understand me.” But God understands you, and He plainly says, that if you have envying and strife, you need not glory, calling it a Christian boldness, for it is not of God, but of the devil. Although you profess to believe the truth, your judgment may assent to the truth, but if you have not the truth as it is in Jesus, you can present it only in your way, with your manner; and your very words and appearance show that you have not brought the truth into your life, and woven it into your character, but tied the truth onto the tree that bears thorn-berries. “This wisdom descendeth not from above.... But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable.” I want you all to mark the fruits here stated, “easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” 3MR 3.1

Are there any of the church who are not easy to be entreated, who will argue for their own way, who will, in self-confidence, hold to their own ideas and not give them up, but will talk as though they were the only ones whose ways were perfect and unquestionable? These are not easily entreated because they are not converted. They are not divested of self. They are full of self-esteem, and are sure to disgust unbelievers with their words and ways, in talking the objectionable features of our faith, in all proud boasting and self-confidence. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” “And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” 3MR 3.2

In the small meetings of our people there is danger of killing the interest of the meetings by imprudence. Let there be no long prayers; save your long prayers for the closet. Let not your prayers be all over the world. Pray right to the point, for the blessing of God upon yourself and those assembled then and there. When you pray alone in your closet, then lay out before God all the burden of your heart; but in the assembly met to worship God, such prayers are all out of place. They kill the interest of the meetings, and make them tedious. Look at the sample prayer given by Christ to His disciples. How brief, how comprehensive, that prayer! 3MR 3.3

When approaching God, pray briefly, in simplicity. Do not dishonor God by your oratorical prayers, or by preaching the Lord a sermon in your prayers; but come to God in your soul need, and just tell Him what you want, as a child comes to an earthly parent; and trust your heavenly Father as a child trusts its earthly parent. 3MR 4.1

When the meeting is carried on in the absence of the minister, let one take the lead, but not devote long time to sermonizing. Just speak the words in the spirit and in the love of Jesus, and thus set an example for others, that no one shall talk words for the sake of talking and killing the time. Let each work a part in diligently presenting the experience of the soul. Let them state their own individual experience, their soul struggles, the victories obtained. Above everything, let them offer to God a tribute of praise from a thankful heart that Jesus has died for them. Here is subject matter that each may dwell upon with profit. It is the duty of all to feel that they must contribute a part to the life and soul of the meeting. Do this and the blessing of God will come into your midst in large measure.—Manuscript 39, 1887, pp. 1-4. (Special testimony to a church in North England Conference. July 23, 1887.) 3MR 4.2