The Review and Herald

37/1902

August 19, 1862

Letter to E. W. Shortridge

EGW

Bro. Shortridge: October 25, I was shown in vision that the truth had not had its sanctifying influence upon your heart, and there has not been that reform in you which was necessary in order for you to be a successful laborer in the gospel field. It is a most solemn, important work, to present the last message of mercy to the world, and bear a testimony which is to prove a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. I was shown that it was of the highest importance for those who bear this message to be right, and to be ensamples to the flock. RH August 19, 1862, Art. A, par. 1

In the first vision given me for you before I had seen you, I was shown that you were capable of doing good; but you had much to learn, and if thoroughly converted to the truth you could present the arguments of our position in a clear, pointed manner. I was shown that there was much chaff introduced into your preaching that God had nothing to do with, and which grieved His Holy Spirit. You must be as I expressed to you, “torn all to pieces, and made over new;” for that preaching which was acceptable in your former labors, would not be acceptable to God, or do good in this last solemn message. Your trifling expressions and gestures must be entirely put away, and you realize the tendency and evil of them, or your labors will prove a curse instead of a blessing. RH August 19, 1862, Art. A, par. 2

In the last vision given October 25, I saw that your labors, your life and conversation, have not taken that elevated character which is in keeping with the message you bear. You put on a dignity which is not objectionable, if you would carry it out in your life, and maintain a true, godly dignity, especially in the pulpit. Many of your expressions, figures and gestures, are not dignified in the sight of heaven, of angels, or of Christ's devoted followers. With some you excite mirthfulness, and disgust with others. If deep conviction of truth rests upon minds, and they feel that vital importance is attached to the decisions they make, your presenting solemn truths in such a trifling manner banishes the solemn impressions the truth has made, and the scale turns, and decisions are made on the wrong side. Angels are grieved and turn from you in displeasure and the record is made in heaven of your sin; for thus heaven regards it. RH August 19, 1862, Art. A, par. 3

God requires his servants who labor for the salvation of souls, to be ensamples to the flock; and unfaithfulness on their part is regarded by heaven as a high crime, and will be visited with God's anger. Earthly conflicts and battles were presented before me. No one is allowed to fill the place of officer unless he has been proved, and confidence could be placed in his integrity, his skill, bearing and ability. He must lead the company placed under his command, and by his own example inspire them with the same spirit which animates him. Should these officers be detected in unfaithfulness, if they do not suffer death, they are immediately removed, and another is placed in their stead. Then I saw how much more important were the battles in which we are engaged. And the burden of this work is committed to ministers; they are overseers of the flock. Please read Acts 20:28. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” RH August 19, 1862, Art. A, par. 4

The people look to the ministers and imitate their example and they are responsible to God for the influence they exert. They must render an account to God for their words and acts. If they are unskillful workmen, they have mistaken their calling. The lives of the holy apostles were presented before me. They were ensamples, and it was safe for the flock to follow them. I was shown that while you could present some points of truth clearly, you lack personal piety and humility. Your former associations and labors have led you to rely upon your own sufficiency instead of depending at all times upon God for strength. Since you embraced the third angel's message, you have not realized that unless God's special power attends this message, your labors are vain. You have too exalted an opinion of yourself. The success of this message does not depend upon those who are called smart men. God can raise up men and fit them to carry this message in the power and the Spirit. Although they are lowly, yet in humble obedience they will learn of God and receive counsel of him. I was shown that you have but little experience in this your new work. In your former manner of preaching you could pass along with a superficial work, and it would pass off well. Not so in this solemn message. God requires of his ministers purity of soul, holiness of heart and life, constant watchfulness, and almost unceasing prayer. All your boasting, jesting, joking, and foolish talking must be laid aside, and you earnestly seek the grace of God that you may overcome these evils which destroy your influence. God will not bear with your folly. Unless you can exert a holy influence and be a living example to those for whom you labor, you had better cease laboring to win souls to Christ; for they follow your example, and entirely fail to come up to God's requirements. You feel that your testimony is crippled that your brethren take too rigid a course with you; but when you are converted to this message you will be a free man in the pulpit,—you will not feel under restraint. From the cleansed fountain will proceed only pure, sweet water. Your brethren are none too particular. God is particular, and his angels who are sent forth to do his will are grieved with your lack of spirituality, pureness, and godliness. You must bring yourself under strict discipline, and reform in life, or your labors will prove a curse instead of a blessing. RH August 19, 1862, Art. A, par. 5

You have been at fault in being too familiar with females; and if your past life in this respect is to be a sample of your future course, you will not be the least benefit in this great work. Your past course has lacked in many respects, and evil reports have followed you. You have not abstained from all appearance of evil. Said the angel as he pointed to you, “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.” We are a sect everywhere spoken against, and we are accounted as the offscouring of all things. Caution and discretion should mark all your moves. It is a great thing to stand between the living and the dead, and be mouth-piece for God. Satan and evil angels are watching for your downfall; they are seeking to direct your course. I saw that you grieved much that reproach has followed you, but you are not altogether clear in this matter,—you have given occasion by your folly. I was cited to this Scripture, 1 Peter 2:19, 20: “For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if when ye do well, and suffer for it ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.” RH August 19, 1862, Art. A, par. 6

I was shown that those who have but recently commenced to labor in this message should not move without counsel from those who have an experience in this message, and they should not dictate as to the arrangements and best manner of carrying forward this message, for they would be in danger of making decisions which, if carried out, would prove an entire failure. RH August 19, 1862, Art. A, par. 7

I was shown that your feelings toward Bro. Waggoner are unjust, and you have enlisted the sympathies of others, to the injury of Bro. Waggoner. They look upon you as abused, when it is not the case. Bro. Waggoner was grieved with your weaving into your discourses that which injured your testimony. He labored for your good. I saw that you draw largely upon the sympathies of some who are young in the truth. I saw them looking toward Bro. W. with suspicion and jealousy. They know not what they are doing. They are inexperienced, and need that one should teach them. RH August 19, 1862, Art. A, par. 8

I saw that you are lifted up in your own eyes, are boastful, and God does not approbate your labors. You and your family overreach in making efforts to keep up appearances, which is a snare to you, and had led to unfaithfulness on your part, in regard to the means raised by the church for a specified object, and entrusted to you to be devoted to that object. You have broken upon that means to apply to your own wants, as though it were your own, earned by your faithful labor among us. It was not your own. You had no right, according to the light given me, to touch that means, or to use it for any purpose except for the one for which it was raised. RH August 19, 1862, Art. A, par. 9

Bro. S., your family is proud. They know not the first principles of the third angel's message. They are in the downward road, and should be brought under a more saving influence. These influences affect you and make you weak. You have not ruled well your own house, and while you lack so much at home, you cannot be entrusted to dictate important and responsible matters in the church. This scripture was presented before me; “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?” RH August 19, 1862, Art. A, par. 10

Bro. S., I was shown that you must take hold of this work aright, or your labors are vain. You need the influence of the Spirit of God. When you are converted, then you can strengthen your brethren. You feel too sufficient of yourself. I was then referred to the learned and eloquent Paul. Although he had a thorough knowledge of the ways and works of God, and was divinely instructed of him, and was a mighty laborer in word and doctrine, yet his course was marked with humility and fear in regard to himself. RH August 19, 1862, Art. A, par. 11

Please read 2 Corinthians 2:15, 16: “For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish. To the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?” RH August 19, 1862, Art. A, par. 12

2 Corinthians 3:5, 6: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament.” RH August 19, 1862, Art. A, par. 13

2 Corinthians 6:3, 4: “Giving no offense in anything, that the ministry be not blamed; but in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses.” RH August 19, 1862, Art. A, par. 14

1 Thessalonians 2:4: “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness; for we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus sake.” RH August 19, 1862, Art. A, par. 15

1 Corinthians 4:9: “For we are made a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men.” RH August 19, 1862, Art. A, par. 16

May God help you to see these things as they are, that you may be a skillful workman that needeth not to be ashamed. RH August 19, 1862, Art. A, par. 17

Ellen G. White.

Battle Creek, Mich.,

November 22, 1861.