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Manuscript Releases, vol. 17 [Nos. 1236-1300]

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    MR No. 1245—The Southern Work; Ellen White Disturbed by Dissension in Councils and Camp Meetings; Study the Word, and Seek Christ

    (Written December 2, 1902, from “Elmshaven,” Sanitarium, California, to “Dear Children Edson and Willie White.”)

    I thank the Lord with heart and soul and voice that my health is as good as it is. I have every reason to praise my heavenly Father for the clearness of thought that He has given me in regard to Bible subjects. I long to bring out these precious things so that the minds of ministers and people may, if possible, be drawn away from contention and strife to something that is nourishing to the soul—food that will give health, hopefulness, and courage. Many are now saying, “Report, and he will report it.” Some are greedy for those things that satisfy a depraved spiritual appetite and that will ruin their religious experience, placing them outside the city of God with those who live and make a lie.17MR 63.1

    In the night season many things are passing before me. The Scriptures, full of grace and richness, are presented before me. The word of the Lord to me is: “Look on these things, and meditate on them. You may claim the rich grace of truth, which nourishes the soul. Have naught to do with controversy and dissension and strife, which bring darkness and discouragement to your soul. Truth is clear, pure, savory. Avoid all council meetings where there is dissension, and where men will neither credit My words and obey My lessons nor heed your counsel. Speak the truth in faith and love, leaving the result with God. The work is not yours, but the Lord's. In all your communications, speak as one to whom the Lord has spoken. He is your authority, and He will give you His sustaining grace.”17MR 63.2

    My sons, I would have you firmly united as brothers in the flesh and as brothers in Christian fellowship.17MR 64.1

    I have a work to do, and I am now making decisions. I must remain away from conference meetings. I must not attend camp meetings. The spirit of drawing apart, as the result of judging one another, has become so common, and the churches are becoming so leavened with this spirit, that I have no desire to attend these meetings. After returning from them, it is often weeks before I am able to take up my neglected work.17MR 64.2

    Because those in positions of responsibility have for years left the Southern field unworked, notwithstanding the most decided testimonies urging them to take up this work; because they continue to neglect this field and use every manner of device in trying to uproot the confidence of the people in those who have done the hardest and most self-sacrificing work in the South, I have but very little confidence that the Lord is giving these men in positions of responsibility spiritual eyesight and heavenly discernment. I am thrown into perplexity over their course; and I desire now to attend to my special work, to have no part in any of their councils, and to attend no camp-meetings, nigh nor afar off. My mind shall not be dragged into confusion by the tendency they manifest to work directly contrary to the light that God has given me. I am done. I will preserve my God-given intelligence.17MR 64.3

    My voice has been heard in the different conferences and at camp meetings. I must now make a change. I cannot enter the atmosphere of strife and then have to bear testimonies that cost me much more than those to whom they are sent can imagine. When I attend the different meetings, I am compelled to deal with men, standing in responsible places, who I know are not exerting an influence that God can endorse. And when I bear a testimony in reference to their course of action, advantage is taken of this testimony. These men have not clear understanding. Should I say the things that I know, they would not, with their present experience, use this instruction wisely, and would bring upon me inconceivable burdens.17MR 64.4

    I shall, therefore, leave them to receive word from the Bible, in which the principles upon which they should work are laid down in straight lines.17MR 65.1

    There are those who look upon themselves as the Lord's servants, but who, as shown by the way in which the Southern work has been handled, are working away from the light that God has for years been giving. I have pity for them, but I cannot be forever pointing out for them the way of righteousness. They are brought no nearer right actions by what I say than if the words were never spoken. So long as those in responsible positions see things through a false medium, they will put a wrong construction on my work.17MR 65.2

    The light I have for our ministers is: Seek God; stop your whisperings and your evil surmisings instigated by Satan, and see if the love of God will not fill heart and soul. And I will go on with my writing. This is the light given me, and I shall not depart from it.17MR 65.3

    Let all keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment. Let prayer ascend to God for the Holy Spirit's instruction. Then when it comes, look at yourselves in the great moral looking glass, God's Word, which will always tell you the truth. When God's servants work as laborers together with God out of love for Christ and the souls ready to perish, a very different atmosphere will be brought into our churches. Each man will be found in his place, recognizing the work God has put in his hands to be done for this time.17MR 65.4

    Religion not only improves but beautifies the disposition and the character. Christ must be blended with all our thoughts, our feelings, our affections. He must be exemplified in the minutest details of everyday service in the work that He has given us to do. When, in the place of leaning upon human understanding or conforming to worldly maxims, we sit at the feet of Jesus, eagerly drinking in His words, learning of Him, and saying, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” our natural independence, our self-confidence, our strong self-will, will be exchanged for a childlike, submissive, teachable spirit. When we are in right relation to God, we shall recognize Christ's authority to direct us and His claim to our unquestioning obedience.—Letter 186, 1902.17MR 65.5

    Ellen G. White Estate

    Washington, D. C.,

    May 7, 1987.

    Entire Letter.