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Manuscript Releases, vol. 21 [Nos. 1501-1598]

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    MR No. 1577—A Call to Rightly Represent the Truth

    (Written circa 1861, from Battle Creek, Michigan, to “Dear Brethren and Sisters at Bedford.”)

    While at Grand Rapids I saw the cases of some. I was first shown the case of Brother Hungerford—that he was far from God. He realized but little what it was to be a true Christian, a follower of Christ. I saw that religion did not consist in making a noise, but that Brother Hungerford was in the habit of going into meeting and praying long and loud, and after the meeting closed, his heat and excitement were gone, and then he was light and trifling. He seemed to have no foundation, no heartwork—did not show the fruits of a Christian. His conduct out of meeting was such as God abhors. He was too familiar with the sisters, his life was not at all in accordance with his profession, and every day he gave his profession the lie.21MR 364.1

    He is a reproach to the cause, and it would be better if he had never embraced the third angel's message than to take the course he does—appear to be full of zeal in meeting and when you look for the fruits out of meeting they are not to be found. I saw that he was too dilatory. Much of his time that he should spend in laboring with his hands to support his family and to help the cause was idled away. I saw that he would have to give an account for his strength and time that he has idled away. He is just as accountable for his time and strength as those who have property are accountable for what God has given them. God has given strength to Brother Hungerford and he has made a bad use of it. He has not spent it to the glory of God, but has felt satisfied and easy if he could go a distance to meeting and idle away his time there when it were much better for him if he was at home laboring with his hands, for he would be no benefit in meeting.21MR 364.2

    Brother Hungerford's heart is far from God. His imprudent conduct has brought a reproach upon the cause that will not be easily wiped away. To be a Christian is to be Christlike, and the habit Brother Hungerford has of shouting is no evidence that he is a Christian, for his shouting is regarded by God as no shouting. Half of the time he himself knows not what he is shouting at.21MR 364.3

    There is also a great lack of neatness and order. God wants His children in these last days to be neat and clean. His commands to the children of Israel were definite in regard to cleanliness. God has not changed or altered. He wants His children in these last days to be clean and holy and have no guile found in their mouth. God will not own a filthy person as a Christian. There is no place for such in heaven, for all is neatness and order there.21MR 364.4

    I saw that some in Bedford were at fault; did not realize how precious their time was, and that they must be diligent and faithful in the things of this world, or God would not trust them with the true riches. I saw that not all realized that their time, their strength, was the Lord's, that it was not their own. If they did realize this, they would be more diligent not to add land to land and building to building, but to obtain all they could by using the strength God has given them for His precious cause, and then they will receive their reward hereafter.21MR 365.1

    I saw that there was not that spirit of sacrifice in Bedford that there should be, that some were not careful enough to study, when they decided to attend meetings, whether they were going to gratify themselves or to glorify God. Those who know the truth and are established in it should deprive themselves of privileges in order to assist other souls who are hungry and starving for present truth in other places. There is too much of a spirit and feeling like this—that those who are diligent in their affairs at home, and deprive themselves of the privileges of attending meetings abroad, were worldly minded, when the truth of the matter was they were making a sacrifice of their inclinations and desires, and with their hands were laboring to obtain something for the necessity of God's servants. All these things were noticed of God.21MR 365.2

    It is not the will of God for His children to be engrossed in cares and get worldly-minded. No, no, and they will never do this if the suffering cause is ever before them. They must die to self. God is not displeased, but approbates His children getting together every Sabbath and listening to the testimonies of each other. Neither does He frown upon their going once a year or perhaps oftener to a distance to meeting. But when souls have had a feast—and a rich one—hearing from God's Word of His precious truth, then is the time for them to improve upon what they have heard. Instead of going again and again to hear more, let them ponder over and over what they hear. Many will have to render an account for privileges they have had in attending a meeting and hearing the truth they have made no improvement upon.21MR 365.3

    I saw that it was necessary that all should have the true object rest before them, and then they should be diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. They must remember what Jesus has suffered and sacrificed for them, and they must be watching for an opportunity that they may sacrifice something for God and His cause—watch and see how they can be the means of doing others good. There is too much of a feeling like this—my time is my own; but it is not so. It is not your own. You are bought with a price, and are soldiers, and you must be ever at your post, wherever it is, at home or abroad. Idleness and slothfulness God abhors. Ease and love of self-gratification must be overcome, and all must have a spirit of sacrifice.21MR 365.4

    Those who are in the habit of indulging in passion and of being impatient will have to overcome it. They will, and must, be perfectly subdued by grace or they can never enter heaven. Jesus is the example that is set before us. He endured all the slight and indignity that could be heaped upon Him, yet He opened not His mouth. He that could have had a legion of angels to assist Him had He asked His Father, was the meek Lamb and was spit upon, crowned with the crown of thorns, and stretched on Calvary's cross, there to die an ignominious death for our sins. Oh, it behooved Christ to suffer all this to make a way of escape for lost man! He was the innocent Sufferer, and shall we dare to complain of any sacrifice we have made or can make? Shall we murmur, who shall suffer something for our own sins? Oh, no! Let us crave the suffering part.21MR 366.1

    Brethren and sisters in Bedford, learn to suffer more. Learn to deny yourselves more. There is need of it. Die to self. Do not love your ease too much. Have energy in your daily labors and energy in the cause of God. Your reward is not here. Jesus has purchased for us an immortal inheritance, and for that we can endure anything. Oh, what love, what wondrous love has been manifested for us by the Beloved of the Father! Oh, do not, any of you, neglect the preparation necessary and finally be weighed in the balances and found wanting!—Letter 14, 1861.21MR 366.2

    Ellen G. White Estate

    Silver Spring, Maryland,

    April 18, 1991.

    Entire Letter.