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

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    MR No. 1578—News from Australia; A Call to Sanctification and to Work for Souls

    (Written August 24, 1897, from “Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, N.S.W., to Edson and Emma White.)

    We have been having considerable rain for several days. My garden was made in the low land, and twice it has been overflowed. Now we hope there will be a spell of dry weather so that we can work the land. We have had one week of most beautiful weather. Bear in mind that it is our winter now. I can scarcely write, the paper is so cold to my hands. I have not kindled a fire in my stove for one week, for a fire is only necessary in the few early morning hours. I am so thankful that we have so healthful a climate. When you come to Australia, I will build you a home of your own if the Lord prospers me. I think we have far more sunshine and fine weather here than in any country I have ever visited. All who come here improve in health. It is a very unusual thing to have foggy or cloudy weather.21MR 367.1

    Willie has a very comfortable house for his family. It is not yet thoroughly furnished. We wish he could have come up on the last boat.21MR 367.2

    Yesterday we had a short call from Brother Brandstater and wife. They have two small children. They are thinking of taking a position with Brother and Sister Semmens in the Health Home, he acting as treatment hand. We are expecting Brother and Sister Hare from Fresno, California. Dr. Hare is to officiate as physician in the Health Home.21MR 367.3

    I am expected to speak at the school as often as possible. The things that need to be done in connection with the work in this missionary field are a continual strain, and the writing that I am called upon to do puts a double tax upon me. My head becomes very weary and refuses to work.21MR 367.4

    We are now in process of building a chapel. We hope to get it finished to dedicate at the close of the school term. Twice I have been called to the probable location of our church, the very nicest ground on the whole purchased possession. We have the ground selected, but they expect me to decide the particular spot where the building is to be. We need a church so much, and have needed it during the two years that we have been on this ground.21MR 367.5

    We have held our meetings in a loft above the sawmill, and there the furniture and all kinds of things used in the school gave it the appearance of an auction room. I am feeling sad, so very sad, that I should have consented to this. If the Lord will pardon my transgression, I will by His grace, in every place where I shall labor, make the spiritual rather than the temporal necessities of the first importance. I am so sorry as I realize that I have neglected this work, which should be first, until the last. The dearth of means was my excuse, but I ought to have walked by faith. I have not honored God as I should have done had I moved out in faith notwithstanding seeming impossibilities.21MR 367.6

    When the Lord sees that we will trust Him implicitly, He will work in our behalf, and we shall see the salvation of God. The Lord proves us, He tests us to see if we will make Him our only trust. We need a much sharper, keener faith than we now have. We need to constantly cultivate an earnest, living, trusting faith, and in cause and spiritual work keep our petitions constantly ascending, seeking the Lord for clear discernment. And sharp spiritual eyesight will be given every true seeker. Has not the Lord told us, “Seek ye My face”? And will we not individually respond, “Thy face, Lord, will I seek”? This is the call of God, and this the appropriate answer to that call. The Lord wishes us to know Him by an experimental knowledge as a kind, tender Father who has our interest and happiness in mind just as a loving earthly father cares for his children.21MR 368.1

    The heavenly Father loves His sons and daughters. He wishes all to know Him. It is because men are not more than half converted that the church is so dead and lifeless. There are many who are and have been all their lives half Christians. Their names are in the Book of Life, and if they turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, they then respect the voice that says unto them, “Seek ye My face,” and reply, “Thy face, Lord, will I seek,” and they shall see God with a clear, elevated, spiritual sense. The religious sentiment awakened in the heart is recognized as God's call, and is obeyed.21MR 368.2

    Everyone will be tested and tried in the very way that is the most trying. Men cannot trust to their own wisdom. Self-sufficiency, if indulged, will be their stumbling block. Self must die and not have a resurrection every other day. The words must be truly spoken, “I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” The “I” is a very hard personality to kill. “I” rises into life in full proportions if given the least opportunity or encouragement. Then, confident in their own supposed wisdom, men forsake the right way.21MR 368.3

    They were once in the right way, for they could not have forsaken the right way had they known nothing about it. Those then who have once been real Christians, who have known the right way, but have forsaken it, come under the jurisdiction of Satan to be used as his instruments against the truth as it is in Jesus. Satan's masterly power will be exercised to make men and women lose the crown of life which it is their privilege to obtain.21MR 368.4

    Judas was chosen as one of Christ's disciples. Christ did not reject him because he was not perfect. Judas had the power to heal the sick and to cure diseases, but the lesson to be taught every one that is a church member is that having their names registered on the church books will never make them Christians. It is doing the Word that makes us sons and daughters of God. Judas, notwithstanding the lessons of Christ, failed to be converted daily, to be an instrument sanctified and polished for the Master's use; he became subject to temptation. His old hereditary and natural tendencies Satan found could be used to dishonor the Master and imperil his own soul.21MR 369.1

    These things are not understood by many in the church at Battle Creek, and the result will be as it was in the case of Judas. Some will depart from the faith. Having a knowledge of the truth while not being sanctified by it, they will be constantly working out wrong characters, and they will really do more harm because of the knowledge of the truth which they have. They will confederate with apostates and be the means of betraying sacred trusts. God calls for the whole-sided, undivided interests of the men whom He has chosen.21MR 369.2

    The pure in heart shall see God. This seeing God in a clear, spiritual light is salvation to the soul of every believer. As soon as a soul decides to die to self, the new light begins and grows stronger and more decided until he is able to endure the sight of Him who is invisible. And as he sees God, he becomes fashioned in character after the divine similitude. His words, his attitude, his spirit, his actions in everything testify to the clearness of his judgment. In proportion to the seeing of God will be the spiritual force of his character. The consecration to God of the life and time and powers of every converted soul is the result.21MR 369.3

    A life of freedom and idleness, a life of self-pleasing, is not the life of a Christian, nor has it ever been. Christ was a worker, and He gives to all His followers a law of service that they may benefit the temporal and spiritual interests of their fellow men. He presents to the world a higher conception of life than they have ever thought of. The true recognition of Christ's work is service. A life of obedience and service is not only the true life for man, it is the most distinguished, the noblest that a man can live. He brings himself in connection with the Life and Light of the world and in connection with his fellow men. This makes the law of service the connecting link between God and the lives of his fellow men, and constitutes him a laborer together with God, living to be good and to do good.21MR 369.4

    When will those who profess Christ learn that they must put on Christ in words, spirit, and actions? This will not lead to feebleness and inactivity, to self-love and self-pleasing. It becomes us a Christians to have a clear understanding, to recognize our duty toward God by taking up the responsibilities which bind us to our fellow men in the strong links that the law of God has defined, that we love our neighbor as ourselves, all our service merging itself into the life of Jesus Christ.21MR 370.1

    The noble life which Christ has made it possible for us to live—one of obedience and service—makes us partakers of the divine nature. Cannot we experience the inner strength of piety which animated Jesus Christ? “I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” That life will reveal that it is a part of Christ's life, wearing Christ's yoke, lifting His burdens. The transformation of the human character makes the yoke of Christ easy and His burden light. Through faith everyone can, if he will, become one with Christ in his obedience and his service.21MR 370.2

    It is God's prerogative to command; it is the duty of man to obey. Nothing is forced upon any soul. The honor of duty is a thing conferred upon him as a son of God, an heir of heaven. He is to labor for God in interested, true-hearted, glad, honorable service. In obeying all His commandments, a spirit of love for God is revealed. In this very atmosphere of love, Christ lived and worked.21MR 370.3

    Each word, each action is a work for God. Here is faith in God, and faith in men. Christ would never have given His life for the human race if He had not faith in the souls for whom He died. He knew that a large number would respond to the love He had expressed for humanity. It is not every heart that responds, but every heart may and can, if it will, respond to that love that is without a parallel. “My sheep hear My voice,” Christ said. A heart yearning for God will recognize the voice of God. God cannot respond to one soul that does not respond to His grace offered, His love bestowed.21MR 370.4

    He is waiting for a response from souls in Battle Creek. The issue rests wholly with themselves. He bids them to the marriage feast, He sets before them the banquet that will satisfy every want. His Word is full of marrow and fatness. “And ye shall seek Me and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart” [Jeremiah 29:13]. Shall this decision and effort commence in every family in Battle Creek? Then the Lord will give an outpouring of His Spirit as on the Day of Pentecost.21MR 370.5

    August 25—Dear children, watch unto prayer. Then you will know that you do know that your life is hid with Christ in God. Those who live in these last days are to be overcomers by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. There is no time now for levity, self-indulgence, and stupidity in the understanding of the work we have to do. Activity and devotion are united; work and piety blend. There is to be appropriate strength given for daily duties, which is derived from the worshiping of God in the beauty of holiness. The lamp must burn, which is impossible unless it is fed with holy oil. And the oil which is so precious is efficacious only as it is communicated by reflecting light upon the pathway of others. Busy activity is to be proportioned with devotional exercises in worship and diligent, cheerful ministry to the needy souls whose inquiry is, “What must I do to be saved?”21MR 371.1

    [Zechariah 4:11-14, quoted.]21MR 371.2

    There are times when Christ would say to those in His service whose energies have been overtaxed, “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while.” We have the record on one occasion, after a day of ceaseless toil, that our Redeemer lay, a coil of rope for His pillow, fast asleep in a fisherman's boat. His exhausted human nature cried for rest and sleep. What a lesson for human beings who do nothing to bless others. Behold the Saviour! How pressing were the necessities which sought Him for relief! Teaching in the temple, healing in the temple, explaining the Scriptures in the streets, by the wayside, in His retired walks—the subjects so urgent left Him no time for repose. His sympathies were drawn out for the oppressed, He comforted the mourner, He brought hope to the hopeless, He healed the scars and bruises that sin had made. He went about doing good.21MR 371.3

    The warning is given, Let us not sleep as do others in a spiritual lethargy. Let us watch and be sober. Oh, that the work of reformation so essential in Battle Creek should begin. In all our institutions, all on duty should stand at their posts saying, “Here am I, send me.” He who was wise in counsel is waiting for you all to see your need of help, and it is abundantly provided. It is waiting for you. “The pure in heart shall see God.” As a present help in every time of need His presence is revealed.21MR 371.4

    As you ask Him and call upon His name for help, He says, “Here I am close beside you, ready to help you if you are ready to be helped.” Communion with God is for each one personal and direct. Hearts under the guidance of the Holy Spirit will burn within them with the love of God. They are like trustful children. Christ looks not for merit. Oh, if all would come just as they are, and let Him make the preparation in taking them as His. The Lord only wants them to receive Him, learn to wear His yoke, and lift His burdens that heaven may behold that they are laborers together with God. Why cannot every soul that needs help and rest come to the Burden Bearer, that he may have light and life.21MR 371.5

    Christ could not help being bright and shining. His very work was to shine. “I am come,” He said, “that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” [John 10:10]. “In Me is no darkness at all” [See 1 John 1:5]. With sadness Christ says that there are some who love not the light, because their deeds are evil. They do not come to Jesus to deliver them from the power of evil. Light means revelation, and the light is to shine amid moral darkness. Christ is everything to those who receive Him. He is their Comforter, their safety, their healthfulness. Apart from Christ there is no light at all.21MR 372.1

    There need not be a cloud between the soul and Jesus. Why do so large a number who profess to believe in Christ have so limited a view of the life-giving power of Christ? We are not one of us to act as if the Word, the life, and light, was to be given to us grudgingly. His great heart of love is longing to flood the soul with the bright beams of His righteousness. “Whoso is athirst let him come and take of the water of life freely.” We are acting as if we must only taste, when our faith should say, “Let me drink of Thy fullness.” Faith, living genuine faith, is required. We are privileged to receive of the abundant supply. Then our duty is, “Freely ye have received, freely give.”21MR 372.2

    Our Lord was a successful worker with the common people. This was the class that always heard Him gladly. Why, oh why, I inquire, are there so few that carry any burden for souls? His heart was yearning to make souls happy. “Come unto Me,” He said, “all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” [Matthew 11:28-30].21MR 372.3

    We are now amid the perils of the last day when many shall be purified, made white, and tried. “But the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.”—Letter 153a, 1897.21MR 372.4

    Ellen G. White Estate

    Silver Spring, Maryland,

    April 18, 1991.

    Entire Letter.

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