FUNDAMENTAL BELIEFS OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS IN 1990
Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible as their only creed and hold certain fundamental beliefs to be the teaching of the Holy Scriptures. These beliefs, as set forth here, constitute the church's understanding and expression of the teaching of Scripture. Revision of these statements may be expected at a General Conference session when the church is led by the Holy Spirit to a fuller understanding of Bible truth or finds better language in which to express the teachings of God's Holy Word.
1. The Holy Scriptures
The Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the written Word of God, given by divine inspiration through holy men of God who spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In this Word, God has committed to man the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the authoritative revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God's acts in history. (2 Peter 1:20,2l; 2 Tim. 3:16,17; Ps.119:105; Prov.30:S,6; Isa.8:20; John 17:17; 1 Thess.2:13; Heb.4:l2.)
2. The Trinity
There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unit of three co-eternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. He is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation. (Deut.6:4; Matt.28:19; 1 Cor.13:14; Eph.4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Tim.1:17; Rev. 14:7.)
3. The Father
God the eternal Father is the Creator, Source, Sustainer, and Sovereign of all creation. He is just and holy, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. The qualities and powers exhibited in the Son and the Holy Spirit are also revelations of the Father. (Gen.1:1; Rev.4;11; 1 Cor.l5:28; John 3:16; 1 John 4:8; 1 Tim.1:17; Ex.34:6,7; John 14:9.)
4. The Son
God the eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ. Through Him all things were created, the character of God is revealed, the salvation of humanity is accomplished, and the world is judged. Forever truly God, He became also truly man, Jesus the Christ. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived and experienced temptation as a human being, but perfectly exemplified the righteousness and love of God. By His miracles He manifested God's power and was attested as God's promised Messiah. He suffered and died voluntarily on the cross for our sins and in our place, was raised from the dead, and ascended to minister in the heavenly sanctuary in our behalf. He will come again in glory for the final deliverance of His people and the restoration of all things. John 1:1-3,14; Col.1:15-19; John lO:30; 14:9; Rom.6:23; 2 Cor.5:17-19; John 5:22; Luke 1:35; Phil.2:5-l1; Heb. 2:9-18; 1 Cor.15:3,4; Heb.8:1,2; John 14:1-3.)
5. The Holy Spirit
God the eternal Spirit was active with the Father and the Son in Creation, incarnation, and redemption. He inspired the writers of Scripture. He filled Christ's life with power. He draws and convicts human beings; and those who respond He renews and transforms into the image of God. Sent by the Father and the Son to be always with His children, He extends spiritual gifts to the church, empowers it to bear witness to Christ, and in harmony with the Scriptures leads it into all truth. (Gen.1:1,2; Luke1:35; 4:18; Acts 10:38; 2 Peter l:2l; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:11,12; Acts 1:8; John 14:16-18,26; 15:26,27; 16:7-13.)
God is Creator of all things, and has revealed in Scripture the authentic account of His creative activity. In six days the Lord made "the heaven and the earth" and all living things upon the earth, and rested on the seventh day of that first week. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of His completed creative work. The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation, given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was "very good," declaring the glory of God. (Gen.1:2; Ex.20:8-11; Ps.19:1-6; 33:6,9; 104; Heb.11:3.)
7. The Nature of Man
Man and woman were made in the image of God with individuality, the power and freedom to think and to do. Though created free beings, each is an indivisible unity of body, mind, and spirit, dependent upon God for life and breath and all else. When our first parents disobeyed God, they denied their dependence upon Him and fell from their high position under God. The image of God in them was marred and they became subject to death. Their descendants share this fallen nature and its consequences. They are born with weaknesses and tendencies to evil. But God in Christ reconciled the world to Himself and by His Spirit restores in penitent mortals the image of their Maker. Created for the glory of God, they are called to love Him and one another, and to care for their environment. (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:7; Ps.8:4-8; Acts 17:24-28; Gen.3; Ps. 51:5; Rom.5:12-17; 2 Cor.5:19, 20; Ps.51:10; 1 John 4:7,8,11, 2O; Gen.2:l5.)
8. The Great Controversy
All humanity is now involved in a great controversy between Christ and Satan regarding the character of God, His law, and His sovereignty over the universe. This conflict originated in heaven when a created being, endowed with freedom of choice, in self-exaltation became Satan, God's adversary, and led into rebellion a portion of the angels. He introduced the spirit of rebellion into this world when he led Adam and Eve into sin. This human sin resulted in the distortion of the image of God in humanity, the disordering of the created world, and its eventual devastation at the time of the worldwide flood. Observed by the whole creation, this world became the arena of the universal conflict, out of which the God of love will ultimately be vindicated. To assist His people in this controversy, Christ sends the Holy Spirit and the loyal angels to guide, protect, and sustain them in the way of salvation. (Rev.12:4-9; Isa.14:12-14; Eze.28:12-18; Gen.3; Rom.1:19-32; 5:12-21; 8:19-22; Gen.6-8; 2 Peter 3:6; 1 Cor.4:9; Heb.1:14.)
9. The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ
In Christ's life of perfect obedience to God's will, His suffering, death, and resurrection, God provided the only means of atonement for human sin, so that those who by faith accept this atonement may have eternal life, and the whole creation may better understand the infinite and holy love of the Creator. This perfect atonement vindicates the righteousness of God's law and the graciousness of His character; for it both condemns our sin and provides for our forgiveness. The death of Christ is substitutionary and expiatory, reconciling and transforming. The resurrection of Christ proclaims God's triumph over the forces of evil, and for those who accept the atonement assures their final victory over sin and death. It declares the Lordship of Jesus Christ, before whom every knee in heaven and on earth will bow. (John 3:16; Isa.53; 1 Peter 2:2l,22; 1 Cor.15:3,4,20-22; 2 Cor.5:14,lS,19-21; Rom.1:4; 3:25; 4:25; 8:3; 4; 1 John 2:2; 4:10; Col.2:l5; Phil.2:6-11.)
10. The Experience of Salvation
In infinite love and mercy God made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might be made the righteousness of God. Led by the Holy Spirit we sense our need, acknowledge our sinfulness, repent of our transgressions, and exercise faith in Jesus as Lord and Christ, as Substitute and Example. This faith which receives salvation comes through the divine power of the Word and is the gift of God's grace. Through Christ we are justified, adopted as God's sons and daughters, and delivered from the lordship of sin. Through the Spirit we are born again and sanctified; the Spirit renews our minds, writes God's law of love in our hearts, and we are given the power to live a holy life. Abiding in Him we become partakers of the divine nature and have the assurance af salvation now and in the judgment. (2 Cor.5:17-21; John 3:16; Gal.1:4; 4:4-7; Titus 3:3-7; John 16:8; Gal.3:13,14; 1 Peter 2:21,22; Rom.10;17; Luke 17:5; Mark 9:23,24; Eph.2:5-10; Rom.3:21-26; Col.1:13,14; Rom.8:14-17; Gal.3:26; John 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:23; Rom. 12:2; Heb.8:7-12; Eze.36:25-27; 2 Peter 1:3,4; Rom.8:1-4; 5:6-10.)
11. The Church
The church is the community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. In continuity with the people of God in Old Testament times, we are called out from the world; and we join together for worship, for fellowship, for instruction in the Word, for the celebration of the Lord's Supper, for service to all mankind, and for the worldwide proclamation of the gospel. The church derives its authority from Christ, who is the incarnate Word, and from the Sriptures, which are the written Word. The church is God's family; adopted by Him as children, its members live on the basis of the new covenant. The church is the body of Christ, a community of faith of which Christ Himself is the Head. The church is the bride for whom Christ died that He might sanctify and cleanse her. At His return in triumph, He will present her to Himself a glorious church, the faithful of all the ages, the purchase of His blood, not having spot or wrinkle, but holy and without blemish. (Gen.12:3; Acts 7:38; Eph.4:11-15; 3:8-11; Matt. 28:19,20; 16:13-20; 18:18; Eph.2:19-22; l:22, 23; 5:23-27; Col. 1:17,18.)
l2. The Remnant and its Mission
The universal church is composed of all who truly believe in Christ, but in the last days, a time of widespread apostasy, a remnant has been called out to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This remnant announces the arrival of the judgment hour, proclaims salvation through Christ, and heralds the approach of His second advent. This proclamation is symbolized by the three angels of Revelation 14; it coincides with the work of judgment in heaven and results in a work of repentance and reform on earth. Every believer is called to have a personal part in this worldwide witness. (Rev.12:17; 14:6-12; 18:1-4; 2 Cor.5:lO; Jude 3,14; 1 Peter 1:16-19; 2 Peter 3:10-14; Rev.21:1-14.)
13. Unity in the Body of Christ
The church is one body with many members, called from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. In Christ we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality, and differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us. We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation. Through the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures we share the same faith and hope, and reach out in one witness to all. This unity has its source in the oneness of the triune God, who has adopted us as His children. (Rom.12:4,5; 1 Cor.12:12-14; Matt.28:19,20; Ps.133:1; 2 Cor.5:16, 17; Acts 17:26, 27; Gal.3:27, 29; Col.3:10-15; Eph.4:14-16; 4:1-6; John 17:20-23.)
By baptism we confess our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and testify of our death to sin and of our purpose to walk in newness of life. Thus we acknowledge Christ as Lord and Saviour, become His people, and are received as members by His church. Baptism is a symbol of our union with Christ, the forgiveness of our sins, and our reception of the Holy Spirit. It is by immersion in water and is contingent on an affirmation of faith in Jesus and evidence of repentance of sin. It follows instruction in the Holy Scriptures and acceptance of their teachings. (Rom.6:1-6; Col.2:l2,13; Acts 16:30-33; 22:16; 2:38; Matt.28:19,2O.)
15. The Lord's Supper
The Lord's Supper is a participation in the emblems of the body and blood of Jesus as an expression of faith in Him. our Lord and Saviour. In this experience of communion Christ is present to meet and strengthen His people. As we partake, we joyfully proclaim the Lord's death until He comes again. Preparation for the Supper includes self-examination, repentance, and confession. The Master ordained the service of foot washing to signify renewed cleansing, to express a willingness to serve one another in Christlike humility, and to unite our hearts in love. The communion service is open to all believing Christians. (1 Cor.10:16,17; 11:23-30; Matt.26:17-30; Rev.3:ZO; John 6:48-63; 13:1-17.)
16. Spiritual Gifts and Ministries
God bestows upon all members of His church in every age spiritual gifts which each member is to employ in loving ministry for the common good of the church and of humanity. Given by the agency of the Holy Spirit, who apportions to each member as He wills, the gifts provide all abilities and ministries needed by the church to fulfill its divinely ordained functions. According to the Scripures, these gifts include such ministries as faith, healing, prophecy, proclamation, teaching, administration, reconciliation, compassion, and self-sacrificing service and charity for the help and encouragement of people. Some members are called of God and endowed by the Spirit for functions recognized by the church in pastoral, evangelistic, apostolic, and teaching ministries particularly needed to equip the members for service, to build up the church to spiritua1 maturity, and to foster unity of the faith and knowledge of God. When members employ these spiritual gifts as faithful stewards of God's varied grace, the church is protected from the destructive influence of false doctrine, grows with a growth that is from God, and is built up in faith and love. (Rom.12:4-8; 1 Cor.l2:9-l1, 27,28; Eph.4:8, 11-16; Acts 6:1-7;1 Tim.2:1-3, 1 Peter 4:10,11.)
17. The Gift of Prophecy
One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White. As the Lord's messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested. (Joel 2:28, 29; Acts 2:14-21; Heb.1:1-3, Rev.12:17; 19:10.)
18. The Law of God
The great principles of God's law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and exemplified in the life of Christ. They express God's love, will, and purposes concerning human conduct and relationships and are binding upon all people in every age. These precepts are the basis of God's covenant with His people and the standard in God's judgment. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit they point out sin and awaken a sense of need for a Saviour. Salvation is all of grace and not of works, but its fruitage is obedience to the Commandments. This obedience develops Christian character and results in a sense of well-being. It is an evidence of our love for the Lord and our concern for our fellow men. The obedience of faith demonstrates the power of Christ to transform lives, and therefore strengthens Christian witness. (Ex.20:1-17; Ps.40:7,8; Matt.22:36-40; Deut.28: 1 14; Matt.5:17-20; Heb.8:8-10; John 16:7-lO; Eph.2:8-10; 1 John 5:3; Rom.8:3,4; Ps.19:7-14.)
19. The Sabbath
The beneficent Creator, after the six days of Creation, rested on the seventh day and instituted the Sabbath for all people as a memorial of Creation. The fourth commandment of God's unchangeable law requires the observance of this seventh-day Sabbath as the day of rest, worship, and ministry in harmony with the teaching and practice of Jesus. the Lord of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a day of delightfu1 communion with God and one another. It is a symbol of our redemption in Christ, a sign of our sanctification, a token of our allegiance, and a foretaste of our eternal future in God's kingdom. The Sabbath is God's perpetua1 sign of His eternal covenant between Him and His people. Joyful observance of this holy time from evening to evening, sunset to sunset, is a celebration of God's creative and redemptive acts. (Gen.2:1-3; Ex.20:8-11; Luke 4:16; Isa.56:5,6; 58:13,14; Matt.12:1-l2; Ex.31:13-17; Eze.20:12-20; Deut.5:12-15; Heb.4 1-11; Lev.23 32; Mark 1-32.)
We are God's stewards, entrusted by Him with time and opportunities, abilities, and possessions, and the blessings of the earth and its resources. We are responsible to Him for their proper use. We acknowledge God's ownership by faithful service to Him and our fellow men and by returning tithes and giving offerings for the proclamation of His gospel and the support and growth of His church. Stewardship is a privilege given to us by God for nurture in love and the victory over selfishness and covetousness. The steward rejoices in the blessings that come to others as a result of his faithfulness. (Gen. 1:26-28; 1 Chron.29:14; Haggai 1:3-11; Mal.3:8-12; 1 Cor.9:9-14; Matt.23:23; Rom.15:26,27.)
21. Christian Behavior
We are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with the principles of heaven. For the Spirit to recreate in us the character of our Lord we involve ourselves only in those things which will produce Christlike purity, health, and joy in our lives. This means that our amusement and entertainment should meet the highest standards of Christian taste and beauty. While recognizing cultural differences, our dress is to be simple, modest, and neat, befitting those whose true beauty does not consist of outward adornment but in the imperishable ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit. It also means that because our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, we are to care for them intelligently. Along with adequate exercise and rest, we are to adopt the most healthful diet possible and abstain from the unclean foods identified in the Scriptures. Since alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and the irresponsible use of drugs and narcotics are harmful to our bodies, we are to abstain from them as well. Instead, we are to engage in whatever brings our thoughts and bodies into the discipline of Christ, who desires our wholesomeness, joy, and goodness. (Rom. 12:1, 2; 1 John 2:6; Eph.5:1-21; Phil.4:8; 2 Cor.10:5; 6:14; 7:1; 1 Peter 3:1-4; 1 Cor.6:19,20; 10:31; Lev.11:1-47; 3 John 2.)
22. Marriage and the Family
Marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman in loving companionship. For the Christian the marriage commitment is to God as wel1 as to the spouse, and should be entered into only between partners who share a common faith. Mutual love, honor respect, and responsibility are the fabric of this relationship, which is to reflect the love, sanctity, closeness, and permanence of the relationship between Christ and His church. Regarding divorce, Jesus taught that the person who divorces a spouse, except for fornication, and marries another commits adultery. Although some family relationships may fall short of the ideal, marriage partners who fully commit themselves to each other in Christ may achieve loving unity through the guidance of the Spirit and the nurture of the church. God blesses the family and intends that its members shall assist each other toward complete maturity. Parents are to bring up their children to love and obey the Lord. By their example and their words they are to teach them that Christ is a loving disciplinarian, ever tender and caring, who wants them to become members of His body, the family of God. Increasing family closeness is one of the earmarks of the final gospel message. (Gen.2:18-25; Matt.19:3-9; John 2:1-11; 2 Cor.6:14; Eph.5:21-33; Matt.5:31,32; Mark 10:11,12; Luke 16:18; 1 Cor.7:10,11; Ex.20:12; Eph 6;1-4; Deut.6:5-9; Prov.22:6; Mal.4:5,6.)
23. Christ's Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary
There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle which the Lord set up and not man. In it Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross. He was inaugurated as our great High Priest and began His intercessory ministry at the time of His ascension. In 1844, at the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, He entered the second and last phase of His atoning ministry. It is a work of investigative judgment which is part of the ultimate disposition of all sin, typified by the cleansing of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary on the Day of Atonement. In that typical service the sanctuary was cleansed with the blood of animal sacrifices, but the heavenly things are purified with the perfect sacrifice of the blood of Jesus. The investigative judgment reveals to heavenly intelligences who among the dead are asleep in Christ and therefore, in Him, are deemed worthy to have part in the first resurrection. It also makes manifest who among the living are abiding in Christ, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and in Him, therefore, are ready for translation into His everlasting kingdom. This judgment vindicates the justice of God in saving those who believe in Jesus. It declares that those who have remained loyal to God shall receive the kingdom. The completion of this ministry of Christ will mark the close of human probation before the Second Advent. (Heb.8:1-5; 4:14-16; 9:11-28; 10:19-22; 1:3; 2:16,17; Dan.7:9-27; 8:13,14; 9:24-27; Num.14:34; Eze.4:6; Lev.16; Rev.14:6,7; 20:12; 14:12; 22:12.)
24. The Second Coming of Christ
The second coming of Christ is the blessed hope of the church, the grand climax of the gospel. The Saviour's coming will be literal, personal, visible, and worldwide. When He returns, the righteous dead will be resurrected, and together with the righteous living will be glorified and taken to heaven, but the unrighteous will die. The almost complete fulfillment of most lines of prophecy, together with the present condition of the world, indicates that Christ's coming is imminent. The time of that event has not been revealed, and we are therefore exhorted to be ready at all times. (Titus 2:13; Heb.9:28; John 14:1-3; Acts l:9-l1; Matt.24:14; Rev.1:7; Matt.26:43,44; 1 Thess.4:13-18; 1 Cor.15:51-54; 2 Thess.1:7-10; 2:8; Rev.14:14-20; 19:11-21; Matt.24; Mark 13; Luke 21; 2 Tim.3:1-5; 1 Thess.5:1-6.)
25. Death and Resurrection
The wages of sin is death. But God who alone is immortal, will grant eternal life to His redeemed. Until that day death is an unconscious state for all people. When Christ, who is our life, appears, the resurrected righteous and the living righteous will be glorified and caught up to meet their Lord. The second resurrection, the resurrection of the unrighteous, will take place a thousand years later. (Rom.6:23; 1 Tim.6: 15,16; Eccl.9:5,6; Ps.146:3,4; John 11:11-14; Col.3:4; 1 Cor.15:51 54; 1 Thess.4:13-17; John 5:28,29; Rev.20:1-10.)
26. The Millennium and the End of Sin
The millennium is the thousand-year reign of Christ with His saints in heaven between the first and second resurrections. During this time the wicked dead will be judged; the earth will be utterly desolate, without living human inhabitants, but occupied by Satan and his angels. At its close Christ with His saints and the Holy City will descend from heaven to earth. The unrighteous dead will then be resurrected, and with Satan and his angels will surround the city; but fire from God will consume them and cleanse the earth. The universe will thus be freed of sin and sinners forever. (Rev.20: 1 Cor.6:2,3; Jer.4:23-26; Rev.21:1-5; Mal.4:1; Eze.28:18,19.)
27. The New Earth
On the new earth, in which righteousness dwells, God will provide an eternal home for the redeemed and a perfect environment for everlasting life, love, joy, and learning in His presence. For here God Himself will dwell with His people, and suffering and death will have passed away. The great controversy will be ended, and sin will be no more. All things, animate and inanimate, will declare that God is love; and He shall reign forever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:13; Isa.35; 65:17-25; Matt.5:5; Rev.21:1-7;22:1-5; 11:15.)
Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Silver Spring, MD., rev.ed., 1990. For a more detailed study of these fundamental beliefs see Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine,(Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1957.); Walter R. Martin, The Truth About Seventh-day Adventism, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1960.); Seventh-day Adventist Ministerial Association, Seventh-day Adventists Believe. . . A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines, (Washington, D.C.: General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1988.)
FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS IN 1872
In presenting to the public this synopsis of our faith, we wish to have it distinctly understood that we have no articles of faith, creed, or discipline, aside from the Bible. We do not put forth this as having any authority with our people, nor is it designed to secure uniformity among them, as a system of faith, but is a brief statement of what is, and has been, with great unanimity, held by them. We often find it necessary to meet inquiries on this subject, and sometimes to correct false statements circulated against us, and to remove erroneous impressions which have obtained with those who have not had an opportunity to become acquainted with our faith and practice. Our only object is to meet this necessity.
As Seventh-day Adventists we desire simply that our position shall be understood; and we are the more solicitous for this because there are many who call themselves Adventists who hold views with which we can have no sympathy, some of which, we think, are subversive of the plainest and most important principles set forth in the word of God.
As compared with other Adventists, Seventh-day Adventists differ from one class in believing in the unconscious state of the dead, and the final destruction of the unrepentant wicked; from another, in believing in the perpetuity of the law of God as summarily contained in the ten commandments, in the operation of the Holy Spirit in the church, and in setting no times for the advent to occur; from all, in the observance of the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath of the Lord, and in many applications of the prophetic scriptures.
With these remarks, we ask the attention of the reader to the following propositions, which aim to be a concise statement of the more prominent features of our faith.
That there is one God, a personal, spiritual being, the creator of all things, omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal, infinite in wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and mercy; unchangeable, and everywhere present by his representative, the Holy Spirit. Ps.139:7
That there is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, the one by whom God created all things, and by whom they do consist; that he took on him the nature of the seed of Abraham for the redemption of our fallen race; that he dwelt among men full of grace and truth, lived our example, died our sacrifice, was raised for our justification, ascended on high to be our only mediator in the sanctuary in Heaven, where, with his own blood, he makes atonement for our sins; which atonement, so far from being made on the cross, which was but the offering of the sacrifice, is the very last portion of his work as priest, according to the example of the Levitical priesthood, which foreshadowed and prefigured the ministry of our Lord in Heaven. See Lev.l6; Heb.8:4,5; 9:6,7; etc.
That the Holy Scriptures, of the Old and New Testaments, were given by inspiration of God, contain a full revelation of his will to man, and are the only infallible rule of faith and practice.
That Baptism is an ordinance of the Christian church, to follow faith and repentance, an ordinance by which we commemorate the resurrection of Christ, as by this act we show our faith in his burial and resurrection, and through that, of the resurrection of all the saints at the last day, and that no other mode fitly represents these facts than that which the Scriptures prescribe, namely, immersion. Rom.6:3-5; Col.2:12.
That the new birth comprises the entire change necessary to fit us for the kingdom of God, and consists of two parts: first, a moral change, wrought by conversion and a Christian life; second, a physical change at the second coming of Christ, whereby, if dead, we are raised incorruptible, and if living, are changed to immortality in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. John 3:3,5; Luke 20:36.
We believe that prophecy is a part of God's revelation to man; that it is included in that scripture which is profitable for instruction, 2 Tim.3:l6; that it is designed for us and our children, Deut.29:29; that so far from being enshrouded in impenetrable mystery, it is that which especially constitutes the word of God a lamp to our feet and a light to our path, Ps.119:105, 2 Pet.2:19; that a blessing is pronounced upon those who study it, Rev.1:1-3; and that, consequently, it is to be understood by the people of God sufficiently to show them their position in the world's history, and the special duties required at their hands.
That the world's history from specified dates in the past, the rise and fall of empires, and chronological succession of events down to the setting up of God's everlasting kingdom, are outlined in numerous great chains of prophecy, and that these prophecies are now all fulfilled except the closing scenes.
That the doctrine of the world's conversion and temporal millennium is a fable of these last days, calculated to lull men into a state of carnal security, and cause them to be overtaken by the great day of the Lord as by a thief in the night; that the second coming of Christ is to precede, not follow, the millennium; for until the Lord appears the papal power, with all its abominations, is to continue, the wheat and tares grow together, and evil men and seducers wax worse and worse, as the word of God declares.
That the mistake of Adventists in 1844 pertained to the nature of the event then to transpire, not to the time, that no prophetic period is given to reach to the second advent, but that the longest one, the two thousand and three hundred days of Dan.8:14, terminated in that year, and brought us to an event called the cleansing of the sanctuary.
That the sanctuary of the new covenant is the tabernacle of God in Heaven, of which Paul speaks in Hebrews 8, and onward, of which our Lord, as great High Priest, is minister; that this sanctuary is the antitype of the Mosaic tabernacle, and that the priestly work of our Lord, connected therewith, is the antitype of the work of the Jewish priests of the former dispensation, Heb. 8:1-5, etc.; that this is the sanctuary to be cleansed at the end of the 2300 days, what is termed its cleansing being in this case, as in the type, simply the entrance of the high priest into the most holy place, to finish the round of service connected therewith, by blotting out and removing from the sanctuary the sins which had been transferred to it by means of the ministration in the first apartment, Heb.9:22,23; and that this work, in the antitype, commencing in 1844, occupies a brief but indefinite space, at the conclusion of which the work of mercy for the world is finished.
That God's moral requirements are the same upon all men in all dispensations; that these are summarily contained in the commandments spoken by Jehovah from Sinai, engraven on the tables of stone, and deposited in the ark, which was in consequence called the "ark of the covenant," or testament. Num.10:33, Heb.9:4, etc.; that this law is immutable and perpetual, being a transcript of the tables deposited in the ark in the true sanctuary on high, which is also, for the same reason, called the ark of God's testament; for under the sounding of the seventh trumpet we are told that "the temple of God was opened in Heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament." Rev.11:19.
That the fourth commandment of this law requires that we devote the seventh day of each week, commonly called Saturday, to abstinence from our own labor, and to the performance of sacred and religious duties; that this is the only weekly Sabbath known to the Bible, being the day that was set apart before paradise was lost, Gen.2:2,3, and which will be observed in paradise restored, Isa.66:22,23; that the facts upon which the Sabbath institution is based confine it to the seventh day, as they are not true of any other day; and that the terms, Jewish Sabbath and Christian Sabbath, as applied to the weekly rest-day, are names of human invention, unscriptural in fact, and false in meaning.
That as the man of sin, the papacy, has thought to change times and laws (the laws of God), Dan. 7:25, and has misled almost all Christendom in regard to the fourth commandment, we find a prophecy of a reform in this respect to be wrought among believers just before the coming of Christ. Isa.56:1,2; 1 Pet.1:5, Rev.14:12, etc.
That as the natural or carnal heart is at enmity with God and his law, this enmity can be subdued only by a radical transformation of the affections, the exchange of unholy for holy principles; that this transformation follows repentance and faith, is the special work of the Holy Spirit, and constitutes regeneration or conversion.
That as all have violated the law of God, and cannot of themselves render obedience to his just requirements, we are dependent on Christ, first, for justification from our past offences, and, secondly, for grace whereby to render acceptable obedience to his holy law in time to come.
That the Spirit of God was promised to manifest itself in the church through certain gifts, enumerated especially in 1 Cor.12 and Eph.4; that these gifts are not designed to supersede, or take the place of, the Bible, which is sufficient to make us wise unto salvation, any more than the Bible can take the place of the Holy Spirit; that in specifying the various channels of its operation, that Spirit has simply made provision for its own existence and presence with the people of God to the end of time, to lead to an understanding of that word which it had inspired, to convince of sin, and work a transformation in the heart and life; and that those who deny to the Spirit its place and operation, do plainly deny that part of the Bible which assigns to it this work and position.
That God, in accordance with his uniform dealings with the race, sends forth a proclamation of the approach of the second advent of Christ; that this work is symbolized by the three messages of Rev.14, the last one bringing to view the work of reform on the law of God, that his people may acquire a complete readiness for that event.
That the time of the cleansing of the sanctuary, (see proposition X), synchronizing with the time of the proclamation of the third message, is a time of investigative judgment, first with reference to the dead, and at the close of probation with reference to the living, to determine who of the myriads now sleeping in the dust of the earth are worthy of a part in the first resurrection, and who of its living multitudes are worthy of translation - points which must be determined before the Lord appears.
That the grave, whither we all tend, expressed by the Hebrew sheol, and the Greek hades, is a place of darkness in which there is no work, device, wisdom, or knowledge. Eccl.9:10.
That the state to which we are reduced by death is one of silence, inactivity, and entire unconsciousness. Ps.146:4; Eccl.9:5,6: Dan.12:2; etc.
That out of this prison house of the grave mankind are to be brought by a bodily resurrection; the righteous having part in the first resurrection, which takes place at the second advent of Christ, the wicked in the second resurrection, which takes place a thousand years thereafter. Rev.20:4-6.
That at the last trump, the living righteous are to be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and with the resurrected righteous are to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, so forever to be with the Lord.
That these immortalized ones are then taken to Heaven, to the New Jerusalem, the Father's house in which there are many mansions, John 14:1-3, where they reign with Christ a thousand years, judging the world and fallen angels, that is, apportioning the punishment to be executed upon them at the close of the one thousand years; Rev.20:4; 1 Cor.6:2,3; that during this time the earth lies in a desolate and chaotic condition, Jer.4:20-27, described, as in the beginning, by the Greek term abussos, bottomless pit (Septuagint of Gen.1:2); and that here Satan is confined during the thousand years, Rev.20:1,2, and here finally destroyed, Rev.20:10; Mal.4:1, the theater of the ruin he has wrought in the universe, being appropriately made for a time his gloomy prison house, and then the place of his final execution.
That at the end of the thousand years, the Lord descends with his people and the New Jerusalem, Rev.21:2, the wicked dead are raised and come up upon the surface of the yet unrenewed earth, and gather about the city, the camp of the saints, Rev.20:9, and fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours them. They are then consumed root and branch, Mal.4:1, becoming as though they had not been. Obad.15:l6. In this everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, 2 Thess.1:9, the wicked meet the everlasting punishment threatened against them, Matt.25:46. This is the perdition of ungodly men, the fire which consumes them being the fire for which "the heavens and the earth which are now" are kept in store, which shall melt even the elements with its intensity, and purge the earth from the deepest stains of the curse of sin. 2 Pet.3:7-12.
That a new heaven and earth shall spring by the power of God from the ashes of the old, to be, with the New Jerusalem for its metropolis and capital, the eternal inheritance of the saints, the place where the righteous shall evermore dwell. 2 Pet.3:13; Ps.37:11,29; Matt.5:5.
A Declaration of the Fundamental Principles Taught and Practiced by the Seventh-day Adventists, 1872, Battle Creek, Mich.: Steam Press of the Seventh-day Adventist Pub. Assn., 1872.
ELLEN G. WHITE COUNSEL ON OPEN-AIR MEETINGS
I would like to speak a word in regard to open-air meetings. There is no one who can long bear the taxation to the throat and lungs of speaking in the open air. I have spoken thus more or less for the last forty years, and I know how trying it is. And in this country, it must be especially taxing on account of the dampness of the air.
Another objection to holding open-air meetings is the fact that the congregation is constantly changing, and one cannot come close to them by personal effort. One might preach in the open air till the Lord comes and then be unable to show definite result. Then, too, this kind of labor has a tendency to make the laborer not obtain that kind of experience that is fitting him to be a perfect workman, for he becomes negligent in regard to following up his own work and binding it off securely. He does not obtain that experience that will make him an able minister of Christ. He has very little encouragement to grow in the truth, to obtain a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, and he does not obtain that experience that will make him an able minister for Christ.
I do not wish to be understood that open-air meetings never should be held. They may be held at times as a necessity, but this is not the best regular means of presenting the truth. We have a different work to do. We must remove the rubbish of error which is piled about the people.
In order to do this we should be more personal in our labor and should have something fresh like the manna from heaven to present as their wants require. From such meetings the people do not obtain the best ideas of our work. We want them to understand that we have the most sacred truth ever given to mortals.
(Remarks made at the 1885 European Council of Seventh-day Adventist Missions, Basel, Switzerland.)
Open-air meetings are quite common in England. If conducted on right principles, these are good. Jesus placed Himself in the great thoroughfares of travel, where His voice was heard by thousands. The precious words that fell from His lips found a lodgment in many hearts and caused them to search and see if these things were so.
(Part of a report manuscript submitted to the Review.)
MS 18, 20 September 1885, Manuscript Release No.1561, 18 April 1991, Ellen G. White Estate, Silver Spring, MD.
ELLEN G. WHITE LETTER TO WILLIAM AND JENNY INGS
We have been traveling among the churches with my own team. Left Basle May 20 and journeyed two days to Tramelan. Oh, what scenery! No one can tell what Switzerland is unless they have traveled over the road by horse and carriage. I spoke three times in Tramelan. There is a goodly number there. Eleven came from this place and we had a good meeting. Brother John Vuilleumier was my interpreter.
Monday we drove to Bienne in company with Mary Roth and her brother, Oscar, and Sarah McEnterfer. We rode fifteen miles over the most beautiful road and viewed the most majestic scenery my eye ever looked upon. But this letter is not to describe scenery but to state a few things.
I spoke at Bienne in the missionary meeting, then W. C. White spoke. Mary Roth was our interpreter. Today we have come thirty miles and the scenery was such as to delight the senses all the way. For miles we were steadily climbing until we could view the landscape from the elevated point where we now are. I am glad we have a good strong horse and a good, easy, convenient carriage. I am being much benefited by my journey.
I started in this letter to say that as yet we have spent but a very little time in England. We design to start in two weeks for Sweden and Norway, and then shall go to England. The plan now is that our European conference will be in England. We shall stay some time and labor in England. Then if you come, Brother and Sister Ings, we purpose to have a family together and unite our interests and will have a comfortable home, convenient food, and try to help one another. I must spend considerable of my remaining stay in England, if I can endure the climate. If I cannot, shall go where I can, but I am desirous to work in England. I long to speak without a translator. And if I spend much time in England, shall take my horse and my carriage with me.
But I will say, Do just that which the Lord directs. Do not move upon anyone's light, but study duty. You are on the ground and you can know the situation. Ask God for light, and then do your duty with an eye single to His glory.
We would not urge your coming, but we do feel that it would be in the order of God for you both to visit Europe at this time. We cannot advise Brother Ings to come without his wife shall accompany him. He needs her and we will try to make up a family, for I cannot see any better way to do than to be independent of all families, cook as we please. We have had a good girl to cook for us and do all housework. We will have a good girl in England and you will be free to ride with me, walk with me, and help me in many ways. Then when your husband is not well or when he shall rest, he can have a home to come to. If we do not stay in England long, still we will have a home where our interests will be connected. When we go to America, I want to have Sister Ings in my family, and I shall locate myself somewhere or in some place where there is land to pasture a cow without so much trouble.
Now, my dear brother and sister, I have not lost my interest in either of you, and I want we should be one family. I think you had both better come at once to England, and by the time you arrive we will be making our way from Norway to England. There we will meet, there we will talk over our plans. There are good locations we can obtain in England. We shall secure the most healthy place we can to make a home, and we want you to connect with us.
Mary K. White does not find time even to ride with me or travel with me. Sarah is either taking dictation or writing on the calligraph, and Marian--you know how she begs off. You can help me and I can help you, and you can go with me to different churches. Now come, both of you, and remain as long as it shall please the Lord. When we leave England we want you to go in company with us.
In my dreams I am with Sister Ings. She fell on my neck and said, "Oh, Sister White, I never wanted to leave you. You made me leave you, and I want to be with you. The Lord blesses me when I am with you." I said, "Sister Ings, from this time our interests shall never be divorced. We will stand shoulder to shoulder to the close of time."
I want when you shall come that you will bring all the matter in regard to mother's influence, all letters from my children. You can help me much in some of these matters. I would not bring but a limited supply of clothing as you can obtain it here better than there, but you need not I should inform you in regard to this.
You have filled a good place in the institution and now it is well that there should be a change. Therefore come, Sister Ings, with your husband. We will be more than glad to see you. I can say no more in regard to this matter. The Lord help you to decide aright, is my prayer.
No one would be more happy to see you than every one of our family, but after saying this I can say more--all would receive you most heartily. I do not know what the duty of Sister Ings is. I believe that it was in the order of God that she took her position at the Health Retreat. I believe she has been the right one in the right place, and I think her to be qualified for the position and that she will be a blessing to the institution. I look forward to the time when I will see my old home again and Sister Ings be with me, if she can be cut loose from the Health Retreat. But my pleasure, my wishes, shall not come in to be a controlling power.
In regard to you both, I have the same tender interest in you both, and nothing would give me more keen sorrow than to find you in any place where you would not be happy or where you would be sufferers healthwise. If Brother Ings should come to England, we shall feel the same interest in his welfare we have felt in America.
Our interest must be bound up together. If Brother Ings has the blessing of God, he may do a good work in England, and I wish he could spend some time there. It would please us much. If the Lord wills he should come, we will be glad, and if it is found that rheumatism affects him, he could spend some time in Basle or other sections of the country where it would be more favorable. You are not to come with the idea that you are to be fixed in England. It is only for a time to do a specified work and then return again to California as soon as we will return to America.
Now, we do not feel that it is our province to make duties for either of you or to do anything further than to suggest. If Brother Ings feels it his duty to remain in California, then let him follow his convictions. I believe the Lord will lead those whom He entrusts with His work. But it seems to us, as we survey the field, that he should come.
We are pleasantly situated in Basle, but shall be prepared to leave in one year. I look home to California often, but not in the same way Lot's wife looked back to Sodom. But I have left home and all its comfort and all its attraction. I consider the cause of God and its workings of greater consequence to me than anything that I possess. I will not worry about home, but just as soon as my work is done I shall go back willingly. You will see by this letter that I want you both to move understandingly and with a consciousness that the Lord is leading and guiding. I cannot tell either of you your duty or where you shall go or what you will do. Let the Lord lead and guide you. I believe He will. With much love, I remain, your true friend.
Letter 78, 26 May 1886, from Chaud-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Manuscript Release No. 1566, 18 April 1991, Ellen G. White Estate, Silver Spring, MD.
ELLEN G. WHITE LETTER TO S. N. HASKELL
I have been meaning to write to you for some days, but have been very sick with malaria. I am now improving. It is three weeks since I first was taken sick. I have suffered much, and I feared much how it would turn with me, but I kept praying and putting my whole trust in God, and He has blessed me. I hope to improve now faster than I have done.
Elder Ings and wife, and Elder Ertsenberger and I attended the dedication of a small house in Tramelan. Soon after I came into Brother Roth's house, I was alarmed for myself. The water closets were in the house, and on each floor was a water closet. The house was permeated with the poison, and thus it proved to work on me. I was taken with great pain in my stomach, as if poisoned. Still I spoke Sabbath. We had a very solemn meeting. I had to give the dedicatory discourse which was interpreted by Brother Ertsenberger.
I grew worse Sunday, but a large hall had been hired, notices had been sent out that I would speak. John Vuilleumier came from Bale to interpret; and although suffering severe spasms of pain, I spoke to three hundred people assembled in the hall. The meeting was pronounced a success, but I dared not remain another night. I had them make arrangements to return to Bale Sunday night after speaking in afternoon. Well, I spoke New Year's to all who could understand English, and the Lord met with us. I became very sick, yet spoke again last Sabbath, and the week now about past has been a week of peril to me, but the worst is past. I feel very thankful to my heavenly Father.
We had hoped you would be here at the conference and thought it would prove a blessing, and then W. C. W. would accompany Brother Farnsworth and yourself to England and see what could be done there. Then when the way was prepared, I would spend one or two months in England. But as your plans are not to come till April, we shall not unite in the work in England. I am feeling quite sure that I should return to America and that I must be at my house in California at the end of the two years from the time I left California.
We did not propose to wait here all the time while you were tarrying in America, so you may consider the promise annulled to do anything in England. We will, therefore, be on our way to America about, or near, the time you will be coming to England. We felt that we cannot be here any longer, so you must know the situation and consider me released from all promises made to work with you in England. Had you come on as we expected you would, and if the way was made ready, I would have consented to remain until June or July, but now we will make calculations to leave earlier. I dare not be longer exposed to the scents that we have to receive in Switzerland, unless we see it is duty.
I begin to feel now that I have done all that I can do in visiting other nations. I have not yet been to Naples, but I do not feel that God has a special work for me to do there. I am not yet determined at all. I left my home in Healdsburg one year ago last July, and I may not see it in two years from the time I left. All that I possess is in other hands' keeping. I have met with some losses since my absence, but this is nothing. It might have been, had I remained with it. It has been enough for me to see and sense that there must be a work done here in Switzerland, and I have not allowed home matters to disturb me or come into my experience to influence me one jot or tittle in any decision I have made.
I am satisfied that God has blessed me, and this is all I desire. And now could I obtain any light to remain longer, I would do so. I do not say that it is your duty to come earlier than you have proposed, but I cannot see that it is our duty to be held here months longer because you are not ready to come. After this conference, my mind will be, I think, clear to again return to my home.
I feel a deep interest in the work all over the field. I have no special interest in one place above another, only that I am doing the will of God. We expect our party will arrive here sometime this week, and may the Lord give us wisdom from above to know just how to decide everything in a manner to glorify His holy name. I have been expecting a letter of response from Elder Loughborough in regard to Brother Church and his pledges, but none has come yet. It may come soon. I do hope that you will not work up to the last thread of strength you have. And I should be glad if your wife could have your company more than she has had, poor women! She has to be away from you so much, but the Lord will not leave or forsake her. I hope she will be constantly blessed of the Lord.
Now, my brother, I have some fears in regard to your dwelling with pen and voice so constantly upon Australia. It will be well to talk a reasonable amount and write about it, but dwelling upon it so much, I am afraid it will not bring the blessing of God into your present labors. You are not now in Australia. Put your energies and your thoughts into your present labor. Again, I am sure by a dream that was given me, we are searching for the fruit and berries at great distance, when there is excellent fruit close by us. We want to pick not an inferior kind of fruit, but make efforts to get the large and sound fruit. I will write my dream to you soon. I had several pages written in reference to the school at South Lancaster, but Willie thinks I should make an article for the paper, and as it cannot be copied tonight I will send this just as it is and leave the matter I had written especially for the benefit of the school in South Lancaster.
I am sure that the dreams that I have had of late teach me lessons that there is a neglect to get the better classes to become interested while the poor classes are not to be neglected, neither should the higher and more intelligent classes be overlooked. I have been, in dreams, instructed that we overlook the fields close by us to labor in far away fields, and we pick very inferior berries when there are larger and a better quality of berries all ready to be gathered. And we are making a mistake in this kind of labor.
There are intelligent men and women whom we are afraid to work for, fearing repulse; but earnest efforts should be made for the higher classes, coming close to their hearts, visiting them and using special wisdom to win them to the truth. There should be no pushing, no sharp contention, but leading their minds out to investigate.
I dreamed we had lost in our want of effort and faith to pray and work for intelligent men and women, and when we see these have any interest there has been a neglect by some to follow it up and pray or work and to move with great wisdom, yet in love to win them to the truth.
Just as soon as I can I will send you a copy of the matter I have mentioned, but I am desirious this shall go into our mail tonight. I am not doing much letter writing now, for I am leaving all energies we have to accomplish this work for the press before we leave for America.
I do not blame you at all for wanting to work in New England when they need help so very much. I should feel just as you do, but this does not make a connection with us, so that I think our duty is plain to go to America as I have said.
Now, Brother Haskell, let me speak to you in regard to Sister Harris. She has been a woman who has seen much sorrow, and I know that God has worked for her. He has shown her favors and she has had a genuine experience in the things of God; and the suspicions expressed by yourself and others in reference to her some time ago, make me feel very sad, because I do not think she deserves them. I have not hinted these things to her, but I have felt exceedingly grieved that a worthy sister should, for no real fault or sin on her part, be thus regarded by those who ought to regard her differently. Everything that I can see is the matter, she may, or you think she may not, think everything her brethren in South Lancaster do is above criticism, and not entering soul and spirit into every suggestion and plan has drawn upon her criticism and suspicion.
I have great confidence in her for this, although she has made no complaints to me. Yet the words and the attitude of yourself, as well as others, toward her was, to say the least, not cordial. If there is a woman that loves and fears God in South Lancaster, it is Sister Harris. If there is a woman I would fear to slight or offend, because it would grieve the Spirit of God, it is Sister Harris. And those who would speak against her in any way to effect your feelings toward her, had better be on their knees before God, and get all that feeling out of their hearts, and not draw from her, but come close to her, and show her sympathy and love. This changeable mood toward those who have been real pillars in the truth, I cannot see is bearing the divine stamp, and if we have much less of this spirit to change, we should change our feelings, because someone does not think us above making mistakes is a spirit that is not of Christ, and I mean to condemn it wherever I see it.
Well, I must stop. God bless you and your wife.
Letter 20, 14 January 1887, from Basel, Switzerland. Manuscript Release No.1567, 18 April 1991, Ellen G. White Estate, Silver Spring, MD.
ELLEN G. WHITE LETTER TO DORES A. ROBINSON AND CHARLES L. BOYD
I have desired to talk with you, but dared not, because I have not felt that I had strength to do justice to any subject in private conversation. When before the people I am always sustained by the Lord.
There is great importance attached to the starting in right at the beginning of your work. I have been shown that the work in England has been bound about without making that decided advancement that it might have made if the work had commenced right.
Far more might have been done with different modes of management, and there would have been less means actually taken from the treasury. We have a great and sacred trust in the elevated truths committed to us. We are glad that there are men who will enter into our mission fields who are willing to work with small remuneration to open the truth to those who are in the darkness of error in far-off countries for the love of Christ and their fellow men. Money does not weigh with them in the scales against the claims of conscience and duty.
The men who will give themselves to the great work of teaching the truth are not the men who will be bribed with wealth or frightened by poverty. But God would have His delegated servants constantly improving. In order for the work to be carried forward with efficiency, the Lord sent forth His disciples two and two. God has a church, and these churches are organized on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.
No one man's ideas, one man's plans, are to have a controlling power in carrying forward the work. One is not to stand apart from the others and make his plans and ideas the criterion for all the workers. There is to be with the individual members sent forth together, a board for counsel together. One is not to stand apart from the others and argue his own ways and plans, for he may have an education in a certain direction and possess certain traits of character which will be detrimental to the interests of the work if allowed to become a controlling power.
The workers are not to stand apart from one another, but work together in everything that interests the cause of God. And one of the most important things to be considered is self-culture. There is too little attention given to this matter. There should be a cultivation of all the powers to do high and honorable work for God. Wisdom may be gained in a much larger measure than many suppose who have been laboring for years in the cause of God, which no man has yet attained. There are men who have narrow ideas, narrow plans, and work in a narrow groove.
This will be the danger in entering a new field,--to plan and bring all the powers to bear to get along in the most inexpensive manner. Now, while the state of the treasury demands that there should be constant economy, there is danger of an economy which results in loss rather than gain. Our growth has been, in untried fields, generally slow because of the seventh-day Sabbath. There stands a sharp cross directly in the way of every soul who accepts the truth.
There are other truths, such as the non-immortality of the soul, and the personal coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven to our earth in a short time. But these are not as objectionable as the Sabbath. Some will conscientiously accept the truth for its own sake, because it is Bible truth, and they love the path of obedience to all the commandments of God. These objectionable features of our faith will bar the way to many souls who do not wish to be a peculiar people, distinct and separate from the world. Therefore, great wisdom is required to be exercised in the matter of how the truth is brought before the people. There are certain clearly defined ends to gain at the very introduction of missionary effort. If the plans and methods had been of a different character, even if they necessarily involved more outlay of means, there would have been far better results.
At some places there should be a slow beginning. This is all they can do. But in many places the work can be entered into in a more thorough and decided manner from the very first. But there must be no haphazard, loose, cheap manner of work done in any place. The work in Old England might have been much farther advanced now than it is if our brethren had not tried to move in so cheap a way. If they had hired good halls, and carried forward the work as though they had great truths which would be victorious and as though God would have them start in to make the very first impressions the very best that could be made, as far as they go, the work would have advanced more than it has.
Keep up the elevated character of the missionary work. Let the inquiry of both men and women associated in the missionary work be, What am I? and what ought I to be and do? Let each worker consider that he cannot give to others that which he does not possess himself. Therefore, he should not settle down into his own set ways and habits, and make no change for the better. Paul says, "Not as though I had already attained,. . . but I follow after. . . . I press toward the mark." Phil.3:12,14. It is constant advancement and improvement, and reformation that is to be made with individuals to perfect a symmetrical, well-balanced chracter.
Please remember the words of caution that I now give you. You all need a more perfect and symmetrical character than you now have. No one has ways and habits that do not need improvement, and if this improvement is not made with you all individually, if you are not constantly seeking for higher attainments in every way, you will greatly hinder the work of each other. There must be a continual advancement with ever-varying changes. New duties will arise, new fields of labor open before you, and thoroughly organized effort will bring success.
There is little that any of you can do alone. Two or more are better than one, if there will be that humility that you will esteem each other better than yourselves. If any of you consider your plans and modes of labor perfect, you greatly deceive yourselves. Counsel together with much prayer and humbleness of mind, willing to be entreated and advised. This will bring you where God will be your Counselor. The work you are engaged in cannot be done except by forces which are the result of well-understood plans. If you undertake the work in a narrow, cheap plan, as they have done in [the British] mission, it will be no more in place in Africa than in any British territory and will not be wisdom in any large city.
There must be something ventured, and some risks run by those on the field of battle. They must not in every movement feel that they must receive orders from headquarters. They must do the best they can under all circumstances, all counseling together with much earnest prayer to God for His wisdom. There must be union of effort. There is much that will have to be planned for. Therefore, the necessity for perfect unity among yourselves. As a people we must march under our own standard.
Wherever, in reforms, we can connect with others in the countries to which we go, it will be advisable to do so, but there are some things you must do within yourselves, working in the armour which God has given you--not in the armour of any one individual, but working together in Christian charity and love. Let not any one of you belittle the importance of your mission, and lower the work by a cheap, inferior way of planning to get the truth before the people.
Work intelligently, wisely, unitedly. Let no special effort be made to magnify the men, but magnify the Lord, and let him be your fear, your dread, and your sufficiency. Bring your minds up to the greatness of the work. Your narrow plans, your limited ideas, are not to come into your method of working. There must be reform on this point, and there will be more means brought in to enable the work to be brought up to the high and exalted position it should ever occupy. There will be men who have means who will discern something of the character of the work, although they have not the courage to lift the cross, and to bear the reproach that attends unpopular truth. First reach the high classes if possible, but there should be no neglect of the lower classes.
But it has been the case that the plans and the efforts have been so shaped in many fields that the lower classes only are the ones who can be reached. But methods may be devised to reach the higher classes who need the light of truth as well as the lower classes. These see the truth, but they are, as it were, in the slavery of poverty, and see starvation before them should they accept the truth. Plan to reach the best classes, and you will not fail to reach the lower classes. There is altogether too much of putting the light under the bed or under the bushel, and not on a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in the house. May the Lord give the workers true wisdom, and much of His Holy Spirit, that they may work in God's order, and may stand as high as possible in favor with God and with the people.
The Lord gave special directions in the arrangement of the encampment of the Israelites in regard to how the camp should be arranged. All was to be done with perfect order. Each man had his appointed work. No one man was to do it all, but each man had a specified work and was to attend to that work faithfully and critically, that the order and harmony and exalted character of the work should make decided impressions on the nations around them, showing to these nations that Israel had a Governor who was the Lord Himself. Thus the work and character of God would not stand inferior or belittled in the eyes of the nations who served other Gods.
The one object to be kept before the mind is that you are reformers, and not bigots. In dealing with unbelievers, do not show a contemptible spirit of littleness, for if you stop to haggle over a small sum, you will, in the end, lose a much larger sum. They will say, "That man is a sharper; he would cheat you out of your rights if he possibly could, so be on your guard when you have any dealing with him." But if in a deal a trifle in your favor is placed to the favor of another, that other will work with you on the same generous plan. Littleness begets littleness, penuriousness begets penuriousness. Those who pursue this course do not see how contemptible it appears to others, especially those not of our faith; and the precious cause of truth bears the stamp of this defect.
We are not to make the world's manner of dealing ours. We are to give to the world a nobler example, showing that our faith is of a high and elevated character. Do unto others as you would that others should do unto you. Let every action reveal the nobility of truth. Be true to your faith, and you will be true to God. Come close to the Word, that you may learn what its claims really are. When God speaks, it is your duty to listen and obey. Remember that everything in the world is judged by appearances; therefore, study carefully the word of God, and see that the words of instruction given to ancient Israel affect your arrangements and plans. While you shall not conform to the world, remember that our faith bears the stamp of singularity, and makes us a peculiar people. Therefore, all odd notions and individual pecularities and narrow plans that would give false impressions of the greatness of the work, should be avoided. None of the workers should manufacture crosses and duties; for the Bible has given the rule, the cross, the way.
Let none of you feel that you are above temptation, that you have good principles, and need fear nothing from yourselves or the work which you have to do. Be jealous of yourselves. You need to humble your hearts constantly before God, that human depravity shall not neutralize your work. Do not cultivate habits of singularity, but obtain Christ's mold every day you live. Study the Pattern.
Every one of you united in this missionary work, both our brethren and sisters who act a part in it, are men and women of strong wills. This is as it should be, if each has practiced equal self-control. But this lesson has not been learned as thoroughly as it should be. If you are willing to learn meekness and lowliness of heart in Christ's school, He will surely give you rest and peace. It is a terribly hard struggle to give up your own will and your own way. But this lesson learned, you will find rest and peace. Pride, selfishness, and ambition must be overcome; your will must be swallowed up in the will of Christ. The whole life may become one constant love sacrifice, every action a manifestation, and every word and utterance of love. As the life of the vine circulates through stem and cluster, descends into the lower fibers, and reaches to the topmost leaf, so will the grace and love of Christ burn and abound in the soul, sending its virtues to every part of the being, and pervading every excercise of body and mind.
Again I would urge upon [you] the necessity from the very first establishment of your work, to commence in a dignified, God-like manner, that you may give character to the influence of the truth which you know to be of heavenly birth. But remember that great care is to be excercised in regard to the presentation of truth. Carry the minds along guardedly. Dwell upon practical godliness, weaving the same into doctrinal discourses. The teachings and love of Christ will soften and subdue the soil of the heart for the good seed of truth. You will obtain the confidence of the people by working to obtain acquaintance with them. But keep up the elevated character of the work. Let the publications, the papers, the pamphlets, be working among the people, and preparing the minds of the reading class for the preaching of the truth. Let no stinted efforts be made in this line, and the work, if commenced wisely, and prosecuted wisely, will result in success. But do be humble and teachable, if you will teach others, and lead others in the way of truth and righteousness.
Letter 14, 18 June 1887, from Moss, Norway. Manuscript Release No.491, Ellen G. White Estate, Silver Spring, MD.
ELLEN G. WHITE LETTER TO CHARLES L. BOYD AND MAUD SISLEY BOYD
There are some things I wish to address particularly to yourself and to your wife. You both need to be guarded; you both have strong wills, and are not wanting in self confidence. . . .
In your association with others, there is a danger of your both being over-bearing and exacting. You will also be in danger of this in your own married life, unless you daily humble your hearts before God, and individually feel the great need of learning in the school of Christ the lessons of meakness, humility, and lowliness of heart.
Your ways seem to be right in your own eyes, when they may be far from right. God would have you less self-confident, self-sufficient. . . .
Your ideas and plans should be closely and critically examined, for you are in danger of circumscribing the work, of placing your own mold upon it, and of using your narrow ideas and cheap plans, which generally prove to be the dearest in the end. You belittle the work by so doing. While it is well to exercise economy, let the work of God ever stand in its elevated noble dignity.
As you are to begin work in a new mission, be careful that your defects are not exalted as virtues, and thus retard the work of God. It is testing truths we are bringing before the people, and in every movement these truths should be elevated to stand in moral beauty before those for whom we labor. Do not throw about the truth the peculiarities of your own character, or your own manner of labor. . . .
Do not cheapen the work of God. Let it stand forth as from God. Let it bear no human impress, but the impress of the divine. Self is to be lost sight of in Jesus. It is not safe to allow your own ideas and judgement, your set ways, your peculiar traits of character, to be a controlling power. There is a great need of breadth in your calculations in order to place the work high in all your plans, proportionate to its importance.
Much has been lost through following the mistaken ideas of some of our good brethren. Their plans were narrow, and they lowered the work to their peculiar ways and ideas so that the higher classes were not reached. The appearance of the work impressed the minds of unbelievers as being of very little worth--some stray offshoot of religious theory entirely beneath their notice. Much also has been lost through want of wise methods of labor. Every effort should be made to give dignity and character to the work. Special effort should be made to secure the good will of men in responsible positions, not by sacrificing even one principle of truth or righteousness, but by simply giving up our own ways and manner of approaching the people.
Much more would be effected if more tact and discretion were used in the presentation of the truth. Through the neglect of this many have a misconception of our faith and of our doctrine which they would not have if the very first impression made upon their minds had been more favorable.
It is our duty to get as close to the people as we can. This kind of labor will not have an influence to exclude the poorer and lower classes, but both high and low will have an opportunity to be benefited by the truths of the Bible; both will have a chance to become acquainted with you and to understand that the religion of the Bible never degrades the receiver. They will perceive the duties and responsibilities resting upon them to be representatives of Jesus Christ upon the earth.
The truth received in the heart is constantly elevating, refining, and ennobling the receiver. This is not a worldly wisdom, but a God given wisdom, the ways and means of which the believers in the truth should study, so that the truth may reach those classes who can exert an influence in its favor, and who will sustain its advancement with their means. The duty we owe to our fellow men places us under moral obligation of putting out our talents to the exchangers so that we may double them by winning many souls to Jesus Christ,--souls who have influence, whom God has seen fit to entrust with large capacity for doing good.
The workers in this cause should not feel that the only way they can do is to go at the people pointedly, with all subjects of truth and doctrine as held by Seventh-day Adventists, for this would close their ears at the very onset. You will be inclined to do this, for it would please your inclination and be in harmony with your character. God would have you be as lambs among wolves, as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. You cannot do this and follow your own ideas and your own plans. You must modify your method of labor. You need not feel that all the truth is to be spoken to unbelievers on any and every occasion. You should plan carefully what to say and what to leave unsaid. This is not practicing deception; it is working as Paul worked. He says, "Being crafty, I caught you with guile." Your method of labor would not have that effect.
You must vary your labor, and not think there is only one way which must be followed at all times and in all places. Your ways may seem to you a success, but if you had used more tact, more of the heavenly wisdom, you would have seen much more good results from your work. Paul's manner was not to approach the Jews in a way to stir up their worst prejudice and run the risk of making them his enemies by telling them the first thing that they must believe in Jesus of Nazareth. But he dwelt upon the prophecies of the Old Testament Scriptures that testified of Christ. Of His mission, and of His work. Thus he led them along step by step, showing them the importance of honoring the law of God. He gave due honor to the ceremonial law, showing that Christ was the One who instituted the whole Jewish economy in sacrificial service. And after dwelling upon these things and showing that he had clear understanding of these matters, then he brought them down to the first advent of Christ, and showed that in the crucified Jesus every specification had been fulfilled.
This is the wisdom Paul exercised. He approached the Gentiles not by exalting the law, but by exalting Christ, and then showing the binding claims of the law. He plainly presented before them how the light reflected from the cross of Calvery gave significance and glory to the whole Jewish economy. Then he varied his manner of labor, always shaping his message to the circumstances under which he was placed. He was, after patient labor, successful to a large degree, yet many would not be convinced. Some there are who will not be convinced by any method of presenting truth that may be pursued; but the laborer for God is to study carefully the best method, that he may not raise prejudice nor stir up combativeness.
Here is where you have failed of reaching souls in the past. When you have followed your natural inclination, you have closed the door whereby you might, with a different method of labor, have found access to hearts, and through them to other hearts. The influence of our work through gaining one soul is far reaching; the talent is put out to the exchangers and is constantly doubling.
Now it will be well, my brother, for you to carefully consider these things; and when you labor in your new field, do not feel that as an honest man you must tell all that you do believe at the very onset, for Christ did not do that way. Christ said to His disciples, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now." And there were many things He did not say to them, because their education and ideas were of such a character that it would have confused their minds and raised questioning and unbelief that it would have been difficult to remove.
God's workmen must be many-sided men; that is, they must have breadth of character, not one-idea men, stereotyped in one manner of working, getting into a groove, and being unable to see and sense that their words and their advocacy of truth must vary with the class of people they are among, and the circumstances they have to meet. All should be constantly seeking to develop their minds evenly and to overcome ill-balanced characteristics. This must be your constant study if you make a useful, successful laborer. God would have you, old as you are, continually improving and learning how you can better reach the people. . . .
A great and solemn work is before us--to reach the people where they are. Do not feel it your bounden duty the first thing to tell the people, "We are Seventh-day Adventists; we believe the seventh day is the Sabbath; we believe in the non-immortality of the soul," and thus erect most formidable barriers between you and those you wish to reach. But speak to them, as you may have opportunity, upon points of doctrine wherein you can agree, and dwell on practical godliness. Give them evidence that you are a Christian, desiring peace, and that you love their souls. Let them see you are conscientious. Thus you will gain their confidence, and then there will be time enough for the doctrines. Let the hard iron heart be subdued, the soil prepared, and then lead them along cautiously, presenting in love the truth as it is in Jesus Christ.
It requires great wisdom to reach ministers and noblemen. Why should these be neglected or passed by, as they certainly have been by our people? These classes are responsible to God just in proportion to the capital of talents entrusted to them. Should there not be greater study and much more humble prayer for wisdom to reach these classes? Where much is given, much will be required. Then should there not be wisdom and tact used to gain these souls to Jesus Christ, who will be, if converted, polished instruments in the hands of the Lord to reach others? The Lord's help we must have to know how to undertake His work in a skillful manner. Self must not be prominent.
God has a work to be done that the workers have not yet fully comprehended. Their message is to go to ministers and to worldly wise men, for these are to be tested with the light of truth. It is to be set forth before the learned ones of this world judiciously and in its native dignity. There must be most earnest seeking of God, most thorough study; for the mental powers will be taxed to the uttermost to lay plans according to the Lord's order that shall place His work on the higher and more elevated platform where it should ever have stood. Men's little ideas and narrow plans have bound about the work. . . .
May the Lord set these things home to your soul. After the most earnest efforts have been made to bring the truth before those whom God has entrusted with large responsibilities, be not discouraged if they reject it. They did the same in the days of Christ. Be sure to keep up the dignity of the work by well-ordered plans and a godly conversation. Do not think that you have elevated the standard too high. Let families who engage in this missionary work come close to hearts. Let the Spirit of Jesus pervade the soul of the workers. Let there be no self-delusion in this part of the work, for it is the pleasant, sympathetic words spoken in love to each other, the manifestations of disinterested love for their souls, that will break down the barriers of pride and selfishness, and make manifest to unbelievers that we have the love of Christ, and then the truth will find its way to their hearts. This is, at any rate, our work and the fulfilling of God's plans. But the workers must divest themselves of selfishness and criticism.
My brother, you need to be carefully guarded that those of inexperience who connect with you do not become molded to your ways, thinking they must do the work just as you do it. All coarseness and roughness must be put aside and seperated from our labor, and great wisdom must be exercised in approaching those who are not of our faith. You need to cherish courtesy, refinement, and Christian politeness. There will be need for you to guard against being abrupt and blunt. Do not consider these peculiarities as virtues, because God does not regard them thus. You should seek in all things not to offend those who do not believe as we do by making prominent the most objectionable features of our faith when there is no call for it. You will only do injury by it. . . .We want more, much more, of the Spirit of Christ; and less, much less, of self and the peculiaries of character which build up a wall, keeping you apart from your fellow-laborers. We can do much to break down these barriers. We can do much by revealing the graces of Christ in our own lives.
Jesus has been entrusting to His church His goods age after age. One generation after another for more than eighteen hundred years has been gathering up the hereditary trust, and these responsibilities, which have increased according to the light, have descended along the lines to our times. Do we feel our responsibilities? Do we feel we are stewards of God's grace? Do we feel that the lowliest, humblest service may be consecrated, if it is exercised with the high aim of doing, not our own, but our Master's will to promote His glory? We want on the whole armor of righteousness, not our own garments. . . .
You do not know yourself, and you need daily to be imbued with the Spirit of Jesus, else you will, in your dealing with your brethren and with unbelievers, become small, narrow, and penurious, and turn souls in disgust from the truth. If you cultivate these peculiar traits of character you will give deformity to the work. You must grow out of this narrowness; you must have breadth; you must get out of this little dealing, for it belittles you in every way. . . .
Now as you enter a new field, elevate the work from the very commencement. Place it on a high level, and have all your efforts of such a character as to bring all who are interested in the truth to a noble, elevated platform, corresponding with the magnitude of the work that they may have a proper education and be able to teach others. The truth is of heavenly origin, and it has been mercifully given to us in trust by heaven. May the Lord strengthen and bless you both, that you may work out self and weave Jesus into all your labors, and then the blessing of God will rest upon you.
We feel, dear Brother and Sister Boyd, the tenderest sympathy for you both, and for your little ones, as you enter this new field. We feel deeply for you in your seperation from friends and acquaintances, your brethren and sisters whom you love. But we know this message is a world-wide message, and we are and must continue to be laborers together with God. I know the Lord loves you and wants to bring you into a more close relationship with Himself. Only seek for the mold of God to be upon you, and you will constantly improve in every way until your labors will bear the full approval of Heaven. But never for a moment entertain the idea that you have no improvements to make; for you have many. . . . You are not one who is constantly learning, improving, studying how to adjust yourself to circumstances. You have not adapted yourself to the situation of things, but have been inclined to take an independent course, to follow your own plans, in the place of blending with the workers. . . .
God will be with you if you will be with Him. Take care that you do not leave a wrong impression upon minds in reference to yourself. . . . We need the cloudy pillar to lead us constantly. We have the assurance of the presence of God; you have it--"Low, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." (Matt. 28:20) God bless you. In love.
Letter 12, 25 June 1887, from Stockholm, Sweden. Manuscript Release No.491, Ellen G. White Estate, Silver Spring, MD. This release was edited by the Ellen G. White Estate.
ELLEN G. WHITE LETTER TO THE CHURCH AT KETTERING, 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 who are 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. Nothing can weaken a church so manifestly as division and strife and if this does exist nothing can so mar 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 cannot a fountain both yield salt water and fresh who is a wise man and endowed with knowledge among you let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 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 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 and his self-sacrifice and his holy mission, 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 fault-finding, in complaining ready to combat anything that does not meet their mind, even when assembled to worship God. If they had wisdom they could see the influence and result of the 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. These will go through the world doing but very little good, boisterous and obstrusive, pushing themselves to the front and thus by their want of wisdom demerit the truth and misrepresent in every way the religion of Christ. They in the place of bringing souls to Christ disgust them and turn them away from the truth and 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. 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 in your heart you should 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 cannot 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 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, without hypocrisy, 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 will not give them up but will talk as though they were the only [sic] 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 and righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. In the small meeting 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 there and then when you pray alone in your closet, then lay out before God all your burden of your heart, but in the assembly met to worship God, such prayers are all out of place and kill the interest of the meetings, and make the meetings tedious. Look at the samples of prayers given by Christ to His disciples how brief, how comprehensive that prayer. 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 soul of 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. When the meeting is carried on in 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 because the meeting is killed in interest. Let each work a part diligently presenting the experiences of the soul. Let them state their own individual experiences their soul struggles, the victories obtained, and 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.
Letter DF 4003-a-1, 23 July 1887, from Grimsby England. Ellen G. White Estate, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Mich. This verified, handwritten, unedited letter is used by this writer. Manuscript 13, 1885, a typewritten, edited version of this letter did not bear any date and was documented as "Special Testimony Sent To a Church in North England, ca August 1885," until the original was discovered.
ELLEN G. WHITE LETTER TO JOHN H. DURLAND AND ADELBERT ALLEN JOHN
I have not been able to sleep since one o'clock. I feel a great longing that souls shall come to a knowledge of the truth, and a great burden that those who labor for their salvation shall be laborers together with God. Much is comprehended in this kind of labor. It is the laborer's part to keep constantly waiting for orders. But there is not all that praying in faith that would be profitable for us and the work in which we are engaged. We strike below the standard.
There is a real work to be wrought in us. Constantly we must submit our will to God's will, our way to God's way. Our peculiar ideas will strive constantly for the supremacy, but we must make God all and in all. We are not free from the failings of humanity, but we must constantly strive to be free from these failings, not to be perfect in our own eyes but perfect in every good work. We must not dwell on the dark side; our souls must not rest in self, but in the One who is all and in all.
By beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are actually changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. We expect too little, and we receive according to our faith. We are not to cling to our own ways, our own plans, our own ideas. We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, that we may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Besetting sins are to be conquered and evil habits overcome. Wrong dispositions and feelings are to be rooted out, and holy tempers and emotions begotten in us by the Spirit of God.
This the Word of God explicitly teaches, but the Lord cannot work in us to will and to do of His good pleasure unless we crucify self, with the affections and lusts, at every step. If we try to work in our own way, we shall grievously fail. We need more of Christ and less of self. We need the work of the Spirit of God upon our hearts constantly transforming our characters, our ways, our manners.
We have too little faith, too feeble a trust in God, too little conformity to the divine will. We have a great work to do, and if we are laborers together with God, the ministering angels will cooperate with us in the work. We can only reach the people through God. Then let us lay hold of this His mighty power by living faith, praying and believing, trusting and working. Then God will do that which only God can do. God and His workers are to be closely united.
There is danger of doubting whether the plans of others are what they should be and of advancing our special ideas and plans when we have not sufficient experience to show that our ideas are perfect and will prove a success. Do not encourage in your hearts the disposition to question another's plans, another's ideas. Until you have evidence that they are wrong do not criticize your fellow laborers. Let God take care of your brethren. He requires us to surrender our own souls to him. Brethren, do not keep yourselves in your own hands. Do not, either of you, think that of yourselves you are a whole, because you are not. You are only threads in the great web of humanity, and your work is to do your part in binding humanity together.
I have much love for your souls, and much interest in your work, which is not your work, but God's. Let each one of us look to God and trust in God for himself. "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" [2 Tim.2:15]. Do your duty day by day in love, in faith, in confidence, not by preaching only but by ministering, by diligent, earnest, godly labor.
Faith, living faith, we must have, a faith that works by love and purifies the soul. We must learn to take everything to the Lord with simplicity and earnest faith. The greatest burden we have to bear in this life is self. Unless we learn in the school of Christ to be meek and lowly, we shall miss precious opportunities and privileges for becoming acquainted with Jesus. Self is the most difficult thing we have to manage. In laying off burdens, let us not forget to lay self at the feet of Christ.
Hand yourself over to Jesus, to be molded and fashioned by Him, that you may be made vessels unto honor. Your temptations, your ideas, your feelings, must all be laid at the foot of the cross. Then the soul is ready to listen to words of divine instruction. Jesus will give you to drink of the water which flows from the river of God. Under the softening and subduing influence of His Spirit your coldness and listlessness will disappear. Christ will be in you a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. This will make you a blessing to others; for you will be able to lead them to Jesus. Your testimony will not be dry, but practical. You will be enabled to do a work that is as enduring as eternity.
My brethren, we must reach the people through God. We must not plan and devise how to bring ourselves into notice, but how to work, be it in ever so humble a way, to present the matchless love and grace of Christ to the people. Let the sanctifying power of truth be expressed in your life and revealed in your character. Let Christ mold you, as clay is molded in the hands of the potter. Lay every burden at the feet of Jesus. Your health, your soul, your children, all are the Lord's; and you must relate yourself to them in such a way that you may present a well-ordered family to the Lord, children who are a pattern of good works. This is the special work of parents who have any connection with the sacred work of God.
My dear brethren, I write you these words as I was speaking them to you last night in my dreams. I am praying for the success of your effort in Marlborough. May the Lord give you an earnest spirit of prayer. I have feared that you would fail to come close enough to God to enable Him to do the work He is ready to do for you and through you. He cannot do this work unless you are hid with Christ in God, because self is prepared to take the glory God should have.
Empty the soul-temple of all selfishness. Cling with living faith to Jesus. Exert all your tact, all your skill, all your capabilities in resisting the enemy and in coming close to the souls who need help. Diligent, persevering efforts should be made in their behalf. They must be urged to have a care for their own souls. There is fullness for you in Christ. Come to the water of life and drink. Do not keep away and complain of thirst. The water of life is free to all. Spend much time on your knees in prayer. Believe that God hears your prayers, and you will see of His salvation.
Yours with deep interest in the work.
Letter 57, 23 July 1887, from Grimsby, England. Manuscript Release No. 1562, 18 April 1991, Ellen G. White Estate, Silver Springs, MD.
ELLEN G. WHITE LETTER TO STEPHEN NELSON HASKELL
Dear Brother Haskell:
Henry Kellogg came to see me yesterday morning and stated that someone had reported that in Switzerland they had taken the Swiss Mission funds to invest in building private residences in Bale and thus aroused Brother Henry so that he refused to send means to Bale. I told Henry Kellogg this was not the case, that means had not been drawn from the mission for any such purpose, that brethren were hiring money from Steiner to commence to build which I considered highly essential under the circumstances. But the mission money was not drawn upon for any such purpose.
Then there is need for all of our ministers to be careful in regard to the character of the articles they insert in the paper in regard to matters in Europe, speaking as though not much had been done in Europe. Now, my Brother, I do not think I could truthfully say this for I consider that under the circumstances since Elder A's death there has been a good work done in Europe. I think professor J. Kuns has not brought a good report and I think your letters have not given very much courage to send means to support the missions. I think even in England a good work has been done. It must be acknowledged to be a hard and trying field, and not one word of discouragement ought to be spoken. The Lord is at the helm and if we do not trust in Him to work, naught will be done. There is a good beginning made. Publications have been and still are doing a good work. Let not one grain of unbelief be sown for unless we keep a brave front, we cannot expect to inspire others with courage. I am telling everything I can in relation to the mission that will inspire confidence. When I think how slow the work has gone in [New] England and how little done in Mass., and Maine and many other places where they have all circumstances in their favor we need not be discouraged in regard to Old England. With the same amount of labor expended on Old England in a wise manner will produce, I believe, good results. May the Lord work is my prayer. And let us look at every token of good; acknowledge all the Lord has done with grateful hearts. Because you do not see the same results in Old England that you did in Australia you should not demerit that which has already been gained. There are some precious souls in Grimsby, in Ulceby and others will be gathered in. There are some good souls in Southhampton and the Brother I met at Brother Jones' and the few who are connected with him are, I judge, good material. Because they do not see every point just as we do requires wisdom in treating their cases, that we should unite wherever we can and not make the breach any greater between us. That Sister Griffen, I believe, will come to the front if wise management is exercised in her case. Such ones must not be left indifferently but efforts should be made to bring them into the noble truth. We want that woman as a worker. All such talent we must understand the faculty of winning to the truth. It is a nice work to hunt up the sheep and to make every exertion to bring them in. It will take time to rid them of all their strange ideas and erratic views, but we must be patient and not drive them from us. God is working with them and as I look over the past I see discouragements just as great that we have had to master and still have to contend with as in Old England; notwithstanding the caste of society and the difficulties to reach the higher classes. Now, my Brother, be of good heart and notwithstanding the work may move slowly, nevertheless it moves. Thank God for that, but however we may view the work, in no case put in print one single word as though there had not much been done. Do not intimate that it would be better if nothing had been done, and you could commence new. I do not thus regard it.
We had on the steamer a pleasant voyage. The very night we landed we took steamer for Fall River. I slept but little that night, arrived at Fall River at seven A. M. and had to wait two hours, then stepped on board the cars for New Bedford and waited there two hours for Mr. Bradford and he came and took us to his house till the camp should be arranged. Sabbath it was thought not best for me to go five miles to New Bedford but I felt that it was my duty so I rode down to Bedford and went into the work at once. All the Sabbath keepers were not there but I commenced the work for the seeking the Lord and we had excellent meetings. All were astonished to see so large an outside interest. Our brethren and sisters talked and showed their appreciation of help and I believe advancement. Decided advancement was made. I spoke. I never saw greater need of arrangement of laborers. Eld. Goodrich was in Providence. We had to send for him but he did not come until Monday. All that could labor was Bro. A. Robinson, Eld. Olsen and myself. I was so weary I had to refuse to see or talk with any who might come. Had a talk with Professor Ramsey. He was not coming at all; I sent for him by telegraph. I thought every one ought to be there who could lift a finger to help the meeting. He came up Monday but went to South Lancaster with his wife who came on Tuesday's boat from Martha's Vineyard. I talked with him in a very decided manner. He came back Wednesday and I think remained through the meeting. I think he was helped. I talked with Eld. Goodrich and Robinson and several others who urged their cases before me. I expected to remain through the meeting but urgent telegrams came from the Ohio camp meeting for us to come. If we would return answer that we would come Eld. Farnsworth would start for New Bedford meeting. We looked the whole thing over and considering Elders Canright and Oviatt's apostasy we decided to go. We left the ground Friday morning and arrived at Cleveland Sabbath morning and spoke that day. Made decided efforts for the people, called them forward and fully two hundred came forward. The congregation of outsiders was very large. This made a decided impression upon them. They said they never had seen anything like this before. Special labor was given in the different tents for all who came forward. After a season of prayer I was in the tent from half past two until half past five o'clock, Sunday we had the crowd again. The large tent was crowded full. It rained some. Many visited me who had been in the 43 and 44 Movement. Some claimed to be in advance of us in the faith of the restitution of all things, while some others claimed that Christ had come, while still others seemed to be seeking for the truth. It was hard labor in Cleveland because of the want of unity among the ministers. There was need of the converting power of God to come upon the ministers. Monday we entered the tent at eight o'clock and did not leave it until three. I spoke three hours giving most solemn warnings to ministers and people, called the people forward and the ministers and gave them time to confess their faults and errors. When they commenced to confess there was a break but still I did not see that clear and thorough work I desired. I told them I would not leave the tent until there was a decided movement made. Well we had a most solemn, confessing, weeping meeting. Tuesday morning I went to the eight o'clock meeting and I bowed before God and continued my supplication long for the Lord to come in and melt the hearts of the people. Then I felt the assurance that the darkness was clearing away. I told them so, bid them farewell, took the hack for the depot to go to Springfield, Ill. rode from 10 A.M. till three, and tarried at Toledo until five, then took the sleeper for Springfield and without change of cars arrived at Springfield at six A.M. Took a hack for the camp ground. Here we were welcomed to the most perfectly arranged camp ground that I ever witnessed. Everything testified that there were good managers at work. We were much pleased and spoke in the forenoon with much freedom. The outside attendance was good all the way through. I talked from one hour and a half to two hours and the congregation sat as if riveted to their seats. There, as in other places, I was not let alone and the burden of constant talking out of the desk nearly unfitted me for talking in the desk. I never saw such persistency as in Ill., to bring their matters before me. I had much freedom in speaking; Sabbath was a day of close constant labor. I think I spoke all of two to three hours. Many came forward to prayers seeking the Lord for the first time and I never attended a meeting where there seemed to be greater earnestness and tenderness and brokenness of heart. After praying with them they had meetings in different tents and they reported excellent meetings. Sunday I noticed a bad sewerage smell on the ground and learned that the wind was favorable for the bringing to us the terrible poisonous odor from a slaughter house. I was in a high fever and it seemed impossible for me to talk, yet I ventured before the large crowd and the Lord helped me. I spoke on temperance and the whole crowd listened as if for life. The Lord helped me. I was sure of that and I praise and glorify His holy name. Many Methodists, Baptists and Congregationalists spoke with me after meeting and thanked me for the words spoken. Several said they wished every mother in the land had been present to hear those good words. Oh how grateful was my heart for the strength given me from God. I thought it advisable to leave the ground that night, take the cars and go direct to Battle Creek. But Brethren Killgore and Starr just plead with me to stay over Monday. I finally consented. They said they would pray for the wind to change and they believed the Lord would hear their prayer and He did, and the wind changed. Again I spoke about two hours on our foreign missions first, then Olsen spoke and he read the papers you gave me in regard to the Millyard property and Seventh Day Baptists spoke of being so delighted with the prospect of this property falling into the hands of the Seventh-day Adventist. This was a very excellent meeting and the appeals made were the means of raising 2500 for the missions in Europe. Then I took up the Chicago mission and just at the right moment pledged for it $1000. Well two thousand five hundred was pledged to meet that call. We felt well satisfied with the meeting and then if I could have been let alone I would have come out all right, but I was urged and almost forced to see and talk with several. This was altogether too much. I feared for my life. Bro. Starr went to the city and came aback with a fine white horse and carriage, took in his wife Sarah and I and we rode three hours until time to get on board the sleeper. We stole from the ground like prisoners escaping from prison and although I rested well at night I was completely exhausted. I had spoken 24 times in 16 days, had traveled four nights and three days in that time and spoke several times three or four hours. In Chicago we took the sleeper and I lay down all the way to B. C. for I was not able to sit up. Wednesday my two daughters and I were taken out to Bro. Godsmarks to hide from visitors till Friday. I had been so tired I could not rein myself up to write a line during this constant and hard labor. I am troubled now to think of New York. It will be a hard place and no Bro. Olsen. But who will be there to help of the right sort, I cannot say. I wish I did not have to go, I wish I could be excused. Then to the Mich. meeting. May the Lord help me is my cry. He has done it and He will, I believe.
Several asked me how soon Sr. Huntley was going to Europe? I answered not at all. I cannot see that the Lord has called her to Europe. Now I hope you will not give one word of encouragement for Sr. Huntley to go with you in Europe or unite with you in your labors in the cause in any place. Give no occasion for people to talk. Abstain from the very appearance of evil. You have one with you, a young man, and it is as it should be. We want not your good evil spoken of, and from the light God has given me it were better if you two had had no special connection in the work, and it is not for your or her good to be in any way connected. If you have given her the least encouragement let it be cut off completely. Wherever she goes it must not be to unite with you in any way. If she has a work to do a position to fill let her do it away from you. I know what I am writing about. Why W. C. W. should make the proposition he did in Moss, Norway, I cannot comprehend. If the matter had been urged I would have taken a more determined stand than I did. For this I will oppose with voice and pen, for God has shown me some things concerning this matter that makes me write as I now do. I will not say more now for I am exceedingly tired. We shall pray for you that the Lord will open the way for his work to go forward. Be of good courage. Cling to Jesus, hope, work, and pray.
Much love to all dear friends.
You need never have traced those lines. We know that great transformations have taken place. We know that the Lord has wrought wonderfully since we first came to Europe. Praise His holy name. Had you stood where Elder Whitney has stood and where we have stood for the past two years having to take the work from the state Elder Andrews left it in and then see the great changes wrought through pressing, earnest, soul-weary labor you would exclaim what hath the Lord wrought!!! The work is not to be belittled, neither is it to be deprecated but every step that it has arisen is to be appreciated and still carried forward. The difficulties that existed at first of having in Basle an American not speaking French or German, standing at the head of the work, doing all business through an interpreter, was most discouraging. French and German element seemed bound to not harmonize and there was no real regulations and rules. It has taken all the efforts that could be put into action to make things work in harmony. The apprentices were learning their trades and much care was needed with the elements that composed the working class to have things done with dispatch and correction. This is the same with the offices of publication and these evils still exist. I know well about this matter. In Basle the additions to the church have been doubled. The church at Chaux De Fonde numbered only about six members. Now through Bro. Erzenberger's labors the church increased having sixteen added. And since that time there has been thorough efforts made by different ones and still more added from the very best class of society, until this is a church numbering fifty members. At Lausanne there was, I believe, only one keeping the Sabbath and now there is a church of 35 through efforts made by Eld. Bourdeau, Conradi, and Erzenberger. Tramelan has 32 members. These numbers I have obtained through Bro. Paul Roth who knows. Now God has been at work with the people and let his name have all the glory. When Bro. Henry reads anything discouraging he says, "We have sent so much means over there to see nothing accomplished and we will not send more means." If you want to close the door to any benevolent impulses you can talk as if there had nothing been done worth while. We think there has much been done. At Zurich there was one man and his wife, and when we left I think there was 20, and these, as a whole, will present as good a front as any company raised up in New England. Talk faith, talk courage and do not block the way that we cannot make appeals to the people.
E. G. W.
I wish to say Eld. Haskell a few more things. Do not make the remark to any one that it would be better if nothing had been done in England because this would not be just to the missionaries sent there, neither to our God. There has been a good work done in England and you should not make any such remarks when you did not make the commencement, therefore cannot see the advance work that has been done. Give all the credit possible to that which has been done and then be prepared to reach out and make the most of what has been done. Our brethren have worked hard and have not had furnished them the help that you have at the present time. Some things have had to be demonstrated that was that the most of the English helpers were not the most profitable help and could not do the work in all its branches as the Americans could do it because of their education, and their position in society. Now, my dear Brother, after sight is better than foresight. And we see many moves that have been made which now we see were not the very wisest. We see no kind of wisdom in moving the office and mission in Grimsby. We think it was a mistake. If it had been in some other location near London there might now be a very different showing of the work. And yet those who advised this thought they were doing the best thing that could be done. But after sight leads to conclusion especially after the plan is worked out. Decisions were made too hastily and there have been wrong plans and strange ideas that have not proved a success.
Bro. John's ideas of open air meetings have made his labors almost a failure during his stay in England. Now if all the workers had counselled together and esteemed one another and moved in perfect,[sic] in faith and in courage, relying less upon what they could and more upon that which God could do for them, had they thought kindly of one another, had they prayed much more for heavenly wisdom and talked less, had they thought well of one another and respected one another, God would have heard their cries, He would have revealed His power and the work would be farther advanced than it is. But I am grateful to God that notwithstanding the workers have not rightly related themselves to God and to the work, yet the work has been steadily advancing under difficulties and all credit should be given to God. Although there has been just as earnest and determined work under the circumstances as we could expect with the material that was employed in the work, and now to insinuate it would be better if the work had not been entered upon at all is not just, and is not the fact. If there has been mistakes made, if there has been want of judgment and now the errors are seen, let us consider whether the very same mistakes might not have been made in the commencement by any of us had we acted a part in the work.
Now there has been mistakes made, and Satan would make the most of these by perpetuating them, and at this late date, even with the history of the past before us. Let every advantage be taken of the past and consider we might not have done any better than they had we been in their place, and let us turn what may appear a defeat into a victory. God help us to learn constantly of Jesus and not take counsel of our own heart. Brother Haskell, God lives and reigns; we will walk by faith and trust wholly in God who is our helper in every time of need. Let us praise God for what has been done and then try to push the work continually. We are not to become faint hearted but lean heavily on Jesus. Be of good heart. A good work has been done in England. The work has necessarily moved slow; more might have been done. But when we consider there is quite a little army of souls that have been added to the church, let us praise God. In Grimsby there are some precious souls. Some are not what they might be and yet their influence has done much for the cause of truth. I was made to rejoice while there that a young man teaching the school was under deep conviction and had commenced to keep the Sabbath, but his exercises came upon the Sabbath and he solicited the prayers of the brethren for wisdom how to manage this matter. He frankly confessed his faith and was favored. God was in this. I know of no more striking circumstance that has occurred in America showing evidence of genuine conversion. Then the two sisters who embraced the truth in Grimsby, and their niece there, are precious souls. One lying an invalid the others doing what they can with their influence and can become useful workers in the cause of God. They have good ability that should be appreciated and brought into the work. There are others also that I might mention in Ulceby. There is the case of Bro. Armstrong and family. The power of truth has come into that family. The father made great sacrifices and the Lord blessed him greatly. He has no thought of turning back although he has lost, as a superior baker, much of his custom because he will not furnish bread upon the Sabbath. In Ulceby is a little company and there is the standard of truth lifted and all around Ulceby are souls I know who are deeply convicted. The seeds of truth have been sown and will spring up and bear fruit. There are precious souls in Kettering. And it is a pity all who have embraced the Sabbath are not an honor to the cause because their will has not been brought into harmony with God's will. Self and selfishness has a controlling power with some showing they have not yet learned the lessons in the school of Christ, but has not it been the same in America to full as large an extent? And is it not now? Are there not unmanageable elements which are constantly causing trouble? Look at this matter how hard it has been for these persons to receive the mould of Christ and even after years in the truth they are still like off oxen. We must then look at other persons at different points and thank God for the good work done and go on to perfection. I was sorry that you wrote that you were disappointed that so little had been done in Basle. If you had been there for two years putting in hard labor to put a right mould on the work and seeing it done in a large degree in so many ways as we know it has been done, you would never have traced those lines.
Letter 50, 1 September 1887, from Battle Creek, Mich., Ellen G. White Estate, Silver Spring, MD.