Ellen White Pamphlets

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Holy Spirit Versus Selfishness.

The Danger of Rejecting Light.

"Sunnyside," Cooranbong, Feb. 6, 1896. (Copied Jan. 28, 1897)

To My Brethren in America:--

The great office work of the Holy Spirit is thus distinctly specified by our Saviour, "And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin." Christ knew that this announcement was a wonderful trust. He was nearing the close of his ministry upon this earth, and was standing in view of the cross, with a full realization of the load of guilt that must be placed upon him as the sin-bearer. Yet his greatest anxiety was for his disciples. He was seeking to find solace for them, and he told them, "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." {SpTA10 25.1}

Evil had been accumulating for centuries, and could only be restrained and resisted by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fulness of divine power. Another spirit must be met; for the essence of evil was working in all ways, and the submission of man to this satanic captivity was amazing. {SpTA10 25.2}

Today, as in Christ's day, Satan rules the minds of many. O that his terrible, fearful work could be discerned and resisted! Selfishness has perverted principles, selfishness has confused the senses and clouded the judgment. It seems so strange that notwithstanding all the light that is shining from God's blessed word, there should be such strange ideas held, such a departure from the spirit and practise of truth. The desire to grasp large wages, with a determination to deprive others of their God-given rights, has its origin in Satan's mind; and by their obedience to his will and way, men place themselves under his banner. Little dependence can be placed on those that have been taken in this snare, unless they are thoroughly converted and renovated; for they have been leavened by wrong principles, which they could not perceive were deleterious in their effect. {SpTA10 26.1}

O if those in the various fields, in America and all over the world, were working according to the Bible rule, and were striving to uproot selfishness, what a work would be accomplished for the church! But sins which have from time to time been pointed out are lying at the door of many, sins which the Lord regards as of no light character. If men would only give up their spirit of resistance to the Holy Spirit,--the spirit which has long been leavening their religious experience, --God's Spirit would address itself to their hearts. It would convince of sin. What a work! But the Holy Spirit has been insulted, and light has been rejected. Is it possible for those who for years have been so blinded, to see? Is it possible that in this late stage of their resistance their eyes will be anointed? Will the voice of the Spirit of God be distinguished from the deceiving voice of the enemy? {SpTA10 26.2}

There are men who will soon evidence which banner they are standing under, the banner of the Prince of Life, or the banner of the prince of darkness. If they could only see these matters as they are presented to me; if they could see that, as far as their souls are concerned, they are as men standing on the brink of a precipice, ready to slide over to the depths below, I do not think they would stand trembling on the brink another instant, if they had any regard for their salvation. {SpTA10 27.1}

It is not the will of God that any shall perish, but that all shall have everlasting life. O could I be assured that in the coming Conference my brethren would feel a sense of what pure principles mean to them and to all with whom they are associated, my heart would leap with joy! If those that have wandered so far from God and true righteousness would show that the Holy Spirit was striving with them, that they were conscious of their guiltiness in departing from the word of God and acting as blind leaders of the blind, I should have hope. When these do awake from their paralysis, they will be overwhelmed with a sense of lost time,--the Lord's precious talent, --lost opportunities, which were given to them that they might show their appreciation of the infinite compassion of God for fallen man. {SpTA10 27.2}

Every soul that accepts Jesus as his personal Saviour, will pant for the privilege of serving God, and will eagerly seize the opportunity to signalize his gratitude by devoting his abilities to God's service. He will long to show his love for Jesus and for his purchased possession. He will covet toil, hardship, sacrifice. He will think it a privilege to deny self, lift the cross, and follow in Christ's footsteps, thus showing his loyalty and love. His holy and beneficent works will testify to his conversion, and will give to the world the evidence that he is not a spurious, but a true, devoted Christian. {SpTA10 27.3}

Men are now earnestly plying every art and trade in order to satisfy their desire for more gain. If they would use this tact and zeal and careful thoughtfulness in an effort to gain something for the Lord's treasury, how much would be accomplished! When men who are thoroughly selfish accept Christ, they will show that they have a new heart; and instead of grasping all they possibly can obtain to benefit themselves, instead of making little, stunted sacrifices for the Lord, they will cheerfully do all that they can to advance his work. The spirit of grasping, which has been so largely developed, will die, and they will heed the words of Christ, "Sell that ye have, and give alms." They will work as laboriously, with zeal and energy and earnestness, to build up the kingdom of God, as they have worked to obtain riches for themselves. {SpTA10 28.1}

I tell you the truth. We are far behind our holy religion in our conception of duty. O if those who have been blessed with such grand and solemn truth would arise and shake off the spell that has benumbed their senses and caused them to withhold from God their true service, what would not their well-organized efforts accomplish for the salvation of souls! What a change would be seen in the principles carried out! The world, the flesh, the devil, would not blind men and women as to what constitute pure, sacred, loyal principles. {SpTA10 28.2}

The word of God appropriated is the preparation for eternal life. But men have placed such an interpretation upon this word it has been made meaningless. Heart and conscience have become hardened and corrupted. Brethren, in the name of Jesus, I ask, Do you believe the word of God? Are you sons and daughters of God? If you are, it is because you have been converted, and have received Christ into your soul-temple, and your minds have been brought under the new law, even the royal law of liberty. O if I could have the joyful news that the will and minds of those in Battle Creek who have stood professedly as leaders, were emancipated from the teachings and slavery of Satan, whose captives they have been for so long, I would be willing to cross the broad Pacific to see your faces once more. But I am not anxious to see you with enfeebled perceptions and clouded minds because you have chosen darkness rather than light. {SpTA10 29.1}

The divine Spirit reveals its working on the human heart. When the Holy Spirit operates upon the mind, the human agent will understand the statement made by Christ, "He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you." Subjection to the word of God means the restoration of one's self. Let Christ work by his Holy Spirit, and awaken you as from the dead, and carry your minds along with his. Let him employ your faculties. He has created your every capability that you may better honor and glorify his name. Consecrate yourself to him, and all associated with you will see that your energies are inspired of God, that your noblest powers are called into exercise to do God's service. The faculties once used to serve self and advance unworthy principles, once serving as members of unrighteous purposes, will be brought into captivity to Jesus Christ, and become one with the will of God. {SpTA10 29.2}

There is a work to be done in the churches. Young men and women must be trained and educated, and then places will be found for them in the work. You are worried and perplexed because 'Dr. Kellogg is gathering in disproportionately in the medical missionary work, because his work far exceeds the work being done in the churches by the General Conference. What is the matter?--It is plain that the light given by God has not been acted upon. Men have supplanted God's plans by their own plans. The prosperity of the medical missionary work is in God's order. This work must be done; the truth must be carried to the highways and the hedges. {SpTA10 30.1}

But the heart of the work, the great center, has been enfeebled by the mismanagement of men who have not kept pace with their Leader. Satan has diverted their money and their capabilities into wrong channels. Their precious time has been passing into eternity. The earnest work that is now being done, the aggressive warfare that is being carried on, might long ago have been just as vigorously carried forward in obedience to the light of God. The whole body is sick because of mismanagement and miscalculation. The people to whom God has entrusted eternal interests, the depositaries of truth pregnant with eternal results, the keepers of light that is to illuminate the whole world, have lost their bearings. Has God made a mistake? Are those at the heart of the work chosen vessels that can receive the golden oil, which the heavenly messengers, represented as two olive trees, empty into the golden tubes to replenish the lamps? Are those in Battle Creek, the men and women that God has appointed to do the most solemn work ever given to mortals, in partnership with Jesus Christ in his great firm? Are those whom he has bidden to communicate the light from the burning lamps to others, that the regions of darkness may have opportunity to hear the saving message, doing their duty? {SpTA10 30.2}

O if those who profess to know the truth had the Spirit of Christ, the self-sacrificing Redeemer, who gave up his riches, his splendor, his high command, and did all that a God could do to save souls, they would deny self, lift the cross, and follow Jesus. How will you who love worldly treasure answer to God in the great day of judgment for your feeble and sleepy efforts to send the truth to regions beyond? The money expended in bicycles and dress and other needless things must be accounted for. As God's people you should represent Jesus; but Christ is ashamed of the self-indulgent ones. My heart is pained, I can scarcely restrain my feelings, when I think of how easily our people are led away from practical Christian principles to self-pleasing. As yet many of you only partially believe the truth. The Lord Jesus says, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon," and we are to live by every word which proceedeth out of his mouth. How many believe his word? {SpTA10 31.1}

The Lord abhors your selfish practises, and yet his hand is stretched out still. I urge you for your souls' sake to hear my plea now for those who are missionaries in foreign countries, whose hands are tied by your ways. Satan has been working with all his powers of deception to bring matters to that pass where the way will be hedged up for want of means in the treasury. {SpTA10 31.2}

Do you realize that every year thousands and thousands and ten times ten thousand souls are perishing, dying in their sins? The plagues and judgments of God are already doing their work, and souls are going to ruin because the light of truth has not been flashed upon their pathway. Do we fully believe that we are to carry the word of God to all the world? Who believes this? "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" Who has the faith that will enable them to practise this word? Who believes in the light which God has given? {SpTA10 32.1}

The Lord calls for united action. Well-organized efforts must be made to secure laborers. There are poor, honest, humble souls whom the Lord will put in your place, who have never had the opportunities you have had, and who could not have them because you were not worked by the Holy Spirit. We may be sure that when the Holy Spirit is poured out, those who did not receive and appreciate the early rain will not see or understand the value of the latter rain. When we are truly consecrated to God, his love will abide in our hearts by faith, and we will cheerfully do our duty in accordance with the will of God. {SpTA10 32.2}

But the little interest that has been manifested in the work of God by our churches alarms me. I would ask all who have means, to remember that God has entrusted this means to them to be used in the advancement of the work which Christ came to our world to do. The Lord tells every man that in the sight of God he is not the owner of what he possesses, but only a trustee. Not thine, but mine, saith the Lord. God will call you to account for your stewardship. Whether you have one talent, or two, or five, not a farthing is to be squandered on your own selfish indulgences. Your accountability to Heaven should cause you to fear and tremble. The decisions of the last day turn upon our practical benevolence. Christ acknowledges every act of beneficence as done to himself.

Mrs. E. G. White. {SpTA10 32.3}

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