Oh that God would sanctify the host, and purify the assembly, that His free Spirit might run from heart to heart, and be glorified. We crave the presence and power of God. These we can and must have at all events. We are living in the most important period the world has ever witnessed. A great work is to be done in a short time. Oh, that we may all follow the leadings of God's Spirit, and not have self in anything that we may do.
Brother Butler, we may expect great things of the Lord. Let us make our mark high. Let faith be mingled with all our efforts. We cannot do anything unless God shall help us. He has help in store for us, abundant blessing and power, if we will only believe it and strive for it. Our ministers may be clothed with His righteousness if they desire it. If they will comply with the requirements in the Word of God, they may every day walk with God, and be gaining a rich experience in the things of God.
Brother Butler, we must reach higher. We will not limit the Holy One. We must pray, and that fervently, that angels may be directed to come to our help to meet the moral darkness that covers the earth like a funeral pall. We rejoice so much that you are at work in San Francisco, to get the solemn warning before the people. We hope and pray that every element among our people who profess the truth may be in harmony with the Spirit of God, that they may work unitedly in faith and hope, and that God will give the truth a glorious victory in San Francisco.
We long to be with you, to speak to the people as the Lord might give us utterance, but there is work to be done, not only in that great and wicked city, but almost everywhere. We hope and pray that your efforts may be highly successful. Do not forget that pulpit labor must be followed by private effort. Brother Loughborough ought not to bend his mind to much writing, while this effort is being made. The greatest success attends those who come in close relation as possible with those with whom they labor, gain their sympathy and confidence, visit in their homes those who appear interested, and pray with them and for them. In this way only will the direction be followed to go out in the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in.
It is this fireside effort, this home work, that is attended with signal success. Try it, brethren ... Some of our ministers do not love this kind of labor. They shun it. There is a cross attached to such personal efforts, but this is the labor the people must have if they embrace unpopular truth. In this close contact with souls who are in darkness, our light may shine more effectually, directly upon the darkness, and they will see by our deportment, our conversation, our solemn yet cheerful, courteous manners, that the grace of God is with us, and that the peace of heaven is brought into their homes. They will be charmed with the truth which is attended with such blessed results ....
There is danger of getting the mind diverted from the special work for the time by having too much interest in various other matters. One man has not enough power to carry along several lines of work.
Put all there is of you into the present work in which you are for the time engaged. God will teach you. Self will not work here, but Jesus. God will work with you if self is hid in Jesus. Work, and be channels of light. We must be brought into close communion with the people, that when we lay hold of God, and His grace and power come through us the channel the people must feel it. They cannot but sense the weight of the power of the truth we carry.
My brethren, in your holy work, gather a firm hold from above, and say with your whole souls, "I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me ..." Kindle your tapers at the sacred altar, and then make your way through the moral darkness of the world, shedding light in your track wherever you go. You may become acquainted with the mystery of godliness and experience the depth of the riches of the grace of God. Up brethren, to the work, as never before. Expect anything and everything in God. May God fire your testimony and may the burning words of truth melt their way into cold hearts. I tell you, brethren, you do not expect half that God is ready and willing and anxious to bestow upon you. Heaven is all full of weighty blessings that we may all receive, for they are waiting to flow down, that we may bestow them upon others ....
The light must be borne into the very houses of those who have interest, and this effort ... is the very work which must be done and which will answer to the going out into the highways and hedges and compelling them to come in. Go at this work, brethren. Holy angels will attend you right into the forts of those who are in error and moral darkness. If all the ministers do this, we shall see such a work as we have not yet realized.
Work as Though We Mean It
We must take hold of the work as though we meant work. We must move surely and as though the truth was a reality. We don't work in the best way, brethren. Time is short. Out-general the enemy at every point. Take his strongholds. God help you, my brethren, to fasten your hold upon infinite power and also strongly upon your fellow men, and draw them up with you. Bring them up with you, if possible, and plant them on the platform of eternal truth. We need to be spiritualized, energized, and sanctified, that God may work for us, by us, and through us to His name's glory. The Lord is all ready to do on His part, if we are ready to have Him do for us.
If we can bear the manifestations of His gracious power, He will surely bestow upon us all we can wisely handle. It is because we are so weak that we cannot bear the power of the grace of God, that we do not receive greater manifestations from above. We are ready to appropriate the glory to our unworthy selves. If we have prosperity we get exalted and think it is be cause of our own merits that God favors us, and then He lets us drop into temptation and leaves us to wrestle with doubts, perplexities, and darkness, that we may have a correct view of the Source of our strength and our entire dependence upon Jesus Christ.
Christ Is All and in All
We are nothing, but Christ is all and in all. We may unite our ignorance to His wisdom, our weakness to His strength, our imperfections to His merits, our frailty to His enduring might. Oh, yes, He is our all. Upon His merits we may rely and through His merits we may have access to our heavenly Father and thus be closely connected with heaven. Oh, how I long for deeper and higher attainments in the divine life. My soul hungers and thirsts for righteousness. We love Jesus, but our love is too faint and too inconsistent.
. . . God will do for us greater things than we can ask or think, if we will only confide in and trust Him fully. Shall we believe, shall we move forward in faith, in hope, in courage, clinging with firm grasp to the Mighty One? Will you in California take the field in the strength of Israel's God? Let all those who profess the present truth carry out its pure and holy principles in their lives. If our sisters would only feel that they can do very much, if they will consecrate themselves to God, they could be a great help. If they would talk and labor in heavenly wisdom among those with whom they are acquainted, they could do a good work.
If they would talk less upon unimportant matters and pray more earnestly, and take the cases of their personal friends, who are not in the truth, to Jesus, pleading with Him to enlighten their minds, their prayers might do much good; they certainly will if offered in faith. Our sisters may be coworkers with God. They may be able, when this life here shall close, to look back upon their lives not as a barren desert, but upon buds, flowers, and fruit as the result of their life's toil. Previously unpublished letter written to Elder George I. Butler from Battle Creek, Michigan, October 28, 1874.
Ellen G. White, Messenger of the Lord and one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, church leader, writer, and public speaker.