(Written November 22, 1896, from Ashfield, NSW, to Dr. J. H. Kellogg, Medical Sanitarium, Battle Creek, Michigan.)
Yesterday (Sabbath) morning, Willie spoke to the church in Ashfield. At 3 p.m. we hired a horse and carriage to take me to Newtown, four miles from Ashfield. We met in a small hall upstairs where a goodly number were assembled. I spoke to them on the prayer of Daniel, his contrition of soul, and his deep sorrow as he witnessed the desolation of Jerusalem.
Daniel identified himself with Israel's sins, and confessed their sins as his own. He prayed, "O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for Thine own sake, O my God: for Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name" [Dan. 9:19]. Yet Gabriel, the heavenly messenger, thrice called him a man greatly beloved. [Verses 20-23, quoted.] Here is a communication direct from heaven to Daniel.
How can we but see how closely the universe of heaven is connected with this fallen world! These communications given to Daniel should fill our souls with awe, with humility, with meekness, and lay our pride low in the dust.
I tried to present to the people the short time we have in which to work. I tried to present before them the necessity of prayer, earnest, heart-felt prayer. How little exaltation Daniel had when the Lord condescended to communicate with him. [Dan. 10:15-21, quoted.]
A wonderful connection is here seen between the universe of heaven and this world. The things revealed to Daniel were afterward complemented by the revelation made to John on the isle of Patmos. These two books should be carefully perused. Twice Daniel inquired, How long shall it be to the end of time? "And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. . . . But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days" [Dan. 12:8-10, 13].
It was the Lion of the tribe of Judah who unsealed the book and gave to John the revelation of what should be in these last days. Daniel stood in his lot to bear his testimony, which was sealed until the time of the end, when the first angel's message should be proclaimed to our world. These matters are of infinite importance in these last days, but while "many shall be purified, and made white, and tried," "the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand."
How true this is. Sin is the transgression of the law of God, and those in the denominational churches who will not accept the light in regard to the law of God will not understand the proclamation of the first, second, and third angel's messages. The book of Daniel is unsealed in the revelation to John, and carries us forward to the last scenes of this earth's history.
The case of Daniel reveals to us the fact that the Lord is always ready to hear the prayers of the contrite soul, and when we seek the Lord with all our
hearts He will answer our petitions. Here is revealed where Daniel obtained his skill and understanding; and if we will only ask of God wisdom, we may be blessed with increased ability, and with power from heaven. If we will come to God just as we are, and pray to Him in faith as did Daniel, we shall see of the salvation of God. We need to pray as we never prayed before. Even our prayers are indited by the Holy Spirit.
We are praying for the Lord to open the way for His work to be accomplished in this place. We must first bend all our energies to have our school buildings completed. The Lord will make a way for us to do this. The meetinghouse will have to wait until more money comes in. Then our Health Home must be thoroughly established. A meetinghouse must be built in Sydney also. All these things we shall accomplish as the Lord opens the way. We shall ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally. We have Daniel's prayer and its results to help us in our conceptions of the willingness of God to help all who come unto Him. "Watch and pray," are the words of Christ, "lest ye enter into temptation."
I can write but little more now, but my heart is deeply stirred. I am full of the word of the Lord for the churches in different places. I have been unable to sleep full time for several weeks, except about two nights in a week. I am awakened at one and two o'clock. This is the time I can write. My hand goes over the paper rapidly, and my head is clear. I am deeply stirred in spirit. Sometimes I feel that impressions of the truth, and the important events that are opening before us, will deprive me of physical strength and lay me prostrate under a sense of the eternal realities opening before us. And yet many of our own people seem to be paralyzed.
When on our way to the Adelaide camp meeting, we stayed here over Sabbath and Sunday. The Lord gave me a message for the people in Ashfield, clear, decided, sharp, and which cut to the soul. Its results were most excellent, and since our conference, which has just been held, closing last Wednesday, there has been an altogether different atmosphere among our people.
Nearly all are new in the faith. Those who have been sowing their seeds of doubt and criticism are not here, and we have much to be thankful for, for we know that the Holy Spirit has been operating on human hearts.
After speaking on Sabbath, we had a social meeting. Brother Jennett, who has not been long in the faith, and has been halting more or less between two opinions, bore a most decided and excellent testimony. He exhorted all to pray for the Holy Spirit, which alone can melt the proud heart. He said that he felt his heart full of the love of God. These were wonderful words for him. He rejoiced in the truth, and thanked God for the third angel's message.
The working of the Holy Spirit was felt in the meeting. A prominent member of the Salvation Army was present. She said this was the first Sabbath she had kept. She had been convicted of the truth, and had been searching for a long time; but the captain and the whole army were interested in her case, and had put so many obstacles in her way that she did not know what to do. "But oh, how thankful I am," she said, "that I was here today. Your words were from God. They have cut away my difficulties. I see everything in a clear and solemn light."
She related to me how many objections they had brought up before her, declaring that the first day of the week is the Sabbath; they no longer call it "Sunday." The round of objections which we all know, was repeated. "But," said
she, "you have enlightened me in regard to my work. I shall search the Scriptures until I can give a reason for walking in this new light. I believe that many souls will be converted from this army on the Sabbath question. And that prayer of Daniel! How wonderful, how full, how earnest, how complete! As you presented before us the result, I felt indeed that, through God, you were placing my feet upon solid rock."
Then I told her the result of Daniel's humbling himself, and what an experience he had. I referred her to chapter ten of this same book, where Daniel tells of the impression made upon him by the vision: "Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength."
"This, my sister," I said, "will be the impression made upon those who have the greatest manifestation of the Spirit of God. Not one boastful word of self-esteem will be presented by those who have a knowledge of the true God, and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent. No one who has a clear conception of God will be uplifted in himself. This was the impression made upon the man who is thrice called 'greatly beloved,' because he was contrite in spirit, and faithful, and true." She replied, "How hard it is to die to self, and lift the cross of Christ. But I thank the Lord with heart, and soul, and voice for this new victory gained."
This woman is an intelligent, noble soul in Christ. She sees now where she has been in transgression, and longs to acknowledge the truth to show her repentance, and be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. I said to her, "The Lord will be by your side when you become a witness for Him. All the day
long you will realize His blessedness in a new and more complete experience; and when you honor God by obedience at every step, God will honor you."
On Friday I had written about forty pages, and on Sabbath morning I was weary, but this did not discourage me. I know upon whose arm I am leaning for support, and the Lord did not disappoint me. As I meditate upon the goodness, and mercy, and love of God, I cannot but praise His holy name. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
If these words will not thrill through every soul as he shall contemplate them, what will? This is the price of our salvation--the most humiliating, agonizing death a human being could suffer. And the Son of God endured this shame as the penalty of guilt, in order that the sinner may stand guiltless and innocent before the throne of God. See what may arise from the height of exaltation from which our Saviour came, and the depth of humiliation to which He reached in order to grasp the sinner and lift him up to become a partaker of His divine nature, and link his life, his soul, with the Infinite God. When we obtain a sight of that cross; when that suffering, agonized cry, "It is finished," pierces our ears, the sacrifice is complete. His love has imprinted the name of every saint upon the palms of His hands.
Oh, unbounded grace! What love expressed! Shall we not expel pride from the soul? Can we cherish self-esteem; shall we harbor stubbornness of soul when we see and understand what our redemption has cost? Shall not a view of the cross cause us to humble ourselves in the sight of God, that He may lift us up?
But while we are to humble ourselves, we are to have a true sense of our value as God has estimated us, in the price paid for our redemption. We are to
value every capability, every talent entrusted to us, as the Lord's most precious endowment, that we may use them to His name's glory.
When we look upon ourselves as purchased at an infinite cost in order that we might have every advantage in the strife for immortality, eternal life, we will make every gift a treasure of influence whereby we may reach perfection, completeness in Jesus Christ. Then let the prayer of Daniel be our prayer, that the Holy Spirit may work in our behalf.
Today I, with my workers, am preparing the American mail. I am sending copies of testimonies to California, to Africa, and to Melbourne. Oh, that God would give that impression to the human heart that would humble the pride of the human agent! Then the holiness, the meekness, of Christ will be manifested. If we persevere in maintaining the likeness of Christ, He will write our names, as He did Daniel's for his faithfulness, as children of God, "greatly beloved."
Ashfield, Nov. 23, 1896 . Sunday was a very busy day with us all. My workers are with me, and they worked hard all day. On that day I had my subject, "The Armor of Jesus Christ," ready to present in the little chapel in Ashfield, which is only a minute's walk from our hired house. But when I stood before the people, I spoke upon a subject that I had not looked at at all--1 Cor. 9:24-27. When I was preparing for meeting, I said, "I would feel relieved if someone would take my place," for I had been writing all day, and was weary both in body and mind. But I had not been upon my feet one minute when I felt that an angel of God stood by my side and strengthened me. I talked more than one hour, and all listened with interest. The blessing of the Lord was upon me.
After the meeting I was warmly greeted. One lady brought me a small but choice bouquet. Then the usher of the house came, bringing a good-sized fancy
basket full of beautiful flowers. Both basket and flowers were a present. The basket was made by the son of one of our sisters. Inside was a tin tank, shaped in the form of a basket, and this was supplied with water, the flowers being arranged in the water. I thought much of this token of regard. It was more than I could carry.
All are gathering up flower roots for me to make my wilderness home blossom as the rose. Already we have many flowers, but I have plenty of space, and have set it apart for flowers. I wish that my home shall be made beautiful by the things of nature that God has created. Generally I call the attention of the children to these beautiful flowers, and tell them that these things are an expression of the love of God for them. I direct their mind from nature to nature's God. These lessons always seem to touch the hearts of the parents as well as the children. The pulpit is often festooned with flowers of every variety, and beautiful bouquets are brought me.
The Lord blessed me and the people last night. When I had retired to rest for the night, the matter came distinctly before me. I had not spoken from the text I had selected, but I was not sorry, for it must have been the mind of God that I should speak as I did. But the Lord knows all about this.
Outsiders are coming in to every meeting to hear the truth. There is now a nice couple interested. The husband has a good business, and this stands in his way; but the Lord will open the way for him. We have been here two weeks on the morrow. I do not know that we shall spend another Sabbath here. --Letter 59, 1896. Ellen G. White Estate Washington, D. C. October 1, 1987. Entire Letter.