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Manuscript Releases Volume Fifteen : Page 286

39. The Evil of Rebellion

(Written May 14, 1897, from "Sunnyside," Cooranbong, N.S.W., to "Dear Brother and Sister [G. B.] Starr.)

We were glad to receive your letter, but sorry, very sorry, that the rebellious element is still active in the service of the first leader of all rebellions. And he will keep them in his service. I have been carrying heavy burdens of responsibility, one thing following upon the heels of another, until I am very weary. I have frequently been unable to sleep, and am often writing at the hours of twelve p.m. and one a.m., with pen in hand working off the burden that lies heavily upon my soul. But I feel the greatest weight when I think of these men who have had great light and great opportunities and yet have turned from the light to give heed unto fables. My prayer to God has not ceased in their behalf. Yes, I tell it all to the Lord, and I do not cease to beseech the Father in the name of His Son Jesus Christ that He will break the infatuation that is upon these souls, and let them see who is their leader.

For about six weeks I have been exhausted. I have not attended meetings at all. This work of responsibility that I carry alone is very severe on me. Yet thus it has been ever since the camp meeting at Adelaide, one burden following another. You are aware that in Melbourne they needed


special help. Well, that burden I carried for a long time until Brethren Miller and Woods again united with the office. Then, on coming home, we found that an element was at work here in the influence of Brother Shannan and wife. They had done all they possibly could not only in Cooranbong but in other places, to disparage the work done.

Brother Lawrence united with Brother Shannan to complain, and to use his aftersight rather than his foresight. He revealed himself as the most selfish, penurious, money-loving man that I have ever had any knowledge of. We could do nothing with them. What Brother Lawrence would confess one day he would take back the next. This influence was carried to Africa by Brother Shannan, and Hardy united with Shannan to make everything at Cooranbong appear as black as night. I have written hundreds of pages to set forth the truth as it is.

Then came the apostasy in Adelaide. I cared not for anything they might say against me, as far as myself was concerned; but I cared for the flock of God, whom they were feeding with falsehood and leading in strange paths. And I cared for their own souls. At the family altar I prayed for them and for the poor souls deceived by them. I prayed for them in the silent watches of the night. I kept these matters before the Lord.

Thus one perplexity after another kept coming in until I am completely exhausted with heart trouble. It seemed sometimes that I should not recover. For several days I have not been able to sit up much, and have been so weak that I could not endure that sound of the human voice. But the day before yesterday I was beginning to feel a little stronger, and today [I am] still better. I am up very early, for I have not slept past two


o'clock for many mornings in succession. But I am in the hands of the Lord. I have tried to think of a place somewhere where for some weeks I could be free from perplexity and anxiety, but I do not know where that place can be. But the Lord sees, the Lord knows, and He can help; He can carry this burden which presses me so heavily. The greatest difficulty, the very weightiest burden, is the thought of the souls who have been tempted and are being rejoiced over by the synagogue of Satan.

We are nearing the close of this earth's history. The Lord is soon to come. Must we give up these souls to be led and controlled by Satan? Must we leave them to perish in their sins? Oh, the value of the human soul! They have cost Jesus Christ so much! And if I feel so sad over the losing of one soul, how must Jesus Christ be grieved. He gave His life for them, and one soul is of more value with God than the wealth of the whole world.

This morning I designed to attend the early morning meeting for the first time, but I dare not. I find I am not strong enough to expend my vitality unless I am required to do this. Brother Haskell has been taking up the subject of the sanctuary. I so much wish that you could be present to hear him. All who hear him say that he is familiar with the subject, and understands it, proving every idea and statement made from the Scriptures. They all were very much gratified to hear him, and say that he goes far deeper in his understanding of Bible subjects than anyone they have heard.

But we will not make comparisons. The Lord is good, and when I see the old burden bearers who have not withheld themselves from the Lord and from denial of self, but who have given themselves to serve Him with heart and pen and voice and means, I know that the Lord will certainly use these old


standard bearers if they will cling fast to Him. The old and white-haired veterans reveal the truth of the sayings of David, "O God, Thou has taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared Thy wondrous works" [Ps. 71:17]. He [Brother Haskell] seems to feel that the inspiration of his early zeal is not extinct. Though he is old and gray haired, he intreats that the Lord will not forsake him, but will remain with him still to bear his testimony to the present generation.

Young men are needed in the work--those who will undertake the work interestedly, and will carry it forward zealously and strongly. But the Lord is, and ever will be, with the old, steadfast leaders who have held fast to the truth in times of peril. When the foundation of the faith of the younger men seems to be swept away and their houses falling, the testimony, like that of Caleb, will be heard from the old warriors, "Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it" [Num. 13:30]. Then the voice of unbelief was heard. "We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we" [verse 31]. One word of unbelief prepares the way for more. Satan does not easily let alone any man whom he can tempt to dishonor God by his unbelief.

"And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants; and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight" [verses 32,33].


What effect did this report upon the congregation? "And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron; and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would God we had died in this wilderness. And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? Were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt" [Num. 14:1-4]. Let all read carefully the fourteenth chapter of Numbers, and let them understand that men can make false reports as did these who had been sent on an errand which concerned the movements of more than a million people.

"And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: and they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the Lord delight in us, then He will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not. But all the congregation bade stone them with stones" [verses 6-10].

Those who bore the discouraging report and brought discouragement to the whole camp of Israel, when opposed because of their unfaithful witness, served the satanic powers in complete rebellion. And they carried the disappointed congregation with them, in that they believed their interpretation


of the land. The congregation took the wrong side, and, inspired by satanic agencies, they cried out against the faithful spies, and bade them stone Joshua and Caleb who dared to bear the truthful representation in regard to the land.

But there is always a defense provided for those who have borne witness for the truth. What was it that saved the lives of Joshua and Caleb? "And the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel. And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke Me? and how long will it be ere they believe Me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them? I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they" [verses 10-12].

We have here a positive evidence that the anger of the Lord is awakened against the rebellious people--those who had been blessed with great light and precious opportunities to know the will of God, which was communicated to them by Christ Himself, their invisible Leader, enshrouded in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. God had been their defense against the vast army of Pharaoh; He had wrought for them, providing them food when hungry; He had quieted their murmurings by giving them springs of cool water flowing from the Rock. He had manifested to them His glory, and yet when Satan tempted them, they believed all the suggestions and representations he put into their minds against Moses and Aaron, against Joshua and Caleb. The Lord had worked wondrously for them, yet they were ever ready to turn away from them and follow the suggestions of Satan. But they were passing the boundary of God's forbearance and patience. He declared, "I


will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier then they."

[Verses 13-19, quoted.]

O Moses, thou man of mighty faith, privileged to plead in behalf of rebellious Israel in such wise and understanding words! Thou wouldest not receive inducing promises even from God, that He should let Israel alone to be destroyed, and His name be dishonored among the heathen nations. The promise of great honor Moses would not accept. And what saith the Lord? [Verses 20-24, quoted.]

And what about the men who had caused the Israelites to murmur? [Verses 26-34, quoted.]

The Lord promised the children of Israel: "Ye shall see the altering of my purpose" [Num. 14-34]. Thus we see that the Lord's promises are upon condition of obedience. He says, "Ye shall do My judgments, and keep Mine ordinances, to walk therein; I am the Lord your God. Ye shall therefore keep My statutes, and My judgments; which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the Lord" [Lev. 18:4, 5]. Read the first chapter of Deuteronomy carefully, and see why the Lord refused to bring the adults of the army that left Egypt into the promised land. Also Deuteronomy 28.

[Num. 32:6-15, quoted.]

The Lord God is a jealous God, yet He bears long with the sins and transgressions of His people in this generation. If the people of God had walked in His counsel, the work of God would have advanced, the messages of truth would have been borne to all people that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Had the people of God believed Him and been doers of His word,


had they kept His commandments, the angel would not have come flying through heaven with the message to the four angels that were to let loose the winds that they should blow upon the earth crying, Hold, hold the four winds that they blow not upon the earth until I have sealed the servants of God in their foreheads. But because the people are disobedient, unthankful, unholy, as were ancient Israel, time is prolonged that all may hear the last message of mercy proclaimed with a loud voice. The Lord's work has been hindered, the sealing time delayed. Many have not heard the truth. But the Lord will give them a chance to hear and be converted, and the great work of God will go forward.--Letter 106, 1897. Ellen G. White Estate Washington, D. C. March 12, 1986. Entire Letter.