The students of our manual training school at this place are doing their best to follow the light God has given to combine with mental training the proper use of brain and muscle. Thus far the results have exceeded our expectations. At the close of the first term, which was regarded as an experiment, opportunity was given for the students to have their vacation, and engage in whatever work they chose to do. But everyone begged that the school might be continued as before, with manual labor each day combined with certain hours of study. The students did not want to give up the present opportunity of learning how to labor and how to study. If this is their choice under the most disadvantageous circumstances, what influence will it have when the school buildings are up and there are more favorable surroundings for the students?
The building they now occupy, the only one at all fit for the purpose, was an old hotel which we rented and are using to its fullest capacity. Four tents pitched in an adjoining paddock are also occupied by students. Every morning at six o'clock the members of the school are called together for morning worship and Bible study. These occasions have proved a blessing. . . .
I spoke to the students eight mornings. The Lord Jesus was indeed in our assembly. The congregation
averaged from twenty-six to thirty. In the first meetings the spirit of intercession came upon me, and all were sensible that the Lord heard our prayers. Then I spoke about thirty minutes, and the Lord gave me words for those assembled. These seasons were most profitable; the testimonies of the students following gave evidence that the Holy Spirit was giving to all glimpses of the things of God.
The spiritual impressions became more marked as the meetings progressed. The divine presence was with us. The sympathies and sentiments of those present became inspired with power and favor. Hearts were susceptible to the influence of the Holy Spirit, and decided changes were wrought in minds and character. The Spirit of God was working upon human agents. I praise the Lord for the encouraging influence of His Spirit upon my own heart. We all felt that the Lord was cooperating with us to lead us to will, to resolve, and act.
The Lord does not propose to perform for us either the willing or the doing. This is our proper work. As soon as we earnestly enter upon the work, God's grace is given to work in us to will and to do, but never as a substitute for our effort. Our souls are to be aroused to cooperate. The Holy Spirit works the human agent, to work out our own salvation. This is the practical lesson the Holy Spirit is striving to teach us. "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."
I never had a deeper sense of the precious truth and its power upon human minds than when addressing those students in the early meetings. Morning after morning I felt charged with a message from God. I also had special freedom in speaking twice upon the Sabbath. At every meeting several unbelievers were
present, and they were much affected as the truth was presented. If we had a suitable place for meeting we could invite the neighbors to come in. But our long, narrow dining room crowded as closely as if packed is not a very suitable place for worship. I am assigned a little space in the corner of the room, and am packed up close to the wall. Nevertheless the Lord Jesus is in the assembly. We know it. Some souls are thinking very seriously now upon the subject of the truth.
We all know that the most severe and intense soul struggles belong to the hour of the great resolve to act out the convictions upon the human heart. The consecration of the soul to God is committing the keeping of the soul to One who has purchased its freedom at an infinite price, and then we are to follow on to know the Lord, that we may know His goings forth are prepared as the morning. "To obey is better than sacrifice." The whole work of the Christian is comprised in willing and doing.
The students work hard and faithfully. They are gaining in strength of nerve and in solidity as well as activity of muscles. This is the proper education which will bring forth from our schools young men who are not weak and inefficient, who have not a one-sided education, but an all-round physical, mental, and moral training. The builders of character must not forget to lay the foundation which will make education of the greatest value. This will require self-sacrifice, but it must be done. The physical training will, if properly conducted, prepare for mental taxation. But the one alone always makes a deficient man. The physical taxation combined with mental effort keeps the mind and morals in a more healthful condition,
and far better work is done. Under this training students will come forth from our schools educated for practical life, able to put their intellectual capabilities to the best use. Physical and mental exercise must be combined if we would do justice to our students. We have been working on this plan here with complete satisfaction, notwithstanding the inconvenience under which students have to labor.
I came here and began work on my place so earnestly that it inspired all with fresh zeal, and they have been working with a will, rejoicing that they have the privilege. We have provoked one another to zeal and good works. The school workers were afraid I would plant the first trees, and now both they and and I have the satisfaction of having the first genuine orchards in this vicinity. Some of our trees will yield fruit next year, and the peaches will bear quite a crop in two years. Mr. -----, from whom we bought our trees, lives about twenty miles from here. He has an extensive and beautiful orchard. He says that we have splendid fruit land.
Well, the school has made an excellent beginning. The students are learning how to plant trees, strawberries, etc.; how they must keep every sprangle and fiber of the roots uncramped in order to give them a chance to grow. Is not this a most precious lesson as to how to treat the human mind, and the body as well--not to cramp any of the organs of the body, but give them ample room to do their work? The mind must be called out, its energies taxed. We want men and women who can be energized by the Spirit of God to do a complete work under the Spirit's guidance. But these minds must be cultivated, employed, not lazy and dwarfed by inaction. Just so men and women and children are wanted who will work the
land, and use their tact and skill, not with a feeling that they are menials, but that they are doing just such noble work as God gave to Adam and Eve in Eden, who loved to see the miracles wrought by the divine Husbandman. The human agent plants the seed, and God waters it and causes His sun to shine upon it, and up springs the tiny blade. Here is the lesson God gives to us concerning the resurrection of the body, and the renewing of the heart. We are to learn of spiritual things from the development of the earthly.
We are not to be put about and discouraged about temporal things because of apparent failures, nor should we be disheartened by delay. We should work the soil cheerfully, hopefully, gratefully, believing that the earth holds in her bosom rich stores for the faithful worker to garner, richer than gold or silver. The niggardliness laid to her charge is false witness. With proper, intelligent cultivation the earth will yield its treasures for the benefit of man.
The spiritual lessons to be learned are of no mean order. The seeds of truth sown in the soil of the heart will not all be lost, but will spring up, first the blade, then the ear, and then the corn in the ear. God said in the beginning, "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit." God created the seed as He did the earth, by the divine word. We are to exercise our reasoning powers in the cultivation of the earth, and to have faith in the word of God that has created the fruit of the earth for the service of man.
The cultivation of our lands requires the exercise of all the brainpower and tact we possess. The lands around us testify to the indolence of men. We hope to
arouse to action the dormant senses. We hope to see intelligent farmers, who will be rewarded for their earnest labor. The hand and heart must cooperate, bringing new and sensible plans into operation in the cultivation of the soil. We have here seen the giant trees felled and uprooted, we have seen the plowshare pressed into the earth, turning deep furrows for the planting of young trees and the sowing of the seed. The students are learning what plowing means, and that the hoe and the shovel, the rake and the harrow, are all implements of honorable and profitable industry. Mistakes will often be made, but error lies close beside truth. Wisdom will be learned by failures, and the energy that will make a beginning gives hope of success in the end. Hesitation will keep things back, precipitancy will alike retard, but all will serve as lessons if the human agents will have it so.
In the school that is started here in Cooranbong, we look to see real success in agricultural lines, combined with a study of the sciences. We mean for this place to be a center, from which shall irradiate light, precious advanced knowledge that shall result in the working of unimproved lands, so that hills and valleys shall blossom like the rose. For both children and men, labor combined with mental taxation will give the right kind of all-round education. The cultivation of the mind will bring tact and fresh incentives to the cultivation of the soil.
There will be a new presentation of men as breadwinners, possessing educated, trained ability to work the soil to advantage. Their minds will not be overtaxed and strained to the uttermost with the study of the sciences. Such men will break down the foolish sentiments that have prevailed in regard to manual labor. An influence will go forth, not in loud-voiced
oratory, but in real inculcation of ideas. We shall see farmers who are not coarse and rough and slack, careless of their apparel and of the appearance of their homes; but they will bring taste into farmhouses. Rooms will be sunny and inviting. We shall not see blackened ceilings, covered with cloth full of dust and dirt. Science, genius, intelligence, will be manifest in the home. The cultivation of the soil will be regarded as elevating and ennobling. Pure, practical religion will be manifested in treating the earth as God's treasure-house. The more intelligent a man becomes, the more should religious influence be radiating from him. And the Lord would have us treat the earth as a precious treasure, lent us in trust.
There must certainly be a change in our ministers. In heart and character there must be more of Christ and less of self. We are to be representatives of our Lord. Those who have had great light and precious opportunities are accountable to God, who has given to every man his work. They are never to betray the sacred trust, but are to be indeed the light of the world.
"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." Here is language that expresses His mind toward a corrupt and idolatrous people: "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver
thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? Mine heart is turned within Me, My repentings are kindled together." Must He give up the people for whom such a provision has been made, even His only-begotten Son, the express image of Himself? God permits His Son to be delivered up for our offenses. He Himself assumes toward the Sin Bearer the character of a judge, divesting Himself of the endearing qualities of a father.
Herein His love commends itself in the most marvelous manner to the rebellious race. What a sight for angels to behold! What a hope for man, "that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us"! The just suffered for the unjust; He bore our sins in His own body on the tree. "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?"
As witnesses chosen of God, do we value Christ's purchased possession? Are we ready to make any and every sacrifice within our power, to place ourselves under Christ's yoke, to cooperate with Him and to be laborers together with God? All who are bearing the test of God, obeying His commandments, love the perishing human race as Christ loved them. They follow the example of Christ in most earnest, self-sacrificing labor, to seek out in the highways and hedges the high and the low, the rich and the poor, and to bear to all the message that they are the objects of Christ's special love and guardian care.
So great is the natural blindness and ignorance of men in regard to God and to the Saviour that everyone who loves Jesus may find work to do. Not one who has true love for Christ will remain indifferent
and indolent. There is a marked difference between the character and life of those who are obedient to all the commandments of God, and of those who are disobedient.
Parents have not restrained the selfishness of their children. Self-indulgence has been the object of pursuit. Through self-serving, multitudes are bound in servitude to Satan. They are the slaves of their own impulses and passions, which are under the control of the wicked one. In calling them to His service, God offers them freedom. Obedience to God is liberty from the thralldom of sin, deliverance from human passion and impulse.
But we have to meet and contend with men who employ all their power in slandering those who are loyal to God. Their wit and their God-given reason are devoted to making it appear that obedience to the commandments of God is an irksome service. But those who advocate the claims of the law of God testify, "Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them." "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." The Lord presents truth in contrast with error, and presents also the sure result of accepting truth, the experience that always follows willing obedience. It is peace and rest.
The work before the servants of God is to present Jesus. The work for the ministers of Christ is to hang their helpless souls upon His merit. Men who turn away from the path of obedience and make transgression of the law of God a virtue are under the inspiration of the archdeceiver. They are blinded by his power. They need to have before them a representation of what the truth can do in enabling men to preserve a Christlike temper when tempted to become imperious and impatient. The enemies of the truth
want to provoke those who teach the binding claims of the law of God. If there is retaliation on our part, Satan's hosts triumph. He has found a weak place in the armor. By their mean course of action the agents of Satan try to tempt the advocates of truth to say and do things that will not be commendable.
Fine perceptions, nobility of soul, are to be cherished; the spirit of truth and righteousness is to control our deportment, our words, and our pens. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." If the minister when before his congregation sees a disbelieving smile upon the faces of opponents, let him be as one who sees not. If any should be so impolite as to laugh and sneer, let not the minister, by voice or attitude, reflect the same spirit. Show that you handle no such weapons. The pen so often traces words that are sharp, and by repeating the statements of the advocates of error, our brethren sometimes give currency to the error. This is a mistake. Let your pen trace advanced truth.
The Holy spirit does not work with men who love to be sharp and critical. That spirit has been cherished in meeting debaters, and some have formed the habit of squaring for combat. God is dishonored in this. Keep back the sharp thrusts; do not learn in Satan's school his methods of warfare. The Holy Spirit does not inspire the words of censure. A time of trouble is before us, and every honest soul who has not had the light of truth will then take a stand for Christ. Those who believe the truth are to be newly converted every day. Then they will be vessels unto honor.
Do not repeat the words of your opponents, or enter into controversy with them. You meet not merely the men, but Satan and his angels. Christ did not bring against Satan a railing accusation concerning the body of Moses. If the world's Redeemer, who understood the crooked, deceptive arts of Satan, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but in holiness and humility said, "The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan," is it not wise for His servants to follow His example? Will finite human beings take a course that Christ shunned because it would afford Satan occasion to pervert, misrepresent, and falsify the truth?
In this period of the world's history we have altogether too great a work to begin a new kind of warfare in meeting the supernatural power of satanic agencies. We must put aside personalities, however we may be tempted to take advantage of words or actions. In patience we must possess our souls. Brethren, make it manifest that you are wholly on the Lord's side. Let the truth of God's Holy Word reveal transgression and sin and manifest the sanctifying power of truth upon human hearts. A haughty spirit must not come in to mar the work of God. We have reason for gratitude to God every moment that we have the privilege of connecting with God.
There is need of contrition of soul every day, and the Lord declares the great advantage of everyone who will humble his heart and hide in Jesus. "Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to
revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." "To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word." "The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit." "This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them."
Let those who hate the law of the Lord rave and pour out their anathemas against such as have moral courage to receive and live the truth. The Lord is our strength. It is safe for us not to build up self, but to let the Lord work His will in and by and through us. Let us preserve a contrite, humble spirit, which the Lord will revive.
Self-esteem and self-flattery will be sure to stir up in the heart resentment against any who venture to question one's course of action. Everything like counsel or advice is resented with indignation as a design to bruise and wound. This spirit cherished will lead to numerous evils. None will venture to tell you when you err, because the faithful one would be regarded as an enemy. Thus the kindness that should exist between brethren in the faith is killed because of the jealous interpretation put upon the God-fearing cautions given. Undue stress is laid upon words, imagination exaggerates the matter and creates alienation.
Nevertheless we must not suffer wrong upon a brother. Self-sufficiency must be overcome. Love of applause must be seen as a snare. There is always danger of making grave blunders through conceit of
our own wisdom and qualifications. Let these qualifications reveal their true value, and they will be appreciated.
I am urged by the Spirit of God to counsel my brethren to unite with one another in labor. Love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous, be true as steel to one another, but crush that feeling of superiority over your brother ministers which leads one to feel that he cannot link up with others in labor. No one man should feel that he must do the whole work. However experienced or well qualified he may be, there is need of other talents to unite with his. It is a mistake to think that one man's train of thought will accomplish the work for all hearts in a religious effort. Men of different minds are needed, men whose hearts are tenderly led out to win souls. Different methods of labor are really essential in sowing the seeds of truth and gathering in the harvest. It is often the case that men of the humblest ability will reach hearts that have been steeled against another man's labors. Much praying is essential. The soul's drawing nigh to God in communion means God's drawing nigh to the soul that is seeking Him. There needs to be greater devotion of heart and life in service to God.
The greatest work is before us. The peril which threatens our usefulness, and which will prove our ruin if not seen and overcome, is selfishness--placing a higher estimate upon our plans, our opinions, and our labors, and moving independently of our brethren. "Counsel together" have been the words repeated by the angels again and again.
Satan may move through one man's mind to warp things out of their proper channel; he may succeed with two who view things in a similar light; but with several minds enlisted there is greater safety against his wiles. Every plan will be more liable to be viewed from all sides, every advance will be more carefully studied, so that no enterprise will be so likely to be entered upon which will bring confusion and perplexity and defeat to the work in which we are engaged. In union there is strength; in division there is weakness and defeat.
God is leading out a people and fitting them for translation. Are we who are acting a part in this work standing as sentinels for God? Are we uniting our forces: Are we willing to become servants of all? Are we imitating the great Pattern?
The truth cannot be introduced in any haphazard way among the colored people, neither can advice be given to the believers and to those who teach the truth, to be presumptuous. When the period comes in the Southern States to do as did the three worthies who refused to bow to Nebuchadnezzar's image, that time will present decisions for or against the commandments
of God. There is no need of closing up our own way wholly. It will be made more difficult to work the many fields that have not yet been touched. Our policy is, Do not make prominent the objectionable features of our faith, which strike most decidedly against the practices and customs of the people, until the Lord shall give the people a fair chance to know that we are believers in Christ, that we do believe in the divinity of Christ and in His preexistence. Let the testimony of the world's Redeemer be dwelt upon. "I Jesus have sent Mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches." There is need of strictly guarding the word that the pen traces upon paper. The Lord help us to learn in the school of Christ His meekness and lowliness.
If the Majesty of heaven guarded His every word lest He should stir up the spirit of Satan and the fallen angels, how much more careful should we be in all things!
I must speak to my brethren, nigh and afar off. I cannot hold my peace. They are not working on correct principles. Those who stand in responsible positions must not feel that their position of importance makes them men of infallible judgment. All the works of men are under the Lord's jurisdiction. It will be altogether safe for men to consider that there is knowledge with the Most High. Those who trust in God and His wisdom, and not in their own, are walking in safe paths. They will never feel that they are authorized to muzzle even the ox that treads out the grain; and how offensive it is for men to control the human agent who is in partnership with God and to whom the Lord Jesus has said: "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden , and I will give
you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." "We are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building."
Let forces be set at work to clear new ground, to establish new, living interests wherever an opening can be found. Let men learn how to pray earnestly, short and right to the point. Let them learn to speak of the world's Redeemer, to lift up the Man of Calvary higher and still higher. Transplant trees out of your thickly planted nursery. God is not glorified in centering such immense advantages in one place. We need wise nurserymen who will transplant trees to different localities and give them advantages whereby they may grow. It is a positive duty to go into regions beyond. Rally workers who possess true missionary zeal, and let them go forth to diffuse light and knowledge far and near. Let them take the living principles of health reform into communities that to a large degree are ignorant of what they should do. Let men and women teach these principles to classes that cannot have the advantages of the large sanitarium at Battle Creek. It is a fact that the truth of heaven has come to the notice of thousands through the influence of the sanitarium, yet there is a work to be done that has been neglected. We are encouraged as we see the work that is being done in Chicago, and in a few other places. But years ago the large responsibility that is centered in Battle Creek should have been distributed.
The people are encouraged to center in Battle Creek, and they pay their tithe and give their influence to the building up of a modern Jerusalem that is not after God's
order. In this work other places are cut off from facilities which they should have. Enlarge ye, spread, yes; but not in one place. Go out and establish centers of influence in places where nothing, or next to nothing, has been done. Break up your consolidated mass; diffuse the saving beams of light and shed light into the darkened corners of the earth. A work needs to be done something like that which is described as an eagle stirring up her nest. "Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed." This is true of many Christians who are coming into Battle Creek. Many have a spasmodic zeal, but it is like a meteor that flashes across the heavens and goes out.
Let God's own workmen who have His cause at heart do something for the Southern field. Let not God's stewards be content with just touching it with their fingers' ends. Let those at the heart of the work plan for the field in earnest. You have talked about it; but what are you doing as the stewards of God's means?
Has God given us a work to do? Has God bidden us to go amid opposing influences and convert men from error to truth? Why have not the men and women who have so frequently gathered to the large assemblies in Battle Creek put into practice the truth which they have heard? If they had imparted the light which they had received, what a transformation of character we would have seen! For every grace imparted God would have given grace. The work that has been done for them has not been prized as it should have been, or they would have gone forth into the darkened places of the earth and shed abroad the light which God has shed upon them. They would have given to the world the message of the righteousness of
Christ through faith, and their own light would have become clearer and clearer, for God would have worked with them. Many have gone into the grave in error, simply because those who professed the truth have failed to communicate the precious knowledge they have received. If the light that has shone in superabundance in Battle Creek had been diffused we would have seen many raised up to become laborers together with God.
The Evil of Long Sermons[* SPECIAL TESTIMONIES
TO MINISTERS AND WORKERS (SERIES A, NO. 5, 1896),
PAGES 7-9.] Dear Brother-----:
Those who shall be mouthpieces for God should know that their lips have been touched with a live coal from off the altar, and present the truth in the demonstration of the Spirit. But lengthy discourses are a taxation to the speaker and a taxation to the hearers who have to sit so long. One half the matter presented would be of more benefit to the hearer than the large mass poured forth by the speaker. That which is spoken in the first hour is of far more value if the sermon closes then than the words that are spoken in an added half hour. There is a burying up of the matter that has been presented.
This subject has been opened to me again and again that our ministers were making mistakes in talking so long as to wear away the first forcible impression made upon the hearers. So large a mass of matter is presented, which they cannot possibly retain and digest, that all seems confused.
I have kept this before our ministering brethren, and begged them not to lengthen out their discourses. Some improvement has been made on this ground with the very best results. But few discourses have exceeded an hour.
While in America the light was given me in the night season concerning yourself. You had been speaking at great length, and still felt that you had not said all you wished to say, and were asking for a little more time. One of dignity and authority stepped before you, as you stood in the pulpit, and said: You have given the people a large amount of matter to consider; one half of what you have given would be of much greater profit than the whole. If energized by the Holy Spirit, it must make an impression on the human hearer. The Holy Spirit works the man, but if there are vital points to be made which are essential to be carried away by the hearer, a train of words is effacing that strong impression, pouring into the vessel more than it can retain, and is so much effort lost. To reserve the last half to be presented when the mind is fresh to receive it will be gathering up the fragments that nothing be lost.
The truth is a precious, vitalizing power. It is the entrance of the word that giveth light and understanding unto the simple. The truth should be spoken clearly, slowly, forcibly, that it may impress the hearer. When the truth in any line is presented it is essential for it to be understood, that all its precious food, the bread of life, the manna from heaven, may be received. Let every fragment be gathered up, that nothing be lost. In the presentation of the truth in preaching the word it is of consequence that nothing should be lost to the receptive hearer. The Lord Jesus is represented by the Holy Spirit, and is seeking to secure admission
to the mind, and conviction comes to the heart and conscience; but the overmuch matter that is given is detrimental in its effect, it effaces the impression previously made. Speak short, and you will create an interest to hear again and again.
It is especially true that new and startling themes should not be presented to the people at too great length. In every address given, let there be an application of truth to the heart that whosoever may hear shall understand, and that men, women, and youth may become alive unto God. Try to lead all, from the least to the greatest, to search the word; for the knowledge of His glory is to fill the whole earth as the waters cover the sea.
"Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord." These precious words are spoken to those who have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. In order to realize the greatness of the promise, we must know by experimental knowledge who is back of the promise. "Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am
the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord."
In His word the Lord enumerates the gifts and graces that are indispensable for all who connect with His work. He does not teach us to ignore learning or despise education; for when controlled by the love and fear of God, intellectual culture is a blessing; yet this is not presented as the most important qualification for the service of God. Jesus passed by the wise men of His time, the men of education and position, because they were so proud and self-sufficient in their boasted superiority that they could not sympathize with suffering humanity and become colaborers with the Man of Nazareth. In their bigotry they scorned to be taught by Christ. The Lord Jesus would have men connected with His work who appreciate that work as sacred; then they can cooperate with God. They will be unobstructed channels through which His grace can flow. The attributes of the character of Christ can be imparted to those only who distrust themselves. The highest scientific education cannot in itself develop a Christlike character. The fruits of true wisdom come from Christ alone.
Every worker should test his own qualifications by the word of God. Have the men who are handling sacred things a clear understanding, a right perception, of things of eternal interest? Will they consent to yield to the working of the Holy Spirit? or do they permit themselves to be controlled by their own hereditary and cultivated tendencies? It becomes all to examine themselves whether they be in the faith.
Those who occupy positions of trust in the work of God should ever bear in mind that these positions involve great responsibility. The right performance of the solemn work for this time and the salvation of the souls connected with us in any way depend in a great degree upon our own spiritual condition. All should cultivate a vivid sense of their responsibility; for their own present well-being and their eternal destiny will be decided by the spirit they cherish. If self is woven into the work, it is as the offering of strange fire in the place of the sacred. Such workers incur the displeasure of the Lord. Brethren, remove your hands from the work, unless you can distinguish the sacred fire from the common.
Those who have stood as representative men are not all Christian gentlemen. There is prevalent a spirit that seeks the mastery over others. Men regard themselves as authority, they express their opinions and pass resolutions about matters of which they have no experimental knowledge. Some who are connected with the publishing house at ----- pass through the office, speaking with different ones, giving directions which they suppose it proper for them to give, when they do not understand what they are talking about.
Great injustice and even dishonesty have been committed in the board meetings in bringing matters before those who have not an experience that will enable them to be competent judges. Manuscripts have been placed in the hands of men for criticism, when the eyes of their understanding were so blinded that they
could not discern the spiritual import of the subject with which they were dealing. More than this, they had no real knowledge of bookmaking. They had had neither study nor practice in the line of literary productions. Men have sat in judgment upon books and manuscripts unwisely placed in their hands when they should have declined to serve in any such capacity. It would have been only honest for them to say: "I have had no experience in this line of work, and should certainly do injustice to myself and to others in giving my opinion. Excuse me, brethren; instead of instructing others, I need that someone should teach me." But this was far from their thoughts. They expressed themselves freely in regard to subjects of which they knew nothing. Conclusions have been accepted as the opinions of wise men, when they were simply the opinions of novices.
The time has come when in the name and strength of God the church must act for the good of souls and for the honor of God. A lack of firm faith and of discernment in sacred things should be regarded as sufficient to debar any man from connection with the work of God. So also the indulgence of a quick temper, a harsh, overbearing spirit, reveals that its possessor should not be placed where he will be called to decide weighty questions that affect God's heritage. A passionate man should have no part to act in dealing with human minds. He cannot be trusted to shape matters which have a relation to those whom Christ has purchased at an infinite price. If he undertakes to manage men, he will hurt and bruise their souls; for he has not the fine touch, the delicate sensibility, which the grace of Christ imparts. His own heart needs to be softened, subdued by the Spirit of God; the heart of stone has not become a heart of flesh.
Those who are thus misrepresenting Christ are placing a wrong mold upon the work, for they encourage all who are connected with them to do as they do. For their soul's sake, for the sake of those who are in danger from their influence, they should resign their positions; for the record will appear in heaven that the wrongdoer has the blood of many souls upon his garments. He has caused some to become exasperated, so that they have given up the faith; others have been imbued with his own satanic attributes, and the evil done it is impossible to estimate. Those only who make it manifest that their hearts are being sanctified through the truth should be retained in positions of trust in the Lord's work.
Let all consider that whatever their employment, they are to represent Christ. With steadfast purpose let every man seek to have the mind of Christ. Especially should those who have accepted the position of directors or counselors feel that they are required to be in every respect Christian gentlemen. While in dealing with others we are always to be faithful, we should not be rude. The souls with whom we have to do are the Lord's purchased possession, and we are to permit no hasty, overbearing expression to escape the lips.
Brethren, treat men as men, not as servants to be ordered about at your pleasure. He who indulges a harsh, overbearing spirit might better become a tender of sheep as did Moses, and thus learn what it means to be a true shepherd. Moses gained in Egypt an experience as a mighty statesman and as a leader of the armies, but he did not there learn the lessons essential for true greatness. He needed an experience in more humble duties, that he might become a caretaker,
tender toward every living thing. In keeping the flocks of Jethro his sympathies were called out to the sheep and lambs, and he learned to guard these creatures of God with the gentlest care. Although their voice could never complain of mistreatment, yet their attitude might show much. God cares for all the creatures He has made. In working for God in this lowly station, Moses learned to be a tender shepherd for Israel.
The Lord would have us learn a lesson also from the experience of Daniel. There are many who might become mighty men if like this faithful Hebrew they would depend upon God for grace to be overcomers, and for strength and efficiency in their labors. Daniel manifested the most perfect courtesy, both toward his elders and toward the youth. He stood as a witness for God, and sought to take such a course that he might not be ashamed for heaven to hear his words or to behold his works. When Daniel was required to partake of the luxuries of the king's table, he did not fly into a passion, neither did he express a determination to eat and drink as he pleased. Without speaking one word of defiance, he took the matter to God. He and his companions sought wisdom from the Lord, and when they came forth from earnest prayer their decision was made. With true courage and Christian courtesy, Daniel presented the case to the officer who had them in charge, asking that they might be granted a simple diet. These youth felt that their religious principles were at stake, and they relied upon God, whom they loved and served. Their request was granted, for they had obtained favor with God and with men.
Men in every position of trust need to take their place in the school of Christ, and heed the injunction
of the Great Teacher: "Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." We have no excuse for manifesting one wrong trait of character. "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." In your dealing with others, whatever you see or hear that needs to be corrected, first seek the Lord for wisdom and grace, that in trying to be faithful you may not be rude. Ask Him to give you the gentleness of Christ; then you will be true to your duty, true to your position of trust, and true to God, a faithful steward, overcoming natural and acquired tendencies to evil.
None but a wholehearted Christian can be a perfect gentleman; but if Christ is abiding in the soul His spirit will be revealed in the manner, the words, and the actions. Gentleness and love cherished in the heart will appear in self-denial, in true courtesy. Such workers will be the light of the world.
Redemption is part of the divine nature. It is the prerogative of God to have to reconstruct, not to destroy. The Son of God was given to die before the foundation of the world. The existence of sin is unexplainable; therefore not a soul knows what God is until he sees himself in the light reflected from the cross of
Calvary, and detests himself as a sinner in the bitterness of his soul. When his soul cries out in great need for a sin-pardoning Saviour, then God is revealed as gracious, full of compassion and forgiveness and love, long-suffering and patience. Individually, as church members, we are, if faithful servants of Jesus Christ, laborers together with God. When one is bruised by the enemy and wounded and commits error, as faithful and true to the Master, as workers together with God, we must take up the missionary work next to us, we must work to heal, not to ruin and to destroy. The hope we have in Christ is because we are sinners. We have a right to claim a Saviour. Then when there are those in any of our institutions associated together who err, let not men act the part of denouncing, condemning, and destroying, as though they were faultless.
It is the work of the Christian to mend, to restore, to heal. This healing process saves many a soul and hides a multitude of sins. God is love; God is, in Himself, in His essence, love. He makes the very best of what appears an injury, and gives Satan no occasion for triumph by making the worst appear and exposing our weakness to our enemies. The world must not be introduced into the church, and married to the church, forming a bond of unity. Through this means the church will become indeed corrupt, and as stated in Revelation, "a cage of every unclean and hateful bird."
Through association with the world our institutions will become unsubstantial, unreliable; because these worldly elements, introduced and placed in positions of trust, are looked up to as teachers to be respected in
their educating, directing, and official position, and they are sure to be worked upon by the spirit and power of darkness; so that the demarcation becomes not distinguished between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not. The parable is given by Jesus Christ in regard to the field in which it was supposed had been sown pure wheat, but the entrusted ones look upon the field with disappointment, and inquire, "Didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?" The master of the vineyard answers, "An enemy hath done this."
Thus hath it been presented to me in regard to the Rural Health Retreat.[* SEE APPENDIX.] I had a message of warning. I spoke with earnestness, and I know the Lord put His Holy Spirit upon me while I presented the danger of association with and love of the world. The worldling is ever on the watch to criticize and accuse those who serve God. This will reveal itself in the querulous complaining of professed Christians, who have never been transformed by the grace of Jesus Christ. They are deadly enemies to those who believe. They despise the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and if they can make it appear that those who are striving to obey the commandments of God are faulty, Satan has cast his arrow, and now what? He has shown his accusing power; but his cruel thrusts will do little harm if the professed believers will stand true to the words of Christ, and be doers of His word and not hearers only. Those to whom these complaints are made are under bonds to Jesus Christ to love and respect and be faithful to one another who are united to Christ in church fellowship. To unite with the
faultfinding element, to be accusers of the brethren, to take up the reproach they lay at your door is seconding the work of the enemy by playing yourself into his hands to make his work a success.
I presented the matter before the hearers that Jesus the Lord of life and glory was crucified to please the malice of the Jews because the principles He presented did not coincide with their own ideas and ambitious aims. He condemned all guile, all underhanded work of policy for supremacy, and every unholy practice. Pilate and Herod became friends in crucifying Christ. They pleased the Jews in making effective their enmity against One whom Pilate proclaimed innocent. I presented to them Judas, who betrayed his Lord for money value; Peter, who denied Him in His humiliation in the judgment hall. A few hours before, he had with great firmness assured his Master he would go with Him to prison and to death; and notwithstanding Jesus' declaration that he would, ere the cock crew, deny Him thrice, he was so self-confident that he took not the words of Christ as verity and truth. How little he knew himself! How soon circumstances tested his allegiance to his Master! He denied Jesus in the very hour he should have watched with Him in fervent prayer. When in the judgment hall he was accused of being one of this Man's disciples, he denied; and the third time he was accused, he emphasized his denial with cursing and swearing.
Said Christ, "Ye shall receive power, after that he Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses
unto Me." The look of grief and sadness which Jesus gave Peter was not a hopeless look; it broke the heart of Peter, who denied his Lord.
But Peter was converted, and then after the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ when before the rulers, he boldly declared for Jesus, and charged the rulers with these words: "But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life." There Peter shows himself entirely a different man after his conversion than the self-confident, boasting Peter prior to his conversion. I presented before them the voice of the world, the enemies of Christ, saying to Christ's messengers, "Ye should not teach in this name" and "bring this Man's blood upon us." Did this threatening succeed? did it make cowards of the witnesses of Christ? No; they proclaimed the message given them of God; and they were shut up in prison, and God sent His angel to release them. The angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors and brought them forth, and said, "Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life." This voice from the heavenly angels was directly opposite to that voice from the authorities, and which should they obey? "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him. When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them." Then Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, pleaded in behalf of the apostles, and his words prevailed. Well,
this is a little part of the words the Lord gave me to speak to the people.
The words given me were of that character that I knew the people needed, and which would benefit them if they would hear. One discourse was upon how to treat those united with us in church capacity if they erred. They were not to permit their minds to be affected to action by the words of the Lord's enemies against His children. If complaints or murmurings or charges are made they must study in Christ's school as to the course to be pursued toward the ones of whom complaints are made. Tell the matter between him and thee alone, and if he will not hear, then take two or three others; if he will not hear these, tell it to the church.
The world has no part with the believers in this work. They cannot discern the motives and principles by which God's people are bound in their relations and dealings with one another. We must be true, loyal soldiers in the army of Jesus Christ. All His followers are to keep step with their Leader. They should never introduce their secrets to, or make confidants of, the enemies of Jesus Christ in regard to their movements or what they purpose to do in their line of action; for it is a betrayal of sacred trusts, and is giving the enemy every advantage. Let the counsel of the people of God be within their own company. The enemies of Christ should not be made familiar with their secrets, while the children of God are kept in ignorance of the very things they ought to know. The secrets of the Lord are with them that fear Him.
The world is the chief enemy of religion. The satanic forces are constantly at work through the world, and those who are professed Christians, yet associated with the world in close fellowship, are so much one in spirit, aims, and principles of working, that they cannot discern between him who serveth God and him who serveth the world. The enemy works constantly to push the world to the front, to be looked upon as superior to those who believe in Jesus, and who seek to be doers of His word. Words of praise and flattery from worldlings are received as sweet morsels, but the judgment of those who love this sort of food is in accordance with the weakness which they show in this direction. Their spiritual life is composed of just the kind of material they feed upon. Their Christian experience is largely dependent on flattery and human appreciation. The fear and love of God are not interwoven in their experience.
How pitiable and sad to see men who have known something of the Spirit of God fall so completely into the arms of the world as to be swayed and influenced by its voice, and depend upon its favors for strength and success! How manifestly such are alienated from Christ, how full of self-confidence, how full of vaunting, of vanity, and how shortsighted in regard to spirituality! How little true discernment have they to distinguish between him who is a child of God, an heir of the kingdom, and him who is a child of the wicked one, who is a child of disobedience, and an enemy of God!
There are only two classes in our world: those who are obedient to Jesus Christ, who seek the Master to do His will, and work for the attainment of the salvation of their own souls and the soul of everyone
who is associated with them who names the name of Christ; and the children of disobedience. There are but two classes in our world. Then listen to the words of One who knows: "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them." 1 John 4:4, 5. Souls are being deluded. The fear and love of God have not a controlling power. The world is their master, and they chase after its delusive, flattering mirage. Listen to One who gave His life for the world, "that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." He spake as never man spake. The whole of John 15 contains a most important lesson. Read it; obey it. Again, hear the voice of God, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
Let not God's people in any of our institutions sign a truce with the enemy of God and man. The duty of the church to the world is not to come down to their ideas and accept their opinions, their suggestions, but to heed the words of Christ through His servant Paul, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" This means in a special sense marriage with unbelievers, but it covers more ground than this: it means in our instrumentalities ordained of God, in our institutions for health, in our colleges, in our publishing houses.
The matter is placed before us in the correct light. The question is asked, "And what agreement hath
the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing." What does this mean-- the suggestions, the evil workings in the children of disobedience. You are not in any case to become contaminated with the spirit or influence of unbelievers. Be afraid of uniting or binding up in bundles with them. Be afraid of communicating the works connected with the Lord's cause to those who have no part with God, or sympathy with those who love the truth of God. "And I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
I raise my voice of warning against the mingling in our institutions of the worldly element with those who believe; we have the danger signal to sound. If in our institutions persons are placed in positions of trust, they are educators. Others are taught to look to these persons for instruction, and in this is a snare to the unwary; their ideas become confused in regard to righteousness and truth. They hear those persons who have no respect for the truth sneer and speak disparagingly of the truth, which should be held firmly and sacredly as truth.
When the day's work on Friday should be planned with reference to the Sabbath of the Lord, there is Satan working with those children of disobedience to prolong the service into the sacred hours, and give their orders that those under their direction shall do work on the Sabbath, and then they exult and Satan triumphs.
And when men in the highest responsible positions make no difference between those who serve God and those who serve Him not, they evidence that their eyes are not single to the glory of God; therefore their whole body is full of darkness. When these men in authority have so mingled with the spirit of worldlings that the words of complaint from the lips of these unbelievers are gathered as verity and truth, they know not what spirit they are of. When they encourage this spirit, and complaints against the people of God, they evidence that they are working on the enemy's side to belittle and humiliate those whom the Lord loves, and that they strengthen the hands of the wicked, who are doing an evil work. When they feel free to suffer the accusers of God's children to plan for them against His chosen ones, they do not have Christ to plan with them.
If one of the children of the Lord errs, then if the men in authority are discerning spiritual things, they will understand that their position allows no betrayal of sacred trusts on their part, and they will not betray the cause of God into the enemy's hands. They will not be reticent to the very ones in whom they should have confidence, and work in silence and secrecy, and open their plans to those who have no sympathy with the chosen people of God. If any workers in our institutions for health are murmured against and accused by unbelievers or believers, let the following special directions given by our Master, Jesus Christ, be placed in mottoes all through the establishment: "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what
measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."
Go to those supposed to be in error, talk with them, not working with duplicity and hypocrisy, meeting them day by day with apparent friendship, and at the same time plotting against them in perfect unity with the satanic agencies at work to uproot, to tear down, to remove from the institution the ones the unbelieving element wants removed, while not a word is spoken with the brethren or sisters in the faith to redeem them, to heal them, if they are in error; and if they are not in the wrong, to vindicate the right, and put the rebuke where it belongs--upon the plotters of an evil work, because Satan is behind the scene. The Lord Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, likening them to sepulchers that do not appear, hidden from sight, but full of corruption. The Lord hates all deception, secrecy, and guile. This is Satan's work; the work of God is open and frank. No one will work against a child of God on the strength of the testimony of the Lord's enemy, and work after Satan's manner--concealing himself, yet suggesting, instigating, planning in perfect unity with the Lord's enemies.
How can the universe of heaven regard such underhanded, cowardly work against those who love God and keep His commandments? Members of the church may commit errors, and often make mistakes; but they are to be dealt with kindly, tenderly, as Christ has dealt with us. But the rebuke of God is upon all those who do the work of God deceitfully, professedly friends of Christ, yet working in an undercurrent style, in darkness, against those who love God. "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."
Here is our work, brethren; will we take it up? So little of this is done that the words of the True Witness come home to the church: "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto the quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."
"And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the Angel." This was the appearance of Satan. He had deceived these souls by his delusions and devices. Now these souls had repented before God, and pardon was written against their names. Satan was accusing them of sins, and asserting his right to do as he pleased with them because of their transgression which he had caused them to commit. But Jesus looked upon these souls believing in Him, trusting in His righteousness, with the tenderest and most loving compassion. "And He answered and spake unto those that stood before Him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him He said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair miter upon his head. So they set a fair miter upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the Angel of the Lord stood by." Shall the people of God who are placed in positions of trust voice the words of Satan against the children of God? Let us act as Christians, true as steel to God and
His holy work; quick to discern the devices of Satan in his hidden, deceptive workings through the children of disobedience.
"Your words have been stout against Me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against Thee? Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered." These are the words of the unconsecrated who are separating from God, blinded by the enemy. They cannot discern the ways and works of God. Now is represented the opposite class: "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another." These words were not speaking evil of brethren, or making complaints of God, but were words spoken from sincere hearts, words in which were no deceit, no underhanded working, no guile. "And the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name. And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not."
May the Lord bless His people with spiritual eyesight, to see that the children of God and the world can never be in copartnership. Whosoever will be the
friend of the world is the enemy of God. While every individual should work with Christ to transform the children of darkness by showing them the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world, they cannot have overflowing sympathy with worldlings in such a degree that they lend them their influence to carry out their suggestions to weaken and do injustice to God's chosen ones. God does not work in this way. In perfect and complete unity there is strength. Not in numbers, but in the perfect trust and unity with Christ, one can chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight. Let us not form unholy bonds of union with the friends of the world; for God has pronounced His curse upon all such unions. Let the people of God take their stand firmly for truth and for righteousness. Already we see the terrible consequences of uniting believers with unbelievers. The result is, the unbelievers are given the confidence that belongs to those only who love and revere God.
Already has the power of darkness placed its mold and superscription upon the work that should stand forth untainted, unpolluted from Satan's cunning devices. We lift our voice of warning upon the social attractions by worldly bids and worldly baits. Keep clear. Touch not the unclean thing. Let not the world's direction and propositions be given to God's people to control them. Woe be unto him whose wisdom is not from above but from beneath! Men of superficial piety, by their desire to receive patronage, to obtain fame, betray the most sacred interests into the hands of unbelievers.
Let not money be obtained by touching or sanctioning any unclean practices. Let the grace of Christ be brought into the heart, and if the workers be few and God can work with them in our institutions,
they will prevail. There must be no deceiving power at work, for it is an unclean thing. There must be no hands that are defiled. Clean hands and a pure heart God will recognize. "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."
The light of the glory of God must fall upon us. We need the holy unction from on high. However intelligent, however learned a man may be, he is not qualified to teach unless he has a firm hold on the God of Israel. He who is connected with heaven will do the works of Christ. By faith in God he will have power to move upon humanity. He will seek for the lost sheep of the house of Israel. If divine power does not combine with human effort, I would not give a straw for all that the greatest man could do. The Holy Spirit is wanting in our work.-- Review and Herald, February 18, 1890.