The great office work of the Holy Spirit is thus distinctly specified by our Saviour: "And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin." Christ knew that this announcement was a wonderful trust. He was nearing the close of His ministry upon this earth and was standing in view of the cross, with a full realization of the load of guilt that must be placed upon Him as the Sin Bearer. Yet His greatest anxiety was for His disciples. He was seeking to find solace for them, and He told them, "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you."
Evil had been accumulating for centuries and could only be restrained and resisted by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power. Another spirit must be met; for the essence of evil was working in all ways, and the submission of man to this satanic captivity was amazing.
Today, as in Christ's day, Satan rules the minds of many. Oh, that his terrible, fearful work could be discerned and resisted! Selfishness has perverted principles, selfishness has confused the senses and clouded the
judgment. It seems so strange that notwithstanding all the light that is shining from God's blessed word, there should be such strange ideas held, such a departure from the spirit and practice of truth. The desire to grasp large wages, with a determination to deprive others of their God-given rights, has its origin in Satan's mind; and by their obedience to his will and way, men place themselves under his banner. Little dependence can be placed on those that have been taken in this snare, unless they are thoroughly converted and renovated; for they have been leavened by wrong principles, which they could not perceive were deleterious in their effect.
Oh, if those in the various fields, in America and all over the world, were working according to the Bible rule, and were striving to uproot selfishness, what a work would be accomplished for the church! But sins which have from time to time been pointed out are lying at the door of many, sins which the Lord regards as of no light character. If men would only give up their Spirit of resistance to the Holy Spirit, --the spirit which has long been leavening their religious experience,--God's Spirit would address itself to their hearts. It would convince of sin. What a work! But the Holy Spirit has been insulted, and light has been rejected. Is it possible for those who for years have been so blinded, to see? Is it possible that in this late stage of their resistance their eyes will be anointed? Will the voice of the Spirit of God be distinguished from the deceiving voice of the enemy?
There are men who will soon evidence which banner they are standing under, the banner of the Prince of life, or the banner of the prince of darkness. If they could only see these matters as they are presented to
me, if they could see that, as far as their souls are concerned, they are as men standing on the brink of a precipice, ready to slide over to the depths below, I do not think they would stand trembling on the brink another instant, if they had any regard for their salvation.
It is not the will of God that any shall perish, but that all shall have everlasting life. Oh, could I be assured that in the coming conference my brethren would feel a sense of what pure principles mean to them and to all with whom they are associated, my heart would leap with joy! If those that have wandered so far from God and true righteousness would show that the Holy Spirit was striving with them, that they were conscious of their guiltiness in departing from the word of God and acting as blind leaders of the blind, I should have hope. When these do awake from their paralysis, they will be overwhelmed with a sense of lost time,--the Lord's precious talent,--lost opportunities, which were given to them that they might show their appreciation of the infinite compassion of God for fallen men.
Every soul that accepts Jesus as his personal Saviour will pant for the privilege of serving God and will eagerly seize the opportunity to signalize his gratitude by devoting his abilities to God's service. He will long to show his love for Jesus and for His purchased possession. He will covet toil, hardship, sacrifice. He will think it a privilege to deny self, lift the cross, and follow in Christ's footsteps, thus showing his loyalty and love. His holy and beneficent works will testify to his conversion, and will give to the world the evidence that he is not a spurious, but a true, devoted, Christian.
Men are now earnestly plying every art and trade
in order to satisfy their desire for more gain. If they would use this tact and zeal and careful thoughtfulness in an effort to gain something for the Lord's treasury, how much would be accomplished! When men who are thoroughly selfish accept Christ, they will show that they have a new heart; and instead of grasping all they possibly can obtain to benefit themselves, instead of making little, stunted sacrifices for the Lord, they will cheerfully do all that they can to advance His work. The spirit of grasping, which has been so largely developed, will die, and they will heed the words of Christ, "Sell that ye have, and give alms." They will work as laboriously, with zeal and energy and earnestness, to build up the kingdom of God, as they have worked to obtain riches for themselves.
I tell you the truth. We are far behind our holy religion in our conception of duty. Oh, if those who have been blessed with such grand and solemn truth would arise and shake off the spell that has benumbed their senses and caused them to withhold from God their true service, what would not their well-organized efforts accomplish for the salvation of souls! What a change would be seen in the principles carried out! The world, the flesh, the devil, would not blind men and women as to what constitute pure, sacred, loyal principles.
The word of God appropriated is the preparation for eternal life. But men have placed such an interpretation upon this word that it has been made meaningless. Heart and conscience have become hardened and corrupted. Brethren, in the name of Jesus, I ask, Do you believe the word of God? Are you sons and daughters of God? If you are, it is because you have been converted, and have received Christ into your soul temple, and your minds have been brought under
the new law, even the royal law of liberty. Oh, if I could have the joyful news that the will and minds of those in Battle Creek who have stood professedly as leaders, were emancipated from the teachings and slavery of Satan, whose captives they have been for so long, I would be willing to cross the broad Pacific to see your faces once more. But I am not anxious to see you with enfeebled perceptions and clouded minds because you have chosen darkness rather than light.
Awakening Influence of the Holy Spirit
The divine Spirit reveals its working on the human heart. When the Holy Spirit operates upon the mind, the human agent will understand the statement made by Christ, "He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you." Subjection to the word of God means the restoration of one's self. Let Christ work by His Holy Spirit, and awaken you as from the dead, and carry your minds along with His. Let Him employ your faculties. He has created your every capability that you may better honor and glorify His name. Consecrate yourself to Him, and all associated with you will see that your energies are inspired of God, that your noblest powers are called into exercise to do God's service. The faculties once used to serve self and advance unworthy principles, once serving as members of unrighteous purposes, will be brought into captivity to Jesus Christ and become one with the will of God.
Young People to be Trained for Service
There is a work to be done in the churches. Young men and women must be trained and educated, and then places will be found for them in the work. You are worried and perplexed because Dr. ----- is gathering
in disproportionately in the medical missionary work, because his work far exceeds the work being done in the churches by the General Conference. What is the matter? It is plain that the light given by God has not been acted upon. Men have supplanted God's plans by their own plans. The prosperity of the medical missionary work is in God's order. This work must be done; the truth must be carried to the highways and the hedges.
But the heart of the work, the great center, has been enfeebled by the mismanagement of men who have not kept pace with their Leader.[* SEE APPENDIX.] Satan has diverted their money and their capabilities into wrong channels. Their precious time has been passing into eternity. The earnest work that is now being done, the aggressive warfare that is being carried on, might long ago have been just as vigorously carried forward in obedience to the light of God. The whole body is sick because of mismanagement and miscalculation. The people to whom God as entrusted eternal interests, the depositaries of truth pregnant with eternal results, the keepers of light that is to illuminate the whole world, have lost their bearings. Has God made a mistake? Are those at the heart of the work chosen vessels that can receive the golden oil, which the heavenly messengers, represented as two olive trees, empty into the golden tubes to replenish the lamps? Are those in Battle Creek, the men and women that God has appointed to do the most solemn work ever given to mortals, in partnership with Jesus Christ in His great firm? Are those whom He has bidden to communicate the light from the burning lamps to others, that the regions of darkness
may have opportunity to hear the saving message, doing their duty? . . .
Oh, if those who profess to know the truth had the spirit of Christ, the self-sacrificing Redeemer, who gave up His riches, His splendor, His high command, and did all that a God could do to save souls, they would deny self, lift the cross and follow Jesus. How will you who love worldly treasure answer to God in the great day of judgment for your feeble and sleepy efforts to send the truth to regions beyond? The money expended in bicycles and dress and other needless things must be accounted for.[* SEE APPENDIX.] As God's people you should represent Jesus; but Christ is ashamed of the self-indulgent ones. My heart is pained, I can scarcely restrain my feelings, when I think of how easily our people are led away from practical Christian principles to self-pleasing. As yet many of you only partially believe the truth. The Lord Jesus says, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon," and we are to live by every word which proceedeth out of His mouth. How many believe His word?
The Lord abhors your selfish practices, and yet His hand is stretched out still. I urge you for your soul's sake to hear my plea now for those who are missionaries in foreign countries, whose hands are tied by your ways. Satan has been working with all his powers of deception to bring matters to that pass where the way will be hedged up for want of means in the treasury.
Do you realize that every year thousands and thousands and ten times ten thousand souls are perishing, dying in their sins? The plagues and judgments of God are already doing their work, and souls are going to ruin because the light of truth has not been flashed
upon their pathway. Do we fully believe that we are to carry the word of God to all the world? Who believes this? "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" Who has the faith that will enable them to practice this word? Who believes in the light which God has given?
The Lord calls for united action. Well-organized efforts must be made to secure laborers. There are poor, honest, humble souls whom the Lord will put in your place, who have never had the opportunities you have had, and who could not have them because you were not worked by the Holy Spirit. We may be sure that when the Holy Spirit is poured out those who did not receive and appreciate the early rain will not see or understand the value of the latter rain. When we are truly consecrated to God, His love will abide in our hearts by faith, and we will cheerfully do our duty in accordance with the will of God.
But the little interest that has been manifested in the work of God by our churches alarms me. I would ask all who have means to remember that God has entrusted this means to them to be used in the advancement of the work which Christ came to our world to do. The Lord tells every man that in the sight of God he is not the owner of what he possesses, but only a trustee. Not thine, but Mine, saith the Lord. God will call you to account for your stewardship. Whether you have one talent, or two, or five, not a farthing is to be squandered on your own selfish indulgences. Your accountability to Heaven should cause you to
fear and tremble. The decisions of the last day turn upon our practical benevolence. Christ acknowledges every act of beneficence as done to Himself.
All who name the name of Christ should work for Him with heart and mind and soul and strength; and they will work if they believe the great gospel of truth. The heartiness of their zeal for Christ's sake will testify to the measure of their faith. Self will be swallowed in Christ if they are truly united with Him. "I live," said the great apostle; "yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me."
The light given over and over again by the Spirit of God is, Do not colonize.[* SEE APPENDIX.] Enter the large cities, and create an interest among the high and the low. Make it your work to preach the gospel to the poor, but do not stop there. Seek to reach the higher classes also. Study your location with a view to letting your light shine forth to others. This work should have been done long since. Do not make the Sabbath question your first specialty. You must reach the people with practical subjects, upon which all can agree. . . .
God's people have a work to do which is not being done. The last message of mercy must be given to a world perishing in their sins. Those who are connected with our institutions have every facility and opportunity to work for the poor sinners that are out of Christ; but they are dumb. If our churches would only practice
the truth, and show that they believe that Christ came to our world to save sinners, the power of God would attend their labors. But they must keep in touch with the Source of all light and efficiency, and in touch with the world, not to imbibe the spirit of the world, but that they may do the work God has appointed them to do. . . .
"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" is Christ's command to His workers.
But this plain declaration has been disregarded. Even though the light has been given again and again, men are called from the fields, where they should have continued working in the love and fear of God, seeking to save the lost, to spend weeks in attending a ministerial institute. There was a time when this work was made necessary, because our own people opposed the work of God by refusing the light of truth on the righteousness of Christ by faith. This they should have received and reechoed with heart and voice and pen, for it is their only efficiency. They should have labored under the Holy Spirit's dictation to give the light to others.
By devoting year after year to ministerial institutes, [* SEE APPENDIX.] fields have been neglected that are white already to harvest. Even the workers have been weakened instead of being strengthened. This has been a mistake. God calls upon His servants to communicate, not to be ever learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.
The great object of the advent of the Holy Spirit is distinctly specified by Christ. "When He is come," He
said, "He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." This light has been kept before our people for years. The power of the Holy Spirit has been largely manifested at Battle Creek, the great heart of the work, to be communicated to those in the highways and hedges, that the mass of human beings under Satan's sway of sin and death might be reformed and renovated by the Spirit's power. But when light has come to those at the center of the work, they have not known how to treat it. The testimonies God has given His people are in harmony with His word.
When Christ spoke these words, He was standing in the shadow of the shameful cross, the symbol of the guilt which made the sacrifice of Christ necessary in order to save the world from complete ruin. Christ looked forward to the time when the Holy Spirit, as His representative, should come to do a wonderful work in and through His merits; and He felt privileged to communicate His relief to His disciples. . . .
Those who have not a living connection with God have not an appreciation of the Holy Spirit's manifestation, and do not distinguish between the sacred and the common. They do not obey God's voice, because, as the Jewish nation, they know not the time of their visitation. There is no help for man, woman, or child who will not hear and obey the voice of duty, for the voice of duty is the voice of God. The eyes, the ears, and the heart will become unimpressible if men and women refuse to give heed to the divine counsel, and choose the way that is best pleasing to themselves.
Oh, how much better it would be if all who do this were connected with some other work than the sacred institutions appointed by God as His great centers! They are supposed to be under the guidance of the
Holy Spirit; but this is a mistake. They do not do the work of God faithfully; they do not give evidence that they realize its sacred character. Their influence misleads others, causing them to regard lightly God's instrumentalities ordained for the saving of souls, and leading them to think that they may bring in their own ideas and common thoughts and plans. Thus a low, cheap level is reached, and God is greatly dishonored.
God would have all who have such an experience ingrained in their religious life choose occupation elsewhere, in laborious, narrow spheres, where eternal interests will not be cheapened by their unconsecrated lives, where there is less room to encounter temptation. Strenuous, flesh-wearing toil may counteract and subdue their evil propensities, and others will not be leavened by their harmful tendencies and traits of character.
Those who have any connection with God's work in any of our institutions must have a connection with God, and must be committed to do right under all circumstances, that they may know where they will be found in the day of trial. No one connected with the sacred work of God can remain on neutral ground. If a man is divided, undecided, unsettled, until he is sure that he will lose nothing, he shows that he is a man God cannot use. But many are working in this line. They have not been appointed by God, or else they have decidedly failed to be worked by the mighty agency of the Holy Spirit.
The Lord will use educated men if their supposed knowledge does not lead them to desire to work the Holy Spirit, and to seek to teach the Lord that human policy is better than divine plans, because it accords
better with popular opinion. Everyone in God's service is under bonds to stand forth boldly and meet prejudice, opposition, and human passion. They must ever remember that they are God's servants, and in His service.
The Lord would have His people divested of everything unscriptural in regard to the ministry. The men called to the ministry should not be made idols of; they should not be looked upon with superstitious reverence; and because of the power vested in them through their office, sin in them should not lose its offensiveness. Their very office makes sin in them more exceedingly sinful, for in committing sin they make themselves the ministers of sin, the agents of Satan, through whom he can work with success to perpetuate sin.
All should bear in mind that Satan's special efforts are directed against the ministry. He knows that it is but a human instrumentality, possessing no grace or holiness of its own. He knows that it is an agent that God has ordained to be a powerful means for the salvation of souls and is efficacious only as God, the eternal Spirit, makes it so. He knows that the treasure of the gospel is in earthen vessels, that it is God's power alone that can make them vessels of honor. They may cultivate the vineyard, a Paul may plant and an Apollos water, but God alone can give the increase.
God has never left His church without a witness. In all the scenes of trial and proving, of opposition and
persecution amidst moral darkness, through which the church has passed, God has had men of opportunity who have been prepared to take up His work at different stages and carry it forward and upward. Through patriarchs and prophets He revealed His truth to His people. Christ was the teacher of His ancient people as verily as He was when He came to the world clothed in the garments of humanity. Hiding His glory in human form, He often appeared to His people and talked with them "face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend." He, their invisible Leader, was enshrouded in the pillar of fire and of cloud, and spoke to His people through Moses. The voice of God was heard by the prophets whom He had appointed to a special work and to bear a special message. He sent them to repeat the same words over and over again. He had a message prepared for them that was not after the ways and will of men, and this He put in their mouths and had them proclaim. He assured them the Holy Spirit would give them language and utterance. He who knew the heart would give them words with which to reach the people.
The message might not please those to whom it was sent. They might not wish for anything new, but desire to go right on as they had been doing; but the Lord stirred them up with reproofs; He rebuked their course of action. He infused new life in those who were sleeping at their post of duty, who were not faithful sentinels. He showed them their responsibility, and that they would be held accountable for the safety of the people. They were watchmen who were not to sleep day nor night. They were to discern the enemy, and give the alarm to the people, that everyone might be at his post, that the watching foe might not obtain the least advantage.
And today the Lord declares to His watchmen that if they are unfaithful and do not warn the people who are in peril, they will be taken away in their sins. "His blood," He says, "will I require at thine hand." But if His messengers lift up their voices in reproof and warning, to turn men from their wicked ways, and those souls will not hear, then the watchman is clear; the offender against God will be taken in his sins; his blood will be upon his own soul.
These solemn matters are set before me in clear lines. God has appointed apostles, pastors, evangelists, and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith. God declares to His people, "Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building." There must be a continual advancement. Step by step His followers must make straight paths for their feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way. Those who would labor for God must work intelligently to replenish the deficiencies in themselves and glorify the Lord God of Israel by standing in the light, working in the light of the Sun of Righteousness. Thus they will carry the church forward and upward and heavenward, making its separation from the world more and more distinct.
As they assimilate their character to the divine Pattern, men will not guard their own personal dignity. With jealous, sleepless, loving, devoted interest, they will guard the sacred interest of the church from the evil which threatens to dim and cloud the glory that God intends shall shine forth through her. They will see that Satan's devices have no place or countenance in her by
encouraging faultfinding, gossiping, evilspeaking, and accusing of the brethren; for those things would weaken and overthrow her.
There never will be a time in the history of the church when God's worker can fold his hands and be at ease, saying, "All is peace and safety." Then it is that sudden destruction cometh. Everything may move forward amid apparent prosperity; but Satan is wide-awake, and is studying and counseling with his evil angels another mode of attack where he can be successful. The contest will wax more and more fierce on the part of Satan; for he is moved by a power from beneath. As the work of God's people moves forward with sanctified, resistless energy, planting the standard of Christ's righteousness in the church, moved by a power from the throne of God, the great controversy will wax stronger and stronger, and will become more and more determined. Mind will be arrayed against mind, plans against plans, principles of heavenly origin against principles of Satan. Truth in its varied phases will be in conflict with error in its ever-varying, increasing forms, and which, if possible, will deceive the very elect.
Our work must be an earnest one. We are not to fight as those that beat the air. The ministry, the pulpit, and the press demand men like Caleb, who will do and dare, men whose eyes are single to detect the truth from error, whose ears are consecrated to catch the words from the faithful Watcher. And the Spirit from the throne of God will make itself felt upon a degenerate Christianity, a corrupt world, ready to be consumed by the long-deferred judgments of an offended God.
There is danger now of men's losing sight of the important truths applicable for this period of time, and seeking for those things that are new and strange and entrancing. Many, if reproved by the Spirit of God through His appointed agencies, refuse to receive correction, and a root of bitterness is planted in their hearts against the Lord's servants who carry heavy, disagreeable burdens. There are men who teach the truth, but who are not perfecting their ways before God, who are trying to conceal their defections and encourage an estrangement from God. They have not the moral courage to do the things that it is for their special benefit to do. They see no necessity for reform, and so they reject the words of the Lord and hate him who reproveth at the gate.
This very refusal to heed the admonitions which the Lord sends gives Satan every advantage to make of them the bitterest enemies of those who have told them the truth. They become falsifiers of those who have borne to them the message from the Lord.
The man who rejects the word of the Lord, who endeavors to establish his own way and will, tears to pieces the messenger and message which God sends in order to discover to him his sin. His own inclinations have influenced his conduct, and he has built himself up in a wrong way. The divine rule is, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." But he would not do this. As a man thinketh, so is he. From within, out of the heart, proceed evil thoughts inspired by Satan. He begins to quibble at technicalities and manners. The spirit of Satan links him up with the enemy to bear a word of criticism on less important themes. The truth becomes of less and still less value to him. He becomes
an accuser of his brethren, etc., and changes leaders. The outside world has a greater weight with him than has the flood of light that God has poured in upon the world in messages that he has given, and which he once rejoiced in.
Oh, how many things have developed since he became so full of hatred against God because his dangers and wrongs were brought before him! He has allowed wicked thoughts to strengthen and prevail because, day by day, he has not eaten of the flesh and drunk of the blood of the Son of God, because he has not become a partaker of the divine nature. The things which come from within defile the man. How corrupt then must be the source from which these evils have taken their rise!
Unsanctified ministers are arraying themselves against God. They are praising Christ and the god of this world in the same breath. While professedly they receive Christ, they embrace Barabbas, and by their actions say, "Not this Man, but Barabbas." Let all who read these lines,take heed. Satan has made his boast of what he can do. He thinks to dissolve the unity which Christ prayed might exist in His church. He says, "I will go forth and be a lying spirit to deceive those that I can, to criticize, and condemn, and falsify." Let the son of deceit and false witness be entertained by a church that has had great light, great evidence, and that church will discard the message the Lord has sent, and receive the most unreasonable assertions and false suppositions and false theories. Satan laughs at their folly, for he knows what truth is.
Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish
torch of Satan. If doubts and unbelief are cherished, the faithful ministers will be removed from the people who think they know so much. "If thou hadst known," said Christ, "even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes."
Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure. The Lord knoweth them that are His. The sanctified minister must have no guile in his mouth. He must be open as the day, free from every taint of evil. A sanctified ministry and press will be a power in flashing the light of truth on this untoward generation. Light, brethren, more light we need. Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm in the holy mountain. Gather the host of the Lord, with sanctified hearts, to hear what the Lord will say unto His people; for He has increased light for all who will hear. Let them be armed and equipped, and come up to the battle--to the help of the Lord against the mighty. God Himself will work for Israel. Every lying tongue will be silenced. Angels' hands will overthrow the deceptive schemes that are being formed. The bulwarks of Satan will never triumph. Victory will attend the third angel's message. As the Captain of the Lord's host tore down the walls of Jericho, so will the Lord's commandment-keeping people triumph, and all opposing elements be defeated. Let no soul complain of the servants of God who have come to them with a heaven-sent message. Do not any longer pick flaws in them, saying, "They are too positive; they talk too strongly." They may talk strongly; but is it not needed? God will make the ears of the hearers tingle if they will not heed His voice or His message. He will denounce those who resist the word of God.
Satan has laid every measure possible that nothing shall come among us as a people to reprove and rebuke us, and exhort us to put away our errors. But there is a people who will bear the ark of God. Some will go out from among us who will bear the ark no longer. But these cannot make walls to obstruct the truth; for it will go onward and upward to the end. In the past God has raised up men, and He still has men of opportunity waiting, prepared to do His bidding--men who will go through restrictions which are only as walls daubed with untempered mortar. When God puts His Spirit upon men, they will work. They will proclaim the word of the Lord; they will lift up their voice like a trumpet. The truth will not be diminished or lose its power in their hands. They will show the people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins.
The conflict is to wax fiercer and fiercer. Satan will take the field and personate Christ. He will misrepresent, misapply, and pervert everything he possibly can, to deceive, if possible, the very elect. Even in our day there have been and will continue to be entire families who have once rejoiced in the truth, but who will lose faith because of calumnies and falsehoods brought to them in regard to those whom they have loved and with whom they have had sweet counsel. They opened their hearts to the sowing of tares; the tares sprang up among the wheat; they strengthened; the crop of wheat became less and less; and the precious truth lost its power to them. For a time a false zeal accompanied their new theories, which hardened their hearts against the advocates of truth as did the Jews against Christ.
Under the zeal of Satan, some have for a time the appearance of men in a flourishing condition; but it is only for a season. Satan carried them so far that they do despite to the Spirit of God. They spread themselves like a green bay tree. The Lord suffers them for a time. He allows them to manifest their envy and hatred against the people of God, as He has allowed Satan to develop his character, that he might stand before the heavenly universe, before the worlds unfallen, and the fallen world, in his true attributes, as a deceiver, an accuser of the brethren, a murderer at heart.
Many who now claim to believe the truth, but who have no anchor, will be bound up with Satan's party. Those who have not worked on God's side of the question will be left to prove a stumbling block to those who have gained a living experience for themselves. Let every minister, in the place of standing to criticize and question, to doubt and oppose, if there is the semblance of a chance to do so, be now employed in erecting barriers against the wily foes. Rather than fight against those whom the Lord has sent to save these, let His people pray fervently and continually for the power of God's grace, and that the Captain of the Lord's host will take the field. Rather than sit in judgment upon men whom God has accepted to do Him service, let the burden of their prayer be, night and day, that the Lord may send forth more laborers into His vineyard. Ministers, do not dishonor your God and grieve His Holy Spirit, by casting reflections on the ways and manners of the men He would choose. God knows the character. He sees the temperament of the men He has chosen. He knows that none but earnest, firm,
determined, strong-feeling men will view this work in its vital importance, and will put such firmness and decision into their testimonies that they will make a break against the barriers of Satan.
God gives men counsel and reproof for their good. He has sent His message, telling them what was needed for the time--1897. Did you accept the message? Did you heed the appeal? He gave you opportunity to come up armed and equipped to the help of the Lord. And having done all, He told you to stand. But did you make ready? Did you say, "Here am I; send me"? You sat still and did nothing. You left the word of the Lord to fall unheeded to the ground; and now the Lord has taken men who were boys when you were standing at the forefront of the battle, and has given to them the message and the work which you did not take upon you. Will you be stumbling blocks to them? Will you criticize? Will you say, "They are getting out of their place"? Yet you did not fill the place they are now called to fill.
Oh, why will men be hindrances, when they might be helps? Why will they block the wheels, when they might push with marked success? Why will they rob their own soul of good and deprive others of blessing that might come through them? These rejecters of light will remain barren deserts, where no refreshing, healing waters flow, and their ministrations as barren of moisture as were the hills of Gilboa, where there was neither dew nor rain. They are not clothed with divine unction and convey no blessing to others. They might humble their hearts and confess their wrongs, and break Satan's hold upon them. They might break the fetters which education, prejudice, or habits have forged. Would they only inquire of God, in the spirit of penitence, they
would find Him. Then they would not set up their own will, but go where the Spirit of the Lord leads; they would be guided by Him.
The purging and cleansing will surely pass through every church in our land that has had great opportunities and privileges, and has passed them by unheeded. More evidence is not what they want. They need pure and sanctified hearts to gather up and retain all the light that God has given, and then they will walk in that light.
We need not say, "The perils of the last days are soon to come upon us." Already they have come. We need now the sword of the Lord to cut the very soul and marrow of fleshly lusts, appetites, and passions. May it pierce and divide in a far greater degree than it has ever yet done. May all the proud be cast down. May the carnally secure be drawn from the refuge of lies with which they have sought to deceive the people of God. May it cut away their self-righteousness and open the eyes of the blind, that they may see that they are not whole in the sight of God.
I address the people of God who today are holding fast their confidence, who will not depart from the faith once delivered unto the saints, who stand amid the moral darkness of these days of corruption. The word of the Lord to you is: "I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people." Can we not here see the paternal love of God expressed to those who hold fast to the faith in righteousness? The closest relationship exists between God and His people. Not only are we objects of His sparing mercy, His pardoning love; we are more than this. The Lord rejoices over His people. He delights in them. He is their surety. He will beautify all who are serving Him with a whole heart with the
spirit of holiness. He clothes them with righteousness. He loves those who do His will, who express His image. All who are true and faithful are conformed to the image of His Son. In their mouth is found no guile, for they are without fault before the throne of God.
What is the message that we are to give? "Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for He hath glorified thee. Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon."
To my ministering brethren I would say, Prosecute
this work with tact and ability. Set to work the young men and the young women in our churches. Combine the medical missionary work with the proclamation of the third angel's message. Make regular, organized effort to lift the churches out of the dead level into which they have fallen and have remained for years. Send into the churches workers who will set the principles of health reform in their connection with the third angel's message before every family and individual. Encourage all to take a part in work for their fellowmen, and see if the breath of life will not quickly return to these churches.
Study faithfully the thirty-third chapter of Ezekiel. The work which is being done in medical missionary lines is the very work which Christ commanded His followers to do. Can you not clearly see that those who are engaged in this work are fulfilling the Saviour's commission? Can you not see that it would please your Saviour if you would lay aside all false dignity and learn in His school how to wear His yoke and carry His burdens?
The world needs evidences of sincere Christianity. Professed Christianity may be seen everywhere; but when the power of God's grace is seen in our churches, the members will work the works of Christ. Natural and hereditary traits of character will be transformed. The indwelling of His Spirit will enable them to reveal Christ's likeness, and in proportion to the purity of their piety will be the success of their work.
There are in our world many Christian workers who have not yet heard the grand and wonderful truths that have come to us. These are doing a good work in accordance with the light which they have, and many of
them are more advanced in the knowledge of practical work than are those who have had great light and opportunities.
The indifference which has existed among our ministers in regard to health reform and medical missionary work is surprising. Some who do not profess to be Christians treat these matters with greater reverence than do some of our own people; and unless we arouse, they will go in advance of us.
The word which the Lord has given to me for our ministers and our churches is, "Go forward." "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
God to be Sought[* SPECIAL TESTIMONIES TO MINISTERS AND WORKERS (SERIES A, NO. 9, 1897), PAGES 31, 32.] Cooranbong, Australia, August 27, 1896.
Piety is needed. Less self-confidence and far more humility must be seen. The work of God has come to be looked upon as a common thing. It would have been much better to have changed the men on boards and committees than to have retained the very same men for years, until they supposed that their propositions were to be adopted without a question; and generally no voice has been lifted in an opposite direction. There are men who sit in council who have not the discernment that they should have. The comprehension is narrow and egotistical. A change is needed. It will not
be wise to carry out one half or one quarter of the enterprises which have been planned.
Let each one who sits in council and in committee meetings write in his heart the words: I am working for time and for eternity. I must give an account to God for all the motives which prompt me to action. Let this be his motto. Let the prayer of the psalmist go up to God, "Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties."
TO MINISTERS AND WORKERS (SERIES A, NO. 9,
Adelaide, Australia, October 12, 1896.
Those who are in responsible positions are not to become converted to the self-indulgent, extravagant principles of the world, for they cannot afford it; and if they could, Christlike principles would not allow it. Manifold teaching needs to be given. "Whom shall He teach knowledge? and whom shall He make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little." Thus the word of the Lord is patiently to be brought before the children and kept before them, by parents who believe the word of God. "For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people. To whom He said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon
precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken." Why?--because they did not heed the word of the Lord that came unto them.
This means those who have not received instruction, but have cherished their own wisdom, and have chosen to work themselves according to their own ideas. The Lord gives these the test, that they shall either take their position to follow His counsel, or refuse and do according to their own ideas, and then the Lord will leave them to the sure result. In all our ways, in all our service to God, He speaks to us, "Give Me thine heart." It is the submissive, teachable spirit that God wants. That which gives to prayer its excellence is the fact that it is breathed from a loving, obedient heart.
God requires certain things of His people; if they say, I will not give up my heart to do this thing, the Lord lets them go on in their supposed wise judgment without heavenly wisdom, until this scripture [Isaiah 28:13] is fulfilled. You are not to say, I will follow the Lord's guidance up to a certain point that is in harmony with my judgment, and then hold fast to your own ideas, refusing to be molded after the Lord's similitude. Let the question be asked, Is this the will of the Lord? not, Is this the opinion or judgment of-----?
Everything must be viewed in the light of the example of Christ. He is the truth. He is the true Light that lighteth every man who cometh into the world. Listen to His words, copy His example in self-denial and self-sacrifice, and look to the merits of Christ for the glory in character which He possesses to be bestowed on you. Those who follow Christ live not to please
themselves. Human standards are like feeble reeds. The Lord's standard is perfection of character.
"For the Lord shall rise up as in Mount Perazim, He shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act. Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord God of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth." Read Deuteronomy 7:6. Read the whole chapter, also chapters 1 and 8. These were presented to me as the words of the Lord. These things are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
We are to have only those connected with our institutions who will hear the word of the Lord and appreciate and obey His voice. When a man will plead and urge to have his mind and his judgment to be supreme in any one of our institutions, you can have no greater evidence that that man does not know himself and is not qualified to manage. He will make mistakes and injure rather than restore. He does not know what responsibilities and involved in his relation to God or to his fellowmen.
"Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be? Those who walk humbly with God will not be striving to obtain greater responsibilities, but will consider that they have a special work to do, and will be faithful to their duty. In our institutions, great good can be done in educating by precept and example, in economy in all lines. If you, my brother, had learned in the school of Christ to be meek and lowly in heart, you would always stand on vantage ground. You have not an evenly balanced character. You cannot safely put confidence in your own judgment in all things. Man's way is to devise
and scheme; God implants a principle. Man is striving to make duty soft and accommodating to his own natural character; but life is a battlefield; life is a race which he has to run if he is victor. . . .
The question for us to consider is, Have we the attributes of Christ? Excuses are valueless. All circumstances, all appetites and passions, are to be servants to the God-fearing man, not rulers over him. The Christian is not to be enslaved by any hereditary or cultivated habits or tendency. He is to rule the animal passions, rather than to be held in the bondage of habit.
We are not to be the servants of circumstances, but to control circumstances by an inwrought principle learned of the greatest Teacher the world ever knew. The solemn position in which we stand today toward the world, the solemn responsibilities and duties enjoined upon us by our Lord, are not to be ignored until our will and our circumstances are adjusted. The principle of self-denial and self-sacrifice, as revealed in the example of Christ, of John the Baptist, of Daniel and the three worthies, is to pass like a plowshare through hereditary and cultivated habits through all circumstances and surroundings.
I ask you, Is the kingdom of God within you? God's people are to be minutemen, always ready, always composed in Jesus Christ. The time is now come when one moment we may be on solid earth, the next the earth may be heaving beneath our feet. Earthquakes will take place where least expected.
Christianity has a much broader meaning than many have hitherto given it. It is not a creed. It is the word of Him who liveth and abideth forever. It is a living, animating principle, that takes possession of mind,
heart, motives, and the entire man. Christianity--oh, that we might experience its operations! It is a vital, personal experience, that elevates and ennobles the whole man. Every man is responsible to God, who has made provision for all to receive this blessing. But many do not receive it, although Christ has purchased it for them at infinite cost. They have not grasped the blessing within their reach, and therefore they have retained their objectionable traits of character, and sin lieth at the door. While they profess piety, Satan has made them his agents to pull down and confuse where he thought best. They exert an influence deleterious to the souls of many who need an example that would help them heavenward.
Who are the subjects of the kingdom of God?--all those who do His will. They have righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. The members of Christ's kingdom are the sons of God, partners in His great firm. The elect of God are a chosen generation, a peculiar people, a holy nation, to show forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. They are the salt of the earth, the light of the world. They are living stones, a royal priesthood. They are in copartnership with Jesus Christ. These are they that follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. . . .
There are rights which belong to every individual. We have an individuality and an identity that is our own. No one can submerge his identity in that of any other. All must act for themselves, according to the dictates of their own conscience. As regards our responsibility and influence, we are amenable to God as deriving our life from Him. This we do not obtain
from humanity, but from God only. We are His by creation and by redemption. Our very bodies are not our own, to treat as we please, to cripple by habits that lead to decay, making it impossible to render to God perfect service. Our lives and all our faculties belong to Him. He is caring for us every moment; He keeps the living machinery in action; if we were left to run it for one moment; we should die. We are absolutely dependent upon God.
A great lesson is learned when we understand our relation to God and His relation to us. The words, "Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price," should be hung in memory's hall, that we may ever recognize God's right to our talents, our property, our influence, our individual selves. We are to learn how to treat this gift of God, in mind, in soul, in body, that as Christ's purchased possession, we may do Him healthful, savory service.
We must sow beside all waters, keeping our souls in the love of God, working while it is day, and using the means the Lord has given us to do whatever duty comes next. Whatever our hands find to do, we are to do it with cheerfulness; whatever sacrifice we are called upon to make, we are to make it cheerfully. As we sow beside all waters, we shall realize that "he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully."
"Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make
all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work." Do not draw back after once the Holy Spirit has awakened in your mind a sense of duty. Act on the suggestion, for it was prompted by the Lord. "If any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him."
It means much to sow beside all waters; it means a continual imparting of gifts and offerings. God will furnish facilities, so that that faithful steward of His entrusted means shall be supplied with a sufficiency in all things, and be enabled to abound to every good work.
There is a great work to be done. The world will not be converted by the gift of tongues, or by the working of miracles, but by preaching Christ crucified. The Holy Spirit must be allowed to work. God has placed instrumentalities in our hands, and we must use every one of them to do His will and way. As believers we are privileged to act a part in forwarding the truth for this time. As far as possible we are to employ the means and agencies that God has given us to introduce the truth into new localities. Churches must be built to accommodate the people of God, that they may stand as centers of light, shining amid the darkness of the world. . . .
This work of God would have us do. Christ's example must be followed by those who claim to be His children. Relieve the physical necessities of your fellowmen, and their gratitude will break down the barriers and enable you to reach their hearts. Consider this matter earnestly. As churches you have had an opportunity to work as laborers together with God. Had you obeyed the word
of God, had you entered upon this work, you would have been blessed and encouraged, and would have obtained a rich experience. You would have found yourselves, as the human agencies of God, earnestly advocating a scheme of saving, of restoration, of salvation. This scheme would not be fixed, but progressive, moving on from grace to grace, and from strength to strength.
Christ sought the people where they were and placed before them the great truths in regard to His kingdom. As He went from place to place, He blessed and comforted the suffering and healed the sick. This is our work. God would have us relieve the necessities of the destitute. The reason that the Lord does not manifest His power more decidedly is because there is so little spirituality among those who claim to believe the truth.