VERY LONG BUT TIMELY:SDA FORGOTTEN LETTER
VERY LONG BUT TIMELY:SDA FORGOTTEN LETTER
Written in 1891 (see p. 23), during the General Conference session (p. 28) in March.
At Salamanca N.Y., November 3, 1890, while bowed in earnest prayer, I seemed to be lost to everything around me, and I was bearing a message to an assembly which seemed to be the General Conference. I was moved by the Spirit of God to say many things, to make most earnest appeals, for the truth was urged upon me that great danger lay before those at the heart of the work.
I had been, and still was, bowed down with distress of body and of mind. It seemed to me that I must bear a message to our people at Battle Creek. The words were to be in earnest. “Speak the words that I shall give thee, to prevent their doing things which would separate God from the publishing house and sacrifice pure and holy principles which must be maintained. The eyes of God were bent upon them in sorrow mingled with severe displeasure, and the words were spoken, “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 thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” Revelation 3:4, 5. There is no time to lose. God speaks. Men are serving the enemy and betraying sacred principles.
Many things were unfolded to me. The eyes which once wept over impenitent Jerusalem—for their impenitence, their ignorance of God and of Jesus Christ, their Redeemer—were bent upon the great heart of the work in Battle Creek. They were in great peril through forming a confederacy, but they knew it not. They were walking in the sparks of their own kindling. Human impenitence had blinded their eyes, and yet human wisdom was seeking to guide the important interests, especially in the workings and methods of the publishing house. Men’s hands had hold of the work. Men’s human judgment was gathering in finite hands the lines of control, while God and His will, His way, and His counsel were not earnestly, humbly sought—not considered indispensable. Men of stubborn, unbending, iron will were exercising their own traits of character to drive things through on their own judgment.
I said to them, You cannot do this. The power of control of these large interests cannot be vested wholly in men who have so little experience in the things of God as you manifest. You know not the way of the Lord. All through our ranks truth is misrepresented. The people of God must not have their faith disappointed and shaken in their own institution—the publishing house at Battle Creek,—because of the mismanagement of human minds that magnify self.
If you lay your hand upon the work of the great instrumentality of God—to write your superscription upon it and put your mould upon it—it will be dangerous business for you, and disastrous to the work of God. It will be as great a sin in the sight of God as when Uzzah put forth his hand to steady the ark of God. All that God requires of you who have entered into other men’s labors, is humbly to do your individual duty. You are to deal justly toward all those employed for the work by the people, you are to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. This you have not done. Your works testify against you. If you fail to do this, whatever may be your position, whatever your responsibility—if you have as much authority as did Ahab—you will find that God is above you and His sovereignty must and will be supreme.
In everyone connected with the actual management of the Office, there is altogether too little fear and love and reverence for the God of heaven; and too little faith, genuine faith, in God and His providential workings. But there is One whose eye is upon all the lines of work, all the plans, all the imaginings of every mind. That Eye sees beneath the surface of things; that Eye is a discerner of the very thoughts and intents and purposes of the heart. Not a deed of darkness, not a plan, not an imagination of the heart, but He reads it like an open book. Every act, every purpose, is noted. Every word, every action, every plan is faithfully chronicled in the books of the great Heartsearcher who says, “I know thy works.”
I was shown that the follies of Israel in the days of Samuel will be repeated unless men have greater humility and less confidence in themselves, and greater confidence in the Lord God of Israel, the Ruler of His people. The ability and wisdom of any man is only derived from God. Connected with God, his life bound up with God, he will work the works of God. God has wisdom underived. He is the Infinite One; the human is finite, erring. He is the Fountain of the light and life and glory of the world. One leak will sink the mightiest vessel that ever rode the proud ocean; so will the church make shipwreck amid the perils of these last days unless the holy Captain of her salvation shall not only serve as Captain but Pilot.
We have a living Head, and every man in office where sacred responsibilities are involved must inquire at every step, “Is this the way of the Lord?” He must look constantly and continuously to Jesus for His guidance, and maintain principle at any cost. It is not what finite men can do, but what God can do through finite men who are teachable, humble, unselfish, and sanctified. We cannot put the least confidence in human ability, unless the divine power cooperate with the human. When men make God their trust, it will be evidenced by meekness, by much prayer, by love, by Christian politeness and genuine courtesy to all people, and by great caution in their position and movements. They will reveal dependence upon God, and give evidence that they have a firm platform of solid, uncontaminated principle beneath their feet. These men will show that they have the mind of Christ.
There is altogether too much self-confidence and self-sufficiency, altogether too much pride of heart and self-esteem, without giving glory to God. God has given minds and talents to men only in trust, on trial, to test and prove them to see if they will work in His way and do His will, and put not confidence in themselves alone. If they do not stand the test, they are false to His kingdom. “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 lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:23, 24.
The Lord permitted Israel to have their own way, after plainly telling them through Samuel it was not the right way and the best way. In their own mind and in their own judgment it was the way that would bring, as they imagined, the most glory to themselves as a nation. The Lord granted them the desire of their unsanctified hearts.
When Israel demanded a king to “judge us like all the nations,” “the thing displeased Samuel.” “And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.” 1 Samuel 8:5-7.
It was not Samuel alone who made his sons judges in Israel. Samuel had educated and trained his sons and they were well qualified to do the work in judging Israel, if they had done as Daniel did in the courts of Babylon—if they had purposed in their hearts to be true to the principles of the instruction given. God would have been with them and honored them, if they had sought His counsel and His wisdom and had honored God.
“And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.” 1 Samuel 8:3. Samuel was not to blame for the wrongdoing of his sons. Samuel carried a sore and disappointed heart, that his sons disappointed the expectations of the people. And it is stated in what way. Through love of money they became unjust judges. This was a grievous trial to the aged father, for it was a constant source of temptation to the people to think that Samuel had been neglectful of his duty, like Eli. Samuel suffered far more from their defection than did Israel. Had his sons patterned in some degree after the example they had seen in their father? No! No! but after that seen in those with whom they had associated.
The man whom the Lord had placed over His people was well stricken in years, but he had had a valuable experience in keeping the ways of the Lord. If Samuel had failed to do his duty to his sons, God would have sent to him a message as He did to Eli. In this instance it is seen how children by their course of action can weaken and counteract the best efforts of their parents.
But the Lord communicated to Samuel, even giving him special directions as to what he should do in the case of Israel’s defection. “Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.” 1 Samuel 8:9. Samuel faithfully told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king. 1 Samuel 8:11, 12. Did the solemn words spoken by Samuel under the direction of God change their purpose? No! Their minds were bent on following their own judgment and casting aside the wisdom of God.
Israel had become tired of pious rulers who kept God’s purposes and God’s will and God’s honor ever before them according to God’s instructions. They wanted a reformed religion that they might by external flattering prosperity be esteemed great in the eyes of the surrounding nations. As they at one time hankered after the leeks and onions of Egypt, and murmured because they did not have everything to gratify their appetites, and declared their choice to go back into bondage rather than deny their appetites, so they now insulted God to His face in throwing off His wise rule. They were hankering after riches and splendor like those of other nations around them.
God was grieved with the ingratitude of His chosen people. When Samuel prayed to the Lord in the grief of his soul, the Lord told him it was not the man Samuel they were dissatisfied with, but with the Lord’s divine authority, for He as a King over His people, appointed their judges. If the judges became untrue, if they became unsanctified, if they trusted to their own finite wisdom, it was the place of the people to set these things in order, and not to throw off the authority of the God of heaven. This was a continuation of the rebellion which left the dead bodies of their fathers in the wilderness.
What effect did the words of Samuel from the Lord have upon the people? “Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; that we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.” 1 Samuel 8:19, 20. Now we can see what confidence can be placed in human, finite beings whose hearts are not daily and hourly sanctified and subdued and controlled by the love and fear of the Majesty of heaven.
Satan’s mind was imbuing the hearts of men that Israel should follow his own satanic counsel. They were bewitched by the devil to carry out their own purposes even in the face of the solemn protestations from their aged prophet, whom they had every reason to respect and to believe spoke to them the words that God Himself had told him to speak. God desired to save them from future distress and to keep them under His own merciful guidance in the place of leaving them to the changeable judgment and strong will of men who chose to take themselves out of the hands of God and guide and manage affairs in the government of Israel in their own way.
There is no instruction or example that can overcome the natural traits of character that have grown with their growth and strengthened with their strength. External restraints of men of experience will for a time hold in check unsanctified inclinations, but let these restraints be removed, and the sad facts appear that those who are occupying important positions of trust are not men who have made God their fear and inquired at every step, “Is this the way of the Lord?” The Lord wants men who will feel their need of drawing strength from an unseen force, which is God.
Israel was given just such a king as they had set their heart on. The Spirit of God came upon Saul, their chosen king, and he was a converted man. Samuel said to him, “Let it be that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee.” 1 Samuel 10:7. And it is plainly stated, “When he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart.” Verse 9. Here we see what God is ready to do for every one of His workers. Had Saul obeyed the Lord in all things he would have been a blessing to Israel if they had hearkened unto him. But should the king throw off his allegiance to God, then woe be unto Israel! He would prove a curse instead of a blessing.
All this history is written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come. I have had presented before me again and again that the people of God in these last days could not be safe by trusting in men, and making flesh their arm. By the mighty cleaver of truth God has taken them out of the quarry of the world as rough stones, and brought them into His workshop that He might, by axe and hammer and chisel, work off their rough, unshapely edges, and fit them for a place in His building. But they must be hewed and squared by His prophets. Reproofs, warnings, admonitions, and advice must come to their hearts and make them after Christ’s pattern. They must become changed in heart and in character, and must keep the way of the Lord.
I raise the warning now that there is danger. The people are to know if there is danger. They are not to be kept in darkness. Ezekiel 3:17-21.
Just as surely as the Lord has in His providence placed men in positions of holy trust, so surely will He qualify these men for their positions. If they will maintain their consecration to God, study His Word prayerfully, pray, and watch unto prayer, He will give them of His Holy Spirit to do the sacred, important work, day by day, hour by hour, and minute by minute. The Lord will work on human hearts if the men who are intrusted with sacred things will give themselves unreservedly to Him and become Bible Christians.
Some may say, “I have done the best I can do.” Perhaps you have, because you can, of yourself, do no good. You must depend, in living, active, persevering faith upon Jesus Christ. You can shun responsibilities, you can take yourselves still farther away from the channel of light, you can breathe the worldly atmosphere and become purely worldly businessmen. But will it pay? You cannot think so, with eternity in view. Will a separation from the work take you away from temptation? No! Every man who accepts responsibilities must not accept so many that he cannot take time to seek the wisdom which the Lord alone can give him. The Spirit of the Lord will do more for you in your work than you can do in your lifetime without His Holy Spirit.
Anyone who has a work to do for the Master in any line must know that he will be liable to make mistakes that he might avoid if he would drop these responsibilities. This would be a much more perilous thing to do. Shall men choose the easier and least responsible positions because of this? Will they remain unconsecrated? Will they not be acting as did the unfaithful servant who buried his talent in the earth, complaining because the Lord’s requirements, he declared, were too severe? This unfaithful man pretended that he knew God, and then really charged Him with fraud. He entertained a false view of the character of God.
The speech of the faithless steward—the slothful servant—was not merely an excuse, but it was the outspeaking of the true sentiments of his heart. He regarded the Lord just as he expressed. The selfish churl made the Lord’s character just like his own. He had no simplicity of heart, no genuine religion, no experimental knowledge of the character of God, and did not believe in His free mercy and His rich gift of grace.
To know God is to trust Him fully. Oh, what sentiments men entertain of God today! Men need to be restored to God and to themselves. It is so hard for men to see their own motives and judge correctly of their own spirits, so hard for men to acknowledge frankly from the heart, like David, “I have sinned. I have had a spirit unlike Christ.”
The men who have had the greatest power in our world have lived in the light reflected from the cross of Calvary. They have poured out their confessions from hearts filled with sorrow because of their errors and wrongs. They have not paraded their goodness, their smartness, and their ability before God, but have said, “In my hands no price I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.”
I saw the Lord Jesus looking with grieved countenance upon men handling sacred things, because they did not discern sacred things. He said, “Human character cannot be trusted. Unless Christ is interwoven in the character, it is valueless. Unless there is a transformation of character, there is no hope for the world.”
The institutions in our midst have all been founded in sacrifice. They belong to the people, and every soul who has denied self and made sacrifices to bring these institutions into existence should feel that he has a special interest in them. He should not lose his interest or faith, or cease to pray for them. Those who have sacrificed for these institutions should not submit to see them demoralized. They have a right to investigate. As the perils of the last days are upon us, they should pray more earnestly.
Those men who lifted the burdens when the work went hard should be called into your councils. It is due them, and they should have a voice in the plans devised. There should be no confederacy formed with unbelievers, neither should there be a certain number who think as you think, and say “amen” to all your plans which you may propose. No confederacies are to be formed among our own people after the manner and customs of the world. I was shown especially the dangers in doing this. The world is not to be our criterion. Let the Lord work. Let the Lord’s voice be heard. We are to bear a clear-cut message to the world. We are not to heed the counsels to follow the plans which will be suggested to make less prominent the special truths which are of vital interest, which have separated us out from the world and made us what we are.
Time is short. The first, second, and third angel’s messages are the messages to be given to the world. We hear not literally the voice of the three angels, but these angels in Revelation represent a people who will be upon the earth and give these messages.
John saw “Another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the whole earth was lightened with his glory.” Revelation 18:1. That work is the voice of the people of God proclaiming a message of warning to the world. Has God, through John, given us light relating to the things which are to transpire in the remnant of time just at the end? Then with pen and voice we are to proclaim that very message to the world, not in a tame, indistinct whisper.
I have been instructed of the Lord that men who are bearing responsibilities in the work need the application of the heavenly anointing, which is the Spirit of God, to quicken and clear their discernment—for they certainly fail to discern sacred and eternal realities in their true significance. They make an atom of a world and a world of an atom.
“For the Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. And I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in Mount Zion.” Isaiah 8:11-18.
It is utterly impossible for man to sanctify and purify and bless himself. God alone is our helper. Grace will be imparted to every soul who sincerely desires it. We must put away from us our selfishness, and become righteous—not by merit, but by grace. Now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be,” but when he who is our life, shall appear, then shall we appear with Him in glory.
Our life, if hid with Christ in God, will not be discerned or appreciated by the world. Christian character is sometimes admired by some classes of the world who desire to see consistency, but generally the world is at enmity with God and His people. The world generally will not be pleased with real, vital godliness, with a firm, steadfast character that will not be swayed by any of their sophistries or by science falsely so called.
Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. The living stones in the temple of God do not attract the man of the world. He does not understand their position in the building, and sees nothing in them that he appreciates. He sees talent and sharpness of character and begrudges every particle of it. Whatever the Christian may do religiously, conscientiously, for Christ’s sake, is not understood or appreciated because the world know not the power of the truth, and know not the Lord or Jesus Christ.
Let a Christian walk with the Lord in all humility of mind and he is called narrow, bigoted, exclusive. If he is zealous, the world will call him a fanatic. Let him speak the truth decidedly with pen and voice and go forth in the spirit and power of Elijah to proclaim the day of the Lord, and he is called by the world excitable; they say he is denouncing everything but that which he believes. Let the Christian be whatever grace can make him, and the world cannot understand it. It is the unseen, inner life that is woven with the life of God, represented as hid with Christ in God, that the world cannot discern.
Believers have been accused, misrepresented and hated, for Christ’s sake. They have passed through much tribulation. They have learned by experience, “Marvel not if the world hate you.” They cannot understand your motives. Christian character is something their eyes are too blind to discern, their touch too coarse to handle. Their soul powers are too much perverted to esteem the living heavenly light that shines into the Christian’s mind and heart. This light is unknown to the world.
Christians indeed are opposed to display. In proportion as they are Christians they are clothed with humility, and this very grace makes them a light in contrast with darkness. If we are Christians we will not seek to be praised or exalted of men, and we will not be drawn away from the work by bribes or any flattering inducement. Christians will not be driven from their post of duty by fear or by reproach, by accusation, hatred, or persecution.
Jesus says, “Ye are the light of the world. … Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” There are some who will observe the example and feel the influence of a consistent Christian life. Jesus does not bid the Christian to strive to shine, but just to let his light shine in clear and distinct rays to the world. Do not blanket your light. Do not sinfully withhold your light. Do not let the mist and fog and malaria of the world put out your light. Do not hide it under a bed or under a bushel, but set it on a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in the house. Neither take pains to exalt yourself to shine nor go into the cave as did Elijah in his discouragement, but come out, stand with God and shine. God bids you shine, penetrating the moral darkness of the world. Be the salt, the savor of men.
If the men connected with the office would pray more, if they would feel that God requires them to attend meetings, if they would seek to secure to their souls the heavenly manna, then they would grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ even to full stature of men and women in Christ.
When those who are in positions of sacred trust shall hold the truth firmly and teach it distinctly and positively, the world will not like it. Yet God’s way and plan is that every ray of light given to the living human agencies is to shine amid the moral darkness that envelopes the world.
There is no peace to be obtained in uniting our interest with the world, whom Christ says cannot receive the truth because they know not the Father or the Son Jesus Christ. Jesus says, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” John 15:18, 19. Jesus was drawing the world but they refused to come to Jesus, refused to know Him. “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my sayings, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.” John 15:20, 21.
We are the church militant, not the church triumphant. There must be deeper, much deeper spirituality in those who are handling sacred things. There is great danger in self-confidence, in trusting in human wisdom and in not leaning heavily and thoroughly upon God. Whoever tries to secure peace by withholding and not vindicating the truth—present truth, appropriate for this time—will get a peace which will pass into the slumber of death.
Now is the time to have every piece of the armor on. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12. Here is our work, and Satan will come in through every avenue that is left unguarded, to blind minds as to the true and vital interests that are at stake for this time. If he can becloud the minds of our responsible men, the leaven will work. They will not see nor understand the workings of God any more than did the Jews in the days when the greatest blessings were within their reach. By their impenitence, self-confidence, and self-righteousness, they were closing the door to their peace. They were closing the door to their only hope, because they were unwilling to accept of God’s way and submit their minds and hearts to the light of truth.
We want not men to sway the minds of the people as in ancient times to secure peace and anticipated favor and prosperity in laying aside the cross. Such will have a peace but it is after Satan’s order, a deceiving peace, not that peace which is from above, the peace which Christ has promised to give.
“Who is a wise man and endowed with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” James 3:13-18.
There is no safe peace without the presence of the Spirit of Christ. There is no peace but that which is attached to the cross. The Lord Jesus said, “I will not leave you comfortless.”
The measure of the love of God to man is found in the gift of Christ. He is the medium to convey the love of God to man. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. God loved us and therefore He gave Christ; not, He gave Christ and therefore He loved us.
You who are bearing the weight of responsibility, the Lord Jesus is waiting to receive you prayers, your confessions, your repentance. Unless your daily experience is of a character which give evidence that you are constantly deriving strength from Jesus Christ, you are not safe one moment.
“Well,” says one, “I will let go. I will step out, and someone else can come in my place.” Better not do this unless you have fully decided that you will not maintain a close connection with God. If you leave space for Satan to come in between you and Jesus, Satan will be fruitful in suggestions. There will be an abundance of machinery and a trusting in the mechanical operations but leaving out the only One who can infuse you with His Holy Spirit and in times of danger lift up a standard for you against the enemy. It will not do to depend on your finite wisdom, for you have a limited experience at best, and do not know half as much in regard to the safe and wise management of the work in your hands as you think you do.
When you see to a man the necessity of putting self out of sight, of having an eye single to the glory of God, not thinking or consulting as to what the world will say, what the world will think, what motives they will attribute to our work, but following your Leader, keeping step with the Captain of your salvation, keeping your senses wide awake to catch His orders and to obey them to the letter, then, although you have not had experience your faith will lay hold on Jesus’ power. With Him there is no danger of failure.
It is easier to crush and destroy the world than to reform it, but Christ gave His life to reform it. Disorder, darkness, and death cover the world like a funeral pall. Cannot men limited in experience learn by sitting at Jesus’ feet? By beholding His ways and His works, and viewing His self denying life, they become changed. “Learn of me,” He says, “for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest peace unto your souls.” Matthew 11:29.
“Take my yoke upon you.” When you yoke up with Christ, as colaborers with Him, you are learners, not dictators. Christ does the dictating. You may be the human agent to diffuse light to the world. Be careful that you do not gather in the darkness of the devil and call it the wisdom from above. The Spirit of Christ alone, a living principle abiding in the soul, gives competence for the task of being laborers together with God. The Lord Jesus Christ takes man into the firm, and makes him co-partner with Himself in saving the souls of men.
The Lord sent prophets and messages from heaven to save men, but they refused to accept the terms. The Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to flash light into every dark corner of the world, but Satan interposed himself between Christ and men, to shut out the divine communications, as if to crush out all hope from the heart of Omnipotence. In his counsels he set in operation a line of action which caused the humanity to drop out of the hearts of men and the satanic to take possession of them.
Wicked hands crucified the Lord of glory. But the parent vine was planted on the other side of the wall. Though its boughs hang over to the world, the precious root was safe, never to be uprooted, and the dry, sapless stalks can be grafted into the living Vine and bear rich clusters of fruit.
Jesus says,” I will send you the Comforter. My Spirit alone is competent for the task of saving the world, if they will accept of the provisions of My grace. The Comforter shall convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.”
Then let every man work in God’s lines to convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. This is my work; this is the work of every colaborer with Jesus Christ. The agencies that are employed in any department of the work to transform the world must not form a confederacy with the world, to do what they shall or shall not do. We must obey the orders from above. Any suggestions made by those who receive not the truth, who know not what the work of God is doing for this time, weaken the power of the work. They drop Christ out of their counsels and accept the counsel of the gods of Ekron.
The Lord has been prodigal of His means to save man. Boundless are His resources. Heavenly intelligences are ready to unite with human agencies and men may come into immediate contact with Jesus Christ, the divine Advocate. When men feel that Jesus Christ must have entire control of the whole heart, of all the affections, then He will be with every worker, carrying the heavy end of the yoke. He moves upon human hearts by His Holy Spirit. We have a work to do to go into all the world with the light God has given, asserting with pen and voice the rights of God and vindicating the claims of God. Jesus is to be our only trust and confidence. His righteousness is to be our assurance forever.
Jesus said, “No man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” John 6:65. Man does his part, as God’s human agent, to reach humanity; but Jesus, not man, does this work of transforming man’s character. His Spirit is diffused through all the capabilities and entrusted powers of men, shedding light into the understanding and bringing under His own control the heart that has been serving sin.
If men of talent and influence trust in themselves, then Jesus leaves them, and He will employ the weakest instruments and the simplest means to do His work, as in the case of Gideon and in the taking of Jericho. It is not man that is to be the object of attraction. It is not man that is to lift up himself. It is not man that is to glory or receive praise or glory, but the Lord God of Israel.
The Review and Herald Office is not in a right position before God. The Lord requires that every one of His servants do His bidding, but there is a great neglect of this. The atmosphere in the Review Office is not healthful. The managers are not fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. While they profess to believe the Bible they fail in practicing its teachings. They are hearers but not doers of the Word. The heavenly graces are not in the heart and woven into the character. The requirement is, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.” Matthew 6:33. The truth as it is in Jesus will lead men to make Christ first and the world second. They will not engage in the sacred work of God without most earnestly seeking heavenly direction, because Christ has said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5.
The men who are engaged in the work in the publishing house need divine enlightenment in all their business transactions. Everything that relates to the work is to be done with the strictest integrity, not only with those of our faith, but with nonbelievers. The angels of God are watching all the workers, to help all those who need help and whose hearts are drawn out for help. Every transaction of man with his fellow man must be characterized by the purest equity. One man is not to be highly favored and another put down as a footstool, for God declares He will judge for these things.
What if business matters are done without Jesus to preside? What if these matters are made all-engrossing, as has been done, and the things which belong to our eternal interest and peace of mind are neglected? Then we sin against God, commit robbery and deal dishonestly with our Saviour, whose property we are. We are defrauding our own souls and neglecting to be doers of the Word. No one can lade himself down with business so as to lose the sense of his great need of spiritual nourishment, and have no fervor of spirit in serving the Lord, without present and eternal loss. Men make mistakes in their own finite wisdom. They feel not that they are dependent upon God for every breath they draw, and they become self-important.
Thus it has been in the Office. God is not pleased. There is a harsh, dictatorial spirit. God sees it all. It is written in His book, and every action between man and man will appear just as it is. Christ identifies His interest with suffering humanity, and if a man, in his pride of spirit, in his lofty ideas of himself, bruises the soul of his fellow man, the Lord Jesus writes it as done to Himself. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40. If you could every one see and realize the effect of those sharp, rasping words that hurt and discourage the soul, and could see Jesus wounded and bruised because of those words, you would have great carefulness. You would not dare to exhibit your defects and objectionable traits of character. You would obey the Word.
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity (love), which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:12.
Oh, that the leading men in the Office would practice the teachings of Christ Jesus! Colossians 4. “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Colossians 4:2, 6. “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you?” James 3:13-18. The Lord Jesus Christ says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: If any man will hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20.
The cold, critical, sarcastic spirit which has found place in your hearts has driven out the love of Jesus. Expel this spirit which is not of Christ, supply the vacuum with the spirit of Jesus, and you will then be vessels unto honor, workmen for God who need not to be ashamed.
There is danger. The workmen are separating from Jesus Christ and a worldly mold is being placed upon the work. The Lord is against all this. Let every one who is handling sacred things remember that the gospel stands in sharp antagonism to the world that lieth in wickedness. Unless the workmen are daily walking with God an influence will be exerted that will bring the displeasure of God upon the workers. Noble integrity is not practiced in all your business transactions, and those who are workers in the Office will have examples given them which may be the means of the loss of their souls.
Every sharp transaction in deal, every bargain made to advantage yourselves to the disadvantage of another, is a violation of God’s law. You do not love your neighbor as you love yourself and you are registered—even you that handle sacred things—as transgressors of the law of God. Those who are doing the work of God cannot dishonor His name more decidedly than by being sharp and dishonest in deal. You may not call these sharp, keen transactions dishonest; but God calls them so. You can never gain respect as Christians unless you represent Christ in spirit, in temper, in deportment, in all your business transactions. In order to do good to those connected with you in the work, you must inspire them with sound confidence in your piety and the purity of your principles. If they see you stern, iron-hearted, unfeeling, cold, unloving, they know you are not Christians. Christ says, “Love one another, as I have loved you.” John 15:12.
Let us see the character of God as presented or proclaimed by Himself: “And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and the fourth generation.” Exodus 34:6, 7.
“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 lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:23-25.
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8.
“Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:16, 17.
The Lord requires another spirit in the leading men in the office. In all their councils they need the spirit of meekness, not of pomposity. They need not a strong, hard, exacting spirit, but need to act as Christian gentlemen. Your light is to shine forth not in sparks of your own kindling, but in the light of the Sun of Righteousness. The beginning of your confidence in God and His truth must be held firmly unto the end. There must be a lifelong, persevering, untiring effort, a fighting of the good fight of faith. The struggle is lifelong and the victory is certain. Every soul who has Christ abiding in him will receive grace for grace. As he adds the graces, God works on the plan of multiplication. He will maintain a noble spirit, after the holy example of Christ. He will represent Christ’s character, maintaining integrity, purity, and holiness.
“Ye therefore beloved, seeing ye knew these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.” 2 Peter 3:17. Neglect no means of grace. In this you are to be an example to all in the office. Christ in His prayer to His Father said, “I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified.” John 17:19. You are to show that there is much need of giving attention to the means of grace, that others may do as you do.
You in the office who profess to be Christians, put away your levity and your criticism, which are an offense to God. God has men upon whom He is laying burdens to connect with His work in the office. You can greatly mar their experience by your own lack of piety and by your want of respect for sacred things. God calls upon you to be men under the control of His Spirit that you may be guides to lead the youth heavenward. You need Jesus at every step. This time—1891—is a period when we may expect God to manifest His power to His people. The missionary enterprise will not be limited, but enlarged. Men must be in close connection with God, or the enemy will interpose himself between them and God, that they will take his suggestions as the voice of God.
The work for this time is represented by the first, second, and third angels flying in the midst of heaven. The first angel has his message, the second follows the first and bears his message. But the first is not dropped; it loses none of its force as the second is proclaimed. So also with the third. These angels represent the people of God proclaiming the word of God to the world, whereby are produced impressions so powerful that truth is separated from the rubbish of error and stands revealed in its unblemished pure beauty. These messages of truth open the most lofty contemplation of scenes through which they conduct us—solemn, refining, and awfully grand.
This has been the case from the first discovery of the present truth for this age. We are to call on the Lord to open the way, to sacrifice ourselves, and then pray the Lord for help. Men who have been working in the interest of our nation have been, in their schemes and plans, penetrating beyond the present, and have been greatly honored for their comprehensiveness in their far-reaching ideas. God has wrought through human instrumentalities in proclaiming the messages of truth He has given them to bear. From a very small beginning in their missionary work, great results have been accomplished. This work lies in a sphere so heavenly that the devices of human ambition have never reached it. It requires so large a scope that the worldly-wise policies of worldly statesmen would add nothing to its success, but be spent and lost.
The field is the world. The light of truth must be borne amid the moral darkness. It is not a message which we need cringe to declare. No one who works for the Master is to cover it, that it shall not reveal its origin and its purpose. It must move on triumphantly, elevating, ennobling, and purifying everything it touches and giving dignity to all who come under its influence. Its agents must be men who will not hold their peace day or night, for it involves the mightiest conflicts. The results touch both worlds, link earth to heaven, invest men with its own exalted character. The cross—the cross of Christ—is lifted up and stands prominent, infusing into the message a new vigor. Its power is seen and its efficacy comprehended, showing the greatness of the authority of the sin-pardoning Saviour in the heart of the broken law. His power to forgive sins is high and broad and deep. It is without limit.
What reserve power has the Lord of Israel to reach those who have cast His warnings and reproofs behind them and accredited all with coming from no higher source than Sister White? What can you say in excuse to God in the judgment for your turning from the evidence He has given you of His work? “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Whatever dealings God has had and manifested in and by me in the past I would not produce or rehearse before you. It is the present evidences for which you are accountable.
What pain of heart I have because of the spirit which has characterized the board meetings and councils! What a spirit has been brought into them! The ideas and opinions of one affect another, and there has been a large amount of caviling and witticisms. A Witness has been in your meetings and registered it all. These weapons debase the one who uses them, but give him no victories. There has been a bringing down of sacred things to the common. Witticisms and your sharp criticisms, after the infidel style, please the devil but not the Lord. The Spirit of God has not been controlling in your councils. There have been misstatements of messengers and of the messages they bring. How dare you do it?
Ridicule and witticisms are poor arguments. Ridicule cheapens the mind of any one who engages in it, for it separates his soul from God. No confidence should be placed in the judgment of those who do this thing, no weight attached to their advice or resolutions. Caviling and criticism are not in God’s order. They leave the soul without dew or grace, as dry as the hills of Gilboa. Accusing the workmen and the work of the ones whom God is using is accusing Jesus Christ in the person of His saints. Your comments when in or out of the council are of no special weight with God. That which you all need is to cultivate your religious faculties, that you may have correct discernment of religious things. There has been a decided failure with you to distinguish between the pure gold and the tinsel and gilded objects; between the substance and the shadow.
The prejudices and opinions that prevailed at Minneapolis are not dead by any means. The seeds there sown are ready to spring into life and bear a like harvest, because the roots are still left. The tops have been cut off, but the roots are not dead, and will bear their unholy fruit, to poison the perception and blind the understanding of those you connect with, in regard to the messengers and messages that God sends. When you destroy the root of bitterness by thorough confession, then you will see light in God’s light. Only study the Word of God with a purpose. You need to do this. Do not study with a purpose to confirm your ideas, but bring your ideas to the Bible to be trimmed, condemned or approved in the light of the Old and New Testaments. Make God and your Bible your constant companions. Study the Testimonies with the same purpose, with much prayer.
The Lord possesses infinite wisdom and omnipotent power. His goodness and mercy are unlimited, without partiality and without hypocrisy. God will not plan, nor His power execute, any purpose which is not in perfect harmony with infinite goodness. Neither does His justice make any requirements or demands that are in opposition to the desires or claims of His mercy. There must be the cooperation of justice and mercy, each drawing vitality, power, and infinite efficiency from the union and sympathetic cooperation of all God’s attributes. This our workers in the office, high and low, will need to learn.
I was present in one of your councils. One arose, and in a very earnest, decided manner, held up a paper. I could read the heading plainly—American Sentinel. There were criticisms made upon the articles published therein. It was declared that this must be cut out, and that must be changed. Strong words were uttered and a strong unchristlike spirit prevailed. My guide gave me words to speak to the ones who were present who were not slow to make their accusations. In substance I will state the reproof given: That there was a spirit of strife in the midst of the council. The Lord had not presided in their councils and their minds and hearts were not under the controlling influence of the Spirit of God. Let the adversaries of our faith be the ones to instigate and develop the plans which are being formed. While all the plans are not objectionable, principles are being brought in which will dishonor God.
The light which the Lord has given should be respected for your own safety, as well as for the safety of the church of God. If the steps being taken by a few become established among the remnant people of God, you will certainly not be sustained of God for the Lord will bring to naught the counsels of the prudent—the ones who flattered themselves that they were prudent. It is made evident by your own course of action that you have laid your plans and purposes without the aid of the One mighty in counsel. The Lord will work. The men who come to these decisions need their eyes anointed with spiritual eyesalve. You have felt mighty in your own strength, and there is One who can bind the arm of the mighty and bring to naught the counsels of the prudent. 1 Peter 2:1-12.
The great controversy between the two great powers is soon to be ended, and up to the time of its close there will be a wonderful, sharp contest. It is the time now to purpose, as did Daniel and his fellows in the courts of Babylon, that you will be true to principle. The flaming fiery furnace heated seven times hotter than it was wont did not swerve the three Hebrews from their principles. They held firm, and were cast into the furnace of fire. The form of the Fourth was with them, and even the smell of fire was not upon their garments. The gaping den of lions was open to receive the faithful, praying Daniel, but did he hide his purpose? Did he haul down his colors? Three times a day, as was his wont, he sought his Lord in his chamber with his window open toward Jerusalem. God delivered Daniel.
Let us look at the case of Elijah. He meets his mortal enemy, the king, the despotic ruler, an apostate from true religion. The king accuses Elijah, “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” 1 Kings 18:17. Does Elijah excuse himself? Does he resort to flattery? Does he betray sacred trusts because Israel has perverted her faith and disowned her allegiance to her God? Does he prophesy smooth things to please and pacify the king and secure his favor? No, no! Will he evade the issue? Will he conceal from the king the true cause of the judgments of God that are falling upon the whole land of Israel? No, no! Elijah is a man who proclaims the truth, just such truth as the occasion demands. He carries a weight, a great burden and sorrow for apostate Israel. He must hold up before them their defection that they may humble themselves before God that He may turn away His fierce anger from them. The answer came from Elijah, “I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim.” 1 Kings 18:18.
This is the very course men will take who are now in office. The world today is full of flatterers and dissemblers but God forbid that those who claim to be guardians of sacred trusts shall betray sacred interests through the instigations, suggestions, and devices of Satan. I have a warning to give to this body assembled in this house in General Conference. There is danger of our institutions creating plans and ways and means that mean not success, but defeat. I dare not let this Conference close and those assembled return to their homes without telling you to consider carefully every proposition presented, every plan laid before you. Give not hastily to these plans your “yea” and “amen,” and be not carried away with propositions that appear innocent, but whose end is disaster and forfeiture of the favor of God.
There is danger. I sound the signal trumpet of warning. God calls for you to humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, and He will lift you up. Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you. Ministers high and low, you have no time to complain over your unsuccessful labor. Look unto Jesus. Take hold of His strength by living faith and make peace with God. You have too great a desire for praise of men.
“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. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:6-9.
“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; (mark the words) 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.” Isaiah 57:15.
“Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee. Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people.” Isaiah 49:7, 8.
Let not men exalt themselves and seek to carry through their ideas, without the sanction and cooperation of the people of God. Your strong spirit is not to become a power of rule. Your loud contentious councils are not in harmony with Christ or His manner and His ways. You must bear the divine credentials before you make decided movements.
Just as surely as we believe in Jesus Christ and do His will, not exalting self, but walking in all humility of mind, just so sure will the Lord be with us. But He despises your fierce spirit. He is grieved with the hardness of your hearts. Pray Him to give you a heart of flesh, that can always feel and be touched with human woe; a heart that will not turn a deaf ear to the widow or to the fatherless; that has bowels of mercy for the poor, the infirm, and the oppressed; that loves justice and hates robbery; that will not make a difference in your favor but will consider the needy. Then the promises revealed in Isaiah 58 will be experienced by you.
But you will need to make straight paths for your feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. We are surrounded by the lame and halting in faith. Then help them, not by halting yourselves, but by standing like men—firm, tried, proved men—firm as a rock for principle. I know that a work must be done for the people or many will not receive the light of the angel which is sent from heaven to fill the whole earth with his glory.
Do not think that when the latter rain comes you will be a vessel unto honor to receive the showers of blessing—even the glory of God—when you have been lifting up your souls unto vanity, speaking perverse things, secretly cherishing the roots of bitterness you brought to Minneapolis, which you have carefully cultivated and watered ever since. The frown of God will surely be upon every soul who manifests a spirit so unlike the spirit and mind of Christ. There is work to do in your own individual hearts, else you will sow tares. When the Lord touches your lips with a live coal from off His altar, then the trumpet of every true watchman will give a certain sound—very different from that which we have heard.
God has a living testimony, not a tame, lifeless, sermonizing. Men in responsible positions are not to study to meet the world’s plans, to cater to the world’s ideas, to speak smooth words and prophesy deceit. The Comforter—the Holy Spirit of God whom Christ said the Father would send in His name—with unsparing lips reproves the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. “Reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and doctrine.” 2 Timothy 4:2.
We have a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. We stand forth under the Divine commission, and the solemn vows made to God. We stand forth as messengers in Christ’s stead, as the stewards of the mysteries of God. Ever remember that we are surrounded with a cloud of witnesses. The heavenly intelligences are looking upon us as the ambassadors of the King of kings and Lord of lords. We have a right to lift the standard high. Thus saith the Lord, who realizes the dignity of our calling, the sacredness of our work. We may well humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, else He will humble us. The Lord looks upon men-pleasing with disfavor, where there is a satanic accusing of the men who should be respected, whom God is using.
The tenderness, the kindness, the true courtesy, and the refinement of feelings which evidence that men are learning in Christ’s school, have been dropped out of the hearts and characters of many who think God is using them. The True Witness says, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love…. I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” Revelation 2:4, 5. If there were far more repenting, and less self-sufficiency and self-boasting, we should see spiritual things much more clearly. God wants you to come into vital connection with Himself. Then there will be a purer flame kindled in every soul, and the love of Christ will abide in the heart.
There has been a departure from God, and there has not as yet been zealous work in repenting and coming back to the first love. Infidelity has had a large place among us. It is the fashion to depart from Christ, to forsake the Lord and accept skepticism. “We will not have this man to reign over us.” Luke 19:14. Baal will be the purpose, the faith, the religion of a sorrowful number among us, because they choose their own way instead of God’s way. The true religion, the only religion of the Bible—believing in the forgiveness of sins, the righteousness of Christ, and the blood of the Lamb—has been not only slighted and spoken against, ridiculed, and criticised, but suspicions and jealousies have been created, leading into fanaticism and atheism. The true life in Jesus Christ alone is the true religion of the Bible. The Holy Spirit of God is to be an active, working principle in the religious character. The love of Christ must become an abiding principle to make the soul fruitful unto good works. It should be the force and power of every message that falls from human lips.
What kind of a future is before us if men will be united in Christ? If this long controversy that has been kept up through satanic agencies shall end in the unity that Christ prayed might exist, then we will not see men framing plans and dictating the manner of working when they have not spiritual eye sight to discern spiritual things. They see men as trees walking. They need the divine touch that they may see as God sees and work as Christ worked. Zion’s watchmen then will sound the trumpet in clearer, louder notes because they see the sword coming.
It is no time now for us who claim to keep God’s commandments to range ourselves on the side of the transgressors, to see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their perverted senses. We must press together. We must labor to be a unit, to be holy in life and character, and no longer bow the knees to the idol of men’s opinions or to any shameful lust. We must no longer bring the offering of a polluted, sin-stained soul to the Lord. “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and in ashes. But I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell.” Matthew 11:21-23.
Copied as grammatically corrected from handwrittenBook No. 16, Journal for 1890, pp. 457-517.July 6, 1959 1888 917 – 1888 949