To Brethren in Responsible Positions

  1. Connection With God's Work

  2. The Need of Divine Guidance

  3. Use of Individual Judgment


 Connection with God's Work

(Special Testimonies to Ministers and Workers - series A, NO. 6, 1896, pgs 27-46.)  

Cooranbong, Australia, July 6, 1896.

 Dear Brother -----:

 It has been revealed to me that the Lord proves and tries all who have named the name of Christ, but especially those who are stewards in any department of His cause. A connection with the special work of God for this time brings with it much responsibility, and the higher the position of trust, the greater the responsibility attached to it. How humble and sincere the one needs to be who is filling such a position! How fearful and mistrustful of himself! How careful to give all the praise and thanksgiving to God!

 There is a watcher standing by the side of all those who are filling positions of trust, ready to reprove and convict of wrongdoing, or to answer the prayers for help. He watches to see if the men privileged to bear responsibilities will look to God for wisdom and avail themselves of every opportunity to perfect a character after the divine similitude. If they deviate from straight-forward rectitude, God turns from them; if they do not earnestly strive to understand the will of God concerning them, He cannot bless or prosper or sustain them. 

Those whom God has placed in positions of responsibility should never seek to exalt themselves or to turn the attention of men to their work. They must give all the glory to God. They must not seek for power that they may lord it over God's heritage; for only those who are under the rule of Satan will do this.

 But the rule-or-ruin system  is too often seen in our institutions. This spirit is cherished and revealed by some in responsible positions, and because of this God cannot do the work He desires to do through them. By their course of action those who reveal this spirit make manifest what they would be in heaven if entrusted with responsibility.

 Those who will look at human souls in the light of the cross of Calvary need not err regarding the estimate which should be placed upon them. The reason why God has permitted some of the human family to be so rich and some so poor will remain a mystery to men till eternity, unless they enter into right relations with God and carry out His plans, instead of acting on their own selfish ideas that because a man is rich he is to be more highly respected than his poor neighbor. God makes His sun to shine on the just and on the unjust, and this sun represents Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, who shines as the light of the world, giving His blessings and mercies, seen and unseen, to rich and poor alike. This principle is to guide our conduct toward our fellowmen. The Lord is the teacher of the highest moral sentiments, the loftiest principles; and no man can deviate from these and be guiltless. It is the highest insult to God's goodness to doubt whether He would be willing for us to impart to others the blessings, spiritual and temporal, which He has freely given us.

 What Constitutes a Christian

 A pure religion, an upright, holy life, constitutes a man a Christian. But ever since his defection in heaven, Satan's course has been one of perpetual deception and harshness; and there are professed Christians who are learning his methods and practices. While they claim to be serving the cause of God they turn their fellowmen from their rights, in order to serve themselves.

 Every human being has been bought with a price, and as God's heritage he has certain rights, of which no one should deprive him. The Lord will not accept service from those who practice double-dealing. The least advantage gained in this way will dishonor God and the truth. Those who possess Bible religion will do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God. These are the lines drawn by the God of justice on this matter. 

Again I would urge that living faith in God be cultivated. There are those who, though thought to be serving God, are fast becoming girded about with infidelity. To them crooked paths seem straight; they are living in continual violation of God's truth; corrupt principles are interwoven into their life practice, and wherever they go they sow seeds of evil. In the place of leading others to Christ their influence causes them to question and doubt. They unsettle minds in the truth by entering into speculative theories which draw them away from the truth. They help to forge the fetters of doubt and unbelief, faultfinding and accusing; and souls stumble over them to perdition. The blood of souls will be upon those who, while they profess to be in the service of God, are doing the work of His enemy.

 What Ought we to be?

 Knowing this, what manner of persons ought we to be? Shall we exalt human wisdom and point to finite, changeable, erring men as a dependence in time of trouble? or shall we exemplify our faith by our trust in God's power, revealing the net of false theories, religions, and philosophies which Satan has spread to catch unwary souls? By thus doing the word of God, we shall be lights in the world; for if the word of God is practiced, we show to all those who come within the sphere of our influence that we reverence and respect God, and that we are working under His administration. By a humble, circumspect walk, by love, forbearance, long-suffering, and gentleness, God expects His servants to manifest Him to the world.

 God requires those to whom He has given sacred trusts to rise to the full height of their responsibilities. Man is placed here in the world on test and trial, and those who are given positions of trust must decide whether they will exalt self, or their Maker; whether they will use their power to oppress their fellowmen, or to exalt and glorify God. 

Increased responsibilities bring increased accountability. He who would be a faithful servant must give entire and willing service to the greatest teacher the world ever knew. His ideas and principles must be kept pure by the power of God. Every day he must learn to become worthy of the trust placed in him. His mind must be quickened by the divine power. His character must be uncontaminated by the influence of his relatives, his friends, or his neighbors. At times he must turn aside from active life to commune with God, and to hear His voice saying to him, "Be still, and know that I am God."

 The fruits of the Spirit will be borne by the man who loves God and keeps the way of the Lord, as the rich clusters of grapes grow on the living vine. Christ is his stronghold. Christ lived the law of God in humanity, and so may man do if he will by faith take hold on the strong and mighty One for strength. If he realizes that he cannot do anything without Christ by his side, God will give him wisdom. But he must cherish the love of Christ in his heart, and practice His lessons; for is he not to love Christ as Christ loved God? Is he not to demonstrate to all with whom he associates that he has the abiding presence of Jesus Christ more than he has ever had it before? Because of his increased responsibilities he must have an increased knowledge of God, and must reveal that living faith that works by love and purifies the soul.

 Frequent Cause of Failure

 But frequently when placed in high positions of trust, men fail to take time to pray; they think they have no time to train their every faculty to respond to the convictions of the Holy Spirit. But if these men would sit at the feet of the meek and lowly Jesus they would carry out sacred responsibilities, confident, not in themselves, but in their God. They would render to God the sacrifice of a noble, self-denying, cross-bearing life. Jesus would be enthroned in their hearts, giving them physical, mental, and moral power to make Him known. 

God longs to work through those to whom He has given capabilities for great things. He longs to see those who occupy responsible places representing Him to the world. He desires that Christ be acknowledged as the greatest teacher the world has ever known, and that He shall shine through their minds as the Light of the world. "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." But in order that this may be, God demands that every intellectual and physical capability be offered as a consecrated oblation to Him.

 But some men, as soon as they are placed in sacred positions of trust, regard themselves as great men; and this thought, if entertained, ends the desire for divine enlightenment, which is the only possible thing that can make men great. Those who take this view extinguish all chance of true greatness in themselves, because they will not become illuminated by the Sun of Righteousness. 

But men cannot extinguish the light of life, even though they close their eyes tightly in order that they may not see it. The Sun of Righteousness shines none the less because the poor, foolish human agent surrounds himself with self-created darkness.

Special Dangers of those in Positions of Responsibility

 The men who close their eyes to the divine light are ignorant, deplorably ignorant, both of the Scriptures and of the power of God. The Holy Spirit's working is not agreeable to them, and they attribute its manifestations to fanaticism. They rebel against the light, and do all they can to shut it out, calling darkness light and light darkness. They complain that the teachings of Christ cause undue excitement and fanaticism, which spoil those who receive them for the proper duties of life.

 Those who entertain and speak this belief do not know what they are talking about. They are cherishing a love of darkness; and just as long as these Christless souls are retained in positions of responsibility the cause of God is imperiled. They are in danger of fastening themselves so firmly with the dark leader of all rebellion that they will never see light; and the longer they are retained the more hopeless is their chance of receiving Christ or of having a knowledge of the true God. How uncertain they make everything that is spiritual and progressive in the truth! Under the influence of their leader they become more and more determined to work against Christ. But through good and bad report, through darkness, through all the antagonism of the agencies of Satan, the Sun of Righteousness calmly shines on, searching out evil, repressing sin, and reviving the spirit of the humble and contrite ones. "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life."

 A Daily Christian Experience Essential

 The evidence of true value and worth in men who are in responsible positions is the fact that they have a daily Christian experience in the things of God. They find music in the words spoken by Christ. "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with Me from the beginning." If men will receive the ministration of the Holy Spirit--the richest gift God can bestow-they will impart blessings to all who are connected with them.

 But God cannot reveal Himself through some who are entrusted with responsibilities. He cannot make them channels through which His grace and compassion and love can flow; for they insult His goodness by exhibiting a masterful spirit toward those whom they regard as being in error and needing reproof, eclipsing Christ's love and mercy by their own unsanctified passions. The enemy of all good is allowed to rule in their hearts, and their lives will reveal his attributes. They claim that the word of God directs them, but by their actions they say, We want not Thy way, but our way.

 By their words, their works, and their spirit those who pursue such a course are making a record in the books of heaven which they will not care to meet; for God does not value them as they value themselves. They are abusing their probationary opportunities and are grievously neglecting the high privileges conferred upon them. Though finding nothing in the word of God to vindicate their actions or countenance their opinions, yet they persist in their own way. In that day when judgment is passed upon all, the sentence will be pronounced against them, "Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting."

 The Stewardship of Men

 God may entrust men with money and possessions, but because of this they are not to lift themselves up. All they have they hold in trust; it is lent them by God that they may develop a character like His. They are on trial. God wants to see whether they will prove themselves worthy of the eternal riches. If they use their Lord's goods to set themselves above their fellowmen, they prove unworthy of a place in the kingdom of God. In the great reckoning day they will hear the words: "If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?"

But if those whom the Lord has made stewards regard their treasures as His gifts and seek to manifest compassion, sympathy, and love for their fellowmen, they are in harmony with the character of God, who gave His only-begotten Son to die for their salvation. If they value the souls of the human race according to the price paid for their redemption, they will not work out their natural impulses, but will manifest the attributes of the mind and will of God, and will be channels through which God's generous, loving sentiments may flow to humanity.

 The Office of Misfortune and Adversity

 The Lord has permitted misfortunes to come to men, poverty to press upon them, adversity to try them, that He may thus test those whom He has placed in more favored circumstances; and if those to whom He has entrusted His goods are faithful, He declares them to be worthy to walk with Him in white, to become kings and priests unto God. "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much." 

"Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evilspeakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe He is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."

Position Powerless to Sanctify

 Are acceptable spiritual sacrifices made to God when men who are placed in positions of great responsibility magnify themselves and dishonor God? That has been done, and God looks upon their course with displeasure. Instead of growing up into Christ, their living head, manifesting His divine attributes to the world, they have grown earthward. Self has been regarded as of great importance, and selfishness has attached itself to their work. Devotion to God has not been seen; spiritual life in Jesus Christ has not been developed.

 God cannot give His wisdom to men who look upon their position as sufficient excuse for turning from Bible principles to their own finite judgment, as if a position in the work of the Lord gave them liberty of speech, and power to pass resolutions and devise plans and methods that are not in accordance with God's will. Such need to learn that elevated position has no power to sanctify the heart. God permits them to hold these positions that He may prove whether they will reveal the character of God or the character of weak, finite humanity, which has never been fully under God's discipline; but positions have no power to develop a man's character. It rests wholly with the man himself to prove whether he will work himself, which means that Satan will work him, or whether he will be worked by the Holy Spirit.

 "Unto you therefore which believe He is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner." Have we all made Christ our righteousness? Has He been placed as the honored memorial stone of the corner? Have His lessons of humility been cherished, and have they been acted upon? Have His lessons of mercy, justice, and the love of God been exemplified in our lives?

 God the Source of Strength

 Oh, what weakness men manifest when they separate from the Source of wisdom and power! Have not men been magnified? Have not human sentiments and imperfect traits of character been held up as if of great value, while Christ and His righteousness have been excluded? Have not men woven selfishness into everything they have touched, revealing it persistently and determinedly in their work? Have they not treated the message of God with disdain? Have they not handled means which was not theirs as though they had a right to do with it as they pleased? And when this means was used to open new fields, have they not acted as though it came from their own individual capital, which they deserved great credit for thus appropriating? Has not the money offered as an oblation to God been used to pile up large buildings in Battle Creek--to give character to the work, it is said, but really to give opportunity for men to show the genius and tact they manifest in managing these large business houses?

 "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."

The Evil of Self-Serving

 How do men regard the work of the Lord when they feel themselves at liberty to be disobedient, unthankful, unholy, condemnatory, and harsh, loving to serve themselves rather than the Lord? Those who hold sacred trusts are forming their own destiny by the spirit and character they reveal; and do they ever think how their works will appear in the judgment? If the important truth for this time were an abiding principle in the souls of those who minister in the work of the Lord, how earnestly they would strive to obtain perfection of character, that they might surround the souls of those with whom they come in contact with a life-giving, holy atmosphere that would revive the hearts of the humble and contrite!

 It is a law of God that whoever believes the truth as it is in Jesus will make it known. The ideas and convictions of the individual mind will seek for expression. Whoever cherishes unbelief and criticism, whoever feels capable of judging the work of the Holy Spirit, will diffuse the spirit by which he is animated. It is the nature of unbelief and infidelity and resistance of the grace of God to make themselves felt and heard. The mind actuated by these principles is always striving to make a place for itself and obtain adherents. All who walk by the side of an apostate will be imbued by his spirit to share with others their thoughts and the result of their own inquiries, and the feelings which prompted their action; for it is not an easy matter to repress the principles upon which we act.

Some who are supposed to be heart and soul devoted to God are acting contrary to Him and to His work. Others have placed confidence in them, but deception covers them as with a garment. Their minds are controlled by a restless, irrepressible energy, an eagerness to disclose their sentiments. Thus seeds are sown everywhere. By a partially expressed sentiment they cast doubt and unbelief of the truth. There are those who are not in harmony with the testimonies because men in high positions of trust have expressed themselves as not in harmony with them; for the testimonies do not coincide with their opinions, but rebuke every vestige of selfishness.

Evils of Unsanctified Consolidation 

 Everything that has been planned in regard to consolidation shows that men are seeking to grasp the scepter of power and hold control over human minds. But God does not work with them in their devising, and the voice they now have in the cause of God is not the voice of God. They have proved themselves utterly unworthy of a place as wise managers; for their strength is used to turn men away from their rights, to benefit themselves. There have been acts of apparent liberality, but God knows the motive which governed them, and He will not accept their offerings until they repent and become conscientious doers of His word. 

Divine Unity Necessary

 There is great necessity for unity in the work and cause of God; but for a long time influences have been at work seeking to create disaffection, and the men who feel that they have the power in their hands care little. They say within themselves: When this consolidation is perfected, we will show them who is master. We will then bring things into line. But they will never have that work to do.

 As individuals and as members of the church of God, we need to realize the special work which has been committed to us. Paul writes to Timothy, "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." We have a very important work before us. "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints," writes Paul, "is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord."

 "So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at My mouth, and warn them from Me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul." "When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it. Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; if the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live. Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal. When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby. Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways."

 The Preeminence of the Work of Saving Souls

 The saving of human souls is an interest infinitely above any other line of work in our world. Whoever is brought under the influences of the truth, and through faith is made partaker of Christ's love, is by that very fact appointed of God to save others. He has a mission in the world. He is to be a colaborer with Christ, making known the truth as it is in Jesus; and when men in any line of God's work seek to bring the minds and talents of the Lord's human agents under their control, they have assumed a jurisdiction over their fellowmen that they cannot maintain without injustice and iniquity. The Lord has placed no man as judge, either of the pen or the voice of God's workmen.

There are men whose character and life testify to the fact that they are false prophets and deceivers. These we are not to hear or tolerate. But those whom God is using are under His control, and He has not appointed men with human, shortsighted judgment to criticize and condemn, to pass judgment and reject their work because every idea does not coincide with that which they suppose to be truth.

 The Fallibility of Human Judgment

 Men can become just as were the Pharisees--wide-awake to condemn the greatest teacher that the world ever knew. Christ gave unmistakable evidence that He was sent of God, yet the Jewish rulers took upon themselves the work the enemy prompted them to do, and charged Him who made the Sabbath, who was the Lord of the Sabbath, with being a Sabbath breaker. Oh, the foolishness of men! the weakness of men!

There are those who are today doing the very same things. In their counsels they venture to pronounce judgment upon the work of God; for they have become trained in doing that which the Lord has never required them to do. They would better humble their own hearts before God, and keep their hands off the ark of God, lest the wrath of God shall break forth upon them; for if God has ever spoken by me, I testify that they have undertaken a work in criticizing and pronouncing unsound judgment which I know is not right. They are but finite men and, being befogged themselves, suppose that other men are in error.

 But these men who presume to judge others should take a little broader view and say, Suppose the statements of others do not agree with our ideas; shall we for this pronounce them heresy? Shall we, uninspired men, take the responsibility of placing our stakes, and saying, This shall not appear in print?

If they still persist in clinging to their own opinions, they will find that God will not sustain their action. Do they take the position that all they advance is infallible? that there is not a shadow of an error or mistake in their productions? Cannot other men who give just as much evidence that they are led and taught of God catch at an expression in their work which they do not entertain as their views in every particular, and command them to cut it out?

Has not our past experience in these things been sufficient? Will we ever learn the lessons which God designs we shall learn? Will we ever realize that the consciences of men are not given into our command? If you have appointed committees to do the work which has been going on for years in Battle Creek, dismiss them; and remember that God, the infinite God, has not placed men in any such positions as they occupied at Minneapolis, and have occupied since then.

Not to be Conscience for Our Fellowmen

 I feel deeply over this matter of men being conscience for their fellowmen. Stand out of the way, and let God work His own instrumentalities. Some have done work for which God will call them to account. He will ask of them, Who hath required this at your hands?

I have not liberty to place my writing in the hands of men who feel that their work is to act the part of detectives over their brethren. My brethren in positions of trust, will you not discern your own deficiencies and put on the whole armor of righteousness yourselves? Will you not be just as watchful and critical over your own spirits and temperaments and words as you are over those of others, lest God should be dishonored, and His truth misrepresented? Your discernment would be greatly improved if you would do this. The truth, the living word, would be as a fire shut up in your bones, which would shine forth in clear, unmistakable distinctness, representing Christ to the world. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

 Could none of those who have made themselves detectives see the tendency of the position they have taken in endeavoring to become a controlling power? Where was their clear spiritual eyesight? Why could they discern a mote in the eye of a brother, while a beam was in their own eye? Oh, if ever a temple upon earth needed purifying, the institutions in Battle Creek need it now! Will you not seek God most humbly, that you may give the Laodicean message with clear, distinct utterance? Where are God's watchmen who will see the peril and give the warning? Be assured that there are messages to come from human lips under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. "Cry aloud, spare not, . . . show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek Me daily, . . . as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God."

 We are soldiers of Christ. He is the Captain of our salvation, and we are under His orders and rules. We are to wear His armor; we are to be marshaled only under His banner. We are to subdue not our brother soldiers but our enemies, that we may build up Christ's kingdom. We are laborers together with God. We are to keep on the whole armor of God, and work as in view of the universe of heaven. Let every man do his duty, as given him of God.


The Need of Divine Guidance

(Special Testimonies to Ministers and Workers - series A, NO. 6, 1896, pgs 56-60.)  

 Christiania, Norway, October 1, 1885.

 Dear Brother-----:

 I was more sorry than I can express to learn that under your instruction Brethren-----and-----sought to restrict the work at the-----camp meeting. You could not have advised them to do a worse thing, and you should not have put a work into their hands that they were not fitted to do in a wise manner. Be careful how you repress advancing work in any locality. There is little enough being done in any place, and it certainly is not proper to seek to curtail operations in missionary lines.

 After looking matters over carefully and prayerfully, I wrote as I did in my notes of travel. I wanted to leave the matter in such a shape as not to discourage the laborers in-----in their effort to do something, although I desired to give them caution so that they would not make any extreme moves in their plans. The workers were doing well, and ought to have been encouraged and advised to go on with their work. There are men in-----who should have helped them by making needed donations to invest in the cause. They will have to give to the work before they will grow in grace and the knowledge of the truth.

 You and your workers should have looked at this matter from different points of view than you did. You should have investigated the work thoroughly, and asked yourselves if five thousand dollars was too large a debt to incur in the important work in which these workers were engaged. Your influence should have been exerted in such a way as to cause the people to see the importance of the work, and to realize that it was their duty to rise to the emergency. You should have done as I wrote of doing, in my notes of travel. But if our brethren feel at liberty to stop the work when they cannot see where money is coming from to sustain it, then the work will not only be contracted in ----- and -----, but in every other state in the Union. If our workers are going forward in any place, do not put up the bars, and say, Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther. I feel sad that you have closed up the school at -----. I see that the brethren sent to look after this enterprise have not taken measures to advance the work by soliciting donations from men who could give. There are rich men in the conference, who have made complaints about the debt that has been incurred, who ought to have sustained these workers. While reproach and discouragement have been cast upon the workers, the impression has been left upon those who have means that they have a perfect right to question every enterprise that calls for money.

 When Personal Oversight of Details is Inconsistent

 God does not require you to take such a course that the workers in ----- or anywhere else shall not feel at liberty to make advance movements unless they can consult you, and ask what your judgment of the matter is, before they advance. I cannot sanction the idea that you must have a personal oversight of all the details of the work. If I did, the result would be that no worker would dare to exercise his own judgment in anything. The workers would have to rely upon one man's brain and one man's judgment, and the result would be that men would be left in inefficiency because of their inactivity. There are altogether too many of this class now, and they amount to next to nothing. I write this because I feel deeply on this point. We are not doing one half that we ought to do.

 It is true that the ----- school must be sustained, but this need not hinder us from sustaining other schools. We should have primary schools in different localities to prepare the youth for our higher schools. It may seem to you that it is wise to close the school in -----, but I fail to see the wisdom of it. To close up this school will seem to reflect discredit upon all that the people have done, and will discourage them from making further advancement. I cannot see that you have gained anything in making the move that you have, nor can I feel that it is in accordance with God's order. It will work nothing but injury, not only to those that have complained about the debt, but also to the workers. Men who have property and could have helped this enterprise will breathe more freely. These moneyed men will be encouraged, not to do more for the cause than they have done, but to do less. They will feel at liberty to complain concerning anything that calls for an outlay of means.

 The Work Not Circumscribed by the Counsel of God

 Oh, that the Lord might guide you! You should never in a single instance allow hearsay to move you to action, and yet you have sometimes done this. Never take action to narrow and circumscribe the work unless you know that you are moved to do so by the Spirit of the Lord. Our people are doing work for foreign missions, but there are home missions that need their help just as much as these foreign missions. We should make efforts to show our people the wants of the cause of God, and to open before them the need of using means that God has entrusted to them to advance the work of the Master both at home and abroad. Unless those who can help in ----- are aroused to a sense of their duty, they will not recognize the work of God when the loud cry of the third angel shall be heard. When light goes forth to lighten the earth, instead of coming up to the help of the Lord, they will want to bind about His work to meet their narrow ideas. Let me tell you that the Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning. There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness. Those who are accounted good workers will need to draw nigh to God, they will need the divine touch. They will need to drink more deeply and continuously at the fountain of living water, in order that they may discern God's work at every point. Workers may make mistakes, but you should give them a chance to correct their errors, give them an opportunity to learn caution, by leaving the work in their hands.


Use of Individual Judgment

(Special Testimonies to Ministers and Workers - series A, NO. 6, 1896, pgs 61-65.)  

Orebro, Sweden, October 28, 1885.

 Dear Brethren ----- and -----:

 My prayer is that the Lord may be with you in great power during the coming conference. Some may be absent that you might wish were present; but Jesus is your helper. I sincerely hope and pray that those who bear responsibilities in Michigan, New England, Ohio, Indiana, and other states will take broader views of the work than they have done. I hope Michigan will take a step in advance. I feel to regret the fact that there is such a dearth of breadth of mind and of far-seeing ability. Workers should be educated and trained for the fields of labor. We need missionaries everywhere. We need men and women who will give themselves without reserve to the work of God, bringing many sons and daughters to God.

 Individual Judgment to be Exercised

 I have been shown that there is one practice which those in responsible places should avoid; for it is detrimental to the work of God. Men in position should not lord it over God's heritage, and command everything around them. Too many have marked out a prescribed line which they wish others to follow in the work. Workers have tried to do this with blind faith, without exercising their own judgment upon the matter which they had in hand. If those who were placed as directors were not present, they have followed their implicit directions just the same. But in the name of Christ, I would entreat you to stop this work. Give men a chance to exercise their individual judgment. Men who follow the leading of another, and are willing that another should think for them, are unfit to be entrusted with responsibility. Our leading men are remiss in this matter. God has not given to special ones all the brain power there is in the world.

 Men in responsible positions should credit others with some sense, with some ability of judgment and foresight, and look upon them as capable of doing the work committed to their hands. Our leading brethren have made a great mistake in marking out all the directions that the workers should follow, and this has resulted in deficiency, in a lack of a caretaking spirit in the worker, because they have relied upon others to do all their planning, and have themselves taken no responsibility. Should the men who have taken this responsibility upon themselves step out of our ranks, or die, what a state of things would be found in our institutions!

Leading men should place responsibilities upon others, and allow them to plan and devise and execute, so that they may obtain an experience. Give them a word of counsel when necessary, but do not take away the work because you think the brethren are making mistakes. May God pity the cause when one man's mind and one man's plan is followed without question. God would not be honored should such a state of things exist. All our workers must have room to exercise their own judgment and discretion. God has given men talents which He means that they should use. He has given them minds, and He means that they should become thinkers, and do their own thinking and planning, rather than depend upon others to think for them.

 I think I have laid out this matter many times before you, but I see no change in your actions. We want every responsible man to drop responsibilities upon others. Set others at work that will require them to plan, and to use judgment. Do not educate them to rely upon your judgment. Young men must be trained up to be thinkers. My brethren, do not for a moment think that your way is perfection, and that those who are connected with you must be your shadows, must echo your words, repeat your ideas, and execute your plans.

 Effects of Constantly Following Others  

There are men who today might be men of breadth of thought, might be wise men, men to be depended upon, who are not such, because they have been educated to follow another man's plan. They have allowed others to tell them precisely what to do, and they have become dwarfed in intellect. Their minds are narrow, and they cannot comprehend the needs of the work. They are simply machines to be moved by another man's thought. Now do not think that these men who do follow out your ideas are the only ones that can be trusted. You have sometimes thought that because they do your will to the letter, they were the only ones in whom you could place dependence. If anyone exercised his own judgment, and differed with you, you have disconnected from him as one that could not be trusted. Take your hands off the work, and do not hold it fast in your grasp. You are not the only man whom God will use. Give the Lord room to use the talents He has entrusted to men, in order that the cause may grow. Give the Lord a chance to use men's minds. We are losing much by our narrow ideas and plans. Do not stand in the way of the advancement of the work, but let the Lord work by whom He will. Educate, encourage young men to think and act, to devise and plan, in order that we may have a multitude of counselors.

How my heart aches to see presidents of conferences taking the burden of selecting those whom they think they can mold to work with them in the field. They take those who will not differ with them, but will act like mere machines. No president has any right to do this. Leave others to plan; and if they fail in some things, do not take it as an evidence that they are unfitted to be thinkers. Our most responsible men had to learn by a long discipline how to use their judgment. In many things they have shown that their work ought to have been better. The fact that men make mistakes is no reason why we should think them unfit to be caretakers. Those who think that their ways are perfect, even now make many grave blunders, but others are none the wiser for it. They present their success, but their mistakes do not appear. Then be kind and considerate to every man who conscientiously enters the field as a worker for the Master. Our most responsible men have made some unwise plans, and have carried them out because they thought their plans were perfect. They have needed the mingling of other elements of mind and character. They should have associated with other men who could view matters from an entirely different point of view. Thus they would have helped them in their plans. . . . What folly it is to trust a great mission in the hands of one man, so that he shall mold and fashion it in accordance with his mind, and after his own diseased imagination! Men who have been narrow, who have served tables, who are not farseeing, are disqualified for putting their mold upon the work. Those who desire to control the work think that none can do it perfectly but themselves, and the cause bears the marks of their defects.