Vital Principles of
Relationship - A
Jehovah Is Our King
Responsibility and Christian Unity
Pray for the Latter
Words of Greeting
The Victorious Life
Jehovah Is Our King
Testimonies, Series B, no.10 1909- pgs 12-20
God has revealed many things to me which
He has bidden me give to His people by pen and voice. Through this message
of the Holy Spirit, God's people are given sacred instruction concerning
their duty to God and to their fellowmen.
A strange thing has come into our
churches. Men who are placed in positions of responsibility that they may
be wise helpers to their fellow workers have come to suppose that they
were set as kings and rulers in the churches, to say to one brother, Do
this; to another, Do that; and to another, Be sure to labor in such and
such a way. There have been places where the workers have been told that
if they did not follow the instruction of these men of responsibility,
their pay from the conference would be withheld.
It is right for the workers to counsel
together as brethren; but that man who endeavors to lead his fellow
workers to seek his individual counsel and advice regarding the details of
their work, and to learn their duty from him, is in a dangerous position
and needs to learn what responsibilities are really comprehended in his
office. God has appointed no man to be conscience for his fellowman. It is
not wise to lay so much responsibility upon an officer that he will feel
that he is forced to become a dictator.
A Constant Peril
For years there has been a growing
tendency for men placed in positions of responsibility to lord it over
God's heritage, thus removing from church members their keen sense of the need of divine
instruction and an appreciation of the privilege to counsel with God
regarding their duty. This order of things must be changed. There must be
a reform. Men who have not a rich measure of that wisdom which cometh from
above should not be called to serve in positions where their influence
means so much to church members.
In my earlier experiences in the message,
I was called to meet this evil. During my labors in Europe and Australia,
and more recently at the San Jose camp meeting in 1905, I had to bear my
testimony of warning against it, because souls were being led to look to
man for wisdom, instead of looking to God, who is our wisdom, our
sanctification, and our righteousness. And now the same message has again
been given me, more definite and decisive, because there has been a deeper
offense to the Spirit of God.
An Exalted Privilege
God is the Teacher of His people. All who
humble their hearts before Him will be taught of God. "If any of you lack
wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and
upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." The Lord wants every church
member to pray earnestly for wisdom, that he may know what the Lord would
have him do. It is the privilege of every believer to obtain an individual
experience, learning to carry his cares and perplexities to God. It is
written, "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you."
Through His servant Isaiah, God is calling
His church to appreciate her exalted privilege in having the wisdom of the
Infinite at her command: "O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up
into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be
not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the
Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him:
behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. He shall feed His
flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry
them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
"Who hath measured the waters in the
hollow of His hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended
the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales,
and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or
being His counselor hath taught Him? With whom took He counsel, and who
instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of judgment, and taught Him
knowledge, and showed to Him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations
are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the
balance: behold, He taketh up the isles as a very little thing. And
Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a
burnt offering. All nations before Him are as nothing; and they are
counted to Him less than nothing, and vanity."
"Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard,
that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of His
understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no
might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the Lord
shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they
shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
In the forty-first to the forty-fifth
chapters of Isaiah, God very fully reveals His purpose for His people, and
these chapters should be prayerfully studied. God does not here instruct
His people to turn away from His wisdom and look to finite man for wisdom.
"Remember these, O Jacob and Israel," He declares, "for thou art My
servant: . . . O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of Me. I have blotted
out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins:
return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee. Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord
hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into
singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the Lord hath
redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel."
"Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let
them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who
hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else
beside me. . . . Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth:
for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by Myself, the word is
gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto Me
every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in
the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to Him shall men come;
and all that are incensed against Him shall be ashamed. In the Lord shall
all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory."
Every Yoke to be Broken
I write thus fully, because I have been
shown that ministers and people are tempted more and more to trust in
finite man for wisdom, and to make flesh their arm. To conference
presidents, and men in responsible places, I bear this message: Break the
bands and fetters that have been placed upon God's people. To you
the word is spoken, "Break every yoke." Unless you cease the work of
making man amenable to man, unless you become humble in heart, and
yourselves learn the way of the Lord as little children, the Lord will
divorce you from His work. We are to treat one another as brethren, as
fellow laborers, as men and women who are, with us, seeking for light and
understanding of the way of the Lord, and who are jealous for His glory.
God declares, "I will be glorified in My
people;" but the self-confident management of men has resulted in putting
God aside, and accepting the devisings of men. If you allow this to
continue, your faith will soon become extinct. God is in every place,
beholding the conduct of the people who profess to represent the
principles of His word. He asks that a change be made. He wants His people
to be molded and fashioned, not after man's ideas, but after the
similitude of God. I entreat of you to search the Scriptures as you have
never yet searched them that you may know the way and will of God. Oh,
that every soul might be impressed with this message, and put away the
We would do well to study carefully the
first and second chapters of 1 Corinthians. "We preach Christ crucified,"
the apostle declared, "unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the
Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks,
Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of
God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For
ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh,
not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of
the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the
world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the
world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things
which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should
glory in His presence. But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is
made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and
redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him
glory in the Lord." The human being who undertakes to become wisdom for
another will find himself coming short.
"I was with you," Paul continues, "in
weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my
preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in
demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand
in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom
among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the
princes of this world, that come to nought: but we speak the wisdom of God
in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world
unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they
known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."
Taught by the Spirit
In the next words the apostle brings to
view the true source of wisdom for the believer: "God hath revealed them
unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep
things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit
of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. . . . Which
things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but
which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."
These words mean very much to the soul
that is trying to run the race set before him in the gospel. "The natural
man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are
foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are
spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he
himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that
he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ."
Read also the third chapter of this book,
and study and pray over these words. As a people our faith and practice
need to be energized by the Holy Spirit. No ruling power that would compel
man to obey the dictates of the finite mind should be exercised. "Cease ye
from man, whose breath is in his nostrils," the Lord commands. By turning
the minds of men to lean on human wisdom, we place a veil between God and
man, so that there is not a seeing of Him who is invisible.
In our individual experience we are to be
taught of God. When we seek Him with a sincere heart, we will confess to
Him our defects of character; and He has promised to receive all who come
to Him in humble dependence. The one who yields to the claims of God will
have the abiding presence of Christ, and this companionship will be to him
a very precious thing. Taking hold of divine wisdom, he will escape the
corruptions that are in the world through lust. Day by day he will learn
more fully how to carry his infirmities to the One who has promised to be
a very present help in every time of need.
This message is spoken to our churches in
every place. In the false experience that has been coming in, a decided
influence is at work to exalt human agencies, and to lead some to depend
on human judgment, and to follow the control of human minds. This
influence is diverting the mind from God. God forbid that any such
experience should deepen and grow in our ranks as Seventh-day Adventists.
Our petitions are to reach higher than erring man--to God. God does not
confine Himself to one place or person. He looks down from heaven upon the
children of men; He sees their perplexities, and is acquainted with the
circumstances of every experience of life. He understands His own work
upon the human heart, and needs not that any man should direct the
workings of His Spirit.
"This is the confidence that we have in
Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: and if
we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the
petitions that we desired of Him." God has appointed the angels that do
His will to respond to the prayers of the meek of the earth, and to guide
His ministers with counsel and judgment. Heavenly agencies are constantly
seeking to impart grace and strength and counsel to God's faithful
children, that they may act their part in the work of communicating light
to the world. The wonderful sacrifice of Christ has made it possible for
every man to do a special work. When the worker receives wisdom from the
only true source, he will become a pure channel of light and blessing; for
he will receive his capability for service in rich currents of grace and
light from the throne of God.
Individual Responsibility and Christian
Testimonies, Series B, no.9 1907- pgs 14-36
Sanitarium, California, January 16, 1907.
We are living in a time when every true
Christian must maintain a living connection with God. The world is flooded
with sophistries of the enemy, and we are safe only as we learn lessons of
truth from the Great Teacher. The solemn work in which we are engaged
demands of us a strong, united effort under divine leadership.
The Lord desires His workers to counsel
together, not to move independently. Those who are set as ministers and
guides to the people should pray much when they meet together. This will
give wonderful help and courage, binding heart to heart and soul to soul,
leading every man to unity and peace and strength in his endeavors.
Our strength lies in taking our burdens to
the great Burden Bearer. God confers honor on those who come to Him and
ask Him for help, in faith believing that they will receive.
Human help is feeble. But we may unite in
seeking help and favor from Him who has said, "Ask, and it shall be given
you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
Divine power is infallible. Then let us come to God, pleading for the
guidance of His Holy Spirit. Let our united prayers ascend to the throne
of grace. Let our requests be mingled with praise and thanksgiving.
Need for Religious Education
Christ, our Advocate with the Father,
knows how to sympathize with every soul. To those who receive Him as their Saviour, He gives power to become
sons and daughters of God. His life of perfect freedom from sin has
prepared the way for us; through Him the entrance into the holiest of all
is made manifest.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave
His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish,
but have everlasting life." "He that hath received His testimony hath set
to his seal that God is true. For He whom God hath sent speaketh the words
of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him. The Father
loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand. He that believeth
on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall
not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
A religious education is greatly needed by
all who act a part in the work of Jesus Christ. They are to be laborers
together with God, engaged in a sacred, solemn work. Each is to have an
individual experience in being taught by the Great Teacher, and individual
communion with God. There is to be imparted a new life, and that life is
to be nourished by the Holy Spirit. When there is a spiritual union with
the Lord Jesus, He will move and impress the heart. He will lead, and in
the life there will be a growth of fellowship with Christ.
Christ is our only hope. We may look to
Him, for He is our Saviour. We may take Him at His word, and make Him our
dependence. He knows just the help we need, and we can safely put our
trust in Him. If we depend on merely human wisdom to guide us, we shall
find ourselves on the losing side. But we may come direct to the Lord
Jesus, for He has said: "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are
heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of
Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your
souls." It is our privilege to be taught of Him who said, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son
of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you."
We have a divine audience to which to
present our requests. Then let nothing prevent us from offering our
petitions in the name of Jesus, believing with unwavering faith that God
hears us, and that He will answer us. Let us carry our difficulties to
God, humbling ourselves before Him. There is a great work to be done; and
while it is our privilege to counsel together, we must be very sure, in
every matter, to counsel with God, for He will never mislead us. We are
not to make flesh our arm. If we do, depending chiefly upon human help,
human guidance, unbelief will steal in, and our faith will die.
Frequently I receive letters from
individuals telling me of their troubles and perplexities, and asking me
to inquire of God as to what is their duty. To those for whom the Lord has
given me no light, I have often replied: I have not been appointed by God
to do such a work as you ask me to do. The Lord Jesus has invited you to
bring your troubles to One who understands every circumstance of your
"What things soever ye desire, when ye
pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye
stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any: that your Father
also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not
forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your
I shall not dishonor my Lord by
encouraging people to come to me for counsel, when they have a standing
invitation to go to the One who is able to carry them and all their
"It is written in the prophets, And they
shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh
unto Me. . . . I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any
man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will
give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
God deals with men as individuals, giving
to everyone his work. All are to be taught of God. Through the grace of
Christ every soul must work out his own righteousness, maintaining a
living connection with the Father and the Son. This is a genuine
experience that is of value.
Necessity of Harmonious Action
While it is true that the Lord guides
individuals, it is also true that He is leading out a people, not a few
separate individuals here and there, one believing this thing, another
that. Angels of God are doing the work committed to their trust. The third
angel is leading out and purifying a people, and they should move with him
Those who were in our work at the
beginning are passing away. Only a few of the pioneers of the cause now
remain among us. Many of the heavy burdens formerly borne by men of long
experience are now falling upon younger men.
This transfer of responsibilities to
laborers whose experience is more or less limited is attended with some
dangers against which we need to guard. The world is filled with strife
for the supremacy. The spirit of pulling away from our fellow laborers,
the spirit of disorganization, is in the very air we breathe. By some, all
efforts to establish order are regarded as dangerous--as a restriction of
personal liberty, and hence to be feared as popery. They declare that they
will not take any man's say-so; that they are amenable to no man. I have been instructed that
is Satan's special effort to lead men to feel that God is pleased to have
them choose their own course, independent of the counsel of their
Herein lies a grave danger to the
prosperity of our work. We must move discreetly, sensibly, in harmony with
the judgment of God-fearing counselors; for in this course alone lies our
safety and strength. Otherwise God cannot work with us and by us and for
Oh, how Satan would rejoice if he could
succeed in his efforts to get in among this people and disorganize the
work at a time when thorough organization is essential and will be the
greatest power to keep out spurious uprisings and to refute claims not
endorsed by the word of God! We want to hold the lines evenly, that there
shall be no breaking down of the system of organization and order that has
been built up by wise, careful labor. License must not be given to
disorderly elements that desire to control the work at this time.
Unity of Effort
Some have advanced the thought that as we
near the close of time, every child of God will act independently of any
religious organization. But I have been instructed by the Lord that in
this work there is no such thing as every man's being independent. The
stars of heaven are all under law, each influencing the other to do the
will of God, yielding their common obedience to the law that controls
their action. And in order that the Lord's work may advance healthfully
and solidly, His people must draw together.
The spasmodic, fitful movements of some
who claim to be Christians is well represented by the work of strong but
untrained horses. When one pulls forward, another pulls back; and at the voice of
their master, one plunges ahead, and the other stands immovable. If men
will not move in concert in the great and grand work for this time, there
will be confusion. It is not a good sign when men refuse to unite with
their brethren and prefer to act alone. Instead of isolating themselves,
let them draw in harmony with their fellow laborers. Unless they do this,
their activity will work at the wrong time and in the wrong way. They will
often work counter to that which God would have done, and thus their labor
is worse than wasted.
Men to be Counselors, Not Rulers
"Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and
He shall strengthen thine heart." Let us each wait on the Lord, and He
will teach us how to labor. He will reveal to us the work that we are best
adapted to perform. This will not lead men to start out in an independent
spirit, to promulgate new theories. In this time when Satan is seeking to
make void the law of God through the exaltation of false science, we need
to guard most carefully against everything that would tend to lessen our
faith and scatter our forces. As laborers together with God, we should be
in harmony with the truth, and with our brethren. There should be counsel
Even in the midst of the great deceptions
of the last days, when delusive miracles will be performed in the sight of
men in behalf of satanic theories, it is our privilege to hide ourselves
in Christ Jesus. It is possible for us to seek and to obtain salvation.
And in this time of unusual peril, we must learn to stand alone, our faith
fixed, not on the word of man, but on the sure promises of God.
Among all God's workers there should be a
spirit of unity and harmony. The Lord has especially blessed some with an
experience that has fitted them to be wise counselors. In our several
callings there is to be a mutual dependence on one another for assistance.
Of this, Peter says:
"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves
unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed
with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the
But this does not authorize any one man to
undertake the work of ordering his brethren arbitrarily to do as he thinks
advisable, irrespective of their own personal convictions of duty. Nor are
God's chosen laborers to feel that at every step they must wait to ask
some officer in authority whether they may do this or that. While
cooperating heartily with their brethren in carrying out general plans
that have been laid for the prosecution of the work, they are constantly
to look to the God of Israel for personal guidance.
Sometimes a man who has been placed in
responsibility as a leader gains the idea that he is in a position of
supreme authority, and that all his brethren, before making advance moves,
must first come to him for permission to do that which they feel should be
done. Such a man is in a dangerous position. He has lost sight of the work
of a true leader among God's people. Instead of acting as a wise
counselor, he assumes the prerogatives of an exacting ruler. God is
dishonored by every such display of authority and self-exaltation. No man
standing in his own strength is ever to be mind and judgment for another
man whom the Lord is using in His work. No one is to lay down man-made
rules and regulations to govern arbitrarily his fellow laborers who have a living experience in
God calls upon those who have exercised
undue authority to take off from His workers every dominating hand. Let
everyone to whom has been entrusted sacred responsibilities seek to
understand his individual duty before God, and do that duty humbly and
faithfully. Let no one regard himself as a master, with controlling power
to exercise over his brethren. The principles of the word of God are to be
taught and practiced.
Amenable to God
While respecting authority and laboring in
accordance with wisely laid plans, every worker is amenable to the Great
Teacher for the proper exercise of his God-given judgment and of his right
to look to the God of heaven for wisdom and guidance. God is Commander and
Ruler over all. We have a personal Saviour, and we are not to exchange His
word for the word of any man. In the Scriptures the Lord has given
instruction for every worker. The words of the Master Worker should be
diligently studied; for they are spirit and life. Laborers who are
striving to work in harmony with this instruction are under the leadership
and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and need not always, before they make any
advance move, first ask permission of someone else. No precise lines are
to be laid down. Let the Holy Spirit direct the workers. As they keep
looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of their faith, the gifts of
grace will increase by wise use.
God desires that we shall come into right
relation with Him. He desires that every voice shall be sanctified. He
wants all there is of us--soul, body, and spirit--to be fully sanctified
to do His will. It is time that we begin to know that we are fastened to
the Lord Jesus Christ by a living, working faith; it is
time for us to lay hold of the help proffered by the Spirit of God, and
let our words reveal that we are under divine control. Let us believe in
God, and trust in Him; and we shall see His mighty power working among us.
In 1895 I wrote to my brethren in the
ministry, as follows: "I must speak to my brethren nigh and afar
off. I cannot hold my peace. They are not working on correct principles.
Those who stand in responsible positions must not feel that their position
of importance makes them men of infallible judgment.
"All the works of men are under the Lord's
jurisdiction. It will be altogether safe for men to consider that there is
knowledge with the Most High. Those who trust in God and His wisdom, and
not in their own, are walking in safe paths. They will never feel that
they are authorized to muzzle even the ox that treads out the grain; and
how offensive it is for men to control the human agent who is in
partnership with God, and whom the Lord Jesus has invited: 'Come unto Me,
all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My
yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly heart: and ye
shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is
light.' 'We are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are
"The Lord has not placed any one of His
human agencies under the dictation and control of those who are themselves
but erring mortals. He has not placed upon men the power to say, You shall
do this, and you shall not do that. . . .
"No man is a proper judge of another man's
duty. Man is responsible to God; and as finite, erring men take into their hands the jurisdiction of
their fellowmen, as if the Lord commissioned them to lift up and cast
down, all heaven is filled with indignation. There are strange principles
being established in regard to the control of the minds and works of men,
by human judges, as though these finite men were gods. . . .
"Organizations, institutions, unless kept
by the power of God, will work under Satan's dictation to bring men under
the control of men; and fraud and guile will bear the semblance of zeal
for truth, and for the advancement of the kingdom of God. . . .
"God will not vindicate any device whereby
man shall in the slightest degree rule or oppress his fellowmen. The only
hope for fallen man is to look to Jesus, and receive Him as the only Saviour. As soon as a man begins to make an iron rule for other men, as
soon as he begins to harness up and drive men according to his own mind,
he dishonors God, and imperils his own soul and the souls of his brethren.
Sinful man can find hope and righteousness only in God; and no human being
is righteous any longer than he has faith in God and maintains a vital
connection with Him. A flower of the field must have its root in the soil;
it must have air, dew, showers, and sunshine. It will flourish only as it
receives these advantages, and all are from God. So with men. We receive
from God that which ministers to the life of the soul. We are warned not
to trust in man, nor to make flesh our arm."
The foregoing was printed in Special
Testimonies to Ministers and Workers (Series A, No. 9, 1897).
In 1903, I wrote to the president of a
"By means of one agency, Christ Jesus, God
has mysteriously linked all men together. To every man He has assigned
some special line of service; and we should be quick to comprehend that we are
to guard against leaving the work given us in order that we may interfere
with other human agencies who are doing a work not precisely the same as
our own. To no man has been assigned the work of interfering with the work
of one of his fellow laborers, trying to take it in hand himself; for he
would so handle it that he would spoil it. To one God gives a work
different from the work that He gives another.
"Let us all remember that we are not
dealing with ideal men, but with real men of God's appointment, men
precisely like ourselves, men who fall into the same errors that we do,
men of like ambitions and infirmities. No man has been made a master, to
rule the mind and conscience of a fellow being. Let us be very careful how
we deal with God's blood-bought heritage.
"To no man has been appointed the work of
being a ruler over his fellowmen. Every man is to bear his own burden. He
may speak words of encouragement, faith, and hope to his fellow workers;
he may help them to bear their special burdens by suggesting to them
improved methods of labor; but in no case is he to discourage and enfeeble
them, lest the enemy shall obtain an advantage over their minds--an
advantage that in time would react upon himself.
"By the cords of tender love and sympathy
the Lord linked all men to Himself. Of us He says, Ye 'are laborers
together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.' This
relationship we should recognize. If we are bound up with Christ, we shall
constantly manifest Christlike sympathy and forbearance toward those who
are striving with all their God-given ability to bear their burdens, even
as we endeavor to bear our appointed burdens.
"In our several callings there is to be a
mutual dependence on one another for assistance. A spirit of authority is
not to be exercised, even by the president of a conference; for position
does not change a man into a creature that cannot err. Every laborer
entrusted with the management of a conference is to work as Christ worked,
wearing His yoke and learning of Him His meekness and lowliness. A
conference president's spirit and demeanor in word and in deed reveal
whether he realizes his weakness and places his dependence on God, or
whether he thinks that his position of influence has given him superior
wisdom. If he loves and fears God, if he realizes the value of souls, if
he appreciates every jot of the help that the Lord has qualified a brother
worker to render, he will be able to bind heart to heart by the love that
Christ revealed during His ministry. He will speak words of comfort to the
sick and the sorrowing.
"If he does not cultivate a masterly
manner, but bears in mind always that One is his Master, even Christ, he
can counsel the inexperienced, encouraging them to be God's helping hand.
"The feeble hands are not to be deterred
from doing something for the Master. Those whose knees are weak are not to
be caused to stumble. God desires us to encourage those whose hands are
weak, to grasp more firmly the hand of Christ, and to work hopefully.
Every hand should be outstretched to help the hand that is doing something
for the Master. The time may come when the hands that have upheld the
feeble hands of another may, in turn, be upheld by the hands to whom they
ministered. God has so ordered matters that no man is absolutely
independent of his fellowmen."
Counsel to Men in Official Positions
Among God's people are some who have had
long experience in His work, men who have not departed from the faith.
Notwithstanding the great trials through which they have passed, they have
remained faithful. These men should be regarded as tried and chosen
counselors. They should be respected, and their judgment should be honored
by those who are younger or who have had less experience, even though
these younger men may be in official positions.
We are engaged in a great work, and there
are many opportunities for service in various lines. Let all pray
earnestly that God may guide them into the right channels of service.
God's workmen should not neglect any opportunity to help others in every
possible way. If they seek God unselfishly for counsel, His word, which bringeth salvation, will lead them.
They will engage in labor on the right
hand and on the left, doing their best to remove from the minds of others
every doubt and every difficulty in understanding the truth. The Spirit of
God will make their labors effectual.
The Lord calls for minutemen, men who will
be prepared to speak words in season and out of season that will arrest
the attention and convict the heart. The kingdom of God consisteth not in
outward show. Light will not be received by following selfish plans, but
by looking unto Jesus, following Christ's leading, not the suppositions of
men. The kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy
It often happens that circumstances arise
which demand prompt action. And sometimes precious opportunities have been
lost because of delay. The one who should have acted promptly felt that he
must first consult with someone who was far away and who was unacquainted with the true conditions.
Much time has thus been lost in asking advice and counsel from men who
were not in a position to give wise counsel. Let all God's workers be
guided by the word of truth which points out their duty, following
implicitly the directions Christ has given.
In 1883, I said to our brethren assembled
in General Conference:
"Satan exults when men look to and trust
in man. The one who is the object of this undue confidence is exposed to
strong temptations. Satan will, if possible, lead him to self-confidence,
in order that human defects may mar the work. He will be in danger of
encouraging his brethren in their dependence upon him, and feeling that
all things that pertain to the movements of the cause must be brought to
his notice. Thus the work will bear the impress of man instead of the
impress of God. But if all will learn to depend upon God for themselves,
many dangers that assail the one who stands at the head of the work will
be averted. If he errs, if he permits human influence to sway his
judgment, or yields to temptation, he can be corrected and helped by his
brethren. And those who learn to go to God for themselves for help and
counsel are learning lessons that will be of the highest value to them.
"But if the officers of a conference bear
successfully the burdens laid upon them, they must pray, they must
believe, they must trust God to use them as His agents in keeping the
churches of the conference in good working order. This is their part of
the vineyard to cultivate. There must be far more personal responsibility,
far more thinking and planning, far more mental power brought into the
labor put forth for the Master. This would enlarge the capacity of the
mind, and give keener perceptions as to what to do and how. Brethren, you will have to wrestle with difficulties,
carry burdens, give advice, plan and execute, constantly looking to God
for help. Pray and labor, labor and pray; as pupils in the school of
Christ, learn of Jesus.
"The Lord has given us the promise, 'If
any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men
liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.' It is in the
order of God that those who bear responsibilities should often meet
together to counsel with one another, and to pray earnestly for that
wisdom which He alone can impart. Unitedly make known your troubles to
God. Talk less; much precious time is lost in talk that brings no light.
Let brethren unite in fasting and prayer for the wisdom that God has
promised to supply liberally.
"Go to God and tell Him as did Moses, 'I
cannot lead this people unless Thy presence shall go with me.' And then
ask still more; pray with Moses, 'Show me Thy glory.' What is this
glory?--the character of God. That is what He proclaimed to Moses. Let the
soul, in living faith, fasten upon God. Let the tongue speak His praise.
When you associate together, let the mind be reverently turned to the
contemplation of eternal realities. Thus you will be helping one another
to be spiritually minded. When your will is in harmony with the divine
will, you will be in harmony with one another; you will have Christ by
your side as a counselor."-- Gospel Workers, old edition, pages 235-237.
The Lord has not qualified any one of us
to bear the burden of the work alone. He has associated together men of
different minds, that they may counsel with and assist one another. In
this way the deficiency in the experience and abilities of one is supplied
by the experience and abilities of another. We
should all study carefully the instruction given in Corinthians and
Ephesians regarding our relation to one another as members of the body of
In our work we must consider the relation
that each worker sustains to the other workers connected with the cause of
God. We must remember that others as well as ourselves have a work to do
in connection with this cause. We must not bar the mind against counsel.
In our plans for the carrying forward of the work, our mind must blend
with other minds.
Let us cherish a spirit of confidence in
the wisdom of our brethren. We must be willing to take advice and caution
from our fellow laborers. Connected with the service of God, we must
individually realize that we are parts of a great whole. We must seek
wisdom from God, learning what it means to have a waiting, watching
spirit, and to go to our Saviour when tired and depressed.
It is a mistake to withdraw from those who
do not agree with our ideas. This will not inspire our brethren with
confidence in our judgment. It is our duty to counsel with our brethren,
and to heed their advice. We are to seek their counsel, and when they give
it, we are not to cast it away, as if they were our enemies. Unless we
humble our hearts before God, we shall not know His will.
Let us be determined to be in unity with
our brethren. This duty God has placed upon us. We shall make their hearts
glad by following their counsel, and make ourselves strong through the
influence that this will give us. Moreover, if we feel that we do not need
the counsel of our brethren, we close the door of our usefulness as
counselors to them.
To every church I would bear the message
that man is not to exalt his own judgment. Meekness and lowliness of heart
will lead men to desire counsel at every step. And the Lord will say,
"Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me." It is our privilege to learn of
Jesus. But when men, full of self-confidence, think that it is their place
to give counsel instead of desiring to be counseled by their experienced
brethren, they will listen to voices that will lead them in strange paths.
The angels of God are in our world, and
satanic agencies are here also. I am permitted to see the inclination of
certain ones to follow their own strong traits of character. If they
refuse to yoke up with others who have had a long experience in the work,
they will become blinded by self-confidence, not discerning between the
false and the true. It is not safe that such ones should stand in the
position of leaders, to follow their own judgment and plans.
It is those who accept the warnings and
cautions given them who will walk in safe paths. Let not men yield to the
burning desire to become great leaders, or to the desire independently to
devise and lay plans for themselves and for the work of God. It is easy
for the enemy to work through some who, having themselves need of counsel
at every step, undertake the guardianship of souls without having learned
the lowliness of Christ. These need counsel from the One who says, "Come
unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden."
Our ministers and leaders need to realize
the necessity of counseling with their brethren who have been long in the
work, and who have gained deep experience in the ways of the Lord. The
disposition of some to shut themselves up to themselves, and to feel
competent to plan and execute according to their own judgment and preferences, brings them into strait
places. Such an independent way of working is not right, and should not be
followed. The ministers and teachers in our conferences are to work
unitedly with their brethren of experience, asking them for their counsel,
and paying heed to their advice.
I am free to say to our brethren who with
humility of heart are following the counsel of the Lord: If you know that
God would have you engage in any work, go forward. Those who have the
light and consciousness that God is leading need not depend upon any human
agent to define their work. They are to receive the counsel of the highest
Authority. Safety and peace and calm assurance are to be found only by
following the counsel of the greatest Teacher that ever lived in our
world. Let us not turn away from His unerring counsel.
But our impressions are not always a safe
guide to duty. Human impulse will try to make us believe that it is God
who is guiding us when we are following our own way. But if we watch
carefully, and counsel with our brethren, we shall understand; for the
promise is, "The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He
teach His way." We must not allow human ideas and natural inclinations to
gain the supremacy.
An Appeal for Unity
Workers for Christ are to strive for
unity. We are the children of the same family, and have one heavenly
Father. Let us not put on garments of heaviness, and cherish doubts and a
lack of confidence in our brethren. We should not hurt our souls by
gathering the thistles and the thorns, but instead we should gather the
roses and the lilies and the pinks, and express their fragrance in our
words and acts.
The following is part of a talk given to
the ministers assembled at the General Conference in 1883:
"'Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are
true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever
things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of
good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on
"The dealings of God with His people often
appear mysterious. His ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our
thoughts. Many times His way of dealing is so contrary to our plans and
expectations that we are amazed and confounded. We do not understand our
perverse natures; and often when we are gratifying self, following our own
inclinations, we flatter ourselves that we are carrying out the mind of
God. And so we need to search the Scriptures, and be much in prayer, that,
according to His promise, the Lord may give us wisdom.
"Though we have an individual work and an
individual responsibility before God, we are not to follow our own
judgment, regardless of the opinions and feelings of our brethren; for
this course would lead to disorder in the church. It is the duty of
ministers to respect the judgment of their brethren; but their relations
to one another, as well as the doctrines they teach, should be brought to
the test of the law and the testimony; then, if hearts are teachable,
there will be no divisions among us. Some are inclined to be disorderly,
and are drifting away from the great landmarks of the faith; but God is
moving upon His ministers to be one in doctrine and in spirit.
"Brethren sometimes associate together for
years, and think they can trust those they know so well, just as they
would trust members of their own family. There is a freedom and confidence in this
association which could not exist among those not of the same faith. This
is very pleasant while brotherly love continues; but let the 'accuser' of
the brethren gain admittance to the heart of one of these men, controlling
the mind and the imagination, and jealousies are created, suspicion and
envy are harbored; and he who supposed himself secure in the love and
friendship of his brother finds himself mistrusted, and his motives
misjudged. The false brother forgets his own human frailties, forgets his
obligation to think and speak no evil lest he dishonor God and wound
Christ in the person of His saints; and every defect that can be thought
of or imagined is commented upon unmercifully, and the character of a
brother is represented as dark and questionable.
"There is a betrayal of sacred trust. The
things spoken in brotherly confidence are repeated and misrepresented; and
every word, every action, however innocent and well-meaning, is
scrutinized by the cold, jealous criticism of those who were thought too
noble, too honorable, to take the least advantage of friendly association
or brotherly trust. Hearts are closed to mercy, judgment, and the love of
God; and the cold, sneering, contemptuous spirit which Satan manifests
toward his victim is revealed.
"If Satan can employ professed believers
to act as accusers of the brethren, he is justly pleased; for those who do
this are just as truly serving him as was Judas when he betrayed Christ,
although they may be doing it ignorantly. Satan is no less active now than
in Christ's day, and those who lend themselves to do his work will
manifest his spirit.
"Floating rumors are often the destroyers
of unity among brethren. There are some who watch with open mind and ears
to catch flying scandal. They gather up little incidents which may be trifling
in themselves, but which are repeated and exaggerated until a man is made
an offender for a word. Their motto seems to be, 'Report, and we will
report it.' These talebearers are doing Satan's work with surprising
fidelity, little knowing how offensive their course is to God. . . . The
door of the mind should be closed against 'They say,' or 'I have heard.'
Why should we not, instead of allowing jealousy or evil surmising to come
into our hearts, go to our brethren, and after frankly but kindly setting
before them the things we have heard detrimental to their character and
influence, pray with and for them? While we cannot fellowship with those
who are the bitter enemies of Christ, we should cultivate that spirit of
meekness and love that characterized our Master-- a love that thinketh no
evil, and is not easily provoked. . . .
"Let us diligently cultivate the pure
principles of the gospel of Christ--the religion, not of self-esteem, but
of love, meekness, and lowliness of heart. Then we shall love our
brethren, and esteem them better than ourselves. Our minds will not dwell
on scandal and flying reports. But 'whatsoever things are true, whatsoever
things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if
there be any virtue, and if there be any praise,' we shall 'think on these
As a people, we have been reproved by God
for doing so little. How important, then, that we guard carefully against
everything that might dishearten or weaken the influence of one soul who
is doing a work that God would have done. There are victories to be gained
if we present a united front and individually seek the Lord for strength