The light shining from the cross of Calvary will reveal to you God’s estimate of the soul, and, appreciating that estimate, you will seek to reflect the light to the world. A great name among men is as letters traced in sand, but a spotless character will endure to all eternity. God gives you intelligence and a reasoning mind, whereby you may grasp His promises; and Jesus is ready to help you in forming a strong, symmetrical character. Those who possess such a character need never become discouraged because they have not success in worldly affairs. They “are the light of the world.” Satan cannot destroy or make of none effect the light that shines forth from them.
God has a work for each to do. It is no part of His plan that souls shall be sustained in the battle of life by human sympathy and praise; but He means that they shall go without the camp, bearing the reproach, fighting the good fight of faith, and standing in His strength under every difficulty. God has opened to us all the treasures of heaven through the precious gift of His Son, who is fully able to uplift, ennoble, and fit us, through His perfection of character, for usefulness in this life and for a holy heaven. He came to our world and lived as He requires His followers to live. His was a life of self-denial and constant self-sacrifice. If we encourage selfishness and ease and the gratification of inclination, and do not put forth our best efforts to co-operate with God in the wonderful work of elevating, ennobling, and purifying us, that we may become sons and daughters of God, then we do not meet His requirements; we sustain a continual loss in this life, and we shall eventually lose the future, immortal life. God wants you to work, not with self-disparagement nor in discouragement, but with the strongest faith and hope, with cheerfulness and joy, representing Christ to the world. The religion of Jesus is joy, peace, and happiness. As we search the Scriptures, and see the infinite condescension of the Father in giving Jesus
to the world that all who believe in Him may have everlasting life, every power of our being should be called into activity, to give praise and honor and glory to Him for His unspeakable love to the children of men.
Chap. 72 – Education of Workers
We have a work to do which but few realize. It is to carry the truth to all nations. There is a broad field for laborers in foreign lands as well as in America. God calls for men who are devoted, pure, largehearted, broad-minded, and humble to enter these fields. How few have any sense of this great work! We must arouse and work from a higher standpoint than we have hitherto done.
Those who now embrace the truth have every advantage, especially in the accumulation of light and knowledge brought out in our publications. Past experiences, rich and varied, should now be appreciated in their true light. We know how hard the work moved at first, how many obstacles were arrayed against it, how few facilities were at the command of the pioneers in this cause to use in its advancement; but now all is changed, and the clear light is shining. If primitive Christianity could enter the hearts of all who claim to believe the truth, it would bring to them new life and power. The people who are in darkness would then see the contrast between truth and error, between the teachings of God’s word and the fables of superstition.
Mistakes have been made in not seeking to reach ministers and the higher classes with the truth. People not of our faith have been shunned altogether too much. While we should not associate with them to receive their mold, there are honest ones everywhere for whom we should labor cautiously, wisely, and intelligently, full of love for their souls. A fund should be
raised to educate men and women to labor for these higher classes, both here and in other countries. We have had altogether too much talk about coming down to the common mind. God wants men of talent and good minds, who can weigh arguments, men who will dig for the truth as for hid treasures. These men will be able to reach, not only the common, but the better classes. Such men will ever be students of the Bible, fully alive to the sacredness of the responsibilities resting upon them. They will give full proof of their ministry.
We have too little working talent in the different branches of the cause. New enterprises must be set on foot. We need ability to devise plans whereby souls who are in the darkness of error can be reached. We need the intelligence of varied minds, but we should not find fault with them because their ideas do not just fit our own. We should have broader plans for the education of workers to give the message. Those who believe and love the truth have done nobly in giving of their means to sustain its various enterprises, but there is great lack of capable workers. It is not wise to be constantly expending means to open untried fields while so little is done to prepare workers to occupy them. God’s work must not be hindered for want of agents to execute it. He calls for cultivated men, who are Bible students, who love the truth that they open to others, and who bring it into their own lives and characters. We want men who love Jesus and cling to Him, and who appreciate the infinite sacrifice made in behalf of fallen humanity. We want lips touched with holy fire, hearts pure from the defilement of sin. Those whose piety is shallow, and who have great ambition to be considered first and best, are not the men for this time. Those who think more of their own way than of the work are not wanted.
Our churches are not receiving the kind of training that will lead them to walk in all humility of mind, to put away all pride of external display, and to labor for the inward adorning.
The efficiency of the church is precisely what the zeal, purity, self-denial, and intelligent labor of the ministers make it. An active missionary spirit should characterize its individual members. They must have deeper piety, stronger faith, and broader views. They must make more thorough work in personal effort. What we need is a living religion. A single individual of enlarged conceptions of duty, whose soul is in communion with God and who is full of zeal for Christ, will exert a powerful influence for good. He drinks at no low, turbid, polluted stream, but from the pure, high waters at the fountainhead; and he can communicate a new spirit and power to the church. As the pressure from without increases, God would have His church vitalized by the sacred, solemn truths they believe. The Holy Spirit from heaven, working with the sons and daughters of God, will surmount obstacles and hold the vantage ground against the enemy. God has great victories in reserve for His truth-loving, commandment-keeping people. The fields are already whitening for the harvest. We have light, and rich, glorious endowments from heaven in the truth made ready to our hands; but men and women have not been educated and disciplined to work in the fast-ripening harvest fields.
God knows with what fidelity and spirit of consecration everyone fulfills his mission. There is no place for the slothful in this great work, no place for the self-indulgent or those who are incapable of making life a success in any calling, no place for halfhearted men who are not fervent in spirit, willing to endure hardness, opposition, reproach, or death for Christ’s sake. The Christian ministry is no place for drones. There is a class of men attempting to preach who are slipshod, careless, and irreverent. They would better be tilling the soil than teaching the sacred truth of God.
Young men must soon bear the burdens older ones have borne. We have lost time in neglecting to bring young men
to the front and give them a higher, more solid education. The work is constantly advancing, and we must obey the command: “Go forward.” Much good could be done by youth who are established in the truth and are not easily influenced or swayed from the right by their surroundings, but who walk with God, who pray much, and who put forth most earnest endeavors to gather all the light they can. The worker should be prepared to put forth the highest mental and moral energies with which nature, cultivation, and the grace of God have endowed him; but his success will be proportionate to the degree of consecration and self-sacrifice in which the work is done, rather than to either natural or acquired endowments. The most earnest and continued efforts to acquire qualifications for usefulness are necessary; but unless God works with the human efforts, nothing can be accomplished. Christ says: “Without Me ye can do nothing.” Divine grace is the great element of saving power; without it all human efforts are unavailing; its co-operation is needed even with the strongest and most earnest human efforts for the inculcation of truth.
The cause of God needs teachers who have high moral qualities and can be trusted with the education of others, men who are sound in the faith and have tact and patience, who walk with God and abstain from the very appearance of evil, who stand so closely connected with God that they can be channels of light–in short, Christian gentlemen. The good impressions made by such will never be effaced, and the training thus given will endure throughout eternity. What is neglected in this training process is likely to remain undone. Who will undertake this work? We would that there were strong young men, rooted and grounded in the faith, who had such a living connection with God that they could, if so counseled by our leading brethren, enter the higher colleges in our land, where they would have a wider field for study and observation. Association with different classes of minds, an
acquaintance with the workings and results of popular methods of education, and a knowledge of theology as taught in the leading institutions of learning would be of great value to such workers, preparing them to labor for the educated classes and to meet the prevailing errors of our time. Such was the method pursued by the ancient Waldenses; and, if true to God, our youth, like theirs, might do a good work, even while gaining their education, in sowing the seeds of truth in other minds.
“Be strong, and quit yourselves like men.” Ask of Him who suffered reproach, insult, and mockery for your sakes: “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” None are too highly educated to become humble disciples of Christ. Those who feel it a privilege to give the best of their life and learning to Him from whom they received them, will shun no labor, no sacrifice, to render back to God in highest service His entrusted talents. In the great battle of life many of the workers lose sight of the solemnity and sacred character of their mission. The deadly curse of sin continues to blight and deface the moral image of God in them because they do not work as Christ worked.
We see the need of encouraging higher ideas of education and of employing more trained men in the ministry. Those who do not obtain the right kind of education before they enter upon God’s work are not competent to accept this holy trust and to carry forward the work of reformation. Yet all should continue their education after they engage in the work. They must have the word of God abiding in them. We need more cultivation, refinement, and nobility of soul in our laborers. Such an improvement as this would show results in eternity.
“I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth
in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.” The apostle here links the experience of the fathers with that of the young men; in like manner there is a link between the old disciples in this cause and those who are younger, who have not had an experience in the early events of this message. Those who were young when the message arose will have to be educated by the old standard-bearers. These teachers must realize that too great pains cannot be taken to fit men for their holy trust while the standard-bearers are still able to hold the standard aloft. And yet those who have so long fought in the battles may still win victories. They have been so thoroughly acquainted with the wiles of Satan that they will not be easily moved from the old paths. They remember the days of old. They know Him who is from the beginning. They may ever be light bearers, faithful witnesses for God, living epistles, known and read of all men.
Let us, then, thank God that a few are left, as was John, to relate their experience in the beginning of this message, and the reception of that which we now hold so dear. But one after another they are falling at their post, and it is only wisdom that we prepare others to take the work where they leave it.
Efforts must be made to fit young men for the work. They must come to the front, to lift burdens and responsibilities. Those who are now young must become strong men. They must be able to plan and give counsel. The word of God abiding in them will make them pure and will fill them with faith, hope, courage, and devotion. The work is now greatly retarded because men are carrying responsibilities for which they are unfitted. Shall this great want continue and increase? Shall these great responsibilities drop from the hands of old, experienced workers into the hands of those unable to manage them? Are we not neglecting a very important work by failing to educate and train our youth to fill positions of trust?
Let the workers be educated, but at the same time let them be meek and lowly of heart. Let us elevate the work to the highest possible standard, ever remembering that if we do our part, God will not fail to do His.
Chap. 73 – Unholy Ambition
Dear Brother and Sister N: Although I have received from you no acknowledgment of my last letter, I feel drawn out to write to you again. I have been shown your danger, and cannot forbear to impress upon your minds the necessity of walking humbly with God. You will be safe as long as you have humble views of self. But I know that your souls are in peril. You are seeking for a broader path for your feet than the humble path of holiness, the royal way that leads to the city of God. You have too much of self and too little of the meekness and lowliness of Christ. You have much self-esteem and self-confidence, and little faith in God. The discordant elements in your nature are largely developed. Unruly passions have a controlling power. Pride and vanity seek for the supremacy. I know that the enemy is tempting you sorely. Your only safety is in entire conformity to the will of God. Submission is necessary on your part; a complete consecration of yourselves to Christ is your only hope of salvation. If you walk in humility of mind before the Lord, then He can work with your efforts, and His strength will be made perfect in your weakness. Christ is our Saviour. He has said for your benefit and for mine: “Without Me ye can do nothing.” Oh, will you have more of Jesus, and less of self?
Brother N, you are not naturally devotional and hence need to make constant efforts to cultivate faith. It is easy for you to drop Christ out of your experience. The Lord has given you His blessing in the past, and how sweet it was to your soul! What
comfort, what courage, it gave you! Your passion is to exalt education, but I speak the truth when I tell you that education, unless balanced by religious principles, will be a power for evil.
I am not willing to look on passively and see you go as others have gone in the fatal delusion that Seventh-day Adventists are too narrow in their ideas, are traveling in too obscure a path; that they must needs have greater notoriety and rise to greater eminence; that the teachers in our schools should give their powers more exclusively to the sciences and not weave religion into so much of their education. When this seed is dropped into the hearts of students, it will develop rapidly into a harvest which you will not covet to reap.
We are, as it were, on the very borders of the eternal world, and if you do the work in this school for which it was founded you must educate largely from the Book of all books. You must not exalt any other study above that of the Bible. Other schools in our land are not to be taken as your pattern.
I have been shown that you are charmed with that line of education from which the religious element is almost entirely excluded. There are numerous schools of this order in our land, where students can go if they desire that kind of training. But this school must be of a different character; it must have the mold of God in every department.
Jesus and His love should be interwoven with all the education given, as the very best knowledge the students can have. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” If the principal, in his ambitious projects, soars away from the Source of all wisdom and thinks that Bible religion will clip his wings, he will find that he amounts to no more than a soap bubble. Then for your soul’s sake bring the Prince of life into every plan, every organization. You cannot have too much of Jesus or of Scripture history in your school.
Have we the truth? Are we living in the closing period of this earth’s history? Is Christ at the door? These are questions
for us all to settle. Education ought always to be of a high, holy order, and the need is more imperative now than ever before. The removal of the faithful from this world will soon be accomplished. Then why not bring all the energies of mind and soul into entire consecration to God?
Never hide your colors, never put your light under a bushel or under a bed, but set it on a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in the house. Did you and the teachers who were with you at —– watch for opportunities to enlighten others? Did you seek in wisdom to do all the good you possibly could? Did you try to call the attention of those whose acquaintance you formed, to Bible truths? Did you not drag your colors behind you because you were ashamed to be regarded as God’s peculiar people? “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words; . . . of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father.” If you would only feed on Christ daily then you could be a true educator.
My brother, there is danger of your trying to communicate too much at one time. You are not required to make lengthy speeches or to talk upon subjects that will not be understood or appreciated by common people. There is danger of your dwelling upon themes at the very top of the ladder, when those whom you are instructing need to be taught how to climb successfully its first rounds. You talk of things which those unacquainted with our faith cannot comprehend; hence your speeches are not interesting. They are not food for those whom you address.
Jesus was the greatest educator the world ever knew. In comparison with His knowledge the highest human knowledge is foolishness. But His instructions were so simple that all understood Him, both learned and unlearned. He made no effort to show His deep knowledge, for this they could not have understood. You seem to think your long talks have a
special influence to mold and fashion your hearers just as you wish, but you will certainly fail in this.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5 pp. 579-588