Testimonies – Vol. 2, Day 126

Ministers especially should know the character and works of Christ, that they may imitate Him; for the character and works of a true Christian are like His. He laid aside His glory, His dominion, His riches, and sought after those who were perishing in sin. He humbled Himself to our necessities, that He might exalt us to heaven. Sacrifice, self-denial, and disinterested benevolence characterized His life. He is our pattern. Have you, Brother A, imitated the Pattern? I answer: No. He is a perfect and holy example, given for us to imitate. We cannot equal the pattern; but we shall not be approved of God if we do not copy it and, according to the ability which God has given, resemble it. Love for souls for whom Christ died will lead to a denial of self and a willingness to make any sacrifice in order to be co-workers with Christ in the salvation of souls.

The work of God’s chosen servants will be fruitful if wrought in Him. Their words and works are the channels through which the pure principles of truth and holiness are conveyed to the world. Their exemplary lives make them the light of the world and the salt of the earth. The servants of God should, with the hand of faith, lay hold of the mighty arm and gather the divine rays of light from above, while, with the hand of love, they reach after perishing souls. Diligence is necessary for this work. Indolence will permit souls who might be saved, to drift beyond reach. God wants in His service ministers who are awake, who are energetic and persevering, who are faithful watchmen upon Zion’s walls, listening to hear the words from the divine Teacher and faithfully proclaiming the same to the people.


You are very much like Meroz. You are quite diligent when that which you do will bring some advantage to yourself, but there is no motive for special diligence unless you are to be benefited. You are decidedly a lazy man. You can eat your rations regularly, but you have no special love for physical labor. No man can fill his position as a minister unless he is industrious, diligent in business, and faithful in the performance of all the social and public duties of life. God has chosen us, as His servants, to His work, which requires persevering energy. We are not to become pets and shun toil, hardship, and conflicts.

I was referred to the following words of inspiration: “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” The sufficiency of the apostle was not in himself, but in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, whose gracious influences filled his soul, bringing every thought into subjection and obedience to Christ. His ministry was fruitful.

The first great commandment is: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.” “And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” On these two commandments the whole interest and duty of moral beings hang. Those who do their duty to others as they would that others should do to them are brought into a position where God can reveal Himself to them. They will be approved of Him. They are made perfect in love, and their labors and prayers will not be in vain. They are continually receiving grace and truth from the Fountainhead, and as freely transmitting to others the divine light and salvation they receive. In them is fulfilled the language of the Scripture: “Ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”


Selfishness is abomination in the sight of God and holy angels. Because of this sin many fail to attain the good which they are capable of enjoying. They look with selfish eyes on their own things, and do not love and seek the interest of others as they do their own. They reverse God’s order. Instead of doing for others what they wish others to do for them, they do for themselves what they desire others to do for them, and do to others what they are most unwilling to have returned to them. Here is where you need to learn. Love is of God. You have not the love which dwelt in the bosom of Christ. The unconsecrated heart cannot originate, or produce, this plant of heavenly origin, which, in order to flourish, must be watered constantly with the dew of heaven. It can flourish only in the heart where Christ reigns. This love cannot live and flourish without action; and it cannot act without increasing in fervency, and extending and diffusing its nature to others. This principle you have greatly lacked, and thus all has been dark where its presence would have made all light.

My brother, you need an entire transformation, a thorough conversion. Without this you are only a blind leader. Your influence does not increase the love and union of those with whom you are. Instead of building up, you have a scattering influence. You have cursed the West with your deficiencies. While you are so deficient in the grace of God, and so given to selfishness, you cannot bring up the church to the position which God requires them to occupy. “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labor, striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily.”


God’s ministers must have the truth in their hearts in order to successfully present it to others. They must be sanctified by the truths they preach or they will be only stumbling blocks to sinners. Those who are called of God to minister in holy things are called to be pure in heart and holy in life. “Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.” If God pronounces a woe upon those who are called to preach the truth and refuse to obey, a heavier woe rests upon those who take upon them this sacred work without clean hands and pure hearts. As there are woes for those who preach the truth while they are unsanctified in heart and life, so there are woes for those who receive and maintain the unsanctified in the position which they cannot fill. If the Spirit of God has not sanctified and made pure and clean the hands and heart of those who minister in sacred things, they will speak according to their own imperfect, deficient experience, and their counsels will lead astray from God those who look to them and trust in their judgment and experience. May God help ministers to heed the exhortation of Paul to the Corinthians: “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” There is a work for you to do, my brother, if you gain eternal life. May God help you to do this work thoroughly, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Chicago, Illinois, Massasoit House,

July 6, 1870.


Chapter 64—Fanaticism and Ignorance

Brother E,

While in Rochester, New York, December 25, 1865, before visiting the State of Maine, I saw some things in relation to the perplexing and discouraging conditions of the cause in that state. I was shown that quite a number who were thinking it their duty to teach the word of God publicly had mistaken their work. They had no call to devote themselves to this solemn, responsible work. They were not qualified for the work of the ministry, for they could not instruct others properly.

The experience of some had been obtained among a class of religious fanatics who had no true sense of the exalted character of the work. The religious experience of this class of professed Seventh-day Adventists was not reliable. They had not firm principles underlying all their actions. They were self-confident, and boastful. Their religion did not consist in righteous acts, true humility of soul, and sincere devotion to God, but in impulse, in noise and confusion, spiced with eccentricities and oddities. They had not felt, neither could they feel, the necessity of being clothed with Christ’s righteousness. They had a righteousness of their own, which was as filthy rags, and which God can in no case accept. These persons had no love for union and harmony of action. They delighted in disorder. Confusion, distraction, and diversity of opinion were their choice. They were ungovernable, unsubdued, unregenerated, and unconsecrated, and this element of confusion suited their undisciplined minds. They were a curse to the cause of God and brought the name of Seventh-day Adventists into disrepute.


These persons had not experienced the work of reformation, or sanctification through the truth. They were coarse and uncultivated. They had never tasted of the sweet, pure refinement of the world to come. They had never experienced, neither had their hearts been awed by, the mystery of godliness. They placed divine and eternal things upon a level with common things, and would talk of heaven and the coming of Jesus as they would of a horse. They had a superficial knowledge or theory of the truth, but further than this they were ignorant. Its principles had not taken hold of their lives and led them to an abhorrence of self. They had never viewed themselves in the light in which Paul viewed himself, which led him to see the moral defects in his character. They had never been slain by the law of God, and had not separated themselves from their impurities and defilement. It is the favorite occupation of some of this class to engage in trifling conversation and levity. This habit they contracted, and indulged upon occasions which should have been characterized by solemn meditation and devotion. In doing this, they manifested a lack of true dignity and refinement, and forfeited the esteem of sensible persons who had no knowledge of the truth. This class threw themselves into a current of temptation and kept where the enemy led them successfully, and he has so easily controlled their minds and corrupted their entire experience that in all probability they will be unable to recover themselves out of his snare and obtain a healthful experience.

The fires of the day of God will consume the stubble and chaff, and there will be nothing left of any who continue in the ungodly course which they have so long loved. This class have a disrelish for the society of those whom God is truly with. Their religious experience is of so low an order that they have no part nor lot in a rational, intelligent religious experience; therefore they have despised the society of those whom God leads and is teaching. Sarcasm and irony is the stronghold of some peculiar minds of this class. They are bold and insolent, and do not regard good manners. They have no care to discriminate and render honor to whom honor is due. They manifest a proud, rebellious, defiant spirit against those who differ from their opinions. Their boisterous manners and wrong course lead the true servant of God to feel that they have resisted the efforts made for them, and he becomes disheartened in reference to laboring any further in their behalf. They engage in a contemptible triumph of exactly the same nature as that which Satan and evil angels engage in over the souls whom they secure. They have Satan and evil angels on their side to exult with them. The cases of the persons in whom this cast of character is peculiarly and strikingly developed are hopeless. They are incased in self-righteousness, and everything like refinement and elevation of character with which they are brought in contact is termed by them pride and lack of humility. Coarseness and ignorance are regarded as humility.


With this class you have obtained a large share of your religious experience; therefore you are not qualified for the work of teaching the most solemn, refined, elevating, and withal the most testing message to mortals. You may reach a class of minds, but the more intelligent portion of the community will be driven further off by your labors. You have not a sufficient knowledge of even the common branches of education to be an instructor of men and women who have a wily devil on the other hand to suggest and devise ways and means to lead them from the truth.

The teachers of the common schools are required to be masters of their business. They are closely examined to ascertain if children can properly be trusted to their care. By investigation the thoroughness of their qualifications is tested according to the importance of the position which they are required to occupy. I saw that God’s work is of as much more exalted character, and of as much higher interest, as the eternal is above the temporal. A mistake made here cannot be repaired. It is of infinite importance that all who go forth to teach the truth should be qualified for their work. No less strict investigation should be instituted in reference to their ability to teach the truth than in the case of those who teach our schools. God’s work has been belittled by the slack, loose course pursued by professed ministers of Christ.


I was shown that ministers must be sanctified and holy, and must have a knowledge of the word of God. They should be familiar with Bible arguments and prepared to give a reason of their hope, or they should cease their labors and engage in a calling where deficiency will not involve such tremendous consequences. Ministers of the popular denominations of the day are acceptable preachers if they can speak upon a few simple points of the Bible; but the ministers who are spreading unpopular truth for these last days, who have to meet men of learning, men of strong minds, and opposers of every type, should know what they are about. They should not take upon themselves the responsibility of teaching the truth unless they are qualified for the work. Before engaging in, or devoting themselves to, the work they should become Bible students. If they have not an education so that they can speak in public with acceptance, and do justice to the truth, and honor the Lord whom they profess to serve, they should wait till they are fitted for the position.

Brother E, you cannot fill the position of a minister of Christ. I saw that you lacked a correct religious experience. You have not a knowledge of yourself. You cannot even read correctly, or use language which would commend the truth to the understanding of an intelligent community. You lack discrimination. You would not know when it was proper to speak or wise to keep silent. You have so long thought, with the peculiar class I have mentioned, that you knew it all, that you will not see your deficiencies when they are presented before you. You possess a large share of self-esteem, and your experience has been characterized by self-confidence and boastfulness.


You are not teachable, therefore the cause of God would not prosper in your hands. You would fail to recognize a defeat when you met with one. The cause of God would be brought into disrepute and dishonor by your labors, and you would fail to discover the fact. A certain class may be convinced by you of the truth; but more would be turned away and placed where they could not be reached by proper, judicious labor. Interwoven with your experience are things that will prove detrimental to the truth. God cannot accept you as a representative of the truth.

Your manners have not been refined and elevated. Your deportment has not been pleasing to God. Your words have been careless. You lack piety and devotion. You have not obtained an experience in the spiritual life. You fail to understand how to rightly divide the word of life, giving to each his portion of meat in due season. You have preferred to contend and contest points when you were entirely out of your place and could but meet with defeat. This is the spirit of the class in Maine whom I have mentioned. It is their delight to engage in contest and brave it through. You would not manifest meekness in instructing those who oppose themselves. You will ever be crippled, in a degree, by your unfortunate experience. You lack self-culture and meekness. You have important lessons to learn before you can become an unassuming, acceptable follower of Christ, even in a private capacity.


Chapter 65—An Indulged Daughter

Dear Friend F,

I was shown that you were in danger of being under the full control of the great adversary of souls. Your experience at —– was not good for you. Your stay at —– hurt you; you became proud and vain. Persons were not wanting who unwisely petted and praised you until you became vain, pert, and saucy. You have been opposed to restraint, have been headstrong, willful, and stubborn, and have made your parents much trouble. They have erred. Your father has unwisely petted you. You have taken advantage of this and have become deceptive. You have received approbation which you did not deserve.

You had your own head very much at —– and took liberties that should not have been allowed for a moment. When you or your sisters were reproved you felt insulted and reported the matter to your mother as though you had been abused. You exaggerated, and she was nervous and easily excited and irritated if she thought her position and dignity were not respected. She was displeased that anyone should dictate to her children, and she did not conceal her displeasure. She spoke improperly to those who should have commanded her respect. Your mother showed great lack of wisdom in taking your part and censuring those whom she should have thanked rather than blamed. She hurt you and did a work for you that she can never fully repair. You triumphed because you thought yourself secure from censure, thought that you could do as you pleased. Your mother’s eye was not always upon you; and if it had been, she could not have discerned your evil tendencies.

At school you had a good and noble teacher, yet you felt indignant because you were restrained. You thought that because you were the daughter of G your teacher should show a preference for you and should not take the liberty to correct and reprove you. Your sisters also partook of the same spirit. You carried your complaints to your parents; they heard your version of matters and sympathized with you more or less, and their feelings were stirred by your exaggerated reports. They injured you. You had not been as strictly disciplined as you should have been. Yet you were offended because you could not have your own way, but were compelled to yield to the decided, thorough manner of Brother H’s instructions. While in school, you were sometimes troublesome, impudent, and defiant, and greatly lacked modesty and decorum. You were bold, selfish, and self-exalted, and needed firm discipline at home as well as at school.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2 pp. 549-558