Our Work for Today
What saith the Lord in the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah? The whole chapter is of the highest importance. “Is not this the fast that I have chosen?” God asks, “to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and He shall say, Here I am.”
“If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Verses 6-9, 13, 14.
This is our work. The light that we have upon the third angel’s message is the true light. The mark of the beast is exactly what it has been proclaimed to be. Not all in regard to this matter is yet understood, and will not be understood until the unrolling of the scroll; but a most solemn work is to be accomplished in our world. The Lord’s command to His servants is: Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Verse 1. A message that will arouse the churches is to be proclaimed. Every effort is to be made to give the light, not only to our people, but to the world. I have been instructed that the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation should be printed in small books, with the necessary explanations, and should be sent all over the world. Our own people need to have the light placed before them in clearer lines.
No Change in God’s Cause
There is to be no change in the general features of God’s cause. It is to stand out as clear and distinct as prophecy has made it. We are to enter into no confederacy with the world, supposing that by so doing we could accomplish more. My brother, if you stand in the way to hinder the advancement of the work on the lines that God has appointed, you will greatly displease Him. The warning message is to be given, and after you have faithfully accomplished your part of the work you are not to hinder others of the Lord’s servants from going forth to do the work that they should do. Laboring for the degraded and fallen is not to be made the principal and all-important line. This work is to be combined with the work of instructing the churches. Our people are to be taught how to help the needy and the outcast.
No line of our faith that has made us what we are is to be weakened. We have the old landmarks of truth, experience, and duty, and we are to stand firm in defense of our principles, in full view of the world. With hearts filled with interest and solicitude, we are to give the invitation to those in the highways and the byways. Medical missionary work is to be done. But this is only one part of the work that is to be accomplished, and it is not to be made all and in all. It is to be to the work of God as the hand is to the body. There may be unworthy ones connected with the ministry, yet no one can ignore the ministry without ignoring God.
Words of Caution
My brother, you are represented to me as in danger of standing apart from our people, feeling that you are a complete whole. But if you bind yourself up with those of your own mind, apart from the church, which is Christ’s body, you will make a confederacy that will be broken to pieces; for no union can stand but that which God has framed. Those who are receiving an education in medical lines hear insinuations from time to time that disparage the church and the ministry. These insinuations are seeds that will spring up and bear fruit. The students might better be educated to realize that the church of Christ on earth is to be respected. They need a clear knowledge of the reasons of our faith. This knowledge they must have, in order to serve God acceptably. Line upon line, precept upon precept, they must receive the Bible evidence of the truth as it is in Jesus.
Do not, I beg of you, instill into the minds of the students ideas that will cause them to lose confidence in God’s appointed ministers. But this you are most certainly doing, whether you are aware of it or not. In His providence the Lord has placed you in a position where you may do a good work for Him in connection with the gospel ministry, bringing the truth before many who otherwise would not become acquainted with it. Temptations will come to you to think that in order to carry forward the medical missionary work you must stand aloof from church organization or church discipline. To stand thus would place you on an unsound footing. The work done for those who come to you for instruction is not complete unless they are educated to work in connection with the church.
The medical missionary work is not to be made all and in all. In this point you are carrying things to extremes. There is a large work to be done. Publications teaching the truth are to be circulated everywhere. Medical students should not be encouraged to circulate only the books treating on health reform. Be careful that you are not found working out your own plans, to the disregard of God’s plans.
Extract from a letter written in 1898 from Cooranbong, New South Wales.—My brother, the Lord God of Israel must be your counselor. Satan has come down with great power to work with all deceivableness of unrighteousness. Lean hard on Christ. You have worked untiringly to bring about good results. Do not now make mistakes. Never, never seek to remove one landmark that the Lord has given His people. The truth stands firmly established on the eternal Rock—a foundation that storm and tempest can never move.
Remember that just as soon as you allow your influence to lead away from the straight and narrow path that the Lord has cast up for His people, your prosperity will cease; for God will not be your guide. Again and again the record of Nebuchadnezzar’s life has been presented to me to present to you, that you may be warned not to trust in your own wisdom or to make flesh your arm. Do not lower the banner of truth or allow it to drop from your hands in order to unite with the solemn message for these last days anything that will tend to hide the peculiar features of our faith.
Chapter 26—A Word of Caution
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia,
October 26, 1898
To the Advisers of Medical Students:
There is a burden upon my soul. There are young people who are encouraged to take up a course of study in medical lines who ought to be preparing themselves most decidedly to proclaim the third angel’s message. It is not necessary for our medical students to spend all the time that they are spending in medical studies. Their work should be more decidedly combined with a study of God’s word. Ideas are inculcated that are not at all necessary, and the necessary things do not receive sufficient attention.
A Danger to Be Guarded Against
While students are being educated in this way, they are being made less able to do acceptable work for the Master. The taxation that they undergo to obtain an extended knowledge in medical lines unfits them to work as they should in ministerial lines. Physical and mental weariness come because of the overstrain of study, and because the students are encouraged to labor unduly for the outcasts and the degraded. Thus some are disqualified for the work that they might have done had they begun missionary work where it was needed and let the medical line come in as an essential part connected with the work of the gospel ministry as a whole, as the hand is connected with the body. Life is not to be imperiled in an effort to obtain a medical education. There is danger, in some cases, that students will ruin their health and unfit themselves to do the service they might have done had they not been unwisely encouraged to take a medical course.
Often erroneous opinions are transcribed on the mind, and these lead to an unwise course of action. Students should have time to talk with God, time to live in hourly, conscious communion with the principles of truth and righteousness and mercy. At this time straightforward investigation of the heart is essential. The student must place himself where he can draw from the Source of spiritual and intellectual power. He must require that every cause which asks his sympathy and co-operation has the approval of the reason which God has given him, and the conscience, which the Holy Spirit is controlling. He is not to perform an action that does not harmonize with the deep, holy principles which minister light to his soul and vigor to his will. Only thus can he do God the highest service. He is not to be taught that medical missionary work will bind him to any man, who shall dictate what his work shall be.
Medical missionary work is not to be drawn apart and made separate from church organization. The medical students are not to receive the idea that they may regard themselves as amenable only to the leaders in the medical work. They are to be left free to receive counsel from God. They are not to pledge themselves and their future to anything that erring human beings may outline for them. No thread of selfishness is to be drawn into the web; no scheme is to be devised that has in it one particle of injustice. Selfishness is not to control any line of the work. Let us remember that individually we are working in full view of the heavenly universe.
A High Standard
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” Luke 10:27. Just before He left His disciples to return to heaven, Christ declared: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” Here we see the standard lifted higher and still higher. “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:34, 35. The disciples could not then comprehend Christ’s words; but after His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension they understood His love as never before. They had seen it expressed in His suffering in the garden, in the judgment hall, and in His death on the cross of Calvary.
Teaching and Healing
The Lord’s people are to be one. There is to be no separation in His work. Christ sent out the twelve apostles, and afterward the seventy disciples, to preach the gospel and to heal the sick. “As ye go,” He said, “preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:7, 8. And as they went forth preaching the kingdom of God, power was given them to heal the sick and cast out evil spirits. In God’s work, teaching and healing are never to be separated. His commandment-keeping people are to be one. Satan will invent every device to separate those whom God is seeking to make one. But the Lord will reveal Himself as a God of judgment. We are working under the eyes of the heavenly host. There is a divine Watcher among us, inspecting all that is planned and carried on.
Chapter 27—Uphold the Medical Work
Cooranbong, N. S. W.,
February 1, 1899.
I address those in responsible positions in the General Conference and those who are working in medical missionary lines. I am commissioned to speak also to the church in Battle Creek and to all our other churches.
I have been instructed to say, in reference to the medical missionary work, that there is danger of swaying things too heavily in one line. But what I say on this point must not be understood as in any sense justifying those who have held themselves aloof from medical missionary work. There are many who have not been in sympathy with this work. They should now be very careful how they speak in regard to it, for they are not intelligent on the subject because they have not walked in the light. Whatever their position in the work of God, they should be very careful not to give utterance to sentiments that will discourage and hinder our conferences from taking hold of this work. The position that some have occupied in reference to medical missionary work makes it impossible for their words on this subject to have any weight. They are not clear-sighted; their judgment is warped.
Every branch of the work is needed, but every branch of the work is to be under the supervision of God. The medical missionary work is to be to the cause of God as the right hand to the body. It would not be right for all the strength of the body to go into the right hand, and neither would it be right for all the strength of the cause of God to be used in medical missionary work. The ministry of the word must be sustained, and there must be unity, perfect oneness, in God’s work. Those who have felt no interest in medical missionary work are treating the right hand of God’s cause disrespectfully. Let all such change their attitude toward this work. Let them speak as few words as possible until they stand in a right position. Silence is eloquence when the mind is not sanctified and therefore cannot discern spiritual things.
The Need Of Caution
There is at the present time great need of caution. “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” James 1:19. Let us heed the warning: “I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, …and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.” Romans 16:17-19.
“I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1 Corinthians 1:10. This is the will of God concerning us. Shall we obey it? “The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? …For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, 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.” Verses 18-24.
What a change would be seen if all who are in responsible positions would realize that they are working under the eye of an all-seeing God. What is needed now is the free working of the Holy Spirit on mind and heart. Without this our efforts will be fruitless. When the Spirit molds and fashions us, our words and acts will reveal heartfelt thanksgiving.
The Importance of Medical Missionary Work
There is great need of an increase of knowledge in every line of health reform. Those who have had the privilege of hearing the truth are to give the trumpet a certain sound as they proclaim the third angel’s message. Special lines of work are to be taken up, such as the medical missionary work. This work should be carried forward in connection with the gospel message for this time. Genuine medical missionary work is the gospel practiced. Those who cannot see the bearing of this work should not feel authorized to control any phase of it until they do understand its bearing.
I wish to say decidedly that the Lord has accomplished great good through the medical missionary work, and that He has used our leading physician as His appointed agent. Not everything in the medical work has been without a flaw. With it have been blended many things that have marred its sacredness. But the Lord will take supervision of His cause, and will see that it does not become disproportionate in this one branch. The work will not be marred if the church will arise and shine, making it manifest that her light has come, and that the glory of the Lord is risen upon her.
The medical missionary workers are to be purified, sanctified, ennobled. They are to rise to the highest point of excellence. They are to be molded and fashioned after the divine similitude. Then they will see that health reform and medical missionary work are to be bound up with the preaching of the gospel.
The reason why church members do not understand this branch of the work is that they are not following the light, walking step by step after their great Leader. The medical missionary work is of God and bears His signature. For this reason let man keep his hands off it and not desire to manage it according to his own ideas.
Our message is a world-wide message. And while means is not to be absorbed in one line of work, so that the last gospel message cannot be carried into new fields, the medical missionary work is not in any wise to be disparaged; it is not to be represented as an inferior work. The world is a great lazar house; it is corrupted under the inhabitants thereof, and misery is universal. The Lord has given our leading physician a work in aiding to prepare a people to stand in the great day of God. But he is to work under the supervision of God. There are some things in his labors that will have to be modeled more closely after the principles of the head worker.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8 pp. 159-168