Testimonies, Vol. 2
Dear Brethren: October 25, 1868, I was shown that not all who profess to be called to teach the truth are qualified for this sacred work. Some are far from meeting the mind and will of God. Some indulge in slothfulness in temporal things, and their religious life is marked with spiritual sloth. Where there is a lack of persevering energy and close application in temporal matters and business transactions, the same deficiency will be apparent in spiritual things.

Some of you are heads of families, and your example and influence are moulding the characters of your children. Your example will be followed by them in a greater or less degree, and your lack of thoroughness is setting a bad example for others. But your deficiencies are more sensibly felt, with more weighty results, in the cause and work of God. Your families have felt this deficiency and suffered on account of it; they have lacked many things which diligent industry and perseverance might have supplied. But this deficiency has been seen and felt in the cause and work of God in as much greater degree as His cause and work is of higher importance than the things pertaining to this life. 

The influence of some ministers is not good. They have not carefully guarded their moments, thus giving the people an

499

example of industry. They spend in indolence moments and hours which, once passed into eternity with their record of results, can never be recalled. Some are naturally indolent, which makes it difficult for them to make a success of any enterprise they undertake. This deficiency has been seen and felt all through their religious experience. Those at fault are not alone the losers; others are made to suffer by their deficiencies. At this late period, many have lessons to learn which should have been learned at a much earlier date.

Some are not close Bible students. They are disinclined to apply themselves diligently to the study of God's word. In consequence of this neglect they have laboured at great disadvantage and have not, in their ministerial efforts, accomplished one tenth of the work which they might have done had they seen the necessity of closely applying their minds to the study of the word. They might have become so familiar with the Scriptures, so fortified with Bible arguments, that they could meet opponents and so present the reasons of our faith that the truth would triumph and silence their opposition. 

Those who minister in the word must have as thorough a knowledge of that word as it is possible for them to obtain. They must be continually searching, praying, and learning, or the people of God will advance in the knowledge of His word and will, and leave these professed teachers far behind. Who will instruct the people when they are in advance of their teachers? All the efforts of such ministers are fruitless. There is need that the people teach them the word of God more perfectly before they are capable of instructing others. 

Some might now have been thorough workmen had they made a good use of their time, feeling that they would have to give an account to God for their misspent moments. They have displeased God because they have not been industrious. Self-gratification, self-love, and selfish love of ease have kept

500

some from good, withheld them from obtaining a knowledge of the Scriptures that they might be thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Some do not appreciate the value of time and have idled away in bed the hours that might have been employed in the study of the Bible. There are a few subjects that they have dwelt upon the most, with which they are familiar, and upon these they can speak with acceptance; but they have in a great degree rested the matter here. They have not felt altogether satisfied with themselves, and have at times realised their deficiencies; yet they have not been sufficiently awakened to the crime of neglecting to become acquainted with the word of God, which they profess to teach. On account of their ignorance the people are disappointed; they do not receive the intelligence which they might obtain from them and which they expect to obtain from ministers of Christ. 

By rising early and economizing their moments, ministers can find time for a close investigation of the Scriptures. They must have perseverance, and not be thwarted in their object, but persistently employ their time in a study of the word, bringing to their aid the truths which other minds, through wearing labour, have brought out for them, and with diligent, persevering effort, prepared to their hand. There are ministers who have been labouring for years, teaching the truth to others, while they themselves are not familiar with the strong points of our position. I beg of such to have done with their idleness. It is a continual curse to them. God requires them to make every moment fruitful of some good to themselves or to others. "Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord." "He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster." 

It is important for ministers of Christ to see the necessity of self-culture, in order to adorn their profession and maintain a becoming dignity. Without mental training they will

501

certainly fail in everything they undertake. I have been shown that there is a decided lack with some who preach the word. God is not pleased with their ways and ideas. Their haphazard manner of quoting Scripture is a disgrace to their profession. They claim to be teachers of the word, and yet fail to repeat Scripture correctly. Those who give themselves wholly to the preaching of the word should not be guilty of quoting one text incorrectly. God requires thoroughness of all His servants. 

The religion of Christ will be exemplified by its possessor in the life, in the conversation, in the works. Its strong principles will prove an anchor. Those who are teachers of the word should be patterns of piety, ensamples to the flock. Their example should rebuke idleness, slothfulness, lack of industry and economy. The principles of religion exact diligence, industry, economy, and honesty. "Give an account of thy stewardship" will soon be heard by all. Brethren, what account could you render if the Master should now appear? You are unready. You would as surely be reckoned with the slothful servants as they exist. Precious moments are yet left you. I entreat you to redeem the time. 

Paul exhorted Timothy: "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." "But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will." 

In order to accomplish the work which God requires of them, ministers need to be qualified for their position. The

502

apostle Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, speaks thus concerning his ministry: "Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil 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 labour, striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily." 

No less sacred appreciation of and devotion to the work of the ministry does God require of His servants who are living so near the end of all things. He cannot accept the work of labourers unless they realise in their own hearts the life and power of the truth which they present to others. He will not accept of anything short of earnest, active, zealous heart labour. Vigilance and fruitfulness are required for this great work. God wants unselfish workmen, those who will labour with disinterested benevolence and give their undivided interest to the work. 

Brethren, you lack devotion and consecration to the work. Your hearts are selfish. The deficiencies in you must be supplied, or you will erelong meet with a fatal disappointment-- you will lose heaven. God does not lightly regard a neglect of the faithful performance of the work which He has left His servants to do. Enduring energy and a constant reliance upon God are lacking in many who are labouring in the ministry. The result of this lack brings great burdens upon the few who possess these qualities, and they are necessitated to make up the deficiencies so apparent in those who might be able work men if they would become so. There are a few who are working

503

day and night, depriving themselves of rest and social enjoyments, taxing the brain to the utmost, each performing the labour of three men, wearing away their valuable lives to do the work that others might do, but neglect. Some are too lazy to perform their part; many ministers are carefully preserving themselves by shunning burdens, remaining in a state of inefficiency, and accomplishing next to nothing. Therefore those who realise the worth of souls, who appreciate the sacredness of the work and feel that it must go forward, are doing extra labour, making superhuman efforts, and using up their brain power to keep the work moving. Were the interest in the work and the devotion to it equally divided, were all who profess to be ministers diligently devoting their interest wholly to the cause, not saving themselves, the few earnest, God-fearing workmen who are fast wearing away their lives would be relieved of this high pressure upon them, and their strength might be preserved so that, when actually required, it would tell with double power, and produce far greater results than can now be seen while under the pressure of overwhelming care and anxiety. The Lord is not pleased with this inequality. 

Many who profess to be called of God to minister in word and doctrine do not feel that they have no right to claim to be teachers unless they are thoroughly furnished by earnest, diligent study of the word of God. Some have neglected to obtain a knowledge of the simple branches of education. Some cannot even read correctly; some misquote the Scriptures; and some, by their apparent lack of qualification for the work they are trying to do, injure the cause of God and bring the truth into disrepute. These do not see the necessity of cultivating the intellect, of especially encouraging refinement without affectation, and of seeking to attain to the true elevation of Christian character. The certain and effectual means of attaining this is the surrender of the soul to God. He will

504

direct the intellect and affections so that they will centre upon the divine and eternal, and then will they possess energy with out rashness, for all the powers of the mind and of the whole being will be elevated, refined, and directed in the loftiest, holiest channel. From the lips of the heavenly Teacher were heard the words: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength." When this submission to God is made, true humility will grace every action, while at the same time those who are thus allied to God and His heavenly angels will possess a becoming dignity savouring of heaven. 

The Lord requires His servants to be energetic. It is not pleasing to Him to see them listless and indolent. They profess to have the evidence that God has especially selected them to teach the people the way to life; yet frequently their conversation is not profitable, and they show that they have not the burden of the work upon them. Their own souls are not energised by the mighty truths which they present to others. Some preach these truths, of such weighty importance, in so listless a manner that they cannot affect the people. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." Men whom God has called must be trained to put forth effort, to work earnestly and with untiring zeal for Him, to pull souls out of the fire. When ministers feel the power of the truth in their own souls, thrilling their own being, then will they possess power to affect hearts, and show that they firmly believe the truths they preach to others. They should keep before the mind the worth of souls, and the matchless depths of a Saviour's love. This will awaken the soul so that with David they may say: "My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned." 

Paul exhorted Timothy: "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation,

505

in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine." "Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." What a weight of importance is here attached to the Christian life of the minister of God! What a necessity for his faithful study of the word, that he himself may be sanctified by the truth and may be qualified to teach others.

Brethren, you are required to exemplify the truth in your life. But those who think that they have a work to do to teach others the truth are not all converted, and sanctified by the truth. Some have erroneous ideas of what constitutes a Christian and of the means through which a firm religious experience is obtained; much less do they understand the qualifications that God requires His ministers to possess. These men are unsanctified. They have occasionally a flight of feeling, which gives them the impression that they are indeed children of God. This dependence upon impressions is one of the special deceptions of Satan. Those who are thus exercised make their religion a matter of circumstance. Firm principle is wanting. None are living Christians unless they have a daily experience in the things of God and daily practice self-denial, cheerfully bearing the cross and following Christ. Every living Christian will advance daily in the divine life. As he advances toward perfection, he experiences a conversion to God every day; and this conversion is not completed until he attains to perfection of Christian character, a full preparation for the finishing touch of immortality. 

God should be the highest object of our thoughts. Meditating upon Him and pleading with Him, elevate the soul and quicken the affections. A neglect of meditation and prayer

506

will surely result in a declension in religious interests. Then will be seen carelessness and slothfulness. Religion is not merely an emotion, a feeling. It is a principle which is interwoven with all the daily duties and transactions of life. Nothing will be entertained, no business engaged in, which will prevent the accompaniment of this principle. To retain pure and undefiled religion, it is necessary to be workers, persevering in effort. We must do something ourselves. No one else can do our work. None but ourselves can work out our salvation with fear and trembling. This is the very work which the Lord has left for us to do.

Some ministers who profess to be called of God have the blood of souls on their garments. They are surrounded with backsliders and sinners, and yet feel no burden for their souls; they manifest an indifference in regard to their salvation. Some are so nearly asleep that they seem to have no sense of the work of a gospel minister. They do not consider that as spiritual physicians they are required to have skill in administering to souls diseased with sin. The work of warning sinners, of weeping over them and pleading with them, has been neglected until many souls are past all cure. Some have died in their sins, and will in the judgement confront with reproaches of their guilt those who might have saved them, but who did not. Unfaithful ministers, what a retribution awaits you! 

The ministers of Christ need a new anointing, that they may more clearly discern sacred things, and have clear conceptions of the holy, blameless character which they themselves must form in order to be ensamples to the flock. Nothing that we can do of ourselves will bring us up to the high standard where God can accept us as His ambassadors. Only a firm reliance upon God, and a strong and active faith, will accomplish the work that He requires to be wrought in us. God calls for working men. It is continuance in well-doing

507

that will form characters for heaven. In plainness, in faithfulness and love, we must appeal to the people to prepare for the day of God. Some will need to be entreated with earnestness before they will be moved. Let the labour be characterised by meekness and humility, yet by an earnestness that will make them understand that these things are a reality, and that life and death are for them to choose. The salvation of the soul is not a matter to be trifled with. The deportment of the labourer for God should be serious and characterised by simplicity and true Christian politeness, yet he should be fearfully in earnest in the work which the Master has left him to do. Decided perseverance in a course of righteousness, disciplining the mind by religious exercises to love devotion and heavenly things, will bring the greatest amount of happiness. 

If we make God our trust, we have it in our power to control the mind in these things. Through continued exercise it will become strong to battle with internal foes and to subdue self, until there is a complete transformation, and the passions, appetites, and will are brought into perfect subjection. Then there will be daily piety at home and abroad, and when we engage in labour for souls, a power will attend our efforts. The humble Christian will have seasons of devotion which are not spasmodic, fitful, or superstitious, but calm and tranquil, deep, constant, and earnest. The love of God, the practice of holiness, will be pleasant when there is a perfect surrender to God. 

The reason why ministers of Christ are no more successful in their labours is that they are not unselfishly devoted to the work. The interest of some is divided; they are double-minded. The cares of this life engage their attention, and they do not realise how sacred is the work of the minister. Such may complain of darkness, of great unbelief, of infidelity. The reason for this is, they are not right with God; they do not see the importance of making a full and entire consecration

508

to Him. They serve God a little, but themselves more. They pray but little. 

The Majesty of heaven, while engaged in His earthly ministry, prayed much to His Father. He was frequently bowed all night in prayer. His spirit was often sorrowful as He felt the powers of the darkness of this world, and He left the busy city and the noisy throng, to seek a retired place to make His intercessions. The Mount of Olives was the favourite resort of the Son of God for His devotions. Frequently after the multitude had left Him for the retirement of the night, He rested not, though weary with the labours of the day. In the Gospel of John we read: "And every man went unto his own house. Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives." While the city was hushed in silence, and the disciples had returned to their homes to obtain refreshment in sleep, Jesus slept not. His divine pleadings were ascending to His Father from the Mount of Olives that His disciples might be kept from the evil influences which they would daily encounter in the world, and that His own soul might be strengthened and braced for the duties and trials of the coming day. All night, while His followers were sleeping, was their divine Teacher praying. The dew and frost of night fell upon His head bowed in prayer. His example is left for His followers. 

The Majesty of heaven, while engaged in His mission, was often in earnest prayer. He did not always visit Olivet, for His disciples had learned His favourite retreat, and often followed Him. He chose the stillness of night, when there would be no interruption. Jesus could heal the sick and raise the dead. He was Himself a source of blessing and strength. He commanded even the tempests, and they obeyed Him. He was unsullied with corruption, a stranger to sin; yet He prayed, and that often with strong crying and tears. He prayed for His disciples and for Himself, thus identifying Himself with our needs, our weaknesses, and our failings,

509

which are so common with humanity. He was a mighty petitioner, not possessing the passions of our human, fallen natures, but compassed with like infirmities, tempted in all points even as we are. Jesus endured agony which required help and support from His Father. 

Christ is our example. Are the ministers of Christ tempted and fiercely buffeted by Satan? so also was He who knew no sin. He turned to His Father in these hours of distress. He came to earth that He might provide a way whereby we could find grace and strength to help in every time of need, by following His example in frequent, earnest prayer. If the ministers of Christ will imitate this pattern, they will be imbued with His spirit, and angels will minister unto them. 

Angels ministered to Jesus, yet their presence did not make His life one of ease and freedom from severe conflict and fierce temptations. He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. If ministers, while engaged in the work which the Master has appointed them to do, have trials and perplexities and temptations, should they be discouraged, when they know that there is One who has endured all these before them? Should they cast away their confidence because they do not realise all that they expect from their labours? Christ laboured earnestly for His own nation; but His efforts were despised by the very ones He came to save, and they put to death Him who came to give them life. 

There is a sufficient number of ministers, but a great lack of labourers. Labourers, co-workers with God, have a sense of the sacredness of the work and of the severe conflicts they must meet in order to carry it forward successfully. Labourers will not faint and despond in view of the labour, arduous though it may be. In the Epistle to the Romans Paul says: "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope

510

of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." In Him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. We are without excuse if we fail to avail ourselves of the ample provisions made for us that we might be wanting in nothing. Shrinking from hardships, complaining under tribulation, makes the servants of God weak and inefficient in bearing responsibilities and burdens. 

All who stand unshrinkingly in the forefront of the battle must feel the special warfare of Satan against them. As they realise his attacks, they will flee to the Stronghold. They feel their need of special strength from God, and they labour in His strength; therefore the victories they gain do not exalt them, but lead them in faith to lean more securely upon the Mighty One. Deep and fervent gratitude to God is awakened in their hearts, and they are joyful in the tribulation which they experience while pressed by the enemy. These willing servants are gaining an experience and forming a character which will do honour to the cause of God.

The present is a season of solemn privilege and sacred trust to the servants of God. If these trusts are faithfully kept, great will be the reward of the faithful servant when the Master shall say: "Give an account of thy stewardship." The earnest toil, the unselfish work, the patient, persevering effort, will be rewarded abundantly; Jesus will say: Henceforth I call you not servants, but friends, guests. The approval of the Master is not given because of the greatness of the work performed, because many things have been gained, but because of the fidelity in even a few things. It is not the great results we attain, but the motives from which we act, that weigh with

511

God. He prizes goodness and faithfulness more than the greatness of the work accomplished. 

I have been shown that many are in the greatest danger of failing to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord. Ministers are in danger of losing their own souls. Some who have preached to others will themselves be cast away because they have not perfected a Christian character. In their labour they do not save souls, and fail even to save their own. They do not see the importance of self-knowledge and self-control. They do not watch and pray, lest they enter into temptation. If they would watch, they would become acquainted with their weak points, where they are most likely to be assailed by temptation. With watchfulness and prayer their weakest points can be so guarded as to become their strongest points, and they can encounter temptation without being overcome. Every follower of Christ should daily examine himself, that he may become perfectly acquainted with his own conduct. There is with nearly all a neglect of self-examination. This neglect is positively dangerous in one who professes to be a mouthpiece for God, occupying the fearful, responsible position of receiving the words from God to give to His people. The daily conduct of such a person has great influence upon others. If he has any success in labour, he brings his converts to his own low standard, and it is seldom that they rise higher. Their minister's ways, his words, his gestures and manners, his faith, and his piety, are considered a sample of those of all Sabbathkeeping Adventists; and if they pattern after him who has taught them the truth, they think they are doing all their duty. 

There is much in the conduct of a minister that he can improve. Many see and feel their lack, yet they seem to be ignorant of the influence they exert. They are conscious of their actions as they perform them, but suffer them to pass

512

from their memory, and therefore do not reform. If ministers would make the actions of each day a subject of careful thought and deliberate review, with the object to become acquainted with their own habits of life, they would better know themselves. By a close scrutiny of their daily life under all circumstances they would know their own motives, the principles which actuate them. This daily review of our acts, to see whether conscience approves or condemns, is necessary for all who wish to arrive at the perfection of Christian character. Many acts which pass for good works, even deeds of benevolence, will, when closely investigated, be found to be prompted by wrong motives. Many receive applause for virtues which they do not possess. The Searcher of hearts inspects motives, and often the deeds which are highly applauded by men are recorded by Him as springing from selfish motives and base hypocrisy. Every act of our lives, whether excellent and praiseworthy or deserving of censure, is judged by the Searcher of hearts according to the motives which prompted it. 

Even some ministers who are advocating the law of God have but little knowledge of themselves. They do not meditate, and investigate their motives. They do not see their errors and sins, because they do not, in sincerity and earnestness, take a view of their life, their acts, and their character, separate and as a whole, and compare them with the sacred and holy law of God. The claims of God's law are not really understood by them, and they are daily living in transgression of the spirit of that law which they profess to revere. "By the law," says Paul, "is the knowledge of sin." "I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." Some who labour in word and doctrine have not a practical understanding of the law of God and its holy claims, or of the atonement of Christ. They themselves need to be converted before they can convert sinners. 

The faithful mirror which would reveal the defects in the

513

character is neglected; therefore deformity and sin exist, and are apparent to others, if not understood by those who are in fault. The hateful sin of selfishness exists to a great degree, even in some who profess to be devoted to the work of God. If they would compare their character with His requirements, especially with the great standard, His holy, just, and good law, they would ascertain, if earnest, honest searchers, that they are fearfully wanting. But some are not willing to look far enough or deep enough to see the depravity of their own hearts. They are wanting in very many respects; yet they remain in willing ignorance of their guilt, and are so intent upon caring for their own interests that God has no care for them. 

Some are not naturally devotional, and therefore should encourage and cultivate a habit of close examination of their own lives and motives, and should especially cherish a love for religious exercises and for secret prayer. They are often heard talking of doubts and unbelief, and dwelling upon the wonderful struggles they have had with infidel feelings. They dwell upon discouraging influences as so affecting their faith, hope, and courage in the truth and in the ultimate success of the work and cause in which they are engaged, as to make it a special virtue to be found on the side of the doubting. At times they seem to really enjoy hovering about the infidel's position and strengthening their unbelief with every circumstance they can gather as an excuse for their darkness. To such we would say: You would better come down at once and leave the walls of Zion until you become converted men and good Christians. Before you take the responsibility of becoming ministers you are required of God to separate yourselves from the love of this world. The reward of those who continue in this doubting position will be that given to the fearful and unbelieving. 

But what is the reason of these doubts, this darkness and

514

unbelief? I answer: These men are not right with God. They are not dealing honestly and truly with their own souls. They have neglected to cultivate personal piety. They have not separated themselves from all selfishness and from sin and sinners. They have failed to study the self-denying, self-sacrificing life of our Lord and have failed to imitate His example of purity, devotion, and self-sacrifice. The sin which easily besets has been strengthened by indulgence. By their own negligence and sin they have separated themselves from the company of the divine Teacher, and He is a day's journey in advance of them. They have for their company, the indolent, slothful, backsliding, unbelieving, irreverent, unthankful, unholy, and their attendants, the evil angels. What marvel that such are in darkness, or that they have doubts of doctrine? "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine." He shall know of a certainty in regard to this matter. This promise should put to flight all doubts and questionings. It is separation from Christ that brings doubts. He is followed by the earnest, honest, true, faithful, humble, meek, and pure, whom holy angels, clothed with the panoply of heaven, are sanctifying, enlightening, purifying, and guarding; for they are heaven bound. 

No greater evidence need be asked that a person is at a great distance from Jesus, and living in neglect of secret prayer, neglecting personal piety, than the fact that he thus talks doubts and unbelief because his surroundings are not favourable. Such persons have not the pure, true, undefiled religion of Christ. They have a spurious article which the refining process will utterly consume as dross. As soon as God proves them, and tests their faith, they waver, they stand feebly, swaying first one way, then the other. They have not the genuine article that Paul possessed, that could glory in tribulation because "tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because

515

the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts." They have a religion of circumstance. If all around them are strong in faith and courage in the ultimate success of the third angel's message, and no special influence is brought to bear against them, they then appear to have some faith. But as soon as adversity seems to come upon the cause, and the work drags heavily, and the help of everyone is needed, these poor souls, though they may be professed ministers of the gospel, expect everything to come to nought. These hinder instead of helping.

If apostasy arises, and rebellion is manifested, you do not hear them say, in words of encouragement and lofty cheer: Brethren, faint not; be of good courage. "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His." Men who are thus affected by circumstances should remain at their homes and employ their physical and mental strength in a less responsible position where they will not be liable to meet such strong opposition. If everything moves smoothly, they may pass for very good, devotional men. But these are not the ones whom the Master will send to do His work, for this is opposed by those who are emissaries of Satan. Satan also, and his host of evil angels, will be arrayed against them. God has made provision for the men whom He has called to do His work, that they may come off conquerors in every contest. Those who follow His directions will never meet with defeat. 

The Lord, speaking through Paul, Ephesians 6:10-18, tells us how to fortify ourselves against Satan and his emissaries: "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take

516

unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." 

We are engaged in an exalted, sacred work. Those who profess to be called to teach the truth to those who sit in darkness should not be bodies of unbelief and darkness themselves. They should live near to God, where they can be all light in the Lord. The reason why they are not so is that they are not obeying the word of God themselves; therefore doubts and discouragements are expressed, when only words of faith and holy cheer should be heard.

It is religion that ministers need; a daily conversion to God, an undivided, unselfish interest in His cause and work. There should be self-abasement, and a putting away of all jealousy, evil surmising, envy, hatred, malice, and unbelief. An entire transformation is needed. Some have lost sight of our pattern, the suffering Man of Calvary. In His service we need not expect ease, honour, and greatness in this life; for He, the Majesty of heaven, did not receive it. "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed." With this example before us, will we choose to shun the cross, and to be swayed by circumstances? Shall our zeal, our fervour, be kindled only when we are surrounded by those who are awake and zealous in the work and cause of God?

517

Can we not stand in God, let our surroundings be ever so unpleasant and discouraging? "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

Many ministers have not an undivided interest in the work of God. They have invested but little in His cause, and because they have taken so little stock in the advancement of the truth they are easily tempted in regard to it and moved from it. They are not established, strengthened, settled. He who understands well his own character, who is acquainted with the sin which most easily besets him, and the temptations that will be most likely to overcome him, should not expose himself needlessly and invite temptation by placing himself upon the enemy's ground. If duty calls him where circumstances are not favourable, he will have special help from God, and thus go fully girded for a conflict with the enemy. Self-knowledge will save many from falling into grievous temptations, and prevent many an inglorious defeat. In order to become acquainted with ourselves, it is essential that we faithfully investigate the motives and principles of our conduct,

518

comparing our actions with the standard of duty revealed in God's word. Ministers should encourage and cultivate benevolence.

I was shown that some who have been engaged in our office of publication, in our Health Institute, and in the ministry have laboured simply for wages. There are exceptions; not all are guilty in this respect, but few have seemed to realise that they must give an account of their stewardship. Means that had been consecrated to God to advance His cause has been squandered. Families in poverty, who had experienced the sanctifying influences of the truth and who therefore prized it and felt grateful to God for it, have thought that they could and should deprive themselves of even the necessaries of life in order to bring in their offerings to the treasury of the Lord. Some have deprived themselves of articles of clothing which they really needed to make them comfortable. Others have sold their only cow and have dedicated to God the means thus received. In the sincerity of their souls, with many tears of gratitude because it was their privilege to do this for the cause of God, they have bowed before the Lord with their offering and have invoked His blessing upon it as they sent it forth, praying that it might be the means of bringing the knowledge of the truth to souls in darkness. The means thus dedicated has not always been appropriated as the self-sacrificing donors designed. Covetous, selfish men, having no spirit of self-denial or self-sacrifice themselves, have handled unfaithfully means thus brought into the treasury; and they have robbed the treasury of God by receiving means which they had not justly earned. Their unconsecrated, reckless management has squandered and scattered means that had been consecrated to God with prayers and tears. 

I was shown that the recording angel makes a faithful record of every offering dedicated to God and put into the treasury, and also of the final result of the means thus bestowed.

519

The eye of God takes cognisance of every farthing devoted to His cause, and of the willingness or reluctance of the giver. The motive in giving is also chronicled. Those self-sacrificing, consecrated ones who render back to God the things that are His, as He requires of them, will be rewarded according to their works. Even though the means thus consecrated be misapplied, so that it does not accomplish the object which the donor had in view,--the glory of God and the salvation of souls,--those who made the sacrifice in sincerity of soul, with an eye single to the glory of God, will not lose their reward. 

Those who have made a wrong use of means dedicated to God will be required to give an account of their stewardship. Some have selfishly grasped means because of their love of gain. Others have not a tender conscience; it has become seared through long-cherished selfishness. They view sacred and eternal things from a low standpoint. Through their long continuance in a wrong course their moral sensibilities seem paralysed. It seems impossible to elevate their views and feelings to the exalted standard clearly brought to view in the word of God. Unless there is a thorough transformation by the renewing of the mind, this class will find no place in heaven. Those who have pursued a course of selfishness and wrong, not regarding even the treasury of God as sacred, could not appreciate the purity and holiness of the sanctified in the kingdom of heaven, or the value of the rich glory, the eternal reward, reserved for the faithful overcomers. Their minds have so long run in a low, selfish channel that they cannot appreciate eternal things. They do not value salvation. It seems impossible to elevate their minds to rightly estimate the plan of salvation or the value of the atonement. Selfish interests have engrossed the entire being; like a loadstone they hold the mind and affections, binding them down to a low level. Some of these persons will never attain to perfection of Christian

520

character because they do not see the value and necessity of such a character. Their minds cannot be elevated so that they will be charmed with holiness. Self-love and selfish interests have so warped the character that they cannot be made to distinguish the sacred and eternal from the common. God's cause and His treasury are no more sacred to them than common business or means devoted to worldly purposes. 

Duties in this direction are binding upon all who profess to be followers of Christ. God's law specifies their duty to their fellow men: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." By a disregard of justice, mercy, and benevolence to their neighbour, some have so hardened the heart that they can go still further, and even rob God without compunctions of conscience. Do such close their eyes and their understanding to the fact that God knows, that He reads their every action and the motive which impelled them to it? His reward is with Him, and His work before Him, to give to every man according as his work shall be. Every good and every wrong act, and its influence upon others, is traced out by the Searcher of hearts, to whom every secret is revealed. And the reward will be according to the motives which prompted the action. 

Notwithstanding the repeated warnings and reproofs which the Lord has sent them, those who have occupied responsible positions have followed their own ways and been guided by their own unsanctified judgement, and, in consequence, the cause of God has suffered, and souls have been turned from the truth. All who are thus guilty will have a fearful record to meet in the day of final retribution. If they are ever saved, it will be by no common effort on their part; their past life must be seen by them and redeemed. If this work be entered upon with sincerity, and followed with perseverance and untiring earnestness, it will be wholly successful; but

521

many will not succeed because the earnestness with which they commence the work dies down to listlessness and carelessness. Their efforts are right at first, as they have some sense of their condition; but they seek to forget the past, and pass over it without taking up the stumbling blocks and making thorough work. Their repentance is not genuine sorrow that through their influence God has been dishonoured and souls for whom Christ died have been lost. They make spasmodic efforts and show great feeling; but the fact that the efforts cease, that this feeling soon passes off and is succeeded by listless indifference, evinces that God was not fully in the work. The feelings were for a time wrought upon; but the work did not reach deep enough to change the principles which governed their actions. They are as liable to be led again into the same wrong course as they were at first; for they have not strength to withstand the wiles of Satan, but are subject to his devices. 

The life of a true Christian is ever onward. There is no standing still nor going back. It is your privilege to be "filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness; giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light." {2T 521.1}

I entreat all, especially those who minister in word and doctrine, to make an unreserved surrender to God. Consecrate your lives to Him, and be indeed ensamples to the flock. Be no longer content to remain dwarfs in spiritual things. Let your aim be nothing short of perfection of Christian character.

522

Let your lives be unselfish and blameless, that they may ever be a living rebuke to those who are selfish and whose affections seem to be upon their earthly treasure. God grant that you may be strengthened according to the riches of His glory, "with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God."