There has been but little of the missionary spirit among Sabbathkeeping Adventists. If ministers and people were sufficiently aroused, they would not rest thus indifferently while God has honoured them by making them the depositories of His law by printing it in their minds and writing it upon their hearts. These truths of vital importance are to test the world; and yet in our own country there are cities, villages, and towns that have never heard the warning message. Young men who feel stirred by the appeals that have been made for help in this great work of advancing the cause of God make some advance moves, but do not get the burden of the work upon them sufficiently to accomplish what they might. They are willing to do a small work which does not require special effort. Therefore they do not learn to place their whole dependence upon
God and by living faith draw from the great Fountain and Source of light and strength in order that their efforts may prove wholly successful.
Those who think that they have a work to do for the Master should not commence their efforts among the churches; they should go out into new fields and prove their gifts. In this way they can test themselves and settle the matter to their own satisfaction, whether God has indeed chosen them for this work. They will feel the necessity of studying the word of God and praying earnestly for heavenly wisdom and divine aid. By meeting with opponents who bring up objections to the important points of our faith, they will be brought where they will obtain a most valuable experience. They will feel their weakness and be driven to the word of God and to prayer. In this exercise of their gifts they will be learning and improving, and gaining confidence, courage, and faith, and will eventually have a valuable experience.
The Brethren H commenced right in this work. In their labour they did not go among the churches, but went out into new fields. They commenced humble. They were little in their own eyes and felt the necessity of their whole dependence being in God. These brothers, especially A H, are now in great danger of becoming self-sufficient. When he has discussed with opponents, the truth has obtained the victory, and he has begun to feel strong in himself. As soon as he gets above the simplicity of the work, his labours will not benefit the precious cause of God. He should not encourage a love for discussions, but should avoid them whenever he can. These contests with the powers of darkness in debate seldom result the best for the advancement of present truth.
If young men who commence to labour in this cause would have the missionary spirit, they would give evidence that God has indeed called them to the work. But when they do not go out into new places, but are content to go from church to church, they give evidence that the burden of the work is not upon them. The ideas of our young preachers are not broad
enough. Their zeal is too feeble. Were the young men awake and devoted to the Lord, they would be diligent every moment of their time and would seek to qualify themselves to become labourers in the missionary field rather than to become combatants.
Young men should be qualifying themselves by becoming familiar with other languages, that God may use them as mediums to communicate His saving truth to those of other nations. These young men may obtain a knowledge of other languages even while engaged in labouring for sinners. If they are economical of their time they can be improving their minds and qualifying themselves for more extended usefulness. If young women who have borne but little responsibility would devote themselves to God, they could qualify themselves for usefulness by studying and becoming familiar with other languages. They could devote themselves to the work of translating.
Our publications should be printed in other languages, that foreign nations may be reached. Much can be done through the medium of the press, but still more can be accomplished if the influence of the labours of the living preacher goes with our publications. Missionaries are needed to go to other nations to preach the truth in a guarded, careful manner. The cause of present truth can be greatly extended by personal effort. The contact of individual mind with individual mind will do more to remove prejudice, if the labour is discreet, than our publications alone can do. Those who engage in this work should not consult their ease or inclination; neither should they have love for popularity or display.
When the churches see young men possessing zeal to qualify themselves to extend their labours to cities, villages, and towns that have never been aroused to the truth, and missionaries volunteering to go to other nations to carry the truth to them, the churches will be encouraged and strengthened far more than to themselves receive the labours of inexperienced young men. As they see their ministers' hearts all aglow with love and zeal for the truth, and with a desire to save souls, the
churches will arouse themselves. These generally have the gifts and power within themselves to bless and strengthen themselves, and to gather the sheep and lambs into the fold. They need to be thrown upon their own resources, that all the gifts that are lying dormant may thus be called into active service.
As churches are established, it should be set before them that it is even from among them that men must be taken to carry the truth to others and raise new churches; therefore they must all work, and cultivate to the utmost the talents that God has given them, and be training their minds to engage in the service of their Master. If these messengers are pure in heart and life, if their example is what it should be, their labours will be highly successful; for they have a most powerful truth, one that is clear and connected, and that has convincing arguments in its favour. They have God on their side and the angels of God to work with their efforts.
The reason there has been so little accomplished by those who preach the truth is not wholly because the truth they bear is unpopular, but because the men who bear the message are not sanctified by the truths they preach. The Saviour withdraws His smiles, and the inspiration of His Spirit is not upon them. The presence and power of God to convict the sinner and cleanse from all unrighteousness is not manifest. Sudden destruction is right upon the people, and yet they are not fearfully alarmed. Unconsecrated ministers make the work very hard for those who follow after them and who have the burden and spirit of the work upon them.
The Lord has moved upon men of other tongues and has brought them under the influence of the truth, that they might be qualified to labour in His cause. He has brought them within reach of the office of publication, that its managers might avail themselves of their services if they were awake to the wants of the cause. Publications are needed in other languages to raise an interest and the spirit of inquiry among other nations.
In a most remarkable manner the Lord wrought upon the heart of Marcus Lichtenstein and directed the course of this
young man to Battle Creek, that he might there be brought under the influence of the truth and be converted; that he might obtain an experience and be united to the office of publication. His education in the Jewish religion would have qualified him to prepare publications. His knowledge of Hebrew would have been a help to the office in the preparation of publications through which access could be gained to a class that otherwise could not be reached. It was no inferior gift that God gave to the office in Marcus. His deportment and conscientiousness were in accordance with the principles of the wonderful truths he was beginning to see and appreciate.
But the influence of some in the office grieved and discouraged Marcus. Those young men who did not esteem him as he deserved, and whose Christian life was a contradiction to their profession, were the means that Satan used to separate from the office the gift which God had given to it. He went away perplexed, grieved, discouraged. Those who had had years of experience, and who should have had the love of Christ in their hearts, were so far separated from God by selfishness, pride, and their own folly that they could not discern the special work of God in connecting Marcus with the office.
If those who are connected with the office had been awake and not spiritually paralysed, Brother I would long ago have been connected with the office and might now be prepared to do a good work which much needs to be done. He should have been engaged in teaching young men and women, that they might now be qualified to become workers in missionary fields.
Those engaged in the work have been about two thirds dead because of yielding to wrong influences. They have been where God could not impress them by His Holy Spirit. And, oh, how my heart aches as I see that so much time has passed, and that the great work that might have been done is left undone because those in important positions have not walked in the light! Satan has stood prepared to sympathize with the
men in holy office and to tell them that God does not require of them as much zeal and unselfish, devoted interest as Brother White expects; and they settle down carelessly in Satan's easy chair, and the ever-vigilant, persevering foe binds them in chains of darkness while they think that they are all right. Satan works on their right hand and on their left, and all around them; and they know it not. They call darkness light, and light darkness.
If those in the office of publication are indeed engaged in the sacred work of giving the last solemn message of warning to the world, how careful should they be to carry out in their lives the principles of the truth they are handling. They should have pure hearts and clean hands.
Our people connected with the office have not been awake to improve the privileges within their reach and to secure all the talent and influence that God has provided for them. With nearly all connected with the office there is a very great failure to realize the importance and sacredness of the work. Pride and selfishness exist to a very great degree, and angels of God are not attracted to the office as they would be if hearts there were pure and in communion with God. Those labouring in the office have not had a vivid sense that the truths that they were handling were of heavenly origin, designed to accomplish a certain and special work, as did the preaching of Noah before the Flood. As the preaching of Noah warned, tested, and proved the inhabitants of the world before the flood of waters destroyed them from off the face of the earth, so the truth of God for these last days is doing a similar work of warning, testing, and proving the world. The publications which go forth from the office bear the signet of the Eternal. They are being scattered all through the land and are deciding the destiny of souls. Men are now greatly needed who can translate and prepare our publications in other languages so that the message of warning may go to all nations and test them by the light of the truth, that men and women, as they see the light,
may turn from transgression to obedience of the law of God.
Every opportunity should be improved to extend the truth to other nations. This will be attended with considerable expense, but expense should in no case hinder the performance of this work. Means are of value only as they are used to advance the interest of the kingdom of God. The Lord has lent men means for this very purpose, to use in sending the truth to their fellow men. There is a great amount of surplus means in the ranks of Seventh-day Adventists. And the selfish withholding of it from the cause of God is blinding their eyes to the importance of the work of God, making it impossible for them to discern the solemnity of the times in which we live, or the value of eternal riches. They do not view Calvary in the right light, and therefore cannot appreciate the worth of the soul for which Christ paid such an infinite price.
Men will invest means in that which they value the most and which they think will bring them the greatest profits. When men will run great risks and invest much in worldly enterprises, but are unwilling to venture or invest much in the cause of God to send the truth to their fellow men, they evidence that they value their earthly treasure just as much more highly than the heavenly as their works show.
If men would lay their earthly treasure upon the altar of God, and would work as zealously to secure the heavenly treasure as they did to gain the earthly, they would invest means cheerfully and gladly wherever they could see an opportunity to do good and aid the cause of their Master. Christ has given them unmistakable evidence of His love and fidelity to them, and has entrusted them with means to test and prove their fidelity to Him. He left heaven, His riches and glory, and for their sakes became poor, that they through His poverty might be made rich. After thus condescending to save man, Christ requires no less of him than that he should deny himself and use the means He has lent him in saving his fellow men, and by so doing give evidence of his love for his Redeemer and show that he values the salvation brought to him by such an infinite sacrifice.
Now is the time to use means for God. Now is the time to be rich in good works, laying up in store for ourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that we may lay hold on eternal life. One soul saved in the kingdom of God is of more value than all earthly riches. We are answerable to God for the souls of those with whom we are brought in contact, and the closer our connections with our fellow men the greater our responsibility. We are one great brotherhood, and the welfare of our fellow men should be our great interest. We have not one moment to lose. If we have been careless in this matter, it is high time we were now in earnest to redeem the time, lest the blood of souls be found on our garments. As children of God, none of us are excused from taking a part in the great work of Christ in the salvation of our fellow men.
It will be a difficult work to overcome prejudice and to convince the unbelieving that our efforts to help them are disinterested. But this should not hinder our labour. There is no precept in the word of God that tells us to do good to those only who appreciate and respond to our efforts, and to benefit those only who will thank us for it. God has sent us to work in His vineyard. It is our business to do all we can. "In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that." We have too little faith. We limit the Holy One of Israel. We should be grateful that God condescends to use any of us as His instruments. For every earnest prayer put up in faith for anything, answers will be returned. They may not come just as we have expected; but they will come, not perhaps as we have devised, but at the very time when we most need them. But, oh, how sinful is our unbelief! "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."
Young men who are engaged in this work should not trust too much to their own abilities. They are inexperienced and should seek to learn wisdom from those who have had long experience in the work and who have had opportunities to study character.
Instead of our ministering brethren labouring among the churches, God designs that we should spread abroad and our missionary labour be extended over as much ground as we can possibly occupy to advantage, going in every direction to raise up new companies. We should ever leave upon the minds of new disciples an impression of the importance of our mission. As able men are converted to the truth, they should not require labourers to keep their flagging faith alive; but these men should be impressed with the necessity of labouring in the vineyard. As long as churches rely upon labourers from abroad to strengthen and encourage their faith, they will not become strong in themselves. They should be instructed that their strength will increase in proportion to their personal efforts. The more closely the New Testament plan is followed in missionary labour, the more successful will be the efforts put forth.
We should work as did our divine Teacher, sowing the seeds of truth with care, anxiety, and self-denial. We must have the mind of Christ if we would not become weary in well-doing. His was a life of continual sacrifice for others' good. We must follow His example. We must sow the seed of truth and trust in God to quicken it to life. The precious seed may lie dormant for some time, when the grace of God may convict the heart and the seed sown be awakened to life and spring up and bear fruit to the glory of God. Missionaries in this great work are wanted to labour unselfishly, earnestly, and perseveringly as co-workers with Christ and the heavenly angels in the salvation of their fellow men.
Especially should our ministers beware of indolence and pride, which are apt to grow out of a consciousness that we have the truth and strong arguments which our opponents cannot meet; and while the truths which we handle are mighty to the pulling down of the strongholds of the powers of darkness, there is danger of neglecting personal piety, purity of heart, and entire consecration to God. There is danger of their feeling that they are rich and increased with goods, while they lack the essential qualifications of Christians. They may be wretched, poor, blind, miserable, and naked. They do not feel
the necessity of living in obedience to Christ every day and every hour. Spiritual pride eats out the vitals of religion. In order to preserve humility, it would be well to remember how we appear in the sight of a holy God, who reads every secret of the soul, and how we should appear in the sight of our fellow men if they all knew us as well as God knows us. For this reason, to humble us, we are directed to confess our faults, and improve this opportunity to subdue our pride.
Ministers should not neglect physical exercise. They should seek to make themselves useful and to be a help where they are dependent upon the hospitalities of others. They should not allow others to wait upon them, but should rather lighten the burdens of those who, having so great a respect for the gospel ministry, would put themselves to great inconvenience to do for them that which they should do for themselves. The poor health of some of our ministers is because of their neglect of physical exercise in useful labour.
As the matter has resulted, I was shown that it would have been better had the Brethren J done what they could in the preparation of tracts to be circulated among the French. If these works were not prepared in all their perfection, they might better have been circulated, that the French people might have had an opportunity to search the evidences of our faith. There are great risks in delay. The French should have had books setting forth the reasons of our faith. The Brethren J were not prepared to do justice to these works, for they needed to be spiritualised and enlivened themselves or the books prepared would bear the stamp of their minds. They needed to be corrected, lest their preaching and writing should be tedious. They needed to educate themselves to come at once to the point and make the essential features of our faith stand forth clearly before the people. The work has been hindered by Satan, and much has been lost because these works were not prepared when they should have been. These brethren can do much good if they are fully devoted to the work and if they will follow the light that God has given them.