Testimonies, Vol. 5

The merchant, the carpenter, the farmer, and the lawyer all have to learn their trade or profession. At first, for want of knowledge, they do imperfect work; but as they continue patiently at their vocations they become masters of their several callings. Without close application of mind and heart, and all the powers of the being, the minister will prove a failure. He may be a preacher, but he must also be fitted to act as a pastor. Study must never cease; it must be continued all through the period of his labour, no matter how well qualified for the labour he may think himself to be.

The times demand an intelligent, educated ministry, not novices. False doctrines are being multiplied. The world is becoming educated to a high standard of literary attainment; and sin, unbelief, and infidelity are becoming more bold and defiant, as intellectual knowledge and acuteness are acquired. This state of things calls for the use of every power of the intellect; for it is keen minds, under the control of Satan, that the minister will have to meet. He should be well balanced by religious principles, growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Too much haphazard work has been done, and minds have not been exercised to their fullest capacity. Our ministers will have to defend the truth against base apostates, as well as to measure Scripture evidence with those who advocate specious errors. Truth must be placed in contrast with bold assertions. Our ministers must be men who are wholly consecrated to God, men of no mean culture; but their minds must be all aglow with religious fervour, gathering divine rays of light from heaven and flashing them amid the darkness that covers the earth and the gross darkness that surrounds the people.

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Vice and crime, and iniquity of all kinds, are steadily on the increase. The penetrating power of Bible truth must show the contrast between truth and error. A higher grade of preparation is required in order to do good service for the Master. But if the minister leans upon the knowledge he acquires, and does not feel the great necessity of divine enlightenment daily, the education gained is only a stumbling block to sinners. We want the God of all wisdom to be brought into all our labour, into all our experiences; then every iota of knowledge obtained is a power for good and will aid in developing capacity and Christlike earnestness. This is religion.