"Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit." Isaiah 27:6.
What is our work? The same as that given to John the Baptist, of whom we read: "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight." Matthew 3:1-3.
All who are truly engaged in the work of the Lord for these last days will have a decided message to bear. Read the first few verses of the fortieth chapter of Isaiah:
"The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." Isaiah 40:3-5.
"The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: the grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever." Verses 6-8.
This chapter is filled with instruction appropriate for us at this time. The word of the Lord to us is: "Repent ye; prepare the way for a revival of My work."
The removal to Washington of work hitherto carried on in Battle Creek is a step in the right direction. We are to continue to press into the regions beyond, where the people are in spiritual darkness. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain." Verse 4. Every obstacle to the redemption of God's people is to be removed by the opening of His word and the presentation of a plain "Thus saith the Lord." The true light is to shine forth; for darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people. The truth of the living God is to appear in contrast with error. Proclaim the glad tidings. We have a Saviour who has given His life that those who believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Obstacles to the advancement of the work of God will appear; but fear not. To the omnipotence of the King of kings, our covenant-keeping God unites the gentleness and care of a tender shepherd. Nothing can stand in His way. His power is absolute, and it is the pledge of the sure fulfillment of His promises to His people. He can remove all obstructions to the advancement of His work. He has means for the removal of every difficulty, that those who serve Him and respect the means He employs may be delivered. His goodness and love are infinite, and His covenant is unalterable.
The plans of the enemies of His work may seem to be firm and well established, but He can overthrow the strongest of these plans, and in His own time and way He will do this, when He sees that our faith has been sufficiently tested and that we are drawing near to Him and making Him our counselor.
In the darkest days, when appearances seem so forbidding, fear not. Have faith in God. He is working out His will, doing all things well in behalf of His people. The strength of those who love and serve Him will be renewed day by day. His understanding will be placed at their service, that they may not err in the carrying out of His purposes.
There is to be no despondency in God's service. Our faith is to endure the pressure brought to bear upon it. God is able and willing to bestow upon His servants all the strength they need. He will more than fulfill the highest expectations of those who put their trust in Him. He will give them the wisdom that their varied necessities demand.
Said the tried apostle Paul: "He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10.
Oh, my brethren, hold the beginning of your confidence firm unto the end. The light of God's truth is not to be dimmed. It is to shine amidst the darkness of error that enshrouds our world. The word of God is to be opened to those in the high places of the earth, as well as to those in the more lowly.
The church of Christ is God's agency for the proclamation of truth; she is empowered by Him to do a special work; and if she is loyal to God, obedient to His commandments, there will dwell within her the excellence of divine power. If she will honor the Lord God of Israel, there is no power that can stand against her. If she will be true to her allegiance, the forces of the enemy will be no more able to overpower her than is the chaff to resist the whirlwind.
There is before the church the dawn of a bright, glorious day, if she will put on the robe of Christ's righteousness, withdrawing from all allegiance to the world.
The members of the church need now to confess their backslidings and press together. My brethren, allow nothing to come in that will separate you from one another or from God. Talk not of differences of opinion, but unite in the love of the truth as it is in Jesus. Come before God, and plead the shed blood of the Saviour as a reason why you should receive help in the warfare against evil. You will not plead in vain. As you draw near to God, with heartfelt contrition and in full assurance of faith, the enemy who seeks to destroy you will be overcome.
Turn to the Lord, ye prisoners of hope. Seek strength from God, the living God. Show an unwavering, humble faith in His power and His willingness to save. From Christ is flowing the living stream of salvation. He is the Fountain of life, the Source of all power. When in faith we take hold of His strength, He will change, wonderfully change, the most hopeless, discouraging outlook. He will do this for the glory of His name.
God calls upon His faithful ones, who believe in Him, to talk courage to those who are unbelieving and hopeless. May the Lord help us to help one another and to prove Him by living faith.
"Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob. Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery." Psalm 81:1, 2.
"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O Most High: to show forth Thy loving-kindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness every night, upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. For Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through Thy work: I will triumph in the works of Thy hands." Psalm 92:1-4.
"O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is His also. The sea is His, and He made it: and His hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker." Psalm 95:1-6.
"O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth. Sing unto the Lord, bless His name; show forth His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the heathen, His wonders among all people. For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: He is to be feared above all gods." Psalm 96:1-4.
"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations." Psalm 100.
It is God's purpose that His people shall be a sanctified, purified, holy people, communicating light to all around them. It is His purpose that, by exemplifying the truth in their lives, they shall be a praise in the earth. The grace of Christ is sufficient to bring this about. But let God's people remember that only as they believe and work out the principles of the gospel can He make them a praise in the earth. Only as they use their God-given capabilities in His service will they enjoy the fullness and power of the promise whereon the church has been called to stand. If those who profess to believe in Christ as their Saviour reach only the low standard of worldly measurement, the church fails to bear the rich harvest that God expects. "Found wanting" is written upon her record.
The commission that Christ gave to His disciples just before His ascension is the great missionary charter of His kingdom. In giving it to the disciples, the Saviour made them His ambassadors and gave them their credentials. If, afterward, they should be challenged and asked by what authority they, unlearned fishermen, went forth as teachers and healers, they could reply: "He whom the Jews crucified, but who rose from the dead, appointed us to the ministry of His word, declaring, 'All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.'"
Christ gave this commission to His disciples as His chief ministers, the architects who were to lay the foundation of His church. He laid upon them, and upon all who should succeed them as His ministers, the charge of handing His gospel down from generation to generation, from age to age.
The disciples were not to wait for the people to come to them. They were to go to the people, hunting for sinners as a shepherd hunts for lost sheep. Christ opened the world before them as their field of labor. They were to go "into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15. It was of the Saviour that they were to preach, of His life of unselfish service, His death of shame, His unparalleled, unchanging love. His name was to be their watchword, their band of union. In His name they were to subdue the strongholds of sin. Faith in His name was to mark them as Christians.
Giving the disciples further directions, Christ said: "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." "But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high." Acts 1:8; Luke 24:49.
In obedience to the word of their Master the disciples assembled in Jerusalem to wait for the fulfillment of God's promise. Here they spent ten days, days of deep heart searching. They put away all differences and drew close together in Christian fellowship.
At the end of ten days the Lord fulfilled His promise by a wonderful outpouring of His Spirit. "Suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." "And the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." Acts 2:2-4, 41.
"And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following." Mark 16:20. Notwithstanding the fierce opposition that the disciples met, in a short time the gospel of the kingdom had been sounded to all the inhabited parts of the earth.
The commission given to the disciples is given also to us.
Today, as then, a crucified and risen Saviour is to be uplifted before those who are without God and without hope in the world. The Lord calls for pastors, teachers, and evangelists. From door to door His servants are to proclaim the message of salvation. To every nation, kindred, tongue, and people the tidings of pardon through Christ are to be carried.
Not with tame, lifeless utterance is the message to be given, but with clear, decided, stirring utterances. Hundreds are waiting for the warning to escape for their lives. The world needs to see in Christians an evidence of the power of Christianity. Not merely in a few places, but throughout the world, messengers of mercy are needed. From every country is heard the cry: "Come over, . . . and help us." Rich and poor, high and low, are calling for light. Men and women are hungering for the truth as it is in Jesus. When they hear the gospel preached with power from on high, they will know that the banquet is spread for them, and they will respond to the call: "Come; for all things are now ready." Luke 14:17.
The words "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15) are spoken to each one of Christ's followers. All who are ordained unto the life of Christ are ordained to work for the salvation of their fellow men. The same longing of soul that He felt for the saving of the lost is to be manifest in them. Not all can fill the same place, but for all there is a place and a work. All upon whom God's blessings have been bestowed are to respond by actual service; every gift is to be employed for the advancement of His kingdom.
An Unchanging Promise
Christ made full provision for the prosecution of the work entrusted to the disciples, and took upon Himself the responsibility of its success. So long as they obeyed His word, and worked in connection with Him, they could not fail. Go to all nations, He bade them. Go to the farthest part of the habitable globe, but know that My presence will be there. Labor in faith and confidence, for the time will never come when I will for sake you.
To us also the promise of Christ's abiding presence is given. The lapse of time has wrought no change in His parting promise. He is with us today as truly as He was with the disciplines, and He will be with us "even unto the end."
"Go forth preaching the gospel to all nations," the Saviour says to us, "that they may become children of God. I am with you in this work, teaching, guiding, comforting, strengthening you, giving you success in your work of self-denial and sacrifice. I will move upon hearts, convincing them of sin, and turning them from darkness to light, from disobedience to righteousness. In My light they shall see light. You will meet the opposition of satanic agencies, but put your trust in Me. I will never fail you."
Think you not that Christ values those who live wholly for Him? Think you not that He visits those who, like the beloved John, are for His sake in hard and trying places? He finds His faithful ones, and holds communion with them, encouraging and strengthening them. And angels of God, that excel in strength, are sent forth by God to minister to His human workers who are speaking the truth to those who know it not.
To the minister of the gospel God has given the work of guiding to Christ those who have wandered from the narrow way. He is to be wise and earnest in his efforts. At the end of each year he should be able to look back and see souls saved as the result of his labors. Some he is to save with fear, "pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh," "holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught." Jude 23; Titus 1:9. Paul's charge to Timothy comes to the ministers of today: "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ; . . . Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine." 2 Timothy 4:1, 2.
But it is not only upon those who preach the word that God has placed the responsibility of seeking to save sinners. He has given this work to all. Our hearts are to be so filled with the love of Christ that our words of thanksgiving shall warm other hearts. This is service that all can perform, and the Lord accepts it as offered to Himself. He makes it efficacious, imparting to the earnest worker the grace that reconciles man to God.
May the Lord help His people to realize that there is earnest work to be done. May He help them to remember that in the home, in the church, and in the world they are to work the works of Christ. They are not left to labor alone. The angels are their helpers. And Christ is their helper. Then let them labor faithfully and untiringly. In due season they will reap if they faint not.
The Christian pilgrim does not yield to his desire to rest. He moves steadily forward, saying: "The night is far spent, the day is at hand." This is his motto: "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after. . . . I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14.
The Power Promised
God does not ask us to do in our own strength the work before us. He has provided divine assistance for all the emergencies to which our human resources are unequal. He gives the Holy Spirit to help in every strait, to strengthen our hope and assurance, to illuminate our minds and purify our hearts.
Just before His crucifixion the Saviour said to His disciples: "I will not leave you comfortless." "I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever." "When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come." "He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." John 14:18, 16; 16:13; 14:26.
Christ has made provision that His church shall be a transformed body, illumined with the light of heaven, possessing the glory of Immanuel. It is His purpose that every Christian shall be surrounded with a spiritual atmosphere of light and peace. There is no limit to the usefulness of the one who, putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart and lives a life wholly consecrated to God.
What was the result of the outpouring of the Spirit upon the Day of Pentecost? The glad tidings of a risen Saviour were carried to the utmost bounds of the inhabited world. The hearts of the disciples were surcharged with a benevolence so full, so deep, so far-reaching, that it impelled them to go to the ends of the earth, testifying: "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." Galatians 6:14. As they proclaimed the truth as it is in Jesus, hearts yielded to the power of the message. The church beheld converts flocking to her from all directions. Backsliders were reconverted. Sinners united with Christians in seeking the pearl of great price. Those who had been the bitterest opponents of the gospel became its champions. The prophecy was fulfilled: The weak shall be "as David," and the house of David "as the angel of the Lord." Every Christian saw in his brother the divine similitude of love and benevolence. One interest prevailed. One subject of emulation swallowed up all others. The only ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ's character and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom.
"With great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them." Acts 4:33. Under their labors there were added to the church chosen men, who, receiving the word of life, consecrated their lives to the work of giving to others the hope that had filled their hearts with peace and joy. Hundreds proclaimed the message: "The kingdom of God is at hand." They could not be restrained or intimidated by threatenings. The Lord spoke through them; and, wherever they went, the sick were healed, and the poor had the gospel preached unto them.
So mightily can God work when men give themselves up to the control of His Spirit.
To us today, as verily as to the first disciples, the promise of the Spirit belongs. God will today endow men and women with power from above, as He endowed those who on the Day of Pentecost heard the word of salvation. At this very hour His Spirit and His grace are for all who need them and will take Him at His word.
Notice that it was after the disciples had come into perfect unity, when they were no longer striving for the highest place, that the Spirit was poured out. They were of one accord. All differences had been put away. And the testimony borne of them after the Spirit had been given is the same. Mark the word: "The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul." Acts 4:32. The Spirit of Him who died that sinners might live animated the entire congregation of believers.
The disciples did not ask for a blessing for themselves. They were weighted with the burden of souls. The gospel was to be carried to the ends of the earth, and they claimed the endowment of power that Christ had promised. Then it was that the Holy Spirit was poured out, and thousands were converted in a day.
So it may be now. Let Christians put away all dissension and give themselves to God for the saving of the lost. Let them ask in faith for the promised blessing, and it will come. The outpouring of the Spirit in the days of the apostles was "the former rain," and glorious was the result. But the latter rain will be more abundant. What is the promise to those living in these last days? "Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope: even today do I declare that I will render double unto thee." "Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field." Zechariah 9:12; 10:1.
Christ declared that the divine influence of the Spirit was to be with His followers unto the end. But the promise is not appreciated as it should be; and therefore its fulfillment is not seen as it might be. The promise of the Spirit is a matter little thought of; and the result is only what might be expected--spiritual drought, spiritual darkness, spiritual declension and death. Minor matters occupy the attention, and the divine power which is necessary for the growth and prosperity of the church, and which would bring all other blessings in its train, is lacking, though offered in its infinite plenitude.
It is the absence of the Spirit that makes the gospel ministry so powerless. Learning, talent, eloquence, every natural or acquired endowment, may be possessed; but, without the presence of the Spirit of God, no heart will be touched, no sinner won to Christ. On the other hand, if they are connected with Christ, if the gifts of the Spirit are theirs, the poorest and most ignorant of His disciples will have a power that will tell upon hearts. God makes them channels for the outflowing of the highest influence in the universe.
Why do we not hunger and thirst for the gift of the Spirit, since this is the means by which we are to receive power? Why do we not talk of it, pray for it, preach concerning it? The Lord is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to us than parents are to give good gifts to their children. For the baptism of the Spirit every worker should be pleading with God. Companies should be gathered together to ask for special help, for heavenly wisdom, that they may know how to plan and execute wisely. Especially should men pray that God will baptize His missionaries with the Holy Spirit.
The presence of the Spirit with God's workers will give the presentation of the truth a power that not all the honor or glory of the world could give. The Spirit furnishes the strength that sustains striving, wrestling souls in every emergency, amidst the unfriendliness or relatives, the hatred of the world, and the realization of their own imperfections and mistakes.
Zeal for God moved the disciples to bear witness to the truth with mighty power. Should not this zeal fire our hearts with a determination to tell the story of redeeming love, of Christ and Him crucified? Is not the Spirit of God to come today, in answer to earnest, persevering prayer, and fill men with power for service? Why, then, is the church so weak and spiritless?
It is the privilege of every Christian, not only to look for, but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel. Quickly the last harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain.
My brethren and sisters, plead for the Holy Spirit, God stands back of every promise He has made. With your Bibles in your hands, say: "I have done as Thou hast said, I present Thy promise, 'Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.'" Christ declares: "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." Matthew 7:7; Mark 11:24; John 14:13.
The rainbow about the throne is an assurance that God is true; that in Him is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. We have sinned against Him and are undeserving of His favor; yet He Himself has put into our lips that most wonderful of pleas: "Do not abhor us, for Thy name's sake, do not disgrace the throne of Thy glory: remember, break not Thy covenant with us." Jeremiah 14:21. He has pledged Himself to give heed to our cry when we come to Him confessing our unworthiness and sin. The honor of His throne is staked for the fulfillment of His word to us.
Christ dispatches His messengers to every part of His dominion to communicate His will to His servants. He walks in the midst of His churches. He desires to sanctify, elevate, and ennoble His followers. The influence of those who believe in Him will be in the world a savor of life unto life. Christ holds the stars in His right hand, and it is His purpose to let His light shine forth through them to the world. Thus He desires to prepare His people for higher service in the church above. He has given us a great work to do. Let us do it faithfully. Let us show forth in our lives what divine grace can do for humanity.
There are times when a distinct view is presented to me of the condition of the remnant church, a condition of appalling indifference to the needs of a world perishing for lack of a knowledge of the truth for this time. Then I have hours, and sometimes days, of intense anguish. Many to whom have been committed the saving truths of the third angel's message fail of realizing that the salvation of souls is dependent upon the consecration and activity of God's church. Many are using their blessings in the service of self. Oh, how my heart aches because Christ is put to shame by their un-Christlike behavior! But, after the agony is past, I feel like working harder than ever to arouse them to put forth unselfish effort for the saving of their fellow men.
God has made His people stewards of His grace and truth, and how does He regard their neglect to impart these blessings to their fellow men? Let us suppose that a distant colony belonging to Great Britain is in great distress because of famine and threatened war. Multitudes are dying of starvation, and a powerful enemy is gathering on the frontier, threatening to hasten the work of death. The government at home opens its stores; public charity pours forth; relief flows through many channels. A fleet is freighted with the precious means of life and is sent to the scene of suffering, accompanied by the prayers of those whose hearts are stirred to help. And for a time the fleet sails directly for its destination. But, having lost sight of land, the ardor of those entrusted with carrying food to the starving sufferers abates. Though engaged in a work that makes them colaborers with angels, they lose the good impressions with which they started forth. Through evil counselors, temptation enters.
A group of islands lies in their course, and, though far short of their destination, they decide to call. The temptation that has already entered grows stronger. The selfish spirit of gain takes possession of their minds. Mercantile advantages present themselves. Those in charge of the fleet are prevailed on to remain on the islands. Their original purpose of mercy fades from their sight. They forget the starving people to whom they were sent. The stores entrusted to them are used for their own benefit. The means of beneficence is diverted into channels of selfishness. They barter the means of life for selfish gain, and leave their fellow beings to die. The cries of the perishing ascend to heaven, and the Lord writes in His record the tale of robbery.
Think of the horror of human beings dying because those placed in charge of the means of relief proved unfaithful to their trust. It is difficult for us to realize that man could be guilty of so terrible a sin. Yet I am instructed to say to you, my brother, my sister, that Christians are daily repeating this sin.
In Eden, man fell from his high estate and through transgression became subject to death. It was seen in heaven that human beings were perishing, and the compassion of God was stirred. At infinite cost He devised a means of relief. He "so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. There was no hope for the transgressor except through Christ. God saw that "there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore His arm brought salvation unto Him; and His righteousness, it sustained Him." Isaiah 59:16.
The Lord chose a people and made them the depositories of His truth. It was His purpose that by the revelation of His character through Israel, men should be drawn to Him. To all the world the gospel invitation was to be given. Through the teaching of the sacrificial service, Christ was to be uplifted before the nations, and all who would look unto Him should live.
But Israel did not fulfill God's purpose. They forgot God and lost sight of their high privilege as His representatives. The blessings that they had received brought no blessing to the world. All their advantages were appropriated for their own glorification. They robbed God of the service He required of them, and they robbed their fellow men of religious guidance and a holy example.
God finally sent His Son to reveal to men the character of the Unseen. Christ came and lived on this earth a life of obedience to God's law. He gave His precious life to save the world and made His servants His stewards. With the gift of Christ all the treasures of heaven were given to man. The church was freighted with the food of heaven for starving souls. This was the treasure that the people of God were commissioned to carry to the world. They were faithfully to perform their duty, continuing their work until the message of mercy had encircled the world.
Christ ascended to heaven and sent His Holy Spirit to give power to the work of His disciples. Thousands were converted in a day. In a single generation the gospel was carried to every nation under heaven. But little by little a change came. The church lost her first love. She became selfish and ease-loving. The spirit of worldliness was cherished. The enemy cast his spell upon those to whom God had given light for a world in darkness, light which should have shone forth in good works. The world was robbed of the blessings that God desired men to receive.
Is not the same thing repeated in this generation? Many in our day are keeping back that which the Lord has entrusted to them for the salvation of a world unwarned, unsaved. In the word of God an angel is represented as flying in the midst of heaven, "having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." Revelation 14:6,7.
The message of Revelation 14 is the message that we are to bear to the world. It is the bread of life for these last days. Millions of human beings are perishing in ignorance and iniquity. But many of those to whom God has committed the stores of life look upon these souls with indifference. Many forget that to them has been entrusted the bread of life for those starving for salvation.
Oh, for consecrated Christians, for Christlike consistency, for the faith that works by love and purifies the soul! May God help us to repent and change our sluggish movements into consecrated activity. May He help us to show in our words and works that we make the burden of perishing souls our own.
Let us be thankful every moment for God's forbearance with out tardy, unbelieving movements. Instead of flattering ourselves with the thought of what we have done, after doing so little, we are to labor still more earnestly. We are not to cease our efforts or relax our vigilance. Never is our zeal to grow less. Our spiritual life must be daily revived by the stream that makes glad the city of our God. We must be always on the watch for opportunities to use for God the talents He has given us.
The world is a theater; the actors, its inhabitants, are preparing to act their part in the last great drama. With the great masses of mankind there is no unity, except as men confederate to accomplish their selfish purposes. God is looking on. His purposes in regard to His rebellious subjects will be fulfilled. The world has not been given into the hands of men, though God is permitting the elements of confusion and disorder to bear sway for a season. A power from beneath is working to bring about the last great scenes in the drama--Satan coming as Christ, and working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in those who are binding themselves together in secret societies. Those who are yielding to the passion for confederation are working out the plans of the enemy. The cause will be followed by the effect.
Transgression has almost reached its limit. Confusion fills the world, and a great terror is soon to come upon human beings. The end is very near. We who know the truth should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise.
John writes: "And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." Revelation 20:11,12.
Are we as a people asleep? Oh, if the young men and young women in our institutions who are now unready for the Lord's appearing, unfitted to become members of the Lord's family, could only discern the signs of the times, what a change would be seen in them! The Lord Jesus is calling for self-denying workers to follow in His footsteps, to walk and work for Him, to lift the cross, and to follow where He leads the way.
Many are readily satisfied with offering the Lord trifling acts of service. Their Christianity is feeble. Christ gave Himself for sinners. With what anxiety for the salvation of souls we should be filled as we see human beings perishing in sin! These souls have been bought at an infinite price. The death of the Son of God on Calvary's cross is the measure of their value. Day by day they are deciding whether they will have eternal life or eternal death. And yet men and women professing to serve the Lord are content to occupy their time and attention with matters of little importance. They are content to be at variance with one another. If they were consecrated to the work of the Master, they would not be striving and contending like a family of unruly children. Every hand would be engaged in service. Everyone would be standing at his post of duty, working with heart and soul as a missionary of the cross of Christ. The spirit of the Redeemer would abide in the hearts of the laborers, and works of righteousness would be wrought. The workers would carry with them into their service the prayers and sympathy of an awakened church. They would receive their directions from Christ and would find no time for strife and contention.
Messages would come from lips touched with a live coal from the divine altar. Earnest, purified words would be spoken. Humble, heartbroken intercessions would ascend to heaven. With one hand the workers would take hold of Christ, while with the other they would grasp sinners and draw them to the Saviour.
"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Matthew 24:14.
"If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not He that pondereth the heart consider it? and He that keepeth thy soul, doth not He know it? and shall not He render to every man according to his works?" Proverbs 24:11, 12.
The Work at Home and Abroad
St. Helena, California, August 7, 1902.
"Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathered fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth." John 4:35-37.
After sowing the seed, the husbandman is compelled to wait for months for it to germinate and develop into grain ready to be harvested. But in sowing it he is encouraged by the expectation of fruit in the future. His labor is lightened with the hope of good returns in the time of reaping.
Not so with the seeds of truth sown by Christ in the mind of the Samaritan woman during His conversation with her at the well. The harvest of His seed sowing was not remote, but immediate. Scarcely were His words spoken, before the seed thus sown sprang up and produced fruit, awakening her understanding, and enabling her to know that she had been conversing with the Lord Jesus Christ. She let the rays of divine light shine into her heart. Forgetting her water pitcher, she hastened away to communicate the good news to her Samaritan brethren. "Come," she said, "see a man, which told me all the things that ever I did." Verse 29. And they came out at once to see Him. It was then that He likened the souls of these Samaritans to a field of grain. "Lift up your eyes," He said to His disciples, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest."
"So when the Samaritans were come unto Him, they besought Him that He would tarry with them: and He abode there two days." And what busy days these were! What is the record of the result? "And many more believed because of His own word; and said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world." Verses 40-42.
Christ, in opening to the minds of the Samaritans the word of life, sowed many seeds of truth and showed the people how they, too, could sow seeds of truth in the minds of others. How much good might be accomplished if all who know the truth would labor for sinners, for those who need so much to know and understand Bible truth and who would respond to it as readily as the Samaritans responded to the words of Christ! How little do we enter into sympathy with God on the point that should be the strongest bond of union between us and Him-compassion for depraved, guilty, suffering souls, dead in trespasses and sins! If men shared the sympathies of Christ, they would have constant sorrow of heart over the condition of many needy fields, so destitute of workers.
The work in foreign fields is to be carried forward earnestly and intelligently. And the work in the home field is in no wise to be neglected. Let not the fields lying in the shadow of our doors, such as the great cities in our land, be lightly passed over and neglected. These fields are fully as important as any foreign field.
God's encouraging message of mercy should be proclaimed in the cities of America. Men and women living in these cities are rapidly becoming more and still more entangled in their business relations. They are acting wildly in the erection of buildings whose towers reach high into the heavens. Their minds are filled with schemes and ambitious devisings. God is bidding every one of His ministering servants: Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." Isaiah 58:1.
Let us thank the Lord that there are a few laborers doing everything possible to raise up some memorials for God in our neglected cities. Let us remember that it is our duty to give these workers encouragement. God is displeased with the lack of appreciation and support shown our faithful workers in our large cities by His people in our own land. The work in the home field is a vital problem just now. The present time is the most favorable opportunity that we shall have to work these fields. In a little while the situation will be much more difficult.
Jesus wept over Jerusalem because of the guilt and obstinacy of His chosen people. He weeps also over the hardheartedness of those who, professing to be co-workers with Him, are content to do nothing. Are those who should appreciate the value of souls carrying, with Christ, a burden of heaviness and constant sorrow, mingled with tears, for the cities of the earth? The destruction of these cities, almost wholly given up to idolatry, is impending. In the great day of final reckoning what answer can be given for neglecting to enter these cities now?
While carrying forward the work in America, may the Lord help us to give to other countries the attention that they ought to have, so that the workers in these fields will not be bound about, unable to leave memorials for God in many places. Let us not allow too many advantages to be absorbed in this country. Let us not continue to neglect our duty toward the millions living in other lands. Let us gain a better understanding of the situation and redeem the past.
My brethren and sisters in America, it may be that in lifting up your eyes to see afar off the fields white unto the harvest, you will receive into your own hearts the abundant grace of God. You who through unbelief have been spiritually poor will, through personal labor, become rich in good works. You will no longer starve your souls in the midst of plenty, but will appropriate the good things God has in store for you. When you begin to realize how destitute of means the laborers are to carry forward the work in foreign fields, you will do what you can to help, and your souls will begin to revive, your spiritual appetite will become healthy, and your mind will be refreshed with the word of God, which is a leaf from the tree of life for the healing of the nations.
In answer to the Lord's inquiry, "Whom shall I send?" Isaiah responded, "Here am I; send me." Isaiah 6:8. You, my brother, my sister, may not be able to go into the Lord's vineyard yourself, but you may furnish the means to send others. Thus you will be putting your money out to the exchangers; and when the Master comes, you will be able to return to Him His own with usury. Your means can be used to send forth and sustain the messengers of God, who by voice and by influence will give the message: "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight." Matthew 3:3. Plans are being made for the advancement of the cause, and now is your time to work.
If you work with self-denial, doing what you can to further the advancement of the cause in new fields, the Lord will help and strengthen and bless you. Trust in the assurance of His presence, which sustains you, and which is light and life. Do all for love of Jesus and the precious souls for whom He has died. Work with a pure, divinely inwrought purpose to glorify God. The Lord sees and understands, and He will use you, despite your weakness, if you offer your talent as a consecrated gift to His service; for in active, disinterested service the weak become strong and enjoy His precious commendation. The joy of the Lord is an element of strength. If you are faithful, the peace that passeth all understanding will be your reward in this life, and in the future life you will enter into the joy of your Lord.
I must write something in regard to the way in which our cities in America have been passed by and neglected, cities in which the truth has not been proclaimed. The message must be given to the thousands of foreigners living in these cities in the home field.
I cannot understand why our people have so little burden to take up the work that the Lord has for years been keeping before me, the work of giving the message of present truth in the Southern States. Few have felt that upon them rested the responsibility of taking hold of this work. Our people have failed to enter new territory and to work the cities in the South. Over and over again the Lord has presented the needs of this field, without any special results. I have sometimes felt as if I could no longer bear the burden of this work. I thought that, if men should continue to neglect this work, I would let matters drift and pray that the Lord would have mercy upon the ignorant and those who are out of the way.
But the Lord has a controversy with our ministers and people, and I must speak, placing upon them the burden of the Southern work and of the cities of our land. Who feels heavily burdened to see the message proclaimed in Greater New York and in the many other cities as yet unworked? Not all the means that can be gathered up is to be sent from America to distant lands, while in the home field there exist such providential opportunities to present the truth to millions who have never heard it. Among these millions are the representatives of many nations, many of whom are prepared to receive the message. Much remains to be done within the shadow of our doors--in the cities of California, New York, and many other states.
God says to His people: "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." Isaiah 60:1. Why, then, do they feel so little burden to plant the standard of truth in new places? Why do they not obey the word: "Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not"? Luke 12:33. Why do they not return to the Lord His own, to be invested in heavenly merchandise? Why is there not a more earnest call for volunteers to enter the whitening harvest field? Unless more is done than has been done for the cities of America, ministers and people will have a heavy account to settle with the One who has appointed to every man his work.
We repeat the prayer: "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:10. Are we doing our part to answer this prayer? We profess to believe that the commission which Christ gave to His disciples is given also to us. Are we fulfilling it? May God forgive our terrible neglect in not doing the work that as yet we have scarcely touched with the tips of our fingers. When will this work be done? It makes my heart sick and sore to see such blindness on the part of the people of God.
There are thousands in America perishing in ignorance and sin. And looking afar off to some distant field, those who know the truth are indifferently passing by the needy fields close to them. Christ says: "Go work today in My vineyard." "Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest." Matthew 21:28; John 4:35.
Wake up, wake up, my brethren and sisters, and enter the fields in America that have never been worked. After you have given something for foreign fields, do not think your duty done. There is a work to be done in foreign fields, but there is a work to be done in America that is just as important. In the cities of America there are people of almost every language. These need the light that God has given to His church.
The Lord lives and reigns. Soon He will arise in majesty to shake terribly the earth. A special message is now to be borne, a message that will pierce the spiritual darkness and convict and convert souls. "Haste thee, flee for thy life," is the call to be given to those dwelling in sin. We must now be terribly in earnest. We have not a moment to spend in criticism and accusation. Let those who have done this in the past fall on their knees in prayer, and let them beware how they put their words and their plans in the place of God's words and God's plans.
We have no time for dwelling on matters that are of no importance. Our time should be given to proclaiming the last message of mercy to a guilty world. Men are needed who move under the inspiration of the Spirit of God. The sermons preached by some of our ministers will have to be much more powerful than they are now, or many backsliders will carry a tame, pointless message, which lulls people to sleep. Every discourse should be given under a sense of the awful judgments soon to fall on the world. The message of truth is to be proclaimed by lips touched with a live coal from the divine altar.
My heart is filled with anguish when I think of the tame messages borne by some of our ministers, when they have a message of life and death to bear. The ministers are asleep; the lay members are asleep; and a world is perishing in sin. May God help His people to arouse and walk and work as men and women on the borders of the eternal world. Soon an awful surprise is coming upon the inhabitants of the world. Suddenly, with power and great glory, Christ will come. Then there will be no time to prepare to meet Him. Now is the time for us to give the warning message.
We are stewards, entrusted by our absent Lord with the care of His household and His interests, which He came to this world to serve. He has returned to heaven, leaving us in charge, and He expects us to watch and wait for His appearing. Let us be faithful to our trust, lest coming suddenly He find us sleeping.
The Work in Europe
St. Helena, California, December 7, 1902. To My Brethren in Europe --
I have words to speak to you. The time has come for much to be accomplished in Europe. A large work, such as has been done in America, can be done in Europe. Let sanitariums be established, let hygienic restaurants be started. Let the light of present truth shine forth from the press. Let the work of translating our books go forward. I have been shown that in the European countries lights will be kindled in many places.
There are many places where the Lord's work has not a proper showing. Help is needed in Italy, in France, in Scotland, and in many other countries. A larger work should be done in these places. Laborers are needed. There is talent among God's people in Europe, and the Lord desires this talent to be employed in establishing all through Great Britain and the continent, centers from which the light of His truth may shine forth.
There is a work to be done in Scandinavia. God is just as willing to work through Scandinavian believers as through American believers.
My brethren, bind up with the Lord God of hosts. Let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. The time has come for His work to be enlarged. Troublous times are before us, but if we stand together in Christian fellowship, none striving for supremacy, God will work mightily for us.
Let us be hopeful and courageous. Despondency in God's service is sinful and unreasonable. He knows our every necessity. He has all power. He can bestow upon His servants the measure of efficiency that their need demands. His infinite love and compassion never weary. With the majesty of omnipotence He unites the gentleness and care of a tender shepherd. We need have no fear that He will not fulfill His promises. He is eternal truth. Never will He change the covenant that He has made with those that love Him. His promises to His church stand fast forever. He will make her an eternal excellence, a joy of many generations.
Study the forty-first chapter of Isaiah, and strive to understand it in all its significance. God declares: "I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it." Isaiah 41:18-20.
He who has chosen Christ has joined himself to a power that no array of human wisdom or strength can overthrow. "Fear thou not; for I am with thee," He declares; "be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness." "I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee." Verses 10, 13.
"To whom then will ye liken Me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth. Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:25-31.
The light of truth is to shine to the ends of the earth. Greater and still greater light is beaming with celestial brightness from the Redeemer's face upon His representatives, to be diffused through the darkness of a benighted world. As laborers together with Him, let us pray for the sanctification of His Spirit, that we may shine more and more brightly.
The light of truth for this time is now shining upon the cabinets of kings. The attention of statesmen is being called to the Bible,--the statute book of the nations,--and they are comparing their national laws with its statutes. As representatives for Christ we have no time to lose. Our efforts are not to be confined to a few places where the light has become so abundant that it is not appreciated. The gospel message is to be proclaimed to all nations and kindreds and tongues and peoples.
A View of the Conflict
In vision I saw two armies in terrible conflict. One army was led by banners bearing the world's insignia; the other was led by the bloodstained banner of Prince Immanuel. Standard after standard was left to trail in the dust as company after company from the Lord's army joined the foe and tribe after tribe from the ranks of the enemy united with the commandment-keeping people of God. An angel flying in the midst of heaven put the standard of Immanuel into many hands, while a mighty general cried out with a loud voice: "Come into line. Let those who are loyal to the commandments of God and the testimony of Christ now take their position. Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters. Let all who will come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty."
The battle raged. Victory alternated from side to side. Now the soldiers of the cross gave way, "as when a standardbearer fainteth." Isaiah 10:18. But their apparent retreat was but to gain a more advantageous position. Shouts of joy were heard. A song of praise to God went up, and angel voices united in the song, as Christ's soldiers planted His banner on the walls of fortresses till then held by the enemy. The Captain of our salvation was ordering the battle and sending support to His soldiers. His power was mightily displayed, encouraging them to press the battle to the gates. He taught them terrible things in righteousness as He led them on step by step, conquering and to conquer.
At last the victory was gained. The army following the banner with the inscription, "The commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus," was gloriously triumphant. The soldiers of Christ were close beside the gates of the city, and with joy the city received her King. The kingdom of peace and joy and everlasting righteousness was established.
Now the church is militant. Now we are confronted with a world in midnight darkness, almost wholly given over to idolatry. But the day is coming in which the battle will have been fought, the victory won. The will of God is to be done on earth, as it is done in heaven. Then the nations will own no other law than the law of heaven. All will be a happy, united family, clothed with the garments of praise and thanksgiving --the robe of Christ's righteousness. All nature, in its surpassing loveliness, will offer to God a constant tribute of praise and adoration. The world will be bathed in the light of heaven. The years will move on in gladness. The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold greater than it is now. Over the scene the morning stars will sing together, and the sons of God will shout for joy, while God and Christ will unite in proclaiming: "There shall be no more sin, neither shall there be any more death."
This is the scene that is presented to me. But the church must and will fight against seen and unseen foes. Satan's agencies in human form are on the ground. Men have confederated to oppose the Lord of hosts. These confederacies will continue until Christ shall leave His place of intercession before the mercy seat and shall put on the garments of vengeance. Satanic agencies are in every city, busily organizing into parties those opposed to the law of God. Professed saints and avowed unbelievers take their stand with these parties. This is no time for the people of God to be weaklings. We cannot afford to be off our guard for one moment.
"Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor 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 unto you the whole armor 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." Ephesians 6:10-17.
"This I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God." Philippians 1:9-11.
"Let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: . . . stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; and in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake." Verses 27-29.
There are revealed in these last days visions of future glory, scenes pictured by the hand of God, and these should be dear to His church. What sustained the Son of God in His betrayal and trial? He saw of the travail of His soul and was satisfied. He caught a view of the expanse of eternity and saw the happiness of those who through His humiliation should receive pardon and everlasting life. He was wounded for their transgressions, bruised for their iniquities. The chastisement of their peace was upon Him, and with His stripes they were healed. His ear caught the shout of the redeemed. He heard the ransomed ones singing the song of Moses and the Lamb.
We must have a vision of the future and of the blessedness of heaven. Stand on the threshold of eternity, and hear the gracious welcome given to those who in this life have cooperated with Christ, regarding it as a privilege and an honor suffer for His sake. As they unite with the angels, they cast their crowns at the feet of the Redeemer, exclaiming: "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. . . . Honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." Revelation 5:12, 13.
There the redeemed ones greet those who directed them to the uplifted Saviour. They unite in praising Him who died that human beings might have the life that measures with the life of God. The conflict is over. All tribulation and strife are at an end. Songs of victory fill all heaven as the redeemed stand around the throne of God. All take up the joyful strain: "Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and lives again, a triumphant conqueror."
"I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb." Revelation 7:9, 10.
"These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. "And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Verses 14-17; 21:4.
Will you catch the inspiration of the vision? Will you let your mind dwell upon the picture? Will you not be truly converted, and then go forth to labor in a spirit entirely different from the spirit in which you have labored in the past, displacing the enemy, breaking down every barrier to the advancement of the gospel, filling hearts with the light and peace and joy of the Lord? Shall not the miserable spirit of faultfinding and murmuring be buried, never to have a resurrection? Shall not the incense of praise and thanksgiving ascend from hearts purified and sanctified and glorified by the presence of Christ? Shall we not in faith lay hold of sinners and bring them to the cross?
Who will now consecrate themselves to the service of the Lord? Who will now pledge themselves not to affiliate with the world, but to come out from the world and be separate, refusing to pollute the soul with the worldly schemes and practices that have been keeping the church under the enemy's influence?
We are in this world to lift the cross of self-denial. As we lift this cross we shall find that it lifts us. Let every Christian stand in his place, catching the inspiration of the work that Christ did for souls while in this world. We need the ardor of the Christian hero, who can endure the seeing of Him who is invisible. Our faith is to have a resurrection. The soldiers of the cross are to exert a positive influence for good. Christ says: "He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad." Matthew 12:30. Indifference in the Christian life is a manifest denial of the Saviour.
Should we not see in the world today Christians who in all the features of their work are worthy of the name they bear? Who aspire to the doing of deeds worthy of valiant soldiers of the cross? We are living near the close of the great conflict, when many souls are to be rescued from the slavery of sin. We are living in a time when to Christ's followers the promise specially belongs: "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end." Matthew 28:20. He who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, He who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light, bids us let our light shine brightly before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven. In such rich measure has light been given to God's people that Christ is justified in telling them that they are to be the light of the world.
To our physicians and ministers I send the message: Lay hold of the Lord's work as if you believed the truth for this time. Medical missionary workers and workers in the gospel ministry are to be bound together by indissoluble ties. Their work is to be done with freshness and power. Throughout our churches there is to be a reconversion and a reconsecration to service. Shall we not, in our work in the future and in the gatherings that we hold, be of one accord? Shall we not wrestle with God in prayer, asking for the Holy Spirit to come into every heart? The presence of Christ, manifest among us, would cure the leprosy of unbelief that has made our service so weak and inefficient. We need the breath of the divine life breathed into us. We are to be channels through which the Lord can send light and grace to the world. Backsliders are to be reclaimed. We are to put away our sins, by confession and repentance humbling our proud hearts before God. Floods of spiritual power are to be poured forth upon those prepared to receive it.
If we but realized how earnestly Jesus worked to sow the world with gospel seed, we, living at the very close of probation, would labor untiringly to give the bread of life to perishing souls. Why are we so cold and indifferent? Why are our hearts so unimpressible? Why are we so unwilling to give ourselves to the work to which Christ consecrated His life? Something must be done to cure the terrible indifference that has taken hold upon us. Let us bow our heads in humiliation as we see how much less we have done than we might have done to sow the seeds of truth.
My dear brethren and sisters, I speak to you in words of love and tenderness. Arouse and consecrate yourselves unreservedly to the work of giving the light of truth for this time to those in darkness. Catch the spirit of the great Master Worker. Learn from the Friend of sinners how to minister to sin-sick souls. Remember that in the lives of His followers must be seen the same devotion, the same subjection to God's work, of every social claim, every earthly affection, that was seen in His life. God's claims must always be made paramount. Christ's example is to inspire us to put forth unceasing effort for the good of others.
God calls upon every church member to enter His service. Truth that is not lived, that is not imparted to others, loses its life-giving power, its healing virtue. Everyone must learn to work and to stand in his place as a burden bearer. Every addition to the church should be one more agency for the carrying out of the great plan of redemption. The entire church, acting as one, blending in perfect union, is to be a living, active missionary agency, moved and controlled by the Holy Spirit.
It is not alone by men in high positions of responsibility, not alone by men holding positions on boards or committees, not alone by the managers of our sanitariums and publishing houses, that the work is to be done which will cause the earth to be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. This work can be accomplished only by the whole church acting their part under the guidance and in the power of Christ.