"To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe." Philippians 3:1.
The Value of Trial
En Route to Copenhagen, July 16, 1886. To the Medical Superintendent of the Battle Creek Sanitarium --
My Dear Brother: I have the most tender love for you, and I would that those who are pursuing you with reproach would let you alone. But, my brother, you must remember that these perplexities and annoyances are included in the "all things" that work together for good to those who love God. The Lord's eye is upon you, and He beholds those who would misrepresent you and tear you to pieces. But if you will be of good courage, if you will stay your soul upon God, if you will trust your heavenly Father as a child trusts its parent, if you will deal justly and love mercy, God can and will work with you. His promise is sure: "Them that honor Me I will honor." 1 Samuel 2:30.
Remember that your experience is not the first of the kind. You know the history of Joseph and of Daniel. The Lord did not prevent the plottings of wicked men; but He caused their devices to work for good to those who, amidst trial and conflict, preserved their faith and loyalty.
The furnace fires are not to destroy, but to refine, ennoble, sanctify. Without trial we should not feel so much our need of God and His help; and we should become proud and self-sufficient. In the trials that come to you I see evidence that the Lord's eye is upon you and that He means to draw you to Himself. It is not the whole, but the wounded, who need a physician; it is those who are pressed almost beyond the point of endurance who need a helper. Turn to the stronghold. Learn the precious lesson: "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30.
Jesus loves you, and I am made glad as I read of the experience through which you are passing, not because you are a sufferer, but because this is an evidence to me that the Lord Jesus is testing and proving you, to see if you will come to Him, to see if you will put your trust in Him and find peace and rest in His love. I am praying for you, that you may come to Him, the Fountain of living water. This is the experience that every one of us must have if we ever dwell with Christ in the mansions that He has gone to prepare for us. You have lessons of the highest value to learn in the school of Christ, lessons that will lead you to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
It is when you are prospered, when all men speak well of you, that you are in danger. Be on your guard, for you will be tried. My greatest fear for you has been that you would have too great prosperity, and that you would fail to learn that your dependence is alone upon God. You have been placed in a position of great trust and honor, and there has been danger of your becoming dizzy and forgetting your dependence upon God. You have been placed where you can exert a far-reaching influence for good if you keep your eye single to the glory of God. Your heavenly Father loves you, and He will draw you to Himself by the trials that seem to you severe.
I have a most earnest desire that you shall enter the city of God, not as a culprit barely pardoned, but as a conqueror. My brother, will you think of this? If you are true and humble and faithful in this life, you will be given an abundant entrance. Then the tree of life will be yours, for you will be a victor over sin; the city whose builder and maker is God will be your city. Let your imagination take hold upon things unseen. Let your thoughts be carried away to the evidences of the great love of God for you. In contemplating the object of which you are in pursuit, you will lose the sense of pain brought by the light afflictions that are but for a moment.
Copenhagen, July 17, 1886.
Paul was a man who knew what it means to be a partaker of Christ's sufferings. You have no need that I repeat the history of his trials. His life was one of constant activity, notwithstanding he was subject to many infirmities. He was continually followed by the hatred and malice of the Jews. They were exceedingly bitter against him and did all in their power to hinder him in his work. Yet we hear his voice sounding down along the line of our time: "Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." "I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." 2 Corinthians 4:17, 18; Romans 8:18. None too highly does Paul estimate the privileges and advantages of the Christian life. I speak with no hesitancy about this matter, for I know for myself that what he says is true.
Resting in God's Love
Paul says further: "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." Verses 14, 15. One of the lessons that we are to learn in the school of Christ is that the Lord's love for us is far greater than that of our earthly parents. We are to have unquestioning faith and perfect confidence in Him. "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together." Verses 16, 17.
May the Lord help you, as a diligent student in the school of Christ, to learn to lay your burdens on Jesus. And if you are free in His love, you will look above and away from these annoying trials. Think of what Jesus has endured for you, and never forget that it is part of the legacy that we have received as Christians, to be partakers with Him of His sufferings, that we may be partakers with Him of His glory.
The Danger of Self-Sufficiency
Study Nebuchadnezzar's dream as recorded in the fourth chapter of Daniel. The king saw a lofty tree planted in the earth. Flocks and herds from the mountains and hills enjoyed its shelter, and the birds of the air built their nests in its branches. Thus were represented Nebuchadnezzar's greatness and prosperity. Nations were gathered under his sovereignty. His kingdom was firmly established in the hearts of his loyal subjects.
The king saw his prosperity, and because of it he was lifted up. Notwithstanding the warnings that God had given him, he did the very things which the Lord had told him not to do.
He looked upon his kingdom with pride and exclaimed: "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?" Daniel 4:30. The instant that the words were uttered, the sentence of judgment was pronounced. The king's reason was taken away. The judgment that he had thought so perfect, the wisdom that he had prided himself on possessing, were removed. The jewel of the mind, that which elevates man above the beasts, he no longer retained.
The scepter is no longer held in the hand of a proud and powerful monarch. The mighty ruler is a maniac. He now herds with the cattle to eat as they eat. He is a companion of the beasts of the field. The brow that once wore a coronet is disfigured by the absence of reason and intellect. The mandate has gone forth: "Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit." Verse 14.
So the Lord magnifies Himself as the true and living God. Well might David exclaim: "I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found." Psalm 37:35, 36. Let men become lifted up in pride, and the Lord will not sustain them and keep them from falling. Let a church become proud and boastful, not depending on God, not exalting His power, and that church will surely be left by the Lord, to be brought down to the ground. Let a people glory in wealth, intellect, knowledge, or in anything but Christ, and they will soon be brought to confusion.
Our Burden Bearer
My brother, remember that this earth is not heaven. Christ has declared: "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." John 16:33; Matthew 5:10-12.
Jesus has not left you to be amazed at the trials and difficulties you meet. He has told you all about them, and He has told you also not to be cast down and oppressed when trials come. Look to Jesus, your Redeemer, and be cheerful and rejoice. The trials hardest to bear are those that come from our brethren, our own familiar friends; but even these trials may be borne with patience. Jesus is not lying in Joseph's new tomb. He has risen and has ascended to heaven, there to intercede in our behalf. We have a Saviour who so loved us that He died for us, that through Him we might have hope and strength and courage, and a place with Him upon His throne. He is able and willing to help you whenever you call upon Him.
If you try to carry your burdens alone you will be crushed under them. You have heavy responsibilities. Jesus knows about them, and He will not leave you alone if you do not leave Him. He is honored when you commit the keeping of your soul to Him as unto a faithful Creator. He bids you hope in His mercy, believing that He does not desire you to carry these weighty responsibilities in your own strength. Only believe, and you will see the salvation of God.
Do you feel your insufficiency for the position of trust that you occupy? Thank God for this. The more you feel your weakness, the more you will be inclined to seek for a helper. "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you." James 4:8. Jesus wants you to be happy, to be cheerful. He wants you to do your best with the ability that God has given you and then trust the Lord to help you and to raise up those who will be your helpers in carrying burdens.
Let not the unkind speeches of men hurt you. Did not men say unkind things about Jesus? You err, and may sometimes give occasion for unkind remarks; but Jesus never did. He was pure, spotless, undefiled. Do not expect a better portion in this life than the Prince of glory had. When your enemies see that they can make you feel hurt, they will rejoice, and Satan will rejoice. Look to Jesus, and work with an eye single to His glory. Keep your heart in the love of God.
Looking Away From Men
It may be that even the members of the church to which you belong will say and do that which will grieve you. But move right on, calm and peaceful, ever trusting in Jesus, remembering that you are not your own, that you are Christ's property, the purchase of the blood of God's beloved Son, and that you are engaged in His work, seeking to bless humanity. This is a great work. Do not let the perversity of men move you from firm trust and abiding faith in the promises of God.
It hurts you when one for whom you have done much becomes your enemy, having been brought under an influence opposed to you. But do you not do almost the same thing to Jesus when you turn away from Him? He has been your best friend. He has done everything He could to win your love. He has invited your confidence. He has asked you to come to Him with all your burdens and all your griefs, and has pledged His word to give you rest and peace if you will wear His yoke and bear His burdens. He declares that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Show that you believe this. Take God at His word. You never could have stood where you now stand, bearing the responsibilities that you have borne, unless Jesus had given you special help. Acknowledge this. Praise God for the help that He has been to you, and trust Him still.
Bring Christ into your life. Do not feel that you are answerable for the wrong course of others, even though they are in the church. There are in the church unfaithful ones who treat Jesus far worse than they treat you. Were He on earth, they would insult Him, revile Him, defame Him. "It must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." "It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." Matthew 18:7, 6.
You are carrying a heavy load. I wish that everyone could feel this as I do. I wish that all your brethren would be true and faithful to you, not hindering you, not extolling or glorifying you, but looking upon you as one whom God is using as His instrument to do a given work, and remembering that they must not block the wheels, but must put their shoulder to the wheel, helping instead of hindering.
An Eternal Weight of Glory
Again I say: Rejoice in the Lord. Rest in Him. You need His power, and this power you may have. Go forward firmly, valiantly, courageously. You may err in judgment, but do not lose your hold on Jesus. He is wisdom, He is light, He is power. He is to you as a great Rock in a weary land. Rest under His shadow. You need wisdom, and Jesus will give it to you. Do not be unbelieving. The more you are jostled, misapprehended, misstated, misrepresented, the more evidence you have that you are doing a work for the Master, and the more closely you must cling to your Saviour. In all your difficulties be calm and undisturbed, patient and forbearing, not rendering evil for evil, but good for evil. Look to the top of the ladder. God is above it. His glory shines on every soul ascending heavenward. Jesus is this ladder. Climb up by Him, cling to Him, and erelong you will step off the ladder into His everlasting kingdom.
I want you to have heaven. I know of no one who would appreciate heaven more than you, who have worked so untiringly to relieve suffering humanity, depriving yourself of sleep, neglecting to take food, bringing but little enjoyment into your life. At times there does not seem to be much sunshine in your path, only one long, continuous shadow. The afflictions you see, the dependent mortals looking and longing for help, your contact with depraved, corrupted human beings --this experience is of a character to undermine your faith in humanity.
You must, indeed, look to Jesus, keeping your eyes fixed on the glory at the top of the ladder. Through Christ alone can you make sure of heaven, where all is purity, holiness, peace, and blessedness, where there are glories that mortal lips cannot describe. The nearest we can come to a description of the reward that awaits the overcomer is to say that it is a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. It will be an eternity of bliss, a blessed eternity, unfolding new glories throughout the ceaseless ages.
You must be there. Whatever you lose here, be determined to make sure of eternal life. Never become discouraged. Many times I have seen that the everlasting arms were round about you, when you did not seem to realize or appreciate the great condescension of heaven. Live for Jesus. You can work better as a physician in the sanitarium if you make Christ your physician in chief. Seek earnestly for the crown of life. Make a business of serving God. It will pay, not only in this life, but in the life to come. I feel as deep an interest in you and your wife, whom I love in the Lord, as I do in my own sons and their wives. I want you and your wife to be among the redeemed, to act a part in the coronation of Christ. I greatly desire that you shall come off more than conqueror through Him who gave His life for you. For this reason, my brother, I have spoken plainly to you. I am so desirous that you should have an eternity of bliss. Your position has been most trying. I have feared that you would lose faith and courage. You must grow in grace and in a knowledge of the truth. You must draw close to your brethren. Whatever may come, do not lose faith in them or in Christ; and hold fast to the truth.
Extract from a letter written in 1892 from Adelaide, South Australia .--My brother, you will meet with trials, but hold fast your integrity. Never show anything but a noble spirit. The heavenly universe is watching the conflict. Satan is watching, anxious to catch you off your guard, anxious to see you acting impetuously, that he may obtain the advantage over you. Fight manfully the battle of the Lord. Do just as Christ would do were He in your place. Let there be no inconsistency in your faith or practice. Do not allow yourself to become wrought up over the vexatious troubles that are constantly arising. Keep calm, think of Jesus, and do what you can to please Him. The grace of Christ and the Holy Spirit are God's gifts to you, that you may be strengthened with all might in the inner man.
Centering Too Much in Battle Creek
South Lancaster, Massachusetts, October 16, 1890. To the Managers of the Battle Creek Sanitarium --
Dear Brethren: While in Petoskey I had some conversation with your physician in chief in regard to establishing a home for orphan children at Battle Creek. I said that this was just what was needed among us as a people, and that in enterprises of this kind we were far behind other denominations.
In my conversation I spoke of my fear that we were centering too many responsibilities in Battle Creek, and I am still of the same opinion. It is perilous to center so much in one locality. A large amount of means is being expended in this one place, while cities are neglected that will become more and more difficult to work.
I have been looking over some of my writings, and I find that warnings on this point were given years ago. It is plainly stated that the buildings in Battle Creek should not be enlarged, that building should not be added to building to increase facilities there. We were instructed not to accumulate interests in that one place, but to enlarge our sphere of labor. There was danger that Battle Creek would become as Jerusalem of old--a powerful center. If we do not heed these warnings, the evils that ruined Jerusalem will come upon us. Pride, self-exaltation, neglect of the poor, and partiality to the wealthy--these were the sins of Jerusalem. Today when large interests are built up in one place, the workers are tempted to become lifted up in selfishness and pride. When they yield to this temptation they are not laborers together with God. Instead of seeking to increase our responsibilities in Battle Creek, we should bravely and willingly divide the responsibilities already there, distributing them to many places.
We are "a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men." 1 Corinthians 4:9. Our mission is the same as that which was announced by Christ, at the beginning of His ministry, to be His mission. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me," He said, "because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." Luke 4:18, 19.
We are to carry forward the work placed in our hands by the Master. He says: "If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not." "The poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land." "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." Isaiah 58:10, 11; Deuteronomy 15:11; Matthew 7:12.
We shall be tempted to be covetous, to be avaricious, to cultivate an insatiable desire for more. If we yield to this temptation, it will bring upon us the same perils that fell upon ancient Jerusalem. We shall fail to know God and to represent Him in character. We need to watch ourselves closely lest we fall because of unbelief, as did the Jews. We are to work unselfishly. We are to feel a deep interest in the establishment and growth of other institutions besides those over which we have supervision. I sincerely wish that the sanitarium were miles away from Battle Creek. From the light given me of God, I know this would be better for its spirituality and usefulness. The college near Lincoln, Nebraska, will take a large number from Battle Creek, and this is as it should be. The light should shine forth from other places, as well as from Battle Creek. God designs that light shall shine forth from different cities and various localities.
To center so much in one place is a mistake; it savors of selfishness. Battle Creek is receiving more than its share of advantages. Were the important interests established there divided and subdivided, strength would be given to other churches. We are to labor unselfishly in the Lord's great vineyard, dividing time, money, educational interests, and ministerial institutes in such a way that as large a number as possible shall reap the benefit. The ambition that leads men to center so many facilities in Battle Creek should be restricted, that other places may be blessed with the benefits that some have planned to center there. In centering so much in one place, a wrong education is given to the people.
To plan largely for Battle Creek is not wise. The world is our field of labor, and the money expended in this one place would go far toward carrying forward successful aggressive work in other places. There are many cities in which the people need the gospel message. Instead of so many of our workers of talent being centered in Battle Creek, men of sanctified ability should be assigned to posts of activity in different localities. These men should have a living interest in many places, studying ways and means by which to advance the work. They are not to move in their own judgment, but are to blend together in the great work. From year to year, as the work strengthens in the place in which they are laboring, they are to educate and train workers, and send help to other places.
Unselfishness in Service
A limit must be set to the expansion of our institutions in Battle Creek. The field is the world, and God has an interest in other parts of His great vineyard. There are churches and institutions that are straining every nerve to get standing room, that they may live. Let our prosperous institutions see to it that they strengthen the things that remain which are ready to die. How easily might the large church in Battle Creek appropriate some of its means for the aid of the poorer churches, which are nearly crushed under a load of debt! Why is it that these sister churches are left from year to year to struggle with poverty and debt? Selfishness brings spiritual death. What great good our more able churches might accomplish if they would aid their sister churches, bringing them to a condition of prosperity!
Helping Those Who Need Help
As God's agencies we are to have hearts of flesh, full of the charity that prompts us to be helpful to those more needy than ourselves. If we see our brethren and sisters struggling under poverty and debt, if we see churches that are in need of financial aid, we should manifest an unselfish interest in them and help them in proportion as God has prospered us. If you who have charge of an institution see other institutions bravely struggling for standing room so that they may do a work similar to the work of the institutions with which you are connected, do not be jealous.
Do not seek to push a working force out of existence and to exalt yourselves in conscious superiority. Rather, curtail some of your large plans, and help those who are struggling. Aid them in carrying out some of their plans to increase their facilities. Do not use every dollar in enlarging your facilities and increasing your responsibilities. Reserve part of your means for establishing in other places health institutions and schools. You will need great wisdom to know just where to place these institutions so that the people will be the most benefited. All these matters must receive candid consideration.
Those in positions of responsibility will need wisdom from on high in order to deal justly, to love mercy, and to show mercy, not only to a few, but to everyone with whom they come in contact. Christ identifies His interests with those of His people, no matter how poor and needy they may be. Missions must be opened for the colored people, and everyone should seek to do something and to do it now.
There is need that institutions be established in different places, that men and women may be set at work to do their best in the fear of God. No one should lose sight of his mission and work. Everyone should aim to carry forward to a successful issue the work placed in his hands. All our institutions should keep this in mind and strive for success; but at the same time let them remember that their success will increase in proportion as they exercise disinterested liberality, sharing their abundance with institutions that are struggling for a foot hold. Our prosperous institutions should help those institutions that God has said should live and prosper, but which are still struggling for an existence. There is among us a very limited amount of real, unselfish love. The Lord says: "Everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." "If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us." 1 John 4:7, 8, 12. It is not pleasing to God to see man looking only upon his own things, closing his eyes to the interests of others.
What One Institution can Do for Another
In the providence of God the Battle Creek Sanitarium has been greatly prospered, and during this coming year those in charge should restrict their wants. Instead of doing all that they desire to do in enlarging their facilities, they should do unselfish work for God, reaching out the hand of charity to interests centered in other places. What benefit they could confer upon the Rural Health Retreat, at St. Helena, by giving a few thousand dollars to this enterprise! Such a donation would give courage to those in charge, inspiring them to move forward and upward.
Donations were made to the Battle Creek Sanitarium in its earlier history, and should not this sanitarium consider carefully what it can do for its sister institution on the Pacific Coast? My brethren in Battle Creek, does it not seem in accordance with God's order to restrict your wants, to curtail your building operations, not enlarging our institutions in that center? Why should you not feel that it is your privilege and duty to help those who need help?
A Reformation Needed
I have been instructed that a reformation is needed along these lines, that more liberality should prevail among us. There is constant danger that even Seventh-day Adventists will be overcome with selfish ambition and will desire to center all the means and power in the interests over which they especially preside. There is danger that men will permit a jealous feeling to arise in their hearts and that they will become envious of interests that are as important as those which they are handling. Those who cherish the grace of pure Christianity cannot look with indifference upon any part of the work in the Lord's great vineyard. Those who are truly converted will have an equal interest in the work in all parts of the vineyard and will be ready to help wherever help is needed.
It is selfishness that hinders men from sending help to those places where the work of God is not as prosperous as it is in the institution over which they have supervision. Those who bear responsibilities should carefully seek for the good of every branch of the cause and work of God. They should encourage and sustain the interests in other fields as well as the interests in their own. Thus the bonds of brotherhood would be strengthened between members of God's family on earth, and the door would be closed to the petty jealousies and heartburnings that position and prosperity are sure to arouse unless the grace of God controls the heart.
"This I say," Paul wrote: "He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work;" being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; and by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be unto God for His Unspeakable Gift." 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, 11-15.
The Living Principle of Brotherhood
God's law is fulfilled only as men love Him with heart, mind, soul, and strength, and their neighbor as themselves. It is the manifestation of this love that brings glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will to men. The Lord is glorified when the great end of His law is attained. It is the work of the Holy Spirit from age to age to impart love to human hearts, for love is the living principle of brotherhood.
Not one nook or corner of the soul is to be a hiding place for selfishness. God desires that heaven's plan shall be carried out, and heaven's divine order and harmony prevail, in every family, in every church, in every institution. Did this love leaven society, we should see the outworking of noble principles of Christian refinement and courtesy, and in Christian charity toward the purchase of the blood of Christ. Spiritual transformation would be seen in all our families, in our institutions, in our churches. When this transformation takes place, these agencies will become instrumentalities by which God will impart heaven's light to the world and thus, through divine discipline and training, fit men and women for the society of heaven.
Jesus has gone to prepare mansions for those who are preparing themselves, through His love and grace, for the abodes of bliss. In the family of God in heaven there will not be found one who is selfish. The peace and harmony of the heavenly courts will not be marred by the presence of one who is rough or unkind. He who in this world exalts self in the work given him to do will never see the kingdom of God unless he is changed in spirit, unless he becomes meek and lowly, revealing the simplicity of a little child.
The Only Safe Course
Those who bear responsibilities in our institutions should daily seek the way of the Lord. They should not feel qualified to choose their own way, for in so doing they will walk in the light of the sparks of their own kindling. God alone is to be their guide. Those who seek a wider sphere, those who would have greater freedom than God appoints, those who fail to make Him their counselor, their wisdom, their sanctification, and their righteousness, will never win the crown of life. Day by day the soul needs the religion of Christ. Those who drink deeply of His Spirit will not be ambitious for themselves. They will realize that they cannot go beyond the domain of God, for God reigns everywhere.
He who is fully content to receive his commission from above will be cheered by the promises of God, as he seeks to do justice and judgment. To have unwavering trust in God, to be a doer of His word, is to pursue a safe course. The counsel of God simplifies the perplexities of business transactions and domestic duties. The followers of Christ who work with an eye single to the glory of God will have heavenly wisdom. But it is a painful fact that in our churches and institutions there is a great lack of true Christianity. May the Lord help those who are bearing responsibilities to unite with one another in their work and to become laborers together with God.
Christ said to His disciples: "Ye are the light of the world." Matthew 5:14. Then how important it is that every soul shall keep his light trimmed and burning, that he may give light to all with whom he comes in contact. God has made His people the depositaries of sacred truth. Talents have been committed to them for wise improvement, for God designs that by constant use their talents shall be multiplied.
The Danger from Enlargement
My brethren, the enlarging of your facilities, the increasing of your numbers, is not after the order of the Lord. Large buildings call for large patronage, and large patronage calls for men of education and talent, and for men of deep religious experience, to conduct the institution in the ways of God; and to manage it with tact and skill demands that there shall be a general increase in spiritual experience, that the fear of God shall circulate through the sanitarium in order that popular patronage shall not mold and fashion it, and thus cause it to cease to be that which God designed it to be--a refuge for the poor and lowly. Those who are steadfast to the truth should not be set aside in favor of worldlings. Prices should not be set so high to meet current expenses that the poor will, to a large extent, be excluded from the benefits of the sanitarium.
With the present talent and facilities, it is impossible for the physician in chief to do all that is essential to be done in the various branches and departments, much as he may desire to do this. It is not possible for him to give personal supervision to all parts of the work.
This matter has been opened up before me again and again. While there is continual growth in the institution, while the buildings are enlarging and the responsibilities increasing, there is not a corresponding growth in the talent and capability necessary for the management of so large an enterprise. Will our physician in chief and the members of the board consider this? My brother, you are not immortal. I thank the Lord that you are as wise concerning your health as you are. But you cannot always do as you are now doing. Your health may fail. Your life is uncertain, and it has been set before me that there ought to be three times as large a working force in the sanitarium as there is. Even then the workers would all have an abundance to do if they did their work well.
The Question of Wages
The institution is now in a prosperous condition, and its managers should not insist upon the low rate of wages that was necessary in its earlier years. Worthy, efficient workers should receive reasonable wages for their labor, and they should be left to exercise their own judgment as to the use they make of their wages. In no case should they be overworked. The physician in chief himself should have larger wages.
To the physician in chief I wish to say: Although you have not the matter of wages under your personal supervision, it is best for you to look carefully into this matter; for you are responsible, as the head of the institution. Do not call upon the workers to do so much of the sacrificing. Restrict your ambition to enlarge the institution and to accumulate responsibilities. Let some of the means flowing into the sanitarium be given to the institutions needing help. This is certainly right. It is in accordance with God's will and way, and it will bring the blessing of God upon the sanitarium.
I wish to say particularly to the board of directors: "Remember that the workers should be paid according to their faithfulness. God requires us to deal with one another in the strictest faithfulness. Some of you are overburdened with cares and responsibilities, and I have been instructed that there is danger of your becoming selfish and wronging those whom you employ."
Each business transaction, whether it has to do with a worker occupying a position of responsibility or with the lowliest worker connected with the sanitarium, should be such as God can approve. Walk in the light while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you. It would be far better to expend less in buildings and give your workers wages that are in accordance with the value of their work, exercising toward them mercy and justice.
From the light that the Lord has been pleased to give me, I know that He is not pleased with many things which have taken place in reference to the workers. God has not laid every particular open to me, but warnings have come that in many things decided reformation is needed. I have been shown that there is need of fathers and mothers in Israel being united with the institution. Devoted men and women should be employed, who, because they are not continually pressed with cares and responsibilities, can look after the spiritual interests of the employees. It is necessary that such men and women should be constantly at work in missionary lines in this large institution. Not half is being done that should be done in this respect. It should be the part of these men and women to labor for the employees in spiritual lines, giving them instruction that will teach them how to win souls, showing them that this is to be done, not by much talking, but by a consistent, Christlike life. The workers are exposed to worldly influences; but instead of being molded by these influences, they should be consecrated missionaries, controlled by an influence that elevates and refines. Thus they will learn how to meet unbelievers and how to exert an influence that will win them to Christ.
Extract from a letter written in 1895 from Cooranbong, New South Wales.--God has a work for every believer who labors in the sanitarium. Every nurse is to be a channel of blessing, receiving light from above and letting it shine forth to others. The workers are not to conform to fashionable display of those who come to the sanitarium for treatment, but are to consecrate themselves to God. The atmosphere that surrounds their souls is to be a savor of life unto life. Temptations will beset them on every side, but let them ask God for His presence and guidance. The Lord said to Moses: "Certainly I will be with thee;" and to every faithful, consecrated worker the same assurance is given.
Go Forth Into Many Places
Cooranbong, N. S. W., July 15, 1895.
To a Physician in Battle Creek --
My Dear Brother: I received your letters yesterday and read them with deep interest. I am always glad to hear from you concerning your family and the institution in which you are bearing responsibilities of no ordinary character. Your only safety is in obeying the word of the Lord, in walking in the light of His countenance. The enemy is continually seeking to devise methods by which he may steal a march upon us, and we need to pay strict heed to the cautions given by God.
If those who in the past have been standard-bearers in the work of God had walked in the lines that He has marked out, they would better have honored Him and would have had increased usefulness. Some whose voices are now silent in death might have lived to warn, entreat, and advise. If those who in past years had been entrusted with large responsibilities had heeded the warnings and entreaties of the Spirit of God, they would now be walking before Him in strength and efficiency. When men educate others to rely on them and trust in them, when, by pen or voice, they dictate to others as to what they should do, they are teaching others to make flesh their arm, to give glory to human beings rather than to God.
We are safe only as we exalt Christ, speaking in praise of His excellence. Isaiah says: "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this." Isaiah 9:6, 7.
There is danger that men will receive the counsel of men, when by so doing they will discard the counsel of God. Oh, what lessons all must learn before they will understand that God seeth not as man seeth. The Lord says: "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways. . . . For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8, 9. Unless there is a decided reformation among the people of God, He will turn His face from them.
My brother, there is need of constant watchfulness, lest, in Battle Creek, building shall be piled upon building and advantage heaped upon advantage. The means thus expended will testify against us. You should put wise plans into operation and scatter the influence that is centering in Battle Creek, diffusing the light that God has given you. Blessed are they that sow beside all waters. The more there is invested in Battle Creek, the greater will be the demand for additional investment; but this is not in the order of God, and before a very long period of time shall pass, the mistake of centering interests in Battle Creek will be made evident.
In adding building to building in Battle Creek, we are encouraging neglect of other fields. Superabundant advantages there mean destitution elsewhere. Other parts of the vineyard are robbed of the means they should have. Means should be invested elsewhere in winning souls to the truth and in providing houses of worship for them.
God has pointed out the fact that it is the duty of those in Battle Creek to help His institutions in other places. As a wise steward of means you should scatter your forces, using the power of your influence to help those in darkness to know God as He is.
The Need of Broader Plans
How many towns and cities there are that are utterly neglected. Our people are injuring themselves by crowding into one place. When trees in a nursery are crowded thickly together, they cannot grow healthfully and sturdily. Transplant trees from your thickly planted nursery. God is not glorified in the centering of so many advantages in one place. Give room; put your plants in many places, where one will not lean for support upon another. Give them room to grow. This the Lord demands of you.
The means expended in enlarging your advantages in Battle Creek, which are already overgrown and have passed reasonable limits, should be used in establishing missionary stations elsewhere. You should broaden your plans and widen the field of your operations. You should send wise men into the cities and towns that have not yet heard the gospel message. Pick out the best men you can possibly spare, and give them opportunity to become caretakers and burden bearers. Let them have opportunity to develop the talents that in the past have lain idle. Place them where they can use their God-given abilities in calling sinners to repentance. Let men who make it manifest that they love God have a chance to do something for Him.
Let men learn to pray earnestly, and let them make their prayers short and right to the point. Let them learn to speak of the world's Redeemer and to lift up the Man of Calvary higher and still higher.
All the preaching in the world will not make men feel deeply the need of the perishing souls around them. Nothing will so arouse in men and women a self-sacrificing zeal as to send them forth into new fields to work for those in darkness. Prepare workers to go out into the highways and hedges. Do not call men and women to the great center, encouraging them to leave churches that need their aid. Men must learn to bear responsibilities. Not one in a hundred among us is doing anything beyond engaging in common, worldly enterprises. We are not half awake to the worth of the souls for whom Christ died.
We need wise nurserymen, who will transplant trees to different localities and give them advantages that will enable them to grow. It is the positive duty of God's people to go into the regions beyond. Let forces be set at work to clear new ground, to establish new centers of influence wherever an opening can be found. Rally workers who possess true missionary zeal, and let them go forth to diffuse light and knowledge far and near. Let them take the living principles of health reform into the communities that to a large degree are ignorant of these principles. Let classes be formed, and instruction be given regarding the treatment of disease.
It is a fact that through the influence of the sanitarium the truth of heaven has come to the notice of thousands. Yet there is a work to be done that has been neglected. Money has been expended in enlarging facilities in Battle Creek, when the Lord desires the leaven to be introduced into the mass of meal, that the whole may be leavened. Instead of building after building being added to the sanitarium, there should be at this time many institutions fully equipped and in working order in other places.
There are men who have been long connected with the sanitarium who will always be shadows of someone else, if they are retained there, when, if they were permitted to rely upon their own judgment, they would become deep, self-reliant thinkers, capable of giving wise counsel. Let these men have a chance to learn to bear responsibilities in the strength of God. Thus they will gain an experience that will enable them to impart the truth to others.
But instead of men being sent from Battle Creek, as God has directed in the pointed testimonies that have been given, thousands of dollars have been devoted to enlarging the institutions and increasing the facilities in Battle Creek. And the call comes from Battle Creek for more conveniences and more workers. But there must be a change.
We are encouraged as we see the work that is being done in Chicago and a few other places. Years ago the large responsibilities centering in Battle Creek should have been distributed. You may look with satisfaction at the widespreading growth of the sanitarium at Battle Creek, but God does not look upon it with the same approval that you do. If institutions had been built up in other places, if men had been given responsibilities to bear, there would have been far more strength, far more efficiency in our work, and we should have moved more nearly in accordance with the mind and will of God than we have. As it is, a few men are carrying heavy responsibilities. A few wield an influence that has a controlling power in the management of the work far and near, while there are many who carry no burdens.
Many of those carrying heavy responsibilities need to be converted. Christ says to them as He said to Nicodemus: "Ye must be born again." "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:7, 3. Many are controlled by an unchristian spirit. They have not yet learned in the school of Christ His meekness and lowliness, and unless they change, they will yield to Satan's temptations. Year after year they carry sacred responsibilities, yet prove themselves incapable of distinguishing between the sacred and the common. How long shall such men continue to wield a controlling influence? How long shall their word be permitted to exalt or to cast down, to condemn or to lift up? How long shall they hold such power that no one dare make a change in their methods?
Build Up New Centers
People are encouraged to settle in Battle Creek, to give their influence to the building up of a modern Jerusalem. This is not after God's order. Thus other places are deprived of facilities that they should have. Enlarge ye; spread ye; yes, but not in one place only. Go out and establish centers of influence in places where nothing, or next to nothing, has been done. Break up your consolidated mass; diffuse the saving beams of light into the darkened corners of the earth. A work similar to that of an eagle stirring up her nest needs to be done.
"Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed." Jeremiah 48:11. This is true of many of the believers who are coming to Battle Creek. Many have a spasmodic zeal in battle, but their light is like that of a meteor that flashes across the heavens and then goes out.
Let God's workmen who have the interests of His cause at heart do something for the colored people in the Southern field. Let not God's stewards be content merely to touch this field with the tips of their fingers. Let those at the heart of the work plan in earnest for this field. Many have talked about it, but what are they doing as the stewards of God's means? Why do they feel at liberty to bind up God's capital of means in Battle Creek? Why do they do the very things that they have been warned not to do? The matter is becoming serious, for warnings and entreaties have been given in vain. The arms of power in Battle Creek are being extended more and more widely, seeking to control the work far and near, and to crush that which they cannot control. I lift my voice in protest. The spirit that now controls is not the Spirit of the Lord.
The Lord has blessed Battle Creek again and again by pouring out His Spirit upon the church and the workers, but how few have cherished the influence of the Spirit. How few have expended their money as God has directed. Means has been expended in educating those who knew the truth, while fields that are wholly unenlightened have been neglected. Had ministers gone out as Christ has commissioned them, had they used the gifts entrusted them to carry thee light to those in darkness, they would have obtained far more knowledge of God and of Christ than they have obtained by seeking additional education in our schools.
A Failure to Appreciate God-Given Responsibilities
Has not God given us a work to do? Has He not bidden us go among opposing influences and convert men from error to truth? Why have not those who have so frequently gathered in the large assemblies in Battle Creek put into practice the truth that they have heard? If they had imparted the light that they have received, what a transformation of character would have been seen. For every grace imparted, God would have given grace. They have not prized as they should the work that has been done for them, or they would have gone forth into the dark places of the earth, to shed abroad the light. They would have given to the world the message of righteousness by faith, and their own light would have grown clearer and clearer; for God would have worked with them. Many have gone down into the grave in error because those who know the truth have failed to communicate the precious knowledge they have received. If the light that has shone so freely in Battle Creek had been diffused many would have been raised up to become laborers together with God.
Oh, that our brethren and sisters might value aright the truth! Oh, that they might become sanctified by it! Oh, that they might realize that upon them rests the responsibility of communicating this truth to others! But they do not feel the importance of living the truth, of being doers of the words of Christ. Many are self-sufficient. They are not filled with the missionary spirit that should animate the disciples of Christ. If they knew what it means to have travail of soul for others, angels of God would work through them to communicate a knowledge of the truth. They would know the truth, and the truth would make them free. Money would no longer be expended in adding building to building in one place, but would be used in opening new fields, in planting the standard of truth in cities that have not yet been worked. The elevating, purifying, ennobling principles of heaven would be introduced into society and would work like leaven.
Extract from a letter written in 1899, from Cooranbong, N. S. W., Australia --It is God's design that those fields which have abundant facilities shall share their advantages with more needy fields. The principle is ever to be followed in all our institutions. God requires that there be less planning for buildings in places where the work is already established, and that means be sent to fields where, for lack of facilities, the laborers work at a great disadvantage.
God's Purpose for His Institutions
Newtown, Tasmania, December 1, 1895. To the Medical Superintendent of a Large Sanitarium --
My Dear Brother: Every institution that bears the name of Seventh-day Adventist is to be to the world as was Joseph in Egypt, and as were Daniel and his fellows in Babylon. In the providence of God these men were taken captive, that they might carry to heathen nations the knowledge of the true God. They were to be representatives of God in our world. They were to make no compromise with the idolatrous nations with which they were brought in contact, but were to stand loyal to their faith, bearing as a special honor the name of worshipers of the God who created the heavens and the earth. These youth stood firm to principle. They lived in close connection with God honoring Him in all their ways, and He honored them. He was their wisdom. He gave them knowledge and understanding.
Today the remnant people of God are to glorify His name by proclaiming the last message of warning, the last invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb. The only way in which they can fulfill God's expectations is by being representatives of the truth for this time.
The Lord has wrought through human agents to fulfill the prophecies. He has made sacred, eternal truth stand out plainly amidst the heresies and delusions that Christ declared would exist in the last days.
My brother, you are situated where you can be a representative of the truth for this time. Keep close to the Great Teacher. I saw you holding up the banner on which are written the words: "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:12. Several men, some of them those with whom you are connected in the sanitarium, were presenting to you a banner on which was a different inscription. You were letting go the banner of Seventh-day Adventists, and were reaching out to grasp the banner presented to you. One of great dignity approached you and with deep earnestness said:
"Unto you therefore which believe He is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." 1 Peter 2:7-9. Then your hand firmly grasped the true banner, and these encouraging words were spoken: "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her, was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." Revelation 19:7, 8.
I was instructed that you and your fellow laborers were in danger of hiding the principles of our faith in order to obtain large patronage. Every jot done in this line, instead of extending the influence of the truth, will hinder its advance.
You and your associates in the sanitarium work need a pilot with you constantly, else you will be shipwrecked. You surely must understand your peril. Satan is making every effort to turn you aside into strange paths. God has strengthened you. Your soul must be sanctified through the truth, that your steadfast adherence to principles may be plain to all. The more fully your helpless soul leans upon God, the more fully you make Him your trust, the more hungry you will become for the bread of life.
God is to be recognized and honored by the people calling themselves Seventh-day Adventists. In the past the truth has, to the honor of God, been proclaimed with convincing power by the physicians and helpers in our sanitariums. God will accept no less of you, but will expect far more. You and your associates are to labor on in faith and firmness to prevent decline and to ensure progress. There must be no narrowing down of your work, no concealing of the principles of truth; there must be a widening of the base of operations. Many plants must be made in different places. There is need of more zeal, more faith, more influence, of more active, spirited workers.
Remember that you are working for time and for eternity. Heavenly angels are commissioned to co-operate with your efforts for the conquest of souls. More earnest efforts should be made to establish the truth in various localities. And there must be no covering up of any phase of our message. The truth for this time must be given to the souls ready to perish. Those who in any way hide the truth dishonor God. Upon their garments will be the blood of souls.
God's Purpose for the Sanitarium
The Battle Creek Sanitarium is a broad missionary field. God has been moving upon souls to seek in this institution relief from physical suffering. He requires that everything connected with it shall be such as He can approve.
He is pleased that a chapel should be built in connection with the sanitarium, that those who visit the institution may be given an opportunity to hear for themselves the truth as it is in Jesus. The precious gospel is to be presented to them, not in a weak diluted style but in strong, warm accents. As it is made plain that godliness is necessary to salvation, the peculiarities of our faith will appear, distinguishing us from the world. But no tirade is to be made against the doctrines held by others. In our association with worldlings we are to recommend our faith by living, in all true modesty, the principles of Christianity.
The Value of A Study of God's Word
If the medical students will study the word of God diligently, they will be far better prepared to understand their other studies; for enlightenment always comes with an earnest study of the word of God. Let our medical missionary workers understand that the more they become acquainted with God and with Christ, and the more they become acquainted with Bible history, the better prepared they will be to do their work.
The students in our schools should aspire to higher knowledge. Nothing will so help to give them a retentive memory as a study of the Scriptures. Nothing will so help them in gaining a knowledge of their other studies.
If unbelievers desire to join your classes for the training of medical missionaries, and you think that they would not exert an influence that would draw other students away from the truth, give them a chance. Some of your best missionaries may come from among them. They have never heard the truth, and as they are placed where they are surrounded with an influence that reveals the spirit of the Master, some will be won to the truth. In the studies given, there should be no concealment of one principle of Bible truth. If admitting to your classes those not of our faith will lead to silence on the great themes that concern our present and eternal good,-- themes that should ever be kept before the mind,--let them not be admitted. In no case is principle to be sacrificed or the peculiar characteristics of our faith hidden in order to add outside students to our classes.
Faithful teachers should be placed in charge of the Bible classes, teachers who will strive to make the students understand their lessons, not by explaining everything to them, but by requiring them to explain clearly every passage they read. Let these teachers remember that little good will be accomplished by skimming over the surface of the word. Thoughtful investigation and earnest, taxing study are required in order for this word to be understood. There are truths in the word which, like veins of precious ore, are hidden beneath the surface. The hidden treasure is discovered as it is searched for, as a miner searches for gold and silver. The evidence of the truth of God's word is in the word itself. Scripture is the key that unlocks scripture. The deep meaning of the truths of God's word is unfolded to our minds by His Spirit.
The Bible is the great lessonbook for the students in our schools. It teaches the whole will of God concerning the sons and daughters of Adam. It is the rule of life, teaching us of the character that we must form for the future life. We need not the dim light of truth to make the Scriptures comprehensible. As well might we suppose that the noonday sun needs the glimmering torchlight of earth to increase its glory. The utterances of priest and minister are not needed to save men from error.Those who consult the divine Oracle will have light. In the Bible every duty is made plain. Every lesson given is comprehensible. Every lesson reveals to us the Father and the Son. The word is able to make all wise unto salvation. In the word the science of salvation is plainly revealed. Search the Scriptures, for they are the voice of God speaking to the soul.
God's Purpose in Medical Missionary Work
Melbourne, N. S. W., February 3, 1898.
My Dear Brother: Special light has been given me that you are in danger of losing sight of the work for this time. You are erecting barriers to separate your work, and those you are educating, from the church. This must not be. Those who are receiving instruction in medical missionary lines should be led to realize that their education is to fit them to do better work in connection with the ministers of God. You are to remember, my brother, that the Lord has a people upon the earth whom He respects. But your words, and the way in which they are often spoken, create unbelief in the position that we occupy as a people. You are in danger of failing to hold fast the faith once delivered to the saints, of making shipwreck of your faith. The words were spoken: "A very small leak will sink a ship. One defective link makes a chain worthless."
Educate Medical Missionaries
Remember, my brother, that medical missionary work is not to take men from the ministry, but is to place men in the field, better qualified to minister because of their knowledge of medical missionary work. Young men should receive an education in medical missionary lines and should then go forth to connect with the ministers. They should not be influenced to give themselves exclusively to the work of rescuing the fallen and degraded. That work is found everywhere and is to be combined with the work of preparing a people to make Bible truth their defense against the sophistries of worldlings and of the fallen church. The third angel is to go forth with great power. Let none ignore this work or treat it as of little importance. The truth is to be proclaimed to the world, that men and women may see the light.
Our Work for Today
What saith the Lord in the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah? The whole chapter is of the highest importance. Is not this the fast that I have chosen?" God asks, to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and He shall say, Here I am."
"If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." Verses 6-9, 13, 14.
This is our work. The light that we have upon the third angel's message is the true light. The mark of the beast is exactly what it has been proclaimed to be. Not all in regard to this matter is yet understood, and will not be understood until the unrolling of the scroll; but a most solemn work is to be accomplished in our world. The Lord's command to His servants is: Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." Verse 1. A message that will arouse the churches is to be proclaimed. Every effort is to be made to give the light, not only to our people, but to the world. I have been instructed that the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation should be printed in small books, with the necessary explanations, and should be sent all over the world. Our own people need to have the light placed before them in clearer lines.
No Change in God's Cause
There is to be no change in the general features of God's cause. It is to stand out as clear and distinct as prophecy has made it. We are to enter into no confederacy with the world, supposing that by so doing we could accomplish more. My brother, if you stand in the way to hinder the advancement of the work on the lines that God has appointed, you will greatly displease Him. The warning message is to be given, and after you have faithfully accomplished your part of the work you are not to hinder others of the Lord's servants from going forth to do the work that they should do. Laboring for the degraded and fallen is not to be made the principal and all-important line. This work is to be combined with the work of instructing the churches. Our people are to be taught how to help the needy and the outcast.
No line of our faith that has made us what we are is to be weakened. We have the old landmarks of truth, experience, and duty, and we are to stand firm in defense of our principles, in full view of the world. With hearts filled with interest and solicitude, we are to give the invitation to those in the highways and the byways. Medical missionary work is to be done. But this is only one part of the work that is to be accomplished, and it is not to be made all and in all. It is to be to the work of God as the hand is to the body. There may be unworthy ones connected with the ministry, yet no one can ignore the ministry without ignoring God.
Words of Caution
My brother, you are represented to me as in danger of standing apart from our people, feeling that you are a complete whole. But if you bind yourself up with those of your own mind, apart from the church, which is Christ's body, you will make a confederacy that will be broken to pieces; for no union can stand but that which God has framed. Those who are receiving an education in medical lines hear insinuations from time to time that disparage the church and the ministry. These insinuations are seeds that will spring up and bear fruit. The students might better be educated to realize that the church of Christ on earth is to be respected. They need a clear knowledge of the reasons of our faith. This knowledge they must have, in order to serve God acceptably. Line upon line, precept upon precept, they must receive the Bible evidence of the truth as it is in Jesus.
Do not, I beg of you, instill into the minds of the students ideas that will cause them to lose confidence in God's appointed ministers. But this you are most certainly doing, whether you are aware of it or not. In His providence the Lord has placed you in a position where you may do a good work for Him in connection with the gospel ministry, bringing the truth before many who otherwise would not become acquainted with it. Temptations will come to you to think that in order to carry forward the medical missionary work you must stand aloof from church organization or church discipline. To stand thus would place you on an unsound footing. The work done for those who come to you for instruction is not complete unless they are educated to work in connection with the church.
The medical missionary work is not to be made all and in all. In this point you are carrying things to extremes. There is a large work to be done. Publications teaching the truth are to be circulated everywhere. Medical students should not be encouraged to circulate only the books treating on health reform. Be careful that you are not found working out your own plans, to the disregard of God's plans.
Extract from a letter written in 1898 from Cooranbong, New South Wales. --My brother, the Lord God of Israel must be your counselor. Satan has come down with great power to work with all deceivableness of unrighteousness. Lean hard on Christ. You have worked untiringly to bring about good results. Do not now make mistakes. Never, never seek to remove one landmark that the Lord has given His people. The truth stands firmly established on the eternal Rock--a foundation that storm and tempest can never move.
Remember that just as soon as you allow your influence to lead away from the straight and narrow path that the Lord has cast up for His people, your prosperity will cease; for God will not be your guide. Again and again the record of Nebuchadnezzar's life has been presented to me to present to you, that you may be warned not to trust in your own wisdom or to make flesh your arm. Do not lower the banner of truth or allow it to drop from your hands in order to unite with the solemn message for these last days anything that will tend to hide the peculiar features of our faith.
A Word of Caution
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia,
October 26, 1898. To the Advisers of Medical Students --
There is a burden upon my soul. There are young people who are encouraged to take up a course of study in medical lines who ought to be preparing themselves most decidedly to proclaim the third angel's message. It is not necessary for our medical students to spend all the time that they are spending in medical studies. Their work should be more decidedly combined with a study of God's word. Ideas are inculcated that are not at all necessary, and the necessary things do not receive sufficient attention.
A Danger to Be Guarded Against
While students are being educated in this way, they are being made less able to do acceptable work for the Master. The taxation that they undergo to obtain an extended knowledge in medical lines unfits them to work as they should in ministerial lines. Physical and mental weariness come because of the overstrain of study, and because the students are encouraged to labor unduly for the outcasts and the degraded. Thus some are disqualified for the work that they might have done had they begun missionary work where it was needed and let the medical line come in as an essential part connected with the work of the gospel ministry as a whole, as the hand is connected with the body. Life is not to be imperiled in an effort to obtain a medical education. There is danger, in some cases, that students will ruin their health and unfit themselves to do the service they might have done had they not been unwisely encouraged to take a medical course.
Often erroneous opinions are transcribed on the mind, and these lead to an unwise course of action. Students should have time to talk with God, time to live in hourly, conscious communion with the principles of truth and righteousness and mercy. At this time straightforward investigation of the heart is essential. The student must place himself where he can draw from the Source of spiritual and intellectual power. He must require that every cause which asks his sympathy and co-operation has the approval of the reason which God has given him, and the conscience, which the Holy Spirit is controlling. He is not to perform an action that does not harmonize with the deep, holy principles which minister light to his soul and vigor to his will. Only thus can he do God the highest service. He is not to be taught that medical missionary work will bind him to any man, who shall dictate what his work shall be.
Medical missionary work is not to be drawn apart and made separate from church organization. The medical students are not to receive the idea that they may regard themselves as amenable only to the leaders in the medical work. They are to be left free to receive counsel from God. They are not to pledge themselves and their future to anything that erring human beings may outline for them. No thread of selfishness is to be drawn into the web; no scheme is to be devised that has in it one particle of injustice. Selfishness is not to control any line of the work. Let us remember that individually we are working in full view of the heavenly universe.
A High Standard
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself." Luke 10:27. Just before
He left His disciples to return to heaven, Christ declared: "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." Here we see the standard lifted higher and still higher. "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another." John 13:34, 35. The disciples could not then comprehend Christ's words; but after His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension they understood His love as never before. They had seen it expressed in His suffering in the garden, in the judgment hall, and in His death on the cross of Calvary.
Teaching and Healing
The Lord's people are to be one. There is to be no separation in His work. Christ sent out the twelve apostles, and afterward the seventy disciples, to preach the gospel and to heal the sick. "As ye go," He said, "preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give." Matthew 10:7, 8. And as they went forth preaching the kingdom of God, power was given them to heal the sick and cast out evil spirits. In God's work, teaching and healing are never to be separated. His commandment-keeping people are to be one. Satan will invent every device to separate those whom God is seeking to make one. But the Lord will reveal Himself as a God of judgment. We are working under the eyes of the heavenly host. There is a divine Watcher among us, inspecting all that is planned and carried on. (166)
Uphold the Medical Work
Cooranbong, N. S. W., February 1, 1899.
I address those in responsible positions in the General Conference and those who are working in medical missionary lines. I am commissioned to speak also to the church in Battle Creek and to all our other churches.
I have been instructed to say, in reference to the medical missionary work, that there is danger of swaying things too heavily in one line. But what I say on this point must not be understood as in any sense justifying those who have held themselves aloof from medical missionary work. There are many who have not been in sympathy with this work. They should now be very careful how they speak in regard to it, for they are not intelligent on the subject because they have not walked in the light. Whatever their position in the work of God, they should be very careful not to give utterance to sentiments that will discourage and hinder our conferences from taking hold of this work. The position that some have occupied in reference to medical missionary work makes it impossible for their words on this subject to have any weight. They are not clear-sighted; their judgment is warped.
Every branch of the work is needed, but every branch of the work is to be under the supervision of God. The medical missionary work is to be to the cause of God as the right hand to the body. It would not be right for all the strength of the body to go into the right hand, and neither would it be right for all the strength of the cause of God to be used in medical missionary work. The ministry of the word must be sustained, and there must be unity, perfect oneness, in God's work. Those who have felt no interest in medical missionary work are treating the right hand of God's cause disrespectfully. Let all such change their attitude toward this work. Let them speak as few words as possible until they stand in a right position. Silence is eloquence when the mind is not sanctified and therefore cannot discern spiritual things.
The Need Of Caution
There is at the present time great need of caution. "Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath." James 1:19. Let us heed the warning: "I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, . . . and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil." Romans 16:17-19.
"I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." 1 Corinthians 1:10. This is the will of God concerning us. Shall we obey it? "The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? . . . For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." Verses 18-24.
What a change would be seen if all who are in responsible positions would realize that they are working under the eye of an all-seeing God. What is needed now is the free working of the Holy Spirit on mind and heart. Without this our efforts will be fruitless. When the Spirit molds and fashions us, our words and acts will reveal heartfelt thanksgiving.
There is great need of an increase of knowledge in every line of health reform. Those who have had the privilege of hearing the truth are to give the trumpet a certain sound as they proclaim the third angel's message. Special lines of work are to be taken up, such as the medical missionary work. This work should be carried forward in connection with the gospel message for this time. Genuine medical missionary work is the gospel practiced. Those who cannot see the bearing of this work should not feel authorized to control any phase of it until they do understand its bearing.
I wish to say decidedly that the Lord has accomplished great good through the medical missionary work, and that He has used our leading physician as His appointed agent. Not everything in the medical work has been without a flaw. With it have been blended many things that have marred its sacredness. But the Lord will take supervision of His cause, and will see that it does not become disproportionate in this one branch. The work will not be marred if the church will arise and shine, making it manifest that her light has come, and that the glory of the Lord is risen upon her.
The medical missionary workers are to be purified, sanctified, ennobled. They are to rise to the highest point of excellence. They are to be molded and fashioned after the divine similitude. Then they will see that health reform and medical missionary work are to be bound up with the preaching of the gospel.
The reason why church members do not understand this branch of the work is that they are not following the light, walking step by step after their great Leader. The medical missionary work is of God and bears His signature. For this reason let man keep his hands off it and not desire to manage it according to his own ideas.
Our message is a world-wide message. And while means is not to be absorbed in one line of work, so that the last gospel message cannot be carried into new fields, the medical missionary work is not in any wise to be disparaged; it is not to be represented as an inferior work. The world is a great lazar house; it is corrupted under the inhabitants thereof, and misery is universal. The Lord has given our leading physician a work in aiding to prepare a people to stand in the great day of God. But he is to work under the supervision of God. There are some things in his labors that will have to be modeled more closely after the principles of the head worker.
Christ declares: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life. . . . I am the living Bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. . . . Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me." John 6:47-57.
We must abide in Christ, and Christ must abide in us; "for we are laborers together with God." The work of the Christian is an individual work. Let God's workers cease to find fault, for this is sin. Let them improve themselves as they think that their fellow workers should improve. It is their privilege to live in Christ by eating the bread of life. Those who do this will have a healthy, growing experience, and the righteousness of God will go before them as they do the work specified in the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah.
To Every Man His Work
Every branch of the work of God is to have recognition. "He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." Ephesians 4:11, 12. This Scripture shows that there are to be different workers, different instrumentalities. Each has a different work. No one is required to lay hold of another's work, and, though untrained, try to do it. God has given to each according to his ability. One man may think that his position gives him authority to dictate to other workers, but this is not so. Ignorant of their work, he would enlarge where he should retrench, and retrench where he should enlarge, because he can see only the part of the vineyard where he is working.
Live for God. Make the Saviour's teaching a part of your life. Your pathway will be brightened by clear, shining light. You will have the heavenly anointing and will be kept from making grave blunders. Do not be so intent upon the work you are doing in one portion of the Lord's vineyard that you cannot appreciate the work that others are doing in other parts of the vineyard. They may be faithfully cultivating their talents so that they can return them, doubled, to their God. Let every man look well to his own work, making sure that it is complete, without spot or wrinkle to mar its perfection. Then leave it with God to say: "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." Matthew 25:23.
Unity of Effort
Cooranbong, N. S. W., April 17, 1899. To a Physician in Perplexity --
My Dear Brother: I have a deep interest in you and your work, and I pray that the Lord will guide my pen as I write to you. The Lord has made you a man of His appointment, and angels of God have been your helpers. The Lord has placed you in the position that you occupy, not because you are infallible but because He desires to guide your mind by His Holy Spirit. He desires you to impart to those with whom you come in contact a knowledge of present truth. Grave responsibilities have been entrusted to you, and on no account should you allow yourself to be entangled in work that will weaken your influence with Seventh-day Adventists. The Lord has chosen you to fill a place of His appointment, to stand before the medical profession, not to be molded by worldly influences, but to mold minds. Every day you are to be under the supervision of God. He is your Master, your Redeemer. He has a work for you to do, not separated from Seventh-day Adventists, but united with them. You are to be a great blessing to your brethren by giving them the knowledge that He has given you.
Through you God has worked and desires still to work, honoring you by entrusting to you important responsibilities. "We are laborers together with God." 1 Corinthians 3:9. He will use you and me and each human being who enters His service, if we will submit to His guidance. Each one is to stand in his watchtower, listening attentively to that which the Spirit has to say to him, remembering that his every word and act makes an impression, not only on his own character, but on the characters of those with whom he is connected.
"Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building." Verse 9. This figure represents human character, which is to be wrought upon, point by point. Each day God works with His building, stroke upon stroke, to perfect the structure, that it may become a holy temple for Him. Man is to co-operate with God. Each worker is to become just what God designs him to be, building his life with pure, noble deeds, that in the end his character may be a symmetrical structure, a fair temple, honored by God and man. There is to be no flaw in the building, for it is the Lord's. Every stone must be perfectly laid, that it may endure the pressure placed upon it. One stone laid wrong will affect the whole building. To you and to every other worker God gives the warning: "Take heed how you build, that your building may stand the test of storm and tempest, because it is founded on the eternal Rock. Place the stone on the sure foundation, that you may make ready for the day of test and trial, when all will be seen just as they are."
A Temple of Living Stones
This warning God presents to me as especially necessary for your welfare. He loves you with a love that is immeasurable. He loves your brethren in the faith, and He works with them to the same end as that to which He works with you. His church on earth is to assume divine proportions before the world as a temple built of living stones, each one reflecting light. It is to be the light of the world as a city set on a hill, which cannot be hid. It is built of stones laid close together, stone fitting to stone, making a firm, solid building. Not all the stones are of the same form or shape. Some are large, some are small; but each has its own place to fill. And the value of each stone is determined by the light that it reflects. This is God's plan. He desires all His workers to fill their appointed places in the work for this time.
We are living amidst the perils of the last days. We are wisely to cultivate every mental and physical power; for all are needed to make the church a building that will represent the wisdom of the great Designer. The talents given us by God are His gifts, and they are to be used in their right relation to one another so as to make a perfect whole. God gives the talents, the powers of the mind; man forms the character.
The Lord has wrought with you, enabling you to act your part as His workman; but there are other workmen also who are to act their part as His instrumentalities. These help to compose the whole body. All are to be united as parts of one great organism. The Lord's church is composed of living, working agencies, who derive their power to act from the Author and Finisher of their faith. They are to carry forward in harmony the great work resting on them. God has given you your work. But He has other instrumentalities, and to them He has given their work, that all may become, through sanctification of the truth, members of Christ's body, of His flesh and of His bones. Representing Christ, we act for time and for eternity; and men, even worldly men, take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus and have learned of Him.
Truth a Unit
God's people are not to be in confusion, lacking order and harmony, consistency and beauty. The Lord is greatly dishonored when disunion exists among His people. Truth is a unit. The unity that God requires must be cultivated day by day if we would answer the prayer of Christ. The disunion that is striving for existence among those who profess to believe the last message of mercy to be given to the world, must find no place; for it would be a fearful hindrance to the advancement of God's work. His servants are to be one, as Christ is one with the Father; their powers, illuminated, inspired, and sanctified, must be united to make a complete whole. Those who love God and keep His commandments are not to draw apart; they are to press together.
Words of Cheer
The Lord does not forsake His faithful workmen. Bear in mind that our life in this world is but a pilgrimage, that heaven is the home to which we are going. Have faith in God. If my words have wounded and bruised your soul, I am sorry; I am wounded and bruised also. Our work, a strange work, a great work, given us by God, links us heart and soul together. You dare not throw off your armor. You must wear it till the end. When the Lord releases you, it will be time for you to lay your armor at His feet. You have enlisted in His army to serve till the close of the battle, and you would not disgrace yourself and dishonor God by deserting.
May the Lord open to you many matters that He has opened to me. Satan is watching his opportunity to dishonor the cause of God. I have been shown your peril, and I have also been shown your guardian angel preserving you again and again from yourself, keeping you from making shipwreck of faith. My brother, lift up the standard, lift it up, and be not fainthearted or discouraged.
I have given the leading men in the General Conference and the Mission Board the light given me by God: that you and they should counsel together; that, instead of holding themselves aloof, they should be your fellow helpers; that you had been ordained by God to stand in a position of trust, and you needed help instead of censure.
In the intensity of my desire that you should make straight paths for your feet, I have written earnest words to you, but never, never, to denounce or condemn you. Oh, that God would make you understand that my deep interest in you has not changed in the least. I have a most earnest desire that you shall stand fast in God, firm, tried, and true. I know that the Lord wants you to have the crown of victory.
"When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. . . . And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:8-16.
Christ the Medium of Prayer and Blessing
Balaclava, Victoria, Australia, March 25, 1898. To a Sanitarium Physician --
My Dear Brother: I have just received your letters. I see that you are having a close battle financially. I am so glad that you can heed the encouragement in the words: "Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me." Isaiah 27:5. Let us have faith in God. Let us put our trust in Him. He understands all about the situation in which we are placed, and He will work in our behalf. He is honored when we trust in Him, bringing to Him all our perplexities. "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name," Christ says, "that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." John 14:13. God's appointments and grants in our behalf are without limit. The throne of grace itself is occupied by One who permits us to call Him Father.
"God 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. Jehovah did not deem the plan of salvation complete while invested only with His love. He has placed at His altar an Advocate clothed in our nature. As our Intercessor, Christ's office work is to introduce us to God as His sons and daughters. He intercedes in behalf of those who receive Him. With His own blood He has paid their ransom. By virtue of His merits He gives them power to become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. And the Father demonstrates His infinite love for Christ by receiving and welcoming Christ's friends as His friends. He is satisfied with the atonement made. He is glorified by the incarnation, the life, death, and mediation of His Son.
In Christ's name our petitions ascend to the Father. He intercedes in our behalf, and the Father lays open all the treasures of His grace for our appropriation, for us to enjoy and impart to others. "Ask in My name," Christ says. I do not say that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loveth you. Make use of My name. This will give your prayers efficiency, and the Father will give you the riches of His grace. Wherefore ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full."
Christ is the connecting link between God and man. He has promised His personal intercession. He places the whole virtue of His righteousness on the side of the suppliant. He pleads for man, and man, in need of divine help, pleads for himself in the presence of God, using the influence of the One who gave His life for the life of the world. As we acknowledge before God our appreciation of Christ's merits, fragrance is given to our intercessions. As we approach God through the virtue of the Redeemer's merits, Christ places us close by His side, encircling us with His human arm, while with His divine arm He grasps the throne of the Infinite. He puts His merits, as sweet incense, in the censer in our hands,in order to encourage our petitions. He promises to hear and answer our supplications.
Yes, Christ has become the medium of prayer between man and God. He has also become the medium of blessing between God and man. He has united divinity with humanity. Men are to co-operate with Him for the salvation of their own souls, and then make earnest, persevering efforts to save those who are ready to die.
We must all work now, while the day lasts; for the night cometh, in which no man can work. I am of good courage in the Lord. There are times when I am shown distinctly that there exists in our churches a state of things that will not help but hinder souls. Then I have hours, and sometimes days, of intense anguish. Many of those who have a knowledge of the truth do not obey the words of God. Their influence is no better than the influence of worldlings. They talk like the world and act like the world. Oh, how my heart aches as I think of how the Saviour is put to shame by their un-Christlike behavior! But after the agony is past, I feel like working harder than ever to restore the poor souls, that they may reveal the image of God.
Pray, yes, pray with unshaken faith and trust. The Angel of the covenant, even our Lord Jesus Christ, is the Mediator who secures the acceptance of the prayers of His believing ones.
Words of Encouragement
Cooranbong, N. S. W., December 12, 1899. To the Medical Superintendent of the Battle Creek Sanitarium--
My Dear Brother: You speak as if you had no friends. But God is your friend, and Sister White is your friend. You have thought that I had lost confidence in you; but, my dear brother, as I have before written you, I know that the Lord has placed you in a very responsible position, standing as you do as a physician to whom the Lord has given knowledge and understanding, that you may do justice and judgment, and reveal a true missionary spirit in the institution established to present truth in contrast with error.
My brother, the Lord has not left you to go on a warfare at your own charges. He has given you wisdom, and favor with God and man. He has been your helper. He has chosen you as His agent to exalt the truth in the Battle Creek Sanitarium as it is not exalted in the medical institutions of the world. It was His purpose that the Battle Creek Sanitarium should be known as an institution where the Lord is daily acknowledged as the Monarch of the universe. "He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?" Daniel 4:35.
The Lord designs that the proclamation of the third angel's message shall be the highest, greatest work carried on in our world at this time. He has honored you by placing you in a very responsible position in His work. You were not to separate your influence from the ministry of the gospel. Into every line of your work you were to bring an understanding of and obedience to the truth. The place assigned you by the Lord was under Him in the divine theocracy. You were to learn of Jesus, the Great Teacher, planning and working in accordance with His example. You were to make God first, ever obeying His word. In this would be your strength.
You were to be a faithful physician of the souls as well as of the bodies of those under your charge. Had you fulfilled this trust, using aright the talents God gave you, you would not have worked alone. One who never makes a mistake was presiding. Only the Holy Spirit's power can keep the spirit sweet and fragrant, soft and subdued, enabling the worker to speak the right words at the right time.
You have not been faultless. Often you lost control of yourself. Then your words were not what they should have been. At times you were arbitrary and exacting. But when you were striving for the mastery over self, angels of God cooperated with you, because, through you, God was working to exalt His truth and cause it to receive honored recognition in the world. God gave you wisdom, not that your name should be magnified, but that those coming to the sanitarium in Battle Creek should carry away with them favorable impressions regarding the work of Seventh-day Adventists and respect for the principles that are the foundation of their work. The honor given you did not come to you because you were righteous above all men, but because God desired to use you as His Instrument.
It was God's purpose that in the sanitarium, missionaries, teachers, and physicians should become acquainted with the third angel's message, which embraces so much. Angels of God were to be your strength in the work that was to be done in order that the Battle Creek Sanitarium might be known as an institution under the special supervision of God. The missionary feeling and the sympathy that prevailed in this institution was a result of the work of invisible heavenly agencies there. God said: "I thought it good to show signs and wonders. In My might I wrought to glorify My name." Many have gone from the sanitarium with new hearts. The change has been decided. These, returning to their homes, have been as lights in the world. Their voices have been heard, saying: "Come all ye that fear God, and I will make known to you what He hath done for my soul. I have seen His greatness; I have tasted His goodness."
A World-Wide Work
The Lord has shown me that if the enemy can by any means divert the work into wrong channels, and thus hinder its advancement, he will do so. Many of our people have made investments without sitting down to count the cost, without finding out whether there was money enough to carry forward the work started. Shortsightedness has been shown. Men have failed to see that the Lord's vineyard embraces the world.
The income of the sanitariums that have been established is not to be drawn upon to sustain numerous lines of work for the lower classes in our wicked cities. Much of the means that has been used to sustain this large and ever-increasing work should, by the Lord's order, have been used in making plants in other countries, where the light of health reform has not shone. Sanitariums, less costly than the large ones erected in America, should have been built in many lands. Thus plants would have been made which, when strong, would have assisted to make plants in other places.
The Lord is not partial. But He has been misrepresented by His workmen. That which should have been done in many different parts of His vineyard has been greatly hindered, because men at the heart of the work have failed to see how the work could be advanced in more distant parts of the vineyard. In some parts of the field the work has been overdone. In this way money has been absorbed that should have been used to enable workers in other parts of the vineyard to move forward without hindrance in planting the standard of truth in new places. Some portions of the vineyard are not to be robbed in order that the means may be used freely in other portions of the field.
Man judges in accordance with his finite judgment. God looks at the character of the fruit borne and then judges the tree. In the name of the Lord I call upon all to think of the work that we are required to do and how this work is to be sustained. The world is the Lord's vineyard, and it is to be worked.
It is not a great number of institutions, large buildings, and outward display that God requires, but the harmonious action of a peculiar people, a people chosen by God and precious, united with one another, their life hid with Christ in God. Every man is to stand in his lot and place, exerting a right influence in thought, word, and deed. When all God's workers do this, and not till then, His work will be a complete, symmetrical whole.
A Word of Caution
God desires His institutions and His chosen, adopted children to honor Him by revealing the attributes of Christian character. The work that the gospel embraces as missionary work is a straightforward, substantial work, which will shine brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. God does not want the faith of His people to take on the features or appearance of the humanitarian work now called medical missionary work. The means and talents of His people are not to be buried in the slums of New York or Chicago. God's work is to be carried on in right lines.
Self-denial and self-sacrifice are to be shown. We are to work as Christ worked, in simplicity and meekness, in lowliness and consecration. Thus we shall be enabled to do a work distinct from all other missionary work in our world.
There are many of those who are supposed to be rescued from the pit into which they have fallen who cannot be relied on as counselors, or trusted to engage in the work in these last days. The enemy is determined to mix error with truth. To do this he uses the opportunity given him by the debased class for whom so much labor and money are expended, the class whose appetites have been perverted through indulgence, whose souls have been abused, whose characters are misshapen and deformed, whose habits and desires are groveling, who think habitually upon evil. Such ones can be transformed in character; but how few there are with whom the work is thorough and lasting!
Some will be sanctified through the truth; but many make a superficial change in their habits and practices, and then suppose that they are Christians. They are received into church fellowship, but they are a great trouble and a great care. Through them Satan tries to sow in the church the seeds of jealousy, dishonesty, criticism, and accusing. Thus he tries to corrupt the other members of the church. The disposition that has mastered them from childhood, that led them to break away from all restraint and brought them down to degradation, still controls them. They are reported to be rescued, but too often time shows that the work done for them did not make them submissive children of God. At every supposed slight, resentful feelings rise. They cherish bitterness, wrath, malice. By their words and spirit they show that they have not been born again. Their tendencies are downward, tending to sensuality. They are untrustworthy, unthankful, unholy. Thus it is with all who have not been soundly converted. Every one of these marred characters,untransformed, becomes an efficient worker for Satan, creating dissension and strife.
The Lord has marked out our way of working. As a people we are not to imitate and fall in with Salvation Army methods. This is not the work that the Lord has given us to do. Neither is it our work to condemn them and speak harsh words against them. There are precious, self-sacrificing souls in the Salvation Army. We are to treat them kindly. There are in the Army honest souls, who are sincerely serving the Lord and who will see greater light, advancing to the acceptance of all truth. The Salvation Army workers are trying to save the neglected, downtrodden ones. Discourage them not. Let them do that class of work by their own methods and in their own way. But the Lord has plainly pointed out the work that Seventh-day Adventists are to do. Camp meetings and tent meetings are to be held. The truth for this time is to be proclaimed. A decided testimony is to be borne. And the discourses are to be so simple that children can understand them.
Helping or Hindering the Lord
There are those entering the medical missionary work who are in danger of bringing into it the objectionable sentiments received in their former education. They need to practice the principles laid down in the word of God, else the work will be marred by their preconceived ideas. When we work with all the sanctified ability that God has given us, when we put aside our will for the will of God, when self is crucified day by day, then good results are seen. We move forward in faith, knowing that our Lord has promised to undertake the work entrusted to Him and that He will accomplish it; for He never makes a mistake or a failure.
The Lord's servants are merely stewards. The Lord will work through them when they surrender themselves to Him to be worked by the Holy Spirit. When by faith men place themselves in the Lord's hands, saying, "Here am I; send me," He accepts them for service. But men must not hinder
His plans by ambitious devisings. For years the Lord has had a controversy with His people because they have followed their own judgment and have not relied on divine wisdom. Let the workers take heed lest they get in the Lord's way, hindering the advancement of His work, thinking that their wisdom is sufficient for the successful planning and carrying forward of the work. If they do this, the Lord will correct their error. By His divine Spirit He enlightens and trains His workers. He shapes His own providences to carry forward His work according to His mind and will.
God's Purpose for His Workers
If men will but humble themselves before God, if they will not exalt their judgment as the all-controlling influence, if they will make room for the Lord to plan and work, God will use the qualifications He has given them in a way that will glorify His name. He will purify His workers from all selfishness, cutting off the branches that would entwine around undesirable objects, pruning the vine so that it will produce fruit. God is the great Husbandman. He will make everything in the lives of those who are laborers together with Christ subservient to His great purpose of growth and fruit bearing. It is His plan, by conforming His servants day by day to the image of Christ, by making them partakers of the divine nature, to cause them to bear fruit abundantly. He desires His people, through actual experience in the truth of the gospel, to become true, solid, trustworthy, experimental missionaries. He would have them show results far higher, holier, and more definite than in our day have yet been revealed.
The potter takes the clay in his hands and molds and fashions it according to his own will. He kneads it and works it. He tears it apart and then presses it together. He wets it and then dries it. He lets it lie for a while without touching it. When it is perfectly pliable, he continues the work of making of it a vessel. He forms it into shape and on the wheel trims and polishes it. He dries it in the sun and bakes it in the oven. Thus it becomes a vessel fit for use. So the great Master Worker desires to mold and fashion us. And as the clay is in the hands of the potter, so are we to be in His hands. We are not to try to do the work of the potter. Our part is to yield ourselves to the molding of the Master Worker.
The Need of Wise Counselors
The Lord has appointed the physicians in the sanitarium to stand as faithful sentinels. Through them God desired to do the work that must be done in the institution. They were to be your helpers. Through them impressions were to be made in regard to the work of relieving suffering humanity.
But you have needed the counsel of others besides your colaborers. Fresh, new ideas were needed in your counsels, for not all your plans bore the divine credentials. You have been swaying the minds of those connected with you in the medical missionary work, until you and they were becoming like men lost in the fog of uncertainty.
I was instructed by the Lord that your temptation would be to make your medical missionary work stand independent of the conference. But this plan was not right. I saw that you could not plan as you had been doing, or carry out your ideas, without injury to yourself and to the cause of God.
A Divine Helper
My brother, as a surgeon you have had the most critical cases to handle, and at times a dread has come upon you. To perform these difficult duties, you knew that rapid work must be done and that no false moves must be made. Again and again you had to pass swiftly from task to task. Who has been by your side as you have performed these critical operations? Who has kept you calm and self-possessed in the crisis, giving you quick, sharp discernment, clear eyesight, steady nerves, and skillful precision? The Lord Jesus has sent His angel to your side to tell you what to do. A hand has been laid upon your hand. Jesus, and not you, has guided the movements of your instrument. At times you have realized this, and a wonderful calmness has come over you. You dared not hurry, and yet you worked rapidly, knowing that there was not a moment to lose.
The Lord has greatly blessed you. You have been under the divine guidance. Others who knew not of the presiding Presence working with you gave you all the glory. Eminent physicians have witnessed your operations and praised your skill. This has been pleasant to you. You have been greatly honored by God, that His name, not yours, should be magnified; but you have not always been able to endure the seeing of the Invisible. You have had a desire to distinguish yourself, and you have not at all times placed your entire dependence upon God. You have not been willing to heed the counsel of the Lord's servants. In your own wisdom you have planned many things. The Lord would have you respect the gospel ministry. At the very time when you needed discernment, that you might see, not only one side of the work, but all sides, you chose for counselors men under the reproof of God. You were willing to link up with them if they would second your propositions.
By prayer and consecration, by seeking the Lord for wisdom and surrendering yourself to His guidance, you would have been prevented from starting many enterprises that have been born, not of the will of God, but of the will of man. You were given your appointed work. But you have neglected things of great importance to take up, with impulsive spirit, unadvised by the Lord or your brethren, things of minor importance. Your brethren could have given you counsel, but you despised any word that interfered with your plans. This has placed you in a difficult position. Had you abode by your appointed work, God would have made you more and more a successful laborer together with Him.
The Lord wants your mind to blend with other minds. Sometimes, when His servants have differed from you, this was the very thing that God required them to do. But you treated their advice in such a way that afterward they remained silent when they should have spoken. God desires those whom He has placed in positions of trust to do justice and judgment in all wisdom.
Burdens that the Lord has not Given
The Lord gave you your work, not to be done in a rush, but in a calm, considerate manner. The Lord never compels hurried, complicated movements. But you have gathered to yourself responsibilities that the Lord, the merciful Father, does not place upon you. Duties He never ordained that you should perform chase one another wildly. Never are His servants to leave one duty marred or incomplete in order to seize hold of another. He who labors in the calmness of the fear of God will not work in a haphazard manner, for fear that something will hinder an anticipated plan.
Not all the burdens that you have been carrying have been laid upon you by the Lord. The result of your carrying these extra burdens is felt all through the field. If you had kept at your appointed work, laboring for the class of people whom the Lord desired, by means of the sanitarium, to reach with present truth, with the message that God has given His people to give to the world, much more would have been accomplished to bring the chosen people of God before men of high standing. Much more would have been accomplished to show forth the ways and works and power of God. The sanitarium was to be His witness in behalf of truth--elevated, sanctifying truth. The Lord made you, my brother, His honored instrument. He never required from you one task that would crowd out your work in connection with the institution that was to stand for the truth, to do a certain work for God, flashing light upon the pathway of thousands.
You have a great and sacred work to do. If you hold faithfully to the part assigned you, through the skill given you you will be enabled to work swiftly, though never appearing to be in a hurry. When your eyes are opened, you will see the deep poverty of the mission fields. You will see that the workers there are hampered at every step, while the Lord's money is being used to sustain home enterprises and institutions, so that the message which should be given to the world is lost sight of.
God impresses different men to be laborers together with Him. One man is not authorized to gather too many responsibilities upon himself. The Lord would have the physician upon whom so much depends so closely connected with Him that his spirit will not be irritated by little things. The Lord desires you to be one of the most efficient workers in the medical profession, slighting nothing, marring nothing, knowing that you have a Counselor close by your side, to sustain and strengthen you, to impart quietness and calm to your soul. Feverishness of mind and uncertainty of spirit will make the hand unskillful. The touch of Christ upon the physician's hand brings vitality, restfulness, confidence, and power.
I write to you as a mother would write to her son. I would help you if I could. I would go to see you if I could feel it my duty to leave the work here in Australia, but I dare not do this. You have built up hopes and nurtured plans without due consideration of how the tower is to be completed. As one who knows, as one who has been permitted to see the results of the work that you have taken upon you, I call upon you to stop and consider. God knows your frame. He knows that you are but dust. You will certainly need the counsel, not only of those who have encouraged you to go on in the work which you deem so important, but the counsel of men who, at the present time, are able to see more clearly than you do the results that will follow certain undertakings.
Cast not behind you as of no consequence the warnings that as yet you do not understand. If you receive the messages of warning sent you, you will be saved from great trial.
Extract from a letter written in 1899 from Wellington, New Zealand --We are not to allow our perplexities and disappointments to eat into our souls and make us fretful and impatient. Let there be no strife, no evil thinking or evil-speaking, lest we offend God. My brother, if you open your heart to envy and evil surmising, the Holy Spirit cannot abide with you. Seek for the fullness that is in Christ. Labor in His lines. Let every thought and word and deed reveal Him. You need a daily baptism of the love that in the days of the apostles made them all of one accord. This love will bring health to body, mind, and soul. Surround your soul with an atmosphere that will strengthen spiritual life. Cultivate faith, hope, courage, and love. Let the peace of God rule in your heart. Then you will be enabled to discharge your responsibilities. The Holy Spirit will impart a divine efficiency, a calm, subdued dignity, to all your efforts to relieve suffering. You will testify that you have been with Jesus.
The Value of the Word of God
Oakland, California, June 13, 1901. To a Physician and His Wife --
Dear Brother and Sister: Our homeward journey was a prosperous one. I attended meetings in many places. At Indianapolis I was surprised to meet so large a number of believers. I spoke twice there. The Lord gave me a message for the people similar to the one given in Battle Creek in regard to the errors which have crept in among us. The people were ready to hear and receive the word.
When errors come into our ranks, we are not to enter into controversy over them. We are faithfully to give the message of reproof, and then we are to lead the minds of the people away from fanciful, erroneous ideas, presenting the truth in contrast with error. The presentation of heavenly themes will open up to the mind principles that rest upon a foundation as enduring as eternity.
Those believers whose Christian convictions are consistent and firm, whose characters are of solid worth, are of great service to the Master. Nothing can move them from the faith. Truth is to them a precious treasure.
The truth of God is found in His word. Those who feel that they must seek elsewhere for present truth need to be converted anew. They have wrong habits to mend, evil ways to be abandoned. They need to seek anew the truth as it is in Jesus, that their character building may be in harmony with the lessons of Christ. As they abandon their human ideas and take up their God-given duties, beholding Christ and becoming conformed to His likeness, they say: "Nearer, my God, to Thee; nearer to Thee."
With the word of God in hand we may draw nearer, step by step, in consecrated love to Jesus. As the Spirit of God becomes better known, the Bible will be accepted as the only foundation of faith. God's people will receive the word as the leaves of the tree of life, more precious than fine gold purified in the fire, and more powerful to sanctify than any other agency.
Christ and His word are in perfect harmony. Received and obeyed, they open a sure path for the feet of all who are willing to walk in the light as Christ is in the light. If the people of God would appreciate His word, we should have a heaven in the church here below. Christians would be eager, hungry, to search the word. They would be anxious for time to compare scripture with scripture and to meditate upon the word. They would be more eager for the light of the word than for the morning paper, magazines, or novels. Their greatest desire would be to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God. And as a result their lives would be conformed to the principles and promises of the word. Its instruction would be to them as the leaves of the tree of life. It would be in them a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. Refreshing showers of grace would refresh and revive the soul, causing them to forget all toil and weariness. They would be strengthened and encouraged by the words of inspiration.
Ministers would be inspired with divine faith. Their prayers would be characterized by earnestness, filled with the divine assurance of truth. Weariness would be forgotten in the sunlight of heaven. Truth would be interwoven with their lives, and its heavenly principles would be as a fresh, running stream, constantly satisfying the soul.
The Lord's philosophy is the rule of the Christian's life. The entire being is imbued with the life-giving principles of heaven. The busy nothings which consume the time of so many shrink into their proper position before a healthy, sanctifying Bible piety.
The Bible, and the Bible alone, can produce this good result. It is the wisdom of God and the power of God, and it works with all power in the receptive heart. Oh, what heights we might reach if we would conform our wills to the will of God! It is the power of God that we need, wherever we are. The frivolity that cumbers the church makes it weak and indifferent. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are seeking and longing for channels through which to communicate to the world the divine principles of truth.
Artificial lights may appear, claiming to come from heaven, but they cannot shine forth as the star of holiness, the star of heavenly brightness, to guide the feet of the pilgrim and stranger into the city of God. False lights will take the place of the true, and many souls will be for a time deceived. God forbid that it should be so with us. The true light now shineth, and will light up the souls in which the windows are opened heavenward.
The Work for this Time
St. Helena, California, June 25, 1903. To Our Sanitarium Physicians --
My Dear Brethren: Those who stand in responsible positions in the work of the Lord are represented as watchmen on the walls of Zion. God calls upon them to sound an alarm among the people. Let it be heard in all the plain. The day of woe, of wasting and destruction, is upon all who do unrighteousness. With special severity will the Lord's hand fall upon the watchmen who have failed to place before the people in clear lines their obligation to Him who by creation and by redemption is their owner.
My brethren, the Lord calls upon you to examine the heart closely. He calls upon you to adorn the truth in your daily practice and in all your dealings with one another. He requires of you a faith that works by love and purifies the soul. It is dangerous for you to trifle with the sacred demands of conscience, dangerous for you to set an example that leads others in a wrong direction.
Christians should carry with them, wherever they go, the sweet fragrance of Christ's righteousness, showing that they are complying with the invitation: "Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." Matthew 11:29. Are you learning daily in the school of Christ--learning how to dismiss doubt and evil surmisings, learning how to be fair and noble in your dealings with your brethren, for your own sake, and for Christ's sake?
Present truth leads onward and upward, gathering in the needy, the oppressed, the suffering, the destitute. All that will come are to be brought into the fold. In their lives there is to take place a reformation that will constitute them members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. By hearing the message of truth, men and women are led to accept the Sabbath and to unite with the church by baptism. They are to bear God's sign by observing the Sabbath of creation. They are to know for themselves that obedience to God's commandments means eternal life.
Means and earnest labor may be safely invested in such a work as this, for it is a work that will endure. Thus those who have been dead in trespasses and sins are brought into fellowship with the saints and are made to sit in heavenly places with Christ. Their feet are placed on a sure foundation. They are enabled to reach a high standard, even the loftiest heights of faith, because Christians make straight paths for their feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way.
Every church should labor for the perishing within its own borders and for those outside its borders. The members are to shine as living stones in the temple of God, reflecting heavenly light. No random, haphazard, desultory work is to be done. To get fast hold of souls ready to perish means more than praying for a drunkard and then, because he weeps and confesses the pollution of his soul, declaring him saved. Over and over again the battle must be fought.
Let the members of every church feel it their special duty to labor for those in their neighborhood. Let each one who claims to stand under the banner of Christ feel that he has entered into covenant relation with God, to do the work of the Saviour. Let not those who take up this work become weary in well-doing. When the redeemed stand before God, precious souls will respond to their names who are there because of the faithful, patient efforts put forth in their behalf, the entreaties and earnest persuasions to flee to the Stronghold.
Thus those who in this world have been laborers together with God will receive their reward.
The ministers of the popular churches will not allow the truth to be presented to the people from their pulpits. The enemy leads them to resist the truth with bitterness and malice. Falsehoods are manufactured. Christ's experience with the Jewish rulers is repeated. Satan strives to eclipse every ray of light shining from God to His people. He works through the ministers as he worked through the priests and rulers in the days of Christ. Will those who know the truth join his party, to hinder, embarrass, and turn aside those who are trying to work in God's appointed way to advance His work, to plant the standard of truth in the regions of darkness?
The third angel's message, embracing the messages of the first and second angels, is the message for this time. We are to raise aloft the banner on which is inscribed: "The commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." The world is soon to meet the great Lawgiver over His broken law. This is not the time to put out of sight the great issues before us. God calls upon His people to magnify the law and make it honorable.
When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy, the Sabbath was given to the world, that man might ever remember that in six days God created the world. He rested upon the seventh day, blessing it as the day of His rest, and gave it to the beings He had created, that they might remember Him as the true and living God. By His mighty power, notwithstanding the opposition of Pharaoh, God delivered His people from Egypt, that they might keep the law which had been given in Eden. He brought them to Sinai to hear the proclamation of this law.
By proclaiming the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel with His own voice, God demonstrated their importance. In awful grandeur He made known His majesty and authority as Ruler of the world. This He did to impress the people with the sacredness of His law and the importance of obeying it. The power and glory with which the law was given reveal its importance. It is the faith once delivered to the saints by Christ our Redeemer speaking from Sinai.
The Sign of Our Relationship to God
By the observance of the Sabbath the children of Israel were to be distinguished from all other nations. "Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep," Christ said, "for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you." It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed." "Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant." Exodus 31:13, 17, 16.
The Sabbath is a sign of the relationship existing between God and His people, a sign that they are His obedient subjects, that they keep holy His law. The observance of the Sabbath is the means ordained by God of preserving a knowledge of Himself and of distinguishing between His loyal subjects and the transgressors of His law. This is the faith once delivered to the saints, who stand in moral power before the world, firmly maintaining this faith.
Opposition we shall have as we voice the message of the third angel. Satan will bring in every possible device to make of no effect the faith once delivered to the saints. "Many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." 2 Peter 2:2, 3. But in spite of opposition, all are to hear the words of truth.
The law of God is the foundation of all enduring reformation. We are to present to the world in clear, distinct lines the need of obeying this law. Obedience to God's law is the greatest incentive to industry, economy, truthfulness, and just dealing between man and man.
The law of God is to be the means of education in the family. Parents are under a most solemn obligation to obey this law, setting their children an example of the strictest integrity. Men in responsible positions, whose influence is far-reaching, are to guard well their ways and works, keeping the fear of the Lord ever before them. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Psalm 111:10. Those who hearken diligently to the voice of the Lord and cheerfully keep His commandments will be among the number who see God. "The Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He hath commanded us." Deuteronomy 6:24, 25.
Our work as believers in the truth is to present before the world the immutability of the law of God. Ministers and teachers, physicians and nurses, are bound by covenant with God to present the importance of obeying His law. We are to be distinguished as a people who keep the commandments. The Lord has stated explicitly that He has a work to be done for the world. How shall it be done? Let us seek to find the best way and then perform the will of the Lord.
This world is a training school for the higher school, this life a preparation for the life to come. Here we are to be prepared for entrance into the heavenly courts. Here we are to receive and believe and practice the truth until we are made ready for a home with the saints in light.
Our sanitariums are to be established for one object--the proclamation of the truth for this time. And they are to be so conducted that a decided impression in favor of the truth will be made on the minds of those who come to them for treatment. The conduct of each worker is to tell on the side of right. We have a warning message to bear to the world, and our earnestness, our devotion to God's service, are to bear witness to the truth.
A Broader View
St. Helena, California, October 30, 1903. To Medical Missionaries --
Christ, the great Medical Missionary, came to our world as the ideal of all truth. Truth never languished on His lips, never suffered in His hands. Words of truth fell from His lips with the freshness and power of a new revelation. He unfolded the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, bringing forth jewel after jewel of truth.
Christ spoke with authority. Every truth essential for the people to know He proclaimed with the unfaltering assurance of certain knowledge. He uttered nothing fanciful or sentimental. He presented no sophistries, no human opinions. No idle tales, no false theories clothed in beautiful language, came from His lips. The statements that He made were truths established by personal knowledge. He foresaw the delusive doctrines that would fill the world, but He did not unfold them. In His teachings He dwelt upon the unchangeable principles of God's word. He magnified the simple, practical truths that the common people could understand and bring into the daily experience.
Christ might have opened to men the deepest truths of science. He might have unlocked mysteries that have required centuries of toil and study to penetrate. He might have made suggestions in scientific lines that would have afforded food for thought and stimulus for invention to the close of time. But He did not do this. He said nothing to gratify curiosity or to satisfy man's ambitions by opening doors to worldly greatness. In all His teaching, Christ brought the minds of men in contact with the Infinite Mind. He did not direct the people to study men's theories about God, His word, or His works. He taught them to behold God as manifested in His works, in His word, and by His providences.
Christ's Victory Over Unbelief
While upon this earth, the Son of God was the Son of man; yet there were times when His divinity flashed forth. Thus it was when He said to the paralytic: "Be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee." Matthew 9:2.
"But there were certain of the scribes sitting there," who "began to reason," not openly, "but in their hearts, "saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?" Mark 2:6; Luke 5:21.
"And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith He to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house." Matthew 9:4-6.
The great Medical Missionary took away the sins of the paralytic and then presented him to God as pardoned. And He gave him also physical healing. God had given His Son power to lay hold of the eternal throne. While Christ stood forth in His own personality, He reflected the luster of the position of honor that He had held within the enriching light of the eternal throne.
On another occasion Christ made the request: "Father, glorify Thy name." And in answer there came "a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." John 12:28.
If this voice did not move the impenitent, if the power that Christ manifested in His mighty miracles did not cause the Jews to believe, we should not be greatly surprised to find that men and women today are in danger, through continual association with those who are incredulous, of manifesting the same unbelief that the Jews manifested, and of developing the same perverted understanding.
I am made unutterably sad as I consider what has been opened before me regarding the condition of things at Battle Creek and other centers of our work, where great light has been shining. In the past, when matters have been shown to be wrong, there has been a realization of the wrong, and this has been followed by confession, repentance, and thorough reformation. But of late there have not been faithful stewards to repress the evils that needed to be repressed. Can we, then, be surprised that there is great spiritual blindness?
Those engaged in the gospel ministry need to learn of Christ His meekness and lowliness, and to be thoroughly converted, that their lives may testify to a world dead in trespasses and sins that they have been born again. Medical missionary workers, also, need to be converted. When they are converted, their influence will be a power for good in the world. They will be willing to receive counsel and help from their brethren, because they have been sanctified through the truth. Daily they will receive rich supplies of grace from heaven to impart to others.
To every one of His appointed agencies the Lord sends the message: "Take your position at your post of duty, and then stand firm for the right." To all I am instructed to say: "Find your place. Receive not the fanciful sentiments of men who are not taught by God. Christ is waiting to give you insight into heavenly things, waiting to quicken your spiritual pulse to renewed activity. No longer subordinate the claims of future, eternal interests to the common affairs of this life. 'Ye cannot serve God and mammon.' Matthew 6:24. Wake up, brethren, wake up."
The breadth of gospel medical missionary work is not understood. The medical missionary work now called for is that outlined in the commission which Christ gave to His disciples just before His ascension. "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth," He said. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Matthew 28:18-20.
These words point out our field and our work. Our field is the world; our work the proclamation of the truths which Christ came to our world to proclaim. Men and women are to have opportunity to gain a knowledge of present truth, an opportunity to know that Christ is their Saviour, that God 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.
A Warning Against Centralization
Christ embraced the world in His missionary work, and the Lord has shown me by revelation that it is not His plan for large centers to be made, for large institutions to be established, and for the funds of our people in all parts of the world to be exhausted in the support of a few large institutions, when the necessities of the times call for something to be done, as providence opens the way, in many places. Plants should be established in various places all over the world. First one, and then another, part of the vineyard is to be entered, until all has been cultivated. Efforts are to be put forth wherever the need is greatest. But we cannot carry on this aggressive warfare and at the same time make an extravagant outlay of means in a few places.
The Battle Creek Sanitarium is too large. A great many workers will be required to care for the patients who come. A tenth of the number of patients who come to that institution is as many as can be cared for with the best results in one medical missionary center. Centers should be made in all the cities that are unacquainted with the great work that the Lord would have done to warn the world that the end of all things is at hand. "There is too much," said the Great Teacher, "in one place."
Let those who have fitted themselves to engage in medical missionary work in foreign countries go to the places that they expect to make their field of labor, and begin work right among the people, learning the language as they work. Very soon they will find that they can teach the simple truths of God's word.
A Neglected Field Near Us
There is in this country a great, unworked field. The colored race, numbering thousands upon thousands, appeals to the consideration and sympathy of every true, practical believer in Christ. These people do not live in a foreign country, and they do not bow down to idols of wood and stone. They live among us, and again and again, through the testimonies of His Spirit, God has called our attention to them, telling us that here are human beings neglected. This broad field lies before us unworked, calling for the light that God has given us in trust.
Christ Our Example
St. Helena, California, October 30, 1903. To Medical Missionaries
That which is most needed by medical missionary workers is the guidance of the Spirit of the Lord. Those who labor as Christ, the great Medical Missionary, labored must be spiritually minded. But not all who are doing medical missionary work are exalting God and His truth. Not all are submitting to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Some are bringing to the foundation wood, hay, and stubble--material that will not bear the test of fire.
I pray that I may have wisdom and power from God to present to you that which constitutes gospel medical missionary work. This is a great and important branch of our denominational work. But many have lost sight of the pure, ennobling principles underlying acceptable medical missionary work.
In my diary I find the following, written one year ago: October 29, 1902. This morning I awoke early. After praying most earnestly for wisdom and clearness of mind, that I might properly express the matters urged upon my attention, I wrote out about ten pages of instruction. I know that the Lord helped me to trace on paper the important matter that should come before His people.
When writing thus, I feel intensely, but after the instruction has been recorded, relief comes to my mind; for I know then that the subject matter presented to me will not be lost, even though the subject may pass from my mind. Those only who realize that the cross is the center of hope for the human family can understand the gospel that Christ taught. He came to this world for no other purpose than to place man on vantage ground before the world and the heavenly universe. He came to bear testimony that fallen human beings, through faith in His power and efficacy as the Son of God, may become partakers of the divine nature. He alone could make atonement for sinners and open the gates of paradise to the fallen race. He took on Himself, not the nature of angels, but the nature of man, and in this world lived a life untainted by sin. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." John 1:14, 12.
By His life and death Christ taught that only in obedience to God's commandments can man find safety and true greatness "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." Psalm 19:7. God's law is a transcript of His character. It was given to man in the beginning as the standard of obedience. In succeeding ages this law was lost sight of. Hundreds of years after the Flood Abraham was called, and to him was given the promise that his descendants should exalt God's law. In course of time the Israelites went into Egypt, where for many years they suffered grievous oppression at the hands of the Egyptians. After they had been in slavery for nearly four hundred years, God delivered them by a wonderful manifestation of His power. He revealed Himself to the Egyptians as the Ruler of the universe, One greater than all heathen deities.
At Sinai the law was given a second time. In awful grandeur the Lord spoke His precepts and with His own finger engraved the Decalogue upon tables of stone.
Passing down through the centuries, we find that there came a time when God's law must once more be unmistakably revealed as the standard of obedience. Christ came to vindicate the sacred claims of the law. He came to live a life of obedience to its requirements and thus prove the falsity of the charge made by Satan that it is impossible for man to keep the law of God. As a man He met temptation and overcame in the strength given Him from God. As He went about doing good, healing all who were afflicted by Satan, He made plain to men the character of God's law and the nature of His service. His life testifies that it is possible for us also to obey the law of God.
Never did Christ deviate from loyalty to the principles of God's law. Never did He do anything contrary to the will of His Father. Before angels, men, and demons He could speak words that from any other lips would have been blasphemy: "I do always those things that please Him." John 8:29. Day by day for three years His enemies followed Him, trying to find some stain in His character. Satan, with all his confederacy of evil, sought to overcome Him; but they found nothing in Him by which to gain advantage. Even the devils were forced to confess: "Thou art the Holy One of God."
What language could so forcibly express God's love for the human family as it is expressed by the gift of His only-begotten Son for our redemption? The Innocent bore the chastisement of the guilty. "God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God." John 3:16-18.
Christ gave Himself, an atoning sacrifice, for the saving of a lost world. He was treated as we deserve, in order that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. "With His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5.
Christ was tempted in all points like as we are, by the one who once stood in loyalty by His side in the heavenly courts. Behold the Son of God in the wilderness of temptation, in the time of greatest weakness assailed by the fiercest temptation. See Him during the years of His ministry, attacked on every side by the forces of evil. See Him in His agony on the cross. All this He suffered for us.
Christ's earthly life, so full of toil and sacrifice, was cheered by the thought that He would not have all His travail for nought. By giving His life for the life of men, He would win the world back to its loyalty. Although the baptism of blood must first be received, although the sins of the world were to weigh upon His innocent soul, yet, for the joy that was set before Him, He chose to endure the cross and despised the shame.
Study Christ's definition of a true missionary: "Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." Mark 8:34. Following Christ, as spoken of in these words, is not a pretense, a farce. Jesus expects His disciples to follow closely in His footsteps, enduring what He endured, suffering what He suffered, overcoming as He overcame. He is anxiously waiting to see His professed followers revealing the spirit of self-sacrifice.
Those who receive Christ as a personal saviour, choosing to be partakers of His suffering, to live His life of self-denial, to endure shame for His sake, will understand what it means to be a genuine medical missionary.
When all our medical missionaries live the new life in Christ, when they take His word as their guide, they will have a much clearer understanding of what constitutes genuine medical missionary work. This work will have a deeper meaning to them when they render implicit obedience to the law engraven on tables of stone by the finger of God, including the Sabbath commandment, concerning which Christ Himself spoke through Moses to the children of Israel, saying:
"Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. . . . The children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever." Exodus 31:13-17.
Let us diligently study God's word, that we may proclaim with power the message that is to be given in these last days. Many of those upon whom the light of the Saviour's self-sacrificing life is shining refuse to live a life in accordance with His will. They are not willing to live a life of sacrifice for the good of others. They desire to exalt themselves. To such ones truth and righteousness have lost their meaning, and their un-Christlike influence leads many to turn away from the Saviour. God calls for true, steadfast workers, whose lives will counteract the influence of those who are working against Him.
To every medical missionary worker I am instructed to say: Follow your Leader. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is your example. Upon all medical missionary workers rests the responsibility of keeping in view Christ's life of unselfish service. They are to keep their eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of their faith. He is the Source of all light, the fountain of all blessing.
A Firm Stand for the Right
God calls upon His workers, in this age of diseased piety and perverted principle, to reveal a healthy, influential spirituality. My brethren and sisters, this God requires of you. Every jot of your influence is to be used on the side of Christ. You are now to call things by the right name and stand firm in defense of the truth as it is in Jesus.
It behooves every soul whose life is hid with Christ in God to come to the front now and to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. Truth must be defended and the kingdom of God advanced as it would be were Christ in person on this earth. If He were here He would be drawn out to rebuke many who, though professing to be medical missionaries, have not chosen to learn of the great Medical Missionary His meekness and lowliness. In the lives of some occupying high positions in the medical missionary work, self has been exalted. Until such ones rid themselves of every desire to uplift self, they cannot clearly discern the character of Christ, nor can they do the work that He did.
When the Holy Spirit controls the minds of our church members, there will be seen in our churches a much higher standard in speech, in ministry, in spirituality, than is now seen. The church members will be refreshed by the water of life, and the laborers, working under one Head, even Christ, will reveal their Master in spirit, in word, in deed, and will encourage one another to press forward in the grand, closing work in which we are engaged. There will be a healthy increase of unity and love, which will bear testimony to the world that God sent His Son to die for the redemption of sinners. Divine truth will be exalted; and as it shines forth as a lamp that burneth, we shall understand it more and still more clearly.
The testing truth for this time is not the fabrication of any human mind. It is from God. It is genuine philosophy to those who appropriate it. Christ became incarnate in order that we, through belief of the truth, might be sanctified and redeemed. Let those who hold the truth in righteousness arouse and go forth, shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, to proclaim the truth to those who know it not. Let them make straight paths for their feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way.
We are now to unify and by true medical missionary work prepare the way for our coming King. But let us remember that Christian unity does not mean that the identity of one person is to be submerged in that of another; nor does it mean that the mind of one is to be led and controlled by the mind of another. God has not given to any man the power that some, by word and act, seek to claim. God requires every man to stand free and to follow the directions of the word.
Let us increase in a knowledge of the truth, giving all praise and glory to Him who is One with the Father. Let us seek most earnestly for the heavenly anointing, the Holy Spirit. Let us have a pure, growing Christianity, that in the heavenly courts we may at last be pronounced complete in Christ.
"Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him." Matthew 25:6. Lose no time now in rising and trimming your lamps. Lose no time in seeking perfect unity with one another. We must expect difficulties. Trials will come. Christ, the Captain of our salvation, was made perfect through suffering. His followers will encounter the enemy many times and will be severely tried, but they need not despair. Christ says to them: "Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33.
The following lines portray the Christian warfare: I thought that the course of the Christian to heaven Would be bright as the summer and glad as the morn. Thou show'dst me the path; it was dark and rough, All rugged with rocks, all tangled with thorn; I dreamed of celestial rewards and renown; I asked for the palm branch, the robe, and the crown; I asked, and Thou show'dst me a cross and a grave.