Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8


Chapter 15—A Neglected Warning

St. Helena, California,

November, 1901

“Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; a blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: and a curse, if ye will not obey.” Deuteronomy 11:26-28. 8T 81.1

“And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto My commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, that I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full. Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; and then the Lord's wrath be kindled against you, and He shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord giveth you.” Verses 13-17. 8T 81.2

“Therefore shall ye lay up these My words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the doorposts of thine house, and upon thy gates: that your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.” Verses 18-21. 8T 81.3

If Seventh-day Adventists had walked in the way of the Lord, refusing to allow selfish interests to control them, the Lord would greatly have blessed them. Those who have remained in Battle Creek contrary to the will of the Lord have lost the valuable experience and the spiritual knowledge they might have gained through obedience. Many of them have forfeited the favor of God. The heart of the work has become congested. For a long time the warning has been given, but it has not been heeded. The reason for this disobedience is that the hearts and minds of many in Battle Creek are not under the influence of the Holy Spirit. They do not realize how much work there is to do. They are asleep. 8T 82.1

When Seventh-day Adventists move into cities where there is already a large church of believers, they are out of place, and their spirituality becomes weaker and weaker. Their children are exposed to many temptations. My brother, my sister, unless you are absolutely needed in carrying forward the work in such a place, it would be wise for you to go to some place where the truth has not yet been proclaimed, and there strive to give proof of your ability to work for the Master. Make earnest efforts to arouse an interest in present truth. House-to-house work is effectual when conducted in a Christlike manner. Hold meetings, and be sure to make them interesting. Remember that this requires something more than preaching. 8T 82.2

Many who have lived so long in one place are spending their time criticizing those who are working in Christ's lines to convict and convert sinners. They criticize the motives and intentions of others, as if it were not possible for anyone else to do the unselfish work they themselves refuse to do. They are stumbling blocks. If they would go to places where there are no believers, and work to win souls to Christ, they would soon be so busy proclaiming the truth and helping the suffering that they would have no time to dissect character, no time to surmise evil and then report the results of their supposed keenness in seeing beneath the surface. 8T 82.3

Let those who have lived so long in places where there are large churches of believers go out into the harvest field to sow and reap for the Master. They will forget self in the desire to save souls. They will see so much work to do, so many fellow beings to help, that they will have no time to look for faults in others. They will have no time to work on the negative side. 8T 83.1

Bringing so many believers together in one place tends to encourage evil surmising and evilspeaking. Many become absorbed in looking and listening for evil. They forget what a great sin they are committing. They forget that the words they speak can never be unsaid and that by their suspicions they are sowing seeds that will spring up to bear a harvest of evil. How great this harvest is no one will know until the last great day, when every thought, word, and action will be brought into judgment. 8T 83.2

The thoughtless, unkind words that are spoken grow with every repetition. One and another adds a word, until the false report assumes large proportions. Great injustice is done. By their unrighteous suspicions and unrighteous judgments the talebearers hurt their own experience and sow the seeds of discord in the church. If they could see things as God sees them they would change their attitude. They would realize how they have neglected the work He has given them to do as they have found fault with their brethren and sisters. 8T 83.3

The time spent in criticizing the motives and works of Christ's servants might better be spent in prayer. Often if those who find fault knew the truth in regard to those with whom they find fault, they would have an altogether different opinion of them. How much better it would be if, instead of criticizing and condemning others, everyone would say: “I must work out my own salvation. If I co-operate with Him who desires to save my soul, I must watch myself diligently. I must cut away every evil from my life. I must become a new creature in Christ. I must overcome every fault. Then, instead of weakening those who are striving against evil, I can strengthen them by encouraging words.” 8T 83.4

Let those who have used the talent of speech to discourage and dishearten God's servants, who are striving to advance God's cause, planning and working to master hindrance, ask God to forgive them for the injury they have done to His work by their wicked prejudices and unkind words. Let them think of the harm they have done by spreading false reports, by judging those they have no right to judge. 8T 84.1

In the word of God we are given plain directions as to the course we are to follow when we think a brother is in the wrong. Christ says: “If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” And again the Saviour says: “If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” Matthew 18:15-17; 5:23, 24. 8T 84.2

“Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in Thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoreth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.” Psalm 15. 8T 84.3

“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.” Matthew 7:1-5. 8T 85.1

Much is involved in the matter of judging. Remember that soon your life record will pass in review before God. Remember, too, that He has said: “Thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?” Romans 2:1-3. 8T 85.2


Those who came to Battle Creek when they had a work to do in the church that they left, lost their missionary spirit and their spiritual discernment in coming to Battle Creek. There they came in contact with a pharisaism, a self-righteousness, that is always a snare. It is the form of godliness without the power thereof. 8T 85.3

When the power of the truth is felt in the heart, when the principles of truth are brought into the daily life, there will be a great movement of reform in the Battle Creek church. Soon will be fulfilled the words: “I will turn and overturn.” We know not now just when this will be accomplished, but the time will come when there will be a scattering from Battle Creek. Those who moved to Battle Creek without any call from the Lord will move away. 8T 86.1


Earnest workers have no time to dwell upon the defects of others. They behold the Saviour, and by beholding become changed into His likeness. He is the One whose example we are to follow in our character building. In His life upon the earth He plainly revealed the divine nature. We should strive to be perfect in our sphere, as He was perfect in His sphere. No longer are the members of the church to remain unconcerned in regard to the formation of right characters. Placing themselves under the molding influence of the Holy Spirit, they are to form characters that are a reflection of the divine character. 8T 86.2