Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2


Conducting Social Meetings

I was shown, Brother M, that you need a great work done for you before you can exert an influence in the church to correct their errors or bring them up. You do not possess that humbleness of mind that can reach the hearts of God's people. You are exalted. You need to examine your motives and your actions to see if your eye is single to the glory of God. Neither Brother O nor you is exactly fitted to meet the wants of the youth and the church generally. You do not come right down in simplicity to understand the best manner to help them. It does not have the best influence for you and Brother O to leave your seats and take your position upon the platform in front of the people. When you occupy that position, you feel that you must say or do something in accordance with the position you have taken. Instead of getting up and speaking a few words to the point, you frequently make lengthy remarks, which really hurt the spirit of the meeting. Many feel relieved when you sit down. Were you in a country place where there were but few to improve the time, such lengthy remarks would be more appropriate. 2T 419.1

The work of the Lord is a great work, and wise men are needed to engage in it. Men are wanted who can adapt themselves to the wants of the people. If you expect to help the people you must not take your position above them, but right down among them. This is Brother O's great fault. He is too stiff. It is not natural for him to use simplicity. He does not reason from cause to effect. He will not win affection and love. He does not come right down to the understanding of the children and speak in a touching manner which will melt its way to the heart. He stands up and talks to the children in a wise way, but it does them no good. His remarks are generally lengthy and wearisome. Sometimes if but one fourth were said that is said, a much better impression would be left on the mind. 2T 419.2

Those who instruct children should avoid tedious remarks. Short remarks and to the point will have a happy influence. If much is to be said, make up for briefness by frequency. A few words of interest now and then will be more beneficial than to have it all at once. Long speeches burden the small minds of children. Too much talk will lead them to loathe even spiritual instruction, just as overeating burdens the stomach and lessens the appetite, leading even to a loathing of food. The minds of the people may be glutted with too much speechifying. Labor for the church, but especially for the youth, should be line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. Give minds time to digest the truths you feed them. Children must be drawn toward heaven, not rashly, but very gently. 2T 420.1

Battle Creek, Michigan,

October 2, 1868.