Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)
Ms 21, 1868
Appeal to Ministers
October 2, 1868
Fragment. See 2T 334-346 for the entire appeal.
Those who engage in the business of school teaching prepare for the work. They qualify themselves by attending school. They interest their minds in study. They are not allowed to engage in the work of teaching children and youth in the sciences unless they are capable of instructing them. Those who apply for a situation as teachers have to pass an examination before competent persons. It is an important work to deal with young minds and instruct them correctly in the sciences. But of how much greater importance is the work of the ministry. Many engage in the important business of interesting men and women to enter the school of Christ, to learn how they may form characters for heaven, who need to become students themselves. Some who engage in the ministry do not feel the burden of the work upon them. They have received incorrect ideas of the qualifications of a minister. They have thought it required but little close study in the sciences or in the Word of God to make a minister. Some ministers who are teaching present truth are not acquainted with their Bibles. They are so deficient in Bible-reading and study that it is difficult for them to quote a text of scripture correctly from memory. They sin against God in blundering along in the awkward manner they do. They mangle the scripture, and make the Bible say things that are not written therein. 1LtMs, Ms 21, 1868, par. 1
Some who have all their lives been led by feeling, have thought that it was of no consequence in regard to their education or thorough knowledge of the scripture, if they only had the Spirit. God never sends His Spirit to sanction ignorance. Those who have not knowledge, and are so situated that it is impossible for them to obtain it, the Lord may, and does, pity and bless, and sometimes condescends to make His strength perfect in their weakness. He makes it the duty of such to study His word. A lack of knowledge in the sciences is no excuse for the neglect of Bible study; for the words of inspiration are so plain that the unlearned may understand them. 1LtMs, Ms 21, 1868, par. 2
Those who are handling solemn truths for these perilous times, of all men upon the face of the earth, should understand their Bibles and become acquainted with the evidences of our faith. Unless they possess a knowledge of the Word of life, they have no right to undertake to instruct others in the way of life. Ministers should give all diligence to add to their “faith, virtue, and to virtue, knowledge, and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity.” [2 Peter 1:5-7.] 1LtMs, Ms 21, 1868, par. 3