Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Ms 24, 1887

Testimony for the Workers of the Publishing House at Basel


February 14, 1887

Portions of this manuscript are published in AH 308; Ev 94, 650-651; OHC 175, 240; UL 59; 1BC 1108, 1113; 3BC 1159-1162; 4BC 1144; 8MR 325-328; 9MR 374.

There are things that burden my mind and of which I must speak. I am perplexed about the state of affairs and minds in this mission, for there are many things which are displeasing to God in the various departments of the work. Those who are called upon to lead out in one or the other of these departments need to have a close communion with God. They need to be men and women of discernment, watching for the souls of those who are connected with them, as having to give an account. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 1

I have been shown a roll upon which names were written. While it was slowly unrolling before me and I was looking at it wide open, I saw many things which needed to be reformed before this mission could be in a prosperous condition. There are men and women there of various turns of mind and temperament who will work to advantage in some respects, while in other respects they are below their task. They have not endeavored to place themselves on a level with the work. There is among the workers a lack of aptness, a confusion, a lack of mutual understanding and promptness. Things are not done on time. As a result, complications and difficulties arise, which it is hard to overcome from a lack of united action. This state of things, if it is not remedied, will be seen and felt still more in the future than in the past, for the work will grow and the need of a perfect understanding of affairs in this house will become greater. The unfortunate habit of neglecting a special work which needs to be done at a certain time trebles the difficulty of performing it later with exactness and without leaving something neglected or unfinished. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 2

The Lord loves to see His work done as perfectly as possible. In the wilderness, the Israelites had to learn to accomplish with exactness and promptness the work connected with the order of the camp, and especially the work of the tabernacle, its ornaments, and its service. All had to learn before they could accomplish this to them new work. They had to be trained before they could do it as God desired. There were men there ready to give counsel and advice and to meddle with the work of mounting and dismounting the tabernacle; and those who neglected their special work to meddle with the work of others, thinking they had special wisdom and knew how it should be done, were put to death. Each one had to be taught the value of promptness and exactness in every position of trust. The memory had to be taxed, and they had to realize the responsibility of doing everything in due time. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 3

This is the discipline which the Lord anciently gave to His people, and it is the discipline which should exist in our missions, our colleges, our publishing houses, our sanitariums. God likes to see men understand their weak points, and instead of closing their eyes to their defects, they should make persevering efforts to overcome them. The work in this mission must reach a much higher degree of perfection. Instead of the work being molded according to the habits of men, their habits must be reformed. Where the workers are decidedly below their task, they must take a new turn and become efficient. The work must not bear the mark of a faulty education and of the hereditary tendencies of man. It must be accomplished with exactness. If one has no qualifications for a certain work, let some one else be chosen to learn it, even if it incurs an expense. The work is of such importance that the angels look down upon it with an intense interest and walk through the rooms of the institution. They watch every worker and the work that comes forth from his hands, and the report is brought back to heaven of the manner in which it is performed and of the spirit in which it is done. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 4

There is a great need of careful building in every important institution like this. There is a great need of tact, intelligence, skill, and businesslike thoroughness. This is even an absolute condition of prosperity in this institution. It will be easy to make great blunders if the business is not looked after with clear and sharp attention. Although the novice or apprentice may be energetic, if there is not in the various departments some one to oversee, some one who is properly qualified for his work, there will be failure in many respects. As the work grows, it will become impossible, even occasionally, to postpone jobs from one date to another. What is not done in due time, be it in sacred or in secular matters, runs a great risk of not being done at all; in any case, such work can never be done so well as at the proper time. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 5

This defect must be corrected in our managers as well as in our apprentices, for the eyes of the Lord are upon the work and the workmen. Much time goes by every day, and every hour of the day, which is far from showing the results which could be expected. Do one thing at a time, and complete it as far as possible, then take up another. It is impossible to think of having apprentices working diligently and yet making only very little advancement. The lesson to be taught is this: do not take up your time with trifles; stop this state of things where everybody is in a hurry and no one is getting ahead. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 6

We must have, at the head of the departments, calm, firm, punctual businessmen, able to bring order out of confusion, but who will not throw everything in confusion and keep up things eternally on the run in order that jobs left behind may be done on time. There must be men who will begin a work in the right way and hold to it and push it forward firmly. Everything must be done according to a well-matured plan, and with system. God has entrusted His sacred work to men, and He asks that they shall do it carefully. Regularity in all things is essential. Never be late to an appointment. In no department or office should time be lost in unnecessary conversations. The work of God requires things which it does not receive, because men do not learn from the God of wisdom. They press too many things into their life, postpone until tomorrow that which demands their attention today, and much time is lost in painfully picking up the lost stitches. Men and women can reach a higher degree of usefulness than to carry with them through life an unsettled state of mind. They can improve the defective traits of their character contracted in their younger years. Like Paul, they can labor to reach a much higher degree of perfection. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 7

The work of God must not be done by fits and starts. It will not be placed on vantage ground by following a sudden impulse. On the contrary, it is positively necessary to follow the good work patiently, day by day, progressing in our ways and methods. One should get up at a regular hour. If during the day the work is neglected, and the following night is spent in making up for lost time, the morrow and following day will show, as a result, a wearied brain and a general fatigue which constitute positive violations of the law of life and health. There should be regular hours for rising, for family worship, for meals, and for work. And it is a religious duty, in every one of our institutions, to maintain this by precept as well as by a firm example. Many squander the most precious hours of the morning, hoping that they can terminate the work thus neglected during the hours which should be devoted to sleep. Godliness, health, success, everything suffers from this lack of true religious system. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 8

There are many lessons which should be taught here in Europe. Some workers need to give up the slow methods of work which prevail and to learn to be prompt. Promptness is necessary as well as diligence. If we wish to accomplish the work according to the will of God, it must be done in an expeditious manner, but not without thought and care. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 9

The work needs more effort and care than it is receiving here. Our translators have too much to do. They are not training their mind to a close and deep analysis of their work. They need to have their mind clothed with all its strength and elasticity and to have a clear and free imagination in order to grasp the original to be translated. A translation should never be considered as complete as long as it has passed through the hands of one person only. For the translation of the Holy Scriptures, in many lands, a large number of men were chosen who labored together, closely examining and mutually criticizing their work. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 10

Our work is much more important than is supposed and requires much more thought. The translators should have less hours to devote to close and absorbing intellectual labor, lest the brain become too weary; and the force of penetration being relaxed, the labor accomplished shall be imperfect. In dealing with the truth, everything should be done with a grace and a solidity which have not thus far characterized the work; for this reason, the mind of one should not be overburdened. Brother _____ has too much to do. He is in danger of contracting the habit of not giving to his work all the thought, all the effort, and all the care that [he] should; and as considerable responsibility rests upon him, he must not be laden with a multiplicity of matters which he feels he must do, lest he shall become positively incapable for the competent and thorough work which is needed. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 11

He aims too much at a flowery style and large words. This is not the way to do. None of us must endeavor to do great things, but to do thoroughly that which needs to be done, and to place every word within the reach of ordinary minds. The teaching of Christ was not clothed with sounding words; but the mighty truths which it contained were expressed in the simplest language, the meaning of which did not need to be looked up in the dictionary. In every kind of education, we must imitate the Master par excellence. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 12

Every worker is in danger of being satisfied with superficial knowledge and of falling into a condition of mental lethargy. In order to faithfully and wisely perform important and sacred duties, it is necessary to keep one’s mental and moral powers constantly wide awake. Not for a moment must we lose sight of the fact that we are individually workers in God’s own service and that as such we need to give an account of our conduct and of the manner in which we do our work. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 13

Those who are at the head of the various departments must themselves learn continually, if they wish to teach. New apprentices will come to learn one trade or another; therefore there must be persons qualified to teach these apprentices so as to develop their gifts in some useful work to the very highest degree of knowledge to which it is possible for the one who teaches to bring them, showing them to do their work in a way honoring to God and preparing them to occupy positions of usefulness. Every person having anything to do in this mission must bear responsibilities. The sacred character of the work gives solemnity to everything related to it in any way. It gives great importance to the smallest action and the unconscious influence of every one. The usefulness in life of those who enter this mission depends in a large measure upon the education they receive while here at work. They will receive a mold which will affect both their material and spiritual prosperity. Hence there should be here to teach them men with foresight, whose powers both physical and mental are so developed that under their leadership the shaping of minds and characters may be harmonious, and not uneven and defective. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 14

I have been shown that the manner in which this work of education and instruction should be done carries much larger consequences than any of you have the least idea. All those related with this institution should consider this relation under an entirely different light from which they have looked at it until now. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 15

The work is much larger than you imagine. I have seen cities in Switzerland that need the light of truth. The worker will be called upon to go to different places with the message of warning. They know not what they may become if they make the best use of all the light which God has given them. They should solemnly consecrate themselves daily to the service of God and feel that they are in a training school in which to prepare themselves, should God call them to become missionaries. They should grasp every knowledge placed within their reach and, with determination, advance in all right directions, learning to do everything with thoroughness and promptness. They should cultivate their memory and also the habit of working carefully, and with close application, not neglecting anything which needs their attention; for whoever desires to become a laborer in the work of God must have formed the habit of being careful in all things; otherwise he is not fit for this work. He must watch for souls as having to give an account; and if he does not exert himself in watchfulness and thoroughness, in being prompt to think and prompt to act, Satan will steal a march upon him and gain the victory. He must overcome all indolence and carelessness and endeavor to be zealous and thorough in his work. He must train his mind to thoroughness. The weakness of character to which some yield too often, having their mind constantly absorbed by a desire for sympathy, seeking about them someone to comfort them, to praise them, someone to lean upon, is a deceptive snare and makes them unfit to labor anywhere with assurance and efficiency. Jesus is the helper of us all. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 16

God expects from every one fruit to His glory. He wants you to believe in Him and to become such that all who come within the sphere of your influence may see what man may become and what he may do when, like Daniel, he is in communion with the God of wisdom and power. He must prove to the world that divine truth carried into our daily life makes us intellectually strong, so that there will be no justification in the sneering statement of the world that those who believe present truth are narrow-minded people, without education, position, or influence. We know that this statement is not true, but let us demonstrate it with such evidence that its falsehood will fall back upon those who make it. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 17

In order to form well-balanced characters in the apprentices, those who are called upon to watch over them and instruct them should be examples to them, and they should diligently study to correct in themselves old habits which mar their own usefulness and will surely leave an unfortunate stamp upon those with whom they are connected in the work. Let them also be ready to learn. Let them seek in their habits and methods of work to be constantly advancing toward perfection. There are some in this mission who are so constituted that it is hard for them to change an old habit. It is not easy to persuade them to take another mold. They have never learned to be like the clay in the hands of the potter; but they cling to old habits, to customs and manners of work which will certainly leave a stamp of deformity upon the work of God. It is essential to labor with order, following an organized plan and a definite object. No one can properly instruct another unless he sees to it that the work to be done shall be taken hold of systematically and in order, so that it may be done at the proper time. But the instructor must not carry matters too far, as might be the case. He may want to have everything done exactly in his own way, so that if his notions are not carried out, the work will not be done at all, and confusion will follow. In this way, much time is lost; many things are left to be done later, then forgotten, and not done at all. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 18

Those who occupy places of responsibility should be men and women whom God can train to fill these positions, and they should be constantly learning at the school of Christ, humbly sitting at the feet of Jesus. Then, when young people are entrusted to them, they can in turn look to Jesus to obtain from Him help and wisdom. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 19

Some are very deficient in their aptness to instruct others. They seem to think that those who are just learning their ABC’s should be as prompt in understanding their work as they themselves; and instead of being kind, courteous, and sympathetic, they are exactly the reverse. They do not have a sweet, tender, loving, Christlike disposition; they are wrapped up in a cloak of sufficiency and self-righteousness; and if mistakes happen to be made, they are cross and severe. Instead of teaching patiently, they censure. Their manner is so cold, so sharp, and so unsympathetic that it discourages, drives from the heart all light and sunshine and makes the work seem dreary and hard, when all should be done with kindness so as to lighten every burden. If God should treat them thus in their ignorance and perversity, they would be thrown into discouragement and darkness. But Jesus, our heavenly teacher, does not so act with His people, with His children. These cold, reserved, self-sufficient ones need the fire of God’s love to consume all the dross and to refine, soften, and subdue their soul. All this censuring, all these sharp remarks, all this sternness, this cold and unsympathetic spirit must be banished from the temple of the soul, so that Christ may enter. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 20

We need in the various departments of this mission those who are apt to teach; they should be men and women of a tender and meek spirit, like that of Christ, knowing how to help others, whose religion is not the cold, reserved kind, but whose heart is filled with tender sympathy, leading them to help all who need help. Those who are apt to scold, to murmur, to censure should be completely transformed or find work elsewhere. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 21

When the Spirit of Christ fills the whole heart, it brings about a decisive change in the character. Old habits are exchanged for new ones. The old man is transformed. The Word of God does not only reform the most glaring defects; its work is to transform and fashion the whole man, making him loving, patient, kind, forbearing, and condescending. The truth satisfies the soul and leads the believer to be continually amiable and tender in his conduct. If other fruits than these are shown, it is well to find out the cause. It is safe to probe our own hearts carefully, for from them proceed the fountains of life. Those who are imbued with the Spirit of Christ will not be selfish; they will be kind and courteous in their daily life. The work of saving men and women does not deal only with their doctrines, but with their whole character. Everything that is harsh in the temperament must be softened down, and everything rough in the manners must be toned down. The truth received with love will, like the leaven, work out its mysterious influence; it has a transforming power; but when you see one pretending to believe the truth remains cold, grumbling, self-sufficient, independent and selfish, you may be assured that the religion of Christ is not practiced in the daily life. Those who are in any way connected with this mission should form a character after the example of Christ or else sever their connection with this mission. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 22

It is of the highest importance that those who labor in the work, especially those who are at the head of the departments, have a well-balanced mind. They need to possess the best education possible in every respect. They should understand how to labor for souls. They have before them an opportunity of obtaining knowledge of the highest value. They should not be irresolute like young boys, but have a mature knowledge of men and things. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 23

The one who is at the head of the institution should show them the example. All his works should be filled with joy and kindness and inspire courage. He should avoid all frivolous words and trifling, all conversation not directly connected with the work. He should have discernment and tender and deep sympathies. He should be apt to grasp rapidly the state of things, and it is his privilege to know how every room is conducted and how the apprentices are being trained. It is for him to see that those who are expected to teach are not themselves greatly lacking and of a defective character. He must act with Christian dignity, like a man who knows what he wants. Well-defined plans should be freely presented to all whom they may concern, and it should be ascertained that they are understood. Then require of all those who are at the head of various departments to co-operate in the execution of these plans. If this sure and radical method is properly adopted and followed up with interest and good will, it will avoid much work being done without any definite object, much useless friction. It is only by much thinking and by taxing one’s faculties that one may succeed in adapting himself to his work. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 24

Persons with irritable temperaments and acrimonious dispositions should not be those holding important positions in any of these departments. Kindliness, meekness, humbleness should reign. Intelligent, God-fearing workers may do much good by the reforming influence they may have upon the character of others. They may not accomplish the necessary change in a few days; but this change must be made, or else God will not accept their labors. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 25

The habit of concentrating the thought upon one’s self must be overcome. The great power of Satan is daily exerted in order to keep those who labor in the work on as low a level as possible. But the Lord is laboring to bring them to a higher level of consecration. He requires that the souls whom He is purifying unto Himself should never cease to grow intellectually or spiritually through their entire life. But the minds who are constantly occupied with themselves do not leave God any chance to labor for them and to give them high and noble aims. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 26

Many set their aim much too low for their intellectual as well as for the spiritual attainments. The more responsible the place which they occupy, the more satisfied they are with themselves; they seem to think that position gives a man prominence. Their mind is not deeply impressed with the fact that it is their own conduct that can elevate and ennoble their character; that they must daily bring into their work longsuffering, courtesy, and all the Christian graces, in order to become fit for their position. God desires that every person laboring in this mission shall improve in many respects, for every character is defective. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 27

Let no one criticize his neighbor to his hurt; rather work diligently for the salvation of your own soul, lest you lose eternal life. Those who make the most of the privileges and opportunities given them, who tax the powers of their soul and mind in the school of Christ to the very last limit, will be, in a Bible sense, persons of talent and education both in their manners and in the Christian graces. They will be noble, tender, sympathetic, and courteous; but they will also be firm and determined in repressing the first approach of evil, for they may sin and they will sin if they neglect to warn, to rebuke, and to stop the evil. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 28

Every one should have a calm and cheerful disposition. God frowns upon those whose words and actions give the impression of a cloudy sky. He does not want us to be sad as if following a funeral procession, but filled with sweet joy. Our duty is to live in the atmosphere of Christ’s love, to breathe His love deeply, and to reflect its warmth around us. Oh, what a sphere of influence is open before us! How carefully we should cultivate the garden of the soul, so that it may bring forth only pure, sweet, fragrant flowers! Words of love, tenderness, and charity sanctify our influence over others. All this has been sadly neglected in this mission. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 29

A soul filled with the love of Jesus lends to the words, the manners, the looks, hope, courage, and serenity. It reveals the Spirit of Christ. It breathes a love which will be reflected. It awakens a desire for a better life; souls ready to faint are strengthened; those struggling against temptation will be fortified and comforted. The words, the expression, the manners throw out a bright ray of sunshine and leave behind them a clear path toward heaven, the source of all light. Every one of us has opportunities of helping others. We are constantly making impressions upon the youth about us. The expression of the countenance is itself a mirror of the life within. Jesus desires that we shall become like Himself, filled with tender sympathy, exerting a ministry of love in the small duties of life. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 30

We need a calm waiting upon God. The need of this is imperious. It is not the noise and bustle we make in the world which proves our usefulness. See how silently God works! We do not hear the noise of His steps, and yet He is walking about us, laboring for our good. Jesus did not seek for notoriety; His life-giving virtue was going out to the needy and the afflicted through silent actions, whose influence extended far into all countries and was felt and expressed in the life of millions of human beings. Those who desire to labor with God have need of His Spirit every day; they need to walk and labor in meekness and humility of spirit, without seeking to accomplish extraordinary things, satisfied to do the work before them and doing it faithfully. Men may not see or appreciate their efforts, but the names of these faithful children of God are written in heaven among His noblest workers, as scattering His seed in view of a glorious harvest. “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” [Matthew 7:16.] 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 31

Some are seen to come forth from their daily communion with God clothed with the meekness of Christ. Their words are not like a desolating hail, crushing everything before it; they come forth sweetly from their lips. They scatter seeds of love and kindness all along their path, and that all unconsciously, because Christ lives in their heart. Their influence is felt more than it is seen. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 32

Nothing should be done by a spirit of contention or vain glory. The praise of men is not lasting, the praise of God is eternal. Where are those who are willing to labor with the Lord—even though their words and their actions be not appreciated—having only the glory of God in view? 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 33

There should be fathers and mothers in Israel having a tender interest for all those who need help. The manifestation of a spirit of criticism toward the weaknesses of others, or making evil report of faults which one thinks he can discern in them, should be a matter of sufficient importance for rebuke; and if the evil is not corrected, for church discipline. I have been shown before I came to Europe that there was a spirit of evil speaking, censure, and severity among one another: a coldness, a distant, domineering spirit which kills the spiritual life. Mistakes are seen, but not dealt with in time, and they grow to proportions which make them hard to manage. Then, after allowing those who err to become strengthened in their evil way, their case is not dealt with wisely and judiciously, with tenderness and circumspection. They are not given the impression that one does not wish them evil, but desires to save them from ruin. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 34

Many an offense is only imaginary; therefore every one should seek not to think evil. Many a friction can be traced back to a severe face, to an icy reserve toward some person, while to others extreme attachment and warm sympathy are shown. These are not the fruits of the Spirit. Kindliness must be cultivated or else it will dwindle and vanish. When we are actuated by the principles of the gospel, we shall love men for the sake of Christ. We shall no longer see selfish preference and great manifestations of affection toward a small number, while all those outside of the circle are neglected. This is not the love recommended by the Bible nor the Spirit of Christ. There is more in keeping God’s commandments than we think. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself;” this is the principle to be practiced. [Luke 10:27.] 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 35

There are those who have not had an enviable lot in their life. Incessant work and privations have robbed them from the advantages and culture which others have enjoyed. Cases of this kind require the thoughtful interest of all connected with this institution. They should be instructed and trained, but not spoken to bluntly or sharply: this would be cruel. These are the very ones whom Jesus would pity, and whom He will seek to encourage. We should be both instructors and apprentices. Those only who are learning in the school of Christ can be true instructors. Those who need to learn are the very ones upon whom you should place your attention. High and low, rich and poor, free and bond, all belong to Christ. Be therefore careful how you honor the most brilliant and despise the humble. We need much more of the presence of Christ and much less of self. Christian courtesy must enter into all the actions of our daily life. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 36

A great many of those who profess the truth will be weighed in the balances of God and found wanting, because they did not practice this truth. There is nobility in a truly Christian character. On the other hand, many have a vivid, unsanctified sensitiveness which keeps them constantly on the alert for some word, some look, or some action which they can construe as a lack of respect and appreciation. All this must be overcome. Every one should go forward in the fear of God, doing his best without being troubled by praise or offended by censure, serving God fervently, and learning to place the most favorable interpretation upon whatever in others may seem offensive. We must not consider as our enemies all those who do not receive us with a smile upon their lips and with demonstrations of love. It is much easier to play the martyr than to overcome a bad temper. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 37

We must give others an example of not stopping at every trifling offense in order to vindicate our rights. We may expect that false reports will circulate about us; but if we follow a straight course, if we remain indifferent to these things, others will also be indifferent. Let us leave to God the care of our reputation. And thus, like sons and daughters of God, we shall show that we have self-control. We shall show that we are led by the Spirit of God and that we are slow to anger. Slander can be lived down by our manner of living; it is not lived down by words of indignation. Let our great anxiety be to act in the fear of God, and show by our conduct that these reports are false. No one can injure our character as much as ourselves. It is the weak trees and the tottering houses that need to be constantly propped. When we show ourselves so anxious to protect our reputation against attacks from the outside, we give the impression that it is not blameless before God and that it needs therefore to be continually bolstered up. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 38

There is not in the families connected with the mission the wisdom and the Christian patience which should exist. The family of Brother _____ is not in a position where it can help to elevate the moral standard of the institution. The transforming power of God has not made the father and the mother free from selfishness and able to strengthen the youth who are now and who will yet be in the mission. There is not a heavenly atmosphere in the family. Its members seem to be separate and disjoined elements, and yet their mind is concentrated upon themselves. The children have not been directed wisely and for their greatest good. If anything troubles them, there must be a change, for something is wrong, and nothing must cross the children’s path. Everything must be made easy and unobstructed, lest they might take things wrong and pass through trial. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 39

The way in which this family has been brought up is that of Eli and not that of faithful Abraham, of whom the Lord says: “For I know him, that he will not deal with his children in petting and cajolery, and that he will not excuse them in their perversity; that he will not be satisfied like Eli with remonstrances, but that he will command his children and his household after him.” 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 40

Abraham was strict in maintaining the fear of God in his home. He did not tolerate in his children things which would have dishonored God and caused the ruin of their soul. There was no mistake to be made in this respect; for God had given rules for directing not only his children, but his family also. Abraham was to govern them as God’s representative on earth. He did not forget that the souls depending upon him should see in him an example of truth and righteousness. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 41

Abraham was chosen of God to bring about a new era in the plan of His providence. To him was entrusted the true religion to be transmitted to his descendants. By his maxims, as well as by his example, he was to help coming generations in developing right characters. God chose him to occupy this important place because he cultivated domestic piety and could thus have a decisive influence upon the families brought in contact with him. He would keep the ways of the Lord, and the fear of God would characterize his family. He who blesses the habitation of the righteous says: “For I know him, that he will command his children, and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord” [Genesis 18:19]; and not follow their own will and do after their own pleasure; it is God’s way which must be kept, for their own good and for the good of all them who come in contact with him. As a father, Abraham will be faithful to his sacred responsibilities. He will not bend the principles of truth to make them agree with the defects of character in his children. There is a law, and Abraham will keep it. He is amenable before God. He is not to erect a rule of his own for the management of his children, but to follow the rule of God. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 42

The Lord is our ruler; we are His subjects, and we owe Him obedience. Parents and children must together keep the way of the Lord, in order to be together governed by Him. In keeping the way of God, in practicing His statutes and His laws, we shall on the one hand prevent oppression on the part of parents and on the other hand preclude disobedience on the part of children. The combined influence of authority and love will make it possible to hold firmly and kindly the reins of family government. An eye single to the glory of God and to what our children owe Him will keep us from looseness and from sanctioning evil. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 43

“Faith without works is dead.” [James 2:20.] When parents do their duty, the Lord co-operates with their human efforts. Every family calling upon the name of the Lord should open His Word and ask humbly: “What saith the Lord on this subject?” They should not take counsel of their fallible ways and personal judgment, but ask: “What saith the Great Guide and Counselor?” These are the ways of God which I must follow, and not my own. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 44

All those who labor in this mission should endeavor to square their character and influence with the highest ideal, in order to exert by precept and example a healthy, divine influence upon all those with whom they come in contact. Souls are precious; therefore those who occupy responsible positions should help others to walk in the right way. Every one is bound to his fellow men. We are threads in the great web of humanity, and, as such, related with each other. Our life leaves upon the minds of others impressions which will be transferred even into eternity. Angels take note of our works, of our words, of the spirit which actuates us. Those who desire to reform others must begin the reformation in their own hearts, and show that they have acquired kindliness and humility of heart in the school of Christ. Those who have charge of others must learn first to master themselves, to refrain from blunt expressions and exaggerated censure. There are cutting words which are indulged in, which may offend, hurt and leave upon a soul a scar which will remain. There are sharp words which fall as sparks upon an inflammable temper; there are biting words which bite like vipers. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 45

Intimate connection between imperfect, defective characters may often have as a result a great harm done to both persons, for Satan has more influence upon their minds than the Spirit of Jesus. They do not consider each other under a true and impartial light, but under the most unfavorable light possible. By trying to correct evil in a hasty, cross spirit, two evils will be created instead of correcting one. Mutual support is essential. It is the fruit of the Spirit which grows upon the Christian tree. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 46

A radical conversion must take place as regards the manner in which the various minds are to be dealt with. If every apparent injustice is considered as an affront; if amends for every slight injury are required with a spirit different from the spirit of Christ; if harsh language is used; if for difficulties small or great a spirit of impatience is manifested which stirs up and irritates, there will soon be a state of things worse than if nothing had been done to correct the evil. If such dispositions are entertained by believers; if every one feels free to utter hasty words, we shall have miserable hearts, miserable families, and in the church discord and dissension. But there is a Christlike way of settling all these things. The presence of Christ’s love in the heart will lead to love the very ones who are astray and who are in the wrong. The absence of that love places the very one who professes the truth on the side of the enemy. He becomes a tempter for others and stirs them up to do wrong. Such a spirit could not remain in heaven. It is necessary to bring into one’s life the power of self-control, for a character that did not have this would cause discord in heaven. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 47

We should exercise the tongue to utter words of tender sympathy for those who fall into error. “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. ... Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.” James 3:2, 11-14. That means that those who have these things in the heart often wish, with a stern, harsh spirit, to put things in order, pretending to endeavor to stop evil and thus fulfil God’s will. They even justify their course amid talk of their frankness and courage in not covering up the truth. The apostle desires to undeceive these people, and he declares to them that in their boastfulness they lie against the Spirit of truth. “This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” James 3:15-18. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 48

The reformation should be deep and radical. Those who were not converted in their words, their spirit, and their actions, when they embraced the truth, have need now of the converting power of God. They will never see the kingdom of God if their dispositions and their tongues are not converted. They have no time to lose. The frown of God rests upon them. Their heart is not right, their imagination is filled with bitterness, and their passions are not subject to their reason. “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” [James 1:26.] 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 49

Is Christ using cutting words, stern criticism, and unkind suspicion toward His people who commit faults? No. He takes every infirmity into account; He acts with discernment. He knows every one of our failings; but He uses patience; for otherwise we would have perished long ago on account of our bad treatment of Him. The greatest insult we can inflict upon Him is to pretend to be His disciples while manifesting the spirit of Satan in our words, our dispositions, and our actions. It does not behoove those from whom Jesus has so much to bear, in their failings and perversity, to be ever mindful of slights and real or imaginary offense. And yet there are those who are ever suspecting the motives of others about them. They see offense and slights where no such thing was intended. All this is Satan’s work in the human heart. The heart filled with that love which thinketh no evil will not be on the watch to notice discourtesies and grievances of which he may be the object. The will of God is that His love shall close the eyes, the ears, and the heart to all such provocations and to all the suggestions with which Satan would fill them. There is a noble majesty in the silence of the one exposed to evil surmising or outrage. To be master of one’s spirit is to be stronger than kings or conquerors. A Christian leads one to think of Christ. He will be affable, kind, patient, humble, and yet courageous and firm in vindicating the truth and the name of Christ. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 50

Those who are in the habit of procrastinating, of losing precious moments on trifles, while more important affairs are neglected for lack of time to devote to them, should not be trusted to train apprentices in any department. These habits may seem too unimportant to be worth noticing, but they will breed evils in the various departments; they will have the tendency of retarding the work considerably and of creating a wrong mold which will be lasting. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 51

The duty of those who manage is to watch all these things, to show an example of punctuality and promptness, to correct their own habits of hesitancy, and to devote their minutes to matters which are positively essential. Too often the day has been characterized by losses of time; and important labors which should have been accomplished on that day are postponed to another day. Promptness should take the place of belated habits. Such is the teaching to give apprentices. God does not want a single individual to follow the habits of one who himself needs to be trained and instructed before he can lead others; for his defects will be reproduced in the learner. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 52

If there are in his character deficiencies which are an important obstacle to the promptness and care with which the work should be accomplished, there should be no delay in bringing about a remedy. One of the greatest mistakes is to trust to persons, who have only a half knowledge of their work, the duty of instructing others; this kind of instruction will be so imperfect that it would have been better for the novice not to have begun, for all he learns will have to be unlearned if he ever becomes an accomplished worker. It has often happened that the imperfections of the instructor have been placed to the account of the learner who was not to blame. How could the instructor teach what he did not know? Vacillating though he was in his knowledge, he was nevertheless obstinate in requiring that things be done in his own way, and that his own method be exactly followed; but this method was such that the greater number of those who adopted it, the worse it was for the work, and the greater the loss of time and money for the institution. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 53

When any one is given a certain position, let it be understood that it is only a trial. If he is not competent, let him occupy a less important position. Do not give up looking for men and women with discriminating minds and practical sense, who know how to work carefully and rapidly. The future prosperity of this institution requires more capabilities and talents than are possessed by those to whom responsibilities have been entrusted. One of two things, either they must reach a higher degree of perfection in their work, or else there should be found in their place persons whose character is not so defective; otherwise they will mar the education of those who are under them; apprentices will bear marks of the imperfections of their instructor both in precept and in example. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 54

What we must cultivate is not the habit of criticizing, but a deep scrutiny of human character, its motives and actions. Watch whether those who are to teach others are training them to habits of accuracy, or if they allow them to form habits which will be an obstacle all their life long. The instructor must be able to reduce a truth into action and a system into reality. In an institution like this, there can be exercised a power which will be to the glory of the Master who has trusted us with His work, and of which we have scarcely an idea. Moses was a humble man; God called him the meekest man on earth. He was generous, noble, well balanced; he was not defective, and his qualities were not merely half developed. He could successfully exhort his fellow men, because his life itself was a living representation of what man can become and accomplish with God as his helper, of what he taught to others, of what he desired them to be, and of what God required of him. He spoke from the heart, and it reached the heart. He was accomplished in knowledge and yet simple as a child in the expression of his deep sympathies. Endowed with a remarkable instinct, he could judge instantly of the needs of all who surrounded him, and of the things which were in bad condition and required attention, and he did not neglect them. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 55

The work which is before the employees of this institution is a large and solemn work, and we should always bear in mind the fact that all heaven is interested in preparing human beings for a field of usefulness. God desires that we shall have correct ideas and a pure and holy ambition in doing our work as under His inspection. Heaven is looking intently upon the development of characters and is weighing the moral value of every one. Although it is essential to find such who can fill important and sacred positions in the various departments of the work, we should not look simply to preparing a small number of persons for usefulness and neglecting others. What we should especially have in view is to prepare each one for the best use possible in the service of the Master of the faculties which he has received from God. In an institution such as this, we must place our ideal high. If there is vulgarity, an inferior degree of morality, this will give the work a wrong influence which will spread all through Europe. We must secure the services of those whose talents are most developed and of the highest quality. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 56

Those who come to this institution as apprentices should find in it an elevated moral atmosphere, and those entrusted with instructing them should be prepared to enlist the highest mental and moral energy of which God has rendered them capable. They should lean constantly on the grace of God, in order to receive from Him a new energy and a greater aptness in accomplishing His work with exactness and joyful fidelity. The success of each instructor will be proportioned to the efforts put forth by him and to the spirit of sacrifice and consecration brought into his work. The one who is to instruct others should manifest a stern determination to acquire higher and higher qualifications. He should show as great earnestness in attaining a higher degree of usefulness himself as he desires to see in the learner. He must be entirely consecrated to the work of God and obtain from the Lord the strength to accomplish it. Divine grace shed abroad in the heart of the one who teaches others will be breathed out in every word and action; for out of himself he can do nothing. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 57

God does not want you to coax your defects of character and reproduce them in others. He wants, first, that you should take heed unto yourself, and purify your heart. We have a most solemn truth; it will exert its sanctifying influence upon many a heart and many a life. If you are yourself filled with an intense desire of being filled with the truth, you shall know how to teach it to others such as it is in Jesus. The truth is dishonored by many who profess to believe it. Instead of their life and character having a holy influence, this precious truth is marred and scarred by the defects of those who would teach it to others. Those who receive these lessons will ever be, in the future, less prepared to receive sane and perfect instruction than if they had never been in connection with such masters. God wants you to keep His ways and teach His methods. If your thoughts are superficial, vacillating, and obscure, you will transmit them to others under this form, and what are they worth? They are often expressed without conviction and will never have the honor of being respected or approved by others. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 58

In many of our institutions, those who teach are much beneath their advantages and capabilities, which could be considerably extended. Much time is devoted to reading newspapers which have no special connection with the work. This seems agreeable, but they give no food to the mind, no inspiration to the thought, nothing fresh, pure, noble to be presented to others. We must not think that God will accept from us such cheap offerings. He will accept only that which is best. He abhors an imperfect offering. We have need, ever need of reaching toward perfection. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 59

What shall we say of masters whose character is disfigured by moral taints and continues to be so; who cannot say to their errors: “Thus far and no further; I will not continue to communicate my defects to those who shall have less moral strength to fight them than I have”? But what shall we say especially of apprentices in our publishing houses, spending the most important part of their life, that in which character is formed, under the supervision of such persons? If the latter do not get rid of these moral imperfections, of these evil habits and inclinations of the mind and character, they should at least not occupy the place of educators, where their defects are likely to spoil the life and character of others. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 60

Among the young, especially, the temptation of imitating a wrong character is strong. A morbid inclination drives them toward evil like the bird is charmed by the serpent. The temptation will take the form of unconverted comrades, of young people still chained by demoralizing practices. What is in the heart will be manifested in words and actions. Many an earnest young man, of noble aspirations, is led by low, misleading, and disgraceful indulgence, by degraded passions which blind and ruin their victim, to destroy all his high hopes, and to shatter all the great plans of divine mercy for his soul. Once in the mire of vice, it is not easy for him to get out of it. Satan and his visible and invisible agents surround him and keep him in the place into which he has fallen. Ever hoping and waiting for a better chance to get out of his dangerous position, he does not make the necessary efforts to be freed. Circumstances will change, he thinks; and while he waits, energy [and] will power are lacking to get rid of the enchantments of the devil. He is foolishly playing with eternal destinies, braving the dangers of the ire and judgments of God. Who can break the spell? And yet there are some, connected with this institution, who are exactly in this position. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 61

But I must insist, for it is God’s will, that there be among those who are in charge of the various departments in this house a greater moral, mental, and spiritual efficiency. Satan must not occupy the place as a consequence of a lack of men of discernment. Our mission should possess men who, illumined by God, are able to take in the situation at a glance, able to know the moral atmosphere surrounding the souls of those who have an active part in the work of this house. The persons who manage this institution should not have their mind benumbed by a lack of rest and sleep. It must not be that the ones who have to lead shall themselves have their mind crowded to its last limit. There must be persons here who can teach, by precept and example, to do one thing at a time, and who never allow a work to remain unfinished before they begin another. Do one thing at a time and do it well, and do not have a mixture of so many things before you that you will lose sight of the one thing that needs to be done. The habit of procrastination should not leave its fatal influence upon any of the departments of this house. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 62

The influence of the work done here will be felt to the uttermost parts of the earth, and therefore it must be accomplished in such a way as to defy criticism. If the translators, the writers, or whatever employee in the work should refuse to have their work carefully examined, they must either overcome this pride or be separated from the work. No one must have the feeling that his work needs no improvement; no one should desire to see his work bear the stamp of his own ideas, of his own originality, without being submitted to the examination of some one else. The latter may discern defects where the first one sees only perfection. All things must be done with that exactness and that perfection which God can approve. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 63

Things should not be allowed to be done with carelessness. And while the care of the details of the work should be entrusted to someone, it should not be to the one who has the oversight of the work. Things which another could do should not occupy his time and preoccupy his mind; he owes them to the calm, unerring oversight of what is being done in all the departments of the mission. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 64

Discernment should be used in selecting those who are to teach in any branch. Such persons may be chosen who do not know how to tell what they know themselves, and who, as a consequence, are incapable of teaching. Things of this kind deserve attention in an institution like this. Be sure that the person who teaches is conscientious, a first-class quality which is worth more than pure gold. Among some, this quality degenerates into a painful trait of character. A sort of uncertainty characterizes all they say and do. They are not really sure of any of the things which they begin to say or to do; and if another idea strikes them, they follow that idea without finishing the one which they had started; and then, before this idea has taken shape so that it can be presented to other minds in a tangible form, another idea breaks in, and the preceding remains unfinished; thus there is nothing in this kind of instruction which is brought out clearly and plainly to the mind of the novice. These minds are unable to teach in any branch. Among the things which they know, they know none with certainty, and this uncertainty they transfer to others. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 65

The duty of the manager is to make sure of the kind of instruction received by apprentices, and of the spirit manifested by the teachers: if they teach with kindness, patience, sympathy, or if they are imperious, arbitrary, discontented, and require the apprentice that he should know his work before he has been taught. See if the teacher inspires the apprentice with a feeling of dread to ask for information about his work. A person which you know has an ill-balanced character, who is capable of seeing only one thing and grasping only one idea, should not be placed where he can enforce his ideas upon the apprentice. This would be a great wrong. We must take all things into consideration. In all these rooms, God is witness of the least injustice done to the young who work there; for the youth belong to God, as He has acquired them by the blood of Christ. Some will be careful not to manifest impatience before a certain class, but they will vent the feelings of their heart upon those whom they esteem less. God sees it, and those who do that will not keep His favor. Things must be put in order in this institution. God is not glorified by the master, nor by the apprentice. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 66

The young who enter the different departments of the institution in order to learn how to work leave the warm atmosphere of the home, where they were surrounded with affection. Be sure therefore that those who instruct them are apt to teach, that they know themselves what they want to teach others. Be sure that if the novice makes mistakes, they will not begin to pour reproach upon him and cloud his mind so that he will find no pleasure in his duties, and labor with a feeling of discouragement contrary to both physical health and intellectual development. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 67

Those who might be thus tempted to yield to discouragement must summon their will power and say, I must succeed, I must get there. With the bravery of a generous heart, repress in your breast the discouragement which is invading you. Do your work as for God. Begin the day with prayer, for no day will pass without Satan tempting you. Make a covenant with God, and keep in the company of those who will not give you bad advice. You may have many ways and habits to overcome. But remain in a spirit of prayer, and you will surely overcome them. Keep the precious Word of God in your heart as an unspeakable treasure; it is a sure guide that He has given you for your safety and your salvation. Follow Him in every point, obey Him with reverence, listen to His instructions with devotion. Keep your soul in a constant and conscious communion with the Source of your strength. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 68

A young person in whom the Word of God dwells “shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of waters, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” [Psalm 1:3.] May God help the apprentice to make the most of the capabilities which God has given him. Not only are you placed on trial for your character by those employing you, but as one bought by the blood of Christ, to see what value you are placing upon the talents which God has entrusted to you for improvement. Cultivate the habit of doing your best at whatever you undertake. Do it because you have your own interest at heart, because you desire the approbation of those who employ you, and above all do it because God expects it of you and you desire His approbation. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 69

Put your highest powers into your effort. Call to your aid the most powerful motives. You are learning. Endeavor to go to the bottom of everything you set your hand to. Never aim lower than to become competent in the matters which occupy you. Do not allow yourself to fall into the habit of being superficial and neglectful in your duties and studies; for your habits will strengthen and you will become incapable of anything better. The mind naturally learns to be satisfied with that which requires little care and effort, and to be content with something cheap and inferior. There are, young men and young women, depths of knowledge which you have never fathomed, and you are satisfied and proud of your superficial attainments. If you knew much more than you do now, you would be convinced that you know very little. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 70

God demands of you vigorous and earnest intellectual efforts, and with every determined effort, your powers will strengthen. Your work will then always be agreeable, because you will know that you are progressing. You can either become accustomed to slow, uncertain, irresolute movements so much so that the work of your life will not be one half what it could be; or, your eyes fixed upon God, and your soul strengthened by prayer, you can overcome a disgraceful slowness and a dislike for work, and train your mind to think rapidly and to put forth strong efforts at the proper time. If your highest motive is to labor for wages, you will never, in any position, be qualified to carry high responsibilities, never be fit to teach. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 71

It is a great thing to have to deal with the training of minds; and those who do so must bring to their task a great amount of sympathy. Every person who has a proper idea of the greatness of this work will shrink before the responsibility of teaching his fellow men, or he will endeavor, in the fear of God, not to do his own will, not to follow his own methods, but the will of God and the method of God. He must himself be sanctified by the truth. He must think, he must pray, for he is making impressions which will be as enduring as eternity. He will give the mind a training and aims which will be transferred to the eternal world. What a solemn thought that when the master and the apprentice both enter heaven, the master will see the results of his work through the eternal ages! Let the master therefore be sober, God-fearing, and free from every sin and defect of character, so that he may not reproduce them in the character of others. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 72

The less gifted, the ones that are not well developed, the timid, the thoughtless, and even the indolent ones have upon their master claims no less sacred than the bright, ambitious pupil who learns quickly. Untiring zeal, patience mingled with love, will work miracles upon the minds who learn slowly. Whereas, if the young people who are thus constituted are blamed, scolded, and misjudged, they will become discouraged and will give up the hope of learning and of making a success. And who will be responsible for these marred lives, if not their master, the one who, with self-denial, with painstaking effort and the love and fear of God, could have helped to develop these less favored minds, and have devoted his best energy to every person entrusted to his care? 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 73

He who feels himself above this patient labor, and who does not see in the souls with which he has to deal the purchase of the blood of Christ, precious in the sight of God, souls chosen to receive the gift of eternal life—that person is not fit to teach. He will only do harm if he tries. He may acquire a reputation of superiority in teaching the bright and ambitious, but in the books of heaven he is put down as one unworthy of being entrusted with the training of the young. Minds who might have become capable and devoted workers if placed under a proper kind of instruction, are ruined by his wrong discipline, by his defects of character, by his negligence, his impatience, and his scorn. Such persons have no right to deal with the instruction, both mental and moral, of minds who are to be educated for eternal life. These things require attention in this institution. Ideas must broaden. Persons with unbalanced characters must not teach others. If there is any mechanical work to be done, that does not require them to be in contact with others, and where there is no fear that their narrow ideas and their unbalanced mind will be reproduced in others, let this work be entrusted to them. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 74

Every person that undertakes, by the help of God, to educate others, is engaged in a ministry which has in view the welfare and not the bruising of the human soul. He is co-operating with God in the uplifting of the human family to an ideal of intelligence and purity, and in the preparation of men and women for future immortality. If the teacher’s idea of his work and duty is inferior to this, his efforts will be too weak to enable him to preserve his loyalty through the trials and the unpleasant things connected with his work, too weak to resist the temptation to murmur, and he will become discouraged. He will lose his perseverance and will fall back into a state of indolence and efficiency which will make him incapable of advancement and unable to help others to do the same. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 75



March 22nd, 1887


I have been very much troubled and perplexed ever since one o’clock this morning. I have had dreams that have filled my mind with anxiety. I dreamed that we were making efforts for the advancement of the work in various countries, and that we were planning to find ways by which to give this work a more exalted character and to follow it up in such a way that it would meet the approval of God. We were in prayer and tears before the Lord, when One entered in our midst, who said with a solemn voice: “Get up, I have something to tell you. There is a work to be done in the mission at Basel. First, there is a need of raising the standard of godliness in the heart of the work. You lack, in connection with this mission, persons who seek to better the physical, moral, and religious health of those who labor in the work.” 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 76

It will be very difficult to operate a reformation in the ones composing at the present time the center of the work here in Switzerland. But there must go forth from this place an influence which will be as enduring as eternity, and therefore radical reforms must be made. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 77

There are, in this institution, persons who, unless they are converted, will be sooner or later separated from the work. Their habits and manner of work are not healthy and, in many respects, are unreasonable; hence, these habits must not give a wrong example to others. There is an appearance of godliness here which has not the spirit nor the power of God, and the influence of which is deleterious to all those exposed to it. One sees and imitates the spirit and the manners of another, and both soon have the same character. The power of a right and consistent example in a place where the work of God is being done, is positively essential. As quickly as it can be brought about, there must be connected with this important institution persons who can be depended on to exert a strong moral and religious influence. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 78

Young men and young women will be called to this center, and a few months’ connection with those who are here already—considering the lack of religion, the spirit they manifest, their habits and conversation—will endanger the souls of these young people, and the formation of their characters will be completely warped. The conduct of some who are considered as Christians is so devoid of the spirit of Christ and so irreligious, that they are an obstacle rather than a help. Their experience, for several years, has strengthened in them habits and manners of which it would be difficult to get rid, even though they wished to do so. The influence surrounding the souls of those employed in the work must be changed, and then a wise management and supervision should be, in the fear of God, carried on in all the departments of this institution. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 79

What shall we do to surround with right, pure, holy influences inexperienced young men and young women, when they are placed in the company of those who are selfish, who live only to indulge their own desires, and whose experience is and always has been of an inferior character? We must have here, in connection with the work, persons of an entirely different character. There may be some good influences around the young, but they are counteracted by the atmosphere surrounding the unconverted with whom they are connected. The power of a consistent example is far reaching. Those who occupy places of responsibility need to acquire capabilities making them fit to occupy them. They need to give their character a different mold, if they desire to see the level of godliness raised higher and to keep it high in the fear of God. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 80

None of you need think that he is perfect in his habits, perfect in his manners. Great reforms must take place, but it will be difficult to accomplish them, for the habits have become rooted. It is dangerous for any one to trust to his own mind, but God can help you, if you place yourself into His hands, to be fashioned like the clay in the hands of the potter. His grace can transform you; and this work of reform must be accomplished, for otherwise the blessing of God cannot rest upon this institution. Efforts will be made like those which have already been made this winter; but for several, it will be work in vain; there will be such who will receive no benefit, because they do not love the Lord; they do not love His service; they love not the truth; they love not the yoke of Christ and hate every barrier. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 81

There must be, in connection with this mission, families who will watch with deep self-denial upon the health, both spiritual and physical, of those who enter the work. After all that human efforts can do has been done, there is need of a constant help from God; otherwise, the youth will be contaminated by the wrong habits and practices of those who are more advanced in age and experience, and Satan will catch these souls in his wiles and will ruin them under your eyes. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 82

God requires that you shall do all you can to cast a solid foundation upon which you can build. But if you conclude that it requires too much care and expense to place every stone so that you can have a solid and beautiful building, you are not the one who should set his hand to the work: make room, let some one else come in that will consent in making great efforts to cast away every bad stone. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 83

Everything, in the great center of the work, must bear a character that will exert a healthy influence in all the parts of the great field. There will come forth, from the heart of our work, a decided, firm, and expanding testimony. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 84

“You are weeping and praying before God,” said the One who was in our midst; “but you shall find no relief until you walk in the light yourself, and do what you know should be done to put everything in a proper condition.” Every soul in connection with the work of God must learn each day. There are among those who love the right, even among the most zealous for the right, peculiar ideas, petted and rooted habits, deformed dispositions and methods of work which lead others in the wrong way and will give a wrong impress. Their education is not molded according to the principles of heaven. Take heed, you who labor in holy things, and you especially who are dealing with the formation of characters both in material things and in religious principles: you will find yourself acting in a certain way, because it is customary and it pleases you, rather than in a way which is correct, and the influence of which is good, noble, elevated. Opinions entirely based upon selfishness are held, ways of doing are followed and persisted in every day, for the simple reason that it is customary, whereas, if they were considered impartially in the light of the Word of God, we would see that the judgment cannot approve of them. 5LtMs, Ms 24, 1887, par. 85