Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 188, 1897

“Be Ye Therefore Perfect”


February 3, 1897 [typed]

Previously unpublished.

“Be ye therefore prefect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” [Matthew 5:48.] God has made His followers co-partners with Himself to build up, to strengthen, and [to] advance His kingdom in the world. Those who would be workers together with God must strive not only for perfection of character, but also for perfection of every organ of the body, and [for] quality of the mind. God designs that every movement shall adorn [not sure that is correct word] the doctrine of Jesus Christ, and recommend to others the truth that has had its sanctifying influence upon our own lives. 12LtMs, Ms 188, 1897, par. 1

Those who give themselves to the work of the ministry are engaged in the most sacred work that can be done on earth. And if any feel that they cannot, as laborers together with God, improve in their speech, their attitude, and their manner of delivery—if they cannot make manifest what the truth has done for them through the Holy Spirit’s molding—they should not connect their defects of character with the sacred work of the ministry. Such laborers do not honor the truth. 12LtMs, Ms 188, 1897, par. 2

God calls for laborers in His vineyard. He wants men who have an education in the Word of God, whose weapons of warfare are not carnal, “but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” [2 Corinthians 10:4, 5.] The preaching of the Word is not alone to give information. Hearts must be touched and the will directed in the path to heaven. The teaching that fails of this is of no value. 12LtMs, Ms 188, 1897, par. 3

The Lord does not use any minister in ignorance and rudeness. Neither is human elegance or learning to take the place of prayer and study of the Word. Education alone will never make a successful shepherd of the flock. But love for the truth and for God, combined with perseverance and determined effort, will accomplish much. 12LtMs, Ms 188, 1897, par. 4

If some who are rough and uncourteous have blundered into the ministry, let them look to Jesus and follow His example. Let them daily be fitting themselves for the great work of God. Those who would excel must be toilers. They must work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. Their work must be mingled with earnest prayer and meditation. Then they will receive from the heavenly messengers the golden oil that will enable them to enlighten other minds. 12LtMs, Ms 188, 1897, par. 5

The minister of God needs the Holy Spirit every moment; he needs to be imbued with the spirit of prayer that the word he presents may have force and power. His language should be such as can be understood by the most simple, and yet will refresh the most learned. He must become acquainted with the people and be to them a savor of life unto life. He must participate alike in the joys and sorrows of the rich and the poor, the high and the low, for there is no respect of persons with God. 12LtMs, Ms 188, 1897, par. 6

A great mistake has been made in allowing God’s servants to carry too many burdens. Too often the minister has so many responsibilities placed upon him that he cannot find time for physical exercise. But this is necessary in order to keep the human machinery in order. God requires that all our powers shall be used and improved to His name’s honor and glory. The mental powers are not calculated to give way under vigorous work unless they are taxed disproportionately. The whole being needs to be brought into action. The mental powers will be greatly benefitted by the use of the physical. Our intellect is God’s entrusted gift, and He requires all to use their reasoning powers in obedience to His will. We know not to what position we may be called; we should therefore aim to reach the highest standard, even the perfection of all our faculties. By earnest culture we should learn how to work intelligently. 12LtMs, Ms 188, 1897, par. 7

The Lord’s vineyard is large. It embraces the whole world, and everyone connected with the work of God should study, without partiality, more than that portion of the field over which he presides. God would have every part of His work treated with equal consideration, for He has just as great interest in one part as another. If one branch of the work absorbs the means that should be given to another, the work becomes one-sided and unsymmetrical. 12LtMs, Ms 188, 1897, par. 8

The medical missionary field has been presented in so attractive and urgent a manner that it has gathered to itself more than its share of workers. Some of these should have given themselves more directly to the preaching of the Word. There is danger that the medical missionary work will so absorb our time and overshadow the importance of other lines of work that the gospel ministry will be crippled. Those who preach the Word should have a knowledge of the medical missionary work, but they cannot devote themselves wholly to it. 12LtMs, Ms 188, 1897, par. 9

For many years warnings have been given on this subject. The more paying enterprises gather in the talent that should be devoted to the ministry. But this is not as God would have it. There must be a change in the management of the work. The ministry must be revived; the breath of life must be breathed into human hearts. 12LtMs, Ms 188, 1897, par. 10

Satan has been working with all his arts and devices to so manage things that there shall be a dearth of means in the treasury of God. Thus but little encouragement has been given to those who engage in the ministry. Those who labor in word and doctrine have been left largely to a chance settlement. And when funds have been low, the wage appointed them has been diminished. This is not right in the sight of God. The minister has just the same right to know what he has to depend on from week to week as have those employed in our publishing houses and other institutions. 12LtMs, Ms 188, 1897, par. 11

Satan exults when he can persuade men to take his arm and walk with him, to become his agents to advance his plans, and increase the woe and misery of the world. The great enemy of souls never slumbers. It is while men sleep that he sows the tares among the wheat. He is watching to take God’s standard from the hands of His people and place his own standard in their hands, and they discern it not. But the voice is come, “What meanest thou, O sleeper? Arise, call upon thy God.” [Jonah 1:6.] 12LtMs, Ms 188, 1897, par. 12

It is high time to awake out of sleep, to cast off the arm of Satan, and call upon Him who never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord desires that man shall break his connection with Satan and link up with Christ. The mistakes of the past have been enough. Through them minds have been confused, precious opportunities have been neglected, and time which is of more value than gold has been wasted. God wants us now to link up with Christ, to wear His yoke in meekness and lowliness of heart, for He says, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:30.] 12LtMs, Ms 188, 1897, par. 13

God has placed a copy before us. He says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” [Matthew 5:48.] As God is perfect in His sphere, so man also may be perfect in his sphere. The God of heaven will favor no slothfulness; He will accept no cheap, haphazard work. Where there is life there is growth, and God designs that His children shall advance in spiritual things. 12LtMs, Ms 188, 1897, par. 14

God will accept only those who are determined to aim high, to be wise, and to teach the truth that is burning in their own souls. He will impart to such His Holy Spirit. In contemplation of Christ, we shall bring even our thoughts into captivity to His will. We shall determine, with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, to become capable of doing the work of the ministry with excellence and success. We shall cast off the old man and his deeds, and put on the new, which “after Christ is created in righteousness and true holiness.” [Ephesians 4:24.] By beholding the character of Christ we shall become more and more like Him, until through the transforming grace of Christ, we reflect His image. 12LtMs, Ms 188, 1897, par. 15