Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Lt 54, 1898

Brethren in the Ministry


June 15, 1898

See also Lt 54a, 1898. This letter is published in entirety in SpTA #11 13-20.

An Appeal to Ministers

Dear Brethren in the Ministry:

There is a most decided work that needs to be done in our churches throughout the field. There has been in many places a lack of co-operation and harmonious action, but if the workers will now lay aside their personal ambitions and prejudices, and will all draw unitedly in Bible lines, a change will be wrought among our people. 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 1

Why do not all our ministers heartily co-operate with those who are carrying forward the medical missionary work? Why do they not follow the example of Christ, and carefully study His life, that they may know how He would have them labor? Is it for you, the appointed ministers of Christ, who have His example before you, to stand off and criticize the very work which He came among men to do? 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 2

Christ sought the people where they were, and placed before them the great truths in regard to His kingdom. As He went from place to place, He blessed and comforted the suffering, and healed the sick. This is our work. God would have us relieve the necessities of the destitute. The reason that the Lord does not manifest His power more decidedly is because there is so little spirituality among those who claim to believe the truth. 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 3

In the time of Christ, the appointed leaders of the people had settled down to work upon set lines, and they were displeased with those who would work differently from themselves. They were content to teach the law, without bringing into their lives its living principles. As Jesus saw the ambition and self-esteem which prevented them from understanding the principles of His kingdom, He gave them this parable: 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 4

“When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honorable man than thou be bidden of him; and he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room, that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher; then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” [Luke 14:8-11.] 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 5

Let us study diligently this parable, for it teaches the esteem in which we should hold our fellow workers, and the attitude which we should maintain toward them. 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 6

This is followed by another parable, showing that our first attention should be given to those who are most needy: “When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbors; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makes a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind; and thou shalt be blest; for they cannot recompense; for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” [Verses 12-14.] 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 7

One of the Pharisees present, hoping to turn the conversation into another channel, exclaimed with a sanctimonious air, “Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.” [Verse 15.] His remark was designed to turn away the minds of the guests from the subject of their practical duty. He thought to turn their minds from the work of the present life to the time of the resurrection of the just. But Jesus read the heart of the pretender, and fastening His eyes upon Him opened before the company the character and value of their present privileges. He showed them that they had a part to act at the present time in order to share in the blessedness of the future. He would have them understand that the privileges of service which they lightly regarded, and the invitation which they were slighting, would be sent to those whom they despised as of little value in the sight of God. 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 8

“Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many; and sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it; I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them; I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” [Verses 16-20.] None of those who were bidden are represented as making a flat refusal to come to the wedding; but all gave frivolous excuses. Other things absorbed their attention, and they said, “I pray thee, have me excused.” 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 9

It was a great condescension for Him who had prepared this supper to extend this invitation to those who were bidden, and they had insulted Him by offering these frivolous excuses. “And the lord said unto his servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men that were bidden shall taste of my supper.” [Verses 23, 24.] 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 10

Have our ministers and our churches understood this parable? Was it not the outcasts, the publicans and sinners, the despised of the nations, that Christ called and by His loving kindness compelled to come in. Has not this class been overlooked by us, as though they were not worthy of our efforts? 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 11

“Verily I say unto you,” Christ said to the Pharisees, “that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him, and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.” [Matthew 21:31, 32.] 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 12

This is applicable to many in our day. Light—clear, gospel light—has been given, but many of those occupying the highest positions of trust in connection with the work of God have not received the heaven-sent message. Having taken the place of instructors, they are not willing to humble themselves, and occupy the place of learners. There are too many today [who] are merely human moralists. A new element needs to be brought into their work. God’s people must receive the warning, must listen to His commands, and go and labor for souls right where they are; for the people do not realize their peril and their great need of help. 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 13

The ministers to whom have been committed the oracles of God should have the most intense interest and travail of soul to see the Master’s table filled, but they have not felt this burden as they ought. The command has come, “Go into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in.” [Luke 14:23.] In obedience to this, we must go to the heathen who are near us, and to those who are afar off. The “publicans and harlots” must hear the Saviour’s invitation, which, through the kindness and long-suffering of the messengers bringing the invitation, becomes a compelling power to lift and elevate those who are sunk in the lowest depths of spiritual wickedness, without God, and without hope in the world. 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 14

“Wherefore remember that ye being in times past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision in the flesh made by hands, that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenant of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” [Ephesians 2:11, 12.] 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 15

What is the message that we are to give? “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, come buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me, hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 16

“Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and an commander to the people. Behold thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel, for he hath glorified thee. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy ..., and unto our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” [Isaiah 55:1-7.] 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 17

To my ministering brethren I would say, prosecute this work with tact and ability. Set to work the young men and the young women in our churches. Combine the medical missionary work with the proclamation of the third angel’s message. Make regular, organized effort to lift the churches out of the dead level into which they have fallen, and have remained for years. Send into the church workers who will set the principles of health reform in their connection with the third angel’s message before every family and individual. Encourage all to take a part in work for their fellow men, and see if the breath of life will not quickly return to these churches. 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 18

Study faithfully the 33rd chapter of Ezekiel. The work which is being done in medical missionary lines is the very work which Christ commanded His followers to do. Can you not clearly see that those who are engaged in this work are fulfilling the Saviour’s commission? Can you not see that it would please your Saviour if you would lay aside all false dignity, and learn in His school how to wear His yoke and carry His burdens? 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 19

The world needs evidences of sincere Christianity. Professed Christianity may be seen everywhere, but when the power of God’s grace is seen in our churches, the members will work the works of Christ. Natural and hereditary traits of character will be transformed. The indwelling of His Spirit will enable them to reveal Christ’s likeness, and in proportion to the purity of their piety will be the success of their work. 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 20

There are in our world many Christian workers who have not yet heard the grand and wonderful truths that have come to us. These are doing a good work in accordance with the light which they have, and many of them are more advanced in the knowledge of practical work than are those who have had great light and opportunities. 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 21

The indifference which has existed among our ministers in regard to health reform and medical missionary work is surprising. Some who do not profess to be Christians treat these matters with greater reverence than do some of our own people, and unless we arouse, they will go in advance of us. 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 22

The word which the Lord has given me for our ministers and our churches is, “Go forward.” “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:18-20.] 13LtMs, Lt 54, 1898, par. 23