Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)

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Ms 46, 1900

The Temperance Work

NP

July 25, 1900 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in AH 394; 4MR 133-136. +Note

Medical missionary work is never, never to assume the character of extortion or oppression, to suit any man’s devising. The bookkeeping accounts should be passed for examination into the hands of the one selected to do this work, and a correct report be given of each person’s standing. If some are found to be in debt and really unable to meet their obligations, they should not be pressed to do that which is beyond their power. They should be given a favorable chance to discharge their indebtedness, and not be placed in a position where they are utterly unable to free themselves from debt. Though such a course might be considered justice, it is not mercy and the love of God. None should, in order to meet any man’s propositions, be compelled to attach his name to contracts which will disable him from prosecuting the very work which he may be called of the Lord to do. 15LtMs, Ms 46, 1900, par. 1

The true medical missionary work is expressed in tender compassion to the Lord’s poor, and in doing good to all the needy and suffering of the household of faith whose necessities in the providence of God come to our knowledge and require our notice. Every soul is under special tribute to God to notice with particular compassion God’s worthy poor. Under no consideration are these to be passed by under the false pretense that charity makes provisions to reward the doers of evil who have ruined themselves through sinful indulgence, those who are not the friends of God. 15LtMs, Ms 46, 1900, par. 2

There are two classes of poor whom we have always within our borders—those who ruin themselves by their own independent course of action and continue in their transgression, and those who for the truth’s sake have been brought into straitened circumstances. Many of the Lord’s poor are daily in suffering need, and in some cases their families may have to be provided for. There are many others who when helped will continue to make themselves special subjects of necessity. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves, and then toward all these classes we shall do the right thing under the guidance and counsel of sound wisdom. The Lord’s poor subjects are to be helped in every case where it will be for their benefit. They are to be placed where they can help themselves. We have no question in regard to the cases of this class of poor. The best methods of helping them are to be carefully and prayerfully considered. 15LtMs, Ms 46, 1900, par. 3

The Lord lays this responsibility upon every church. That love, sympathy, and compassion is to be exercised toward them within their borders that Christ would exercise were He here in our places. We are to be disciplined in this way, that we may be prepared to work in Christ’s lines. God suffers His poor to be in the borders of every church. They are always to be among us. The orphans, the poor, the aged children of God, are not to be removed away and placed in large numbers by themselves, but the church members are to exercise their God-given tact and ingenuity to bear the responsibilities of caring for these, the Lord’s people. In doing this they practice the truths of the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. 15LtMs, Ms 46, 1900, par. 4

They are not to pass by the Lord’s poor and do their work by proxy, but they are to deny themselves of luxuries of bows and ribbons, and the wearing of gold as an ornament, that they may make the suffering, needy ones comfortable. After this they may reach still farther to help those who are not of the household of faith, if they are the proper subjects to be helped. 15LtMs, Ms 46, 1900, par. 5

But God does not expect those to whom He has given a special work to take on the depraved, the lowest specimens of humanity, using up the treasury money in this work, and teach them only a few jots and tittles in spiritual lines. Let the light of the truth of God for this time flash into the mind. While you can show that you are willing and grateful to receive any ideas in regard to the methods and plans of this work which will be a help and a blessing to our own people, your influence should be exerted in every way possible to let the light of truth shine into their minds. 15LtMs, Ms 46, 1900, par. 6

The light which I have to give to our people is, Let no condemnatory speeches be printed in our papers. A large number of precious souls are groping in darkness, yet longing and weeping and praying for light. Thus it is in churches everywhere. If the efforts, the talent, the labor, the money, which have been thrown into Chicago for the last several years, had been appropriated toward acquainting with the truth of God for these last days a class of people who could have been reached with wise, well-directed efforts, many would have received the truth who would now be working to give it to others of their own class. When our people become acquainted with this higher class of people, they will have an opportunity to disabuse the minds of very many of them of prejudice and opposition to things which they suppose our people believe, but which they do not entertain at all. 15LtMs, Ms 46, 1900, par. 7

I feel to the depths of my soul that as a people we must not move in wrong lines in this matter, of so-called medical missionary work. But we should go to work for a class of people with whom we can unite on the subject of temperance. Then, by their own request, we can lead them to the Bible and give them the light on the Sabbath question. Seventh-day Adventists are in danger of pharisaism, and this must not be. 15LtMs, Ms 46, 1900, par. 8

More strenuous efforts must be made to become acquainted with the Women’s Christian Temperance work, and with individual members of this body. These will not only impart, but as learners will receive all the advantages possible. In this way, both they and we shall be benefitted. We are to go forth to our sacred work, wise as serpents and harmless as doves. While we hold ourselves so far distant from them, we cannot expect to help them. We must come in touch with them, and thorough association plan and devise ways to get hold of their confidence and their hearts. Let them have the evidence that we are Christians. 15LtMs, Ms 46, 1900, par. 9

“And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza which is desert. And he arose and went: and behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit of the Lord said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. 15LtMs, Ms 46, 1900, par. 10

“And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man would guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: in his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 15LtMs, Ms 46, 1900, par. 11

“Then Philip opened his mouth and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.” [Acts 8:26-40.] 15LtMs, Ms 46, 1900, par. 12

From this God would teach His workers to be on watch and be ready to help every case that shall come to their notice. This man was converted through Philip’s preaching the gospel of the Word to him. Through him the light of truth was shining to the higher classes. It is the plan and constant effort of Satan to entangle the work of God in a supposed beneficent and excellent work, so that doors cannot be opened to enter new fields and work with people who have an advanced acquaintance with temperance principles. To unite with them in their work would be to do a special work for this time, without taking on the responsibilities of a work which will enforce an expenditure of means in establishing buildings that will embarrass the conferences, a work which will absorb and consume but not produce. 15LtMs, Ms 46, 1900, par. 13

The temperance work is a part of the work which God has laid upon His people to do in giving the warning message to the world. It is of no use to stand off and condemn a people, who have never been enlightened in regard to certain points of Bible truth, for not knowing and acting upon these principles of truth. When the gospel is fully preached and accompanied by the Holy Spirit, men and women of all classes will embrace the truth, but the leaven of truth must first be put into the meal before it can do its work of leavening the whole lump. 15LtMs, Ms 46, 1900, par. 14

Many have followed artful deceivers, persons, both men and women, of strong influence, and they have taken along with them into darkness and error very many who have been led to regard a “Thus saith the Lord” as a dangerous element. There are those in the W.C.T.U. who are in decided and most bitter opposition to the Seventh-day Adventists. But men of tact, ministers and others who are sound as a rock to principle, who are proved, and are God’s chosen workers, have something to do which will be most earnest, Christlike work. They are to devise plans to obtain influence by uniting with them as far as possible without yielding a jot or tittle of the principles of truth. They are to try to let their light shine forth to this body of religious people. 15LtMs, Ms 46, 1900, par. 15

In every church there are Christians who know not the truth, but who are living up to the best light they have. Methods can be devised to save these souls, but it will never be done by piling up condemnation against them. While many of them are living in error in worshipping an idol sabbath, they are as conscientiously serving the Lord as was Paul when he was doing his work against Christians, sending men and women to prison and to death. But after a while the Lord Jesus revealed Himself to Paul. 15LtMs, Ms 46, 1900, par. 16

“And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the High priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. 15LtMs, Ms 46, 1900, par. 17

“And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, and hath seen in vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 15LtMs, Ms 46, 1900, par. 18

“Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. 15LtMs, Ms 46, 1900, par. 19

“And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.” [Acts 9:1-20.] Read this whole interesting chapter. 15LtMs, Ms 46, 1900, par. 20

“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who before was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” [1 Timothy 1:12-14.] 15LtMs, Ms 46, 1900, par. 21

There is need of all who believe the truth having their pens dipped in the holy oil and their tongues sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Very much less work in the line of preaching might be done for those already established in the faith, and more might be written and said upon temperance subjects. Very much more can be done to reach a class that needs all the precious Spirit of truth to enlighten them; but be guarded that you do not build up barriers to prevent the work of grace and close the windows of the soul that nothing can reach them. There is need for more music in the soul, for more praise of God from human hearts and lips touched by the divine love of Jesus Christ. Every phase of the soul’s genuine experience finds expression in language softened and subdued by the Holy Spirit of God. The heart must be inspired to speak as Christ would speak. 15LtMs, Ms 46, 1900, par. 22