Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)

308/339

Ms 76, 1900

Fragments

NP

December 14, 1900 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in 1MCP 169-170, 289; 2MCP 656; Ev 277; 6BC 1093. +Note

Words to Ministers

We must walk with God, else we shall have as our companion Satan, who will lead us wherever he pleases. “Follow me,” is the invitation of Christ, “and I will make you fishers of men.” [Matthew 4:19.] These are wonderful words. No man can work in catching men unless Jesus Christ works in and through him. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 1

Constantly visiting a large church has a deteriorating effect on the one appointed for the work. When a minister enters a family where the inmates feel that they may tell him all their trials, there are many things which he would better not hear, for while he is picking up seeds that are thrown out, some may lodge in his own garden. By much talking and little praying, the minister himself, like the fisherman’s nets, become very much in need of repairs. The rent nets can be mended only by the Master Worker. If we will allow Christ to be our priest, to whom on bended knee we shall confess, He will repair the broken meshes of the net. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 2

*****

The Closing Work

The Lord has made it the duty of His people to follow the example of Christ in presenting the truth. The kingdom of heaven is at hand and all must repent and seek the Lord. A large number are doing nothing, except selfishly, to look out for their own advantage. The call has been made, the invitation to the great supper has been given, “Come, for all things are now ready.” [Luke 14:17.] We see how this call is ignored. We see men’s excuses for not accepting the invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Then comes the fearful announcement, They have been invited and have refused; they shall not taste of My supper. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 3

*****

Parable of Ten Pounds

“And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.” [Luke 19:11.] They thought that Christ was to establish His kingdom on David’s throne and reign as a temporal prince delivering them from the Roman power and glorifying His people. Because of this false impression which was continually before their minds, Christ could not unfold many things which He longed to tell them. The Lord Jesus presents the truth in a parable, for He would have correct impressions made on their minds. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 4

“He said, therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.” [Verse 12.] Here is represented a man who had a right to the kingdom, but he first went to a higher, a more powerful kingdom, to receive his confirmation and title. Before his kingdom would be thoroughly established he must go away and come again. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 5

“And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and set a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.” [Verses 13, 14.] This presented before them the curse the Jewish nation would take in refusing Jesus as their Prince. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 6

“And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.” [Verse 15.] This represents the Lord’s entrusted capabilities and powers as money lent for them to improve. All should exercise physical, mental, and moral powers as faithful stewards, knowing that they must render an account of their stewardship in the day when every man will be judged. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 7

Jesus would have His disciples understand what He expects them to do in His absence, but they would not fully understand this until after His resurrection and ascension. But after the descent of the Holy Ghost, the words of Christ would be brought to their remembrance with thrilling power. Those disciples had in them the seed sown by a divine hand, and they were to cultivate this seed by exercising their God-given powers, heeding all the light and instruction given, by being doers of the Word. By thus wisely improving their capabilities, they would become doubled. By thus working in His moral vineyard, wearing the yoke of Christ, lifting and bearing His burdens which to them were apparently heavy, they would find that the yoke is easy and the burden is light. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 8

The disciples of Christ cannot remain slothful servants. They must work, watching their opportunity to represent the truth to others and win souls to Jesus Christ. The more they exercise their talents, the greater will be their increase of capability. Unless the seed sown struggles above the soil, springing up into life, it will lose all its power to germinate. The lesson taught by our Lord in this parable is the necessity of mental and moral improvement, of growing in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 9

*****

The Resurrection

Our personal identity is preserved in the resurrection, though not the same particles of matter or material substance as went into the grave. The wondrous works of God are a mystery to man. The spirit, the character of man is returned to God there to be preserved. In the resurrection every man will have his own character. God in His own time will call forth the dead, giving again the breath of life, and bidding the dry bones live. The same form will come forth, but it will be free from disease and every defect. It lives again bearing the same individuality of features, so that friend will recognize friend. There is no law of God in nature which shows that God gives back the same identical particles of matter which composed the body before death. God shall give the righteous dead a body that will please Him. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 10

Paul illustrates this subject by a kernel of grain sown in the field. The planted kernel decays, but there comes forth a new kernel. The natural substance in the grain that decays is never raised as before, but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him. A much finer material will compose the human body, for it is a new creation, a new birth. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 11

*****

The Work of the Ministry

The qualifications of a minister are represented by Paul in Colossians 1:28, 29. The gospel minister should possess such efficiency, such fullness of labor, that “he may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” “Whereunto,” says Paul, “I also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” The minister should have every freedom essential from unnecessary temporal perplexities. He should preserve physical health by exercising his muscles as well as his brain. Earnest self-culture is essential in the minister of the gospel, for he is handling sacred things. His dress should be in accordance with his work, neat and comely, but not rich and extravagant. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 12

Under discipline to God, his spirit must be brought under self-control, prayerfully enquiring at every step, Is this the way of the Lord? His speech should be correct. If the Lord Jesus abides in his heart, no slang phrases, no cheap low talk, will be heard from his lips, whether in the pulpit or out of it. Let ministers and teachers reach the high standard set forth in the Scriptures. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 13

The little things of life frequently produce great results. A neglect of the little things means a neglect of larger responsibilities. He that is faithful in the least is faithful also in much. The actual discipline of life is made up of the little things. The training of the thoughts is essential. Gird up the loins of your mind. Sanctification [of] soul, body, and spirit is the work of a lifetime. By believing and copying the Pattern, there is a constant growth in grace and the knowledge of the truth. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 14

Sacred things must be treated in a sacred manner. Piety is essential in everything that concerns our eternal interests. There should be no soiled, dusty covers on the table or stand when the Bible is opened before the people. The dress of the speaker should be neat and modest. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 15

In administering the ordinance of baptism there should be in every church substantial baptismal dresses both for men and for women. These should be neat, well-shaped garments, made after a pattern of the very highest order. Nothing clumsy or uncouth should be used in this holy ordinance. The administrator should make this an occasion of solemn, sacred influence upon all spectators. Everything connected with it should suggest as perfect a preparation as possible. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 16

Every ordinance of the church should be uplifting. They should not be made common or cheap, or placed on a level with common things. As ministers conduct in these things which are related to the service of God so are they educating and training the people. Little acts that educate and train and discipline the soul for eternity are of vast consequence in the uplifting and sanctifying of the soul through the Spirit. This work must go, not by impulse but by steady, healthful advancement. Our churches need to be educated to a higher order of reverence and respect for the sacred service of God. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 17

*****

David’s Crime

The blinding effects were such that David did not discern his transgression, even when placed before him by the prophet Nathan. He manifested great anger toward the rich man that he should be thus guilty of so great a wrong, and exclaimed, “The man that hath done this thing shall surely die; and he shall restore the lamb fourfold because he did this thing and had no pity.” [2 Samuel 12:5, 6.] Thus it is with erring, deceived man, ready to see and condemn the faults of others, yet utterly blind to their own condition of character. Their hearts are hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 18

While David was burning to execute justice upon the man who had been so presumptuous, Nathan, the faithful prophet of God, brought home the case saying, “Thou art the man.” [Verse 7.] Like a flash of lightening in a dark night, conviction smote to the heart of the offender, revealing his fearful crime. It was a sentence coming from the throne of God, and David was humbled, overwhelmed with a sense of guilt. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 19

David, not being hardened in sin, did not begin to justify himself. He cries out, I have sinned against the Lord. [Verse 13.] He sees his sin in its loathsome character. Hour after hour and day after day he pondered upon his guilt. In the place of possessing self-confidence, he was a humbled, broken-hearted man. His pillow at night was wet with tears and his humble prayer went up to God. He was a true penitent. God had entrusted him with high responsibilities. Because of the exalted favor he had hitherto received of God, his crime was considered more grievous; for the enemies of God would use this case to uphold or sustain themselves in sin when an entirely opposite lesson should be learned from his sad history. It is unsafe to depart from God and put confidence in the wisdom and judgment of man. Man’s only safety is a living connection with God. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 20

David was truly penitent. In the fifty-first psalm he has given an expression of the true feelings of his heart: “Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy spirit from me.” [Verses 9-11.] 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 21

*****

Mothers and Dress

Disease is the result of unnatural appetite and unnatural dress. The Creator of our bodies has arranged the condition of their healthfulness upon our obedience to the laws which govern our being. When we transgress natural laws in eating or in dressing, we transgress the laws of God. The laws of our being are shamefully and recklessly violated by the devotees of fashion. Satan, who is the author of death, controls minds that might be in a more elevated, ennobling work than creating fashions which are destructive to health and life. Men and women who dress for display sin against their own bodies in accepting the ever-changing fashions as a necessity. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 22

Dress is an index of the mind and heart. That which is hung upon the outside is a sign of what is within. It does not require intellect or a cultivated mind to over-dress. The very fact that women can hang upon their persons such an amount of needless articles of clothing shows that they cannot have time to cultivate their intellects and store their minds with useful knowledge. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 23

It is painful to see mothers expend ten or fifteen dollars upon a hat while her children have scarcely a second suit of clothes. The Lord holds us under obligation to take care of the health of the body which He has given us. In order to do this, we must devote some time to study, that we may become informed in regard to the laws of nature. A display of dress plainly speaks of the absence of the true principles of religion. The life is false, purposeless, and useless. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 24

If mothers would have their daughters come to womanhood with healthful bodies and virtuous characters, they must in their own lives set the example, guarding them against the health-destroying fashions of this age. Christian mothers have resting upon them a responsibility which they do not realize. They should so train their children that they may have firm principle and moral health in this age of corruption. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 25

*****

Sabbath School Teachers

The teachers in our Sabbath schools are engaged in a work which, if rightly done, will be far-reaching in its influence. The instruction given to Timothy by the apostle Paul was, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in so doing thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” [1 Timothy 4:16.] 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 26

The very first work for the teacher is to take heed to himself. His work is a responsible one and deserves careful consideration, and he should study earnestly to know his duty and to criticize his fitness for the work. The burden of the soul should be, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” [Acts 9:6.] All who are enlightened in the Scriptures are solemnly pledged to devote themselves actively and unreservedly to the service of Christ, for Jesus has bought them with a price and they should no longer live to themselves but unto God who died for them. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 27

There are different branches of the work, and each one should take hold of that branch for which he has the best capabilities. After careful, prayerful consideration of the difficulties to be met and a lively consciousness of one’s own inefficiency, there is yet to be a continual solicitude for the welfare of the youth. Every worker may rely upon the divine aid which God has promised them. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 28

*****

Lack of Consecration Among Workers

Through perseverance and industry connected with the God of wisdom, knowledge may more easily be acquired in this generation than at any time in the past, for we have opportunity to improve upon all past generations by avoiding their errors and copying their virtues. New and increased light is shining in our day. We are nearing a fearful crisis and we should equip ourselves for the coming conflict which will try men’s souls. The actual education, the morals and integrity of believers, may be regarded as the true intellectual forces to be engaged in the last great closing work for the world. The efficiency and influence of a church is precisely what the members make it by their zeal, purity, refinement, and intelligence. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 29

It has cost self-denial, self-sacrifice, an indomitable will, and much prayer to bring up the various missionary enterprises where they now stand. Those now coming upon the stage of action are content to be inefficient, saying, O, there is no need of such self-denial and diligence, such hard and disagreeable labor as the leaders in this message experienced; times have changed; there is now more means in the cause of God and it is not necessary for us to place ourselves in such disagreeable positions, as many were called to do in the rise of the message. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 30

But were there one-half the diligence and self-sacrifice manifest by those who labor in the vineyard of the Lord in the present state of the work as at its commencement, we should see one hundred times more accomplished than at the present time. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 31

In order to have the work progress, there must not be a falling off of the moral resources. New accessions of moral power must be continually made in order to keep the work moving upon the high plane of action upon which it started. If those now entering the field as laborers feel that they may relax their efforts, that self-denial and strict economy not only of means but of time are not now as essential in the work as at its beginning, the work will retrograde. The workers at the present time should have the same degree of piety, energy, and perseverance which the leaders had. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 32

The work has been extended so that it now covers a large territory, and believers have increased in numbers. Still there is a great deficiency because a large work might have been accomplished had the very same missionary spirit been manifested by the workers. Without this spirit the laborer is not competent for his work, and will only mar and deface the cause of God. The work of God is really retrograding instead of advancing, broadening, and elevating as God designs it should. We are not to compare our present increase of numbers and the expended work by what it was in the beginning. We should reason on what might have been done had every worker consecrated himself soul, body, and spirit to God as he should have done. 15LtMs, Ms 76, 1900, par. 33