Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901)


Ms 91, 1901

Talk/Teachers to Make the Lord Their Strength and Efficiency

Healdsburg, California

September 4, 1901

Formerly Undated Ms 139. Portions of this manuscript are published in OHC 325; HP 78; 2MCP 650-651; LHU 185.

A talk at the Church School Teachers’ Institute. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 1

“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” [1 Peter 2:1, 2.] 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 2

What a wonderful lesson there is in these words! Teachers, it is necessary to lay aside these things, that you may be prepared to partake of the precious food. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 3

“If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” [Verse 3.] Have you tasted that the Lord is gracious? Does your spiritual appetite crave communion with the Lord? You may discover that He is gracious, not by having all you desire, but by passing through the school of affliction. Since I was nine years old I have been learning in the school of affliction. In my early childhood I could find nothing desirable but the precious words of Jesus. Since I tasted the Word of God in all its sweetness, I have never lost the desire for more. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 4

After I went to Australia, I was afflicted with the rheumatism and malaria. For eleven months I did not have the free use of my arms. After the first week of wonder as to what it all meant, I concluded it would be best to stop wondering, and to leave myself in the hands of the Lord. I tasted His goodness, and found that He is gracious. Only a little while during the night could I forget the pain enough to sleep. Yet I tasted the Lord’s goodness. The sense of His presence shut me in from the world, so that it seemed as if I could speak to Him face to face as did Moses. Throughout all the pain and suffering, I felt that I had with me a heavenly Companion. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 5

During the eleven months of affliction I learned the preciousness of tasting the graciousness of Christ, and realized the benefits of communion with God. I feared that my usefulness was gone. As long as I kept my arms down, I did very well. Whenever I moved them I suffered much pain. But I often spoke to the people. My brethren would not allow me the privilege of retirement. Carrying me in an easy chair, they took me into the halls to speak. My voice did not fail, and my mind was fully as clear as it now is. I had not a particle of heart difficulty. Only the muscles and nerves of my limbs were affected. The blessing of God was upon me, and I regard those months as being the most precious period of my life. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 6

Because we are afflicted, we are not to think that we must succumb. Although during my affliction I had the use of my right hand when held only in a certain position, I wrote twenty-five hundred pages of letter-paper to be sent across the broad waters. Thus a blessing was mingled with the suffering that came to me. My hand never became tired, nor have I ever had any difficulty with it. God has strengthened it, so that I can write constantly. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 7

Paul continues: “If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious.” [Verses 3, 4.] We should not allow the mind to wander, first to one thing and then to another. We should hold it to the task. When we live temperately, we are capable of understanding, we have hunger of soul for righteousness, and are brought close to the One whom God has chosen. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 8

What is the result?—“Ye also, as lively stones [not dead material], are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” [Verse 5.] Whenever I read this Scripture, I feel a great joy that it is our privilege to offer up in faith spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 9

The Lord desires us to improve in prayer, and to offer our spiritual sacrifices with increased faith and power. “To them gave He power to become the sons of God.” [John 1:12.] He has given His own Son for our redemption. If by living faith we accept Him as our Saviour, we are placed on vantage ground with God; for Christ stands before His Father, saying, “Lay their sins on me. I will bear their guilt. They are my property. I have graven them upon the palms of my hands.” In our behalf He presents before His Father the marks of the crucifixion which He will bear throughout eternity. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 10

We accept too low a standard of spirituality. If we would grasp the hand of infinite power, we would reach a much higher standard. Christ says, “I am at thy right hand to help thee.” [See Isaiah 41:13.] What more could we in our weakness desire? Shall we go to one another with all our troubles, telling human beings the temptations we have and how weak we are? The Saviour is standing at our right hand, offering to lift us up, that we may “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” [Ephesians 2:6.] But so often we turn away from Him and His promises, and tell our troubles to those who, like ourselves, are but mortal, with troubles which only Christ can bear. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 11

Can we get relief from them? Let us no longer dishonor God by turning from Him to human inefficiency. Let us come to Christ just as we are, and place ourselves in His hands, saying, “Lord Jesus, I believe in Thy keeping power. I believe that I am kept by the power of God through faith. I will no longer dishonor Thee by turning from the Source, the Fountainhead of strength, to lean on the arm of flesh.” 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 12

Take your troubles to the Master. Say, “Here I am, Lord. Thou knowest all about me, and Thou canst help me. I will follow in Thy footsteps and do Thy will.” When you commit yourself to God, you may be sure that in all times of affliction you will have the very help that you need. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 13

Night after night, when I do not know what to do or how to meet the cases presented before me, I simply tell it all to the Lord, saying, “Jesus, thou knowest all about this. I must have help; for I can do nothing without it. I will cling to Thee for the help I must have.” 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 14

When we meet together, let us remember that it is the effectual, fervent prayer that avails with God. We should pray from the heart, and when we pray we should be as confident as is the man who with his whole armor on approaches an enemy. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 15

The enemy is trying to interpose between us and Christ. He casts his shadow across our pathway, apparently making it impossible for us to go forward. But by exercising living faith we are able to pass through the dark shadow and find our Saviour beyond. When a shadow is cast before you, when you cannot see light at the right hand or at the left, you may know that it is time for you to wrestle with God. Jacob wrestled with Him and prevailed. There should be more wrestling prayer, more living faith. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 16

Every teacher should have an intelligent understanding of what Christ is to him individually. When you know that the Lord is your strength and efficiency, you can commit the keeping of your soul to God, as unto a faithful Creator. In doing this you will honor God far more than if you were to go to a neighbor, or to write a letter, seeking for advice. While I was in Australia many persons sent letters of inquiry to me across the broad waters of the Pacific. It took two or three months for them to receive an answer. Standing by their side all the time was One full of power and grace, saying, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] What more could He say? Why did they not go to Him with their perplexities? They would have found rest in Him. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 17

The apostle continues: “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.” [1 Peter 2:6.] Cannot you present this promise before Him, asking Him to give you power to believe? This is the education which as teachers you are to obtain. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 18

“Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” [Verses 7, 8.] They are disobedient, and therefore to them Christ is a rock of offence. They stumble when the Word interferes with their selfish inclinations and ambitions. They desire to reach the highest round of the ladder without climbing step by step from the lowest round; therefore they fail to receive that practical education which they should have to impart to others. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 19

“Whereunto also they were appointed.” [Verse 8.] They were appointed to a different work. God has appointed to every one a position of honor in His work. He uses every one who will be used, who in humility and meekness will consent to be fashioned after the divine Pattern. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 20

Some who have but one talent feel that they can do nothing. They hide their talent in the earth, and because they receive no increase, they murmur against God. But if they would use the ability given them, their talent would double. They would have two talents for further improvement. Those who have two talents, and use these with fidelity, will be given two more talents. Thus by faithful use talents are multiplied. God desires every one to do his best. As human agents use aright the talents given them, God increases their power and strength. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 21

He who conscientiously strives to improve one talent will as surely receive an increase as he who conscientiously strives to improve a larger number. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 22

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” [Verse 9.] 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 23

Christ said to the woman of Samaria, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” [John 4:10.] This Samaritan woman nearly lost her opportunity to learn of Jesus, but she began to feel after the truth, and just as soon as its value dawned upon her—even before she fully comprehended it—forgetting that she had come to the well for water, she left her water pot and hastened to tell others what she had learned. “Come,” she said, and “see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” [Verse 29.] Many believed her words and went to the well to meet Christ. He had an opportunity to give them the living water, and many souls came to a knowledge of the truth. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 24

Too often we fail to draw our strength from Christ. He is saying to us, “If you had asked of me, I should have given you the living water, which would have been in you a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” [See verses 10, 14.] Christ in the soul is as a well of water springing up into everlasting life. When preaching on science, a minister in Australia said that “Christ in His day must have known something about science.” What a statement for a minister of the gospel to make! When I heard what he said, I was astonished, for I knew that all the science that is of any value has been given to humanity by Jesus Christ. Christ is Himself the Door to all truth. In Him “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” [Colossians 2:3.] Although He could have astonished the world with the most startling revelations of science which would have occupied the minds of men till He should come the second time, yet this was not His mission. Had He placed before human minds a rich feast of science, it would have been used to gratify unholy ambition. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 25

From Christ proceeds all the knowledge essential to enable you to be children of God, and which opens to you the widest fields of usefulness. Many persons do not appreciate this true knowledge, but in their education seek for something which will be regarded as wonderful. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 26

The apostle exhorts you to “show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” [1 Peter 2:9, 10.] Act as though you were indeed God’s living right hand. To every one is given his appointed work. God does not take all over the same ground. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 27

No one is to think that all of his time is to be spent in study. By putting into practice what you study, you can obtain more than by merely studying. When you use your knowledge, you will find that more is given you. Keep the channel open, that you may have the grace and light and love of Christ. Do not disappoint Christ. Though you are teachers, you are to learn of the Great Teacher. While as students you are to respect the human instrumentality through which you receive instruction, you are ever to look beyond this to the divine. Then the truths which come from the lips of the human teacher will be to you of far greater importance than they otherwise would be. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 28

Every teacher should gather up all the rays of divine light shining upon his pathway, that he may have the wisdom which Daniel had. Walk in the light which is opening before you in this Institute. “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning.” [Hosea 6:3.] As the light of the sun shines with increasing power from morning till noon, so as you advance in the opening light of God’s Word, you will receive more light. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 29

You are to work on the plan of addition. “Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off.” [2 Peter 1:5-9.] He cannot see that God is to do the work. If instead of attempting in his own strength to reach the highest attainments, he were willing to co-operate with God by taking God’s Word as his standard, he would daily increase in knowledge. Why? Because he would look beyond the teacher to the divine Instructor, and the power and grace of God would enfold him. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 30

Long ago I learned never to depend upon my feelings. I have heart disease. Sometimes when heavy burdens come upon me, I suffer constantly from pain in my heart. At such times I walk the floor, not daring to close my eyes in sleep for fear I should never wake. It is then that I plead with the Lord, and He gives me the victory. Then I am able to go to rest, with the sweet assurance that it is well with my soul, and with confidence that God will take care of me. As far as feeling is concerned, I feel no better. But what has feeling to do with faith? It is just as distinct from faith as is the east from the west. Your faith should rest upon the Word of God. It is your privilege to claim His promises by faith. Plant your feet firmly on a “Thus saith the Lord,” and you will not need to consult your feelings. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 31

People often ask me, “How do you feel this morning?” I tell them that I do not say much about my feelings. But when I am the weakest, when I feel the most pressed by the enemy, I know there is a victory to gain, and this victory I am determined to gain. In the faith that I have, I feel today that I can take hold of the Mighty One, and that He will spare my life just as long as He sees best. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 32

Let us all have confidence in God. Press your way through the shadow which Satan throws across your pathway, and take hold of the arm of Jesus, the Mighty One. Let your case rest in His hands. Let your prayer be, “Lord, I present my petition to Thee. I put my trust in Thee, and I ask for the blessing that thou seest will be for my present and future usefulness and my eternal good.” When you arise from your knees, believe! When the enemy comes with his darkness, sing faith and talk faith, and you will find that you have sung and talked yourself into the light. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 33

“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” [Philippians 4:4.] Those who do this have a joyous life. No unpleasantness comes from their lips or from the atmosphere surrounding the soul; for they do not feel that they are better than others. Hide in Jesus Christ; then all the time the truth of God will be fitting you up for the future, immortal life. When you have confidence in the Mighty One, your experience is not borrowed; it is your own. Whatever your disposition may be, God is able to so mold that disposition that it will be sweet and Christlike. By living faith you can separate from everything not in accordance with the mind of God, and thus bring a heaven into your life here below. Will you do this? If you do, you will have sunshine at every step. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 34

He who takes charge of a school is in need of a living, ever-present Saviour. Teach the simplest principles of the Word of God, making the Bible the foundation of education. Those who are seeking to obtain the so-called higher education do not know what true education is. True higher education is that which is received by sitting at the feet of Jesus. Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, and He will lift you up. You need not struggle to lift yourself. Commit your work to Him; do it in faithfulness, in sincerity, in truth, in righteousness; and you will find that every day it brings its reward, and that the light of heaven is shining upon you. His light, His grace, His salvation, are thus revealed. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 35

We are a very ignorant people. We know so little of Jesus Christ that we can but dimly comprehend what He will do for us. God desires us to learn of Him. While you are in this Institute, let your boasting be in God, and not in science, not in foreign languages, nor in anything else that is human. First learn whether you can practice Christianity in your own language. There are souls to convert, and you should be able to so bring the simplicity of godliness into your own life that you can use the talent of speech with converting power among those with whom you associate. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 36

There should be in your hearts a burning desire to be united with Christ, that you may be “laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] He is working with you as with a building, forming within you a character after the divine similitude. Let your character-building be in accordance with the beautiful pattern revealed to men in the life of Christ. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 37

In all your work you should do as the husbandman does in producing the fruits of the earth. Apparently he throws away the seed; but, buried in the soil, the seed, in dying, germinates. The power of the living God gives it life and vitality, and there is seen, “first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” [Mark 4:28.] Study this wonderful process. O, there is so much to learn, so much to understand, that it seems as though we cannot learn everything during this life—and we cannot. But if we now improve our minds to the utmost of our ability, we shall through the eternal ages carry forward the study of God’s ways and works, continually reaching higher and still higher. We need now minds that can understand the simplicity of godliness. More than we desire anything else, we should desire to have Jesus Christ abiding in the soul-temple, because He cannot abide there without being revealed and shown forth in fruits and good works. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 38

Conducting recitations is only the beginning of a teacher’s work. The teacher has a heavy responsibility to bear in connection with the students entrusted to his care, and he is to understand that he cannot throw off this responsibility. He has the oversight of those in his charge. He is to regard them as those who have been bought with a price. He must watch over this recreant one and over that recreant one; he must talk and pray with them. Thus he may save souls unto Jesus Christ. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 39

The work of a teacher does not end in the classroom. Because he is an educator, he is not to divorce himself from the church work. Power is to be brought into the church. Teachers are to strive to bring the church to a higher and still higher standard. God requires of teachers more than they give. They are to be working agencies, and not dwarfs. If they fulfil God’s requirements, He will give them still more intelligence, until it can be said of them, “Ye are complete in Him.” [Colossians 2:10.] If every teacher in this college would come up to the help of God in the church, we should have in Healdsburg one of the most precious churches that could be found anywhere in the world. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 40

There is a world to be saved. Such a work is to be done by our people, that often at night I sit up in my bed and wring my hands in agony, and ask, “O God, will thy people ever understand?” I believe they will, when they come to the foot of the cross of Christ, and sit at His feet as did Mary, to learn of Him. If the teachers attending this Institute will follow the Bible rule and be Bible Christians, they will be God’s helping hand. God wants every one of you to be His helping hand; and if you yield yourself to Him, He will teach and work through you, that you may be able to impart to others. Then you will be able to say, “O God, ‘thy gentleness hath made me great.’” [Psalm 18:35.] 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 41

There is a fullness for every teacher to gain. The studies that you receive either will strengthen your faith and confidence in God, and teach you how to work as His helping hand, or else they will leave you in a worse condition than if you had never attended the Institute. If you work out the principles that the Lord has given you, He will surely place you on vantage ground, and the mercies and blessings of heaven will come into your life-practice, enabling you to work out the will of God. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 42

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” [Mark 4:9.] The Lord bless you, is my prayer. 16LtMs, Ms 91, 1901, par. 43