Gospel Workers (1915 ed.)


Propriety of Deportment

To those who handle sacred things comes the solemn injunction, “Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.” [Isaiah 52:11.] Of all men, those who have been trusted and honored by the Lord, those who have been given special service to perform, should be circumspect in word and deed. They should be men of devotion, who, by works of righteousness and pure, true words, can lift their fellow-men to a higher level; men who are not unsettled by every passing temptation; men of firm, earnest purpose, whose highest aim is to gather souls to Christ. GW 124.1

Satan's special temptations are directed against the ministry. He knows that ministers are but human, possessing no grace or holiness of their own; that the treasures of the gospel have been placed in earthen vessels, which divine power alone can make vessels unto honor. He knows that God has ordained ministers to be a powerful means for the salvation of souls, and that they can be successful in their work only as they allow the eternal Father to rule their lives. Therefore he tries with all his ingenuity to lead them into sin, knowing that their office makes sin in them more exceeding sinful; for in committing sin, they make themselves ministers of evil. GW 124.2

Those whom God has called to the ministry are to give evidence that they are fit to minister in the sacred desk. The Lord has commanded, “Be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” [1 Peter 1:15.] “Be thou an example of the believers,” Paul writes. “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” [1 Timothy 4:12, 16.] “The end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” [1 Peter 4:7.] GW 124.3

The subject of purity and propriety of deportment is one to which we must give heed. We must guard against the sins of this degenerate age. Let not Christ's ambassadors descend to trifling conversation, to familiarity with women, married or single. Let them keep their proper place with becoming dignity; yet at the same time they may be sociable, kind, and courteous to all. They must stand aloof from everything that savors of commonness and familiarity. This is forbidden ground, upon which it is unsafe to set the feet. Every word, every act, should tend to elevate, to refine, to ennoble. There is sin in thoughtlessness about such matters. GW 125.1

Paul urged Timothy to meditate upon those things that are pure and excellent, that his profiting might appear unto all. The same counsel is greatly needed by men of the present age. I urge upon our workers the necessity of purity in every thought, every act. We have an individual accountability to God, an individual work which no one else can do for us. It is to strive to make the world better. While we should cultivate sociability, let it not be merely for amusement, but for a higher purpose. GW 125.2

Is there not enough taking place around us to show the need for this caution? Everywhere are seen wrecks of humanity, broken-down family altars, ruined homes. There is a strange abandonment of principle, the standard of morality is lowered, and the earth is fast becoming a Sodom. The practices which brought the judgment of God upon the antediluvian world, and which caused Sodom to be destroyed by fire, are fast increasing. We are nearing the end, when the earth is to be purified by fire. GW 125.3

Let those in whose hands God has placed the light of truth, depart from all iniquity. Let them walk in the paths of rectitude, mastering every passion and habit that would in any way mar the work of God, or leave a spot upon its sacredness. It is the work of the minister to resist the temptations that lie in his pathway, to rise above those debasements that drag the mind down to a low level. By watchfulness and prayer, he may so guard his weakest points that they will become his strongest points. Through the grace of Christ, men may acquire moral stamina, strength of will, and stability of purpose. There is power in this grace to enable them to rise above the alluring, infatuating temptations of Satan, and to become loyal, devoted Christians. GW 126.1