Ms 37, 1886

Ms 37, 1886

Counsel to Church Members in Switzerland



Previously unpublished.

Our brethren and sisters at Chaux-de-Fonds, I would impress upon you the importance of clinging close to Jesus Christ. We are soldiers of Jesus Christ, and we need to carefully guard against being surprised by the enemy. We must have constant faith in Jesus Christ as our great leader, looking unto Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith. We must not expect defeat, and therefore there is the greatest necessity for wise-laid plans and careful management that all may maintain their confidence and war the good warfare with faith and with courage. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 1

Any mismanagement of the soldiers will create a panic and distrust, and then the result is charged upon our Leader, who is too wise to err and too good to do us harm. There must be no bungling in our plans, resulting in confusion and disorder. The soldier of Jesus Christ must constantly look to Christ for orders, especially if his course of action is to influence the movements of others. We must have confidence in Jesus Christ and those whom He has appointed to carry on the work in His army as His officers. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 2

The privates in an army have duties to perform of which they cannot always see the purpose. They are brought into positions of danger, and without knowing why. So in the armies of Christ, we must have faith in our great Commander—that He is leading us, that He will lead us and will bring us through every conflict. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 3

In the earthly warfare, with men who fight battles, the best trained and most intelligent men are the very best soldiers. A soldier needs to think and to have careful, painstaking ability in consequence of right discipline. The training of all the faculties, whether mental or physical, and the ability to use and the habit of using every natural power, are essential to help gain the victory when trial and conflict come. The best soldiers in the earthly army are those whose education has been most thorough, men who are faithful, courageous, and true. And if this be so in earthly warfare, how much more true it is of the work which we have to do as soldiers of Jesus Christ. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 4

Christ’s soldiers must realize that they are not their own. They belong to God, and the warfare in which we are engaged is largely mental. The mind most thoroughly trained will do the most acceptable work. Poor soldiers will they be under any and every circumstance whose powers have, through long disuse, become incapable of exercise. It is most dangerous to the individual professing to be a soldier of Christ—in these times of special peril through Satan’s manifold snares—to be inexperienced, inefficient, unable to render real, earnest, sincere service to his Lord, because he is not wise and intelligent in the ways and means of doing the best service. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 5

The servants of Jesus Christ should seek to understand the best way and manner of doing the work of God by understanding the requirements of this time. The conditions of warfare and the works required of the Christian soldier now are not what they once were, because greater light has shone upon us, and great and solemn warnings have come to us. Unless we have understanding of the times, we may, though we have the best intentions, stand in the way of our own interest and that of our brethren and do very bungling work. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 6

The claims upon Christians are perfect and implicit obedience to truth. But the manner of Satan’s attacks, unless the senses are sharpened to comprehend them, will be so deceiving, his manner of warfare so different, that there will not be a preparation of defense. Under the generalship of Satan there are many deceitful, wily foes, who will avail themselves of every means to give force to their assaults on those who vindicate the claims of the law of God. They will not meet them in open warfare with arguments, but with power that is felt to press them into difficult places, to annoy, to restrict their privileges and liberties because of their obedience to God’s commandments. Prejudice will be excited by the ministers and by the professed Christians who despise the truth for these last days. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 7

God’s people in Chaux-de-Fonds, in Tramelan, in Bern, and Lausanne must reach a higher standard. Why, under any circumstance, should the servants of Christ, of all men on the face of the earth, leave any faculty unused, uncultivated? The greater the work, the worthier the Master we serve, the more efficient should His servants be. Those who wish to honor God will render to Him the very best and most thorough service that it is in their power to render. He requires every faculty, in its highest state of culture and in its most vigorous exercise. It is His due. He has bought man with an infinite price. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 8

Under the old dispensation men were not allowed to lay on His altar the maimed or the halt or the blind. And shall men and women who profess to be servants of Christ be content to offer Him blind service because of ill-trained movements and crippled, dwarfed faculties? God calls for better service and higher work than we give Him. “Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:27. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 9

Soldiers engaged in warfare have to meet difficulties and hardships; they have coarse food and a limited amount of that; they have long marches day by day over rough roads, under burning sun. They camp out nights, sleeping on bare ground with the canopy of heaven for a covering, exposed to drenching rains and chilling frosts; they hasten at the battle call and remain in deadly encounter with the enemy—hungry, faint, exhausted, standing as a target for the foe. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 10

He who has entered the service of the Master, Jesus Christ, and expects the conveniences of life, ease and comfort and indolence; who expects to be off duty when he pleases, and sleeps at his post of duty, exposes the cause of God to reproach. Such avoid trials. Self-denial they will not practice, effort and endurance they will not attempt; but when men are needed who can be depended upon to do mighty strokes for God, these ease-loving ones are ready to answer, “Here am I, send me.” [Isaiah 6:8.] Difficult work has to be done, hard work, trying work. Blessed are the ones who are ready to do it, and who are not found wanting when their names are called. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 11

God will not reward men and women in the next world for seeking to be comfortable in this world. It is true that He investigates closely our nature and what manner of spirit we are of. Those who enlist in Christ’s army are to do a soldier’s duty for Christ. They are expected to do difficult work and to bear painful trials patiently, uncomplainingly for Christ’s sake. They must deny self. Those who suffer with Christ shall also reign with Him. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 12

Then soldiers of Christ must work in concert. Each soldier must act in relation to his comrades, else there will be a mere concourse of independent atoms. Instead of strength being carefully treasured to meet one great purpose at any moment, and concentrated on one great point, it would be wasted in disconcerted, meaningless efforts. Union is strength. A few men and women who counsel together and pray together, having the glory of God in view and acting for one purpose, will be growing in strength and wisdom and will gain victories. A good soldier will not move independently of his brethren. There is much hard work to be done for the Master. Much wisdom must be brought into this work. It is the unconquerable perseverance, the never-failing endurance which will bring the desired victory. Many have a theory of the truth, but know scarcely anything of the sweet victories to be gained through that faith which overcometh the world. There is an experience that must be gained by every individual, or he will never sit down with the suffering Man of Calvary upon His throne. My brethren and sisters in Europe, you must calmly consider what is the cost of following Christ and obeying the truth. It will cost you all, and as the reward you will inherit all things. When the warfare is over, the victory gained, you will appreciate the eternal reward. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 13

Now we are on the battlefield. There is no time for resting, no time for ease, no time for selfish indulgence. After one advantage is gained and one temptation successfully resisted, other temptations—maybe of an entirely different character—will assail you, and you must do battle again. You are gaining strength in the conflict. You must go on conquering and to conquer, gathering strength from fresh struggles, from every victory you have gained, increasing in courage, in faith, in determination. Through divine strength you have in the struggle proved more than a match for all your enemies. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 14

Oh, workers in the European fields, especially in Switzerland, are very few and do not put to the best use their powers to gain success. There is a cowardice that will not be rewarded with success. When they shall arm them like men, and be strong, then the Lord will go before them. Severe conflicts will have to be experienced, costly sacrifices made. Still they must be laborers together with God. Just as long as it costs them nothing, many will hold the truth; but when they see that self-denial and the cross lie directly in the pathway to heaven, they choose a road that is broader where they can walk around the cross without lifting it. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 15

There is need of reformation in our churches. God will test every soul, and if you have not yet been partakers with Christ in self-denial and in suffering, you ought to be alarmed lest you are not indeed followers of Christ. The world can be no criterion for you. God’s own standard must be met. However good qualities a soldier may have, he cannot be a good soldier if he acts independently of those connected with him who have had committed to them the care of all the churches. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 16

One man may be of hasty temperament and cannot brook delay. He will not see the difficulties which beset his pathway and which would make his plans inadvisable; and if he moves independently, he may neglect to make a careful consideration of the situation of the future which should have an influence on the present action. Therefore there should be a consideration by careful, cautious minds in regard to every new movement that shall be made. Independent action is not then possible to any one who desires to be a good soldier in the Lord’s army. Independence and efficient service will not harmonize. Occasional and uncertain movements, however earnest and energetic, may not be the best-planned and in the end bring defeat and take the place of efforts that might have been well planned and successful. One man’s sight and one man’s plans and judgment may so influence others’ minds and others’ judgment that wrong moves may be set on foot and wrong plans engaged in that will prove disastrous in the end. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 17

God’s soldiers must move in order, with concentrated action, seeking in humble prayer the counsel of God and the counsel of one with another. If there is one of age, of discernment and caution, that one above all others should have a voice in every important action, that each may influence the others beneficially. All the plans are to be submitted to the officers and the ones in command, else there will be no concentrated action. There must be obedience to the ones who are set to bind the soldiers to the great center in all their plans and actions, that there may be no strange movements that will bring one spot or shadow of a stain upon the cause of God. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 18

Take a team of horses, strong and active. Let one pull in one direction and the other in an opposite direction, and one start with a jerk, the other pull back, instead of both pulling in one direction and at the same time, and what will such a team accomplish? With all their strength and activity they cannot pull the load. So will it be with the church, if there is disconcerted action and want of harmony in every movement. There will be a zeal, an activity, but not according to the wisest knowledge. They may make movements at the wrong time and in the wrong direction, and move counter to the action and plans of others, and thus their efforts are worse than wasted. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 19

None must act independently of the center. They may have most unquestionable motives and love the truth sincerely, but they cannot be good and successful soldiers without concert in action. They do not render that efficient service to the cause of God when—whether from too great haste or too high an appreciation of their own wisdom and their own powers and plans—they refuse to act in concert; they will do harm and bring in a disorderly state of things. There is need of self-restraint and caution; these are positively necessary for concerted action. Soldiers of Christ must not be determined that they will carry out their wishes and preferences independently of the common good of the cause of God. The noblest leaders in Christ’s army consult together and plan, devise, and pray and watch unto prayer lest Satan shall, through someone who is not consecrated to God, introduce some plan that will eventually bring defeat in the place of victory. God can be glorified only by well-directed, concentrated effort. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 20

Every blessing God has given us we should receive with appreciation. We must move in perfect harmony and love, esteeming others better than ourselves. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 21

“Without Me,” says Christ, “ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] Have we Christ with us? Are we abiding in Christ? Do we seek Him most earnestly daily that He will be our counselor, our support, our helper? Do we lay aside our wisdom and seek earnestly the wisdom that cometh from above, which “is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits”? James 3:17. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 22

About ten years ago the state of the cause of God in Europe was presented before me, and I was shown that there were many difficulties to encounter there in unfolding the truth to the different nationalities. There were but very few who were not poor, and then very few who were doing anything for the support and extension of the truth. Poverty was binding them about. Those who might have been in a position to help had moved inadvisably and could not help, as they had crippled themselves both in regard to influence and means. But there was to be a work done in Switzerland, where the publishing house—as the great center of the work—was located, and there were to be men and women brought to the knowledge of the truth if the right kind of efforts should be made to bring the message of truth before those in darkness. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 23

The work, I saw, would go slowly because of the peculiar situation of things, and at every step there would be hindrances, but these things should not prevent men and women from working with courage and with faith. God will enlist human co-operation as the condition of progress of His work demands. Churches would be established where the Reformation had planted the standard of Christ. But those who claimed to be Christians, who had left Romanism, would act out very much the same spirit to hinder, as far as they could, any advance reforms. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 24

Those who accepted the reforms of Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli ceased to continue their reforms. They ceased to go forward, as truth is constantly opening to the people of God. Light which is present truth will shine forth in clear rays from God’s Word, and those who have anchored their doctrines and their faith upon the teachings of any one favorite leader, and are unwilling to advance beyond where this man led the way, will refuse to obey the command “Go forward.” [Exodus 14:15.] They will be left in the rear while the great Leader is constantly advancing, leading those who will follow, to advanced truth and greater light. This will cause those who will not open their eyes to behold wondrous things out of the law of God to become adversaries to those who will see, and who are willing to follow the Leader, lift the cross, deny self, and accept reproach and false accusations because of unpopular truth they hold. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 25

The men who will follow where Christ leads the way must do so in spite of foes who will be manifold, powerful, and difficult to resist, because they work in no hand-to-hand battle, but in subtle, underhanded manner. Religious bigotry will be the greatest foe we shall have to meet. It is not the human powers we will have to meet and contend with, but principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places. The resources of the enemy are various, and we must not move like blind men or be ignorant of Satan’s devices. The truth must go with greater strength in these places. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 26

I saw that God would work upon hearts and minds to bring in occasionally those who have means to sustain the advance of truth in Switzerland, if those who are poor will do all they possibly can to aid the cause of God. They have a love for the truth and must show the same. They can deny self in many ways and will do it when the truth becomes a sanctifying power in their hearts. They will lift to the very utmost of their ability. They will deny taste and inclination for Christ’s sake and must be educated by precept and example to deny inclination in many ways. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 27

I was shown that the people were badly situated to make the most of their influence where they were living. They were dependent upon others who were opposed to truth for lodgings; and as the owners of the houses or rooms they hire become stirred up with enmity against the truth, by the great adversary of souls, they will do all in their power to hinder the advancement of the truth. They will oppress and restrict the rights of those who occupy their houses, that their privileges to entertain those of their own faith will be taken away; and the more the truth advances, the more will this oppression be felt. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 28

I saw that our people would be unable to hire rooms for meetings or for dwellings in which to lodge, without great prices and having their liberties restricted. I was told I would have a testimony to bear to these—but I know not whether it would be by writing or word of mouth—that they should study and devise means to obtain humble lodgings under their own control, where they could be free to assemble together and worship God and hold meetings and not be forced or oppressed by those who will make them feel their power. Many can do nothing in this direction, but those who can do this should not delay to place themselves in positions where they will not be molested, where they can entertain their brethren and sisters who shall assemble together to worship God. Much of this work is to be done. Because all cannot better their situation is no reason some should not do this. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 29

I was shown that when those believing the truth have done to the very best of their ability, then Providence would work in their favor. We know neither the numbers, resources, nor position of our adversaries, yet we are not to be cowards, but valiant soldiers of the Master. When we fancy security, Satan is mustering his forces to make some new movement of attack, and you will be left to feel the oppressing power of Satan. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 30

Watchfulness, perseverance, and painstaking effort are necessary on the part of every believer. We have a kingdom to gain, a crown of life to win, and Satan is striving for the souls of every one. In Europe the truth will make headway slowly, but it will triumph most gloriously at last if the advocates of truth will act their part with fidelity. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 31

I have suggested to different ones that some plan would have to be devised for our people to rid themselves of the yoke that they had to wear in being so dependent upon opposers of our faith for lodgings; but due to the poverty, the question would immediately arise, How can it be done? But recently there seems to be a way that this can be done, and yet not lay up treasures upon the earth. All our people should be willing to have the plainest of furniture, plain wardrobes, and deny self in many ways, if they can only secure to themselves freedom to entertain and have rooms under their own control so that they can be hospitable and courteous, and accommodate their brethren and sisters who shall assemble to worship God. Our brethren in Europe must as far as possible place themselves in positions where the money they pay for lodgings will secure to them freedom, where they are not left to the impulses and caprice of those who love not God and love not the truth. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 32

False maxims, evil customs, selfish gratifications, social influences of a pernicious character will need to be overcome by those who profess to believe the truth, if they would be followers of Jesus Christ and do their utmost to win souls to the truth. Our time to work is short, and the question is, Shall the means that you handle and pass into other hands be used in a manner that will secure to you the greatest liberty, or shall it pass from your hands, and your liberties be restricted, and you be subjected to inconvenient and unhealthful lodgings with water closets of such a character that they are pouring forth in your houses a polluted atmosphere, which is poisoning the blood? Shall there be plans to arrange humble lodgings, free from every extravagance, but where the sanitary conditions shall be especially arranged for health? 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 33

Our people should become enlightened in regard to healthful eating and drinking, and should strictly regard every ray of light God has been pleased to give us on this subject. Tea and coffee should be discarded. Both are injurious to health. But there is a greater evil with which they have to contend: it is the arrangement of the water closets in the lodgings they are obliged to hire. The health cannot be maintained when the rooms in their houses are permeated with poisonous gases from the water closets. There is only one place I have visited in Europe where the arrangement was perfectly safe. That is at the lodgings hired by Brother Ademar Vuilleumier. The Lord would have His people preserve to themselves the very best condition of health. Satan is constantly tempting the appetite. Evil tendencies within league with evil tendencies without, to create such a condition of things that the flesh shall war against the spirit, and the spirit needs to be aroused and receive power from God to war successfully against the appetites and passions of the flesh. The habits and customs of the people may be greatly changed for the better. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 34

All stimulants, as wine, beer, tea, and coffee, are injurious to the brain nerve power. They cause irritation of the nerves resulting in impatience and quick passion. And when the immediate effect of the stimulus is gone, a prostration sets in that is proportionate to the elevation through unnatural stimulus. Thus that which professed Christians put into their mouths is conveyed to the blood and the nerves of the brain, creating in the system a warring lust. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 35

There is a determined warfare before us, between good and evil, right and wrong; between God and the devil. This conflict has been incessantly waged ever since the angels in heaven rebelled. A lust denied, which is in the least degree detrimental to brain and nerve energy, is a lust partially subdued, mortified. Abstinence from every hurtful lust, in denial of appetite, brings the body into a more healthful condition to continue the warfare in stronger faith with clearer, keener perception. Thus we gain the mastery over every hurtful, health-enfeebling, life-destroying lust. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 36

We are not half awake to our dangers and to the determined assaults of the adversaries of our soul. The most difficult warfare a man can raise is against self. The complete subjection of all the appetites and all the passions must be obtained if we are not finally overcome of warring lust. We are to have constant watchcare over the state of our own hearts. There are to be victories gained over self, in a constant suppression of every evil desire, every unhealthful practice. There must be a purification of the soul temple from every defilement. There must be prompt and painful correction of every step which deviates from the laws of life and health and the laws of God. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 37

Our course must be a steady climbing, straight forward, upward, heavenward. The spiritual warfare means incessant reaching after those things which are before us, higher, better, holier thoughts and feelings and practices. It means mental struggles in which God alone can help you. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 38

In your warfare, even your friends will oppose. Your old established habits and practices will be thought to be good enough. Scornful sneers will meet you because, from an enlightened conscience, you will venture to choose a better way. Your motives will be misjudged—even your habits and character maligned. This will be a burden which you must roll on God alone. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 39

“Ye have not resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Hebrews 12:4. We have a lifelong and incessant strife, but is not the reward at the end of the conflict worthy of all the labor? Will not the eternal weight of glory more than compensate for every wound, every grief, every sorrow? And will not every sacrifice made bring returns of treasures that are without price? 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 40

Read the promises of God which are to be granted to the overcomer, in the letter to the seven churches mentioned in Revelation. Each surpasses the one which precedes it. He who shuns self-denial here, proves a coward, will miss that glorious reward, and will meet only shame and contempt hereafter. The Lord Jesus has paid an infinite price for our redemption, and He offers us a love that passes knowledge, which love can only be received aright when the entire affections are placed upon Christ. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 41

The churches in Switzerland aim too low and do too little for Jesus. The better life which is promised us is on condition of obedience. Only those who have the love of Jesus in the soul will seek to do God’s pleasure instead of their own. There must be a new, a holy affection to take the place of the old and expel the old from the soul temple. Has the real transforming grace of Christ been welcomed into the heart? Has it a constraining power upon the life and character? Love to God is a power which brings into subjection every faculty of mind and body to the service of Christ. These capacities are only the ministers that stand and wait the bidding of a heart fully imbued with the love of Jesus. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 42

Our moral nature is to be revolutionized in its governing principles, love to God and love to man. An empty-word acknowledgment of the claims of God is of no value. There must be an inward, deep principle that is the vital power in the life, transforming the character to the character of Christ. The soul must be enlightened. It has eyes, it has taste, and it is to search for truth which obeyed will lead to the beauty of holiness. The soul loves, the soul loathes, and the spiritual taste needs to be cultivated, refined, ennobled, sanctified. The state of the heart colors the whole of our lives for the present and for eternity. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 43

The lofty pattern is set before us. The religion of Jesus Christ is to raise us to a higher, holier standard to meet the divine likeness of Christ’s character. “He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me.” John 14:21. All who are abiding in Christ as the branch abides in the vine will show themselves fruitful. By their fruit-bearing properties they will represent the character of the Vine. God requires of every soul of us far more than we give Him. He requires the whole heart, the whole mind, the whole strength. All we are belongs to Jesus. There is need of cultivating ability to serve God. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 44

There is a feeble appreciation of the work to be done. There should be in all parts of Switzerland men and women working with faith and making personal efforts. The hardest of the soul struggles belongs to the hour of the greatest resolves. As a people, God calls upon us to do our part in self-sacrifice and self-denial. We must renounce the world, we must trample upon the lust of the flesh, the pride of life, and choose the self-denial and cross before selfish gratifications. Our people who have accepted the truth are not half awake. There are great moral revolutions to take place. The truth must have a perceptible influence upon our character and life. We must make advances and let the light of truth shine forth. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 45

Your whole duty is in willing and doing. We may seem bound about, that there is no room, no power or strength within us to do much; but a few resolute souls can do very much if they work not impulsively, but in God, and move in perfect harmony. There is work to be done. We must situate ourselves to do it. We cannot do the great work to be done in Switzerland unless we venture something, but we must, in these movements, be sure that Christ is guiding us. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 46

Every individual member of the church throughout Switzerland should pray and work to the very utmost of his ability. But to work in human wisdom will produce discord and failure in your efforts. The whole body of the church has something to do. Every individual member of the church must act his part. The cause is one—a great system through whose wondrous, harmonious working God is pleased to renew and sanctify souls and train them up to be heirs of glory. Who will refuse to make one in this co-partnership with Christ? Every member of the body has a part to act. All have not the same work. There is the head, the eye, the ear, the arms, the limbs; every part is indispensable. 4LtMs, Ms 37, 1886, par. 47