Special Testimonies to Ministers and Workers—No. 3


Love and Confidence Among Brethren

When men will show confidence in their fellow-men, they will come much nearer to possessing the mind of Christ. The Lord has revealed the estimate that he places upon man. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” But some minds are ever seeking to re-shape the character of others according to their own ideas and measure. God has not given them this work to do. SpTA03 16.1

Self will ever cherish a high estimate of self. As men lose their first love, they do not keep the commandments of God, and then they begin to criticise one another. This spirit will constantly be striving for the mastery to the close of time. Satan is seeking to foster it, in order that brethren in their ignorance may seek to devour one another. God is not glorified, but greatly dishonored; the Spirit of God is grieved. Satan exults because he knows that if he can set brother to watch brother in the church and in the ministry, some will be so disheartened and discouraged as to leave their posts of duty. This is not the work of the Holy Spirit; a power from beneath is working in the chambers of the mind and in the soul-temple, to place his attributes where the attributes of Christ should be. SpTA03 16.2

He who has paid the infinite price to redeem men, reads with unerring accuracy all the hidden workings of the human mind, and knows just how to deal with every soul. And in dealing with men, he manifests the same principles that are manifest in the natural world. The beneficent operations of Nature are not accomplished by abrupt and startling interpositions; men are not permitted to take her work into their own hands. God works through the calm, regular operation of his appointed laws. So it is in spiritual things. Satan is constantly seeking to produce effects by rude and violent thrusts; but Jesus found access to minds by the pathway of their most familiar associations. He disturbed as little as possible their accustomed train of thought, by abrupt actions or prescribed rules. He honored man with his confidence, and thus placed him on his honor. He introduced old truths in a new and precious light. Thus when only twelve years old, he astonished the doctors of the law by his questions in the temple. SpTA03 17.1

Jesus assumed humanity that he might meet humanity. He brings men under the transforming power of truth by meeting them where they are. He gains access to the heart by securing sympathy and confidence, making all feel that his identification with their nature and interest is complete. The truth came from his lips beautiful in its simplicity, yet clothed with dignity and power. What a teacher was our Lord Jesus Christ! How tenderly did he treat every honest inquirer after truth, that he might gain admission to his sympathies, and find a home in the heart. SpTA03 17.2

I must tell you, brethren, that you are far from what the Lord would have you be. The attributes of the. enemy of God and man too often find expression in your spirit and attitude toward one another. You hurt one another because you are not partakers of the divine nature. And you work against your own perfection of character; you bring trouble to yourselves, make your work hard and toilsome, because you regard your own spirit and defects of character as precious virtues to be clung to and fostered. SpTA03 17.3

Jesus points the highest minds, as well as the lowest, to the lily, in the freshness of the dew of the morning, and bids us, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” And he impresses the lesson: “If God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith!” SpTA03 18.1