Special Testimonies for Ministers and Workers—No. 7


Who Are Representing Christ?

We are living in times that try men's souls. Those in high positions of trust, whom we may call—as God called some in the days of Noah—mighty men, men of renown, know little of the causes that underlie the present state of society. Many do not care to know; others do not study from cause to effect. Those who hold the reins of government are not able to solve the problem of moral corruption, poverty, pauperism, and increasing crime of every type, manifest in all classes, from the highest to the lowest. They are struggling vainly to place business operations on a more secure basis. The great extremes of wealth and want produce unnumbered evils. SpTA07 56.1

In our large cities there exists an appalling condition of poverty; multitudes are destitute of food, clothing, or shelter fit for a human being. In the same cities are men of wealth who have more than heart could wish; who live luxuriously, spending their money upon richly furnished houses, upon personal ornament, or worse, upon the gratification of the sensual appetites, upon tobacco, liquors, and other things that destroy the power of the brain, unbalance the mind, and debase the soul. While they are thus selfishly indulging themselves, all heaven is looking down upon these unfaithful stewards. God and angels mark how the means given to men, with which to honor the Creator by blessing the world, are turned to the gratification of self, to the dishonor of God, and to the neglect of his heritage.... SpTA07 56.2

The prince of darkness has set in operation every device to ruin and destroy man. He has legions of evil workers uniting with him to obliterate the image of God in our youth. I ask those who are acquainted with truth, who know righteousness, What are you doing? Are you using your influence to bring into the ranks of the Lord's army all whom you can possibly reach? Have you yourself enlisted to fight the battles of the Lord? As Christians it is our work to represent Christ. We are to set an example that shall be in striking contrast to the practises of this evil age. He that is selfish will neglect to do the very work he ought to do, and take up a work that God has not given him to do. “He that loveth pleasure [margin, sport] shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.” “He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honor.” “The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labor. He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.” SpTA07 56.3

“He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.” This breaks up worldly policy, and sets aside worldly maxims. “That thy trust may be in the Lord, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee. Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, that I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee? Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate.” Consider also these words: “For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go.” Why?—“Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.” SpTA07 57.1

While distrust and alienation are pervading all classes of society, Christ's disciples are to reveal the spirit that reigns in heaven. Because the world was ruined through sin, God gave his Son to draw men back to him. He “so loved the world that he gave” all that heaven could give for the saving of the lost. In every soul who receives that love, it will manifest itself in like manner. God so loved that he gave. If we love with his love, we too shall give all. We shall be co-workers with him whose mission it is to “preach the gospel to the poor; ... to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” We shall do the work he has set before us,—“to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke; ... to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house; when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh.” ... SpTA07 58.1

The Saviour marks all our work as though done unto himself; for he identifies his interest with that of suffering humanity. Every one who names the name of Jesus is called, so far as it lies in his power, to help every other soul in the heavenward way. But let none feel that Christ has placed them on the judgment-seat to pass judgment on a brother or sister who is unfortunate, or who falls into error. Many hearts are sorely stricken, to whom words fitly spoken might bring peace and rest. These souls are a test to their brethren and sisters, revealing what is in the heart. All heaven is looking to see how we treat those that need our help. It is this that reveals whether the glowing fire of the first love is still burning upon the altar of the heart. SpTA07 58.2

What a power the church would have in it if all its members were so imbued with the Spirit of Christ as to speak to one another only words of comfort and peace and hope; if none felt it their prerogative to judge, to oppress, to cast a dark shadow on the soul of another! SpTA07 59.1