Ms 8a, 1888

1888

Ms 8a, 1888

Counsel to Ministers

Minneapolis, Minnesota

October 21, 1888

This manuscript is published in entirety in 1888 132-145. +Note

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth [it], that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” [John 15:1-8.] Ms8a-1888.1

Brethren, I want to ask you a question. How can we come to God with full assurance of faith if we bear no fruit that testifies to a change wrought in us by the grace of God, no fruit that shows that we are in fellowship with Christ? How can we approach God in faith and be abiding in Christ and He in us when by our works we show that we are not bearing fruit? Ms8a-1888.2

What is the fruit we should bear? The fruit of kindly words and deeds. In God’s Word we are told what are the works of the flesh and what the fruits of the Spirit. “The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do these things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against which there is no law.” [Galatians 5:19-23.] Is not this sufficiently plain? None of us need walk in uncertainty. “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vainglory, provoking one another, envying one another.” [Verses 24-26.] Ms8a-1888.3

In order to have true spiritual discernment, in order to be conscious of our own weakness and deficiency and our unlikeness to Christ, we need a close connection with God. Then we shall have a humble opinion of ourselves. We shall be meek and lowly in heart, walking prayerfully and carefully before God. We shall not boast ourselves beyond our measure. Ms8a-1888.4

In every age the gospel ministry has tended to the same end. But every minute specification is not revealed in the Word of God. He desires us to use our reason and experience, by their help adopting methods and plans which, under the existing circumstances, are for the benefit of the church and the schools and the other institutions which have been established. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.] If erroneous opinions are entertained, search the Scriptures with hearts which are humbled before God. Pray to the Lord, believing that He hears, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. If we will only believe, we shall receive the help we need. Ms8a-1888.5

The message “Go forward” [Exodus 14:15] is still to be heard and respected. The varying circumstances taking place in our world call for labor which will meet these peculiar developments. The Lord has need of men who are spiritually sharp and clear-sighted, men worked by the Holy Spirit, who are certainly receiving manna fresh from heaven. Upon the minds of such, God’s Word flashes light, revealing to them more than ever before the safe path. The Holy Spirit works upon mind and heart. The time has come when through God’s messengers the scroll is being unrolled to the world. Instructors in our schools should never be bound about by being told that they are to teach only what has been taught hitherto. Away with these restrictions. There is a God to give the message His people shall speak. Let not any minister feel under bonds or [be] gauged by men’s measurement. The gospel must be fulfilled in accordance with the messages God sends. That which God gives His servants to speak today would not perhaps have been present truth twenty years ago, but it is God’s message for this time. Ms8a-1888.6

“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool”—in his own estimation—“that he may be wise.” [1 Corinthians 3:18.] An experience of this kind is needed here, right with the men who have been forward to speak in this meeting. “For the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men.” [Verses 19-21.] Do consider this, I beseech you. “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might; let not the rich man glory in his riches. But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” [Jeremiah 9:23, 24.] Ms8a-1888.7

Let men and women who are truly converted offer themselves in all humility to the service of the Lord, for verily He hath need of them. First they must be emptied of all selfishness. They will be cleansed vessels unto honor. They will reflect the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness to all with whom they come in contact. Partakers of the divine nature, they will be savors of life unto life. They will not talk of the faults of others, but will repeat the words of divine wisdom which have penetrated and illuminated their hearts. They will be men who fear to talk and make sport of God’s messengers, but men who pray much. Ms8a-1888.8

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” [2 Corinthians 3:17, 18.] John declares, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the Word of life: ... that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” [1 John 1:1-3.] Ms8a-1888.9

As John studied the life of Christ in the Word, he beheld as in a glass the glory of the Lord, and he became changed into the same image, from glory to glory, from character to character, till he was like that which he adored. He imitated the life in which he delighted. He knew the Saviour by an experimental knowledge. His Master’s lessons were engraved on his soul. When he testified of the Saviour’s grace, the simplicity of his language was eloquent with the love that pervaded his whole being. He had not a doubt nor a suspicion. He entered into no controversy, no wearisome contention. Ms8a-1888.10

In witnessing for Christ, he declared what he knew, what he had seen and heard. There was no supposition, no guess-work about what he said. And when insult was put upon Christ, when He was slighted, John felt the slight to the very depths of his being and broke forth into indignation which was a manifestation of his love for Jesus. Christ had humbled Himself; He had taken man’s nature, and few could see Him as John saw Him. But John had an advanced experience. The darkness had passed away. On him the true light was shining, and in his epistles he breaks forth against sin, presenting Christ as the One who could cleanse from all iniquity. Ms8a-1888.11

It was John’s deep love for Christ that led him to desire always to be close by His side, and this position was awarded him. Jesus loves those who represent the Father; and John could talk of this love as no other of the disciples could. He reveals to his fellow men that which he knows by living experience it is his duty to reveal, representing in his character the character of Christ. The glory of the Lord was expressed in his face. The beauty of holiness which had transformed him shone with a Christlike radiance from his countenance. Ms8a-1888.12

Those who truly love God must manifest lovingkindness of heart, judgment, and righteousness to all with whom they come in contact, for these are the works of God. There is nothing Christ needs so much as agents who feel the necessity of representing Him. Evil-speaking and evil-thinking are ruinous to the soul. This has been current in this conference. There is nothing the church lacks so much as the manifestation of Christlike love. As the members of the church unite together in sanctified association, co-operating with Christ, He lives and works in them. Our eyes need the anointing with the heavenly eyesalve, that we may see what we are and what we ought to be and that power is provided in Christ sufficient to enable us to reach the high standard of Christian perfection. Ms8a-1888.13

We must keep Jesus our pattern ever before us. This is and ever will be present truth. It is by beholding Jesus and appreciating the virtues of His character that John became one with his Master in spirit. With spiritual vision he saw Christ’s glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth; and he was changed from glory to glory into His likeness. And to him was committed the work of telling of the Saviour’s love and the love His children should manifest for one another. “This is the message that we have heard from the beginning,” he writes, “that we should love one another. ... We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whoso hateth his brother is a murderer, and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us; and we ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” [1 John 3:11-18.] Ms8a-1888.14

“Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. ... Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. ... God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him.” [1 John 4:7-16.] Ms8a-1888.15

But although John dwells so particularly on love, he does not clasp hands with sin. Hear his words regarding the apostate from the faith, he who has had a knowledge of the truth, but has departed from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits. “Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house; neither bid him godspeed; for he that biddeth him godspeed is partaker of his evil deeds.” [2 John 9-11.] Let all consider this. Ms8a-1888.16

John writes further, “He that said, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk even as he walked.” [1 John 2:4-6.] The Lord has plain words for those who like the Pharisees make great boast of their piety, but whose hearts are destitute of the love of God. The Pharisees refused to know God and Jesus Christ, whom He had sent. Are we not in danger of doing the same thing as did the Pharisees and scribes? Ms8a-1888.17

But while reproof is to be given, it must be given in accordance with Christ’s direction. The apostle Paul writes, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself lest thou also be tempted.” [Galatians 6:1.] This work is not only given to ministers, but to every individual member of the church. It is to be carried out in the family and in the church. Love and unity strengthen by exercise. Do not become impatient with your brother’s faults and weaknesses. On another point you may well be disgusted with your own weakness. We are related to one another in the mysterious web of humanity. We are but threads which help to compose the great whole. Ms8a-1888.18

We see individuals committing errors, and we are pained because their lives are not in accordance with the Bible standard of righteousness. But we are not to become impatient. If we have the mind of Christ, we shall feel a burden for the welfare of him who has forgotten to be a doer of the Word. Do not speak of his errors to others. Follow the rule Jesus has given. Go to the wrongdoer alone first, and see if by words of wisdom you cannot save him. Ms8a-1888.19

The apostle James, inspired by Jesus Christ, lays down our duty in clear lines. “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and hide a multitude of sins.” [James 5:19, 20.] We are Christ’s witnesses, Christ’s representatives. In his epistle to Titus, Paul charges him to set in order things that are wanting in the church. [Titus 1:5.] “Speak thou the things which become sound doctrine,” he says. The teacher of truth is to educate all, both old and young. He is to exhort aged men to be “sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” [Titus 2:1-5.] When those who profess to be servants of Christ do not walk circumspectly, God is dishonored and the truth is reproached. Ms8a-1888.20

“Young men likewise exhort to be sober-minded, in all things showing thyself a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” [Verses 6-8.] Ms8a-1888.21

I have been pained to hear so much jesting and joking among old and young as they are seated at the dining table. I have inquired, Are these men aware that there is by their side a Watcher who is disgusted with their spirit and the influence which they exert and is making a record of their words and actions? Will our ministers, young and old, countenance these things? Shall not we who name the name of Christ take heed to the words, “In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works, in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned.” [Verses 7, 8.] If the truth as it is in Jesus abides in our hearts, it will sanctify our lives. Our speech will not be evil. Obeying the truth, we shall work the works of righteousness. Ms8a-1888.22

By our words and deeds we may reveal the power of the truth to transform the character. We may each reveal that we depend on Christ’s righteousness, not upon our own manufactured righteousness. We may abide in Christ as the branch abides in the vine, having such a living connection with Him that it is a pleasure to work as He worked, to be a help and blessing to our brethren. We can work the works of Christ, doing those things that are pleasing in His sight. Ms8a-1888.23

In all you do, make Christ the center of attraction. Constantly look to Him who is your pattern, the Author and Finisher of your faith. Cultivate constant, fervent gratitude to God for the gift of His beloved Son. Represent Christ. Squander not your moral forces upon trifles, but earnestly improve the opportunities given you to reflect the light of the Sun of Righteousness. Cease to glorify man. Glory in Christ and the truth. You may crown Jesus with honor; for though so meek and lowly, He was a daily conqueror over temptation. Every soul who is a partaker of the divine nature is an overcomer in his own behalf and is victorious, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Ms8a-1888.24

We are laborers together with God, and not only are we to have respect unto the recompense of reward, but we are to labor zealously for the Redeemer’s glory by bringing sheaves to the Master. Every soul saved will swell the triumphant anthems of praise which the redeemed will sing. In every fellow being we are to see the purchase of the blood of Christ. The Saviour’s interest is identified with the interests of the souls He has ransomed by an infinite sacrifice. Ms8a-1888.25

My brethren and sisters, do we realize the importance of this subject? Why are we so listless, why satisfied to remain so poorly fitted to work for the uplifting of humanity? Why is not every entrusted capability used for the Master? Why are so many contented with the feeble, lifeless condition of our churches? The heavenly universe is looking with amazement upon our Christless work. Neglect is seen in all our borders. Slipshod work is tolerated and passed by. How long shall this continue? Shall we not arise and with determined, harmonious effort take up our responsibilities, laboring in Christ’s lines with sanctified capabilities? Put away the controversial spirit which you have been educating yourselves in for years. Educate yourselves to pray to God in sincerity and truth. Sing with the spirit and understanding also. Much is expected of us. Ms8a-1888.26

What are our young men doing? Jesus is waiting to bind their hearts up with His great heart of love, to bind their interests with His own. He says to them, Young men, flee youthful lusts. [2 Timothy 2:22.] Will you obey His voice? You are surely not doing this now. The truth is an inherent power and, if brought into the sanctuary of the soul, will draw men and women to Christ. It will win its way to human hearts. To those who look to Him, Christ by His Holy Spirit reveals the beauty of truth. He shows Himself to be the sin-pardoning Saviour. Ms8a-1888.27

Young men, you may have the truth on your side. When your heart and all your faculties are brought under the influence of truth, when you bring the truth, with all its living, sanctifying principles, into your heart, you will have confidence to present it to others. Christ is then made unto you wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. We are laborers together with God, and Christ is by your side. You are yoked up with Him, He leading and guiding. Such a worker is as a sharp sickle in the harvest field. He does not use his God-given powers in debating. That is Satan’s line. Pointing to the cross of Calvary, he cries, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” [John 1:29.] He urges sinners to behold eternal realities. He holds the telescope before his eyes, that by faith he may discern these realities. Like Moses he endures the seeing of Him who is invisible. He does not seek ease or amusement. He does not visit the churches to be petted and waited upon, to jest and joke. He knows that there is stern, earnest work to be done. Those who are truly converted do not waste the precious moments in foolish conversation and making a mock of their brethren. By words that have a weight of influence for good, they give full proof of their ministry. They deny self and lift the cross and follow Jesus, the cross-bearer. They ardently desire to yoke up with Christ, to lift His burdens and partake of His sufferings. Ms8a-1888.28

Young men, Jesus calls you, saying, “Follow me.” Those who follow Him will not walk in darkness, for Christ is the light of life. Our older ministering brethren must drop some of their responsibilities, or else they will go down in the silence of the grave. The aged standard-bearers may act as worthy counsellors and living witnesses, but their younger and stronger brethren should bear the heavy burdens. John says, “I write unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and have overcome the wicked one.” [1 John 2:14.] You whose eyes are not dimmed, whose brain power has not been worn by constant taxation, should plan, devise, and execute, treating the aged workers with tenderness, as fathers, and looking up to them as counsellors and guides. Young workers should respect the age and experience of their older brethren. Ms8a-1888.29

The Lord desires us all to be learners in the school of Christ. Young and old have precious lessons to learn from the divine Teacher, and when these lessons are learned, they are to impart them to others. God is presenting to the minds of men divinely appointed precious gems of truth, appropriate for our time. God has rescued these truths from the companionship of error and has placed them in their proper framework. When these truths are given their rightful position in God’s great plan, when they are presented intelligently and earnestly and with reverential awe, by the Lord’s servants, many will conscientiously believe because of the weight of evidence, without waiting for every supposed difficulty which may suggest itself to their minds to be removed. Others, not discerning spiritual things, will keep themselves in a combative frame of mind, opposing every argument that does not meet their ideas. Shall this miserable work cease? Ms8a-1888.30

Those who have not been sinking the shaft deeper and still deeper into the mine of truth will see no beauty in the precious things presented at this conference. When the will is once set in stubborn opposition to the light given, it is difficult to yield, even under the convincing evidence which have been in this conference. To controvert, to question, to criticize, to ridicule, is the education many have received and the fruit they bear. They refuse to admit evidence. The natural heart is in warfare against light, truth, and knowledge. Jesus Christ has been in every sleeping room where you have been entertained. How many prayers went up to heaven in these rooms? Ms8a-1888.31

Satan is fruitful in bringing up devices to evade the truth. But I call upon you to believe the words I speak today. Truth of heavenly origin is confronting Satan’s falsehoods, and this truth will prevail. We do well to remember that Christ is the light of the world and that fresh beams of light are constantly reflected from the source of all light. Ms8a-1888.32

He who studies the truth, who prayerfully opens the eyes of his understanding to see and his heart to receive the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness, will be in harmony with the messenger and the message God sends. All the opposition, all the prejudice, all the suggestions of the enemy, will never make the truth less precious or less true. Only when men yield to the subtility of the enemy does the truth become darkness to them. But even though the truth is opposed and spoken against by those who should be blessed, strengthened, and made joyful by it, its value and brightness are not lessened, for the Lord’s messengers will hold up the telescope to the spiritual eye, that the truth may be seen from all points, and its value appreciated. Ms8a-1888.33

A fair investigation will not fail to reveal wonderful things in God’s Word. Every jot of resistance places the opposer in a darker shade. He does not want to see. He will not search God’s Word. But opposition and resistance serve only to bring out truth in new, distinct lines. The more truth is spoken against, the brighter it will shine. Thus the precious ore is polished. Every word of slander spoken against it, every misrepresentation of its value, awakens attention and is the means of leading to closer investigation as to what is saving truth. The truth becomes more highly estimated. New beauty and greater value are revealed from every point of view. Ms8a-1888.34

Brethren, God has most precious light for His people. I call it not new light, but O, it is strangely new to many. Jesus said to His disciples, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another as I have loved you.” [John 13:34.] This was really an old commandment, which had been given in the Old Testament Scriptures, but it had been lost. It had not been practiced. The command that they should love one another as Christ had loved them was indeed new to the disciples. But the revealing of this love would give to the world an unmistakable evidence that they were God’s children. Ms8a-1888.35

I call upon the young men who are entering the work as ministers to take heed how they hear. Be careful how you oppose the precious truths of which you now have so little knowledge. Search the Scriptures for yourselves. You have altogether too limited knowledge of yourselves. Know for yourselves what is truth. Do not take any man’s words, any man’s prejudices, any man’s arguments, any man’s theories. This has been done by ministers to the injury of their experience, and it has left them novices when they should [have been] wise in the Scriptures and in the power of God. Take your Bibles, humble yourselves and weep and fast and pray before the Lord, as did Nathanael, seeking to know the truth. Jesus’ divine eye saw Nathanael praying, and answered his prayer. Ms8a-1888.36

I saw an angel of God inquiring of these men who have educated themselves as debaters, “How many prayers have [you] offered?” Oh, your levity, your speeches, are all written in the book. If you only knew how Christ has regarded your religious attitude at this meeting. Ms8a-1888.37

You must gain an experience for yourselves. I beg of you not to think that long sermons are an unmistakable evidence of your ministerial ability. O, there is something more to the ministry than sermonizing. Many, many discourses, like the offering of Cain, are profitless because Christless. Those who give them tire the people and fail to give them proper spiritual food. Ms8a-1888.38

Piety must be practiced in the home. Interested personal efforts must be made for those around you. Seek the Lord in private prayer. Ask Christ to do for you what you need to have done. He has been tempted in all points like as we are, and He knows now to succor those that are tempted. God calls upon you to leave the atmosphere of unbelief in which you have been dwelling and place yourselves in an atmosphere of faith and confidence. Do your best. Do not seek wisdom from finite men, who may be bewildered by the temptations of Satan, who may plant the seeds of doubt rather than the seeds of faith. Go to Jesus, “who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not.” [James 1:5.] Has not His invitation reached your ears and touched your heart? He says, “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.] Ms8a-1888.39

Let no human hand place a yoke upon your neck. Take the yoke Christ gives. Learn of Him, for He is meek and lowly, and you will find rest. It is Christ’s meekness and lowliness that you need. Go to the Lord with the faith, simplicity, and confidence of a little child. Tell Him the whole trouble, withholding nothing. Ask Him to teach you how to use your entrusted talents in the best way. Thus you may increase your talents. Ms8a-1888.40

If you go out to labor in any portion of the Lord’s great moral vineyard, take heed; keep watch over yourself, over your thoughts and words. Pray for an understanding heart, for a knowledge of how to humble yourself before the Lord. Ask for Christ’s grace and efficiency, and you will not be left to labor alone. God gives every humble, devoted learner a clearer insight into the truth. He will give them precious souls as their hire. Ms8a-1888.41

I have been instructed that many go forth to preach who do not know how to labor for the salvation of sinners. They are not themselves consecrated to God. They need to be converted. Many have been dedicated to the sacred work of the ministry when, if close examination were made in regard to their religious experience, it would be seen that they need to seek most earnestly for the transforming grace of Jesus Christ before they can teach sinners how to seek in faith for pardon. Ms8a-1888.42

Those who would be laborers together with God must receive wisdom from the great Teacher, who is our example in all things, in order to present the truth in its simplicity. Learn of Christ. All pride, all selfishness, all self-importance must be cut away from all teachers. All the sang-froid which is so common, the theatrical gestures, all lightness and trifling, all jesting and joking, must be seen by the one who wears Christ’s yoke to be “not convenient” [Ephesians 5:4], an offense to God, and a denial of Christ. It unfits the mind for solid thought and solid labor. It makes men inefficient, superficial, and spiritually diseased. Ms8a-1888.43

He who believes the truth for this time will practice personal piety. The language of his heart will be, “Who is sufficient for these things?” [2 Corinthians 2:16.] Let every minister be sedate. As he studies the life of Christ, he will see the necessity of walking circumspectly. Yet he may be and will be, if connected with the Sun of Righteousness, cheerful and happy, showing forth the praises of Him who hath called him out of darkness into His marvelous light. The conversation will be pure, entirely free from all slang phrases. Ms8a-1888.44

If Christ is abiding in your heart, you will show meekness and gentleness and purity of thought. You will follow elevated, noble principles, because you have learned the lessons taught in the school of Christ. If you have not felt the need of learning every day in this school, it is time you did feel this need. Learn of Christ, and then go forth in the strength of Him who has said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:20.] A divided heart God will not accept. Put your whole soul into your work, and never leave your work half done because you wish to go to another place. God will accept only faithful work. Reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and doctrine. Bind off your work thoroughly. Leave no dropped stitches for someone else to pick up. Do not disappoint Christ. Determine that you will succeed, and in the strength of Christ you may give full proof of your ministry. Ms8a-1888.45

A minister is one who ministers. If you confine your work to sermonizing, the flock of God will suffer, for they need personal effort. Let your discourses be short. Long sermons wear out both you and the people. If ministers would make their sermons only half as long, they would do more good and would have strength left for personal work. Visit families, pray with them, converse with them, search the Scriptures with them, and you will do them good. Give them evidence that you seek their prosperity and want them to be healthy Christians. If you are staying in a family, do not allow yourself to be waited on. Show that you wish to be helpful. If possible, use the axe and hoe. Bring in water and wood. Show that you regard work as a blessing. Physical exercise will be a blessing to you, and will increase your influence for good. Remember that to minister means far more than merely preaching. Ms8a-1888.46

Nothing is so discouraging to the advancement of present truth as the haphazard work done by some ministers for the churches. Faithful labor is needed. The churches are ready to die because they are not strengthened in Christlikeness. The Lord is not pleased with the loose way in which the churches are left because men are not faithful stewards of God’s grace. They do not receive His grace and, therefore, cannot impart it. The churches are weak and sickly because of the unfaithfulness of those who are supposed to labor among them, whose duty it is to have an oversight over them, watching for souls as they that must give an account. Ms8a-1888.47

Be thorough and determined in your efforts to serve God. Keep the eye fixed on Christ. Do not fix your attention on some favorite minister, copying his example and imitating his gestures, in short, becoming his shadow. Let no man put his mold upon you. Let the hand of God mold and fashion you after the divine similitude. Cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils. Hang your helpless soul on Jesus Christ. He is unchangeable, the same yesterday, today, and forever. Ms8a-1888.48

My heart was made glad as I heard the testimonies borne after the discourse on Sabbath. These testimonies made no reference to the speaker, but to the light and truth, and this is the way it should ever be. Praise no man; flatter no man; and permit no man to praise or flatter you. Satan will do enough of this work. Lose sight of the instrument and think of Jesus. Praise the Lord. Give glory to God. Make melody to God in your hearts. Talk of the truth. Talk of the Christian’s hope, the Christian’s heaven. Ms8a-1888.49

If we neglect to walk in the light given, it becomes darkness to us; and the darkness is proportionate to the light and privileges which we have not improved. Christ says, “If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness.” [Matthew 6:23.] If we walk in the knowledge of the truth, our light will shine to those around us in spirit, in words, in actions; we will be fruitful branches of the living vine. If we know God’s requirements and claim to love Him, yet cherish sin, God will not hear us when we ask for His blessing, for He does not minister to sin. There are those whose conscience is hardened by habitual sin. They bear no rich clusters of precious fruit, because they are not branches of the true vine. Their prayers rise no higher than their heads, because they are in their prayers presenting only a form of words, whether offered in the church, in the family, or in secret. They receive no strength, because they ask amiss. Ms8a-1888.50

But when those who are striving with all their power to overcome confess their sins, God is faithful and just to forgive their sins and to cleanse them from all unrighteousness for Christ’s sake. When brought into the sanctuary of the soul, the truth of God works by faith and purifies the soul, elevating, refining, ennobling it. Ms8a-1888.51

There was a time when Israel could not prevail against their enemies. This was because of Achan’s sin. God declared, “Neither will I be with you any more until the accursed thing is put away from you.” [Joshua 7:12.] God is the same today. If defiling sins are cherished by those who claim to believe the truth, the displeasure of God rests upon the church, and He will not remove it until the members do all in their power to show their hatred for sin and their determination to cast it out of the church. God is displeased with those who call evil good and good evil. If jealousy, evil surmising, and evil-speaking are allowed to have a place in the church, that church is under the frown of God. It will be spiritually unhealthy until it is cleansed from these sins, for till then God cannot reveal His power to strengthen and elevate His people and give them victory. Ms8a-1888.52

God is not pleased with the slothful work done in the churches. He expects His stewards to be true and faithful in giving reproof and correction. They are to expel wrong after the rule God has given in His Word, not according to their own ideas and impulses. No harsh means must be used, no unfair, hasty, impulsive work done. The efforts made to cleanse the church from moral uncleanness must be made in God’s way. There must be no partiality, no hypocrisy. There must be no favorites, whose sins are regarded as less sinful than those of others. O, how much we all need the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Then we shall always work with the mind of Christ, with kindness, compassion, and sympathy, showing love for the sinner while hating sin with a perfect hatred. Ms8a-1888.53

A work needs to be done for many who are assembled here. The door of the heart is blocked up with the rubbish of selfishness, questioning, criticism, judgment pronounced in accordance with the unsanctified heart. Now is the time to seek God, with earnest confession and contrition, that He may turn His face toward us and light and blessing come into our midst. Then the enemy will be disappointed. The heavenly universe will rejoice, and souls who are now under temptation and the frown of God will be won to Christ. Shall we not clear away the darkness by doing the work God has given us to do? We are laborers together with God. Jesus is waiting to work in us and by us and through us to will and to do of His good pleasure. If we neglect the Lord’s heritage and feel little burden for the church and souls perishing in their sins, we are condemned by God for not strengthening that which was ready to die. If, as Christ’s overseers, we do our work with an eye single to the glory of God, there is no reason why the church should be weak, faithless and corrupt. Let the watchmen on the walls of Zion awake. Let them do their duty with fidelity. They need so much the heavenly endowment, that they may be laborers together with God in the great plan of salvation. Ms8a-1888.54

To those who have been true and faithful, Christ will say, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” “Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” [Matthew 25:34, 21.] All who enter the kingdom of heaven as conquerors will understand the meaning of this benediction, for they will have done the work Christ has given them to do. They have participated with Him in saving the souls of their fellow men. Through the grace of Christ they have brought sheaves to the Master, and with all the heavenly universe they rejoice as they see souls that have been saved through their earnest efforts given abundant entrance into heaven, made heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. How foolish then will appear all fear and distrust of Christ, as the redeemed see that He was waiting to give them freely the richest blessings of heaven. Ms8a-1888.55

Let none here shut themselves away from God by their perversity of spirit and then keep complaining that they have no light. Arise, dear souls, arise by faith, and do what you ought to do. Christ says, “Follow me,” and you shall not walk in darkness. [John 8:12.] Let go your human wisdom, and ask God for that wisdom which is pure, elevating, and ennobling and it shall be given you. Come up out of the cellar of doubt, of unbelief, of jealousy, and evil surmising into the upper chamber of faith, hope, courage, and thankfulness. Make melody to God in the heart. The garden of the Lord is strewn with precious flowers. Gather the roses and the lilies and the pinks from God’s spiritual garden. “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” [Philippians 4:4.] Let not the world receive the impression that there is no peace or joy or happiness in serving the Lord. Ms8a-1888.56

It is Satan’s work to misrepresent the Father and His Son, to misrepresent truth and gloss over error, making it appear as truth. But connected with God, we may distinguish between the genuine and the spurious. Light will dispel darkness. Why should we not avail ourselves of God’s gracious promises, returning the glory to Him in heartfelt thanksgiving? Christ died for us that we might enter into possession of eternal riches. With hearts filled with gratitude to God, let us use the opportunities He has placed within our reach, that we may be fitted and prepared for the mansions Jesus has gone to prepare for those who love Him. If we fail through indolence, unbelief, worldliness, or covetousness, we shall suffer irreparable loss, for we shall lose an eternity of bliss. Ms8a-1888.57

I tell you in the fear of God that day by day we are forming characters that will decide our destiny for weal or for woe. Heaven is a holy place, and there entereth into it nothing that defileth. We cannot be truly happy here unless God’s will is our will, unless we are sanctified to God body, soul, and spirit. The more we think of heaven, the more happiness we shall have. Why should we not be joyful in the Lord? If we are connected with Christ, our life is hid with Him in God. We walk with God as did Enoch. Angels have charge over us every hour, that the wicked one may not overcome us. The more faith we talk, the more faith we shall have, and the more peace and joy we shall bring into our lives. Lift up your heads, brethren, and rejoice, because the Lord is soon to come in the clouds of heaven. Then we shall see Him as He is, and be made like Him. We shall see the King in His beauty. Then be joyful in God; for this is your right. Ms8a-1888.58