Manuscript Releases, vol. 9 [Nos. 664-770]
Mr No. 725—Compelling Power in Preaching
I was shown that Brethren [J.N.] Loughborough, [Moses] Hull, and [J.N.] Andrews have been greedy for too many books. They have read and studied more than they can retain, and I was shown that much study is a weariness of the flesh (Ecclesiastes 12:12). They have not given the mind time to rest, and the mind affects the body. Weary the mind and the body suffers. It is injured. They have taken upon the mind more than they can use to any advantage, and then they injure the work, injure the effect of the truth that they would advocate, by crowding into one discourse so much and making so many points that minds cannot always appreciate or follow them. More success would attend their labors if they riveted one or two points in the minds of the hearers and make these points of vital importance, press them home and urge upon them the danger of rejecting the light upon those points. Let the minds of the hearers distinctly understand the bearing of every point and then urge to a decision. 9MR 207.1
I was shown that the time that is consumed in so much reading and study is often worse than thrown away. A large portion of the time spent over books and in studying should be spent before God imploring Him for heavenly wisdom and for strength and power to let the truth which they do fully understand shine out before the people in its clearness and harmonious beauty. There is too little time spent in secret prayer and in sacred meditation. The cry of God's servants should be for the holy unction and to be clothed with salvation, that what they preach may reach hearts. Time is so short and ministers of these last days are so few that they should throw all their energies into the work, and should be in close connection with God and holy angels, that a tremendous power may be in their preaching—a compelling power, to draw every soul who is honest and loves the truth right along to embrace it. 9MR 207.2
A mere theory of the truth is powerless. It needs the heavenly endorsement, the finish that God alone can give it. Every petition put up in faith is lodged in heaven and will not be neglected, but will bring precious returns. I saw that there was too little praying, too little humbling the soul before God, too little laying hold above and importuning and earnest wrestling with God that He may make His truth like a sharp, two-edged sword, to cut every way. There has been more trusting in reading and studying than in the power of God. A Paul may plant and an Apollos water, but God giveth the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6, 7). God's ministers have more knowledge than living faith and godliness. These treasures all should seek after earnestly. Then will they exercise temperance in reading, in studying. They will depend more on the Spirit of God and His power to set home the truth to the hearts of the hearers than upon knowledge obtained from much reading. The theory of truth without the power of God will produce but little effect. 9MR 208.1
More could be accomplished at the present time.—Manuscript 7, 1863, pp. 1, 2. (“For Ministers,” cir. 1863.) 9MR 208.2
Washington, D. C.,
May 3, 1979.