Manuscript Releases, vol. 1 [Nos. 19-96]


Beware—Lest We Lose Our Bearings

[From an early, morning talk before the Pacific Union Medical Missionary Council, Sanitarium, California, June 19, 1902.]

Conformity to the world is causing many of our people to lose their bearings. I feel deeply over this matter, because it is continually kept before me by the lord. For many years it has been presented to me again and again that a worldly policy has been coming into the management of many of our institutions. And when I read the published testimonies that were given in the early seventies and even before that time, I am surprised to see how clearly our dangers in this matter have been pointed out, and how plainly the right way has been outlined from the beginning. But the way, so plainly specified, has not been followed. Men act as if counsels had never been given; and yet we expect the lord to uplift us and to do great things for us! True, he will help us if we so relate ourselves to him that he can; but he will not serve with us while we are weaving threads of selfishness into the web. 1MR 243.1

There is a sentiment among our people,—opposed by some, it is true, but held by many—that each one connected with God's service may be sharp, keen, and designing, in order to make the best possible showing, indicating that his line of work is a success. Those who continue to hold to this idea will be bitterly disappointed when at the judgment they find that they have no place in the kingdom of God. False principles will never prevail in heaven. Not one thread of selfishness is to be brought into any part of God's service in His work upon the earth. 1MR 243.2

A worldly policy has been coming into the management of our institutions. It nearly spoiled our publishing house in Battle Creek. God was not made first and last and best in everything. Human judgment, human ideas, were taking the lead and control of everything. 1MR 243.3

God is not pleased with those who are ambitious of being regarded as shrewd men in the estimation of the world; nevertheless this ambition is cherished by not a few men of responsibility in our ranks. God's work should mean a great deal more to us than it does. It is more important than we have supposed. 1MR 244.1

Men in positions of responsibility who in any way deviate from Bible principles are divorcing themselves from God. We must be determined not to permit a worldly policy to be brought into our work. The servants of the living God and the servants of Satan are to be as distinct from one another as light is from darkness. The line of demarcation between them must be unmistakable. 1MR 244.2

If ever there was a time when those who have a knowledge of present truth should find their bearings, it is the present time. Although no one is to move independently of his brethren, yet each one must gain a knowledge of his own condition, his exact bearings. The question that each one should ask himself is, “What is my relation to God?” 1MR 244.3

It is conformity to the world that is causing our people to lose their bearings. The perversion of right principles has not been brought about suddenly. The angel of the Lord presented this matter to me in symbols. It seemed as if a thief were stealthily moving closer and still closer, and gradually but surely stealing away the identity of God's work, by leading our brethren to conform to worldly policies. 1MR 244.4

The mind of man has taken the place that rightfully belongs to God. Whatever position a man may hold, however exalted he may be, he should act as Christ would were He in his place. In every stroke of work that he performs, in his words, and in his character, he should be Christlike. 1MR 244.5

The Lord calls for a reformation. In every place where believers have adopted worldly principles, He desires a voice of warning to be raised. “Cry aloud,” He says, “spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1). As a people and as individuals we must put away the erroneous principles and ambitious projects which lead us to embrace so much within a narrow compass. God desires us to learn to walk firmly and solidly, ever advancing in His way. He desires us to erect every building with reference to the needs of other places that must sometime have similar advantages. 1MR 245.1

In no respect is God's work to be circumscribed by man-made restrictions. Many of the ambitious plans and policies that have been made are not endorsed by Him. He is no party to keeping many advantages in one place. He desires every institution established to stand ready to help establish the next institution that is needed.... 1MR 245.2

From many minds a realization of the times in which we are living is as far away as is heaven from the earth. It seems that their duty to prepare to meet a soon-coming Saviour is entirely forgotten. God wants us to come to our senses. He wants us to act like rational beings, who are living on the borders of the eternal world. 1MR 245.3

Remember that in preparing yourselves for the heavenly kingdom, you are preparing others. The Scriptures say, “Make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way” (Hebrews 12:13). Many are weak in moral power; many have not had the privileges and the training that we have had; many have never had opportunity to receive instruction, “precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little” (Isaiah 28:10, 13). God lays heavy responsibilities upon those who have had such instruction. They ought to spend much time in prayer. In the place of feeling that their judgment is supreme, they ought to feel terribly afraid. Instead of gathering to themselves all the burdens that they can possibly grasp, which give them no time to pray, no time to meditate on their own spiritual condition, they should spend much time in communion with their Maker. 1MR 245.4

God's cause is of so much consequence to Him, that of every one who claims to be His steward He requires a correct representation of His character. None but those who walk circumspectly before Him are qualified for stewardship. He works with those who properly represent His character. Through them His will is done on earth as it is in heaven. 1MR 246.1

Let us offer daily the prayer that Christ taught His disciples to pray, and then live our prayer during the day. To practice this prayer is the whole duty of man. Its principles lie at the foundation of the spring of all right action. Those who carry out every phase of these principles will become sensible men,—men whose minds God Himself can control and guide.—Manuscript 96, 1902, 1-7. (Early Morning Talk, Pacific Union Medical Missionary Council, St. Helena, California, June 19, 1902.) 1MR 246.2