The Review and Herald

271/1902

July 22, 1884

Duties and Privileges of the Christian Laborer

[Remarks made at the closing meeting of the General Conference, in Battle Creek, Mich., Tuesday evening, November 20, 1883.]

EGW

It is a privilege to express my gratitude to God for these meetings now in the past. This is the best general meeting I have ever attended. We know that we have had the presence and blessing of God. He has breathed upon us his Holy Spirit. To me and to many others, Heaven has seemed very near; and we have been led to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. RH July 22, 1884, par. 1

Through the Bible-readings the truth has been brought out with clearness and power. Deeper, broader views have been taken of divine truth and of our responsibility to God. Hearts have been subdued and softened by the love of God. Through grace the capacity to understand and appreciate the truth has been enlarged; and as we continue to advance in grace, our ability will still further increase, and we shall better understand the ways of God and the plan of redemption. RH July 22, 1884, par. 2

Never feel that there is no need of applying yourself diligently to the study of the word. If you search for truth as for hid treasures, the Scriptures will unfold to you more and more. Many of you might be far in advance of what you now are. Young men who are just beginning to labor are in danger of thinking that because they have become familiar with a few subjects, they are qualified to present the truth anywhere. These lose much by wasting precious, golden moments that should be spent in studying the prophecies or the practical lessons of Christ. RH July 22, 1884, par. 3

The morning meetings have been most precious. To me they have been a continual feast,—like heavenly manna to my soul. We have met Jesus in the assembly of his people. We have learned of him, and of his willingness to receive all who come to him in humble faith, taking God at his word. We have learned that if we would receive the dew of divine grace, we must allow nothing to come between God and our souls. We have seen many obtaining such a knowledge as they never had before of the true Source of spiritual strength and moral power. I knew that Jesus was waiting to be gracious, and that my brethren feared to take his offered mercy; and I have enjoyed seeing them receive rich blessings at his hand. I have not found it difficult to rejoice with those that rejoice, and to weep with those that weep. RH July 22, 1884, par. 4

We have felt sad over the cases of some who have long been under the special power of the enemy. We had hoped to see them deeply impressed and converted at these meetings; but Satan spread his snare for them. For months he has been diligently working up his plans to prevent them from being present. They do not know what they have lost. Others who have been drunken with the spirit of the world, and have been entreated and reproved, did not want to be here. In view of the little time we have in which to prepare for our future home, we should not allow indifference to keep us away from such meetings, nor entanglements to arise which will make it impossible for us to attend them. RH July 22, 1884, par. 5

We can never forget these good meetings. But now we are about to separate, and to be widely scattered. Our ministers go to their several fields of labor refreshed and strengthened, with broader views of the love of God, and of his willingness to work with their efforts, than they have heretofore had. Sensitive persons, as they view the conflicts and trials before them, shrink from the responsibility they must bear in warning the world of the judgments that are about to come. They fear its rude touch will stain their souls. But we are none of us to be shut up as precious perfumes, lest the fragrance shall escape. We have enjoyed a Pentecostal season; we have been warmed by the love of Jesus, invigorated by the clear, firm truths of the word of God, and refreshed by the dews of divine grace, all for a purpose, that we may shed forth to the world a sweet fragrance from Eden. We have gathered divine rays of light, that they may be reflected to others in good works. RH July 22, 1884, par. 6

There are souls to be won to Christ. There is a great and solemn work before us to prepare the people to stand in the day of the Lord. We have but little time here, and the best use we can make of our faculties is to consecrate them to the work of God. It is the duty of every one, not only of those who occupy the position of watchmen on the walls of Zion, but of the laymen also, to do their utmost to advance the cause of God and save their fellow-men. Opposition must be met. We shall be hated of all men for Christ's sake, and by Satan, because he knows that a divine power attends this work which will undermine his influence. But Heaven is open before us; we may take hold of divine strength. As children of God, it is our privilege and duty to come directly to him, and claim a Father's blessing. He will give it. Iniquity abounds, and for this very reason God is willing to give more grace and reveal himself to his people. RH July 22, 1884, par. 7

I beseech you, do not withhold yourselves from God. We have seen of his salvation; but I have longed to hear happy souls saying, “My cup runneth over. Jesus, precious Saviour, is the crown of my rejoicing.” The moment you surrender yourself wholly to him in simple faith, Jesus accepts you, and encircles you in his arms of love. He holds you more firmly than you can grasp him. Come to the light, and triumph in God. Then shall your peace be as a river, and your “righteousness as the waves of the sea.” RH July 22, 1884, par. 8

Expel sin from your hearts; for sin caused the death of the Son of God. Let your conversation be in heaven, “from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Never forget, wherever your lot may be cast, that you are pilgrims and strangers here, journeying to a better country, even a heavenly. The talents you possess, the property God has lent you, must be used in doing good, in laying up treasure in heaven. The work which you are doing with your hand or your brain, must stand the test of the Judgment. How will it then appear? Are you acting well your part in preparing yourselves and others for glory, honor, immortality, and eternal life? Are you doing anything that you will wish undone when the books shall be opened, and you meet your deeds as they stand registered in heaven? RH July 22, 1884, par. 9

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” “The world knoweth us not because it knew him not.” We are not understood by the world, we never shall be; but we must not let this discourage us. We are not to look at present appearances, nor be angry when we are misjudged, but we should improve every opportunity of doing good. RH July 22, 1884, par. 10

It is wise to seek humility and meekness, and to carefully avoid raising a combative spirit, thus closing ears and hearts to the truth. Hold your mouth as with a bridle when the wicked are before you. When tempted to say sarcastic things, refrain. Censure no one; condemn no one. Let the life argue for Jesus, and the lips be opened with wisdom to defend the truth. The consistent life, the long forbearance, the spirit unruffled under provocation, is always the most conclusive argument and the most solemn appeal. We are often brought into positions that are trying, where human nature longs to break forth; but in such cases be still, do not retaliate. RH July 22, 1884, par. 11

We must drink deeper draughts from the well of salvation. How can we possibly enter into the spirit of Christ's teachings unless we are partakers of the divine nature? We are seeking to vindicate the law of God. We need the energy of the Holy Spirit to accompany our efforts. Never venture to enter the desk until you have wrestled with God in prayer, and come forth as seeing Him who is invisible, with your faces lighted up with beams from the Sun of Righteousness. You will then have no tame words to offer. The divine truths which glow in your own breast will kindle the hearts of others. The men who would teach others the art of success in the sacred ministry should understand that art themselves. The best way to teach youthful laborers is to do yourself what you expect them to do. RH July 22, 1884, par. 12

In every prayer let the hand of living faith lay hold upon infinite help. Faith is the medium by which the renewed heart is drawn close to the great heart of love. Faith elevates the sinking soul. Faith lightens every burden and relieves every weariness by the anticipation of the mansions Jesus has gone to prepare for them that love him. RH July 22, 1884, par. 13

Jesus is the foundation and the author and finisher of our faith. Why are we so powerless? Jesus lives; and because he lives, we shall live also. He is to us not a Saviour in Joseph's new tomb, closed with a great stone, and sealed with the Roman seal. Mourn not as those who are hopeless and helpless; never, under any circumstances, give way to despair; but from grateful hearts, from lips touched with holy fire, let the glad song ring out, “Jesus is risen; he lives to make intercession for us.” Grasp this hope, and it will hold the soul like a sure, tried anchor. Believe, and thou shalt “see the glory of God.” RH July 22, 1884, par. 14

Will it make you sad to be buffeted, despised, derided, maligned of the world? It ought not; for Jesus told us just how it would be. “If the world hate you,” he says, “ye know it hated me before it hated you.” The apostle Paul, the great hero of faith, testifies: “For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Look up, my brethren, look up. Let the love of God into your souls. Through Jesus the treasures of heaven are at our command, and what is there that he will not do for us? The Father also loves us, and is waiting to be gracious. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” RH July 22, 1884, par. 15

Are we working to proclaim truth, righteousness, and the love of God? This is the work that is assigned us. Even in bereavements we should not stop to grieve; but let us show our love for the faithful workers who have gone to their rest, by doing the work they would have done had they lived. While we do our own work, we may also take up theirs where they left it, and firmly and courageously carry forward the banner of truth to final victory. RH July 22, 1884, par. 16

Brethren, your aims are altogether too low. You have not used the great moral faculties of the soul,—faith, hope, and love. These powers are given us not to lie dormant, but that through their exercise the soul may be brought into harmony with heaven; but with many of you they are paralyzed through inaction, and as a consequence you are weak and helpless. Do not let your great need discourage you. The Saviour of sinners, the Friend of the friendless, with compassion infinitely greater than that of a tender mother for a loved and afflicted child, is inviting, “Look unto me, and be ye saved.” “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.” We may take hold of his strength, and make peace with God. Jesus will quicken all the faculties of the soul, and impart new life and energy. RH July 22, 1884, par. 17

While you should make every effort to reach the highest standard of intellectual excellence, you should avoid self-sufficiency and dependence on your own ability. Learn of Jesus. He was the greatest teacher the world ever knew; yet he spoke in the language of common life. He met the necessities of all. He adapted his instruction to all times and places, to both the rich and the poor, the educated and the ignorant. He ever dwelt upon the grandest themes that can engage the attention; and he presented them in such a form, and used such illustrations, that the feeblest intellects could grasp his meaning, while the most intelligent minds were attracted and instructed. RH July 22, 1884, par. 18

Let us beware lest we lose the simplicity of the gospel of Christ. We must become as little children in humility, in consciousness of our own weakness. We must learn from the Divine Teacher lessons of higher wisdom than were ever taught in the most exalted schools of human institution. RH July 22, 1884, par. 19

There is danger of not making Christ's teachings a personal matter, of not receiving them as though they were addressed to us personally. In his words of instruction, Jesus means me. I may appropriate to myself his merits, his death, his cleansing blood, as fully as though there were not another sinner in the world for whom Christ died. In listening to his teachings with understanding open to receive his words, we display the highest wisdom. In being doers of the word,—obeying Christ by leading self-denying lives and forming pure and holy characters,—we shall secure the life which measures with the life of God. RH July 22, 1884, par. 20

There are toils and conflicts and self-denials for us all. Not one will escape them. We must tread the path where Jesus leads the way, it may be in tears, in trials, in bereavements, in sorrow for sins, or in seeking for the mastery over depraved desires, unbalanced characters, and unholy tempers. It requires earnest effort to present ourselves a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. It takes the entire being. There is no chamber of the mind where Satan can hold sway, and carry out his devices. Self must be crucified. Consecration, submission, and sacrifices must be made that will seem like taking the very lifeblood from the heart. RH July 22, 1884, par. 21

When self dies, there will be awakened an intense desire for the salvation of others, which will lead to persevering efforts to do good. There will be a sowing beside all waters; and earnest supplication, importunate prayers, will enter heaven in behalf of perishing souls. There will be an earnestness, a persistency, that will not let go. Love to Jesus will lead to ardent love for the souls of our fellow-men. RH July 22, 1884, par. 22

Now, as we are about to separate, the question arises, shall we all meet again in General Conference? Probably we shall not; but where, then, will be our next grand meeting? and when shall we again greet each other? We have wept and rejoiced together here; but if we never meet again on earth, shall we unite our voices in songs of triumph around the great white throne? Shall we each prove worthy of the precious boon of eternal life? God grant that not one face may be missing, not one voice wanting, when the hallelujahs are sung in the courts of heaven. RH July 22, 1884, par. 23