Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3


Number Twenty-Five—Testimony for the Church

Chapter 38—Importance of the Work

January 3, 1875, I was shown many things relative to the great and important interests at Battle Creek in the work of the Publishing Association, the school, and the Health Institute. If these institutions were properly conducted, they would greatly advance the cause of God in the spread of the truth and in the salvation of souls. We are living amid the perils of the last days. Consecration to God can alone fit any of us to act a part in the solemn and important closing work for this time. There are but few wholly unselfish men to fill responsible positions, few who have given themselves unreservedly to God to hear His voice and study His glory. There are but few who would, if required, give their lives to advance the cause of God. Yet it is just such devotion as this that God claims. 3T 468.1

Men are deceived in thinking they are serving God when they are serving themselves and making the interest of the cause and work of God a secondary matter. Their hearts are not consecrated. The Lord takes no pleasure in the services of this class. From time to time, as the cause has progressed, He has in His providence designated men to fill positions at Battle Creek. These men could have filled important positions if they had consecrated themselves to God and devoted their energies to His work. These men of God's selection needed the very discipline that a devotion to His work would give them. He would honor them by connecting them with Himself and giving them His Holy Spirit to qualify them for the responsibilities they were called to bear. They could not gain that breadth of experience and knowledge of the divine will unless they were in positions to bear burdens and responsibilities. 3T 468.2

None should be deceived in thinking that in connecting themselves with the work of God in Battle Creek they will have less care, less hard labor, and fewer trials. Satan is most active where the most is being done to advance the truth and to save souls. He understands human nature, and he will not let these men alone if there is any prospect of their becoming more like Christ and more useful workers in the cause of God. Satan lays his plans to press his temptations upon the very men whom God has signified that He would accept to act a part in connection with His work. It is Satan's study to know how he can best war against and defeat the purposes of God. He is acquainted with the weak as well as the strong points in the characters of men. And in a subtle manner he works with all deceivableness of unrighteousness to thwart the purposes of God by assailing the weak points in their characters; and when this is done, the way is prepared for him to attack and overcome the stronger points. He gains control of the mind and blinds the understanding. He leads men who are bewildered and overcome by his devices to self-confidence and self-sufficiency at the very time when they are the weakest in moral power. They become self-deceived and think they are in good spiritual condition. 3T 469.1

The enemy will seize everything possible to use in his favor and to destroy souls. Testimonies have been borne in favor of individuals occupying important positions. They commence well to lift the burdens and act their part in connection with the work of God. But Satan pursues them with his temptations, and they are finally overcome. As others look upon their wrong course, Satan suggests to their minds that there must be a mistake in the testimonies given for these persons, else these men would not have proved themselves unworthy to bear a part in the work of God. 3T 469.2

This is just as Satan designed it should be. He would throw doubt in regard to the light that God has given. These men might have withstood the temptations of Satan had they been watchful and guarded, feeling their own insufficiency, and trusting in the name and strength of Jesus to stand faithful to duty. But it should be borne in mind that conditions have ever been connected with the encouragement given these men, that if they would maintain an unselfish spirit, if they would feel their weakness and would rely upon God, not trusting in their own wisdom and judgment, but making Him their strength, they could be a great blessing in His cause and work. But Satan has come in with his temptations and has triumphed almost every time. He has so arranged circumstances as to assail the weak points in the characters of these men, and they have been overcome. How shamefully they have injured the cause of God! How fully they have separated themselves from Him by following their own corrupt hearts, their own souls may answer! But the day of God will reveal the true cause for all our disappointments in man. God is not at fault. He gave them encouraging promises upon conditions, but they did not comply with these conditions. They trusted to their own strength and fell under temptation. 3T 469.3

That which can be said of men under certain circumstances cannot be said of them under other circumstances. Men are weak in moral power and so supremely selfish, so self-sufficient and so easily puffed up with vain conceit, that God cannot work in connection with them, and they are left to move like blind men and to manifest so great weakness and folly that many are astonished that such individuals should ever have been accepted and acknowledged as worthy of having any connection with God's work. This is just what Satan designed. This was his object from the time he first specially tempted them to reproach the cause of God and to cast reflections upon the Testimonies. Had they remained where their influence would not have been specially felt upon the cause of God, Satan would not have beset them so fiercely; for he could not have accomplished his purpose by using them as his instruments to do a special work. 3T 470.1

In the advancement of the work of God that which may be said in truth of individuals at one time may not correctly be said of them at another time. The reason of this is that one month they may have stood in innocency, living up to the best light they had, while the month following was none too short for them to be overcome by Satan's devices and, through self-confidence, to fall into grievous sins and become unfitted for the work of God. 3T 471.1

Minds are so subject to change through the subtle temptations of Satan that it is not the best policy for my husband or myself to take the responsibility of even stating our opinions of the qualifications of persons to fill different positions, because we are made responsible for the course that such individuals pursue. Notwithstanding, if they had maintained the humility and firm trust in God which they possessed when recommended to take responsibilities they might have been the very persons for the place. These persons change, yet are not sensible of the change in themselves. They fall under temptation, are led away from their steadfastness, and sever their connection with God. They are then controlled by the enemy and do and say things which dishonor God and reproach His cause. Then Satan exults to see our brethren and sisters looking upon us with doubt because we have given these persons encouragement and influence. 3T 471.2