The Review and Herald

375/1902

October 12, 1886

An Appeal

EGW

I am deeply exercised in regard to our present position, realizing from the word of God how far down we are in prophetic history, so near the close of time, with so much work undone that must be accomplished to prepare a people to stand in the great day of the Lord. As we look over the vast field here in Europe, we can truly say, The harvest is great, but the laborers are few. Some are being added to the church. In Lausanne, as the result of earnest effort, twenty-six have recently taken their stand to keep the Sabbath. Under Bro. Ertzenberger's labors, fourteen have been added to the church in Chaux-de-Fonds; and Sabbath, June 5, twenty from different churches were baptized at Tramelan. Since our last visit to Chaux-de-Fonds, another has taken a stand upon the truth, and we expect to hear that others have decided. RH October 12, 1886, par. 1

But how little is being done in comparison to the great work to be accomplished! In our journeyings, we pass through many large, populous cities where the warning message has never been proclaimed. We travel through pleasant villages, and know that the message has not reached them. And how few of our brethren of the different nationalities are bearing any burden of the work of God! I am often unable to sleep for thinking wherein we have neglected to arouse the missionary spirit in those who can labor in German, French, and other languages. How can you who have received the truth feel so little burden for those of your own tongue in other countries? The heavenly messengers are doing their work; and what are we doing? Where are our youth? Are they earnestly seeking the Lord, endeavoring to obtain a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, that they may become light-bearers to the world? RH October 12, 1886, par. 2

The Prince of life once came from heaven to earth, and bore insult and mockery, pain and death. Preparation is now being made in heaven for his reign in glory, and the message must be proclaimed to all nations, tongues, and peoples. The youth can engage in this work if they will learn in the school of Christ. What is the aim of those who are enjoying the advantages of our schools, Bible lectures, and Sabbath-schools. You who have precious opportunities and privileges, who are feasting upon the truth, what use are you making of these blessings? Are you seeking a preparation to unite with Christ in his work? Are you obtaining a thorough knowledge of the truth, that you may impart it to others? What our youth need now is the burden of the missionary work, which is a sure outgrowth of a soul converted. I would recount to them the sufferings, the sacrifices, the persistent and untiring efforts of the Majesty of heaven, that he might save fallen man. Upon the cross of Calvary he paid the redemption price for a world lost. It was the world that he loved, the one lost sheep that he would bring back to his Father's fold. Would that you could appreciate the strength and fervor of that divine compassion! If you will take hold of the work right where you are at the present time, and do what you can, be sure that you will have the help of Jesus. All heaven is pledged to those who will seek the Lord with the whole heart. Error prevails everywhere. Those with whom God has intrusted the treasures of his truth are to let the light shine amid the moral darkness. Where are the soldiers of the cross of Christ? Let the God-fearing, the honest, the single-hearted, who look steadfastly to the glory of God, prepare themselves for the battle against error. RH October 12, 1886, par. 3

Missions are being established; and if the converting power of the truth comes to our youth, we shall see them pressing into the ranks of the workers. Had they been educated from the beginning of their religious experience to be true to their faith, fervent in piety, and in sympathy with Christ's longing for the salvation of souls, we would have hundreds of missionaries where we have one today. In every mission established, there should be a school for the education of laborers. The very best German, French, and Scandinavian talent should be enlisted in the work of educating promising young men and women of these different nationalities. This essential matter has been greatly neglected. In the office at Battle Creek, at Basel, and at Christiana, there is pressing need of translators in these different languages; and the various branches of the work are crippled for want of laborers. God-fearing workers are wanted in our houses of publication, in our missions, in our churches. There is need of persons educated in English, French, German, and other languages. We want a hundred workers where there is one. The heavy responsibilities should not rest upon one man in any branch of the work. Two or three should be fitted to share the burden, so that if one should be called to another post of duty, another may come in to supply his place. Provision has not been made half as extensively as it should have been, against any and every emergency. A fund should be raised to educate for missionary work those who will give themselves unreservedly to God and the cause, and who will labor not for large wages, but for the love of Christ, to save souls for whom he died. RH October 12, 1886, par. 4

A great responsibility rests upon those who profess the truth, to guard their means from flowing into channels that will not bring glory to God. How much has been thoughtlessly wasted by our youth in America, spent for display, for things which they would have been just as happy without! Every dollar we possess is the Lord's. Instead of spending means in self-indulgence, we should invest it in answering the calls of missionary work. As new fields are opened, these calls are constantly increasing. A deep longing is now taking possession of souls, a longing for something which they have not. They call for light, for help, for the opening of the Scriptures. To meet these calls we must have means. If we ever needed workers who would use means economically, it is now. They should see in the money they handle, a trust which God has committed to them. Every cent should be carefully treasured. A cent seems like a trifle; but a hundred cents make a dollar, and, rightly spent, may be the means of saving a soul from death. RH October 12, 1886, par. 5

Care should be exercised to select the right men for teachers in missionary schools. Young men who are themselves deficient in Christian experience are not wanted. We need men who fear God, and who will labor with an eye single to his glory. The workers need to come closer to God than they have done. They must have his converting power upon the heart, in order that he may impart to them wisdom and knowledge, as he did to Daniel, and make them channels of light to others. Let those who are to be educators, seek for this heavenly endowment, that the understanding may be quick and clear. God will help them if they seek him; and those who have been under their instruction may be presented before the Master fitted to do his work with thoroughness and fidelity. Our ideas are altogether too narrow. With ears of faith we should hear the mighty Captain of the Lord's host saying, “Go forward.” We must act, and God will not fail us. He will do his part when we in faith do ours. RH October 12, 1886, par. 6

The great adversary of souls is mustering his forces. He is setting every device in operation in order to confuse the minds of men with specious errors, and thus destroy souls. There are too many faint, cowardly hearts in this hour of spiritual battle. Oh that our weakness may be made strong, that we may wax valiant in fight, and put to flight the armies of the aliens. Our work is not to be done in a hap-hazard manner. Satan, united with human agencies, will take advantage of every mistake. Unclean hands and unholy hearts cannot be intrusted with this sacred work. Those who profess to keep God's commandments, but whose lips and hearts have not been touched with a live coal from off his altar, should not engage in his work until they are converted. “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.” RH October 12, 1886, par. 7

We must awake out of sleep. Europe is stretching out her hands, and the Macedonian cry comes from across the broad waters, “Come over and help us.” The work here has advanced very slowly, for want of men and means. Where are the idlers in the market places? Let them arouse, and place themselves where they may be trained to render acceptable service. Oh, my heart is full to bursting when I think what ought to have been done here in Europe in days gone by, and how far the work might now be advanced if those who have received the light of present truth had been faithful to their trust! If so many had not wrapped their talents of ability and money in a napkin, and buried them in the earth; if the church had done the work that God made it her duty to do, we should today have thousands rejoicing in the truth here, and there would be light-bearers in all parts of Europe. Brethren, God calls upon you to redeem the time. Make haste to unearth your buried talents. If God has intrusted you with money, show yourselves faithful to your trust; unwrap your napkin, and send your talents to the exchangers, that when Christ shall come, he may receive his own with interest. What if some do become poor by investing their means in the work of spreading the truth? Your Master for your sakes became poor; and by following his example, you are securing for yourselves eternal riches, a treasure in heaven that faileth not. Your means are far safer placed in the cause of God than deposited in a bank, or invested in houses and lands. No thief can approach them, no fire can consume them. They are laid up in bags that wax not old. RH October 12, 1886, par. 8

When Jesus ascended to heaven, he committed his work on earth to those who had received the light of the gospel. They were to carry the work forward to completion. He has provided no other agency for the promulgation of his truth. “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” “And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” This solemn commission reaches us in this age. God leaves with his church the responsibility of receiving or rejecting it. Many seem to rest perfectly easy, as if heavenly messengers were to come to this earth, to proclaim with an audible voice the message of warning; but while angels have their work to do, we are to do ours in opening the Bible truth to those who are in darkness. Is your interest selfishly shut up in your own family, to your church? God pity your narrowness! You should have that undying zeal, that far-reaching love, which encircles the world. Those who are not called to go to foreign countries have a work to do in their own borders, to keep up the interest in their churches by well-directed effort, that they may be spiritual and self-sacrificing, and by their means and earnest prayers may aid those who enter new and difficult fields. Ministers should not do work that belongs to the laymen, thus wearying themselves, and preventing others from doing their duty. They should teach the members how to work in the church and community, to build up the church, to make the prayer-meeting interesting, and to train for missionaries youth of ability. The members of the church should co-operate actively with the ministers, making the section of country around them their field of missionary labor. Churches that are weak or few in numbers, should be looked after by sister churches. RH October 12, 1886, par. 9

The gospel of Christ is aggressive and diffusive. In the day of God not one will be excused for being shut up to his own selfish interests. There is work for every mind, and for every hand, work adapted to different minds and varied capabilities. Every one who is connected with God will impart light to others. If there are any who have no light to give, it is because they have no connection with the Source of light. Is it any marvel that God does not visit the churches with greater manifestations of his power, when so large a number are shut up in themselves, engrossed in their own interests? It is thus that their piety becomes weakened, and they grow bigoted and self-caring; but by working for others they would keep their souls alive. If they would become co-laborers with Jesus, we should see the light in our churches steadily burning brighter and brighter, sending forth its rays to penetrate the darkness beyond our own border. Oh, if the church would arise, and put on her beautiful garments, the righteousness of Christ, what a change would be realized in her influence, and in her spiritual condition! The jealousies and fault-finding, the heart-burnings, the envy and dissensions, the strife for supremacy, would cease. A close sympathy with Christ and his mission of love and mercy, would bring the workers into sympathy with one another, and there would be no disposition to cherish these evils, which, if indulged, are the curse of the church. In giving attention to the work of saving souls, they would be stimulated themselves to greater piety and purity; there would be a unity of purpose, and the salvation of precious souls would be felt to be of such great importance that all little differences would be completely swallowed up. RH October 12, 1886, par. 10

The Lord holds the church responsible for the souls whom they might save. If his people were to see themselves as God sees them, they could not endure to look their responsibilities and delinquencies in the face. Self-reproach would overwhelm them. Brethren and sisters in the faith, does the question arise in your hearts, “Am I my brother's keeper?” If you claim to be the children of God, you are your brother's keeper. God has intrusted to you sacred truths. Christ abiding in the individual members of the church is a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. You are guilty before God if you do not make every effort possible to dispense this living water to others. Men are perishing close by your own doors, while they hew out to themselves broken cisterns that hold no water. Heaven is indignant at the ease of men and women in Zion, while souls are going down to ruin in their ignorance and sins. Have we the truth for these last days? If we have, it must be carried to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. Ere long, the living and the dead will have been judged according to the deeds done in the body, and the law of God is the standard by which they are to be tested. Of this they must now be warned. God's holy law must be vindicated, and held up before them as a mirror. RH October 12, 1886, par. 11

But this work requires means. It is true that times are hard, that money is not plenty; but the truth must be spread, and money to spread it must be placed in the treasury. Many are trembling with fear because the work moves faster than their slow faith, and means is expended more rapidly than it comes into the treasury; and yet we have taken only the first few steps in advance. Our message is world-wide; yet many are doing nothing, and many more, so very little, and with so great a want of faith, that it is next to nothing. Shall we abandon the field that has already been opened in foreign countries? Shall we drop part of the work in our home missions? Shall we be disheartened at a debt of a few thousand dollars? Shall we falter and become laggards in the very last scenes of this world's history? My heart says, No, no! I cannot contemplate this question without a burning zeal in my soul to see this work go. We would not deny our faith, we would not deny Christ; yet we shall commit this fearful sin unless we move forward, as the providence of God opens the way. The work must not stop for want of means. More money must be invested. “Sell that ye have and give alms.” There is a time coming when commandment-keepers can neither buy nor sell. In the last extremity, before this work shall close, thousands of dollars will be cheerfully laid upon the altar. Men and women will feel it a blessed privilege to share in the great work of preparing souls to stand in the great day of God, and they will give hundreds as readily as five dollars are given now. But let us not dishonor God by thinking that the church has not the means to do all the work that devolves upon her just now. RH October 12, 1886, par. 12

None need be in darkness concerning their duty if they make God's word their rule. They should study the instructions given by Christ upon different occasions, and should put them in practice. The Saviour has bidden us, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, ... but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” Some selfishly retain their means during their life-time, trusting to make up for their neglect by remembering the cause in their wills. But not half of the means thus bestowed in legacies, ever benefits the object specified. Brethren and sisters, invest in the bank of heaven yourselves, and do not leave your stewardship upon another. Do just as Christ has directed you, and you are in a safe path. In obeying this injunction, our example will preach louder than words. The highest display of the power of the truth is seen when those who profess to believe it give evidence of their faith by their works. Those who believe this solemn truth, should possess such a spirit of self sacrifice that the worldly ambition of the money-worshiper will be rebuked. We shall be brought into straight places in our work. Trials will come. God will test the strength of our faith. He will prove us to see if we will trust him under difficulties. The silver and the gold are the Lord's; and when his stewards have done their duty fully, and can do no more, they are not to sit down at ease, and let things take their course. It is then that they should cry to God for help. There should be stated seasons for prayer. Let those who have faith seek the Lord earnestly, remembering that the “kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” RH October 12, 1886, par. 13

The church has, with open hand and heart, come forward to the work hitherto, and she will do it yet. We have confidence in her integrity, and she will not be the poorer for the multitude and costliness of her gifts. The offerings of the church have in many instances been more numerous than her prayers. The missionary movement is far in advance of the missionary spirit. Earnest prayers have not followed the workers, like sharp sickles, into the harvest field. It is true that there is an interest to see success attend the efforts to unfurl the banner of truth in foreign lands; but there has been a lack of heart-felt sympathy with laborers, a lack of real burden of soul, that the means invested may do its work. This is the ground of our difficulties. This is the reason for the pressure for means. The people must be called to reflection. There must be a spiritual awakening. They must have a personal interest, a burden of soul to watch and pray for the success of the work. Let every one who gives of his means, also send up his prayers daily that it may bring souls to the foot of the cross. And in every church, once a week at least, let there be a season set apart for praying for this work. Let all be united, not mingling in their petitions other wants, such as blessings for the sick and needy, but having a specific object for their faith and entreaties. Brethren, move high heaven by your prayers for God to work with the efforts of his servants. The Lord has agencies which he will put in operation in answer to the importunate prayers of faith. He will fulfill his word, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” RH October 12, 1886, par. 14

Our work is calling attention to us as a people. We are signs and wonders in the world. Seventh-day Adventists are making progress, doubling their numbers, establishing missions, and unfurling the banner of truth in the dark places of the earth; and yet the work moves far more slowly than God would have it. The members of the church are not aroused to put forth the earnest individual efforts they are capable of making, and every branch of the work is crippled for the want of fervent piety and devoted, humble, God-fearing workers. There is a class that are represented by Meroz. My heart is sore troubled for these. The missionary spirit has never taken hold of their souls. The calls for foreign missions do not stir them to action. What account will these render to God, who are doing nothing in his cause, nothing to win souls to Christ? Such will receive the denunciation, “Thou wicked and slothful servant!” The interest and labors of the church must be extended more earnestly and decidedly to both home and foreign missions. There should be deep heart-searching among our young men and women, to see if they have a work to do for the Master. There is work to be accomplished that money cannot do. Heart devotion is needed now. The destitute portions of the field must be supplied with earnest laborers. Warm, loving hearts are wanted. We must have great faith and corresponding works. All who go into the missionary field will have hardships and trials to endure; they will find hard work, plenty of it; but those who have the right stamp of character will persevere under difficulties, discouragements, privations, holding firmly to the arm of the Lord. They will show a zeal that will not flag, a faith that will not yield, a resolution that will not weaken. They are doing no more than God requires when they dedicate themselves soul, body, and spirit, to his service, becoming partakers with Christ in his sufferings. If they share his self-denial and cross-bearing, they will be partakers also in his joy,—the joy of seeing souls saved through their instrumentality in the kingdom of glory. RH October 12, 1886, par. 15

We need to cry to God as did Jacob, for a greater baptism of the Holy Spirit. The time for labor is short. Let there be much praying. Let the soul yearn after God. Let the secret places of prayer be often visited. Let there be a taking hold of the strength of the mighty God of Israel. Let the ministers walk humbly before the Lord, weeping between the porch and the altar, and crying, “Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach.” Let the members of the church lay aside their pride and ornamentation. Instead of being expended for needless things, let their means flow into the treasury of the Lord. Thousands of dollars would thus be brought in to supply the wants of the cause. RH October 12, 1886, par. 16

But more than this is to be done. Self-denial must be practiced. Some of our comfortable and desirable things must be sacrificed. The preachers must sharpen up their message, not merely assailing self-indulgence and pride in dress, but presenting Jesus and his life of self-denial and sacrifice. Let genuine love, piety, and faith be cherished in the heart, and their precious fruits will appear in the life. Let none indulge the thought that we have attempted too much. No, no; we have attempted too little. The work which we are now doing ought to have been done ten years ago. Our plans must be enlarged, our operations extended. What is needed now is a church whose individual members shall be awake and active to do all that is possible for them to accomplish. We are not left alone in this work. We are laborers together with God, in partnership with divine resources. The Captain of our salvation is on every field of battle where truth is waging war against error. The truth which we profess, offers the highest encouragement to the most devoted and self-sacrificing and persevering effort that mortal energies can bestow. We should have the courage of heroes, the faith of martyrs. RH October 12, 1886, par. 17