Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6 (1889-1890)


Ms 19a, 1890

Frivolity and Familiarity Among Mission Workers

St. Helena, California

May 1, 1890

This manuscript is published in entirety in GCDB 02/06/1893 162-163.

Missions are essential as the foundation of missionary effort in our cities; but unless those standing at the head of these missions make strenuous effort to guard every post so that Satan shall not control, losses will be sustained. The mission at Cleveland, Ohio, is not reaching the highest standard. Young men and young women should here receive the training and education that will qualify them to work for the Master. But if they do not possess solidity of character, and a spirit of consecration, all efforts to fit them for the work will prove a failure. None should be connected with the mission who do not give evidence that they possess these essential qualifications. The same is true of the older workers. Unless they have the truth sanctifying soul, body, and spirit, they will not do the right kind of work; they cannot exert a saving influence in the canvassing field or in any other branch of the cause. 6LtMs, Ms 19a, 1890, par. 1

Without a high sense of propriety, of sobriety, of the sacredness of the truth and the exalted character of the work, how can men in any way represent Christ? How can they be a savor of life unto life? 6LtMs, Ms 19a, 1890, par. 2

The Lord has many precious souls in Cleveland, in Cincinnati, and other cities, who should be reached by the special truths for this time. But the course pursued by young men and young women connected with the mission is frivolous, degrading the work, and demoralizing the mission. Such defective characters separate God from the mission rooms, it does not require weeks or months to read the character of many of the workers. Their conduct is an offence to God. There are wrongs existing in society which Christians will not practice, but abhor. Let those who are frivolous and carnally minded be placed in our missions, and their influence tends to lower everything connected with the institution. 6LtMs, Ms 19a, 1890, par. 3

There should be connected with the mission married persons who will conduct themselves with strictest propriety. But the danger in Ohio is not alone from youth, but from married men and women who should build up the walls of modesty and virtue about themselves, so that women will not allure men, and men will not allure women from strict propriety. “Abstain from even the appearance of evil.” [1 Thessalonians 5:22.] 6LtMs, Ms 19a, 1890, par. 4

Lovesick sentimentalism prevails. Married men receive attention from married or unmarried women; women also appear to be charmed, and lose reason and spiritual discernment and good common sense. They do the very things that the Word of God condemns, the very things that the Testimonies of the Spirit of God condemn. Warnings and reproofs are before them in clear lines, yet they go over the same path that others have traveled before them. It is like an infatuating game at which they are playing. Satan leads them on to ruin themselves, to imperil the cause of God, to crucify the Son of God afresh and put Him to an open shame. 6LtMs, Ms 19a, 1890, par. 5

There is no safety for any man, young or old, unless he feels the necessity of seeking God for counsel at every step. Those only who maintain close communion with God will learn to place His estimate upon men, to reverence the pure, the good, the humble, and the meek. The heart must be garrisoned as was that of Joseph. Then temptations to depart from integrity will be met with decision: “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” [Genesis 39:9.] The strongest temptation is no excuse for sin. No matter how severe the pressure brought to bear upon you, sin is your own act. The seat of the difficulty is the unrenewed heart. 6LtMs, Ms 19a, 1890, par. 6

A man who claims to have believed present truth for years, and is counted worthy to fill positions of trust in missions or in our institutions, may become careless when change of circumstances brings him into temptations, and in his turn he may tempt others. His case is sad indeed, for he reveals the working of a corrupt heart, a want of that principle which every Christian should possess. When one who is entrusted with great responsibilities betrays his sacred trust and gives himself into the hands of Satan as an instrument of unrighteousness to sow the seeds of evil, corrupting the hearts and minds of others, he is a traitor of the worst type. From one such tainted, polluted mind, the youth often receive the first impure thoughts that lead to a life of shame and defilement. 6LtMs, Ms 19a, 1890, par. 7

If men placed at the head of a mission have not firmness of principle that will preserve them from every vestige of commonness and unbecoming familiarity with young girls and women after the light which has been so plainly given, let them be discharged without a second trial. There is a depravity of the soul which leads to these careless habits and practices, and which will far overbalance all the good such persons can do. We are living in an age of moral debasement; the world is as a second Sodom. Those who look for the coming of the Son of Man, those who know that they are right upon the borders of the eternal world, should set an example in harmony with their faith. Those who do not maintain purity and holiness are not accepted of God. The true children of God have deep-rooted principles which will not be moved by temptations, because Christ is abiding in their hearts by faith. 6LtMs, Ms 19a, 1890, par. 8

A second trial would be of no avail to those whose moral sense is so perverted that they cannot see their danger. If, after they have long held the truth, its sanctifying power has not established the character in piety, virtue, and purity, let them be disconnected from the mission without delay. For through them Satan will insinuate the same lax sentiments into the minds of those who ought to have an example of virtue and moral dignity. 6LtMs, Ms 19a, 1890, par. 9

Anything that approaches lovesick sentimentalism, any intimation of commonness, should be decidedly rebuked. And the one who is guilty of encouraging these tendencies should not only be relieved of responsibilities which he was unworthy to bear, but should be placed under censure of the church. And that censure should remain upon him until he gives evidence in spirit and deportment, that he sees his sinfulness and heart corruption, and repents, like any other guilty sinner, and is converted. Then God, for Christ’s sake, will heal him of his transgression. 6LtMs, Ms 19a, 1890, par. 10

Even though the men and women at the head of our missions are in character as pure as fine gold, they need constant connection with God in order to keep themselves pure and to know how to manage the youth discreetly, so that all shall keep their thoughts untainted, uncorrupted. Let the lessons be of an elevated, ennobling character that the mind may be filled with pure and noble thoughts. “Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he (God) is pure.” [1 John 3:3.] As God is pure in His sphere, so man is to be pure in his. And he will be pure if Christ is formed within, the hope of glory; for he will imitate Christ’s life and reflect His character. 6LtMs, Ms 19a, 1890, par. 11

When a conference selects young men and women and aids them in obtaining an education for the canvassing field or any other branch of the work, there should be an understanding as to what they propose to do—whether they design to engage in courtship and marriage or to labor for the advancement of the cause of truth. It is of no use to spend time and money in educating workers who will fall in love before they complete their education, and who cannot resist the first temptation in the form of an invitation to marriage. In most cases the labor spent on such persons is wholly lost. When they enter the marriage relation, their usefulness in the work of God is at an end. They increase their family, they are dwarfed and crippled in every way, and cannot use the knowledge they have obtained. 6LtMs, Ms 19a, 1890, par. 12

Before persons are admitted to our mission training schools, let there be a written agreement that after receiving their education they will give themselves to the work for a specified time. This is the only way that our missions can be made what they should be. Let those who connect themselves with the missions be straightforward and connect themselves with the work in a businesslike way. Those who are controlled by a sense of duty, who daily seek wisdom and help from God, will act intelligently, not from selfish motives, but from love of Christ and the truth. Such will not hesitate to give themselves unreservedly, soul, body and spirit to the work. They will study, work and pray for its advancement. 6LtMs, Ms 19a, 1890, par. 13

I repeat, do not enter into a marriage engagement unless there are good and sufficient reasons for this step, unless the cause of God can be better advanced thereby. For Christ’s sake deny inclination, lift the cross, and do the work for which you are educating yourself. Many of the marriages contracted in these last days prove to be a mistake. The parties make no advancement in spiritual things; their growth and usefulness end with their marriage. 6LtMs, Ms 19a, 1890, par. 14

There are men and women through the country who would have been accepted as laborers together with God if Satan had not laid his snares to entangle their minds and hearts in courtship and marriage. Did the Lord urge them to obtain the advantages of our schools and mission that they might sink everything in courtship and marriage, binding themselves by a human band for a lifetime? By accepting the work of rearing children in these last days of uncertainty and peril, many place themselves in a position where they cannot labor either in the canvassing field or in any other branch of the cause of God, and some lose all interest to do this. They are content with a common, low level and assimilate to the positions they have chosen. 6LtMs, Ms 19a, 1890, par. 15

The bewitching power of Satan’s deceptions wrought within the human heart its evil work. Instead of candidly considering the time in which we live and the work they might do in leading others to the truth, they reason from a selfish standpoint and follow the impulse of their own unconsecrated hearts. “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.” [Galatians 5:17.] The natural appetites and passions become a controlling power, and the result is that spiritual growth ceases; the soul is, as it were, paralyzed. 6LtMs, Ms 19a, 1890, par. 16

Let none who dedicate themselves to God be discouraged at the outlook, but let them strive to do faithfully the work committed to them. Live wholly for God; put your life, your energies, your soul into your work, not knowing which shall prosper, this or that. Go forth to your canvassing work or other branches of labor, knowing that there is a witness, an angel, by your side. If you are careless and inattentive, reckless of your words, reckless in spirit, your character is thus portrayed by the recording angel. 6LtMs, Ms 19a, 1890, par. 17

As the polished plate of the artist reproduces your features, so will the books of record reflect your words, your works, your character. If you cease to do evil, if you learn to do well, through the grace given, for you the golden harvest of infinite blessings is growing; and as a laborer together with God, you are preparing to become a reaper. Yield not to indolence, give not up to discouragement, be not weary in well doing, for you will reap if you faint not. 6LtMs, Ms 19a, 1890, par. 18

Let every soul bear in mind the words of Jesus, “Without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] We are wholly dependent upon the Holy Spirit for fitness to do the Master’s work; we must rely upon Him for Christian fortitude, perseverance, and grace. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.] Your words, your character, your conduct, your spirit reveal the character of the tree, for these are the fruits you bear. 6LtMs, Ms 19a, 1890, par. 19

The sinful nature is to be kept under the control of the Spirit of God; the transforming grace of Christ will bring the will into harmony with the will of Christ. The more closely we are brought into unity with Christ, the more clearly we will discern our defects of character. It is marvelous how deceptive is the human heart, how easily self-deluded, how easily led into sin. Be jealous of yourself, never become puffed up, never flatter yourself or accept flattery from any man or woman. When persons attempt to flatter you, tell them they are giving voice to the temptations of Satan. 6LtMs, Ms 19a, 1890, par. 20

“He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” [Galatians 6:8.] Every one is sowing some kind of seed, the fruit of which will be a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. Young men and women, what kind of a harvest are you preparing to garner? Are you sowing unto eternal life, or unto wretchedness and corruption? On the decision of this momentous question depends your happiness or misery for eternity. 6LtMs, Ms 19a, 1890, par. 21