Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 25 (1910 - 1915)


Ms 53, 1910

Wake Up the Watchmen!

Mountain View, California

January 28, 1910

Portions of this manuscript are published in Ev 29, 71, 114, 482; 6MR 195-196.

Last Wednesday afternoon I had some conversation with Elder I. H. Evans. During the day, I had been especially burdened over our neglect to warn the cities. For the past twenty years the Lord has been calling our attention repeatedly to our duty toward these unwarned places. At the present time there is not a thousandth part being done in working the cities that should be done and that would be done if men and women would do their whole duty. I called Brother Evans’ attention to this matter and said, This record must change. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 1

Our interview was short, as someone called Brother Evans away. But the burden remained on my mind and soul. The following night I could not sleep. A great agony came upon me, and I prayed earnestly to God: “What shall I do, Lord, to be relieved of this burden? What can be done during this union conference at Mountain View? The ministers, the physicians, the presidents of conferences have their own ideas as to what should be done, but not all these ideas are born of God. What message shall I bear to those assembled in this conference? Here at Mountain View many publications are being printed to warn the world, but this printed matter cannot take the place of the voice of the living preacher. Both are necessary. And Thou, Lord, hast presented to me that a reconverting influence must pervade the atmosphere of every office of publication, and also the hearts of many of those who have been called to the sacred office of the gospel ministry.” 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 2

Thus I prayed to the Lord in the night season. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 3

Everywhere there are men who should be out in active ministry, giving the last message of warning to a fallen world. The work that should long ago have been in active operation to win souls to Christ has not been done. The inhabitants of the ungodly cities so soon to be visited by calamities have been cruelly neglected. The time is near when large cities will be swept away and all should be warned of these coming judgments. But who is giving to the accomplishment of this work the wholehearted service that God requires? Many need to receive a special fitting up before they will be able to carry forward this work along right lines. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 4

In the article “Called to be Witnesses,” published in Testimonies for the Church, Vol. IX, we read: 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 5

“In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light-bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the Word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import—the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 6

“The most solemn truths entrusted to mortals have been given us to proclaim to the world. The proclamation of these truths is to be our work. The world is to be warned, and God’s people are to be true to the trust committed to them. They are not to engage in speculation, neither are they to enter into business enterprises with unbelievers; for this would hinder them in their God-given work.” 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 7

Are we doing our God-given work?—No; we are asleep. Many are in need of reconversion. I am charged with a message: Wake up the watchmen to go forth as Christ sent forth His disciples, to teach the world the way of salvation. To those who claim to be numbered among the people of God is given the special work of teaching and uplifting and drawing to Christ a world perishing for lack of knowledge. The responsibility for doing this work rests not upon the ministry alone. Hundreds of church members who have a knowledge of saving truth might set themselves to work in their immediate neighborhoods and surrounding settlements. Wherever practicable, it is well for such workers to go out two and two, as did the early disciples. Take up this work, brethren and sisters. Carry along some books and papers, and make God your trust. Let no one, by arbitrary forbiddings, seek to hinder this line of house-to-house work. There is a world to be warned, and every agency for the accomplishment of the Lord’s work in the earth must be set in operation and wisely directed and encouraged. Wake up the watchmen, for the end is near. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 8

To the believers living in Mountain View, I would say: Be sure that your hearts are susceptible to the movings of the Holy Spirit of God. In this center there are men who might be lightbearers in many places. Those who are converted and have a knowledge of the truth for this time are to be as lights amid the moral darkness. Let every believer be earnest, be zealous, in making known to others the warning message of present truth. The great question to be settled now by every believing soul is, What part shall I act in the work of giving to the world the message that is to prepare a people to meet their God? It is a great, grand work to open the Scriptures to those who know not the truth. God is now calling whole families to be consecrated laborers together with Him. He requires of us more than simply to print and send out publications containing the truth for this time. He expects us to cultivate home religion and with earnest prayer enter upon the work of visiting our neighbors and friends and communicating to them a knowledge of present truth. We are to be watchful of opportunities where we may call a number together and, filled with the spirit of love for souls, draw them close to Christ, who has promised, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” [John 6:37.] 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 9

We must arise and co-operate with Christ. “If a man abide not in Me,” the Saviour declares, “he is cast forth as a branch and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” [John 15:6, 7.] In thought, in word, and in deed we are to do the works of Christ, evidencing that we are abiding in Him and are branches of the living Vine. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 10

Obey the gospel commission; go forth into the highways and hedges. Visit as many places as possible. Conduct simple, spirited Bible readings, which will have a correct influence upon minds. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 11

Especially in connection with our sanitariums are there many opportunities to set missionaries at work. Frequently those who have a knowledge of the treatment of disease find those who are ailing and in need of treatment. Thus an opportunity is afforded to win the confidence of many and to open the way for prayer and Bible study. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 12

Cities are unwarned. Last summer I had the privilege of visiting New York and Boston, and some of the surrounding towns; and as I viewed these places, I saw openings everywhere. There is no dearth of places in which to labor. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 13

The word of the Lord has come to me that there are too many believers clustered in a few places and that many are losing their sense of the shortness of time and their burden to proclaim the third angel’s message. There is to be true conversion of heart on the part of every such believer. Those who are connected with our offices of publication need especially to carry a burden for souls and to study ways and means of doing personal work in the highways and hedges. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 14

The Lord is not glorified in the swelling of numbers that is seen in some of our centers of training and of missionary effort. Our brethren in Southern California need now to awaken as never before. Instruction has been given me, Now is our opportunity to do medical missionary work, in treating the sick with simplicity. We must get within the reach of the many souls living out of our cities as well as those in the cities. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 15

I have special words for those who are members of our churches. It is a most surprising feature of our work that for years our cities have been well-nigh neglected; the highways have not been worked. It is surprising that so little, yes, comparatively nothing, has been done by many who ought to have carried a message of life and soul-saving to their friends and acquaintances nigh at hand, and also to others who are afar off. The Lord now calls upon all who expect to be saved themselves, to act as Christ’s appointed messengers in the work of saving other souls. “Ye are laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 16

Time is rapidly passing into eternity, and yet many are engaged in no special work of soul-saving. How can anyone claim to be a laborer together with Christ, when he is not fulfilling the charge given him of God to seek and to save that which is lost? Many lights are to be kindled in all the cities of our land. Too many believers are collecting in various places and forming small settlements. If those who are familiar with the truths of the third angel’s message would engage in house-to-house work, giving a soul-saving message to many neighborhoods, and in favorable places arranging for small camp-meetings to be held, it would be well. Thus many would be induced to come out and hear soul-saving truth. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 17

The Lord is greatly disappointed in our neglect of souls. God sent His only begotten Son to call sinners to repentance. Christ journeyed through the cities and villages of Palestine, giving to multitudes His soul-saving message. We are not to neglect the work to be done in every place, where the warning message has not been proclaimed. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 18

The believers at Mountain View are now to awaken and catch the spirit of the soul-saving message. How grand are the truths entrusted to us! In view of all that we have received, how shall we in the day of Christ answer the charge that will come from those who have not been instructed, “Why did you not tell us these things in time? We have never heard these truths.” We have a solemn work to do. How long will those who know the truth continue to remain so indifferent, while there is a world to be warned? 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 19

The Lord has said, Dismiss not Elder Haskell. He and his wife, united in the work, are to give the trumpet a certain sound. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 20

In the eighth chapter of Nehemiah we read: “And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel. And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding upon the first day of the seventh month. And he read therein before the street that is before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose, and beside him stood Mattithiah and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 21

“And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up; and Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen; amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.” 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 22

Those who are making but little effort to make known the truth to their neighbors in settlements nigh and afar off are now to arise from their lethargy and do their appointed work. The record of God’s dealings with His people in the days of Nehemiah should be closely studied. The Lord is greatly displeased with those who, having a knowledge of the truths of His Word, do not by every effort within their power seek to extend this knowledge throughout their neighborhoods and surrounding settlements. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 23

Quoting again from Volume IX of the Testimonies: “In connection with the proclamation of the message in large cities, there are many kinds of work to be done by laborers with varied gifts. Some are to labor in one way, some in another. The Lord desires that the cities shall be worked by the united efforts of laborers of different capabilities. All are to look to Jesus for direction, not depending upon man for wisdom, lest they be led astray. As laborers together with God, they should seek to be in harmony with one another. There should be frequent councils, and earnest, wholehearted co-operation. Yet all are to look to Jesus for wisdom, not depending upon men alone for direction.” 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 24

The Lord has given to some ministers the ability to gather and to hold large congregations. As they labor in the fear of God, their efforts will be attended by the deep movings of the Holy Spirit upon human hearts. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 25

The workers are to have a solemn sense of the sacredness of the work. Often I have been instructed that every worker, in his special sphere, must guard every phase of his character by much prayer and watchfulness. In the early days of the message, when we began to labor in new places, we used to assemble together to relate our experiences and to unite in earnest prayer. We sought the Lord earnestly, that our hearts might be humble, and sanctified by His rich grace, and that not one thread of self-exaltation should be drawn into the fabric of our daily experience. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 26

No longer am I to keep silent when I see those who should be leaders in the work of soul-saving, neglecting God-given opportunities. As laborers together with God, we are to encourage one another to do everything within our power to impart to others the truth as it is in Jesus. We are to follow Christ’s example in ministering to the spiritual needs of those who know Him not. Those for whom we labor will recognize that we have a spirit of earnest intercession, and hearts will be won. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 27

The world is under Satan’s special rule. The enemy furnishes one excitement after another to keep the minds of the people in an unnatural whirl. And even some of those who have been called of God to preach the third angel’s message act as if their sensibilities were benumbed. They seem to be unable to discern Satan’s plans to keep them from engaging earnestly in the work of warning a lost world of the shortness of time and of the rapidly approaching judgment day. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 28

I am charged to wake up the watchmen. The end of all things is at hand. Now is the accepted time. Let our ministers and presidents of conferences exercise their tact and skill in presenting the truth before large numbers of people in our cities. As you labor in simplicity, hearts will be melted. Bear in mind that as you deliver the testing message for this time, your own heart will be softened and quickened by the subduing influence of the Holy Spirit, and you will have souls for your hire. As you stand before multitudes in the cities, remember that God is your helper, and that by His blessing you may bear a message of a character to reach the hearts of the hearers. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 29

Sometimes it is necessary for many of our people to gather together in one place in order to carry forward important work in a large institution; but all too often the tendency to colonize becomes a habit with some who should be engaged in active field work. And even in connection with our institutional work, there are some who would be greatly blessed if they would do more than they are now doing, in a personal way, to warn a perishing world. Those who are laboring in our institutions need not always be confined to one line of work. Let plans be devised to enable those who are qualified for field work to launch out at times into the surrounding settlements, visiting with the people and circulating our publications. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 30

Doubtless there are some in our larger churches, and in our printing establishments, who will feel inclined to express objections against a message that would stir up those who are now doing but little personal work for souls. But I cannot hold my peace. I have been instructed to say, The Lord calls upon those who understand the truth to spend time in opening the Scriptures to others. How can our brethren and sisters continue to live close to large numbers of people who have never been warned without devising methods of setting to work every agency through whom the Lord can work to the glory of His name? Our leaders who have had long experience will understand the importance of these matters and can do much to increase the working forces. They can plan to reach many in the highways and in the hedges. As they put forth calm, steady, devoted effort to educate the church members to engage in personal work for souls wherever there are favorable openings, success will mark their labors. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 31

To those who are specially set apart to warn the cities, I would say: As messengers of God, move forward intelligently, making the Lord your dependence. Ask wisdom of God, and He will give it to you. Labor in the meekness and simplicity of Christ, for this will recommend you to those for whom you minister, and they will open their hearts to the message you bear. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 32

Labor with graceful dignity. Avoid all appearance of pride and everything of a theatrical nature. Especially should the young men and the young women whom the Lord is pressing into service realize that simplicity should mark their presentation of the truth. As you labor in love, hearts will be impressed. Your strength is in God, whom you trust. Preserve Christlikeness in speech, in deportment, in earnest, humble zeal. As you carry forward the Lord’s work in truth and righteousness, the power of His might will be your rearward. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 33

There are God-fearing men throughout the churches of believers; and in the ministry there are many who fear the Lord. But much more praying, much more Christlikeness, is needed by some of our ministers. God’s work is to be carried forward in the power of the Holy Spirit. Some have manifested a terrible apathy to the needs of the hour. A world is to be warned. Many agencies are to be set in operation. The church members are to be taught to do their part faithfully. None are to be forbidden to engage in the Master’s service. Never, never, as long as time shall last, are there to be repeated the forbiddings and many hindrances that have been the means of discouraging some from entering the Lord’s work. Never, never is any man to be commissioned to rule his fellow men arbitrarily and seek to restrict those whom God desires to use in doing certain lines of work. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 34

The hindrances that have come into our work during the years that have passed, only the judgment can reveal; but never are such hindrances to be countenanced again. There are God-fearing men and women in all our churches, and these are to be set to work in their humble sphere. Wake up the churches in every place is the commission given me. We have no time to lose. Let our ministers awake. Let those who are living in Takoma Park awake to an understanding of the times and of their privileges. Many who are living in our large centers need to be reconverted; and until they are reconverted, they can never feel the necessity of giving to the scattered sheep the message for this time. Let our people in every church arouse and begin to work in earnest. Let them unite in proclaiming the last message of mercy to be given to a dying world. 25LtMs, Ms 53, 1910, par. 35