Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Ms 29, 1893

Laborers to Learn Lessons at the Foot of the Cross

Palmerston, New Zealand

April 20, 1893

Portions of this manuscript are published in VSS 322-323; TDG 119.

Since coming to New Zealand, the Lord has strengthened me to engage in labor for the churches. Although infirmities are still my companions by night and day, the Lord has given me His grace to bear them. Sometimes when I feel unable to fill my appointments, I say, In faith I will place myself in position. I will go to the meeting, and stand upon my feet, although feeling unable to say a word. And whenever I have done this I have had strength given me to rise above all infirmities, and to bear the message the Lord has given me for the people. 8LtMs, Ms 29, 1893, par. 1

It is now three months since we left Melbourne. We have traveled about twenty-five hundred miles by sea and by land, and I have written over three hundred pages of letter paper. I have spoken to the people forty-one times, and am gaining in health, and strength, for which I render thanksgiving and praise to God every day, and in the night season. “Blessed be the Lord, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. The Lord is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.” [Psalm 28:6-8.] “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” [Psalm 34:1-4.] I know not how to be thankful enough for the goodness and mercy of God to me. I desire to devote myself, soul, body, and spirit to His service. 8LtMs, Ms 29, 1893, par. 2

After the close of the camp meeting in Napier, we decided to visit Wellington, and to spend a few days at this place to labor with the little company of Sabbathkeepers here who are pleading for help. Palmerston is about five-hours’ ride from Napier, and it is nearly as far on to Wellington. For two or three hours after leaving Napier we passed over a rich farming country, dotted with small towns. In some of these some labor has been bestowed, and there are a few families of Sabbathkeepers. Farther on, the country is newer. It is quite level, and heavily timbered, and the large, fertile pastures, full of stumps and half burned logs, remind us of the newer portions of Michigan, Canada, and [New] York State. 8LtMs, Ms 29, 1893, par. 3

Palmerston is a prosperous town of six thousand inhabitants. It is a railroad center, and the principal town in a large and fertile district. 8LtMs, Ms 29, 1893, par. 4

Four years ago a series of meetings were held here by Elder Robert Hare; but the population of the place has doubled since that time, and another continuous persevering effort will be required here. During our short visit but little can be done except to encourage and counsel the little company of believers. 8LtMs, Ms 29, 1893, par. 5

Our laborers must learn at the foot of the cross the lessons to be communicated to the people. Thus will they bring sheaves to Jesus Christ. In the first chapter of Corinthians, Paul has given us instruction which every true laborer needs to study, especially the following verses: “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 1 Corinthians 1:23-25. Here is a lesson of special consequence to every worker in the vineyard of the Lord. It will not result in solid work for men to preach to please the ears of the people, while the truth is not held forth in a manner to bring them to the cross of Jesus Christ. The messenger of God must present eternal truths plainly, and keep in distinct view before the people their peril in neglecting eternal interests. While self is kept out of sight, Jesus Christ must be ever lifted up and exalted. Set in type 1 Corinthians 1:26-31. “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-3. The apostle feared lest his work should stand in the wisdom of men and not in the power of God, and thus his labor prove to be a work which would not produce a harvest. 8LtMs, Ms 29, 1893, par. 6

Set in type 1 Corinthians 2:4-9. Now the explanation of this wisdom that the world hath not seen, nor heard, nor known: “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things which are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:10-16. The words contained in this chapter should be imprinted on every soul of those who are [laborers] in the vineyard of the Lord. 8LtMs, Ms 29, 1893, par. 7

Every one engaging in the work needs these words framed and hung in memory’s hall: “We are laborers together with God.” 1 Corinthians 3:9. Then there will not be so many decided failures in the efforts made to win souls to Jesus Christ. There is need of bringing them to the foundation, and building them into a firm structure that will abide the fires of the last great day. The people cannot be reached, and their hearts broken, except by God’s divine power. 1 Corinthians 3:9-15. 8LtMs, Ms 29, 1893, par. 8

Those who seek wisdom in the study of the world’s authors are not drinking from the pure fountain flowing from the throne of God. “Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? Or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken? Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up.” Jeremiah 18:14, 15. Let the men who are engaged in the solemn work of bearing the last message to the world heed the exhortation of Paul: “Preach the Word.” Not the science of phrenology, or the productions from human speculations; but listen to the words of inspiration addressed to Timothy: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, (the people) having itching ears, and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Timothy 4:1-4. 8LtMs, Ms 29, 1893, par. 9

Now hear the words addressed to the messengers who bear the God-given message to the people in those last days: “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5. 8LtMs, Ms 29, 1893, par. 10

“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful man, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” 2 Timothy 2:1-3. 8LtMs, Ms 29, 1893, par. 11

Special heed should be given to the words of the apostle: “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.” 2 Timothy 2:14. The minister of the gospel is never exhorted to strive to be a smart preacher, a popular speaker; but is commanded to “study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings; for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” 2 Timothy 2:15, 16. Will every messenger of God give heed to these words. We are laborers together with God, and if those who accept the responsibility of holding forth the Word of Life to others do not daily yoke up with Christ, and lift his burdens, and learn of Jesus day by day, it were better for them to seek some other employment. 8LtMs, Ms 29, 1893, par. 12

We can reach the people only through God. If the human agent is co-operating with the divine intelligences, an efficiency and a power will attend his labors which will bring souls to the knowledge of the truth. Our appointed task is to sow beside all waters, to seize every opportunity which presents itself to cast in the seeds of truth. Let every youthful laborer engaged in any branch of the work consider that he is wearing the armor of Jesus Christ, marshalled under His banner to wisely meet the enemy. Jesus Christ is our Captain and Leader. We are to obey His orders in doing the work appointed us, which is to sow and reap and garner upHhis harvest. Let all consider that we are stewards of the manifold grace of God, and realize that of these stewards faithfulness is expected. Faithfulness and care will be exercised in the use of means committed to your trust—faithfulness in setting an example of simplicity in dress. Let strict economy mark your course of action, and by diligent use increase the talents with which you have been entrusted. 8LtMs, Ms 29, 1893, par. 13