Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists


Love and Forbearance among Brethren

Dear Brethren and Sisters,

I am indeed thankful for this privilege of meeting with those who are laboring to spread the light of truth in the various countries of Europe. It is a grand, a noble work, and one which should call forth every energy of the being. As laborers for God, we need a more sacred nearness to him, and a closer fellowship with one another, that our prayers and efforts may not be hindered. We must not expect in our own strength to meet and press through the moral darkness that is in the world but we must perseveringly labor for that strength which is found alone in Jesus. He loves us, and those who labor in his spirit will realize his assistance in all their efforts. It is impossible, even with the strong arguments of truth, to reach the hearts of men, unless there is, united with these arguments, a divine power. HS 119.1

A machine may be perfect in all its parts, and yet there be much friction and wear in its movements; but apply oil, and it performs its work quietly and well. So with us. It is necessary to have the oil of grace in our hearts, in order to prevent the friction that may arise between us and those for whom we labor. Then, having not only the arguments of truth but the oil of grace, we can bear the message with power. Prejudice will be broken down, and a great work will be accomplished. “Without me.” says Christ, “ye can do nothing.” The branch cannot bear fruit except it abide in the vine; neither can we except we abide in Christ. HS 119.2

If the love of Jesus is cherished in the heart, it will be seen in the labors; the will and the manners will be brought under the moulding influence of the Holy Spirit. In the prayer of Christ just before his crucifixion, he said, “And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” The teacher of the people must be an example to the flock of God in all meekness, patience, forbearance, and love. He is, in a special sense, a living epistle, “known and read of all men.” How important, then, that the sanctifying power of the truth be seen in his character. HS 119.3

The minister of God must first drink of the living fountain himself if he would firmly and intelligently lead others to that fountain. If he would present those for whom he labors, perfect in Christ, he must himself be perfect. Divine power alone will reach and melt the sinner's heart, and bring him, a penitent, to Christ. Neither Luther, Melancthon, Wesley, Whitefield, nor any other great reformer and teacher, could of himself have gained such access to hearts as to accomplish the work that these men accomplished. But God spoke through them. Men felt the influence of a superior power, and involuntarily yielded to it. HS 119.4

God calls upon those who are lifting up the standard of truth before others to themselves exemplify its precepts in their daily life. Such a course would charm into believing many who have intrenched themselves behind the breast-works of infidelity. The influence of a true Christian character is like a cheering ray of sunlight that pierces to the remotest corner the darkness into which it is allowed to enter. The light emanating from the example of the Christian minister should not be fitful and uncertain, like the flash of a meteor, but it should have the calm, steady radiance of the heavenly stars. HS 120.1

The true minister of Christ should be encircled by an atmosphere of spiritual light, because he is connected with the world of light, and walks with Christ, who is the light of the world. Arguments may be resisted, persuasion and entreaty may be scorned, the most eloquent appeals, supported by the rigor of logic, may be disregarded; but a living character of righteousness, a daily piety in the walks of life, an anxiety for the sinner wherever found, the spirit of truth burning in the heart, beaming from the countenance, and breathing from the lips in every word, constitute a sermon which is hard to resist or to set aside, and which makes the strongholds of Satan tremble. Ministers who walk with God are clad with the panoply of heaven, and victory will attend their efforts. HS 120.2

Those who are engaged in the great and solemn work of warning the world, should not only have an individual experience in the things of God, but they should cultivate love for one another, and should labor to be of one mind, of one judgment, to see eye to eye. The absence of this love greatly pleases our wily foe. He is the author of envy, jealousy, hatred, and dissension; and he rejoices to see these vile weeds choke out love, that tender plant of heavenly growth. HS 120.3

It does not please God to have his servants censure, criticise, and condemn one another. He has given them a special work, that of standing in defense of truth. They are his workmen; all should respect them, and they should respect one another. In the army, officers are required to respect their fellow-officers, and the privates soon learn the lesson. When the leaders of the people in the Christian warfare are kind and forbearing, and manifest a special love and regard for their co-laborers, they teach others to do the same. HS 120.4

The reputation of a fellow-laborer is to be sacredly guarded. If one sees faults in another, he is not to magnify them before others, and make them grievous sins. They may be errors of judgment, that God will give divine grace to overcome. If he had seen that angels, who are perfect, would have done the work for the fallen race better than men, he would have committed it to them. But instead of this he sent the needed assistance by poor, weak, erring mortals, who, having like infirmities as their fellow-men, are best prepared to help them. HS 120.5

There was Peter, who denied his Lord. After he had fallen and been converted, Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” Before Peter's feet slipped, he had not the spirit of meekness required to feed the lambs; but after he became sensible of his own weakness, he knew just how to teach the erring and fallen; he could come close to their side in tender sympathy, and could help them. HS 121.1

In beginning missionary work in new fields, a great mistake is often made in not calling into exercise all the talents that might be employed in the work. Sometimes those who have excellent ability make great mistakes when they begin to work; but are they to be dropped because of this? No, indeed. Let them be patiently, perseveringly educated and trained, and in nine cases out of ten they will become useful workers. HS 121.2

My brethren in the ministry, I entreat of you to be just as kind and forbearing toward those who are new in the faith, as you wanted others to be toward you when you first came to the knowledge of the truth. In meekness and love teach them to bear responsibilities, and to labor for others. Jesus loves them just as much as he does you, and is just as willing to help them if they will learn to trust in him. If you see imperfections in them, do not discourage them and drive them from the truth by manifesting an overbearing, critical spirit. This is not the spirit of Christ. What does God say? “Come now, and let us reason together.” He does not say, You are defective, and I will have nothing to do with you. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.” HS 121.3

Wednesday morning, September 16.