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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899) - Contents
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    Ms 3, 1899

    The Work for this Time


    January 25, 1899

    This manuscript is published in entirety in GCDB 03/02/1899.

    We are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Prophecies are fulfilling. The last great conflict will be short but terrible. Old controversies will be revived. New controversies will arise. The last warnings must be given to the world. There is a special power in the presentation of the truth at the present time, but how long will it continue—Only a little while. If ever there was a crisis, it is now.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 1

    Decided efforts should be made to bring the message for this time prominently before the people. The third angel is to go forth with great power. Let none ignore this work, or treat it as of little importance. The truth is to be proclaimed to the world, that they may see the light.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 2

    This is our work. The light that we have upon the third angel’s message is the true light. The mark of the beast is exactly what it has been proclaimed to be. All in regard to this matter is not yet understood, and will not be understood until the unrolling of the scroll, but a most solemn work is to be accomplished in our world. The Lord’s command to His servants is, “Cry aloud; spare not; lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” [Isaiah 58:1.]14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 3

    There is to be no change in the features of our work. It is to stand as clear and distinct as prophecy has made it. We are to enter into no confederacy with the world, supposing that by so doing we could accomplish more. If any stand in the way, to hinder the advancement of the work in the lines that God has appointed, they will displease God. No line of our faith that has made us what we are, is to be weakened. We have the old landmarks of truth, experience, and duty, and we are to stand firmly in defence of our principles, in full view of the world.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 4

    It is essential that men be raised up to open the living oracles of God to all nations, tongues, and peoples. Men of all ranks and capacities, with various gifts, are to stand in their God-given armor, to co-operate harmoniously for a common result. They are to unite in the work of bringing the truth to all nations and peoples, each worker fulfilling his own special appointment.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 5

    There is a wide field of action, and in their plans and devising, all need to consider the result. Everything is to move according to the divine plan. The whole body must be fitly joined together, that each member may promote the designs of Him who gave His life for the life of the world.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 6

    As the work advances, dangers arise that need to be guarded against. As new enterprises are entered upon, there is a tendency to make some one line all-absorbing; that which should have the first place becomes a secondary consideration. The church needs fresh power and vitality; but there is great danger of taking on new lines of work that will waste their energies instead of bringing life into the church.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 7

    The Work for the Outcasts

    Of late a great interest has been aroused for the poor and outcast classes; a great work has been entered upon for the uplifting of the fallen and degraded. This in itself is a good work. We should ever have the spirit of Christ, and we are to do the same class of work that He did for suffering humanity. The Lord has a work to be done for the outcasts. There is no question but that it is the duty of some to labor among them, and try to save the souls that are perishing. This will have its place in connection with the proclamation of the third angel’s message and the reception of Bible truth. But there is danger of loading down everyone with this class of work, because of the intensity with which it is carried on. There is danger of leading men to center their energies in this line, when God has called them to another work.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 8

    The great question of our duty to humanity is a serious one, and much of the grace of God is needed in deciding how to work so as to accomplish the greatest amount of good. Not all are called to begin their work by laboring among the lowest classes. God does not require His workmen to obtain their education and training in order to devote themselves exclusively to these classes.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 9

    The working of God is manifest in a way which will establish confidence that the work is of His devising, and that sound principles underlie every action. But I have had instruction from God that there is danger of planning for the outcasts in a way which will lead to spasmodic and excitable movements. These will produce no really beneficial results. A class will be encouraged to do a kind of work which will amount to the least in strengthening all parts of the work by harmonious action.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 10

    The gospel invitation is to be given to the rich and the poor, the high and the low, and we must devise means for carrying the truth into new places, and to all classes of people. The Lord bids us, “Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” [Luke 14:23.] He says, “Begin in the highways; thoroughly work the highways; prepare a company who in unity with you can go forth to do the very work that Christ did in seeking and saving the lost.”14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 11

    Christ preached the gospel to the poor, but He did not confine His labors to this class. He worked for all who would hear His word—not only the publican and the outcasts, but the rich and cultivated Pharisee, the Jewish nobleman, the centurion, and the Roman ruler. This is the kind of work I have ever seen should be done. We are not to strain every spiritual sinew and nerve to work for the lowest classes, and make that work the all in all. There are others whom we must bring to the Master, souls who need the truth, who are bearing responsibilities, and who will work with all their sanctified ability for the high places as well as for the low places.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 12

    The work for the poorer classes has no limit. It can never be gotten through with, and it must be treated as a part of the great whole. To give our first attention to this work, while there are vast portions of the Lord’s vineyard open to culture and yet untouched, is to begin in the wrong place. As the right arm is to the body, so is the medical missionary work to the third angel’s message. But the right arm is not to become the whole body. The work of seeking the outcasts is important, but it is not to become the great burden of our mission.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 13

    The Gospel Wagon

    In our efforts to reach the people, there is danger of adopting methods that will not produce the best results. Plans may be followed which seem to excite much interest for the time; but the effect proves that the work is not abiding. The use of the Gospel Wagon may accomplish some good; but in most cases the after results will be disappointing. People will be attracted by the music, and will listen to the addresses and appeals that are made. But the workers pass rapidly from place to place, and there is not time for persons to become established in the faith. The impressions made are soon effaced.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 14

    Little seed has been sown that springs up and bears fruit. When the season is ended, there will be few sheaves to be gathered. Experience will show that the results are not proportionate to the expenditure. The work is too much like that of carrying a torch through a district in the night. The places where the torch-bearer goes are light; but not many tapers are kindled from his torch, and when he has gone his way, the darkness is almost as great as before.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 15

    In this manner of working there is danger of depending too much on outward display to attract the people. The mission of Christ was not conducted in this way. Outward display is not to characterize our work. We must not give the impression that we link amusement with the solemn work for this time. If the workers have a real love for souls, they may find more effective methods of labor. Other plans could be devised which would be less expensive, and would have a much better after-influence.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 16

    And this method of working will not have the best effect upon the workers themselves. Outward attraction and display encourage sensational ideas by which some of the workers may be spoiled for any effective service.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 17

    In this manner of life they are likely to obtain a shifting, changeable experience. Plans should be followed by which each working force may know what kind of work it is doing, and may be able to gather up the sheaves. Expend your money in a work in which each worker may be able to see something of the results, and know that God was with him. We want to have daily an individual experience in the things of God. And each laborer should be learning to build up the work, so that it shall be solid and abiding.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 18

    Camp Meetings

    In contrast with the use of the gospel wagon, another work has been presented to my sight. Tents were being taken to different places during suitable seasons of the year. Camp meetings were being held in many localities. These were conducted by able, God-fearing men, assisted by suitable helpers. Children’s meetings were held, and revival meetings, to bring the people to take their stand for the truth.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 19

    In many places it is next to impossible to find entrance to any house of worship. Prejudice, envy, and jealousy are so strong that often we can find no place in which to speak to the people the Word of life. If camp meetings can be held in different places, those who wish to hear can have the opportunity. Souls that are starving for the bread of life will be fed.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 20

    Instead of having mammoth camp meetings in a few localities, more good would often be done by having small meetings in many places. Let these be held in cities and towns where the message of present truth has not been presented. Help those who are interested to attend, if necessary providing them with food and lodging. And let the meeting continue two or three weeks.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 21

    This should be followed up by a tent meeting and Bible work. Experienced laborers with their assistants should remain in the field to search out all who are interested. They should work as if searching for the lost sheep. Many who came to the camp meeting merely to hear or see some new thing will be impressed by the truth, and some will take their stand to obey.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 22

    All this will require consecrated, self-sacrificing labor. At a camp meeting it may sometimes be difficult to hold the principal speakers for several weeks to develop the interest that has been awakened. It may be impossible for all our people to remain till the close of the meeting, and it may involve considerable expense to retain the ground and keep standing a sufficient number of family tents to maintain the appearance of a camp meeting. It may be at a sacrifice that families remain camping on the grounds to assist the ministers and Bible workers in visiting and Bible study with those who come on the ground, and in visiting the people at their homes, telling them of the blessing received at the meetings, and inviting them to come.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 23

    No doubt it will be difficult to secure a sufficient number of workers to carry forward the work successfully after the meeting, but the result will justify the effort. It is by such earnest, energetic efforts as these that some of our camp meetings have been instrumental in raising up strong working churches, and it is by just such earnest work that the third angel’s message must be carried to the people of our cities.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 24

    In these meetings we should not at first present doctrinal subjects, of which the hearers have no understanding. Hold the attention of the people by presenting the truth as it is in Jesus. The very first and most important thing is to melt and subdue the soul by presenting our Lord Jesus Christ as the sin-pardoning Saviour. Keep before the people the cross of Calvary. What caused the death of Christ? The transgression of the law. Show that Christ died to give men an opportunity to become loyal subjects of His kingdom.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 25

    Let the truth be presented, not in long, labored discourses, but in short talks, right to the point. Educate, educate in regard to thorough, whole-souled service. Thorough consecration, much prayer, an intense earnestness will make an impression, for angels of God will be present to move upon the hearts of the hearers.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 26

    Let there be singing and instrumental music. Musical instrumental were used in religious services in ancient times. The worshipers praised God upon the harp and cymbal, and music should have its place in our services. It will add to the interest.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 27

    Let there be personal labor for the unconverted. Invite all who are not satisfied that they are prepared for Christ’s coming, and all who feel burdened and heavy laden, to come apart by themselves. Let those who are spiritual converse with these souls. Pray with them and for them. And do not let the work stop here. Visit them at their homes. Let much time be spent in prayer and close searching of the Word. Let all obtain the real facts of faith in their own souls through belief that the Holy Spirit will teach them because they have a real hungering and thirsting after righteousness.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 28

    In this way the right kind of education is given to the people in religious exercises, and there is presented also the discipline of organization and order.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 29

    Meetinghouses and Church Schools

    When a company of believers is raised up, careful provision should be made for the permanence and stability of the work. A house of worship will be needed, and a school where Bible instruction may be given to the children. The workers should not leave their field of labor until a meetinghouse is built, and a schoolroom and a teacher provided. Here is a channel in which the means invested in gospel wagons might be used to secure far greater and more permanent results for good.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 30

    All this has been presented before me as a panoramic view. I saw workmen building humble houses of worship. Those newly come to the faith were helping with willing hands, and those who had means were assisting with their means. In the basement of the church, above ground, a schoolroom was prepared for the children. Teachers were selected to go to this place. The numbers in the school were not large, but it was a happy beginning. I heard the songs of children and of parents, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” “Praise ye the Lord; praise the Lord, O my soul. While I live will I praise the Lord. I will sing praises unto my God while I have my being.” [Psalm 127:1; 146:1, 2.]14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 31

    The establishing of churches, the erection of meetinghouses and school buildings was extended from city to city, and the tithe was increasing to carry forward the work. There was a plant, not only in one place, but in many places, and the Lord was working to increase His forces. Something was being established that would publish the truth. That is the work to be done, not only in Australia, but in the cities of America as well.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 32

    In this work all classes will be reached. When the Holy Spirit works among us, souls who are unready for Christ’s appearing are convicted. Many come to our meetings and are converted who for years have not attended meetings in any church. The simplicity of the truth reaches their hearts. The tobacco devotees sacrifice their idol, and the liquor drinker his liquor. They could not do this if they did not by faith grasp the promises of God for the forgiveness of their sins.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 33

    The truth as it is in the Word comes before high and low, rich and poor, and those who receive the message become workers with us and with God, and a strong force is raised up to labor harmoniously. This is our work. It is not neglected in any of our camp meeting labor. It is a part of every gospel mission. Instead of setting every talent to work for the lowest outcasts, we should seek in every place to raise up a company of believers who will unite with us in uplifting the standard of truth, and working for rich and poor. Then as churches are established, there will be an increase of helpers to labor for the destitute and the outcasts.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 34

    The Relation of the Ministry to the Medical Missionary Work

    Both home and foreign missions should be conducted in connection with the ministry of the Word. The medical missionary work is not to be carried forward as something apart from the work of the gospel ministry. The Lord’s people are to be one. There is to be no separation in His work. Time and means are being absorbed in a work which is carried forward too earnestly in one direction. The Lord has not appointed this. He sent out His twelve apostles and afterward the seventy to preach the Word to the people, and He gave them power to heal the sick and to cast out devils in His name. The two lines of work must not be separated. Satan will invent every possible scheme to separate those whom God is seeking to make one. We must not be misled by his devices. The medical missionary work is to be connected with the work of the third angel’s message, as the hand is connected with the body, and the education of students in medical missionary lines is not complete unless they are trained to work in connection with the church and the ministry.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 35

    There are in the ministry men of faith and experience, men who can say, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; ... that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you.” [1 John 1:1, 3.] These men are to instruct others. The plan of calling workers away from their fields of labor to attend ministerial institutes is not as a rule the best for this time. Let men be trained by actual labor, under the instruction of experienced workers.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 36

    The medical missionary work is not to take men from the ministry, but to place them in the field. Wherever camp meetings are held, young men who have received an education in medical missionary lines should feel it their duty to act a part. They should be encouraged to speak, not only on these special lines, but also upon the points of present truth, giving the reasons why we are Seventh-day Adventists. These young men, given an opportunity to work with older ministers, will receive much help and blessing.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 37

    In following up the interest after a camp meeting, helpers are needed in various lines, and these occasions should be as a training school for workers. Let young men work in connection with experienced laborers who will pray with and for them, and patiently instruct them.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 38

    There must be no belittling of the gospel ministry. No enterprise should be so conducted as to cause the ministry of the Word to be looked upon as an inferior matter. It is not so. Those who ignore the ministry are ignoring Christ. The highest of all work is ministry in its various lines, and it should be kept before the youth that there is no work more blessed of God than that of the gospel minister.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 39

    Let not our young men be deterred from entering the ministry. There is danger that, through glowing representations, some will be drawn out of the path where God bids them walk. Some have been encouraged to take a course of study in medical lines who ought to be preparing themselves to enter the ministry. The Lord calls for more men to labor in His vineyard. The words were spoken, “Strengthen the outposts; have faithful sentinels in every part of the world.” God calls for you, young men. He calls for whole armies of young men who are large-hearted and large-minded, and who have a deep love for Christ and the truth.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 40

    The measure of capacity or learning is of infinitely less consequence than the spirit with which the work is done. It is not great and learned men that the ministry needs, it is not eloquent sermonizers. God calls for men who will give themselves to Him to be imbued with His Spirit. The cause of Christ and humanity demands sanctified, self-sacrificing men, those who can go forth without the camp, bearing the reproach. Let them be strong, valiant men, fit for worthy enterprises, and let them make a covenant with God by sacrifice.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 41

    The ministry is no place for idlers. God’s servants are to make full proof of their ministry. They will not be sluggards, but as expositors of His Word they will put forth their utmost energies to be faithful. They should never cease to be learners. They are to keep their own souls all alive to the sacredness of the work and to the great responsibilities of their calling, that they may at no time or place bring to God a maimed sacrifice, an offering which cost them neither study nor prayer. The Lord has need of men of intense spiritual life. Every worker may receive an endowment of strength from on high, and may go forward with faith and hope in the path where God bids him walk. The Word of God abideth in the young, consecrated laborer. He is quick, earnest, powerful, and he has in the counsel of God an unfailing source of supply.14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 42

    God has called this people to give to the world the message of Christ’s soon coming. We are to give to men the last call to the gospel feast, the last invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Thousands of places that have not heard the call are yet to hear it. Many who have not given the message are yet to proclaim it. Again I appeal to our young men: Has not God called upon you to sound this message? I bid you seek counsel from God. Seek Him with the whole heart, and “whatsoever he saith unto you, do.” [John 2:5.]14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 43

    “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal; that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.” [John 4:35, 36.]14LtMs, Ms 3, 1899, par. 44

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