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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903) - Contents
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    Ms 182, 1903

    Humility Above Reputation



    Portions of this manuscript are published in HP 220.

    Peril of Self-Exaltation

    There is nothing more dangerous to our brethren than to have the name of being a special success in any line of work. It is a positive snare of the devil. The intensity of desire to keep up the reputation gained leads to strange things being done. A man who desires to have the name of being an eminent physician will be the subject of grievous temptations. He will wish to make everything serve his ambitious purpose to be first. He will not wish other physicians to reach ahead of him. In the publishing work, a great writer thinks he is competent in his line to do all that is essential for the church and the world.18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 1

    In the church, when a man is exalted as a man of faith, and is looked to and trusted, there is danger that the people will be drawn to that man and he be relied upon by some as if he were a god.18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 2

    In any calling that a Christian may have in the religious life, unless he is guarded continually, he will be in danger of thinking he must do some wonderful work in order to maintain his reputation. The enemy will lead men to think their own reputation of greater consequence than striving to be complete in Christ Jesus, the Source of all true power and grace and salvation. The glory of Christ is our great efficiency.18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 3

    Let not any man in any line—physician, writer, evangelist, or minister—suppose that his reputation must be maintained, else he is nothingness. This is a snare of the devil. Is he in Christ? Is he patterning after Christ daily, or is he virtually patterning out a patent-right of his own individual self, which he must keep up as superior, a reputation that must not in any case be diminished. Now all this wonderful striving to be the first great power in any line is the greatest fallacy that man can entertain. No one who has this temptation to be first, unless he is daily converted, will ever see the kingdom of heaven.18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 4

    The Lord claims to have His place in all our councils. Ministers, educators, and physicians are to cultivate their talents, to speak clearly and distinctly, to write in such a way as to express the impressions the Lord may give them, and individually, with minds taught of God, to exercise their sanctified understanding to become better qualified and more efficient in their work. No man, however efficient, can do another man’s appointed work. The individual mind must be worked by the Holy Spirit of God. In speaking or in writing let the words be simple. This is God’s order.18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 5

    One man’s mind and one man’s expressions as educator in any line of work are not to be considered sufficient. Every man is to do his work as under the immediate eye of God. If he is spiritual and conscientious he will never be frivolous, but a man whom God can impress and talk with. He will evidence that he appreciates and reverences the great I AM. He will be a man whom the Lord will teach and guide and to whom He will make known the living truth as the great foundations of all education.18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 6

    The true learner is always inquiring of the Lord at every step, Is this the way of the Lord? What name he may acquire is not to be any anxiety to him. The great and earnest question is, How shall I conduct my line of the work so as to make Christ appear to all for whom I labor, as the One altogether lovely and the chiefest among ten thousand?18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 7

    Some who really begin well lose much because they take so many things in their own hands. They do things without counseling with their brethren, and then consider they are doing a great work for the church, that the institutions could not spare them, and that they are the main spoke in the wheel, when they are causing the work of God to be retarded. They do the very work the Lord has fitted other men to do if they will only give these men a chance. But while they grasp everything as though this is what God means they shall do, they overwork and make serious blunders and then, after accepting all they possibly can grasp, they feel very badly because others do not come in to help them. God says to such, Unload. Fill your appointed place and let others do their part of the work.18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 8

    We are to take time to prepare ourselves to do our appointed work, then our example of what a Christian should be becomes manifest and helps others to abide in Christ. Then if our individual path is crossed in any way, and it certainly will be, the demon of hatred will not take possession of the human agent and make him feel abused. We are none of us to make any man our dependence, whatever may be his showing. Every soul saved must not look to any man as his criterion, but look to God.18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 9

    Many men in responsible places will dissemble. Some were presented to me as making desperate efforts to undercut the work of those who are carrying forward and laying plans to enlarge and substantiate the work in some localities. God may be teaching such men to let other men have a chance, and not leave the impression—just as they want it should be—that they are the foundation of all this work. Many things have been opened before me, that show it is a false pretense for a man to be very active, as though greatly interested in every work and doing a great work, when it is not so in verity and truth; but he wants the name of being the originator of everything that goes under the medical missionary work; and it is being managed in such a pretentious way that God is not pleased, for it is for effect.18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 10

    One comes in and takes action as though he was the instigator of the work, the one to be given the whole credit for what is being established.18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 11

    We must all come to our senses. One action under false showing is leaven that will work badly. Trust in God; walk and work under His immediate eye. “Thou God seest me.” [Genesis 16:13.] All who shall be overcomers and sit with Christ upon His throne are those who have looked to no human pattern as perfection, but to Him who is invisible, who is the author and finisher of our faith. We need now, individually, intense watchfulness and rigid examination of every work, for false impressions will be made.18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 12

    Self! I! Men may suppose “I” am doing most excellent works, but if these works bear not the fragrance of the presence of the Saviour they will, though exalted and approved by men, be a positive snare of Satan to pervert the judgment, to blind the eyes, and to captivate the soul.18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 13

    When Satan can come in, disguised as an angel of light, and the one who entertains his specious suggestions of the wonderful talents I possess and lauds me as a man that can supersede all others—it is the devil’s sophistry. You may preach the gospel and visit the sick as a devoted medical missionary; help the poor, protect the fatherless, and practice the entire catalog of religious activities; and yet cultivate the spirit that shall spoil the work and never be worked by the Holy Spirit of God at all. It may be done to glorify your individual self, doing certain things through habit and the force of surrounding circumstances. Certain influences, when set in operation, bring about certain results. We may do things because others do these things. A Christian, in order to obtain a symmetrical, Christlike character that all heaven commends, is to understand the message of Christ to every sinful soul: “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 14

    Do we consent to be laborers together with God, trying to win souls to accept Christ’s invitation and keep the grand hope through Christ ever before the souls with whom we associate? We have pledged ourselves at our baptism to do this.18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 15

    God has created man and given him all his faculties of body, soul, and spirit. The Lord Jesus has bought him with a price so full, so ample, that there could be no competition. What can man offer to God that is not already the Lord’s own? God gave the faculties, and every working of these faculties belongs to God. This means that your experience from first to last is to be yoked up with Christ. Learning the lesson of meekness and lowliness of heart makes you a partaker of Christ’s sufferings and appreciative of the virtues of the life of Christ.18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 16

    There will be a constant prayer, Keep me by Thy power; let not my feet slide; let not my heart be filled with ambitious plans to exalt myself; and let me not be angered because I am not considered by all to be the greatest power in the church. Teach me how to practice the art of self-emptying in order to be supplied with the grace of Christ and have that love Christ prayed that I might have—“as I have loved you.” [John 13:34.] I must receive grace that I may supply others with that grace. Oh, give my soul much nearness to God, that I may receive His disposition and love my brethren. Help me, O Lord, to realize that I am, of myself, unable to do anything in its true, pure bearings. Self, self will be continually active for recognition, even in the very holiest of exercises.18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 17

    Miserable delusions today are practiced and exalted. There is a large number of workers who have a religious name without spiritual breath from God, without Christ, striving to be workers together with God. There are so many who drop out the “together” and work wholly in self. [1 Corinthians 3:9.] They do not arm themselves with the same mind that was in Christ. Self, self, self is exhibited in such a marked degree that self becomes their constant companion. Their works taste so strongly of the dish that they themselves become disgusted with the contemplation, and there is a cheap, religious experience that is of no real virtue in their inward life. In genuine experience there must be the humble walking with God, the eye single to the glory of God. It is a farce without this.18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 18

    Let us humble ourselves under the hand of God, that He may lift us up. If the uplifting is done by Jesus Christ then it is a pure, clean, holy uplifting. I cannot endure the thought of carrying along such a bundle of self, which is a terrible load. If we have Christ’s presence we shall walk as He walked. The speech will be after the divine similitude. There will be revealed the gentleness of Christ, a purity of speech, a moral elevation in all our service which is beyond all price; and when Christ is revealed in the words and works of all physicians, there will be altogether a different atmosphere surrounding them in the home life and in all their practice. Christ Himself will be the worker, and this will not cripple the energy in the least; but it will tend to raise the physician who is a converted man to a high plane of action, giving a higher tone of experience in all his service, which is of great price.18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 19

    This experience in humility and lowliness can be learned in no human school, but the divine Teacher says, “Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:29.] Jealousies and evil surmisings and exalted aspirations will not become woven into the web to spoil the pattern. God help our physicians to be so guided that their every action will be intensified, and the independent individual, though man, will be of entirely a different character than has ever been seen in the working of the human mind. To keep up a reputation by outward appearance is miserable, degrading bondage. The Lord has given His life for us, and He will give just the qualifications of character that will make us appreciative of other men as men whom God will use. We have no right to exalt our individual selves above others. The Lord has graciously supplied the most talented with all that he has, which he uses and consumes daily, without any thought of the sacred gift, without feeling his dependence upon God. When he feels like it, he will do some miserable work which grieves the Holy Spirit of God and puts Christ to open shame. His human actions, his human indignation, and his human speech are cutting to the soul, and his works tear to pieces. Is that pleasing to God? No! I answer, No.18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 20

    While the innumerable company of angels receive their commission to bear light and grace to advance the work of God, the human agent is so wrapped up in his own self he thinks he can speak and act just as Satan would act under the same circumstances. The angels pass him by and leave him to splurge out his own irreligious words and actions, while they—the angels—pass on to those who will be taught and worked and who will appreciate the unfolding of the great goodness of God. In songs of praise they will declare His love to those who will catch the strains, respond with human voice, and acquit themselves as men whom God is working.18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 21

    Our work individually is to copy the character of Christ, who gave His life to make it possible for us to do this. Shall we evidence to the world that we are children of God, bought with a price, and that we are bearing fruit in speech, in tone of voice, and in kindness of redeeming love, showing what it means to keep the commandments of God? Is it right to slight the testimony of fruit-bearing, good trees, according to our profession? Is it right to disregard the Source of our power by looks, by words, by actions that must be born of Satan? What is the gift of Christ who gave His precious life that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works?18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 22

    The grace given cost Heaven a price it is impossible for us to measure. That grace is our choicest treasure, and Christ means that it shall be communicated through us. It is sacred, in the name of Jesus, to the saving of the soul. It is the revealing of the honor of God, an unfolding of His glory. And shall any man or woman professing godliness misinterpret the gift, ignore the Giver, and present a substitute? The Lord in pity will lift the soul out of trouble and place his feet in sure paths. And what if he strays from the Lord? Then he grieves the Spirit of Christ afresh and puts Him to open shame.18LtMs, Ms 182, 1903, par. 23

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