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    (In connection with the two following Testimonies, see Testimony of September 12, 1908.)

    St. Helena, Cal,

    July 27, 1901.

    Dear Brother Johnston,

    A few weeks ago I sent a letter to Elder Shireman. He was presented before me as worried and suffering in mind. I was given instruction regarding the course you are pursuing toward him, a course which is not dictated by the counsels of God. You are causing Brother Shireman suffering. It is not your work to go into another man's field of labor and take up a work which by much labor and sacrifice he has established. There are plenty of fields as barren and as needy as was this one when Brother Shireman first entered it. Why should you not go to these fields, and there give evidence of your capability, tact, and ingenuity? Do not, I beg of you, act the part of a usurper, or an accuser of the brethren; for the Lord will not justify any such course of action. This is not the work you are appointed by the Conference to do.SpM 191.3

    What has led you, my brother, to locate in a place where another man, by patient labor and hard wrestling, and with great self-denial and self-sacrifice, has established a good work? The Lord is not pleased with you for stepping into another man's field, after he has done all the pioneering, to criticize and condemn, leaving the impression upon other minds that the work has not been done right. It is not the work of a minister of Christ to go to another man's field of labor and ignore the worker, showing no appreciation of his work. How much nobler to go to some unworked part of the vineyard and show there what can be done to make a beginning.SpM 191.4

    From the light the Lord has been pleased to give me, there are many openings just as promising as was the place where Brother Shireman began his work. And you have the advantage of possessing physical strength. Seek a hard place, and go to work. Labor with humility and earnestness, as Brother Shireman has done. Learn how he has accomplished his work, and then begin as he began, showing your zeal by making earnest efforts to establish something. Cultivate a part of the Lord's vineyard where nothing has been done. Thus you can consistently show what capabilities you possess. Thus you can show that your work is genuine.SpM 192.1

    Brother Shireman has taxed his energies for many years in a way that many of our younger ministers would shrink from doing. He has opened the Scriptures to the people and erected buildings, and the Lord has blessed him and gone before him. To some his work may appear crude, not elegant enough to suit their taste, but he has worked according to the ability given him by the Lord. God will bless any man who does this. You should be careful not to dishonor God in the person of his saints. Let the aged minister of God work in the place where he has accomplished so much, till the Lord by his Holy Spirit moves upon him to work in another place.SpM 192.2

    The Conference should understand that it has no right to send a man to take the work out of the hands of one who has done the hard labor, gaining his way little by little, by hard strokes, the Lord working with him, and giving him his hire in souls for his labor.SpM 192.3

    Study the action of Christ, as recorded in John 4:1-3. In regard to the property which Brother Shireman has built up, let no selfish greed force him to make it over to the Conference. There may be other places where he should work, and he should have something with which to operate. If he were called away suddenly, he could make this property over to some one he could trust. He should be allowed to control his own property, the results of his hard labor, and never feel himself destitute.SpM 192.4

    Brother Shireman will always need helpers, but not men who will seek to set him aside and supersede him. His helpers should be men of fine perceptions and delicacy of feeling, who will give credit where credit is due, who will not ignore the one used by God to do the hard, pioneer labor.SpM 192.5

    How dare any one minister or lay member, bar the way of God's servants by unjust, unfeeling speeches? But this has been done, and thereby some laborers have been discouraged and many souls lost who might have been saved. Those who do this work are not prompted by the Spirit of God, but by another Spirit. Scornful criticisms and discourteous remarks are from Satan. Abraham was a courteous man. If teachers, ministers, and people would practice Bible courtesy, they would find hearts open to receive the truth that are now closed, and the Lord would be glorified.SpM 192.6

    He who comes into another man's field of labor to scoff at his work, is not fitted for ministerial labor. He might better, far better, use his power in some other work. Those who search for something with which to find fault have taken the enemy's side of the question. Can Christ say of them, “Well done, good and faithful servant?” Are they giving the trumpet a certain sound? Are they proclaiming to a perishing world the last message of mercy?SpM 193.1

    For years the Lord has shown me that he uses many gifts in the work of saving souls. All who can, should do personal labor. As they go from house to house explaining the Scriptures to the people in a clear, simple manner, God makes the truth powerful to save. The Saviour blesses those who do this work.SpM 193.2

    For many years Brother Shireman has done a good and unselfish work. While others have sought rest and comfort, he has toiled in poverty, earning means to carry forward God's work. He is now [worn] with labor, and God desires him to be sustained, not discouraged. He should lay off some of his burdens, but the cause of God needs his experience. It needs his words, which have a comforting, soothing influence on sinsick souls.SpM 193.3

    Brother Shireman should not allow his spirit to be grieved by the course which others pursue toward him. He should not allow a combative spirit to take possession of him. He should not feel called upon to defend himself. He has no need for self-justification. His works speak for him. Those with whom God works are not to be at all intimidated by the criticisms of men who need to understand what it means to build up an interest in a new and barren field, who might far better use the talent of speech in warning those who know not the truth than in criticizing those who are doing their best.SpM 193.4

    Treat Brother Shireman with the tenderness with which you would wish to be treated were you in his place. Remember that workmen for God will spring up in many places. He who forsakes all that he has in order to advance the work of God, is doing that which must be done. Every weight, every besetting sin, must be laid aside. God's watchmen are to lift up the voice, saying, The morning cometh, and also the night. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate.... and touch not the unclean thing.” “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.”SpM 193.5

    The church can not measure herself by the world, not by the opinions of men, nor yet by what she once was. Her position in this world is to be compared with what it would have been had she continually pressed onward and upward, from victory to victory.SpM 193.6

    Ellen G. White.

    St. Helena, Cal.,

    August 6, 1901.

    Brother Johnston,

    I am greatly troubled in behalf of Brother Shireman, whom I know the Lord loves. God will be his friend and helper and his exceeding great reward.SpM 194.1

    The Lord presented the situation before me. I was shown Brother Shireman in great sorrow, suffering from criticisms of those who had done nothing to build up his work. I immediately wrote a letter of encouragement to Brother Shireman, and I wrote a letter to you also, and thought I had sent it, but I find that I did not. I will now write a little more to send with it.SpM 194.2

    The Lord is no respecter of persons. He who wounds the feelings of an aged brother, needs the converting power of God. How ashamed he ought to be, with his young strength, to slight one who has grown gray in serving God. How different his course would be could he see how highly Christ estimates the humble, earnest worker.SpM 194.3

    Christ accepts and communes with the most lowly, He does not accept men because of their capabilities or eloquence, but because they seek His face, desiring His help. His spirit moving upon the heart arouses every faculty to vigorous action. In these unpretentious ones the Lord sees the most precious material, which will stand storm and tempest, heat and pressure. God sees not as man sees. He judges not from appearance. He searches the heart and judges righteously.SpM 194.4

    God is displeased with the spirit you have manifested. Your insinuations and criticisms are most unbecoming. When you ought to be a teacher, you have need that one teach you. Do you know that you are criticizing the work of a man who has been visited by the angels of the Lord? Who has sent you to a field where a good work is in progress, to show your zeal by tearing it in pieces? If this is working in the “Regular lines”, it is high time that we worked in irregular lines.SpM 194.5

    No minister should dishonor his position as a Christian worker by being severe, critical, and overbearing, riding roughshod over men who God is using, men whom He loves because they appreciate His grace and do not abuse His mercies. Those who desire to be dealt with in mercy and compassion, must show mercy and compassion when dealing with their brethren.SpM 194.6

    It is acting the part of a thief and a robber to step into another man's field of labor and destroy his harvest. Paul the greatest preacher among believers, did not desire to go upon another man's ground. His desire was to preach the gospel to those who had never heard it. He writes, “Yea, so have I striven to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation; but as it is written, To whom He was not spoken of, they shall see; and they that have not heard shall understand.” And of Christ, it is written, “So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him; for that which had not been told them they shall see, and that which they had not heard shall they consider.”SpM 194.7

    There is true honor among those who have the love of God in their hearts. Our object in working for the Master should be that His name may be glorified in the conversion of sinners. Those who labor to gain applause are not approved by God. The Lord expects His servants to work from a different motive.SpM 195.1

    There are many who will spend and be spent to win souls to Christ. In obedience to the great commission, they will go forth to work for the Master. Under the ministration of angels ordinary men will be moved by the Spirit of God to warn people in the highways and byways. Humble men, who do not trust in their gifts, but who work in simplicity, trusting always in God, will share in the joy of the Saviour as their persevering prayers [bring] souls to the cross. We would say to them, Go forth, brethren; do your best humbly and sincerely, and God will work with you. They should be strengthened and encouraged, and as fast as possible fitted for labor, that success may crown their efforts. They harmonize with unseen, heavenly instrumentalities. They are workers together with God, and their brethren should bid them Godspeed, and pray for them as they labor in Christ's name. No one is authorized to hinder such workers. They should be treated with great respect. No one should speak a disparaging word of them as in the rough places of the earth they sow the gospel seed.SpM 195.2

    Christ will be with these humble workers. The angels of heaven will cooperate with them in their self-sacrificing efforts. By the power of the Holy Spirit Jesus will move upon hearts. God will work miracles in the conversion of sinners. Men and women will be gathered into church fellowship. Meeting houses will be built, and institutions of learning established.SpM 195.3

    These workers are trees of the Lord's planting. In a peculiar sense they bear fruit equal to the fruit borne by the apostles. They receive a reward in this life, and a glorious reward awaits them in the future life.SpM 195.4

    It is time that church members understood that everywhere there is a work to be done in the Lord's vineyard. No one is to wait for a regular process before they make any efforts. They should take up the work right where they are. There should be many at work in what are called “irregular lines.” If one hundred laborers would step out of the “regular lines,” and take up self-sacrificing work, such as Brother Shireman has done, souls would be won to the Lord. And the workers would understand by experience what it means to be laborers together with God.SpM 195.5

    Can it be that our brethren think that their criticisms are the productions of the Holy Spirit? It will be found that those who are criticized have more to show for their efforts than those who criticize. The names of the humble are stamped on the books of heaven, with the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of the Lord.” But opposite the name of the critics stand the words, “Thou are weighed in the balances, and found wanting.”SpM 195.6

    You have had educational advantages. But God has not imparted His gifts to you to be used in disparaging another man's work. The Lord has not told you to enter into another man's field, to rob him of the influence God has given him, to show how wise you are as contrasted with him. I pray that you may be converted. Unless you are changed in disposition and spirit, the gates of heaven will be closed against you.SpM 196.1

    Life's best things-simplicity, honesty, truthfulness, purity, unsullied integrity - are not to be bought or sold; they are as free to the illiterate as to the educated, to the white man as to the black man, to the poor as well as the king upon his throne.SpM 196.2

    Read and study the first chapter of First Corinthians, and see if you can not get back into right lines of work.SpM 196.3

    God is leading out a people preparing them for translation. Are we who are acting a part in this work standing as sentinels for God. Are we seeking to labor unitedly? Are we willing to be servants to all? Are we following in the footsteps of Jesus, our great exemplar?SpM 196.4

    In the field of life we are all sowing seeds. As we sow, so shall we reap. Those who sow self-love, bitterness, jealousy, will reap a like harvest. Those who sow unselfish love, kindness, tender thoughtfulness for the feelings of others, will reap a precious harvest.SpM 196.5

    Ellen G. White.

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