(All Bible texts are in the NKJV Bible unless otherwise indicated)
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.
6 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other.
10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.
13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
10 As it is written:
“There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
12 They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”
13 “Their throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;
17 And the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
20 For there is not a just man on earth who does good
And does not sin.
2 The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
3 They have all turned aside,
They have together become corrupt;
There is none who does good,
No, not one.
9 For there is no faithfulness in their mouth;
Their inward part is destruction;
Their throat is an open tomb;
They flatter with their tongue.
7 His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and oppression;
Under his tongue is trouble and iniquity.
7 Their feet run to evil,
And they make haste to shed innocent blood;
Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity;
Wasting and destruction are in their paths.
8 The way of peace they have not known,
And there is no justice in their ways;
They have made themselves crooked paths;
Whoever takes that way shall not know peace.
42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
‘The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
This was the Lord’s doing,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?
3 But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him:
5 Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?
4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’
31 But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying,
10 Have you not even read this Scripture:
‘The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
26 But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?
3 But Jesus answering them said, “Have you not even read this, what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him:
15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),
14 “So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
It is not enough to know what others have thought or learned about the Bible. Everyone must in the judgment give account of himself to God, and each should now learn for himself what is truth. But in order to do effective study, the interest of the pupil must be enlisted. Especially by the one who has to deal with children and youth differing widely in disposition, training, and habits of thought, this is a matter not to be lost sight of. In teaching children the Bible, we may gain much by observing the bent of their minds, the things in which they are interested, and arousing their interest to see what the Bible says about these things. He who created us, with our various aptitudes, has in His word given something for everyone. As the pupils see that the lessons of the Bible apply to their own lives, teach them to look to it as a counselor.
Help them also to appreciate its wonderful beauty. Many books of no real value, books that are exciting and unhealthful are recommended, or at least permitted to be used, because of their supposed literary value. Why should we direct our children to drink of these polluted streams when they may have free access to the pure fountains of the word of God? The Bible has a fullness, a strength, a depth of meaning, that is inexhaustible. Encourage the children and youth to seek out its treasures both of thought and of expression.
As the beauty of these precious things attracts their minds, a softening, subduing power will touch their hearts. They will be drawn to Him who has thus revealed Himself to them. And there are few who will not desire to know more of His works and ways.
The student of the Bible should be taught to approach it in the spirit of a learner. We are to search its pages, not for proof to sustain our opinions, but in order to know what God says.
A true knowledge of the Bible can be gained only through the aid of that Spirit by whom the word was given. And in order to gain this knowledge we must live by it. All that God’s word commands, we are to obey. All that it promises, we may claim. The life which it enjoins is the life that, through its power, we are to live. Only as the Bible is thus held can it be studied effectively.
The study of the Bible demands our most diligent effort and persevering thought. As the miner digs for the golden treasure in the earth, so earnestly, persistently, must we seek for the treasure of God’s word.
In daily study the verse-by-verse method is often most helpful. Let the student take one verse, and concentrate the mind on ascertaining the thought that God has put into that verse for him, and then dwell upon the thought until it becomes his own. One passage thus studied until its significance is clear is of more value than the perusal of many chapters with no definite purpose in view and no positive instruction gained.
One of the chief causes of mental inefficiency and moral weakness is the lack of concentration for worthy ends. We pride ourselves on the wide distribution of literature; but the multiplication of books, even books that in themselves are not harmful, may be a positive evil. With the immense tide of printed matter constantly pouring from the press, old and young form the habit of reading hastily and superficially, and the mind loses its power of connected and vigorous thought. Furthermore, a large share of the periodicals and books that, like the frogs of Egypt, are overspreading the land, are not merely commonplace, idle, and enervating, but unclean and degrading. Their effect is not merely to intoxicate and ruin the mind, but to corrupt and destroy the soul. The mind, the heart, that is indolent, aimless, falls an easy prey to evil. It is on diseased, lifeless organisms that fungus roots. It is the idle mind that is Satan’s workshop. Let the mind be directed to high and holy ideals, let the life have a noble aim, an absorbing purpose, and evil finds little foothold.
Let the youth, then, be taught to give close study to the word of God. Received into the soul, it will prove a mighty barricade against temptation. “Thy word,” the psalmist declares, “have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” “By the word of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.” Psalm 119:11; 17:4.
The Bible is its own expositor. Scripture is to be compared with scripture. The student should learn to view the word as a whole, and to see the relation of its parts. He should gain a knowledge of its grand central theme, of God’s original purpose for the world, of the rise of the great controversy, and of the work of redemption. He should understand the nature of the two principles that are contending for supremacy, and should learn to trace their working through the records of history and prophecy, to the great consummation. He should see how this controversy enters into every phase of human experience; how in every act of life he himself reveals the one or the other of the two antagonistic motives; and how, whether he will or not, he is even now deciding upon which side of the controversy he will be found.
Every part of the Bible is given by inspiration of God and is profitable. The Old Testament no less than the New should receive attention. As we study the Old Testament we shall find living springs bubbling up where the careless reader discerns only a desert.
The book of Revelation, in connection with the book of Daniel, especially demands study. Let every God-fearing teacher consider how most clearly to comprehend and to present the gospel that our Saviour came in person to make known to His servant John—“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass.” Revelation 1:1. None should become discouraged in the study of the Revelation because of its apparently mystical symbols. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not.” James 1:5.
“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Revelation 1:3.
20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
We hasten to place this letter in your hands, for it is indeed a very precious one. It comes as a most timely admonition to stir us up to the work which must be finished without further delay.
Our hearts thrill with joy as we read the cheering words, “I have been instructed that the canvassing work is to be revived, and that it is to be carried forward with increasing success; and a blessing will attend those who engage in it with earnestness and diligence.” Bless the Lord for this assurance and promise! Our hearts respond, “amen, even so, it shall be revived.” And let all the people say, “Amen.”
“Forward to the world,” must be our motto. Scores are offering themselves for service across the seas. There was never before such a movement among us toward foreign lands. The “sound of a going” is heard. Let us be up and moving. We call upon our dear people to respond to this appeal by a full consecration to the good work, that all Israel may be on the march for the goodly land. May God bless you is our prayer
General conference committee.
“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, Cal.,
December 6, 1902.
The new year is just before us, and plans should be laid for earnest, persevering effort in the Master’s service. There is much to be done to advance the work of God. I have been instructed that the canvassing work is to be revived, and that it is to be carried forward with increasing success. It is the Lord’s work, and a blessing will attend those who engage in it with earnestness and diligence.
I thank my Heavenly Father for the interest that my brethren and sisters have taken in the circulation of “Christ’s Object Lessons.” By the sale of this book great good has been accomplished, and the work should be continued. But the efforts of our people should not be confined to this one book. The work of the Lord includes more than one line of service. “Christ’s Object Lessons” is to live and do its appointed work, but not all the thought and effort of God’s people are to be given to its circulation. The larger books, “Patriarchs and Prophets,” “Great Controversy,” and “Desire of Ages,” should be sold everywhere. These books contain truth for this time,—truth that is to be proclaimed in all parts of the world. Nothing is to hinder their sale.
The effort to circulate “Christ’s Object Lessons” has demonstrated what can be done in the canvassing field. This effort is a never-to-be-forgotten lesson on how to canvass in the prayerful, trustful way that brings success.
Many more of our larger books might have been sold if church members had been awake to the importance of the truths these books contain, and had realized their responsibility to circulate them. My brethren and sisters, will you not now make an effort to circulate these books? and will you not bring into this effort the enthusiasm that you brought into the effort to sell “Christ’s Object Lessons”? In selling this book many have learned how to handle the larger books. They have obtained an experience that has prepared them to enter the canvassing field.
Sister White is not the originator of these books. They contain the instruction that during her life-work God has been giving her. They contain the precious, comforting light that God has graciously given his servant to be given to the world. From their pages this light is to shine into the hearts of men and women, leading them to the Saviour. The Lord has declared that these books are to be scattered throughout the world. There is in them truth which to the receiver is a savor of life unto life. They are silent witnesses for God. In the past they have been the means in his hands of convicting and converting many souls. Many have read them with eager expectation, and, by reading them, have been led to see the efficacy of Christ’s atonement, and to trust in its power. They have been led to commit the keeping of their souls to their Creator, waiting and hoping for the coming of the Saviour to take his loved ones to their eternal home. In the future, these books are to make the gospel plain to many others, revealing to them the way of salvation.
The Lord has sent his people much instruction, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light. O, how much good would be accomplished if the books containing this light were read with a determination to carry out the principles they contain! There would be a thousandfold greater vigilance, a thousandfold more self-denial and resolute effort. And many more would now be rejoicing in the light of present truth.
My brethren and sisters, work earnestly to circulate these books. Put your hearts into this work, and the blessing of God will be with you. Go forth in faith, praying that God will prepare hearts to receive the light. Be pleasant and courteous. Show by a consistent course that you are true Christians. Walk and work in the light of heaven, and your path will be as the path of the just, shining more and more unto the perfect day.
Take the books to business men, to teachers of the gospel, whose minds have not been called to the special truths for this time. The message is to be given “in the highways,”—to men who take an active part in the world’s work, to the teachers and leaders of the people. Thousands can be reached in the most simple, humble way. The most intellectual, those who are looked upon as the world’s most gifted men and women, are often refreshed by the simple words of one who loves God, and who can speak of that love as naturally as the worldling speaks of the things that interest him most deeply. Often the words well prepared and studied have but little influence. But the true, honest expression of a son or daughter of God, spoken in natural simplicity, has power to open the door to hearts that have long been closed against Christ and his love.
Let no one think that he is at liberty to fold his hands and do nothing. That any one can be saved in indolence and inactivity is an utter impossibility. Think of what Christ accomplished during his earthly ministry. How earnest, how untiring, were his efforts! He allowed nothing to turn him aside from the work given him. Are we following in his footsteps? He gave up all to carry out God’s plan of mercy for the fallen race. In the fulfillment of the purpose of heaven, he became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. He had had no communion with sin, had known nothing of it; but he came to this world, and took upon his sinless soul the guilt of sinful man, that sinners might stand justified before God. He grappled with temptation, overcoming in our behalf. The Son of God, pure and unsullied, bore the penalty of transgression, and received the stroke of death that brought deliverance to the race.
On the night of April 30, 1871, I retired to rest much depressed in spirits. For three months I had been in a state of great discouragement. I had frequently prayed in anguish of spirit for relief. I had implored help and strength from God, that I might rise above the heavy discouragements that were paralyzing my faith and hope, and unfitting me for usefulness. That night I had a dream which made a very happy impression upon my mind. I dreamed that I was attending an important meeting at which a large company were assembled. Many were bowed before God in earnest prayer, and they seemed to be burdened. They were importuning the Lord for special light. A few seemed to be in agony of spirit; their feelings were intense; with tears they were crying aloud for help and light. Our most prominent brethren were engaged in this most impressive scene. Brother A was prostrated upon the floor, apparently in deep distress. His wife was sitting among a company of indifferent scorners. She looked as though she desired all to understand that she scorned those who were thus humiliating themselves.
I dreamed that the Spirit of the Lord came upon me, and I arose amid cries and prayers, and said: The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me. I feel urged to say to you that you must commence to work individually for yourselves. You are looking to God and desiring Him to do the work for you which He has left for you to do. If you will do the work for yourselves which you know that you ought to do, then God will help you when you need help. You have left undone the very things which God has left for you to do. You have been calling upon God to do your work. Had you followed the light which He has given you, then He would cause more light to shine upon you; but while you neglect the counsels, warnings, and reproofs that have been given, how can you expect God to give you more light and blessings to neglect and despise? God is not as man; He will not be trifled with.
I took the precious Bible and surrounded it with the several Testimonies for the Church, given for the people of God. Here, said I, the cases of nearly all are met. The sins they are to shun are pointed out. The counsel that they desire can be found here, given for other cases situated similarly to themselves. God has been pleased to give you line upon line and precept upon precept. But there are not many of you that really know what is contained in the Testimonies. You are not familiar with the Scriptures. If you had made God’s word your study, with a desire to reach the Bible standard and attain to Christian perfection, you would not have needed the Testimonies. It is because you have neglected to acquaint yourselves with God’s inspired Book that He has sought to reach you by simple, direct testimonies, calling your attention to the words of inspiration which you had neglected to obey, and urging you to fashion your lives in accordance with its pure and elevated teachings.
The Lord designs to warn you, to reprove, to counsel, through the testimonies given, and to impress your minds with the importance of the truth of His word. The written testimonies are not to give new light, but to impress vividly upon the heart the truths of inspiration already revealed. Man’s duty to God and to his fellow man has been distinctly specified in God’s word; yet but few of you are obedient to the light given. Additional truth is not brought out; but God has through the Testimonies simplified the great truths already given and in His own chosen way brought them before the people to awaken and impress the mind with them, that all may be left without excuse.
Pride, self-love, selfishness, hatred, envy, and jealousy have beclouded the perceptive powers, and the truth, which would make you wise unto salvation, has lost its power to charm and control the mind. The very essential principles of godliness are not understood because there is not a hungering and thirsting for Bible knowledge, purity of heart, and holiness of life. The Testimonies are not to belittle the word of God, but to exalt it and attract minds to it, that the beautiful simplicity of truth may impress all.
I said further: As the word of God is walled in with these books and pamphlets, so has God walled you in with reproofs, counsel, warnings, and encouragements. Here you are crying before God, in the anguish of your souls, for more light. I am authorized from God to tell you that not another ray of light through the Testimonies will shine upon your pathway until you make a practical use of the light already given. The Lord has walled you about with light; but you have not appreciated the light; you have trampled upon it. While some have despised the light, others have neglected it, or followed it but indifferently. A few have set their hearts to obey the light which God has been pleased to give them.
Some that have received special warnings through testimony have forgotten in a few weeks the reproof given. The testimonies to some have been several times repeated, but they have not thought them of sufficient importance to be carefully heeded. They have been to them like idle tales. Had they regarded the light given they would have avoided losses and trials which they think are hard and severe. They have only themselves to censure. They have placed upon their own necks a yoke which they find grievous to be borne. It is not the yoke which Christ has bound upon them. God’s care and love were exercised in their behalf; but their selfish, evil, unbelieving souls could not discern His goodness and mercy. They rush on in their own wisdom until, overwhelmed with trials and confused with perplexity, they are ensnared by Satan. When you gather up the rays of light which God has given in the past, then will He give an increase of light.
I referred them to ancient Israel. God gave them His law, but they would not obey it. He then gave them ceremonies and ordinances, that, in the performance of these, God might be kept in remembrance. They were so prone to forget Him and His claims upon them that it was necessary to keep their minds stirred up to realize their obligations to obey and honor their Creator. Had they been obedient, and loved to keep God’s commandments, the multitude of ceremonies and ordinances would not have been required.
If the people who now profess to be God’s peculiar treasure would obey His requirements, as specified in His word, special testimonies would not be given to awaken them to their duty and impress upon them their sinfulness and their fearful danger in neglecting to obey the word of God. Consciences have been blunted because light has been set aside, neglected, and despised. And God will remove these testimonies from the people, and will deprive them of strength, and humble them.
I would prefer not to speak today, though not because I have nothing to say. I have something to say. The state of things that has existed in the Conference is not clearly understood by some who occupy positions in the Conference or by others who bear responsibilities in other lines of the work.
The work has been increasing; it has been growing. The light that I have had from the Lord has been expressed over and over again, not to as many as there are here today, but to different individuals. The plans upon which God wishes us to work have been laid down.
Never should the mind of one man or the minds of a few men be regarded as sufficient in wisdom and power to control the work and say what plans shall be followed. The burden of the work in this broad field should not rest upon two or three men. We are not reaching the high standard which, with the great and important truth we are handling, God expects us to reach.
Over and over again men have said, “The voice of the Conference is the voice of God; therefore everything must be referred to the Conference. The Conference must permit or restrict in the various lines of work.” As the matter has been presented to me, there is a narrow compass, and within this narrow compass, all the entrances to which are locked, are those who would like to exercise kingly power. But the work carried on all over the field demands an entirely different course of action. There is need of the laying of a foundation different from the foundation which has been laid in the past.
We have heard much about everything moving in the regular lines. When we see that the “regular lines” are purified and refined, that they bear the mold of the God of heaven, then it will be time to endorse these lines. But when we see that message after message given by Godhas been received and accepted, yet no change has been made, we know that new power must be brought into the regular lines. The management of the regular lines must be entirely changed, newly organized. There must be a committee, not composed of half a dozen men, but of representatives from all lines of our work, from our publishing houses, from our educational institutions, and from our sanitariums, which have life in them, which are constantly working, constantly broadening.
I have been shown the fields which should have been opened in America. But where in California or Michigan, the two great centers of the work, is aggressive work being done? Where is seen the wrestling in new fields?
God desires that His work shall be a rising, broadening, enlarging power. But the management of the work is becoming confused in itself. Not that anyone wishes to be wrong or to do wrong, but the principles are wrong. These principles are so foreign to God’s principles that God cannot bless those who work upon them. What must be done is to bring in other minds. Those who have been at work in the same channels for years have been discouraged and confused. We cannot entrust to such as these the tremendous responsibilities which are now to be handled.
Instruction has constantly been given as to the sacred, elevating, ennobling principles which should control in our institutions. The interests of the General Conference and all that concerns the handling of the work require minds that are controlled by the Holy Spirit. Unless those who have charge of the work give evidence that they are controlled by the Holy Spirit, unless they give evidence that they receive power from God to impart to the responsibilities with which they are connected, a change should be made without delay.
God forbid, brethren, that this conference should close as our conferences have closed in the past, with the same management, the same tone, the same order. The Lord wants those who have a knowledge of the truth to come to their senses. He wants them to arouse. It is time for us to arise and shine because our light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon us. If we are not going to do this, we might just as well close our conference today as later.
From the light God has given me, everything connected with this conference is to be regarded as most sacred. Why? Because at this time the work is to be placed upon a proper basis. Wrong principles have been followed. For the last fifteen years wrong decisions have been made, and now God calls for a change. He wants in His work men of faith and capability, men who realize that there is a ladder for them to climb round by round, and that those who climb this ladder will finally step off it into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Let us move heavenward. Let every thread of selfishness that has been woven into the work be now cut out.
The work should stand a hundred percent higher than it stands today. The satanic agencies are working with all their power to weaken and destroy us, and unless there is a waking up among the people of God, the enemy will gain the victory. God calls upon us to arouse, to take hold of His work, and labor for time and for eternity.
Many are treading over and over again the same ground. Our large churches ought to be turning out men who are educated and trained and disciplined, prepared to enter the Lord’s vineyard; but what are they doing? The barren fields, specially in the South, are crying to God for help. These fields have scarcely been touched, notwithstanding the message that God has been giving for a number of years.
It is high time that this came to an end. Let the work be woven after the same pattern that it has in the past, and it will finally come to naught. God calls for a decided change. Do not wait until the conference is over and then gather up the forces to see what can be done. Let us see what can be done now. Find out what power and intelligence there is that can be brought into the Conference. Let all unite in taking hold of the work intelligently. This is what is needed.
Every institution should have a voice in the working of the cause in which they have an interest. God wants us to come to the place where we shall be united in the work, where the whole burden will not be laid on two or three men. Unless a change is made, Brother Irwin will soon be where he cannot work at all. He needs support. He has been in the work of wrestling so long that he must have a change, or else he will break down.
We need men who will stand as true to principle as the needle to the pole. God will test the men who are given responsibilities in His work, and unless they show that they have a true idea of what Christlike principles are, He will remove them and put others in their place. God wants us to know what it means to work on the principles of heaven. He wants those in the office to know what it means for everyone to stand in his lot and place, obeying the words, “Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” Brethren, let us hang these words in the chambers of the mind. If we live on the plan here outlined, we “shall never fall; for so an entrance shall be ministered unto us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” [2 Peter 1:5-7, 10, 11.]
God is in earnest with us. He has seen the close dealing, and it is contemptible in His sight. It leaves men where, if they do not change, they will never see the kingdom of God. They are as destitute of the nobility, the generosity, the tenderness, the compassion, the love of Christ, as the hills of Gilboa were destitute of dew and rain. They cannot be aroused to see their condition. Enough has been said, but it does not lead them to reform. The message from heaven is professedly accepted, but no change is made. This is what alarms me. I see that unless there is more tenderness, more compassion, more of the love of God, the blessing of heaven will be withdrawn. John knew what he was talking about when he said, “Thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” [Revelation 2:4, 5.]
We need to study what John has written about the love of God. This love has not been cultivated, and when it is not cultivated, the opposite attribute is developed. The love of God has not been manifested in our publishing houses. Those who have practiced sharp dealings have flattered themselves that they are keen businessmen, but they have been losing instead of gaining, and unless they change, their light will be removed. They fail to realize that it is for the interests of the institution with which they are connected for them to act nobly every time, to come up to the help of the Lord. God will never acquit us till His principles are followed in our institutions.
God means what He says. He calls for a change. The same things are being repeated, the same ideas followed, the same committees appointed. In a small section a king reigns, and all others are secondary, when there are other men who are better able to do the work, because they have not been working on narrow plans.
I feel intensely over this matter. I do not want to talk in this way. If you will melt under the tenderness of God, breaking your hearts before Him, and placing yourselves where you will not mislead, you will see that He hates selfishness. When you bring selfishness into the management of His cause, it makes the crime one-hundred-fold greater. It makes God ashamed of you.
You are to be representatives of Jesus Christ, representatives of His character. You are to show that you are carrying out the living principles of heaven in every line of action. God will not accept your common fire. He wants you to use the sacred fire which He has kindled on the divine altar. It is His desire that this fire shall consume all commonness, all selfishness, all cheapness. These things must be purged from the men who are helping to prepare a people to stand in the last great conflict, which is just upon us. Self must be hid in Christ. When this is done, Christ will appear. Christ will be seen as the Great Worker.
God desires the committees which have been handling the same things for so long to be relieved of their command. They should have a chance for life, to see if they cannot get out of the rut into which they have fallen. I have no hope that they will do this without a thorough change, because the Spirit of God has been working with them, yet the wrong, unreformed is still there.
The Lord desires His Holy Spirit to come into this meeting. He declares that every vestige of sharpness in dealing must be removed, for He hates it. No sharpness is to be exercised toward His servants who are working for Him, bringing the tithe into the treasury that His cause may be sustained. God’s treasury is to be supplied by the tithe, which is to be regarded as a sacred fund. It is God’s, and it is to be liberally given, that the work may be sustained. Those in responsible places are to act in such a way that the people will have firm confidence in them. These men should not be afraid to open to the light of day everything in the management of the work.
When the cause was younger, my husband used to counsel with men who had sound judgment. The work was much smaller [then] than it is now, but he did not feel able to manage it alone. He chose counsellors from among those bearing responsibility in all parts of the work. And, after counseling together, these men would go back to their work feeling a still greater responsibility to carry the work forward in right lines, to uplift, to purify, to solidify, so that the cause of God might move forward in strength.
We should be filled with joy and gladness to think that God has given us the privilege of being co-laborers with Him. We may have all the power which God has pledged Himself to give us when we consecrate ourselves to Him. In heaven the pledge was made that all the facilities and riches of heaven would be imparted to every sincere, faithful worker who feels his entire dependence upon God.
When you leave God out of the question, and allow your hereditary and cultivated tendencies to come into your work, you are on very slippery ground. You are not making straight paths for your feet, but crooked paths. We cannot afford to do this. Our redemption cost too much. Christ laid aside His royal robe and kingly crown, and stepped down from His high command, in order that He, divinity and humanity combined, might make Himself a steppingstone whereby man might reach heaven. This He did that men might stand on vantage ground with God. His holiness imbues the life of everyone who eats the bread of life and drinks the water of salvation. He who receives and practices the words of Christ has eternal life. This life is in him, because he is in Christ.
How can the Lord bless those who manifest a spirit of “I don’t care”—spirit which leads them to walk contrary to the light which the Lord has given them? But I do not ask you to take my words. Lay Sister White to one side. Do not quote my words again as long as you live until you can obey the Bible. When you make the Bible your food, your meat and your drink, when you make its principles the elements of your character, you will know better how to receive counsel from God. I exalt the precious Word before you today. Do not repeat what I have said, saying, “Sister White said this,” and “Sister White said that.” Find out what the Lord God of Israel says, and then do what He commands. Christ said, “I must work the works of Him that sent Me.” [John 9:4.]
We are to follow the principles God has laid down in dealing with one another; for we are the purchase of the blood of Christ. Think of it! The purchase of the blood of Christ! We cost His life. He was crucified for us, and yet those whom He desires to see standing next to [Him in] heaven, giving unmistakable evidence that they are receiving the light of His glory, are walking in darkness.
It is not emotion that we need, but a living faith in the living Word of a living Saviour, a Saviour who proclaimed over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, “I am the resurrection and the life.” [John 11:25.] He wants us to live His principles. But there are those in positions of responsibility who do not appreciate these principles. They have been tested and tried. A change must be made. Let them have an opportunity to get out into the field and see what it means to wrestle for the cause as some of God’s servants have wrestled. Let them see what it means to build up the work, what it means to establish something out of nothing. Then they will understand that it is God’s desire that His servants shall be linked together, that every part of His work shall be connected with every other part, all being joined together by the golden links of heaven.
There are to be no kings in our work, no man who will put out his hand and say to God’s workmen, “You cannot go there. We will not support you if you go there.” “We!” What have they to do with the supporting? Is the means of support theirs? The money comes from the people, and God has instructed me to tell those who are working in destitute fields to go to the people and tell them their necessity. They are to draw from the people means to build up the work in the field where they are.
There is a world to be warned. Are we to have committees which will bind about the work? As we look over the cities of America, where are the monuments for God? Where are the churches to glorify His name? I thank God for the medical missionary work. God will call for every soul who is educated to work in this line [into] connection with the gospel ministry. He has places for them. Let not one stone be placed in the way of those who are striving to teach our youth how to do this work. The Lord will show that He will work with those who will work. He says, “Ye are laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.]
My heart ached when I was in California. There are young men there laboring among the churches, but where is the power to open new fields? Where are those who will say, “We are not to stay with those who know the truth, but are to go to new fields”? There is a world to be saved, as far as men and women will yield to the claims of truth. The seeds of truth must be sown. “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields,” Christ said; “for they are white already to harvest.” [John 4:35.] He wants us to see the condition of the field. And then are you to feel at ease and travel from place to place visiting the churches? No, no! God help you by giving you the spirit of the message, that you may yearn after souls and not let go until they are converted. This is the work God desires to see done; and till this spirit takes hold of every man and every conference, the work cannot go forward in power. The Lord desires His people to adopt the light on health reform, leading out in paths of self-denial and self-sacrifice.
Oh, how it has hurt me to have blocks thrown in my way in regard to this subject. Some have said, “Sister White eats cheese, and therefore we are at liberty to eat cheese.” I have tasted cheese once or twice, but that is a different thing from making it an article of diet. Once when at Minneapolis, I sat down at a table on which there was some cheese. I was quite sick at the time, and some of my brethren told me that they thought if I ate a little cheese, it might do me good. I ate a small piece, and from then it has been reported in large assemblies that Sister White eats cheese.
I have not had meat in my house for years. But do not give up the use of meat because Sister White does not eat it. I would not give a farthing for your health reform if that is what it is based upon. I want you to stand in your individual dignity and in your individual consecration before God, the whole being dedicated to Him. “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” [1 Corinthians 3:17.]
I want you to think of these things. Do not make any human being your criterion. You have a body which is fearfully and wonderfully made. That body should be most carefully dealt with. The physical system must be kept in perfect order, that the brain power may be keen and strong.
Any unnecessary burden placed on the stomach will becloud the brain. Come to a meeting like this, eat a hearty meal, take no exercise, and your ideas are good for nothing. You are sleepy. You do not really understand the propositions to which you assent. Bring your diet into conformity with natural laws, and a great change will be seen.
Do not refer to what Sister White has said. I do not ask you to do this. God has told me that my testimony must be borne to this conference, and that I must not try to make men believe it. My work is to leave the truth with the people, and those who appreciate the light from heaven will accept the truth. God wants you to make straight paths for your feet, lest the lame shall be turned out of the way.
The Lord desires that with the Conference shall be connected the ability He has given Dr. Kellogg. He wants His people to make the most of the ability He has bestowed on His servants. He did not wish the medical missionary work to be separated from the gospel work, or the gospel work separated from the medical missionary work. These are to blend. The medical missionary work is to be regarded as the pioneer work. It is to be the means of breaking down prejudice. As the right arm, it is to open doors for the gospel message.
God wants His workers to stand shoulder to shoulder with Dr. Kellogg, who at times has been almost desperate and has almost lost his reason because of the positions taken by some. Many have thrown stones before the car to hinder its advance, when they should have realized that God wants the medical missionary work to go forward.
Before I came to this conference, I was in doubt as to where to stay during the meeting. Dr. Kellogg had courteously invited me to make his house my home. The question arose, “It will be said that Dr. Kellogg has influenced me.” But I thought, “Let people say this if they wish to. They have said it before, when there was no more reason for it than there is now.” Still, as I wished to remove every possible excuse for talk, I decided not to go to the doctor’s. On Friday evening, at our season of worship, I was asking the Lord to direct me where to stay. I had been sick, and was still sick. I did not wish to attend the conference at all, because I knew that the exertion would be a terrible strain on me.
As I was praying, a soft light filled the room, bringing with it a fragrance as of beautiful flowers. Then a voice seemed to say, “Accept the invitation of My servant, John Kellogg, to make his house your home. I have appointed him as My physician, and you can be an encouragement to him.” This is why I am staying at Dr. Kellogg’s house. I wish in every possible way to treat Dr. Kellogg as God’s appointed physician. This I am going to do. And I want my brethren to put their unjust sayings far away from them. Inquire, What saith the Lord? Go to Him for help. Depend not on the opinions of human beings, for they are liable to err. Go to the Lord God of Israel. He will give you understanding and knowledge. You are not to lean on any human being.
At our season of prayer that evening the whole family was broken down. Though they knew nothing of what I had seen, yet they realized that the Spirit of the Lord was among us. The blessing of God flowed through the room like a tidal wave. The Spirit took hold upon us, and Brother and Sister Druillard wept and praised the Lord. We did indeed have an outpouring of the Spirit. Such things are more precious to me than gold or silver. I want to say to you, For Christ’s sake, unify. We cannot reform ourselves by putting our fingers on the wrongs of some one else. Christ says that we must love one another, that we must deal honestly, justly, and truly with one another. He says, “I hate your false weights and measures.” He knows every one of us, and He wants us to come into close connection with Him. He told Cornelius where to find Peter. He knew just where Peter was to be found. The angel of the Lord could have given Cornelius the message, but this is not God’s way. He wished to bring about a connection between Peter and Cornelius. The light He had given Peter was to be given by Peter to Cornelius.
My brethren, let the Lord God of Israel in among you. Give Him room. Instead of manifesting hatred, manifest the love of God. God help us all to take a right position.
I believe that God is here today. If I did not believe this, I would not say what I have said. I believe He can send what I have said home to your hearts.
There is a work to be done, not by standing aloof from one another, but by working on God’s principles. The Lord wants you to stand in this strength. He wants you to open the windows of the soul heavenward and close them earthward. He wants to reveal His salvation. He wants the medical missionary work and the gospel to be inseparably bound together. His work is to be a united whole. God wants the talents He has given Dr. Kellogg. He wants the talents that are in our institutions to be connected with the management of His work. Committees are to be formed which will have an interest in every part of the work. Then the work will be managed on a higher grade than it has yet been managed.
Medical missionary work opens the way for the gospel. I wish to say that God has not blessed the work as He would have blessed [it] had there been an appreciation of the work that he is carrying on. I thank God that Dr. Kellogg has not sunk into despair and infidelity, as I was afraid he would. Dr. Kellogg, it may be that I have written to you too strongly, but I felt that I must get hold of you, and hold you with all the power I had. I appreciate the work that is being carried on in medical missionary lines. How any one can see this work, and not realize that God is working, is a mystery to me.
It is God’s design that Dr. Kellogg shall stand in his place to give character to the work by reaching the higher classes. God’s people ought to feel honored that He has given them instrumentalities whereby the higher classes may be reached.
I wish to say that I want to take hold of the medical missionary work to the utmost of my ability. We have done the best we could in this line of work in Australia. I thank the Lord that His blessing has accompanied our work. Christ’s ministers must stand in an altogether different position. They must be evangelists, they must be medical missionaries. They must take hold of the work intelligently. But it is of no use for them to think that they can do this while they drop the work which God has said should be connected with the gospel. If they drop out the medical missionary work, they need not think that they can carry forward their work successfully, for they have only half the necessary facilities.
The Lord loves us yet. Let us praise Him for this. Let us take hold of the work in a new way, with heart, and mind, and strength. Do not any longer pick flaws in your brethren. I see enough vultures watching for dead bodies. Let us have nothing of this nature in our work. Let there be no picking flaws. Attend to yourselves, and you will have all you can do. When you purify your souls by obeying the truth, you will have something to impart.
May God help you all and help me. I want help and strength and power. But do not quote Sister White till you stand on vantage ground, where you know what you are doing. Take the Word of God. It is full of meat and drink. Study the Bible, and you will know more of God than you do now. You will have something fresh to impart to others. You will not go over the same ground again and again. You will realize that there is a world to save. I ask you to put on the whole armor, and be sure that your feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.
11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.