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    Our Ministers

    In the vision given me in Rochester, N.Y., Dec. 25, 1865, I was shown that a most solemn work was before us. Its importance and magnitude are not realized. As I marked the indifference which was everywhere apparent, I was alarmed for ministers and people. There seemed to be a paralysis upon the cause of present truth. The work of God seemed stayed. Ministers and people are unprepared for the time in which they live, and nearly all who profess to believe present truth are unprepared to understand the work of preparation for this time. In their present state of worldly ambition, and their lack of consecration to God, their devotion to self, their own selfish interests characterizing their lives, they are wholly unfitted to receive the latter rain, and having done all to stand against the wrath of Satan and his inventions to cause them to make shipwreck of faith, by first fastening upon them some pleasing self-deception. They think they are all right when they are all wrong.T11 14.2

    Ministers and people must make greater advancement in the work of reform. They should commence without delay to correct their wrong habits of eating, drinking, dressing, and working. I saw that quite a number of the ministers were not awake upon this important subject. Ministers are not all where God would have them. The result is, with some there is but little fruit of their labors. Ministers are not safe from Satan's temptations. They are the very ones that Satan will seek to ensnare. If he can succeed in lulling one minister to carnal security, and by thus doing divert his mind from the work, or deceive him with regard to his own true condition before God, he has accomplished much. Ministers should be ensamples to the flock of God.T11 15.1

    I saw that the cause of God was not progressing as it might, and as it should. Ministers fail to take hold of the work with that devotion, decided perseverance and energy, which the importance of the work demands. They have a vigilant adversary to contend with, whose diligence and perseverance is untiring. The feeble effort of ministers and people can bear no comparison with those of their adversary, the Devil. On one side they are battling for right, and have the help of God and holy angels. They should be strong and valiant, and wholly devoted to the cause in which they are engaged, having no separate interest. They should not be entangled with the things of this life, that “they may please Him who hath chosen them to be soldiers.”T11 15.2

    On the other side, Satan and his angels with all his agents on earth, are making every effort, using every device, to advance error and wrong, to cover up their hideousness and deformity with a pleasing garb. Selfishness, hypocrisy, and every species of deception, he clothes with a garment of apparent truth and righteousness. He triumphs in his success, even with ministers and people who profess to understand his wiles. The greater distance they keep from their great Leader, Jesus Christ, the less they are like him in character, and the more close is their resemblance in life and character to the servants of their great adversary, and the more sure is he of them at last. While they profess to be servants of Christ, they are servants of sin.T11 16.1

    Ministers have received their wages, and some have their minds too much on their wages. They labor for wages, and lose sight of the sacredness and importance of the work.T11 16.2

    Some become neglectful and slack in their labor, pass over the ground, and are weak and unsuccessful in their efforts. Their hearts are not in the work. The theory of truth is clear. Many of them had no part in searching out this truth by hard study and earnest prayer, and have had no experience of its preciousness and value, by being compelled to sustain their positions on the truth against the opposition of its enemies. They do not see the necessity of preserving a spirit of entire consecration to the work. Their interest is divided between themselves and the work.T11 16.3

    I saw that before the work of God can make any decided progress, ministers must be converted. They will, when converted, place less estimate upon wages, but far more value upon the important, sacred, solemn work which they have accepted at the hand of God to perform, and which he requires them to do faithfully and well, as those who must render to him a strict account. A faithful record is daily made by the recording angels of all their works. All their acts, and even the intents and purposes of the heart, stand faithfully revealed. Nothing is hid from the all-seeing eye of “Him with whom we have to do.” Those who have thrown their whole energies into the cause of God, and feel that the work of God is a part of them, and have ventured out and have invested something in this all-sacred work, will labor not merely for wages. They will not be eye-servants, and seek to please themselves, but consecrate themselves and all their interests to this solemn work.T11 17.1

    Some in their public labors with the churches are in danger of making mistakes from a lack of thoroughness. It is for the interest of ministers and God's cause that they should search closely, try their motives, and be certain to divest themselves of selfishness; and watch, that while they preach straight truths to others they do not fail to live by the same rule. Let not Satan substitute something else for the deep heart work. They should be thorough with themselves, and with the cause of God, lest they should work for wages and lose sight of the high, important, and exalted character of the work. They should not let self rule instead of Jesus Christ. Be careful, and not say to the sinner in Zion, “It shall be well with him,” when God has pronounced a curse upon him.T11 17.2

    Ministers must arouse and manifest life, zeal, and a devotion to the work, that they have for quite a length of time been almost strangers to, because they have failed to walk with God. The cause of God in many places is not improving. Soul work is needed. The people are overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life. They are entering deeper and deeper into a spirit of worldly enterprise. They are ambitious to get gain. Spirituality and devotion are rare things. The spirit that prevails is to work, work, to accumulate and add to that which they already possess. What will be the end of these things, was the burden of my inquiry.T11 18.1

    Conference meetings have amounted to nothing lasting. Those who attend the meetings carry their spirit of enterprise with them. Ministers and people frequently bring their merchandise to these large gatherings, and the truths spoken from the desk fail to impress the heart. The sword of the Spirit, the word of God, fails to do its office work; it falls tamely upon the hearers. The exalted work of God is made to connect too closely with common things.T11 18.2

    The ministers must be converted before they can strengthen their brethren. A reformation is needed among our people, but it should first begin its purifying work with the ministers. They are watchmen upon the walls of Zion, to sound the note of warning to the careless, the unsuspecting; also to portray the fate of the hypocrite in Zion. It seemed to me that some of the ministers had forgotten that Satan was yet alive, as persevering, earnest, and artful as ever; seeking to allure souls from the path of righteousness.T11 19.1

    Ministers should not preach themselves, but Christ and his righteousness. One important part of their work is to faithfully present to the people the Health Reform, as it stands connected with the third angel's message, as a part and parcel of the same work, which they should not fail to enter into themselves, and should urge it upon all who profess to believe the truth. Ministers should have no separate interest aside from this great work. Their energies are all needed here. They should not engage in merchandise, in peddling, or in any business aside from the one great work of leading souls to the truth. The solemn charge given to Timothy, rests with equal weight upon them, laying upon them the most solemn obligations, and most fearful and awful responsibilities. “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom, Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and doctrine. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”T11 19.2

    Our wrong habits of life have lessened our mental and physical sensibilities, and all the strength we can acquire by right living, and placing ourselves in the best relation to health and life, should be devoted unreservedly to the work which God has assigned us. With our enfeebled, crippled energies, we cannot afford to use the little we possess to serve tables, or to mingle merchandise with the work God has committed to us. Every faculty of mind and body is now needed. The work of God requires this, and no separate business can be engaged in aside from this great work, without taking time, strength of mind and body, and lessening the vigor and force of labor connected with the work of God. The ministers will not have all that time for meditation and prayer, and all that strength and clearness to understand the cases of those who need help, that they should have, to be preprepared [prepared] to “be instant in season, out of season.” A word fitly spoken, given at the proper time, might save some poor, erring, doubting, fainting, soul. Paul exhorted Timothy: “Meditate upon these things, give thyself wholly to them, that thy profiting may appear to all.”T11 20.1

    In the commission Christ gave to his disciples, he tells them, “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosed in Heaven.” If this is the awful responsible work of God's ministers, how important that they give themselves wholly to it, and watch for souls as they that must give an account. Should any separate or selfish interest come in here and divide the heart from the work? Some ministers linger about their homes, and will run out on a Sabbath, and then return and exhaust their energies in farming, or in home matters. They labor for themselves through the week, and then spend the remnant of their exhausted energies in laboring for God. But he does not accept with approbation such feeble efforts. They had no mental or physical strength to spare. At the best their efforts would be feeble enough. But after they have been engrossed and entangled all through the laboring days of the week, with the cares and perplexities of this life, they were wholly unfitted for the high, the sacred, important, work of God. The destiny of souls hangs upon the course they pursue, and the decisions they make. How important then that they should be temperate in all things, not only in their eating, but in their labor, that their strength may be unabated and devoted to their sacred calling.T11 21.1

    There has been a great mistake made by brethren who professed present truth, by introducing merchandise in the course of a series of meetings, and thus diverting minds from the object of the meetings, by their traffic. If Christ was now upon earth, as at his first advent, he would drive out these peddlers and traffickers with a scourge of small cords, whether they be ministers or people, as when he entered the temple anciently, “and cast out all them who sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves. And he said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves.” These traffickers might have pleaded an excuse, that these articles they held for sale were for sacrificial offerings. But gain was their object,—to obtain means, to accumulate.T11 21.2

    I was shown that if the moral and intellectual faculties had not been clouded by wrong habits of living, ministers and people would have been quick to discern the evil result of mixing sacred and common things together. Ministers have stood in the desk and preached a most solemn discourse, and then diverted the minds from the impressions received, and destroyed the fruit of their labor, by entering into merchandise, acting the part of a salesman, even in the house of God. If the sensibilities had not been blunted, they would have had discernment to know that they were bringing sacred things down upon a level with common. The burden should not rest upon ministers, laboring in word and doctrine, to enter into the sale of publications. Their time and strength should be held in reserve, that their efforts may be thorough in a series of meetings. Their time and strength should not be drawn upon to become salesmen, when the books can be properly brought before the public by some who have not the burden of preaching the word resting upon them. In entering new fields it may be necessary for the minister to take publications with him, to offer for sale to the people; and it may be necessary in some other circumstances also to sell books and transact business for the office of publication. But such work should be avoided, whenever it can be done by others. Ministers have all that they ought to do to preach the word; and after they have urged solemn truth upon the people, they should maintain a humble dignity, as the preachers of exalted truth, and as representatives of the truth they presented to the people. After their labored effort, they need rest. Selling even books upon present truth, is a care, a tax to the mind, a weariness to the body. If there are those that still have a reserve force, and can be taxed without doing injury to themselves, the work resting upon them is weighty, and is but just commenced when they have spoken the truth to the people. Then comes the exemplary preaching, the watchful care, the seeking to do good to others, the conversation, and visiting at the fireside from house to house, entering into the condition of mind and the spiritual state of those who listened to the discourse from their lips; exhorting this one, reproving that one, rebuking the other, and comforting the afflicted, suffering, and desponding. They should have the mind as free from weariness as possible, that they may be minute men, “instant in season, out of season.” They should obey the injunction given by Paul to Timothy: “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them.”T11 22.1

    The responsibility of the work rests very lightly upon some. They feel that after they leave the desk their work is done. It is a burden to visit, a burden to talk, and the people who are really desirous to get all the good there is for them, and wish to hear and learn, that they may see all things clearly, are not benefited and satisfied. Ministers excuse themselves because they are weary, and yet some exhaust their precious strength, and spend their time in work, which another could do just as well as they. They should preserve moral and physical vigor, that as faithful workmen of God, they may give full proofs of their ministry. In every important place there should be a depository for publications. And someone who really appreciates the truth, should manifest an interest to get these books into the hands of all who will read. The harvest is great but the laborers are few; and the few experienced laborers now in the field have all they should do to labor in word and doctrine. Men will arise who claim that God has laid upon them the burden of teaching others the truth. All such should be proved and tried. They should not be relieved from all care, neither should they be lifted into responsible positions at once, but should be encouraged, if they deserve encouragement, to give full proofs of their ministry. It would not be the best course for such ones to pursue, to enter into other men's labors. Let them exercise the talent they have in connexion with one of experience and wisdom, and he can soon see whether they are capable of exerting an influence that will be saving. Such young preachers who have never had wearing labor, and felt the draught upon their mental and physical strength, should not be encouraged to hope for a support independent of their own physical labor, for this will only injure them, and will be a bait to entice men who realize nothing of the burden of the work, or the responsibility resting upon God's chosen ministers. They will feel competent to teach others when they have scarcely learned the first principles themselves.T11 24.1

    Many who profess the truth are not sanctified by the truth they profess, and are not endowed with wisdom; they are not led and taught of God. God's people are, as a general thing, worldly-minded, and have departed from the simplicity of the gospel. This is the cause of their great lack of spiritual discernment in the course they have pursued toward ministers. If a minister preaches with freedom, instead of dwelling upon the truths he uttered, and improving upon them, showing themselves not to be “forgetful hearers, but doers of the work,” some will praise the minister to his face. They will exalt him by referring to what he has done. They dwell upon the virtues of the poor instrument, but forget Christ who employed the instrument. Ministers have fallen through exaltation, ever since the fall of Satan, who was once an exalted angel in glory. Unwise Sabbath-keepers have pleased the Devil well by praising their ministers. Were they aware that they were aiding Satan in his work? They would have been alarmed had they realized what they were doing. They were blinded; they were not standing in the counsel of God. I lift my voice of warning against praising or flattering your ministers. I have seen the evil, the dreadful evil, of praising ministers. Never, never speak a word in the praise of ministers to their faces. Exalt God. Ever respect a faithful minister; realize his burdens; lighten them if you can, but do not flatter him; for Satan stands ready at his watchtower to do that kind of work himself.T11 25.1

    Ministers should not use flattery or be respecters of persons. There ever has been, and still is, great danger of erring here. Making a little difference with the wealthy, flattering them, if not in words, by special attention. There is danger of “having men's persons in admiration” for the sake of gain, and in doing this they endanger the eternal interest of that wealthy man. The minister may be his especial favorite, and he will be very liberal with him, and this gratifies the minister, and he in turn lavishes praises upon the benevolence of his liberal donor. His name may be exalted by appearing in print, and yet that liberal donor may be all unworthy of the credit given him. His liberality did not arise from a deep, living principle to do good with his means, to advance the cause of God because he appreciated it, but from some selfish motive, anxious to be thought liberal. He may have given from impulse, and his liberality have no depth of principle at the root. He may have been moved upon by listening to stirring truth, which for the time being loosed his purse strings; yet after all his liberality has no deeper motive. He gives by spasms; his purse opens spasmodically, and closes just as securely, spasmodically. He deserves no commendation, for he is in every sense of the word a stingy man; and unless thoroughly converted, purse and all, will hear the withering denunciation, “Go to, now, ye rich men, weep and howl for the miseries which shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth eaten.” Such will awake at last from a horrible self-deception. Those who praised their spasmodic liberalities, helped the Devil in his work of deceiving them; making them think that they were very liberal, very sacrificing, when they knew not the first principles of liberality or self-sacrifice.T11 26.1

    Some men and women make themselves believe that they do not consider the things of this world of much value, but prize the truth and its advancement higher than any worldly gain. Many will awake at last to find themselves undeceived. They may have once appreciated the truth, and earthly treasures in comparison with truth appear to them valueless; but after a time they became less devotional, especially as their earthly treasure accumulated. Although they have enough for a comfortable sustenance, yet all their acts show they are in no wise satisfied. All their works testify that their hearts are bound up in their earthly treasure. Gain, gain, is their watchword. To this end every member of the family participates in their labor. They give themselves scarcely any time for devotion, or for prayer. They work early and late. Sickly, diseased women, and feeble children, whip up their flagging ambition, and use up the vitality and strength they have, to reach an object, to gain a little, make a little more money. They flatter themselves that they are doing this that they may help the cause of God. Terrible deception! Satan looks on and laughs, for he knows that they are selling soul and body through their lust for gain. Flimsy excuses they are continually making for thus selling themselves for gain. They are blinded by the god of this world. Christ has bought them by his own blood, but they rob Christ, rob God, tear themselves to pieces, and are almost useless in society.T11 27.1

    They devote but little time to the improvement of the mind, and but little time to social or domestic enjoyment. They are of but little benefit to anyone. Their lives are a terrible mistake. Those who thus abuse themselves, feel that their course of unremitting labor is praiseworthy. They are destroying themselves by their presumptuous labor. They are marring the temple of God by continually violating the laws of their being through excessive labor, and think it a virtue. When God calls them to account, when he requires of them the talents he has lent them, with usury, what can they say? what excuse can they make? Were they heathens, who knew nothing of the living God, and in their blind, idolatrous zeal, threw themselves under the car of Juggernaut, their cases would be more tolerable. But they had the light, they had warning upon warning, to preserve their bodies, which God calls his temple, in as healthy a condition as possible, that they may glorify God in their bodies and spirits which are his. The teachings of Christ they disregarded: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” They let worldly cares entangle them. “But they that will be rich, fall into temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.” They worship their earthly treasure, as the ignorant heathen does his idols. Many flatter themselves that their desire for gain is that they may help the cause of God. Some promise that when they have gained such an amount, then they will do good with it, and advance the cause. But when they have realized their expectations they are no more ready to help the cause of present truth than before. They will again pledge themselves that after they purchase that desirable house, or piece of land, and pay for it, then they will do a great deal to advance the work of God by their means. As the desire of their heart is attained, they have less disposition, far less than in the days of their poverty, to aid in the advancement of the work of God. “He also that received the word among the thorns, is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” The deceitfulness of riches has led them on, step by step, until they lose all love for the truth, and yet they flatter themselves that they believe the truth. They love the world, and the things of the world. The love of God, or of the truth, is not in them.T11 28.1

    Many deliberately arrange their business matters in such a manner, to gain a little more money, that it must necessarily bring a great amount of hard labor upon those laboring out of doors, and their families in the house. Bone, muscle, and brain, of all are taxed to the utmost; for a great amount of work is before them to be done; and the excuse is, they must accomplish just all that they possibly can, or there will be a loss, something will be wasted. Every thing must be saved, let the result be what it may. What have they gained? Perhaps they have been able to keep the principal good, and add to it. But, on the other hand, what have such lost? Their capital of health, that which is invaluable to the poor man, as well as the rich; their stock of health has been steadily diminishing. The mother in the house, and the children, have made such repeated draughts upon their fund of health and strength, as though their extravagant expenditure would never exhaust their capital, until they are surprised to find it forfeited, their vigor of life exhausted. They have nothing left to draw upon in case of emergency. The sweetness and happiness of life is embittered by racking pains and sleepless nights. Physical and mental vigor is gone. The husband and father who made the unwise arrangement of his business, it may be with the full sanction of the wife and mother, for the sake of gain, as the result may bury the mother and one or more of the children. Health and life were sacrificed for the love of money. “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”T11 30.1

    There is a great work to be accomplished for Sabbath-keepers. Their eyes must be opened, and they see their true condition, and be zealous and repent, or they will fail of everlasting life. The spirit of the world has taken possession of them, and they are brought into captivity by the powers of darkness. They do not heed the exhortation of the apostle Paul, “And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” With many, a worldly spirit, with covetousness and selfishness, predominates. Those who possess it are looking out for their own especial interest. The selfish, rich man does not interest himself in the things of his neighbors, unless it be to study how he can advantage himself at their disadvantage. The noble and god-like in the man is parted with, sacrificed for selfish interests. The love of money is the root of all evil. It has blinded their vision, and they do not discern their obligations to their God or to their neighbors.T11 31.1

    Some flatter themselves that they are liberal because they at times donate freely to ministers, and for the advancement of the truth. These same accounted liberal men are close in their deal, ready to overreach, although they have abundance of this world, which binds upon them great responsibilities as God's stewards. Yet, when dealing with a poor, hard-laboring brother, they will be exacting to the last farthing. Instead of favoring the poor man, if there is a poor side to the bargain, that is the poor man's legacy—his own look out. The sharp, exacting, rich brother, has all the advantage, and adds to his already accumulated wealth, because of the misfortune of his poor brother. He prides himself because of his shrewdness, but is with his wealth heaping up to himself a heavy curse. He has laid a stumbling-block in the way of his poor brother. He has cut off his ability to benefit him with his religious influence by his close calculation and meanness. All this lives in the memory of that poor brother. The most earnest prayers and apparently zealous testimonies he may listen to from his rich brother's lips, will only have an influence to grieve and disgust. He looks upon him as a hypocrite; a root of bitterness springs up whereby many are defiled. The poor man cannot forget the advantages taken of him; neither can he forget his being crowded into difficult places because he was willing to bear burdens, while the wealthy ever had some excuse ready why he did not put his shoulder under the load. The poor man may be so imbued with the Spirit of Christ that he may forgive the abuses of his rich brother. True, noble, disinterested benevolence, is too rarely found among the wealthy. In their ambition for wealth, they overlook the claims of humanity. They cannot see and feel the cramped, disagreeable position of their brethren in poverty, who, perhaps, have labored as hard as themselves. Like Cain they will say, “Am I my brother's keeper?” “I have worked hard for what I have; I must hold on to it.” Instead of praying, “Help me to feel my brother's woe,” their constant study is to forget that he has any woes, any claims upon his sympathy or liberalities.T11 32.1

    Many Sabbath-keepers who are wealthy, are guilty of grinding the face of the poor. Do such think that God takes no notice of their little acts of meanness? If their eyes could be opened, they would see an angel following them everywhere they go, in their families, at their places of business, making a faithful record of all their acts. The True Witness is on their track, declaring, “I know thy works!” I cried out in anguish of spirit as I saw this spirit of fraud, of overreaching, of meanness, even among some professed Sabbath-keepers. This terrible evil, this great curse, is folding around some of the Israel of God in these last days, making them a detestation to even noble-spirited unbelievers. This is the people professedly waiting for the coming of the Lord.T11 33.1

    There is a class of poor brethren who are not free from temptation. They are poor managers; have not wise judgment; they wish to obtain means without waiting the slow process of persevering toil. Some are in such haste to better their condition, that they will engage in different enterprises, without consulting with men of good judgment and experience. Their expectations are seldom realized; they lose instead of gaining, and then comes temptations and a disposition to envy the rich. They really want to be benefited by the wealth of their brethren, and have trials because they are not. They are not worthy of receiving especial help. They have evidence that their efforts have been scattered. They have been changeable in business; full of cares and anxiety, bringing but little returns. Such persons should lean to the counsel of those of experience. But frequently they are the last ones to seek advice. They think that they have superior judgment, and will not be taught. These are often the very ones who are deceived by those sharp, shrewd, peddlers of patent rights, whose success depends upon the art of deception. They should learn that no confidence, whatever, can be put in such peddlers. But the brethren are credulous in regard to the very things they should suspect and shun. They do not take home the instruction of Paul to Timothy, “But godliness, with contentment, is great gain. And having food and raiment, let us be therewith content.” Let not the poor think that the rich are the only covetous ones. While the rich hold what they have with a covetous grasp, and seek to obtain still more, the poor are in great danger of coveting the rich man's wealth. There are very few in our land of plenty who are really so poor as to need help. If they pursue a right course, they can in almost every case be above want. My appeal to the rich is, Deal liberally with your poor brethren, and use your means to advance the cause of God. The worthy poor, who are made poor by misfortune and sickness, deserve your especial care and help. “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another; love as brethren; be pitiful, be courteous.”T11 34.1

    Men and women professing godliness, expecting translation to Heaven without your seeing death, I warn you to be less greedy of gain, less self-caring. Redeem by noble acts of disinterested benevolence, your godlike manhood, your noble womanhood. Gain back true nobility of soul, and heartily despise your former avaricious spirit. From what God has shown me, unless you zealously repent, Christ will spue you out of his mouth. Sabbath-keeping Adventists profess to be followers of Jesus Christ. The works of many of them belie their profession. “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven.”T11 35.1

    I appeal to all who profess to believe the truth, to consider the character and life of the Son of God. He is our example. His life was marked with disinterested benevolence. He was ever touched with human woe. He went about doing good. There was not one selfish act in all his life. His love for the fallen race was so great he took upon himself the wrath of his Father, and consented to suffer the penalty of man's transgression, to save guilty man, plunged in degradation because of sin. He bore the sins of man in his own body. He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.T11 36.1

    True generosity is too frequently eaten up by prosperity and riches. Men and women in adversity, or in humble poverty, will sometimes express very great love for the truth, and especial interest for the prosperity of the cause of God, and for the salvation of their fellowmen, and will tell what they would do if they only had the means. God frequently proves them; he tests them; he prospers them; blesses them in basket and in store, far beyond their expectations. But their hearts are deceitful. Their good intentions and promises are like the rolling sand. The more they have, the more they desire. The more they are prospered, the more eager are they for gain. Some of these, who were once even benevolent in their poverty, become penurious and exacting. Money becomes their god. They delight in the power money gives them; the honor they receive because of it. Said the angel, Mark ye how they stand the test. Watch the development of character under the influence of riches. Some were oppressing the needy poor. They would obtain their wages for the lowest figure. They were overbearing; money was power to them. God's eye, I saw, was upon them. They were deceived. “And behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”T11 36.2

    Some who are wealthy do not withhold from ministers. They keep up their Systematic Benevolence exactly, and pride themselves upon their punctuality and generosity, and think their duty ends here. This is well as far as it goes. But their duty does not end here. God has claims upon them that they do not realize. Society has claims upon them; their fellowmen have claims upon them. Every member of their family has claims upon them. All these claims should be regarded; not one should be overlooked or neglected. Some men give to ministers, and put into the treasury with a satisfaction, as though it would entitle them to Heaven. They think that they can do nothing to aid the cause of God, unless they are constantly having a large increase. They feel that they could in no wise touch the principal. Should our Saviour speak the words to them as to the certain ruler “Go sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven; and come and follow me,” they would go away sorrowful, choosing like the ruler to run the risk of retaining their idols, riches, rather than to part with them to secure treasure in Heaven. This ruler claimed that he had kept all the commandments of God from his youth up, and, confident in his fidelity, his righteousness, thinking that he was perfect, he asks, What lack I yet? Jesus immediately tears off his sense of security by referring to his idols, his possessions. He had other gods before the Lord, which were of greater value to him than eternal life. Supreme love to God was lacking. Thus it is with some who profess to believe the truth. They think they are perfect; think that there is no lack, when they are far from perfection, and are cherishing idols which will shut them out of Heaven.T11 37.1

    Men and women pity the Southern slaves, because they are bound down to labor, while slavery exists in their own families. Mothers and children are allowed to toil from morning till night; they have no recreation. A ceaseless round of labor is before them, and crowded upon them. They profess to be Christ's followers, but where is the time for them to meditate and pray, and obtain food for the intellect, that the mind, with which we serve God, may not be dwarfed in its growth for want of something to feed upon? God has claims upon every individual, to use the talents he has committed to them to his glory; and by improving these talents, gain other talents also. God has laid obligations upon us to benefit others. Our work is not done in this world for the good of others until Christ shall say in Heaven, “It is done. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” Many seem to have no realizing sense of their responsibility before God. They are required to strive to enter in at the straight gate, because many shall seek to enter in and shall not be able. Heaven requires of them to interest themselves to induce others to strive also for an entrance in at the straight gate. A work is before young and old to earnestly labor, not only to save their own souls, but the souls of others. There are none who have reasoning faculties but that have some influence; and that influence is used either to hinder souls from striving to enter in at the straight gate, by their own indifference in regard to the matter, or to urge the necessity upon others of diligently striving by their own example, in putting forth earnest, persevering, untiring, efforts themselves. There is no one who occupies a neutral position here. Doing nothing to encourage others, and doing nothing to hinder them. Says Christ, They that gather not with me scatter abroad. Take heed, old and young; you are either doing the work of Christ, to save souls, or the work of Satan, to lead them to perdition. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” The young can exert a powerful influence, if they will give up their pride and selfishness, and devote themselves to God, but as a general thing they will not bear burdens for others. They have to be carried themselves. The time has come when God requires a change in this respect. He calls upon young and old to be zealous and repent. If they continue in their state of lukewarmness he will spue them out of his mouth. Says the True Witness, “I know thy works.” Young man, young woman, your works are known whether they be good or whether they be evil. Are you rich in good works? Jesus comes to you as a counselor. “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see.”T11 38.1

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