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Heavenly Visions

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    THE FORMER DAYS.-NO. 1

    J. N. LOUGHBOROUGH.

    “BUT call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; partly, whilst ye were made a gazing-stock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.” Hebrews 10:32, 33.HEVI 14.5

    No further back than 1858, the field of operation in our whole cause was so limited that one man (Brother Uriah Smith) kept the books of the Review Office. He was secretary and treasurer, keeping all accounts with subscribers, writing the addresses on papers mailed each week, and doing editorial work on the paper besides. His record-book for a whole year would not be of greater bulk than a man could place in his coat pocket. Times have changed. The third angel’s message has made its way to different nations and tongues, and is circling the world. So varied are the interests that have since developed in this world-wide harvest-field, that scores of men are now required to manage successfully the numerous under-takings that have been put in operation by this people in different parts of the world. The cause is still one, however, in all these fields, and is moving onward under one great Leader, even Jesus our Lord. As the human agents seek for wisdom from their divine Head, all goes on harmoniously.HEVI 14.6

    Beginning with the year 1846, the pioneer days of this cause, Elder James White seemed to be, in the providence of God, thrust out to take a leading position in the work of publishing the truth, and urging laborers to enter the gospel field. For this reason some of the brethren rather injudiciously took the position that he was “a modern Moses, to lead this people through to the heavenly Canaan, as Moses was Israel’s leader through the wilderness.” Let it be understood, however, that Brother White never gave credence to such a claim for himself.HEVI 14.7

    We may acquaint ourselves with his position on “Leadership,” from an article written by himself, and published in the pamphlet edition of “Testimony for the Church,” No.25, 1875. As the article does not appear in the bound “Testimonies for the Church,” the following paragraphs quoted from it will show his real position, and what is evidently the gospel doctrine of “leadership.”HEVI 14.8

    Taking as his text, “One is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren” (Matthew 23:8), he says:—HEVI 15.1

    At no time during his public ministry did Christ intimate that any one of his disciples should be designated as their leader. He does say, however, that “he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” Matthew 23:11.HEVI 15.2

    Paul enjoins obedience and submission in his epistle to the Hebrews. But he does not require this in particular for himself, or for any other one who may be regarded as the chosen leader of the church. He pleads in behalf of all the faithful ministers in these words: “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follows, considering the end [object or subject] of their conversation. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.” Hebrews 13:7, 8.HEVI 15.3

    But here we wish it distinctly understood that officers were not ordained in the Christian church to order and command the church, and “to lord it over God’s heritage.” In the case of difference of opinion that arose in some of the churches relative to circumcision and the keeping of the law of Moses, recorded in the fifteenth chapter of Acts, the apostles and elders at Jerusalem acted as counselors, in a manner to give room for the Holy Ghost to act as judge. Christ came into that assembly by his Spirit, and found the apostles, elders, and all the brotherhood in a teachable frame of mind, and at once led them out of their difficulties. In this case, at an early date in the Christian church, the true doctrine of the leadership of Christ and the equality of the ministerial brotherhood stands the test, and the triumphant record is immortalized among the acts of inspired men.HEVI 15.4

    Let the following statements be carefully considered: —HEVI 15.5

    1. I have never professed to be a leader in any other sense than that which makes all of Christ’s ministers leaders.HEVI 15.6

    2. At the very commencement of the work, when organization was impossible, it was necessary that some one should lead out until those appointed by an organized body could act officially. I doubt not but God called me to his work.HEVI 15.7

    3. In my labors with Mrs. White, in correcting errors, exposing wrongs, and establishing order in the church, it was my duty to stand firm with her. And because I could not be induced to yield to the demand of error, but stood firmly for right, I was charged with being stubborn, and having a desire to rule.HEVI 15.8

    4. I do affirm that I have ever been anxious to counsel with those associated with me in office, and in the ministry, and that the statements charging me with a desire to lead, or rule, have originated with those who have tried in vain to turn me from the course which I had the best evidence was right. The Review and Herald, March 21, 1899HEVI 15.9

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