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Gospel Workers (1892/1893 ed.)

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    Duties and Privileges of the Christian Laborer

    It is a privilege to express my gratitude to God for these meetings now in the past. We know that we have had the presence and blessing of God. He has breathed upon us his Holy Spirit. To me and to many others, heaven has seemed very near; and we have been led to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.GW92 464.1

    Through the Bible readings the truth has been brought out with clearness and power. Deeper, broader views have been taken of divine truth and of our responsibility to God. Hearts have been subdued and softened by the love of God. Through grace the capacity to understand and appreciate the truth has been enlarged; and as we continue to advance in grace, our ability will still further increase, and we shall better understand the ways of God and the plan of redemption.GW92 464.2

    The morning meetings have been most precious. To me they have been a continual feast,—like heavenly manna to my soul. We have met Jesus in the assembly of his people. We have learned of him, and of his willingness to receive all who come to him in humble faith, taking God at his word. We have learned that if we would receive the dew of divine grace, we must allow nothing to come between God and our souls. We have seen many obtaining such a knowledge as they never had before of the true Source of spiritual strength, of moral power.GW92 464.3

    But we are now about to separate and to be widely scattered. Our ministers go to their several fields of labor refreshed and strengthened, with broader views of the love of God, and of his willingness to work with their efforts, than they have heretofore had. Sensitive persons, as they view the conflicts and trials before them, shrink from the responsibility they must bear in warning the world of the judgments that are about to come. They fear that this rude touch will stain their souls. But we are none of us to be shut up as precious perfumes lest the fragrance shall escape. We have enjoyed a Pentecostal season; we have been warmed by the love of Jesus, invigorated by the clear, firm truths of the word of God, and refreshed by the dews of divine grace, all for a purpose, that we may shed forth to the world a sweet fragrance from Eden. We have gathered rays of divine light that they may be reflected to others in good works.GW92 465.1

    There are souls to be won to Christ. There is a great and solemn work before us to prepare a people to stand in the day of the Lord. We have but little time here, and the best use we can make of our faculties is to consecrate them to the work of God. It is the duty of all, not only of those who occupy the position of watchmen on the walls of Zion, but of the laymen also, to do their utmost to advance the cause of God and save their fellow-men. Opposition must be met. We shall be hated of all men for Christ's sake, and by Satan, because he knows that this work is attended by divine power, which will undermine his influence. But heaven is open before us; we may take hold of divine strength. As children of God it is our privilege and duty to come directly to him, and claim a Father's blessing. He will give it. Iniquity abounds, and for this very reason, God is willing to give more grace, and reveal himself to his people.GW92 465.2

    I beseech you, do not withhold yourselves from God. The moment you surrender yourselves wholly to him, in simple faith, Jesus accepts you, and encircles you in his arms of love. He holds you more firmly than you can grasp him. Come to the light, and triumph in God. Then shall your peace be as a river, and your “righteousness as the waves of the sea.” [Isaiah 48:18.]GW92 466.1

    Cease to cherish and excuse sin; for sin caused the death of the Son of God. Let your conversation be in heaven, “from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” [Philippians 3:20.] Never forget, wherever your lot may be cast, that you are pilgrims and strangers here, journeying to a better country, even a heavenly. The talents you possess, the property God has lent you, must be used in doing good, in laying up treasure in heaven. The work which you are doing with your hand or your brain, must stand the test of the Judgment. How will it then appear? Are you acting well your part in preparing yourselves and others for glory, honor, and immortality? Are you doing anything that you will wish undone when the books shall be opened, and you meet your deeds as they stand registered in heaven?GW92 466.2

    “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” “The world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” [1 John 3:2, 1.] We are not understood by the world, we shall never be; but we must not let this discourage us. We are not to look at present appearances, nor be angry when we are misjudged, but we should improve every opportunity of doing good.GW92 466.3

    It is wise to seek humility and meekness, and carefully to avoid raising a combative spirit, which will close hearts and ears to the truth. Hold your mouth as with a bridle when the wicked are before you. When tempted to say sarcastic things, refrain. Censure no one; condemn no one. Let the life argue for Jesus, and the lips be opened with wisdom to defend the truth. The consistent life, the long forbearance, the spirit unruffled under provocation, is always the most conclusive argument and the most solemn appeal. We are often brought into positions that are trying, where human nature longs to break forth, but in such cases, be still, do not retaliate.GW92 467.1

    We must drink deeper draughts from the well of salvation. How can we possibly enter into the spirit of Christ's teachings unless we are partakers of the divine nature? We are seeking to vindicate the law of God. We need the energy of the Holy Spirit to accompany our efforts. Never venture to enter the pulpit until you have wrestled with God in prayer, and come forth as seeing Him who is invisible, with your faces lighted up with beams from the Sun of Righteousness. You will then have no tame words to offer. The divine truths which glow in your own breast will kindle the hearts of others. The men who would teach others the secret of success in the sacred ministry should understand that secret themselves. The best way to teach youthful laborers is to do yourselves what you expect them to do.GW92 467.2

    In every prayer, let the hand of living faith lay hold upon infinite help. Faith is the medium by which the renewed heart is drawn close to the great heart of love. Faith elevates the sinking soul. Faith lightens every burden and relieves every weariness, by the anticipation of the mansions Jesus has gone to prepare for them that love him.GW92 467.3

    Jesus is the foundation, the author and the finisher, of our faith. Why are we so powerless? Jesus lives; and because he lives, we shall live also. He is to us a risen Saviour; not a shrouded Saviour in Joseph's new tomb, which was closed with a great stone and sealed with the Roman seal. Mourn not as those who are hopeless and helpless; never, under any circumstances, give way to despair; but from grateful hearts, from lips touched with holy fire, let the glad song ring out, “Jesus is risen; he lives to make intercession for us.” Grasp this hope, and it will hold the soul like a sure, tried anchor. Believe, and thou shalt “see the glory of God.” [John 11:40.]GW92 467.4

    Will it make you sad to be buffeted, despised, derided, maligned by the world? It ought not; for Jesus told us just how it would be. “If the world hate you,” he says, “ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” The apostle Paul, the great hero of faith, testifies, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” [John 15:18; Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17.] Look up, my brethren, look up. Let the love of God into your souls. Through Jesus the treasures of heaven are at our command, and what is there that he will not do for us? The Father also loves us, and is waiting to be gracious. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” [Romans 8:32.]GW92 468.1

    Are we working to proclaim truth, righteousness, and the love of God? This is the work that is assigned us. Even in bereavement we should not stop to grieve; but let us show our love for the faithful workers who have gone to their rest, by doing the work they would have done had they lived. While we do our own work, we may also take up theirs where they left it, and firmly and courageously carry forward the banner of truth to final victory.GW92 468.2

    Brethren, your aims are altogether too low. You have not used the great moral faculties of the soul,—faith, hope, and love. These powers are not given us to lie dormant, but that through their exercise the soul may be brought into harmony with heaven. With many of you they are paralyzed through inaction, and, as a consequence, you are weak and helpless; but do not let your great need discourage you. The Saviour of sinners, the Friend of the friendless, with compassion infinitely greater than that of a tender mother for a loved and afflicted child, is inviting, “Look unto me, and be ye saved.” “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” [Isaiah 45:22; 53:5.] We may take hold of his strength, and make peace with God. Jesus will quicken all the faculties of the soul, and implant new life and energy.GW92 469.1

    While you should make every effort to reach the highest standard of intellectual excellence, you should avoid self-sufficiency and dependence on your own ability. Learn of Jesus. He was the greatest teacher the world ever knew; yet he spoke in the language of common life. He met the necessities of all. He adapted his instruction to all times and places, to both the rich and the poor, the educated and the ignorant. He ever dwelt upon the grandest themes than [that] can engage the attention; and he presented them in such a form, and used such illustrations, that the feeblest minds could grasp his meaning, while the most intelligent were attracted and instructed.GW92 469.2

    Let us beware lest we lose the simplicity of the gospel of Christ. We must become as little children in humility, in consciousness of our own weakness. We must learn from the Divine Teacher lessons of higher wisdom than were ever taught in the most exalted schools of human institution.GW92 469.3

    There is danger of not making Christ's teachings a personal matter, of not receiving them as though they were addressed to us personally. In his words of instruction, Jesus means me. I may appropriate to myself his merits, his death, his cleansing blood, as fully as though there were not another sinner in the world for whom Christ died. In listening to his teachings, with understanding open to receive his words, we display the highest wisdom. In being doers of the word,—obeying Christ by leading self-denying lives and forming pure and holy characters,—we shall secure the life which measures with the life of God.GW92 470.1

    There are toils and conflicts and self-denials for us all. Not one will escape them. We must tread the path where Jesus leads the way, it may be in tears, in trials, in bereavement, in sorrow for sins, or in seeking for the mastery over depraved desires, unbalanced characters, and unholy tempers. It requires earnest efforts to present ourselves a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. It takes the entire being, complete consecration, entire submission. There must be no chamber of the mind where Satan can hold sway, and carry out his devices. Self must be crucified. Sacrifices must be made that will seem like taking the very life-blood from the heart.GW92 470.2

    When self dies, there will be awakened an intense desire for the salvation of others,—a desire which will lead to persevering efforts to do good. There will be a sowing beside all waters; and earnest supplication, importunate prayers, will enter heaven in behalf of perishing souls. There will be an earnestness, a persistency, that will not let go. Love to Jesus will lead to ardent love for the souls of our fellow-men.GW92 470.3

    Now, as we are about to separate, the question arises, Shall we all meet again in General Conference? Probably we shall not; but where, then, will be our next grand meeting? When shall we again greet each other? We have wept and rejoiced together here; but if we never meet again on earth, shall we unite our voices in songs of triumph around the great white throne? Shall we each prove worthy of the precious boon of eternal life? God grant that not one face may be missing, not one voice wanting, when the hallelujahs are sung in the courts of heaven.GW92 470.4

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