The Lord would have union among those who manage His work in different parts of the field. Those who manage His work on the Pacific Coast, and those who are engaged in His work on the east side of the Rocky Mountains, should be of the same mind and judgment,--one in heart, in plans, and in action. He would not have those at either office think it a virtue to differ with their brethren at the other publishing house. There should be a comparing of notes, an interchange of plans and ideas; and if any improvements are suggested in either office, let the managers consider the proposition, and adopt improved plans and methods. In both publishing houses there are very great improvements to be made, and the managers have much to learn. And the lesson which will bear its mark most decidedly and happily in the advancement of the work is to lean less to their own understanding, and to learn more of the meekness and lowliness of Christ. Let not those at either office be so egotistical, so unlike Christ, as to maintain their own plans for the gratification of having their own way, irrespective of consequences.
Those connected with our office of publication at Battle Creek are not what they should be nor what they might be. They think their tastes, habits, and opinions are correct. They are in constant danger of becoming narrow in their ideas and jealous of the Pacific Press, and of standing in an attitude to criticize and have feelings of superiority. This feeling is suffered to grow and to mar and hinder their own interests and also the interests of the work on the Pacific Coast, all because selfish feelings control and prevent clear discernment as to what is for their own good and for the advancement and
upbuilding of the cause of God. This sectional feeling is contrary to the spirit of Christ. God is displeased with it; He would have every particle of it overcome. The cause is one; the vineyard is one great field, with God's servants employed in various parts of the work. There should be no aim but to work disinterestedly to warn the careless and to save the lost.
The men connected with the work of God in the office, the sanitarium, and the college can be accounted safe men only so far as they assimilate to the character of Christ. But many have inherited traits of character that in no way represent the divine Model. There are many who have some defect of character received as a birthright, which they have not overcome, but have cherished as though it were fine gold, and brought with them into their religious experience. In many cases these traits are retained through the entire life. For a time no particular harm may be seen to result from them; but the leaven is at work, and when a favourable opportunity arrives, the evil manifests itself.
Some of these men who have marked deformities of character have strong, decided opinions and are unyielding when it would be Christlike to yield to others whose love for the cause of truth is just as deep as their own. Such persons need to cultivate opposite traits of character and to learn to esteem others better than themselves. When they become connected with an important enterprise, where great designs are to be worked out, they should be careful lest their own peculiar ideas and special traits of character have an unfavourable influence on its development. The Lord saw the danger that would result from one man's mind and judgment controlling decisions and working out plans, and in His Inspired Word we are commanded to be subject one to another and to esteem others better than ourselves. When plans are to be laid that will affect the cause of God, they should be brought before a council composed of chosen men of experience; for harmony of effort is essential in all these enterprises.
Men of various temperaments and defective characters can
see the faults of others, but do not seem to have a knowledge of their own errors; and if left to carry out their own plans without consultation with others, they would make sad mistakes. Their ideas must become broader. With ordinary humanity there is a selfishness, an ambition, that mars the work of God. Self-interest must be lost sight of. There should be no aiming to be first, no standing aloof from God's workmen, speaking and writing in a bigoted manner of things that have not been critically and prayerfully investigated and humbly brought before the council.
The future world is close at hand, with its unalterable and solemn issues--so near, so very near, and such a great work to be done, so many important decisions to be made; yet in your councils the preconceived opinions, the selfish ideas and plans, the wrong traits of character received by birth, are lugged in and allowed to have an influence. You should ever feel that it is a sin to move from impulse. You should not abuse your power, using it to carry out your own ends regardless of the consequences to others, because you are in a position that makes this possible; but you should use the power that is given you as a sacred, solemn trust, remembering that you are servants of the most high God and must meet in the judgment every decision that you make. If your acts are unselfish and for the glory of God, they will bear the trying test. Ambition is death to spiritual advancement, genius is erring, slothful indolence is criminal; but a life where every just principle is respected must be a successful one.
Many of your councils do not bear the stamp of heaven. You do not come to them as men who have been communing with God and who have His mind and His merciful compassion, but as men having a firm purpose to carry out your own plans and to settle questions according to your own minds, In every department of the work it is essential to have the mind and spirit of Christ. You are God's workmen; and you must possess courtesy and grace, else you cannot represent Jesus.
All who are employed in our institutions should realize
that they will be a blessing or a curse. If they would be a blessing they must renew their spiritual strength daily; they must be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Amid the cares of active life it is sometimes difficult to discern our own motives, but progress is made daily either for good or evil. Likes or dislikes, an uprising of personal feelings, will come in to control our actions; the things of sense will blind our vision. I have been shown that Jesus loves us; but He is grieved to see such a want of wise discrimination, of adaptability to the work, and of wisdom to reach human hearts and enter into the feelings of others. While we are to guard against the constant danger of forming an alliance with the enemies of Christ and being corrupted by them, we must guard against holding ourselves aloof from those whom our Lord claims as His. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren," He says, "ye have done it unto Me." If with an earnest, loving purpose we improve every opportunity to help to their feet those who have stumbled and fallen, we shall not have lived in vain. Our manners will not be harsh, overbearing, and dictatorial, but our lives will be fragrant with the hidden grace of Christ.
Our heavenly Father requires of His servants according to that which He has entrusted to them, and His requirements are reasonable and just. He will not accept less of us than He claims; all His righteous demands must be fully met, or they will testify against us that we are weighed in the balances and found wanting. But Jesus watches our efforts with the deepest interest. He knows that men with all the infirmities of humanity are doing His work, and He notes their failures and discouragements with the tenderest pity. But the failures and defects might be far less than they are. If we will move in harmony with heaven, ministering angels will work with us and crown our efforts with success.
This is the great day of preparation, and the solemn work going on in the sanctuary above should be kept constantly
before the minds of those employed in our various institutions. Business cares should not be allowed to absorb the mind to such a degree that the work in heaven, which concerns every individual, will be lightly regarded. The solemn scenes of the judgment, the great day of atonement, should be kept before the people, and urged upon their consciences with earnestness and power. The subject of the sanctuary will give us correct views of the importance of the work for this time. A proper appreciation of it will lead the workers in the publishing houses to manifest greater energy and zeal to make the work a success. None should become careless, blinded to the wants of the cause and the perils that attend every soul; but each should seek to be a channel of light.
In all our institutions there is too much of self, and too little of Christ. All eyes should turn to our Redeemer, all characters should become like His. He is the model to copy, if we would have well-balanced minds and symmetrical characters. His life was as the garden of the Lord, in which grew every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. While embracing in His soul every lovely trait of character, His sensibility, courtesy, and love brought Him into close sympathy with humanity. He was the creator of all things, sustaining worlds by His infinite power. Angels were ready to do Him homage and to obey His will. Yet He could listen to the prattle of the infant and accept its lisping praise. He took little children in His arms and pressed them to His great heart of love. They felt perfectly at home in His presence and reluctant to leave His arms. He did not look upon the disappointments and woes of the race as a mere trifle, but His heart was ever touched by the sufferings of those He came to save.
The world had lost the original pattern of goodness and had sunk into universal apostasy and moral corruption; and the life of Jesus was one of labourious, self-denying effort to bring man back to his first estate by imbuing him with the spirit of divine benevolence and unselfish love. While in the
world, He was not of the world. It was a continual pain to Him to be brought in contact with the enmity, depravity, and impurity which Satan had brought in; but He had a work to do to bring man into harmony with the divine plan, and earth in connection with heaven, and He counted no sacrifice too great for the accomplishment of the object. He "was in all points tempted like as we are." Satan stood ready to assail Him at every step, hurling at Him his fiercest temptations; yet He "did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth." He . . . suffered being tempted," suffered in proportion to the perfection of His holiness. But the prince of darkness found nothing in Him; not a single thought or feeling responded to temptation.
His doctrine dropped as the rain; His speech distilled as the dew. In the
character of Christ was blended such majesty as God had never before displayed
to fallen man and such meekness as man had never developed. Never before had
there walked among men one so noble, so pure, so benevolent, so conscious of His
godlike nature; yet so simple, so full of plans and purposes to do good to
humanity. While abhorring sin, He wept with compassion over the sinner. He
pleased not Himself. The Majesty of heaven clothed Himself with the humility of
a child. This is the character of Christ. Are we walking in His footsteps? O my
Saviour, how poorly art Thou represented by Thy professed followers!