There are quicksands upon which many are in danger of being swamped. It is always safe to seek for the earnest of the Spirit of God, if we do not mingle with it a force and presumption that is not heaven born. There is need of caution in all our utterances lest some poor souls of ardent temperament shall work themselves up into a zeal not according to knowledge. They will act as though it was their prerogative to use the Holy Spirit instead of letting the Holy Spirit use them, and mold and fashion them after the pattern of the divine. There is danger of running ahead of Christ. We should honor the Holy Spirit by following where it shall lead. "Lean not unto thine own understanding" (Prov. 3:5). This is one danger of those who teach the truth to others. To follow where Christ leads is a safe path for our feet. His work will stand. Whatsoever God saith is truth.
It is Christ's purpose to enlighten our understanding, that we may know "what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power" to all who deny self, and taking up the cross, follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Words can not express the blessedness of following His guidance. He pledges himself to work with those who strive to represent Him in thought, word, and deed. He gives them assurances to encourage them when they are cast down. He speaks words that will uplift them, but He never designs to exalt them in their own estimation. He gives them the earnest of His Spirit, recognizing their meekness in wearing His yoke. "Learn of Me," He says, "and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Holiness of heart and works and spirit is obtained through a belief of the truth.
God-fearing physicians speak modestly of their work, but novices with limited experience in dealing with the bodies and souls of men will often speak boastingly of their knowledge and attainments. These need a better understanding of themselves; then they would become more intelligent in regard to their duties and would realize that in every department where they have to labor they must possess a willing mind, an earnest spirit, and a hearty, unselfish zeal in trying to do others good. They will not study how best to preserve their dignity, but by thoughtfulness and caretaking will earn a reputation for thoroughness and exactitude, and by sympathetic ministry will gain the hearts of those whom they serve.
The people should not depend upon the minister, but upon Christ. Attention should especially be given to teaching them to labor in the meetings held among the tent companies. None who come to the meeting should be content to leave it without a deeper religious experience than they had when they came. Our brethren and sisters come to camp-meeting hoping to receive the blessing of the Lord; yet it is often the case that they do not know just what to do to make the meeting a benefit to themselves or to others. Many do not realize but that the only object for which they came is merely to hear preaching. Therefore they do not strive for the blessing of God, they do not from the very beginning of the meeting feel the necessity of confessing their sins, and striving for the earnest of the Spirit. They do not know that the success of the meeting depends largely upon themselves, and therefore do not feel the burden of the work. The very first effort of ministers should be to set them in the way of working for themselves. Let the minds and hearts of the people be enlisted in the work. Let all be taught what they must do to open the door of the heart to Jesus, that they may receive him gladly.
My dear brethren, I write you these words as I was speaking them to you last night in my dreams. I am praying for the success of your effort in Marlborough. May the Lord give you an earnest spirit of prayer. I have feared that you would fail to come close enough to God to enable Him to do the work He is ready to do for you and through you. He cannot do this work unless you are hid with Christ in God, because self is prepared to take the glory God should have.
Faith in a lie will not have a sanctifying influence upon the life or character. No Error is truth, or can be made truth by repetition, or by faith in it. Sincerity will never save a soul from the consequences of believing an error. Without sincerity there is no true religion, but sincerity in a false religion will never save a man. I May be perfectly sincere in following a wrong road, but that will not make it the right road, or bring me to the place I wish to reach. The Lord does not want us to have a blind credulity, and call that the faith that sanctifies. The Truth is the principle that sanctifies, and therefore it becomes us to know what is truth. We must compare spiritual things with spiritual. We must prove all things, but hold fast only that which is good, that which bears the divine credentials, which lays before us the true motives and principles which should prompt us to action. Selected Messages Bk2, pg. 56
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