The qualifications essential for the successful preacher may be enumerated at considerable length, but the qualification of paramount importance is a personal, experimental knowledge of God. And such knowledge must be of no superficial nature, for we have the positive command that " those who labor for souls must attain to a deeper, fuller, clearer knowledge of God than can be gained by ordinary effort."-- " The Acts of the Apostles," p. 205. This is our need, but how can we obtain this deeper, fuller, clearer knowledge?
Let us visit the astronomer and consider his methods. Here is a man who must possess' deeper, fuller, clearer knowledge of the heavenly bodies than can be gained by ordinary effort, and for this purpose we find he has access to outlines, charts, and instruments of various kinds. There is the telescope, by which he is enabled to penetrate five hundred times deeper into space than by the unassisted eye. There is the polariscope, by which he can determine whether, a ray of light from a certain star is coming direct from a self-luminous body, or is reflected from some other body. He has the spectroscope, by which he can determine the elements that enter into the composition of the most distant stars. What would the astronomer do without these instruments?
The physician also must have a fuller, clearer, deeper knowledge of the human body than can be gained by ordinary observation, and he calls to his aid the stethoscope, by which to determine the abnormal condition of the heart or lungs. He uses the clinical thermometer to determine the temperature of the body, and employs the X-ray to examine the bones and workings of the internal organs. There is the sphygmomanometer by which to determine the blood pressure, the electrocardiograph by which the heart is made to trace its signature-rhythm on a film. Then there is the gastroscope, the laryngoscope, the proctoscope, the ophthalmoscope, by which the physician and surgeon may locate any abnormality in stomach, larynx, colon, bladder, and eye. There is also the microscope, by the aid of which a cell can be magnified ten thousand times.
As the astronomer knows the constellations in the heavens, and as the physician understands the mechanism of the human body, so the preacher must possess a " deeper, fuller, clearer knowledge of God than can be gained by ordinary effort," in order to minister to the soul in spiritual things. The preacher needs a titeoscope — the vision which reveals the invisible. Like Moses, the preacher must endure " as seeing Him who is invisible." He must see Jesus.
It was through the aid of the theoscope that the apostles were enabled to do a mighty work. Jesus was a reality to them. They saw no man save Jesus only; they knew nothing but Christ and Him crucified. Their testimony is clearly recorded: "That -which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; . . . that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you." 1 John 1:1-3. The preacher's efficiency lies in that " deeper, fuller, clearer knowledge of God," which cannot be gained by ordinary effort, such as the study of the technique and science of divine things, but comes alone through the channel of personal experience. Spiritual things must be " spiritually discerned."
One of the reasons for lack of greater power in proclaiming the message of God for this hour, is a failure to depend upon the theoscope. We cannot succeed without it. Suggestions for the use of the preacher's theoscope are briefly stated, as follows:
1. Secret Prayer.—" Communion with God through prayer and the study of His word must not be neglected, for here is the source of his strength. . . . If men will walk with God, He will hide them in the cleft of the Rock. Thus hidden, they can see God, even as Moses saw Him. With the power and light that God imparts, they can comprehend more and accomplish more than they had before deemed possible."—" Testimonies," Vol. VI, p. 47.
2. Bible Study.— Read the Bible as the voice of God speaking to your own soul. Put your name into the text.
3. Dependence on God.— Depend on God for guidance, grace, and strength in all daily affairs. In all thy ways " acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."
4. Steadfastness.— Be steadfast in devotion, consecration, and prayer each day. " Pray without ceasing."
5. The New Life.— Maintain the " new life " in Christ Jesus. Make real the experience of Galatians 2:20. Believe that " the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, as the personal presence of Christ to the soul," and open the door of the heart for the abode of Christ through the Holy Spirit.
6. Presence of God.— Recognize the immediate presence of God, and live under the banner, " Thou God seest me." " If you will do everything as if you were in the immediate presence of God, you will be saved from yielding to temptation, and may hope to be kept pure, spotless, and undefiled till the last."—" Testimonies," Vol. V, p. 148.
Brevard, N. C.
Executives and Evangelism
By M.L. Andreasen
My work in the ministry began in the city of Chicago. Later I was transferred to New York, where I conducted gospel meetings in tents, halls, and specially built tabernacles. The last evangelistic effort that I conducted in the city of New York was in 1907,—twenty-two years ago,— at the close of which seventy were baptized. Since that time, I have been engaged in administrative work, and in school work, and have not had opportunity to conduct active evangelistic efforts.
During the past few years I have felt more and more convinced that I needed to engage in that specific line of work to some extent, at least; but with a conference of over three thousand members, and a large territory to look after, it seemed an impossibility to do so. But in counseling with ministers and workers of the conference, I found that I was handicapped by not having had recent evangelistic experience. All the advice I could give was based upon experience twenty years back, and did not afford the practical help which my workers needed.
I therefore determined to engage in a small public effort, with the twofold objective of reaching some people with the message of truth, and also to gain some up-to-date experience myself; and during the past summer I have been privileged to do this. I selected a town with less than three thousand inhabitants, where there were only a few Sabbath keepers, and all of these, with the exception of two, were so scattered as to make it impossible for them to attend the services. I did not have the assistance of a Bible worker, but I did have excellent help in the singing.
I learned many things through this summer's work. First, I found it was necessary to revamp all my sermon material, in order to bring it up to date. I had no charts of any kind, and so got along without them. In the matter of advertising, I limited myself to just what was granted the other laborers in the conference, so as to have no advantage in this respect. In fact, I tried to conduct the meetings under conditions similar to those which' all our laborers had to meet. I rented a small theater, and held my first meeting the evening of July 28. There was a reasonably good attendance at this first meeting, which steadily increased, until, at the end of August, school began, and most of my audience left for their homes in Minneapolis and St. Paul, the place in which I had chosen to locate being somewhat of a summer resort.
This made it necessary for me to begin all over again, and I found that the securing of another audience was no easy task. During this second attempt the theater was rented over our beads to a theatrical company, notwithstanding the fact that we had a lease on the place. This transaction stopped the meetings for about two weeks just at the critical stage of presenting the Sabbath question. For a time it looked as if the effort would be a complete failure. But I decided to hang on, and am glad to be able to report that the effort is not entirely without fruit. Six people have been baptized, and as many more will be baptized shortly. Others are interested, and are keeping the Sabbath and attending meetings regularly.
To sum up the matter, I would say that this has been a most excellent experience for me, for the following reasons:
1. I have had first-hand experience with present-day conditions.
2. I have had to meet objections and opposition from other ministers, which, while they are of the same general nature as those I encountered years ago, have taken on some modern phases.
3. I have learned some things about advertising which are somewhat different from conditions twenty years ago.
4. I have learned that it is possible to bring people to a knowledge of the truth without hammering on some of the things which were considered essential years ago.
5. I have found that it is possible to preach Christ in all His fullness and power to save, whether the subject be the state of the dead, baptism, the Sabbath, or the coming of the Lord.
6. And last, but not least in importance, I have discovered the difference between preaching a few sermons in the midst of some other evangelist's effort, and staying by the work myself until it is finished.
While the effort of last summer was somewhat on the order of an experiment, I feel that it was a success, as far as my own education is concerned, and I am now anxious for the opportunity to conduct another such effort. If this is possible, I plan to start out without Bible worker, singer, or help of any kind, and see what can be done. Not that I am especially anxious to work single handed, but many of our workers must carry on their work under such conditions, and I would like to try it out for myself. If I get the opportunity to do so, I will report the results.
St. Paul, Minn.
The Minister's CompanionBy Mrs. E.W. Farnsworth
A very striking statement concerning the minister's wife is found in " Testimonies," Volume I, page 139, as follows: " An unsanctified wife is the greatest curse a minister can have." Surely no minister's wife would desire to be in this class, and there is no need for any to be there. But almost unconsciously we may permit circumstances to influence the life in such a way that we tend to become a " curse " rather than the helper and companion that meets the divine ideal.
The wife who becomes self-centered, seeks to make things easy and pleasant for herself, and manifests unhappiness and discontent if she cannot have what she likes. Such a wife keeps prominently before her husband her ailments and her lack of comforts and needed conveniences. She is unwilling to economize as the needs of the situation require, and contrasts her financial condition with that of others more favorably situated. She thinks of self, talks of self, and lives for self. The husband of such a wife becomes discouraged, harassed, unnerved, and often turns from his divinely appointed work to engage in other lines by which he hopes to be able to gratify his wife's wishes. Therefore, to my mind, a most essential quality in the character of a minister's wife is unselfishness.
The charming Christian grace of charity must adorn the daily life. The minister's wife whose life is fashioned after 1 Corinthians 13 will be to her husband as an anchor, to hold him in the storms of temptation and difficulty, a true companion and helper in every sense of the word. The self-forgetful wife who "seeketh not her own," who "vaunteth not" herself, but is constantly thinking of others and helping them, who " is not easily provoked," who places the best construction upon the acts and motives of others, and "thinketh no evil," will stand as a peacemaker in any church or community. To her the discouraged will come for counsel and comfort, and they will not be disappointed. The burden of such a minister's wife will be the spiritual welfare of others, rather than her own ease and pleasure. To know that there are those in danger of apostasy or ruin will lead to secret prayer in their behalf. She will ever be ready to speak words of hope and courage; and to be able to lift souls to a higher plane of spiritual life, will bring greater joy to her soul than to receive the richest worldly legacy.
The sanctified minister's wife will seek to be an example in prayer, in testimony, in faithfulness, in helpfulness and cheerfulness, and in the conduct of her home. Her plain, modest dress, free from display or extravagance, will speak louder than words against the fashions and follies of a wicked world. She will not be found in gatherings for worldly pleasure, nor seek recreation in questionable places of amusement. Her life will bear witness to the admonition, " Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world."
The efficiency of the minister's wife who seeks to be the true companion and helper of her husband, will be greatly increased if she knows how to offer the effectual, fervent prayer that availeth much. She will be called to visit the sick and the dying, and must know how to minister to them in temporal and spiritual things.
To meet the divine ideal for a minister's wife involves heavy responsibilities, hard labor, self-denial, and the complete surrender of the life to the sanctifying process of the Holy Spirit. It is a high and holy calling, worthy of one's best endeavor, and the compensation is great, whether the wife accompanies her husband in the field or whether she remains at home. The following statements referring to the wives of ministers, are most assuring:
" If they would only lean confidingly, in childlike trust, upon God, and have their affections centered in Jesus, deriving their life from Christ, the living vine, what an amount of good they might do, what a help they might be to others, what a support to their husbands, and what a reward would be theirs in the end! ' Well done, good and faithful servants,' would fall like sweetest music upon their ears. The words, ' Enter into the joy of thy Lord,' would, repay them a thousand times for all suffering and trials endured to save precious souls."—" Testimonies," Vol. I, page 453.
" The husband in the open missionary field may receive the honor of men, while the home toiler may receive no earthly credit for her labor. But if she works for the best interests of her family, seeking to fashion their characters after the divine Model, the recording angel writes her name as one of the greatest missionaries in the world."—" Gospel Workers," p. 203.