The Lord desires to make man the repository of divine influence, and the only thing that hinders the accomplishment of God's design is that men close their hearts to the light of life. Apostasy caused the withdrawal of the Holy Spirit from man, but through the plan of redemption this blessing of heaven is to be restored to those who sincerely desire it. The Lord has promised to give all good things to those who ask Him, and all good things are defined as given with the gift of the Holy Spirit. The more we discover our real need, our real poverty, the more will we desire the gift of the Holy Spirit; our souls will be turned, not into the channel of ambition and presumption, but into the channel of earnest supplication for the enlightenment of heaven. It is because we do not see our need, do not realize our poverty, that we do not pour forth earnest entreaties, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, for the bestowal of the blessing.
This is the one thing that is needed at the ________________ If the workers there only knew their need, their cry would ascend with ceaseless importunity that they might have the Spirit of God to rest upon them. They would see nothing but danger in walking in the sparks of their own kindling. Devising and planning without the Lord to plan with you is to be ensnared by the enemy. Let every soul seek the Lord.
Jesus said, "Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." It is in proportion to our appreciation of the necessity and value of spiritual things that we seek for their attainment. "Without me ye can do nothing," says Jesus, and yet many think that man can do very much in his own finite strength and wisdom. Satan is ready to offer his counsel that he may win the souls in the game of life. When men do not feel the need of counseling with their brethren, something is wrong; they trust to their wisdom. It is essential that brethren should counsel together. This I have been compelled to urge for the last forty-five years. Again and again the instruction has been repeated that those who are engaged in important work in the cause of God should not walk in their own ideas, but counsel together. They may regard their plans as without a flaw, but other minds may be enlightened on some points where they cannot see or may take heed to suggestions and counsels of those who see not the truth. The Lord may have plans of a different order, not after the plans of finite man.
The Lord has not endowed one man with all the qualifications essential to accomplish the work in our institutions. One man may be strong in one direction and weak on other points, and Satan understands how to take advantage of that weak point; and another may be strong in another direction, each making up for the deficiency of his brother. Let no man think himself sufficient of himself, with breadth of mind enough to carry the weighty responsibilities of running such institutions as the publishing house, the college, or the health institutions. Among a multitude of counselors there is safety.
It is essential that men in responsible positions in any branch of the work of God take advantage of religious ordinances and the means of grace to obtain all the counsels of heaven they can. Special efforts should be made by those in the medical profession to place themselves in the channel of light because they are continually exposed to a variety of temptations.
Physicians are deprived of many opportunities to attend important meetings where they might obtain a better understanding of the working of the cause of God. But they can do far better than they do if they will devise and plan with determined purpose. They do not hear the statistics of the work, they lose the direct appeals that are made to their heart, that they may recognize the voice of God in entreaty, in warnings, in testimonies of His Spirit that they may be assured that the Captain of their salvation is leading His people. They lose sight of the importance and force of spiritual truths and fail to reach a position of exalted faith. Those who are in this position need wise counselors who shall alternate in attending the religious meeting for the benefit of the churches. Imbued with the Spirit of God, they may catch the holy inspiration and rehearse the messages of warning, and keep fresh in mind the providences of God, while they live lives of purity and faith and gladness of spirit.
The Lord is at work in a variety of ways to bind His people together. Through heavenly and human agencies He is at work that His professed followers may all become partakers of the divine nature, that His church may be brought up to the highest standard of Christian excellence. God has made the line of demarkation between the church and the world very distinct, and He designs that it shall be discerned and practiced. . . .
The believers in all ages are to be one, and the Holy Spirit is the living essence that cements, animates, and pervades the whole body of Christ's followers. The duties devolving on the members of Christ's church are tasks set by the Lord, and although each one of the workers is but an atom, a fraction of the stupendous fabric, inhabited by the Holy Spirit, how sacred, how holy do these duties appear! The Jews had an appointed guard whose duty it was to watch the temple night and day, and although the guard was made up of a large number of men, each one felt that he was under obligation to stand in his lot and place; for he was entrusted with a solemn charge. Suppose that the numerous body of guards had been dismissed, and the whole burden of responsibility had been placed upon one man, and that at a time when particular danger was near because of the efforts of a vigilant foe. This would be presumption. Would not the solitary guard be liable to be overcome because overcharged? Thank God, important interests are not to rest on one man's mind or one man's judgment. Every soul is to be on the alert to catch every sound, to note every movement on the part of the enemy that would endanger his God-given charge. This is the spirit that should characterize every worker at the — —; for each one of you is entrusted with sacred responsibility that you may help one another, strengthen one another in keeping the fort. There is to be a building one another up in the most holy faith, and no one is to receive the least sanction in tearing others down. The Holy Spirit must abide upon every worker else he that watcheth, keepeth his watch in vain.
Let every one do his work as unto God and not unto man. Let your conduct accord with the sacred trust that has been given to you. This you may do; for the fountain of life has been opened for you, and principles of a new and heavenly order are to control your spirit and actions. Let not anyone receive the impression that a confederacy may safely be formed with worldlings. Confidences are not to be encouraged with those who are enemies of Christ. No compromise can be made with the enemy. Are you sentinels for God? Then be careful lest you betray God's people into the enemy's hands. Satan is seeking to insinuate some scheme that will result in separating God from the workers, but I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Let every one stand in his lot and place, and do the part assigned him with unwavering fidelity, and he will see and realize the fulfilment of the gracious designs of the Lord." If you become restless, as did Abraham and Sarah, and work up plans of your own in order to bring about God's promises, a condition of things which you deem desirable after your own ways and ideas, you will find that it will result in sorrow, misery, and sin.
Jesus comes to you as the Spirit of truth; study the mind of the Spirit, consult your Lord, follow His way. If you yield to the dictates of the mind and flesh, your spirit will lose its proper character and balance, and you fail to discern and cannot appreciate moral power. Then you will seek to carry out the maxims of worldlings. Their voices are heard on every side, Here is the path of success... God calls upon you to close the door to human inventions and to open the door to divine illumination. Be careful that you do not resist the Spirit of God in its office work upon the temple of the soul. Be determined to please God, to magnify His name, to enjoy the sweet influence of His grace.
Every element of your nature is to be dedicated to God; lay not one attribute upon the altar of Satan. . . . Give all you have and are, and it is all nothing without the merit of the blood that sanctifies the gift. Could those who hold responsible positions multiply their talents a thousandfold, their service would have no worth before God unless Christ was mingled with all their offerings. Let all the glory of what is accomplished redound to the glory of God; it belongs to Him. The world cannot discern Jesus; then let me not be anxious to unite with the world, lest I, too, become blind as the worldling, so that I cannot see the beauty of the truth. By beholding, by studying the ambitious plans and projects of the world, I become more and more favorable to their methods, and become willing to listen to the suggestions of the enemy and to take the bribes of Satan, when I should instantly reject them as did Jesus when He was tempted.
There are some who talk in a regretful way concerning the restraints that the religion of the Bible imposes upon those who would follow its teachings. They seem to think that restraint is a great disadvantage, but we have reason to thank God with all our heart that He has raised a heavenly barrier between us and the ground of the enemy. There are certain tendencies of the natural heart that many think must be followed in order that the best development of the individual may result, but that which man thinks essential God sees would not be the blessing to humanity which men imagine; for the development of these very traits of character would unfit them for the mansions above. The Lord places men under test and trial that the dross may be separated from the gold; but He forces none. He does not bind with fetters and cords and barriers; for they increase disaffection rather than decrease it. The remedy for evil is found in Christ as an indwelling Saviour. But in order that Christ may be in the soul, it must first be emptied of self, then there is a vacuum created that may be supplied by the Holy Spirit.
The Lord purifies the heart very much as we air a room. We do not close the doors and windows and throw in some purifying substance; but we open the doors and throw wide the windows, and let heaven's purifying atmosphere flow in. The Lord says, "He that doeth truth cometh to the light." The windows of impulse, of feeling, must be opened up toward heaven, and the dust of selfishness and earthliness must be expelled. The grace of God must sweep through the chambers of the mind, the imagination must have heavenly themes for contemplation, and every element of the nature must be purified and vitalized by the Spirit of God.
Many seem to feel that religion has a tendency to make the possessor narrow and cramped; but genuine religion does not have a narrowing influence. It is the lack of religion that cramps the faculties and narrows the mind.—Manuscript 3, 1892 (dealing with the "Relationship of Institutional Workers" at the Health Retreat, St. Helena, California, 1892).