“In simplicity and meekness man is to co-operate with divine agencies, at all times doing his best, yet ever realizing that God is the great Master Workman.”
“The church is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, and its mission is to carry the gospel to the world. From the beginning it has been God’s plan that through His church shall be reflected to the world His fullness and His sufficiency. The members of the church, those whom He has called out of darkness into His marvelous light, are to show forth His glory. The church is the repository of the riches of the grace of Christ; and through the church will eventually be made manifest, even to ‘the principalities and powers in heavenly places,’ the final and full display of the love of God. Ephesians 3:10. . . .
“The church is God’s fortress, His city of refuge, which He holds in a revolted world. Any betrayal of the church is treachery to Him who has bought mankind with the blood of His only-begotten Son. From the beginning, faithful souls have constituted the church on earth. In every age the Lord has had His watchmen, who have borne a faithful testimony to the generation in which they lived. These sentinels gave the message of warning; and when they were called to lay off their armor, others took up the work. God brought these witnesses into covenant relation with Himself, uniting the church on earth with the church in heaven. He has sent forth His angels to minister to His church, and the gates of hell have not been able to prevail against His people.
“Through centuries of persecution, conflict, and darkness, God has sustained His church. Not one cloud has fallen upon it that He has not prepared for; not one opposing force has risen to counterwork His work, that He has not foreseen. All has taken place as He predicted. He has not left His church forsaken, but has traced in prophetic declarations what would occur, and that which His Spirit inspired the prophets to foretell has been brought about. All His purposes will be fulfilled. His law is linked with His throne, and no power of evil can destroy it. Truth is inspired and guarded by God; and it will triumph over all opposition.
“During ages of spiritual darkness the church of God has been as a city set on a hill. From age to age, through successive generations, the pure doctrines of heaven have been unfolding within its borders. Enfeebled and defective as it may appear, the church is the one object upon which God bestows in a special sense His supreme regard. It is the theater of His grace, in which He delights to reveal His power to transform hearts. . . .
“God’s church is the court of holy life, filled with varied gifts and endowed with the Holy Spirit. The members are to find their happiness in the happiness of those whom they help and bless.
“Wonderful is the work which the Lord designs to accomplish through His church, that His name may be glorified. A picture of this work is given in Ezekiel’s vision of the river of healing: ‘These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass, that everything that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: . . . and by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.’ Ezekiel 47:8-12.”1
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“The work for this time is represented by the first, second, and third angels flying in the midst of heaven. The first angel has his message, the second follows the first and bears his message. But the first is not dropped; it loses none of its force as the second is proclaimed. So also with the third. These angels represent the people of God proclaiming the word of God to the world, whereby are produced impressions so powerful that truth is separated from the rubbish of error and stands revealed in its unblemished pure beauty. These messages of truth open the most lofty contemplation of scenes through which they conduct us—solemn, refining, and awfully grand.
“This has been the case from the first discovery of the present truth for this age. We are to call on the Lord to open the way, to sacrifice ourselves, and then pray the Lord for help. Men who have been working in the interest of our nation have been, in their schemes and plans, penetrating beyond the present, and have been greatly honored for their comprehensiveness in their far-reaching ideas. God has wrought through human instrumentalities in proclaiming the messages of truth He has given them to bear. From a very small beginning in their missionary work, great results have been accomplished. This work lies in a sphere so heavenly that the devices of human ambition have never reached it. It requires so large a scope that the worldly-wise policies of worldly statesmen would add nothing to its success, but be spent and lost.
“The field is the world. The light of truth must be borne amid the moral darkness. It is not a message which we need cringe to declare. No one who works for the Master is to cover it, that it shall not reveal its origin and its purpose. It must move on triumphantly, elevating, ennobling, and purifying everything it touches and giving dignity to all who come under its influence. Its agents must be men who will not hold their peace day or night, for it involves the mightiest conflicts. The results touch both worlds, link earth to heaven, invest men with its own exalted character. The cross—the cross of Christ—is lifted up and stands prominent, infusing into the message a new vigor. Its power is seen and its efficacy comprehended, showing the greatness of the authority of the sin-pardoning Saviour in the heart of the broken law. His power to forgive sins is high and broad and deep. It is without limit.”2
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“Let no one overtax his God-given powers in an effort to advance the Lord’s work more rapidly. The power of man cannot hasten the work; with this must be united the power of heavenly intelligences. Only thus can the work of God be brought to perfection. Man cannot do God’s part of the work. A Paul may plant, and an Apollos water, but God gives the increase. In simplicity and meekness man is to co-operate with divine agencies, at all times doing his best, yet ever realizing that God is the great Master Workman. He is not to feel self-confident, for thus he will exhaust his reserve force and destroy his mental and physical powers. Though all the workmen now bearing the heaviest burdens should be laid aside, God’s work would be carried forward. Then let our zeal in labor be tempered with reason; let us cease our efforts to do that which the Lord alone can accomplish.”3