Relational Ethics in the Church

Dealing with sin amongst Ministers

 

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” [Galatians 6:1.] Here is a special direction to deal tenderly with those overtaken in a fault. This word “overtaken” must have its full significance. It describes something different from deliberate sin; it applies to one who is led into sin unawares through want of watchfulness and prayer, not discerning the temptation of Satan, and so falling into his snare. There is a difference to be made in the case of one who deliberately enters into temptation, who marks out an evil course, covering his sins skillfully, that he may not be detected. More decisive measures are needed to check the premeditated sin; but the apostle directs the treatment to be given to those who are “overtaken” or surprised, or overcome by temptation. “Ye which are spiritual,” you who have a connection with God, “restore such a one in the spirit of meekness,” —do not crush all hope and courage out of the soul, but restore him in meekness, “considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Faithful reproofs will be needed, and kindly counsel and supplications to God to bring him to see his sin and danger.

 

  • The original word translated “restore,” means to set in joint, as a dislocated bone. Efforts should be made to bring him to himself, by convincing him of his sin and error, that he may not, like a limb hopelessly diseased, be severed from the body. He is to be loved, because Christ loved us in our weakness and errors. There should be no triumphing in a brother’s fall; but in meekness, in the fear of God, in love for his soul, we should seek to save him from ruin.

 

Jesus pities them [the erring]; he loves them, and bears with their infirmities even as he does with yours. You do wrong to exalt yourself above those who are not so strong as you are. You do wrong to shut yourself up in a self-righteous spirit, thanking God that you are not like other men, but that your faith and zeal exceed those of the poor, feeble ones striving to do right under discouragements and darkness.

 

Angels from a pure and holy Heaven come to this polluted world to sympathize with the weakest, the most helpless and needy, while Christ himself descended from his throne to help just such as these. You have no right to hold yourself aloof from these faltering ones, nor to assert your marked superiority over them. Come more in unison with Christ, pity the erring, lift up the hands that hang down, strengthen the feeble knees, and bid the fearful hearts be strong. Pity and help them, even as Christ has pitied you. . . . You may feel that your work in this direction is not rightly appreciated; but remember that our Saviour’s work was also lightly considered by those whom he benefited. He came to save those who were lost; but the very ones whom he sought to rescue, refused his help, and finally put him to death.

 

If you fail ninety-nine times in a hundred, but succeed in saving the one soul from ruin, you have done a noble deed for the Master’s cause. But to be a co-worker with Jesus, you should have all patience with those for whom you labor, not scorning the simplicity of the work, but looking to the blessed result. When those for whom you labor do not exactly meet your mind, you often say in your heart “Let them go; they are not worth saving.” What if Christ had treated poor outcasts in a similar manner? He died to save miserable sinners, and if you work in the same spirit and in the same manner indicated by the example of Him whom you follow, leaving the results with God, you can never in this life measure the amount of good you have accomplished. —Vol. 4, p. 131.

 

  • Mild measures, soft answers, and pleasant words are much better fitted to reform and save, than severity and harshness. A little too much unkindness may place persons beyond your reach, while a conciliatory spirit would be the means of binding them to you, and you might then establish them in the right way. You should be actuated by a forgiving spirit also, and give due credit to every good purpose and action of those around you.

 

Do not reproach the Christian religion by jealousy and intolerance toward others. This will but poorly recommend your belief to them. No one has ever been reclaimed from a wrong position by censure and reproach; but many have thus been driven from the truth, and have steeled their hearts against conviction. A tender spirit, a gentle and winning deportment, may save the erring, and hide a multitude of sins. God requires us to have that charity that “suffereth long, and is kind.” [1 Corinthians 13:4.]

 

The religion of Christ does not require us to lose our identity of character, but merely to adapt ourselves, in some measure, to the feelings and ways of others. Many people may be brought together in a unity of religious faith whose opinions, habits, and tastes in temporal matters are not in harmony; but if they have the love of Christ glowing in their hearts, and are looking forward to the same heaven as their eternal home, they may have the sweetest and most intelligent communion together, and a unity the most wonderful. There are scarcely two whose experience is alike in every particular. The trials of one may not be the trials of another, and our hearts should ever be open to kindly sympathy, and all aglow with the love that Jesus had for all his brethren.

 

  • Christ sometimes reproved with severity, and in some cases it may be necessary for us to do so; but we should consider that while Christ knew the exact condition of the ones he rebuked, and just the amount of reproof they could bear, and what was necessary to correct their course of wrong, he also knew just how to pity the erring, comfort the unfortunate, and encourage the weak. He knew just how to keep souls from despondency and to inspire them with hope, because he was acquainted with the exact motives and peculiar trials of every mind. He could not make a mistake.

 

But we may misjudge motives; we may be deceived by appearances; we may think we are doing right to reprove wrong, and go too far, censure too severely, and wound where we wished to heal; or we may exercise sympathy unwisely, and counteract, in our ignorance, reproof that is merited and timely. Our judgment may be wrong; but Jesus was too wise to err. He reproved with pity, and loved with a divine love those whom he rebuked.—Vol. 4 p. 65

 

Peter denied the Man of sorrows in his acquaintance with grief in the hour of his humiliation. But he afterward repented and was reconverted. He had true contrition of soul, and gave himself afresh to his Saviour. With blinding tears he makes his way to the solitudes of the garden of Gethsemane, and there prostrates himself where he saw his Saviour’s prostrate form, when the bloody sweat was forced from his pores by his great agony. Peter remembers with remorse that he was asleep when Jesus prayed during those fearful hours. His proud heart breaks, and penitential tears moisten the sods so recently stained with the bloody sweat-drops of God’s dear Son. He left that garden a converted man. He was ready then to pity the tempted. He was humbled, and could sympathize with the weak and erring. He could caution and warn the presumptuous, and was fully fitted to strengthen his brethren. —Vol. 3, p. 416.

 

  • Do not be exclusive. Do not seek out a few with whom you delight to associate, and leave others to take care of themselves. Suppose you do see weakness in one and folly in another; do not stand aloof from them, and associate with those only who, you think, are about perfect. The very souls you despise need your love and sympathy. Do not leave a weak soul to struggle alone, to wrestle with the passions of his own heart without your help and prayers, but consider yourself, lest you also be tempted. If you do this, God will not leave you to your own weakness. You may have sins greater in his sight than the sins of those you condemn. Do not stand off, and say, “I am holier than thou.” Christ has thrown his divine arm around the human race. He has brought his divine power to man that he might encourage the poor, sin-sick, discouraged soul to reach up for a higher life. O, we need more of Christ’s spirit, and much less of self! We need the converting power of God upon our hearts daily. We need the mellowing spirit of Christ to subdue and soften our souls. The only way for those to do who feel that they are whole, is to fall upon the Rock and be broken. Christ can change you into his likeness, if you will submit yourself to him.

 

The world is indeed full of hurry, and of pride, selfishness, avarice, and violence; and it may seem to us that it is a waste of time and breath to be ever in season and out of season, and on all occasions to hold ourselves in readiness to speak words that are gentle, pure, elevating, chaste, and holy, in the face of the whirlwind of confusion, bustle, and strife. And yet, words fitly spoken, coming from sanctified hearts and lips, and sustained by a godly, consistent Christian deportment, will be as apples of gold in pictures of silver.

 

You are not to wait for great occasions, or to expect extraordinary abilities, before you work in earnest for God. You need not have a thought of what the world will think of you. If your intercourse with them, and your godly conversation, are a living testimony to them of the purity and sincerity of your faith, and they are convinced that you desire to benefit them, your words will not be wholly lost upon them, but will be productive of good.

 

A servant of Christ, in any department of the Christian service, will, by precept and example, have a saving influence upon others. The good seed sown may lie some time in a cold, worldly, selfish heart, without evidencing that it has taken root; but frequently the Spirit of God operates upon that heart, and waters it with the dew of heaven, and the long-hidden seed springs up and finally bears fruit to the glory of God. We know not in our life-work which shall prosper, this or that. These are not questions for us poor mortals to settle. We are to do our work, leaving the result with God.—Vol. 3, p. 247.

 

  • I saw that many have taken advantage of what God has shown in regard to the sins and wrongs of others. They have taken the extreme meaning of what has been shown in vision, and then have pressed it until it has had a tendency to weaken the faith of many in what God has shown, and also to discourage and dishearten the church. With tender compassion should brother deal with brother. Delicately should he deal with feelings. It is the nicest and most important work that ever yet was done to touch the wrongs of another. With the deepest humility should a brother do this, considering his own weakness, lest he also should be tempted. I have seen the great sacrifice which Jesus made to redeem man. He did not consider His own life too dear to sacrifice. Said Jesus: “Love one another, as I have loved you.” Do you feel, when a brother errs, that you could give your life to save him? If you feel thus, you can approach him and affect his heart; you are just the one to visit that brother. But it is a lamentable fact that many who profess to be brethren, are not willing to sacrifice any of their opinions or their judgment to save a brother. There is but little love for one another. A selfish spirit is manifested. {1T 166.1, 2}

 

Frequently the truth and facts are to be plainly spoken to the erring, to make them see and feel their error that they may reform. But this should ever be done with pitying tenderness, not with harshness or severity, but considering one’s own weakness, lest he also be tempted. When the one at fault sees and acknowledges his error, then, instead of grieving him, and seeking to make him feel more deeply, comfort should be given. In the sermon of Christ upon the mount He said: “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Our Saviour reproved for rash judgment. “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye; . . . and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?” It is frequently the case that while one is quick to discern the errors of his brethren, he may be in greater faults himself, but be blind to them.  {3T 93.1}

 

God will not place his benediction upon those who are negligent, selfish, and ease-loving, who will not lift burdens in his cause. The “Well done” will be pronounced upon those only who have done well. Every man is to be rewarded “according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12. We want an active ministry, —men of prayer, who will wrestle with God as did Jacob, saying, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” Genesis 32:26. If we obtain the victor’s crown, we must stretch every nerve, and exercise every power. We can never be saved in inactivity. To be an idler in the Lord’s vineyard is to relinquish all title to the reward of the righteous.—Testimonies for the Church 4:523. GW92 39.1

 

God does not desire wooden men to guard the interests of his institutions and the church, but he wants living, working men,—men who have ability and quick perception, men who have eyes, and open them that they may see, and hearts that are susceptible to the influences of his Spirit. He holds men to a strict accountability in guarding the interests of his cause…. GW92 81.2

 

Ministers should be faithful watchmen, seeing the evil and warning the people. Their dangers must be set before them continually, and pressed home upon them. The exhortation given to Timothy was, “Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.” 2 Timothy 4:2. … GW92 82.1

 

When existing evils are not met and checked, because men have too little courage to reprove wrong, or because they have too little interest or are too indolent to tax their own powers in putting forth earnest efforts to purify the family or the church of God, they are accountable for the evil which may result in consequence of neglect to do their duty. We are just as accountable for evils that we might have checked in others, by reproof, by warning, by exercise of parental or pastoral authority, as if we were guilty of the acts ourselves. GW92 83.2

 

God’s honor must be sacredly preserved, even if it separates us from the nearest relative. One defect in a man otherwise talented may destroy his usefulness in this life, and cause him to hear in the day of God the unwelcome words, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:23. GW92 83.3

 

Private members and even preachers have sympathized with disaffected ones who have been reproved for their wrongs, and division of feeling has been the result. The one who has ventured out and discharged his disagreeable duty by faithfully meeting error and wrong, is grieved and wounded that he receives not the fullest sympathy of his preaching brethren. He becomes discouraged in discharging these painful duties, lays down the cross, and withholds the pointed testimony. His soul is shut up in darkness, and the church suffers for the lack of the very testimony which God designed should live among his people. Satan’s object is gained when the faithful testimony is suppressed. Those who so readily sympathize with the wrong, consider it a virtue; but they realize not that they are exerting a scattering influence, and that they themselves help to carry out Satan’s plans. GW92 84.1

 

False sympathizers have worked in direct opposition to the mind of Christ and ministering angels. GW92 85.1

 

Ministers of Christ should arise and engage in the work of God with all their energies. God’s servants are not excused if they shun pointed testimony. They should reprove and rebuke wrong, and not suffer sin upon a brother.—Testimonies for the Church 1:212. GW92 85.2

 

The close work of the Spirit of God is needed now as never before. Stupidity must be shaken off. We must arouse from the lethargy that will prove our destruction unless we resist it. Satan has a powerful, controlling influence upon minds. Preachers and people are in danger of being found upon the side of the powers of darkness. There is no such thing now as a neutral position. We are all decidedly for the right, or decidedly with the wrong. Christ said, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” Matthew 12:30. GW92 85.3

 

Those who seek to cloak sin, and make it appear less aggravated to the mind of the offender, are doing the work of the false prophets, and may expect the retributive wrath of God to follow such a course. The Lord will never accommodate his ways to the wishes of corrupt men. GW92 87.1

 

God has no sympathy with the evil-doer. He gives no one liberty to gloss over the sins of his people, nor to cry, “Peace! peace!” when he has declared that there shall be no peace for the wicked. Those who stir up rebellion against the servants whom God sends to deliver his messages, are rebelling against the word of the Lord.—Testimonies for the Church 4:185. GW92 87.2

 

Those who have been thrust out to bear a plain, pointed testimony, in the fear of God to reprove wrong, to labor with all their energies to build up God’s people, and to establish them upon important points of present truth, have too often received censure instead of sympathy and help, while those who, like yourself, From a Personal Testimony have taken a non-committal position, are thought to be devoted, and to have a mild spirit. God does not thus regard them. GW92 89.4

 

In this fearful time, just before Christ is to come the second time, God’s faithful preachers will have to bear a still more pointed testimony than was borne by John the Baptist. A responsible, important work is before them; and those who speak smooth things, God will not acknowledge as his shepherds. A fearful woe is upon them.—Testimonies for the Church 1:321. GW92 90.1

 

The great moral powers of the soul are faith, hope, and love. If these are inactive, a minister may be ever so earnest and zealous, but his labor will not be accepted by God, and cannot be productive of good to the church. A minister of Christ who bears the solemn message from God to the people, should ever deal justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before God. The spirit of Christ in the heart will incline every power of the soul to nourish and protect the sheep of his pasture, like a faithful, true shepherd. Love is the golden chain which binds believing hearts to one another in willing bonds of friendship, tenderness, and faithful constancy; and which binds the soul to God. There is a decided lack of love, compassion, and pitying tenderness among brethren. The ministers of Christ are too cold and heartless. Their hearts are not all aglow with tender compassion and earnest love. The purest and most elevated devotion to God is that which is manifested in the most earnest desires and efforts to win souls to Christ. The reason ministers who preach present truth are not more successful is, they are deficient, greatly deficient, in faith, hope, and love. There are toils and conflicts, self-denials and secret heart-trials, for us all to meet and bear. There will be sorrow and tears for our sins; there will be constant struggles and watchings, mingled with remorse and shame because of our deficiencies. GW92 91.2

 

Frequently there is necessity for plainly rebuking sin and reproving wrong. But ministers who are working for the salvation of their fellow-men, should not be pitiless toward the errors of one another, nor make prominent the defects in their organizations. They should not expose or reprove their weaknesses. They should inquire if such a course, pursued by another toward themselves, would bring about the desired effect; would it increase their love for, and confidence in, the one who thus made prominent their mistakes? Especially should the mistakes of ministers who are engaged in the work of God be kept within as small a circle as possible; for there are many weak ones who will take advantage if they are aware that those who minister in word and doctrine have weaknesses like other men. And it is a most cruel thing for the faults of a minister to be exposed to unbelievers, if that minister is counted worthy to labor in the future for the salvation of souls. No good can come of this exposure, but only harm. The Lord frowns upon this course, for it is undermining the confidence of the people in those whom he accepts to carry forward his work. The character of every laborer should be jealously guarded by brother ministers. God says, “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” 1 Chronicles 16:22. Love and confidence should be cherished. A lack of this love and confidence in one minister for another does not increase the happiness of the one thus deficient, but as he makes his brother unhappy, he is unhappy himself. There is greater power in love than was ever found in censure. Love will melt its way through barriers, while censure will close up every avenue of the soul…. GW92 94.2

 

In the prayer that Christ taught his disciples was the request, Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. We cannot repeat this prayer from the heart, and dare to be unforgiving; for we ask the Lord to forgive our trespasses against him in the same manner as we forgive those who trespass against us. But few realize the true import of this prayer. If those who are unforgiving did comprehend the depth of its meaning, they would not dare to repeat it, and ask God to deal with them as they deal with their fellow-mortals. And yet this spirit of hardness and lack of forgiveness exists, even among brethren, to a fearful extent. Brother is exacting with brother.—Testimonies for the Church 3:92.

 

The minister is not to rule imperiously over the flock intrusted to his care, but to be their ensample, and to show them the way to heaven. Following the example of Christ, he should intercede with God for the people of his care till he sees that his prayers are answered. Jesus exercised human and divine sympathy toward man. He is our example in all things. God is our father and governor, and the Christian minister is the representative of his Son on earth. The principles that rule in heaven should rule upon earth; the same love that animates the angels, the same purity and holiness that reign in heaven, should, as far as possible, be reproduced upon earth. God holds the minister responsible for the power he exercises, but does not justify his servants in perverting that power into despotism over the flock of their care. GW92 78.2

 

The churches need education more than censure. Instead of blaming them too severely for their want of spirituality and neglect of duty, the minister should, by precept and example, teach them to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. GW92 79.3

 

Independent men of earnest endeavor are needed, not men as impressible as putty. Those who want their work made ready to their hand, who desire a fixed amount to do and a fixed salary, and who wish to prove an exact fit without the trouble of adaptation or training, are not the men whom God calls to work in his cause. A man who cannot adapt his abilities to almost any place if necessity requires, is not the man for this time. Men whom God will connect with his work are not limp and fiberless, without muscle or moral force of character. It is only by continued and persevering labor that men can be disciplined to bear a part in the work of God. These men should not become discouraged if circumstances and surroundings are the most unfavorable. They should not give up their purpose as a complete failure until they are convinced beyond a doubt that they cannot do much for the honor of God and the good of souls. GW92 96.1

 

There are men who flatter themselves that they might do something great and good if they were only circumstanced differently, while they make no use of the faculties they already have by working in the positions where providence has placed them. Man can make his circumstances, but circumstances should never make the man. Man should seize circumstances as his instruments with which to work. He should master circumstances, but should never allow circumstances to master him. Individual independence and individual power are the qualities now needed. Individual character need not be sacrificed, but it should be modulated, refined, elevated…. GW92 96.2

 

The cause of God demands men who can see quickly and act instantaneously at the right time and with power. If you wait to measure every difficulty and balance every perplexity you meet, you will do but little. You will have obstacles and difficulties to encounter at every turn, and you must with firm purpose decide to conquer them, or they will conquer you. GW92 97.1

 

Long delays tire the angels. It is even more excusable to make a wrong decision sometimes than to be continually in a wavering position; to be hesitating, sometimes inclined in one direction, then in another. More perplexity and wretchedness result from thus hesitating and doubting than from sometimes moving too hastily. I have been shown that the most signal victories and the most fearful defeats have been on the turn of minutes. God requires promptness of action. Delays, doubtings, hesitation, and indecision frequently give the enemy every advantage…. GW92 97.2 – GW92 97.3

 

God wants men connected with his work in Battle Creek whose judgment is at hand, whose minds, when it is necessary, will act like the lightning. The greatest promptness is positively necessary in the hour of peril and danger. Every plan may be well laid to accomplish certain results, and yet a delay of a very short time may leave things to assume an entirely different shape, and the great objects which might have been gained are lost through lack of quick foresight and prompt dispatch. Much may be done in training the mind to overcome indolence. There are times when caution and great deliberation are necessary; rashness would be folly. But even here, much has been lost by too great hesitancy. Caution, up to a certain point, is required; but hesitancy and policy on particular occasions have been more disastrous than would have been a failure through rashness.—Testimonies for the Church 3:496. GW92 97.5

 

I saw that the seventh commandment has been violated by some who are now held in fellowship by the church. This has brought God’s frown upon them. This sin is awful in these last days, but the church members have brought God’s frown and curse upon them by regarding the sin so lightly. I saw it was an enormous sin and there have not been as vigilant efforts made as there should have been to satisfy the displeasure of God and remove His frown by taking a strict, thorough course with the offender.

 

It has had an awful, corrupting influence upon the young. They see how lightly the sin of breaking the seventh commandment is regarded, and the one who commits this horrid sin thinks that all he has to do is to confess that he was wrong and is sorry, and he is then to have all the privileges of the house of God and be held in the embrace or fellowship of the church.

 

They have thought it was not so great a sin, but have lightly esteemed the breaking of the seventh commandment. This has been sufficient to remove the ark of God from the camp, if there were no other sins to cause the ark to be taken away and weaken Israel.

 

  • Those who break the seventh commandment should be suspended from the church, and not have its fellowship nor the privileges of the house of God. Said the angel, “This is not a sin of ignorance. It is a knowing sin and will receive the awful visitation of God, whether he who commits it be old or young.”

 

Never was this sin regarded by God as being so exceedingly sinful as at the present time. Why? Because God is purifying unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. It is at the very time when God is purifying this peculiar people unto Himself that unsanctified individuals step in among us.

 

Notwithstanding the straight truths they have heard—the terrors of the Word of God set before them, and all the blazing truth for these last days calculated to arouse Israel— they sin with a high hand, give way to all the loose passions of the carnal heart, gratify their animal propensities, disgrace the cause of God, and then confess they have sinned and are sorry!

 

  • And the church receives them and says “Amen” to their prayers and exhortations, which are a stink in the nostrils of God, and cause His wrath to come upon the camp. He will not dwell in their assemblies. Those who move on thus heedlessly, plastering over these sins, will be left to their own ways, to be filled with their own doings.

 

  • Those who anciently committed these sins were taken without the camp and stoned to death. Temporal and eternal death was their doom; and because the penalty of stoning to death is abolished, this sin is indulged in beyond measure and is thought to be a small offense.— Manuscript 3, 1854.

 

Decorum of Gospel Ministers

 

Elder Rice could not be kept as superintendent, for he considered himself as constituting the whole board, planning and managing, buying and selling; and the board knew not the first syllable of the matter. He was incurring great expenses and without one word of advice or counsel from the board of directors. His sharp dealing with outsiders has cut off outside patronage and he seems to lack the power of discrimination. He asks all the price that is set in the terms, which is looked upon as very high for board and treatment, and if one asks for a hot water bag to be supplied with hot water, he or she is charged extra. An extra price is put on every little favor until they go away mad, vowing they will never enter the institution again and [will] tell their friends never to enter. These cases are being revealed more and more, and in a very agony of distress we have been unable to correct the evil.  {20MR 376.1}

 

  • I think now it was understood [that] if Elder Rice did not remain, Dr. Maxson and his wife would also leave. They have formed a bond of union from the first. I wrote a letter to Elder Rice but he made no response, but soon as possible comes one from Dr. Maxson making all the excuses for Elder Rice. It was evident that a firm bond of union has been formed with these parties. I will go to St. Helena in a few days and will then obtain something definite from Dr. Maxson. {20MR 376.2} 

 

Elder Rice has been very imprudent with Mrs., or Sister Heald, and I have handled this familiarity with decision in the fear of God under a great burden. Elder Rice was warned but he persistently kept on his course. He stated that it was his privilege for the superintendent to ride with the matron, and he told me, quite aggrieved, that the church members had much talk of his always taking Sister Heald to the meeting. When the matter came up in the camp meeting at Oakland in the presence of about twenty, he justified himself that he had, he said, been spoken to in regard to Sister Heald’s riding with him and her husband’s not being with them, but he knew that this was no moral wrong and therefore he went on just the same.  {20MR 376.3}

 

I just arose and told him plainly he was not a Bible Christian, that the Word of the Lord was positive–abstain from the very appearance of evil and give no action for reproach to fall upon the cause of God. But he had, knowing that much talk was being made over his close association with another man’s wife, he had not sought in his own course of action to cut off the reproach, but justified his course. Had he seen another man taking the same liberties with his wife when she was living, he would have felt indignant. Had he seen any of the men connected with the institution, young or old, thus intimate with a married woman or young girls, he would have seen the evil and with no soothing words would have made short work of this matter.  {20MR 376.4}

 

  • He stated he should have done so, but that he considered he was a minister, above suspicion and above temptation, and therefore it was safe for him to do that which would be sin in another. He acknowledged that this was wrong reasoning, but every time the matter was talked upon he brought forward the same excuses. {20MR 377.1} 

 

I first took Sister Heald, for I had in a dream been shown some things. Then I talked with her. Nothing, not one thing, was specified as wrong until I urged the matter and asked pointed questions and then drew out by direct questioning that Elder Rice had laid upon the bed with Brother and Sister Heald–that this was done several times. They had kissed each other and she had sat on his lap. This matter was all through the institution and has gone far and near. Brother and Sister Maxson stated to me this was all talk. No such things had been done as were talked of. But in a few hours I had the statement from Sister Heald’s lips.  {20MR 377.2}

 

  • After this, just about the last interview we had with Dr. Maxson and wife, Sister Maxson stated that Sister Manch, Brother Rice’s mother, told her all the circumstances of that one occasion of their lying on the bed together, and made it a very innocent, accidental affair. I said to Sister Maxson, I do not accept this statement, for I have had the matter from Sister Heald’s lips. Everything shows that these parties, Brother and Sister Heald and Brother and Sister Maxson, and Elder Rice have been closely connected in bonds of sympathy, and when the board felt, for the prosperity of the institution, that Elder Rice must not officiate any longer, then all agreed to leave together, and did leave together. There has been some thought that they will unite together to start an institution on this coast, and this he has plainly stated in a letter to me that a wealthy man was urging them to do this and would help them. It is not improbable that Elder Rice may marry Dr. Maxson’s niece.–Letter 53, 1888.

 

God requires that those who occupy responsible positions should be consecrated to the work; for if they move wrong, the people feel at liberty to follow in their footsteps. If the people are wrong, and the leaders lift not their voice against the wrong, they sanction the same, and the sin is charged upon them as well as the offenders. Those who occupy responsible positions should be men of piety, who continually feel the burden of the work resting upon them. {2T 37.2}

 

If men placed at the head of a mission have not firmness of principle that will preserve them from every vestige of commonness, and unbecoming familiarity with young girls and women, after the light which has been so plainly given, LET THEM BE DISCHARGED WITHOUT A SECOND TRIAL. GCDB February 6, 1893, par. 6, 7

 

A second trial would be of no avail to those whose moral sense is so perverted that they cannot see their danger. If after they have long held the truth, its sanctifying power has not established the character in piety, virtue and purity, let them be disconnected with the missions without delay: for through these Satan will insinuate the same lax sentiments in the minds of those who ought to have an example of virtue and moral dignity. Anything that approaches lovesick sentimentalism, any intimation of commonness, should be decidedly rebuked. One who is guilty of encouraging this improper familiarity should not only be relieved of responsibilities which he was unworthy to bear, but should be placed under censure of the church, and that censure should remain upon him, until he give evidence in spirit and deportment, that he sees his sinfulness and heart corruption, and repents, like any other guilty sinner, and is converted. Then God for Christ’s sake will heal him of his transgression. “Even though the men and women at the head of our missions are in character as pure as fine gold, they need constant connection with God in order to keep themselves pure and to know how to manage the youth discreetly, so that all shall keep their thoughts untainted, uncorrupted. Let the lessons be of an elevated, ennobling character, that the mind may be filled with pure and noble thoughts. “Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he (God) is pure.” As God is pure in his sphere, so man is to be pure in his. And he will be pure if Christ is formed within, the hope of glory; for he will imitate Christ’s life and reflect his character. “When a Conference selects young men and women, and aids them in obtaining an education for the canvassing field or any other branch of the work, there should be an understanding as to what they propose to do,—whether they design to engage in courtship and marriage, or to labor for the advancement of the cause of truth. 👉It is no use to spend time and money in the education of workers who will fall in love before they complete this education, and who cannot resist the first temptation in the form of an invitation to marriage. 👈 👉 In most cases the labor spent on such persons is wholly lost. When they enter the marriage relation, their usefulness in the work of God is at an end. 👈They increase their family, they are dwarfed and crippled in every way, and cannot use the knowledge they have obtained. GCDB February 6, 1893, par. 7 – 10

 

Before persons are admitted to our mission training schools, let there be a written agreement that after receiving their education they will give themselves to the work for a specified time. This is the only way that our missions can be made what they should be. Let those who connect themselves with the missions be straightforward, and take hold of the work in a business-like manner. Those who are controlled by a sense of duty, who daily seek wisdom and help from God, will act intelligently, not from selfish motives, but from the love of Christ and the truth. Such will not hesitate to give themselves unreservedly, soul, body, and spirit, to the work. They will study, work, and pray for its advancement. I repeat, do not enter into a marriage engagement, unless there are good and sufficient reasons for this step, —unless the work of God can be better advanced thereby. For Christ’s sake deny inclination, lift the cross, and do the work for which you are educating yourselves. GCDB February 6, 1893, par. 10, 11

 

There are men and women throughout the country who would have been accepted as laborers together with God if Satan had not laid his snares to entangle their minds and hearts in courtship and marriage. Did the Lord urge them to obtain the advantages of our schools and missions, that they might sink everything in courtship and marriage, binding themselves by a human band for a lifetime? GCDB February 6, 1893, par. 12

 

“Let none who dedicate themselves to the work of God be discouraged at the outlook, but let them strive to be faithful in the work committed to them. Live wholly for God; put your life, your energies, your soul, into your work, not knowing which shall prosper, this, or that. Go forth to your canvassing work, or other lines of labor, knowing that there is a witness, an angel, by your side. If you are careless and inattentive, reckless of your words, reckless in spirit, your character is thus portrayed by the recording angel. As the polished plate of the artist produces your features, so will the books of records reflect your words, your works, your character. If you cease to do evil, if you learn to do well, through the grace given for you, the golden harvest of infinite blessedness is growing, and as a laborer together with God you are preparing to be a reaper. Yield not to indolence, give not up to discouragement, be not weary in well doing, for you will reap, if you faint not. GCDB February 6, 1893, par. 12 – GCDB February 6, 1893, par. 13

 

The first appearance of irregularity in conduct should be repressed, and the young should be taught to be frank, yet modest and dignified in all their associations. They should be taught to respect just rules of authority. If they refuse to do this, let them be dismissed, whatever position they occupy, or they will demoralize others. SpTB16 3.1

 

Young girls who have not been properly educated at home, and who are wanting in reserve, modesty, and decorum, come to the institution to receive treatment… They have practiced evasion and deception and will continue the same course at the institute if they can do so without being discovered. They are ready to flirt with young men; and some who are bearing responsibilities, who should have set them a better example, because of their long Christian experience, engage in the same folly. Some of the young ladies belonging to the health institute accept the attentions of strangers who are of as little worth as themselves—men who are corrupted. This familiarity will be carried on, if allowed, until the influence of the institution is injured. Even if the parties go from the place a secret correspondence is often kept up between them, while the parents of the girl are in ignorance of the matter. The guardians of the institution must maintain a high standard, and watch carefully the young entrusted to them by their parents, whether as patients, as helpers in the various departments, or as learners. When young men and women work together, a sympathy is created among them which frequently grows into sentimentalism. If the guardians are indifferent to these matters, lasting injury will be done to these souls, and the high moral tone of the institution will be compromised. If any, patients or helpers, continue their deception after having judicious instruction, they should not be retained in the institution, for their influence will affect those who are innocent and unsuspecting; young girls will lose their maiden modesty, and will be led to act deceptively because their affections have become entangled…. SpTB16 2.3

 

Those who have had the evidence of truth, but who for days, weeks, months, and years, have had about them a subtle influence that gives a distorted representation, a false coloring, to the truth of God, are not fit for teachers for our youth. Where falsehoods regarding the word and work of God are reported as truth is no place for students who are preparing for the future, immortal life. We are seeking heaven, wherein can enter none who have changed the truth of God into a lie. Truth has a spiritual influence. It enters the mind, direct and uncorrupted, from One who is truth. The reception of truth in the inward parts is charged with the greatest results. Truth is to be received into the heart, and developed and expressed in the character. PC 74.3 – PC 74.4

 

We have labored hard to keep in check everything in the school like favoritism, attachments, and courting. We have told the students that we would not allow the first thread of this to be interwoven with their school work. On this point we were as firm as a rock. I told them that they must dismiss all idea of forming attachments while at school. The young ladies must keep themselves to themselves, and the young gentlemen must do the same. The school was established at a great expense, both of time and labor, to enable students to obtain an all-round education, that they might gain knowledge of agriculture, a knowledge of the common branches of education, and above all, a knowledge of the word of God. Those whom the Lord has presented to me as not being properly trained in the home life, who have not thought it necessary to use the powers of their mind and their physical strength and ingenuity as members of the home firm, will always look upon order and discipline as needless restraint and severity. Again and again the Lord has presented this matter before me in clear lines. The teachers must be carefully picked. No haphazard work must be done in the appointment of teachers. Those who have devoted years to study, and yet have not gained the education essential to fit them to teach others, in the lines the Lord has marked out, should not be connected with our schools as educators. They need to be taught the first principles of true, all-around education. We are living in solemn times, and the reason why there are so many failures in our schools is because teachers neglect to keep the way of the Lord. Some teachers feel the burden and carry the load of responsibility. Others do surface work. They fail to see that the woeful influence of this deficiency is seen in the words and deportment of their students. This influence counter-works the influence that God-fearing teachers, who aim to meet the high standard of Christian education, seek. I would that the teachers in our schools could be of God’s selection and appointment. Souls will be lost because of the careless work of professedly Christian teachers, who need to be taught of God day by day, else they are unfit for the position of trust. Teachers are needed who will strive to weed out their inherited and cultivated tendencies to wrong, who will come into line, wearing themselves the yoke of obedience, and thus giving an example to the students. The sense of duty to their God, and to their fellow-beings, with whom they associate, will lead such teachers to become doers of the word, and to heed counsel as to how they should conduct themselves. PC 88 – PC 88.4

 

Blessings

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