The word comes to me in the night "season to speak to the churches that know the truth: Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." Isaiah 60:1.
The words of the Lord in the fifty-fourth chapter of Isaiah are for us: "Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame. . . . For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall He be called." Isaiah 54:2-5.
And the words of Christ to His disciples are also for His people today: "Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together." John 4:35, 36.
God's people have a mighty work before them, a work that must continually rise to greater prominence. Our efforts in missionary lines must become far more extensive. A more decided work than has been done must be done prior to the second appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. God's people are not to cease their labors until they shall encircle the world.
The vineyard includes the whole world, and every part of it is to be worked. There are places which are now a moral wilderness, and these are to become as the garden of the Lord. The waste places of the earth are to be cultivated, that they may bud and blossom as the rose. New territories are to be worked by men inspired by the Holy Spirit. New churches must be established, new congregations organized. At this time there should be representatives of present truth in every city and in the remote parts of the earth. The whole earth is to be illuminated with the glory of God's truth. The light is to shine to all lands and all peoples. And it is from those who have received the light that it is to shine forth. The daystar has risen upon us, and we are to flash its light upon the pathway of those in darkness.
A crisis is right upon us. We must now by the Holy Spirit's power proclaim the great truths for these last days. It will not be long before everyone will have heard the warning and made his decision. Then shall the end come.
It is the very essence of all right faith to do the right thing at the right time. God is the great Master Worker, and by His providence He prepares the way for His work to be accomplished. He provides opportunities, opens up lines of influence and channels of working. If His people are watching the indications of His providence, and stand ready to co-operate with Him, they will see a great work accomplished. Their efforts, rightly directed, will produce a hundredfold greater results than can be accomplished with the same means and facilities in another channel where God is not so manifestly working. Our work is reformative, and it is God's purpose that the excellence of the work in all lines shall be an object lesson to the people. In new fields especially it is important that the work be so established as to give a correct representation of the truth. In all our plans for missionary operations these principles should be kept in mind.
Certain countries have advantages that mark them as centers of education and influence. In the English-speaking nations and the Protestant nations of Europe it is comparatively easy to find access to the people, and there are many advantages for establishing institutions and carrying forward our work. In some other lands, such as India and China, the workers must go through a long course of education before the people can understand them, or they the people. And at every step there are great difficulties to be encountered in the work. In America, Australia, England, and some other European countries, many of these impediments do not exist. America has many institutions to give character to the work. Similar facilities should be furnished for England, Australia, Germany, and Scandinavia, and other Continental countries as the work advances. In these countries the Lord has able workmen, laborers of experience. These can lead out in the establishment of institutions, the training of workers, and the carrying forward of the work in its different lines. God designs that they shall be furnished with means and facilities. The institutions established would give character to the work in these countries, and would give opportunity for the training of workers for the darker heathen nations. In this way the efficiency of our experienced workers would be multiplied a hundredfold.
There is a great work to be done in England. The light radiating from London should beam forth in clear, distinct rays to regions beyond. God has wrought in England, but this English-speaking world has been terribly neglected. England has needed many more laborers and much more means. London has been scarcely touched. My heart is deeply moved as the situation in that great city is presented before me. It pains me to think that greater facilities are not provided for the work throughout Europe. I have sore heartache as I think of the work in Switzerland, Germany, Norway, and Sweden. Where there are one or two men struggling to carry forward the different branches of the cause, there should be hundreds at work. In the city of London alone no fewer than one hundred men should be engaged. The Lord marks the neglect of His work, and there will be a heavy account to settle by and by.
If the workers in America will impart to others of their great mercies, they will see prosperity in England. They will sympathize with the workers who are struggling with difficulties there, and will have the heart to say, not only in word but in action: "All ye are brethren." Matthew 23:8. They will see a great work done in London, all through the cities of England, and throughout the different European countries.
God calls upon us to push the triumphs of the cross in Australia. New fields are opening. For want of workers and money the work has been hindered, but it must be hindered no longer. Of all countries, Australia most resembles America. All classes of people are there. And the warning message has not been presented and rejected. There are thousands of honest souls praying for light. God's watchmen are to stand on the walls of Zion and to give the warning: "The morning cometh, and also the night"--the night wherein no man can work. While the angels are holding the four winds, the message is to enter every field in Australia as fast as possible.
The strengthening of the work in these English-speaking countries will give our laborers a hundredfold more influence than they have had to plant the standard of truth in many lands.
While we are trying to work these destitute fields, the cry comes from far-off countries: "Come over and help us." These are not so easily reached, and not so ready for the harvest, as are the fields more nearly within our sight; but they must not be neglected.
The poverty of the missions in Africa has recently been opened before me. The missionaries sent from America to the natives of Africa have suffered and are still suffering for the necessaries of life. God's missionaries, who carry the message of mercy to heathen lands, are not properly sustained in their work.
Our brethren have not discerned that in helping to advance the work in foreign fields they would be helping the work at home. That which is given to start the work in one field will result in strengthening the work in other places. As the laborers are freed from embarrassment, their efforts can be extended; as souls are brought to the truth and churches are established, there will be increasing financial strength. Soon these churches will be able not only to carry on the work in their own borders, but to impart to other fields. Thus the burden resting on the home churches will be shared.
The home missionary work will be farther advanced in every way when a more liberal, selfdenying, self-sacrificing spirit is manifested for the prosperity of foreign missions; for the prosperity of the home work depends largely, under God, upon the reflex influence of the evangelical work done in countries afar off. It is in working actively to supply the necessities of the cause of God that we bring our souls in touch with the Source of all power.
Although the work in foreign fields has not advanced as it should have advanced, yet that which has been accomplished affords reason for gratitude and ground for encouragement. Much less means has been spent in these fields than in the home fields, and the work has been done under the hardest pressure and without proper facilities. Yet, considering the help that has been sent to these fields, the result is indeed surprising. Our missionary success has been fully proportionate to our self-denying, self-sacrificing effort. God alone can estimate the work accomplished as the gospel message has been proclaimed in clear, straight lines. New fields have been entered, and aggressive work has been done. The seeds of truth have been sown, the light has flashed upon many minds, bringing enlarged views of God and a more correct estimate as to the character to be formed. Thousands have been brought to a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. They have been imbued with the faith that works by love and purifies the soul.
The value of these spiritual advantages is beyond our comprehension. What line can sound the depths of the word preached? What balances can correctly weigh the influence of those who are converted to the truth? In their turn they become missionaries to work for others. In many places houses of worship have been erected. The Bible, the precious Bible, is studied. The tabernacle of God is with men, and He dwells with them.
Let us rejoice that a work which God can approve has been done in these fields. In the name of the Lord let us lift up our voices in praise and thanksgiving for the results of work abroad.
And still our General, who never makes a mistake, says to us: Advance. Enter new territory. Lift up the standard in every land. 'Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.'"
Our watchword is to be: Onward, ever onward. The angels of God will go before us to prepare the way. Our burden for the "regions beyond" can never be laid down until the whole earth shall be lightened with the glory of the Lord.
The missionary spirit needs to be revived in our churches. Every member of the church should study how to help forward the work of God, both in home missions and in foreign countries. Scarcely a thousandth part of the work is being done that ought to be done in missionary fields. God calls upon His workers to annex new territory for Him. There are rich fields of toil waiting for the faithful worker. And ministering angels will co-operate with every member of the church who will labor unselfishly for the Master.
The church of Christ on earth was organized for missionary purposes, and the Lord desires to see the entire church devising ways and means whereby high and low, rich and poor, may hear the message of truth. Not all are called to personal labor in foreign fields, but all can do something by their prayers and their gifts to aid the missionary work.
An American businessman who was an earnest Christian, in conversation with a fellow worker remarked that he himself worked for Christ twenty-four hours of the day. "In all my business relations," he said, I try to represent my Master. As I have opportunity, I try to win others to Him. All day I am working for Christ. And at night, while I sleep, I have a man working for Him in China."
In explanation he added: "In my youth I determined to go as a missionary to the heathen. But on the death of my father I had to take up his business in order to provide for the family. Now, instead of going myself, I support a missionary. In such a town of such a province of China, my worker is stationed. And so, even while I sleep, I am, through my representative, still working for Christ."
Are there not Seventh-day Adventists who will do likewise? Instead of keeping the ministers at work for the churches that already know the truth, let the members of the churches say to these laborers: "Go work for souls that are perishing in darkness. We ourselves will carry forward the services of the church. We will keep up the meetings, and, by abiding in Christ, will maintain spiritual life. We will work for souls that are about us, and we will send our prayers and our gifts to sustain the laborers in more needy and destitute fields."
Why should not the members of a church or of several small churches unite to sustain a missionary in foreign fields? If they will deny themselves of selfish indulgences, dispense with needless and hurtful things, they can do this. Brethren and sisters, will you not help in this work?
I beseech you to do something for Christ, and to do it now. Through the teacher whom your money shall sustain in the field, souls may be saved from ruin to shine as stars in the Redeemer's crown.