USE OF TRUTH AS A SCOURGE
In the past you have presented the truth in a fierce way,
using it as if it were a scourge. This has not glorified the
Lord. You have given the people the rich treasures of God’s
Word, but your manner has been so condemnatory that they
have turned from them. You have not taught the truth in the
way that Christ taught it. You present it in a way that mars its
influence. . . . Your heart needs to be filled with the converting
grace of Christ.
NO HELP BY HARSHNESS
Preach the truth, but restrain the words which show a
harsh spirit; for such words cannot help or enlighten anyone.
EFFECT OF ONE DROP OF GALL
Every sermon you preach, every article you write, may
be all true; but one drop of gall in it will be poison to the
hearer or the reader. Because of that drop of poison, one
will discard all your good and acceptable words. Another
will feed on the poison; for he loves such harsh words; he
follows your example, and talks just as you talk. Thus the
evil is multiplied.
OUR TONGUE AS THE PEN OF A READY WRITER
Be careful that you do not rail once. We want the Holy
Spirit of God to be life and voice for us. Our tongue should be as the pen of a ready writer, because the Spirit of God is
speaking through the human agent. When you use that twit
and fling, you have stirred in some of yourself, and we do not
want anything of that mixture.
ON GUARD EVERY MOMENT
Young preachers, and men who have once been ministers,
who have been coarse and rough in their manners,
making expressions in their conversation which were not
perfectly modest and chaste, are not fit to engage in this
work until they give evidence of an entire reform. One word
spoken unadvisedly may do more harm than a series of
meetings held by them will do good. They leave the standard
of truth, which should be ever exalted, lowered to the
dust before the community. Their converts generally come
up no higher than the standard raised for them by the ministers.
Men who are standing between the living and the dead
should be just right. The minister should not be off his guard
for a single moment. He is laboring to elevate others by
bringing them up upon the platform of truth. Let him show to
others that the truth has done something for him. He should
see the evil of these careless, rough, vulgar expressions, and
should put away and despise everything of this character.
Unless he does this, his converts will pattern after him.
CLOSED AND LOCKED DOORS
Let everyone bear in mind that we are in no case to invite
persecution. We are not to use words that are harsh and cutting.
Keep them out of every article written, drop them out
of every address given. Let the Word of God do the cutting,
the rebuking; let finite men hide and abide in Jesus Christ.
Let the Spirit of Christ appear. Let all be guarded in their
words, lest they place those not of our faith in deadly opposition
against us, and give Satan an opportunity to use the
unadvised words to hedge up our way. “Do nothing before
the time.” When God gives a close, cutting message it will
be His work, not prompted by the impulse of finite beings.
Man’s cutting and slashing with the two-edged sword will
hedge up our way, so that we shall find doors closed and
locked against us.
This article is excerpted from the book The Voice in Speech and
Song, pp. 238-240 by Ellen G. White.