Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Ms 15, 1884

The Ohio Camp Meeting


[September 11-22,] 1884

Previously unpublished.

We met with our brethren and sisters in Columbus, Ohio. There was a large gathering upon the fairground, three miles out from the city. We were convinced that locating the meeting here was not the best judgment. If we have decided it is in God’s order to enter the cities, then let the meeting be as close to the cities as possible, that all who desire may attend the meeting and receive light and be benefitted by the meetings. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 1

There is in our camp meetings, the way that they are conducted, a convincing power that God is with us, that we have the truth. We greatly desire to bring the truth before the people, as many of them as we can reach. We want the world to hear the evidences of our faith. We have no desire to put our light under a bushel, or under a bed, but on a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are within the house. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 2

Less can be accomplished in locating our camp meetings three miles out of a large city, where it is difficult for the people to attend, than to hold them in less prominent places, where the people are, and where they can come out to the meetings. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 3

A mistake was made in Vermont similar to this. The location for the camp meeting was most desirable, but it was too far away from the people whom we wished to be benefitted by the meetings. Our labors are not to be exclusively for our own people, but for all who will hear. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 4

Tracts and papers have been scattered largely by missionary efforts which generally should go before camp meeting. Then, if the meeting is not located where the people can with a little effort reach it, the object is not gained in locating our camp meetings in these cities. They might as well be in the next county. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 5

There was a better outside attendance than we could reasonably expect when the meeting was at such a distance. Those who came to hear seemed interested. The light of truth shone forth in clear rays and convincing power to the people as His ambassadors preached the Word. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 6

The Bible readings were of special interest. The social meetings were seasons of refreshing. It was good to the soul to listen to many testimonies that were borne. Some were taking their positions upon the truth for the first time. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 7

Our early morning meetings were well attended and were precious seasons of confession of sins, of defects. Confessions were made of unimproved opportunities; and there were many testimonies filled with expressions of gratitude and thankfulness for the precious tokens of God’s love and favor they had experienced during the meeting. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 8

Sabbath afternoon was a day that we all will remember. After speaking to the people, we called them forward for prayers, and many responded who had never been converted. Some were backslidden. Some appeared deeply humbled and bore their testimony as willing to give up all, that they might become children of God. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 9

Many confessed their backslidings, and some came forward who greatly desired a more special evidence of their connection with God. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 10

We tried to point one and all of these souls to Jesus, the compassionate, loving, sin-pardoning Saviour, and to convince them of His willingness to receive them. Now they must cast their helpless souls upon the Mighty Helper, who would not turn one soul away who came to Him in penitence and contrition. While His scathing rebuke was upon the self-righteous, the self-sufficient who felt no need of a Saviour, He always looked with pitying love and compassionate tenderness upon the humble, sin-sick soul who applied to Him as the Great Physician. They were to look to Christ and His gracious promises. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 11

We tried to impress upon them not to confuse faith with feeling. Feeling is no criterion for us. The inquiry should arise from every heart, What has the Lord spoken? I rely upon His Word. “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:6, 7. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 12

We tried to encourage the exercise of faith. We could not teach the unconverted or the backslider or those who were seeking for a deeper experience in the things of God, that they had nothing to do but to believe. This doctrine is pleasant to a very large class, that Jesus has done it all, and they have nothing to do but believe. [This doctrine] is a deception of Satan. There is something for every one of us to do, if we ever enter the golden gates of the city of God. Said Jesus, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne.” Revelation 3:21. We all have the opportunity of studying the life of Christ and seeing how He conducted Himself in our world. We are to be as He was in this world. Jesus was tempted in all points like as we are. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 13

The oft-repeated story that we are to only believe is not Bible truth. The work to which Jesus has called us is not only to believe, but work—to show our faith by our works. We are to watch carefully, to see if our own will is being followed in the place of God’s will, and if our own ways are chosen before God’s way. There are spiritual evils in ourselves. There are natural dispositions strengthened by habits that have ascendancy over the reason. This must be given up. This is a work resting upon every one of us. It is not a pleasant or agreeable work to turn from inclination to God’s ways, to turn from our own standard to God’s great moral standard. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 14

The great mirror is presented into which we are to look to discover the defects in our moral character. The great and constant danger with every soul is of acknowledging the principles of truth and yet not weaving them into our life experience. There are habits which have held the soul in bondage, vicious practices which dwarf and pollute the soul-temple. These must be given up. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 15

Some reformation may be made. The outward conduct may improve, while no attack is made on the love of sin cherished in the soul. But those whom Christ can forgive will have true penitence for sin. There is an inwrought principle in the soul, revealing a change of mind and spirit. This change will be evidenced by the outward deportment, corresponding with the profession of faith. Every capacity and power of soul and body is brought into submission to the service of Christ. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 16

Jesus has promised to be found of all who seek Him in sincerity and truth. Something is left for us to do. We are accountable beings, and to us is allotted a task in the struggle for immortality and eternal life. The life of Christ is before us. We may plead with God for help, because we have fallen so low. We cannot lift ourselves up, while Jesus has provided for us divine power to combine with man’s human effort. We need not be discouraged. The life of Jesus, the cross of Calvary, calls upon man for the stretch of every muscle and the strain of every power. Not one of us will be saved in indolence and inactivity. Just as inconsistent would it be for us to look for a harvest where we have never sown and knowledge where we have never studied. Idlers? No, No! You cannot afford it. We have a work to keep down that which if it is allowed to rule will exclude us from a pure and holy heaven. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 17

Satan is constantly at work to stir into activity, to separate the soul from Christ. There is, there must be, a wrestling with those passions which must be overcome if we enter the pearly gates of the city of God. The light of truth is very precious, and that light discovers the errors, the defects, the baseness, of the character. Constantly looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith, will bring you over the dangerous ground in safety. The archfiend will oppose every step of advance. You cannot be an idler. You must fight the fight of faith. Resist inclination. Abase self; exalt Christ, and you will not fail in this warfare. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 18

While the servants of God were praying for those who had come forward, the Spirit of the living God came into the congregation. I realized His blessing in a large measure. We knew indeed that angels were in our midst and the Lord had purposes of mercy toward the repenting ones. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 19

I thought, Should those who took their stand fully on the Lord’s side at the Ohio camp meeting feel their daily accountability to God and meet this accountability, it is impossible to compute the amount of good they may do in letting their light shine forth to the world. With the Word of God in the hand and religion in the heart, good, and not evil, will follow in our track, that you may say in confidence, “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” Psalm 46:7. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 20

The meetings increased in interest from the commencement to the close. Quite a number who had been backslidden from God began to seek the Lord earnestly, and as they returned unto the Lord, their testimony evidenced the surety of the promise, “Let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” [Isaiah 55:7.] 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 21

We visited Elder John W. White, my husband’s brother, and his good wife Ann. We had a cordial welcome at their pleasant home, “Sunset Home.” Since parting with my brother at my husband’s funeral, one year ago he had received a shock of paralysis, which for a time made him a great sufferer. The right arm has lost its cunning, but is not wholly useless. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 22

Emma White was here taken very sick. We were obliged to leave her sick while we met our appointments in Jackson. Everything that kindness and attention could do was done to relieve her of her suffering. We made her case a special subject of prayer. The blessing of the Lord rested upon us. This was all we could do for our afflicted daughter. We were obliged to leave for our appointment at Jackson. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 23

We had all contracted severe colds. Friday morning [Sept. 19] upon the Ohio campground we were chilled through, which resulted very unfavorably to us all, and especially so in the long and dangerous illness of Mrs. Emma White. We have learned to our sorrow, again and again, it is dangerous to health to make any delay in preparation of our tents when we can have a fire. One day too late may cause great suffering and even the loss of life. Especially is this the case when the workers are debilitated with constant labor. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 24

The preparation for fires and for food should be especially attended to, that no embarrassment may be brought to the workers. Every preparation should be made for fires and for eating, that it should not be necessary for the ministers to suggest and be obliged to make their wants known. Some will suffer rather than do this. I have known our best and most responsible workers to allow themselves to be placed in most inconvenient and uncomfortable positions both in sleeping and in taking their meals. This ought not to be. Your care for your ministers will not be lost. They can serve you better if you keep them in a good condition to work. 4LtMs, Ms 15, 1884, par. 25