Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)

304/339

Ms 74, 1900

Our Camp Meetings

NP

December 12, 1900 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in AH 422-423; CG 143; 7MR 10-11. +Note

The camp meeting should be a school where old and young are given opportunity to learn the way of the Lord more perfectly, a time when believers can receive an education which will help them to help others. Properly conducted, the camp meeting is a school where pastors, elders, and deacons learn to do more perfect work for the Master. 15LtMs, Ms 74, 1900, par. 1

The youth meet with numerous temptations. The most vigilant watchfulness is required on the part of parents. But many parents do not understand how to educate their children aright. The parents who come to our camp meetings should take special heed as to how they hear and how they receive the lessons given for their instruction, that in their turn they may in the home life, by precept and example, impart them to their children. As they thus strive to improve every opportunity to save their children, from the corrupting influences which are met everywhere in our world, they will see an improvement in their families. 15LtMs, Ms 74, 1900, par. 2

Important features of the camp meeting are the meetings for the children and youth. Special meetings should be arranged for the children. Kindergarten methods and object lessons from nature can be used to great advantage in interesting the little ones. By this means they can be taught the parables of Christ. Thus truth will be fastened in their minds as a nail in a sure place. This is a work of the greatest consequence to the younger members of the Lord’s family. Even children who are favored with Christian instruction at home can learn much in these meetings that will be a great help to them. Teach the children with the simplicity of Christ. They will receive the knowledge, and as they return to their homes, they will bring forth from the treasure house of the heart precious lessons. 15LtMs, Ms 74, 1900, par. 3

The youth should be given time and opportunity to become more fully instructed in the word of God. Bible truth should be made plain to them. Those who have an experience in the truth should search the Scriptures with them. This will be as seed sown in good ground. 15LtMs, Ms 74, 1900, par. 4

The meetings for the children and youth should be conducted in such a way that a favorable impression will be made upon those who come from outside. The various methods and plans used to interest the children and youth will impress unbelievers. In many cases seed may thus be sown which will spring up and bear fruit. 15LtMs, Ms 74, 1900, par. 5

There is great need of the cultivation of true refinement in the home. This is a powerful witness in favor of the truth. In whomsoever they may appear, vulgarity of language and of demeanor indicate a vitiated heart. Truth of heavenly origin never degrades the receiver, never makes him coarse or rough. Truth is softening and refining in its influence. When received into the heart, it makes the youth respectful and polite. 15LtMs, Ms 74, 1900, par. 6

Christian politeness is only received under the working of the Holy Spirit. It does not consist in affectation or artificial polish, in bowing and simpering. This is the class of politeness possessed by those of the world, but they are destitute of true Christian politeness. True polish, true politeness, is obtained only from a practical knowledge of the gospel of Christ. True politeness, true courtesy, is a kindness shown to all, high or low, rich or poor. It is the fulfilling of the words, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” [Matthew 7:12.] 15LtMs, Ms 74, 1900, par. 7

Christ says, “Ye are my witnesses.” [Isaiah 43:10.] Parents, teach your children this. Teach them how to conduct themselves in the home with true politeness. Educate them to show kindness and tenderness to one another. Allow no selfishness to live in the heart or find room in the home. Then when your children attend camp meeting, their manners will glorify God. The manifestation of true courtesy in our gatherings will bear unmistakable witness for the truth. 15LtMs, Ms 74, 1900, par. 8

In every camp meeting special effort should be made to reach the worldly class, as well as church members. Invite all to come to the meetings. Let those who preach the Word do their utmost to save souls. The effect of a meeting is lost when it is closed without making an effort to use the sickle of truth. Often those who have never united with any church, who have never made any profession of religion, are, under the influence of the gospel ministry, most easily won to the truth. 15LtMs, Ms 74, 1900, par. 9

The Christian will witness for Christ on the campground and wherever he is, bear testimony that in his service of God he is in the association of heavenly angels. Let him speak gently; for sharp words, or words of a cheap order, will leave an unfavorable impression upon the minds of the unbelievers with whom he is brought in contact. Remember the words, “Ye are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men.” [1 Corinthians 4:9.] 15LtMs, Ms 74, 1900, par. 10

Reaching the Higher Classes

The question is sometimes asked, How can we reach those represented in the parable of the wedding supper as being in the highways? There are but few who can obtain association with those in the highways of life. 15LtMs, Ms 74, 1900, par. 11

The best way to reach this class is for believers to be living epistles, “known and read of all men.” [2 Corinthians 3:2.] We are not to conceal the fact that we are Seventh-day Adventists. The truth may be ashamed of us, because our course of action is not in harmony with its pure principles, but we need never be ashamed of the truth. Let every Christian believer place himself on the rock of high, noble principle. When tempted and tried, remember that the ministering angels will lift up for you a standard against the enemy. The Lord calls for brave soldiers, for representative men, not hypocrites and pretenders, but men of principle, godly men, who thorough every temptation do their utmost to maintain heavenborn principles. 15LtMs, Ms 74, 1900, par. 12

It is the constant realization of the preciousness of Christ’s atoning sacrifice in our behalf that qualifies believers to reach the higher classes and to point them to Christ, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” [John 1:29.] In its cleansing, purifying, sanctifying efficacy, this blood speaketh better things than the blood of Abel. The blood of Abel’s sacrifice pointed dimly to the shed blood of Christ. The Saviour came to this world and offered Himself on the cross. His blood should be acknowledged as the better sacrifice, offered once for all for the fallen race, making it possible for all who will be saved. In Christ we have redemption, even the forgiveness of sins. 15LtMs, Ms 74, 1900, par. 13

The higher classes are to be sought for. Let those who do this work bear themselves with true dignity, remembering that angels are their companions. Let them keep the treasure house of mind and heart well filled with “It is written.” Hang in memory’s hall the precious words of Christ. They are to be valued far above silver or gold. 15LtMs, Ms 74, 1900, par. 14

When you have opportunity, confess your faith. If any one asks you, give him a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. Be sure that the principles you advocate are sound, that your feet are resting on the solid rock of eternal truth. 15LtMs, Ms 74, 1900, par. 15

We do not represent the elevating, ennobling character of the truth half as well as we might. We are all in danger of becoming narrow and selfish. With fear and trembling lest we fail, we should ever remember this. In our God we are to advance step by step. Our attitude toward those of the higher classes whom we meet should be such that we shall represent our Redeemer. Thus we can witness for Him. 15LtMs, Ms 74, 1900, par. 16

The Word of Inspiration comes to every one of us, “Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.” “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof is the way of death.” [Proverbs 4:26; 16:25.] 15LtMs, Ms 74, 1900, par. 17

The men who stand in high positions of trust in our world ought not to be the ones who are left out of the kingdom of God. Those in positions of influence need the efficacy of Christ’s blood. They need to see by faith that to follow Christ is the only path to true greatness and true honor. However exalted may be the position they hold in this world, they are in sin and under condemnation unless they accept Christ. Are the men in responsible positions afar off? They can be made nigh by the blood of Christ. Are they in the bondage of Satan’s toils, enemies of Christ, under the condemnation of the law of God? They can be reconciled by His blood. 15LtMs, Ms 74, 1900, par. 18

The men who fill positions of trust in our world ought to understand the Bible, that they may give proper instruction to those who are in need of light, that they may look to Jesus, believe in Him, and present Him to the world as the sin-pardoning Saviour. His precious sacrifice is the only source of true satisfaction and joy. Will not our ministers and physicians become exponents of the efficacy of the blood of Christ by which their sins have been forgiven? Only thus can they reach the higher classes. Some of this class will come to our camp meetings. There they will hear truth which is unpopular, but still the truth as it is in Jesus. They need special help to enable them to understand and appreciate this truth. 15LtMs, Ms 74, 1900, par. 19

The Lord has need of those who occupy positions of influence. The Lord calls for those in the highways. He desires them to represent their Saviour. He longs to see them drawing near to Him by the new and living way. They have no guarantee of safety in this life or the future life unless the angel of God’s ministration shall see on the threshold the blood of the covenant, testifying that the sinner has accepted Christ as his personal Saviour. “He that abideth in me beareth much fruit.” [John 15:5.] Let those in the highways be earnestly sought for and labored for. They are sinners, and Christ died that they might become saints. 15LtMs, Ms 74, 1900, par. 20

As Jesus was dependent on His Father in His human nature for the success of His work in behalf of humanity, so we are dependent on Christ for the success of our work. We can do nothing of ourselves. In and through Christ we can do all things. We must do our best, seeking daily for an increased knowledge of God and Christ. We must not be slothful. In the parable of the talents we are shown how God deals with the slothful. All our work must be wrought in God. 15LtMs, Ms 74, 1900, par. 21

Christ says, “Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye except ye abide in me.” [Verse 4.] Day by day we are to take hold of Christ anew with firmer faith. As we do this, He draws us to Himself. As we receive His lessons, they grow more and more impressive, and we gain an increased power to receive instruction. The soul is vivified by the healthful exercise of receiving from Christ and giving to others. It is by emptying ourselves to impart to others that we gain increased capacity for receiving a fresh supply. 15LtMs, Ms 74, 1900, par. 22