General Conference Bulletin, vol. 4




By Elder S. N. Haskell, 3 P. M.. April 2, 1901.

Individually, I have never come to a Conference with a greater desire for the blessing of God than at this Conference. It has seemed that we have reached a period in the message when we should receive from God blessings that we have not received. There should be with us wisdom and power, the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us in a special manner, and we should be united; our hearts should beat in unison one with another. So far as I am concerned, as I have been through the country, and have met certain influences that were in opposition to the truth and to Christ, it has seemed that if ever in the world we needed the Spirit of God to open the way before us, and to speak through us, that it might accomplish its object, we need it to-day. GCB April 3, 1901, page 29.15

We can not go from this Conference to our homes, to our various Conferences, wherever the providence of God may call us, as we came here. That is evident; for already the Lord has spoken to us, and given us special instruction, that we should relate ourselves to his work in a different way from what we have in the past. And when we draw on right lines with the Lord, it is the Lord that does the work, not we. We simply become channels for the Spirit of God to work through, and then God does the work, and accomplishes his own purposes. GCB April 3, 1901, page 29.16

I understand that from henceforth, from the nature of the work, we shall see a greater manifestation of the power of God than we have in the past; but this is not because God in a special manner gives some persons a power to exercise, or to use, but it is because the individual himself occupies such a position that God can use him, speak through him, and work with him. So it will be God who does the work. It will be God who directs in the battle, and we simply sustain the right relation to God and to his work. GCB April 3, 1901, page 29.17

The words found in the fifteenth chapter of John come to my mind, and I wish to read them. I will read a portion of that chapter, and follow with other scriptures, and with thoughts that shall present themselves. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me and I in you. As the branch can not bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch and is withered; and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” GCB April 3, 1901, page 29.18

Now these words themselves suggest to us many thoughts of our relation to each other, to Christ, and to the Father. Christ is the true vine, and we, his disciples, sustain that relation to him that he branches sustain to the natural vine. The Father is the husbandman; the Father is the one that cultivates the vine, and the branches sustain a relation to the vine; and if they do sustain that relation to the vine which they should, they will bear fruit. It is not fruit that they bear independently of the vine; but they will bear fruit because they are connected with the vine. GCB April 3, 1901, page 30.1

There is the closest union that can be imagined here brought to view. It is not that all will feel alike. We never shall feel alike, but we shall think alike. We shall bear the same kind of fruit; and the fruit that is borne by those that are connected with Christ will of itself give its own credentials. So if there is no fruit borne, or if the fruit borne is not of the nature of the vine, then it is because they are not properly related to the vine. That is the lesson that is taught here. GCB April 3, 1901, page 30.2

More than this, Jesus says, So shall ye be my disciples, if ye bear much fruit. If we are related to the vine, there is no question about the fruit. We shall bear fruit anyway: we can not live without bearing fruit, because the same sap and nourishment that sustain the vine will sustain the branches. There is nothing else that will sustain them. And when they are sustained by that same nourishment that sustains the vine, there will be a union, there will be a variety. There are no two branches of the vine that are just alike: so there will be no two individuals who will work in precisely the same way, but the fruit they bear will be of precisely the same character. GCB April 3, 1901, page 30.3

I do not know what words to use; but I will try to illustrate what I mean by various texts of scripture. The union will be the closest union in the world, and at the same time each individual will bear his own individuality in the work of God. He will have ways of his own, just as we have brought to view in the Bible. Every prophet has his own peculiarities: every apostle had his own peculiarities; and yet they all bore the same fruit. They all told the same story. They were all connected with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; and consequently there could be no division among them, no war, or one branch withered, because they came of the same stock. God would have his people connected with our Lord Jesus Christ in such a way that they will bear fruit. GCB April 3, 1901, page 30.4

I wish I could repeat that in a manner that would make an impression upon every mind. If we are connected with Christ, we shall bear fruit. We shall not live a useless life in this world. We shall bear fruit, and that fruit will be found attached to the branches, which are sustained by the vine. GCB April 3, 1901, page 30.5

God does not save any soul in this world independently of other souls; for each is related to some other soul. There never will be a soul saved in glory on an independent line. Individuals can not grow up of themselves, independently of other individuals, any more than the different sprigs in a branch can live independently of the branch in which they grow. God has so united the human family that, finally, in the kingdom of glory, there will be one universal joy, and that joy will be in seeing souls saved in the kingdom of God; and the nearest relation of individuals to one another in the kingdom of God will be shown by the interest they had for those individuals in this world. That will be the bond that binds them in the kingdom of glory; and their joy will be the joy of our Lord, the True Vine, who gave them nourishment in this world. GCB April 3, 1901, page 30.6

Now I will read a few verses from the sixteenth of John. That I think will set that thought before us. You know that the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth chapters of John were among the last words that the Saviour spoke to his disciples before he entered the garden and was taken to be crucified. The seventh verse of the sixteenth chapter says: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” GCB April 3, 1901, page 30.7

Years ago these words troubled me considerably. I could not think why it was that it was necessary for Christ to go away from the disciples, in order for them to receive the Holy Spirit. But as long as he was with them, and they saw him, they associated with his personal appearance a literal king in Jerusalem, and they could not think of anything else. That was according to their ideas, and whenever Jesus wrought a miracle, it confirmed in their minds the idea that he was the Messiah, and that he was not only the Messiah, but was just the man to be a king in Jerusalem. It became necessary, therefore, for Christ to go away from them, to leave them; and when he had left them, and ascended to heaven, they did not behold him visibly, but by faith they could reach him as he was in the heavenly courts. And as their faith took hold upon him who was out of their sight, and they still believed his word and believed in him as he was there in heaven, they could trust him because he had spoken the word. GCB April 3, 1901, page 30.8

He had said this, and so they believed it: and by believing the word and resting on the word, they received strength and help, light and understanding, that they could not receive when their minds were centered on Christ as he appeared in their midst. GCB April 3, 1901, page 30.9

I read further: “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. Of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye can not bear them now.” GCB April 3, 1901, page 30.10

What do you suppose the Saviour wanted to open to the understanding of his disciples? He longed to open to them more clearly the nature of his mission, his crucifixion, and how he would be taken from them. But he could not do it. Why could he not do this? He had told them that he was going away; why could he not at once say to them that he would be crucified, and give them the particulars right there? Because they could not understand it; and if he had said that, they would have begun to question as to what he meant. They would have talked the matter over, and there would have been division; and the bond of influence that should exist between himself and them was of greater importance. He was not leading one individual independently; but he was leading all his disciples. So he spoke to them words which they could bear, and led them along together, that they might understand what he was about to reveal. In the next verse we read how the Spirit was to come: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come.” GCB April 3, 1901, page 30.11

We can add no words that will make that statement any clearer than it is given here. The Spirit himself will take the Word, and open the understanding of individuals, bringing to them a knowledge of light and truth that the Saviour himself could not tell them so that they could understand it. Then where should their minds be directed to receive the Spirit of God?- They should be directed to the Word of God itself. Then the Spirit of God will take that Word, and so open the understanding that they will sustain the right relation to each other and to God. GCB April 3, 1901, page 30.12

If the Saviour had desired to impart to his disciples knowledge, if that was of more consequence to Christ than simply to have them united he would have unfolded to them the very thing he wanted to unfold to them. But he could not tell them that, and they appreciated it. He left that for the Holy Spirit to do. And when he left them upon the earth, and ascended to heaven, their prayers and faith in an invisible Saviour, reached up to the heavenly courts where Christ was: and because they believed the word which connected them with Christ, God would give his Spirit to enlighten their understanding, and to unite them in their relation to each other, and also in their relation to our Lord Jesus Christ. Then they would also be united to the Father, the heavenly husbandman. GCB April 3, 1901, page 30.13

There are many thoughts in this fifteenth chapter of John that might be spoken of. GCB April 3, 1901, page 30.14

I will read the seventh verse: “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” “If my words abide in you,”—if they take up a dwelling-place in you, and you become familiar with them; if you live on them, if you eat them, and they become a part of your being,—you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done. I am glad that there is a connection with God, and that all heaven is open to the individual who is thus connected with him. All the treasures of heaven are open to them, because Christ has purchased them all. He has promised them all; and the faith of the person who contains the words of God can draw from the great treasure-house of heaven the very strength and power that he needs. GCB April 3, 1901, page 30.15

I do not know how I can illustrate this thought that there is power; but the Word has the power. It is not the individual, but it is the power that is in the vine, and the power that is in the branches that draw their nourishment from the vine. There is power in the Word of God; and when we rest in that Word, we shall be the calmest people in the world. No matter what circumstances may be, God vindicates his own Word. But it has a character of its own, and this has been illustrated in a tract that I once read, in speaking of the Word’s being excluded, kept away from the people. The writer said that the Word was like a lion in a cage,—that as long as you kept it away from the people, you would need to keep it in a cage; but if you let the lion out of the cage, he would, in time, take care of himself. It is precisely so with God’s truth. The truth that is given to the people, that is let out of the cage, can take care of itself; and we need not have any fears about it, for God will vindicate his own Word. He can take care of himself, and of his own Word, and he will do it; if we trust him implicitly, if we trust the working of the Scripture, we shall see the power of God. GCB April 3, 1901, page 31.1

I will relate a little circumstance that illustrates this. When we were laboring in Queensland, there was a wealthy man who attended our meetings, and was somewhat interested in them. When we were building the meeting-house, we tried everywhere we could to get funds. We received some from Melbourne, some from one source, and some from another. One night I had been thinking about the power of the Word: and as this man came out of the congregation, I thought I would like to say something to him. I do not remember now what I said, but I had the thought in my mind that God could take care of his Word, and I thought I would say a few words that would direct his mind to our condition and our circumstances in building the house. Having done so: I thought no more about it. I simply dropped those words; but when I spoke, I was thinking of what God has said about his own Word. I thought to myself, I will now see if there is any power in this word, that will accomplish what we would like to have it accomplish. In a very short time after that, this man called at our house as we were going up to the tent, and asked if we would accept a little help from a man not of our faith. We said we would certainly be glad to, and that we would thank the the Lord for it, too. He said that he would make us a little donation, and slipped some bills into my hand. I thanked him, and then went off into another room to look at them, and found they were two five-pound notes—fifty dollars. That was his first donation, and that very donation brought him into a closer relation to us, and us with him, than we had been in before. What did it?—Simply the Word of God. It was God who impressed the man’s mind with a few words. I do not know how he did this; but from that time this man was very friendly, and he helped us more on the church than any other one person, or any one company. He would come around very friendly, and want to know how we were getting along. When we would tell him, he would say that he would help us out a little. One time when we were putting up a cheap fence around our church (the law there is such that every building has to be fenced in, and we thought we would fence our church as cheaply as we could), he asked why we were putting up such a cheap fence. We told him that we were putting up the best fence we could afford to. When he understood, he said that he would attend to our fence. And he did. He put up a good fence,—furnished the lumber, had the work done himself, and paid all the bills. Before we got through, he helped us to the amount of several hundred dollars. GCB April 3, 1901, page 31.2

But that is not all. I will relate another thing. When we came up to the day of dedication of the church, we were pound 38 (nearly $200) in debt. Now we had it in our minds that the house should not be dedicated in debt. I have nothing to say about other people or other houses; but we had that idea in our mind; so we made it a subject of prayer. I was for separating the debt of the house from the debt on the lot, as thus we could pay for the house; but some of the brethren, and my wife in particular, thought we ought to include all the debt, and that God would help us out. When we were ready, I explained to the company how much was wanting, and said we were going to pass around the hat before we would offer the dedicatory prayer. Brother Tenney was there, and he said he would not pray until the house was out of debt. The brethren had given all they could give, and we did not know where we would get the money. GCB April 3, 1901, page 31.3

The hat was passed around, and came back, and then I told Brother Tenney I thought he had better pray. But he said, “Aren’t you going to count your money first?” I said, “Suppose we have not enough?” Then he said he would not pray until we got money enough to get the house out of debt. We counted the money, and found that we lacked about fifteen pounds, or $75. I did not know what to say to the brethren, because I knew they were all poor, and had given all they could; so I simply announced how much we were behind. I do not know what else I did say,—I did not know what to say. I could not ask them to give any more; but as I stood there, I knew by the looks of our brethren, that they were all praying that some way might be opened. Soon one of the workers came forward with this word: “Mr.—[the same man I have referred to before] told me to tell you he would take the balance of the stock.” Well he did. So our house was free from debt. Now it was simply the Word of God that wrought in that man’s heart that bore that fruit. GCB April 3, 1901, page 31.4

I mention this to illustrate the thought that if we had more confidence in what God says, and would move in harmony with what he says, and let God work out the problem, he would work out a thousand problems that we wrestle with and can never solve. I thank God, my brethren, that we have a God like this. Often we wrestle and wrestle, because we can not see what is coming in the future; but let us trust God, and give the word, as Luther said at one time when he was speaking in the last years of his life of what had been accomplished. What did Luther do? He did enough; he set the Word to running, and in a short time down came thrones and popes, and a revolution was effected. He said all this was done by God’s Word. I believe that we should cultivate more trust in what God says, and that he will take care of the fruit. The fruit will come. It may not come just as we expect, but God himself will bring the fruit. I have perfect confidence in God’s Word; and I believe that if God can take care of his own Word, he can work out his own plans, providing we sustain the right relation to him. GCB April 3, 1901, page 31.5

I wish to read one or two other expressions touching this point of oneness. Romans 15:4: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime GCB April 3, 1901, page 31.6

were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” GCB April 3, 1901, page 31.7

If you have never noticed how much the Scripture says concerning miracles of deliverance, and should read your Bible with that thought in view, you will be astonished to see how many instances are recorded in the Bible of the miracles of deliverance that God has granted to his people. The greatest deliverances that ever have come have been directly contrary to what people thought ought to be, or would be. The Lord takes his people by surprise, because he works in a different manner from what they expected. If we would trust God so that he could lead, we should see the salvation of God. The children of Israel crossed the Red Sea: God went with them in the wilderness, and wrought for them. Take the history of the kings. How often they were brought into close places for the express purpose that God might magnify his name, and get honor and glory to himself. GCB April 3, 1901, page 31.8

I will read Romans 15:4-6; “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus; that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The word “according” might here be rendered “after the sample of.” GCB April 3, 1901, page 31.9

Now it is not one feeling, but one mind. Our minds are enlightened by the Word, and we see clearly what the Word requires—that we have only one mind. Then we can glorify God through the divine gifts of his people, and this is according to Christ Jesus, or after the sample of Christ Jesus. GCB April 3, 1901, page 32.1

Take another text: 1 Corinthians 1:10; “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. GCB April 3, 1901, page 32.2

It is Christ who is leading his people, and who is working for his people in his own way. God does not always lead his people in the way that they have planned, but he does something different than they ever thought of. Take the wars of the Old Testament, where the people of God went out against their enemies; there are no two battles just alike. If the battles had been just alike, Satan would have known just how to arrange his fortresses the second time: but God has one way to-day to make an attack, and to-morrow he has another way. The devil does not know how it is coming, so he is taken by surprise; but the Lord is never taken by surprise. The Lord not only saw everything the devil would do, but he saw everything the devil might do. His mind took in the whole of it; and taking in all the devil might do, the Lord never could be taken by surprise. GCB April 3, 1901, page 32.3

It is just so with us. We say that if the Lord knows everything, he knows just what course we must pursue, and so we must pursue just this course, and no other: but, my friends, the Lord knows every course we may pursue, so he placed us here as free moral agents, to take just the course we want. If the devil should take one turn, the Lord is all ready for him. If he should take another turn, the Lord is all ready for him. So we can praise God anew. We can rely upon God anyway; and when we do this, God leads. He orders the battle, and success comes every time. Sometimes the greatest blessings are at hand before we realize them, and we count them as curses simply because they do not come in just the way we expect they will come. I remember what Josephus says concerning a prayer that Moses offered to God when he came down to the Red Sea. It is not recorded in the Bible as Josephus records it; that is, not with the fullness that Josephus gives to it; but he gives it something like this: After Moses had quieted the people, who were almost ready to stone him because, as they said, he had got them into that strait place, he put up a prayer in substance like this: “O Lord! we despair of any hope but in thee. If thou shouldst say to these mountains. ‘Become a plain,’ we could take our flight that way; or if thou shouldst say ‘Take your flight through the air,’ we could do that way; and if thou art otherwise determined, and shouldst say to this sea, ‘Become dry land,’ we could pass over that way.” GCB April 3, 1901, page 32.4

He had no idea that their King had led them there to be destroyed. He believed that God had led them thus far, and that he was going to take them through. When such a prayer as that entered into the ears of the God of heaven, he could not disappoint his servant. The Lord said: “Lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.” Great walls of ice were on either side as the children of Israel crossed; and I think the coolest and most comfortable walk Israel ever had was taken between those two walls of ice. GCB April 3, 1901, page 32.5

The greatest deliverances wrought for this people in this world will be wrought when the hours are the darkest. This is true of us as a people, and it will be true of us as individuals. GCB April 3, 1901, page 32.6

What shall I say that will give courage to trust God and confide in him? If there is a people on the face of the earth that should be thankful to God, it is Seventh-day Adventists during the closing part of this work. “Why,” says one, “are you not afraid? Do you not get discouraged sometimes?” I thank God I can answer that I have never become discouraged concerning the work of God from the day that I first indorsed it. If ever there was a discouraging time, it was when the number of believers in the entire world did not number more than one tenth as many as are in this Tabernacle this afternoon, and then some of the leading ones among this little company turned away, and gave-up the truth. Now there are persons all over the earth who are one in sentiment and one in Christ. What has done this? The Lord Jesus Christ has led thus far—do you think he will fail us now? No! We may fail, and we shall fail unless we confidingly trust in God; but if we trust him, we shall surely see a triumph of the work in the end. God has brought this people thus far, and he will carry them through to the end. GCB April 3, 1901, page 32.7

I desire to call your attention to another thought, and that is the gift of prophecy. If any people should be thankful for that, it is Seventh-day Adventists. While other people have gone into confusion. God is leading this people. He proposes to carry them through, and he will do it. GCB April 3, 1901, page 32.8

Although there are many lines and illustrations to which I might call your attention. I will forbear. I had the fifteenth chapter of Acts in mind, in which is recorded an account of the first General Conference in the gospel dispensation. One thing is certain, and that is that when those disciples went up to Jerusalem. God went with them. They went because there were in the church at Antioch differences which Paul and Barnabus themselves could not settle. They knew what the will of God was, for Paul and Barnabas were both prophets; but it was important that the entire Christian church be united in one body, one great whole, so they went up to this conference at Jerusalem. After the whole experience was related, James arose, and said that this agreed with the words of the prophets. He then quoted a prophecy which related, at the time it was given to a literal restoration of Jerusalem. It was given by Amos, the father of Isaiah the prophet. Isaiah had neglected his work because he was a man who loved husbandry, and this prophecy from Amos was to encourage Isaiah to build and restore the waste places of Jerusalem. He did it. That became an object-lesson of the time when the gospel would go to the Gentiles; and during this first General Conference, James made that application of it. GCB April 3, 1901, page 32.9

The building of the temple and the restoring of Jerusalem were object-lessons of the restoring of the people of God in the closing scenes of this world’s history, and of what God would do for his people who should live in the last generation, when God would gather together a remnant people. May the Lord help us to be among that people. GCB April 3, 1901, page 32.10

At this time, when so much depends upon our drawing nigh to God, and sustaining the right relation to him, we must spend much time in prayer and in seeking God: so that he may direct us. May the Lord guide us by his counsel, direct us by his Holy Spirit, and finally save us with an everlasting salvation in the kingdom of glory. GCB April 3, 1901, page 32.11

In laying hold on the promises, we should be careful not to mutilate them. There are enthusiastic persons who gather promises out of the Bible for personal use, much as little children gather flowers from the woods to transplant them in their own gardens; they seize upon whatever delights the eye, and appropriate it without stopping to notice whether it has any roots. As a rule the “I wills” of God are but the fair flowers of the promises that he would have us transplant into our own lives. The assurance that we are to have a particular blessing is worthless if detached from the conditions upon which the blessing is to be sent or, as we often need to be reminded, from the accompanying direction as to where it may be found. It matters little whether we accept the promises in the Bible as we are—as we are often—exhorted to do, if we do not accept them as they are.—Sunday School Times. GCB April 3, 1901, page 32.12

“‘As thy days, so shall thy strength be.’ The trial will not exceed the strength which shall be given us to bear it.” GCB April 3, 1901, page 32.13