The Review and Herald

585/1902

July 7, 1891

Spiritual Advancement the Object of Camp-Meetings—No. 3

EGW

The things most essential to be taught at our camp-meetings are those that will most tend to the spiritual advancement of the people. The order that has come in, and has almost imperceptibly molded the character of the meetings, giving them more of a business influence than a spiritual influence, must be changed. The important truths of practical godliness must be presented. The people must be made to realize that faith and love must be brought into the soul; for it is the exercise of these graces that will give the proper training to the soul. Christ must be formed within, the hope of glory. These things must be taught, line upon line, and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. The holiness and consecration which Christ requires of his followers, must ever be kept before the mind. RH July 7, 1891, par. 1

The greater the simplicity of our faith, and the more earnest and loving our trust, the more constant will be our peace in Christ. We shall have to fight the good fight of faith again and again; for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, “against wicked spirits in high places.” We must put away all slothfulness in the work, and strive to run the Christian race, that we may win the prize, the immortal crown of glory. We must come to the Lord in faith, that he may fulfill his promises to us; for the clean heart, the unselfish spirit, are the gracious gifts of God; it is his Spirit that makes us new creatures in Christ Jesus. The word of God leaves the responsibility of our ruin at our own door; everything depends upon our obedience or disobedience. RH July 7, 1891, par. 2

We must have all of Christ, and none of self; then the promises will be fully ours, and the heavenly inspiration will enter and take possession of the soul. The soul-temple will then be fully cleansed from its defilement. Pure and undefiled religion will then be found in the heart; this is the life of God in the soul, and it will be made manifest by good works. The condition upon which we shall receive an increase of grace is that we improve upon that already bestowed; for faith and works go together. There must be no resisting of the Spirit of God, as there has been in the past, but we must lay hold of eternal realities. The forgiveness of sins is promised to him who repents; but if those who have resisted the Spirit of God, who have given wrong impressions of the character of God, do not repent, their names will be blotted out of the book of life. RH July 7, 1891, par. 3

The hand of God is stretched out to save his people from sinking into the formal, Christless state into which the Jewish nation sank; to slight the means which God has ordained for this purpose, is to slight Jesus. The soul that would be saved must co-operate with God in the work of salvation; the human and the divine must unite in faith and practice. If we would have pardon, we must confess our sins, and believe in the mercy of God. What should our Christian life and character be, since God has given us such wonderful light, illuminating the way to heaven. What constant zeal, what prayerful watchfulness, should mark our Christian course. Jesus says, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” But though the way is so strait, there is no need of despair, if we listen to the voice of God, and obey him instead of our own unsanctified impulses. Christ has said, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” His strength is made perfect in weakness. RH July 7, 1891, par. 4

There has been marked presumption manifested by those who claim to be the children of God. O, how much better to pass the time of our sojourning here in fear,—not in fear that the power of God is not sufficient for us, not that one of his good promises may fail; but in fear of our own sinful hearts. “Fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” We must lift the standard higher, and still higher, and in and through the grace of Christ we must attain unto it. We must regard the Bible as addressed to us personally; and as we take heed to the words of God, they will be a safeguard to us against the enemy. RH July 7, 1891, par. 5

The religion of many is altogether too comfortable, too easy. They seem to think that if they copy the life of their neighbors, they will be safe. I tell you, we are not safe in copying any one but Jesus. Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. Thank God, probation is not ended, and we are prisoners of hope. There is need of a daily self-examination, daily humiliation, daily learning at the foot of the cross. It is essential that we feel our need, our short-comings, our failures, and trust fully in Christ. Then we shall be able to show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. RH July 7, 1891, par. 6

We must take every justifiable means of bringing the light of truth before the people. The press must be utilized, and every advertising medium employed that will call attention to our work. Let not this be regarded as unessential. On every corner you may see placards and notices calling the minds of the people to various things that are going on, some of them of the most objectionable nature; and shall those who have the light of life fail to place it where men can have access to it? Shall we hide the light under a bushel? To as great an extent as possible let the important discourses given at our camp-meetings be published in the papers; for in this way precious light may be shed on the pathway of many who sit in darkness. RH July 7, 1891, par. 7

Many regard us as the unbelieving Jews regarded Paul,—as trying to press our views upon the attention of others. But can we be too urgent in bringing the light of life before perishing men? If we have the most solemn truth ever given to the world, why should we not be in earnest? Why should we not use every endeavor to persuade men to lift the cross, to bear the reproach for Christ's sake, that they may have eternal life? RH July 7, 1891, par. 8

Put your light on a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in the house. Many are praying, and asking the Lord to show them what is truth. If the truth has been revealed to us, we are to make it so plain to others that the honest in heart may recognize it and rejoice in its bright rays. Nathanael prayed that he might know whether or not the man announced by John the Baptist as the Messiah was indeed the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. While he was laying his perplexities before God, and asking for light, Philip called him, and in earnest, joyful tones exclaimed, “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” But Nathanael was prejudiced against the Nazarenes; through the influence of false teaching, unbelief arose in his heart, and he asked, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip did not try to combat his prejudice and unbelief. He said, “Come and see.” Philip was wise, for as soon as Nathanael saw Jesus, he was convinced that Philip was right. His unbelief was swept away, and faith, firm, strong, and abiding, took possession of his soul. Jesus commended the trusting faith of Nathanael. RH July 7, 1891, par. 9

There are many in the same position as was Nathanael. They are prejudiced and unbelieving because they have never come in contact with the truth or the people who hold it, and it will need but an attendance on a meeting full of the Spirit of Christ to sweep away their unbelief. No matter what we have to meet, what opposition, what efforts to turn souls away from the truth of heavenly origin, we must give publicity to our faith, that honest souls may see and hear and be convinced for themselves. Our work is to say as did Philip, “Come and see.” We must not put our light under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in the house. We hold no doctrine that we wish to hide. To those have been educated to keep the first day of the week as a sacred day, the most objectionable feature of our faith is the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. But does not God's word declare that the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God? and although it is not an easy matter to make the required change from the first to the seventh day, this change must be made. It involves a cross; it clashes with the precepts and practices of men. Learned men have taught the people till they are full of unbelief and prejudice; and yet we must say to these people, “Come and see.” God requires us to proclaim the truth, and let it discover error. RH July 7, 1891, par. 10

The third angel is represented as following the first and second angels, and crying with a loud voice, “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation.... Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Shall not we who read these threatenings, and who believe the word of God, give the warning to a world lying in darkness? The angels are represented as flying in the midst of heaven, uttering a solemn proclamation. Their voices are not heard by the inhabitants of earth, save through the people who carry forward the work as the messengers of God. Those who search the Scriptures understand the messages given by the angels, and take up the cry, proclaiming the warning to the world. The three messages for this time are of most solemn import, and it is of the greatest consequence to those who hear whether or not they act upon the light given. RH July 7, 1891, par. 11

God calls upon his faithful watchmen who see the danger, to lift up the cry, “The morning cometh, and also the night.” It is the work of every soul who understands Bible truth for this time, to unite, his voice with the messengers in proclaiming the message, in pushing the triumphs of the cross. The truth must be presented in its simplicity, and laid out in clear lines. We are in no case to hide our light under a bushel, as if ashamed of it. We have nothing of which to be ashamed; the commandments of God are to be honored above the traditions and commandments of men. RH July 7, 1891, par. 12

Then, brethren, use wisely the precious light that God has given, presenting it to the people in the meekness and gentleness of Christ. Meet the prejudice of the people with an invitation such as Philip gave Nathanael,—“Come and see.” Say, “If Seventh-day Adventists have the truth, and can prove it so from the oracles of God, you do not wish to be found fighting against God.” We are to be bodies of light, proclaiming Christ and his love to the people, and presenting all our doctrines in their true relation to this important theme. RH July 7, 1891, par. 13

We must expect to meet opposition and unbelief. The truth has always had to meet these elements. In the days of Christ, the scribes and Pharisees were filled with opposition to his work. When it was declared that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” they were as full of criticism and prejudice at this statement as are the people today when they hear the doctrines held by the Seventh-day Adventists. We shall have to meet people as full of hatred to our work as were the priests and rulers in the days of Christ to his work. RH July 7, 1891, par. 14

It is our duty, however, to diffuse light in every direction, and lay out in clear lines what the sinner must do in order to obtain eternal life. The words of Christ jarred upon the prejudices of Nicodemus. He had been educated to believe that the Jews were the people to whom, as the descendants of Abraham, came the exclusive privileges of the gospel. All outside the Jewish nation were the subjects of wrath and condemnation. He had acknowledged that Christ was a teacher from God, but to be told that God's love was toward all men, that the mercy of God was for all who believed in Christ, was to him a new revelation. O that men could understand that long years of custom and tradition do not convert error into truth! Salvation is for all who believe, and there is no respect of persons or nations with God. The truth must be made to appear before men, whether they will hear or whether they will forbear. We must preach Christ and him crucified, and return to the old paths, and lead others in the good way. We must lift up Jesus and let self sink out of sight, that Christ may draw to himself the souls for whom he has died. RH July 7, 1891, par. 15