The Review and Herald

586/1902

July 14, 1891

Spiritual Advancement the Object of Camp-Meetings—No. 4

EGW

In the sermon on the mount, Christ said to his disciples, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” If our camp-meetings are conducted as they should be, they will indeed be a light in the world. It is not wisdom to locate them in some far-away place, difficult of access. As I have come upon camp grounds located several miles from a city, I have been pained at heart, and have said to myself, “A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.” RH July 14, 1891, par. 1

The camp-meetings should be moved from place to place, and not located at the same city or town more than twice or three times. They should be conducted in such a way that much good may be accomplished, and the truth properly presented and represented by those who believe it. Whatever manifests the Lord Jesus Christ to the world is light. There are many honest souls who are in darkness; they have confused ideas as to what the Scriptures teach; and if the lessons of Christ, the truths of the Bible, in their simplicity, are placed before them, they will recognize the light and rejoice in it. Their perplexities will vanish before the light of the truth as dew before the morning sun. Their conceptions of Bible truth will be expanded, and the revelation of God in Christ will come to them, showing them the depth, breadth, and height of divine and spiritual mystery that they did not discern before, that cannot be explained, but only exemplified in Christ-like character. The world in its wisdom knows not God; for the wisdom among men is not drawn from the great Source of all light and wisdom. The world cannot see the beauty, the loveliness, goodness, and holiness, of divine truth. And in order that men may understand it, there must be a channel through which it shall come to the world. The Saviour has constituted the church that channel; for he has said, “Ye are the light of the world.” The professed follower of Christ is under the most solemn obligation to let his light shine that Jesus may be made manifest to the world. Christ has revealed himself to us that we may reveal him to others. RH July 14, 1891, par. 2

The presidents of Conferences, the ministers of the churches, should give themselves to the spiritual interests of the people, and should be excused from the mechanical labor attendant on the camp-meeting. The ministers should not be wearied out, but should feel refreshed and be in a cheerful frame of mind; for this is essential to the best good of the meetings. They should be able to speak words of cheer and courage, and drop seeds of spiritual truth into the soil of honest hearts, to spring up and bear precious fruit. The Lord has let his light shine upon us that we may impart it to others. Ye are laborers together with God. There are men and women who are following the Saviour according to the best light they have, and the light of advanced truth will be brought before these honest souls. Some will turn their feet away from the Sabbath, and maintain their loyalty to God. RH July 14, 1891, par. 3

Those who labor at camp-meeting should frequently engage in prayer and counsel together, that they may labor intelligently. The practical lessons of Christ are to be often repeated. Christ and his righteousness are to be so blended with the third angel's message that the whole world may be lightened with his glory. All should have a personal, experimental knowledge of what Jesus may be to them, or they cannot proclaim the truth as it is in Jesus. Personal faith in the efficacy of the blood of Christ in our own behalf, gives “peace and assurance forever.” In the time of trouble and test, we shall fear no evil; for who can lay anything to the charge of God's elect? The Lord justifies them for the sake of Christ, who gave his precious blood for their redemption. RH July 14, 1891, par. 4

We must walk and act in obedience to God, in harmony with his plan for the salvation of the world. No soul can be saved in disobedience. There is great danger of losing our interest in one another, losing our love for those for whom Christ died, because we do not live in the light of the Sun of righteousness. Brethren, shall we manifest cold indifference toward those whom we know to be in ignorance of the truth that is to make them wise unto salvation? If our own hearts were touched with his divine love, hearts would be melted with the love of Christ, but it is impossible to communicate to others that of which we have no experimental knowledge. This hard-heartedness is of Satan. There are many ways in which he works. He seeks to make men who claim to believe the truth, faithless, loveless, proud, selfish, haughty, tyrannical. He well knows that those who possess such characteristics can never be a savor of life unto life. They exert no fragrant influence, but rather wound and bruise the souls of those whom they might relieve and comfort. RH July 14, 1891, par. 5

God would have every soul copy the pattern; as he was in the world, so are his followers to be. It is not in the order of God that men should be harsh, unsympathetic, without the grace of love and patience, without true affection for others. Paul says, “Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ.” Said Job, “Did not I weep for him that was in trouble? Was not my soul grieved for the poor?” We only can let our light shine to the glory of God when we manifest the goodness and mercy of Christ, not only toward those who please us, but toward those who are faulty and erring and sinful. Let all our works be wrought in God, and if we have unamiable traits of character, let us overcome these unsavory representatives, and cease to dishonor God and bring the truth into disrepute. RH July 14, 1891, par. 6

Our ministers and teachers should seek to represent the love of Christ to a fallen world. The discourses at our camp-meetings should not be of an oratorical character altogether, for they will be then as the offering of Cain, without the blood of Christ to make them acceptable to Heaven. They should show how God has manifested his hatred of sin and his love for the sinner. Is there any love in the whole world that bears comparison with the love that God has manifested to a lost world? God has commended his love toward us in that he has given all heaven in one gift, even in the gift of his only begotten and well-beloved Son. The love of God is to be brought before the people. With hearts melted into tenderness, let the words of God be spoken to the people. Let the messages of truth go to all the highways and by-ways of the earth, and let those who are in error be treated with the gentleness of Christ. If those with whom you are laboring do not immediately and readily grasp the truth, do not censure, do not criticise and condemn, but ever remember that you are to represent Christ in his meekness and gentleness and love. Then you will be indeed a laborer together with God, teaching the truth as it is in Jesus; and every soul won to Christ will be a star in the crown of your rejoicing. RH July 14, 1891, par. 7

Though you should meet with the bitterest opposition, do not denounce your opponents. They may think as did Paul, that they are doing God service, and to such we must manifest patience, meekness, long-suffering. This is the only way in which we can be a savor of life unto life. Let us not feel that we have heavy trials to bear, severe conflicts to endure, in representing unpopular truth. Think of Jesus and what he has suffered for you, and be silent. Make no complaint, speak no word of murmuring, let no thought of reproach or discontent enter your mind, even when abused and falsely accused. Take a straightforward course, “having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evil-doers, they may be your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” RH July 14, 1891, par. 8

You should conduct yourself with meekness to those who are in error, for were you not recently in blindness in your sins? and because of the patience of Christ should you not be tender and patient to others? The apostle exhorts us to “be pitiful, be courteous.” God has given us many admonitions to manifest great kindness toward those who oppose us, lest we balance a soul in the wrong direction. Our life must be hid with Christ in God, we must know Christ personally; for this is eternal life, to know God and Jesus Christ; then only can we rightly represent him to the world. Let the prayer constantly ascend, “Lord, teach me how to do as Jesus would do, were he in my place.” Wherever we are, we must let our light shine forth to the glory of God in good works. This is the great, important interest of our life. RH July 14, 1891, par. 9

Those who keep in a prayerful frame of mind, will be able to speak a word in season to those who are brought within the sphere of their influence; for God will give wisdom whereby they may serve the Lord Jesus. “When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee.” You will open your mouth with wisdom, and in your tongue will be the law of kindness. If those who claim to be Christians will heed the words of Christ, all who come in contact with them will acknowledge that they have been with Jesus and have learned of him. They will represent Christ, and eternal things will be the theme of thought and conversation. The realities of eternity will be brought near. They will watch for souls as they that must give an account. To watch for souls means more than many seem to think; it means to go out and search for the lost sheep of the house of Israel. RH July 14, 1891, par. 10

Simple faith in the atoning blood can save my soul; and with John, I must call the attention of all to the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. Jesus has saved me, though I had nothing to present to him, and could only say, RH July 14, 1891, par. 11

“In my hand no price I bring,
Simply to thy cross I cling.”
RH July 14, 1891, par. 12

Never did a sinner seek the Savior with the whole heart, but that the Saviour was found of him. Every soul who trusts in Jesus can say, RH July 14, 1891, par. 13

“Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”
RH July 14, 1891, par. 14

We may claim the blessed assurance, “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions.” Thy “sins, which are many, are forgiven.” O, how precious, how refreshing, is the sunlight of God's love! The sinner may look upon his sin-stained life, and say, “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died.” “When sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Christ, the Restorer, plants a new principle of life in the soul, and that plant grows and produces fruit. The grace of Christ purifies while it pardons, and fits men for a holy heaven. We are to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, until we reach the full stature of men and women in Christ. RH July 14, 1891, par. 15

O that we might all reach the high standard which God has set before us, and no longer remain dwarfs in the religious life! What beams of light would be reflected to the world in good works, if we should become light-bearers such as God would have us! How many would respond to the light, and in their turn become channels of light to others. In place of standing still, go forward. Instead of complaining, rejoice that Christ has made ample provision for your salvation. It is always hard to do the work of God when you leave Christ out of your experience. Jesus says, “Without me ye can do nothing:” but through Christ who strengtheneth us, we can do all things. RH July 14, 1891, par. 16

I appeal to the presidents of Conferences and to ministers and workers in the cause, to arise by faith and be diligent, valiant workers with God. Every believer must be energized by the Spirit of Christ, and reach the people through the power of God. The Saviour is not in Joseph's new tomb; he has risen from the sepulcher, and has ascended into heaven to be our surety, to plead the merits of his blood in our behalf. We have a living Saviour to carry forward his own work upon the earth. We are not to work alone. The ministers of God must not only preach in the pulpit, but must come in personal contact with the people. Personal labor must be put forth, that souls may be rescued from the snare of the enemy. Then let us work in all earnestness and faith, and we shall reap a blessed harvest. RH July 14, 1891, par. 17