The Review and Herald

587/1902

July 21, 1891

At Willis, Mich

EGW

In response to an urgent call from the brethren who had been laboring in Willis, Mich., I left Battle Creek April 3, in company with sister E. S. Lane, for that place. The Lord had opened the hearts of a goodly number to receive and obey the truth. A church of forty-seven members had been organized, and a neat house of worship built, which is nearly free from debt. This is, I think, the first meeting-house erected in that place. Since this was begun, the Methodists have begun a house of worship for themselves. RH July 21, 1891, par. 1

I was pleased to meet for the first time those who had newly come to the faith here. On Sabbath, at eleven o'clock, I spoke from John 14; and while seeking to feed the flock of God, my own soul was blessed. In the afternoon, Elder Van Horn gave a short discourse, followed by a social meeting. Forty-five testimonies were borne, and the freedom of God's Spirit was with us. Men and women recently brought to the truth were there as cheerful witnesses for Christ. They are henceforth to be servants of Christ, laborers for God, working with him for others, and fighting the good fight of faith in their own lives. RH July 21, 1891, par. 2

My heart was rejoiced to see among the converts so many young men and women, with hearts softened and subdued by the love of Jesus, acknowledging the good work wrought by God for their souls. It was indeed a precious season. “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” God forbid that these souls should ever lose the ardor of their first love, that a strange coldness, through pride and love of the world, should take possession of their minds and hearts. RH July 21, 1891, par. 3

It is essential that these who have newly come to the faith should have a sense of their obligation to God, who has called them to a knowledge of the truth, and filled their hearts with his sacred peace, that they may exert a sanctifying influence over all with whom they associate. “Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord.” To every one God has committed a work, to make known his salvation to the world. In true religion there is nothing selfish or exclusive. The gospel of Christ is diffusive and aggressive. It is described as the salt of the earth, the transforming leaven, the light which shineth in darkness. It is impossible for one to retain the favor and love of God, and enjoy communion with him, and still feel no responsibility for the souls for whom Christ died, who are in error and darkness, perishing in their sins. If those who profess to be followers of Christ neglect to shine as lights in the world, the vital power will leave them, and they will become cold and Christless. The spell of indifference will be upon them, a death-like sluggishness of soul, which will make them bodies of death instead of living representatives of Jesus. Every one must lift the cross, and in modesty, meekness, and lowliness of mind, take up his God-given duties, engaging in personal effort for those around him who need help and light. All who accept these duties will have a rich and varied experience, their own hearts will glow with fervor, and they will be strengthened and stimulated to renewed, persevering efforts to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, because it is God that worketh in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure. RH July 21, 1891, par. 4

On Sunday, at 10 A.M., the house was filled to its utmost capacity, and all listened with the deepest interest to the dedicatory address given by Elder Van Horn. At 3 P.M. I spoke with much freedom upon the perfect harmony of the law and the gospel. My text was Luke 10:25-28. Elder Van Horn spoke again in the evening to a full house. RH July 21, 1891, par. 5

Several here are deeply moved by the Spirit of God. Will they follow the Master, who says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life”? Will they be doers of the word, and not hearers only? Will they accept the invitation of Christ? “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” “Every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: he is like a man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it; for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.” RH July 21, 1891, par. 6

No one can safely remain in a neutral position. “Ye are not your own,” “ye are bought with a price.” You belong to God. Jesus has paid the purchase money for your redemption, and he requires of you whole-hearted service. He has a right to your service, even to the full extent of your capabilities, for his own honor and glory. There is a cross lying directly in your pathway, and you must lift it if you would follow Jesus and be indeed his disciples. Pride must be up-rooted, self must die, every wrong must be made right. Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, through his boundless mercy and love, manifested in the sacrifice of his own precious life! O! let no one plead for self-indulgence. RH July 21, 1891, par. 7

Fathers and mothers who are convinced of the precious truth revealed in the oracles of God, hesitate not for a moment, but decide to obey God, even if it be at the sacrifice of every idol. Let your children and your neighbors see that you consider nothing too dear to give up for the truth. Do not in a single instance encourage selfishness and pride in your children. Let the work of reformation go on in your own hearts, and by precept and example educate your children to give all to Jesus, to die to pride, to overcome, day by day, every temptation. Let all who are convicted by the light of the truth, cherish every ray of light which comes from the Source of all light. Do not hesitate to decide from the weight of evidence. Do not enlist on the side of error, but wholly and entirely on the side of truth. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” Who will comply with the conditions? Who in Willis will become indeed members of the royal family, children of the Heavenly King? RH July 21, 1891, par. 8

The grand edifices and magnificent churches that are multiplying in the world, are only making more distinct the line of demarkation between the rich and the poor. There is God-dishonoring pride and selfishness in the members of the fashionable churches. They demand a religion that is more “refined,” more pleasing to the worldly element, than the humble precepts of the lowly Nazarene. There is no place in these costly edifices for the poor, the oppressed, no chance for them to obtain the relief that Jesus came from heaven to bring. Above the portals of these extravagant churches might be written, “For display. There is no place for God's poor here.” The spirit of piety and humble religion is unable to survive in these display churches; for the people do not want to have their sins of pride and dishonesty set before them. They have no ears to hear the truth while their hearts are opposed to it. They are moral icebergs. How much better it would be for all classes if there were a general increase of humble, spiritual religion, a lifting up of Jesus instead of self, in all these churches! RH July 21, 1891, par. 9

The prevailing desire manifested by most professed Christians is in the line of worldly ambition,—to excel in display rather than in piety, to outdo their neighbors in church edifices, and to dress to correspond to their extravagant surroundings. When I look at this, I think of Jesus, who left the courts of heaven, laid aside his royal robe, took off his kingly crown, and clothing his divinity with humanity, came to a world all seared and marred by the curse of sin. He humbled himself that he might meet fallen men where they were, and through the influence of a sanctified humanity, educate them, and reveal to them himself as the “only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” He was the reservoir of all power and truth, noble, courteous, full of sympathy and pitying tenderness, ever touched with human woes. He was the way, the truth, the life. Words of truth were ever flowing from his lips. His presence in any community made a decided change in the ideas of men. Wherever he went, he created an atmosphere of heavenly purity. Whatever he did, he did to make men like himself,—pure, spotless, undefiled. And he was ever engaged in helping the poor, in preaching the gospel to them. RH July 21, 1891, par. 10

I have often thought how much more abundantly we should be blessed if in the larger churches there was a well-organized band of workers, who would become missionaries to cities and towns, teaching others the precious lessons they have learned, of truth, of righteousness, of a judgment to come. All should be learners, but not ever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth. Be diligent students, and all the time practice what you learn. This will give you an experience which will be of the highest value to yourselves, and will surely benefit others. God has given us light, which he has commanded us to let shine; and if some souls embrace the truth in a locality, organize them into a church as soon as it can be wisely done, and let them do what they can to build a humble house of worship, as they have done in Willis, which they can dedicate to God, and where they can invite his presence to be with them. He says, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Then let the larger churches which are free from debt, come to the help of their sister churches, and give of their intrusted means toward these smaller places of worship, that the small churches may not be oppressed and discouraged under a load of debt. Let us not like the priest and the Levite, pass by on the other side. What blessings would be meted out to the churches that help in this way, and what love on the part of the poorer churches, as they realized that they were watched over for good! And with this help freely and cheerfully rendered, would come enlarged views of Christian helpfulness and duty. A bond of brotherhood, and love strong and tender, would be created between the members of the churches, large and small; and all petty jealousies and envies would be burned out by the love so substantially expressed. RH July 21, 1891, par. 11

When the disciples of John came to Jesus, saying, “John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?” Jesus continued his work of healing the sick and relieving the afflicted, and then he said to the messengers, “Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” RH July 21, 1891, par. 12

The attributes most prized by Jesus are unselfish love and purity. “Every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” “If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” The entire law is fulfilled in him who loves God supremely and his neighbor as himself. This is the revelation of God through Jesus Christ to the world. It is Christianity—glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will to men. The work Christianity is designed to achieve in the world is not to depreciate the law of God, not to detract from its sacred dignity in the slightest degree, but it is to write that law in the mind and heart. When the law of God is thus implanted in the soul of the believer, he is approaching eternal life through the merits of Jesus. “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” “I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” The object of the gospel is met when this great end is achieved. Its work from age to age is to unite the hearts of his followers in a spirit of universal brotherhood, through belief of the truth, and thus establish heaven's system of order and harmony in the family of God on earth, that they may be accounted worthy to become members of the royal family above. God, in his wisdom and mercy, tests men and women here, to see if they will obey his voice and respect his law, or rebel as Satan did. If they choose the side of Satan, putting his way above God's, it would not be safe to admit them into heaven; for they would cause another revolt against the government of God in the heavenly courts. He who fulfills the law in every respect, demonstrates that perfect obedience is possible. RH July 21, 1891, par. 13

The law allows for no injustice, no lack of reverence for God. The voice of an enemy will not be mistaken for the voice of the Infinite One. There will be no degrading of the soul to lustful practices; but a high degree of intellectual culture of mind and heart, a refinement of manners and sentiment, genuine Christian politeness, will be the sure result of supreme love to God and love to our fellow-men. God's object in giving the law to the fallen race was that man might, through Jesus, rise from his low estate to be one with God, that the greatest moral changes might be manifested in his nature and character. This moral transformation must take place, or man would not be a safe subject in the kingdom of God; for he would raise a revolt. RH July 21, 1891, par. 14

In John 14 Jesus said, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.” RH July 21, 1891, par. 15

Here in this life is the testing, trying time. The angels of God are watching the development of character, and weighing moral worth. The whole question is settled in this, Is he obedient or disobedient to the commandments of God? has the sinner been transformed in this world, through the merits of Christ, to an obedient servant, so that he is fitted to join the heavenly society and be accepted as a joint heir with Christ? If this happy work has been wrought in us, then we may sing the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. RH July 21, 1891, par. 16