The Review and Herald

981/1902

April 4, 1899

After the Camp-Meeting

EGW

The last days of the Brisbane camp-meeting were full of interest. The attendance at the evening meetings steadily increased, and frequently men and women came long distances, saying they had just learned about the meetings. During the second Sunday, the grounds were thronged. Some had been at the meeting the first Sunday, and came again, bringing friends; many we recognized as those who had attended the evening meetings; but there were hundreds who had come to the meeting for the first time. According to appointment, our meeting was to close the following day, but it was evident that the work of the meeting was not finished. It was too busy a time for consultation; for every worker on the grounds was busy, visiting, entertaining the interested and the curious, distributing reading-matter, and holding short Bible readings with those who questioned about the doctrines taught at the meeting. Those who bore the burden of the meeting felt that an earnest effort must be made to follow up this interest, and many prayers ascended that God would direct in planning and executing the work. RH April 4, 1899, par. 1

In the night, light came to me, and I was deeply moved. It was represented to me that the cloud still rested over the tabernacle. The cloud had not yet lifted, and the tents must not be taken down. This was our time to seek the Lord earnestly for wisdom and strength, and to labor with all our powers to give the warning message to the people. The people were under conviction, and this camp-meeting remained a necessity. I was not able to speak at the early meeting, but sent word that according to light given to me, there ought to be nothing done unnecessarily to give the impression to the people that the meeting had closed. RH April 4, 1899, par. 2

Arrangements had already been made to keep the large tent standing for a week or two; but it was the plan of our people to take down the family tents as fast as possible, and let all go to their homes except the regularly appointed Bible workers. But now other plans were rapidly formed. A Bible study for workers was appointed to be held each morning; and our people were invited to remain on the grounds, and aid in the work of the following week. As many tents were left standing as possible, and the families that remained to help keep up the public interest and enjoy the Bible studies were furnished the use of tents without charge. A score or more remained on the grounds for another week, and many others would have done so if they had known beforehand of the opportunity. RH April 4, 1899, par. 3

The experiences of this meeting, with what has been presented to me at various times regarding the holding of camp-meetings in large cities, lead me to advise that a larger number of camp-meetings be held each year, even though some of them are small; for these meetings will be a powerful means of arresting the attention of the masses. By camp-meetings held in the cities, thousands will be called out to hear the invitation to the feast, “Come; for all things are now ready.” After arousing an interest, we must not cut these meetings short, pulling down the tents, leaving the people to think that the meeting is over, just at the time when hundreds are becoming interested. It is just then that the greatest good may be accomplished by faithful, earnest work. The meetings must be so managed that the public interest shall be maintained. RH April 4, 1899, par. 4

It may be difficult, sometimes, to hold the principal speakers for some weeks to develop the interest awakened by the meeting; it may be expensive to retain the grounds, and to keep standing a sufficient number of the family tents to maintain the appearance of a camp-meeting; it may be at a sacrifice that several families remain camping on the grounds, to assist the ministers and Bible workers in visiting and in holding Bible study with those who come on the grounds, and in visiting the people at their homes, telling them of the blessings received at the meetings, and inviting them to come: but the results will be worthy of the effort. It is by such earnest, energetic efforts as these that some of our camp-meetings have been instrumental in raising up strong, working churches; and it is by just such earnest work that the third angel's message must be carried to the people of our cities. RH April 4, 1899, par. 5

Sometimes a large number of speakers attend a camp-meeting for a few days; and just when the interest of the people is beginning to be fully aroused, nearly all hurry away to another meeting, leaving two or three speakers behind to struggle against the depressing influence of the tearing down and removal of all the family tents. How much better it would be in many cases, if the meetings were continued for a longer time; if persons would come from each church, prepared to remain a month or longer, helping in the meetings, and learning how to labor acceptably. Then they could carry a valuable experience to their churches when they return home. How much better if some of the same speakers who arouse the interest of the people during the largest attendance at the meeting would remain to follow up the work begun, by a thoroughly organized protracted effort. To conduct meetings in this way would require that several be in progress at the same time, and this would not permit a few men to attend all the meetings; but we must remember that the work is to be accomplished “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” RH April 4, 1899, par. 6

Instruction Regarding Labor

For a few days after it was decided to continue the camp-meeting, it was quite a struggle for the workers to keep up heart, because of the distraction which attends the departure of friends, and the resettling preparatory for the summer's work. At the Monday evening meeting the public congregation had voted a hearty request that the meetings continue, and each night the large tent was well filled. The morning Bible classes, which were attended by about thirty persons, were of unusual interest. There were about twelve workers of varied experience and gifts, to be employed in following up the interest awakened by this meeting; and as we saw the extent of the field before them, we wished there were many more. RH April 4, 1899, par. 7

At the beginning of the Sabbath my heart went out in prayer that God would give wisdom to these workers, and in the visions of the night many words of instruction and encouragement were spoken to us. Ministers and workers were in a meeting where Bible lessons were being given. We said, We have the Great Teacher with us today, and we listened with interest to his words. He said: There is a great work before you in this place. You will need to present truth in its simplicity. Bring the people to the waters of life. Speak to them the things which most concern their present and eternal good. Do not present subjects that will arouse controversy,—things that it will require a person of experience by your side to defend. In all that you say, know that you have something that is worthy of the time you take to say it, and of the time of the hearers to hear. Speak of those things which are essential, those things which will instruct, bringing light with every word. RH April 4, 1899, par. 8

Learn to meet the people where they are. Let not your study of the Scriptures be of a cheap or casual order. Let not your instruction be of a character to perplex the mind. Do not cause the people to worry over things that you may see, but which they do not see, unless these are of vital consequence to the saving of the soul. Do not present the Scriptures in a way to exalt self, and encourage vainglory in the one who opens the Word to others. The work for this time is to train students and workers to deal with subjects in a plain, serious, and solemn manner. There must be no time uselessly employed in this great work. We must not miss the mark. Time is too short for us to undertake to reveal all that might be opened up to view. Eternity will be required that we may know all the length and breadth, the height and depth, of the Scriptures. There are some souls to whom certain truths are of more importance than other truths. Skill is needed in your education in Scriptural lines. Read and study Psalm 40:7, 8; John 1:14; 1 Timothy 3:16; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:14-17; Revelation 5:11-14. RH April 4, 1899, par. 9

To the apostle John, on the Isle of Patmos, were revealed the things that God desired him to give to the people. Study these revelations. Here are themes worthy of our contemplation, large and comprehensive lessons, which all the angelic hosts are now seeking to communicate. Behold the life and character of Christ, and study his mediatorial work. Here are infinite wisdom, infinite love, infinite justice, infinite mercy. Here are depths and heights, lengths and breadths, for our consideration. Numberless pens have been employed in presenting to the world the life, the character, and the mediatorial work of Christ; yet every mind through whom the Holy Spirit has worked has presented these themes in a light that is fresh and new, according to the mind and spirit of the human agent. RH April 4, 1899, par. 10

The truth, if received into the heart, is capable of constant development and expansion. It will increase in brightness as we behold it; and as we aspire to grasp it, its height and breadth will ever increase. Thus it will elevate us to the standard of perfection, and fit us for our work by giving us faith and trust in God. We want the truth as it is in Jesus; for we desire to make the people understand what Christ is to them, and what the responsibilities are that they are called upon to accept in him. As his representatives and witnesses, we need to come to a full understanding of the saving truths attained by an experimental knowledge. RH April 4, 1899, par. 11

Teach the great, practical truths that must be stamped upon the soul. Teach the saving power of Jesus, “in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.” All should be made to comprehend the power of the truth to those who receive it. “In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Men need to understand that the Deity suffered under the agonies of Calvary. The Majesty of heaven was made to suffer at the hands of wicked men,—religious zealots, who claimed to be the most enlightened people on the face of the earth. Men claiming to be the children of Abraham worked out the wrath of Satan upon the innocent Son of the infinite God. While Christ was bearing the heavy guilt incurred by man's transgression of the law of God, while in the act of bearing our sins, of carrying our sorrows, he was mocked and reviled by the very men appointed to teach the law, and lead the people to love and obey God. RH April 4, 1899, par. 12

It was at the cross that mercy and truth met together, that righteousness and peace kissed each other. Let students and workers study this again and again, that they, setting forth the Lord crucified among us, may make it a fresh subject to the people. Teach that the life of Christ reveals an infinitely perfect character. Teach that “as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” Tell it over and over again, that we may become the sons of God, members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. Let it be known that all who accept Jesus Christ, and hold the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end, will be heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, “to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” RH April 4, 1899, par. 13