The Review and Herald

120/1902

May 25, 1876

Sparta Camp-Meeting

(Continued.)

EGW

At the commencement of the Sabbath, we met under the large tent for prayer and conference. The meeting opened with singing and prayers. A brother then rose and said, “I love the Lord. I have come a long way to worship him, and I wish to discharge every duty. I want my light to shine forth upon others.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 1

My husband said, “What an interesting hour this is. The sun, God's great timekeeper, is going down. The laboring days of the week are just in the past. The Sabbath is drawing on. In Europe, our Sabbath-keeping friends are locked in midnight slumber. In an hour or two, the Signs of the Times Office, in Oakland, California, closes up, and our people will be preparing to keep the holy Sabbath, the rest-day of Jehovah. Bro. Bourdeau, engaged in the French mission, is now in conference with his brethren in Illinois. Many little companies are assembling to worship God. RH May 25, 1876, par. 2

“In regard to the summer campaign there is a large field for workers. Many little companies are just entering upon the work. We may look east, west, north, and south, and be assured that hearts are there, beating in unison with ours. We never found before such unanimity of feeling as we have realized at all the camp-meetings we have attended this season. We never read of such perfect union, except during times of persecution, when common suffering bound all hearts together in the tenderest sympathy. RH May 25, 1876, par. 3

“The power of the truth is taking hold of minds, and striking down deep into many hearts. Last winter, in Illinois, a French lady walked, regularly, several miles to attend the little gatherings upon the Sabbath, although she could not understand any thing that was said, not being acquainted with the English language. Her sister asked her why she took so much trouble to attend the meetings, when she could not understand what was spoken there. She answered that she was sorry she did not comprehend what was said, but she could feel the blessing, and her heart was so strengthened and encouraged that she felt this influence all through the week. It did her so much good that she felt it a great loss to miss one meeting. I am glad in God that I find my heart stirred as I see minds thus affected and embracing the truth. But few turn back; nearly all hold on, faithful and true.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 4

“I do not think we can spend this hour at the commencement of the Sabbath in any better way than bowed before God, in solemn, earnest, thankful prayer; especially let us thank God for the blessed work progressing on the Pacific Coast.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 5

After a most precious season of prayer, a hymn was sung—
“Stand up and bless the Lord.”
RH May 25, 1876, par. 6

My husband then continued his remarks, and as he spoke he was greatly blessed. Heaven's light and glory were reflected from his countenance, as he shouted the high praise of God. Heaven seemed very near. As the bright golden rays of the setting sun gilded and tinted the leaves of the sacred grove, the Sun of Righteousness beamed upon those assembled to worship God; their countenances shone with the reflections of heavenly light. It was a most holy season, long to be remembered. RH May 25, 1876, par. 7

Said the speaker, “There was a time when one man had more power than all the mighty ones on the face of the whole earth. He prayed in faith, and his prayer closed up Heaven, and the earth received neither dew nor rain for more than three years. Warriors, philosophers, and great princes who then lived, were unable to bring one drop of rain to the parched earth or prevent this one man from uniting his faith with the Infinite One. The Lord is good. He is great. He can dispel the gloom that oppresses the mind. More faith, brethren; we must have more faith to bring us nearer to God. Prayer does not change our Heavenly Father, but prayer does change our relations to him. We are thus brought nigh to God, and are enabled to unite our finite strength to his Infinite power. God grant that we may, by simple faith, take hold of his arm of strength and mercy, and receive his greatest blessings. He is the source of all good.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 8

Bro. Decker said, “I feel the blessing of God upon me in great measure. I am filled with his love. I have no words to express my feelings. His presence has overpowered me with such a fullness of joy that I cannot give utterance to my feelings.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 9

A brother said, “I feel that it is good to be here. The Lord has given us the presence of his Holy Spirit tonight. I want to work for the glory of God. Time is short. The Lord is preparing a people for his kingdom, and I want to be of them.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 10

A brother said, “I feel the sweet influence of the Spirit of the Lord here. The still small voice has spoken to my heart. I want my will swallowed up in the will of God. I look towards the holy law, which I have transgressed, and then view the matchless love of Christ in becoming my advocate in the court of Heaven. I rejoice in the law of God. All the opposition cannot, for one moment, drag down that holy law. It is eternal, imperishable as the throne of God. I am trying to walk humbly, trying to be meek and lowly. I do feel the Spirit of God in my heart witnessing with my spirit that I am a child of God.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 11

A sister said, “I feel it a duty to speak in favor of Jesus. I love the precious truth, and mean to follow my Saviour. I have received so much benefit at this meeting that I fear I am not half thankful enough for God's goodness to me. My heart praises him continually.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 12

A brother said, “I thank the Lord for what mine eyes have beheld today of the goodness and wisdom of God. I desire to be a perfect overcomer and receive a crown of rejoicing at the Master's hand.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 13

A brother said, “I am grateful to God for this precious meeting. I came not here to be an idle spectator. I came to gain the blessing of God. I trust in the Lord, and he pours his blessings upon me.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 14

A brother said, “Thank God that this glorious truth ever came to me. My heart is too full to speak. ‘Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.’ I must be with him upon his throne.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 15

A sister said, “Praise God for the love of my precious Saviour. He has forgiven me my sins. I have the evidences of his love. The devil has deluded me to believe that Jesus would not forgive my terrible sinfulness; but what blessings have I enjoyed in this place! I now know the way of the Lord more perfectly. He discovers our hearts; he reads our thoughts. I will confide in his mercy as long as I live.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 16

A brother said, “Praise the Lord; I want my entire being to praise him. He is good to me. I love him! I love him!” RH May 25, 1876, par. 17

A sister said, “This is a precious privilege that I am enjoying. This is the best camp-meeting that I ever attended. I never heard so many cheering testimonies before.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 18

A brother said, “This is a Pentecostal season to my soul, and to the whole encampment; it is a time of wonderful grace and power. I would take, if necessary, ten times the trouble that I have taken to come to such a meeting as this. I have been richly repaid. I cannot go back from the good way I have chosen, but will press onward to victory.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 19

A brother said, “I feel the blessing of God flooding my soul. I want to be always rejoicing in God, pressing onward and upward, higher and higher, till the work closes.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 20

A sister said, “I feel God's blessing upon me. There are angels hovering around! The heavenly atmosphere of peace and joy is here.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 21

A brother said, “I have been serving the Lord for twenty-one years. I have attended fifteen Methodist camp-meetings. I was never at an Adventist camp-meeting before. I see a great difference; there is a spirit of love manifested here that I never met before.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 22

A brother said, “I believe the truth. I have not been as faithful as I should have been. I must come nearer to my God and get his love in my heart. I have now started for life; I will live every day to glorify God.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 23

A brother said, “I want a part with the people of God. I have been much blessed at this meeting. I still feel the need of more grace. I want to live in faithful obedience to all of the commandments of God, and receive the heavenly reward with my brethren in the Lord.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 24

A brother said, “Praise the Lord! I want to press onward, and keep pace with the third angel's message. If we become careless and neglectful of our duty, we shall lose sight of the work God is doing in these last days. We need to daily cherish gratitude to God for our present privileges and blessings.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 25

A sister said, “‘Praise God from whom all blessings flow.’ I have been blessed this night! The Lord has hedged us in with truth. Notwithstanding all the temptations of Satan, there is a tower of strength to which we may cling. Glory to God! He is merciful; for he has given his dear Son to die for me, a sinner. Precious Jesus will lead me, even unworthy me, and will bring me to the haven of rest at last, if I humbly follow where he leads.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 26

A brother said, “God wants no cowards in his cause. I want courage and strength to follow my Redeemer in the path of self-denial and self-sacrifice. I have been too weak, but I have been growing stronger during this meeting.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 27

A brother said, “I want a part with the people of God. The Lord has kept me from going downward. He sent this precious, glorious truth to be a light to my path. I rejoice in the goodness and mercy of God. I feel much encouraged by the reports of the progress of the truth upon the Pacific Coast. I want to have a part in the work here on earth, and a part with the ransomed in Heaven.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 28

A sister said, “I thank God for this opportunity of meeting with his people. My heart truly rejoices in God my Saviour. For fifty years I have been trying to live a Christian life. I praise his holy name that he has spared me to see this blessed day. I am thankful for the loving kindness of God to me. I want to so live out the truth daily that others may see the light which, to me, is so precious.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 29

A sister said, “I feel thankful for this privilege. I have been greatly discouraged, but my faith and hope and courage are now renewed.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 30

A brother said, “Thank God for the answer to prayer. In every emergency, here is help and relief for the burdened and distressed. I want to love God and keep his commandments. God has answered my prayers, even mine. Jesus has great power. When he was upon earth he healed the sick. He will surely hear the prayer of faith, if we come sincerely and humbly before him. I want to be an entire Christian, a temperate man in all my habits. I want to lay aside every thing that will prove injurious to health, or demoralizing in its effects. I have used tobacco from a child. I have tried to leave off the pernicious habit, but it has seemed impossible. The physicians have said it would kill me. I know I cannot do this in my own strength, but God will help me, and in him I trust. Here goes my idol, tobacco! [Here he threw a large package of tobacco upon the ground.] Now I hope to be more worthy of worshiping a pure and holy God! My Saviour, preserve me from this debasing appetite! Purge me from this polluting habit! Supported by your prayers, brethren, and clinging to God myself, by faith, I shall be victor. Brethren, do not forget to pray for me.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 31

Before proceeding with the testimonies of this meeting, I will say that we afterwards went to the tent where this brother, Bro. Strong, made his home. We found the tent's company in prayer. We earnestly besought God in behalf of our brother, that strength and grace might be given him, through Jesus’ name, to overcome this strong appetite for tobacco. We felt the assurance that it would be done. The blessing of the Lord rested upon us while we prayed. August 17, Bro. Jordan reported that Bro. Strong was firm in the truth. He had had no appetite for tobacco since we united in prayer to God for him. He was cheerful in the Lord, and felt that through the all-powerful help of Jesus he had gained a great victory in overcoming his appetite for tobacco. He is a happy man. We will now return to the meeting. RH May 25, 1876, par. 32

A sister followed this brother, saying, “I can sit still no longer. I wish to declare that I am resolved to live out the truth every day of my life.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 33

Another sister said, “I cannot longer keep my seat. The Lord has blessed me. Praise his great and holy name! He will save to the uttermost all who come unto him.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 34

A brother said, “Thank God for the influence of his Holy Spirit! The salvation of Heaven is here! I want to be pure in heart, that I may be received into the kingdom of God, and have a crown of life!” RH May 25, 1876, par. 35

A Swedish sister said she could not command language to express her feelings. She was thankful that Jesus gave his dear life that she might be saved. For twenty-seven years she had professed to love Jesus, but had not walked so close to God as she should have done. She thanked God for the Sabbath. New light shines upon the precious word of God. RH May 25, 1876, par. 36

Another Swedish sister said, “I want a humble part in the work of God. I cannot neglect duty. I turned from darkness to the light twenty years ago. I have often studied and pondered over the fourth commandment. God gave me light upon the Scriptures thirteen years ago. I feel to thank the Lord for the privilege of this meeting. This is the first camp-meeting I have attended. When the Lord shall gather up his jewels, I want to be among them.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 37

A sister said, “I, for one, am perfectly astonished to see strangers to each other meet together from all parts of the country, and express such unity of feeling and views—all of the same mind, all of the same judgment, perfect love flowing from heart to heart. Jesus has done everything for me. I have done almost nothing for him. I want to work for those who have no hope in Christ. Let us pray for them. There is much of this work to be done. The Spirit of God will assist our efforts, if we labor in faith and love. If we are the means of saving one soul what a rejoicing will there be in the kingdom of God. Oh, that the Lord would sanctify the whole camp.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 38

The meeting now closed, all felt that it had been a blessed season of nearness to God. RH May 25, 1876, par. 39

Sunday morning there was another prayer and conference meeting. My husband said, “This meeting is a very solemn one to me. I have felt the presence of God in a special manner. The Spirit of the Lord may abide upon this assembly and yet no element of fanaticism be here. All things may be done decently and in order, for the worship of God. There is order in Heaven, and there should be order upon the earth, especially in regard to the sacred worship of God. Everything in this connection should be done with solemnity and to edification. The language of the prophet is. ‘O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord.’ I am glad the word of the Lord is in language to be understood. Scripture truth is given us to study. Here is a rich volume of inspiration for old and young. Here are writings running through different dispensations, and in order to understand their meaning we must become Bible students, and search prayerfully and critically for light upon the revealed word. There are inexhaustible streams of light to reward the research of the greatest minds. The Bible is an expression of God to man, in language simple and easy to be understood. Six days of labor were given to man, but the seventh God set apart for himself. If men will take the Bible, just as it reads, they will make no mistake in regard to the true Sabbath of Jehovah. The question with all should be, “What is truth?” RH May 25, 1876, par. 40

Then followed testimonies from those present. A Norwegian brother said, “I am glad for the mercies of God surrounding us. I want to enter into the work of the Lord. While God has been leading us into a knowledge of the truth, he has been giving us an experience in his work. We all of us need to search our hearts prayerfully and strictly, that no sin be left lurking there. We need to dig deep and lay our foundation sure. I am truly thankful for what the Lord has done for us. I still cry out, from my soul, ‘Nearer my God to thee, nearer to thee!’’ RH May 25, 1876, par. 41

A sister said, “‘Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord and thought upon his name. These testimonies repeated over and over may seem a simple thing to an observer, but it is these very testimonies that are written in the book of remembrance before God. The Lord gives his attentive ear to that which he considers of so great importance, and when he makes up his jewels, all these faithful, God-fearing souls, whose testimonies are recorded in that book, will he spare, as a man spareth his son who serveth him.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 42

A sister said, “I am thankful for the privilege of attending the camp-meeting. My soul has been refreshed. I have been drawing nearer to God, and yet the language of my heart is, ‘Nearer my God to thee.’ I have received light since I came here. I want to understand the depth and breadth of perfect love.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 43

A sister said, “I came here to worship God. Here I want to put away my sins, and place myself in the hands of God to be molded as he wills. I wish to humble myself at the foot of the cross, and exalt my Saviour while I crucify self.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 44

A brother said, “I bless God for the truth. I am a stranger to most of you, yet I feel that you are my brethren; for my heart says this morning, Bless God for the Sabbath! I love to meet the Lord's children upon that holy day. Where I live I am alone in keeping the Sabbath. I miss the companionship of the followers of the truth. I bless God for the prospect of meeting the people of God where parting shall be no more.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 45

A sister said, “I am thankful for this privilege. I came here to get my soul refreshed. The Lord has drawn near to me. He will never leave nor forsake those who trust in him. I want to know the length and breadth, the height and depth, of the love of God.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 46

A brother said, “Thank God for the light of truth. I love my Saviour because he first loved me. ‘With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.’ I feel it a sacred duty to testify to the saving power of Christ Jesus.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 47

A sister said, “I have been keeping the Sabbath twenty months. I have had help from God in the crosses of my new life. I have enjoyed more of the Spirit of the Lord during these few months than I have during my previous religious profession for the last twenty-four years. The power of the truth has opened before me with clearness and beauty that which I could not before understand, and I can say truly that my soul is established on the truth of God's word. I thank God that I accepted the truth when I heard it. I intend to be faithful in all my duties. I want to escape the mark of the beast through obedience to all God's commandments.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 48

A brother said, “I want to unite with this people in seeking the Lord. I want to receive the blessing which I came here to secure.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 49

A sister said, “Praise God for his goodness. I have been greatly blessed in coming to this meeting. I have long looked forward to this blessed privilege. I came a long distance. I want the blessing of God. I have been very much prejudiced against camp-meetings, but this one has been a great benefit to me. I want to go home and live a true Christian life, constantly led by the Spirit of God unto the true doctrines of the Bible. We have the truth! let us live in its light. The nearer we live to God the more influence will we have over those who are not walking in the light of the truth. God will make us instruments to bring others to a right understanding of his word and to share his salvation. RH May 25, 1876, par. 50

A brother said, “I desire to have a part with the people of God. I anticipated pleasure in attending this camp-meeting for two reasons: First, because my parents resided in this place; and, secondly, because I desired to gain spiritual strength I have been passing through a severe struggle in regard to my parents. They are kind and affectionate, but have no interest in the truth which is so precious to me. My affections are strong. I felt that I could not give them up and have labored and prayed in their behalf. I want to live for Heaven and obey the truth, and if this causes a separation, may God give me grace and fortitude to bear it. I must love and serve God at any sacrifice.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 51

A brother said, “I want to live a life of humble obedience. Jesus is the source of my strength. These yearly gatherings are a great blessing to me and mine. Jesus is soon coming. I want to walk the golden streets in the city of God.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 52

A brother said, “Thank God for this blessed privilege. The peace of God has rested upon me. I want to sink deeper and deeper into the will of the Lord.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 53

A sister said, “The Lord has graciously spared my life to meet with his people upon his holy Sabbath and in these free meetings. I praise his holy name for this precious privilege. I feel the love of God in my heart. I am strengthened to do his will, and I am determined to be more faithful in future.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 54

A brother said, “I am thankful to be with you. About four years ago I commenced to keep the Sabbath with my family. We are still holding fast to the faith. It takes courage to live out the present truth before the world. I want to go home with mind and heart full of the blessing of God.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 55

A Swedish brother said, “Praise God for his goodness to me! This is the first camp-meeting I ever attended. I love God. I love his truth. My heart rejoices in my Saviour. I desire to be a perfect overcomer.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 56

A brother said, “I feel that this encampment is holy ground. There is a sacred influence surrounding us. My heart's desire is to be sanctified by divine truth, that I may live a Christian life, grow in grace and the knowledge of the truth, finish my Christian warfare with triumph, and receive the crown of victory.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 57

A sister said, “My heart is glad for this privilege. I seldom have the opportunity of meeting with such friends on God's holy day. I am alone, yet not alone; for Jesus is with me, and angels help me in the love of the truth. I want to be purified through a knowledge of the truth. I rejoice that I have eaten the manna that will sustain me in my loneliness and great tribulation.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 58

A brother said, “The love of the Lord is flowing in my heart. I have been skeptical in regard to the truth, but my mind is now firmly fixed. I want to work for my blessed Master. I never had so perfect faith as now. I have never seen the Spirit of God manifested as I have seen it here. I have never known such power as I have witnessed and felt here. I have a mother in Pennsylvania. I am sending our publications of the truth to her, praying that God may open her eyes to see wondrous things out of his law. My heart swells with joy at the prospect of the immortal life to be given to the faithful.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 59

A sister said, “I am thankful for the goodness of God. I have been blessed at this meeting. I will here start anew to serve God.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 60

A sister said, “I am sorry to have had no stronger faith. I must have a greater nearness to God. My whole heart must be in the work. ‘What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that thou visitest him?’ I feel that I must put aside all fear of the world, and serve my Master faithfully. This is the first meeting of the kind that I ever attended, and I have been amply repaid.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 61

A brother said, “I have come to seek Jesus. As I listen to the testimonies my heart goes up in thankfulness to God that he has enlightened my understanding, so that I can see the present truth. The moments are golden. We must improve them in working for Jesus. Soon these precious privileges will be past. Those who come for the blessing may have it by asking for it. All the camp-ground may be lightened by the presence of God.” RH May 25, 1876, par. 62

(Concluded next week.)