The Review and Herald

239/1902

November 20, 1883

Notes of Travel

The Cause in Vermont

EGW

I was glad of the privilege of attending the Vermont camp-meeting, which was held in Montpelier, August 3 to September 4. There were more in attendance than I expected to see, and it was a pleasure to meet so many who had come to seek the Lord. My mind was carried back thirty years, to the time when, in company with my sister, I visited Fair Haven, Mass., to bear my message to the little company in that place. Eld. Bates was then living there, and expressed his conviction that it was his duty to visit Vermont, and preach the truth in that State. But he added, “I have no means, and cannot tell where the money is coming from to take me there. I think I will walk out by faith, start on foot, and go as far as God will give me strength.” My sister said to me, “I think the Lord will help me to open the way for Eld. Bates to go to Vermont. Sister F. is looking for a girl to do her housework, and if you will consent to travel without me for a few weeks, I will earn the money necessary.” She carried out her purpose, and, requesting her pay in advance, placed the money in Eld. Bates’ hand. He started the next morning, and my sister remained to work for a dollar and a quarter a week. Quite a number were brought into the truth in Vermont, and Eld. Bates returned with great joy because the Lord had indeed blessed his labors. RH November 20, 1883, par. 1

In 1850 my husband and myself visited Vermont, Canada, New Hampshire, and Maine. The meetings were held in private houses. It was then next to impossible to obtain access to unbelievers. The disappointment in 1844 had confused the minds of many, and they would not listen to any explanation of the matter. They were impatient and unbelieving, and many seemed rebellious, coming out in a most decided manner against their past Advent experience. Others dared not go to this length, and deny the way the Lord had led them. These were glad to hear arguments from the word of God which would harmonize our position with prophetic history. As they listened to an explanation of the disappointment which had been so bitter to them, they saw that God indeed led them, and they rejoiced in the truth. This awakened the most bitter opposition on the part of those who denied our past experience. RH November 20, 1883, par. 2

But we had a still worse element to meet in a class who claimed that they were sanctified, that they could not sin, that they were sealed and holy, and that all their impressions and notions were the mind of God. Conscientious souls were deceived by the pretended piety of these fanatics. Satan had worked artfully to have these deluded ones accept the Sabbath, as through their influence, while professing to believe one part of the truth, he could crowd upon the people a great many errors. He could also use them to good advantage to disgust unbelievers, who pointed to these inconsistent, unreasonable ones as representatives of Seventh-day Adventists. This class urged upon the people human tests and manufactured crosses, which Christ had not given them to bear. They claimed to heal the sick and to work miracles. They had a Satanic, bewitching power; yet they were overbearing, dictatorial, and cruelly oppressive. The Lord used us as instruments to rebuke these fanatics, and to open the eyes of his faithful people to the true character of their work. Peace and joy came into the hearts of those who broke away from this deception of Satan, and they glorified God as they saw his unerring wisdom in setting before them the light of truth and its precious fruits in contrast with Satanic heresies and delusions. The truth shone in contrast with these deceptions like clear gold amid the rubbish of earth. RH November 20, 1883, par. 3

Several times when we visited Vermont, my husband and myself had these dark spirits to meet and contend with. For years we labored to beat back the prejudice and subdue the opposition that at times threatened to overwhelm the faithful standard-bearers of truth,—the heroes and heroines of faith. But we found that those who were seeking God in humility and contrition of soul, were able to discern between the true and the false. “The meek will he guide in judgment; and the meek will he teach his way.” RH November 20, 1883, par. 4

God gave us a precious experience in those days. When brought in close conflict with the powers of darkness, as we frequently were, we laid the whole matter before the mighty Helper. Again and again we prayed for strength and wisdom. We would not yield the point; we felt that help must come. And through faith in God, the enemy's artillery was turned against himself, glorious victories were gained to the cause of truth, and we were made to realize that God gave not his Spirit by measure unto us. Had it not been for these special evidences of God's love, had he not thus, by the manifestation of his Spirit, set his seal to the truth, we might have become discouraged; but these proofs of Divine guidance, these living experiences in the things of God, strengthened us to fight manfully the battles of the Lord. The believing ones could more clearly discern how God had mapped out their course, guiding them amid trials, disappointments, and fierce conflicts. They grew stronger as they met and overcame obstacles, and gained a rich experience at every step they advanced. RH November 20, 1883, par. 5

Many of the pioneers, who shared with us these trials and victories, remained true till the close of life, and have fallen asleep in Jesus. Among these is the faithful warrior who for thirty-six years stood by my side in the battle for truth. God used him as a teacher and leader to stand in the front ranks during the severe struggles of those early days of the message; but he has fallen at his post, and, with others who have died in the faith, he awaits the coming of the Lifegiver, who will call him from his gloomy prison-house to a glorious immortality. RH November 20, 1883, par. 6

It is not so difficult to advocate the truth now as it was years ago. Then, it cost everything to be a believer; but now, in 1883, I saw a large company under the pavilion, and among them were old and tried friends of the cause. Although some have fallen, quite a number are still alive to bear testimony to the truth; and as they recall the way the Lord has led his people since their first acceptance of the truth, they exclaim, “What hath God wrought!” Their interest has been fully identified with the people whom God has been leading and teaching for the last thirty-five years. They have fought the battles of the Lord with heroism, fortitude, patience and prayer; and now there are many strong hands and willing hearts to unite with them in laboring for the triumphs of the cross of Christ. These faithful ones have become strong because they did not shirk responsibilities. They walked by faith, not by sight. They studied the revealed will of God, and submitted to be guided by Divine power. They were strengthened by grace as they pressed forward in the narrow path of holiness cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. RH November 20, 1883, par. 7

On this camp-ground, we listened to many heart-felt testimonies. Some here accepted the Sabbath, and for the first time took their position fully with us on all points of truth. Some had given up the truth, and backslidden from God; but their consciences had not been at rest. They found no peace, no light or happiness, in their disobedience, and came back to the fold with repentance and contrition of soul, and the Lord blessed them. But we longed to see our brethren and sisters generally coming out into the clear light. We longed to hear more testimonies coming from hearts full of love to Jesus,—testimonies of faith, of rich experience in the way the Lord has led us. I felt that these dear souls must have a closer union with God, and then they would be better acquainted with Jesus. They would not have a doubting, fearing testimony, but would be cheerful and happy in the faith. “Jesus died for me; Jesus loves me, even me,” would be the language of the trusting heart. RH November 20, 1883, par. 8

As I looked in the faces of the tried ones who are precious in the sight of the Lord, and saw that some of them seemed almost ready to lay off their armor, I thought I might never see their faces again in this world. They or I might fall asleep before the time of another annual meeting. By faith I looked forward to the resurrection morning, when the righteous dead shall be awakened to eternal life. I saw them around the throne of God, clothed in white robes, with crowns of glory on their heads and harps of gold in their hands, singing a new song of praise to God and the Lamb. And the question arose in my mind, Who are coming up to take the places of these aged, worn soldiers of the cross? Who will consecrate themselves to the work of God? RH November 20, 1883, par. 9

I saw before me many young men and women who professed to be followers of Christ, but who had not felt a burden for souls. These do not say, when the Lord's work is to be done, “Here am I; send me.” If they really had the love of Jesus in their hearts, how could they be silent, how could they be at rest, and their fellow-men unwarned? Can they realize the greatness of the sacrifice made in behalf of man? They may think they comprehend it, but they do not. If they did, with the eye of faith they would see Jesus leaving his throne of light, and the glory that he had with his Father before the world was, to become the companion of rebels. Oh! they have but a faint conception of the depths of humiliation to which the Redeemer of the world condescended in becoming a man. It was an act of humiliation to which they can find no parallel. But being formed in fashion as a man, Christ humbled himself, and became obedient unto death. Had it been a common death even, it would still have been the greatest of humiliations. But oh, what a death the Son of God suffered,—the most cruel, the most shameful! He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. And do not let any one think that Jesus was insensible to ignominy. He yielded up his life to save the fallen race; but he felt, keenly and bitterly felt, the humiliation of dying as a malefactor. His holy and undefiled human nature was deeply sensitive to the disgrace of being “numbered with the transgressors.” Said he, “Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me?” He felt the unjust, coarse, and abusive treatment of the mob, led on by a Judas; but it was a deeper wound to the soul to endure the hiding of his Father's face. RH November 20, 1883, par. 10

All this was to save fallen man; and has Christ died for souls in vain? As I looked upon the congregation assembled in the tent, and knew how many there were who professed to be sons and daughters of God, who might be lights in the world, and yet were not letting their light shine, I felt sad at heart. I asked myself, Who of this number will be denounced as slothful servants because they have neglected their duty? When Christ has done all that could be done to save sinners, who are ready, by an unreserved consecration of themselves, to become co-laborers with him? The blood of souls will be upon the garments of some, who have talents which God has intrusted to them, but who love self and their ease more than they love the souls of men for whom Christ has made so infinite a sacrifice. Where are those who love one another as Christ has loved them? Will they take up their God-given duties, and work for the Master? Has the Lord excused the large number who profess his name, who have experienced his love, from bearing any burden of the work in his cause? Are they at liberty to eat of the loaf themselves, to partake of his great salvation, yet make no effort to bear the message of mercy to their brethren who are out of the truth,—who are unsaved? RH November 20, 1883, par. 11

This dearth of laborers is not in accordance with the will of God; it exists because the love of Christ is not a living principle in the hearts of those who profess his name. There are men who have talents; but they have buried them in their farms and in other selfish interests, so that they do not aid in building up the cause of Christ. If many who are now dying spiritually on account of their selfishness, should awake to their God-given responsibilities, they would see work to do in the vineyard of the Lord; and this work would expand their hearts, so that they would love Jesus a great deal more than they now do, and their fellow-men as Jesus has loved them. What a change there would be in Vermont, if young men and those of mature age also, should go to work, feeling, “I am my brother's keeper”! How can those who do nothing to win souls to Christ expect to hear the “Well done” from the Master's lips? RH November 20, 1883, par. 12

We know there is a great wrong somewhere, or there would be men engaged in earnest labor in Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and all through the United States. Where are those who have the knowledge of the truth, and who love Jesus and the souls for whom he died well enough to deny self, to choose the suffering part of religion, and to go without the camp, bearing the reproach of Christ? Jesus has set them an example; he suffered without the camp, bearing reproach. Who will put to use the talents lent them of God, be they great or small, and work in humility learning daily in the school of Christ, and then imparting that precious knowledge to others? Who will see what ought to be done, and do it? And how many will make excuses, become tied up with worldly interests? Cut the cords that bind you, and go into the vineyard to work for the Master. In every department of the cause of God, consecrated, God- fearing, willing helpers are needed; men of brains, men of intellect, who will go forth as ministers, canvassers, and colporteurs. Brethren and sisters, let the earnest prayer of faith ascend to God that he will raise up laborers, and send them into the harvest field; for the harvest is great, and the laborers are few. RH November 20, 1883, par. 13

We know that believers in Vermont are not doing their duty. We know there is earnest work to be done, requiring patience, perseverance, and untiring effort. Let the work be done by unselfish, humble men; let them work and pray, and pray and work. Labor by the fireside, brethren. Come close to hearts. Let unbelievers see that you care for their souls; search the Scriptures with them; weep and pray with them. In your earnest efforts, represent the love of Christ. Oh! this love, if we have it, is too much inclosed in our hearts, and does not appear in words or deeds as it should. How will you meet your relatives, your friends, and your neighbors in the Judgment, if you have not labored in every way possible to bring them to the truth? My prayer is that the Lord may so impress the minds of men and women in Vermont that they cannot rest until they commence in earnest to labor for souls. When they do this it will no longer be said, Vermont is a hard field. RH November 20, 1883, par. 14