The Review and Herald

241/1902

December 11, 1883

Notes of Travel

The New York Camp-Meeting

EGW

I left the camp-ground in Maine very weary, and suffering from a severe cold. We visited my afflicted twin sister living in Gorham, Me. Rheumatism has made sad work with her body. Notwithstanding she is almost helpless and a great sufferer, yet she is remarkably patient and cheerful, and thoughtful of others’ comforts. RH December 11, 1883, par. 1

Oh, how gladly would we have relieved her of pain, and brought her back to health had it been in our power! But we thought, Jesus loves her better than it is possible for us to do. He will not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men. “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.” RH December 11, 1883, par. 2

We had precious seasons of prayer with her, and Jesus seemed very near us. I found comfort in presenting her in faith to Jesus, the pitying Lamb of God. He alone could be her helper. He alone could rebuke the cruel power of the enemy, and stay the progress of disease. He alone could give peace and comfort and hope to those who believe in him. After a few hours’ stay we had to say farewell, leaving her to suffer on, not knowing that we should meet again in this life. I was unable to keep up longer without rest, and strength should be given me. RH December 11, 1883, par. 3

We were courteously welcomed at Bro. and Sr. Martin's in Deering; and here all was done for me healthwise that kindness and skill could do. Here my faith was tried. I thought it could not be duty to attend the camp-meeting in New York; yet I feared it might be the work of the enemy to hedge up my way. I decided to start on my journey, trusting in the Lord to help me. My earnest prayer went forth from unfeigned lips for help and strength to do all the work the Lord would have me. I left Maine in great weakness. While waiting in Worcester several hours, my prayer went up to God continually for strength and grace which I so much needed. We were in the midst of a rain-storm. In Syracuse depot we were also detained and my prayer was still unceasing for health and strength and the blessing of God, that I might bear the testimony he had given me to the people. We found at Union Square that every preparation had been made for our comfort. Our tent was pitched under a large tent, and although it was unpleasant weather, we were protected as much as possible from storm and wind. RH December 11, 1883, par. 4

Once upon the ground, I was convinced we were in the way of our duty. I had claimed the promises of God, and they were verified to me. We met many for the first time who had embraced the faith within a few years, and were rejoicing in the love of the truth. When I saw the camp-meeting located at a distance from any city and apparently in an out-of-the-way place, I thought one object of the meeting would be lost; viz., that of securing an attendance of those not in the faith. I regretted this, for our light is to shine forth to the world. But we were disappointed to see so large a number from those not of our faith in attendance, and they seemed to be interested. It was by faith I attempted to speak to the people; but at every effort the Lord helped me. As I labored to impress upon our people the necessity of a preparation of character that they might stand in the day of the Lord, I forgot my infirmities; the Lord blessed me. There were several seasons of specially seeking the Lord. When we called for those to come forward who had not an evidence of their connection with God, and for those who had backslidden from God, and for those who were seeking the Lord for the first time, a large number responded. RH December 11, 1883, par. 5

These were very precious and impressive occasions. Many bore testimony while their hearts were deeply affected. We sought to impress upon the people the necessity of greater faith and unfeigned love. The want of love for Jesus with some of our brethren had dried up their love for one another, and as the result there were growing among God's people selfishness, self- sufficiency, suspicion, and distrust of one another. All this is not of Christ but another spirit, and must be overcome. RH December 11, 1883, par. 6

Many are vainly striving for the victory, but they do not obtain it, because they cherish sins of selfishness, of worldly ambition, unkindness, envy, self-esteem, or some fleshly lust. While these idols are reserved, they cannot expect the Lord will do great things for them. RH December 11, 1883, par. 7

Could all of those who believe the great and important truths God has opened to his people, exemplify their faith by their lives, they would realize that they have entered into close relationship with God, that they are sons and daughters of God. However little and unknown they may be in the world, they are members of the royal family, children of the Heavenly King. If they could always sense this, there would be a great change in their deportment; and in conversation would they not talk of their best friend who had made such provision to elevate and ennoble them to be children of God and to enjoy the riches, the affection, the care, the communion, which belong to those redeemed unto God? What a condescension on the part of the Majesty of heaven! What amazing love, that sinners, worms of earth, may be allied to Omnipotence! For to as many as received the Saviour by faith, “to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them who believe on his name.” But how sad seems the condition of those who despise his love, who refuse to accept the salvation purchased for them at such an infinite cost, and once having accepted it, cast it away as valueless! How many are so infatuated with the pleasures of sin that they will cast away with contempt the most precious blessings, the most exalted honors in the universe, and greedily grasp forbidden pleasures! They neglect and despise the friendship of God; and oh, how brief the time when they will be obliged to leave their chosen objects of delight, for which they sold their souls, and experience woe and despair! RH December 11, 1883, par. 8

Sunday my faith was severely tested. My throat and lungs were irritated and painful. The tent was crowded, and quite a number stood upon the outside like a wall. RH December 11, 1883, par. 9

I consented to go to the desk, and if my throat and lungs prevented my speaking I would call upon another to take my place; but the Lord blessed me greatly, and gave me a testimony to bear to the people. I felt very free in the Lord, and very grateful that Jesus is a present help in every time of need, if we will only believe. “My grace is sufficient for thee,” has been my assurance while engaged in laboring in the cause of God. I have claimed this promise again and again, and his word has never failed me. We have a mighty helper, and he invites us to trust in him fully. This is the Christian's privilege, to believe and still to continue to believe that God will be an ever present help in time of need. The Lord spoke through his servants with clearness and power; and I was led to inquire, Will these words spoken by the ministers of Christ be a savor of life unto life to those who hear them, or of death unto death? Who will accept the light of truth? Who will reject the words of life to their own eternal loss? Who of that number who profess the truth, but whose lives contradict their faith, will heed the words of God through his servants? Those who neglect to take heed will not know real happiness. How will those who neglect the words God has spoken through his messengers meet their Saviour, whom they have not honored in conversation or by their example? All these opportunities and privileges will rise up in the Judgment to condemn them. Every one must meet a record of his life just as it is. The work he has been doing stands to testify for or against him. If that work is evil, he stands stripped of his own righteousness, and without the white garments on,—the righteousness of Christ,—without the friendship of Jesus. How terrible the position! standing alone amid the terrible dignitaries of heaven, confronted by the Lord Jesus who gave his life for them, but whom they rejected, saying, We will not have this man Jesus to reign over us. These are the fearful words heard, “Depart, I know you not.” RH December 11, 1883, par. 10

We had very sad thoughts in regard to those delinquent ones. There is evidence of backsliding from God when these yearly gatherings are not appreciated and attended. These precious convocations are of God's arrangement, to be a strength and great blessing to his people; and those who consider these meetings unimportant are neglecting Heaven-sent, precious opportunities, and are meeting with a great loss. If there are those who are backslidden, these meetings are for them. There is great danger of the love of the world excluding the love of Jesus. These poor, tempted souls will never find rest and peace until they make a full and unconditional surrender. The requirements of God's word are positive. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God will all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength, and thy neighbor as thyself.” This is the only condition laid down in the word of God upon which we can claim eternal life. The promises of God are ample. The gospel was not given to awaken desires it could not satisfy. “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.” RH December 11, 1883, par. 11

The fluctuating, changeable, mournful experience of many who profess Christ, is anything but rest and peace; it is continual labor, pain, and sorrow. They have placed a yoke upon their own necks exceedingly galling, and accumulated a burden for themselves, which Christ has not bidden them to lift. Love of the world is eating out of many hearts all love for Christ and for heavenly things. May these heed the injunction of Christ, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth.” Jesus knew what he was talking about; for earthly treasures become a snare. RH December 11, 1883, par. 12

We were made sad in not meeting some we hoped to see at this meeting. Some may have been kept away by sickness; and we knew some were not at this precious meeting because they were in darkness. They had not been following where Jesus leads the way. We felt sorry that anything should keep them away. These annual meetings they have attended year after year; but they were not on the ground this year, 1883: and Jesus of Nazareth passed by to scatter blessings in their path. These absent ones will meet with a loss that they cannot afford. We know that some of our brethren are entangled in the things of this world. Their homes are their idols. They have become selfish, disbelieving. These things separate them from God. All heaven is interested and anxious for their good, and is seeking to draw their hearts to a higher and better life, to the immortal inheritance, and to fix their expectations upon the heavenly country. Jesus would have them transfer their treasures. “Lay not up,” says Christ, “for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” We are only pilgrims and strangers on the earth, looking forward to that better country, the heavenly home, and securing a title without a flaw to our rightful possessions there. If some of these good brethren whose affections are buried up in worldly treasures could have the experience of our pilgrim fathers, who were driven from their homes because of their faith by persecution, sword, and fagot, that they might learn like Abraham to go out not knowing whither, but trusting in the voice that called from above to lead the way,—it would prove a blessing to them. It was exile, pilgrimage, and peril in a strange land, that made our fathers firm, and strong, and faithful in the cause of truth and justice. RH December 11, 1883, par. 13

If this old lesson of trust in God would be learned anew in the hard school of suffering and sorrow and failure by some of our worldly, ease-loving brethren, they would become strong men to battle for the right. They would be messengers of light, bearing the truth to those who are in darkness. The consciousness that the world's Redeemer is their shield and exceeding great reward would be of far greater value than all earthly treasures. They would testify by precept and example that their citizenship is in heaven; and their work would be to build up a kingdom that shall stand forever. We had very sad thoughts in regard to these delinquent ones. Why were they not at the meeting? Had they no interest in divine and eternal things? Had they lost their love for the truth, and their interest in it? Had they cast away their confidence? Had any drawn back to perdition? God forbid. RH December 11, 1883, par. 14

We met upon the ground many of our old, tried friends of the cause, with whom we had taken sweet counsel more than thirty years ago. Care and age and infirmities had left their marks upon them; but they were still firm in the faith, rejoicing in the blessed hope of the soon appearing of our Redeemer in the clouds of heaven. We were rejoiced to see these precious and faithful ones cheered and blessed in our meetings, and bearing cheerful testimonies of the goodness and mercy of God. In my life experience I have found that the happiest people upon the earth are those who commit the keeping of their souls to Jesus, and have found peace and rest in believing. RH December 11, 1883, par. 15

Most of these experienced soldiers of the cross had suffered bereavement, affliction, and losses, but no murmur escaped their lips. They had learned where to seek help in trouble and calamity. They had found shelter from the storm and tempest in the Rock of Ages. What a satisfaction to find the Lord's toil-worn, believing, trusting ones firm as a rock! Their countenances lighted up as they listened to words of truth, of hope, of faith from the Lord's messengers. Those faithful ones had passed through trials, but had taken counsel of Him who says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” They had found by experience all that is of value in this life can be secured only in the service of Him who made the world and all things that are therein, and has pledged himself to make this world, purified, renewed, glorified, the possession of the meek, trusting, believing, faithful ones. RH December 11, 1883, par. 16

There are times of sore trial and distress to those who follow Jesus. But these see, by an eye of faith, Jesus upon the cross of Calvary; and the infinite efficacy of the blood of a crucified Redeemer is sufficient for every human soul. There is no other remedy for the fainting soul in its greatest need than looking to the cross of Calvary. They can do nothing but place their hands in the hands of Christ, and say, Lead me, guide me. Tempted they will be, perplexed, and sometimes discouraged; but by faith they hear the call through the thick darkness saying, “Follow me, and ye shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life.” RH December 11, 1883, par. 17