The Review and Herald

245/1902

January 15, 1884

Notes of Travel

The Meeting at South Lancaster, Mass

EGW

The meetings at Battle Creek were fraught with deeper interest than similar meetings ever held among our people. Many prayers had ascended to Heaven in behalf of this session of the General Conference; and we can testify that Jesus came up to the feast, and was an honored guest at this important gathering. The Bible-readings afforded valuable instruction to ministers, licentiates, and people. The morning meetings, designed especially for the benefit of ministers and other workers in the cause of God, were intensely interesting. Faith and love were awakened in many hearts. Spiritual and eternal things became a reality, and not a mere sentiment; a glorious substance, and not a fitful shadow. This precious meeting is in the past, but its results are to be seen in the future. We shall never know the good accomplished during the twenty days of its continuance until we meet around the great white throne. At its close, with greatly improved health, and increased courage in the Lord, I started to attend a ten day's meeting in South Lancaster, Mass. RH January 15, 1884, par. 1

Here we found it necessary to do much the same work that had been needed at Battle Creek. Many had not been making progress; their faith was at the lowest ebb. Arrangements were made to hold meetings at half-past five in the morning for the benefit of these dear brethren and sisters, and I was greatly pleased to see the interest manifested both by the youth and those who had had long experience. Young men and women who were attending our school seemed anxious to make the best use of these golden opportunities; they bore their testimonies, and many were blessed of the Lord. Some of our sisters who had been long in the truth, and were in feeble health, we felt should be excused from attending these early meetings, but they scarcely missed one, feeling that they could not be deprived of these precious seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. RH January 15, 1884, par. 2

My heart yearned to have these dear brethren and sisters become better acquainted with Jesus, with his unfathomable love, his tender compassion, his measureless mercy, and his willingness to pardon the repenting, contrite sinner. When the faith we profess is exemplified in the life and character of those who believe the truth they will exert an influence that cannot be easily resisted. Men may combat and defy your logic, they may resist your appeals; but a life of holy purposes, of disinterested love manifested in their behalf, is an argument in favor of the truth that they cannot gainsay. Earnest, unselfish effort will garner sheaves for Jesus. A consistent life, characterized by the meekness and lowliness of Christ, is a power in the world. But Christ says, “Without me ye can do nothing.” If we will only believe, he will do great things for us. At these early meetings the Lord wrought for us. They were occasions of heart-searching, of humiliation, and of confession, as well as of thanksgiving and praise to God for his mercies and goodness. The Lord heard our supplications, and his Spirit set his seal to our work. RH January 15, 1884, par. 3

While at South Lancaster, the record of another year of my life closed and passed into eternity, and I entered upon my fifty-seventh year. I did not feel like making this an occasion of merriment, of exalting self, and of receiving presents, as is the custom of the world; but I felt more like reviewing my past life, and, with a sense of my own weakness and deficiencies, humbling my heart before God, pleading for his grace, and for health of body and clearness of mind, that the year just entered upon might be productive of more good than the past year had been. And yet I feel deeply grateful to God that he has blessed me in these respects beyond what I could reasonably expect. He has been better to me than my fears; and on this birthday the peace of Christ abiding in my heart was to me of priceless value. RH January 15, 1884, par. 4

Thanksgiving Exercises

Nearly the whole of Thanksgiving day, November 29, was spent in church. Our morning meeting was one of special interest. In a cheerful testimony every one had a thank-offering to present to God. In the forenoon we had a Bible-reading on the subject of thanksgiving, and it was clearly shown from the Scriptures that it is our duty to glorify God by offering thanks and praise. This was a most precious season. All were instructed and reproved; for repining at the dealings of God has been almost continual, while gratitude and praise had been seldom expressed and little cherished in the heart. Many confessed that they had cherished doubt and distrust, and had reaped as they had sown; and as they expressed a resolution to reform in this particular, I reminded them that when pretexts for dissatisfaction are presented, we are to say, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” Let every one who has tasted of the love of God praise him for his goodness to the children of men. In this let every soul be whole-hearted and sincere. RH January 15, 1884, par. 5

It is a great cause of gratitude that we understand the nature of this day better than we once did. It is not designed to minister to our selfish gratification in the enjoyment of every luxury because God has bestowed upon us the rich bounties of his providence; on the contrary, we are to recall his mercies, and to meditate upon his favors with thankful hearts. To devote this day to gluttony, and our time and strength to the preparation of rich and expensive dishes, thus tempting our families and friends to gorge themselves, instead of offering thanksgiving to God, is the basest idolatry of self; for it is perverting the very best gifts of Heaven to the indulgence of appetite. Many thus lay the foundation for disease and premature death, and furnish Satan an occasion for hellish exultation. RH January 15, 1884, par. 6

I could not let this opportunity to invite sinners to Jesus pass unimproved. I wanted all who had not previously done so to present themselves a thank-offering to Him who has made so costly an offering for them. Oh, matchless love! Oh, precious, precious offering in our behalf, that we might have eternal life! In response to the invitation, about thirty came forward, including some who had backslidden from God, and quite a number who were seeking him for the first time. What a precious thank-offering to Jesus was this! He himself says, “Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” There was indeed cause for rejoicing when the news was borne to heaven that on Thanksgiving day, November 29, 1883, at South Lancaster, Mass., souls were deserting the black banner of Satan, and taking their position beneath the blood-stained banner of Prince Immanuel. In imagination I could hear the response of praise, as angels told the glad news that these precious souls had entered into covenant with God to obey him as dear children, and that their names were enrolled in the Lamb's book of life. What a victory was this for Christ, and what a disappointment for Satan! RH January 15, 1884, par. 7

Our meeting closed about two o'clock, and we then took ample refreshments; but we had no time to devote to the preparation of extra dishes. We were having a feast of fat things; we were eating of the Bread of Heaven, and drinking rich draughts from the well of Bethlehem. Jesus graced the feast with his royal presence, and our hearts were joyful in him. The testimonies borne by our brethren and sisters were full of courage and gratitude to God; and their verdict was, “Oh, what a Thanksgiving day this has been! It is the best Thanksgiving day I ever experienced!” RH January 15, 1884, par. 8

The School at South Lancaster

The meeting-house at South Lancaster was well filled, and all the services were of great interest. The wants of the cause in New England were presented. The school here has been productive of much good. As a result of its influence, several have gone out to labor in the cause of God, and students are constantly preparing themselves for some field of usefulness. Our brethren here have not been able to raise means to erect a suitable school-building and boarding-house to accommodate those who should attend this school. RH January 15, 1884, par. 9

I was free in presenting the importance of broader plans, and many important and pointed testimonies were borne in response. Our limited ideas and calculations show our limited faith. We are not half awake to the importance of working while the day lasts, remembering that the night cometh when no man can work. If we have a mind to work, and plan trusting in Jesus for help and wisdom, we shall see great things accomplished; but if we fold our hands in unbelieving idleness, Jesus cannot do many mighty works for us. We are standing upon the very threshold of the eternal world, and we need to realize the claims God has upon us to do something, and to do it now. All the heart is to be given to God; all the powers are to be dedicated to his service. How many profess much, but do little! God requires far more of us than we perform. Love for the Saviour will beget love for souls, and this love will be expressed not in words merely, but in earnest, substantial deeds. Every genuine Christian will be a worker with Christ. He cannot selfishly hoard the means in his keeping; God wants it, and he cannot withold [withhold] the intrusted talent. RH January 15, 1884, par. 10

A call was made for means to begin the erection of a college building and boarding house to meet the pressing needs of the cause in South Lancaster; and in about thirty minutes $7,000 was subscribed, and pledges came in until the sum was increased to $12,500. This was as it should be. No one was urged, but the brethren made their offerings freely, because their hearts were moved upon by the Holy Spirit; and they did no more than they ought to have done, considering what Jesus has done for them. I thank God that I can report evidences that our brethren have a zeal for the advancement of the cause of truth. I thank him that he has put it in their hearts to give their means and themselves also to the work. RH January 15, 1884, par. 11

When I remember how forward our brethren in New England have been to respond to every call for means for our missions and the various other enterprises connected with present truth, even calls coming from the Pacific coast, I feel very anxious that now, when the cause in New England is in great need, the brethren in other sections may reciprocate their liberality. They may do this by taking shares in the school buildings that must go up at once. Twenty-five dollars is the amount which the law of Massachusetts fixes as a share; will our brethren express their interest in this enterprise by taking as many shares as they shall choose? RH January 15, 1884, par. 12

This is a precious opportunity for all to cheerfully take part in a good work. We have seen the deep movings of the Spirit of God. The Lord has been fitting up the teachers; he has been bringing them nearer to himself. Professor Bell has been drawing near to God, and his rich blessing has rested upon him. Brethren, remember that the field, although large, is one. We are serving the same Master, and no jealous feelings should arise. Let the work go forward everywhere, and let no feeling of envy come into any heart. The school at South Lancaster is not designed to take the place of that at Battle Creek, but to supply a great need in the Eastern States. There are many who cannot attend the College at Battle Creek, who can spend a short time at South Lancaster. RH January 15, 1884, par. 13

We are responsible for the use we make of the blessings God has given us. Let gratitude for the precious gift of a Saviour move our hearts, and let all take part in this good work. The children need not be excluded; for the smallest sums will be accepted. Brethren in Michigan and adjoining States should make liberal offerings for the endowment fund, and for the erection of a suitable boarding-house to accommodate the students in Battle Creek; and at the same time, let all who can, have some share in the good work of the Lord in South Lancaster. RH January 15, 1884, par. 14

Means can now be used to advance the cause of God, but those who wait till some future time will be too late. The cause has waited years for men to get ready to do, and work that ought to have been done years ago is not done yet. How many more years will God wait the convenience of moneyed men, who are doing their best to lay up treasure on earth, in direct opposition to the command of Christ? He says, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures on 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.” God has lent men strength to plant, to sow, to build, and to engage in various enterprises to accumulate means; and they most entirely lose sight of the great loss they sustain by not laying up treasure in Heaven. He has intrusted to individuals means to be used in advancing his cause. Will they unselfishly fulfill this trust? or will they wait until the Lord shall be obliged to curse the fruit of their grounds and their possessions, because they will rob him by appropriating his means to their own use? RH January 15, 1884, par. 15

As I looked upon the few believers assembled in that small church in New England, and saw so large a sum raised so quickly without any labored effort, I thought of Michigan and the adjoining States, where, so far as means is concerned, the brethren have from fifty to seventy times the advantage of those in that small congregation. Very few of these New England brethren have means, and nearly all of them are poor, and their liberalities should provoke our wealthier brethren and sisters to good works. New England helped our College at Battle Creek, and was not slow in responding to the call for aid for our publishing house; and now is the time to help those who have stood in the front rank to aid in every enterprise. All that has yet been done for the school at South Lancaster has been done by the brethren in New England, while not abating their donations to others branches of the cause; now let the liberalities be mutual. RH January 15, 1884, par. 16

The Importance of Faith and Love

I had freedom in speaking of the simplicity of faith and its exercise. Faith and feeling are distinct, one not being dependent upon the other. Faith, relying upon the naked promise, takes God at his word, not because of any special feeling, but because the Lord has said it, and will fulfill his word. I felt burdened for this dear people; for I knew that the tender regard for one another that should exist among the members of the Lord's family had not been cultivated. The light shining from the cross of Calvary reveals a love that is broad, and deep, and exhaustless. If we depend on our own strength, we may make every effort in our power, and not be able to approach this high standard; but if Christ abides in us and we in him, we can love in our sphere as fully as Christ does in his. How can we claim to be children of God, while we disregard the oft-repeated command to love one another? Says Christ: “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Faith and love are the divine credentials we show to the world in proof that we are children of the light, and not of darkness. RH January 15, 1884, par. 17

It is the special device of Satan to lead professed followers of Christ to love themselves, to hold themselves in high estimation. They exalt themselves above their brethren, and find fault as though their own judgment was unquestionable. It is self that divides brethren; but self must die. Christ will then be revealed in our words, in our tender regard for one another, and in a deportment characterized by true Christian politeness, free from affectation and dissimulation. Religion does not consist in a harsh, dictatorial, overbearing spirit. Those who are full of mistakes themselves, but do not realize their errors, are the least pitiful toward the erring. They are not happy, but they charge their unhappiness upon the course that others have pursued. There is continual friction, and they do not see that it all originates with themselves. These dear souls need the converting power of God; they need transforming grace. They will then be pleasant Christians, lovable, forbearing, kind, and courteous. Jesus has borne with our perversities; he has forgiven our transgressions and pardoned our errors; and we should exercise a similar spirit toward our fellow-men, even though their course may be very trying to us. RH January 15, 1884, par. 18

When unselfish love reigns in the heart, the Christ side of our character will be revealed in our dealings with minds. But when men claim that their stereotyped positions and views are perfect, they will be led to criticise the character and plans of others, and the Satan side of their own characters will be manifested. The precious plant of love must be cherished; all bitterness, all malice, must be put away. Then we shall realize the promise, “Ye shall find rest to your souls.” The fluctuating, mournful, repining experience of most professed believers is anything but rest; it is labor, bondage, and sorrow. But there is not the least necessity for an unhappy religious experience in the life of any child of God. I would commend to all the important graces of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance,” as the rich cluster of fruit growing on the Christian tree. RH January 15, 1884, par. 19