The Review and Herald


April 22, 1884

Preparation for Camp-Meetings


Our camp-meetings are held at considerable expense, and should be so managed as to accomplish the greatest amount of good. If they are properly located, and conducted as God would have them, they will be an excellent means of letting the light shine to the world. When our people are fully awake to the fact that our work is not to be limited, but it is to be aggressive and extended, they will not hold their State camp-meetings in one locality year after year. There are some who will plead for this because it accommodates them; it enables them to attend without much effort or expense. And rather than displease these brethren whom he loves, the president of the Conference will accede to their wishes, although he knows it is not right nor best. Do the selfish few who make this plea consider that the truth is thus prevented from going to many who would perhaps appreciate it more highly than they do? RH April 22, 1884, Art. B, par. 1

In some cases, the camp-meetings are held in the same place year after year, and as the people have had the truth, there are no new conversions. And yet these Conferences have not enough of the missionary spirit to see the necessity of making a change. The human heart is naturally inclined to selfishness; and the few who decide this question consider it best to let the meeting remain in one locality, if by this means they can avoid trouble and expense. But these considerations should not have the least weight in deciding matters of so much importance. RH April 22, 1884, Art. B, par. 2

Great wisdom is needed in order to act wisely, and yet offend as little as possible; but should a kind, God-fearing minister attempt to conduct the affairs of a Conference in such a way as to please all, he will be liable to end by pleasing no one. The presidents of the several Conferences should seek wisdom of God, and should counsel with men of experience, and they should then work for the general good of the cause of God. The interests of selfish, money-loving men and women should not sway their judgment, even if these persons are greatly offended because their wishes are not met. RH April 22, 1884, Art. B, par. 3

Those who seek merely to save their own souls,—who study their own convenience, and are indifferent to the condition and destiny of their fellow-men,—will fail to put forth sufficient effort to secure their own salvation. They have neither time nor inclination to become men of prayer, ready for the performance of every duty; and at last they will be weighed in the balances and found wanting. The unselfish love that was manifested in the life of Christ will be seen in the lives of all his true followers. They will love souls, and will do all in their power to win them to the service of Him who died for them. If they fail to win so much as one soul to Christ, it is because they have no deep love for him, and they will have no honored place in the household of God. But “they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever.” RH April 22, 1884, Art. B, par. 4

Our camp-meetings should be changed from place to place, that the light of truth may reach the greatest number of people. And if those who conduct them decide to hold them in prominent places near large cities, and if they make special efforts to secure a large attendance, they should feel under obligation to do all in their power to have the truth properly represented, and to make the meetings a success. Their responsibility in this direction is increased in proportion to the publicity they give the meetings and the efforts they make to get people to attend. RH April 22, 1884, Art. B, par. 5

Our camp-meetings should continue two weeks. Not one-third the good is accomplished when the meeting is held a single week that would be if it were held a week longer. If the meeting is held but a week, there is not time for the truth to affect the heart and change the channel of the thought before the camp is astir, the tents are struck, and the people are on their way home. All care should be left behind, and all should be free to enter heartily into the spirit of the meeting. Our brethren should come at the commencement of the meeting, and stay to the close. They should make preparation for this, and as far as possible lay aside every worldly interest. RH April 22, 1884, Art. B, par. 6

On every camp-ground there should be well-matured plans for pitching the tents. Have them in order; do not let the grounds look as though the tents had flown there, and had lighted on it just as it happened. Some one should understand the pitching of the tents, and oversee this part of the work. It should not be allowed to drag, so that it will take two or three days of the meeting to get the tents all pitched. The ministers, who labor in word and doctrine, are not the ones to drive the stakes, while young men stand looking on. They should be left free to give themselves to the study of the word and to prayer, that they may do noble work for God. Let the laymen do their part faithfully, and let the older and more experienced brethren act as counselors. RH April 22, 1884, Art. B, par. 7

The tents should be securely staked; and in a country where there is liability of rains, they should be trenched. If there has been no rain for weeks, this should be no excuse for want of thoroughness in this matter. Lives have been imperiled, and even lost, through neglect of this precaution. People in new countries sometimes become careless; but it should be one of the principles of our faith to correct this tendency to slack, indolent habits. RH April 22, 1884, Art. B, par. 8

The special directions which God gave to the Israelites when they lived in tents, should be often read. There was order in the arrangement of the tents, and most careful order in pitching the tabernacle. Men were assigned to particular duties, and any unfaithfulness caused confusion, and was severely punished. Each man was to do the duty assigned him promptly and without murmuring. By this the Lord designed to show that he is a God of order, and that he does not sanction any confusion in his work. He had what might be called a training school in the wilderness, and his people need training now just as much as they did then; for the Lord is no less particular now than he was in the days of ancient Israel. RH April 22, 1884, Art. B, par. 9

The church militant is not the church triumphant, but is composed of erring men and women. As in an army soldiers must be trained and disciplined for active service, so must the soldiers of Christ be educated for usefulness in his cause. It may be far easier for the president of a Conference to labor himself than to direct the work of others; but it is his duty to take an oversight of the field, and see that all are working to the best advantage. The younger men should be developing their talents, and preparing for future usefulness; and the older and more experienced ministers should not be left to expend their energies on work that others could do as well as not, and would be willing to do if they were only told how. RH April 22, 1884, Art. B, par. 10

E. G. White.