The Review and Herald

298/1902

January 27, 1885

Thoroughness in Christian Work

Suggested by the Camp-Meeting in Maine

EGW

It is time that special efforts were made to spread a knowledge of the truth in our large cities. A light should be kindled in them that will shine out to the world in bright, steady beams. When camp-meetings are held in their vicinity, impressions are made that should be followed up; for if the interest is left to die out, it will be more difficult to arouse it another time. The recent camp-meeting in Portland, Me., has thrown an added responsibility upon our brethren in that State. Will they meet this responsibility in the fear of the Lord, or will they, by shirking their duty, leave souls to perish? Now, while the minds of many are stirred and convicted of the truth, the interest should be followed up by wise, earnest, and persevering labor. RH January 27, 1885, par. 1

It is not preaching talent alone that is needed in Portland and similar places; the call is for men who will go forth imbued with the Spirit of Christ, and work for souls. The minister should not confine his labors to the desk, nor should he settle down in some pleasant home among the brethren. He must watch for souls. He must visit the people at their homes, and by personal efforts seek to impress the truth upon hearts and consciences. He must pray with families and hold Bible-readings with them. While with tact and wisdom he urges home upon his fellow-men their duty to obey the word of God, his daily intercourse with them should reveal whatever in his character is good and pure, excellent and lovely, kind and courteous. RH January 27, 1885, par. 2

In the messages of the first and second angels, the work was done in this manner. Men and women were moved to search the Scriptures, and they called the attention of others to the truths revealed. It was personal labor for individuals and families that gave these messages their wonderful success. RH January 27, 1885, par. 3

The city of Portland, with the surrounding country, was extensively warned by the first and second messages. Many were stirred to search the Scriptures for evidences of truth; and they searched not in vain. Though the bitterest opposition was made to the plainest statements of the Bible, yet the truth went with power, and many were turned from darkness to light. The question has arisen in my mind, Will the proclamation of the third angel's message accomplish an equally great work in Portland? There are a few believers in this city, and if each one of them would realize his accountability to God as one to whom light has been intrusted, others would be led to embrace the truth. But if the church here bury their talents and means in worldly enterprises, how can they render their account to the Master for their manifest neglect? The light has not been permitted to shine into their hearts and enlighten their understanding, for their benefit alone. God grant that they may be true to their trust. RH January 27, 1885, par. 4

The Lord has visited the city of Portland. Will those who have identified themselves with the truth do their part to carry on the good work? Will they put on the whole armor of God, and fight manfully, not their own battles, but the battles of the Lord? The enemy knows well that the united strength of all his forces is weakness when opposed against that of two or three faithful servants of Christ. Therefore he does not contend openly, but comes masked. He agrees with the little company of worshipers on many points of truth, and professes great love for the cause of God. He learns the language of Christian experience and fellowship, and gains position, confidence, and sympathy. But he is not correct in faith; unbelief is urged upon them, and the spirit of darkness prevails. Thus it has been for years; thus it will continue to be. The enemy will obtain advantage, and the children of light know not how much they lose by being ignorant of his devices. Prayers are hindered, faith is paralyzed, and a dead formality is the result. RH January 27, 1885, par. 5

There can be no half-way work in the service of God. The Lord is a jealous God; and he requires the sincere affection and unreserved confidence of those who profess to worship him. He will not tolerate evil. Said the psalmist, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” But he listens to prayers that are offered in contrition and humility of soul. Sincere expressions of mutual faith, hope, and love will make the hour of social worship wholly profitable. But one sinner or deceiver in the meeting will do great harm. Better have a very few true-hearted worshipers than to have a much larger number composed of persons not in harmony with one another and with the truth. “Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” RH January 27, 1885, par. 6

Every child of God should be intelligent in the Scriptures, and able, by tracing the fulfillment of prophecy, to show our position in this world's history. The Bible was written for the common people as well as for scholars, and is within the comprehension of all. The great truths which underlie man's duty to his fellowmen and to his Maker are clearly revealed; and those who really want the truth need make no mistake. The way is not left in uncertainty, as though we were standing where four roads met, not knowing which one to take. The truth is our guide; it is to us like a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. RH January 27, 1885, par. 7

The many contradictory opinions in regard to what the Bible teaches do not arise from any obscurity in the book itself, but from blindness and prejudice on the part of interpreters. Men ignore the plain statements of the Bible to follow their own perverted reason. Priding themselves on their intellectual attainments, they overlook the simplicity of truth; they forsake the fountain of living waters to drink of the poisonous stream of error. RH January 27, 1885, par. 8

But however much man may pervert the words of God, his purposes will be accomplished. Men may reject the truth, but it is the truth still. To us is committed the most solemn warning ever given to man; for us who are now upon the stage of action are reserved the most important scenes in this world's history. Many who gave the first and second messages greatly desired to see this day which we see, and saw it not. And not all who now believe will remain to the coming of the Lord; some will sleep for a moment. The Master is binding the precious grain in bundles for the heavenly garner, while the wicked are gathering together as fagots for the fires of the last day. The church and the world are preparing for the last great contest, in which all must act a part. The kingdoms of the whole world are gathering their forces to the battle of the great day, when the wrath of God will be manifested against the nations that have made void his law. RH January 27, 1885, par. 9

In view of these things, what energy and zeal are demanded of all who profess the truth, and particularly of the ministers! Are we every one of us bold soldiers of Christ, shunning not to declare the whole counsel of God? I fear we lose sight of our duty and privilege to be partakers with Christ of his self-denial and self-sacrifice. Is not the work of God too often marred in our hands because of a cowardly fear of being blamed by the selfish and ease-loving? But some one must venture. If men accept the position of standard-bearers, the commission of ministers of righteousness, they are under obligation to push the triumphs of the cross. With an eye single to the glory of God, they must lose sight of everything but their Leader, and work as he worked. RH January 27, 1885, par. 10

Will the ministers in Maine so labor that their work will bear the impress of the divine? Will they go into new fields, with the spirit of the early disciples, who went everywhere preaching the word? Will they enlarge their plans, and educate the churches to help with their talents of means and influence? Will the brethren and sisters be faithful in bringing in their tithes and offerings, that the work of God may not be crippled for want of means? RH January 27, 1885, par. 11

Not only here, but all over the field, North and South, East and West, more of the spirit that actuated our Saviour is needed. Then there will not be so much sensitiveness to opposition and reproach. These things must be met; but they drive the Christian to his knees, and give him a spirit that will not repulse or be repulsed. RH January 27, 1885, par. 12

The work in Maine should be six years in advance of what it now is. There is a disposition to shun aggressive labor, a hesitancy in planting the standard of truth in new fields. The workers need greater ability to devise and execute, more faith to move them to action. “Go forward” is the word of command from God; but, brethren, you obey very slowly. “Freely ye have received” the blessings of the gospel of Christ; freely hold out the light of hope and truth to others. “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 January 27, 1885, par. 13