The Review and Herald

397/1902

April 12, 1887

The Work in Basel, Switzerland

EGW

On returning from Tramelan to Basel, February 7, we found that special efforts were being made by all connected with the mission building, to draw nigh to God by earnest prayer and confession, that the blessing of the Lord might be granted us in an especial manner when our Conference and Council should convene. Meetings were held at 6:30, commencing February 6. I commenced the next morning to speak to the people, and we labored earnestly with our brethren and sisters for deeper spirituality and knowledge of the will of God. We felt the great need as laborers together with God, of meeting a higher standard. RH April 12, 1887, par. 1

What a wonderful reverence Jesus expressed in his life mission for human life! He stood not among the people as a king demanding attention, reverence, service, but as one who wished to serve, to lift up humanity. He said he had not come to be ministered unto, but to minister. I am sure that the great lesson of forgiveness must be learned more perfectly by us all, and we must practice the Christian graces. Wherever Christ saw a human being he saw one who needed human sympathy. Many of us are willing to serve certain ones,—those whom we honor,—but the very ones to whom Christ would make us a blessing if we were not so cold-hearted, so unkind and selfish, we pass by as unworthy of our notice. We do not help them, though it is our duty to do this,—to bear with their rudeness, while seeking to cultivate the opposite traits of character. We must work the works of Christ. The greatest wrong we can do others, if we think ourselves injured by them in any way, is to be unforgiving. This is a most dangerous position for professed Christians, because just in the manner that they treat their brethren, so will the Lord of heaven treat them. We are seeking here in these meetings to instruct, not merely with regard to the theory of the truth, as to how we shall practice the truth; but the question that is of great and vital importance with us now is, What must I do to be saved? RH April 12, 1887, par. 2

We have a great truth and great light; and if we walk in the light as it shines upon our pathway, we shall have increased light. Our works should correspond with our faith. Oh, why are we not more in earnest? Why do we not rise to our high privilege, and partake of the divine nature? As the wax takes the imprint of the seal, so must the soul receive and retain the moral image of God. We may become filled with his love, and transfigured by beholding his purity and righteousness. Our souls will become sluggish and our faith enfeebled unless we arouse and have a firm, steady, active faith. He “that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” RH April 12, 1887, par. 3

The great sin of God's people at the present time is that we do not appreciate the value of the blessings God has bestowed upon us. We serve him with a divided heart. There are many who are cherishing some idol, and worshiping at its shrine. God's truth is elevated and holy, sanctifying the soul, if brought into the life and interwoven with the character. God is seeking by means of his truth to make us a separate and peculiar people. This is the influence the truth should have upon us. Our obedience and devotion are not equal to our light and privileges; and the sacred obligations resting upon us to walk as children of the light, are not fulfilled by us. As Christians we fail to come up to our high calling. Warnings and reproofs have been given us from God, but they influence us only for a time, because we do not consider it as our life work to press forward and upward to the mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus. Oh that God's people would consider their superior advantages, and understand from the light of his word that we must be judged according to the light which shines upon our pathway! All the privileges and opportunities given us by God are designed to make us better men and women. The people of God must move from settled principle, making it their first concern to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and then go on from light to still greater light. If we fail to profit by the light, and become cold and hard-hearted, and are not easily impressed with the truth, and the energies of the soul become palsied, we cannot reasonably expect that judgment will be given in our favor, because, like Capernaum, we are exalted to heaven in point of privilege. RH April 12, 1887, par. 4

The blessed light that is now given us was not given to Sodom and Gomorrah, or they might have remained unto this day. Every soul that really believes the word of God, will show the same by his works. The great goodness of God is displayed in his requirements, nor can we be Christians if we neglect to obey his word. The truth is able to save our souls; for God by his own Spirit is a continual agent in it, and it is this divine agency that makes the truth a sanctifying power. RH April 12, 1887, par. 5

Sabbath morning, February 12, at half past six we had our morning meeting. The Lord gave me much freedom in speaking to the people, and the fallow ground of hearts was broken up. Many confessions were made with freely flowing tears. We see that the Spirit of the Lord is coming into the meeting, and this makes me rejoice. We want the work to go deeper and be more earnest. I tried to impress upon the people that a happy flight of feeling is no evidence that we are in favor with God. We must have the living, divine principles ever abiding in us, and not make an idol of impulse or of a high degree of feeling. If we have pardon, we must show repentance. We must have faith, and walk by faith; not entertain the idea that we must have assurance in feeling before we acknowledge ourselves blessed of God. The assurance is in God's word. God has said, and it will be done. He who trusts in God must have due respect for all the means and all the helps to obedience. The written word, the services of God's house, and the throne of grace,—these are God's blessings, and our work is to lay hold upon the promises of God. Rely upon them. Live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. This is the victory, even your faith. Without holiness no man can see the Lord. Whatever our hopes or our profession, God calls for deeds and works. A meek and quiet spirit is the result of the grace of God in the heart. Faith in God's promises must be exercised while we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, God working in us to will and to do of his own good pleasure. We must be constantly guarded, for we are on the battle-field against a wily foe. We have a heaven to win; a possession to gain that requires the vigilant exercise of every spiritual muscle. Half-hearted work will not do here. God will accept nothing short of whole-hearted service, willing obedience. RH April 12, 1887, par. 6

Sabbath, February 12, was almost entirely devoted to service. We have not had an exciting time, but firm conviction is taking hold of minds. We feel that we are advancing. We are trying to make the people understand that it is not God's design to withhold his presence, but that we are not sufficiently spiritual to discern his presence, and to lay hold of his promises, and claim them by faith. Our hearts lie too much in vapors and mists of worldliness, sin, and frailty, through which only a dim light reaches us, penetrating this mist and fog which Satan pours in upon us, while the full brightness of Christ's righteousness shines above us, and we scarcely look up. There are efforts which we ourselves must make. The cares of life will try us; but we let them disturb our confidence in God, and then we wonder why we have not more comfort, and more peace and hope and joy. Oh, I wish we could see these things as they are, and be sensible Christians! If we do not have ecstatic feelings, we begin to doubt whether we are Christians or not, when we should not look at our feelings, but at God's word; for there is our assurance. We must bring our hearts into a right position. We must put away all sin, all pride, all impatience, all envy and evil thoughts, all jealousies, and then, while working out our own salvation, God will work in us to will and to do of his good pleasure. RH April 12, 1887, par. 7

We must hold fast the promises. These are the pledged words of Him who is truth and verity; and these are our assurances. They can be appropriated to ourselves only by individual faith. Learning their truth by our loving trust, we must learn, not that man never is, but that we always are blessed. How many blessings we lose because we slight and overlook the blessings we daily receive, yearning for that which we have not. Common mercies which thickly strew our pathway, are forgotten and undervalued. We may learn lessons from the humble things of God in nature. The flower in dark and humble places responds to all the rays of light it can get, and puts forth its leaves. The caged bird sings in the prison cage, in the sunless tenement, as if in the lordly, sunny dwelling. God knows whether we will make a wise and saving use of his blessings; he will never give them to us to abuse. God loves the thankful heart, trusting implicitly in his words of promise, gathering comfort and hope and peace from them; and he will reveal to us still greater depths of his love. RH April 12, 1887, par. 8

At nine o'clock there was a social meeting, and then a sermon by Eld. Ings. The German portion of the congregation received a blessing, having an opportunity to hear the Bible truth in their own language. Seventeen have recently come to the truth in Basel, for which we thank and praise God. In the afternoon a discourse is given to the Germans. Three are to be baptized (several have already received the ordinance), and the communion service is to be attended this afternoon. I am full of thankfulness to God for the mercies of this Sabbath. We should make our life a clear, steady, burning light to the world. If we are not always on the mount, it is because God sees it would not be for our best good, because we would not see and be thankful for the lesser blessings. We should be thankful that he is still with us in the lowly valley of cares and troubles that press the soul. The Lord would have us look up, and be grateful to him that there is a heaven; that Jesus is preparing mansions for us, where the weary will be at rest. Let us praise God from whom all blessing flow. Let us grasp by living faith the rich promises of God, and be thankful from morning till night. RH April 12, 1887, par. 9

February 14.—This morning we had another meeting to seek God in prayer, and by humble confession. I spoke from these words: “And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” The Lord helped me to speak pointedly upon this scripture. The gospel demands from every human being an unreserved consecration to God, of both body and soul, with all their energies and capabilities, throughout the entire period of our probation. In this work there is to be no indolence; continual advancement is required of us, while God claims every ordinary or peculiar power, endowment, and faculty he has given us in trust. To withhold these from God, is robbery toward God; while every talent is given us as a sacred trust, upon condition that it shall be used and improved, enlarged and strengthened, by use, in accordance with the will and design of the great Giver, that by this means divine light and power shall be communicated to the world through God's appointed channel. RH April 12, 1887, par. 10

In this work, if talents are well improved, increased talents are the result. “Unto every one that hath shall be given, ... but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” If Heaven's bestowed gifts are not appreciated and improved as God's intrusted capital,—if they are buried in worldliness, in selfishness,—these powers capable of blessing humanity decrease; and because the God of heaven is not sought after and glorified as the source of all these precious endowments, he is dishonored, and he cuts off the supply. In order to increase, to grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we must put to use by human effort our physical and intellectual powers. All these powers are under contribution to God, and must be taxed to the very uttermost. The youth and the child must be taught these lessons. “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.” The fervor of the new-born child of God in his first love is as sweet fragrance to God; and the simple testimonies, the cheerful service, and the grateful thanks are acceptable to God. RH April 12, 1887, par. 11

Our social meetings have shown still more decided advancement. We are coming nearer to the point, nearer to the freedom and liberty of the children of God. Confession with weeping has been made, and we see there is a deeper sense of how far short they have come of meeting the standard of righteousness. There is a firm purpose to do better, if we can by repetition of great and solemn warnings and precious inducements in the promises, bring them to feel their great need and the willingness of God to pardon and bless, we shall have gained a victory over Satan and over his devices. God requires of every one of his followers faith, sincere prayer, and a spotless example. Not one is excused; they are his employed servants, working for wages, even the life which is to come. To be unfaithful to God, who has manifested so great interest for us, is the basest ingratitude. RH April 12, 1887, par. 12