The Review and Herald

445/1902

July 3, 1888

From Selma to Burrough Valley and Fresno

EGW

Sr. Paddock and her husband came to Selma, to take me back to Burrough Valley. We had a pleasant journey in an easy-riding carriage, traveling forty miles up into the mountains. We found Burrough Valley to be a delightful place, with a good climate. The scenery is beautiful, and the valley is encompassed with hills, as was Jerusalem with mountains. RH July 3, 1888, par. 1

We were glad to form the acquaintance of Mr. Paddock's family. The children are interesting and intelligent, and we hope they are forming characters for the future immortal life. We hope to see Mr. Paddock, who was so kind and thoughtful for our comfort, identifying his interests with the people of God. We hope he will place himself wholly on the Lord's side, that he may say, I “thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.” By obedience to the truth he may become a vessel of honor, fit for the Master's use. We could not but have pleasant anticipations for every member of the family,—that parents and children would be united in the truth. We cannot measure the influence that his family might wield on the Lord's side, if they were all as one in the faith of the Bible. If they have the religion of Christ in the heart, we know that each one will be as a lighted lamp, diffusing light on all in their pathway, and our hope will not be disappointed in them. May the Lord strengthen the God-fearing mother to follow in the path of humble obedience, doing the will of God, molding and fashioning the characters of her children for the future immortal life; and my prayer is, that she may have her husband with her to enjoy the blessings of God, and to engage in the service of her master. I have a fervent desire to see this husband and father yield submission to the precepts of the gospel, and become faithful in the discharge of his appointed duties, that the entire household may honor God. RH July 3, 1888, par. 2

Several families who observe the Sabbath of the Lord, are settled in Burrough Valley. We were very kindly entertained at the homes of Sr. Paddock and Bro. Hutchins while in this place. We again visited Fresno. A message was sent for Bro. Church and myself to visit Bro. Driver, who was sick unto death. We found our brother suffering much bodily pain. His end was very near. We had a season of prayer for him, and committed him to God; for his sufferings were almost over. His last work was to return to the Lord a portion of the substance he had intrusted to him as his steward. It was a solemn scene to see this man doing up his last work for time and eternity. The record of his life had been registered in the books of heaven. All his sorrows, all his disappointments, all his mistakes, were written before God. RH July 3, 1888, par. 3

We left the bedside of the dying man, to meet our appointment to speak to the people at the place of worship. The house was filled to its utmost, and the Lord gave me his Spirit and power in addressing the people. We felt our heart burdened, as a cart pressed beneath the sheaves. We had evidence that the enemy of God and man was striving for the souls of many who were present. The leaders and members of churches are greatly tempted to become lifted up in self-righteousness. They are tempted to feel rich and increased in goods, and that they have need of nothing, when every soul should feel his helplessness and poverty before God. If this were felt, clearer views would be obtained of the plan of salvation. There would be a consciousness that the only strength for fallen man is found in Jesus, the Saviour of men. God can do a far greater work through those who do not feel self-sufficient, than through those who are full of complacency in regard to their spiritual condition. He can do wonderful things through weak instruments, who will not be inclined to honor themselves, and place the glory upon the head of mortal man, instead of laying it down at the feet of Jesus, to whom it belongs. RH July 3, 1888, par. 4

The messengers, as the ambassadors of God, must bear a living testimony to rebuke sin, which will cut through the soul, whether men will hear, or whether they will forbear. There are many who close their eyes that they may not see, and their ears that they may not hear. They think that there has been a mistake made, that all these plain, pointed testimonies cannot come from God, but are from human agencies alone. They wrap themselves up in their self-righteousness, and fight every inch of the way, that they may stand where they imagine they should stand,—in defiance of the warnings of God's servants. They cling with desperate grasp to the garments of their own self-righteousness, lest they should be torn away from them. RH July 3, 1888, par. 5

But does not God know? Is there not knowledge with the Most High? Our God sees our hearts in a different light from that in which we see them. He is acquainted with our secret thoughts. He searches into the hidden recesses of our nature. He sends answers to our prayers, when we are filled with uneasiness and distress. He gives ear to our inward groanings, and reveals to us the plague spots in our characters, that we may overcome defects, instead of being overcome by them. When unknown chapters in regard to ourselves are opened before us, the test and the trial come; and the question is, whether or not we will accept the reproof and the counsel of God. Will we cling to our own ideas and plans, and value ourselves more highly than we ought? God knows better than we do what is good for his children; and if they could see their real necessity as he does, they would say that the Lord had dealt most wisely with them. The ways of the Lord are obscure to him who desires to see things in a pleasing light to himself. God can discern the end of his purpose from the beginning; but because the Lord's ways are not man's ways, they appear dark, severe, and painful to our human natures. But God's ways are ways of mercy, and their end is salvation and blessedness. RH July 3, 1888, par. 6

What shall we do? Shall we bear the message God gives us, or shall we refrain, for fear of offending our brethren? As God's messengers, we cannot falter in the path of duty. Impelled by the Spirit of God, words are spoken, warnings and counsels are given. All unexpectedly the lips were opened, and there was no refraining from speaking the message of God. Reproofs were uttered that we would naturally shrink from giving. A zeal, prompted by the Spirit of God, led us to declare the dangers that threatened the children of God. The servant of the Lord must pursue his work, losing sight of self, without thought of the consequences, exhorting to faithfulness, and urging to repentance. He must show the people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. The Lord has given the word; who can forbear to publish it? The love of Christ has a constraining power; who shall withstand its influence? It is the greatest evidence that God loves his people, that he sends them messages of warning. RH July 3, 1888, par. 7

This occasion at Fresno was characterized by deep searching of heart. Many confessions were made, and yet the work was far from being thorough. In the afternoon the people met again, and there was a division made in the congregation. The youth went into one room by themselves, and the older members occupied the body of the hall. The meetings were of deep solemnity. The Holy Spirit was moving upon the hearts of the youth. The ordinance of the Lord's supper was to be celebrated in the afternoon, and it was really necessary that the members of the church should have that humility of mind, that contrition of soul, that genuine repentance of sin, which would enable them to appreciate the solemn ceremony they were about to perform; for in this way they would obtain higher views of the plan of salvation, that they might not engage in the celebration of the ordinance which commemorates the death of Christ, without an intelligent knowledge of its significance, and without having an individual faith in the Son of God as their Saviour. The older members of the church were apparently awakening to realize their deficiency and unworthiness. RH July 3, 1888, par. 8

The meeting of the church at the celebration of the Lord's supper, was of the deepest interest, and we hope that the manifest grace of God on this occasion will serve to draw the church together in Christ Jesus. RH July 3, 1888, par. 9

Will these souls who have a knowledge of the truth, detest sin in themselves, as they consider how Jesus suffered to save them from its penalty, and to cleanse them from all iniquity? If we would be happy and consistent Christians, we must be watchful. It is not enough that we do not willfully run into apparent and decided dangers, but we must keep our souls open to the rays of light that are shining from Jesus, that we may not walk in darkness. We must be quick to distinguish between error and perversity, between obedience and truth. We must be ready to resist hasty and unexpected attacks. Will the church at Fresno cherish the light? Will the professed servants of God walk in the light? or will they choose to walk in the sparks of their own kindling? Said Christ, “Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you.” Let us all pray that our eyes may be anointed with divine eyesalve, that we may no longer walk in darkness and uncertainty, but in the light which God has flashed athwart our pathway. RH July 3, 1888, par. 10

If the Spirit of God is not cherished, and the light he sends is not appreciated, darkness will surely shut in about the soul. Parents and children need the counsel of Heaven. They need a deeper experience than they have ever had before. God's word warns them to shun the enemy's ground. They are not to be entangled in Satan's net, which he has set to catch the souls of men. Shall the Lord's people be asleep, when our adversary, the Devil, is constantly awake and vigilant? We do not know our own hearts. They are deceitful and desperately wicked. We must not cease our self-examination. We must keep self under control, if we would keep our hearts with all diligence, and not make a shipwreck of faith. RH July 3, 1888, par. 11

There is need of watchmen on the walls of Zion, who will not hold their peace day or night. They should look to God, and free themselves from every earthly entanglement, that they may have power with God, and influence with the people. There is constant danger of the church's becoming cold, and conforming to the habits and practices of the world. Christians are not watchful. They yield to the baleful influences that surround them. They are led captive by Satan at his will. Unless the people of God watch and pray, spirituality will go out of the heart as water out of a leaky vessel. From the watch-tower of Zion, let us sound a note of alarm. I have wept in secret places over the existing difficulties in the church of Christ. Many are thoughtless, and they disregard the warnings that have been given, and their feet stumble on the dark mountains of unbelief. I have passed many sleepless hours at night, offering prayer to God, crying, “Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach....Wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?” When souls in the darkness of error shall call, “Watchman, what of the night?” is there one who sees with heaven-inspired accuracy, the dangers that threaten the souls of men? Can they answer with firm faith, “The morning cometh, and also the night”? RH July 3, 1888, par. 12