The Review and Herald

242/1902

December 18, 1883

Notes of Travel

Nebraska Camp-Meeting

EGW

From the New York camp-meeting I went to Nebraska. The notice of this meeting had been widely circulated, and a very large gathering anticipated. The heavy rain-storm which continued during nearly the whole time of the meeting, prevented many from coming; still, a large number tented on the ground. Some of these had come from one to two hundred miles by private conveyance, traveling in the rain a portion of the way. I was very anxious that these dear souls should receive a rich blessing to carry back with them to their homes; and the Lord gave me strength to bear my testimony to them. I felt deeply the importance of the solemn message to be borne to those in attendance,—a message which, though solemn, should bring joy to the Christian's heart, because his redemption draweth nigh. I thought I might never meet these souls again, until we should meet in the Judgment; then it would appear whether I had done all my duty in warning, entreating, and so presenting the truth that the Lord would work with my efforts, making them prove a savor of life unto life. RH December 18, 1883, par. 1

The meetings were profitable, but I longed to see a deeper interest awakened in many hearts. More time was needed; had we had another week, ten times as much might have been accomplished as was done in the first week. It takes time for men who have been all absorbed in business pursuits to get rid of the worldly stamp, and turn their attention to spiritual things; and this was not fully accomplished before the meeting broke up. I am sorry that any allow their minds to become so engrossed in the things of this world that they are not ready to enter into the spirit of these holy convocation meetings from the very first. There may be but one family in a place, and they deprived of the privilege of meeting with those of like precious faith; but they are not deprived of access to their Saviour. They can come to him with all their burdens; and his word declares, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith.” RH December 18, 1883, par. 2

My heart was drawn out in sympathy for these precious ones who enjoy so few religious privileges; for temporal affairs engross their minds until their thoughts and conversation run almost wholly in a worldly channel, and when they assemble in our general meetings, they do not understand themselves; they do not know their great need. Some are self-confident, self-sufficient, exalted in their opinion of themselves, because they do not have clear views of Jesus. If they lived near to him, they would see his purity, his matchless benevolence, his self-sacrifice and infinite love, which would lead them to see their deficiencies; and when viewing the cross of Calvary, and the sufferings that Christ endured that they might be rescued from ruin, they could not have one exalted feeling in regard to self. Satan is constantly at work to separate man from Christ, and his power is especially exercised upon those who profess to be children of the light. If he succeeds in any way, through pride, covetousness, love of the world, or self-esteem, in hiding from their view the perfect Pattern, then his purpose is accomplished. It is unsafe for any one of us to allow temporal and worldly things to absorb the mind and affections. If the mind is exercised almost wholly in this direction, and the conversation is of this character, the mind becomes earthly, sensual, and Christ and his grace are cut off from the view. RH December 18, 1883, par. 3

I thought as I looked upon the brethren and sisters assembled on the Nebraska camp-ground, These precious souls are the purchase of the blood of Christ; he died that they might have life and immortality. And yet they do not discern their high and exalted privilege; for Satan interposes to obstruct and cloud their view of the perfection of Christ and the Heaven bought privileges he has brought within their reach. How can these obtain eternal life? Will they arouse from their indifference? Will they escape from this death-like sluggishness of soul? Will they avail themselves of the only effectual remedy,—earnest faith and firm reliance upon the word of God? They may trust in Jesus; they may rely upon his merits; they may grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth; but in order to do this, they must work from a higher standpoint. They have long trained their minds to run in a worldly channel, and now that they profess to love Jesus, they have another and a different education to obtain in the school of Christ. They are rough stones hewed out of the quarry of the world by the cleaver of truth; but it is not the plan of God that they shall always remain rough stones. We shall all be brought into the work-shop of God, where the hammer and the chisel will be brought to bear upon us until we are hewed and squared; then we are to undergo a still nicer work of burnishing and polishing, until we are fitted for a place in God's temple, when every stone will come into its place without the sound of an ax or a hammer. RH December 18, 1883, par. 4

Eld. Haskell and my son, W. C. White, joined us at this camp-meeting. They were delayed on the road, so we only enjoyed their presence and labors during the last two days of the meeting. RH December 18, 1883, par. 5

I here met Bro. Cady from Southern California. He feels that he cannot preach, but he can give Bible-readings. In a visit to his relatives and friends, he presented from the Scriptures the reasons of our faith in their families, by the fireside. He was thoroughly in earnest, armed and equipped with the word of God; and as a consequence, he exerted a strong influence, and had the pleasure of seeing about a dozen decide to obey the commandments of God. Our brother felt that this precious fruit of his labor was of more value to him than treasures of gold and silver. Oh that many more would follow his example of personal effort! RH December 18, 1883, par. 6

I was glad that Bible-readings were introduced at the Nebraska camp-meeting, that those present might have some knowledge of this kind of labor; for if personal efforts in this direction are put forth in the spirit of Christ, they will be crowned with success. Those who depend wholly upon Jesus for help and strength, will conduct themselves as becomes his representatives, and they will not labor in vain. The world are so engrossed in their own pursuits that it will be difficult to arrest their attention; but if laborers show a spirit of self-denial, of cross-bearing, of earnest love for souls and manifest true devotion, they will have a telling influence upon others; for such labor will be in marked contrast to the superficial efforts of the large class who profess to be laborers for God, but have only a form of godliness, while their lives deny the power thereof. RH December 18, 1883, par. 7

The opposition from the powers of darkness is very great, and is constantly increasing. Those who believe the truth and practice it in their lives, will have opposing influences to meet, but Jesus has made ample provision for them. He does not require them to go in their own weak strength. The promise is, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” But every one who has a work to do for the Master must be thoroughly in earnest. The servant of God must watch unto prayer, be faithful to the grace given him, continue in the love of God, and abide in Christ as the branch abides in the vine. Many have labored depending on their own insufficient ability. They have not, by faith, claimed divine help, although Christ has said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” Christ must be interwoven in all our experience; we can only reach the people through the influence of the Spirit of God. Be steadfast if you would be useful. RH December 18, 1883, par. 8

The isolated brethren and sisters should feel it their duty and privilege to be light-bearers in every sense of the word, because they are the only ones in their vicinity who see the importance of the truth. If they lead faithful, self-denying lives, laboring for others in the spirit which actuated Christ, they will have help from Heaven; angels will be at their side. Whatsoever they ask, they receive of God, because they keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. These will be the true Calebs in the church. They may never give a lecture or preach a sermon; yet they have their work to do, and are successful laborers in the vineyard of the Lord. They have a transforming influence. These men draw nigh to God in prayer; their closets are often visited; their supplications move the arm of God. They reach the people through his power, and receive special grace to win souls to Jesus. RH December 18, 1883, par. 9

Every one has talents intrusted to him of the Lord, and is guilty if he buries them in the earth. They are to be used to the honor and glory of God. He has given light upon his word, and this light his people are not to shut up to themselves; they should let its bright rays shine upon the pathway of those who are transgressing the law of God. Each one who experiences converting grace becomes responsible to show forth the praises of Him who has called him out of darkness. God has constituted him a new power on earth to work in establishing his kingdom, and he requires that every talent he has entrusted to his servant be used to its fullest capacity. RH December 18, 1883, par. 10

When I consider the great light the Lord has given in his word, the precious opportunities and rich privileges enjoyed by his people, I can but think how Jesus must be grieved at their indifference and want of appreciation of these great blessings, which make them so weak that when they ought to be teachers they have need that one teach them. A genuine Christian experience increases, unfolds, and intensifies. The child of God gathers strength as he proceeds; his light must shine more and more, else it will grow dim and die out. His faith should grow stronger, his consecration more complete, his love more perfect, his zeal more ardent and tireless; his courage should be unshaken, his patience unwearied, while he makes steady advancement in the knowledge of the truth and the love of Jesus. There is nothing selfish in a religious life. The Lord has given to every man his work. Bible truth received into the heart is diffusive and aggressive. Its nature is represented by the saving salt, the transforming leaven, the bright, shining light which dispels darkness. RH December 18, 1883, par. 11

The brethren in Nebraska have shown a commendable zeal in trying to extend their labors, and work upon broader plans. God forbid that we should abate their ardor one jot. We would that we could see the same earnest zeal and determination to do a greater work manifested in every Conference. It is not to be expected that those whose experience is short can have all the foresight that is gained by long experience in the work. If many who have had years of experience, and who believe all the truth, would put forth earnest efforts proportionate to the great truths they believe, we should see tenfold more accomplished. It is because of our little faith and half-hearted efforts that we see so little done. I sincerely thank the Lord that our brethren in Nebraska have had a mind to work. Let no one take the position to find fault, to criticise, and to block the wheel. They have not shown any more zeal or any greater earnestness than our faith demands of every Conference in the land. RH December 18, 1883, par. 12

Every determined effort to advance the truth has been met by a strong resistance from the hosts of Satan, and this resistance will greatly increase. He stands ready to bar the way in every enterprise that threatens the interests of his cause. He has tempted some of our brethren to look with distrust upon any one who ventures to move out and work upon broader plans. He will suggest that you are going too fast; you will use means in this work; you must economize. It is all well to economize; but remember it will take means to do this great work. If the very ones who are criticising should engage heart and soul in doing this larger work, through their additional influence precious victories for the Master would be gained. But if instead of helping, they are continually pulling back those who have a mind to work, they may be found guilty, if moves which might have been crowned with success prove a failure. RH December 18, 1883, par. 13

Let it not be suggested that if means are raised to advance those branches of the cause of truth which demand financial help, liberalities in other directions will necessarily be limited; that our brethren will pay less in tithes. Ministering brethren, please give our people who believe the truth credit for greater liberality and more noble principle. Do not put complaints and murmuring in their hearts and minds which would not exist if you did not suggest them. Teach with pen and voice that we must work; that God has made men stewards of means that they may help in carrying forward the various enterprises connected with his cause; that the tithes and offerings are but a small part of what God claims of them; that they must work fast, for probation will soon close. They should follow the example Jesus has given them in his life,—deny self, lift the cross, get their treasure laid up in heaven. Thousands are dying spiritually because their treasure is laid up upon the earth, and their heart, their thoughts, their whole being, is buried up with it. RH December 18, 1883, par. 14

Those who undertake a larger work may not always discern the very best way to bring about certain results. They may commit errors. Would it not be a marvel if the work was carried on so perfectly in all its parts that no one could find any excuse to criticise? But although there is not that degree of perfection we wish to see, let the work advance, and let our brethren improve in their manner of working. They are obtaining an experience; their very failures may be turned to victories. We all have to learn how to carry forward aggressive warfare against every opposing influence. But if they counsel with Jesus at every step, if they seek wisdom from God, they will see results of their labor. RH December 18, 1883, par. 15

There are men who do not acknowledge any work to be of God unless they lead out in it themselves. They are disposed to tear down; yet the work must not cease, but go forward. At times in our experience we have had to urge advance movements against fearful odds, when everything went the hardest; but time proved that we were right, and that those who tried to hedge up our way were not actuated by the spirit of Christ. Men may think they are right and that they are to be praised for their great caution, when they are blocking the wheels. Such persons are not to be taken as guides or models. RH December 18, 1883, par. 16

Brethren who want to do something must arise and work, although obstacles oppose. They should be continually learning in the school of Christ to be meek and lowly of heart, then they will follow the Leader. They will start right, continue right, and end right. I wish there were men in every Conference who would resolve in the strength of God to do more than they yet have done. With enlarged faith, they would enlarge their plans. My prayer is that we may all aim to become whole-hearted, unselfish, persevering, self-sacrificing workers with Christ, discharging every duty, improving every gracious opportunity; then our talents will enlarge with our plans. Those who are actuated by love, and labor with persevering energy, will accomplish something for the Master. All their ways and works will be established; and what grace has begun on earth, glory will crown in the future immortal life. RH December 18, 1883, par. 17

Brethren, will you remember that it is much easier to find fault with your brother's work than to improve upon it yourself? Those who do the least are the ones who find the most fault because their brethren do not work to the best advantage. If God has told them how to do perfect work, he holds them responsible for that knowledge. Souls for whom Christ died will perish because the light of truth has not been brought before them, and when the Lord shall make inquisition for their blood, what can these men say, who find fault with what their brethren are doing, and yet do nothing themselves? The sluggish, the unbelieving, the indifferent, the slothful, have cause to fear and tremble for the record they will meet in the day of final accounts. The death-like torpor that now holds men from earnest efforts to save souls from ruin, must be broken, for their salvation depends upon it. RH December 18, 1883, par. 18

Remember that an example of lukewarmness, carelessness, and indifference, is contagious. It is reproduced in a multitude of ways, and iniquity abounds. Many are bound about with worldliness, and apostasy is congealing the very life-blood of the soul, because of the coldness of ministers professing to be watchmen upon the walls of Zion. Earnest spirituality, and the quickening influence of the Spirit of God, will set men to work, not lazily, but most earnestly, to warn men to escape the perils which threaten to destroy them. RH December 18, 1883, par. 19

Beware, my dear brethren, lest you measure your efforts by too low a standard, and miserably fail where you might have success, and thus come short of salvation yourselves. The record of our work, which will determine our destiny at last, is passing up to God. The sentence of every one will soon be unalterably decided; and while Mercy's sweet voice is still heard, there is much to be done, and to every man is committed his work. This thought should stir the soul with diligence proportionate to the sacred truths committed to our trust. Our salvation, that boon of priceless value, must be worked out with fear and trembling. We must bear the reproach of Christ, watching unto prayer, taking God into all our counsels, choosing to suffer affliction with his people. What constant self-denial is required; what patient discipline of doing and suffering for the truth's sake; what a clinging to the cross of Christ, casting the helpless soul upon Jesus; what groaning and agonizing in spirit to enter in at the strait gate; what protracted conflicts we shall be called to pass through before we are crowned! RH December 18, 1883, par. 20

Brethren, you have no time to find fault with the work of others. Go to work yourselves; do something at once. Souls are perishing around us without the knowledge of the truth. It is too late to trifle with matters of eternal interest. God has claims upon men who have means. There is continual danger that their case may be like that of the man Jesus has brought before us in the parable. His grounds brought forth plentifully. His barns were filled with abundance of fruit; and he said, “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” RH December 18, 1883, par. 21

He who made man, who gave his Son to die on Calvary to exalt him to his throne, has shown the value he places upon the race by the price he has paid for their redemption; and when man allows earthly, temporal matters to come between him and his duty to God, Jesus calls him a fool to bury his soul in these treasures, to the neglect of the heavenly, the eternal weight of glory. Trusting for happiness in his full store-houses and barns, he is rebuked for the infatuation which makes him so blind to his eternal interest. May our dear brethren who are laying up their treasures upon earth, heed the words of Jesus: “Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not.” There is work to be done to warn the world. The various enterprises connected with this work require means. Let the work not be hindered through covetousness, but let it go forward. “And 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 December 18, 1883, par. 22