The Review and Herald

296/1902

January 13, 1885

The Value of Truth. Suggested by the Maine Camp-Meeting

EGW

The important meeting in Portland, Me., was a season of great interest to me, as I had relatives and friends there who did not realize the necessity of renouncing the customs of society to obey the commandments of God. This meeting is now in the past, and what record will the books of heaven reveal in the great day? Who will heed the warning there given, and cease to trample on the divine law? How many will be doers of the word, and not hearers only? RH January 13, 1885, par. 1

My heart yearns for those I love, the precious souls for whom Christ died; and the question arises again and again, What preparation are they making for the future life? That which is sowed in this life will be reaped in the great harvest. None can meet God in peace over his broken law; for it has an important part to act in the conversion of the soul. The inspired word declares: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” For this reason I felt deeply anxious that those living in Portland should have the light. It was presented before them in all its clearness; but it is frequently the case that the more convincing the arguments from God's word, the less disposition there seems to be to recognize the mighty principles of truth. Human opinions and customs hold the mind in error; but they cannot with safety be substituted for the revealed will of God. RH January 13, 1885, par. 2

While the law of God was held up before the people, and its claims urged upon their attention, many were convinced that there is no authority in the Bible for substituting the first day of the week for the seventh-day Sabbath, which at creation God sanctified and blessed for man; but how few welcome and cherish that which in their hearts they acknowledge to be truth. They stand trembling at the cross presented, shrinking from the self-denial which always characterizes the life of the true Christian; and they turn away in neglect and derision, as did the Pharisees and rulers from the teachings of Christ. RH January 13, 1885, par. 3

In all ages of the world the truth and its adherents have been unpopular; and how can we expect it to be different now, so near the close of time? It is impossible for a man to become loyal to God, rendering obedience to all his commandments, without finding himself immediately marked as odd from the rest of the world, and cut off from the society of those who transgress that law. If all would be obedient to the law of God, he would not be obliged to give up his former associates; but where one alone, or a very few at most, take a position on the side of right, a separation becomes necessary. There is a difference between the children of light and the children of darkness. Their tastes and habits are widely dissimilar. Though they may be thrown together, there is no congeniality between them; for one has a love for heavenly things, and the other for those that are earthly. “What concord hath Christ with Belial?” What harmony is there between light and darkness? RH January 13, 1885, par. 4

While living in disobedience, man is the enemy of God, and cannot harmonize with those who keep the divine law, and make God the supreme object of affection. They feel that the example of the obedient ones is a rebuke to them. Thus the Jews looked upon Christ. In just the degree that his life differed from theirs, they passed severe censure upon him as a rock of offense. How can we expect the servant to be greater than his lord? “If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?” “If the world hate you,” said Christ to his disciples, “ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” Thus the words of Christ are verified, “I came not to send peace” on earth, “but a sword. RH January 13, 1885, par. 5

We are living in an age when the law of God is made void. Deceptive errors prevail to an alarming degree. Multitudes, forgetting that “sin is the transgression of the law,” are following the lead of that great law-breaker, the man of sin. But genuine faith has not become extinct. There are two parties in the world,—the advocates of truth and purity as well as the advocates of error and corruption; and the earnest inquiry of each soul should be, What is truth? At the last we must all stand in one party or the other; and in which company do we wish to be found when Jesus shall come in the clouds of heaven? We shall all want a Saviour to stand in our defense in that awful time described by the prophet as a “time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation.” And when Christ shall separate the righteous from the wicked, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left, we shall all want to be on the right hand. We shall not then esteem it an honor to be found with the multitudes in the paths of transgression. RH January 13, 1885, par. 6

Those who listened to the solemn discourses given on the Maine camp-ground, in which the startling events to transpire in the near future were set before the people clearly and with convincing power, have been warned. But many let the things which concern their eternal well-being go in at one ear and out at the other. One lady acknowledged that she liked the preaching, and that the doctrines were proved from the Bible; but in answer to the question, “What do you think of the Sabbath question? If what they say is true, we are keeping the wrong day, and breaking the Sabbath of the fourth commandment,” she replied that she did not intend to disturb herself about the Sabbath, and that she paid no attention to what was said on the subject. I wonder if this lady will assert her position with such self-confidence and flippancy when the Judge of all the earth shall demand, “Why have you not kept my law? I delegated my servants to set before you its claims; but you have disregarded my will yourself, and by your example have taught others disobedience. They have rebelled against me because of your influence.” Will she be willing to hear the sentence, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity”? RH January 13, 1885, par. 7

This lady represents a class. I have experienced a sadness, almost an agony of soul, at the thought of the thousands in the same condition of thoughtless indifference. They hear the truth gladly, but will not be doers of the word where it involves a cross. If they are in the darkness of error, they do not want to know it. They feel no anxiety to search for the truth as for hid treasures. They have a peace; but instead of being the peace which Christ imparts to his obedient followers, it is the peace of self-deception and self-satisfaction, which is death. RH January 13, 1885, par. 8

Jesus wept over impenitent Jerusalem, saying, “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now are they hid from thine eyes.” It was an infinite blessing that was granted to the world in the presence of Jesus, in his life of benevolence, his teachings, and his example; but how little appreciation was manifested on the part of those he came to save. The labors of his embassadors will be no more highly appreciated by the men of this generation. The truths taught in the inspired word will be regarded by them as idle tales. Our hearts may go out in yearning love for souls ensnared through the deceitfulness of sin; we may warn and entreat; but we cannot make them obey; we can only pray and wait. But how fearful is the risk they are running! The precious hours of probation are passing, and the little time remaining should be treasured as grains of gold. RH January 13, 1885, par. 9

All are not indifferent to the warning message. There were many on the camp-ground at Portland whose tearful eyes and solemn expression showed that their hearts were touched. Again and again the question arose in my mind, Will these go their way,—one to his farm, another to his merchandise,—and care for none of these things? I longed to have them discern the mighty agencies of the powers of darkness, which, hidden from observation, are constantly at work to draw them from the right. RH January 13, 1885, par. 10

Light on the law of God is now shining; and those who are called to expound the word should give the warning message whether men will hear or whether they will forbear. Dear brethren, do not shun to declare the whole counsel of God, even though it may require courage to stand in defense of unpopular truth. Learn to estimate the worth of souls according to Christ's standard. Cultivate that disinterested love of which his whole life was an example, and labor with the spirit of self-sacrifice that characterized his ministry. RH January 13, 1885, par. 11