him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from Me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul."
The responsibility of the watchmen of today is as much greater than in the days of the prophet as our light is clearer and our privileges and opportunities greater than theirs. It is the minister's duty to warn every man, to teach every man, in all meekness and wisdom. He is not to conform to the practices of the world, but, as God's servant, he must contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. Satan is constantly at work to break down the strongholds which debar him from free access to souls; and, while our ministers are no more spiritually minded, while they do not connect closely with God, the enemy has great advantage, and the Lord holds the watchman accountable for his success.
I would, at this time, sound the note of warning to those who shall assemble at our camp meeting. The end of all things is at hand. My brethren, ministers and laymen, I have been shown you must work in a different manner from what you have been in the habit of working. Pride, envy, self-importance, and unsanctified independence have marred your labours. When men permit themselves to be flattered and exalted by Satan, the Lord can do little for them or through them. To
what unmeasured humiliation did the Son of man descend, that He might elevate humanity! Workers for God, not the ministers only, but the people, need the meekness and lowliness of Christ if they would benefit their fellow men. As God, our Saviour humbled Himself when He took upon Him man's nature. But He went lower still. As a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Would that I could find language wherewith to present these thoughts before you. Would that the veil could be rent away and you could see the cause of your spiritual weakness. Would that you could conceive of the rich supplies of grace and power awaiting your demand. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled. We must exercise greater faith in calling upon God for all needed blessings. We must strive, agonize, to enter in at the strait gate.
Says Christ: "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." I testify to you, my dear brethren, ministers, and people, you have not yet learned this lesson. Christ endured shame and agony and death for us. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." Bear reproach and abuse without retaliation, without a spirit of revenge. Jesus died, not only to make atonement for us, but to be our pattern. Oh, wondrous condescension! matchless love! As you look upon the Prince of Life upon the cross, can you cherish selfishness? Can you indulge hatred or revenge?
Let the proud spirit bow in humiliation. Let the hard heart be broken. No longer pet and pity and exalt self. Look, oh look upon Him whom our sins have pierced. See Him descending step by step the path of humiliation to lift us up; abasing Himself till He could go no lower, and all to save us who were fallen by sin! Why will we be so indifferent, so cold, so formal, so proud, so self-sufficient?
Who of us is faithfully following the Pattern? Who of us has instituted and continued the warfare against pride of heart? Who of us has, in good earnest, brought himself to wrestle with selfishness until it should no longer dwell in the heart and be revealed in the life? Would to God the lessons given us, as we view the cross of Christ and see the signs fulfilling which bring us near to the judgment, might be so impressed upon our hearts as to render us more humble, more self-denying, more kind to one another, less self-caring, less critical, and more willing to bear one another's burdens than we are today.
I have been shown that, as a people, we are departing from the simplicity of the faith and from the purity of the gospel. Many are in great peril. Unless they change their course, they will be severed from the True Vine as useless branches. Brethren and sisters, I have been shown that we are standing upon the threshold of the eternal world. We need now to gain victories at every step. Every good deed is as a seed sown, to bear fruit unto eternal life. Every success gained places us on a higher round of the ladder of progress and gives us spiritual strength for fresh victories. Every right action prepares the way for its repetition.
Some are closing their probation; and is it well with them? have they obtained a fitness for the future life? Will not their record show wasted opportunities, neglected privileges, a life of selfishness and worldliness that has borne no fruit to the glory of God? And how much of the work which the Master has left for us to do has been left undone. All around us are souls to be warned; but how often has the time been occupied in self-serving, and the record gone up to God of souls passing to their graves unwarned and unsaved.
The Lord still has purposes of mercy toward us. There is room for repentance. We may become the beloved of God. I entreat you who have put far off the appearing of our Lord,
commence now the work of redeeming the time. Study the word of God. Let all at this meeting make a covenant with God to put away light and trifling conversation and frivolous, unimportant reading, and, for the coming year, diligently and prayerfully study the Bible, that you may be able to give to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is within you, with meekness and fear. Will you not, without delay, humble your hearts before God and repent of your backslidings?
Let none entertain the thought that I regret or take back any plain testimony I have borne to individuals or to the people. If I have erred anywhere, it is in not rebuking sin more decidedly and firmly. Some of the brethren have taken the responsibility of criticizing my work and proposing an easier way to correct wrongs. To these persons I would say: I take God's way and not yours. What I have said or written in testimony or reproof has not been too plainly expressed.
God has given me my work, and I must meet it at the judgment. Those who have chosen their own way, who have risen up against the plain testimonies given them, and have sought to shake the faith of others in them, must settle the matter with God. I take back nothing. I soften nothing to suit their ideas or to excuse their defects of character. I have not spoken as plainly as the case required. Those who would in any way lessen the force of the sharp reproofs which God has given me to speak, must meet their work at the judgment.
Within a few weeks past, standing face to face with death, I have had a near look into eternity. If the Lord is pleased to raise me from my present state of feebleness, I hope, in the grace and strength that comes from above, to speak with fidelity the words which He gives me to speak. All through my life it has been terribly hard for me to hurt the feelings of any, or disturb their self-deception, as I deliver the testimonies given me of God. It is contrary to my nature. It costs me great pain
and many sleepless nights. To those who have taken the responsibility to reprove me and, in their finite judgment, to propose a way which appears wiser to them, I repeat: I do not accept your efforts. Leave me with God, and let Him teach me. I will take the words from the Lord and speak them to the people. I do not expect that all will accept the reproof and reform their lives, but I must discharge my duty all the same. I will walk in humility before God, doing my work for time and for eternity.
God has not given my brethren the work that He has given me. It has been urged that my manner of giving reproof in public has led others to be sharp and critical and severe. If so, they must settle that matter with the Lord. If others take a responsibility which God has not laid upon them; if they disregard the instructions He has given them again and again through the humble instrument of His choice, to be kind, patient, and forbearing, they alone must answer for the results. With a sorrow-burdened heart, I have performed my unpleasant duty to my dearest friends, not daring to please myself by withholding reproof, even from my husband; and I shall not be less faithful in warning others, whether they will hear or forbear. When I am speaking to the people I say much that I have not premeditated. The Spirit of the Lord frequently comes upon me. I seem to be carried out of, and away from, myself; the life and character of different persons are clearly presented before my mind. I see their errors and dangers, and feel compelled to speak of what is thus brought before me. I dare not resist the Spirit of God.
I know that some are displeased with my testimony. It does not suit their proud, unconsecrated hearts. I feel more and more deeply the loss which our people have sustained by their failure to accept and obey the light which God has given them. My younger brethren in the ministry, I entreat you to reflect
more upon your solemn responsibility. If consecrated to God, you may exert a powerful influence for good in the church and the world; but you lack heartfelt piety and devotion. God has sent you to be a light to the world by your good works as well as by your words and theories. But many of you may truly be represented by the foolish virgins, who had no oil in their lamps.
My brethren, heed the reproof and counsel of the True Witness, and God will work for you and with you. Your enemies may be strong and determined, but One mightier than they will be your helper. Let the light shine, and it will do its work. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.