Sabbath Afternoon Talk
We have seen of the grace of God since we met you last. Since last spring I have visited Lemoore, Fresno, and Selma. I was at the Selma camp meeting. During my stay there I was introduced to a tall man—over six feet tall—and well proportioned. When he took my hand he seemed much affected and said, “I am so glad to meet you; I am thankful that I can speak with you.”
After going into the tent a brother came in and said, “That man has a history.” Then he went on and told how a year before he had been converted; how he had once kept the Sabbath but had gone back, and how he claimed that he never had been converted. Then after he gave up the truth he went back into the company of hard cases, and Satan took complete possession of him. Two or three were linked with him in his wickedness—men who would not want it to be known that they were in such business. They stole and did wickedness in every way. . . . He did not care for the spoil of his robberies, but did it for the enjoyment he found in it.
Well, Elder [E. P.] Daniels was holding meetings, and he was speaking on confession. What was said seemed to take hold of this man’s mind, and he could not resist. He seemed to turn white, and then left the tent. He could not stand it. He went out and then he came back again. This he did three times; he looked as if he were going to faint away.
There was a power in this truth that was in nothing else—a power that shows that Jesus lives.
After the meeting had closed he said, “I must talk to you, sir.” He told Elder Daniels his condition and said, “Is there any hope for me? I am a lost man; I am undone; I am a sinner. Will you pray for me? I dare not leave this place to go home for fear the Lord will cut me down in my sins.” He said he could not stay in the tent, and went out again and again, but did not dare remain outside for fear the power of the devil should fasten on him and that would be the last of him.
They prayed for him, and the man was converted right there. The defiant look was gone; his countenance was changed. “Now,” said he, “I have a work to do. I stole thirty-one sheep from that man in Selma, and I must go and confess to him.”
Elder Daniels was afraid to have it known for fear they would shut him up. He said he would rather go to prison and stay there than to think that Christ had not forgiven his sin. So he started, with a young man who before this was engaged with him in thefts, to go and see the man. He met the man on the road and stopped him. The man commenced to shake like an aspen leaf. He was an infidel. Well, he got on his knees before them in the road and begged to be forgiven.
The man asked, “Where did you get this? What has brought you into this state? I did not know that there was any such religion as this.” They told him that they had been down to the camp meeting, and heard it preached there. “Well,” said he, “I will go over to that meeting.”
They confessed to having burned houses and barns. And they went to the grand jury and confessed to having stolen here and there. Mind, they confessed to the authorities. They said, “We deliver ourselves up. Do with us as you see fit.”
So the case was considered in court, and they had a council over the matter. One suggested that they better put those men through. The judge looked at him and said, “What, put him through? Put a man through that God is putting through? Would you take hold of a man that God is taking hold of? Whom God’s forgiving power has taken hold of? Would you do that? No, I would rather have my right arm cut off to the shoulder.” Something got hold of those men so that they all wept as children.
The report of that experience went everywhere. People thought that there was a power in this truth that was in nothing else—a power that shows that Jesus lives. We have seen the power of His grace manifested in many cases in a remarkable manner.
Now, whenever we can see anything encouraging, put it in the paper, and talk about it. Why talk of Satan’s great power and his wonderful works, and say nothing of the majesty and goodness and mercy of our God which falls to the ground unnoticed? Pick these up, brethren, with consecrated hands, pick them up. Hold them high before the world. Talk of the love of God and dwell upon it; thank Him for it. Open the doors of your hearts and show forth your gratitude and love. Clear away this rubbish which Satan has piled before the door of your heart and let Jesus come in and occupy. Talk of His goodness and power.
You know how it was with Moses. He felt that he must have an answer to his prayer. He realized the responsibility of leading the people out of Egypt, but he did not go and pick up everything objectionable and dwell on it. He knew they were a stiff-necked people, and he said, “Lord, I must have Thy presence”; and the Lord said, “My presence shall go with thee.” You remember Moses went into the wilderness and stayed forty years, during which time he put away self, and that made room so that he could have the presence of God with him.
He thought if he could have the presence of God’s glory it would help him to carry on this great work. He says, “Shew me thy glory.”
Now that was a man of faith, and God did not rebuke him. God did not call it presumption, but He took that man of faith and put him into the cleft of the rock and put His hand over the rock and showed him all the glory that he could endure. He made His goodness to pass before him, and showed him His goodness, His mercy, and His love.
If we want God’s glory to pass before us, if we want to have memory’s halls hung with the promises of love and mercy, we want to talk of His glory and tell of His power. And if we have dark and miserable days we can commit these promises to memory and take our minds off discouragement. It would please the devil to think he has bothered us; but we want to talk of Jesus and His love and His power, because we have nothing better to talk of.
This article is excerpted from a sermon preached Sabbath afternoon, October 13, 1888 [see Ellen G. White manuscript 7, 1888, in The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, pp. 81-83]. Ellen G. White, its author, was one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Her life and work testified to the special guidance of the Holy Spirit.