I was born and reared in a Seventh-day Adventist home. My father had been a stanch Baptist, but through studying the Bible had been led to accept the Sabbath truth, and about the time I was born he joined the Seventh-day Adventist church. My mother's parents were Seventh-day Adventists, but after the death of her mother she went to live with my uncle, and in the environment of that home she lost out in her Christian experience, so that at the time of her marriage she made no profession of religion.
But it was not long after my father joined the church that mother returned to the principles of her early training, and became an earnest member of the church. We lived on a farm during the years of my early childhood, and seldom had the privilege of attending Sabbath school or church service. When I was nine years old I began to read the Youth's Instructor, which was sent to me by a relative. Most eagerly did I read this paper from cover to cover each week. By the time I was twelve years old I had a great desire to read the Bible through, although this was a matter which at that time was not so prominently urged upon young people as it is today. On Sabbaths I spent most of the day reading the Bible, and at the age of fourteen had completed the reading of the Old and New Testaments. About this time I began regular attendance at Sabbath school.
In my reading of the Bible I was especially impressed by the system of laws found in Exodus and the other books of Moses. I noted the promise recorded in the nineteenth chapter of Exodus, applying to those who keep the law perfectly, and I determined in my heart that I would fully meet the requirement. As a pledge of my sincerity, I copied the ten commandments in a little notebook, attaching a written agreement, duly dated and signed, that from that day forward I would keep these commandments perfectly. It was not long until this notebook became misplaced, and I did not see it again for years. But I did not forget my resolve, and tried very hard not to come short of the negative requirements of the law. I remember especially how on Friday afternoons, when I came home from school, I carefully prepared the feed for the stock, and made all personal preparation for the Sabbath, getting everything arranged before the set of sun. But in spite of my sincere covenant to keep the law perfectly, and my earnest endeavor to do so, I realized that I was a failure. I then decided that I would be baptized, thinking that this might help me to live the perfect life to which I so greatly desired to attain. At the age of seventeen I was baptized, and it then became my aim to live a life of righteousness in which I worked as hard as I could, trusting in Jesus to make up my deficit with His righteousness.
Two years later I was called to assist in a series of tent meetings, and as a result of this experience I entered the ministry. In my preaching I emphasized righteousness based on the utmost obedience, supplemented by the grace of Christ and His righteousness. But gradually, through study and the personal testimony of experience by others, light dawned on my pathway, and I saw that it was impossible for me to contribute any righteousness of my own to meet the requirements of the law, but that righteousness came from another Source entirely. I saw that after the covenant made with Israel at Sinai, there was another covenant made, and that this new covenant was not between God and men, but it was between God and one Man — the " Man Christ Jesus," and that the way to participate in this new covenant was to unite with Christ. I discovered that all the precious promises found in the word of God are made to Him, and may be realized only by abiding in Him. I also found that Christ not only invited me to come to Him, but that He wished me to " abide in " Him.
Since I began to see this new and living way wherein these precious truths have been revealed, I have found a peace unknown while seeking to attain righteousness by my own effort or with the compromise of supplementing my lack by the righteousness of Christ. I have learned that righteousness is not attained nor maintained by trying, but by trusting and abiding, and that, just as a branch bears fruit because of receiving the living sap in the tree, so works of righteousness will appear in the life which is connected with the Source of life. And so I have come to preach the gospel of righteousness by faith, and to know the reality of a life of assurance and peace. Not that I feel satisfied with myself, for I have discovered how utterly impossible it has always been, and ever will be, for me to keep my part of the covenant to which, as a boy, I solemnly subscribed in my old notebook; but I rejoice in the fact that " there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus," for God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, " that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
A foreign missionary