When in 1875 I accepted "present truth," my whole outlook was changed, and life seemed to take on a new meaning. Infidel sentiments were swept away, and the joy of salvation filled my inmost soul. When
I entered the ministry a few years later, I threw myself into the work of God with all my youthful energy, The study of the Bible and the Testimonies was my constant delight. As the result of those early labors, through divine help, several valuable workers were raised up, some of whom are still in the harness.
In the strenuous years that followed those bright beginnings, though not one thought of yielding up the truth was ever cherished, I can now see that danger of spiritual loss attended my constant hurrying to and fro. Therefore, I am thankfill for a little quiet season, toward the close of my life, in which to have more time for meditation, study of the word, and prayer. Reasons for mistakes made in previous years are thus made clear, and many precious lessons are learned.
With Paul, I have come more fully to understand that "in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing," --either in my own flesh or in that of any other person. "The heart"—my heart, every heart—"Is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." Unless divine power, creative energy, comes into that dark void, none of the fruits of righteousness will appear, but only the works of the flesh enumerated in Galatians 5:19-21. This transforming energy, which is the only power in the universe that can give to the gospel iministry real apiritual fruitage; we know to be the Holy Spirit. In other words, it is "Christ in you, the hope of glory," by which we may "present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." Col. 1:27, 28. "Now the Lord is that Spirit," and in the heart in which He reigns, "there is liberty"—freedom from the domination of sinful passions.
Though I have the gift of eloquence to enable me to "speak with the tongues of men and of angels," if these utterances are not inspired by the indwelling Spirit, no spiritual results will accrue. An eloquent sermon may mightily move an audience, but devoid of the Spirit's influence, it will produce no spiritual fruitage in the hearers. To bring persons into church fellowship whose intellect alone has been convinced, is a misfortune to them as well as to the church. This sad lack accounts for much of the spiritual weakness, the backsliding, and the loss of membership seen today in our churches.
As my days pass swiftly, I realize more fully the force of the Scripture and of the Testimonies, on the necessity of daily assimilation of the -word, instead of what some man may say about it; for we are told, "The word of God is as the leaves of the tree of life." Paul emphasizes the life-giving qualities of the word (1 Thess. 2:13) thus: "When ye received the word of God, which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe." And Jesus Himself said: "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John 6:63.
"The life of Christ, that gives life to the world, is in His word. . . . Every soul is to receive life from God's word for himself. As we must eat for ourselves in order to receive nourishment, so we must receive the word for ourselves. We are not to obtain it merely through the medium of another's mind."—"The Desire of Ages," p. 890.
This word is unto me "the joy and rejoicing of mine heart."