An Early Adventist on Law and Grace

Second Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Paris Me., January, 1851, Vol. 1, No. 5

DEAR Bro. WHITE,

I would be glad to say a few words to the dear “brethren and sisters, who have not, as yet, embraced present truth. In my intercourse with them, I am often met with the following objections.

“If I have Christ formed within, it is enough.” “It is Christ that saves, not the Sabbath. Outward observances avail not; it must be an inward work. The Spirit guides into all truth, and you Sabbath folks require an assent to your faith and practices, making the commandments a test of salvation.”

I wish to inquire of these dear brethren, if they did not meet with the very same in 1843 and ’44? When you felt the truth of God like fire shut up in your bones, and you must speak, were not your hearts pained by such reasonings? As though to love and obey the truth, was making the merits of Christ of none effect. Getting up another Saviour; lessening the importance of vital piety; giving heed to strange guidances, and necessarily begetting a dogmatical, proselyting spirit.

O how far from the reality. How different from the true effect of God’s word upon the heart. But to make the subject clear, and-shew the importance of searching for truth, I would mention a personal acquaintance who “walked with God,” and had long enjoyed close communion with Him. When the “Advent near ” was proclaimed, she loved it, but rested, having the witness that “Christ is mine now,” and looking for the “Spirit to guide into all truth” without the act of “hearing ” and examination on her part. She neglected to search diligently to see whether these things were so, and consequently suffered not the deep disappointment and reproach of God’s people. But, she lost, and knew not why or how, as she afterwards expressed, the power she formerly had with God. Alas! she had not embraced what was then “present truth,” had failed of its sanctifying influences, and was not prepared for that which followed.

O my dear brethren and sisters, next to the “Gift of His dear Son,” I praise God that he has led me along step by step in his trying, saving truths of these last days, until I am now found under the third angel’s cry, striving with my whole heart to keep the commandments of God, and the faith, or teachings of Jesus Christ.

Not ’till the Midnight Cry (Summer of 1844) did I so fully realize the importance of the preceding messages. But O, than I felt how improbable it was, that those who rejected them would receive this. I saw that one only prepared the way for another, and thus it appears to me quite through the perfect chain. But I do rejoice that some have been enabled to embrace these truths as a great whole. May the Lord enable them, with those who have known this way, to stand, and enter into his rest.

We hail with gladness the “Advent Review and Sabbath Herald,” believing it just adapted to the wants of the household; and most sincerely hope each will contribute a “mite” by writing, that it may be known whether the commandments are to them “grievious” or not. Praise the Lord, my soul witnesseth, they are a delight.

And here may I ask, does not holy writ (not we) make the keeping of them a condition of life? Yea, even the love of God itself? See John’s Epistles. And are not those that do them (all of them) blessed, “that they may enter in through the gates into the city,” &c.? But it is argued, you thus make the righteous dead enter without having kept them. We answer, they lived up to the best light they had. Now the temple of God has been opened in heaven, and the clear light shineth. O let us come to the light, that our deeds may be reproved, and we henceforth walk as children of the light.

In hope.

F. M. SHIMPER.

http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/RH/RH1851-V01-05/index.djvu?djvuopts&page=6

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