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May 19, 1889
“The Camp Meeting. The Lecture on Church Organization” The Topeka Daily Capital, 11, 119, p. 5.
A STORMY DAY INTERFERES WITH THE CLASSES AND LECTURES
Captain C. Eldridge, Present—No Attempt Made to Give an Afternoon Lecture because of the Storms—The Minister’s Council Utilizes the Large Eighty Foot Tent—The Assembly Room Filled With New Arrivals Waiting for a Chance to Pitch Their Tents.
CAMP MEETING, OTTAWA, Kan., May 18 has rained heavily during the night and nearly all day. The morning lecture was given in the tabernacle under difficulties, the rain on the tin roof drowning the speaker’s voice at intervals, and the cold wind chilling the persons of the auditors. No attempt was made to deliver the afternoon lecture, the rain coming down steadily. The large assembly room was not available for lectures, it being necessary to give it up to new comers who could not erect tents because of the incessant rain. These have divided the large room into compartments, using the pieces of their tents for walls. The ministers retreated to the 80-foot circle tent, used for youths meetings to hold their 5 o’clock council. Many new arrivals and the committee are puzzled to care for them. All the rented cottages and houses are full, and some of the visiting brethren will, it is said, be quartered in the neighboring hotels. The early 5 o’clock and the district social meetings, Sabbath (Saturday) morning will not be held on account of the cold and rain. The tabernacle was covered in on one side (it being a piece of ground roofed over simply, without sides) by the canvass sides of some large tents not yet pitched and a space capable of seating about 1,000 persons shielded from the cold wind, where services were held at sundown, and preaching service at 8 o’clock, Elder W.S Hyatt, of Texas, officiating, it being thought best to discontinue the regular course of lectures until the weather clears again, that the citizens of Ottawa may be able to hear them.TDC May 19, 1889, page 5.1
THE LECTURE ON CHURCH ORGANIZATION
The subject is the duties of church officers and the qualifications that are necessary for an elder more especially in connection with the word episcopos. Paul refers to this somewhat in . There are no rulers in the church but there are guides, see margin. The marginal writing is more in harmony with the meaning of episcopos than ruler. It will be better to use this with the marginal readings, as the elder is a “scout” sent to watch for them in the camp. One form of duty there is, is to watch for souls—so in the seventh verse—“Conversation” here refers to our whole course of life, this being the meaning of the word in Paul’s time. Then the whole purpose in choosing an elder was to obtain a guide into the way of life to lead us to Jesus. conveys this idea the same as Peter in . Notice the margin of the third verse with the word “oversee” in the second verse. It is not to overrule but oversee, to care for. Here both authors use the word to feed the flock, the figure implying a shepherd, so , Christ is called the chief shepherd, and we must be undershepherds not to abuse but to feed and care for the flock. This is another view from the one in the previous lesson. There the elder was shown as a vigilant watchman, the soldiers’ aid. In these references today we find him the minister of the fold, the shepherd, that is, undershepherd. Peter having had experience as one, . Why did he ask Peter three times? No doubt because he denied Him three times, yet the lesson here, for us, I think, is this, that before we attempt to feed the flock be sure we love Christ, else we cannot feed the flock, we may rule or scold them but not feed them. If the elder loves Christ, his service will feed the flock, ,—the love of Christ constraining us then what we do will accomplish good. If this love does not constrain us, our acts are selfishness. The next verse shows this to be so. If love of Christ constrains us, then our acts are pleasing to God, otherwise we please ourselves simply.TDC May 19, 1889, page 5.2
Now, Peter tells us that when the Chief Shepherd shall appear we shall receive a crumb, so we are under shepherds and must study the Chief to know him to act in His place. . Here we have the method of the Chief Shepherd, then when an undershepherd sees one of the flock going astray he should leave the rest and seek for it. Is it any excuse then, for an elder to allow anything of a temporal or other nature to excuse him from his duty? . The Good Shepherd gave His life for His sheep, then should not that spirit animate the undershepherd? If so, the place for him is where the lost sheep is. Is it right, then to leave all this work until the quarterly meeting, and then appoint committees to go and investigate? This is the elder’s work, and he is not put in office to appoint committees for this duty. .TDC May 19, 1889, page 5.3
In . We find a record here of David coming to the camp before which Goliath stood defiantly. David wished to stay him and his brothers try to restrain him, but he tells them about killing a lion that had stolen a lamb, and David pursued and killed him; so also he killed a bear. Boy, as he was, stood face to face with a lion, jeopardizing his life for his lamb, holding the fierce beast by the beard while he struck him. There are not many men who would battle for a lamb like that. Now what has God said about this man? . That because of the care David gave to his sheep, God said he wanted him to rule over his people instead of the fickle king Saul, passing by the other noble looking sons of Jesse to select the humble shepherd boy, saying to the prophet, “Rise and anoint him for I have chosen him.”TDC May 19, 1889, page 5.4
. This is what the true shepherd did, and it was David’s gentleness that commended him to God. There is a good deal in this, that “the sheep know my voice.” If the flock hears the tones of the good shepherd in one voice it will be easier to lead them than it has been to drive them. . Let us have the tones of the Good Shepherd, then we can go before them and they will follow.TDC May 19, 1889, page 5.5
Now I read . David tells here how the Chief Shepherd treats him, not keeping him always in one pasture, but leading him into fresh ones, tender, new grass. So an elder wants to study, to be apt to teach, apt to show by argument, so as to have something fresh for food always, then there will be greater prosperity in the work, Not that he should preach a sermon every time, only a few texts or words, perhaps, to lead out their thoughts into new channels. Do not get into a routine. Every member should make this a matter of thought and try to help the elder by watching the line of his discourse or talk, and in the social meeting lead out in that line. Then a good meeting will follow—a special meeting, not a strangers’ meeting. Besides, if we are in sympathy with the speaker, not criticizing or finding fault, we can obtain great benefit from any sermon or talk. We may be perfectly familiar with the text, but if the spirit of the Lord directs him, those texts never fall together in his mind, as they would in ours, and so help and new thoughts will come to us; besides, it helps him in giving him the benefit of the closeness of our sympathy with him. If we withhold this we weaken him. The elder of the church is to visit the afflicted ones and lead them into quiet water; instill faith into the discouraged and lift up the fallen, because that is what the Good Shepherd said. “Learn of Me,” Paul and Peter write the elders to lead the flock into the paths of righteousness. So also in the shadow of death, to go as far as they can and leave the dying one in the hands of the Good Shepherd, to meet him again hereafter. To take also the bread of life and prepare a table at which the flock can feed, and then if they do all they can to see that goodness and mercy surround the flock, they shall have peace. Then let us all get in that place in which, when the words of the Good Shepherd are heard, we may recognize his voice. There are thousands of people in the church today who are weary of the word as spoken to them and do not know what to do, but as soon as we get into that position where God can see us, the Lord will call these out to hear the truth.TDC May 19, 1889, page 5.6