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    May 8, 1884

    “General Meeting in Oakland” The Signs of the Times, 10, 1. The Signs of the Times, 10, 18.

    E. J. Waggoner

    We can say of this meeting, as of others that have been held in this State within the past two years, that it was one of the best we ever attended. Indeed, each successive meeting of this kind that we attend seems to us to be the very best. At this meeting there was quite a large attendance from abroad, San Francisco being well represented. On the last Sabbath of the meeting there were seventy-eight present from the church in that city.SITI May 8, 1884, page 280.1

    The entire membership of the Oakland Sabbath-school is 220, but there were more than 300 present the first Sabbath, and 360 pupils were in their places at the opening of the school on the second Sabbath. Notwithstanding this large increase, there was not the slightest confusion, which speaks well, not only of the discipline of the Oakland school, but of the other schools that were represented. The Sabbath congregations numbered between 400 and 400, filling our church building to its utmost capacity. God has blessed the labors of the missionary workers in Oakland, so that our regular congregations are larger than ever before, and additions are constantly being made to our membership.SITI May 8, 1884, page 280.2

    The interest of the meeting deepened from the beginning to the close. As usual, Bible-readings occupied a prominent place. There were eleven of these, covering the following subjects: Thanksgiving, Conversion, Duties of Church Members, Missionary work, Second Advent, Resurrection, Immortality, Sanctification, and Work of the Spirit. By these readings our people get a definite knowledge of the Bible, such as could be obtained in no other way. They cannot take the place of preaching, but, if rightly conducted, they can do work that preaching cannot. We regard it as a bad indication when a professed Seventh-day Adventist is not interested in Bible-reading. We must learn more of the Bible itself.SITI May 8, 1884, page 280.3

    There were eight sermons preached during the meeting. The principal burden of these was for a deeper and more intelligent consecration to God. The difference between true and false sanctification was clearly shown. This was very timely, for the so-called “holiness” movement, which teaches instantaneous sanctification, without any change of habit on the part of the individual, is rapidly gaining ground, and Oakland is the head-quarters of the delusion on this coast. In the discourses, and in the Bible-reading on Sanctification, it was shown that while we are justified freely by the grace of God as soon as we implicitly believe on Christ, the work of sanctification is a life work, a constant gaining of victories over sin, by the aid of the Spirit, and with the light from God’s word. This modern “holiness” movement is a deception of Satan, to cause men to be satisfied with themselves while trampling on God’s law. Thorough instruction concerning the law of God, and a close adherence thereto, is a sure safeguard against this delusion, and is at the same time the means by which we are to be truly sanctified. John 17:17.SITI May 8, 1884, page 280.4

    The early morning prayer-meetings, which were attended by Sister White, were seasons of refreshing. If the instruction given by the servant of God shall be remembered and put into practice, there will certainly be a marked growth in grace among those who heard. True Christian experience, and the nature of faith were set forth with a clearness not to be misunderstood.While we are sanctified through the truth, that is, by obeying it, we can do nothing to atone for past sins. Christ knew the work that he had to do, and understood the frailty and sinfulness of human nature, before he undertook our salvation. God does not repulse us because we are sinful, but for this very reason invites us to come to him, through Christ, for pardon. One of the greatest blessings that he can bestow on us is to show us our sins; and when we see them, instead of giving way to discouragment, we must believe that he does pardon, according to his promise. Isaiah 1:18, 19; 55:6, 7. Faith in God is so simple that many overlook it. We are to believe, not because of any change in our own feelings, but because of God’s promise. We are not to look at ourselves, but “unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”SITI May 8, 1884, page 280.5

    The meetings of the Tract and Missionary Society, as it will be seen by the report, were full of encouragement to the workers. The meeting of the stockholders of the Publishing Association was especially interesting. The work has never been so prosperous as during the past year. There has been an increasing demand for our denominational literature, so that all the departments are crowded. It was the general feeling of the stockholders that more room is imperatively needed. We must provide, but simply for growth in the same proportion as in the past, but for a great increase. The work increases in geometrical ratio. The Lord has a great work for us to do in warning the world, and we must hold ourselves ready to follow at once wherever his providence opens the way.SITI May 8, 1884, page 280.6

    The special meetings of the ministers and other workers, for prayer and consultation, were seasons to be remembered. The Lord blessed abundantly in giving light on points that seemed dark. After earnest prayer and deliberation it was decided that Elder Ballou, and Brethren Rieck and Kinney should labor during the summer in Nevada. Brother and Sister McClure, and Brother Henry Scott have gone to their field in Humboldt County. Brother Brorsen also goes to that county to work among the Danes. Brother Ings goes to the coast of Oregon shortly, all the churches on the coast will have the benefit of Elder Loughborough’s labors. Brethren L. A. Scott and A. LaRue, after spending a few weeks in the San Francisco ship mission work, will go to the Sandwich Islands. Brethren Frank Lamb and Lucius Church have started for Siskiyou County. They go by private conveyance, canvassing and visiting along the road. Besides these, a good core of colporteurs and canvassers have started out into different parts of the field. We feel greatly encouraged in regard to the work on the coast. What increases our courage is the perfect harmony that prevails among the workers. The feeling of brotherly love seems to be deepening. We pray God’s blessing upon these dear brethren as they go forth. We believe that he will accompany them, and give force to their effort.SITI May 8, 1884, page 280.7

    The last Sabbath of the meeting was a good day for all present. Elder Loughborough gave a stirring discourse in the morning from Luke 12:35, 36. We doubt not that many made new resolves to sacrifice in the future for the cause of God, as never before. That must be the one object of our existence here. In the afternoon Sister White took up the same subject-that of consecration to God-and carried it forward, showing how completely we belong to God, and how we rob him by living for ourselves alone. At the close of her discourse, about a hundred came forward for prayer. A large portion of these had never made a profession, and some were backsliders. There was no excitement, but very deep feeling, and the presence of the Lord was iacknowledged by all.SITI May 8, 1884, page 280.8

    On Monday afternoon, April 28, the large congregation repaired to the Lake Merritt, where the ordinance of baptism was administered to thirty candidates. While the good meeting was the immediate cause of the forward move taken by many, the primary cause was the faithful work that has been done in the past by the missionary and Sabbath-school workers. The most of those who joined the Oakland Church, are members of the Sabbath-school. The teachers in the Sabbath-school should feel that their position is one of sacred responsibility. Although their field is not large, it is second in importance to none. The baptismal scene was very impressive.SITI May 8, 1884, page 281.1

    At the closing meeting on Tuesday morning, Bro. N. C. McClure and Bro. Wm. Ings were set apart, by prayer and the laying on of hands, to the work of the gospel ministry. The blessing of the Lord was present in rich measure, and all felt that the ordination service was a fitting close to a most excellent meeting. To be permitted to attend throughout the entire meeting was a rare privilege. Many, we are confident, will make more rapid advancement toward the kingdom, as a result. Will there be any who go backward? May God give us all strength and courage, and protect us from the snares of Satan. E. J. W.SITI May 8, 1884, page 281.2

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