by John Loughborough
EPH. 4:11: "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."
From this text we see some of the features of true gifts. While they are not a revelation to take the place of the Bible, the church is edified by the light given from the Scriptures from this source. We have seen this abundantly illustrated in the lessons already given by different speakers during this institute. We have made a comparison of the gift, as manifested among this people, with that of the ancient prophets.
There is another feature to which I wish to call your attention today, which I will introduce by quoting from 2 Kings 8:8-11: "And the king said unto Hazael, Take a present in thine hand, and go, meet the man of God, and enquire of the Lord by him, saying, Shall I recover of this disease? So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present with him, even of every good thing of Damascus, forty camels burden, and came and stood before him, and said, Thy son Benhadad king of Syria hath sent me to thee, saying, Shall I recover of this disease? And Elisha said unto him, Go, say unto him, Thou mayest certainly recover: Howbeit the Lord hath showed me that he shall surely die. And he settled his countenance steadfastly, until he was ashamed: and the man of God wept." Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord. And he said, For the mischief that you will do, for the Lord has shown me that you are to be king over Syria.
We see in this case that as he had a view of this man's countenance it brought to view what he had seen concerning him before. I could refer in the experience of Sister White to hundreds of cases where she has delineated the character of persons whom we knew she had never seen before, only as she had seen them in vision. . . .
Among many other instances I might mention, I refer to a case where Sister White bore testimony in Greenville, Mich. Coming into a room where Brother John Byington and myself were organizing a church, she noticed that there were other persons present. She knew the name of but one of the persons in the room aside from Brother Byington and myself, never having seen them before. She said they must excuse her if she pointed them out by describing their persons. "I will first speak," she said, "of that man in the corner of the room, the one with one eye." Someone spoke his name, — Pratt. "Well," says she, "I will call him Mr. Pratt. Don't ever take that man into your church unless you want trouble, for he never has been converted; he doesn't live up to his agreements; he makes promises to his neighbors that he doesn't fulfill, spends most of his time around the stores and shops arguing on the truth, sitting around on the dry goods boxes, talking theology, while his wife is at home cultivating the garden, digging potatoes, or providing the man's dinner for him when he gets home, or perhaps pulling brush out of the snow to cut up for firewood. His talking the truth merely disgusts the people. They think he would better be at home engaged in some honest labor to pay his debts."
Turning to another, an old gentleman, who sat nearer to her, she said, "This aged brother," — here some one spoke and said "Brother Barr". "Yes," said she, "Brother Barr, your trouble has been that you could not think the Lord could be merciful enough to you to forgive your sins. You have confessed to the Lord many times all the sins you knew of, and the Lord told me to say to you that he had forgiven your sins thirty-five years ago if you had only believed it." This poor old man, on whose countenance had been a look of great sadness, when this expression was made, said with a smile, "Has he?" "Yes," said Sister White, "Your sins are forgiven, come along and go with the church." The brother cried out "I will." We had been trying for half an hour to get him to even give his name for the church, but he thought he was not worthy. Sister White said, "This man's case was presented before me in contrast with the other: he is a man that is punctual in all his obligations, deals uprightly with all his neighbors, provides well for his family, and the community have perfect confidence in him. He fears to say anything about the truth for fear he will mar it," adding, "Brother Barr, talk the truth to your neighbors, it will have a good effect." She then turned again to Mr. Pratt, and said, "If you could feel for about six months as Brother Barr has felt for years, as though there was no help for you, it would do you good."
Other cases were delineated in the same meeting; a man and his wife, between whom there had been some variance, were reconciled by the testimony that was brought in [see "A Family Jealousy Healed" below]. At the close of the meeting this Mr. Pratt, who had been seated on the wood-box in the corner of the room, jumped down on the floor, and with great vehemence said, "I will tell you what it is, there is no kind of use in going with this people and trying to play hypocrite: you cannot do it."
(Daily Bulletin of the General Conference (1893), pages 79-81)
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