THE FRUITAGE OF THE MARKED BIBLE
MR. SPAULDING seemed unable to get his voice. A picture of his whole past life rose before him, and a sense of his great unworthiness seemed almost to overwhelm him.
“My dear people,” he began, “without doubt, you are all aware that during this journey I have been making a most determined effort to combat, in every way I could, the thought that the fourth commandment should be observed by Christians.
“You heard Judge Kershaw state, the other day, that he knew me in Arkansas, and that I stood in his court as a witness against one who observed the Sabbath. What he said was too true. I gloried in the fact that that seventh-day brother was convicted, and my heart never smote me when he died, the victim of my bigotry. More than that, I have even wished, since this journey began, that something would occur to silence the voice of this young man. Mr. Wilson. I really have hated him, and his Bible as well.
“But God has opened my eyes. He has touched my heart and softened it. He has fulfilled the new covenant promise, and to-day I can truly say that I delight to do His will. The law that I wanted to think was abolished, and the Sabbath that I despised and even abhorred, are now written in my mind, and I am resting in Him.
“Mr. Wilson had a godly mother. She loved God’s word. She wanted her boy to love it. And to that end she put her tears and her prayers into this Volume [here he took the marked Bible from the stand], trusting that in some way, her work of love would be blessed in heaven. That it has been, you can all see. Her son has found the Lord. But let me tell you, dear ones, this Book and his mother’s prayers have been the means also of arresting me in my headstrong course.”
So earnest, so sincere, so tender, was his testimony, that the very air seemed pregnant with the love of God.
“And are you really going with me, Brother Spaulding?” asked Harold Wilson.
Mr. Spaulding responded by opening a folded paper that he held in his hand. It was his letter of resignation to the board under whose auspices he had started out on his mission. He then read:
Mr. Spaulding Resigns
“This is to inform you that God has miraculously wrought upon my life, and has brought me to understand that for years, like Saul of Tarsus, I have been foolishly kicking against the pricks. Even before the completion of my journey across the sea, I find myself so entirely at variance with my former belief and teaching, that I am obliged to desist from the purpose which sent me to the Orient, and to ask you to accept my resignation as a member of the Board of Foreign Missions.
“That you may understand me fully, kindly allow me a brief statement concerning past personal experiences.
“As you well know, I have been frequently chosen by my brethren to enter the arena of debate, to defend our views against the supposedly erroneous doctrines of the Sabbatarians. I have been regarded as eminently successful in my efforts. It was I, also, who was selected a few years ago to conduct the campaign against the violators of our Arkansas state Sunday law. And here, too, I was regarded as successful; for I secured several convictions, and had a vote of commendation from our district conference.
“But throughout my ministry, there has followed my constantly a strange though somewhat vague consciousness that my views were not well founded in Scripture. Many a time, even while in the heat of argument, I have heard a voice telling me I was wrong; but I refused to listen, thinking it only a foolish and temporary weakness of my own nature. The thought of halting and of testing my views was also steadfastly put aside, for the reason that I feared change, and besides, my pride and my love of my people’s approval outweighed my love of truth.
“There has come to me, however, a series of providences which has brought me to my knees. The door of life has been swung so wide open, the light of inspiration has shone so clearly, and the love of God has so led me to repentance, that I have fully surrendered my heart to the influences of the Holy Spirit. I have found the actual way of life; and following Jesus Christ, I am glad in Him. My questions and doubts are gone, and the Spirit bears witness that I have been born again.
“In a word, dear brethren, I am now a Sabbath keeper, an observer of the seventh day.
“Begging your indulgence a little further, I take the privilege of giving you a few of the principle reasons, gathered from the Bible, for my present course.
“1. God’s word in its entirety is authoritatively from Him. 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; Romans 15:4.
“2. Jesus Christ was the Author. 2 Peter 1:21; 1 Peter 1:10, 11.
“3. The Old Testament as well as the New, reveals Christ. Luke 24:25-27; John 5:39.
“4. The gospel was known, and by it men were saved through faith, from the very beginning. Revelation 13:8; Galatians 3:8; with John 8:56; Hebrews 4:1, 2.
“5. The gospel saves from sin (Matthew 1:21; Romans 1:16); sin is the transgression of the moral law (1 John 3:4); and the law points out the sin from which the gospel saves (Romans 3:20).
“6. Sin entered the world at the beginning (Romans 5:12), and sin is not imputed where there is no law (Romans 4:15); 5:13). Therefore the law dates from the foundation of the world.
“7. The Sabbath, as a part of God’s law, was given to our first parents. Genesis 2:1-3.
“8. It was made for the whole race of mankind. Mark 2:27.
“9. As Christ was the Creator (John 1:1-3, 14; Colossians 1:13-16), even so it was He who made the Sabbath and gave it to man. The Sabbath of the law is the Sabbath of Christ.
“10. And Christ Himself, the Mediator, gave the law on Sinai. Galatians 3:19 with 1 Timothy 2:5. The Ten Commandments are specially the gift of Jesus Christ.
“11. As we have seen, Christ spoke through the prophets. 1 Peter 1:10, 11. And through the prophets, He foretold His love for the law. Psalm 40:7, 8; Isaiah 42:21.
“12. When He came into the world, He lived and taught the sacred and far-reaching claims of the Ten Commandments. John 15:10; Matthew 5:17, 18; 19:17.
“13. The New testament throughout follows Jesus’ teaching, and proclaims the authority of the law. Romans 3:31; James 2:8-12; Revelation 22:14.
“14. There has been absolutely no change in that law since it was given in Eden, for God is unchangeable. Malachi 3:6; Psalms 89:34; Matthew 5:18.
“15. The Sabbath, placed in the very bosom of the law, and a vital part of its great moral nature, has come to us, therefore, unchanged and unchangeable. Moral precepts cannot change.
“16. All through the ages, the Sabbath has been made the test of obedience, the sign of loyalty. Exodus 16:4, 27, 28; Jeremiah 17:24, 25; Exodus 31:16, 17; Ezekiel 20:12, 20.
“17. As the seal of God’s law, it is the great gospel test of the last days of time. Revelation 7:1-3; 14:6, 7. Compare Isaias prayer will surely be answered.
“18. The cycle of the week has come down to us, without confusion or loss of count, from Paradise, as is shown by the records of all nations, ancient and modern, which have agreed often even in the names of the days.
“19. From the time of Sinai, the Jewish nation has sacredly preserved the seventh day; and Sinai pointed out and identified the seventh day are identical with the week at the beginning.
“20. Jesus kept the Sabbath (Luke 4:16), and therefore I should.
“21. The women who were most associated with Christ kept it after the crucifixion. Luke 23:56.
“22. The apostles observed it. Acts 17:2; 18:4, etc.
“23. The seventh day was observed by the Christian church generally for more than two centuries after Christ.
“24. Sunday was the great day of ancient pagan sun worship; and the custom of meeting on that day was introduced by ambitious, worldly churchmen, to please the tastes of the multitude, and to make Christianity popular. Had the church been faithful, Sunday observance would never have been known.
“25. In the fourth century, when the church was completely fallen, she joined hands with the state; and thus Sunday became established by law, and has continued until now. The church of Rome changed the Sabbath, according to the prophecy of Daniel 7:25.
“26. But though the Sabbath has been set aside by the world at large, God is now calling upon men to honor Him by its observance (Isaiah 58:13), and warns them against following the papacy and receiving its mark (Revelation 14:9-11).
“27. Some will heed His message, and keep all His commandments. Revelation 14:12.
“28. These will be sealed with His name, and in the better world, continue eternally to enjoy the blessed rest of the Sabbath, which they found in Christ here. Revelation 14:1; Isaiah 66:22, 23.
“Now, brethren, in view of all these scriptures, I have fully given my heart to God in new covenant relationship, and am already finding blessing in the gift of His holy Sabbath. And so beautiful is this new life, that I cannot bid you farewell without inviting you to go with me. Will you not join me in the fullest possible consecration, and thus find that power which will enable us speedily to evangelize the world and bring the glad day of final victory?
“Your brother and co-worker,
“Hugh M. Spaulding.”
Mr. Spaulding Becomes a Crusader of the Cross
“Yes, Harold, I am going with you. This day I offer my service to my Master as a true missionary of the cross; and if my Sabbath-keeping brethren shall find my gift acceptable, I shall experience great joy in taking my place among them in their work of preparing a people for the great day of God.
“And now, in closing, may I ask if others here are not ready to join me?”
The effect of the confession and invitation was electric. Almost a score of persons quickly stood.
Judge Kershaw caught Mr. Spaulding’s hand. “Friends,” said he, “this day and its remarkable blessings lead me to say, as Simeon said in the temple, ‘Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.’ I have found rest, and for the first time in my nearly seventy years, I have peace.”
Then Mr. Severance turned, and facing the passengers, said; “I have been a man of business for more than thirty years. From a child, I have always wanted to be right; but somehow I had come to believe that Christianity had little in it, and that so far as I was concerned, there was nothing better to do than to live a clean life, and trust to come out all right in the end.
“To please my wife, and possibly to help my business, I joined the church a few years ago; but it has been nothing to me except a form, and really I have been unhappy in my heart.
“Two years ago I heard Brother Anderson preach in San Francisco. His words were plain; and in a way, his message appealed to me — however, only intellectually. My heart was not touched.
“But last Tuesday, God brought home to me, in Brother Anderson’s word, a conviction of my sin, and a vision of what He wished me to be. I saw in His Sabbath message a light that showed me my true character. My sin rose up before me, and I was overwhelmed with condemnation. Yet in it all, there was comfort. The Spirit has healed. To-day I am a new man, by the grace of God, and the Sabbath is my delight. I know now what it is to be a man, — an honest man after God’s order.”
“This delightful testimony from Brother Severance,” said Mr. Anderson, “leads me to offer a word further, a word of confession. The reason why my preaching of a few years ago appealed only to my brother’s intellectuality was because I had not yet found the secret of preaching Christ and Him crucified. My evangelistic work was largely formal, and therefore did not truly reach hearts. I thank the Lord that I have found the better way.”
Even Mr. Conan Surrenders
At this point, and to the surprise of many, Mr. Conan rose from his seat, and said: “Friends, I was born and reared in the Roman Catholic Church, and have always boasted that nothing could ever influence me to change my faith. My church was to me the only church. Until only a little more than twenty hours ago, I never found anything to cause me the least anxiety about my faith. But here I am, at this hour, completely changed. My hands are no longer bound by the shackles of priest or pope. I am in a new world of truth, of beauty, of freedom. I have found Jesus Christ; and with all my heart, I expect to serve Him. I want to ask the prayers of Brother Anderson, through whom my revelation and deliverance have come. I too, like Mr. Spaulding, was on a mission for my church; but I abandon it all, that I may join with true Protestants in delivering men from the errors of the time, and particularly from the mark of apostasy.”
“Isn’t this marvelous!” exclaimed Mrs. Slocum, in a voice that could be heard throughout the room. This is what I have long waited to see. I want everybody to know that I am a Sabbath keeper from this day forward.”
Captain Mann, standing with others, now found opportunity to add his word. “After fifty years of much blindness,” he began, “my eyes have finally been opened. I thought I knew what I did not know. I was certain, for one thing, that Jesus Christ changed the Sabbath to Sunday, and that on this account, I was under obligation to observe the first day for His sake. But my investigation has shown me that ignorance only can accept that position.
Christ never changed the day, but the papacy did. As a Protestant, therefore, and as one who believes fully in the everlasting claims of the law of God, and who takes the bible and the Bible only as the rule of faith and practice, I give my hand and heart, my life and time and all, to the blessed truth which I have found. Hereafter the world shall know me as a Seventh Day Adventist. God helping me, I can do naught else. This is my last transpacific journey as captain.”
Mr. and Mrs. Gregory next bore their testimony of surrender to God’s commands, Mrs. Gregory speaking particularly of her deliverance from the sea by the hand of one whom she had despised and hated.
That day, seventeen souls joined hands to serve God in the fullness of a new-found love and a new gift of power. The marked Bible had wrought its work. A mother’s prayers had been more than answered.
Several years have since passed, but the good work has gone steadily forward. Harold Wilson returned to San Francisco, and, aided by Mr. Severance, perfected his education, entered the ministry, and now, as an ordained minister, is doing a mighty work in a foreign land. Captain Mann established a home for sailors, and Harold’s marked Bible was made a strong feature in its work of soul saving. Many a young man has found a heart awakening through contact with the Book and through hearing the story of the mother who gave it.
Mr. Spaulding and Mr. Gregory, true to their convictions, are continuing their ministry in two of our Eastern cities. Splendid indeed has been their success in leading sinners to “the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.” Mr. Spaulding’s written statement of resignation led some of his former co-workers to follow him in the path of fuller light. Mr. Conan is now manager of a large religious institution, and, withal, is a deeply spiritual man of God. With him, religion and business are identical.
How wonderful are our Father’s providences! Let us learn the lesson that His word cannot fail, and that a mother’s prayer will surely be answered.