Editor and Author
The difficulties and privations incident to Brother Warner’s years of faithfulness in the ministry, his persecutions on account of holiness culminating in his expulsion from the Ohio Eldership, his bereavements of some of his nearest relatives—all were serving to draw him only closer to the Divine and thereby fitting him for greater responsibilities and usefulness. As we become acquainted with his career and the mission to which God had chosen him, we discern the hand of Providence leading him to his appointed field.
On his return to Upper Sandusky from Tiffin on April 9, 1878, he found some urgent calls to go to Indiana, and he said, “I think the Lord is in it; expect to go next week.” At this time he became more fully awakened to the importance of abandoning all party names and creeds and returning to the “faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3) in its entirety. At this time, also, he began to have some conception of the printing-press as an aid in publishing the truth. The manuscript for a tract on the subject of holiness, which he was writing, was growing to the proportions of a book, and he began to pray for means to have it published. He “received gracious answers by the Spirit,” as he says, and the following night while he was lying awake in meditation, the Lord opened up to him the new field of publishing holiness by means of the printing press.
Over the State line, in Wolcottville, Indiana, the Lord had prepared the opportunity. The little paper Herald of Gospel Freedom was in its first year, and its editor, I. W. Lowman, was favorable to holiness and had been impressed that Brother Warner should conduct a holiness department in the paper. The appointment was made at the Eldership meeting, as stated in our previous chapter. As usual when undertaking any responsibility, Brother Warner placed himself in entire dependence upon God. He thus speaks of the project:
Oh, that God may endue us both with grace and wisdom to discharge this solemn and important calling! O my God, I cry unto thee for help! I am sure thou hast put me under this solemn and responsible charge. Now thou must qualify thy poor tool for the work. Be pleased, O Lord, to touch my heart and all my intellect and religious powers afresh with the Holy Ghost. Be thou thyself my qualification. I am so glad thou hast promised to be my wisdom. Oh, give me also thy mind. Be thou the fountain of all knowledge and goodness in me. Lord, I accept thee for my all.
His holiness articles contributed to The Church Advocate, the regular Church paper, had been effective and had won for him openings and warm hearts in various places. He possessed excellent gifts for writing as well as for speaking. His discourse was entertaining and instructive. He began his editorial duties in much physical weakness, as, it will be remembered, he was just recovering from a severe illness that laid low his naturally weak frame.
October 16, 1878. Feeling bad. Much fever. Called upon the Lord. Fasted most of the day. Applied water frequently to my head and back of my neck. Was compelled to do some writing in order to be in time with my continued article. This greatly increased my fever and pain in the head.
17. Gathered some apples for myself. Feeling better. Praise the Lord!
18. At twelve Brother Lowman and I started to Wolcottville. Undertook to me the enormous task of walking to Waterloo, a distance of three and one half miles. The roads were muddy. I soon felt that it was impossible for me to go through on my strength and began to look to God. I took him for my strength. All glory to God and the Lamb, when we reached the station I felt stronger than when we started. Lay over some time in Kendallville. Visited printing offices, as we are contemplating the purchase of press and type to run the Herald.
19. The Lord is opening the way for us to buy a whole printing office here very cheap. Praise his name!
On the 24th he visited Rome City in view of finding a suitable place to reside. He felt directed to locate here, and wrote his wife to come. On the 26th of November they moved to their new location. He bought the south half of lots 103 and 104 for $213.
The entry for the new year, January 1, 1879, is of interest.
Since the last account, my time has been closely devoted to writing for the Herald and on my little book. This seems to have been the order of the Lord, and he has most wonderfully blessed me in the work. The Spirit is continually taking the things of Christ and showing them to me. Glory to God for the new beauties and blessed unfoldings of divine truth under the clear light of the anointing that “abideth” and “teacheth… of all things.” (1 John 2:17) The luminous heavens of revelation seen through the all-searching telescope of the Holy Ghost raise many texts that were but dim and of doubtful application to the definite purifying grace, to their true magnitude of absolute authority; while one beautiful, blazing constellation of Bible truth after another is brought to view until the adoring soul sees no end to the divine evidences of the “second grace” save the end of revelation itself; and even there the Spirit takes up the eternal theme and writes it all over the soul, on the tablet of the heart and upon every fiber of our conscious being; yea, writes it upon the “merchandise” of the saints all over the entire universe of God’s creation, on every surrounding object. Even “shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD.” (Zechariah 14:20)
We can begin to see the effects under God of “[praising] the beauty of holiness” (2 Chronicles 20:21) in this place in our prayer and class meetings. Many express a hunger for full salvation, and as we frequently present our dear neighbors to God in prayer, the Spirit seems to indicate a glorious harvest of souls in this place in the near future. All glory to God!
And now, my soul, another year of thy earthly career and time to work has passed away. Thank God, it was the first whole year of my life that I have dwelt in the Canaan of perfect love and sinless glory. All its events through God have indeed worked together for good to my soul.
11. Since last writing we have constantly shared the goodness of God. The time has been closely devoted to writing on my book and for the Herald. The Holy Spirit has greatly assisted. The weather has been very cold, as much as twenty-four degrees below zero. The first week of the new year was observed as a week of prayer. The weather being severe, but few attended our union prayer meeting. Last night in the name of Jesus we began a meeting here in the Methodist church-house on the line of holiness.
The book he speaks of was the Bible Proofs of the Second Work of Grace. It was printed and bound the next year, 1880, at the E. U. Mennonite publishing house in Goshen. Two thousand copies were printed. It contained 493 pages and was, it would seem, an almost exhaustive treatise on sanctification as a second work of grace as shown by the Scriptures. It was counted an excellent book by the holiness people and leaders, and doubtless accomplished much good. Copies of the book may yet be found in individual libraries. This was the first book of which Brother Warner was the author. He became the author of a number of publications afterward.
27. Closed meeting tonight. A few souls have found Christ a perfect Savior. The leading elements in the M. E. Church did not come near during the meeting. Some did all they could against it. The preacher in charge a week ago made a very brave defense of sin in the flesh, justifying rather than condemning it. Oh, the shameful clamor for sin! The dead and godless condition of the Church! Surely her glory has departed. Some who were longing for full salvation, when they saw the united influence of an apostate church arrayed against this very fundamental doctrine of their creed, were scared away from the good purposes of their heart and away from the meeting. Poor souls! Having lost a good conscience they cannot look me in the face; and vainly they talk of growing the remaining sin out of the heart. Oh, that God would appoint salvation for this people!
February 2, 1879. Have been very busy writing during the past week. Brother Lowman moved the press here last Thursday. Praise the Lord, He showed me by the Spirit that I should locate here, and that the press would be located in this place, when nothing had been thought or said about it. Oh, I am so glad the Lord does lead his little ones! I can do much more for the paper now. Oh, that God would keep Brother Lowman and me straight on the line of holiness and continue to make the Herald a real herald of gospel freedom! Our circulation is increasing, thank the Lord!
10. It is wonderful how God takes care of his dependent little ones. When we came here, kind friends bade us farewell with some sadness, fearing that the holiness evangelistic work would not support us here, where we had no friends and acquaintances. But what a lesson our heavenly Father has taught us! He has abundantly provided for us, even at home. I must record some of his kindness.
Fuel is rather scarce here, wood quite high, and the weather being quite severe I could not well see from whence we should be supplied. But as we do not walk by sight I trusted all in the hands of the Lord. We have a neighbor who is a very wicked man, but no loving children of God could be more kind and benevolent to us than the whole family are. They tell us by word and action that we shall not want for any good thing while they have it. Another very wicked young man had bought twelve acres of timber about three miles from town. The best timber and most of the nicest cordwood timber had been taken off. My kind neighbor asked him how much he would take for all that remained, and to his utter astonishment he said, “I will give it to you for five dollars.” Neighbor and I had talked the matter over before and he agreed to take me in partnership if we could get the wood reasonable. He was true to this agreement, and we both have wood enough to do us for two or three years.
This is nothing else than the dealing of God. Oh, who would not trust thee, blessed Father of mercies! Thou art all love and boundless goodness. But thou art also perfect wisdom, therefore will we trust thee when thy providence seems to be against our wishes and inimical to our happiness; for we know that such can only be in appearance, because of our ignorance. Oh, we thank thee that we can rejoice in all thy righteous will; for as thou art thyself love, nothing but love can proceed from thee.
11. Brother L. Spencer and Brother Kimmel brought me home, each bringing me a load of wood from my place of procuring fuel. When arriving home, I found wife well as usual. Arrived at one o’clock, and at two I was to preach the funeral of Miss Sigler. Poor girl, I visited and prayed with her last Saturday before leaving home. The family are not religious, the father is quite wicked and intemperate; but Mary gave me satisfactory evidence that God had forgiven her sins. However, when about to die she was left in great distress of mind. Brother Newton, residing near by, was sent for; he prayed for her. She obtained the victory and closed life in peace.
The temperance meeting that was in progress when I left continued with success until tonight. Over three hundred signed the pledge, and a permanent organization was effected.
23. Sabbath. A.M., preached in Albion on faith. P.M., led the holiness meeting and organized a holiness band of sixty-six members. Praise the Lord, they expect to work for the Master in spreading holiness.
On the 11th of March he and Elder Lowman drew up articles of agreement by which they were to be joint editors and publishers of the Herald and all other papers, books, etc., issued from their office. Brother Warner was to pay Lowman $250 for a half interest in the paper and office. Both were to bear half the expense of publishing the Herald and any other publications. Both were to share equally in all the income of the office except the job work, which Lowman was to do with his own press and stock, and receive the proceeds. Brother Warner, however, was to realize fifteen per cent from all the job work he should procure. All manuscripts written by or donated to either party after the date of their agreement were to be jointly published and owned, and all manuscripts written by or donated to either party before the date of agreement were to yield to the owner ten per cent more than one half the proceeds.
From this time the diary entries are rather scattered, until finally they cease altogether. This is owing to the fact, doubtless, that the events of his life were associated with evangelistic and editorial effort and went largely into the paper as news items.
May 4, 1879. Sabbath. Went to hear Brother Allison, United Brethren minister. He requested me to talk. I did so, with great liberty and power of the Spirit. Brother A., who had hitherto been an opposer of distinct holiness, was overwhelmed by the power of God and truth, and confessed that it was Bible doctrine. Another man, whose carnality was greatly stirred, turned pale, grew nervous, and finally interrupted me with questions and contradictions. Just then God sent an increased volume of sweet love to my heart. Glory to God! Burning coals freely heaped upon his head, and soft words soon turned wrath away, and after meeting he humbly apologized.
17. Brother and Sister Shock brought me to Syracuse. Being late, Brothers Martin and Bell had left just a few moments before. Brother and Sister S. began to lament their disappointment. I began to praise God, for the Spirit seemed to say, “I want thee with me alone today.” I said I expected a glorious time by the way. They looked astonished that I was so free from complaint and regrets. They suggested that I should go by the cars. I remarked that the conductor would probably put me off, as I had no money. I praised the Lord that he would be my strength to walk. They looked the more strangely as I started off with praises to the Lord. I hope that God may convince them of the blessedness of the rest of faith. Walked about sixteen miles to Warsaw, and God did most wonderfully bless my soul by the way. Reached Warsaw about 3 P.M., without fatigue or hunger. Called at Brother Barber’s a few moments. Looked for a team that was going out south, but had to take the train, the Lord having told Brother Barber to give me fifty cents to pay fare. Brother Lowman was on the train. After reaching Silver Lake we had three miles more to walk to Gospel Hill, Praise God, he was my strength this day, even without food from early morning till late in the eve.
18. Sabbath. Brother Bear and many dear holy ones came from Yellow Lake and elsewhere. Glorious time in the Lord. P.M., met at half-past two. I was urged again to lead the meeting. The Spirit of the Lord was wonderfully upon me; anointed me to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Hallelujah! The deep prejudices began to give way; opposition ceased; God was triumphing.
Eve, Brother Lowman having the sore throat, Brother Martin not being well, and Brother Bear having left, I was much humbled before God in talking again to the people. I was brought low in the dust at the thought of being too prominent among the brethren in thus leading the meeting so much.
June 4, 1879. This is the fifth anniversary of our marriage. Took early train for home. Found dear Sarah quite ill; may the Lord bless the precious object of my strongest earthly love.
July 4, 1879. Sarah and I got a horse and buggy and went out three miles and picked a fine lot of raspberries, and thus escaped the throng and rabble that filled our little picturesque city. Oh, how much more sweet and comfortable to get away with the Lord alone!
6. Sabbath. At home. Unwell. The Lord sent a young man here today, that I might have something to do for Him. Some weeks ago I found the poor wayfarer at the lake, fishing. Having learned that he was a stranger and without money I brought him home for the night. He seems very teachable. I tried hard to get him to call upon the Lord and be saved. This is the second time he has been to see us, not having found us at home the former time. He is a very intelligent Swede. Has had some practice in type-setting, and has corresponded some for papers.
August 6, 1879. Came to Warsaw camp meeting. The Lord was at work, many being saved. About forty tents occupied. Bishops Weaver, William Taylor and a host of preachers present. Rejoiced to form the acquaintance of Brothers Lambert, Krupp, and Low, of the New Mennonite Church. They are gloriously saved and definite for Jesus. We found a wonderful affinity in our hearts. If the Lord will, I shall attend their conference. I pray God we may become one fold.
The Lord did not have his way fully in this meeting. Too much looking to men.
September 3, 1879. Took train for Upper Sandusky. Found Wife and friends and many of the holiness workers already on the campground.
10. Meeting closed tonight. A mob of two or three hundred of the baser sort were let loose by Satan upon us. They threatened everything to Brother W. T. Ellis, against whom they were incensed by what appears to have been imprudent conduct of his own. We finally succeeded in escorting him through the surging, raging rabble to our quarters. Some eggs were fired upon us. This Brother E. is indeed to me a mystery. His conduct is very rough. He is truly “a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth.” (Isaiah 41:15) Notwithstanding he provokes malice from the world and forfeits confidence of believers, he brings souls to God.
On Tuesday we had a faith meeting. Special faith and gifts of healing were considered. All who had infirmities which they believed the Lord desired them to be healed from presented themselves before the Lord, and several remarkable healings were performed. Sister Monnett, from Bucyrus, who walked upon crutches, was made whole, and used them no more. Another sister was healed by the Great Physician of a spinal affliction which she had had from her youth. The next day she was surprised to find that even the deformity had disappeared. Praise God!
22. Came home via the Baltimore and Ohio.
24. Went out to the Mennonite conference in the Hawpatch, about nine miles from here.
26. Bade these beloved brethren farewell, feeling that our hearts are wonderfully knit together in love. They appointed a delegate to our Eldership.
27. Met beloved companion this eve at our Eldership at Yellow Lake Bethel, she having come directly from Ohio.
29. Sessions very pleasant, even spiritual. After leaving the house, very strange feelings came over me. I felt sure that the powers of darkness were about to make a desperate rally. We stayed up at Brother Bear’s and prayed until one o’clock. I then lay down and took a short sleep, when the Spirit bade me arise and go out in the woods. Oh, what wrestling and agony of soul! What burden of heart and cries unto God for the salvation of his cause in that lone place from about 4:30 till 6 A.M.! Received some relief and victory. An evil spirit seemed to be upon the session from the opening this morning. The foreseen darkness was there. Business did not pass off so pleasantly. At noon I spent all the time shut up with God, and received great relief from the mountain that seemed to crush my heart. This was a new and strange experience to my soul. Closed business at a late hour at night. The Eldership purchased the office from Brother Lowman and me.
October 1, 1879. Sarah started home this morning. I felt led to go to see the brethren in the Cook neighborhood and Warsaw concerning the formation of a State Holiness Alliance.
14. Received an urgent call to go to Wakarusa. Was led to go. Asked God for the means, and in less than one hour a gentleman came and summoned me to affirm a small matter before the court, which any of my neighbors could have done as well.
21. [At Palestine.] Quite a good turn out. Two quite zealous Christians who disbelieved the second work of grace—a father and son—both spoke. The first believed in sanctification as a gradual work after pardon and consummated at death. The latter testified that he received it in conversion. What incongruity in the two, but harmony in all who have the fullness!
Eve, read prophecies of the present holiness movement. Exhorted the many holy ones present to fill the Bible description of God’s holy army, moving out in every direction, setting the wilderness on fire, invading every city, casting down every wall, staying and burying Gog, beating the mountains fine, and blowing the mass of chaff from the Lord’s threshing-floor (Ezekiel 38-39).
23. Came home. Among the mail awaiting me was a card stating that obligations to the amount of $45 must be paid at once in Wolcottville. Blessed be the Lord, another letter contained the precise amount of $45, that had been due me nearly a year from Nebraska. Glory to God, he supplies all our needs. How perfectly he meets all our wants!
November 16, 1879. Sabbath. A glorious meeting was in progress at Churubusko. Brother Wood, the leader, had taken sick and the little ones were praying to the Lord to send someone to proclaim the word of the Lord. We heard of the meeting and at once were moved to go. We found the Methodist Episcopal house crowded. A good band of holiness witnesses and singers all had their eyes on the Lord to send a man to lead the host. Praise his name, he anointed me for the work and a glorious meeting ensued. Four or five fully saved.
17. This morning we found Brother Wood still quite sick. The doctor anticipated a severe attack of bilious pneumonia fever. We anointed him with oil and the Lord heard prayer in his behalf and raised him up at once.
18. Brother Wood quite well and able to work in the meetings. Held a special faith meeting today. Prayed for the restoration of the boy who is perfectly deaf. We were not at all discouraged, but felt it our duty to continue in prayer from day to day just as we often have to do with those seeking pardon and purification.
19. After our day meeting a brother and sister and I formed one of the visiting committees. When nearly sundown we found a poor, suffering “woman… which was a sinner,” (Luke 7:37) and blind for some time, and afflicted with much pain. We told her that Jesus could wash away her sins and heal and open her eyes. The Spirit soon brought on conviction and new-birth labors. She was gloriously converted, and giving a shout she sat down, and after a few seconds composure said, “Glory to God, I can see! My eyes are healed!” She then embraced her child and husband, whom she had not seen for about two weeks. She had lost all power to move her eyes, and they were both turned upward in her head. She was very weak, having eaten but little for days, and she sat with her hands over her eyes to exclude the light. Now she had the lamp lit and proceeded at once to get supper. All glory to the Great Physician! Twenty-seven sanctified arose to join into a holiness band. Hallelujah! God is mustering his host to the battle.
The accounts immediately following, in which he speaks of consolidating the Eldership with the Mennonites, show that he had not as yet gotten away from the idea of an external union in addition to that which the bonds of salvation alone can afford. He had already made a trip to Goshen, and had met Brother Lambert and others of the Mennonite faith.
December 5, 1879. Am pushing my book to completion. Today Sarah and I started for the joint meeting of our Standing Committee and the Mennonite Quarterly Conference at Hawpatch.
6. Drove eight miles this morning to the place of meeting. Was happy to meet with those beloved brethren once more. Had a joint convention. The subject of consolidation was warmly advocated from both sides, while our hearts glowed with the unifying glory of Jesus Christ. The following preamble and resolutions were adopted:
Whereas, the God of all grace has most emphatically taught us in his Word that his church is one as the Father and Son are one, and that a manifestation of this unity is to be the world-saving salt of the church.
Therefore, we, as the professed sons of God and members of the United Mennonite Church and the Church of God assembled in the name of Jesus Christ in a joint meeting, do confess it our duty to put away from us every accursed thing that might in the least distract, divide, and alienate us in heart, or cause divergency in practice; and for the sake of securing an answer to the prayer of the adorable Savior, we do solemnly agree to abandon anything not warranted by the Word of God and accept any and everything it teaches. Therefore—
I. Resolved, That we joyfully consent to the will of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and agree to unite in one body as soon as in the providence of God the consolidation can be consummated, and
II. Resolved, That we recognize the Word of God as the only true basis of Christian union. Furthermore,
III. Resolved, That we believe that the truth as it is in Christ Jesus is within our reach, hence, can be ascertained on all points of difference, and that we are therefore morally bound to learn and abide its decision.
14. [At home.] Preached at the Wesleyan house at 1 P.M. on faith in relation to gifts of the Spirit. In the evening at the United Brethren house on the philosophy of faith.
16. Though very stormy, quite a company of dear brethren and young men turned out to chop and haul me wood. Oh, the goodness of God!
January 1, 1880. Last night after a very successful and powerful meeting at Chambers’ Schoolhouse we came to the watch meeting at Albion. The Spirit greatly moved us to come. On reaching the house I dropped on my knees, when the Spirit gave me a searching message for the people. We kept up until after twelve. The old year passed away while we were on our knees in solemn consecration to God.
This is the last quotation which we make from his diary. By the first of the year he was given full charge of the Herald, and any further record of his life events must be found in the papers which he was editing. Unfortunately, from January 4, 1880, the date of the last entry in his diary, until the issue of the Herald for November 7, 1880, is a gap over which we must bridge with silence, as I have no access to any copy of the Herald for that year other than the one mentioned, nor have I been supplied with information from any other source covering that period. In it is also announced that the following resolution was passed. “Resolved, That we are willing to consolidate the Herald with any other paper that advocates the same gospel principles.”
In the number of the Herald referred to is printed the decision of the Board of Publication to make the following announcement: “Edited in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, by D. S. Warner, Rome City, Indiana. Dedicated to the God of the Bible and to the service of all saints who desire to love God with a pure heart fervently, and the holy Church he has established over eighteen hundred years ago.”
From his book Bible Proofs we have drawn material for our next chapter.