The responsibility of publishing The Trumpet required, of course, that the editor spend a good portion of his time at the Publishing Office. But Brother Warner’s zeal for the evangelistic work, as well as the demand for his services here and there in the field, took him forth a good deal on various tours. An account of the principal tours he made, and the events in connection therewith, is sufficient for a chapter by itself.
For the first few years after The Trumpet started, he made frequent trips. Of these we shall give no account, but shall begin the chapter with a trip into western Pennsylvania in the summer of 1884. A camp meeting was to be held two miles south of Sandy Lake, in Mercer County, beginning August 23. This was the second meeting for that place, as one had been held there the previous year. He planned to attend this meeting after holding a grove meeting in Medina County, Ohio, and he accordingly announced there would be no Trumpet issued for August 15, since he expected to make this tour. Portions of his report of the Sandy Lake meeting are here given. Quotations direct from Brother Warner will enable the reader the better to comprehend the man and to feel the touch of his saintliness; for there breathes out from his words such a spirituality and devotion as is possessed only by those who are thoroughly abandoned to God.
Glory be to the God of salvation-power! These words seem best fitted to begin our report of this heavenly convocation. We were met by conveyance at Stonesboro, and the very instant we entered the precious grove of the saints’ encampment we felt the presence of God. Indeed it was wonderful. We were engaged in conversation as we drove in and were not thinking of or expecting such a glorious manifestation of God, when we were suddenly filled with the consciousness of His holy presence, impressing heart and lips in praises to His holy name.
We had been unwell some days in the city, and felt half sick on the train, but as soon as we breathed the God-pervaded atmosphere of that beautiful pine grove, all our infirmities fled away and we could shout the praises of God in a sound body. How hallowed and sweet the recollections of God’s blessings upon that ground one year ago! How dear to our heart the precious chambers in Brother and Sister Carmichael’s tent, where we often spent much of the brief interval between the three daily services, in nearly all of which the Lord used us to read and teach His Holy Word to the dear saints. In that precious retreat He daily filled our soul and recuperated the wasted energies of our body and mind so that we could stand and feed the Lord’s sheep. Praise God, we found the same little sanctum prepared for us again. Thank God, there were plenty to share the work of the gospel ministry this year.
The blessed Holy Spirit wrought in the hearts of the people from the first service to the close of the meeting. On Tuesday we went to the stream a mile from the camp and immersed fourteen of the dear, happy saints of God. It was a glorious and wonderful time. The Spirit of the living God was poured out in mighty power. Some went down into the water shouting the high praises of God, and nearly all leaped and shouted as they came forth from the symbolic grave. What glory shone in the faces of those blood-washed ones! The place was one of beautiful scenery. On either side the stream stood the dense and lofty pines. As this blood-washed company faced the stream, with their eyes lifted toward God and their faces all lit up with heaven’s glow, and sang the sweet songs of redemption, we were reminded of Bunyan’s company of pilgrims that stood in white robes awaiting their invitation to cross to the celestial paradise….
Do we astonish you when we say that while sinners were melted to tears by the power of God during the baptism, and said, “This is the right way. This is the right way,” an apostate and hypocrite preacher by the name of —— stood back and spake against “this way” of the Lord? Woe unto such empty clouds, wandering stars, wells without water!…
Brother Fisher was quite sick when we reached the grove, and after having been strengthened several times to preach the word he was finally and instantaneously healed by faith and the laying on of hands. The next evening the healing power was mightily upon him, and four of the dear saints were healed of various diseases and old complaints. In the early part of the meeting Brother and Sister Frost’s little girl was healed of a very bad case of catarrh. The morning Brother and Sister Fisher left, the Lord woke us between three and four o’clock in the morning and led us forth into the woods to commune with Him. Our mind was led to ask for a more perfect faith. Praise God, He gave it. Early we walked to Brother Farrah’s house, where we found Sister Clayton very sick with sick-headache. In the name of the Lord we laid hands on her head, and she was immediately healed by faith in Jesus. Several others of the saints were healed that day….
One evening in company with Brother and Sister Fisher we went home with Brother and Sister Frost. Sister Owen lives a close neighbor to them. Her daughter had two days before been taken sick. That night she was taken very bad, and she suffered extremely. Mr. Owen wished to go for the doctor, but Lula begged her pa to send for us. Though he had been extremely prejudiced against us by some ungodly sectarian neighbors, he could not refuse the wish of his suffering child. He gave his consent, and at two o’clock we were called up, and went to the house in the name of the Lord. Lula had been praying the Lord to forgive her sins, and seemed to have found pardon, but she was in great suffering. Brother Fisher and I laid hands upon her, and in less than a minute her intense suffering ceased, and she rested until morning. Her body gradually recovered strength, and two days later she was out to the meeting. Praise the Lord, O my soul! The power of God since then so softened the heart of Brother Owen that he has turned to serve the Lord. His heart is so changed that he not only loves God but us also. May God bless the dear brother.
Praise the Lord for the wonderful bond of love that binds our hearts together in the Son of God! Blind sectarians ask us, “What have you got to bind you together?” We reply by asking them, “What have you got to part us asunder?” Oh, bless God for the balm in this union! We never know the strength of the divine bonds of love until all the sect bonds of the devil are cast away and we are led to suffer together for the gospel of God and the name of Jesus. Oh, happy bond of perfect love, which binds all the pure in heart to God and to each other!
After the close of the Sandy Lake meeting he went by invitation to Greenville, in the same county. He first held an evening service on the streets, in which he spoke to a large audience. This was on Friday evening, September 5. The rest of the services at Greenville were in a grove in the country. In his report he tells of his being mercilessly beaten by a drunken man and of his wonderful escape from injury because of divine protection.
We praise God for having sent us here. We are confident that much good was done. One brother, who had been wonderfully converted and blessed, had actually made an appointment at a schoolhouse and talked to the people by the Holy Spirit. People were moved, and asked the man to speak again. But he consulted his Methodist priest, who told him it would never do in the world for him to attempt to speak and exhort without license, and that if he did so he would be brought up and tried. The poor man was scared down and was on back ground; but he promised us to rededicate himself to God and go straight forward in God’s will. May God bless and help him. Such is the pernicious work of the devil under the mask of what he calls “our church.” We hope in the providence of God to return to Greenville again. A sister told us that we would receive persecution for pay. Well, praise God, we were well remunerated in that kind of currency for Christ’s sake. It has brought the “leap and rejoice” with “the spirit of glory and of God” (1 Peter 4:14) in our soul. After the grove meeting we spoke again on the streets of Greenville to a very large crowd of attentive hearers….
After preaching in the grove Saturday night, we walked a mile and a half to find rest for the night. The mother and two of the family are fully saved. But the husband is intemperate and desperately wicked. He does not often stay with the family, as the little home belongs to one of the sons, who, with his brothers, affords protection to their mother against the father’s abuse. The wretched man had been drinking liquor through the day, and was also well filled with the wine of Babylon’s wrath received from his sectarian neighbors, who hate any child of God that lives godly in Christ Jesus outside of her pales. He seems to have come liquored up on purpose for a row. After entering the house, the frenzied man assaulted us with shocking oaths and threats. He was desperate, just in that state of intoxication in which he had more than his usual strength, and maddened beyond all reason. He soon struck me with all force in the forehead, but through God his blow was not more than a ball of cotton. We praised the Lord. Feeling a deep concern for the wicked man’s soul, we dropped upon our knees in the middle of the room, raised our hands, and began to pray for him. But this enraged Satan more than ever. He seized a large rocking chair and slammed it down on us with all vengeance, but through the Lord Jesus Christ our uplifted hands turned it off with ease. The storms of oaths and slamming of furniture was terrific. It looked as though there would not be a whole piece left in the room. The infuriated man grabbed a common wood-bottom chair by the back and struck down twice or three times at our head, which was safely shielded by the hand of the Lord. Glory to God in the highest! Our soul was filled with great peace in the midst of the storm; we had not the slightest fear of suffering harm.
The kind wife and a daughter, who were gloriously sanctified at the Sandy Lake meeting, tried to protect us, when the latter received a heavy blow on the shoulder from the chair, the legs having been threshed off by previous blows, making it all the better to maul with. Seeing that they were in danger of being hurt in our protection, we arose and began to retreat. The savage monster followed us out of the yard and some rods on the road with awful curses and open threats that he would kill us. Glory to the God of our salvation! There was not a hair of our head hurt, not a scratch or mark upon our body. The next morning we felt our right wrist was slightly sprained by stopping the terrible blows, but it soon disappeared. The man soon left, shortly after which his large son came, whose delay furnished the intoxicated man his opportunity for an onslaught.
Praise God, the Lord led me to do just as I had preached what a holy man should do when thus assaulted—commit our life to God, fear no evil, and let Him be glorified in our death or deliverance, as He shall choose. Fearing the man might return that night and our presence excite to deeds of violence upon the family, one of the boys and I went to the barn to sleep, but I spent the night in thanksgiving to God for His sweet deliverance. Surely it is safe to trust God always.
It was while he was in western Pennsylvania that he received word from his wife that he could come and get their boy, Sidney,* then a little more than three years of age. Accordingly he returned home by way of Upper Sandusky, Ohio, and got the boy. He then made a visit to the saints at Jerry City, Wood County, of which he thus speaks:
Then, following the apostolic example, we “[declared] what miracles and wonders God had wrought” (Acts 15:12) where we have gone about preaching the kingdom of God’s grace, and assured the dear saints as he did “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22) And the hearing of all the gracious dealing of God with our soul and in many hearts “caused great joy unto all the brethren.” (Acts 15:3) Many tears of sympathy and holy love flowed from the eyes of the beloved.
He arrived home at Williamston in time for the annual assembly; for which the large hall, 28 x 84, on the second floor of the Office building afforded a splendid place. It was a wonderful gathering of the saints. A number were ordained to the ministry, and among these he included himself, as where so many were assembled he probably decided that his call to the work should be solemnly recognized and confirmed by the laying on of hands of the elders present. As was evidenced by the success of this assembly, the work of the reformation seemed by this time to be taking a forward move. Since the Ohio assembly at Bucyrus, one year before, Brother Warner had learned to take a more fearless, unyielding attitude against deceiving elements such as had encompassed him there.
We shall ever have reasons to thank God for the benefit derived from the Ohio assembly last fall. Though much of the good anticipated was not realized because of the evil powers that were permitted to “encompass the beloved saints,” yet the lessons learned as a result have furnished a protection against the devil in all subsequent meetings. The fact is, we were delivered from priestcraft and had a solemn abhorrence of everything that savored of lordism. Hence we declared the meetings free; yes, free for heretics, false prophets, and virtually for the devil himself. In our zeal to avoid all dragon authority we had also lost sight of the divine authority, and God had to permit that victorious conflict with the powers of hell to teach us the necessity of using, not lordism, but, the double-edged sword of the Almighty upon everything that is not clean and straight before God.
Since “we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before [God],” (1 John 3:19) “we know that we are of God, and he that heareth us not is not of God.” And the only sense in which we give place to such as are deformed and darkened by antichrist traditions and “doctrines of devils,” (1 Timothy 4:1) is in this wise: we give for them at the altar, where, by entire consecration, and faith in the blood of Christ they may be cleansed from sin and all foolish “conversation received by tradition from [the] fathers.” (1 Peter 1:18) Glory be to God, there is now a flaming sword in the assembly of His saints, that can be endured only by those who know and do the truth, and such as honestly wish to know and obey the truth as it is in Christ Jesus. We believe that all future time and eternity will not erase the glory of this [Williamston] assembly from the memory of the redeemed.
After the assembly he held a meeting in Battle Creek, Michigan. The following is a portion of his account of a woman’s deliverance from devil-possession, which occurred while he was there. Such instances were found from time to time. For an example we give but this one:
For some months past Mrs. Samuel Worden, of Battle Creek, Michigan, has created quite an excitement in the papers throughout the country by the exercise of a supernatural power of healing. People have come from a considerable distance to be treated, and letters have poured in from every direction. Some cases of healing were actually performed.
The woman and her husband, hearing of our meetings, came to hear the gospel and seemed willing to receive the truth. She confessed that they were not fully saved and filled with the Spirit as they should be, although she claimed to heal in the name of Christ and by the power of God. She soon came to the altar. God enabled us to see her condition pretty correctly. We told her she was “in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.” (Acts 8:23) She acknowledged the fact and desired deliverance. In the course of a few days she professed to have found salvation. There seemed to be a change; but still there was something in her from which the Spirit of God in our heart recoiled. She tried to consecrate for sanctification, but could not claim that grace.
On Sabbath afternoon, October 26, the power of God was upon our little meeting. There were four cases of healing by the laying on of hands. Sister Worden said that she had suffered for many years in an awful manner with what she called a confused headache. She had hands laid on her for the healing. The Spirit came on us and her in mighty power. She claimed what had been prayed for, a complete healing of her body. Presently there were strange manifestations, which the most of us at once recognized as the writhing of evil spirits in her. We asked God to show her just what it was. Presently she said, “Brother Warner, pray for me.” We asked her what she wanted. She replied, “That the devil might be cast out.” This was the confession we desired to draw out of her. Hands were laid on her head, and the demons were commanded to come out of her in the name of Jesus Christ. The poor victim was soon convulsed and choked by the hellish spirits, which had to come out by the power of God. She obtained relief, sat up, but did not look clear. We all kept looking to God to complete the work. Hands were laid on again in the name of Jesus. Another struggle ensued. Then we perceived that to get complete deliverance there had to be a more perfect consecration, confession, and mortification. We proceeded to use the sword of the Spirit in every possible manner. But a miserable don’t-care devil answered to every point of consecration.
Oh, what an awful condition the poor woman was in! How discouraging! The devils had so long held possession of her that they had almost taken possession of her own will and thoughts. And this awful enemy had so tortured her head that she had had a hard struggle to keep out of the asylum; so when he was pressed by the power of God he caused such distress and confusion in her head that he could use her mind and organs of speech. But by the grace and mercy of God conviction reached her conscience. The poor woman made some humiliating confessions, was humbled down, and wept. She confessed her association with Spiritualists, which Satan had tried to conceal before. Glory to God, his chief nest was now revealed. The Spiritualism devil was commanded to come out of her in the name of Christ. Oh, how he tortured the poor woman! Her throat became greatly swollen. How the legions of hell struggled against the power of God! She was pretty thoroughly decided for God; declared she would have every last evil spirit cast out if it killed her. Glory to God for the mighty Deliverer! Relief came by the hand of Jesus. A great measure of peace filled her soul. She sat up in the rocking-chair and her hands were raised while we sang songs of victory for the space of an hour.
Two days later she discovered that there was still in her heart something that was not right, and a close examination discovered that she had some lingering love for Spiritualists. She confessed it, when she soon found that more evil spirits were revealed. By the laying on of hands and the power of God she was fully delivered, after which she consecrated wholly and entered the sacred rest of entire sanctification.1 On Saturday hands were laid upon her for healing. The mighty power of God came upon her and filled her soul and body, and she was perfectly healed from the awful tortures Satan had inflicted upon her for many years. Praise God for His wonderful mercy to the oppressed children of men! For years this poor woman had struggled hard to keep out of the insane asylum; now she says, “I am ‘clothed, and in [my] right mind.’ (Mark 5:15; Luke 8:35) ” Her neighbors see the great change in her countenance. One woman looked upon her with astonishment, and said, “Why, how your face and voice are changed! Surely these meetings are the true work of God.”
[In reference to this apparent instance of a person’s being in a justified state while at the same time in possession of evil spirits it can be said, without attempting an explanation of whether such might be possible, that Brother Warner was always very particular to insist on justification as an essential condition to sanctification, and that if we knew all the circumstances in this case (allowing that the account may not be full) there probably would be no question in our minds.]
The months of February and March 1885 he spent in a tour to southeastern Iowa, and northeastern Missouri. He refers to his leaving home as follows:
In the kind providence of God we were permitted to start forth on this long-expected tour January 28. God bless the beloved ones we left behind in The Trumpet Office. Oh, how our hearts are knit together in the pure love of Jesus! Bless God for those He has given to be with us in the glorious work of the Lord! But the hardest of all was to leave my precious little Sidney, not expecting to see the dear child again for some three months. But praise God for the very kind provision He has made for the poor boy in the devout family of Brother and Sister William Crandall, residing at the edge of our town. Here he is taught to pray daily, and his little heart is developed only in the pure spirit of love and obedience. He is my only living child, three years old the 24th of last June. Though he has a happy home and two little playmates, still, as may be imagined under the circumstances, his dear little heart clings to his father with the most fervent love that a child is capable of possessing, as ours also does to him. But since God so lovingly cares for him, we must leave the blessed little angel in His charge and go forth to win to Christ souls that are lost in sin.
He was gone nearly three months. The meetings in Iowa and Missouri resulted in good, yet nothing of unusual interest attended them. Early in June he made a trip to Daviess County, Indiana. He had found in his evangelistic work that preaching on the street was a very effectual way of reaching the people. When he lived in Indianapolis, a few years previously, he and the saints in that place engaged frequently in preaching on the streets and in the parks. One Sunday afternoon, while preaching in Central Park, a man came to him and gave the names of persons in southern Indiana to whom he requested The Trumpet sent. Thus The Trumpet became the forerunner of his visit to Daviess County.
As we passed through the village of Odon, we notified the people that we would preach the gospel on their streets the next afternoon. Not being accustomed to such services, there was quite an interest. The people began to collect some time before the hour arrived. Store-boxes, sidewalks, etc., were converted into pews, and we had one of the best hearings we ever had on the streets. God mightily helped us by His Spirit to testify the gospel of His perfect salvation for an hour and thirty-eight minutes. Bless God, the truth swept all the sinnership religion into the pit, from whence it came. Though real Bible holiness had scarcely ever been preached in that place, and no holiness meetings ever held there, so far as we learned, yet every hearer, even lawyers, doctors, and preachers, acknowledged the practicability of perfect salvation and preservation from all sin through Christ Jesus. A Baptist preacher by the name of W——, who had been preaching to the people that no one can or does live without sinning in this world, and that all men sin day and night, sat close by us, and was convinced of the truth of the gospel and convicted of his sins. He sanctioned the word and acknowledged to others that it was all truth. We saw the tears in his eyes, and hoped he would become saved and qualified to preach for Jesus, instead of for sin and the sect.
Sabbath, the seventh, we held services in a grove near old Shiloh Bethel, south of Odon. As the appointment was circulated only after our arrival, there was not a large turnout. The Baptist preacher sat near us while preaching in the forenoon, and looking into his face during the discourse, our soul was pained to see that he had shut his heart against the truth and salvation of God. Instead of coming down to an equality with Christ, he chose to have a reputation among men, to indulge the lusts of the flesh and enjoy the friendship of the world. From that moment his “face gathered blackness.” During the afternoon preaching he showed every disposition to avoid listening to the gospel of God. He came to some of the meetings afterward, just as the ungodly Pharisees followed Christ, to “catch something out of his mouth.” (Luke 11:54) On Wednesday evening Brother O. Allen met and spoke to this priest of Baal, standing in a public place of the village, burning incense to the devil in gratification of the filthy lust for tobacco.
He later made another trip into Pennsylvania and attended the third annual campmeeting at Sandy Lake. At the close of this meeting he, in company with others, drove about twelve miles to attend a Church of God (Winebrennerian) camp meeting, held near Barkeyville. His description under the title “A Night in Babylon,” is here given in part.
On the way we met a good many people returning from the camp, and we were no little astonished to see so many of them smoking cigars. Finally the thought forced itself on our mind, “Can it be possible that they are selling such things on the campground?” But considering that it was the Sabbath day and the people holding the camp meeting professed to be the “Church of God,” such a thing surely could not be. The very thought was shocking and preposterous. When a half mile away we saw a smoke ascending at the camp. As we entered the ground we observed a crowd of sinners standing about a building with a sign, Boarding Tent, and the smoke from their many cigars blended into a cloud, that we had seen from a distance. Soon after landing, we said to a brother, “Let us walk up and see what they have to sell there.” We did so, and adventuring into the poison-fog we walked the whole length of the long building, all opened in front, displaying a large stock of every variety of ware that would be necessary to satisfy the pride, vanity, and lust of the horse-race or any vanity-fair throng of this world.
We were shocked and amazed at this horrible traffic. The chief sale was tobacco. There the nasty, filthy stuff was piled up from one end of the building to the other. The vile curse of the earth, in every form and shape the devil ever invented, freely sold on a—oh, the blasphemy!—“Church of God” campground!…
It was all licensed by the preachers in control of the meetings. And such men have the wicked presumption to call themselves ministers of Christ! One of the “merchants of these things, which were made rich” (Revelation 18:15) by the “abundance of the delicacies,” (Revelation 18:3) though we understand he makes no profession of Christ, was ashamed of the unhallowed traffic, and though his contract included another year, he said he would never come back again. He confessed that if he were to open up such traffic on Sabbath at his place of business in town he would be prosecuted; but the superabundance of “righteousness” of these tobacco-soaked preachers, it would appear, was to atone for the same sins on their campground. Surely it has come to pass what is written in the prophets, “They overpass the deeds of the wicked.” (Jeremiah 5:28)
After taking some refreshment and having obtained permission to praise God, we engaged in our evening devotion, with singing and prayer, to the God of our salvation. Our doors were soon crowded with young folks to hear the singing.
The tobacco smoke was so dense that we could scarcely endure it without getting sick. But after a few songs and prayers were offered, everyone cast his cigar away and listened with seriousness. This they did without a word said by any of us.
The meeting had been in progress four days, and no soul had been saved. Not a seeker. Not even a place for a penitent to kneel, no straw on the ground. The pulpit was the only place to kneel in the congregation; as though they did not expect a poor penitent to seek God, and that the preacher should do all the praying.
On Monday morning, the services were made later than the usual hour. The preachers were doubtless perplexed how to perform in the deadness of their souls. “The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites.” (Isaiah 33:14) Not one of them would venture to preach. The services were confined to one hour. After reading a psalm, the preacher announced that all should be free to serve God by prayer, and testimony, and song, requesting brevity of each. So, as our heart was “springing up” (John 4:14) full of the love of God, we opened our mouth to praise the Lord in singing a verse occasionally. After several had spoken we arose and testified to the great “salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (1 Peter 5:10) We aimed to be very brief, but occupied seven minutes by the watch, when they began to sing. But they being but a few and “feeble folk,” their song would not have interfered materially with our remarks. However, we struck in to sing until they stopped, and then sat down. the services were dismissed we were ordered to leave the ground as soon as we could pack up and depart; and forbidden to sing, pray, or preach, within one mile of their tobacco-soaked camp.
When asked why they would not allow us to worship God there, the president said it was because we held a second work of grace, which they did not believe. Why should they fear to hear the testimony? If they really believed that there is no “second grace,” they need not fear that any of their flock would obtain it. According to their position, they were afraid of the thing that does not exist. What brave soldiers!
One of the preachers arose in the speaking meeting and said, “According to the little bit of information I have received concerning Christ’s salvation, it is all received at once.” Certainly a man that has only “a little bit of information concerning Christ’s salvation” has only a little bit of salvation, and that little bit of salvation was doubtless all obtained at once, for it was so little it could not have been divided. And when that very “little bit” is analyzed it is seen to consist in a mere “name to live,” a “form of godliness,” (2 Timothy 3:5) anointed by love of self and love of sect….
The preacher who led the meeting is saturated with tobacco and addicted to horse trading and worldly foolish jesting. In his remarks he said we should “exemplify Christ,” that is, our lives should be like His. The Lord led us to ask him if he regarded himself an example of Christ’s character; whether he could consistently say to boys and men generally, “Follow the example I set before you.” Not having “[sanctified] the Lord God in [his] heart,” () he was not ready to give an answer. He paced the pulpit, being speechless. We repeated the question, including both him and the president. Neither answered. We then told the latter something about their being of the same spirit the old Jews and pagans were of, who forbade the apostles preaching any more in their towns. We also called their attention to the abominable and wicked traffic we saw on their ground on the Lord’s day, which was licensed by them and sanctioned by their filthy habit. They could allow that corrupting bane of society; but of a few little children of God who have obtained pure hearts and desired to “worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness,” (1 Chronicles 16:29; Psalm 29:2; 96:9) they said, “Away with them”!…
Well, we are compelled to give the manifestations at that camp the credit of being the filthiest and vilest form of Babylon we have ever met. An unconverted man who was there and witnessed the scene said to them, “God deliver me from such a sect.” They are destitute of God’s grace. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation… Teacheth us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.” (Titus 2:11-12) But these live in the filth of the world, “[walking] after their own ungodly lusts.” (Jude 1:18)
In a report written from this part of Pennsylvania three years later, he refers to his visit to the Winebrennerian camp, as just described, and says, “Well, that was the last camp meeting held on that ground. Their doleful tents are rotting to the ground, and are the habitation of owls and bats.”
Brother Warner felt that he needed, and that the Lord was going to provide, a company of singers to go with him in the evangelistic field. It was about this time that the company who should travel with him for more than five years began to be formed. It was at the Williamston assembly that summer that Brother Warner said to Nannie Kigar, of Payne, Ohio, and to Frances Miller, of Battle Creek, who attended the meeting, that he felt impressed they would form a part of his company to help in singing and other gospel work. Their voices were soprano and alto respectively. They, with a number of other saints, accompanied Brother Warner to the Beaver Dam assembly. On their way, as they changed cars at Fort Wayne, they met and were joined by Sarah Smith, of Jerry City, Ohio. While they were at Beaver Dam the Lord added Sister Smith to the company. Her voice furnished a high tenor. She was an elderly lady and she was called the “mother” of the company. Brother John U. Bryant and Brother D. Leininger, from the Beaver Dam neighborhood, also traveled in the company for a time.*
After the Beaver Dam meeting, Brother Warner made a short visit to Illinois and Iowa, while the rest of the company remained at Beaver Dam and were soon engaged in a protracted meeting at the Hans Schoolhouse, where about fifty souls were saved and a great interest was created.2 While on this trip he was healed of an affliction of the eyes. He thus speaks of it:
[Brother Leininger relates that at this meeting a Dunkard minister drew his fist to strike him. A daughter of this preacher was a hired helper in Brother Leininger’s family. She had obtained the experience of sanctification, which angered her father. As Brother Leininger was going out of the meeting-house, this man stood at the door ready to do violence to him. He drew back his fist to strike, but it seems his blow was rather misdirected, as his thumbnail grazed his own nose and tore loose a bit of skin, so that he went home bleeding and discomfited.]
During the Williamston assembly in September, Satan began to afflict our eyes. At the beginning we were impressed that it was an attack of the enemy. They grew worse until we were scarcely able to read or write. The next morning after our arriving in Iowa, the Spirit impressed a sister that it was Satan who had afflicted our eyes to prevent our labors in writing, etc. Instantly recollecting the same impression in our mind at the beginning of the attack, we knew it was of God.
Our vehement faith in God and indignation against the devil were instantly aroused. We fell upon our knees and asked God to deliver us, rebuking Satan in the name of Jesus Christ. Praise God, the pain all ceased, and we were able to do a pretty good day’s work. And our eyes have been well ever since. God suffered the attack doubtless to teach us a lesson concerning the origin of much of the suffering of the afflicted.
In the latter part of January he with his company of singers and coworkers went to Deerfield, Randolph County, Indiana, arriving on a Saturday evening. The next morning they attended a meeting where a nominal Christian preacher had the service. They sang some of the sweet songs of victory; but this so confounded the preacher that he could not find anything in his Bible to preach, and after he had taken the pulpit he invited Brother Warner to preach. The latter preached a burning message. He had hoped for the use of the house, but it could be seen that the preacher intended to control the house that week, for he proposed that he and these people use it alternately. He was soon told that they were out on the blood and fire line, that they could not yoke up with the dead priests of Babel and would go elsewhere.
They went over into the edge of Jay County and began meetings in a United Brethren house called Prospect. Here the preaching created a furor among those who were joined to their sectarian institution and felt that it was in danger. It was like a thunderbolt in the community. The singing drew the crowds. The trustees became fearful. One of them went into the woods to pray to know what to do to get rid of these people who seemed to be taking things. The heavenly songs seemed to follow him. He felt he should attend all the meetings to see what occurred. He soon found that these people had something more than the United Brethren had. He was one of two trustees who embraced the truth, and of course desired that the meetings continue. Threats were made. A woman was heard to say, “They ought to be driven out of the country with shotguns.” A Baptist preacher who came into the neighborhood said that they ought to be put in jail, and offered his service as one to help in the matter.
The United Brethren minister had been holding meetings, with but little success. A Mrs. R——, one of their number, had been praying the Lord to send somebody who would preach the truth in such a way that God would get unto Himself a people who would serve Him. She and a Mrs. W—— went to the altar together, with others. Brother Warner asked them whether they would be willing to separate themselves from denominationalism if the Lord should show them that duty. Sister W—— said in her heart, yes. Sister R—— turned over to her and said, “Now, they are trying to tear down the church, so let us just stick.” There she turned bitter, and the very thing she had prayed for she was rejecting. She walked up and down the aisle wringing her hands and crying, “My church! my church!” Another woman said, “These people are either awfully good people or else they are desperately wicked.” Once during the meeting flying missiles crashed through the windows. Glass flew across the room, striking a woman on the head and drawing blood.3 Said Brother Warner:
[A man who lived in the neighborhood said in one of the meetings that he was going to kick Brother Warner. As the latter was among the last to pass out of the building, this man lingered at the door, while the crowd was waiting to see him do the deed. As Brother Warner passed out he raised his foot to kick, but he did not kick. He was asked why he did not. His reply was, “I was afraid the Lord would kick me.” This man accepted the truth and became one of the permanent fixtures in the church in that place.]
People have dealt in cheap, shoddy religions so long that they feel like stoning us when we state the cost of that we are commissioned of Christ to offer the people; nevertheless, when men consent to pay the price they are always highly pleased with the results.
Such a display of sectarian idolatry was a good exhibition for some who had come out of Babylon, for they saw what they had been yoked up with. About eight persons made their escape in this meeting.
There were in attendance, as was usual in the meetings everywhere, people who gloried in hearing the sects spoken against. Such people, of course, while adding force in the start, were no substantial credit to the movement, as they were not genuine representatives.
During the winter the evangelists went to Marshall County, into a neighborhood that seemed very dark spiritually. After one of the evening meetings there, in which he had preached with marvelous power, Brother Warner was passing out the door when a young rough gave him a kick. He turned and thanked the fellow and said he always praised God when he received such treatment. As he started on he received another kick, for which he also praised God aloud. At the house where he was stopping the sister had two very wicked sons. On the night the kicking occurred one of these young men, instead of retiring to bed, sat in his chair at the fireplace, his face in his hands, groaning. When asked what was the matter, he referred to what had happened that evening and said he felt sorry for Brother Warner, for surely he was a godly man, etc. When he saw how Brother Warner received such abuse, his heart was touched, and he was much pained. He and his brother had both mistreated Brother Warner and those with him and had in their presence cursed his mother for feeding them. When they saw the love manifested their hearts melted, and they became warm friends to the saints of God.
From Marshall County the company went up into Michigan, into Van Buren County. Here, at Geneva Center lived a young man whom the Lord had saved and was calling into the gospel work, Brother Barney E. Warren.* The fact that he was under twenty-one years of age and that his father was unsaved and was opposed to his going into the ministry was an obstacle. But his father, who was a very wicked man, became very much convicted during the meetings held in a schoolhouse in the vicinity. He was seized with such trembling that in his attempt to steady himself by holding to the seats he shook the very floor of the building. Finally, in a consecration meeting in Brother Joseph Smith’s house, near Lacota, he rebelled against the Lord and started to leave the room. Before he reached the door the strength of his legs gave way and he sank instantly to the floor, and was unable to go farther. He then yielded. Brother Warner asked him if he was willing to let Barney go into the gospel work. His reply was, “Barney is the Lord’s.” The way was then opened for the young Brother Warren, and in the following April he became a part of the little singing company that should travel with Brother Warner for the next five years, and should consist of, besides Brother Warren, who was a bass singer, Sisters Nannie Kigar, Frances Miller, and Mother Smith. This constituted a complete quartet, with Brother Warner often reinforcing the tenor.
There had come to be many saints gathered in the one fold in this part of Michigan. Brothers A. B. Palmer, S. Michels, W. B. Grover, and S. L. Speck were ministerial workers whom God was using in this vicinity. At this time Brother Warner was called to Williamston to help get out the second edition of the Songs of Victory, the first songbook published at The Gospel Trumpet Office. Of the first edition there were over fifteen hundred copies sold in less than three weeks. Holy song exerted a wonderful influence in the reformation. With reference to his return to Williamston we include a paragraph from his report.
The day we arrived at home a good steam engine was brought into the Trumpet Office by the kind blessing of God, Brother Fisher having previously engaged it. Thank God that we live to see this day. The glorious work is spreading like fire in the earth. Glory to God and the Lamb! Oh, what hosts of fire-baptized saints we have met! With the increase of numbers there is a continual advancement in clearness and power.
Thus there was a long day of waiting before a steam engine was used in the Trumpet Office. Every improvement of this kind was always an occasion of much rejoicing for Brother Warner.
By this time the truths of the reformation were being extensively scattered. Besides the workers named in southwestern Michigan, there were G. T. Clayton in western Pennsylvania, C. Z. Lindley in Iowa, J. P. Haner in Kansas, and W. N. Smith and others in Ohio. The Lord was raising up ministers in various places, and many people were accepting the truth.
The first engagement for Brother Warner and his company, after the latter had been definitely formed, was at Walkerton, Indiana, in April 1886. They remained two weeks, and a few souls came out on the clear Bible line. There was a little persecution here, as was usual. They found the place dark with prejudice. Over forty of the professors in the place were joined in a holiness band. They professed sanctification, but most of them were connected with sects.
We went to their meeting on Tuesday night before we began operations in the hall. Being held in the United Brethren house, the meeting was led by Pastor S. of that sect. God powerfully baptized our soul, and we praised Him in prayer and testimony, which made the sect priest grow black in the face. He afterward tried to make out that we had come there and interrupted their meeting, and actually caused a report of that kind to go out. He spared no pains to fill the place with all manner of evil against us. Like Demetrius, the silversmith, his craft was in danger.
The Methodist priest delivered a lecture on Monday night in favor of secret societies; he labored especially to make a good character for the Odd Fellows. The Holy Spirit put it upon us to rebuke such agents of the devil. This the class leader of that sect said made his blood boil. So he went about the town breathing out his venom against us and enlisting as many as possible in an effort to induce the proprietor of the hall to break his contract and close the hall. They succeeded in so influencing him; but the power of God turned his mind right around, and he not only gave the hall cheerfully to the extent of the time, but offered it as much longer as we wanted it or at any time we might return.
Threats were made, eggs were thrown, and there was considerable disturbance. But the effect of such abuse was the raising up of many friends for the truth and the salvation of a few souls. Brother Warner was again called home, and the company returned to Beaver Dam.
The next trip for the company was to the Prospect neighborhood, in Jay County, where the truth had been planted the previous winter. This was in May. Brother Warner and Brother and Sister Fisher went directly to Portland by train, while the company, including S. L. Speck and Clara Morrison, were conveyed from Beaver Dam in a wagon. Of this trip across the country in a wagon, Sister Frances Miller wrote an account in her diary. It is interesting reading in these days of automobiles, when such a trip can be made in a few hours, and we here include it as she wrote it.
The brethren from Beaver Dam carried our little company from that place to Sweetser, Grant County, by lumber-wagon. We started at 5 A.M., and reached our destination about 9 P.M. We had a glorious time by the way, praising God and singing those beautiful songs. About two miles beyond Roann we drove in at the edge of a beautiful piece of woods and stopped for dinner. We placed the seats in a circle and spread our dinner upon Father’s green carpet, then thought we would praise Him with a song, supposing we were alone in the woods.
In a few moments we were surrounded with cattle. There must have been at least twenty-five or thirty, with their eyes wide open, gazing at us. We felt that God had put the love of music in these dumb animals, and we sang two or three songs for their benefit.
Mother Smith then asked God to bless the food, and we all thanked Him for it, in our hearts. After the horses had finished their dinner we pursued our way, rejoicing because we had Jesus in our souls, and He made melody through us to the Father.
The next morning the Beaver Dam brethren returned home, and brethren at Sweetser brought us to Prospect, Jay County. We started at 7 A.M. It was a beautiful morning. The recent rains had laid the dust, and we had pike roads most of the way, making traveling delightful. In the afternoon the clouds began to gather blackness, and in a short time a terrible storm was upon us. The rain came down in torrents, drenching us through and through. The wind was furious. It seemed almost every moment as though it would take us up. Then the hailstones came down so thickly the horses refused to go. We were seemingly in the midst of an ocean of water. The recent heavy rains had flooded the country, washing away several bridges.
We had quite an adventurous trip; forded one river, and the horses, while pulling us through a deep creek, pulled loose from the wagon, leaving us in the water. We were able to get to land, however. This was about two hours after the storm, and while the brethren were repairing the wagon we gathered hailstones by the handful in the fence corners.
Well, I am satisfied that none but the pure in heart could relish such a storm. We did enjoy it; and God so filled our hearts that we praised Him through it all. And when the wind was blowing the thickest, the calmness in our souls was indescribable. We knew God had power to prevent the storm; but in His wisdom he saw it was just what we needed, and His will being ours, we thanked Him for it and left the consequences of our becoming wet in His hands, knowing all would work out for our good.
After the storm, it turned quite cold. We had thirty miles yet to drive; but we had the holy fire burning within us. We reached Brother Key’s about twelve o’clock that night, waking Brother and Sister Key with the song, “Oh, ’twas love, ’twas love that found out me!”* The next morning, Saturday, May 15, we arose feeling refreshed after a few hours rest, not one of us feeling any the worse after our exposure of the previous day.
Oh, what a wonderful God! Let us praise Him for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men. We drove out to Prospect that morning, six miles, and to our surprise and joy met Brother and Sister Fisher, who had come with Brother Warner. Our hearts were made to rejoice to meet the dear saints at Prospect, with whom we had labored in the Lord last January. We had a glorious time and witnessed the salvation of many precious souls.
This second meeting at Prospect was to be held in a grove; but on account of the weather being cold and damp, and the meeting house being refused, the meetings were held most of the time in a granary building owned by a brother, Jesse Wickersham. This brother had given the land on which the Prospect meeting house stood, and had contributed largely to its erection, with the understanding that the house should be open to all true worshipers of God. But here the sect refused the house, the preaching of the truth on the former occasion having been too much for them.4
[On the second Sunday the meeting was held in the grove. After the people had assembled a very frightful storm threatened, and people began to leave. Brother Warner stopped in the midst of his preaching, and, with his hand lifted to heaven prayed God to scatter the storm and not let it hinder the meeting. He assured the people that they need not leave, that it would not rain. Some had begun to depart but stopped to see whether his prayer would be answered. It did not rain. There were other instances of this kind in Brother Warner’s career.]
In August of this year (1886) was held the first of the annual grove or camp meetings in the Beaver Dam vicinity. It was in W. W. Ballenger’s grove. For the next five years the annual camp meeting was held in J. Kuhn’s woods; and then, beginning in 1892, it was held for five years in D. Leininger’s woods. Beginning with 1897 this meeting has since been held on the beautiful ground overlooking Yellow Lake.
Before attending the Indiana grove meeting in August, Brother Warner felt impressed that from that meeting he should labor on a line eastward from that place. In conjunction with this came urgent calls from that direction, and brethren even made preparation for his coming before asking him. The first place was Arcola, Indiana. We quote from his report in which he speaks of this part of his trip:
On Friday morning, August 13, with our heart melting with pure parental love for our child, we kissed his innocent cheek and left him in silent slumber, not daring to wake him lest his little heart should break with grief at our departure, and our soul also be filled with sorrow at his pitiful tears. O God, Thou knowest the abundance of Thy grace that enables us to tear away from this affectionate child! The poor boy has recently been sick insomuch that many of the saints despaired of his life. O Lord, only Thou knowest the great trial of our soul when we felt the awful sickness of our boy, by the Spirit of God, while we were making up the last Trumpet at Williamston, and packing the Office, which none of our company had any experience in! Our presence was much needed, so that we did not feel permitted to go, though we keenly felt his sickness and told some of the saints that we felt he was sick. After suffering those feelings a week, we received a letter stating that he had been very low but was better. This took a great load off our heart, and a few days later a second, letter stated that through the laying on of hands in prayer the Lord had gloriously healed the poor little fellow.
Oh, praise our God for His great mercy toward us, that He has spared our soul the great sorrow of such a bereavement as would have been the departure of this last and dear beloved friend in the flesh! And yet we know that had the blessed Lord seen fit to take him, as in all the trials of the past we would have been “exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.” (2 Corinthians 7:4) This trial of our faith was a great blessing to us. It gave us a sure evidence that notwithstanding our intense love for the child we could leave him in the hands of God, and feel sweetly resigned to His will who had worked for us elsewhere. We found the precious boy feeling well, but still so slim and poor that it touched our heart to look upon his lean face. The Lord bless Brother Leininger’s family, with whom the child was staying during his sickness, and all the beloved saints who did all they could for the comfort and help of the dear boy.
We started at three o’clock in the morning, the Lord having sent a glorious shower before us to cool the air and put away the dust. As the day began to break, we were blessed in looking at the sublime and beautiful clouds which Father piled up in the heavens, of every shape, tint, and hue. Looking to the north we saw the perfect form of a great hand pointing to the East, and the Spirit of God filled our heart as we acknowledged it the hand of our Father, and that we were going in the direction Father was pointing. We felt something like Ezra must have felt when he said, “The hand of the LORD my God was upon me.” (Ezra 7:28)
We sang the praises of God much of the way, and the gentle breezes carried the sweet sound over the surrounding country. Once we finished a hymn just as we were ascending a hill. At the top of the hill, to our right, stood a house. The song had sounded on ahead of us and found an echo in the heart of a blessed old mother in Israel, who was clapping her hands and shouting the praises of God, and who waved her hand and nodded her head toward us as we came opposite the house, as good as to say, “I felt the Spirit of God in the song and it has set my soul on fire.” Oh, how it stirred our soul as we saw the joyful demonstrations of the dear old sister! We reached our destination in good time and had a blessed meeting that night.
That his frail body should endure the strenuous evangelistic work—the much travel, loss of sleep, and the strain of preaching and laboring for souls—as well as editing and writing for The Trumpet, is in itself a miracle. On more than one occasion, when he was exhausted, he was miraculously strengthened by the power of the Spirit. The following is a portion of his account of the meeting at Antwerp, Ohio, held while on this tour:
Having labored hard all day in the Lord, our body was so worn that we felt scarcely able to stand on our feet, so closed the meeting about dark. But finding some unsaved souls had just come who seemed concerned about salvation, we asked God to touch our body with renewed strength. Praise God, He did as we asked. We called the people to order and renewed the battle of the Lord for the rescue of perishing souls at stake. Praise God, a rich harvest of souls followed. We labored on until after ten o’clock. Two or three times we announced the meeting closed, when other souls were found under conviction and were constrained by the Spirit of God to yield. About eight were converted and a few sanctified through the blood. The work was wrought in mighty power. Strong men shouted in their new-born joys sent down from heaven by the sweet Spirit of adoption. Oh, what a heavenly sight! Even little boys, who had just found the Lord, were so powerfully blessed of God that they clapped their hands and leaped with the glory. In twenty years of labor for God we never saw anything like it. It verily seemed their little bodies must burst asunder by the power of the Spirit….
Every meeting is getting richer and more wonderful. O my Lord, whereunto will this great kingdom yet grow? Truly the saints of the Most High have taken the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven.
Leaving his company at Jerry City, Ohio, he returned to Van Buren County, Michigan, long enough to attend the assembly at Geneva Center where saints from over an extensive territory were gathered. He makes the following reference to this meeting:
Tuesday afternoon, the great day of the feast, near the beginning of the service, we sang, “Perishing Souls at Stake” when the Holy Spirit overwhelmed all our souls with the awful condition of this dark world and the worth of millions of souls who would receive the pure gospel and be saved if it were brought to them. Oh, how all our hearts were melted in sympathy for “perishing souls at stake today!”
Up to that time we had been looking for one of the dear ministerial brethren to work with us; but then we said, O Lord, send them everywhere, and we will trust Thee to “make all grace abound toward [us]; that [we], always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8) Through the Lord Jesus Christ we feel abundantly able to do as much preaching and laboring with souls as one man would be supposed to perform, and also one man’s work with the pen.
How beautiful the sight of God’s host, all mustered to the battle by the Lord Himself! No jealousy, strife, and selfish manipulation for the best places and fattest fields. Every soul feels that he has the very best place while he abides in Christ and Christ abides in us. Oh, what fools the devil has made of poor blind Babylonians whose backs are galded by the sect harness and whose hearts are often crushed beneath the sect machinery! We speak from experience. For ten years we felt this cold, heartless heel of selfish oppression. More than once we wet our pillow with the tears that the accursed Baal idol pressed from our wounded heart. By the grace of God we shall render “unto her double,” (Revelation 18:6) as God hath commanded us.
Instead of wire-pulling and ungodly plotting against one another, and each one greedily looking for his meat from his quarter, each worker in the Lord’s vineyard is looking to the Lord to guide his feet in the paths of His own will. And all go out in perfect freedom whither the Lord will and yet all work in perfect harmony, under the sweet and heavenly management of the Holy Spirit.
Of his return to Ohio and of an attempt by a mob to capture and mistreat him we have his account in The Trumpet of November 1.
After the assembly of the saints in Michigan, we returned to our little company of fellow workers in Ohio; found them all together at dear Brother and Sister Miller’s, at Jerry City. Praise God, it was joyful to our souls to meet all well again. How all hearts praised God for the tidings of His wonderful works in the assembly! Of course dear Brother Barney began to bound like a rubber ball, almost to the ceiling, when he learned of the salvation of his brother William. Doubtless angels in heaven took a part in the celebration of God’s holy praises….
October 1 we came to Brother S. Phillips’ near Rising Sun. We held some meetings in a house on his place. We enjoyed preaching the glorious gospel of Christ to the people that came together there.
October 7, we moved a few miles farther east and one mile north, to the house of dear Brother Daniel Roush, where we invited the neighbors together to hear the word of the Lord. The room soon proved too small, and the weather being pleasant, we obtained a tent from Brother Phillips, that covered about 18 x 20 feet, which we attached to one end of a large porch; these together made quite a good meeting room. The Lord helped us to preach the glorious gospel of Christ, and we poured out the vials of God’s wrath upon every evil way. The Lord worked, and souls were saved almost every day.
Thursday, October 14, the Lord sent a very strong wind and we had to take the tent down. That night we held the meeting in the house. The night being dark and rainy, the congregation was not very large. While we were preaching the word, suddenly in rushed
A Black Mob
About fifteen or more of the baser sort, who were drunk and mad on the wine of Babylon, with their faces blackened, sprang into the room and seized upon us and started to take us out. Brethren quickly saw the situation and were not slow in our help. But the room being seated with backed seats, and the space between us and the door being all occupied by the sons of Belial, not many saints could get near us. The enemies of the Lord all having hold of each other and the front ones hold on us, we were pretty rapidly drawn to the door. But a few of the little ones were pulling back with all their might. Brother Barney and Sister Frankie Miller were in the hottest of the fight! Mother and Nan could not get to us.
Hallelujah! We praised God every step and felt the perfect peace of God in our souls, Brother George Roush had hold on our left arm and was our principal stay. The black clan, knowing him as a very strong man, thought to beat him loose from his hold on us; but he received the blows on his face without slacking his hold. God bless that brother. The Lord did not suffer him to be hurt to amount to anything. One of the black clan brought with him a pretty wieldy little cudgel, which Brother Jacob Roush grabbed and wrested out of his hands. And being an officer of the law, of whom the Word of the Lord says, “He beareth not the sword [or club] in vain,” (Romans 13:4) he began to apply it vigorously on the black heads. Up to this second the contest stood in breathless uncertainty. We were hauled to the very threshold, and all the desperadoes were determined to have their victim. Once the threshold crossed, we were to be dragged out into the dark night to suffer all that Satan might dictate in the hearts of fiendish Catholic sect idolaters and wicked sinners. But all at once the Spirit said to our soul, “I will not leave thee in the hands of the wicked.” Almost immediately every black hand let go and fled. Glory be to our God, He always causes us to triumph through Christ Jesus.
The little ones said it looked as though we should be pulled to pieces, but, praise God, not a hair of our head was harmed, not a muscle strained, and not a thread of our clothes torn. Glory to Jesus for His precious deliverance of us out of the jaws of the fierce beasts! It was reported that their intention was to strip us and give us a good lashing with whips and then serve us with a dessert of rotten eggs. We praised God for their defeat, but believe we should have praised Him and leaped still more with the glory in our soul had he seen fit to let the wicked accomplish their end. After the struggle we sang a hymn of praise to God and resumed our discourse in the Spirit of the Lord.
Before we came to the place, our eyes rested on 1 Thessalonians 2:1-2 and as we read, the Spirit gave us the words as descriptive of what we should meet. Praise God, we were willing to be shamefully entreated for Christ’s sake and were none the less “bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention,” “[knowing] that our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain.” ()
The night before the black mob came we dreamed of fighting black dogs, which finally fled from before our face. Some were apprehensive they would repeat the attack, and there were all kinds of “rumours of wars.” (Matthew 24:6; Mark 13:7) Had we not been saved above all fears we should have escaped out of that place as soon as possible, but we remained over the following Sabbath.
From Ohio the course of our little company of evangelists turned westward again. While they were holding meeting at Payne, Ohio, Brothers Williams and Yoder, from LaGrange County, Indiana, arrived to convey them seventy-two miles back to Brushy Prairie, Indiana. On their return they reached a point near Antwerp, Ohio, the first evening. As soon as they came into the neighborhood the news was sounded out, and the house where they were stopping was quickly filled with people who had come to hear the words of eternal life.
When we landed there, we began to think of our bodies, and felt sorry the word had gone out announcing a meeting. We had been up, some until twelve, and 1others until two o’clock, the night before, and wishing to start by daylight on a fifty-five mile drive the next day, it seemed that the rest was a matter of necessity. But as the people came together, our hearts, burdened for lost souls, soon forgot circumstances, and the meeting continued till eleven o’clock. All glory to our God, who is “able to make all grace abound toward [us]; that [we], always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)
Meetings were held in LaGrange County, Indiana, after which the company were conveyed in a two-days journey by lumber-wagon to Beaver Dam.5 While engaged in meetings in this part of the State he was called home to the Office again, to assist with the third edition of the song book. The Publishing Office by this time had been moved to Grand Junction, Van Buren County, Michigan.
[An interesting episode in connection with this trip is related by Brother D. Leininger, of Beaver Dam, whose mother, known as Mother Krause, was at this time not expected to live. Mother Krause had for some cause held a slight grievance against Brother Warner. Early in December, on the night before she died, she declared she must see Brother Warner and begged to have him sent for. She was told that Brother Warner was over in La Grange County, quite a distance away, and that if the Lord wanted her to see him he would spare her life until she should have that opportunity. Scarcely had this been said when Brother Warner arrived, to the surprise of all.
Two days before, where he had been holding meetings, he expressed the conviction that the Spirit bade him go to Beaver Dam. Accordingly it was decided to go, and he resumed his writing, at which he had been engaged, until the time to start. Perceiving that no preparations were being made he dropped his pen and asked the cause. He was told that the weather was inclement and that traveling would be disagreeable. He said, “Never mind the weather; the Lord can take care of that. The Lord says, ‘Go to Beaver Dam.’ ” Thus it was that he and his company were prompted to make the trip. Landing at Brother William Ballenger’s, they stayed over night. In the latter part of the night Brother Warner awoke Brother Ballenger and said he must go to see Mother Krause immediately.
Mother Krause died the following evening, but not before she was comforted by the presence of Brother Warner.]
Brother Fisher, having gone to the Office, wrote for us to come also, as we were needed. The interest of the meeting was such that we thought we should by no means leave. But as we fasted and prayed, the Spirit of God bade us go immediately, assuring us that he would put His Spirit on dear Brother Barney Warren and cause him to preach the word to the people.
Though the little ones were loath to have us leave so suddenly, the grace of God enabled all to say, “Amen,” and in a few moments we were on our way to the station, and several hours ride on Father’s swift chariots landed us at The Trumpet Office once more, after an absence of five months.
Oh, praise God for His glorious blessings upon our soul and body! Having had no ministerial help, preaching nearly all the time twice a day, with much altar-work, singing, etc., besides doing one man’s writing keeping The Trumpet filled and attending to a large correspondence, hymn writing, etc., it is wonderful, a constant miracle, how God can do so much through a poor, naturally frail body. We scarcely get six hours sleep out of twenty-four. Glory to God, we do love this holy war for our God against the powers of hell and for the rescue of perishing souls. If the Lord saw fit to keep us working the whole time day and night, and sustained us, we should say, “Amen.”
Oh, how glad we were to see the beloved little ones at home once more! God bless their souls. How grateful we are to God for the faithful labors of these dear ones. Truly they endure all things for the elect’s sake, that their fingers may send forth the bread of heaven to the hungry souls. Dear brethren, when you read The Trumpet so eagerly do not forget to pray for those blessed children who are so devoted to this great work. We were in hopes that God would give us the sweet luxury of some nights’ rest with the little ones at home. But lo, here came the dear saints from every direction wishing Brother Joseph and us to come here and there to preach for them….
When we left our little company we expected to return soon again, but as the second edition of Songs of Victory is nearly exhausted we have to remain here to help print the third edition soon.
Praise God, nearly thirty-five hundred books have gone forth singing the praises of God. May God speed all His flying angels with the everlasting gospel to this dark and wretched world, so near its awful doom. Amen.
Brother Warner remained at the Office until early in March, when, by agreement, he met his little company again at Walkerton, Indiana, where they had held meetings almost a year before. Frankie Miller refers in her diary to their meeting in Walkerton on the night of their arrival there.
That night we all met at Brother Barden’s to worship God. After the meeting had nicely begun, in walked Brother Warner. Well, it is needless to say we were all very thankful to see his dear face again. He said that this was the second time he had been mobbed. The first time was by the black mob near Rising Sun, Ohio, and the second time was this time by the White Horse Cavalry (Revelation 19:11-14).
Sister Miller also relates an instance of healing that occurred before they left Walkerton.
Wednesday morning, the 13th, Brother Wolfenberger came out to Brother Barden’s, where we were, before breakfast. His little boy, five years old, was very sick with spinal disease and had high fever. The doctors held a council over him the day before. We all went over about nine o’clock. The doctor was there. The little fellow was crying, and burning up with fever. He had not eaten anything but a little scraped apple since Saturday. The doctor tried to open his eyes, and wanted to put a fly blister on his spine. Brother Warner told the parents that if they wanted to put the case in God’s hands they must drop the doctor and his medicines and take Christ alone for their physician. They were both willing, and said they believed God would heal the child. After looking to God in prayer, Brother Warner anointed the child in the name of Jesus, and we laid on hands, and God healed the little sufferer. Oh, praise God for His goodness! The fever was broken, and he sweat freely and opened his eyes very bright and asked for a cookie. He ate two cookies and some bologna very greedily, and teased to be dressed and go to the depot with his papa after his sister’s satchel.
The daughter had been attending school in Auburn, and they telegraphed for her, thinking the child could not live. Before we reached the place, the daughter had gone to God in prayer asking Him to pardon her sins and to save her little brother. After the child was healed, a young woman working in the family, who had been bitter against the power of God and against us, fell on her knees and cried to God for mercy, and she received the spirit of adoption. She was a member of the United Brethren without a spark of salvation.
We present extracts from Brother Warner’s report of this second meeting at Walkerton.
Here we set the battle in array last April in a two weeks siege. Hell was moved to the bottomless pit. Babylon foamed and howled, and, like the ancient Pharisees, stirred up the people to “shamefully entreat us,” as they did Paul at Philippi. But, thank God, in the fires of persecution and storms of opposition God saved a few souls, and these we find standing fast; and a few others the Lord has added to His own church, who are praising God for the great salvation. We soon found that the gospel of Christ had grown much in the favor of the people. The Lord God of power had greatly turned the minds and hearts of the people to endorse and love the truth. Men of principle gave all to understand that if they attempted to disturb our meetings again as they had before they must suffer the application of the law. Praise God, the people heeded the warning, and God also inclined them to give good attention.
We occupied a very large hall for two weeks and had it well filled with hearers. Multitudes were under deep conviction, but were unwilling to pay the price of real salvation. Several, however, were saved by the power and grace of God, converted and sanctified, and a few made their escape fully out of Babylon and were wonderfully blessed of the Lord. Were it not for shoddy holiness and stagnant pools of sectish religion in the way of God’s salvation, a great harvest of souls could be brought to Jesus. But the corrupt preachers in this place will have to answer for the awful influence that is damning multitudes of poor sinners, both in and out of their sect enclosures. On the last two nights of our meeting, there was also meeting in the Methodist house in the town. Some of that sect were greatly convicted to escape out of her; but we could feel the influence of those meetings as sensibly as if the Holy Spirit were incarnate and were being literally crucified in the town, as the Spirit and Word were killed “in the streets of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt.” (Revelation 11:8) Oh, how sensibly we felt the “fellowship of [the] suffering” (Philippians 3:10) of Jesus Christ! While the sweet peace of God flows a deep, everlasting undercurrent in our souls, we often feel the slaughter of immortal spirits in the streets of Babylon until our heart sickens and we long to leave this world and be with Jesus. But like the apostle, we always conclude that “for [us] to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21); and the rescue of perishing souls from the brink of hell fires us with a willingness to expose our soul to the hatred and jeers, violence and murder in hearts that are drunk on the wine of beast religion. The United Brethren preacher at this place, whom Satan used with such diligence against the work when we were here last year, was much tormented by our return. “The wine of the wrath of her fornication” (Revelation 14:8; 18:3) so foamed in his heart that, we were told by good authority, he said that he wished we were stripped, tarred and feathered, and then set on fire, and added that he would like to touch the match himself. And this wretched priest of Baal professes sanctification, and frequently leads the Babylon holiness band’s meetings. Today we were told that he regretted much that his words came to our ears. That is like the thief that repented bitterly, not of his theft, but that he was caught in the deed.
A sister came in from the country and received full salvation. There being a union meeting house in the community, she and others desired us to come there and preach the gospel. We agreed to do so on Sabbath evening if the house could be obtained. She thought there would be no difficulty. But as soon as the matter became known, a Methodist local preacher of the vicinity began to rage. He came to Walkerton on Saturday and, “foaming out [his] shame” (Jude 1:13) before the people, declared that if we attempted to enter that pulpit he would “break our head,” “break our neck,” “kill us,” etc.
Bishop Foster speaks of his M. E. sect as follows: “Oh, how changed! A hireling ministry will be a feeble, a timid, a truckling, a time serving ministry, without faith, endurance, and holy power.” Through this corrupt ministry “worldly socials, festivals, concerts, and such like, have taken the place of the religious gatherings, revival meetings, class- and prayer-meetings of the past. Oh, how changed!” Yes, saith the prophet, “How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it: but now murderers. Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water: thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards.” (Isaiah 1:21-23)
Surely we have come to the last days. For, “this know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God: having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
Yea, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” (Revelation 18:2)
Oh, the rottenness, fierce hatred, and soul murdering wickedness of sect Babylon! If there were only one hundred professors of Christ in the United States, and they all holy men and women of God, filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, walking unto all pleasing before God and exemplifying the pure life of Christ before men, and this generation had never known any other kind of professors of Christ, the masses of the people could be rapidly reached by the gospel of Jesus and saved from sin. But the devil has the world piled up with corrupt, proud, filthy, sectish religionists, “professing that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” (Titus 1:16)
And because God has given us an honest heart to confess the sins of the professed Christendom and show the people that Christ is not the author of this mass of spiritual whoredom and abominable wickedness, which has filled hell with lost souls and covered the earth with blackness and infidelity, the devil howls and rages in his sectish priests, who are ready to murder us as the Jews did Christ, Stephen, and thousands of other martyrs who testified against them and their evil deeds.
As we shall have to meet the people of Walkerton and surroundings face to face in the day of judgment, God holds us responsible to tell them that the greatest obstruction to the salvation of souls is their shoddy, sectish holiness and their abominable, worldly religion.
Up to the summer of 1887 the evangelistic efforts of Brother Warner and his company were confined to the States of the Middle West. But now came a more extensive tour, that should take them as far West as Denver, Colorado. On June 24 they left the Office and after a few meetings in LaGrange and Jay Counties, Indiana, departed for the West. They stopped at Gilman and Onarga, Illinois, and Hayesville, Iowa. From Keokuk, Iowa, they traveled by steamboat to St. Louis, where the following report was written:
“O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together” (Psalm 34:3)! We have just landed here from the steamboat Sidney, having bad a very delightful trip down the Mississippi from Keokuk. We made the trip of two hundred miles in twenty hours. The river being very low at this time, much caution was necessary to avoid running aground. Doubtless one hundred miles were traveled in passing from one side of the river to the other to keep the deepest channel. We were a day and a night at Keokuk, waiting the coming of the boat. The Gem City was to have reached Keokuk the first day and then return down the river; but being late she turned around at Quincy and started back, leaving us to wait until the next day. Praise God, we confessed His all-wise hand in the matter and thanked Him for the prolonged wait, believing it was all ordered of Him. This morning about daybreak we passed the Gem City, she having stuck fast in the sand. So the Lord was good to His little ones and gave us a safe and very joyful voyage. Oh, the goodness and wisdom of God our heavenly Father for placing the great rivers and lakes in the earth as a beautiful means of travel! It is so much more pleasant than by railroad. Though the speed is not more than half so great, we can very pleasantly improve the time reading and writing. However, this trip was so wonderfully enjoyed by us that we could do no more than feast upon the beauties of nature and praise the Lord. The river abounds in beautiful green islands, and all her verdant banks are delightful. Just below the mouth of the Illinois River, for a few miles, the hand of God has skillfully carved out of the high rocky shore very beautiful scallops and great piers and towers, and even some appearances of partly ruined mansions and rustic stone buildings.
No one else on board the vessel seemed to be delighted with these vast and beautiful works as were our company, because unacquainted with our dear Father, whose hand of love has formed them all. Oh, how blessed the pure in heart who see God all along the voyage of life! What a vastly different aspect everything wears when looked at in the light of God! Oh, how poor and meager the pleasures of the children of this world! How utterly tasteless and empty their thoughts and conversation! No place on earth serves better to call out the glories of a life hid with Christ in God in its striking contrast with the dark minds and almost senseless twaddle of the aliens than the deck of a steamboat. Even the more elevated seldom have a worthy thought on immortal mind; while every object our eyes lighted upon in the passing panorama of nature inspired our souls with joyful acknowledgments of God, and moved our hearts and lips to praise His name. Oh, what a rapturous and heavenly kingdom we live in, all flashing with glory and yet hidden from the blinded sinners! Having lost our lives for Christ’s sake we are raised to the heavenly joys of the life of God in us, a life of bliss, that already transcends the sinner’s loftiest ideal of heaven itself. Oh, the beauties of holiness! “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.” (Psalm 50:2) Never in all past experience has our heart flowed out more in gratitude to God for the inexpressible bliss of a pure conscience, a pure heart through the blood of Christ, an innocent life through grace divine, a conversation in heaven flowing from a good treasure in the heart, and, above all, a soul illuminated and inspired to see and enjoy God in every bright sunbeam that gleams on earth and sparkles in the silvery stream and every object upon the footstool of God.
Our God is love, the angels know
That Father dearly loves us so;
But, oh, the ransomed feel within,
The burning love we try to sing.*
This evening we start for St. James, Missouri, the Lord willing, where we expect to meet once more our dear Brother J. Cole, and many others dear to our hearts by the fellowship of the Spirit whose faces we have never seen. And best of all, we are expecting a glorious harvest of souls turned to righteousness by the mighty power and love of God.
The next report was written from St. James, Crawford County, one hundred miles west of St. Louis. Brother B. E. Warren says that after buying their tickets for St. James they had but seven cents left, and that after arriving at the latter place Brother Warner went to the post office and received a letter containing five dollars from S. L. Speck, who felt led of the Lord to send that amount. Brother Warner’s account of their reception in St. James, as follows, is interesting:
The night following our last report, which was from St. Louis, Missouri, we landed at St. James, at 12:30 A.M. The Lord directed us to a friendly inn, where we rested until the morning. As we sat at the breakfast table our grateful hearts flowed out in our sweet little table thanksgiving song. The Lord wonderfully blessed that sweet offering of praise. It rang out and greeted the ears of all in hearing as the music of heaven. After meal, requests soon came in for songs. The Holy Spirit gloriously inspired our voices to sing His praises. Many people soon collected in front of the room and some came in. After a few hymns, we had family worship. We invited all that would come to come in and bow with us in prayer. Some did so. The Lord blessed our souls. Soon Brother J. H. Morrison came into town, and seeing the throng in front of the hotel he asked the cause, and was told that “your people have come to town.” He came into the waiting room and introduced himself, and the Spirit of God gave us a joyful meeting. Sinners looked on with wonder and amazement, and were led to say, “These are truly the real children of God, and this is the right way,” according to the words of our Savior, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35) Many seemed quite serious. Had we tried to respond to the requests of the people we should have kept singing all day without cessation.
The people desired Brother Morrison to keep us right there and have a meeting that night in town, saying they would see that all our expenses there should be paid. The landlady and family were also very anxious we should stay, and treated us with much kindness. The Lord reward them. The Methodist preacher also came to see what this Pentecost fire was that had come to town. When asked if we could have their meeting house that night he replied that he was going to “begin a protracted meeting tonight.” Suddenly the preacher concluded a protracted meeting was needed in his charge. Whoever heard of a Methodist minister commencing a protracted meeting in the month of July in the latitude of central Missouri, especially since that sect has gone spiritually to the frigid zone where, as their oldest living bishop says, “spirituality is frozen to death”? Quite a capacious hall was procured and well filled, and we enjoyed preaching the precious gospel to the people. About all received the word. The M. E. meeting consisted of three or four women, and was not further protracted.
The day of our arrival here came also dear Brother C. C. Knight, from Fulton, Illinois, with tent and equipment to accompany us on our Western campaign. He is full of faith and the Holy Ghost and is a good help in the work.
The next day we moved out to the campground, which is about ten miles from St. James and near the Merrimac River. Here we met our dearly beloved Brother Cole, who spent a year with us in Michigan a few years ago; also his sister Mary, a chosen and anointed instrument of God to preach and testify the gospel of the grace of God.
At this campmeeting the little company were to encounter a new problem. As soon as they arrived at the place of meeting they were accorded a strange reception. Those who were supposed to be saints at that place came to meet them, some dancing on one leg, some roiling their eyes in their head, others gibbering in tongues, or jerking, or falling stiff, etc. At first they did not know what to make of the strange performance. At this place also was another attempt by a mob to capture Brother Warner. His report continues:
We met also a much larger host of saints than we had expected to find in this country. Praise God for this! But, oh, how soon we saw and felt that Satan, the deceiver, had passed a dreadful network of deception over them, or nearly all of them! Unseemly and even hideous operations and contortions were carried on and called the manifestations of the Spirit and power of God. We began at once to rebuke it in the name of the Lord Jesus. God gloriously blessed our souls in preaching His word and assured us that He had much people there who were honest and sincere at heart and who would be delivered by the presentation of his word. The supposed gift of tongues was alarmingly increasing. Indian war dances, etc., had turned the church of God into something quite different, a disgusting maze of confusion. We were helped of God in teaching them “how [they] oughtest to behave [themselves] in the house of God, which is the church of the living God.” (1 Timothy 3:15)
A terrible nervous jerking had seized upon many in the meetings, which in some cases resembled much St. Vitas’ dance. We speak of these things in order to give the saints of God everywhere the benefit of what these precious souls have learned in the dear school of experience. We had never seen such manifestation except in persons possessed with devils, and yet the Spirit of God showed us these were not so possessed, but were, for the most part, still owned of the Lord. We read 1 Corinthians 12, 13, 14, and showed the beautiful harmony of the church under the control of the Spirit of God; that love “doth not behave itself unseemly” (1 Corinthians 13:5); that the gift of tongues was not of general usefulness, and was a sign to the Jews, not generally edifying to the church; that other gifts should be sought in preference, and unless he or some one else interpret, the person having the gift should keep silent or speak to himself; that “five words with [the] understanding [is better] than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue” (1 Corinthians 14:19); that spasmodic jerking is not mentioned in the Bible as a manifestation of God’s Spirit, but is ascribed to a malignant spirit.
We renounced that working as of the devil. It seems that one brother who had been powerfully charged by the Holy Spirit had become puffed up, which gave place to this satanic working. Then Satan made it the standard of being filled with the Spirit and power of God; therefore many earnestly prayed for it. They forgot that the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us only according to the will of God, and whatsoever one prays for outside the will of God must be suggested by some other spirit. And as God has not promised to answer such a prayer, the devil steps in and answers it. And now, since delivered, the dear saints see and confess that the incoming of this power dimmed their faith, joy, and peace. It was nothing less than Satan touching and playing upon their nerves and upon their imaginations. Their motives having been good, namely, to seek the real power of God, their consciences were not defiled—at least, with most of them. But some were much blinded and puffed up of the devil. Satan had free access to their minds under the cloak of the Spirit of God. Those who were not affected by the foolish jerking of the devil were judged by the devil and made to believe they did not have the Spirit of God because they did not jerk. Thus all were under depression and more or less bewildered. Oh, how our souls were saddened at the sight! O dear saints of God everywhere, do not ascribe to the Spirit of God ludicrous and unbecoming conduct, such as chattering like a coon or barking like a dog, and all hideous looks!
Well, praise God, the word of God was received. Some at first resented, but God soon convicted them and they became teachable. Nearly all the foolish stuff was rid out of the camp after one discourse explaining and renouncing it. Intelligent sinners respected the truth of God that exposed the devil’s counterfeit, and some who loved the true church wept for joy to see the abomination put away. From that time God led one after another to confess that spiritual joy and true faith began to depart out of their hearts from the time of receiving the jerks. Many came bowing at the altar, and the glorious work of cleansing went forward.
The truth of God was published against all the works of the devil by the power of the Holy Spirit. Some sect preachers, filled with the beast spirit and the very devil himself, were very much enraged against the word of the Lord, which had laid open the rottenness of their hearts. Hence they spewed out their shame and foamed exceedingly. On Tuesday night, after meeting, we all lay down to rest, being wearied with the arduous labors of the day. A masked mob aroused us from our much needed sleep and ordered all to pack up and leave the grounds in half an hour. They were armed with staves and rocks. Well, the saints arose and packed up, praising God for peace and comfort in their souls, not fearing the poor set of sinners who knew not that they were persecuting the Savior. They made diligent inquiry for us all about the camp. We were doubtless the special victim marked by their rankling hatred; but the Lord delivered us out of their hands. Oh, praise the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together!
The next morning early some saints drove back to the ground to get some things that had been left, and there came the preachers who had been bowling with torment and sorrow because of the sword of the Lord, and even gnawing their tongues for pain, and who were generally believed to have been in the clan the night before, and one of them even recognized. They asked with much affected surprise what had happened, and began to declare and even to swear in the presence of God that they knew nothing of the movement and were not in it, though one of them confessed he was glad of it. This they did without having been accused. One brother said, “A guilty conscience needs no accuser; you plead guilty before accused.”…
Well, praise God, the next morning, after a few hours sleep, we were called up to join some little ones in asking God to heal a child that was suffering with the croup. The good Lord instantly did the work. Others followed, some for healing, others for complete deliverance from every taint of the devil. God Himself gathered the saints at that place, and the day was devoted to salvation work. Probably twenty-five or thirty souls were delivered from all the works of the devil and filled with the Spirit of God. Oh, what a mighty change has taken place here! Instead of gloomy and hideous looks, now shines the glory and beauties of holiness upon the joyful faces of the redeemed, and clear, ringing shouts of praises are pleasing to God.
No meeting was announced for the next day, but the Lord gathered quite a number together again, and salvation work was resumed. On both days God so filled and possessed the meetings that there was not time for the slightest allusion to the mob workers of the devil. A stranger might have sat in the meeting the whole day and not received the faintest information of what had happened two nights ago. Praise God, these two days after driven out of camp were the most glorious and fruitful of all that we spent in these wild thickets. In spite of all that poor, pitiable ruffians could do, hissed on by wicked Babylonians, we are filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
We are now holding meetings a few days in the village of St. James. A large hall is crowded with attentive hearers, and the truth is mightily prevailing. Let all the saints of God pray for us. We will continue to preach the whole truth and rebuke the works of the devil, even if this tour should end in heaven. Hallelujah!
Of these strange manifestations Brother T. E. Ellis, who was one of those living in the vicinity and affected by the peculiar power that possessed the saints there, says:
We were under an influence similar to what the modern tongues people are under. We had different manifestations. Some would jerk spasmodically, some would fall and become stiff, some would dance, some would seem to have a kind of trance and a vision. Healing was claimed and the work seemed to be done. We had what we called the “unknown tongue” and an interpreter. A few talked similarly to the way modern tongues people talk nowadays.
From St. James the company continued their tour to Carthage, in the southwestern part of the State. They also held meetings at a number of different points in southern Kansas and in southeastern Nebraska. The first paragraph of his report from Chanute, Kansas, was written while he was sick. We quote the first two paragraphs:
It seems as distance stretches out between us and the dear loved ones with whom we have so often and joyfully worshiped God, that the love of God in our hearts is drawing us nearer together. I have never before felt the blessed, pure love of God burning so intensely in my heart for the dear household of God as lately. I can scarcely write to the beloved saints without tears dimming my eyes. O dearly beloved, we can feel your daily fervent prayers in our behalf, and all our company desire to thank you for them.
We want to testify to the goodness of God. The foregoing lines were written by a very sick man, but now we continue writing, a well man. Oh, praise the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together! From early morn until 3 P.M. today we were very sick, unable to eat. Tried to write, but had to take the bed. Finally the Lord impressed us with earnest prayer. We called the little company and kneeled before God, and, oh, our dear heavenly Father instantly healed our body, took away all bad feeling, raised our voice from the faint tones of a person just beginning to rise from a hard sick spell to clear loud shouts of praise! He also sent through our entire system the strength of high leaps, as well as the high praises of God.
In a later report he shows how his health was maintained by faith.
For some time we have felt called of God to devote ourself more especially to the great duty of writing some works of present truth, and we expect to do so after the present tour. With this fact coming oft before our mind, we began unconsciously to relax our faith by which in our natural frailty we kept up sufficient strength for field labor. The presence of the ministerial brethren with us for some time also helped ease up our mind and drop our shield of faith by our side. The result was the devil had afflicted our poor weak body for several weeks. But, praise God, the Lord having in answer to prayer shown us what the trouble was, last Sabbath we rebuked the devil in the name the Lord Jesus with a holy vehemence, and our soul and body sprang forth with a shout of victory, and, glory to our God, we have been wonderfully well and spiritually glorious ever since.
From Waco, Nebraska, the company traveled westward to Denver. The following are extracts from his report at that place:
We stopped over a few hours in Lincoln, the capital of the State. We viewed with surprise the young city. Fourteen years ago when we visited the place it was small—now it numbers over twenty thousand inhabitants, more than double the size of Lansing, Michigan.
That night, for the first time in all our travels, an accident occurred to our train, a slight collision with a freight train several miles out of Lincoln. The engine being injured, we had to wait some hours until another was brought from the city. During this time there was a very violent wind. The car rocked on its springs like a load of hay passing over a rough road. But we lay down and slept sweetly, committing ourselves unto the Lord. That evening dear Brother E. E. Byrum, at the office, had a great burden for our safety, as he wrote us the next day. But he prayed for us until the Lord by the Spirit answered him that we should be delivered from all harm. Oh, praise the Lord for His goodness and mercy toward us! For our safety he placed a burden on one nearly a thousand miles away, but allowed not the slightest anxiety on our minds.
Tuesday evening, December 6, our little company took train for Denver, five hundred miles more toward the setting sun. That night we stopped over and had a good night’s rest at McCook, Nebraska. Took train again at 7 A.M. and went flying over the prairie at a swift rate. Oh, what vast expanse of the broad prairie! Some parts are rough and broken, but the larger portion is beautiful and even and wanting only showers or irrigation to make a beautiful farming-country….
When about fifty miles from Denver, we observed strange blue banks to the west, which we first took to be dark clouds, but which we soon perceived were distant foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Plainer and higher they loomed up before our eyes as our swift train kept darting like an arrow toward the base. How beautiful and sublime the sight! Here, at Denver we are twelve miles from the foot mountains. They seem but a very short distance, especially when the morning sun shines brightly against their eastern sides. It seems impossible that they can be more than a mile and one half away. A person would surely suppose that he could walk over and back before breakfast. The foothills, rather mountains, are of a dark color, being covered by timber, and to all appearance just beyond them rise up the beautiful snow-covered range. To our astonishment we are told that fifty miles stretch out between them and that there is a fertile valley there with towns, etc. The snowy range being so much farther off seems to be but a little higher than the foot mountains, and both ranges seem to stand together. In the morning they all seem so close that one would surely suppose a man could be seen if standing there in the snow….
It was quite a novelty to the company to see the many sod houses we passed and dugouts in the hillsides. Sometimes there was scarcely anything to attract attention but a window door in a steep little hill. Sometimes we saw upon the level ground a roof about eight by ten covering a little underground house. Most of such were but herdsmen’s dens. We have not yet begun to work here. Let all the saints pray earnestly for the work of salvation.
The company remained in Denver ten weeks, holding meeting in various places. When they went to that city there were only four persons who were in the light of the truth, but they left a congregation of about forty who had taken their stand for the truth. Returning eastward they stopped in York County, Nebraska, where Brother Warner had labored in his Nebraska mission in 1873-4. A portion of his report from Wayland reads as follows:
We preached and lived in this community thirteen and fourteen years ago, then a member of the sect wearing the stolen name of Church of God. The Lord blessed our labors in the salvation of some souls from their sins, and we had good meetings. There were very dear brethren and sisters here. But since our departure the work has retrograded. Some of their preachers became horse jockeys, others jealous-hearted, dead formalists, too cold and dry to keep men awake, much less awaken and get anyone converted. The one on the work up to the time of our coming here has preached here four years without the conversion of a single soul. During our meeting he resigned his charge, and we are told he has now hired himself to preach for the Christian sect at Wayland, some of the members of which were the most malignant enemies and opposers of the work of grace. An unsaved citizen declared the other evening that about all the bad behavior and interruption he had seen during our meetings was by the sinners of the sects.
From Wayland the company went by way of Meriden and Atchinson, Kansas, to Whiteside County, Illinois, where they held meetings near Albany and also near Fulton. The following is the report, in part, from Albany:
We were happy to meet our dear beloved Brother Knight at his prairie home, four miles east of Fulton, and he leaped and skipped like a lamb to see us. The next day we all came eleven miles south to Brother A. Byers’, whose house is a happy home for the war-worn pilgrims. The people are receiving the word with much interest. After several days’ work here and as long at Brother Knight’s neighborhood we go on homeward, for there is a great deal to do at home, some small works to print and the new songbook, Anthems from the Throne. Praise God for the precious and glorious songs He is sending us! The music is nearly all written by Brother Barney, whose inspiration in this gift is a marvel….
O beloved, will you help us? A great responsibility rests upon us. While we are praising God for the precious light of heaven let us not forget others in darkness and exposed to the numerous pitfalls now threatening souls for whom Jesus died. Let no spirit of the devil nor any of his children tell you that we have any selfish motive in enlisting all willing and obedient hearts and hands in doing our duty in the rescuing of souls from Satan in every possible way. In the name of Jesus we spurn such meanness. God knows we do not draw a breath for self, but “for to me to live is Christ.” (Philippians 1:21) Are we seeking self-interests, as wicked men have belied us? Where can any facts be cited upon which to base such an unkind assertion? On the present tour of nearly a year we have used about every cent we have received from the sale of books to supply the needs of ourself and little company. So we go forth preaching night and day, exposing this poor frail body to the cruel, biting frosts and beating storms, and toiling about every moment with the pen except when in meetings or going to and from, and in about six hours sleep, asking nothing for our labors either from God or man but the salvation of souls and the glory of God….
Life will soon be over. You must leave your earthly treasures in the hands of others. Whether they will leave it to serve God or the devil is not yet known. Therefore, had you not better put a little of it at least into God’s bank, laying it up in heaven, where thieves do not break through and steal and where moth and rust do not corrupt? As we return home from this long tour we feel impressed of the Lord to devote ourself more fully to the preparation of matter for the press: and we shall pray God with all our soul to move men and women to provide the means to purchase paper and other supplies to send it forth. There should be some works sent forth by the million, free of cost. We feel sure that God will find willing hearts to help in the work, and shall toil on in full assurance that when we breathe our last we shall have this consolation, that we have done what we could to enlighten and save souls, for whom Jesus died upon the cross.
The company arrived at Grand Junction, Michigan, on April 25. Thus ended their Western tour, in which seed was sown in many hearts to spring up and bear fruit for God.
Sister Frankie Miller said of this tour that it was marked by wonderful answers to prayer for rain. It seemed that wherever the company stopped on their way West in Illinois, Iowa, and the other States the country was suffering on account of drought. At every place their visit was either attended or followed by copious showers. At one public service Mother Smith prayed earnestly for rain. There was not a single indication of rain, but before the service was over the heavens blackened and rain fell in abundance. Thus all along their course the drought was broken.
The summer of 1888 was spent in attending campmeetings and visiting the churches in various places in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Early in the winter a tour was made into Ontario. They found a good many souls in that country who had come out for the truth. Their labors there were blessed in the salvation of others and in the sowing of the good seed. Of the country and people Brother Warner had this to say:
We can say that we find a moderately fair farming country, and we cannot observe the slightest difference between the people here and in the States. More than ever we have learned that so long as governments allow a free, conscientious worship of God, their form is quite immaterial. We do not see that people have any special advantages by living in the States over what are enjoyed here. If any difference, farmers do not pay as heavy taxes here as in the States. Local option temperance laws are given to the people, and some counties have no saloons. And one blessed thing Canada has reason to thank God for is the fact that all liquor selling establishments are strictly compelled to close early Saturday evening and not open until Monday morning. This law enforced cuts off nearly one half the mischief of the nefarious business. Sabbath observance is also far more complete here than in the States. We were blessed with good order and find the way open for the gospel freely.
In August of the year 1889, the company again made their way Westward, going as far as Nebraska and returning through Kansas and Missouri. They held meetings again at St. James, Missouri, where a mob had given trouble two years before. Some of those who were guilty of that disturbance had become friends to the truth. One old preacher, however, continued to abuse the saints in his preaching until one Sunday evening, after expressing his usual opposition to the saints, he went home and dropped dead near his gate. Before this second visit of Brother Warner to this place one of the Baptist Church members made it known that he intended to break up this meeting also. It was reported that he actually began to work up a mob; but his child had a bean to lodge in its windpipe and died, and this put a stop to the carrying out of his evil design.
Brother Warner intended to spend the winter in Missouri, but he felt drawn back to Indiana. Having a great desire to settle down for a while, he wrote as follows, in December, 1889:
For a long time we have felt the call of God to shut ourself away with Him for a while and let Him teach us the deep things of God, that we may be able more perfectly to follow out the glorious lines of present truth. We have a great desire to do so, and yet when hungry souls in every direction are calling for the saving truth of God it is hard for us to keep from running; but if the Lord will, we shall pass the calls around to the many able-bodied and warm-hearted soldiers of the “white horse” cavalry, who are ready to rush to the battle wherever He leads. We began preaching, a poor, frail invalid, over twenty-two years ago, and God has sustained us in a most remarkable manner during all these years of intense labor and great exposure. Oh, how grateful we feel to our heavenly Father that we are blessed with such good health! But nevertheless we feel that more regular diet, sleep, etc., for a season will prove a great blessing, and increase and prolong our usefulness on earth. We shall devote ourself principally to Bible study and poetical labor.
By the close of the year 1889, it was seen that the work had been almost doubling itself annually. That year there had been held twenty-five grove meetings, fourteen camp meetings, besides several general assemblies. Quite a strong working force was by this time in the field, and evangelists were scattered out in the more distant parts of the country.
The next tour of any considerable extent was one that took them into the Southland. This trip was made in November 1890. They intended to make the trip by boat down the Mississippi, but found the water at a low ebb and traveling very slow. They took a steamer at Cincinnati, but had to wait two days before it started; and then it took them four days to reach Cairo. After waiting three days for a boat overdue from St. Louis, they made the rest of the journey by rail, and landed at Meridian, Mississippi. In this part of the country Brothers Bradley and Bozeman and others had opened up the work. The people were very hungry for the preaching of the word. Brother Warner and the company spent several weeks in the eastern part of the State. His bold manner in uncovering sin and false religion occasioned considerable opposition from various sectarian sources. The country was cursed with a false holiness element called “Straight Holiness,” representing the Good Way, a paper then published at Fort Scott, Kansas. Its teachers failed in the South to be uncompromising against tobacco and other evils and they incited no little opposition and prejudice against the New Testament standard held by Brother Warner. At Beech Springs, Mississippi, the mob element was encountered, as is shown by the portion of Brother Warner’s report here given:
At that place there are a few Babylon hearts of the most pernicious hue, men steeped and dyed in tobacco and drunk on Babylon’s worst wine, the wrath of which they infuse into the baser sort. Brothers Bradley and Bozeman have both been threatened in that place with violence and, we believe, even with murder, and we could expect the same animus toward us. Hence, the second night several pieces of brick and clubs came crashing through the window, all doubtless hurled in wrath at us. Nearly half of the sash was broken in and the glass flew over the house. The unsaved were much frightened, and the whole house was thrown into confusion. The glory of God was greatly upon us through all the evening, and with the cowardly onslaught the heavenly tides so wondrously swelled in our soul that we had to leap for joy in the midst of the uproar. Oh, the mighty river of peace and joy! The excellent tide of glory only subsided into sleep at a late hour, and it arose again with our waking in the morning. We stood only about seven feet from the window and nearly opposite; but the hand of God protected us from serious harm. However, the Lord saw He could overrule a slight glancing wound on the side of our face and nose for His glory, and so permitted the same. It was very evident in the meeting the next day that either Satan had made a great mistake or else his children were more wicked than he wanted them to be, so that he could not restrain them from their wicked deed, which proved a great blessing to the cause of Christ. All the saints were able to see more clearly than ever before the track that Christ and His early saints had trod. And about all testified that they had reached a clearer experience, stronger faith, and more joy in the Lord through the last night’s meeting than ever before. The meeting that day was indeed very glorious.
The spiritual condition of the people as countenanced by the “Straight Holiness” teachers in that part of the South is set forth in the report written from Spring Hill, near Meridian:
Our last report was from Oak Grove neighborhood. When we entered there we found the powers of darkness and wickedness fierce and black. Threats were breathed about and written notices deposited in the dark. After one night’s meeting in the old meeting house, which is a neighborhood building, it was locked up. We went into the small schoolhouse near by and the Lord most wonderfully blessed our souls. Satan then had the schoolhouse locked, and though certain citizens had jerked the staples out of the old meeting house and the doors stood wide open, and the Methodist class-leader, being in favor of the right and truth, invited us to enter, yet because others were raging we preferred to hold a little service in the public road, in the bright moonlight. God blessed the songs, prayer, and a few words of exhortation, and all the people seemed touched. Nearly every person present kneeled during prayer.
All these circumstances God overruled to the good of the people and the cause of Christ. The schoolhouse was again opened, and we went on a few nights longer, with glorious victory. Only a few sought the Lord; but there was a general blessing effected on the community in the removal of prejudice and hatred out of many hearts that had been influenced through lies and slanders, such as of promiscuous kissing, free-love, etc., propagated chiefly by the little Fort Scott-creed sect.6
[In addition to this a letter had been received in the community, from Carthage, Missouri, written by an opposer who misrepresented the saints as believers in amalgamation with the colored people, the purpose of the letter being, of course, to stir up prejudice.]
It is a bad and fallacious cause that depends upon defamation of others. The course these schismatics resort to occasions some persecution and no little hatred, and even danger of violent treatment, which they will have to answer for in the day of judgment. But the cause thus bolstered up cannot stand, and truth crushed down by foul means is sure to rise again; and just in proportion as there has been evil-speaking against the truth will it enlist the hearts of the honest, and at the same time forfeit all confidence in and elicit contempt for such as have defamed it and its lovers. In accordance with these principles truth rose triumphant at Oak Grove. The people saw we had been slandered, yea and Jesus Christ also…. The Lord has raised up many friends for the whole truth in that place, and could we have remained long enough to make a thorough effort, doubtless a number of souls would have been saved. But the way is opened for the true work of God to prosper there. Some who were much prejudiced when we went there, seeing that the truth of God is in us, had their minds changed, and their countenances were divested of the sour and took on the pleasant. God bless the people of that community.
From that place we came to Spring Hill, several miles east…. Here were a few pure children of God, whom we found yoked up with a majority who were professing salvation and yet “[walking] after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness.” (2 Peter 2:10) In our lifting the standard of God’s Word against such inconsistencies, the wicked spirits were stirred in the baser sort, so that many threats of violence were blown about in the neighborhood. But the hand of God being over us, we suffered no harm.
Oh, how our soul longs to be excused of this most unpleasant task of lifting the gospel standard of holiness where profession has been countenanced in lives of filth and idolatry! The preacher that simply tells the people he could not use tobacco, and even earnestly admonishes men to quit, and yet receives the testimonies of men who use it, sets at naught the Word of God, pampers men in their sins, and prepares a storm of persecution to fall on the head of the man who comes after him showing the real Bible line between the works of God and the works of the devil, between real holiness of heart, soul, spirit, and body on the one side, and all filthiness of the flesh and spirit on the other. If holiness teachers, on going into a new field where people know nothing about the doctrine and experience, would faithfully tell them at once that entire sanctification, the second work of grace, cleanses out of man all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, which includes all unholy tempers and appetites, that it can be obtained only by abandoning every sinful and unclean habit and giving the whole man—soul, body, and spirit—up to God for perfect purity of life and being, no person is prepared to contradict him, and such as conclude to seek that grace will expect to pay the full price….
But when men are allowed to profess holiness without contradiction and yet practice the sin of tobacco using or anything else contrary to godliness, they, in imagining themselves holy while living in unholiness, as well as sinners in general, learn to associate holiness and filth, and the difficulties in rooting out the abomination are many times increased. Men, by getting a degree of blessing of God upon their souls in consequence of abandoning some evils, or at least imagining themselves blessed, take the same as an endorsement from God upon the filth they yet continue in. The longer they continue in their delusion the more they are confirmed in it and the more they will fight for their idols. And their practice justifying the lusts of the wicked, these are ready to assault and abuse God’s ministers, who must declare the whole counsel of God. And so a lax preacher gives place for the devil and wrath of men to assault the faithful herald of God that follows him. So by the fruits of the devotees of rehashed Methodism in the Fort Scott creed, which has cursed the South and filled hearts with bitter hatred toward all who follow Christ, and by their strife and contentions having brought a general contempt upon the name of holiness, and also by their lack of radicalness against sin in every form, our work here is beset with dark mountains, which God alone can remove, but which, thank His holy name, have been much obliterated in all places where we have labored.
Later, at Spring Hill, the mob element was further encountered. Here, as was always the case where a mob gathered to do violence to Brother Warner, the chief instigators were sectarian preachers and professors who were incensed by the preaching of the truth that condemned them.
From Spring Hill meetinghouse, where we last wrote, we went about seven miles to the southeast through a wild and almost mountainous woods, to the house of Brother and Sister Irby, in whose dwelling we remained and held meeting about one week…. A goodly number of hearers came out through the wet weather, and the dear Lord was pleased to pour His Spirit upon us gloriously. It seemed that God had taken us up upon the Delectable Mountains. The leaps in our soul were too high for the height of the room, as the house had a ceiling, whereas, nearly all the country houses here have nothing overhead but the roof, and never has a whitewash brush touched the walls. Scarcely one out of ten of the houses in the country has a pane of glass in it. The sisters talked with some women who did not know what a carpet is. We have seen no such thing here. The people in the South seem contented with fewer domestic comforts than any people we ever before met. As one sister remarked the other day, “they take it out in tobacco.” There is much truth in this statement. That weed deprives them of nearly all comforts and many actual necessities of life. Of course, there is not the same need of carpeted floors here as in the North; but how people can live for years in a house without a window is a mystery.
Well, our stay at Brother and Sister Irby’s seemed to my soul like old Brother Elijah’s hiding place in the wilderness, where he dined on food brought by angels. We also feasted on heavenly manna, and shall never forget it. Some came to the altar, and a few cast away their filthy idol; but we hope the day of judgment will reveal much more good done than was manifest.
Some of God’s little ones came over from Spring Hill, who informed us that some were anxious for our return to that place. Now, at that place is where Satan’s seat is. Before we left there we were much impressed that the mob spirit was at work, and one night when the rain prevented our going to the place, a disguised crowd was seen going there. But now, hearing that some souls were hungry for salvation, we ventured back in the name of Jesus.
When reaching the neighborhood, we were joyfully surprised by the coming of our dear young brother Andrew L. Byers, from Illinois, who has come to join our little company. Having had a great deal of trouble and several days’ ramble before he found us he was reminded of Stanley in search of Livingstone. Truly our hearts were mutually refreshed by his arrival.7
[Those meetings in the vicinity of Spring Hill were almost the author’s first experience in gospel work. I was asked to join the company to supply a missing part in song. Mother Smith having dropped out previously. After arriving at Meridian it was some time before I could locate Brother Warner.]
The first night of meeting three souls came to the altar, two consecrated for entire sanctification and one was gloriously pardoned. The next night the fierce powers of hell were fully awakened from their brief slumber occasioned by our absence. A couple of lead balls called buckshot were thrown through the open window by means of a rubber concern that we are told is even dangerous to life. These wicked wretches also threw stones with slings at some of God’s saints on their way home that night, even regardless of women and children in the crowd. One woman was hit. That was a little the lowest and most cowardly work we have ever yet met with. The next day four of Satan’s chief servants rode out in four directions five and seven miles to enlist by his lies and slanders such as were base enough in a great mob to assault us that night. During the day we learned all about the movement, and at a meeting at a brother’s house we recalled the meeting for night, seeing no possible chance of doing good.
Hear O heavens, and be ashamed O Babylon, when we tell you that one of the four spirits that went forth to gather together Gog and Magog was of the Fort Scott creed, or the Good Way sect, and the father of the only family of that sect in the neighborhood. And at his cotton gin was the appointed place for the mob to meet. Some five miles away he called on some young men who are reputed pretty wicked and invited them to join the mob, telling them base lies. But they, having more principle than he, said they would have nothing to do, with it. They also came and informed some friends of the Lord all about the plot. These told the Fort Scott man to his face what he was guilty of, and he said he did not deny it…. We expected to meet that creed with the Word of God and had hopes of seeing some saved. But they shun Scripture investigation as a wolf shuns daylight. Brother Bradley invited the editor and two of the leading preachers to meet him in discussion, but they have failed to do so and now we have discovered their tactics. They seem to regard slandering and mobbing as better calculated to subserve their cause than would honest discussion. While we are happy to think that most of them in person would not condescend to mobbing, it is only too true that many of them have given their tongues to slander whereby the other measures have been infused in the baser sort. May God forgive them for Christ’s sake.
There being no meeting at which the mob could assault us, they beset the house where we stayed until about twelve o’clock at night. They reported their number between seventy-five and one hundred. They were armed with guns and revolvers. There were in the crowd a Methodist preacher, a class-leader with his axe, many old gray haired sectarians, men recently out of jail; the basest men in the country mixed up with a majority of sectites—so we were informed by brethren that knew the majority that came up to the house, for a part kept in reserve with most of the guns. They stated that their object was only to give us orders to leave the country next day. A brave army, about a hundred strong, gathered from several miles around, just to tell a few little children of God to leave the next day, after we had announced in the meeting that we were going at that time! There were a few fearless souls present who told them to their face that they were actuated to their dark work by the lies of Satan and the wickedness of their hearts, and shamed the Babylon professors there mixed up in common cause with base outlaws.
The mob hung around until about midnight, clamoring for us to come out, stating they would not hurt us, etc. But when men are low down enough to fling buckshot into a congregation and rocks into a mixed crowd, you might as well tell us that wolves and hyenas do not care for meat as to say that such did not want to hurt us. Doubtless some in the crowd did not, and for what we know such as said so did not; but judging the mob by what we had seen in the past we had good sense enough to avoid such beasts….
After all left the house, not a great way off, they fired off their pieces, which, for a few seconds, mimicked the din of war.8
[To one unaccustomed it was hard to realize that opposition to the truth would take the form of a mob. We were quartered at the house of a Brother Smith. When the mob first came, Brother Warner asked if I wished to join him in his escape from the house. I then accompanied him to the pine woods some distance from the dwelling, and we remained there until we could hear that the mob had left. Brother B. E. Warren had found a hiding place under the house. The first company of men that came proved to be only a detachment, and the mob afterward came in greater force. This second time I remained in the house with the women folks, while Brothers Warner and Warren took the hiding under the building. The men wanted Brother Warner and lingered at the gate for some time talking with Brother Smith, who would not allow them within the gate except to see for themselves that Brother Warner was not in the house. Finally, after learning that I was present, they asked to see me, whereupon I went out and talked with them from the porch. They asked a number of questions and then left.]
May God ever bless and keep the few pure children of God in that wicked region; and may He reward their kindness to us and also that of the few non-professors, whom we shall not soon forget and for whom we shall pray that God may bless and reward them with His great salvation.
Following the campaign in eastern Mississippi, meetings were held in northern Alabama, near Hartselle and near Athens, after which the company returned northward, Brother Warner into Indiana and the others into Ohio.
In a report written from Markleville, Indiana, he tells of a visit to Indianapolis, where The Trumpet passed through the first year and a half of its existence.
We came on to Indianapolis, where we began the blasts of the Gospel trumpet. We remained all night, and early in the morning walked out to the spot where we labored and prayed and trusted God nearly two years in great trials. Abandoned and hated of all the world, opposed by all of Babylon and rejected by the sectish associated holiness forces, we were forced out upon the promises of God and endured a great light of faith. All the earth seemed dark as midnight, and growling letters came thick and fast and friendly ones few and far between. We were where—a stranger in a city, without money, friends, or credit—“Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11) was not a mere formal prayer. Oh, the riches of the goodness and the wonders of the mercy of God! Surely He hath never yet forsaken the righteous. Here we labored and prayed in intense poverty, while the word of the Lord tried us; but His strong arm hath gotten Him the victory over all the powers of hell and earth. Here we had a temporary summer office on our lot and occupied a room of the house, about 10 x 14, in winter. Now a large two-story building is occupied with the business, and the circulation is rapidly enlarging.
We went back to the room we had occupied through the night and cast ourself down on the carpet in gratitude to God. Glory be to God for the triumph for His mighty present truth!
The tour into the Southern States was the last tour Brother Warner made in company with his little band of singers and helpers. After holding a couple of grove meetings in Ohio and attending the Beaver Dam meeting in Indiana, during the summer of 1891, the company did not travel together any longer. Brother Warner visited the churches in Pennsylvania and Ontario and then spent the following winter, or most of it, at the publishing office. In April 1892 came a visit to the churches in the West, including the one at Denver. Before leaving home for this trip he suffered from a severe attack of rheumatism, and recovered only by a constant fight of faith. His report from Denver furnishes an example of how he frequently had to contend with afflictions and how he found his victory only in the Lord.
Through exposure in a cold rain at Kenesaw, Nebraska, I was taken with a bad lung trouble; was quite poorly and had lost about all appetite. But, thank God, we held on by faith in Him and He raised me up. I was rapidly regaining strength when we left there. But an apparently congested state of my lungs seemed still to oppress my being. As the onward-flying train carried us higher and the air consequently became more and more light, the difficulty of breathing increased. I also found myself under a fever and lay one day very weak.
Oh, how my poor soul cried out all the day long for the blessing of health and strength once more to this frail temple that had been so long crushed down with one affliction after another! But there was searching of the heart and consecration as well as prayer. I realized a sweet willingness to suffer on more and more all the days of my life, and almost more than a willingness to quit the theater of this life and of this dark world, which had pressed so many bitter cups of tribulation to my lips. I did not know, indeed, but that I had come here to join the dark train that moves silently and almost constantly out of this city to the large city of the dead, where thousands who come here to regain health are furnished a grave instead of health. But these thoughts brought no gloom to my redeemed soul. Three glorious things lit all up brightly:
First, I knew my soul was all arrayed in the pure righteousness of God, without spot, and that by the grace of God I had kept the faith, obeyed God, and done what I could to glorify His holy name on earth.
Second, whether we wake—remain in the body—or sleep—leave the body—we shall live together with the Lord. I shall still have a conscious and joyful existence in a more near and blissful presence of the Lord after leaving this clay house.
Third, this mortal body also shall put on immortality and be fashioned like Christ’s glorious body. Oh, bless God for the beautiful hope of a child of God!
Before sundown I awoke from a short sleep, and instantly felt heavenly sweetness in my soul and comfort in body. Behold, the Lord had taken away all the fever! That night some of the beloved came together and anointed me for complete healing. We believed the Lord granted the petition, and after much trial of my faith I am now feeling well in body once more and rapidly gaining strength.
His account of his visiting the natural wonders at Colorado Springs is interesting and shows his love for the handiwork of God.
Yesterday we all improved the time in visiting some of God’s wonderful works about Manitou, and what is called the Garden of the Gods. Here we praised and worshiped the true God and creator of all things in heaven and earth, when we beheld the wonderful works that His hands had wrought. Here rise from a level surface, or, rather, project out of the earth, yellow rocks to the height of over three hundred feet. Some of them look like a great castle, others are a few thin slabs standing side by side with very fine crevices, between which were doubtless at one time veins of rock more soft than the rest, and the stream of time has worn them out. Some of these majestic formations could be ascended to a considerable height from one side. On these elevations we shouted the praises of God, feeling His presence with us. Many smaller rocks of very peculiar shape are seen in this romantic region.
From here we proceeded to the town of Manitou, which is a small but very attractive town in a deep passage of the mountains. Here we found a family that was interested in full salvation. We talked with them and prayed with them, and perhaps they will find a door open for Jesus in that place. We then drove about one mile beyond up the Ute Pass to Rainbow Falls, after which we visited the celebrated Iron Springs. The water is so highly charged with mineral substances that it is nearly as strong as hard cider; and yet it has what most pronounce no unpleasant flavor. It tastes like strong soda water. It is very electrifying to the system, and the constant tide of visitors goes there to drink the healing waters. Near the upper springs is the beginning of the cog railroad that transports travelers up to the summit of Pike’s Peak. The distance up the mountain is about nine miles.
Returning to Manitou we stopped and drank freely of the soda spring, of which soda water is a good imitation. Visitors may freely drink of all these springs and each may carry away one quart of the precious water. We brought some home, and by adding sugar and lemon juice the water foamed up and made a delicious drink.
Here we sit and write in Colorado Springs on a plain that rises nearly six thousand feet above the place of our home. How pure and light the atmosphere is! And Pike’s Peak near by us lifts its snow-covered summit over eight thousand feet still higher in the skies.
His return to Michigan was in time to attend the general camp meeting, which this year was held on the new ground at Grand Junction. Before the summer was over he received an urgent call to go to the Pacific Coast and to attend the tabernacle meeting at Los Angeles, California, in October. Feeling it the will of the Lord that he go he started on this journey in August. After a few meetings in Missouri, Iowa, and Kansas, he proceeded to Los Angeles, which he reached in time to attend the meeting appointed there. His first report from the Coast, written at National City, is in part as follows:
We were three days and nights making the trip, with very little stopping. We came over the Santa Fe system. We passed over much wild and mountainous scenery, but the lofty peaks called The Needles we passed at night and failed to see. Our chariot brought us over one thousand miles of desert. The awful blank was broken only by an occasional Indian camp or village, or a mining point. For perhaps a hundred miles or more the earth was as bare as the paved streets of a city, and for many hundred miles nothing but tumbleweed had ventured life upon the dry region. But it is believed that nearly all that lifeless desert would be productive if irrigated or blessed with summer showers. One thing that broke the awful monotony of the long, weary plains was the fact that we were seldom out of sight of mountain ranges. In Arizona we reached a very high altitude. The morning found the ground covered with snow and the temperature quite cold. In eastern California we traveled for hundreds of miles in the midst of a wild, mountainous scenery, much of the time running on or near the summit, giving us a grand and awful view of the mountains for a vast distance around. Finally, fertile nooks, little houses, and orchards made their welcomed appearance, which began to relieve the mind wearied with the long scene of barren emptiness. At San Bernardino everything began to look as though we had returned to the land of the living.
A few hours more through almost perpetual vineyards, lemon, orange, and fig orchards, etc., brought us into Los Angeles, and seeing our dear Brother J. W. Byers through the window, we felt like climbing over the slow moving people to reach the door. Oh, praise God for the privilege of greeting our dear fellow laborer in the gospel of God! We found him and family well, and he and Sister Byers wonderfully devoted to their calling, laboring day and night with unwearied zeal for the salvation of lost men and women, who are on the brink of everlasting ruin. Praise God, we soon saw that their labors have been owned and blessed of God. We found a precious and very zealous church in Los Angeles….
Truly dear Brother and Sister Byers have been working the richest mine of gold ever opened in California. Their toils have known no moderation. They have indeed, according to apostolic example, given themselves “continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:4) And, thank God, there are those in Los Angeles who labored with their hands for the direct object of saving lost men and women, using only enough to supply nature’s wants. Oh, that everybody who professes consecration of self and all to God would show it forth by a life wholly devoted to the spread of the pure gospel of Christ and the deliverance of the lost!…
His stay in California was confined to the southern part of the State, where he spent two and one half months laboring in various places. On his return he wrote from Denver and described some of the sublime scenery he witnessed on the line of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad.
Some of the most sublime scenery was passed in the night. At Glenwood Springs the train stopped an hour and a half, giving passengers a much appreciated relief from long confinement and a very much enjoyed ramble amid the beautiful scenery of the little city, which lies in a small glen, surrounded by towering mountains on all sides. Here, for the first time in our life, we saw hot springs. The weather was cold and snow was on the ground, and the many stony springs and the great hot-water reservoir caused a steam to arise that made a person feel as if the infernal fires were not far off. A stone wall separates between two large pools, in one of which arise many cold springs, and just over the wall the hot water boils up. At this place is the junction of the Grand River and the Roaring Fork. Our line followed up the Grand River, the canon of which was very delightful. The great red, stone mountains towered up on both sides in the form of large old castles, many of them nearly square and others oblong but with square corners like a building. Finally we left the Grand River and followed the winding course of a tributary. Now the scene became yet more wildly grand, which we greatly enjoyed.
At some time past eleven at night we reached the Royal Gorge. Having requested the porter to notify us, we lay down without undressing, and so, blessed with good starlight, we were enabled to behold one of the most sublime and awful scenes we ever witnessed in all our travels. Here the almighty hand of God had cleaved a narrow passage through the rocks, which tower up thousands of feet on either side. On our left we passed close to the base of the mighty wall; on our right only a small stream lay between our track and the awful elevation. This indescribably awful gorge extended perhaps for two or three miles. We stood upon the platform of the car, at first turning our eyes right and left, beholding with solemn wonder the vertical cliffs that seem almost to touch the stars. Finally we had but to direct our eyes straight up between the two cars and behold, by one straight upward gaze, the cliffs on both sides as their proud summits seemed to draw together. As we stood on the platform nearest the rocks we frequently saw the great peaks leaning directly over our heads. We could not refrain from crying out, “Oh! oh! wonderful! wonderful!” Never shall we forget that impressive sight! It seems to us that we would have but to make that trip by daylight to be satisfied that nothing more sublimely awful and inspiring need be looked for amid all the wonders of this creation of God. We would not have missed it for a great deal, and hope it may please God to let our eyes behold the same by daylight.
On the previous afternoon we passed a freight train that had the day before been wrecked by running upon a heap of earth and rocks that had broken loose perhaps a thousand feet up the sloping mountains and, rushing down, covered the track. The engine and tender were pitched down the hill and lay upside down, under which, alas, the fireman had met his death, or rather he lay with his limbs crushed beneath the engine for over four hours and expired a short time after being taken out.
But as we went flying along under the lofty cliffs and around the short, curving niches that were cut out of the solid rocks, sometimes at a height that made one feel giddy to look down, we thought how the strength of the everlasting hills is our Father’s, and that His wings overshadowed us by the way. We felt no fear of harm.
His poem “Goodbye, Old Rockies” was written at this time. He arrived home February 16. With the portion of his report written after he had returned from his California tour we close this chapter.
Never in all our past journeyings did our soul seem so thankful and joyful before God for the privilege of greeting all the dearly beloved ones at home once more. Oh, bless the name of the Lord. We knew not how to thank God enough nor scarcely how to act for the great joy of our heart. Let all the dear saints help us bless the name of the Lord for His wonderful care over us during the travel of over ten thousand miles since our departure last July.
Our flying abroad has not been in vain. All along the line of our tour God has been with us and saved souls at every stopping place, with perhaps two exceptions. Thank Heaven also for the blessing of good health! How wonderfully He strengthened us to preach His everlasting gospel, often twice a day and sometimes on Sabbath three times, putting in as much as eight hours swift talk in one day, added to which was the earnest altar service and the care for immortal souls! We feel especially thankful to God for the grace of our Lord and Savior that we find resting upon all the beloved family.