Around Old Bethany
Robert Lee Berry
Part 2 out of 2
"So there is such a thing as man composed of matter such as body, and
blood, and bones.
"2. Man is incapable of sin.
"Let us see what the Bible says of this proposition," continued
"'For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God' (Rom. 3:23).
"'Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures' (1 Cor. 15:3).
"'He shall save his people from their sins' (Matt. 1:21).
"3. Man is incapable of sickness.
"'Is any sick among you' what shall he do?" asked Robert, quoting
Jas. 5:14, 15. "Let him deny that he is sick, and claim that he is
incapable of being sick? No. 'Let him call for the elders ... and the
prayer of faith shall save the sick.'
"David said of the Lord, 'Who healeth all thy diseases' (Psa. 103:3).
"4. Man is incapable of death.
"It seems that no scripture is needed to refute this falsehood. Men
of past ages are dead. Mrs. Eddy herself will die, all Christian
Scientists die, for 'it is appointed unto men once to die, but after
this the judgment.'"
"My, the Bible is hard on Christian Science doctrine, isn't it,"
said Kate Newby. "I did not think to read and compare Mrs. Eddy's
statements with the Bible."
"Indeed it is," said Robert Davis. "The Bible states facts as they
are. Man did sin, and all men have sinned. The plan of salvation, in
all its vast provisions for men, came about because of man's need,
because of man's fall. Man has sinned. Oh, it is all too plain to
deny. The bruised and wounded hearts of mothers and wives, the bowed
heads of grief-stricken fathers over the sins of their loved ones,
prove all too painfully that sin is real."
"I know it is, too," said Jake Newby. "My heart yearns for deliverance
from sin right now. Kate, turn from this deception. You see it is not
right. It denies facts."
"Now, as a matter of fact," said Robert Davis, "mind has considerable
influence over matter, but, after saying that, it is not necessary to
go to the absurd extent as to deny that there is matter."
"I see it now," said Kate, "there is a subtle connection between mind
and our bodies, but I see that if, because of that, I should deny
facts, my state would be no better and probably worse. I give up the
whole system as being contrary to reason, sense, and the Scriptures."
A few days after this Robert was called to Kansas City on business,
where he remained a week. Now, it so happened that while he was away
from home on this business trip, a colporteur of the Seventh-Day
Adventists denomination came through the country and sold Mary Davis
the book entitled Daniel and the Revelation, also several tracts, one
of which was entitled "Who Changed the Sabbath?" Mary Davis had
never before heard of anything on the Sabbath question, and when
the colporteur told her about how the Sabbath had been changed from
Saturday to Sunday (according to Adventist theories), and how
they, the Adventists, were in a great reformation to restore the
Sabbath-day, she was considerably interested. Open-hearted for
truth, she was peculiarly susceptible at that time to the claims of
Mary spent the next few days in reading her newly bought literature.
It seemed plausible to her that if God gave the Ten Commandments as a
perpetual covenant, the seventh day should still be kept. The more she
read the more she was convinced. By the time Robert returned she
had begun to count herself a seventh-day keeper. Robert Davis was
surprised beyond measure when he returned and found his house full of
"Well, Mary dear, what does all this mean?" asked Robert kindly.
"Why, Robert," she said, "while you were gone a colporteur came here
with these books. He seemed so earnest and he talked for hours about
a reformation and how the Catholics had changed the Sabbath and about
how God had set himself to restore the day to Christendom. I have been
reading the books and they make it very plain that we ought to keep
"Now, come here, dear," said Robert, "let me point out to you the
false and unscriptural position which these zealots hold."
Mary felt a little indignant at this, but she complied, willing to
know the truth. However, she was secretly determined to keep the
Sabbath-day unless very good reasons were shown why she should not.
"First, Mary, let me ask a few questions," said Robert. "Did the
colporteur say anything about living holy or nearer to God?"
"No," said Mary, "he talked almost exclusively about the Sabbath-day."
"Very well," said Robert. "Did he say the Ten Commandments were still
in full force?"
"Yes, he did, Robert, and he made it very plain that God's law could
not change," said Mary.
"Did he say the Catholics changed the Sabbath-day from Saturday to
Sunday?" asked Robert.
"Yes, he did," replied Mary.
"Now, Mary, get your Bible, please," said Robert. "Turn to 2 Cor. 3,
and begin reading with verse 7."
"'But if the ministration of death, written and engraven with stones,
was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly
behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory
was to be done away:'" read Mary.
"You need not read the rest of the chapter now," said Robert, "but
this verse and the verses following show beyond all question or
argument that the Ten Commandments were a 'ministration of death' and
were abolished in Christ. That law was glorious, but that glory was
eclipsed by the greater glory of the New Testament law. Now turn to
Gal. 4:21-31. Read verse 24 first."
"'Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the
one from mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar,'"
"This passage proves," said Robert, "that Paul was showing by
Abraham's two sons, Isaac and Ishmael, Isaac by Sarah, and Ishmael by
Hagar, that the covenant at Sinai was to be cast out, just as Hagar
and Ishmael were cast out of Abraham's home. The verse you read
declares that the Ten Commandments, covenant, law, and all from Sinai
correspond with Hagar. What happened to her? She was cast out. So the
old Ten-Commandment law is cast out in favor of a better one. Now turn
to Hebrews 8 and read the last verse."
"'In that he saith, a new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now
that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.'"
"Plain enough, isn't it, Mary?" asked Robert. "God found fault with
the old covenant (see verse 7) and so he took it away."
"But, Robert," said Mary, "does this mean that it is right to lie, or
steal, or kill? If the Ten Commandments are done away with, how will
these sins be condemned?" And Mary was really puzzled about it.
"Why, Mary," said Robert, "the Ten Commandments did not make it wrong
to lie and steal. It was always wrong to lie and steal even before
there were any Ten Commandments. Wrong is wrong. Now in Christ's law
every possible wrong is condemned. Do you see the point? Now, the
Sabbath-day law is the Fourth Commandment of the Ten. But that Sabbath
law was given to the Jews only. They could keep it where they lived,
but everybody can't keep it now at the same time even if they should
"You see we live on a round earth," continued Robert, "and the sun
shines somewhere all the time. Now Israel could keep the seventh day
all right in Palestine, but suppose that they had been scattered over
all the earth? Then a Jew in Australia would be keeping his Sabbath
about eighteen hours before his brother in California. The day begins
out in the Pacific Ocean, not because it really begins there, but
because for the sake of convenience it was fixed to begin there. The
whole arrangement is artificial. Now, would God put so much emphasis
on keeping a certain day under such circumstances? Adventists think
it is very wrong to work on the Sabbath-day, yet some of them work
as much as twelve hours while their brethren on the other side of the
earth are keeping their Sabbath. It is impossible for all the earth to
keep the Sabbath at the same time."
"Well, I never thought of that before," said Mary, as her Adventism
began to leave her about as quickly as it came.
"Now the fact is, too, Mary," said Robert, "that the Catholics did
not change the Sabbath-day. They may claim to have done so and the
Adventists accept the claim, it appears, but the early Christians
kept the first day of the week Sunday, long before there was any Roman
Catholic Church or any pope at Rome. Adventists twist history here
just like they twist the Scriptures."
"Listen here, dear," continued Robert. "'I was in the Spirit on the
Lord's Day' (Rev. 1:10). What day was the Lord's Day? It was not
Saturday, the Sabbath. Pentecost, that grand birthday of the church,
was on Sunday (Acts 2:1-4). The disciples met to break bread on the
first day of the week--Sunday (Acts 20:6, 7). The laying-by of
the collection for the saints was made on the first day of the
week--Sunday (1 Cor. 16:1, 2). On the Sabbath-day Jesus lay cold in
death in the borrowed tomb while the sad and disconsolate disciples
mourned the death of the Prince of Israel, their Savior. But on
Sunday morning Christ arose triumphant (John 20:1) and in memory of it
Christians began early to observe Sunday as a day of worship."
"Mary, you were just about to be entangled with a yoke of bondage,
a yoke of man's making," said Robert. "This Sabbath doctrine of the
Adventists is utterly man-made. In their writings the apostles did
not teach the keeping of it; so why go away back to bleak and smoking
Sinai for a law to keep when Jesus offers us a new covenant? Why those
Adventists are trying to prop up a law that was old, and decayed, and
ready to vanish away in Paul's time."
"Did Constantine make a Sunday law, Robert?" asked Mary.
"Yes, he did. In A.D. 321, Constantine legalized the day of worship
that the Christians already were using," said Robert. "The Adventists
claim that Constantine changed the day, but he did not. There is no
history at all to support their theory. He was the first Christian
emperor of Rome and simply gave legal sanction to a day already set
apart for worship, which was Sunday. This was long before there was
"Well, I am very glad you came home when you did," said Mary. "It was
a providence. I see the snare set for me, and I shall fly out from it,
by God's grace."
OUT OF THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW
Two months after Robert Davis arrived home, Mary took violently ill.
First there was a high fever, then convulsions, then paralysis.
Dr. Horton came at once to see what he could do. After a careful
examination he said she had typhoid fever and progressive paralysis
and that she was in grave danger. After a day or two she rallied,
regained consciousness, and was able to converse with the family.
Little Janet was just one month old the day Mary took sick, and Mrs.
Jake Newby, now a very dear friend, took the child and nursed it.
Mary knew, as well as anyone, that she was very ill. She talked it
over with Robert. Together they most earnestly prayed that God would
spare her life, for Robert's sake, and especially for little Janet's
sake. But though her mind remained remarkably clear, her body sank
deeper down into the jaws of death. Mary was led to consecrate all to
God; so in a very simple and humble way she resigned her all to Him.
"The will of God be done," she said, "whether I live or die, wake or
sleep, I am the Lord's, body, soul, mind, will, all. Have Thine own
dear way with me, Lord Jesus, work out Thy will in me. If I live I
shall be always all for Thee, if I die, I am Thine alone. Take from my
heart every selfish desire and reign, dear Jesus, on Thy royal throne
there. Purge me pure, O Christ, so pure that I can come into Thy
effulgent presence without one fear, without one sin, but instead
with great joy. I want to be able to greet Thee, blessed Christ, as
my dearest, sweetest friend without a doubt as to my entire acceptance
with Thee. Oh, come, Jesus, come in all Thy power to fully save me,
just for Thine own dear sake. Amen, amen."
Mary closed her eyes. She lay there, so quiet, as if the angel of
death had claimed her for His own. A sweet smile of satisfaction
spread over her face. It seemed some angel voice had whispered
something ineffably sweet to her. Robert hardly knew what to do or
to say. She lay there so motionless, so still, yet there was such a
sweet, holy awe, such a spiritual atmosphere, just as ii the room
were full of angels, that it seemed he could not cry. Kate Newby was
greatly affected. Her mind went back to that night in her home after
Robert Davis had made his confession.
Then there came stealing over Mary's wan face a smile that broke into
the sweetest laughter. "Praise the Lord," she said.
"Is everything well with you, Mary?" Robert asked.
"All is well," she said. "I am ready to go, if the Lord calls for me."
Mary continued very low for several days. She hung between life and
death and at times it seemed that the thread would snap and her soul
would be released. All hope of recovery had fled.
"Robert, Robert, come here," she said one day. "I feel so happy. I
wonder if I am going to die! Heaven must be a beautiful place, Robert.
I had the most wonderful dream or vision a while ago. I thought I was
in heaven and it was so rich and beautiful. I saw a little baby there;
its wings were tinted in all the colors of the rainbow and its robe
seemed to be of the finest, whitest silk. I just wanted to grasp the
dear thing, but it eluded me and flew up into one of the trees of
"Robert," she continued in a low voice, "what will you and Janet do if
I die? Oh, I hate to leave you here alone. Poor little Janet, she will
never have mother's hand to smooth away the care from her brow or to
wipe the tears from her innocent eyes. I would so like to stay. Poor
little Janet! Bring her here, papa, and lay her down by my side so I
can see her, and I want to lay my hand on her sweet, velvet face."
They brought Janet and laid her down on the bed by Mary and then Mary
laid her hand over on the baby's face and caressing it softly said:
"Sweet little one, I love you. You are a part of me. Shall I leave
you in this cold world with no mama to see after you? Poor child, what
will you do? But Jesus will help you if He takes me away from you. O
Jesus, bless Janet, bless Papa, bless Kate, bless everybody."
Mary lay there so quiet again. Tears were flowing from the eyes of
everyone in the room. Robert could hardly restrain himself. He was
broken-hearted. Kate Newby burst out in a cry of sorrow and sympathy.
Then Mary, after a few moments, opened her eyes and said: "I have just
been hearing the most wonderful music. Did you hear it, Robert? It
must have been the angels, for they all had long white robes. Oh, it
was so pretty and lovely." Then she sank away again. Everyone thought
that she would soon be gone, but as night wore on she still breathed
and was no worse in the morning. The month before this sickness Robert
had hunted up one of the old religious papers which had then ceased
coming, and had sent in his subscription. Two or three copies had
already come. As Mary continued very low he had had time to read. One
day his eyes were attracted to the testimony of a woman who had been
healed. He also found a short article on healing in which it was
stated that any of the ministers of the church of God would be glad
to pray for any sick person. It was evident that Mary was beyond the
power of medicine to heal. Dr. Horton had given her up and no more
medicine was being given her.
"I wonder if any of the church of God ministers are near Bethany,"
said Robert to himself. His eyes began to run over the pages in
search of a minister close enough to send for. Then he saw a meeting
announced for Sayersville, October 1-10. Sayersville was only fifty
miles north of Bethany. The minister in charge was D.W. Monteith.
That same hour a telegram was sent as follows:
"Come at once Pray for my wife Very sick
Robert was at the station at seven o'clock the next morning to meet
the minister. He wondered just what kind of a man a church of God
minister would be. When they met he found a plain, neat-looking man
with a kind, strong face, ready to go to the bedside of his wife.
"Be of good cheer, Brother Davis," said the minister, "the Lord has
great power. He can raise up your wife. Up at Sayersville last week
a man was thrown from a train and seriously hurt, but the Lord healed
him. Have faith in God."
Robert Davis thought he had never heard words so encouraging as those,
nor had he seen a man who entered so heartily into his burdens.
Here was a man from whom he felt the warm, free flow of Christian
When they drove up to the house Mary was awake.
"Mary, dear," said Robert, "this is Brother Monteith, a minister of
the church of God. He has come to pray for you."
"I'm so glad you have come, Brother," said Mary. "We need your
"Are you all the Lord's, sister?" inquired the minister.
"Oh, yes, all the Lord's," she replied. "All given up, to go or to
stay. But I wish so much to stay. See my little baby over here."
The minister breathed a short prayer for guidance. "Is it your will to
heal her, Lord?" he prayed. He felt an answer that God would raise her
Then he took out a small vial of olive oil, anointed the brow of Mary
with it, and said:
"In the name of Jesus Christ, we anoint you with this oil in
fulfillment of James 5:14,15, 'Is any sick among you? let him call for
the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing with
oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith shall save the
sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.' Now, Lord, we claim this
promise in behalf of this woman. Inspire her faith. Send Thy healing
virtue. Destroy this disease and heal her for thy glory. Amen.
"Now, sister, arise in the name of Jesus," he said gently.
The mighty power of God fell upon Mary Davis in a moment of time.
She raised up in bed, lifted her hand toward heaven and said, "I am
The news spread over the community rapidly. Several of the neighbors
had been there when she was healed. They went home telling it to all
they met. Next day several people drove up to see what had happened.
Mary was sitting up in a chair as happy as she could be and ready
to tell all comers what great things the Lord had done for her. Kate
Newby said that she was very glad that she had dropped Christian
Science. "This is real divine healing," she said.
The healing of Mary Davis made a great stir in the neighborhood.
Several preachers felt it their duty to warn people against divine
healing. It is mostly excitement, they said, when one is healed, as
Mary Davis was. Others ridiculed it. Some said that she never had been
sick, but others knew that she had been sick, and a few gave God the
praise for the work done.
But this healing attracted attention to the doctrines of holiness and
the church of God that Robert Davis had been talking about. It became
a topic of earnest discussion as to which church was right. Many were
asking, "I wonder if Davis is not right, after all, in claiming that
there should be a better, purer, more powerful, more spiritual church
than what we have here."
As for Robert Davis, he determined to have a revival conducted by
THE REVIVAL MEETING IN BETHANY
In three weeks the church of God revival was to begin in Bethany,
according to previous arrangements made between Robert Davis and
Evangelist Monteith. Meanwhile Robert Davis studied the church
question assiduously. His study of the Bible led him to accept the
Bible name--church of God--but he knew that the right name did not
necessarily make a church right that had adopted it. The church must
be in and of itself the real church and then the name would naturally
apply to it.
When the evangelist came, Robert asked him the very first day,
"Brother Monteith, tell me about the church of God. I see by the Bible
that in the apostles' time there was one church called the church
of God, but what became of it? Where is it now? All I can see is
a multitude of churches. Can you tell me what has happened to the
apostolic church? Tell me the full history, please."
"Very well, Brother Davis, I shall do the best that I can to give you
a brief account of the church," he said. "The church of God was built
by Jesus Christ, organized and filled with power by the Holy Ghost on
the day of Pentecost, and was then sent forth on her glorious mission
of working with Christ to save a lost world.
"The first step toward world evangelism followed the persecution of
the church in Jerusalem when 'they that were scattered abroad went
everywhere preaching the word.'
"The second step was taken when Paul and Barnabas, with Mark, set
forth from Antioch in Syria on the first missionary tour of the early
church. On this tour several local churches of the general church
of God were raised up through the salvation of Jews and Gentiles in
Antioch in Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, and other places in the Roman
provinces of Asia Minor.
"The third great step was taken when Paul and his companions, on the
second tour, crossed the Aegean to Europe and thus began the conquest
of Europe for Jesus Christ. Local churches were planted in
Philippi, Thessalonica, and Corinth, to each of which Paul wrote
epistles--Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and 1 and 2 Corinthians.
Before Paul's death he had preached in Rome, the capital of the
Roman Empire, one of the greatest empires of all time. While Paul was
establishing congregations of the one church in the West, the other
apostles were raising up local congregations elsewhere.
"Everywhere this church was known as the 'church of God.' In the
century after the apostles the name 'catholic' which means universal,
was applied to it. There was one church. Congregations embraced
thousands in some of the larger cities. Antioch in Syria is said to
have had thousands of Christians within its borders.
"What a glorious church that early church was, Bro. Davis, you have
already seen in your Scripture investigation. With the breaking forth
of the glorious light of the gospel there arose the true church of
God, spotless in her purity, glorious in her power, and adorned with
the rich graces and gifts of the Spirit. And in three hundred years
this church broke down paganism and Constantine had made Christianity
the religion of the Roman Empire.
"But this glorious church was not to remain glorious. Sad but true,
there came an apostasy foretold by the apostles. Peter foretold it (2
Pet. 2:1, 2). Paul foretold it (2 Thess. 2:3, 4). And notice how far
short some of the seven churches of Asia were before John's death
(Rev. 2 and 3). Marsh's Church History says: 'Almost proportionate
with the extension of Christianity was the decrease in the church
of vital piety. A philosophizing spirit among the higher, and a wild
monkish superstition among the lower orders, fast took the place in
the third century of the faith and humility of the first Christians.
Many of the clergy became very corrupt, and excessively ambitious. In
consequence of this, there was an awful deflection of Christianity.'
Milner's Church History says: 'And if the faith of Christ was so much
declined (and its decayed state ought to be dated from about the year
270), we need not wonder that such scenes as Eusebius hints at without
any circumstantial details took place in the Christian world.'
"When Constantine made Christianity the religion of Rome the
apostatizing processes were greatly accelerated. The constitution of
the church was patterned after that of the civil government. The Holy
Spirit had to retire from the active government of the church because
forms and legality had taken place. The Word of God ceased to have
authority, its place being taken by the laws and decrees of the
councils. The clergy arose to great power and pomp and there was a
long line of graduations made in the ministry, some of these offices
given much more authority than others."
"Is that the way the papacy was formed?" asked Robert.
"Indeed it was," said the preacher. "The chief minister of large
cities obtained control of the ministry of that city and surrounding
towns. These chief ministers were called diocesans. Ministers in still
more prominent places came to have a still wider authority and
were called metropolitans, those over large districts were called
patriarchs, and so the grasping for supremacy went on. When
the Mohammedan conquest had reduced the importance of the other
patriarchates, the conflict for supremacy lay between the Patriarch
of Rome and the Patriarch of Constantinople. At last the Patriarch of
Rome gained the greater prestige and authority and was called pope,
and became supreme head of the Western or Roman Catholic Church.
"The great apostasy lasted twelve hundred and sixty years, or until
A.D. 1530. This time was foretold in Rev. 12:6; 14-17, where the
woman, under which figure the church is presented, fled into the
wilderness for 1260 days or 'a time, and times, and half a time,' and
in chapter 13:1-10, the beast, under which figure Roman Catholicism is
represented, had power to continue 'forty and two months,' (forty-two
months) or 1260 days, which, taking the usual Biblical method of
interpreting prophetical time (see Dan. 4:25; Num. 14:34; and Ezek.
4:6) means 1260 years.
"The Roman Catholic supremacy was broken by the sixteenth-century
Reformation. The Augsburg Confession of Faith, prepared by Melanchthon
and Luther, was formed in A.D. 1530. This was the first Protestant
"Then followed the great day of Protestantism when creeds and
denominations sprang up in every direction and upon many pretenses.
God's sheep were scattered and divided, as it was foretold in Ezek.
34:11-25. The true church of Jesus Christ was lost sight of. It was
spoken of as the invisible church, while the denominations were the
visible churches. Men joined churches because they thought that it was
the right thing to do.
"About the year 1880, or 350 years after the Augsburg Confession, A.D.
1530, a deep conviction seized a number of earnest, sanctified people
that the denominational system was wrong, utterly unscriptural. They
began to preach a pure Bible church of which salvation alone makes men
"When these prophets began to teach the unity of God's people
thousands saw the wrong of remaining in the denominations; so they
came out. In fact, Brother Davis, God's sheep would naturally stay
together if they were not induced to separate. The denominations have
good Christians in them, but there are many members who do not have an
experimental knowledge of grace and these have led many churches into
worldliness and formality."
"I see it," said Robert. "The church was hidden down through the
Catholic and Protestant ages and is just now again coming out and
standing aloof and clear for God and her blessed founder, Jesus
Christ. Oh, praise God! it is all so plain now. Thank God."
On the third night of the meeting a mob formed to frighten the
minister out of town and to destroy the meeting. Old Peter Newby
helped organize it. The ammunition consisted of a vast assortment of
ancient eggs, also stones, brickbats, and a few clubs and sticks. The
mob stormed the house about the time of the close of a powerful sermon
on A Better Testament. Windows crashed, portions of egg bespattered
many, several persons were struck by missiles, and a great hubbub was
created. The evangelist was the quietest person in the house, though
his clothing bore mute evidence that the egg-brigade had singled him
out as their target.
The mob did not come into the house; so after a few temporary
adjustments an altar call was given and seven came to the altar, among
whom were old Mr. Stephenson and Charley Moss.
On the next day rumors flew thick and fast. The wildest stories were
told. Some heard that the evangelist was killed, and great excitement
stirred the whole community. That night some were too much afraid
to go, others went out of sheer curiosity, while one partisan of the
evangelist formed a band of men in favor of him, and they sent word
both to the evangelist and to the mob leader that they would be on
hand that night to protect the preacher. Needless to say everything
was perfectly quiet and the meeting closed without further
The last night Evangelist Monteith preached on The Judgment Day, and
he pictured the doom of sinners until the stillness of death pervaded
the room. Great conviction rested upon the people. At the altar call
several went forward and found glorious peace at the foot of the
The last good-bys were said with eyes brimming with tears.
"I shall see you again, God willing," said the evangelist, and the
THE BABEL OF TONGUES
It is not every town that can boast of such a religious commotion as
Bethany had during the next three weeks. Rumors of a strange people
floated in from Piketon and Shenandoah, rumors of a strange doctrine,
a new religion, a really strenuous religion that had left the old
conventional churches high and dry in their formality. The members
of the band who were holding the meeting could speak in "tongues,"
"unknown tongues" at that. And the demonstrations were wonderful. Then
the news came that they were coming to Bethany.
They came. There was a band of six--two ministers, their wives, and
two helpers. They rented the empty store building owned by Mayor
Hempstead and began. The scenes enacted at the meeting were well-nigh
indescribable. Robert Davis attended one night, two weeks after the
meeting had begun, and he said to Mary when he got home:
"Mary, I never saw such demonstrations in all my life before. Would
you believe it if I should tell you that I stood in front of the front
row of seats about ten feet from the platform and that I could not
hear a word that those on the platform were singing? It is a fact.
The altar extended between the seats and platform and the seekers and
those talking to them were making such a noise that the singing could
no longer be heard.
"Why did they make so much noise?" asked Mary.
"I do not know," replied Robert, "they seemed very much in earnest.
Let me tell you something more. I saw young women jiggle and jerk
all over until their hair was all thrown down, and their clothing
disarranged. Two or three men were running about on the platform as
if they were mad, others danced more gracefully. One or two were
bellowing. There were noises that were indescribable, screeches,
howls, yells, and several gibbering syllables that no one understood.
Some were shaking all over, some were lying prone and stiff, some were
falling down into various attitudes. Why, Mary, it was simply awful.
You would never dream of sane people doing such things."
Next morning Kate Newby came over. She came in dancing and talking in
the "unknown tongue."
"Oh, I have got it, I have got it," she exclaimed.
"You have got what?" asked Robert.
"I have got the Holy Ghost, I have the 'tongues,' hallelujah!" shouted
"What has it done for you?" asked Mary.
"Oh, I have got it, I've got it!" was all the reply Kate would make.
"Did you make a complete consecration to God? Did you seek Him for the
cleansing power? Were you brought near to Him? Was your heart brought
very humble and yielding to God? Tell me how you prayed and what your
faith took in," said Robert.
"I have got it, I have got it," was all Kate could say about her new
experience. She seemed to be very happy, yet she looked as if she were
in a tremendous strain and lines were drawn in her face which denoted
care and anxiety.
"My dear, did you come to the Lord for more of His grace?" asked Mary.
"If so, we have a sure promise, but what is this 'tongues' that you
"That is proof that I have the Holy Ghost," said Kate. "Don't you
know that the apostles spoke in tongues?" But Kate did not know the
theology of the new religion very well.
Robert Davis was determined to know the theological basis of the new
outburst, if it had any; so he went to see the ministers and asked
them for their doctrinal belief.
"Very well, sir, sit down," replied one of the ministers.
"The first Scripture text is a prediction by Christ (Mark 16:17):
'They shall speak with new tongues.' The second is where the prophecy
was fulfilled (Acts 2:4): 'And they were all filled with the Holy
Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave
them utterance.' Next in Acts 10:46: 'For they heard them speak with
tongues, and magnify God.'
"Now the doctrine is this: everybody must speak in tongues as the
evidence of having received the Holy Spirit. This is the evidence. Do
you have the Holy Ghost? If so, then you have spoken in tongues."
"But," said Robert, "why should one manifestation of the Spirit be any
more of a witness than another manifestation?"
"Oh, you have got to get the 'tongues,'" replied the preacher. "Come
tonight and seek the Holy Ghost. Hallelujah!"
But Robert noticed a peculiar accent to this "hallelujah," and
also that every one present seemed to be moved by one dominating,
overwhelming spirit or power. Among these people there seemed to be
more seeking for something to exhilarate them than seeking the face
of God for more grace and love. There was an amazing brazenness about
most of those who had the "tongues," an air of superiority, a sort of
spiritual pride that disgusted him. When he attempted to reason with
them he found them unreasonably impervious to argument or logic. He
finally concluded that the doctrine was based on a false claim, a
misconception of Scripture.
"No wonder," he said to Mary when he got home, "that these people have
gone far beyond the line of reasonableness, when one considers that
law of physics which says that the reaction goes about as far as the
action. The truth is, Mary, many churches have become so formal and
dead that the cry of mankind is for life, freedom, spiritual power,
spiritual joy, spiritual victory. No wonder the pendulum has swung
over to the other extreme. The right place is in the middle, between
these two extremes. I believe we should go over and see Kate Newby."
Kate Newby had yielded herself fully to the new religious idea. Kate
was emotional. When a girl she was easily mesmerized and always took
everything that was going, diseases and all. However, she was a good
woman, and true, and conscientious. During the week after she got her
new experience she had dreams and visions, spoke in tongues, read the
Bible, shouted at every meeting, danced, and became a willing worker.
Along toward the end of the week she began to feel depressed. A
stray thought or two forced its way into her excited brain as to the
propriety of some of the demonstrations going on. There were some
extremes which her soul could not approve. She began to pray earnestly
for divine guidance. She remembered her excursion into the wilds of
false religion, into the Christian Science delusion.
Kate was somewhat in this frame of mind when Robert Davis and Mary
went over to visit her. At once she asked Robert what he thought of
"Kate," answered Robert, "if the Bible says that speaking in a tongue
is the evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit it is plain that all
should have that evidence. But listen, Kate, are you ready to believe
that for all these years, yes for centuries back, God's children have
not had the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Can you believe that D.L.
Moody and John Wesley and George Whitefield and men like them did not
have the Spirit?"
"Why, I never thought of that, Robert," said Kate, "it does not look
reasonable, does it?"
"Let us note, Kate," he continued, "that the Bible nowhere says or
intimates that speaking in tongues is the essential evidence of the
reception of the Holy Spirit. Speaking in tongues is a gift of the
Spirit. Paul asks, 'Do all speak with tongues?' (1 Cor. 12:30). The
inference is plain that he did not think they did. These gifts are
distributed to advantage, being given to every man as God wills (1
Cor. 12:4-11). The idea that speaking in tongues is the essential
evidence of the reception of the Holy Spirit is chiefly responsible
for the fanatical extremism that these folks exhibit. Why, Kate Newby,
you know that this is not New Testament Christianity, this wild,
riotous, noisy thing! It cannot be.
"You see, when one decides that he must speak in tongues as the
evidence of the Holy Spirit's baptism, he becomes so eager to do
so that he often receives a mental or spiritual deception which he
considers the real evidence of the Holy Spirit baptism."
"I am beginning to see the deception of it," said Kate. "Yesterday,
I believe the good Spirit of God was talking to me. I felt that
something was wrong. While I professed to be very happy, still there
was a feeling that I was not right after all. But I thrust the thought
aside as not coming from God and held on. But, honestly, I am not
happy. I did not consecrate. I just fell in with the spirit of the
meeting and got the 'tongues' in a few moments. I doubt if God had any
connection with it at all."
The next day the town marshall was called to the home of Mrs. Jane
Smith. She had embraced the new religion and was losing her mind. The
new teaching had so upset her that her weak mind could not stand the
strain. She was taken to the asylum, where she remains to this day.
When Kate Newby heard of this she became more convinced that there was
something wrong with the theory and she thoroughly renounced it.
The "tongues" meeting left Bethany in the worst spiritual condition
that town had ever been in. Families were torn apart, many persons
became skeptics, and there were debates, and arguments, and violent
clashes almost daily.
It remained in this condition until the time when Evangelist Monteith
began his second revival the next year.
A MODEL CHURCH ESTABLISHED
Jesus Christ brought the grandest conception of human brotherhood that
the world has ever heard. He intended to create a perfect society,
and to establish principles of social justice in the earth. He planned
that sin, with its accompanying maladjustments, should be destroyed
and that man should live in harmony with man and with the infinite
Creator. Nothing less than the transformation of society was His goal.
His plan of rejuvenation was based on the truth that all men are of
one blood, created by one God, whose children they all are by virtue
of that creation. All should have equal claims upon His mercy,
goodness, and love, and upon the material blessings which the earth
affords. Divisions into rank, classes, and strata are not the will
of God. Jesus put all on one common level when He invited all to come
unto Him and rest, when He said, "Him that cometh to me I will in no
wise cast out" (John 6:37).
This work of reforming society goes on like yeast working in dough,
particle by particle, a little at a time, but at an accelerating rate.
At first there were the twelve apostles and a few others. By and by
there were more. But always and ever Christ carries on His great work
through His people. First one man is enlightened and saved; he then
becomes a missionary to enlighten others. They in turn lead others to
Jesus until there are enough to establish a congregation of the church
of God at whatever point they live. This local congregation becomes
then, a model in miniature of what society would be if all were
Christians. Vast responsibilities rest upon a local congregation. They
represent God. They show forth the power of God and exhibit to the
world the blessed state of the saved. They are responsible to make
their society attractive, so that sinners may be convicted of their
lack and be persuaded to become members of it. The next several months
of our narrative embraces the time when God raised up a church, a
society of the saved, in Bethany.
One year after the "tongues" revival, Evangelist Monteith began the
second revival of the church of God in Bethany. He was accompanied by
three helpers. Robert Davis and Mary were sanctified wholly. So
also was Jake Newby and Kate, old Mr. Stephenson and Charley Moss.
Thirty-five were converted, and twelve besides the ones named were
sanctified. Mrs. Thomas Jones was healed of tuberculosis and Dr.
Horton, who had been her physician for three years, met her one day
and was much surprised at her appearance.
"Why, Mrs. Jones, whatever has happened to you?" he said, "you look so
"Hadn't you heard about my healing, Doctor?" she replied pleasantly.
"At the meeting recently the Lord touched my body with His healing
power and I do not cough any more, the fever is gone, and I am gaining
two pounds a week."
"My, if you folks keep on I will starve to death practicing medicine,"
said the Doctor.
"Probably we shall not spend money for drugs, Doctor, but there will
still be things you can do for us," said Mrs. Jones. "We are still
under physical laws and your knowledge will be of great help to us in
In the advertising matter which Robert Davis published at the
beginning of the second revival he publicly repudiated Mormonism,
Russell's "No-hell-ism," Adventism, and announced that the meeting
was under the auspices of the church of God. The meeting itself was
so sane, yet so spiritual, that it commended itself to every one who
attended. There were no excesses, and everything was done decently and
On Sunday, the last day of the meeting, the evangelist preached on
"The Church, the House of God," and in the afternoon he preached on
"The Church, Its Divine Ordinances," after which thirty-nine were
baptized in the river which flowed close by. The minister stood on the
banks and said:
"We have met here this beautiful afternoon, friends, to administer the
ordinance of baptism. Jesus commanded His ministers in Matt. 28:19
and 20--'Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching
them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo,
I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.' We gladly
obey the commands of our great Redeemer.
"Baptism does not save the sinner, but it is the answer of a good
conscience, as Peter 3:21 says. Baptism represents our death to sin
and our resurrection to righteousness. As Paul, the great apostle
says: 'Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him
through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from
the dead.' The whole idea of baptism is beautifully pictured in Romans
6:3, 4, 'Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus
Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him
by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead
by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of
"Once these dear ones were dead in sins, but through repentance
and faith they now are saved. They are, therefore, fit subjects for
It was a very solemn occasion. A holy awe covered the crowd, a holy
atmosphere was prevalent among the people. One by one the minister
led the candidates down into the typical grave of water and when they
arose out of the water there were praises and thanks given unto Him
who had loved them and washed them from sin in His own blood. So
affecting was this scene that three persons asked for prayer that they
might be saved.
At 6:00 P.M. the ordinances of feet-washing and the Lord's Supper were
celebrated. When the congregation was assembled the minister said:
"Jesus, on the night of His betrayal, ate the last Passover supper
in the upper room with His disciples. Before this supper was ended
He took a towel and washed the disciples' feet, and said: 'If I then,
your Lord and Master, have washed your feet: ye also ought to wash one
another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as
I have done unto you ... If ye know these things, happy are ye if
ye do them' (John 13:14, 15, 17). We shall follow Jesus in this
ordinance. It symbolizes true Christian humility and service one to
another. It symbolizes one of the most tender relationships one person
can hold with another, that of mutual helpfulness in little things. A
very deep lesson it teaches, one that has not been very well learned
by Christians yet."
Then they separated, the men going to one place, the women to another,
and participated in the blessed ordinance.
Afterward, they assembled for the Lord's Supper in remembrance of
Christ's death for them.
The effects of this meeting on the people of the town were profound.
Some wondered, some scoffed, some were deeply convicted, but many were
stirred to the point of discussion and earnest Bible-searching to see
if these things were so. Mr. Johnson, the bookstore man, sold more
Bibles the next month after the revival than he had in the whole
The congregation raised up began at once to lay plans for a suitable
church-building. A lot was donated by one of the new converts, and
many volunteered their services on the new building that was to be
The zeal of the church led them to hold meetings in the neighborhood
surroundings, one of which was held in the neighborhood of the
Fairmount School, where the debates had taken place. Peter Newby had
spent considerable time in Bible study since those debates, but what
his conclusions were, no one knew. One Sunday the church announced an
all-day meeting and basket dinner in a grove near Peter's house. There
were many present, but one person, whose eye glistened with the fire
of energy, was conspicuous.
"Why, there is old Peter Newby," said Mary to Robert, and they ran
over and greeted him cordially.
The evening was given over to a testimony and experience meeting. Many
testified to full salvation. It was to the surprise of Robert and Mary
Davis, as well as the others, when Peter Newby arose and said:
"Friends, let me tell you something," and he looked around in that
same quizzical way and poised his head as he used to do. "I am
convinced." And he stopped again. Everybody listened most attentively.
"I fought Bob Davis over there ever since he came into this
neighborhood. I fought holiness. I fought divine healing. I fought
the church of God. I really thought, friends, that the Bible said, 'He
that saith he liveth and sinneth not is a liar and the truth is not in
him.' But I never found it." And the old man stopped again.
"I have watched this church of God come up in this neighborhood, and
I must confess it has done more for this community than anything
that has ever happened to it since I have been here. It has lifted
up several of my neighbors out of sin. It has brought peace to many
"I am sorry that I fought this work. God forgive me. I was wrong and I
was stubborn. But I know now that if a man is a Christian he will not
It was almost overwhelming to Robert and Mary Davis. Tears of joy
flowed down their faces. They ran over to old Peter, grasped his arm,
and said, "God bless you, Brother Newby, we knew you were honest at
That day Jake Newby recovered the confidence he used to have in his
These were the beginnings of the church at Bethany, the church of
God. A church-house was built and the church was organized by the Holy
Spirit into a working body of saints. Robert Davis soon afterward felt
the inspiration to teach and exhort and he was much used in this way.
By and by he preached occasionally until his gifts were recognized by
the church through the laying on of the hands of the ministry.
There was a true catholicity of spirit in this congregation which
caused them to make all Christians feel at home there. They maintained
unity by keeping close to God. Their Sunday-school soon was the
largest in the town. Three missionaries went from it to foreign,
heathen lands, and colporteurs carried the literature of the church
into every home in the town. The reputation of the church spread far
and wide. It became noted for the honesty and humility of its members.
The business men of the town had the utmost confidence in the church.
It became the greatest power for righteousness in the town, and
every one came to look upon it as the living exponent of the best and
highest in civic life and in social uplift as well as in religion.
Zion became a praise in the earth, as the prophet had said.
The events narrated occurred many years ago. Last summer there was a
reunion of the Davis family in the old home at Bethany. One son had
become a minister in the church, the other was the editor of the local
newspaper. One daughter was home on a furlough from China, while the
other was married to a Christian brother of the town. Robert Davis, in
the meantime, had preached the whole gospel. He had been instrumental
in raising up several congregations.
"Dad, what is the most interesting experience you ever had in your
life?" asked Marie one day.
"The most important experience of my life occurred right here, my
girl, when Janet was a baby," he replied. "Here is where your mother
and I first became seekers. Here I debated for the truth before I
fully understood it, but I felt it was essential to stand up for what
I knew was truth. Here your mother was healed when life seemed almost
gone and the last ray of hope had died in the gathering darkness. Here
I first learned of the church of God. Here that good religious paper
first came to my notice, bringing rays of light to my mind and soul.
"Those were the beginnings, humble ones indeed, but they were the
beginnings of my life of service. My days are about over. My work is
about done. My eyes are dim, and my strength is failing. My race will
soon be over. I have seen the church in Bethany grow into the place of
influence it now has, from the very humblest beginnings. I have seen
thousands flee to the cross of Jesus for mercy and pardon, and I have
heard the shouts of hundreds that have been sanctified wholly. And I
have seen many, many sick persons healed.
"My children, be true to God, be true to the cause of truth. Carry
these precious truths to the next generation, unadulterated, as pure
as they come from the Bible. Invest your all in God's cause; you will
receive a hundredfold now and hereafter.
"May you ever champion the cause of truth which Jesus Christ came to
establish. The church He built shall stand till the mighty Gabriel
declares that time shall be no longer, till the judgment-day comes,
yea, and afterward she shall live in the heaven of heavens eternally
with her founder and Lord.
"Press on, children, all heaven watches the race you run. Do not
become negligent, nor worldly, nor lovers of luxury, nor of ease. Live
as good soldiers of Jesus Christ and be crowned victors and conquerors
A holy awe filled the room as this aged saint gave them his
benediction. And they said:
"By the grace of God, we will, Father."
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