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Profile of Mac Waller
Beginning of the story
REMINISCENCES OF H.M. WALLER . . . Concluded
Bro. Waller had made the statement that part of the Bible was given for the apostles and their instruction; part for Christians, that they might know how to act in the house of God; and other parts for sinners, that they might be instructed relative to their becoming Christians. He now proceeds to prove this proposition, which had been wrested from its place by these Adventist.
He says: "Now I will call your attention to the instruction Jesus gave to his disciples - first in Matt. vii. 7,8 - 'Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.' Thousands of times ignorant men and women will say to the one kneeling at the mourning-bench these things, thus wresting them from the place in which God placed them. They are for the disciples, and them alone. Only Christians have a right to use them.
"Here is another scripture usually wrested from its place and misapplied (Mark xvi. 17,18), ' And these signs shall follow them that believe [you apostles who believe now, not who shall believe]: in my name shall they cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall in no wise hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.'
"These were intended for the apostles, not for you or me. It was necessary that they should have this power. The kingdom must be established. Now if this refers to you, Mr. Adventist, try before us today taking up a serpent. Or to test it to-night, have our friend, the druggist, here to put you up a dose of deadly poison, and before this audience take it, and if you live we will have a little more reason to accept you teaching.
In Acts xxviii. 3-5, we have, 'And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out by reason of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when that barbarians say the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. An he shook of the beast into the fire and felt no harm.' All those miraculous powers mentioned in Mark xvi. 17,18, were had and used by the apostles."
This satisfied the most incredulous that Elder Waller had sustained his proposition and that those Advent preachers were deluding the people. He now bids them "good-bye," and the next morning at the depot, the people come out en masse and see him off for home. Immediately, too, the Adventists "fold their tents like the Arab, and silently steal away."
He still engages in general work till at last he is called to Albany. Brethren Spriggs, Doty, Whitney and Floyd had made a beginning here twice before, and both efforts failed to establish anything permanent. Linn county always was, and is to-day yet, according to Elder Waller's view of it, the hardest county in which he ever worked on the Coast. The sectarian bitterness and opposition is intense. But early in 1886 he began to revive the work here in Albany.
He had scarcely begun when a sectarian preacher said to him: "Mr. Waller, you might as well quit trying to organize here in Albany, for your people have made themselves so ridiculous by their work in the past."
The meeting began. They now rent the South Methodist church building, and start in again. On a certain Sunday the Methodist people take the church for a special service of their own. They have a regular old hallelujah meeting that night. At the close their preacher says: "Mr. Waller, will you talk a little to the mourners?"
He began: "If I understand you, ask me to talk to the mourners, not to beseech God as you have done."
"Yes," says the Methodist preacher, "that is what I asked."
He told them he didn't question their motives - did not impugn their honest motives; for by their teaching they were anxiously doing the best they knew how to have salvation. But, my people, you may pray till doomsday, and yet be lost. The preacher may beseech till the day of accounts, and yet you will not be saved. The great trouble is you are not seeking light as God wants you, but you are following the rules and ways of men; and Jesus says: "In vain do you worship me teaching for doctrine and commandments of men."
God says, also, to you: "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." He now refers them to Acts ii., and various other scriptures, until God's plan was clearly before them. "The trouble with you is you are expecting, because you have been taught so, to have the Lord come down and give you some peculiar feeling. You have to-night asked him to come to you, while he cries, 'Come unto me all ye ends of the earth.' 'Whosoever will, may come.' Do you will to come? He consults your will."
Soon after this, one of the Methodist preachers, own members asks him: "Bro. Greggs, why don't you tell the people what to do like Elder Waller? I learned more by that speech than I ever learned from preaching before?"
He went on with the work till he had made an organization. Elder Waller preached here once a month for nearly three years. A schoolhouse is bought and fitted up for services, and soon Bro. Humphrey takes the work. He was succeeded by Bro. J.F. Stewart, and the writer now ministers to them.
Soon after this he goes over into Eastern Washington, and preaches in the yearly camp-meeting near Palouse. Here they have a fine meeting. He then preaches a few sermons in Idaho, and a few times at Colfax and other points. He returns to Oregon and buys a nice home in Albany, where he "calmly waits" the summons.
Now what are some of the individual qualities which made him so efficient in the Master's service? First, I would mention his knowledge of the Word of God. I have met but few, if any, who seemed to combine such a happy knowledge of both the letter and spirit of the Good Book.
Second, his heart power. This gave him a mighty say over all audiences, and enthroned him in the hearts of his brethren and the world. He loved Jesus; he preached Jesus; he loved his fellow men. Like all great men he was very simple and unassuming in his manners; with his grand, logical head was coupled a warm, loving heart. When his emotional nature was kindled, it was like the onsweeping of the moving engine drawing everybody along with him.
These qualities of Biblical knowledge and intense spiritual zeal combined, made him almost irresistible.
He is a vehement speaker, rather theatrical, and throws his whole man from head to foot into the rush of his burning oratory. Few men ever kept the cross of Calvary in more constant view, and few men have appealed to sinners in more beseeching tones to become reconciled to God. The burden of nearly all his discourses has been Jesus and him crucified. Those who heard H.M. Waller in his palmiest days listened to some of the grandest preaching that this west county has produced.
Two things were burned into his soul at all times - (1) the exaltation of the Church of Christ, as embodied in the Restoration movement, and (2) the salvation of souls.
For this Pacific country he has wrought a magnificent service for primitive Christianity, until his over-worked powers gave way. He has fought the good fight; and in spite of bodily infirmity and bitter opposition, he kept the faith as unflinchingly as that great Apostle who he kept ever in his eye as the model of preaching "Jesus Christ and him crucified."
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