〉 Chapter 25—Experience and Labors
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Chapter 25—Experience and Labors
My reason for sending out another Testimony to my dear brethren and sisters at this time is that the Lord has graciously manifested Himself to me and has again revealed matters of very great importance to those who profess to be keeping the commandments of God and waiting for the coming of the Son of man. More than three years elapsed between the vision given me January 3, 1875, and the recent manifestation of God’s love and power. But before entering upon the views recently shown me, I will give a brief sketch of my experience for a year or two past. (4T 271.1)
May 11, 1877, we left Oakland, California, for Battle Creek, Michigan. I had been afflicted with pain in my heart for several months and suffered much with oppressed breathing on my journey across the plains. The difficulty did not leave me when we reached Michigan. Others occupied our home at Battle Creek, and we had no relatives there to care for us, our children all being in California. However, kind friends did what they could for me; but I did not feel free to burden them when they had all the care they should have with their own families. (4T 271.2)
A telegram had been sent to my husband, requesting his presence at Battle Creek to give attention to important business relative to the cause, but more especially to take the supervision of planning the large sanitarium building. In answer to this summons he came and engaged earnestly in preaching, writing, and holding board meetings at the Review office, the college, and the sanitarium, nearly always working into the night. This wore him fearfully. He felt the importance of these institutions, but especially of the sanitarium building, in which more than fifty thousand dollars was being invested. His constant mental anxiety was preparing the way for a sudden breakdown. We both felt our danger and decided to go to Colorado to enjoy retirement and rest. While planning for the journey, a voice seemed to say to me: “Put the armor on. I have work for you to do in Battle Creek.” The voice seemed so plain that I involuntarily turned to see who was speaking. I saw no one, and at the sense of the presence of God my heart was broken in tenderness before Him. When my husband entered the room, I told him the exercises of my mind. We wept and prayed together. Our arrangements had been made to leave in three days, but now all our plans were changed. (4T 271.3)
May 30, the patients and faculty of the sanitarium having planned to spend the day two miles from Battle Creek in a beautiful grove that bordered Goguac Lake, I was urged to be present and speak to the patients. Had I consulted my feelings I should not have ventured, but I thought perhaps this might be a part of the work I was to do in Battle Creek. At the usual hour, tables were spread with hygienic food, which was partaken of with a keen relish. At three o’clock the exercises were opened with prayer and singing. I had great freedom in speaking to the people. All listened with the deepest interest. After I had ceased speaking, Judge Graham of Wisconsin, a patient at the sanitarium, arose and proposed that the lecture be printed and circulated among the patients and others for their moral and physical benefit, that the words spoken that day might never be forgotten or disregarded. The proposition was approved by a unanimous vote, and the address was published in a small pamphlet entitled: The Sanitarium Patients at Goguac Lake. (4T 272.1)
The close of the school year of the Battle Creek College was now at hand. I had felt very anxious for the students, many of whom were either unconverted or backslidden from God. I had desired to speak to them and make an effort for their salvation before they should scatter to their homes, but I had been too feeble to engage in labor for them. After the experience I have related I had all the evidence I could ask that God would sustain me in laboring for the salvation of the students. (4T 272.2)
Meetings were appointed in our house of worship for the benefit of the students. I spent a week laboring for them, holding meetings every evening and on the Sabbath and first day. My heart was touched to see the house of worship nearly filled with the students of our school. I tried to impress upon them that a life of purity and prayer would not be a hindrance to them in obtaining a thorough knowledge of the sciences, but that it would remove many hindrances to their progress in knowledge. By becoming connected with the Saviour, they are brought into the school of Christ; and if they are diligent students in this school, vice and immorality will be expelled from the midst of them. These being crowded out, increased knowledge will be the result. All who become learners in the school of Christ excel both in the quality and the extent of their education. I presented Christ before them as the great teacher, the source of all wisdom, the greatest educator the world has ever known. (4T 273.1)
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Proverbs 9:10. A knowledge of God and His requirements will open the understanding of the student to realize his responsibilities to God and to the world. To this end he will feel that his talents must be developed in that way which will produce the very best results. This cannot be done unless all the precepts and principles of religion are connected with his school education. In no case should he disconnect God from his studies. In the pursuit of knowledge he is searching for truth; and all truth comes from God, the source of truth. Students who are virtuous and are imbued with the Spirit of Christ will grasp knowledge with all their faculties. (4T 273.2)
The college at Battle Creek was established for the purpose of teaching the sciences and at the same time leading the students to the Saviour, whence all true knowledge flows. Education acquired without Bible religion is disrobed of its true brightness and glory. I sought to impress upon the students the fact that our school is to take a higher position in an educational point of view than any other institution of learning, by opening before the young nobler views, aims, and objects in life, and educating them to have a correct knowledge of human duty and eternal interests. The great object in the establishment of our college was to give correct views, showing the harmony of science and Bible religion. (4T 274.1)
The Lord strengthened me and blessed our efforts. A large number came forward for prayers. Some of these through lack of watchfulness and prayer had lost their faith and the evidence of their connection with God. Many testified that in taking this step they received the blessing of God. As the result of the meetings quite a number presented themselves for baptism. (4T 274.2)
As the closing exercises of the college year were to be held at Goguac Lake, it was decided that the baptism be administered there. The services of the occasion were of deep interest to the large congregation assembled, and were conducted with due solemnity, being appropriately closed with this sacred ordinance. I spoke at the commencement and close of the exercises. My husband led fourteen of the precious youth down into the water of the beautiful lake, and buried them with their Lord in baptism. Several of those who presented themselves as subjects for baptism chose to receive this ordinance at their homes. Thus closed the memorable services of this college year of our beloved school. (4T 274.3)
Temperance Meetings
But my work was not yet done in Battle Creek. Immediately on our return from the lake we were earnestly solicited to take part in a temperance mass meeting, a very praise-worthy effort in progress among the better portion of the citizens of Battle Creek. This movement embraced the Battle Creek Reform Club, six hundred strong, and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, two hundred and sixty strong. God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Bible were familiar words with these earnest workers. Much good had already been accomplished, and the activity of the workers, the system by which they labored, and the spirit of their meetings, promised greater good in time to come. (4T 274.4)
It was on the occasion of the visit of Barnum’s great menagerie to this city on the 28th of June that the ladies of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union struck a telling blow for temperance and reform by organizing an immense temperance restaurant to accommodate the crowds of people who gathered in from the country to visit the menagerie, thus preventing them from visiting the saloons and groggeries, where they would be exposed to temptation. The mammoth tent, capable of holding five thousand people, used by the Michigan Conference for camp meeting purposes, was tendered for the occasion. Beneath this immense canvas temple were erected fifteen or twenty tables for the accommodation of guests. (4T 275.1)
By invitation the sanitarium set a large table in the center of the great pavilion, bountifully supplied with delicious fruits, grains, and vegetables. This table formed the chief attraction, and was more largely patronized than any other. Although it was more than thirty feet long, it became so crowded that it was necessary to set another about two thirds as long, which was also thronged. (4T 275.2)
By invitation of the committee of arrangements, Mayor Austin, W. H. Skinner, cashier of the First National Bank, and C. C. Peavey, I spoke in the mammoth tent, Sunday evening, July 1, upon the subject of Christian Temperance. God helped me that evening, and although I spoke ninety minutes, the crowd of fully five thousand persons listened in almost breathless silence. (4T 275.3)
Visit to Indiana
August 9-14 I attended the camp meeting in Indiana, accompanied by my daughter, Mary K. White. My husband found it was impossible for him to leave Battle Creek. At this meeting the Lord strengthened me to labor most earnestly. He gave me clearness and power to appeal to the people. As I looked upon the men and women assembled here, noble in appearance and commanding in influence, and compared them with the little company assembled six years before, who were mostly poor and uneducated, I could but exclaim: “What hath the Lord wrought!” (4T 276.1)
Monday I suffered much with my lungs, having taken a severe cold, but I pleaded with the Lord to strengthen me to make one more effort for the salvation of souls. I was raised above my infirmity and was blessed with great freedom and power. I appealed to the people to give their hearts to God. About fifty came forward for prayers. The deepest interest was manifested. Fifteen were buried with Christ in baptism as the result of the meeting. (4T 276.2)
We had planned to attend the Ohio and Eastern camp meetings; but as our friends thought that in my present state of health it would be presumptuous, we decided to remain at Battle Creek. My throat and lungs pained me much, and my heart was still affected. Being much of the time a great sufferer, I placed myself under treatment at the sanitarium. (4T 276.3)
Effects of Overwork
My husband labored incessantly to advance the interests of the cause of God in the various departments of the work centering in Battle Creek. His friends were astonished at the amount of labor he accomplished. Sabbath morning, August 18, he spoke in our house of worship. In the afternoon his mind was closely and critically exercised for four consecutive hours, while he listened to the reading of manuscript for Spirit of Prophecy, volume 3. The matter was intensely interesting and calculated to stir the soul to its very depths, being a relation of the trial, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. Before we were aware of it, he was very weary. He commenced labor on Sunday at five o’clock in the morning and continued working until twelve at night. (4T 276.4)
The next morning, at about half past six, he was attacked with giddiness and was threatened with paralysis. We greatly feared this dreadful disease, but the Lord was merciful and spared us the affliction. However, his attack was followed by great physical and mental prostration; and now, indeed, it seemed impossible for us to attend the Eastern camp meetings, or for me to attend them and leave my husband, depressed in spirits and in feeble health. (4T 277.1)
When my husband was thus prostrated, I said: “This is the work of the enemy. We must not submit to his power. God will work in our behalf.” On Wednesday we had a special season of prayer that the blessing of God might rest upon him and restore him to health. We also asked for wisdom that we might know our duty in regard to attending the camp meetings. The Lord had many times strengthened our faith to go forth and work for Him under discouragements and infirmities; and at such times He had wonderfully preserved and upheld us. But our friends pleaded that we ought to rest and that it appeared inconsistent and unreasonable for us to attempt such a journey and incur the fatigue and exposure of camp life. We ourselves tried to think that the cause of God would go forward the same if we were set aside and had no part to act in it. God would raise up others to do His work. (4T 277.2)
I could not, however, find rest and freedom in the thought of remaining away from the field of labor. It seemed to me that Satan was striving to hedge up my way to prevent me from bearing my testimony and from doing the work that God had given me to do. I had about decided to go alone and do my part, trusting in God to give me the needful strength, when we received a letter from Brother Haskell, in which he expressed gratitude to God that Brother and Sister White would attend the New England camp meeting. Elder Canright had written that he could not be present, as he would be unable to leave the interest in Danvers, and also that none of the company could be spared from the tent. Elder Haskell stated in his letter that all preparations had been made for a large meeting at Groveland; and he had decided to hold the meeting, with the help of God, even if he had to carry it through alone. (4T 277.3)
We again took the matter to the Lord in prayer. We knew that the mighty Healer could restore both my husband and me to health, if it was for His glory so to do. It seemed hard to move out, weary, sick, and discouraged; but at times I felt that God would make the journey a blessing to us both if we went trusting in Him. The thought would frequently arise in my mind: “Where is your faith? God has promised, ‘As thy days, so shall thy strength be.’(Deuteronomy 33:25)” (4T 278.1)
I sought to encourage my husband; he thought that if I felt able to undergo the fatigue and labor of camp meeting, it would be best for me to go; but he could not endure the thought of accompanying me in his state of feebleness, unable to labor, his mind clouded with despondency, and himself a subject of pity to his brethren. He had been able to sit up but little since his sudden attack and seemed to grow no stronger. We sought the Lord again and again, hoping that there would be a rift in the cloud, but no special light came. While the carriage was waiting to take us to the depot, we again went before the Lord in prayer and pleaded with Him to sustain us on our journey. We both decided to walk out by faith and to venture all on the promises of God. This movement upon our part required considerable faith; but upon taking our seats in the cars, we felt that we were in the path of duty. We rested in traveling and slept well at night. (4T 278.2)
Camp Meetings
About eight o’clock on Friday evening we reached Boston. The next morning we took the first train to Groveland. When we arrived at the camp ground, the rain was literally pouring. Elder Haskell had labored constantly up to this time, and excellent meetings were reported. There were forty-seven tents on the ground, besides three large tents, the one for the congregation being 80 x 125 feet in dimensions. The meetings on the Sabbath were of the deepest interest. The church was revived and strengthened, while sinners and backsliders were aroused to a sense of their danger. (4T 278.3)
Sunday morning the weather was still cloudy; but before it was time for the people to assemble, the sun shone forth. Boats and trains poured their living freight upon the ground in thousands. Elder Smith spoke in the morning upon the Eastern Question. The subject was of special interest, and the people listened with the most earnest attention. In the afternoon it was difficult to make my way to the desk through the standing crowd. Upon reaching it, a sea of heads was before me. The mammoth tent was full, and thousands stood outside, making a living wall several feet deep. My lungs and throat pained me very much, yet I believed that God would help me upon this important occasion. While speaking, my weariness and pain were forgotten as I realized that I was speaking to a people that did not regard my words as idle tales. The discourse occupied over an hour, and the very best attention was given throughout. As the closing hymn was being sung, the officers of the Temperance Reform Club of Haverhill solicited me, as on the previous year, to speak before their association on Monday evening. Having an appointment to speak at Danvers, I was obliged to decline the invitation. (4T 279.1)
Monday morning we had a season of prayer in our tent in behalf of my husband. We presented his case to the Great Physician. It was a precious season; the peace of heaven rested upon us. These words came forcibly to my mind: “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4. We all felt the blessing of God resting upon us. We then assembled in the large tent; my husband met with us and spoke for a short time, uttering precious words from a heart softened and aglow with a deep sense of the mercy and goodness of God. He endeavored to make the believers in the truth realize that it is their privilege to receive the assurance of the grace of God in their hearts, and that the great truths we believe should sanctify the life, ennoble the character, and have a saving influence upon the world. The tearful eyes of the people showed that their hearts were touched and melted by these remarks. (4T 279.2)
We then took up the work where we had left it on the Sabbath, and the morning was spent in special labor for sinners and backsliders, of whom two hundred came forward for prayers, ranging in years from the child of ten to gray-headed men and women. More than a score of these were setting their feet in the way of life for the first time. In the afternoon thirty-eight persons were baptized, and quite a number delayed baptism until they should return to their homes. (4T 280.1)
Monday evening, in company with Elder Canright and several others, I took the cars for Danvers. My husband was not able to accompany me. When released from the immediate pressure of the camp meeting, I realized that I was sick and had but little strength; yet the cars were fast bearing us on to my appointment in Danvers. Here I must stand before entire strangers, whose minds had been prejudiced by false reports and wicked slander. I thought that if I could have strength of lungs, clearness of voice, and freedom from pain of heart, I would be very grateful to God. These thoughts and feelings were kept to myself, and in great distress I silently called upon God. I was too weary to arrange my thoughts in connected words; but I felt that I must have help, and asked for it with my whole heart. Physical and mental strength I must have if I spoke that night. I said over and over again in my silent prayer: “I hang my helpless soul on Thee, O God, my Deliverer. Forsake me not in this the hour of my need.” (4T 280.2)
As the time for the meeting drew on, my spirit wrestled in an agony of prayer for strength and power from God. While the last hymn was being sung, I went to the stand. I stood up in great weakness, knowing that if any degree of success attended my labors it would be through the strength of the Mighty One. The Spirit of the Lord rested upon me as I attempted to speak. Like a shock of electricity I felt it upon my heart, and all pain was instantly removed. I had suffered great pain in the nerves centering in the brain; this also was entirely removed. My irritated throat and sore lungs were relieved. My left arm and hand had become nearly useless in consequence of pain in my heart, but natural feeling was now restored. My mind was clear; my soul was full of the light and love of God. Angels of God seemed to be on every side, like a wall of fire. (4T 280.3)
The tent was full, and about two hundred persons stood outside the canvas, unable to find room inside. I spoke from the words of Christ in answer to the question of the learned scribe as to which was the great commandment in the law: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Matthew 22:37. The blessing of God rested upon me, and my pain and feebleness left me. Before me were a people whom I might not meet again until the judgment; and the desire for their salvation led me to speak earnestly and in the fear of God, that I might be free from their blood. Great freedom attended my effort, which occupied one hour and ten minutes. Jesus was my helper, and His name shall have all the glory. The audience was very attentive. (4T 281.1)
We returned to Groveland on Tuesday to find the camp breaking up, tents being struck, our brethren saying farewell and ready to step on board the cars to return to their homes. This was one of the best camp meetings I ever attended. Before leaving the ground, Elders Canright and Haskell, my husband, Sister Ings, and I sought a retired place in the grove and united in prayer for the blessing of health and the grace of God to rest more abundantly upon my husband. We all deeply felt the need of my husband’s help, when so many urgent calls for preaching were coming in from every direction. This season of prayer was a very precious one, and the sweet peace and joy that settled upon us was our assurance that God heard our petitions. In the afternoon Elder Haskell took us in his carriage, and we started for South Lancaster to rest at his home for a time. We preferred this way of traveling, thinking it would benefit our health. (4T 281.2)
We had daily conflicts with the powers of darkness, but we did not yield our faith or become in the least discouraged. My husband, because of disease, was desponding, and Satan’s temptations seemed to greatly disturb his mind. But we had no thought of being overcome by the enemy. No less than three times a day we presented his case to the Great Physician, who can heal both soul and body. Every season of prayer was to us very precious; on every occasion we had special manifestations of the light and love of God. While pleading with God in my husband’s behalf one evening at Brother Haskell’s, the Lord seemed to be among us in very deed. It was a season never to be forgotten. The room seemed to be lighted up with the presence of angels. We praised the Lord with our hearts and voices. One blind sister present said: “Is this a vision? is this heaven?” Our hearts were in such close communion with God that we felt the hallowed hours too sacred to be slept away. We retired to rest; but nearly the entire night was passed in talking and meditating upon the goodness and love of God, and in glorifying Him with rejoicing. (4T 282.1)
We decided to travel by private conveyance a part of the way to the Vermont camp meeting, as we thought this would be beneficial to my husband. At noon we would stop by the roadside, kindle a fire, prepare our lunch, and have a season of prayer. These precious hours spent in company with Brother and Sister Haskell, Sister Ings, and Sister Huntley will never be forgotten. Our prayers went up to God all the way from South Lancaster to Vermont. After traveling three days, we took the cars and thus completed our journey. (4T 282.2)
This meeting was of especial benefit to the cause in Vermont. The Lord gave me strength to speak to the people as often as once each day. I give the following from Elder Uriah Smith’s account of the meeting, published in the Review and Herald: (4T 282.3)
“Brother and Sister White and Brother Haskell were at this meeting, to the great joy of the brethren. Sabbath, September 8, the day appointed as a fast day with especial reference to Brother White’s state of health, was observed on the camp ground. It was a good day. There was freedom in prayer, and good tokens that these prayers were not in vain. The blessing of the Lord was with His people in large measure. Sabbath afternoon Sister White spoke with great freedom and effect. About one hundred came forward for prayers, manifesting deep feeling and an earnest purpose to seek the Lord.” (4T 283.1)
We went directly from Vermont to the New York camp meeting. The Lord gave me great freedom in speaking to the people. But some were not prepared to be benefited by the meeting. They failed to realize their condition and did not seek the Lord earnestly, confessing their backslidings and putting away their sins. One of the great objects of holding camp meetings is that our brethren may feel their danger of being overcharged with the cares of this life. A great loss is sustained when these privileges are not improved. (4T 283.2)
We returned to Michigan, and after a few days went to Lansing to attend the camp meeting there, which continued two weeks. Here I labored very earnestly, and was sustained by the Spirit of the Lord. I was greatly blessed in speaking to the students and in laboring for their salvation. This was a remarkable meeting. The Spirit of God was present from the beginning to the close. As the result of the meeting, one hundred and thirty were baptized. A large part of these were students from our college. We were rejoiced to see the salvation of God in this meeting. After spending a few weeks in Battle Creek, we decided to cross the plains to California. (4T 283.3)
Labors in California
My husband labored but little in California. His restoration seemed to be deferred. Our prayers ascended to heaven no less than three, and sometimes five, times a day; and the peace of God often rested upon us. I was not in the least discouraged. Not being able to sleep much nights, a large share of the time was spent in prayer and grateful praise to God for His mercies. I felt the peace of God ruling in my heart constantly, and could indeed say that my peace was as a river. Unforeseen and unexpected trials came upon me, which, in addition to my husband’s sickness, nearly overwhelmed me. But my trust and confidence in God were unshaken. He was truly a present help in every time of need. (4T 283.4)
We visited Healdsburg, St. Helena, Vacaville, and Pacheco. My husband accompanied me when the weather was favorable. The winter was rather a trying one to us; and as my husband had improved in health, and the weather in Michigan had become mild, he returned to be treated at the sanitarium. Here he received great benefit, and resumed writing for our papers with his usual clearness and force. (4T 284.1)
I dared not accompany my husband across the plains; for constant care and anxiety, and inability to sleep, had brought upon me heart difficulties which were alarming. We felt keenly as the hour of separation drew on. It was impossible to restrain our tears; for we knew not that we should meet again in this world. My husband was returning to Michigan, and we had decided that it was advisable for me to visit Oregon and bear my testimony to those who had never heard me. (4T 284.2)
I left Healdsburg for Oakland the 7th of June and met with the Oakland and San Francisco churches under the large tent in San Francisco, where Brother Healey had been laboring. I felt the burden of testimony and the great need of persevering personal efforts on the part of these churches to bring others to the knowledge of the truth. I had been shown that San Francisco and Oakland were missionary fields and ever would be. Their increase of numbers would be slow; but if all in these churches were living members and would do what they might do in getting the light before others, many more would be brought into the ranks and obey the truth. The present believers in the truth were not interested for the salvation of others as they should be. Inactivity and indolence in the cause of God would result in backsliding from God themselves, and by their example they would hinder others from going forward. Unselfish, persevering, active exertion would be productive of the very best results. I tried to impress upon them that which the Lord had presented before me, that He would have the truth presented to others by earnest, active laborers, not those who merely profess to believe it. They should not present the truth in words merely, but by a circumspect life, by being living representatives of the truth. (4T 284.3)
I was shown that those who compose these churches should be Bible students, studying the will of God most earnestly that they may learn to be laborers in the cause of God. They should sow the seeds of truth wherever they may be, at home, in the workshop, in the market, as well as in the meetinghouse. In order to become familiar with the Bible, they should read it carefully and prayerfully. In order to cast themselves and their burden on Christ, they must begin at once to study to realize the value of the cross of Christ and learn to bear it. If they would live holy lives they must now have the fear of God before them. (4T 285.1)
It is trial that leads us to see what we are. It is the reason of temptation that gives a glimpse of one’s real character and shows the necessity for the cultivation of good traits. Trusting in the blessing of God, the Christian is safe anywhere. In the city he will not be corrupted. In the counting room he will be marked for his habits of strict integrity. In the mechanic’s shop every portion of his work will be done with fidelity, with an eye single to the glory of God. When this course is pursued by its individual members, a church will be successful. Prosperity will never attend these churches until the individual members shall be closely connected with God, having an unselfish interest in the salvation of their fellow men. Ministers may preach pleasing and forcible discourses, and much labor may be put forth to build up and make the church prosperous; but unless its individual members shall act their part as servants of Jesus Christ, the church will ever be in darkness and without strength. Hard and dark as the world is, the influence of a really consistent example will be a power for good. (4T 285.2)
A person might as well expect a harvest where he has never sown, or knowledge where he has never sought for it, as to expect to be saved in indolence. An idler and a sluggard will never make a success in breaking down pride and overcoming the power of temptation to sinful indulgences which keep him from his Saviour. The light of truth, sanctifying the life, will discover to the receiver the sinful passions in his heart, which are striving for the mastery, making it necessary for him to stretch every nerve and exert all his powers to resist Satan, that he may conquer through the merits of Christ. When surrounded by influences calculated to lead away from God, his petitions must be unwearied for help and strength from Jesus that he may overcome the devices of Satan. (4T 286.1)
Some in these churches are in constant danger because the cares of this life and worldly thoughts so occupy the mind that they do not think upon God or heaven and the needs of their own souls. They rouse from their stupor now and then, but fall back again in deeper slumber. Unless they shall fully rouse from their slumbers, God will remove the light and blessings He has given them. He will in His anger remove the candlestick out of its place. He has made these churches the depositary of His law. If they reject sin, and by active, earnest piety show stability and submission to the precepts of God’s word, and are faithful in the discharge of religious duty, they will help to establish the candlestick in its place, and will have the evidence that the Lord of hosts is with them and the God of Jacob is their refuge. (4T 286.2)
Visit to Oregon
Sunday, June 10, the day we were to start for Oregon, I was prostrated with heart disease. My friends thought it almost presumption for me to take the steamer, but I thought I should rest if I could get on board the boat. I arranged to do considerable writing during the passage. (4T 286.3)
In company with a lady friend and Elder J. N. Loughborough I left San Francisco on the afternoon of the 10th upon the steamer “Oregon.” Captain Conner, who had charge of this splendid steamer, was very attentive to his passengers. As we passed through the Golden Gate into the broad ocean, it was very rough. The wind was against us, and the steamer pitched fearfully, while the ocean was lashed into fury by the wind. I watched the clouded sky, the rushing waves leaping mountain high, and the spray reflecting the colors of the rainbow. The sight was fearfully grand, and I was filled with awe while contemplating the mysteries of the deep. It is terrible in its wrath. There is a fearful beauty in the lifting up of its proud waves with roaring, and then falling back in mournful sobs. I could see the exhibition of God’s power in the movements of the restless waters, groaning beneath the action of the merciless winds, which tossed the waves up on high as if in convulsions of agony. (4T 287.1)
We were in a beautiful boat, tossed at the mercy of the ever-restless waves; but there was an unseen power holding a steady grasp upon the waters. God alone has power to keep them within their appointed boundaries. He can hold the waters as in the hollow of His hand. The deep will obey the voice of its Creator: “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.” Job 38:11. (4T 287.2)
What a subject for thought was the broad, grand Pacific Ocean! In appearance it was the very opposite of pacific; it was madness and fury. As we take a surface view of the water, nothing seems so utterly unmanageable, so completely without law or order, as the great deep. But God’s law is obeyed by the ocean. He balances the waters and marks their bed. As I looked at the heavens above and the waters beneath, I inquired: “Where am I? Where am I going? Nothing but the boundless waters around me. How many have thus embarked upon the waters and never again seen the green fields or their happy homes! They were dropped into the deep as a grain of sand, and thus ended their lives.” (4T 287.3)
As I looked upon the white-capped, roaring billows, I was reminded of that scene in the life of Christ, when the disciples, in obedience to the command of their Master, went in their boats to the farther side of the sea. A terrible tempest broke upon them. Their vessels would not obey their will, and they were driven hither and thither, until they laid down their oars in despair. They expected to perish there; but while the tempest and the billows talked with death, Christ, whom they had left upon the other side, appeared to them, walking calmly upon the boisterous, white-capped waves. They had been bewildered by the uselessness of their efforts and the apparent hopelessness of their case and had given up all for lost. When they saw Jesus before them upon the water, it increased their terror; they interpreted it as a sure precursor of their immediate death. They cried out in great fear. But, instead of His appearance heralding the presence of death, He came as the messenger of life. His voice was heard above the roar of the elements: “It is I; be not afraid.” Matthew 14:27. How quickly the scene now changed from the horror of despair to the joy of faith and hope in the presence of the beloved Master! The disciples felt no more anxiety nor dread of death, for Christ was with them. (4T 288.1)
Shall we refuse obedience to the Source of all power, whose law even the sea and the waves obey? Shall I fear to trust myself to the protection of Him who has said that not a sparrow falleth to the ground without the notice of our heavenly Father? (4T 288.2)
When nearly all had left for their staterooms, I continued on deck. The captain had provided me a reclining cane chair, and blankets to serve as a protection from the chilly air. I knew that if I went into the cabin I should be sick. Night came on, darkness covered the sea, and the plunging waves were pitching our ship fearfully. This great vessel was as a mere chip upon the merciless waters; but she was guarded and protected on her course by the heavenly angels, commissioned of God to do His bidding. Had it not been for this, we might have been swallowed up in a moment, leaving not a trace of that splendid ship. But that God who feeds the ravens, who numbers the hairs of our heads, will not forget us. (4T 288.3)
The captain thought it was too cool for me to remain on deck. I told him that so far as my safety was concerned, I would rather remain there all night than go into my stateroom, where two ladies were seasick, and where I should be deprived of pure air. Said he: “You will not be required to occupy your stateroom. I will see that you have a good place to sleep.” I was assisted by the stewardess into the upper saloon, and a hair mattress was laid upon the floor. Although this was accomplished in the quickest time possible, I had become very sick. I lay down upon my bed, and did not arise from it until the next Thursday morning. During that time I ate only once, a few spoonfuls of beef tea and crackers. (4T 289.1)
During that four days’ voyage, one and another would occasionally venture to leave their rooms, pale, feeble, and tottering, and make their way on deck. Wretchedness was written on every countenance. Life itself did not seem desirable. We all longed for the rest we could not find, and to see something that would stand still. Personal importance was not much regarded then. We may here learn a lesson on the littleness of man. (4T 289.2)
Our passage continued to be very rough until we passed the bar and entered the Columbia River, which was as smooth as glass. I was assisted to go upon the deck. It was a beautiful morning, and the passengers poured out on deck like a swarm of bees. They were a very sorry-looking company at first; but the invigorating air and the glad sunshine, after the wind and storm, soon awakened cheerfulness and mirth. (4T 289.3)
The last night we were on the boat I felt most grateful to my heavenly Father. I there learned a lesson I shall never forget. God had spoken to my heart in the storm and in the waves and in the calm following. And shall we not worship Him? Shall man set up his will against the will of God? Shall we be disobedient to the commands of so mighty a Ruler? Shall we contend with the Most High, who is the source of all power, and from whose heart flows infinite love and blessing to the creatures of His care? (4T 289.4)
My visit to Oregon was one of special interest. I here met, after a separation of four years, my dear friends, Brother and Sister Van Horn, whom we claim as our children. Brother Van Horn has not furnished as full and favorable reports of his work as he might justly have done. I was accordingly somewhat surprised, and very much pleased, to find the cause of God in so prosperous a condition in Oregon. Through the untiring efforts of these faithful missionaries, a conference of Seventh-day Adventists has been raised up, also several ministers to labor in that broad field. (4T 290.1)
Tuesday evening, June 18, I met a goodly number of the Sabbathkeepers in this state. My heart was softened by the Spirit of God. I gave my testimony for Jesus and expressed my gratitude for the sweet privilege that is ours of trusting in His love and of claiming His power to unite with our efforts to save sinners from perdition. If we would see the work of God prosper we must have Christ dwelling in us; in short, we must work the works of Christ. Wherever we look, the whitening harvest appears; but the laborers are so few. I felt my heart filled with the peace of God and drawn out in love for His dear people with whom I was worshiping for the first time. (4T 290.2)
On Sunday, June 23, I spoke in the Methodist church of Salem on the subject of temperance. The attendance was unusually good, and I had freedom in treating this, my favorite subject. I was requested to speak again in the same place on the Sunday following the camp meeting, but was prevented by hoarseness. On the next Tuesday evening, however, I again spoke in this church. Many invitations were tendered me to speak on temperance in various cities and towns of Oregon, but the state of my health forbade my complying with these requests. Constant speaking, and the change of climate, had brought upon me a temporary but severe hoarseness. (4T 290.3)
We entered upon the camp meeting with feelings of the deepest interest. The Lord gave me strength and grace as I stood before the people. As I looked upon the intelligent audience, my heart was broken before God. This was the first camp meeting held by our people in the state. I tried to speak, but my utterance was broken because of weeping. I had felt very anxious about my husband on account of his poor health. While speaking, a meeting in the church at Battle Creek came vividly before my mind’s eye, my husband being in the midst, with the mellow light of the Lord resting upon and surrounding him. His face bore the marks of health, and he was apparently very happy. (4T 291.1)
I tried to present before the people the gratitude we should feel for the tender compassion and great love of God. His goodness and glory impressed my mind in a remarkable manner. I was overwhelmed with a sense of His unparalleled mercies and of the work He was doing, not only in Oregon, and in California and Michigan, where our important institutions are located, but also in foreign countries. I can never represent to others the picture that vividly impressed my mind on that occasion. For a moment the extent of the work came before me, and I lost sight of my surroundings. The occasion and the people I was addressing passed from my mind. The light, the precious light from heaven, was shining in great brilliancy upon those institutions which are engaged in the solemn and elevated work of reflecting the rays of light that heaven has let shine upon them. (4T 291.2)
All through this camp meeting the Lord seemed very near me. When it closed, I was exceedingly weary, but free in the Lord. It was a season of profitable labor and strengthened the church to go on in their warfare for the truth. Just before the camp meeting commenced, in the night season, many things were opened to me in vision; but silence was enjoined upon me that I should not mention the matter to anyone at that time. After the meeting closed, I had in the night season another remarkable manifestation of God’s power. (4T 291.3)
On the Sunday following the camp meeting I spoke in the afternoon in the public square. The love of God was in my heart, and I dwelt upon the simplicity of gospel religion. My own heart was melted and overflowing with the love of Jesus, and I longed to present Him in such a manner that all might be charmed with the loveliness of His character. (4T 292.1)
During my stay in Oregon I visited the prison in Salem, in company with Brother and Sister Carter and Sister Jordan. When the time arrived for service, we were conducted to the chapel, which was made cheerful by an abundance of light and pure, fresh air. At a signal from the bell, two men opened the great iron gates, and the prisoners came flocking in. The doors were securely closed behind them, and for the first time in my life I was immured in prison walls. (4T 292.2)
I had expected to see a set of repulsive-looking men, but was disappointed; many of them seemed to be intelligent, and some to be men of ability. They were dressed in the coarse but neat prison uniform, their hair smooth, and their boots brushed. As I looked upon the varied physiognomies before me, I thought: “To each of these men have been committed peculiar gifts, or talents, to be used for the glory of God and the benefit of the world; but they have despised these gifts of heaven, abused, and misapplied them.” As I looked upon young men from eighteen to twenty and thirty years of age, I thought of their unhappy mothers and of the grief and remorse which was their bitter portion. Many of these mothers’ hearts had been broken by the ungodly course pursued by their children. But had they done their duty by these children? Had they not indulged them in their own will and way, and neglected to teach them the statutes of God and His claims upon them? (4T 292.3)
When all the company were assembled, Brother Carter read a hymn. All had books and joined heartily in singing. One, who was an accomplished musician, played the organ. I then opened the meeting by prayer, and again all joined in singing. I spoke from the words of John: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as he is.” 1 John 3:1~2. (4T 292.4)
I exalted before them the infinite sacrifice made by the Father in giving His beloved Son for fallen men, that they might through obedience be transformed and become the acknowledged sons of God. The church and the world are called upon to behold and admire a love which thus expressed is beyond human comprehension, and which amazed even the angels of heaven. This love is so deep, so broad, and so high that the inspired apostle, failing to find language in which to describe it, calls upon the church and the world to behold it—to make it a theme of contemplation and admiration. (4T 293.1)
I presented before my hearers the sin of Adam in the transgression of the Father’s express commands. God made man upright, perfectly holy and happy; but he lost the divine favor and destroyed his own happiness by disobedience to the Father’s law. The sin of Adam plunged the race in hopeless misery and despair. But God, in His wonderful, pitying love, did not leave men to perish in their hopeless, fallen condition. He gave His well-beloved Son for their salvation. Christ entered the world, His divinity clothed in humanity; He passed over the ground where Adam fell; He bore the test which Adam failed to endure; He overcame every temptation of Satan, and thus redeemed Adam’s disgraceful failure and fall. (4T 293.2)
I then referred to the long fast of Christ in the wilderness. The sin of the indulgence of appetite, and its power over human nature, can never be fully realized, except as that long fast of Christ when contending single-handed with the prince of the powers of darkness is studied and understood. Man’s salvation was at stake. Would Satan or the Redeemer of the world come off conqueror? It is impossible for us to conceive with what intense interest angels of God watched the trial of their loved Commander. (4T 293.3)
Jesus was tempted in all points like as we are, that He might know how to succor those who should be tempted. His life is our example. He shows by His willing obedience that man may keep the law of God and that transgression of the law, not obedience to it, brings him into bondage. The Saviour was full of compassion and love; He never spurned the truly penitent, however great their guilt; but He severely denounced hypocrisy of every sort. He is acquainted with the sins of men, He knows all their acts and reads their secret motives; yet He does not turn away from them in their iniquity. He pleads and reasons with the sinner, and in one sense—that of having Himself borne the weakness of humanity—He puts Himself on a level with him. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18. (4T 294.1)
Man, who has defaced the image of God in his soul by a corrupt life, cannot, by mere human effort, effect a radical change in himself. He must accept the provisions of the gospel; he must be reconciled to God through obedience to His law and faith in Jesus Christ. His life from thenceforth must be governed by a new principle. Through repentance, faith, and good works he may perfect a righteous character, and claim, through the merits of Christ, the privileges of the sons of God. The principles of divine truth, received and cherished in the heart, will carry us to a height of moral excellence that we had not deemed it possible for us to reach. “And it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” 1 John 3:2~3. (4T 294.2)
Here is a work for man to do. He must face the mirror, God’s law, discern the defects in his moral character, and put away his sins, washing his robe of character in the blood of the Lamb. Envy, pride, malice, deceit, strife, and crime will be cleansed from the heart that is a recipient of the love of Christ and that cherishes the hope of being made like Him when we shall see Him as He is. The religion of Christ refines and dignifies its possessor, whatever his associations or station in life may be. Men who become enlightened Christians rise above the level of their former character into greater mental and moral strength. Those fallen and degraded by sin and crime may, through the merits of the Saviour, be exalted to a position but little lower than that of the angels. (4T 294.3)
But the influence of a gospel hope will not lead the sinner to look upon the salvation of Christ as a matter of free grace, while he continues to live in transgression of the law of God. When the light of truth dawns upon his mind and he fully understands the requirements of God and realizes the extent of his transgressions, he will reform his ways, become loyal to God through the strength obtained from his Saviour, and lead a new and purer life. (4T 295.1)
While in Salem I formed the acquaintance of Brother and Sister Donaldson, who desired that their daughter should return to Battle Creek with us and attend the college. Her health was poor, and it was quite a struggle for them to part with her, their only daughter, but the spiritual advantages she would there receive induced them to make the sacrifice. And we are happy to here state that at the recent camp meeting in Battle Creek this dear child was buried with Christ in baptism. Here is another proof of the importance of Seventh-day Adventists’ sending their children to our school, where they can be brought directly under a saving influence. (4T 295.2)
Our voyage from Oregon was rough, but I was not so sick as on my former passage. This boat, the “Idaho,” did not pitch, but rolled. We were treated very kindly on the boat. We made many pleasant acquaintances and distributed our publications to different ones, which led to profitable conversation. When we arrived at Oakland we found that the tent was pitched there and that quite a number had embraced the truth under the labors of Brother Healey. We spoke several times under the tent. Sabbath and first day the churches of San Francisco and Oakland met together, and we had interesting and profitable meetings. (4T 295.3)
I was very anxious to attend the camp meeting in California, but there were urgent calls for me to attend the Eastern camp meetings. As the condition of things in the East had been presented before me, I knew that I had a testimony to bear especially to our brethren in the New England Conference, and I could not feel at liberty to remain longer in California. (4T 296.1)
Eastward Bound
July 28, accompanied by our daughter, Mrs. Emma White, and Edith Donaldson, we left Oakland for the East. We arrived in Sacramento the same day and were met by Brother and Sister Wilkinson, who gave us a hearty welcome and took us to their home, where we were kindly entertained during our stay. According to appointment, I spoke Sunday. The house was well filled with an attentive congregation, and the Lord gave me freedom in speaking to them from His word. Monday we again took the cars, stopping at Reno, Nevada, where we had an appointment to speak Tuesday evening in the tent in which Elder Loughborough was giving a course of lectures. I spoke with freedom to about four hundred attentive hearers, on the words of John: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” 1 John 3:1. (4T 296.2)
As we passed over the great American desert in the heat and alkali dust, we became very weary of the barren scenery, though we were furnished with every convenience and glided swiftly and smoothly over the rails, drawn by our iron steed. I was reminded of the ancient Hebrews, who traveled over rocks and arid deserts for forty years. The heat, dust, and roughness of the way drew complaints and sighs of fatigue from many who trod that weary path. I thought that if we were obliged to travel on foot across the barren desert, often suffering from thirst, heat, and fatigue, very many of us would murmur more than did the Israelites. (4T 296.3)
The peculiar features of mountain scenery on the overland route have often been sketched by pen and pencil. All who are delighted with the grandeur and beauty of nature must feel a thrill of joy as they behold these grand old mountains, beautiful hills, and the wild and rocky canyons. This is especially true of the Christian. He sees in the granite rocks and babbling streams the work of God’s all-powerful hand. He longs to climb the lofty hills; for its seems that he would then be nearer heaven, though he knows that God hears the prayers of His children in the lowly valley as well as on the mountaintop. (4T 296.4)
On the way from Denver to Walling’s Mills, the mountain retreat where my husband was spending the summer months, we stopped in Boulder City and beheld with joy our canvas meetinghouse, where Elder Cornell was holding a series of meetings. We found a quiet retreat in the comfortable home of Sister Dartt. The tent had been lent to hold temperance meetings in, and, by special invitation, I spoke to a tent full of attentive hearers. Though wearied by my journey, the Lord helped me to successfully present before the people the necessity of practicing strict temperance in all things. (4T 297.1)
Monday, August 8, I met my husband and found him much improved in health, cheerful and active, for which I felt thankful to God. Elder Canright, who had spent some time with my husband in the mountains, was about this time called home to his afflicted wife; and on Sunday, husband and I accompanied him to Boulder City to take the cars. In the evening I spoke in the tent, and the next morning we returned to our temporary home at Walling’s Mills. The next Sabbath I again spoke to those assembled in the tent. Following my remarks we had a conference meeting. Some excellent testimonies were borne. Several were keeping their first Sabbath. I spoke to the people evening after the Sabbath and also Sunday evening. (4T 297.2)
Our family were all present in the mountains but our son Edson. My husband and children thought that as I was much worn, having labored almost constantly since the Oregon camp meeting, it was my privilege to rest; but my mind was impressed to attend the Eastern camp meetings, especially the one in Massachusetts. My prayer was that if it was the will of God for me to attend these meetings, my husband would consent to have me go. (4T 297.3)
When we returned from Boulder City, I found a letter from Brother Haskell urging us both to attend the camp meeting; but if my husband could not come, he wished me to come if possible. I read the letter to my husband and waited to see what he would say. After a few moments’ silence, he said: “Ellen, you will have to attend the New England camp meeting.” The next day our trunks were packed. At two o’clock in the morning, favored with the light of the moon, we started for the cars, and at half past six we stepped on board the train. The journey was anything but pleasant; for the heat was intense, and I was much worn. (4T 298.1)
Eastern Meetings
Upon arriving at Battle Creek, we learned that an appointment had been made for me to speak Sunday evening in the mammoth tent pitched on the college grounds. The tent was filled to overflowing, and my heart was drawn out in earnest appeals to the people. (4T 298.2)
I tarried at home but a very short period, and then, accompanied by Sister Mary Smith Abbey and Brother Farnsworth, I was again on the wing, bound for the East. When we arrived at Boston, I was much exhausted. Brethren Wood and Haskell met us at the depot and accompanied us to Ballard Vale, the place of meeting. We were welcomed by our old friends with a heartiness that, for the time being, seemed to rest me. The weather was excessively warm, and the change from the bracing climate of Colorado to the oppressive heat of Massachusetts made the latter seem almost unendurable. I tried to speak to the people, notwithstanding my great weariness, and was strengthened to bear my testimony. The words seemed to go straight home to the heart. Much labor was required at this meeting. New churches had been raised up since our last camp meeting. Precious souls had accepted the truth, and these needed to be carried forward to a deeper and more thorough knowledge of practical godliness. The Lord gave me freedom in bearing my testimony. (4T 298.3)
On one occasion during this meeting I made some remarks upon the necessity of economy in dress and in the expenditure of means. There is danger of becoming careless and reckless in the use of the Lord’s money. Young men who engage in tent labor should be careful not to indulge in unnecessary expense. As tents are entering new fields, and as the missionary work is enlarging, the wants of the cause are many, and, without stinginess, the most rigid economy should be used in this matter. It is easier to run up a bill than to settle it. There are many things that would be convenient and enjoyable that are not needful, and that can be dispensed with without actual suffering. It is very easy to multiply hotel bills and railroad fares, expenses that might be avoided or very much lessened. We have passed over the road to and from California twelve times, and have not expended one dollar for meals at the restaurants or in the attached dining car. We eat our meals from our lunch baskets. After being three days out, the food becomes quite stale, but a little milk or warm gruel supplies our lack. (4T 299.1)
On another occasion I spoke in reference to genuine sanctification, which is nothing less than a daily dying to self and daily conformity to the will of God. While in Oregon I was shown that some of the young churches of the New England Conference were in danger through the blighting influence of what is called sanctification. Some would become deceived by this doctrine, while others, knowing its deceptive influence, would realize their danger and turn from it. Paul’s sanctification was a constant conflict with self. Said he: “I die daily.” 1 Corinthians 15:31. His will and his desires every day conflicted with duty and the will of God. Instead of following inclination, he did the will of God, however unpleasant and crucifying to his nature. (4T 299.2)
We called on those who desired to be baptized, and those who were keeping the Sabbath for the first time, to come forward. Twenty-five responded. These bore excellent testimonies, and before the close of the camp meeting twenty-two received baptism. (4T 300.1)
We were pleased to meet here our old friends of the cause whose acquaintance we made thirty years ago. Our much-esteemed Brother Hastings is as deeply interested in the truth today as he was then. We were pleased to meet Sister Temple, and Sister Collins of Dartmouth, Massachusetts, and Brother and Sister Wilkinson, at whose house we were entertained more than thirty years ago. The pilgrimage of some of these dear ones may close erelong; but if faithful unto the end, they will receive a crown of life. (4T 300.2)
We were interested in Brother Kimbal, who is a mute and has been a missionary among the mutes. Through his persevering labors quite a little company have accepted the truth. We meet this faithful brother at our yearly camp meetings, surrounded by several of his mute converts. Someone who can hear writes out as much as possible of the discourse, and he sits surrounded by his mute friends, reading and actively preaching it over again to them with his hands. He has freely used his means to advance the missionary work, thus honoring God with his substance. (4T 300.3)
We left Ballard Vale Tuesday morning, September 3, to attend the Maine camp meeting. We enjoyed a quiet rest at the home of young Brother Morton, near Portland. He and his good wife made our tarry with them very pleasant. We were upon the Maine camp ground before the Sabbath, and were happy to meet here some of the tried friends of the cause. There are some who are ever at their post of duty, come sunshine or come storm. There is also a class of sunshine Christians. When everything goes well and is agreeable to their feelings, they are fervent and zealous; but when there are clouds and disagreeable things to meet, these will have nothing to say or do. The blessing of God rested upon the active workers, while those who did nothing were not benefited by the meeting as they might have been. The Lord was with His ministers, who labor faithfully in presenting both doctrinal and practical subjects. We greatly desired to see many benefited by that meeting who gave no evidence that they had been blessed of God. I long to see this dear people coming up to their exalted privileges. (4T 300.4)
We left the camp ground on Monday, feeling much exhausted. We designed to attend the Iowa and Kansas camp meetings. My husband had written that he would meet me in Iowa. Being unable to attend the Vermont meeting, we went directly from Maine to South Lancaster. I had much difficulty in breathing, and my heart pained me continually. I rested at the quiet home of Sister Harris, who did all in her power to help me. Thursday evening we ventured to resume our journey to Battle Creek. I dared not trust myself on the cars any length of time in my state of health; so we stopped at Rome, New York, and spoke to our people on the Sabbath. There was a good attendance. (4T 301.1)
Monday morning I visited Brother and Sister Ira Abbey at Brookfield. We had a profitable interview with this family. We felt interested, and anxious that they should finally be victorious in the Christian warfare and win eternal life. We felt deeply anxious that Brother Abbey should overcome his discouragements, cast himself unreservedly upon the merits of Christ, make a success of overcoming, and at last wear the victor’s crown. (4T 301.2)
Tuesday we took the cars for Battle Creek, and the next day arrived at home, where I was glad to rest once more and take treatment at the sanitarium. I felt that I was indeed favored in having the advantages of this institution. The helpers were kind and attentive, and ready at any time of day or night to do their utmost to relieve me of my infirmities. (4T 301.3)
At Battle Creek
The national camp meeting was held at Battle Creek, October 2-14. This was the largest gathering of Seventh-day Adventists ever held. More than forty ministers were present. We were all happy to here meet Elders Andrews and Bourdeau from Europe, and Elder Loughborough from California. At this meeting was represented the cause in Europe, California, Texas, Alabama, Virginia, Dakota, Colorado, and in all of the Northern States from Maine to Nebraska. (4T 301.4)
Here I was happy to join my husband in labor. And although much worn, and suffering with heart difficulty, the Lord gave me strength to speak to the people nearly every day, and sometimes twice a day. My husband labored very hard. He was present at nearly all the business meetings, and preached almost every day in his usual plain, pointed style. I did not think I should have strength to speak more than twice or three times during the meeting; but as the meeting progressed, my strength increased. Upon several occasions I stood on my feet four hours, inviting the people forward for prayers. I never felt the special help of God more sensibly than during this meeting. Notwithstanding these labors, I steadily increased in strength. And to the praise of God I here record the fact that I was far better in health at the close of that meeting than I had been for six months. (4T 302.1)
On Wednesday of the second week of the meeting a few of us united in prayer for a sister who was afflicted with despondency. While praying I was greatly blessed. The Lord seemed very near. I was taken off in a vision of God’s glory and shown many things. I then went to meeting, and with a solemn sense of the condition of our people I made brief statements of the things which had been shown me. I have since written out some of these in testimonies to individuals, appeals to ministers, and in various other articles given in this book. (4T 302.2)
These were meetings of solemn power and of the deepest interest. Several connected with our office of publication were convicted, and converted to the truth, and bore clear, intelligent testimonies. Infidels were convicted and took their stand under the banner of Prince Immanuel. This meeting was a decided victory. One hundred and twelve were baptized before its close. (4T 302.3)
The week following the camp meeting my labors in speaking, praying, and writing testimonies were more taxing than during the meeting. Two or three meetings were held each day in behalf of our ministers. These were of intense interest and of great importance. Those who bear this message to the world should have a daily experience in the things of God and be in every sense converted men, sanctified through the truth which they present to others, representing in their lives Jesus Christ. Then, and not till then, will they be successful in their work. Most earnest efforts were made to draw nigh to God by confession, humiliation, and prayer. Many said that they saw and felt the importance of their work as ministers of Christ as they had never seen and felt it before. Some felt deeply the magnitude of the work and their responsibility before God, but we longed to see a greater manifestation of the Spirit of God. I knew that when the way was cleared the Spirit of God would come in, as on the Day of Pentecost. But there were so many at such a distance from God that they did not seem to know how to exercise faith. (4T 302.4)
The appeals to ministers, found elsewhere in this number, more fully express what God has shown me relative to their sad condition and their high privileges. (4T 303.1)
Kansas Camp Meetings
Accompanied by my daughter Emma, we left Battle Creek, October 23, for the Kansas camp meeting. At Topeka, Kansas, we left the cars and rode by private conveyance twelve miles to Richland, the place of meeting. We found the settlement of tents in a grove. It being late in the season for camp meetings, every preparation was made for cold weather that could be made. There were seventeen tents on the ground besides the large tent, which accommodated several families; and every tent had a stove. (4T 303.2)
Sabbath morning it commenced snowing, but not one meeting was suspended. About an inch of snow fell, and the air was piercing cold. Women with little children clustered about the stoves. It was touching to see one hundred and fifty people, assembled for a convocation, meeting under these circumstances. Some came two hundred miles by private conveyance. All seemed hungry for the bread of life and thirsty for the water of salvation. (4T 303.3)
Elder Haskell spoke Friday afternoon and evening. Sabbath morning I felt called upon to speak encouraging words to those who had made so great an effort to attend the meeting. Sunday afternoon there was quite a large outside attendance, considering that the meeting was located so far from the thoroughfares of travel. (4T 304.1)
Monday morning I spoke to the brethren from the third chapter of Malachi. We then called for those to come forward who wanted to be Christians and who had not the evidence of their acceptance with God. About thirty responded. Some were seeking the Lord for the first time, and some who were members of other churches were taking their position upon the Sabbath. We gave all an opportunity to speak, and the free Spirit of the Lord was in our meeting. After prayer had been offered for those who had come forward, candidates for baptism were examined. Six were baptized. (4T 304.2)
I was glad to hear Elder Haskell present before the people the necessity of placing reading matter in private families, especially the three volumes of Spirit of Prophecy and the four volumes of Testimonies. These could be read aloud during the long winter evenings by some member of the family, so that all the family might be instructed. I then spoke of the necessity of parents’ properly educating and disciplining their children. The greatest evidence of the power of Christianity that can be presented to the world is a well-ordered, well-disciplined family. This will recommend the truth as nothing else can, for it is a living witness of its practical power upon the heart. (4T 304.3)
Tuesday morning the meeting closed, and with my daughter Emma, Elder Haskell, and Brother Stover, we went to Topeka and took the cars for Sherman, Kansas, where another camp meeting had been appointed. This meeting was interesting and profitable. It appeared small when compared with our camp meetings in other states, as there were only about one hundred brethren and sisters present. It was designed for a general gathering of the scattered ones. Some were present from southern Kansas, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, and Tennessee. At this meeting my husband joined me, and from here, with Elder Haskell and our daughter, we went to Dallas, Texas. (4T 304.4)
Visit to Texas
Thursday we went to Brother McDearman’s at Grand Prairie. Here our daughter met her parents, brother, and sister, who had all been brought near to the door of death by the fever which prevailed in the state during the past season. We took great pleasure in ministering to the wants of this afflicted family, who had in years past liberally assisted us in our affliction. (4T 305.1)
We left them, somewhat improved in health, to attend the Plano camp meeting. This meeting was held November 12-19. The weather was fine at the commencement; but it soon began to rain, and this, with high winds, prevented a general attendance from the surrounding country. Here we were happy to meet our old friends, Elder R. M. Kilgore and wife. And we were highly pleased to find a large and intelligent body of brethren on the ground. Whatever prejudices have existed here against people from the North, nothing of the kind appeared among these dear brethren and sisters. (4T 305.2)
My testimony was never received more readily and heartily than by this people. I became deeply interested in the work in the great State of Texas. It has ever been Satan’s object to preoccupy every important field; and probably he has never been more busily employed at the introduction of the truth in any state than he has been in Texas. This is the best evidence to my mind that there is a great work to be done here. (4T 305.3)