Archive for November, 2008

James White on the Investigative Judgment, 1857

November 28, 2008

Review and Herald, January 29, 1857, page 100

“Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.”


FOR the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God, and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 1 Pet. iv, 17, 18.

This text we must regard as prophetic. That it applies to the last period of the church of Christ, seems evident from verses 5-7, 12, 13. In the judgment of the race of man, but two great classes are recognized—the righteous and the sinner, or ungodly. Each class has its time of judgment; and, according to the text, the judgment of the house, or church, of God comes first in order.

Both classes will be judged before they are raised from the dead. The investigative judgment of the house, or church, of God will take place before the first resurrection; so will the judgment of the wicked take place during the 1000 years of Rev. xx, and they will be raised at the close of that period.

It is said of all the just, “Blessed and. holy is to that hath part in the first resurrection,” therefore all their cases are decided before Jesus comes to raise them from the dead. The judgment of the righteous is while Jesus offers his blood for the blotting out of sins. Immortal saints will reign with Christ 1000 years in the judgment of the wicked. Rev. xx, 4; 1 Cor. vi. 2, 3. The saints will not only participate in the judgment of the world, but in judging fallen angels. See Jude 6.

“Some men’s sins [the righteousj are open before hand, going before to judgment, and some men [-the wicked ] they follow after.” 1 Tim. v, 24. That is, some men lay open, or confess their sins, and they go to judgment while Jesus’ blood can blot them out and the sins be remembered no more ; while sins unconfessed, and unrepented of, will follow, and will stand against the sinner in that great day of judgment of 1000 years.

That the investigative judgment of the saints, dead and living, takes place prior to the second coming of Christ seems evident from the testimony of Peter. “Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick [livingj and the dead. For, for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according [in like manner] to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” 1 Pet. iv, 5-7.

It appears that the saints are judged while some are living, and others are dead. To place the investigative judgment of the saints after the resurrection of the just, supposes the possibility of a mistake in the resurrection, hence the necessity of an investigation to see if all who were raised were really worthy of the first resurrection. But the fact that all who have part in that resurrection are “blessed and holy,” shows that decision is passed on all the saints before the second coming of Christ.

The judgment of the house of God is evidently shadowed forth by the events of the. tenth-day atonement of the house of Israel. That, in a certain sense, was a day of judgment. The high priest wore the breast-plate of judgment on which was represented the tribes of Israel. Ex. xxxix, 8-21. “For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that day, he shall be cut off from among his people. Lev. xxiii, 29.

The 2300 days [Dan. viii, 14] reached to the cleansing of the Sanctuary, or to the great day of atonement in which the sins of all who shall have part in the first resurrection will be blotted out. Those days terminated in 1844. We think the evidence clear, that since that time the judgment of those who died subjects of the grace of God has been going on, while Jesus has been offering his blood for the blotting out of their sins.


When are sins blotted out? Is it at the time when they are forgiven? We think not. We must look to the great day of atonement as the time when Jesus offers his blood for the blotting out of sins. It is at the time of the cleansing of the Sanctuary. Said Peter to the wondering multitude who witnessed the lame man healed, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come- from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you; whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” Acts iii, 19-21.

Here the time for blotting out of sins is placed forward just prior to the second appearing of Jesus. It is evidently the last great work in the ministry of Christ in the heavenly Sanctuary.


We think the Scriptures fully warrant the view that a record of the acts of all accountable men are written in heaven. “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God ; and the books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the book of life : and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” Rev. xx, 12; Dan. vii, 10. “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of retnembrance was written before him for them that
feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.”
Mal. iii, 16.

The book of life contains the names of all who become the special subjects of divine favor, See Dan. Xii, 1; Rev. iii, 5 ; Phil, iv, 3. In the other books are recorded sins, also the pardon of sins repented of, and forgiven with those good works necessary to secure the favor of God. This whole account stands, as written during the probation of every subject of special divine favor since the fall of man, till the time of the judgment of the house of God till Jesus enters the Most Holy to offer his blood for the blotting out of the forgiven sins of all the just.


Christ is the only Saviour offered to the race of man. All who are saved will be saved through him. All, of every age, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, who shall be redeemed, will be redeemed to God by the blood of Jesus Christ. His blood was shed for all. At the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens, he is ready to plead the cause of every repenting sinner, and through him sinners may find pardon. He also offers his blood in the Most Holy for the blotting out of the sins of all the just of every age.

“For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh; how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” Heb. ix. 13-16.

In the great day of atonement for the blotting out of the sins of all of every age, the cases of patriarchs and prophets, and sleeping saints of all past ages will come up in judgment, the books will be opened, and they will be judged according to the things written in the books. It is thus, at the end of the 1335 days, [Dan. xii, 13] that


The first and second definitions of the word lot, as given by Webster, are. 1. “That which in human speech, is called Chance, hazard, fortune, but. in strictness of language, is the determination of Providence; as, the land shall be divided by lot. 2. That by which the fate or portion of one is determined; that by which an event is committed to chance, that is, to the determination of Providence; as, to cast lots; to draw lots.”

By reference to the Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance, we find that the Hebrew word from which lot in Dan. xii, 13 is translated, is ”goh-rahl” This word occurs, and is translated lot, seventy-five times in the Old Testament, besides Dan. xii, 13. That the reader may be able to determine the signification of the word, we will give the seventy-six instances of its use.

” Lev. xvi, 8. Aaron shall cast lots.
one lot for the Lord, and the other
lot for the scape-goat.
9. upon which the Lord’s lot fell.
10. on which, the lot fell.

Num.xxvi 55. the land shall be divided by lot.
56. according to the lot shall the.

See also Num. xxxiii, 54; xxxiv, 13; xxxvi, 2, 3; Josh. xiv, 2; xv, 1; xvi, 1; xvii, 1,14, 17; xviii. 6,
8, 10, 11 J six. 1, 10, 17. 24, 32, 40, 51; xxi. 4, 5J 6,
8. 10, 20, 40; Jud. i. 3 ; xx, 9; 1 Chron. vi. 54. 61,
G3, G5; xxiv. 5, 7, 31; xxv. 8, 9; xxvi, 13,14; Neh.
x, 34 ; si, 1; Est. iii, 7 ; is, 24; Ps. xvi, 5 ; xxii. 18;
cxxv, 3; Prov. i, 14; xvi, 33; xviii, 18; Isa. xvii,
14; xxxiv, 17; Ivii, 0: Jer. xii, 25; Eze. x?iv. 6;
Dan. xii, 13 ; Joel iii, 3 ; Obad. 11; Jonah i, 1;
Micfth ii, 5 ; Nah. iii, 10.

There is another word [gheh-vel] which is translated “region,” “country,” ”lot of inheritance,” &c., as in Deut. iii, 4, 13,14; xxxii, 9 ; Josh, xvii, 5, 14; xix. 9, 29.

It will now be seen that Daniel does not stand in the “lot of his inheritance,” as it has been expressed, at the end of the 1335 days, but he stands in his lot in the decisions of the judgment of the righteous dead.

When did those days end? Evidences are conclusive that the 1335 days ended with the 2300, with the Midnight Cry in 1844. Then the angel [Rev. x, 1-6] swore that time should be no longer. Time here cannot mean duration, as measured in months and years, for 1000 years are measured after this; but it must refer to prophetic time, which was the burden of the angel’s message. As Daniel was to stand in his lot at the end of the days, we must conclude that the judgment of the righteous dead commenced at that time, and has been progressing more than twelve years.

When will the cases of the living saints pass in review in the investigative judgment of the house of God? This is a question worthy the candid and most solemn consideration of all who have a case pending in the court of heaven, and hope to overcome. In the order of heaven, we must look for their judgment to follow that of the dead, and to occur near the close of their probation.

It is most reasonable to conclude that there is a special call to the remnant, and a special work to be performed by them, and for them, preparatory to the decisions of the judgment in regard to them, and that their salvation depends upon fully obeying the calls and counsel to them. And we most solemnly believe that this preparatory call and work is brought to view in the testimony to the Laodiceans, and parallel portions of the word of God.

The judgment call and counsel to the Laodiceans finds them lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot. It finds them in a state where it is necessary for them to be zealous in the work of repentance, that they may find pardon, and obtain that preparation necessary to stand in the judgment. Those who do not fully receive and obey this testimony, but remain lukewarm, Christ will spue out of his mouth, or cast them from his favor and blot their names out of the book of life. The decisive hour is at hand. In this awful hour either sins or names will be blotted out. Those who are zealous and repent of all their sins buy the gold tried in the fire, (true faith,) the white raiment, (the same as the wedding garment, or white linen, which is the righteousness of Jesus Christ that saints will be clothed with—but one place to buy it —Jesus says, buy of me,) and have their eyes anointed with eye-salve, (the anointing of the Holy Ghost,) will have their sins blotted out, while those who remain careless, disobedient and lukewarm, will have their names blotted out of the book of life. Life and death are in this judgment call of the dear Saviour. It is life to fully receive it; death to be careless and neglect it. Now is the time to fully understand what it is to


“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” Rev. iii. 5.

The white raiment in this text is the same as that offered by the true Witness. Hence we conclude that the overcoming, which is necessary in order to have the names of the people of God retained in, and not blotted out of, the book of life, consists in obeying the testimony to the Laodiceans.

Dear brethren, perfect faith by works, be clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and get the anointing of the Holy Ghost, which will enable you to see sin in its sinfulness, holiness in its beauty, and the path to life as straight and as narrow as it really is and retain these priceless treasures, for in this you overcome. And your names will be retained in the book of life, and Jesus, in the judgment of the living just, will confess your names before the Father, and your sins will be blotted out.

We feel confident that but very few realize the consecration necessary to stand the judgment. Behold that dying saint. He first gives up the world and all its hopes. How carefully he reviews his past life, and confesses from the heart every wrong act and feeling. He then commits his family to the Lord, and himself he throws upon the mercy of God. 0 what a struggle! But when this work is done, Jesus smiles; and leaning upon the bosom of his Saviour, the saint breathes his life out sweetly there. His probation is closed, and his case rests till the record of his life is opened, and his case passes in review in the judgment. His sins were all repented of, therefore, in the great day of atonement, the blood of Jesus Christ can blot them out.

A consecration every way as complete as this will be necessary in order for the names of the living saints to be retained in the book of life, and their sins blotted out. What a struggle to die to this world while in full strength! We feel confident that many will go with the people of God who will fail in their feeble efforts to overcome. But very few realize what a real Bible death to this world is. 0 church of Christ awake! arise! The judgment is passing! Very soon will your names either be confessed by Jesus Christ before his Father, or they will be blotted out of the book of life. Consecrate all to God, then you will be prepared to act your part in saving others from ruin. The great work of consecration now required is set forth in the following scriptures :

” Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.” Zeph. ii, 3.

” Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God.” Joel ii, 12,13.

“Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God. and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” James iv. 6-10.

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore and repent.”

We leave this subject for the present and give room for the pointed communications from Brn. Ingraham and Stone.

J. W.

The Church and the World, 1889

November 26, 2008

Review and Herald, November 12, 1889, page 7


THE professed church of today is greatly troubled over the question how the people can be drawn and attracted to its communion. Failing in the ordinary methods, there seems to be a general letting down of the standards in favor of fun and amusements. The following article from the Detroit Free Press of Oct. 12, 1889, speaks for itself:—

“At the recent convention of the Universalists, held at the Church of Our Father, several papers of great liberality of scope and reason were discussed. None attracted more attention than that read by Mrs. E. C. Skinner, in which she advocated the union, under the Church patronage, of all sorts of innocent social contrivances, such as the bowling-alley, the billiard table, and all the rest. These, she argued, would in nowise interfere with devotional exercises, but, on the other hand, would bring many to church who otherwise would remain away. Following are a series of interesting opinions given by ministers of the city on the topic:—

“Rev. Lee S. McCollester: ‘I certainly indorse Mrs. Skinner’s paper as read at the convention. I think she is on the right track.’

“Rev. Howard D.uffleld: ‘I cannot but indorse the general idea. I think, however, that there may be some question as to the propriety of uniting all these various means of pleasure Under one roof. We indorse anything that has a tendency to ennoble sport or recreation. Mrs. Skinner’s idea is very much the same as is now practiced by the T. M. C. A. gymnasium supporters.’

“Rabbi Grossmann: ‘I am opposed to anything that will destroy the integrity of the home. I am opposed to anything that increases church attendance at the expense of theology. I am opposed to any artifices, clap-trap, or side issues in connection with religion. Just as soon as you begin bolstering up a creed or sect with this or that allurement or enticement, it is at once manifest that all is not well with the heart of the religion itself. I would have devotion as broad and far-reaching as the light of day, but I would not stoop to the inauguration of such petty social frivolities as are referred to in the paper read by Mrs. Skinner. . . .’

“Rev. J. T. Plunket: ‘Our fathers were too severe in the matter of amusements. All harmless and innocent sports or pastimes have their place. But if some people think that by introducing the bowling-alley and billiard table under the church roof, anything can be accomplished for the unregenerate or unconverted, I fail to grasp the situation.’

“Rev. Reed Stuart: ‘It appears to me that the view of Mrs. Skinner is the one now advocated by all liberal people. Personally, I think it is a move in the right direction.’

“Dr. C. R. Henderson: ‘I favor some such evolution as is referred to. Innocent pleasure for the young should be provided for by the Church.’

“Rev. Wm. H. Davis: ‘It is a movement that is bound to come. I heartily favor it. While I hesitate over the propriety of uniting all these things under one roof, there is no question in my mind as to their great importance. What we cannot have about a church we ought not to have anywhere.’

“Dr. Wallace Radcliffe; ‘While the introduction of innocent amusements is part of the Church duty, that function devolves more upon a church in a country district than in a city. Introduced in the city, the results are too often harmful or wrong.’

“Rev. Dr. Z. Grenell: ‘A church may surround itself with any innocent amusements in the line of true church work. What is the object of a church or of religion? But the line of amusements referred to—billiards, pool tables, card-playing, theatricals, dancing, and all the rest—seems very much to me like something decidedly out of the realm of church duty. If, I say, you get a man to go to a temperance lecture by offering him a free glass of beer, you defeat your purpose.’

“Rev. R. O. Cooper: ‘Under certain restrictions, I heartily favor the idea embodied in Mrs. Skinner’s paper. She is up to the times. A church-house, uniting innocent amusements, is all right. Let any church rich enough to support one, by all means maintain the same.’

“Bishop Foley: ‘We regard our church as the house of God. I have not read the paper you refer to. There is a time for praying and a time for playing. People should be drawn toward the church to hear the word of God. No, it is all monstrously wrong.’

Early Experiences in the Publishing Work. No. 1

November 26, 2008

Union Conference Record, Australasian, November 9, 1908, pages 1, 2

Early Experiences in the Publishing Work.
No. 1.

IN the printing and publishing work it is essential, not only that we have something of importance to communicate to the people, but that we have also means whereby it can be printed for circulation. The desire to print and the possession of thoughts which ought to be printed, will not alone furnish money for the purchase of paper, and meet the printer’s bills.

Those who first accepted the Sabbath truth under the message of the third angel of Rev. 14: 9-12, were largely those who had invested their all in the proclamation of the first and second messages. So with them the printing of the newly received light was an undertaking of no small magnitude; for they had not the money with which to pay the bills.

Pastor Joseph Bates, of New Bed ford, Massachusetts, was the first among this people to undertake the printing of the Sabbath truth. Before accepting the advent message, he had followed the sea for fifty years, acting first as cabin boy, rising from that position to master and part owner of vessels. When he retired from the sea, he sold his interest in a ship for £2,200. DUring his sea-faring life he had been among icebergs, had experienced about every vicissitude of sailor life, had been impressed as a seaman into British service, and imprisoned for many weeks in Calcutta because he refused to serve under British rule.

His experiences had developed in him stability of character, and a disposition to stand firmly for what he deemed to be right. One circumstance connected with his experience while preaching the first angel’s message in Maryland, will serve to illustrate this characteristic. He and Brother Heman Gurney, a singing evangelist, were holding meetings during the time of the January thaw. The roads were very muddy, caused by rain and melted snows. Great interest was manifested in their meetings; but Satan was enraged, and stirred up the “baser sort” of the town to mob these servants of the Lord.

The leader of the mob sent a messenger to Brother Bates, saying, “If you and Gurney do not leave town within the next twenty-four hours, we will ride you out of town on a rail.” Brother Bates read the message, and said to the man who brought it, “You tell your leader that it is exceedingly bad walking through all this mud. Of course riding would be much better than walking. His proposition is all right, if he will only remember to put a saddle on the rail.” The leader of the mob was compelled to admire the man who would venture such an answer, and he restrained his followers from any molestation of these brethren in their work. Such a courageous man was needed to lead out in the work of establishing Sabbath-keeping companies, and to begin the work of printing the Sabbath truth. He had the courage and faith to venture upon what he saw must be done, fully expecting to see the Lord prosper the same, even though he could not see just how all was to be accomplished.

This pioneer labourer started out to give the message without one printed page of any kind, aside from the Bible, to place in the hands of his hearers. After he had spoken till nine o’clock he was probably occupied for one, two, or three hours in answering questions and objections. No wonder he thought it would be an excellent help if he had some reading matter to hand out to the people to aid them in investigating the truth. Seeing, as he prayed over the matter, the utility of the enterprise, and yet not knowing where the money was to come from to accomplish his purpose, unless the Lord should specially provide, he took his Bible, concordance, pen, and paper, and entered upon his task.

He had been thus occupied not more than an hour when Mrs. Bates came into the room, and said, “Joseph, we have not flour enough to make out the baking.” “Well,” said Brother Bates, “how much do you lack?” She replied, “About four pounds.” “Well,” said her husband, “I will get it for you.” Then she mentioned some other articles which she needed. Brother Bates saw that it was going to take the last money he had, sixpence, to buy what she wanted. After Mrs. Bates retired from the room, he took a six- quart milk pan, and went to the provision store, bought the four pounds of flour and the other articles desired, spending the last of his money. Having set the articles on the table, he went again to his writing.

Soon Mrs. Bates came in, and seeing the articles on the table, she said, “Joseph, where did that flour come from ? ” “Why,” said Brother Bates, “is there not enough to make out your baking? you said you wanted four pounds.” Let it be noted here that Mrs. Bates had no idea that they had come to the end of their money. She persisted in asking, “Where did you get it?” As she afterwards said, she supposed he had been to some of the neighbours, and borrowed the four pounds of flour. He calmly replied, “I bought it.” This aroused her pride, and she said, “You, Captain Rates, who have sailed vessels all over the world, have been out and bought four pounds of floor!” She looked upon it as a very humiliating episode for a great sea captain’s family. Brother Bates of course had now to inform her of the real situation. He calmly said, “Wife, for those articles on the table I have paid out the last money I have on earth.”

Amid her violent sobs and tears, she said, “What are we going to do ?” He stood and said, with all the dignity of a captain commanding his ship, “I am going to write a book on the Sabbath question. I am going to get it printed, and I am going out to give the third angel’s message and the Sabbath truth to the world.” Almost blinded by her tears, Mrs. Bates replied, “Yes! but what are we going to live on?” He then replied, “The Lord will provide for that.” “Yes,” said she, “that is what you always say”; and she retired to her room to weep, while he, a penniless man, seated himself at the desk to resume his writing of the first Sabbath tract ever issued by Seventh-day Adventists.


The World Converting the Church, 1870

November 25, 2008

Review and Herald, October 4, 1870, page 3.

The World Converting the Church.

WE clip the following from the Boston Journal of March 4th.

“The Young Men’s Christian Association of Meriden, Conn., purposes to erect a new building this spring. In addition to two stores, the building will contain a bowling-alley, coffee and refreshment-room, library, conversation and amusement-room, and gymnasium. There will also be a hall arranged for private theatricals, etc. The estimated cost of the structure is $20,000, and it is thought that the rents and revenues of the establishment will nearly pay for it in ten years.”

The Young Men’s Christian Associations have doubtless accomplished much good, but if the above is indicative of the course to be generally pursued by them (which we hope it is not), then we predict their efficient labor for the advancement of the cause of Christ to be near an end. “Private theatricals” will be found but a stepping-stone to the public theatre, and though members in some respects may have “a form of godliness,” it will be manifest that they are “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.”

The festivals of various names connected of late years with churches of different denominations are working to the same end. Who can draw the line between the church and the world on such occasions? No thorough, enlightened Christian can be satisfied that festivals are Christ-like in which “grab-bags,” “guess-cakes,” “post-offices,” and similar means are resorted to for the purpose of raising money for church building, etc. Only imagine such a festival held in the apostolic age: Paul, for example, putting his hand into a bag and pulling out a rag-baby amid a roar of laughter; Peter paying out a few cents (for he would not be likely to have much silver and gold unless he got it by miracle, as he did the money to pay his tax) for a piece of cake—hoping to be lucky enough to find a ring in it: ” the beloved disciple” charged an exorbitant price for a letter in the church postoffice which he pays rather than to appear mean by refusing to do it; or a large number of the primitive disciples appealing to the flesh by announcing a turkey-supper, or an oyster-supper at a hotel, for the purpose of getting money out of the men of the world, and having a good time themselves! All these things have been done in our day. What has changed, Christianity or its professors? Is the church converting the world to Christ, or the world converting the church to the devil?

“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” —Advent Herald.


November 25, 2008


Review and Herald, October 4, 1870, page 3

Should a church run a bowling-alley?, 1898

November 15, 2008

Review and Herald, June 14, 1898, p. 16

A CHURCH paper asks, ”Should a church run a bowling-alley?” Why should any church want to run a bowling-alley? or, indeed, any other species of so-called amusement? A church is supposed to be Christian; and to the Christian, time is too precious an element to allow the spending of it in any such way. The Christian who does not see it so, may know that he has not yet found the true principle and life of Christianity. He who possesses Christian joy has something so far superior to “amusements” that they never come into consideration.

A Few Lines Composed on the Dark Day, May 19, 1780

November 13, 2008


Davenport Exhibit

Abraham Davenport

November 13, 2008

In the old days (a custom laid aside
With breeches and cocked hats) the people sent
Their wisest men to make the public laws.
And so, from a brown homestead, where the Sound
Drinks the small tribute of the Mianus,
Waved over by the woods of Rippowams,
And hallowed by pure lives and tranquil deaths,
Stamford sent up to the councils of the State
Wisdom and grace in Abraham Davenport.

‘Twas on a May-day of the far old year
Seventeen hundred eighty, that there fell
Over the bloom and sweet life of the Spring
Over the fresh earth and the heaven of noon,
A horror of great darkness, like the night
In day of which the Norland sagas tell,
The Twilight of the Gods. The low-hung sky
Was black with ominous clouds, save where its rim
Was fringed with a dull glow, like that which climbs
The crater’s sides from the red hell below.
Birds ceased to sing, and all the barnyard fowls
Roosted; the cattle at the pasture bars
Lowed, and looked homeward; bats on leathern wings
Flitted abroad; the sounds of labor died;
Men prayed, and women wept; all ears grew sharp
To hear the doom-blast of the trumpet shatter
The black sky, that the dreadful face of Christ
Might look from the rent clouds, not as He looked
A loving guest at Bethany, but stern
As Justice and inexorable Law.

Meanwhile in the old State House, dim as ghosts,
Sat the lawgivers of Connecticut,
Trembling beneath their legislative robes.
“It is the Lord’s Great Day! Let us adjourn,”
Some said; and then, as if with one accord,
All eyes were turned to Abraham Davenport.
He rose, slow cleaving with his steady voice
The intolerable hush. “This well may be
The Day of Judgment which the world awaits;
But be it so or not, I only know
My present duty, and my Lord’s command
To occupy till He come. So at the post
Where He hast set me in His providence,
I choose, for one, to meet Him face to face,
No faithless servant frightened from my task,
But ready when the Lord of the harvest calls;
And therefore, with all reverence, I would say,
Let God do His work, we will see to ours.
Bring in the candles.” And they brought them in.

Then by the flaring lights the Speaker read,
Albeit with husky voice and shaking hands,
An act to amend an act to regulate
The shad and alewive fisheries, Whereupon
Wisely and well spake Abraham Davenport,
Straight to the question, with no figures of speech
Save the ten Arab signs, yet not without
The shrewd dry humor natural to the man:
His awe-struck colleagues listening all the while,
Between the pauses of his argument,
To hear the thunder of the wrath of God
Break from the hollow trumpet of the cloud.

And there he stands in memory to this day,
Erect, self-poised, a rugged face, half seen
Against the background of unnatural dark,
A witness to the ages as they pass,
That simple duty hath no place for fear.

John Greenleaf Whittier, Abraham Davenport

My Task, The History of a Poem

November 7, 2008


History of this Poem’s Usage

The artwork and poem shown here is found:
The Ministry, May, 1956, page 2

Other Sources:


Southwestern Union Record, November 27, 1935, Too Small, author unknown

Signs of the Times, Australasian, June 27, 1938, page 10, Too Small, author unknown

Learn of Me
By Meade MacGuire, Field Secretary of the General Conference
The Ministry, September, 1938

Australasian Record, July 3, 1939, credit given to author unknown

Review and Herald, April 20, 1939, page 14, author unknown

The Church Officer’s Gazette, February, 1942, no title, no credit

Atlantic Union Gleaner, October 20, 1943, credit given to author unknown

The Church Officer’s Gazette, February, 1945, page 4, no title, no credit

Southern African Division Outlook, March 15, 1947, page 2, author unknown

Are We Shining or Showing?
By THOMAS S. GESATY, President, China Training Institute
The Ministry, September 1950, p. 29, credit given to Meade MacGuire

The Ministry, May, 1956, page 2
Southern Tidings, March 5, 1958, page 4, no title, author unknown

Father Where Shall I Work Today, attributed to Meade MacGuire


Mrs. Lulu Wightman Speaks on Liberty

November 7, 2008

Review and Herald, June 24, 1909, pages 20, 21

Religious Liberty Work in the Central Union Conference

A BRIEF report and summary of the religious liberty work in the Central Union Conference the past winter, including the effort put forth in the legislature at Jefferson City, Mo., last April, may not be uninteresting to readers of the REVIEW.

Sunday bills were introduced in all of the legislatures of our territory, with the exception of Wyoming; and though Sunday rest associations and individual advocates have urged their adoption, we are glad to ‘be ‘able to say that all of these bills have failed of adoption, nearly all being defeated in committee. Missouri had .the largest number of bills of any single State,— six in all,— and these were defeated. With the exception of a hearing granted Mrs. Wightman and the writer by a committee at Jefferson City, there were no public hearings. It is quite certain that newspaper correspondence upon the subject of Sunday legislation, private letters of protest, the judicious use of religious liberty literature, and direct personal work with the representatives of the people, have, altogether, ‘been effectual in halting further Sunday legislation in the Central Union Conference territory. From the reports I have received from the State secretaries from time to time, I am sure vigorous efforts have been put forth by them, and that signal success has attended these efforts.

At Jefferson City, Mo., April 10, a resolution was offered in the House of Representatives granting Mrs. Wight- man the privilege of using the House of Representatives Hall on the evening of April 12. The night was exceedingly disagreeable, yet a large number of the legislators and senators were present. They listened with marked attention, and frequently applauded points of the lecture.

At the conclusion of the lecture a large number of the legislators, including the speaker, the Republican floor leader, and chairman of committees, came crowding forward to the speaker’s stand, asking almost numberless questions. For an hour we were kept busy replying to these. Mrs. Wightman was asked if she would give the same lecture to the legislature the next day. Of course she re- plied in the affirmative. The following morning, Mr. Conran offered a resolution inviting Mrs. Wightman to speak to the House of Representatives at five o’clock on the “Object of Civil Government,” which was unanimously agreed to. At five o’clock scarcely a single member — 156 in all — was absent from his seat. Many of the wives and families were present, a number of senators came over from the Senate chamber, and the public galleries were well filled. In the lower gallery were the prohibition and temperance forces which were advocating a constitutional amendment for State-wide prohibition.

It will ‘be impossible to give the results of this meeting with the legislators in detail. The mention of a few incidents may be of interest. Three of the leading members requested that they be furnished all the information and literature upon the subject that was possible, while the requests for the Sunday Mail Report were so many that we decided to furnish every member a copy of the same, and did so. Personal interviews granted by many of the members disclosed an amazing interest in the subject of religious liberty and the dangers of religious legislation, plainly presented to them. Returning to Jefferson City two weeks later, we found that this interest had not abated at all; rather it had increased. A voluminous correspondence has since been carried on; and all indications, without exception, augur for good. One of the strongest Sunday-law advocates in the House completely changed his views. He said: ” Missouri evidently ought to be just where California is — without a Sunday law.”

The Speaker of the House gave us a letter of introduction to Speaker Shurtleff, of the Illinois House of Representatives, being anxious to have the Illinois Legislature hear the same doctrine of government, from which I quote, in part: —

” On April 13 Mrs. Wightman addressed the members of the legislature on the object of civil government. Her lecture was listened to with marked attention, gave general satisfaction, and made a profound impression on the minds of many of the members.” Letters of introduction to the city officials Of St. Louis were given us, and to many of the county officials of the • State of Missouri, and to certain members of Congress and United States senators at Washington. This, too, in my opinion, has opened a larger door to the press of Missouri, as nothing else, perhaps, could have done.

A brief summary of the work of the religious liberty department of the Central Union Conference (not including the work of the State departments) for a twelve-month is as follows: Religious liberty lectures given, 265; number of persons in audiences, approximately, 30,000; -newspaper articles published, in 94 different newspapers, 156, reaching, in the aggregate, 8,000,000 readers; personal visits, 2,800; pages of religious liberty literature distributed, 143,000; letters written, multigraph process and otherwise, approximately, 4,000.

We praise the Lord for the privilege and the “blessing of working with him.