Archive for the ‘Publishing Work’ Category

1852, A Paper For Children

April 25, 2009

Review and Herald, July 8, 1852, page 5


WE design publishing a small monthly paper, containing matter for the benefit of the youth. And we are satisfied that our brethren and sisters will agree with us, that something of the kind is very much needed. The children should have a paper of their own, one that will interest and instruct them.

God is at work among the children who have believing parents, or guardians, and many of them are being converted, and they need to be instructed in the present truth. And there are a portion of the children who have believing parents, or guardians, who are neglected, and do not have right instruction, consequently, they do not manifest much interest for their own salvation. We trust that such a paper as we design publishing would interest such children, and also be the means of waking up their parents, or guardians to a sense of their important duty. On them rests the awful responsibility of training souls for the kingdorn of God. But it is a lamentable fact that many of their children are left without suitable instruction. We feel more on this subject than we can express. May God wake up his people to a sense of their duty to those young minds, intrusted to their care, to guide in the channel of virtue and holiness.

We intend to give four or five lessons, in the form of questions and answers, in each number, one for each week for Sabbath-School lessons. These Schools can be held where there are but two or three children as well as where there are more.

We invite our brethren and sisters, also our young friends, to furnish matter, original or selected, for the little paper. Let all be free to write. Communicate your thoughts with simplicity and clearness, with a heart that feels the condition of the tender, yet neglected youth, that must soon witness the day of the Lord. We hope that matter for the first number will be sent in immediately, as we wish to prepare it before we leave for our Eastern tour.

We publish this paper on our own responsibility, and think it duty to set the price at twenty five cents for a volume of twelve numbers, to be paid in advance, or within three months from the date of the first number.

Will some brother in each place, obtain all the names of the children that desire the paper, collect the means to pay for it, and forward it to us.

The paper will cost, including postage, only about three cents a month. Many little boys and girls spend enongh for candies and toys, that are of no real value, to pay for five or six such papers. We mean that all the children that cannot pay for it, who wish to read it, shall have it free, and we have no doubt but many of the children will deny themselves of toys, so as to be able to pay for their own, and some poor little boys’ or girls’ paper. We hope our young friends will do what they can, and we will try to give them an interesting and instructive little sheet. 5

1894, Kneeland’s Christmas on Trinidad

March 18, 2009

Review and Herald, February 13, 1894, p. 4


As our boat was detained in the harbor of Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, over Christmas, we improved the opportunity by going on shore and making the acquaintance of some of the persons with whom the International Tract and Missionary Society had been in correspondence.

When it was known that we were there in the interests of the tract society, we had no lack for friends, and we were gladly welcomed by all. Some had been receiving the Signs and other publications, which they had eagerly read and circulated ; in some instances carrying them on foot twenty miles to their friends. In this way very many had heard something of our work, and as a result, one family had begun the observance of the Sabbath, and others are convinced. This brother belonged to the Church of England, and as they were unable to convince him that he was in error, they expelled him from their midst. This incident only increased the discussion of the Sabbath question, and many questions were asked us on this subject. We tried to show them that Christians should honor Christ by keeping his law.

Services were desired before we left, and the Baptist mission building was kindly offered us. Christmas day with this people is wholly given up to amusements; but the invitation sent out soon gathered in quite a company, who gave good attention as we tried to present a few thoughts from Rom. 1 : 16.


Georgetown, British Guiana.

1892, Chadwick Visits Trinidad and British Guiana

March 17, 2009

1892, Spring, L. C. Chadwick Reports

Review and Herald, June 21, 1892, p. 12


AFTER my last report, I spent a few days at Trinidad, Where “nothing has ever been done in the interests of the present truth, except that brother Arnold is now delivering large numbers of ”Great Controversy,” and the International Tract Society is commencing a correspondence, which is showing good results. This is a beautiful island, and one in which ministerial labor should soon be begun. As I visit these fields, and see the open doors before us on every hand, my heart goes out in prayer for our people to awaken to the responsibility that rests on us to support our foreign work, that we may extend it into all these islands and other countries toward which we have hardly turned our attention. There are about seventy thousand Hindus in Trinidad, or about one third of the population. Many of them have received a knowledge of the true God, and we should be doing something for them.

I spent twenty-two days in British Guiana, from April 27 to May 19. Five years ago Elder G. G. Rupert labored here two months, and brother Geo. King sold some books. A small church was organized. Last year brother Arnold sold several hundred books in the colony, which has a population of about three hundred thousand, of whom one third are Hindus. The church has struggled along under difficulties, among which has been a division in their own numbers; but in the face of all these, others have received the truth, and there has never been so widespread an interest to know more of the message, as there is at the present time.

My labors were bestowed chiefly upon the church and the believers. By the blessing of God, differences vanished, hearts were united, and I believe that much good was accomplished. I went out eighty-five miles in the country, held a few meetings, and baptized eight, and later sixteen were baptized in Georgetown, of whom three were Hindus. The church was strengthened, and I left it with a membership of forty-one. The officers were unanimously chosen, and we felt that the Lord sanctioned the service when the elder and deacons were set apart for their work, with prayer and laying on of hands. At the farewell service, we celebrated the ordinances, and it was a time of refreshing. If all continue to walk in unity and love, the influence of the cause may be greatly extended. This is an important field, and we should have one minister located in this colony, to develop the interest that now exists.


William Arnold, Pioneer Book Seller

March 17, 2009

William Arnold, Pioneer Book Seller, A Chronology


Served on the nominations committee for the first annual meeting of the Sanitarium Improvement Company. YB 1885, p. 66


The first party of Seventh-day Adventist missionaries, consisting of S. N. Haskell, J. 0. Corliss, M. C. Israel (ministers), W. Arnold (a colporteur from Michigan), and H. Scott (a printer),; landed in Australia. Melbourne was chosen as the first field, and it proved a fruitful one, for at the close of 1886 there was a church of one hundred members established. RH 1918, V95-31

J. O. Corliss’ wife and two children came as well; as did Israel’s wife and their two daughters. On May 10, they took passage on the ship Australia from San Francisco, and twenty-eight days later landed in Sydney, June 8. In about a month from then they were all settled in Richmond, Melbourne, and on July 4, 1885, they held their first Sabbath school, their membership being eleven persons, comprising workers and their families (as listed above). They met in Haskell’s rented house in Richmond, Victoria (AAR 1901-07 sp03, p. 13).

The original Minute book for this gathering “recorded the following: Superintendent, Pastor S. N. Haskell; secretary, Jane Israel. The lesson study was, ‘The Saints’ Inheritance,’ and ten were present as students. No offering was recorded.” AAR 1965-33, p.2.

In less than three weeks, on July 21, a mission was opened in the Temperance Hall, Richmond. A little later that year, with the mission work well begun in Australia, S. N. Haskell left for New Zealand. RH 1948-19, p. 16

“These laborers met with opposition from both the pulpit and press. They worked as best they could, visiting, holding Bible-readings, and selling books, Brother Arnold selling over 1000 copies of Daniel and Revelation in Melbourne in less than a year. Many tears were shed and prayers offered in connection with this first year’s work. ” AAR 1901-08, p. 10.

“With the first contingent of workers came also Brother H. 8cott, the printer of the party. It was in the bedroom of Brother Scott in Richmond that the first type was set up and it was then conveyed by handcart to the local press for the printing of our first literature in Australia.

“Quite a number of older brethren will remember the old Bible Echo printed at Best Street, North Fitzroy. The printing press for this paper was given by Brother Arnold, who gladly donated £250 earned by the sale of “Daniel and the Revelation…” AAR 1935-30, p. 11.


November 22, Tenth Meeting of the 1887 General Conference Session: “26. That Wm. Arnold, now in Australia, go to England to help in establishing the canvassing work there.” YB 1888, p. 41.

In June, 1888, Bro. Wm. Arnold arrived from Australia, and spent a few weeks canvassing for “Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation.” His efforts were attended with marked success. The willingness to read on the subjects presented in the Bible readings which have been held, is continually increasing, and many families have become interested in different parts of the city. Several soldiers at the barracks at Southampton have embraced the truth principally by reading. YB 1891, p. 75
Noted as England’s first colporteur. TCOG, 1945-3, p.5
April, May and June; Arnold “very successful” in London. YB 1891, p. 76


“The work in the West Indies was begun by Brother Wm. Arnold, in the winter of 1888-9. He visited and sold books on the islands of Santa Croix, Saint Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Montseratt, and Barbadoes. He gave to the International Tract Society the addresses of 1,200 persons who had purchased ” Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation” from him, and the society began sending literature to them and corresponding with them. A number began to obey as the result of this work.

On November 7, 1890, Elder Dexter A. Ball sailed to Barbadoes, in company with Brother Arnold. A gentleman owning a mission building in Bridgetown invited Elder Ball to hold meetings in his chapel, and fifty-seven discourses were preached. A number accepted the truth, and since then a church has been organized.

Saint Vincent was then visited by Elder Ball, and also Antigua. At the latter place, the work of a sister who had become acquainted with the truth in London, England, had led several to accept it. About sixty services were held here, and twenty-six persons joined the believers in the West Indies. – Saint Kitts and Santa Croix were also visited. At Montseratt, an open-air service was held, and a number of books were sold.

“We have also been able to respond to the pressing calls from the West Indies by sending Elder D. A. Ball of the Pennsylvania Conference to labor in that field, and with him Wm. Arnold.” YB 1891, p. 46

“Elder Ball then revisited Saint Kitts, to make arrangements for Brother Charles D. Adamson to enter the work. While there, three persons signed the covenant, as the result of personal work. On the way to Barbadoes, a few days were spent at Dominica. Reaching Barbadoes, after a long absence, it was found that the brethren there were of good courage, and their numbers had been increased. Brother Adamson joined Elder Ball in the work there for about six weeks, when, they went to the island of Grenada. Here they found a number keeping the Sabbath as the result of a brother’s efforts, who had received the truth through reading a book which he had purchased in South America.

“Brother Wm. Arnold is still canvassing in the islands, with good success.” YB 1892, p. 74, 75


Arnold works in Demerara (Guyana); writes a descriptive letter home to his children.


He spends the summer in Trinidad to wait out Demerara’s rainy season.

Arnold works the summer in Tobago.


Marketing the Magic Pocket Vaporizer, “because everybody wants it.”

I find little difficulty in getting recommendations from influential people, having secured haif a dozen testimonials from among the clergy of this city (Battle Creek). The canvasser needs but little capital in selling this instrument, as deliveries are made as fast as opportunity affords, and In this way he will find his influence constantly increasing. A splendid opportnnity is also afforded to do missionary work among the suffering, and the canvasser can make good wages besides.

I predict a large sale for the Magic Pocket
Vaporizer.” ALUG 1904-45, p.11


April 25-26, Mr. and Mrs. Arnold attend a meeting at West Valley, New York. “We were glad to see Brother and Sister Wm. Arnold present. Brother Arnold is not very strong physically, but his courage and hope in the Lord is strong. ” ALUG 1908-19, p. 4.

Lives at Ellicottville, New York. W. B. White reports on his visit with Arnold. ALUG 1910-01, p. 2.



Lived in Colorado for a time and now coming back to Ellicottville. ALUG 1917-22, p. 8.


William Arnold dies. Survived by his wife and daughter, Mabel. ALUG 1922-25, p. 8.

1892, Colporteur Arnold Visits Tobago

March 17, 2009

Review and Herald, August 30, 1892, page 5


I FIRST landed at Tobago in April, and took about one hundred and sixty orders for books, and now I have returned to attend to delivering them. This island is at present under the same government as that of Trinidad, and is only one night’s sail from that place, by Royal Mail. Tobago is twenty-two miles long, eight miles broad, and is of volcanic formation, with a range of hills twenty miles long, rising to a hight of 1,800 feet. Since the decline in sugar, Tobago has not been in a prosperous condition, and I feel very well satisfied with even 160 orders. In Trinidad you will find large, well-cultivated estates, a railroad, telegraph, and street-car lines, but none of these are to be seen on Tobago. Carriage roads are very few here, and as a consequence, every one rides, and ladies go to parties, and even to church, in the saddle.

The early history of Tobago is a varied one, having been owned by the Spanish, Dutch, and French. I climbed up to the old Fort George, and sold books to the officers there. Perhaps two miles away could be seen the old earthworks where the French intrenched themselves on the top of a high hill, and took Fort George; but shortly after, the English fleet appeared, and the French were driven off the island, so that since 1814 Tobago has been an undisputed English colony.

A few miles away is “Robinson Crusoe’s cave,” which I should visit if business took me that way. As it is, I shall be content with a few curios from Robinson Crusoe’s Island.

The largest congregation here is that of the Moravians. I have sold some books to them and to their ministers, and, in fact, to all the ministers in the island. I have been working under difficulties for the last few months, as we have had the most rain this season of any in twenty years. This makes the rivers dangerous to ford, but when on foot, the man who carries my books carries me over the stream also.

In regard to my work thus far, I can report 2,000 books delivered in 18 1/2 months from the time I left Battle Creek, and a surplus of about five hundred and fifty orders besides. I had hoped to deliver that number by May 1, 1893, but I shall probably deliver 3,000 by that time.

Scarborough, Tobago, July 10. age=5


Arnold applies his comparative analysis skills. He effectively contrasts Trinidad and Tobago.

Of the 3000 orders, did anyone accept the Adventist message as a result?

1891, Wm. Arnold, Book Seller, Visits Trinidad

March 16, 2009

1891, Colporteur Wm Arnold Visits

Review and Herald, July 14, 1891, page 5

As the rainy season in Demerara (Guyana) has set in, thus putting an end to my work in the country districts, I thought I would come over to Trinidad until the weather is more settled in Demerara. Port-of-Spain is the capital of Trinidad, and numbers perhaps 40,000 people; they are the most cosmopolitan of any that I have met in this field. English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Coolies. The different denominations represented are Church of England, Wesleyan, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Catholic.

The Catholic Church is very strong owing to the great number of French, Spanish, and Portuguese. But the most substantial people of wealth and influence are generally found among the Scotch and English. Some of the heaviest mercantile firms both in Trinidad and Demerara, are controlled by the Scotchmen.

A young Presbyterian has lately come to Trinidad to learn the Hindoostanic language and labor among the Coolies. I have met one of the teachers at Queen’s College who is a native Spaniard, and teaches both Spanish and French. Now, would it not be a line idea for one of our ministers who wishes to learn Spanish, to come down here and labor, and at the same time get a knowledge of Spanish? I understand that there is a talk of sending a minister this way. I wish he were here now.

When I came here, I brought with me a quantity of ”Great Controversy,” and commenced taking orders, and at the same time delivering as fast as possible, to let the book advertise itself. Among other signatures, I have that of his Excellency the Governor, the Auditor-General, the Register-General, the Acting Surgeon-General, the mayor of Port-of-Spain, the dean of Trinity Cathedral, etc. One wealthy sugar merchant, after purchasing a book, remarked to a friend that that was the best five dollars he ever spent. So his friend bought and paid for a copy, and then referred me to a third, who has paid me the cash for a book. The first man was formerly a member of the Church of England, but when they placed the crucifix and candles on the altar, he withdrew from them. I do not think he is now leading a religious life. Perhaps he does not see anything in the churches worth following. I think some of our ministers who are in delicate health should make the West Indies their field of labor.

The heat is very seldom as great here as with you, and sunstroke is almost unknown. I will quote from Guppy’s Almanac :—

“The range of the thermometer is usually from seventy at dawn to eighty-eight in the middle of the day. During the hotter months it reaches ninety-three, or even higher; while during the cooler weather, which generally lasts for a few weeks at the beginning of the year, the temperature sinks as low as sixty-six at night. The dry season may be reckoned to extend from the middle of January to the middle of May, but it is sometimes a week or two longer than this. “

As one passes from point to point in this part of the world, he will find new objects of interest wherever he goes. Barbadoes is a beautiful island. When you reach Demerara, you find the most beautiful city I have seen in the tropics, with broad streets, electric light, etc.; but the country is low and flat, not a mountain in view, and if it were not for the sea-wall, the country would be inundated at high tide, it is naturally an unhealthy place. Last year they buried 3,000 in Georgetown alone.

In Trinidad we see the grand old mountains once more, a pleasant change after six months in Demerara. I have visited the Botanical Gardens here, and they are simply magnificent. The governor’s palace has been erected in these gardens, and with, its surroundings affords a home worthy of any potentate. Across the way from the palace, is a public square, or savannah, as it is called here, which is as flat as a floor, and contains about 400 acres. I witnessed a military parade there on the queen’s birthday.

I shall probably stay in this island till sometime in August, when the dry season will give me an opportunity to finish up my work in Demerara.


Port-of- Spain, Trinidad, West Indies, May 31. age=5

Current Projects

February 4, 2009

Covenant Forum has invited us to develop some history posts for them.

Recent Posts on Covenant Forum:

Belize and the Bay Islands

Early Work in Belize and the Bay Islands, 1896; F.M. Wilcox writes. He includes a colorful letter from J.A. Morrow of British Honduras.

Our current projects include the gathering of information about:

Pastor James A. Morrow, and

Studying the Early Adventist Use of the Apocrypha

You can find other of our Covenant Forum postings here:

    Stories, 1905-1915
    James A. Morrow
    Stories, 1916 – 1926
    The Official Church Paper, 1849 and Following
    Alonzo Barry
    Methods of Evangelism – The History of Gospel Work
    The First Ones – The Third Angel in New Lands
    The History of Ideas Within Adventism
    World War II
    Adventist Radio
    Online Study Links
    The Advocate
    Resolutions from General Conference Sessions
    Seventh-day Adventists and Seventh-day Baptists
    1888 Notes

George King, the First Colporteur, 1880

January 6, 2009


Review and Herald, February 1, 1923, pp. 21-22


AFTER listening to a stereopticon lecture by Elder James Hickman on the wonderful, world-wide extent of our present canvassing activities, and seeing the picture of the familiar face of Brother George King, the recognized founder of our present canvassing system, I feel that it may be of interest to the readers of the REVIEW to know something of the early start of that particular branch of our work, and how Brother King was led into that field of labor.

At the close of his sermon in the Battle Creek church, one Sabbath in the early winter of 1880, as Elder James White stepped down from the pulpit, he remarked to my father, “Uncle Richard, don’t leave until I see you. I want to talk with you and Aunt Huldah a minute after the crowd gets away.”

Standing by my father’s side, I listened as any small boy will, wondering what Brother White had to say.

When the congregation had gone, Elder White came np to where we were standing, and as I now recall his words, they were something like this:

” Brother Godsmark, I’ve got a man up at our house that I just do not know what to do with. He has been hanging around for the last two weeks, wanting to preach. He says he knows that the Lord has called him to the work, and maybe He has, but he doesn’t look much like a preacher to me. He is devoted and seems like a good man. We hear him praying in his room a good deal, but he has no education, can scarcely talk at all, and I don’t believe we can ever make a preacher out of him. I wish you people would take him out on the farm. He can work enough to pay for his room and board, and maybe by next summer we can let him go out with a tent. I wish you would see if there is any ‘ preach ‘ in him. His name is King, George King.”

On our way home that afternoon, father drove by Elder White’s home and took in a tall, slim, seedy-looking man whose dark, rusty-brown overcoat looked much the worse for wear. He placed in the back of our buggy a little old trunk which contained all the worldly possessions he had. He was given a comfortable room just across the hall from mine, and I remember how often I would be awakened in the early hours by his earnest prayers before the rest of the family were astir.

He helped about the chores, but spent much of his time studying his Bible. Mother helped him to arrange his sermons, and tried to teach him how a minister should present his subjects, for he seemed to have no education, no ability, and no initiative at all; but he knew that the Lord had called him to the work. He used to go alone into the front room, and there, standing before the law and prophetic charts that hung upon the wall, try to explain the message to the empty chairs he assembled before him.

One day ‘ toward spring, Brother Edmund’s family, the only family of Sabbath keepers there was for several miles around, came to visit us (we used to visit back and forth in those days), and it was soon arranged that after dinner Brother King should preach his first sermon. My aunt, Mrs. Evans, one of the early Sabbath keepers, was sent for, and came over to help swell the crowd. This was to be his trial sermon, and was to decide whether the Lord had endowed him with a gift to preach. When it was decided that the time for test had come, poor Brother King refused to eat any dinner, and although it was a cold winter day, he spent the time out in the barn in earnest prayer to God.

After dinner the chairs were arranged, and an earnest season of prayer was engaged in before inviting him in. He made a blundering failure. His talk was short and anything but to the point. As he left the room, he tearfully asked that they pray earnestly that the Lord’s will might be done.

After another season of prayer and a long pause, for no one seemed to want to express an adverse opinion, mother stood up and said, as best I can remember, that it was clear to her that Brother King was not called to preach in the manner that others preached. He could never go into the desk and hold a crowd, but he could be a fireside preacher,— that is, he could go to the homes of the people, and preach to them around their firesides; that he could give away tracts and talk the truth to people where they were.

Father, who stuttered so ho could never take any part in public meetings, said that if Brother King would only do that, he would gladly buy all the tracts he would ever need, and would furnish him with whatever money he might require, as he would have no possible way of obtaining money of his own. It was soon arranged that so long as he devoted his life to that work, he should always have a home with us, should never want for food, clothes, or money, and his tracts should always be supplied.

Brother King accepted this as the will of God, and his call to untried fields. His clothes were put in respectable shape, and the next Monday he started out. He carried a little old satchel, the best we had, full of tracts. His pockets, too, were bulging out with papers to give away, and he had $2 in his pocket, enough to last him till the next Friday night, when he was to return and go to church with us. Friday came, and no Brother King; Sabbath morning, and still no Brother King. We felt no small concern as to his whereabouts.

When we reached the church in Battle Creek, he was there, so full of joy that he hardly knew how to tell of the rich blessings which had been his to enjoy as he had gone to the homes of the people and tried to tell them of the glorious truths that filled his own soul. He had not only given away a large number of his tracts, but had actually sold sixty-two cents’ worth.

The next Monday he again started out with renewed vigor, another satchel full of tracts, and this time $2.62 in money. That was his last visit at our home. This week he succeeded in converting nearly his whole satchel full of literature into cash. From that time on he bought his books direct from the Review and Herald Publishing House. During the summer he sold a good many dollars’ worth of tracts and books, mostly books.

In the fall he urged his case so strongly before the brethren at the Conference that they decided to prepare him a special issue of “Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation,” binding the two books together in one. I remember how he urged the matter in his blundering way, telling them that if Elder Smith would only take his engraving tool (Elder Smith did all our illustrating in those days), and would engrave another picture of the “great and terrible beast ” of Daniel 7, making it look larger, more fierce, and then just print it in red ink, he could sell those books readily.

That was the way our canvassing work began. The man whom Elder White did not know what to do with, became the pioneer of this wonderful means of carrying this message to earth’s remotest bounds.


More on George King

Arthur Spalding (1949). Tract and Colporteur Work. Captains of the Host. pp. 411-420.

Richard Schwarz (1979). Light Bearers to the Remnant. pp. 155-156

George King (1882). Canvassing. Review and Herald, January 24, 1882, page 12.

Storytelling in the Home

December 23, 2008

The Church Officers’ Gazette, June, 1944

Storytelling in the Home


Storytelling is the oldest and most important of arts. God made us to en- joy stories, and set His seal of approval on the art by being the first storyteller and by putting into His Book many, many stories. About one half of the Bible is in story form, and that half is the best known and most often read. , Stories are important because of their great influence. They stimulate us to emulate the characters in the story. They appeal to the emotions, which are levers that move us to action. They are a highway to the heart of the world. They appeal to us in such a’ way that they arc easy to remember.

In our school a number of years ago was the son of the man who gave to our pioneer among the Indians, Brother Stahl, the money to establish the Broken Stone Mission. This boy was only seven years old, but every night he repeated to his mother the story of the day’s Bible lesson: a story of the second advent, or of the signs of Christ’s coming or the events that would follow, or maybe a story from the life of Mrs. White or some Bible character, or perchance a mission story. In wonder and delight that mother listened to him as he repeated the story, realizing that deep and good impressions were made. I repeat, the story is an easy and happy form by which children receive facts and ideas and ideals.

In Judges the second chapter and the seventh verse we read: “And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord, that He did for Israel.” We are likely to think, Wonderful! But see what God did for them. How could they be anything but true?

Now read verse ten and the first part of verse twelve: “There arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which He had done for Israel. . . . And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers.” If loyalty to God came as the result of knowing the great works of the Lord, and lack of loyalty came as the result of the ignorance of the generation which knew not the works of the Lord, is there not a lesson in this that we dare not ignore? The second generation did not have the privilege of seeing the works of the Lord with their own physical eyes, but they should not have been denied the privilege of seeing them through the eyes of others. The mothers and fathers failed in their duty of Storytelling. Seventh-day Adventist parents should not fail. The children should know the stories of God’s providences and guidance in our early denominational history, as well as Bible stories, that they too may “serve the Lord all the days of the elders” who have outlived our pioneers.

Seventh-day Adventist history is rich in stories of God’s providences. There is the story of the establishment of our sanitariums. Think of what Mrs. White told us about properties on the West Coast that could be bought for a fraction of their value. Think of the direct pointing to the Paradise Valley Sanitarium property, which was finally secured for one fifth of its value because the original owners could not find water after, a short time” of operating. “But,” said Mrs. White, “there is water there.” Our people purchased the property, drilled for water, and found it. Paradise Valley Sanitarium is a monument to God’s leading of this people. Shouldn’t our children know that story?

Think of what has been done for our publishing work. In the early days of the establishment of one of our plants, the loss was $12,000 from the first year’s operation. It had been built at the urgent appeal of Mrs. White. Greatly troubled, the men in charge went to her, wishing to close it up. She said, “Study your methods.” The second year the balance showed another loss of $12,000. Again they went to Mrs. White. Again she said, “Study your methods.” Again the third year they had the same experience. In desperation they were determined to close the plant. But the same counsel obtained again—”Study your methods.” The fourth year showed a net gain of $36,000, balancing their three years’ losses. Today that institution is one of our largest printing plants. Will such a story help to establish the children’s faith in God’s leading of this people.

Think of our schools. Think of the providential establishment of our Australian school. The Lord picked out the identical farm and marked it by three unmistakable signs. Against the advice of government experts that land was purchased, against which Mrs. White said, “False witness has been borne.” The first year that crops were planted, such an excellent harvest was obtained that the people met for special thanksgiving and called in the government expert, who said, “I cannot understand it.” Don’t you think our children ought to know that story?

I repeat, one great source of stories for our children is found in the providential leadings of this people. Some of these will be found in such books as F. C. Gilbert’s Divine Predictions, J. N. Loughborongh’s Great Second Advent Movement, Ellen G. White’s Early Writings and Life Sketches, A. W. Spalding’s Pioneer Stories, W. A. Spicer’s Pioneer Days, and others.

Then there are personal stories that our children should know—stories of leaders who have been influenced at the right moment by the words of Mrs. White. I am reminded of a story told us by the late G. B. Starr regarding Elder Olsen, then president of the General Conference. Elder Olsen was sitting at the table in his dining room; his elbows were resting on the table, his head in his hands. He was discouraged. He had too much to do, and could not do his work well. So he turned his burdened heart to the Lord and said, “I am bringing back to you the presidency of the General Conference. I am not fitted for it. Another man can do the work better.” After he had unburdened his heart he felt better and retired for the night.

Early next morning he went to the conference office, where a letter was handed him, written by Mrs. White in Australia over a month before. In it Mrs. White said, “Dear Elder Olsen: I was shown you sitting in your dining room, at your table; your elbows were resting on the table, your head was in your hands. You were praying, and you said, ‘Dear Lord, I am bringing back to you the presidency of the General Conference. I am not fitted for it; another can do the work better.’ Now Brother Olsen,” Mrs. White continued, “the Lord says, ‘Who made you chairman of the sanitarium board? I did not. Who made you one of the leaders on the Review and Herald board? I did not. But I have made you the president of the General Conference. Do the work that I have given you to do, and you will find that My yoke is easy and My burden is light.’ ”

How can you account for such a letter? Only one way; the Lord showed to Mrs. White, away over in Australia, a month before, what Elder Olsen was going to do in his home in Battle Creek. She wrote this out in a letter and sent it to him, in order that he might not give up the work that the Lord had given him to do. It arrived the morning after he had this experience. Could anyone but God have foreseen this?

Then there is the story of Mrs. S. M. I. Henry, who was very ill at her home in the Middle West. She was scheduled to go to the West Coast to speak at a large W. C. T. U. gathering. She was so ill that her children felt she should not go on the trip. But she felt the Lord had called her. She stayed in bed on the train all the way across the continent, and felt better when she arrived. However, she was so frail that her hostess insisted on her going into a private home and not to a hotel. One of the wealthy ladies of the city opened her home, and Mrs, Henry was made very comfortable. The morning after she arrived she received a letter from Mrs. White, written several weeks before, in Australia, with her name and address on the envelope. Not her home address, not the W. C. T. U. address, but the address of the home where she was staying in that city, a home that would not have been opened to her if she had not been ill. How did Mrs. White know that Mrs. Henry was going to stay at that home? No one had known it until the day before. And yet the letter was written several weeks before. Isn’t that a story you would like to have the children know, to help fasten in their minds the thought that God through His angels revealed to Mrs. White the things of the future?

It seems to me that no one who believes absolutely the truthfulness of the Spirit of prophecy can ever leave this denomination. And it seems to me further that we should not hesitate to impress upon our children and young people the stories that will bring this belief to their hearts, a belief that will serve as an anchor in times of stress.

Another source of stories for our children is mission experiences. Elder Spicer’s story of Celia, the little black girl who gave her all when she gave her earrings, raised thousands of dollars for the mission work of this denomination. And how many children have been inspired to be more true to their convictions by the story of the two little children in Czechoslovakia who refused to obey the man who took them after their mother’s death, when he told them they must not keep the Sabbath. Though he punished them every Sabbath for their disobedience, yet he was finally won over and became an ardent Seventh-day Adventist himself. Mission, stories should not be confined to dramatic incidents only. Should they not rather be built upon the principle of trial and triumph, letting the hearers know that mission work is not just one grand lark or series of exciting adventures, but, like work anywhere else, is made successful by building steadily, earnestly, thoughtfully, prayerfully, even routinely, day by day and year by year?

(To be continued in August)

Hiram Edson’s Daughter Remembers

December 14, 2008



I have just been reading the Anniversary Number of the Review and Herald, and as I have looked into the faces of old familiar friends, it has aroused many recollections of the past. My whole life has been in close connection with the Advent Message. I was born about the time my parents accepted the Advent doctrine under the preaching of Wm. Miller in 1843. They were firm and true to the cause of truth to the close of their lives, and it called for such self-denial and and sacrifice in those early days, for its friends were few and mostly poor in this worlds goods.

After the passing of the time when they expected the Lord would come on the 22nd of October, 1844, a few of the most earnest and faithful ones were at the home of my father, (Hiram Edson), praying and studying the prophecies to learn the cause of the disappointment. After prayer they started out to visit some that had been interested, and were going through a corn field when suddenly father saw a bright light shining around him and heard these words, as of an audible voice: “The temple of God was opend in heaven and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament.” The others passed on, but soon noticed he was not with them, and, looking back, asked what was the matter. He replied, “Brethren, there is new light for us.” They went to studying the prophecies, and the light on the subject of the Sanctuary was then brought out, which fully explained the cause of the disappointment. O. R. L. Crozer then wrote the article mentioned in the Review a few months ago. He was at father’s, and, finances being low, those interested in the Message having used all their ready means in proclaiming the Message, my mother sold her solid silver teaspoons and half of her large spoons to pay for having the article printed in the “Day Dawn.” That also opened up the subject of the seventh-day Sabbath.

The conference to which Brother and Sister White were invited, as noticed on page 8 of the Review, was held at father’s house, near Port Gibson, New York. Nearly all the Sabbath-keepers at that time met there, and my parents entertained them, the sisters sleeping in the house and the brethren in the haymow. Father cleaned and seated his barn floor to have a place for the meetings. That was a time that called for self-denial and sacrifice. Brother and Sister White were in very close circumstances. Father sold his sheep and gave $1500 to help them.

Another conference was held at father’s not long after this, and a mob of forty gathered in the dooryard, intent on breaking up the meeting. They rushed into the house and laid hold of one brother and dragged him to the door. Another brother stepped up and ordered them to let him go, when one of the mob took a griddle from off the stove and struck him, cutting him badly over the eye. Father then walked boldly out into the crowd and said: “I won’t give up my faith if you cut me into inch pieces and feed my flesh to the foxes of the desert and to the fowls of the air.” The Spirit of God accompanied the words with such power that the crowd all withdrew and they had a quiet meeting.

I, with my parents, attended the meeting at Balston Springs, at which it was decided to move the Review office to Rochester, N. Y., and buy a Washington hand press. I well remember hearing father say, “We, no doubt, will have a power press before the close—and maybe two or three.” That required a great stretch of faith at that time, but what do we see today?—many large power presses in various parts of the world, all of them running day and night, sending out the message of truth by the tons. The work, begun in such poverty and weakness, has grown mighty and strong, and God will carry it to a glorious consummation. There is still a great work to be done, but He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness.

Nearly all of the faces shown in the Anniversary Number of the Review and Herald are familiar to me. The first page of the Present Truth looks very familiar. I well remember reading it when a child. I have no recollection of my parents keeping Sunday.

I truly praise the Lord that He has kept me in the love of the truth, while many bright and shining lights have gone out in darkness. Time has continued much longer than we expected, but it has been through the longsuffering of God, who is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But it will not always wait. Jesus will soon come, and may reader and writer be able to say, “This is the Lord—we have waited for Him and He will save us.”

From one who has been long looking for the appearing of Christ.

Houston, Texas, Jan. 15, 1920.