Archive for the ‘Doctrines’ Category

A Good Resolution, 1877

December 22, 2008

Atlantic Union Gleaner, July 22, 1931, (1877)

A GOOD RESOLUTION

Taken from the clerk’s records of the original Oakfield, Me., church, (now Dyer Brook) in Aroostook County, are the following resolutions passed at a church business meeting on the evening of November 1, 1877, Elder S. J. Hersum in the chair:

“Whereas, we are fast approaching the time when probation will close, and

“Whereas, Satan, according to the Bible which we believe is true, is to work with great power for the destruction of God’s people,

“Therefore, resolved, that we as members of the church in Oakfield, study the Bible and follow out all its teachings, believing that our salvation depends upon this, and that we will watch and pray that we be not used as instruments in the hands of Satan to wound the feelings of our brothers and sisters and the cause of God, by speaking of the faults of the brothers and sisters to others, before to the one that is at fault.

“Resolved, that we will stand by each member of the church and will by our prayers and comforting words, stay up the hands of each other under every trial.”

How we need the spirit of these resolutions, not only on our church records, but in our hearts. May God grant it as we enter the greatest Harvest Ingathering campaign in our history. Would it not be a great encouragement and help to us if each knew the other was praying for him?

B. M. HEALD.

http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/ALUG/ALUG19310722-V30-28/index.djvu?djvuopts&page=3

—————-

Notes by Newsman 777

1) Fast approaching the time when probation will close…” in 1877. A belief in an imminent return of Christ can motivate the church to heighten their moral decisions.

2) “Our salvation depends upon” studying the Bible and following all its teachings. Shall we assume that they understood about salvation in Jesus? When is salvation by “following all its teachings” considered adequate for salvation?

3) “Wound the feelings.” The gist of this resolution addresses an ongoing problem in an organization; interpersonal relationships and unity.

4) “Stay up the hands of each other under every trial.” This metaphor comes from the story of Aaron and Hur holding up the hands of Moses. We would do well to practice this day by day.

Evangelist Cudney, Nebraska, 1881

December 21, 2008

cudney-evangelist-18811

— Source, Review and Herald, January 4, 1881, page 10

Smith and Lewis in Correspondence, 1859

December 18, 2008

Note that Uriah Smith refers to A.H. Lewis as Bro. Lewis. Lewis was the main Seventh day Baptist spokesperson during the 1800’s. This 1859 interaction captures a time when SDA’s were less in number than SDB’s; a time when Adventists had an extremely limited view of their mission to the world.

Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, February 3, 1859, page 7

From Bro, Lewis.

BRO. SMITH : In accordance with the suggestion of Bro. J. Clarke in the Review, No. 8, I embrace this opportunity to communicate with your readers, if, perchance, what I may say shall be found worthy a place in your columns.

I commenced reading the Review some three or four years since, for two reasons: I wished to learn something of those who supported it, and advocated its doctrines, and felt willing to receive any new light upon the all-important subject of our lives. Upon the question of the Sabbath I had no inclination to disagree with you, as I had always observed it ; other points I did not embrace at once. I thought them quite consistent, yet I never saw them in their true light until, with the Bible for my guide, I sought God in prayer for light to see his truth, and I now bless his holy name that I ever heard the three messages, the counsel of the faithful and true Witness, the immortality of man as brought to light in the Bible, &c., &c. But for meeting with Bro. Steward, of Mauston, and the Review when I did, in my boyish incredulity I doubt not but I should long since have renounced the Bible, and now have been attempting to “climb up” by some theory of speculative philosophy; and whatever may be the end of the Review or of Adventism, thus far I feel that it stopped me and brought me back to the sure guide of the world, the Bible.

There are but few here who call themselves Adventists, yet I believe there are not a few who are willing to keep all God’s commands and serve him in all his appointed ways. The Seventh-day Baptists are the leading denomination in our immediate neighborhood ; yet there are many around and among us who observe Constantine’s Sabbath instead of that of the Lord. But I trust God has yet good laid up in store for his children in Berlin, I sometimes try to vindicate the truths of God’s word here on the Sabbath. yet a press of other, duties, of a literary nature, make it impossible for me to study or reflect much, and my own weakness, and at times want of faith, seem to retard any effort in any great degree for good. A few seem alive to God, and the interests of his kingdom, yet many around us (especially those who do not keep the Sabbath) seem too much inclined to seek only a form of godliness without the power. O, that God would not say of us as he did of Ephraim but would send us light and give us hearts to receive it. Allow me a question to yourself or some of your correspondents :

Is the Third Angel’s Message being given, or to be given except in the United States? Yours striving to overcome.

A. H. LEWIS.

Berlin, Wis., Jan. 22d, 1859.

NOTE. — We have no information that the Third Message is at present being proclaimed in any country besides our own. Analogy would lead us to expect that the proclamation of this message would be coextensive with the first : though this might not perhaps be necessary to fulfill Rev. x, 11, since our own land is composed of people from almost every nation. — ED.

http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/RH/RH18590203-V13-11/index.djvu?djvuopts&page=7

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lewis-ah1

Profile of A.H. Lewis

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.”

THE JUDGMENT.

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.

THE BLOTTING-OUT TIME.

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.

ARE SINS WRITTEN IN HEAVEN?

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 OFFERS HIS BLOOD IN THE HOST HOLY FOR THE BLOTTING OUT OF THE SINS OF THE WHOLE ISRAEL OF GOD.

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

DANIEL STANDS IN HIS LOT.

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

OVERCOME.

“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.

http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/RH/RH1857-V09-13/index.djvu?djvuopts&page=4

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.

J. N. LOUGHBOROUGH.

http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/AAR/AAR1908-V12-43/index.djvu?djvuopts&page=1

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

November 13, 2008

darkdayw

Davenport Exhibit

Fishers of Men

November 6, 2008

Union Conference Record, Australasian, November 23, 1908

Believing that Jesus is speaking to us as individuals in the verse quoted (Matt. 4: 19), let us read it as if addressed to each person separately : ” Follow Me, and I will make you a fisher of men.”

Now you would not consider yourself a fisherman if you always remained at home and sent your father or brother away with hook and line, or net, to do the actual work of catching fish. So another command comes to us from the Master:—

“Go ye out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in.”

It you are to be a fisher of men, you are to go where active service is to be done in winning them from sin to the love of Christ.

The genuine fisherman enjoys selecting the best fishing-rod and the finest reel ; he looks with pride upon his collection of tempting bait. But the keenest pleasure comes when he wades’ into the swift-flowing stream, casts the hook into the foaming water, and feels the tug of resistance as the bait is taken. There is a thrill of satisfaction as, with the skill of experience and careful study, he finally lands the finny captive upon the bank.

Meade MacGuire

TIME TO COMMENCE THE SABBATH – James White

September 7, 2008

IT is generally known to most of the readers of the Review that for several years in the early history of Seventh-day Adventists, believers adopted six o’clock P. M. as the time for the Sabbath to commence and close. It is also known that in the autumn of 1855, the Review taught that sunset was the Bible time to commence the Sabbath, and that our people generally changed from six o’clock to sunset. Some of the circumstances connected with this change I wish here to state:

1. The six o’clock time was called in question by a portion of believers as early as 1847, some maintaining that the Sabbath commenced at sun-rise, while others claimed Bible evidence in favor of sunset.

2. Eld. Joseph Bates, who was the first to teach the Sabbath in its importance, and faithfully labor to bring out a people from among the Adventists to observe it, was very decided upon the six o’clock time. His decided stand upon the question, and respect for his years, and his godly life, might have been among the reasons why this point was not sooner investigated as thoroughly as some other points.

3. In the autumn of 1855 Eld. J. N. Andrews called on me at Battle Creek, on his way to Iowa, and set before me the scriptural reasons for commencing the Sabbath at sunset. He had written a clear article upon the subject which he left with me, and which appeared in the Review for Dec. 4, 1855. This article, however, before it appeared in the Review was read at the Conference at Battle Creek about that time, and the subject was discussed resulting in settling the minds of the : brethren on the sunset-time, with the exception of Bro. Bates, and a few others. Since that time there has been general agreement among us upon the subject.

But there are persons who seek to injure us as a people– and this class we hope to help by this article— who “report and publish to the world that Mrs. White did profess to be shown that the time to commence the Sabbath, was six o’clock, and that at a later period she was shown that sunset was the true time. It is also stated that in vision she saw the dial-plate of a clock with one hand pointing to vi, the other to xii, showing that six o’clock was the commencement and close of the Sabbath.

A simple statement of the facts in the case are sufficient to show these reports false. Hence, we give the following statements which we are ready to prove by most competent witnesses.

1. Mrs. W. has in two visions been shown something in regard to the time of the commencement of the Sabbath. The first was as early as 1847, at Topsham, Me. In that vision she was shown that to commence the Sabbath at sunrise was wrong. She then heard an angel repeat these words, “From even unto even shall ye celebrate your Sabbaths.” Bro. Bates was present, and succeeded in satisfying all present that “even” was six o’clock. Mark this: The vision at Topsham did not teach the six o’clock time. It only corrected sunrise time. I never received the idea that the six o’clock time was sustained by the visions, hence the following which I copy from a statement I made in the Review upon this subject, Dec. 4, 1855, as follows:

“We have, never been fully satisfied with the testimony presented in favor of six o’clock, while the various communications received for a few years past advocating both sunrise and sunset time, have been almost destitute of argument, and the spirit of humility and candor. The subject has troubled us, yet we have never found time to thoroughly investigate it.
” In June, 1854 we urged Eld. D. P. Hall to prepare an article on the subject for the Review. When with him in Penn. last winter we repeated the request. When in Maine last summer we stated our feelings on this subject to Bro. Andrews, and have fears of division unless the question could be settled by good testimony. He decided to devote his time to the subject till he ascertained what the Bible taught in regard to it, and his article in this number is the result of his investigation. Some have the impression that six o’clock time has been taught among us by the direct manifestation of the Holy Spirit. This is a mistake, ‘From even unto even’ was the teaching for which six o’clock time has been inferred.”

2. In regard to the clock face, twenty competent witnesses are ready to testify that neither Mrs. W. nor her visions had anything to do with it whatever. When at Rocky Hill, Conn., in 1849, at a meeting on the Sabbath at the house of Bro. Albert Belden, the time to commence the Sabbath was agitated. A brother present in whose spiritual exercises there was great confidence, seemed to be very powerfully exercised, and, amid groans and tears, he called for the chalk, and marked out upon the floor the figure of a clock face, the hands pointing out six o’clock. A general impression prevailed that this was the work of the Spirit of God; but Mrs. W. had nothing to do with it whatever.

3. At the close of the conference at Battle Creek referred to above, the ministers and others, especially interested in the cause had a special season of prayer for the prosperity of the cause, and in that meeting Mrs. W. had a vision, one item of which was that sunset time was correct. This settled the matter with Bro. Bates and others, and general harmony has since prevailed among us upon this point.

But the question naturally arises, If the visions are given to correct the erring, why did she not sooner see the error of the six o’clock time? For one I have ever been thankful that God corrected the error in his own good time, and did not suffer an unhappy division to “exist among us upon the point. But, dear reader, the work of the Lord upon this point is in perfect harmony with his manifestations to us on others, and in harmony with the correct position upon spiritual gifts.

It does not appear to be the desire of the Lord to teach his people by the gifts of the Spirit on the Bible questions until his servants have diligently searched his word. When this was done upon the subject of time to commence the Sabbath, and most were established, and some were in danger of being out of harmony with the body on this subject, then, yes, then, was the very time for God to magnify his goodness in the manifestation of the gift of his Spirit in the accomplishment of its proper work.

The sacred Scriptures are given us as the rule of faith and duty, and we are commanded to search them. If we fail to understand and fully obey the truths in consequence of not searching the Scriptures as we should, or a want of consecration’ and spiritual discernment, and God in mercy in his own time corrects us by some manifestation of the gifts of his Holy Spirit, instead of murmuring that he did not do it before, let us humbly acknowledge his mercy, and praise him for his infinite goodness in condescending to correct us at all.

Let the gifts have their proper place in the church. God has never set them in the very front, and commanded us to look to them to lead us in the path of truth, and the way to Heaven. His word he has magnified. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are man’s lamp to light up his path to the kingdom. Follow that. But if you err from Bible truth, and are in danger of being lost, it may be that God will in the time of his choice correct you, and bring you back to the Bible, and save you. And would it become you in such a case to murmur and say, “Lord, why didst thou not do this before?” Take care! “Be still, and know that I am God.” Our necessity is his opportunity to teach us by the gifts of his Holy Spirit.

JAMES WHITE

The Review and Herald, February 25, 1868, Vol. 31, No. 11, page 168
http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/RH/RH18680225-V31-11/index.djvu

The Sabbath Debate – Starting/Ending Time

September 7, 2008

Testimonies Volume One

Chap. 16 – Time to Begin the Sabbath

I saw that it is even so: “From even unto even, shall ye celebrate your Sabbath.” Said the angel: “Take the word of God, read it, understand, and ye cannot err. Read carefully, and ye shall there find what even is, and when it is. I asked the angel if the frown of God had been upon His people for commencing the Sabbath as they had. I was directed back to the first rise of the Sabbath, and followed the people of God up to this time, but did not see that the Lord was displeased, or frowned upon them. I inquired why it had been thus, that at this late day we must change the time of commencing the Sabbath. Said the angel: “Ye shall understand, but not yet, not yet.” Said the angel: “If light come, and that light is set aside or rejected, then comes condemnation and the frown of God; but before the light comes, there is no sin, for there is no light for them to reject.” I saw that it was in the minds of some that the Lord had shown that the Sabbath commenced at six o’clock, when I had only seen that it commenced at “even,” and it was inferred that even was at six. I saw that the servants of God must draw together, press together. (1T 116.1)

Testimonies Volume One, Appendix

PAGE 116, “TIME TO BEGIN THE SABBATH”

FOR A PERIOD OF ABOUT TEN YEARS SABBATHKEEPING ADVENTISTS OBSERVED THE SABBATH FROM 6 P. M. FRIDAY TO 6 P. M. SATURDAY. ELDER JOSEPH BATES IN HIS FIRST PAMPHLET ON THE PERPETUITY OF THE SABBATH OF THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT, PUBLISHED IN 1846, HAD GIVEN REASONS FOR THE SUPPOSED SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT FOR THE OBSERVANCE OF THE SABBATH IN THIS WAY. HE CITED THE PARABLE OF THE LABORERS IN THE VINEYARD, THE LAST GROUP OF WHICH HAD BEEN CALLED AT “THE ELEVENTH HOUR” OF THE DAY AND HAD WROUGHT BUT ONE HOUR. THE RECKONING WAS MADE WITH THEM “WHEN EVEN WAS COME.” MATTHEW 20:6, 8, 12. COMPARING THIS WITH CHRIST’S QUESTION, “ARE THERE NOT TWELVE HOURS IN THE DAY?” HE ARGUED THAT THE “EVEN” BEGAN WITH THE TWELFTH HOUR, OR SIX O’CLOCK, RECKONING WITH EQUATORIAL TIME OR THE BEGINNING OF THE SACRED YEAR. RESPECT FOR HIS YEARS AND EXPERIENCE AND HIS GODLY LIFE MAY HAVE BEEN THE MAIN REASONS FOR ACCEPTING HIS CONCLUSIONS WITHOUT FURTHER INVESTIGATION. (1T 713.2)

AS TIME PASSED AND THE MESSAGE SPREAD, AN INCREASING NUMBER OF SABBATHKEEPERS QUESTIONED THE PRACTICE AND ADVOCATED THE SUNSET TIME FOR RECKONING THE BEGINNING OF THE SABBATH. A THOROUGH BIBLE INVESTIGATION OF THE QUESTION WAS MADE BY ELDER J. N. ANDREWS, WHO WROTE A PAPER SETTING FORTH THE BIBLICAL REASONS IN FAVOR OF THE SUNSET TIME. THIS PAPER WAS INTRODUCED AND DISCUSSED ON SABBATH, NOVEMBER 17, 1855, AT THE CONFERENCE IN BATTLE CREEK, MICHIGAN, WITH THE RESULT THAT NEARLY, BUT NOT QUITE, ALL PRESENT WERE CONVINCED THAT ELDER ANDREW’S CONCLUSION WAS CORRECT. THE PRESENTATION OF THE SUBJECT TO MRS. WHITE IN THIS VISION, GIVEN TWO DAYS LATER, ANSWERED THE QUESTIONS LINGERING IN SOME MINDS AND EFFECTED UNITY AMONG THE BELIEVERS. COMMENTING ON THIS EXPERIENCE, AS ILLUSTRATING THE OFFICE OF THE VISIONS TO CONFIRM CONCLUSIONS BASED ON BIBLICAL STUDY RATHER THAN TO INTRODUCE NEW TEACHINGS, ELDER JAMES WHITE WROTE LATER: (1T 713.3)

“THE QUESTION NATURALLY ARISES, IF THE VISIONS ARE GIVEN TO CORRECT THE ERRING, WHY DID SHE NOT SOONER SEE THE ERROR OF THE SIX O’CLOCK TIME? I HAVE EVER BEEN THANKFUL THAT GOD CORRECTED THE ERROR IN HIS OWN GOOD TIME, AND DID NOT SUFFER AN UNHAPPY DIVISION TO EXIST AMONG US UPON THIS POINT. BUT, DEAR READER, THE WORK OF THE LORD UPON THIS POINT IS IN PERFECT HARMONY WITH HIS MANIFESTATIONS TO US ON OTHERS, AND IN HARMONY WITH THE CORRECT POSITION UPON SPIRITUAL GIFTS. IT DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE THE DESIRE OF THE LORD TO TEACH HIS PEOPLE BY THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT ON THE BIBLE QUESTIONS UNTIL HIS SERVANTS HAVE DILIGENTLY SEARCHED HIS WORD. WHEN THIS WAS DONE UPON THE SUBJECT OF THE TIME TO COMMENCE THE SABBATH, AND MOST WERE ESTABLISHED, AND SOME WERE IN DANGER OF BEING OUT OF HARMONY WITH THE BODY ON THIS SUBJECT, THEN, YES, THEN, WAS THE VERY TIME FOR GOD TO MAGNIFY HIS GOODNESS IN THE MANIFESTATION OF THE GIFT OF HIS SPIRIT IN THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF ITS PROPER WORK.”

–REVIEW AND HERALD, FEB. 25, 1868. (1T 713.4)