Archive for the ‘Sabbath’ Category

1740, The World’s First Sabbath School?

April 25, 2009

THE FIRST SABBATH SCHOOL.

“THERE is good reason for thinking that the first Sabbath-school in this country, if not in the world, was established at Ephrata, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. Of this school Rev. Edwin W. Rice writes to the Sunday School World as follows :
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Among the earliest Saturday Sabbath-schools of this country, that at Ephrata, Pa., has long held a prominent place. The late Mr. Pardee, in his Sabbath-school Index, mentions it as “the first Sabbath- school of which we have any authentic, definite and detailed account, extending over a period of a quarter of a century.” This statement might lead some to suppose that there is quite a full history of the school now to be found. But it is not clearly known in what year the school was organized, precisely how it was conducted, nor whether it continued uninterruptedly from its organization to its final discontinuance, after the battle of Brandywine, when the building in which it was held was given up for an army hospital.

The Sabbath-school was first proposed and commenced by Ludwig Hacker (Hoecker), or ” Brother Obed,” as he was familiarly called. He was the teacher of a secular school established at Ephrata, under the direction of the German Seventh-Day Baptists, a denomination which separated from the Dunkers, or German Baptists, in 1728, under Conrad Beissel, who adopted the observance of the seventh, instead of the first day of the week, as the Christian Sabbath.

Beissel and many of his associates were men of education, and they established, at a very early period, a secular school, which soon gained such an honorable reputation that many young men from Philadelphia and Baltimore were sent there to be educated. Ludwig Hacker came to Ephrata, in 1739, as a teacher of this school.

Some time after his arrival, probably in 1740, he projected and commenced a school in the afternoons of their Sabbaths, “to give instruction to the indigent children, who were kept from regular school by employments which their necessities obliged them to be engaged at during the “week, as well as to give religious instruction to those of better circumstances.”

Of the success of this school Dr. Fahnestock, writing in 1835, says : ” It flourished for many years, and was attended with some remarkable circumstances. It produced an anxious inquiry among the juvenile population who attended the school, which increased and grew into what is termed a revival of religion. The scholars of the Sabbath-school met together everyday, before and after common school hours, to pray and exhort one another, under the superintendence of one of the brethren. The excitement ran into excess, and betrayed a zeal not according to knowledge, which induced Friedsam [Beissel] to discourage an enterprise which had been commenced, and was partly under way, viz : to erect a house for its especial use, to be called ” Succoth.” The building was, however, completed some time after the year 1749. It was located upon the brow of the lull, some distance from, and overlooking the chapel and other buildings of the society. It is believed to have been built in the same general style, and of materials similar to the “Sisters’ House,” the small ” Chapel,” and the ” Brothers’ House,” which are still standing, and are still occupied by a few of the surviving members of this religious colony.

The buildings are singular, and of very peculiar architecture, the outside of the walls having been covered with shingles or clapboards. It must be remembered that Beissel and his religious followers adopted a conventical mode of life in 1732, and also the dress of the White Friars, giving monastic names to their members, as Friedsam to Biessel. They commended celibacy, and the holding of the property in common, but did not make either compulsory; they did not approve of paying ministers any salary, and their order of worship was very simple. The society at Ephrata owned a farm, and were offered five thousand acres of land by William Penn, but declined the gift, fearing that the possession of so much property by them might create a worldly spirit.”
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Pennsylvania school journal

By Pennsylvania. Dept. of Public Instruction, Pennsylvania.
Dept. of Common Schools, Pennsylvania State Education Association
Published by Pennsylvania State Education Association, 1875
Item notes: v. 24
Original from Harvard University
Digitized 5 May 2007

page 342-343

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1894, Kneeland’s Christmas on Trinidad

March 18, 2009

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

OPEN DOORS IN TRINIDAD.

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.

G. W. KNEELAND.

Georgetown, British Guiana.

http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/RH/RH1894-07/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

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