Adventist History Library (AHL) is currently developing a comprehensive timeline for the Adventist work in Trinidad. It can be found *HERE* at Covenant Forum’s AHL section.
Archive for the ‘Eyewitness Accounts’ Category
1894, Charles Adamson in Trinidad
THE WEST INDIES
Windward and Leeward Groups.
AFTER Elder D. A. Ball left me in Antigua, I endeavored to put in my time in the sale of books, and in holding public meetings in the different villages; and while I enjoyed God’s blessing in my feeble efforts there, I longed to go to the island ol Trinidad. This became a burden to me. I placed the matter before the Lord, and he opened the way for me to go in a most wonderful manner. After many fruitless efforts, I secured $24,— all I could call my own in this world,—and Oct. 9, 1893, my family and I sailed for Barbadoes. I remained here two months, giving all the time I could to the dear brethren. The little company here are living on
the promises of God, and are full of the glorious hope.
I left my family here, and sailed Oct. 12 for Granada. This, is an island 100 miles from Barbadoos. Landing at Greenville, the second town, I remained seven days, and sold three “Bible Headings.” The majority of the people in this island are Roman Catholics. I left here Oct. 22 for Trinidad, landing on that island the 25th. Port-of-Spain, the capital, is a city of nearly 4000 inhabitants, with all modern improvements. I found four Sabbath-keepers here, and sold three books.
Nov. 22 I took the train for San Fernando, the second seaport town on the island, twenty-five miles from Port-of-Spain. I met many at this place who sighed after something pure ; they earnestly asked for some one to instruct them in the way of truth. There are six here who are deeply interested. I sold two books. From here I went to Princetown, and visited the correspondents of the International Tract Society. They are very grateful for the reading-matter sent them. A tailor signed the covenant to obey and live. I returned to Port-of-Spain, Nov. 9, visited the dear ones, and showed them the necessity of assembling together. On the 12th we formed a Sabbath-school of five members, all full of bright hopes.
Nov. 25 I brought my family from Barbadoes. I cannot begin to tell how much we have enjoyed God’s blessing. Our needs are all supplied, and truly light is increasing on our pathway. Our Sabbath-school has increased from five to nine. The greatest number of the people here, especially the upper class, are Roman Catholics. The Freethinkers have a society, and Atheism and Universalism also flourish. There are about 80,000 Hindus, who are the contract laborers. The Canadian Mission is doing a good work for them, and there are many among this people who are thirsting after truth. May the Lord enable us to do something for them soon for us and for the effort here.
CHARLES D. ADAMSON.
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.
1892, Spring, L. C. Chadwick Reports
TRINIDAD AND BRITISH GUIANA
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.
L. C. CHADWICK.
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 WEST INDIES
“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
IN DEMERARA (GUYANA)
Arnold works in Demerara (Guyana); writes a descriptive letter home to his children.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
He spends the summer in Trinidad to wait out Demerara’s rainy season.
Arnold works the summer in Tobago.
THE MAGIC POCKET VAPORIZER
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
HOME IN NEW YORK STATE
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.
LIVES IN COLORADO
BACK TO NEW YORK
Lived in Colorado for a time and now coming back to Ellicottville. ALUG 1917-22, p. 8.
WILLIAM ARNOLD DIES
William Arnold dies. Survived by his wife and daughter, Mabel. ALUG 1922-25, p. 8.
FROM ROBINSON CRUSOE’S ISLAND.
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.
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?
The Church Officers’ Gazette, June, 1944
BY DOROTHY WHITE CHRISTIAN
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)
By G. B. Starr
Seventh-day Adventists, the remnant people of God, are the possessors of the rarest and richest publications ever presented to the world’s readers.
No preceding religious movement in the history of the world has ever given such a vast amount of high-class comments upon the entire Bible, and presented the plan of redemption in such clear and convincing and appealing language. This statement is proven by the comparison of the writings of the Spirit of prophecy with the publications of all former generations and of the present one.
A well-informed teacher of literature, not a Seventh-day Adventist, who had traveled in all parts of the world, made a significant statement to her class of forty- eight adult students. She had requested the class to bring in three excerpts from their favorite authors, and the class were to tell from hearing them read, who the authors were. One member brought three paragraphs from “Desire of Ages.” The class approved of the writing as very fine, but were unable to name the writer.
The teacher, Miss E. McMillan, then stated that the excerpts were from the pen of Mrs. E. G. White, and that she felt it was a great pity that her writings were not better known. She told the class she was going to make a bold, strong statement, and that she meant every word of it. She then said; “Of all writings, ancient, medieval, or modern, there are no writings so full of beauty, so perfect in every way, so pure, and yet so simple, outside the Bible, as the writings of Mrs. E. G. White.”
The report of this statement is signed by two members of the class; namely, Harold N. Williams, St. John’s, Newfoundland, and Roy O. Williams, D.D.S., Loma Linda, California.
These writings unveil the future movements of nations, religious bodies, and individuals. The writings are here in the possession of God’s people, and they cannot be set aside or talked out of existence. They have led the way to the erection of monumental sanitariums, publishing houses, schools, colleges, and a unique medical college, for the training of medical evangelists, the only one of its kind in the world. Thus they exhibit the soundness of their teaching and the inspired type of instruction.
Where did Ellen G. White obtain the instruction contained in “Early Writings,” “Patriarchs and Prophets,” “Great Controversy,” “Education,” “Ministry of Healing,” and the many volumes of “Testimonies to the Church?” She was not tutored in the world’s colleges. They possess no such information. Eight years before her death in July, 1915, she wrote: “Abundant light has been given to our people in these last days. Whether or not my life is spared, my writings will constantly speak, and their work will go forward as long as time shall last. My writings are kept on file in the office, and even though I should not live, these words, given me by the Lord, will still have life and will speak to the people.”—”Writing and Sending Out of the Testimonies,” pp. 13, 14.
The Lord Jesus, the Prince of the universe, informs men and angels as to just how He came in- to possession of all these treasures of knowledge which He reveals. His opening words of the book of Revelation clearly state it:
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, WHICH GOD GAVE UNTO HIM, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST, and of all things that he saw.”
Having had the privilege of knowing Ellen G. White for more than a quarter of a century, and also being called to travel with her and her family in this country and Australasia, it is a pleasure for me to respond to the invitation to relate to those newly embracing the faith, some personal experiences and observations of her life and work.
My first acquaintance with her was at a camp meeting in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1882. Here she exhorted us all to use our influence by “voice and pen and vote,” to forward the movement for prohibition. She related a dream, which she had six months previous, in which an angel had instructed her along those lines. I was pleased to witness how effectually her testimony unified the sentiment of the conference and led to a unanimous vote favoring such action. The influence of that counsel continues to guide our people in all lands.
My next experience was at a camp meeting in Nebraska, the same year. There she presented the life experience of a young minister, whom she had never seen before. He later testified, at a General Conference session, to the absolute truthfulness of the message she gave him, and said it had led him into an entire change of life, which we were all able to see.
In 1891, at Petoskey, Mich., where we were all residing at the time, Sister White handed me a roll of manuscript to read, stating that it had been compiled from her various writings with the view of producing a small booklet on practical religious experience. It had not then been named. It certainly was a great privilege to read in this manuscript, what a little later was named “Steps to Christ,” and which has since been translated into more than fifty languages. The various presses have printed hundreds of thousands of copies, which have gone forth on their blessed ministry of pointing souls to Christ, step by step leading the readers into a definite religious experience. Its influence leads to the word of God and to faith in Jesus Christ as the only Saviour. It also cheers and steadies the faith of Christians. Many will testify of personal help received from its pages. It also leads to the reading of other volumes written by the same writer. Once one has tasted of the fine flavor of the writings and recognized the voice of Jesus speaking in them, he must continue to read until all are devoured.
Evidence of Inspiration
At a general Conference at Battle Creek, Mich., in 1883, the entire delegation had the experience of witnessing her prophetic gift. She was speaking at the closing Sunday night’s service, which was unusual, as she seldom spoke in the evening. Stopping in the midst of her address, she pointed up to the gallery, straight at the clock, behind which three of us delegates from Nebraska were seated, and in a clear distinct voice, easily heard by the more than three thousand persons present, she said: “Elder Cudney, open your heart and take Elder Johnson in; he wants a place in your heart. Do not leave this Tabernacle tonight until you are reconciled to each other. Elder Cudney, open your heart and take Elder Johnson in.” This she repeated several times.
As I was seated between these two brethren, I endeavored to move out, but was prevented for a time by Elder Cudney. Succeeding, however, the way was opened for them to get nearer together. For a time Elder Cudney hesitated. He had misinterpreted Elder Johnson’s advances toward him, and thought he was aspiring to the office of conference president. But the Spirit of God gained the victory, and Elder Cudney threw his arms about Elder Johnson. As they thus embraced as brethren, the influence affected the entire delegation, and many wept. This unusual scene at a General Conference seemed a fitting influence for these delegates to carry to their people in all parts of the world.
Elder Cudney wrote Sister White from Nebraska a short time afterwards, stating that they had followed her counsel, and before leaving the Tabernacle that night had retired to a smaller room, and with Elders George I. Butler and S. N. Haskell and the writer, had come to a perfect understanding, and that they were then laboring together among the churches, to their comfort and edification.
Upon our arrival in Melbourne, Australia, and in attendance at the first conference meeting, Sister White asked me who that tall gentleman was, seated at the extreme left of the room. I replied, “That is Lawyer. . . , one of the first persons to embrace the truth in the city of Melbourne.” “And who is that lady, seated at the right of the room?” Sister White asked, as she pointed toward the person indicated. I replied, “That is the Lawyer’s wife.” “And who is that young man at the end of the middle row?” she asked, “He is the lawyer’s nephew,” I answered. “Well that is interesting,” Sister White said. “I saw those three persons, in a vision given me in Switzerland, six years ago. They were then all in one room together, in a private home, praying for light on the book of Daniel. I thought they lived together, and could not understand why they were so separated in this meeting.” I informed her that they did all live together and their being separated so was unusual. But I feel sure the readers will join me in thanksgiving that they were so separated, as it proved clearly that Sister White assuredly recognized them as those seen in the vision, whom she had never seen in person before. She had written in “Testimonies,” Vol. V, page 67: “As the Lord has manifested Himself through the Spirit of prophecy, past, present, and future have passed before me. I have been shown faces that I had never seen, and years afterward, I knew them when I saw them.”
Here we had a perfectly clear fulfilment of this statement. This man was the first to purchase one of the one thousand copies of the book “Daniel and the Revelation,” which William Arnold had carried with him to Australia, and thus had the answer to their prayers for light on those books.
In closing we will let Sister White speak: “Never have testimonies been more clearly brought before the people than those that have been recently traced by my pen. God bids me urge upon the attention of our people the importance of their study. Let this work begin now. Then whether I am permitted to labor, or laid away to rest until Jesus comes, these messages are immortalized.”
“I must tell you about the time there was a general gathering of all the churches around the [San Francisco] Bay at the old 25th Street church in Oakland, because Sister White was to be the speaker,” wrote Earl Williams. “The church was packed, with no room for standing, either. The church had six narrow, tall windows, arched at the top, quite a distance from the floor. I had never seen any of them opened. With the church jam-packed you can imagine how thick the air was—stifling—after all the songs and introductory remarks. By the time the sermon was to start, about half the congregation was ready to go to sleep.
“Then Sister White solemnly stood up and asked, ‘Are there any deacons here who can open up these windows and give us some fresh air? How can I preach with the congregation half asleep?’ Then she returned to her seat and sat down.
“You have never seen such scurrying around in your life as those deacons trying to get the windows pulled down. They could not find the pole with the hook on it to grab the sash and pull it down. Finally someone found it in the school behind the church. But no matter how hard they tried, they could not budge the sash. It was stuck for good.
“You can imagine how amused everyone was during all this time. Sister White calmly sat there waiting to feel that fresh air she had requested. Finally they got a tall ladder outside and with a hammer and chisel broke the sashes loose from the casings so they could open all the windows. Then Sister White stood up, threw back her shoulders as far as she could, took a long, deep breath, and said, ‘Now that is more like it. All of you sit up straight in your seats and breathe deeply. I refuse to talk to a congregation that is half asleep!’ Then she talked about the benefits of fresh air and how it influences the brain.
“I noticed that for several months those windows were kept down for ventilation; but sad to say, gradually those who complained about drafts won out. You guessed it—as far as I can remember they were never opened again. I think that if Sister White were to preach again, the deacons would rush around and open them up wide for her.”
“Mrs. Monteith was kind enough to write on behalf of Alice Howe, 95, of Yountville, California, who is almost blind and could not write herself. “I simply saw Sister White once,” wrote Mrs. Monteith. “Alice knew her!”
“Miss Howe’s connection with Ellen White goes back to Battle Creek, Michigan: “Papa told us such interesting stories about James and Ellen White and life in Battle Creek that my twin sister, Attie, and I felt we were well acquainted. My papa, Baxter L. Howe, was one of 11 children living near the Whites in Battle Creek. Papa, as a young man, worked at the Review and Herald publishing house.
” ‘One of his favorite stories was about his mother out hoeing corn in their garden. James White was ill and lay on a cot where he could look out the door and see his neighbor at work. He soon called for his clothes, exclaiming, ‘I can’t see Sister Howe hoeing corn when she has so many other duties.’ He dressed, finished hoeing the garden, and was benefited in his recovery.’ ”