Archive for the ‘Seventh-day Baptists’ Category

1740, The World’s First Sabbath School?

April 25, 2009


“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 :

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.”

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

A Google Book

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.


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.



Profile of A.H. Lewis

Seventh-day Baptists, 1879

June 12, 2008


Elder Haskell being called to the chair, Elder James White introduced the following preambles and resolutions:–

WHEREAS, The Seventh-day Baptists have for many years observed, taught, and defended the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and are known to us through their delegates to our General Conference as a body of Christian Sabbath-keepers possessing a good degree of culture, liberality of sentiment, and Christian forbearance, therefore

RESOLVED, That we deem them worthy of our respect and love, and that it is for the interest of the Sabbath cause that the two bodies of Christian commandment-keepers labor to sustain friendly relations to each other; and

WHEREAS, Certain preachers, who professed to be Seventh-day Adventists, at an early date in our brief history, did seek their field of labor in the localities where there were Seventh-day Baptist churches, and did weaken some of their feeble churches, and blot out others, resulting in harm and only harm, to the grief of the Seventh-day Baptists, therefore

RESOLVED, That our Seventh-day Baptist brethren had just cause for complaint, and that it is the sense of this Conference that our preachers are violating the Golden Rule–Do unto others as you would have them do to you–in seeking their fields of labor where Seventh-day Baptist churches are located.

RESOLVED, That while we deplore the spirit of prejudice and unkindness manifested by certain Seventh-day Baptist ministers toward Seventh-day Adventists, we deeply regret the injury done to individuals and to feeble churches, about twenty years since, by those men whom we could not control, and who have since done Seventh-day Adventists tenfold the injury they did the (168–GCS 63-88 ) Seventh-day Baptists, resulting in weakening and grieving both denominations. And while we pledge our influence against such wrongs in the future, we ask not to be held responsible for that which we have no power to control.

These were unanimously adopted.

The Two Bodies

May 1, 2008


Review and Herald, October 12, 1876, p. 116

ON the broad platform of the divine law, and redemption from its transgression through the death and mediation of the divine Son, both the Seventh-day Baptists and the Seventh-day Adventists stand in general agreement. Here are the great tests of the Christian life, and a fitness for Heaven; and besides these there are no others. s

The principal difference between the two bodies is the immortality question. The S. D. Adventists hold the divinity of Christ so nearly with the trinitarian, that we apprehend no trial here. And as the practical application of the subject of the Gifts of the Spirit to our people and to our work is better understood by our S. D. Baptist brethren, they manifest less concern for us on this account.

But the views which both bodies entertain respecting free investigation and the right to personal opinion forbid any restriction whatever to be laid upon each other in the proper advo- cacy of the sentiments in which both cannot at present agree. We recommend, however, that there be no controversy between the two bodies. The differences between us are of such a nature, an,d we have in common so broad a field of labor with those who differ with us respect- ing the fundamentals, upon which hangs the destiny of a world lying in wickedness, that Seventh-day Adventists and Seventh-day Bap- tists cannot afford a controversy on doctrines which neither regard as tests of Christian char- acter.

Both bodies have a specific work to do. God bless them both in all their efforts for its ac- complishment. The field is a wide one. And we further recommend that Seventh-day Ad- ventists in their agressive work avoid laboring to build up Seventh-day Adventist churches wliere Seventh-day Baptist churches are already established. If ministers or members from the

Seventh-day Baptists regard it their duty to come with us, under the impression that they can serve the cause of God better, we shall give them a place with us. But we see no reasons why there should be any effort put forth on the part of our people to weaken the hands of our Seventh-day Baptist brethren in order to add to our numbers from those who were before us in revering the ancient Sabbath of the Lord.
If it please our Seventh-day Baptist brethten, let the interchange of courtesies in the appoint- ment of delegates be continued, and be conduct- ed in a manner to secure mutual benefit. The visits of the worthy delegates from the Seventh- day Baptists, Pres. Alien, Elders Wardner, Burdick, Rogers, Hull, and Prof. Whitford, have done our people good. And if the dele- gates from our people to that body, Elders An- drews, Smith, Canright, and others, have failed to do that people good, it has been from want of ability and a knowledge how to work out that good which was in their hearts to do.

What God in his wise providence has marked out for these two bodies in their future labors and destiny, the future alone can unfold. But whatever that may be, it seems a certainty to us to-day, while looking with faith and hope toward that untried future, and cherishing a filial love for those whose history of loyalty to High Heaven stretches across long centuries, that no good can result to either from controversy and proselyting, and no harm can come to either from those courtesies and labors of love calcu- lated to build each other up on our common faith.

We do not say that we have seen the proper relation between the two bodies as clearly and joyfully as we do to-day ; neither do we wish to be held responsible for what some of our people have done, or may do, not in harmony with the foregoing. But that our settled convictions on the subject for more than five years may be un- derstood, we quote from our report of the Clear Lake (Wis.) camp-meeting, which appeared in REVIEW AND HEBALD for July 4, 1871 :—

” At the close of the Sabbath morning ser- vice, we were cordially greeted by many who re- ported .themselves Seventh-day Baptists, who gave Our hand the very next thing to it, if not the real Advent shake. Among these was Prof. Cornwall, of the Albion, Wis., S. D. Baptist Academy, who invited us to speak to the citi- zens of his place. Nothing could have given us greater pleasure than to have responded to this, and similar courtesies by speaking freely to this people upon the great fundamentals of our common faith—the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus Christ; but hoarseness, fatigue, and the labors of the Minnesota Camp- meeting the next week, compelled us to pass on without even calling on any of our S. D. Bap- tist friends.

“Here we may, by divine grace, enjoy a strong union ; and while Seventh-day Adventists may prize very highly, and tenaciously hold, their views upon the immortality question, and may cherish as important to the glory of God and their own prosperity, their definite views of the manifestation of spiritual gifts, they will agree that it will be mnch better to seek for that union that may be enjoyed upon the broad fundamentals of onr faith, than to sacrifice that union in urging upon the Seventh-day Baptists sentiments peculiar to Adventists.”

We are happy to say here that a full state- ment of our views and feelings, outlined in this article, was given by the writer before the re- cent General Conference of the S. D. Baptists, which apparently met with a full approval from that body. It is with great pleasure that we look back to the happy hours spent with that good people, and only regret that we could re- main no longer with them. j. w.


Further Study

Review, November 20, 1879
Review, December 4, 1879, Volume 54, #23, page 180
Review, December 11, 1879