Fall of the Ottoman Empire - Passing of the Second Woe - Space of Time to Proclaim the First Angel's Message, Rev. 14:6, 7 - Conferences - Trials on Leaving the Church - Moral-Reform Societies - Boston Conference in 1842 - Prophetic Charts - Campmeeting in Littleton, Mass., in August, 1842 - Taunton, Mass., in September - Salem, Mass., in October - Power and Work of the First Angel's Message.
CHAPTER twenty-two closed with the Conference in the city of Lowell, Mass. The history of the fall of the Ottoman supremacy will be found in J. Litch's Prophetic Expositions, Vol. II., pages 181-200. On pages 198 and 199 is the summing up of his conclusive argument, showing how clearly the prophecy in Rev. 9:13-15 was fulfilled on the 11th of August, 1840. On pages 189, 190, will be found the reliable testimony of an eye-witness, who states facts to prove the same point, seemingly without any knowledge of the prophecy, or Litch's exposition of it. Here it is:--
"The following is from Rev. Mr. Goodell, missionary of the American Board at Constantinople, addressed to the Board, and by them published in the Missionary Herald, for April, 1841, p. 160:--
"'The power of Islamism is broken forever; and there is no concealing the fact even from themselves. They exist now by mere sufferance. And though there is a mighty effort made by the Christian governments to sustain them, yet at every step they sink lower and lower with fearful velocity. And though there is a great endeavor made to graft the institutions of civilized and Christian countries upon the decayed trunk, yet the very root itself is fast wasting away by the venom of its own poison. How wonderful it is, that, when all Christendom combined together to check the progress of Mohammedan power, it waxed exceedingly great in spite of every opposition; and now when all the mighty potentates of Christian Europe, who feel fully competent to settle all the quarrels, and arrange the affairs of the whole world, are leagued together for its protection and defense, down it comes, in spite of all their fostering care.'"
These astounding facts prove that the prophecy of the sounding of the sixth angel for three hundred and ninety-one years and fifteen days, ended on the 11th day of August, 1840, and at the same time the second woe passed, and behold, the third woe cometh quickly.
Mark, this short space of time called "quickly," is the whole period of time from the passing of the second woe and sixth angel, to the commencing of the third woe, and the sounding of the seventh angel. This space of time called quickly, defines the time to announce to every nation and kindred and tongue and people that Christ is coming, by the proclamation of the angel's message in Rev. 14:6, 7. This is in accordance with the testimony of the Saviour. Matt. 24:3, 14.
No marvel, then, that those who had been looking with intense anxiety for the passing away of the Ottoman supremacy, saw with such clearness that the time had come for a body of people to proclaim the message in question from thence down to the ending of the prophetic periods of Daniel's vision. And that the time had then come for this message to go to every nation was still further demonstrated by a call for a Second-Advent Conference to be held in Boston about the time the Ottoman Empire lost its supremacy, and many weeks before the news of its fall reached the United States. At the close of this Conference, which was convened in October 1840, an address of the Conference setting forth the views of the assembled body respecting the second advent of our Lord, was sent forth to the world, and from thence the work continued until the message ended in the autumn of 1844.
Opposition from various quarters was now being made manifest, nevertheless the cause was daily increasing. In October, 1841, the third Conference was held in Portland, Maine, which gave a new impulse to the cause in that section of the country. Conferences were held in other places during the winter, particularly in New York City, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Early in the spring of this year Elds. Himes and Fitch held a Conference in Providence, R. I. Here, for the first time, I became acquainted with Bro. Fitch. His clear expositions of the prophecies relative to the second coming of our Lord, were listened to with deep interest. His preaching, in connection with that of Eld. Himes, deeply affected the hearts of the people, and a great many professed strong faith in the near coming of the Lord.
It was truly wonderful how fast professed Christians could believe the evidences of the near coming of the Lord from the teaching of the Bible and history, and then disbelieve on no better authority than a sneer, a laugh, or "How do you know? Nobody knows anything about it." Some of my brethren of the Washington-Street Christian Church also began to wane in their Advent faith, and would say to me sometimes at the close of our social meetings, "Bro. Bates, we wish you would not say so much about the second coming of Christ." "Why," said I, "don't you believe it is as true now as it was when Bro. Miller preached it here last year, and you believed it?" "Well, we believe Christ is coming, but no one knows when. Bro. Miller taught that it would be about 1843. But we don't think so. We like to hear you exhort and pray, but we don't like to hear you say so much about the second coming of Christ, and the time."
About this time the church elected a pastor, which was a source of deep trial to those who were more deeply interested in the Advent movement. Several of these interested ones sought and obtained their dismission. I continued in deep trial on this point for several weeks, hoping for some change for the better. I besought the Lord for light in this matter, and that which was granted me was quietly to withdraw and be free. I did so, and notified the trustees of the meeting-house that I was ready to dispose of my interest in the premises. They declined my offer, which left me at liberty to dispose of it publicly, which I did at quite a sacrifice. I was now relieved from about twelve years' responsibilities and care, in aiding to build up and sustain a free church, who took the Bible for their only rule of faith and practice.
Four of us, members of the church, had united and built the meeting-house at a cost of over nine thousand dollars, nearly three- quarters of which belonged to us at the time I withdrew. Some of my good friends that were engaged in the temperance and abolition cause, came to know why I could not attend their stated meetings as formerly, and argued that my belief in the coming of the Saviour should make me more ardent in endeavoring to suppress these growing evils. My reply was, that in embracing the doctrine of the second coming of the Saviour, I found enough to engage my whole time in getting ready for such an event, and aiding others to do the same, and that all who embraced this doctrine would and must necessarily be advocates of temperance and the abolition of slavery; and those who opposed the doctrine of the second advent could not be very effective laborers in moral reform. And further, I could not see duty in leaving such a great work to labor single-handed as we had done, when so much more could be accomplished in working at the fountain-head, making us every way right as we should be for the coming of the Lord.
In May, 1842, a General Conference was convened in Boston, Mass. At the opening of this meeting, Brn. Charles Fitch and Apollos Hale, of Haverhill, presented the pictorial prophecies of Daniel and John, which they had painted on cloth, with the prophetic numbers, showing their fulfillment. Bro. Fitch, in explaining from his chart before the Conference, said that while examining these prophecies, he had thought if he could get out something of the kind as here presented it would simplify the subject and make it much easier for him to present to an audience. Here was more light in our pathway. These brethren had been doing what the Lord had shown Habakkuk in his vision 2468 years before, saying, "Write the vision and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time." Hab. 2:2.
After some discussion on the subject, it was voted unanimously to have three hundred similar to this one lithographed, which was soon accomplished. They were called "the '43 charts." This was a very important Conference. A camp-meeting was now appointed to convene the last week in June, at East Kingston, N. H., where an immense multitude assembled to hear the glad tidings of the soon-coming of our blessed Lord. I had not the pleasure of attending this meeting, but heard most stirring reports of what was accomplished there. Camp-meetings and conferences were now being multiplied throughout the Middle and Northern States, and Canada, and the messengers were proclaiming, in the language of the message, "The hour of His Judgment is come!"
During the month of August, 1842, a Second-Advent camp-meeting was held in Littleton, Mass. This was the first camp-meeting that I had ever attended. It was quite a novel thing to see such a variety of tents pitched around the ministers' stand, among the tall, shady trees. At the opening of the meeting, we learned that those who occupied them were families from the various towns in the vicinity of the camp, and the city of Lowell, who were interested in the Advent doctrine.
The subject of the prophecies connected with the second coming of our blessed Lord and Saviour, was the theme of ministers and people. All, except a mob who came to break up the meeting, seemed deeply interested; and these, after becoming acquainted with the nature of the meeting, ceased to trouble us, and peace, harmony, and love prevailed during the entire meeting.
In September following, another camp-meeting was held in the southern part of Massachusetts, in the town of Taunton, in a beautiful grove of tall pines, by the railroad, between Boston and New Bedford. This meeting was one of deep interest to the Advent cause, and opened the way for tens of thousands to hear the proclamation of a coming Saviour. The cars, passing to and from these cities twice a day, landed the people in crowds on the camp-ground. A large number of ministers were in attendance. Eld. Josiah Litch took the lead of this meeting, which continued for about a week. At one of our morning prayer-meetings, as the invitation was given for those to come forward who wished to be prayed for, among the mourners it was said there were about thirty ministers who prostrated themselves, some of them on their faces, beseeching God for mercy, and a preparation to meet their coming Lord! The preaching was clear, and was accompanied with great power of the Holy Spirit.
During this meeting, Eld. Millard, on his way home from a tour in Palestine, stopped at the camp-ground. Eld. Litch asked him a number of questions before the congregation, in relation to his mission--what he had learned while abroad in that country relative to the doctrine of the second advent. He replied that it was known and spoken of there. This information was reliable and cheering. We had believed, but this was knowledge from another quarter, that the message of the flying angel was crossing land and sea, to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. On Sunday, it was judged that there were ten thousand people in the camp. The clear, weighty, and solemn preaching of the second coming of Christ, and the fervent prayers and animated singing of the new Second-Advent hymns, accompanied by the Spirit of the living God, sent such thrills through the camp that many were shouting aloud for joy.
While the committee were moving around in the congregation, receiving contributions to defray the expenses of the meeting, some of the sisters began to take out their ear-rings and strip off their finger rings and other jewelry, which example was followed by many others; and all thrown into the contribution. From this a report was soon circulated abroad, that the Taunton camp-meeting had taken up in their collection about three flour barrels full of jewelry! The committee of arrangements, anticipating some wrong report about this matter, dispatched one of their number on the first train to New Bedford, instructing him to sell all the jewelry for cash. He did so, and returned with seven dollars! We considered this about six times less than what it should have sold for, the whole of which would have filled a pint measure. This was in keeping with many other false reports of Second-Advent meetings which were retailed about the world for facts. This meeting was a very important one, and it opened the way for hundreds of Second-Advent meetings in the various towns and villages in that region of country.
In about four weeks another camp-meeting commenced three miles back of the city of Salem, Mass. For interest and numbers, this surpassed any meeting that I had ever attended. Eld. Joshua V. Himes had the charge, and pitched his big tent there, which was said to hold about seven thousand people. On approaching this meeting from the city of Salem, the main streets, crossroads, lanes, and paths were crowded with teams and carriages loaded with people, besides the jam of foot passengers, all crowding through the thick, smothering dust to the camp-ground. Here in the large stone-walled pasture ground, interspersed with high, ragged rocks, clumps of bushes and straggling trees, bounded by woods on two sides and water on another, the city of Salem in the distance in another direction, were pitched the numerous tents for the great meeting. The big tent loomed above them all like a light-house, pointing to the looked-for harbor of the mariner, inviting the pressing multitude to enter and listen to the messengers of God proclaiming with stentorian voices the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The preaching was on the great leading doctrines of the second advent. Ministers and people listened with profound attention, desiring to know if these things were so, and what to do to fit them for that day. The ministers present who preached were Elds. Himes, Litch, Fitch, Hale, Plumer, Cole, and others. So anxious were the people to hear on this great subject, that those who could not be accommodated in the big tent could be seen in the distance congregated under trees and clumps of trees, listening to selected ministers, explaining from the '43 chart, fastened to the trees.
When the preaching meetings closed, prayer-meetings and praying circles for the unconverted commenced in the tents. The evenings were more especially devoted to this part of the work. Anxious souls who became fully convinced by listening to the truth, sought and found relief in these praying circles. Sometimes after listening to the united, earnest prayers, the shout of victory would follow, and then the rush to the tents to learn who was converted, and to hear them tell what Jesus had done for them, and how they loved his appearing. And those who wished to see the onward progress of this work of God, could join with the groups of men and women with their selected ministers passing down to the water-bound side of the camp, and there, in accordance with their faith, and in obedience to Him who had set them free from sin, see them buried with him by baptism, and while returning on their way rejoicing, meet with others going to be buried in like manner.
Bro. Miller, with others, was attending conferences and camp-meetings in other States, and his engagements were such that he could not see it duty to be at any of these meetings in Massachusetts which I have mentioned. Eld. Cole, while speaking of his last meeting, on the preachers' stand, said, "Last evening I preached in the meeting-house in Merideth, N. H. to a crowded house, and the people were so absorbed in the subject of the coming of Christ, that they remained on their knees after I had closed the meeting, so that I had to pick out my way by stepping over their heads, to be out of the meeting in time to secure my passage to the Salem camp-meeting, and when I got out of the house the people in the yard were also on their knees, and thus I passed on, obliged to leave them."
At the time the train of cars was coming in from Newburyport to Boston, Bro. Litch had reached a point in his discourse respecting the prophecy of Nahum, how that in the day of God's preparation "the chariots shall rage in the streets," "they shall seem like torches, they shall run like the lightnings," when he cried out, "Don't you hear them?" Yes, we did; for they were then dashing by us like a streak of light for the Salem station. The time and manner to prove to his audience the fulfillment of this prophecy, and make us feel that we had most clearly entered into the day of God's preparation, produced a thrilling sensation in the camp.
On Sunday, it was judged there were fifteen thousand people in the camp. Here Bro. Fitch took leave of his brethren and started for the West, to spread the glad tidings of a coming Saviour. Two brethren in the ministry also started about this time to preach the second advent of Christ in England. This meeting gave an impetus to the cause that was wide-spread and lasting. When the camp broke up, a multitude from thence repaired to the Salem depot to secure their passages for Boston and vicinity. Some accident occurring to the trains from Newburyport detained us in the Salem station for some two hours. Here our company commenced singing Advent hymns, and became so animated and deeply engaged that the people in the city came out in crowds, and seemed to listen with breathless attention until the cars came and changed the scene. Eld. S. Hawley, a Congregationalist preacher who confessed faith in the Advent doctrine about this time, was invited to preach on the subject in the city of Salem, on Sunday. On attending to his appointment a few weeks afterward, he reported that the excitement there on this subject was intense. It was judged that he had seven thousand hearers.
Second-Advent publications were now multiplying, and through the daily journals it was astonishing to learn with what rapidity this glorious doctrine was being proclaimed throughout the length and breadth of the Union and the Canadas. The people in the various States, counties, towns, cities, and villages, were all being aroused to hear the glad tidings.
Eld. E. R. Pinney, of New York, in his exposition of Matt. 24, says: "As early as 1842, Second-Advent publications had been sent to every missionary station in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and both sides of the Rocky Mountains."
As no work of God had ever aroused the nations of the earth in such a powerful and sudden manner since the first advent of the Saviour and the day of Pentecost, the evidence was powerful and prevailing that this work was the fulfilling of the prophecy of the flying angel "in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his Judgment is come."
The Stated Year for the Coming of the Lord - Sell my Place of Residence - Go with the Message to the Slave States - Meetings on Kent Island - Meetings in Centerville, Eastern Shore of Maryland - Judge Hopper - Newspaper Report - Meetings in Chester - Threatened Imprisonment - Among the Slaves - Power of the Lord in the Meeting - Conviction of the People.
As Mr. Miller had always stated the time for the coming of the Lord to be about the year 1843, he was now pressed to state the point of time more definitely. He stated that according to the best evidence he could gather, he believed that the Lord would come "some time between the 21st of March, 1843, and March 21, 1844." Before the close of this memorable year, Conferences were appointed to be held by Brn. Miller, Himes, and others, in the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, to give the last warning, and if possible wake up and warn the household of Cæsar. It was a season of thrilling interest to all who truly loved the Second-Advent doctrine.
About this time I sold my place of residence, including the greater portion of my real estate, paid up all my debts, so that I could say once more that I owed "no man anything." For some time I had been looking and waiting for an open way to go down South into the slaveholding States with the message. I was aware that slaveholders in the South were rejecting the doctrine of the second advent, and but a few months before had ordered Brn. Storrs and Brown from the city of Norfolk, Virginia; and I was told that if I went South the slaveholders would kill me for being an abolitionist. I saw there was some danger, but imperative duty and a desire to benefit them and unburden my own soul, overbalanced all such obstacles.
Bro. H. S. Gurney, now living in Memphis, Mich., said he would accompany me as far as Philadelphia. The steamer on which we took passage from Massachusetts had much difficulty in getting through the floating sheet-ice on the last end of her passage, through Long Island Sound and Hurl Gate, to the city of New York. In Philadelphia we attended some of the crowded meetings of Bro. Miller and others. It was truly wonderful to see the multitudes of people gathered to hear him preach the coming of the Lord. Bro. G. now concluded to accompany me South. We reached the city of Annapolis, Maryland, by the way of Washington, and crossed the Chesapeake Bay through the ice to the central part of Kent Island, on which I had been cast away some twenty-seven winters before. At the tavern we found the people assembled for town meeting. The trustees of two meeting-houses who were present, were unwilling to open their doors for us, and intimated the danger of preaching the doctrine of Christ's coming among the slaves. We applied to the tavern-keeper for his house. He replied that we could have it as soon as the town meeting closed.
We then made an appointment before them, that preaching on the second advent would commence in the tavern the next afternoon at a given hour. Said the keeper of the tavern, "Is your name Joseph Bates?" I answered, "Yes." He said that he remembered my visiting his father's house when he was a small boy, and informed me that his mother and family were in another room and would be glad to see me. His mother said she thought she knew me when I first came to the house.
The notice of our meeting soon spread over the island, and the people came to hear, and soon became deeply interested about the coming of the Lord. Our meetings continued here, I think, for five successive afternoons. The mud was so deep, on account of a sudden thaw, that we held no evening meetings. The tavern was a temperance house, and accommodated us much better than any other place we could have found in the vicinity.
At the commencement of our last afternoon meeting, a brother who had become deeply interested in the cause, called Bro. G. and myself aside to inform us that there was a company about two miles off at a rum store, preparing to come and take us. We assured him that we were not much troubled about it, and urged him to go into the meeting with us and leave the matter in their hands. The people seemed so earnest to hear that my anxiety increased to make the subject as clear as I could for them, so that the idea of being taken from the meeting had entirely passed from me. But before I had time to sit down, a man who was at the meeting for the first time, whom I knew to be a Methodist class-leader, and one of the trustees that refused us the use of their meeting-house, arose and commenced denouncing the Advent doctrine in a violent manner, saying that he could destroy or put down the whole of it in ten minutes. I remained standing, and replied, "We will hear you." In a few moments he seemed to be lost in his arguments, and began to talk about riding us on a rail. I said, "We are all ready for that, sir. If you will put a saddle on it, we would rather ride than walk." This caused such a sensation in the meeting that the man seemed to be at a loss to know which way to look for his friends.
I then said to him, "You must not think that we have come six hundred miles through the ice and snow, at our own expense, to lecture to you, without first sitting down and counting the cost. And now, if the Lord has no more for us to do, we had as lief lie at the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay as anywhere else until the Lord comes. But if he has any more work for us to do, you can't touch us!"
One Dr. Harper arose and said, "Kent, you know better! This man has been giving us the truth, and reading it out of the Bible, and I believe it!" In a few minutes more Mr. Kent shook me heartily by the hand and said, "Bates, come and see us!" I thanked him, and said my work was so pressing I did not think I should have time; but I would come if I could. But we had time to visit only those who had become deeply interested, and wished us to meet with them in their praying circles. At the close of our meeting we stated that we had the means, and were prepared to defray all the expenses of the meeting cheerfully, unless some of them wished to share with us. They decided that they would defray the expenses of the meeting, and not allow us to pay one cent.
On leaving Kent Island we passed along on the east side of the Chesapeake Bay, called the Eastern Shore of Maryland, to the county town of Centerville, about thirty miles distant, where we had sent an appointment to hold meetings. We chose to walk, that we might have a better opportunity to converse with the slaves and others, and furnish them with tracts which we had with us. On reaching Centerville we inquired for a Mr. Harper. On arriving at his store we presented our introductory letter, and were introduced to Judge Hopper, who was engaged in writing. A number of men and boys came crowding into the store, apparently full of expectation, when one of them began to question us respecting our views, and soon came to the point that Christ could not come now, because the gospel had not been preached to all the world. I replied that it had been preached to every creature. When he showed his unwillingness to believe, I inquired for a Bible, and read the following: "If ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven." Col 1:23.
Said the man, "Where are you going to preach?" Judge Hopper said, in their "new meeting-house." "Well," said he, "I will come and hear you." Mr. Harper invited us and the judge to tea, and to spend the evening. The judge had a great many questions to ask us respecting our faith, and at about ten o'clock insisted on our going home with him to spend the night. Before reaching his house, which was about a mile out of town, he said, "Mr. Bates, I understand that you are an abolitionist, and have come here to get away our slaves." Said I, "Yes, judge, I am an abolitionist, and have come to get your slaves, and you too! As to getting your slaves from you, we have no such intention; for if you should give us all you have (and I was informed he owned quite a number), we should not know what to do with them. We teach that Christ is coming, and we want you all saved."
He appeared satisfied and pleased with our reply, and in a few moments more we were introduced to his family. The judge and Mr. Harper were the principal owners in a new meeting-house (as I understood), just erected for a new sect called "The New-Sides," which had seceded from the Methodist Episcopal Church, called "The Old-Sides." These two friends stated that their new meeting-house was free for us to occupy. We commenced there the next fore-noon with a large congregation. Judge Hopper invited us to make his house our home during our series of meetings.
Our meetings in Centerville continued about three days with much interest. Many became deeply interested to hear for the first time about the coming of the Lord. Judge Hopper was very attentive, and admitted that he was almost persuaded of the correctness of our position. We were told that one of his slaves was deeply convicted, and professed to have been converted during our meetings.
The second day of our labors the judge arrived at his house before us, and was engaged reading his paper, by the last mail. It was the Baltimore Patriot. When we came in, he said, "Do you know who these were?" and commenced reading in substance as follows: "Two men who came up in a vessel from Kent Island, were in at our office, and related a circumstance respecting two Millerites that were recently there, preaching about Christ's second coming and the end of the world. When threatened with riding on a rail, they replied that they were all ready, and if they would put a saddle on the rail, it would be better to ride than to walk!" The editor added that "the crush of matter and the wreck of worlds would be nothing to such men." We replied that such an occurrence did take place when we were on the island a short time previous, and that probably we were the individuals alluded to. He laughed heartily and pressed us to relate the circumstance while his family were gathering to the dinner table.
He then inquired which way we were going. We stated that we should like to go to the next county seat north-east. He gave us a letter of introduction to a friend of his, a lawyer, who had charge of the court-house in his absence, telling him to open the house for us to hold meetings in while we stayed. We arranged our appointments for five meetings, and sent them to the lawyer to publish, who was also editor of their village paper.
The name of this town was Chester, I believe, distant about twenty-five miles. One of our interested hearers sent his private carriage to convey us on our way. We were walking just before we came to the village, and met a man on foot, seemingly in great haste, who stopped and inquired if we were the two Millerites who were going to preach in that place! We answered in the affirmative. "Well," said he, "I have traveled thirteen miles this morning to see you!" As he stood gazing on us, I said, "How do we look?" Said he, "You look like other men." His curiosity being gratified, we passed on and saw him no more. On arriving at the tavern for dinner, the tavern-keeper slipped the village paper into the hand of Bro. Gurney, for him to read the notice of the Miller meeting, supposing that we were the strangers expected. The notice closed by hoping that "the old women would not be frightened at these men's preaching about the end of the world."
After dinner we called to see the lawyer at his office, where we were entertained for hours listening to his skeptical views about the second advent, and answering his numerous questions. He was very punctual at all our meetings, and became so deeply convicted of the truth that he was as much alarmed about his preparation for the coming of the Lord as the old women he was so troubled about. The people came out to hear, and listened attentively, particularly the slaves, who had to stand on the back side of the white congregation and wait until they had all passed out. This gave us a good opportunity to speak with them. So we asked them if they heard what was said. "Yes, massa, ebery word." "Do you believe?" "Yes, massa, believe it all." "Don't you want some tracts?" "Yes; massa." "Can you read?" "No, massa; but young missus, or massa's son will read for us."
In this way we distributed a good number of tracts, with which we had furnished ourselves from Eld. Himes in Philadelphia. They seemed delighted with the Advent hymns. They heard Bro. Gurney sing the hymn, "I'm a pilgrim and I'm a stranger." One of the colored men came to our lodgings to beg one of the printed copies. Bro. G. had but one. Said he, "I'll give you a quarter of a dollar for it;" probably it was all the money the poor fellow had. He lingered as though he could not be denied. Bro. G. then copied it for him, which pleased him very much.
There were three denominational meeting-houses in the village where the people met to worship. Out of respect to them we gave notice that we should hold but one meeting on Sunday, and that would commence at candle-light. The next morning, while mailing a letter, the postmaster said that the ministers of the place were so enraged about the people's going to our meeting, that they were talking about having us imprisoned before night. I said to him, "Please give them our compliments, and tell them we are all ready. The jail is so nearly connected with our place of meeting that they will have but little trouble to get us there!" We heard nothing more from them. Our fears were not so much about going to jail, as that these ministers would influence the people to shut us out from giving them the Advent message. But the Lord in answer to prayer suffered them not to close the open door before us, for our meetings continued without interruption.
The last meeting was deeply interesting. The Lord helped us wonderfully. Our subject was the woe trumpets of Rev. 9, proving in accordance with Mr. Litch's calculation that the sixth angel ceased to sound, and the second woe passed, in August, 1840, with the fall of the Turkish Empire, and that the third woe was coming "quickly," when great voices would be heard in Heaven saying, "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ." When we closed the meeting, the white people remained fixed and silent. The poor slaves stood behind, gazing and waiting for their superiors to move first. There sat the lawyer who had so faithfully warned the old women not to be scared about the preaching of the end of the world. He, and one or two others, had been taking notes of our subject. We sang an Advent hymn and exhorted them to get ready for the coming of the Lord, and dismissed them again. They remained silent and immovable. Bro. G. exhorted them faithfully, but they still remained silent, and appeared as though they had not the least desire to leave the place. We felt fully satisfied that God was operating by his Holy Spirit. We then sang another hymn, and dismissed them, and they began slowly and silently to retire.
We waited to have some conversation with the colored people. They said they understood, and seemed much affected. When we came out of the court-house the people stood in groups almost silent. We passed along by them, bidding them good-by. The lawyer and the principal of the academy were watching for us, and walked with us to the hotel. Both of them were powerfully convicted, and apparently subdued. The teacher had argued with us several times to prove that this movement was all delusion; but now he began to confess. The lawyer seemed now to ask questions for himself, and was so intent on the subject that he detained us in conversation at the side of the hotel, until we were compelled by the cold to go in to the fire. We exhorted him to confess all his sins, and give his heart to the Lord. The principal of the academy said, "Now, brethren, I want you to go with me to my room, where we will have a good fire. I want to talk more about this work." He there confessed how skeptical he had been, and the opposition he had manifested, and how he had attended the meetings and taken notes on purpose to refute the doctrine. "But," said he, "I believe it all now. I believe, with you, that Christ is coming." We labored and prayed with him until after midnight. We were told next morning that some of the inhabitants were so powerfully convicted that they had not been in bed during the night. Two men who stopped at the hotel, said they had come thirty miles on horseback to attend the meetings. While here the way opened for a series of meetings some thirteen miles northward, at a place called "The Three Corners." We were told that we had better not go, for the tavern-keeper was a rank Universalist, and would oppose us.
The Three Corners - Crowded Meeting - Singing - Universalism - Place for Meetings - Opposition - Dream - Slaves Ordered to go to the Advent Meeting - Convicted of the Truth - Meetings in Elktown - Return Home from Maryland - Visit to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard - First Disappointment in the Second-Advent Movement - Waiting for the Vision - Tarrying Time.
ON our arrival at the place called "The Three Corners," we feared from its appearance we should have but few hearers. An academy, a tavern, and a Methodist meeting-house in the distance, with a few scattered dwellings, were about all there was to be seen. Our appointment was to commence the meeting that evening. The Methodist trustees refused us the use of their house. We finally obtained the academy for our evening meeting, and put up at the "Universalist tavern," kept by a Mr. Dunbar. The Methodist preacher on the circuit said to us, "I held a meeting in the academy last first-day, and had but eighteen hearers; I suppose your doctrine will call out a few more." Imagine our surprise at the hour of meeting to find the house crowded, so that a great portion of the congregation were perched on top of the seats, looking over each other's heads. We found a place finally to hang up the "'43 chart." Bro. Gurney began to sing one of the favorite Advent hymns, which stilled them into silence, and the meeting continued with deep interest to the close. We then stated our wish to hold four meetings more, and commence the next afternoon, but we had no place open for us. After waiting a moment, our landlord said, "Gentlemen, appoint your meeting at my house." I hesitated, doubting whether it would be proper to appoint an Advent meeting where liquor was vended and drank without restraint. As no other person spoke, I made the appointment at Mr. Dunbar's tavern, the next afternoon! I believe it was 2 o'clock. After getting to the tavern, Mr. D. came in, followed by a number of ladies, saying, "Gentlemen, these ladies have come to hear you sing more of your new hymns. They are delighted with the singing, and interested in your doctrine."
After breakfast next morning, our host began in a very gentlemanly manner to show the inconsistent views of professed Christians, and the beauties of the doctrine of Universalism. In order to relieve us both from long arguments, we told him we had nothing to do with the Universalist doctrine. We had come there to preach the coming of Christ, and we wanted him and his neighbors to get ready. Our conversation closed here, and he went out. After a while he came home, saying, "Well, gentlemen, the Methodist meeting-house is open for you to lecture in. The trustees have had some feeling about refusing you the use of their house. It is now ready for your meeting this afternoon. I did not believe they would let you hold your meetings in my house."
Soon after our meeting commenced in the afternoon, a well-dressed, intelligent-looking man entered and seated himself near the center of the house, and while I was explaining a passage of scripture from the book of Revelation, he looked at me earnestly and shook his head. I said to the audience, "Here is a gentleman shaking his head. He don't believe." Before I had finished my discourse, as I was quoting another passage from the same source, he repeated the operation. I said, "This gentleman is shaking his head again. He does not believe." His countenance changed, and he appeared confused. As Bro. Gurney and myself came down from the pulpit after closing the meeting, he pressed his way through the crowd and took my hand, saying, "I want you to go home with me to-night." I thanked him and said, "I would with pleasure, but I have a friend here." Said he, "I want him to go, too, and I want you should bring that chart [pointing to it] with you." Another man pressed us to ride home with him, some two miles, to supper. Said this gentleman, "I'll go, too." He did so.
In the evening our congregation was larger, and very attentive. After meeting, our new friend took us into his coach with his wife. Soon after we started, he asked his wife if she remembered the dream that he told her. She said, "Yes." "Well," said he, "these are the two angels that I saw." Here he began to relate his dream. The following, in substance, is about all I now remember:--
Just previous to our coming to the place, he dreamed of being in company with two angels that were declaring good news, and he remembered particularly how they looked. "Then," said he, "when you spoke about my shaking my head the second time, I looked again. I thought I had seen you. Here my dream came to me, and I knew by your sallow countenances that you were the two persons, and more especially you, because of that mole on your right cheek, which I saw there in my dream."
He stepped out and opened his gate, and I thought surely we shall be at the house soon. After a while we learned from him that it was three miles from his front gate to his house! His plantation was large, with a great number of slaves. He was a man of leisure, and had learned from some author peculiar notions about the book of Revelation. This was why he shook his head at my application, because of the opposite views. He and his wife entertained us a good part of the night, and until time for meeting the next afternoon, asking questions about the doctrine of the advent, the chart, etc. When Mr. Hurt's carriage was ready, he apologized for his remissness in not asking us to address his servants (slaves). I felt relieved at this, as I would rather speak to them in the mixed congregation. But as we were getting into the coach, he said to his hostler, who was holding the reins, "Do you tell all hands to come to meeting this evening." "Yes, massa." "Don't you forget--ALL OF THEM." "No, massa." This was cheering to us. We wanted them to hear with their master.
The preceptor of the academy, and Mr. Dunbar, the landlord, were the two leading Universalists in that section of the country. Both of them had now become interested in this new doctrine. The preceptor closed his school to attend the last afternoon meeting, and came in with three great books under his arm, expecting, I suppose, to confound us in some of our expositions of the prophecies by quotations from the dead languages. He appealed to his books but once, and, failing to prove his point, said no more. From their appearance, I was satisfied that he and Mr. D. were deeply convicted of the truth. As he was lugging home his books after meeting, I said in passing him, "What do you think of the subject now?" Said he, "I will give up."
In the evening the gallery was crowded with colored people; unquestionably the majority of them were Mr. Hurt's slaves. They listened with marked attention. Anything that would work deliverance from perpetual bondage was good news to them. The congregation appeared remarkably willing to hear. At the close of the meeting we stated that our appointment had gone forward to Elktown, twenty-five miles north, for us to meet with the people the next evening, and we wished to engage one of their teams to carry us. Mr. Hurt courteously offered to see us there in his private carriage, and engaged us to tarry with him for the night. While waiting for the carriage after meeting, Mr. Dunbar came to us privately to ask if this doctrine was preached at the North, and also in England, and if this was the way Mr. Miller presented it. We answered that it was, only that Mr. Miller set it forth in a superior manner, and in far clearer light than we had ability to do. He walked about, seemingly in deep distress.
Mr. Hurt now rode up, and we passed on with him. He seemed much troubled while he related the experience of himself and wife, and how he had refused to be a class-leader among the Methodists, and regretted that they could not be baptized. On our way in the morning we stopped at the tavern, and when we came out of our room with our baggage to settle our fare, Mr. Dunbar and the preceptor sat in the bar-room, with their Bibles open, listening to Mr. Hurt's dream concerning us, and his faith in the Advent doctrine. Mr. Dunbar and the preceptor said they saw the truth as never before, and importuned us to stay and continue our meetings. "Besides," said they, "you are invited to lecture in a town some twelve miles east from this." We replied that our previous appointment at Elktown required us to be there that evening. They then pressed us to return, but as our arrangements were still farther north, we could not comply with their request.
From this place Mr. Hurt took us in his carriage to Elktown, some twenty-five miles distant, introducing us and the message to his friends on the way. In Elktown also he exerted himself to open the way for our meetings. When parting with us, after praying with him, he said, "I would give all I possess here, if I could feel as I believe you do in this work." We heard no more from him.
We held five meetings in the court-house in Elktown. Some professed to believe, and were anxious to hear further, if we could have staid with them longer. From Elktown we took the cars to Philadelphia, and thence to New York City. Here we met with Mr. Miller, who had just returned from Washington, D. C., where he had been to give a course of lectures. At New York we took passage for the east, on board a Long Island steamer, for Fall River, Mass. In the evening, after passing Hurl Gate, we hung up the chart in the center of the passengers' cabin, and by the time we had sung an Advent hymn, a large company had collected, who began to inquire about the pictures on the chart. We replied, if they would be quietly seated, we would endeavor to explain. After a while they declared themselves ready to hear, and listened attentively for some time, until we were interrupted by an increasing heavy gale from the east, which caused us to bear up for a harbor. In consequence of the violence of the gale, the route of the boat was changed, and the passengers landed on the Connecticut shore, and proceeded in the cars to Boston. The subject of the advent of the Saviour was resumed on board the cars, and continued to be agitated until we separated at the passenger station at Boston.
Before the passing of the time, we visited some of the islands belonging to Massachusetts and Rhode Island, namely, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, and Block Island. Of the ten or twelve thousand inhabitants on these islands, many professed to believe, and united in the Advent movement.
As we came down to the spring of 1844, and approached the long-looked-for time published by Mr. Miller and others, for the closing up of the prophetic periods of Daniel's vision, and the coming of our Lord and Saviour, the work became more and more exciting. Probably nothing since the flood, in the days of Noah, has ever equaled it.
The most important point then to settle was where in the history of the world the 2300 days commenced. It was finally settled that 457 years before Christ was the only reliable time. Thus the sum of 457 years before Christ, and 1843 full years after Christ, made just 2300 full and complete years.
Scripture testimony was also clear that every year commenced with the new moon in the spring, just fourteen days before the yearly passover. See Ex. 12:1-6; 13:3, 4. It was therefore settled that the 17th day of April, 1844, Roman time, was the close of the year 1843, Bible time.
The passing of this time was the first disappointment in the Advent movement. Those who felt the burden of the message were left in deep trial and anguish of spirit. They were surrounded by those who were exulting with joy because of the failure of their calculation. In this trying time the Scriptures were searched most diligently, to ascertain, if possible, the cause of their disappointment. In the prophecy of Habakkuk were found a few points relative to the vision, which had never been particularly examined before. It reads thus: "For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry." Hab. 2:2, 3.
At this period it was said that there were some fifty thousand believers in this movement in the United States and the Canadas, who never, until the passing of the time, had realized or understood that there was a tarry or waiting time in the vision. This, and other scriptures of like import, encouraged the tried ones to hold on with unyielding faith. They were often attacked by their opponents with, "What are you going to do now, your time is past? You know you set the time for Christ to come at the termination of the 2300 days of Daniel's vision. Your time is now past, and he has not come; now why don't you confess your mistake, and give it all up?" Ans. "Because the Lord said, 'Wait for it.'" "Wait for what?" Ans. "The vision." "How long?" Ans. "He did not say; but he did say, 'WAIT FOR IT; BECAUSE IT WILL SURELY COME.' Give it up, did you say? We dare not!" "Why?" "Because the command of the Lord to his confiding and disappointed people, at this particular point of the Second-Advent movement, was to WAIT."
First Angel's Message - Midnight Cry - Parable of the Ten Virgins - Second Disappointment - Three Angels' Messages - The Sabbath - Progress of the Work - Conclusion - Remarks by the Editor.
THE first work of the Advent body in their disappointment was to re-examine the 2300 days of Daniel's vision. But they were unable to discover any error in their calculation. It was still evident and clear that it required every day of 457 years before Christ, and also every day of 1843 years after Christ, to complete the 2300 years of the vision. It was also clear that the year must correspond and terminate with the Jewish sacred year.
At this important crisis, the Advent Shield was published, reviewing all the past movement, especially the prophetic periods, showing that we had followed them down correctly. We quote from Vol. i., No. 1, pp. 86, 87.
"We look upon the proclamation which has been made, as being the cry of the angel who proclaimed, 'The hour of His Judgment is come.' (Rev. 14:6, 7.) It is a sound which is to reach all nations; it is the proclamation of the everlasting gospel, or this gospel of the kingdom. In one shape or other this cry has gone abroad through the earth, wherever human beings are found, and we have had opportunity to hear of the fact."
"Joseph Wolfe, D. D., according to his journals, between the years 1821 and 1845, proclaimed the Lord's speedy advent, in Palestine, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, Georgia, throughout the Ottoman Empire, in Greece, Arabia, Turkistan, Hindostan, in Holland, Scotland and Ireland, at Constantinople, Jerusalem, St. Helena, and in New York City to all denominations."--Voice of the Church, pp. 343, 344.
From the foregoing historical facts, the unbiased reader will not fail to see with what wonderful speed the glorious doctrine of the second advent of our Lord and Saviour spread throughout the whole habitable globe. Those who were engaged in this most solemn work were some of the honest and faithful from all the churches. Said the Advent Shield, pp. 92, 93:--
"No cause of a moral or religious character, probably ever made so rapid advances as the cause of Adventism. Its votaries have usually been the most humble, pious, devoted members of the different churches. . . . Never have a set of men labored more faithfully and zealously in the cause of God, or with purer motives. But their work is with the Lord, and their record on high."
While in this tarrying, waiting position, searching and praying for light on the track of prophecy, it was further seen that our Lord had given the parable of the ten virgins to illustrate the Advent movement. In answer to the question, "What shall be a sign of thy coming and of the end of the world?" (Matt. 24:3) our Lord pointed out some of the most important events with which the Christian Church was to be connected from the time of his first to his second advent, such as the destruction of Jerusalem in A. D. 70, following which was the great tribulation of the Christian Church for more than sixteen hundred years, under Pagan and Papal Rome. Then the darkening of the sun in 1780, and the falling of the stars in 1833. From thence the proclamation of his second coming in his kingdom, closing with a description of two classes of Adventists. And "then shall the kingdom of Heaven be likened unto ten virgins," (Matt. 25:1-13), "which took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom," etc. The words "kingdom of Heaven" undoubtedly refer to the same portion of the living church which he was pointing out in chapter 24:45-51, who continue in their history with the same proclamation of his second coming. And all the way to verse 13, in every important move they make, their history is likened, or compared, to the history of the ten virgins in the parable, namely, "tarry of the vision," "tarry of the bridegroom," "midnight cry," "Behold the bridegroom cometh," etc.
Soon after the tarry of the vision of 2300 days, the second angel's message began to be proclaimed. See Rev. 14:8. While moving on in this message into the summer of 1844, the definite time for the close of the vision began to be taught. But the leading ministers opposed. A camp-meeting was appointed to convene in Exeter, N. H., on the 12th of August. On my way there in the cars, something like the following was several times very forcibly presented to my mind: "You are going to have new light here, something that will give a new impetus to the work." On my arrival there, I passed around among the many tents to learn if there was any new light. I was asked if I was going to the Exeter tent, and was told that they had new light there. I was soon seated among them, listening to what they called "the midnight cry." This was new light, sure enough. It was the very next move in Advent history (if we moved at all), wherein Advent history could be fitly compared to that of the ten virgins in the parable. Verse 6. It worked like leaven throughout the whole camp. And when that meeting closed, the granite hills of New Hampshire were ringing with the mighty cry, "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him." As the loaded wagons, stages, and railroad cars rolled away through the different States, cities, and villages of New England, the cry was still resounding, "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh!" Christ, our blessed Lord, is coming on the tenth day of the seventh month! Get ready! get ready!
After an absence of five days, I returned home to Fairhaven in season for an evening meeting. My brethren were slow to believe our report respecting the new light. They believed they were right thus far, but the midnight cry was a strange doctrine to connect with Advent history. Sunday morning I attended the Advent meeting in New Bedford, some two miles distant. Bro. Hutchinson, from Canada, was preaching. He appeared much confused, and sat down, saying, "I can't preach." Eld. E. Macomber, who had returned with me from the camp-meeting, was in the desk with him. He arose, apparently much excited, saying, "Oh! I wish I could tell you what I have seen and heard, but I cannot," and down he sat also. I then arose from my seat in the congregation, saying, "I can!" and never do I remember of having such freedom and flow of words, in all my religious experience. Words came like flowing water. As I sat down, a sister came to me across the hall, saying, "Bro. Bates, I want you to preach that same discourse to us this afternoon." Bro. Hutchinson was now relieved from all his stammering, and said, "If what Bro. Bates has said is true, I don't wonder he thought my preaching was like carpenter's chips." When the meeting closed the next evening, stammering tongues were loosed and the cry was sounding, "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him!" Arrangements were quickly made for meetings, to spread the glad tidings all around.
On the 22d of August, a paper was issued, called the Midnight Cry, setting forth all the points in the types, with the calculations showing that the definite time for the ending of the vision of 2300 days would be on the tenth day of the seventh month, 1844. Following this, at a camp-meeting in Pawtucket, R. I., Eld. J. V. Himes, and several of the leading Advent ministers, pressed their objections respecting the genuineness of the midnight cry. But before the meeting closed they were returning to their stations, and a few days after, the Advent Herald was heralding their confessions, and how all their objections were removed, and their faith in the cry steadfast and unwavering.
We have not space here to present the arguments by which the midnight cry was sustained, but so convincing and powerful were they that all opposition was swept before them, and with amazing rapidity the sound was heralded throughout the land, and the poor, discouraged souls who had "slumbered and slept" "while the Bridegroom tarried," were awakened from their apathy and discouragement, and "arose and trimmed their lamps" to go forth and "meet the Bridegroom." All hearts were united in the work, and all seemed in earnest to make a thorough preparation for the coming of Christ, which they believed to be so near. Thousands were running to and fro, giving the cry, and scattering books and papers containing the message.
But another sad disappointment awaited the watching ones. Shortly before the definite day the traveling brethren returned to their homes, the papers were suspended, and all were waiting in ardent expectation for the coming of their Lord and Saviour. The day passed, and another twenty-four hours followed, but deliverance did not come. Hope sunk and courage died within them, for so confident had they been in the correctness of the calculations that they could find no encouragement in a re-examination of the time, for nothing could be brought to extend the days beyond the tenth day of the seventh month, 1844, nor has there been to this day, notwithstanding the many efforts of those who are continually fixing upon some definite time for the coming of Christ.
The effect of this disappointment can be realized only by those who experienced it. Advent believers were then thoroughly tested, with various results. Some turned away and gave it up, while a large majority continued to teach and urge that the days were not ended. Still another class believed that the days had ended, and that duty would soon be made plain. All, excepting this latter class, virtually rejected their former experience, and in consequence were left in darkness relative to the true position and work for the Advent people.
Those who still held fast that the time was right, and had really passed, now turned their attention to the examination of their position. It soon became apparent that the mistake was not in the time, but in the event to take place at the end of the period. The prophecy declared, "Unto two thousand and three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." We had been teaching that the sanctuary was the earth, and that its cleansing was its purification by fire at the second advent of Christ. In this was our mistake, for, upon a careful examination, we were unable to discover anything in the Bible to sustain such a position. Light began to shine upon the word of God as never before, and by its aid a clear and well-defined position was obtained on the subject of the sanctuary and its cleansing, by means of which we were enabled to satisfactorily explain the passing of the time, and the disappointment following, to the great encouragement of those who held fast to the message as being of God. The nature of this work forbids an examination of that position in these pages, but we refer the reader to a work entitled, "The Sanctuary and the Twenty-Three Hundred Days," published at the Review Office, Battle Creek, Mich.
We were also greatly cheered and strengthened by the light which we received on the subject of the three angels' messages of Rev. 14:6-12. We fully believed that we had been giving the first of these--"Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his Judgment is come; "--that the proclamation of definite time, that mighty movement which roused the world, and created such a general and wide-spread interest in the Advent doctrine, was a perfect fulfillment of that message. After the passing of the time, our eyes were opened to the fact that two other messages followed, before the coming of Christ: the second angel announcing the fall of Babylon, and the third giving a most solemn warning against false worship, and presenting the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
In close connection with the giving of the first message, we became convinced that the fall of Babylon indicated the moral fall from the favor of God of the nominal churches which rejected the light from Heaven, and shut out from their places of worship and from their hearts the doctrine of the advent, because they had no love for it, and did not desire it to be true.
The first and second messages being given, attention was now turned to the third, and an examination as to its nature and claims was instituted. As before remarked, it contains a most solemn warning against the worship of the beast and his image, and presents to notice the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. By the expression, "commandments of God," we understand the moral law of ten commandments, which has been recognized by the church in all ages as binding upon mankind, and containing those moral precepts which regulate our duty to God and to our fellow-men. This being made the burden of a special message just before the coming of Christ, coupled with such a solemn warning, renders it apparent that the church must be remiss in the matter, and that some gross error in regard to the commandments of God must lie at their door.
A careful examination of the practice of the church reveals the fact that the fourth commandment is not observed--as it enjoins the observance of the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath, while almost all the Christian world have been keeping the first day. Hence the necessity of a reform in this matter. Before Christ comes, his people must observe all of God's commandments, and thus be prepared for translation.
An investigation of the claims of the Sabbath brings to view the following facts:--
1. God in the beginning sanctified the seventh day, and no other, as the holy Sabbath, because that in it he had rested.
2. Having sanctified it, he commanded man to remember it and keep it holy.
3. We find no record that he ever removed the sanctity from that day, or that he ever transferred his blessing from the seventh to the first day of the week.
4. We find no intimation in the Bible that man was ever released from the obligation to sacredly observe the day on which God rested.
5. Our Saviour, in his example and teachings, recognized the claims of the Sabbath, and declared that it "was made for man."
6. The disciples and apostles observed the day, by holding meetings and preaching upon it, calling it "the Sabbath," and recognizing it as the day for Christian worship.
7. The New Testament uniformly speaks of the seventh day as "the Sabbath," while the first day is never once honored by that title.
8. The term, "first day of the week," occurs eight times in the New Testament, and never in connection with any intimation that it is to be kept holy, or observed as a rest-day.
9. Leaving the Scriptures, we find by reliable history that the early church observed the seventh day as the Sabbath, until, corrupted by the apostasy, the first day of the week began to be observed, in compliance with the customs of the heathen world, who observed Sunday in honor of their chief god, the sun.
10. The first definite commandment ever given by a law-making power for the observance of Sunday, was the edict of Constantine, a pagan ruler, who professed conversion to Christianity, and issued his famous Sunday law, A. D. 321.
11. The Roman Catholic Church adopted the Sunday institution, and enforced it upon her followers by pretended authority from Heaven, until its observance became almost universal; and Protestants, in renouncing the errors of the Romish Church, have not entirely rid themselves of her unscriptural dogmas, as evinced by the general observance of Sunday.
In the light of the above facts, the message of the third angel assumes an importance entitling it to the serious and candid attention of all Bible believers, and especially of those who profess to be making a preparation to meet the Lord at his coming. And as these facts were presented to the attention of those who had been giving the two former messages, those who were moving in the counsel of God and recognized his hand in the work thus far, and in the disappointment being of itself a fulfillment of prophecy, gladly embraced the truth, and commenced keeping the Sabbath of the Lord. Although at first the light on this subject was not one-tenth part as clear as it is at the present time, the humble children of God were ready to receive and walk in it.
From that time, the progress of the work has been steadily onward. Rising in comparative obscurity, rejected by many who gladly embraced the first and second messages, presented at first by but few preachers, struggling along in want and poverty, contending with the opposition of many and the prejudices of all, it has gradually and steadily worked its way upward, under the blessing of God, until it now stands on a firm foundation, presenting a connected chain of argument and a bold front of truth, which commend it to the consideration of the candid and thoughtful wherever the message is preached.
It is now [in 1868] twenty-three years since we commenced keeping the Sabbath of the Lord, since which time we have endeavored to teach it to others, both in private and by public labors, by the fireside and from the sacred desk. We have presented this and kindred truths in New England, many of the Western States, and the Canadas, and our labors have been blessed by seeing scores and hundreds turn from the traditions of men to the observance of all of God's commandments.
In closing this work, I desire to express my gratitude to God that I am permitted to bear a humble part in this great work; and while my past life has been a checkered and eventful one, it is my earnest desire to spend the remainder of my days in the service of God, and for the advancement of his truth, that I may have a place in his soon-coming kingdom. And that reader and writer may meet in that happy home of the saints, is my most earnest prayer.
REMARKS BY THE EDITOR.
CAPTAIN BATES retired from the seas in the month of June, 1828. He had acquired more than a competency. He immediately began to devote his time and means to moral reforms, and labored ardently and successfully in this way for about twelve years, when he became an Adventist. He soon entered the lecturing field, and labored as a speaker and writer, and employed his means and energies in the cause of Bible truth and reform during the remainder of his useful life until near his death, in 1872, a period of thirty-two years.
During this long period of his ministry, reaching from the noon of life to old age, he lost none of his ardor in the cause of moral reforms. In fact, his Second-Advent views, that the divine Son of God, and all the holy angels with him, would soon come to receive his people and take them to a pure Heaven, gave the inspired exhortations to purity of life, and the warnings to be ready for the coming of that day, a double force to his mind. While addressing the people upon the subject of readiness to meet the Lord at his coming, we have often heard him apply these texts with great force:--
"And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares." Luke 21:34.
"And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." 2 Cor. 6:16-18; 7:1.
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." 1 Cor. 3:16, 17.
When we expect a visit from friends we love and honor in our hearts, how natural to wash up, put things in good order, and dress up for the occasion. This simple fact in natural life may well illustrate the action of those Adventists who are really Adventists, in adopting the clean, pure rules of practical hygiene.
The principles of reform which had been written upon the mind and heart of Captain Bates while upon the seas, were still moving his soul to the very depths when among his friends at home. He still moved forward. His table reform commenced about this time.
We first met Elder Bates at his home at Fairhaven, Mass., in the year 1846. He had at that time discarded flesh-meats of all kinds, grease, butter, and all kinds of spices, from his own plate. When asked why he did not use them as articles of food, his usual reply was, "I have eaten my share of them." He did not mention his views of proper diet in public at that time, nor in private unless interrogated upon the subject. At his meals he took only plain bread and cold water. These, so very common, were readily obtained by those who entertained him, and in respect to diet he caused his friends but little trouble, excepting their anxieties that he would starve on bread and water.
When we first became acquainted with Elder Bates, in 1846, he was fifty-four years old. His countenance was fair, his eye was clear and mild, his figure was erect and of fine proportions, and he was the last man to be picked out of the crowd as one who had endured the hardships and exposure of sea life, and who had come in contact with the physical and moral filth of such a life for more than a score of years. He had been from the seas the period of eighteen years, and during that time his life of rigid temperance in eating, as well as in drinking, and his labors in the pure sphere of moral reform, had regenerated the entire man, body, soul, and spirit, until he seemed almost re-created for the special work to which God had called him. "Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord."
Elder Bates was a true gentleman. We might suppose that a man of his natural firmness and independence, after twenty-one years of sea-faring life, and commander of rough sailors a large portion of that time, would be exacting and overbearing in his efforts to reform others. True, he would speak what he regarded truth with great freedom and boldness; but after he had set forth principles, and urged the importance of obedience, he was willing to leave his hearers to decide for themselves.
We need not say that when many of his fellow-laborers embraced the principles of health reform, and began to advocate them about the year 1860, he joined them with great gladness of heart. From this time he began to speak freely upon the subject both in public and private life. Up to this time he had refused all fruits and nuts because of the custom to eat them between meals. But when many of his brethren adopted two meals only a day, and furnished their tables with fruits and nuts, he would partake freely of them with his meals.
At a health reform convention held at Battle Creek, Mich., in the spring of 1871, the venerable Elder Bates, in his seventy-ninth year, made a speech of remarkable interest, into which he incorporated some items of his personal history and experience. It is of such living interest that the reader will pardon us for repeating it here.
"In early life, before finishing my second European voyage, I was impressed into the British naval service, and stationed on board a British war-ship, associated with about seven hundred men, on a daily stated allowance of hard bread, salt provisions, and one pint of inferior wine. Thus I was held for about two years and a half, until, soon after the declaration of war by the United States against England, the American citizens on board our ship petitioned, and became prisoners of war, and were placed on two-thirds of what had been allowed us before, and no wine. In this state I continued some two years and a half. The last eight months I was associated with about six thousand sailors and soldiers on that most dreary waste called Dartmoor, fifteen miles from Plymouth, in England. Five years' experience in these two schools of vice and debasement of moral character, seriously convinced me of the necessity of reform.
"What seemed most important of all at that time was the disuse of spirituous liquors. A few weeks after my return home from my imprisonment, in the summer of 1815, I was offered, and accepted, the office of second mate on board a new ship fitting for a European voyage. This was some twelve years before temperance societies were organized. I soon learned that it was indeed a warfare to attempt to stem so strong a current of vice single-handed. I was urged to take a social glass, again and again, for some time. After awhile I yielded, to use it moderately, and finally confined myself to one glass only in twenty-four hours. Wine, beer, and cider were not then considered spirituous liquors. These I used but seldom.
"In the fall of 1821, on my passage from South America to Alexandria, D. C., feeling more serious respecting the unnecessary habit of using one glass a day, I spoke out earnestly, saying, I will never drink another glass of spirituous liquors while I live. And I am not aware that I ever have. But this temperance reform was not yet accomplished. So, on my next voyage from Buenos Ayres, South America, round Cape Horn, in 1822, I fully resolved never to drink wine. By watchfulness and perseverance I broke up my habit of using profane language, and before I left the Pacific Ocean, I had forever discarded the use of that filthy weed, tobacco. These victories strengthened and encouraged me in the work of reform.
"In the summer of 1824, on leaving the capes of Virginia for another voyage, I resolved from henceforth never to drink ale, porter, beer, cider, nor any liquor that would intoxicate. I now felt strengthened, and fully relieved from this burden to reform, which had been balancing in my mind for upward of ten years. I had been prospered in my business far beyond what I deserved, and was now setting out on another successful voyage, loading myself down with the cares and business of the world. Turning my attention more to reading the Bible than I had done, I was led to see what a feeble worm of the dust I was--an unpardoned sinner, under condemnation. I began and pleaded with God for pardoning mercy, for many days. I did then believe, and still believe, that he freely forgave me, for his dear Son's sake. My prospect then for this life, and the life which is to come, was most cheering. I then covenanted with the Lord that I would serve him evermore.
"Some thirty-three years ago, on becoming satisfied of the poisonous nature of both tea and coffee, I resolved never more to use them.
"In February, 1843, I resolved to eat no more meat. A few months after, I ceased using butter, grease, cheese, pies, and rich cakes. Since the introduction of the health reform several years ago by my brethren, I have been endeavoring to conform in my eating more strictly to the hygienic practice, and confine myself to two meals only in twenty-four hours. If the reader wishes to know what I have gained by my efforts from the first to reform, I answer:--
1. From the ruinous habits of a common sailor, by the help of the Lord, I walked out into the ranks of sober, industrious, discerning men, who were pleased to employ and promote me in my calling, so that in the space of nine years I was supercargo, and joint owner, in the vessel and cargo which I commanded, with unrestricted commission to go where I thought best, and continue my voyage as long as I should judge best for our interest.
"The morning after my arrival at the wharf in New York, among the laborers who came on board to discharge my vessel, was a Mr. Davis, one of my most intimate friends during my imprisonment. We had spent many hours together talking over our dismal position, and the dreadful state and ruinous habits of our fellow-prisoners, and there agreed that if ever we were liberated, we would labor to avoid the dreadful habits of intemperance, and seek for a standing among sober, reflecting men. Aside from his associates, we conversed freely, and he readily admitted our feelings and resolutions in the past, but with sadness of heart acknowledged his lack of moral courage to reform; and now, in this uncertain way, he was seeking for daily labor when his poor state of health would admit of it.
"2. When I reached this point of total abstinence, God in mercy arrested my attention, and on the free confession of my sins, for his dear Son's sake, granted me his rich grace and pardoning mercy.
"3. Contrary to my former convictions, that if I was ever permitted to live to my present age, I should be a suffering cripple from my early exposure in following the sea, thanks be to God and our dear Lord and Saviour, whose rich blessing ever follows every personal effort to reform, that I am entirely free from aches and pains, with the gladdening, cheering prospect that if I continue to reform, and forsake every wrong, I shall, with the redeemed followers of the Lamb, stand 'without fault before the throne of God.'"
No comment on the foregoing is needed. And it is hardly necessary to state that the speech, from one who had nearly reached his four-score years, and who could look back upon a long life of self-control, marked all the way with new victories and new joys, electrified the audience. He then stood as straight as a monument, and would tread the side-walks as lightly as a fox. He stated that his digestion was perfect, and that he never ate and slept better at any period in his life.
Elder Bates was in the hearts of his people. Those who knew him longest and best, prized him most. When his younger and most intimate fellow-laborers told him that his age should excuse him from the fatigue of itinerant life and public speaking, he laid his armor off as a captured officer would surrender his sword on the field of battle. The decision once made, he was as triumphant in hope and faith as before. Mrs. White wrote to him, recommending a nutritious diet, which called out the following characteristic statements from his pen thirty-three days before his death:--
"God bless you, Sister White, for your favor of yesterday, the 12th. You say I must have good, nutritious food. I learn from report that I am starving myself and am withholding from my daughter, who is with me, and alone a good part of the time in my absence; and that when I ask a blessing at my table, I ask the Lord to bless that which I may eat, and not that which is on the table. This is what I am not guilty of, nor ever was in all my family worship for some fifty years, but once; and I do greatly marvel how my industrious neighbors found out this one exception. But I will tell you the circumstance.
"Several years ago I was with the church in Vassar, Tuscola Co., Mich., and was invited to address them and their children in a barn on the Fourth of July, and also to dine with them. The tables were soon up and loaded with tempting eatables; and I was invited to ask the blessing. The swines' flesh upon the table, I knew was abominable and unclean from creation, Gen. 7:2, 8; and God had positively, by law, forbidden the eating or touching of it. See Lev. 11:7, 8 (law, verse 46); also Deut. 14:1-3, 8. I therefore very quietly distinguished, and asked a blessing on the clean, nutritious, wholesome, lawful food. Some whispered, and some smiled, and others looked, and so on.
"Starving, with more than enough to eat! Now allow me to state what, by the providence and blessing of God, we have in our house from which to choose a daily bill of fare.
"90 pounds of superfine white flour.
"100 pounds of graham flour.
"5 bushels of choice garden corn.
"Pop and sweet corn in abundance.
"Corn meal, rice, and oatmeal.
"Corn-starch, butter, sugar, salt.
"Three varieties of potatoes.
"Sweet turnips, parsnips, squashes.
"Two varieties of onions.
"11 cans of sweet peaches.
"6 cans sweet grapes.
"Strawberries preserved and dried.
"Quince and grape jelly.
"Tomatoes by the jug.
"20 pounds of dried sweet peaches.
"Box of Isabella grapes, most consumed.
"Three varieties of apples and quinces.
"But the people say, and they think they know what they say, that he refuses to furnish his table with tea and coffee. That's true! They are poison. Some thirty-five years ago I was using both tea and coffee. After retiring from a tea-party at midnight, my bed companion said, 'What is the matter, can't you lie quiet and sleep?' 'Sleep! no,' said I. 'Why not?' was the next question. 'Oh! I wish Mrs. Bunker's tea had been in the East Indies. It's poison!' Here I forever bade adieu to tea and coffee. After a while my wife joined me, and we discarded them from our table and dwelling. That's the reason they are not on my table.
"They say, too, that this man does not allow any ardent spirits or strong drink in his house. That's true. Please hear my reason: Fifty years ago I was by myself on the boundless ocean. My thoughts troubled me. Said I to Him who always hears, I'll never drink another glass of grog or strong drink while I live. That's why I have no intoxicating drink on or about my premises.
"Well, there is another thing that he is fanatical about, and differs from more than half his countrymen. What is that? He will not have about him nor use any TOBACCO. Guilty! My reason: Forty-eight years ago I was away toward the setting sun; our gallant ship was plowing her way through the great Pacific. During the nightwatch we were called to take some refreshment. I then tossed my chew of tobacco into the ocean, never, no, never, to touch, taste, or handle any more. And allow me to say that when I had gained the victory over this deadening, besotting, benumbing vice, I went on deck the next morning a better man than ever I was in all my former life. Why? I was free. I could appreciate God's handiwork in sea and sky, even in the tumbling, rolling waves. I could breathe freely, inhaling the pure air of heaven, and shout. I was a free man.
"Therefore, if any demand is ever made on me for tobacco, tea, coffee, or strong drink of any kind that intoxicates, they must present me an order from the Court Above.
"Here comes half a barrel of graham crackers and a lot of farina, a natural breadstuff of the native South Americans. I think I am now well supplied with good, nutritious food. And if there is any lack I have some good, faithful brethren who seem to be waiting to serve me.
"I am your brother, now on retired pay in Monterey, Michigan.
"Feb. 14, 1872."
Elder Joseph Bates died in the eightieth year of his age, at Battle Creek, Mich., March 19, 1872. The writer of his obituary says:--
"His last hours, though characterized by pain such as few men have been called upon to pass through, afforded a marked evidence of the superiority of a faith in Christ over the bodily suffering and the prospect of certain and rapidly approaching death. Having in early manhood chosen the service of God, and having for many years faithfully endeavored to live the life of the righteous, his last end was such as those alone can expect who have sedulously endeavored to preserve a conscience void of offense toward God and man.
"On Thursday, the 21st of March, his remains were taken to Monterey, Allegan Co., Mich., where they were interred on the following day in Poplar Hill Cemetery by the side of his wife."
The Michigan Conference of S. D. Adventists, at their session, September 5, 1872, passed this resolution:--
"That, as a tribute of respect, we recognize in the decease of our beloved brother, Elder Joseph Bates, the loss of a great and good man, eminent for piety and Christian virtue; a pioneer in the third angel's message, always at his post of duty. We miss him in our assemblies, at our Conference, in our churches, at our fireside homes; and while we deeply mourn our loss, we will remember his counsels, imitate his virtues, and endeavor to meet him in the kingdom of God."
Comments denoted by "*" were originally placed on the bottom of the page in which they appeared, but here they are placed before the end of the chapter in which they appear.
Typesetting/spelling errors, not including spelling variations:
"Waiting for the the vision"
"staid" (should be "stayed")