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The Great Second Advent Movement: Its Rise and Progress

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    PART TWO

    I have marked the matters in which the direct charge of dishonesty, and designed deception was brought against me, as Part One. In this part I will call attention to some things introduced by my “enemies,” that go back to my early life and experience, with many of which I was both intimately and directly connected, or had an acquaintance. So I treat it as “some individual experience.”GSAM 516.1

    My Early Life

    I was born in Victor, Ontario County, N.Y., on Jan. 26, 1832. This village of 200 or more inhabitants was surrounded by a well settled farming community for miles. It was on the old mail-stage line from Albany to Buffalo. This village was where I attended Sunday school and public service until the spring of 1848, when the city of Rochester, N.Y., became my headquarters. Both my father and grandfather were local ministers in the Methodist church, but supported themselves. They did the carpenter work in erecting in this village a large plain church building with neither steeple or cupola. It had a gallery on three sides, consisting of three rows of seats. It was built thus large to accommodate the quarterly meetings, when the presiding elder would be there, and the church at North Branch (over which my father presided, his having raised up that company), and the church at Pumpkin Hook, presided over by the settled pastor. On these quarterly occasions, all could thus meet in this large building.GSAM 516.2

    It was in this building, in the winter of 1843-1844 that the Advent message was proclaimed by Elders Barry and Adams. Here every night, for nearly two months, not only every seat and even the gallery stairs, but also every standing place in the house was occupied by those who listened with almost breathless attention to the truths spoken by these servants of the Lord, accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit. In that revival there were over five hundred converts. I speak of this as an illustration of how the message was then going everywhere as expressed in the prediction concerning it, “as when a lion roareth.” Revelation 10:3.GSAM 516.3

    A brother of mine seventeen years of age was already a member of the Methodist church in the place. He and an uncle also of mine, a member of the Presbyterian church, both embraced the Advent doctrine, and remained Adventists and under the third angel’s message also, until their deaths. They had Advent papers on the message so I could have access to them.GSAM 517.1

    Hearing My First Advent Discourse

    In these meetings held that winter, not only did the settled pastor sit in the pulpit by the side of the speaker, but followed their discourses by exhortation for sinners to seek the Lord. In the last week in December 1843, I heard my first discourse on Advent preaching. It was from Brother James Barry, on the topic, “The Hour of His Judgment is Come.” The mighty power of God set home the truth he proclaimed. It seemed as though we were standing before the judgment bar of God. Under the exhortation that followed from the pastor, I with many others pressed my way to the front to be prayed for. And there began my first effort to pray and seek God.GSAM 517.2

    But, strange to say now, no one made any effort to instruct me how to be a Christian. A few weeks after, I overheard this same pastor say to my grandfather that “children twelve and thirteen years of age were not old enough to understand about matters of the church.” It was not much encouragement to me to make any effort in that line. One member did say to me one day, “Johnie, you want to be a Christian boy, don’t you?” I replied, “Yes, Sir.” But he never gave me any light how to get to be good. Another said, “John, you must be a good boy. You ought to pray every night before you go to bed. If you are not a good boy, God will send you to hell, and burn you there to all eternity.” He meant well, but to me mentally, it was like a shock of ice water, and my inward thought was, “There, God hates me. How can I make myself good, so that I can keep out of hell?” But it did not stop me from praying every night.GSAM 517.3

    One thing that gave mighty force to the reasoning of the Adventists was the loss of independence by the Turkish power in August 1840, which was a striking proof that a day when used in symbolic prophecy signified a year of human reckoning, because the time presented in the sixth trumpet of Revelation had been thus accurately fulfilled. As this was thus presented as proof in the reckoning of the 2300 days, they must terminate in our year, 1844, at the close of the Jewish year 1843. Professor Bush of New England, one of the noted men of that time, said, “It is a well established fact with theologians that a day in symbolic prophecy means a year of our reckoning.” He thought the event to take place at the end of the 2300 days would be the conversion of the world, and the bringing in of the millennium.GSAM 518.1

    The message, as it went in churches from 1843-1844, was mostly among the Methodist and Baptists. It called multitudes from the world, and from infidelity. I heard Elder E. R. Pinney, in a lecture on the seven trumpets state that Elder Josiah Litch told him that not long after August, 1840, he had received letters from more than 1,000 infidels, who adopted the Bible on the fulfillment of that prophecy. Brother Pinney also said, “In the large cities in the United States large infidel clubs were so decimated by the loss of members, that they could not rally enough to hold a meeting.”GSAM 518.2

    There was also at that time bitter opposition from some parties. Not much favor was shown to the message from the Presbyterians of the “old school.” In my native town, the Presbyterian minister had no help to give the great revival in the Methodist meeting house, even though it exceeded anything of the kind ever known in that part of the country. The son of a Presbyterian deacon threatened my life in the winter of 1843 as I was circulating Advent papers, doing missionary work.GSAM 518.3

    The First Disappointment

    Thus the message went on until the spring of 1844. As the Adventists claimed that the decree that marked the beginning of the 2300 days went forth in 457 B.C. at the commencement of the year, so the end of the 2300 years would be the spring of 1844, our reckoning. When they came to that date, the Lord did not come. There was a disappointment. This I know was trial to the believers, especially as many who had favored the doctrine in 1843 now turned to bitterly fight against it.GSAM 519.1

    Although only a boy in my thirteenth year, I was there and well remember how I was puzzled when a few weeks after April 1844, I heard the minister under whose exhortation I went forward for prayers, say to his congregation, “I have a confession to make.” I know he had one anxious hearer to know what was coming next. Then he uttered these words, “I wish to confess to this church that I am sorry that I ever invited the Adventists to preach in this house.” I thought fast, “Sorry the saloon is closed up? Sorry those boasting infidels are converted? Sorry ‘Ki Lippit,’ as he was called, who would get half drunk at the saloon, and then go riding through the streets on his pony, uttering words too low to be uttered in a bar-room, sorry that Ki Lippit can now tell the people of what the grace of God can do for vile sinners?” I can tell you there was one boy at least that was puzzled to know what all this meant, and wondering what would come next. Well, we did not have to wonder on that long before he told us it was “all a mistake to suppose that Christ was coming soon, the Jews had to return to Jerusalem before the Lord could come.”GSAM 519.2

    In about two weeks more we had another installment which ran like this. “Our best theologians are about coming to the conclusion that the thousand years of Revelation is prophetic and that that thousand years is really 366,000 years.” The Adventists who from the heart had embraced the doctrine said, “They are doing just what the Bible said they would do, saying, ‘My Lord delayeth His coming.’ “GSAM 520.1

    The “Tarrying Time”

    That was not the day of telephones, but we soon learned what had been going on in Rochester, N.Y., where Brother Miller was encouraging the brethren to hold fast, that we were in the “tarrying time,” and the Lord would make all plain to them. While he was doing this in a hall in the city, in one of the largest meeting houses in the city, a scene of a different character was being transacted. A minister called his flock together and had a festival in the church building, ridiculing Brother Miller and his “dupes,” as he called them, while he and his company were feasting on oysters, ice cream, and sweet cake. I never can forget the look on my grandfather’s face as he heard of this feasting in the churches. He said, “What is the church coming to?”GSAM 520.2

    In May, 1844, the Advent papers, Signs of the Times, Voice of Truth, and the Midnight Cry, began to teach that we were “now in the tarrying time of the message, as set forth in the parable of the ten virgins, in Matthew chapter twenty-five.” They saw it was to tarry till midnight, but just how long that was, they did not discover. So on the matter of the time, they were like one in slumber. They had believed ever since 1842, when Brother Charles Fitch came to Brother Miller and Himes at Exeter, N.H., with his paintings for a prophetic chart, that in going forth with those symbols, they had been fulfilling the command, “write the vision and make it plain on tables.” etc. As in Habakkuk 2:2, 3, they now said, “It is indicated right in that prophecy that there would be a tarrying time, yet no failure in the prediction at last.”GSAM 520.3

    Church Trials Based on Church Creed

    Just then a new feature began to be developed between the Adventists and the churches which had in 1843 favored the movement. They now called the Adventists to church trial for even daring to sing an Advent melody in their meetings, or to say in their testimony, that they still believed, “The Lord was soon to come.” They called them to trial by their church creeds. The faithful ones said to them, “In this course you are following the way of the mother church. You are opposing with your creeds what we prove from the Bible. Doing so you will become a part of the Babylon represented in Revelation Chapter 14. We have been giving the first angel’s message, but here is a second message, ‘Babylon is fallen, come out of her my people.’ “GSAM 521.1

    In my native town I was permitted to see this thing carried out, though not in person, because I was never a member of any of those churches, not being baptized until the spring of 1848. But I had the chance to know how they were treating members who would venture still to teach in any way that the Lord’s coming was near. On one day a church trial was appointed to church members. My brother, seventeen years of age, was one of those brought to trial. They demanded that they have a Bible trial, and so matters went on until noon, when the minister told them to, “meet again at one P.M. The Bible trial will be no longer, but a trial by the discipline will be conducted.” During the intermission twenty-one met together, my brother being one of them, appointed a leader to speak for them when that meeting should open, and say to the minister, “If you are going to try us by your creeds, you can take our names off your list, as we withdraw from your church,” and so withdrew. I was not in the meeting, but soon had information how my brother and others got out of the fellowship of that church.GSAM 521.2

    It was not simply in Victor that such proceedings were going on, but all over the land. In some of the churches the ministers who had from the heart accepted the doctrine, brought out with them almost the entire membership of their churches. Of course, with them no such proceedings were going on. Of such we gladly, mention of the Baptists, Elon Galusha of Lockport, N.Y., Charles Fitch of Cleveland, Ohio, E. R. Pinney, of Geneva, N.Y.GSAM 522.1

    Exeter Campmeeting

    So the battle went on until July 1844, when the greatest campmeeting that was ever held by Adventists, assembled at the same Exeter, N.H. It was reported that there were three thousand in that encampment. It was held in the woods, in the open, no cloth pavilion for the camp services, but plenty of seats. On Sunday forenoon Elder Joseph Bates was preaching, when a man came riding at full speed into the camp, placed his horse where they kept their stock, then came into the audience, and seated himself by the family of Elder John Couch, and with open Bible, in a whisper, explained to them the cause of their disappointment, and the midnight cry that was now due.GSAM 522.2

    Brother Bates was using as an illustration of their course in patient waiting, his experience on nearing home on a sea voyage, after a long absence. The power of God came upon Sister Couch, as she arose, and beckoned to Brother Bates. He said, “Sister, what is it?” She replied, “What you are saying is all very good, but here is a man who has light on the midnight cry.” “Well,” said Brother Bates, “then let him come up here on the platform, and give it to the people,” and he sat down.GSAM 522.3

    The minister who thus walked into the stand was S. S. Snow, who in a few sentences gave them the path of his midnight cry message. Elder James White was in that audience; I was not there, but got my light on the subject from those who were there.GSAM 522.4

    The Midnight Cry

    Brother Snow thus questioned them; “Where are we in our Advent experience?”GSAM 523.1

    Answer from the audience: “In the tarrying time.”GSAM 523.2

    Question: “How long was the vision to tarry?”GSAM 523.3

    Answer: “Until midnight”GSAM 523.4

    Question: “What is a day in prophecy?”GSAM 523.5

    Answer: “A year.”GSAM 523.6

    Question: “Then what would a night be?”GSAM 523.7

    Answer: “Six months.”GSAM 523.8

    Question: “Then what would Midnight be?”GSAM 523.9

    Answer: “Three months.”GSAM 523.10

    Question: “How long have we been in the tarrying time?”GSAM 523.11

    Answer: “Just three months.”GSAM 523.12

    He said, “Then it is just the midnight now, and I am here with the midnight cry.” In a few sentences he explained that it was the fall of 457 that the decree went forth, and so they were short six months in their reckoning, showing them that the 2300 days would terminate Oct. 22, 1844, instead of the spring as they had previously supposed. Then, in a strong voice he said, “Behold the Bridegroom cometh on the tenth day of the seventh month, Oct. 22, 1844. Go ye out to meet Him.”GSAM 523.13

    As he uttered those words the mighty power of God swept over that camp, prostrating many to the ground, suddenly turning that camp into a most powerful confessing and testimony meeting. That was only the beginning of the midnight cry message. Of that movement Brother Southard said, in the Midnight Cry, the paper of which he was the editor, “It swept over the land with the velocity of a tornado, and it reached hearts in different and distant places almost simultaneously, and in a manner which can be accounted for only on the supposition that God was in it.”GSAM 523.14

    Sister White says of those who accepted the midnight cry, “There went with it an impelling power that moved the soul. There was no doubt, no questioning.” The Spirit of Prophecy 4:250. To doubt it seemed to them was to doubt the mission of Christ, which was so definite a fulfillment of the seventieth week of the 2300 days. When the Adventists were thus aroused to earnest and constant labor, the wrath of their enemies increased in like proportion. But the Adventists seemed to be as sure that Christ would come at the end of the 2300 days as the apostles were that Christ would take the throne and expel the Roman power from Jerusalem. Had they not the mighty evidence that He was the true Messiah that was to “have the throne of David?”GSAM 524.1

    The Rage and Ridicule of the Opponents

    The nearer the Adventists came to the day of their expectation, Oct. 22, 1844, the greater the rage of the opponents. Let us quote a few words from Brother Southard, in his paper, the Midnight Cry. “When God’s children were met together to prostrate and humble themselves before the Lord and to prepare for His appearing, as became a company of sinner to do, who could only be saved by the grace of Christ, the wicked manifested the greatest malice. When we had given no notice of our meeting save in our own paper, nor had invited the public, the sons of Belial crowded into them, and caused much disturbance. On Saturday the 12th instant (Oct. 12) we held no meeting at the tabernacle, that the sexton might have opportunity to cleanse the house for Sabbath. But the mob broke into the house, and refused even that privilege. The mayor however, unsolicited, promptly interfered, and expelled them.GSAM 524.2

    “At our meeting on the Sabbath following, after the tabernacle was filled, a dense crowd occupied the street in front of the building, many of them being enraged that any should believe in the advent of the Lord. In the evening, on account of the excitement of the populace, no meeting was held; yet the street was filled with the mob at an early hour. But the prompt interference of the mayor and his efficient police force cleared the street, after sending a few of them to the watch house. We could only liken the conduct of the men to that which surrounded the door of Lot, on the evening pending the destruction of Sodom.”GSAM 524.3

    On the 22nd of October, as the believers at Paris, Maine, assembled in the house of Brother Stowell, engaged in solemn worship, two rowdies, clothed in long hemp sacks, climbed to the ridge of the house, sang Advent hymns in burlesque, at the same time shouting at the top of their voices, “He is coming; we are robed and ready,” etc. I was not there, but Brother Oswald Stowell, seventeen years of age was there, and told me about it. It is supposed that this was the origin of that slur so often thrown against the Adventists, for no other case of anything resembling it has ever been produced and substantiated.GSAM 525.1

    It was not simply the unconverted mob that thus treated the people who taught the message, but church members were loud in their denunciations of the work, which virtually sanctioned the doings of the mob. A bucket of tar, and a bag of feathers intended as a new coat to an Adventist minister, was prepared by a mob led by a minister of one of the churches in Oneida, N.Y., to be given to the minister who had an appointment to preach in the place. One of the members of that church who was a class leader had said, “If one of them should come into my house and say he believed the Lord was coming, I would turn him out of doors.” The Adventist minister was, in God’s providence, saved from this disgrace, and the other from leading in it, by the train’s being too late on arrival at Syracuse to connect with the train to Oneida.GSAM 525.2

    Perhaps as another, illustration of the course pursued against Adventists after 1844, I had better call attention to a scene that I witnessed. On one occasion the grown up son of the stationed minister in our town, came near to an open window where were assembled some of those who had been in the Movement, and commenced howling in a mournful voice, “O-O-Oh! O this awful hole! Oh I wish I had never been a Millerite! O-O-Oh! Help me out of this hole!” This is not guess work; I was there and heard it.GSAM 525.3

    Such was the bitter persecution on all sides, that Brother Geo. Storrs said near Oct. 22, 1844, “We have done with the nominal churches and all the world, except so far as this cry may affect them.” And after the end of October 1844, in the Advent Herald of Dec. 11, 1844 (which had been called the Signs of the Times in the 1844 Movement) Brother Miller said, “We have done our work in warning, and in trying to awaken nominal churches. God in His providence has shut the door.” The door to which he referred was the door of access to the churches, and not the door of the sanctuary, or the door of mercy, if you choose to use that term.GSAM 526.1

    Some more of my own experience at that time also will serve to illustrate what was happening. There was in the same Sunday school that I attended in 1844, a young man sixteen years of age, Brother Hart, spoken of by all who knew him as “a sturdy Christian.” Before the disappointment in April, in the winter school he was attending, he would take the boys at noon time out into the woods, talk with them about preparation for the Lord’s coming, and pray with them. He reported “what good times he had with them.” About the time of the April disappointment, this brother died. One day afterwards to one of the young men I knew as one of those who enjoyed those meetings with Brother Hart, I spake about the Lord’s coming. He turned on me in a rage of anger. I did not know but he would knock me down, as he said, “Don’t you ever mention that subject to me again.”GSAM 526.2

    After Oct. 22, 1844, it was not so very pleasant to me to hear from behind, after passing, “There, there he goes, a regular every day go upper.” To give you an idea of what was going on in those times, I will refer to what Brother Whipple, a brother-in-law of Geo. I. Butler told me of this experience on the morning of the day after October 22, 1844. They had prepared no food for time after Oct. 22. That morning they had nothing for breakfast. He had a little money left, so he went to the nearby village to secure food. As he neared the provision store, he saw a young man dodge out from behind a wall and look at him, and then dodge back again. This he did several times. Finally stepping out in front of Brother Whipple, he said, “Why Whipple, is that you? I thought you went up yesterday!”GSAM 526.3

    Understanding the Adventists’ Experience

    Now consider these people who seem to treat as a very trivial thing that the Adventists, until they got further light, might think their work for sinners was done. If they had been in Brother Whipple’s place, would they have said, “Young man, you get a bell, and go around the streets, and cry, ‘Come to the public square tonight, and hear Whipple talk on the conversion of all the world. He has a message now that is very clear?’ “GSAM 527.1

    In the winter of 1844-1845, the reckless course of the wicked was such that the editor of a paper of one of the churches of that time, The Circleville, Ohio, Religious Telescope, said, “When we note how few and far between genuine conversions are, and the unparalleled hardness and impertinence of sinners is, we almost involuntarily exclaim, ‘Has God forgotten to be gracious, or is the door of mercy closed?’ “GSAM 527.2

    Some persons seem to think they have found something wonderful against Sister White, in what I quoted from Brother White about her, on page 264 of The Great Second Advent Movement, that “she and all the band in Portland, Maine (where her parents then resided), had given up the ‘midnight cry’ as being in the past.”GSAM 527.3

    According to the testimony of the Apostle Paul to the Hebrews (Hebrews 10:22-29) the Advent experience is to be like that of the apostles in their experience. So we might look for some doubts about their experience, until matters should be made plain to them. It seems that Peter began to give up before even the climax of the trial had come off, and began to drift back to his fisher habits, when he “cursed and swore.” And even Nicodemus, and Joseph, though they showed their respect for Christ, did not manifest faith that He would rise from the dead, as He had preached, when they wrapped Him in the linen with embalming spices. And the women who had spices, were they going to prepare a sweet perfume with which to greet Him on the morning of the third day? And then remember the doubting of the different ones on that day of His resurrection, even until Christ met them in that upper room. And then Thomas, he was not going to be deceived with any of their ghost stories. He was going to have substantial proof, and not be fooled by a simple “mirage.” If Christ had not stopped for forty days to show them by “many infallible proofs” that it was really He, and that He was risen from the dead, there would not have been much advance of the gospel in that time. And even after all this was established, that they could not give up their long cherished idea that Christ was now to “restore the kingdom” out of the hands of the Romans, and establish it to Israel.GSAM 528.1

    Are We the Same?

    Some persons seem to talk as though it was almost unpardonable, that any Adventist, at the close of the 2300 days, with no idea but that the Lord would come at that time, should think, until they got further light, that they had made a mistake in giving the message they had given. You might think, from the way these moderns talk about that, if they had been there, they would not have had a single doubt on the subject.GSAM 528.2

    Probably they feel as positive as I, when I began to read the Bible and read the account of Eve eating the forbidden fruit, and I said, “If that had been me, and I knew the Lord had said I must not touch the fruit, I would have just let it alone.” Just then there came an article in the Sunday School Advocate about a little boy that had said the same thing, but his father, without letting the boy know what he was doing, thought to give him a lesson on human frailty. So he prepared on the table a nice feast of just such sweets, etc., that he knew the boy liked, but on the center of the table he placed a large bowl, bottom side up. He invited the boy to the repast and said, “All those things are for you, but mind, do not touch the bowl that is on the center of the table.” The boy said, “Oh yes, Father, I will do just as you said.”GSAM 529.1

    He enjoyed the repast, but curiosity got to working in his mind. “Why did father want me not to touch that bowl? I wonder what is under it? It surely will do no harm just to lift up the edge, and peep under, and see what is there.” So he proceeded to follow out his thought, and just lifted the bowl a little to see what was there. But oh! out jumped a little mouse, who made his way for the door, and out into the yard, where the little boy could not catch him to put him back under the bowl. And, oh dear! he was not so strong as he thought he was. After reading that, I thought to myself, “I guess I would have come out about as Eve did.”GSAM 529.2

    Work Yet to Do

    With the Adventists, as they began to get light on the real event to take place at the end of the 2300 days, they said, “Why, right here in the prophecy about eating the sweet book, and the bitterness that was to follow, it is surely hinted that we would think that our work was done, for we are told, ‘Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.’ And then to get started right on their track, they were pointed to the sanctuary as the source of light on the situation they were then in. Revelation 10:8-11; 11:1.GSAM 529.3

    Why were the apostles kept laboring among the Jews for three and one-half years before going out on the command, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”? Although in this time they were suffering persecution from the Jews, they persevered in their work of showing those Israelites that in Christ’s mission had been fulfilled all that their scriptures would justify them in expecting in the first advent of Christ. It was the Lord’s purpose that the Jews should have ample opportunity to understand, if they would.GSAM 530.1

    So in like manner we have the Adventists after the midnight cry. Because of the loving kindness of the Lord, He gave these devoted, consecrated ones, many of whom had sacrificed their all in that movement, an opportunity to learn that the past was all right, and that there was yet work to do in preparing a people for the actual close of earthly events, and the coming of Christ. Oh, the joy of those who obtained that light, explaining the disappointment, and setting them on the track of truth again.GSAM 530.2

    I call to mind an experience in Ohio, in one of my meetings there in the winter of 1853. The brethren heard of a man at Sandusky, Ohio, who had been in the former movement, still believing that the Lord’s coming was near, but not having heard an explanation of the disappointment. They got old brother Hawkins to the meeting and seated him comfortably in a rocking chair. I gave an explanation of the sanctuary, and the third angel’s message. When the matter thus opened up clearly before him, he could not keep still. The power of God came upon him, he shouted “Glory to God!” and we let him talk. He said, “Have any of you ever drifted in your boat on the lake, not knowing where you were going? That’s where I have been on this question, but thank God, I have found my moorings. It is all right and plain now, glory to God.” And his face shone with joy.GSAM 530.3

    You may ask, “What was ‘that peculiar providence’ Brother Miller spoke of after 1844?” It was this, that the people would not listen to any explanation of the past, nor let you say anything about it to them, if they could by any means avoid it. So, as it were, it forced the Adventist laborers to go to those who would hear of the matter. We get an idea of the situation in an article from Sister White, in the Review of Nov. 20, 1863, when reporting a camp meeting held in Montpelier, Vt., from the last of August to Sept. 4, 1853, as follows: “In 1850 my husband and myself visited Vermont, Canada, New Hampshire and Maine. The meetings were held in private houses. It was next to impossible to obtain access to unbelievers, the disappointment in 1844 had so confused the minds of many, and they would not listen to any explanation of the subject.” The query would arise with us, “How did she know they would not listen?” “Oh,” say these people that are “getting new light every day,” “She knew there was no more mercy for sinners, so they made no effort to reach anybody else. That was what she meant by next to impossible. Don’t you see it?”GSAM 530.4

    “But,” says one, “Your enemies say the reason the ministers went to labor so much for those who had been in the 1844 Movement was because they knew there was ‘no more mercy for sinners.’ Don’t you see that would confine their labors to saints? And another unanswerable proof is the fact that in the writings of those times they say so much about the ‘shut door,’ which always meant ‘no more mercy for sinners, and nothing else.’ “GSAM 531.1

    Joseph Turner and His Idea of “No Mercy”

    On page 220, 221 of my book The Great Second Advent Movement I quoted from J. V. Himes to show that Joseph Turner in Maine, in the winter of 1844-1845 discovered the new idea that there was “no more mercy for sinners.” He taught it first at Paris, Maine, and that whole company accepted his theory. I held meetings in Paris, Maine, during the two years of labor in New England, and I became acquainted with all that company except one Jesse Stevens, who was then dead. The names of that Paris company were Andrews, Stevens (another beside Jesse), Stowell, two families Davis, Washburn, Haseltine, Martin, Lindsay. What I said in my book about the origin and giving up of that doctrine by that company, and how they were brought out of it in 1845, is just as I received it from that company.GSAM 531.2

    After this company in Paris, Maine, heard of the visions of Sister Harmon (White) at Portland, even while holding to the “no more mercy” doctrine, they sent for her to visit them. She with her older sister Sarah (the mother of Frank Belden) went there in the spring of 1846. She stoutly exposed at that time the claim of Turner, and told him he was teaching a false doctrine, when he claimed there was “no more mercy for sinners.” According to the testimony of Elder J. N. Andrews, it was the testimony of Sister White at that time which brought them out of that false doctrine. I supposed, without a doubt, that he knew what he said of the matter, as he was one of those who had imbibed Turner’s doctrine.GSAM 532.1

    In my book I claimed that Sister White, after she began to have visions, taught that the door of the first apartment of the sanctuary was closed when Christ entered upon the cleansing of the sanctuary, at the end of the 2300 days; and thus she taught to the end of her labors. I received the faith of the “shut door,” when I heard Elder J. N. Andrews give a series of talks on the subject of the sanctuary, the last week in September, 1852, and I have believed it ever since.GSAM 532.2

    The rebuke of Turner at Paris, Maine, did not close his efforts to spread his heretical doctrine. After the experience with him at Paris, Sister Harmon (White) in company with Brother Jordan and his sister, went from Portland to Orrington, Garland, and Exeter, bearing her testimony to the little companies in those places. On this trip she met Turner again, and rebuked him for his heretical teaching. He told her he was going to Portland. She told him she had been shown that he was corrupt at heart, that he was not wanted in Portland, and that, if he went there, his character would be exposed.GSAM 532.3

    He went to Portland. This is what Sister White told me about it when I was preparing the book, The Rise and Progress. Before he had any opportunity to present his views in Portland, he met Sister White’s sister Sarah on the street, and said, “Will your parents be home tonight?” She replied, “No.” “Then,” said he, “I will come up and lodge with you tonight.” She lodged at one of the neighbors. He tried his game on another sister. She reported him to the police court, and the testimony was fulfilled in reference to his character. Whether he still believed there was “no more mercy for sinners,” I do not know, as his ministerial ship “went out of commission” about that time.GSAM 533.1

    The Error of Giving Up the “Shut Door”

    As some of our opponents, who were not around in those times of 1844 and after, seem to know so much more about matters than those who lived there and had part in the work, it may be well to call attention to the experience of Sister White and others in that time. We will quote the words of Brother White in reference to her work, as written by him in 1847. “The author does not obtain her sentiments of her visions from previous teaching or study. When she received her first vision, December 1844, she and all the band in Portland (where her parents then resided) had given up the midnight cry and the shut door as being in the past. It was then that the Lord showed her in vision the error into which she and the band in Portland had fallen. She then related her vision to them, and they acknowledged their Seventh Month’s experience to be of God.”GSAM 533.2

    Now let us see what our enemies say who are preparing my confession. “It is plain from the above that the Lord had shown her that what they had abandoned as error was the truth.” And then they say, “It commits the teaching of the visions to the “shut door.”GSAM 533.3

    They are so sure that the words “shut door” when used by a Seventh-day Adventist always means “no more mercy for sinners,” that it certainly meant only that in this case. Well now, is that not a wonderful discovery, that the three month’s experience in the midnight cry, from July to October 22, 1844, was that there was “no more mercy for sinners.” And yet she herself says in The Spirit of Prophecy 4:429, that it was “the greatest religious interest since the reformation of the sixteenth century.”GSAM 534.1

    What they had believed and taught in the midnight cry was that when the 2300 days should end, and the Lord come, the door mentioned in Luke 13:25 would be closed. As to what she and the band in Portland did after this vision, Brother White clearly states, “They acknowledged their Seventh Month’s experience to be the work of God.” Now the opponents are sure the Seventh Month’s experience only relates to the 22nd of October (at midnight perhaps), when in fact, it was the teaching of October 22, instead of the reckoning they had formerly had for April 1844. That was the definite point of the whole movement of the midnight cry, and as we have shown already, it was the very point on which the movement started in Exeter, N.H. in July 1844. Please remember all the time that Elder Himes, one of the most powerful workers in the Advent movement, said that this “no mercy for sinners” doctrine started in the winter of 1844-45, by Joseph Turner. They came back to their former faith, that when Christ should actually come, as they had expected would be October 22, he would shut the door, as specified in Luke.GSAM 534.2

    The “Shut Door” in Luke

    Let us have an explanation of this matter from Sister White herself. ” ‘They that were ready went in with Him to the marriage, and the door was shut.’ They were not to be present in person at the marriage, for it takes place in heaven, while they are upon the earth. The followers of Christ are to ‘wait for their Lord, when He will return from the wedding.’ Luke 12:36. But they are to understand His work, and to follow Him by faith as He goes in before God. It is in this sense that they are said to go in to the marriage.”GSAM 534.3

    Of the course of the Lord’s people, she says, “These saw the truth concerning the sanctuary in heaven and the Saviour’s change of ministration, and by faith they followed Him in His work in the sanctuary above. And all who through the testimony of the scriptures accept the same truth, following Christ by faith as He enters in before God to perform the last work of mediation, and at its close to receive His kingdom, all these are represented as going to the marriage.GSAM 535.1

    “When the work of mediation shall be ended, when the cases of those who in all ages have professed to be followers of Christ have been examined and decided, then, and not till then, probation will close, and the door of mercy will be shut. Thus in one short sentence, ‘They that were ready went in with Him to the marriage, and the door was shut,’ we are carried down through the Saviour’s final ministration, to the time when the great work for man’s salvation is accomplished.” The Great Controversy, 427, 428.GSAM 535.2

    From the earnestness with which our “enemies” try to connect the visions of Sister White with the “no more mercy for sinners” doctrine, you would think that they looked upon Sister White as having been a great preacher before Oct. 22, 1844, before she ever had a vision, whereas (as her mother told me) as the result of the accident received in her ninth year, that the best physician in Portland told her, “You need not be surprised to find Ellen dead in bed any morning from her heart trouble; and with her lung difficulty, she cannot live over three months.” She could not lie down on the bed, as she was liable to smother to death. They would brace her up with pillows, in a half reclining position on the bed, or in a chair, thus securing her sleep. To relieve the mother, who had quite a family to care for, the sisters would wheel Ellen to their house for a day or two to relieve the mother. It was thus that she was at the home of Sister Haines, when she had her first vision.GSAM 535.3

    In 1858, in company with Brother and Sister White, I visited Portland, Maine. I met this Sister Haines, and all the Portland band, and learned from them all about their experience, and how that none of them ever held the idea that there was “no more mercy for sinners.” What is plain in my book is what I learned from those who had the experience of those trying times—that when Sister Harmon related to them what had been shown to her, they returned to their former faith in the midnight cry, that it would lead up to the coming of Christ as they had then supposed. They again believed that the midnight cry message was of God, that it had gone in just the way He wanted it to go, and that His purpose was accomplished by it. They were led not to think any longer that their work was all a failure, but that all would be made plain in due time. And because I was credulous enough to believe what these sturdy New Englanders told me was truth, I said what I did about these things in my book.GSAM 536.1

    Bitter Controversy Over The “Shut Door”

    In the writings of our opponents we read that there was a very bitter controversy between the Seventh-day Adventists, led by Elder James White and wife and Elder Bates, and the First-day Adventists, over the “shut door,” the former accusing the latter of departing from the faith because they taught an “open door for sinners.” Yes! and the first time I ever heard of the Seventh-day Adventists, they were spoken of as “The Shut Door Folks.” I wondered what that meant, but I did not get any explanation at that time. When I did, I found out it was not that there was “no more mercy for sinners,” but that at the end of the 2300 days, Oct. 22, 1844, the ministration of Christ was changed from the first apartment of the sanctuary to the second apartment. What about the position of some of the people, who hold that since Christ’s blood was shed, and He went to heaven as our High Priest, He has never officiated in the first apartment of the sanctuary? If they expressed it as our Seventh-day brethren did, it would be, “that door has been shut nearly 1900 years.” But you see it would not do for them to say “shut door,” for with them that always means “no more mercy for sinners.”GSAM 536.2

    Having been on both sides of this question in “controversy,” I think I am a little better prepared to know about it, than the men in the story in our old school book were able to know whether a shield was red or white. To settle that dispute, they had to get a man who had seen both sides of the shield, when lo! it had a red side, and a white side. On neither side of our dispute did we claim that there was “no more mercy for sinners.” The “controversy” was whether Christ changed His position from the first to the second apartment of the sanctuary, at the close of the 2300 days in 1844, the “shut door” being used to designate the place of His service in the first apartment.GSAM 537.1

    “Time For Their Salvation is Passed”

    But my “enemies” will say, “Did not Mrs. White say when reporting her vision of March 24, 1849, that ‘the time for the salvation of sinners was past?’ ” It may be well to note the connection in which the supposed statement is found, and what sinners she is talking about. We surely do not want to be like a man in my native town, in my youthful days, when there was a great “controversy” between the Methodists and the Universalists. This man said, “I can read universalism right out of the Bible, in the words of Christ, ‘He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be!’ “ He left out one word which spoiled the rest for universalism. So in this case we had better have the whole statement, as made by Sister White. Here it is, the whole paragraph, as it is on page 37 of Experience and Views: “I saw that the mysterious signs, and wonders, and false reformations would increase and spread. The reformations that were shown me, were not reformations from error to truth. My accompanying Angel bade me look for the travail of soul for sinners as used to be. I looked, but could not find it; for the time for their salvation is passed.”GSAM 537.2

    Gaining Converts by Mesmerism

    If we go back to page 36, we can see who she is viewing. “I saw that Satan was working through agents in a number of ways. He was at work through ministers who had rejected the truth, and are given over to strong delusions to believe a lie that they might be damned. While they were preaching or praying some would fall prostrate and helpless, not by the power of the Holy Ghost, but by the power of Satan breathed upon these agents, and through them to the people. While preaching or conversing, some professed Adventists who had rejected present truth used mesmerism to gain converts, for they thought it was the Holy Ghost. Some even that used it were so far in the darkness and deception of the devil, that they thought it was the power of God given to them to exercise. They had made God altogether such an one as themselves, and had valued His power as a thing of naught.”GSAM 538.1

    Now let us see what was going on in the principal cities of the United States at that time. One J. Bovee Dods was lecturing on psychology (mesmerism) showing what could be accomplished by one person getting complete mesmeric control of the mind of the other. It was profoundly astonishing to see him have a person perform who had positively declared he never could get control over them. He actually held private classes for ministers, telling them how they could obtain converts, by getting control of person’s minds through mesmerism.GSAM 538.2

    Now, before my “enemies” claim that they have got some more proof of “Loughborough’s deceptions,” I had better tell how I got my information. I got it from an Adventist minister who had rejected the Sabbath truth, and who attended these private lectures. He told me he thought it was a nice thing, that it was light from the Lord as to a way He was now imparting the Holy Ghost. I saw this minister get his congregation into a frenzy of excitement by carrying out the instruction he had received. But for his honor I will say that afterward he told me that there were things that happened in his demonstrations which satisfied him that “it was all a trick of the devil,” and he would “have no more to do with that kind of thing.” He did not, however, give up his opposition to the Sabbath truth.GSAM 539.1

    False Reformations

    In the manner in which our “enemies” have all the way along, and even now, used the expression, “the time for their salvation is passed,” a stranger might conclude it was our “enemies” that had the vision, and that it was their special duty to explain to Sister White who she was viewing in the vision. For my part, I prefer to take her own explanation of their objection, as presented on page 2 of Supplement To Experience and Views, as follows: “The false reformations referred to on page 37, are to be more fully seen. This view relates in particular to those who have heard and rejected the light of the Advent doctrine. They are given over to strong delusions. Such will not have the travail of soul for sinners as formerly. Having rejected the Advent, and being given over to the delusions of Satan, ‘the time of their salvation is past.’ This does not, however, relate to those who have not heard and rejected the doctrine of the second Advent.”GSAM 539.2

    It was right at this time that the attention of the Seventh-day Adventists was called to Hosea 5:6, 7. “They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the Lord; but they shall not find Him: He hath withdrawn Himself from them. They have dealt treacherously against the Lord, for they have begotten strange children: now shall a month devour them with their portion.” They thought that might be a parable of what was then taking place. Now what have we seen occurring since that time in performances to get converts? Getting the people into laughter, or by touching stories causing the whole of them to weep. Then under the excitement calling them forward, huddling them together closely, stationing about four persons at the four corners of the group, each earnestly placing their will upon them (according to Dods’ instructions), raising their hands high, making passes downward (to bring the “Holy Ghost” down), etc. This is not guess work, but what I have seen in a popular revival. We will see more about this further on, when we note a church revival in Oswego, N.Y., concerning which Sister White had a vision in which she was referred to Hosea 5:6, 7.GSAM 539.3

    Brother Bates: “No Mercy”?

    Perhaps I had better call attention now to an attack my “enemies” make on Brother Bates. They say his words prove that he thought there was no more mercy for any that were not in the movement in 1844 and that he taught “no more mercy for sinners” this side of that point. So they quote, “All that are saved now, must keep the commandments of God, in accordance with the third angel’s message. Revelation 14:12.” And still further on they quote, “The names of all who keep His commandments are retained. Those who do not, will have their names erased before Jesus leaves the Holiest.” And then from the midst of the paragraph they quote the words that certain names were “borne in on His breastplate.” We would suppose that to be the counterpart of the priest in the type, bearing the names of Israel on the breastplate, as he went in to serve. He did not have the name of every individual, but a representation of those for whom he would serve as they sought to be in harmony with the Lord. And according to the words of Brother Bates, their destiny was not sealed by something done before their attention was called to their duty.GSAM 540.1

    I heard Brother Bates speak many times on the Sabbath question. He would start in with “keep My Sabbaths, and reverence My sanctuary: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 26:2. And then he would ask us, by faith to look into the ark of the testimony in heaven, to the fourth commandment, right under the mercy seat. We did not get the impression that it was no sin to be repented of to go contrary to just what that law said. We surely did not hear in those sermons of his that there was “no more mercy for sinners” since October 1844.GSAM 541.1

    Bates Worked to Convert Sinners to Obedience

    Now how is it that Brother Bates worked for those who accepted the truth through his labors, “right out of the world?” I was personally acquainted with persons who in those times accepted this message, and were brought into the truth “right out of the world,” some of whom who had never heard an Advent sermon until they heard it from him. In my book, The Great Second Advent Movement, page 225, I speak of one who had just been converted from the world. My opponents inquire, “What is your authority for saying that Heman Churchill was converted from the world?” And to prove their claim that it could not have been so, they refer to a meeting held in Bennington, Vt. “The two Martins and their companions, with two others, professed their conviction of the Seventh-day Sabbath, and the ‘shut door.’ ” Of course if they believed what was taught to them about the change of Christ’s ministry in the sanctuary at the close of the 2300 days, they would believe the door of the first apartment of the sanctuary in heaven was closed, but that did not mean “no more mercy for sinners.”GSAM 541.2

    Do our opponents mean by objecting to what Brother Bates said about “keeping the commandments,” that they do not think it necessary now in order to be saved that they should keep the Sabbath as set forth in the third angel’s message? Is not the faith of all Bible Christians expressed in these verses: “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” Proverbs 28:9. “Whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things which are pleasing in His sight.” 1 John 3:22. And is it a proof that Brother Bates did not believe in any “more mercy for sinners,” because he thought it necessary that people should keep the Sabbath?GSAM 542.1

    It really seems to me that our “enemies,” in trying to get Brother Bates into a dilemma in teaching the Sabbath truth, have got into a peculiar fix themselves. How did Brother Bates teach? Did he after repeating the solemn warning, and the fearful threatening upon the disobedient, and the fact that where the message went, of the obedient it was said, “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus,” then tell His hearers, “We know the commandments of God are His law, and that ‘by the law is the knowledge of sin.’ And that ‘sin is the transgression of the law.’ But as now there is ‘no more mercy for sinners,’ since Christ changed His position to the second apartment of the sanctuary in heaven, it will not do to say that you are sinners. If you deem it just as well to keep the Sabbath, perhaps you had better do it; but then you know the Lord is very merciful. He knows you have wanted to do right, so He passes by sins of ignorance.” True, our opponents do not say that Brother Bates did preach in that manner, but if their claim is true in reference to what he did believe, how could he consistently preach otherwise?GSAM 542.2

    Conversion of Churchill and Others

    I do not see that what is said about people in Bennington accepting the message has anything to do with those living in Waitsfield. As for the Heman Churchill, I fail to find any such name in my book. I was personally acquainted with Heman Churchill. I first met him in 1858, when I with Brother and Sister White visited Vermont. Then I had more contact with him for two years while I was laboring in New England from 1863 to 1865. I suppose when he related his experience he knew whether he was converted from the world or not. I do not know as it is necessary that I should claim that he lied about it, in order to save myself from the purgatory my “enemies” threaten me with. If another man has lied, that should be his confession, not mine. As for myself, like Paul, I am striving to “exercise myself to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and men.” Acts 24:16.GSAM 542.3

    This man that styles himself my “brother,” tries to make quite a point over meetings held by Brother and Sister White, and Brother Bates at Rocky Hill, Conn., to show that in those meetings they did not believe it possible for a sinner right out of the world to be converted. Now it so happens that when laboring in Connecticut from 1863 to 1865, I became acquainted with all those people, and in fact, I organized those little companies in Connecticut into churches. Why do my opponents dodge what is in my book on page 224 about that meeting at Brother Belden’s house, commencing April 20, 1848, when John Y. Wilcox was “converted from the world” and baptized by Brother White? I was well acquainted with John Y. Wilcox, and I had no reason to doubt his word, when he told me he was converted right from the world, and that if it had not been for the encouragement of Brother White he would never had hope in God. That is the reason I sent to him for the testimonial he furnished for the book. But now I suppose this is set down as another of my “deceptions” because it happens to tip the “no more mercy for sinners” dish over.GSAM 543.1

    More Mix-Up on Names

    Then again, here is another peculiar thing. These persons who are so anxious to give me information about persons I knew years ago, if they were better acquainted with them than I, why do they get so mixed up on their names? Here it is, “Marshall M. Truesdell, in 1851 asked Brother White, ‘Does the shut door exclude all conversions now?’ ” Now I was well acquainted with Marian Stowell from the year 1854. She was the one who, at the age of 15 years in 1845, was present at Paris, Maine, when Sister Harmon (White) told Joseph Turner he was teaching falsehood when he taught that there was “no more mercy for sinners.” I think it was about 1855 or 1856 that she married the man here called Truesdell. I was not aware that they changed their name from Truesdell to Truesdail after marriage. This is the Marian Truesdail that volunteered the testimonials in my book. I presume the man Truesdail may have met some of the Turner faction, perhaps that man Sweet who came from Maine to Rochester, N.Y., and was for casting me off in Canandaigua in 1848. Brother Truesdail may have been puzzled a little by Turner’s ideas before he was fully settled in the message. He surely must have got straight on the Turner matter when married to Sister Stowell.GSAM 544.1

    Mercy for Sinners (1849-50) in New York and False Revivals

    But I will now notice some incidents connected with the labors of Brother and Sister White, in the state of New York, in the winter if 1849-1850. They lived in hired rooms in Oswego. The services on Sabbath and other times were held in those rooms. As the truth was taught in those meetings, a young man by the name of Hiram Patch, who was engaged to be married to a Miss Benson, neither of whom were professors of religion, being desirous to study prophecy, were invited to attend the lectures which were given by Brother White. They were deeply convicted to obey the truth, and be Christians. Just at that time a revival service was started in one of the churches in the city, not by the minister, but by a member of the church who claimed to have a great burden for sinners. He was the treasurer of the county funds. As to how his meetings went to their close, when it was discovered that he had stolen $1,000 of the county funds, and how this was brought to light, you can read in The Great Second Advent Movement pages 230 to 232. Hiram Patch and his intended took their stand for the truth, and kept the Sabbath to the end of their lives. How is this if Brother and Sister White never labored in those times for sinners?GSAM 544.2

    This is not a matter of guess work with me. I was well acquainted with Brother and Sister Patch for years, both when they lived in Hackford, Wis., and in Rochester, Minn. Their own claim was that they were converted “right out of the world,” under the labors of Brother and Sister White. I never saw any reason to doubt their word. A few months ago I met a young man in Southern California by the name of Patch. He had heard my talks concerning Hiram Patch, and said, “Hiram Patch was my father.” He was preparing for labor in the cause and he never demurred a particle from what I had said about his father’s conversion, for he knew it was the truth even as he had heard it from his father. How is this if they labored only for saints in 1849-1850? Was it not strange that a thief should have such a “burden of soul for sinners?”GSAM 545.1

    But their winter’s work did not relate simply to this case. Sister White was shown in vision the case of a woman in Camden, east of Oswego, who was carrying on a false work among our people, and that she must go there and meet that fanaticism. She went and found a woman who had a great burden for sinners and saints, for she taught that there was a high state she had got into, and which was for them, way above the commandments, where they could get all their light directly from the Lord. Sister White had a vision there right in the woman’s presence, and told her she was a corrupt woman, notwithstanding all her pretentions to holiness. It placed Sister White in an embarrassing position, for the woman had gained quite an influence over our people there. But while Sister White was still in Camden the woman was taken with cholera morbus, and feared she was going to die. She insisted that she must see Sister White. She confessed to Sister White that she was a corrupt woman, that she left a husband and child in England, and ran away with the man she was living with, and that they were never married. She confessed other things also, even that she had sworn to lies in court. Of this you can read also in my book, pages 232, 233. And it was on such cases that Sister White bore her testimony about the “burden of souls for sinners.” Brother Preston of Camden told me that they “never had a thought that Sister White’s testimony about ‘a burden of soul for sinners’ meant that there was ‘no more mercy for sinners,’ but that it applied to just such false reformers, as the man in Oswego, and this woman.”GSAM 545.2

    But remember that Sister White said back there that “false revivals would become more and more common.” What about revivals in these latter years, where the converts are counted when they raise their hand, or sign a card? The revivalist takes a collection each evening, simply for the expense of the meetings but does not forget to tell them that “the last night, or at the close of the meetings, the collection would be for him personally. In one instance, at his last meeting a collection was received of only $70,000. When his wife was pertinently asked, “What will he do with it?” she said, “Perhaps he will build a tabernacle.” Then after a few week’s rest, he conducted another effort in another city, and the last night’s collection for this self-sacrificing labor was only $100,000, as lauded through the public press, and many thousands of converts were made. But alas! The settled pastor perhaps says, “The substantiality of our church is in a worse condition than it was before the revivalist came.” If this is the “travail of soul for sinners as used to be” we may say, as one said on another subject, “O! shade of Roger Williams, where are we drifting?”GSAM 546.1

    Giving of Message Not Confined to Adventists

    If there were features in the Advent movement like that of the apostles, we might expect an effort to keep people away from their teaching. Of the apostles it is said, “They called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.” They made answer, “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:18, 20. If, as claimed by our opponents, the Adventists confined their labors to Adventists, how did Sister White find in 1850, as we have seen, that, “It was next to impossible to get access to the people?” Brother Elon Everts, who was through all of the early experience of the Adventists, used to say of the situation of the popular churches of that time, “They had their door shut against us, and had their thumbs on the latch,” meaning that they did all in their power to keep people from going to hear.GSAM 547.1

    Let us see if the charge will stand, that Elder Bates preached only to those who had been in the former movement. We will call attention to his labors in Jackson, Michigan, in 1851, when he made his visit to that state. After about one week’s labor with the Adventists in Jackson, all that company save one embraced the Sabbath truth and the third angel’s message. Before he left Jackson, M. E. Cornell, being then a First-day Adventist preacher, who had with his wife about three years before been converted, “right out of the world,” called at Brother Palmer’s and was introduced to Brother Bates, who gave them thorough instructions on the third angel’s message. They accepted the truth, and were Seventh-day Adventists until their death. How is this if Cornell had been of the world the most of his life? How could Brother Bates venture to work for him, if he thought there was “no mercy for those who had been sinners since 1844?” Perhaps our enemies will say, “But you see, Cornell was part way out of the world when Brother Bates met him.” Yes! I see.GSAM 547.2

    Bates’ First Visit to Battle Creek

    But let us see where Brother Bates went next. After the Jackson experience, he sought the Lord as to where he should go. In the night season he had a dream, and his ship was sailing southwest. In the morning he told Brother Palmer, “My ship was sailing southwest, are there any Adventists in that direction?” “Yes,” said Brother Palmer, “there is a family of Adventists at Kingsbury, Indiana, near the Michigan line.” “Well,” said Brother Bates, “then I will go there, but in my dream my ship made a halt at a place called Battle Creek. Is there a place by that name on the way?” “Yes,” said Brother Palmer, “it is right on your way, and is about forty miles from here.” Then Brother Bates inquired, “Are there any Adventists in Battle Creek? I must stop at Battle Creek.” “No,” said Brother Palmer, “not one.”GSAM 548.1

    The next morning Brother Bates bought his ticket for Battle Creek, not knowing what he should do there. But on the train he earnestly sought the Lord as to his duty. He said it came to him as plainly as though spoken, “When you get to Battle Creek, go to the post office, and call for the most honest man in the town.” So early in the morning on his arrival, he went directly to the post office, and inquired for the most honest man in the town. The post master at once replied, “I can readily answer that question. The man who has that reputation is David Hewitt, who lives on West Van Buren St., in the west part of the town. He has the reputation of being the most honest man in all this section. His house is on the north side of Van Buren St., the only house in the block, first block west of Washington Street, and there is a log house directly opposite his. He is a deacon in the Presbyterian church.”GSAM 548.2

    With this information Brother Bates soon found the place. They responded to his rap, and he said, “Mr. Hewitt, I am recommended to you as the most honest man in the town. If you are, I have some truth to give you.” They were about to sit down to breakfast, and invited him to take breakfast with them. This he did. After breakfast they had worship, and he talked to them until noon. They had never heard an Adventist discourse, and were greatly interested in prophecy. They had dinner. Then he resumed his talk, from one to five. At this time they accepted what he had said to them, became Seventh-day Adventists, and so remained as long as they lived. They were the first Seventh-day Adventists in Battle Creek; and their front room, where they accepted the truth from Brother Bates, was the meeting place of the Seventh-day Adventists in Battle Creek, until the press was moved there from Rochester in 1855, when it became necessary to construct the 18x24 meeting house. And it was in that front room of Brother Hewitt’s house that Brother and Sister White and I had the first meeting that the Whites ever held in Battle Creek. That was in June, 1853.GSAM 549.1

    Loughborough’s Trip to Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana

    As an illustration of eastern prejudice against the Seventh-day Adventists in those early times, I will refer to some experience of Elder Cornell and myself in the year 1853. At the meeting held by Brother and Sister White in Jackson, it was decided that Brother Cornell and myself should travel for three months with horse and carriage in Illinois, Wisconsin, and northern Indiana, visiting Seventh-day Adventists. The meetings were appointed in the Review as, “Visits to the Scattered Flock.” We were with Brother and Sister White in their meetings in Battle Creek, Bedford, Hastings and Vergennes. The last place was where the holiness woman lived of whom Sister White had told what the woman would say when she should reprove her (“The-Lord-knows-my-heart”) which we saw her do. Of this experience you can read on page 322 of my book. At Vergennes we parted with Brother and Sister White, they returning to Rochester. We went on to Grand Rapids, holding meetings there. Then with our horse and carriage we went down to the mouth of Grand River, and crossed the lake with our horse and carriage to Chicago.GSAM 549.2

    From Chicago our first appointment was at Alden, McHenry County, Illinois. There we found two families of Sabbath keepers in a well settled community of people, mostly from the East, where the Advent Doctrine had gone strongly in the 1844 movement. The community did not have any relish at our visit for Advent doctrine. Brother Chapman was anxious that his neighbors should have an opportunity to learn of his faith, so he got out appointments for two meetings on Sabbath, and two on Sunday. One woman of his neighbors came in to one meeting.GSAM 550.1

    From there we went on to the city of Madison, Wisconsin. There the company met in the home of Brother Turner. Not a soul of the eastern people would venture into an Adventist meeting, but we had an encouraging time with the believers. From there we went on to a point near Ft. Atkinson, where there were settlers from other parts than New England. We had a fair hearing there, so much so that the brethren decided to have a grove meeting on our return trip. Then we went on north to Packwaukie and Metomen. In the latter place several accepted the truth. That community was not of the prejudiced kind. Then we went back to the point near Ft. Atkinson. We had a grand rally of people, and a number embraced the truth, among them a convert from spiritualist mediumship. And even Brother Cornell who had embraced the truth from Brother Bates, did not hesitate to engage in earnest prayer for this person, not only “right out of the world,” but we might say, “right from the devil.”GSAM 550.2

    When we got back to Alden, Brother Chapman had placed seats in the grove near to his house, determined that his neighbors should have a chance to hear, but Lo! they had no use for even a grove meeting. There was a Seventh-day Baptist church a few miles off, under the pastorate of Elder O. P. Hull. Of course his sympathies were somewhat with us because we kept the same day as the Sabbath. He dismissed his services, and came over with his flock for the two days. If it had not been for that, we would not have had, according to a saying of that time, “a corporal’s guard” in our audience. So you see how, in those times the work was so largely among those who had been in the former movement, and who were even anxious to hear an explanation of their disappointment.GSAM 551.1

    Conclusion on “No More Mercy” and “Shut Door”

    I conclude that those who talk so fluently about Joseph Bates, were no better acquainted with him than they were with Joseph Marsh. My labors in connection with Joseph Bates began in Ohio, in the winter of 1853-1854. He related his experiences in the Advent movement to us in the most precise manner, but he never even hinted to us that there ever was a time when he even thought there was “no more mercy for sinners.” Strange if that was the real burden of his work up to near that time, that he had gained the reputation of being “the man who would hang up his chart, and talk all day to saint or sinner who would listen to him.”GSAM 551.2

    Then again, for the two years that I labored in New England becoming personally acquainted with all the Sabbath keepers in the field, how is it that I never found, outside of Paris, Orrington, and Exeter, Maine (and the man Sweet that met me at Canandaigua, N.Y. in 1848), one single individual that admitted that they ever believed there was a time when there was “no more mercy for sinners.” It was when speaking simply of the change of ministry of Christ when He went from the first apartment of the sanctuary to the second apartment, at the close of the 2300 days, that they used the term “shut door.”GSAM 551.3

    The persistence of our “enemies” in claiming proof for “no more mercy for sinners” simply in the term “shut door,” reminds me of our children’s reading book, in the days when “ghost stories” were quite common. One little boy “knew there were ghosts, for he met some one night right on the road corner, and he just went for them with his fists.” The sequel was that he mistook the guide posts on the road for ghosts, and just fisted them. A poet put this in a form which reads,GSAM 552.1

    “Amid the mists, he thrusts his fists, against the posts, and still insists, he sees the ghosts.”GSAM 552.2

    (This was used after as a test on correct pronunciation in rapid reading.)GSAM 552.3

    What a relief it would be to mine “enemies” who are “every day” hunting for “light,” if they could find just one time when either Brother or Sister White, or Brother Bates, or any of these early workers had said, “There is no more mercy for sinners.” I fancy they would be willing to pay quite a sum for the quotation. It would save them a lot of this turning and twisting.GSAM 552.4

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