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    THE SERMON

    No man is in this life immortal; yet there are some men whose death is so far removed from all our calculations and expectations that we would fain persuade ourselves that we need make no provision in their cases for any such contingency, at least during the allotted period of three-score years and ten; that no such interruption is to occur in the charmed existence they seem to lead till in the natural course of years the period of their labor is over.IMJW 22.2

    Especially is this the case with those who have been engaged in life-long public enterprises, and who have become largely identified with the movement to which they are devoting all their energies. We look at the work and inseparably connect with it the workmen; and so long as the former continues, we look for the latter also.IMJW 22.3

    A movement of this nature has been for many years going forward in the land. To many of us it has been, during the greater part of the period which it covers, the one pursuit of life. The monuments of its success are all around us. With a steadily increasing ratio, it has gathered strength as the years rolled away. But yet before us, shrouded for the tomb, lies the man with whom it had its very beginning. Taking hold of this work while as yet it had neither form nor substance, under the leadings of what he regarded as the clearest indications of Divine Providence, he bore it in his arms heroically forward, making ways where none appeared, removing obstacles calculated to arrest its progress, defending it from enemies without and within, devising means for the development of strength, until it has reached its present growth, and stands to-day in its highest attainment of vitality. With every advance movement, with every new enterprise connected with this work, with all its out-reachings to occupy new territory, and with the employment of new agencies to accomplish desired ends, his name has been connected, and his efforts have been inseparably interwoven.IMJW 22.4

    Is it strange, then, that we should never have contemplated the coming of a day when others would be obliged to go forward with this work without his active co-operation? Is it any wonder that we should come to feel that in a cause which we have expected would be brief at the longest, he with whom it began, and who has so long continued with it, should continue to the end? It is true that, as the result of arduous labors in the past, disease of the gravest nature has at times pressed upon him; yet through the strength of a vigorous constitution and an indomitable will, he has rallied from it all, and might he not do so still? Though he was seriously indisposed during the first days of his last illness, as the disease manifested no symptoms to show it to be of a particularly critical character until within less than twenty-four hours of his death, the event came upon us all with the suddenness of a surprise.IMJW 23.1

    He leaves a companion and two sons with their wives, who have been co-workers with him in the same cause. He leaves a brother, the Rev. John White, for many years a presiding elder in the Methodist conference of Ohio, who is with us to-day. He leaves another brother, a Baptist minister in Massachusetts, besides sisters, one of whom is with us, and other more distant relatives. We come here, not simply to offer them our sympathy, but to mourn with them, and mingle our tears of sadness and sorrow with theirs.IMJW 24.1

    And now, since our brother has fallen, and his life-work has come to a close, we can pay no more suitable tribute to his memory than to review some of the leading events in his history, and his connection with the cause to which allusion has been made.IMJW 24.2

    Eld. James White was born in Palmyra, Maine, August 4, 1821. His death occurring August 6, 1881, his age, as measured by figures, would stand sixty years and two days. He was apparently much older than this, owing to the fact that it is not years alone, but labors, which impress themselves upon man’s physical frame. Nature refuses to be circumvented in this matter; and if a man crowds into fifty years the labors which would ordinarily occupy eighty years, upon his physical frame and his personal appearance, other things being equal, she will write, not the fifty, but the eighty.. But the prophet speaks of a glorious time in the future, when “there shall be no more thence an old man who hath not filled his days;” none prematurely old from letting an absorbing interest in their life-work, and an earnest will, impatient for results, urge them on to labors which the physical frame cannot endure.IMJW 24.3

    The name of Peregrine White is famous in history as that of the first child born in the colony of the pilgrims, who, from the tempest-tossed Mayflower, landed upon Plymouth Rock in 1620. To him was born a son, whom he named John. A namesake and lineal descendant of this son was Deacon John White, the father of Eld. James White, whose obsequies we this day celebrate.IMJW 25.1

    His ancestors on his mother’s side were scarcely less illustrious, and none the less members of the genuine Puritan stock, his mother being the grand-daughter of Doctor Samuel Shepard, an eminent Baptist clergyman of New England.IMJW 25.2

    Eld. White labored under some physical disadvantages in early life, in surmounting which he began to develop that indomitable energy which has made him so successful in the larger enterprises of his later years. At fifteen years of age he was baptized and joined the Christian church. At twenty-one he entered the ministry, having become interested in the views presented by William Miller concerning the second coming of Christ in 1843-4. Efforts to explain the disappointment of 1844, led him to the views which lie at the foundation of the Seventh-day Adventist movement. In 1846 he was united in marriage with Miss Ellen G. Harmon, who, in the good providence of God, still survives. Between the years 1846 and 1849 his new views began to arrange themselves into a more definite system, and premonitions of some systematic effort to more successfully promulgate them, began to exercise his mind. To one who had embraced the same views with himself, he once remarked with something of his prophetic foresight: “The time will come when these truths will be published in books and papers and be spread broadcast over the land.” But the remark was met with utter incredulity on the part of his less expectant brethren.IMJW 25.3

    In 1849 he felt that the time had come for him to avail himself of the aid of the press. He accordingly commenced the publication in Middletown, Ct., of a little sheet called The Present Truth. This was on his part no small venture. He was without any promised support. The known friends of the movement he could almost count on the fingers of his two hands. His health was not fully established. He had no means but the scanty pittance derived from labor in the woods in winter and in the hay-field in the summer. The distance from the printing office to the place where he was then living was eight miles, and the frequent journeys necessary to be taken between the two were performed on foot. The copy was prepared in a humble chamber, a Bible, a concordance, and a dictionary being the only text books at hand. The first number was at length issued, and dedicated by solemn prayer to the mission on which it was to be sent; and when the papers were wrapped and the names of all who they thought would look upon the movement with any favor were written upon them, the entire list was taken to the post-office in a carpet-sack.IMJW 26.1

    This was a small and humble beginning, but under the inspiration that it was a work of Divine Providence, he had no disposition to “despise the day of small things.” Yet in truth a great work had been accomplished; a beginning had been made; the mustard seed had been planted; an agency had been set in motion which was destined to become a power in the land. A good example had been set of faith, perseverance, a spirit of sacrifice and consecration to a cherished truth.IMJW 26.2

    With the beginning of the publishing work he did not relinquish his work as preacher, but was constantly passing from place to place, proclaiming the views which had become so dear to him. To accommodate his publishing enterprise to his work as an evangelist, the paper was moved from time to time to different places. In 1850 it was issued in Paris, Me. Here the paper was enlarged, and the name was changed to that which it still bears, The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald. The name he chose for the publication shows the logical working of his mind. It was designed to be a review of the past Advent movement, and a herald of the new feature connected with the work concerning the commandments, especially the Sabbath of the Lord.IMJW 27.1

    The paper was afterwards published in Saratoga Springs and in Rochester, N. Y., and finally permanently located in this State in the autumn of 1855. The first number issued in this place was No.10, Volume 7, bearing date Dec. 4, 1855. The last issue of the paper containing the notice of his death was No. 7, Volume 58. From this it is at once apparent how large a portion of the work of publishing has been done at this point.IMJW 27.2

    With the growth of the work here, at least in its outward aspects, the people of this vicinity are familiar. The small wooden building first erected for an office has given place to the commodious brick structures which are none too large for the present state of the work; and the small meeting-house on Cass street, 18x24 feet, the first meeting-house ever erected by S. D. Adventists, soon gave place to a second and a third building, and finally to this Tabernacle, which experience is showing is none too large for the demands made upon it.IMJW 27.3

    Here a legally incorporated publishing association has been formed, a plan of organization has been effected for churches and conferences, a health institute has been established, an educational society has been organized, resulting in the location of the Sanitarium and College at this point. These institutions, and the growth of the work in other respects, has called in many as helpers in the various departments of labor, and thus the presence of the congregation that worships in this house from week to week is owing more or less directly to his work and influence.IMJW 28.1

    In 1872 Eld. White first visited California, and assisted in the establishment of a State Conference. He again visited that State in the latter part of 1873, remaining until August 1874. At this time he established the office of publication in Oakland, Cal., which is doing a large business on the Pacific Coast. The Signs of the Times, there published, equal in size with the Review, has a wide circulation in all parts of this country, and a large list is sent to foreign countries.IMJW 28.2

    He has also taken a deep interest in the work in Europe, raising $10,000 for the establishment of the press in Switzerland, and a large sum for the work among the Scandinavians. He has traveled constantly and extensively, and his voice has been heard in all our Conferences from the Atlantic to the Pacific. He has taken a deep interest in the welfare of his brethren in all the different States, and thousands will feel his loss as that of a personal friend.IMJW 28.3

    It is proper that we say a few words respecting the character of this great and true man who has fallen. He possessed many prominent and strongly defined traits of character, such as would be necessary, and such as one would naturally expect to find, in a man capable of organizing and leading forward to its present degree of success such a movement as that in which he has been engaged.IMJW 29.1

    We first notice that in times of confusion and excitement he was always calm and cool. A brief chapter of his experience will illustrate this: The time immediately following the disappointment of 1844 was a trying time to all who had been engaged in that movement. Almost every one seemed to lose his bearings. A multitude of conflicting theories was at once advanced in explanation of the situation. It was a time for one not well balanced to become confused. But he calmly looked about him for some sure anchorage ground. This he soon found in the fact that the preceding movement had too much of goodness and greatness about it, too much of the evident operation of the Spirit of God, to be renounced as altogether an erroneous movement.IMJW 29.2

    Concisely stated, the argument for the appearing of Christ in 1844 was this:— The prophet had declared that at the end of the twenty-three hundred days the sanctuary should be cleansed. Daniel 8:14. The days were computed to end in 1844, and the sanctuary was supposed to be the earth. Its cleansing was thought to be its purification by fire, and that was inseparably connected with the second appearing of Christ. Hence, on these premises the conclusion was inevitable that the coming of Christ would then take place. But when the time passed it was evident that a mistake had somewhere been made. The solution, if one could be found at all, must be looked for in one of two directions. Either the prophetic period was not correctly calculated, or the sanctuary of the prophecy was not the earth. The chronological argument was carefully re-examined and found to be invulnerable; but the other point, that the earth is the sanctuary, was found to have been taken for granted rather than proved. Further investigation showed clearly that the sanctuary was not the earth, but was the temple in Heaven, the great antitype of the Mosaic tabernacle, as set forth by Paul in his epistle to the Hebrews, and that its cleansing is a work that transpires in probation, before the Lord appears at his second advent. This being established, the subject of chronology was settled. It was seen that no prophetic period reached to the coming of Christ, and they were therefore guarded against all attempts to re-adjust the periods and set new times for the Lord to come. All doubt began to be removed, all perplexity to be cleared away, and the way was opened for future intelligent work. Thus he came out of this ordeal with a calmly calculated, well-defined position.IMJW 29.3

    Secondly, He was a man never given to fanaticism. That there were on the part of some, excesses at the time referred to, is not to be denied. But these he always opposed. While he did not believe in the form without the power, still less did he believe in the power without the form. This leads to the dethronement of reason, and to everything extravagant and wild. In all his revival work,, which has been extensive, he never labored to produce excitement, but to convince the judgment, enlist the reason, and thus secure an intelligent movement, from principle, instead of a thoughtless step from mere impulse. This has made his influence lasting and his work permanent.IMJW 30.1

    Thirdly, He was endued with remarkable acuteness of perception to determine the most judicious moves to be made. As an illustration on this point, the circumstance of the removal of the office from Rochester may be mentioned. At this time but little had been done in our work west of New York and Pennsylvania. The brethren in Vermont, where the greatest success had been achieved, wished the office removed to that State, and the general feeling was in favor of such removal. But Elder White reasoned differently. He looked over the whole field, and took in, to some extent, the future of this cause. He reasoned that a large work was to be accomplished in these broad Western States, and judged that the office should be as near as possible to the center of the field of operation. He examined the ground for himself, and finding in Battle Creek a few brethren ready to take hold of the work, and judging this community to be one characterized by sobriety, thrift and moral worth, — an estimate in which we have not been disappointed, — the office was located here, with the results already stated.IMJW 31.1

    Fourthly, He was a man who would never yield to discouragements. The word “fail” was not in his vocabulary. Allow me to say that for twenty-eight years I have been intimately associated with him in this work. With the exception of a few brief periods, there has been no important act of my life that has not been influenced, either by his personal presence, his counsel or some thought of him as connected with the work. And in reference to many of his own plans, he has opened to me all his mind. Yet I never once knew him to harbor the idea of giving up, drawing back, or suffering to fail, any enterprise he had undertaken. There have been, to be sure, many plans suggested, and it may be for a time entertained, but which, through prudence and caution, have never been adopted. But when once the weight of evidence was sufficient to cause an enterprise to be undertaken, then no obstacles, present or prospective, were allowed to defeat the purpose; it must be accomplished.IMJW 31.2

    Fifthly, He was a man who would look forward to the future wants of his work, and make provision for them. He foresaw that certain elements of stability must be wrought into the work, which could be secured only through organization. When he removed to this place, everything was in his hands as an individual. He was the only legal representative of the property which was accumulating. His health was poor, and he often remarked that, if he should be taken away, everything would be left in confusion; and he anticipated, moreover, that the work would grow to such an extent as to finally involve great financial responsibilities. He therefore pleaded for the formation of a legally incorporated association, by which the business should be conducted, which result was finally secured.IMJW 32.1

    Much the same reasons he urged in behalf of the organization of churches, State Conferences, and, finally, a General Conference, the executive committee of which should be the highest board of appeal, and thus the whole work be unified.IMJW 32.2

    The plan of raising means to compensate the ministry is owing to the same sagacity on his part. When each one depended for his support on what personal and private donations he might secure, the distribution was almost sure to be unequal. But when every account passes under the inspection of an auditing committee, and payment is rendered according to labor performed, there is, at least, not so much opportunity for favoritism and partiality. To the foresight, sagacity, and good judgment thus manifested, much of the progress and prosperity of this work is due.IMJW 33.1

    Sixthly, He was a man of strong personal friendships, and of a remarkably generous nature. To have a regard for the interests of others, and to see that their circumstances were rendered as favorable as possible, was a part of his nature. He was hardly contented unless he was interesting himself in the behalf of some widow or orphan, some unfortunate brother, or some fellow-minister. Many a minister of this and other States has to attribute to the interest and kindness of Eld. White in his behalf the possession of his first home. Seeing that they would be better prepared to go forward in the work if in possession of a home of their own, he would interest himself to secure one for them, advancing them the means to purchase, taking their note without interest. Then as he went from place to place, and the brethren would wish to invest means somewhere in the cause, he would introduce these cases, explain the circumstances, showing them the note, and let them indorse upon it their fives and tens, as each one might feel disposed to give, until the whole was paid. And while thus working for others, and receiving gifts for them, he would not solicit, nor would he receive if urged upon him, gifts and donations for himself. The only exception to this was a brief period, and a small sum received about the time of his first sickness; but this was not enough to invalidate the rule of his life in this respect.IMJW 33.2

    Yet his position has been such as to make it almost inevitable that he should have enemies. Some would misconstrue his motives, and misjudge his actions. It may be proper to notice a point or two under this head on this occasion. The cry has been raised at various times and in various quarters that this work was a speculation, and that Eld. White was manipulating the enterprise to enrich himself. What has already been said is a sufficient refutation of the charge. If he had insisted in keeping matters in his own hands instead of calling for organizations with their boards of trustees and directors into whose hands the entire management of the work, financially and otherwise, should be committed, there might be some better ground for the claim. That he has acquired some means, is true, but every farthing has been made in an honorable manner from a legitimate source. No individual has been wronged, and not a dollar has been taken unjustly from the treasury of any branch of this work; while he has himself, within the last eight years, put into the different branches of the cause, the sum of twenty thousand dollars of his own means.IMJW 34.1

    And some have thought that he was deficient in social qualities, and sometimes rigid, harsh, and unjust, even toward his best friends. But these feelings, we are persuaded, come from a failure to comprehend one of the strongest traits in his character, which was his pre-eminent love for the cause in which he was engaged. To that he subordinated all else; for that he was willing to renounce home and friends. No man would have been more glad than he to enjoy continuously the pleasures of domestic and social life, and the intercourse of friends, had he not thought that integrity to the cause called him to take a different course. But when this was the case, the voice of duty was first and all else was secondary. Some in whose natures this principle is lacking, cannot comprehend the actions of a man who is governed by such motives. But how would any man be fitted, without such an element as this in his character, to be the conservator of the interests of any cause whatever? In saying this I am not saying what he so often disclaimed, and what he would not wish any one to say, that he assumed never to err in judgment, or make any mistakes. The infirmities common to our nature he possessed in like manner as his fellow-men; and these he often saw and deplored. But who, in his circumstances, would have had less occasion for this than he? Utterly abhorrent to all the better sentiments of our nature would be that spirit which would suffer any feelings from this source to survive an occasion like this, — that spirit which would not bury them all, and bury them forever, in the grave which will close over him to-day. We turn, rather, to the thousands who have loved him as a brother, honored him as a father, and revered him as a counselor and guide, and who will cherish his memory sacredly, and never cease to regret the loss they have sustained in his death.IMJW 34.2

    As left by him, his work bears the marks of a wise builder. The elements of stability and permanence are wrought into all the structure. By the wise foresight already mentioned, of introducing order, securing careful arrangements and thorough organization, his efforts will not be lost. God buries the workman, but still carries on the work. His influence will still be felt, the impress of his shaping hand will still be seen, and all the future workings of this cause will revive and keep alive his memory. His love for the work, especially the publishing department, continued to the last. But a few days before his final illness, holding up his right hand, he exclaimed, “Let my right hand forget its cunning if I forget the interests of this work.” His spirit has seemed of late to be fitting up for the great transition.IMJW 35.1

    Many of us have marked the themes upon which he has delighted to dwell: the wonders of redemption; the position and work of Christ as one with the Father in the creation, and in all the dispensations pertaining to the plan of salvation; and, finally, the glories of the coming restitution, the realities of which he will soon enjoy. And as he now lays off the armor and goes down to rest, while his voice will no more be heard in words of encouragement and counsel, and while he will no more go in and out among us, we can but pray that his mantle may fall upon those who are to come after him; that a multitude may catch his spirit of love for the work, and emulate his zeal to do faithfully the Master’s will.IMJW 36.1

    We have spoken of the past and present. With these he is now done; but yet there remains the most important period of all, and that is the future, — the future! in which all our hopes center and all our reward is stored. Here is the toil and labor, there the rest; here the term of service, there the reward; here the darkness, there the light;; here the cross and suffering, there the crown and glory; here the temporal, there the eternal. Christ, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame. The joy was that of seeing many souls brought through him to glory. To the followers of Christ it will be said, “Enter into the joy of thy Lord.” And what will be the joy of one that has labored as our brother has labored, to see at last, in the kingdom, the happy results of all his toil? With what satisfaction he will look over the ground and mark how this sacrifice resulted in the salvation of some soul, and that effort put forth perhaps in weakness, turned some steps into the way of life! And this period of wearing labor is bearing glorious fruit in the kingdom of God, and all adding stars to the crown of his rejoicing.IMJW 36.2

    The Scriptures set forth this time by many cheering promises and expressions. It is to enter into the mansions Christ has gone to prepare for his people. It is to inherit the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world. It is to enter into the joy of the Lord. But the most impressive of all is, perhaps, the declaration of John, when he says, “Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Here the glory in all its brightness, the joy in all its exuberance, is brought to view. The festal board is spread. The guests from the East and West and North and South, from the stake and the dungeon, from the darkness and the sorrow of earth, are gathered to celebrate the long looked for redemption. This call to the marriage supper of the Lamb will soon be made, and this blessing will soon be given. Dr. Bonar, in one of his glowing hymns, describes the happy scene to which those who are accepted in Christ will soon receive a joyful summons:—IMJW 37.1

    Ascend, beloved, to the joy;
    The festal day has come;
    To-night the Lamb doth feast his own,
    To-night he with his Bride sits down,
    To-night puts on the spousal crown,
    In the great upper room.
    IMJW 38.1

    Ascend, beloved, to the love;
    This is the day of days;
    To-night the bridal song is sung,
    To-night ten thousand harps are strung,
    In sympathy with heart and tongue,
    Unto the Lamb’s high praise.
    IMJW 38.2

    The festal lamps are lighting now
    In the great marriage-hall;
    By angel-hands the board is spread,
    By angel-hands the sacred bread
    Is on the golden table laid;
    The King his own doth call.
    IMJW 38.3

    The gems are gleaming from the roof,
    Like stars in night’s round dome;
    The festal wreaths are hanging there,
    The festal fragrance fills the air,
    And flowers of Heaven, divinely fair,
    Unfold their happy bloom.
    IMJW 38.4

    Long, long deferred, now come at last,
    The Lamb’s glad wedding-day;
    The guests are gathering to the feast,
    The seats in heavenly order placed,
    The royal throne above the rest;—
    How bright the new array!
    IMJW 38.5

    Sorrow and sighing are no more,
    The weeping hours are past;
    To-night the waiting will be done,
    To-night the wedding-robe put on,
    The glory and the joy begun;
    The crown has come at last,
    IMJW 38.6

    Without, within, is light, is light;
    Around, above, is love;
    We enter, to go out no more,
    We raise the song unsung before,
    We doff the sackcloth that we wore;
    For all is joy above.
    IMJW 39.1

    Ascend, beloved, to the life;
    Our days of death are o’er;
    Mortality has done its worst,
    The fetters of the tomb are burst,
    The last has now become the first,
    For ever, evermore.
    IMJW 39.2

    Ascend, beloved, to the feast;
    Make haste, thy day is come;
    Thrice blest are they the Lamb doth call,
    To share the heavenly festival,
    To the new Salem palace-hall,
    Our everlasting home!
    IMJW 39.3

    With a hope before us such as this, we can brave the gloom of mortality, and even the “valley of the shadow of death.” Though here we are called to wrap the mantle of our grief about us, and darkness and shadows surround our way, we can borrow from the coming glory enough of radiance to dispel the gloom, and to enable us, even in the face of death, to offer thanks to Him that giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.IMJW 39.4

    We mourn the providence which has taken from us one who has occupied so large a place in all our hearts; but we would remember that the pain is that of a brief parting in a world of wretchedness and woe, soon to give place to the joy of an eternal meeting in a world of love and bliss. In behalf of the cause which he has loved as dearly as his own life, in behalf of the institutions which he has cherished with the tenderest affections,, in behalf of this church for whom he has labored, in behalf of this community who have shown their respect and esteem, and in behalf of all this denomination who now mourn his departure, we take our leave of our father, brother, counselor, and friend, to-day. Rest, O war-worn soldier, till the great Captain of our salvation, marshalling his followers in a glorious reunion beneath the walls of the heavenly Zion, shall bid them lay off the worn garments of their pilgrimage and warfare, and arrayed in the white robes of victory, enter into the joy of their Lord.IMJW 39.5

    At the conclusion of the discourse, unexpectedly to all, Sister White arose, and occupied some ten minutes with well-chosen and impressive remarks. Though so feeble that she had to be borne into the Tabernacle, she was enabled to speak in a clear, strong voice, concerning the peculiar value of the Christian’s hope on such occasions as this.IMJW 40.1

    A phonographer, Bro. Joseph Haughey, took notes of her remarks, and we are therefore enabled to present them herewith.IMJW 40.2

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