The Early Life and Later Experience and Labors of Elder Joseph Bates- Contents
- Author’s Preface
- Editor’s Preface
- Chapter 1
- Chapter 2
- Chapter 4
- Chapter 5
- Chapter 6
- Chapter 7
- Chapter 8
- Chapter 9
- Chapter 10
- Chapter 11
- Chapter 12
- Chapter 13
- Chapter 14
- Chapter 16
- Chapter 17
- Chapter 18
- Chapter 19
- Chapter 20
- Chapter 21
- Chapter 22
- Chapter 23
- Chapter 24
- Chapter 25
- Chapter 26
- Remarks by the Editor
- Weighted Relevancy
- Content Sequence
- Earliest First
- Latest First
Remarks by the Editor
CAPTAIN BATES retired from the seas in the month of June, 1828. He had acquired more than a competency. He immediately began to devote his time and means to moral reforms, and labored ardently and successfully in this way for about twelve years, when he became an Adventist. He soon entered the lecturing field, and labored as a speaker and writer, and employed his means and energies in the cause of Bible truth and reform during the remainder of his useful life until near his death, in 1872, a period of thirty-two years.LELJB 309.1
During this long period of his ministry, reaching from the noon of life to old age, he lost none of his ardor in the cause of moral reforms. In fact, his Second-Advent views, that the divine Son of God, and all the holy angels with him, would soon come to receive his people and take them to a pure Heaven, gave the inspired exhortations to purity of life, and the warnings to be ready for the coming of that day, a double force to his mind. While addressing the people upon the subject of readiness to meet the Lord at his coming, we have often heard him apply these texts with great force:—LELJB 309.2
“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” Luke 21:34.LELJB 310.1
“And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 6:16-18; 7:1.LELJB 310.2
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17.LELJB 310.3
When we expect a visit from friends we love and honor in our hearts, how natural to wash up, put things in good order, and dress up for the occasion. This simple fact in natural life may well illustrate the action of those Adventists who are really Adventists, in adopting the clean, pure rules of practical hygiene.LELJB 310.4
The principles of reform which had been written upon the mind and heart of Captain Bates while upon the seas, were still moving his soul to the very depths when among his friends at home. He still moved forward. His table reform commenced about this time.LELJB 310.5
We first met Elder Bates at his home at Fairhaven, Mass., in the year 1846. He had at that time discarded flesh-meats of all kinds, grease, butter, and all kinds of spices, from his own plate. When asked why he did not use them as articles of food, his usual reply was, “I have eaten my share of them.” He did not mention his views of proper diet in public at that time, nor in private unless interrogated upon the subject. At his meals he took only plain bread and cold water. These, so very common, were readily obtained by those who entertained him, and in respect to diet he caused his friends but little trouble, excepting their anxieties that he would starve on bread and water.LELJB 310.6
When we first became acquainted with Elder Bates, in 1846, he was fifty-four years old. His countenance was fair, his eye was clear and mild, his figure was erect and of fine proportions, and he was the last man to be picked out of the crowd as one who had endured the hardships and exposure of sea life, and who had come in contact with the physical and moral filth of such a life for more than a score of years. He had been from the seas the period of eighteen years, and during that time his life of rigid temperance in eating, as well as in drinking, and his labors in the pure sphere of moral reform, had regenerated the entire man, body, soul, and spirit, until he seemed almost re-created for the special work to which God had called him. “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.”LELJB 311.1
Elder Bates was a true gentleman. We might suppose that a man of his natural firmness and independence, after twenty-one years of sea-faring life, and commander of rough sailors a large portion of that time, would be exacting and overbearing in his efforts to reform others. True, he would speak what he regarded truth with great freedom and boldness; but after he had set forth principles, and urged the importance of obedience, he was willing to leave his hearers to decide for themselves.LELJB 311.2
We need not say that when many of his fellow-laborers embraced the principles of health reform, and began to advocate them about the year 1860, he joined them with great gladness of heart. From this time he began to speak freely upon the subject both in public and private life. Up to this time he had refused all fruits and nuts because of the custom to eat them between meals. But when many of his brethren adopted two meals only a day, and furnished their tables with fruits and nuts, he would partake freely of them with his meals.LELJB 312.1
At a health reform convention held at Battle Creek, Mich., in the spring of 1871, the venerable Elder Bates, in his seventy-ninth year, made a speech of remarkable interest, into which he incorporated some items of his personal history and experience. It is of such living interest that the reader will pardon us for repeating it here.LELJB 312.2
“In early life, before finishing my second European voyage, I was impressed into the British naval service, and stationed on board a British war-ship, associated with about seven hundred men, on a daily stated allowance of hard bread, salt provisions, and one pint of inferior wine. Thus I was held for about two years and a half, until, soon after the declaration of war by the United States against England, the American citizens on board our ship petitioned, and became prisoners of war, and were placed on two-thirds of what had been allowed us before, and no wine. In this state I continued some two years and a half. The last eight months I was associated with about six thousand sailors and soldiers on that most dreary waste called Dartmoor, fifteen miles from Plymouth, in England. Five years’ experience in these two schools of vice and debasement of moral character, seriously convinced me of the necessity of reform.LELJB 312.3
“What seemed most important of all at that time was the disuse of spirituous liquors. A few weeks after my return home from my imprisonment, in the summer of 1815, I was offered, and accepted, the office of second mate on board a new ship fitting for a European voyage. This was some twelve years before temperance societies were organized. I soon learned that it was indeed a warfare to attempt to stem so strong a current of vice single-handed. I was urged to take a social glass, again and again, for some time. After awhile I yielded, to use it moderately, and finally confined myself to one glass only in twenty-four hours. Wine, beer, and cider were not then considered spirituous liquors. These I used but seldom.LELJB 313.1
“In the fall of 1821, on my passage from South America to Alexandria, D. C., feeling more serious respecting the unnecessary habit of using one glass a day, I spoke out earnestly, saying, I will never drink another glass of spirituous liquors while I live. And I am not aware that I ever have. But this temperance reform was not yet accomplished. So, on my next voyage from Buenos Ayres, South America, round Cape Horn, in 1822, I fully resolved never to drink wine. By watchfulness and perseverance I broke up my habit of using profane language, and before I left the Pacific Ocean, I had forever discarded the use of that filthy weed, tobacco. These victories strengthened and encouraged me in the work of reform.LELJB 313.2
“In the summer of 1824, on leaving the capes of Virginia for another voyage, I resolved from henceforth never to drink ale, porter, beer, cider, nor any liquor that would intoxicate. I now felt strengthened, and fully relieved from this burden to reform, which had been balancing in my mind for upward of ten years. I had been prospered in my business far beyond what I deserved, and was now setting out on another successful voyage, loading myself down with the cares and business of the world. Turning my attention more to reading the Bible than I had done, I was led to see what a feeble worm of the dust I was-an unpardoned sinner, under condemnation. I began and pleaded with God for pardoning mercy, for many days. I did then believe, and still believe, that he freely forgave me, for his dear Son’s sake. My prospect then for this life, and the life which is to come, was most cheering. I then covenanted with the Lord that I would serve him evermore.LELJB 314.1
“Some thirty-three years ago, on becoming satisfied of the poisonous nature of both tea and coffee, I resolved never more to use them.LELJB 314.2
“In February, 1843, I resolved to eat no more meat. A few months after, I ceased using butter, grease, cheese, pies, and rich cakes. Since the introduction of the health reform several years ago by my brethren, I have been endeavoring to conform in my eating more strictly to the hygienic practice, and confine myself to two meals only in twenty-four hours. If the reader wishes to know what I have gained by my efforts from the first to reform, I answer:—LELJB 314.3
“1. From the ruinous habits of a common sailor, by the help of the Lord, I walked out into the ranks of sober, industrious, discerning men, who were pleased to employ and promote me in my calling, so that in the space of nine years I was supercargo, and joint owner, in the vessel and cargo which I commanded, with unrestricted commission to go where I thought best, and continue my voyage as long as I should judge best for our interest.LELJB 315.1
“The morning after my arrival at the wharf in New York, among the laborers who came on board to discharge my vessel, was a Mr. Davis, one of my most intimate friends during my imprisonment. We had spent many hours together talking over our dismal position, and the dreadful state and ruinous habits of our fellow-prisoners, and there agreed that if ever we were liberated, we would labor to avoid the dreadful habits of intemperance, and seek for a standing among sober, reflecting men. Aside from his associates, we conversed freely, and he readily admitted our feelings and resolutions in the past, but with sadness of heart acknowledged his lack of moral courage to reform; and now, in this uncertain way, he was seeking for daily labor when his poor state of health would admit of it.LELJB 315.2
“2. When I reached this point of total abstinence, God in mercy arrested my attention, and on the free confession of my sins, for his dear Son’s sake, granted me his rich grace and pardoning mercy.LELJB 315.3
“3. Contrary to my former convictions, that if I was ever permitted to live to my present age, I should be a suffering cripple from my early exposure in following the sea, thanks be to God and our dear Lord and Saviour, whose rich blessing ever follows every personal effort to reform, that I am entirely free from aches and pains, with the gladdening, cheering prospect that if I continue to reform, and forsake every wrong, I shall, with the redeemed followers of the Lamb, stand ‘without fault before the throne of God. ’”LELJB 315.4
No comment on the foregoing is needed. And it is hardly necessary to state that the speech, from one who had nearly reached his four-score years, and who could look back upon a long life of self-control, marked all the way with new victories and new joys, electrified the audience. He then stood as straight as a monument, and would tread the side-walks as lightly as a fox. He stated that his digestion was perfect, and that he never ate and slept better at any period in his life.LELJB 316.1
Elder Bates was in the hearts of his people. Those who knew him longest and best, prized him most. When his younger and most intimate fellow-laborers told him that his age should excuse him from the fatigue of itinerant life and public speaking, he laid his armor off as a captured officer would surrender his sword on the field of battle. The decision once made, he was as triumphant in hope and faith as before. Mrs. White wrote to him, recommending a nutritious diet, which called out the following characteristic statements from his pen thirty-three days before his death:—LELJB 316.2
“God bless you, Sister White, for your favor of yesterday, the 12th. You say I must have good, nutritious food. I learn from report that I am starving myself and am withholding from my daughter, who is with me, and alone a good part of the time in my absence; and that when I ask a blessing at my table, I ask the Lord to bless that which I may eat, and not that which is on the table. This is what I am not guilty of, nor ever was in all my family worship for some fifty years, but once; and I do greatly marvel how my industrious neighbors found out this one exception. But I will tell you the circumstance.LELJB 317.1
“Several years ago I was with the church in Vassar, Tuscola Co., Mich., and was invited to address them and their children in a barn on the Fourth of July, and also to dine with them. The tables were soon up and loaded with tempting eatables; and I was invited to ask the blessing. The swines’ flesh upon the table, I knew was abominable and unclean from creation, Genesis 7:2, 8; and God had positively, by law, forbidden the eating or touching of it. See Leviticus 11:7, 8 (law, verse 46); also Deuteronomy 14:1-3, 8. I therefore very quietly distinguished, and asked a blessing on the clean, nutritious, wholesome, lawful food. Some whispered, and some smiled, and others looked, and so on.LELJB 317.2
“Starving, with more than enough to eat! Now allow me to state what, by the providence and blessing of God, we have in our house from which to choose a daily bill of fare.LELJB 317.3
“90 pounds of superfine white flour.
“100 pounds of graham flour.
“5 bushels of choice garden corn.
“Pop and sweet corn in abundance.LELJB 317.4
“Corn meal, rice, and oatmeal.
“Corn-starch, butter, sugar, salt.LELJB 318.1
“Three varieties of potatoes.
“Sweet turnips, parsnips, squashes.
“Two varieties of onions.
“11 cans of sweet peaches.
“6 cans sweet grapes.
“Strawberries preserved and dried.
“Quince and grape jelly.
“Tomatoes by the jug.
“20 pounds of dried sweet peaches.
“Box of Isabella grapes, most consumed.
“Three varieties of apples and quinces.LELJB 318.4
“But the people say, and they think they know what they say, that he refuses to furnish his table with tea and coffee. That’s true! They are poison. Some thirty-five years ago I was using both tea and coffee. After retiring from a tea-party at midnight, my bed companion said, ‘What is the matter, can’t you lie quiet and sleep?’ ‘Sleep! no,’ said I. ‘Why not?’ was the next question. ‘Oh! I wish Mrs. Bunker’s tea had been in the East Indies. It’s poison!’ Here I forever bade adieu to tea and coffee. After a while my wife joined me, and we discarded them from our table and dwelling. That’s the reason they are not on my table.LELJB 318.5
“They say, too, that this man does not allow any ardent spirits or strong drink in his house. That’s true. Please hear my reason: Fifty years ago I was by myself on the boundless ocean. My thoughts troubled me. Said I to Him who always hears, I’ll never drink another glass of grog or strong drink while I live. That’s why I have no intoxicating drink on or about my premises.LELJB 318.6
“Well, there is another thing that he is fanatical about, and differs from more than half his countrymen. What is that? He will not have about him nor use any TOBACCO. Guilty! My reason: Forty-eight years ago I was away toward the setting sun; our gallant ship was plowing her way through the great Pacific. During the nightwatch we were called to take some refreshment. I then tossed my chew of tobacco into the ocean, never, no, never, to touch, taste, or handle any more. And allow me to say that when I had gained the victory over this deadening, besotting, benumbing vice, I went on deck the next morning a better man than ever I was in all my former life. Why? I was free. I could appreciate God’s handiwork in sea and sky, even in the tumbling, rolling waves. I could breathe freely, inhaling the pure air of heaven, and shout. I was a free man.LELJB 319.1
“Therefore, if any demand is ever made on me for tobacco, tea, coffee, or strong drink of any kind that intoxicates, they must present me an order from the Court Above.LELJB 319.2
“Here comes half a barrel of graham crackers and a lot of farina, a natural breadstuff of the native South Americans. I think I am now well supplied with good, nutritious food. And if there is any lack I have some good, faithful brethren who seem to be waiting to serve me.LELJB 319.3
“I am your brother, now on retired pay in Monterey, Michigan.LELJB 319.4
Feb. 14, 1872.”
Elder Joseph Bates died in the eightieth year of his age, at Battle Creek, Mich., March 19, 1872. The writer of his obituary says:—LELJB 320.1
“His last hours, though characterized by pain such as few men have been called upon to pass through, afforded a marked evidence of the superiority of a faith in Christ over the bodily suffering and the prospect of certain and rapidly approaching death. Having in early manhood chosen the service of God, and having for many years faithfully endeavored to live the life of the righteous, his last end was such as those alone can expect who have sedulously endeavored to preserve a conscience void of offense toward God and man.LELJB 320.2
“On Thursday, the 21st of March, his remains were taken to Monterey, Allegan Co., Mich., where they were interred on the following day in Poplar Hill Cemetery by the side of his wife.”LELJB 320.3
The Michigan Conference of S. D. Adventists, at their session, September 5, 1872, passed this resolution:—LELJB 320.4
“That, as a tribute of respect, we recognize in the decease of our beloved brother, Elder Joseph Bates, the loss of a great and good man, eminent for piety and Christian virtue; a pioneer in the third angel’s message, always at his post of duty. We miss him in our assemblies, at our Conference, in our churches, at our fireside homes; and while we deeply mourn our loss, we will remember his counsels, imitate his virtues, and endeavor to meet him in the kingdom of God.”LELJB 320.5