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Heavenly Visions

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    NECESSARY FUNDS PROVIDED

    With the pressure upon him to write upon the Sabbath truth, Elder Bates must quickly have been at the task. Funds were low. J. N. Loughborough long ago gave us a view of the financial situation in the Bates household at the time Elder Bates sat down, with twelve and one-half cents in his pocket, to write our first pamphlet:HEVI 109.1

    “It may be of interest to relate his experience in this matter just as he told it to me in 1855.HEVI 109.2

    “He said that while in prayer before God, he decided to write the book, and felt assured that the way would open to publish it. He therefore seated himself at his desk, with Bible and concordance, to begin his work. In the course of an hour, Mrs. Bates came into the room and said, ‘Joseph, I haven’t flour enough to do the baking;’ and at the same time mentioned some other little articles she needed. ‘How much flour do you lack?’ asked Captain Bates. ‘About four pounds,’ was her reply. ‘Very well,’ replied he. After she left the room, he went to a store near by, purchased the four pounds of flour and the other articles, brought them home, and again seated himself at his writing desk. Presently Mrs. Bates came in and saw the articles on the table, and exclaimed, ‘Where did this flour come from?’ ‘Why,’ said the Captain, ‘isn’t there enough? You said you wanted four pounds.’ ‘Yes,’ said she, ‘but where did you get it?’ ‘I bought it,’ said he; ‘is not that the amount you wanted to complete the baking?’ ‘Yes,’ continued Mrs. Bates, ‘but have you, Captain Bates, a man who has sailed his vessels out of New Bedford to all parts of the world been out and bought four pounds of flour? ‘Yes; was not that the amount you need to complete the baking?’ ‘Yes,’ said Mrs. Bates, ‘but have you bought four pounds of flour?’”HEVI 109.3

    Then he told her he had spent the last money he had to buy those articles. You see, he had invested most of his money, which amounted to quite a fortune for those times, in the 1844 proclamation. And now, with scant means, he was pioneering the way in publishing what we count as our first pamphlet. Mrs. Bates, with bitter sobs, cried out, “What are you going to do? The Captain stood up and told her, “I am going to write a book; I am going to circulate it, and spread the Sabbath truth before the world.” “Well, what are we going to live on?” said Mrs. Bates, in tears. “The Lord is going to open the way,” said the Captain; and the story tells of the cheering words with which he comforted his wife.HEVI 109.4

    Readers of J. N. Loughborough’s “Great Second Advent Movement” know that the Lord did provide-how a half hour after the interview with the wife he felt impressed that there was a letter waiting for him at the post office. He went to inquire. Sure enough there was a letter for him with ten dollars in it. The writer said he had been impressed that Captain Bates needed it. He went to a store, and bought a barrel of flour and other things to be delivered on their porch. Again the surprised wife was moved to tears as she learned how God had supplied their need. With still a little money in his pocket Captain Bates went to a printer and arranged for the setting up in type of a one-hundred-page book, he to pay for the typesetting as he secured money. And money did come in-some from people he did not know. The little books were printed at last-a thousand of them. And, says the story, “from a source unexpected” the printing bill was paid. Apparently Elder Bates did not know where that last help came from, but after his death J. N. Loughborough told us that H. S. Gurney was the source. Charles H. Gurney now tells us the story as he heard it from his father:HEVI 109.5

    “When the printing was done, my father went to the printer and paid the account. When Elder Bates went for his books and asked for his bill, the printer told him the account had been paid in full. ‘But’, said Elder Bates, ‘I have not paid it.’ ‘Well,’ replied the printer, ‘someone else did. I do not know who it was, or where he came from-but a man came into my office, paid for the printing, and went out.’ Brother Bates never knew who paid for the printing.”HEVI 109.6

    The blacksmith lay-preacher, H. S. Gurney, was a helper at many a point in the early days in New England. Later he moved to Michigan and was for a time partner with Dan R. Palmer, who operated a large blacksmithing business in Jackson. He and Dan Palmer were liberal givers to the rising cause and to the publishing and sanitarium work established in the old Battle creek headquarters.HEVI 109.7

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