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    Chapter 9—The Publishing Work in a Carpetbag

    On their way to the Bible Conference the group was joined by Elder Bates. “It’s good to see you, old pilgrim,” James greeted the captain. “Here’s a dollar and a half some friends sent you.”SMG 66.1

    “And two dollars from a good sister,” Mr. Chamberlain added.SMG 66.2

    “Thank God!” said Joseph Bates. “With the two dollars I brought from home, I now have enough to meet immediate needs.”SMG 66.3

    That night in the home of an Adventist family, Mrs. White coughed constantly. She had not had a good night’s rest in weeks. The brethren prayed for her and anointed her. She tried to pray, but her voice was choked. With a silent prayer, “Lord, I trust Thee,” she fell asleep, still coughing. In the morning the cough and pain were gone, nor did they trouble her again during the entire trip.SMG 66.4

    The conference, which was held in Mr. Arnold’s carriage house, was a stormy session. Those attending were from many different churches, holding many different beliefs. Each was strong for his own opinions. Their arguing distressed Mrs. White, who could see that some were mixing their own ideas with Bible teachings.SMG 66.5

    Suddenly everything grew quiet. Word passed around, “Sister Ellen has fainted.” She lay on the floor like one who was dying. The ministers knelt and prayed for her.SMG 66.6

    After a time she revived, her face lighted up, and she began to explain the troublesome texts. “The Lord has shown me that this teaching is correct,” she would say, or, “That brother is mistaken; but Brother So-and-so understands the scripture right.”SMG 67.1

    All joined in praising God for sending light. They had seen His power in their midst. Still they must continue to study; for the visions were not sent to tell God’s children what they should believe and teach, nor to take the place of Bible study, but to guide them as they studied.SMG 67.2

    The Whites spent the next two months visiting Adventists and attending conferences. At last they arrived in Rocky Hill. Joy lighted the young mother’s face as she held out her arms to little Henry. “Oh, James, he remembers me! He really does!”SMG 67.3

    Busy weeks followed. There were letters to write to families whom they had visited. Many had requested written copies of the visions, and all the writing had to be done by hand, for there were no typewriters yet. The two sat down at a table. “You write out the visions, Ellen, and I’ll make copies,” James offered. But the pile of requests grew higher with the incoming mails. James laid down his pen.SMG 67.4

    “What shall we do? We are wearing our strength away, writing letters that can reach only a few, while thousands need to hear these messages.”SMG 67.5

    James and Ellen were studying and praying over this question as they packed their little tin trunk and started for another conference in Topsham.SMG 67.6

    “Yes, Henry, my boy,” Ellen beamed as she dressed her baby, “you’re going with us this time for a long, long ride on the train and then on a big, big boat! And you’re going to see Grandpa and Grandma Harmon besides.”SMG 67.7

    Henry enjoyed the steamer trip more than his mother did. The rocking up and down was fun to him. He would toddle around the table in the dining salon, clamber up on the couch where his mother lay, throw his arms around her neck, and kiss her again and again.SMG 69.1

    For a time little Henry stayed with his grandmother at the old home in Gorham while his parents traveled. Then for several weeks Mrs. Howland cared for him.SMG 69.2

    While attending a conference at Dorchester, Ellen said to her husband, “I have a message for you. You must begin to print a little paper and send it out to the people. Let it be small at first; but as the people read, they will send you means with which to print, and it will be a success from the first. From this small beginning it was shown to me to be like streams of light that went clear round the world.”SMG 69.3

    When Elder White told others about this, they asked, “Where will we get the money to publish even a small paper?” They had often talked and prayed about printing, but had finally decided they were too poor to undertake such an enterprise.SMG 69.4

    “I’ll go back to Rocky Hill and ask the Adventist farmers there to help us raise money to start the paper,” James said.SMG 69.5

    When they returned to get their baby, the Howlands said, “Let us care for Henry while you travel. The little fellow seems contented with us, and we love him like our own.”SMG 69.6

    After a moment’s thought James said, “Ellen, don’t you think that would be wise? How can we expect our boy to grow up healthy and happy while he is bumping around on trains and buses and canalboats in all kinds of weather?”SMG 69.7

    Ellen could not speak. Finally, mastering her feelings, she said, “You’re right; it would be better to leave him here in this quiet Christian home than to drag him around among strangers. People often spoil children by their flattery and unwise remarks.”SMG 69.8

    Turning away to hide her tears, she found a quiet spot where she poured out her heart to God, and like Hannah, entrusted her little one to Him. She would see him occasionally when their travels took them to Topsham.SMG 70.1

    In Rocky Hill, Elder White talked to his friends about printing. “We’re sorry,” they replied, “but we’re too poor to help now; we need what money we have to keep our farms going.”SMG 70.2

    “The Lord can give me strength to earn the money myself,” James said to his wife. With the Beldens’ horse and carriage, he started for Middletown to buy a scythe, but was called back.SMG 70.3

    “Just now the Lord showed me that it is not His will for you to work in the field at this time,” Ellen said. “He gave you strength to earn money to pay our way to the conference, but now He has other work for you. You must write and publish. Begin in faith; send out the paper, and money will come in from those who read it.”SMG 70.4

    James went on to Middletown, but not to buy a scythe. Soon he was talking to Charles Pelton, a printer. “Will you print a thousand copies of an eight-page paper for us? I can’t pay you now, but if you’ll trust me, I’ll see that you are paid when the money comes in from those who receive the paper.”SMG 70.5

    “An unusual request, Mr. White,” Pelton replied. “But you look like an honest man; I’ll do the job for you.”SMG 70.6

    Mr. Belden had offered the Whites his large unfurnished room where the conference was held the year before. Soon Elder White was working at a table by a window. Before him lay his Bible, a concordance with the back torn off, and an old dictionary. He was writing articles for the paper which was to be called Present Truth.SMG 70.7

    At another table by another window his wife sat writing letters. Behind the stove which warmed the room and also cooked their food was a tiny cubbyhole with shelves where Mrs. White kept her writings. Sometimes during the night she would get up and go to this place to assure herself that the manuscripts were not in danger of catching fire from the stove.SMG 71.1

    The Whites set up both the publishing enterprise and their housekeeping in this one big room, which they partitioned with curtains. One section served as editorial office, proofroom, and mailing and addressing room. Living quarters occupied the remainder. Clarissa Bonfoey joined them as housekeeper, bringing furniture and utensils from her home. Later when baby Edson joined the family, she helped care for him.SMG 71.2

    Several times James White walked the eight miles to Middletown and back, carrying manuscripts to the printer and bringing proof sheets home to be corrected. One July morning he hitched up the Belden horse and drove to get the first issue of Present Truth. The paper was small, the print fine, and there were no pictures. He brought the printed sheets into the house and spread them on the floor. The Beldens and my grandparents knelt in a circle around the papers and asked God to bless these messengers of truth.SMG 71.3

    The sheets were then folded, wrapped, and addressed. James put them into his big carpetbag and carried them to the Middletown post office.SMG 71.4

    The Present Truth spread joy everywhere it went. The disappointed Adventists who received it took courage. Jesus was coming to get them; they would patiently wait. Many began to keep the Sabbath.SMG 71.5

    Letters brought money to pay for the printing. When Elder White went for the fourth issue, he was able to pay for all the printing. Mr. Pelton smilingly handed him a receipt for $64.50. That receipt is still treasured as a witness to the fact that God always keeps His promises and will never fail to make it possible for us to do whatever He asks of us.SMG 72.1

    Wherever they went, some Adventist family was sure to invite them to stay and set up the publishing business in their home. Typesetting and printing had to be done downtown because they had no printing equipment. As soon as the papers were off the press, friends were called in to help fold, wrap, and address them.SMG 72.2

    Once in Oswego, New York, they stayed long enough to print six issues in one place. While there, Elder White pulled out of his satchel a carefully wrapped package of Adventist hymns collected along the way. He had them printed without music in a tiny book bearing the tremendous title: Hymns for God’s Peculiar People Who Keep the Commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus.SMG 72.3

    The Present Truth was the beginning of the publishing work of Seventh-day Adventists, which now encircles the globe “like streams of light,” with printing presses sending out millions of books and papers in the principal languages of earth.SMG 72.4

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