Then and Now - STEPHEN N. HASKELL

Then and Now - STEPHEN N. HASKELL

 
SEVENTY years ago those believing the truths of the third angel's message consisted of a few persons scattered through New York State and the six New England States. They were poor in this world's goods, but rich in faith. The few workers went when and where they felt the Lord called them. Capt. Joseph Bates told me that on one occasion, when he had no money to pay his fare, he took the train for Springfield, Mass., for he felt impressed that he must go. A gentleman seated behind him asked him what he did for a living. He replied, " I preach the third angel's message." The stranger asked, " Where do you get your money ? " He said, " I get what people give me." Whereupon the stranger gave him some money, which happened to be just enough to pay his fare to Springfield.

The early pioneers of this movement worked for souls and not for wages. There was no treasury to which they could look for a check at the close of each month. The spread of the message was their great burden, and they went forward, believing that God would supply their needs. It is almost impossible for persons who have never worked for the Lord without knowing their salary was sure, to appreciate the faith of those early pioneers, who endured all kinds of privation and hardship, without knowing from one month to another where the money was coming from to buy their bread.

They knew the mighty power wielded by literature in the proclamation of the first angel's message, and longed to print the truth and send it out to those they could not reach personally. At a meeting held Oct: 20-22, 1848, in Topsham, Maine, " the brethren began praying that a way might be opened for publishing the truths connected with the advent message."

In November of the same year, Sister White was given a view of the sealing message and of the duty of the brethren to publish the light that was shining upon their pathway. Brother Belden, of Rockyhill, Conn., had married a sister of Mrs. E. G. White, and their home was often visited by Brother and Sister White.

In the summer of 1849, with the burden of publishing the truth resting heavily upon them, Brother and Sister White went to Brother Belden's home. They were penniless and in destitution. Brother White thought he would again mow grass to secure the needed funds. When, some years later, I was called upon to preach the funeral sermon of Sister Belden, Father Belden told me the following story:

"Brother Ralph and I had taken a field of grass to mow, and Brother White thought of working with us to secure funds for printing the paper. We had the horse at the door ready to drive to Middletown to get a scythe for Brother White when Sister White fainted. We prayed for her. She was taken off in vision and shown, that we should not wait to mow the field of grass, but should print the paper at once. Our house was small, and in order to have quiet Brother White took his Bible to my corn barn and there wrote the first paper."

Sister White was also shown that the rays of light from that paper would encircle the earth. Like Abraham of old, that little company " staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief ; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God." The weekly reports of progress in the REVIEW at the present time loudly proclaim the fulfilment of the statement that the rays of light from that first paper would encircle the earth.

There were one thousand copies of that first paper printed ; now nearly twenty-five thousand copies are printed each week. There was no list of subscribers then, but the paper was sent to addresses secured by those interested in the work; now twenty-five thousand families, scattered all over the earth, eagerly await the coming of " the good old REVIEW " each week. Then there was no price charged for the paper, it being sent out free, and depending wholly on donations for its support — purely a work of faith ; now the publishing of the REVIEW is maintained by a regular subscription price. Then Elder James White walked to Middletown, a distance of eight miles, with the first edition in a carpetbag ; now the REVIEW is taken to the post office in large motor trucks.

The pioneers of the message felt that the little paper was a necessity; and it was. Likewise the REVIEW AND HERALD at the present day is a necessity. We may read that " this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness," but only the one who reads the reports in the REVIEW can truly know that this promise is being fulfilled. One may be looking and longing for the latter rain, and yet pass through it without knowing it, if he fails to keep abreast of the message by reading the evidences of the outpouring of the Spirit in different parts of the earth, as given in the reports of progress in the REVIEW.

The truths of the third angel's message are not new truths, but old Bible truths reset in a new framework. The work is described by Peter as the " restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." Acts 3 : 21. The grand central truth of the message is the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary from the confessed sins of God's people. At first there were many different views held 'by the Sabbath keepers, but gradually union and harmony came in, and in time an organization was perfected.

This movement, the work of the third angel's message, can be likened " to a grain of mustard seed, ... which indeed is the least of all seeds : but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs." Matt. 13: 31, 32. The truth which began in weakness and obscurity, has become a mighty power, known and recognized throughout the entire earth.

From the magazine: Adventist Review Anniversary Issues 31(96)-1919
admin 28-12-2019, 11:45 156 0

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