A Few More Years - WILLIAM C. WHITE

A Few More Years - WILLIAM C. WHITE

 
AT the Sabbath morning service, in the little meeting house on Van Buren Street, the preacher had said, " Only a few more years we have to labor and wait, and then our Lord will come to end our struggle with sin and bring in everlasting righteousness."

Going home after the service, I said to my companions, "How many are a few years/" Edson did not know, but John Foy said, " Six or seven." Then I reckoned, " Seven and seven are fourteen. It may be that I shall be fourteen years old when Jesus comes."

During the seven years from 1861 to 1868 great changes came into our denominational work. An organization had been effected and a health institution established. Our publications were being wisely distributed and a church school had been established. Elders J. N. Loughborough and D. T. Bourdeau had gone by sea to California to carry the message to the people of the Pacific Coast.

Not so much then as in later years did we comprehend the vastness of the work to be done by the remnant church in developing agencies for the carrying of the message of the third angel of Revelation 14 to all the world. 

We looked for the soon closing of the work to be the result of a miraculous movement — the whirlwind power of the " midnight cry." Gently and gradually was it revealed to our minds that through education and organized effort we must do the utmost all that we could before the Pentecostal power could be expected to come for the completing of the great task assigned to us.

As this view of the work became clearer and clearer, this resolution was made : We will live as if Christ were to come tomorrow. Vire will prepare for service as if we had years to labor.

My fourteenth birthday was spent on the Wright, Mich., camp-ground. At that, our first camp-meeting, we heard the solemn words:

"Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry." Heb. 10: 35-37. " The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." 2 Peter 3: 9.

We also heard an exposition of the great commission to the Adventist people:

"He said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings." Rev. 10: 11.

The greatness of the work intrusted to us was clearly and forcibly set before us, and the young men and women said, " If the work is so great, and if we young folks are to have a part in it, we must improve every opportunity to fit ourselves for service. We must, if possible, secure a thorough education."

With eager enthusiasm the young people employed in the publishing house and the health institution in. Battle Creek, entered into the plans outlined by Brother G. H. Bell. A writing class held before breakfast was well attended, and the evening grammar school was crowded with earnest and diligent students.

When a day school was permanently established, our hearts were glad, and we rejoiced to see the school overflow the 20 x 30 upper room of the first Review and Herald building, and move to the meeting house, and then from the meeting house to three rooms in the new Review and Herald building, where three teachers were employed.

When a college building was erected, the world sneerql, saying, " The Seventh-day Adventists, who say they expect the Lord to come in a few years, have just erected in Battle Creek a $20,000 brick building for a college." To this Prof. Sydney Brownsberger answered, " When the Lord comes, Adventists expect to leave their farms, their business, and their homes, and take their brains with them."

With this thought in mind, many of the youth in our ranks have endeavored jealously to guard and develop all their powers for service. " Let us study and train for the very highest service," they said, "and do all the good we can while in training."

In 1875 Battle Creek College was opened. Soon its rooms were filled. The spirit of study was growing more intense, and hundreds who could not come to the college were carrying certain lines of study in connection with their work. Two years before, in 1873, there was published a message, given Dec. 10, 1871, which contained these words:

"Young men should be qualifying themselves for service by becoming familiar with other languages, that God may use them as mediums through which to communicate his saving truth to those of other nations. These young men may obtain a knowledge of other languages even while engaged in laboring for sinners. If they are economical of their time, they can improve their minds, and qualify themselves for more extended usefulness. If young women who have borne but little responsibility would devote themselves to God, they could qualify themselves for usefulness by studying and becoming familiar with other languages."— "Gospel Workers," p. 49.

Several who took up language study in connection with their regular labors, and many who studied the modern languages in our school, were selected in later years to serve in our work for foreigners in America and Europe. But as our work has advanced, and talented men of many nationalities have joined our ranks, we have been inclined to leave the burden of the work for foreigners largely with them. However, a review of the conditions of today cannot fail to convince us that efficiency calls for union of effort, and that until the close of the work, there should be wise co-operation between the Englishspeaking workers and the laborers in other tongues.

The conditions created by the recent World War constitute a call to our youth to fit themselves quickly for labor in foreign fields. To this end let us revive language study. We must not follow the drift of the world. At the very time when the study of modern languages is being dropped out of the public schools, we, as men who " know what Israel ought to do," and seeing the need of a special preparation for a strong, quick work in home and foreign fields, should double and quadruple our activities in every line of preparation, especially the study of modern languages.

"A few more years " is not simply a rallying cry; it is a fact. Let us improve every day and hour of probationary time that yet remailts for our use.

From the magazine: Adventist Review Anniversary Issues 31(96)-1919
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