Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2


Chapter 23—Removal to Rochester

April, 1852, we moved to Rochester, N. Y., under most discouraging circumstances. We had not money enough to pay the freight on the few things we had to move by Railroad, and were obliged to move out by faith. I will give a few extracts of a letter to Bro. Howland's family, dated April 16, 1852: 2SG 160.1

“We are just getting settled here in Rochester. We have rented an old house for one hundred and seventy-five dollars a year. We have the press in the house. Were it not for this we should have to pay fifty dollars a year for Office room. You would smile could you look in upon us and see our furniture. We have bought two old bedsteads for twenty-five cents each. My husband brought me home six old mis-matched chairs, for which he paid one dollar, and soon he presented me with four more old chairs, without any seating, paid sixty-two cents for the lot. The frames were strong, and I have been seating them with drilling. Butter is so high we do not purchase it, neither can we afford potatoes. We use sauce in the place of butter, and turnips for potatoes. The cherry sauce was provided for us by Sr. Harris. 2SG 160.2

“We are willing to endure privations if the work of God can be advanced. We believe the Lord's hand was in our coming to this place. There is a large field for labor and but few laborers. May the Lord help us that we may move just right while here. We are earnestly striving to draw near to God, and to have our wills in subjection to the divine will. We know that the Lord wants us to be living examples, then can we enjoy the light of his countenance. Last Sabbath our meeting was excellent. The Lord refreshed us with his presence. May the Lord prosper you and the church in your place. Rely wholly upon the sure promises of God.” 2SG 161.1

Soon after our family became settled in Rochester, we received a letter from my mother informing us of the dangerous illness of my brother Robert, who lived with my parents in Gorham, Me. Wrong influences had affected him, and separated him in faith from us. He became bewildered as to our position, and was unwilling to listen to any evidence in favor of the third message. He did not oppose, but entirely evaded the matter. This caused us many sad hours. 2SG 161.2

When the news of his sickness reached us, my sister Sarah decided to go immediately to Gorham. To all appearance my brother could live but a few days, yet contrary to the expectations of all, he lingered six months a great sufferer. My sister faithfully watched over him until the last. 2SG 161.3

As soon as he was afflicted his voice was often heard pleading with God for the light of his countenance, and upon his sick bed he weighed the evidences of our position, and fully embraced the third message. He grieved that he had not looked into the subject before, and would frequently exclaim, “How plain! How clear that there must be a third message as well as a first and second,” and he would say, “The third angel followed them. The two former. It is all plain now. I have deprived myself of many blessings that I might have enjoyed. I thought James and Ellen were in error. I have felt wrong towards them and want to see them once more.” 2SG 162.1

My brother seemed to be ripening for heaven. He took no interest in worldly matters, and felt grieved when any conversation, except that of a religious character, was introduced in his room. He seemed to be holding communion with God daily, and to regard every moment as very precious, to be spent in preparing for his last change. 2SG 162.2

We had the privilege of visiting him before his death. It was an affecting meeting. He was much changed, yet his wasted features were lighted up with joy. Bright hope of the future constantly sustained him. He did not once murmur or express a wish to live. We had seasons of prayer in his room, and Jesus seemed very near. We were obliged to separate from our dear brother, never expecting to meet him again this side of the resurrection of the just. The bitterness of the parting scene was much taken away by the hope he expressed of meeting us where parting would be no more. 2SG 162.3

My brother continued to fail rapidly. If he felt a cloud shutting Jesus from him, he would not rest until it was dispelled, and bright hope again cheered him. To all who visited him, he conversed upon the goodness of God, and would often lift his emaciated finger, pointing upwards, while a heavenly light rested upon his countenance, and say, “My treasure is laid up on high.” It was a wonder to all that his life of suffering was thus protracted. He had a hemorrhage of the lungs, and was thought to be dying. Then an unfulfilled duty presented itself to him. He had again connected himself with the Methodist church. He was expelled in 1843 with the other members of the family, on account of his faith. He said he could not die in peace until his name was taken from the church-book, and requested father to go immediately and have it taken off. 2SG 163.1

In the morning father visited the minister, stating my brother's request. He said that he would visit him, and then if it was still his wish to be considered no longer a member of their church, his request should be granted. Just before the minister arrived my brother had a second hemorrhage, and whispered his fears that he should not live to do this duty. The minister visited him, and he immediately expressed his desire, and told him he could not die in peace until his name was taken from the church-book; that he should not have united with them again if he had been standing in the light. 2SG 163.2

He then spoke of his faith, and hope, and the goodness of God to him. A heavenly smile was upon his countenance, and those lips, a few moments before stained with blood, were opened to praise God for his great salvation. As the minister left the room he said to my parents, “That is a triumphant soul; I never saw so happy a soul before.” Soon after this my brother fell asleep in Jesus, in full hope of having a part in the first resurrection. The following lines were written upon his death by Sr. Annie R. Smith: 2SG 164.1

He sleeps in Jesus—peaceful rest—
No mortal strife invades, his breast;
No pain, or sin, or woe, or care,
Can reach the silent slumberer there.
2SG 164.2

He lived, his Saviour to adore,
And meekly all his sufferings bore.
He loved, and all resigned to God;
Nor murmured at his chastening rod.
2SG 164.3

“Does earth attract thee here?” they cried,
The dying Christian thus replied:
While pointing upward to the sky,
“My treasure is laid up on high.”
2SG 165.1

He sleeps in Jesus—soon to rise,
When the last trump shall rend the skies;
Then burst the fetters of the tomb,
To wake in full, immortal bloom.
2SG 165.2

He sleeps in Jesus—cease thy grief;
Let this afford thee sweet relief—
That, freed from death's triumphant reign,
In heaven will he live again.
2SG 165.3

We toiled on in Rochester through much perplexity and discouragement. The cholera visited R., and while it raged, all night the carriages bearing the dead were heard rumbling through the streets to Mount Hope cemetery. This disease did not cut down merely the low, but it took from every class in society. The most skillful physicians were laid low, and borne to Mount Hope. As we passed through the streets in Rochester, at almost every corner we would meet wagons with plain pine coffins in which to put the dead. 2SG 165.4

Our little Edson was attacked, and we carried him to the great Physician. The disease was stayed in its progress. I took him in my arms, and in the name of Jesus rebuked the disease. He felt relief at once, and as a sister commenced praying for the Lord to heal him, the little fellow of three years looked up in astonishment and said, “They need not pray any more, for the Lord has healed me.” He was very weak. The disease made no further progress, but he gained no strength. Our faith was still to be tried. For three days he ate nothing. 2SG 165.5