Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4


Camp Meetings

About eight o'clock on Friday evening we reached Boston. The next morning we took the first train to Groveland. When we arrived at the camp ground, the rain was literally pouring. Elder Haskell had labored constantly up to this time, and excellent meetings were reported. There were forty-seven tents on the ground, besides three large tents, the one for the congregation being 80 x 125 feet in dimensions. The meetings on the Sabbath were of the deepest interest. The church was revived and strengthened, while sinners and backsliders were aroused to a sense of their danger. 4T 278.3

Sunday morning the weather was still cloudy; but before it was time for the people to assemble, the sun shone forth. Boats and trains poured their living freight upon the ground in thousands. Elder Smith spoke in the morning upon the Eastern Question. The subject was of special interest, and the people listened with the most earnest attention. In the afternoon it was difficult to make my way to the desk through the standing crowd. Upon reaching it, a sea of heads was before me. The mammoth tent was full, and thousands stood outside, making a living wall several feet deep. My lungs and throat pained me very much, yet I believed that God would help me upon this important occasion. While speaking, my weariness and pain were forgotten as I realized that I was speaking to a people that did not regard my words as idle tales. The discourse occupied over an hour, and the very best attention was given throughout. As the closing hymn was being sung, the officers of the Temperance Reform Club of Haverhill solicited me, as on the previous year, to speak before their association on Monday evening. Having an appointment to speak at Danvers, I was obliged to decline the invitation. 4T 279.1

Monday morning we had a season of prayer in our tent in behalf of my husband. We presented his case to the Great Physician. It was a precious season; the peace of heaven rested upon us. These words came forcibly to my mind: “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” We all felt the blessing of God resting upon us. We then assembled in the large tent; my husband met with us and spoke for a short time, uttering precious words from a heart softened and aglow with a deep sense of the mercy and goodness of God. He endeavored to make the believers in the truth realize that it is their privilege to receive the assurance of the grace of God in their hearts, and that the great truths we believe should sanctify the life, ennoble the character, and have a saving influence upon the world. The tearful eyes of the people showed that their hearts were touched and melted by these remarks. 4T 279.2

We then took up the work where we had left it on the Sabbath, and the morning was spent in special labor for sinners and backsliders, of whom two hundred came forward for prayers, ranging in years from the child of ten to gray-headed men and women. More than a score of these were setting their feet in the way of life for the first time. In the afternoon thirty-eight persons were baptized, and quite a number delayed baptism until they should return to their homes. 4T 280.1

Monday evening, in company with Elder Canright and several others, I took the cars for Danvers. My husband was not able to accompany me. When released from the immediate pressure of the camp meeting, I realized that I was sick and had but little strength; yet the cars were fast bearing us on to my appointment in Danvers. Here I must stand before entire strangers, whose minds had been prejudiced by false reports and wicked slander. I thought that if I could have strength of lungs, clearness of voice, and freedom from pain of heart, I would be very grateful to God. These thoughts and feelings were kept to myself, and in great distress I silently called upon God. I was too weary to arrange my thoughts in connected words; but I felt that I must have help, and asked for it with my whole heart. Physical and mental strength I must have if I spoke that night. I said over and over again in my silent prayer: “I hang my helpless soul on Thee, O God, my Deliverer. Forsake me not in this the hour of my need.” 4T 280.2

As the time for the meeting drew on, my spirit wrestled in an agony of prayer for strength and power from God. While the last hymn was being sung, I went to the stand. I stood up in great weakness, knowing that if any degree of success attended my labors it would be through the strength of the Mighty One. The Spirit of the Lord rested upon me as I attempted to speak. Like a shock of electricity I felt it upon my heart, and all pain was instantly removed. I had suffered great pain in the nerves centering in the brain; this also was entirely removed. My irritated throat and sore lungs were relieved. My left arm and hand had become nearly useless in consequence of pain in my heart, but natural feeling was now restored. My mind was clear; my soul was full of the light and love of God. Angels of God seemed to be on every side, like a wall of fire. 4T 280.3

The tent was full, and about two hundred persons stood outside the canvas, unable to find room inside. I spoke from the words of Christ in answer to the question of the learned scribe as to which was the great commandment in the law: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Matthew 22:37. The blessing of God rested upon me, and my pain and feebleness left me. Before me were a people whom I might not meet again until the judgment; and the desire for their salvation led me to speak earnestly and in the fear of God, that I might be free from their blood. Great freedom attended my effort, which occupied one hour and ten minutes. Jesus was my helper, and His name shall have all the glory. The audience was very attentive. 4T 281.1

We returned to Groveland on Tuesday to find the camp breaking up, tents being struck, our brethren saying farewell and ready to step on board the cars to return to their homes. This was one of the best camp meetings I ever attended. Before leaving the ground, Elders Canright and Haskell, my husband, Sister Ings, and I sought a retired place in the grove and united in prayer for the blessing of health and the grace of God to rest more abundantly upon my husband. We all deeply felt the need of my husband's help, when so many urgent calls for preaching were coming in from every direction. This season of prayer was a very precious one, and the sweet peace and joy that settled upon us was our assurance that God heard our petitions. In the afternoon Elder Haskell took us in his carriage, and we started for South Lancaster to rest at his home for a time. We preferred this way of traveling, thinking it would benefit our health. 4T 281.2

We had daily conflicts with the powers of darkness, but we did not yield our faith or become in the least discouraged. My husband, because of disease, was desponding, and Satan's temptations seemed to greatly disturb his mind. But we had no thought of being overcome by the enemy. No less than three times a day we presented his case to the Great Physician, who can heal both soul and body. Every season of prayer was to us very precious; on every occasion we had special manifestations of the light and love of God. While pleading with God in my husband's behalf one evening at Brother Haskell's, the Lord seemed to be among us in very deed. It was a season never to be forgotten. The room seemed to be lighted up with the presence of angels. We praised the Lord with our hearts and voices. One blind sister present said: “Is this a vision? is this heaven?” Our hearts were in such close communion with God that we felt the hallowed hours too sacred to be slept away. We retired to rest; but nearly the entire night was passed in talking and meditating upon the goodness and love of God, and in glorifying Him with rejoicing. 4T 282.1

We decided to travel by private conveyance a part of the way to the Vermont camp meeting, as we thought this would be beneficial to my husband. At noon we would stop by the roadside, kindle a fire, prepare our lunch, and have a season of prayer. These precious hours spent in company with Brother and Sister Haskell, Sister Ings, and Sister Huntley will never be forgotten. Our prayers went up to God all the way from South Lancaster to Vermont. After traveling three days, we took the cars and thus completed our journey. 4T 282.2

This meeting was of especial benefit to the cause in Vermont. The Lord gave me strength to speak to the people as often as once each day. I give the following from Elder Uriah Smith's account of the meeting, published in the Review and Herald: 4T 282.3

“Brother and Sister White and Brother Haskell were at this meeting, to the great joy of the brethren. Sabbath, September 8, the day appointed as a fast day with especial reference to Brother White's state of health, was observed on the camp ground. It was a good day. There was freedom in prayer, and good tokens that these prayers were not in vain. The blessing of the Lord was with His people in large measure. Sabbath afternoon Sister White spoke with great freedom and effect. About one hundred came forward for prayers, manifesting deep feeling and an earnest purpose to seek the Lord.” 4T 283.1

We went directly from Vermont to the New York camp meeting. The Lord gave me great freedom in speaking to the people. But some were not prepared to be benefited by the meeting. They failed to realize their condition and did not seek the Lord earnestly, confessing their backslidings and putting away their sins. One of the great objects of holding camp meetings is that our brethren may feel their danger of being overcharged with the cares of this life. A great loss is sustained when these privileges are not improved. 4T 283.2

We returned to Michigan, and after a few days went to Lansing to attend the camp meeting there, which continued two weeks. Here I labored very earnestly, and was sustained by the Spirit of the Lord. I was greatly blessed in speaking to the students and in laboring for their salvation. This was a remarkable meeting. The Spirit of God was present from the beginning to the close. As the result of the meeting, one hundred and thirty were baptized. A large part of these were students from our college. We were rejoiced to see the salvation of God in this meeting. After spending a few weeks in Battle Creek, we decided to cross the plains to California. 4T 283.3