The Retirement Years


Vivid Memories of the Past

We arrived on the campground at Syracuse, New York, August 20. The next day, Thursday, we were glad to greet Elder U. Smith and wife. Here we met Elder Wheeler, with whom we became acquainted in New Hampshire thirty years ago. Here was Elder Cottrell, whom we have known for thirty years; Elder Taylor, for more than twenty-five years; Brother Robinson, for thirty-five years. My heart was touched as I looked upon these brethren who had long stood in defense of the faith. RY 16.2

More than a score of years have passed into eternity with their burden of record since these men became soldiers of the cross; but their experience in the early history of the cause of God has never grown dim. As their thoughts linger about the past, the fires of love and faith kindle anew in their hearts. They can say with John, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; ... that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us.” RY 16.3

Others were present whom we highly esteem, tried friends of the cause, whom we have known many years. We saw their countenances light up with fresh assurance as they listened to the presentation of the truth which has kept their hearts warm all these years. These brethren and sisters have an accurate, personal knowledge of events that occurred a score or more years ago. Some of them have witnessed remarkable manifestations of the power of God in times of our greatest trial and need, when our numbers were few, when opposition was strong, and unreasonable objections had to be met. While things that occurred a week ago may be forgotten, these scenes of thrilling interest still live in the memory. RY 17.1

Whatever may be said of the later stages of their life-history, their earlier experience in this work has left traces which can never be erased. We cannot afford to let these aged sentinels drop out of sight. To many, by pen and voice, they have spoken precious words of truth; and they should still be encouraged to do all they can with their influence, their counsel, and their experience in the cause of God. More youthful workers are taking their place in active service, and this is right; but let these younger men keep a warm place in their hearts, and room in their councils, for those whose heads have grown gray in the service of Christ. We want to see these men keep on the armor, and press the battle to the gates. We want to see them share with younger soldiers the triumphs of the final victory. It will be joy indeed to see them, when the conflict is ended, crowned and honored among the victorious ones.—The Review and Herald, October 28, 1884. RY 17.2