Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Ms 76, 1886

Recollections of Early Days of the Message in America


[November 1886]

Portions of this manuscript are published in 4MR 402-403; EGWE 266.

I have now been in Europe fifteen months. I have visited and labored in Switzerland, Italy, England, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and France. In all these places the banner of truth stands unfurled—the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus—and yet there are very many large cities as well as small that have not had the message proclaimed to the inhabitants. 4LtMs, Ms 76, 1886, par. 1

We consider how the work of God has steadily advanced in America from a very small beginning. We are well acquainted with the difficulties to be encountered and overcome. We knew what it was to practice close self-denial, and we knew what it was to make sacrifices for the truth’s sake. We remember when the Adventists keeping the Sabbath could be readily counted and epistles were addressed to all in a day. 4LtMs, Ms 76, 1886, par. 2

We acted a part in the first conference that was ever held among Seventh-day Adventists, which was convened in Connecticut. My husband, my sister Sarah, and myself lived in a room in the house of our much-respected Brother and Sister Howland, which they furnished us without cost. We had nothing in our possession, but our spare wardrobe and a firm faith and confidence in the truth, dearer to us than life itself. 4LtMs, Ms 76, 1886, par. 3

The light upon the fourth commandment, which was new and unpopular and generally rejected by our Adventist brethren and sisters, we had accepted. If we had trials and difficulties before this, in accepting the message that the Lord would soon come the second time to our world with power and great glory, we found that accepting new and advanced truth brought us into positions of still greater difficulty. It brought down upon us not only the opposition of the Christian world who refused to believe in the Lord’s soon coming, but opposition unexpectedly came upon us from those with whom we had been united in the faith and glorious hope of the second advent of our Saviour. In the place of closely investigating the Scriptures as did the noble Bereans to see if these things were so, there were those with whom we had taken sweet counsel together who denounced the third angel’s message as heresy. 4LtMs, Ms 76, 1886, par. 4

The beams of light were shining forth from the open door of the temple of God in heaven, and our attention was called to the ark of God in that temple, containing the tables of stone, upon which were engraven the law of God. We saw, in tracing down the commandments, that the fourth commandment—placed in the very bosom of the decalogue—had been perverted; that we had ignorantly been keeping the first day of the week, a common working day, as sacred, when the fourth commandment stated that the seventh day was the Sabbath ordained and set apart by God Himself for man to keep holy. He sanctified the day, and man was to show special honor to God in observing the day He had given him. This commandment is the great truth which unites the two dispensations, the Mosaic and the Christian, and the light upon the sanctuary shows their relation to each other. 4LtMs, Ms 76, 1886, par. 5

A few began to search the Scriptures after the disappointment in 1844, and the result was light in regard to what constituted the sanctuary. This searching revealed the fact that the prophecy referred not to this earth as the sanctuary to be cleansed at the end of the days, but to the heavenly sanctuary; and this truth explained our disappointment in 1844. Investigation of the Scriptures also revealed the light upon the Sabbath. 4LtMs, Ms 76, 1886, par. 6

Now we saw a great work to be done to present this light to the people, for the sanctuary question, if understood, would remove all perplexities as to where we were standing in prophecy and explain clearly the disappointment in 1844. The light of prophecy would then appear clear and forcible to those who would search the Scriptures with hearts open to receive the truth which had been so undiscerned. New hope and courage took possession of our souls, and although at first unwilling to accept the Sabbath and to acknowledge we had been ignorantly keeping a common day, which had been substituted by the man of sin in the place of God’s holy day, yet the light was so clear from the Scriptures and from the convictions which attended the searching of the Scriptures that we could not be found fighting against God. 4LtMs, Ms 76, 1886, par. 7

Now the work was before us to proclaim the third angel’s message. We were poor, destitute of means, and disease was upon us, yet we had faith and courage in the Lord. 4LtMs, Ms 76, 1886, par. 8

My husband engaged to work at hauling stone for the purpose of building a culvert for the railroad in Brunswick, Maine. He often came home with his fingers bleeding because the skin was worn through. I bound up his fingers at night, and next morning he went to his work as usual. But when pay day came, he was told he could not receive his wages. All had been paid out; there were no funds left. “Well,” said my husband, “we have nothing in the house to eat. My wife fainted this morning for want of food.” His employer took him to the storehouse and put in a bag some flour, meal, beans, and various things tied up in parcels. He said, “It will keep you a few days.” 4LtMs, Ms 76, 1886, par. 9

It was raining when my husband entered the house with this bag on his shoulders. He was wet and tired. I looked into his face and said, “Husband, has it come to this? Has God really forgotten us?” [Unfinished.] 4LtMs, Ms 76, 1886, par. 10