Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 19 (1904)

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Lt 293, 1904

Belden, Brother and Sister [S. T.]

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

October 17, 1904

Portions of this letter are published in 5Bio 350-352.

Dear Brother and Sister Belden,—

We have just returned from our trip to the East. On our way from Melrose, Massachusetts, we attended a camp-meeting at Middletown, Connecticut. I had hoped that I might see Sarah Belden and Lillie Gilbert at this meeting, and I wrote them that I would attend, asking them to meet me there. But for some reason they did not come, and so I did not see them. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 1

We had a good meeting at Middletown. I could only remain during the first part of it; for I was on my way to Battle Creek, where an appointment had been given out that I would speak in the Tabernacle on Tuesday afternoon. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 2

You will remember Middletown as the place at which the paper Present Truth was first published. We were then living at Rocky Hill, in your father’s house, and I remember that my husband wrote his editorials, while sitting in a splint-bottomed chair. Then he would walk to Middletown, a distance of eight miles, to the place of publication. When the papers came from the press, they were folded on a table in a room in Colonel Chamberlain’s house. Then we put them on the floor and bowed before God in prayer, asking His special blessing upon them, entreating Him to let His Holy Spirit accompany the copies as they were sent out. Our prayers were offered with weeping, and yet with rejoicing. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 3

You must be quite familiar with this history. It is very fresh in my mind. I related some of it in my discourses, and it was listened to with eager interest. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 4

The Middletown meeting was a profitable one to all who had ears to hear. Sabbath was a precious day. The tent was well filled at the afternoon service. After the meeting, one of our ministers said, “I fear there will not be so many out tomorrow; for Connecticut is the Blue-law State, and the people may think they are breaking the Sunday laws by attending a camp-meeting service instead of going to their own church.” I said, “Instead of talking unbelief, let us tell the Lord how greatly we desire that the people may hear the truth.” 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 5

The next afternoon the tent was filled to overflowing, and several young men were kept busy bringing extra seats from the smaller tents. As many chairs as possible were placed in the aisles, and even then many people sat on the outside. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 6

The Lord gave me a message to bear to the people both on Sabbath and Sunday. I bore a straight, direct testimony. I feel very grateful for the strength and the freedom that I enjoyed while attending these meetings at Middletown. I felt the inspiration of the Spirit of God upon me. I brought in the subject of temperance, showing how necessary temperance is in this age of the world. I told the people that now, in 1904, the world is becoming as it was in the days of Noah. Christ declares that this is a sign that the end of the world is near. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 7

“When He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them, and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation! neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 8

“And He said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there; go not after them, nor follow them. For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first He must suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 9

“And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” [Luke 17:20-30.] 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 10

We are now to be constantly in readiness for the coming of Christ. We are to prepare our souls for the great day of the Lord. But there are few who realize the importance of this preparation—the preparation to which Christ referred in the words, “The kingdom of God is within you.” [Verse 21.] He of whom these words can be spoken is in harmony with all the principles and laws of the kingdom of God. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 11

The people of the world must hear the message for this time. This message is to be most earnestly lived and most clearly proclaimed by Seventh-day Adventists. We have no time to lose. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 12

This Spirit of the Lord rested upon me as I bore my testimony in Middletown. During the first part of the meeting there were not many ministers present, but they came afterward and were present on Monday for counsel in regard to the future work of the Southern New England Conference. We came together early Monday morning, and I again bore my testimony in regard to our work and the light that the Lord has given me. I spoke in regard to the Melrose Sanitarium and told how the beautiful property on which the institution is now established was purchased for a very low price. The Sanitarium property consist of four large buildings and forty acres of land. This property is situated in the midst of a park of three thousand five hundred acres, which belongs to the State and on which no buildings can be put up. The buildings were originally used as a hotel. At one time there was another building, large and elegant, the erection of which cost an enormous sum of money. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 13

When the attention of our brethren was first called to this property, they knew that the price would be so high that they could not possibly purchase it. But not long after, the building which had cost so much was burned to the ground, and the four remaining ones, with the forty acres of land, were offered for sale for forty-four thousand dollars. They were purchased by our brethren, and the sanitarium work at that time carried on in South Lancaster was at once transferred to Melrose. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 14

The whole transaction was one of the most remarkable that we have ever heard of. The situation of the Sanitarium property is one of the most favorable that I have ever seen for this work. The spacious lawns, the noble trees, the beauty of the scenery all around answer to the representations shown me of what our sanitariums ought to be. Everything is attractive to the eye and refreshing to the senses. Right in front of the main building there is a large, beautiful lake called Spot Pond. This lake supplies the city of Boston with water and is most carefully guarded from contamination. No boating or bathing is allowed in it. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 15

The roads through the Park are very well kept, and the scenery is lovely. I rode out every day, and I cannot find words to describe the beauty of what I saw. I enjoyed looking at the many different kinds of tress in the Park, but most of all I enjoyed looking at the noble pine. There are medicinal properties in the fragrance of these trees. “Life, life,” my husband used to say when riding amongst the pines. “Breathe deep, Ellen; fill your lungs with the fragrant, life-giving atmosphere.” 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 16

There was about six thousand dollars worth of furniture in the buildings when they were purchased. Among this furniture there were many washstands, bureaus, and bedsteads of black walnut, and many fine hair mattresses, which only needed renovating. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 17

These advantages meant much to those in charge of the sanitarium work; for they had to count every penny. The wealthy people in South Lancaster who purchased the Sanitarium property there gave the price asked, and then told our brethren that they could have the building if they would move it away. The offer was accepted, and the material in this building is now stored at Melrose and will be used sometime in the erection of another building, which is greatly needed. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 18

I presented these things in the meeting before Dr. Read, Dr. Hare, Brethren Daniells, Cottrell, and Edwards, and several other ministers, and begged them to appreciate the advantage that this beautiful Sanitarium property is to our people. I begged them to encourage Brother and Sister Nicola, who are in charge of the Melrose Sanitarium, and who are both competent, God-fearing physicians and medical missionaries. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 19

We took the train that morning for Battle Creek, changing cars at Springfield, Massachusetts. At Battle Creek, we found several at the station to meet us, and we were given a hearty welcome. We were driven at once to the Sanitarium and were given two of the best rooms in the institution. The next morning I spoke to the patients in the parlor. I had freedom in dwelling upon the simplicity of truth and its great power to transform all who come to Christ in faith. I dwelt upon the precious assurance given to all who follow Christ in humility and trustfulness. “Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find,” the Saviour declares. [Matthew 7:7.] We need plain, simple, unvarnished truth. This is the only panacea for weary, sin-sick souls. Pure, unvarnished truth is the power of God unto salvation, able to convict and convert souls. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 20

After the meeting Dr. Kellogg introduced me to some of the guests at the Sanitarium, and I was surprised to see how powerfully the words spoken in simplicity and earnestness had affected them. All, whether they be believers or unbelievers, may find comfort and hope and joy and light in the Holy Spirit, if they will be taught as God’s little children. There are many, many in the world who will be converted when the truth is set before them. There are many who are now regarded as heathen, who, when the truth is presented to them in love and simplicity, will be converted, and believe, and be saved. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 21

The next morning I spoke to the nurses and helpers, and the place of meeting was full. The Lord gave me great freedom as I spoke once more of the glad tidings of the Redeemer’s love. The love of Christ, shown by good works, begets love in the hearts of others. All true evangelical work is a demonstration of the power of God through His gospel of salvation. As Christ is received as the sin-pardoning Saviour, the power of God is revealed in saving perishing souls. By holding forth the Word of life, we are to win souls to Christ. Thus the saving power of the truth will be seen. The healing grace of Christ will be manifest in the changed lives of men and women. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 22

I was asked to speak in the Tabernacle that day at one o’clock, as that was the hour at which all could best assemble. I consented, expecting to see two or three hundred present. What was my surprise to see twenty-five hundred present. Most of those who came did not receive the word till some time during that same morning. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 23

The meeting in the Tabernacle was an excellent one, because the Spirit of the Lord impressed hearts and minds. The Lord gave me strength to speak to the large congregation. I know that impressions were made upon hearts, which, if cherished, would lead many to a true understanding of the truth as it is in Jesus. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 24

The great Medical Missionary left the heavenly courts and came to this world to save sinners. He “was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” [John 1:14.] He sympathized with suffering humanity. He went about doing good, feeding the hungry and healing the sick, by His loving deeds showing how those who receive Him must work. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 25

In like manner His ambassadors are to preach the gospel. We are called upon to reveal His pitying love for the lost and perishing sheep of His pasture. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 26

As I spoke, my mind was full of the precious things of the Spirit of the Lord. I was strongly urged to remain over the Sabbath, and I finally consented. But Willie came that night from Canada and assured me that I must fill my appointment at Omaha. He assured me that the large number of people who had gathered in camp-meeting in that city would be greatly disappointed if I were not present to speak to them on the closing Sabbath and Sunday of their meeting. So I decided to go on to Omaha, promising to return to Battle Creek after attending the meeting to be held in College View. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 27

According to my promise I returned to Battle Creek, spending several days there. A week ago last Monday we left Battle Creek for Chicago, on our way to California. We were obliged to spend several hours in Chicago, and Willie got a carriage and took me to several places of interest in the city, where different lines of our work are being carried on. We rode out several miles to visit a brother and sister who are conducting a hygienic restaurant and in this way gaining an access to souls. Their children, married and unmarried, are engaged with them in this work. One daughter was sick, and we talked and prayed with her. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 28

About eight o’clock in the evening we went to the station, and as we had still another hour to wait before we could get aboard the train, I went into the ladies’ room and lay down on a lounge for a little while. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 29

We came home on the tourist car. On the way our train was delayed for lack of an extra engine, and we found that we could not possibly reach St. Helena before the Sabbath. So we decided to stop at Reno over the Sabbath. Ella and Mable are there at present. Ella is teaching church school. I spoke to the church on the Sabbath, and the Lord blessed me. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 30

Saturday evening we once more took the train and reached home Sunday evening. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 31

With much love. 19LtMs, Lt 293, 1904, par. 32