Early Writings


The Pioneers Begin to Publish

It was shortly after the fifth of these Sabbath conferences held in 1848 that another meeting was called at the home of Otis Nichols in Dorchester (near Boston), Massachusetts. The brethren were studying and praying concerning their responsibility to herald the light that the Lord had caused to shine upon their pathway. As they studied, Ellen White was taken off in vision, and in this revelation she was shown the duty of the brethren to publish this light. She recounts the incident in Life Sketches. EW xxiv.1

“After coming out of vision, I said to my husband: ‘I have a message for you. You must begin to print a little paper and send it out to the people. Let it be small at first; but as the people read, they will send you means with which to print, and it will be a success from the first. From this small beginning it was shown to me to be like streams of light that went clear round the world.’”—Page 125. EW xxiv.2

Here was a call to action. What could James White do? He had little of this world's goods. But the vision was a divine directive, and he felt the compulsion to move forward by faith. So with his seventy-five cent Bible and concordance with both covers torn off, James White began to prepare the articles on the Sabbath truth and other kindred topics to be printed in a little paper. All this took time, but eventually he presented the copy to a printer in Middletown, Connecticut, who was willing to trust him for the printing order. The type was set, the proofs were read, and one thousand copies of the paper were printed. James White transported them from the Middletown printing office to the Belden home where he and Ellen had found a temporary refuge. The little sheet was six by nine inches in size and contained eight pages. It bore the title The Present Truth. The date was July, 1849. The little pile of papers was laid upon the floor. Then the brethren and sisters gathered about them and with tears in their eyes pleaded with God to bless the little sheet as it should be sent out. Then the papers were folded, wrapped and addressed, and James White carried them eight miles to the Middletown post office. Thus the publishing work of the Seventh-day Adventist Church began. EW xxiv.3

Four issues were sent out in this manner, and each was prayed over before the papers were taken to the post office. Soon letters were received telling of people who had begun to keep the Sabbath from reading the papers. Some of the letters contained money, and James White, in September, was able to pay the Middletown printer the $64.50 due for the four issues. EW xxv.1