The Review and Herald

126/1902

September 6, 1877

Notes from the Field

EGW

On Thursday, August 23, our little company, consisting of Eld. Smith, my sick husband and myself, accompanied by sister Ings, left Battle Creek for the camp-meeting at Groveland, Mass. This movement of ours required considerable faith. To judge from appearances, it looked like presumption for my husband and myself to attempt the journey. I had been, and was still suffering much from a severe cold, taken while on the Indiana camp-ground, and had been under treatment at our Sanitarium, being much of the time a great sufferer. RH September 6, 1877, par. 1

My husband had been laboring incessantly to advance the interests of the cause of God in the various departments of the work centering in Battle Creek. His friends were astonished at the amount of labor he was accomplishing. Sabbath morning, August 18, he spoke in our house of worship. In the afternoon his mind was closely and critically exercised for four consecutive hours, while he listened to the reading of manuscript for Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 3. The matter was intensely interesting, and calculated to stir the soul to its very depths, being a relation of the trial, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Christ. Before we were aware of it he was very weary. He commenced labor on Sunday at five o'clock in the morning, and continued working until twelve at night. In this time he accomplished a great amount of business. RH September 6, 1877, par. 2

The next morning at about half-past six he was attacked by giddiness, and was threatened with paralysis. We greatly feared this dreaded calamity; but the Lord was merciful, and spared us the affliction. However, his attack was followed by utter physical and mental prostration; and now indeed it seemed impossible for us to attend the Eastern camp-meetings, or for me to attend them, and leave my husband depressed in spirits, and in feeble health. RH September 6, 1877, par. 3

On Wednesday we had a special season of prayer that the blessing of God might rest upon him, and restore him to health. We also asked for wisdom that we might know our duty in regard to attending the camp-meetings. The Lord had many times strengthened our faith to go forth and work for him under discouragements and infirmities; and at such times he had wonderfully preserved and upheld us. But our friends pleaded that we ought to rest, and that it appeared inconsistent and unreasonable for us to attempt such a journey, and to incur the fatigue and exposure of camp life. We, ourselves, tried to think that the cause of God would go forward the same if we were set aside, and had no part to act in it. God would raise up others to do his work. RH September 6, 1877, par. 4

I could not, however, find rest and freedom in the thought of remaining absent from the field of labor. It seemed to me that Satan was striving to hedge up my way, to prevent me from bearing my testimony, and from doing the work God had given me to do. I had about decided to go alone, and do my part, trusting in God to give me the needful strength, when we received a letter from Bro. Haskell, in which he thanked God that Bro. and sister White would attend the New England camp-meeting. Eld. Canright had written that he could not be present, as he would be unable to leave the interest in Danvers, and also that none of the company could be spared from the tent. Eld. Haskell stated in his letter that all preparations had been made for a large meeting at Groveland; and it was decided to have it, with the help of God, even if he had to carry it through alone; and that when once he had made this decision the bitterness of death was past. RH September 6, 1877, par. 5

This statement of the situation brought a burden upon me, and I was more than ever convinced that it was my duty, sick though I was, to go forward in faith to the work, trusting God to give me strength. We again took the matter to the Lord in prayer. We knew the mighty Healer could restore both my husband and myself to health, if it was for his glory to do so. It seemed hard to move out, weary, sick, and discouraged. At times I felt that God would make the journey a blessing to us both, if we went trusting in him. The thought would frequently arise in my mind, Where is your faith? God has promised, “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” RH September 6, 1877, par. 6

I sought to encourage my husband; he thought that if I felt able to undergo the fatigue, and to labor in camp, it would be best for me to go; but he could not endure the thought of accompanying me, in his state of feebleness, unable to labor, his mind clouded with despondency, and himself a subject of pity to his brethren. He had sat up but very little since his sudden attack, and seemed to grow no stronger. We sought the Lord again and again, hoping that there would be a rift in the cloud, but no special light came. RH September 6, 1877, par. 7

About an hour before we stepped on board the train, my husband and myself had a special season of prayer. We then both decided to walk out by faith without evidence, and to venture all on the promise of God. Upon taking our seats in the car we felt that we were in the path of duty. We rested in traveling, and slept well at night. RH September 6, 1877, par. 8

About eight o'clock on Friday evening we reached Boston. There was no train that night to take us out to Groveland, but we took the first train in the morning. When we arrived at the camp-ground, and stepped from the car, the rain was literally pouring. We found our brethren waiting for us at the station, which was just outside the camp, and they protected us with umbrellas till we were safe in the tent. Elder Haskell had labored constantly up to this time, and excellent meetings were reported. There were 47 tents on the ground, besides three large tents, the one for the congregation being 80 by 125 feet in dimensions. RH September 6, 1877, par. 9

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. RH September 6, 1877, par. 10

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, as was the case last year. 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. It seemed to be just what they wanted to hear. In the afternoon it was difficult for me 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 fully seated, the seats having comfortable backs. These were all filled, yet thousands stood about the tent, making a living wall several feet deep. RH September 6, 1877, par. 11

My lungs and throat pained me very much, yet I believed God would help me upon that important occasion. My text was, “To him that overcometh,” etc. Revelation 3:21. The Lord gave me great freedom in addressing that immense crowd upon the subject of Christian Temperance. I labored to show that temperance must be lived out in our homes; that our children must be trained to temperate habits from the cradle, in order for them to be firm of principle, correct in their morals, and able, not only to withstand all temptations to intemperance themselves, but to wield a powerful influence over others in favor of the right. In their ignorance or carelessness, parents give their children the first lessons in intemperance. At the table, loaded with injurious condiments, rich food, and spiced knickknacks, the child acquires a taste for that which is hurtful to him, which tends to irritate the tender coats of the stomach, inflame the blood, and strengthen the animal passions. The appetite soon craves something stronger, and tobacco is used to gratify that craving. This indulgence only increasing the unnatural longing for stimulants, liquor-drinking is soon resorted to, and drunkenness follows. This is the course of the great highway to intemperance. RH September 6, 1877, par. 12

While speaking my weariness and painful throat and lungs 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, with the very best attention throughout. There were many more attentive listeners than we had on a similar occasion at the same place last year, because of the greater number of comfortable seats, which accommodated a third more than those of last year. As the closing hymn was being sung, the officers of the Temperance Reform Club of Haverhill solicited me, as on last year, to speak before their association on the following evening. Having an appointment to speak at Danvers I was obliged to decline the invitation. They then desired me to speak one week from the following Monday, but as we expected to attend the Eastern camp-meetings, we could not comply with this request. RH September 6, 1877, par. 13

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 mammoth tent, and my husband, in his feebleness, was able to meet with us, and spoke for a short time, precious words from a heart softened, and aglow with a deep sense of the mercy and goodness of God. He spoke to the point of bringing the believers in the truth to realize their privilege of receiving assurance of the grace of God in their hearts; that the great truths we believe should sanctify the life, and ennoble the character, and have a saving influence upon the world. The tearful eyes, and sympathizing looks of the people showed that their hearts were touched and melted by his remarks. RH September 6, 1877, par. 14

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 200 came forward for prayers, ranging in years from the child of ten to gray-headed men and women. More than a score of souls among them were setting their feet in the way of life for the first time. In the afternoon thirty-eight persons were baptized, quite a number delaying baptism until they returned to their homes. RH September 6, 1877, par. 15

The Danvers Tent

Monday evening I stood in the stand of the Danvers tent. A large congregation was before me; I never stood in the presence of a more intelligent looking people; they were evidently of the best class of society. The tent was full, and about 200 persons stood outside the canvas, unable to find room inside. I went into the stand with great weariness and trembling. My throat and lungs were very painful, and in a state of congestion; but I had found comfort in pleading with God for help in this emergency. I knew that if any degree of success attended my labors, it would be through the strength of One mightier than I. Committing myself to God, I commenced to speak 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,” etc. Matthew 22:37-39. RH September 6, 1877, par. 16

The blessing of God rested upon me, and my pain and feebleness were forgotten. 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, I had the pleasure of speaking with quite a number who had lately embraced the truth. There is a growing interest in Danvers. The community is stirred, and many have received the light, and have been led into the path of holiness and obedience. May the good work progress, and sinners continue to yield their hearts to God. RH September 6, 1877, par. 17

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 has been one of the best camp-meetings I have attended. Before leaving the ground Elders Canright, Haskell, my husband, sister Ings, and myself 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. RH September 6, 1877, par. 18

In the afternoon we started for South Lancaster, to rest at the home of Eld. Haskell. He took us there in his carriage, by easy stage across the country. We preferred this way of traveling, thinking it would benefit our health. We are now resting at the good, quiet home of Eld. Haskell, enjoying the peace of God, and rejoicing that we have been so wonderfully sustained on our journey, and in our work. RH September 6, 1877, par. 19

Mrs. E. G. White