The Signs of the Times


October 19, 1876

Incidents of the Michigan Camp-Meeting


This is the largest gathering of Sabbath-keepers we have yet seen. Although there has been a great amount of business to be done, it has been accomplished with efficiency and dispatch, no disagreeable hindrances occurring to block the wheels. Very many excellent discourses have been given, presenting to the people the truths so important for this time. ST October 19, 1876, par. 1

On Thursday, after speaking from the third and fourth chapters of Malachi, we invited those who had made no profession and those who were backslidden and had lost their evidences of God's love for them, to come forward and seek the Lord by confession and repentance. About three hundred accepted the invitation. Opportunity was given them to express their feelings and desires. Many testimonies of confession were made with deep feeling. Fathers and mothers owned to a neglect of duty towards their children in not giving them the care and instruction which it was their duty to give. It touched my heart to hear the many testimonies from the lips of those who were babes in the truth. Some had kept but a single Sabbath, while others had observed two, four, or six. They were rejoicing in the truth, but were not satisfied with their present attainments, and expressed a determination to reach a higher standard. ST October 19, 1876, par. 2

My mother heart was stirred to see the children pressing in their testimonies, many lifting the cross for the first time. One of these was a boy ten years of age, and I have never seen persons of mature age manifest deeper soul-conflict than this tender child. His face was deadly pale, and indicated the deepest feeling; he had never before spoken on such an occasion, and could say but a few words; he wanted to be a Christian and to be saved in Heaven. ST October 19, 1876, par. 3

With what pleasure must the angels of God regard the efforts put forth, and the victories gained by these little ones over natural pride and timidity. With what tender care will they guard these lambs of the flock. ST October 19, 1876, par. 4

It was a solemn sight to see hundreds seeking the Lord with earnest determination. These people were not moving fitfully, but calmly and understandingly. There was a total absence of fanaticism and excitement; no shrieks, and nervous, spasmodic movements. But the Spirit of the Lord rested upon the people, and solemn, earnest prayer was offered to God in behalf of those who were seeking him. ST October 19, 1876, par. 5

After the meeting closed, a sister took me heartily by the hand, expressing great joy at meeting sister White again. She inquired if I remembered calling at a log house in the woods twenty-two years before. She gave us refreshments, and I left with them a little book, “Experience and Views.” She stated that she had lent that little book to her neighbors, as new families had settled around her, until there was very little left of it; and she expressed a great desire to obtain another copy of the work. Her neighbors were deeply interested in it, and were desirous of seeing the writer. She said that when I called upon her I talked to her of Jesus and the beauties of Heaven, and that the words were spoken with such fervor that she was charmed, and had never forgotten them. Since that time the Lord had sent ministers to preach the truth to them, and now there was quite a company observing the Sabbath. The influence of that little book, now worn out with perusing, had extended from one to another, performing its silent work, until the soil was ready for the seeds of truth. ST October 19, 1876, par. 6

I well remember the long journey we took twenty-two years ago, in Michigan. We were on our way to hold a meeting in Vergennes. We were fifteen miles from our destination. Our driver had passed over the road repeatedly and was well acquainted with it, but was compelled to acknowledge that he had lost the way. We traveled forty miles that day, through the woods, over logs and fallen trees, where there was scarcely a trace of road. I was feeble, and fainted twice on the way. We had no food. The brother who drove the team, tried to find some water; but there was none fit for use. He made efforts to obtain a little milk from the cows we met on the road; but they were too wild to be approached by a stranger. ST October 19, 1876, par. 7

As I was fainting with thirst, I thought of travelers perishing in the desert. Cool streams of water seemed to lie directly before me; but as we passed on they proved to be only an illusion. A goblet of water seemed just within my grasp. I eagerly reached out my hand to take it, but it was gone. My husband prayed for me that I might be sustained on that dreary journey. We could not understand why we should be left to this singular wandering in the wilderness. ST October 19, 1876, par. 8

We were never more pleased than when we came in sight of a little clearing on which was a log cabin, where we found the sister I have mentioned. She kindly welcomed us to her home, and provided us with refreshments, which were gratefully received. As we rested, I talked with the family and left them the little book. She gladly accepted it, and has preserved it until the present time. ST October 19, 1876, par. 9

For twenty-two years our wanderings on this journey have seemed indeed mysterious to us, but here we met quite a company who are now believers in the truth, and who date their first experience from the influence of that little book. The sister who so kindly administered to our wants is now, with many of her neighbors, rejoicing in the light of present truth and the family have worked their way from poverty to a competency in temporal things. We were sorry to be compelled to refuse the earnest entreaties of the sister and her friends to visit them and speak to the people. ST October 19, 1876, par. 10

We were interested in meeting quite a number of persons who had been converted to the truth by visiting the Health Institute as patients. The institute affords a wide field for missionary labor which we fear few appreciate. True, earnest, faithful workers in this branch of the cause will achieve great results. ST October 19, 1876, par. 11

One sister who was upon the ground had been confined to her bed for several years, being unable to have the charge of her family. She had expended much means, suffering many things of many physicians, but was rather made worse than better. The family became embarrassed financially through the necessary expense attending long sickness. At last, she visited the Health Institute, and was greatly benefited. Though she was at first much prejudiced against the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, her connection with our people, a more intimate acquaintance with them, and a more thorough knowledge of their views, resulted in her embracing the truth. She has recovered health, and has been enabled to take the supervision of her family and endure great taxation. The beams of truth which she received have enlightened her mind and quickened her understanding, until she can say with the psalmist, “Oh, how love I thy law.” The light which she and her husband have received, they let shine forth to others. The benefit she received from treatment at the Health Institute has induced many others to visit that institution, of whom quite a number have been led to embrace the truth through the influences which were thrown around them there. ST October 19, 1876, par. 12

Thus the work moves on. Numerous instances similar to this might be mentioned. The Judgment alone will reveal the great good accomplished by this branch of the work. It may be a powerful agent in the hands of God to bring many souls to the knowledge of the truth, if the workers connected with the institution are consecrated to God. ST October 19, 1876, par. 13

From the first, the conference meetings were good. There was a readiness to engage in devotional exercises, and the testimonies were characterized by fervor and an earnest determination to progress in the work of overcoming. Sabbath morning, the people were divided into three companies, each with an appointed leader, and three social meetings were held simultaneously. All were interesting and profitable. ST October 19, 1876, par. 14

Sabbath afternoon, we spoke on the subject of Christ riding into Jerusalem. The word seemed to reach the hearts of the hearers, and after we closed the discourse, we invited those to come forward who felt that they were sinners, and those who felt that their lives were like the pretentious fig-tree, covered with leaves, but destitute of fruit. Four hundred responded to the invitation. ST October 19, 1876, par. 15

E. G. White.