The Review and Herald


May 24, 1906

The San Francisco Earthquake


While at Loma Linda, the second night after the dedication of the sanitarium, there passed before me a most wonderful representation. During a vision of the night, I stood on an eminence, from which I could see houses shaken like a reed in the wind. Buildings, great and small, were falling to the ground. Pleasure resorts, theaters, hotels, and the homes of the wealthy were shaken and shattered. Many lives were blotted out of existence, and the air was filled with the shrieks of the injured and the terrified. RH May 24, 1906, par. 1

The destroying angels of God were at work. One touch, and buildings so thoroughly constructed that men regarded them as secure against every danger, quickly became heaps of rubbish. There was no assurance of safety in any place. I did not feel in any special peril, but the awfulness of the scenes that passed before me I can not find words to describe. It seemed that the forbearance of God was exhausted, and that the Judgment day had come. RH May 24, 1906, par. 2

The angel that stood by my side then instructed me that but few have any conception of the wickedness existing in our world today, and especially the wickedness in the large cities. He declared that the Lord has appointed a time when he will visit transgressors in wrath for persistent disregard of his law. RH May 24, 1906, par. 3

At about one o'clock I awoke, and was impressed to write out some things regarding the supreme rulership of God, and the sacredness of his law. When I met my secretary early in the morning, I told her that wonderful representations had been passing before me in the night season. After breakfast, we received a message asking us to go to Los Angeles by the afternoon train; but I was unable to take any part in preparing for the journey. I was as one dazed by the awful scenes that had passed before me. RH May 24, 1906, par. 4

We went to Glendale, near Los Angeles, and the following night, April 17, further representations passed before me. I seemed to be in an assembly, setting before the people the requirements of God's law. I read the scriptures regarding the institution of the Sabbath in Eden at the close of the creation week, and regarding the giving of the law at Sinai; and then I showed that the Sabbath was to be observed “for a perpetual covenant,” as a sign between God and his people forever, that they may know that they are sanctified by the Lord, their Creator. RH May 24, 1906, par. 5

Then I dwelt upon the supreme rulership of God above all earthly rulers. His law is to be the standard of action. None are to pervert their senses by intemperance, or by yielding their minds to satanic influences: for this makes impossible the keeping of God's law. While the divine Ruler bears long with perversity, he is not deceived, and will not always keep silence. His supremacy, his authority as Ruler of the universe, must finally be acknowledged, and the just claims of his law vindicated. RH May 24, 1906, par. 6

Much more instruction regarding the long-sufferance of God, and the necessity of arousing transgressors to a realization of their perilous position in his sight, was repeated to the people, as received from my instructor. RH May 24, 1906, par. 7

Wednesday morning, April 18, I was to speak in the church at Los Angeles, where the Southern California Conference was assembled. As we neared the church, we heard the newsboys crying, “San Francisco destroyed by an earthquake!” With a heavy heart I read the first hastily printed news of the terrible disaster. RH May 24, 1906, par. 8

Two weeks later, on our homeward journey, we went by the way of San Jose, Mountain View, and San Francisco. As we traveled northward, we saw some of the effects of the earthquake; and when we entered San Jose, we could see that large buildings had collapsed, and that others had been seriously damaged. RH May 24, 1906, par. 9

At Mountain View, the new post-office and some of the largest stores in the town had been leveled to the ground. Other buildings had partially collapsed, and were badly wrecked. When we saw the fallen walls of the Pacific Press, we were sad at heart; but we could not help rejoicing over the fact that no lives were lost. Here, as also in San Francisco, the Lord mercifully spared his children. RH May 24, 1906, par. 10

We were glad to learn that the proposal of our brethren in Washington, that the situation of our institutions at Mountain View and in San Francisco should be presented in all our churches, met with general favor, and that all will be invited to contribute something toward a fund for their relief. We believe that our people will respond liberally in offerings to meet the present necessities of our institutions that have suffered. There is no necessity of urging our people to help these institutions; for we believe that all will respond with gifts, and with a tribute of thanksgiving to God for his protecting care over his children. RH May 24, 1906, par. 11

In this their hour of need, the managers of the Pacific Press are not idle. They have enclosed their building, and are now repairing the damaged rooms inside. The machinery was injured but little, and very soon the presses were at work. The office is now busy with the publication of a special edition of The Signs of the Times, containing an account of the earthquake, and some articles regarding the meaning of such disasters. A commendable effort is being made to give this Earthquake Special a large circulation, and to accompany its distribution with many books and tracts. RH May 24, 1906, par. 12

Just now, when people are thinking seriously, literature on the meaning of the signs of the times, wisely circulated, will have a telling effect in behalf of the truth. At this time, when awful calamities are sweeping away the most costly structures as if by a breath of fire from heaven, many sinners are afraid, and stand trembling before God. Now is our opportunity to make known the truth to them. RH May 24, 1906, par. 13

Brethren and sisters, will you put on the Christian armor? “Your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace,” you will be prepared to walk from house to house, carrying the truth to the people. Sometimes you will find it trying to do this kind of work; but if you go forth in faith, the Lord will go before you, and will let his light shine upon your pathway. Entering the homes of your neighbors to sell or to give away our literature, and in humility to teach them the truth, you will be accompanied by the light of heaven, which will abide in these homes. RH May 24, 1906, par. 14

God's judgments are abroad in the land. Shall we allow these things to come upon the world without telling the people the meaning of these terrible calamities, and how every one may escape from the wrath to come? Shall we let our neighbors remain in darkness without a preparation for the future life? Unless we ourselves realize where we stand, the day of God will come upon us as a thief. RH May 24, 1906, par. 15

Time is precious. The destiny of souls is in the balance. At infinite cost a way of salvation has been provided. Shall Christ's great sacrifice be in vain? Shall the earth be entirely controlled by satanic agencies? The salvation of souls is dependent on the consecration and activity of God's church. The Lord calls upon all who believe in him to be workers together with him. While their life shall last, they are not to feel that their work is done. Until the time comes when Christ shall say, “It is finished,” his work for the saving of souls will not decrease, but will grow in importance, and be far-reaching. RH May 24, 1906, par. 16

On our way home from Mountain View, we passed through San Francisco, and for an hour and a half viewed the destruction wrought in that great city. Buildings that were supposed to be proof against disaster, are lying in ruins. In some instances buildings were partially sunken into the ground. The city presents a most dreadful picture of the inefficiency of human ingenuity to frame fire-proof and earthquake-proof structures. RH May 24, 1906, par. 17

San Francisco has been laid low, but other cities still remain standing. The mercy of God is shown by his long forbearance. He is holding back his judgments, waiting for the message of warning to be sounded to all. There are many who have not yet heard the testing truths for this time. The last call of mercy is to be given more fully to our world. The Word of God portrays the wickedness and corruption that will exist in the world in the last days. As we see the fulfilment of prophecy, our faith in the final triumph of Christ's kingdom should be increased. We should go forth with courage to do our appointed work. RH May 24, 1906, par. 18

The Lord is soon to come. In fire and flood and earthquake, he is warning the inhabitants of this earth of his soon approach. O, that the people may know the time of their visitation! We have no time to lose. We must make more determined efforts to lead the people of the world to see that the day of judgment is near at hand. Carefully prepared literature on the significance of the scenes we are now witnessing, is to be circulated everywhere. Our understanding is to be quickened by the Holy Spirit. O, if our people would feel as they should the responsibility resting upon them to give the last message of mercy to the world, what a wonderful work would be done! A thousand times more work for God might be accomplished if all his children would fully consecrate themselves to him, using their talents aright. RH May 24, 1906, par. 19