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1BIO - Chapter 12 - Summer Tide Turned
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Chapter 12:    The Summer the Tide Turned ( 1850 )
 
 
Present Truth, in ten issues published over a period of eleven months, heralded the third angel’s message, with the Sabbath truth as the focal point. But the eye of the Lord saw a need extending beyond this—something that would bring men and women who had been in the great advent awakening to see that experience in its true light as the work of God. Ellen White wrote of this on August 4, 1850: { 1BIO 179.1 } 
 
The Lord showed me that he, James, must take the testimonies that the leading Adventists published in 1844 and republish them and make them ashamed.—Letter 8, 1850. { 1BIO 179.2 } 
A few days before this James wrote of the instruction: { 1BIO 179.3 } 
The Lord has shown Ellen that I must publish the testimonies of those who acknowledged the work done and the Advent move of God after 1844. Now this is my first work. I expect to get out a paper called the Advent Review, sixteen pages, the size of the Present Truth.
I shall, if I have means, put in a slice of Cook’s Testimony and [Bates’s] Way Marks, et cetera, et cetera. The cause calls for it. I hope to get out six numbers, three thousand copies each, [which] will cost $250. I shall move as the means come in.... { 1BIO 179.4 } 
 
My way is onward. Men of Israel, help. Now is the time to work for God. For your encouragement I will state one case where the papers did much good. Someone requested me to send the paper to Betsey Benson. I sent two copies. She read one and sent the other to Sister Thomas. Both came into the truth. At the Johnson, Vermont, conference, Sister Thomas gave me $25 to publish with. So you see the cause will move on.—JW to “Dear Brother,” July 21, 1850. { 1BIO 179.5 }
 
In early August, James and Ellen White moved to the home of Brother Harris at Port Byron, New York. There he undertook to publish the journal reviewing the experiences called for through the vision. He could get it printed at nearby Auburn. He explained the object of the paper in an opening editorial statement: { 1BIO 180.1 } 
 
Our design in this review is to cheer and refresh the true believer, by showing the fulfillment of prophecy in the past wonderful work of God, in calling out, and separating from the world and the nominal church, a people who are looking for the second advent of the dear Saviour. { 1BIO 180.2 } 
 
Those who claim to be Adventists should, to be consistent, acknowledge the means that God in mercy has employed to bring them to the light of the Advent truth, and which has made them what they are. No one will deny the fact that it was the proclamation of the time, 1843, as it was written on the chart, that aroused the Advent people to look for the Lord. { 1BIO 180.3 } 
 
If that alarm had not been given, none would have been waked up to see the true light, and those who rejoice in the “blessed hope” would now, doubtless, be covered up in the mist and darkness of the nominal church. We cannot, therefore, see the least consistency in the position of those who call themselves Adventists, and at the same time call the very means that has brought them to this scriptural faith and hope “a mistake,” “fanaticism,” “mesmerism,” and, as some have said, “of the devil.” { 1BIO 180.4 } 
 
What! shall we rejoice in the “blessed hope,” and then turn round and curse the means that heaven has employed to bring us to its light and glory? God forbid it. Such a course, ... such a position, is not only inconsistent in the extreme, but blasphemous.—AR, August, 1850. { 1BIO 180.5 } 
 
He declared his intention to republish the writings of the leaders in the Advent cause and to “show that they once boldly advocated, and published to the world, the same position, ... that we now occupy.” This he declared would show “who have Left the Original Faith.” { 1BIO 180.6 } 
 
As the content was to be largely a reprinting of earlier published materials, he was able to pull things together rather quickly, with four numbers put out in August and September. Added to this was an Extra in September bearing the same theme but carrying the signature of Hiram Edson in nearby Port Gibson. { 1BIO 181.1 } 
 
 
 Satan’s Vicious Attacks
The great adversary did all within his power to block this move that would enlighten and inform perplexed Adventists who had not clearly seen their way since the October 22 disappointment. Correspondence of the time portrays the story vividly. First there were the warnings provided by the vision of July 29, 1850: { 1BIO 181.2 } 
 
I saw the powers of darkness were rising. Satan has come down in great power knowing his time is short. Said the angel as he pointed to Israel, “Art thou rising? Thou art upon enchanted ground; dost thou not see it? Awake and arise and put on the strength of the Lord.” ... { 1BIO 181.3 } 
 
I saw we must be constantly rising and keep the ascendancy above the powers of darkness. I saw singing to the glory of God often drove the enemy, and shouting would beat him back and give us the victory. I saw there was too little glorifying God in Israel and too little childlike simplicity. { 1BIO 181.4 } 
 
I asked the angel why there was not more power in Israel. Said he, “Ye let go of the promises of God too quickly; press your petitions to the throne and hold on by faith. Believe ye receive the things ye ask for, and ye shall have them.”—Letter 8, 1850. { 1BIO 181.5 } 
 
What took place in rather quick sequence as James began to publish again, although soul-rending and faith-testing, came as no surprise, for in addition to this general warning Ellen White was given specific advance warning. She wrote on August 15 to Stockbridge Howland and his wife: { 1BIO 181.6 } 
 
The Lord showed me some weeks ago that as James would begin to republish what the leaders had written in ‘44 upon the truth, Satan would try to hinder us, but we must struggle for the victory and go on.—Letter 12, 1850. { 1BIO 181.7 }
Here is what the great adversary did in attempting to hinder the work he hated, as portrayed by Ellen White in the August 15 letter: { 1BIO 182.1 } 
 
Tuesday p.m. [August 6] James and I went to Port Byron with Brother Rhodes; he was to take the canal boat and go on his way to Michigan. It seemed as though we could hardly let him go. We knew not why we felt so. On our way home it seemed to me that Satan had stepped in and was troubling Edson. We found it even so. We found the child at the point of death. { 1BIO 182.2 } 
 
James took his horse and carriage and started to overtake Brother Rhodes. He went five miles, overtook him, and brought him back. That night they prayed for Edson, and he has come up very fast since. Satan wanted to hinder the work of the Lord, so he afflicted the child, but he was beaten back by faith in God, and His name shall have the glory. { 1BIO 182.3 } 
 
When Satan found he could not take the life of the child he tempted me that God had left me or the child would have been healed when we first prayed for him. I sank under this temptation in despair and was so until last Sabbath evening August 10. My heart seemed within me like lead, but God delivered me that eve, and Satan’s power was broken. { 1BIO 182.4 } 
 
But Satan, in his efforts to thwart the work of publishing, was relentless in his attacks. The letter continued: { 1BIO 182.5 }
The next he got hold of was Clarissa; she was sunken and discouraged. At the same time James was taken with the cholera morbus; he failed very fast until yesterday P.M. Then he made a request for us to pray for him. Brother Harris was gone to his work, so that it left only Sister Harris, Clarissa, and Sarah and me. We all felt unworthy to engage in the work, but we felt that the work of the Lord was hindered by his lying on a sickbed, and we knew unless God should deliver him, he could not get well.... We knew something must be done. { 1BIO 182.6 } 
 
I anointed his head and stomach and bowels in the name of the Lord, then we took hold of faith for him; our united prayers went up to God, and the answer came.... James was healed every whit, the great distress he had had in his head was every whit removed, and he looked as though he had got the holy anointing; the fever and all pain left him, and he ate and was strengthened. He walked out upon his faith, harnessed his horse, and he and I went to Port Byron, one mile and a half, and back. He gained strength very fast; he is quite strong today [August 15]. Praise the Lord. { 1BIO 182.7 } 
 
Even so, Satan was not content to cease his buffetings. Continued Ellen White in her letter to the dear friends at Topsham: { 1BIO 183.1 } 
When Satan found his power was completely broken upon him [James], he went to the child again; he woke us crying at the top of his voice. He seemed to have colic, and we went up to the chamber, anointed his stomach with oil and prayed over him, and rebuked Satan, and he had to flee. We heard no more from him till morning. He is quite well today, but rather weak.—Ibid.  { 1BIO 183.2 } 
 
At this point in the narrative Ellen White referred to the warning mentioned earlier that Satan would hinder them, but they must struggle for the victory and go on. She commented: { 1BIO 183.3 } 
It has been just so. He knows this work will hurt his cause and save some jewels. That is why he rages so, but he is driven back.—Ibid.  { 1BIO 183.4 }
 
Special Significance Disclosed by Vision  
The letter to the Howlands recounting the harrowing experiences in confronting the great adversary was written on Thursday, August 15. On Sabbath, August 24, she was shown in vision more of what was back of the experience, and its fuller significance. She made reference to still another attempt on their lives. Beginning with the healing of Edson: { 1BIO 183.5 } 
   
I saw our acting out faith and sending for Brother Rhodes after he had started on his journey saved the life of the child, for God heard the prayers of Brother Rhodes and healed Edson. I saw the child was not afflicted because I held him dear as an idol, but Satan wanted to sadden our hearts and cause the nominal Adventists to triumph and say “Where is their God?” and to hinder the work of God in papers coming out.... { 1BIO 183.6 } 
   
I saw it was the work of the enemy, as we were going from Oswego to Volney, to destroy us on the way by our being thrown from the wagon. I saw the angels of Satan triumphed as they were carrying out their purposes. But I saw the angels of God were around, and as we fell, their arms were beneath us that we might not be injured. I saw the hands of one of the angels were busy at work and wrought for us or we should have been destroyed by Satan.... { 1BIO 184.1 } 
   
I saw these efforts of Satan were to hinder the paper coming out, for the lines that were being republished were written in the Spirit of God and would rejoice the hearts of the trusting ones.... I saw that the paper would strengthen the things that remain and would help build up God’s people in the most holy faith.—Manuscript 7, 1850. { 1BIO 184.2 } 
 
Ellen White was also shown in the vision that much of the same type of conflict was still before God’s people. She had been warned: { 1BIO 184.3 } 
We must buckle on the whole armor and take the shield of faith and we should be enabled to stand and the fiery darts of Satan could not move us.—Ibid. { 1BIO 184.4 } 
 
Four issues of the Advent Review were published at Oswego during August and September. The type was saved, and a forty-eight-page combined number was issued as a “Special” almost immediately. During the next few years it was given a wide distribution. { 1BIO 184.5 } 
 
The Third Angel’s Message to be Made Plain by a Chart
In mid-September James White laid aside publishing the Advent Review, as there were conferences to attend at Sutton, Vermont, September 26 to 29; at Topsham, Maine, October 12 and 13; and at Fairhaven, Massachusetts, October 19 and 20. The Whites could not visit Massachusetts without spending a little time at the Otis Nichols home, in Dorchester, near Boston. So on Monday, the day after the Fairhaven conference, they made their way there. That night, while in the home of a man whose business was lithographing, Ellen White was given instruction in vision. She wrote of it to Reuben Loveland and his wife, whom she had recently met on a visit to Vermont:  { 1BIO 184.6 } 
 
There in the night God gave me a very interesting vision, the most of which you will see in the paper.—Letter 26, 1850. { 1BIO 185.1 } 
 
In her letter to the Hastings family she went into more detail concerning this vision and its call for an advance step in proclaiming the third angel’s message: { 1BIO 185.2 } 
 
On our return to Brother Nichols’ the Lord gave me a vision and showed me that the truth must be made plain upon tables and it would cause many to decide for the truth by the third angel’s message, with the two former being made plain upon tables.—Letter 28, 1850. { 1BIO 185.3 } 
 
In this vision she was also shown that which would give James White courage to continue publishing: { 1BIO 185.4 } 
I also saw it was as necessary for the paper to be published as for the messengers to go, for the messengers need a paper to carry with them containing present truth to put in the hands of those that hear, and then the truth would not fade from the mind. And that the paper would go where the messengers could not go.—Ibid. { 1BIO 185.5 } 
 
Work on the new chart was begun at once, and opportunity was given to tell the brethren about it in the issue of Present Truth that James got out the next month: { 1BIO 185.6 } 
 
The Chart. A chronological chart of the visions of Daniel and John, calculated to illustrate clearly the present truth, is now being lithographed under the care of Brother Otis Nichols, of Dorchester, Massachusetts. Those who teach the present truth will be greatly aided by it. Further notice of the chart will be given hereafter.—The Present Truth, November, 1850M. { 1BIO 185.7 }
 
By late January, 1851, the chart was ready and advertised for $2. James White was much pleased with it and offered it free to “those whom God has called to give the message of the third angel” (The Review and Herald, January, 1851). Some generous donations had helped meet the expense of publication. { 1BIO 185.8 } 
 
 A Marked and Significant Change in the Tide
Turning the pages of the publications and perusing the extant letters as 1850 gave way to 1851 reveals a marked change in the tide as it related to the emerging church. While James or Ellen White would in 1849 or early 1850 write in gratitude for the receipt of $1 to aid the cause, in January, 1851, James could publish a list of significant contributions toward the publication of “the chart“: { 1BIO 186.1 } 
Brethren in Connecticut have paid $40; David Arnold, $5; A. R. Morse, $10; Harvey Childs, $5; Reuben Loveland, $5.—Ibid. { 1BIO 186.2 } 
Two weeks later he reported that Otis Nichols had contributed $75. { 1BIO 186.3 }
 
New names were beginning to appear in correspondence, and published reports indicated larger numbers were attending the conferences called here and there. Preaching forces were materially increased with S. W. Rhodes, John N. Andrews, and George W. Holt traveling from place to place, and Elders Hollis and Lathrop also in the field (JW to “Dear Brother,” July 21, 1850), encouraging the believers and through their ministry adding to their numbers. A different tone developed in the later months of 1850 in James White’s editorial statements and notes, in the Ellen White communications, and in the letters from the field written by both “messengers” and laymen. A firm foundation had been constructed through the late 1840s and the time for marked advance was approaching. The Advent Review was doing an effective work, fulfilling its God-appointed mission. { 1BIO 186.4 } 
 
Reports of the conferences held among the believers took on a brighter turn, as evidenced in the report of the gathering at Sutton, Vermont, from Thursday to Sunday, in late September. Hear James White on this: { 1BIO 186.5 } 
 
Conferences—The blessing of the Lord attends such meetings in a wonderful manner. The Vermont conference, held at Sutton, September 26, 27, 28, and 29, was well attended, and we are sure resulted in much good. The number of believers present was about seventy. Eight of our dear brethren from Canada East were among the number, strong in the “commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” { 1BIO 186.6 } 
 
We anticipated a great trial at that meeting, but were very happily disappointed. True, some trial arose in consequence of the introduction of certain views, relative to the judgment, et cetera, upon which we could not at first agree, but God helped us to discuss the subjects upon which we differed, with profit, and to commit them and ourselves to Him in fervent prayer. Before we left the place of meeting, our trials were all removed. Errors were confessed, and perfect union, as sweet as heaven, was felt among us all. The readiness of all to receive truth in exchange for error has proved sincerity of heart, and has created union, and a confidence in each other, never to be lost. { 1BIO 187.1 } 
 
The fact that God is thus uniting those who keep the commandments is cheering to every soul that loves God and His holy law, and is one strong evidence that He has stretched out His hand the second time to recover the remnant of His people.—AR, November, 1850. { 1BIO 187.2 } 
 
On the Monday before this conference opened, a very significant vision was given to Ellen White in which she was shown that “the scattering time” was just coming to a close and “the gathering time” was dawning. She wrote: { 1BIO 187.3 } 
 
The Lord showed me that He had stretched out His hand the second time to recover the remnant of His people, and that efforts must be redoubled in this gathering time. In the scattering time Israel was smitten and torn; but now in the gathering time God will heal and bind up His people. { 1BIO 187.4 } 
 
In the scattering, efforts made to spread the truth had but little effect, accomplished but little or nothing; but in the gathering when God has set His hand to gather His people, efforts to spread the truth will have their designed effect. All should be united and zealous in the work.—The Present Truth, November, 1850 (see also Early Writings, 74). { 1BIO 187.5 }
 
Many Visions Giving Insights and Guidance
As if in preparation for this day when new impetus would be given to the cause of God, through the summer and fall Ellen White had received an unusually large number of visions giving helpful insights and definite guidance. { 1BIO 187.6 } 
 
On June 27, 1850, she was shown the experience of those who receive the “mark of the beast” and suffer the “seven last plagues,” and she wrote: { 1BIO 187.7 } 
Then I realized, as never before, the importance of searching the Word of God carefully, to know how to escape the plagues which the Word declares shall come on all the ungodly who shall worship the beast and his image and receive his mark in their foreheads or in their hands.—Ibid., 65. { 1BIO 188.1 } 
Before the vision closed she was again shown the reward of the faithful: { 1BIO 188.2 } 
Then I was pointed to the glory of heaven, to the treasure laid up for the faithful. Everything was lovely and glorious. The angels would sing a lovely song.... I joined with them in their songs of praise and honor to the Lamb, and every time I opened my mouth to praise Him, I felt an unutterable sense of the glory that surrounded me.—Ibid., 66. { 1BIO 188.3 } 
 
The angel gave counsel as to what must be done to prepare for the days ahead. He admonished, “Get ready, get ready, get ready.” { 1BIO 188.4 }
 
On August 24 she was shown the significance of the “mysterious rapping” at Hydesville, near Rochester, New York, which marked the revival of modern spiritualism. She was told it would spread and increase and would be accompanied by miraculous powers ( Ibid., 59). { 1BIO 188.5 } 
 
At Oswego on September 7 she was shown the “great work” that must be done for the Lord’s people “before they could stand in the battle in the day of the Lord” ( Ibid., 69). { 1BIO 188.6 } 
 
At the conference in Sutton in late September, she was given a vision in which she was shown the “last plagues and the judgment” and then carried through to the new earth. It was helpful in gaining an understanding of the order of some of the events yet to come ( Ibid., 52-54). { 1BIO 188.7 }
 
 
A Summary of Other Important Visions
Taking up work in Paris, Maine, in late October, Ellen White wrote for publication in the November issue of the Present Truth an inclusive summary of other visions given within recent weeks. Briefly, the following topics were dealt with: { 1BIO 188.8 } 
 
1. I saw that the message “Sell that ye have and give alms” had not been given by some in its clear light; that the true object of the words of our Saviour had not been clearly presented. I saw the object of selling was not to give to those who are able to labor and support themselves, but to spread the truth. It is a sin to support and indulge those who are able to labor, in idleness.... { 1BIO 189.1 } 
2. Some, I saw, had erred in praying for the sick to be healed before unbelievers.... We should follow the example of Jesus. He put unbelievers out of the room, then healed the sick; So we should seek to be separated from the unbelief of those who have not faith.... { 1BIO 189.2 } 
3. Then I was pointed back to the time that Jesus took His disciples away alone, into an upper room, and first washed their feet, and then gave them to eat of the broken bread, to represent His broken body, and juice of the vine to represent His spilled blood. I saw that all should move understandingly, and follow the example of Jesus in these things, and when attending to these ordinances, should be as separate from unbelievers as possible. { 1BIO 189.3 } 
4. Then I was shown that the seven last plagues will be poured out, after Jesus leaves the sanctuary. Said the angel, “It is the wrath of God and the Lamb that causes the destruction or death of the wicked. At the voice of God the saints will be mighty and terrible as an army with banners; but they will not then execute the judgment written. The execution of the judgment will be at the close of the 1,000 years.”—The Present Truth, November, 1850. { 1BIO 189.4 } 
She reviewed the events that will take place during the millennium, such as examining the books of records, as revealed in the vision at Sutton, Vermont, and delineated in Ibid., 52-54. { 1BIO 189.5 } 
5. I also saw that the shepherds should consult those in whom they have reason to have confidence, those who have been in all the messages, and are firm in all present truth, before they advocate any new point of importance, which they may think the Bible sustains. { 1BIO 189.6 } 
‚ÄčThen the shepherds will be perfectly united, and the union of the shepherds will be felt by the church. Such a course I saw would prevent unhappy divisions, and then there would be no danger of the precious flock being divided, and the sheep scattered, without a shepherd.—Ibid. { 1BIO 190.1 } 
 
A Time for Development of the Doctrinal Structure
In the perspective of time by which we are advantaged, what may not have been so easily seen by the pioneers through the years 1845 to 1850—“the scattering time”—may now be easily seen as the time of the development of a doctrinal structure, a time when the body of truth was being firmly fitted together, piece by piece. It was a time when those involved would have been ill-prepared to herald a message not yet understood in its fullness and its interrelationships. The “scattering time”—when attempts to spread the truth accomplished little—allowed the painstaking, thorough Bible study and the confirming work of the Spirit of God through the visions, which resulted in the invulnerable structure of truth to present to the world. { 1BIO 190.2 } 
But now a change had come. The “messengers” in the field clearly detected it. Joseph Bates wrote to James White on November 4, 1850. In closing his report he writes enthusiastically: { 1BIO 190.3 } 
So you see, dear brother, that in places where all was dark and dreary, a few weeks since, light is now springing up. Then let all the swift messengers that God has called, and still is calling into the field, to give the loud cry of the third angel, move forward.—Ibid. { 1BIO 190.4 } 
The message of the vision given on September 23 takes on unique meaning: { 1BIO 190.5 } 
I saw that it was a shame for any to refer to the scattering for examples to govern us now in the gathering; for if God does no more for us now than He did then, Israel would never be gathered. It is as necessary that the truth should be published in a paper, as preached.—Ibid. { 1BIO 190.6 } 
Of the rather extended tour James and Ellen White took in the spring and summer of 1850, Ellen wrote later: { 1BIO 190.7 } 
In 1850 my husband and I visited Vermont, Canada, New Hampshire and Maine. The meetings were held in private houses. It was then next to impossible to obtain access to unbelievers. The disappointment of 1844 had confused the minds of many, and they would not listen to any explanation of the matter.—The Review and Herald, November 20, 1883. { 1BIO 191.1 } 
It was in connection with this trip that the marked change seemed to be taking place. At the conference held at Johnson, Vermont, July 6 and 7, there was a Mr. Heman Churchill present who had had nothing to do with the 1844 experience who took his stand for the “present truth.” The strictest view of the shut door would have precluded this. James White explained with a sense of surprise: { 1BIO 191.2 } 
One brother, who had not been in the Advent, and had made no public profession of religion until 1845, came out clear and strong on the whole truth. He had never opposed the Advent, and it is evident that the Lord had been leading him, though his experience had not been just like ours. Such, who come into the truth at the eleventh hour, may expect great trials.—AR, August, 1850. { 1BIO 191.3 } 
Just a year later James White would declare: { 1BIO 191.4 } 
Now the door is open almost everywhere to present the truth, and many are prepared to read the publications who have formerly had no interest to investigate.—Ibid., August 19, 1851. Clearly the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church had come to “the gathering time.” James White used this term as he reported in November, 1850, of Mrs. Bates, the wife of Joseph Bates, taking her stand for the Sabbath. { 1BIO 191.5 } 
 
 
The Crucial Yet Productive Years of the “Scattering Time”
It will be appropriate to further review and sum up what took place in the emerging remnant church in the six years between 1844 and 1850. A hundred or more years later, some have been rather amazed and baffled because the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church were not engaged in public evangelism, preaching “the message” immediately after the 1844 disappointment. “What message?” might be asked. And what’s more, “Who would listen?” { 1BIO 191.6 } 
First of all, there must be the lapse of some time when the prejudice of the world against the 1844 experience would diminish. But most important, they had to determine what was the truth, what was the message. { 1BIO 192.1 } 
Of prime importance was the Advent preaching that swept through the land in the early 1840s and was also heard in other parts of the world. Was it a movement led by God, or was it just a delusion, as many were claiming? The pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, as they carefully reviewed the experience, could not dismiss the marked influence of the Spirit of God in the work, and the absence of fanaticism. This, together with what the experience did for them, led to the unalterable conclusion that the movement was ordained by God. Bible study backed up by the visions given to Ellen Harmon attested to this, giving a touch of certainty to the messages of the first and second angels of Revelation 14. { 1BIO 192.2 } 
Next, why had not Christ come? And if the 1844 experience was valid, what did take place on October 22, 1844? The pioneers worked their way through this, finding the explanation in an understanding of the sanctuary question in its fullness. Christ was now ministering in their behalf in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary. In connection with this they found “doors” “open” and “doors” “shut” that were easily linked with the close of probation, [Note: see chapter 16 for elaboration.] the full extent of which was not at first seen. { 1BIO 192.3 } 
Almost immediately in their experience, the pioneers were brought face to face with a prophet in their midst. It was unexpected, but it was Biblical. The message met their needs, and the gift, when tested by Bible criteria, measured up fully. This was a great aid but also an embarrassment, because of the natural prejudice against “visions.” { 1BIO 192.4 } 
Before the 1844 disappointment, the third angel’s message had not been clearly seen. The pioneers having been through the first and the second, the third angel’s message began to take on significance. It related to the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, although certain features of the message seemed to be a mystery. As the sanctuary in heaven was studied, the Sabbath of the fourth commandment took on special meaning. The visions given to Ellen White helped to clarify this. The Sabbath would be a test of allegiance to God, and as worship of the “beast and his image” and the receiving of his “mark” ( Revelation 14:9, 10) became better understood, the pioneers saw it as “present truth” and were confronted with the responsibility of sounding that message to the world. It was staggering! A great and vitally important message, but only a handful of people who comprehended its meaning! And these, for the most part, were virtually penniless.  { 1BIO 192.5 } 
They were still close to the 1844 disappointment, and only those who had been with them in the Advent Awakening would give any attention at all to what they might have to say. They studied “doors” in the heavenly sanctuary, open and closed, but there were no open doors before them to the religious world outside of the Adventists. So the burden of the third angel’s message as first understood was for their former brethren. However, they gradually perceived that there were those who had not rejected the Advent message in 1844, and that there were children below the age of accountability for whom Christ ministered in the heavenly sanctuary. { 1BIO 193.1 } 
Then to James White, a youthful advocate of the Advent message, a schoolteacher who had the benefit of a year in school, came the message, presumably from heaven, that he must publish the positions of truth ardently held. He was inexperienced so far as editing and publishing were concerned, and with no financial backing. Admonished to start out by faith and write, write, write, he took his pen and began in the issuance of the four numbers of Present Truth. Through the school of experience he rather quickly learned the demands of writing, proofreading, publishing, circulating, and financing the printed page. God was preparing him for large responsibilities. { 1BIO 193.2 } 
He and his wife were buffeted by brethren who misunderstood him, hounded by poverty, bereaved by separation from children so they could travel and minister to the scattered flock. But they enjoyed a rich experience in God, and with wholehearted dedication they gained the preparation needful for the work that was before them. All this was in “the scattering time,” 1844 to 1850. Now they were prepared to enter the openings of “the gathering time.” The message was clear. Doctrinal beliefs were for the most part well established. Wrote Ellen White on December 13, 1850, “We know that we have the truth.”—Letter 30, 1850. { 1BIO 193.3 } 
 
Taking Up Residence in Maine
Returning to Maine, James and Ellen White passed through Portland and on to Topsham, with their eyes on Paris (Paris Hill today). They had been traveling for some weeks, and they wanted to take little Henry with them to see Ellen’s parents, so they headed for Gorham and “Grandma’s and Grandpa’s” home. The young mother wrote: { 1BIO 194.1 } 
Friday [October 25], Brother Howland’s family and my little boy went with us to Gorham to spend the Sabbath with our parents. Found them strong in the faith. We had a good season with them. We parted with them Sunday sorrowful, because we were obliged to part, but rejoicing that we were of one faith and that soon we should meet if faithful, nevermore to part.—Letter 26, 1850. { 1BIO 194.2 } 
When James and Ellen White came to Paris they anticipated that they would reside there through the winter. On November 1, 1850, she wrote, “We shall stay here at Paris some little time,” and added: { 1BIO 194.3 } 
James is now getting out a paper here. It is an excellent place to get out the paper.—Ibid. { 1BIO 194.4 } 
From a letter written to the Hastings family a week later, we learn more: { 1BIO 194.5 } 
Our home is in Paris at Brother Andrews’ within a few steps of the post office and printing office. So shall stay here some little time. This is a very kind family, yet quite poor. Everything here is free as far as they have. We do not think it right to be any expense to them while here.—Letter 28, 1850. { 1BIO 194.6 } 
The Whites arranged to stay at the Andrews home as boarders ( Life Sketches of James White and Ellen G. White (1880), 278). { 1BIO 194.7 } 
 
Significant Conferences at Paris and Topsham
On November 16 and 17, soon after the Whites settled in Paris, a conference was held. Ellen White described it in a letter to friends in Vermont: { 1BIO 195.1 } 
Our last conference was one of deep interest. Two were dug from beneath the rubbish. The present truth was presented in its clear light and it found way to the hearts of the erring. Before the meeting closed all were upon their knees, some were crying for mercy that had been coldhearted and indifferent, others were begging for a closer walk with God and for salvation. { 1BIO 195.2 } 
 
It was as powerful a time as I ever witnessed. The slaying power of God was in our midst. Shouts of victory filled the dwelling. The saints here seem to be rising and growing in grace and the knowledge of the truth.—Letter 30, 1850. { 1BIO 195.3 }
Two months before, at the conference held at Topsham, October 12 and 13, there had been similar exciting experiences. Ellen White wrote of it November 7, just before the Paris conference: { 1BIO 195.4 } 
Our conference at Topsham was one of deep interest. Twenty-eight were present; all took part in the meeting. Sunday the power of God came upon us like a mighty, rushing wind. All arose upon their feet and praised God with a loud voice. It was something as it was when the foundation of the house of God was laid. The voice of weeping could not be told from the voice of shouting. It was a triumphant time. All were strengthened and refreshed. I never witnessed such a powerful time before.—Letter 28, 1850. { 1BIO 195.5 } 
Was the emerging church entering upon a period of emotionalism? Was this exciting and seemingly satisfying experience one that was to be encouraged and depended upon? In a vision given to Ellen White on December 24, God sounded a solemn warning, a warning that not only related to these exciting occasions but had a clear bearing on some unusual experiences of the previous two years in talking in unknown tongues. { 1BIO 195.6 } 

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Continue to Chapter 13 — (1851) The First Winter of “The Gathering Time “

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