Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

April 21, 1868

They Sleep in Jesus

The recent obituary notice of Sr. Nichols, wife of Bro. Otis Nichols, of Dorchester, Mass., called to mind the fact that many of the faithful friends of present truth, who from the Second-advent ranks were the first to embrace the Sabbath, now sleep in Jesus.

They bore the Sabbath cross when it was heavier than it now is, on account of its friends being few, and its enemies and their persecutions being many and bitter. Now the Sabbath cross is comparatively light, because of the many friends of the Sabbath, and the well-known fact that the Sabbath of the Bible is clearly sustained by sacred and secular history.

Bro and Sr. Nichols were among the first to embrace the Sabbath, and liberally hand out their means to sustain the cause in its infancy. It was money from her hand that bore our expenses from their door, in 1844, to the first Conference of believers in the third message, held at Rocky Hill, Conn. Of these who then bore the cross, and with their means sustained the cause, and have since toiled and suffered for the good of others, and have died in hope, it is said, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them.”

Among these are also my venerable parents. They both rest in hope: my mother in Illinois, my father in Connecticut; but when the trump of God shall awake the dead, and they be caught up to meet their Lord in the air, these who have toiled side by side in their Master's vineyard, will meet in immortal vigor, to see in many of those who shall be saved by the influence of the third message, the fruits of their labors and their prayers.

Learning that my father was very feeble and near his end, and that he was anxious to see me before his death, I left my sick husband in Brookfield, November, 1866, and went alone to see him. He was living with one of my sisters, in Kensington, Conn. When I met my dear father, I saw a great change had come over him since last we parted. I at once saw that the feebly-burning taper of life must soon go out. As we met, he wept like a child, and expressed his gratitude that I had made the sacrifice of leaving my sick husband to come to see him. He often remarked that he felt that it was our last meeting, and that he felt that he could not be denied the privilege of seeing me and hearing me speak once more to the people. I immediately sent for my three sisters, living in Maine. They all came, and together we, five sisters in all, surrounded the bed of our dying father, who had then passed his fourscore years.

But before these sisters came, we enjoyed a Sabbath meeting in which my father took part. Although very feeble, he was dressed, sat up during the meeting, and finally arose and bore an excellent testimony. His mind was very fruitful on Bible subjects, and he seemed sweetly ripened for the heavenly garner. This was his last testimony, and its memory is precious.

In two weeks I enjoyed another Sabbath with my father. The large kitchen was well filled with brethren and sisters, some from a distance. My sisters from Maine were present, and there I had the privilege of speaking to them. It was suggested that the meeting be at the next house on account of my father's feebleness; but this he would not listen to for a moment. He stated that this would be the last time he should hear me speak, and he could not be denied the privilege. It was a most solemn, affecting meeting. This was evidently the last meeting we should all enjoy together in the present state of things. One at least, of our family, would be severed from us before we could meet again. And the solemn inquiry was, Shall we all meet again in that world where sickness and death will be known no more?

This visit with my dear sisters was most satisfactory, and I trust profitable. Although we were not practically agreed on all points of religious duty, yet our hearts were one.

My father, as he sank nearer and nearer the grave, did not lose his clearness of intellect, but to the last his mind was active, and especially fruitful in the things relating to the kingdom of God. He often stated that it was a great pleasure to him to have so many of his children around him in his last hours. His patience in his afflictions, and willingness, and even anxiety to have the hours of his probation close, were remarkable. The praise of God, and grateful expressions of his goodness were continually upon his lips, and thus he died.

He sleeps in Jesus, and we are awaiting the coming of the Life-giver to break the fetters of the tomb, and release the captives from their prison-house, and reunite the severed links of the family chain. All who have kept the word of his patience, shall be exalted to the right hand of God, and be rewarded with an inheritance in the better world, and possess everlasting life.

We cherish feelings of the tenderest regard of our dear Bro. Nichols. More than twenty years since, we shared his hospitalities when friends were few and poor. For several years nearly all the means necessary to bear our expenses came from his purse. And although his lot may still be in the furnace of affliction, he should be comforted with the fact that his was the great privilege of doing for the advancement of the cause of truth, when one dollar would count more than one hundred at its present stage. May the sentiment of his heart be in harmony with the words of the prophet, so frequently quoted his house more than twenty years since:

“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

Greenville, Mich.

Ellen G. White.

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