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    THE EXETER, N.H., CAMP MEETING

    It was in the month of August, 1844, that the memorable Second-Advent camp-meeting was held at Exeter, N.H. This meeting was large. It was the occasion of a general rally from all parts of New England, and many were present from other States and from the Canadas. There were many tents upon the ground, some of them resembling houses of worship, in size and shape, more than the small tents usually seen upon Methodist camp grounds. These furnished ample accommodations for the thousands of believers present.LIFIN 153.3

    There was a general agreement with all Adventists at that time, that the special providence of God had directed the Advent movement. But the farthest point to which the Jewish year could be extended, reaching from March, 1843, to March, 1844, had passed, and believers were left in a state of suspense and uncertainty, evidently not enjoying all the inspiring influence of the Advent hope and faith they felt under the proclamation of definite time. And there were other things besides the passing of the time, that cast a degree of general gloom over the Second-Advent cause at that time.LIFIN 154.1

    Storrs’ Six Sermons on the immortality question were being widely circulated among Adventists, and the doctrine of man’s unconsciousness in death and the destruction of the wicked, was being adopted by some and regarded with favor by many. The time had come, in the providence of God, for this question to be agitated. But its importance could not then be seen by any as it is now regarded since the rise and wide-spreading, desolating influence of Spiritualism. Those Second-Advent editors and lecturers, such as Litch, Hale, Bliss, Himes, and Miller, who did not agree with Mr. Storrs, not only failed to see that good could result from the agitation of the subject, but were grieved that the once united and happy flock, who were looking for the immediate return of the great Shepherd, should have their minds divided by this question. And these men, who felt the responsibilities of the great Advent cause, are not to be censured too much for their fears, nor blamed too severely for their efforts to avoid the discussion of so sensitive a question.LIFIN 154.2

    And while it was being feared that a portion of the Advent body were having their minds diverted from the all-important work of warning the world of the soon-coming of the Son of man, by an unnecessary discussion of the immortality question, others were causing divisions, and were bringing much labor and perplexity upon the leading men in the cause, by urging upon the flock extreme views of entire consecration, of Christian perfection, then taught by the Methodists, the men of the Oberlin school, and others. And not a few men and women appeared in the Advent ranks who professed to be wonderfully led by the Holy Spirit. These took their position in advance of their brethren. Many of them soon became self-righteous, and, notwithstanding their apparent humility, were proud of their spiritual attainments. So wonderfully impressed to do this or that, and so directly taught by the Holy Spirit in relation to their entire duty, how could they err? The idea of mistakes on their part, in doctrine or in duty, was banished from them.LIFIN 155.1

    Viewing themselves far in advance of their brethren, they were ready to teach even their teachers. And supposing themselves directly taught by the Holy Spirit, they were ready to reject the instructions and corrections of those who labored to help them. Such persons usually advance rapidly in their wild career. They soon fall under the direct power of Satan, to be impressed and tempted by him to do this or that thing which may be sinful. They labor under the terrible deception that all their impressions are from the Holy Spirit, and must at all hazards be promptly obeyed. God pity the poor fanatic, who is thus goaded on by the Devil to disgrace himself and wound the cause of Christ. In no case could Satan strike the Advent cause so stunning a blow, and so completely cover it with reproach, as to lead on certain ones who bore the Advent name in the wild career of fanaticism.LIFIN 155.2

    And he knows when to strike. The world had just trembled before the solemn message of the Judgment hour, proclaimed with great boldness and power. And believers had lifted up one united voice in confident testimony relative to the period of their joyful expectations. But the time had passed, the world breathed easier, the scoffer triumphed, and believers felt that they had all they could do to hold fast, and not draw back to perdition. This was just the time for Satan to strike.LIFIN 156.1

    More or less had embraced the Advent faith from all those religious bodies where the idea was prevailing that Scriptural sanctification, purity and holiness, consisted chiefly in happy flights of feeling, and being led in the minutiae of the Christian life by impressions. These had been stirred to the very depths of the soul by the proclamation of the second coming of Christ, and felt that if they ever needed holiness it was then necessary, to enable them to stand when he should appear, and that if they should ever follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit, it was then, as they were engaged in the preparatory work for the Judgment. And with their false notions of entire consecration, they were in readiness for the torch of fanaticism. If Satan could control these, and bring reproach upon the Advent cause, and sadden the hearts of those he could not destroy, he would gain a victory that would cause wicked men and demons to triumph.LIFIN 156.2

    There was upon the Exeter camp-ground a tent from Watertown, Massachusetts, filled with fanatical persons, as briefly described above. At an early period in this meeting, they attracted much attention by the peculiar style in which they conducted their seasons of social worship in their tent. These were irregular, very lengthy, frequently extending into hours of intermission and rest, continuing nearly all night, and attended with great excitement, and noise of shouting and clapping of hands, and singular gestures and exercises. Some shouted so loud and incessantly as to become hoarse, and silent, simply because they could no longer shout, while others literally blistered their hands striking them together.LIFIN 157.1

    The tent’s company from Portland, Me., of which I was one of the number, had pitched close by this tent from Watertown, before the condition of those who occupied it was generally known, little thinking of the annoyances they were to suffer from these fanatical persons. But these they endured for a while in the hope that they would be corrected and reproved. Seeing, however, that they were not the persons to be reformed, and that they grew no better, but, rather worse, the Portland brethren moved their tent to a distant part of the ground. But this act, showing the assembled thousands that we had no union with those we left, created sympathy for these fanatics, in not a few who viewed all the dangers of the way on the side of those who were disposed to formality. These joined with the Watertown people in the cry of persecution, and shouted glory to God over it, as if a new and brilliant victory had been gained.LIFIN 157.2

    By this time a general gloom was coming over the meeting, and ministers who had the burden of the work upon them, felt deeply. The wildfire was spreading, and how to stop it was the question. The people were told of the dangers of spiritual magnetism, and were warned to keep away from that tent. But this only caused a crowd of the curious, incautious, and those who claimed a right to investigate, and felt that they were responsible to no one, to gather round this tent. And it was evident that every hour some were being brought under this influence, several of whom were suffering impulse to ride over reason.LIFIN 157.3

    A minister, possessing more natural eloquence than piety and real moral worth, while attempting to preach from the stand, was rebuked by a clear voice from this tent, and thrown into confusion. “Don’t let me fall, brethren,” said he to the large congregation who were turning their attention to the tent from which came the voice. “Pray, and keep your minds upon the subject.” He did fall in spirit and freedom, and his effort was a decided failure.LIFIN 158.1

    Elder Plummer, of Haverhill, Mass., who had the especial charge of the meeting, made appropriate remarks upon the condition of things, with great solemnity and deep feeling. He then prayed, calling on God for guidance and help in that critical hour. He prayed like a strong man in agony, whose only hope of deliverance was in God. He then stated something of his opinion of the spirit of fanaticism on the ground, and exhorted the people to look to God for help, and not suffer their minds to be diverted by the interruptions and general noise of the faction on the ground, who were not in harmony with the great objects of the meeting. He stated, in the most solemn manner, that he had no objections to shouts of praise to God, over victories won in his name. But when persons had shouted “Glory to God” nine hundred and ninety-nine times, with no evidence of one victory gained, and had blistered their hands in striking them together with violence, he thought it was time for them to stop. But if they would not change their course, it was time for all who wished to be consistent Christians to withdraw their sympathy from them, and show their disapproval of their course by keeping entirely away from them.LIFIN 158.2

    These remarks helped the people generally, but not those who were wild with fanaticism. But none among the preachers and speakers generally had shown up to this time that they had the burden of the meeting upon them, excepting what was seen in Elder Plummer, in reproving existing wrongs. Several spoke from the stand, but they failed to move the people. God evidently had a special message for that people, to be attended with his signal blessing. Men of ability spoke of the great lines of prophecy, which proved that the advent of Christ was the next great event, and of the signs that the event was at the door; but this was as familiar to that crowd of intelligent believers as the alphabet. Just then, as one was speaking with but little force and interest, and the people were becoming weary of being told, in a dull, prosy style, what they already knew, a middle-aged, modest-appearing lady arose in the centre of the audience, and in a calm manner, and with a clear, strong, yet pleasant voice, addressed the speaker as follows:LIFIN 159.1

    “It is too late Bro. -------. It is too late to spend our time upon these truths, with which we are familiar, and which have been blessed to us in the past, and have served their purpose and their time.”LIFIN 159.2

    The brother sat down, and the lady continued, while all eyes were fastened upon her.LIFIN 159.3

    “It is too late, brethren, to spend precious time as we have since this camp-meeting commenced. Time is short. The Lord has servants here who have meat in due season for his household. Let them speak, and let the people hear them. ‘Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him. ’”LIFIN 160.1

    This testimony seemed electrifying, and was responded to by choked utterances of “Amen,” from every part of the vast encampment. Many were in tears. What former speakers had said was forgotten, and the spirit of fanaticism, which an hour before lay upon the burdened feelings of the brethren and sisters like a ponderous leaden weight, was also forgotten. The attention paid to those in fanaticism, and the opposition they were able to call out, were just the coveted fuel to feed the unhallowed flame. And they were destined to triumph, unless the attention of the people could be fastened in another direction. This done, and their power was broken.LIFIN 160.2

    By the request of many brethren, the next morning, the arguments were given from the stand, which formed the basis of the tenth day of the seventh-month movement. The speaker was solemn and dignified, and showed to the entire satisfaction of that vast body of intelligent believers -LIFIN 160.3

    1. That all the evidences which had been relied upon as proof that the 2300 prophetic days of Daniel 8, would end in the year 1843, proved that they would terminate in 1844. The entire body of believers had been united, agreeing with William Miller that the 2300 days dated from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, B.C. 457. This point settled, the figures 1843 were readily found:LIFIN 160.4

    From 2300
    Take 457
    __________
    And there remains 1843

    But the speaker showed an error in this calculation. He stated that it would require 457 full years before Christ, and 1843 full years after Christ, to make 2300 full years, so that if the 2300 years commenced with the first day of B.C. 457, they would reach to the first day of A.D. 1844.LIFIN 161.1

    2. That this prophetic period did not commence with the year 457, in the spring, but in the autumn of that year. His reasons were -LIFIN 161.2

    a. That as the seventy prophetic weeks are the first 490 years of the 2300, and as the first seven weeks of the seventy, mark the time of the work restoring and building Jerusalem in troublous times, the great period must commence with the commencement of the work of restoring and building, which did not commence in the spring, on the first month, when Ezra started from Babylon, but after he had reached Jerusalem, in the autumn, probably on the seventh month. “For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem.” Ezra 7:9. This would give more than two months for necessary preparations for the work of restoring and building to commence on the seventh month, immediately after the great day of atonement.LIFIN 161.3

    b. That as the words of the angel to the prophet Daniel - “in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,” - mean that in the middle of the last week of the seventy, Christ should be crucified; and as he was crucified in the spring, that prophetic week of seven years must commence and close in the fall. Consequently the seventy weeks commenced and closed in the fall, and, therefore, the 2300 days terminate in the fall.LIFIN 161.4

    3. The speaker then introduced the arguments drawn from those types of the law of Moses which point to Christ, to prove that the second advent of Him who was then our High Priest would take place in the autumn, even on the tenth day of the seventh Jewish month. He reasoned that as the spring types, pointing to the great events connected with the first advent of Christ, were fulfilled, not only as to their nature and order, but as to time, so would the autumnal types, pointing to the second advent, be fulfilled as to time. See Leviticus 23. The slaying of the passover lamb was a type of the crucifixion of Christ. Paul says, Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. 1 Corinthians 5:7.LIFIN 162.1

    The sheaf of the first fruits of the harvest, which was waved before the Lord, was typical of the resurrection of Christ. Paul again says, in speaking of the resurrection of the Lord and all his people, Christ, the first fruits, afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 1 Corinthians 15:23. As this sheaf was like the grain in all the wide harvest-field, only that it was the first ripe grain, so Christ arose from the dead a sample of all the just to be raised at his second coming. Then all the saints will have glorious bodies, like that of their divine Lord. Philippians 3:21LIFIN 162.2

    The new meat offering was a type of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.LIFIN 162.3

    The speaker stated that Christ was offered a sacrifice for sinners on the fourteenth day of the first Jewish month, the very day and month on which the passover lamb had been slain for sixteen long centuries. That he was raised from the dead a sample of all the resurrected just on the very day of the month upon which the earliest ripe grain was waved before the Lord. And that the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, - Pentecost meaning fifty, - was on the day of the month in which the new meat-offering was presented unto the Lord. That new meat-offering was fifty days from the presentation of the wave sheaf. The descent of the Holy Spirit upon the waiting disciples was on the day of Pentecost, or fiftieth day from the resurrection of their divine Lord. And, therefore, as the high priest, on the tenth day of the seventh month, on the great day of atonement, came out of the sanctuary and blessed the people, so Christ, our great High Priest, would upon the same day of the same month, come from Heaven to bless his waiting people with immortality. The conclusion seemed irresistible. And what gave it still greater force was the harmony of this position with the proofs presented, that the prophetic period of 2300 days would terminate in the fall.LIFIN 162.4

    The deepest solemnity pervaded the entire encampment. But one view was taken of the subject presented, by nearly all present, namely, that in all probability the speaker was correct, and that in a few short weeks human probation would close forever.LIFIN 163.1

    But what of the Watertown fanatics? In the intense interest upon the subject of time, taken by the entire crowd, these were forgotten. No one seemed to be affected by them, or troubled about them. In fact, they were quiet till they left the ground, and as dumb as if the special rebuke of the Lord was upon them. This fact, that fanaticism dried up before the solemn and searching time-message of 1844, like the morning dew before the midsummer’s sun, is of importance to those who suppose that that stirring proclamation caused fanaticism.LIFIN 163.2

    The next day, by unanimous request of the people, the same speaker repeated, with still greater clearness and force, the same proofs in support of the position that the fast-approaching autumn was the time for the great prophetic periods to terminate, and that the types pointed to the tenth day of the seventh month as the time for our great High Priest to come out of Heaven and bless his waiting people.LIFIN 164.1

    This was followed with solemn and stirring discourses in harmony with the time, from Elders Heath, Couch, and Eastman. The specifications of the parable of the ten virgins, down as far as the cry at midnight, seemed to have a natural and forcible application to the great Advent movement up to the time, and the words, “Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him,” already being heard from the lips of those who were looking to the seventh Jewish month for the coming of the Lord, had a solemn, subduing power in them, such as no others had. The first portion of the parable, and the application of it then made, I will here give:LIFIN 164.2

    “Then shall the kingdom of Heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took lamps, and took no oil with them; but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.” Matthew 25:1-7.LIFIN 164.3

    1. The ten virgins represent those then interested in the subject of the immediate second coming of Christ.LIFIN 164.4

    2. The lamps which the virgins took to light their way at the hour of midnight, represent the prophetic word of the Lord. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105. “We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed as unto a light that shineth in a dark place.” 2 Peter 1:19LIFIN 165.1

    3. The five wise virgins, who took oil in their vessels with their lamps, represent those who had faith, and the work of the grace of God wrought in them.LIFIN 165.2

    4. The five foolish virgins represent those professed believers who lacked true faith, and who had not the work of the grace and Spirit of God in them.LIFIN 165.3

    5. The tarry of the bridegroom, the delay in the parable, and the slumbering and sleeping of the virgins, represent the passing of the Jewish year, 1843, the disappointment, the suspense and uncertainty which resulted in loss of faith and zeal, manifested by believers before the time passed. It appeared evident that the period of hope deferred and general gloom since the close of the Jewish year, 1843, was the night of sleeping and slumbering.LIFIN 165.4

    6. The cry at midnight in the parable, “Behold the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him,” represented the solemn message of the tenth day of the seventh month time, 1844, already being heard. It was suggested that the night of tarry in the parable represented half of the prophetic day, or six months, extending from the passing of the time in the spring, to the seventh month in the fall, and that the then present work of waking up under the cry, “Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him,” commenced in July, in the middle of the tarrying time, or at midnight.LIFIN 165.5

    And now the work of waking up the slumbering believers, and giving the last warning to the world, seemed to be crowded into a few weeks. Those who received the message felt the burden of the work. Language cannot describe the solemnity of that hour. And no one can have any just idea of it, only eye-witnesses upon the grounds, who saw, heard, and felt for themselves. The time for shouting, and display of talent in speaking, singing, and praying, seemed to be past. The brethren and sisters calmly consecrated themselves and their all to the Lord and his cause, and with humble prayers and tears sought his pardon and his favor. All those unhappy divisions and extravagances, which had threatened the prosperity of the Advent cause, were lost sight of, and the watchmen, and the people also, were beginning to lift up one united voice, with strength and heartfelt solemnity, “Behold the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.”LIFIN 165.6

    On returning from the Exeter camp-meeting, I visited the Advent congregation at Poland, Me., and attended camp-meetings at Litchfield and Orrington. At these two camp-meetings ministers and people became imbued with the spirit of the seventh-month message. The evidences upon which it was based seemed conclusive, and a power almost irresistible attended it; and the fruits of this message everywhere were alike excellent. Whatever of differences of opinion, division in feelings and plans of action, or schisms of any kind that had sprung up during the time of suspense represented by the tarrying of the bridegroom, and the slumbering of the virgins, were now being swept away and lost sight of in the onward course of this mighty movement. The hearts of the believers were being united as never before.LIFIN 166.1

    The first evening of the Orrington meeting I spoke to the people, and stated my convictions that Christ would come on the tenth day of the seventh Jewish month of that year. There was a tent’s company on the ground affected more or less with the spirit of fanaticism, and there was a great want of that solemnity in most all present, which characterized the recent camp-meeting at Exeter, N.H., where the evidences in favor of the tenth day of the seventh month had been presented.LIFIN 166.2

    As I spoke of the disappointment, the tarry, the slumbering and sleeping, and the cry, “Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him,” a death-like stillness reigned throughout the entire encampment. The application of Advent history thus far to these specifications of the parable seemed so natural and forcible as to convict all.LIFIN 167.1

    And there was no more heard the irreverent shout of the fanatic, nor the heartless prayer of the formalist, after that evening meeting. As in the days of Christ’s first apostles, all were pricked in the heart, and the inquiry of all seemed to be what they should do to be saved. The labor of that meeting, from that time onward to its close, was the presentation of the evidences that the 2300 prophetic days of Daniel would end that autumn, that the types pointed to the tenth day of the seventh Jewish month as the time for the second advent, and that we had reached the point in Second-Advent history where the slumbering ones were to be aroused by the midnight cry. To this were added practical sermons and solemn exhortations, setting forth the necessity of giving up the world, and consecrating all to the Lord. Social meetings were marked with great solemnity. Sins were confessed with tears, and there was a general breaking down before God, and strong pleadings for pardon, and a fitness to meet the Lord at his coming. And the humble disciples of the Lord did not seek his face in vain. before that meeting closed, hundreds testified with tears of joy that they had sought the Lord and found him, and had tasted the sweets of sins forgiven.LIFIN 167.2

    The parting was most solemn. That was the last camp-meeting the brethren expected to attend on these mortal shores. And as brother shook the hand of brother, each pointed the other to the final gathering on the immortal shores at the grand encampment of the saints in the New Jerusalem. Tears flowed profusely, and strong men wept aloud. God grant that those who read these lines may see as good a day. And even now, although more than twenty years have passed since that meeting, and that parting scene, as I write, my being seems to be inspired with its solemn, humble spirit, and my tears will flow.LIFIN 168.1

    The ministers all fully believed that time was short, and now the work before us was to fly to every part of that wide field, sound the alarm, and wake the slumbering and sleeping ones. In company with one who professed the truth, I visited two towns each day, and sometimes spoke the same day in three different towns. Congregations were crowded, and every meeting was wonderfully marked with the presence of the Holy Spirit.LIFIN 168.2

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