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Ellen G. White: The Early Years: 1827-1862 (vol. 1)

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    Chapter 18—(1854) Nurturing the Developing Church

    Three individuals stand out as the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church: Joseph Bates, James White, and Ellen G. White. The foundations of their work were laid in the great Advent Awakening under William Miller and his associates in the first few years of the 1840s under the proclamation of the first and second angels’ messages of Revelation 14. Joseph Bates, retired, seasoned sea captain, became the apostle of the Sabbath truth. The youthful schoolteacher James White, with organizational ability and clear perceptions, and his wife Ellen, imbued with the gift of prophecy, were used of God in molding and guarding the emerging church. In no more clear-cut way does this show up than in the few years between 1852 to 1855.1BIO 284.1

    The Review and Herald, first appearing in the embryo form of the Present Truth in 1849 and 1850, then developing into the Second Advent Review and Sabbath Herald in late 1850, was the catalyst. It carried the third angel's message to an ever-enlarging audience, turning “adventists” into Sabbathkeeping Adventists. For the most part, the reading audience accepted the Bible; they understood the mission of Christ and the steps in conversion. But through the doctrinal articles in The Review and Herald the Sabbath and sanctuary and other truths were opened up to them in such a plain manner that many honest in heart were soon led to move forward into what was termed “present truth.” The back page of the Review kept the readers informed as to literature available, financial needs, and the movement of the ministers who comprised the scant working force. The paper also carried appointments of weekend meetings—called conferences—at various places. To these the teachers of truth had been invited or they were led by the impressions of the Spirit of God to attend. Such “appointments” might read:1BIO 284.2

    Brethren Baker and Ingraham may be expected to attend the following meetings: East Bethel, Vermont, March 27 and 28; Unity, New Hampshire, at the house of Brother John Jones April 3 and 4; Ashfield, Massachusetts, April 10 and 11; and April 17 and 18 at such place as Brother Luther Payne of Ware, Massachusetts, may appoint.—The Review and Herald, March 23, 1852.1BIO 285.1

    Each issue of the Review carried up to two or three pages of letters from the growing number of believers. Some were from members of groups, but many were from isolated believers. These related their recent experiences and the state of the cause in their area; they conveyed their joy in the newfound message and admonished fellow believers, and some dealt with doctrinal points. These letters were addressed “Dear Brother White,” were reasonably short, and carried the writer's name, home location, and date. They were inviting and readable. A Review issue chosen at random is that of June 23, 1853. Under the general heading Communications, two-and-a-half columns carry these letters:1BIO 285.2

    “From Bro. (Elon) Everts,” of New Haven, Vermont, 43 lines.1BIO 285.3

    “From Bro. (John) Byington, “Of Buck's Bridge, New York, 16 lines.1BIO 285.4

    “From Bro. (Samuel) Everett,” of Iowa City, Iowa, 29 lines.1BIO 285.5

    “From Bro. (G. W.) Holt,” of Manlius, New York, 29 lines.1BIO 285.6

    “From Bro. (E. S.) Sheffield,” of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin 38 lines.1BIO 285.7

    “From Bro. (Samuel) Warner,” of Providence, Rhode Island, 13 lines.1BIO 285.8

    “From Sister (Margaret) Cramer,” of Clinton, New York, 22 lines.1BIO 285.9

    “From Sister (Sarah) Jessup,” of Pine Creek, Michigan, 23 lines.1BIO 285.10

    “From Sister (Nancy) Claflin,” of Norfolk, New York, 27 lines.1BIO 285.11

    Averaging ten words per line, the communications feature in this issue yielded messages aggregating 2,400 words, or the equivalent of seven or eight ordinary book pages. This feature, which appeared in each issue of the paper, bound the believers together in an important and close fellowship and became an important factor in building the church. Urging the believers to thus communicate through the Review, White wrote:1BIO 285.12

    Speak often one to another, brethren, of your faith, hope, trials and joys, through the Review. This adds life and interest to it for very many.—Ibid., August 15, 18541BIO 286.1

    The strength emerging from this source must not be underestimated.1BIO 286.2

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