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The Review and Herald Articles
for the Year 1866
(Vol. 27, #12)
It is due our friends who have manifested a true interest in our welfare, that we give them a statement of our experience during our present affliction. The 16th of August last, the affliction came upon my husband which has made him a sufferer until the present time. I am aware that some of his professed friends who have been watching us with a jealous eye, have secretly rejoiced in his affliction, and like Job's comforters, charge him with being afflicted because of his sins. But I leave all these professed friends with the Lord. My husband's affliction in the wise providence of God will accomplish the purpose that he designs--will test the sincerity of friends, will reveal the jealous and faultfinding, and those who love to accuse, and who would exult could they discover a supposed wrong in Bro. White.
My husband has never professed to be anything more than a mortal man, subject to errors and infirmities; yet his whole soul and interest have been in the work of God. His happiness has been interwoven with the success of the truth. As the cause of God has prospered, he has rejoiced. When the cause suffered on account of rebellion, he has been afflicted, and his soul has been bowed down with heaviness. He is now a sufferer because of transgression against the laws of his being. His sin has not been in unjust deal with others, nor in neglect of the wants of those who have needed sympathy and aid, nor in disregarding the widow and fatherless in their affliction. Neither has he sinned in lifting up himself above his brethren, and despising their counsel and advice. He has sinned against himself and against God in overtaxing the energies of his system, which were renewed and invigorated in answer to our earnest, unceasing prayers ten years ago, when consumption had brought him to the brink of the grave. Prolonged, unceasing labor, without rest or recreation, has told upon his physical and mental energies.
For twenty years he has labored constantly in this work, rejoicing in the prosperity of the cause, and bowed down with intense anguish when it has suffered and been made to bleed by its professed friends turning traitors, and tearing down that which they once built up. Very many times when no visible sign might have been given to others, has his heart ached with a terrible energy that God alone could understand.
For years my husband has suffered with occasional numbness of limbs. He has especially been thus afflicted when he has had a weight of distress upon his spirits, and his cautiousness has caused him to feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility in regard to the salvation of souls, and the prosperity of the cause, as he has seen the unrighteous course of some who professed the truth. He has many times awaked in the night with numbness of the limbs, and has been obliged to rub them with energy to bring them again to their right feeling. He has frequently suffered with severe pain in his limbs, especially after long speaking, which made it impossible for him to sleep. He has occasionally sprung from the bed when partially asleep, and rushed to the window to obtain air before he could breathe. His heart seemed to him to stop its beating. He has also suffered with pain in his back and left side. It has been for years very tedious to him to sit for a great length of time in the same position, or ride all day in a carriage. After returning from the Office at night, it has been very wearisome, and often painful, to remain long in a sitting posture. He has found the greatest relief in lying down upon the sofa, or lounge. Notwithstanding he suffered almost constantly with pain in a greater or less degree in some portions of his body, yet he labored on, doing more work than one or two well men should have done.
Last Spring we received a most pressing invitation from Bro. Ingraham to come to Wisconsin. He entreated us if we ever responded to an urgent call for help, to respond to his request, for help he must have. We knew that Bro. Ingraham needed help and encouragement. We knew that we needed rest of body and mind. We had deprived ourselves almost entirely of social and domestic enjoyment, in order to complete our writing, and had looked forward to at least a short period of rest, at the close of the General Conference. At the close of that Conference we found ourselves excessively exhausted in physical and mental strength; yet duty seemed to urge us West, and we dared not remain at home. We had not in years past consulted our own ease and pleasure, and God had sustained us. Would he not sustain us now? We thought it the safest course to venture. We summoned all the energy we could, and started on our journey.
We attended meetings in Wisconsin, and went to the farthest extent of our strength. Our diet was not such as would nourish the strength. We could obtain but little fruit. I could not relish the food. My stomach was constantly weak and swollen, and the jar of riding in a carriage caused such pain in the region of that organ, as was almost insufferable. After our first meeting, we were compelled to tarry a few days at Bro. Loudon's, in Janesville, to rest. There we could obtain fruit at the market, and we lived on bread and fruit. We felt refreshed, after a little rest, to continue our journey to Hundred Mile Grove. The cars took us to Madison, and there we found a brother from Lodi waiting the arrival of the train in expectation of meeting only Eld. Loughborough. He had come prepared to take him to Lodi, twenty miles distant. He was not expecting my husband and myself. His conveyance was therefore not easy or comfortable for us all. The roads were bad. It seemed to us that we should be compelled through weariness and pain to stop, or obtain a more comfortable conveyance. But I felt determined to endure it. We remembered past days, when we had let nothing stand in the way of duty, and had journeyed when weak and suffering, enduring fatigue, cold, and hunger, and had never yet been turned from our purpose, but pressed through every difficulty, and God has sustained us. Our lives had been preserved, and we would trust in him still. If we should hire a more easy conveyance, some weak brother or sister might take advantage of it, and say Bro. and sister White had become so exalted they could not ride in a humble wagon. My sufferings increased, until we were obliged to stop and beg some straw from a stack, with which my husband filled the body of the wagon. Upon this I sat down, a place having been made for my feet, and rode until the journey was completed, which was at 1 o'clock the next morning. We were seven hours riding twenty miles. The Lord strengthened us to continue our journey to Hundred Mile Grove, the next day, and to bear testimony in the meetings held in that place.
We felt it to be our duty to visit Iowa before returning to Michigan. We had no knowledge of the rebellion of Elders Snook and Brinkerhoff, but we felt that there was a work for us to do in that State. On our way to Pilot Grove, Iowa, we first heard of the rebellion, which was only a few hours before we met its leaders face to face in the meetinghouse. We labored with intense feeling to save the poor sheep who had been wounded and torn, and left bleeding by these unfaithful shepherds. Our efforts were crowned with success. While engaged in labor to meet opposition, falsehood, and insult, low prejudice, and jealousy, we had thought but little of our health. The blessed results that followed our labors, cheered us amid the gloom which we felt as we beheld what results these two shepherds had accomplished in their dreadful work of tearing to pieces the flock of God.
Our overtaxing labors in Iowa told upon the strength of my husband. His labors in meeting this rebellion were of such a nature as to arouse his zeal, and lead him beyond what a prudent consideration for his health would have allowed. But if he could, after his return home, have had a period of entire rest, and, entire freedom from anxiety and care, he would have recovered from the effects of that journey. But the work that these false ministers had been doing for months in preparing for a determined rebellion, in gathering testimonies of falsehood from rebels and traitors, such as Moses Hull, Ransom Hicks, and many others of like stamp--some of whom had figured largely in the so-called "Messenger of Truth," made it necessary for us to write again, to save the honest from being deceived, when we had anticipated a little period of rest. This extra labor was too much for us, when we were already worn with intense mental excitement from the rebellion in Iowa.
When the time came to attend our appointment in Memphis, we needed rest of body and mind. A constant strain had been upon us for months. Our nights were spent in broken sleep, because of bodily infirmities. Yet we urged up our exhausted energies, arose at midnight, walked about a mile to the depot, and stepped on board the train which was to take us to Detroit. We were obliged to wait at Ridgeway about two hours for the arrival of a train from the east, before the stage would leave for Memphis. My husband laid down upon a bench in the depot, and slept about fifteen minutes, which relieved his weariness in a measure. We rode about seven miles, to Bro. Gurney's, and obtained some rest and sleep, to prepare us to attend the evening appointment. The meetings in Memphis were those of labor. My husband here performed the amount of labor which was sufficient for two men who possessed a good degree of strength. His vital energies were exceedingly depressed, yet his zeal in the cause of God urged him on presumptuously to exhaust, by over labor, the little strength that remained. Our meetings closed on Sunday evening, after 11 o'clock. We retired after midnight, and arose at daybreak to take the stage for the cars. The cars missed connection, and we did not arrive at our home till past midnight.
My husband slept but little, and would not be prevailed upon to rest the next day. He thought his business required his presence at the Office. Night found him exhausted. His sleep was broken and unrefreshing, yet we rose in the morning at 5 o'clock to take our usual walk before breakfast. We stepped into Bro. Lunt's garden, and while my husband attempted to open an ear of corn I heard a strange noise, and looking up saw his face flushed, and his right arm hanging helpless at his side. His attempt to raise his right arm was ineffectual--the muscles refused to obey the will.
I helped him into the house, but he could not speak to me until in the house he indistinctly uttered, "Pray, pray." We dropped upon our knees and cried to God who had ever been to us a present help in time of trouble. He soon uttered words of praise and gratitude to God, that he could use his arm. His hand was partially restored, but not fully. We sent for an electric battery, but none of us had experience sufficient to apply electricity in this critical case. A proposition was made to have the owner of the battery called to apply it. The physician came and applied the battery. We were trying to exercise faith in God. We called in a few who had faith, and our earnest petitions ascended to Heaven for help from above. The rich blessing of Heaven came frequently upon us all. Still there seemed to be a drawback to our faith--the physician applying the battery. We prayerfully considered the matter, and when he next came, told him we should no longer need his services. After this we felt no hindrance to our faith. My husband and myself felt the need of our drawing near to God. And as we by confessions and prayer drew near to God, we had the blessed assurance that he drew near to us. How unspeakably precious was the sense of God's boundless mercy toward us, his afflicted children! The stroke that had fallen upon my husband might have been final, or left him with one-half of his body palsied and dead. We wept for joy, that amid our affliction the care of God was toward us. The mighty Maker of the world--the omnipotent Ruler of the universe, was our Father! Precious, exceedingly precious, were these seasons of communion with God! Much of the time my husband was happy in the Lord. Day and night the praise of God was upon his lips, and the sick room was truly a heavenly place.
The first five weeks of our affliction we spent at our own home. For wise purposes our heavenly Father did not see fit to raise my husband to immediate health in answer to our earnest prayers, although he seemed preciously near to comfort and sustain us by his Holy Spirit.
We had confidence in the use of water as one of God's appointed remedies, but no confidence in drugs. My vital energies were too much exhausted for me to attempt to use water in my husband's case. His wearing labors had long been bringing about the result, and could we expect God to work a miracle to heal him without our using the means or agencies he had provided for us? As there was no one in Battle Creek who dared take the responsibility of administering water in my husband's case, we felt that it might be duty to take him to Dansville, N. Y., where he could rest, and water be applied by those well skilled in its use. We dared not to follow our own judgment. We asked counsel of God, and after a prayerful consideration of the matter decided to go. My husband endured the journey well--much better than we had feared.
We remained in Dansville about three months. We obtained rooms a short distance from the institution. Our accommodations were by no means pleasant. Our room was small, and the sun visited it but a few minutes in the morning. Yet we did not feel this as we should, had we been confined to it. We were both able to walk out and be in the open air much of the time; and every day, except Sabbath and first-day, we took treatment, which did not leave us much time to be in our room.
Some may have thought that we had given up our faith that God would raise my husband to health in answer to prayer, when we went to Dansville, and placed ourselves under the care of physicians there. But not so. While we did not feel like despising the means God had placed in our reach for the recovery of health, we felt that God was above all, and he who had provided water as his agent, would have us use it to assist abused Nature to recover her exhausted energies. We believed that God would bless the efforts we were making in the direction of health. We did not doubt that God could work a miracle, and in a moment, restore to health and vigor. But should he do this, would we not be in danger of again transgressing--abusing our strength by prolonged, intemperate labor, and bring upon ourselves even a worse condition of things?
If we violate the laws of our being we must pay the penalty. Suffering, more or less, will follow every violation of Nature's laws. But when we repent of our transgressions, and commence earnestly the work of reform; when we do all that we can to redeem our errors, by placing ourselves in the best possible condition to regain the strength that we in our zeal lost; then we are in just that position where we can exercise faith in God, and ask him to do that for us which we cannot do for ourselves. We may rely upon God's promises, and believe that his power will repair even Nature's broken-down machinery, and we be placed where we can labor again in the cause of God more understandingly, wisely preserving the strength God has given us instead of crippling it by excessive labor.
"Our Home" at Dansville was the only place I could think of where we could go and be free from business and care. Were we to go among those of our faith anywhere, they would not be prepared to realize our worn out condition, especially the condition of my husband. We have so long borne the burden of the work which has compelled us to act with that determination of character, which has known nothing of turning aside, giving back and yielding to circumstances, that our brethren and sisters would be unprepared to understand that we must be free from every anxiety, and that they must not trouble us with questions requiring thought, nor introduce to us matters which would in the least excite or depress the mind. We chose to go to Dansville, and be, as it were, isolated from our brethren, and lost in a certain sense to the work and cause of God, and to feel no responsibility resting upon us of the cause in which we had unitedly labored with all our energies for twenty years.
We were unable to attend Dr. Jackson's morning lectures but a few times for the following reasons: The first and greatest reason was, the heated atmosphere of the hall had a painful and benumbing influence upon the brain of my husband. When he dwelt upon the subject of Health, we were too deeply interested for the good of our wearied minds, for our minds would begin to travel, comparing Dr. J.'s philosophy with facts established in our minds, which had been received from higher and unerring authority. The mind would become excited and weary. Especially was this the case with my husband. And again, when Dr. Jackson and other physicians advanced and sought to sustain ideas that we could not receive from our religious standpoint, especially in regard to amusements and pleasure, dancing, card playing, theater going, etc., we could not see harmony between his religious teachings, and the teachings of Christ recorded in the New Testament.
We had nothing to do with religious controversy, nor with advancing our views, nor in getting together those of our faith and having meetings. We went to Dansville for rest of body and mind. And although we expected to hear and see that which we could not receive and unite in, yet these things, notwithstanding our efforts to the contrary, would excite the mind more or less; and in the long wakeful nights we were comparing the life of Christ, and his teachings in regard to what constitutes a Christian, with the teachings on this point set forth at that institution, and we could not harmonize them.
As we have taken an active part in the Health Reform, and have twice been at Dansville, once as visitors, and once as patients, and have spoken in high terms of the skill of their physicians in curing disease by the application of water, and other hygienic remedies, many have supposed that we approbated and received all that was taught by the leaders of that institution. The questions have frequently been asked us, not only by our people, but by leading men of other denominations, "Do you sanction the card playing, dancing, and attending theaters? I understand they profess to be religious, and that they mix all these amusements with their religion." It has been necessary for us to speak plainly and say that we have had no part nor lot in these matters, and we do not approve of such amusements being recommended by Christian men and women as innocent. I heard more than one mother at Dansville remark that she had extolled the physicians at Dansville to her children, yet would not have her sons hear them recommend these amusements for anything; for she had instructed her children that the influence of these amusements was evil; that she had known them to be thus in her observant experience, and had not seen in them redeeming features that would lead her to change her opinion in regard to their pernicious influence, especially on the young. I have been asked, "Could you with safety send your youthful children, away from your influence, to that institution to learn the correct manner of living, and to regain lost health?" I was compelled to say that I could not, unless they were children who had marked independence of mind, and firm religious principles. This alone proves a safeguard against those who would attempt to gloss over these amusements by calling them harmless, and needful for health, and try to persuade them to join in the dance, the card playing, and theatergoing.
God has committed to my care children, not to train for worldly amusement, but for Heaven; and it is my duty to place them in the best possible conditions to understand their duty to God, and to become heirs of immortality. It is impossible for me to be guiltless if I place them in the way of temptation, where there is danger of their being thrown into every class of society, and being corrupted by surrounding influences. There is enough frivolity existing all around us, having a tendency to discourage serious impressions, and to put God out of the mind. Thousands of youth have bid fair to be an honor to their parents, and useful members in society, who have in an evil hour yielded to the Tempter who came in the form of a professed friend, and for the first time broke over the barrier to their conscience and attended the theater, to see and hear the performance of some celebrated actor. Everything fascinates them--their imagination is lively--their senses, their hearts, are carried away captive--they are intoxicated with excitement. They leave the theater; but their imagination continues to dwell upon the scenes they have witnessed, and they are anxious to go again, and again. They acquire a passion to witness theatrical performances. At times they may be convicted that card playing and attending theaters are not having a beneficial influence upon their health and morals; yet they do not possess sufficient fortitude and independence to tear away from these exciting pleasures. They may strengthen themselves with the thought that physicians have not only attended theaters themselves, but have recommended others to do so, and these physicians were Christians. They thus stifle conscience with the example of worldly, pleasure loving, professed Christians. They have learned to play cards, considering it an innocent amusement. In attending the theater they place themselves in the most dangerous company, and are exposed to the deceptive, fascinating charms of the gambler, the sensualist, and that class of females "whose steps take hold on hell." They yield to temptation, and continue their downward course until their consciences become seared, and they will not hesitate to degrade themselves by any vice.
Christians are those who follow Christ. "Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean, and I will receive you." Tenderness of conscience in regard to these amusements should never be called precision and narrowness of mind. How can Christians call that innocent which is a snare to the soul, which has led thousands in the road to certain ruin? I cannot believe a true follower of Christ will touch a card for amusement, nor read novels, nor attend balls and theaters. If they have learned of Him who is meek and lowly of heart, they will have disrelish for former pleasures and amusements. There will be possessed by the devoted Christian, a living principle in the soul, influencing the mind, employing the affections, and guiding the will, which will give force to the whole character. Their efforts will be to lead souls away from sinful pleasures to the path of holiness, by the bright reflection of their exemplary, blameless lives.
I shall ever remember with gratitude, the kind attention and respect we received, not only from physicians at "Our Home," but also from the helpers. The attendants in the bath-rooms, and waiters at the table were as attentive to our wants as we could wish. They seemed desirous to make our stay with them as pleasant and happy as it was in their power to do. By Ellen G. White. (To be continued.)
(Vol. 27, #13)
When we left Battle Creek for Dansville we did not feel that in order to regain health we must leave our religion behind. We felt that if ever we needed the consolations of faith and hope, it was in our time of severe affliction. Three times a day we had special seasons of prayer for the Lord to restore my husband to health, and for his special grace to sustain us in our affliction. These seasons of prayer were very precious to us. Our hearts were often filled with unspeakable gratitude that it was our privilege to call God our Father; that amid our affliction we had a heavenly Father in whom we could trust without fear, who was acquainted with all our distresses; one who had invited us in helplessness and affliction to lean upon his strong arm for strength and support.
My husband could obtain but little rest or sleep nights. He suffered with the most extreme nervousness. I could not sew or knit in his room, or converse but very little, as he was easily agitated, and his brain confused almost beyond endurance. He required almost constant care, and the Lord gave me strength according to my need. I was wonderfully sustained. Many nights when my husband was suffering with pain, unable to rest or sleep, have I left my bed at midnight and bowed before God and earnestly prayed for him to grant us this token of his love and care--that my husband might realize the soothing influence of his Holy Spirit, and find rest in sleep. For ten nights in succession, when it was impossible for him to rest or sleep, we had the evidence that God heard us pray, and my husband would drop into a quiet sleep. We frequently felt such a refreshing from the presence of God, that although it was in the still hours of the night, our Saviour seemed so precious that we praised God aloud without fear or restraint. And as we awoke refreshed in the morning, our first moments of wakefulness were generally spent in praise and thankfulness to God for the blessing of rest and sleep.
My husband was of good courage nearly all the time he was at Dansville, although he was a sufferer. During the last few weeks that we were there, we had better rooms, in a much more pleasant house, than we had previously occupied. Our rooms were now upon the first floor, which made quite a difference in my labor, as heretofore I had been obliged to ascend a flight of stairs.
We could truly say that our affliction had been a blessing to us, for we had time to examine our hearts, and carefully review our past lives, which was profitable for us. Our whole souls were drawn out after God--for an entire conformity to his will. I obtained but little rest or sleep nights. I was nurse and attendant to my husband, and the responsibility of his case seemed to rest principally upon me. He was fast losing flesh and strength. As dyspepsia pressed heavily upon him, he would cease to eat things which gave evidence of disturbing his stomach, till he was brought in his diet to simple Graham mush, and unleavened cakes without salt, milk, or sugar.
Nov. 26, at our season of prayer in the morning, we were led out to pray fervently that God would especially bless my husband, and give him a large measure of his Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God rested upon us, and we were especially revived and strengthened in the Lord, and we united our voices in praise to God. As my husband was unable to walk up the hill to take his meals in the institution, Eld. Loughborough kindly performed the office of waiter, and brought our meals to us in a basket. My birthday dinner consisted of Graham mush, hard Graham crackers, applesauce, sugar, and a cup of milk. And the 26th of November was a cheerful, happy day for me. I felt the peace of God abiding upon me, and that night spent much of the time in prayer to God for my husband Nov. 27, Eld. Loughborough came into our room and united with us in family prayer. We all had an unusual spirit of prayer. Heaven seemed very near. We felt the sanctifying influence of the Spirit of God; not a cloud intervened between us and our Saviour, and unspeakable gratitude filled our hearts, and we could not hold our peace. We shouted the high praise of God for his rich and precious blessing which was by us more highly prized than any earthly treasure. How rich, how exceedingly precious, seemed the promises of God! We could thank him for affliction. For more than one hour we could only rejoice and triumph in God. Especially did my afflicted husband share largely in this shower of grace. His countenance, though emaciated by disease, was radiant with a holy light as he praised God with a loud voice. Angels of God seemed to be all around us. I thought that the time had come and when my husband, in the strength of God would rise above disease and triumph in his saving power. The influence of this heavenly refreshing seemed to abide with us many days. But we had to learn that the time for our deliverance had not yet come; but that this great blessing was to prepare us for still greater trials.
Dec. 4th, my husband passed a restless, suffering night. I prayed by his bedside as usual, but the Lord was not pleased to answer our prayers. He was troubled in mind. He thought that he might go down into the grave. He stated that death had no terrors to him.
The reform my husband had made in his diet, previous to his sickness, had a very beneficial influence upon his health. His head was generally free from pain and never felt clearer. By eating no meat, but grains, fruits and vegetables, simply cooked, his appetite was good, and he partook of his food with a keen relish. His brain felt so clear that he thought it safe for him to labor on, trusting much to the beneficial influence of his simple diet; and in addition to the labors and burdens he had hitherto borne, he added the Health Reform--making extra efforts to teach Sabbathkeeping Adventists how to live to preserve health and enjoy the blessing of God.
Dec. 4th, before referred to, I felt intensely. I did not believe for a moment that my husband would die. But how was he to be inspired with faith to feel and say, "I shall not die, but live to declare the works of the Lord?" That night was the most distressing I had experienced during his illness. I did not sleep, but pondered the matter in my mind in regard to our future course. Previous to this night, I had not thought of leaving Dansville. I saw that the courage, hope, and buoyancy of spirits which had sustained my husband were failing. I had been remarkably sustained to endure anxiety, and the care of him during his sickness. He was considerate of my health and strength. Yet his case required constant care. I knew that no one at Dansville could take my place; and I had so long had the burden and care of his case that I could not leave for others to do that which I had considered not only a duty but a privilege to do for my afflicted husband. I did not consider this a task--it was to me a privilege. I have been nearly all my life an invalid, and tenderly, and patiently has he sympathized with and watched over, and taken care of me when I was suffering, and now my turn had come to repay in a small measure the attention and kind offices I had received. And again, I felt such a degree of the peace of God, and the consolations of his Spirit in the happy performance of my duty that I can say from the heart that I would not exchange the blessings and valuable experience I have obtained during the last six months, for those of the same length of time in any former period of my life.
I feared that I could not long endure being deprived of sleep so much, nights, and the additional tax upon my strength of taking treatment; and if I failed, where would my husband drop? Who would care for him as I had done?
Our accommodations were as good as we could expect, and we were very grateful that they were as pleasant and comfortable. But our rooms were small and inconvenient for our family, and with a cold winter before us, I could not see how we could be made comfortable and happy. My husband was losing flesh and strength every day. I thought of our large and convenient house at Battle Creek, with its high and airy rooms, and asked myself the question, Would we not make more rapid progress toward health were we at our own home? I thought of the large reservoir of hot water upon our stove--ready for use at any time, and our immense cistern of soft water, and our filter in the cellar, our various bathing pans, and bath room fitted up with a stove. But all these convenient things had but little weight in my mind compared with my anxiety to get my husband, while I could, among his tried brethren who knew him, and who had been benefited by his labors, and were acquainted with the perseverance and zeal with which he had toiled to do the work of God, that he might be found at his post. His faithful brethren could sympathize with, and help him by their prayers and faith. I prayed God to guide me, and not suffer me to take one wrong step; but to give me wisdom to choose the right course. The more earnestly I prayed, the stronger was the conviction fastened upon my mind that I must take my husband among his brethren, even if we should again return to Dansville. But my course seemed plain to take him to Rochester, and try the effect of the journey, and if this proved beneficial, to go still further, even to Battle Creek, after a short stay at Rochester. I said not a word to my husband of the exercise of my mind. He had not even thought he could leave Dansville in his reduced state.
In the morning Dr. Lay called, and I told him that unless there should be a decided improvement in the case of my husband in two or three weeks, at most, I should take him home. He answered, "You cannot take him home, he is not able to endure such a journey." I answered, I shall go; I shall take my husband by faith, relying upon God, and shall make Rochester my first point, tarry there a few days, and then go on to Detroit, and if necessary, tarry there a few days to rest, and then to Jackson and rest there a short time, and then go on to Battle Creek. This was the first intimation my husband had of my intentions. He said not a word.
The same day I saw Dr. Jackson at his home and he kindly granted me an interview. I stated the case to him, and told him I had thoughts of taking my husband home. He advised me to take him to a nearer point than Battle Creek, and try the experiment of journeying; and if it worked favorably it might be the best thing I could do; but advised me to return if he got better, and continue the use of water. I mentioned to Dr. Jackson that an invitation had been sent me from our friends in Rochester to attend their Monthly Meeting to be held the next Sabbath, and if my husband was able, to have him come also; and that they further stated that they did not make this request for us to labor or have any burden of the meeting, but they were very desirous to see us among them, and thought we might gain courage, and the journey and the change might be beneficial to our health. Dr. Jackson gave consent, and expressed his opinion that we might have a few days of pleasant weather, and it would be well to improve it. He thought it would do us good.
Should we attend the Monthly Meeting at Rochester, we must leave Dansville the next Monday. I made known our intention to Eld. Loughborough, who was surprised at this sudden move; but as he considered the matter it all looked right to him. My husband soon began to manifest anxiety to go to Rochester. That evening we packed our trunks and before 9 o'clock were all ready for an early start the next morning. My husband slept none that night. In the morning it looked rather discouraging in regard to taking out a sick man. We had a drizzling rain storm. But we choose rather to risk the consequences of going than staying after we had made the decision to go. We took hastily an early breakfast, and between 7 and 8 o'clock were on our way to Wayland, a distance of seven miles, in an open carriage. We traveled on, trusting in God as our helper.
My husband endured the journey well to Wayland, and there lay down in the depot and rested until the cars came which were to take us to Rochester. He had been unable to have the temperature of his room above 60 degrees. Heat had a powerful influence upon his brain. He dreaded riding on the cars very much, because of their heated atmosphere. But the way seemed providentially prepared for us. As the train came along we saw a sleeping car attached, and we begged the privilege of taking our seats in it, which was granted. Here we found as good conveniences as we could ask for. My husband rode comfortably to Rochester, where Bro. Orton with his easy, convenient hack, was waiting at the depot, the arrival of the train. He took us to the house of his son-in-law, Bro. J. B. Lamson, about three miles distant.
All who are acquainted with my husband know that his cautiousness, conscientiousness, and benevolence, have been large and active, and ruling traits in his character, and have been special blessings in qualifying him for his business career in connection with the work and advancement of the cause of present truth. But in the debilitated and excitable state of his nervous system during his illness, these special developments, which had been a blessing to him in health, were painfully excitable, and a hindrance to his recovery.
During the three weeks that we were in Rochester, much of the time was spent in prayer. My husband proposed sending to Maine for Eld. J. N. Andrews --to Olcott for Bro. and Sr. Lindsay, and to Roosevelt, requesting those who had faith in God, and felt it their duty, to come and pray for him. These friends came in answer to his call, and for ten days we had special and earnest seasons of prayer. All who engaged in these seasons of prayer were greatly blessed. They not only felt a burden of prayer for my husband, but in their own behalf. With brokenness of spirit, with their faces bathed in tears would these servants of God entreat that a deep work of grace might be wrought in their own hearts. Shouts of victory, and praise to God ascended to Heaven for his tokens of love and acceptance. I never enjoyed greater freedom in prayer. We had the assurance that our petitions were heard. We were often so refreshed with heavenly showers of grace that we could say, "My cup runneth over." We could weep and praise God for his rich salvation.
My husband was often especially blessed as he ventured to believe God and trust in his power to save. At times he seemed free and happy, but with dyspepsia pressing upon him he seemed unable to retain hopeful feelings, and in faith to calmly trust in God at all times, claiming his precious promises as his. Those who came from Roosevelt were obliged soon to return to their homes. Bro. Andrews, and Bro. and Sister Lindsay, still remained. We continued our earnest supplications to Heaven. It seemed to be a struggle with the powers of darkness. Sometimes the trembling faith of my husband would grasp the promises of God, and sweet and precious was the victory then enjoyed. Then again his mind seemed depressed, and to be too weak to hold the victory he had gained.
Every season of prayer increased in interest, and every one who took part in them felt repaid for their efforts in drawing near to God, and praying for my husband, by the work which they felt was wrought for their own souls. Bro. Andrews especially felt the burden of the case, and labored earnestly in faith, while the power of the Holy Spirit seemed to indite prayer. Every member of our family consecrated themselves anew to God. Our dear children united with us in this work of consecration, which was well wet down with tears. Bro. and Sister Lindsay were refreshed and strengthened by the blessing of Heaven. Bro. and Sister Orton's, and Bro. and Sister Lamson's hearts were more firmly united with ours; and we all shared in a work of grace that was being wrought for us. I felt the assurance that we should come forth from the furnace of affliction purified.
Once at the house of Bro. Andrews, while engaged in a season of prayer I felt like presenting my case to the Lord, entreating him to give me health of body, and strength of mind. All present seemed to make my case a special subject of prayer. I felt a sweet, heavenly settling into God. A heavenly atmosphere pervaded the room. Since that time I have not been troubled with tenderness of the stomach; and my food has not hurt me.
Christmas evening as we were humbling ourselves before God, and earnestly pleading for deliverance, the light of Heaven seemed to shine upon us, and I was wrapt in a vision of God's glory. It seemed that I was borne quickly from earth to Heaven, where all was health, beauty, and glory. Strains of music fell upon my ear, melodious, perfect, and enchanting. I was permitted to enjoy this scene a while before my attention was called to this dark world. Then my attention was called to things transpiring here upon this earth, which I shall not attempt to relate here, but may give them at some future time. I had an encouraging view of the case of my husband, the particulars of which will be presented hereafter.
My husband then proposed our returning to Battle Creek the next week on Monday, New Year's evening. He had been unable to sit up long at a time. At times the journey looked large to him, and his fears would sometimes arise that he might be too weak to accomplish such a journey. But I felt the evidence that the Lord would go with us on our journey, and bring us safely to our home again.
New Year's morning was not as pleasant as we wished to see. The appearance of the clouds indicated a storm, and we could not forget the heavy snow storm just two years previous. Circumstances did not seem to favor our starting for Battle Creek. But my mind seemed fixed that we must go; so we were to take the cars that night about 10 o'clock. We took our seats in the carriage to convey us to the depot, believing that we were moving in the path of duty. Bro. Andrews kindly offered to accompany us to Battle Creek if it would relieve me of a burden; but I told him that I wished to go, trusting alone in God to sustain us. Several brethren and sisters accompanied us to the cars, and remained with us till we started.
We felt that angels of God were all around us. We went comfortably and safely to the Falls where we changed for a sleeping car. My husband did not sleep, but he felt cheerful and happy. All appearance of a storm disappeared soon after we had taken our seats in the cars, and we had pleasant weather through the entire journey. I felt too much responsibility to sleep much. The words "Gentle angels round me glide, Hopes of glory round me bide," were in my mind much of the time during the night. My husband arose in the morning feeling better than usual. He was cheerful, and of good courage. We prepared for him his simple breakfast of mush and gems, which we warmed on the stove. We could not make it very palatable to him; he ate but very little.
We were prospered on our journey--made connections all right, and came on most comfortably. My husband enjoyed the journey, for he realized that the sustaining hand of God was beneath him. On the arrival of the train at Battle Creek, we met several of our faithful brethren who received us gladly. As we entered our own home again, we met several faithful sisters who had labored all day, heating the rooms, airing bedding, and cooking food, so that when we came we should have nothing to do but rest and enjoy our home. We found the table ready for us to be seated, and partake of refreshments about 5 o'clock, which we needed, as we had tasted nothing since our breakfast in the morning. Faithful hands had prepared dinner for us at 2 o'clock, expecting us on the arrival of an earlier train.
My husband rested well through the night. The next Sabbath, although feeble, he walked to the meetinghouse and spoke about three-quarters of an hour. We also attended the communion season in the evening. The Lord strengthened him as he walked out upon his faith. We felt grateful to God that we were again in the midst of our dear people in Battle Creek. When my husband was first afflicted they felt that the stroke had fallen upon them. Our affliction they made their own. They stood faithfully by our side, and how truly and tenderly did they seek to relieve me of every burden which they could take. Day and night for the first five weeks of our affliction were they unremitting in their care and attention. And when we left for Dansville that burden and interest for us did not cease. They had frequent, and stated seasons of prayer for us, the poor afflicted servants of Christ. We find them the same--manifesting a kind and heartfelt sympathy for us in our affliction. They are ready to bear our burdens as far as it is possible for them so to do. They have offered us liberal donations which we declined, as we at present do not need pecuniary aid. A number who have faith, meet together every week, and engage in earnest, fervent prayer to God for the restoration of my husband to health. May God reward the faithfulness of this dear people, is our prayer.
My husband is improving. He is not troubled as much with nervousness, anxiety, and fears. He suffers but little pain, but we cannot see that he gains in flesh. His stomach is gaining in strength, and takes care of food better. He is now venturing out in diet slowly--eats some fruit. His appetite is good, and he enjoys his food. The weather has not been favorable for him to ride or walk out much. We improve every pleasant day, and take him out to ride several miles in the country. He rode one day eight miles to Bro. Godsmark's, took dinner and returned the same day.
I believe, without a doubt, in the perfect and entire restoration of my husband to health. The Lord is for us, praise his holy name! Although Satan has tried to press us sore, yet help has been laid upon one that is mightier than he, and in the name of Jesus, our great Deliverer, shall we come off conquerors.
We still ardently desire the fervent prayers of God's people, that we may be sustained in, and delivered from, our present affliction. By Ellen G. White. (Concluded.)