Editors’ note: The words of three Adventist pioneers, Joseph Bates, Ellen White, and James White, are all part of this feature. We begin with a report from Bates, on a meeting and vision at Dorchester in 1848, given in his pamphlet “The Sealing Message.”
Joseph Bates: “A small company of brethren and sisters assembled in meeting in Dorchester.” “Before the meeting commenced, some of us were examining some of the points in the sealing message; some difference of opinion existed.”
James White: “We all felt like uniting to ask wisdom from God. . . . We had an exceedingly powerful meeting. Ellen was again taken off in vision. She then began to describe the Sabbath light, which was the sealing truth. Said she: ‘It arose from the rising of the sun. It arose back there in weakness, but light after light has shone upon it until the Sabbath truth is clear, weighty, and mighty.’“
It was after this vision that Mrs. White informed her husband of his duty to publish, and that as he should advance by faith, success would attend his efforts (see Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, p. 116, note 1).
Ellen White: “After coming out of vision, I said to my husband; ‘I have a message for you. You must begin to print a little paper and send it out to the people. Let it be small at first; but as the people read, they will send you means with which to print, and it will be a success from the first. From this small beginning it was shown to me to be like streams of light that went clear round the world.’
“While we were in Connecticut in the summer of 1849, my husband was deeply impressed that the time had come for him to write and publish the present truth. He was greatly encouraged and blessed as he decided to do this. But again he would be in doubt and perplexity, as he was penniless. There were those who had means, but they chose to keep it. He at length gave up in discouragement, and decided to look for a field of grass to mow....
“One day in July, my husband brought home from Middletown a thousand copies of the first number of his paper. Several times, while the matter was being set, he had walked to Middletown, eight miles, and back, but this day he had borrowed Brother Belden’s horse and buggy with which to bring home the papers.
“The precious printed sheets were brought into the house and laid upon the floor, and then a little group of interested ones were gathered in, and we knelt around the papers, and with humble hearts and many tears besought the Lord to let His blessing rest upon these printed messengers of truth.
“When we had folded the papers, and my husband had wrapped and addressed copies to all those who he thought would read them, he put them into a carpetbag, and carried them on foot to the Middletown post office. . . .
“With the beginning of this work of publishing, we did not cease our labors in preaching the truth, but traveled from place to place, proclaiming the doctrines which had brought so great light and joy to us, encouraging the believers, correcting errors, and setting things in order in the church. In order to carry forward the publishing enterprise, and at the same time continue our labors in different parts of the field, the paper was from time to time moved to different places. . . .
“During the months of October and November, while we were traveling, the paper had been sus- pended; but my husband still felt a burden upon him to write and publish. We rented a house in Oswego. . . . There my husband wrote, published, and preached.” [Nos. 5 and 6 of Present Truth were issued from Oswego, New York, in December 1849; nos. 7 to 10, from the same place, in March to May 1850.]
“From Oswego we went to Centerport, . . . where we published a monthly magazine called the Advent Review.” [The Advent Review, printed in Auburn, New York, during the summer of 1850, should not be confused with the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, the first number of which was issued in Paris, Maine, November 1850. The Advent Review was issued between nos. 10 and 11 of Present Truth.]
The following note, on the purpose of his mag- azine, appears in White’s first page introduction to the 48-page pamphlet edition of the Advent Review:
James White: “Our design in this review is to cheer and refresh the true believer, by showing the ful- fillment of prophecy in the past wonderful work of God, in calling out, and separating from the world and nominal church, a people who are looking for the second advent of our dear Saviour.”
Ellen White: “In November,1850, the paper was issued at Paris, Maine. Here it was enlarged, and its name changed to . . . the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald. We boarded in Brother A.’s family. We were willing to live cheaply, that the paper might be sustained. The friends of the cause were few in number and poor in worldly wealth, and we were still compelled to struggle with poverty and great discouragement. We had much care, and often sat up as late as midnight, and sometimes until two or three in the morning, to read proof sheets. . . .
“We were too much troubled to sleep or rest. The hours in which we should have been refreshed with sleep were often spent in answering long communications occasioned by envy. Many hours, while others were sleeping, we spent in agonizing tears, and mourning before the Lord. At length my husband said: ‘Wife, it is of no use to try to struggle on any longer. These things are crushing me, and will soon carry me to the grave. I cannot go any farther. I have written a note for the paper, stating that I shall publish no more.’ As he stepped out of the door to carry the note to the printing office, I fainted. He came back and prayed for me. His prayer was answered, and I was relieved.
“The next morning, while at family prayer, I was taken off in vision and was instructed concerning these matters. I saw that my husband must not give up the paper, for Satan was trying to drive him to take just such a step, and was working through agents to do this. I was shown that we must continue to publish, and the Lord would sustain us. . . .
“We tarried at Ballston Spa a number of weeks, until we became settled in regard to publishing at Saratoga Springs. Then we rented a house and sent for Brother and Sister Stephen Belden and Sister Bonfoey, who was then in Maine taking care of little Edson, and with borrowed household stuff began housekeeping. Here my husband published the second volume of the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald.”
Joseph Bates, Ellen G. White, and James White were principal founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry. The material for this article was excerpted from the book Publishing Ministry (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1983), pp. 15-22.