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of action, and a committee of nine ministers was selected to study the Bible on the subject of church order and officers. About the same time the suggestion was made that churches appoint delegates to the State conferences, and also that State conferences elect delegates to a General Conference. Both ideas met with general favor.
At a Conference of the leading workers held in the spring of 1861, as already recorded, the Publishing Association had been incorporated. During the summer the discussion of effective conference organization went on, and in the autumn seven of the leading ministers met again in Battle Creek, October 6, the first business presented being the organization of churches. The Conference recommended the following church. covenant:
"We, the undersigned, hereby associate ourselves together as a church, taking the name of Seventh-day Adventists, covenanting to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus Christ."
A committee was appointed to prepare an address setting forth in detail plans for organizing churches, and this address was published in the Review of Oct. 15, 1861.
At the general meeting just mentioned, it was decided to issue certificates of ordination to ministers, and annual credentials. A resolution was also passed, recommending that the churches in the State of Michigan unite in one conference, bearing the name of the Michigan Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. A chairman, secretary, and advisory committee of three were appointed, and it was decided that the first session of the conference should be held in Monterey in the autumn of the following year.
The Michigan Conference convened in September, 1862. It adopted the plan of receiving churches into the conference by vote, just as members are taken into churches. Seventeen churches had been organized in the State, and these were taken into the conference, all members present being accepted by vote as delegates. At this conference it was decided to pay ministers a stated sum weekly for services rendered, the rate to be fixed by an auditing committee selected at the annual meeting; and to require ministers to report their time and expenses to the conference.
From the State conference to the General Conference there was but a step, and that an inevitable one. At the Monterey meeting of the Michigan Conference this resolution was passed:
"That we invite the several State conferences to meet with us, by delegate, in General Conference, at our next annual Conference."
It was intended at first to hold this Conference in the autumn of 1863; but the spring proved to be a more favorable time. A call was accordingly made by James White, J. N. Loughborough, and John Byington, for a meeting to be held in Battle Creek, May 20-23. This meeting, the first general gathering of delegates representing the work as a whole throughout the country, was attended by the following elected delegates:
New York: J. N. Andrews, N. Fuller, C. O. Taylor, J. M. Aldrich.
Ohio: I. N. Van Gorder, H. F. Baker.
Michigan: James White, Joseph Bates, J. H. Waggoner, John Byington, J. N. Loughborough, Moses Hull, M. E. Cornell, R. J. Lawrence, James Harvey, W. S. Higley, Jr.
Wisconsin: Isaac Sanborn.
Iowa: B. F. Snook, W. H. Brinkerhoff.
Committees were appointed as follows:
On General Conference Constitution: J. N. Andrews, N. Fuller, I. Sanborn, W. Morse, H. F. Baker, B. F. Snook, J. H. Waggoner, J. N. Loughborough.
On State Conference Constitution: J. N. Loughborough, I. Sanborn, W. H. Brinkerhoff, J. M. Aldrich, and W. Morse.
A constitution was adopted for the General Conference, consisting of nine articles. The duty of the executive committee
is thus defined:
"They shall take the special supervision of all missionary labor, and as a missionary board shall have the power to decide where such labor is needed, and who shall go as missionaries to perform the same."
The basis of representation was made as follows:
"Each State conference shall be entitled to one delegate in the General Conference, and one additional delegate for every twenty delegates in the State conference."- Quoted in the Year Book for 1913, p. 245.
A constitution was also adopted for State conferences, with delegate representation providing that each church to the number of twenty members or under shall be entitled to one delegate, and one additional delegate for each additional fifteen members.
The committee on nominations reported the following officers: President, James White; Secretary, Uriah Smith; Treasurer, E. S. Walker; Executive Committee, James White, John Byington, J. N. Loughborough.
The report was unanimously adopted, but Elder White declined to serve as president, feeling that in view of his promi
nent advocacy of a definite organization, it would be better for the place of chief responsibility to be filled, for the first year at least, by another man. John Byington was accordingly elected in his stead.
Thus was adopted a representative form of organization which, in principle, has continued ever since, the organization being extended from time to time to meet the needs of a rapidly growing work. At every step there was free discussion through the columns of the Review, in which many took part. The form finally agreed upon commended itself as allowing the fullest degree of individual liberty consistent with effective action on the part of the body as a whole. It has proved such in practice. Looking back on the agitation leading up to the adoption of this organization, Elder White, in an article in the Review of Jan. 4, 1881, only a few months before his death, effectively reviewed the situation:
"Organization was designed to secure unity of action, and as a protection from imposture. It was never intended as a scourge to compel obedience, but rather for the protection of the people of God. Christ does not drive His people; He calls them. . . .
"Christ never designed that human minds should be molded for heaven by the influence merely of other human minds. The head of every man is Christ.' His part is to lead, and to mold, and to stamp His own image upon the heirs of eternal glory. However important organization may be for the protection of the church, and to secure harmony of action, it must not come in to take the disciple from the hands of the Master. . . . "Those who drafted the form of organization adopted by Seventh-day Adventists, labored to incorporate into it, as far as possible, the simplicity of expression and form found in the New Testament. The more of the spirit of the gospel manifested, and the more simple, the more efficient the system.
"The General Conference takes the general supervision of the work in all its branches, including the State conferences. The State conference takes the supervision of all branches of the work in the State, including the churches in that State. And the church is a body of Christians associated together with the simple covenant to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
"The officers of a local church are servants of that church, and not lords, to rule over it with church force. He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.' Matt. 23:11. These officers should set examples of patience, watchfulness, prayer, kindness, and liberality, to the members of the church, and should manifest a good degree of that love to those they serve, exhibited in the life and teachings of our Lord."
THE beginnings of health reform among Adventists date back to early times. It was but natural that a people who loved the Bible, and endeavored earnestly to weave its precepts into their daily lives, should ultimately adopt physical practices somewhat at variance with those of the world. The advent belief itself seems to call for a full dedication to God, as in the prayer of the apostle Paul in behalf of the church at Thessalonica: "The very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
This is illustrated in the story told by one of the old pioneers of how the movement against the use of tobacco began among the Adventists of New England. One of the believers was plowing in his field, and the day being somewhat warm, he stopped at the end of the furrow to rest his horses. Meanwhile he took out pipe and tobacco for his own refreshment. As he sat there smoking, his mind reverted to the subject which lay nearest his heart, the return of the blessed Saviour. Stretched out before him lay the quiet landscape, and above a sky of the