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Dr. Fhebe Lamson, the first lady physician employed by the institution, was a woman of talent and ability, and thoroughly devoted to the work. Among other physicians who bore responsibilities in the early years of the institution were Doctors J. H. Ginley, John F. Byington, William Russell, and M. G. Kellogg, the last named being the first Seventh-day Adventist physician to write a popular work on hygiene. Doctors J. H. Kellogg and Kate Lindsay became connected with the institution somewhat later, and did much to make it a success.
In the hands of these faithful men and women, and supported by the prayers and active co-operation of the whole denomination, the institute, although by no means free from embarrassments, both financial and otherwise, and often failing fully to realize the high ideals for which it stood, nevertheless made steady advancement, and enjoyed such a growth of patronage that it was obliged to enlarge its facilities from time to time, first renting cottages, and finally, in the spring of 1877, putting up a brick-veneered building four stories in height and 136 feet in length, which, with equipment, cost $100,000. The rooms of this building were taken as rapidly as they could be completed. Seven years later, in 1884, it became necessary to add a five-story extension on the south, including a dining-room with accommodations for 400. There followed next a five-story hospital to provide accommodations for the rapidly growing surgical work; and then a large extension on the north of the main building, and a nurses' dormitory, a separate building east of the main building.
Meanwhile the work of popularizing the health principles had been powerfully aided by the organization, early in 1879, of a society known as The American Health and Temperance Association, which in a few years obtained a following of 15,000 pledged members. It was largely by means of this organization that considerable quantities of health and temperance literature, including a Health Almanac, were circulated, and lectures given in many different parts of the country, resulting in the raising up of a considerable body of constituents.
The further development of this work will be considered in later chapters.
The Camp-Meeting Era
THE year 1868, which marked the sending out of the first missionaries to the Pacific Coast, also witnessed the holding of the first Seventh-day Adventist camp-meeting. It was convened in Wright, Mich., in the month of September, and was a gathering of great significance in the growth and development of the denomination. Elder and Mrs. White, and others closely associated with them, felt the need of a deepening of the spiritual life, and it was their conviction that the need would be most effectively met by a gathering out in the open air in some quiet place, where the people could give themselves uninterruptedly to seeking God.
There were some fears, however, that good order and discipline might be difficult to maintain in such a gathering. Therefore James White regarded this first meeting in the open as something of an experiment; and he was governed by this feeling in the instructions he gave for making the necessary preparations. It was not thought best to invest money in family tents, as they might not be needed for future meetings. The families that came were advised to procure each eighteen yards of heavy factory cotton, and it was suggested that after the
cloth had been used for temporary tents, it could be employed for other purposes.
The camp was pitched in a grove of sugar maples on the farm of E. H. Root, near the town of Wright, Ottawa Co., west Michigan. In an editorial Elder Uriah Smith wrote:
"There were nineteen tents from churches in Michigan, one from Olcott, N. Y., and one each from Oakland and Johnstown, Wis., making in all twenty-two tents on the ground, besides the Ohio and Michigan large meeting tents, each sixty feet in diameter. These, arranged in a circle around the preachers' stand and the seats for the people, in the edge of the beautiful grove, made it a most pleasant and inviting spot.”— Review and Herald, Sept. 15, 1868; Vol. XXXII, No. 12, p. 172.
The tents, which were of various sizes according to the number of persons to be accommodated, were mostly constructed with side walls of rough boards, the roof and ends being of factory cotton. The two large tents near the center were used for services only in case of rain, the speaker's stand and the great majority of the seats being under the trees outside. The seats were of rough boards laid on logs arranged longitudinally end to end. Logs alone were also used for seats. The rostrum, which stood out in the open, measured about ten by twelve feet, and was provided with a canopy. The camp was lighted at night by means of a number of wood fires which were kept burning on elevated boxes filled with earth. For the comfort of the campers in wet or chilly weather, a log fire was kept burning in the outskirts. There was no grocery stand. Food was prepared in the farm houses near by, and brought warm to the camp. Bread wagons drove in from Berlin, the nearest village.
The bookstand consisted of three planks supported on posts so as to form a triangular inclosure, within which the attendant stood. Six hundred dollars' worth of books were sold at the meeting. Tracts and periodicals also received attention. One of the survivors remembers Elder White's saying, as he scattered a handful of tracts over the congregation, "The time is coming when these tracts will be scattered like the leaves of autumn."
The meeting was opened on Tuesday, September 1, with a season of prayer at the speaker's stand. No further service was held till five o'clock, the campers being busily engaged erecting tents and making other preparations. At that hour Mrs. White gave an address, taking up the spiritual needs of the churches, and setting forth fully the special objects for which the meeting had been called.
The ministers present included Elder and Mrs. James White, J. N. Andrews, Joseph Bates, J. H. Waggoner, I. D. Van Horn, R. J. Lawrence, R. F. Andrews, C. O. Taylor, N. Fuller, and John Matteson. Among the prominent truths presented were the facts concerning the investigative judgment, and the need of a special preparation in order to stand before the throne of God. Elder White enjoyed great freedom as he in his discourses. enlarged on the special work intrusted to Seventh-day Adventists, and urged higher ideals of personal holiness and greater activity in the promulgation of the truth. Mrs. White and J. N. Andrews also enjoyed great freedom of spirit, their messages being pointed, but tender and sympathetic.
I. D. VAN HORN
The preaching met with a prompt response on the part of the congregation, as was seen in the social meetings, of which two or three were held each day. There was a willingness to repent of backsliding, and an earnest longing to come up on higher ground spiritually. Some had encroached upon the Sabbath, others had neglected family worship, and all had to some extent partaken of the spirit of the world. Parents made confession to their children, children to parents, and the spirit of grace and of supplication was poured out upon all. When the invitation was given on Friday for those who had no hope to make a start, more than sixty responded; and when the call was made for backsliders who wished to start anew, about three hundred pressed forward. There were other similar occasions. Fathers brought their children, friend labored with friend, brothers who had been alienated for years came forward hand in hand, mingling their tears of forgiveness and brotherly love.
Not only were the general meetings seasons of great solemnity and power, but a spirit of consecration and of praise pervaded the grounds. Little meetings were held between times in the various dwelling tents. At all hours the sound of praise and song and testimony could be heard over the camp, while out in