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the woods were groups of two and three engaged in prayer and intercession.
A severe rainstorm on Sunday lessened the attendance from the surrounding neighborhood; but as it was, there were fully 2,000 people present. Meetings were held in both large tents. J. N. Andrews spoke on prophecy in the Michigan tent in the morning; in the afternoon Mrs. White preached on the elevating tendency of Christianity. Tracts were freely distributed to the crowd. The weather becoming more favorable in the evening, James White spoke from the outdoor stand, his subject being the law and the gospel.
Monday, the closing day, was given to social meetings and labor for inquirers. The members eagerly pressed forward with their testimonies, every heart seeming to overflow with praise and thanksgiving. Early Tuesday morning the campers left the spot made sacred by the evident presence of God, and returned to their homes with a new sense of the responsibilities resting upon them as a people intrusted with a great spiritual message. The meeting thus brought to a close, was, up to that time, in the words of the Review editor, "the largest, the most important, and by far the best meeting ever held by Seventhday Adventists."
The camp-meeting in Wright was followed by one in Clyde, Ill., September 23-28, and by a meeting in Pilot Grove, Iowa, October 2-7. These gatherings were also seasons of great spiritual uplift. The next year, 1869, Elder White announced in the Review camp-meetings for Ohio, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa, the first one beginning August 10 and the last closing October 19. Giving advice as to the location of these meetings, he mentions the following essentials:
"1. A central and accessible point, near a railroad.
"2. Dry grounds, large trees, as far apart as possible, and yet furnishing
a complete shade.
"3. Good water, and ample grounds for retirement.
"4. There should be a good chance to pitch one or more large tents in which to hold meetings in case of storm."
The arrangements in these early meetings were much the same as those at Wright. The tents were mostly rather large ones, and were used for sleeping purposes. They were divided. lengthwise into two compartments, with a passageway between. the curtains, one side being assigned to the men from a certain church, and the other to the women. There were no bedsteads, but plenty of clean, fresh straw was provided.
The cooking at the earliest meetings was done Indian fashion in the open air. A little later it became customary to hire a number of cookstoves, which would be placed at convenient places under the trees for the free use of the campers. A large iron kettle for cooking warm gruel was hung over an open fire. Every morning the gruel was furnished free to all persons in the camp. Sabbath was sometimes set apart as a fast day; but if it turned out cold and damp, there was sure to be a supply of hot gruel for the campers.
The arrangement of the tents was always with a view to orderly effect. The plan, to begin with, was circular. Later the circle gave way to the street arrangement, which proved more suitable for a large number of tents. The crude, homemade tents were gradually replaced with the best products of the various factories, and the camp came to take on a pleasing appearance. The meetings were presently held in large assembly tents, and it was only on occasions of overflow that the seats outside the walls would be used. The seats, too, were duly supported on boards set on edge, and provided with backs for the comfort of those who used them. A well-stocked grocery stand and a large dining pavilion were other features of the later camps.
In spite of the large crowds that attended these meetings, excellent order prevailed on the grounds. Lights in the tents were required to be put out at a certain hour, and all talking had to cease at the appointed time. The camp lights were kept burning throughout the night, and watchmen were appointed to patrol the grounds.
The camp-meetings were a marked feature of the denominational work in the late sixties and early seventies, and they undoubtedly accomplished great things in the direction of deepening the spirituality of the believers, and bringing into the body a larger sense of unity of aim and effort. While they have continued to the present day to wield a strong influence for good, there can be no doubt that in those early formative years their influence was proportionately far greater. Probably the years 1870-85 would cover the period during which the campmeeting underwent the most rapid development and achieved the most decided results in the building up of the denomination.
In such Western States as Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, where the believers were very largely of the farming class, the camp-meetings developed certain characteristics of their own. Adventists in attendance came in their covered wagons, and oftentimes were several days on the road coming and going.
Those living at the greater distances would start early, and the train of wagons would gradually grow in length as it passed through the nearer towns, till it became a very long one.
A typical camp-meeting of this general character was held at Marion, Iowa, in the early summer of 1870. Let us join one of the smaller trains of wagons as it nears the meeting place.
On a bright morning in June we leave the hospitable home of a believer, in company with about thirty persons, including Elder and Mrs. James White, who have come by rail from Michigan. There are five wagons loaded with people and baggage; the roads are good, and the air invigorating. At six o'clock in the evening the party encamp for the night, pitching three large family tents on the grounds of a good-natured farmer, who furnishes plenty of clean straw. Preparations having been made for the night's rest, a brief religious service is held, attended by the farmer host and his neighbors.
At four-thirty the next morning all are up, the tents and baggage have been packed, and the company is on the road, most of its members walking to keep warm. At seven o'clock a halt for breakfast is made on the banks of a clear stream. The horses are watered, fires are made of dry bark, a hot drink is provided, and after "looking to God in thanksgiving and petition for His blessings," breakfast is served. About one o'clock the camp is reached. It is the day before the meeting is to begin; but a large number of people are already on the ground, and new companies are arriving hourly.
The camp occupies a sandy knoll liberally sprinkled with trees. The large meeting tent stands in an open place in the center, and the smaller tents are pitched under the trees around it in an orderly fashion. The large tent is fully seated, but the seats continue beyond and around it, so that during services fully half the large audience is sitting under the trees. The speaker's stand is several rods from the large tent, the walls of the latter being raised so that all can hear.
The next morning, Sabbath, the rising bell is rung at fourthirty, and at five o'clock the campers are seen going to the stand for the morning prayer and social service. Short prayers and testimonies fill the hour. Breakfast comes next, and after that, morning worship in the various tents. In twenty-five different tents the people are singing twenty-five different tunes, and a person standing in the middle of the circle hears only what one of the campers calls a "sort of sacred, sublime confusion." But cach tent company is following its own tune, and great benefit is derived from these small district meetings.
At nine-thirty there is a general social meeting. At a quarter before eleven, W. H. Littlejohn enters the stand, and-preaches a sermon from Revelation 14: 12. At 2 P. M. Mrs. E. G. White addresses the congregation with great freedom. By a rising vote some hundreds covenant to live a more devoted life. Then sinners are called forward for prayers, and about thirty respond. At six o'clock services are held in about half the tents, all the campers gathering into them as far as room permits, and hearts are touched and tears flow freely as testimonies are given to the praise and glory of God.
But it is becoming very close in the crowded tents, so after an hour has been spent in this way, James White calls all into the large tent, and addresses them for an hour on the general interests of the cause. Later in the evening a sermon on some phase of the message is attended by a large crowd from the surrounding neighborhood.
Sunday morning the social seasons at the stand and in the family tents are held as on the day previous. At ten-thirty James White preaches from 1 Peter 3: 15, giving some of the leading reasons for our faith to a large and attentive audience. At two o'clock the congregation is still larger, and Mrs. White speaks with freedom and power. Strong men who entered the grounds an hour ago entirely indifferent to religion, are weeping like children, and the whole audience is deeply moved. When the service is closed, the people seem loath to leave. As the crowd slowly move out on the road, more than 700 teams are counted, and the number of people is estimated at fully 3,000. In the evening the audience is comparatively small because of a storm. The next day the good meetings continue, a number coming forward for special prayer in the forenoon service. The baptismal candidates number twenty-eight, one of them being a Methodist class leader.
The time has come to break camp, and a farewell meeting is held immediately after dinner, closing with an earnest prayer, after which tents are quickly taken down and packed up, and the teams begin to move off, after the last hearty hand-shaking.
Elder and Mrs. White left this meeting to go to similar gatherings in Illinois and Minnesota, after which they went to New England, attending, during that summer and autumn, fifteen camp-meetings in as many different States.
Meanwhile the message was making headway also in the East. In this part of the field, where the work had its beginning, there had been a steady though not so rapid growth as in the Middle and Far West.
Vermont, the first of the Eastern States to put a tent in the field, was also the first to be formed into a conference, the organization taking place at a meeting held on June 15, 1862. A. S. Hutchins, a former Freewill Baptist preacher, who had accepted the truth in 1852, labored long and faithfully in Vermont, and came to be regarded as a father by all the Sabbath keepers in the State.
Oct. 25, 1862, witnessed the organization of the New York Conference, which included in its membership the Adventist
churches in Pennsylvania. The organization was effected at a representative meeting held at Roosevelt, N. Y., October 25, David Arnold being elected the first president. Hiram Edson, S. W. Rhodes, C. O. Taylor, and R. F. Cottrell were among the active laborers in this portion of the field.
John Byington, founder of the company of believers in Buck's Bridge, N. Y., helped to build the first Seventh-day Adventist meeting house in the East. He was born at Hinesberg, Vt., in 1798. At the age of thirty he moved with his family to Potsdam, St. Lawrence Co., N. Y., where he settled on a farm. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church; but when a number of his associates in that church decided in favor of slavery, he lent his influence to organize a Wesleyan Methodist church, consisting only of persons who were opposed to traffic in human beings. In those days his home was always open to the Indian and the African, and many of the latter did he help in their efforts to get over the line to freedom.
A. S. HUTCHINS
When the claims of the Bible Sabbath were brought to his attention, Brother Byington made a careful study of the subject, and became convinced that it was the truth; but he had a family of six children, most of whom were just merging into manhood and womanhood, and he dreaded the result if he should make a change in his church affiliations. He prayed that, if it was the Lord's will that he should keep the seventh-day Sab