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THE WORD OF GOD
The plan of this book will be clear to the reader who takes up the various chapters in their order. While writing the history of Seventh-day Adventists, the author has tried to see the denomination in its proper setting, as intimately associated with, and indeed having its origin in, a reform movement which from feeble beginnings has attained widespread development, and is encircling the world. With the end in view of recording the growth of a religious movement rather than that of a denomination as such, emphasis has been placed on the work in its various phases and developments rather than upon the men and women by whom it has been carried on. Moreover, it is with the work in its pioneer stages rather than as a finished product that the narrative is chiefly concerned.
The early chapters recount the first feeble beginnings in the Eastern States, followed by the move to the Middle West, and the subsequent expansion farther west and south. Thereafter chapters are inserted from time to time, telling of the plan of organization and the rise and growth of insti. tutions connected with the movement. Otherwise the work in America receives but little further attention; the narrative moves on to other lands, these being taken up in the order in which they are entered. Here, again, the narrative does not tarry long at any one point. When the work is well under way in a given country, it passes on to other countries.
Following this general plan has involved some omissions. Men carrying large responsibilities in countries where the work is in its more advanced stages may not be dealt with, while others of even less experience may receive mention as pioneers in a new field. This plan has been followed, however, because it most nearly gives the sense of life and motion which belongs to the onward march of a great religious movement. It has seemed wise to forego completeness in the matter of names to make possible a more lifelike and adequate account of the movement.
The materials for the book have been gathered from the official records, and from a variety of contemporary publications, including the back volumes of the Review and Herald. The writer has some first-hand acquaintance with the work in this country and in various parts of Europe. For his knowledge of the mission fields he has depended largely on interviews with our leading missionaries at the sessions of the General Conference and a considerable correspondence with others in the field. The materials received in this way, and in some cases through other missionary publications, have been freely used, with only slight adaptations as to language, the aim being to present the life of the missionaries with as much vividness as possible.
It is a privilege to mention by name some of the friends and coworkers but for whose assistance this book could not have attained even its present stage of completeness. The first name shall be that of A. G. Daniells, at whose suggestion the work was undertaken in the first place, and from whom much valuable counsel has been received. W. A. Spicer has not only placed at the disposal of the writer his own extensive reports and other writings on the missionary enterprises of the denomination, from which much material has been drawn for that portion of the book; but he also took time to read the entire manuscript, and to offer valuable criticisms. F. M. Wilcox and E. R. Palmer have given freely of their time and energies to forward the interests of the book, the latter having personally supervised the selection and preparation of the illustrations. While they were alive, S. N. Haskell and J. N. Loughborough did everything in their power to assist the writer in his researches. W. E. Howell, C. W. Irwin, and Frederick Griggs have given timely help in educational matters, and have taken an interest in the progress of the work as a whole. W. W. Prescott and M. E. Kern have offered valuable suggestions based on a reading of the first draft of the manuscript. L. R. Conradi has given welcome aid in gathering materials for the chapters on the beginnings in Europe. W. C. White, Clarence C. Crisler, and J. Vuilleumier have furnished first-hand materials of value. C. Sorenson and J. N. Anderson have offered practical suggestions from the point of view of the use of the book in the classroom. C. P. Bollman has given a critical reading to the manuscript, and has offered many helpful suggestions. H. E. Rogers has aided materially in the statistical portions of the book. Dr. H. E. Thompson, of the Advent Christian Publication Society, has kindly read the chapters dealing with he work of William Miller and his associates. Miss Mary A. Steward supervised the literary editing and proof-reading, and prepared the index.
There are many others who have furnished information, contributed letters and photographs, and in other ways given of their best that the history might attain to some measure of success. To all these, hearty thanks are rendered, both for their actual help and for the willing spirit which prompted it.
Let it be said in closing that the author is deeply sensible of the incompleteness necessarily associated with a work of this kind, and enhanced in the present instance by his own obvious limitations. He asks the kind forbearance of the reader for any mistakes that may have crept in unawares, and invites the co-ope of all friends and well-wishers in the effort to improve later editions.
M. E. OLSEN.