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During the ensuing summer Mr. Litch visited the seats of the four New England Methodist Episcopal Annual Conferences, and gave lectures which called out more or less of the ministry to hear him. His efforts in this direction removed prejudice, and made a good imimpression.
"The course of Adventism was steadily onward, both among clergy and laity, throughout New England.
"It was in the autumn of this year that that devoted and beloved brother, C. Fitch, returned again to the examination of the question of the Lord's coming, and came out a decided advocate of the doctrine. He at once entered the field, and has proved an efficient auxiliary to the cause.
"Bro. William Miller continued his labors in various parts of the country with great success. Bro. Himes also devoted as much time as his pastoral and other duties would allow, to lecturing on the subject.
"In October another conference was held in Portland, Me., which gave a new impulse to the work in that section of the country. Another conference was appointed and held in the Broadway Tabernacle, New York city, which was the first successful effort ever made in that city.
"From New York city we proceeded to Low, Hampton, the residence of Bro. Miller, and commenced another conference. It was a season of refreshing to all, and more especially to Bro. Miller himself. It was the first conference he had ever attended; and to find around him such a host as were congregated there, from east, west, north and south, from Canada as well as the States, raised up to proclaim this truth, by the blessing of God on his labors, was to him most refreshing and encouraging.
During the winter of 1841-2, conferences were held in various places, which were all attended with good: Boston, Mass.; Dover, N. H.; Sandy Hill, N. Y.; Pomfret, Ct.; Colchester, Vt.; Ashburnham and Lunenburg, Mass., &c. The result of them, eternity will unfold; but much fruit was immediately apparent. A large number of ministers of the gospel were awakened, during the winter, to a sense of their duty to investigate the subject, and were induced to preach it more or less in their pulpit ministrations; and some of them devoted themselves entirely to the Advent cause, and became efficient lecturers.
"As the spring opened, Bro. Himes determined on sounding the cry abroad more fully in the city of New York; and accordingly, in the month of May, himself with Bro. Miller went to that city to commence their operations. The Apollo Hall, on Broadway, was rented at a heavy expense, and they commenced their work. The labors of the preceding visit were so far obliterated that none could be found to invite them to their house and give them a night's lodging. They accordingly took an ante-room adjoining the hall as a sitting and lodging room for a part of the time, until friends were awakened and brought in, who furnished a cot-bed, and thus relieved them from the hard floor. Two weeks, under these circumstances, laboring night and day, paying most of their own expenses (for the public collections were very small), were necessary before an impression could be made. One fact should be here recorded: An impression had gone abroad respecting the Adventists, that they were monsters, or almost anything but civilized beings. So strong was this impression, and so general, that a number of days had passed and scarcely a lady dared to make her appearance in the
meetings. The religious press had sounded the alarm, and spread a panic through the community which it was difficult to remove. But as one after another ventured to look in, and then to listen, the prejudice began to give way, and the congregation to enlarge, and before the meetings closed on anniversary week, the house was well filled with attentive hearers, and a permanent interest secured. It was a great undertaking, but the victory was at length achieved, and a great and glorious harvest has been gathered in. This meeting closed under encouraging circumstances, and filled all who were present with hope as to the future."
“While the meetings were progressing in New York, the friends in Boston determined on a general rally in that city during anniversary week. Accordingly, the Melodeon was secured for the occasion, and our meetings began under the most auspicious circumstances. Adventism had never seen a brighter day. The attendence was large throughout the entire meeting. Although the interests of the week were great, yet none had a larger share of attention than the Advent Anniversary Conference. During that week, the vaamong rious other interests which came up for discussion, was the question of holding a camp-meeting, or camp-meetings, during the ensuing summer. This was thought, by many, a great undertaking. What, a little handful of Adventists hold a camp-meeting! Why, they are hardly able to hold a house-meeting, much less a campmeeting! However, there was sufficient faith and zeal in the meeting to say TRY. Arrangements were accordingly made by the appointment of a camp-meeting com
mittee, to carry the plan into effect. It was determined to make a most vigorous effort during the summer, for the spread of this great light. For we then thought it doubtful whether we ever should reach another anniversary week, in time.
"Immediately after the anniversary meetings were over, the writer started for Canada East, to fulfill an engagement in Stanstead. He left Boston on Monday morning, and arrived at Stanstead, and began his meeting on Wednesday. The interest steadily increased from the beginning, and before two weeks were passed, the country, for thirty or forty miles around, was awake to the subject of the Lord's coming. Immense concourses assembled both in Canada and in Derby, Vermont, where a course of lectures was given. Such was the interest to hear, and the awakening among the people, that it was determined at once to hold a campmeeting in Canada. In accordance with this determination, a place was selected, the ground prepared, and the meeting held in the township of Hadley, Canada East. Such was the good effect of this first meeting, that the people of Bolton wished one to be held in their town. This was begun the next week after the Hadley meeting closed, and ended on the third of July. During that month's labor, as near as could be estimated, five or six hundred souls were converted to God.
“The last week in June, the first Advent camp-meeting held in the States commenced in East Kingston, New Hampshire, where an immense multitude assembled to hear the word of the kingdom, and worship the God of Abraham. Thus, instead of one Advent camp-meeting during the season, which the unbelief of some thought could hardly be carried through, within one month of the determination to try, three such meetings
had actually been successful. Besides these camp-meetings, there were immense gatherings of the people all through the northern part of Vermont and New Hampshire, and onward through the State of Maine."
THE GREAT TENT.
"While these operations were going forward, the plan was started for constructing a large tent sufficient to accommodate four thousand persons, with which to go into the cities where no house was open for lectures. This proposition was at once received by the people, and Bro. Himes, with the help of other friends, undertook the work. Such a tent was completed and pitched in Concord, New Hampshire, in the latter part of July. The excitement produced by such a movement was still greater than that occasioned by the Advent camp-meetings.
"The tent was next pitched in Albany, New York; then in Springfield, and Salem, Massachusetts, and Benson, Vermont. And finally, for the last time in the season, in Newark, New Jersey. In all these places the word took effect, and produced the greatest and most beneficial results. Besides the great tent-meetings and numerous courses of lectures, there were held some six or eight camp-meetings, in New England, during the summer and fall. The work spread with a power unparalleled in the history of religious excitements.
During the season, Bro. C. Fitch made a visit to Oberlin Institute, where he proclaimed the doctrine of the Lord's coming to the students, as well as faculty of the institution, and in various other places in Ohio. While on this tour, the Lord wonderfully blessed his labors, and gave him favor in the sight of the people.