united fully in the work. It has proved a success.

In our church organization, the General Conference, composed of delegates from the different State Conferences, is our highest authority. This Conference chooses annually, besides the usual officers, a committee of three who have the oversight of the work throughout the entire field.

Next to this are our several State Conferences, composed of the ministers and delegates from all the churches, in their respective States. These Conferences also have a committee of three to take the oversight of the work in their several States during the Conference year.

Next to these stand individual churches, associated together under the following simple covenant: "We, the undersigned, hereby associate ourselves together as a church, taking the name Seventh-day Adventists, covenanting to keep the commandments of God, and faith of Jesus." The officers of the church are local elders, deacons, and clerk.


In the early stage of the cause, our people had no system upon which to act in the support of ministers. Those who were disposed to give anything, gave what they chose. For a time our ministers were quite well sustained, by a few liberal souls, while the majority excused themselves from doing anything. Ere long, it became evident that these liberal ones were becoming weary of this inequality, and they began to withhold their support. Hence, in the winter of 1858-9, some of our most efficient laborers were contemplating leaving

the gospel-field to labor with their hands for the support of their families.

In this state of things, feeling that something must be done, I finally prepared an address on the subject of Systematic Benevolence, for the church in Battle Creek. This address was adopted, and published in the Review of Feb. 3, 1859, as an appeal from that church to the churches and brethren in Michigan. This system is based on 1 Cor. xvi, 2: "Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come," and, as now matured, suggests to all believers who are enjoying common prosperity, 1. That they give at the rate of two cents each week upon every one hundred dollars worth of property which they possess. 2. That they give a personal donation, each week, of from one to twenty-five cents, or more, according to their ability. The object of this second suggestion is to embrace those who have ability to earn, but have little or no property. The necessity and equality of the system are plead before all; yet all are left to assess their own property, and give, in the love and fear of God, according to their prosperity. Widows, the aged, and the infirm, who are in straitened circumstances, are excused. It is not a system of compulsion, but, as carried out among us, is Systematic Benevolence. While all are entreated to act their part in this work, with feelings of cheerful benevolence, none are compelled.


For a time this system received considerable opposition; but when fully explained, it was seen to be a perfect system of equality. The poor who had but a very few hundred dollars, were called upon by this system for so trifling a sum that they were the last to object to it; and the wealthy were certainly able to pay

the small percentage from their abundance. This system is generally adopted by our people everywhere, and affords a liberal support to our ministers, leaving them free to devote themselves entirely to the work of the ministry.


As we look back upon the great Advent movement, with its joyful expectations and bitter disappointments, its prosperity and adversity, its triumphant victories and its trials, it appears just like the work of God in separating a people from the world, to purify, make white, and try, and thus make them ready for the coming of their Lord. Have Adventists been disappointed? So were the Israelites, in not immediately entering Canaan, and the disciples, as Jesus died upon the cross. Have the faith and patience of Adventists been tried? So were the faith and patience of the Israelites tried in their term of forty years' wandering in the wilderness. And that of the disciples was severely tested in the unexpected death of their beloved Teacher. Have but comparatively few of the once happy expectants of the King of glory held fast their faith and hope? And have many cast away their confidence in this work and drawn back to perdition? Caleb and Joshua alone, of the six hundred thousand male adults that left Egypt, entered the goodly land. And what of the chosen twelve in the hour of our Lord's apprehension? "Then all the disciples forsook him and fled." Matt. xxvi, 56.

God has never been able to make anything very great or very good of man. It has been his plan to prove his people in every age, to test their faith and patience. This has been for the good of man and the glory of his

name. It was necessary that such noble characters as Noah, Abraham, Job, and Daniel, should suffer the severest tests. And how unlike the work of God in all past time, had the many thousands of Adventists triumphantly entered the kingdom at the point of expectation, with hardly a single trial. "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life." James i, 12. This is God's plan. First the cross and the trial, then the crown of unfading glory. As I" call to remembrance the former days," touching the Advent movement, and see its adaptation to the wants of the people, and God's great plan of saving men, my soul says, "He hath done all things well.”

It was necessary, in order that the first message should arouse the people and separate those who should receive it from the spirit of the world, that it should not only relate to the fearful realities of the Judgment, but also to the period when it might be expected. "Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his Judgment is come." The proclamation of the time wast a part of God's plan. This brought the coming of the Lord very near. This was right. This was necessary to move the people. And when the time passed, instead of calling the attention of believers to some period in the future to which they might look for the coming of the Lord, the Spirit of God sweetly and powerfully applied to their consecrated minds and hearts, such passages as, "Cast not away, therefore, your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little. while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry."

How long this little while would be, no one knew. It was not best that any one should know when it would terminate. And more, it was God's plan that this should not be known; but that they should move along through the period of the patience of the saints, Rev. xiv, 12, up to the coming of the Lord, ever keeping that event just before them. Those who have taught the three messages the past twenty years, have all the way presented the coming of Christ at hand. This has been as God designed. And those who would murmur at God's ministers for this, murmur against the providence of God.

It is painful to hear those who have their faces set toward Egypt, complain that the message was not properly preached to them. The coming of the Lord was presented too near. And that if they had understood the matter, they should have laid their plans for the future differently, and now their property might be double its present value. These murmur against the direct providence of God. The coming of the Lord was brought very near in 1844, to rid men of the love of this world, that they might share the love of the Father, and seek a preparation for the coming of his Son. They cannot have both. "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." 1 John ii, 15. And it was designed that the coming of Christ should be viewed near by believers, every step of the way from the disappointment in 1844 to the gates of the golden city, to keep them free from the love of this world.

An energetic Advent minister, on visiting the believers at Roxbury, Mass., being asked, "What is your message now, Bro. B. ?" answered, "Come out of her my people." Soon after the passing of the time he vis

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