Hiram Edson (Vol. 3, No. 1)

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Lest We Forget
Volume 3 – Number 1

Hiram Edison

This month Lest We Forget features Hiram Edson’s life and experience, and how he received a revelation on October 23, 1844, that gave hope to the disappointed adventists. This revelation of Christ as High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary became one of the main doctrinal pillars of the Seventh-day Adventist church.

The Unique Pilar

While all the doctrines of the Bible are true, and certainly important. . ., yet all  doctrines are not of equal stature and standing.  Ellen [White] quickly came to differentiate among them by means of an interesting metaphor, the chief elements of which are:  (a) a “solid, immovable platform,”  (b) four principal “pillars” that support the platform, and (c) “three steps” that serve the dual functions of supporting the platform (as do the “pillars”) and providing entry to it.[1]

Interpreting her own symbols, Ellen [White] explained that the “platform” of “truth”—not merely truth as prepositional “theory,” nor yet truth as “controversial subject,” but rather the truth “as it is in Jesus”[2]—was the total doctrinal construct of the newly developing church.

The pillar doctrines were chiefly those that support the four corners of that platform—cardinal teachings such as the second coming of Christ, conditional immortality (“soul sleep”), the seventh-day Sabbath (in the greater framework of the immutable Law of God), and the high priesthood of Jesus Christ in His heavenly sanctuary.[3]

And the “three steps”?  The three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 not only support the total framework of “present truth,” but also provide the key to unlock contemporary meaning and open the door of understanding….[4]

Of all the pillar doctrines, the doctrine of Christ’s high priesthood in the sanctuary. . .was “especially” validated by the Holy Spirit “over and over again” and “in a marked manner,” more than any of the others.[5]  Also, it alone constitutes the unique contribution of Seventh-day Adventists to the theology of Protestant Christendom, “the very message that has made us a separate people, and has given character and power to our work.”[6]

[1]  Early Writings, E. G.White, pp.258, 259.
[2]  Review & Herald, June 3,1890.
[3]  Counsels to Writers & Editors, p. 30.
[4]  Early Writings, 258.
[5]  Evangelism, 224.
[6]  Counsels to Writers & Editors, 54.
From a new book we highly recommend: The Great Visions of Ellen G. White, Vol. 1,  Roger W.  Coon,  Review & Herald Publishing Assoc., 1992, pp. 42, 43.

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The Voice of God

“Go, heal thy sick brother.” The impression was powerful, as though an audible voice had given the command.

Hiram Edson had been praying at home, when this command was clearly impressed upon his mind.  At first he doubted the voice was from God.  His mind plunged into a terrible experience of darkness.  The same command was repeated.  Edson yielded,  “Anything, Lord, to save me from this despair.”

He went to his neighbor’s very late that night with the message, “Brother, the Lord Jesus make you whole.”  Because Edson obeyed the command impressed upon his mind, the man was healed.  His family learned of and rejoiced in the advent message; and many among the congregation that attended the next night’s preaching service responded to the powerful testimony of how God had wrought the miraculous healing.

“Go talk the truth to your neighbors,” the voice spoke on another occasion regarding the new advent belief. Solemnly, Edson promised to obey, but being a simple farmer, he hesitated. Before this command, he had been rejoicing at the victory, liberty and freedom he had experienced since learning the advent message. He longed to continue in this experience, but felt as though he was being shut off from God.  As he prayed earnestly one day, he remembered his broken promise. It seemed the heaviest cross ever presented to him to lift.  But, realizing the cause of his despondency and darkness, he made the supreme effort.

What a blessed result!  At the third house he visited, “old and young, the grey-headed and youth, were melted to tears; expressing their desire for saving grace.”[1]

There was one house he refused to visit.  The father was dissipated and Edson felt it would be casting pearls before swine.  He described his experience, “I was stopped on the road opposite the house, by some unseen power, and could not make progress. . .a shadowy form in human shape…led toward the house…. Twice…. Thrice…. The Lords’ [sic] angel was accompanying me and leading me … I entered the house, was received kindly. . .and learned that they were backsliders and desirous to return to the Lord.”[2] This experience confirmed Edson’s belief that the new doctrine was from heaven.

“Go, encourage the brethren.” — Hiram Edson received another impression from God on October 23, 1844, the day after the disappointment.  Hiram described how they felt when Christ failed to appear:  “Our fondest hopes and expectations were blasted, and such a spirit of weeping came over us as I never experienced before. . . .  We wept. . .till the day dawn.”[3]

“I said to some of my brethren, Let us go to the barn. We entered the granary, shut the doors…and bowed before the Lord…. We continued in earnest prayer until the witness of the Spirit was given that our prayer was accepted, and that light should be given, our disappointment be explained, and made clear and satisfactory.”[4]

With this assurance he and Brother Crosier left to encourage some of the brethren in the faith. They walked through the cornfield to avoid the mocking jeers of the neighbors who had refused to believe the advent message. Edson stopped in the field to pray once more. There, heaven was opened to his view.

Whether an impression or a vision, Edson says, “I saw distinctly, and clearly, that instead of our High Priest coming out of the Most Holy of the heavenly sanctuary to come to this earth…at the end of the 2,300 days, that he for the first time entered on that day the second apartment of that sanctuary and that he had a work to perform in the Most Holy before coming to this earth…. While I was thus standing in the midst of the field, my comrade passed on almost beyond speaking distance before missing me. He inquired why I was stopping so long.  I replied, ‘The Lord was answering our morning prayer, by giving light with regard to our disappointment.’”[5]

The two men decided they must share with the world the glad message Jesus had sent clarifying the event that actually had taken place at the end of the 2300 days. Crosier says that, “Very early in the morning I was on horseback going from place to place to tell the good news and to cheer those whom I could reach.”[6]

Together with Doctor F.B. Hahn, they studied in depth the new light.  Scriptures they had read before, but not understood, now came to life with new meaning. As they began studying, “Edson’s Bible fell open to Hebrews 8 and 9. There they found confirmation of the concept that the sanctuary to be cleansed was neither the earth nor the church, but rather the heavenly temple, of which that on earth had been a type.”[7]

Crosier was selected to write up their sanctuary study, and they financed a printing of it that winter (likely March, 1845) in The Day Dawn, a Millerite paper published by Crosier.   A more in depth sanctuary article entitled, “The Law of Moses,” was printed in an extra edition of another advent paper, The Day-Star, February 7, 1846. This latter printing was the one Ellen and James White read and thrilled to see how the Lord was leading towards the understanding of this pivotal doctrine. “The Lord shew [sic] me in vision more than one year ago, that Brother Crosier had the true light, on the cleansing of the Sanctuary, etc.; and that it was his will, that Brother C. should write out the view which he gave us in the Day-Star,  Extra, February 7, 1846.”  She added, “I feel fully authorized by the Lord, to recommend that Extra, to every saint.”[8]

Several important concepts were advanced in the published February, 1846, article:  “(1)  A real, literal, sanctuary exists in heaven. (2) On October 22, 1844, Christ moved from the first apartment of the sanctuary to the second (the most holy place). (3) Before He returns to earth, Christ has a work to do in the most holy place… (4) The Hebrew sanctuary system was a complete visual representation of the plan of salvation, with every type having its antitype. (5) The real purpose of the Day of Atonement…is to prepare a cleansed people. (6) Christ’s cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary also involves cleansing the hearts of His people. (7) The typical ‘scapegoat’ represents not Christ, but Satan. (8) As the ‘author of sin,’ Satan will receive the ultimate guilt for the sins he has caused Israel (God’s People) to commit. (9)  Atonement for sin did not begin until Christ entered the heavenly sanctuary following His resurrection.”[9]

Go into the vineyard. Edson was shown that “we must prophesy again,” indicating a preaching commission.  Ellen White explained the importance of Edson’s sanctuary revelation and indicated the message to be preached, “They saw their great High Priest had entered upon another work of ministration, and following Him by faith, they were led to see also the closing work of the church.  They had a clearer understanding of the first and second angels’ messages, and were prepared to receive and give to the world the solemn warning of the third angel of Revelation 14.”[10] “Every one who has received the gospel has been given sacred truth to impart to the world.”[11]

“Hundreds, yea, thousands, who have heard the message of salvation, are still idlers in the marketplace, when they might be engaged in some line of active service.  To these Christ is saying, ‘Why stand ye here all the day idle?’ and He adds, ‘Go ye also into the vineyard’….  There is a large work to be done outside the pulpit, by thousands of consecrated lay members. ”[12]

“When the members of the church of God do their appointed work. . .the whole world will soon be warned, and the Lord Jesus will return to this earth with power and great glory.”[13] — MS

[1] & [2] The Life and Work of Hiram Edson by James Nix, Thesis, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, 1971, p.12. From Edson’s Manuscript.
[3], [4], [5] & [6] Ibid., pp. 18-20.
[7]  R.W.Schwarz, Light Bearers to the Remnant,  Pacific Press Publishing Assoc., Mt. View, CA., 1979, p.62.
[8]  Nix p. 27, & also, A Word to the Little Flock, p. 12.
[9]  Schwarz, p. 62, 63.
[10] Great Controversy, p. 432.
[11], [12] & [13] Acts of the Apostles, pp. 109-11.

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Get Ready

Dear and well beloved companions in tribulation: I feel something of the importance of the present crisis; I feel that these are important moments, fraught with momentous and eternal consequences, which hang upon a few short days or weeks, and then the die is cast; then he that is unjust and unholy, will remain so still, and he that is unholy and filthy, must remain so still; and then, says Jesus, behold I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his WORK shall be.  Let us WORK then bretheren [sic] with our might what our hands find to do, as we never worked before; for we have but a few lingering moments to work in, and remember our reward is to be according as our WORK shall be.  Feeling something of the sublimity of the present crisis, and the grand and momentous crisis which is just ready to burst upon us, I wish to offer a few thoughts for your candid reflection and deliberate consideration….

We have before shown that the 2300 days ended the 10th of the 7th month, 1844, and no where else.  Jesus became a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man, at the end of the seventy weeks.  In A.D. 33, then there was [sic] but 1810 years remaining to fill up the 2300 which brought us to 1843, to the tarrying of the vision.  In the pattern the figure of the true tabernacle, the typical sanctuary, there were two apartments, the holy and the most holy place, the first and second veil.  Into the second went the High Priest alone once every year on the tenth day of the seventh month, and he could enter it on no other day on pain of death.—Lev. xvi.2, xxiii. 27. everything upon his day,—verse 37.  Aaron, the typical priest, on the 10th day of the 7th month, was arrayed in the holy linen garments with the golden mitre, the holy crown upon his head with the breast plate of judgement, upon which were four rows of stones, in them engraved the names of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, that Aaron might bear their names on his heart when he goeth into the most holy place before the mercy seat to make an atonement for them.

A golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about, and it shall be upon Aaron to minister, and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out, that he die not.—Ex.xxviii, 33-35. Now Paul tells us that this service was an example and shadow of heavenly things.—Heb. viii. 1-5, ix. 1-7. Type must have its antitype; there can be no shadow without a body and substance which casts the shadow. Said our high priest, I am the vine, ye are the branches.  Can a vine be removed and not affect the branches? certainly not. There is a company which follow the lamb whither-soever he goeth.—Rev. xii. 4. So also when Jesus our high Priest and minister of the true sanctuary and tabernacle was arrayed in the royal robe to go into the most holy place before the mercy seat, to blot out the sins of his people, make atonement, and cleanse the sanctuary at the end of the 2300 days.  We heard the sound of his going in 1844.  Behold the Bridegroom cometh, &c.

And now, with all the confidence and positiveness with which we proclaimed the midnight cry in 1844, yea, with tenfold more confidence and positiveness, we now declare that we are now beginning to hear the sound of our high priest coming out….

But before he stands up the servants of God must all be sealed and their sins be blotted out—the plan and work of redemption be completed. . . .

My brethren, the great day of the Lord is near.  It is near and hasteth greatly.  Get ready! get ready!! get ready, in the name of God, get ready!!!  Blow the trumpet in Zion! sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders.  Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach that the heathen should rule over them:  wherefore should they say among the heathen, where is their God?   Then will the Lord be jealous for his land and pity his people, and drive far off from them the northern army, the destroyer of the Gentiles.•  —EDSON

Excerpts from: THE TIME OF THE END; ITS BEGINNING, PROGRESSIVE EVENTS, AND FINAL TERMINATION,
by Hiram Edson, printed  by Henry Oliphant, 1849, p. 1, 14, 27.

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Hiram Edson – 1806-1882
Chosen Instrument

Who was this  “. . .chosen instrument of God for the introduction of the sanctuary truth?”[1]

Little is known of Hiram Edson, his family, or life before he became a follower of the Millerite advent message. He descended from an English clergyman named Elijah Edson, who had immigrated to Boston in order to escape religious persecution.  Hiram was born December 30, 1806, in Jefferson County, New York.  We have been unable to discover the names of Edson’s parents and “…whether or not he had any brothers or sisters, or even the exact place of his birth.  Time has obscured all these facts.”[2]

Edson was a Methodist farmer when he married Miss Effa Chrisler on December 2, 1830. After five years, in 1835, they bought a 56-acre farm near Port Gibson, New York. Effa died in May of 1839, leaving Edson with three children—George, 8, Susan, 6, and Belinda, 4. He so greatly felt the need of a mother for his small children that he remarried in about six months. Youthful, 23-year-old Esther Persons became his second wife in October of 1839.

Edson and Esther’s first child, Viah Ophelia was born June 5, 1841; but she was only with them for about a year. Their second daughter was born June 2, 1843, and also named Viah Ophelia, taking the place of their first baby. Their third and last child, Lucy Jane, was born 13 years later on July 30, 1856. This completed Edson’s family.

By 1843, Millerism was spreading rapidly, but little had been done in central New York before the summer of 1843. A camp meeting using the “great tent” was scheduled to begin June 23, 1843, in Rochester, New York, about 30 miles from Port Gibson.  The camp meeting lasted for two weeks; then J. V. Himes moved on with the tent, leaving Charles Fitch and T. F. Barry to continue with the meetings in a rented hall.

His daughter, Viah Ophelia, told that she was born about the time her parents accepted the advent doctrine as preached by Miller. It is safe to conclude that they attended some of those meetings held in the great tent that summer of 1843 and that, during the latter part of November, when Miller spent ten days in Rochester, they heard him preach his convincing message.  These facts considered as a whole would place the Edsons’ conversions during 1843.

The Edson home was often a common meeting place for the little company of advent believers in the area.  Some accounts of the story say that the group met there on October 22, 1844, to wait for Christ to appear in glory.  Edson says that several believers met together in his granary on the dawn of October 23, 1844, and prayed that “God would not desert them…in this hour of trial….”[3]

    [See article, THE VOICE OF GOD.]

That same morning Edson received the revelation about Christ’s work in the heavenly sanctuary that explained the disappointment—Jesus had a work of cleansing to perform in the most holy place before He would return in power and glory. Edson was led to understand that the Millerites’ experience was a fulfillment of John’s prophecy in Revelation 10:9, “It will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as honey in your mouths.”

Edson held a conference on the sanctuary at Port Gibson, perhaps in the fall of 1846. Both James White and Joseph Bates planned to attend, but only Bates was able to be there. He was invited to preach at the conference and took advantage of the opportunity to share the news of the Sabbath. “Edson had already discussed the Sabbath with friends before Bates approached him on this subject…. Edson stated [in his manuscript] that from ‘my understanding of the opening of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven, and the seeing of the ark of his testimony [Rev. 11:19] and the few lines I had seen from the pen of T. M. Preble, I had been looking at the subject of the seventh day Sabbath.’”[4] “As soon as the reading was finished, Brother Edson was on his feet and said, ‘Brother Bates, that is the light and truth! The seventh day is the Sabbath, and I am going to keep it with you!’”[5]  Bates likewise studied into and accepted the sanctuary doctrine during this conference.

The light on the sanctuary was “a revolutionary idea, the germ of a doctrine so radical as to bear a chief part in differentiating between the old and the new adventist bodies.”[6] The new party which arose from this idea, “…accepting the High-Priest-in-the-Sanctuary concept, and maintaining the reliability of the reckoning which came out at October 22, 1844, held that the last time prophecy had been therein fulfilled, and time should no longer be a tenet or test.”[7]

The Seventh-day Adventist Church was later organized upon a platform of basic cardinal teachings including the literal “…second coming of Christ, conditional mortality…, [the] seventh-day Sabbath. . ., and the high priesthood of Jesus Christ in His heavenly Sanctuary.”[8]

After this experience, Edson dedicated long periods of time, often in the winter, to evangelistic trips in New York and in Canada.  At different times he traveled with J. N. Andrews, G. W. Holt, and F. Wheeler, and was a pioneer in Canada, alone and with Joseph Bates.  Young John Loughborough was trained in the ministerial work by Edson, “…who at the request of James White took him on a horse-and-buggy campaign through western Pennsylvania, and later labored much with him.”[9]  Edson farmed to support his family, but lived to preach the Sanctuary and Sabbath doctrines.  In those days, there was no organization to issue licenses or pay salaries; but this did not deter spirit-filled men like Edson.

Over the years Edson generously supplied funds to support the work, often on a sacrificial basis. Some family silverware was sold to raise funds to publish Crosier’s exposition of the Sanctuary doctrine. The Port Gibson farm was sold in 1850 to help the cause of God.  His new farm, at Port Byron, was sold next and $700.00 was lent for the purchase of the first SDA press and type.  Another time Edson provided funds “…to hire a man to go and do Elder J. N. Andrews’ work, so that Andrews would be free to do evangelistic work with a tent.”[10]

In the mid-1850’s Edson began slowing down.  He spent more time at home, and wrote out a first-hand 30-page document of how God had worked in his life, adding to this a long series of theological speculations.  Ellen White commented regarding his manuscript, “…the matter which he brought together, was…not meat in due season for the flock of God. It…would bear fruit in dissension and discord.”[11]  The whole manuscript was never published.

There was despondency among the converts in the area and Edson worked to encourage them.  Elder White wrote that “A rash, hasty, fitful spirit has had a blighting influence in Central New York; but it has been removed under the judicious labors of Brn. Wheeler and Edson.”[12]
The Review of July 26, 1864 carried an appeal for funds to sustain Brother Edson at the Dansville, N.Y., Water Cure. Edson wrote afterwards, “I am thankful for the light on health reform received while at Dansville and from the publications, How to Live, etc.”[13]

There is enough evidence to uphold the belief that Edson was an ordained minister, at least some part of his life.  Official records report he was granted a ministerial credential during the years between September 28, 1866 and September 9, 1875.

In spite of the fact that Edson became somewhat cantankerous in his old age, and perhaps stayed away from church for a few years in the late 1870’s,  his daughter wrote that Edson and his family were “firm believers in the cause of truth to the close of their lives, and were true to the message.”[14]

The “chosen instrument” died on January 8, 1882.  “The text that Edson asked to be used at his funeral certainly expressed well the confidence of this man who had had such a remarkable experience in his Christian life.”[15]

“And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth:  Yes, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”  Revelation 14:13.• —MS

[1] Origin and History of SDA,  A. W. Spalding, R. & H. Pub., 1961, p. 216. 
[2]
 The Life and Work of Hiram Edson by James Nix, Thesis, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, 1971, p. 3.
[3] Origin and History of SDA, p. 101.
[4] Foundations of the Seventh-day Adventist Message and Mission, P.G. Damsteegt, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI, 1977, p.139,140.
[5] Quoted from Pioneer Days of the Advent Movement, by A. W. Spicer, page 62, quoted in Nix’s thesis, p. 30.
[6] Nix, p. 102.
[7] Ibid., p. 103.
[8] The Great Visions of Ellen G. White, Vol.1, R. W. Coon, R. & H. Pub. Assoc., Hagerstown, MD. 21740, 1992, p. 43.
[9] AOrigin and History of SD, p. 216.
[10] Nix, p. 73.
[11] E.G.White Letter, found in White Estate Doc.File, #588, inCWE, p. 155 and Nix, p. 89
[12] Review & Herald, Se. 15, 1859, p. 132.
[13] Review & Herald, Feb. 13, 1866, p. 158. 
[14]
Review & Herald, Apr.1, 1920. p. 22.
[15] Nix, p. 94.

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Ellen White’s First Sanctuary Vision

I saw a throne, and on it sat the Father and the Son. I gazed on Jesus’ countenance and admired His lovely person. The Father’s person I could not behold, for a cloud of glorious light covered Him…. Before the throne I saw the Advent people—the church and the world. I saw two companies, one bowed down before the throne, deeply interested, while the other stood uninterested and careless.  Those who were bowed before the throne would offer up their prayer  and look to Jesus; then He would look to His Father, and appear to be pleading with Him. A light would come from the Father to the Son and from the Son to the praying company. Then I saw an exceeding bright light come form the Father to the Son, and from the Son it waved  over the people before the throne. But few would receive this great light.  Many came out from under it and immediately resisted it; others were careless and did not cherish the light, and it moved off from them.  Some cherished it and went and bowed down with the little praying company.  This company all received the light and rejoiced in it, and their countenances shone with its glory.

I saw the Father rise from the throne, and in a flaming chariot go into the holy of holies within the veil and sit down. Then Jesus rose up from the throne, and the most of those who were bowed down arose with Him.  I did not see one ray of light pass from Jesus to the careless multitude after He arose, and they were left in perfect darkness. Those who arose when Jesus did, kept their eyes fixed on Him as He left the throne and led them out a little way. Then He raised His right arm, and we heard His lovely voice saying, “Wait here; I am going to My Father to receive the kingdom; keep your garments spotless, and in a little while I will return from the wedding and receive you to Myself.”  Then a cloudy chariot, with wheels like flaming fire, surrounded by angels, came to where Jesus was. He stepped into the chariot and was borne to the holiest, where the Father sat. There I beheld Jesus, a great High Priest, standing before the Father. On the hem of His garment was a bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate.  Those who rose up with Jesus would send up their faith to Him in the holiest and pray, “My Father, give us Thy Spirit.”  Then Jesus would breathe upon them the Holy Ghost.  In that breath was light, power, and much love, joy, and peace.

I turned to look at the company who were still bowed before the throne; they did not know that Jesus had left it. Satan appeared to be by the throne, trying to carry on the work of God.  I saw them look up to the throne, and pray, “Father, give us Thy Spirit.”  Satan would then breathe upon them an unholy influence; in it there was light and much power, but no sweet love, joy, and peace.  Satan’s object was to keep them deceived and to draw back and deceive God’s children. February, 1845, in Early Writings, pp. 54-56. —E. G. Harmon White

Sanctuary Visions – E. G. White

Date Place Reference
February, 1845 East ME EW, 54-56
October, 1845 unknown EGW & Her Critics, 626-627
Feb.-Apr., 1846 unknown A Word to the Little Flock, 12
March 6, 1846 Fairhaven, MA A Word to the Little Flock, 21
April 3, 1847 Topsham, ME EW, 32-35
1847-1848 Referred to in Life Sketches, 162
January 5, 1849 Rocky Hill, CN EW. 36-38 (Two visions)
March 24, 1849 Topsham, ME EW, 42, 43, 86
September, 1850 Sutton, VT EW, 52, 53
May 14, 1851 unknown EW, 70, 71

 Rhode’s Rescue

S. W. Rhodes had labored diligently and effectively in the Advent Awakening in 1843 and 1844. He was a man of means, which he dedicated to spreading the message. When the time of the expected advent of Christ passed in 1844, Rhodes was humiliated.  He withdrew from public contact and secluded himself in a forest in the heart of New York State, sustaining himself by hunting and fishing and raising a small garden.  Hiram Edson knew where Rhodes was and twice journeyed by foot to the hideout and tried to persuade him to rejoin his brethren.  Both attempts failed.

On November 7, 1849, Edson started a third time in an attempt to rescue Rhodes. After walking fourteen miles, he felt impressed to turn back. With Rhodes uppermost in Edson’s mind, he attended the conference at Centerport, New York, on Sabbath and Sunday, November 17 and 18. There he met Brethren Ralph and Belden, who had come from Connecticut, and James and Ellen White, who had come from nearby Oswego. The meeting was a “refreshing season.”

At the close of the conference, Edson told Ralph about Rhodes. He discovered that both he and Ralph were impressed that they should visit Rhodes together. That evening a half dozen joined in a season of prayer over the Rhodes case. Hiram Edson reported:

“Brother Ralph asked the Lord, in secret, to pour out his Spirit upon us if it was His will that we should go after Brother Rhodes.

“The Spirit was poured out, and it settled upon us, so that the place was awful, and glorious. While I was inquiring of the Lord if He had sent His servant so far to go with me to hunt up Brother Rhodes, at that moment Brother Ralph broke out in a new tongue, unknown to us all. Then came the interpretation — ‘Yes, to go with thee.’— PT, December, 1849.

The group knew that neither James nor Ellen White had much faith in the interest that was felt for Rhodes, and she cautioned Ralph “to be sure to get a clear duty from the Lord.” She told him that she thought Edson’s feelings for Rhodes were mere sympathy. Edson continues the story:

“The next morning we had a season of prayer, and the Spirit was richly poured out, and the Lord gave Sister White the following vision, which was contrary to her former opinion and feeling relating to our going after Brother Rhodes, up to the time that the Spirit took her off in vision.”— Ibid.

From the account of the vision as recorded in Present Truth we quote the heart of the message:

“While in vision the angel pointed to the earth, where I saw Brother Rhodes in thick darkness; but he still bore the image of Jesus. I saw it was the will of God that Brethren Edson and Ralph should go.

“Then I was shown Brother Rhodes’s past labors in the Advent cause; that he had been mighty in word and in deed. I saw him standing before the people, with the Bible in his hand, and a stream of light coming from his mouth, which found its way to the hearts of the people…. I saw that he had proclaimed the Advent with great confidence, and had shown his faith by his works, and when the time passed, the disappointment was very great….

“I saw that Jesus was pleading His blood for Brother Rhodes, and that the angel was ready to enroll his name, as soon as he would come out of that dark place, and stand on all the present truth…. I saw that Brethren Edson and Ralph should make him believe there was hope and mercy for him, and tear him away, then he would come among the flock; and that angels would attend them on their journey.”—

Shortly after the vision, the two men started on their way to rescue Rhodes. They found him at work in a field by the Black River. They told him that they had come in the name of the Lord to get him to go with them to see the brethren and go with them into the kingdom. Again there was a speaking in an unknown tongue. Hiram Edson as eyewitness reported:

“God displayed His convincing power, and Brother Ralph spoke in a new tongue, and gave the interpretation in power, and in the demonstration of the Holy Ghost.”

Triumphantly, Hiram Edson reported:

“Brother Rhodes finally consented to come with us, and went about arranging his business in order to leave…. Friday, November 23, we returned as far as Brother Arnold’s of Volney…. They were all rejoiced to see Brother Rhodes.”

The account closes with these words:

“He stands firm in all the present truth; and we heartily bid him Godspeed as he goes to search out and feed the precious, scattered flock of Jesus.”

Records of the influence and work of Elder Rhodes following this experience attest to his effective ministry.• – A.W.(This story comes largely from an account by Hiram Edson published in Present Truth, November, 26, 1849.  It has been written up by Arthur L. White in his biographical series about Ellen G. White, Volume 1, THE EARLY YEARS, 1827-1862, Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1985, pages 196-198. The publishers recommend this biographical work to the readers.)

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