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Here is Joseph Bates' account of the first Adventist camp meeting.

CAMP-MEETING.

(1) THE camp-meeting at Wright, Mich., Sept. 1-7, 1868, under the supervision of Brn. James White, and J. N. Andrews, was one of the best conducted, most orderly, and quiet meetings of the kind that I ever attended. There were twenty-two tents from the churches, and two large State tents, all beautifully arranged in a circle around the preachers' stand and seats for the congregation, in the eastern edge of a beautiful grove, a short distance from the main traveled road.

(2) The preaching of sixteen discourses, eleven by Bro. and Sr. White, four by Bro. Andrews, and one by Bro. N. Fuller, was convincing, pointed, and soul-stirring, and accompanied by the Holy Spirit of God, which aroused the dormant feelings of his professed people, and sent conviction to the hearts of the listening multitude. It was indeed meat in due season to all that were waiting for their coming Lord.

(3) When the social meetings commenced, of which we probably held more than twenty, it was evident that the great mass of the people were reined up to labor for God, and give themselves to work in his vineyard as they have not heretofore.

(4) When the invitation was given for those who wished to be prayed for, the scene was truly affecting, to see parents and children, husbands and wives, by hundreds, making their way to the anxious seats, that in answer to the fervent prayers of others they might be forgiven for all their transgressions, and find peace and pardon through their crucified Lord, and soon coming Redeemer. And then the voice of thanksgiving and praise to God from many, for what he had done for their souls, was additional evidence of his gracious work in our midst.

(5) In addition to these were also the social morning and evening meetings in all the family tents, after the meetings closed at the stand, until the signal for silence was given by the ringing of the bell at nine. Thus as this series of meetings continued, the Lord owned the effort of his people in confessing and putting away their wrongs to draw near to him. His Spirit graciously rested upon us, and many were strengthened and made glad.

(6) Most prominent among the truths presented was the startling fact that we are now in the fourth or morning watch, (Mark xiii, 85,) and the return of our Lord from the wedding (Luke xii, 36,) is not his coming in the clouds of heaven, as has been supposed, but his return from the Most Holy place, where he went as a bridegroom to the marriage in 1844, back again to the Holy place in the heavenly sanctuary.

(7) As this coming is sudden and we know not at what hour he will come, we are commanded to watch, "lest coming suddenly he find us sleeping." Let us arouse from our slumbers, and watch, for at his coming we must be ready to open unto him immediately.

(8) Among the books eagerly sought for at the bookstand was Bro. White's work, "Life Incidents," just from the press. This book treats of subjects of deep interest. We hope that every lover of Bible truth will furnish themselves with at least one copy. All that were (are) interested in the great movement of 1844 and onward, will be deeply interested in perusing this work. From it all may learn the grounds of difference between S. D. Adventists and other classes of Adventists.

(9) Also that the Advent movement from its commencement, by following down the track of prophecy, leads directly to the position now occupied by the S. D. Adventists. We recommend a perusal of this work to all who are interested in the salvation of their fellowmen, and are in earnest to find a resting place in Heaven.

JOSEPH BATES.

Battle Creek, Sept. 24, 1868.

Review and Herald, October 6, 1868, p. 5.

http://docs.adventistarchives.org/docs/RH/RH18681006-V32-15__B.pdf#view=fit

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A Garden of Prayer at 1st SDA Camp Meeting

Paragraph (4) seems to describe what now is called a Garden of Prayer where people come forward during the prayer time of the church...

An invitation was given to those who wished for special prayer. Parents and children, husbands and wives, by the hundreds, made their way to the "anxious" seats. There, others offered fervent prayers on their behalf. This helped the supplicants to find peace and sense their forgiveness and pardon. Afterward, people raised their voices in newly found spiritual joy in what Jesus had done for them.

I have not always been comfortable with a congregational garden of prayer. But, when a person receives such affirming prayer, it creates a sense of confidence in God's actions.

Here is a link to one church's Garden of Prayer time:

https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/p480x480/163515_571018242932148_1187059423_n.jpg

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Garden of Prayer, Anxious Seats and the Mourner's Bench

Joseph Bates described the use of "Anxious Seats" at Adventists' first camp meeting. Here is a brief description from Ministry Magazine, 1976.

The Anxious Seat

Finney described the anxious seat as "the appointment of some particular seat in the place of meeting (usually the front benches or pews) where the anxious may come and be addressed particularly and be made the subject of prayers and some times conversed with individually." He was convinced from experience that the use of anxious seats and anxious meetings was "undoubtedly philosophical and according to the laws of mind." They not only helped to break the "chains of pride" but they forced a definite commitment "to be on the Lord's side" from persons who might otherwise hold back. This, too, was a comparatively new measure that went back no farther than the use of the "mourners' bench" at the Methodist camp meetings. The practice of requiring awakened sinners to come forward publicly at the close of a sermon and express their desire or purpose to be saved became part of all revivals after Finney's day.

Arnold Kurtz. Charles G. Finney: Prototype of the modern evangelist. Ministry Magazine, November, 1976, pp. 13,14

http://docs.adventistarchives.org/docs/MIN/MIN19761101-V49-11__B.pdf#view=fit

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From Bates camp meeting letter:

(6) Most prominent among the truths presented was the startling fact that we are now in the fourth or morning watch, (Mark xiii, 35,) and the return of our Lord from the wedding (Luke xii, 36,) is not his coming in the clouds of heaven, as has been supposed, but his return from the Most Holy place, where he went as a bridegroom to the marriage in 1844, back again to the Holy place in the heavenly sanctuary.

(7) As this coming is sudden and we know not at what hour he will come, we are commanded to watch, "lest coming suddenly he find us sleeping." Let us arouse from our slumbers, and watch, for at his coming we must be ready to open unto him immediately.

Notes and Comments

* Does this concept of "the morning watch", used in devotional readings, come from this passage in Mark? Rather than a routine morning devotional time, the "morning watch" would be the watch closest to Christ's return.

* Early Adventists applied a detailed look when explaining the parable of the ten virgins of Matthew 25, the bridegroom etc. Right after 1844, they noted the parable spoke of a shut door. They applied this to the world. For several years, they believed that the door of evangelism had been shut.

* Here, Bates reports a detailed explanation where Jesus, the bridegroom, comes back out of the Most Holy Place into the Holy Place in preparation to leave the heavenly sanctuary altogether.

* These early years of Adventism were years of innovative prophetic interpretation. Now, as a church, we have lost much of our desire to bring new interpretations to the table. It took perhaps a generation for these early interpretations to become doctrine among us. By the early 1900s, leaders wished to avoid the appearance of waffling re: prophetic interpretation.

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Further reading:

P. Gerard Damsteegt. "Early Adventist Timesettings and Their Implications for Today." Journal of the Adventist Theological Society, April 1, 1993

Damsteegt briefly mentions the post 1844 interpretations of various Adventists including James White. The 1868 1st Camp Meeting view is not mentioned. Though some of the views held immediately following October 22, 1844 resemble this 1868 view.

http://www.andrews.edu/~damsteeg/EA%20Time.html

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Iowa Camp Meeting, 1869

WESTERN TOUR, account by James White, 1869

(1) WE left the Minnesota camp-ground third-day, Oct. 5, and by reason of bad connections did not reach the Iowa Camp-meeting until sixth-day, the 8th. The journey, with its many delays, was very tedious, and Mrs. W. had a severe trial of faith at Freeport, Illinois, and at one time decided to return direct to Michigan, and not attend the Iowa Camp-meeting.

(2) But as the time drew near to fully decide the matter, we bowed in prayer at the hotel, and received clear evidence of duty to go to the meeting, leaning on the arm of Him who has called us, and has said, " Lo, I am with you always." The Lord gave strength, and we reached the camp-ground in Pilot Grove, Washington Co., Iowa, a few hours before the Sabbath.

(3) The meeting had been in progress two days, under the special charge of Elders Butler and Canright. It was now intermission, and with the cheerful help of many brethren, in a few moments our family tent was erected, and suitable preparations were made for the Sabbath. We then engaged with this dear people in a brief service, in which several took part. The meeting was free and very cheering, and we quite forgot our painful weariness.

(4) The meeting was larger than any one ever held before by Seventh-day Adventists in the State of Iowa. We were happy here to meet not a few who have embraced the present truth within the past eighteen months. God has greatly blessed the labors of Elders Butler, Cornell, and Canright. The faithful labors of Elder Geo. I. Butler, in the churches of Iowa, and also in new fields, are greatly prized by our people in that State. What a miracle of God's mercy and power! He has, in the case of this man, taken a skeptic, of no small ability and discernment, and has made him an able minister, sound in the faith, faithful, and confiding in God and the word of his truth. Our several interviews with this fellow-laborer since his conversion have been precious, but the recent one at the camp-meeting was dearer than any before. May the Spirit of God be poured upon him to raise him above those feelings of depression which are the result of an exalted view of the work of God, and a sense of his own unworthiness.

(5) We also found Bro. and Sr. Canright in the work of the Lord and in the hearts of the people. May the Lord keep these, his youthful servants, from the influence of the world and the power of Satan, and make them a great blessing to the cause in Iowa.

(6) Those who spoke from the stand enjoyed freedom. Mrs. W. was able to bear a good testimony, which reached the hearts of the people. The Lord was evidently very near to us. We were exceedingly free in the Lord. And although much worn when we went upon the ground, each day we gained strength and courage in the Lord.

(7) The business sessions of the Iowa Conference were full of interest, and perfect harmony .prevailed. The brethren in that State are ready to help in the cause where help is needed. The Conference voted $300 to the General Conference, and individuals helped on foreign missions, book fund, &c. Bro. Erzenberger was received with a hearty welcome, and his testimony was listened to with the deepest interest.

(8) This camp-meeting, from beginning to end, was good; but the best of all was on Monday, Oct. 11. Appeals were made on that day to all to turn to the Lord and seek him with the whole heart. The word spoken reached many hearts. And when invitation was given for those destitute of good hope to come forward and present themselves as especial subjects of prayer, more than one hundred came forward. Most of them spoke. At this point the joy of some believing parents was full and unutterable on hearing all their children speak in the congregation of the people. At the close of this most interesting season, Eld. Andrews led in solemn, importunate prayer. All felt that the Lord was drawing near. The place seemed holy. Mrs. W. then followed in earnest prayer, and continued until her faith seemed mighty and her joy complete. It was a scene of victory in the Lord. All seemed to share in its blessedness. And in this happy frame of mind we closed our annual gathering in Iowa, .The brethren and sisters returned to their homes, and the ministers went to their fields of labor with fresh courage. Bro. Andrews went to Cassville, Wis., to fill our appointment, and we took our journey to Battle Creek.

(9) And, now, as we look back upon the camp-meeting season, it is with pleasure that we recount the many precious interviews we have enjoyed with dear friends, the many kindnesses we have received at their hands, and the many seasons of freedom we have enjoyed in preaching the word, and in social worship with the dear people of the Lord. God has wonderfully blessed his people in their efforts in this direction. We will praise him. By the grace of God, we design to labor on in other departments of the work till another camp- meeting season shall open in June, 1870, when we hope, in the strength of God, to resume this delightful kind of labor, continue it in the West and in the East, in Ohio and Michigan, and, if the Lord will, close with a camp-meeting in California.

JAMES WHITE

James White. “Western Tour”, Review and Herald. October 26, 1869, p. 5. http://docs.adventistarchives.org/docs/RH/RH18691026-V34-18__B.pdf#view=fit

Notes:

Paragraph (1)

James and Ellen White travelled the camp meeting circuit; Minnesota then Iowa. The date is late in the year, October. Probably, they travelled by train. Ellen White did not have a pleasant trip and felt like going home.

Paragraph (2)

They prayed about it in their hotel and sensed their duty to attend. Pilot Grove is in South-eastern Iowa near the Illinois and Missouri borders. They arrive Friday afternoon.

Paragraph (3)

Both Butler and Canright become important in future developments of the church. Butler becomes General Conference president and opposes Jones and Waggoner of the 1888 meetings.

Canright leaves the church and publishes a critical work opposing Ellen White.

Note the effect of fellowship on their feelings. They, for a while, forgot their painful weariness.

Paragraph (4)

James White gives a glowing assessment of George Butler.

Paragraph (5)

Regarding Brother and Sister Canright, these comments seems almost prophetic: “May the Lord keep these…” It would be another 10 years before their troubles would show.

Paragraph (6)

James and Ellen White personally benefited from their church endeavors. They felt better as their days of service progressed.

Paragraph (7)

Business meetings of the conference went well in “perfect harmony.” How much would $300 be worth now? I think Bro. Erzenberger brought information of the Adventist message in Europe. More information should be collected about him.

Paragraph (8)

Monday, October 11 was the highlight of the camp meeting. The call forward (to the anxious seats?) brought happy results. Notice the pattern: An invitation to those needing encouragement from prayer went out. A hundred came forward. These spoke. (A common practice.) Young people spoke. In the congregation of the people. At the end of this social time, J. N. Andrews and Mrs. White said prayers. Andrews’ prayer brought a holy atmosphere to the group. Mrs. White’s prayer ended with a sense of joyfulness.

Paragraph (9)

James White considered work at camp meeting a “delightful kind of labor.” The success of camp meetings grow the idea. 1870, next year, will be even more so; the Lord willing…

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A couple of other interesting points on Canright and Butler. This was during the time that Fundamentalism was entering the Christian's consciousness. Canright became an extreme fundamentalist eventually joining the Northern Baptists which was the most fundamentalist of all the fundamentalist religions. This extreme fundamentalism was proven to be too extreme even for fundamentalists and today even the most fundamentalist gives more flexibility to inspiration than the Northern Baptist and Elder Canright.

I read a lot more when I was at Andrews, and my understanding of Canright was that he was an honest man, generally had his facts straight (except for thinking that the Whites were a lot richer than they actually were). But his short fall was that he was an extreme fundamentalist beliefs and contrasting how he believed inspiration worked compared to what he saw in Mrs. White and saw that they were two different things. Haskell, who was also a Fundamentalist, but more of a mainline fundamentalist and not as extreme as Canright kept trying to make Mrs. White fit the fundamentalist presuppositions. He and Mrs. White had many trying talks over this topic, you can read some of their letters in the White estate vault. Haskell frustrated that he could not explain to Mrs. White that her inspiration worked the way the Fundamentalists say it is supposed to work, and Mrs. White frustrated because she could not talk him out of his fundamentalist views. A. G. Daniels and W. W. Prescott started out as fundamentalists (In fact it was Prescott who first started reading the fundamentalist material and brought the idea into the church) However they either gave up Fundamentalism, or else (like Elder Spicer) held to two views of inspiration, having a more mainline to liberal but still Fundamentalist view of the inspiration of the Bible, but a non-fundamentalist view of Mrs. White's inspiration.

I honestly do not believe that Canright would have left the church if it was not for his extreme fundamentalism. If he did not believe in Fundamentalism, I honestly believe he would have remained faithful. In his most bitter writings you can still see that he loved Mrs. White and our message. His one stumbling block was that he had a certain view of how Inspiration was supposed to work and Mrs. White did not fit that view.

Butler on the other hand, in the 1880s wrote a series of articles against Fundamentalism and was an opponent of Fundamentalism. While he was on the wrong side of 1888 and had to go and do thinking and eventually came back, I honestly believe that it was his rejection of fundamentalism that he was able to build on to deal with that crisis.

Elder Butler and his nephew, Elder Washburn were united in their opposition to Jones and Wagner. Later as approaching the issues in the 1919 Bible conference (Butler died in 1918 however the issues had been brewing) he and his nephew parted ways since Butler was supporting the views of inspiration of Daniels, Prescott and Willie White in their lessoning if not rejecting fundamentalism. While his nephew joined forces with Dr. Benjamin G. Wilkinson in opposing his uncle, Daniels, Prescott and Willie White. This battle is still being fought in our church a hundred years later.

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Kevin,

Thanks for this assessment of the role of fundamentalism in the lives of Canright, Butler, etc. At some point we should identify particular issues which divide fundamentalist values from others.

Don

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  • 3 months later...

1898, Ellen White's Advice on Camp Meetings

April 1, 1898

Camp-Meeting Hygiene

Our yearly convocations are of importance. They cost something in time, money, and wearing labor. They are held for a special purpose. We meet for the worship of God, and to obtain spiritual strength by feeding upon the bread of life. We want to seek the Lord, and find him to the joy of our souls. To do this we must banish worldly thoughts and interests; we must lay aside our home and business cares. We must not give our time to visiting and feasting, nor to the gratification of pride, nor the pursuit of pleasure. The season we spend together should be devoted to heart-searching, to confession of sin, and to earnest prayer. Jesus is among us, to hear our prayers, to pardon our sins, and to give us his blessing. (GosHealth April 1, 1898, par. 1)

We know that time is short. Soon “our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people.” Then shall we not improve all our opportunities in this day of grace, that we may be able to stand in that time when heaven and earth shall hear the voice of God calling to judgment? Is anything more worthy to engage our energies and occupy our time? (GosHealth April 1, 1898, par. 2)

Pitching the Tents

Nothing should be neglected that would promote the success of these gatherings. The camp-ground should be made attractive. The ground should be carefully laid out, and some one who has good taste, and understands the pitching of tents, should oversee this part of the work. The directions which God gave to the Israelites when they lived in tents may be profitably studied. There was order in the arrangement of the camp; for the Lord is a God of order, and does not sanction any confusion in his work. (GosHealth April 1, 1898, par. 3)

Every precaution should be taken for the preservation of health. The tents should be securely staked. It is now customary to supply tents with a raised floor, which may be covered with a carpet, and made very neat and comfortable. This is an excellent plan, and should be followed wherever circumstances admit. When the meeting is held in a country where there is liability of rains, a trench should be dug around the tent to carry off the water. This should not be neglected, even though there has been no rain for weeks. Lives have been imperiled, and even lost, through neglect of this precaution. People in new countries sometimes become careless; but it should be the principle of all Christians to correct a tendency to slack, indolent habits. In many cases it is advisable that families provide stoves for their tents. (GosHealth April 1, 1898, par. 4)

Preparation for the Meeting

Many women spend a great deal of time and strength in sewing and cooking by way of preparation for the meeting. Much of this wearying labor is unnecessary; yet the things needful to comfort should not be neglected. As far as possible, every member of the family should be supplied with suitable clothing, sufficient for health and comfort in the changes of weather that are liable to occur. But often the work that consumes the time and energies of our sisters is done more for the gratification of pride than for the sake of providing neat, comfortable clothing. (GosHealth April 1, 1898, par. 5)

In the matter of cooking, if the meals are taken at the dining-tent, no preparation of food will be necessary. When families board themselves, far too much cooking is often done. Some have never attended a camp-meeting, and do not know what preparations are required. Others are liberal-minded, and want everything done on a bountiful scale. The food which they provide includes rich pies and cakes, with other articles that cannot be eaten without positive injury. (GosHealth April 1, 1898, par. 6)

It is not wise to make such great preparation. The task they take upon themselves is so heavy that these sisters come to the meeting thoroughly wearied in body and mind; and those for whom the work is done are not benefited. The stomach is overburdened with food which is not as plain and simple as that eaten at home, where a far greater amount of exercise is taken. As a result of overwork and bad food, much of the benefit of the meeting is lost. A lethargy takes possession of the mind, and it is difficult to appreciate eternal things. The meeting closes, and there is a feeling of disappointment that no more of the Spirit of God has been enjoyed. (GosHealth April 1, 1898, par. 7)

Nothing in the line of food but the most wholesome articles, cooked in a simple manner, should be taken to camp-meeting. Plenty of good bread with other necessary food may be provided without overtaxing the strength; and all, both those who cook and those who eat, will enjoy better health, be better able to appreciate the words of life, and be more susceptible to the influence of the Holy Spirit. (GosHealth April 1, 1898, par. 8)

My sisters, let the preparation for eating and dressing be a secondary matter; but let deep heart-searching begin at home. The great burden of the thoughts should be, How is it with my soul? When such thoughts occupy the mind, there will be such a longing for spiritual food—something that will impart spiritual strength—that no one will complain if the diet is simple. Pray often, and, like Jacob, be importunate. At home is the place to find Jesus; then take him to the meeting, and the hours you spend there will be precious. But how can you expect to realize the presence of the Lord, and to see his power displayed, when the individual work of preparation has been neglected? (GosHealth April 1, 1898, par. 9)

The Dining-Tent

The arrangements for the dining-tent are very important; for on the cooking and serving of the food the health of the campers very largely depends. Those who have the responsibility of this department should be good cooks, who can be depended upon to do painstaking, skilful work. But on many occasions this has been overdone. Great care and thought have been given to the cooking, and the table has been supplied, not only with plenty of plain, substantial food, but with meat, pies, cake, and a variety of other luxuries. In this way precious time has been given to needless labor, merely for the gratification of appetite; and the faithful workers have had the privilege of attending but few of the meetings. (GosHealth April 1, 1898, par. 10)

This is unnecessary. The cooking may be so planned as to give the workers more advantages of the meeting than they have usually enjoyed, and on the Sabbath, in particular, their duties should be made as light as possible. We should have sympathy for those who are confined to the hot kitchen, engaged in the preparation of food, and should be willing to deny ourselves unnecessary luxuries for their sake. (GosHealth April 1, 1898, par. 11)

A few simple articles of food, cooked with care and skill, would supply all the real wants of the system. No greater luxuries are required than good wheat-meal bread, gems, and rolls, with a simple dessert, and the vegetables and fruits which are so abundant in most countries. These articles should be provided in sufficient quantity and of good quality, and when well cooked, they will afford a wholesome, nourishing diet. No one should be compelled to eat flesh meats because nothing better is provided to supply their place. Meat is not essential to health or strength; had it been, it would have been included in the bill of fare of Adam and Eve before the fall. The money that is sometimes expended in buying meat, would purchase a good variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains, which contain all the elements of nutrition. (GosHealth April 1, 1898, par. 12)

Unwise Hospitality

Some persons bring upon the camp-ground food that is entirely unsuitable to such occasions, rich cakes and pies, and a variety of dishes that would derange the digestion of a healthy laboring man. Of course, the best is thought none too good for the minister. The people send these things to his table, and invite him to their tables. In this way ministers are tempted to eat too much, and food that is injurious. Not only is their efficiency at the camp-meeting lessened, but many become dyspeptics. (GosHealth April 1, 1898, par. 13)

The minister should decline this well-meant, but unwise hospitality, even at the risk of seeming to be discourteous. And the people should have too much true kindness to press such an alternative upon him. They err when they tempt the minister with unhealthful food. Precious talent has thus been lost to the cause of God; and many, while they do live, are deprived of half the vigor and strength of their faculties. Ministers, above all others, should economize the strength of brain and nerve. They should avoid all food or drink that has a tendency to irritate or excite the nerves. Excitement will be followed by depression; overindulgence will cloud the mind, and render thought difficult and confused. No man can become a successful workman in spiritual things until he observes strict temperance in his dietetic habits. God cannot let his Holy Spirit rest upon those who, while they know how they should eat for health, persist in a course that will enfeeble mind and body. (GosHealth April 1, 1898, par. 14)

Preparation for the Sabbath

The Sabbath should be as sacredly observed on the camp-ground as it is in our homes. We should not let the bustle and excitement around us detract from its sacred dignity. No cooking should be done on that day. The instruction which God gave to Israel should not be disregarded: “Bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe;” for “tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord.” Exodus 16:23. God meant what he said when he gave these directions; and shall we, who are presenting to the people the claims of the divine law, break that law ourselves, merely to please the appetite?—God forbid. There has sometimes been almost as much cooking done on the Sabbath as on other days; and the blessing of God has been shut out by our failure to honor him in keeping the Sabbath according to the commandment. (GosHealth April 1, 1898, par. 15)

All needful preparation should be made beforehand. On Sabbath morning, if the weather is cool, let hot gruel, or something equally simple, be provided, and for dinner some kind of food may be warmed. Further than this, all cooking should be avoided as a violation of the Sabbath command. (GosHealth April 1, 1898, par. 16)

Personal Obligation

If all will exercise judgment and reasonable care in regard to clothing and diet, the blessings of the meeting may be enjoyed in health and comfort. The clothing should be varied according to the weather. During sudden changes and the chill of morning and evening, warmer garments and additional wraps are essential to health. The feet, in particular, should be well protected. Whatever the weather, they need to be kept warm and dry. (GosHealth April 1, 1898, par. 17)

In eating, errors in the quantity as well as the quality of food should be avoided. Eating too much of even a simple diet will injure the health, as will also irregular eating and eating between meals. All these abuses of the stomach cloud the mind and blunt the conscience. (GosHealth April 1, 1898, par. 18)

If right habits are ever observed, they certainly should be at these large and important meetings. Here, if anywhere, we want our minds clear and active. We should honor God at all times and in all places; but it seems doubly important at these meetings, where we assemble to worship him, and to gain a better knowledge of his will. (GosHealth April 1, 1898, par. 19)

One reason why we do not enjoy more of the blessing of the Lord, is that we do not heed the light he has been pleased to give us in regard to the laws of life and health. If we would all live more simply, and let the time usually given to unnecessary table luxuries and pride of dress, be spent in searching the Scriptures and in humble prayer for the bread of life, we should receive a greater measure of spiritual strength. We need to give less attention to our mere temporal wants, and more to our eternal interests. (GosHealth April 1, 1898, par. 20)

Let all who possibly can, attend these yearly gatherings. Return unto the Lord, gather up the rays of light that have been neglected, comply with the conditions laid down in the word of God, and then by faith claim the promises. Jesus will be present; and he will give you blessings which all the treasures you possess, be they ever so valuable, would not be rich enough to buy. A strong, clear sense of eternal things, and a heart willing to yield all to Christ, are of inestimable value; in comparison with these the riches and pleasures and glories of this world sink into insignificance. (GosHealth April 1, 1898, par. 21)

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