. . . For 28 years the letter from Mrs. Ellen White lay on the bottom of Mr. Smith’s trunk, unopened and unread.* And for 28 years Mr. Smith was an angry, mean, and bitter man who continued to criticize Mrs. White and make life for his wife and children unhappy.
It was now 1884, and with white hair and bent back, one day Mr. Smith picked up a copy of the Review and Herald (now Adventist Review). He read an article by Mrs. White. When he finished he said to himself, That’s the truth! The next week Mr. Smith got another issue of the magazine and read Mrs. White’s article. He kept reading each week, and he started to change.
Mr. Smith started being nicer in words and attitude. His wife and others noticed the change. The next summer Mr. Smith’s friend Eugene Farnsworth held revival meetings in New Hampshire. Mr. Smith went to listen and visit his old friend. During the Sabbath sermon, Mr. Smith spoke up. Some were afraid he would start criticizing. He did not.
Mr. Smith explained how he had a change of mind and heart, and he began to think about how his life turned out. Then he remembered the letter in the bottom of the trunk. For the first time in 28 years he wanted to know what was inside.
Mr. Smith found the trunk’s key and with trembling hands unlocked it. He reached down to the bottom and finally had the envelope in his hands. Mr. Smith stared at it and then tore it open. He took the handwritten papers and sat down to read.
In astonishment he read the story of his life—the way things would turn out if he had made the choices he did to not follow the church’s doctrines. It was true! He read of being bitter and disappointed. The predictions in the letter were accurate!
Still stunned, Mr. Smith got to the end. Mrs. White had finished her letter with an appeal for Mr. Smith to turn back to God. The next Sabbath, Mr. Smith went back to the Washington, New Hampshire, church. He was excited! After the sermon he again got up and told everyone about the letter.
“Every word of that testimony for me is true, and I accept it,” declared Mr. Smith. “I finally believe the testimonies are all of God. If I had heeded the one God sent to me as well as the rest, it would have changed the whole course of my life, and I would have been a very different man.”
Mr. Smith continued, “May God forgive me. . . . I’m too old to undo what I’ve done. I’m too feeble to get out to our large meetings, but I want you to tell our people everywhere that another rebel has surrendered.”
Mr. Smith lived the last years of his life as a sweet, consistent, and loving Christian. God, and the testimony in the trunk, had helped him see and walk in the light of the Lord.
*This is the story of Stephen Smith. Originally called “Stephen Smith and the Unread Testimony,” it was created for the August 6, 1953, AdventistReview from the records of the early days of the Adventist Church found in the manuscript vault of the Ellen G. White Estate. A. L. White, the author of the article and grandson of Mrs. White, was told this story. We have modified it for KidsView. This is part 2 of the story; part 1 was printed in the April 2009 KidsView.
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