Who is right? I’m so confused!”
Mr. Hiram Patch and the fine young woman he was about to marry were troubled. It was the winter of 1849 and a young, poor minister named James White was conducting evangelistic meetings in Hiram’s hometown of Oswego, New York. James White said that to show love for Jesus, it’s important to keep the seventh-day Sabbath. Evangelist White drew all his teachings from the Bible.
But a Mr. “M” had said that observing the seventh-day Sabbath was a silly idea and all that anyone needed to do was turn from sin and give their hearts to God. Mr. “M” was the county treasurer, a lay preacher, and highly regarded in the community.
How could Hiram Patch and his fiancé know what was truth?
About this time Ellen White, James White’s wife, was given a vision in which she was shown the true character of Mr. “M”. Like many people today, he wasn’t at all what he claimed to be! Ellen was instructed to tell Mr. Patch, “Wait a month and you will know for yourself what kind of revivalist Mr. “M” really is!”
About two weeks later Mr. “M” was praying dramatically for sinners at his own revival meeting. Suddenly a blood vessel in his stomach broke, and he was carried home in great pain. As others took over his treasurer’s work at the county courthouse, they discovered a shortage of $1,000, which in those days was quite a lot of money.
The sheriff went to Mr. “M’s” home to ask about the missing money. The sheriff went to the front door, while his deputy stayed out in the yard. While Mr. “M” was protesting indignantly that he knew nothing about the missing money, the deputy saw Mrs. “M” dart out the back door with a bag that she quickly hid in a snow bank. Since the deputy saw her do this, he demanded that she dig up the bag and hand it to him. As he suspected, the bag contained the money missing from the courthouse.
The people in the town were shocked to discover that their county treasurer and respected revivalist was actually an embezzler (someone who betrays a trust by taking money for their own use). Now Mr. Patch knew which preacher had the truth. When Mr. Patch and his fiancé saw the fulfillment of the predictions from Ellen White’s vision, they knew that God was guiding the Adventists. Mr. Patch and his fiancé were baptized and became faithful members of the fledgling Adventist Church.
Adapted by Cindy Tutsch from Campfire Junior Stories From the Days of SDA Pioneers, prepared by Arthur L. White, (White Estate publication)