Joseph Bates Invades The South

January 19  Joseph Bates Invades THe South


My God sent his angel and shut the lion's mouths, and they have not hut me. Dan. 6:22, RSV.

Millerism, given the fact that most of its leaders were abolitionists, wasn't welcome in the South. Yet requests for preachers kept coming. The May 1843 Millerite general conference, however, decided not to send lecturers into the slave states because of the danger and difficulty.

But in early 1844 Joseph Bates came under conviction that God had called him to minister to both the slaves and their owners. The intreped missionary, after experiencing some modest success in Maryland, found himself challenged and denounced by a Methodist lay leader who attacked the "doctrine of the Adent in a violent manner." In the midst of his attack the man "began to talk about riding us [out of town]  on a rail."

"We are ready for that, sir," Bates shot back. "If you will put a saddle on it, we would rather ride than walk."

"You must not think," he continued, "that we have come six hundred miles through the ice and snow, at our own expense, to give you the Midnight Cry, without first sitting down and counting the cost. And now, if the Lord has no more for us to do, we had [gladly] lie at the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay as anywhere else until the Lord comes. But if he has any more work for us to do, you can't touch us!"

The Newark Daily Advertiser reported the incident, noting that "the wreck of matter and the crush of worlds is but a small consideration to one who can take things so coolly."

On another occasion during that same tour a Southern judge accosted Bates, saying that he understood that he was an abolitionist who had come "to get away our slaves."

"Yes judge,"  Bates replied, "I am an abolitionist, and have come to get your slaves, and you too!"

Bates and his companion were especially gratified in being able to give their message to slaves. At times they even chose to walk from one appointment to another so that they would be able to talk to the slaves they met outside of the hearing of other Whites. "The poor slaves," he reported "feasted upon" the Advent message, "especially when they learned that the Jubilee was so near at hand. They seemed to drink it down as the ox drinks water, and from what I have since heard, I believe that many of them will be ready when Jesus comes."

God never ever said our path through life would be easy. But He has promised that if we are faithful to Him, He will bless us and be with us.

As Christians we can praise God for all His blessings every day.

But when we really believe that God loves us and means to do us good we shall cease to worry about the future. We shall trust God as a child trusts a loving parent. Then our troubles and torments will disappear, for our will is swallowed up in the will of God(TFMB 101).