Chapter 8–The Day Dawn

 

Hiram Edson

IT WAS the morning of October 23, 1844. A gray dawn for thousands and ten thousands of the followers of William Miller, who had confidently looked for the Lord to come on the tenth day of the seventh month, October 22. They had closed their earthly businesses; they had sought to set their hearts right with God and with their fellow men; they had taken farewell of earth. This day they hoped to be in glory. {1947 AWS, FOPI 72.2}

The twenty-second had dawned a day of hope on a little company in the town of Port Gibson, New York, on the Erie Canal. Hiram Edson, a farmer and lay preacher, was their leader. Although sometimes their meetings had been held in a schoolhouse up the canal, often, as on this day, they congregated at Edson’s farmhouse, a mile south of town. {1947 AWS, FOPI 72.3}

Through the bright shining day, until the sun went down, they watched and waited, strengthening one another in hope with a recital of the promises and the prophecies. Then with quaking hearts they watched on till midnight. The day was gone, and in apprehension they waited for the dawn. It came with clouds, but not the clouds of glory surrounding the King; they were the old drab wrappings of a desolate earth. {1947 AWS, FOPI 72.4}

“What can it mean?” They looked into one another’s anguished faces. “Is our Savior not coming? Are the prophecies false? Is the Bible untrue? Is there no God?” {1947 AWS, FOPI 72.5}

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“Not so, brethren,” said Hiram Edson. “Many, many times the Lord has sent us help and light when we needed it. There is a God, and He will hear us.” {1947 AWS, FOPI 75.1}

Most of the friends left with the dawn, and went back to their homes. But Edson and the few remaining went, at his suggestion, out to his barn, and entering the empty granary, they shut the door and knelt to pray. They prayed until comfort came to their hearts, and assurance that in His good time Christ would explain to them their disappointment. {1947 AWS, FOPI 75.2}

One brother remained to breakfast; perhaps it was Owen Crozier. After breakfast Edson said to him, “Let us go out to comfort the brethren with the assurance we have received.” {1947 AWS, FOPI 75.3}

So they started, not by the road, but across the field, not wishing, I suppose, to meet any of the neighbors, who might taunt them. The field was a cornfield, in which the corn had been cut, and stood in shocks. The two men went silently, each engrossed in his own thoughts. {1947 AWS, FOPI 75.4}

As they neared the middle of the field, Edson felt as it were a hand upon his shoulder, stopping him; and looking up, he saw, as in a vision, the sanctuary in heaven, and Jesus, on that day which ended the 2300 years of the prophecy, leaving the holy place and entering into the most holy, for the “cleansing of the sanctuary.” {1947 AWS, FOPI 75.5}

His friend had crossed to the other side, and, stopped by the fence, he looked back and saw Edson with face uplifted, looking and listening. “Brother Edson,” he called, “what are you stopping for?” And Edson replied, “He is answering our morning prayer.” 39 {1947 AWS, FOPI 75.6}

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