J.N. Andrews: The Ablest Man in Our Ranks | Episode 27 | Lineage


The call had come from overseas:
‘Please send someone.’ The church was expanding
from its North American roots to further afield. The plea had come from Europe, and the church leaders
in the United States had discussed it several times. The need was there, and finally in 1874 the church voted to send
J. N. Andrews as the first official missionary of the church. Despite his wife dying just two years previously, he remained undeterred and set sail
with his two young children for Europe. The Brethren in Europe had been told
that they were about to receive the ‘ablest man in our ranks’. [music] What qualified him to be the ‘ablest man in our ranks’? At the age of 25 he wrote a paper
that was presented at the General Conference session that persuaded the church to keep the Sabbath from sunset to sunset. He wrote the book ‘The History of the Sabbath’ at the age of 29. He was elected General Conference president at the age of 38. He said he could recite the New Testament by memory
and much of the Old Testament, and he secured non-combatant status
for Adventists in the Civil War. When as General Conference president he hosted
the first Adventist campmeeting in Wright, Michigan, he would often go out at night and check on the tents
to make sure everyone was ok. He was much loved, well respected,
and was sent abroad with the church’s blessings. [music] Initially docking in Liverpool, England
before making his way across France to Switzerland, arriving in Switzerland, the task ahead of him was huge. Although he was not a pioneer missionary
as some work had already taken place before him, there was little structure to work with. There were no printing presses, no publishing houses,
and no organized conferences. J. N. Andrews set about the work
with an intensity that he was known for. [music] J. N. Andrews and his children
quickly learned the French language, making a family covenant that they would not speak
anything to each other in the home except French, although German was acceptable at times. His daughter Mary quickly became fluent in the language and became the proofreader
for the new magazine entitled, ‘Les Signes des Temps’. J. N. Andrews wrote over 400 articles for this magazine
during the seven year period that he was in Europe, a remarkable amount, considering that he also contracted pneumonia
after being there just three years. When the doctor came to visit him he asked him why he was starving himself,
because he looked to be in such bad health. [music] Not wanting to overspend, they lived mainly
on white bread, graham pudding, potatoes, and sometimes cabbage, with very little fruit, milk, or butter. He was counseled to marry again,
and it’s likely this would have preserved his life as it could have led to him taking better care of himself,
but he said he could not. He was particularly heartbroken after the death of his daughter, and when he returned to Europe
he was completely bedridden by 1883 with tuberculosis. The church was concerned, and they sent
J. N. Loughborough from England to do an anointing service and his mother also visited him in his final months,
but unfortunately he still died young. [music] He charged that no eulogy should appear in the Review and Herald, and while Uriah Smith wanted to publish one,
he complied with this request. He was a pioneer, a dedicated worker, and one of the most intelligent and hard-working ministers
in the history of our church. Whilst he received no eulogy after his death,
his legacy lived on in far more significant ways. What kind of legacy are you building in your life? If nothing was said publicly or in written form after your death, would the fruit of your life
lead to positive change in the lives of other people? May we make a commitment to leave such a legacy behind.

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