"I Remember Our Dear Old Church Elder..."

A history of how an Elder helped Arthur Daniells



When the United States government established the Veterans' Homes for the children of soldiers as well as Veterans' Hospitals, "to care for him who shall have borne the battle," as Lincoln put it, it located a home for children in a town near West Union. There Mrs. Daniells planned to place her children until she could provide a home for them.

The decision to separate from her children had been difficult. Now that the moment had come, she felt heartbroken. Mrs. Daniells, a Christian of the Methodist faith, often prayed for guidance. As she leaned against the buggy wheel and wept, her body shaking with sobs, she pleaded, "Dear Lord, guide me in the right way. Be with my children, and keep them safe and pure."

Wiping her tears away, she drove the horse toward the yard gate. Tying him to the wooden hitching post, she looked toward the house. All three children were watching, each one's nose flattened against the windowpane. The sight of their bewildered, forlorn faces started the tears coursing down her cheeks again. Quickly entering the house, she pulled her childaun into her arms and hid her tear-stained face.

"Children," she said quietly, after gaining her composure, "we must leave now. I will miss you very much. But just as I am sure that God loves and takes care of all the creatures He has made, I know that He will watch over you until I can bring you home to be with me again."

Putting the bundles of clothing and a few toys into the back of the buggy, and lifting her children onto the seat, she started the horse on a brisk trot down the ofttraveled road to the nearby town.

Months passed by. Arthur had turned seven and the twins five, when they learned they had a new father. Mrs. Daniells had married a West Union rancher by the name of Lippincott.

"I will go after the children myself," Mr. Lippincott told her after the wedding. "They need their mother, and I intend to see that they have a good home."

Mrs. Daniells-Lippincott was not satisfied with her religion. Her inability to understand the Bible as she wished, troubled her. One day she visited a former neighbor whom she remembered as observing "Saturday for Sunday" and asked him for reading material he might have that he thought would interest her. The man lent her History of the Sabbath, by J. N. Andrews. She read the book, studied her Bible, and later was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. George Butler baptized Arthur when the boy was ten years old.

Years later, looking back upon his boyhood, Daniells said, "There came an hour in my experience (as happens with boys sometimes) when I was awfully discouraged. I felt self-condemned, for I was not praying. I was not trying very hard. So when it came to bearing testimony in the meeting, as we used to do, I refrained, because I felt guilty. But I did say, 'I will do better this week; and then I can testify next week, with a good conscience, with some feeling of decency.' "

But Arthur forgot through the week. When the next Sabbath came, it looked to him as though he had done worse than ever. However, he told himself, "I will have to give it another trial."

"The next week was worse still," Daniells remembered, "and when that Sabbath came, I sank down, and said I was not made to be a Christian. I was not the type of boy for a Christian. I would give it up. When the meeting closed, I shot out of the place so no one could speak to me."

Although he wanted to go straight home, he had to wait to walk home with his mother. So he went around the corner of the church and stood there, looking and feeling downcast.

The old white-haired elder of the church came up to him and said kindly, "Arthur, I want to see you. I am interested in you."

Then he got to the point. "I have noticed that you have not been speaking in meetings now for three services."

The lad replied, "No."

"I want to know what is the trouble. I would like to help you."

"I do not think there is any help for me," Arthur answered. Pausing a moment to gain control, the boy continued, "I am not the kind of boy to be a Christian. I cannot do it. I have tried and failed. I have given it up."

"You won't give it up, will you?" the older man asked.

"Oh, yes," Arthur declared, "I have."

"You must not," the elder pleaded. "Will you not join me in prayer this week that you will try?"

Young Arthur had great confidence in the man's prayers and thought that, if the elder would pray for him, his life would get better. Looking up, he answered, "If you will pray for me, I will try.

The old man put his arms around him and said, "I will pray for you every day. You pray, and I know that the Lord will help you."

Daniells concluded his story by saying, "God visited me that week and ... that elder lifted me from the depths of the darkest place into which I have ever sunk since I started to be a Christian. From that time, I have never reached the place where I said, 'I will not try.' "

Arthur Daniells said further of the same man, "I remember our dear old church elder.... He had two compartments in his pocketbook; one was his, and one was the Lord's. That was for the tithes. It was his rule always, when he got a dollar, to put ten cents in the Lord's side.... When I saw that old man, gray with years, working hard in the harvest field (I used to bind wheat with him) and when I saw him get his pay, divide it, and put the tithe in the other side, he created confidence in my heart, and it had an influence upon me. "

This article was taken from the bookThe Past and the Presidents published in 1974 by the Southern Publishing Association, Nashville, Tennessee.