Smith, Uriah (1832-1903)— Editor, administrator, preacher, prophetic expositor, professor, poet, inventor, and artist-engraver.
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Smith, Uriah (1832-1903)—
Editor, administrator, preacher, prophetic expositor, professor, poet, inventor, and artist-engraver. Smith was born in New Hampshire, and accepted the message of Sabbatarian Adventism after hearing James and Ellen White in 1852. He joined the Whites in their publishing of The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald after their move to Rochester, NY, becoming editor at age 23 when the periodical moved to Battle Creek, Michigan the fall of 1855. He remained until 1897 in this position with little interruption, assisting James White until his death in 1881, and then taking over full charge. Smith authored 20 books and approximately 4000 editorials, impacting the church over that span of time nearly as much as James and Ellen White. He served 13 years as editor with James White of the Signs of the Times published in California.
Smith’s separate books on Daniel and Revelation were combined in 1882 as Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation, received a strong endorsement by Ellen White, and remain his best-known work. It has gone through several editions, and has been translated in many languages. Smith was also instrumental in conducting many bible institutes for ministers, a form of continuing education for them. He was the charter Bible teacher at Battle Creek College, and as chairman of the board of trustees conflicted with Ellen White’s vision of education whose emphasis would be on the Bible balanced with manual labor, rather than the classical, theoretical curriculum he favored. He also came into significant conflict with her over the message that came in the years surrounding Minneapolis, and her support for A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner. He responded to her appeals to cease opposing her work, but never seemed to grasp the concepts and run with them.
Smith’s case provides a classic example of a talented worker who at times needed reproving, but could easily become discouraged over reproof. Ellen White with her long history of working with him from the early years would gently attempt to carry out her work as messenger in giving him wise, encouraging, and clear counsel. In spite of his weaknesses, and in context of the broader issues shaking the foundations of the church toward the end of the 1800s, she specifically stated that it was God’s plan that he remain Review editor to the end of his life. One area of counsel he struggled with, partly due to his artificial leg and partly to his love of writing, was to balance his desk work with physical exercise. Ellen White’s desire to lengthen his productive years was more successful than her effort with her own husband. Smith died of a stroke at age 70 while walking to the Review and Herald Publishing House.
Titles of publications in Vol. 1:
The Warning Voice of Time and Prophecy
The 2300 Days and the Sanctuary
Bible Student’s Assistant
Mortal or Immortal? Which?
Vindication of the Business Career of Elder James White
An Appeal to the Youth
Both Sides on the Sabbath and Law
Key to the Prophetic Chart
The Visions of Mrs. E. G. White
The Defense of Elder James White and Wife
Poems, by Uriah Smith
The United States in the Light of Prophecy
A Word for The Sabbath
The Sanctuary and the Twenty-three Hundred Days
of Daniel 8:14
Man’s Nature and Destiny
Synopsis of the Present Truth
The Marvel of Nations
“When men come in who would move one pin or pillar from the foundation which God has established by His Holy Spirit, let the aged men who were pioneers in our work speak plainly, and let those who are dead speak also, by the reprinting of their articles in our periodicals. Gather up the rays of divine light that God has given as He has led His people on step by step in the way of truth. This truth will stand the test of time and trial.” — Ellen G. White, Ms 62, 1905, The Retirement Years, 21.