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Adventist minister and evangelist. Merritt Cornell was a Millerite minister who was converted in 1852 with his wife Angeline, daughter of Henry Lyon, to Sabbatarian Adventism by Joseph Bates in Michigan. After meeting James and Ellen White in May 1853 on their first trip to Michigan, he joined J. N. Loughborough on a trip through Wisconsin to preach the third angel’s message. The next year in Battle Creek, Michigan, the two held the first Sabbatarian Adventist tent meetings ever conducted. In 1855 on a committee with Bates and J. H. Waggoner he contributed to a report on spiritual gifts given to the 1855 conference in Battle Creek that proved to be a milestone in the acceptance of Ellen White’s prophetic gift. This confidence was tested in the 1860s when Ellen White wrote several letters rebuking both Merritt and his wife for various faults. Angeline became a spiritualist by 1871.
In the early 1870s Merritt joined Loughborough in tent meetings in San Francisco several years after the SDA work opened in that state, but continued to received testimonies from Ellen White regarding character defects, and warning him of Satan’s desire to destroy him. Certain improprieties with women caused him to be separated a short while from the work that year. After a return to active work, which included evangelism in 1874 with D. M. Canright in Oakland, California, due to a recurrence of moral problems he was told by Ellen White that he was unfit to be a minister. After his separation from the ministry, Ellen White continued to write to him and his wife, concerned about their salvation. They lived in Maryland for some time in the 1880s, where they were visited by Ellen White. After returning to Battle Creek in 1889 they were reconciled to the church. He resumed the work of a minister until his death November 1893.
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