Selected Messages Book 3


Chapter 15—A Running Account of Ellen G. White's Experience in Writing on the Life of Christ in 1876

[Published as the Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, dealing with the life of Christ from His birth to the triumphal entry into Jerusalem.]

March 25, 1876—Mary Clough [Ellen G. White's niece, daughter of her sister Caroline. An earnest Christian girl, but not herself a Seventh-day Adventist, Mary served for a time as Mrs. White's literary assistant, and during the travels of Elder and Mrs. White, as a publicity agent, writing articles for local newspapers particularly about Mrs. White's sermons and temperance lectures.—Compilers.] and I will do all we can to forward the work of my writings. I cannot see any light shining to Michigan for me. [On March 22, James White left Oakland, where they had just built a home, for a special session of the General Conference at Battle Creek, Michigan. He and his wife were separated for sixty-six days, until they met again on May 27 at the Kansas camp meeting. During this period she wrote her husband almost every day and occasionally to others.—Compilers.] This year I feel that my work is writing. I must be secluded, stay right here, and I must not let inclination or persuasion of others shake my resolution to keep closely to my work until it is done. God will help me if I trust in Him.—Letter 63, 1876 (To James White, March 25, 1876.) 3SM 103.1

April 4—We have been having company about every day for some days back, but I try to stick to my writing and do as much each day as I dare. I cannot write but one half of a day each day.... 3SM 103.2

Mary [is] in the office, I upstairs writing.... 3SM 104.1

I have had much freedom in prayer and sweet communion with God in my waking hours at night and early in the morning. I am gaining some strength, but find that any taxation affects me seriously, so that it takes time to recover from it. My trust [is] in God. I have confidence that He will help me in my efforts to get out the truth and light He has given me to [give to] His people.—Letter 3, 1876. 3SM 104.2

April 7—The precious subjects open to my mind well. I trust in God and He helps me to write. I am some twenty-four pages ahead of Mary. She does well with my copy. It will take a clear sense of duty to call me from this work to camp meetings. I mean to finish my writings on one book, at any rate, before I go anywhere.... The East will not see me for one year unless I feel that God calls me to go. He has given me my work. I will do it, if I can be left free.—Letter 4, 1876. 3SM 104.3

April 8—I have liberty in writing and I plead with God daily for counsel and that I may be imbued with His Spirit. I then believe that I shall have help and strength and grace to do the will of God.... 3SM 104.4

I never had such an opportunity to write in my life, and I mean to make the most of it.... 3SM 104.5

How will it do to read my manuscript to Elders [J. H.] Waggoner and [J. N.] Loughborough? If there is any wording of doctrinal points not so clear as might be, he might discern it (W. [Elder J. H. Waggoner when he became a Seventh-day Adventist was a newspaper editor and publisher.—Compilers] I mean).—Letter 4a, 1876. 3SM 104.6

April 8—My husband writes that an appeal is to be sent to me from the [General] Conference [session], but I shall not be moved from that which I believe to be my duty at this time. I have a special work at this time to write out the things which the Lord has shown me.... 3SM 104.7

I have a work to do which has been a great burden to my soul. How great, no one but the Lord knows. 3SM 104.8

Again, I want time to have my mind calm and composed. I want to have time to meditate and pray while engaged in this work. I do not want to be wearied myself or be closely connected with our people who will divert my mind. This is a great work, and I feel like crying to God every day for His Spirit to help me to do this work all right.—Letter 59, 1876 (To Lucinda Hall, April 8, 1876.) 3SM 104.9

April 14—It seems to me my writings are important, and I [am] so feeble, so unable to do the work with justice. I have pleaded with God to be imbued with His Holy Spirit, to be connected with heaven, that this work may be done right. I can never do this work without the special blessing of God.—Letter 7, 1876, p. 2. 3SM 105.1

April 16—I have written quite a number of pages today. Mary is hard after me. She gets so enthusiastic over some subjects, she brings in the manuscript after she has copied it, to read it to me. She showed me today quite a heavy pile of manuscripts she had prepared. [All work was at this time in handwritten sheets. Typewriters did not come into Ellen White's work until 1883, two years after her husband's death.—Compilers.]... 3SM 105.2

I am feeling very free and peaceful. I feel the precious love of Christ in my heart. It humbles me in my own sight, while Jesus is exalted before me. Oh, how I do long for that social and mysterious connection with Jesus that elevates us above the temporal things of life. It is my anxiety to be right with God, to have His Spirit continually witnessing with me that I am indeed a child of God.—Letter 8, 1876. 3SM 105.3

April 18—We went to the city [San Francisco] Sunday night. I spoke to quite a large congregation of outsiders with acceptance, taking up the subject of the loaves and fishes with which Jesus, by his miraculous power, fed about ten thousand people ... that were continually collecting, after the Saviour had blessed the small portion of food; Christ walking on the sea, and the Jews requiring a sign that he was the Son of God. The neighbor next to the church near the public garden was there. Cragg, I believe his name is. They all listened with wide-open eyes and some open mouths.... 3SM 105.4

I would feel pleased to meet my brethren and sisters in camp meeting. It is just such work as I enjoy. Much better than the confinement of writing. But this will break up my work and defeat the plans of getting out my books, for I cannot do both—travel and write. Now seems to be my golden opportunity. Mary is with me, the best copyist I can ever have. Another such chance may never be mine.—Letter 9, 1876. 3SM 106.1

April 21—I have just completed quite a lengthy article on several miracles; makes fifty pages. We have prepared about 150 pages since you left. We feel the best of satisfaction in what we have prepared.—Letter 12, 1876. 3SM 106.2

April 24—Mary has just been reading to me two articles—one on the loaves and fishes, Christ walking on the water, and stating to His hearers He was the Bread of life, which caused some of His disciples to turn from Him. This takes fifty pages and comprises many subjects. I do think it the most precious matter I have ever written. Mary is just as enthusiastic over it. She thinks it is of the highest value. I am perfectly satisfied with it. 3SM 106.3

The other article was upon Christ going through the cornfield, plucking the ears of corn, and healing the withered hand—twelve pages. If I can, with Mary's help, get out these subjects of such intense interest, I could say, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace.” These writings are all I can see now.... 3SM 106.4

My heart and mind are in this work, and the Lord will sustain me in doing this work. I believe the Lord will give me health. I have asked Him, and He will answer my prayer. 3SM 106.5

I love the Lord. I love His cause. I love His people. I feel great peace and calmness of mind. There seems to be nothing to confuse and distract my mind, and with so much hard thinking, my mind could not be perplexed with anything without being overtaxed.—Letter 13, 1876. 3SM 106.6

April 25—I cannot merely portion my writing to one half the day, as some of the time my head troubles me, and then I have to rest, lie down, stop thinking, and take my time for writing when I can do so comfortably. I cannot rush business. This work must be done carefully, slowly, and accurately. The subjects we have prepared are well gotten up. They please me.—Letter 14, 1876. 3SM 107.1

April 27—I have written fifteen pages today. Mary Clough is hard after me. She has copied fifteen pages today—a good, large day's work.... Never have I had such an opportunity in my life before. I will improve it. We have written about 200 pages since you left, all copied, ready for printers.... 3SM 107.2

I feel that I am less than nothing, but Jesus is my all—my righteousness, and my wisdom, and my strength.—Letter 16a, 1876. 3SM 107.3

May 5—I have been writing more than usual, which was too much for me. I cannot and must not write more than half a day, but I continue to step over the bounds and pay for it. My mind is on my subjects day and night. I have strong confidence in prayer. The Lord hears me and I believe in His salvation. In His strength I trust. In His strength I shall complete my writings. I cling firmly to His hand with unwavering confidence.... 3SM 107.4

I have important subjects coming in next paper [Signs of the Times] on Jeremiah. My mind was urged to this by the Spirit of God. The view I had sixteen years ago was forcefully impressed on my mind. I saw that important matter was to be seen applicable to the people of God. This was in reference to testimony God had given me to bear in reproving wrong.—Letter 21, 1876. 3SM 107.5

May 11—If I get my writings [Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2] all in manuscript, my part of the work is done and I shall be relieved.—Letter 24, 1876. 3SM 107.6

October 19—We have decided to have the printers [at the Review and Herald office in Battle Creek] go on my book and not transport these books across the plains again. Part of the book is here already printed. We shall not have them stereotyped, [Pages would not be made into printing plates, but left in standing type, allowing changes to be made if desired.—Compilers.] Because we shall not wait to have matters of my book so very, very exact, but get out this first edition and get it in market. Then we can take time to get out a more perfect edition on pacific coast and have [it] stereotyped. Then your father's and my life will be written and printed in the pacific printing office. But we have all used our best judgment and think we had better remain here [Battle Creek] till December and complete this edition.—Letter 45, 1876. 3SM 107.7

October 26—We are in the very worst drive and hurry getting off my volume two, Spirit of Prophecy. Three new forms are already printed. If we remain here [Battle Creek] four weeks longer, we shall have the book completed and removed from my mind a great burden of care. [The Book Advertised.—The second volume of the Spirit Of Prophecy, by Mrs. E. G. White, will be ready in a few days. This work is a thrilling description of the first advent, life, teachings, and miracles of Christ, and will be regarded by the friends of Mrs. W. as a book of almost priceless value. It can be furnished only by mail until New Year's, and after that at one-fourth discount for cash with all orders. Price, postage paid, $1. J.W.—The Review and Herald, November 9, 1876. Commended by Uriah Smith, the editor of the Review and Herald.—We are prepared to speak of this volume, now just issued, as the most remarkable volume that has ever issued from this office. It covers that portion of the great controversy between Christ and Satan, which is included in the life and mission, teachings and miracles, of Christ here upon the earth. Many have endeavored to write the life of Christ; but their work, as compared with this, seems to be only like the outer garments to the body. Here we have, so to speak, an interior view of the wonderful work of God during this time. And if the reader has a heart that can be impressed, feelings that can be stirred, an imagination that can respond to the most vivid portraiture of the most thrilling scenes, and a spirit to drink in lessons of purity, faith, and love from Christ's divine example, he will find in this volume that which will call into liveliest play all these faculties. But the best of all is the lasting impression it must make for good upon all who read. It should have an unlimited circulation. Post-paid, by mail, as per previous notices, $1. U.S.—The Review and Herald, November 30, 1876.]—Letter 46, 1876 (To W. C. White and wife, October 26, 1876.) 3SM 108.1