From the Heart



In Ephesians 4:11 the apostle Paul lists five major gifts of the Holy Spirit: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White had the prophetic gift, but her life and ministry gave evidence of other gifts as well. It should be no surprise, then, that she chose not to limit the identification of her work to that of being a prophet. She once wrote, “My commission embraces the work of a prophet, but it does not end there” (Selected Messages, 1:36). FH 3.1

Mrs. White's writings may be classified into four general areas. First, there were her topical books, covering themes such as the great controversy story, education, health, evangelism, and other important subjects. Second, there were the published Testimonies for the Church that began in 1855 and continued until 1909, each addressing assorted topics. Third, there were letters, more than 5,000 of them. But this devotional book draws on material from the fourth area—her 5,000 articles in the various church journals. She wrote for all the major periodicals, starting with The Present Truth, then the Review and Herald and The Youth's Instructor, followed by Signs of the Times as well as other journals in North America. During her missionary service in Europe and Australia, her articles appeared regularly in publications in those places. FH 3.2

Throughout her prophetic service, particularly in its middle and later years, almost every week an article from her was published in one or more periodicals. These articles became her regular contact with church members. For many years they were printed on the covers of these journals. Her articles are the material of this devotional book, From the Heart. FH 3.3

Many of these articles were written specifically for publication. Some were transcriptions of sermons she preached. Others were notes of travel. Still others were accounts of her writing, especially of the controversy story. Some were letters. Some were drawn from her books, while others provided material for her books. That she was a prolific writer cannot be questioned. Her overall writing can easily be calculated at 100,000 pages. What a legacy to the church and the world! FH 3.4

Drawing on the 5,000 articles that appeared in church journals, this devotional book is evidence of the diversity of her counsel. She spoke and wrote to church leadership. She was often present when major decisions were made at General Conference sessions. She had a special burden for the ministry of the church. Her articles about Bible characters are rich with lessons for today. She also felt a deep interest in every church member. She often spoke about the use of talents, time, and money. She had a strong and supportive word for the doctrinal beliefs of the church, too. The Bible was always the foundation of what she wrote. Her rich knowledge of the Bible is evident in her articles. She strongly advocated study of the Bible, prayer, and other elements of a devotional life. Financial support in tithes and offerings was a high priority as well. And her major delight was to present the life of Christ in all its variety, including the parables. FH 3.5

Ellen White's lifetime ministry spanned more than 70 years from her first vision at age 17, in 1844, to her death at the age of 87, in 1915. There is not enough space in this book for every subject that might be covered. The topics here provide only a sampling. FH 4.1

From the Heart is the twentieth in the series of devotional books. When Ellen White prepared her final will, she instructed the appointed trustees who had care of her writings to prepare compilations from her manuscripts. Readers will be aware of many other compilations that have been prepared since her death. Without this provision in her will, much that is appropriate and helpful would not be available. Ellen White issued a number of compilations from her writings during her lifetime. The controversy theme went through several expansions. Steps to Christ was compiled by Ellen White and her staff. The Testimonies volumes represent her compiling work as well. Many other books might also be noted. And so, this book is a continuation of her practice while she lived. FH 4.2

As in other recent devotional volumes, most of Mrs. White's many generic masculine references (such as the generic “man,” “men,” and “he”) have been changed to forms that are less likely to stand out to modern readers. Some of the punctuation has been updated as well, and except in quotes from the King James Version, this book consistently uses the American form “Savior” rather than the British spelling “Saviour.” In a few instances, where a word's common meaning has changed, we have substituted an appropriate synonym. FH 4.3

Ellen White's periodical articles have been in facsimile reprint for several decades. They can be found in many private Adventist libraries as well as in churches, schools, and other facilities. Today they are also online and on CD-ROM. But never before have selections from them been brought together exclusively in a devotional book. It is our prayer that the messages in From the Heart may lead the reader closer to Jesus day by day. FH 4.4

—The Ellen G. White Estate Board of Trustees