Early Writings


Historical Prologue

Early Writings is a work of lasting and special interest to Seventh-day Adventists, for it embodies the earliest Ellen G. White books. These were written and first published in the 1850's for the edification and instruction of those who with the author had passed through the experiences of the Sabbathkeeping Adventists in the 1840's and the early 1850's. This being so, the author assumed on the part of the reader a familiarity with the history of the Advent Awakening and the development of the Seventh-day Adventist movement that emerged in 1844. Consequently experiences well understood at the time are in some instances merely alluded to, and expressions are employed which to be correctly understood, must be thought of in the framework of the history of the Sabbathkeeping Adventists in those early years. EW vii.1

In 1858, in writing of the sounding of the messages of the three angels of Revelation 14, Ellen White deals with the experiences of those who participated in the work and draws lessons from these experiences, rather than giving as one might expect, a clear-cut presentation of the character of these messages. See pages 232-240; 254-258. She at times employs such now unfamiliar terms as “nominal Adventist,” “shut door,” “open door,” et cetera. EW vii.2

Today we are removed by more than a century from those heroic times. The reader must keep this clearly in mind. The history which was so well known to the contemporaries of Ellen White we shall now review, touching some of the high points of the experiences of the Sabbathkeeping Adventists during the decade or two preceding the first publication of the materials that appear here. EW vii.3

In the opening paragraphs Mrs. White makes brief reference to her conversion and her early Christian experience. She tells also of hearing lectures on the Bible doctrine of the expected personal advent of Christ, which was thought to be near at hand. The great Advent Awakening to which such brief reference is here made was a movement worldwide in its outreach. It emerged as the result of careful study of the prophetic scriptures on the part of many, and the acceptance of the good news of the coming of Jesus by large numbers of people throughout the world. EW viii.1