Life Sketches of James White and Ellen G. White 1888

Chapter 10—Remarkable Experiences and Labors —Loss of the First-Born

“In 1855 I was shown that those brethren who moved from the East to the West were in danger of becoming worldly-minded; and warnings were given me for them. I saw that it was right that some of them should move to the West; that the brethren in those rugged New England States had had more experience, and were more inured to trials and hardships than those in the West; that it was in the order of God that some should move; but that there were those who had it in mind to make such a move for the sake of gain. This should not be their object. The object should be to glorify God, and to advance his cause. And to accomplish this they must live out their faith, and show a regard for present truth above everything else. I saw that it would be in the order of God for brethren in the East to associate with those in the West; and if they were standing in the counsel of God, they could be of great benefit to the western brethren by their example and experience. LS88 328.1

“I saw that those who moved to the West should be like men waiting for their Lord. ‘Be a living example,’ said the angel, ‘to those in the West. Let your works show that you are God's peculiar people, and that you have a peculiar work—the last message of mercy to the world. Let your works show to those around you that this world is not your home.’ I saw that those who have entangled themselves should break the snare of the enemy and go free; that they should not lay up treasures upon earth, but show by their lives that they are laying up treasure in heaven. If God had called them to the West, he had a work for them to do—an exalted work—to let faith and experience help those who had not a living experience. The attraction should not be to this poor, dark world, but upward to God, to glory, and to Heaven. They should not let the care and perplexity of farms here engross the mind, but contemplate Abraham's farm. We are heirs to that immortal inheritance, and should wean the affections from earth, and dwell upon heavenly things. LS88 328.2

“If those moving from the East to the West had regarded the warnings, and had stood in the counsel of God, he would have wrought through them to the salvation of many souls. But many of them have set an example of covetousness and love for this world; and their works have shown that their object was gain, and not to save souls. The special frown of God has rested upon those who have taken this course, especially upon some whom the Lord had called into the gospel field. LS88 329.1

“Soon after we had embraced the view that the testimony of the Revelation to the Laodicean church applies to our time, we visited Round Grove, Illinois. Here we labored some weeks, and the Lord blessed our efforts. In a vision given me there, I was shown the state of some brethren who had moved to Waukon, Iowa. Nearly all of them were in darkness, opposed to the work of God. Their sympathy had been withdrawn from the Review Office, and from the church of God generally. Satan had planted the seeds of dissatisfaction, and the fruit was ripening. LS88 329.2

“I saw that they needed help, that Satan's snare must be broken, and those precious souls rescued. I did not see that it was our duty to go to them, but as I had been shown their condition, I felt anxious to go. It was a great distance, and in the winter. It was an exceedingly difficult and somewhat dangerous journey, yet I felt urged to go. My mind could not be at ease until we had decided to go, trusting in the Lord. It was then good sleighing, and preparations were made to go with two horses and a sleigh; but, as it rained for twenty-four hours, and the snow was fast disappearing, my husband thought the journey must be given up. Yet my mind could not rest; it was agitated concerning Waukon. Bro. H. said to me, ‘Sister White, what about Waukon?’ Said I, ‘We shall go.’ ‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘if the Lord works a miracle.’ LS88 329.3

“Many times that night I was at the window watching the weather, and about day-break there was a change, and it commenced snowing. The next evening, about five o'clock, we started on our way to Waukon—brethren E. and H., my husband, and myself. Arriving at Green Vale, Illinois, we held meetings with the brethren there, and were delayed nearly a week by a severe snowstorm. At length we ventured to pursue our journey, and, weary, cold, and hungry, we stopped at a hotel a few miles from the Mississippi River. The next morning, about four o'clock, it commenced raining. We felt urged to go on, and rode through the rain, while the horses broke through the crusted snow at almost every step. We made many inquiries about crossing the river, but no one gave us encouragement that we could cross it. The ice was mostly composed of snow, and there lay upon the top of it about a foot of water. When we came to the river, Bro. H. arose in the sleigh and said, ‘Is it Iowa, or back to Illinois? We have come to the Red Sea; shall we cross?’ We answered, ‘Go forward, trusting in Israel's God.’ We ventured upon the ice, praying as we went, and were carried safely across. As we ascended the bank on the Iowa side of the river, we united in praising the Lord. LS88 330.1

“A number of persons told us, after we had crossed, that no amount of money would have tempted them to venture upon the ice, and that several teams had broken through, the drivers barely escaping with their lives. We rode on six miles from Dubuque that afternoon, and put up at a hotel to rest over the Sabbath. In the evening we united in singing some of our best hymns. The boarders collected to listen, and Bro. E. hung up the chart and gave a short lecture. They invited us to call on our return, saying they would warrant us a house and a good congregation. LS88 331.1

“Sunday we continued our journey, and I never witnessed such cold weather. The brethren would watch each other to see if they were freezing; and we would often hear, ‘Brother, your face is freezing, you had better rub the frost out as soon as possible;’ ‘Your ear is freezing;’ or, ‘Your nose is freezing.’ LS88 331.2

“We reached Waukon Wednesday night, and found nearly all of the Sabbath-keepers sorry that we had come. Much prejudice existed against us, for much had been said concerning us calculated to injure our influence. We knew that the Lord had sent us, and that he would there take the work into his own hands. Satan had put his hand in among the company at Waukon, to mould their minds to suit himself. Our earnest prayers went up to God for him to reveal his power, and we felt like patiently waiting his salvation. LS88 331.3

“At an evening meeting I was taken off in vision, and the power of God fell upon the company. Every one was constrained to acknowledge that it was of God. I related what the Lord had given me for that people, which was, Return unto me, and I will return unto thee, and heal all thy backslidings. Tear down the rubbish from the door of thy heart, and open the door, and I will come in and sup with thee and thou with me. LS88 331.4

“I saw that if they would clear the way, and confess their wrongs, Jesus would walk through our midst in power. Sister L. began to confess in a clear, decided manner, and said she thought they had got away where we could not find them; but she was glad that we had come. As she made confession, the flood-gates of heaven seemed suddenly opened, and I was prostrated by the power of God. Sister H. N. S. fell from her chair helpless. It seemed to be an awful yet glorious place. I had no strength for two hours, but seemed to be wrapped in the glory of God. The meeting held till past midnight, and a great work was accomplished. LS88 332.1

The next day the meeting commenced where it left off the night before. All who had been blessed at the previous meeting retained the blessing. They had not slept much, for the Spirit of God rested upon them through the night, and they came with it to the meeting. Confessions were made of their disunion of feeling with us, and their backslidden state. Others were prostrated by the power of God that day, among them Bro. A., who lay helpless for some time. He said he felt thankful that we had come, and believed that God had sent us. The meeting continued without intermission from ten o'clock in the forenoon till five in the evening. LS88 332.2

“That evening the burden left us who had come to the place, and was rolled upon the brethren and sisters of Waukon, and they labored for each other with zeal and with the power of God upon them. Countenances that looked sad when we came to the place, now shone with the heavenly anointing. It seemed that angels from Heaven were passing from one to the other in the room, to finish the good work which had been commenced. Bro. L., who had in discouragement left the work to which God had called him, and had begun to work at his trade, cried out that he had laid up his hammer, and had driven the last nail. He was again at liberty to labor in the gospel field. We soon bade farewell to the brethren in Waukon, and started on our homeward journey. LS88 332.3

“In the spring of 1857, I accompanied my husband on a tour East. His principal business was to purchase a power press. We held conferences on our way to Boston, and also on our return. This was a discouraging tour. The testimony to the Laodicean church had been generally received, but some in the East were making bad use of it. Instead of applying it to their own hearts, so as to be benefited by it themselves, they were using the testimony to oppress others. A few taught that the brethren must sell all before they could be free, while some others dwelt much upon dress, carrying the subject to an extreme. With a few others there was a narrowing up of the work of the third message, and following of impressions, and casting fear upon the conscientious. These things had a blighting influence, and caused us to lay down our testimony on the subject almost entirely. LS88 333.1

“The design of the message to the Laodiceans was to rid the church of just such fanatical influences; but the effort of Satan has been to corrupt the message and to prevent its proper effect. He would be better pleased to have fanatical persons embrace the testimony and use it in his cause, than to have them remain in a lukewarm state. I have seen that it was not the design of the message to lead any one to sit in judgment upon his brother, to tell him what to do and just how far to go; but for each individual to search his own heart, and attend to his own individual work. It is the work of the angels to watch the development of character, and weigh moral worth.” [The testimony to the Laodiceans here referred to may be found in “Testimony for the Church” No. 5, to which the reader's attention is specially called.] LS88 333.2

“In the spring of 1858, we visited Ohio, and attended conferences at Green Springs, Gilboa, and Lovett's Grove. At Lovett's Grove the Lord met with us, and his blessing rested upon us. First-day afternoon there was a funeral service at the school-house where our meetings were held. My husband was invited to give a discourse on the occasion. The people could not all get into the house. My husband was blessed with freedom, and the power of truth seemed to affect the hearers. LS88 334.1

“When he had closed his remarks, I felt urged by the Spirit of the Lord to bear my testimony. As I was led to speak upon the coming of Christ and the resurrection, and the cheering hope of the Christian, my soul triumphed in God; I drank in rich draughts of salvation. Heaven, sweet Heaven, was the magnet to draw my soul upward, and I was wrapped in a vision of God's glory. Many important things were there revealed to me for the church. LS88 334.2

“I saw that those who profess the truth should hold the standard high, and induce others to come up to it. I saw that some would have to walk the straight path alone. Their companions and children will not walk the self-denying pathway with them. Patience and forbearance should ever characterize the lives of those lone pilgrims, following the example of their blessed Master. They will have many trials to endure, but they have that hope that makes the soul strong, bears them up above the trials of earth, and elevates them above scorn, derision, and reproach. Those who possess a hope like this should never indulge a harsh, unkind spirit. This will only injure their souls, and drive their friends farther from the truth. Treat them tenderly; give them no occasion to reproach the cause of Christ; but never yield the truth to please any one. Be decided, be fixed, be established, be not of a doubtful mind. LS88 334.3

“But if your companions and children will not come, if you cannot win them to yield to the claims of truth, make their lives here as pleasant as possible; for all they ever will enjoy will be this poor world. But let not your duty to them interfere with your duty to God. Pursue a straightforward course. Let nothing they may do or say provoke an angry word from you. You have a hope that will yield you consolation amid the disappointments and trials of life. Your companions and children who will not be induced to tread the narrow, cross-bearing pathway with you, have not this divine consolation. They should have your pity, for this world is all the heaven they will have. LS88 335.1

“I was shown that all who profess the present truth will be tested and tried. Their love for Jesus’ coming will be proved, and manifested to others, whether it be genuine. I saw, that not all will stand the test. Some love this world so much that it swallows up their love for the truth. As their treasures here increase, their interest in the heavenly treasure decreases. The more they possess of this world, the more closely do they embrace it, as if fearful that their coveted treasure would be taken from them. The more they possess, the less they have to bestow upon others, for the more they have the poorer they feel. Oh, the deceitfulness of riches! They will not see and feel the wants of the cause of God. LS88 335.2

“I saw that God could rain means from Heaven to carry on his work, but he never will do this; it is contrary to his plan. He has entrusted men on earth with sufficient means to carry forward his work, and if all do their duty, there will be no lack. But some will not heed the call for their means. They are willing to see the work of God go forward; they are anxious to see the cause prosper; provided they can keep their riches and make no sacrifice, only to bestow a trifle now and then, which should cause them shame for its being so little and so grudgingly bestowed. Said the angel, ‘God loveth a cheerful giver.’ Individuals who have means are convinced of the truthfulness of our position. They embrace it. They are tested. Opportunities are presented for them to help the cause of God with the unrighteous mammon (this world's riches), and make friends, that when they shall fail here they may be received into everlasting habitations. LS88 335.3

“But some love this world so well that they will not, even for the immortal inheritance, sacrifice their treasure here. They harden their hearts, and will not do their part as God has prospered them. They are fully tested; the world lives in their hearts, and the truth dies out. They lose the crowns laid up in Heaven for them, and God raises up others who come up and fill their places, and take their crowns. Men are raised up who consider it a privilege to sacrifice something for Jesus, who sacrificed so much for them. I was shown individuals who, although they have heard the solemn truths for these last days, and the coming of Christ is brought nigh them by the fulfillment of prophecy, have no thoughts of loosening their grasp of this world. They have no idea of sacrificing their treasure here. LS88 336.1

“O that these covetous ones could get a view of Heaven,—of its purity, its loveliness,—and behold the holy angels engaged in working for the salvation of man! All Heaven astir! Angels are going forth on their mission, descending to watch over the tempted children of God, and to shield them from the power of the evil angels. And while these angels are descending, others are ascending to bear their tidings. Angels are constantly passing and repassing each other in their upward and downward flight, fulfilling their mission of love. I would that all could get sight of this; I think that they would catch a little of the zeal and fervor of these devoted angels, which they manifest for the salvation of man. It would inspire them with that interest which would call forth effort, and they would cheerfully sacrifice for the salvation of their fellow-men. In addition to this, all the happiness derived from earth, and from a selfish hoarding of earth's treasure, would appear so meager, compared with the beauty and unsurpassed glory of Heaven, that earth's treasures would be eclipsed, and would appear but dross could they win the heavenly treasure. LS88 336.2

“How strange it looked to me, as I saw that all Heaven was interested in our salvation, and then saw the little interest manifested by man for his fellow-men. They throw their arms about their treasure here as though it were their Saviour, and could impart unto them eternal life. I was ashamed, distressed, agonized, that such should ever bear the name of disciples, or profess the name of Christ. I saw that they should cheerfully say, ‘Here, Lord, is the little of earth's treasures thou hast lent me; take any portion of it; take it all; it is thine. Let me do my part in saving my fellow-men, and let me be raised up with the redeemed to dwell with thee forever.’ Tremblingly will such disciples lean upon the strong promises of God. Earth fades before their vision; Heaven is magnified, and no sacrifice is too dear for them to make for the ‘far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.’ LS88 337.1

“In the vision at Lovett's Grove, most of the matter of ‘The Great Controversy,’ which I had seen ten years before, was repeated, and it was shown that I must write it out. It was shown, too, that I should have to contend with the powers of darkness, for Satan would make strong efforts to hinder me; but that I must put my trust in God, and angels would not leave me in the conflict. LS88 338.1

“After I came out of vision, the afflicted friends and a portion of the congregation bore the body to its resting-place, and great solemnity rested upon those who remained. Two days after this occurrence, we took the cars at Fremont for Jackson, Mich. While on the cars we arranged our plans for writing and publishing the book called ‘The Great Controversy’ immediately on our return home. I was then as well as usual. On the arrival of the train at Jackson, we went to Bro. Palmer's. We had been in the house but a short time, when, as I was conversing with Sister Palmer, my tongue refused to utter what I wished to say, and seemed large and numb. A strange, cold sensation struck my heart, passed over my head, and down my right side. For a time I was insensible, but was aroused by the voice of earnest prayer. I tried to use my left limbs, but they were perfectly useless. For a short time I did not expect to live. It was my third shock of paralysis, and although within fifty miles of home, I did not expect to see my children again. I called to mind the triumphant season I had enjoyed at Lovett's Grove, and thought it was my last testimony, and felt reconciled to die. LS88 338.2

“Still the earnest prayers of my friends were ascending to Heaven for me, and soon a prickling sensation was felt in my limbs, and I praised the Lord that I could use them a little. The Lord heard and answered the faithful prayers of his children, and the power of Satan was broken. That night I suffered much, but the next day I was sufficiently strengthened to return home. For several weeks I could not feel the pressure of the hand, nor the coldest water poured upon my head. In rising to walk I often staggered, and sometimes fell to the floor. In this condition I commenced to write ‘The Great Controversy.’ At first I could write but one page a day, and then rest three days; but as I progressed, my strength increased. The numbness in my head did not seem to becloud my mind, and before I closed that work [Volume I] the effect of the shock had entirely left me. LS88 338.3

“At the time of the Conference at Battle Creek, in June, 1858, Sister Hutchins, who now sleeps in Jesus, was sorely afflicted with sickness, and we all felt that she would go down to the grave unless the Lord should raise her up. While praying for her, the power of God rested upon us all, and as it came upon me, I was taken off in vision. In that vision it was shown that in the sudden attack at Jackson, Satan intended to take my life, in order to hinder the work I was about to write; but angels of God were sent to my rescue. I also saw, among other things, that I should be blest with better health than before the attack at Jackson. LS88 339.1

“In August, 1858, we attended a Conference at Crane's Grove, Illinois. At the close of the meetings I was taken very sick. Remedies were used, but I obtained no relief. Then I called for the brethren and sisters to pray for me. They complied with my request, and I found relief, and was immediately taken off in vision. LS88 339.2

“I saw that Jesus did not come to abolish his father's law. The ten commandments were to stand fast forever. Adam and Eve broke God's law and fell, and the family of Adam must perish. God could not alter or abolish his law to save lost man, who had by his transgression fallen so low that God could not accept any effort he might make to keep that holy, just, and good law. LS88 340.1

“Jesus saw the degradation of man, and pitied his hopeless condition. All Heaven knew that God could not change or abolish his law to save man. Jesus pitied the fallen race, and offered to take upon himself the wrath of God that was due to man, and to suffer in his stead. Said an angel, ‘Did Jesus come to make void the law of God, and by his death abolish it? No, no. If God's law could have been changed; if it could have been abolished, God would not have given his Son to die a cruel, shameful death!’ But the fact that Jesus gave his life for man shows the immutability of God's law. Jesus gave his life to save lost man from the curse or penalty he merited by transgression. He by humbling himself exalted man. He became the stepping-stone to elevate man, that he might lay hold of the virtue of his blood, keep God's law, and be brought back to eat of the fruit of the tree of life to which Adam and Eve forfeited all right. LS88 340.2

“Said the angel: ‘Poor, foolish man knows not what he is doing. He has lifted his puny arm against Omnipotence; he has defied God's law.’ The law of God is a golden link to unite finite man to the infinite God. It links earth to Heaven, and man to God. The transgressor is about to meet the great Lawgiver over his broken law. The wrath of God has long slumbered, but soon, with terrible justice and crushing weight, will his wrath fall upon the transgressor. And that arm that has been stretched forth in rebellion against God's law and would sever the golden link binding earth to Heaven and man to God, will wither while the transgressor shall stand upon his feet. That tongue that has boastingly and proudly spoken against God's law, and made the fourth commandment of none effect, will consume in his mouth while he stands upon his feet. Terrible will be the fate of those who transgress God's law, and lead others in the same Heaven-daring path of rebellion. LS88 340.3

“I was then pointed to the flattering things taught by some of these transgressors of God's law. I was shown also a bright light, given by God to guide all who would walk in the way of salvation, and also to serve as a warning to the sinner to flee from the wrath of God, and yield a willing obedience to his claims. While this light should continue, there would be hope; but there would be a time when it would cease,—when he that is holy will remain holy forever, and when he that is filthy will remain filthy forever. When Jesus stands up, when his work is finished in the most holy, then not another ray of light will be imparted to the sinner. LS88 341.1

“But Satan flatters some, through his chosen servants, as he flattered Eve in Eden, ‘Thou shalt not surely die;’ and tells them there will be a season for repentance, a time of probation when the filthy can be made pure. The co-workers with Satan and his angels carry the light into the future age, teaching probation after the advent of Christ, which deludes the sinner, and leads the cold-hearted professor to carnal security. They become careless and indifferent, and walk stumblingly over the hours of their probation. The light is made to reach far ahead, where all is total darkness. Michael stands up. Instead of mercy, the deluded sinner feels wrath unmixed with mercy, having awakened too late to the fatal deception. This plan was studied by Satan, and is carried out by ministers who turn the truth of God into a lie.” LS88 341.2