Ellen G. White: The Later Elmshaven Years: 1905-1915 (vol. 6)


Chapter 31—The Last Mile

As the year 1915 opened, Ellen White, now in her eighty-eighth year, was “comfortable, calm, [and] courageous” (CCC to WCW, January 1, 1915), and was taking an active part in book preparation. In fact, she seemed to be in better health generally than a few months before. But those close to her in the home could see indications that she was failing. She was, however, able to go unaided up and down the stairs, and moved freely from room to room. Often as she did so, she would be heard humming an old hymn, with words penned by William Hyde in 1845 after he had heard her give the account of her first vision of the new earth. It was one of the songs in the denomination's first hymnal issued in 1849. As first published, it was titled “The Better Land” (see MR, p. 127). It was especially the last part of the poem and hymn that she dwelt upon: 6BIO 418.1

We'll be there, we'll be there in a little while,

We'll join the pure and the blest; 6BIO 418.2

We'll have the palm, the robe, the crown,

And forever be at rest. [The full wording will be found in Testimonies for the Church 1:70, and in The Church Hymnal, No. 305.] 6BIO 418.3

There had been a hastening of the work on Old Testament history, with the determination to bring it to completion while Ellen White could be involved. Now the task was well along, and Clarence Crisler went back to some of the chapters that in richness came short of most of the manuscript. With Ellen White's counsel and help he was rounding them out. This is why the manuscript, which earlier had been spoken of as almost completed, was still in preparation. Wrote Crisler on this New Year's Day: 6BIO 418.4

As we find new material from the file and add to the chapters that have already been prepared and passed upon, and reread these amplified portions to her, she seems to enjoy going over them anew. This perfecting of the manuscript is slow work, but very interesting; and we are hopeful of the outcome.—CCC to WCW, January 1, 1915. 6BIO 419.1

Four days later he wrote of his work on the chapters linking the Solomon story with that of Elijah because they were “not bright enough and hopeful enough” to suit Ellen White (CCC to WCW, January 4, 1915). So, following “her counsel in making them more nearly right,” scriptures were introduced that she felt were needed (Ibid.). Crisler was pleased that this satisfied her, and he himself was glad they could now include matter they disliked to see left out of the more hastily prepared volume. 6BIO 419.2

But the manuscript for the book on Old Testament history was not the only concern at Elmshaven as 1915 opened. Typesetting for Gospel Workers was in process at the Review and Herald, and there was the reading of proof and double-checking at Elmshaven as the work progressed. More meticulous care was taken with the Ellen G. White books than with other works. The abridging for overseas publication of some of the Spirit of Prophecy books was still in progress as several returned or furloughing missionaries pushed forward with that work. 6BIO 419.3