Ellen G. White: The Early Years: 1827-1862 (vol. 1)


Satan's Vicious Attacks

The great adversary did all within his power to block this move that would enlighten and inform perplexed Adventists who had not clearly seen their way since the October 22 disappointment. Correspondence of the time portrays the story vividly. First there were the warnings provided by the vision of July 29, 1850: 1BIO 181.2

I saw the powers of darkness were rising. Satan has come down in great power knowing his time is short. Said the angel as he pointed to Israel, “Art thou rising? Thou art upon enchanted ground; dost thou not see it? Awake and arise and put on the strength of the Lord.” ... 1BIO 181.3

I saw we must be constantly rising and keep the ascendancy above the powers of darkness. I saw singing to the glory of God often drove the enemy, and shouting would beat him back and give us the victory. I saw there was too little glorifying God in Israel and too little childlike simplicity. 1BIO 181.4

I asked the angel why there was not more power in Israel. Said he, “Ye let go of the promises of God too quickly; press your petitions to the throne and hold on by faith. Believe ye receive the things ye ask for, and ye shall have them.”—Letter 8, 1850. 1BIO 181.5

What took place in rather quick sequence as James began to publish again, although soul-rending and faith-testing, came as no surprise, for in addition to this general warning Ellen White was given specific advance warning. She wrote on August 15 to Stockbridge Howland and his wife: 1BIO 181.6

The Lord showed me some weeks ago that as James would begin to republish what the leaders had written in ‘44 upon the truth, Satan would try to hinder us, but we must struggle for the victory and go on.—Letter 12, 1850. 1BIO 181.7

Here is what the great adversary did in attempting to hinder the work he hated, as portrayed by Ellen White in the August 15 letter: 1BIO 182.1

Tuesday p.m. [August 6] James and I went to Port Byron with Brother Rhodes; he was to take the canal boat and go on his way to Michigan. It seemed as though we could hardly let him go. We knew not why we felt so. On our way home it seemed to me that Satan had stepped in and was troubling Edson. We found it even so. We found the child at the point of death. 1BIO 182.2

James took his horse and carriage and started to overtake Brother Rhodes. He went five miles, overtook him, and brought him back. That night they prayed for Edson, and he has come up very fast since. Satan wanted to hinder the work of the Lord, so he afflicted the child, but he was beaten back by faith in God, and His name shall have the glory. 1BIO 182.3

When Satan found he could not take the life of the child he tempted me that God had left me or the child would have been healed when we first prayed for him. I sank under this temptation in despair and was so until last Sabbath evening August 10. My heart seemed within me like lead, but God delivered me that eve, and Satan's power was broken. 1BIO 182.4

But Satan, in his efforts to thwart the work of publishing, was relentless in his attacks. The letter continued: 1BIO 182.5

The next he got hold of was Clarissa; she was sunken and discouraged. At the same time James was taken with the cholera morbus; he failed very fast until yesterday P.M. Then he made a request for us to pray for him. Brother Harris was gone to his work, so that it left only Sister Harris, Clarissa, and Sarah and me. We all felt unworthy to engage in the work, but we felt that the work of the Lord was hindered by his lying on a sickbed, and we knew unless God should deliver him, he could not get well.... We knew something must be done. 1BIO 182.6

I anointed his head and stomach and bowels in the name of the Lord, then we took hold of faith for him; our united prayers went up to God, and the answer came.... James was healed every whit, the great distress he had had in his head was every whit removed, and he looked as though he had got the holy anointing; the fever and all pain left him, and he ate and was strengthened. He walked out upon his faith, harnessed his horse, and he and I went to Port Byron, one mile and a half, and back. He gained strength very fast; he is quite strong today [August 15]. Praise the Lord. 1BIO 182.7

Even so, Satan was not content to cease his buffetings. Continued Ellen White in her letter to the dear friends at Topsham: 1BIO 183.1

When Satan found his power was completely broken upon him [James], he went to the child again; he woke us crying at the top of his voice. He seemed to have colic, and we went up to the chamber, anointed his stomach with oil and prayed over him, and rebuked Satan, and he had to flee. We heard no more from him till morning. He is quite well today, but rather weak.—Ibid. 1BIO 183.2

At this point in the narrative Ellen White referred to the warning mentioned earlier that Satan would hinder them, but they must struggle for the victory and go on. She commented: 1BIO 183.3

It has been just so. He knows this work will hurt his cause and save some jewels. That is why he rages so, but he is driven back.—Ibid. 1BIO 183.4