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


At Home and Writing Personal Testimonies

James and Ellen White were in that trying period reviewed in the past chapter or two when they passed through the agonies of watching over their dying child and at the same time were in the midst of the battle for organization, when most seemed to forsake them and even many of their closest friends turned against them. Ellen made reference to this in one of the first testimonies she wrote after returning to Battle Creek from Parkville. She wrote particularly of the vision of December 23, given to her a week after the funeral of John Herbert. In lines directed to William Ingraham, she reported, “The past year has been a year of peculiar trials to me. It has been a year of discouragements and suffering.... We could not rise above the discouragements we passed through in the past summer.”—Letter 17, 1861. 1BIO 464.6

Then followed an earnest testimony to a minister who was failing to come up to his potential in the cause of God (Ibid.). Other messages were written on that day and the days following. One was to Victory Jones, a member in the church at Monterey, Michigan, who was battling with appetite. This testimony closed with a heartfelt appeal to the young man. Making a play on his name, Ellen White urged him to arouse himself and gain the “victory” over his problem: 1BIO 465.1

I have tried to write you what has been shown me. Now, dear friend, I appeal to you, will you take hold of this encouragement which the Lord now presents to you? Will you lay hold upon the hope the Lord now gives you? We feel deeply for you. We cannot leave you to perish. We want you to go with us. 1BIO 465.2

We will pray for you. Pray and watch yourself. Seek for the power of truth in the soul. A mere theory of truth will never strengthen you to overcome your strong habits. Everlasting life is before you. For the sake of gratifying a depraved appetite, do not make your family wretched, and shut out all happiness from them and be miserable yourself and in the end receive the wages of sin, which is death.... 1BIO 465.3

I must close. My prayer is that you may prove worthy of your name. Be an overcomer and walk with Jesus in light because you shall be found worthy, washed and made white in His blood.—Letter 1, 1861. 1BIO 465.4

Another of the testimonies based on the vision of December 23 was addressed to “Dear Friends in Caledonia.” It opened: 1BIO 465.5

The church in Caledonia has been shown me. I saw everything in confusion—brethren pulling apart, no brotherly love and sweet union.—Letter 22, 1861. 1BIO 466.1

She wrote of Satan's work, stating that he “came in another form to sow disunion among brethren.” Then she added: 1BIO 466.2

I saw that the manner of dress the sisters adopted [hoop skirts] was foolish and wrong. It was immodest apparel, unbecoming professors of present truth. It has brought stigma upon them and lowered them in the estimation of unbelievers around them. It had the appearance of evil and a wretched influence. Such a lack of judgment and wisdom deserved the severest censure.—Ibid. 1BIO 466.3

In this letter, Ellen White addressed one family after another by name with words of counsel, reproof, and encouragement. The testimony closed: 1BIO 466.4

I saw the Lord was reviving the living, pointed testimony which will help develop character and purify the church. While we are commanded to separate from the world, it is not necessary that we be coarse and rough, and descend to utter low expressions and make our remarks as rugged as possible so as to disgust people. The truth is designed to elevate the receiver, to refine his taste and sanctify his judgment. 1BIO 466.5

There should be a continued aim to imitate the society that we expect soon to associate with, namely angels of God, who have never fallen into sin. Our characters should be holy, our manners comely, our words without guile, and we should follow on step by step until we are fitted for translation. There is a work to be done to attain this. We must live upon the plan of addition. Add to your faith virtue, et cetera.... May the Lord help you all to make thorough work for repentance is my prayer. Ellen G. White.—Ibid. 1BIO 466.6