Ellen G. White: The Australian Years: 1891-1900 (vol. 4)


Ellen G. White: Volume 4—The Australian Years: 1891-1900


A Statement the Author Would Like to Have You Read

The nine years Ellen White spent in Australia introduced her to new and different living and working conditions. It also placed upon her responsibilities in some areas she had not previously borne. Nearing her sixty-fourth birthday, she was reluctant to interrupt her work of writing and leave America for a distant field of labor, but near the close of her sojourn she could write, “God sent me to Australia.”—Letter 175, 1899. 4BIO 8.1

The resources from which this volume was developed have been full and exceptionally rich. Ellen White, anticipating a published account of her work overseas, reported, “I have kept up my diary, as far as possible, of our labors in Australia and in Europe.”—Letter 36, 1910. Her experience in producing biographical sketches of her life in 1860, 1876, and 1885 led her to see the value of such records. The manuscript “Australian Experiences”; her diaries; her reports of activities in the Review and Herald; and her correspondence, especially letters to her sons Edson and William and two or three close associates in America, have provided the prime sources. 4BIO 8.2

Ellen White performed a dual ministry in Australia. She virtually pioneered the work in that new field; at the same time she nurtured and counseled, through her letters, the church in America, presenting what God set before her in vision. She wrote carefully and with sympathy and understanding, but at times there were firm messages pointing the way God would have His work managed, or correcting a course of action on the part of individuals that if unchanged would be detrimental to them and to the cause of God, and perhaps even lead to their own ruin. Through foreshortening in this volume, they may seem abrupt and at times harsh, but the reader must remember that in their original form they came to the recipient in an appropriate setting, in a sympathetic mood and aimed at winning confidence. 4BIO 8.3

Sums of money are mentioned from time to time, sometimes in British pounds and at other times American dollars. The reader will be spared some confusion if he keeps in mind that through the decade Ellen White was in Australia, the currency exchange was steady, the pound being equivalent to five American dollars. 4BIO 9.1

This volume, Ellen G. White: The Australian Years, is a central volume in a series of six. It is not a history of the church in Australia, although it is in the setting of historical development. It is not a slavish chronicle, but a biography, aimed at guiding the reader through nine years of challenging pioneer work. The author has kept in mind the following aims and objectives: 4BIO 9.2

1. To write for the average reader, but in such detail and with such documentation as will meet the expectations of the scholar. 4BIO 9.3

2. To leave the reader with the feeling that he or she is acquainted with Ellen White as a very human person. 4BIO 9.4

3. To portray accurately the life and work of Ellen White as the Lord's messenger in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, not by a recounting of her active ministry day by day, but by a selection of events and happenings that illustrate her lifework and make a contribution to the cause. 4BIO 9.5

4. As far as possible, to keep these events in a year-by-year development, picturing her home life, her travels, her weaknesses and strengths, her burden of heart, and her earnest devotional life. 4BIO 9.6

5. To select and present, in detail, significant events, two or three in a given year, that best illustrate her prophetic mission, depicting the interplay between the prophet and church leaders, institutions, and individuals, and recounting the sending of testimonies and the response to these messages. 4BIO 9.7

6. To provide a knowledge of the principal points of the history of the church in a unique way as it is seen especially through the eyes of, or in relation to, the messenger of the Lord. 4BIO 9.8

7. To make the work not only an interesting narrative but a selection of illustrative experiences with which the reader may at times vicariously associate himself. 4BIO 9.9

8. To keep constantly before the reader the major role the visions played in almost every phase of the experiences comprising the narrative. 4BIO 10.1

9. Where convenient to the purposes of the manuscript, to let Ellen White speak in her own words, rather than providing a paraphrase. This ensures an accurate conveyance of the unique and fine points of the messages in the very expressions of the prophetic messenger herself. Thus, many important statements are provided in a form that will be of value to all readers. 4BIO 10.2

10. To provide a documented running account of the literary work done by both Ellen White and her literary assistants in the production of her articles and books. 4BIO 10.3

11. And in all of this, to present in the narrative, in a natural way, confidence-confirming features. 4BIO 10.4

This biography has been prepared in response to the earnest request of the Trustees of the Ellen G. White Estate. The work was done in the offices of the Estate at the headquarters of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, in Washington, D.C. 4BIO 10.5

A task of such proportion as this could not have been accomplished singlehandedly within a decade. Even before the responsibility of writing fell on my shoulders, there was the painstaking effort of Miss Bessie Mount, who, in anticipation on the part of the White Estate of such a work, was assigned the task of assembling biographical materials and preparing a card index to biographical data. This initial contribution to the biography has been most useful. I am deeply grateful to other members of the White Estate staff who have served tirelessly in research, and copying and recopying chapters in preparation. 4BIO 10.6

The critical reading of the manuscript by well-qualified persons in Australia and America has been much appreciated by the author, and their suggestions have contributed to its accuracy. 4BIO 10.7

How many pages would be devoted to treating the more than 25,000 days of Ellen White's active ministry in the United States, Europe, and Australia? 4BIO 10.8

Arthur L. White