Ellen G. White: The Lonely Years: 1876-1891 (vol. 3)


Ellen White's Intensity in Writing on Christ's Life

She had an appointment to speak Sunday evening, April 16, in San Francisco. Her letter to James carried this word: 3BIO 28.9

I have written quite a number of pages today. Mary is hard after me. She gets so enthusiastic over some subjects. She brings in the manuscript after she has copied to read it to me. She showed me today quite a heavy pile of manuscripts she had prepared. Quite proudly she viewed it.... 3BIO 28.10

Willie, his Mary, and Mary Clough accompany me to the city tonight. I think that we had better not get any furniture for the new house till you are here to select it.... I do not wish my mind diverted from my work to even go and select furniture.... 3BIO 29.1

Well, I cannot write you very much news, when I shut myself in my chamber day after day writing, and then when I write you every day, but you must be content with what you can get. We now take the boat [for San Francisco].—Letter 8, 1876. 3BIO 29.2

Her next letter gives a report on the meeting in the city Sunday night, wherein she took up the subject of “the loaves and the fishes with which Jesus by His miraculous power fed about ten thousand people,” Christ walking on the sea, and the Jews requiring a sign that He was the Son of God. She commented: 3BIO 29.3

All listened with wide-open eyes, and some with open mouths. Mary says she feels provoked that she has written out [in copying and editing the E. G. White text] that subject before she heard me speak upon it. She will now insert some living points she heard that night. She seemed deeply interested.—Letter 9, 1876. 3BIO 29.4

Referring to her writing, she declared: 3BIO 29.5

I see many subjects to write out which must be done with the greatest care. I want this summer, the whole of it, to do this work in. I must stop a day or two in the week and go somewhere or my head will break down. I begrudge every moment that I feel compelled to rest. These intensely interesting subjects weary me far more to write them out than to speak upon them.—Ibid.

Her mind turned again to the plans for the summer. James had promised months earlier that the two of them would attend the 1876 camp meetings. The brethren in the East were urging that she do this, but James was conceding that perhaps it would be well for her to stay in Oakland and continue her writing. 3BIO 29.6

Her letter to James written Monday, April 24, opens with a word picture of activities in the Oakland home: 3BIO 29.7

Mary has just been reading to me two articles—one on the loaves and fishes, Christ walking on the water and stating to His hearers He was the Bread of Life, which caused some of His disciples to turn from Him. This takes fifty pages and comprises many subjects. I do think it the most precious matter I have ever written. Mary is just as enthusiastic over it. She thinks it is of the highest value. I am perfectly satisfied with it. 3BIO 30.1

The other article was upon Christ going through the cornfield plucking the ears of corn and healing the withered hand—twelve pages.... These writings are all I can see now. Mary's interest does not decrease at all. She is just as ardent and anxious as I am that this work shall be done now before we leave California. 3BIO 30.2

Interesting subjects are continually opening to my mind. These subjects I speak upon, which fastens them in Mary's mind. I believe that the Lord is with us and His Spirit will impress our hearts.... I believe the Lord will give me health; I have asked Him, and He will answer my prayer. I love the Lord. I love His cause. I love His people. I feel great peace and calmness of mind. 3BIO 30.3

There seems to be nothing to confuse and distract my mind, and with so much hard thinking, my mind could not be perplexed with anything without being overtaxed. 3BIO 30.4

Then in this newsy letter, a little longer than most of her daily epistles to her husband, she gives the home news: 3BIO 30.5

I have not the least care of anything in the house. Mary White is a good general. Shew [the Chinese servant] is first-rate. Shew gets meals now very good, with some oversight.... Everything seems to move off smoothly and well. All the house is well taken care of. I generally choose to take care of my own room, for I dare not have a hand touch my writings or run any risk of having them mislaid.... 3BIO 30.6

We are as regular as clockwork. We arise at five. The bell for prayers rings at six. We have prayers before breakfast. We breakfast quarter after six. There is seldom any variation in our time.—Letter 13, 1876. 3BIO 30.7

Her letter written a few days later, May 5, reveals the plan for two books on the life of Christ. It was now clearly seen that one four-hundred-page volume could tell only about half the story. She wrote: “If I am blessed with health as I have been hitherto, I shall complete my first book in about four weeks.”—Letter 21, 1876. 3BIO 30.8