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


Chapter 30—(1888) The Potential of the 1888 General Conference Session

It was by faith,” wrote Ellen White, “I ventured to cross the Rocky Mountains for the purpose of attending the General Conference held in Minneapolis.”—Manuscript 24, 1888. In some areas in California she had been meeting resistance to her special work of warning and nurturing the church. Little did she realize that such was but a foretaste of what was before her as Satan stealthily prepared to steal a march on the church at Minneapolis. “In the fear of God,” she wrote, “I had counseled, warned, entreated, and reproved when under the influence of the Spirit of God, but the testimony had been unheeded.” Unbelief and resistance to reproof was becoming widespread. 3BIO 385.1

“The brethren,” she declared, “did not seem to see beyond the instrument.” She continued: 3BIO 385.2

I had been instructed in regard to many evils that had been coming in among us while I was in Europe, and had written what was the mind of the Lord in reference to them. I had also been told that the testimony God had given me would not be received, because the hearts of those who had been reproved were not in such a state of humility that they could be corrected and receive reproof.... 3BIO 385.3

The evil one was determined to cut off the light which God had for His people, that every man might walk in his own light and follow his own judgment, and no voice be heard saying, “Why do ye so?” A strong, firm resistance was manifested by many against anything that should interfere with their own personal ideas, their own course of action. This laid upon me the heaviest burdens I could possibly bear.—Manuscript 2, 1888. 3BIO 385.4

Overwhelmed with discouragement, she was overtaken by sickness at her home in Healdsburg. “I felt no desire to recover,” she later wrote. “I had no power even to pray, and no desire to live. Rest, only rest, was my desire, quiet and rest. As I lay for two weeks in nervous prostration, I had hope that no one would beseech the throne of grace in my behalf. When the crisis came, it was the impression that I would die. This was my thought. But it was not the will of my heavenly Father. My work was not yet done.”—Ibid. Then word came that those assembled in a week-long workers’ meeting just preceding the camp meeting in Oakland were earnestly pleading with God that she might be spared and that she might bear her testimony before those who would soon assemble there. “I tried to walk out by faith as I had done in the past,” she wrote (Manuscript 21, 1888). Her mind turned back seven years to that day when she sat by the bedside of her dying husband. 3BIO 386.1

The solemn vows I there made to stand at my post of duty were deeply impressed upon my mind—vows to disappoint the enemy, to bear a constant, earnest appeal to my brethren.... I never can express with pen or voice the work that I discerned was laid out before me on that occasion when I was beside my dying husband. I have not lost the deep views of my work.... I have tried to fulfill my pledge.—Ibid. 3BIO 386.2

This she now determined to do in response to the pleas from Oakland that she come to the campground. Of the experience she wrote: “To walk out by faith against all appearances was the very thing that the Lord required me to do.”—Manuscript 2, 1888. As she placed herself in the path of duty, the Lord gave her strength and grace to bear her testimony before the people. Day by day she found herself growing stronger. 3BIO 386.3

October 2, the day the camp meeting closed, she, with a number of friends and fellow workers, and accompanied by Sara McEnterfer and Willie, was on the train bound for the East. To her disappointment, she found that in her reduced strength it was necessary to keep to her berth for most of the journey to Minneapolis. She could neither knit nor visit, but she did look over some “exchange papers” and clipped out some items for her scrapbooks. She noted that “Willie and the ministers have had their Bible readings and searchings on the law. I did not even listen, for I wanted rest of mind and body.”—Letter 80, 1888. 3BIO 386.4