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


Chapter 4—(1876-1877) A Winter of Writing and Publishing

The fourteen 1876 camp meetings over, in early October James and Ellen White returned to Battle Creek, staying at the home of William and Jenny Ings. Mary helped in getting out the volume on the life of Christ, Spirit of Prophecy, volume 2. As they rallied from the incessant camp meeting labor, they began to plan for the return to the Pacific Coast, but first they had the job of hastening the book through the press. 3BIO 48.1

Ellen White's October 19 letter to William and Mary in Oakland was devoted largely to plans for writing and publishing. C.W. Stone, newly elected managing editor of the Review and Herald, reported: 3BIO 48.2

Sister White is keeping all hands busy with her pen, and Brother White is hard at work several hours each day in arranging the manuscript [for Spirit of Prophecy, volume 2] for publication in a book, and at the same time selecting portions of it to be printed in several pamphlets [Redemption series]. The presses are kept busy. Everybody here has enough to do, and God blesses in doing His work. He sustains His servants in their arduous labors wonderfully.—Ibid., November 9, 1876 3BIO 48.3

Writing from Battle Creek on October 26, Ellen declared: 3BIO 48.4

We are in the very worst drive and hurry getting off my volume two, Spirit of Prophecy. Three new forms are already printed. If we remain here four weeks longer we shall have the book completed, and removed from my mind great burden of care....

These few weeks will tell if we can make it. I fear if we left immediately the book would be hindered for two months.—Letter 46, 1876. 3BIO 49.1

The Review for November 9 carried the announcement of the book: 3BIO 49.2

The second volume of the Spirit of Prophecy, by Mrs. E. G. White, will be ready in a few days. This work is a thrilling description of the first advent, life, teachings, and miracles of Christ, and will be regarded by the friends of Mrs. White as a book of almost priceless value.... Price, postage paid, $1.00. J. W. 3BIO 49.3

Uriah Smith was unstinted in his words of appreciation and commendation of the volume on the life of Christ: 3BIO 49.4

We are prepared to speak of this volume, now just issued, as the most remarkable volume that has ever been issued from this office. It covers that portion of the great controversy between Christ and Satan which is included in the life and mission, teachings and miracles, of Christ here upon the earth. Many have endeavored to write the life of Christ; but their works, as compared with this, seem to be only like the outer garments to the body. Here we have, so to speak, an interior view of the wonderful work of God during this time. 3BIO 49.5

And if the reader has a heart that can be impressed, feelings that can be stirred, an imagination that can respond to the most vivid portraiture of the most thrilling scenes, and a spirit to drink in lessons of purity, faith, and love from Christ's divine example, he will find in this volume that which will call into liveliest play all these faculties. But the best of all is the lasting impression it must make for good upon all who read.—The Review and Herald, November 30, 1876. 3BIO 49.6

On November 16 the Whites and Mary Clough took the “fast train” for California. The Battle Creek they left was very dear to the hearts of James and Ellen White, and that affection was mutual. Feelingly, he wrote of his farewell just before taking the train for the West: 3BIO 49.7

Twenty-one years since the Review and Herald was moved from Rochester, New York, to Battle Creek, Michigan. Here we have battled for truth, and the manifestation of true and undefiled religion among our people, for more than a score of years. Here we have witnessed the growth of our publishing work with deepest interest. Here we have seen the establishment of our Health Institute and the planting of our first college. We are happy to record that prosperity attends all these institutions. 3BIO 49.8

At Battle Creek there is a large membership with whom we have during the past seven months enjoyed the happiest days of the past twenty-one years. We have never enjoyed so great freedom in preaching the Word to this people or to any other, as to the Battle Creek church since our return from California last April. This church has had trials, and has made mistakes. But having acknowledged those wrongs, and having entered into a most solemn covenant to stand unitedly for the right, the blessing of God has been returning, and last Sabbath morning was the best and happiest service we have ever enjoyed with this people.—Ibid., November 9, 1876 3BIO 50.1

He reminisced of success and disappointments, and reminded his readers that he and his wife were growing old and never again could undertake to make a round of the camp meetings as they had just completed. He mentioned plans to refrain from such labor and spend a year on the Pacific Coast. 3BIO 50.2

In her letter to her children in Oakland, Ellen White expressed herself in regard to the beloved Battle Creek they were about to leave: 3BIO 50.3

I tell you, Will, we ...ought to be here all the time. This is the great heart of the work, and if the body here is healthy, a healthful current will be diffused through the entire body. Your father's and my influence is needed here more than in any other place. We are appreciated here. We can do more good when we are appreciated than when we are not. 3BIO 50.4

We [have] never had greater influence among our people than at the present time. They all look up to us as father and mother. There is nothing that they would not do for us to help us if they could. We hate to tear away, but we must.—Letter 46, 1876. 3BIO 50.5

C. W. Stone, in his Review editorial titled “Westward,” wrote touchingly of the departure of the Whites and several who were accompanying them to work at the Pacific Press: 3BIO 51.1

At 1:17 P.M. we heard the rumbling of the wheels, and filling the windows in the south end of the three office buildings, where we could watch the departing train, our corps of helpers waved their handkerchiefs with many a good wish for the dear friends and servants of God who were rapidly being borne from our sight. 3BIO 51.2

Our prayers go with them. May they safely arrive in Oakland, where a welcome greeting has long been awaiting them; and from that sunny coast may the servants of God be able to send out words of warning, reproof, and good cheer to all parts of the wide harvest field, until in the providence of God it shall seem good to them again to visit us.—The Review and Herald, November 23, 1876. 3BIO 51.3