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


Writing and Mary Clough

Without the help of Mary Clough (who had been left ill in California), and pressed with other tasks, Ellen White laid aside her writing on the life of Christ. “We are here without a home and without help,” James White wrote to Willie on June 10, but in his letter he rejoiced that Mary was getting better. But it was not alone for Mary's physical health that Ellen White was concerned. For a year and a half Mary had been assisting her, and the acceptance on her part of the truths of the third angel's message that Ellen had hoped for seemed to be growing more distant. To Edson in Oakland, she wrote: 3BIO 64.5

We have felt that unless Mary should give her heart to God and live and obey the truth, she will be of but little advantage to us in our work. If her heart is at variance with the truth, it does not look reasonable that she should be long engaged with us in the work. If she does not accept the truth we love and cherish, she will decide against it.—Letter 2, 1877. 3BIO 65.1

She further commented: “Persons are not generally apt to continue long in the position she now occupies. We love Mary....I have just sent her a letter of sixteen pages urging upon her the necessity of giving her heart to God.” 3BIO 65.2

When James and Ellen White reached Battle Creek in mid-May, camp meetings were in progress, and he knew many would be expecting him and his wife to be attending them. Of this he wrote: “We are invited to attend the camp meetings; but we dare not risk the strain.”—The Review and Herald, May 24, 1877. He anticipated that the next few months would be given partly to his writing, but mainly to the interests right there in Battle Creek, with the enlarging of the Sanitarium buildings taking priority. 3BIO 65.3

In an editorial in the Review of June 21, White rejoiced over the cheering reports coming in from the camp meetings. He observed: 3BIO 65.4

Our people are learning to trust in God as never before. Our young ministers are learning to take responsibilities. Let them have a chance. It is a great mistake for a set of preachers to get the idea that nobody is exactly qualified to speak at our camp meetings excepting themselves. We fear that in some cases we have been in the way of younger men. 3BIO 65.5

Thus James and Ellen White excused themselves from the early camp meetings and remained in Battle Creek. Ellen White soon returned to writing on the life of Christ for Spirit of Prophecy, volume 3, and James White attended to the many interests of the cause. Late in July he wrote: 3BIO 65.6

We have been much occupied with the plans [for the enlargement of the Health Institute], and the general oversight of the execution of those plans, for far greater facilities for the treatment, board, and lodging of the sick. A bathroom 50 by 60 feet, with three stories, is being built, and pushed forward as fast as possible. And the foundation of the main building is being laid, 136 by 46 feet, three stories besides a basement kitchen, all to be heated with steam.... 3BIO 66.1

We build this year, and at the close of the winter's course of lectures at Bellevue, New York, Medical College, at the opening of next spring, God favoring the work, we shall have three or four young men holding diplomas from the highest medical school on the continent, imbued with the true spirit of the great health reformation.—The Signs of the Times, August 9, 1877. 3BIO 66.2

At about the same time Ellen White described their situation to Edson and Emma: Willie and Mary White had come from California and were now in Battle Creek with the intent that Willie would take some school work, learning German and French, preparatory to going to Europe to assist in getting a publishing house started there in a strong way. “We are truly itinerants,” she wrote to Edson and Emma. “We are engaged in getting settled again at housekeeping. Your father has been absent in company with Willie one week in Indiana and Chicago.”—Letter 7, 1877. 3BIO 66.3