Ellen G. White: The Progressive Years: 1862-1876 (vol. 2)


Lessons Gained From Dreams

The narrative of their experience as published in Testimonies, volume 1, fills thirty-two of the sixty pages—comprising Number 13 in two major articles, “Sketch of Experience” and “Conflicts and Victory.” In the narrative, reference is made to several dreams, some experienced by Ellen White, others by J. N. Loughborough and John Matteson. These dreams proved helpful to Ellen as she endured the trying experiences through which she and her husband passed. Their inclusion in the text of Testimony No. 13 led her to present a short, helpful essay on dreams as a part of her introductory statement. 2BIO 206.5

The multitude of dreams arise from the common things of life, with which the Spirit of God has nothing to do. There are also false dreams, as well as false visions, which are inspired by the spirit of Satan. But dreams from the Lord are classed in the Word of God with visions and are as truly the fruits of the spirit of prophecy as visions. Such dreams, taking into the account the persons who have them and the circumstances under which they are given, contain their own proofs of their genuineness.—Ibid., 1:569, 570 (see also Testimonies for the Church, 5:658). 2BIO 206.6

While on their way to Battle Creek in mid-March, 1867, after an absence of three months and at a time when James White was eager to visit with the brethren and “rejoice with them in the work which God was doing for him” (Testimonies for the Church, 1:577)—as mentioned earlier—a dream of warning came to Ellen White. 2BIO 207.1

Seemingly they were in their home in Battle Creek and looking out through the glass in the side door. She saw a company with stern faces “marching up to the house, two and two.” She recognized them and was about to receive them when the scene changed, taking on the appearance of a procession circling the house. The leader carried a cross and three times declared, “This house is proscribed. The goods must be confiscated. They have spoken against our holy order.” Ellen continued: 2BIO 207.2

Terror seized me, and I ran through the house, out of the north door, and found myself in the midst of a company, some of whom I knew, but I dared not speak a word to them for fear of being betrayed. I tried to seek a retired spot where I might weep and pray without meeting eager, inquisitive eyes wherever I turned. I repeated frequently: “If I could only understand this! If they will tell me what I have said or what I have done!” 2BIO 207.3

I wept and prayed much as I saw our goods confiscated. I tried to read sympathy or pity for me in the looks of those around me, and marked the countenances of several whom I thought would speak to me and comfort me if they did not fear that they would be observed by others. I made one attempt to escape from the crowd, but seeing that I was watched, I concealed my intentions. I commenced weeping aloud, and saying: “If they would only tell me what I have done or what I have said!”—Ibid., 1:578. 2BIO 207.4

The first night they were back in Battle Creek she dreamed—as already noted [see page 169.]—of having her good clothes taken from her and rags substituted. When she saw the things taking place that were typified in these dreams, she was reminded of one scene in the vision of December 25, 1865. In this she was shown a cluster of trees standing near together, forming a circle: 2BIO 207.5

Running up over these trees was a vine which covered them at the top and rested upon them, forming an arbor. Soon I saw the trees swaying to and fro, as though moved by a powerful wind. One branch after another of the vine was shaken from its support until the vine was shaken loose from the trees except a few tendrils which were left clinging to the lower branches. A person then came up and severed the remaining clinging tendrils of the vine, and it lay prostrated upon the earth.—Ibid., 1:583. 2BIO 208.1

Her distress at seeing the vine prostrate on the ground was great. She was surprised that those who passed by offered no help to raise the vine up. In the vision she inquired why no one lifted the vine, replacing it in its original position. She continued the account of her vision: 2BIO 208.2

Presently I saw an angel come to the apparently deserted vine. He spread out his arms and placed them beneath the vine and raised it so that it stood upright, saying: “Stand toward heaven, and let thy tendrils entwine about God. Thou art shaken from human support. Thou canst stand, in the strength of God, and flourish without it. Lean upon God alone, and thou shalt never lean in vain, or be shaken therefrom.” I felt inexpressible relief, amounting to joy, as I saw the neglected vine cared for. I turned to the angel and inquired what these things meant. 2BIO 208.3

Said he: “Thou art this vine. All this thou wilt experience, and then, when these things occur, thou shalt fully understand the figure of the vine. God will be to thee a present help in time of trouble.” 2BIO 208.4

From this time I was settled as to my duty and never more free in bearing my testimony to the people.—Ibid., 1:583, 584. 2BIO 208.5