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


Chapter 3—(1863) Seventh-day Adventists and the Civil War in the United States

Even before the first shots of the Civil War were fired, Ellen White, at Parkville, Michigan, on January 12, 1861, had been given a view of the coming conflict and its ferocity. The philosophy behind the war, and its ultimate outcome, had been opened up to her in the vision at Roosevelt, New York, on August 3, 1861. In Testimony No. 7 she opened her statement with words that threw light on the whole situation: 2BIO 34.1

God is punishing this nation for the high crime of slavery. He has the destiny of the nation in His hands. He will punish the South for the sin of slavery, and the North for so long suffering its overreaching and overbearing influence.—Testimonies for the Church, 1:264. 2BIO 34.2

Making reference to the vision of August 3, she declared that she was “shown the sin of slavery, which has so long been a curse to this nation.” She referred to the unconscionable law of the land, the “fugitive slave law” that required the return to their masters of any slaves who escaped to the North. This, she said, was “calculated to crush out of man every noble, generous feeling of sympathy that should rise in his heart for the oppressed and suffering slave.” Months earlier she had written: 2BIO 34.3

The law of our land requiring us to deliver a slave to his master, we are not to obey; and we must abide the consequences of violating this law. The slave is not the property of any man. God is his rightful master, and man has no right to take God's workmanship into his hands, and claim him as his own.—Ibid., 1:202. 2BIO 34.4

When the laws of men conflict with the Word and law of God, we are to obey the latter, whatever the consequences may be.—Testimonies for the Church, 1:201, 202. 2BIO 35.1

As to slavery, she declared: 2BIO 35.2

God's scourge is now upon the North, because they have so long submitted to the advances of the slave power. The sin of Northern proslavery men is great. They have strengthened the South in their sin by sanctioning the extension of slavery; they have acted a prominent part in bringing the nation into its present distressed condition.—Ibid., 1:264.

She provided the following insight into the situation: 2BIO 35.3

I was shown that many do not realize the extent of the evil which has come upon us. They have flattered themselves that the national difficulties would soon be settled and confusion and war end, but all will be convinced that there is more reality in the matter than was anticipated....

The North and South were presented before me. The North have been deceived in regard to the South. They are better prepared for war than has been represented. Most of their men are well skilled in the use of arms, some of them from experience in battle, others from habitual sporting. They have the advantage of the North in this respect, but have not, as a general thing, the valor and the power of endurance that Northern men have.—Ibid., 1:264-266. 2BIO 35.4