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


Chapter 25—(1873) The Call for a School

Watching the pioneers of the church as they struggled to bring permanency to the cause is somewhat like watching parents teaching a child to walk, except that the former process was long and drawn out. James White, with insights—in spite of faltering health—that seemed to outdistance those of his brethren, labored constantly to inspire his associates to shoulder their tasks with the devotion, energy, and skill that had marked his own labors through the previous twenty or more years. When they dallied, he sometimes grew impatient and wrote and spoke in severe terms. Disregarding his limited physical condition, he would throw himself without reserve into meeting the current needs. Up to the beginning of 1873, he had suffered three strokes of paralysis, the first one very severe (Ibid., July 8, 1873). 2BIO 372.1

The president of the General Conference, George I. Butler greatly admired James White's dedication, vision, and administrative skills. He felt that for the cause to advance, it must have White's contributions. He recognized that White's powers were waning, but he was pleased when White engaged in the activities of the denomination, especially in launching and managing new enterprises. Butler demonstrated a continuing sense of the need of the light the Lord gave through Ellen White in teaching, guiding, and guarding the church. All this is reflected in the note attached to the call for the General Conference session to open in Battle Creek on March 11, which James and Ellen White in California would read, urging “in the strongest terms, their attendance at this session” (Ibid., February 11, 1873). This they could not ignore. 2BIO 372.2

After a five-day train trip from Oakland, the Whites were met by Ira Abbey at the station in Battle Creek, at ten-thirty Wednesday night. He took them with his sleigh to their own home for a short night's rest. Thursday and Friday they were deluged with callers and with fellow-workers who came in for consultations. Ellen spoke Sabbath morning and James in the afternoon in the meetinghouse. In the evening George Butler and S. N. Haskell came to the home, giving Ellen an opportunity to read to them a statement she had written, and to engage in a profitable conversation (Manuscript 5, 1873). Sunday and Monday she spent writing; James was much at the Review office, consulting with the leading men coming in for the General Conference session. On Tuesday morning, March 11, at nine o'clock, they were at the church for the opening meeting. 2BIO 373.1