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


The James White Letters Take on a Positive Tone

The three letters quoted above in which Ellen White opened her distressed heart to James explained the only position she could take and endeavored to help him to be rational and understanding. The first, her penetrating, yet loving, letter written on July 2 from Washington, Iowa, and finished in Battle Creek on July 3, touched James's heart and helped him to see matters in their true light. Evidence of this is found in his letter to G. I. Butler, written from Oakland on July 13, which shows a marked change in his attitudes. Something significant had taken place. His word to Butler: 2BIO 440.1

I want to counsel with you, Haskell, and others, and lay plans to extend the Reformer, and Signs, and talk over many other important things. The Spirit of God is moving upon me. Our brethren are not aware of how much the Lord is doing for us. Brother George, this begins to look like the coming of Christ pretty soon. My light has been the progress of the message.... 2BIO 440.2

Any amount of wars, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, pestilences, et cetera, would not quicken my faith in the coming of Christ. The third message must do its work. Prophecy relative to the message and the action of the two-horned beast must be fulfilled. My eye has been there for years. And as things have moved heavily, I have felt sad. But, Brother George, God is beginning to do great things for us. And I have a little hope and faith that His blessed long arm will reach the pioneers in this cause that are almost wrecked, and touch them with His gracious finger, and restore them to His favors and to their positions in the work.... 2BIO 440.3

Oh, my soul, what emotions well up in thee as I trace these lines, and my hand shakes, and my sight is blinded with weeping. I must, I shall see the desire of my poor heart in the complete restoration of these. It is time to put away our folly, our baby whimsy, and come nigh the mighty God of Jacob. I have wonderful seasons of prayer nowadays.—JW to G. I. Butler, July 13, 1874. 2BIO 440.4

His letters to Ellen had taken on a tone she could not overlook. On Monday, July 13, in her letter to James, she wrote of the change in the tone of his letters: 2BIO 441.1

Dear Husband,

After my last six pages to you [written July 10] had gone to the office, I received your letters directed to myself and Willie and at the same time one from Edson—all good, cheering letters.—Letter 42, 1874. 2BIO 441.2

Two days later she wrote again, telling of the temperance meeting held in the park and again expressing her hope that James might be at the Michigan camp meeting. In this she stated: 2BIO 441.3

I received your good letter today, containing one to be handed to Brother Lindsay. I feel very thankful for your last, more cheerful letters. I pray earnestly that God will spare your life and give you strength to do the work He would have you do.... 2BIO 441.4

I am glad you are feeling better. I so desire that you may have a clear and cheerful mind to do the will of God. A great work is before us that others cannot do. Our experience is of value to this cause.—Letter 43, 1874. 2BIO 441.5

In her Friday, July 17, letter, she wrote: 2BIO 441.6

We received your card last night in which you speak of having the General Conference united with the camp meeting. This may be done.... I think the appointment will go out in this next Review. So we shall look for and depend on your coming.... I rejoice to hear that you are in good health. Willie is well....

I have no special news to write you, except I greatly desire to see your face and look forward to the time with great pleasure.... Have good courage in the Lord. Let us be cheerful and happy. I peruse your Signs with great interest. It is good, good, good. 2BIO 441.7

Your Ellen.

Letter 44, 1874.

As she wrote the next Thursday, July 23, she assured James, “All will be rejoiced to see you here, and none more than your Ellen.... We are now expecting that you may be on your way.” She added: 2BIO 442.1

Since writing the above, Harmon Lindsay has brought in a long communication, remailed from Brother Butler. It is good. You view matters, I believe, correctly. May God help you and strengthen you to take your position in this work and in the cause and unfalteringly press your way onward looking to God for help. He will help. I believe it without a doubt.—Letter 47, 1874. 2BIO 442.2