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

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Spiritual Gifts,, Volumes III and IV

The Whites were delayed in visiting Dansville until August, 1864, because of Ellen White's determination to finish what she spoke of as her third book, dealing with Old Testament history and other materials, including a presentation on health principles. Spiritual Gifts,, Volume I, published in 1858, dealt primarily with New Testament history and the great controversy story to the new earth—with emphasis on the ministry of Jesus. Volume II was an autobiographical work issued in 1860. On November 3, 1863, announcement was made in the Review concerning Volume III, then in the planning stage: 2BIO 79.1

The work will be in two parts. The first part will contain matter of deep interest in relation to the race of man from the Creation to the end—the six days of Creation, the size and glory of the first pair, the Fall, the Flood, the dwindling of the race physically, morally, and mentally, lost arts, causes of diseases, the best food for man, laws of health.—The Review and Herald, November 3, 1863. 2BIO 79.2

The proposed content of the book is particularly significant and timely in light of Darwin's research and the publication of his Origin of Species in 1859, advocating the evolutionary theory. Also, the health reform vision, received five months before, would be included. 2BIO 79.3

The balance of the announcement presents further intentions: 2BIO 79.4

The second part will contain practical portions of the Testimonies for the Church, Nos. 1-10. The local and personal portions will be omitted.—Ibid.

But there were delays, as she explained later. As they left for their eastern tour, which began August 19, 1863, she intended to finish her book on the journey. But she wrote: 2BIO 80.1

As we visited the churches, things which had been shown to me in relation to existing wrongs required nearly all my time out of meeting in writing out the matter for them. Before I returned home from the East I had written out about five hundred pages for individuals and churches. 2BIO 80.2

After we returned from the East [and buried Henry], I commenced to write Volume III of [Spiritual Gifts,], expecting to have a book of a size to bind in with the testimonies which [now] help compose Volume IV. 2BIO 80.3

As I wrote, the matter opened before me and I saw it was impossible to get all I had to write in as few pages as I at first designed. The matter opened and Volume III was full. Then I commenced on Volume IV, but before I had my work finished, while preparing the health matter for the printers, I was called to go to Monterey. We went, and could not finish the work there as soon as we expected. I was obliged to return to finish the matter for the printers.—Manuscript 7, 1867 2BIO 80.4

It was mid-August by the time her work was finished to the point where the two books could be published. An announcement of their availability appeared in the [Review] of August 2, 1864. Volume III, containing 304 pages, was advertised for 75 cents; Volume IV, with 320 pages, was promised to be ready in a month. 2BIO 80.5

She had been working under heavy pressure to complete the task so that she and her husband could visit Dr. Jackson's health institution in Dansville, New York. Yet she was determined that before leaving, she would cover in the book the main points that had been shown to her in the health reform vision. She did not want it to be said that what she presented as shown to her in vision could have been influenced by Dr. Jackson or anyone else. In completing her statement on the matter, she noted: 2BIO 80.6

I therefore crowded into Volume IV the most essential points in the vision in regard to health, intending to get out another testimony in which I could more freely speak upon the happiness and miseries of married life. With this consideration, I closed up Volume IV that it might be scattered among the people. I reserved some important matter in regard to health, which I had not strength or time to prepare for that volume, and get it out in season for our eastern [1864] journey.—Ibid. 2BIO 80.7

She added an interesting statement of what she did not read before first writing out what the Lord had revealed to her: 2BIO 81.1

That which I have written in regard to health was not taken from books or papers.... My view was clear, and I did not want to read anything until I had fully completed my books. My views were written independent of books or of the opinions of others.—Ibid. 2BIO 81.2