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

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The Health Vision at Otsego, Michigan

The spring months were a time of demanding activities leading up to the General Conference session, an important meeting already mentioned. 2BIO 16.5

On the back page of the May 26 issue of the Review appeared a woodcut of the Michigan tent, followed by a notice that read: 2BIO 16.6

Providence permitting, the Michigan tent will be pitched in Otsego, Allegan County, Michigan, May 28, to remain as long as the interest may demand. R. J. Lawrence 2BIO 16.7

M. E. Cornell

When the notice was repeated the next week, it was followed by the statement: 2BIO 16.8

Brother and Sister White intend to be at the tent meeting at Otsego, Michigan, Sabbath and first-day, June 6 and 7.—Ibid., June 2, 1863 2BIO 16.9

Otsego is about thirty miles northwest of Battle Creek. To give support to Lawrence and Cornell in the evangelistic meeting, James and Ellen White started for the place by carriage on Friday morning, June 5, along with Mr. and Mrs. George Amadon and several other families. Willie White, at the time nearing his ninth birthday, later recalled that his father was weary from the burdens he was carrying, particularly as they related to organization. Now, with the General Conference organized, he was relaxed but still somewhat depressed. The Whites were entertained at the Aaron Hilliard home a few miles west of the town. The Amadons and others came in for worship as the Sabbath was opening. 2BIO 17.1

Ellen White was asked to lead in prayer. She did so, pleading fervently with God. As she prayed for James, who was close by, she moved to his side, laid her hand on his shoulder, and poured out her heart. Then her voice changed, and she was heard to exclaim, “Glory to God!” Martha Amadon, daughter of John Byington, the newly elected president of the General Conference, described the scene: 2BIO 17.2

Those present at the time this vision was given will never forget the heavenly influence that filled the room. The cloud passed from the mind of Elder White, and he was full of praise to God. 2BIO 17.3

Many who have witnessed these things have often wished a description could be given of the servant of God when thus under the influence of the Holy Spirit—the illumination of the countenance, the graceful gestures of the hands, the dignity attending every movement, the musical intonations of the voice sounding as from a distance, and many, many other things which give an eyewitness confidence in their heavenly origin.... She was in vision about forty-five minutes.”—DF 105, “The Otsego Vision of 1863.” 2BIO 17.4

Many matters were opened up to her in this vision, but it is noted particularly for what was shown to her in regard to health, the responsibility of all to live in harmony with principles that would prevent sickness and yield good health. This was shown to her in the practical setting of her husband's experience. 2BIO 17.5

The vision was given at the setting of the sun, Friday evening; she wrote it out shortly after. In the White Estate files is the handwritten draft of the document, bearing a dateline of “Sabbath, June 6, 1863.” [The sun having set friday evening, June 5, the new day had begun. In referring to the vision, June 6 is given as the date. In subsequently reporting various phases of what was revealed in the vision, both June 5 and June 6 are cited. See Testimonies for the Church, 1:390, 433, 449, 517; and The Review and Herald, October 8, 1867. See also the Comprehensive Index to the Writings of Ellen G. White, p. 2980, Colossians 1.] It opens: 2BIO 18.1

I was shown some things in regard to my husband and myself. I saw that Satan was persevering in his efforts to destroy our usefulness. I saw that we neither understood the depth and keenness of the heart trials of the other. Each heart was peculiarly sensitive; therefore each should be especially careful not to cause the other one shade of sadness or trial. Trials without will come, but strong in each other's love, each deeply sympathizing with the other, united in the work of God, can stand nobly, faithfully together, and every trial will only work for good if well borne.—Manuscript 1, 1863. 2BIO 18.2

In a somewhat panoramic portrayal, there passed before her a sketchy view of some of the events that led James to sadness and discouragement. She wrote: 2BIO 18.3

We have had a laborious position, but God has had a care, His hand has sustained, and that is why we have not been distracted and the mind injured. We are not as bad off as my husband feared.... 2BIO 18.4

I saw that my husband's mind should not be crowded and overtaxed; his mind must have rest, and he must be left free to write and attend to matters which others cannot attend to.... 2BIO 18.5

I saw that now we should take special care of the health God has given us, for our work was not yet done. Our testimony must yet be borne and would have influence. I saw that I had spent too much time and strength in sewing and waiting upon and entertaining company. I saw that home cares should be thrown off. The preparing of garments is a snare; others can do that. God had not given me strength for such labor. We should preserve our strength to labor in His cause, and bear our testimony when it is needed. 2BIO 18.6

The matter of their health was brought to view, involving many important points for them and for Seventh-day Adventists generally: 2BIO 19.1

I saw that we should encourage a cheerful, hopeful, peaceful frame of mind, for our health depends upon our doing this. I saw that it was duty for everyone to have a care for his health, but especially should we turn our attention to our health, and take time to devote to our health, that we may in a degree recover from the effects of overdoing and overtaxing the mind. The work God requires of us will not shut us away from caring for our health. The more perfect our health, the more perfect will be our labor. 2BIO 19.2