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


Chapter 10—(1866) The Agonizing Year of Captivity

At Rochester, New York, December 25, 1865,” wrote Ellen White, “I was shown many things concerning the people of God in connection with His work for these last days.”—Testimonies for the Church, 1:533. This comprehensive vision formed the basis of many of her activities through 1866, and of her writing through 1867. 2BIO 128.1

Some of the things she did and said in 1866 were comprehended by her associates in Battle Creek, but some were greatly misunderstood. It was a very difficult year, and God in His infinite wisdom prefaced the instruction and counsel of that Christmas Day by granting her a visit, by vision, to the realms above, where “all was health, beauty, and glory.” She heard the music of heaven, “melodious, perfect, and enchanting.” Writing of it for the readers of the Review, she declared: 2BIO 128.2

I was permitted to enjoy this scene awhile before my attention was called to this dark world.—The Review and Herald, February 27, 1866. 2BIO 128.3

She had been caring for James White for more than four months, but neither she nor the others had witnessed the progress for which they had hoped and prayed. Why? And what did the future hold? The answers came in the vision: “I had an encouraging view of the case of my husband, the particulars of which will be presented hereafter.”—Ibid. 2BIO 128.4

These particulars she wrote out the day after the vision, but they were not published until October, 1867, when Testimony No. 13 came from the press. This is now found in Testimonies, volume 1, pages 612-620. What she wrote is understood in the context of developments of those nearly two years. Here are a few excerpts: 2BIO 128.5

I was shown that God had suffered this affliction to come upon us to teach us much that we could not otherwise have learned in so short a time. It was His will that we should go to Dansville, for our experience could not have been thorough without it.... 2BIO 129.1

Their influence and teachings in regard to the service of God and a religious life are in direct opposition to the teachings of our Saviour and His disciples. By precept and example they lower the standard of piety.... 2BIO 129.2

I saw that, as far as disease and its treatment is concerned, “Our Home on the Hillside” is the best health institution in the United States. Yet the leaders there are but men, and their judgment is not always correct.... 2BIO 129.3

I saw that my husband and myself could not receive as much benefit there as could those of different experience and faith. Said the angel: “God has not designed that the mind of His servant, whom He has chosen for a special purpose, to do a special work, should be controlled by any living man, for that is His prerogative alone.” 2BIO 129.4

Angels of God kept us while we were at Dansville. They were round about us, sustaining us every hour. But the time came when we could not benefit nor be benefited, and then the cloud of light, which had rested with us there, moved away, and we could find rest only in leaving there and going among the brethren in Rochester, where the cloud of light rested.—Testimonies for the Church, 1:614-616. 2BIO 129.5

She was then shown two reasons why God wanted them to leave Dansville: 1. In his weakness, James must step out by faith and go among his brethren, who could help him bear his afflictions. 2. “Had He [God] been pleased to manifest His power in restoring my husband, the physicians there would have taken the glory which should be given to God.”—Ibid., 1:617. 2BIO 129.6