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Ellen G. White: The Early Years: 1827-1862 (vol. 1)

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    Chapter 9—(1848) The Sabbath and Sanctuary Conferences and the Development of Doctrines

    Following Rocky Hill, other conferences were held in a number of places, but not all have been pinpointed by name. Of several, James or Ellen White, or both, have written. Two were held in western New York State. After describing the conference held at Rocky Hill in the “unfinished chamber” in the Belden home, Ellen White wrote: “Soon after this we were invited to attend a conference at Volney, New York, in August, 1848. Two years before this I had been shown that we should visit New York at some future time.”—Ibid., 245. Hiram Edson, who extended the invitation, stated that the believers in his area were generally poor and could help but little with travel expenses. James and Ellen White had no means to travel with, so James was glad to find an opportunity to earn some money cutting hay on nearby farms. To Stockbridge Howland at Topsham he wrote on July 2:1BIO 139.1

    I mow five days for unbelievers and Sunday for believers and rest on the seventh day, therefore I have but very little time to write. My health is good, God gives me strength to labor hard all day. I have mowed eight days right off and felt hardly a pain. Brother Holt, Brother John Belden, and I have taken 100 acres of grass to mow at 87 1/2 cents per acre and board ourselves. Praise the Lord. I hope to get a few dollars here to use in the cause of God.—JW to S. Howland, July 2, 1848.1BIO 139.2

    As Ellen White wrote of the experience, she gave some insights into the source of her husband's strength:1BIO 139.3

    My husband was suffering with dyspepsia. His diet was very spare. But the way opened for him to go into the field to mow grass. It seemed then that we must live by faith. When we arose in the morning we bowed beside our bed, and asked God to give strength to labor through the day. We would not be satisfied unless we had the assurance that the Lord heard us pray.1BIO 140.1

    He then went forth to his labor, not in his own strength, but in the strength of the Lord, to swing the scythe. At night when he came home, we would again plead with God for strength to earn means to spread His truth. We were often greatly blessed.—Spiritual Gifts, 2:94.1BIO 140.2

    That summer James White earned $40 in the hayfield. Part of the money he used to buy needed clothing for the family and part in traveling to western New York State. They reluctantly left Henry in Middletown in the care of Clarissa Bonfoey. With E.L.H. Chamberlain accompanying them, they took the steamboat for New York City en route to Volney, where the conference was to be held in David Arnold's barn.1BIO 140.3

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