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

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    Death Invades the Camp

    While residing at Oswego, James and Ellen White received word of the sudden death of Mrs. Elvira Hastings, wife of Leonard Hastings, of New Ipswich, New Hampshire, on February 28. She was 42, the mother of four children, and a very devoted believer in the Sabbath and the Second Advent. Her death, caused by a ruptured appendix, called from James and Ellen letters of sympathy, written on March 18. Ellen opened her letter to the bereaved husband and father:1BIO 173.3

    I hardly know what to say to you. The news of your wife's death was to me overwhelming. I could hardly believe it and can hardly believe it now. God gave me a view last Sabbath night which I will write....1BIO 173.4

    I saw that she was sealed and would come up at the voice of God and stand upon the earth, and would be with the 144,000. [The wording was similar to that spoken by the angel to Ellen White in the vision in which she seemed to be visiting another planet. She was reluctant to return to the earth, and the angel said to her, “you must go back, and if you are faithful, you, with the 144,000, shall have the privilege of visiting all the worlds.”—Early Writings, 40. There is no tension between this and Ellen White's clear statement in The Great Controversy That this special company were those translated without seeing death (see The Great Controversy, 648, 649).] I saw we need not mourn for her; she would rest in the time of trouble, and all that we could mourn for was our loss in being deprived of her company. I saw her death would result in good.—Letter 10, 1850.1BIO 173.5

    Then she turned attention to the children. Addressing Arabella, the oldest, she urged her and the others to prepare to meet Jesus; then they would meet their dear mother, never to be separated from her. “Get ready to meet Jesus,” she urged.1BIO 173.6

    James, in his letter, pointed to the bright prospect of the Christian when “death will lose its iron grasp, and Elvira, who has been a faithful wife and mother, ... will join in the victor's shout of triumph.... To that bright, overwhelming prospect I can point you for solid and enduring consolation.”—JW to L. Hastings, March 18, 1850. He then alluded to some problems, one of which touched the Hastings family, that only some sort of organization could remedy. He declared:1BIO 174.1

    I hope the church will soon get right—when they can move in gospel order. Our conference here was excellent. The brethren all feel the importance of speeding the truth. Brother [G. W.] Holt is a powerful laborer in the vineyard. Brother Rhodes is strong in God....God has chosen men to write and preach His Word, and nothing has a lasting effect but the Word of God. It is true that God may occasionally call on those who have other gifts, but they are not messengers. “A messenger has a message,” said Ellen in vision.— Ibid. 1BIO 174.2

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