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

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    Strict Economy Maintained

    It took the strictest of economy to keep things going at the home and the office, but James and Ellen White knew something of poverty and economy. Soon after getting settled in the home on Mount Hope Avenue, arrangements were made to have the open land near the house prepared for a spring garden. As the plow started to turn the soil Ellen noticed many small potatoes that had not frozen during the mild winter. The drought the preceding year had resulted in a crop thought not worth harvesting. What a find! Soon Ellen, with pail in hand, was following the plowman, gathering in what she saw to be a precious harvest. In the White household, economy was considered not only a necessity but a religious duty.1BIO 271.3

    It was Ellen White's philosophy that neither a family nor an individual should spend an entire income. A reserve, no matter how small, must always be kept for a “rainy day.” In the Rochester home, with its large family to feed, she knew such a day would come. From her allowance for maintaining the home, she astutely took out a few coins each week and slipped them into a stocking hidden behind a cupboard door in the kitchen. It was her secret, one she did not share even with James. There did come a day when an express shipment of paper arrived, “collect.” There was no money to pay for the paper, which was needed for the next issue of the Review. In distress James told Ellen he did not know what to do. He watched her closely as she went quietly to the cupboard, opened the door, and took down the stocking from the nail that held it. As James looked on with wide-open eyes, she emptied its contents on the kitchen table. There was sufficient in that stocking to meet the bill, and the next issue of the Review came off the press on time.1BIO 272.1

    But these were indeed days of sacrifice, on the part of everyone connected with the enterprise. White noted this as he told of moving the printing office to its downtown location. Joyfully he reported that October day, “The office is not in debt.” He explained how this could be. The employees were willing to sacrifice as he, the editor and proprietor, had done:1BIO 272.2

    Brethren Belden and Stowell, who have worked in the office the past six months, have received but a trifle more than their board. Others engaged in the same work have received but a trifle more than their board.—Ibid., October 14, 18521BIO 272.3

    White was happy to write:1BIO 272.4

    It is now evident that God had been well pleased with the effort of His children to obtain an office to be conducted in strict obedience to the fourth commandment. We are incapable of expressing our feelings of gratitude to God, whose wise providence has ordered this thing, and to the dear brethren who have so promptly acted their part.—Ibid.

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