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

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    At Knoxville, Iowa

    Their appointments for meetings at Dayton and Knoxville had to be postponed because the Cedar River was filled with broken ice. They arrived at Knoxville for the last weekend in March. There they found Moses Hull. Of their reception James White wrote:1BIO 415.4

    Just before we reached Knoxville, the cry of “Mormons” was raised against us, and a strange enthusiasm seemed to seize some of the people in the place, as if inspired by Satan. Some talked of tar and feathers, and some of our friends even feared that we might be ill-treated. It was said that Mrs. White should not speak in Knoxville.1BIO 415.5

    But all that we witnessed of any account was a sort of hellish grin on the countenances of some, which disappeared after we had each talked a few times in the old courthouse. Before we left we were treated with respect both in the place of meeting and when meeting the citizens on the streets. We can excuse the people who are deceived and imposed upon, but not those ministers who raise the cry “Mormons” to keep the people from hearing us.—The Review and Herald, April 12, 1860.1BIO 416.1

    White reported a church there of about one hundred. For their meetings another fifty attended from other places, nearly all of these having come into the message during the previous eight months. With the encouraging outlook in western Iowa, James White urged that two tents be purchased for evangelistic work during the coming summer. He secured pledges for about half of the $1,000 that would be needed, and, so that there would be no delay, he advanced money to secure the tents. He closed his report, stating:1BIO 416.2

    We spoke seven times in four days, with some freedom. Mrs. White spoke in exhortation as many times with freedom. Brethren Snook and Brinkerhoff were set apart to the work of the gospel ministry by the laying on of hands. It was a season of deep interest.—Ibid.1BIO 416.3

    We will hear again of Snook and Brinkerhoff, in connection with an apostasy in Iowa.1BIO 416.4

    Not mentioned in this report was a significant vision given to Ellen White at Knoxville, one that brought great sadness to her heart. There was opened before her the spiritual condition, weaknesses, and deficiencies of friends and associates in Battle Creek, particularly of some key individuals in the Review office. Six personal testimonies of various lengths, based on this vision, are on file, one running to eleven pages and another nineteen pages.1BIO 416.5

    The first was written on April 15. Note some of the opening lines:1BIO 416.6

    Dear Sister -----,

    I have been shown something I dare not withhold. In the last vision given at Knoxville, some things were shown me concerning individual cases. I was shown your case. I saw ...—Letter 5, 1860.1BIO 416.7

    Dear Brother ----- and Sister -----,

    While at Knoxville, some things were shown me in regard to the cause of God and especially in regard to the messengers and their wives. I was shown ...—Letter 6, 1860.1BIO 416.8

    Dear Brother -----,

    While at Knoxville, Iowa, some things were shown me in regard to the state of things in the office and at Battle Creek. I saw that there were grievous things in the office.—Letter 8, 1860.1BIO 417.1

    As these letters and three others of similar character were written, Ellen White was putting the finishing touches on Spiritual Gifts,, Volume II, her autobiographical account. She also prepared a general statement for publication covering many of the points in the six personal testimonies. She inserted them at the close of the first printing under the title “Testimony for the Church.” It opened:1BIO 417.2

    I have been shown that Satan has not been stupid and careless these many years, since his fall, but has been learning. He has grown more artful. His plans are laid deeper, and are more covered with a religious garment to hide their deformity. The power of Satan now to tempt and deceive is tenfold greater than it was in the days of the apostles. His power has increased, and it will increase, until it is taken away. His wrath and hate grow stronger as his time to work draws near its close.—Spiritual Gifts, 2:277.1BIO 417.3

    She wrote of the work of the angels in protecting the children of the Lord and described the conflict between the good and evil angels:1BIO 417.4

    I saw that the angels of God are not to force or bend the will of the individual they watch over. They are to gently chide, warn, and guard. Satan can never force back these holy angels from their charge. None can do this but the individuals that they are watching over....1BIO 417.5

    But if individuals continue to retain their own will, choose their own course, and have their own way, the angels leave them in sadness. Then Satan comes in to control the will, and bend the mind, and smiles in hellish triumph at his success.—Ibid., 2:277, 278.1BIO 417.6

    In this vein she discussed the indifference of those who were relaxed and enjoying their ease and supposed security, and the difficult place her husband was placed in by God's call to him to “take responsibilities and to risk something on the success of this message” (Ibid., 2:280, 281). She added:1BIO 418.1

    God would be pleased if others would feel the same interest, and move with the same energy, but many will not venture. I saw that God was displeased with those who do not take the burden themselves, and then stand ready to murmur at the one upon whom He lays the heavy burden....1BIO 418.2

    I saw that the blessing of the Lord has rested upon every essential move that has been made to advance His cause, and steadily has the work progressed. One difficulty after another has been surmounted. It is because God's hand was in the work. I saw that some do not realize that selfishness is at the bottom of their murmuring. God's humble instrument moves too fast for their faith, and his venturing out as he has done has reproved their slow and unbelieving pace. And there has been satisfaction taken in watching and finding fault. Hints have been thrown out, doubts expressed, which have had their influence. Their faith was not strong enough to keep pace with him....1BIO 418.3

    I was shown that the work was not left in the hands of anyone upon earth. Angels of God have charge of the work, and they counsel and direct God's people through chosen agents, and thus the work moves forward.—Ibid., 2:281, 282.1BIO 418.4

    She mentioned the way some people related to the messages: I saw that individuals would rise up against the plain testimonies. It does not suit their natural feelings. They would choose to have smooth things spoken unto them, and have peace cried in their ears. I view the church in a more dangerous condition than they ever have been.—Ibid., 2:284.1BIO 418.5

    She referred to the visions and her experience in presenting the messages to the people and how they were received:1BIO 418.6

    It has been a matter of great perplexity to me to know what course to pursue with messages given me for individuals. I have often written messages of reproof for different ones, and given them to these persons, and they have laid them away, and have said nothing about them. Their course has shown in many instances that they were not affected by the messages, and they have continued to have a bad influence in the church, who were ignorant of the reproof given.1BIO 418.7

    My course is now clear to wrong the church no longer. If reproofs are given I dare not commit them alone to the individuals to be buried up by them, but shall read what the Lord has seen fit to give me, to those of experience in the church, and if the case demands, bring it before the whole church.... I shall keep these things secret no longer. God's people must know what the Lord has been pleased to reveal, that they be not deceived and led astray by a wrong spirit.—Ibid., 2:293, 294.1BIO 419.1

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