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

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    Appendix A

    [A Genealogical Chart of Ellen Gould Harmon White]

    Appendix B

    The Experience of William Ellis Foy

    In the height of the advent awakening william foy, a light-skinned mulatto residing in New England, was given two or three visions relating to the Second Advent of Christ. Sometime before the disappointment of October 22, 1844, Ellen Harmon heard him speak in beethoven hall in Portland, Maine. Sometime after the 1844 disappointment, unbeknown to Ellen Harmon at first, he was present in a meeting held in the countryside east of portland, toward cape Elizabeth, at which she spoke, telling of her first vision. While she was speaking, foy stood to his feet and praised the lord, declaring that it was just what he had seen. After the meeting he wanted to talk with her, and they had a little visit.1BIO 488.1

    In 1835, foy as a young man, gave his heart to Christ and became a member of the Freewill Baptist Church. Seven years later, in 1842, while he was preparing to take holy orders as an episcopal minister, two visions were given him. Although deeply religious, he was by his own testimony, “opposed to the doctrine of Jesus’ near approach.”1BIO 488.2

    The visions relating to the near advent of Christ and to last-day events created in him a very definite interest in the advent movement, and he joined others in heralding the message of the expectation of Christ's soon return.1BIO 488.3

    The two initial visions of William Foy, together with a brief sketch of his Christian experience, were published in 1845 in a pamphlet in Portland, Maine. The first vision was given to him on January 18, 1842, while he was attending service in a Boston Church on southark street. Eyewitnesses to the experience testify that he was in vision two and a half hours. A physician who examined him testified that he could find no appearance of life “except around the heart.” In his autobiographical account foy declares, “my breath left me.”1BIO 488.4

    In the first revelation foy viewed the glorious reward of the faithful and the punishment of sinners. He felt the duty to declare what he had seen to others, but not being instructed to relate the vision, he disclosed it to no one. But he had no peace of mind. In a second revelation given to him, on February 4, 1842, he viewed multitudes of earth, those who had not died and those who had been raised from the dead, being assembled to receive their reward. In connection with this revelation he was instructed, “thou must reveal those things which thou hast seen, and also warn thy fellow creatures to flee from the wrath to come.”1BIO 489.1

    Foy's unwillingness to relate to others what had been shown to him stemmed from both the prejudice against any who claimed to have divine revelations and the prejudice against those of his color. He questioned in his mind, “why should these things be given to me to bear to the world?”1BIO 489.2

    A few days later the pastor of the bloomfield street church in boston called upon foy to relate the visions in his house of worship. Reluctantly he consented, and the next evening he found a large congregation assembled awaiting his message. As he began to speak, his fear left him, and he related with great freedom the things that were shown to him, to a congregation that gave rapt attention.1BIO 489.3

    With this as a beginning he traveled for three months, delivering his messages to crowded houses of all denominations. He had a good command of language. As he described the heavenly world, the New Jerusalem, and the compassionate love of Christ, and exhorted the unconverted to seek God, many responded to his entreaties. As his family needed support, after three months in the field, foy retired from public work to labor with his hands. He engaged in such work for three months, and then, feeling impelled to stand before the people, he again took up his public ministry, expecting soon to see his saviour when he should come. When speaking, he wore the clerical robes of the episcopal clergy.1BIO 489.4

    According to J. N. Loughborough, near the time of the expectation in 1844 foy was given a third vision in which were Presented three platforms that he could not understand in the light of his belief in the imminent coming of Christ. According to loughborough, in perplexity foy ceased public work. It is known that in the 1850S and through mid-life he filled positions as a freewill baptist minister in Massachusetts and Maine, and then turned to farming in sullivan county in Maine. While but little is known of his later experience, his tombstone bears the record that he died in 1893.1BIO 489.5

    There is no occasion to question the genuineness of William Foy's experience. Loughborough felt that the visions bore clear evidences of being the genuine manifestations of the spirit of God. More significant, perhaps, is the fact that Ellen White, who as noted above had some acquaintance with him, in an interview in 1912 treated his experience as genuine.—Author.1BIO 490.1

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