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Ellen G. White: The Early Elmshaven Years: 1900-1905 (vol. 5)

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    Ellen White Agonizes to Know God's Will

    With the burden of New York City building in her heart and mind, Ellen White was perplexed to know what course she should follow. Somehow she felt if she could only be in New York she could help to smooth matters out and open the way for a strong coordinated evangelistic thrust in that city. On Sunday, November 3, she addressed a letter to Elder Haskell in which she wrote of the needs of New York City:5BIO 136.1

    There is a vast amount of work to be done in proclaiming the truth for this time to those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Most startling messages will be borne by men of God's appointment, messages of a character to warn the people, to arouse them....5BIO 136.2

    Messages will be given out of the usual order. The judgments of God are in the land. While city missions must be established where colporteurs, Bible workers, and practical medical missionaries may be trained to reach certain classes, we must also have, in our cities, consecrated evangelists through whom a message is to be borne so decidedly as to startle the hearers.—Testimonies for the Church 9:137.5BIO 136.3

    She was careful in this letter to point out the unity that must exist in a diversity of talents held by the workers (Ibid., 9:144-146). She called for them to unite in a harmonious effort.5BIO 136.4

    Three times in as many weeks she had decided that she must go to New York City. Three times she had turned away from it, feeling that her work on her books required her to remain in California. But on Tuesday, November 5, she decided to go. Writing to the men leading in the schoolwork at Berrien Springs, Professors Sutherland and Magan, she declared:5BIO 136.5

    I shall probably see you soon, for after a week of conviction, I have decided to leave for the East. By my former decision not to leave home I came to a crisis in my experience and I will leave for New York City tomorrow morning, if the Lord will. And this seems to me to be His will.—Letter 161, 1901.5BIO 136.6

    The expressions in this statement bring us again to the point of the personal responsibility of Ellen White in making decisions as to the course she should pursue in the conduct of her work, especially in the absence of any direct instruction from the Lord.5BIO 137.1

    Never was there any question as to the message that she should give. Nor was there any question as to what she should do when the Lord clearly indicated the course that she must follow. This was evidenced in her letter to Elder Daniells concerning her responsibility to attend camp meetings in the summer of 1901, at which time she wrote: “If the Lord said, ‘Go,’ I would not hesitate a moment.”—Letter 65, 1901.5BIO 137.2

    But in judging the course of action that she should pursue, she watched for God's opening providences. She was influenced by the burden of her own heart, and she counseled with her brethren. While considering the matter of attending the General Conference session in Battle Creek, in due time she had the clear assurance that she should attend, and she acted accordingly. Now it seemed to her in this instance that she should make a hurried trip to New York.5BIO 137.3

    As she counseled with Sara McEnterfer, she was advised not to go. A letter from Willie gave her no encouragement. As she counseled with Brother and Sister Druillard they said little, but thought that she should go. She wrote W. C. White, who had gone to Battle Creek to attend an important General Conference Executive Committee Meeting:5BIO 137.4

    I think I have a duty to go to New York City. There is a testimony I have to bear there.—Letter 224, 1901.5BIO 137.5

    I have never borne my testimony in New York City, but have had an impression I should do this.... I am burdened with the outlook, and I think I shall without further delay go to the city of New York.... I could help them if God gives me a message to go....5BIO 137.6

    It may be my last chance to speak to them in New York and if there could be unity brought about among the Sabbathkeepers who are now standing one apart from the others, I should have done a good work in the strength the Lord will give me.... I think I shall start this evening for Oakland.... It is now half past two o'clock A.M.... May the Lord guide me is my most earnest prayer. Lord, help! Lord, help! is going forth from my mind constantly.— Ibid.5BIO 137.7

    As will be seen before the story is finished, she herself soon had some occasion to question whether she moved in the line of duty.5BIO 138.1

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