Autobiographical Sketch of Ellen G. White
Note: Since criticisms about Ellen White's life are dealt with elsewhere on this site,
we here simply let her tell in her own words her life story.—WebMaster
Chapter 12: Publishing and Traveling
The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald
In June, 1849, the way was opened for us to make our home for a time at Rocky Hill, Connecticut. Here, on the 28th of July, our second child, James Edson,
While we were living at this place, my husband was impressed that it was his duty to write and publish the present truth. He was greatly encouraged and blessed
as he decided thus to do. But again he would be in doubt and perplexity, as he was penniless. There were brethren who had means, but they chose to keep it.
He at length gave up in discouragement, and decided to look for a field of grass to mow. As he left the house, a burden was rolled upon me, and I fainted.
Prayer was offered for me, and I was blessed, and taken off in vision. I saw that the Lord had blessed and strengthened my husband to labor in the field one year
before; that he had made a right use of the means there earned; and that he would have a hundredfold in his life, and, if faithful, a rich reward in the kingdom of
God; but that the Lord would not now give him strength to labor in the field, for He had another work for him; that he must walk out by faith, and write and
publish the present truth. He immediately commenced to write, and when he came to some difficult passage, we would call upon the Lord to give us the true
meaning of His word.
About the same time he began to publish a small sheet entitled, The Present Truth. The office of publication was at Middletown, eight miles from Rocky Hill,
and he often walked this distance and back again, although he was then lame. When he brought the first number from the printing office, we all bowed around
it, asking the Lord, with humble hearts and many tears, to let His blessing rest upon the feeble efforts of His servant. He then directed the papers to all he
thought would read them, and carried them to the post office in a carpetbag. Every number was taken from Middletown to Rocky Hill, and always before
preparing them for the post office, we spread them before the Lord, and with earnest prayers mingled with tears, entreated that His blessing might attend the
silent messengers. Very soon letters came bringing means to publish the paper, and the good news of many souls embracing the truth.
|Middletown, Conn. printing office where
Charles H. Pelton (1805-1883) published the first four issues of Present Truth
in 1849.—White Estate.|
With the beginning of this work of publishing, we did not cease our labors in preaching the truth, but traveled from
place to place, proclaiming the doctrines which had brought so great light and joy to us, encouraging the believers, correcting errors, and setting things in
order in the church. In order to carry forward the publishing enterprise, and at the same time continue our labors in different parts of the field, the paper was
from time to time moved to different places.
In 1850 it was issued at Paris, Maine. Here it was enlarged, and its name changed to that which it now bears, The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald. The
friends of the cause were few in numbers and poor in worldly wealth, and we were still compelled to struggle with poverty and great discouragement. Excessive
labor, care, and anxiety, a lack of proper and nourishing food, and exposure to cold in our long winter journeys, were too much for my husband, and he sank
under the burden. He became so weak that he could scarcely walk to the printing office. Our faith was tried to the utmost. We had willingly endured privation,
toil, and suffering; yet our motives were misinterpreted, and we were regarded with distrust and jealousy. Few of those for whose good we had suffered, seemed
to appreciate our efforts. We were too much troubled to sleep or rest. The hours in which we should have been refreshed with sleep, were often spent in
answering long communications occasioned by envy; and many hours while others were sleeping we spent in agonizing tears, and mourning before the Lord. At
length my husband said: "Wife, it is of no use to try to struggle on any longer. These things are crushing me, and will soon carry me to the grave. I cannot go
any farther. I have written a note for the paper stating that I shall publish no more." As he stepped out of the door to carry it to the printing office, I fainted. He
came back and prayed for me; his prayer was answered, and I was relieved.
The next morning, while at family prayer, I was taken off in vision, and was shown concerning these matters. I saw that my husband must not give up the paper;
for such a step was just what Satan was trying to drive him to take, and he was working through agents to do this. I was shown that we must continue to
publish, and that the Lord would sustain us; that those who had been guilty of casting upon us such burdens would have to see the extent of their cruel course,
and come back confessing their injustice, or the frown of God would be upon them; that it was not against us merely that they had spoken and acted, but against
Him who had called us to fill the place He wished us to occupy; and that all their suspicion, jealousy, and secret influence was faithfully chronicled in heaven,
and would not be blotted out until everyone who had taken a part in it should see the extent of his wrong course, and retrace every step.
The second volume of the Review was published at Saratoga Springs, New York. In April, 1852, we moved to Rochester, New York. At every step we were
obliged to move out by faith. We were still crippled by poverty, and compelled to exercise the most rigid economy and self-denial. I will give a brief extract
from a letter to Brother Howland's family, dated April 16, 1852: "We are just getting settled in Rochester. We have rented an old house for one hundred and
seventy-five dollars a year. We have the press in the house. Were it not for this, we should have to pay fifty dollars a year for office room. You would smile
could you look in upon us and see our furniture. We have bought two old bedsteads for twenty-five cents each. My husband brought me home six old chairs, no
two of them alike, for which he paid one dollar, and soon he presented me with four more old chairs without seating, for which he paid sixty-two cents. The
frames are strong, and I have been seating them with drilling. Butter is so high that we do not purchase it, neither can we afford potatoes. We use sauce in the
place of butter, and turnips for potatoes. Our first meals were taken on a fireboard placed upon two empty flour barrels. We are
willing to endure privations if the work of God can be advanced. We believe the Lord's hand was in our coming to this place. There is a large field for labor,
and but few laborers. Last Sabbath our meeting was excellent. The Lord refreshed us with His presence."
From time to time we went out to attend Conferences in different parts of the field. My husband preached, sold books, and labored to extend the circulation of
the paper. We traveled by private conveyance, and stopped at noon to feed our horse by the roadside, and to eat our lunch. Then with paper and pencil, on the
cover of our dinner box or the top of his hat, my husband wrote articles for the Review and Instructor. The Lord greatly blessed our labors, and the truth
affected many hearts.
(Testimonies for the Church, pp. 87-91)