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 6: Advent Experience
New Hope Through Careful Study
Calculation of the time was so simple and plain that even children could understand it. From the date of the decree of the king of Persia, found in Ezra 7, which
was given in 457 before Christ, the 2300 years of Daniel 8:14 must terminate with 1843. Accordingly we looked to the end of this year for the coming of the
Lord. We were sadly disappointed when the year entirely passed away and the Saviour had not come.
It was not at first perceived that if the decree did not go forth at the beginning of the year 457 B.C., the 2300 years would not be completed at the close of 1843.
But it was ascertained that the decree was given near the close of the year 457 B.C., and therefore the prophetic period must reach to the fall of the year 1844.
Therefore the vision of time did not tarry, though it had seemed to do so. We learned to rest upon the language of the prophet. "For the vision is yet for an
appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry."
God tested and proved His people by the passing of the time in 1843. The mistake made in reckoning the prophetic
periods was not at once discovered even by learned men who opposed the views of those who were looking for Christ's coming. Scholars declared that Mr.
Miller was right in his calculation of the time, though they disputed him in regard to the event that would crown that period. But they, and the waiting people of
God, were in a common error on the question of time.
We fully believe that God, in His wisdom, designed that His people should meet with a disappointment, which was well calculated to reveal hearts and develop
the true characters of those who had professed to look for and rejoice in the coming of the Lord. Those who embraced the first angel's message (see Revelation
14:6, 7) through fear of the wrath of God's judgments, not because they loved the truth and desired an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, now appeared in
their true light. They were among the first to ridicule the disappointed ones who sincerely longed for and loved the appearing of Jesus.
Those who had been disappointed were not long left in darkness; for in searching the prophetic periods with earnest prayer, the error was discovered, and the
tracing of the prophetic pencil down through the tarrying time. In the joyful expectation of the coming of Christ the apparent tarrying of the vision had not been
taken into account, and was a sad and unlooked-for surprise. Yet this very trial was necessary to develop and strengthen the sincere believers in the truth.
Our hopes now centered on the coming of the Lord in 1844. This was also the time for the message of the second angel, who, flying through the midst of
heaven, cried: "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city." That message was first proclaimed by the servants of God in the summer of 1844. As a result, many
left the fallen churches. In connection with this message the midnight cry [* See Matthew 25:1-13.] was given: "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye
out to meet Him." In every part of the land, light was given concerning this message, and the cry aroused thousands. It went from city to city, from village to
village, and into the remote country regions. It reached the learned and talented, as well as the obscure and humble.
This was the happiest year of my life. My heart was full of glad expectation, but I felt great pity and anxiety for those who were in discouragement and had no
hope in Jesus. We united, as a people, in earnest prayer for a true experience and the unmistakable evidence of our acceptance with God.
We needed great patience, for the scoffers were many. We were frequently greeted by scornful references to our former disappointment. "You have not gone up
yet; when do you expect to go up?" and similar taunts were often vented upon us by our worldly acquaintances, and even by some professed Christians who
accepted the Bible, yet failed to learn its great and important truths. Their blinded eyes seemed to see but a vague and distant meaning in the solemn warning,
God "hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world," and in the assurance that the saints will be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air.
The orthodox churches used every means to prevent the belief in Christ's soon coming from spreading. No liberty was granted in their meetings to those who
dared mention a hope of the soon coming of Christ. Professed lovers of Jesus scornfully rejected the tidings that He whom they claimed as their best friend was
soon to visit them. They were excited and angered against those who proclaimed the news of His coming, and who rejoiced that they should speedily behold
Him in His glory.
Every moment seemed to me of the utmost importance. I felt that we were doing work for eternity and that the careless and uninterested were in the greatest
peril. My faith was unclouded, and I appropriated to myself the precious promises of Jesus. He had said to His
disciples: "Ask, and ye shall receive." I firmly believed that
whatever I asked in accordance with the will of God would certainly be granted to me. I sank in humility at the feet of Jesus, with my heart in harmony with His
I often visited families and engaged in earnest prayer with those who were oppressed by fears and despondency. My faith was so strong that I never doubted for
a moment that God would answer my prayers, and without a single exception the blessing and peace of Jesus rested upon us in answer to our humble petitions,
and the hearts of the despairing ones were made joyful by light and hope.
(Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 52-55)