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
With carefulness and trembling we approached the time* when our Saviour
was expected to appear. With solemn earnestness we sought, as a people, to purify our lives that we might be ready to meet Him at His coming.
Notwithstanding the opposition of ministers and churches, Beethoven Hall, in the city of Portland, was nightly crowded; especially was there a large
congregation on Sundays. Elder Stockman [a Methodist minister] was a man of deep piety. He was in feeble health; yet when he stood before the people he seemed to be lifted above
physical infirmity, and his face was lighted with the consciousness that he was teaching the sacred truth of God.
There was a solemn, searching power in his words that struck home to many hearts. He sometimes expressed a fervent desire to live until he should welcome
the Saviour coming in the clouds of heaven. Under his ministration the Spirit of God convicted many sinners and brought them into the fold of Christ. Meetings
were still held at private houses in different parts of the city with the best results. Believers
were encouraged to work for their friends and relatives, and conversions were multiplying day by day.
* The year 1843, Jewish time, was believed [by some] to reach from March 21, 1843, to
March 21, 1844. [Others felt it stretched from the new moon of April 1843 to
the new moon of April 1844.] Those who received the Advent faith looked for the coming of Christ during that year.
All classes flocked to the meetings at Beethoven Hall. Rich and poor, high and low, ministers and laymen, were all, from various causes, anxious to hear for
themselves the doctrine of the second advent. Many came, who, finding no room to stand, went away disappointed. The order of the meetings was simple. A
short and pointed discourse was usually given, then liberty was granted for general exhortation. There was, as a rule, the most perfect stillness possible for so
large a crowd. The Lord held the spirit of opposition in check while His servants explained the reasons of their faith. Sometimes the instrument was feeble, but
the Spirit of God gave weight and power to His truth. The presence of the holy angels was felt in the assembly, and numbers were daily added to the little band
On one occasion, while Elder Stockman was preaching, Elder Brown, a Christian Baptist minister, whose name has been mentioned before in this narrative,
was sitting in the desk listening to the sermon with intense interest. He became deeply moved, and suddenly his countenance grew pale as the dead, he reeled in
his chair, and Elder Stockman caught him in his arms just as he was falling to the floor, and laid him on the sofa behind the desk, where he lay powerless until
the discourse was finished.
He then arose, his face still pale, but shining with light from the Sun of Righteousness, and gave a very impressive testimony. He seemed to receive holy
unction from above. He was usually slow of speech, with an earnest manner, entirely free from excitement. On this occasion his solemn, measured words
carried with them a new power as he warned sinners and his brother ministers to put away unbelief, prejudice, and cold formality, and, like the noble Bereans,
search the sacred writings, comparing scripture with scripture, to ascertain if these things were not true. He entreated the ministers present not to feel
themselves injured by the direct and searching manner in which Elder Stockman had presented the solemn subject that interested all minds.
Said he: "We want to reach the people; we want sinners to be convicted and become truly repentant before it is too late for them to be saved, lest they shall take
up the lamentation, 'The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.' Brethren in the ministry say that our arrows hit them; will they please stand
aside from between us and the people, and let us reach the hearts of sinners? If they make themselves a target for our aim, they have no reason to complain of
the wounds they receive. Stand aside, brethren, and you will not get hit!"
He related his own experience with such simplicity and candor that many who had been greatly prejudiced were affected to tears. The Spirit of God was felt in
his words and seen upon his countenance. With a holy exaltation he boldly declared that he had taken the word of God as his counselor, that his doubts had
been swept away and his faith confirmed. With earnestness he invited his brother ministers, church members, sinners, and infidels to examine the Bible for
themselves, and charged them to let no man turn them from the purpose of ascertaining what was the truth.
Elder Brown neither then nor afterward severed his connection with the Christian Baptist Church, but was looked upon with great respect by his people. When
he had finished speaking, those who desired the prayers of the people of God were invited to rise. Hundreds responded to the call. The Holy Spirit rested upon
the assembly. Heaven and earth seemed to approach each other. The meeting lasted until a late hour of the night. The power of the Lord was felt upon young,
old, and middle-aged.
As we returned to our homes by various ways, a voice praising God would reach us from one direction, and, as if in response, voices from another and still
another quarter shouted: "Glory to God, the Lord reigneth!" Men sought their homes with praises upon their lips,
and the glad sound rang out upon the still night air. No one who
attended these meetings can ever forget those scenes of deepest interest.
(Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 48-51)