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Autobiographical Sketch of Ellen G. White

James' Stroke

In August, 1865, my husband was suddenly stricken down by paralysis. This was a heavy blow, not only to myself and my children, but to the cause of God. The churches were deprived both of my husband's labors and of my own. Satan triumphed as he saw the work of truth thus hindered. But, thank God! he was not permitted to destroy us. After being cut off from all active labor for fifteen months, we ventured out once more together to work among the churches.

from EGW Estate
James White, cir. 1864.
White Estate.
Having become fully satisfied that my husband would not recover from his protracted sickness while remaining inactive, and that the time had fully come for me to go forth and bear my testimony to the people, I decided to make a tour in northern Michigan, with my husband in his extremely feeble condition, in the severest cold of winter. It required no small degree of moral courage and faith in God to bring my mind to the decision to risk so much; but I knew that I had a work to do, and it seemed to me that Satan was determined to keep me from it. I had waited long for our captivity to be turned, and feared that precious souls would be lost by the delay. To remain longer from the field seemed to me worse than death, and should we move out we could but perish. So, on the 19th of December, 1866, we left Battle Creek in a snowstorm for Wright, Michigan. My husband stood the journey of ninety miles much better than I feared, and seemed quite as well when we reached our destination as when we left Battle Creek.

Here commenced our first effective labors since his sickness. Here he began labor as in former years, though in much weakness. He would speak thirty or forty minutes in the forenoon of the Sabbath and on first day, while I would occupy the rest of the time, and then speak in the afternoon of each day, about an hour and a half each time. We were listened to with the greatest attention. I saw that my husband was growing stronger, clearer, and more connected in his subjects. And when on one occasion he spoke one hour with clearness and power, with the burden of the work upon him as before his sickness, my feelings of gratitude were beyond expression. I arose in the congregation, and for nearly half an hour tried with weeping to give utterance to them. The congregation was deeply moved. I felt assured that this was the dawn of better days for us.

The hand of God in his restoration was most apparent. Probably no other one upon whom such a blow has fallen ever recovered. Yet a severe shock of paralysis, seriously affecting the brain, was by the good hand of God removed from His servant, and new strength granted him both in body and mind.

During the years that followed the recovery of my husband, the Lord opened before us a vast field of labor. Though I took the stand as a speaker timidly at first, yet as the providence of God opened the way before me, I had confidence to stand before large audiences. Together we attended our camp meetings and other large gatherings, from Maine to Dakota, from Michigan to Texas and California.

The work begun in feebleness and obscurity has continued to increase and strengthen. Publishing houses in Michigan and in California, and missions in England, Norway, and Switzerland, attest its growth. In place of the edition of our first paper carried to the office in a carpetbag, about one hundred and forty thousand copies of our various periodicals are now sent out monthly from the offices of publication. The hand of God has been with His work to prosper and build it up.

The later history of my life would involve the history of the various enterprises which have arisen among us, and with which my lifework has been closely intermingled. For the upbuilding of these institutions, my husband and myself labored with pen and voice. To notice, even briefly, the experience of these active and busy years, would far exceed the limits of this sketch. Satan's efforts to hinder the work and to destroy the workmen have not ceased; but God has had a care for His servants and for His work.

(Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 103-105)

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