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Life Sketches of Ellen G. White

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    Chapter 60—The Memorial Service at Richmond

    By special request of the officers of the Pacific Union Conference and of the California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, a memorial service was held at Richmond, Cal., the day following the funeral of Mrs. White at “Elmshaven.”LS 456.1

    It was not difficult to arrange for such a service, as the annual camp meeting of the California Conference was in progress at Richmond, and this city is on the main line of railway travel from the Pacific coast to the East, where the body was to be taken for interment in the family burial plot. Accordingly, announcements were sent out to the larger churches close by, and on the morning of July 19 fully a thousand friends from the cities surrounding San Francisco Bay and from more distant points, assembled at the Richmond encampment.LS 456.2

    Elder E. E. Andross, president of the Pacific Union Conference, was in charge, assisted by Elder E. W. Farnsworth, vice president of the Union; Elder J. N. Loughborough, an honored pioneer of the advent movement; and Elder A. O. Tait, editor of the Signs of the Times. [The pallbearers were Elder J. L. McElhany, president of the California Conference; and Elders A. Brorsen, E. J. Hibbard, G. W. Reaser, W. M. Healey, and C. E. Ford. The singers were Brethren D. Lawrence, C. A. Shull, J. H. Paap, and E. Lloyd.]LS 456.3

    The opening hymn, “Sweet be thy rest,” and the Scripture reading by Elder E. W. Farnsworth (1 Corinthians 15:12-20, 35-38, 42-45; 2 Corinthians 4:6-18; 5:1-10), prepared the minds of the congregation to enter into the spirit of Elder Loughborough's invocation, in the course of which he acknowledged that “while afflictions come upon us, and while workers in this cause may lay down the armor because of lack of physical strength,” yet God's purpose will be accomplished. When the Saviour was laid away, it was thought by His disciples that His work on earth was at an end; but His death on the cross was in reality the very life of the cause He had advocated.LS 456.4

    A carefully prepared biographical sketch, written by Elder M. C. Wilcox, of the Pacific Press Publishing Association, was read by an associate, Elder A. O. Tait, because of Elder Wilcox's absence in the East. In the introductory paragraphs the principle was set forth that “God makes much of individuals. All the great movements, awakenings, and crises of the centuries have centered around individuals, so that the story of the lives of these persons must include the history of God's work in the world, or the history of the crises or movements.” Citing the biographies of Noah, of Abraham and other Hebrew worthies, of Wycliffe and Luther and the Wesleys, the writer continued:LS 457.1

    “And in the advent movement, the giving to the world of the last message of reform, there are two persons whose biographies must include the beginning and the establishment of the movement and its worldwide growth. Nay, more, God's hand through them will affect it to the end. I refer to Elder James White and his beloved wife, Mrs. Ellen G. White.”LS 457.2

    In this review of Mrs. White's life history, as read at Richmond, her labors on the Pacific coast were outlined thus:LS 457.3

    “The work in California had been inaugurated by Elders J. N. Loughborough and D. T. Bourdeau in the summer of 1868. In the autumn of 1872 Elder and Mrs. White visited San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Woodland, Healdsburg, and Petaluma. Here her messages were received by earnest souls, and her labors were greatly appreciated.LS 457.4

    “In February, 1873, Brother and Sister White went to Michigan, returning to California in December of that year to take up new and greater burdens and start new enterprises. In 1874 they assisted in two tent meetings held in Oakland. Here Mrs. White spoke with telling effect on the temperance question, in a local option campaign.LS 458.1

    “It was at this time that publishing work was begun in Oakland, the first issue of the Signs of the Times being dated June 4, 1874. In 1875 the Pacific Press Publishing Company was organized, with capital stock first at $28,000. This corporation is now continued in the Pacific Press Publishing Association, with a present worth of nearly $250,000, and a yearly output of over a million dollars in religious and educational literature.LS 458.2

    “God revealed to Mrs. White that a great work would be done upon the Pacific coast and in the cities around the bay. This began to materialize very early; for church buildings were erected in Oakland and San Francisco in 1875 and 1876. In helping to build these churches, Mr. and Mrs. White sold all they had in the East.LS 458.3

    “Mrs. White was intimately connected with the starting of the college at Healdsburg, from which laborers have gone forth to all parts of the world. That school is now continued in Pacific Union College, near St. Helena, which has also received her hearty support.LS 458.4

    “Having borne a great burden in the building up of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, Elder and Mrs. White took special pleasure in encouraging a like work in California, which resulted in the development of the St. Helena Sanitarium—started as the Rural Health Retreat. A lifelong physical sufferer, Mrs. White's sympathies have ever been drawn out to the afflicted. In connection with three other medical missionary enterprises in California,—at Paradise Valley, near San Diego; at Glendale, near Los Angeles; and at Loma Linda,—Mrs. White has borne heroic burdens and rendered great assistance. This is especially true of the College of Medical Evangelists at Loma Linda.LS 458.5

    “In 1878 she visited Oregon. Here she attended Oregon's first camp meeting, at Salem....LS 459.1

    “Her life was a life of sacrifice. In poverty, in ill health, in sickness herself and with family ill, laboring with her hands in connection with her husband, economizing to barest necessities of existence, ministering to others hope and cheer under greatest discouragement herself, she more than measured the span of her days in arduous self-denial and self-forgetfulness for others’ sake. She has given away many times over what would have kept her in ease. Her appeals to others have been to do, do, do, for God and humanity; but in this she has been greatly blessed of God. Coming down to death's door many times, life despaired of by friends, given up to die again and again by physicians, she has been repeatedly and miraculously restored to health.LS 459.2

    “Mrs. White ceased her work here as she began—poor in this world's goods. Her income from her books—no inconsiderable sum—has been used freely in giving assistance to needy enterprises and needy people. Her heart has always been sympathetic, and her own hands have often ministered to the sick and suffering....LS 459.3

    “The life of Mrs. White lives after her. Enemies she has made by her straightforward teaching and reproof. She has been maligned and slandered. Those who know her best, can best judge her life. She was human, subject to all the infirmities and weaknesses of the race; but she found in Christ a precious Saviour and Helper. He called her to do a most unpopular work, and she responded. He has used her mightily. She has truly been a mother in Israel.LS 460.1

    “Our blessed Lord voiced the calmest judgment of the human heart when He said that a tree is known by its fruits. In the light of this, the life of our sister, and its blessed influence upon all whose lives it has touched, are a witness of her character and work. She ‘being dead yet speaketh.’”LS 460.2

    For the discourse that followed the reading of the biographical sketch, Elder E. E. Andross chose as his text the words: “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.”LS 460.3

    “Of no one,” the speaker declared, “can it be said more truly than of our dear sister, that this scripture is fulfilled; still, under circumstances such as these, our hearts cry out for the glorious morning of the resurrection. We want to know that death is to be destroyed, that the sleepers are to awake. However blessed the life that has gone out, we want to know that the loved one will rise again to glorious immortality. And the Lord has not left us to mourn as those who have no hope. ‘I will ransom them from the power of the grave,’ the prophet writes; ‘I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.’ Blessed words! ...LS 460.4

    “Again, I read the words of the prophet Isaiah, as recorded in the twenty-sixth chapter: ‘Thy dead men shall live, together with My dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.’ Death is eventually to be destroyed, and the sleepers are to awake....LS 461.1

    “So today, my dear brethren, and especially those who mourn most deeply upon this occasion,—members of the family,—I say to you, We are not to sorrow as those who have no hope. Our sister, after seventy years and more of earnest, faithful toil for the Master, has now lain down to rest in the last sleep; but soon she is to rise again. ‘The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God.’ She will hear His voice, and come forth.... O, let us, like our beloved sister, ‘follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.’ And when, in a little while, our labors are ended, like the great apostle we may say, We have fought a good fight, we have finished the course, we have kept the faith.”LS 461.2

    With the singing of a hymn, and with dismissal by Elder E. W. Farnsworth, the Richmond memorial service closed.LS 461.3

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