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Life Sketches of Ellen G. White

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    Laying Hold on God

    As I was thus thinking, a portion of the vision given me at Rochester, N. Y., Dec. 25, 1865, came like a flash of lightning to my mind, and I immediately related it to my husband:LS 175.5

    I was shown a cluster of trees, standing near together, forming a circle. Running up over these trees was a vine which covered them at the top, and rested upon them, forming an arbor. Soon I saw the trees swaying to and fro, as though moved by a powerful wind. One branch after another of the vine was shaken from its support, until the vine was shaken loose from the trees, except a few tendrils which were left clinging to the lower branches. A person then came up and severed the remaining clinging tendrils of the vine, and it lay prostrated upon the earth.LS 176.1

    Many passed and looked pityingly upon it, and I waited anxiously for a friendly hand to raise it; but no help was offered. I inquired why no hand raised the vine. Presently I saw an angel come to the apparently deserted vine. He spread out his arms and placed them beneath the vine, and raised it so that it stood upright, saying: “Stand toward heaven, and let thy tendrils entwine about God. Thou art shaken from human support. Thou canst stand, in the strength of God, and flourish without it. Lean upon God alone, and thou shalt never lean in vain, or be shaken therefrom.”LS 176.2

    As I saw the neglected vine cared for, I felt inexpressible relief, amounting to joy. I turned to the angel and inquired what these things meant. Said he: “Thou art this vine. All this thou wilt experience, and then, when these things occur, thou shalt fully understand the figure of the vine. God will be to thee a present help in time of trouble.”LS 176.3

    From this time I was settled as to my duty, and never more free in bearing my testimony to the people. After we returned from Monterey to Battle Creek, I felt it my duty to move forward in the strength of God, and free myself from the suspicions and reports circulated to our injury. I bore my testimony, and related things which had been shown me in the past history of some present, warning them of their dangers and reproving their wrong course of action. I stated that I had been placed in most disagreeable positions. When families and individuals were brought before me in vision, it was frequently the case that what was shown me in relation to them was of a private nature, reproving secret sins. I have labored with some for months in regard to wrongs of which others knew nothing. As my brethren see these persons sad, and hear them express doubts in regard to their acceptance with God, also feelings of despondency, they have cast censure upon me, as though I was to blame for their being in trial.LS 176.4

    Those who thus censured me were entirely ignorant of what they were talking about. I protested against persons’ sitting as inquisitors upon my course of action. It has been the disagreeable work assigned me to reprove private sins. Were I, in order to prevent suspicions and jealousy, to give a full explanation of my course, and make public that which should be kept private, I should sin against God and wrong the individuals. I have to keep private reproofs of private wrongs to myself, locked in my own breast. Let others judge as they may, I will never betray the confidence reposed in me by the erring and repentant, or reveal to others that which should only be brought before the ones that are guilty. I told those assembled that they must take their hands off, and leave me free to act in the fear of God.LS 177.1

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