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    Chapter 28—Testimony to a Young Girl

    These stories cover only a few incidents in the life of Ellen White. When she was seventeen years of age, the family physician had offered little hope that she could live more than three months at the longest. But God added seventy years to her life. He gave her strength to do a marvelous work.SMG 192.1

    Yet it was not Ellen White who did this great work. It was God working through a weak human being, using her lips, her voice, her pen, to speak for Him.SMG 192.2

    Although she had no money and no means of travel, God opened the way for her to go wherever He sent her. He strengthened her and gave her a voice. She cared for that voice, using it for God’s glory, and it grew stronger as she continued using it for Him.SMG 192.3

    Many years later at the Groveland camp meeting near Boston she spoke to an audience of twenty thousand people. Even those seated in the back of the mammoth tent or standing outside declared afterward that they could hear her distinctly as she addressed them for an hour. When we stop to think that there were no loudspeakers then, we realize what a wonderful voice God gave her.SMG 192.4

    Soon after she began relating her visions, she was told, “Write out the instruction I give you for the people.”SMG 192.5

    She answered, “I cannot write, Lord.” Her hand trembled so that her writing could scarcely be read. After making many attempts to write, she had given up trying.SMG 192.6

    But one night the angel of the Lord came to her bedside and repeated, “You must write out the instructions that I give you.”SMG 193.1

    Again she said, “I cannot write.”SMG 193.2

    Again the command was given, “Write!”SMG 193.3

    Taking up a writing board from the table, she laid it on her lap, took up her pen, and began. She found that she could write easily. Her hand, which had been so weak and shaky, was tracing words that were plain and legible. The Lord had worked a miracle.SMG 193.4

    No one knows how many pages Ellen White wrote with her own hand. In the vault where her writings are kept at the General Conference Office in Washington, D.C., there are sixty thousand typewritten pages, copied from her handwriting or from shorthand reports of her sermons and interviews. Much of what she wrote has been printed in books and articles; and besides these there are thousands of pages containing personal messages written in letters to individuals.SMG 193.5

    Most of her writing was done alone in her room during the early morning hours. Often in the night an angel came to her with a message for God’s people—to strengthen their faith in the Bible and to help them understand and follow its teachings more perfectly.SMG 193.6

    She would arise, dress, and if it was cool, light a fire on the hearth. Then, after earnest prayer, she would sit in her armchair with her lapboard before her and write out the messages received during the night. Often when she came down to the breakfast table, she would have in her hand twelve, fourteen, or as many as sixteen large pages, closely hand written, which she had penned while others were sleeping. She would hand this writing to one of her copyists to be typed and duplicated, and copies would be sent to the people for whom it was intended. These messages for individuals or churches were called testimonies. Some of them have been printed in books.SMG 193.7

    Mrs. White also wrote many books which have been printed in numerous languages and are read by Christian people throughout the world. If we read and study these books, we will understand the Bible better and receive help to become the kind of persons who can live with Jesus in the new earth.SMG 195.1

    You have been told about Mrs. White’s public visions—some to help conference presidents, or managers of sanitariums, printing houses, and colleges. But not all were for them, nor for ministers, Bible teachers, and doctors, nor even for mothers and fathers.SMG 195.2

    Some were for young people. Once when I was fourteen and we were living in Australia, God gave grandmother a testimony especially for me.SMG 195.3

    The young people in our home had returned one evening from night classes conducted in the sawmill loft. As I knelt by my bedside to pray that night, I realized that I was not living as close to my Saviour as I had in the past. I was not enjoying His blessing as I had three years before, at the time of my baptism. I asked God for help that I might again have joy and peace in my heart. But I seemed to be drifting farther and farther from Him, even as I prayed. My prayer seemed to reach no higher than the ceiling.SMG 195.4

    After remaining on my knees for a long time, I lay down with the silent prayer, “Please, dear God, help me to correct what is wrong, that I may once more enjoy Your smile of approval.”SMG 195.5

    Soon after this—the following afternoon, as I remember—grandma’s carriage stopped in front of our house. She did not greet us with her usual cheery “Good afternoon,” but said very seriously, “Willie, call your family together; I have words to speak to them.” (Grandma always called our father Willie.)SMG 195.6

    We came into the front room—father, mother, Mabel, and I, with our little twin brothers. As usual Mabel picked up Baby Henry and I took little Herbert on my lap.SMG 196.1

    Grandma said, “Will someone take care of the twins? I want Ella and Mabel to give me all their attention, for I have a solemn message for them.”SMG 196.2

    When we were quietly seated, Grandma took from the small satchel in which she carried her writings a manuscript written that morning, and she began reading it to us:SMG 196.3

    “I was unable to sleep after eleven o’clock. In the night season I had been instructed of God. I have been made to feel deeply. One stood in our midst. Willie, his wife May, and several others were present. Words of deep import were spoken.”SMG 196.4

    The next several sentences were addressed to our parents. They were told that our household was too large; there was too much noise and confusion in the home, too much forgetfulness of God in daily duties. There should be more time for Bible study.SMG 196.5

    We were living in an old dilapidated dwelling, the only house available, and we were caring for several boarders, including an invalid gentleman eighty years old.SMG 196.6

    Grandma read on. We children, she said, should be taught to form orderly habits, to keep our clothing clean and mended. How I hated mending! I lost a sentence or two, thinking about it. Bringing my thoughts back, I listened more carefully.SMG 196.7

    “Let a living faith run like threads of gold through the daily experiences, in the performance of little duties. ‘Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.’ Then there will be a looking unto Jesus; love for Him will be the continual motive, giving vital force to everything that is undertaken.”SMG 196.8

    Words were then addressed directly to us girls: “Your mother needs your help as members of the firm. Be true to home duties. Take heed to her counsel and instruction. Respect her words. Obey her requests. This is a part of your education that will fit you to become members of the family above.”SMG 197.1

    As grandma continued, I realized that most of the testimony was meant especially for me. My name was mentioned several times. I was told that my work was to set a right example before my younger sister by being a living Christian in the home, faithful in all the little duties, heeding every suggestion mother made, yet not waiting for her to tell me what to do when I could see what needed to be done.SMG 197.2

    I should keep my room in order, carefully removing all dust and dirt. The kitchen was to be kept neat and clean.SMG 197.3

    Interrupting grandma, I asked, “Did the angel say all those things, or did you think of them yourself as you were writing?”SMG 197.4

    Grandma replied, “The angel talked with me in the night, and I wrote down the messages that were given to me for you and Mabel and for your parents.”SMG 197.5

    Then she read on: “Books are to be laid aside for their proper season, and no more study should engross the mind than can be attended to without neglecting the household duties. You may fill your place in the household as a thoughtful, care-taking, practical Christian, working for Jesus, doing the little duties that are often disagreeable but which must be done and not delayed.”SMG 197.6

    We were told not to be discouraged. Angels were watching to see how they could work with us to help us develop Christlike characters.SMG 198.1

    Grandma drew Mabel and me close to her. Lifting Mabel to her lap, she then put an arm around me, as she read the last words of the testimony:SMG 198.2

    “In doing your daily duties promptly, neatly, faithfully, you are missionaries. You are bearing witness for Christ. You are showing that the religion of Christ does not, in principle or practice, make you untidy, coarse, disrespectful to your parents by taking little heed to their counsel and instruction. Bible religion practiced will make you kind, thoughtful, faithful. You will not neglect the little things that should be done to give a neat, wholesome appearance even to the kitchen, which has shown unfaithfulness. ‘He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.’”SMG 198.3

    Grandma finished reading. She laid the manuscript in mother’s hands and stood up.SMG 198.4

    I immediately fled upstairs to my room, buried my face in a pillow, and cried. My thoughts were bitter and resentful. Why did I have to spend so much time sweeping and scrubbing and washing dishes? I needed time for study! I wanted to stand high in my classes at night school.SMG 198.5

    Then suddenly, as if struck by lightning, I remembered—my prayer. Only the night before I had asked God for help. Was this His answer? Had the great God in heaven heard the cry of a little girl and sent His angel with the answer to her question? Yes. God had heard me. He did love me! He had sent this message of reproof because He loved me! Tears of repentance took the place of the wicked, rebellious tears of a few moments before. I knelt where the previous night I had prayed and had felt forsaken of God. But He had not forsaken me!SMG 198.6

    As soon as I could wash away the tear stains, I hurried down to the room where father, mother, and Mabel were talking together. Grandma had left. I threw myself into mother’s arms.SMG 199.1

    “Ella,” father said tenderly, “you’ve had a hard time these past months. Life has not been easy for any of us. But these trials will pass. Soon our cottage will be finished, and we’ll be living there—just we four and the babies.SMG 199.2

    “No more rough board floors to scrub. We’ll have a new cookstove, not like this old cracked one that smokes up the kitchen. The green eucalyptus branches from the clearing that I’ve been chopping for firewood will have had time to dry out and will burn better.”SMG 199.3

    “And we’ll have a bathroom, won’t we, Daddy, with a bathtub?” Mabel volunteered happily. “We won’t have to carry the washtub and all the water upstairs on bath nights anymore!”SMG 199.4

    Mother squeezed my hand. “Think of it, Ella, there’ll be a sink in the kitchen, and water on tap from a big tank outside. But, Will, did you forget? If Joe Mills comes to live with us and go to school, there’ll be five in the family besides the twins, instead of four. Just the same, I’m glad he’s coming.”SMG 199.5

    “Yes,” said father. “Joe’s a handy little fellow. He can take care of the garden and help you about the house.”SMG 199.6

    “And milk the cow!” I announced emphatically, thinking of another burden which would be rolled off my shoulders.SMG 199.7

    “And I’ll have only five lamps to trim and clean instead of eleven, and only five globes to polish every day,” said Mabel jubilantly.SMG 199.8

    Father was smiling as he rose to leave the room. “I won’t have to be away from home as much as I have been this past year,” he said. “We’ll take our books to the woods on Sabbath afternoons. We can get acquainted with the gorgeous birds in these Australian forests, and we can collect new specimens of ferns and flowers.”SMG 200.1

    For some minutes I had been thinking about a sticky saucepan I had left soaking, well hidden in a corner behind the kitchen stove. As soon as I could be sure no one was looking, I took it to the sandpile behind the house and gave it a good scouring. Then I looked around the kitchen, straightened things up here and there, and thoroughly scrubbed the table.SMG 200.2

    “‘He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much,’” I repeated to myself. “Hereafter I shall try to do every task as carefully and faithfully as though I could look up and see Jesus observing everything I do.”SMG 200.3

    And now, boys and girls, we have room for no more stories in this book.SMG 200.4

    Perhaps someday in the glorious new earth you and I may sit down beside my dear grandmother, Ellen White, and tell her how thankful we are for the lovely things she wrote that helped us to become more like Jesus and prepared us for a glad welcome to our heavenly home and our family above.SMG 200.5

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