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    Chapter 7—Visions in Strange Places

    Soon after Ellen Harmon received her call to special service, she started late one afternoon in a small sailboat with some of her young friends to visit a family on an island in the bay near Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Suddenly a storm came up, and rain fell in torrents. Waves swept over the deck, drenching the passengers. Lightning flashed, and howling winds ripped the sails.SMG 52.1

    The small craft was tossed about like a cork. It would rise on the crest of a wave, then slide down into the trench, nearly capsizing. Mr. Gurney, who was managing the boat, tried to cast anchor, but the anchor dragged. The rudder broke loose and was swept away. Everyone aboard realized the danger of being dashed on the rocks along the island shore. Darkness fell.SMG 52.2

    As Ellen knelt on the deck floor to ask God for protection, the scene of terror faded from her sight. She saw standing by her side the angel who had appeared to her several times in vision. Never did she forget his words spoken to her that night: “Sooner would every drop of water in the ocean be dried up than for you to perish, for your work has only begun.”SMG 52.3

    Ellen at once called out to her companions, “You need not be afraid! Angels are all around us. We are perfectly safe. The storm cannot hurt us!” The frail craft continued to rise and fall on the waves, but the angel’s words had dispelled fear from every heart. Soon a joyful cry came from the captain, “The anchor holds!” Then through the darkness they saw a glimmer of light from one of the two houses on the island. The family had retired, but one of the children had heard Mr. Gurney’s cry for help. Soon the father came out in a rowboat and took all the passengers ashore.SMG 52.4

    They were unacquainted with the family they had reached, and in the morning they went on to the other home. Thus two homes instead of one were blessed by their visit.SMG 53.1

    At one time Captain Bates was riding with James and Ellen White and another Adventist minister in a two-seated market wagon behind a partly broken colt. Grandpa White was expert at the art of breaking and managing horses. He was confident that he could control the young horse, although it had the reputation of being vicious. Shortly before, this horse had caused a serious accident.SMG 53.2

    While Grandpa White held a taut rein and gave all his attention to driving, Mrs. White talked with their companions about a Bible subject. Suddenly she was taken into vision. The moment she gave the shout of “Glory,” the horse stopped, dropped his head, and stood perfectly still. Mrs. White rose from her seat and, looking upward, stepped over the front of the wagon down to the shafts and the wagon step, and to the ground. While lowering herself, she laid her hand firmly on the colt’s haunches.SMG 53.3

    In alarm Captain Bates called out, “That colt will kick her to death!”SMG 53.4

    “The Lord has the colt in charge now; I don’t wish to interfere,” James White replied. Under ordinary conditions the colt would have kicked furiously the instant anything touched his flanks. But now he stood as gentle as an old horse. He continued to stand quietly while Mrs. White climbed a six-foot embankment to a grassy spot by the roadside. There she walked back and forth, describing aloud the beauties of the new earth.SMG 53.5

    Then, with her eyes still directed upward and paying no attention to where she was stepping, she came safely down the bank, mounted the wagon step, laid her hand on the colt’s rump, and lifted herself into the wagon again. As soon as she sat down, she came out of vision. At that instant the horse, without any indication from the driver, started up and went quietly on his way.SMG 54.1

    While Mrs. White was out of the wagon, her husband tested the horse to prove, if possible, to the other ministers that it was being controlled by a supernatural power. First he touched the horse lightly with the whip, but he did not stir. At other times he would have responded with a kick. Then Grandpa White struck him quite a blow, then a harder, and still a harder one. The colt paid no attention whatever, but stood perfectly still. The same Power that produced the vision had, for the time being, subdued the colt.SMG 54.2

    Reverently Elder Bates said, “This is a solemn place.” He related the experience to John Loughborough, who has preserved it in his book The Great Second Advent Movement.SMG 54.3

    Ellen’s longest recorded vision lasted about four hours; some lasted only a few moments. My father, William Clarence White, tells about one which he witnessed at a Minnesota camp meeting in 1870 during a prayer period in which both his father and mother joined. After offering a few sentences of prayer, Mrs. White stopped speaking, and there was silence for about half a minute. My father, who was then a boy of sixteen, later told us the story:SMG 54.4

    “I was kneeling with the congregation and turned to see what was the occasion for the silence. Just then she burst forth in prayer. Her voice was melodious and triumphant, and the remainder of her prayer greatly moved the people present. Many things relating to the work of the ministers were laid out before her. Following the camp meeting, father and mother found retirement at the home of one of our brethren, where mother wrote diligently for about two weeks in recording what had been shown her during that half-minute pause in her prayer.”SMG 55.1

    Many times while performing her ordinary duties, Ellen White, like Jacob of old, was permitted to see heavenly guardians. Once in Australia she was awakened several times during the night by a light shining through the window of the train on which she was riding. Each time she looked out, she saw a company of angels and was made to understand that at every point where they appeared, a Seventh-day Adventist church would be established.SMG 55.2

    At that time our evangelists in Australia were facing unusual difficulties. This cheering promise of success gave them courage to continue the work. In time the vision became a reality, and in every place where the angels had appeared an Adventist church was established.SMG 55.3

    When I was in the second grade in the Battle Creek church school, Ella King Saunders was my teacher. She told me that at one time she actually saw the bright light of the angels attending my grandmother. This is her story:SMG 55.4

    One evening at Battle Creek College Ella and her roommate, Edith Donaldson, were sitting in the Dime Tabernacle 1Thus named because it had been built by dime offerings from the entire membership. waiting for the meeting to begin. Edith was feeling somewhat bitter. She was wondering why the Lord did not answer their prayers by healing “Aunt Ellen,” whom she loved as her own mother. Why did she have to carry on her work in weakness and pain?SMG 55.5

    Time came for the meeting to begin. The girls saw James White walking slowly down the aisle toward the pulpit, his wife leaning heavily on his arm and moving as if every step was painful. He helped her to her seat on the rostrum. After he had opened the service and spoken for a few moments, he assisted her to the pulpit. She grasped it with both hands, trying to steady herself, and began to speak in a faint, hoarse voice which could scarcely be heard even by those on the front seats.SMG 56.1

    Then it happened. Simultaneously Ella and Edith nudged each other. “An angel!” they whispered, wide-eyed. At that moment Mrs. White stepped away from the pulpit, saying in a voice which could be heard distinctly, “God has sent His angel and has strengthened me.”SMG 56.2

    Mrs. White showed no further signs of weakness. She stood erect without support, and gave a powerful discourse. After the meeting James White asked Edith, who at the time was living in his family, if she had seen the angelic light. When she told him that she had, he said, “Child, thank the Lord that He opened your eyes. He did it for a purpose.”SMG 56.3

    My mother, Mary Kelsey White, was one among several others who also saw the light. In the morning she showed Edith a copy of the newspaper, the Battle Creek Moon, and read the headlines: “Some deluded Adventists think they saw an angel.”SMG 56.4

    Before the meeting James had carried his wife in his arms to and from the carriage in which they rode. As Edith saw her now, walking about without assistance, she understood that her healing had been delayed so that many might witness the miracle of God’s power.SMG 56.5

    When my sister Mabel and I were little girls living in Battle Creek, Mrs. Martha Amadon—Aunt Martha, as we called her—occasionally visited in our home. In her early life she had been for years a neighbor and close associate of our grandmother. When she came to see us, she would bring paper dolls; and while we children dressed the dolls in their various costumes, she would tell us about visions she had witnessed.SMG 57.1

    She said that sometimes during the visions grandma would speak words or sentences or make exclamations of surprise. At times her face would show anxiety or sadness, and everyone knew she was then looking at scenes of trouble. Again, she would smile radiantly when viewing heavenly scenes of beauty. Once during a vision Aunt Martha heard her repeat in low, musical tones, “Lovely Jesus! Lovely, lovely Jesus!” And she knew that in the vision Ellen White was looking upon her Saviour.SMG 57.2

    There was never any sense of excitement or fear on these occasions, Aunt Martha told us, only a sweet, solemn feeling, as if heaven were very near. When the vision ended and the heavenly light faded from Ellen’s sight, and she took her first breath, she was sometimes bewildered and would often exclaim, “Dark! So dark!”SMG 57.3

    Once she described a vision in her own home when the Whites and Amadons were together for family worship. It concerned John Andrews, then a young man and a close friend of both families. After the vision grandma said, “I saw that John Andrews had a great work to do for the Lord.” How wonderfully that prediction was fulfilled!SMG 57.4

    I don’t remember all that Aunt Martha told us about the visions, for that was more than seventy years ago. Before her death she wrote an account of some of these experiences, closing with this paragraph: “I am now nearly ninety-two years old and am the only living member of the first organized Seventh-day Adventist church in Buck’s Bridge, New York, about a mile from Father Byington’s.”SMG 57.5

    Hundreds of people saw Ellen White in vision, and many of them published accounts of these thrilling occasions. They could say with Peter, “We have not followed cunningly devised fables,” but have been “eyewitnesses” of these things. What courage it brings us to know that God still loves His struggling church on earth and sends them messages of warning and instruction to guide them along their heavenly way!SMG 58.1

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