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    Chapter 19—Seven Little Sisleys

    A large tent had been erected in Battle Creek for special meetings. One evening Elder and Mrs. White were seated on the platform with several ministers, waiting for the meeting to begin.SMG 132.1

    “James, do you see those people coming into the tent?” Ellen asked. “That mother and her seven children? I’ve seen them before in a vision. They’ve come over from England.”SMG 132.2

    One of the ministers suggested, “Why not invite them to come up front, and introduce them to the people?”SMG 132.3

    This was done. There they stood in a row, Mother Sisley, with John, William, Richard, Nellie, Josephine, Maude, and Martha.SMG 132.4

    Mrs. White stepped close to the group and said to the congregation, “This mother is a widow. She has brought these children all the way from England, where they learned about the seventh-day Sabbath, to be with us here in Battle Creek. Before Father Sisley died, he asked the mother to bring them to America, where they could receive an education among Sabbathkeepers. I hope you will give them a warm welcome and make them feel at home. The Lord has shown me that every one of these children will become a worker in His cause.”SMG 132.5

    And so it came to be. Years later, when Ernest Lloyd came to Battle Creek as a young man to attend college, he became acquainted with William Sisley. William told Ernest that his older brother John was a minister. Nellie was a nurse. Later she married Evangelist George B. Starr, and for many years they conducted city missions and trained house-to-house Bible instructors. Josephine was a teacher in an Adventist school in Australia. Maude was our first woman missionary to Africa. Richard was a self-supporting missionary in Java. William, Martha, and Martha’s husband became lifetime workers in the Review office.SMG 132.6

    So we see that Mrs. White’s prediction came true. Although she had not met the Sisley family until they came into the tent that evening, all her words came to pass.SMG 133.1

    Soon after the seven young Sisleys arrived in Battle Creek, Nellie was present while Mrs. White was in vision. Fourteen-year-old Nellie and her mother were attending an evening meeting listening to Elder White. Mrs. White followed with a short talk, as usual. She warned against the danger of indulging in the “little sins,” and of following the foolish practices of the world. Then without warning she fell backward, but “it seemed as if angel hands were beneath her as she slowly and gently fell,” Nellie said.SMG 133.2

    Naturally some supposed she had fainted, for the evening was warm and she had spoken very earnestly. One man hurried to bring a glass of water, and several sprang to open the windows. But Elder White said, “There is no cause to be anxious. My wife has not fainted; she is in vision.” In telling of this experience later, Nellie said, “A hush immediately fell over the audience. We seemed to feel a sweet, peaceful quietness, as if angels were in the room.”SMG 133.3

    My grandfather spoke again: “There may be some of you who have doubts regarding Mrs. White’s inspiration. If there are any such present, I would be glad to have you come forward and try the physical tests as given in the Bible.” He knelt at his wife’s side and lifted her head and shoulders so that they rested on his knee.SMG 133.4

    Nellie whispered, “Mother, let’s go up.” She had heard her mother express some doubts regarding the visions. As they were among the first to go forward, Nellie was able to stand near Mrs. White, where she could observe her closely. “Look, Mother,” she said, “she doesn’t seem to notice any of us. She’s looking at something far away—and—and—she isn’t breathing!SMG 134.1

    Just then two men came forward and stood one on either side of Mrs. White. One was Mr. Aldrich, manager of the Review office, and the other was a press employee. Both were strong men. Speaking to the audience, Elder White said, “You know that at one time when the prophet Daniel was taken into vision he said, ‘There remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me.’ Then Daniel tells us that one who had the appearance of a man touched him and strengthened him. Now let us see if Mrs. White’s experience in vision is similar to Daniel’s. You saw her fall in weakness as she entered into the vision. Let us see if she has been strengthened with supernatural power as Daniel was.”SMG 134.2

    At that time her hands were lightly clasped over her chest. “Now I want you two strong men to take hold of her arms and see if you can pull them apart,” Elder White directed. “One of you take hold at each side and pull as hard as you can.” They tried to release her hands, but failed.SMG 134.3

    “Try again; pull harder. You have four hands to her two. Take hold of her fingers and try to separate them one at a time.” They tried again, but gave up the attempt. “We are afraid we’ll hurt her, or interfere with the vision she’s having,” they said.SMG 134.4

    “That’s impossible,” Elder White assured them. “Nothing you can do to her will harm her or interfere in the least with whatever scenes she is viewing, for she is in God’s keeping.”SMG 135.1

    A few minutes later Mrs. White took her hands apart, and began motioning. “Now see if you can hold her hands,” James said. Her motions appeared so light and easy that it seemed as if a child could control them. Yet those two strong men could not alter her movements in the least.SMG 135.2

    James White asked someone to bring a mirror from a home near the church. “You know what happens when a person breathes on a mirror,” he said. “It becomes misty from moisture in the breath. I want all of you to be sure that what you have heard about Mrs. White not breathing while in vision is true.”SMG 135.3

    He held the mirror over her mouth for some time, but no moisture gathered on its surface. All could see that she was not breathing, yet she spoke now and then as if in conversation.SMG 135.4

    Said her husband, “She is conversing with her attending angel, the one who comes to explain to her the meaning of the scenes shown her, and to bring Heaven’s messages to God’s people on earth.”SMG 135.5

    In a whisper loud enough for Elder White to hear, Nellie asked, “How can she keep her eyes open so long without even once closing the lids?”SMG 135.6

    “That too is a sign,” he answered. “A true prophet’s eyes are open while in heavenly vision. Now let’s see if we can cause her to close the lids just once.” At his suggestion, one of the men lifted a brightly burning lamp from the pulpit stand, removed the shade, and passed it back and forth before her eyes close to her face. There was not the flicker of an eyelid.SMG 135.7

    “That light is going to hurt her eyes! It will ruin her sight!” the girl exclaimed, almost in tears. Again Elder White quieted her fears: “The light cannot injure her eyes; she is looking at a much brighter light than that.”SMG 136.1

    To the people watching he said earnestly, “You have all seen that the visions are given to God’s messenger today in the same manner in which they were given to His prophets in Bible times. Yet there is a much stronger proof that the visions are from Heaven than any of these physical signs, and that is the nature of the messages they bring. They confirm faith in the Scriptures as the inspired Word of God, and in Jesus as the divine Son of God, our only Saviour. They point the way to heaven and warn of dangers along the pathway. They give instruction on how to overcome sin and become like Jesus in character.SMG 136.2

    “And the final proof of their divine source is that they always agree in every point with the instruction recorded in the Bible, which was given through God’s prophets in past ages, and by Jesus Christ and His apostles.”SMG 136.3

    Nellie said that while Mrs. White was in vision, she continued to look upward and away in the distance. Her expression was perfectly natural, though changing often, at times joyful and again sad. Then she would shrink back, as if viewing scenes of sorrow.SMG 136.4

    When she came out of vision, her husband asked if she would be willing to tell the people about the things she had seen. She stood up and talked for about half an hour. It was late in the evening, but everyone listened eagerly.SMG 136.5

    She told them that she had seen the people of God saved in their heavenly home, and she gave a brief description of the beauty and happiness of the new earth. The part of the vision that caused her to look so distressed, she said, was the final judgment scene and the destruction of the wicked. That which had caused her the greatest anguish was seeing among the lost some of her fellow church members. They had started on the pathway to heaven, but had turned aside and lost the way. Some had been overcome by the temptation to take part in worldly pleasures; some had become discouraged by hardships; others had become more interested in gaining money and property than in securing a heavenly mansion.SMG 136.6

    After coming out of vision, Mrs. White could not see clearly at first. She explained that this was because she had gazed on scenes of such brightness that it required time for her eyes to become adjusted to the dim light of earth. She reminded them of their own experience of looking toward the sun and then turning their eyes away—of how dark everything seemed for a time.SMG 137.1

    “Oh, I wish I could describe it!” she said. “I have no language in which to tell you even a little of what has been shown me. If you could see what I saw, you would never allow anything in this world to tempt you to live in such a way as to be in danger of losing eternal life.”SMG 137.2

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