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Ellen G. White: The Progressive Years: 1862-1876 (vol. 2)

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    James White Proposes Broad Plans for the Cause

    The several months spent in Colorado had given James White an opportunity to stand back and survey the cause as a whole. As he did so he wrote several articles for the Review, proposing daring and broad steps in advance. In late August, as Ellen White had completed copy for Testimony No. 23, which carried an extended article entitled “The Laodicean Church,” James White appended a forty-seven-page statement he titled An Earnest Appeal, addressed to a broad group, “The General Conference Committee, the ‘Picked Men’ at Battle Creek, the Committees of the State Conferences, and the Officers of the Several Branches of Our Tract and Missionary Society.” This separately paged statement opens:2BIO 389.2

    We take up our pen to address you with assurance that the Lord has been leading out our mind to consider the present condition of our people, and the wants of the cause, such as we never felt before. In our Rocky Mountain retreat, we have taken time to review the whole ground of our position. We have surveyed the entire field of labor, and have considered our own condition before God, and that of our people....2BIO 389.3

    At our early season of prayer this morning, August 20, as we retired from the family by ourselves, to especially seek the Lord, as has been our custom since we have been in the mountains, Mrs. White's feelings were with ours in the strongest assurance that the hand of the Lord had separated us from His people for a while, to improve our health, and to gather spiritual strength, and clear light as to the condition and wants of the cause.—An Earnest Appeal, p. 1.2BIO 390.1

    He mentioned first the publishing work and the need of literature in the principal languages of Northern Europe, spoken and read by many who had come to American shores. Then he laid out, in more detail, broad publishing plans:2BIO 390.2

    We have recently been looking over the broad field relative to our publishing interests. We think the time has come to stereotype our standard books, pamphlets, and tracts, and at the same time take two sets of plates, one for a branch office on the Pacific Coast, and one for the Atlantic. This would reduce the cost of our publications, and the need of capital and office room in Battle Creek.... The day is not far distant when our publications will be printed from duplicate plates, both on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. This will greatly reduce our typesetting, and our heavy freights on publications from the interior to the east and to the west.2BIO 390.3

    God is willing to do great things for His cause on the Pacific Coast.... The General Conference Committee is disposed to extend the work up the coast, to Oregon and Washington Territory. The friends of the cause on the Pacific Coast should have the cash ready to liberally help establish a branch office and health institute on their coast in 1874.2BIO 390.4

    We would here state that those who may regard these suggestions as extravagant should understand that little has ever been accomplished in our cause without laying plans, and without persevering efforts to execute them.—Ibid., 18, 19.2BIO 390.5

    He called for the responsible men in Battle Creek to move ahead quickly with the development of the school there, and for enlarging the Health Institute to accommodate three hundred guests. He pointed out that there was a need for two new power presses in the Review Office and more capital with which to operate. Then he made a bold proposal:2BIO 390.6

    The General Conference should expend, before the close of 1874, the sum of $20,000 in the preparation, translation, and publication of works in the German, French, Danish, and Swedish languages. And the General Conference must extend its missions to Europe, to the Pacific, and, in fact, in all directions, as far as the calls can be supplied.— Ibid., 29.2BIO 391.1

    Testimony No. 23, to which this appeal was attached, was in the field by mid-September and was penetrating the thinking of Adventists. S. N. Haskell was the first to respond, in the Review and Herald of October 21. Butler followed. In the meantime letters had been passing back and forth between Butler and White regarding the early calling of the General Conference to implement some of these plans. From his Mount Pleasant home in Iowa, Butler wrote on October 24 an article for the Review he titled “Testimony No. 23, and Bro. White's Address,” in which he declared:2BIO 391.2

    I shall not feel satisfied unless I say a few words in regard to it. Being one of those who firmly believe these testimonies to be from God, I feel a great interest that they should be read by our people, and carefully considered.2BIO 391.3

    If it is granted that God is giving us light from heaven in regard to the duties and dangers of the present hour, the importance of our considering it well cannot be overestimated.... This last warning from the Lord sets before us our peculiar dangers in the plainest light. These dangers I know exist among us. We are in the lukewarm state, brought to view in the Laodicean church of Revelation 3. While we should be the most zealous church existing on the earth, or that has existed for eighteen centuries, we are mostly asleep.—The Review and Herald, November 4, 1873.2BIO 391.4

    Closing his remarks on the Testimony articles, he stated, “This testimony to the church is just the thing we need at this hour. Shall we heed it?” Then he turned to the address of James White bound into the same pamphlet. Concerning its message, he wrote:2BIO 391.5

    We are in the fullest sympathy. We are not ignorant of the fact that he has laid out before us an immense amount of work. Neither do we believe mere human agencies can ever accomplish it alone.... We believe God has a special work for these last days, and that work must go to “peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.” It is worldwide.—Ibid.2BIO 391.6

    Pointing out the importance of working with “some definite object in view,” he committed himself, issuing a rallying cry of “Courage in the Lord.” Butler then hastened to Battle Creek to meet with the two other members of the General Conference Committee to consider the steps to be taken.2BIO 392.1

    On October 23 James White sent from Black Hawk a telegram urging that the General Conference session be scheduled for November 14 to 18 (Manuscript 12, 1873). The committee adopted those dates for the session. The Review of November 4 carried the notice, and on the editorial page Butler explained the hasty arrangements.2BIO 392.2

    There has been considerable said in the Review in regard to Brother J. N. Andrews’ going to Switzerland this season to look after the wants of the cause there, to attend to the extension of missionary operations in Europe, and to qualify himself by an understanding of the French and German tongues to aid in the preparation of works in those languages.—Ibid., November 4, 18732BIO 392.3

    The matter of our denominational school must be considered immediately.—Ibid.2BIO 392.4

    The interests of our Tract and Missionary Societies should also be considered.... Do we need a paper to be connected with this enterprise?—Ibid.2BIO 392.5

    We especially need to consider those questions to which Brother White has called the attention of our people relative to placing the cause upon a broader basis by enlarging our institutions, establishing branches of them on the Pacific Coast, and looking after these interests generally.—Ibid.2BIO 392.6

    For the Whites in Colorado, there were several days of anguish trying to decide whether to attend the session or go directly to California, taking Lucinda Hall and the two Walling children with them. They decided for California. Walling had urged them to care for the girls. The mother of the children had “pursued her course of fretting and scolding her husband,” wrote Ellen White, until she had “weaned his affections from her.” Walling insisted that they take the children to California with them, and the mother reluctantly consented (Manuscript 13, 1873).2BIO 392.7

    This decision having been made, that evening, Thursday, November 6, they took the train in Denver for Cheyenne, Wyoming, presumably to catch the overland train the next day for San Francisco. But that night, feeling impressed that they should follow another course, James went to the front of the coach to meditate and pray. Of the experience he wrote:2BIO 393.1

    We felt a power turning our mind around, against our determined purpose, toward the General Conference to be holden in a few days in Battle Creek.2BIO 393.2

    In our mind we debated the probabilities of another shock of paralysis which would doubtless prove fatal, and decided that we would not count our life too dear to risk all in doing the will of God. And with this consecration, we became very happy before our train reached Cheyenne.2BIO 393.3

    It was then midnight, and after a few hours’ sleep at the depot hotel, we laid the matter before Mrs. White, who for the first time seemed willing to risk another journey to the scene of our toils, trials, sicknesses, and sufferings. And in a few hours we were repacked, Sister Hall on her way to San Francisco to make ready for us at Santa Rosa in about ten days, as we supposed, and we ticketed and checked for Chicago. At Battle Creek we were greeted heartily, not only by our denominational friends, but by businessmen and leading citizens.—Ibid., December 30, 18732BIO 393.4

    When the twelfth annual session of the General Conference opened on Friday morning, November 14, at nine o'clock, James and Ellen White were there.2BIO 393.5

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