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    Chapter 8—The Ministry of Suffering

    It is well known that some of the world’s masterpieces of literature, of poetry, and of gospel hymns have been forged on the anvil of pain. It was thus with much of her writings on the life and ministry of Jesus. Soon after Mrs. White reached Australia, she began to suffer with rheumatism and for eleven months was in constant pain. Of this experience she wrote:HEWBW 24.2

    “I have been passing through great trial in pain and suffering and helplessness, but through it all I have obtained a precious experience more valuable to me than gold.”—Letter 7, 1892.

    After speaking of her feeling of great disappointment because she was unable to visit among the churches, she said further:HEWBW 24.3

    “This unreconciliation was at the beginning of my sufferings and helplessness, but it was not long until I felt that my affliction was a part of God’s plan. I found that by partly lying and partly sitting I could place myself in position to use my crippled hands, and although suffering much pain I could do considerable writing. Since coming to this country I have written sixteen hundred pages....

    “Many nights during the past nine months I was enabled to sleep but two hours a night, and then at times darkness would gather about me; but I prayed and realized much sweet comfort in drawing nigh to God.... I was all light in the Lord.

    Jesus was sacredly near, and I found the grace given sufficient.” Ibid.HEWBW 25.1

    A few months later she said:HEWBW 25.2

    “I have tested, and I know whereof I speak. For eleven months I could not sleep nights. I prayed to be relieved. Relief did not come but I had light in the Lord by night, and by day. I know wherein my strength lies. I thought of Christ a great deal in this time.”—Ms 17, 1893.

    Thus by affliction, Mrs. White was confined for nearly a year to her room. Here she was free from the multitude of problems that came to her when she was traveling and in public work. Here she had opportunity to think intensely regarding the views that the Lord had given her. She was enabled to write more freely than at other times. Some of the choicest passages in The Desire of Ages came from her pen when she was confined not only to her room, but much of the time to her bed. The secret of her power to produce this beautiful language is found in three passages just quoted: “Jesus was sacredly near,” “I thought of Christ a great deal,” and “I have written sixteen hundred pages.”HEWBW 25.3

    Speaking of the work of her helpers, Mrs. White in 1900 made the following interesting statement about the part taken in her work by Miss Marian Davis, who assisted her for more than twenty years:HEWBW 25.4

    “The books are not Marian’s productions, but my own, gathered from all my writings. Marian has a large field from which to draw, and her ability to arrange the matter is of great value to me. It saves my poring over a mass of matter, which I have no time to do.”—Letter 61a, 1900.

    Another of her secretaries, at a later time, wrote as follows:HEWBW 25.5

    “The editors in no wise change Sister White’s expression if it is grammatically correct, and is an evident expression of the evident thought. Sister White as human instrumentality has a pronounced style of her own, which is preserved all through her books and articles that stamps the matter with her individuality. Many times her manuscript does not need any editing, often but slight editing, and again a great deal of literary work; but article or chapter, whatever has been done upon it, is passed back into her hands by the editor.”—Fannie Bolton in a “Confession Concerning the Testimony of Jesus Christ,” addressed to “Dear Brethren in the Truth,” written about the time of the General Conference of 1901.

    In some minds the question lingers if the writings in passing through the hands of the literary assistants may not have been altered somewhat in thought, or received additions to the thoughts of the author. This question is clearly answered by the written statements from several of Mrs. White’s helpers, found in our files.HEWBW 26.1

    D. E. Robinson, for many years a literary assistant, in 1933 said:HEWBW 26.2

    “In all good conscience I can testify that never was I presumptuous enough to venture to add any ideas of my own or to do other than follow with most scrupulous care the thoughts of the author.”

    W. C. White testified in 1900 that:

    “None of Mother’s workers are authorized to add to the manuscripts by introducing thoughts of their own.”

    Miss Marian Davis in the same year wrote:

    “From my own knowledge of the work, as well as from the statements of Sister White herself, I have the strongest possible ground for disbelieving that such a thing [the adding of thoughts by the copyist] was done.”

    Miss Fannie Bolton, in 1894, testified:

    “I can say that just as far as it is consistent with grammar and rhetoric, her expressions are left intact.”

    These clear assertions are in harmony with Mrs. White’s statement penned in 1906. After speaking of the help given her by her husband and others, already quoted in this document, she said:

    “As the work grew, others assisted me in the preparation of matter for publication. After my husband’s death, faithful helpers joined me, who labored untiringly in the work of copying the testimonies, and preparing articles for publication. But the reports that are circulated, that any of my helpers are permitted to add matter or change the meaning of the messages I write out, are not true.”—The Writing and Sending Out of the Testimonies to the Church, p. 4.

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