Opposition to our
faith increased in Portland. One evening as we were engaged in prayer,
the window was broken in just above my head, and the glass came down
upon me. I continued praying.
One man in his blind rage was cursing and swearing
while we continued to plead with God, that when his indignation should
come upon the shelterless head of the poor sinner, we might be hid in
the secret of his pavilion. The man's voice hushed, and he was seen
hastening from the place. He could not endure the sound of prayer, or
the thought of the judgment.
About this time Bro. Nichols visited us. One
afternoon we had a season of prayer. While bowed before the Lord, two of
our most wicked, profane neighbors, entered the door, and broke in upon
our worship, saying, "Up! And off your knees! for in fifteen minutes the
work-house-cart will be after you." We did not heed the interruption,
but continued in prayer.
In a few moments they entered again, repeating
nearly the same words. A number of times we were thus broken in upon by
these poor, wicked men. The same afternoon an officer was sent to visit
us, while some of our neighbors raised their windows to hear the result.
Father was away to his work, and mother stepped to the door.
He told her that complaints had reached him that
we disturbed the peace of the neighborhood by noisy praying, and
sometimes praying in the night, and he was requested to attend to the
matter. Mother answered that we prayed morning and night, and sometimes
at noon, and should continue to do so; that Daniel prayed to his God
three times a day, notwithstanding the king's decree.
He said that he had no objection to prayer, and if
there was more of it in the neighborhood, it would make them better.
"But," said he, "they complain of your praying in the night."
He was told that if any of the family were sick,
or were in distress of mind in the night, it was our custom to call upon
God for help, and we found relief. He was referred to our near neighbor
who used strong drink. His voice was often heard cursing and blaspheming
God. Why did not the neighbors send you to him, to still the disturbance
he causes in the neighborhood? He serves his master, we serve the Lord
our God. His curses and blasphemy seem not to disturb the neighbors
while the voice of prayer greatly troubles them.
"Well," said the officer, "what shall I tell them
that you will do?" My mother replied, "Serve God, let the consequences
be what they may." The officer left, and we had no further trouble from
In a few days while our family were quietly
engaged at evening prayer, some young men, imitating the example of
their parents, commenced making a noise around the house. At length they
ran for an officer. He came, and the boys told him to listen.
Said he, "Is this what you have called me out for?
That family is doing what every family ought to do. They are making no
disturbance; and if you call me for this purpose again, I will put you
in the lock-up, for disturbing a peaceable family while attending to
their religious duties." After this we were not molested.
The neighbors' fears were often aroused by
frequent thunder and lightning that summer. A number had been killed
instantly. And if there was an appearance of a thunderstorm, some
parents sent their children to our house inviting one of the family to
visit them, and stay until the storm was over. The children innocently
told the whole story: "for ma says the lightning will not strike a house
where the advent people are."
One night there was a fearful storm. The heavens
presented a continual sheet of lightning. A few rushed from their beds
into the street, calling upon God for mercy, saying, "The judgment day
My brother Robert was then living, and was very
happy. He went out of the house and walked to the head of the street,
praising the Lord. He said he never prized the hope of the Christian as
he did that night, as he saw the terror and insecure position of those
who had no hope in Christ.
In 1846, on a visit to New Bedford, Mass., I
became acquainted with Bro. Joseph Bates. He was keeping the Sabbath,
and urged its importance. I did not feel its importance, and thought
that Bro. B. erred in dwelling upon the fourth commandment more than the
other nine. But the Lord gave me a vision.
I was conducted to the second vail. It was lifted,
and I beheld the ark, and on it the mercy-seat. Jesus raised the cover
of the ark, and I beheld the tables of stone on which the ten
commandments were written. I was amazed as I saw the fourth commandment.
A halo of glory was all around it; for it was the only one of the ten
which points out to man who the living God is, the maker of heaven and
August 30th, 1846 I was married to Elder James
White. In a few months we attended a conference in Topsham, Me. Bro. J.
Bates was present. He did not then fully believe that my visions were of
God. It was a meeting of much interest. But I was suddenly taken ill and
The brethren prayed for me, and I was restored to
consciousness. The Spirit of God rested upon us in Bro. C.'s humble
dwelling, and I was wrapt in a vision of God's glory, and for the first
time had a view of other planets. After I came out of vision I related
what I had seen. Bro. Bates asked if I had studied astronomy. I told him
I had no recollection of ever looking into an astronomy. Said he, "This
is of the Lord." I never saw Bro. Bates so free and happy before. His
countenance shone with the light of Heaven, and he exhorted the church
On that journey I was shown that I should be much
afflicted, and that we should have a trial of our faith on our return to
Gorham, where my parents had moved. On our return I was taken very sick,
and suffered extremely. My parents, husband and sister, united in prayer
for me; but still I suffered on for three weeks. Our neighbors thought I
could not live. I often fainted like one dead; but in answer to prayer,
My agony was such that I plead with those around
me not to pray for me, for I thought their prayers were protracting my
sufferings. Bro. and Sr. Nichols heard of my afflictions, and their son
Henry visited us, bringing things for my comfort. My sufferings
increased until every breath came with a groan. The neighbors gave me up
to die. Many prayers had been offered to God in my behalf, yet it
pleased the Lord to try our faith.
After others had prayed, Bro. Henry commenced
praying, and seemed much burdened, and with the power of God resting
upon him, rose from his knees, came across the room, and laid his hands
upon my head, saying, "Sister Ellen, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole,"
and fell back prostrated by the power of God.
I believed that the work was of God, and the pain
left me. My heart was filled with gratitude and peace. The language of
my heart was, There is no help for us but in God; we cannot be in peace
only as we rest in him and wait for his salvation. The next day there
was a severe storm, and none of the neighbors came to our house. I was
able to be up in the sitting room. And as some saw the windows of my
room raised they supposed I was not living. They knew not that the great
Physician had graciously entered the dwelling, and had rebuked disease
and set me free.
The next day we rode thirty-eight miles to
Topsham. Inquiries were made of my father, at what time the funeral
would be. Father asked, "What funeral?" "Why the funeral of your
daughter." Father replied that she was healed by the prayer of faith,
and was on her way to Topsham.
Soon we took passage in the steamboat at Portland
for Boston. The boat rolled fearfully, and the waves dashed into the
cabin windows. The large chandelier fell to the floor with a crash. The
table was prepared for breakfast, but the dishes were thrown upon the
floor. There was great fear in the ladies' cabin. Some were confessing
their sins, and crying to God for mercy. Some were calling upon the
Virgin Mary to keep them. Others were making solemn vows to God that if
they reached land they would devote their lives to God.
It was a scene of terror and confusion. One lady
in the berth above me, as the boat rocked, fell out of her berth to the
floor, crying out at the top of her voice. Another turned to me and
asked, "Are you not terrified? I suppose it is a fact that we may never
I told her I had made Christ my refuge, and if my
work was done, I might as well lie in the bottom of the ocean as in any
other place; but if my work was not done, all the waters of the ocean
could not drown me. My trust was in God, that he would bring us safe to
land if it was for his glory. At this time I prized the Christian's
This scene brought vividly to my mind the day of
the Lord's fierce anger, when the storm of his wrath will come upon the
poor sinner. Then there will be bitter cries and tears, and confession
of sin, and pleading for mercy; but all too late. "Because I have called
and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but
ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none of my reproof; I
also will laugh at your calamity, I will mock when your fear cometh.
Through the mercy of God we were all landed safe.
But some of the passengers who manifested so much fear in the storm,
made no reference to it, only to make light of their fears. The one who
had so solemnly promised that if she was preserved to see land she would
be a Christian, as she left the boat mockingly cried out, "Glory to God,
I am glad to step on land again."
I asked her to go back a few hours, and remember
her vows to God. She turned from me with a sneer. I was forcibly
reminded of death-bed repentance. Some who serve themselves and Satan
all their life, as sickness subdues them, and a fearful uncertainty is
before them, manifest some sorrow for sin, and perhaps say they are
willing to die, and their friends make themselves believe they were
converted and fitted for heaven. But if they should recover, would they
not be as rebellious as ever?
I am reminded of Prov. i, 27, 28. "When your fear
cometh as desolation and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when
distress and anguish cometh upon you, then shall they call upon me, but
I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find
August 26th, 1847, our eldest son, Henry Nichols
White, was born. In October Bro. and Sr. Howland kindly offered us a
part of their dwelling, which we gladly accepted, and commenced
housekeeping with borrowed articles. We were poor and saw close times.
My husband worked at handling stone on the Railroad, which wore the
skin on his fingers through, and the blood started in many places. We
had resolved not to be dependent, but support ourselves, and have
wherewith to help others. But we were not prospered. My husband worked
very hard, but could not get what was due him for his labor.
Bro. and Sr. H. freely divided with us whenever
they could; but they were in close circumstances. They fully believed
the first and second messages, and they generously imparted of their
substance to forward the work, until they were dependent on their daily
labor. My husband changed his labor, and with his axe went into the
woods to chop. He worked from early morning till dark, with a continual
pain in his side, to earn about fifty cents a day. He was prevented from
sleeping nights by severe pain. We endeavored to keep up good courage
and trust in the Lord.
I did not murmur. In the morning I felt grateful
to God that he had preserved me through another night, and at night I
was thankful that he had kept me through another day. Our provisions
were gone, and husband went to his employer to get money or provisions.
It was a stormy day. He walked three miles and back, passed through the
village of Brunswick where he had often lectured, with a bag of
provisions on his back, tied in different apartments. As he entered the
house very weary, my heart sunk within me. My first feelings were that
God had forsaken us.
I said to my husband, Have we come to this? Has
the Lord left us? I could not restrain my tears, and wept aloud for
hours, until I fainted. Prayer was offered in my behalf. When I breathed
again, I felt the cheering influence of the Spirit of God. I regretted
that I had sunk under discouragement. We desire to follow Christ and be
like him; but we shun trials and remain at a distance from him.
Suffering and trials bring us nigh to Jesus. The furnace consumes the
dross and brightens the gold.
At this time I was shown that the Lord had been
trying us for our good, and to prepare us to labor for others; that he
had been stirring up our nest, lest we should settle down in ease; that
our work was to labor for souls, and if we had been prospered, home
would be so pleasant that we should be unwilling to leave it to travel,
that we had been suffering trial to prepare us for still greater
conflicts that we should endure in our travels.
We soon received letters from brethren in
different States, inviting us to come and visit them. We had not means
to take us out of the State. Our reply was that the way was not open
before us; I thought that it would be impossible for me to travel with
my child. We did not wish to be dependent, and were careful to live
within our means. We were resolved to suffer rather than get into debt.
I allowed myself and child one pint of milk each
day. In the morning before my husband went to his work, he left me nine
cents to buy milk for three mornings. It was quite a study with me
whether to deny myself and child of milk, or get an apron for him. I
gave up the milk, and purchased the cloth for an apron to cover the bare
arms of my child. But little Henry was soon taken very sick, and grew
worse so fast that we were much alarmed. He lay in a stupid state. His
breathing was quick and heavy. We gave remedies with no success.
We called in one of experience, who said he was a
very sick child, and thought his recovery doubtful. We had prayed for
him, but there was no change. We had made the child an excuse for not
traveling and laboring for the good of others, and we feared the Lord
was about to remove him.
Once more we went before the Lord, praying that he
would have compassion upon us, and if the child was to be taken from us
in wrath, because we had not been willing to travel, to spare the life
of the child, and we would go forth trusting in him wherever he might
send us. Our petitions were fervent and agonizing. By faith we claimed
the promises of God. We believed the child would recover. From that hour
he began to amend.
Light from heaven was breaking through the clouds,
and shining upon us again. Hope revived. Our prayers were graciously
answered. Sister Frances Howland offered to take care of the child,
while we should lie down for an hour's rest. It was daylight when we
awoke. The child had slept sweetly through the night, and was fast