"Sabbath afternoon one of our number was sick, and requested prayers that he might be healed. We all united in applying to the Physician who never lost a case, and while healing power came down, and the sick was healed, the Spirit fell upon me, and I was taken off in vision.
"I saw four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and were on their way to accomplish it. Jesus was clothed with priestly garments. He gazed in pity on the remnant, then raised His hands, and with a voice of deep pity, cried: 'My blood, Father, My blood! My blood! My blood!' Then I saw an exceeding bright light come from God, who sat upon the great white throne, and was shed all about Jesus. Then I saw an angel with a commission from Jesus, swiftly flying to the four angels who had a work to do in the earth, and waving something up and down in his hand; and crying with a loud voice, 'Hold, hold! hold! hold! until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads. '." Life Sketches, pages 118-119.
This vision, referring to the incident seen by John in Revelation 7:1-4, speaks about the concern of Jesus lest the four winds of strife that shall come with all their fury just before the end of the world, be turned loose before God's faithful ones have been sealed with the seal of the living God.
But there was more to this vision: Ellen was also told that a publishing work must be started so that people everywhere could be warned to seek God—for a terrible crisis was ahead.
“After coming out of vision, I said to my husband: 'I have a message for you. You must begin to print a little paper and send it out to the people. Let it be small at first; but as the people read, they will send you means with which to print, and it will be a success from the first. From this small beginning it was shown to me to be like streams of light that went clear round the world." Life Sketches, page 125.
Not long after Ellen was called to be a special messenger of the Lord, she was told that she must not only travel and speak,—but that she must also write. And yet, her physical condition was so poor that it seemed impossible to do either.
"Early in my public labors I was bidden by the Lord, 'Write, write the things that are revealed to you.' At the time this message came to me, I could not hold my hand steady. My physical condition made it impossible for me to write. But again came the word, 'Write the things that are revealed to you.' I obeyed; and as a result it was not long before I could write page after page with comparative ease. Who told me what to write? Who steadied my right hand, and made it possible for me to use a pen, it was the Lord." Review and Herald, June 14, 1906.
In the summer of 1849, both knew that a publishing work must begin, but as James had no money with which to do it, he thought best to mow harvest fields for others as he had done the previous summer (when he had earned enough for them to travel and speak for a short time). It was his hope that in this way he would, eventually have enough saved up to begin publishing..
"He at length gave up in discouragement [the idea of publishing immediately], and decided to look for a field of grass to mow. As he left the house, a burden was rolled on me, and I fainted. Prayer was offered for me and I was blessed, and taken off in vision. I saw that the Lord had blessed and strengthened my husband to labor in the field the year before; . . but that the Lord would not now give him strength to labor in the field, for He had another work for him to do, and that if he ventured into the field, he would be cut down by sickness; but that he must write, write, write, and walk out by faith. He immediately began to write, and when he came to some difficult passage, we would unite in prayer to God for an understanding of the true meaning" of His word." Life Sketches, pages 125-126.
"Streams of light. . clear, around the world"! How could this be? There were so few to help and so much to be done. Yet at the urging of this young woman the publishing work began with that first publishing order, six months later, by her penniless husband, for a thousand copies. And, as promised, that publishing work was to grow until it encircled the globe.
—But just how does a prophet write? Let us ask a prophet:
"I am very busy with my writing. Early and late, I am writing out the matters that the Lord opens before me. The burden of my work is to prepare a people to stand in the day of the Lord." Selected Messages, Book 1, page 56. .
"Although I am as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in writing my views as I am in receiving them, yet the words I employ in describing what I have seen are my own, unless they be those spoken to me by an angel, which I always enclose in marks of quotation." Review and Herald, October 8, 1867.
"While my husband lived, he acted as a helper and counselor in the sending out of the messages that were given to me. We traveled extensively. Sometimes light would be given to me in the night season, sometimes in the daytime before large congregations. The instruction I received in vision was faithfully written out by me, as I had time and strength for the work.—Afterward we examined the matter together, my husband correcting grammatical errors and eliminating needless repetition. Then it was carefully copied for the persons addressed, or for the printer." Selected Messages, Book 1, page 50.
"Since the warning and instruction given in testimony for individual cases applied with equal force to many others who had not been specially pointed out in this manner, it seemed to be my duty to publish the personal testimonies for the benefit of the church.. Perhaps there is no more direct and forcible way of presenting what the Lord has shown me." Testimonies, Volume 5, pages 658-659.
"In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of prophets and apostles. In these days He speaks to them by the testimonies of His Spirit. There was never a time when God instructed His people more earnestly than He instructs them now concerning His will and the course that He would have them pursue." Testimonies, Volume. 5, page 661.
"Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light." Colporteur Ministry, page 125.
"Let the 'Testimonies’ be judged by their fruits. What is the spirit of their teaching? What has been the result of their influence? All who desire to do so can acquaint themselves with the fruits of these visions. .
"God is either teaching His church, reproving their wrongs and strengthening their faith, or He is not. This work is of God, or if is not. God does nothing in partnership with Satan. My work.. bears the stamp of God or the stamp of the enemy. There is no halfway work in the matter, The 'Testimonies' are of the Spirit of God, or of the spirit of the devil." Testimonies, Volume 5, page 671.
"Whether or not my life is spared, my writings will constantly speak, and their work will go forward as long as time shall last.” Selected Messages, Book 1, page 55.
"Perilous times are before us. Everyone who has a knowledge of the truth should awake and place himself, body, soul, and spirit, under the discipline of God. The enemy is on our track. We must be wide-awake, on our guard against him. We must put on the whole armor of God. We must follow the directions given through the Spirit of Prophecy. We must love and obey the truth for this time. This will save us from accepting strong delusions. God has spoken to us through His word. He has spoken to us through the testimonies to the church and through the books that have helped to make plain our present duty and the position that we should now occupy. The warnings that have been given, line upon line, precept upon precept, should be heeded. If we disregard them, what excuse can we offer?" Testimonies, Volume 8, page 298.
Ellen was told this in vision:
" 'Your work is to bear My word. Strange things will arise, and in your youth I set you apart to bear the message to the erring ones, to carry the word before unbelievers, and pen and voice to reprove from the Word actions that are not right. Exhort from the Word. .
" 'Be not afraid of man, for My shield shall protect you. It is not you that speaketh; it is the Lord that giveth the message of warning and reproof. Never deviate from the truth under any circumstances. Give the light I shall give you. The messages for these last days shall be written in books, and shall stand immortalized."—Review and Herald, June 14, 1906.
From the very moment when she first sat down to write in 1845, and God placed strength in her arm to do the task assigned, she continued writing from then on. The feeble girl, expected soon to die, wrote message after message for the next seventy years, and turned out forty-five hundred magazine articles, and scores of books. Over fifty-five of her books are in print today. And all this literary work was done by hand. One hundred thousand manuscript pages, written over a period of seventy years. All of it handwritten. It is generally recognized that Ellen White wrote more material than any other woman who has ever lived though out recorded history. But there is a reason. And we have just learned it. She simply did what she was told to do: 'Write out the messages given to her.'
Thousands have found the writings of Ellen White to be filled with practical help and encouragement in daily life. Here are but two samples from her writings:
"The work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. . can no more be explained than can the movements of the wind. A person may not be able to tell the exact time or place, or to trace all the circumstances in the process of conversion; but this does not prove him to be unconverted.
"By an agency as unseen as the wind, Christ is constantly working upon the heart. Little by little, perhaps unconsciously to the receiver, impressions are made that tend to draw the soul to Christ. These may be received through meditating upon Him, through reading the Scriptures, or through hearing the word from the living preacher. Suddenly, as the Spirit comes with more direct appeal, the soul gladly surrenders itself to Jesus. By many this is called sudden conversion; but it is the result of a long wooing by the Spirit of God,—a patient, protracted process.
"While the wind is itself invisible, it produces effects that are seen and felt. So the work of the Spirit upon the soul will reveal itself in every act of him who has felt its saving power. When the Spirit of God takes possession of the heart, it transforms the life. Sinful thoughts are put away, evil deeds are renounced; love, humility, and peace take the place of anger, envy, and strife. Joy takes the place of sadness, and the countenance reflects the light of heaven. No one sees the hand that lifts the burden, or beholds the light descend from the courts above. The blessing comes when by faith the soul surrenders itself to God. Then that power which no human eye can see creates a new being in the image of God." Desire of Ages, pages 172.173.
"Faith is trusting God, believing that He loves us, and knows best what is for our good. Thus, instead of our own, it leads us to choose His way. In place of our ignorance, it accepts His wisdom; in place of our weakness, His strength; in place of our sinfulness, His righteousness. Our lives, ourselves, are already His; faith acknowledges His ownership and accepts its blessing. Truth, uprightness, purity, have been pointed out as secrets of life's success. It is faith that puts us in possession of these principles.’
"Every good impulse or aspiration is the gift of God; faith receives from God the life that alone can produce true growth and efficiency.
"How to exercise faith should be made very plain [to your children]. To every promise of God there are conditions. If we are willing to do His will, all His strength is ours. Whatever gift He promises, is in the promise itself. 'The seed is the Word of God.' Luke 8:11. As surely as the oak is in the acorn, so surely is the gift of God in His promise. If we receive the promise, we have the gift.
"Faith that enables us to receive God's gifts is itself a gift, of which some measure is imparted to every human being. It grows as exercised in appropriating the Word of God. In order to strengthen faith, we must often bring it in contact with the Word.
In the study of the Bible the student should be led to see the power of God's Word. In the creation, 'He spake, and it was; He commanded, and it stood fast.' 'He calleth those things which be not as though they were;' for when He calls them, they are. Psalm 33:9; Romans 4:17." Education, pages 253-254.