A number of years ago the Minister of Education of a certain southern European country came to America to do post-graduate work at Columbia University in New York. Although he already had several doctorates, he wanted to obtain still further information,—the very best of information to take back home to the people of his country.
Arriving home, he published a full-length book in his own language. It was to be the standard of public education for the people of his nation. And, indeed, it was widely agreed to be a masterpiece, in its thoroughness and practicality.
The book was a word-for-word translation of Ellen White’s book, "Education." The only changes were to be found in the final chapter and in the authors name: he listed himself as the author.
The present writer recalls an incident that took place about thirty years ago in another European country; A high-level church official took the beautiful book, "Steps to Christ" by Ellen G. White, and reprinted it in his own language—under his own name. The people loved it. And they had reason to. It provided a clear description of how to come to Christ.
George Wharton James, writer, lecturer and contemporary of Ellen White, in his authoritative volume on California, "California-Romantic and Beautiful," said this about Ellen, who at that time was a resident of that State:
"This remarkable woman, also, though almost entirely self-educated, has written and published more books and in more languages, which circulate to a greater extent than the written works of any woman in history." George Wharton James, "California—Romantic and Beautiful," pages 319-320.
And, we might add, she turned out far more written material than most men in history, also. But there was a reason, an impelling reason. Men and women all around her needed to be helped. And God gave her guidance in preparing letters, articles, and books that would meet that need.
It is significant that over 78,000 Bible references and quotations are to be found in her writings. That which she wrote not only agreed with Scripture; it was filled with Scripture. And over the years, these writings were discovered by many people, who found in them that which they had been looking for.
Here, briefly, are some of the things that others have said about the life, personality and ministry of Ellen G. White:
"As a speaker, Mrs. White is one of the most successful of the few ladies who have become noteworthy as lecturers, in this country, during the last twenty years. Constant use has so strengthened her vocal organs as to give her voice rare depth and power. Her clearness and strength of articulation are so great that, when speaking in the open air, she has frequently, been distinctly heard at the distance of a mile. Her language, though simple, is always forcible and elegant. When inspired with her subject, she is often marvelously eloquent, holding the largest audiences spellbound far hours with out a sign of impatience or weariness." American Biographical Dictionary, under topic “White, Ellen G."
"Mrs. White was probably one of the best-known \/Women in the world. She had traveled extensively, had lectured to large audiences in many countries, and her writings had been published in various languages carrying to people of nearly all tongues [not quite: translations were made into over forty languages] the message she felt called upon by God to deliver.
"The life of Mrs. White is an example worthy of emulation by all. Though of limited education, for the greater part of her long life in poor health, she never faltered, but far seventy-two years carried and preached the message of Jesus Christ, as understood by her, to the furthermost corners of the earth. She was a humble, devout disciple of Christ and ever went about doing good. Her writings have been published in books, papers and periodicals and from her prolific pen has came writings on many religious topics. She was. . honored and respected by all who appreciate, noble womanhood consecrated to unselfish labor far the uplifting and betterment of mankind. Her. . almost ninety years were full to overflowing with kind deeds, kind wards and earnest prayers far all mankind. This good Samaritan will surely be greatly missed. Her reward will be commensurate with the great goad she has done." St. Helena, California, "Star," July 23, 1915.
"Her Christian life was marked by deep personal piety; she had great faith in prayer, and was zealous in her spiritual devotions. Her charities were liberal beyond her means; she was ever impoverishing herself by her gifts to the cause she loved and by her care far the poor and needy.'
"She believed in the divine inspiration of the Bible. Of this Word she was a constant student all her life; to her it was the voice of God. . She exalted Christ as the sinner's only hope. She loved the Savior, and did what she could to bring others to a knowledge of Him." I. H. Evans, quoted in "Review and Herald," July 29,1915.
At the time of her death, two large American newspapers commented as follows:
"Here is a noble record, and she deserves great honor . . She showed no spirited pride and she sought no 'filthy lucre.' She lived the life and did the work of a worthy prophetess." Editorial, "The New York Independent," August 23, 1915.
"Mrs. White was a remarkable woman in many ways. She was deeply religious, and none who knew her intimately had any doubt, as to her sincerity." Editorial, Detroit "News-Tribune," July 25,1915.
D. M. Canright said the following about Ellen G. White, ten years before he suddenly turned against her and wrote articles attacking her as a vicious person:
"As to the Christian character of Sister White, I beg leave to say that I think I know something about it. I’ve been acquainted with sister White for eighteen years, more than half the history of our people. I have been in their family time and again, sometimes weeks at a time. They have been in our house and family many times. I have traveled with them almost everywhere; have been with them in private and in public meeting and out of meeting, and have had the very best chances to know something of the life, character, and spirit of Brother and Sister White.
"I know Sister White to be an unassuming, modest, kindhearted, noble woman. These traits in her character are not simply put on and cultivated, but they spring gracefully and easily from her natural disposition. She is not self-conceited, self-righteous, and self-important, as fanatics always are. I have frequently came in contact with fanatical persons, and have always found them to be full of pretensions, full of pride, ready to give their opinion, boastful of their holiness, etc. But I have ever found Sister White the reverse of all this. Anyone, the poorest and the humblest, can go to her freely for advice and comfort without being repulsed. She is ever looking after the needy, the destitute, and the suffering, providing for them, and pleading their cause. I have never formed an acquaintance with any persons who so constantly have the fear of God before them. Nothing is undertaken without earnest prayer to God. She studies God's Word carefully and constantly.
"I have heard Sister White speak hundreds of times, have read all her testimonies through and through, most of them many times, and I have never been able to find one immoral sentence in the whole of them, or anything that is not strictly pure and Christian; nothing that leads away from the Bible, or from Christ; but there I find the most earnest appeals to obey God, to love Jesus, to believe the Scriptures, and to search them constantly. I have received great spiritual benefit times without number, from the testimonies. Indeed, I never read them without feeling reproved for my lack of faith in God, lack of devotion, and lack of earnestness in saving souls. If I have any judgment, any spiritual discernment, I pronounce the, testimonies to be of the same Spirit and of the same tenor as the Scriptures.
" . . One thing I have remarked, and that is, that the most bitter opponents of the visions of Sister White admit that she is a Christian. How they can now make this admission is more than I know. They try to fix it up by saying that she is deceived. They are not able to put their finger upon a single stain in all her life, nor an immoral sentence in all her writings. They have to admit that much of her writings are excellent, and whoever would live out all she says would be a good Christian, sure of Heaven. This is passing strange if she is a tool of the devil, inspired by Satan, or if her writings are immoral or the vagaries of her own mind."—Written by the man who later turned on Ellen White as her most fervent enemy: Dudley Marvin Canright, Review and Herald, April 26, 1877. The following statement tells of Canright at her funeral in 1915, twenty-eight years after he first declared her to be of the devil:
"Even the bitterest critic—one who had left the movement and turned to write many attacks upon the work of his former associates, and especially upon the Spirit of prophecy in the church—paid tribute to a noble Christian life. He came to Mrs. White's funeral. His brother. . told us of D. M. Canright's emotion as they walked together past the casket, with others of the.. congregation, at the close of the funeral service. They came back to their pew, and stood while the great congregation was still filing past. 'Then. . my brother [D. M. Canright] suggested that we go down again, to take one more look. We joined the passing throng, and again stood by the bier. My brother rested his hand upon the side of the casket, and with tears rolling down his cheeks, he said brokenly, ‘There is a noble Christian woman gone!"' W. A. Spicer, quoted in Spirit of Prophecy Treasure Chest, page 186.
Ellen White wrote in many fields. One of these was education. Her book, "Education," was her best-known volume dealing with this subject. Schools and colleges have been founded upon the principles contained within those books.
In 1959, a leading educator and faculty member of the Department of Education at Teachers' College. Columbia University, in New York City, happened upon 'the book, "Education," by Ellen White. Dr. Florence Stratemeyer, an authority in her field, had this to say about that book:
"Recently the book 'Education' by Ellen G. White has been brought to my attention. Written at the turn of the century, this volume was more than fifty years ahead of its times. And I was surprised to learn that it was written by a woman with but three years of schooling.
"The breadth and depth of its philosophy amazed me. Its concept of balanced education, harmonious development, and of thinking and acting on principle are advanced educational concepts..
"The objective of restoring in man the image of God, the teaching of parental responsibility, and the emphasis on self control in the child are ideals the world desperately needs.
"Mr. White did not necessarily use current terms. In fact, she did not use the word curriculum in her writings. But the book "Education" in certain parts treats of important curriculum principles. She was concerned with the whole learner—the harmonious development of mental, physical, and spiritual powers.
"Today many are stressing the development of the intellect. But feelings and emotional development are equally important. In our changing society, the ability to act on thought and in terms of principle is central. It is this harmonious development that is so greatly needed, yet so, generally neglected today." Dr. Florence Stratemeyer, Professor of Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City, quoted in "Review and Herald," August 6, 1959.
Thomas M. Elliott, editor of the prestigious "Atlanta Constitution," wrote a key editorial in his paper on October 9, 1950, endorsing two books written by Ellen White:
"Among the many hundreds of books I have studied on the subject of religion that inspire heart warmth and enriched faith, none have been of greater help than Ellen G. White's two books 'Patriarchs and Prophets' and 'Prophets and Kings.'
"Those books were written, not for literary fame or financial reward, but to help heart-hungry humanity learn of God. They make God's dealings with man clear to the most simple-minded reader without bias or sectarianism, I commend these books to all seekers after a clearer knowledge of the righteousness of God." Thomas M. Elliott, editorial in "The Atlanta Constitution," October 9, 1950.
The above two books, "Patriarchs and Prophets" and "Prophets and Kings" provide a detailed description of the Old Testament story. They have encouraged many folk. The present writer recalls the story of an older man, who when asked the name of his favorite book by Ellen White, said, "I value them all, but—" and then his voice faltered, "it is 'Patriarchs and Prophets' that I appreciate the most—for that is the book that brought me back to God."
"Another volume, cherished by many, is "Desire of Ages," a graphic description of the life of Christ as portrayed in the Four Gospels of the New Testament.
Several years ago, one who had come to love that book was attending, summer school at a state university in Massachusetts, when the following incident occurred:
“One day our teacher, who had just returned from an extended study of literature in Europe, asked each member of the class to come next day with three quotations from a favorite author The name was not to be given, and the class was to be asked to name the author by the selection read.
"I was the first one called on, and although there were forty-eight in the class, no one else was called upon. The entire time was taken up in discussing the three quotations, I presented passages from 'The Desire of Ages,' No one could name the author. Then to my happy surprise, the teacher said:
”Well, class, that is from the pen of Mrs. E. G. White.” She spoke at length, saying she knew nothing of the author's religion, but she felt able to declare herself as to literature; and she said it was a pity Mrs. White's writings were not better known in the literary world. She said she was going to make a strong statement, but she meant every word. Of all the writings she knew, outside of the Bible, there were none so full of beauty, so pure, and yet so simple, as the writings of Mrs. E.G. White." Quoted in The Gift of Prophecy, by DA Delafield, page 34.
The curator of the religious book section of the Library of Congress in Washington D.C., the largest library in the world, was asked if he would name the book that, in his opinion, was the finest book on the life of Christ, in print or out of print. An expert in his field, and well-acquainted with the holdings and accessions of the Library of Congress dealing with biographical works on the life of Christ, he replied without hesitation, "The book, 'Desire of Ages,' by Ellen G. White is the most beautifully written book on the life of Christ in the Library of Congress."
And yet this was the writer who, when asked about the authorship of her books, humbly said:
"I walk with trembling before God. I know not how to speak or trace with pen the large subjects of the atoning sacrifice. I know not how to present subjects in the living power in which they stand before me. I tremble for fear lest I shall belittle the great plan of salvation by cheap words. I bow my soul in awe and reverence before God and say, 'Who is sufficient for these things?' " Letter 40, 1892.
And this was the author who said:
"Sister White is not the originator of these books. They contain the instruction that during her lifework God has been giving her. They contain the precious, comforting light that God has graciously given His servant to be given to the world. From their pages this light is to shine into the hearts of men and women leading them to the Saviour." Colporteur Evangelist, page 36.