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Chapter 2 : Abrupt Changes ( 1836 - 1843 )
Chapter 2:    Abrupt Changes in Ellen's Life
( 1836 to 1843 )

 It was midafternoon and school was out. The 9-year-old twins, Ellen and Elizabeth, were on their way home, along with a classmate. As the three girls crossed the park they noticed that an older girl who also attended the Brackett Street School was following them. She shouted some angry words and was closing the gap between them. The Harmon children had been taught never to retaliate, never to engage in a fight with anyone, but rather if there was trouble to hurry home. This the girls were intent on doing. Ellen later wrote of what happened next:  {1BIO 28.1}

We were doing this, running towards home, but the girl was
     following us with a stone in her hand. I turned to see how far she
     was behind me, and as I turned, the stone hit me on my nose. I
     fell senseless. When I revived, I found myself in a merchant's
     store, the blood streaming from my nose, my garments covered
     with blood, and a large stream of blood on the floor.-- 2SG, p. 7.  {1BIO 28.2}
A customer in the store, a total stranger to the Harmon girls, offered to take Ellen home in his carriage, but the little girl, fearing that she would soil his carriage with her blood, refused the offer. Little did she realize the severity of her injury or how weak she was. With her two companions she started on foot for home, but soon grew faint. Dizziness overtook her, and then she collapsed to the ground. Her twin sister and her schoolmate carried her the block or two to her home. She later recounted:  {1BIO 28.3}

I have no recollection of anything for some time after the accident. My mother says that I noticed nothing, but lay in a stupid state [a coma] for three weeks. No one thought I would live except my mother. For some reason she felt that I would not die.-- Ibid., p. 8.  {1BIO 28.4}

The description of her symptoms would lead to the opinion that she suffered a concussion. The physician who was called offered no hope of her making a recovery, nor had he any treatment to recommend. These were times of great ignorance in the medical world. One of the neighbors, certain that Ellen could not live, asked if she might buy a burial robe for her. "Not yet" was Eunice Harmon's reply, for something told her that Ellen would live.  {1BIO 29.1}
As the little girl regained consciousness she was totally ignorant of the cause of her illness. It seemed to her she had been in a long sleep. She had no memory of the accident; all she knew was that she lay on her cot in great weakness. Then one day on hearing a visiting neighbor say, "What a pity! I should not know her," her curiosity was aroused. She asked for a mirror, only to be shocked at what the glass reflected. Of this she wrote:  {1BIO 29.2}
Every feature of my face seemed changed. The sight was more than I could bear. The bone of my nose proved to be broken. The idea of carrying my misfortune through life was insupportable. I could see no pleasure in my life. I did not wish to live, and I dared not die, for I was not prepared.--Ibid.,  p. 9.  {1BIO 29.3}
As Ellen's father was in Georgia on business, the mother carried the burden created by the accident. Friends who visited advised Ellen's mother to prosecute the father of the girl who, as they said, "ruined" her. But her mother was for peace, and she replied that if such a course could bring Ellen back to health and natural looks, there would be something gained, but as that was impossible, it was best not to make enemies (ibid., p. 8).  {1BIO 29.4}
Physicians were consulted. One thought that a silver wire might be put in her nose to hold it in shape, but doing so would have been excruciatingly painful, for anesthetics were not known in those days, and the doctor thought it would be of little use. Since she had lost so much blood it was considered doubtful that she could sustain the shock of surgery.  {1BIO 29.5}

This was followed by a crushing experience of which she wrote:
At the time of my misfortune my father was absent in Georgia. When he returned, he spoke to my brother and sisters, and inquired for me. . . . It was hard to make him believe that I was his Ellen. This cut me to the heart; yet I tried to put on an appearance of cheerfulness, when my heart ached.-- Ibid.,  p. 10.  {1BIO 29.6}

 By sad experience she soon learned the difference one's personal appearance makes in the treatment received from others, especially among children. Slowly she gained her strength, but as she was able to join in play with young friends, she found that they spurned her. She was almost crushed by this experience. She wrote:  
          My life was often miserable, for my feelings were keenly sensitive. I could not, like my twin sister, weep out my feelings.  My heart seemed so heavy, and ached as though it would break, yet I could not shed a tear. . . . Others would pity and sympathize with me, and that weight, like a stone upon my heart, would be gone.  {1BIO 30.2}
How vain and empty the pleasures of earth looked to me. How changeable the friendship of my young companions. A pretty face, dress, or good looks, are thought much of. But let misfortune take some of these away, and the friendship is broken.  {1BIO 30.3}
But I began to turn to my Saviour where I found comfort. I sought the Lord earnestly, and received consolation. I believed that Jesus did love even me.--Ibid., pp. 10, 11.  {1BIO 30.4}
Some fifty years later, on a visit to Portland, Maine, she had an opportunity to ponder in retrospect:  I visited . . . the spot where I met with the accident. . . . this misfortune, which for a time seemed so bitter and was so hard to bear, has proved to be a blessing in disguise. The cruel blow which blighted the joys of earth, was the means of turning my eyes to heaven. I might never have known Jesus, had not the sorrow that clouded my early years led me to seek comfort in Him.  {1BIO 30.6}

She added:   
   I have read of a little bird that while his cage is full of lightnever sings the songs his master would teach him. He will listen, and learn a snatch of this, a trill of that, but never a separate and entire melody.  {1BIO 30.7}   
   But the master covers his cage, and then, in the dark, he listens to the one song he is to sing. He tries and tries again to sing that song, until it is learned, and he breaks forth in perfect melody; and then the cage is uncovered, and ever after he can sing it in the light.  {1BIO 31.1}

Thus God deals with His creatures. He has a song to teach us, and when we have learned it amid the deep shadows of affliction, we can sing it ever afterward.-- RH, Nov. 25, 1884.  {1BIO 31.2}

 Schooling Cut Off

As soon as Ellen felt she was able to do so, she attempted to continue her schoolwork, but she could attend classes only intermittently. She recounted:  {1BIO 31.3}

 My health was so poor that I could attend school but little. It was almost impossible for me to study, and retain what I learned. The same girl who was the cause of my misfortune, was appointed by our teacher as a monitor to assist me in writing, and to aid me in getting my lessons. She always seemed sorry for what she had done, and I was careful not to remind her of the great injury she had done me. She was tender and patient with me, and much of her time seemed sad and thoughtful, as she saw me laboring to get an education.  {1BIO 31.4}

My hand trembled so that I made no progress in writing, and could get no further than the first examples, which are called coarse-hand. As I labored to bend my mind to my studies, the letters of my book would run together, large drops of perspiration would stand upon my brow, and I would become dizzy and faint.-- 2SG, pp. 11, 12.  {1BIO 31.5}

Advised by her teacher to drop out of school until her health had improved, she for a time gave up attempts to attend. She recalled:  {1BIO 31.6}
    It was the hardest struggle of my young life to yield to my feebleness and decide that I must leave my studies and give up the hope of gaining an education.-- IT, p. 13.  {1BIO 31.7}

Some three years later Ellen attempted to pick up her schoolwork, enrolling in a "female seminary," but she soon discovered that it was difficult to maintain her religious experience in a large seminary. Besides, she was physically unable to cope with the strain. At this point she gave up all attempts to gain a formal education (1LS, p. 148).  {1BIO 32.1}
Her mother, a wise and careful woman, did not allow Ellen to grow up in ignorance; at home she learned many of the practical lessons needed in preparation for life. And Ellen studied in the school of nature, for the spacious Deering's Oaks Park was within walking distance, over the hill, from her home. Later she reported: "I have spent many pleasant hours in the woods at that place."-- Letter 193, 1903.  {1BIO 32.2}

 Early Religious Instruction

The Harmons were members of the Chestnut Street Methodist church. There under a succession of pastors (most of them did not stay more than one or two years) Ellen and her twin sister and older members of the family received their early religious instruction. The church had pews in the gallery and on the main floor. The Harmons probably occupied main-floor pews. There were also backless benches for the less affluent worshipers, who paid a yearly fee of $1 apiece to reserve a place.  {1BIO 32.3}
Robert Harmon was a pillar in the church--an exhorter, which means that sometimes he would stand at the close of the sermon to give, in good Methodist fashion, an extemporaneous layman's response to the challenge of the sermon.  {1BIO 32.4}

History records one point of early contention  -- the use of instrumental music. The church was rocked by controversy when it installed a pipe organ--said to be the first church organ in any Methodist church in the United States. "The New York Christian Advocate came out strongly against the move, arguing that it would lead away from the simplicity of Methodism and spirituality of religion. When a Methodist bishop was asked how he liked the tone of the new organ he replied, 'Oh, it is so loud I heard it all the way to New York.'"  {1BIO 32.5}


And then there were the Methodist class meetings. These were always less formal than the Sunday services. Held in private homes, they were each attended by a dozen or so people. A Methodist paper published both in Boston and Portland gives a sketch of the class meeting:  {1BIO 33.1}
After opening the meeting in the usual way [with singing and prayer], he [the class leader] states his own experience for the week; then, requesting the members to keep their seats (as rising  often imposes stiffness and embarrassment), he enters into a familiar conversation with each one, in which he aims to develop some one or all of the following points: namely, perfection in love, how obtained, and the evidences of it; freedom from condemnation; abiding witness of the Spirit; sense of darkness; recent victories over sin; growth in grace; besetting sins; faithfulness in duty, in prayer, watchfulness, self-denial; honesty in business transactions; entire consecration to God, etc.-- Zion's Herald and the Maine Wesleyan Journal,  vol. 13, p. 158.  {1BIO 33.2}
The comment follows that "Brother Y's class meetings are always lively, spiritual, and profitable sessions."-- Ibid.   This kind of meeting, with its testimony, counsel, confession, encouragement, and praise, lent itself to free expression and religious fervor. Attendance was considered mandatory for any good Methodist. It was in this environment that Ellen faced the struggles in her religious experience in her girlhood.  {1BIO 33.3}

 Wrestling with the Problems of "Conversion"

  "I was unreconciled to my lot," she wrote, "and at times murmured against the providence of God in thus afflicting me." She comments on her unwise course:  {1BIO 33.5}

I concealed my troubled feelings from my family and friends, fearing that they could not understand me. This was a mistaken course. Had I opened my mind to my mother, she might have instructed, soothed, and encouraged me. . . .    

I locked my secret agony within my heart, and did not seek the advice of experienced Christians as I should have done. No one conversed with me on the subject of my soul's salvation, and no one prayed with me. I felt that Christians were so far removed from me, so much nobler and purer than myself, that I dared not approach them on the subject that engrossed my thoughts, and was ashamed to reveal the lost and wretched condition of my heart. -- 1LS, pp. 135, 136.  {1BIO 33.6}

 The William Miller Lectures

  In March, 1840, [ELLEN WHITE'S EARLIEST ACCOUNTS, BASED ON MEMORY, INCORRECTLY GIVE THE YEARS AS 1839 (SEE 2SG, P. 12).] a revival in Portland, Maine, brought some hope to the 12 year-old girl. William Miller lectured in the city on the second coming of Christ. The meetings were held in the Casco Street Christian church. She attended with her friends and family. Her description of the meetings is vivid:  {1BIO 34.1}

 These lectures produced a great sensation, and the Christian church, on Casco Street, that Mr. Miller occupied, was crowded day and night. No wild excitement attended these meetings, but a deep solemnity pervaded the minds of those who heard his discourses. Not only was there manifested a great interest in the city, but the country people flocked in day after day, bringing  their lunch baskets, and remaining from morning until the close of the evening meeting.  {1BIO 34.2}

Mr. Miller dwelt upon the prophecies, comparing them with Bible history, that the end of the world was near. I attended these meetings in company with my friends and listened to the strange  doctrines of the preacher. Four years previous to this, on my way to school, I had picked up a scrap of paper containing an account of a man in England who was preaching that the earth would be consumed in about thirty years from that time. . . .

Now I was listening to the most solemn and powerful sermons to the effect that Christ was coming in 1843, only a few short years in the future. The preacher traced down the prophecies with a keen exactitude that struck conviction to the hearts of his hearers. He dwelt upon the prophetic periods, and piled up proof to strengthen his position. Then his solemn and powerful appeals and edmonitions to those who were unprepared, held the crowd as if spellbound.--Ibid., pp. 136, 137.  {1BIO 34.3}

As to the reaction of the listeners and the influence of his work on the city of Portland, Ellen White observed:  {1BIO 35.1}  Terrible conviction spread through the entire city. Prayer meetings were established, and there was a general awakening among the various denominations, for they all felt more or less the influence that proceeded from the teaching of the near coming of Christ.--Ibid., p. 137.  {1BIO 35.2}
The Maine Wesleyan Journal reported "crowded congregations in [the] Casco Street church." Miller is described as "self-possessed and ready; distinct in his utterance, and frequently quaint in his expressions."-- Quoted in Nichol, The Midnight Cry, p. 77.  {1BIO 35.3}
It was reported that Miller held his listeners spellbound, speaking for one and a half or two hours. At times he carried on make-believe conversations between the objector and the inquirer, supplying in a very natural manner the questions and answers. Although he was grave, he sometimes produced a smile from his audience.  {1BIO 35.4}
The work Miller started in Portland in the thirteen days he spent there continued after his departure. Lorenzo D. Fleming, pastor of the local Christian Connection, reported to Miller soon after the meetings closed:  {1BIO 35.5}

The good work has been progressing firmly. I should think somewhere near two hundred have professed conversion in our meetings since you left and the good work is spreading all over the city and in the country all around the city. Such a time was never known here. A number of grogshops have been broken up and converted into little meetinghouses. One or two gambling  establishments have been also broken up. Little prayer meetings have been set up in almost every part of the city. . . . Many opposers begin to acknowledge that there is a work of God here.-- Quoted in Nichol, The Midnight Cry, p. 76.  {1BIO 35.6}

Another Fleming letter, the one addressed to Joshua V. Himes, the publisher of the Signs of the Times, reported:     Being down in the business part of our city on the fourth instant [April 4, 1840], I was conducted into a room over one of the banks, where I found about thirty or forty men of different denominations engaged in one accord in prayer at about eleven o'clock in the daytime! . . . There was nothing like extravagant excitement, but an almost universal solemnity on the minds of all the people. One of the principal booksellers, informed me that he had sold more Bibles in one month (since Brother Miller came here) than he had in any four months previous. -- Quoted in Nichol, The Midnight Cry, p. 78.  {1BIO 36.2}

Miller's burden of soul is reflected in a letter he wrote as he closed his work in Portland:  {1BIO 36.3}

Those souls whom I have addressed in my six months' tour are continually before me, sleeping or waking; I can see them perishing by thousands; and when I reflect on the accountability of their teachers, who say "Peace and safety," I am in pain for them. -- Quoted in Nichol, The Midnight Cry, p. 78.  {1BIO 36.4}

The memories of 12-year-old Ellen regarding the far-reaching influence of William Miller preaching in Portland are well sustained in contemporary records.  {1BIO 36.5}

 Ellen's Developing Christian Experience

    In the autobiographical accounts as found in the 1880, 1888, and 1915 editions of Life Sketches (designated in this account as 1LS, 2LS, and 3LS) Ellen White presents in detail her struggles in her developing Christian experience. Much is omitted here in order to allow a quick running account touching essential points. With her parents, she had been very faithful in attending the Methodist meetings. She and her brother Robert also attended rather faithfully the Millerite meetings on Casco Street. In the summer of 1842 she and her parents attended the Methodist camp meeting at Buxton, Maine. She went hoping that she would find an experience that would bring her peace of mind. One sermon in particular led her to an understanding of justification by faith. Of this she wrote:  {1BIO 36.6}

At length I was greatly relieved while listening to a discourse from the words: "I will go in unto the king," "and if I perish, I perish." In his remarks the speaker referred to those who were wavering between hope and fear, longing to be saved from their sins and receive the pardoning love of Christ, yet held in doubt and bondage by timidity and fear of failure. He counseled such ones to surrender themselves to God and venture upon His mercy without delay. . . . All that was required of the sinner, trembling in the presence of his Lord, was to put forth the hand of faith and touch the scepter of His grace. That touch insured pardon and peace. . . . These words comforted me and gave me views of what I must do to be saved. -- 1LS, pp. 140, 141.  {1BIO 37.7}
But the lessons in the simplicity of faith and the importance of implicit trust came to Ellen slowly. Soon after her return to Portland from the camp meeting, she was taken into the Methodist Church on probation, with baptism to follow in due time. At that period baptism as a means of full acceptance into the Methodist Church was performed either by sprinkling or immersion. Ellen chose immersion; on Sunday afternoon, June 26, 1842, she and eleven others were baptized in the rather rough waters of Casco Bay. She described the important event:  {1BIO 37.2}
 The waves ran high, and dashed upon the shore; but my peace was like a river. When I arose out of the water, my strength was nearly gone, for the power of God rested upon me. Such a rich blessing I never experienced before. I felt dead to the world, and that my sins were all washed away. The same day a sister and myself were taken into the church.-- 2SG, p. 13.  {1BIO 37.3}

William Miller's Second Visit to Portland

At about this time--in 1842--William Miller was back in Portland for a second series of meetings on the Second Advent. As before, the meetings were held in the Christian church on Casco Street. Of his reception and the manner of his work Ellen White wrote:  {1BIO 37.4}

This second course created much more excitement in the city than the first. The different denominations, with a very few exceptions, closed the doors of their churches against Mr. Miller.   Many discourses from the various pulpits sought to expose the alleged fanatical errors of the lecturer. But crowds of anxious listeners attended his meetings, while many were unable to enter the house, which was literally packed. The congregations were unusually quiet and attentive.  {1BIO 37.5}

She described his demeanor and manner of delivery:    His manner of preaching was not flowery or oratorical, but he dealt in plain and startling facts that roused his hearers from the apathy in which they had been locked. He substantiated his statements and theories by Scripture as he progressed. A convicting power attended his words that seemed to stamp them as the language of truth.  {1BIO 38.1}

He was courteous and sympathetic. When every seat in the house was full, and the platform and places about the pulpit seemed crowded, I have seen him leave the desk and walk down the aisle, and take some feeble old man or woman by the hand and find a seat for them, then return and resume his discourse.   He was indeed rightly called Father Miller, for he had a watchful care over those who came under his ministrations, was affectionate in his manner, of genial and tender heart. He was a very interesting speaker, and his exhortations, both to professed Christians and the impenitent, were appropriate and powerful. -- 1LS, pp. 148, 149.  {1BIO 38.2}
Ellen fully accepted Miller's presentations and continued to attend the Advent meetings in the church on Casco Street. At times in the development of her Christian experience, clouds seemed to hang low over her. There were periods of joy and happiness and periods of deep concern (ibid., p. 154).  {1BIO 38.3}

Two Significant Dreams

At this time she had two dreams, one of visiting the temple in heaven (1T, pp. 27, 28) and the other in which she was taken up steps to see Jesus (ibid., pp. 28, 29). In this latter dream it seemed that He received her with a smile. Putting His hand on her head He said, "Fear not." She was given a green cord, which represented faith, and she later declared, "The beauty and simplicity of trusting in God began to dawn upon my soul."-- Ibid., p. 29. Now she did what she had not done before:  {1BIO 38.4}
 I now confided all my sorrows and perplexities to my mother.  She tenderly sympathized with and encouraged me, advising me to go for counsel to Elder [Levi] Stockman, who then preached the Advent doctrine in Portland. . . . Upon hearing my story, he placed his hand affectionately upon my head, saying with tears in his eyes: "Ellen, you are only a child. Yours is a most singular experience for one of your tender age. Jesus must be preparing you for some special work." . . .     "Go free, Ellen," said he; "return to your home trusting in Jesus, for He will not withhold His love from any true seeker." -- 1LS, pp. 157-159.  {1BIO 39.1}
What courage the counsel of this man of God brought to Ellen! She later commented:  {1BIO 39.2}
During the few minutes in which I received instruction from Elder Stockman, I had obtained more knowledge on the subject of God's love and pitying tenderness than from all the sermons and exhortations to which I had ever listened.-- Ibid., p. 159.  {1BIO 39.3}
This was the turning point in Ellen's experience. Reaching home, she promised the Lord that she would do and suffer anything to have the favor of Jesus. That evening she attended a prayer meeting. As she offered her first prayer in public, the burden and agony of soul she so long endured vanished. Relating the experience, she told how "the blessing of the Lord descended upon me like the gentle dew. I praised God from the depths of my heart. Everything seemed shut out from me but Jesus and His glory, and I lost consciousness of what was passing around me."--Ibid. She wrote:  {1BIO 39.4}

For six months not a shadow clouded my mind, nor did I neglect one known duty. My whole endeavor was to do the will of God and keep Jesus and heaven continually in my mind. I was      surprised and enraptured with the clear views now presented to my mind of the atonement and the work of Jesus Christ. I will not attempt to farther explain the exercises of my mind, suffice it to say that old things had passed away, all things had become new. There was not a cloud to mar my perfect bliss. I longed to tell the story of Jesus' love, but felt no disposition to engage in common conversation with anyone. My heart was so filled with love to God and the peace that passeth      understanding, that I loved to meditate and to pray.--Ibid.,  p. 161.  {1BIO 39.5}

 Bearing  Public  Witness

After this experience Ellen, when opportunity came, bore witness for the Lord. Of one such experience she wrote:  {1BIO 40.1}  I attended the Advent meeting. When the time arrived for the 
followers of Christ to speak in His favor, I could not remain silent, but rose and related my experience. Not a thought had entered my mind of what I should say; but the simple story of Jesus' love to me fell from my lips with perfect freedom, and my heart was so happy to be liberated from its thralldom of dark despair that I lost sight of the people about me and seemed to be alone with God. I found no difficulty in expressing my peace and happiness, except for the tears of gratitude that choked my utterance, as I told of the wondrous love that Jesus had shown for me. . . . My heart was so overflowing with joy that I wanted to tell others how much the Lord had done for me.--Ibid., pp. 161,   {1BIO 40.2}

The witness she bore was so effective that she received invitations to bear her testimony in "conference" meetings. Then, concerned for her young friends, she arranged meetings with them. Often these young people were considerably older than she. "In every instance but one," she reported, "these persons yielded themselves to the Lord."-- Ibid., p. 163. Her work was received with mixed reactions. "Peculiar trials sometimes beset me," she noted.  {1BIO 40.3}

Those older in experience than myself endeavored to hold me back and cool the ardor of my faith, but with the smiles of Jesus brightening my life, and the love of God in my heart, I went on my way with a joyful spirit.--Ibid., p. 164.  {1BIO 40.4}

Ellen's father and mother were earnest believers in the near Advent, and members of the family still attended the Methodist church and the class meetings held in private homes. At one such class meeting Ellen told in a simple way the story of her experience, first of suffering under the burden of sin and then the blessings she enjoyed as her life had been brought into full conformity to the will of God. She mentioned her joy in the confidence of Jesus' soon coming.  {1BIO 40.5}

She wrote of the reaction of some:     In unsuspecting simplicity I expected that my Methodist  brethren and sisters would understand my feelings and rejoice with me. But I was disappointed; several sisters groaned and moved their chairs noisily, turning their backs upon me. I could not think what had been said to offend them, and spoke very briefly, feeling the chilling influence of their disapprobation.-- Ibid., p. 165.  {1BIO 41.1}

The class leader turned to her and asked if it would not be more pleasant to live a long life of usefulness, doing others good, than for Jesus to come speedily and destroy poor sinners. She replied that she longed for the coming of Jesus to put sin to an end.  {1BIO 41.2}
He then inquired if I would not rather die peacefully upon my bed than to pass through the pain of being changed, while living, from mortality to immortality. My answer was that I wished for Jesus to come and take His children; that I was willing to live or die as God willed, and could easily endure all the pain that could be borne in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye; that I desired the wheels of time to roll swiftly round, and bring the welcome day when these vile bodies should be changed, and fashioned like unto Christ's most glorious body. I also stated that when I lived nearest to the Lord, then I most earnestly longed for His appearing.-- Ibid., pp. 165, 166.  {1BIO 41.3}

The class leader responded that he took great joy in anticipating the temporal millennium of a thousand years, when the earth would be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. When the meeting broke up, Ellen and her brother Robert felt the coldness of their erstwhile friends. As they walked home they talked of their surprise that the subject of the near coming of Jesus should awaken such bitter antagonism.  {1BIO 41.4}

 "Ellen," said Robert, "are we deceived? Is this hope of Christ's soon appearing upon the earth a heresy, that ministers and professors of religion oppose it so bitterly? They say that Jesus will not come for thousands and thousands of years. If they even approach the truth, then the world cannot come to an end in our day."--Ibid.  {1BIO 42.1}

To this Ellen quickly replied:      "I have not a doubt but that the doctrine preached by Mr. Miller is the truth. What power attends his words, what conviction is carried home to the sinner's heart."--Ibid.  {1BIO 42.2}

They decided that it was their duty and privilege to look for the Saviour's coming, and it would be safest to be ready.  {1BIO 42.3}
At another class meeting, when it came time to testify, Ellen's heart was so full that she again spoke of looking forward in glad expectation of soon meeting her Redeemer. She said that this hope stirred her to earnestly seek sanctification of the Spirit of God.  {1BIO 42.4}
"You received sanctification through Methodism," interjected the class leader. "Through Methodism, sister, not through an erroneous theory." Reporting the experience, she noted:  {1BIO 42.5}

My heart was full of love and happiness, but I felt compelled to confess the truth, that it was not through Methodism my heart had received its new blessing, but by the stirring truths heard  concerning the personal appearance of Jesus. Through them I found peace, joy, and perfect love. Thus my testimony closed, the last that I was to bear in class with my Methodist brethren. Robert then spoke in his meek way, yet in so clear and touching a manner that some wept and were much moved; but others coughed dissentingly and seemed quite uneasy. After leaving the classroom, we again talked over our faith, and marveled that our Christian brethren and sisters could so illy endure to have a word spoken in reference to our Saviour's coming. We thought if they loved Jesus as they should, it would not be so great an annoyance to hear of His second advent, but, on the contrary, they would hail the news with great joy. We were convinced that we ought no longer to attend the Methodist class meeting.-- Ibid., p. 168.   {1BIO 42.6}

Cast Out from the Methodist Church

Not long after this steps were taken by officers of the Chestnut Street Methodist church to separate the Harmon family from its membership. Ellen recounted the traumatic experience:  {1BIO 43.1}

The Methodist minister made us a special visit, and took the occasion to inform us that our faith and Methodism could not agree. He did not inquire our reasons for believing as we did, nor make any reference to the Bible in order to convince us of our error; but he stated that we had adopted a new and strange belief that the Methodist Church could not accept. My father replied that he must be mistaken in calling this a new and strange doctrine, that Christ Himself had preached His second advent to His disciples.-- Ibid., p. 172.  {1BIO 43.2}
Robert Harmon was prepared to quote Scripture in defense of his faith, including the promises of Jesus Himself that He would come again. "This is our offense," Harmon said, "believing the word of Jesus and His disciples. This is a very old doctrine, and bears no taint of heresy." The minister mustered no Scripture text to prove the Harmons in error. Rather, he advised the family to withdraw quietly from the church and avoid the publicity of a trial. But this proposition Robert Harmon refused to accept. Explained Ellen White:  {1BIO 43.3}
We were aware that others of our brethren were meeting with similar treatment, for a like cause, and we did not wish it understood that we were ashamed to acknowledge our faith, or were unable to sustain it by Scripture; so my parents insisted that they should be acquainted with the reasons for this request.-- Ibid., p. 173.  {1BIO 43.4}
The family could not see that looking for the coming of their Saviour constituted a wrong that called for separation from the church. Shortly they were notified to be present at a meeting to be held in the church vestry. Ellen told of what took place:  {1BIO 43.5}

There were but few present. The influence of my father and his family was such that our opposers had no desire to present our cases before a larger number of the congregation. The single charge preferred was that we had walked contrary to their rules.  {1BIO 43.6}

Upon our asking what rules we had violated, it was stated, after a little hesitation, that we had attended other meetings and had neglected to meet regularly with our class. . . .  {1BIO 44.1}        It was asked if we would confess that we had departed from their rules, and if we would also agree to conform to them in the future. We answered that we dared not yield our faith nor deny the sacred truth of God; that we could not forego the hope of the soon coming of our Redeemer; that after the manner which they called heresy we must continue to worship the Lord. My father in his defense received the blessing of God, and we all left the vestry with free spirits and happy in the consciousness of right and the approving smile of Jesus.-- Ibid., p. 175.  {1BIO 44.2}

The outcome was as expected, and there was no delay on the part of the church in dealing with the Harmon family:  {1BIO 44.3}    The next Sunday, [ACCORDING TO THE CHURCH RECORDS,      SEPTEMBER, 1843.] at the commencement of love-feast, the presiding elder [Charles Baker] read off our names, seven in number, as discontinued from the church. He stated that we were not expelled on account of any wrong or immoral conduct, that we were of unblemished character and enviable reputation; but we had been guilty of walking contrary to the rules of the Methodist Church.  {1BIO 44.4}

He also declared that a door was now open and all who were guilty of a similar breach of the rules, would be dealt with in like manner.--Ibid.  {1BIO 44.5}
Some of the members who held in their hearts the Advent hope soon withdrew from the church, but, observed Ellen, by some "the favor of God was sold for a place in the Methodist Church."  {1BIO 44.6}
This is one of the early cases in connection with the proclamation of the soon coming of the Lord that the message of the second angel of Revelation 14 seemed to apply: "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city" (verse 8). (The message was repeated in Revelation 18, with the added warning: "Come out of her, my people" [verse 4].) It was to become clearly recognized a few months later, in the spring of 1844.  {1BIO 44.7}

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