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Chapter 5 - Messenger of the Lord at Work
Chapter 5:    Messenger of the Lord at Work
( 1845 )

During the late-winter and spring months of 1845 Ellen Harmon was traveling almost constantly, first in eastern Maine and then in New Hampshire. From late summer and through the winter of 1845 and 1846, she spent much of the time in Massachusetts; when there she resided at the home of the Otis Nichols family in Dorchester, just south of Boston. In April, 1846, Nichols wrote to William Miller of this and in so doing provided information very helpful in filling out the story of her activities for this period of the evolvement of the church.  {1BIO 73.1}
Some years later, probably about 1860, in a statement of recollections, Nichols gave many helpful details concerning Ellen's early visits to the Boston area.  {1BIO 73.2}
These statements not only provide a perspective to the records of Ellen Harmon's activities in those crucial weeks following the disappointment but also give glimpses of how some of the believers in those early days related to her unique experience. We quote at some length from these two statements of an eyewitness: First from Nichols' general statement:  {1BIO 73.3}
The following are recollections of some remarkable manifestations of the Holy Spirit which attended Sister White's [ELLEN HARMON IS REFERRED TO AS SHE WAS KNOWN IN 1860. HER ACCOUNT OF THE FIRST VISIT TO MASSACHUSETTS OPENS WITH THE WORDS "I WAS THEN SHOWN THAT I MUST VISIT MASSACHUSETTS, AND THERE BEAR MY TESTIMONY."--2SG, P. 67.] visions and their relation in Massachusetts in 1845 and 1846:  {1BIO 73.4}

The first account of her vision in Maine we had from Elder John Pearson in February, 1845, at a meeting in Roseburg, which he believed was a light to the believers in the seventh-month movement, and a present truth.  {1BIO 73.5}

Sister White's first visit to Massachusetts was in August, 1845, accompanied by her older sister and Brother James White. They met with the believers in Roxbury, where there was a large company assembled in a meeting. She told them they came from Maine to deliver a message from the Lord--a vision in which the Lord had shown her the travels of the Advent band, and being strangers, she was at first received rather coolly. As I was not present at the meeting, I give the account as I received it from the  principal leader.  {1BIO 74.1}
Soon after Sister White commenced the relation of her vision, the power of the Holy Ghost was so clearly manifested that all present became convinced that the message was from the Lord -- that it was a light to the remnant and a present truth -- and was unanimously received and acknowledged with rejoicing.  {1BIO 74.2}
T. H. [Haskins], one of the principal leaders, confessed that they had no such reviving as the present since the time of the midnight cry in 1844, and that he could walk in the strength of the refreshing for forty days, as Elijah did. . . .  {1BIO 74.3}
The day following Sister White's visit to Roxbury they came to our house, which they made their home while traveling in Massachusetts.-- DF 105, "Statement by Otis Nichols."  {1BIO 74.4}
The Otis Nichols Letter of April 20, 1846
On April 6, 1846, in Portland, Maine, James White and H. S. Gurney published Ellen's first vision on a large single sheet, known as a "broadside." On April 20 Otis Nichols hastened a copy off to William Miller; he accompanied it with a letter introducing Ellen's experience and setting forth arguments for its favorable reception. After reviewing briefly the distressing experience through which the Adventists had passed since October 22, 1844, he stated:  {1BIO 74.5}
Within is a part [WHAT IS SET FORTH IN THE BROADSIDE AND LATER IN BOOKS AS ELLEN WHITE'S FIRST VISION CAN BE READ IN A FEW MINUTES. IT TOOK HER TWO HOURS TO RELATE ALL THAT WAS SHOWN TO HER TO THE BELIEVERS IN POLAND. IT SEEMS CLEAR THAT WHAT WE HAVE TODAY WAS, AS NICHOLS WROTE, BUT "A PART" OR POSSIBLY A CONDENSATION OF THE HIGH POINTS OF THE FULL ACCOUNT.] of the vision of E. G. H. of Portland. I fully believe them to be from heaven. The manner and circumstances attending is unlike anything I have seen or read of since the days of the apostles. I would ask you to lay aside prejudice and suspend judgment until you have read and compared them with the Scripture and present truth. . . .  {1BIO 74.6}
The first vision of E. G. H. was in the fall of 1844 which never [at the time] was published to the world. It was a view of the travels of the Advent company from the seventh month, 1844, and so far as fulfilled they have had as perfect a fulfillment as could possibly be, especially in most Advent bands, and individuals wherever we are acquainted.  {1BIO 75.1}
Her calling was most remarkable, only 17 years of age, sick with dropsical consumption and confined to the house for most of the time for five years, and been given over by physicians to die. In this state God called her and told her to go out and tell the flock what He had revealed to her, that she should have grace and strength of God as she needed, that an angel should accompany her all the time and sometimes two in time of need, that no wicked power on earth should have dominion over her if she would obey the Lord.  {1BIO 75.2}

 Ellen's Experience in Delivering the Message
At the time she first went out to deliver her message [February, 1845] she was scarcely able to walk across the room and could not speak with an audible voice, but she had perfect faith in God and was carried in this state a few miles to deliver her message, and when she came to speak, her voice was nearly gone, but God fulfilled His word, gave her strength of body and a clear, loud, audible voice to talk nearly two hours with tremendous power and effect on the people and without fatigue of body, and from that time for many weeks she continued to travel day and night, talking almost every day until she had visited most of the Advent bands in Maine and the easterly parts of New Hampshire.  {1BIO 75.3}
Her message was always attended with the Holy Ghost, and wherever it was received as from the Lord it broke down and melted their hearts like little children, fed, comforted, strengthened the weak, and encouraged them to hold on to the faith, and the seventh month movement; and that our work was done for
the nominal church and the world, [THIS EXPRESSION GIVES  A KNOWLEDGE OF the concept of the "SHUT DOOR" as NICHOLS understood it on APRIL 20, 1846. See Chapter 16, "THE SHUT AND THE OPEN DOORS."] and what remained to be done was for the household of faith.  {1BIO 75.4}
Those that rejected her message very soon fell into the world and a nominal faith, and those that did receive her testimony as from the Lord and afterward denied it, calling it mesmerism or an unholy thing, are many of them like those that are given over to strong delusion and the working of Satan--a ship without a helm or anchor and driven by every wind, thus causing the way of truth to be evil spoken of. This class of persons are her greatest enemies, and have done what they could by calumny, and lies, to destroy her influence and character. But God has hitherto protected her in a remarkable manner from all harm; raised up benefactors for her wherever she goes, notwithstanding the malice of wicked spirits and fallen Adventists.  {1BIO 76.1}
Through their influence there have been a number of warrants for her arrest, but God has signally protected her. At one time a sheriff and a number of men with him had no power over her person for an hour and an half, although they exerted all their bodily strength to move her, while she or no one else made any resistance. [IT SEEMS NICHOLS HAS HERE CONFUSED ELLEN HARMON'S EXPERIENCE WITH THAT OF ISRAEL DAMMAN, AN EXPERIENCE ELLEN HAD WITNESSED AND REPORTED TO NICHOLS. SEE THE SUMMARY OF HER WORK IN EASTERN MAINE ON PAGE 77.] What I have written I have a knowledge of and think I can judge correctly.--DF 105, Otis Nichols to William Miller, April 20, 1846.  {1BIO 76.2}

 Early Arguments for the Spirit of Prophecy
Nichols then turns to arguments for the acceptance of the messages of Ellen Harmon:  {1BIO 76.3}  Sister Ellen has been a resident of my family much of the time for about eight months. I have never seen the least impropriety of conduct in her since our first acquaintance. God has blessed our family abundantly with spiritual things as well as temporal since we received her into our family.  {1BIO 76.4}

The Spirit of God is with her and has been in a remarkable manner in healing the sick through the answer to her prayers; some cases are as remarkable as any that are recorded in the New Testament.  {1BIO 76.5}

But prejudiced and unbelieving persons find it just as convenient to call it mesmerism and ascribe the power to the devil, as the unbelieving Pharisees did. Matthew 10:25; 12:24.  Is not this the sin against the Holy Ghost? See Mark 3:22, 29, 30.  That power which is manifested in her, as far exceeds the power of mesmerism as Moses did the magicians of Egypt. The devil has as much power to imitate and counterfeit the work of God as he did in Moses' time, and the people can be deceived if they will.  {1BIO 77.1}
"Try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." 1 John 4:1. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Isaiah 8:20. "If the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken." Deuteronomy 18:22.--Ibid.  There is no record of a response from Miller.  {1BIO 77.2}

Some High Points of her Work in Eastern Maine
Having quoted from Nichols' letter--a very enlightening statement--we now look at some of the high points of Ellen's work in Maine in the late winter and spring of 1845. She labored for three months in eastern Maine, a period described by Otis Nichols as a time in which "she continued to travel day and night, talking almost every day until she had visited most of the Advent bands in Maine and the easterly part of New Hampshire."  {1BIO 77.4}
At Orrington, as noted, she met James White, and from that time he accompanied her and her woman traveling companion as they went from place to place seeking out the Advent believers. At Garland the blessing of the Lord was especially sensed as she felt an angel standing by her side to strengthen her (2SG, p. 39). At Exeter she contended with fanatical persons "exalted by the spirit of Satan." At Atkinson officers of the law entered the meeting place and attempted for an hour and a half to arrest and remove Elder Damman, but were unable to do so. When the believers felt that the power of God had been demonstrated and that the time had come for him to submit, the officers carried him out with ease (Ibid., p. 41).  At his hearing he was able to testify to his faith.  {1BIO 77.5}

Vision of Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary
 Ellen had been in eastern Maine but a few days when, at Exeter, she was given the significant vision she described in two early letters. One, dated February 15, 1846, was to Enoch Jacobs; the other, dated July 13, 1847, was to Joseph Bates. Of this she wrote:  {1BIO 78.1}
It was then I had a view of Jesus rising from His mediatorial throne and going to the holiest as Bridegroom to receive His kingdom.-- Letter 3, 1847.  {1BIO 78.2}
I saw the Father rise from the throne and in a flaming chariot go into the holy of holies within the veil, and did sit. . . . I saw a cloudy chariot with wheels like flaming fire. Angels were all about the chariot as it came where Jesus was; He stepped into it and was borne to the holiest, where the Father sat. Then I beheld Jesus as He was before the Father, a great high priest.-- Letter 1, 1846 (see also The Day-Star, March 14, 1846).  {1BIO 78.3}
This historic vision, later included in her first book, Experience and Views, appears in Early Writings under the title "End of the 2300 Days." Those present, she told Bates, "were all deeply interested in the view. They all said it was entirely new to them. The Lord worked in mighty power setting the truth home to their hearts."--Letter 3, 1847. The full significance of that "truth" with its presentation of activities in the heavenly sanctuary could with profit be dwelt upon at length.  {1BIO 78.4}
She was to mention this vision from time to time, for it confirmed the results of Bible study--of which she knew nothing at the time--in western New York State on the part of Hiram Edson and O. R. L. Crosier, and is a key exhibit in the "shut door" matter. [SEE PAGE 160 FOR MORE ON THIS TOPIC.] In a letter to J. N. Loughborough written August 24, 1874, she recounted:  {1BIO 78.5}
It was on my first journey east to relate my visions that the precious light in regard to the heavenly sanctuary was opened before me and I was shown the open and shut door. We believed that the Lord was soon to come in the clouds of heaven.  {1BIO 78.6}
I was shown that there was a great work to be done in the world for those who had not had the light and rejected it. Our brethren could not understand this with our faith in the immediate appearing of Christ. Some accused me of saying my Lord delayeth His coming, especially the fanatical ones.  {1BIO 79.1}
I saw that in '44 God had opened a door and no man could shut it, and shut a door and no man could open it. Those who rejected the light which was brought to the world by the message of the second angel went into darkness, and how great was that darkness.-- Letter 2, 1874.  {1BIO 79.2}

 Some Fanatical Positions She Met
Several phases of fanaticism had their roots in the teaching of some that Christ had actually come--that He had come to the world in a spiritual sense and was in the hearts of His believers. They were already in the kingdom of God, they claimed, and heaven was only in the hearts of God's children. The only body Christ has is the church. The only advent of Christ we are to look for is in the bodies of His saints with the Spirit dwelling in them, shining out through the entire man. Then when Christ descends from heaven, it will only be descending into the hearts of Christians, the heaven where He now is. The holiest of all, even heaven itself, is only in our hearts. To look with natural eyes into heaven itself, it was declared, is antichrist. This teaching was carried to the point that some declared that there is no such thing as a literal body of Christ and a universal God. To look for the personal coming of Christ is carnal (see DF 158e, The Morning Watch, April 10, 1845; p. 117).  {1BIO 79.3}
 Wrestling With the Views of the Spiritualizers
In eastern Maine Ellen was traveling and working in the atmosphere of the spiritualizers who had allegorized away heaven, God, Jesus, and the Advent hope. In the vision at Exeter in mid-February she seemed to be in the presence of Jesus, and she was eager to procure answers to some vital questions.  {1BIO 79.4}
I asked Jesus if His Father had a form like Himself. He said He had, but I could not behold it, for said He, "If you should once behold the glory of His person, you would cease to exist."-- EW, p. 54.  {1BIO 79.5}
This was not the only occasion Ellen was to converse with Jesus and the angel about the person of Jesus and concerning God being a personal being. The answers satisfied her fully that the spiritualizers were in gross error.  {1BIO 80.1}
But because the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church held that prophecy was fulfilled on October 22, 1844, and that an important work began in heaven in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary at that time, and because the Adventists who had become spiritualizers took the position that Christ had come into their hearts on October 22, 1844, and that His kingdom was in their hearts, the founders of the church, and notably Ellen White, were classed by the world generally, and also by those that SDAs have termed first-day Adventists, as one and the same group. Here again the great enemy cast aspersion upon the true, paralleling it with a false, spurious experience.  {1BIO 80.2}
Ellen White was to speak of this matter again, particularly in the closing paragraphs of her first little book, Experience and Views, published in 1851. As one reads this he will note the use of the term spiritualism, which must be taken in the light of the work of the spiritualizers and not in the light of what today is understood to be spiritualism or spiritism, although both emanate from the same source.  {1BIO 80.3}

We turn now to the statement written and published in 1851 as found in Early Writings, pages 77 and 78: {1BIO 80.4}
I have frequently been falsely charged with teaching views peculiar to Spiritualism. But before the editor of The Day-Star ran into that delusion, the Lord gave me a view of the sad and desolating effects that would be produced upon the flock by him and others in teaching the spiritual views.  {1BIO 80.5}
I have often seen the lovely Jesus, that He is a person. I asked Him if His Father was a person and had a form like Himself. Said Jesus, "I am in the express image of My Father's person."  {1BIO 80.6}
I have often seen that the spiritual view took away all the glory of heaven, and that in many minds the throne of David and the lovely person of Jesus have been burned up in the fire of Spiritualism. I have seen that some who have been deceived and led into this error will be brought out into the light of truth, but it will be almost impossible for them to get entirely rid of the deceptive power of Spiritualism. Such should make thorough work in confessing their errors and leaving them forever.  {1BIO 80.7}
The spiritualization of heaven, God, Christ, and the coming of Christ lay at the foundation of much of the fanatical teachings that 17-year-old Ellen Harmon was called upon by God to meet in those formative days. The visions firmly established the personality of God and Christ, the reality of heaven and the reward to the faithful, and the resurrection. This sound guidance saved the emerging church.  {1BIO 81.1}

Ellen Leaves Suddenly for Home
Having spent between two and three months traveling in eastern Maine, Ellen returned to Orrington, where she had begun her work. While her message was gratefully received on her first visit, in her absence the spiritualizers had come in with teachings that led many in Orrington to such wild fanaticism that the officers of the law refused to allow further meetings of the Adventists. Nonetheless, a small remnant who had held fast were able to avoid the vigilance of the jealous citizens and assembled for a meeting marked with "calm dignity," which Ellen White reported to be "especially solemn."  {1BIO 81.2}
The poor souls who had not the privileges of meeting for a long time were greatly refreshed. While we were praying and weeping before God that night, I was taken off in vision and shown that I must return the next morning. I had not refused obedience to the Spirit of God, His hand had been with me, and His angel had accompanied us and hid us from the people so that they did not know we were in the place.  {1BIO 81.3}
But our work was done; we could go; the emissaries of Satan were on our track, and we would fare no better than those who had been fanatical and wrong and suffered the consequences of their inconsistent, unreasonable course by abuse and imprisonment. -- Letter 2, 1874.  {1BIO 81.4}
Along with those who traveled with her in support, she was quick to obey. "Early in the morning," she recounted, "we were taken in a small rowboat to Belfast. We were there placed on board the steamer and were soon on our way to Portland."-- Ibid.  {1BIO 81.5}

Letters received in Portland a few days later reported the fate of those who helped her to escape:  {1BIO 82.1}        When these brethren returned they were met by a number of exasperated citizens, who had come early to find those who had dared to hold meetings in Orrington. . . . Our brethren informed the angry men that we were not in Orrington, but far away. They whipped and abused the men who had taken us to the boat. The house where we had tarried was searched in vain for us, and they were greatly disappointed because they could not find us. -- Ibid.  {1BIO 82.2}

Records are meager as to Ellen's state of health, but the fact that she traveled, as Otis Nichols reported, "day and night, talking almost every day" suggests a remarkable sustaining power. Of great importance to her was the knowledge that she was experiencing the special blessing of God at every step (1LS, p. 198).  {1BIO 82.3}

The Healing of Frances Howland and William Hyde
Ellen was hardly back in Portland when she left again to travel north thirty miles to Topsham and the Howland home. Here "quite a number . . . were assembled." During this visit, Frances Howland, suffering from rheumatic fever, was healed in response to the prayer of faith, as recorded in Life Sketches (1915), pages 74 and 75, followed shortly by the miraculous healing of William Hyde from dysentery (ibid., pp. 75, 76).  {1BIO 82.4}
On this trip Ellen was again confronted with fanaticism, the result of the teaching of the spiritualizers, who claimed that as they were sanctified, they might have a spiritual wife (DF 733). They averred that if they loved one another as Christians, they were perfectly safe. Some took the matter a step further and taught that since they were perfectly sanctified, they could do whatever they wanted to without sinning. A few attended meetings in the nude, and a few exchanged wives. They thought it right to show their love for one another and that what they did was perfectly innocent.  {1BIO 82.5}
When Ellen returned to her home, she was distressed to find that a number of those involved in fanaticism had come from eastern Maine and were influencing the company of believers in Portland. Of this she wrote:  {1BIO 82.6}
We trembled for the church that was to be subjected to this spirit of fanaticism. My heart ached for God's people. Must they be deceived and led away by this false enthusiasm? I faithfully pronounced the warnings given me of the Lord; but they seemed to have little effect except to make these persons of extreme views jealous of me.-- 1LS, p. 201.  {1BIO 83.1}
She found that those she had trusted in January could not be trusted in April, among them Joseph Turner, who unfortunately had joined the spiritualizers.  {1BIO 83.2}

Preserved from Fanaticism
Writing of how she might have been swayed by these fanatics, she declared:  {1BIO 83.3}      These false impressions of theirs might have turned me from my duty, had not the Lord previously showed me where to go and what to do. Although so young and inexperienced, I was preserved from falling into the snare of the enemy, through the mercy of God, in giving me special instructions whom to fear and whom to trust. Had it not been for this protection I now see many times when I might have been led from the path of duty. -- Ibid., pp. 201, 202.  {1BIO 83.4}
The phrase "whom to fear and whom to trust" soon took on considerable significance. Joseph Turner was now one of those she should fear.  {1BIO 83.5}
Visit to New Hampshire
"About this time," she continued in her account of her activities in late spring, 1845, "I was shown that it was my duty to visit our people in New Hampshire."  {1BIO 83.6}
Joseph Turner, learning that Ellen was planning such a journey, drove up with a beautiful conveyance and volunteered to take her wherever she wanted to go.  {1BIO 83.7}
"No, sir," Ellen replied. "You cannot do that."  {1BIO 83.8}
"But, Ellen," he said, "the Lord has told me that I must."  {1BIO 84.1}
"No," said Ellen. "He has not. I have had my special orders. I may trust Elder James White."  {1BIO 84.2}
As she recalled the incident she said, "This man wanted to get some power over me. But he did not get it because I would not ride a rod with him."--DF 733c, Interview, Aug. 13, 1906.  {1BIO 84.3}
Earlier in her recounting of the experience she said, "I had had strict instruction that there were men who would come to me and have a great burden that I should go with them to some place, but I was not to go. . . . But [it would be presented] that I could trust James White, he would guard me, and I was in no danger."--Ibid. Late in life Ellen declared of James: "Although he is dead, I feel that he is the best man that ever trod shoe leather."--Ibid. Of course, she did not travel alone with James before their marriage. Other young women accompanied her, and the couple was exceedingly careful to give no occasion for criticism. She wrote, "As for marriage, we never thought of it, because we thought the Lord would come right along."--Ibid.  {1BIO 84.4}
"My constant and faithful companion at this time was Sister Louisa Foss, the sister of my brother-in-law. . . . We were also accompanied by Elder Files and his wife, who were old and valued friends of my family, Brother Ralph Haskins and Elder [James] White." They were well received in New Hampshire (1LS, p. 202). On this particular trip, Ellen failed to meet the challenge of her work; she later regretfully wrote of it:  {1BIO 84.5}
There were wrongs existing in that field which burdened me much. We had to meet a spirit of self-righteousness that was very depressing. I had previously been shown the pride and exaltation of certain ones whom we visited, but had not the courage to meet them with my testimony. Had I done so, the Lord would have sustained me in doing my duty. . . . I did not yet feel sufficiently strong to relieve my mind and place the oppressive burden upon those to whom it belonged.--Ibid.  {1BIO 84.6}
The traveling group stopped at the home of Washington Morse. While there Ellen was very ill. As prayer was being offered in her behalf she was taken in vision. She later wrote:
While [I was] in this state, some things were shown me concerning the disappointment of 1844, in connection with the case of Elder Morse. He had been a firm and consistent believer that the Lord would come at that time. He was bitterly disappointed when the period passed without bringing the event that was expected. He was perplexed and unable to explain the delay. . . . When the time passed, he was despondent and did nothing to encourage the disappointed people, who were like sheep without a shepherd, left to be devoured by wolves.  {1BIO 85.1}
The case of Jonah was presented before me.--Ibid., pp. 202, 203.  {1BIO 85.2}
She recounted Jonah's experience and disappointment when God gave the city a reprieve, and declared:
Elder Morse was in a similar condition to that of the disappointed prophet. He had proclaimed that the Lord would come in 1844. The time had passed. The check of fear that had partially held the people was removed, and they indulged in derision of those who had looked in vain for Jesus.  {1BIO 85.4}
Elder Morse felt that he was a byword among his neighbors, an object of jest. He could not be reconciled to his position. He did not consider the mercy of God in granting the world a longer time to prepare for His coming, that the warning of His judgment might be heard more widely, and the people tested with greater light. He only thought of the humiliation of God's servants.  {1BIO 85.5}
I was shown that although the event so solemnly proclaimed did not occur, as in the case of Jonah, the message was none the less of God, and accomplished the purpose that He designed it should. Subsequent light upon the prophecies revealed the event which did take place, in the High Priest entering the most holy place of the sanctuary in heaven to finish the atonement for the sins of man. Nevertheless God willed for a wise purpose that His servants should proclaim the approaching end of time.  Instead of being discouraged at his disappointment, as was Jonah, Elder Morse should gather up the rays of precious light that God had given His people and cast aside his selfish sorrow. He should rejoice that the world was granted a reprieve, and be ready to aid in carrying forward the great work yet to be done upon the earth, in bringing sinners to repentance and salvation. . . .  {1BIO 85.6}
The case of Elder Morse was presented to me as one that represented the condition of a large class of our people at that time. Their duty was plainly marked; it was to trust in the wisdom and mercy of God and patiently labor as His providence opened the way before them.-- Ibid., pp. 203-205.  {1BIO 86.1}
Elder Morse gave heed to the counsel and became a strong minister in the developing church.  {1BIO 86.2}

Contending with Spiritual Magnetism
"In New Hampshire," wrote Ellen White, "we had to contend with a species of spiritual magnetism, of a similar character with mesmerism. It was our first experience of this kind. . . . Arriving at Claremont, we were told there were two parties of Adventists; one holding fast their former faith, the other denying it."--Ibid., p. 206. Pleased to learn of a group holding fast their faith, they were directed to Elders Bennett and Bellings, upon whom they called. Of the experience she wrote:  {1BIO 86.3}
We soon learned that they professed sanctification, claiming they were above the possibility of sin, being entirely consecrated to God. Their clothing was excellent, and they had an air of ease and comfort.  {1BIO 86.4}
Presently a little boy about eight years old entered, literally clad in dirty rags. We were surprised to find that this little specimen of neglect was the son of Elder Bennett. The mother looked exceedingly ashamed and annoyed; but the father, utterly unconcerned, continued talking of his high spiritual attainments without the slightest recognition of his little son.  {1BIO 86.5}
But his sanctification had suddenly lost its charm in my eyes. Wrapped in prayer and meditation, throwing off all the toil and responsibilities of life, this man seemed too spiritually minded to notice the actual wants of his family.--Ibid., p. 207.  {1BIO 86.6}
 Bennett claimed that the attainment of true holiness carried the mind above all earthly thoughts, but still, observed Ellen White, "he sat at the table and ate temporal food."--Ibid.  {1BIO 86.7}
 But he declared his wife, who allowed worldly things to draw her mind from religious subjects, to be unsanctified. Needless to say, Ellen Harmon was not impressed. A few days later she was shown in vision that "those who followed their teachings were terribly deceived and led into the grossest errors." She declared, "I was shown that the daily lives of these men were in direct contrast with their profession. Under the garb of sanctification they were practicing the worst sins and deceiving God's people."--Ibid., pp. 210, 211.  {1BIO 87.1}
Called Back to Portland
A short time later, in a vision given during the night hours, she was shown the fanaticism that was now rampant in Portland, the fruitage of the spiritualizers, and that she must return home. Returning, she found the little flock in great discouragement and confusion. In the first meeting held in Portland, while praying she was taken off in vision and was shown the ungodly course of Joseph Turner, who had been swept off his feet by fanaticism. After the vision she was told that while still in vision she "talked it out before him." He declared that she was under a wrong influence; he opposed her testimony, which reproved him for sin not then widely known but confirmed by his wife in a conversation with Ellen (ibid., pp. 213, 214). His work "led to corruption, instead of purity and holiness."  {1BIO 87.2}
Ellen's parents, Robert and Eunice Harmon, in whose home the Adventists had frequently met for meetings, were disgusted with the fanaticism now rampant in Portland. They closed their home and went to Poland, Maine, to reside for a time with the two married daughters living there. Ellen White later wrote of the experience:  {1BIO 87.3}
As I returned to Portland, evidences increased of the desolating effects of fanaticism in Maine. The fanatical ones seemed to think that religion consisted in great excitement and noise. . . . Joseph Turner labored with some success to turn my friends and even my relatives against me. Why did he do this? Because I had faithfully related that which was shown me especting his unchristian course. He circulated falsehoods to destroy my influence and to justify himself. My lot seemed hard.-- Ibid., p. 215.  {1BIO 87.4}
 Vision of the New Earth
But God was to bring hope and courage to young Ellen. "Discouragements pressed heavily upon me," she wrote, "and the condition of God's people so filled me with anguish that for two weeks I was prostrated with sickness." She recalled:  {1BIO 88.1}
But brethren and sisters who sympathized with me in this affliction met to pray for me. I soon realized that earnest, effectual prayer was being offered in my behalf. Prayer prevailed. The power of the strong foe was broken, and I was released, and immediately taken off in vision. In this view I saw that human influence should never afflict me again in like manner. If I felt a human influence affecting my testimony, no matter where I might be, I had only to cry to God, and an angel would be sent to my rescue.  {1BIO 88.2}
I already had one guardian angel attending me continually, but when necessary, the Lord would send other to strengthen, and raise me above the power of every earthly influence.-- Ibid., pp. 215, 216.  {1BIO 88.3}
Then I saw for the first time the glory of the new earth (ibid., p. 216). It was in relating this vision that she used the familiar words "With Jesus at our head we all descended from the city down to this earth." The thrilling description is found in Testimonies, volume 1, pages 67 to 70;  Spiritual Gifts, Volume II, pages 52 to 55; and Early Writings, pages 17 to 20. As she wrote out her "first vision" in a letter to Enoch Jacobs on December 20, 1845, she attached to it the account of this view of the new earth.  {1BIO 88.4}
William Hyde, who had been healed only shortly before, was present when this vision was given and was led to use it as the basis of a poem, or hymn. The hymn was soon published in several Adventist papers; it was included by Joshua V. Himes in the Advent Harp and by James White in the hymnbook he compiled in 1849, Hymns for God's Peculiar People Who Keep the Commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus.
As White published the vision in the Present Truth of November, 1850, he also published the four-stanza poem and wrote of the experience:  {1BIO 89.1}
In the spring of 1845, the author of the vision, published in this paper, was very sick, nigh unto death. The elders of the church were finally called, and the directions of the apostle (James 5:14, 15) were strictly followed. God heard, answered, and healed the sick. The Holy Spirit filled the room, and she had a vision of the "city," "life's pure river," "green fields," "roses of Sharon," "songs" of "lovely birds," the "harps," "palms," "robes," "crowns," the "Mount Zion," the "tree of life," and the "King of that country" mentioned in the hymn. A brother took up his pen, and in a very short time composed the hymn from the vision.  {1BIO 89.2}
The familiar words are found as number 305 in The Church Hymnal and number 453 in The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal:  
               We have heard from the bright, the holy land;
               We have heard, and our hearts are glad.  {1BIO 89.3}

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