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1BIO - Chapter 24 - Great Controversy (p.366)
Chapter 24:    The Great Controversy Vision
           and Broader Concepts   ( 1858 )
   The vision at Lovett's Grove, Ohio, on a Sunday afternoon in mid-March, 1858, was one of great importance. In this the theme of the great controversy between Christ and His angels on the one side and Satan and his angels on the other, was seen as one continuous and closely linked chain of events spanning six thousand years. This vision has put Seventh-day Adventists into a unique position with clear-cut views of the working of Providence in the history of our world -- a viewpoint quite different from that held by secular historians, who see events of history as the interplay between the actions of men, often seemingly the result of chance or natural developments. In other words, this vision and others of the great conflict of the ages yield a philosophy of history that answers many questions and in prophetic forecast gives the assurance of final victory of good over evil.  {1BIO 366.1}
For the setting of this vision, we must go back to the turn of the year and notice some of the intervening activities. There had been a very favorable response to the reading of the Ellen G. White testimony at the conference held in Battle Creek the preceding November, with a strong standing vote calling for its publication. Also at that conference, James White had made a stirring presentation on "the unity and gifts of the church." This, it was reported, "seemed to have a place in the hearts of the people" (RH, Nov. 12, 1857), with many expressing their pleasure on seeing this subject taking its "proper place in the church."  {1BIO 366.2}
In response, White re-presented the subject in four Review and Herald articles carrying through the turn of the year. Also, the December 31 issue and the second published in January carried articles by him entitled "A Sketch of the Rise and Progress of the Present Truth." These warmed the hearts of the believers.  {1BIO 366.3}
In the same issues were numbers 8 and 10 of a twenty-eight-part series by Uriah Smith titled "Synopsis of the Present Truth." These were some of the first Review articles to be accompanied by illustrations. Woodcuts made by Uriah Smith himself, through the skillful use of his woodcarving tools, depicted the beasts and images seen by Daniel and John in prophetic vision.  {1BIO 367.1}
Notice was given of the progress in publishing tracts in French and German (ibid., Dec. 24, 1857), soon to be available to those who wished to spread the third angel's message to the people of other countries and languages. J. H. Waggoner, in a series of four significant articles, was holding before readers the "nature and tendency of modern spiritualism." Among the appointments were those for J. N. Loughborough and James White, who were now often associated in ministering on weekends in nearby churches (ibid., Dec. 24, 1857; Jan. 28, 1858). Ellen White, of course, accompanied them.  {1BIO 367.2}                   
Meetings in Ohio
S. W. Rhodes, laboring in Ohio, announced in the Review that a conference would be held in Green Spring, to begin at 2:00 P.M., Friday, February 26. James White appended a note:  {1BIO 367.3}
        It is our design to be at the conference at Green Spring the twenty-sixth, and to meet in conference with the brethren in Gilboa, March 6 and 7. We may spend three or four weeks in Ohio.--Ibid., Feb. 18, 1858.  {1BIO 367.4}
James and Ellen White, traveling by carriage with two new converts, Mr. and Mrs. Tillotson, met the Gilboa appointment. The church there was delivered from darkness through a vision given to Ellen White. They were at Lovett's Grove the next weekend, March 13 and 14. Meetings were held in the public schoolhouse and attended by converts brought into the message through the fruitful ministry of G. W. Holt (ibid., March 25, 1858). James White reported the experience:   {1BIO 367.5}
March 13 and 14 we enjoyed freedom with the young church at Lovett's Grove. Brother Holt's labors have been greatly blessed in this place. He thinks about forty are keeping the     Sabbath in this place. A few weeks since there were none. We enjoyed great freedom with these brethren.  {1BIO 368.1}
On First-day God manifested His power in a wonderful manner before the crowded assembly. Several decided to keep the Lord's Sabbath and go with the people of God.--Ibid.  {1BIO 368.2}
The Great Controversy Vision 
As Ellen White told the story of the meeting held that Sunday afternoon, she reported:  {1BIO 368.3}
     At Lovett's Grove the Lord met with us, and His blessing rested upon us. First-day afternoon there was to be a funeral at the schoolhouse where our meetings were held. My husband was invited to give a discourse on the occasion. The people could not all get into the house. My husband was blessed with freedom, and the power of truth seemed to affect the hearers.  {1BIO 368.4}
When he closed his remarks, I felt urged by the Spirit of the Lord to bear my testimony. As I was led to speak upon the coming of Christ and the resurrection and the cheering hope of the Christian, my soul triumphed in God. I drank in rich draughts of salvation. Heaven, sweet heaven, was the magnet to draw my soul upward, and I was wrapt in a vision of God's glory. Many important things were revealed to me for the church.-- 2SG, pp. 265, 266.  {1BIO 368.5}
The vision lasted for two hours (WCW, in RH, Feb. 20, 1936), the congregation in the crowded schoolhouse watching with intense interest all that took place. When the vision ended, the friends and relatives of the deceased, along with a portion of the congregation, bore the casket to the cemetery. Others remained to hear Ellen White relate some of what was shown to her, in the vision, of the glorious reward of the faithful.  {1BIO 368.6}
Many matters were opened up to her. A portion of the vision was for the instruction and encouragement of the new believers in Ohio, some of whom were parts of families divided in the acceptance of the message:  {1BIO 368.7}
Counsels for New Believers 
I saw that those who profess the truth should hold the standard high, and induce others to come up to it. I saw that some would have to walk the straight path alone. Their   companions and children will not walk the self-denying pathway with them.  {1BIO 369.1}
Patience and forbearance should ever characterize the lives of those lone pilgrims following the example of their blessed Master. They will have many trials to endure, but they have a hope that makes the soul strong, that bears them up above the trials of earth, that elevates them above scorn, derision, and reproach. Those who possess a hope like this should never indulge a harsh, unkind spirit. This will only injure their own souls, and drive their friends farther from the truth. Treat them tenderly. Give them no occasion to reproach the cause of Christ; but never yield the truth to please anyone. Be decided, be fixed, be established, be not of a doubtful mind. -- 2SG, p. 266.  {1BIO 369.2}
Basing her remarks on the vision, she gave some practical counsel concerning the attitudes that should be taken toward close relatives who were unbelieving:  {1BIO 369.3}
But if your companions and children will not come, if you cannot win them to yield to the claims of truth, make their lives here as pleasant as possible; for all they will ever enjoy will be this poor world. But let not your duty to them interfere with your duty to God. Pursue a straightforward course. Let nothing they may do or say provoke an angry word from you.  {1BIO 369.4}
You have a hope that will yield you consolation amid the disappointments and trials of life. Your companions and children who will not be induced to tread the narrow, cross-bearing pathway with you, have not this divine consolation. They should have your pity, for this world is all the heaven they will have. -- Ibid., pp. 266, 267.  {1BIO 369.5}
Another phase of instruction given to her will be understood in the light of a comment made by James White in his report of the Lovett's Grove experience. He wrote: "We regard the cause in Ohio in a prosperous condition. There is much wealth among the brethren which we fear will drown many of them in perdition."-- RH, March 25, 1858. Continuing her counsel, Ellen White wrote:  {1BIO 369.6}
I was shown that all who profess the present truth would be  tested and tried. Their love for Jesus' coming will be proved, and manifested to others, whether it is genuine. All, I saw, would not stand the test. Some love this world so much that it swallows up their love for the truth.  {1BIO 370.1}
As their treasures here increase, their interest in the heavenly treasure decreases. The more they possess of this world, the more closely do they hug it to them, as if fearful their coveted treasure would be taken from them. The more they possess, the less do they have to bestow upon others, for the more they have, the poorer they feel. O the deceitfulness of riches! They will not see and feel the wants of the cause of God.-- 2SG, p. 267.  {1BIO 370.2}
The philosophy of benevolence was revealed to her: 
  I saw that God could rain means from heaven to carry on His work, but He never would do this. It is contrary to His plan. He has entrusted men on earth with sufficient means to carry forward His work, and if all do their duty there will be no lack. But some will not heed the call for their means. -- Ibid., pp. 267, 268.  {1BIO 370.3}
Then Ellen White was shown the response that should come from the hearts of those entrusted with means:  {1BIO 370.4}
I saw that they should cheerfully say, Here, Lord, is the little of earth's treasures Thou hast lent me; take any portion of it; take it all, it is Thine. Let me do my part in saving my fellowmen, and let me be raised up with the redeemed to dwell with Thee forever.  {1BIO 370.5}
Tremblingly will such disciples lean upon the strong promises of God. Earth fades before their vision. Heaven magnifies, and no sacrifice is too dear for them to make for the far     more, the exceeding, and eternal weight of glory.--Ibid., p. 270.  {1BIO 370.6}
 A View of the Agelong Controversy in its Broad Sweep 
In one brief paragraph Ellen White introduced what is thought of today as the principal topic of the March 14 vision!  {1BIO 370.7}
In this vision at Lovett's Grove, most of the matter of the great controversy which I had seen ten years before was repeated, and I was shown that I must write it out.--Ibid.  {1BIO 371.1}
Most likely it was scenes from this vision that she dwelt upon as she addressed the people in the schoolhouse after the funeral was over. She reported that "great solemnity rested upon those who remained."--Ibid., p. 271. And it was a solemn experience to Ellen White herself, for she was shown, in connection with the instruction to write out the vision of the controversy, that "I should have to contend with the powers of darkness, for Satan would make strong efforts to hinder me, but angels of God would not leave me in the conflict, that in God must I put my trust."--Ibid., p. 270.  {1BIO 371.2}
What did this mean? She was to learn before ever she reached home. Monday the Tillotsons drove them in their comfortable carriage to the railroad station at Freemont, where the next day they took the train for Jackson, Michigan. At this point Ellen White picks up the account:  {1BIO 371.3}
While riding in the cars we arranged our plans for writing and publishing the book called The Great Controversy immediately on our return home. I was then as well as usual.  {1BIO 371.4}
On the arrival of the train at Jackson, we went to Brother Palmer's. We had been in the house but a short time, when, as I was conversing with Sister Palmer, my tongue refused to utter what I wished to say, and seemed large and numb. A strange, cold sensation struck my heart, passed over my head, and down my right side. For a while I was insensible; but was aroused by the voice of earnest prayer.  {1BIO 371.5}
I tried to use my left arm and limb, but they were perfectly useless. For a short time I did not expect to live. It was the third shock I had received of paralysis, and although within fifty miles of home, I did not expect to see my children again. I called to mind the triumphant season I had enjoyed at Lovett's Grove, and thought it was my last testimony, and felt reconciled to die.--Ibid., p. 271.  {1BIO 371.6}
As earnest prayer was continued in her behalf, she soon felt a prickling sensation in her arm and leg, and she praised God that she could move them a little. Writing of it, she declared, "The Lord heard and answered the faithful prayers of His children, and the power of Satan was broken." Three months later in a vision given to her in Battle Creek there was opened up to her what was really behind the distressing experience suffered in the Palmer home.  {1BIO 371.7}
I was taken off in vision. In that vision I was shown that in the sudden attack at Jackson, Satan designed to take my life to hinder the work I was about to write; but angels of God were sent to my rescue, to raise me above the effects of Satan's attack. I saw, among other things, that I should be blest with better health than before the attack at Jackson.--Ibid., p. 272.  {1BIO 372.1}
The night after the stroke was one of great suffering, but the next day she seemed sufficiently strengthened to continue the journey by train to Battle Creek. On arrival home, she was carried up the steep stairs to the front bedroom in their Wood Street home. She reported:  {1BIO 372.2}
 For several weeks I could not feel the pressure of the hand, nor the coldest water poured upon my head. In rising to walk, I often staggered, and sometimes fell to the floor. In this condition I commenced to write The Great Controversy.  {1BIO 372.3}
I could write at first but one page a day, then rest three; but as I progressed, my strength increased. The numbness in my head did not seem to becloud my mind, and before I closed that work, the effect of the shock had entirely left me.--Ibid.  {1BIO 372.4}
As she wrote of the vision in her 1860 autobiographical work My Christian Experience, Views, and Labors in Connection With the Rise and Progress of the Third Angel's Message, she stated that in the Lovett's Grove vision "most of the matter of the great controversy which I had seen ten years before was repeated." Is this a reference to a particular vision in 1848, as it seems to imply? Or does it refer to phases of many visions received in the late 1840s, in which she witnessed segments of the conflict between Christ and His angels and Satan and his angels? A number of these presented the ultimate triumph of the righteous and the final destruction of sin and sinners. The absence of a contemporary reference to a specific, all-inclusive great controversy vision in 1848 would seem to point to the latter. Many of the visions of the late 1840s gave glimpses and at times rather detailed accounts of controversy and the triumph of God's people over the forces of Satan.  {1BIO 372.5}        
 Ellen White Tells the Story at the General Conference in May 
still under construction 

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