JAMES AND ELLEN and the Publishing of the Review


God had impressed James and Ellen that a paper needed to be printed, in which the Adventist beliefs would be reviewed. But these very plans of the Whites and other believers, Satan determined to stop.  He knew that publishing a church paper, the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, would tie scattered Adventists together.


First, Satan tried to kill Edson, James and Ellen’s second son, who was only about one year old at the time.  For no apparent reason, Edson lost consciousness, turned blue, and was at the point of death.  Through anointing and prayer, God healed him.  Shortly after this, James came down with cholera, and was so ill they knew that unless God healed him, he would not recover.  This time it was Ellen herself who says, “I anointed his head and stomach and bowels in the name of the Lord, then we took hold of faith for him; our united prayers went up to God, and the answer came…James was healed…”


Satan was far from finished with them.  Seeing that his power was broken upon James, he went to Baby Edson again.   They were awakened by the screams of their baby, and when they went to him he clung to them; and then, with his little hands fighting the air, he cried in terror, “NO! NO” and clung closer.  They believed this, too, was one of Satan’s attacks.  So, together they knelt in prayer, claiming God’s power.  Immediately the baby relaxed, and they placed him in his bed asleep.


Not long after this incident with Baby Edson, the Whites were driving a pair of horses hitched to a farm wagon.  The horses suddenly reared, the wagon swerved into a bank and overturned, and both Ellen and James were violently thrown from the wagon.  But, they were unhurt, and they thanked God for their protection.


James had to travel too soon after his illness, for someone had to get the printed papers. Due to this he experienced pain and weakness again.  He brought the papers home to fold and mail, and they did not even think of food or rest until two or three in the morning.  All of the illness and hard, unceasing work with little help began to take its’ toll on both James and Ellen, but just as they both were becoming depressed over all the trials, God gave her a vision.


She saw that Satan had intended to kill Edson, but God would not allow it, and she said, “I saw it was the work of the enemy, as we were going from Oswego to Volney, to destroy us on the way by our being thrown from the wagon.  I saw the angels of Satan triumphed as they were carrying out their purposes.  But, I saw the angels of God were around, and as we fell, their arms were beneath us that we might not be injured.  I saw the hands of one of the angels were busy at work and wrought for us or we should have been destroyed by Satan….


I saw these efforts of Satan were to hinder the paper coming out, for the lines that were being republished were written in the Spirit of God and would rejoice the hearts of the trusting ones…I saw that the paper would strengthen the things that remain and would help build up God’s people in the most holy faith.”—MS7,1850


Ellen White was also shown in the vision that much of the same type of conflict was still before God’s people.  She had been warned:  “We must buckle on the whole armor and take the shield of faith and we should be enabled to stand and the fiery darts of Satan could not move us”—Ibid.


Four issues of the Advent Review were published at Oswego during August and September.  During the next few years it was given a wide distribution.


It was not an easy task to publish the Review, for a number of reasons.  There was hardly any money for supplies, wages or food for even the employees and food prices were high,  so they made do with what they had.  Ellen decided they must have a garden to supplement their food supply, so someone was found to plow a spot near the house.  To her amazement, the plowing turned up a great number of small potatoes that had not frozen in the winter.  Potatoes were expensive, and Ellen saw a chance for free food.  She found a bucket and followed the man plowing the ground, as she picked up the potatoes, filling her bucket with them several times.  One of the workers at the Review office was shocked at her doing this.  In fact he was so shocked, he laid down his tools and said,  “My employer’s wife out there following the plow, picking up those little potatoes?  I will not work for such people!”  Ellen told the man she considered it a religious duty not to waste food and that was why she was doing this.  Besides that, the potatoes were needed. The man finally calmed down and went back to work.


Another time, it was Ellen’s frugality that “saved the paper.”  Ellen had a stocking hidden in the kitchen cupboard, and every time she could, she dropped a coin into it, just for some such crisis as was always showing up with printing the Review.  Just as she anticipated, one day James came home with the bad news that there was no money for a shipment of paper. 


He said that the paper was at the express office, and he had no idea what he was going to do.  Without saying a word, Ellen went to the cupboard, and to James’ surprise, pulled out a stocking.  His eyes got big, while she emptied the stocking and counted the money.  There was enough to pay the bill, and with that shipment of paper, the Review was printed on time.



References:  The Early Years, Why Me, Lord, and Ellen


By Dorothy Dunbar