Autobiographical Sketch of Ellen G. White
Beginning of Public Labours
I again became very anxious to attend school and make another trial to obtain an education, and I entered a ladies' seminary in Portland. But upon attempting to resume my studies, my health rapidly failed, and it became apparent that if I persisted in attending school, it would be at the expense of my life. With great sadness I returned to my home.
I had found it difficult to enjoy religion in the seminary, surrounded by influences calculated to attract the mind and lead it from God. For some time I felt a constant dissatisfaction with myself and my Christian attainments, and did not continually realize a lively sense of the mercy and love of God. Feelings of discouragement would come over me, and this caused me great anxiety of mind.
William Miller's Second Series
In June, 1842, Mr. Miller gave his second course of lectures at the Casco Street church in Portland. I felt it a great privilege to attend these lectures; for I had fallen under discouragements, and did not feel prepared to meet my Saviour. This second course created much more excitement in the city than the first. With few exceptions, the different denominations 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, and many were unable to enter the house. The congregations were unusually quiet and attentive.
Mr. Miller's manner of preaching was not flowery or oratorical, but he dealt in plain and startling facts, that roused his hearers from their careless indifference.
He supported his statements and theories by Scripture proof as he progressed. A convincing power attended his words, that seemed to stamp them as the language of truth.
He was courteous and sympathetic. When every seat in the house was full, and the platform and places about the pulpit seemed overcrowded, 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 a genial disposition and tender heart.
He was an interesting speaker, and his exhortations, both to professed Christians and the impenitent, were appropriate and powerful. Sometimes a solemnity so marked as to be painful, pervaded his meetings. A sense of the impending crisis of human events impressed the minds of the listening crowds. Many yielded to the conviction of the Spirit of God. Gray-haired men and aged women with trembling steps sought the anxious seats; those in the strength of maturity, the youth and children, were deeply stirred. Groans and the voice of weeping and of praise to God were mingled at the altar of prayer.
I believed the solemn words spoken by the servant of God, and my heart was pained when they were opposed or made the subject of jest. I frequently attended the meetings, and believed that Jesus was soon to come in the clouds of heaven; but my great anxiety was to be ready to meet Him. My mind constantly dwelt upon the subject of holiness of heart. I longed above all things to obtain this great blessing, and feel that I was entirely accepted of God.
(Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, pp. 21-23)