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Autobiographical Sketch of Ellen G. White

Her Children

Although the cares that came upon us in connection with the publishing work and other branches of the cause involved much perplexity, the greatest sacrifice I was called to make in connection with the work was to leave my children to the care of others.

Henry had been from us five years, and Edson had received but little of our care. For years our family was very large, and our home like a hotel, and we from that home much of the time. I had felt the deepest anxiety that my children should be brought up free from evil habits, and I was often grieved as I thought of the contrast between my situation and that of others who would not take burdens and cares, who could ever be with their children, to counsel and instruct them, and who spent their time almost exclusively in their own families. And I have inquired: Does God require so much of us, and leave others without burdens? Is this equality? Are we to be thus hurried on from one care to another, one part of the work to another, and have but little time to bring up our children? Many nights, while others were sleeping, have been spent by me in bitter weeping.

from EGW Estate
The White family in 1865.—White Estate.
I would plan some course more favorable for my children, then objections would arise which would sweep away these plans. I was keenly sensitive to faults in my children, and every wrong they committed brought on me such heartache as to affect my health. I have wished that some mothers could be circumstanced for a short time as I have been for years; then they would prize the blessings they enjoy, and could better sympathize with me in my privations. We prayed and labored for our children, and restrained them. We did not neglect the rod, but before using it we first labored to have them see their faults, and then prayed with them. We sought to have our children understand that we would merit the displeasure of God if we excused them in sin. And our efforts were blessed to their good. Their greatest pleasure was to please us. They were not free from faults, but we believed that they would yet be lambs of Christ's fold.

In 1860 death stepped over our threshold, and broke the youngest branch of our family tree. Little Herbert, born September 20, 1860, died December 14 of the same year. When that tender branch was broken, how our hearts did bleed none may know but those who have followed their little ones of promise to the grave.

* The death of Henry N. White
occurred at Topsham, Maine,
December 8, 1863.
But oh, when our noble Henry died, at the age of sixteen; when our sweet singer was borne to the grave, and we no more heard his early song, ours was a lonely home. Both parents and the two remaining sons felt the blow most keenly. But God comforted us in our bereavements, and with faith and courage we pressed forward in the work He had given us, in bright hope of meeting our children who had been torn from us by death, in that world where sickness and death will never come.

(Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 101-103)

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