Monday, December 23, , the meeting was held in the William Farnsworth home. Farnsworth, in 1844, had risen to his feet in the Washington, New Hampshire, church and declared he was going to keep God’s Sabbath. Others followed him in his decision. Now there was considerable backsliding among the company of believers in the Washington area. Farnsworth had secretly gone back to the use of tobacco. One of his sons, Eugene, told the story of that meeting, which commenced in the morning and continued for five hours.
Ellen White addressed personally one after another of those assembled in the room. Newell Mead and his wife were among the first. Both had suffered great affliction, and as Ellen White spoke to them she declared that they “had been passing through dark waters” until “the billows had nearly gone over their heads.” She assured them that God loved them, and that if they would only trust their ways to Him, He would bring them forth from the furnace of affliction purified.
Tender words were addressed to a man who had been deemed by the church members as unworthy of fellowship with them. “God who seeth hearts” had been better pleased with his deportment than with the lives of some who had held him outside, she declared.
Sitting in the group was 19-year-old Eugene Farnsworth, one of William’s children. As he heard Ellen White addressing one and then another, an idea came to him. He said in his heart, I wish she would tackle my dad. He knew what others did not—his father had slipped back to the use of tobacco. As these thoughts were forming in Eugene’s head, Ellen White turned and addressed William:
“I saw that this brother is a slave to tobacco. But the worst of the matter is that he is acting the part of a hypocrite, trying to deceive his brethren into thinking that he has discarded it, as he promised to do when he united with the church.”
As Eugene saw these covered sins dealt with faithfully by Ellen White, he knew he was witnessing a manifestation of the prophetic gift. When she had finished with her messages and there was an opportunity for a response, one after another stood and acknowledged the truthfulness of the message, and with repentance and confession yielded himself or herself anew to God. Then the parents made confessions to their children. This touched the hearts of the young people who had been watching and listening.
On Wednesday, Christmas Day, a meeting was held, and 13 young people expressed their determination to be Christians. Four young people were not present, but in response to the appeals of their friends gave their hearts to the Lord, making 18 whose lives were changed. Some wanted to be baptized without delay; a hole was sawed in the ice, and with joy they went forward. Others waited till spring. Nine of the 18 became church workers in the cause of God.
Arthur L. White was the grandson of James and Ellen White. He previously served as the secretary of the Ellen G. White Estate. This story is excerpted from Ellen G. White: The Progressive Years, pp. 217-219.