anuary 4, 1862, I was shown some things in regard to our nation. My attention was called to the Southern rebellion. The South had prepared themselves for a fierce conflict, while the North were asleep as to their true feelings. Before President Lincoln’s administration commenced, great advantage was taken by the South. The former administration planned and managed for the South to rob the North of their implements of war. They had two objects for so doing: 1. They were contemplating a determined rebellion, and must prepare for it; 2. When they should rebel, the North would be wholly unprepared. They would thus gain time, and by their violent threats and ruthless course they thought they could so intimidate the North that they would be obliged to yield to them and let them have everything their own way.
The North did not understand the bitter, dreadful hatred of the South toward them, and were unprepared for their deep-laid plots. The North had boasted of their strength and ridiculed the idea of the South leaving the Union. They considered it like the threats of a willful, stubborn child, and thought that the South would soon come to their senses, and, becoming sick of leaving the Union, would with humble apologies return to their allegiance.
The North have had no just idea of the strength of the accursed system of slavery. It is this, and this alone, which lies at the foundation of the war. The South have been more and more exacting. They consider it perfectly right to engage in human traffic, to deal in slaves and the souls of men. They are annoyed and become perfectly exasperated if they cannot claim all the territory they desire. They would tear down the boundaries and bring their slaves to any spot they please, and curse the soil with slave labor. The language of the South has been imperious, and the North have not taken suitable measures to silence it. . . .
Antislavery Men Sacrificed
Thousands have been induced to enlist with the understanding that this war was to exterminate slavery; but now that they are fixed, they find that they have been deceived, that the object of this war is not to abolish slavery, but to preserve it as it is. . . .
Many of those who are placed high in command to fill responsible stations have but little conscience or nobility of soul; they can exercise their power, even to the destruction of those under them, and it is winked at. These commanders could abuse the power given them and cause those subject to them to occupy dangerous positions where they would be exposed to terrible encounters with the rebels without the least hope of conquering them. In this way they could dispose of daring, thoroughgoing men, as David disposed of Uriah. 2 Samuel 11:14, 15.
Valuable men have thus been sacrificed to get rid of their strong antislavery influence. Some of the very men whom the North most need in this critical time, whose services would be of the highest value, are not. They have been wantonly sacrificed. The prospects before our nation are discouraging, for there are those filling responsible stations who are rebels at heart. There are [Union] commanding officers who are in sympathy with the rebels. While they are desirous of having the Union preserved, they despise those who are antislavery. . . .
God’s Punishment for Slavery
God is punishing this nation for the high crime of slavery. He has the destiny of the nation in His hands. He will punish the South for the sin of slavery, and the North for so long suffering its overreaching and overbearing influence.
At the Conference at Roosevelt, New York, August 3, 1861, when the brethren and sisters were assembled on the day set apart for humiliation, fasting, and prayer, the Spirit of the Lord rested upon us, and I was taken off in vision and shown the sin of slavery, which has so long been a curse to this nation. The fugitive slave law was calculated to crush out of man every noble, generous feeling of sympathy that should arise in his heart for the oppressed and suffering slave. It was in direct opposition to the teaching of Christ.
God’s scourge is now upon the North, because they have so long submitted to the advances of the slave power. The sin of Northern proslavery men is great. They have strengthened the South in their sin by sanctioning the extension of slavery; they have acted a prominent part in bringing the nation into its present distressed condition. . . .
Battle of Manassas
I had a view of the disastrous battle at Manassas, Virginia. It was a most exciting, distressing scene. The Southern army had everything in their favor and were prepared for a dreadful contest. The Northern army was moving on with triumph, not doubting but that they would be victorious. Many were reckless and marched forward boastingly, as though victory were already theirs. As they neared the battlefield, many were almost fainting through weariness and want of refreshment. They did not expect so fierce an encounter. They rushed into battle and fought bravely, desperately. The dead and dying were on every side. Both the North and the South suffered severely. The Southern men felt the battle, and in a little while would have been driven back still further. The Northern men were rushing on, although their destruction was very great. Just then an angel descended and waved his hand backward. Instantly there was confusion in the ranks. It appeared to the Northern men that their troops were retreating, when it was not so in reality, and a precipitate retreat commenced. . . .
Then it was explained that God had this nation in His own hand, and would not suffer victories to be gained faster than He ordained, and would permit no more losses to the Northern men than in His wisdom He saw fit, to punish them for their sins. And had the Northern army at this time pushed the battle still further in their fainting, exhausted condition, the far greater struggle and destruction which awaited them would have caused great triumph in the South. God would not permit this, and sent an angel to interfere. The sudden falling back of the Northern troops is a mystery to all. They know not that God’s hand was in the matter.
The destruction of the Southern army was so great that they had no heart to boast. The sight of the dead, the dying, and the wounded gave them but little courage to triumph. This destruction, occurring when they had every advantage, and the North great disadvantage, caused them much perplexity. They know that if the North have an equal chance with them, victory is certain for the North. Their only hope is to occupy positions difficult of approach, and then have formidable arrangements to hurl destruction on every hand.
The South have strengthened themselves greatly since their rebellion first commenced. If active measures had then been taken by the North, this rebellion would have been speedily crushed out. But that which was small at first has increased in strength and numbers until it has become most powerful. . . .
I was shown the inhabitants of the earth in the utmost confusion. War, bloodshed, privation, want, famine, and pestilence were abroad in the land. As these things surrounded God’s people, they began to press together, and to cast aside their little difficulties. Self-dignity no longer controlled them; deep humility took its place. Suffering, perplexity, and privation caused reason to resume its throne, and the passionate and unreasonable man became sane, and acted with discretion and wisdom.
This account was originally published in
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 253-268, under the titles “The North and the South,” “Great Distress Coming,” AND “SLAVERY AND THE WAR.” Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry. This article was published July 21, 2011.