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as related by Ellen White

The day started out calm and clear.
That Sabbath my nephew and his wife, Byron and Sarah Belden, as well as Sister May Lacey, drove in the carriage with me to a speaking appointment I had in Prospect, Australia. I spoke on the invitation given to the marriage supper of the Lamb and the excuses made in refusing the invitation. Then I read letters from Brother Haskell and my own son, Edson White. The people were deeply interested, and our meeting closed quite late in the afternoon.

As we left the meeting house we saw a storm coming. The blackness soon grew deeper and so foreboding that we drove the horses as fast as we dared. When we were almost home the fury of the gale struck. Large hailstones began to fall—as large around as a hen’s egg, but not as long. The road was slippery clay, and the horses could not keep their footing. Twice they slipped down on their haunches. The great hailstones frightened the young horses, for they struck with terrible force. One filly, in particular, had been broken to the harness for only a few months, and she was nearly frantic.

“Byron,” I suggested, “go talk to the horses. Let them know you are not the one who is beating them!”

He jumped down, and I turned to the girls. “May and Sarah, let’s get out.” After they got down, they helped me from the carriage, one on each side of me. The wind blew with such force that our hats were snatched from our heads. The carriage cushions, umbrellas, and heavy lap robes were blown from the carriage in every direction. Byron continued to hold the young horse that was the most frightened. Had it known its power, it could have pulled itself free from his grasp, torn everything to pieces, and killed itself.

What a scene! The ladies and I all reached the house drenched and hatless. Meanwhile, Byron remained with the poor terror-stricken horses. His wife grabbed a shawl and ran out again through the hail. We could not see them, although usually they would have been in full sight of the house. The fast-falling rain and hail made it impossible to discern anything distinctly. We could only lift up our hearts to God for His help.

Byron told us later that he and Sarah led the horses close to the pasture fence, and Sarah tried to unhitch them, but she could not manage it. She then climbed over the fence and held the horses from the other side of the fence while Byron unhitched them so they could go free.

When they returned to the house, both were soaked to the skin. Byron had been struck by several hailstones. One had hit him on the back of the head and raised a large lump. Another had struck him near the temple. But, praise God, no one was seriously hurt.

This is the sharpest experience I have ever had in a carriage in a storm. When the blackness deepened, with the clouds in the south, I realized this would be no ordinary storm. I could not help but think of the day when the judgment of God will be poured out upon the world, when blackness and horrible darkness will clothe the heavens.

We know our prayers were answered and that the angel of God stood by the horses’ heads. Nothing was broken. The Lord preserved us, and His name shall be glorified. But I was deeply impressed. In my imagination I thought of that time when the Lord’s mighty voice shall give commission to His angels, “Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth” (Revelation 16:1).

From Manuscript 59, 1895. Published in Young Disciple magazine, Volume 23, Number 24.

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