On August 15, 1880, while at the Magog camp meeting in Quebec, James wrote an item for the Review:
The past fifteen years of our life have been marked with labor, care, and periods of illness and despondency. But God has been gracious. When we have fallen under affliction, His hand has lifted us up. When we have erred in our efforts to advance the cause of truth, the Lord has corrected in love and has reached down His arm to point the way and to sustain. God is good. Christ is worthy of all praise. We are unworthy of the care, love, and mercy of the Lord during the past fifteen years, which enables us to say, to the praise of God, August 15, 1880, we are free from pain and feebleness, and have been able to do as much work during the last as at any year of our life.
James did not know it, but he was entering the last year of his life. He was almost 59; Ellen was 52.
It was a time of mellowing for James, but not always at an even pace. He sensed that he must lay off the burdens of leadership. His sometimes erratic movements and statements, and the light given to Ellen in vision, as well as her own judgment, indicated clearly that the time had come. And he really tried.