God Revealed Secrets Through Ellen G. White
The Certainty of the Messages
We turn our attention now to the certainty of the messages that came through the servant of God. I wish to relate a story on this aspect of Ellen G. White's workone of the most interesting, and certainly one of the most unusual, that we come across in our reading concerning her work. But before that story, we should read a few verses from the 139th psalm, which give a fitting background for the experience we shall present:
O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou
art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee (Psalms 139:1-12).
We cannot get away from the presence of God.
To think that God knows us individually and so intimately, and is able to look into our personal experiences and tell what is happening to us, is beyond the understanding of men. It is one of the evidences that God knows the secret things and can reveal them to His messengers.
Here is a type of evidence that is conclusive and convincing, one in which no mistakes could be made without dire consequences to those involved. Here is no room for guesswork or for human devisings or imaginings. The message was either from God, or else it definitely was not.
Over in Australia, about 1891, shortly after Mrs. White arrived there, she was given a vision in which she saw a number of the workers in that part of the world. Among those brought to her attention in a very special way was a brother by the name of Faulkhead. N. D. Faulkhead was a very successful businessman. He was a man of unusual talents, appreciated not only by the
Advent people when he joined them, but by the people of the city in which he livedso much so, that he was a prominent leader in some five or more of their secret societies.
This Mr. Faulkhead became a Seventh-day Adventist, and at the time saw no reason why he should not continue to be a member of the Masonic order and all the other lodges. Of himself he says, I was Master of the Master Masonic Lodge; second, I was First Principal of the Holy Royal of Canada; third, I was Preceptor of the Knight Templars, besides many other minor lodges (five in all), Good Templars, the Rechabites, Odd Fellows, and so forth. He really was involved in secret societies!
This man sincerely believed that he could continue to be a leader in these societies and at the same time be a devout Seventh-day Adventist and a worker in the cause of God. On account of his business ability he was made treasurer in the publishing house at Melbourne. At first he rendered very good service, but as time went on he became more and more interested in his lodge work, and less and less interested in the publishing house work, until at last the brethren became quite anxious about his spiritual welfare.
Shortly after she arrived in Australia, in December of 1891, Mrs. White had a vision in which she saw Mr. Faulkhead. After that vision concerning him and others, she sat down and wrote out the experience of Brother Faulkhead. It took some fifty pages of manuscript to
set forth his situation, and she did it in a most remarkable and very detailed way.
However, when she sought to mail this communication to him, something seemed to hold her back and say, Not yet! Not yet! So she withheld this message to him for some time. It was, in fact, about twelve months later that the opportunity came for her to actually bring the message to his attention. She had been away in another part of the country, and on returning she felt that she must give this message to Brother Faulkhead.
The day after her return to Melbourne a meeting of the school board was called. In the morning everyone rejoiced in the closing exercises of the first term of the new Australian Bible school. That afternoon, Tuesday, December 13, Mr. Faulkhead as a board member gave attention to the affairs of that meeting. At the conclusion of the business, W. C. White, the chairman, stepped to the side of Mr. Faulkhead and said, Brother Faulkhead, Mother wishes to see you before you leave.
Brother Faulkhead, of course, wondered what it might be, for only a short time before that in a dream he had seen that the Lord had shown his situation to Mrs. White and that she had a message for him. He had steeled himself against the idea, and was just waiting for some such suggestion as that, for shortly before his dream one of the brethren, Brother Stockton, our first believer in the Australian field, had talked with
Brother Faulkhead and had told him frankly that they were all concerned over him. They believed that he was losing out spiritually by his contact with all these lodges and by giving so much more time to them and less and less time to his duties in the punishing house. Brother Stockton had asked him what he would do if Sister White should have a message for him. Brother Faulkhead had straightened up and said, It would have to be a mighty strong statement that would make me believe that the Lord had given her a message for me.
Now all of this went through his mind when Elder White said to him, Mother wishes to see you before you leave. So Brother Faulkhead went immediately to Mrs. White. He had a high regard for her as a Christian, but he did not take much stock in the testimonies. He said, I used to enjoy visiting with her and listening to her talk, but when it came to her giving testimonies, as it was stated she did and had done all along, I was a little skeptical.
Thus his attitude was one of uncertainty. He did not exactly believe in the testimonies, and he was not much interested when it came to something for himself, for he thought it to be only her imagination or something like that. Actually, he had little confidence in the gift of prophecy.
With all this in his mind he went to Sister White and asked whether she had something for him. She cordially greeted him, and replied that the burden of his case was upon her heart and that she would like to see
him and his wife together for a message that had to do with both of them. He replied, Why not let me have it now? Well, she responded, if you want the message now, I shall be glad to give it to you. She went to the stand and brought out a fifty-page manuscript that she had written twelve months earlier.
As he listened to the wordsshe not only read the testimony but she talked to him, explaining it as she went alonghe began to be very much interested, for in the course of her message and her explanations she told of certain meetings that he had been attending and of what he had said in those meetings, where he had sat, the kind of seat on which he had sat, the position that he occupied in the lodge, and the attitude that he manifested in transacting its business, for he was one of its top-level men. Faulkhead wrote later, I thought this was getting pretty close home when she started to talk to me in reference to what I was doing in the lodges.
In the course of her description of what he had done and said, and the position he had occupied, she gave a sign with her hand, and said, The angel gave me this message for you, but I cannot relate all that was given to me. She stopped. Why, Sister White, he said, do you know what you have done? She was not aware that she had done anything unusual. Then he told her that she had given the secret sign that is known only to Masons.
She went on a little longer, and told him that she
had heard him addressed as Worshipful Master and other names or titles of that nature. She talked of Free Masonry and the impossibility of a man's being a Free Mason and a Seventh-day Adventist at the same time. Once more she made a certain movement that she said her attending angel had made to her.
Again Mr. Faulkhead was startled and turned deathly pale. Sister White, do you know what you have done? No woman knows that. No woman is ever allowed to hear or see what is going on in those meetings, and yet you have described a particular meeting in which I took a very important part, and you have told not only what I said, but what I did.
Later he told in a letter his reaction to all of this. He wrote, This convinced me that her testimony was from God. I can assure you this caused me to feel very queer. But, as Sister White said, the Spirit of the Lord had come upon me and taken hold of me. She went on talking and reading as if nothing had happened, but I noticed how her face brightened up when I interrupted her again and spoke to her about the sign. She seemed surprised that she had given me such a sign. Immediately the statement that I had made to Brother Stockton that it would have to be mighty strong before I could believe that she had a message for me from the Lord, flashed through my mind.
It is an interesting story, and a wonderfully fine account that Brother Faulkhead has given, for it was a very strange experience for a man of his kind and position.
It certainly revealed something in his life that was not known to others, not even to his wife; and after all this evidence had been given by the signs and by the specific expressions, along with the description of what had taken place in those lodge meetings, accurately picturing the attitude of the people present, this is what he said: I accept every word. All of it belongs to me. I accept the light the Lord has sent me through you. I will act upon it. I am a member of five lodges; three other lodges are under my control; I transact all of their business. Now I shall attend no more of their meetings, and shall close my business relations with them as fast as possible.
I thank God for that kind of reaction. Only God could know what that man had done in the secrecy of those lodges. Only God could see where he sat and what he was doing, could hear what he was saying, and could know his very attitude in all those meetings. God saw fit to reveal all of that to His servant that this man might be reclaimed and have his faith in her thus strengthened.
Now I like the rest of his testimony: I am so glad you did not send me that testimony, for then it would not have helped me. Your reading the reproof yourself has touched my heart. The Spirit of the Lord has spoken to me through you, and I accept every word you have addressed especially to me, and the general matter also is applicable to me. It all means me. That which you have written in regard to my connection
with the Free Masons, I accept . I have just taken the highest order in Free Masonry, but I shall sever my connection with them all . It will take me nine months to wind up my business relations with the three under my control.
The hour was late when they finished their interview. He took the streetcar and started out to his home, and for some reason or other the car was a little late in arriving at a certain station where he had to make a change. Just as he was arriving at the station he saw the train for Preston pull out; so he had to walk the remaining four miles to his home. He enjoyed the quiet walk, for it gave him an opportunity to be alone and to think through all that had happened that afternoon and evening. He came to this conclusion: God had looked down from heaven and had seen him and had deigned to help him turn from the course that would have led him away from the truth and away from the kingdom.
I do not know of any experience recorded in the life and works of Ellen G. White of greater significance than this experience of Brother Faulkhead. On the following Thursday, Brother Faulkhead, accompanied by his wife, had another interview with Mrs. White. In the meantime, she had written more about that experienceI think some twenty-eight pagesand she read all of that testimony to both of them. They both accepted itthe reproof and the counsel that came from the Lord. Finally he told Mrs. White, I wish you to
know how I look upon this matter. I regard myself as greatly honored of the Lord. He has seen fit to mention me, and I am not discouraged, but encouraged. I shall follow out the light given me of the Lord.
Now came the real battle. He had fought the battle through on that night as he walked home, but it was not yet entirely won. He went to his office the next morning and dictated a number of letters, enclosing his resignation to each and every one of those organizations, and lest he might weaken, he handed the letters to A. G. Daniells, saying, Elder Daniells, here they are. I am free from all of those things that have been binding me to the world. You mail them for me! In relating that part of the story Mr. Faulkhead says, How his eyes did sparkle with pleasure to think that the Lord had gained His point at last, and that his prayers had been answered.
After he had given the letters to Elder Daniells to mail, he began to think it through, and wondered how he was going to extricate himself from all the relations and all the connections with those lodges. He was almost overwhelmed, but declared, Brethren, I will not give up the conflict. I did not expect that it would be so severe. I thought I could sever my connections easily; but I find it a greater struggle to break the bonds than I had anticipated. But the Lord has honored me greatly in speaking to me through Sister White. He has presented my case to her, and called me by name, and I will heed the instruction from the Lord. Oh, the Lord
has engraven my name on the palms of His hands.
When a message came to her from the Lord, Ellen G. White never had any doubts as to the meaning of that message and her duty regarding it. She never questioned. She never stood off and wondered whether the Lord really meant what He said. Nor did she hesitate and wonder what the people would think when she gave her message. Neither did she think to change or soften the message to ease the blow or to make it more acceptable to the one involved.
On one occasion, in a vision she did not see the faceshe heard only a voiceand the angel of the Lord instructed her that when she heard that voice she was to bear a certain message. And he gave her the message. That was all she hadmerely a voice, and a message for that voice. Here is no room for guesswork or for human devisings or imaginings.
It was some time before Mrs. White again heard that voice. Then came the day when she and her husband arrived on a certain campground. They were riding in a carriage, a brother having met them at the railway station, and as they approached the campground the brother suggested that they go over to the tent where the Whites would be staying. But Sister White wished to attend the meeting at once.
The people were assembled and a speaker was on the platform in the midst of his sermon. Ellen G. White paused a moment as she approached, and without a bit of hesitation took the arm of James White and they
walked down the aisle straight to the place before the desk. James White sat down. She looked up at the man, and pointing her finger at him said in a loud voice, My brother, you have no business to be standing by that desk speaking to these people.
Naturally the man stopped; all eyes were focused on him and on Ellen G. White as they stood there. She had never seen the man before, nor did she know anything about him, except what the Lord had revealed to her. She had heard only the sound of his voice, and the Lord told her when she heard that voice to deliver a message to that person. Tell him that he is not a fit man to preach to the people. There is a woman in another State who calls him husband and children who call him father, and there is a woman here on this campground who calls him husband and children who call him father.
The man disappeared. His sermon was never finished. His own brother sitting in the audience admitted that what Sister White had said was true, that the man had been living a double life and deserved the open rebuke. The effect of that message was immediate. The Spirit of God came into that camp, and a great revival followed.
Suppose Sister White had made a mistake. Suppose she had addressed the wrong man. Suppose it had been a message for a different camp meeting. It is easy to suppose a good many things in a situation like that, but Ellen G. White was certain of her revelations from
the Lord only because she recognized a voice she had heard in vision. The Lord makes no mistakes.
No, if the Lord worked through her at all, the messages would be certain and very specific. Such messages could come from God alone; no human mind could devise such things with such deadly accuracy. She had never seen that man. She had heard only a voice, but when she heard that voice coming from the platform, she knew the time had come to give her message. She asked nobody any questions. Whom would she ask? She walked straight down that aisle to the very front of the tent, and pointing her finger at the man declared he was not a fit man to be standing by the desk.
That, my friends, took a lot of courage. But it took more than that. It took a lot of faith and confidence in the Source of that message. Such was her confidence, and such was her faith in the work that God had given her to do.
May God help us as we read the marvelous messages that come
from God through His servant, to have greater and greater confidence in the
divine guidance that has come to this people all through their history. We have
nothing to fear for the future except as we may forget the way God has led us
in the past.