[Under the above title George I. Butler discusses at some length Canright's life among Seventh-day Adventists. The article appears in an Extra of the Review and Herald, December, 1887, which carries the streamer head: Reply to Eld. Canright's Attacks on S. D. Adventists. We quote a portion of Butler's article which appears on pages 2 and 3.]
Some twenty-eight years ago, D. M. Canright embraced the views of S. D. Adventists. For several years he labored to acquire some necessary education, and soon after commenced to preach their doctrines. He was blessed with a good degree of earnestness, with fair ability, and with ambition to succeed, and he had excellent success in his labors, and was considered for many years a growing man in the denomination. He had a strong taste for debates and controversy, and applied himself especially to them, and had good success in them. These qualities always attract attention, and they gave him quite a prominence. For a dozen years his labors were valuable to this cause, and he traveled extensively in different States and Conferences. He then had quite fully the confidence of our people. But from that point their confidence began to lessen, and it has continued to decrease ever since. We will briefly relate the causes. Eld. Canright's good opinion of his own abilities had, during the meantime, become quite pronounced. He was never noted for patience, forbearance, or special regard of the opinions of others. He was a person who formed his conclusions remarkably quick, and was inclined to be rash; and though in the main a genial, pleasant, frank companion, yet his desire to have his own way sometimes got him into trouble. He never could bear reproof with patience, or feel composed when his way was crossed. When he came to mingle in important matters with brethren in prominent positions, these and other traits naturally got him into trouble. S. D. Adventists believe in order, and that positions of responsibility should be respected.
Eld. C. had little respect for any one's opinion unless it coincided with his own. The reader can readily see that very naturally there would be friction. He always hated reproof, hence bore it like a fractious child. So he had some unpleasant experiences, as we well remember.
On such occasions the Elder was immediately greatly troubled with doubts. When everything went pleasantly, he could usually see things with clearness. When he was abused, as he always thought he was when things did not go to suit him, the evidences of our faith began immediately to grow dim. Dark clouds of unbelief floated over his mental sky, and he felt that everything was going by the board. Here was the Elder's special weakness. He is a strong man in certain directions when all goes smoothly, but very weak in adversity. He failed to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. He was good in a fight, and appeared at best advantage when in a hot debate. This was his forte. But when things apparently were against him, he seemed to have no staying, recuperative qualities.
These weaknesses began to manifest themselves as far back as 1870. In the last of December of that year he held a debate with Eld. Johnson, Presbyterian, in Monroe, Iowa. The writer was present. Eld. C. was not feeling in good spirits through the debate, though he presented his arguments quite clearly and met with success. The night following the debate I occupied a room with him. I was greatly astonished to find him under powerful temptations to give up religion and the Bible, and become an absolute infidel. I labored with him all night long; neither of us slept a wink. In the morning he seemed more calm, and a few weeks later he came to the General Conference at Battle Creek, Mich., made some confessions of his feelings, and went away in a much happier state of mind. He went on quite zealously for two or three years. In the summer of 1873, he went to Colorado with Eld. and Mrs. White, for his health. Some unpleasant circumstances arose. He received some reproof, felt very much aggrieved, and for several months ceased to preach. He went to California, and for a season he worked with his hands on a farm. He came very near giving up everything. But his brethren tried to help his mind and cheer him up all they could, till finally he commenced to preach again. He labored on for several years, held several important positions of trust in the work, and we all hoped he would show his weakness no more.
But in October of 1880, he had another backset. He became discouragedwe never knew from what special causeand ceased to preach. He had been studying elocution, and when he gave up preaching he began to lecture on elocution, and traveled considerably in Wisconsin and Michigan, holding classes. He told me himself that
for a time he then ceased to observe the Sabbath, though he still believed it to be obligatory as the Bible Sabbath. He thought then quite seriously of preaching for the Methodists, and it is currently reported on what seems to be good authority, that he visited a Methodist presiding elder to make such arrangements; but this we do not personally know. But the Elder's conscience troubled him greatly at times. He wrote me, desiring to see me and have a long talk. We met in Battle Creek the following January, and had some fifteen hours' conversation. The poor man was in great distress of mind, and our sympathies were deeply enlisted for him. Suffice it to say that he took his stand once more and commenced to preach again.
The fourth instance of his lapsing into doubt and darkness occurred in the fall of 1882, when he gave up preaching and went to farming at Otsego, Mich. He returned to us again the last of September, 1884. During this time he had little or no faith in the peculiar doctrines of S. D. Adventists; and in a letter before me, written to a friend in December, 1883, he says: If I was situated differently, would just as soon join some other church. And speaking of the work of our people, he says: Hence, as you can see, my faith in the whole thing has been shaken. So notorious was his apostasy at the time, that without doubt the church stood where a little encouragement would have led them to withdraw the hand of fellowship from him. But some of us who felt a pity for him, knowing his weakness, counseled delay, and commenced to labor earnestly to help him. After special efforts had been made by the writer and other friends, he came to our camp-meeting in September, 1884, at Jackson, Mich. After some further talk with him, and explaining some things which he viewed in an exaggerated light, he came out and publicly took his stand with us once more, making a very affecting confession before a thousand people, which moved the whole congregation to tears. He confessed his great darkness of mind which he had felt for a long time, and said that now all was clear to him. Soon after this, in the issue of the REVIEW of Oct. 7, 1884, he made quite a full confession, which is given in another column. This was wholly voluntary on his part.
Eld. Canright for some time after this seemed indeed like a changed man. He seemed more as he used to a dozen years ago, and we had great hopes of him that he had now become a staunch, reliable man. He labored with us till last January, when he became somewhat cast down again, and has finally given up his experience for a quarter of a century, and has gone out from our ranks, and commenced a bitter raid upon us.
[The following matter is a chapter entitled D. M. Canright, from the book I Remember, by D. W. Reavis. It has the limitation of being a reminiscence of the long ago. It has the advantage of being a report by one who was intimately acquainted with D. M. Canright. The chapter constitutes pages 117-120 of the Reavis book.]
Whatever Elder Canright said and wrote in those days [preceding his apostasy in 1887] meant as much to our people as the words of our most prominent leaders do today. But in view of what he has said and written since that time, and because of my intimate association with him, I feel it to be my duty to make a brief statement, with all the love in my heart it is possible for a human being to have for an admired, fallen friend.
I was acquainted with the Canright family during his first marriage, his first wife, who died in the faith, being a close friend of some of my intimate friends, and I felt highly honored by being selected by Elder Canright to do special Sabbath school work in Ohio. This appointment proved to be the beginning of a very close, mutual, friendly association.
Elder Canright talked freely with me about everything in which he was interested, about his personal difficulties, about his past trials and sorrows, and of his future hopes and plans. He seemed to find consolation in going over these things with me. He evidently felt that while I sympathetically listened, I would not repeat. Not until the present have I made any public statement of the facts I am now to state, and these are given not to condemn him, but, if possible, to save others even as strong as he from the pitfall into which he fell.
His estrangement began and developed through harboring that greatest seductive thing that finds its way into some human hearts, which I name an abnormal desire to be great, not great in the true meaning of the word, but great only in the estimation of peopleto be popular.
The elder was remarkably bright, and grew rapidly from his humble beginning, through the blessing of God, and the power of the message he proclaimed with Heaven-bestowed ability. He was so greatly admired and openly praised by our workers and the laity, that he finally reached the conclusion he had inherent abilitythat the message he was proclaiming was a hindrance to him rather than the exclusive source of his power. He gradually grew sensitive and resentful, and when reproof came through the testimonies, he rejected it, and finally gave up everything and began warring against the Spirit of prophecy and the message which had made him all he was.
During the summer and fall of 1880, immediately after graduation, I, with other students from Battle Creek College, attended Professor Hamill's School of Oratory in Chicago. Elder Canright, inoculated, at heart, with a belief that through a thorough study in, and mastery of, expression he could accomplish his consuming desire to be a popular public speaker, joined us; and because of my former pleasant association with him, I became his critic as he lectured, upon invitation, through the influence of the School of Oratory, in many of the largest popular churches in Chicago during the summer vacation of the pastors of these churches. In these lectures he applied the oratorical principles taught in the school, and needed a critic versed in these principles, to follow him in his lectures and later point out his misapplications, and of course to compliment him on all that were rightly applied. He had more invitations than he could possibly accept; so he selected the largest and most popular churches.
One Sunday night, in the largest church of the West Side, he spoke on The Saints' Inheritance to more than 3,000 people, and I took a seat in the gallery directly in front of him, to see every gesture and to hear every tone, form of voice, emphasis, stress, and pitch, and all the rest. But that was as far as I got in my part of the service, for he so quickly and eloquently launched into this, his favorite theme, that I, with the entire congregation, became entirely absorbed in the Biblical facts he was so convincingly presenting. I never thought of anything else until he had finished.
After the benediction I could not get to him for more than half an hour, because of the many people crowding around him, complimenting and thanking him for his masterly discourse. On all sides I could hear people saying it was the most wonderful sermon they had ever heard. I knew it was not the oratorical manner of the delivery, but the Bible truth clearly and feelingly presented, that had appealed to the peopleit was the power in that timely message. It made a deep, lasting impression upon my mind. I saw that the power was all in the truth, and not in the speaker.
After a long time we were alone, and we went into a beautiful city park just across the street, which was almost deserted because of the late hour of the night, and sat down to talk the occasion over and for me to deliver my criticisms. But I had none for the elder. I frankly confessed that I became so completely carried away with that soulinspiring Biblical subject I did not think once of the oratorical rules he was applying in its presentation. Then we sat in silence for some time. Suddenly the elder sprang to his feet and said, D.W., I believe I could become a great man were it not for our unpopular message.
I made no immediate reply, for I was shocked to hear a great preacher make such a statement; to think of the message, for which I had given up the world, in the estimation of its leading minister, being inferior to, and in the way of, the progress of men, was almost paralyzing. Then I got up and stepped in front of the elder and said with much feeling, D.M., the message made you all you are, and the day you leave it, you will retrace your steps back to where it found you.
But in his mind the die was evidently cast. The decision had doubtless been secretly made in his mind for some time, but had not before been expressed in words. From that night the elder was not quite the same toward our people and the work at large. He continued as a worker for several years afterward, but was retrograding in power all the time. The feeling that being an Adventist was his principal hindrance increasing as time passed, he finally reached the conclusion that he could achieve his goal of fame through denouncing the unpopular doctrines of the denomination, and he finally worked himself out of the denomination and into his self-imposed task of attempting to expose it.
All the years intervening between the time of our Chicago association in 1880, and 1903, I occasionally corresponded with Elder Canright, always attempting to do all in my power to save him from wrecking his life and injuring the cause he had done so much to build up. At times I felt hopeful, but every time my encouragement was smothered in still blacker clouds.
I finally prevailed upon him to attend a general meeting of our workers in Battle Creek in 1903, with the view of meeting many of the old workers and having a heart-to-heart talk together. He was delighted by the reception given him by all the old workers, and greatly pleased with the cordiality of the new workers. All through the meetings he would laugh with his eyes full of tears. The poor man seemed to exist simultaneously in two distinct partsuncontrollable joy and relentless grief.
Finally when he came to the Review and Herald office, where I was then working, to tell me good-by before returning to his home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, we went back in a dark storeroom alone to have a talk, and we spent a long time there in this last personal, heart-to-heart visit. I reminded him of what I had told him years before in Chicago, and he frankly admitted that what I had predicted had come to pass, and that he wished the past could be blotted out and that he was back in our work just as he was at the beginning, before any ruinous thoughts of himself had entered his heart.
I tried to get him to say to the workers there assembled just what
he had said to me, assuring him that they would be glad to forgive all and to take him back in full confidence. I never heard any one weep and moan in such deep contrition as that once leading light in our message did. It was heart-breaking even to hear him. He said he wished he could come back to the fold as I suggested, but after long, heartbreaking moans and weeping, he said: I would be glad to come back, but I can't! It's too late! I am forever gone! Gone! As he wept on my shoulder, he thanked me for all I had tried to do to save him from that sad hour. He said, D.W., whatever you do, don't ever fight the message.
This is a brief statement of the downfall of one of the leading men in our denominational work, brought about through the gradual development of a germ of self-exaltation.
[See also Appendixes O and P.]
[Under the above head there appeared in the Review and Herald (beginning September 29, 1949) a series of articles by W. E. Read, that gives special attention to the phrase, the testimony of Jesus, in the book of the Revelation. With the kind permission of its author, we give here the series.]
Not only the writers of the New Testament but the prophets of the Old Testament tell about the church of the last days. In the main, they call it the remnant of the people of God. In the Holy Scriptures we find listed a number of important characteristics of those who are waiting for the return of the Saviour. We might profitably meditate on the following references to the remnant:
1. They will be gathered. (Isa. 11:11.)
2. They will be a peculiar people, distinguished from all others. (Micah 5: 7, 8.)
3. They will travel the highway of holiness. (Isa. 11:16; 35:8.)
4. They will keep the commandments of God. (Rev. 12:17.)
5. They will have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Rev. 12:17.)
6. They will be saved from sin. (Zeph. 3:13.)
7. They will be saved in the kingdom of God. (Rom. 9:27.)
It will be observed that one of the special features of the remnant church is the testimony of Jesus Christ. This expression occurs in this form in the book of Revelation only; and seeing that it is specifically mentioned as one of the marks of God's remnant people, we do well to investigate and seek to understand what the Lord means by it.
In Revelation 19:10 John calls it the spirit of prophecy. If this refers to one of the gifts of the Spirit, of which prophecy was one (1 Cor. 12:10), it would certainly indicate that spiritual gifts would be seen in the true church in the last days.
This question, however, has been one upon which there has been considerable discussion in the Christian church for centuries. Most people believe that such gifts as prophecy and healing ceased just after apostolic days. Let us study this question and seek to ascertain what the New Testament suggests so far as the perpetuity of spiritual gifts is concerned.
Spiritual gifts were bestowed upon the church by the Lord. They did not grow out of any demand made by men, nor did they come upon men because of any particular longing on their part; they were given by the Spirit of God, who divided to every man severally as he will. 1 Cor. 12:11. In the twelfth chapter of First Corinthians there is recorded the fact that such gifts were given to the church but with no particular reference as to time, the period for which they should serve, whether it was a temporary bestowment, or whether it was God's purpose that they should be in the church until the Saviour's appearing.
In Ephesians 4, where certain of the gifts are enumerated, specific reference is made to the fact of their continuance in the church. After naming certain of the gifts and giving some indication as to the purpose they were to serve, the apostle tells us how long they were to be in the church. Note his words: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Eph. 4:13.
What vital significance is attached to the words of the apostle: Till, or until, we arrive at (Weymouth), or attain unto (R.V.), the unity of the faith, until we come to the personal knowledge of the Son of God (Rotherham), unto perfect manhood (Cunnington), yea, even the perfection of manhood and that degree of development of which the ideal to be found in the Christ is the standard (Twentieth Century). The divine purpose looks forward to the complete deliverance of man from the thralldom of sin; it contemplates also his restoration to the likeness of Christ.
The plan of redemption contemplates our complete recovery from the power of Satan. Christ always separates the contrite soul from sin. He came to destroy the works of the devil, and He has made provision that the Holy Spirit shall be imparted to every repentant soul, to keep
him from sinning . The ideal of Christian character is Christlikeness.The Desire of Ages, p. 311.
Spiritual gifts play a large part in the purpose of God in the development of His people, and these divine bestowments will continue to be given, and will continue to function in the church, until Christ's ideal for His children is reached. This means the grand culmination, the time when the Saviour shall return to gather those in whose hearts the likeness of Christ is seen.
This Scriptural passage teaches the perpetuity of these gifts, and we need not be surprised to find Scriptural evidence that such gifts will be seen in the last days. That this is so, we observe in I Corinthians 1:6, 7. Here the apostle writes to the church, The testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Though the apostle is writing to the church at large, his words apply particularly to the church that is waiting for the Advent of the Saviour. In them the testimony of Christ is to be confirmed, and the fact that this gift is to be in their midst is evidence to the great apostle that the church waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ was to have all the gifts. This is seen in the expression, that ye come behind in no gift. Furthermore John's declaration concerning the remnant church in Revelation 12:17 specifically mentions that they have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Allowing that the interpretation given to this expression by the same apostle is the spirit of prophecy (Rev. 19:10), it seems that the divine outline foreshadows the revival not only of the spiritual gifts in the church but in a particular sense of the gift of prophecy.
Jesus promised His disciples, The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: and He will shew you things to come. John 14:26; 16:13. Scripture plainly teaches that these promises, so far from being limited to apostolic days, extend to the church of Christ in all ages.The Great Controversy, Introduction, p. viii.
We are counseled to covet earnestly the best gifts (1 Cor. 12:31), and to desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy (1 Cor. 14:1). This is one instance where coveting is allowable, and with earnest
longing of soul we are to seek God for the bestowal of His gifts upon the church.
In order to obtain spiritual gifts it is important that we enjoy the fellowship of the Spirit (Phil. 2:1), the unity of the Spirit (Eph. 4:3), and have the fruit of the Spirit (Eph. 5:9). Upon those who possess these graces our heavenly Father takes delight in bestowing, as it pleases Him, the gifts of the Spirit. Thus we may be fully equipped, fully qualified, for the service of God.
Before He left His disciples, Christ breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Again He said, Behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you. But not until after the ascension was the gift received in its fulness. Not until through faith and prayer the disciples had surrendered themselves fully for His working, was the outpouring of the Spirit received. Then in a special sense the goods of heaven were committed to the followers of Christ. When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Unto every one of us is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ, the Spirit dividing to every man severally as He will. The gifts are already ours in Christ, but their actual possession depends upon our reception of the Spirit of God.Christ's Object Lessons, p. 327.
Some, looking at the Christian church at large and failing to see the prophetic gift in the ranks of God's people, argue that, because this gift, together with others, ceased shortly after apostolic days, this is ample evidence to show that God never intended these gifts to continue beyond the early days of Christianity. Such should remember, however, that not long after the apostles passed from the stage of action, a great apostasy set in, and men departed from the truth of God. When worldliness and indifference came into the church, the Spirit of God in a large measure left the church, and many of these gifts were withdrawn.
In the last days, however, with a revival of godliness, when men return to the old paths and keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, the gifts, and among them the prophetic gift, were to be restored. The keeping of the commandments of God and the manifestation of the gift of prophecy have usually been closely associated through the centuries. This can be seen from such Old Testament scriptures as: Where there is no vision the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Prov. 29:18.
Her gates are sunk into the ground; he hath destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from the Lord. Lam. 2:9.
Let us then seek the Lord for power in our lives. Let us seek Him more earnestly for the willingness and the disposition to surrender our wills to His divine control. Thus we shall make it possible for Christ the Lord to take possession of our hearts and to dwell within us to will and to do of his good pleasure.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of the remnant people is called by the writer of the Apocalypse the testimony of Jesus Christ. This is interpreted as the spirit of prophecy. These two expressions are peculiar to the book of Revelation. They are not found in any other book of the Bible.
The actual words testimony of Jesus occur but twice in the Authorized Version of the book of Revelation, in the same verse (Rev. 19:10.) The term appears, however, in another form, testimony of Jesus Christ, three times. (Rev. 1:2, 9; 12:17.) There is still one other phrase of similar intent. In this case it is rendered witness of Jesus. (Rev. 20:4.) The word witness in this case is from the same Greek word which is rendered in the other texts by the word testimony. Hence, in these forms the expression is used by the prophet John six times in the last book of the Bible.
There are two similar expressions to be found in the writings of the apostle Paul. They are as follows: testimony of Christ (1 Cor. 1:6), and testimony of our Lord (2 Tim. 1:8). Although the word testimony is used in this relationship eight times altogether, the expression spirit of prophecy is unique, in that Revelation 19:10 is the only place in the Divine Record where the term appears.
Seventh-day Adventists, accepting the testimony of the apostles, believe in the perpetuity of spiritual gifts. That being the case, it has not been difficult for them to understand the divine forecast that the testimony of Jesus, the spirit of prophecy, would be operative in the remnant church. They have felt that this means a revival of the spiritual gifts, and that among them would be seen the spirit of prophecy. They understand this expression to mean that particular revelation which comes through those whom the Word of God calls prophets. Through the years they have believed and taught, and still believe and teach, that this gift has been exercised among them in the life and work of Mrs. E. G. White, who for several decades received revelations and visions from the Lord. They prize very highly the counsel and admonition which have come through this divine agency. Through the years this counsel was given to the church by oral word and by the written page. This counsel was incorporated in periodical
articles, pamphlets, and books, such as Testimonies for the Church and other volumes.
This claim on the part of the Advent people has met with opposition from many quarters. This is not difficult to understand, especially when it comes from those who believe that the necessity for spiritual gifts ceased shortly after apostolic days. Those who do not accept John's interpretation of testimony of Jesus as the spirit of prophecy naturally endeavor to find other meanings for both these terms.
As we look at the word testimony as used in the Sacred Scriptures, and examine the words in the original language which have been translated testimony, witness, to bear testimony or witness, in the Authorized Version, we shall find that they have several meanings. Mention might be made of the following:
1. The ten-commandment law. (Ex. 31:18; Rev. 15:5.) It is applied this way in both the Old and the New Testament. In the Scriptures we read of the tables of the testimony, the ark of the testimony, the tabernacle of the testimony, the veil of the testimonythe testimony itself being the law of God as written on the two tables of stone.
2. The law of Moses other than the ten-commandment law. This thought is emphasized in 2 Kings 23:3 and also Nehemiah 9:34 and other scriptures. There we read of his commandments and his testimonies.
3. The legal witness for or against another. (Deut. 19:16, 18.) The witness borne in court is called the testimony, and the person who bears such witness is said to testify. Furthermore, we read, In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. 2 Cor. 13:1.
4. The testimony borne concerning another. In this sense it is used frequently in both Testaments. One might think of such texts as John 5:39, where we read that the Scriptures testify of me, or John 15:27, where Jesus speaks of the disciples and says they also shall bear witness.
5. The testimony borne by the individual himself. It is used with this meaning quite frequently. One might meditate on John 5:31, where definite reference is made to the witness borne by Christ Himself, both by word and by life.
6. The messages of the prophets. In the Old Testament days the messages conveyed by God's servants, the prophets, to His people Israel were called testimonies. In bearing such testimonies the prophets are said to have testified against them. (2 Kings 17:15; Neh. 9:26.)
This is referred to also in New Testament days. The apostle Peter, referring to the work of the prophets before the advent of the Saviour, mentions concerning the witness of the Spirit borne through the prophets when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ. 1 Peter 1:11. This is in full accord with the declaration of the same apostle when preaching before Cornelius and his household, when he declared that to him give all the prophets witness. Acts 10:43.
A still further reference is found in the Apocalypse in the passage already referred to, where the apostle John, using the expression testimony of Jesus, clearly and definitely defines this to be the spirit of prophecy.
Hence, in the foregoing classification giving references to the varied meanings of this word, it will be observed that in both the Old and the New Testament one of the meanings makes definite reference to the specific messages that come through God's servants, the prophets, to His people.
In view of the fact that in the Scriptures there are varied meanings to the word testimony, it would have to be conceded that a correct understanding of the meaning of the term in any particular place it is used must of necessity be determined by its context. A careful study of the texts given in the afore-mentioned classification will show that this is true.
When we apply this principle to the expression testimony of Jesus, as we find it in the book of Revelation, we must also think of it, not only in the light of its context, but also in the light of the definition given to it by its author. Singularly enough, the Lord has removed the meaning of this expression from the realm of doubt and uncertainty. There is no need for anyone to be in any perplexity on the matter whatsoever.
The apostle John records the message given to him, the message he received from his angel. (Rev. 1:1.) The angel is called his; this refers not to John but to Christ. The Revelation is the revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to Him, and Christ sent and signified it by His angel to John. Further, when John tells us that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, it is not a definition given by John; it is the word of the angel who revealed it to him.
We must remember also that this is part of the revelation of Jesus as referred to in the first chapter of the Apocalypse. This revelation Christ gave to the angel. But it goes back further still; it is the revelation that God gave to Christ. So this is a divine definition in a special
sense. It is from God and from Christ, and Christ the divine Son, through His angel, tells us that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Hence, in our study of this question in the book of Revelation we need not concern Ourselves with other ways in which the word testimony is used in the Scriptures generally. Our minds are directed into one channel, and that by the Lord Himself, when He gives us the definition of what the testimony of Jesus really means when He says the spirit of prophecy.
Commentators and Bible students generally recognize, in the main, two ways in which the expression testimony of Jesus is understood. Many, overlooking the definition given by the angel (Rev. 19:10), interpret this as meaning the testimony borne concerning Jesus Christ. Hence, their understanding of the phrase is that it refers to the testimony we as Christians bear when we witness for the Saviour before the world and before our friends by precept and example. Others feel that the expression means the testimony of Jesus Himself, the witness He bore in His own life while here on earth, and the witness He continues to bear now in and through His servants the prophets.
The term in the original Greek is in the genitive case (generally the equivalent of the English of construction, most commonly indicating possession). Hence it can be understood as Jesus' testimonythe testimony which Christ Himself bears today when He manifests Himself in a special way through those who have the gift of prophecy. When they tell of what they have seen in vision, it is just as verily the Spirit of Christ which is in them as it was in the prophets in olden days. In this connection we would submit the following considerations:
1, We refer first of all to Revelation 1:1, 2, where we read of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. This revelation God gave unto him. An angel is used by the Lord to convey this revelation to the prophet John. John bears record of the testimony of Jesus Christ. It will be observed that here we have the possessive genitive in each case. It is the Revelation of Jesus Christ. It is the testimony of Jesus Christ. It is His witness, for the Father gave it to Him, and He gave it to His servant John.
2. The same thought is emphasized in Hebrews 1:1, 2. There we read that God, who spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, speaks to us today by his Son. The message was not that of the prophet; it was God's message. The same thing is true today. God speaks through His beloved Son, and Christ speaks through the
prophets. That which He speaks is His testimonythe testimony of Jesus.
3. We might observe also the word given to us in 1 Peter 1:11. Again we refer to the prophets of ancient days. When they ministered, when they bore their testimony, it was the result of the Spirit of Christ which was in them. These prophets were God's servants; He sent them; He spake through them. God claimed the prophets as His own. He calls them my servants the prophets. Jer. 29:19. God also gave His word to them, for He said to His servant Jeremiah, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. Jer. 1:9.
God's word through the prophets was obligatory, for we read in 2 Chronicles 29:25: So was the commandment of the Lord by his prophets. God also revealed His secrets to the prophets. He revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. Amos 3:7.
God revealed Himself to His prophets in visions and dreams. If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. Num. 12:6. It was in this manner that He revealed His will to them.
4. The form of the expression in Revelation is testimony of Jesus. It is not testimony to Jesus or concerning Jesus, but the testimony of Him. This is in the genitive case; and another way of rendering this, as we have already seen, is Jesus' testimony.
5. Whenever the expression is used in the book of Revelation it is in this form in the original Greek; never any other. Note the occasions of its use: Rev. 1:2: Testimony of Jesus Christ. Rev. 1:9: Testimony of Jesus Christ. Rev. 12:17: Testimony of Jesus Christ. Rev. 19:10: Testimony of Jesus. Rev. 20:4: Witness of Jesus.
Most translations reproduce this genitive by an of construction in Revelation 19:10 also, as can be seen by consulting the following: Authorized, Revised, Weymouth, The Greek English New Testament (interlinear), Emphatic Diaglott, Murdock's translation from the Syriac, Douay, Moulton, Goodspeed, Montgomery, Verkuyl, Tyndale, Cranmer, Geneva, Rheims, Cunnington, Rotherham, Wycliffe, and Fenton.
There is but one of these translations of the New Testament to which we have access that uses the word to in Revelation 19:10, and that is the Twentieth Century New Testament. One not listed above, but which uses neither the word of nor to, is the translation by Moffatt, and it is very definite. His rendering is, The testimony borne by Jesus.
6. Referring to the list of texts given under section 5, we would call attention again to the fact that in each instance the genitive form is indicated. This is either by the genitive form of the Greek words Jesus and Christ, or as it is in most instances, by the possessive form of the article the. There is no preposition in the Greek text to indicate our English word of. We supply that word merely to indicate the genitive.
Perhaps the matter will be clearer if we give the wording of the Greek and English in the first form of the phrase in Revelation 19:10: Tēn marturian tou Iesou (The testimony [of] Jesus).
It will be observed that the expression tou Iesou is in the genitive form; this naturally calls for the preposition of in English. Furthermore, the Greek article before a proper noun is not usually translated into English. Hence, we have the expression testimony of Jesus with the word of supplied to indicate the genitive form.
Some would urge that in order to understand John's expression in the Apocalypse, we should observe his use of similar expressions in his Gospel, such as: the scriptures testify of me; the Comforter shall testify of me. These, they contend, are certainly objective, and being so, indicate what John means when he uses the expression testimony of Jesus in the last book of the Bible. This might sound plausible, but on investigation the argument will be found to be without foundation. Whatever similarity there is in these terms as they appear in our English Bible, the similarity of form is not found in the Greek New Testament.
We shall notice certain of the expressions in the Gospel of John similar to the two cited above.
John 5:39The Scriptures testify of me.
John 15:26The Comforter will testify of me.
John 1:7, 8, 15John bears witness of Him.
John 5:31Jesus says I bear witness of myself.
John 8:13, 14Jesus is said to bear record of Himself.
Acts 23:11Thou hast testified of me.
1 Cor. 15:15We have testified of God.
In none of these instances is the word of indicated as part of the genitive, but is the translation of the preposition, meaning, concerning found in the Greek text.
Furthermore, the comparison in this instance with John's Gospel is in any case irrelevant, because it so happens that in the texts referred to we have the verb followed by a preposition and its noun object; whereas in the book of Revelation we have an altogether different construction: a noun followed by another noun in the genitive case.
There are a few instances in other books of the New Testament where a form is found similar to that used in the book of Revelation, as well as those in which we find the preposition, that refer in the main to the testimony borne by others concerning Christ rather than the testimony of Jesus Himself (Acts 4:33, 2 Tim. 1:8, 1 Cor. 2:1); but this is indicated by the context.
But let us notice also the testimony of others with reference to the possessive meaning of the expression testimony of Jesus. Though most Biblical commentators, with their view of the cessation of spiritual gifts early in the Christian Era, interpret the testimony of Jesus to be the testimony His people bear concerning Him, it is true that quite a few recognize the possessive force of the genitive, and hence give it the meaning of the witness Jesus bears in His own testimony through His servants the prophets.
W. Robertson Nicoll comments:
For the testimony or witness of (i.e., borne by) Jesus is (i.e., constitutes) the spirit of prophecy. This specifically defines the brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus as possessors of prophetic inspiration. The testimony of Jesus is practically equivalent to Jesus testifying (xxii. 20). It is the self-revelation of Jesus which moves the Christian prophets. He forms at once the impulse and subject of their utterances (cf. Ignat. Rom. viii.; Eph. vi.) . Furthermore, there is an implicit definition of the spirit of prophecy in its final phase as a revelation of Jesus Christ. Even the O.T. prophetic books, with which the Apocalypse claims to rank, were inspired by the spirit of the pre-existent Christ.The Expositor's Greek Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company), vol. 5, p. 465.
Dr. Friedrich Düsterdieck remarks:
From the closing words of the verse, it might be inferred, that they who have the testimony of Jesus are not believers in general, but only the prophets, so that the angel would call himself a fellow-servant only of the prophets, as Hengstenb. also (xxii. 6) understands by the δουλοις άυτου [doulois hautou, His servants] only prophets.Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Revelation of John. Translated by Henry E. Jacobs, in Meyer's Commentary on the New Testament, Revelation of John, p. 456.
The writings of Mrs. E. G. White make clear her interpretation of the expression testimony of Jesus as the spirit of prophecy in Revelation 19:10.
As the apostle beheld the final deliverance of the church, he was
carried away with the glory of the scene, and with deep reverence and awe fell at the feet of the angel to worship him. The heavenly messenger instantly raised him up, and gently reproved him, saying, See thou do it not; I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus; worship God; for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. The angel then showed John the heavenly city with all its splendor and dazzling glory, and he, enraptured and overwhelmed, and forgetful of the former reproof of the angel, again fell to worship at his feet. Again the gentle reproof was given, See thou do it not; for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of of them that keep the sayings of this book. Worship God.Early Writings, pp. 230, 231.
It was Christ that spoke to His people through the prophets. The apostle Peter, writing to the Christian church, says that the prophets prophesied of the grace that should come unto you, searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. It is the voice of Christ that speaks to us through the Old Testament. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 366, 367.
In the light of all the foregoing considerations we feel there is good reason for understanding the expression testimony of Jesus as His testimony, or the testimony, or witness, Christ bears in and through His servants to whom the prophetic gift has been granted.
But what about the expression spirit of prophecy? What does this mean? We have already noticed that it is used but once in the entire Bible, and that in Revelation 19:10. Furthermore, we have no exact counterpart of this expression in Holy Scripture to guide us. There are, of course, terms similar in meaning, such as the gift of the Holy Ghost. There are also other expressions similar in form, such as the Spirit of life (Rev. 11:11), the spirit of glory (1 Peter 4:14), the Spirit of grace (Heb. 10:29). But never do we find the expression spirit of prophecy in any other passage in the Sacred Scriptures.
As to the expression testimony of Jesus we have guidance, in that we have a divine definition. But let us lay this aside for the moment, and look to the Old and the New Testament records, to see whether we can ascertain what this expression means.
Some who are not too favorable to the Advent Movement tell us
that this should be understood not as the spirit of prophecy but as the spirit of this prophecy, their evident intent being that it means the book of Revelation itself. Reference is made to seven expressions in the last chapter of the Bible; namely, in this book (verses 18, 19), the sayings of the prophecy of this book (verses 7, 10), the sayings of this book (verse 9), the words of the prophecy of this book (verse 18), and the words of the book of this prophecy (verse 19).
So they say, inasmuch as John used a similar expression with the word this seven times, he naturally indicates what prophecy he has in mind. It is this prophecy; it is this book of the prophecythe Revelationso the expression should read, The spirit of this prophecy.
This claim, however, will not bear the test of investigation, because in the original Greek there is no justification for the word this in connection with the expression spirit of prophecy. The Bible translators saw no reason to use the word this, for it is not in the Greek text of this expression. It is a fact, however, that in the seven references made to the book of this prophecy, the word this is found not only in our English text but also in the Greek text. Hence, it must be clear to anyone, that if the apostle John in recording the words of the angel had meant this to be understood with the expression spirit of prophecy, he would have used it in order to convey that meaning, but he did not do so. Hence we affirm that the contention is unsupported by the evidence and that this is not what was meant.
A few commentators take the position that in a certain sense all the children of God have the spirit of prophecy; hence, this expression should be understood as applying to them. They argue that as the gifts are bestowed upon the children of God, all God's people are actuated by the spirit of prophecy. This argument, however, is not at all well founded. The fruit of the Spirit, God longs to see in the lives of all His children, and He has through the Divine Spirit distributed the gifts of the Spirit to His people. But while one individual has one gift and another person a different gift, all do not have the gift of healing; all do not have the gift of government; all do not have the gift of prophecy. In the very nature of the case, they could not all be in possession of all these gifts.
The Divine Record emphasizes the thought that the Spirit divides to every man severally as he will. In other words, the gifts are bestowed by the Lord. No man receives any specific spiritual gift because
he particularly wants it or claims it. God determines to whom He will entrust these gifts. The Word of the Lord further states that to one is given the word of wisdom; to another the gifts of healing. 1 Cor. 12:8, 9. So in the plan of God one here and one there is singled out from the believers, and made the depositories of these specific spiritual gifts. This is particularly true with the prophetic gift. Among commentators in good standing there are those who recognize the truth of this, as will be seen in the following extract:
For the testimony or witness of (i.e., borne by) Jesus is (i.e, constitutes) the spirit of prophecy. This specifically defines the brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus as possessors of prophetic inspiration. The testimony of Jesus is practically equivalent to Jesus testifying (xxii. 20). It is the self-revelation of Jesus (according to i. I, due ultimately to God) which moves the Christian prophets.W. Robertson Nicoll, The Expositor's Greek Testament, vol. 5, p. 465, on Revelation.
The spirit of prophecy is intimately related to the gift of prophecy.* The one is the Spirit which indites the prophecy; the other is the gift bestowed. They go together; they are inseparably connected. Where you find the one you find the other. The gift is the manifestation of that which the Spirit of God distributes to men, according to His own good purpose and plan. The apostle John not only gives us the definition of the term testimony of Jesus but also reveals in another passage in the Apocalypse something which keys the expression testimony of Jesus to the prophetic gift.
If, after considering the evidences presented in this article, some should still feel constrained to urge that the expression testimony of
* The term spirit of prophecy with reference to the prophetic gift is found in the ancient Jewish writings. The expression occurs in The Targums on the Book of Genesis. Both me Onkelos and the Jerusalem Targum on Gen. 41:38 read the same as follows: And Pharaoh said to his servants, Can we find a man like this, in whom is the spirit of prophecy from the lord? See The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan ben Uzziel on the Pentateuch; with the Fragments of the Jerusalem Targum, translated by J. W. Etheridge, vol. 1 (London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1862), pp. 131, 303. Also Edward Lewis Curtis says that the Targum or paraphrase on Chronicles explains somewhat similarly, except that the Sucathites are those covered with a spirit of prophecy.International Critical Commentary, vol. 10 (on Chronicles), p. 98.
Commenting on 2 Kings 22:14, Joseph Priestley remarks concerning Huldah: It pleased God to distinguish several women with the spirit of prophecy, as well as other great attainments, to shew that, in his sight, and especially in things of a spiritual nature, there is no essential pre-eminence in the male sex.Theological and Miscellaneous Works, vol. 11, p. 477.
Other writers who use the expression are:
James Darmesteter, Prophets of Israel, in his Selected Essays, p. 43. Houghton, Mifflin and Company, New York, 1895.
G. S. Streatfeild, The Incarnation, p. 41. London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1910.
Grace Aguilar, The Women of Israel, p. 325. George Routledge and Sons, Limited, [n. d.].
Andrew C. Zenos, Prophecy, Prophet, Funk and Wagnalls New Standard Bible Dictionary (1936 ed.), sec. 14, p. 743, (cf. sec. 6, p. 741).
Jesus should be understood somewhat in its objective rather than its subjective sense, we would reply that the objective might be considered, but only as a secondary meaning. We believe we have established the thought that the primary significance of this expression is subjectivethat the testimony of Jesus means Jesus' testimony, either in Himself or in and through the servants He might choose through whom to reveal Himself or His message. Certainly, after the prophet has received the divine illumination and goes forth with his message to man, in the giving of that message he is surely bearing testimony concerning his Lord and Master.
At this point we might compare certain expressions in Revelation 19 and 22. In both passages we read that John falls at the feet of the angel to worship him. In both places we read the counsel of the angel: See thou do it not; worship God. In both instances the angel says, I am thy fellowservant. But notice how the next expression is rendered. In Revelation 19 it is in one form and in Revelation 22 in another. In Revelation 19:10 we read, I am of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus; and in Revelation 22:9, I am of thy brethren the prophets. In this comparison we have further evidence concerning the testimony of Jesus being connected definitely with the prophetic gift. The angel is referring to those whom he calls his brethren. But who are they? In one place he says that they are the prophets. In the other they are those who have the testimony of Jesus. So we affirm that in the apostle John's thinking the expression testimony of Jesus is intimately associated with, and an integral part of, the prophetic gift.
We would repeat John's declaration. It seems that in order to prevent any misunderstanding as to the meaning he gives to the expression, the beloved apostle makes the matter unmistakably clear when he gives us the following equivalent statements: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus. Rev. 19:10. I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets. Rev. 22:9.
Here the testimony of Jesus is linked with the work of the prophets of God in a way that surely cannot be misunderstood. This fact, together with others already mentioned, should enable us clearly to understand why, in Revelation 19:10, the testimony of Jesus is called the spirit of prophecy.
[Under the above title there appeared the following from the pen of James White in the Signs of the Times, August 29, 1878, page 260.]
The prophets of God have been shown events of the past, present, and future. The best evidence of the truthfulness of those revelations is that they accorded with the facts in the case.
Some fifteen years since one of our preachers, whose name we withhold because of apostasy, gave a course of lectures in the town of Ionia, Michigan. About thirty persons embraced the third angel's message, but, in consequence of a want of thoroughness and power on the part of the preacher, these souls were not very strong in the message. Brother King, local elder of the Orleans church, and Brother Maynard, local elder of the Greenville church, proposed to go with us and hold a grove meeting. We immediately wrote a notice of the prospective meeting without consulting the brethren in Bushnell, and sent it to the Review and Herald.
The next Sabbath only seven of the Bushnell brethren met for worship, and, under this discouragement decided to give up their meeting. On leaving the house, however, they were met by a neighbor who had brought the Review from the postoffice which contained the appointment of the grove meeting the following week. On seeing this they determined to attend the meeting and also labor to have their brethren attend it, most of whom had given up the Sabbath.
When the meeting was held, however, there were only twenty of the Bushnell brethren present on the Sabbath. But as there was a general turnout from the Greenville and Orleans churches, our congregation was good and the meeting was an excellent one. On Sunday the attendance was large; all who had observed the Sabbath in that place were present, and also large representations from the Orleans and Greenville churches, besides a large number of outsiders. The meeting was such a decided success that the Bushnell brethren, who were all becoming deeply interested again requested that a two days' meeting be held there the following week.
Accordingly the next Sabbath all in that place who had kept the Sabbath met with us in the morning. Mrs. White arose, Bible in hand, and began to speak from a text of Scripture. She suddenly stopped speaking, laid aside her Bible, and began to address those who had embraced the Sabbath in that place. She had never before seen one of them with the natural eye, and of course could not call them by name. But she designated each brother and sister by his or her position, as the
one by that tree, or the one sitting by that brother or sister of the Greenville or Orleans Church, with whom she was personally acquainted, and whom she called by name.
She described each peculiar case, stating that the Lord had shown her their cases two years previous, and that, while she was just then speaking from the Bible, that view had flashed over her mind, like sudden lightning in a dark night distinctly revealing every object around. When she had spoken in this manner about one hour, the preacher who had been instrumental in bringing the Bushnell brethren to the light of the Sabbath, asked them if the things that had been spoken were true. He insisted that they should rise and testify to the facts in the case, urging that a strong test be made. Each person present knew whether or not the truth had been spoken in regard to his or her case. Either these things were true or they were not; if they were not true he, and all present, wished to know it; and if they were true they also wished to know it, and from that day have a settled faith in the testimonies.
The persons thus addressed accordingly arose one by one, and testified that their cases had been described better than they could have done it themselves. It was not enough for that intelligent company to know that the testimony given that day was correct in the majority of cases present, but it was necessary that it be proven correct in every particular of the case of each person, in order that their faith should be fully established. Had the testimony failed in a single instance, it would have destroyed the faith of all present. As it was they had a settled faith from that hour, and all took their position on the third message.
On Sunday morning we gave a discourse upon Christian Baptism. The preacher before referred to had been ordained by a tobacco-user in whom he now had no confidence; he therefore requested baptism and ordination at our hand. The congregation immediately repaired to a beautiful lake where we bowed down with Brethren King and Maynard upon the green grass, and according to the New Testament rule ordained the brother. We then baptized him, after which he then and there baptized his converts. A church was immediately organized, names enrolled, and proper officers chosen. From that day till this time the Bushnell church has been among the most decided of the good Michigan Conference.
By their fruits ye shall know them. This is a Bible test. The testimony was in harmony with the facts in the case, and the fruit has been excellent. An evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit, neither can a good tree bring forth evil fruit.
On May 30, 1847, James White published a twenty-four-page tract entitled A Word to the Little Flock. This contained three contributions from Mrs. White, which occupy approximately one third of the space. These are, in order of their appearance in the tract:
1. Pages 11 and 12, a letter to Bro. Eli Curtis, New York City, bearing the date line, Topsham, April 21, 1847. This letter was never reprinted.
2. Pages 14 to 18, Mrs. White's first vision, entitled To the Remnant Scattered Abroad. Certain deletions from this vision, as it appears in Experience and Views, pages 9-15 (Early Writings, pp. 13-20), have been the objects of attack by critics. (For comments on deletions, see Appendix J, pp. 621-623.)
3. Pages 18-20, a letter to Dear Brother Bates, bearing the date line, Topsham, Me., April 7, 1847. In the current work, Early Writings (pages 32-35), this material is entitled Subsequent Visions. Certain deletions from this letter, as it appears in Experience and Views, pages 15-19, have been the object of attack by critics. (For comments on deletions see Appendix J, pp. 626, 627.) Footnotes are by the publisher, James White, and the parenthetical number (666) in the Dear Brother Bates letter is probably by Bates. For comment on this see chapter 18.
The complete text of the twenty-four-page tract,
graphicallyreproduced, is found on the following pages:
The following articles were written for the Day-Dawn, which has been published at Canandaigua, New York, by O. R. L. Crosier. But as that paper is not now published, and as we do not know as it will be published again, it is thought best by some of us in Maine, to have them given in this form. I wish to call the attention of the little flock to those things which will very soon take place on this earth.
After our Savior had spoken of distress of nations, with perplexity, he said, And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads: for your redemption draweth nigh.Luke 21: 28.
We do not rejoice to know that our fellow men are distressed, and famishing for want of food: but, still, the true believer will look up, and rejoice, in view of redemption, while this sure token of the coming of the Son of Man is beginning to come to pass. When we look abroad to other nations, and see them looking to this country for food: and then look at the scarcity, and rising price of food in our own nation, we cannot doubt but that the time of trouble such as never was, is fast coming upon the nations of the earth.
Brunswick, Maine, May 30, 1847.
And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.Rev. 15: 1.
For more than one year, it has been my settled faith, that the seven last plagues were all in the future, and that they were all to be poured out before the first resurrection.
It may not be my duty to attempt to point out each plague separately, but only give some of my reasons for believing that they are yet to be poured out, prior to the second advent. By the light of the brightly shining lamp, (the bible) we can see the events of our past experience distinctly; while future events may not be seen in their order so clearly.
If it be true that the plagues are yet to be poured out upon the earth before the resurrection and change of the saints, has not the time fully come for us to see the light in relation to them, that we may better see, and feel the force of Christ's words? Watch ye, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. Luke 21: 36.
From the last clause of Rev. 15: 1, for in them is filled up the wrath of God, it seems clear that all the wrath of God to be poured out on the living wicked, is contained in the plagues. The vails of wrath will certainly be poured out, in the day of the wrath of God, and of the Lamb.
Jesus is clearly represented in the bible, in his different characters, offices, and works. At the crucifixion he was the meek, slain lamb.
From the ascension, to the shutting of the door, Oct. 1844, Jesus stood with wide-spread arms of love, and mercy; ready to receive, and plead the cause of every sinner, who would come to God by him.
On the 10th day of the 7th month, 1844, he passed into the Holy of Holies, where he has since been a merciful high priest over the house of God. But when his priestly work is finished there, he is to lay off his priestly attire, and put on his most kingly robes, to execute his judgment on the living wicked. Now where shall we look for the day of wrath, in which will be poured out the viols of wrath? Not to the crucifixion, nor while Jesus is fulfilling his Priesthood in the Heavenly Sanctuary. But, when he lays off his priestly attire, and puts on the garments of vengeance to repay fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; then the day of his wrath will have fully come. As the wrath of God on the living wicked is filled up in the plagues, and as the day of wrath is future, it follows that the plagues are all future. I think the following is a prophesy which has been fulfilling since Oct. 1844.
And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.
Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey; and the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.
And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor. Isaiah 59: 14, 15, 16.
I think that the next two verses, which speak of our Lord's putting on the garments of vengeance for clothing, to repay fury to his adversaries, point to the wrath of God in the seven last plagues. God has shown this day of wrath, in prophetic vision, to some of his servants by different symbols. Ezekiel saw it in the men with slaughter-weapons, slaying utterly, old and young.Eze. 9 : 5, 6. John saw it the seven last plagues; while Esdras saw it in the famine, pestilence, and the sword. The Bible contains many descriptions of this soon expected day of wrath.
A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh theesee Ps. 91: 510.
Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt;see Isa. 13: 611.
And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem (the saints): Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongues shall consume away in their mouth.Zech. 14: 12.
Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
The seed is rotted under their clods, the garners are laid desolate, the barns are broken down, for the corn is withered.see Joel, 1: 15-18; Jer. 30: 23, 24; Dan. 12: 1; Hab. 3: 12, 13; Zeph. 1: 17, 18; 2nd Esdras, 15: 10-13. I am quite sure that our Savior referred to the same, when he spake of distress of nations, with perplexity; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.Luke, 21: 26, 27. In the 36th verse we are exhorted to constant watchfulness and prayer, that we may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man: at his appearing.
This makes it sure, that the trouble comes before the second advent; for the saints are to escape it, before they stand before the Son of man. At the second appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, the living wicked, who are not swept off by the plagues, are to be destroyed by the brightness of his coming.2 Thess. 2: 8.
This is positive proof that the plagues come before, and not after the advent; for the wicked will not suffer by the plagues, after they are destroyed by the burning glory of his coming.
The plagues of Egypt, and the deliverance of ancient Israel from bondage, clearly shadow forth the seven last plagues, and the deliverance of the saints.
I will bring them (the saints) with a mighty hand and a stretched-out arm, and smite Egypt with plagues AS BEFORE, etc.2 Edras, 15: 11. Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, etc.Isa. 1: 27. see Eze. 20: 3338. The plagues were poured out on Egypt just before, and at the deliverance of Israel; so we may expect the last plagues on the wicked, just before and at the deliverance of the saints.
We may see by the 91st Psalm, that many of the wicked are to be cut off, while the saints are on the earth, in their mortal state; for they are to fall by thousands all around them.
The saints are exhorted not to fear the plagues at that time, for God will give his angels charge over them, so that no plague shall come nigh their dwellings; but such an exhortation would be useless, if the saints are immortal before the plagues are poured out.
The men with slaughter-weapons in their hands have this charge, come not near any man upon whom is the mark; which shows that the marked saints are in their mortal state, at the slaying time.
But the humble followers of the Lamb, have nothing to fear from the terrors of the day of his wrath; for they will be sealed before the plagues are poured out.
The man clothed with linen, marks the saints before the slaying commences.
The four angels are not to hurt the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.Rev. 7: 13.
The marking or sealing of the saints, seems to be shadowed forth by the marking of the side posts and upper door posts of the houses of all Israel, before the Lord passed through Egypt, to slay the first-born of the Egyptians.
Israel was safe; for God was their protector in that perilous night. The true Israel of God will be safely protected, when Christ rules the nations with a rod of iron, and dashes them in peices like a potter's vessel; for he has promised to give his angels charge over them, to keep them in all their ways.
Those who keep the word of Christ's patience in this time of waiting, and trial, will then be kept FROM the hour of temptation, (or trial) which shall come on all the WORLD, to try them that dwell upon the earth.Rev. 3: 10.
Those who do every well known duty to God, and his children: and confess their faults to God, and to one another: and are healed from their faults: will safely rest in the arms of the holy angels, while the burning wrath of God is being poured out on those who have rejected his counsel, and commandments. But I must leave this subject for the present, and close with the exhortation of the prophet:
Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought
his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger.Zeph. 2: 3.
The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. Joel, 3: 16.
Second Advent writers and lecturers, have usually confounded the voice of God, which is to shake the heavens and the earth, with the voice of the Son of God, which will call forth the saints. But I think, that we shall clearly see, that here are two distinct events. The voice of God, that is to shake the heavens and the earth, comes out of Zion, and is uttered from Jerusalem; but before the voice of Jesus calls forth the sleeping saints, he is to leave the heavenly Sanctuary, and descend from heaven, with his holy angels. Then, and not till then, will he send his angels to gather his elect, from the four winds; while his voice calls them forth to meet him in the air. If the voice of God, which is to be uttered from Jerusalem, raises the saints, then they will be caught up to meet the Lord in Jerusalem. But I think we shall all agree on this point, that Jesus is first to descend from heaven with the angels: then commission the heavenly host, to conduct the saints to meet him in the air, while his voice calls them forth.Mat. 24: 30, 31. Thess. 4: 16, 17. 2 Thess. 1: 7.
At the pouring out of the seventh vial, Rev. 16: 17, we read: and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. At the same time, there is a great earthquake, produced by the voice from the throne, which shakes down the cities of the nations, and removes the islands and mountains. This voice from the throne, which causes the earthquakes, must be the same as the voice uttered from Jerusalem, which shakes the heavens and the earth.Joel, 3: 16, and Jer. 25: 30, 31. It seems clear that this voice which is to come out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, is not the voice of the Son of God, that raises the saints; for if the voice that raises the saints, comes out of the heavenly temple, from the throne: then Jesus remains in heaven, on the throne, and calls his elect up to meet him in the temple; which is not in harmony with the teachings of St. Paul.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the arch-angel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first;
Then we, which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.Thess. 4: 16, 17. Therefore, I think we are safe, in believing that we shall hear the voice of God, which will shake the heavens and the earth, before Jesus descends from heaven, with his angels and trumpet, to awake and gather the elect in the air.
Will not the day and hour of Jesus' appearing, be made known by the voice of the Eternal God?
That the day and hour will be known by the true children of God, and no others, appears plain from the fact, that we are exhorted to waatch for it; and if we do not watch, Jesus will come on us as a thief,
and we shall not know what hour he will come upon us. So, that none but those who truly watch, and hold fast, will know the true time.Rev. 3: 2, 3. Here I will introduce a quotation from The True Midnight Cry, of Aug. 22, 1844.
Concerning the time of that (Christ's) coming, he says, in Mark, 13: 32, But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. It is thought by many, that this passage proves that men are never to know the time. But if it proves this, it likewise proves, that the Son of God, himself, is never to know the time; for the passage declares precisely the same concerning him, that it does concerning angels and men. But can any person believe that our glorious Lord, to whom all power in heaven and earth is given, is, and will remain ignorant of the time until the very moment that he comes to judge the world?
If not, then certainly this text can never prove that men may not be made to understand the time. An old English version of the passage, reads, But that day and hour no man maketh known, neither the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
This is the correct reading according to several of the ablest critics of the age. The word know is used here, in the same sense as it is by Paul in 1 Cor. 2: 2. Paul well understood many other things, besides Christ and him crucified, but he determined to make known nothing else among them. So in the passage first quoted, it is declared that none but God the Father, maketh known the day and hour; that is, the definite time of the second coming of his Son. And this necessarily implies that God makes the time known.
I believe the above, to be a fair and correct view of the subject, and that the Father will make known the true time of the advent, without the agency of men, angels, or the Son. The following prophesy is to the point.
Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth?
Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord God; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision.
For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel.
For I am the Lord: I will SPEAK, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged; for in your days, O rebellious house, will I SAY THE WORD, and will perform it, saith the Lord God.Eze. 12: 2225.
The burden of this prophesy is time, concerning which, there has been true, and false visions. The true vision (or light) on time, was written on the Chart, or table.Hab. 2: 2. God approved of the proclamation of 1843, and the 10th day of the 7th month 1844: by the pouring out of the Holy Ghost. Since the 7th month 1844, the rebellious house of Israel, have been removing the land-marks, and writing, and proclaiming false visions; but we all know that it has been the work of man, and not of God. These flattering divinings, have cheered on the rebellious house of Israel to some extent; but the work has not had the holy, sanctifying influence, as when God's hand was in the work on time.
The proverb that every vision faileth,s is, or soon will be complete; and God will make it, and the false visions to cease, by speaking from heaven, and giving his people the true time. For I am the Lord: I
will SPEAK, and the word that I shall speak, shall come to pass; etc.
Now if the burden of this prophecy is time; I think all will admit, that the word that the Lord God is to speak, is the true time. The false visions that have been written, and proclaimed by the rebellious house of Israel, have failed: but the word to be spoken by the Lord God, will be the true time, and will surely come to pass.
Jesus has left us the sure promise, that his Father will make known the day and the hour of his coming. The Lord God has promised to speak, and assures us that the word that he will speak, shall come to pass. With such testimony as this before us, from the Father and Son, what other conclusion can we come to, than that the word which the Father is to speak, is the true time, and when he speaks, his voice will make it known to his saints?
As the signs in the sun, moon, and stars, have been literal, the shaking of the powers of the heavens, Mat. 24: 29, must also be literal.
This sign is not in the past, and as it is a sign, it must come prior to the advent itself.
Therefore, it is clear, that this last sign will appear when the Lord roars out of Zion, and shakes the heavens and the earth. We believe that the signs in Rev. 6: 1214, are the same as in Mat. 24: 29, and Mark, 13: 24, 25. Then the shaking of the powers of the heavens, Mat. 24: 29, is the same as the heavens departing as a scroll, when it is rolled together. Rev. 6: 14: for they both follow the falling of the stars.
Now what is this heaven that is to be shaken and rolled together as a scroll? We may not see this event so clearly now, as we shall about the time of its fulfilment; but still, it is our duty to receive, and cherish all the light that we can see on this, or any other future event. As we travel onward toward the Holy City, our burning lamps discover new objects: but we cannot see all at once. If we reject a little light, because we cannot see the whole clearly at once, it will displease our heavenly leader; and we shall be left in the dark. But if we cherish the light, as fast as it is our Lord's will to open it to us, he will increase the light; and our souls will feast upon the opening truths of the blessed bible.
The word heaven, is applied to at least four places or things in the scriptures. 1st, It is applied to Paradise, where St. Paul was taken in vision, 2 Cor. 12: 24. 2nd. To the region of the sun, moon, and stars, Gen. 1: 817. 3d. To the atmosphere which encompasses this earth, in which the fowls of heaven fly. Rev. 19: 17, 18. And 4th, To the church of God on earth. Rev. 14: 6, 7. It cannot be Paradise, nor the region of the heavenly lights, neither the church of God on earth, that is to be shaken and rolled together as a scroll: therefore, it must be the air around the earth, in which the fowls of heaven fly.
And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the AIR; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven from the throne, saying, It is done. Rev. 16: 17.
We may now see that it is the seventh vial, and voice of God, which will shake the powers of the heavens, and cause the great earthquake or the shaking of the earth: and that this event constitutes the last literal sign, just before the sign of the Son of man appears in heaven.
It seems clear that all the vials, the voice of God from the throne, the voices, and thunders, and lingtnings, and the great earthquake, and the falling of the cities of the nations, and the removing of the mountains and the islands, are to take place before the advent.
This view no doubt, will at once be rejected by many who profess to be looking for Jesus every day and hour; but I think it will appear very plain, by comparing Rev. 16: 1721, with chap. 6: 1417.
After the heavens depart as a scroll when rolled together, and the mountains and islands are moved out of their places, the kings of the earth, and great men, etc. hide in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains, from the awful glory of the coming Jesus, attended by all the holy angels; and call for the rocks and mountains to fall on them, and hide them from the brightness of his coming (which is to destroy all the living wicked at his coming.2 Thess. 2: 8.); and overwhelmed with anguish, in view of their expected fate, (when Christ and the angels draw near the earth to raise and gather the elect,) they cry out: For the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?Rev. 6: 17.
Here we see that the wicked who are hid, are still looking forward to the time when the saints alone will be able to stand before Christ as his appearing. If Christ should burst in upon the world as suddenly and unexpectedly as some teach, no one would think of hiding in caves, dens, and rocks: for they are not within their reach. This shows that an entire change must take place in the earth's surface prior to the second advent, by the voice of God, in order for the wicked to have a chance to hide from the expected Lamb, in caves, dens, and rocks OF the mountains. When the Father utters his voice from the throne, which is to cause a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth: then there will be a chance for all the wicked, who are not swept off by the former plagues, to hide from the presence of the Lamb. But rocks, caves, and dens, will not shelter them from the burning glory of that holy throng, for all the living wicked are to be destroyed with the brightness of that coming.- 2 Thess. 2: 8.
God has promised to be the hope of his people, at the time his voice shakes the heavens and the earth. His children have nothing to fear from the terrors of that day; for they will be sheltered from the falling of cities, mountains, and houses. God's promise cannot fail.
That will be a glad day for the saints; for they will then be delivered from every outward foe, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, to prepare them to gaze on Jesus, and stand before him at his appearing. Then the saints will better know the real worth of the blessed hope; and they will rejoice that they have been accounted worthy to suffer reproach for clinging close to the truth, and strictly obeying all the commandments of God. When God spake to Moses in Sinai, his voice then shook the earth; and we are taught by St. Paul, in Heb. 12: 2227, that he is yet to speak from the City of the living God, and shake not only the earth, but also heaven. When God spake to Moses, the glory rested on him so that he had to cover his face with a vail, before his brethren could stand before him, and hear the word of the Lord from his mouth. And may we not expect the same effect, from the same cause? If so, then when God speaks from the Holy City to all his people, as he did to Moses: all will have the glory poured on them, as Moses had it poured on him. This out-pouring of the Holy Ghost must take place before the second advent, to prepare us for the glory of that scene: for in our present state, none of us could stand a single moment before the brightness of that coming, which is to destroy the man of sin. At the presence of one angel at the resurrection of Christ, the Roman guard fell like dead men to the ground. It is therefore necessary, that the saints should share largely in the
glory of God, to prepare them to stand before the Son of God, when he comes with all the holy angels with him.
Our present trying, waiting, watching state, is represented by a dark night; and the coming glory before us, by the morning. There are two parts to the morning: first, the dawn of day, and second, full day light, which is completed by the rising of the sun. So in the glad morning before us; the day of rest will dawn at the voice of God, when his light, and glory, rest upon us; then we shall rise from glory to glory, till Christ appears, to clothe us with immortality, and give us eternal life. O, Glory! Hallelujah!! my poor heart is set on fire for the kingdom, while I dwell on this sweet prospect, before the true believer. If we hold fast but a few days more, the dark shades of night will vanish before the glory of the preparatory scenes of the coming of the Son of man.
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, etc.Dan. 12: 1, 2.
We are taught by some, that the standing up of Michael, the time of trouble, and the delivering of the saints are in the future; and that all these events are to be accomplished at the second appearing of Christ. Others teach, that Michael stood up on the 10th day of the 7th month, 1844, and that since that time we have been passing through the time of trouble, such as never was; and that the deliverance of the saints, is at the first resurrection. But as I cannot harmonize either of these views with the bible, I wish to humbly give my brethren and sisters my view of these events. It is clear to me, that here are four distinct events, all in the future. 1st. The standing up of Michael. 2nd. The time of trouble. 3d. The deliverance of the saints; and 4th. The resurrection of the just, to everlasting life.
That Jesus rose up, and shut the door, and came to the Ancient of days, to receive his kingdom, at the 7th month, 1844, I fully believe. See Luke 13: 25; Mat. 25: 10; Dan. 7: 13, 14. But the standing up of Michael, Dan. 12: 1, appears to be another event, for another purpose. His rising up in 1844, was to shut the door, and come to his Father, to receive his kingdom, and power to reign; but Michael's standing up, is to manifest his kingly power, which he already has, in the destruction of the wicked, and in the deliverance of his people. Michael is to stand up at the time that the last power in chap. 11, comes to his end, and none to help him. This power is the last that treads down the true church of God: and as the true church is still troden down, and cast out by all christendom, it
follows that the last oppressive power has not come to his end; and Michael has not stood up. This last power that treads down the saints is brought to view in Rev. 13 : 11-18. His number is 666. Much of his power, deception, wonders, miracles,, and oppression, will doubtless by manifested during his last struggle under the seven last plagues, about the time of his coming to his end. This is clearly shadowed forth by the magicians of Egypt, deceiving Pharoah and his host, in performing most of the miracles, that Moses performed by the power of God. That was just before the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage; and may we not expect to see as great a manifestation of the power of the Devil, just before the glorious deliverance of the saints? If Michael stood up in 18-44, what power came to his end, and none to help him, AT THAT TIME? The trouble that is to come at the time that Michael stands up, is not the trial, or trouble of the saints; but it is a trouble of the nations of the earth, caused by seven last plagues. So when Jesus has finished his work of atonement, in the Holy of Holies, he will lay off his priestly attire, and put on his most kingly robes and crown, to ride forth, and manifest his kingly power, in ruling the nations, and dashing them in pieces.
We believe, that our great High Priest is attired as the Jewish high priest was. See Lev. 16 c. But when Michael stands up to reign, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS, he has on, many crowns, in one crown. Rev. 19 : 16.
The deliverance of the living saints, is before the first resurrection; for it is spoken of, as a separate event.
If the deliverance of the living saints is not until the first resurrection; why is the resurrection spoken of, as a separate event, after the deliverance? It seems clear that the deliverance is at the voice of God. Then, from that time till Christ appears, the saints will have power over the nations, who remain of the former plagues.
Alas ! for that day is great, so that none is like it ; it is even the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it. Jer. 30 : 7.
By comparing Gen. c. 32, with Jer. 30 : 7, and the prophesy of Obadiah, we may see that Jacob represents believers, and Esau represents unbelievers. I doubt not, but these two characters will be brought out, and clearly seen in the closing strife with the Image Beast, which is just before us. See Bev. 13 : 11-18. Jacob's trouble was when the messengers returning to him, said, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him. Then Jacob was greatly afraid, and distressed. Gen. 32 : 6, 7.
The true saints will be brought into a similar situation, at the time of the fulfilment of Rev. 13 ; 11-18.
Not that the saints will be killed; for then none would remain till the change: but to fulfil this prophesy, a decree must go forth to kill the saints, which will cause fear, and distress. When Jacob was troubled, he wrestled with the angels until the breaking of the day. Gen. 32 : 34. In the last closing strife with the Image Beast, when a decree goes forth that as many as will not worship the image of the beast shall be killed, the saints will cry day and night, and be delivered by the voice of God. Then the house of Jacob shall be a fire. and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them, and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau ; for the Lord hath spoken it. Obadiah, 18th verse. I have not been able to see any thing in our past and present history, which answers to Jacob's trouble, and the day and night cry of the elect. Luke 17 : 7. I have been astonished at some of our brethren, while they have urged us to go about the work of crying day and night for deliverance. Not long since, I was in a meeting where the sentiment prevailed, that if all would then go about the work they might pray Christ down to the earth in twenty-four hours. It is clear that when the time comes for this cry, that the elect will have the spirit of prayer poured upon them. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and suplication, etc. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; See Zech. 12: 14; Eze. 7 : 15, 16.
When Jesus has finished his work in the Heavenly Sanctuary and comes out upon the great white cloud, with his sharp sickle, then will be the time for the day and night cry, which is represented by the angel's crying to Jesus, to thrust in his sharp sickle, and reap.Rev. 14 : 14, 15.
The desire, and prayer of every pure soul is, Thy kingdom come. But the special mourning, praying time of the saints, is evidently yet to come.
The 13th chapter of Revelation, and the first five verses of the 14th, is one connected chain of past, present, and future events, down to the complete redemption of the 14000 : then the 6th verse commences another chain of events, which carry us down through the history of God's people in this mortal state. John had a view of the beast and his image, as recorded in chapter 13th ; and how natural it would be for him to view on a little further, and see the 144000, who had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, standing on mount Zion with the Lamb; etc., as recorded in chapter 14 : 1-5. So I think the division should be between the 5th, and 6th verses of the 14th chapter ; and the 6th verse commences a series of events, relative to the successive messages of holy advent truth.
All classes of second advent believers agree, that the angel brought to view in the 6th, and 7th verses of this chapter, represents
the advent message, to the church and world. If this is true, then all five of the angels brought to view in this chapter, represent five distinct messages, prior to the advent, or we are left without a rule to interpret this chapter.
The work of the second angel, was to show to the advent host that Babylon had fallen. And as a large portion of them did not learn this fact, until the power of the MIDNIGHT CRY waked them up, just in time for them to make their escape from the churches, before the 10th day came on ; it follows, that the second angel brought us to the 7th month, 1844. The third angel's message was, and still is, a WARNING to the saints to hold fast, and not go back, and receive the marks which the virgin band got rid of, during the second angel's cry.
And has not the true message for God's people, since the 7th month 1844, been just such a warning ? It certainly has. I cannot agree with those who make two messages of the cry, Babylon the great, is fallen, and the voice, Come out of her my people ; for every sermon that was printed, or preached on this subject, contained them both in one message. The 12th verse reads, Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, etc. Where did you see them, John ? Why, here during this third angel. As the patient waiting time has been since the 7th month 1844, and as the class that keep the sabbath, etc. have appeared since that time : it it plain that we live in the time of the third angel's message.
The last two angels are messages of prayer. We shall, no doubt, better understand them at the time of their fulfilment.
Topsham, April 21, 1847.
To Bro. Eli Curtis, New York City.
Dear Bro :In the Day-Dawn, Vol. 1, Nos. 10 and 11, you kindly invite me to address you a communication.
The only apology I have to offer for not writing before is, I have not had a clear duty to write till now. You will, I doubt not, excuse me for addressing you so publicly, at this time. I have been much interested in your writings in the Dawn, and Extra ; and fully agree with you on some points, but on others we widely differ.
Your Extra is now on the stand before me ; and I beg leave to state to you, and the scattered flock of God, what I have seen in vision relative to these things on which you have written. I fully agree with you, that there will be two literal resurrections, 1000 years apart.
I also agree with you, that the new heavens, and the new earth, (Rev. 21 : 1. Isa. 65 : 17. 2 Pet. 3 : 13.) will not appear, till after the wicked dead are raised, and destroyed, at the end of the 1000 years. I saw that Satan was loosed out of his prison, at the end of the 1000 years, just at the time the wicked dead were raised ; and that Satan deceived them by making them believe that they could take the Holy City from
the saints. The wicked all marched up around the amp of the saints, with Satan at their head ; and when they were ready to make an effort to take the City, the Almighty breathed from his high throne, on the City, a breath of devouring fire, which came down on them, and burnt them up, root and branch.
And I saw, that as Christ is the vine, and his children the branches : so Satan is the root, and his children are the branches ; and at the final destruction of Gog and Magog, the whole wicked host will be burnt up, root and branch, and cease to exist. Then will appear the new heaven and the new earth. Then will the saints build houses, and plant vineyards. I saw, that all the righteous dead were raised by the voice of the Son of God, at the first resurrection ; and all that were raised at the second resurrection, were burnt up, and ceased to exist.
You think, that those who worship before the saint's feet, (Rev. 3 : 9), will at last be saved. Here I must differ with you ; for God shew me that this class were professed Adventists, who had fallen away, and crucified to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. And in the hour of temptation, which is yet to come, to show out every one's true character, they will know that they are forever lost ; and overwhelmed with anguish of spirit, they will bow at the saint's feet.
You also think, that Michael stood up, and the time of trouble commenced, in the spring of 1844.
The Lord has shown me in vision, that Jesus rose up, and shut the door, and entered the Holy of Holies, at the 7th month 1844 ; but Michael's standing up (Dan. 12 : 1) to deliver his people, is in the future.
This, will not take place, until Jesus has finished his priestly office in the Heavenly Sanctuary, and lays off his priestly attire, and puts on his most kingly robes, and crown, to ride forth on the cloudy chariot, to thresh the heathen in anger, and deliver his people.
Then Jesus will have the sharp sickle in his hand, (Rev. 14 : 14) and then the saints will cry day and night to Jesus on the cloud, to thrust in his sharp sickle and reap.
This, will be the time of Jacob's trouble, (Jer. 30 : 58) out of which, the saints will be delivered by the voice of God.
I believe the Sanctuary, to be cleansed at the end of the 2300 days, is the New Jerusalem Temple, of which Christ is a minister. The Lord shew me in vision, more than one year ago, that Brother Crosier had the true light, on the cleansing of the Sanctuary, &c ; and that it was his will, that Brother C. should write out the view which he gave us in the Day-Star, Extra, February 7, 1846. I feel fully authorized by the Lord, to recommend that Extra, to every saint.
I pray that these lines may prove a blessing to you, and all the dear children who may read them.
* * E. G. WHITE.
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh : and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see Visions, and your old men shall dream dreams : And on my servants, and on my hand-maidens, I will pour out in those days of my Spirit ; and they shall prophesy : And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath ; blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come. Acts 2 : 1720.
When the day of Pentecos was fully come, and the disciples were all with one accord in one place, filled with the Holy Ghost, Peter standing up with the eleven, quoted the above scripture from the prophesy of Joel. His object was to show that the marvelous work which was wrought in the disciples at that time, was a subject of prophesy, and the work of God. I conclude that there is not one Second Advent believer who will take the ground, that all of the prophecy of Joel, quoted by Peter, was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost ; for there is not the least evidence that any part of it was then fulfilled, only that part which related to the pouring out of the Holy Ghost. We cannot believe that the signs in the sun, and the moon, etc, were seen on that day, or that there were any having visions, or dreaming among them at that exciting hour ; for there is no proof of any such thing. A part of this prophecy was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost ; and ALL of it is to be fulfilled IN THE LAST DAYS, SAITH GOD. Dreams and Visions are among the signs that precede the great and notable days of the Lord. And as the signs of that day have been, and still are fulfilling, it must be clear to every unprejudiced mind, that the time has fully come, when the children of God may expect dreams and visions from the Lord.
I know that this is a very unpopular position to hold on this subject, even among Adventists ; but I choose to believe the word of the Lord on this point, rather than the teachings of men. I am well aware of the prejudice in many minds on this subject ; but as it has been caused principally by the preaching of popular Adventists, and the lack of a correct view of this subject ; I have humbly hoped to cut it away, with the sword of the Spirit, from some minds, at least. We will bear it in mind, that these dreams and visions, are to be in the LAST DAYS. As there cannot be any days later than the last, it is certain that we may expect just such revelations, until Christ appears in the clouds of heaven. I know that it is a very popular opinion among Adventists, that there was nothing more to be revealed by visions, after John closed up the revelation in A. D. 96. But if this opinion is correct, then the last days ended while John was on the isle of Patmos.
The bible is a perfect, and complete revelation. It is our only rule of faith and practice. But this is no reason, why God may not show the past, present, and future fulfilment of his word, in these last days, by dreams and visions ; according to Peter's testimony. True visions are given to lead us to God, and his written word ; but those that are given for a new rule of faith and practice, separate from the bible, cannot be from God, and should be rejected.
The following vision was published in the Day-Star, more than a year ago. By the request of friends, it is republished in this little work, with scripture references, for the benefit of the little flock.
I hope that all who may read it, will take the wise, and safe course, pointed out to us by the following passages of scripture. Despise not
prophesyings. Prove all things ; hold fast that which is good. Paul. To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah 8 : 20.
As God has shown me in holy vision the travels of the Advent people to the Holy City, and the rich reward to be given those who wait the return of their Lord from the wedding, it may be my duty to give you a short sketch of what God has revealed to me. The dear saints have got many trials to pass through. But our light afflictions, which are but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glorywhile we look not at the things which are seen, for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. I have tried to bring back a good report, and a few grapes from the heavenly Canaan, for which many would stone me, as the congregation bade stone Caleb and Joshua for their report, (Num. 14 : 10.) But I declare to you, my brethren and sisters in the Lord, it is a goodly land, and we are well able to go up and possess it.
While praying at the family altar, the Holy Ghost fell on me, and I seemed to be rising higher and higher, far above the dark world. I turned to look for the Advent people in the world, but could not find themwhen a voice said to me, Look again, and look a little higher. At this I raised my eyes and saw a straight and narrow path,(a) cast up high above the world. On this path the Advent people were travelling to the City, which was at the farther end of the path. They had a bright light set up behind them at the first end of the path, which an angel told me was the Midnight Cry.(b) This light shone all along the path, and gave light for their feet so they might not stumble. And if they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, who was just before them, leading them to the City, they were safe. But soon some grew weary, and they said the City was a great way off, and they expected to have entered it before. Then Jesus would encourage them by raising his glorious right arm, and from his arm came a glorious light which waved over the Advent band, and they shouted Hallelujah! Others rashly denied the light behind them, and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and got their eyes off the mark and lost sight of Jesus, and fell off the path down in the dark and wicked world below. It was just as impossible for them to get on the path again and go to the City, as all the wicked world which God had rejected. They fell all the way along the path one after another, until we heard the voice of God like many waters,(c) which gave us the day and hour of Jesus' coming.(d) The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake.(e) When God spake the time, he poured on us the Holy Ghost, and our faces began to light up and shine with the glory of God as Moses' did when he came down from Mount Sinai.(f)
By this time the 144,000 were all sealed and perfectly united. On their foreheads was written, God, New Jerusalem, and a glorious Star containing Jesus' new name.(g) At our happy, holy state the wicked
( a) Mat, 7 : 14.
( b) Mat. 25: 6.
( c) Eze. 43 : 2. Joel, 3 : 16. Rev. 16 : 17.
( d) Eze. 12 : 25. Mark, 13 : 32.
( e) John, 12 : 29.
( f) Isa. 10 : 27.
( g) Rev. 3 : 12.
were enraged, and would rush violently up to lay hands on us to thrust us in prison, when we would stretch forth the hand in the name of the Lord, and the wicked would fall helpless to the ground. Then it was that the synagogue of Satan knew that God had loved us who could wash one another's feet, and salute the holy brethren with a holy kiss, and they worshipped at our feet.(h) Soon our eyes were drawn to the East, for a small black cloud had appeared about half as large as a man's hand, which we all knew was the Sign of the Son of Man.(i) We all in solemn silence gazed on the cloud as it drew nearer, lighter, and brighter, glorious, and still more glorious, till it was a great white cloud.(j) The bottom appeared like fire, a rainbow was over it, around the cloud were ten thousand angels singing a most lovely song. And on it sat the Son of Man,(k) on his head were crowns,(l) his hair was white and curly and lay on his shoulders.(m) His feet had the appearance of fire,(n) in his right hand was a sharp sickle,(o) in his left a silver trumpet.(p) His eyes were as a flame of fire,(q) which searched his children through and through. Then all faces gathered paleness, and those that God had rejected gathered blackness. Then we all cried out, who shall be able to stand? Is my robe spotless? Then the angels ceased to sing, and there was some time of awful silence,(r) when Jesus spoke. Those who have clean hands and a pure heart shall be able to stand, my grace is sufficient for you. At this, our faces lighted up, and joy filled every heart. And the angels struck a note higher and sung again while the cloud drew still nearer the earth. Then Jesus' silver trumpet sounded, as he descended on the cloud, wrapped in flames of fire(s) He gazed on the graves of the sleeping saints, then raised his eyes and hands to heaven and cried out,(t) Awake! Awake! Awake! ye that sleep in the dust, and arise. Then there was a mighty earthquake. The graves opened, and the dead came up clothed with immortality. The 144,000 shouted, Hallelujah ! as they recognized their friends who had been torn from them by death, and in the same moment we were changed and caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.(u) We all entered the cloud together, and were seven days ascending to the sea of glass, when Jesus brought along the crowns and with his own right hand placed them on our heads.(v) He gave us harps of gold and palms of victory.(w) Here on the sea of glass the 144,000 stood in a perfect square. Some of them had very bright crowns, others not so bright. Some crowns appeared heavy with stars, while others had but few. All were perfectly satisfied with their crowns. And they were all clothed with a glorious white mantle from their shoulders to their feet.(x) Angels were all about us as we marched over the sea of glass to the gate of the City. Jesus raised his mighty glorious arm, laid hold of the gate and swung it back on its golden hinges, and said to us, You have washed your robes in my blood, stood stifly for my truth, enter in.(y) We all marched in and felt we had a perfect right in the City. Here we saw the tree of life, and the throne of God. Out of the throne came a pure river of water, and on either side of the river was the tree of life.(z) On one side of the river was a trunk of a tree and a trunk on the other side of the river, both of pure transparent gold.
( h) Rev. 3 ; 9.
( i) Mat. 24 ; 30.
( j) Rev. 14 ; 14.
( k) Luke, 21 ; 27.
( l) Rev. 19 ; 12.
( m) Rev. 1 ; 14.
( n) Rev. 1 ; 15.
( o) Rev. 14 ; 14.
( p) Thess. 4 ; 16.
( q) Rev 1 ; 14.
( r) Rev. 8 ; 1.
( s) 2 Thess. 1 : 7,8
( t) John, 5 ; 25.
( u) Thess. 4; 17.
( v) 2 Esdras, 2; 43.
( w) Rev. 15; 2. Rev. 7 ; 9.
( x) Rev. 7 : 9.
( y) Isa. 26 : 2.
( z) Rev. 22; 1,2.
At first I thought I saw two trees. I looked again and saw they were united at the top in one tree. So it was the tree of life, on either side of the river of life ; its branches bowed to the place where we stood ; and the fruit was glorious, which looked like gold mixed with silver. We all went under the tree, and sat down to look at the glory of the place, when brothers Fitch and Stockman, who had preached the gospel of the kingdom, and whom God had laid in the grave to save them, came up to us and asked us what we had passed through while they were sleeping. We tried to call up our greatest trials, but they looked so small compared with the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory(aa) that surrounded us, that we could not speak them out,(bb) and we all cried out Hallelujah, heaven is cheap enough, and we touched our glorious harps and made heaven's arches ring. And as we were gazing at the glories of the place our eyes were attracted upwards to something that had the appearance of silver. I asked Jesus to let me see what was within there. In a moment we were winging our way upward, and entering in ; here we saw good old father Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Daniel, and many like them. And I saw a vail with a heavy fringe of silver and gold, as a border on the bottom ; it was very beautiful. I asked Jesus what was within the vail. He raised it with his own right arm, and bade me take heed. I saw there a glorious ark, overlaid with pure gold, and it had a glorious border, resembling Jesus' crowns ; and on it were two bright angelstheir wings were spread over the ark as they sat on each end, with their faces turned towards each other and looking downward.(cc) In the ark, beneath where the angels' wings were spread, was a golden pot of Manna, of a yellowish cast ; and I saw a rod, which Jesus said was Aaron's ; I saw it bud, blossom and bear fruit.(dd) And I saw two long golden rods, on which hung silver wires, and on the wires most glorious grapes ; one cluster was more than a man here could carry. And I saw Jesus step up and take of the manna, almonds, grapes and pomegranates, and bear them down to the city, and place them on the supper table. I stepped up to see how much was taken away, and there was just as much left ; and we shouted HallelujahAmen. We all descended from this place down into the city, and with Jesus at our head we all descended from the city down to this earth, on a great and mighty mountain, which could not bear Jesus up, and it parted asunder, and there was a mighty plain.(ee) Then we looked up and saw the great city, with twelve foundations, twelve gates, three on each side, and an angel at each gate, and all cried out, the city, the great city, it's coming, it's coming down from God, out of heaven ;(ff) and it came and settled on the place where we stood. Then we began to look at the glorious things outside of the city. There I saw most glorious houses, that had the appearance of silver, supported by four pillars, set with pearls, most glorious to behold, which were to be inhabited by the saints;(gg) in them was a golden shelf ; I saw many of the saints go into the houses, take off their glittering crowns and lay them on the shelf, then go out into the field by the houses to do something with the earth;(hh) not as we have to do with the earth here ; no, no. A glorious light shone all about their heads, and they were continually shouting and offering praises to God.
( aa) 2 Cor. 4 ; 17.
( bb) Isa. 65; 17.
( cc) Ex. 25; 18, 20. Heb. 9; 35.
( dd) Num. 17; 8.
( ee) Zech. 14; 4.
( ff) Rev. 21, 1013.
( gg) Isa. 65, 21.
( hh) Isa. 65 : 21.
And I saw another field full of all kinds of flowers, and as I plucked them, I cried out, well they will never fade. Next I saw a field of tall grass, most glorious to behold ; it was living green, and had a reflection of silver and gold, as it waved proudly to the glory of King Jesus. Then we entered a field full of all kinds of beaststhe lion, the lamb, the leopard and the wolf, altogether in perfect union;(ii) we passed through the midst of them, and they followed on peaceably after. Then we entered a wood, not like the dark woods we have here, no, no ; but light, and all over glorious ; the branches of the trees waved to and fro, and we all cried out, we will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in this woods.(jj) We passed through the woods, for we were on our way to Mount Zion. As we were travelling along, we met a company who were also gazing at the glories of the place. I noticed red as a border on their garments ; their crowns were brilliant ; their robes were pure white. As we greeted them, I asked Jesus who they were? He said they were martyrs that had been slain for him. With them was an innumerable company of little ones ; they had a hem of red on their garments also.(kk) Mount Zion was just before us, and on the Mount sat a glorious temple, and about it were seven other mountains, on which grew roses and lillies,(ll) and I saw the little ones climb, or if they chose, use their little wings and fly to the top of the mountains, and pluck the never fading flowers. There were all kinds of trees around the temple to beautify the place ; the box, the pine, the fir. the oil, the myrtle, the pomegranate, and the fig tree bowed down with he weight of its timely figs, that made the place look all over glorious.(mm) And as we were about to enter the holy temple, Jesus raised his lovely voice and said, only the 144,000 enter this place, and we shouted Hallelujah.
Well, bless the Lord. dear brethren and sisters, it is an extra meeting for those who have the seal of the living God(nn) This temple was supported by seven pillars, all of transparent gold, set with pearls most glorious. The glorious things I saw there, I cannot describe to you. O, that I could talk in the language of Canaan, then could I tell a little of the glory of the upper world ; but, if faithful, you soon will know all about it. I saw there the tables of stone in which the names of the 144,000 were engraved in letters of gold ; after we had beheld the glory of the temple, we went out. Then Jesus left us, and went to the city ; soon, we heard his lovely voice again, sayingCome my people, you have come out of great tribulation, and done my will ; suffered for me ; come in to supper, for I will gird myself, and serve you.(oo) We shouted Hallelujah, glory, and entered into the city And I saw a table of pure silver, it was many miles in length, yet our eyes could extend over it. And I saw the fruit of the tree of life, the manna, almonds, figs, pomegranates, grapes, and many other kinds of fruit. We all reclined at the table. I asked Jesus to let me eat of the fruit. He said, not now. Those who eat of the fruit of this land, go back to earth no more. But in a little while, if faithful, you shall both eat of the fruit of the tree of life, and drink of the water of the fountain ; and he said, you must go back to the earth again, and relate to others, what I have revealed to you. Then an angel bore me gently down to this dark
( ii) Isa. 11 : 69.
( jj) Eze. 34 : 25.
( kk) Jer. 31 : 1517. Mat. 2: 18.
( ll) 2 Esdras, 2 : 19.
( mm) Isa.60 : 13. Isa. 41: 19.
( nn) Rev. 14: 3.
( oo) Luke, 12 : 37.
world. Sometimes I think I cannot stay here any longer, all things of earth look so drearyI feel very lonely here, for I have seen a better land. O, that I had wings like a dove, then would I fly away, and be at rest.
Topsham, Me., April 7, 1847.
Dear Brother Bales :Last Sabbath we met with the dear brethren and sisters here, who meet at Bro. Howland's.
We felt an unusual spirit of prayer. And as we prayed, the Holy Ghost fell upon us. We were very happy. Soon I was lost to earthly things, and was wrapped up in a vision of God's glory. I saw an angel swiftly flying to me. He quickly carried me from the earth to the Holy City. In the city I saw a temple, which I entered. I passed through a door before I came to the first vail. This vail was raised, and I passed into the Holy Place. Here I saw the Altar of Incense, the candlestick with seven lamps, and the table on which was the showbread, etc. After viewing the glory of the Holy, Jesus raised the second veil, and I passed into the Holy of Holies.(a)
In the Holiest I saw an ark ; on the top and sides of it was purest gold. On each end of the ark was a lovely Cherub, with their wings spread out over it. Their faces were turned towards each other, and they looked downwards.(b) Between the angels was a golden censor. Above the ark, where the angels stood, was an exceeding bright glory, that appeared like a throne where God dwelt.(c) Jesus stood by the ark. And as the saints' prayers came up to Jesus, the incense in the censor would smoke, and He offered up the prayers of the saints with the smoke of the incense to His Father.(d) In the ark, was the golden pot of manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of stone which folded together like a book.(e) Jesus opened them, and I saw the ten commandments written on them with the finger of God.(f) On one table was four, and on the other six. The four on the first table shone brighter than the other six. But the fourth (the Sabbath commandment,) shone above them all ; for the Sabbath was set apart to be kept in honor of God's holy name.(g) The holy Sabbath looked gloriousa halo of glory was all around it. I saw that the Sabbath was not nailed to the cross. If it was, the other nine commandments were ; and we are at liberty to go forth and break them all, as well as to break the fourth. I saw that God had not changed the Sabbath, for He never changes.(h) But the Pope had changed it from the seventh to the first day of the week ; for he was to change times and laws.(i)
And I saw that if God had changed the Sabbath, from the seventh to the first day, He would have changed the writing of the Sabbath commandment, written on the tables of stone, which are now in the ark, in the Most Holy Place of the Temple in heaven;(j) and it would read thus : The first day is the
( a) Heb. 9 : 124.
( b) Ex. 250 : 1822.
( c) Ex 25 : 2022.
( d) Rev. 8 : 3, 4.
( e) Heb. 9 : 4.
( f) Ex. 31 : 18.
( g) Isa. 58 : 13, 14.
( h) Mal. 3 : 6.
( i) Dan. 7 : 25.
( j) Rev. 11 : 19.
Sabbath of the Lord thy God. But I saw that it read the same as when written on the tables of stone by the finger of God, and delivered to Moses in Sinai, But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.(k) I saw that the holy Sabbath is, and will be, the separating wall between the true Israel of God and unbelievers ; and that the Sabbath is the great question, to unite the hearts of God's dear waiting saints. And if one believed, and kept the Sabbath, and received the blessing attending it, and then gave it up, and broke the holy commandment, they would shut the gates of the Holy City against themselves, as sure as there was a God that rules in heaven above. I saw that God had children, who do not see and keep the Sabbath. They had not rejected the light on it. And at the commencement of the time of trouble, we were filled with the Holy Ghost as we went forth(l) and proclaimed the Sabbath more fully. This enraged the church, and nominal Adventists, as they could not refute the Sabbath truth. And at this time, God's chosen, all saw clearly that we had the truth, and they came out and endured the persecution with us. And I saw the sword, famine, pestilence, and great confusion in the land.(m) The wicked thought that we had brought the judgments down on them. They rose up and took counsel to rid the earth of us, thinking that then the evil would be stayed.(n)
I saw all that would not receive the mark of the Beast, and of his Image, in their foreheads or in their hands, could not buy or sell.(o) I saw that the number (666) of the Image Beast was made up;(p) and that it was the beast that changed the Sabbath, and the Image Beast had followed on after, and kept the Pope's, and not God's Sabbath. And all we were required to do, was to give up God's Sabbath, and keep the Pope's, and then we should have the mark of the Beast, and of his Image.
In the time of trouble, we all fled from the cities and villages,(q) but were pursued by the wicked, who entered the houses of the saints with the sword. They raised the sword to kill us, but it broke, and fell, as powerless as a straw. Then we all cried day and night for deliverance, and the cry came up before God.(r) The sun came up, and the moon stood still.(s) The streams ceased to flow.(t) Dark heavy clouds came up, and clashed against each other.(u) But there was one clear place of settled glory, from whence came the voice of God like many waters, which shook the heavens, and the earth.(v) The sky opened and shut, and was in commotion.(w) The
( k) Ex. 20 : 10.
( l) Ho. 6 : 2, 3.
( m) Eze. 7 : 1019. 2 Esdras,15: 527
( n) 2 Esdras, 16 : 6874.
( o) Rev. 13 : 1517.
( p) Rev. 13 : 18.
( q) Eze. 7 : 15, 16. Luke, 17 : 3036. See Campbell's Translation.
( r) Luke, 18 : 7, 8.
( s) Hab. 3 : 11.
( t) 2 Esdras, 6 : 24.
( u) 2 Esdras, 15 : 34, 35.
( v) Joel, 3 : 16. Heb. 12 : 2527.
( w) Rev. 6 : 14. Mat. 24 : 29.
mountains shook like a reed in the wind, and cast out ragged rocks all around. The sea boiled like a pot, and cast out stones upon the land.(x) And as God spoke the day and hour of Jesus' coming,(y) and delivered the everlasting covenant to His people,(z) He spoke one sentence, and then paused, while the words were rolling through the earth!(aa) The Israel of God stood with their eyes fixed upwards, listening to the words as they came from the mouth of Jehovah, and rolled through the earth like peals of loudest thunder! It was awfully solemn. At the end of every sentence, the saints shouted, Glory ! Hallelujah ! Their countenances were lighted up with the glory of God ; and they shone with the glory as Moses' face did when he came down from Sinai. The wicked could not look on them, for the glory.(bb) And when the never ending blessing was pronounced on those who had honored God, in keeping His Sabbath holy, there was a mighty shout of victory over the Beast, and over his Image.
Then commenced the jubilee, when the land should rest. I saw the pious slave rise in triumph and victory, and shake off the chains that bound him, while his wicked master was in confusion, and knew not what to do ; for the wicked could not understand the words of the voice of God.(cc) Soon appeared the great white cloud.(dd) It looked more lovely than ever before. On it sat the Son of Man.(ee) At first we did not see Jesus on the cloud, but as it drew near the earth, we could behold his lovely person. This cloud when it first appeared was the Sign of the Son of Man in heaven.(ff) The voice of the Son of God called forth the sleeping saints,(gg) clothed with a glorious immortality. The living saints were changed in amoment, and caught up with them in the cloudy chariot.(hh) It looked all over glorious as it rolled upwards. On either side of the chariot were wings, and beneath it wheels. And as the chariot rolled upwards, the wheels cried Holy, and the wings as they moved, cried Holy, and the retinue of Holy Angels around the cloud cried Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty. And the saints in the cloud cried Glory, Hallelujah. And the cloudy chariot rolled upwards to the Holy City. Jesus threw open the gates of the Golden City, and led us in.(ii) Here we were made welcome, for we had kept the Commandments of God, and had a right to the tree of life.(jj)
From your sister in the blessed hope,
E. G. WHITE.
( x) Hab. 3 : 810. Isa. 2 : 1921.
( y) Eze. 12 : 25. Mark, 13 : 32.
( z) Eze. 20 : 37. Heb. 12 : 2225.
( aa) Jer. 25 : 30, 31.
( bb) Wis. Sol. 5 : 15.
( cc) Dan. 12 : 10.
( dd) Rev. 14 : 14.
( ee) Luke, 21 : 27.
( ff) Mat. 24 : 30.
( gg) John 5: 2528.
( hh) Thess. 4 : 17.
( ii) Isa. 26 : 2.
( jj) Rev. 22 : 14.
Remarks.I do not publish the above vision thinking to add or diminish from the sure word of prophecy. That will stand the test of men and wreck of worlds ! It is written that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. Amen.
It is now about two years since I first saw the author, and heard her relate the substance of her visions as she has since published them in Portland (April 6, 1846). Although I could see nothing in them that militated against the word, yet I felt alarmed and tried exceedingly, and for a long time unwilling to believe that it was any thing more than what was produced by a protracted debilitated state of her body.
I therefore sought opportunities in presence of others, when her mind seemed freed from excitement, (out of meeting) to question, and cross question her, and her friends which accompanied her, especially her elder sister, to get if possible at the truth. During the number of visits she has made to New Bedford and Fairhaven since, while at our meetings, I have seen her in vision a number of times, and also in Topsham, Me., and those who were present during some of these exciting scenes know well with what interest and intensity I listened to every word, and watched every move to detect deception, or mesmeric influence. And I thank God for the opportunity I have had with others to witness these things. I can now confidently speak for myself. I believe the work is of God, and is given to comfort and strengthen his scattered, torn, and pealed people, since the closing up of our work for the world in October, 1844. The distracted state of lo, heres ! and lo, theres ! since that time has exceedingly perplexed God's honest, willing people, and made it exceedingly difficult for such as were not able to expound the many conflicting texts that have been presented to their view. I confess that I have received light and instruction on many passages that I could not before clearly distinguish. I believe her to be a self-sacrificing, honest, willing child of God, and saved, if at all, through her entire obedience to His will.
At a meeting in Fairhaven, 6th of the last month, I saw her have a similar vision, which I then wrote down. It may be said that I send this out to strengthen the argument of my late work on the Sabbath. I do in the sense above stated. Respecting that work I entertain no fears. There is no scriptural argument to move it.
The above vision can be had by application, post paid, to James White, Gorham, Me., or to the editor.
Some of our friends have seen this last vision and brother Bates' remarks, published on a little sheet ; but as that sheet cannot be circulated without considerable expense, I have put the vision with Scripture references and the remarks, into this little work, so that they may be widely circulated among the saints.
Those who have received the little sheet will see by referring to Ex. 26 : 35, that there is a mistake in the 10th and 11th lines from the top of the first column. This mistake is not in the original copy now in my possession, written by the author. I have therefore, corrected this mistake, that I made in hastily copying the vision to send to brother Bates.
It would be gratifying no doubt, to some of the readers of this little work, to know something of the experience and calling of the author of these visions. I have not room to say but very little now, but will make a statement of a few facts well known by the friends in the East. I will first give an extract of a letter from a beloved brother, who has stated I doubt not, his honest views in relation to the visions.
I cannot endorse sister Ellen's visions as being of divine inspiration, as you and she think them to be ; yet I do not suspect the least shade of dishonesty in either of you in this matter. I may perhaps, express to you my belief in the matter, without harmit will, doubtless, result either in your good or mine. At the same time, I admit the possibility of my being mistaken. I think that what she and you regard as visions from the Lord, are only religious reveries, in which her imagination runs without control upon themes in which she is most deeply interested. While so absorbed in these reveries, she is lost to every thing around her. Reveries are of two kinds, sinful and religious. Here is the latter. Rosseau's, a celebrated French infidel, were the former. Infidelity was his theme, and his reveries were infidel. Religion is her theme, and her reveries are religious. In either case, the sentiments, in the main, are obtained from previous teaching, or study. I do not by any means think her visions are like some from the devil.
However true this extract may be in relation to reveries, it is not true in regard to the visions : for the author does not obtain the sentiments of her visions from previous teaching or study. When she received her first vision, Dec. 1844, she and all the band in Portland, Maine, (where her parents then resided) had given up the midnight-cry, and shut door, as being in the past. It was then that the Lord shew her in vision, the error into which she and the band in Portland had fallen. She then related her vision to the band, and about sixty confessed their error, and acknowledged their 7th month experience to be the work of God.
It is well known that many were expecting the Lord to come at the 7th month, 1845. That Christ would then come we firmly believed. A few days before the time passed, I was at Fairhaven, and Dartmouth Mass., with a message on this point of time. At this time, Ellen was with the band at Carver, Mass., where she saw in vision, that we should be disappointed, and that the saints must pass through the time of Jacob's trouble, which was future. Her view of Jacob's trouble was entirely new to us, as well as herself. At our conference in Topsham, Maine, last Nov., Ellen had a vision of the handy works of God. She was guided to the planets Jupiter, Saturn, and I think one more. After she came out of vision, she could give a clear description of their Moons, etc. It is well known, that she knew nothing of astronomy, and could not answer one question in relation to the planets, before she had this vision.
And the temple of God was opened in heaven and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament :Rev. 11 : 19.
The Temple of God in which is the ark of his testament, is in heaven. St. Paul while in vision, was caught up to the third heaven, or paradise which we believe is the New Jerusalem. The word heaven, is applied to other places beside the New Jerusalem, see Gen. 1 : 8 and 17 ; Rev. 14 : 6. But as they do not contain God's Temple, I must believe that the heaven in which is the Temple of God, is the New Jerusalem. Old Jerusalem, and its Temple were types of the New Jerusalem, and God's Temple which is in it. The ark containing the tables of stone, on which God wrote the ten commandments with his own finger, were put into the Holiest. When John had a view of the opening of the New Jerusalem Temple, he saw the ark in the same place in the antitype, that it was in the type.
Therefore it is clear that Old Jerusalem, its Temple, and the furniture of that Temple, have distinct antitypes in Paradise. That Paradise was taken up from the earth after the fall of man, is plain, as there is no such place on the earth which answers the description of it given by Moses.Gen. 3 : 23, 24. Also, the prophet says : Behold, the time shall come, that these tokens which I have told thee shall come to pass, and the Bride shall appear, and she coming forth shall be seen, that now is withdrawn from the earth.2 Esdras, 7 : 26. The foundations, walls, and gates, of the New Jerusalem, have certainly been formed in Paradise, since Old Jerusalem was built : if not, then the New, is older than the Old. Abraham by faith looked for this City which hath foundations ; but he did not expect to find it, until the faithful were raised. The Temple of Old Jerusalem was built purposely for the Old Covenant worship. The Temple, or Sanctuary of New Jerusalem, of which Christ is a minister, the Lord pitched and not man, purposely for the New Covenant worship. Therefore, when Christ has finished his ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary, and has redeemed his people, there will be no more use for the New Jerusalem Temple, than there was for the Temple at Old Jerusalem, after Jesus had nailed the ceremonial law to the cross. John had a view of the Holy City when it shall come down, Rev. 21 : 10, at the close of the 1000 years, Rev. 20 : 7--9, and said, And I saw no temple therein : for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of itRev. 21 : 22. He does not tell us what had become of it ; but his saying that he saw no Temple therein at that time, indicates that he had seen one there before. The Holy City is called the Tabernacle of God, Rev. 21 : 3 ; Isa. 33 : 20 ; but it is not called so, until it is situated on the New Earth. The City is also called the Temple of God, Rev. 17 : 15 ; but not until the saints are raised, and gathered up into the City, where they will serve God day and night. Then the Holy City alone, will be the Tabernacle, or Temple of God.
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory : And before him shall be gathered all nations : and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd devideth his sheep from the goats : And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Mat. 25 : 31-33.
This scripture evidently points out the most important events of the day of Judgment. That day will be 1000 years long.2 Pet. 3 : 7. 8. The event which will introduce the Judgment day, will be the coming of the Son of Man, to raise the sleeping saints, and to change those that are alive at that time.
The second event, will be the King's sitting pon the throne of his glory. The King will not sit upon the throne of his glory, until those who have followed him are raised, and sit upon the thrones of Judgment with him.Mat. 19 : 28. John saw in Vision, the length of time that Christ, and the saints would set on the thrones of Judgment, and has written : And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them : and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands ; and they lived and reigned with Christ a THOUSAND YEARS, Rev. 20 : 4. The third event, will be the gathering of all nations before the King, in their separate places. All nations cannot be thus gathered, until the end of the 1000 years, when the wicked dead will be raised, and gathered up around the Holy City. The saints will then be in the City, and the wicked out side of it. All nations will then be before him.
The fourth event, will be the delivering of the sentence by the King. His sentence upon the whole host of Gog and Magog, will be, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels, Mat. 25 : 41. If this is not the final sentence of the judgment on the wicked, I think we shall not find it in the bible. Therefore the wicked are not sentenced before Christ comes ; but they will hear their sentence after they are raised, at the close of the 1000 years.
It is not necessary that the final sentence should be given before the first resurrection, as some have taught ; for the names of the saints are written in heaven, and Jesus, and the angels will certainly know who to raise, and gather to the New Jerusalem. The fifth event, will be the execution of the final judgment. Some have taken the ground, that the 1000 years will be taken up, in executing the judgment on the wicked : but this cannot be ; for the man of sin is to be destroyed with the brightness of Christ's second coming : therefore the wicked are to remain silent in the dust, all through the 1000 years. How can the judgment be executed on the wicked, before they are raised? It is certainly impossible. John saw the wicked, all raised and gathered up around the camp of the saints, at the end of the 1000 years. He also saw fire come down from God, out of heaven, which devoured them. This will be the execution of the final judgment on all the wicked.
God executed his judgments on the wicked, in the days of Lot, and Noah, and at the destruction of Jerusalem, and will execute his judgments on the living wicked, at the pouring out of the seven last plagues ; but the pouring out of all these judgments cannot be the final execution of the judgment. That will be at the second death. Then God will make all things new. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.Mat. 25 : 34. Then God will have a clear Universe ; for the Devil, and his angels, and all the wicked, will be burnt up root and branch.
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Canright, whose words we have used for the text of the charge in chapter 7, refers to a footnote in Loughborough's book:
By the time Elder Loughborough had written his book, Rise and Progress of Seventh-day Adventists, another moon [of Saturn] had been discovered, and the publishers had the audacity to change her words to read, I see eight moons. (See page 126 of that work.) This was in 1892. When Elder Loughborough revised this book in 1905, and issued it under another title [The Great Second Advent Movement], still more moons had been discovered to this planet, hence his admission.
Loughborough's admission in his footnote on page 258 of his 1905 book, The Great Second Advent Movement, which is in comment on the phrase, I see seven moons, states in part: More moons to both Jupiter and Saturn have since been discovered.
Canright charges that the publishers made the change from seven to eight moons for Saturn, in Loughborough's 1892 book. A later critic makes the charge more personal by declaring: When Loughborough wrote his book [Rise and Progress of Seventh-day Adventists, 1892] an eighth moon had been discovered, so he deliberately doctored the vision to fit the new discovery.
Strictly speaking, we are not concerned with the deeds or the declarations of anyone except Mrs. White. But we think it not out of place to devote at least a few paragraphs to defending the good name of a man now unable to defend himself.
Remember that Rise and Progress, published in 1892, says eight moons; The Great Second Advent Movement, published in 1905, says seven moons; and that there is no other source for these figures in the vision except Loughborough's words in these books. The critic who says that Loughborough doctored the vision had no way of knowing which was the number of moons Mrs. White mentioned except as he read it in Loughborough. Nor could he know that the total should be seven instead of eight except as he read the footnote on page 258 of the 1905 edition. That footnote reads in full as follows:
In Rise and Progress, it says she saw eight moons to Saturn. This change was made after the proofs went out of my hands. More moons to both Jupiter and Saturn have since been discovered.
If Loughborough had wished to be dishonest, he need not have made the change from eight to sevenhe need not have written
the footnote. No one would have known the difference. But he had a desire to keep the record straight, hence the footnote. Canright clearly saw that the responsibility rested with the publishers. But the present-day critic seeks to intensify the charge by attacking the narrator of early Adventist history, and hence accuses Loughborough himself of doctoring the vision.
Now what of the audacity of the publishers of the 1892 edition? Even though Canright is right in placing responsibility upon the publishers, he is sure, also, that the change reflects deliberate, evil intent. It could not possibly be a typographical error. True, Loughborough says the change was made after the proofs went out of his hands. An author would need to make that clear in defense of himself. But he does not thereby impute evil intent to the publishers. The change could be made by mistake as easily as by intent. With that statement, and with the further statement that changes and typographical blunders constantly and embarrassingly appear in printed books, every book publisher will agree.
Indeed, we do not have to go beyond Canright's book from which we quoted in opening chapter 7 in order to find a choice exhibit. He states that he is quoting the astronomy vision story as told by Loughborough on page 258 of his book, The Great Second Advent Movement. But Canright's quotation uses the words, eight moons, whereas page 258 of that book says seven moons. Did Canright's publishers have the audacity to make this change? We bring no charge against either the publishers or Canright. We give them the same decent benefit of the doubt that all fair-minded people give to authors and publishers, and attribute the eight simply to an error of copyists or typesetters.
My attention has recently been called to a sixteen-page pamphlet published by , of Marion, Iowa, entitled, Comparison of the Early Writings of Mrs. White With Later Publications. The writer states that portions of my earlier visions, as first printed, have been suppressed in the work recently published under the title Early Writings of Mrs. E. G. White, and he conjectures as a reason for such suppression that these passages teach doctrines now repudiated by us as a people.
He also charges us with willful deception in representing Early
Writings as a complete republication of my earliest views, with only verbal changes from the original work.
Before I notice separately the passages which are said to have been omitted, it is proper that several facts be stated. When my earliest views were first published in pamphlet form [A Word to the Little Flock], the edition was small, and was soon sold. This was in a few years followed by a larger book, The Christian Experience and Views of Mrs. E. G. White, printed in 1851, and containing much additional matter.
In our frequent change of location in the earlier history of the publishing work, and then in almost incessant travel as I have labored from Maine to Texas, from Michigan to California,and I have crossed the plains no less than seventeen times,I lost all trace of the first published works. When it was decided to publish Early Writings at Oakland last fall, we were obliged to send to Michigan to borrow a copy of Experience and Views. And in doing this we supposed that we had obtained an exact copy of the earliest visions as first published. This we reprinted, as stated in the preface to Early Writings, with only verbal changes from the original work.
And here I will pause to state that any of our people having in their possession a copy of any or all of my first views, as published prior to 1851, will do me a great favor if they will send them to me without delay. I promise to return the same as soon as a copy can be produced.
So far from desiring to withhold anything that I have ever published, I would feel great satisfaction in giving to the public every line of my writings that has ever been printed.
There is another fact that should be stated here. I am not responsible for all that has been printed as coming from me. About the time that my earliest visions were first published, several articles did appear purporting to have been written by me, and to relate what the Lord had shown me, but sanctioning doctrines which I did not believe. These were published in a paper edited by a Mr. Curtis. Of the name of the paper I am not certain. In the years of care and labor that have passed since then, some of these less important particulars have been forgotten, but the main points are still distinct in my mind.
This man took articles that came from my pen, and wholly transformed and distorted them, picking out a sentence here and there, without giving the connection, and then, after inserting his own ideas, he attached my name to them as if they came direct from me.
On seeing these articles, we wrote to him, expressing our surprise and disapprobation, and forbidding him thus to misconstrue my testimonies. He answered that he should publish what he pleased, that he
knew the visions ought to say what he had published, and that if I had written them as the Lord gave them to me, they would have said these things. He asserted that if the visions had been given for the benefit of the church, he had a right to use them as he pleased.
Some of these sheets may still be in existence, and may be brought forward as coming from me, but I am not responsible for them. The articles given in Early Writings did pass under my eye; and as the edition of Experience and Views published in 1851 was the earliest which we possessed, and as we had no knowledge of anything additional in papers or pamphlets of earlier date, I am not responsible for the omissions which are said to exist.
The first quotation mentioned by is from a pamphlet of twenty-four pages published in 1847, entitled A Word to the Little Flock. Here are the lines omitted in Experience and Views:
It was just as impossible for them [those that gave up their faith in the '44 movement] to get on the path again and go to the City, as all the wicked world which God had rejected. They fell all the way along the path one after another. [A Word to the Little Flock, p. 14.]
I will give the context, that the full force of the expressions may be clearly seen:
While praying at the family altar, the Holy Ghost fell on me, and I seemed to be rising higher and higher, far above the dark world. I turned to look for the Advent people in the world, but could not find themwhen a voice said to me, Look again, and look a little higher. At this I raised my eyes and saw a straight and narrow path, cast up high above the world. On this path the Advent people were travelling to the City, which was at the farther end of the path. They had a bright light set up behind them at the first end of the path, which an angel told me was the Midnight Cry. This light shone all along the path, and gave light for their feet so they might not stumble. And if they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, who was just before them, leading them to the City, they were safe. But soon some grew weary, and they said the City was a great way off, and they expected to have entered it before. Then Jesus would encourage them by raising his glorious right arm, and from his arm came a glorious light which waved over the Advent band, and they shouted Hallelujah! Others rashly denied the light behind them, and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and got their eyes off the mark and lost sight of. Jesus, and fell off the path down in the dark and wicked world below.
Now follows the passage said to be in the original work, but not found in Experience and Views or in Early Writings:
It was just as impossible for them [those that gave up their faith in the '44 movement]* to get on the path again and go to the City, as all the wicked world which God had rejected. They fell all the way along the path one after another.
It is claimed that these expressions prove the shut-door doctrine, and that this is the reason for their omission in later editions. But in fact they teach only that which has been and is still held by us as a people, as I shall show.
For a time after the disappointment in 1844, I did hold, in common with the advent body, that the door of mercy was then forever closed to the world. This position was taken before my first vision was given me. It was the light given me of God that corrected our error, and enabled us to see the true position.
I am still a believer in the shut-door theory, but not in the sense in which we at first employed the term or in which it is employed by my opponents.
There was a shut door in Noah's day. There was at that time a withdrawal of the Spirit of God from the sinful race that perished in the waters of the flood. God Himself gave the shut-door message to Noah:
My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
There was a shut door in the days of Abraham. Mercy ceased to plead with the inhabitants of Sodom, and all but Lot, with his wife and two daughters, were consumed by the fire sent down from heaven.
There was a shut door in Christ's day. The Son of God declared to the unbelieving Jews of that generation, Your house is left unto you desolate.
Looking down the stream of time to the last days, the same infinite power proclaimed through John:
These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth.
I was shown in vision, and I still believe, that there was a shut door in 1844. All who saw the light of the first and second angels' messages and rejected that light, were left in darkness. And those who accepted it and received the Holy Spirit which attended the proclamation of the message from heaven, and who afterward renounced their faith and pronounced their experience a delusion, thereby rejected the Spirit of God, and it no longer pleaded with them.
Those who did not see the light, had not the guilt of its rejection. It was only the class who had despised the light from heaven that the
* Brackets in original.
Spirit of God could not reach. And this class included, as I have stated, both those who refused to accept the message when it was presented to them, and also those who, having received it, afterward renounced their faith. These might have a form of godliness, and profess to be followers of Christ; but having no living connection with God, they would be taken captive by the delusions of Satan. These two classes are brought to view in the vision,those who declared the light which they had followed, a delusion, and the wicked of the world who, having rejected the light, had been rejected of God. No reference is made to those who had not seen the light, and therefore were not guilty of its rejection.
In order to prove that I believed and taught the shut-door doctrine, Mr. gives a quotation from the Review of June 11, 1861, signed by nine of our prominent members. The quotation reads as follows:
Our views of the work before us were then mostly vague and indefinite, some still retaining the idea adopted by the body of advent believers in 1844, with William Miller at their head, that our work for the world was finished, and that the message was confined to those of the original advent faith. So firmly was this believed that one of our number was nearly refused the message, the individual presenting it having doubts of the possibility of his salvation because he was not in the '44 move.
To this I need only to add, that in the same meeting in which it was urged that the message could not be given to this brother, a testimony was given me through vision to encourage him to hope in God and to give his heart fully to Jesus, which he did then and there.
In another passage from the book A Word to the Little Flock, I speak of scenes upon the new earth, and state that I there saw holy men of old Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Daniel, and many like them. [A Word to the Little Flock, p. 16.] Because I speak of having seen these men, our opponents conjecture that I then believed in the immortality of the soul and that having since changed my views upon this point, I found it necessary to suppress that passage. They are as near the truth here as in other Conjectures.
In the year 1844 I accepted the doctrine we now hold, concerning the nonimmortality of the soul, as may be seen by reference to Life Sketches, pp. 170, 171 [1880 ed. See also 1915 ed., p. 49; Testimonies, vol. 1, pp. 39, 40], and I have never, by voice or pen, advocated any other. Had we suppressed this passage on account of its teaching the immortality of the soul, we would have found it necessary to suppress other passages.
In relating my first vision, page 13 of Early Writings [1882 ed.; present ed., p. 17], I speak of having seen brethren who had but a short
time previous fallen asleep in Jesus, and on page 14 [present ed., pp. 18, 19] I state that I was shown a great company who had suffered martyrdom for their faith.
The immortality of the soul is no more taught in the suppressed passage than in the two last cited.
The fact in the case is, that in these visions I was carried forward to the time when the resurrected saints shall be gathered into the kingdom of God. In the same manner the judgment, the second coming of Christ, the establishment of the saints upon the new earth have been presented before me. Does any one suppose that these scenes have yet transpired? My adversaries show the spirit by which they are actuated in thus accusing me of deception on the strength of a mere conjecture.
In this quotation are also found the words, I saw two long golden rods, on which hung silver wires, and on the wires most glorious grapes.
My opponents ridicule that weak and childish expression of glorious grapes growing on silver wires, and these wires attached to golden rods.
What motive impelled the writer of the above to misstate my words? I do not state that grapes were growing on silver wires. That which I beheld is described as it appeared to me. It is not to be supposed that grapes were attached to silver wires or golden rods, but that such was the appearance presented. Similar expressions are daily employed by every person in ordinary conversation. When we speak of golden fruit, we are not understood as declaring that the fruit is composed of that precious metal, but simply that it has the appearance of gold. The same rule applied to my words removes all excuse for misapprehension.
Another suppression reads as follows:
Well, bless the Lord, dear brethren and sisters, it is an extra meeting for those who have the seal of the living God. [A Word to the Little Flock, p. 17.]
There is nothing in this that we do not still hold. Reference to our published works will show our belief that the living righteous will receive the seal of God prior to the close of probation; also that these will enjoy special honors in the kingdom of God.
The following passage is said to be omitted from the vision related on pages 25-28 [pp. 32-35, present ed.] of Early Writings:
And if one believed, and kept the Sabbath, and received the blessing attending it, and then gave it up, and broke the holy commandment, they would shut the gates of the Holy City against themselves, as sure as there was a God that rules in heaven above. [A Word to the Little Flock, p. 19.]
Those who have clearly seen and fully accepted the truth upon the
fourth commandment, and have received the blessing attending obedience, but have since renounced their faith, and dared to violate the law of God, will find, if they persist in this path of disobedience, the gates of the city of God closed against them.
A statement published in 1851 in Experience and Views, and found on page 49 [p. 58, present ed.] of Early Writings is quoted as proving my testimonies false:
I saw that the time for Jesus to be in the most holy place was nearly finished, and that time can last but a very little longer.
As the subject was presented before me, the period of Christ's ministration seemed almost accomplished. Am I accused of falsehood because time has continued longer than my testimony seemed to indicate? How is it with the testimonies of Christ and His disciples? Were they deceived?
Paul writes to the Corinthians:
But this I say brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not.
Again, in this epistle to the Romans, he says,
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
And from Patmos, Christ speaks to us by the beloved John:
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. The Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
The angels of God in their messages to men represent time as very short. Thus it has always been presented to me. It is true that time has continued longer than we expected in the early days of this message. Our Saviour did not appear as soon as we hoped. But has the word of the Lord failed? Never! It should be remembered that the promises and the threatenings of God are alike conditional.
God had committed to His people a work to be accomplished on earth. The third angel's message was to be given, the minds of believers were to be directed to the heavenly sanctuary, where Christ had entered to make atonement for His people. The Sabbath reform was to be carried forward. The breach in the law of God must be made up. The message must be proclaimed with a loud voice, that all the inhabitants of earth might receive the warning. The people of God must purify
their Souls through obedience to the truth, and be prepared to stand without fault before Him at His coming.
Had Adventists, after the great disappointment in 1844, held fast their faith, and followed on unitedly in the opening providence of God, receiving the message of the third angel and in the power of the Holy Spirit proclaiming it to the world, they would have seen the salvation of God, the Lord would have wrought mightily with their efforts, the work would have been completed, and Christ would have come ere this to receive His people to their reward.
But in the period of doubt and uncertainty that followed the disappointment, many of the advent believers yielded their faith. Dissensions and divisions came in. The majority opposed with voice and pen the few who, following in the providence of God, received the Sabbath reform and began to proclaim the third angel's message. Many who should have devoted their time and talents to the one purpose of sounding warning to the world, were absorbed in opposing the Sabbath truth, and in turn, the labor of its advocates was necessarily spent in answering these opponents and defending the truth. Thus the work was hindered, and the world was left in darkness. Had the whole Adventist body united upon the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, how widely different would have been our history!
It was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be thus delayed. God did not design that His people, Israel, should wander forty years in the wilderness. He promised to lead them directly to the land of Canaan, and establish them there a holy, healthy, happy people. But those to whom it was first preached, went not in because of unbelief. Their hearts were filled with murmuring, rebellion, and hatred, and He could not fulfill His covenant with them.
For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan. The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan. In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord's professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years.
There are two other passages said to be found in my first book, but not given in my later writings. Concerning these I shall only say, when I can obtain a book containing them, so that I can be assured of the correctness of the quotations and can see for myself their connection, I shall be prepared to speak understandingly in regard to them.
From the beginning of my work, I have been pursued by hatred, reproach, and falsehood. Base imputations and slanderous reports have been greedily gathered up and widely circulated by the rebellious, the
formalist, and the fanatic. There are ministers of the so-called orthodox churches traveling from place to place to war against Seventh-day Adventists, and they make Mrs. White their textbook. The scoffers of the last days are led on by these ministers professing to be God's watchmen.
The unbelieving world, the ministers of the fallen churches, and the First Day Adventists are united in the work of assailing Mrs. White. This warfare has been kept up for nearly forty years, but I have not felt at liberty even to notice their vile speeches, reproaches, and insinuations. And I would not now depart from this custom, were it not that some honest souls may be misled by the enemies of the truth who are so exultantly declaring me a deceiver. In the hope of helping the minds of the honest, I make the statements that I do.
I do not expect to reach those who, having seen the light of truth, refuse to heed it, those who have given themselves up to prejudice, and intrenched their souls in unbelief.
Jesus, the Majesty of heaven, He who was equal with God, was in the world thirty-three years, and yet there were but few Who acknowledged His divine character. And can I, who am so weak, so unworthy, a frail creature of humanity, expect greater success than was enjoyed by the Saviour of the world?
When I first gave myself to this work, to go when God should bid me, to speak the words which He should give me for the people, I knew that I should receive opposition, reproach, persecution. I have not been disappointed. Had I depended on human applause, I would long ago have become discouraged. But I looked to Jesus, and saw that He who was without a fault was assailed by slanderous tongues. Those who made high pretensions to godliness followed as spies upon the Saviour's course, and made every exertion in their power to hedge up His way. But although He was all-powerful, He did not visit His adversaries as their sins deserved. He might have launched forth against them the bolts of His vengeance, but He did not. He administered scathing rebukes for their hypocrisy and corruption, and when His message was rejected and His life threatened, He quietly passed to another place to speak the words of life. I have tried, in my weakness, to follow the example of my Saviour.
How eagerly the Pharisees sought to prove Christ a deceiver! How they watched His every word, seeking to misrepresent and misinterpret all His sayings! Pride and prejudice and passion closed every avenue of the soul against the testimony of the Son of God. When He plainly rebuked their iniquity and declared that their works proved them to be the children of Satan, they angrily flung back the accusation, saying, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?
All the arguments urged against Christ were founded in falsehood. So was it in the case of Stephen, and of Paul. But the weakest and most unreliable statements made on the wrong side had an influence, because there were so many whose hearts were unsanctified, who desired those statements to be true. Such are ever eager to fasten upon any supposed error or mistake in those who speak to them the unpalatable truth.
It should not surprise us when evil conjectures are greedily seized upon as undoubted facts by those who have an appetite for falsehood. The opposers of Christ were again and again confounded and put to silence by the wisdom of His words; yet they still eagerly listened to every rumor, and found some pretext to ply Him again with opposing questions. They were determined not to abandon their purpose. They well knew that if Jesus should continue His work, many would believe on Him, and the scribes and Pharisees would lose their power with the people. Hence they were ready to stoop to any base or contemptible measure to accomplish their malicious intentions against Him. They hated the Herodians, yet they joined these inveterate enemies in order to invent some plan to rid the earth of Christ.
Such was the spirit with which the Son of God was met by those whom He came to save. Can any who are seeking to obey God, and to bear to the world the message of His truth, expect a more favorable reception than was granted Christ?
I have no ill will toward those who are seeking to make of none effect the message which God has given me to reprove, warn, and encourage His people. But as the ambassador of Christ, I must stand in defense of the truth. Who are those that so zealously array themselves against me? Are they the pure and holy children of faith? Have they been born again? Are they partakers of the divine nature? Do they love Jesus, and manifest His spirit of meekness and humility? By their fruits ye shall know them. Do they resemble the early disciples, or those cunning scribes and Pharisees who were constantly watching to entrap Christ in His words? Notice the sharp practice of those ancient opposers of the faithhow lawyers, priests, scribes, and rulers combined to find something against Him who was the light of the world.
And why were they so intent upon condemning Christ? They did not love His doctrines and precepts, and they were displeased as they saw the attention of the people turned to Him and away from their former leaders.
Human nature is human nature still. Let not those who seek to hedge up my way and destroy the influence of my words, deceive themselves with the belief that they are doing God service. They are serving
another master, and they will be rewarded according to their work.
Rebellion will exist as long as Satan exists. Those who are actuated by his spirit will not discern the Spirit of God or listen to its voice until the mandate shall go forth, He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. Rev. 22:11. I expect to encounter the malice of those who despise the light which God has been pleased to give me.
It is God's plan to give sufficient evidence of the divine character of His work to convince all who honestly desire to know the truth. But He never removes all opportunity for doubt. All who desire to question and cavil will find occasion. I pity those who have set their feet in the path of doubt and unbelief. I would gladly help them if I could, but the experience of the past gives me little hope that they will ever come to the light. No amount of evidence will convince men of the truth so long as they are unwilling to yield their pride, subdue their carnal nature, and become learners in the school of Christ.
Self-will and pride of opinion lead many to reject the light from heaven. They cling to pet ideas, fanciful interpretations of Scripture, and dangerous heresies; and if a testimony is borne to correct these errors, they will, like many in Christ's day, go away displeased.
It matters not how blameless the character and life of those who speak to the people the words of God; this procures for them no credit. And why? Because they tell the people the truth. This, brethren, is my offense. But if a false report is circulated, if by some inference or conjecture an imputation is cast upon the character of Christ's ambassador, with what absurd credulity is it received! How many are ready to magnify and spread the slander! Such are revealing their real character, He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. John 8:47.
Calumny and reproach will be the recompense of those who stand for the truth as it is in Jesus. All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Tim. 3:12. Those who bear a plain testimony against sin will as surely be hated as was the Master who gave them this work to do in His name. Like Christ, they will be called the enemies of the church and of religion; and the more earnest and true their efforts to honor God, the more bitter will be the enmity of the ungodly and hypocritical. But we should not be discouraged when thus treated.
We may be called weak and foolish, enthusiastic, even insane. It may be said of us as it was of Christ, He hath a devil. But the work which the Master has given us to do is our work still. We must direct
minds to Jesus, not seeking praise or honor of men, but committing ourselves to Him who judgeth righteously. He knows how to help those who, while following in His steps, suffer in a limited degree the reproach He bore. He was tempted in all points like as we are, that He might know how to succor those who should be tempted.
Whatever wrong construction may be placed upon my testimony by those who profess righteousness yet know not God, I shall in humility go forward with my work. I will speak the words which God gives me to speak in encouragement, reproof, and warning. There remains but a little remnant of my life on earth. The work that my Father hath given me, I will, by His grace, perform with fidelity, knowing that all my deeds must pass the scrutiny of Jehovah.Ellen G. White, MS. 4, 1883.
The Sabbathkeeping group, the embryo Seventh-day Adventist Church, as it began to form under the preaching of the earliest pioneers, was remarkably free from fanatical excesses. In instances where fanatical persons did seek to disrupt the work, Mrs. White's clear testimony against them generally sufficed to break their influence. This fact is so significant, so contrary to legends that critics have nurtured, and places Mrs. White in such a favorable light, that occasionally a critic seeks to obscure the fact by citing certain incidents in connection with the Sabbathkeepers' meetings. And then he endeavors to heighten the effect of what he has allegedly disclosed by implying that he has revealed something known to few.
What are these incidents? Briefly this: There is an instance, or perhaps two or three, where someone spoke in an unknown tongue; then certain instances where ministers and others fell prostrate in connection with special seasons of prayer. Finally, there is an instance of where a minister fell prostrate at a meeting, just as officers of the law sought to arrest him on what proved to be a trumped-up charge of disturbing the peace. The officers, for a time, fell back, unable to lay hands on him.
We confess we do not know why there should have been an instance or two of someone's speaking in an unknown tongue in a meeting of Sabbathkeeping Adventists in the 1840's. Neither do we know why the Corinthian church should have had members who spoke in strange
tongues. But this much we do know: that there was no confusion, no fanatical tumult, that resulted from such an incident.
As to the instances of prostration, we need only remark that there is nothing in the record of those instances that warrants the conclusion that any kind of disorder ensued, unless the simple fact of a person's being prostrated constituted disorder. Why there should have been a few such manifestations at that time we do not know. Neither do we know why the preaching of the great evangelists in the early nineteenth century resulted in the prostration of thousands of people.
What sources does the critic give for most of his statements concerning prostration? Some documents we have suppressed? No, he quotes the Testimonies for the Church, which are currently in print, and Life Sketches of James and Ellen, G. White.* He also cites Spiritual Gilts, volume 2, which was reprinted several years ago in a facsimile edition and offered for general sale. Despite this, writing in 1949, he closes his summary of these instances here mentioned with the declaration: These experiences are not published in the current literature [of the Seventh-day Adventists]. The only thing hidden in regard to these incidents is this: The critic hides the fact that we have not hidden them. It never occurred to us that there was anything to hide.
In chapter 13 we gave the initial statements on the shut door that were made by the leading pioneers, James White and Joseph Bates, after 1844. In the interests of brevity we then gave certain quotations from James Whitea statement in the early 1850's and his historical recital in 1868 that show approximately the time and the manner in which the Sabbathkeeping Adventists moved from their early view on the shut door to their later one on the open door. In this Appendix we wish to give a more fully documented account of the steps in the transition from 1849 onward. To the casual reader the array of passages cited will seem endlessly repetitious. But it is our duty, in the presentation of source material, to give, not easy, fast moving writing, but an accurate historical record. This Appendix is prepared for the student of this early period of Adventist history.
* This is a James White work, Not to be confused with Life Sketches of Ellen G. White.
By the year 1849 the still very small group of Sabbathkeeping Adventists was beginning to have a sense of cohesion. Such men as Joseph Bates and James White felt that they represented not only ideas but companies of people who held those ideas. Furthermore, they felt that these ideas were now rather clearly outlined, well buttressed with Scripture, definitely interlocked, and prophetically timed as present truth. Those feelings, coupled with a vision given to Mrs. White regarding the importance of publishing a paper, led to the founding of Present Truth in July, 1849.*
The Good Book declares that the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. Prov. 4:18. All light and understanding do not come immediately. Let us now look at the unfolding picture from 1849 onward for a few years, as the light increased and the slowly crystallizing Seventh-day Adventist movement began to envision its task of preaching a message to all men everywhere. We quote, first, from a long article on the shut door by David Arnold in the Present Truth for December, 1849. After he gives the history of the Advent movement, in relation to the fulfillment of certain prophecies, he declares:
Therefore, we are brought, by the force of circumstances, and the fulfilment of events, to the irresistible conclusion that, on the tenth day of the seventh month, (Jewish time,) in the autumn of 1844, Christ did close his daily, or continual ministration or mediation in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, and shut the door, which no man can open; and opened a door, in the second apartment, or Holiest of all, which no man can shut, (see Rev. iii, 7, 8,) and passed within the second vail, bearing before the Father, on the breast-plate of judgment, all for whom he is now acting as intersessor [intercessor]. If this is the position that Christ now occupies, then there is no intercessor in the first apartment; and in vain do misguided souls knock at that door, saying Lord, Lord, open unto us. The words of the prophet apply to the fulfilment of this point in the parable.
They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the Lord; but THEY SHALL NOT FIND HIMHE HATH WITHDRAWN HIMSELF FROM THEM.
They have dealt treacherously against the Lord, for they have begotten strange children; now shall a month devour them with their portions.Hosea v, 6, 7.
* See Ellen G. White, Life Sketches, p. 125, for record of vision,
But, says the objector, does not this leave the present generation, who have passed the line of accountability, since that time without an intercessor or mediator, and leave them destitute of the means of salvation? In reply to this objection, I would remark, that as they were then in a state of innocency, they were entitled to a record upon the breast-plate of judgement as much as those who had sinned and received pardon; and are therefore subjects of the present intercession of our great high priest.
The professed conversions, through the instrumentality of the different sects, are also urged as positive proof that the door is not shut. I cannot give up the clear fulfilment of prophecy, in our experience, which shows the shut door in the past, for the opinions, fancies and feelings of men, based upon human sympathy and a superstitious reverence for early imbibed views. God's word is true, though it prove all men liars. As a stream is of the same character as the fountain that sends it forth, (see James iii, 11,) and does not rise higher than the fountain, so these professed converts will not rise to a better state than the low standard of the fallen sects; therefore, they are converted to the religion of the various sects, but not to God, and the high and holy standard of the Bible. The Prophet Hosea saw this time; and for our learning and guide has writtenThey have dealt treacherously against the Lord; for they have begotten strange children. Volume 1, no. 6, pp. 45, 46. (Emphasis his.)
Let us note two or three statements in this quotation. Arnold does not say that there is no intercessor after 1844, but that Christ's intercessory work is carried on in a new place, the Most Holy place of the sanctuary. The knocking at the door, as in the marriage parable, is here described as a knocking at the door of the first apartment. But those who knock are not described as lost, doomed souls, but as misguided souls.
Arnold sets before those who have come to the years of accountability since 1844 the same opportunity of salvation as those who had sinned and received pardon.
The professed conversions give him no reason for believing that Christ has not shut the door of the first apartment and moved into the second. Further, Arnold observes that these professed converts have not been converted to present truth and are therefore simply a part of the misguided souls that mistakenly seek Christ in the first apartment when He has gone into the second.
Arnold applies, in this connection, a statement from Hosea 5:6, 7. We shall meet that statement again.
Note, finally, that Arnold reflects the interpretation that Mrs. White had already given to Revelation 3:7, 8, thus involving an open door with the shut door.
A few months later James White, the editor, discusses at length the shut door. He comes to the point where he speaks of Christ's shutting the door of the holy and passing into the most holy, and observes: Now we may see that the only place for the shut door was in 1844. We quote in full from this point onward to the end of his article:
But says the objectorThe door of mercy will not be closed until Jesus comes. We do not read of such a door as the door of mercy in the Bible; neither do we teach that such a door was shut in 1844. God's mercy endureth for ever. See Ps. cxxxvi; cvi, 1; cxviii, 1. He is still merciful to his saints, and ever will be; and Jesus is still their advocate and priest. But the sinner, to whom Jesus had stretched out his arms all the day long, and who had rejected the offers of salvation, was left without an advocate, when Jesus passed from the Holy Place, and shut that door in 1844. The professed church, who rejected the truth, was also rejected, and smitten with blindness, and now, with their flocks and with their herds they go to seek the Lord as still an advocate for sinners; but, says the prophet, [Hosea v, 6, 7,] they shall not find him; he hath WITHDRAWN HIMSELF from them. They have dealt treacherously against the Lord; for they have begotten strange children.
The reason why they do not find the Lord is simply this, they seek him where he is not; he hath withdrawn himself to the Most Holy Place. The prophet of God calls their man-made converts, STRANGE CHILDREN; now shall a month devour them, and their portions,
Says the objectorI believe that Jesus is still on the mercy-seat. In answer to this oft repeated assertion, let me say; Jesus never was on the mercy-seat, and never will be. The mercy seat is in the Most Holy Place, where Jesus entered at the end of the 2300 days. It's position is upon the ark of the ten commandments; and over it are the cherubims of glory. Before the mercy-seat stands our Great High Priest pleading his blood for Israel.
If the door (represented by the door in the parable) is not to be shut until Jesus descends from heaven in flames of fire, then where will be the knocking, and saying Lord, Lord, open unto us? It is evident that the door is shut prior to the second advent, and that unbelievers
are ignorant of the fact of its being shut; therefore they knock at the shut door, and say, Lord Lord, open unto us. When the great day of God's wrath is come, and unbelievers are apprised of their lost situation, they will not knock, with a hope of being admitted, no, no; but they will flee to rocks and mountains for shelter. See Isa. if, 19-21; Rev. vi, 15-17. Now their prayer is, Lord, Lord, OPEN UNTO US; but then their prayer will be to rocks and mountains, FALL ON US, and HIDE us FROM the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.
It is impossible to harmonize such portions of the Word as Isa. if, 19-21; Rev. vi, 15-17, with the idea of the shut-door, and knocking being at, and after the advent. The 2300 days and cleansing the Sanctuary of Dan. viii, 13, 14, the parable of the ten virgins, and other parallel portions of Scripture clearly fix the shut door in 1844. This view establishes our holy advent experience in the past, gives certainty to the blessed hope of very soon seeing Jesus, and causes our path to shine more and more unto the perfect day. Amen.The Present Truth, May, 1850, p. 79. (Emphasis his.)
James White, as do all our other writers, consistently refuses to say that the door of mercy was shut in 1844. Those rejected and left without an advocate, when Jesus passed from the Holy Place, and shut that door in 1844, are those who had rejected the offers of salvation. This thought that there was a great host of people who had sinned away their day of grace by rejecting God's offers of salvation, is a primary point in the thinking of these men who were now writing on the shut door. They had, of course, abundant Scriptural precedent for believing that men can sin away their day of grace.
He declares also that the professed church, who rejected the truth, was also rejected, and smitten with blindness. This is a reference, evidently, to the preaching of the second angel's message. The Bible declares that the day will come, near the end of time, when Babylon is fallen.
James White uses Hosea 5:6, 7 and declares that the reason why they do not find the Lord is simply this, they seek him where he is not. This seems to imply that members of the professed church, whom Arnold described as misguided souls, could avail themselves of the intercessory service of our High Priest in heaven if they would but seek Him where He is to be found, that is, in the most holy place. If these Present Truth writers did not always reason consistently with this implication, it was simply because they failed to see, at the outset,
that their very interpretation of Hosea 5:6, 7 really laid the foundations for preaching that whosoever will, may come.
Note finally that James White makes belief in the shut door in 1844 necessary to the validity of the great Advent movement. This view, says he, establishes our holy advent experience in the past, gives certainty to the blessed hope of very soon seeing Jesus, and causes our path to shine more and more unto the perfect day. How clear it is that they stressed the shut door of the parable, not from a desire to keep anyone out of the kingdom, but from a resolute determination to hold onto their belief that God had raised up the Advent movement in fulfillment of prophecy.
Joseph Bates, who, as we have seen in chapter 13, wrote in 1849 that a portion of the 144,000 will be constituted of sincere persons over the whole earth who were not, presumably, in the Advent movement of 1844, spoke as follows in 1850 concerning the ending of Christ's ministry in the first apartment in 1844:
Here his work ceased; Ministering and Mediating for the whole world forever; and he like his pattern in the type, entered the Most Holy Place, bearing upon his breast plate of Judgment the twelve tribes of the House of Israel.An Explanation of the Typical and Anti-typical Sanctuary, p. 9. (Italics his.)
This statement, standing alone, would indicate advocacy of the doctrine of the end of probation for all men in 1844, but when compared with Bates's own statement regarding the 144,000, quoted in chapter 13, who are to be constituted in part of sincere people over the whole world who were not a part of the late Advent movement, it would seem that in this 1850 statement, the whole world, must be understood in a modified sense as describing those who have willfully refused to accept God's proffered mercy. Such an understanding makes Bates consistent with himself and with James White, Arnold, and others. And do not even the critics of Seventh-day Adventism advocate the plan of comparing scripture with scripture, with a view to harmony, particularly when dealing with a difficult Bible passage?
In the Review and Herald of December, 1850 (volume 1, number 3), Joseph Bates declares that the main Adventist body are in rebellion against God because of their repudiation of certain prophetic beliefs that had distinguished the whole movement in 1844. And borrowing the word of Hosea 5:6, 7, he calls their converts strange children. Then he declares:
We say, that as long as they continue rebellious against their
lawful Prince, it is morally impossible for them to beget for him one peaceful subject. God has a true test, by which to try every individual since the Midnight Cry. It is the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Rev. xiv, 9-12. We have yet to learn, that one single one of their professed converts, or reclaimed backsliders, have reached this standard.But we fully believe they have some honest souls that they have drawn away with them, into their delusive snares, by their treacherous dealing with the Lord, and false teaching. Our hearts yearn after these. We would use every right way to get them from this Laodicean state. This then is one strong reason why we send forth this article, to open the eyes of those who were, and still are honest, and may possibly be saved, if they will at once flee from this rebellious house of Israel.Page 24.
Willful turning away from light makes these ministers unable to bring in true converts. This is what Bates tells us here. But he also tells us that there are some honest souls among them who may possibly be saved. Then note Bates's words regarding the ministersas long as they continue rebellious. The natural meaning of those words is that if these ministers cease being rebellious, their labors will be acceptable to God. There is evidently a possibility of salvation not only for them but also for those whom they beget. A little further on in the same paragraph he exclaims: Talk about searching out sinners, that the work of the Midnight Cry left in outer darkness six years ago! Bates wishes it clearly understood that the willfully rebellious in the world have sinned away their day of grace.
In a following issue of the Review, Bates writes thus, under the title, Duty to Our Children:
When the Master of the house (the Lord Jesus) rose up and shut to the door, all honest believers, that had submitted to his will, and children that had not arrived to the years of accountability, were undoubtedly borne in on his breast-plate of judgment which is over his heart.The names of all that fully keep the commandments are retained. Those that do not, will have their names erased before Jesus leaves the Holiest.
The children, that are taught, and that keep the commandments of God, as they come to the years of accountability, are believers just as fully as adult persons, that are now embracing all of the commandments, in addition to what they believed before.
It is true, some persons that are ignorant of this message may, and undoubtedly will be saved if they die before Jesus leaves the Holiest.I
mean those that were believers before 1844. Sinners and backsliders cannot get their names on the breast-plate of judgment now. God in infinite mercy has borne with our ignorance on this subject until now; and our children have been neglected as they should not have been.Let us then do all that our hands find to do towards their salvation.January, 1851, vol. 1, no. 5, p. 39.
The thought here seems to be that children have opportunity for salvation because they had not been formerly of years of accountability, and likewise some persons that are ignorant of this message. He believes it is too late for sinners and backsliders. They had had opportunity to accept truth and rejected it.
James White, in the February, 1851, issue, comments on a criticism by a Mr. Dennett, who implies that the Review was an advocate of spurious doctrines, such as the old Jewish Sabbath, door of mercy closed, dreams, visions, &c. White, who was the editor of the Review, comments thus, in part:
Mr. Dennett speaks of the door of mercy; but the Bible speaks of no such door. True, Bro. Miller, and others, have used this unscriptural term, (which gives a very wrong idea of our views,) to express their work done for the world; but if we believed that God had forgotten to be merciful to his erring children, we should cease to present truth to them.Page 46.
The editor here offers no comment on the phrase erring children.
Immediately following this editorial note is a long, unsigned communication entitled A letter written by a Second Advent brother to his son. The editor evidently thought it contained truth and worthwhile counsel for his readers. Said this letter writer, in part:
I think it is more safe to acknowledge that we may have been mistaken in what constituted the coming of the Bridegroom, and the shut door, than to throw the whole prophecy away .
My time and your patience might be exhausted, were I to undertake to bring to your view the whole subject connected with the Shut Door. Suffice it to say, it does not in my opinion, exclude all conversion. But it does exclude those who have wilfully rejected all these Messages.Ibid., p. 47.
Two months later, in the Review, is printed a letter from a Marshall M. Truesdell to the editor, the main point of which is as follows:
I am not ready to endorse your view of the shut door, but if it is truth I hope I shall see it. I would like to have you answer one question
through your paper. Does the shut door exclude all conversions?Review and Herald, April 7, 1851, p. 64.
Here is the editor's reply:
Conversion, in the strictest sense, signifies a change from sin to holiness. In this sense we readily answer that it does not exclude ALL conversions, but we believe that those who heard the everlasting gospel message and rejected it, or refused to hear it, are excluded by it. We have no message to such. They have no ears to hear us, unless we lower the standard of truth so low that there would be no salvation in it. But there are those who may be converted.
l. Erring brethren. We believe there are many in the Laodicean* church, who will yet be converted as the Apostle directs in his epistle to the waiting brethren. Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one CONVERT him; let him know, that he which converteth the SINNER from the error of his way shah save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.James v, 19, 20.
2. Children, who were not old enough to understandingly receive or reject the truth, when our Great High Priest closed his mediation in the Holy Place at the end of the 2300 days, are subjects of conversion from sin to holiness. Their names were borne in upon the breastplate of judgment, and they are subjects of the mediation of Jesus. God's ways are equal. He will give every intelligent being a chance to be saved.
3. When Elijah thought that he was alone, God said to him, I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed to the image of Baal. We believe that God has reserved to himself a multitude of precious souls, some even in the churches. These he will manifest IN HIS OWN TIME. They were living up to what light they had when Jesus closed his mediation for the world, and when they hear the voice of the Shepherd in the message of the third angel they will gladly receive the whole truth. Such will be converted to the truth, and from their errors. But we think we have no message to such now, still he that hath an ear to hear let him hear. Our message is to the Laodiceans, yet some of these hidden souls are being manifested. (Emphasis his.)
The leaven of larger vision in spiritual labor for sinners is here seen working most clearly. Even in the churches, which constitute fallen Babylon, God has precious souls. They are to be made manifest in God's own time, and so the editor feels that he and his associates can, for the present, direct their message to the Laodiceans. After
* The term used by the Sabbathkeeping group to describe other Adventists.
all, there was only a tiny handful of poverty-stricken, Sabbathkeeping Adventists, and a very great number of Laodiceans, that they felt they must reach first.
In June, 1851, the Review carries a long contribution from the editor on the marriage parable of Matthew 25. He recounts the experience of the Adventists in warning the world with tears to be ready for the Lord's coming, but adds that the burden for unbelievers rolled off from us, when Christ ceased to plead for the world, and moved within the second vail, on October 22, 1844. Then he remarks:
We might here remark also that on the day of atonement for cleansing the earthly Sanctuary, the high priest bore into the Holiest, upon the breast-plate of judgment, the names of all Israel that could be benefited by the tenth day atonement. Thus our High Priest bore in, on the tenth day of the seventh month, 1844, all that had not rejected light and truth sufficient to be cut off from Israel.June 9, p. 102.
A few paragraphs farther on the editor declares emphatically:
The idea that the door of God's mercy is closed, or ever was to be closed to those who do not reject the offers of mercy, is not found in the Bible. No such door is mentioned in Scripture. But that there ever has been a point, beyond which men may go, where, according to the plan of salvation, the intercession of Christ could not benefit them, is evident. The Jewish church, having rejected and condemned Christ, could not be benefited by his mediation in the Holy. The nominal Gentile church, as a body, having rejected the Second Advent, cannot be benefited by his intercessions in the Most Holy.
But from the rejected Jewish church came multitudes of individual converts to Christ. With this fact James White was well acquainted. We may therefore understand him to mean that there are multitudes of men and women in the nominal Gentile church who may avail themselves of salvation. Still further on in his editorial he offers this comment on the foolish virgins who knocked for admission after the door was shut:
The word knock, in this text represents earnest and urgent cries and entreaties for the presence and favor of God, such as ever have been necessary in the conversion of men from sin to holiness. It is evident that the knocking, after Jesus has risen up from his mediation in the Holy, is of the same nature. But those who thus knock and say Lord, Lord, and seek the favor of God, are evidently under a similar deception to that of the five foolish, who expected admission after the
door was shut not to be opened. If this position is correct, then the knocking will appear very much like the work of God in past time; therefore, we may expect to see what the churches and Adventists who have gone back with them, call reformations. This is strikingly taught in the following testimony from the Prophet:
They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the Lord; [a mediator for all the world, in the Holy;] but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself [to the Most Holy] from them.They have dealt treacherously against the Lord, for they have begotten STRANGE CHILDREN; [apparent converts,] now shall a month devour them with their portions.Hosea v, 6, 7.
Those who refuse to follow down the track of Prophecy, so as to learn the present position and work of our Great High Priest, will knock, or seek the Lord as a Minister in the Holy, where he is not. T[h]erefore they will not find him, and his present intercessions in the Most Holy Place will not benefit them, any more than the blood of beasts, and the services of the priests in the worldly Sanctuary benefited the Jewish nation, after Christ ascended on high, a Minister of the True Tabernacle in heaven. Had the Jews believed John and Christ, and then followed down the track of Prophecy to the day of Pentecost, they would have received the Holy. Ghost, that was then poured out, which signified that the way of the heavenly Sanctuary was then opened.
The bracketed comments in the quotation from Hosea are by the editor, and are most enlightening. His comments on this text show clearly that he believes that the sorry state of the churches and Adventists who have gone back with them, is due to their failure to accept further light. The intercession of Christ will not benefit them, he declares, because they seek the Lord as a Minister in the Holy, where he is not. Then, to show a Scriptural parallel to the dangerous possibilities that reside in a failure to accept a further revelation of the plan of God for our salvation, he cites the case of the ancient Jews.
It becomes increasingly evident, as our spiritual forefathers disclose their thinking, that they believed that the ones knocking at the shut door are those who refuse to follow down the track of Prophecy, so as to learn the present position and work of our Great High Priest. Such persons Arnold has described as misguided souls. The implication is clearly resident in their reasoning, though they did not sense it at the outset, that those who first refused light might still be potential subjects of salvation. Jerusalem, representative of all Israel, had so
consistently rejected light through the centuries, that it suffered the awful condemnation of Christ: Your house is left unto you desolate. Yet after His resurrection our Lord told His disciples to begin their preaching in Jerusalem. The glorious results are recorded in the book of Acts. Our spiritual fathers said that the churches, which they described as fallen Babylon, and the Adventists who have gone back with them, should be likened to the ancient Jews!
The implications in such statements from the pioneers as we have just quoted, go even further. The sorry state of certain Adventists is described as due to their failure to accept further light on the sanctuary. But this further light did not break forth till after October 22, 1844. In fact, the light was not clearly set forth until Crosier's article in 1846. How, then, could all opportunity of salvation have ended for these misguided souls on October 22, 1844? Obviously, by the very logic of the pioneers' statements, it could not.
This reference to the reasoning of the pioneers is not given in any attempt to blur other and earlier statements by them that seem to teach that probation did end for all, except Adventists, on October 22, 1844. We refer to the implications in their logic simply to show that they had no sooner come out of the first moments of foggy bewilderment following the great disappointment than they began to formulate theological views that had implicit in them a hope of salvation for all who had not stubbornly set themselves against light and truth. Their pattern of thinking in regard to this matter of salvation becomes increasingly clear as we continue to quote from them.
In September, 1851, we find the editor of the Review and Herald stating:
We do not say that the everlasting gospel has ceased to have effect upon all, for some are now embracing the doctrine of the speedy coming of the Lord, who have not been identified with the Advent people in the past movements.September 2, p. 20.
In February, 1852, a J. Philbrick writes a short letter to James White in which is found this sentence: I feel solemn in view of that time when there will no longer be a mediator between God and man.Ibid., Feb. 3, 1852, p. 87. Note that this writer is looking into the future for the end of Christ's intercessory work for man.
In the next issue is an editorial entitled Who May Hear the Truth? which opens thus:
Answer. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith
unto the churches. Rev. iii, 13. This verse immediately precedes the call to the Laodiceans to buy gold tried in the fire, white raiment and eye-salve, and the exhortation to them to be zealous and repent. If, therefore, we are living in the period of the Laodicean church, then he that now hath an ear to hear may hear.
The Prophet speaks of those [Jer. vi, 10] whose ears are uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken. The word of the Lord is unto them a reproach: they have no delight in it. The condition of the Jewish Church, as a body, after they had rejected the first advent of Christ is described as follows by the prophet Isaiah: Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive. For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Acts xxviii, 26, 27. The mass of the present generation, having rejected the doctrine of the Second Advent, are in a similar condition, having ears, but have no disposition to hear the truth. The condition of those who once rejoiced in the advent faith, and have since pronounced their past experience the work of some unclean spirit, is no better.
As the large mass of mankind have not an ear to hear the word of God, the Spirit of God, gives us no message for them. But, thank Heaven, there are those who have an ear to hear the truth, and we say of such, let them hear. Those whose hearts are not hardened in sin, who have not wickedly trampled on offered mercy, who have not understandingly rejected the glad tidings of the coming kingdom, and who can feel the power of truth, let them hear. We never felt greater liberty in pointing out the way of life to sinners in past years, than to such now.
Many of our brethren in this state, who are fully with us in our views of the message of the third angel, had no part in the messages of the first and second angels. And quite a number of young people are fully with us, who have recently found Jesus, and experienced his pardoning love.Ibid., Feb. 17, 1852, p. 94.
The only reason, says this editorial, why they had no message for the large mass of mankind was that the majority of men had no ear to hear. To all others they were preaching, the editor adds, with great liberty and converting many. And all this had been taking place between 1844 and 1852, when this editorial was written.
On the same page of this issue of the Review, the editor comments on the remarks of M. in a first day Adventist paper, in which M.
describes James White as a prominent leader among those: of the Shut-Door [Note 1] and Seventh day Sabbath theory. White replies as follows:
Note 1. What does M. understand by the shut door theory? If he means what is ignorantly called the door of mercy, we reply that we know of no such door. The Bible mentions no such door. The parable of the ten virgins [Matt. xxv] mentions a shut door, but that shut door was literal, in the eastern marriage. It however represents an important event with which the church is connected, that was to occur prior to our Lord's return from the wedding. That event shuts out none of the honest children of God, neither those who have not wickedly rejected the light of truth, and the influence of the Holy Spirit.
It is declared by some that Jesus is still on the mercy seat. And this expression is often used in preaching, praying and singing. But because we teach that Jesus now stands before the mercy seat in the most holy place of the Heavenly Sanctuary, we are represented as being one of the leaders of the shut door theory. We say that Jesus is not on the mercy seat. He never was there, and never will be there. The place for the mercy seat is over the Ark of the covenant, within the second vail, in the holiest of all. Over the mercy seat is the cherubim of glory. They overshadow, or cover the mercy seat. No place for the priest on the mercy seat.
We teach that Jesus our Great High Priest in the Heavenly Sanctuary, has fulfilled the following texts:
And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. Isa. xxii, 22. And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: these things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth and no man openeth. I know thy works; behold I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it. Rev. iii, 7, 8.
This Open Door we teach, and invite those who have an ear to hear to come to it and find salvation through Jesus Christ. There is an exceeding glory in the view that Jesus has OPENED THE DOOR into the holiest of all, or has passed within the second vail, and now stands before the Ark containing the ten commandments. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament. Rev. xi, 19. If it be said that we are of the OPEN DOOR and seventh day Sabbath theory, we shall not object; for this is our faith.February 17, 1852, pp. 94, 95. (Emphasis his.)
These Sabbath and Shut Door people, as our fathers were known, because of their advocacy of the Sabbath and of the certainty of the 1844
movement, now wish the world to know that they can be more accurately described as the Sabbath and Open Door people, because the Shut Door leads to an open door, the belief in the prophecy of the 2300 days leads to the most holy place in heaven above, the door of which Christ has opened.
In May, 1852, we find James White writing of the progress to date in the preaching of the truth. Says he:
From the time of the great disappointment in 1844, to 1846, a number of the advent brethren in different States embraced the Sabbath.Review and Herald, May 6, 1852, p. 5.
But the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath was a great cross to bear and heavy was the opposition to it on the part of former fellow believers in the Advent. That helps to explain a further statement by him in the same issue regarding the growth of the work:
But this work is not confined to those only who have had an experience in the past advent movement. A large portion of those who are sharing the blessings attending the present truth were not connected with the advent cause in 1844. Their minds not being particularly called to it then, consequently they did not reject it, they are now prepared to receive the truth when presented to them in a proper manner. Some of this number have had their attention called to the advent since the great movement of 1844, others are leaving the churches where they may be free to observe the Sabbath of the Bible, and enjoy the advent hope, and not a few of the precious, tender youth, who are being converted, help make up this number.Ibid., pp. 4, 5.
From 1846 onward to 1852, when he is writing, we are to conclude, then, that a rapidly increasing number of those accepting the present truth were not connected with the advent cause in 1844. Evidently there must have been evangelistic labor bestowed on a circle wider than what one would suppose from some of the statements made by the pioneers regarding the shut door. But on the other hand these pioneers, virtually from their first expressions in print, were declaring, either directly or by implication, that those who had not willfully rejected light might find salvation.
E. S. Sheffield, writing in the Review in October, 1852, presents, in introduction, a testimony in confirmation of James White's statement:
Although I have not participated in any of the former movements of the Advent cause, yet I feel bound to acknowledge my firm belief that it is the work of an Almighty hand.October 28, 1852, p. 103.
In a February, 1853, installment of a lengthy series entitled The Sanctuary, J. N. Andrews discusses Christ's opening of the door into the most holy place:
To this open door in the heavenly sanctuary, [Rev. iii, 7, 8; Isa. xxii, 22-25,] we invite those to come for pardon and salvation, who have not sinned away the day of grace. Our High Priest stands by the MERCYSEAT (the top of the ark,) and here he offers his blood, not merely for the cleansing of the sanctuary, but also for the pardon of iniquity and transgression. But while we call men to this open door, and point them to the blood of Christ, offered for us at the mercy-seat, we would remind them of the LAW OF GOD beneath that mercy-seat, which made the death of God's beloved Son necessary in order that guilty man might be pardoned .
The close of the third angel's message is marked by the Son of man taking his position upon the white cloud. Rev. xiv, 9-14. The last message of mercy will then have closed, and there will be no intercessor between an offended God and guilty, offending man.Ibid., Feb. 3, 1853, pp. 148, 149.
Somewhere between their first glimpse of the sanctuary truth, immediately after the disappointment, in 1844, and this date in February, 1853, the Sabbathkeeping group had greatly enlarged their understanding of the service of Christ in the most holy place. They first thought of His going into the most holy to receive a kingdom and to cleanse the sanctuary, that is, to dispose of the confessed sins of the faithful. This earliest view of Christ's work in the most holy seemed to have in it little, if any, of the idea of intercession for sin. But in this 1853 quotation, Andrews specifically declares that in the most holy place Christ offers his blood, not merely for the cleansing of the sanctuary, but also for the pardon of iniquity and transgression.
In The Day-Star, in 1846, O. R. L. Crosier set forth, in a formal way, the truth of the ministry of Christ in the most holy place in heaven above, and stabilized the thinking of Sabbathkeeping Adventists. For a little while he was numbered with the Sabbathkeeping group of Adventists. But he soon turned away and became a militant critic of both the Sabbath and the sanctuary doctrines. In 1853 he wrote an article in the Harbinger, one of the Adventist papers, chiding our Sabbathkeeping fathers for quoting, still, from his [1846 Day-Star] article, and for two reasons: First, because he had now somewhat changed his views on the subject of the sanctuary. Second: The above named persons [certain Sabbathkeepers] appear to me insincere
in quoting from that article, (1) because they know that it was written for the express purpose of explaining and proving the doctrine of the shut door, which they now, I understand, disclaim.
We quote Crosier's statements as they appear in an editorial note in the Review of March 17, 1853, page 176. Here, in part, is the editor's reply. On the first:
We have quoted from C's article, for no other reason than this, it contained precious truth, which we wished to spread before the flock of Christ.
On the second:
As C. has informed the readers of the Harbinger that we disclaim the doctrine of the shut door, that paper should no longer reproachfully call us shut-door Sabbatarians. But we say that C's article on the law of Moses [in the Day-Star, 1846], no more goes to prove a shut door than it does an open door. It is in harmony with the Bible doctrine which we hold, that at the termination of the 2300 days, in 1844, there was a change in the work of our High Priesta door was then opened into the Most Holy, while another was shut.
Crosier also made a general observation, intended to be critical, of the Sabbathkeepers' philosophy:
I think we have no means of knowing the precise time when the antitype of the ancient 10th day of the 7th month service did or will begin: but we have evidence that it will not close the door of mercy against all the previously impenitent.
The editor's comment was this:
As to the door of mercy of which C. speaks, we read of no such door, only in the writings of uninspired men. But the truth that C. wished to state here, for truth it is, is this, that there would be those who might come to God through the mediation of Jesus Christ, and find pardon of their sins, after the work of the antitype of the tenth day of the seventh month services should commence. This, to us who believe that this is the period of the antitypical tenth day service, is an important truth. While the great work of saving men closed with the 2300 days, a few are now coming to Christ, who find salvation.
The important point here is not that James Whiteand he reflected the view of the groupshould still believe that the majority of men had sinned away their day of grace, but that he believed that those who would might come to Christ anti receive salvation.
In an issue of the Review the next month is a long editorial entitled The Shut Door. Near the close of the editorial is this statement:
Although there is a shut door which excluded those represented by the foolish virgins, (those moved by the proclamation of the Advent,
who had none of the grace of God, no real faith,) and also those who were foolish and wicked enough to reject, and fight against the glorious news of a soon coming Saviour, yet we rejoice to publish to those that have an ear to hear, that there is an Open Door.April 14, 1853, p. 189.
That the idea of restricted salvation had quite disappeared from our publications by the early 1850's is specifically affirmed by James White in an editorial in the Review of July 4, 1854, to which we referred in chapter 13. He quotes from critical statements made by a Mrs. Seymour in the Harbinger, in which she speaks thus of Sabbathkeepers: They have ceased preaching repentance, saying it is too late! They have stifled their sympathies for the impenitent, and have virtually said, Sinner, you cannot turn to God and live.Page 173. To this James White replies:
Now all this is entirely false. Those who have read our publications, especially for the past two years, and have known any thing of the labors of the brethren in the Sabbath cause, know, that Mrs. S. has penned untruths, and that the Harbinger has published the same.Ibid.
It is evident that the Sabbathkeeping group have definitely moved from the shut door to the open door.
Spurious documents have plagued the Christian world through all the centuries, and particularly has this been true in connection with the alleged sayings of those who have held a unique status as spiritual leaders. The century of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination has provided exhibits of such documents that are supposed to set forth the words of Mrs. White. It could hardly be otherwise, human nature being what it is. Such documents are not necessarily a proof of studied deception and fraud; rather, they may be an exhibit of uncritical acceptance of unsupported stories and word-of-mouth reports of what Mrs. White is supposed to have said. Finally a report or story is placed in writing. Such a writing may be, in part, true. But generally it is so hopelessly mixed with words and thoughts that Mrs. White did not utter that it is quite worthless. In most instances there is no way to disentangle truth from fiction.
In earlier years, before the staff of the Ellen G. White Publications had carefully cross-indexed Mrs. White's extensive manuscripts, it was not possible always to say with certainty whether a reputed statement by Mrs. White, which might be in circulation, was really authentic or not. The question of authenticity often turned on whether someone had a memory of a certain meeting or incident when Mrs. White was supposed to have been present and spoken. How woefully unreliable memories can be, we have noted several times in this book. That is particularly true when men attempt to remember the exact words spoken years before, even though everyone concerned has the best of intentions and is loyally seeking to strengthen the church by the recalling of an experience.
But if even loyal members have generally provided exhibits of wholly unreliable so-called words of Mrs. White, what is to be said of an alleged vision of hers that has been transmitted through the years only by avowed enemies! Here are the facts regarding the alleged Camden Vision of June 29, 1851:
The vision was first given circulation by an R. R. Chapin, some years after 1851. Chapin had been a Seventh-day Adventist, but at the time he circulated this vision he was a member of an opposing group called the Messenger Party that was bitterly attacking Seventh-day Adventists in general and Mrs. White in particular. This fact in itself would seem almost sufficient to becloud any claim to authenticity for the vision, at least the text of it as transmitted to us by avowed enemies.
J. N. Loughborough, writing in 1905, states briefly that Elder and Mrs. White during the winter of 1849-50 visited the town of Camden, N.Y., and that at this place there was a certain hypocritical woman who made much pretense of holiness, but who was corrupt. He then speaks of a conversation he had in 1884 with a Mr. Preston, who was a resident of Camden at the time of the Whites' visit. This man told him that Mrs. White had a vision in the presence of this hypocritical woman and rebuked her. So, said Mr. Preston, what is called the Camden vision applied definitely and especially to the case of that woman, and not to the condition of sinners generally, and we so understood it at the time.J. N. Loughborough, The Great Second Advent Movement, p. 233.
This is the only reference we have been able to find in Loughborough's work to a so-called Camden vision that allegedly taught the close of probation for the wicked world. Yet critics cite this reference as proof of such a vision, and of course, as proof of the accuracy of the text of the vision as passed down through the years by Chapin,
Did not Loughborough refer to it as a fact? But note carefully the following:
1. Loughborough does not give the text of the vision. And it is the text that makes this vision significant to the critics.
2. He does not give a firsthand statement that Mrs. White had a vision at that time. He simply quotes what someone told him in 1884, about a third of a century after the alleged incident.
3. Though we today know the text of this alleged Camden vision only as presented by Chapin, we do not know that Preston is referring to such a text. He might have heard by word of mouth of some other text of it. We do not even know for sure that he is referring to the vision mentioned by Chapin, because of the discrepancy in time, as mentioned in Number 4.
4. Loughborough refers to a visit of Mrs. White to Camden in the winter of 1849-50. And we know from her own testimony that she had a vision in connection with this visit to Camden and in the presence of an unnamed hypocritical woman.* But the alleged Camden vision, the text of which is given to us through Chapin, is dated specifically June 29, 1851. Then how can it be said that Loughborough is really admitting the actuality of the alleged vision mentioned by Chapin?
So much for the argument in behalf of the authenticity of the Chapin text of this vision that is built on the claim that Loughborough admits it.
We have found that in a certain instancethe Dorchester vision, 1848where a bona fide vision was copied down by Bates in terms of exclamatory statements by Mrs. White while in vision, the text was incomplete. Therefore the deductions drawn from it are unwarranted. Could Chapin or anyone else be relied on to provide us anything more dependable? Even if he were allegedly giving what she said after coming out of vision, the same question would still hold, for only a good shorthand reporter can hope to furnish a reliable text of a speaker's words.
The Ellen G. White manuscript files contain nothing that would even suggest a vision of which the alleged Camden vision might be a paraphrase or a distortion. The critics cannot reply that the church would fear to reveal it, for the chapters discussing the shut door show that our currently published works and the facsimile reprints of out-of-print works contain statements which, according to the declarations of the critics, give as much appearance of teaching the shut-door
* See Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, pp. 124-127; also Life Sketches of Ellen G, White, pp. 129, 130,
doctrine as does this alleged Camden vision. In other words, there would be no reason to conceal it.
We have noted a discrepancy between the date, the winter of 1849-50, and the date, June 29, 1851. It is a fact that James and Ellen White were in Camden again in June, 1851. But when we look up the record of their itinerary we find this further discrepancy: They were not in Camden on June 29! The Review and Herald of June 2, 1851, announced a conference to be held in Camden, June 20, beginning at 9 A.M., and a conference at West Milton, New York, beginning Friday, June 27, at 2 P.M., and holding over the Sabbath and First-Day.Page 96. In the Review and Herald of June 9, James White writes: Our Post Office address from the 18th to the 23d of June will be Camden N. Y. From the 25th to the 30th of June, West Milton, Saratoga Co. N. Y. After that our address will be Paris, Me.Page 104.
In a four-page Extra of the Review printed at Saratoga Springs, New York, July 21, 1851, James White gave a report of their travels during the month of June. He tells of the Camden Conference, which was held on the 20th, 21st and 22d of June. Then he speaks of the West Milton Conference: According to appointment this meeting commenced June 27th, and held three days. That Mrs. White traveled with him on this trip, is equally clear from the record. The Office of the White Publications has the text of a short vision dated Camden, June 21, 1851, which is also published in the four-page Extra. But this deals with the question of time, and has nothing in common with the Camden vision of June 29.
To sum up: The records reveal that there are two genuine Camden visions:
1. A vision during the winter of 1849-50, which rebuked a hypocritical woman. No text of this vision is known to exist. Mrs. White evidently did not write it out.
2. A vision given to Mrs. White on a later visit to Camden and dated June 21, 1851. This vision dealt with the subject of time and appeared in print shortly afterward.
Then there is an alleged Camden vision dated June 29, 1851, when Mrs. White was not even in Camden, and dealing with the shut door, but the text of which is available only through avowed critics of Mrs. White.
The makers of more than one spurious document have endeavored to provide the atmosphere of authenticity by giving a definite date. They wish to convey the impression that they are so sure that they can even give the very day of the month. But in more than one instance
such bold definiteness has been the means of exposing the fraud. Perhaps the case before us is another exhibit. The purveyors of the Camden Vision, June 29, 1851, should have been more careful readers of the Review and Herald.
The charge of suppression that has been brought against Mrs. E. G. White is quite exclusively in terms of deletions from her earliest writings, that is, those writings that precede the publication of Experience and Views in 1851. Most critics cite only those deletions which they allege teach the shut-door doctrine, and declare that the deletions are to be explained as an attempt to cover up the fact that Mrs. White thus formerly believed and taught. A few critics cite one or two more deletions which they declare are to be explained as an attempt to cover up other abandoned views. They have only one explanation for these deletions they discuss; namely, that they were intended to conceal formerly held views.
Let us, therefore, examine all of Mrs. White's earliest writings to see what deletions were made. When we speak of deletions we obviously do not mean minor grammatical changes, or the change of a word, a phrase, or possibly even a sentence, provided that it neither adds to nor subtracts from the line of thought being presented. To list these minor deletions with necessary context to make them intelligible, would needlessly encumber this discussion. Suffice it to say that if no critic through all the years has found in such minor deletions any possible ground for a charge, such deletions must be transparently harmless and pointless so far as the charge of suppression is concerned. In fact, we shall cite a number of substantial deletions which critics, quite uniformly, and for reasons that will become evident, have never quoted.
The regular practice of critics has been to cite the few standard exhibits of deleted passages that appear to teach the shut door, and then remark that lack of space prevents their citing a great many more that teach this and other abandoned doctrines. The reader's imagination is supposed to do the rest. This argument by implication and insinuation, aided by imagination, we wish to expose by examining all of Mrs. White's writings that were published up to the time of the printing of Experience and Views in 1851. These writings appear in the following:
The Day-Star, a first-day Adventist paper, in 1846.
The broadside To the Little Remnant Scattered Abroad, April 6, 1846.
The broadside A Vision, April 7, 1847.
The tract A Word to the Little Flock, May 30, 1847.
The broadside To Those Who Are Receiving the Seal of the Living God, January 31, 1849.
The paper Present Truth, in issues of 1849 and 1850.
Review and Herald Extra, July 21, 1851.
In some instances Mrs. White's contribution appearing in one of the foregoing seven, is a first printing, other times a reprint. These contributions may be divided into three groups:
1. Those reprinted in fullor with no more than minor grammatical changesright through to their printing in Experience and Views.
2. Those reprinted in Experience and Views with deletions or additions.
3. Those not included, even in part, in Experience and Views.
So far as the question of suppression is concerned it obviously focuses on groups 2 and 3.
Mrs. White's earliest contributions frequently carry no title, only a salutation, as Dear Brethren and Sisters, or simply Dear Bro., in the case of letters to individuals. Sometimes one contribution may contain more than one vision or subject, with only dividing spaces, or dividing lines, to indicate the introduction of the second vision or the new line of thought. For purposes of identification we have given a descriptive title to all the clearly defined subdivisions of her earliest contributions that were not later published under a title in Experience and Views. When a title is given in the early printings we have used it within quotation marks. For the purpose of this investigation we have divided Mrs. White's earliest writings into twenty parts. These we shall now consider in their chronological order.
These earliest writings will not be traced beyond the publication of Experience and Views in 1851. With only minor editorial or grammatical changes, which no critic seems to have questioned, Experience and Views was reprinted in 1882 as the first half of Early Writings, a work still current. We shall give, in each instance, not simply the reference in Experience and Views, if the contribution is included in it, but also, parenthetically, the corresponding reference in the current printing of Early Writings. The text of the deleted portions that will be quoted is that of the last printing.
This vision was received December, 1844.* First appeared in print in the Day-Star, January 24, 1846, pages 31, 32, under the title Letter from Sister Harmon. Portland, Me., Dec. 20, 1845. Addressed to the editor, Enoch Jacobs, the letter carries this note after the signature at the close: N.B. This was not written for publication; but for the encouragement of all who may see it, and be encouraged by it. In another column, on page 32, the editor wrote: The vision of Sister Harmon in the present number, is published at the request of many friends that have heard it read. (Ellen G. Harmon, after her marriage to James White in August, 1846, is known as Ellen G. White.)
In the April 6, 1846, broadside. At one point in the letter, as first printed, the sentence occurs: Well bless the Lord, Bro. Jacobs, it is an extra meeting for those who have the seal of the living God. As reprinted in the broadside, dear brethren and sisters is substituted for Bro. Jacobs. This is an illustration of what is meant by minor deletions that have no bearing on the controversy over suppression. As already stated, we shall not list these.
In the tract A Word to the Little Flock, pages 14-18, under the title To the Remnant Scattered Abroad.
In the Review and Herald Extra, July 21, 1851. It appears as the second section of a three-section contribution by Mrs. White. The sections, in order, are: (1) A sketch of her early life, (2) this first vision, (3) a vision on the Sabbath truth, which originally appeared as a letter to Dear Brother Bates. Sections 1 and 3 we shall consider later. In this Review and Herald Extra the first vision is prefaced with these words: Here I will give the view that was first published in 1846. In this view I saw only a very few of the events of the future. More recent views have been more full. I shall therefore leave out a portion and prevent repetition. It is in this printing, therefore, that we find the deletions in this first vision that have been the subject of so much discussion.
* This date is established by a letter from Mrs. White to Joseph Bates, written from Gorham, Maine, July 13, 1847.
Note, however, that these deletions, instead of being made secretly, in the hope that no one would notice a change in the text, are announced openly, and a frank and rational reason offered for them. We shall here give simply the text of the three deletions. Those who wish to note the context will turn to Appendix D, page 574, which gives the full text.
(1) It was just as impossible for them to get on the path again and go to the City, as all the wicked world which God had rejected. They fell all the way along the path one after another.
(2) And as we were gazing at the glories of the place our eyes were attracted upwards to something that had the appearance of silver. I asked Jesus to let me see what was within there. In a moment we were winging our way upward, and entering in; here we saw good old father Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Daniel, and many like them. And I saw a vail with a heavy fringe of silver and gold, as a border on the bottom; it was very beautiful. I asked Jesus what was within the vail. He raised it with his own right arm, and bade me take heed. I saw there a glorious ark, overlaid with pure gold, and it had a glorious border, resembling Jesus' crowns; and on it were two bright angelstheir wings were spread over the ark as they sat on each end, with their faces turned towards each other and looking downward. (cc)* In the ark, beneath where the angels' wings were spread, was a golden pot of Manna, of a yellowish cast; and I saw a rod, which Jesus said was Aaron's; I saw it bud, blossom and bear fruit. (dd) And I saw two long golden rods, on which hung silver wires, and on the wires most glorious grapes; one cluster was more than a man here could carry. And I saw Jesus step up and take of the manna, almonds, grapes and pomegranates, and bear them down to the city, and place them on the supper table. I stepped up to see how much was taken away, and there was just as much left; and we shouted HallelujahAmen. We all descended from this place down into the city.
(3) Well, bless the Lord, dear brethren and sisters, it is an extra meeting for those who have the seal of the living God.
(1) This first deletion is discussed at length in the chapter: Mrs. White and the Shut DoorPart II. We believe that that discussion shows that the doctrine of no more mercy for sinners is not taught in this passage.
* These and similar parenthetical letters refer to footnotes added by those who published the material.
(2) It is alleged that this deletion was made because it teaches that the righteous dead are in heaven and that Mrs. White, after having this vision, accepted the doctrine that the dead are unconscious till the resurrection day. For good measure the criticism is made that this passage teaches the very foolish notion that grapes grow on silver wires.
Some evil motive must be found for the deletion. Lacking such a motive, critics, rarely refer to a particular deletion. It would be too evident to the reader that if she had no evil motive in deleting a passage, she must have had an honorable one. But did Mrs. White have an evil motive in the instance before us? Did she wish to conceal an abandoned doctrine or to hide a foolish notion regarding grapes? We shall let her speak for herself. In Appendix F is found an extended statement made by Mrs. White in 1883 in which she gives a clear answer to these charges. The reader is referred to that statement.
The substance of most of what constitutes deletion number 2 is presented in the 1847 vision (the letter to Dear Brother Bates), which is also printed in the Extra. (See Early Writings, pages 32, 33.)
(3) This is brief, is free of doctrinal implications that might be supposed to embarrass, and has never, so far as we have discovered, been cited by the critics. We list it here rather to indicate what we mean by minor deletions. Apparently, in 1883, a critic must have cited this deletion, for Mrs. White in her 1883 statement comments on it. See Appendix F, p. 591.
In the first edition of a collection of Mrs. White's writings, the little book Experience and Views, pages 9-15. (Early Writings, pp. 13-20.) The text of the fourth printing is used.
First part of a second letter to Enoch Jacobs, entitled simply Letter from Sister Harmon. Falmouth, Mass., Feb. 15, 1846. Published in his paper, the Day-Star, March 14, 1846, page 7. Describes events occurring in connection with the ending of the 2300 days.
In the April 6, 1846, broadside. The opening lines are deleted as follows:
My vision which you published in the Day-Star was written under a deep sense of duty, to you, not expecting you would publish it. Had I for once thought it was to be spread before the many readers of your paper, I should have been more particular and stated some things which I left out. As the readers of the Day-Star have seen a part of what God has revealed to me, and as the part which I have not written is of vast importance to the Saints; I humbly request you to publish this also in your paper. God showed me the following, one year ago this month.
It is evident why these opening lines would be deleted when the letter was reprinted by and for our early Sabbathkeeping forebears. The lines were irrelevant. In their place the following introductory line is used: In February, 1845, I had a vision of events commencing with the Midnight Cry.
In Experience and Views, pages 43, 44 (Early Writings, pages 54-56), with the following further deletions:
(1) There [in the Holy of Holies] I saw thrones that I had never seen before.
(2) Then Jesus shew[ed] me the difference between faith and feeling.
(3) I saw one after another leave the company who were praying to Jesus in the Holiest, and go and join those before the throne, and they at once received the unholy influence of Satan.
(1) This is but a description of what Seventh-day Adventists have believed from the first; namely, that when the Ancient of Days went into the holy of holies, at the end of the 2300 days, as Mrs. White is here describing, the thrones were cast down [placed]. Dan. 7:9.
(2) There is no possible doctrinal question involved in this deletion. Neither it nor number 1 is cited by critics as an example of suppression.
(3) This deletion is the closing sentence of the vision. If the reader will turn to Early Writings, pages 55, 56, he will see that this deletion is merely a restatement of what has already been said in that vision. We have not noted that any critic cites this passage.
Second part of Ellen Harmon letter of February 15, 1846, to Enoch Jacobs. Published in the Day-Star, March 14, 1846, page 7.
In the April 6, 1846, broadside. This was the last printing. The vision, deleted, or rather omitted, from later writings of Mrs. White reads as follows in this second printing:
About four months since I had a vision of events all in the future. I saw the time of trouble, such as never was. Jesus told me it was the time of Jacob's trouble, and that we should be delivered out of it by the voice of God. Then I saw the four angels cease to hold the four winds. And I saw famine, pestilence and swordnation rose against nation, and the whole world was in confusion. Then we cried to God day and night for deliverance, until we began to hear the bells on Jesus' garment. And I saw Jesus rise up in the Holiest, and as he came out we heard the tinkling of the bells and knew that our High Priest was coming out. Then we heard the voice of God which shook the heavens and the earth, and gave the 144,000 the day and hour of Jesus' coming. Then the saints were free, united, and full of the glory of God, for he has turned their captivity. And I saw a flaming cloud come where Jesus stood. Then Jesus laid off his priestly garment and put on his kingly robe, and took his place on the cloud which carried him to the East, where it first appeared to the saints on eartha small black cloud which was the sign of the Son of Man. While the cloud was passing from the Holiest to the East, which took a number of days, the synagogue of Satan worshipped at the saint's feet.
The substance, and sometimes the exact phrasing, of this vision is found in closing chapters of The Great Controversy, and in such chapters as the following in Early Writings: The Sealing, Duty in View of the Time of Trouble, Deliverance of the Saints. See also Testimonies, volume 1, pages 183, 184. We have not found any critic making a point out of this deletion. Obviously this deleted vision, whose entire teaching is reproduced in other forms, could not have been suppressed to conceal repudiated beliefs.
Incidentally, this vision has a direct bearing on a certain statement by James White. Mrs. White wrote it out on February 15, 1846, as the
Day-Star printing reveals. She states that she had the vision about four months since. That would be about October 15, 1845. Now listen to James White in A Word to the Little Flock, in 1847:
It is well known that many were expecting the Lord to come at the 7th [Jewish] month, 1845 [that is, the autumn]. That Christ would then come we firmly believed. A few days before the time passed, I was at Fairhaven, and Dartmouth, Mass., with a message on this point of time. At this time, Ellen [Harmonnot yet Mrs. White] was with the band at Carver, Mass., where she saw in vision, that we should be disappointed, and that the saints must pass through the time of Jacob's trouble, which was future. Her view of Jacob's trouble was entirely new to us, as well as herself.Page 22.
Evidently, then, this vision was intended to meet a particular need in October, 1845. Later, the substance of it appeared in various of Mrs. White's writings.
On the broadside A Vision, April 7, 1847. Bates printed this broadside and added Remarks, in which he offered reasons why he accepted Mrs. White's visions as of God.
In A Word to the Little Flock, pages 18-20.
In Review and Herald Extra, July 21, 1851, pages 2, 3, with deletions, as follows:
(1) And if one believed, and kept the Sabbath, and received the blessing attending it, and then gave it up, and broke the holy commandment, they would shut the gates of the Holy City against themselves, as sure as there was a God that rules in heaven above.
(2) I saw all that would not receive the mark of the Beast, and of his Image, in their foreheads or in their hands, could not buy or sell. (o) I saw that the number (666) of the Image Beast was made up; (p) and that it was the beast that changed the Sabbath, and the Image Beast had followed on after, and kept the Pope's, and not God's Sabbath. And all we were required to do, was to give up God's Sabbath, and keep the Pope's, and then we should have the mark of the Beast, and of his Image.
(1) This is not cited, we believe, by current critics as an exhibit of a passage suppressed to conceal an abandoned teaching. In 1883 Mrs. White, in meeting charges of suppression, wrote thus regarding this deletion:
Those who have clearly seen and fully accepted the truth upon the fourth commandment and have received the blessing attending obedience, but have since renounced their faith, and dared to violate the law of God, will find if they persist in this path of disobedience, the gates of the city of God closed against them. See Appendix F, pp. 591, 592.
This is in harmony with the Scriptural principle enunciated by Christ: If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. John 15:22. Also with the words of James: Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. James 4:17. And with the further words of James: For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. James 2:10-12. Finally, this deleted passage squares with the words of John: Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. Rev. 22:14.
A reading of Mrs. White's current writings will reveal that she has more than once set forth the substance of deletion number 1.
(2) This is discussed in chapter 18, The Image Beast and 666.
In Experience and Views, pages 15-19. (Early Writings, pages 32-35.) The text of the third printing is used.
In A Word to the Little Flock, pages 11, 12.
See Appendix D, pages 571, 572 for full text of this letter.
The fact that this letter has been dropped out of all subsequent printingswholly suppressedhas rarely, if ever, been the occasion of any indictment by critics. This is an interesting fact. Evidently
critics are not really convinced in their own minds, or at least they do not believe they can bring convincing evidence to the minds of their readers, that there is anything evil, per se, in Mrs. White's not reprinting something she has written. At most they can call attention only to the fact that this letter contains the statement that Jesus rose up, and shut the door in 1844. But they need not turn to the Eli Curtis letter to find this thought expressed. It is found in Mrs. White's works currently in print! A fact which would seem to be a sufficient answer to any possible charge that suppression of abandoned beliefs is involved in the failure to reprint the Curtis letter.
However, the person who wishes to take the time to check the key words and phrases of this letter against the Index to the Writings of Mrs. E. G. White will find that all the main thoughts of that letter are found elsewhere in her writings.
On the January 31, 1849, broadside: To those who are receiving the seal of the living God.
The Present Truth, August, 1849 (volume 1, number 3), page 24.
Experience and Views, pages 23, 24. (Early Writings, page 41.) No deletions.
On the January 31, 1849, broadside.
In Present Truth, August, 1849 (volume 1, number 3), pages 22, 23, with the following deletion:
I saw the state of some who stood on present truth, but disregarded the visions,the way God had chosen to teach in some cases, those who erred from Bible truth. I saw that in striking against the visions they did not strike against the wormthe feeble instrument that God spake through; but against the Holy Ghost. I saw it was a small thing to speak against the instrument, but it was dangerous to slight the words of
God. I saw if they were in error and God chose to show them their errors through visions, and they disregarded the teachings of God through visions, they would be left to take their own way, and run in the way of error, and think they were right, until they would find it out too late. Then in the time of trouble I heard them cry to God in agonyWhy didst thou not show us our wrong, that we might have got right and been ready for this time? Then an angel pointed to them and saidMy Father taught, but you would not be taught.He spoke through visions, but you disregarded his voice, and he gave you up to your own ways, to be filled with your own doings.
We have never read of any charges preferred on account of this deletion. And why should there be? The passage teaches what the denomination still believes as to the danger of disregarding the visions. Similar counsel is given in variant form in later writings of Mrs. White.
As to the reason that prompted the elimination of the passage in this particular connection, we know not. We do know that in the earliest days there was much opposition to the very idea of visions, even on the part of devout Adventists. Because of certain fanatical persons who claimed to have visions and whose unreasonable conduct brought Adventism into disrepute in a few places, it is easily understandable why the very idea of visions would be suspect. The warning by Mrs. White, which might have had a proper timeliness for the limited number to whom it first went in broadside form, was perhaps considered not expedient as a message to appear in the paper that was to have much more general circulation. We think it no twisting of Paul's words to say here that all things are lawful , but all things are not expedient. Solomon says there is a time to speak and a time to keep silence. And may not prophets avail themselves of that inspired counsel? But if you speak on paper, the only way you can keep silence, if a later time demands it, is by deleting that part on which you should keep silence.
In Experience and Views, pages 19-21. (Early Writings, pages 36-38.) The text of the second printing is used.
On ,January 31, 1849, broadside.
In Present Truth, August 1849 (volume 1, number 3), pages 23, 24.
In Experience and Views, pages 21-23. (Early Writings, pages 39, 40.) No deletions.
On January 31, 1849, broadside.
In Experience and Views, pages 44-47 (Early Writings, pages 56-58), with the following deletions:
(1) The Lord has shown me that some of his children would fear when they see the price of food rising, and they would buy food and lay it by for the time of trouble. Then in a time of need, I saw them go to their food and look at it, and it had bred worms, and was full of living creatures, and not fit for use.
(2) Dispose of their houses and lands.
(3) This seal [of the living God] is the Sabbath.
(4) If any among us are sick, let us not dishonor God by applying to earthly physicians, but apply to the God of Israel. If we follow his directions (James 5:14, 15,) the sick will be healed. God's promise cannot fail. Have faith in God, and trust wholly in him, that when Christ who is our life shall appear we may appear with him in glory.
(1) The substance of this is found in the immediately preceding sentences. Perhaps deleted to prevent repetition, and conserve space.
(2) This deletion is part of the following sentence: I saw it was the will of God that the saints should cut loose from every encumbrancedispose of their houses and lands before the time of trouble comes, and make a covenant with God by sacrifice.
This seems evidently to be a deletion to avoid repetition, for the preceding sentence states: Houses and lands would be of no use in the time of trouble. The same thought is found in currently printed works.
(3) No critic will say that Mrs. White abandoned the belief that the Sabbath is the seal of God. That has always been Seventh-day
Adventist teaching. See, for example, Mrs. White's current work, The Great Controversy, page 452. No deletion could more clearly reveal that some other motive than a desire to suppress allegedly abandoned beliefs must have prompted deletions from Mrs. White's earliest writings that found a permanent place in her works, via Experience and Views. Whether this deletion, in common with many others, was made to prevent repetition, or to conserve space, we know not. We do know that poverty prevented bringing out more than a sixty-four-page book. The removal of a phrase here, a sentence there, or sometimes a paragraph, would serve to simplify the making up of the pages by the printer, and to keep down the total of pages, both of which had a direct relation to cost.*
(4) This deletion might be explained in one of two ways: It might be viewed as an illustration of how prophets, at times, make an intense and unqualified application of a truth, calling on God's children to make the supreme display of faith. Christ made a number of breathtaking statements regarding faith. He said to His disciples: If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Matt. 17:20. We presume that the disciples were tempted to respond, as did the Jews, in general, regarding His teachings: This is an hard saying; who can hear it? John 6:60. The reading of James 5:14, 15, does not reveal any qualifying clause. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church. They were to pray and anoint him. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick. By implication, the statement of James is as unqualified as Mrs. White's statement. And she makes direct reference to James. That explanation of the matter would lead to the conclusion that the deletion was made later because the statement in its brief, blunt form could easily be misunderstood. Mrs. White later wrote at length on the proper relation of faith to medical care, in which she shows the proper balance between faith in God and working together with God in medical treatment.
Or Mrs. White's statement in the deleted passage might be understood in terms of the kind of medical care that was available in those
* The economical way to print tracts, pamphlets, or books, is in multiples of eight, or more generally, sixteen pages. If the matter for Experience and Views was enough for, let us say, sixty-five or sixty-six pages, the only practical question in view of poverty, would be: What can be deleted? It is true that some of this material appeared with deletions before Experience and Views was printed, that is, in the Review and Herald Extra, July 21, 1851. In addition to the desire there expressed, to prevent repetition, there would also be the necessity of conserving space. The Extra had four pages. To add more would have added substantially to the cost. Furthermore, at the time the Extra was published, it was already decided to print Experience and Views, including in it Mrs. White's long article in the Extra.
See, for example, her statements in The Ministry of Healing.
days, a kind of care that certainly did not work together with the laws of the body, which are God's laws, for the healing of the sick. Strychnine, calomel, and opium were much relied upon by physicians. In those days someone, perhaps a victim of such drugging, paraphrased Scripture thus: Saul has slain his thousands, but calomel its tens of thousands. The deletion might then be explained simply as an instance of saving space, certainly not of suppressing an abandoned view, for Mrs. White later on made very vigorous statements on the kind of medical service that was being offered. In fact, it is in the light of the drugging, purging, and bleeding administered in those days that we can rightly understand her statement in 1864: If there was in the land one physician in the place of thousands, a vast amount of premature mortality would be prevented.Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4, p. 133.
In Present Truth, August, 1849, pages 21, 22. (See chapter 14, pages 220-222 for full text of this vision.)
In Experience and Views, pages 24-27 (Early Writings, pages 42-45), with the following deletions:
(1) The Lord has shown me that it is my duty to relate to you, what he has revealed to me relating to the present truth, our present tried, scattered and tempted state, and our duty in view of the coming judgments of God.
(2) but from bad to worse; for those who professed a change of heart, had only wrapt about them a religious garb, which covered up the iniquity of a wicked heart. Some appeared to have been really converted, so as to deceive God's people; but if their hearts could be seen, they would appear as black as ever.
(1) This is the introductory paragraph immediately preceding the vision. Obviously there would be no need of such a paragraph preceding a particular vision when a collection of writings were brought together.
(2) This passage is discussed at length in chapter 14. There we present evidence to show that the passage does not teach what critics charge that it teaches; namely, no more mercy for sinners. Hence, its deletion cannot be presented as an exhibit of suppression of abandoned
teachings. We add here the further comment: Reference to chapter 14 will show that the deleted passage is followed immediately by these closing lines: My accompanying angel bade me look for the travel [travail] of soul for sinners as used to be. I looked, but could not see it; for the time for their salvation is past. What would the critics have said if these closing lines had been deleted? What would they not have said! But the lines were not deleted! Mrs. White taught that there were those who had sinned away their day of grace. She here speaks of the lost state of some such, and what she said has come down to us today. Incidentally, this passage helps to explain why critics in the 1860's and 1870's, when Experience and Views was out of print, triumphantly declared that we were ashamed to republish it, because of its shut-door teaching, and that we had decided to suppress it! Instead, we republished it.
In large part, deletion number 2 is a repetition of what has already been related in the vision. (The reader can follow this point better if he opens Early Writings at pages 44 and 45.) On page 45 the deletion has been made. But on page 44, directly opposite, are these lines:
While they [ministers who have rejected the truth and are given over to strong delusions to believe a lie were preaching or praying, some would fall prostrate and helpless, not by the power of the Holy Ghost, but by the power of Satan breathed upon these agents, and through them to the people. While preaching, praying, or conversing, some professed Adventists who had rejected present truth used mesmerism to gain adherents, and the people would rejoice in this influence, for they thought it was the Holy Ghost. Some even that used it were so far in the darkness and deception of the devil that they thought it was the power of God, given them to exercise.
The deleted passage is little more than a commentary on this.
In Present Truth, September, 1849, pages 31, 32.
In Experience and Views, pages 27-29 (Early Writings, pages 46-48), with deletion of the closing paragraphs, as follows:
The Lord has shown me that precious souls are starving, and dying for want of the present, sealing truth, the meat in due season; and that the swift messengers should speed on their way, and feed the flock with
the present truth. I heard an Angel say, speed the swift messengers, speed the swift messengers; for the case of every soul will soon be decided, either for Life, or for Death.
I saw that those who had the means, were required to help speed those messengers, that God had called to labor in his cause, and as they went from place to place, they would be safe from the prevailing pestilence. But if any went that were not sent of God, they would be in danger of being cut down by the pestilence; therefore all should earnestly seek for duty, and be sure and move by the direction of the Holy Spirit.
What we have seen and heard of the pestilence, is but the beginning of what we shall see and hear. Soon the dead and dying will be all around us. I saw that some will be so hardened, as to even make sport of the judgements of God. Then the slain of the Lord will be from one end of the earth, to the other; they will not be lamented, gathered, nor buried; but their ill savor will come up from the face of the whole earth. Those only who have the seal of the living God, will be sheltered from the storm of wrath, that will soon fall on the heads of those who have rejected the truth.
A critic explains this deletion thus: The pestilence here referred to was local, brief, and soon checked. No such tiling happened as she predicted. She simply expressed the fears common to frighten fed] persons at the time. That is all. The vision absolutely failed, and therefore these lines had to be suppressed!
Now what failed? Mrs. White made two predictions: (1) That those called to labor would be safe from the prevailing pestilence as they worked for God; (2) that this pestilence was but a foretaste of what is soon to come when the slain of the Lord will be from one end of the earth, to the other.
If the first prediction failed, then what shall we do with the words of Psalms 91? To the faithful child of God the promise is given: Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence . Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. Ps. 91: 3-6.
As to the second prediction, is it not the practice of Bible writers to use a local judgment of God as the text for a warning against the last and terrible judgments that are to come on the whole earth? Mrs. White quotes the very language of Jeremiah, as he speaks of God's last judgments when the Lord hath a controversy with the nations:
The slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth. Jer. 25:31, 33. When? At that day. And what is the practice of the New Testament writers as they picture the end of the world and God's judgments? Do they speak of that day as far off? No. Then in what way is Mrs. White's statement different from that of Bible writers? In no way.
Mrs. White spoke of the local pestilence as but the beginning of what we shall see and hear. That statement is not difficult to believe today. The critic's statement which we quoted was published in 1919. That was before the full effects of the first world war were evident, and before the times of the second world war. Yet he should have been impressed by the influenza epidemic that is estimated to have killed 20,000,000 people. It is also estimated that in connection with the first world war, and immediately after, as many persons died of disease, malnutrition, and outright famine, as were killed in the war. And who can estimate the second world war in terms of lives lost?
The trouble with the critic is that he was restive about that word soon. He was willing that the Bible prophets should be given ample time. But Mrs. WhiteNo! Or perhaps he had imbibed the popular notion, which was dominant even beyond the shock of the first world war, that the world is gradually improving and that we are on the road, not to judgment and pestilence, but to an earthly millennium. Most men believed just that, and that is why their faces are filled with confusion today. Seventh-day Adventists, and very particularly Mrs. White, never believed that. We have no confusion of face over this deleted passage. We would restore it. Indeed, we have restored it by printing a facsimile edition of Present Truth. However, the substance of it is in the current works by Mrs. White.
Whatever the cause for the deletion, it was not because of abandoned belief, not from a desire to suppress an embarrassing statement. Probably it was simply another instance of cutting to fit the sixty-four pages of pamphlet they could afford to print in 1851.
In Present Truth, December, 1849, page 35. A communication from Hiram Edson quotes Mrs. White's account of a vision (of November 19) which reads as follows:
While in vision the Angel pointed to the earth, where I saw Bro. Rhodes in thick darkness; but he still bore the image of Jesus. I saw
that it was the will of God that Brn. Edson and Ralph should go after him. Then I was shown Bro. Rhodes' past labors in the Advent cause; that he had been mighty in word and in deed. I saw him standing before the people, with the Bible in his hand, and a stream of light coming from his mouth, which found its way to the hearts of the people. Some rejoiced, while others, who were in darkness, were troubled. I saw that he had proclaimed the advent with great confidence, and had shown his faith by his works, and when the time passed, the disappointment was very great. Then some professed Adventists wounded his heart, and I saw him overwhelmed with discouragement, and grief, as he left the little flock, and retired to the wilderness.
I saw that Jesus was pleading his blood for Bro. Rhodes, and that the Angel was ready to enroll his name, as soon as he would come out of that dark place, and stand on all the present truth. The Angel pointed me to the snare of Satan that bound him; and I saw that he thought that there was no hope, no mercy for him; and it would be of no use for him to try. I saw that Brn. Edson and Ralph should make him believe there was hope, and mercy for him, and tear him away, then he would come among the flock; and that Angels would attend them on their journey. I heard an Angel sayCan ye not see the worth of the soul? Pull him out of the fire. I saw that in Bro. Rhodes' mouth there had been no guile in speaking against the present truth, relating to the Sabbath, and Shut Door. I also saw that the Lord had laid Bro. Rhodes' case heavily on Bro. Edson.
This vision appears in a report from Hiram Edson concerning the cause in Western New-York, and the endeavor that had been made to bring Bro. Rhodes back into active service in the Adventist cause. Edson's report is dated Oswego, N. Y. Nov. 26, 1849.
Samuel Rhodes had been active in the Millerite movement. After the great disappointment he had withdrawn to the frontier country, the wilderness, and there was living as a recluse. There had been difference of opinion as to what endeavor should be made to bring him back. Edson had a great burden in that direction. That same burden took hold of a Bro. Ralph, who was also attending the Centreport Conference. All this Edson relates, and then states that Mrs. White had a vision on the subject. The text of the vision immediately follows, in quotation marks, and below it, in larger type, E. G. White.
Her use of the words, Shut Door, in this vision is no different from her use of those words in current works now available. Her only comment on the question of salvation is with regard to Rhodes himself. She said there was hope, and mercy for him.
Here is an excellent illustration of a vision with a local application. When the vision was fulfilledcarried outits purpose was accomplished. Hence it was not reprinted. And no critic, so far as we know, has ever raised a question about suppression. It would be too transparent to any reader as to why the vision was not republished. Yet it has been as thoroughly suppressed as the passages over which critics raise a question. It is hard for us to believe that they really wish to be taken seriously when they make the sweeping statement that everything a prophet writes should ever afterward be available to all mankind to read. That statement simply does not hold up when applied to such writing as this vision regarding Rhodes, for example.
In Present Truth, March, 1850 (volume 1, number 8), page 64.
This message is quoted in full and discussed in Chapter 14, pages 219, 220.
We offer a comment only as to the probable reason why it was not reprinted. The point of this brief message is a warning against certain time setting by the publishers of the Watchman, one of many post1844 Adventist papers. That point would obviously be lost on readers in later years. Her general statements about excitements and false reformations, of Christ's rising up and shutting the door of the first apartment and withdrawing into the second, are all given, and at greater length, in the vision of March 24, 1849. The reader can compare with the text of that brief message the vision of March 24, 1849 (quoted in full in chapter 14, pages 220-222), and judge for himself whether Mrs. White suppressed some abandoned beliefs when she failed to reprint the brief message that appears only in Present Truth, March, 1850, page 64.
The fact is that critics do not generally cite this message as an instance of suppression.
In Present Truth, April, 1850, pages 71, 72.
In Experience and Views, pages 29-33 (Early Writings, pages 48-52), in full.
In Present Truth, May, 1850, page 80. The warning reads thus:
Eli Curtis.It is well known by many of the brethren, that Eli Curtis has published many of my visions. He has pursued such an inconsistent course for some time past; and his influence on the cause of truth is such at this time that I feel it my duty to say to the brethren that I have no faith in his course; and that he has published my visions contrary to my wishes, even after I had requested him not to publish them.
E. G. WHITE.
Eli Curtis was one of many Adventists who, in the days immediately following 1844, published papers. In the style of those days he copied freely and without permission from every source. He published the Girdle of Truth, and Advent Review, in New York. An Extra of that paper, dated January 20, 1848, contains two of Mrs. White's visions. We know little about Curtis, and nothing about his paper, except this one copy. The reason for Mrs. White's writing as she did concerning him, and the reason why her message was not reprinted, are both evident. We have found no critic citing this as an instance of suppression.
In Present Truth, November, 1850, page 86. (This is the first part of an extended contribution that carries only the salutation, Dear Brethren and Sisters. The second and third parts of this contribution are considered below under numbers 17 and 18.)
In Experience and Views, pages 33-35. (Early Writings, pages 52-54), with the deletion of the opening paragraphs, as follows:
Dear Brethren and SistersI wish to give you a short sketch of what the Lord has recently shown to me in vision. I was shown the loveliness of Jesus, and the love that the angels have for one another.
Said the angelCan ye not behold their love?follow it. Just So God's people must love one another. Rather let blame fall on thyself than on a brother. I saw that the message sell that ye have and give alms had not been given, by some, in its clear light; that the true object of the words of our Saviour had not been clearly presented. I saw that the object of selling was not to give to those who are able to labor and support themselves; but to spread the truth. It is a sin to support and indulge those who are able to labor, in idleness. Some have been zealous to attend all the meetings; not to glorify God, but for the loaves and fishes. Such had much better been at home laboring with their hands, the thing that is good, to supply the wants of their families, and to have something to give to sustain the precious cause of present truth.
Some, I saw, had erred in praying for the sick to be healed before unbelievers. If any among us are sick, and call for the elders of the church to pray over them, according to James v, 14, 15, we should follow the example of Jesus. He put unbelievers out of the room, then healed the sick; so we should seek to be separated from the unbelief of those who have not faith, when we pray for the sick among us.
Then I was pointed back to the time that Jesus took his disciples away alone, into an upper room, and first washed their feet, and then gave them to eat of the broken bread, to represent his broken body, and juice of the vine to represent his spilled blood. I saw that all should move understandingly, and follow the example of Jesus in these things, and when attending to these ordinances, should be as separate from unbelievers as possible.
There is nothing in this deletion that suggests embarrassing, abandoned belief that Mrs. White would wish to suppress. There is a general statement about the loveliness of Jesus, which can be duplicated in currently available works. The same is true of the statement about not supporting people in idleness.
The paragraphs dealing with healing the sick and the communion service set forth no strange doctrine. We turn aside from the world, we withdraw ourselves, the Bible says, when we seek the mercies of God, and engage in special services commemorative of Christ's death in our behalf. There was probably a special appropriateness to this counsel at the time it was given. Few, if any, stable church companies had been formed. Various unruly individuals, troublemakers, and scoffers sometimes disturbed their meetings.
We have not found any critic citing this passage as an exhibit of suppression.
In Present Truth, November, 1850, page 86. (This is the second part of Mrs. White's extended contribution in this issue of Present Truth. It is only one paragraph long, but it is typographically set off from the preceding portion, and is introduced with the phrase, I also saw that the shepherds Because of this, and because it is later reprinted separately from the rest of the contribution, we list it here separately.)
In Experience and Views, page 49 (Early Writings, pages 61, 62), in full. The paragraph beginning I saw that the shepherds in the chapter entitled The Messengers. No deletion.
In Present Truth, November, 1850, pages 86, 87. (This is the third and concluding section of Mrs. White's contribution to this number of Present Truth, and begins thus: September 23d, the Lord showed me )
In Experience and Views, pages 61, 62 (Early Writings, pages 74-76), with the following deletions:
(1) It is as necessary that the truth should be published in a paper, as preached.
(2) I saw that the reason why they [some who are in the great error, that the saints are yet to go to Old Jerusalem, &c., before the Lord comes] were left to go into this great error, is because they have not confessed and forsaken their errors, that they have been in for a number of years past.
(1) There is nothing in this that we have not believed increasingly through the years. Nothing is more clearly stated in Mrs. White's various works.
(2) This deleted passage is the closing sentence of the vision. It teaches no strange doctrine, later abandoned. It merely expresses the
thought that those who walk in darkness will stumble into greater darkness and into worse pitfalls of error.
For those who wish to make further comparison of the texts of the first and later printings, we would say that there have been two important additions to this brief vision. The first full paragraph on page 75 of Early Writings, beginning, The Lord has shown me, is an addition to the text; it is a part of the Camden Vision of June 21, 1851. (Not to be confused with the pseudo-Camden vision dated June 29, 1851.) See number 19 following. Beginning twelve lines from the bottom of page 75, with the words, I saw that such a mission, and on to the end of the paragraph, had already been added in Experience and Views. The history of those early days of Adventism reveals that there were those who had lately been with the Advent movement, who sought to stir up interest in a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to convert the Jews. The interest, however, was limited, and apparently soon died out.
In Review and Herald Extra, July 21, 1851, page 4.
In Experience and Views, page 48 (Early Writings, the first full paragraph on page 75, in the chapter entitled The Gathering Time), with the following deletion:
I saw that some were making every thing bend to the time of this next fallthat is, making their calculations in reference to that time. I saw that this was wrong, for this reason: Instead of going to God daily to know their PRESENT duty, they look ahead, and make their calculations as though they knew the work would end this fall, without inquiring their duty of God daily. (Emphasis hers.)
This is the second paragraph of the two paragraphs warning against time setting. It is simply the local application of the general warning given in the first paragraph. When the vision was printed in a work that was to go beyond 1851 there was good reason why this second paragraph need not be reprinted.
In Review and Herald Extra, July 21, 1851, pages 1, 2. (This is a brief autobiographical sketch. It is immediately followed, on page 2, with the narration of the first vision.)
In Experience and Views, pages 3-9. (Early Writings, pages 11-13 and 20-24. In Early Writings, Mrs. White's first vision is inserted in the running text of her autobiographical sketchpages 13-20where it naturally comes. Experience and Views follows the text of the Extra and inserts the first vision immediately after the biographical sketch.)
With the exception of a slight rearrangement and rewording of sentences in the description of a storm at sea, the text is essentially unchanged.
The reader now has before him the total deletions in Mrs. White's earliest writings. It is clear beyond all question that most of these deletions could not possibly have been prompted by a desire to suppress some belief, which fact leads to the conclusion that deletions, as such, affect in no way Mrs. White's honesty or her claim to the prophetic gift, and are to be explained as an endeavor to prevent repetition or to save space or because the deleted passage was of only local or personal application. And that should lead us to the reasonable assumption that in the absence of incontrovertible evidence of evil intent, the rest of the deletions, which are supposed to prove suppression, should be viewed in the same light as we view all other deletions. We leave the reader to judge, after examining the chapters on the shut door and suppression, as to whether incontrovertible evidence of suppression has been offered by the critics! as to whether the critics have presented even plausible evidence!
Thus collapses the whole edifice of indictment that has been reared from the various passages that were dropped from Mrs. White's writings. With the cement of insinuation and implication the builders of the critical edifice have sought to hold it together. But as with other poorly built structures, exposure reveals its Weakness and produces its collapse.
* * * * * * *
We have come to the end of our examination of Mrs. White's earliest writings before the little book Experience and Views, the first edition of her writings, was published in 1851. We have noted the page numbers in that book where each contribution there reprinted is to be found. The purpose of our study in this appendix, namely, to examine the earliest writings in relation to possible suppression at the time of the printing of Experience and Views, does not call for us to list material that had its first printing in that book.
However, for the benefit of some who might wish to have a complete record of all that appeared in that book, we list these remaining items, first printed in Experience and Views, using for each the title given in the current work, Early Writings.
1. Mark of the Beast. Experience and Views, pp. 52-55. (Early Writings, pp. 64-67.)
2. Mysterious Rapping. Experience and Views, pp. 47, 48. (Early Writings, pp. 59, 60.)
3. Preparation for the End. Experience and Views, pp. 57-59. (Early Writings, pp. 69-71.)
4. The Messengers. Experience and Views, pp. 49-52. (Early Writings, pp. 61-64.)
5. The Blind Leading the Blind. Experience and Views, pp. 55, 56. (Early Writings, pp. 68, 69.)
6. Prayer and Faith. Experience and Views, pp. 59-61. (Early Writings, pp. 72, 73.)
7. Dear Reader. Experience and Views, pp. 62-64. (Early Writings, pp. 76-78.)
These seven items, added to those already discussed, constitute the text of Experience and Views, which text constitutes approximately the first seventy-eight pages of Early Writings.
A present-day critic adds for good measure to his plagiarism charge: Mrs. White not only purloined the thoughts of others, but she was also guilty of using illustrations without credit. Then he lists some pictures that appeared in The Great Controversy in 1885 that were taken from Wylie's History of Protestantism, an English work. He speaks of such use of pictures as stealing.
This indictment is not properly before us in this book which deals with charges against Mrs. White. There is no reason to believe that she, any more than any other author, concerned herself with illustrations and credit lines for them. That is a part of the mechanics of bookmaking.
It is true that Mrs. White's literary assistants included in their task the providing of illustrations on many books. However, in this particular instance the critic himself notes that the credit line on the pictures in question is that of the printers and publishers, and not Mrs. White's office.
We are not here concerned to defend the practices of publishers, even Mrs. White's publishers. However, if her publishers were thieves for using such illustrations, then American publishers in general in those days were thieves, for it was the common custom for these publishers to use, without payment, and often without credit, such pictures as they might desire from English books. The facts are, they were not thieves. Such pictures, along with the books in which they were found, were in the public domain, for they were covered by no copyright law in the United States. We have no interest in discussing with the critics the question of publishers' ethics. There was nothing unlawful in what the various American publishers did. These pictures were as certainly in the public domain as was Mrs. White's last will and testament which the present-day critic, who brings this picture charge, copied free and regularly sells!
[Under this title a thirty-two-page tract was published some years ago by the Pacific Press. It is now out of print. The first section of the tract (pp. 3-9) consisted of a letter from Mrs. White dated July 8, 1906. The last section (pp. 26-32) consisted of a statement by W. C. White, her son, entitled The Influence of Sister White's Helpers Over the Testimonies. These two sections are reproduced below.]
July 8, 1906.
There are some who think they are able to measure the character and to estimate the importance of the work the Lord has given me
to do. Their own mind and judgment is the standard by which they would weigh the testimonies.
My instructor said to me, Tell these men that God has not committed to them the work of measuring, classifying, and defining the character of the testimonies. Those who attempt this are sure to err in their conclusions. The Lord would have men adhere to their appointed work. If they will keep the way of the Lord, they will be able to discern clearly that the work which He has appointed me to do is not a work of human devising.
Those who carefully read the testimonies as they have appeared from the early days, need not be perplexed as to their origin. The many books, written by the help of the Spirit of God, bear a living witness to the character of the testimonies.
In the early days of our experience in the message, the Spirit of God often came upon a few of us as we were assembled, and I was taken away in vision. The Lord gave such light and evidence, such comfort and hope and joy, that His praises were upon our lips.
While my husband lived, he acted as a helper and counselor in the sending out of the messages that were given to me. We traveled extensively. Sometimes light would be given to me in the night season, sometimes in the daytime before large congregations. The instruction I received in vision was faithfully written out by me, as I had time and strength for the work. Afterward we examined the matter together, my husband correcting grammatical errors and eliminating needless repetition. Then it was carefully copied for the persons addressed, or for the printer.
As the work grew, others assisted me in the preparation of matter for publication. After my husband's death, faithful helpers joined me, who labored untiringly in the work of copying the testimonies, and preparing articles for publication. But the reports that are circulated, that any of my helpers are permitted to add matter or change the meaning of the messages I write out, are not true.
While we were in Australia, the Lord instructed me that W. C. White should be relieved from the many burdens his brethren would lay upon him, that he might be more free to assist me in the work the Lord has laid upon me. The promise had been given, I will put My Spirit upon him, and give him wisdom.
Since my return to America I have several times received instruction that the Lord has given me W. C. White to be my helper, and that in this work the Lord will give him of His Spirit.
It requires much wisdom and sound judgment, quickened by the Spirit of God, to know the proper time and manner to present the
instruction that has been given. When the minds of persons reproved are under a strong deception, they naturally resist the testimony; and having taken an attitude of resistance, it is difficult for them afterward to acknowledge that they have been wrong.
In the early days of this cause, if some of the leading brethren were present when messages from the Lord were given, we would consult with them as to the best manner of bringing the instruction before the people. Sometimes it was decided that certain portions would better not be read before a congregation. Sometimes those whose course was reproved would request that the matters pointing out their wrongs and dangers should be read before others, that they, too, might be benefited.
Often after testimonies of reproof were read, hearty confessions were made. Then we would unite in a season of prayer, and the Lord would manifest His pardoning grace to those who had confessed their sins. The acceptance of the testimonies brought the rich blessing of God into our assemblies.
Faithfully I endeavor to write out that which is given me from time to time by the divine Counselor. Some portions of that which I write are sent out immediately to meet the present necessities of the work. Other portions are held until the development of circumstances makes it evident to me that the time has come for their use. Sometimes in ministers and physicians bearing responsibilities there has developed a disposition to discard the testimonies, and I have been instructed not to place testimonies in their hands; for having yielded to the spirit that tempted and overcame Adam and Eve, they have opened mind and heart to the control of the enemy. Being on a false track, and laboring under deceptive imaginings, they will read into the testimonies things that are not there, but which are in agreement with the false statements that they have listened to. By reading the testimonies in the light of their own kindling, they are deceived, and will deceive others.
Sometimes, after very clear-cut, decided reproofs have been written out, they are held for a time until by personal correspondence I have endeavored to change the spirit of those to whom they are addressed. If these efforts are unsuccessful, the messages, with all their strength of rebuke or reproof, are sent to them, whether they will hear, or whether they will deny the truthfulness of the message.
If those whose errors are pointed out make confession of their wrong-doing, the spell of the enemy may be broken. If they will repent and forsake their sins, God is faithful and just to forgive their sins, and to cleanse them from all unrighteousness. Christ, the sin-pardoning
Redeemer, will remove the filthy garments from them, give them change of raiment, and set a fair miter upon their head. But so long as they refuse to turn from iniquity, they can not develop a character that will stand in the great day of judgment.
Often concealed wrongs in the life of individuals are opened before me, and I am bidden to bear a message of reproof and warning.
I have been told that many who give heed to the false science of the enemy would denounce my work as that of a false prophet, and would place upon the testimony such interpretations as tend to change the truth of God into a lie. Satan is on the alert; and some who in the past have been used by the Lord in doing His work, but who have permitted themselves to be deceived, will be stirred up to make an improper use of the messages given. Because they do not wish to listen to the words of reproof, because they will not hear counsel, and improve their course of action, and do their appointed work, they will misconstrue the messages to the church, and confuse many minds.
Nevertheless, I am to bear the message that is given me to bear, so long as the Lord shall choose. He has not given me the work of settling all the misunderstandings that are cherished in hearts of unbelief. Just as long as a door is open to receive the tempter's suggestions, difficulties will multiply. The hearts of those who will not come to the light are open to unbelief. If my time and strength are consumed upon such matters, this serves Satan's purposes. The Lord has said to me: Bear the testimonies. Your work is not to settle difficulties; your work is to reprove, and to present the righteousness of Christ.
At one time in the early days of the message, Father Butler and Elder Hart became confused in regard to the testimonies. In great distress they groaned and wept, but for some time they would not give the reasons for their perplexity. However, being pressed to give a reason for their faithless speech and manner, Elder Hart referred to a small pamphlet that had been published as the visions of Sister White, and said that to his certain knowledge, some visions were not included. Before a large audience, these brethren both talked strongly about their losing confidence in the work.
My husband handed the little pamphlet to Elder Hart, and requested him to read what was printed on the title page. A SKETCH of the Christian Experience and Views of Mrs. E. G. White, he read.
For a moment there was silence, and then my husband explained that we had been very short of means, and were able to print at first only
a small pamphlet, and he promised the brethren that when sufficient means was raised, the visions should be published more fully in book form.
Elder Butler was deeply moved, and after the explanation had been made, he said, Let us bow before God. Prayers, weeping, and confessions followed, such as we have seldom heard. Father Butler said: Brother White forgive me; I was afraid you were concealing from us some of the light we ought to have. Forgive me, Sister White. Then the power of God came into the meeting in a wonderful manner.
The supposition that those who are closely associated with Sister White have a potent influence over the character and contents of the messages that she sends to the people, is not a new thought. In the days of Jeremiah the princes questioned Baruch the scribe as to how he received and wrote the words of Jeremiah. They evidently suspected that he had brought in some of his own ideas.
For many years there has been brought against the testimonies to the church the charge that some one has influenced Sister White to write as she has done. Referring to early experiences, mother wrote, June 20, 1882, as follows:
Many excused their disregard of the testimonies by saying, Sister White is influenced by her husband; the testimonies are moulded by his spirit and judgment. Others were seeking to gain something from me which they could construe to justify their course, or to give them influence.
In the early days of our denominational work, this experience was often repeated. Elder James White, in his preaching, brought out new expositions of Scripture, and new thoughts regarding the best way to advance the cause of present truth; and shortly afterward Sister White, in her testimonies to the church, advocated the same doctrine and policies. Then the critics cried out, Is it not evident that she is following the lead of her husband's mind?
But the true explanation of this was not difficult to find by those who sought it. The facts were these: The Lord had given to Sister White clear light regarding doctrines and policies. As this new light was given to her, it was most natural that she should first tell it to her husband. Thus he learned enough about what had been revealed to her to give a new zest and direction to his studies, and a new mould and increased power to his discourses, and fresh vigor and greater breadth
to his plans. Later on, when Sister White found time to write out her views for publication, they must necessarily agree with the teachings and plans of her husband, so far as his teachings and plans had been influenced by what he had learned from her.
It was most natural that James and Ellen White should discuss freely and interestedly between themselves, plans and methods and ways and means for the advancement of the publishing work and the work of the ministers in the field, and that she should tell him of the views given her regarding the most effective methods of labor. As a result, he would shape his plans to harmonize with these views. Often his brethren would criticize these plans, which seemed too broad, and urge other policies. Then when Sister White was appealed to, and it was seen that her testimony was in harmony with the plans and teachings of her husband, some said, She is influenced by him; her testimony is a transcript of her husband's mind.
As James White gained experience and confidence as a leader, he sometimes made plans and inaugurated policies that were not in harmony with instruction given to his wife. But when reproved or instructed, through the testimonies to the church, for his error, he was quick to respond to counsel or reproof, and hearty in his confession of error.
Four years after father's death, I went with mother to Europe, and during our two years of work there, I had extraordinary opportunities to learn, by listening to her counsels, admonitions, and advice, regarding the plans and policies that should be maintained in the work of our denomination. During the two years that we were in Eurpoe, so many questions were brought to mother, about all phases of our field and institutional work, that she sometimes said her past experience of thirty years was all being reviewed.
When we returned to America, I found myself in disagreement with some of my brethren regarding several features of the plans and policies being adopted. Later on, mother's testimonies were found to be in agreement with some of the things I had been standing for, and the word went around that Brother W. C. White had been influencing his mother. But the truth was that I had been endeavoring in a very imperfect way, to stand for what I had learned from mother while we were in Europe.
From 1903 to 1909 the thought was entertained by some that Sister White's movements, her testimonies, and her attitude toward certain men and enterprises, were largely influenced by the president of the General Conference, and by the editor of the Review.
The facts regarding this matter are that the views of these men, and
the views of many of their associates, have been largely influenced by the written testimonies which they have received and read, and by the oral messages given them, in which they were warned of perils that threatened the church of God, and were charged in the most solemn manner to stand as faithful sentinels and wide-awake watchmen, guarding, warning, and protecting the church against the many wily attacks of the enemy.
Many times I carried messages from Sister White to Elder Daniells, to Elder Prescott, and to other brethren in leading positions of responsibility, asking them to visit her, and I have been present as a learner and as a witness at the interviews. During these interviews, she would question them regarding their plans and policies, and would relate to them what the Lord had shown to her regarding the work to be done, and the dangers and perils that surrounded the church, and the difficulties that confronted the various branches of its work. Often have I heard these men warned of the subtle and secret workings of the enemy to undermine the faith of our people in the peculiar truths which make us Seventh-day Adventists, and of his efforts to bring in discord that would rob the church of its strength. I have repeatedly heard the charge most solemnly given to Eiders Daniells and Prescott that they must stand in defense of the truth, and must do all in their power to save the people from deception.
Having had this experience, it seems to be plainly my duty to testify that these men have not, as some have supposed, led Sister White to take strong positions to harmonize with their minds and their views; but that THEY were led to take strong positions because they heard and heeded the solemn messages borne to them by her.
I have known of messages of warning being sent to these men, pointing out that in their connection with ambitious leaders in certain branches of the work, there were dangers that they had not discovered. I have seen them read reproofs to themselves and to others, regarding the popular and accepted policies for the conduct of the publishing work and the medical work, and I have known of the struggle it cost them to decide that they would act upon the counsel received. I have knelt with them in prayer, and have heard their humble pleadings for grace to give up their will and way, and for strength and wisdom from on high to follow the course marked out for them.
Regarding the development of our institutional work in Washington, D.C., it is my duty to testify that I had abundant opportunity to know that Sister White's visits to Washington, her interest in the institutions there, and her anxiety that the sanitarium and the nurses' training school should be quickly put upon a strong footing, were the
result of revelations from God, and not the result of the influence of men.
[See also Appendixes M and N.]
[At different times Mrs. White wrote on the subject of inspiration. Probably her preface to The Great Controversy is the best known of her statements on this theme. We quoted at length from it on pages 418, 419. We give below two further statements by her.]
This is a time when the question with all propriety may be asked, When the Son of man cometh shall He find faith on the earth?
Spiritual darkness has covered the earth and gross darkness the people. There are in many churches skepticism and infidelity in the interpretation of the Scriptures. Many, very many are questioning the verity and truth of the Scriptures. Human reasoning and the imaginings of the human heart are undermining the inspiration of the Word of God, and that which should be received as granted, is surrounded with a cloud of mysticism. Nothing stands out in clear and distinct lines, upon rock bottom. This is one of the marked signs of the last days.
This Holy Book has withstood the assaults of Satan, who has united with evil men to make everything of divine character shrouded in clouds and darkness. But the Lord has preserved this Holy Book by His own miraculous power in its present shape,a chart or guidebook to the human family to show them the way to heaven.
But the oracles of God have been so manifestly neglected that there are but few in our world, even of those who profess to explain it to others, who have the divine knowledge of the Scriptures. There are learned men who have a college education, but these shepherds do not feed the flock of God. They do not consider that the excellencies of the Scriptures will be continually unfolding their hidden treasures as precious jewels are discovered by digging for them.
There are men who strive to be original, who are wise above what is written, therefore their wisdom is foolishness. They discover wonderful things is advance, ideas which reveal that they are far behind in the comprehension of the divine will and purposes of God. In seeking to make plain, or to unravel mysteries hid for ages from mortal man, they are like a man floundering about in the mud, unable to extricate himself, and yet telling others how to get out of the muddy sea they themselves are in. This is a fit representation of the men who set themselves
selves to correct the errors of the Bible. No man can improve the Bible by suggesting what the Lord meant to say or ought to have said.
Some look to us gravely and say, Don't you think there might have been some mistake in the copyist or in the translators? This is all probable, and the mind that is so narrow that it will hesitate and stumble over this possibility or probability, would be just as ready to stumble over the mysteries of the Inspired Word, because their feeble minds cannot see through the purposes of God. Yes, they would just as easily stumble over plain facts that the common mind will accept, and discern the Divine, and to which God's utterance is plain and beautiful, full of marrow and fatness. All the mistakes will not cause trouble to one soul, or cause any feet to stumble, that would not manufacture difficulties from the plainest revealed truth.
God committed the preparation of His divinely inspired Word to finite man. This Word arranged into books, the Old and New Testaments, is the guidebook to the inhabitants of a fallen world; bequeathed to them, that by studying and obeying the directions, not one soul would lose its way to heaven.
Those who think to make the supposed difficulties of Scripture plain, in measuring by their finite rule that which is inspired and that which is not inspired, had better cover their faces, as Elijah when the still small voice spoke to him; for they are in the presence of God and holy angels, who for ages have communicated to men light and knowledge, telling them what to do, and what not to do, unfolding before them scenes of thrilling interest, waymark by waymark in symbols and signs and illustrations.
And He has not, while presenting the perils clustering about the last days, qualified any finite man to unravel hidden mysteries, or inspired one man or any class of men to pronounce judgment as to that which is inspired or is not. When men, in their finite judgment, find it necessary to go into an examination of Scriptures to define that which is inspired and that which is not, they have stepped before Jesus to show Him a better way than He has led us.
I take the Bible just as it is, as the Inspired Word. I believe its utterances in an entire Bible. Men arise who think they find something to criticize in God's Word. They lay it bare before others as evidence of superior wisdom. These men are, many of them, smart men, learned men, they have eloquence and talent, the whole lifework is to unsettle minds in regard to the inspiration of the Scriptures. They influence many to see as they do. And the same work is passed on from one to another just as Satan designed it should be until we may see the full
meaning of the words of Christ, When the Son of man cometh shall He find faith on the earth?
Brethren, let not a mind or hand be engaged in criticizing the Bible. It is a work that Satan delights to have any of you do, but it is not a work the Lord has pointed out for you to do.
Men should let God take care of His own Book, His Living Oracles, as He has done for ages. They begin to question some parts of revelation, and pick flaws in the apparent inconsistencies of this statement and that statement. Beginning at Genesis they give up that which they deem questionable, and their minds lead on, for Satan will lead to any length they may follow in their criticism, and they see something to doubt in the whole Scriptures. Their faculties of criticism become sharpened by exercise, and they can rest on nothing with a certainty. You try to reason with these men, but your time is lost. They will exercise their power of ridicule even upon the Bible. They even become mockers, and they would be astonished if you put it to them in that light.
Brethren, cling to your Bible, as it reads, and stop your criticisms in regard to its validity, and obey the Word, and not one of you will be lost. The ingenuity of men has been exercised for ages to measure the Word of God by their finite minds and limited comprehension. If the Lord, the Author of the Living Oracles, would throw back the curtain and reveal His wisdom and His glory before them, they would shrink into nothingness and exclaim as did Isaiah, I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. Isa. 6:5.
Simplicity and plain utterance are comprehended by the illiterate, by the peasant, and the child as well as by the full grown man or the giant in intellect. If the individual is possessed of large talents of mental powers, he will find in the Oracles of God treasures of truth, beautiful and valuable, which he can appropriate. He will also find difficulties, and secrets and wonders which will give him the highest satisfaction to study during a long lifetime, and yet there is an infinity beyond.
Men of humble acquirements, possessing but limited capabilities and opportunities to become conversant in the Scriptures, find in the Living Oracles comfort, guidance, counsel, and the plan of salvation as clear as a sunbeam. No one need be lost for want of knowledge, unless he is willfully blind.
We thank God that the Bible is prepared for the poor man as well as for the learned man. It is fitted for all ages and all classes.Mrs. E. G. White ms 16, 1888.
Human minds vary. The minds of different education and thought receive different impressions of the same words, and it is difficult for one mind to give to one of a different temperament, education, and habits of thought by language exactly the same idea as that which is clear and distinct in his own mind. Yet to honest men, right-minded men, he can be so simple and plain as to convey his meaning for all practical purposes. If the man he communicates with is not honest and will not want to see and understand the truth, he will turn his words and language in everything to suit his own purposes. He will misconstrue his words, play upon his imagination, wrest them from their true meaning, and then intrench himself in unbelief, claiming that the sentiments are all wrong.
This is the way my writings are treated by those who wish to misunderstand and pervert them. They turn the truth of God into a lie. In the very same way that they treat the writings in my published articles and in my books, so do skeptics and infidels treat the Bible. They read it according to their desire to pervert, to misapply, to wilfully wrest the utterances from their true meaning. They declare that the Bible can prove anything and everything, that every sect proves their doctrines right, and that the most diverse doctrines are proved from the Bible.
The writers of the Bible had to express their ideas in human language. It was written by human men. These men were inspired of the Holy Spirit. Because of the imperfections of human understanding of language, or the perversity of the human mind, ingenious in evading truth, many read and understand the Bible to please themselves. It is not that the difficulty is in the Bible. Opposing politicians argue points of law in the statute book, and take opposite views in their application and in these laws.
The Scriptures were given to men, not in a continuous chain of unbroken utterances, but piece by piece through successive generations, as God in His providence saw a fitting opportunity to impress man at sundry times and divers places. Men wrote as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost. There is first the bud, then the blossom, and next the fruit, first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. This is exactly what the Bible utterances are to us.
There is not always perfect order or apparent unity in the Scriptures. The miracles of Christ are not given in exact order, but are given just as the circumstances occurred, which called for this divine revealing of the power of Christ. The truths of the Bible are as pearls
hidden. They must be searched, dugout by painstaking effort. Those who take only a surface view of the Scriptures, will, with their superficial knowledge, which they think is very deep, talk of the contradictions of the Bible, and question the authority of the Scriptures. But those whose hearts are in harmony with truth and duty will search the Scriptures with a heart prepared to receive divine impressions. The illuminated soul sees a spiritual unity, one grand golden thread running through the whole, but it requires patience, thought, and prayer to trace out the precious golden thread. Sharp contentions over the Bible have led to investigation and revealed the precious jewels of truth. Many tears have been shed, many prayers offered, that the Lord would open the understanding to His Word.
The Bible is not given to us in grand superhuman language. Jesus, in order to reach man where he is, took humanity. The Bible must be given in the language of men. Everything that is human is imperfect. Different meanings are expressed by the same word; there is not one word for each distinct idea. The Bible was given for practical purposes.
The stamps of minds are different. All do not understand expressions and statements alike. Some understand the statements of the Scriptures to suit their own particular minds and cases. Prepossessions, prejudices, and passions have a strong influence to darken the understanding and confuse the mind even in reading the words of Holy Writ.
The disciples traveling to Emmaus needed to be disentangled in their interpretation of the Scriptures. Jesus walked with them disguised, and as a man He talked with them. Beginning at Moses and the prophets He taught them in all things concerning Himself, that His life, His mission, His sufferings, His death were just as the Word of God had foretold. He opened their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures. How quickly He straightened out the tangled ends and showed the unity and divine verity of the Scriptures. How much men in these times need their understanding opened.
The Bible is written by inspired men, but it is not God's mode of thought and expression. It is that of humanity. God, as a writer, is not represented. Men will often say such an expression is not like God. But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible. The writers of the Bible were God's penmen, not His pen. Look at the different writers.
It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man's words or his expressions but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts. But the words receive the impress of the individual mind. The divine mind is diffused. The
divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will; thus the utterances of the man are the Word of God.Mrs. E. G. White ms 24, 1886.
[W. C. White was the son of Mrs. E. G. White, and was for long years closely associated with her in the production of her books, et cetera. Following is a portion of a talk he gave at the 1913 General Conference Session, as reported in the General Conference Bulletin, June 1, 1913, pp. 219-221.]
Now, it has been a part of my plan this morning to answer or to speak of some of the questions and some of the perplexities which are in the minds of our people regarding our future work, and particularly regarding that part of the work with which I am most intimately connected, that is, the work of Sister White.
What would be the influence upon our work if Sister White should die? [Voice: God lives!] Has the Lord made known to her who is to be her successor?No. The Lord has not told her how long she will live. He has not told her in a positive way that she is to die; but she expects to rest in the grave a little time before the Lord comes. About fifteen years ago, in one of her night visions, she came out of a very dark place into a bright light, and father was with her. When he saw her by his side he exclaimed in great surprise, What, have you been there too, Ellen? She always understood that to mean that the Lord would let her rest in the grave a little while before the Lord comes. She has been trying to work with reference to that. Oftentimes she has had messages to hasten her work,the work of preparing her books,because she had but a short time in which to work. She has been endeavoring to get her writings into book form, so that they may be of service to the church.
Does she know who will be her successor?No. Repeatedly people write to her, and some come long distances to visit her, and some bring their friends to her, with the belief and confidence that God has selected them or their friends, as the case may be, to take up the work which the Lord has committed to her, when she lays it down. Some think that they are to take it at her death; others think that the time has come already, and they have full confidence that when they come into her presence, she will recognize them, and that she will tell them that the Lord has shown her that they are the ones. But in every case she has been obliged to tell them, The Lord has given me no such commandment.
I do not know as I can do better in giving a more full answer to some of these questions than to read extracts from letters which she has written at various times in answer to questions along this line. Here is one written July 8, 1906:[This letter is Appendix L, which see.]
I will now read a portion of another letter, written Oct. 23, 1907:
Dear Brother: I received and read your recent letter. Regarding the sister who thinks that she has been chosen to fill the position that Sister White has occupied, I have this to say: She may be honest, but she is certainly deceived.
About a year after the death of my husband, I was very feeble, and it was feared that I might live but a short time. At the Healdsburg camp-meeting, I was taken into the tent where there was a large gathering of our people. I asked to be raised up from the lounge on which I was lying, and assisted to the speaker's platform, that I might say a few words of farewell to the people. As I tried to speak, the power of God came upon me, and thrilled me through and through. Many in the congregation observed that I was weak, and that my face and hands seemed bloodless; but as I began speaking, they saw the color coming into my lips and face, and knew that a miracle was being wrought in my behalf. I stood before the people healed, and spoke with freedom.
After this experience, light was given me that the Lord had raised me up to bear testimony for him in many countries, and that he would give me grace and strength for the work. It was also shown me that my son, W. C. White, should be my helper and counselor, and that the Lord would place on him the spirit of wisdom and of a sound mind .
The assurance was given me: You are not alone in the work the Lord has chosen you to do. You will be taught of God how to bring the truth in its simplicity before the people. The God of truth will sustain you, and convincing proof will be given that he is leading you. God will give you of His Holy Spirit, and his grace and wisdom and keeping power will be with you .
The Lord will be your Instructor. You will meet with deceptive influences; they will come in many forms, in pantheism and other forms of infidelity; but follow where I shall guide you, and you will be safe.
This word was given me in 1882 . More recently, in a time of perplexity, the Lord said: I have given you my servant, W. C. White, and I will give him judgment to be your helper. I will give him skill and understanding to manage wisely.
W. C. White: Some of this may seem to be quite personal, but,
brethren, I do not know how to bring before you the instruction that has been given mother with reference to the handling of her work, without presenting it to you in the connection in which it has been written. So please forgive me if in reading this, I am presenting some things that it might seem better for me not to present. I want you to know what has been presented to mother as the basis of her confidence regarding the future and the basis of her plans regarding the handling of her manuscripts and her books. I continue reading:
The Lord has given me other faithful helpers in my work. Many of my discourses have been reported, and have been put before the people in printed form. Through nearly the whole of my long experience I have endeavored, day by day, to write out that which was revealed to me in visions of the night. Many messages of counsel and reproof and encouragement have been sent out to individuals, and much of the instruction that I have received for the church has been published in periodicals and books, and circulated in many lands.
As the work has grown, the number of my helpers has increased.
Sister Marian Davis was a great help in copying my testimonies, and in preparing for publication the manuscripts which I placed in her hands. I appreciated her help very much. She now sleeps in Jesus.
For eleven years Miss Maggie Hare was among my workers. She was a faithful and true helper. She returned to New Zealand. [She again connected with the work in 1911.]
Recently Miss Minnie Hawkins, of Hobart, Tasmania, who was one of my copyists in Australia, has joined my staff of workers. [This communication from which I am reading, you will bear in mind, was written in 1907.]
During the General Conference of 1901, Brother C. C. Crisler was impressed by the Spirit of God that I needed him in my work, and he offered his services. I gladly accepted his help. He is a faithful, efficient, and conscientious worker.
Dores Robinson has assisted in copying my testimonies, and he has been diligently preparing Life Incidents for publication.
Helen Graham is a good stenographer, and helps Sister Sara McEnterfer and W. C. White in their work of correspondence.
Sister Sarah Peck was my bookkeeper and helper for a number of years. She has left us to engage in school work at College View. We now have as bookkeeper, Brother Paul C. Mason.
Sister McEnterfer is my traveling companion, nurse, and helper in many ways.
Sister Mary Steward and her mother are with us now; and Mary,
who for many years has served as proof-reader in the offices at Battle Creek and Nashville, has united with my workers.
The work is constantly moving forward. We are making earnest efforts to place my writings before the people. We hope that several new books will go to press shortly. If I am incapacitated for labor, my faithful workers are prepared to carry forward the work.
Abundant light has been given to our people in these last days. Whether or not my life is spared, my writings will constantly speak, and their work will go forward as long as time shall last. My writings are kept on file in the office, and even though I should not live, these words that have been given to me by the Lord will still have life and will speak to the people. But my strength is yet spared, and I hope to continue to do much useful work. I may live until the coming of the Lord; but if I should not, I trust it may be said of me, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.
The Lord Jehovah is the one to specify how the work shall be carried on under all circumstances. W. C. White has his commission. I have instructed him to labor untiringly to secure the publication of my writings in the English language first, and afterward to secure their translation and publication in many other languages . I rejoice that with the faithful helpers that God has given me, I am able to carry forward, in its many varied lines, the work given me to do.
Both of my sons are engaged in giving this present truth to the world. I am glad that they are both connected with the publishing work.
I thank God for the assurance of his love, and that I have daily his leading and guidance. I am very busy with my writing. Early and late, I am writing out the matters that the Lord opens before me. The burden of my work is to prepare a people to stand in the day of the Lord. The promise of Christ is sure. The time is not long. We must work and watch and wait for the Lord Jesus. We are called upon to be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. All our hopes have their foundation in Christ.
It may be interesting to you to know that mother's corps of workers has changed very little since the communication that I have just read to you was written, nearly six years ago. The same ones are with her now, with a broadened experience; for we are learning better every day what our duty is in connection with this work. And God has blessed in the preparation of books. You have seen some of the more recent ones,the Acts of the Apostles, and possibly the book just from the press, Counsels to Teachers. The latter is made up of a portion of
two volumes out of print, the old Christian Education, and the smaller volume entitled Special Testimonies on Education, together with considerable new matter; and it has been prepared with reference to the needs of parents and students, as well as of teachers. We trust that it will be a steadying influence, and an encouragement, in our school work, as long as we shall have to conduct schools and colleges in this world.
Our workers are now gathering together material for a new edition of Gospel Workers. We are also gathering into chapters what mother has written on Old Testament history. Probably nine tenths of this work is already done, and we hope that the book may be published before Christmas. Some of this matter was about ready, we thought, to place in the printers' hands, when mother, upon going over some of the chapters, expressed herself as not fully satisfied. She thought there were other things she had written that we had not yet found, and she desired that these be searched out, if possible, and included. So we have laid the manuscript away in our fire-proof vault, and after this Conference probably four different persons will spend six or eight weeks in reading through the thousands of pages of manuscript in the file to see if we can find the additional matter that she thinks is in existence.
It would be comparatively easy to hasten along the preparation of these manuscripts for publication in book form, if we were to write in a little here and there where she has written only a portion of the story on certain topics and has left a portion incomplete. I say, if her secretaries were authorized by God to do that work, and could write in the connections, the book could be prepared for the printer much faster. But this cannot be done; we can deal only with the matter which we have in hand.
For this reason, when you get the book on Old Testament history, you will find that there are some stories partly told, and not fully completed. You will find that there are many things you hoped to read about, that are not mentioned. Mother has written quite fully on Solomon, something on the divided monarchy, a little about Elijah and Elisha, quite fully about Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah; and we are gathering this and other matter and grouping it into chapters.
You may say, What do you mean by this gathering? Did not Sister White sit down and write out quite fully and connectedly that which she had to say about the controversy, about Jeroboam and Rehoboam, about Jeremiah and Isaiah and other Old Testament characters?No; not on all the principal characters. Her life has been a busy one. She has been kept constantly at the front, speaking
to the people, meeting emergencies. Some of the most precious things she has written about Old Testament and New Testament characters were written first in letters to individuals. Some of the most precious paragraphs in Desire of Ages, passages describing Christ controversies with the Pharisees and the Herodians, were written under circumstances like these:
At Ashfield, New South Wales, Elder Corliss and some faithful helpers had been presenting the truth until there was a group of about thirty people keeping the Sabbath, ready to be baptized and organized into a church. The Campbellites could not bear to see that done. A bitter opponent came and challenged our brethren personally and through the papers. This was ignored as long as it could be. Finally, our friends, those in the truth, demanded that there be a discussion. So a discussion was arranged for.
In the night season this matter was laid before mother. She had never seen the Campbellite champion; but the man was shown to herhis spirit, his methods, his tactics. He had nothing to lose in that community; and it was presented to mother that his plan would be to endeavor to irritate Elder Corliss, and get him to say things that would discredit him before the people who were embracing the truth.
During the progress of that discussion, mother wrote to Elder Corliss, stating that it had been presented to her that his opponent in the discussion would work on certain lines, and he must take such a course as to disappoint the enemy. As she wrote these cautions, her memory would be revived as to what had been presented to her about the work of Christ, and how the Pharisees and the Sadducees and the Herodians had followed him with accusations and questions, endeavoring to discredit him before the people.
When we came to make up the chapters for Desire of Ages, we found in those letters the most vivid description of those experiences, that she had written anywhere. And we found other most precious passages that had been written first in letters to members of the General Conference Committee, and to conference presidents, regarding situations which were illustrated by the experiences of these Old and New Testament characters.
Being written in this way, it takes much time to search through the writings and find these passages, and bring them together into manuscripts. After these are gathered, and grouped into chapter form, the manuscript is always submitted to mother. She reads it over carefully. Up to the present time every chapter of every book, and all the articles for our periodicalsunless they happen to be reprintshave passed through her hands, and have been read over by her. Sometimes she
interlines; sometimes she adds much matter; sometimes she says, Can not you find more on this subject? And then, when more has been found, and added, the manuscript is recopied, and handed back to her again for examination. And when she finally signs it and returns it to us we are permitted to send it out.
Some criticism has been made because letters are sent out with a rubber-stamp signature. We feel that it is not necessary to ask mother to sign several copies. It is her custom to sign the original copy, and our workers claim that it is their right to keep this signed copy on file in our office, so that if anybody should challenge its authenticity, we have on file the copy signed with her own hand. The other copies are usually stamped with a rubber stamp. I merely mention this in passing, that all may know how much reason there is an any criticisms that are made about rubber-stamp testimonies.
While gathering the matter for The Acts of the Apostles, day after day Brother Crisler and his associates in the work would pass in to mother the chapters as they were prepared, and she would read them. Sometimes she would pass them back without comment. Perhaps for three days in succession they would be passed back without a word of comment; and then she would say, What about such a subject? Where is the description of this? or of that? and she would name the different matters she had in mind. In his explanation Brother Crisler might say, The first matter you have mentioned is dealt with fully in a chapter you read some time ago; the second you inquire about is to be dealt with in a chapter to be prepared later; and as to the other matter that you wish to have incorporated, we had not thought of that. We will search the file, and see if we can find anything that has been written on that point.
At one time she said to him: This book will be read by the same classes of people that the apostles were trying to reach in Paul's day. Take great pains to gather just as fully as you can what I have written regarding Paul's appeals to the heathen. The arguments that led the heathen to a knowledge of the true God in the days of the apostles, will appeal to the heathen in many lands in our day. These arguments were inspired of God, and in them there is convicting power. We must make the most of them in telling the story of the labors of the apostles.
At another time she said: Have you made a careful study of what I have written about the Jews? The gospel must be preached to the Jews today. The appeals that were made to them by the apostles, will have great weight now. This book should be of value to the Jews, and to those who are working for the Jews, and also to those who ought to
be working for the Jews. Take pains to gather carefully what I have written about Paul's work in appealing to the Jews.
These directions that she gives us have largely to do with the value of our work in the preparation of matter for the press. Of course at the beginning of the work on each book, we talk over the plan, and she gives general directions; and then she gives counsel as the work goes forward. Although mother is doing only a little writing now, and although she attends only a few public meetings, yet her counsels, and her directions to her workers, are of great value to this people, as found in the completeness of her published works.
Appendix A presents a historical sketch of Canright's connection with the Seventh-day Adventist Church up to the time of his final departure in February, 1887; also a reminiscence by an old friend who related certain incidents in Canright's life both before and after 1887, which indicate that the cause of his spiritual instability and his ultimate departure from the Advent Movement was an excessive vanity, pride, and conceit.
On page 81 of this work is found a quotation from an article that Canright wrote in the Review and Herald in 1877. The article was one of a series that carried the general title: A Plain Talk to the Murmurers, and subtitled Some Facts for Those Who Are not in Harmony With the Body. In this particular article he gave a word picture of Mrs. White, reminding his readers that he was well qualified to write because he had been acquainted with Sr. White for eighteen years, and had often lived in her home. In that article he said in part: I know Sr. White to be an unassuming, modest, kind-hearted, noble woman. These traits in her character are not simply put on and cultivated, but they spring gracefully and easily from her natural disposition.
On page 82 of this work is a quotation from an article that Canright wrote in 1884, shortly after the end of a two years' lapse into doubt, critical questioning, and withdrawal from the ministry. In that article he frankly recounts his experience, and explains that central to his trouble was a refusal to accept certain strong testimonies that had come to him from Mrs. White. Then he tells of having had a new spiritual experience, with the following result: All my hard feelings toward Sr. White vanished in a moment, and I felt a tender love towards her. Everything looked different. He follows this with a confession.
that he had lacked in spirituality, humility, and observes: I think that my disbelief of the testimonies and other truths has come by openin g my heart to doubts, cherishing them and magnifying them.
Then for the Review and Herald of February 10, 1885 (pages 84-86), Canright wrote an article entitled To Those in Doubting Castle, which is reproduced in the appendix immediately following. In that article he observes that it is always easier to doubt than to believe, and that many have found plausible reasons for doubting the Bible. The fact is that God has never at any time given so much light and evidence that man had to believe whether he wanted to or not. He adds that when men become proud and self-sufficient, then the Lord leaves them to be filled with their own ways. He gives Scriptural illustrations of how pride prevented acceptance of truth. He observes also that the accepted rule in the affairs of life, where uncertainties and doubts are always arising, is to decide a question by the balance, or preponderance, of evidence.
In the setting of these general principles, he declares: But I wish more especially to apply this to the testimonies. Then, as will be seen from reading his long article, he presents most reasonable grounds for accepting the writings of Mrs. White as being inspired by God. Toward the close he makes the sweeping statement: I am profoundly convinced in the depths of my soul, after an experience of twenty-five years, that the same thing is true of the testimonies, as of the Bible; namely, the honesthearted read and believe, while the Tom Paines and Ingersolls, read only to disbelieve. His closing line returns to the factor of pride as a deterrent to belief: The real trouble lies close at home, in a proud, unconverted heart, a lack of real humility, an unwillingness to submit to God's way of finding the truth.
A few months after he wrote this last article Mrs. White sailed to Europe. Before she returned in August, 1887, he had left the denomination and was writing against it! With no opportunity to study further her life, he quite suddenly and completely reversed his conclusions regarding herconclusions based on long years of intimate acquaintance. And the farther in time he moved from the vivid incidents of his years of fellowship, the more libelous his writing became!
We think these facts are sufficient in themselves to invalidate all the shallow, scurrilous charges that he brought against her through the long years following 1887. We believe that the evidence in this book, and the amazing admissions by Canright himself, while still with us, make transparently clear that the trouble was not with Mrs. White but with his own proud and self-sufficient heartI think that my disbelief of the testimonies and other truths has come by opening my
heart to doubts, cherishing them and magnifying them. And it is on Canright that almost all later critics of Mrs. White have depended for ammunition!
Following is his 1885 article, including title and author as they appeared at the head of that article.
[See preceding Appendix for comments on this article by Canright.]
Among the most dangerous of the places which pilgrims had to pass in the days of Bunyan was Doubting Castle. Many a poor pilgrim was caught on these grounds, shut up in this terrible old castle, and finally destroyed by the keeper, Giant Despair. But some were finally lucky enough to make their escape. That same old castle still stands by the way, as grim, and dark, and dreadful as ever. Every now and then some poor pilgrim, venturing too near, is caught. Some are rescued, but many are not. Hoping to help some of these, and to warn others, I write these lines.
Twenty-five years ago I embraced this message. The complete system of truth which it presented seemed to me something wonderful and very glorious. The study of the Bible was a continual feast to me. To preach it to others, and see them embrace it, filled my heart with gladness and peace. But at length things came up which threw me into doubt on some points, and finally were the occasion of my ceasing to preach the message. As the same things have affected others more or less, and will be liable to affect still others in the future, I wish to give a few of the reasons why I still think that the work is all right, that the Lord is in it, and that these doubts are not well founded.
it is well for us to remember that it is always easier to doubt than to believe. Jesus commanded his disciples to preach the gospel. Those who should believe would be saved, but those who should not believe would be damned. He knew full well that only a few would believe, and such has been the case. The great mass of men from that day to this have rejected the gospel. They claim that the evidence is not sufficient to prove that the message is from God. Could not God have given more evidence, and clearer, to sustain the gospel had he thought best? He gave enough so that every one who really hungers and thirsts after light, who is willing to seek for it as for hid treasures, who is willing to humble his soul before God, and cry earnestly to him for direction, can find it to the complete satisfaction of his soul.
But even the gospel is not so plain that objections cannot be raised against it if men try hard to find them. Well informed infidels even raise many objections against the Bible itself,objections which are difficult to answer, and which they claim never have been satisfactorily answered. And so they go on scoffing and disbelieving. But Christians don't give up their faith for all that. The evidence on the other hand is too clear and too abundant to be overbalanced by a few seeming objections. We must remember that there are always two sides to every question. Whatever position may be taken on any question, some one can be found to dispute it and to raise arguments against it. So generally has this been the case that the main tenet of one sect of the old philosophers was that we could not know anything certainly, not even our own existence. And yet for all that, common men go right on believing that they know some things. It is the accepted rule in all the affairs of this life to decide the questions, even where life or death is at stake, by the balance, or preponderance, of evidence. The existence of God, the inspiration of the Bible, the truth of Christianity, etc., are accepted and firmly believed upon these grounds. I firmly believe that the truth of our message can be just as clearly proved in the same manner. It is by ignoring this rule of evidence that men become skeptical concerning God, the Holy Scriptures, and all religious faith. In just the same way some of our people come to be doubters concerning our message, the testimonies, etc. They let a few light objections on one side outweigh a mountain of truth on the other.
All the doubters and those troubled with unbelief have not been outside the church. Even some of the real children of God all along the ages have been troubled with unbelief. Jesus had to meet it in his disciples, till it saddened his heart. Thus he said, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Luke 24:25. They had seen sufficient proof that Jesus was the Messiah; but when some things transpired which they had not expected, and could not understand, they let these outweigh the evidence which had been clear and satisfactory to them before.
Thomas belonged to this class of doubters; but it did not seem to profit himself, benefit the cause, or please his Master. All we ever hear of him is about his asking questions. When all his brethren positively assured him that they had actually seen Jesus, and had talked with him, Thomas refused to believe it. He must see for himself, and put his finger into the wounds in Jesus' hands, before he would be convinced. The Lord granted him the proof he demanded, and then said to him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. John 20:29.
Thomas thought he could not help his unbelief; for there were the stubborn facts, and what could he do with them? But the Lord thought differently; and evidently his reproof of the doubting apostle was designed also for all others of a like disposition in every age.
We must remember that we may demand too much evidencemore than God sees best to give. Take one case as an illustration; John the Baptist came with a solemn warning from God. Jesus says that the Pharisees, in rejecting him, rejected the counsel of God against themselves; but that the publicans and common people justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. Luke 7:29, 30. How did these justify God? Let us pass over to the Judgment. These Pharisees will be surprised to find themselves rejected. They will plead that they were honest, that they would have believed if John had only worked a miracle or had given sufficient evidence of his mission. But the simple people who did believe John will rise up, and say, We lived at the same time you did, and in the same town; we heard the same things that you heard, and we believed. The evidence was sufficient for us. Thus they will justify God, and condemn the unbelievers. So will it be in every age. Those who have believed will rise up and testify that the evidence was sufficient if the heart had only been humble enough to submit to God's ways. Why is it that the word of God so often and so earnestly insists upon humility of heart and contrition of soul as necessary to a right understanding of his work? Let the boastful doubter think of this, and beware.
From the very beginning God's work has been doubted by some who have had a full knowledge of it and a close connection with it. Thus Abel by faith offered unto God an acceptable gift; but Cain's sacrifice was not accepted of God. For this Cain was angry,angry with God and with his brother. He thought that Abel was a fool, and God was unjust. From that day to this there have been the same two classes,the believing Abels and the doubting Gains. By faith Noah condemned the world. Heb. 11:7. He had the same evidence which the world had. He believed, they disbelieved. He was right, they were wrong.
No man ever came from God with better evidences of his divine mission than Moses; and yet right among his own people and followers and coworkers doubters were constantly springing up. It now seems to us that one or two clearly wrought miracles would forever settle our doubts as to the divine mission of the person working them. But look at this case. Consider the wonderful miracles which the people saw Moses perform,the river turned to blood, all the plagues in Egypt, the pillar of cloud constantly attending them day and night, the sea
opened, etc. How strong their faith was then! how confident their song after their triumph at the Red Sea! But they start on, and for several days in a hot climate there is not a drop of water for man or beast. Soon they begin to murmur, then to question, and finally to doubt whether the Lord was leading them. Doubtless they reasoned, Didn't God know we must have water? If he were leading, would he have made such a terrible blunder? Is the Lord among us, or not? (Ex. 17:7) was the all-absorbing question of debate in tents, by the camp-fires, and in little groups of earnest talkers. What about all the miracles they had witnessed, the faith they had expressed but a few days before? These were not quite as weighty and conclusive now as they had thought them to be.
The same spirit of fault-finding and of doubt was continually cropping out during the whole forty years. Yet at the same time there was the pillar of cloud always with them, the manna falling day after day for forty years, besides many other miracles. In the face of all this, a few objections which they could not, or would not, understand outweighed everything else.
Look at the remarkable occurrences related in Num. 16. Over two hundred and fifty leading men headed a rebellion against Moses. They said, Moses, you promised to lead us right into a land flowing with milk and honey, and to give us possession; but you have done no such thing. Here you have led us round and round for twenty years. We are no nearer the promised land than when we started. Our brethren have died of hunger and thirst, and we are nearly worn out. You cannot deceive us any longer. We are going back to Egypt. Our mission is a failure. (See verses 12-14.) They thought they had a clear case. But Moses proposed to appeal to God to decide who was right. They readily accepted his proposition, and boldly went out with their censers, and stood before God for him to answer. This showed that they were in earnest, and thoroughly believed that they were right. But when God did answer, they all went down into the earth in a moment, and perished. Just so now: fault-finders and doubters become so confident in their positions that they are willing to go up to God and to the Judgment with it. Take care! Korah and his sympathizers did that, and did it to their eternal ruin.
But what is more astonishing still, is that on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord. Ver. 41. Was not that astonishing after all they had witnessed the day before? But such is the power of unbelief when once fortified in the heart. This should teach us great caution in rejecting manifest light and
because of some seeming difficulties and objections connected with it.
The faith of even the best men has sometimes wavered when hard pressed. Elijah had a special work to do in reforming Israel in the days of Ahab. God wrought through him mightily. The priests of Baal were slain, and a great victory gained. Elijah was exultant. He thought that the king and queen and all the people were coming over to the Lord. But when it did not turn out so, and the queen threatened to kill him, he ran for his life, and went into the wilderness, and lay down requesting to die. 1 Kings 19:1-4. He thought his mission was a failure. And even when the Lord said to him, est thou here, Elijah?9) he was ready to argue his case, and defend his course, till the Lord convinced him that he was wrong.
So also even John the Baptist, after being left in prison for a long time, and being threatened with death, became shaken in his faith in Jesus. If Jesus was the Messiah, why did he leave him there to perish? He sends two of his disciples to inquire if after all he is really the Messiah? Luke 7:19. What a sad exhibition of human weakness this was after his strong faith in Jesus when he cried, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world! John 1:29. When such men as these falter and doubt for a moment, no wonder that weaker ones yield to temptations, and apostatize entirely when trials and discouragements come upon the cause. So it always has been, and so it always will be.
Even Christ's disciples went through the same process of doubting and sifting and apostatizing; and that, too, after they had seen many and wonderful miracles wrought by him. When Jesus performed the miracle of feeding the multitude with a few loaves and fishes, they were so moved that they proposed to take him by force and make him a king. John 6:9-15. The next day when Jesus rebuked them for seeking the things of this world, their faith suddenly cooled off, and they demanded of him another miracle that they might believe. Ver. 30. And when he rebuked them still more sharply, they said, This is an hard saying: who can hear it? Ver. 60. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Ver. 66. We see them turning away with a sneer. They have been deceived and misled; but now their eyes are open, and they will be fooled no longer. Such is unbelief, such it always has been, and such it always will be. Luther's work developed hundreds of these doubters,men who were at first warm believers. Wesley found the same class. If God's work now does not develop them, it will be a new thing under the sun.
The fact is that God has never at any time given so much light and
evidence that man had to believe whether he wanted to or not. Nor has he been careful to remove all objections out of the way of those who have believed and embraced his truth .
Notice what God says of Christ: Behold, I lay in Zion a stumblingstone and rock of offense. Rom. 9:23. Didn't God know that man would stumble over him? Yes; and so he knows that they will also stumble over other truths just as they always have done, and always will do. But those who seek God humbly and with tears will not be left to fall. God would send every angel from heaven before one such should miss the way. All these facts apply with equal force to the cause of God in our day, to the third angel's message, and to all connected with it.
But I wish more especially to apply this to the testimonies. What evidence do we have that they are of God? Every argument in favor of the third angel's message is an argument in favor of the testimonies. Why? If it be a fact that the time has come for a special warning to the world on the advent near, the law of God, and other truths which we hold, then we may be sure that God would prepare the way for that message by raising up proper persons to give it. God by his providence raised up Moses to lead his people out of Egypt. Before Jeremiah was born, God had set him apart to do the work before him. Jer. 1:5. So of John the Baptist. Before his birth the angel announced his mission. Luke 1. Who does not believe that Luther was a man of God's providence, raised up to do that special work? So of Wesley. Shall, then, the last closing message to the world fall due and God provide no fit instruments to proclaim it, and push it through to the end? That is absurd, and contrary to all God's doings in the past, as we have already seen.
Now, admitting that ours is a special message from God designed to warn this generation, look at its history. Sr. White and her work have not only been connected with the message from the very first, but she has had a leading influence in that work, has stood front and foremost, and with voice and pen has done more to guide and mold the message than any other half dozen laborers now in the cause. From the beginning her teachings have been accepted by all the leading ministers and believers as light from God. Now would it not be the very height of absurdity to accept the message and the work as the truth and God's work, and yet reject the very one who had done the work? A deceiver, an imposter, a false teacher stand at the head of God's special work for forty years! No, that will never do. We must either reject the message or receive the testimonies. They stand or fall
together. So I repeat that every argument in favor of the main doctine of our faith is an argument in favor of the testimonies.
Another argument in favor of the testimonies is the fact that all those parties who have drawn off from our people in opposition to the testimonies have come to naught, or at best have had only a feeble existence. Time and again this has been tried by different persons proposing to preach all the message except the testimonies. Now if that position is right, why don't God prosper them? Why don't they succeed better than those who hold and teach them?
Another evidence in favor of the testimonies is the fact that those who have accepted them have always stood together, and have perfectly agreed in faith and practice; while those who have opposed them have disagreed in doctrine and discipline, and have split up into little factions.
And still another evidence is found in the fact that those who remain among us, and still oppose the testimonies, soon lose their love for the message, their spirituality, their devotion, their zeal for God and for the salvation of souls. I have seen many such cases, and have never yet known an exception to this rule. Why is this so? If they are right, why does it always have this effect? On the other hand, the most devoted and zealous members in all our churches are those who have the strongest faith in the testimonies.
Again, the tendency and influence of the testimonies is not, like the teachings of Spiritualist mediums, to lead away from the Bible, away from God, and away from faith in Christ; nor, like Mormonism, to lead to sensuality, dishonesty, and crime; but they lead to faith in the Holy Scriptures, devotion to God, and a life of humility and holiness. Can a corrupt tree bear good fruit? Jesus said not. What is a tree known by?Its fruit. Here is a tree which has been standing among us for forty years, and bearing fruit. What has been the nature of that fruit? What have been its effects upon those who have partaken most of it?
It seems to me now that no one who has ever felt the power of the Spirit of God upon his own heart can candidly read through the four volumes of Spirit of Prophecy without being deeply convicted that the writer must live very near to God, and be thoroughly imbued with the same Spirit that inspired the Bible, and animated the apostles and prophets. Such lofty thoughts of God, of heaven, and of spiritual things cannot come from a carnal heart, nor from a mind deceived and led by Satan.
But are there not difficulties in these writings hard to explain? passages which seem to conflict one with another, or with some passage
in the Bible, or with facts? I freely grant for myself that there are some passages which bother me, and which I do not know how to explain. But I believe them for all that just as I do the Bible. There are many passages in the Bible which I should have to admit I could not explain nor harmonize. If any man says that he can explain and reconcile all the statements of the Scriptures, he simply shows his self-conceit and ignorance. Yet I profoundly believe the Bible for all that.
I have not a shadow of a doubt about the sleep of the dead, the annihilation of the wicked, the Sonship of Christ, baptism by immersion, etc.; and yet there are scriptures, such for instance, as the rich man and Lazarus, which are as difficult for me to harmonize with these plain Bible doctrines as it is for me to explain the hardest passage in St. White's writings. Peter admitted that there were some things in the Scriptures hard to be understood. 2 Pet. 3:16. He says that some wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction. And that is just what some are doing with the testimonies. When we consider how extensive these writings are, extending over a period of nearly forty years, embracing ten bound volumes besides many smaller works, it would be a wonder indeed if in all these there should not be anything in the wording, the sentiment, or the doctrine, hard to understand and explain, or on which a sharp opponent could not make a plausible argument. We know that God's revelations in the past have not been given free from all obscurity and difficulties. Neither will they be now.
If a man reads the Bible on purpose to find objections, as Tom Paine did, and as Ingersoll does, he will find plenty of them to satisfy his unbelief, and confirm him in his infidelity. But if, like thousands of others equally learned and intelligent, he goes to the Scriptures to find light and God and salvation, he will find them full and clear, to the joy of his soul. I am profoundly convinced in the depths of my soul, after an experience of twenty-five years, that the same thing is true of the testimonies.
And now I want to reason awhile with those among us who are holding off and living in doubt about the testimonies. I believe that your course is not only wrong, but that it is unsatisfactory to you here, and will be unsatisfactory at the Judgment. You take very little interest in the progress of the cause, you carry a very light burden in the work of the church, you take but little part, if any, in the Sabbath-school, you do next to nothing in the missionary work, you pay no tithes, you give nothing anywhere, you have no burden for the salvation of souls, or if you have you never show it; if you say anything at all it is mostly in raising queries and objections. My brethren, my sisters, are you willing to let your short life slip by year after year,
and finally come up to the searching test of the Judgment in this way? Beware! Many will land in perdition who do not intend to. Shut your eyes to it as you may, such a course must inevitably end in disaster.
But you say, I would like to believe and have full confidence in the whole work if I only could; but I am afraid I shall believe an error. Well, let us see if there is really any danger in going this way. You certainly know that our people hold all the cardinal doctrines of salvation,faith in God, the Bible, Jesus Christ, repentance, a holy life, etc. Isn't this safe? You know that Sr. White and all our ministers not only so teach, but exert all their influence to have our people live lives of devotion, of honesty, of purity, of love, of plainness, of sacrifice, and of every Christian virtue. You know that every sin is condemned among our people, and the most solemn warnings are constantly given against even the appearance of evil. You know that in almost every church of our people there are at least some who are living blameless Christian lives. You know that there is not one immoral doctrine taught or practiced by our people. Bad men and poor examples there are, to be sure; but they are such in spite of all our efforts to make them better. You know that if any man will strictly live up to the teachings of the testimonies and our people, he will certainly be saved.
Now will it not be better for you,better in this life and safer in the next,to believe and labor heartily with this people than it is to believe with nobody, be in harmony with no church, and have no settled system of doctrine? Of all the miserable, unsatisfactory places to be in, that is the worst. There is no comfort in it, there is no strength in it, there is no usefulness in it. Better to believe something, better to run in somewhere, rather than to stand out there in the storm all alone. A hut, a hovel, is better than that. What a pitiable condition a man must be in at this day when there are so many churches and kinds of doctrine, who can neither believe nor work with any of them! Such a person must be badly befogged some way.
My friend, is this your condition? How long have you been there? One year? five years? ten years? Haven't you settled it yet? Then give it up, and come in with those who have settled it, where there is faith and hope and zeal and active work for God and man. Look at the grand truths which our people hold,the new earth, the beautiful city, the resurrection, the real life hereafter, the literal coming of Christ, the sleep of the dead, the destruction of sin and sinners, the law of God, all those grand lines of prophecy unmistakably pointing to the end near. Can you give these all up, forget them, and shut them from your heart? Can you once more have confidence in intangible spirits, eternal
hell, sprinkling for baptism, Sunday-Sabbath, or the millennium? Pshaw! strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel!
I find that there is peace and joy, hope and confidence, love for souls, and the blessing of God in giving full confidence to the whole message; and these I have never found in doubting it, nor have I ever seen any one who did find them that way. All admit that we have truth enough, if lived out, to save us. We know that all other churches have many errors. How shall we gain anything, then, by going there? Start a new church of our own? Well, the success of those who have left us and tried that has not been very encouraging.
No, the real trouble lies close at home, in a proud, unconverted heart, a lack of real humility, an unwillingness to submit to God's way of finding the truth.Review and Herald, Feb. 10, 1885, pp. 84-86.
I, Ellen G. White, (widow) a resident of Sanitarium, Napa County, California, of the age of eighty-four (84) years, and being at the date hereof of sound and disposing mind and memory, and not acting under duress, menace, fraud, or undue influence of any person whomsoever, do make, publish, and declare this my last will and testament, in the manner following, that is to say:
FIRST: I direct that my body shall be interred with appropriate religious services of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, without undue ceremony or ostentation.
SECOND: I desire and direct that as soon as possible, payment shall be made of the expenses of my last sickness and funeral, and in order that no property belonging to my estate shall be disposed of or sold at a sacrifice, I earnestly request all my creditors to waive and relinquish their claims against my estate and accept payment thereof under the provisions, which I am hereinafter making, for the liquidation of their claims through the handling of my properties by trustees.
THIRD: I hereby give, devise, and bequeath to my son, James Edson White, now residing at Marshall, Michigan, the sum of Three Thousand Dollars ($3,000).
FOURTH: I hereby give and bequeath to my son, William C. White, now residing at Sanitarium, California, all my right, title, and interest
in the copyrights and book plates in all languages of the books entitled: The Coming King and Past, Present and Future, also all manuscripts (and right to publish the same) pertaining to the following books and proposed books:
Life Sketches of Elder James White and Ellen G. White
Life Incidents of Elder James White
Spiritual Gifts, Volumes 1-4
Facts of Faith
How to Live
Appeal to Youth
Experience and Views of Ellen G. White
Experience of Ellen G. White in connection with the Health Reform Movement among Seventh-day Adventists
Story of Mrs. White's European Travels
Story of Mrs. White's Australasian Travels
Mrs. White's Letters to Mothers and Children
Youth's Life of Christ
The Southern Work
Special Testimonies on Education
Also, my personal library, and all manuscripts, letters, diaries, and writings not otherwise herein devised.
FIFTH: I hereby give, devise, and bequeath to William C. White, Clarence C. Crisler, Charles H. Jones, Arthur G. Daniells, and Frank M. Wilcox all the real property of which I may die seized or possessed, all my live stock and farm tools, and implements, all notes and accounts due to me and also all of my right, title, and interest in the copyright and book plates in all languages of the following publications:
Desire of Ages
Patriarchs and Prophets
The Acts of the Apostles
Testimonies for the Church, volumes 1-9 inclusive
Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene
Christ's Object Lessons
Ministry of Healing
Steps to Christ
Mount of Blessing
Christ Our Saviour
Testimonies for Sabbath-school Workers
Manual for Canvassers
Also, my general manuscript file and all indexes pertaining thereto; also my office furniture and office library.
Together with all and singular, the tenements, hereditaments and appurtenances thereunto belonging, or in any wise appertaining in trust nevertheless for the uses and purposes hereinafter contained.
TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, the said real and personal property unto said trustees, and their successors, upon the trust to enter into and upon and take possession of the said real estate and said personal property, to collect and receive the rents, issues and profits thereof, to manage and control said real and personal property, and to rent and lease the same, or any part thereof, to sell parts or portions of said real and personal property, excepting the book copyrights, for the purpose of re-investing the same in other real or personal property to be held under the same trust, and after paying all taxes, assessments, charges and encumbrances thereon and the expenses of repairing, administering, preserving, and protecting the said real property and of handling said personal property, and publishing and selling said books and manuscripts and conducting the business thereof, to distribute, pay over and apply the net proceeds from the rents and profits of said real property and from the business of publishing and selling said books and property in the manner following, that is to say:
(a) To pay over to my son, James Edson White,* annually, during his natural life ten (10) per cent of the net proceeds of said properties for his sole use and benefit, and upon his death to Emma L. White, his wife, during her natural life should she survive him.
(b) To pay over to my son William C. White,* annually, for his sole use and benefit ten (10) per cent of the net proceeds of said properties during his natural life, and upon his death, to Ethel M. White, his wife, during her natural life should she survive him.
(c) To pay over annually to William C. White, Ethel M. White and Dores E. Robinson as trustees five (5) per cent of the net proceeds of the said properties, to be devoted to the education of my grandchildren, great grandchildren and other worthy individuals.
* Shortly after Mrs. White's death, the two sons here named as recipients of a percentage of the accruing income from her estate, for a relatively modest consideration relinquished all claims upon such income. See chapter 33, page 530.
These three trustees relinquished without any consideration, all claims to this proposed educational fund.
(d) The said trustees shall use the remainder of said net proceeds for the following purposes:
1. For the payment of creditors with accruing interest upon the principal indebtedness to the extent to which my creditors have agreed to relinquish their claims against my estate; such payments from said net proceeds to continue until all remaining indebtedness with interest has been fully paid.
2. If the entire remainder of said net proceeds from my said properties is more than sufficient to pay my said debts, with interest, in the manner in which my creditors shall agree to receive payment of their respective claims, then my said trustees shall use the overplus for the improvement of the books and manuscripts held in trust by them, and herein provided; for the securing and printing of new translations thereof; for the printing of compilations from my manuscripts; for general missionary work of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination; for the support of mission schools, under the negro department of the Seventh-day Adventist General Conference; for the support of mission schools for the illiterate whites in the Southern States, Provided, however, that said trustees are hereby empowered and directed to sell my said real property or so much thereof as may be necessary to pay the following sums: to my granddaughter Ella May Robinson, now residing at Sanitarium, California, the sum of Five Hundred Dollars ($500); to my granddaughter, Mabel E. Workman, now residing at Loma Linda, California, the sum of Five Hundred Dollars ($500); to my faithful friend and helper, Sara McEnterfer, now residing at Sanitarium, California, the sum of Five Hundred Dollars ($500); to May Walling, now residing at Sanitarium, California, the sum of Five Hundred Dollars ($500); and to my faithful friend and helper Clarence C. Crisler, the sum of Five Hundred Dollars ($500).*
SIXTH: After the death of both James Edson White and his wife, my said trustees are hereby empowered and directed to apply the amount prescribed in subdivision (a) of paragraph FIFTH toward the discharge of any legal claims against the estate of said James Edson White, and then after the full discharge of such claims, the said amount mentioned in subdivision (a) shall be applied to the maintenance of the mission schools for negroes now conducted by the negro department of the Seventh-day Adventist General Conference.
SEVENTH: After the death of both William C. White and his wife, my said trustees are hereby empowered and directed to pay over to their surviving children, or grandchildren, if any, the respective amounts
* These bequests were not paid until all creditors had been paid in full.
prescribed in subdivision (b) of paragraph FIFTH of this will; and if there be no children or grandchildren of my said son, then said respective amounts shall be devoted and used for the purposes set forth in subdivision (d) of said paragraph FIFTH of this will.
EIGHTH: Upon the termination of the trusts, or any of them, created and set forth in this will, from any cause whatsoever, I give, bequeath, and devise all of the real and personal property mentioned in paragraph FIFTH or so much thereof as may from any cause be released or relieved from said trust to my said son, William C. White; or if he be not living, then to his heirs at law.
NINTH: My household furniture, dishes, carpets, pictures, photographs and clothing, I give and bequeath in equal parts to my sons, James Edson White and William C. White.
TENTH: All the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, real, personal and mixed, of which I may die seized or possessed, I give, bequeath, and devise to my son, William C. White.
ELEVENTH: I hereby appoint William C. White and Charles H. Jones the executors of this my last will and testament, without bonds; and my executors are hereby authorized to sell any property of my estate without order of Court, and at either public or private sale, and with or without notice as the executors may determine.
I also direct that no bond be required of any of the trustees named or their successors.
TWELFTH: If a vacancy shall occur for any reason among said trustees, or their successors, a majority of the surviving or remaining trustees are hereby empowered and directed to fill such vacancy by the appointment of some other fit person, and in the event that the majority does not agree upon the appointment, then such vacancy shall be filled by the Executive Committee of the Seventh-day Adventist General Conference; and the new trustee or trustees, so appointed, shall have the same power touching the trust premises and in the execution of the trusts, herein contained, as the original trustees named herein.
THIRTEENTH: I hereby revoke all former wills by me made.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 9th day of February, 1912.
[Signed] Ellen G. White