Her Calling and her Ministry - 2
EXTREMES: James S. White (Her Husband) --From Statements Concerning the Visions of Mrs. E. G. White. pp. 33 and 34 - From Spalding Magan Unpublished Mss. Pg. 459-460
The following, relating to extremists, was written by Elder James White to "A Brother at Monroe, Wisconsin," and printed as an editorial in the Review of March 17, 1868, Vol. 31, No. 14, p. 220.
Probably there has not been an important movement or reform for the benefit of fallen man, which would, if properly conducted, result in his own spiritual advancement, that has been free from extremes. There are always many who move too slowly, and that testimony necessary to urge them to duty, is always to be taken advantage of by some who have more zeal than caution. While Satan tempts the many to be too slow, he always tempts these to be too fast. Mrs. W's labors are made very hard, and, sometimes perplexing, by reason of the course of extremists, who think the only safe position is to take the extreme view of every expression she has written or spoken upon points where different views may be taken.
These persons will often hang upon their interpretation of an expression, and push matters at all hazards, and utterly disregard what she has said of the danger of extremes. We suggest that these loosen their hold of some of her strong expressions designed to move the tardy, and for a while suspend their whole weight upon some of the many cautions she has given for the benefit of extremists. In doing this, they will be more safe themselves, and will get out of her way, that she may speak freely to those who need urging to duty. Now they stand between her and the people, and paralyze her testimony, and are the cause of divisions.
Satan uses two classes to keep the body of the people behind their duty. First, those who are too fast, and second, the rebellious. The latter are usually either those who have been reproved for their haste, or those who have been turned aside by these hasty persons. Let these get out of the way, and let the body be moved forward unitedly by the testimony of the Lord. . .
Mrs. W. needs the help of all who can help in the cause of truth and reform. The people generally are slow to move, and hardly move at all. A few move cautiously and well, while others go too fast. The work of reform is not brought about in a single day. The people must be helped where they are. They can be helped better by one standing on the line of truth nearest them, than on the side the greatest distance from them. It is best for them to be taught on all points of truth and duty by persons of judgment and caution, and as fast as God in his providence unfolds them to his people. He who is but partly reformed himself, and teaches the people, will do some good. He who sees the duty of reform and is full strict enough in any case, and allows of no exceptions, and drives matters, is sure to drive the reform into the ground and hurt his own soul, and injure others. Such do not help Mrs. W., but greatly burden her in her arduous work. We invite, you, entreat, such to get out of the way and let Mrs. W. come to the people.
She works to this disadvantage, namely: she makes strong appeals to the people, which a few feel deeply, and take strong positions, and go to extremes. Then to save the cause from ruin in consequence of these extremes, she is obliged to come out with reproofs for extremists in a public manner. This is better than to have things go to pieces; but the influence of both the extremes and the reproofs are terrible on the cause, and bring upon Mrs. W. a three fold burden.
Here is the difficulty: What she may say to urge the tardy, is taken by the prompt to urge them over the mark. And what she may say to caution the prompt, zealous, incautious ones, is taken by the tardy as an excuse to remain too far behind.
We say to those who wish to help Mrs. W. in her work, you will not find her far ahead of the people, with a few extremists. No, she is back with the people, tugging away at the wheel of reform, and has to lift all the harder because of your extreme advance. Come back, good, whole-hearted souls, and stand by her side, and lift where she lifts. What can you do there at such a distance from the people?? Come back. You must meet the people where they are.--From Statements Concerning the Visions of Mrs. E. G. White. pp. 33 and 34 - From Spalding Magan Unpublished Mss. Pg. 459-460
By Elder Uriah Smith
(In the days when Elder D. M Canright was discrediting the Spirit of Prophecy, it was currently reported by the enemies of our faith that Elder Uriah Smith had been "troubled over the question of the visions. . . and at one time came very near giving them up." This report led Elder Smith to write a statement of his personal belief, and the basis on which he founded his faith. Following is a portion of his statement, published in 1888.)
That I have had, in my experience, occasional periods of trial, I do not deny. There have been times when circumstances seemed very perplexing; when the way to harmonize apparently conflicting views, did not at once appear. And under what seemed, for the time, strong provocations to withdraw from the work, I have canvassed the question how far this could reasonably be done, or how much of this work could consistently be surrounded. I have pondered the questions whether this point was not inconsistent, or that absurd, or the other out of harmony with reason and revelation; and whether this feature ought not to be readjusted, or the other set aside entirely. All this ground I have gone over as thoroughly as anyone of no more ability then myself could go, and with as great a degree of candor as anyone in as much darkness as I was in, would be likely to maintain. But the weight of evidence has never in my mind balanced on the side of surrender.
This I can say, that never, since I became fully acquainted with that system which we denominate "the present truth", so as to comprehend it in its sublime proportions, its divine harmony, and its inseparable connections, have I had the least shadow of misgiving as to its truthfulness in its fundamental principles, and. its stability and final triumph, as the work of God. It is evident, also, that this work before its close must present the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel, and some prophecies of the Book of Revelation. And to whatever degree I may have persuaded myself that this cause might have been so far developed without this feature which we call the gift of prophecy, it was only to look for something of the kind to appear in the future; for without this, it would lack one of the tests of being the work of the last generation.
This was not the phase of the question, however, with which we had to deal. For here was a manifestation which had been interwoven with this cause from its very commencement; and the idea of separating this feature from it now, in the present stage of the work, is very different from the question of how things might have been if no such feature had yet been connected with it. A little reflection is sufficient to show that the message, and this which purports to be one of the gifts of the Spirit which has accompanied it, can not be separated.
"Well, then," says one, "The absurdity of this part of the work is sufficient to overthrow the other." To which I reply, No; for the strength of the other part is sufficient to hold a person from giving up this. And this has been the position I have occupied. . . .
It has never seemed to me the part of wisdom to fix the mind upon any one point to the exclusion of all the rest, and let a difficulty there distract the view from everything else, and override every other consideration, and then because everything was not clear right at that point, to make an impulsive and rash plunge which would lead to the surrender of other points which one did not anticipate, end which he did not desire to surrender. It has seemed to me the better way to consider the question in all its bearings, not the effects which would be produced, take in the consequences, and not make a move till one was prepared to accept the results which it was foreseen would probably or inevitably follow. Upon this principle I have tried to act. . . .
Of admonitions and reproofs I have needs my full share; and whenever anything of this nature has come which I could not understand, or circumstances have arisen which seemed inexplicable, I have been content to wait, knowing that the foundation of God time would accomplish. The beautiful sentiment of the hymn has often come to my mind both as a caution and a prophecy:
"Soon shall our doubts and fears
All yield to Thy control;
Thy tender mercies shall illume
The midnight of the soul."
A general in battle does not despair of his array while the center stands firm. The wins may waver; there may be come confusion on the outskirts; but while the center holds, the battle is not lost. So with the present truth; so long as the main pillars remain unshaken, it is folly to leave the building as if it were about to fall. . . .
Relative to my present position, I can say that everything seems clear and satisfactory to my mind,--From Statements Concerning the Visions of Mrs. E. G. White. pp. 162-164. - From Spalding Magan Unpublished Mss. Pg. 460-462
For some time I have hoped for a favorable opportunity to state to our physicians and ministers facts regarding the Testimonies to the Church, which may answer questions that seem to be troubling many minds. Perhaps this morning is the opportunity.
Time is precious, and this subject is important; and I ask you to pray for me that I may speak to the point. My desire to speak about this matter is for the sake of the work.
As a body of Seventh-day Adventists, we believe that this church will stand until Christ comes. Those who have studied church history, know that each denomination which has come out from established bodies has proclaimed glorious truths. Men of God have started out with high motives and pure principles; and then, step by step, the enemy has undermined their integrity, until each church has fallen away from its first principles. The Seventh day Adventist church, we believe, will stand firm until the end, but it is by the power of God and obedience to his messages of warning that we hope to be kept from backsliding and the delusions that have crept into other churches.
The attack of the enemy upon this church has been along definite lines, the same lines as his attack upon our first parents, First of all, he got them separated, and then he deceived Eve with reference to obedience to God. So his strangest effort against this church has been the work of separation, a strange work against unity. Satan has sought to separate from the church the most precious part of its work. He has always opposed the united work of teaching the gospel and healing the sick. In many subtle ways has an effort been made to degrade the Sabbath, and to lead us to feel that humanitarian work was so valuable that in prosecuting it we could disregard the sacred claims of the Sabbath of Jehovah.
Most strenuous opposition has been brought against the means which God has selected for the strengthening and guidance of his church, an opposition manifest in efforts to unsettle confidence in the messages which God sends his people through ministers of the gospel, through teachers in our schools, and through the chosen agent whom he has appointed to give his special message of warning and counsel to the church. And finally the attack has been upon the Deity. An effort is being made to put man in the place of God; and if this be done, the work of apostasy is well nigh completed.
As you study the Testimonies of warning and counsel to this church, you will find the burden of these testimonies follows very closely the line of the enemy's attack. They have been full of warning against separation, against building up and elevating unduly one branch of the gospel work end binding everything possible to it. That ambitious work we may well be afraid of; it is not yet complete; it will continue in various forms; and in whatever form it is brought before us, we may be afraid of it.
The Scriptures say that a house divided against itself can not stand. But there has been a movement among this people for merry years for a divided house. And I am thankful to see in this assembly a body of people working together for a united house. Let us continue to work on these lines. But how shall complete union be accomplished? Several years ago Elder Irwin presented to Mother in Australia some of the perplexities we have had to meet, and I remember well her answer. "This controversy," she said, "will never be settled, until it is settled by our brethren and sisters working together in the field." And as time advances, I see more and more clearly that the field is the place of work for a settlement of the difficulties in the way of perfect union.
If those attending this convention go to their homes and unite every feature and branch of the work in our churches and conferences, light and power will come in. In working for humanity, the Saviour preached the gospel and healed the sick. If we would do more of this work, we would not need so much to be discussing plans in our committees and Councils.
For years there has been perplexity in the minds of many of our people because of what seemed to be a contradiction in the teachings of the Testimonies. I might illustrate this by referring to what was written regarding the medical work before and after the General Conference in 1897. Before that conference, Mother read to me from time to time, many, many things that she was writing, which showed that the Lord had revealed to her as clear as day the movements that were going on at the center of the medical missionary work, in the criticism of the ministry and the church, and in exalting the medical work above all other branches. And it was outlined clearly what that would lead to.
After the Conference, it seemed that the time had come for these things to be printed, but, to my surprise, Mother would read these things and then lay them aside, and later she would send them privately to the leading physicians and their associates, warning them against their danger. She sent some privately to ministers. Then she wrote articles for the papers to be sent out broadcast to our people, reproving them for their backsliding and their failures to come up to a correct standard of health reform living. She also reproved the ministers for not making the medical missionary work the work of the churches. Our people were sharply reproved for not standing by Dr. Kellogg and the Sanitarium.
Some of our people saw in this, what seemed to be a contradiction and some of them stumbled over it, and are stumbling today. Some said it must be a severe trial for Sister White to write testimonies of reproof to old personal friends. "It must be that when she comes to write out these things that the Lord has revealed to her regarding the medical work, that her years of friendship, her sympathy and her love for Doctor Kellogg are so strong that she has not the courage to put them out, and instead of that she puts out these appeals for the people to stand by him." I knew this was not the reason, but I could not discern at that time the real reason for the course that was followed,
This was indeed a sever perplexity to me at the time, as it was to others, but that very experience, as I look at it today, is one of the strongest evidences of the wisdom and power of God in directing and guiding his servant in the way that the testimonies are put forth. Some of the testimonies of warning, counsel, and entreaty, were sent out privately, and were given time to do their work. Others were put on file, and they show that the perils attending the medical work were often revealed by God to his messenger, long before the message was to be delivered.
Let us ask, What would have been the result if the warnings and reproof regarding errors in the medical work had been made public when first given? Many of our people were then so halfhearted in this work of health reform, that they would have dropped it, and turned their backs on the physicians and nurses, and many would have gong back with joy to their flesh pots, as some are doing today. There would naturally have followed a great denominational backsliding, on health reform.
The people were not ready for the things that were being sent to the leaders, therefore the messages needed by the leaders were sent to the leaders, and the people were sent those things which they needed. What has been the result? Through the mercy of God, a great victory has been gained, and our people have been led to take a decided stand as health reformers; hundreds have given themselves to the Christian help work, and plans have been devised by which many in the church are striving to do the untied work of healing and teaching. I thank God for his way of leading us, which to some has seemed mysterious.
There are many things in connection with the Testimonies, and the opposition to them, that have been sore trials to me, and in times of great perplexity I have thrown myself on my face before God in agony of soul and said, "0 God, why didst thou choose nay mother to be the instrument for this work? Why didst thou let so much perplexity come to us, so much distress?" It was at a time like this that I read the manuscript of those chapters in "Desire of Ages", in which is related the experiences of the disciples when they were distressed and perplexed, because their Master's teaching and manner of life seemed to leave the way open for misunderstanding and criticism. (Chapters 40-44) I said then, "Father, if it by thy will that thy people in all ages shall be perplexed and distressed, help me to enter into the experience meekly and intelligently.
Many tines I have come to things in the Testimonies, as also in the Bible, that I did not understand, that I could not explain and harmonize. These I have carried to the Lord and said, "Here, Lord, are some things that I can not understand. I leave them with Thee. Help me to go straight forward and do the work that has been given me to do; and when thy time comes, let me see clearly that thou shouldst have me to understand. Lord, take me by the hand and lead me in the strait and narrow way."
Many of the Testimonies I do not understand. In many cases, if I were commissioned to use any discretion in the matter, I would not send them out. But that is not my business. Many a thing passes through my hand and goes out to the people with a prayer that God may help those to understand it to whom it is sent, but I do not understand it. And is it not a fact that the message should mean more to the person to whom it is addressed, than to those who copy it, and more also then to the one who writes it?
Let me illustrate this point. At the General Conference when we reorganized the General Conference Association, and we were in great perplexity over the best method of work, Mother called together, in the committee room at the Tabernacle, conference presidents and managers of institutions, and read a testimony which was based upon Isaiah 8:12-14, which was a decided reproof to us regarding confederacy.
There were at that time, two plans for confederacy before us. One was our union with outsiders in the religious liberty work, and the other, the question of the scope of the work of the General Conference Association. Some applied the testimony altogether to the former. Some of us felt in our hearts that it should be applied to our plans for the General Conference association also. But instead of getting together and studying and praying over the matter until we comprehended what it meant to us, we called another meeting and asked Sister White to come in and explain the matter that perplexed us. We questioned her as to whether the message applied to what we were planning for in the reorganization of the General Conference Association. She said she could not answer that question. Then we said, "Of course it does not apply to that."
We did not study and pray about it till we received light, but carried out our own plans. About six or eight years afterwards it was opened up to Mother plain and clear that the testimony was given to us at that time to save us from going into those plans which resulted in binding together many lines of work in an unsatisfactory and unprofitable connection.
Often times when we go to Mother and ask her to explain the things that she has said or written, she will say, "I can not explain it; you should understand it better than I. If you do not understand it, pray to the Lord, and he will help you." Is not that the right way to get a correct understanding of the Testimonies?
The question of personal influence is a matter that has perplexed many. The question is, Can persons go to Sister White and present their needs and their views, and, by presenting matters as they look at them, influence the character of the Testimonies and secure the bringing out of something in harmony with their minds?--No, indeed. If any believes this, let them be assured it is not so.
You know that in the '90's there was a work going on to build up the work at Battle Creek disproportionately. This was let by strong financiers, men who had a large influence with the president of the General Conference. In the face of the counsels given immediately after the Minneapolis Conference, and during the years that followed, there had been too much centralization of responsibility at Battle Creek; and in the face of the effort to distribute responsibility by dividing the field, and appointing district superintendents, there were men who labored untiringly to continue the work of centralization.
The work was one of binding things together, bringing the management of everything possible under the control of a few men at Battle Creek, and unduly enlarging the institutions in that place. Mother's testimonies were strongly against this. She sent many reproofs and carried a heavy burden on her heart regarding the wrong character being given to the work. I could not understand why Mother should continue to carry this burden after having written to the responsible men many times, and I pleaded with her to give her time and energies to the writing of her books.
For years I have felt that it was my privilege to do all I could to draw Mother's attention to the most cheerful features of our work, to the many hopeful experiences in our institutions and conferences. I reasoned that as the Lord has chosen Mother to be his messenger for the correcting of wrongs in the church, opening up to her the dangers, the mistakes, the errors, and the weaknesses and the wickedness of men, and as these revelations burden her heart almost to death, therefore it can not be wrong for me to gather up all the words of cheer, and all the good news that will comfort her heart, and every incident that will show the power of Christ working in the church, and that will make manifest the best side of the workings of men who are bearing heavy burdens in the work of the Lord; therefore I will endeavor to bring to her attention the bright side of things. When a brother speaks well of what another brother is doing, I will try to bring it to her attention. The criticisms and the accusations that are made by brother against brother, I must try to keep to myself. I know that this is very different from the representations that have often been made to some of you regarding the character and aim of my work, but I assure you that this is what I have endeavored to do.
Well, one day while we were living at Cooranbong, New South Wales, we received letters from the president of the General Conference, filled with cheering reports, telling us about the good campmeetings, and how that some of these business men who had been reproved by the Testimonies were going out to various states and speaking in the campmeetings, and that they were getting a new spiritual experience, and were a real help in the meetings.
We were made very happy by the reading of these letters. We were fairly overjoyed about it, and we united in praising the Lord for the good report. Imagine our surprise when in the afternoon of the next day Mother told me that she had been writing to these men of whom we had received the good report, and she then read to me the most far-reaching criticism, the most searching reproof for our bringing in wrong plans and principles in their work, that were ever written to that group of men. This was a great lesson to me in the matter of personal influence.
In recent years I have seen such experiences often repeated. Many persons have visited Mother at her home with the belief that personal representation of their work and plans would influence Mother to command them. They have been welcome in our home; we enjoyed their society, and were glad of their friendship; but when Mother came to write, it was what the Lord had taught her. Sometimes it was very encouraging, and sometimes it was like hot iron piercing the heart, because the spirit of wisdom discerned that there were results to follow the plans proposed, that would be detrimental to the cause of God, and the messenger was obliged to speak that which God had given her to speak.
How is it, then, that there are some who have had opportunity to present to Sister White their plans, who feel that she is influenced, and that sometimes she favors one side and sometimes another side? Brethren, the field of the controversy between right and wrong principles is broad, and extends far beyond our ordinary conception. There is weakness on all sides, and often when matters are opened to Mother's mind, it is presented to her that if a certain course is taken, that certain results will follow, and if such and such things shall be done, that other results will surely follow. With such a presentation of the field, the time and manner of sending out messages to the church depends largely upon the actual progress of the work.
When good strong men like the leading teachers in our schools are perplexed on some point, and they come and present to Mother their views regarding the dangers and duties of the hour, and ask her counsel, what does she do? Does she begin at the first of her interview to point out where they are wrong? No, indeed, she knows that these men are burdened with a great work that is not generally appreciated, and she knows that if she would help them most successfully she must show that she understands their motives and the weight of their burdens. Naturally the first thing is to express every word of confidence that she can sincerely express in the work they are doing; and to acknowledge the evils and dangers in the church which they see, showing to what extent these evils and dangers have been revealed to her. Then she often points out the weak points in their work and the dangers that attend their paths, and cautions them about matters that they may have overlooked.
A man representing another side of the work may talk with her of the same experience. She also expresses confidence in his efforts. She acknowledges the dangers that attend the work, and then she points out the weaknesses of his work, and the dangers that attend it.
Now, if these men go forth and remember clearly that which was said that is in harmony with their views, and forget that which was said to correct their faulty plans and work, their views and reports of Sister White's counsels will often differ.
In reference to my relation to Mother's work, a great many say W. C. White keeps close to his mother, and he makes suggestions and calls her out upon this and that, and thus largely influences her work. What are the facts? Often for weeks before a general meeting, and sometimes for months before a General Conference, the burden is laid upon Mother as to the character of the work she must do in the coming meeting. And as I meet her day by day, she speaks to me of what has been presented to her during the night, regarding the work before her in the coming meeting.
Before the Oakland Conference, she presented to me morning by morning, sometimes three or four mornings in succession, what she was writing; and then she would lay aside her writings and tell me the character of the issues and conflicts of that meeting. She would say, At that meeting there are going to be such and such movements, and if I attend, I shall have to bear strong testimony of reproof. She presented the dangers that might arise from the wrong views of the medical men, and the dangers to arise from the wrong views of General Conference men. And she would outline the positions she would be obliged to take at the meeting.
Often I was impatient to get away to the office and resume my regular work, but I felt that it was for a purpose that she related these matters to me, end so I offered the silent prayer, "Lord, help me to remember these things, so if at any time I ought to know them, they will come clearly to mind," As a result I had before the meeting a clear outline of the course she intended to follow at the General Conference.
When the General Conference was called, Mother often said that the burden would be so great that she dared not go, and sometimes we thought she did not have the strength to go. But the Lord gave her strength and courage, and she attended the meetings. Elders Danielle and Prescott, came, at her request, to talk with her about the progress of the meeting, and they presented their views, plans, and perplexities, and asked for counsel. Then Brethren Paulson and Sadler came, at her request, and presented their view of things. You will remember that Brother Sadler had been working with us in California. As Mother gave counsel and encouragement, I wondered if it were possible that the course of her talks to the Conference was going to be changed in any way from what she had planned, by the facts brought out by these interviews with the brethren.
When the time came for Mother to bear her testimony before the Conference, I yaw that every utterance was in perfect harmony with the outline that she had given me day by day, during the months before. I shall remember, as long as I live, that I could not discern that she varied a hair's breadth from the line laid down before the meeting. This is the result of my observation in the matter of personal influence.
With reference to the integrity of the writings sent out from Mother's office, I can assure you that Mother is responsible, intelligently responsible, for the letters, manuscripts, and other documents that go out from her office over her signature.
The Lord has blessed Mother with good, conscientious helpers, tender-hearted people, God-fearing people, who would not for their lives venture in any way to temper with her Testimonies.
Mother writes very rapidly. She does much of her writing early in the morning. She often writes upon many subjects in one letter of manuscript, just as subject after subject is flashed upon her mind. These manuscripts she passes to one who is expert in reading her writing, to copy off on the typewriter, and then it is given back to Mother, and she examines it, making such corrections, changes, and additions as she sees fit. Then it is copied again, and sent out according to Mother's direction. Sometimes a long and personal letter will contain matter which she wishes to use in a more general letter to be sent to a group of workers. Sometimes it contains material for an article for one of our periodicals, or a chapter in a book.
Some of the most precious chapters of "Desire of Ages" are made up of matter first written in letters to mien laboring under trying circumstances, for the purpose of cheering and instructing them regarding their work. Some of these beautiful lessons about Christian experience illustrated in the life of our Saviour, were first written in letters to my Brother Edson, when he was struggling with many difficulties in his work in Mississippi. Some were written first to Elder Corliss, when he was holding a discussion with a wily Campbellite in Sydney.
Mother receives many letters. Some of these are reports or progress; some tell the story of the Lord's merciful dealings with His -people. Some letters cheer her heart and do her lots of good. Others are sad and discouraging. Some are from strangers, asking many questions that she can not answer, because the subjects upon which the Lord gives her light are seldom the subjects of her own choosing.
There are letters which come from men bearing heavy burdens, asking counsel regarding perplexing matters. Some have adopted the practice of sending their perplexing letter to me, asking that if it is reasonable and right, that I bring the matter to Mother's attention, but if she is feeble, or pressed with other burdens, to let the letter wait. Often these communications come to me when her mind is absorbed with some difficult subject, and I put them into a pigeon hole, to await a favorable time. It often happens that in the course of a week or two, I find her mind traveling over the subjects presented in some of these letters. She says, What is going on with reference to this matter? Then I tell her that I have several letters in the office on that subject, and, at her request, I bring them to her. At such times these letters do not burden her mind. When the Lord has directed her mind to any subject, it is not a burden for her to study into it deeply.
There is a part that men have to act, in bringing facts regarding the progress of events, by writing and by word of mouth, to the Lord's messengers. This is seen in the experience of Paul as recorded in First Corinthians 1:11.
While we were in Australia, the plans on which our school work ought to be developed were clearly outlined to Mother, and she presented these thoughts to those connected with the school. We were surrounded with difficulties, and the work laid out before us seemed to be impossible. Some wanted to push forward the work very rapidly; others were cautions, and wanted to wait for assurances that we could complete what we began. We had our struggles.
At one important meeting I determined not to tell Mother of the perplexes connected with our work, but that I would tell the Lord all about them, and ask him to send us instruction according to our necessities. When I cam home from Board meetings, late at right, I laid the matter before the Lord, and asked him to help us, and send us messages as he would. Each morning I would go to Mother and say, Have you anything new for us this morning? Sometimes she would say, I do not know that I have; but I was in Council last night, and we were talking over such and such a matter. Sometimes what she told me did not seem to have any bearing upon the subject that was on my mind, and sometimes it would answer the very questions that I had laid before the Lord the night before. Many times what she said gave light that was direct answer to my prayer.
One morning after I had asked Mother if she had anything new for us, she said, "What are you doing in your Board meeting? What kind of a time are you having?" I answered, "I do not need to tell you; the Lord can tell you what you need to know, better than I can, and I might not tell it impartially." She said, "Willie White, you tell me what you are doing." I asked why. Then she said, "It is presented to me that you are having a hard time, and when you reach a certain point, I am to have something to say.' I want to know if you have reached that point." "Mother," I said, "we are having a hard time, but for several reasons I did not want to tell you about it." Then she insisted, and I told her the best I could from my standpoint about the status of our work. When I had finished she said, "That is all right. I do not believe I will go today, but I think you are getting pretty near the point when I must come over and bear my testimony."
In a day or two she came over and told us what had been presented to her.
Some have wondered why it is that sometimes when Sister White is speaking, toward the close of her remarks she will turn to me and say, "Have I covered the points, Willie?" And from this they have drawn the conclusion that I have been prompting Mother regarding what she shall say in meeting.
It often happens that Mother tells us a few days, or a few hours, before the meeting, the line of thought which she wishes to present, and she sometimes asks me to remind her if any essential point is left out. Then in closing her remarks she feels anxious to know if any essential features of what she intended to present have been overlooked.
Some have wondered if W. C. White did not sometimes prompt his mother as to what she ought to say to ministers or business men regarding their duty and connection with the general work. I will relate an instance showing what I sometimes do, and how one good woman thought she had the clearest evidence that I had undertaken to tell Mother what she ought to say to a minister who was under deep trial, and who felt that he needed counsel and advice.
At the close of the General Conference held in Battle Creek in 1901, the brethren urged that Mother should go to Indianapolis and attend the general meeting appointed there, to consider the fanatical work carried on by a group of laborers who had been teaching the doctrine of the "holy flesh".
Mother was weary, and felt that she had not strength for this additional burden. She repeatedly told me and other members of the family that she did not feel able to attend that meting. She did not feel that she had strength to bear the testimony which she must bear if she attended the meeting. Then she told us many things which she would have to say to- the brethren who had been teaching the strange doctrines in Indiana. She repeated this several times, so that I remembered very distinctly what it was she said she must testify if she went to Indiana. Finally she decided to go. The Lord strengthened her for the journey, and she bore her testimony to a large congregation of our people in a clear, decisive way. After this she was requested to speak to a large public audience Sunday afternoon. This was a heavy draft on her strength, and at the close she was very weary.
Sunday afternoon I had a long talk with one of the ministers holding the strange doctrine against which Mother had borne her testimony, and he asked for an interview with Mother. I told him that Mother was weary. But when I saw that he would feel grieved and injured if the interview was denied, I told him I would to all I could to arrange for an interview early Monday morning.
I expected to see Mother Sunday evening and tell her of this brother's desire to see her in the morning, but committee work prevented me seeing her that evening.
Monday morning early I went to her room and found her very busy writing. Then she told me that an important subject had been opened up to her mind in the night and she greatly desired to write it out before anything came in to divert her mind from the subject. I told her then that I had promised one of the ministers that I would do my best to arrange for an interview with her early Monday morning. Mother said, "But my mind is now on this other subject. I have borne my testimony to our people, and my discourse to the large audience exhausted my strength, and now I have this new subject to write out. Why must I have a private interview with this brother?" Again I told her of his desire to have an interview with her, and she said, "But what can I say to Him?" Then I saw that the Sunday afternoon discourse and the new subject opened to her mind had taken her thoughts completely away from the matter of the holy flesh fanaticism, and so I repeated to her some of the things which she told us in Battle Creek that she would have to say to these brethren if she came to Indiana. After calling her attention to a few of the things that she had repeatedly told us she must say to these brethren if she came to Indiana, her mind took up that line of thought, and than I went to look for the brother.
During this conversation, a good sister in the next room had heard some of our words. I had spoken quite lowly to Mother, end the sister had heard my words without hearing, perhaps, what Mother said, and she was greatly surprised and shocked to hear W. C. White telling his mother what she should say to a brother in perplexity. Of course the matter was told to others, and the report was circulated far and wide for many months before it came to my attention. When Elder Harkins wrote to me about it, I explained to him the facts in the case, and I have heard nothing from it since; but this is an illustration of how what is fair and right may be misunderstood and regarded as serious error by those who but partially understood the facts in the case.
It has often happened that because of the instruction I have received from Mather, I have in committee meetings taken a position disagreeing with some of my brethren, and afterward, when Mother had occasion to write upon the subject, our brethren were shocked and surprised to find that she was upholding these things which I had stood for, and they drew the conclusion that I had been influencing Mother; whereas, I had been trying to represent in the committee that which she had been teaching and advocating. Her testimony agreed with those plans and policies which I had been taught by her.
(Signed) W. C. White.
From Spalding Magan Unpublished Mss. Pg. 466-476
"Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not; the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.' John. 10:23-25.
Our attitude toward the serious charges that some are preferring against the writings of Mrs. E. G. White, must first be, of necessity a personal one. When we meet with things hard to be understood in connection with the Spirit of Prophecy, we are compelled to cast about for some sure foundation on which to anchor our faith and future believe in the divine source of these writings.
When in perplexity, we may attempt to relieve our minds by entering into a critical investigation of every seeming difficulty. Our opportunities for doing a thorough work may be all that could be desired. However, the result of such investigation may fail to afford relief. Sometimes, by no amount of reasoning and conjecture as to the probably explanation of the things we do not understand, can we remove every apparent difficulty.
In every instance we can come into the light regarding these matters, but often not until we begin to study from a point of view altogether different from that of a critical investigator. It is when we apply to the acceptance and understanding of the Testimonies the same principles that we apply to the acceptance and understanding of the Bible, that faith and confidence take the place of quibbling and questioning.
To illustrate: The surest and most satisfactory test by which one may establish his faith in the Word of rod, as revealed in the Bible, is the effect that this Word has upon life and character,--the transforming power of the Word seen in the lives of multitudes of men and women. It is difficult to define one's inmost faith. But God in his infinite mercy implants in the heart faith in him as the Creator, the Supreme Ruler, and faith in his Word. The operations of the Holy Spirit upon the human heart can not be explained; but a man may know that the Holy Spirit has worked on his heart, and that with the passing of time his faith in God and in the Bible is strengthening.
This fundamental faith comes not by any process of reasoning. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Faith in the Word comes through the Word itself; the Bible says so, and human experience proves it to be so. This fact admits of no explanation; it is, nevertheless, a fact. One's faith in the Bible, it is true, is strengthened by many external evidences as well.
The testimony of scientists who by their investigations are led to declare their belief in an unseen Intelligence directing the affairs of the universe; the mute testimony of ancient inscriptions giving historical records in accord with the Biblical record; the anticipation in the Bible of many of the greatest discoveries of scientists; the exact correspondence of history with prophecy,-these external evidences, and many moo ,tend to strengthen the faith of those who have been able to discern the divine origin of the Scriptures primarily on the basis of their internal beauty and of their spiritual, transferring power on the human heart.
When the faith of a believer in God's Word has been established by the influence it has had on his own mind and heart, as well as by many incontrovertible external evidences of genuineness, he is not troubled over the fact that certain portions of the Word are beyond his human understanding. Infidels may scoff at many statements and apparent contradictions found on the pages of Holy Writ; higher critics with their subtle insinuations and their erroneous conclusions may seek to undermine his confidence in the inspiration of certain portions of the Bible; but these things have no influence over him. His faith has been established on a sure foundation. He is firmly anchored, and is therefore unmoved by the tempest off criticism prevailing on every side. He is sustained throughout every trail of faith by his personal acquaintance with Holy Writ , by the transforming influence it is having on his life, and by the many external evidence of its genuineness that can not be gainsaid.
This is a sure basis on which to establish faith in the Testimonies of God's Spirit. There are many who for years have been powerfully influenced by the teachings of these writing.
Over the lives of thousands the Testimonies have been exercising a transforming power that the writings of no human being could ever have exercised. Aside from the Bible, nothing in literature can in any wise be compared with the Testimonies, with respect to the spirit and power accompanying them, as well as with respect to their scope--the depth and the breadth of thought found in them. Nowhere else can there be found anything that is similar to the closing chapters of "Great Controversy", or the opening chapter of "Desire of Aces", or the chapter in "Patriarchs" on "The Origin of Evil". Anyone who in conversant with the masterpieces of the world's literature, would be slow to concede that a human being, unaided by divine inspiration, could produce writings of such wonderful scope and depth of thought, and, withal, of such spiritual beauty and power.
Again: When we compare the Testimonies that were written sixty years ago, with those that were written under innumerable conditions and ever varying circumstances fifty years ago, forty years ago, thirty years ago, twenty years ago, and during the past decade; when we remember that the writer of these words has continually been burdened with perplexity and care, and that usually, when writing, she does not have access to many of the things she has written in former years; when , in the face of these circumstances, a critical comparison of all her writings on a certain subject reveals a marvelous harmony throughout, we are deeply impressed with the conviction that these writings have a higher source than that of a human mind. New conditions are continually developing; policies are changing; new men and mew measures are introduced during successive administrations; crises in distant lands are met without any opportunity for forethought and study; and yet the writings, during this long period of years, constantly set forth principles in which there can be found a beautiful harmony.
Throughout the writings of Sister White, there is a delicate adjustment of every varying condition and statement and admonition to the bread principles underlying the plan of redemption, the controversy of the ages, God's great plan for his people, the final consummation of this plan amid the scenes of the closing conflict, and the restoration of all things in the earth made new. These principles can not be lost sight of; they are constantly presented; in way innumerable, so naturally and easily that apparently no effort has been made to make possible this most wonderful adjustment of everything to the one great purpose God has in view for mankind. The more these writings are studied, the clearer becomes the view of broad vistas leading direct to the city of our God, the new Jerusalem.
As is often said of the Bible, so it may be said of the Testimonies: Lines of thought, like golden threads, run throughout the whole, and are inseparable interwoven with the instruction that has been given during a long period of time.
Still more wonderful is the fact that all the principles developed in these lines of thought are in perfect accord with the principles set forth in the Bible. Nothing in Sister White's writings is contradictory to Bible truth. The more the Bible is studied, the clearer the light in the Testimonies shines and the more it is appreciated; the more the Testimonies are studied, the clearer the light in the Bible shines and the more it is appreciated. This in itself is one of the strongest evidences of the divine source of these writings.
To the student of denominational history, another most interesting phase of this question is opened to view. The gift of the Spirit of Prophecy was restored to the Christian church shortly after the 1844 movement, about the time God's people saw clearly the Sabbath truth, the connection between the three angel's messages of Revelation 14, and the meaning of the disappointment in 1844. At once the humble instrument through which this gift was exercised began having visions of the scenes through to the close of time and the second coming of Christ. A clear line of truth was presented, and the entire history of the remnant church, from its beginning to its final triumph, was gradually unfolded, at a time when the commandment-keepers were a small, despised people. Throughout the years that have followed, these predictions of the trials and the victories that would await God's people, recorded in the volume known as "Early Writings", have been fulfilling. All that has been revealed to Sister White since these earlier revelations, has been simply a development of the principles outlined in the beginning.
The student of denominational history find unmistakable evidence of the validity of the Testimonies in many, many experiences through which God's people have passed.
The establishment of a firm platform, based on fundamental pillars of faith, during the earlier years of our message; the establishment and growth of our publishing work; the introduction of a divine system of organization a few years later; the development of the tithing system; the reaching out into the regions beyond, begun early in the seventies; and rapidly gathering strength with the passing of the years; the development of our institutional work as the direct outgrowth of instruction received through the Spirit of prophecy; the crisis at Minneapolis and the subsequent broadened policy in the conduct of mission work at home and abroad; the outlining of principles that finally culminated in the strengthening of the general cause at the time of the 1897 General Conference; the peculiar experiences of the 1901 General Conference with subsequent revelations of the infinite love and compassion and long-sufferance of God toward the erring;-all these experiences, and many, many more, are evidences that can not be gainsaid--evidences everyone of which strengthens faith in the divine source of the Testimonies.
In the light of personal knowledge regarding the transforming influence of the Testimonies on the individual heart and life; in the light of the transformations seen in the lives of others; in the light of the wonderful consistency existing throughout the tens of thousands of pages of writings covering a period of upwards of sixty years; in the light of denominational experiences that we as a people have passed through safely,--in the light of such knowledge, everyone who desires to believe can find abundant opportunity to establish his faith firmly on a sure foundation, as regards the heavenly origin and the absolute reliability of the Testimonies of the Spirit of Prophecy.
Having once found a firm basis on which to establish faith, we shall not be affected by any so-called evidences of the seeming unreliability of certain portions of the Testimonies. This position is not one that "higher critics" would regard as tenable. But it is as tenable as the position we hold with respect to the plenary inspiration of the Bible itself. Our faith in the Testimonies must rest on the same basic principles that underlie our faith in God's Word; and with a spirit of submission to God's inscrutable plan we should submit to his method of presenting truth in the Bible and in the Testimonies. God's messengers are human; these messages are affected by their individuality and their environment; nevertheless their messages to the church of God are inspired. The individuality of the writers of tie gospels is reflected in their writings; John's record of the life of the Saviour was influenced by his natural temperament and his view of spiritual things; likewise with Matthew and Mark and Luke. Granting all this, their messages bear the seal of God's approval, and are written for our admonition and spiritual uplift.
(Signed) Clarence C. Crisler.
(Written in 1907)
From Spalding Magan Unpublished Mss. Pg. 476-480
(Six months ago I received an inquiry from an old friend in regard to the Testimonies, to which I made a somewhat extended reply. Recently I have become impressed that the Lord would be pleased to have me publish the essential portions of this letter. I do this with an earnest prayer that God may use it to his glory and the establishment of his truth.-David Paulson.)
I have recently reread the stirring article you wrote nearly twenty years ago entitled, "Believe His Prophets, So Shall Ye Prosper." God at that time evidently gave you a new glimpse off this whole question of the spirit of prophecy.
If the principles you stated in that article were sound then, (and I find no flow in them), they are just as true today, even though you may shrink now from accepting them. If you are questioning the spirtuality and inspiration of the Testimonies, under which of these classes of doubters do you belong that you pointed out in that article?
Nearly twelve years ago, after years of most blessed experiences in studying the Testimonies in connection with the Bible, and teaching them to hundreds of our workers, and seeing definite results in their lives, I myself, from something I found in the Testimonies, began to get into a fog over this human side of Sister White's work.
Up till that time the prophets has "hewed me."--Hosea 6:5. After that I began to hew the prophets. Up till that time the Testimonies had judged me; then I began to judge the Testimonies. Mind you, I never for a moment doubted that Sister White was a genuine prophet. No doubt the devil would ultimately have brought me to that if it had not been for God's grace; but I simply began to do what you pointed out in your article,--discard what I needed the most. It may be a surprise to you to learn what means God used to get me back on the right track.
Ten years ago this fall I was in Washington attending the
The first testimony regarding the "Living Temple" was received and read while we were there in session. In spite of the "new light" that I had received regarding the Testimonies, I had enough spiritual sense to appreciate that there was something in it that would have to be reckoned with either in time or eternity. A day or two later one of my intimate friends and myself spent a good share of one night earnestly seeking God for wisdom and for light, and it was during this experience that he was led to say in substance, "Doctor, this talk of the 'human side' of the Testimonies has been a snare to us. No doubt there is a human side to the Testimonies, but with all that there is so much more divinity in them there is in us that God will never permit us feeble mortals to show up or point out this human side. A weaker thing can never destroy a stronger thing. We must treat whatever comes from that source with the highest respect, and seek God for wisdom how to apply it to our lives and our course.
I saw in an instant that he had enunciated sound principles as to how to relate ourselves to the Testimonies, and I told him gratefully, "You have given me light, light that I needed."
I went back to Chicago, where I was then at work, took up my Bible and my Testimonies, and on my bended knees began again to study them as before. I am free to say that it took me several years before I had entirely lost the blighting influence of the previous year of two of experience. I presume the Lord permitted that so that I might have much sympathy and forbearance with others who have yet that experience to go through before any latter rain can descend upon their parched souls.
You bring out a truthful observation in this article. "I have observed that whoever partially rejects the Testimonies discards what he needs most, and that every person who wholly rejects them eventually doubts the Scriptures also, and loses his spiritual life and his hold on God, though he may still hold on to the church." A friend of mine who has wholly rejected the Testimonies told me only recently he did not take any stock in some of the Bible stories. It is more important to love the Testimonies then it is merely to believe them. A man who only believes his wife, but does not love, will soon cease to believe in her,
As far as I know, everyone off the workers in the Hinsdale Sanitarium loves the Testimonies and is studying them in connection with the Bible. I have promulgated no theory about the Testimonies to those workers, simply because I know that truth carries its own credentials and convictions to the genuine truth-loving heart. I have tried with the help of God, in season and out of season, to have these workers yield their hearts to the demands of spiritual truths, and any men who will receive into his own heart God's spirit will have no difficulty in detecting that same spirit in the Testimonies. He who can not smell the spirit of God in them is a total stranger to its blessed influence in his own life.
I have recently been reading the old "Spiritual Gifts" printed in '55, I have read again the early struggles of Brother and Sister White, the trials and sacrifices and privations, the fierce buffeting of Satan which they had to meet to establish this message. To a less degree Sister White has faced that sort of thing down to this day. The "visions" were opposed by self-seeking, professed Christians who had an abundance of foliage and little or no fruit in those days, just as Sister White's writings and experiences are opposed by the same classes today,
When I was in perplexity over this question, I wrote Sister White frankly and honestly regarding this human side question. Among other things, she referred me back to Testimonies, Vol. 5, page 67, the very chapter that you quoted from in your article years ago, where she says, "when I went to Colorado, I was so burdened for you that, in my weakness, I. wrote many pages to be read at your camp meeting. Weak and trembling, I arose at three o'clock in the morning to write to you. God was speaking through clay. You might say that this communication was only a letter, Yes, it was a letter, but prompted by the Spirit of God, to bring before your minds things that had been shown me. In these letters which I write, in the Testimonies I hear, I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me. I do not write one article in the paper expressing merely my own ideas, They are what. God has opened before me in vision, the precious rays of light shining from the throne."
Dear brother, you can not build even a successful worldly career on a lie. The things that come from Sister White's pen, even down to Volume 9, her latest book stir my soul, bring me to my knees a humble wretch before God; they illuminate the Bible to me afresh just as much as what I read from her pen written years before I was born. And yet sensible, sane people who know that the business faker and crook can not last only a few short years, even in worldly business, will try to convince me that Sister White has been able to live a successful pretense and still continue for more than sixty years to have a spiritual message that cuts one to the very bone.
The real difficulty with the Testimonies is the same difficulty that the whole Christian world around us are having with the Bible. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Practically every up-to-date preacher in the outside churches believe the higher criticism of the Bible. With us the higher critic begins with the Testimonies, and one is just as sincere in his belief as the other, for we are living in a time when the professing people of God are to "believe a lie." 2 Thess. till. The same devil that is destroying faith in the Bible in the outside churches is as busily engaged in destroying faith in the Testimonies among us.
You have filled an important place among us, but don't forget a similar experience did not save David from a terrible backsliding in his later years. But when he heeded God's prophet in those days, God forgave his sin, while his son, who later on ignored prophets, plunged the nation into deepest darkness. The hour has struck for you to return to your first love, and then it will not be long before you will be found doing your "first works." The trouble with so many people today is that they are trying to do their works without having first love, and that is why they are making such a wretched failure out of it.
(From "The General Conference Bulletin," 2nd Quarter, 1899)
"As the end draws near, and the work of giving the last warning to the world extends, it becomes more important for those who accept present truth to have a clear understanding of the nature and influence of the Testimonies, which God in his providence has linked with the work of the third angel's message from its very rise." --Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 654.
Mark that this quotation does not raise the question of the importance of believing the Testimonies, but of understanding their nature and influence. Those who have made a deep and prayerful study of the Testimonies, have certainly realized in a most practical manner the words of the psalmist, "I have more understanding than all my teachers; for thy testimonies are my meditation." Psalm 119:99.
Hundreds of young men and women among us might have their former teachers for their present pupils, had they appreciated the living rays of light which have, through this channel, permeated into the darkest recesses of almost every branch of human knowledge. It has always been God's purpose that his people should especially be made to "lie down in green pastures." This is just as true in scientific knowledge and in methods of presenting and making a practical application of the same, as in the purely spiritual truths. The Bible is the fountain head of all truth, and any tree of knowledge whose root does not strike into the principles, will vanish away; for "every plant that my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up."
It is the work of the Testimonies not to enunciate new principles of truth, but to point out and bring to the surface God's eternal truth. Right here is where so much misunderstanding has arisen in reference to the Testimonies, as to whether they were to be placed on an equality with the Bible, in place of the Bible, or as an addition to the Bible. As a matter of fact the scope of the Testimonies fills none of these. The Lord has pointed out the exact position that they occupy, and no one need to stumble over it.
"The written Testimonies are not to give new light, but to impress vividly upon the heart the truths of inspiration already revealed." -Idem, Vol. 2, p. 605, In short, the Testimonies are to take the truths of God's Word and hold them up before the mind in such a manner that as lasting impression shall be made as was left upon our minds when perhaps our home burned down, or when we were an eye-witness of some frightful accident; or, in the words, of the quotation, to "impress vividly."
"Additional truth is not brought out; but God has through the Testimonies simplified the great truths already given."-Idem. Vol. 2, p. 605. In such a principle of truth as is stated in the words, "Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit," the casual reader perceives little; but when God shifts his great telescope, the Testimonies, to this verse, and adjusts the focus, we see how this test applies to habits of daily life, even to such simple things as clothing, diet, and exercise. In a drop of water that may hang on the point of a cambric needle, the ordinary eye discovers nothing, yet let the scientist put it under his microscope, and if it has been properly inoculated, it will reveal myriads of animal forms that are perfectly developed. Some would say, "Oh, the microscope added all that," and would perhaps argue for hours to prove that what they now see could not possibly have been in the water before; and apparently they may have the best of the argument.
In like manner I have frequently heard of many of our brethren spending a great deal of time arguing that certain things they see in the Testimonies could not possibly be in the Bible, for identically the same reason that others could not, with their naked eye, see the animal forms in the drop of water. Again, "The Testimonies are not to belittle the word of God, but to exalt it, and attract minds to it, that the beautiful simplicity of truth may impress all." Idem, Vol. 2, p. 606.
Then if the Testimonies are read in the proper spirit, the Bible will seem more exalted, the mind attracted to it as though it were a magnet; and where the truths expressed in the Bible seem hazy, the Testimonies bring them out in clear lines.
We often hear people say, "Don't do so and so, because it is condemned by the Testimonies. Bear in mind that this is not what makes it wrong; the particular thing is wrong in itself, and the Testimonies in love and tenderness only point out the fact. For instance, if I point out to a stranger who passes my door that the bridge over the creek below my house is unsafe for him to cross, my telling him that is not what makes the bridge unsafe; I am only pointing out that fact to him. Thousands of people have been driven away from the Testimonies, and the Bible too, for that matter, because those who used them did not recognize that the things which they condemned were destructive in their very nature.
There is no one who mingles much with our people but whose heart must be made to ache continually by the misquotations, to say nothing of misinterpretations, frequently made by well-meaning people who themselves try hard to believe the thought that their perverted quotation seems go convey, and insist that others must do the same, because "it is in the Testimonies."
Only recently a very prominent man who, with his wife, had just embraced the truth, came to me in great distress of mind, stating that his wife was completely discouraged and confused because during the day one of our sisters had visited her, and had told her of a most unreasonable thing that she said the Testimonies taught, and assured her she must believe it in order to be in harmony with this people, I was glad that I was able to deny that such an inconsistent thing could be found in any statement of God's revealed will. Only the day of God will fully show the harm that has come from garbling and misquoting the Testimonies. In order for anyone to absolutely avoid doing this, the proper plan to adopt is to have a book in which may be written the substance of what is likely to be used again, with the accompanying reference, classified under separate heads. Anyone who perseveringly follows this plan will find in a few years that he has accumulated, and has ready access to, the very choicest gems in the Testimonies.
To illustrate what I mean, I will turn at random to several pages of a book (Index Rerun) in which I thus began eight years ago to classify statements from the Spirit of Prophecy. Under subject of "Testimonies," I have written, as suggestive of the full quotations, "Should not be criticized or flippantly spoken of," Vol. 4, p. 443. Under subject of "Feeling and Emotions", "Satan can give feelings and impressions, therefore not safe guide." Signs of the Times, No. 19, 1884. Under subject of "Christ to us," "Takes our ungrammatical prayers, presents them graceful and perfect to the rather." Review and Herald No. 9, 1893, Under the subject of "Surrendering and Trusting," "If we could see the end from the beginning, would of ourselves choose to be led through the experience we pass through now." Desire of Ages, p. 225. Under subject of "Promises," "Not to be rashly claimed by those who violate laws of nature and disregard prudence; this is presumption," Vol. 4, p. 45.
Under each of these heads, and hundreds of others similar, there naturally accumulates, in the course of a few years, scores of grand and beautiful thoughts; and while perhaps the idea of the entire paragraph is condensed into the brief space of a line on a book, yet the accompanying reference enables one instantly to turn to the original source and refresh his mind with the full thought as well as the context. "Testimonies for the Church," Vol. 4, pg. 440, points out the case of one of whom it was said that he possessed so little spirituality he could not understand the value of the Testimonies nor their real object. May heaven save us as workers from falling into such a condition. The men and women in our ranks today who are keeping step with the message, and giving the trumpet a certain sound, are those whose volumes of the Testimonies are well worn, and the margins of whose Bible are liberally sprinkled with references to the Testimonies where they have shed glorious light on the opposite text. The worker who, as soon as the wrapper is taken from the Review, earnestly and prayerfully reads the first-page article, is the one who, upon the Sabbath day in the church, in the evening effort in the tent, or to a congregation of drunkards and harlots in the mission, is preaching a living gospel from the Bible.
From Spalding Magan Unpublished Mss. Pg. 486-489