How shall we approach Bible Questions and Answering Critiques?

 

But God will have a people upon the earth to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms. The opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous and discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority – not one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain “Thus saith the Lord” in its support. GC 595.1

 

May God help you all and help me. I want help and strength and power. But do not quote Sister White till you stand on vantage ground, where you know what you are doing. Take the word of God. It is full of meat and drink. Study the Bible, and you will know more of God than you do now. You will have something fresh to impart to others. You will not go over the same ground again and again. You will realize that there is a world to save. I ask you to put on the whole armor, and be sure that your feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. – Manuscript 43, 1901, 12 – 19. (Talk in Battle Creek College Library, April 1, 1901.)

 

How can the Lord bless those who manifest a spirit of “I don’t care,” a spirit which leads them to walk contrary to the light which the Lord has given them? But I do not ask you to take my words. Lay Sister White to one side. Do not quote my words again as long as you live until you can obey the Bible. Ellen White was meeting the leaders of the church as a group for the first time in ten years. Situations in both the General Conference and in our Battle Creek – based institutions had in many cases reached a low ebb. Testimonies calling for a return to Bible principles had been received, theoretically, but no real improvement had taken place. 3SM 33

 

In public labor do not make prominent, and quote that which Sister White has written, as authority to sustain your positions. To do this will not increase faith in the testimonies. Bring your evidences, clear and plain, from the Word of God. A “Thus saith the Lord” is the strongest testimony you can possibly present to the people. Let none be educated to look to Sister White, but to the mighty God, who gives instruction to Sister White. – Letter 11, 1894. [3SM 29.3]

 

But here is the Word, the precious Word, exalted before you today. And don’t you give a rap any more what “Sister White said” – “Sister White said this,” and “Sister White said that,” and “Sister White said the other thing.” But say, “Thus saith the Lord God of Israel,” and then you do just what the Lord God of Israel does, and what he says. [SpM 167.2]

 

But don’t you quote Sister White. I don’t want you ever to quote Sister White until you get your vantage ground where you know where you are. Quote the Bible. Talk the Bible. It is full of meat, full of fatness. Carry it right out in your life, and you will know more Bible than you know now. You will have fresh matter – O, you will have precious matter; you won’t be going over and over the same ground, and you will see a world saved. You will see souls for whom Christ has died. And I ask you to put on the armor, every piece of it, and be sure that your feet are shod with the preparation of the Gospel. [SpM 174]

 

Now here is the way the matter is represented; but when there is “I do not care,” and going right contrary to the light that God has given in His Word – I do not ask you to take my word; I do not ask you to do it; lay Sister White right to one side; you lay her right to one side. Do you not – never quote my words again as long as you live, until you can obey the Bible. When you take the Bible and make that, make that your food, your meat, and your drink, and make that the elements of your character – when you can do that, then you will know better how to receive some counsel from God. But here the Word, the precious Word, I exalt it before you today; and do not go and repeat any more what Sister White said – “Sister White said this,” and “Sister White said that,” and “Sister White said the other thing;” you say, “What saith the Lord God of Israel?” and then you do just what the Lord God of Israel does and what He says. Christ says: “I do the works of my Father; the works that I see him do, I do.” John 5:19. (Ms43d-1901.22)

 

A brother asked, “Sister White, do you think we must understand the truth for ourselves? Why can we not take the truths that others have gathered together, and believe them because they have investigated the subjects, and then we shall be free to go on without the taxing of the powers of the mind in the investigation of all these subjects? Do you not think that these men who have brought out the truth in the past were inspired of God?” – {CW 33.3}

 

I dare not say they were not led of God, for Christ leads into all truth; but when it comes to inspiration in the fullest sense of the word, I answer, No. I believe that God has given them a work to do, but if they are not fully consecrated to God at all times, they will weave self and their peculiar traits of character into what they are doing, and will put their mold upon the work, and fashion men in religious experience after their own pattern. It is dangerous for us to make flesh our arm. We should lean upon the arm of Infinite Power. God has been revealing this to us for years. We must have living faith in our hearts and reach out for larger knowledge and more advanced light.—The Review and Herald, March 25, 1890. – {CW 34.1}

 

A spirit of pharisaism has been coming in upon the people who claim to believe the truth for these last days. They are self-satisfied. They have said, “We have the truth. There is no more light for the people of God.” But we are not safe when we take a position that we will not accept anything else than that upon which we have settled as truth. We should take the Bible, and investigate it closely for ourselves. We should dig in the mine of God’s word for truth. “Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.” Some have asked me if I thought there was any more light for the people of God. Our minds have become so narrow that we do not seem to understand that the Lord has a mighty work to do for us. Increasing light is to shine upon us; for “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”–Review and Herald, June 18, 1889. {CW 34.2}

 

New light will ever be revealed on the word of God to him who is in living connection with the Sun of Righteousness. Let no one come to the conclusion that there is no more truth to be revealed. The diligent, prayerful seeker for truth will find precious rays of light yet to shine forth from the word of God. Many gems are yet scattered that are to be gathered together to become the property of the remnant people of God.–Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 34. (1892.) {CW 35.1}

 

There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation. {CW 35.2}

 

How shall we search the Scriptures in order to understand what they teach? We should come to the investigation of God’s word with a contrite heart, a teachable and prayerful spirit. We are not to think, as did the Jews, that our own ideas and opinions are infallible; nor with the papists, that certain individuals are the sole guardians of truth and knowledge, that men have no right to search the Scriptures for themselves, but must accept the explanations given by the fathers of the church. We should not study the Bible for the purpose of sustaining our preconceived opinions, but with the single object of learning what God has said. {TM 105.1}

 

Some have feared that if in even a single point they acknowledge themselves in error, other minds would be led to doubt the whole theory of truth. Therefore they have felt that investigation should not be permitted, that it would tend to dissension and disunion. But if such is to be the result of investigation, the sooner it comes the better. If there are those whose faith in God’s word will not stand the test of an investigation of the Scriptures, the sooner they are revealed the better; for then the way will be opened to show them their error. We cannot hold that a position once taken, an idea once advocated, is not, under any circumstances, to be relinquished. There is but One who is infallible–He who is the way, the truth, and the life. {TM 105.2}

 

Those who allow prejudice to bar the mind against the reception of truth cannot receive the divine enlightenment. Yet, when a view of Scripture is presented, many do not ask, Is it true–in harmony with God’s word? but, By whom is it advocated? and unless it comes through the very channel that pleases them, they do not accept it. So thoroughly satisfied are they with their own ideas that they will not examine the Scripture evidence with a desire to learn, but refuse to be interested, merely because of their prejudices. {TM 105.3}

 

In 1844, when anything came to our attention that we did not understand, we kneeled down and asked God to help us take the right position; and then we were able to come to a right understanding and see eye to eye. There was no dissension, no enmity, no evil-surmising, no misjudging of our brethren. If we but knew the evil of the spirit of intolerance, how carefully would we shun it!–Gospel Workers, pp. 301, 302. (1915.) {CW 43.2}

 

But when unpopular Bible truths are presented, many refuse to make this investigation. Though unable to controvert the plain teachings of Scripture, they yet manifest the utmost reluctance to study the evidences offered. Some assume that even if these doctrines are indeed true, it matters little whether or not they accept the new light, and they cling to pleasing fables which the enemy uses to lead souls astray. Thus their minds are blinded by error, and they become separated from heaven. {AA 232.1}

 

Let not those who have neglected to receive light and truth take advantage of the mistake of their brethren, and put forth their finger, and speak words of vanity, because the chosen of God have been too ardent in their ideas, and have carried certain matters in too strong a manner. We have need of these ardent elements; for our work is not a passive work; our work is aggressive. {1888 1244.1}

 

I have no smooth message to bear to those who have been so long as false guideposts, pointing the wrong way. If you reject Christ’s delegated messengers, you reject Christ. Neglect this great salvation, kept before you for years, despise this glorious offer of justification through the blood of Christ and sanctification through the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit, and there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation. I entreat you now to humble yourselves and cease your stubborn resistance of light and evidence. Say unto the Lord, Mine iniquities have separated between me and my God. O Lord, pardon my transgressions. Blot out my sins from the book of Thy remembrance. Praise His holy name, there is forgiveness with Him, and you can be converted, transformed. {TM 97.1}

 

One man may be conversant with the Scriptures, and some particular portion of the Scripture may be especially appreciated by him; another sees another portion as very important, and thus one may present one point, and another, another point, and both may be of highest value. This is all in the order of God. But if a man makes a mistake in his interpretation of some portion of the Scripture, shall this cause diversity and disunion? God forbid. We cannot then take a position that the unity of the church consists in viewing every text of Scripture in the very same light. The church may pass resolution upon resolution to put down all disagreement of opinions, but we cannot force the mind and will, and thus root out disagreement. These resolutions may conceal the discord, but they cannot quench it and establish perfect agreement. Nothing can perfect unity in the church but the spirit of Christlike forbearance. Satan can sow discord; Christ alone can harmonize the disagreeing elements. Then let every soul sit down in Christ’s school and learn of Christ, who declares Himself to be meek and lowly of heart. Christ says that if we learn of Him, worries will cease and we shall find rest to our souls. {11MR 266.1}

 

If you differ with your brethren as to your understanding of the grace of Christ and the operations of His Spirit, you should not make these differences prominent. You view the matter from one point; another, just as devoted to God, views the same question from another point, and speaks of the things that make the deepest impression on his mind; another viewing it from a still different point, presents another phase; and how foolish it is to get into contention over these things, when there is really nothing to contend about. Let God work on the mind and impress the heart. {1SM 183.1}

 

Some workers in the cause of God have been too ready to hurl denunciations against the sinner; the grace and love of the Father in giving His Son to die for the sinful race have been put in the background. The teacher needs the grace of Christ upon his own soul, in order to make known to the sinner what God really is–a Father waiting with yearning love to receive the returning prodigal, not hurling at him accusations in wrath, but preparing a festival of joy to welcome his return (Zephaniah 3:14-17). {1SM 184.1}

 

When God is seen as He is, the blessed truth shines with a new and clearer light. That which kept the mind in perplexity is cleared away by the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. And yet there are many things we shall not comprehend; but we have the blessed assurance that what we know not now, we shall know hereafter.– Letter 15a, 1890. {1SM 184.4}

 

We are one in faith in the fundamental truths of God’s word. And one object must be kept in view constantly; that is, harmony and co-operation must be maintained without compromising one principle of truth. And while constantly digging for the truth as for hidden treasure, be careful how you open new and conflicting opinions. We have a world-wide message. The commandments of God and the testimonies of Jesus Christ are the burden of our work. To have unity and love for one another is the great [work] now to be carried on. There is danger of our ministers’ dwelling too much on doctrines, preaching altogether too many discourses on argumentative subjects when their own soul needs practical godliness. {CW 79.2}

 

Sometimes one or two of the brethren would stubbornly set themselves against the view presented, and would act out the natural feelings of the heart; but when this disposition appeared, we suspended our investigations and adjourned our meeting, that each one might have an opportunity to go to God in prayer and, without conversation with others, study the point of difference, asking light from heaven. With expressions of friendliness we parted, to meet again as soon as possible for further investigation. At times the power of God came upon us in a marked manner, and when clear light revealed the points of truth, we would weep and rejoice together. We loved Jesus; we loved one another. {TM 25.3}

 

In Wesley’s time, as in all ages of the church’s history, men of different gifts performed their appointed work. They did not harmonize upon every point of doctrine, but all were moved by the Spirit of God, and united in the absorbing aim to win souls to Christ. The differences between Whitefield and the Wesleys threatened at one time to create alienation; but as they learned meekness in the school of Christ, mutual forbearance and charity reconciled them. They had no time to dispute, while error and iniquity were teeming everywhere, and sinners were going down to ruin. {GC 257.3}

 

We shall be attacked on every point; we shall be tried to the utmost. We do not want to hold our faith simply because it was handed down to us by our fathers, Such a faith will not stand the terrible test that is before us. We want to know why we are Seventh-day Adventists –what real reason we have for coming out from the world as a separate and distinct people. . . . {OHC 332.3}

 

When men are willing to become intelligent in regard to the cause of God because they have invested faith and means in it, God will help them to understand, and they will be steadfast in the faith; but when they have merely a theory, a shallow faith they cannot explain, a sudden temptation will cause them to drift away with the current bearing toward the world. . . . {OHC 332.4}

 

Our minds must be prepared to stand every test, and to resist every temptation, whether from without or from within. We must know why we believe as we do, why we are on the Lord’s side. The truth must keep watch in our hearts, ready to sound an alarm, and summon us to action against every foe. The powers of darkness will open their batteries upon us; and all who are indifferent and careless, who have set their affections on their earthly treasure, and who have not cared to understand God’s dealings with His people, will be ready victims. No power but a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, will ever make us steadfast; but with this, one may chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight. {OHC 332.5}

 

We hold no doctrine that we wish to hide. To those who have been educated to keep the first day of the week as a sacred day, the most objectionable feature of our faith is the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. But does not God’s word declare that the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord our God? True, it is not an easy matter to make the required change from the first to the seventh day. It involves a cross. It clashes with the precepts and practices of men. Learned men have taught the people tradition till they are full of unbelief and prejudice. Yet we must say to these people: “Come and see.” God requires us to proclaim the truth and let it discover error. {6T 38.2}

 

There are many who have a merely nominal faith, but this faith will not save you. Many believe in Christ because somebody else does, because the minister has told them this or that; but if you rest your faith only on the minister’s word, you will be lost. You must not do as did the foolish virgins, who, when the cry came, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh,” found no oil in their vessels. When they discovered their lack, they sought those who were wise, and applied to them for oil for their dying lights; but it was too late to supply them. The wise had only enough for their own use, and they told the foolish virgins they must go and buy oil for themselves. We all must buy oil for ourselves. We must not be content with a mere profession. We are to take a stand for the truth by profession, and the principles of truth must become a part of our life. {RH, October 1, 1889 par. 4}

 

The fact that there is no controversy or agitation among God’s people, should not be regarded as conclusive evidence that they are holding fast to sound doctrine. There is reason to fear that they may not be clearly discriminating between truth and error. When no new questions are started by investigation of the Scriptures, when no difference of opinion arises which will set men to searching the Bible for themselves, to make sure that they have the truth, there will be many now, as in ancient times, who will hold to tradition, and worship they know not what. {CW 39.1}

 

I have been shown that many who profess to have a knowledge of present truth, know not what they believe. They do not understand the evidences of their faith. They have no just appreciation of the work for the present time. When the time of trial shall come, there are men now preaching to others, who will find, upon examining the positions they hold, that there are many things for which they can give no satisfactory reason. Until thus tested, they knew not their great ignorance. {CW 39.2}

 

And there are many in the church who take it for granted that they understand what they believe, but, until controversy arises, they do not know their own weakness. When separated from those of like faith, and compelled to stand singly and alone to explain their belief, they will be surprised to see how confused are their ideas of what they had accepted as truth. Certain it is that there has been among us a departure from the living God, and a turning to men, putting human wisdom in place of divine. {CW 39.3}

 

I saw that the people of God must put on the armor and arouse. Christ is coming, and the great work of the last message of mercy is of too much importance for us to leave it, and come down to answer such falsehoods, and misrepresentations, and slander, as the Messenger party has fed upon, and has scattered abroad. Truth, present truth, we must dwell upon it. We are doing a great work, and cannot come down. Satan is in all this, to divert our minds from the present truth, and the coming of Christ. Said the angel, “Jesus knows it all. In a little from this their day is coming. All will be judged according to the deeds done in the body. The lying tongue will be stopped. The sinners in Zion will be afraid, and fearfulness will surprise the hypocrites.” {4bSG 10.1}

 

We shall receive the most fierce opposition from the Adventists who oppose the law of God. But, like the builders of the walls of Jerusalem, we should not be diverted and hindered from our work by reports, by messengers desiring discussion or controversy, or by intimidating threats, the publication of falsehoods, or any of the devices that Satan may instigate. Our answer should be: We are engaged in a great work, and we cannot come down. We shall sometimes be perplexed to know what course we should pursue to preserve the honor of the cause of God and to vindicate His truth. {3T 574.2}

 

The first-day Adventists as a class are the most difficult to reach. They generally reject the truth, as did the Jews. We should, as far as possible, go forward as though there were not such a people in existence. They are the elements of confusion, and immoralities exist among them to a fearful extent. It would be the greatest calamity to have many of their number embrace the truth. They would have to unlearn everything and learn anew, or they would cause us great trouble. There are occasions where their glaring misrepresentations will have to be met. When this is the case, it should be done promptly and briefly, and we should then pass on to our work. The plan of Christ’s teaching should be ours. He was plain and simple, striking directly at the root of the matter, and the minds of all were met. {3T 37.2}

 

If men who are engaged in presenting and defending the truth of the Bible undertake to investigate and show the fallacy and inconsistency of men who dishonestly turn the truth of God into a lie, Satan will stir up opponents enough to keep their pens constantly employed, while other branches of the work will be left to suffer. {3T 38.1}

 

We must have more of the spirit of those men who were engaged in building the walls of Jerusalem. We are doing a great work, and we cannot come down. If Satan sees that he can keep men answering the objections of opponents, and thus keep their voices silent, and hinder them from doing the most important work for the present time, his object is accomplished. {3T 38.2}

 

When the religion of Christ is most held in contempt, when His law is most despised, then should our zeal be the warmest and our courage and firmness the most unflinching. To stand in defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few–this will be our test. At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason.–5T 136 (1882). {LDE 180.4}

 

There are many at the present day thus clinging to the customs and traditions of their fathers. When the Lord sends them additional light, they refuse to accept it, because, not having been granted to their fathers, it was not received by them. We are not placed where our fathers were; consequently our duties and responsibilities are not the same as theirs. We shall not be approved of God in looking to the example of our fathers to determine our duty instead of searching the word of truth for ourselves. Our responsibility is greater than was that of our ancestors. We are accountable for the light which they received, and which was handed down as an inheritance for us, and we are accountable also for the additional light which is now shining upon us from the word of God. {GC 164.1}

 

God has been pleased to give you line upon line and precept upon precept. But there are not many of you that really know what is contained in the Testimonies. You are not familiar with the Scriptures. If you had made God’s word your study, with a desire to reach the Bible standard and attain to Christian perfection, you would not have needed the Testimonies. It is because you have neglected to acquaint yourselves with God’s inspired Book that He has sought to reach you by simple, direct testimonies, calling your attention to the words of inspiration which you had neglected to obey, and urging you to fashion your lives in accordance with its pure and elevated teachings.  {5T 664.3}

 

I can see plainly that should every one who thinks he is qualified to write books, follow his imagination and have his productions published, insisting that they be recommended by our publishing houses, there would be plenty of tares sown broadcast in our world. Many from among our own people are writing to me, asking with earnest determination the privilege of using my writings to give force to certain subjects which they wish to present to the people in such a way as to leave a deep impression upon them.  {1SM 58.1}

 

It is true that there is a reason why some of these matters should be presented: but I would not venture to give my approval in using the testimonies in this way, or to sanction the placing of matter which is good in itself in the way which they propose.  {1SM 58.2}

 

The persons who make these propositions, for aught I know, may be able to conduct the enterprise of which they write in a wise manner; but nevertheless I dare not give the least license for using my writings in the manner which they propose. In taking account of such an enterprise, there are many things that must come into consideration; for in using the testimonies to bolster up some subject which may impress the mind of the author, the extracts may give a different impression than that which they would were they read in their original connection.– The Writing and Sending Out of the Testimonies to the Church, pp. 25, 26.  {1SM 58.3}

 

Private compilations.–There are some who, upon accepting erroneous theories, strive to establish them by collecting from my writings statements of truth, which they use separated from their proper connection, and perverted by association with error. Thus seeds of heresy, springing up and growing rapidly into strong plants, are surrounded by many precious plants of truth; and in this way a mighty effort is made to vindicate the genuineness of the spurious plants.–Letter 136, 1906, pp. 3, 4. (To Brethren Butler, Daniells, and Irwin, April 27, 1906.)  {5MR 154.1}

 

And now to all who have a desire for truth I would say: Do not give credence to unauthenticated reports as to what Sister White has done or said or written. If you desire to know what the Lord has revealed through her, read her published works. Are there any points of interest concerning which she has not written, do not eagerly catch up and report rumors as to what she has said.   {5T 696.1}

 

“I saw that the reason why visions had not been more frequent of late is, they have not been appreciated by the church. The church have nearly lost their spirituality and faith, and the reproofs and warnings have had but little effect upon them. Many of those who have professed faith in them have not heeded them.” [VOL. 1, P. 119 (1855).]  {5T 674.1}

 

Dear Brethren and Sisters:–For some months past my spirit has been much depressed. God has seen fit to use me, a feeble instrument, for a few years past by giving me visions. This place I have not desired. I have ever known that it would cause me many hours of anguish of spirit. Messages have been given me, and it has been enjoined upon me to be faithful in declaring them. My feelings have been sensitive, and while with the fear of God before me, I have been obliged to faithfully relate what God has shown me, my sufferings of mind have been intense.  {RH, January 10, 1856 par. 1}

 

And then when I have seen how little the visions have been heeded, and what little effect they have had upon others, I have been discouraged. The visions have been of late less and less frequent, and my testimony for God’s children had been gone. I have thought that my work in God’s cause was done, and that I had no further duty to do, but to save my own soul, and carefully attend to my little family; have a good influence over my children, pray with them, and for them, that they may be saved.  {RH, January 10, 1856 par. 2}

 

That which was truth in the beginning is truth now. Although new and important truths appropriate for succeeding generations have been opened to the understanding, the present revealings do not contradict those of the past. Every new truth understood only makes more significant the old.  {RH, March 2, 1886 par. 6}

 

Early Writing Preface admits changes

“  “FOOTNOTES GIVING DATES AND EXPLANATIONS, AND AN APPENDIX GIVING TWO VERY INTERESTING DREAMS, WHICH WERE MENTIONED BUT NOT RELATED IN THE ORIGINAL WORK, WILL ADD TO THE VALUE OF THIS EDITION. ASIDE FROM THESE, NO CHANGES FROM THE ORIGINAL WORK HAVE BEEN MADE IN THE PRESENT EDITION, EXCEPT THE OCCASIONAL EMPLOYMENT OF A NEW WORD, OR A CHANGE IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF A SENTENCE, TO BETTER EXPRESS THE IDEA, AND NO PORTION OF THE WORK HAS BEEN OMITTED. NO SHADOW OF CHANGE HAS BEEN MADE IN ANY IDEA OR SENTIMENT OF THE ORIGINAL WORK, AND THE VERBAL CHANGES HAVE BEEN MADE UNDER THE AUTHOR’S OWN EYE, AND WITH HER FULL APPROVAL.”

 

THE TWO COMPANION BOOKS WERE ALSO REISSUED AS A SINGLE VOLUME IN 1882 UNDER THE TITLE EARLY WRITINGS. IN 1906 THE TYPE WAS RESET TO MAKE THE THIRD AMERICAN EDITION, WHICH HAS HAD WIDE DISTRIBUTION, MEETING THE EVER-INCREASING DEMAND. THE PAGING OF THIS EDITION BECAME THE STANDARD FOR ALL REFERENCE WORK AND THE SUBSEQUENTLY PUBLISHED INDEXES TO THE WRITINGS OF MRS. WHITE.

 

THE FOURTH EDITION OF EARLY WRITINGS WAS PUBLISHED IN 1945. FORTY YEARS OF PRINTING AND REPRINTING MADE NECESSARY NEW PRINTING PLATES. AS THE TYPE WAS RESET THE CONTENT WAS HELD PAGE FOR PAGE WITH THE EDITION IT SUCCEEDED. MODERN SPELLING AND CURRENT FORMS OF PUNCTUATION WERE EMPLOYED AND A NEW PREFACE REVIEWED BRIEFLY THE HISTORY OF THE BOOK.”

 

THERE ARE A FEW EXCEPTIONS WHERE THERE WERE LARGE SEGMENTS OF AN ARTICLE THAT WERE NOT CLOSELY RELATED TO THE DOCTRINAL PRESENTATION, AND IN THESE CASES DELETIONS HAVE BEEN MADE AND INDICATED IN THE USUAL WAY. THE CAREFUL STUDENT OF THE WORD OF GOD WILL REJOICE TO SEE THESE CHOICE DOCTRINAL STATEMENTS–ALL OF WHICH CENTER IN CHRIST OUR LORD–APPEAR IN THIS PERMANENT FORM.–WHITE TRUSTEES.  {1SM 210.3}

 

Testimonies Garbled by Eli Curtis

 

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.  {1SM 60.4}

 

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.  {1SM 61.1}

 

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 have been given for the benefit of the church, he had a right to use them as he pleased.  {1SM 61.2}

 

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.  {1SM 61.3}

 

My attention has recently been called to a sixteen-page pamphlet published by C, 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.  {1SM 59.2}

 

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.  {1SM 59.3}

 

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, [REFERENCE IS HERE MADE TO THE 24-PAGE PAMPHLET “A WORD TO THE LITTLE FLOCK,” PUBLISHED BY JAMES WHITE IN 1847, CONTAINING THREE ELLEN G. WHITE COMMUNICATIONS. –COMPILERS.] 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.  {1SM 59.4}

 

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.  {1SM 60.1}

 

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.  {1SM 60.2}

 

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.  {1SM 60.3}

 

“Regarding the testimonies, nothing is ignored; nothing is cast aside; but time and place must be considered. Nothing must be done untimely. Some matters must be withheld because some persons would make an improper use of the light given. Every jot and tittle is essential and must appear at an opportune time. In the past, the testimonies were carefully prepared before they were sent out for publication. And all matter is still carefully studied after the first writing.  {PH116 25a.1}

 

They come to me, those that are copying my writings, and say, “Now here is the better revised words, and I think I will put that in.” Don’t you change one word, not a word. The revised edition we do not need at all. We have got the word that Christ has spoken Himself and given us. And don’t you in my writings change a word for any revised edition. There will be revised editions, plenty of them, just before the close of this earth’s history, and I want all my workers to understand, and I have got quite a number of them. I want them to understand that they are never to take the revised word, and put it in the place of the plain, simple words just as they are. They think they are improving them, but how do they know but that they may switch off on an idea, and give it less importance than Christ means them to have. {Ms188-1907}

 

Oh my soul, how it has hurt me to have the blocks thrown in the way in regard to myself. They will tell you that Sister White did this, or Sister White did that,–for instance, “Sister White ate cheese, and so we are all at liberty to eat cheese.” Who told them that I ate cheese? I never have cheese on my table. There was one time when I was at Minneapolis, one or two times I tasted it, but that is a different thing from making it a diet, entirely a different thing. I have tasted of very bitter herbs on special occasions, but I would not make a diet of them. But there was a special occasion in Minneapolis where I could get nothing else, and there were some small bits of cheese on the table, and my brethren were there, and one of them had told me that if I would eat a little of that it would change my condition, and I did. I took a bit of that cheese, and I do not think I touched it again the second time.  {SpM 169.1}

 

Another says, “Sister White drinks tea, and we can drink tea.” Who of my brethren has made that statement? Who has ever heard it of me? I never have tea in my home or set it before anyone. Now I have not eaten any meat for years and years.  {SpM 169.2}

 

Now for instance some one may tell you that Sister White don’t eat meat. “Now I want you not to eat it, because Sister White doesn’t eat it.” Well, I wouldn’t care a farthing for anything like that. If you haven’t got a better conviction, that you won’t eat meat just because Sister White don’t eat it, I would not give one farthing for your health reform. But I want that every one of you shall stand on your individual dignity, in your individual consecration to God, that the soul temple shall be dedicated to God. Whosoever defileth the temple of God, him will God destroy. Now I want you to see these things, and not to make any human being your criterion.  {SpM 169.3}

 

 

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