In 1958, the publication of Selected Messages, Books 1 and 2, made available in permanent form counsels that had become particularly significant since the last volume of Testimonies for the Church had appeared in 1909. Representing a variety of topics, many of them had been published in the church's periodicals, pamphlets, and similar publications. Some, drawn from Mrs. White's letters and manuscripts, had never before been published. The two Selected Messages volumes came to be major source books, supplementing the Testimonies for the Church and the various books of specialized counsel.
Selected Messages, Book 3, adds to these helpful resources. Here the reader will find materials that, in many cases, contribute insights and perspectives beyond those found in Mrs. White's previous publications. In some cases, such as the workings of inspiration and the manner in which Mrs. White's books were prepared, increased interest in these topics has led to the inclusion of a section of pertinent statements, some published for the first time.
Other important themes treated in this volume include the church, the incarnation of Jesus, education, standards of Christian behavior, health reform, meeting fanaticism, and last-day events. One section documents Mrs. White's presentation of the principles of salvation before and after the 1888 General Conference session in Minneapolis with its emphasis on righteousness by faith, and includes her comments about the events of that historic and pivotal session. Another section is devoted to brief collections of statements on a variety of specific matters, such as lawsuits, the International Date Line, renting Adventist churches to other groups, gardening, and music. The book closes with three significant appendices, giving W. C. White's knowledgeable comments on the 1911 revision of The Great Controversy, on a proper understanding of Mrs. White's writings that involve history and chronology, and on how Mrs. White's books were prepared, including her use of literary helpers.
Making compilations from her writings was one of the specific tasks that Mrs. White in her will gave to the Trustees of her estate. Beyond material she had already published, she intended that her manuscripts and letters of counsel would provide a widening range of service to the church. She wrote in 1905:
“I am endeavoring by the help of God to write letters that will be a help, not merely to those to whom they are addressed, but to many others who need them.”—Letter 79, 1905.
The manuscript for this volume was compiled under the authorization and by the direction of the Board of Trustees of the Ellen G. White Estate, in the offices of the White Estate, by the regularly employed staff. Every effort has been made to include adequate context with the selections, within the limitations of space.
In some cases the selected material mentions the name of the person concerned. In a few instances where no confidence would be betrayed, the name has been retained in the text. In most cases, however, a letter of the alphabet, beginning with A and running consecutively through the book, has been substituted for the name. The letter chosen bears no relationship to the name it represents.
That this volume, presenting important information and counsels in many lines, may be a source of blessing and encouragement to the church is the sincere wish of the
Board of Trustees of the
Ellen G. White Estate