Ellen G. White Writings

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Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, Page 716

Page 292—The magicians did not really cause their rods to become serpents; but by magic, aided by the great deceiver, they were able to produce this appearance. It was beyond the power of Satan to change the rods to living serpents. The prince of evil, though possessing all the wisdom and might of an angel fallen, has not power to create or to give life; this is the prerogative of God alone. But all that was in Satan's power to do he did; he produced a counterfeit. To human sight the rods were changed to serpents. Such they were believed to be by Pharaoh and his court. There was nothing in their appearance to distinguish them from the serpent produced by Moses and Aaron. Thus the testimony speaks of it in the language of the Scriptures; while the same Spirit explains that the Scriptures speak of it as the case appeared. See Testimony No. 33, vol. 5, 696-698.

Page 355, “The Rebellion”—At the time that this testimony was written, early in 1863, Seventh-day Adventists were faced with a serious problem. The nation was at war. Although at heart noncombatants, the sympathies of the church members were, almost without exception, entirely with the government in its opposition to slavery. As the conflict progressed, more and more men were called to the army. At each call every district was under obligation to furnish a certain number of recruits, and when the voluntary enlistments fell below that number, names were drawn to make up the lack. For a time it was possible by the payment of money to buy a substitute and thus release one whose name had been drawn. As there was no provision made for assigning Seventh-day Adventists to noncombatant service, and no allowance for Sabbath observance, Sabbathkeepers, when drafted, usually in this way purchased their exemption. If the individual was unable to raise the money himself, he was helped by a fund raised for that purpose.

Now, as more men were needed, and a national conscription law without such exemption privileges was impending, our brethren were in perplexity regarding their response to such a draft, where they might be compelled to take up arms or to work on the Sabbath.

A few months prior to the appearance of this testimony, Elder White had published an editorial in the Review and Herald entitled “The Nation,” to which reference is made on page 356. He believed the government to be the best on earth and fighting for a righteous cause. His best counsel at that time was that in the event of drafting “it would be madness to resist,” and added:

“He who would resist until, in the administration of military law, he was shot down, goes too far, we think, in taking the responsibility of suicide.”—The Review and Herald, August 12, 1862.

The nature of some of the correspondence that followed this article, as pointed out by Mrs. White, had been such as to lead Elder White to protest against a virtual charge of “Sabbathbreaking and

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