Ellen G. White Writings

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Lt 6a, 1894

Lt 6a, 1894

Brethren and Sisters

George’s Terrace, St. Kilda Road, Melbourne, Australia

March 16, 1894

This letter is published in entirety in PC 127-130.

Dear Brethren and Sisters:

As the report has been quite widely circulated that Sister White has endorsed what has been written and circulated as revelations from God to Miss Anna Phillips, I feel that it is my duty to speak. I have not endorsed these productions. Warnings have been given to me in reference to them, that they will most certainly mislead. Woven in them will be statements that will lead to extremes and to wrong actions on the part of those who accept them. It would be well for our brethren and sisters to move more cautiously, in accordance with the light given them. They should test these so-called visions before accepting them and presenting them in connection with the light God has given me. I see that our people are in danger of making grave blunders and premature movements. God says of these prophets that are springing up, “I have not sent them, and yet they ran. Believe them not.” [See Jeremiah 23:21.]

But that which grieves me is that some of our brethren have associated the exercises of Anna Phillips with the testimonies of Sister White, and have presented the two to the people as one and the same thing. Many have accepted the whole as proceeding from me. And when the result of such productions shall be seen in their true character, when falsehoods are presented as truths from God, and individuals act upon these things, believing them to be a message from the Lord, movements will be made that bear not the divine credentials, doubt will be cast upon the true work of the Spirit of prophecy, and the testimonies that God sends to the people will bear the stigma of these false utterances. These revelations are largely a repetition of that which has been before the people in publication for years; and yet mingled with this are some things that will lead astray.

I cannot endorse the course Brother Jones has pursued. He has not written one word to me, to see if God has given any light in this matter; yet he has presented them in public, making manifest his confidence in them. The fact that Brother Jones has been presenting precious light to the people leads them to regard all he says as if inspired of God; hence they feel that those revelations must be from God, else Brother Jones would not present them as he has done. I cannot see wisdom in this course. More clearly than do my brethren, I discern the inwardness of this thing, and the results that will follow. I have already made decided statements in reference to this matter, and I am sorry it has been brought up as it has, to do a work which will cast reflections upon the testimonies God has given. Where these so-called revelations are accepted, they will surely lead many into erroneous, precipitate action. I am burdened over these things.

Recently a letter was published in the Melbourne Age, from a New York correspondent, giving an account of the wonderful meeting held in Battle Creek on the occasion when so much jewelry was donated. And the work was said to have been done after the reading of a vision given by Mrs. White, a prophetess, urging the people to sell and give away their property. How can you think I feel, to be at work here in this new field, and just as the interest is ripening off, souls deciding for the truth, have some of the productions of Anna Phillips brought in, to be received and to go out as my testimony?

Will my brethren please make no reference to the testimonies of Sister White in connection with Anna Phillips? In the name of the Lord I protest against this mixing-up work, for it will result in making the testimonies God has given me responsible for the influence and effect of Anna Phillips’ words. I beg my brethren just to come to the people with the evidence from the Bible, and not strengthen the opposition which is so strong against us and is intensified by the falsehoods of Grant and Canright.

From time to time reports come to me concerning statements that Sister White is said to have made, but which are entirely new to me, and which cannot fail to mislead the people as to my real views and teaching. A sister, in a letter to her friends, speaks with much enthusiasm of a statement by Brother Jones that Sister White has seen that the time has come when, if we hold the right relation to God, all can have the gift of prophecy to the same extent as do those who are now having visions. Where is the authority for this statement? I must believe that the sister failed to understand Brother Jones, for I cannot think that he made the statement. The writer continues: “Brother Jones said last night that is the case, not that God will speak to all for the benefit of every one else, but to each for his own benefit, and this will fulfill the prophecy of Joel.”

“He stated that this is already being developed in numerous instances. He spoke as if he thought none would hold such a leading position as Sister White had done, and will still do. Referred to Moses as a parallel. He was a leader, but many others are referred to as prophesying, though their prophecies are not published. He (Brother Jones) will not give permission to have the matter copied for general circulation that has been read here from some sister. I wonder if you have seen one of these visions? They represent us as in the closing moments of time with the hours all in the past. And it is moments now. How solemn!”

These statements, interwoven with other matter that professes to be from God, are misleading: many minds will eagerly seize upon them and, through false impressions, will misapprehend our true position and work. With much that is truth, there is mingled error that is accepted in its extreme meaning, and acted upon by persons of excitable temperament. Thus fanaticism will take the place of well-regulated, well-disciplined, heaven-ordained efforts to carry forward the work to its completion.

These ideas in relation to prophesying, I do not hesitate to say, might better never have been expressed. Such statements prepare the way for a state of things that Satan will surely take advantage of to bring in spurious exercises. There is danger, not only that unbalanced minds will be led into fanaticism, but that designing persons will take advantage of this excitement to further their own selfish purposes. Jesus has raised His voice in warning: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.” [Matthew 7:15, 16.] “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you; they make you vain; they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord.” [Jeremiah 23:16.] “If any man shall say to you, Lo here is Christ, or lo, he is there, believe him not; for false christs and false prophets shall arise, and shall show signs and wonders to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed; behold, I have foretold you all things.” [Mark 13:21-23.]

I have a warning to give to our brethren, that they shall follow their Leader and not run ahead of Christ. Let there be no haphazard work in these times. Beware of making strong expressions which will lead unbalanced minds to think that they have wonderful light from God. The one who bears a message to the people from God must exercise perfect control. He should ever bear in mind that the path of presumption lies close beside the path of faith. In no case should he make use of extravagant expressions, for a certain class are sure to be affected, and influences are set in motion that can no more be controlled than can an impetuous horse. Once let impulse and emotion get the mastery over calm judgment, and there may be altogether too much speed, even in traveling a right road. He who travels too fast will find it perilous in more ways than one. It may not be long before he will branch off from the right road into a wrong path.

Not once should feeling be allowed to get the mastery over judgment. There is danger of excess in that which is lawful, and that which is not lawful will surely lead into false paths. If there is not careful, earnest, sensible work, solid as a rock in the advancement of every idea and principle, and in every representation given, souls will be ruined.

Truth is mighty, and it will prevail. It will do its own work upon human hearts. We need not resort to the use of strong expressions that lead to overaction. The truth stated calmly, clearly, will enter into the mind of the receiver and become a part of his very nature. The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, remolds the character, making a new man in Christ Jesus. The thoughts, the ideas, the principles, are sound, sensible, bearing with them a weight of influence that flows in the new and divine channel. The heart and souls are enlisted. The yea and amen of heaven must bring up the rear of every movement, else the worker will lose the reward of success. But he should weed out from every effort all extravagant expressions.

This caution will make his work far more efficient and commendable, even to those who do not believe the truth. There is danger, even in reproof, of causing minds to dwell upon topics that lead to sensuality. Even the subject of moral purity may be so treated as to produce the very results it is designed to guard against.

The greatest care should be exercised concerning those who claim to receive revelations from God. There needs to be much close watching and much praying. Those who are acting a part in the great work for these last days need to counsel together in regard to every new thing that shall be introduced, for no one man’s mind is to be left to judge of, or to place before the public, important matters which have a relation to the cause of God.

At this very time we are suffering from the reproach that was brought on the cause at the first message by unwise, ill-balanced minds who thought they were obtaining a wonderful experience which would receive the credence of all men. In our early experience we had to encounter their over-strained humility and false notions. The first labor given me was to reprove their man-made tests. The testimony which I bore against fanaticism gained for me [the] envy, jealousy, evil surmising, and criticism of those who participated in these movements. We know full well what it cost us personally because we would not receive the visions, dreams and testimonies of these fanatics. We were compelled to know something of their cruel influence upon the cause of God. The truth had to bear the reproach of the error and fanaticism which we were everywhere called to condemn and reprove. And now that fanaticism I labored faithfully to repress, bearing the testimony given me of God to counteract its baleful influence, is by Grant and Canright charged upon me.

I have been shown that whenever and wherever God works, we must watch; every man and woman must stand as a faithful sentinel, for the arch deceiver is waiting and ready to set in operation various devices for misleading souls. If possible he will mingle the counterfeit with the genuine so that, in the effort to separate the two, souls will be imperiled. Whenever and wherever God works, Satan and his angels are on the ground. (Please read Life Sketches [of James and Ellen White (1888 ed.),] pp. 92-94.)

The Lord has not commissioned Brother A. T. Jones to present Anna Phillips’ revelations to our people. The truth of the Word of God is of sufficient authority and power. It bears its own credentials. The testimonies given me of God are designed to call the attention of the people to a “Thus Saith the Lord.”

Brother Jones is in positive danger, and his brethren do not see that danger. They are placing the servant where God should be. The Lord has given Brother Jones a message to prepare a people to stand in the day of God; but when the people shall look to Elder Jones instead of to God, they will become weak instead of strong. It is no time now to be careless and ignorant of Satan’s masterly devices to draw the people into deceptions and delusions.

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