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    June 2, 1913

    On the Spirit of Prophecy

    W. C. White June 1, 8:30 A.M.


    The apostle John, in his first epistle to the church general, writes these words: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” Verses 1-4.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 1

    It was the blessed privilege of the apostles to testify of what they had seen and heard, especially the privilege of John, who lived longer and testified, perhaps, more than any other. And the same motive that was in his heart to give to his hearers the benefit of all the encouragement, all the counsel, all the joy that he was able to convey to them, this same motive should prompt us in the words we speak to one another. And it is because of opportunities we have at general meetings to strengthen the faith and confidence of one another, that such gatherings as these are a blessing to the church. We assemble here and unite in prayer, unite in study, unite in seeking special help from God, and by his Holy Spirit he impresses hearts. And it is his will and purpose that we shall cherish the spirit of this meeting, that we shall remember the blessed things heard as expounded from the Word of God, and that we shall pray to God to help our memories, and to bless our tongues and our lips as we return home, that we may carry these messages to our friends and brethren.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 2

    It is my desire this morning to speak of some things connected with a vital interest of this work about which there are questions, about which with some there is uncertainty and perplexity. It is my hope that I may this morning present to you some statements which will confirm your faith, and which, repeated by you to others, will strengthen their faith in the solidity of this movement, in the clearness and consistency of the instruction which God has given us from time to time through the Spirit of Prophecy. My opportunity to speak to you this morning has come because the one who was appointed was called away unexpectedly; therefore, I have not had time to give as much study to the logical presentation of matters as I might otherwise have given. I feel that you are all my friends, and that you will value the things I read, without criticizing much the order in which they may be presented.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 3

    I will begin to read this morning just where I left off a few days ago, by reading a statement written by myself in answer to inquiries and questions regarding the influence of Sister White's helpers over the testimonies. I read as follows:GCB June 2, 1913, par. 4

    “The supposition that those who are closely associated with Sister White have a potent influence over the character and contents of the messages that she sends to the people, is not a new thought. In the days of Jeremiah, the princes questioned Baruch the scribe as to how he received and wrote the words of Jeremiah. They evidently suspected that he had brought in some of his own ideas.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 5

    “For many years there has been brought against the testimonies to the church the charge that some one has influenced Sister White to write as she has done. Referring to early experiences, mother wrote, June 20, 1882, as follows:GCB June 2, 1913, par. 6

    “‘Many excused their disregard of the testimonies by saying, “Sister White is influenced by her husband; the testimonies are molded by his spirit and judgment.” Others were seeking to gain something from me which they could construe to justify their course, or to give them influence.’GCB June 2, 1913, par. 7

    “In the early days of our denominational work, this experience was often repeated. Elder James White, in his preaching, brought out new expositions of Scripture, and new thoughts regarding the best way to advance the cause of present truth; and shortly afterward, Sister White, in her testimonies to the church, advocated the same doctrine and policies. Then the critics cried out, ‘Is it not evident that she is following the lead of her husband's mind?’GCB June 2, 1913, par. 8

    “But the true explanation of this was not difficult to find by those who sought it. The facts were these: The Lord had given to Sister White clear light regarding doctrines and policies. As this new light was given her, it was most natural that she should first tell it to her husband. Thus he learned enough about what had been revealed to her to give a new zest and direction to his studies, and a new mold and increased power to his discourses, and fresh vigor and greater breadth to his plans. Later on, when Sister White found time to write out her views for publication, they must necessarily agree with the teachings and plans of her husband, so far as his teachings and plans had been influenced by what he had learned from her.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 9

    “It was most natural that James and Ellen White should discuss freely and interestedly between themselves, plans and methods and ways and means for the advancement of the publishing work and the work of the ministers in the field, and that she should tell him of the views given her regarding the most effective methods of labor. As a result, he would shape his plans to harmonize with these views. Often his brethren would criticize these plans, which seemed too broad, and urge other policies. Then when Sister White was appealed to, and it was seen that her testimony was in harmony with the plans and teachings of her husband, some said, ‘She is influenced by him, her testimony is a transcript of her husband's mind.’GCB June 2, 1913, par. 10

    “As James White gained experience and confidence as a leader, he sometimes made plans and inaugurated policies that were not in harmony with instruction given to his wife. But when reproved or instructed, through the testimonies to the church, for his error, he was quick to respond to counsel or reproof, and hearty in his confession of error....GCB June 2, 1913, par. 11

    “From 1903 to 1909 the thought was entertained by some that Sister White's movements, her testimonies, and her attitude toward certain men and enterprises, were largely influenced by the president of the General Conference, and by the editor of the Review.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 12

    “The facts regarding this matter are that the views of these men, and the views of many of their associates, have been largely influenced by the written testimonies which they have received and read, and by the oral messages given them, in which they were warned of perils that threatened the church of God, and were charged in the most solemn manner to stand as faithful sentinels and wide-awake watchmen, guarding, warning, and protecting the church against the many wily attacks of the enemy.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 13

    “Many times I carried messages from Sister White to Elder Daniells, to Elder Prescott, and to other brethren in leading positions of responsibility, asking them to visit her, and I have been present as a learner and as a witness at the interviews. During these interviews, she would question them regarding their plans and policies, and would relate to them what the Lord had shown to her regarding the work to be done, and the dangers and perils that surrounded the church, and the difficulties that confronted the various branches of its work. Often have I heard these men warned of the subtle and secret workings of the enemy to undermine the faith of our people in the peculiar truths which make us Seventh-day Adventists, and of his efforts to bring in discord that would rob the church of its strength. I have repeatedly heard the charge most solemnly given to Elder Daniells and Elder Prescott, that they must stand in defense of the truth, and must do all in their power to save the people from deception.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 14

    Having had this experience, it seems to be plainly my duty to testify that these men have not, as some have supposed, led Sister White to take strong positions to harmonize with their minds and their views; but that they were led to take strong positions because they heard and heeded the solemn messages borne to them by her.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 15

    “I have known of messages of warning being sent to these men, pointing out that in their conference connection with ambitious leaders in certain branches of the work, there were dangers that they had not discovered. I have seen them read reproofs to themselves and to others, regarding the popular and accepted policies for the conduct of the publishing work and the medical work, and I have known of the struggle it cost them to decide that they would act upon the counsel received. I have knelt with them in prayer, and have heard their humble pleadings for grace to give up their will and way, and for strength and wisdom from on high to follow the course marked out for them.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 16

    “Regarding the development of our institutional work in Washington, D.C., it is my duty to testify that I had abundant opportunity to know that Sister White's visits to Washington, her interest in the institutions there, and her anxiety that the sanitarium and the nurses’ training-school should be quickly put upon a strong footing, were the result of revelations from God and not the result of the influence of men.”GCB June 2, 1913, par. 17

    Regarding the interest that Sister White feels for the work in the Southern states, it can truly be said that the intense interest which she manifested in the upbuilding of the Nashville publishing house, the Graysville school, the Graysville Sanitarium, the Huntsville school and sanitarium, the Nashville Sanitarium, and in the Madison school, was the result of revelations from God, and not, as some would say, enthusiasm aroused by appeals and representations of men.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 18

    But the question will be raised, has not Sister White changed in her attitude toward some of our educational institutions? Has she not changed in her attitude toward some of those sanitariums?—No, I know of no change. Having loved our institutions, she loves them to the end. “How is it, then,” some have asked me, “that there are plans for closing some of them that are not succeeding financially? We hear that some of them are tottering, and will be closed unless the denomination puts its strong arm underneath to sustain them. Why is this?”GCB June 2, 1913, par. 19

    Now, brethren, let me illustrate by the experience of the Battle Creek Sanitarium. You who have read the early testimonies know very well the clearness, the strength, the earnestness of the appeals given to this people to establish a medical institution where the sick could come to be healed, and, while receiving the care of the most skilful physicians and nurses, be brought in daily contact with men and women who have strong faith in God, and who manifest by their lives that they have a hold upon Heaven, people who will lend their influence to encourage these patients to lay hold on God. You know the strength of these appeals, and also that Elder Loughborough and my mother and father and others put their whole heart into the work of establishing that institution. As it grew, demands came from the patients for more room and better accommodations. Then, without fully counting the cost, men began a new building. It was a good plan, and would have been a very good building if completed; but when it was partially completed, there came one of those crises which sometimes manifest themselves in our work. The work of building stopped. As my father and others studied the financial situation, they said, “it is hopeless to undertake to erect such a large building.” After one or two years, father called for workers to come with their pickaxes, crowbars, and shovels, and to tear that structure down.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 20

    It was not more than a year after this that my father saw his mistake, and felt deeply to regret that he had lifted his hand to undo that which had been begun. I have often heard him say, “if I had only waited; if I had only taken a broader and brighter view; if I had only had more faith that God would send us a strong management, I never would have lifted my hand to tear down that basement.”GCB June 2, 1913, par. 21

    Afterward, on the same ground, a larger building was constructed, and a greater work was done. This, in my mind, is a lesson with reference to other institutions that may be in financial perplexity. Let us have faith in God, and let us hold on to that which is most valuable. The most valuable thing of all in an institution of this character is the good will and confidence of the people. Let us hold on to the good will of the people. And if, because of lack of men to furnish strong management and efficient workers, we have to close some of them for a time, let us wait patiently until God gives us the men to open them again. Let us not tear them down, or give them away, or sell them. Such is the lesson from the earlier history of the Battle Creek Sanitarium. I think of it often in connection with some things we hear regarding the necessity of closing some of our institutions.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 22

    Has Sister White changed in her interest in the Graysville school? No! In the Graysville Sanitarium? No! Has she less interest in the success of the Nashville Sanitarium—no! Has she changed her views regarding the necessity and value of such an institution?—No, not at all! It may have been said by those who are perplexed over the great effort we are making to raise funds for the home and foreign mission work that if Sister White saw things then as she sees them now she would not have written as she did about the Madison school and other schools of that character. This is only a supposition. We have nothing from her pen, or from her, to intimate any such theory.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 23

    Have Sister White's views changed regarding our schools because some schools have been located unfortunately; because some have been built where they are not needed?—No. She is sorry for every mistake that wastes the resources and mars the reputation of God's cause. But her views are not changed with regard to the great work we are doing in educating our children and training them to enter the great army of God's missionaries going to the ends of the earth.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 24

    Have Sister White's views changed with regard to the value of establishing schools in the Central American republics and other child nations where education is necessary as a basis for successful evangelization? Have Sister White's views changed because of some sad experiences like that in Spanish Honduras?—No! No! She is sorry for the mistakes that mortal man makes in carrying on God's work, but her views of God's work have not changed.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 25

    She has not changed her views with regard to the necessity of encouraging men and women in different States to leave their homes and go out into the unoccupied parts of their own State, or of other States where there are no Sabbath-keepers, and starting interests in these localities. We may hear from our conference officers that there are fifteen or twenty counties in their fields which have never been worked. Why do we not get men to go with their families into those unworked sections and hold aloft the torch of truth? Our time to work is growing short. God help us to have largeness of heart, and encourage the sowing beside all waters.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 26

    There is one question that a good many ministers and some laymen present to me: “Is everything that Sister White says or writes, inspired? Is everything that she writes in her articles, revelation?” Now I might say much about this, but I think it would be of more value to you, for me to read to you some things she has written. I hold in my hand a letter addressed to a physician, bearing date of June 14, 1906:GCB June 2, 1913, par. 27

    “Dear Brother’,

    Your letter came to me while in Southern California. For some weeks the consideration of matters connected with the development of our sanitarium work, and the writing out of the views given me regarding the earthquake and its lessons, have taken my time and strength. But now I must respond to the letters received from you and others. In your letter you speak of your early training to have implicit faith in the testimonies, and say: ‘I was led to conclude and most firmly believe that every word you ever spoke in public or private, that every letter you wrote under any and all circumstances, was as inspired as the ten commandments.’GCB June 2, 1913, par. 28

    “My brother, you have studied my writings diligently, and you have never found that I have made any such claims, neither will you find that the pioneers in our cause ever made such claims. In my preface to ‘Great Controversy,’ you have no doubt read my statement regarding the ten commandments and the Bible, which should have helped you to a correct understanding of the matter under consideration.”GCB June 2, 1913, par. 29

    Here is the statement. Please do not forget what I am reading. Most of you have “Great Controversy” in your homes. You will find this statement in the introduction. That introduction is worthy of much more study than it has received. Carefully studied, it will answer many of the questions that arise over this subject.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 30

    Quoting from this introduction to “Great Controversy,” She wrote:GCB June 2, 1913, par. 31

    “The Bible points to God as its Author; yet it was written by human hands; and in the varied style of its different books it presents the characteristics of the several writers. The truths revealed are all ‘given by inspiration of God;’ yet they are expressed in the words of men. The Infinite One, by his Holy Spirit, has shed light into the minds and hearts of his servants. He has given dreams and visions, symbols and figures, and those to whom the truth was thus revealed have themselves embodied the thought in human language. The ten commandments were spoken by God himself, and were written by his own hand. They are of divine, and not human, composition. But the Bible, with its God-given truths, expressed in the language of men, presents a union of the divine and the human. Such a union existed in the nature of Christ, who was the Son of God and the Son of man. Thus it is true of the Bible, as it was of Christ, that ‘the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.’ Written in different ages, by men who differed widely in rank and occupation, and in mental and spiritual endowments, the books of the Bible present a wide contrast in style, as well as a diversity in the nature of the subjects unfolded. Different forms of expression are employed by different writers; often the same truth is more strikingly presented by one than by another. And as several writers present a subject under varied aspects and relations, there may appear to the superficial careless, or prejudiced reader, to be discrepancy or contradiction, where the thoughtful, reverent student, with clearer insight, discerns the underlying harmony.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 32

    “As presented through different individuals, the truth is brought out in its varied aspects. One writer is more strongly impressed with one phase of a subject. He grasps those points that harmonize with his experience or with his power of perception and appreciation; another seizes upon a different phase, and each, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, presents what is most forcibly impressed upon his own mind; a different aspect of the truth in each, but a perfect harmony through all. And the truths thus revealed, unite to form a perfect whole, adapted to meet the wants of men in all the circumstances and experiences of life.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 33

    “God has been pleased to communicate his truth to the world by human agencies, and he himself, by his Holy pirit, qualified men and enabled them to do this work. He guided the mind in the selection of what to speak and what to write. The treasure was entrusted to earthen vessels; yet it is none the less from Heaven. The testimony is conveyed through the imperfect expression of human language; yet it is the testimony of God; and the obedient, believing child of God beholds in it the glory of a divine power, full of grace and truth.”GCB June 2, 1913, par. 34

    It is my belief, brethren, that if we faithfully study these statements regarding the method by which God communicates to his servant, and the method of writing out the light imparted, that we will find an answer to many of our questions regarding the character of the writings of Mrs. White.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 35

    (Proceeding with the letter):GCB June 2, 1913, par. 36

    “In perfect harmony with this, are my statements found in the article, ‘The Testimonies Slighted,’ written June 20, 1882, and published in Testimonies for the Church 5, 62-84. From this I quote, for your consideration, several paragraphs:GCB June 2, 1913, par. 37


    “‘Many excuse their disregard of the testimonies by saying, “Sister White is influenced by her husband; the testimonies are molded by his spirit and judgment.” Others are seeking to gain something from me which they could construe to justify their course, or to give them influence. It was then decided that nothing more should go from my pen until the converting power of God was seen in the church. But the Lord placed the burden upon my soul. I labored for you earnestly. How much this cost both my husband and myself, eternity will tell. Have I not a knowledge of the state of the church, when the Lord has presented their case before me again and again for years? Repeated warnings have been given, yet there has been no decided change.’GCB June 2, 1913, par. 38

    “‘Yet now when I send you a testimony of warning and reproof, many of you declare it to be the opinion of Sister White. You have thereby insulted the Spirit of God. You know how the Lord has manifested himself through the spirit of prophecy. Past, present, and future have passed before me. I have been shown faces that I had never seen, and years afterward I knew them when I saw them. I have been aroused from my sleep with a vivid sense of subjects previously presented to my mind; and I have written at midnight, letters that have gone across the continent, and, arriving at a crisis, have saved great disaster to the cause of God. This has been my work for many years. A power has impelled me to reprove and rebuke wrongs that I had not thought of. Is this work of the last thirty-five years from above, or from beneath?GCB June 2, 1913, par. 39

    “‘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 bear, 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.’”GCB June 2, 1913, par. 40

    I will not read further, as time is passing.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 41

    From my conversations with men and women, I have learned that many understand this last statement to mean that every article, every testimony, is the writing out of a presentation given just then and there; and therefore some conclude that because they continue to see articles in the papers, mother is writing today just as much as she used to write years ago.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 42

    The facts are these: at the present time mother is writing very little. But during many years of service, her work was done on this wise: Oftentimes mother's mind was directed in the early morning to some particular subject. Sometimes the angel would awaken her as if some one touched her, and the message would be given, Write what I revealed to you at such and such a time regarding such and such a church or conference or movement. She would quickly arise and dress, and undertake the writing without delay. As she began, the matter was all fresh in her mind, just as it had been presented years before; and she would write on, page after page, and page after page. Growing weary, she would stop and rest, sometimes sitting in her chair, waiting a few minutes, thinking of what was to follow. Then again another view was flashed upon her memory, and she would write on and on until she became weary, and rested for a time; or perhaps she would write until the subject was entirely finished.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 43

    At other times letters came stating conditions in certain conferences or churches or institutions; and these brought to her memory that which had been revealed to her six months before, or three years before, or six years before, as the case might be, regarding the future of that conference or church or enterprise. In many of the views, it had been presented before her that if the brethren would take such and such a course, certain results would follow; and that if they would take another course, other results would follow. Under such circumstances, she would write out from memory the instruction that had been given her years before.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 44

    With reference to her recent articles, I may say that about six years ago, when her activities in traveling and in holding meetings were growing less, she devoted much time to the reading of what had been written in former years. When we copy her writings, we place one copy in the office file, and one copy we bind up and place in her room. Day after day, and week after week, she would take those bound volumes of manuscripts, and search through them, and mark certain articles, saying, “This must be published.” Some pages she would interline, and to some articles she would add pages of manuscript, and then pass them out to us with instruction that they should find a place in our papers as soon as we could copy them and they were found to be needed.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 45

    As her strength has grown less, she has depended more upon her helpers in the matter of selecting material. She gives general instruction, “Find what I have written on such and such subjects, and offer it to the Review.” Or, “Find what I have written on such and such subjects, and offer it to the Signs of The Times.” And so, as her strength is less, she depends more than formerly upon her workers to make the selection of material.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 46

    Sometimes the editors of our papers feel the need of articles on certain subjects, and they write to us, “May we feel free to reprint what appeared in the Review (or Signs of the Times) years ago?” We usually reply, “Yes; use your judgment.” At other times they tell us what they think is the need of the people, and we search in the manuscript files and find some precious document that contains the very warning and counsel that it is felt the people need. This is prepared for publication in article form, and sent forward. Thus there is a harmony of plan and a hearty cooperation in the work, and we who are helpers in this work find that it is a blessed privilege to have a part in it.GCB June 2, 1913, par. 47

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