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Ellen G. White: The Early Years: 1827-1862 (vol. 1)

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    Stabilizing Counsels Given by Vision

    It was at this time and under these circumstances that God stepped in at Paris, Maine, in December, 1850, with His stabilizing counsels. Ellen White wrote of it:1BIO 200.4

    We were united in praying last evening [December 24] for the Spirit of the Lord to fall upon us. God heard our earnest cries. I was taken off in vision. I saw how great and holy God was. Said the angel, “Walk carefully before Him, for He is high and lifted up and the train of His glory fills the temple.”—Manuscript 11, 1850.1BIO 200.5

    Had they assembled on this Christmas Eve in expectancy of circumstances that would lead to shouting, and possibly being “slain by the Lord”? Were they looking for a repetition of what took place on the day of Pentecost? The circumstances, the timing, and the nature of the message given in the vision would strongly indicate that this might well have been so.1BIO 200.6

    Had we been in the group that evening, how carefully we would have watched all that took place and with what attention we would have listened as Ellen spoke while in vision. The sentences were short and disconnected—just expressions dropped as she watched a portrayal in vision. In this case, these utterances were very enlightening. We quote relevant portions as written down by someone present:1BIO 200.7

    Great and holy. Walk carefully before Him. High and lifted up. Everything in perfect order. Know what thou doest. Must be so. Move in order, move in order. A meaning to everything. Yea, how perfect, how beautiful, how lovely, is this order.—Manuscript 10, 1850.1BIO 201.1

    Souls are coming to the knowledge of the truth. The burden not on him [James White] alone.—Ibid. Look ye, let them go. They have not moved in God at all times. Encourage it not, for it will tend to destruction. There has been a stretching beyond. Look beyond the mortal.—Ibid. O how mighty, how glorious would Israel be if they would go according to the Word of God. Hast thou thought all was unadulterated? How liable is the enemy to work there.1BIO 201.2

    Does He frown upon His people, because they are jealous with a godly jealousy. What then? Truth, truth, present truth, the Word of God. Hold it before them. How beautiful to hold the Word of God. Thy ways are past finding out. He never erred in wisdom. Strive to lift the mind from self. Strive to let it dwell on high and lofty things.—Ibid.1BIO 201.3

    Have that the whole burden of the message. First, second, and third angels’ messages. The force of it—how mighty it is, the mighty truth.1BIO 201.4

    O we thank Thee that we have received the truth. A poor, despised company, but how honored of God. Should one tarry that has the message? Fly, fly. Buckle the armor on. Do we expect to be free? Fight the good fight of faith.—Ibid.1BIO 201.5

    Look ye at the pattern. Follow Him, meek and lowly. Shut your eyes to everything but the truth.—Ibid.1BIO 201.6

    The next day, under the heading of “Vision at Paris, Maine,” she wrote of what was revealed to her. Because of the importance of the matter, for it focused on erratic exercises, we quote at length, although in doing so there is some repetition of her exclamations while in the vision:1BIO 201.7

    We were united in praying last evening for the Spirit of the Lord to fall upon us. God heard our earnest cries. I was taken off in vision.1BIO 201.8

    I saw how great and holy God was. Said the angel, “Walk carefully before Him, for He is high and lifted up and the train of His glory fills the temple.”1BIO 202.1

    I saw that everything in heaven was in perfect order. Said the angel,1BIO 202.2

    “Look ye; Christ is the head; move in order, move in order. Have a meaning to everything.” Said the angel, “Behold ye, and know how perfect, how beautiful the order in heaven; follow it.” ...1BIO 202.3

    Then the angel pointed to Fairhaven, and said, “Ye have not moved in God at all times. There has been a stretching beyond the movings of God, and have moved in self.”1BIO 202.4

    I saw that the mind should be taken from the mortal and be raised to God. I saw that the exercises were in great danger of being adulterated, and their former opinion and knowledge in governing in a measure their exercises, therefore implicit confidence could not be placed in these exercises.1BIO 202.5

    But if anyone was lost to everything around him, and he should be in the state that Paul was in, whether in the body or out of the body, he could not tell, and God communicate to him through His angels, there would then be no danger of a mistake.1BIO 202.6

    I saw that we should strive at all times to be free from unhealthy and unnecessary excitement. I saw that there was great danger of leaving the Word of God and resting down and trusting in exercises.1BIO 202.7

    I saw that God had moved by His Spirit upon your company [at Fairhaven] in some of their exercises and their prompting; but I saw danger ahead.—Manuscript 11, 1850. (Italics supplied.)1BIO 202.8

    Note the cautious way in which Ellen White referred to the experience of one being led unmistakably by the Spirit of God, citing Paul's experience and words. The visions stood out in bold contrast from exercises that might be influenced by the preconceptions of the individual, motivated by emotions leading to the ecstatic.1BIO 202.9

    After making reference to some involvements in Massachusetts, she declared:1BIO 202.10

    I saw that the burden of the message now was the truth. The Word of God should be strictly followed and held up to the people of God. And it would be beautiful and lovely if God's people should be brought into a straight [place] to see the workings of God through exercises and visions.1BIO 203.1

    But I saw in our conference meeting some laid out the work that God was to give exercises, and rebels were to be purged out in the meeting; then the honest, conscientious ones began to tremble. [They think,] I am afraid I shall be purged out, and they take their minds from Jesus, and fix them upon themselves and others, and the meeting leaves them lower than it found them. I saw that we must try to lift our minds above self and have it dwell upon God, the high and lofty one....1BIO 203.2

    I saw the burden of the message should be the first, second, and third angels’ messages, and those who had any hope in God would yield to the force of that truth. How mighty and glorious it looked to me. O what privilege is ours, that of being among the children of God and believing the mighty truth, a poor, despised company, but how honored of God.1BIO 203.3

    I saw if Israel moved steadily along, going according to Bible order, they would be as terrible as an army with banners. Said the angel, Should any tarry that have the truth and can give an explanation of it from the Word of God? No, no! They must go quickly.—Ibid.1BIO 203.4

    This vision, given under the circumstances described above, had a far-reaching influence and served to guard the church at a critical point in its history. The Word of God was elevated, and visions were pointed out as safe guidance, but ecstatic experiences could have questionable backgrounds and be misleading.1BIO 203.5

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