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

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    Ellen G. White Looks Back

    In the years 1874, 1883, and 1884, Ellen White looked back and recounted the history in which the shut-door teaching figured, and commented upon it. We present first her published statement appearing in The Spirit of Prophecy, volume 4, published in 1884.1BIO 256.3

    After the passing of the time of expectation, in 1844, Adventists still believed the Saviour's coming to be very near; they held that they had reached an important crisis, and that the work of Christ as man's intercessor before God had ceased. Having given the warning of the judgment near, they felt that their work for the world was done, and they lost their burden of soul for the salvation of sinners, while the bold and blasphemous scoffing of the ungodly seemed to them another evidence that the Spirit of God had been withdrawn from the rejecters of His mercy. All this confirmed them in the belief that probation had ended, or, as they expressed it, “the door of mercy was shut.”—The Spirit of Prophecy 4:268.1BIO 256.4

    The chapter closes with these words:1BIO 257.1

    The passing of the time in 1844 was followed by a period of great trial to those who still held the Advent faith. Their only relief, so far as ascertaining their true position was concerned, was the light which directed their minds to the sanctuary above. As has been stated, Adventists were for a short time united in the belief that the door of mercy was shut. This position was soon abandoned.

    Some renounced their faith in their former reckoning of the prophetic periods, and ascribed to human or satanic agencies the powerful influence of the Holy Spirit which had attended the Advent movement. Another class firmly held that the Lord had led them in their past experience; and as they waited and watched and prayed to know the will of God, they saw that their great High Priest had entered upon another work of ministration, and, following Him by faith, they were led to understand also the closing work of the church, and were prepared to receive and give to the world the warning of the third angel of Revelation 14. [See also The Great Controversy, 428-432, for a similar statement.]—The Spirit of Prophecy 4:271, 272.1BIO 257.2

    The reader of this chapter, “An Open and a Shut Door,” is referred to an appendix note, most likely written by J. H. Waggoner. We quote a portion of it:1BIO 257.3

    Note 6. Page 268.—Almost all Adventists, including Mr. Miller, did, for a short time after their disappointment in 1844, believe that the world had received its last warning. They could hardly think otherwise, with their faith in the message which they had given—“the hour of his judgment is come.” Revelation 14:6, 7. They naturally thought that this proclamation must close the dispensation. They were as unable to find their bearings at once as were the disciples when their Lord, whom they had hailed as their king coming to His throne, was crucified and buried. In both cases they were unable to comprehend their terrible disappointment.1BIO 257.4

    But the idea that the work of the gospel was finished was soon renounced, except by some fanatical ones who would neither be counseled nor receive instruction. But most of those who renounced it, and yet retained their faith in the work, continued to believe that they who clearly saw the light of the Heaven-sent warning and persistently rejected it were rejected of the Lord. There is no more fanaticism in that than there is in the common belief that those obdurate Jews who continued to reject the light of the advanced truth sent to that generation, were rejected of God.—The Spirit of Prophecy 4:499. (Italics supplied.)1BIO 258.1

    The note then deals with the experience of the early Sabbathkeeping Adventists and their acceptance of the sanctuary truth and an understanding of the message of the third angel. It closes with a statement that is well supported elsewhere in this volume:1BIO 258.2

    Among the first who taught the third message and the open door was the author of this book [E. G. White]. By her untiring zeal, her earnest appeals, and the clear light of the testimony which she bore, she did much to advance the cause, to correct the errors of fanaticism, to renew the hopes of the desponding, and to cheer the hearts of the “little flock” who loved the appearing of their soon-coming Saviour.—Ibid., 4:500.1BIO 258.3

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