Selected Messages Book 3


Chapter 7—Presenting the Divinely Revealed Message

Instruction to Ellen White—As the Spirit of God has opened to my mind the great truths of his Word, and the scenes of the past and the future, I have been bidden to make known to others that which has thus been revealed.—The Great Controversy, xi. 3SM 48.1

From the beginning of my work ...I have been called upon to bear a plain, pointed testimony, to reprove wrongs, and to spare not.—Testimonies for the Church 5:678. 3SM 48.2

Bearing Testimony—Aided by the Spirit of God—After I come out of vision I do not at once remember all that I have seen, and the matter is not so clear before me until I write, then the scene rises before me as was presented in vision, and I can write with freedom. Sometimes the things which I have seen are hid from me after I come out of vision, and I cannot call them to mind until I am brought before a company where the vision applies, then the things which I have seen come to my mind with force. 3SM 48.3

I am just as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in relating or writing a vision as in having the vision. It is impossible for me to call up things which have been shown me unless the Lord brings them before me at the time that he is pleased to have me relate or write them.—Spiritual Gifts 2:292, 293. 3SM 48.4

Must Be Impressed by the Holy Spirit—I cannot at my own impulse take up a work and launch out into it. I have to be impressed by the Spirit of God. I cannot write unless the Holy Spirit helps me. Sometimes I cannot write at all. Then again I am aroused at eleven, twelve, and one o'clock; and I can write as fast as my hand can move over the paper.—Letter 11, 1903. 3SM 49.1

When Pen Taken in Hand—As soon as I take my pen in hand I am not in darkness as to what to write. It is as plain and clear as a voice speaking to me, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go.” “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct [make plain] thy paths.”—Manuscript 89, 1900. 3SM 49.2

I am very busy with my writing. Early and late, I am writing out the matters that the Lord opens before me. The burden of my work is to prepare a people to stand in the day of the Lord.—Letter 371, 1907 (Published in Writing and Sending Out of the Testimonies to the Church, p. 15.) 3SM 49.3

The Integrity of Her Message—I speak that which I have seen, and which I know to be true.—Letter 4, 1896. 3SM 49.4

In the line of my work I speak the things the Lord gives me. And in my words to you I would ...[not] dare to say that the Lord did not move me to make the remarks which I made in that talk all the way through.—Letter 18d, 1890. 3SM 49.5

I write all that the Lord gives me to write.—Letter 52, 1906. 3SM 49.6

Testimony Expressed in Her Own Words—Although I am as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in writing my views as I am in receiving them, yet the words I employ in describing what I have seen are my own, unless they be those spoken to me by an angel, which I always enclose in marks of quotation. [General Conference session action on inspiration: “We believe the light given by God to His servants is by the enlightenment of the mind, thus imparting the thoughts, and not (except in rare cases) the very words in which the ideas should be expressed.”—General Conference proceedings, The Review and Herald, November 27, 1883.]—The Review and Herald, October 8, 1867. 3SM 49.7

I Must Write These Things Over and Over—I have faithfully written out the warnings that God has given me. They have been printed in books, yet I cannot forbear. I must write these same things over and over. I ask not to be relieved. As long as the Lord spares my life, I must continue to bear these earnest messages.—Manuscript 21, 1910. 3SM 50.1

Ellen G. White's Understanding of Her Writings 3SM 50.2

a. The Testimonies: Those who carefully read the testimonies as they have appeared from the early days, need not be perplexed as to their origin. The many books, written by the help of the Spirit of God, bear a living witness to the character of the testimonies.—Letter 225, 1906 (Published in Selected Messages 1:49.) 3SM 50.3

b. The Conflict of the Ages Books: Sister White is not the originator of these books. They contain the instruction that during her lifework God has been giving her. They contain the precious, comforting light that God has graciously given his servant to be given to the world.—Colporteur Ministry, 125. 3SM 50.4

c. The Articles: 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.—Testimonies for the Church 5:67. 3SM 50.5

d. The Letters (testimonies): Weak and trembling, I arose at three o'clock in the morning to write to you. God was speaking through clay. You may 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.—Testimonies for the Church 5:67. 3SM 50.6

e. The Interviews: he [Elder G. A. Irwin] has with him a little notebook in which he has noted down perplexing questions which he brings before me, and if I have any light upon these points, I write it out for the benefit of our people, not only in America but in this country [Australia].—Letter 96, 1899. 3SM 51.1

f. When There Was No Light: I have no light on the subject [as to just who would constitute the 144,000].... Please tell my brethren that I have nothing presented before me regarding the circumstances concerning which they write, and I can set before them only that which has been presented to me.—Quoted in a letter by C. C. Crisler to E. E. Andross, December 8, 1914. (In White Estate Document File, Number 164.) 3SM 51.2

I am not at liberty to write to our brethren concerning your future work.... I have received no instruction regarding the place where you should locate.... If the Lord gives me definite instruction concerning you, I will give it you; but I cannot take upon myself responsibilities that the Lord does not give me to bear.—Letter 96, 1909. 3SM 51.3

God-given Representations Reproduced as Vividly as Possible—I want every jot and tittle of my strength to reproduce the representations the Lord has given me, and to make them as vivid as possible while I can do so.—Letter 325, 1905. 3SM 51.4

Holy Spirit Gives Appropriate Words—The goodness of the Lord to me is very great. I praise his name that my mind is clear on Bible subjects. The Spirit of God works upon my mind and gives me appropriate words with which to express the truth. I am also greatly strengthened when I stand before large congregations.—Letter 90, 1907. 3SM 51.5

The Spirit's Help in Choice of Appropriate Words—I am trying to catch the very words and expressions that were made in reference to this matter, and as my pen hesitates a moment, the appropriate words come to my mind. Letter 123, 1904. 3SM 51.6

When writing these precious books, if I hesitated, the very word I wanted to express the idea was given me.—Letter 265, 1907. 3SM 51.7

Choosing Words Carefully—I am exceedingly anxious to use words that will not give anyone a chance to sustain erroneous sentiments. I must use words that will not be misconstrued and made to mean the opposite of that which they were designed to mean.—Manuscript 126, 1905. 3SM 52.1

Not One Heretical Sentence—I am now looking over my diaries [See Footnote, p. 32.] and copies of letters written for several years back.... I have the most precious matter to reproduce and place before the people in testimony form. While I am able to do this work, the people must have things to revive past history, that they may see that there is one straight chain of truth, without one heretical sentence, in that which I have written. This, I am instructed, is to be a living letter to all in regard to my faith.—Letter 329a, 1905. 3SM 52.2

First a General Presentation, Then Specific Application—I was carried from one sickroom to another where Dr. B. was the physician. In some cases I was made sad to see a great inefficiency. He did not have sufficient knowledge to understand what the case demanded and what was essential to be done to baffle disease. 3SM 52.3

The one of authority that has often instructed me, said, “Young man, you are not a close student. You skim the surface. You must make close study, make use of your opportunities, learn more; and what lessons you learn, learn thoroughly. You go too lightly loaded. It is a solemn thing to have human life in your hands, where any mistake you may make, any neglect of deep insight on your part, may cut short the existence of those who might live. This danger would be lessened, if the physician had more thorough intelligence how to treat the sick.” 3SM 52.4

I never have written this to you, but I have presented all, in a general manner, without applying it to your case. I feel now that you should know these things, that the light which has been given to the workers at the sanitarium, in some things meant you. I tell you in the spirit of love for your soul, and with an interest in your success as a medical practitioner, you must drink deeper at the fountain of knowledge, before you are prepared to be first or alone in an institution for the sick.—Letter 7, 1887. 3SM 52.5

Case Not Varnished Over—In the last vision given me your case was presented before me.... From what has been shown me you are a transgressor of the seventh commandment. How then can your mind be in harmony with the precious Word of God, truths which cut you at every turn? If you had been betrayed into this folly unwittingly it would be more excusable, but you have not. You have been warned. You have been reproved and counseled.... 3SM 53.1

My soul is stirred within me.... I will not varnish over your case. You are in a fearful state and you need to be entirely transformed.—Letter 52, 1876. 3SM 53.2

Not Always a Special Vision—I write this for I dare not withhold it. You are far from doing the will of God, far from Jesus, far from heaven. It is no marvel to me that God has not blessed your labors. You may say, “God has not given Sister White a vision in my case, why, then, does she write as she does?” 3SM 53.3

I have seen the cases of others who like you are neglecting their duties. I have seen many things in your case in your past experience. And when I enter a family and see a course pursued that God has reproved and condemned, I am in grief and distress, whether the special sins have been shown me or the sins of another who has neglected similar duties. I know whereof I speak, I feel deeply over the matter. I say, then, for Christ's sake make haste to come on the right ground, and harness up for the battle.—Letter 52, 1886. 3SM 53.4

Testimony Counsel Based on Many Visions—God has given me a testimony of reproof for parents who treat their children as you do your little one.—Letter 1, 1877. 3SM 53.5

This matter has been brought before my mind in other cases where individuals have claimed to have messages for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, of a similar character, and the word has been given me, “Believe them not.”—Letter 16, 1893 (Quoted in Selected Messages 2:63, 64.) 3SM 54.1

Bearing Testimony Unexpectedly—Sabbath morning early, I went into meeting and the Lord gave me a testimony directly to them, all unexpected to me. I poured it out upon them, showing them that the Lord sent his ministers with a message and the message they brought was the very means God had ordained to reach them, but they felt at liberty to pick it in pieces and make of none effect the Word of God.... I can tell you there was great astonishment and marveling that I dared to speak to them thus.—Letter 19, 1884. 3SM 54.2

Bearing Reproofs an Unpleasant Task for Ellen White—Were I to go to the [General] Conference [session], I should be compelled to take positions that would cut some to the quick. It greatly hurts me to do this, and it is a long time before I recover from the strain that such an experience brings on me.—Letter 17, 1903. 3SM 54.3

Work Made Sure by Both Oral and Written Messages—The messages that God has given me have been communicated to his people both by word of mouth and in printed form. Thus my work has been made doubly sure. 3SM 54.4

I am instructed that the Lord, by his infinite power, has preserved the right hand of his messenger for more than half a century, in order that the truth may be written out as he bids me write it for publication in periodicals and books.—Letter 136, 1906. 3SM 54.5

Whether Past or Future She Could Not Say—I have been urged by the Spirit of the Lord to fully warn our people in regard to the undue familiarity of married men with women, and women with men. This lovesick sentimentalism existed in the [city] mission at _____ before you were connected with it. I was shown you with others manifesting the same; whether this was in the past or the future I cannot say, for often things are presented to me long before the circumstances take place.—Letter 17, 1891. 3SM 54.6

Shown as If Work Was Done—I have been thinking of how, after we began sanitarium work in Battle Creek, sanitarium buildings all ready for occupation were shown to me in vision. The Lord instructed me as to the way in which the work in these buildings should be conducted in order for it to exert a saving influence on the patients. 3SM 55.1

All this seemed very real to me, but when I awoke I found that the work was yet to be done, that there were no buildings erected. 3SM 55.2

Another time I was shown a large building going up on the site on which the Battle Creek Sanitarium was afterward erected. The brethren were in great perplexity as to who should take charge of the work. I wept sorely. One of authority stood up among us, and said, “Not yet. You are not ready to invest means in that building, or to plan for its future management.” 3SM 55.3

At this time the foundation of the sanitarium had been laid. But we needed to learn the lesson of waiting.—Letter 135, 1903. 3SM 55.4

Paul Shown in Advance Dangers That Would Arise—Paul was an inspired apostle, yet the Lord did not reveal to him at all times just the condition of his people. Those who were interested in the prosperity of the church, and saw evils creeping in, presented the matter before him, and from the light which he had previously received he was prepared to judge of the true character of these developments. Because the Lord had not given him a new revelation for that special time, those who were really seeking light did not cast his message aside as only a common letter. No, indeed. The Lord had shown him the difficulties and dangers which would arise in the churches, that when they should develop he might know just how to treat them.—Testimonies for the Church 5:65. 3SM 55.5

Ellen White Could Now Speak—This morning I attended a meeting where a select few were called together to consider some questions that were presented to them by a letter soliciting consideration and advice on these subjects. Of some of these subjects I could speak, because at sundry times and in divers places many things have been presented to me.... As my brethren read the selections from letters, I knew what to say to them; for this matter has been presented to me again and again in regard to the southern field. I have not felt at liberty to write out the matter until now.... The light that the Lord has given me at different times has been that the southern field, where the greatest share of the population of the colored race is, cannot be worked after the same methods as other fields.—Letter 73, 1895 (Published in The Southern Work, 72.) 3SM 55.6

When the Time Is Fully Come—I must not write more now, although there is much more that I shall write when I know that the time has fully come.—Letter 124, 1902. 3SM 56.1

Deferred for a Year—The Lord did help and bless me in a signal manner during the conference in Melbourne. I labored, before I entered it, very hard, giving personal testimonies which I had written out one year before, but could not feel clear to send them. I thought of the words of Christ, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now” (John 16:12). When I enclosed the communication all ready to mail, it seemed that a voice spoke to me saying, “Not yet, not yet, they will not receive your testimony.”—Letter 39, 1893. 3SM 56.2

Visions Not Always First Understood—On one occasion when we were talking together about your experience in your work, you asked me, “Have you told me all?” I could not say more at that time. Often representations are given me which at first I do not understand, but after a time they are made plain by a repeated presentation of those things that I did not at first comprehend, and in ways that make their meaning clear and unmistakable.—Letter 329, 1904. 3SM 56.3

What I Wrote Seemed New—In the night I am aroused from my sleep, and I write in my diary many things that appear as new to me when read, as to any who hear them. If I did not see the matter in my own handwriting I should not think my pen had traced it.—Letter 118, 1898. 3SM 57.1

Former Writings Timely—I have a large amount of precious matter, written at Cooranbong [Australia], and dated December 20, 1896, which is just what is needed at this time. I will have it copied today, and if it is possible get it off in the evening mail. I had lost all trace of these manuscripts, but this morning a pile of copies attracted my attention, which on looking over, I found to my surprise to be just what I wanted.—Letter 262, 1907. 3SM 57.2

Minds Must Be Prepared Spiritually—I have tried to not shun to give to our people the whole counsel of God, but have sometimes deferred matters with the injunction, “They cannot bear them now.” Even truth cannot be presented in its fullness before minds that are in no preparation spiritually to receive it. I have many things to say, but persons to whom the messages apply cannot in their present unconsecrated state bear them.—Letter 55, 1894. 3SM 57.3

Why Paul Could Not Tell All—The great apostle had many visions. The Lord showed him many things that it is not lawful for a man to utter. Why could he not tell the believers what he had seen? Because they would have made a misapplication of the great truths presented. They would not have been able to comprehend these truths. And yet all that was shown to Paul molded the messages that God gave him to bear to the churches.—Letter 161, 1903. 3SM 57.4

No Claim for Special Light for Biographical Writings—In preparing the following pages [Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, which is an autobiographical account], I have labored under great disadvantages, as I have had to depend in many instances on memory, having kept no journal till within a few years. In several instances I have sent the manuscripts to friends who were present when the circumstances related occurred, for their examination before they were put in print. I have taken great care, and have spent much time, in endeavoring to state the simple facts as correctly as possible. 3SM 57.5

I have, however, been much assisted in arriving at dates by the many letters which I wrote.—Preface to Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2. 3SM 58.1

A special request is made that if any find incorrect statements in this book they will immediately inform me. The edition will be completed about the first of October; therefore send before that time.—Ibid., Appendix in first 400 copies. 3SM 58.2

Distinction Between Common and Religious Subjects—There are times when common things must be stated, common thoughts must occupy the mind, common letters must be written and information given that has passed from one to another of the workers. Such words, such information, are not given under the special inspiration of the Spirit of God. Questions are asked at times that are not upon religious subjects at all, and these questions must be answered. We converse about houses and lands, trades to be made, and locations for our institutions, their advantages and disadvantages.—Manuscript 107, 1909 (Published in Selected Messages 1:39.) 3SM 58.3

The Point Illustrated—I have not been given the message, Send for Brother C to come to Australia. No; therefore I do not say, I know that this is the place for you. But it is my privilege to express my wishes, even though I say, I speak not by commandment. 3SM 58.4

But I do not want you to come because of any persuasion of mine. I want you to seek the Lord most earnestly, and then follow where He shall lead you, I want you to come when God says, Come, not one moment before. 3SM 58.5

Nevertheless, it is my privilege to present the wants of the work of God in Australia. Australia is not my country only as it is the Lord's province. The country is God's; the people are His. A work is to be done here, and if you are not the one to do it, I shall feel perfectly resigned to hear that you have gone to some other locality.—Letter 129, 1897 (From a letter concerning the need for a sanitarium in Australia and the possibility of this man coming to Australia to launch such an enterprise.) 3SM 58.6

Information Gained From Those Who Should Know—The information given concerning the number of rooms in the Paradise Valley Sanitarium was given, not as a revelation from the Lord, but simply as a human opinion. There has never been revealed to me the exact number of rooms in any of our sanitariums; and the knowledge I have obtained of such things I have gained by inquiring of those who were supposed to know. In my words, when speaking upon these common subjects, there is nothing to lead minds to believe that I receive my knowledge in a vision from the Lord and am stating it as such.—Manuscript 107, 1909 (Quoted in Selected Messages 1:38.) 3SM 59.1

Two Kinds of Letters—Dear Children [Edson and Emma]: I have had many matters to write out, and I have been hard at work. My heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. We are in no case to be doubtful, but hopeful. 3SM 59.2

This morning I found your letter under my door. I was glad to hear from you. Yesterday I wrote you a letter on common, everyday topics. [See next quotation.] This letter will be sent today. I have written a long letter on the subject spoken of in your letter, and have given it out to be copied. This will be sent to you soon.... 3SM 59.3

From the instruction that the Lord has given me from time to time, I know that there should be workers who make medical evangelistic tours among the towns and villages. Those who do this work will gather a rich harvest of souls, both from the higher and the lower classes.—Letter 202, 1903. 3SM 59.4

The Letter Dealing With Common Matters—Dear Children Edson and Emma.—It has been a long time since I have written to you. I should be very much pleased to visit you in your own home. Willie writes me that he is much pleased with your situation. I have not heard from you for a long time. I should be so glad to get a letter from you, even if it is only a few lines. And remember that if at any time you wish to pay us a visit, to counsel about your work and about the books that we are trying to get out, I shall be more than glad to see you. 3SM 59.5

It seems a long time since Willie left us. He went away the last of June, and it is now the tenth of September. He will not be home for a week yet....—Letter 201, 1903. 3SM 60.1

Sister White's Judgment—You have evidenced your opinion of your own judgment—that it was more reliable than Sister White's. Did you consider that Sister White has been dealing with just such cases during her life of service for the Master, that cases similar to your own and many varieties of cases have passed before her that should make her know what is right and what is wrong in these things? Is a judgment that has been under the training of God for more than fifty years of no preference to those who have not had this discipline and education? Please consider these things.—Letter 115, 1895. 3SM 60.2

Dared Not Speak When There Was No Special Light—I find myself frequently placed where I dare give neither assent nor dissent to propositions that are submitted to me; for there is danger that any words I may speak shall be reported as something that the Lord has given me. It is not always safe for me to express my own judgment; for sometimes when someone wishes to carry out his own purpose, he will regard any favorable word I may speak as special light from the Lord. I shall be cautious in all my movements.—Letter 162, 1907, p. 2. 3SM 60.3

Note: Except for that which is in the nature of everyday matters or biographical, that which Mrs. White set before the people was based upon the visions given to her, whether or not she used the term “I saw.” She, in her day, and we today, draw the line, not between books and letters, et cetera, but between the sacred and the common. no one need be confused. 3SM 60.4

Mrs. White, in books intended for the reading of the general public, designedly left out all expressions such as “I saw” and “I was shown,” lest the readers, being unfamiliar with her experience, should have their minds diverted from the message itself. one looks in vain through the five volumes of the Conflict Series for one such expression, yet in her introduction to The Great Controversy, the first of the series that appeared in 1888, and elsewhere, she makes it known that she witnessed events take place and was “bidden to make known to others that which has been revealed” (p. xi). See also Steps to Christ, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, Christ's Object Lessons, Education, and The Ministry of Healing. “Sister White is not the originator of these books,” she wrote. 3SM 61.1