Selected Messages Book 3


Chapter 13—The Testimonies for the Church

1855 Vision Published in First Testimony. [The publication of the November 20, 1855, vision and the May 27, 1856, vision in 16-page pamphlets titled “Testimony for the Church,” was initiated by eyewitnesses in the Battle Creek church, as noted in each pamphlet: “We the undersigned, being eyewitnesses when the above vision was given, deem it highly necessary that it should be published, for the benefit of the church, on account of the important truths and warnings which it contains. Signed: Jos. Bates, J. H. Waggoner, G. W. Amadon, M.E. Cornell, J. Hart, Uriah Smith.”—Testimony for the Church No. 1, 1855], p. 8.

“To the saints scattered abroad.—The foregoing testimony was given in the presence of about one hundred brethren and sisters assembled in the house of prayer, on whose minds it apparently made a deep impression. It has since been read before the church at Battle Creek, who gave their unanimous vote in favor of its publication for the benefit of the saints scattered abroad. Signed: Cyrenius Smith, J. P. Kellogg.”—Testimony for the Church [No. 2, 1856 ed.] November 20, 1855, while in prayer, the spirit of the Lord came suddenly and powerfully upon me, and I was taken off in vision. I saw that the spirit of the Lord has been dying away from the church.—Testimonies for the Church 1:113. 3SM 94.1

Sent Out by the Author Without Change—I have sent out (postpaid) to brethren in different States about 150 copies of “Testimony for the Church.” It can be had by addressing me at Battle Creek, Michigan. I shall be happy to hear from those who may receive it. Those who would encourage the circulation of such matter can do so by assisting in its publication.—The Review and Herald, December 18, 1855. 3SM 94.2

Condensation of First Ten Testimony Pamphlets Republished in 1864—During the last nine years, from 1855 to 1864, I have written ten small pamphlets, entitled, Testimony for the Church, which have been published and circulated among Seventh-day Adventists. The first edition of most of these pamphlets being exhausted, and there being an increasing demand for them, it has been thought best to re-print them, as given in the following pages, omitting local and personal matters, and giving those portions only which are of practical and general interest and importance. Most of Testimony No. 4 may be found in the second volume of Spiritual Gifts, hence, it is omitted in this volume. [By popular demand the first ten were reprinted, in 1874, in full in book form, together with a reprinting of Numbers 11-20.—Compilers.]—Spiritual Gifts 4b:ii. 3SM 95.1

Personal Testimonies Published—Since the warning and instruction given in testimony for individual cases applied with equal force to many others who had not been specially pointed out in this manner, it seemed to be my duty to publish the personal testimonies for the benefit of the church.... 3SM 95.2

I know of no better way to present my views of general dangers and errors, and the duty of all who love God and keep His commandments than by giving these testimonies. Perhaps there is no more direct and forcible way of presenting what the Lord has shown me. 3SM 95.3

In a vision given me June 12, 1868, I was shown that which fully justified my course in publishing personal testimonies: “When the Lord singles out individual cases, and specifies their wrongs, others, who have not been shown in vision, frequently take it for granted that they are right, or nearly so. If one is reproved for a special wrong, brethren and sisters should carefully examine themselves to see wherein they have failed, and wherein they have been guilty of the same sin.”—Testimonies for the Church 5:658, 659. 3SM 95.4

Editing the Published Testimonies in 1884—Dear Brother Smith: I have today mailed you a letter, but information has been received from Battle Creek that the work upon Testimonies is not accepted. [Reference is to the work being done in response to the General Conference session action of November 16, which reads:

“32. Whereas, Some of the bound volumes of the Testimonies to the Church, are out of print, so that full sets cannot be obtained at the office; and,

Whereas, There is a constant and urgent call for the reprinting of these volumes; therefore,

Resolved, That we recommend their republication in such a form as to make four volumes of seven or eight hundred pages each.

“33. Whereas, many of these testimonies were written under the most unfavorable circumstances, the writer being too heavily pressed with anxiety and labor to devote critical thought to the grammatical perfection of the writings, and they were printed in such haste as to allow these imperfections to pass uncorrected; and,

Whereas, 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; therefore,

Resolved, that in the republication of these volumes, such verbal changes be made as to remove the above-named imperfections, as far as possible, without in any measure changing the thought; and further,

“34. Resolved, That this body appoint a committee of five to take charge of the republication of these volumes according to the above preambles and resolutions.”—The Review and Herald, November 27, 1883.

“The committee of five to take charge of the republication of the testimonies provided for in the thirty-fourth resolution was announced as follows, the Chair having been empowered to select four persons besides himself for this purpose: W. C. White, Uriah Smith, J. H. Waggoner, S. N. Haskell, George I. Butler.”—Ibid.

The work was submitted to Ellen White and was approved by her. The letter to Elder Smith intimates that she was more ready to accept the improvements than some in Battle Creek. The product was our present Testimonies, vols. 1-4, published in 1885.—Compilers.] 3SM 96.1

I wish to state some matters, which you can do what you please with. These statements you have heard me make before—that I was shown years ago that we should not delay publishing the important light given me because I could not prepare the matter perfectly. My husband was at times very sick, unable to give me the help that I should have had and that he could have given me had he been in health. On this account I delayed putting before the people that which has been given me in vision. 3SM 96.2

But I was shown that I should present before the people in the best manner possible the light received; then as I received greater light, and as I used the talent God had given me, I should have increased ability to use in writing and in speaking. I was to improve everything, as far as possible bringing it to perfection, that it might be accepted by intelligent minds. 3SM 96.3

As far as possible every defect should be removed from all our publications. As the truth should unfold and become widespread, every care should be exercised to perfect the works published. 3SM 97.1

I saw in regard to Brother Andrews’ history of the Sabbath, that he delayed the work too long. Other erroneous works were taking the field and blocking the way, so that minds would be prejudiced by the opposing elements. I saw that thus much would be lost. After the first edition was exhausted, then he could make improvements; but he was seeking too hard to arrive at perfection. This delay was not as God would have it. 3SM 97.2