Selected Messages Book 3


Chapter 17—The Experience of E. G. White in Preparing The Desire of Ages

Notations From Letters and Diaries

July 15, 1892—This week I have been enabled to commence writing on the life of Christ. Oh, how inefficient, how incapable I am of expressing the things which burn in my soul in reference to the mission of Christ! I have hardly dared to enter upon the work. There is so much to it all. And what shall I say, and what shall I leave unsaid? I lie awake nights pleading with the Lord for the Holy Spirit to come upon me, to abide upon me.... 3SM 115.1

I walk with trembling before God. I know not how to speak or trace with pen the large subject of the atoning sacrifice. I know not how to present subjects in the living power in which they stand before me. I tremble for fear lest I shall belittle the great plan of salvation by cheap words. I bow my soul in awe and reverence before God and say, “Who is sufficient for these things?”—Letter 40, 1892. 3SM 115.2

May 23, 1893—It is cloudy and raining this morning. I have been writing upon the life of Christ since four o'clock. Oh, that the Holy Spirit may rest and abide upon me, that my pen may trace the words which will communicate to others the light which the Lord has been pleased in His great mercy and love to give to me.—Manuscript 80, 1893. 3SM 115.3

June 15, 1893—I am anxious to get out the life of Christ. Marian [Davis] specifies chapters and subjects for me to write upon that I do not see really need to be written upon. I may see more light in them. These I shall not enter upon without the Lord's Spirit seems to lead me. The building [of] a tower, the war of Kings, these things do not burden my mind, but the subjects of the life of Christ, His character representing the Father, the parables essential for us all to understand and practice the lessons contained in them, I shall dwell upon.—Letter 131, 1893. 3SM 116.1

July 2, 1893—I write some every day on the life of Christ. One chapter sets my mind fresh upon other subjects so that I have several scratch books that I am writing upon. I hardly dare send manuscript by young Linden, fearing it may get lost, and I wish to give more time to some subjects.—Letter 132, 1893 (Written from New Zealand.) 3SM 116.2

July 7, 1893—I have written you a little bit every mail we heard of that went to ... [America], and when Brother Linden went, sent you a letter and manuscript ... some on the life of Christ.... That on life of Christ can be used for articles for the paper.—Letter 133, 1893. 3SM 116.3

Late 1894—It is decided in council I shall write on the life of Christ; but how any better than in the past? Questions and the true condition of things here and there are urged upon me.... 3SM 116.4

I have done scarcely anything on the life of Christ, and have been obliged to often bring Marian to my help, irrespective of the work on the life of Christ which she has to do under great difficulties, gathering from all my writings a little here and a little there, to arrange as best she can. But she is in good working order, if I could only feel free to give my whole attention to the work. She has her mind educated and trained for the work; and now I think, as I have thought a few hundred times, I shall be able after this mail [American] closes to take the life of Christ and go ahead with it, if the Lord will.—Letter 55, 1894. 3SM 116.5

October 25, 1894—Marian is working at the greatest disadvantage. I find but little time in which to write on the life of Christ. I am continually receiving letters that demand an answer, and I dare not neglect important matters that are brought to my notice. Then there are churches to visit, private testimonies to write, and many other things to be attended to that tax me and consume my time. Marian greedily grasps every letter I write to others in order to find sentences that she can use in the life of Christ. She has been collecting everything that has a bearing on Christ's lessons to his disciples, from all possible sources. After the camp meeting is ended, which is a very important meeting, I shall locate myself in some place where I can give myself to the work of writing on the life of Christ.... 3SM 117.1

There is much to be done in the churches, and I cannot act my part in keeping up the interest and do the other work that is necessary for me to do without becoming so weary that I cannot devote strength to writing on the life of Christ. I am much perplexed as to what is my duty.... 3SM 117.2

I have about decided to ... devote all my time to writing for the books that ought to be prepared without further delay. I would like to write on the life of Christ, on Christian Temperance [Ministry of Healing], and prepare Testimony No. 34 [volume 6] for it is very much needed. I will have to stop writing so much for the papers, and let the Review and Herald, the Signs of the Times, and all other periodicals go without articles from my pen for this year. 3SM 117.3

All articles that appear under my signature are fresh, new writings from my pen. I am sorry that I have not more literary help. I need this kind of help very much. Fanny [Bolton] could help me a great deal on the book work if she had not so many articles to prepare for the papers, and so many letters and testimonies to edit to meet the demands of my correspondence and the needs of the people. 3SM 117.4

It is of no use to expect anything from Marian [Davis] until the life of Christ is completed. I wish I could procure another intelligent worker who could be trusted to prepare matter for the press. Such a worker would be of great value to me. But the question is, Where shall I find such an one? I am brain weary much of the time. I write many pages before breakfast. I rise in the morning at two, three, and four o'clock.... 3SM 118.1

You know that my whole theme both in the pulpit and in private, by voice and pen, is the life of Christ. Hitherto nearly all that I have written on this theme has been written during the hours when others are sleeping.—Letter 46a, 1894. 3SM 118.2

June 6, 1896—That which is holy and elevated in heavenly things, I scarcely dare represent. Often I lay down my pen and say, Impossible, impossible for finite minds to grasp eternal truths, and deep holy principles, and to express their living import. I stand ignorant and helpless. The rich current of thought takes possession of my whole being, and I lay down my pen, and say, O Lord, I am finite, I am weak, and simple and ignorant; Thy grand and holy revelations I can never find language to express. 3SM 118.3

My words seem inadequate. I despair of clothing the truth God has made known concerning His great redemption, which engrossed to itself His undivided attention in the only-begotten Son of the Infinite One. The truths that are to last through time and through eternity, the great plan of redemption, which cost so much for the salvation of the human race, presenting before them a life that measures with the life of God—these truths are too full, deep, and holy for human words or human pen to adequately express.—Manuscript 23, 1896. 3SM 118.4

July 29, 1897—I awaken at half past two, and offer up my prayer to God in the name of Jesus. I am weak in physical strength; my head is not free from pain; my left eye troubles me. In writing upon the life of Christ I am deeply wrought upon. I forget to breathe as I should. I cannot endure the intensity of feeling that comes over me as I think of what Christ has suffered in our world.—Manuscript 70, 1897. 3SM 118.5

July 16, 1896—The manuscript for the “Life of Christ” is just about to be sent to America. [Contrary to her expectation, it was not until early 1898 that the manuscript was ready to send to the Pacific Press. It was sent in piecemeal, for new revelations led to many additions to the manuscript thought to be complete.—Compilers.] This will be handled by the Pacific Press. I have employed workers to prepare this book, especially Sister Davis, and this has cost me three thousand dollars. Another three thousand will be needed to prepare it to be scattered broadcast through the world in two books. We hope that they will have a large sale. I have devoted little time to these books, for speaking, writing articles for the papers, and writing private testimonies to meet and repress the evils that are coming in keeps me busy.—Letter 114, 1896. 3SM 119.1