A Question Answered

A Question Answered


[CD-ROM Editor’s Note: The following material as noted within the essay is drawn from three different issues of The Review and Herald, October 18, 1887 periodical, 13 March, 1888, and 27 November, 1883.]

In an editorial in The Review and Herald, October 18, 1887, Elder Smith writes regarding objections to the work of Mrs. White: QUAN 1.1

“The statement is made, ‘I know her works are not inspired; for I have seen manuscripts revised for the press. She quotes sometimes from history; are all historians inspired?’ ... But who has ever claimed that her words were inspired? Where or when has such a thing ever been intimated?” QUAN 1.2

Regarding this statement one questioner wrote: “Is not a word a sign of an idea? how then can an idea be inspired, and the signs that transfer the idea be uninspired?” To this Elder Smith replied in the issue for March 13, 1888: QUAN 1.3

“If there was but one word by which an idea could be expressed, this would be so; but when there are perhaps a hundred ways of expressing the same idea, the case becomes very different. Of course, if the Holy Spirit should give a person words to write, he would be obliged to use those very words without change; but when simply a scene or view is presented before a person, and no language is given, he would be at liberty to describe it in his own words, as might seem best to him to express the truth in the case. And, if having written it out once, a better way of expressing it should occur to him, it would be perfectly legitimate for him to scratch out all he had written, and write it over again, keeping strictly to the ideas and facts which had been shown him. And in the second writing there would be the divinely communicated idea just as much as in the first, while neither case could it be said that the words employed were dictated by the Holy Spirit, but were left to the judgement of the individual himself. QUAN 1.4

“The same method of reasoning which opposers adopt in regard to Sister White when they ask if her amanuenses, and the historians she quotes were inspired too, the infidel uses against the word of God itself. We call our English Bible an inspired book; but the English is a translation from the original Hebrew. Other translations have been made, and the translators differ much in the phraseology of their translations; whereupon the infidel asks, are these translators all inspired to? and he asks it on just as good grounds and with just as much reason, as those referred to above ask the same question with reference to the writings of Sister White.” QUAN 2.1