The Great Controversy (1888 ed.)


The Great Controversy1888

Publisher's Preface

When the leader of those “angels which kept not their first estate” (Jude 6) fell from his holy and exalted place in heaven, he precipitated upon the universe of God an awful controversy. GC88 a.1

From the very nature of the case, there must be eternal antagonism between righteousness and sin. Between purity and pollution there can be no coalition; nor could the supreme author of all things, the God in whom inheres every perfection, maintain any other than an attitude of uncompromising hostility to sin and all its fruits, to the author of rebellion and all his followers. GC88 a.2

Another conclusion is apparent: God, as the foe of all evil, and at the same time omnipotent, could not, consistently with His own nature, suffer rebellion to enter within his realms, and abide forever. The intruder must be cast out; the disturber of the peace must be destroyed. There can be no question as to the issue of this controversy between a holy Creator and the rebellious creature. GC88 a.3

That sin might make a full revelation of its nature and results to the intelligences of all worlds, this controversy was not arrested in its inception. When sin is finally destroyed, it will have given sufficient evidence to satisfy every mind that it deserves the infliction; and all will joyfully acquiesce in its merited doom. GC88 a.4

Happily we have no evidence that, outside the apostate angels, any other world than our own has fallen under the influence of this sinful revolt. But this is enough to make it a matter of absorbing interest to us; for Satan and his angels being cast out of heaven, this world has become the sole theater of the struggle between right and wrong. All men have become involved therein. Between them and salvation there lies the problem of recovery from sin, the attainment to a condition of reconciliation and acceptance with God. GC88 a.5

What theme is therefore entitled to be regarded with more absorbing interest than this great controversy—the stages through which it has passed, its present development, and the outlook for the future. How and under what circumstances will the controversy end? And have we any evidence that the long-wished-for termination is drawing near? GC88 a.6

To the consideration of these great themes the following pages are devoted; and we have the clearest assurance that the author possesses peculiar qualifications for such a work. From her childhood she has been noted for her reverence and love for the Word of God, and her piety and devotion to His service. Unbounded faith in the promises of the Holy Scriptures has been both an inducement and a means to enable her to live near to the Saviour. The blessing of the Holy Spirit has been vouchsafed to her in large measure. And as one of the offices of this Spirit was declared to be to show unto the followers of Christ “things to come” (John 16:13), working through that prescribed channel which, as one of the endowments of the church, is described as the gift of prophecy (1 Corinthians 12:9, 10; 14:1), so we believe she has been empowered by a divine illumination to speak of some past events which have thus been brought to her attention, with greater minuteness than is set forth in any existing records, and to read the future with more than human foresight. Those who know what it is to hold communion with our Heavenly Father, will, we think, as they read these pages, feel constrained to believe that the writer has drawn from the heavenly fountain, and received help from that throne of grace where Christ sitteth as our merciful High Priest, and whence He is ever ready to send forth assistance to the many sons whom He is bringing unto glory. Hebrews 2:10. GC88 a.7

Aside from the great volume of inspiration—the Bible—no other book presents a more wonderful and intensely interesting history of the present dispensation, to the complete restitution of all things, than the volume here offered to the public. And as the closing scenes of this world's history are of the most thrilling and momentous nature, these are more particularly dwelt upon in this work. The reader, as he follows the narrative, beginning with a sketch of our Lord's great prophecy in Matthew 24, will find himself entering into new sympathy with the church in her warfare and her sufferings, as she passes on to her promised redemption; and the soul of every believer will kindle at the vivid description of the final triumph of the people of God, the destruction of Satan and all his followers, the total and eternal extirpation of evil from the universe, and the renovation of the earth as the everlasting inheritance of the saints, when this great controversy is concluded. GC88 b.1

While the subjects here presented involve the loftiest imagery, and most wonderful depth, even as the apostle declares, “the deep things of God,” which the Spirit alone is capable of searching into (1 Cor. 2:10), yet they are treated in language chaste, simple, and easy to be understood. And we rejoice to know that the reading of this work leads to greater confidence in, and love for, the Holy Scriptures, to greater sympathy with Christ, in His marvelous work for the redemption of men, and to greater reverence for the God of all grace, in Whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. GC88 b.2

Numerous editions of this work having already been exhausted, we feel a peculiar gratification in sending forth this edition, enlarged and improved, and adapted to circulate in various tongues. The illustrations will add to the interest and value of the work. May it still prove a blessing to all who read, and redound to the glory of the Most High. GC88 c.1