Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 21 (1906)


Lt 206, 1906

Paulson, David

St. Helena, California

June 14, 1906

Portions of this letter are published in 1SM 24-31; 5BC 1083.

Dr. David Paulson

Dear Brother:

Your letter came to me while in Southern California. For some weeks the consideration of matters connected with the development of our sanitarium work there, and the writing out of the views given me regarding the earthquake, and its lessons, have taken my time and strength. 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 1

But now I must respond to the letters received from you, Elder Sadler, and others. In your letter, you speak of your early training to have implicit faith in the testimonies, and say, “I was led to conclude and most firmly believe that every word that you ever spoke in public or private, that every letter you wrote under any and all circumstances, was as inspired as the ten commandments.” 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 2

My brother, you have studied my writings diligently, and you have never found that I have made any such claims. Neither will you find that the pioneers in our cause have made such claims. 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 3

In my preface to Great Controversy, pages c and d, you have no doubt read my statement regarding the ten commandments, and the Bible, which should have helped you to a correct understanding of the matter under consideration. Here is the statement: 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 4

“The Bible points to God as its author; yet it was written by human hands; and in the varied style of its different books it presents the characteristics of the several writers. The truths revealed are all ‘given by inspiration of God’ (2 Timothy 3:16); yet they are expressed in the words of men. The Infinite One by His Holy Spirit has shed light into the minds and hearts of His servants. He has given dreams and visions, symbols and figures; and those to whom the truth was thus revealed have themselves embodied the thought in human language. 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 5

“The ten commandments were spoken by God Himself, and were written by His own hand. They are of divine, and not human composition. But the Bible, with its God-given truths expressed in the language of men, presents a union of the divine and the human. Such a union existed in the nature of Christ, who was the Son of God and the Son of man. Thus it is true of the Bible, as it was of Christ, that ‘the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.’ John 1:14. 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 6

“Written in different ages, by men who differed widely in rank and occupation, and in mental and spiritual endowments, the books of the Bible present a wide contrast in style, as well as a diversity in the nature of the subjects unfolded. Different forms of expression are employed by different writers; often the same truth is more strikingly presented by one than by another. And as several writers present a subject under varied aspects and relations, there may appear, to the superficial, careless, or prejudiced reader, to be a discrepancy or contradiction, where the thoughtful, reverent student, with clearer insight, discerns the underlying harmony. 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 7

“As presented through different individuals, the truth is brought out in its varied aspects. One writer is more strongly impressed with one phase of a subject; he grasps those points that harmonize with his experience or with his power of perception and appreciation; another seizes upon a different phase; and each, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, presents what is most forcibly impressed upon his own mind—a different aspect of the truth in each, but a perfect harmony through all. And the truths thus revealed unite to form a perfect whole, adapted to meet the wants of men in all the circumstances and experiences of life. 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 8

“God has been pleased to communicate His truth to the world by human agencies, and He Himself, by His Holy Spirit, qualified men and enabled them to do this work. He guided the mind in the selection of what to speak and what to write. The treasure was entrusted to earthen vessels, yet it is, none the less, from Heaven. The testimony is conveyed through the imperfect expression of human language, yet it is the testimony of God; and the obedient, believing child of God beholds in it the glory of a divine power, full of grace and truth.” 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 9

In perfect harmony with this are my statements found in the article, “The Testimonies Slighted,” written June 20, 1882, and published in Testimonies to the Church, Volume Five, Number 31, pages 62-84. From this I quote for your consideration several paragraphs: 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 10

“Many are looking with self-complacency upon the long years during which they have advocated the truth. They now feel that they are entitled to a reward for their past trials and obedience. But this genuine experience in the things of God in the past makes them more guilty before Him for not preserving their integrity and going forward to perfection. The faithfulness for the past year will never atone for the neglect of the present year. A man’s truthfulness yesterday will not atone for his falsehood today. 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 11

“Many excuse their disregard of the testimonies by saying, ‘Sr. White is influenced by her husband; the testimonies are molded by his spirit and judgment.’ Others are seeking to gain something from me which they could construe to justify their course, or to give them influence. It was then I decided that nothing more should go from my pen until the converting power of God was seen in the church. But the Lord placed the burden upon my soul. I labored for you earnestly. How much this cost both my husband and myself, eternity will tell. Have I not a knowledge of the state of the church, when the Lord has presented their case before me again and again for years? Repeated warnings have been given, yet there has been no decided change.” 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 12

“Yet now when I send you a testimony of warning and reproof, many of you declare it to be merely the opinion of Sr. White. You have thereby insulted the Spirit of God. You know how the Lord has manifested Himself through the Spirit of Prophecy. Past, present, and future have passed before me. I have been shown faces that I had never seen, and years afterward I knew them when I saw them. I have been aroused from my sleep with a vivid sense of subjects previously presented to my mind; and I have written at midnight, letters that have gone across the continent, and, arriving at a crisis, have saved great disaster to the cause of God. This has been my work for many years. A power has impelled me to reprove and rebuke wrongs that I had not thought of. Is this work of the last thirty-six years from above, or from beneath?” 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 13

“When I went to Colorado, I was so burdened for you, that, in my weakness, I wrote many pages to be read at your camp-meeting. Weak and trembling, I arose at three o’clock in the morning to write to you. God was speaking through clay. You might 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. 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.” 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 14

“What voice will you acknowledge as the voice of God? What power has the Lord in reserve to correct your errors and show you your course as it is? What power to work in the church? If you refuse to believe until every shadow of uncertainty and every possibility of doubt is removed, you will never believe. The doubt that demands perfect knowledge will never yield to faith. Faith rests upon evidence, not demonstration. The Lord requires us to obey the voice of duty, when there are other voices all around urging us to pursue an opposite course. It requires earnest attention from us to distinguish the voice which speaks for God. We must resist and conquer inclination, and obey the voice of conscience, without parleying or compromise, lest its promptings cease, and will and impulse control. 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 15

“The word of the Lord comes to us all who have not resisted His Spirit by determining not to hear and obey. This voice is heard in warnings, in counsels, in reproof. It is the Lord’s message of light to His people. If we wait for louder calls, or better opportunities, the light may be withdrawn, and we left in darkness.” 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 16

“It pains me to say, my brethren, that your sinful neglect to walk in the light has enshrouded you in darkness. You may be honest in not recognizing and obeying the light; the doubts you have entertained, your neglect to heed the requirements of God, have blinded your perceptions so that darkness is now to you light, and light is darkness. God has bidden you to go forward to perfection. Christianity is a religion of progress. Light from God is full and ample, waiting our demand upon it. Whatever blessings the Lord may give, He has an infinite supply beyond and inexhaustible store from which we may draw. Skepticism may treat the sacred claims of the gospel with jests, scoffing, and denial. The spirit of worldliness may contaminate the many and control the few; the cause of God may hold its ground only by great exertion and continual sacrifice, yet it will triumph finally. 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 17

“The word is, Go forward; discharge your individual duty, and leave all consequences in the hands of God. If you move forward where Jesus leads the way, we shall see His triumph, we shall share His joy. We must share the conflicts, if we wear the crown of victory. Like Jesus, we must be made perfect through suffering. Had Christ’s life been one of ease, then might we safely yield to sloth. Since His life was marked with continual self-denial, suffering, and self-sacrifice, we will make no complaint if we are partakers with Him. We can walk safely in the darkest path, if we have the Light of the world for our guide.” 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 18

“When the Lord last presented your case before me, and made known to me that you had not regarded the light which had been given you, I was bidden to speak to you plainly in His name, for His anger was kindled against you. These words were spoken to me, ‘Your work is appointed you of God. Many will not hear you, for they refuse to hear the Great Teacher; many will not be corrected, for their ways are right in their own eyes. Yet bear to them the reproofs and warnings I shall give you, whether they will hear, or forbear.’” 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 19

“Our people are making very dangerous mistakes. We cannot praise and flatter any man without doing him a great wrong; those who do this will meet with serious disappointment. They trust too fully to finite man, and not enough to God who never errs. The eager desire to urge men into public notice is an evidence of backsliding from God and friendship with the world. It is the spirit which characterizes the present day. It shows that men have not the mind of Jesus; spiritual blindness and poverty of soul have come upon them. Often persons of inferior minds look away from Jesus to a merely human standard, by which they are not made conscious of their own littleness, and hence have an undue estimate of their own capabilities and endowments. There is among us as a people an idolatry of human instrumentalities, and mere human talent, and these even of a superficial character. We must die to self and cherish humble, childlike faith. God’s people have departed from their simplicity. They have not made God their strength; they are weak and faint, spiritually.” 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 20

“I have been shown that unbelief in the testimonies has been steadily increasing as the people backslide from God. It is all through our ranks, all over the field. But few know what our churches are to experience. I saw that at present we are under divine forbearance; but no one can say how long this will continue. No one knows how great the mercy that has been exercised toward us. But few are heartily devoted to God. There are only a few who, like the stars in the tempestuous night, shine here and there among the clouds.” 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 21

“Many who have exalted science and lost sight of the God of science. This was not the case with the church in the purest times.” 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 22

“God will work a work in our day that but few anticipate. He will raise up and exalt among us those who are taught rather by the unction of His Spirit, than by the outward training of scientific institutions. These facilities are not to be despised or condemned; they are ordained of God, but they can furnish only the exterior qualifications. God will manifest that He is not dependent on learned, self-important mortals.” 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 23

In connection with these quotations, study again the article, “The Nature and Influence of the Testimonies,” in Volume Five, Number 33, pages 654 to 691. 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 24

The statement which you quote from Testimony Number 31 that “In these letters which I wrote, in the testimonies I bear, I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me. 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,” is correct. It is true concerning the articles in our papers and in the many volumes of my books. I have been instructed in accordance with the Word in the precepts of the law of God. I have been instructed in selecting from the lessons of Christ. Are not the positions taken in my writings in harmony with the teachings of Jesus Christ? If not, point it out to me. 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 25

To some of the questions you have asked, I am not to answer Yes or No. I must not make statements that can be misconstrued. I see and feel the peril of those whom I have been instructed were endangering their souls at times by listening to deceptive representations regarding the messages that God has given me, through many twistings and turnings and false reasonings on what I have written, that they may vindicate their personal unbelief. I am sorry for my brethren who have been walking in the mist of suspicion and skepticism and false reasoning. I know that some of them would be blessed by messages of counsel if the clouds obscuring their spiritual vision could be driven back and they could see aright. But they do not see clearly. Therefore I dare not communicate with them. 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 26

When the Spirit of God clears away the mysticism, there will be found just as complete comfort and faith and hope in the messages that I have been instructed to give as were found in them in years past. 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 27

Truth will surely bear away the victory. One who gave His life to ransom man from the delusions of Satan is not asleep, but watching. When His sheep turn away from following the voice of a stranger whose sheep they are not, they will rejoice in the voice they have loved to follow. We can learn precious lessons from the study of the life of Christ. The envious Pharisees misinterpreted the acts and words of Christ, which, if properly received, would have been beneficial to their spiritual understanding. Instead of admiring His goodness, they charged Him, in the presence of His disciples, with impiety—“Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?” [Matthew 9:11.] Instead of addressing our blessed Saviour Himself, whose answer would at once have convicted them of their malice, they talked with the disciples and made their charges where, as a leaven of evil, they would do great harm. If Christ had been an impious man, He would have lost His hold upon the hearts of His believing followers. But because of their confidence in Christ, the disciples would not give ear to the insinuations of His wicked accusers. 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 28

Desiring to bring censure upon the disciples, these wicked accusers went again and again to Christ with the question, Why do Thy disciples that which is not lawful? And when they judged our Lord to have transgressed, they spake not to Himself, but to His disciples, to plant the seeds of unbelief in the hearts of His followers. Thus they worked to bring in doubt and dissension. Every method was tried to bring doubt into the hearts of the little flock, that it might cause them to watch for something that would check the good and gracious work of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Work of this same character will be brought to bear upon true believers today. The Lord Jesus reads the heart; He discerns the interests and purposes of the thoughts of all men concerning Himself and His believing disciples. He answers their thoughts concerning the fault-finding ones. “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” [Verse 12.] The insolent Pharisees had an exalted idea of their own piety and holiness, while they were ready to pass censure on the lives of others. 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 29

On one occasion those who were guilty of many secret sins brought to Christ a woman who had been taken in sin. They thought that He would pronounce judgment against her, and then they could accuse Him of taking judgment into His own hands. While they were presenting the case, Christ was busy writing on the sand. He said nothing; and when they pressed Him for a decision, He was in no hurry to pronounce judgment. One after another came near to Him to see what He was writing, and there in the sand they saw the record of their own sins. Then Christ said to them, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.” But not a stone was cast, and they went away, leaving the woman with Him. He said to her, “Where are those thine accusers? Doth no man condemn you?” She said, “No man, Lord.” Christ answered, “Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more.” [John 8:3-11.] 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 30

The Lord Jesus beheld the whole plot and the arrogance of the ones who had arranged it, who were worthy of condemnation and punishment, and when they saw that He knew their lives, they left and went out, having failed in their desire to bring about the condemnation of Christ. 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 31

Let no one complain. True religion is free from the exaltation of self. If we have not a sense of our interest, heart and mind and soul, in our Saviour, if we have not the grace and the intelligent Bible knowledge to apply to ourselves His merits and disposition of character, through the merits of the atonement, we shall obtain no ease, no assurance. 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 32

Bear in mind that it is none but God that can hold an argument with Satan. The sentiments of the enemy are to be met with a plain Thus saith the Lord. Human infirmity, I am instructed, will not be able to resist the devil. Always keep aloof from secret science. If the mind is once open to this evil, Satan has the mastery. Flee from this unequal conflict. Let it ever be our individual care to keep clear of Satan’s mysterious devisings. He will ever be making efforts to give power to secret science by which to overcome us, and then follows the sin of secret disobedience. 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 33

The law of the Lord is to be written on the heart. If it is not, we never obey it in truth. I am having deeply impressed upon my mind the history of the children of Israel while the awful presence of God was before them, as recorded in Exodus 19:16. “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp, to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.” [Verses 16-19.] 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 34

This was the all-important occasion, when God and angels came from heaven to the armies of Israel. Here was the law spoken in awful solemnity. The Lord God manifested Himself to His people who were delivered out of Egyptian bondage. But this very people, while waiting before the mount for Moses to return, were tempted to doubt by the suggestion of some that perplexities were arising; and notwithstanding the most solemn impressions that had been recently made upon their minds, they now by their attitude of questioning and doubt invited the tempter to come in as an honored guest. Growing doubt soon led to a demand for a substitute for Moses. 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 35

Only a few days before, the presence of the Lord was manifest in such power, that they were terribly afraid and asked that Moses might hear the words of God and then speak the same to them. But now they wanted something present that they could depend upon. 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 36

They might, at this time, have been learning precious lessons, which the Lord was ready to give them, if they had trusted fully in Him. But the result of their murmuring and unbelief was that Aaron made them a golden calf to represent God. He proclaimed this idol to be God, and a great deal of enthusiasm was created over this false god. If instead of doing this, he had called to mind the wonderful deliverance which God had wrought for them, and every mind had been drawn upon to express gratitude to God for all His rich mercies in delivering His people from Egyptian bondage, they might have been placed on vantage ground, to glorify the Lord God who had wrought such wonderful deliverance from degradation and slavery. 21LtMs, Lt 206, 1906, par. 37