Life Sketches of Ellen G. White


Chapter 40—A View of the Judgment

On the morning of October 23, 1879, about two o'clock, the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me, and I beheld scenes in the coming judgment. Language fails me in which to give an adequate description of the things which passed before me, and of the effect they had upon my mind. LS 241.1

The great day of the execution of God's judgment seemed to have come. Ten thousand times ten thousand were assembled before a large throne, upon which was seated a Person of majestic appearance. Several books were before Him, and upon the covers of each was written in letters of gold, which seemed like a burning flame of fire, “Ledger of Heaven.” LS 241.2

One of these books, containing the names of those who claim to believe the truth, was then opened. Immediately I lost sight of the countless millions about the throne, and only those who were professedly children of the light and of the truth engaged my attention. As these persons were named, one by one, and their good deeds mentioned, their countenances would light up with a holy joy that was reflected in every direction. But this did not seem to rest upon my mind with the greatest force. LS 241.3

Another book was opened, wherein were recorded the sins of those who profess the truth. Under the general heading of “Selfishness” came every other sin. There were also headings over every column, and underneath these, opposite each name, were recorded, in their respective columns, the lesser sins. Under “Covetousness” came falsehood, theft, robbery, fraud, and avarice; under “Ambition” came pride and extravagance; “Jealousy” stood at the head of malice, envy, and hatred; and “Intemperance” headed a long list of fearful crimes, such as lasciviousness, adultery, indulgence of animal passions, etc. As I beheld, I was filled with inexpressible anguish, and exclaimed: “Who can be saved? Who will stand justified before God? Whose robes are spotless? Who are faultless in the sight of a pure and holy God?” LS 241.4

As the Holy One upon the throne slowly turned the leaves of the ledger, and His eyes rested for a moment upon individuals, His glance seemed to burn into their very souls, and at the same moment every word and action of their lives passed before their minds as clearly as though traced before their vision in letters of fire. Trembling seized them and their faces turned pale LS 242.1

One class were registered as cumberers of the ground. As the piercing eye of the Judge rested upon these, their sins of neglect were distinctly revealed. With pale, quivering lips they acknowledged that they had been traitors to their holy trust. They had had warnings and privileges, but they had not heeded nor improved upon them. They could now see that they had presumed too much upon the mercy of God.… LS 242.2

The names of all who profess the truth were mentioned.... Upon one page of the ledger, under the head of “Fidelity,” was the name of my husband. His life, character, and all the incidents in our experience, seemed to be brought vividly before my mind. A very few items which impressed me, I will mention. I was shown that God had qualified my husband for a specific work, and in His providence had united us to carry forward this work. Through the Testimonies of His Spirit, He had imparted to him great light. He had cautioned, warned, reproved, and encouraged; and it was due to the power of His grace that we had been enabled to bear a part in the work from its very commencement. God had miraculously preserved his mental faculties, notwithstanding his physical powers had given out again and again. LS 242.3

God should have the glory for the unbending integrity and noble courage to vindicate the right and condemn the wrong which my husband has had. Just such firmness and decision were necessary at the commencement of the work, and they have been needed all along, as it progressed step by step. He has stood in defense of the truth without yielding a single principle to please the best friend. He has had an ardent temperament, bold and fearless in acting and speaking. This has often led him into difficulties which he might frequently have avoided. He has been obliged to stand more firmly, to be more decided, to speak more earnestly and boldly, because of the very different temperament of the men connected with him in his labor. LS 243.1

God has given him the power to form and execute plans with the needed firmness, because he did not refuse to exercise these qualities of the mind, and to venture in order to advance the work of God. Self has at times been mingled with the work; but when the Holy Spirit has controlled his mind, he has been a most successful instrument in the hands of God for the upbuilding of His cause. He has had elevated views of the Lord's claims upon all who profess His name,—of their duty to stand in defense of the widow and the fatherless, to be kind to the poor, to help the needy. He would jealously guard the interests of his brethren, that no unjust advantage should be taken of them. LS 243.2

The earnest efforts of my husband to build up the institutions in our midst I also saw registered in the Ledger of Heaven. The truth sent out from the press was like rays of light emanating from the sun in all directions. This work was commenced and carried forward at a great sacrifice of strength and means. LS 244.1