The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials


Chapter 105—Light in God's Word

MS - 37 - 1890

Cir. 1890

The most precious light here* shone forth from the Scriptures presenting the truth of the law of God which is a standard of character in such a light as made it indeed glorious. Many souls were charmed with the light shining forth from the Word of God. Some points were presented which were not in accordance with the manner in which our brethren had interpreted the two laws, and they seemed to deplore greatly that this, to them, inharmonious note should be struck, because it created strong feelings of opposition, for the ideas were not in accordance with their former views of the two laws. 1888 825.1

There was among some a spirit manifested in reference to the investigation of this controverted question that was not after God's order. If we have held as truth some points in doctrine that will not bear close criticism and investigation it is our duty—without revealing the spirit that the churches manifested, which was so unlike Christ, patiently to come to the Word of God in an humble, prayerful, inquiring mind. Then we need to be changed in spirit, to be converted. The truth will lose nothing of its force or beauty or power through research, testing every point which we have considered as truth, if we preserve the meekness of Christ in our research. The Word of God will be found a treasure-house full of precious gems. We may draw from this storehouse very much more than we have done, and may be made wise unto salvation. 1888 825.2

The Word of God is a revelation of mercy, of peace and good will to man. The teachings of the Word of God open before us the necessity of purity, of holiness. There are jewels of truth, mercy, and righteousness to sanctify our lives, to reveal God in Jesus Christ. All who love God may come to the Scriptures earnestly, prayerfully, with contrition of soul, searching for truth as for hidden treasures, fasting and praying for truth, and they will not be disappointed but be made wise unto salvation. 1888 826.1

The great error with churches in all ages has been to reach a certain point in their understanding of Bible truth and there stop. There they anchored. They ceased to “Go forward,” as much as to say, “We have all-sufficient light. We need no more.” And they refuse light. 1888 826.2

After the message of warning was given, a confederacy was formed that would not receive the message. They kept themselves barricaded, fearing that if they should evidence that they did receive light there was a trapdoor ready to let them through into some dangerous pit. The richest treasures of truth were opened before them. Every mind needed the jewels and gems that were revealed, but by confederating together they were deceived and their stakes were set fast. Thus have the nominal churches dealt with the message from heaven. 1888 826.3

The Lord loves His people, and would lead them step by step onward under the banner of truth, the third angel's message. Still the precious mines of truth are to be explored. There should be, by every man who teaches the truth, a constant searching for what saith the Scriptures? There are the mines of truth to be worked. There is a most solemn work to be done. In these last days we have the benefit of the wisdom and experience of past ages. The men of God, saints and martyrs, have made confession of their faith, and the knowledge of their experience and their burning zeal for God is transmitted to the world in the living oracles. And their example of faith in living experience, in their self-denying, self-sacrificing lives, comes down along the line to our times. This hereditary trust has been gathered up by faithful witnesses that the bright light shining upon them in the knowledge of God might enlighten those living in these last days; and while they appreciate this light they will advance to greater light for the knowledge of the Word of God has been extending and increasing upon the earth. The Source of all light still invites us to come and absorb its rays. Light is not placed where the followers of Christ cannot obtain its benefits. It is not cut off from the world so there is no more or increased light to shine in greater clearness and more abundantly upon all who have improved the light given of God. 1888 826.4

God's people in these last days are not to choose darkness rather than light. They are to look for light, to expect light. The light will continue to shine from the Word of God whether men will hear or forbear, whether they will come to the light or turn from the light. Many who follow on to know the Lord will know that His going forth is prepared as the morning. The light will continue to shine in brighter and still brighter rays, and reveal more and more distinctly the truth as it is in Jesus, that human hearts and human characters may be improved and moral darkness which Satan is working to bring over the people of God may be dispelled. 1888 827.1

In consequence of light shining to every soul who ministers in sacred things, soul, body, and spirit will be sanctified through the molding influence of the Holy Spirit. They will improve in moral power. They will, if they receive and walk in the light, grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and their imperfections of character will be revealed just as they are—grievous in the sight of a holy God—and in answer to the prayer of Christ they will be daily advancing, sanctified through the truth. As we near the close of time, there will be needed a deeper and clearer discernment, a more firm knowledge of the Word of God, a living experience, and the holiness of heart and life which we must have to serve Him. 1888 827.2

Much precious light was brought out at this meeting [Minneapolis, 1888]. The law of God was exalted, placed before the people in the framework of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which left impressions on many minds which will be deepened and will be as lasting as eternity, while some minds were closed against light because it did not meet their ideas and former opinions. I have heard many testimonies in all parts of the field: “I found light, precious light.” “My Bible is a new Book.” “Never did we feel as at this meeting the necessity of being under the constant control of the Spirit of God, constantly uplifting the heart to God, to be Christians in heart, Christians in principles, possessing not merely a theory of the truth but revealing the principles of truth in a Christlike spirit.” 1888 828.1

We were pained to the heart to see the spirit of self-confidence, so out of place, yet so plainly revealed, so manifest in many because their minds were wrought up with prejudice. There was much talking, much suspicioning, criticizing Sister White's testimonies. It passed from lip to lip of those who ought to know better, that Sister White was influenced. “Of course, if this is the danger to be apprehended, we cannot depend upon her testimonies any more.” 1888 828.2

I suppose if I had challenged them to tell me when, at what time and place, this work changed which made of none effect the testimonies because corrupted or contaminated with human influence, it would not have been so easy to specify the precise time. One would have said, “It was certain years ago when Sister White's testimony was in marked contrast to the way I understand the Scriptures. I received a sharp reproof and I have not seen the testimonies were so.” But all who know that person would bear their verdict, “Every word was truth to the letter.” One had some years ago been reproved and he had doubted the testimonies ever since, for he was sure someone had been writing to me and told me those things. 1888 828.3

When there are those who condescend to take this position, any words would be lost upon them. I will not answer them. They shall not drag me into the mire of Satan with them. If they think that the testimonies originate as Canright claims—that he could give me a testimony—then the sooner they take their position on the dragon's side of the question the less danger of others being deceived by their disguised words. There are now everywhere surmisings of evil that have not the slightest foundation in truth, yet hearts opened to receive darkness have darkness to form chapters in their experience that lie registered in the heavenly courts. Yet the most wonderful lies Satan could invent were received as truth. If indeed the truth sanctifies the soul, much more of its divine principles was needed at that meeting to soften hearts, to mold character, to reveal Christ abiding in the heart by living faith. 1888 829.1

When Christ is enthroned in the heart the spirit and love of Jesus will be revealed in the investigation of all points of doctrine. There will be far more praying than jesting and joking in a strong, harsh manner, inflaming one another, strengthening one another in their resistance of messages sent from God. Their minds were so blinded that everything was measured by their ideas of what they considered truth. I endeavored to bear my testimony in these meetings in the fear of God. At times I was compelled to speak plainly, and lay before them the dangers of resisting the Spirit of God; and the Lord gave me great freedom of spirit. 1888 829.2

As a people we are certainly in great danger, if we are not constantly guarded, of considering our ideas, because long cherished, to be Bible doctrines and on every point infallible, and measuring everyone by the rule of our interpretation of Bible truth. This is our danger, and this would be the greatest evil that could ever come to us as a people. While I was in Europe I felt deeply moved by the Spirit of God, as I never did before, that there must be altogether a different spirit and element brought into our conferences. If one should hold ideas differing in some respects from that which we have heretofore entertained—not on vital points of truth—there should not be a firm, rigid attitude assumed that all is right in every particular, all is Bible truth without a flaw, that every point we have held is without mistake or cannot be improved. This I know to be dangerous business and it proceeds from that wisdom that is from beneath. 1888 830.1

The very same course was taken by the denominational churches when we embraced the first and second angels’ messages. And as the light was shining forth from the oracles of God upon the messages which were present truth for our time, Satan tried by every means in his power to close the door to shut out the light. We had to meet with prejudice and with ridicule and with sneers and with criticism of the very same character that we have had to meet here in this conference. The opposition seemed almost crushing in its influence. What if we had held our peace and been controlled by the ministers who thought we were heretics, disturbing the peace of churches? Nevertheless, we did move forward, and while many bent beneath the power of opposition and yielded their faith to preserve the unity with their brethren, and retained their place in the churches, many could not conscientiously do this. They held fast their faith. And what was the result? They were turned out of the churches. After the passing of the time, when sorrow and disappointment was weighing us down to the earth, the Lord let His light shine in upon us, giving us the light upon the third angel's message so strikingly clear, which showed us our whereabouts in prophecy and placed our feet in a sure path. 1888 830.2

We have seen in our experience that when the Lord sends rays of light from the open door of the sanctuary to His people, Satan stirs up the minds of many. But the end is not yet. There will be those who will resist the light and crowd down those whom God has made His channels to communicate light. Spiritual things are not spiritually discerned. The watchmen have not kept pace with the opening providence of God, and the real heaven-sent message and messengers are scorned. 1888 831.1

There will go from this meeting men who claim to know the truth who are gathering about their souls the garments not woven in the loom of heaven. The spirit that they have received here will be carried with them. I tremble for the future of our cause. Those who do not in this place yield to the evidence God has given will war against their brethren whom God is using. They will make it very hard, when opportunities shall come where they can carry forward and onward the same kind of warfare they have hitherto engaged in. These men will have opportunities to be convinced that they have been warring against the Holy Spirit of God. Some will be convinced; others will hold firmly their own spirit. They will not die to self and let the Lord Jesus come into their hearts. They will be more and still more deceived until they cannot discern truth and righteousness. They will, under another spirit, seek to place upon the work a mold that God shall not approve; and they will endeavor to act out the attributes of Satan in assuming control of human minds and thus control the work and cause of God. 1888 831.2

Had our brethren fasted and prayed and humbled their hearts before God at this meeting, and sat down calmly to investigate the Scriptures together, then God would have been glorified. But the spirit of prejudice that was brought to that meeting closed the door to the richest blessing of God, and those who had this spirit will not be in a favorable position to see light until they repent before God and have some sense of how near they have come to doing despite to the Holy Spirit and having another spirit. 1888 831.3

But from this meeting there will be a different mold ever after upon the work. Our brethren will feel the need of investigating the evidences of our faith far more critically for themselves. They will not feel that if ideas are accepted by those who have borne responsibilities in this cause they may safely accept them as infallible because they are sustained by men in positions of influence, and that they have no more necessity to search the Scriptures for themselves than those who are taught to receive the words of the priests and popes. 1888 832.1

This has been the mistake of a large number of our preaching brethren. They have not been close Bible students, and many of their discourses have been repeated. The old, stereotyped discourses will be repeated with scarcely a variation, because they will not open the door to receive light, increased light, but go on in the same line, repeating almost the same words. For years, scarcely a new ray of light has flashed forth from them. They have not had advanced light, and some have educated themselves as debaters and God has not been glorified in this. They have used great sharpness with opponents and have educated themselves to overcome an opponent if possible, not always by fair means. This is not at all after Christ's order. 1888 832.2

Whoever studies the Bible in regard to the fall of Satan and the first advent of Christ to our world, and enters into the spirit of His life, His teachings, miracles, death, resurrection, and ascension, will see that they have much need of humble, earnest prayer, of deep humility, of far less self-esteem. Their hearts will cry out for help from the living God. They will feel the necessity of trained intelligence, trained ability, to present the truth as it is in Jesus, which is to come to the people in a much higher sense than they have yet heard it. They will cry day after day to God alone in secret places for divine wisdom that they may discriminate between good and evil, righteousness and sin. 1888 832.3

There is need of spiritual guides whose words will be a tonic to the church, who are acquainted with the science of healing the broken heart, of being a physician to the sick sheep and lambs, sermonizing a great deal less and binding up the wounds of the sheep and of the lambs. The sanctification of the soul is the only true elevation of man. While the true shepherd of the sheep will humble his heart before God with the burden of the great responsibility in his position of trust, and with a sense of his weakness, his deficiencies, and with the fear of God before him, he will cry unto God with all his soul for divine enlightenment before he makes a move in any line. He will not trust to his own finite intelligence or to his own wisdom to devise and plan. He will be sick and sore over his past poor performance and inefficient experience. 1888 833.1

He has need of rare discrimination to discern between the souls who are spiritually diseased, discouraged, and who need help, and those in the church who are self-confident, full of self-esteem, and who sense not that their own wisdom is foolishness, and that they must conquer the evil inside and outside more earnestly and perseveringly, else they cannot be saved. He will, if he walks with God through individual experience, see with clearness the Bible condition for securing blessings from God. It is not in making a show, but when man does his part and comes to God divested of his own self-righteousness and is humble and contrite, the promise will never fail him. 1888 833.2

There are priceless blessings for the churches. Pastors must sense this and present line upon line, precept upon precept, the simplicity of faith. If they would come down from their stilts and cease preaching long, dry sermons and minister to the flock as faithful shepherds, they would see many souls saved. 1888 834.1

We say decidedly, every minister of Jesus Christ must bind himself to the Source of all light and power and he must not follow in the shadow of any other living man, because there is Christ to whom he must become attached, and he should not bind his heart to any human being and let man do his thinking for him. He is not filling his position in society or in the world if he simply accepts what his father has said and what his father, or some great and good man in past generations, has done, and sinks himself, his individuality, in them. Some who think that they preach the gospel are preaching other men's ideas. Through some means they have come to the decision that it is no part of a minister's calling or duty to think diligently and prayerfully. He accepts what other men have taught without asserting his individuality. This doctrine, taught by the church of Rome, is entire dependence upon the leaders. The individual's conscience is not his own. Judgment must be controlled by other men's ideas. His intelligence is to go no farther than that of those who are leaders. 1888 834.2

Now Satan has his hand in all this work to narrow down the work of God. Ministers of Jesus Christ are to be constantly receiving light from the Source of all light. They are not to be simply receivers of other men's thoughts, they themselves not plowing deep into the mines of truth. If a minister is not a worker himself, digging for the truth as for hidden treasure to find the precious jewels of truth, he is forfeiting his God-given privileges. He is not to put any human mind, any human intelligence, between his soul and God. There is to come no authority from human minds that will in the least degree interpose between him and God's authority to lead, to guide, and to dictate. The ministers of Christ should gather up every ray of light, every jot of strength and illumination from other minds whom God has blessed, but that is not enough. They must go to the Fountainhead for themselves. God has given men reasoning minds and He will not hold them guiltless if they trust in man or make flesh their arm. He wants you individually to come to Him, to draw from Him, to use the ability God gives to understand the living oracles. If one man can see light in examining the Scriptures, so may every true Christian have the right to read, to examine, to search the Scriptures with unabated interest, and gather light therefrom. 1888 834.3

If they fail to do this they will not be using the ability God has given them, that they may grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. Then let every man read, study, and search the Scriptures for himself and take nothing as infallible but the Word that you can see for yourself, after much prayer and searching in an humble, teachable spirit. God has given no man a right to set himself up as a standard of doctrine. 1888 835.1

Many have believed some things as truth because men whom they believed to be led of God have declared them to be truth; but were they? Was all they held in doctrine true? No! Time has shown that men who feared God have made mistakes in their interpretation of Scriptures. Some parts were not understood, and the next generation have, through diligent searching, come to a knowledge of the truth; advanced light has been presented, but they did not have all the light. The next generation saw increased light and then there was a going forward from light to a greater light. 1888 835.2

It is a deplorable fact that men have connected with men, looked up to them, placed them where God should be, regarded their words and works as inspired, their interpretation of Scripture inspired, and they have become copies of men. They are dwarfed in their religious experience. They do not lead out. They are letting other men be brains for them, letting another man search the Scriptures for them, and accepting his decisions as authority; and yet that man, whom they depend on and trust in, is compassed with the same human infirmities and weaknesses, and his defects really are regarded to be virtues to be copied. The Lord wants ministers of the gospel to search the Scriptures. Make no living man a channel. Accept not the work he does as without a flaw. Do not let him do the work God has told you to do. If you do, how are you occupying a safe position? Jesus bids you come to Him, the great Teacher, and learn of Him, and you should find rest to your souls. Let no man stand between your soul and Jesus Christ, thinking that the Lord tells him that which He refuses to tell you. Give God a chance, ministering brethren, to operate on your mind. Place yourself before Him as one who wants to learn of Him. You must place yourself before the Lord in diligently searching His Word that He may communicate ideas to you. He does not design that you shall be dependent on human minds. He would have you look to Him in faith to do large things for you, not through another man, but to you. 1888 836.1

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think he shall receive anything of the Lord.” James 1:5-7. 1888 836.2

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged.” Matthew 7:1, 2. The conversation and judging of those brethren who differed in some points on the law in Galatians was not after God's order, but after the order of human nature. The conversation in the homes at Minneapolis was founded principally upon impressions received from letters written from California, and from reports. Those impressions were formed in ignorance. If the judgment had been suspended and the much unsanctified talk left unsaid, had there been words spoken to God and not to men, there would have been some chance for the voice of the Good Shepherd to be heard; but the topic that came to the front was the law in Galatians. And then commenced the judging. One stimulated another. But few found solitude to search their Bibles anew and look to God in earnest prayer, with humble hearts, to learn of the divine Teacher—but the opinion of men was looked to as the voice of God. The enemy took possession of minds and their judgment was worthless, their decisions were evil, for they did not have the mind of Christ. They were doing continual injustice to the persons they talked about, and they had a demoralizing effect upon the conference. 1888 836.3

The habit that some who claim to be preachers of the gospel have, to pass sentence upon everything with which they do not agree, has a demoralizing influence upon their own religious experience, and upon all who have confidence in them. God gives no one the work of sitting in judgment upon their neighbors and communicating their decisions far and wide. When they extend their words and influence against men whom God is using to do a special work, and they set themselves in dead earnest against those of whose motives and whose religious standing they know nothing to condemn, they do a work similar to that which Satan is doing. They knew nothing about the motives which impel certain actions which they take up and talk of so glibly. All facts that should be considered under the influence of the Spirit of God are glibly pronounced upon as if they themselves were men whose judgment was sound and unquestionable. 1888 837.1

I have been compelled to bear a decided testimony at this meeting. The Lord has men of opportunity through whom He is working. From this meeting there will be decided changes in our churches. There is a faith professed but a decided want of that faith that works by love and purifies the soul. 1888 838.1

Copied from handwritten original
as grammatically corrected.
December 10, 1958.