The General Conference Bulletin


June 1, 1913

Confidence in God

W. C. White MAY 30, 8:30 A. M.


I desire you to study with me some messages found in the prophecies of Isaiah, which have been recorded for our encouragement. We read: “O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.” “Thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.” Isaiah 25:1, 4. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 1

Again we read: “In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah: we have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.” Isaiah 26:1. What a comforting statement! And how truly have we seen this exemplified in our individual experience, in our experiences as families, in our work as a church, as a conference, as laborers in the mission field! When in our personal experience we feel that the enemy is coming in like a flood, when he is pressing us with temptations sore, approaching us from some unexpected quarter in an effort to ensnare and dishearten, O, how much we need help! And as we look about us, as we appeal to men for sympathy and counsel, how inadequate the response! But, O, there is a Source of help, of unfailing strength; and when we prostrate ourselves before God, and confess our sinfulness, our errors, our ignorance, and plead with him for wisdom, for strength, for forgiveness, for salvation, O, how sweet is such communion with our God; and there is so much for us to enjoy, such treasures of grace for us all, if we would but come to the Saviour more simply, more frequently, more trustingly. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 2

“Open ye the gates,” the Scripture says, “that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.” Verses 2-4. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 3

Now, let us pass to the twenty-seventh chapter of Isaiah: “In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine. I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.” We have been picturing the work of the church of God. While her work is glorious, her membership is weak. God, in his infinite plan, has arranged that a perfect work shall be done by a combination of imperfect people. But, brethren, the Lord wants us to look upon the church as he regards it, and sing its praises, for he says, “I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.... Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me. He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.” Verses 2, 3, 5, 6. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 4

As we attend the council of our missionaries day by day in the early morning, we can see that God has bestowed a great blessing upon them in enabling them to come together at this meeting and compare experiences, that they may be better prepared to go out again and gather in souls. And this is our privilege in our church, in our home town, to “fill the face of the world with fruit.” Christ's heart is longing for fruit. He longs to see fruit-bearing in you and in me and in every member. Every branch is to bear fruit for him. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 5

I turn now to another promise, in the forty-third chapter. The question comes up in the minds of our people, “Yes, the Lord is blessing our mission work, but, O, what about the weaknesses, what about the shaking? Is there going to be a greater shaking than we have had? My answer is, Have confidence in God! [Many amens.] The knowledge on your part and mine that the God of heaven knows us individually, that he has planned for us, and for the whole people; the simple confidence that the Lord is going to do for us tomorrow what he did for us yesterday,—that is what will hold us steady when the shakings come. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 6

Here is what the prophet says with reference to the experience of the church in time of trouble: “Thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.” Verses 1-3. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 7

In the light of this encouragement, brethren, shall we not say, in the words of the prophet, “The Lord God will help me”? Isaiah 50:7. Shall we not make this our watchword? Shall it not be our motto? Will he help us, brethren, as he has promised? Has he done it in the past? Will he do it today? Will he do it tomorrow? He surely will. “The Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.” GCB June 1, 1913, par. 8

Brethren, let us live in the light of these promises, these exhortations, these pictures of what God wants our experiences to be in serving him and in standing forever as a covenant before an unbelieving world that there is a God in heaven that has to do with the affairs of men; that there is a people in this world who believe there is a God, a people who know him, who hear his voice, who speak his words, and who strive to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, and to continue to do in this old, wicked world the work that he did when he was here. Brethren, this is our confidence, this is our strength. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 9

Now, it has been a part of my plan this morning to answer or to speak of some of the questions and some of the perplexities which are in the minds of our people regarding our future work, and particularly regarding that part of the work with which I am most intimately connected, that is, the work of Sister White. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 10

What would be the influence upon our work if Sister White should die? [Voice: God lives!] Has the Lord made known to her who is to be her successor?—No. The Lord has not told her how long she will live. He has not told her in a positive way that she is to die; but she expects to rest in the grave a little time before the Lord comes. About fifteen years ago, in one of her night visions, she came out of a very dark place into the bright light, and father was with her. When he saw her by his side he exclaimed in great surprise, “What, have you been there too, Ellen?” She always understood that to mean that the Lord would let her rest in the grave a little while before the Lord comes. She has been trying to work with reference to that. Oftentimes she has had messages to hasten her work,—the work of preparing her books,—because she had but a short time in which to work. She has been endeavoring to get her writings into book form, so that they may be of service to the church. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 11

Does she know who will be her successor?—No. Repeatedly people write to her, and some come long distances to visit her, and some bring their friends to her, with the belief and confidence that God has selected them or their friends, as the case may be, to take up the work which the Lord has committed to her, when she lays it down. Some think that they are to take it at her death; others think that the time has come already, and they have full confidence that when they come into her presence, she will recognize them, and that she will tell them that the Lord has shown her that they are the ones. But in every case she has been obliged to tell them, “The Lord has given me no such commandment.” GCB June 1, 1913, par. 12

I do not know as I can do better in giving a more full answer to some of these questions than to read extracts from letters which she has written at various times in answer to questions along this line. Here is one written July 8, 1906: GCB June 1, 1913, par. 13

“Dear Brother’,

“There are some who think they are able to measure the character and to estimate the importance of the work the Lord has given me to do. Their own mind and judgment are the standard by which they would weigh the testimonies’. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 14

“My instructor said to me: ‘Tell these men that God has not committed to them the work of measuring, classifying, and defining the character of the testimonies. Those who attempt this are sure to err in their conclusions. The Lord would have men adhere to their appointed work. If they will keep the way of the Lord, they will be able to discern clearly that the work which he has appointed me to do is not a work of human devising.’ GCB June 1, 1913, par. 15

“Those who carefully read the testimonies as they have appeared from the early days, need not be perplexed as to their origin. The many books, written by the help of the Spirit of God, bear a living witness to the character of the testimonies. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 16

“In the early days of our experience in the message, the Spirit of God often came upon a few of us as we were assembled, and I was taken away in vision. The Lord gave such light and evidence, such comfort and hope and joy, that his praises were upon our lips. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 17

“While my husband lived, he acted as helper and counselor in sending out the messages that were given to me. We traveled extensively. Sometimes light would be given to me in the night season, sometimes in the daytime before large congregations. The instruction I received in vision was faithfully written out by me, as I had time and strength for the work. Afterward we examined the matter together, my husband correcting grammatical errors and eliminating needless repetition. Then it was carefully copied for the persons addressed, or for the printer. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 18

“As the work grew, others assisted me in the preparation of matter for publication. After my husband's death, faithful helpers joined me, who labored untiringly in the work of copying the testimonies, and preparing articles for publication. But the reports that are circulated, that any of my helpers are permitted to add matter or change the meaning of the messages I write out, are not true. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 19

“While we were in Australia, the Lord instructed me that W. C. White should be relieved from the many burdens his brethren would lay upon him, that he might be more free to assist me in the work the Lord has laid upon me.... GCB June 1, 1913, par. 20

“It requires much wisdom and sound judgment, quickened by the Spirit of God, to know the proper time and manner to present the instruction that has been given. When the minds of persons reproved are under a strong deception, they naturally resist the testimony; and having taken an attitude of resistance, it is difficult for them afterward to acknowledge that they have been wrong.... GCB June 1, 1913, par. 21

“I have been told that many who give heed to the false science of the enemy would denounce my work as that of a false prophet, and would place upon the testimony such interpretations as tend to change the truth of God into a lie. Satan is on the alert; and some who in the past have been used by the Lord in doing his work, but who have permitted themselves to be deceived, will be stirred up to make an improper use of the messages given. Because they do not wish to listen to the words of reproof, because they will not hear counsel, and improve their course of action, and do their appointed work, they will misconstrue the messages to the church, and confuse many minds. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 22

“Nevertheless, I am to bear the message that is given me to bear, so long as the Lord shall choose. He has not given me the work of settling all the misunderstandings that are cherished in hearts of unbelief. Just as long as a door is open to receive the tempter's suggestions, difficulties will multiply. The hearts of those who will not come to the light are open to unbelief. If my time and strength are consumed upon such matters, this serves Satan's purposes. The Lord has said to me: ‘Bear the testimonies. Your work is not to settle difficulties; your work is to reprove, and to present the righteousness of Christ.’” GCB June 1, 1913, par. 23

I will now read a portion of another letter, written October 23, 1907: GCB June 1, 1913, par. 24

“Dear Brother’,

“I received and read your recent letter. Regarding the sister who thinks that she has been chosen to fill the position that Sister White has occupied, I have this to say: She may be honest, but she is certainly deceived’. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 25

“About a year after the death of my husband, I was very feeble, and it was feared that I might live but a short time. At the Healdsburg camp-meeting, I was taken into the tent where there was a large gathering of our people. I asked to be raised up from the lounge on which I was lying, and assisted to the speaker's platform, that I might say a few words of farewell to the people. As I tried to speak, the power of God came upon me, and thrilled me through and through. Many in the congregation observed that I was weak, and that my face and hands seemed bloodless; but as I began speaking, they saw the color coming into my lips and face, and knew that a miracle was being wrought in my behalf. I stood before the people healed, and spoke with freedom. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 26

“After this experience, light was given me that the Lord had raised me up to bear testimony for him in many countries, and that he would give me grace and strength for the work. It was also shown me that my son, W. C. White, should be my helper and counselor, and that the Lord would place on him the spirit of wisdom and of a sound mind.... GCB June 1, 1913, par. 27

“The assurance was given me: ‘You are not alone in the work the Lord has chosen you to do. You will be taught of God how to bring the truth in its simplicity before the people. The God of truth will sustain you, and convincing proof will be given that he is leading you. God will give you of his Holy Spirit, and his grace and wisdom and keeping power will be with you.... GCB June 1, 1913, par. 28

“‘The Lord will be your Instructor. You will meet with deceptive influences; they will come in many forms, in pantheism and other forms of infidelity; but follow where I shall guide you, and you will be safe.’... GCB June 1, 1913, par. 29

“This word was given me in 1882.... More recently, in a time of perplexity, the Lord said: ‘I have given you my servant, W. C. White, and I will give him judgment to be your helper. I will give him skill and understanding to manage wisely.’” GCB June 1, 1913, par. 30

W. C. White: Some of this may seem to be quite personal, but, brethren, I do not know how to bring before you the instruction that has been given mother with reference to the handling of her work, without presenting it to you in the connection in which it has been written. So please forgive me if in reading this, I am presenting some things that it might seem better for me not to present. I want you to know what has been presented to mother as the basis of her confidence regarding the future and the basis of her plans regarding the handling of her manuscripts and her books. I continue reading: GCB June 1, 1913, par. 31

“The Lord has given me other faithful helpers in my work. Many of my discourses have been reported, and have been put before the people in printed form. Through nearly the whole of my long experience I have endeavored, day by day, to write out that which was revealed to me in visions of the night. Many messages of counsel and reproof and encouragement have been sent out to individuals, and much of the instruction that I have received for the church has been published in periodicals and books, and circulated in many lands. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 32

“As the work has grown, the number of my helpers has increased. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 33

“Sister Marian Davis was a great help in copying my testimonies, and in preparing for publication the manuscripts which I placed in her hand. I appreciated her help very much. She now sleeps in Jesus. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 34

“For eleven years Miss Maggie Hare was among my workers. She was a faithful and true helper. She returned to New Zealand. [She again connected with the work in 1911.] GCB June 1, 1913, par. 35

“Recently Miss Minnie Hawkins, of Hobart, Tasmania, who was one of my copyists in Australia, has joined my staff of workers. [This communication from which I am reading, you will bear in mind, was written in 1907.] GCB June 1, 1913, par. 36

“During the General Conference of 1901, Brother C. C. Crisler was impressed by the Spirit of God that I needed him in my work, and he offered his services. I gladly accepted his help. He is a faithful, efficient, and conscientious worker. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 37

“Dores Robinson has assisted in copying my testimonies, and he has been diligently preparing ‘life incidents’ for publication. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 38

“Helen Graham is a good stenographer, and helps Sister Sara McEnterfer and W. C. White in their work of correspondence. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 39

“Sister Sarah Peck was my bookkeeper and helper for a number of years. She has left us to engage in school work at college view. We now have as bookkeeper, Brother Paul C. Mason. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 40

“Sister McEnterfer is my traveling companion, nurse, and helper in many ways. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 41

“Sister Mary Steward and her mother are with us now; and Mary, who for many years has served as proof-reader in the offices at Battle Creek and Nashville, has united with my workers. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 42

“The work is constantly moving forward. We are making earnest efforts to place my writings before the people. We hope that several new books will go to press shortly. If I am incapacitated for labor, my faithful workers are prepared to carry forward the work. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 43

“Abundant light has been given to our people in these last days. Whether or not my life is spared, my writings will constantly speak, and their work will go forward as long as time shall last. My writings are kept on file in the office, and even though I should not live, these words that have been given to me by the Lord will still have life and will speak to the people. But my strength is yet spared, and I hope to continue to do much useful work. I may live until the coming of the Lord; but if I should not, I trust it may be said of me, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.’ GCB June 1, 1913, par. 44

“The Lord Jehovah is the one to specify how the work shall be carried on under all circumstances. W. C. White has his commission. I have instructed him to labor untiringly to secure the publication of my writings in the english language first, and afterward to secure their translation and publication in many other languages.... I rejoice that with the faithful helpers that God has given me, I am able to carry forward, in its many varied lines, the work given me to do. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 45

“Both of my sons are engaged in giving this present truth to the world. I am glad that they are both connected with the publishing work. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 46

“I thank God for the assurance of his love, and that I have daily his leading and guidance. I am very busy with my writing. Early and late, I am writing out the matters that the Lord opens before me. The burden of my work is to prepare a people to stand in the day of the Lord. The promise of Christ is sure. The time is not long. We must work and watch and wait for the Lord Jesus. We are called upon to be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. All our hopes have their foundation in Christ.” GCB June 1, 1913, par. 47

It may be interesting to you to know that mother's corps of workers has changed very little since the communication that I have just read to you was written, nearly six years ago. The same ones are with her now, with a broadened experience; for we are learning better every day what our duty is in connection with this work. And God has blessed in the preparation of books. You have seen some of the more recent ones,—the “Acts of the Apostles,” And possibly the book just from the press, “Counsels to Teachers.” The latter is made up of a portion of two volumes out of print, the old “Christian Education,” and the smaller volume entitled “Special Testimonies on Education,” together with considerable new matter; and it has been prepared with reference to the needs of parents and students, as well as of teachers. We trust it will be a steadying influence, and an encouragement, in our school work, as long as we shall have to conduct schools and colleges in this world. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 48

Our workers are now gathering together material for a new edition of “Gospel Workers.” We are also gathering into chapters what mother has written on old testament history. Probably nine tenths of this work is already done, and we hope that the book may be published before christmas. Some of this matter was about ready, we thought, to place in the printers’ hands, when mother, upon going over some of the chapters, expressed herself as not fully satisfied. She thought there were other things she had written that we had not yet found, and she desired that these be searched out, if possible, and included. So we have laid the manuscript away in our fire-proof vault, and after this Conference probably four different persons will spend six or eight weeks in reading Through the thousands of pages of manuscript in the file to see if we can find the additional matter that she thinks is in existence. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 49

It would be comparatively easy to hasten along the preparation of these manuscripts for publication in book form, if we were to write in a little here and there where she has written only a portion of the story on certain topics and has left a portion incomplete. I say, if her secretaries were authorized by God to do that work, and could write in the connections, the book could be prepared for the printer much faster. But this cannot be done; we can deal only with the matter which we have in hand. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 50

For this reason, when you get the book on Old Testament history, you will find that there are some stories partly told, and not fully completed. You will find that there are many things you hoped to read about, that are not mentioned. Mother has written quite fully on Solomon, something on the divided monarchy, a little about Elijah and Elisha, quite fully about Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah; and we are gathering this and other matter and grouping it into chapters. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 51

You may say, What do you mean by this “gathering”? Did not Sister White sit down and write out quite fully and connectedly that which she had to say about the controversy, about Jeroboam and Rehoboam, about Jeremiah and Isaiah and other Old Testament characters?—No; not on all the principal characters. Her life has been a busy one. She has been kept constantly at the front, speaking to the people, meeting emergencies. Some of the most precious things she has written about Old Testament and New Testament characters were written first in letters to individuals. Some of the most precious paragraphs in “Desire of Ages,” passages describing Christ controversies with the Pharisees and the Herodians, were written under circumstances like these: GCB June 1, 1913, par. 52

At Ashfield, New South Wales, Elder Corliss and some faithful helpers had been presenting the truth until there was a group of about thirty people keeping the Sabbath, ready to be baptized and organized into a church. The Campbellites could not bear to see that done. A bitter opponent came and challenged our brethren personally and through the papers. This was ignored as long as it could be. Finally, our friends, those in the truth, demanded that there be a discussion. So a discussion was arranged for. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 53

In the night season this matter was laid before mother. She had never seen the Campbellite champion; but the man was shown to her—his spirit, his methods, his tactics. He had nothing to lose in that community; and it was presented to mother that his plan would be to endeavor to irritate Elder Corliss, and get him to say things that would discredit him before the people who were embracing the truth. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 54

During the progress of that discussion, mother wrote to Elder Corliss, stating that it had been presented to her that his opponent in the discussion would work on certain lines, and that he must take such a course as to disappoint the enemy. As she wrote these cautions, her memory would be revived as to what had been presented to her about the work of Christ, and how the Pharisees and the Sadducees and the Herodians had followed him with accusations and questions, endeavoring to discredit him before the people. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 55

When we came to make up the chapters for “Desire of Ages,” we found in those letters the most vivid description of those experiences, that she had written anywhere. And we found other most precious passages that had been written first in letters to members of the General Conference Committee, and to conference presidents, regarding situations which were illustrated by the experiences of these Old and New Testament characters. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 56

Being written in this way, it takes much time to search through the writings and find these passages, and bring them together into manuscripts. After these are gathered, and grouped into chapter form, the manuscript is always submitted to mother. She reads it over carefully. Up to the present time every chapter of every book, and all the articles for our periodicals—unless they happen to be reprints—have passed through her hands, and have been read over by her. Sometimes she interlines; sometimes she adds much matter; sometimes she says, “Can not you find more on this subject?” And then, when more has been found, and added, the manuscript is recopied, and handed back to her again for examination. And when she finally signs it and returns it to us we are permitted to send it out. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 57

Some criticism has been made because letters are sent out with a rubber-stamp signature. We feel that it is not necessary to ask mother to sign several copies. It is her custom to sign the original copy, and our workers claim that it is their right to keep this signed copy on file in our office, so that if anybody should challenge its authenticity, we have on file the copy signed with her own hand. The other copies are usually stamped with a rubber stamp. I merely mention this in passing, that all may know how much reason there is in any criticisms that are made about “rubber stamp testimonies.”. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 58

While gathering the matter for “The Acts of the Apostles,” day after day Brother Crisler and his associates in the work would pass in to mother the chapters as they were prepared, and she would read them. Sometimes she would pass them back without comment. Perhaps for three days in succession they would be passed back without a word of comment; and then she would say, What about such a subject? Where is the description of this? Or of that? And she would name the different matters she had in mind. In his explanation Brother Crisler might say, “The first matter you have mentioned is dealt with fully in a chapter you read some time ago; the second you inquire about is to be dealt with in a chapter to be prepared later; and as to the other matter that you wish to have incorporated, we had not thought of that. We will search the file, and see if we can find anything that has been written on that point.” GCB June 1, 1913, par. 59

At one time she said to him: “This book will be read by the same classes of people that the apostles were trying to reach in Paul's day. Take great pains to gather just as fully as you can what I have written regarding Paul's appeals to the heathen. The arguments that led the heathen to a knowledge of the true God in the days of the apostles, will appeal to the heathen in many lands in our day. These arguments were inspired of God, and in them there is convicting power. We must make the most of them in telling the story of the labors of the apostles.” GCB June 1, 1913, par. 60

At another time she said: “Have you made a careful study of what I have written about the Jews? The gospel must be preached to the Jews today. The appeals that were made to them by the apostles, will have great weight now. This book should be of value to the Jews, and to those who are working for the Jews, and also to those who ought to be working for the Jews. Take pains to gather carefully what I have written about Paul's work in appealing to the Jews.” GCB June 1, 1913, par. 61

These directions that she gives us have largely to do with the value of our work in the preparation of matter for the press. Of course at the beginning of the work on each book, we talk over the plan, and she gives general directions; and then she gives counsel as the work goes forward. Although mother is doing only a little writing now, and although she attends only a few public meetings, yet her counsels, and her directions to her workers, are of great value to this people, as found in the completeness of her published works. GCB June 1, 1913, par. 62