Manuscript Releases, vol. 9 [Nos. 664-770]


MR No. 760—These Materials Were Assembled for ?The Integrity of the Sanctuary Truth? Available from the E.G. White Estate

MR No. 761—The Law in Galatians

I have been looking in vain as yet to get an article that was written nearly twenty years ago in reference to the “added law.” I read this to Elder [J. H.] Waggoner. I stated then to him that I had been shown his position in regard to the law was incorrect, and from the statements I made to him he has been silent upon the subject for many years.—Letter 28, 1887, p. 1. (To E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones, February 18, 1887.) 9MR 325.1

I am troubled; for the life of me I cannot remember that which I have been shown in reference to the two laws. I cannot remember what the caution and warning referred to were that was given to Elder [J. H.] Waggoner. It may be it was a caution not to make his ideas prominent at that time, for there was great danger of disunion.... 9MR 325.2

I was pained when I saw your article in the Review, and for the last half hour I have been reading the references preceding your pamphlet. Now my brother, things that you have said, many of them are all right. The principles that you refer to are right, but how this can harmonize with your pointed remarks to Dr. [E. J.] Waggoner, I cannot see.... 9MR 325.3

I have had some impressive dreams that have led me to feel that you are not altogether in the light.—Letter 13, 1887, pp. 1, 2. (To Elders G. I. Butler and Uriah Smith, April 5, 1887.) 9MR 325.4

You [G. I. Butler and Uriah Smith] must not think that the Lord has placed you in the position that you now occupy as the only men who are to decide as to whether any more light and truth shall come to God's people.... 9MR 325.5

You speak of the affliction that came upon because of the “way this matter (the question of the law in Galatians) has been pushed and urged by responsible men in the cause, and by your seeming attitude, which has brought me to my present condition more than any other one thing.” I have no knowledge of taking any position in this matter. I have not with me the light God had given me on this subject, and which had been written, and I dared not make any rash statement in relation to it till I could see what I had written upon it. My attitude therefore could not be helped. I had not read Dr. [E. J.] Waggoner's articles in the Signs, and I did not know what his views were.... 9MR 326.1

He [Ellen White's guide while in vision] stretched out his arms toward Dr. Waggoner and to you, Elder Butler, and said in substance as follows: “Neither have all the light upon the law; neither position is perfect.” “Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart” (Psalm 97:11). There are hundreds that know not why they believe the doctrines they do.... 9MR 326.2

I wrote [from Europe] in the anguish of my soul in regard to the course you pursued in the [1886] General Conference [session] two years since. The Lord was not pleased with that meeting. Your spirit, my brother, was not right. The manner in which you treated the case of Dr. Waggoner was perhaps after your own order, but not after God's order. The course you took was not excusable, even if his views were questionable.—Letter 21, 1888, pp. 1, 6, 7, 10. (To G. I. Butler, October 14, 1888.) 9MR 326.3

You [G. I. Butler] have been wonderfully zealous in regard to any difference of opinion being presented upon the law in Galatians. You speak of the position I have taken upon it and the letter I wrote you being the cause of your sickness. This may be your own interpretation of the matter, but I have reason to lay your sickness to causes that you do not see.—Manuscript 16, 1889, p. 2. (“The Discernment of Truth,” cir. January, 1889.) 9MR 327.1

They [opponents of Waggoner and Jones attending the ministerial institute following the 1888 General Conference session] thought the law in Galatians would come up and they would go armed and equipped to resist everything coming from those men from the Pacific Coast, new and old.... 9MR 327.2

I was represented as telling things untrue, when I made the statement that not a word of conversation had passed between me and Brethren Jones and Waggoner nor my son Willie upon the law in Galatians. If they had been as frank with me as they were in talking with one another against me, I could have made everything plain to them in this matter. I repeated this several times, because I saw they were determined not to take my testimony. They thought we all came to the conference with a perfect understanding and an agreement to make a stand on the law in Galatians.—Letter 14, 1889, pp. 2, 4. (To Brother and Sister Maxson, March 2, 1889.) 9MR 327.3

I have not changed my views in reference to the law in Galatians, but I hope that I shall never be left to entertain the spirit that was brought into the General Conference. I have not the least hesitancy in saying it was not the Spirit of God. If every idea we have entertained in doctrines is truth, will not the truth bear to be investigated? Will it totter and fall if criticized? If so, let it fall, the sooner the better. The spirit that would close the door to investigation of points of truth in a Christlike manner is not the Spirit from above.... 9MR 327.4

A. T. Jones and Dr. Waggoner hold views upon some doctrinal points which all admit are not vital questions, different from those which some of the leading ones of our people have held. But it is a vital question whether we are Christians, whether we have a Christian spirit, and are true, open, and frank with one another.... 9MR 328.1

I have ... told you that my views are not changed in regard to the law in Galatians. But if we have had the truth upon this subject our brethren have failed to be sanctified through it; the fruits are not after Christ's order, but bitter as gall.—Letter 7, 1888, pp. 1-4. (To W. M. Healey, December 9, 1888.) 9MR 328.2

Night before last I was shown that evidences in regard to the covenants were clear and convincing. Yourself, Brother B, Brother C, and others are spending your investigative powers for naught to produce a position on the covenants to vary from the position that Brother [E. J.] Waggoner has presented. Had you received the true light which shineth, you would not have imitated or gone over the same manner of interpretation and misconstruing the Scriptures as did the Jews. What made them so zealous? Why did they hang on the words of Christ? Why did spies follow Him to mark His words that they could repeat and misinterpret and twist in a way to mean that which their own unsanctified minds would make them to mean. In this way, they deceived the people. They made false issues. They handled those things that they could make a means of clouding and misleading minds. 9MR 328.3

The covenant question is a clear question and would be received by every candid, unprejudiced mind, but I was brought where the Lord gave me an insight into this matter. You have turned from plain light because you were afraid that the law question in Galatians would have to be accepted. As to the law in Galatians, I have no burden and never have had.—Letter 59, 1890, p. 6. (To Uriah Smith, March 8, 1890.) 9MR 329.1

I am much pleased to learn that Professor [W. W.] Prescott is giving the same lessons in his class to the students that Brother [E. J.] Waggoner has been giving. He is presenting the covenants. John thinks it is presented in a clear and convincing manner. 9MR 329.2

Since I made the statement last Sabbath that the view of the covenants as it had been taught by Brother Waggoner was truth, it seems that great relief has come to many minds.—Letter 30, 1890, p. 2. (To W. C. White and wife, March 10, 1890.) 9MR 329.3

Then I commenced giving my experience in California with certain ones, and the every-ready evading of the testimonies. “It is Sister White's mind, her opinions; and her opinions are no better than our opinions, unless it is something she has seen in vision”.... 9MR 329.4

Brother Olsen labored well, but there was no decided break. Sunday morning, although weary and almost discouraged, I ventured into the meeting. I said nothing until the meeting was about to close, and then I made some very close remarks. I kept before them what they had done to make of none effect that which the Lord was trying to do, and why. The law in Galatians was their only plea. 9MR 329.5

“Why,” I asked, “is your interpretation of the law in Galatians more dear to you, and you more zealous to maintain your ideas on this point, than to acknowledge the workings of the Spirit of God? You have been weighing every precious heaven-sent testimony by your own scales as you interpreted the law in Galatians. Nothing could come to you in regard to the truth and the power of God unless it should bear your imprint, the precious ideas you had idolized on the law of Galatians. 9MR 330.1

“These testimonies of the Spirit of God, the fruits of the Spirit of God, have no weight unless they are stamped with your ideas of the law in Galatians. I am afraid of you and I am afraid of your interpretation of any Scripture which has revealed itself in such an unchristlike spirit as you have manifested and has cost me so much unnecessary labor. If you are such very cautious men and so very critical, lest you shall receive something not in accordance with the Scriptures, I want your minds to look on these things in the true light. Let your caution be exercised in the line of fear lest you are committing the sin against the Holy Ghost. Have your critical minds taken this view of the subject? I say, if your views on the law in Galatians, and the fruits, are of the character I have seen in Minneapolis and ever since, up to this time, my prayer is that I may be as far from your understanding and interpretation of the Scriptures as it is possible for me to be. I am afraid of any application of Scripture that needs such a spirit and bears such fruit as you have manifested. One thing is certain, I shall never come into harmony with such a spirit as long as God gives me my reason. 9MR 330.2

“You have not commended your doctrine, in some things, to my mind and to other minds. You could not have given a better refutation of your own theories than you have done. 9MR 331.1

“Now, brethren, I have nothing to say, no burden in regard to the law in Galatians. This matter looks to me of minor consequence in comparison with the spirit you have brought into your faith. It is exactly of the same piece that was manifested by the Jews in reference to the work and mission of Jesus Christ. The most convincing testimony that we can bear to others that we have the truth is the spirit which attends the advocacy of that truth. If it sanctifies the heart of the receiver, if it makes him gentle, kind, forbearing, true and Christlike, then he will give some evidence of the fact that he has the genuine truth. But if he acts as did the Jews when their opinions and ideas were crossed, then we certainly cannot receive such testimony, for it does not produce the fruits of righteousness.”—Letter 83, 1890, pp. 1, 5, 6. (To W. C. White and wife, March 13, 1890.) 9MR 331.2

By failing to cherish the Spirit of Christ, by taking wrong positions in the controversy over the law in Galatians—a question that many have not fully understood before taking a wrong position—the church has sustained a sad loss.—Manuscript 21, 1891, p. 6. (“Witnessing,” October 11, 1890.) 9MR 331.3

Shall there be with the people of God the cropping out of the very same spirit which they have condemned in the denominations, because there was a difference of understanding on some points—not vital questions? Shall the same spirit in any form be cherished among Seventh-day Adventists—the cooling of friendship, the withdrawal of confidence, the misrepresentation of motives, the endeavor to thwart and turn into ridicule those who honestly differ with them in their views? I have, in my last few weeks’ experience, learned what little dependence may be placed in man, for these things must be met. Alienation and bitterness give evidence that, if possible, Satan will deceive even those who claim to believe the truth for this time, showing that they have need to study the character of pure and undefiled religion. God forbid that Satan shall do this. 9MR 331.4

Godliness, which the gospel enjoins, never bears briars and thorns, never—because all do not see exactly alike—breaks the closest links of association, dividing those who have been one in faith, one in heart, in their relationship. But a difference in the application of some few scriptural passages makes men forget their religious principles. Elements become banded together, exciting one another through the human passions to withstand in a harsh, denunciatory manner everything that does not meet their ideas. This is not Christian, but is of another spirit.—Manuscript 30, 1889, pp. 26, 27. (“Experience Following the Minneapolis Conference,” cir. late June, 1890.) 9MR 332.1

I spoke to the brethren and sisters, seeking to present Jesus, that they might look and live....I bore a decided testimony to the people assembled [at a morning meeting], and there were precious testimonies that followed. All related their experience the past year as being of a more spiritual character than they have had before, since embracing the truth. The light of justification through faith, and that the righteousness of Christ must become our righteousness, else we cannot possibly keep the law of God, is the testimony of all who speak, and the fruit is peace, courage, joy, and harmony. There is danger of making even these subjects a theory, and not practicing the truth that is expressed. Those who bear this message must carry with them the pure character of Christ Jesus.—Manuscript 22, 1889, pp. 8, 10. (Diary, October 24, 1889.) 9MR 332.2

Questions were asked at that time. “Sister White, do you think that the Lord has any new and increased light for us as a people?” I answered, “Most assuredly. I do not only think so, but can speak understandingly. I know that there is precious truth to be unfolded to us, if we are the people that are to stand in the day of God's preparation.” 9MR 333.1

Then the question was asked whether I thought the matter [had] better drop where it was, after Brother [E.J.] Waggoner had stated his views of the law in Galatians. I said, “By no means. We want all on both sides of the question.” But I stated that the spirit I had seen manifested at the meeting was unreasonable. I should insist that there be a right spirit, a Christlike spirit manifested, such as Elder E.J. Waggoner had shown all through the presentation of his views; and that this matter should not be handled in a debating style. The reason I should urge that this matter should be handled in a Christlike spirit was that there should be no thrust made against their brethren differing with them. As Elder E.J. Waggoner had conducted himself like a Christian gentleman they should do the same, giving the arguments on their side of the question in a straightforward manner. 9MR 333.2

I told them I had been shown that some of our brethren had educated themselves as debaters. The process of this education and the mold received by such an education were not after God's order, neither did they meet the approval of God. In many respects men trained in this kind of school unfitted themselves to become pastors of the sheep and lambs; and in combating an opponent, as in the way of discussions, usually harm is done, with but little good results. The combative spirit is raised in both parties, and a defiant, hard spirit becomes habitual, when their track is crossed. They become criticizers and do not always handle the Scriptures fairly, but wrest the Scriptures to make their point. 9MR 334.1

The remark was made: “If our views of Galatians are not correct, then we have not the third angel's message, and our position goes by the board; there is nothing to our faith.” I said, “Brethren, here is the very thing I have been telling you. This statement is not true. It is an extravagant, exaggerated statement. If it is made in the discussion of this question I shall feel it my duty to set this matter before all that are assembled, and whether they hear or forbear, tell them the statement is incorrect. The question at issue is not a vital question and should not be treated as such. The wonderful importance and magnitude of this subject has been exaggerated, and for this reason—through misconception and perverted ideas—we see the spirit that prevails at this meeting, which is unchristlike, and which we should never see exhibited among brethren. There has been a spirit of Pharisaism coming in among us which I shall lift my voice against wherever it may be revealed.” 9MR 334.2

Again, a brother said, “Perhaps you think nothing should be said on the other side of the question.” My son Willie and myself spoke decidedly that we would not have the matter end here by any means, but we desired that they should bring out all the evidence on both sides of the question for all we wanted was the truth, Bible truth, to be brought before the people. 9MR 335.1

What was my astonishment to learn the next morning that a meeting was called where the statement was made that they felt bad, for Sister White was opposed to the other side of the question being discussed. One in the meeting went for my son, W. C. White, who was entirely ignorant of the meeting, and advised him to come in. Apparently there was a very mournful presentation of the case, which created great sympathy for the brethren who were crippled and not allowed a chance to set forth their ideas. My son said he would speak in behalf of his mother, who was just as desirous—and more so, now [that] Elder Waggoner had spoken—to hear all that was to be said on the other side of the question; and she had spoken thus decidedly in the council of the ministers the night before. Thus the matter was set before them in the correct light. 9MR 335.2

When they came into the meeting in the morning I was surprised to hear Elder _____ make the kind of speech he did before a large audience of believers and unbelievers—a speech which I knew could not be dictated by the Spirit of the Lord. He was followed by Elder _____, who made remarks of the same order, before Brother A began his talk, which was all calculated to create sympathy, which I knew was not after God's order. It was human but not divine. And for the first time I began to think it might be we did not hold correct views, after all, upon the law in Galatians, for the truth required no such spirit to sustain it. 9MR 335.3

Brother_____, who first spoke in decided, unqualified language, deplored the introduction of the subject of the law in Galatians. He stated, over and over again, that he greatly deplored the introduction of this question and that he was so sorry it should be introduced at a time when Elder B was sick and could not be present to manage this matter. With emphasis he stated that it was a cowardly thing to broach this matter when Elder B could not be present, as he was best prepared to handle this question. There were many things said which astonished me, both by Elder C and Elder D. These men were speaking these things before a mixed congregation. The house was full. And these were the ones who felt that it was not the thing to do to bring this subject for investigation before any but the ministering brethren!... 9MR 336.1

I returned to my room questioning what was the best course for me to pursue. Many hours that night were spent in prayer in regard to the law in Galatians. This was a mere mote. Whichever way was in accordance with a “Thus saith the Lord,” my soul would say, Amen, and Amen. But the spirit that was controlling our brethren was so unlike the spirit of Jesus, so contrary to the spirit that should be exercised toward each other, it filled my soul with anguish. 9MR 336.2

In the next morning's meeting for the ministers I had some plain things to say to my brethren, which I dared not withhold.... 9MR 336.3

When men in high positions of trust will, when under pressure, say that Sister White is influenced by any human being, they certainly have no more use for messages that come from such a source. This was freely spoken at the Minneapolis meeting.... 9MR 336.4

Wherever this message [present truth] comes its fruits are good. A vigor and a vital energy are brought into the church, and where the message is accepted, there hope and courage and faith beam in the countenances of all those who open their eyes to see, their understanding to perceive and their hearts to receive the great treasure of truth.—Manuscript 24, 1888, pp. 16-21, 24, 25. (“Looking Back at Minneapolis,” cir. November or December, 1888.) 9MR 337.1

White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

January 22, 1980.