Ellen G. White and Her Critics

Canright as an Author

Lest any doubt remain in some reader’s mind that we are glossing over the literary picture of the past in order to make out a case for Mrs. White, we wish to give one more exhibit from the field of religious writers. In 1878 Canright published a book called The Bible From Heaven. This had been the title of a book by Moses Hull issued in 1863. Both men were Seventh-day Adventist ministers at the time they wrote, and both books were published at the Seventh-day Adventist publishing house in Battle Greek, Michigan. A comparison of these two books reveals that Canright borrowed much from Hull, sometimes whole pages. Nor was the borrowing merely of the thought, with occasional phrases, sentences, or paraphrases. He simply copied verbatim. We give one specific illustration from the midst of an extended borrowing: EGWC 407.3

Moses Hull, 1863D. M. Canright, 1878
“We now come directly to the question, Are the sciences really against the Bible? We answer, No. It is true that the Bible does not abound with lectures upon physiology, anatomy, hygiene, materia medica, chemistry, astronomy, or geology. It is not given to teach these subjects. God has given us the stars to teach us astronomy, the earth to teach us geology, and the Bible to teach us religion. Yet we are not willing to admit that anything in the Bible contradicts any of the sciences.
“As each new science has been discovered, it has been supposed by infidels that in it they would find a new ally, but, alas for infidelity, the older sciences have all proved to be of heavenly birth, and have given their testimony in behalf of God and the Bible; so will the new ones when more perfectly understood. Of all the sciences, geology, if it may be termed a science, has proved itself the most fallible, and yet its professors are the most noisy in their boasts of what they intend to do.”—The Bible From Heaven, pp. 168, 169.
“We now come directly to the question, Are the sciences really against the Bible? We answer, No. It is true that the Bible does not abound with lectures upon physiology, anatomy, hygiene, materia medica, chemistry, astronomy, or geology. It is not given for the purpose of teaching these subjects. God has given us the stars to teach us astronomy, the earth to teach us geology, and the Bible to teach us religion. Yet nothing in the Bible contradicts the sciences. As each new science has been discovered, it has been supposed by infidels that in it they would find a new ally; but, alas for infidelity, the older sciences have all proved to be of heavenly birth, and have given their testimony in behalf of God and the Bible; so will the new ones when more perfectly understood. Of all the sciences, geology, if it may be termed a science, has proved itself the most fallible; and yet its professors are the most noisy in their boasts of what they intend to prove.”—The Bible From Heaven,p. 288.

Neither in his preface, nor anywhere else in his book, did Canright indicate that he was borrowing from Hull. Indeed, he did not indicate, even by quotation marks, that he was borrowing this material from anyone. EGWC 408.1