The Review and Herald


May 19, 1903

Instruction and Response


A Special Service at the Battle Creek (Mich.) Tabernacle

[Soon after the burning of the Review and Herald office an article by Mrs. E. G. White was printed in this paper, in which it was plainly stated that the destruction of the Sanitarium and the Review office by fire was a visitation from God on account of the persistent departure from His ways, and the failure to act upon the warning and instruction which had been given for many years through the Spirit of Prophecy. This instruction was read to the Battle Creek church. At the recent meeting of the stockholders of the Review and Herald the statement was reiterated before a public audience that these fires were not the judgments of God. A further communication bearing upon this matter was recently received from Sister White, and it was thought proper, under all the circumstances, to read this to the church, and to give the church an opportunity to take its position concerning the question involved. The following is a report of the service on Sabbath, May 9, at which the last communication was read.] RH May 19, 1903, par. 1


Remarks by W. W. Prescott

“Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope;” and it will certainly be helpful to recall the lessons of the past in God's dealing with His people, and to know the interpretations that He Himself gives to these experiences, and then to see how they apply to our own times and to our own experience. Although God's people had departed from Him, and had done those things that dishonored Him, yet there was provision so that it was not necessary that Jerusalem should be overthrown, or that they should go into captivity. God makes abundant provision for sins of ignorance, but He makes no provision for willful sins. The unpardonable sin is the sin that refuses to be pardoned; it is the refusal to hear Him concerning a sin, and to turn from that sin; it is the sin of refusing His instruction; it is the sin of unbelief concerning His warnings; it is the stubbornness of the heart that will not turn from sin, which seals the fate of any people or any individual. RH May 19, 1903, par. 2

I will direct your attention especially to the lessons given in the book of the prophecy of Jeremiah, dealing with the experience connected with the destruction and overthrow of Jerusalem, with the hope that we may mark well the real cause of its overthrow and the captivity of the people. RH May 19, 1903, par. 3

[The following Scriptures were then read: Jeremiah 4:1-4; Jeremiah 5:1-19; Jeremiah 7:1-14.] RH May 19, 1903, par. 4

The prophet Jeremiah continues his prophesying to that people, even saying, after all these words of warning and reproof, that if they would turn to the Lord, and especially if they would regard His law and keep His Sabbath, Jerusalem would stand forever; but they refused the words of the prophet, they persisted in building themselves up in their own pride, and so the Lord through Jeremiah named Nebuchadnezzar as the one who would come against them, destroy their city, and take them into captivity to serve the king of Babylon for seventy years. RH May 19, 1903, par. 5

Those who are familiar with the circumstances of our work and our institutions here, especially for the last ten or fifteen years, need not be reminded of the many words of warning and instruction which the Lord has sent to us through His chosen mouthpiece, until the judgment of God has fallen upon us for our failure to obey, and it is utterly useless, and worse than useless, to attempt to hide this from our own eyes or from the eyes of the world. What we might have saved by heeding the words of instruction and warning has now become a public calamity upon us, but in spite of all this there are still voices raised which say this is no judgment upon us. Now it is time for those who fear God to respond to His instruction, and warning, and counsel. [Voices, “Amen.”] I believe it is time for God's people to rise up in response, and make answer that they believe in the Lord their God, even when He visits them with judgments. I believe it is time that this people and this church openly and publicly should take their stand in response to these words of instruction and warning, and acknowledge before God and the world that the Lord has visited us in judgment, and that we do repent and turn to Him. RH May 19, 1903, par. 6

As setting this forth further I wish to read a communication which was received since our last gathering in this tabernacle, dated May 1, 1903, written by Sister White, and addressed “To my brethren in Battle Creek.” Many words of counsel have come to private individuals, and to those holding responsible places in connection with the work here in Battle Creek, but this one comes to us addressed “To my brethren in Battle Creek.” We therefore understand that this belongs to the brethren and sisters in Battle Creek, and that it should be read to the church; and we take this first opportunity after receiving it to read it to the church. RH May 19, 1903, par. 7

“Sanitarium, Cal.,

“May 1, 1903.

“To My Brethren in Battle Creek,

I am bowed down and greatly troubled. I am in sore distress. My whole being is full of pain. At times it seems to me that I can not live. The thought of the terrible spiritual destitution among our people presses heavily upon me. God's judgments have fallen upon our institutions in Battle Creek; but how little has this done to move hearts to repentance! Must the rebuke of God still continue to be felt? and will it still continue to be without effect? I am amazed at the apparent indifference of many who should see and understand. I know not what to say or do. Seeing that the judgments of God have made so light an impression on the minds of those occupying important positions, fear and trembling take hold of me as to what will be the next revelation of God's displeasure. RH May 19, 1903, par. 8

“Men have dishonored God by choosing their own way. They have brought into his institutions principles that he has condemned. They would not change the ways and works that displeased him and belittled the testing truth for these last days. RH May 19, 1903, par. 9

“Those who have disregarded the messages of warning have lost their bearings. Some, in their self-confidence, have dared to turn from what which they knew to be truth, with the words, ‘Who has told Sister White?’ These words show the measure of their faith and confidence in the work that the Lord has given me to do. They have before them the result of the work that the Lord has laid upon me, and if this does not convince them, no arguments, no future revelations, would affect them. The result will be that God will speak again in judgment as he has spoken heretofore. When for years his messages of warnings have come to institutions and individuals, and no special heed is taken, what power will convince them?—Only the power of God revealed in judgment. Yet his hand is stretched out still to save, if thorough repentance is shown. RH May 19, 1903, par. 10

“We need to watch and pray, lest we enter into temptation. On one occasion, as Christ was returning to Jerusalem from a missionary tour, he was speaking to those with him about the personal salvation that all must have who enter the kingdom of heaven. His words were becoming decidedly personal and very pointed, and one present, wishing to change the subject, said, ‘Lord, are there few that be saved?’ Then he said, ‘Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us: and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence you are: then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say; I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.’ RH May 19, 1903, par. 11

“In the great day of God, to many who make the entreaty, ‘Lord, Lord, open unto us,’ the answer will come, ‘I know you not whence you are; depart from me.’ RH May 19, 1903, par. 12

“There is a right way and a wrong way, and in one or the other each human being is following. Those who truly believe in Christ live a life of holy obedience. They are sanctified through the truth. Their piety is not a pretense, but a reality. They have a sanctified Christian experience in holy living. RH May 19, 1903, par. 13

“Let us make sure that we are perfecting Christian characters through belief of the truth. We can not be too particular in regard to this. If we fail here, our life work will bring us no reward. Those who believe in Christ, and give up their will and their plans for God's will and God's plans enter upon a life of Christlikeness. This is the only way to gain salvation.” RH May 19, 1903, par. 14

Ellen G. White.

I propose to make a personal statement of my attitude toward this instruction, and toward these judgments that have come to us, and I want to give opportunity to every one in this place who agrees with the statement, and who wishes to take the same position, and to stand upon the same platform, to rise up. I believe that these Testimonies have come from God; that these words of instruction have been God's counsel to this people directly, and that these counsels have not been heeded. I wish to take my own personal share of responsibility in this matter, connected as I have been with the work in the General Conference as a member of the Review and Herald Board. I do before God accept this as a rebuke to me in my connection with it. I have asked God's forgiveness in this matter. I accept these words of counsel here today, and acknowledge that these calamities that have befallen us are God's judgments upon this people, regardless of what interpretation may be placed upon them; and for my own part I desire to accept this instruction, to turn to God with true repentance. It seems as if these words this morning were in the nature of a last call to this people to ward off what finally came to Jerusalem—not because they had sinned, although that was the foundation of it, but because they refused to accept the words of warning and counsel; they refused to repent and turn to God that they might be saved from the overwhelming destruction that came to them. It is impressed upon my heart and mind that we are coming very close to the last days, and God is dealing with us in a very plain way, and it behooves every one of us to take a stand very decidedly for God and his truth, and on the side of his warnings through the mouthpiece he has chosen to guide and correct this people. RH May 19, 1903, par. 15

[Nearly all the members of the large congregation signified, by rising to their feet, that they desired to join in this statement, as expressing their own attitude concerning this matter. The service closed with an earnest prayer of confession and consecration, in which the congregation was led by Elder A. G. Daniells.] RH May 19, 1903, par. 16