The Review and Herald


August 27, 1861

Communication from Sister White

Slavery and the War.


God is punishing this nation for the high crime of slavery. He has the destiny of the nation in his hands. He will punish the South for the sin of slavery, and the North for so long suffering its overreaching and overbearing influences. RH August 27, 1861, Art. A, par. 1

All heaven beholds with indignation, human beings, the workmanship of God, reduced to the lowest depths of degradation, and placed on a level with the brute creation by their fellow-men. And professed followers of that dear Saviour whose compassion was ever moved as he witnessed human woe, heartily engage in this enormous and grievous sin, and deal in slaves and souls of men. Angels have recorded it all. It is written in the book. The tears of the pious bond-men and bond-women, of fathers, mothers and children, brothers and sisters, are all bottled up in heaven. Agony, human agony, is carried from place to place, and bought and sold. God will restrain his anger but a little longer. His anger burns against this nation, and especially against the religious bodies who have sanctioned, and have themselves engaged in this terrible merchandise. Such injustice, such oppression, such sufferings, many professed followers of the meek and lowly Jesus can witness with heartless indifference. And many of them can inflict, with hateful satisfaction, all this indescribable agony themselves, and yet dare to worship God. It is solemn mockery, and Satan exults over it, and reproaches Jesus and his angels with such inconsistency, saying, with hellish triumph, Such are Christ's followers! RH August 27, 1861, Art. A, par. 2

These professed christians read of the sufferings of the martyrs, and tears course down their cheeks. They wonder that men could ever possess hearts so hardened as to practice such inhuman cruelties toward their fellow-men, while at the same time they hold their fellow-men in slavery. And this is not all. They sever the ties of nature, and cruelly oppress from day to day their fellow-men. They can inflict most inhuman tortures with relentless cruelty, which would well compare with the cruelty papists and heathens exercised toward Christ's followers. It will be more tolerable for the heathen and for papists in the day of the execution of God's judgment than for such men. The cries and sufferings of the oppressed have reached unto heaven, and angels stand amazed at the hard-hearted, untold, agonizing suffering, man in the image of his Maker, causes his fellow-man. The names of such are written in blood, crossed with stripes, and flooded with agonizing, burning tears of suffering. God's anger will not cease until he has caused the land of light to drink the dregs of the cup of his fury. RH August 27, 1861, Art. A, par. 3

At the Roosevelt conference, when the brethren and sisters were assembled on the day set apart for humiliation, fasting and prayer, Sabbath, August 3, the Spirit of the Lord rested upon us, and I was taken off in vision, and shown the sin of slavery. Slavery has long been a curse to this nation. The fugitive slave law was calculated to crush out of man every noble, generous feeling of sympathy, that should arise in his heart for the oppressed and suffering slave. It was in direct opposition to the teaching of Christ. God's scourge now is upon the North, that they have so long submitted to the advances of the slave power. The sin of Northern pro-slavery men is great. They have strengthened the South in their sin, and sanctioned the extension of slavery, and acted a prominent part in bringing the nation into its present distressed condition. RH August 27, 1861, Art. A, par. 4

I was shown that many realize not the extent of the evil which has come upon us. They have flattered themselves that the national difficulties would soon be settled, and confusion and war end; but all will be convinced that there is more reality in the matter than was anticipated. Many have looked for the North to strike a blow, and the controversy be ended. RH August 27, 1861, Art. A, par. 5

I was pointed back to ancient Israel held in bondage by the Egyptians. The Lord wrought by Moses and Aaron to deliver the children of Israel. Miracles were performed before Pharaoh to convince him that they were especially sent of God to bid him to let Israel go. But Pharaoh's heart was hardened against the messengers of God, and he reasoned away the miracles performed by them. Then the Egyptians were made to feel God's judgments. They were visited by plagues. While suffering under the effect of the several plagues, Pharaoh consented to let Israel go. But as soon as the cause of their suffering was removed, his heart was hardened. His mighty men and counselors strengthened themselves against God and endeavored to explain the plagues as the result of natural causes. Each visitation from God was more severe than the preceding one, yet they would not release the children of Israel, until the angel of the Lord slew the first-born of the Egyptians. From the king upon the throne, down to the most humble and lowly, was there wailing and mourning. Then Pharaoh commanded to let Israel go. After the Egyptians had buried their dead, Pharaoh relented that he had let Israel go. His counselors and mighty men tried to account for their bereavement. They would not admit that the visitation or judgment was from God, and they pursued after the children of Israel. When the Israelites beheld the Egyptian host in pursuit, some upon horses and some in chariots, and equipped for war, their hearts failed them. The Red sea was before, the Egyptian host behind. They could see no way of escape. A shout of triumph burst from the Egyptians to find Israel completely in their power. The Israelites were greatly terrified. The Lord commanded Moses to bid the children of Israel go forward, to lift up the rod and stretch out his hand over the sea and divide it. He did so, and lo, the sea parted and the children of Israel passed over dry shod. Pharaoh had so long withstood God, and hardened his heart against his mighty, wondrous works, that he in blindness rushed into the path God had miraculously prepared for his people. Again Moses was commanded to stretch forth his hand over the sea, “and the sea returned to his strength,” and the waters covered the Egyptian host and they were drowned. RH August 27, 1861, Art. A, par. 6

This scene was presented before me to illustrate the selfish love of slavery, the desperate measures the South would adopt to cherish the institution, and the dreadful lengths to which they would go before they would yield. The dreadful system of slavery has reduced and degraded human beings to the level of the brutes, and the majority of slave-masters regard them as such. Their consciences have become seared and hardened as was Pharaoh's; and if compelled to release their slaves, their principles are unchanged, and they would make the slave feel their oppressive power if possible. It looked to me like an impossibility now for slavery to be done away. God alone can wrench the slave from the hand of his desperate, relentless oppressor. All the abuse and cruelty exercised toward the slave is justly chargeable to the upholders of the slave system, whether they be Southern men or Northern men. RH August 27, 1861, Art. A, par. 7

The North and the South were presented before me. The North have been deceived in regard to the South. They are better prepared for war than has been represented. Most of their men are well skilled in the use of arms, some of them from experience in battle, others from habitual sporting. They have the advantage of the North in this respect, but have not, as a general thing, the power of endurance and valor that Northern men have. RH August 27, 1861, Art. A, par. 8

I had a view of the late disastrous battle at Manassas, Va. It was a most exciting, thrilling, distressing scene. The Southern army had everything in their favor, and were prepared for a dreadful contest. The Northern army was moving on with triumph, not doubting but that they would be victorious. Many were reckless, and marched forward boastingly as though victory were already theirs. As they neared the battle-field, many were almost fainting through weariness and want of refreshment. They did not expect so fierce an encounter. They rushed into battle and fought bravely, desperately. The dead and dying were on every side. Both the North and the South suffered severely. The Southern men felt the battle, and in a little would have been driven back still further. Northern men were rushing on, although their destruction was very great. Just then an angel descended and waved his hand backward. Instantly there was confusion in their ranks. It appeared to the Northern men that their armies were retreating, when it was not in reality so; and a precipitate retreat commenced. It seemed wonderful to me. Then it was explained, that God had this nation in his own hand, and would suffer no victories to be gained faster than he ordained, and no more losses to the Northern men than in his wisdom he saw fit, to punish the North for their sin. And in this battle had the Northern army pushed the battle still further, in their fainting, exhausted condition, a far greater struggle and destruction awaited them, which would have caused great triumph in the South. God would not permit this, and sent an angel to interfere. The sudden falling back of the Northern troops was a mystery to all. They knew not that God's hand was in the matter. RH August 27, 1861, Art. A, par. 9

The destruction of the Southern army was so great that they had no heart to boast. The sight of the dead, dying and wounded gave them but little courage to triumph. This destruction, occurring when they had every advantage, and the North great disadvantage, caused them great perplexity. They know that if the North have an equal chance with them, victory is certain for the North. Their only hope is to occupy positions difficult of approach, and then have formidable arrangements to hurl destruction on every hand. RH August 27, 1861, Art. A, par. 10

The South have been strengthening themselves greatly since their rebellion first commenced. Then if active measures had been taken by the North, this rebellion would have been speedily crushed out. But that which was small at first has increased in strength and numbers until it is a most powerful rebellion. Other nations are intently watching this nation, for what purpose I was not informed, and are making great preparations for some event. RH August 27, 1861, Art. A, par. 11

The greatest anxiety now exists among our national men. They are in great perplexity. Pro-slavery men and traitors are in their very midst, and while they are professedly in favor of the Union, they have an influence in decisions, some of which even favor the South. RH August 27, 1861, Art. A, par. 12

I was shown the inhabitants of the earth in the utmost confusion. There was war, bloodshed, want, privation, famine and pestilence, in the land; and as these things were without, God's people began to press together, and cast aside their little difficulties. Self-dignity no longer controlled them. Deep humility took its place. Suffering, perplexity and privation, caused reason to resume its throne, and the passionate and unreasonable man became sane, and acted with discretion and wisdom. RH August 27, 1861, Art. A, par. 13

My attention was then called from the scene. There seemed to be a little time of peace. Then the inhabitants of the earth were again presented before me, and everything was in the utmost confusion again. Strife, war and bloodshed, with famine and pestilence, raged everywhere. Other nations were engaged in this confusion and war. War caused famine. Want and bloodshed caused pestilence. And then men's hearts will fail them for fear, “and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” RH August 27, 1861, Art. A, par. 14

The unbelieving world will soon have something to think of besides their dress and appearance; and as their minds are torn from these things by distress and perplexity, they have nothing to turn to. They are not prisoners of hope, and therefore do not turn to the “Strong Hold.” Their hearts will fail them for repining and fear. They have not made God their refuge, and he will not be their consolation then, but will laugh at their calamity, and mock when their fear cometh. They have despised and trampled upon the truths of God's word. They have indulged in extravagant dress, and have spent their lives in hilarity and glee. They have sown to the wind, they must reap the whirlwind. RH August 27, 1861, Art. A, par. 15

In the time of distress and perplexity of nations there will be many who have not given themselves wholly to the corrupting influences of the world and the service of Satan, who will humble themselves before God, and turn to him with their whole heart and find acceptance and pardon. RH August 27, 1861, Art. A, par. 16