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Early Writings

by Ellen G. White

Table of Contents    Chapters:  

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  ...

An Explanation

Dear Christian Friends: As I have given a brief sketch of my experience and views, published in 1851, it seems to be my duty to notice some points in that little work, also to give more recent views. {EW 85.1}

1. On page 33 is given the following: "I saw that the holy Sabbath is, and will be, the separating wall between the true Israel of God and unbelievers; and that the Sabbath is the great question to unite the hearts of God's dear, waiting saints. I saw that God had children who do not see and keep the Sabbath. They have not rejected the light upon it. And at the commencement of the time of trouble, we were filled with the Holy Ghost as we went forth and proclaimed the Sabbath more fully." {EW 85.2}

This view was given in 1847 when there were but very few of the Advent brethren observing the Sabbath, and of these but few supposed that its observance was of sufficient importance to draw a line between the people of God and unbelievers. Now the fulfilment of that view is beginning to be seen. "The commencement of that time of trouble," here mentioned does not refer to the time when the plagues shall begin to be poured out, but to a short period just before they are poured out, while Christ is in the sanctuary. At that time, while the work of salvation is closing, trouble will be coming on the earth, and the nations will be angry, yet held in check so as not to prevent the work of the [86] third angel. At that time the "latter rain," or refreshing from the presence of the Lord, will come, to give power to the loud voice of the third angel, and prepare the saints to stand in the period when the seven last plagues shall be poured out. {EW 85.3}

2. The view of "The Open and Shut Door", on pages 42-45, was given in 1849. The application of Revelation 3:7, 8, to the heavenly sanctuary and Christ's ministry was entirely new to me. I had never heard the idea advanced by anyone. Now as the subject of the sanctuary is being clearly understood, the application is seen in its force and beauty. {EW 86.1}

3. The view that the Lord "had stretched out His hand the second time to recover the remnant of His people," on page 74, refers only to the union and strength once existing among those looking for Christ, and to the fact that He had begun to unite and to raise up His people again. {EW 86.2}

4. Spirit Manifestations. [See Appendix note for page 86.] On page 43 read as follows: "I saw that the mysterious knocking in New York and other places was the power of Satan, and that such things would be more and more common, clothed in a religious garb so as to lull the deceived to greater security and to draw the minds of God's people, if possible, to those things and cause them to doubt the teaching and power of the Holy Ghost." This view was given in 1849, nearly five years since. Then spirit manifestations were mostly confined to the city of Rochester, known as the "Rochester knockings." Since that time the heresy has spread beyond the expectations of anyone. {EW 86.3}

Much of the view on page 59, headed "Mysterious Rapping" given August 1850, has since been fulfilled, and is now fulfilling. Here is a portion of it: "I saw that soon it would be considered blasphemy to speak against the rapping, and that it would spread more [87] and more, that Satan's power would increase, and some of his devoted followers would have power to work miracles, and even to bring down fire from heaven in the sight of men. I was shown that by the rapping and mesmerism these modern magicians would yet account for all the miracles wrought by our Lord Jesus Christ, and that many would believe that all the mighty works of the Son of God when on earth were accomplished by this same power." {EW 86.4}

I saw the rapping delusion-what progress it was making, and that if it were possible it would deceive the very elect. Satan will have power to bring before us the appearance of forms purporting to be our relatives or friends now sleeping in Jesus. It will be made to appear as if these friends were present; the words that they uttered while here, with which we were familiar, will be spoken, and the same tone of voice that they had while living will fall upon the ear. All this is to deceive the saints and ensnare them into the belief of this delusion. {EW 87.1}

I saw that the saints must get a thorough understanding of present truth, which they will be obliged to maintain from the Scriptures. They must understand the state of the dead; for the spirits of devils will yet appear to them, professing to be beloved friends and relatives, who will declare to them that the Sabbath has been changed, also other unscriptural doctrines. They will do all in their power to excite sympathy and will work miracles before them to confirm what they declare. The people of God must be prepared to withstand these spirits with the Bible truth that the dead know not anything, and that they who appear to them are the spirits of devils. Our minds must not be taken up with things around us, but must be occupied with the present truth and a preparation to give a reason of our hope with meekness and fear. We must seek [88] wisdom from on high that we may stand in this day of error and delusion. {EW 87.2}

We must examine well the foundation of our hope, for we shall have to give a reason for it from the Scriptures. This delusion will spread, and we shall have to contend with it face to face; and unless we are prepared for it, we shall be ensnared and overcome. But if we do what we can on our part to be ready for the conflict that is just before us, God will do His part, and His all-powerful arm will protect us. He would sooner send every angel out of glory to the relief of faithful souls, to make a hedge about them, than have them deceived and led away by the lying wonders of Satan. {EW 88.1}

I saw the rapidity with which this delusion was spreading. A train of cars was shown me, going with the speed of lightning. The angel bade me look carefully. I fixed my eyes upon the train. It seemed that the whole world was on board, that there could not be one left. Said the angel, "They are binding in bundles ready to burn." Then he showed me the conductor, who appeared like a stately, fair person, whom all the passengers looked up to and reverenced. I was perplexed and asked my attending angel who it was. He said, "It is Satan. He is the conductor in the form of an angel of light. He has taken the world captive. They are given over to strong delusions, to believe a lie, that they may be damned. This agent, the next highest in order to him, is the engineer, and other of his agents are employed in different offices as he may need them, and they are all going with lightning speed to perdition." {EW 88.2}

I asked the angel if there were none left. He bade me look in an opposite direction, and I saw a little company traveling a narrow pathway. All seemed to be firmly united, bound together by the truth, in [89] bundles, or companies. Said the angel, "The third angel is binding, or sealing, them in bundles for the heavenly garner." This little company looked careworn, as if they had passed through severe trials and conflicts. And it appeared as if the sun had just risen from behind a cloud and shone upon their countenances, causing them to look triumphant, as if their victories were nearly won. {EW 88.3}

I saw that the Lord has given the world opportunity to discover the snare. This one thing is evidence enough for the Christian, if there were no other; namely, that there is no difference made between the precious and the vile. Thomas Paine, whose body has now moldered to dust and who is to be called forth at the end of the one thousand years, at the second resurrection, to receive his reward and suffer the second death, is represented by Satan as being in heaven, and highly exalted there. Satan used him on earth as long as he could, and now he is carrying on the same work through pretensions of having Thomas Paine so much exalted and honored in heaven; as he taught here, Satan would make it appear that he is teaching in heaven. There are some who have looked with horror at his life and death, and his corrupt teachings while living, but who now submit to be taught by him, one of the vilest and most corrupt of men, one who despised God and His law.1[90] {EW 89.1}

1To appreciate the force of these remarks the reader needs to understand that a work was published through the mediumship of "Rev. C. Hammond," entitled Pilgrimage of Thomas Paine in the Spirit World, in which Paine is represented as an exalted spirit in the seventh sphere. And in the "Investigating Class in New York," it was said that Christ Himself had conversed with a medium and revealed that He was in the sixth sphere. The disparity will be understood when it is remembered that they represent the spirits as progressing in the spirit world, and that Christ, after more than 1800 years of progress, has reached teh sixth sphere, while Paine, in about 100 years, has reached the seventh! A further explanation of this may be found in the statement of Doctor Hare, that his spirit sister said her progress had been retarded by her belief in the atonement of Christ. Thus does Spiritualism exalt infidels and infidelity. See also Appendix note for page 89.

He who is the father of lies, blinds and deceives the world by sending forth his angels to speak for the apostles, and to make it appear that they contradict what they wrote by the dictation of the Holy Ghost when on earth. These lying angels make the apostles to corrupt their own teachings and to declare them to be adulterated. By so doing Satan delights to throw professed Christians and all the world into uncertainty about the Word of God. That holy Book cuts directly across his track and thwarts his plans; therefore he leads them to doubt its divine origin. Then he sets up the infidel, Thomas Paine, as if he were ushered into heaven when he died, and now, united with the holy apostles whom he hated on earth, were engaged in teaching the world. {EW 90.1}

Satan assigns to each of his angels a part to act. He enjoins upon them all to be sly, artful, cunning. He instructs some of them to act the part of the apostles and to speak for them, while others are to act the part of infidels and wicked men who died cursing God, but now appear to be very religious. There is no difference made between the most holy apostles and the vilest infidel. They are both made to teach the same thing. It matters not whom Satan makes to speak, if his object is only accomplished. He was so intimately connected with Paine upon the earth, aiding him in his work, that it is an easy thing for him to know the very words Paine used and the very handwriting of one who served him so faithfully and accomplished his purposes so well. Satan dictated much of his writings, and it is an easy thing for him to dictate sentiments through his angels now and make it appear [91] that they come through Thomas Paine, who, while living, was a devoted servant of the evil one. This is the masterpiece of Satan. All this teaching, purporting to be from apostles and saints and wicked men who have died, comes directly from his satanic majesty. {EW 90.2}

The fact that Satan claims that one whom he loved so well, and who hated God so perfectly, is now with the holy apostles and angels in glory, should be enough to remove the veil from all minds and discover to them the dark, mysterious works of Satan. He virtually says to the world and to infidels, No matter how wicked you are, no matter whether you believe or disbelieve in God or the Bible, live as you please, heaven is your home; for all know that if Thomas Paine is in heaven, and so exalted, they will surely get there. This error is so glaring that all may see if they will. Satan is now doing through persons like Thomas Paine what he has been trying to do since his fall. He is, through his power and lying wonders, tearing away the foundation of the Christian's hope and putting out the sun that is to light them in the narrow way to heaven. He is making the world believe that the Bible is uninspired, no better than a storybook, while he holds out something to take its place; namely, spiritual manifestations! {EW 91.1}

Here is a channel wholly devoted to himself and under his control, and he can make the world believe what he will. The Book that is to judge him and his followers he puts back in the shade, just where he wants it. The Saviour of the world he makes to be no more than a common man; and as the Roman guard that watched the tomb of Jesus spread the lying report that the chief priests and elders put into their mouths, so will the poor, deluded followers of these pretended spiritual manifestations repeat and try to make it [92] appear that there is nothing miraculous about our Saviour's birth, death, and resurrection. After putting Jesus in the background, they attract the attention of the world to themselves and to their miracles and lying wonders, which, they declare, far exceed the works of Christ. Thus the world is taken in the snare and lulled into a feeling of security, not to find out their awful deception until the seven last plagues are poured out. Satan laughs as he sees his plan succeed so well and the whole world taken in the snare. {EW 91.2}

5. On page 55, I stated that a cloud of glorious light covered the Father and that His person could not be seen. I also stated that I saw the Father rise from the throne. The Father was enshrouded with a body of light and glory, so that His person could not be seen; yet I knew that it was the Father and that from His person emanated this light and glory. When I saw this body of light and glory rise from the throne, I knew it was because the Father moved, therefore said, I saw the Father rise. The glory, or excellency, of His form I never saw; no one could behold it and live; yet the body of light and glory that enshrouded His person could be seen. {EW 92.1}

I also stated that "Satan appeared to be by the throne, trying to carry on the work of God." I will give another sentence from the same page: "I turned to look at the company who were still bowed before the throne." Now this praying company was in this mortal state, on the earth, yet represented to me as bowed before the throne. I never had the idea that these individuals were actually in the New Jerusalem. Neither did I ever think that any mortal could suppose that I believed that Satan was actually in the New Jerusalem. But did not John see the great red dragon in heaven? Certainly. "And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red [93] dragon, having seven heads and ten horns." Revelation 12:3. What a monster to be in heaven! Here seems to be as good a chance for ridicule as in the interpretation which some have placed upon my statements. {EW 92.2}

6. On pages 48-52 is a view given January, 1850. That portion of this view which relates to means being withheld from the messengers, applied more particularly to that time. Since then, friends of the cause of present truth have been raised up, who have watched for opportunity to do good with their means. Some have handed out too freely, to the injury of the receivers. For about two years I have been shown more relative to a careless and too free use of the Lord's money, than a lack of it. {EW 93.1}

The following is from a view given at Jackson, Michigan, June 2, 1853. It related mostly to the brethren at that place: "I saw that the brethren commenced to sacrifice their property and handed it out without having the true object set before them-the suffering cause-and they handed out too freely, too much, and too often. I saw that the teachers should have stood in a place to correct this error and exert a good influence in the church. Money has been made of little or no consequence, the sooner disposed of the better. A bad example has been set by some in accepting large donations and not giving the least caution to those who had means not to use it too freely and carelessly. By accepting so large an amount of means, without questioning whether God had made it the duty of the brethren to bestow so largely, too bountiful giving has been sanctioned. {EW 93.2}

"Those who gave also erred, not being particular to inquire into the necessities of the case, whether there was actual need or not. Those who had means were thrown into great perplexity. One brother was much hurt by too much means being put into his hands. [94] He did not study economy, but lived extravagantly, and in his travels laid out money here and there to no profit. He spread a wrong influence by making such free use of the Lord's money, and would say in his own heart, and to others, 'There is means enough in J—, more than can be used before the Lord comes.' Some were very much injured by such a course and came into the truth with wrong views, not realizing that it was the Lord's money they were using and not feeling the worth of it. Those poor souls who have just embraced the third angel's message and have had such an example set before them will have much to learn to deny self and suffer for Christ's sake. They will have to learn to give up ease, cease studying their convenience and comfort, and bear in mind the worth of souls. Those who feel the 'woe' upon them will not be for making great preparations to travel in ease and comfort. Some who have no calling have been encouraged into the field. Others have been affected by these things and have not felt the need of economy, of denying themselves, and putting into the treasury of the Lord. They would feel and say, 'There are others who have means enough; they will give for the paper. I need not do anything. The paper will be supported without my help.'" {EW 93.3}

It has been no small trial to me to see that some have taken that portion of my views which related to sacrificing property to sustain the cause and made a wrong use of it; they use means extravagantly, while neglecting to carry out the principles of other portions. On page 50, read the following: "I saw that the cause of God had been hindered and dishonored by some traveling who had no message from God. Such will have to give an account to God for every dollar they have used in traveling where it was not their duty to go, because that money might have helped on the cause [95] of God." Also, page 50: "I saw that those who have strength to labor with their hands, and help sustain the cause, were as accountable for their strength as others were for their property." {EW 94.1}

I would here call special attention to the view of this subject given on page 57. Here is a short extract: "The object of the words of our Saviour [in Luke 12:33] has not been clearly presented." I saw that "the object of selling is not to give to those who are able to labor and support themselves, but to spread the truth. It is a sin to support and indulge in idleness those who are able to labor. Some have been zealous to attend all the meetings, not to glorify God, but for the 'loaves and fishes.' Such would much better have been at home laboring with their hands, 'the thing that is good,' to supply the wants of their families, and to have something to give to sustain the precious cause." It has been Satan's design in times past to push out some with a hurried spirit to make a too free use of means, and influence the brethren to rashly dispose of their property, that through an abundance of means thrown out carelessly and hastily, souls might be injured and lost, and that now, when the truth is to be spread more extensively, the lack might be felt. His design has, in some degree, been accomplished. {EW 95.1}

The Lord has shown the error of many in looking to those only who have property to support the publication of the paper and tracts. All should act their part. Those who have strength to labor with their hands, and earn means to help sustain the cause, are as accountable for it as others are for their property. Every child of God who professes to believe the present truth, should be zealous to act his part in this cause. {EW 95.2}

July, 1853, I saw that it was not as it should be that the paper, owned and approved by God, should come out so seldom. The cause, in the time in which [96] we are living, demands the paper weekly,2
2The Review and Herald Previous to this time had been published quite irrebularly and was now issued semimonthly.
and the publication of many more tracts to expose the increasing errors of this time; but the work is hindered for want of means. I saw that the truth must go and that we must not be too fearful, that tracts and papers might better go to three where they were not needed than to have one deprived of them who prizes them and can be benefited by them. I saw that the last-day signs should be brought out clearly, for the manifestations of Satan are on the increase. The publications of Satan and his agents are increasing, their power is growing, and what we do to get the truth before others must be done quickly. {EW 95.3}

I was shown that the truth once published now, will stand, for it is the truth for the last days; it will live, and less need be said upon it in future. Numberless words need not be put upon paper to justify what speaks for itself and shines in its clearness. Truth is straight, plain, clear, and stands out boldly in its own defense; but it is not so with error. It is so winding and twisting that it needs a multitude of words to explain it in its crooked form. I saw that all the light they had received in some places had come from the paper; that souls had received the truth in this way, and then talked it to others; and that now in places where there are several, they had been raised up by this silent messenger. It was their only preacher. The cause of truth should not be hindered in its onward progress for want of means. {EW 96.1}

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