By G. B. Starr
Seventh-day Adventists, the remnant people of God, are the possessors of the rarest and richest publications ever presented to the world’s readers.
No preceding religious movement in the history of the world has ever given such a vast amount of high-class comments upon the entire Bible, and presented the plan of redemption in such clear and convincing and appealing language. This statement is proven by the comparison of the writings of the Spirit of prophecy with the publications of all former generations and of the present one.
A well-informed teacher of literature, not a Seventh-day Adventist, who had traveled in all parts of the world, made a significant statement to her class of forty- eight adult students. She had requested the class to bring in three excerpts from their favorite authors, and the class were to tell from hearing them read, who the authors were. One member brought three paragraphs from “Desire of Ages.” The class approved of the writing as very fine, but were unable to name the writer.
The teacher, Miss E. McMillan, then stated that the excerpts were from the pen of Mrs. E. G. White, and that she felt it was a great pity that her writings were not better known. She told the class she was going to make a bold, strong statement, and that she meant every word of it. She then said; “Of all writings, ancient, medieval, or modern, there are no writings so full of beauty, so perfect in every way, so pure, and yet so simple, outside the Bible, as the writings of Mrs. E. G. White.”
The report of this statement is signed by two members of the class; namely, Harold N. Williams, St. John’s, Newfoundland, and Roy O. Williams, D.D.S., Loma Linda, California.
These writings unveil the future movements of nations, religious bodies, and individuals. The writings are here in the possession of God’s people, and they cannot be set aside or talked out of existence. They have led the way to the erection of monumental sanitariums, publishing houses, schools, colleges, and a unique medical college, for the training of medical evangelists, the only one of its kind in the world. Thus they exhibit the soundness of their teaching and the inspired type of instruction.
Where did Ellen G. White obtain the instruction contained in “Early Writings,” “Patriarchs and Prophets,” “Great Controversy,” “Education,” “Ministry of Healing,” and the many volumes of “Testimonies to the Church?” She was not tutored in the world’s colleges. They possess no such information. Eight years before her death in July, 1915, she wrote: “Abundant light has been given to our people in these last days. Whether or not my life is spared, my writings will constantly speak, and their work will go forward as long as time shall last. My writings are kept on file in the office, and even though I should not live, these words, given me by the Lord, will still have life and will speak to the people.”—”Writing and Sending Out of the Testimonies,” pp. 13, 14.
The Lord Jesus, the Prince of the universe, informs men and angels as to just how He came in- to possession of all these treasures of knowledge which He reveals. His opening words of the book of Revelation clearly state it:
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, WHICH GOD GAVE UNTO HIM, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST, and of all things that he saw.”
Having had the privilege of knowing Ellen G. White for more than a quarter of a century, and also being called to travel with her and her family in this country and Australasia, it is a pleasure for me to respond to the invitation to relate to those newly embracing the faith, some personal experiences and observations of her life and work.
My first acquaintance with her was at a camp meeting in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1882. Here she exhorted us all to use our influence by “voice and pen and vote,” to forward the movement for prohibition. She related a dream, which she had six months previous, in which an angel had instructed her along those lines. I was pleased to witness how effectually her testimony unified the sentiment of the conference and led to a unanimous vote favoring such action. The influence of that counsel continues to guide our people in all lands.
My next experience was at a camp meeting in Nebraska, the same year. There she presented the life experience of a young minister, whom she had never seen before. He later testified, at a General Conference session, to the absolute truthfulness of the message she gave him, and said it had led him into an entire change of life, which we were all able to see.
In 1891, at Petoskey, Mich., where we were all residing at the time, Sister White handed me a roll of manuscript to read, stating that it had been compiled from her various writings with the view of producing a small booklet on practical religious experience. It had not then been named. It certainly was a great privilege to read in this manuscript, what a little later was named “Steps to Christ,” and which has since been translated into more than fifty languages. The various presses have printed hundreds of thousands of copies, which have gone forth on their blessed ministry of pointing souls to Christ, step by step leading the readers into a definite religious experience. Its influence leads to the word of God and to faith in Jesus Christ as the only Saviour. It also cheers and steadies the faith of Christians. Many will testify of personal help received from its pages. It also leads to the reading of other volumes written by the same writer. Once one has tasted of the fine flavor of the writings and recognized the voice of Jesus speaking in them, he must continue to read until all are devoured.
Evidence of Inspiration
At a general Conference at Battle Creek, Mich., in 1883, the entire delegation had the experience of witnessing her prophetic gift. She was speaking at the closing Sunday night’s service, which was unusual, as she seldom spoke in the evening. Stopping in the midst of her address, she pointed up to the gallery, straight at the clock, behind which three of us delegates from Nebraska were seated, and in a clear distinct voice, easily heard by the more than three thousand persons present, she said: “Elder Cudney, open your heart and take Elder Johnson in; he wants a place in your heart. Do not leave this Tabernacle tonight until you are reconciled to each other. Elder Cudney, open your heart and take Elder Johnson in.” This she repeated several times.
As I was seated between these two brethren, I endeavored to move out, but was prevented for a time by Elder Cudney. Succeeding, however, the way was opened for them to get nearer together. For a time Elder Cudney hesitated. He had misinterpreted Elder Johnson’s advances toward him, and thought he was aspiring to the office of conference president. But the Spirit of God gained the victory, and Elder Cudney threw his arms about Elder Johnson. As they thus embraced as brethren, the influence affected the entire delegation, and many wept. This unusual scene at a General Conference seemed a fitting influence for these delegates to carry to their people in all parts of the world.
Elder Cudney wrote Sister White from Nebraska a short time afterwards, stating that they had followed her counsel, and before leaving the Tabernacle that night had retired to a smaller room, and with Elders George I. Butler and S. N. Haskell and the writer, had come to a perfect understanding, and that they were then laboring together among the churches, to their comfort and edification.
Upon our arrival in Melbourne, Australia, and in attendance at the first conference meeting, Sister White asked me who that tall gentleman was, seated at the extreme left of the room. I replied, “That is Lawyer. . . , one of the first persons to embrace the truth in the city of Melbourne.” “And who is that lady, seated at the right of the room?” Sister White asked, as she pointed toward the person indicated. I replied, “That is the Lawyer’s wife.” “And who is that young man at the end of the middle row?” she asked, “He is the lawyer’s nephew,” I answered. “Well that is interesting,” Sister White said. “I saw those three persons, in a vision given me in Switzerland, six years ago. They were then all in one room together, in a private home, praying for light on the book of Daniel. I thought they lived together, and could not understand why they were so separated in this meeting.” I informed her that they did all live together and their being separated so was unusual. But I feel sure the readers will join me in thanksgiving that they were so separated, as it proved clearly that Sister White assuredly recognized them as those seen in the vision, whom she had never seen in person before. She had written in “Testimonies,” Vol. V, page 67: “As the Lord has manifested Himself through the Spirit of prophecy, past, present, and future have passed before me. I have been shown faces that I had never seen, and years afterward, I knew them when I saw them.”
Here we had a perfectly clear fulfilment of this statement. This man was the first to purchase one of the one thousand copies of the book “Daniel and the Revelation,” which William Arnold had carried with him to Australia, and thus had the answer to their prayers for light on those books.
In closing we will let Sister White speak: “Never have testimonies been more clearly brought before the people than those that have been recently traced by my pen. God bids me urge upon the attention of our people the importance of their study. Let this work begin now. Then whether I am permitted to labor, or laid away to rest until Jesus comes, these messages are immortalized.”