A Plain Talk to Murmurers

From sources difficult to access.


As to the Christian character of Sister White,  I beg leave to say that I think I know something about it. I have been acquainted with Sister White for eighteen years, more than half the history of our people. I have been in their family time and again, sometimes weeks at a time. They have been in our house and family many times. I have traveled with them almost everywhere; have been with them in private and in public, in meeting and out of meeting, and have had the very best chances to know something of the life, character, and spirit of Brother and Sister White. As a min­ister, I have had to deal with all kinds of per­sons, and all kinds of character, till I think I can judge something of what a person is, at least after years of intimate acquaintance.

I know Sister White to be an unassuming, modest, kind-hearted, noble woman. These traits in her character are not simply put on and cultivated, but they spring gracefully and easily from her natural disposition. She is not self-conceited, self-righteous, and self-important, as fanatics always are. I have frequently come in contact with fanatical persons, and I have always found them to be full of pretensions, full of pride, ready to give their opinion, boast­ful of their holiness, etc. But I have ever found Sister White the reverse of all this. Any one, the poorest and the humblest, can go to her freely for advice and comfort without being re­pulsed. She is ever looking after the needy, the destitute, and the suffering, providing for them, and pleading their cause. I have never formed an acquaintance with any persons who so constantly have the fear of God before them. Nothing is undertaken without earnest prayer to God. She studies God's word carefully and constantly.

I have heard Sister White speak hundreds of times, have read' all her Testimonies through and through, most of them many times, and I have never been able to find one immoral sentence in the whole of them, or anything that is not strictly pure and Christian; nothing that leads away from the Bible, or from Christ; but there I find the most earnest appeals to obey

God, to love Jesus, to believe the Scriptures, and to search them constantly. I have received great spiritual benefit times without number, from the Testimonies. Indeed, I never read them without feeling reproved for my lack of faith in God, lack of devotion, and lack of ear­nestness in saving souls. If I have any judg­ment, any spiritual discernment, I pronounce the Testimonies to be of the same Spirit and of the same tenor as the Scriptures.

For thirty years these Testimonies have been believed and read among our people. How has, it affected them? Has it led them away from the law of God? Has it led them to give up faith in Christ? Has it led them to throw aside the Bible? Has it led them to be a corrupt, immoral people? I know that they will com­pare favorably with any other Christian denom­ination. One thing I have remarked, and that is, that the most bitter opponents of the visions of Sister White admit that she is a Christian. How they can make this admission is more than I know. They try to fix it up by saying that she is deceived. They are not able to -put their finger upon a single stain in all her life, nor an immoral sentence in all her writings. They have to admit that much of her writings are excellent, and that whoever would live out all she says would be a good Christian, sure of heaven. This is passing strange if she is a tool of the devil, inspired by Satan, or if her writ­ings are immoral or the vagaries of her own mind.

Another fact should have great weight with our Sabbath-keeping Adventists. All the lead­ing men among us, those of the very strongest minds and the best talents, and who have had every facility for more than a quarter of a cen­tury to become thoroughly acquainted with Sis­ter White and her writings, have the strongest faith in her Testimonies. This, with our peo­ple who keep the Sabbath and believe in the advent doctrine, should have great weight.

I could name half a dozen men whose writings you read with great delight, whose talent and ability you all admire, whose piety and doctrine none of you question, who have all con­fidence in her gift. By a long and intimate acquaintance with Sister White and her writ­ings, they have had a hundredfold better chance to decide upon this question than ninety-nine out of a hundred lay brethren. They have seen Sister White in vision, they have heard her deliver hundreds of testimonies to individuals whom they know. Indeed, they themselves have been reproved through them, and they have read and studied her writings over and over thoroughly. They are conscientious, God-fearing men,—men, too, who are close Bible students. Do these persons doubt the Testi­monies? No, not one of them. We do not ask others to believe upon their faith; but we do say that others who have not had the opportu­nity to investigate this question as these men have, should feel some modesty in giving a dif­ferent decision upon, or taking up opposition against, the same question.

Another fact I have noticed: Impostors are always anxious to build up themselves. Any one who will support them they will flatter and praise and sustain; but I know it to be just the reverse in this case. Those who have been the most often, and, probably, the most se­verely, reproved through the Testimonies, are those who have been the warmest supporters of Sister White. This does not look like the pol­icy of a deceiver. But the special point which we wish our brethren to reconcile in their own minds is this: How they can believe the third angel's message, how they can believe that this is the special work of God, how they can be­lieve that the time has come for these truths to be given to the world, and that in the prov­idence of God they are being given, and still can believe that Sister White is not the servant of God, and her Testimonies are not from the Lord.

Consider the fact that for over thirty years these Testimonies have been intimately con­nected with this work, that Sister White has had a very prominent position in the work, and that her Testimonies have had a good deal to do in shaping this work, and in sustaining and building it up,—consider all these facts, and then reconcile this if you can with the supposi­tion that the work is of God and the workmen are of Satan! Would God allow a deceiver, an impostor, to stand in so prominent a place in His work for so long a time? If this be so, we fearlessly challenge any one to point to a single example of a similar case in all the history of God's work upon earth. Where did the Lord ever have a special work to be done for His church where a corrupt man has taken hold in that work, and stood at its head all the way through? The very idea is absurd. Do you find it so in the case of Noah? of Moses? of Elijah? of the forerunner of the first advent? or at the time of the Reformation? in. the work of Wesley? or of William Miller? There is no case. God has never suffered it to be, neither will He now. No, dear brethren, we must either re­nounce the third angel's message, or accept those whom God has raised up to give it.--Re­view and Herald, April 26, 1877.

* Every loyal worker and believer in the third an­gel's message is increasingly grateful to God for the blessings that have come to this people through the Spirit of prophecy. This gift has, of course, been a major point of attack through the years. Usually the bitterest enemies against any organization are those who were once allied with it, and this is true espe­cially of religious bodies. D. M. Canright, as is well known, was for twenty-eight years a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Periodic doubt and disaffection marked the last fourteen years of this time. Several times he returned before his final break with us. During this wavering period he still pro­fessed great respect for our people, and on numerous occasions would confess that no other people could compare with ours in spirituality and single-hearted­ness in the service of God. When with us, he pro­fessed great faith in the Spirit of prophecy, and pro­found respect for Mrs. E. G. White. as is evidenced by this reprint, which was one of nine articles published in the Review and Herald in 1877, appearing upon Mr. Canright's return after one of his early disaffec­tions, and when still a member of the General Conference Committee.—Editors

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November 1933

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