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The Great Second Advent Movement: Its Rise and Progress

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    A Vision Misconstrued

    An effort has been made to construe a vision given to Mrs. White, at Topsham, Maine, March 24, 1849, as teaching this erroneous doctrine—no more mercy for sinners. This view was given just as the “Rochester knockings” (Spiritualism) was being introduced. Mrs. White saw that the mysterious signs and wonders and false reformations would increase and spread. These reformations were not reformations from error to truth (she did not say there would never be such reformations, but that the kind shown her where they were using human influence were such), but from bad to worse; for those who professed a change of heart had only wrapped about them a religious garb which covered up the iniquity of a wicked heart. Some appeared to be really converted, thus being enabled to deceive God’s people; but if their hearts could have been seen, they would have appeared as black as ever.GSAM 227.2

    She then said: “My accompanying angel bade me look for the travail of soul for sinners as used to be. I looked, but could not see it; for the time of their salvation is past.” 20Early Writings, 45.GSAM 227.3

    The claim has been made that this vision taught that there was no more mercy for sinners, but we ask, How could that be when she had opposed that doctrine from the very time Joseph Turner first taught it in the spring of 1845, and had all the way along been laboring earnestly for the conversion and salvation of sinners?GSAM 228.1

    In Supplement to Experience and Views, published in 1853, Mrs. White says, “The ‘false reformations’ referred to are yet to be more fully seen. This view relates more particularly to those who have heard and rejected the light of the advent doctrine. They are given over to strong delusions. Such will not have the ‘travail of soul for sinners’ as formerly.” 21Early Writings, 45, see footnote Number 1.GSAM 228.2

    Opponents claim to know more about what Mrs. White was viewing in this vision than she herself did. Let us examine it a moment in connection with their version of it; viz., that she was viewing the condition of sinners instead of the revivalists. So she looked at the sinners to find a “travail of soul for sinners, but could not see it.” Who ever found a travail of soul for sinners by simply looking at the sinner? But, we inquire, what about the persons mentioned in the above testimony who were simply using human influence and mesmerism to gain converts, and calling it the work of the Spirit of God? Are these opponents, who were so anxious to show that Mrs. White taught the extreme “shut door” theory, ready to admit that these revivalists were holy people, and gaining genuine converts?GSAM 228.3

    It is evident to every candid mind that the class of persons addressed in this connection were those who professed to have this travail of soul, while they had rejected light and truth, and were using mesmerism to gain converts. Such could not have a genuine travail of soul for sinners when they themselves were subjects of damnation; for “the time of their [their own] salvation is passed.”GSAM 228.4

    From Mrs. White’s vision of March 24, 1849, some persons have tried to draw the conclusion that it taught that there was no more mercy for sinners; but we have already shown that in 1845, in Paris, Maine, she taught that there was mercy for all who had not knowingly and understandingly rejected light and truth. In a vision given in the same place in 1846, it was shown that the Lord had a “people in the churches who had not rejected the truth.” To those individuals who thought differently, a reproof was given, saying that angels of God would yet work for such, and when they did work, those who were denouncing them would be left outside.GSAM 229.1

    Again, in April, 1848, Elder White and his wife were laboring at Rocky Hill, Conn., for the conversion of sinners. All of which goes to prove that the vision of March 24, 1849, harmonizes with the one given in Paris, Maine, in 1846, and with the course pursued by these servants of God in April, 1848.GSAM 229.2

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