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    The Timeliness of the Messages

    The first one, on the timeliness of the messages, is to my mind a very important one because, if the message came too early, it would be of no avail; if it came too late, it would do no good. Thus the message had to come at the very time it was needed. If it did not arrive on time, we might say that the messenger was either true or false. We could not be sure. But, if the message came right at the moment it was needed, it would be a very good evidence that some power outside of the human mind was responsible for bringing such a message at the correct and opportune moment.DGRGC 71.8

    May I bring to you just two stories to help you decide whether or not God was working through Ellen G. White in connection with the timeliness of the messages. In June, 1871, two ministers began an evangelistic effort in San Francisco. Elder Loughborough was the older minister, and there was a younger man, whose name we shall not mention. By December 1, some fifty or sixty people were baptized, and a nice church was organized in San Francisco.DGRGC 71.9

    Much to the chagrin of all the people, the young man who had been associated with Elder Loughborough fell into some questionable company, and had some associations which were not the best. He, of course, was cautioned by Elder Loughborough and by the people, who told him that he should be most careful with whom he associated. They reminded him that he could not go just where he pleased for people were watching him, and most certainly whatever he did would have an effect upon their little church.DGRGC 71.10

    The young man responded that it was none of their business where he went, with whom he associated, and what he said and what he did. Some young people are like that. They think it does not matter much. They have an idea they can go where they want to go and do what they want to do without concern for anyone, but unfortunately such is not true. For what I do influences the opinion of people round about concerning you as members of my church. It even reflects upon God, because people will form their opinion of God by what they see revealed in me. They will form their opinion of the Seventh-day Adventist Church by what they see in you and me. We cannot as Christians, as members of the body of Christ, go where we please and do as we please without its having an influence upon those about us and those with whom we are associated. So, without any question, this young man was in the wrong.DGRGC 72.1

    On Sabbath, January 27, 1872, the church people decided that they should have a church trial, bring this young man before the church, discuss his situation, and decide on a course of procedure. The trial was set for Sunday morning, January 28, at nine o’clock. When the church services were over on that Sabbath day, the people went to their homes, rather expectantly looking forward to the meeting of the following morning.DGRGC 72.2

    On that Sunday morning Elder Loughborough was up bright and early. He made his preparations to go to the meeting. As he started down the street, he saw this young man, and noticed that he was going in the wrong direction. His attitude was entirely different from what it had been the day before. Coming a little closer, he observed that the young man had been shedding some tears. He spoke to Elder Loughborough, saying, “I am not going to the meeting today.”DGRGC 72.3

    “Not going to the meeting?” Elder Loughborough asked.DGRGC 72.4

    He replied, “No, I am not going.”DGRGC 72.5

    “Well,” the elder rejoined, “this meeting is called for you and for your problem.” He responded, “No, I have written a letter, a confession of my wrong. You may take it and read it to the church.” “Well,” Elder Loughborough inquired, “tell me, Brother, what has happened? What has brought about the change in your attitude, in your whole situation?”DGRGC 72.6

    The young man looked at him and said, “Elder Loughborough, last evening after the sun went down, I went to the post office and drew from the box a letter.” Taking a letter from his pocket he said, “Read it!” Elder Loughborough began to read. It was postmarked January 18, from Battle Creek, Michigan, some 2,000 miles away from San Francisco. As he read, he saw that Mrs. White was describing a situation with which he was somewhat familiar.DGRGC 73.1

    In this letter she told the young man of a vision she had on December 10, 1871, while at Bordoville, Vermont. In that vision she saw him in company with some people with whom he should never have been associated. She saw what he was doing and heard what he said. She wrote a fine motherly letter assuring him that the Lord had instructed her to counsel him to change his ways and to amend his doings, for she warned him that he was on dangerous ground.DGRGC 73.2

    I have had that letter in my hands. I have read it. I have tried to put myself in the place of that young man back there, and I want to tell you, dear friends, I think the message would have had the same influence upon me as it had upon him. On December 10, 1871, in a vision in Vermont she saw what this young man was doing in San Francisco. She was on the eastern coast of the United States about 3,000 miles away from San Francisco, and later she wrote out and described the exact situation of that young man as of that moment.DGRGC 73.3

    It was not until January 27, that the church decided to have an investigation, and give opportunity for the young man to explain his doings. The date was set for the 28th of January. It was about the 27th of December, 1871 that Mrs. White got back to her place of abode. She sat down and began to write the letter to this young man, but something came in and she did not have an opportunity to finish it. It was not until the morning of the 18th of January that she was awakened very early in the morning. The angel standing by her side, said, “Now is the time to finish the message to the young man in San Francisco. Write!” And she wrote.DGRGC 73.4

    She finished the communication quite early in the morning. She called her son and said, “Edson, take this letter to the post office immediately. Do not put it in the slot or the letter drop, but hand it to the post master and request him to put it into the mail bag going direct to San Francisco. It must go at once, and without delay.” So the letter mailed on January 18 began its journey across the continent in 1872 at a rather slow pace, for it did not arrive in San Francisco until the 27th of January—the very day the young man needed the message.DGRGC 74.1

    It was at sundown on Sabbath, January 27, that he was impressed to go to the post office and there he received this message. As he read the message it brought him, of course, to a realization that there was a God in heaven who knew all about him and his doings. Yes, God could see what he was doing, knew exactly with whom he was going, and with whom he was associating, and then the loving Father in heaven instructed His messenger to write a message for that young man in particular. It made a profound impression upon the young man’s mind. It caused him to see his error and to repent of his ways. He sat down immediately and wrote a letter of confession, admitting that there was no need for a church trial for he recognized that all he was doing was known to God, and to the servant of the Lord, though separated by several thousand miles.DGRGC 74.2

    I submit, dear brethren and sisters, that that kind of a message could not come from the mind, or the imagination, of just anybody, near or far. And I also submit that for that message to arrive on the very day, not January 29, nor December 1, but at the very moment the message was needed, is but another evidence that God was working through His servant, Ellen G. White.DGRGC 74.3

    May I add still another experience of a similar nature, and this one, I am sure, may be known by some of our older workers, perhaps personally, and even intimately. In 1891 Ellen G. White was sent over to Australia to help in the establishment of the institutions and our work in general. She decided to stay there for a considerable length of time. While she was in Australia, the people in America were carrying on the movement and doing the best they could under the circumstances. Of course, everybody was interested in and concerned over the long absence of Mrs. White.DGRGC 75.1

    In Battle Creek at that time, about the middle of the 1890’s, a young lady by the name of Annie Philips came out one day and claimed that she had had a vision, a revelation from the Lord. At that time she was living in the home of one of our ministers. She began to write out her messages, and naturally the people were very much interested. Some thought it only reasonable that while Sister White was absent in Australia, the Lord would choose some one else to carry on her work in the United States. So they read her messages with great interest, and some began to compare Sister White’s messages with the messages of Annie Philips. Some things she wrote were very nice and she copied Mrs. White’s style. But some things she taught had no foundation in the Bible.DGRGC 75.2

    It was not long until A. T. Jones felt very much impressed that he should preach a sermon in the tabernacle on a Sabbath morning. He came to that meeting with the message that God had chosen another messenger. He made it clear that he did not think it necessary that the message should be given through just one agent. He thought it possible that the Lord would see fit to use many. Here was just another. He took a whole hour to compare the work of Ellen G. White and the work of Annie Philips.DGRGC 75.3

    He read the messages, placed them side by side, and said, “Brethren, don’t you see that they are just the same. They have the same ring. They have the same content. They are written in almost the same language. This is an evidence that God has chosen another messenger.” And so he urged the people of Battle Creek to accept Annie Philips as another of God’s messengers.DGRGC 75.4

    When the church service closed that morning, I can assure you that quite a few folks did not go home as readily as usual. They stood about in little clusters outside the tabernacle and talked about it, and wondered if it were possible that God had sent them another messenger. They questioned each other as to whether all the messages would be in harmony, or if there might be some conflict between them? What will Sister White do about this? and what will she say about it when she hears of the development here in Battle Creek? These were some of the questions that disturbed them. They were all excited and stirred up by the sermon.DGRGC 76.1

    The next morning, Sunday, Elder A. T. Jones went over to the post office. As he asked at the window for his mail he was handed a letter, a long envelope, rather big, postmarked Australia. The date was some weeks before the day on which the letter was received. The return address gave the name, Mrs. E. G. White.DGRGC 76.2

    He sat down and began to read this communication from Australia—from Sister White. I shall give you just the substance of the contents. She asked Elder Jones who appointed him to preach such a sermon as he preached in the tabernacle. Who gave him the authority to be judge in such a matter as to whether God had chosen another messenger? Why did he stand before the people and compare the message of this one with the messages which God has sent to her? She went on and outlined in detail exactly what had happened on that particular Sabbath morning in the Battle Creek Tabernacle. She pleaded with him not to do anything that would hinder or thwart or confuse the people of God. It was a very powerful message, very direct, and very timely.DGRGC 76.3

    As the preacher sat there looking at this message and reading it, there was a young man standing nearby who had come to write a post card to his parents. When he saw Elder Jones sitting there on the bench, he took a little extra time to write his card, but of course he was observing what was going on.DGRGC 76.4

    Just then the associate editor of the church paper came in and saw Elder Jones sitting there. He said, “What is the matter?” Elder Jones looked up and replied, “Well, Brother, what is the matter? Look at this letter. Notice the date. Note carefully the date of the postmark and where it came from. How did Sister White know a month ago that I was going to preach a sermon like I preached yesterday? Who told her? As a matter of fact, when she wrote that testimony I had no idea of preaching such a sermon. It never came into my mind until only a few days ago. Explain it for me, how so long ago, she knew not only that I was going to do this but she knew the words I was going to say—the very things that I presented to the church yesterday!”DGRGC 77.1

    The editor solemnly told Brother Jones that he knew the answer to his own questions; that it did not come from Sister White’s own imagination. Only the God in heaven knows our thoughts afar off, before they pass through our minds. Only the God of heaven knows where we are and what we are doing and all about us. He knows. Can you deny that the God in heaven sent that message to Ellen G. White in Australia so long before and so far away, and that He had anything to do with that message arriving there on that particular day?DGRGC 77.2

    A. T. Jones admitted, “I have made a mistake. I was wrong. I shall go to the church next Sabbath morning and I shall read this message, and I shall confess before all the people that I ran ahead of the Lord.” So the next Sabbath morning he was back in the pulpit at the Battle Creek Tabernacle and he gave his message. It was a powerful sermon. In it he acknowledged that only God in heaven could know a man’s thoughts a month or two before he thinks them, and only the God in heaven could have the power to put those thoughts into the mind of another person thousands of miles away so long before the man himself would think them.DGRGC 77.3

    Think now of the timeliness of that message. Here again we bring from the life and works of Ellen G. White an experience which certainly proves to me that such messages were not due to any stretch of her imagination. It was not merely a religious reverie that could bring to pass such an experience as that. No, brethren and sisters, when I come to think of these marvellous things that have taken place in the life of Ellen G. White, I stand very humble and say, “God, if you know me as well and as intimately as you knew Elder A. T. Jones, and the young man who was working with Elder Loughborough in San Francisco, then I am convinced that I ought to be the kind of a man you want me to be.”DGRGC 77.4

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