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The Ellen G. White Writings

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    Authoritative, but No Expression “I Saw”

    The later fuller presentation in the Conflict series carries no reminders that Ellen White viewed in holy vision that which she was presenting, for she deliberately refrained from the use of all such expressions as “I saw” and “I was shown.” She did so lest the reading public generally, who were unfamiliar with her call and work, should by the use of such expressions have their attention diverted from the topic she was presenting to questions as to the meaning of such expressions. None need, however, be in any uncertainty as to the vision source of the materials comprising the great controversy presentation. Let us cite some such evidences:EGWW 150.1

    1. The frequency of such expressions in the basic presentation made in Spiritual Gifts, volume 1, in 1858.EGWW 150.2

    2. Her 1864 Preface to Spiritual Gifts, volume 3, which opens with the words:EGWW 150.3

    In presenting this, my third little volume, to the public, I am comforted with the conviction that the Lord has made me His humble instrument in shedding some rays of precious light upon the past.... The great facts of faith, connected with the history of holy men of old, have been opened to me in vision.EGWW 150.4

    3. The first of the five Conflict of the Ages books to come from the press, The Great Controversy, published in 1888, in the author’s “Introduction” carries two significant statements:EGWW 150.5

    (a) Through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, the scenes of the long-continued conflict between good and evil have been opened to the writer of these pages. From time to time I have been permitted to behold the working, in different ages, of the great controversy between Christ, the Prince of life, the Author of our salvation, and Satan, the prince of evil, the author of sin, the first transgressor of God’s holy law.—Page x.EGWW 150.6

    (b) As the Spirit of God has opened to my mind the great truths of His word, and the scenes of the past and the future, I have been bidden to make known to others that which has thus been revealed—to trace the history of the controversy in past ages, and especially so to present it as to shed a light on the fast-approaching struggle of the future.—Page xi.EGWW 151.1

    4. Commenting in 1888 on the presentation of earth’s closing events and the second advent of Christ as presented in her books she declared:EGWW 151.2

    Scenes of such thrilling, solemn interest passed before me as no language is adequate to describe. It was all a living reality to me, for close upon this scene appeared the great white cloud, upon which was seated the Son of man.—Letter 38, 1888. (Published in Selected Messages 1:76.)EGWW 151.3

    5. In 1906 in advance of the publication of her books Prophets and Kings and The Acts of the Apostles she referred to the source of information in her works which present the great controversy.EGWW 151.4

    How many have read carefully Patriarchs and Prophets, The Great Controversy, and The Desire of Ages? I wish all to understand that my confidence in the light that God has given stands firm, because I know that the Holy Spirit’s power magnified the truth, and made it honorable, saying: “This is the way, walk ye in it.” In my books, the truth is stated, barricaded by a “Thus saith the Lord.” The Holy Spirit traced these truths upon my heart and mind as indelibly as the law was traced by the finger of God, upon the tables of stone.—Colporteur Ministry, 126.EGWW 151.5

    6. Then, dealing with single volumes, she wrote:EGWW 151.6

    God would be pleased to see The Desire of Ages in every home. In this book is contained the light He has given upon His word.—Letter 75, 1900. (Published in Colporteur Ministry, 126.)EGWW 151.7

    Have you read volume 4? 15Note: The Great Controversy, 1888 edition. For a few years The Great Controversy was referred to as volume 4. When Patriarchs and Prophets was first issued it was titled Great Controversy, Volume One. Do you know what it contains? ...EGWW 151.8

    I was moved by the Spirit of the Lord to write that book....EGWW 152.1

    The Lord has set before me matters which are of urgent importance for the present time, and which reach into the future. The words have been spoken in a charge to me, “Write in a book the things which thou hast seen and heard, and let it go to all the people; for the time is at hand when past history will be repeated.” I have been aroused at one, two, or three o’clock in the morning with some point forcibly impressed upon my mind, as if spoken by the voice of God.—Letter 1, 1890. (Published in Colporteur Ministry, 127, 128.)EGWW 152.2

    While writing the manuscript of The Great Controversy, I was often conscious of the presence of the angels of God. And many times the scenes about which I was writing were presented to me anew in visions of the night, so that they were fresh and vivid in my mind.—Letter 56, 1911. (Published in Colporteur Ministry, 128.)EGWW 152.3

    Sister White is not the originator of these books. They contain the instruction that during her lifework God has been giving her. They contain the precious, comforting light that God has graciously given His servant to be given to the world.—The Review and Herald, January 20, 1903. (Published in Colporteur Ministry, 125.)EGWW 152.4

    Looking beyond the question of the use Mrs. White made of the historical writings of others as she wove the narrative and the doctrinal presentation and the prophetic forecast of The Great Controversy story on the tapestry of history—for this is dealt with in Chapter 4—and having established through her own witness the fact that what she presented in these books was revealed to her by God, let us look at some features of the presentation she gives. As we do so we recognize that certain segments are dealt with not only in these volumes of the great controversy presentation—Spiritual Gifts, Spirit of Prophecy, and the Conflict series, and we might include Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing and Christ’s Object Lessons as well, for they were overflow material—but they also appear in other of the E. G. White productions.EGWW 152.5

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