THE "SHUT DOOR" DOCUMENTS
Statements Relating to the "Shut Door,"
the Door of Mercy, and the Salvation of Souls
by Ellen G. White and Other Early Adventists
Arranged in a Chronological Setting from 1844 to 1851
Compiled, with Occasional Commentary, by
Robert W. Olson
Ellen G. White Estate
Washington D. C.
April 11, 1982
1. October 22, 1844--After the Great Disappointment the Belief was Widespread That Probation had Closed on October 22, 1844.
In 1868 James White wrote:
And a general impression remained upon the minds of believers for some time after the disappointment, that the seventh-month movement was in the direct providence of God, and that those who had been engaged in this work had done his will.
And according to the best light they then had, there was a general agreement that the seventh-month movement was the last great test, that the harvest of the earth was ripe for the sickle of the Son of man, and that the door was shut. That the salvation of the soul, or perdition, hung upon the manner in which those who heard treated that solemn message, I doubt not. And this is especially clear in the case of the disappointed believers after the time passed. In holding fast and believing, there was salvation; in drawing back, the result would be perdition. The view, however, that the harvest of the earth was ripe, and that the door was shut, was soon abandoned. But although all, long since, gave up this position as incorrect, I fail to see why they should be censured for taking it upon the passing of the time. In fact, the conclusion seems very natural, and I hardly see how they could have come to any other. I will here mention some of the reasons why such conclusion was reasonable, if not unavoidable.
1. William Miller and others had taught that the door would be shut, and that probation would close a short time before the second advent. In a letter to Elder J. V. Himes, October 6, 1844, he said: "I am strong in the opinion that the next will be the last Lord's day sinners will ever have in probation. And within ten or fifteen days from thence, they will see Him whom they have hated and despised, to their shame and everlasting contempt."
2. And, certainly, that probation will close prior to the second advent is plainly taught in the following emphatic testimony from Rev. xxii, 11, 12: "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And behold I come quickly." I will only add, that the order of events here given is, first, the final decision of all men living at the close of probation, and, second, then follows the advent of Him who says, "And behold I come quickly."
3. All true believers expected that probation would close as soon as the tenth day of the seventh month. And as the time of expectation drew near, their burdened spirits felt more and still more heavily the weight and responsibility of doing every duty to others. But as the point of expectation was finally reached, all this burden at once fell off. This was as true of the isolated brother or sister, in some distant part of the country, as with those in the crowded city mingling with hundreds of like faith. It was true of all. All felt that their work in warning sinners was done. No one can have a just idea of this great change, only those who participated in the movement, and came up to the time of expectation with the burden of the solemn work upon them. Jesus had not come as they expected, and why this great change had come over all was a matter of proper inquiry. And how natural the conclusion, to say the least, that probation was ended.
4. The change that had suddenly come over the ungodly seemed to strengthen the conviction that the door was shut. Although the passing of the time, removing their fears, may now be regarded as a sufficient cause for the change in them, yet at that time the fiend-like conduct of many after the tenth day passed, who but a few hours or days before had appeared penitent, gave the idea that the restraining influence of the Spirit of God had forever left them.
In view of these things it should not be a matter of surprise to any, that Adventists were agreed that the midnight cry was the last great test, that the work for the world was finished, and that the door was shut. (Emphasis supplied.) --Life Incidents (1868), pp. 184-186. See also E. G. White, Spirit of Prophecy, vol. IV, p. 268; The Great Controversy, p. 429.
2. November 18, 1844--William Miller Believed His Work Was Done and the Door Was Shut.
We have done our work in warning sinners, and in trying to awake a formal church. God, in his providence has shut the door; we can only stir one another up to be patient; and be diligent to make our calling and election sure. We are now living in the time specified by Malachi 3:18, also Daniel 12:10, Rev. 22:10-12. In this passage we cannot help but see that a little while before Christ should come, there would be a separation between the just and unjust, the righteous and wicked, between those who love his appearing, and those who hate it.--William Miller Letter of Nov. 18, 1844, quoted in The Advent Herald, Dec. 11, 1844, p. 142.
3. October 22-November, 1844--In Common With Most of the Millerites, Ellen Harmon Also Believed for a Time that the Door of Mercy was Shut on October 22, 1844.
For a time after the disappointment in 1844, I did hold, in common with the advent body, that the door of mercy was then forever closed to the world.--Ellen G. White Ms. 4, 1883; Selected Messages, book 1, p. 63.
4. November-December, 1844--Ellen Harmon Gave Up Her View That the Door Was Shut.
At the time I had the vision of the midnight cry I had given it up in the past and thought it future, as also most of the band had.--Ellen G. White Letter 3, 1847, written July 13, 1847 to Joseph Bates.
The "midnight cry" (Matt. 25:6) was the powerful proclamation of Christ's imminent return made by the Millerites from August 12 to October 22, 1844. When Christ did not return on October 22, as anticipated, the Millerites at first thought that human probation had closed on that date. Christ's glorious second advent was expected in a few weeks' time at the most.
However, when time continued into the month of December, most of the advent "band" in Portland, Maine, where Ellen Harmon lived, gave up their confidence in the Millerite interpretation of Daniel 8:14, Matthew 25:6, and related texts. Apparently for several weeks late in November and early in December, 1844, Ellen [p. 4] Harmon looked upon the Millerite computations as one big mistake. She concluded that the door of mercy had not been shut, after all, on October 22.
5. December, 1844--In Ellen Harmon's First Vision, She Was Shown that the Door of Mercy Was Shut for (a) Those Millerites Who Denied That God Had Led Them in the 1844 "Midnight Cry" Movement, and (b) "All the Wicked World" Which God Had Rejected. She Was Also Shown "The Living Saints, 144,000 in Number," Waiting for Christ's Return.
While praying at the family altar, the Holy Ghost fell on me, and I seemed to be rising higher and higher, far above the dark world. I turned to look for the Advent people in the world, but could not find them--when a voice said to me, "Look again, and look a little higher." At this I raised my eyes and saw a straight and narrow path, cast up high above the world. On this path the Advent people were travelling to the City, which was at the farther end of the path. They had a bright light set up behind them at the first end of the path, which an angel told me was the Midnight Cry. This light shone all along the path, and gave light for their feet so they might not stumble. And if they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, who was just before them, leading them to the City, they were safe. But soon some grew weary, and they said the City was a great way off, and they expected to have entered it before. Then Jesus would encourage them by raising his glorious right arm, and from his arm came a glorious light which waved over the Advent band, and they shouted Hallelujah! Others rashly denied the light behind them, and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and got their eyes off the mark and lost sight of Jesus, and fell off the path down in the dark and wicked world below. It was just as impossible for them to get on the path again and go to the City, as all the wicked world which God had rejected. They fell all the way along the path one after another, until we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus' coming. The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake. When God spake the time, he poured on us the Holy Ghost, and our faces began to light up and shine with the glory of God as Moses' did when he came down from Mount Sinai.--Ellen G. White, A Word to the Little Flock, p. 14.
Ellen Harmon's first vision was published initially by Enoch Jacobs in the Cincinnati Day-Star of January 24, 1846, then republished by James White on April 6, 1846, in the broadside, "To the Little Remnant Scattered Abroad." On May 30, 1847, it was published yet again by James White in the pamphlet, A Word to the Little Flock (available in facsimile form at any Adventist Book Center).
6. December, 1844--Ellen Harmon's First Vision Changed Her Mind About the Significance of the "7th Month Experience."
Under date of May 30, 1847, James White wrote:
When she received her first vision, Dec. 1844, she and all the band in Portland, Maine, (where her parents then resided) had given up the midnight-cry, and shut door, as being in the past. It was then that the Lord shew her in vision, the error into which she and the band in Portland had fallen. She then related her vision to the band, and about sixty confessed their error, and acknowledged their 7th month experience to be the work of God.--James White, A Word to the Little Flock, p. 22.
The "7th month experience," or "midnight cry," was the proclamation that Christ would return on the 10th day of the 7th Jewish month, which in 1844 fell on October 22. In her first vision Ellen Harmon was shown that the seventh month movement was "the work of God." In other words, the Millerite calculations based on Daniel 8:14 were not to be discarded as an unfortunate blunder.
This vision substantiated the validity of the October 22 date. However, since Christ had not returned on that date, the prophecy of Daniel 8:14 must have been fulfilled by some other event. James White indicates that, on the basis of what she was shown in her first vision, Ellen Harmon reverted to her earlier view that the door was shut on October 22. She apparently now believed that the door of mercy was closed.
7. December, 1844--Ellen White Declared That Her First Vision Led Her Away From the Position That the Door of Mercy Was Closed for the Whole World.
In her 1883 memory statement Ellen White said:
For a time after the disappointment in 1844, I did hold, in common with the advent body, that the door of mercy was then forever closed to the world. This position was taken before my first vision was given me. It was the light given me of God that corrected our error, and enabled us to see the true position.--Selected Messages, book 1, p. 63.
Ellen White appears to be saying that she immediately adopted "the true position" after receiving her first vision. However, such an interpretation of her words does not seem to be in harmony with other documents of the time, especially Otis Nichols' letter to William Miller. (See entry No. 24.)
It seems more likely that Ellen's first vision confirmed the validity of the 1844 experience and, with subsequent visions, led her gradually to the realization that, while the door of mercy had indeed closed for some on October 22, it had not closed for all. At first she was struck with the fact that there was no more hope for the "wicked world" or for those who denied God's leading in the Millerite movement. As the years passed she was evidently more and more impressed by that part of her vision which mentioned the 144,000 who were yet to be gathered out of the world before the Lord's return. What was intended to underscore divine leadership in the Millerite movement and to portray a large [p. 6] ingathering of souls was at first misinterpreted to mean that her work for the world was done.
That seventeen-year-old Ellen should misinterpret one of her visions should elicit no surprise when one remembers that the Bible prophets found it necessary to study their own writings in the endeavor to find out what their prophecies meant (1 Peter 1:10,11). At one time the apostle Peter mistakenly believed in a shut door. In fact, he thought that, as far as the Gentiles were concerned, the door of mercy had never been open. Somehow he misinterpreted Isaiah 56:6-8, as well as Christ's command recorded in Matthew 28:19 and Acts 1:8. Eventually, in the vision at Cornelius' house (Acts 10), Peter discovered "the true position."
Concerning her own experience, Ellen White wrote:
Often representations are given me which at first I do not understand. But after a time they are made plain by a repeated presentation of those things that I did not at first comprehend, in ways that make their meaning clear and unmistakable.--Selected Messages, book 3, p. 56.
For 60 years I have been in communication with heavenly messengers, and I have been constantly learning in reference to divine things.--Letter 86, 1906; This Day With God, p. 76.
8. December 1844, Vision--The Full Explanation and More Correct Interpretation Came Later.
In 1891 Uriah Smith wrote:
In the midst of this evolution of new views, a few weeks after the passing of the time, and while many were making shipwreck of faith, Sister White had her first vision. In it she was shown that "the midnight cry," which they had just passed through, was a great light set up behind them, and was not to be rejected; that if kept in view, it would shed light on the pathway clear through to the end; but if rashly denied, darkness and ruin to such souls would follow. Now says the objector, "The visions taught the shut door, because the shut-door view was connected with that of the midnight cry; and the vision taught that the midnight cry was not to be given up." The conclusion does not follow. It is a false charge. The vision said nothing about the shut door. But the midnight cry was a vital pillar of truth, and was not to be surrendered, though some errors had been connected with it. To give up the midnight cry was to give up the whole work, and make utter shipwreck of faith. And any candid reader can judge whether it were better to give up that truth on account of an error which men had attached to it, and so wholly apostatize, rather than hold fast to the truth, and wait patiently till the Lord should remove the error which men had connected with it. Everyone will say the latter. And this they did; and the explanation and correction came in due time.--Review and Herald, January 6, 1891, p. 8.
9. December, 1844, Vision--Ellen White in 1883 Explained the Meaning of Her First Vision.
Ellen White's explanation of the true meaning of her first vision ("the true position") is as follows:
For a time after the disappointment in 1844, I did hold, in common with the advent body, that the door of mercy was then forever closed to the world. This position was taken before my first vision was given me. It was the light given me of God that corrected our error, and enabled us to see the true position.
I am still a believer in the shut-door theory, but not in the sense in which we at first employed the term or in which it is employed by my opponents.
There was a shut door in Noah's day. There was at that time a withdrawal of the Spirit of God from the sinful race that perished in the waters of the Flood. God Himself gave the shut-door message to Noah:
"My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years" (Gen. 6:3).
There was a shut door in the days of Abraham. Mercy ceased to plead with the inhabitants of Sodom, and all but Lot, with his wife and two daughters, were consumed by the fire sent down from heaven.
There was a shut door in Christ's day. The Son of God declared to the unbelieving Jews of that generation, "Your house is left unto you desolate" (Matt. 23:38).
Looking down the stream of time to the last days, the same infinite power proclaimed through John:
"These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth" (Rev. 3:7).
I was shown in vision, and I still believe, that there was a shut door in 1844. All who saw the light of the first and second angels' messages and rejected that light, were left in darkness. And those who accepted it and received the Holy Spirit which attended the proclamation of the message from heaven, and who afterward renounced their faith and pronounced their experience a delusion, thereby rejected the Spirit of God, and it no longer pleaded with them.
Those who did not see the light, had not the guilt of its rejection. It was only the class who had despised the light from heaven that the Spirit of God could not reach. And this class included, as I have stated, both those who refused to accept the message when it was presented to them, and also those who, having received it, afterward renounced their faith. These might have a form of godliness, and profess to be followers of Christ; but having no living connection with God, they would be taken captive by the delusions of Satan. These two classes are brought to view in the vision--those who declared the light which they had followed a delusion, and the wicked of the world who, having rejected the light, had been rejected of God. No reference is made to those who had not seen the light, and therefore were not guilty of its rejection.--Ms. 4, 1883; Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 63-64.
10. January 8, 1845--James White Believed the Door Was Shut.
In a letter to Enoch Jacobs dated January 8, 1845 (possibly this should read 1846), James White stated:
"Beloved when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for THE faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness and denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ." Jude 3-4. I conclude no intelligent believer in the shut door doubts the direct application of Jude to us since the midnight cry was finished. So the exhortation to contend for the faith delivered to the saints, is to us alone.--The Day-Star, Jan. 24, 1846.
11. January 24, 1845--Most Adventists Held Shut Door Views.
On January 24, 1845, Joseph Turner wrote in the Hope of Israel:
In every place I visited I found a goodly number, I think quite a majority, who were and are now believing that our work is all done for this world.--Quoted by L. E. From, Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. IV, p. 839.
12. January , 1845--Sylvester Bliss Expected the Return of Christ at Any Moment.
Our Position is therefore the same as that presented in the last number of the Shield, in the article under that head. We regard this as a period of time in which we are emphatically to take heed to ourselves lest at any time our hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon us unawares. Our position is one of continual and confident expectation. With no time which must necessarily intervene between the present and the time of the Lord's return--having run out all the prophetic periods, according to the chronologers we have followed respecting the date of the events from which we have reckoned--being at the terminus of all historical prophecy; and occupying that point of time, to which the primitive church and the reformers looked, and which is designated by the signs of the times; we may daily and hourly look for the coming of our King,--not knowing the day or the hour, or when the definite time is, and yet knowing that it is at the very door, that it cannot be long delayed, and may burst upon us at any moment. Thus we will continue to wait and watch, praying for, and loving his appearing, doing all we can for the preparation of our fellowmen for that event, yet willing to tarry here God's time until Salem's golden spires shall burst upon our vision, and we shall enter upon eternal realities. --Sylvester Bliss, The Advent Shield and Review, January, 1845, p. 285.
13. February, 1845--William Miller Still Believed the Door Was Shut.
I did believe, and must honestly confess I do now, that I have done my work in warning sinners, and that in the seventh month.--William Miller Letter in The Advent Herald, Feb. 12, 1845, p. 3.
14. February, 1845--In Vision Ellen Harmon Saw the Father and the Son in the Heavenly Sanctuary. The "Careless Multitude" were in "Perfect Darkness."
In February, 1845, I had a vision of events commencing with the Midnight Cry. I saw a throne and on it sat the Father and the Son. I gazed on Jesus' countenance and admired his lovely person. The Father's person I could not behold, for a cloud of glorious light covered him. I asked Jesus if his Father had a form like himself. He said he had, but I could not behold it, for said he if you should once behold the glory of his person you would cease to exist. Before the throne I saw the Advent people, the church, and the world. I saw a company, bowed down before the throne, deeply interested, while the most of them stood up disinterested and careless. Those who were bowed before the throne would offer up their prayers and look to Jesus; then he would look to his Father, and appeared to be pleading with him. A light would come from the Father to the Son, and from the son to the praying company. Then I saw an exceeding bright light come from the Father to the Son, and from the Son it waved over the people before the throne. But few would receive this great light; many came out from under it and immediately resisted it; others were careless and did not cherish the light, and it moved off from them; some cherished it, and went and bowed down with the little praying company. This company all received the light, and rejoiced in it, as their countenances shone with its glory. And I saw the Father rise from the throne, and in a flaming Chariot go into the Holy of Holies, within the veil, and did sit. There I saw thrones that I had never seen before. Then Jesus rose up from the throne, and the most of those who were bowed down arose with Him; and I did not see one ray of light pass from Jesus to the careless multitude after he arose, and they were left in perfect darkness.--Ellen Harmon, "To the Little Remnant Scattered Abroad," April 6, 1846. See also Early Writings, pp. 54-56.
15. February, 1845 Vision--This Vision Persuaded Many to Believe in the Shut Door.
In her letter of July 13, 1847, to Joseph Bates, Ellen White recounts the circumstances surrounding not only her first vision (Dec., 1844), but also the vision of February, 1845. She stated:
Brother Bates, you write in a letter to James something about the Bridegroom's coming, as stated in the first published visions. By the letter you would like to know whether I had light on the Bridegroom's coming before I saw it in vision. I can readily answer, No. The Lord showed me [p. 10] the travail of the Advent band and midnight cry in December , but He did not show me the Bridegroom's coming until February following.
Perhaps you would like to have me give a statement in relation to both visions. At the time I had the vision of the midnight cry I had given it up in the past and thought it future, as also most of the band had. I know not what time J. Turner got out his paper. I knew he had one out and one was in the house, but I knew not what was in it, for I did not read a word in it. I had been, and still was very sick. I took no interest in reading, for it injured my head and made me nervous.
After I had the vision and God gave me light, He bade me deliver it to the band, but I shrank from it. I was young, and I thought they would not receive it from me. I disobeyed the Lord, and instead of remaining at home, where the meeting was to be that night, I got in a sleigh in the morning and rode three or four miles and there I found Joseph Turner. He merely inquired how I was and if I was in the way of my duty. I said nothing, for I knew I was not.
I passed up [to the] chamber and did not see him again for two hours, when he came up, asked if I was to be at meeting that night. I told him, no. He said he wanted to hear my vision and thought it duty for me to go home. I told him I should not. He said no more, but went away.
I thought, and told those around me, if I went I should have to come out against his views, thinking he believed with the rest. I had not told any of them what God had shown me, and I did not tell them in what I should cut across his track.
All that day I suffered much in body and mind. It seemed that God had forsaken me entirely. I prayed the Lord if He would give me strength to ride home that night, the first opportunity I would deliver the message He had given me. He did give me strength and I rode home that night. Meeting had been done some time, and not a word was said by any of the family about the meeting.
Very early next morning Joseph Turner called, said he was in haste going out of the city in a short time, and wanted I should tell him all that God had shown me in vision. It was with fear and trembling I told him all. After I had got through he said he had told out the same last evening. I rejoiced, for I expected he was coming out against me, for all the while I had not heard anyone say what he believed. He said the Lord had sent him to hear me talk the evening before, but as I would not, he meant his children should have the light in some way, so he took him.
There were but few out when he talked, so the next meeting I told my vision, and the band, believing my visions from God, received what God bade me to deliver to them.
The view about the Bridegroom's coming I had about the middle of February, 1845.
While in Exeter, Maine, in meeting with Israel Dammon, James, and many others, many of them did not believe in a shut door. I suffered much at the commencement of the meeting. Unbelief seemed to be on every hand.
There was one sister there that was called very spiritual. She had traveled and been a powerful preacher the most of the time for twenty years. She had been truly a mother in Israel. But a division had risen in the band on the shut door. She had great sympathy, and could not believe the door was shut. (I had known nothing of their difference.) Sister Durben got up to talk. I felt very, very sad.
[p. 11] At length my soul seemed to be in an agony, and while she was talking I fell from my chair to the floor. It was then I had a view of Jesus rising from His mediatorial throne and going to the holiest as Bridegroom to receive His kingdom. They were all deeply interested in the view. They all said it was entirely new to them. The Lord worked in mighty power setting the truth home to their hearts.
Sister Durben knew what the power of the Lord was, for she had felt it many times; and a short time after I fell she was struck down, and fell to the floor, crying to God to have mercy on her. When I came out of vision, my ears were saluted with Sister Durben's singing and shouting with a loud voice.
Most of them received the vision, and were settled upon the shut door. Previous to this I had no light on the coming of the Bridegroom, but had expected Him to this earth to deliver His people on the tenth day of the seventh month. I did not hear a lecture or a word in any way relating to the Bridegroom's going to the holiest.--Letter 3, 1847. (To Joseph Bates, July 13, 1847)
16. February, 1845--In Her February, 1845, Vision Ellen Harmon Saw Both an Open and a Shut Door As Christ Entered the Holy of Holies.
Writing to J. N. Loughborough under date of August 24, 1874, Ellen White stated:
It was on my first journey east to relate my visions that the precious light in regard to the heavenly sanctuary was opened before me and I was shown the open and shut door. We believed that the Lord was soon to come in the clouds of heaven. I was shown that there was a great work to be done in the world for those who had not had the light and rejected it. Our brethren could not understand this with our faith in the immediate appearing of Christ. Some accused me of saying that my Lord delayeth His coming, especially the fanatical ones. I saw that in '44 God had opened a door and no man could shut it, and shut a door and no man could open it. Those who rejected the light which was brought to the world by the message of the second angel went into darkness, and how great was that darkness.--Letter 2, 1874; Selected Messages, book 1, p. 74.
17. February, 1845--Ellen Harmon Did Not at First Understand the Meaning of the "Open Door" in Her February, 1845, Vision.
In 1866 J. N. Loughborough writes of a conversation he listened to a year earlier when James White and H. E. Carver were discussing the shut door doctrine. Loughborough states:
BRO. SMITH: Many brethren who have learned that I was with Bro. White in Marion, Iowa, in July, 1865, have questioned me concerning a certain conversation at the house of H. E. Carver. In response to their inquiries I would say: I have read the statement of H. E. Carver concerning a conversation between himself and Bro. White, in July, 1865, concerning the shut door and the visions of Sister White, in which he says Bro. White made the following statement: "'Brother Carver, I will make an admission to you I would not make to a sharp opponent. Considering her youthfulness at the time, and her faith in the shut-door doctrine, and her association with those of the same faith, it should not be considered singular if these things should give a coloring to the vision not warranted by what she really saw.' I do not say these are the exact words, but the substance of what he said."
And I hereby certify that I was present at the same time, and listened with intense interest to the same conversation, and think I recollect quite distinctly what was said on that point.
Words were said somewhat similar to what is quoted, but what was said before and after those words, gives them quite a different bearing from what he gives them.
The question came up, that evening, whether Sister White believed in the doctrine of the shut door after the time passed in 1844. Said Bro. White, in response to this question, "Bro. Carver, I will make an admission to you, which, of course, I would not make in public to a sharp opponent. She did believe it. And so, as you know, did nearly all the Advent people. In her visions, she had views of an open as well as a shut door; and she did not at first distinctly understand what this open door meant. Many brethren opposed her views, because she told them there was an open door."
After speaking of the vision in which mention is made of the shut door, given at Exeter, Maine, which vision, at this point, was the topic of conversation, Bro. White said, "Considering her youthfulness, and her belief in the shut door, and the views of the Advent people, it would not have been considered very strange, if her vision had received a coloring, in writing it out." I did not understand Bro. White, for a moment, to convey the idea that her views colored the vision, but that they did not; and that, for this reason: we had, in the same vision, what she saw about the open door, notwithstanding her vision of the open door was contrary to the faith of the Advent people at that time, and contrary to her own faith, before she had this vision.
Still further, Bro. White went on to show that it was the visions that led them out of the extreme view of the shut door. Immediately after this vision, they labored for some who had made no profession before 1844, which was directly contrary to the practice of those who held the extreme view on the shut door. This vision was repeated again, as he showed, at Oswego, N. Y., just before it was published in Saratoga; but instead of leading them to cease to labor for the unconverted, it led them to labor for those who are now Bro. and Sr. Patch of Minesota.
And I will here state, that, so far as I can learn from those who were living where this vision was given, instead of its leading them to the extreme shut-door view, it had the opposite effect, to lead those who received it, out of it. J. N. LOUGHBOROUGH.--Review and Herald, Sept. 25, 1866, pp. 133-134.
18. April 29-May 1, 1845--Most of the Millerite Leaders Changed From Shut Door to Open Door.
At the Albany Conference, which convened April 29, 1845, Miller, Litch, Bliss, and other Millerite leaders adopted a report of ten principles on which they could unite. One of these was that preaching must continue to all men until the end. The Advent Herald summarized a portion of William Miller's address to the conference as follows:
After the seventh month, he felt for a time that his work was done. But when he commenced his lectures at Albany, all his darkness was gone. Therefore brethren, he said, where you find a door open, enter upon that field of labor, and labor until the Master shall tell you to stop. As yet he has given you no such command. Go, labor in the vineyard, and you will still find souls willing to listen to the glad tidings.--The Advent Herald, June 4, 1845, p. 132. (See also L. E. Froom, Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. IV, pp. 834-836.)
19. August, 1845--Miller Firmly Rejects the October 22, 1844, Date.
I have no confidence in any of the new theories that have grown out of that seventh month movement, viz., that Christ then came as the Bridegroom, that the door of mercy was closed, that there is no salvation for sinners, that the seventh trumpet then sounded, or that it was a fulfillment of prophecy in any sense.--William Miller, Apology and Defence (August, 1845), p. 28.
In his Apology and Defence, Miller made a distinction between his message preached from 1831 to 1844 and the "midnight cry" of the summer of 1844. The latter no longer held any significance for him. The lines were drawn clearly now between two groups of Adventists. Most of the Millerite leaders rejected the October 22 date and advocated an open door. These were the "open door" Adventists. A smaller group held that prophecy was fulfilled on October 22, 1844, and advocated a shut door. These were the "shut door" Adventists.
20. Summer, 1845--Marion Truesdail Recalls Ellen White's Attitude in 1845 Toward Conversions.
George I. Butler wrote in 1885:
We next present an extract from a statement written by Marion C. Truesdail, and signed by herself and five others: "During Miss Harmon's (now Mrs. White) visit to Paris, Me., in the summer of 1845, I stated to her the particulars of a dear friend of mine whose father had prevented her attending our meetings; consequently she had not rejected light. She smilingly replied, 'God never has shown me that there is no salvation for such persons. It is only those who have had the light of truth presented to them and knowingly rejected it.' Miss Harmon's reply coincided with my ideas of a shut door, and in justice no other could be derived from it."--Review and Herald, April 7, 1885, p. 217.
21. September 27, 1845--James White Was Among Those Who Believed That the "Midnight Cry" Was of God, and That the Door Was Shut on October 22, 1844.
In a letter dated September 27, 1845, James White wrote:
Bless God, dear Brother, there are many in Maine, who stand firm on the truth, unmoved, fixed, that we have had the "True Midnight Cry," and of course the Bridegroom has come, and the door is shut; if not, a true Midnight Cry has told a lie. Our trials increase, but we have a good number of Calebs and Joshuas, who are continually crying to the children, "We are well able to go up."
But I tell you we need the shield of Faith now. While the Spiritualizers are pouring in one side, inducing some to "deny the only Lord God and our Savior Jesus Christ," on the other hand, Brethren J. and C. H. Pearson, and E. C. Clemons, have given up the shut door, and are doing all they can to drag others to outer darkness. Of late, the "hope within the Veil," has turned a short corner, and I am glad of it; for the Editor and the Publisher, some weeks before the change of views, denied their faith, in being published for marriage. We all look upon it as a wile of the Devil. The firm brethren in Maine who are waiting for Christ to come have no fellowship with such a move.
We are looking for redemption in the Morning. Watch. Amen.--The Day-Star, October 11, 1845.
22. October, 1845--James White and Others Expected Christ's Return.
In 1847 James White stated:
It is well known that many were expecting the Lord to come at the 7th month, 1845. That Christ would then come we firmly believed. A few days before the time passed, I was at Fairhaven, and Dartmouth Mass., with a message on this point of time. At this time, Ellen was with the band at Carver, Mass., where she saw in vision, that we should be disappointed, and that the saints must pass through the "time of Jacob's trouble," which was future. Her view of Jacob's trouble was entirely new to us, as well as herself. --A Word to the Little Flock, p. 22.
23. December 6, 1845--The Shut Door Question Divided the Adventists Into Two Groups.
I frequently hear from popular Adventists, expressions of deep sorrow on account of the divisions which have severed the Advent bands. And generally they express a strong desire that we should come back and be united with them again, and revive the former state of feelings which used to exist among us. I do not now doubt their sincerity on this point, for there seem to be great rejoicings among them when one returns back unto them. But can the advance party retreat except they turn traitors to King Jesus? (I feel that I cannot.) Since the "shut door" question divided the valiant 10,000, the 300 little ones have advanced even to doing our Lord's least commandment. Have the nominals advanced one inch since the 23d of Oct. '44?
Although Bro. Himes preaches an open door the same as before the 10th of the 7th month '44, yet his works seemeth not to harmonize with his preaching. Soon after the passing of the 10th of the 7th month '44, I saw Bro. Himes at the office in Spruce St. He was overhauling his old plates which had been used for the purpose of making the vision plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. (Hab. 2:2.) I said to Bro. H., are you going to remove these to some other place? O no, said Bro. H., I am going to sell them, they are worth 11 cents a pound for old metal. But, said I, will you not want them again? O no, said Bro. H., I have no further use for them.--Eli Curtis, The Day-Star, Dec. 6, 1845, p. 38.
24. April 20, 1846--For at Least Eight Months, Ellen Harmon Had Been Preaching That "Our Work Was Done for the Nominal Church and the World, and What Remained to be Done Was for the Household of Faith."
On April 20, 1846, Otis Nichols wrote William Miller and tried to persuade him that Ellen Harmon was a prophet. He briefly summarized Ellen's activities, including her message as she visited the advent bands. He insisted that he knew what he was talking about, because Ellen had made his home her headquarters for the previous eight months.
The key portions of Nichols's unedited letter are as follows:
Within is a part of the vision of E.G.H. of Portland. I fully believe them to be from heaven. The manner and circumstances attending is unlike anything I have seen or read of since the days of the Apostles. I would ask you to lay aside prejudice and suspend judgment untill you have read and compared them with the scripture and present truth. . . .
Her calling was most remarkable only 17 years of age sick with a dropsical consumption and confined to the house for most of the time for 5 years and been given over by physicians to die. In this state God called her and told her to go out and tell the flock what he had revealed to her--that she should have grace and strength of God as she needed--that an angel should [p. 16] accompany her all the time and sometimes two in time of need--that no wicked power on earth should have dominion over her if she would obey the Lord.
At the time she first went out to deliver her message (Jany 1845) she was scarcely able to walk across the room and could not speak with an audible voice, but she had perfect faith in God and was carried in this state a few miles to deliver her message and when she came to speak her voice was nearly gone but God fulfilled his word: gave her strength of body and a clear loud audible voice to talk nearly two hours with tremendous power and effect on the people and without fatigue of body, and from that time for many weeks she continued to travel day and night talking almost every day untill she had visited most of the advent bands in Maine and the easterly parts of Newhampshire.
Her message was always attended with the Holy Ghost, and wherever it was received as from the Lord it broke down and melted their hearts like little children, fed, comforted, strengthened the weak, and encouraged them to hold on to the faith, and the 7th month movement; and that our work was done for the nominal church and the world, and what remained to be done was for the household of faith. Those that rejected her message very soon fell into the world and a nominal faith, and those that did receive her testimony as from the Lord and afterward denyed it, calling it mesmerism or an unholy thing, are many of them like those that are given over to strong delusion and working of satan--a ship without a helm or anchor and driven by every wind, thus causing the way of truth to be evil spoken of. . . .
What I have here written I have a knowledge of and think I can judge correctly. Sister E has been a resident in my family much of the time for about 8 months. I have never seen the least impropriety of conduct in her since our first acquaintance. God has blesd our family abundantly with spiritual things as well as temporal since we received her into our family. The spirit of God is with her and has been in a remarkable manner in healing the sick through the answer of her prayers; some cases are as remarkable as any that are recorded in the New Testament. But prejudiced and unbelieving persons find it just as convenient to call it mesmerism and ascribe the power to the devil, as the unbelieving Pharisees did Mat 10:25 12:24. Is not this a sin against the Holy Ghost? See Mark 3:22, 29, 30. That power which is manifested in her, as far exceeds the power of mesmerism as Moses did the magicians of Egypt.--White Estate Document File 439b; Ministry, October, 1981, pp. 9-11.
25. 1846--In an 1886 Memory Statement Ellen White Declared That for More Than Forty Years She Had Been Preaching Salvation to Sinners.
In a sermon preached at Orebro, Sweden, on Sunday, June 27, 1886, Ellen White declared:
I speak because I know what I am talking about. For more than forty years I have stood in the desk proclaiming salvation to sinners, and my heart has yearned over them. God has opened before me the glory of Heaven, and I have obtained a sight of the majesty and glory of my Redeemer. I have obtained a sight of the angels in glory. I was very young when the physicians said, "You must die, you cannot live more than three months." It was [p. 17] then that God gave me a sight of His glory, and said, "Go proclaim the message I give you, to the people." I started out in my weakness. I could hardly stand. I had not spoken aloud for weeks, but when I stood before the people, God's power came upon me. Voice was given me and I talked from two to three hours with clearness. But when I had finished, my voice again was gone. I traveled for three months in this way and then the pain of the lungs ceased, and ever since I have been doing the work which the Master has given me to do. I have traveled and labored and God has given me strength to continue unto this day.--Ms. 6a, 1886.
This statement by Ellen White does not place her in the company of the open door Adventists. Her comment about "proclaiming salvation to sinners" is in perfect harmony with the Otis Nichols letter. He states that her message was to the "household of faith" which was then, and is now, composed of sinful men and women. As she visited the various advent bands in New England, she was preaching "salvation to sinners."
26. April 7, 1847--Ellen White Predicted Conversions to the Sabbath Truth.
In the autumn of 1846, shortly after their marriage, James and Ellen White began to observe the Bible Sabbath. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 75.) On April 7, 1847, Ellen had a vision of the tables of the law in the heavenly temple, with a halo of glory about the fourth commandment. Concerning the Sabbath she wrote:
I saw that God had children, who do not see and keep the Sabbath. They had not rejected the light on it. And at the commencement of the time of trouble, we were filled with the Holy Ghost as we went forth, and proclaimed the Sabbath more fully. This enraged the church, and nominal Adventists, as they could not refute the Sabbath truth. And at this time, God's chosen all saw clearly that we had the truth, and they came out and endured the persecution with us. --A Vision, April 7, 1847; Ellen G. White Letter 1, 1847, p. 2; A Word to the Little Flock, p. 19; see also Early Writings, pp. 32-35.
27. April 21, 1847--Ellen White Stated That Adventists Who Fell Away Were Forever Lost and That Jesus Had Shut the Door in 1844.
On April 21, 1847, Ellen White wrote Eli Curtis:
You think, that those who worship before the saints' feet (Rev. 3:9), will at last be saved. Here I must differ with you; for God shew me that this class were professed Adventists, who had fallen away, and "crucified to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." And in the "hour of temptation," which is yet to come, to show out every one's true character, they will know that they are forever lost; and overwhelmed with anguish of spirit, they will bow at the saints' feet.
You also think, that Michael stood up, and the time of trouble commenced, in the spring of 1844.
The Lord has shown me in vision, that Jesus rose up, and shut the door, and entered the Holy of Holies, at the 7th month 1844; but Michael's standing up (Dan. 12:1) to deliver his people, is in the future.
This, will not take place, until Jesus has finished his priestly office in the Heavenly Sanctuary, and lays off his priestly attire, and puts on his most kingly robes, and crown, to ride forth on the cloudy chariot, to "thresh the heathen in anger," and deliver his people.--Ellen G. White Letter 2, 1847, p. 2; A Word to the Little Flock, p. 12.
28. May 30, 1847--James White Also Asserted That the Door Was Shut in 1844.
That Jesus rose up, and shut the door, and came to the Ancient of days, to receive his kingdom, at the 7th month, 1844, I fully believe. See Luke 13:25; Matt. 25:10; Dan. 7:13, 14. But the standing up of Michael, Dan. 12:1, appears to be another event, for another purpose. His rising up in 1844, was to shut the door, and come to his Father, to receive his kingdom, and power to reign; but Michael's standing up, is to manifest his kingly power, which he already has, in the destruction of the wicked, and in the deliverance of his people.--James White, A Word to the Little Flock, p. 8.
29. May 30, 1847--Joseph Bates Declared That Their Work for the World Was Done.
It is now about two years since I first saw the author, and heard her relate the substance of her visions as she has since published them in Portland (April 6, 1846). Although I could see nothing in them that militated against the word, yet I felt alarmed and tried exceedingly, and for a long time unwilling to believe that it was any thing more than what was produced by a protracted debilitated state of her body.
I therefore sought opportunities in presence of others, when her mind seemed freed from excitement, (out of meeting) to question, and cross question her, and her friends which accompanied her, especially her elder sister, to get if possible at the truth. During the number of visits she has made to New Bedford and Fairhaven since, while at our meetings, I have seen her in vision a number of times, and also in Topsham, Me., and those who were present during some of these exciting scenes know well with what interest and intensity I listened to every word, and watched every move to detect deception, or mesmeric influence. And I thank God for the opportunity I have had with others to witness these things. I can now confidently speak for myself. I believe the work is of God, and is given to comfort and strengthen his "scattered," "torn," and "pealed people," since the closing up of our work for the world in October, 1844.--Joseph Bates, A Word to the Little Flock, p. 21.
30. 1847--Joseph Bates Maintained That the Gospel Message Ended in 1844.
Luke shows clearly that after the door is shut, those that are outside will begin to knock, and when they are denied admittance, they will tell of the wonders which they have wrought, and still the reply will be "I know you not." Matthew is as clear. He says, "afterwards came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. He answers, I know you not." After when was this knocking? Why, after the door was shut. Now I ask if the door is not shut before the second advent, unless this knocking afterwards can be proved to be after the change to immortality. And that can be admitted only on the unscriptural ground that the wicked will be also immortal. But according to Paul's order of the resurrection, a gulf will be between them immediately, and those outside cannot knock for admittance, but we are told that their cry will be for "rocks and mountains to fall on them." Then the knocking will be in this present state as it has been, and now is, clamoring about the door, in favor of backsliders and sinners when they have hardly any faith respecting their own true position--changing like a ship beating to windward in a heavy head beat sea, losing ground on every tack. Some have attempted to show in Luke xiii, that the 28th and 29th verses were a proof that this knocking would be after the advent. I think it shows the reverse. "Weeping and gnashing of teeth," certainly is not knocking for an open door, but shows, as it is stated, that had already been done. What does the apostle Paul call an open door? He says to the Cor. "For a great door and effectual was open unto me;" xvi: 19. "How he (God) had opened a door of faith unto the Gentiles;" Acts xiv: 27. "Praying also for us that God would open us a door of utterance to speak the mystery of Christ;" Col. iv: 3. "When I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord;" 2 Cor. ii: 12.
Paul's open door, then, was the preaching the gospel with effect to the Gentiles. Now let this door be shut, and the preaching of this gospel will have no effect. This is just what we say is the fact. The gospel message ended at the appointed time with the closing of the 2,300 days; and almost every honest believer that is watching the signs of the times will admit it. I know it will be said "why you have, or would close the door of mercy!" There is no such language in the Bible. I have no desire nor wish in my soul to see my worst enemy lost. I think I have made it manifest for the last twenty years, and am still willing to do what I can to save those that will help themselves. But I am perfectly sensible that it cannot be done only in God's appointed way; and all that will walk under the shadow of his wing will rejoice at the fulfilment of his word, although their hearts may be burdened and pained at seeing the opposite in their friends.
I think I have fully proved this eighth way mark and high heap in our pathway, that the Bridegroom has come, the marriage is past, and the door is shut.
"Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee for a little moment, until the indignation be over past;" Isa. xxxi: 20.--Joseph Bates, Second Advent Way Marks and High Heaps (1847), pp. 67-68.
31. May 29, 1848--The Door of Salvation Was Still Open for the Hastings Children.
Ellen White had a keen interest in the Hastings family. In a number of her letters she appealed to the Hastings children to give their hearts to the Lord. In a letter addressed to Brother and Sister Hastings, Ellen White wrote:
I often awake myself crying to God's people to get ready, get ready that the cloak of Almighty God may be thrown around them and they be hid in the time of trouble. I shall be deprived of the privilege of meeting with you in conference. I feel the privation, but the will of the Lord be done. My heart and mind will be there, and my prayers shall be for you that God would work among you.
How are the children? Do they feel their acceptance with God? Dear children, do not rest a moment if you do not, God loves to hear the prayers of the young. Call upon Him and make your peace with Him that you may stand in the day of slaughter. I do love you, children, and I want you to be saved in the kingdom and enjoy the beauty of the earth made new. Get ready, get ready, love not this world, love not the wicked, but God and those who have His image.--Ellen G. White Letter 1, 1848, p. 2 (May 29, 1848).
32. August 26, 1848--According to James White, Christ Had Left His Mediatorial Throne, and the Shut Door and Sabbath Were Present Truth.
Writing to Brother and Sister Hastings from Port Gibson, New York, on August 26, 1848, James White states:
Friday p.m. the brethren came in to our meeting in Volney. There were 30 or 40 who met with us. Brother Bates preached the Sabbath to them with strong argument, much boldness and power. My principal message was on Matthew 25:1-11. The brethren are strong on the Sabbath and Shut Door. Most all confessed that they gained much strength from the meeting. Ellen had two visions at the meeting. She spoke to them with power to their comfort. It was thought best to have another Conference at this place [Port Gibson], 60 miles from Volney, to hold August 27 and 28. We hope to have a good time. On our way here we stopped at Brother Snow's in Hanable. In that place are eight or ten precious souls. Brother Bates, Brother and Sister Edson and Brother Simmons stopped all night with them. In the morning Ellen was taken off in vision and while she was in vision, all the brethren came in. It was a powerful time.
One of the number was not on the Sabbath, but was humble and good. Ellen rose up in vision, took the large Bible, held it up before the Lord, talked from it, then carried it to this humble brother who was not on the Sabbath and put it in his arms. He took it while tears were rolling down his bosom. Then Ellen came and sat down by me. She was in vision one and [p. 21] one-half hours in which time she did not breathe at all. It was an affecting time. All wept much for joy. We left Brother Bates with them and came to this place with Brother Edson. This is a dear family. God has blessed us here with them. Praise the Lord. . . . Here are they who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Amen.
My Brother and Sister, here is the standard to rally around. Jesus has left His mediatorial throne. He is now claiming His new kingdom. Do you believe it? I hope you do. Well, this is the present "faith of Jesus." So the shut door and the Sabbath are the present truth. These truths will form and keep up the same mark of distinction between us and unbelievers as God made in 1844.--White Estate Record Book No. 1, pp. 18-20.
33. October 2, 1848--James White Equated the Shut Door With "The Work of God in Our Second Advent Experience."
From Brunswick, Maine, James White wrote Brother and Sister Hastings on October 2, 1848, inviting them to attend the forthcoming conference at Topsham. He states:
My chief object in writing to you now is to notify you that the "Outcasts" in Maine are to have a general meeting at the house of Brother S. Howland in Topsham, Maine. Our Conference is to commence October 20 and hold over the Sabbath and Sunday. In behalf of the brethren and sisters here I extend to you an invitation to come and meet with us. Brothers Bates, Gurney and Nichols are expected from Mass. The principal points on which we dwell as present truth are the seventh day Sabbath and Shut Door. In this we wish to honor God's most holy institution and also acknowledge the work of God in our Second Advent experience.
We do not wish to shut out any new truth, or countenance any of the errors of this dark age. Our object is to do good. We wish to hold up truth and expose error. We would be happy to see any who are seeking for truth in sincerity and humility.
The cause in Maine seems feeble, but I know of no case of apostasy. All seem firm in faith.--White Estate Record Book No. 1, p. 24.
James White appears to be making the following points:
1. The "shut door" message emphasizes the integrity of the Millerite movement of 1840-44 with its October 22, 1844 date.
2. New converts, regardless of their religious background, would be welcome.
3. Since apostasy is possible, the general close of probation for the whole world has not yet occurred.
4. Belief in the shut door does not exclude new truth.
34. November 17-18, 1848--Ellen White Saw a Great Publishing Work Ahead.
Joseph Bates recorded some of Ellen White's utterances made while she was in vision at the home of Otis Nichols in Dorchester, Mass., in November, 1848. Bates published these Ellen G. White comments two months later. He quotes Ellen White as saying:
When Michael stands up this trouble will be all over the earth.
Why they are just ready to blow. There's a check put on because the saints are not sealed.
Yea, publish the things thou hast seen and heard, and the blessing of God will attend. Look ye! that rising is in strength, and grows brighter and brighter. That truth is the seal, that's why it comes last. The shut door we have had. God has taught and taught, but that experience is not the seal, and that commandment that has been trodden under foot will be exalted. And when ye get that you will go through the time of trouble.
Yea, all that thou art looking at, thou shalt not see just now. Be careful, let not light be set aside which comes from another way from which thou art looking for.
Bates then adds:
The above was copied word-for-word as she spake in vision, therefore it is unadulterated; some sentences escaped us, and some which we have not copied here.--A Seal of the Living God, January, 1849, pp. 25-26. See Francis D. Nichol, Ellen G. White and Her Critics, pp. 248-249.
Ellen White was shown a publishing ministry which still lay ahead for the Sabbath-keeping Adventists. Belief in the shut door obviously did not preclude a major missionary endeavor. The influx of large numbers of new converts is comprehended in this vision. Such a concept is hardly compatible with the idea that probation for the world had already closed. Any notion of a closed door of mercy that the Sabbath-keeping Adventists may still have had must have been fading fast.
35. November 17-18, 1848--Ellen White Saw Streams of Light Going "Clear Round the World."
Several decades later Ellen White declared, as she recalled the publishing vision:
At a meeting held in Dorchester, Mass., November, 1848, I had been given a view of the proclamation of the sealing message, and of the duty of the brethren to publish the light that was shining upon our pathway.
After coming out of vision, I said to my husband: "I have a message for you. You must begin to print a little paper and send it out to the people. Let it be small at first; but as the people read, they will send you means [p. 23] with which to print, and it will be a success from the first. From this small beginning it was shown to me to be like streams of light that went clear round the world."--Life Sketches, p. 125.
36. January 5, 1849--Ellen White Saw That Christ Was Still Interceding and the Door of Mercy Was Not Yet Closed.
On January 17, 1849, Ellen White wrote:
At the commencement of the holy Sabbath (Jan. 5), I was taken off in vision to the most holy place, where I saw Jesus still interceding for Israel. On the bottom of His garment was a bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate. Then I saw that Jesus would not leave the most holy place until every case was decided, either for salvation or destruction. I saw that the wrath of God could not come until Jesus had finished His work in the most holy place, laid off His priestly attire, and clothed Himself with the garments of vengeance.--Ellen G. White Ms. 2, 1894, p. 1. See also The Present Truth, vol. 1, no. 3 (August, 1849), p. 22; Early Writings, p. 36.
37. March 23, 1849--Ellen White Expected Christ to Return at Any Time.
My faith is strong in God. I am ready to go anywhere He shall send me, knowing He will give me strength. Keep up good courage, my dear brother and sister. God is your helper. A few more days here in toil and then we shall be free. Time is short. Let us hold fast unto the end.--Ellen G. White Letter 4, 1849 (to Brother and Sister Hastings from Topsham, Maine, March 23, 1849).
38. March 24, 1849--Ellen White Saw Both an Open Door and a Shut Door.
Sabbath, March 24th, 1849, we had a sweet, and very interesting meeting with the Brethren at Topsham, Me. The Holy Ghost was poured out upon us, and I was taken off in the Spirit to the City of the living God. There I was shown that the commandments of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, relating to the shut door, could not be separated, and that the time for the commandments of God to shine out, with all their importance, and for God's people to be tried on the Sabbath truth, was when the door was opened in the Most Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary, where the Ark is, containing the ten commandments. This door was not opened, until the mediation of Jesus was finished in the Holy Place of the Sanctuary in 1844. Then, Jesus rose up, and shut the door in the Holy Place, and opened the door in the Most Holy, and passed within the second vail, where he now stands by the Ark; and where the faith of Israel now reaches.
I saw that Jesus had shut the door in the Holy Place, and no man can open it; and that he had opened the door in the Most Holy, and no man can shut it: (See Rev. iii: 7, 8:) and that since Jesus has opened the door in the Most Holy Place, which contains the Ark, the commandments have been shining out to God's people, and they are being tested on the Sabbath question.
I saw that the present test on the Sabbath could not come, until the mediation of Jesus in the Holy Place was finished; and he had passed within the second vail; therefore, Christians, who fell asleep before the door was opened in the Most Holy, when the midnight cry was finished, at the seventh month 1844; and had not kept the true Sabbath, now rest in hope; for they had not the light, and the test on the Sabbath, which we now have, since that door was opened. I saw that Satan was tempting some of God's people on this point. Because so many good Christians have fallen asleep in the triumphs of faith, and have not kept the true Sabbath, they were doubting about it being a test for us now.
I saw that the enemies of the present truth have been trying to open the door of the Holy Place, that Jesus has shut; and to close the door of the Most Holy Place, which he opened in 1844, where the Ark is containing the two tables of stone, on which are written the ten commandments, by the finger of Jehovah.
I saw that Satan was working through agents, in a number of ways. He was at work through ministers, who have rejected the truth, and are given over to strong delusions to believe a lie that they might be damned. While they were preaching, or praying some would fall prostrate and helpless; not by the power of the Holy Ghost, no, no; but by the power of Satan breathed upon these agents and through them to the people. Some professed Adventists who had rejected the present truth, while preaching praying or in conversation used Mesmerism to gain adherents, and the people would rejoice in this influence, for they thought it was the Holy Ghost. And even some that used it, were so far in the darkness and deception of the Devil, that they thought it was the power of God, given them to exercise. They had made God altogether such an one as themselves; and had valued his power as a thing of naught. . . .
I saw that Satan was at work in these ways to distract, deceive, and draw away God's people, just now in this sealing time. I saw some who were not standing stiffly for present truth. Their knees were trembling, and their feet were sliding; because they were not firmly planted on the truth, and the covering of Almighty God could not be drawn over them while they were thus trembling.
Satan was trying his every art to hold them where they were, until the sealing was past, and the covering drawn over God's people, and they left out, without a shelter from the burning wrath of God, in the seven last plagues. . . .
I saw that the mysterious signs and wonders, and false reformations would increase, and spread. The reformations that were shown me, were not reformations from error to truth; but from bad to worse; for those who professed a change of heart, had only wrapt about them a religious garb, which covered up the iniquity of a wicked heart. Some appeared to have been really converted, so as to deceive God's people; but if their hearts could be seen, they would appear as black as ever.
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 for their salvation is past.--Ellen G. White, The Present Truth, vol. 1, no. 3, (August, 1849), pp. 21-22. See also Early Writings, pp. 42-45.
39. March 24, 1849, Vision--Ellen White Explained the Last Sentence in the March 24 Vision.
The last sentence in Ellen White's description of her March 24 vision apparently puzzled some of her readers, so she took occasion five years later, in 1854, to explain what she meant by the last two paragraphs of her article. She stated:
The "false reformations" here referred to are yet to be more fully seen. The view relates more particularly to those who are given over to strong delusions. Such will not have "the travail of soul for sinners" as formerly. Having rejected the advent, and being given over to the delusions of Satan, "the time for their salvation is past." This does not, however, relate to those who have not heard and rejected the doctrine of the second advent.--Early Writings, p. 45.
This explanation seems reasonable, especially in light of what she had written three months earlier (see entry No. 36) and what she would write six months later (see entry No. 41).
40. March 30, 1849--Ellen White Kept Brother Stowell in the Truth and Again Appealed to the Hastings Children to Secure Their Souls' Salvation.
The first Sabbath we spent in Topsham [March 24] was a sweet, interesting time. It seemed that Jesus Himself passed through our midst and shed His light and glory upon us. We all had a rich draught from the well of Bethlehem. The Spirit came upon me and I was taken off in vision. I saw many important things, some of which I will write you before I close this letter. I saw Brother Stowell of Paris was wavering upon the shut door. I felt that I must visit them. Although it was fifty miles off and very bad going, I believed God would strengthen me to perform the journey. We went and found they needed strengthening. There had not been a meeting in the place for above two years. We spent one week with them. Our meetings were very interesting. They were hungry for present truth. We had free, powerful meetings with them. God gave me two visions while there, much to the comfort and strength of the brethren and sisters. Brother Stowell was established in the shut door and all the present truth he had doubted. Strength was given me from on high so that my journey wearied me not at all and my health has been better ever since. Thank God He gives us strength as we need. . . .
I will now write you the vision God gave me on the Sabbath, the 24th of March. We had a glorious meeting. I was taken off in vision. . . .
Dear Brother and Sister, I have now written the vision God gave me. I am tired sitting so long. Our position looks very clear. We know we have the truth, the midnight cry is behind us, the door was shut in 1844 and Jesus is soon to step out from between God and man. . . .
Arabella, the Lord is coming; are you all ready? Can you meet Him in peace and say, This is our God, we have waited for Him? Oh, do take hold on the strength of God and make peace with Him, that you may stand when the earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard. And the rest of the children--I cannot call them by name--Love God with your whole hearts and pray much that you may be sealed. It is of great importance that you secure your souls' salvation.--Ellen G. White Letter 5, 1849, pp. 1-3, 5, 6. (To Brother and Sister Hastings, March 30, 1849.)
41. September, 1849--Ellen White: "Soon Every Case Will be Decided."
Dear Brethren and Sisters--
In this time of trial, we need to be encouraged, and comforted by each other. The temptations of Satan are greater now, than ever before; for he knows that his time is short, and that very soon, every case will be decided, either for Life, or for Death. It is no time to sink down beneath discouragement, and trial now; but we must bear up under all our afflictions, and trust wholly in the mighty God of Jacob. . . .
We have but a little space of time left to work for God. Nothing should be too dear to sacrifice, for the salvation of the scattered and torn flock of Jesus. Those who make a covenant with God by sacrifice now, will soon be gathered home to share a rich reward, and possess the new kingdom forever and ever. . . .
When Jesus leaves the Sanctuary, then he that is holy and righteous, will be holy and righteous still; for all their sins will then be blotted out, and they will be sealed with the seal of the living God. But those that are unjust and filthy, will be unjust and filthy still; for then there will be no Priest in the Sanctuary to offer their sacrifices, their confessions, and their prayers before the Father's throne. Therefore, what is done to rescue souls from the coming storm of wrath, must be done before Jesus leaves the Most Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary.
The Lord has shown me that precious souls are starving, and dying for want of the present, sealing truth, the meat in due season; and that the swift messengers should speed on their way, and feed the flock with the present truth. I heard an Angel say, "speed the swift messengers, speed the swift messengers; for the case of every soul will soon be decided, either for Life, or for Death."--Ellen G. White, The Present Truth, Sept., 1849, pp. 31-32.
Ellen White appears to be telling her readers that:
1. Probation for the entire world has not yet closed.
2. The object of her missionary endeavors was primarily, but not necessarily exclusively, "the scattered and torn flock," a reference to those who had been part of the Millerite movement.
42. November 17-18, 1849--"Our Number Is Constantly Increasing; Honest Souls Are Seeking for the Truth."
An unnamed author describes a three-day general meeting at Centreport, Western New York:
Beloved Brethren, scattered abroad--
God is reviving his people, and building up his cause in Western New York.--During the scattering time we have passed through many heart-rending trials, while we have seen the precious flock scattered, torn and driven; but, thank God, the time has come for the flock to be gathered into the "unity of the faith." Divisions are being thoroughly healed, and strong union, and fervent Christian love increase among us. The "commandments of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ" are to us the present truth--the meat in due season. The little flock here in this region are established on the Sabbath, and our past advent experience. Our number is constantly increasing. Honest souls are seeking for the truth, and are taking their stand with us. The brethren have seen the importance of leaving their useless habits;--therefore they have put away snuff and tobacco, as useless, filthy and unclean. Our general meetings have been rising in interest and power for some time past; but very recently they have been exceedingly interesting and powerful.
Our general meeting, holden at the house of Bro. Harris, in Centreport, Nov. 17 and 18, was one of the best I ever attended.--Here we met some of our beloved brethren from the east--Brethren Ralph and Belden from Connecticut, and Brother and Sister White from Maine. They came to us "in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ," strong in the present truth. It was a melting, confessing, refreshing season.--The meeting was closed on first day, in the forenoon, and almost all the brethren left.
About ten days before the Centreport Conference, I was deeply impressed with a sense of duty to make one more effort to rescue our beloved Bro. Rhodes, whose case has laid with weight on my mind for some time past. . . .
The next morning we had a season of prayer, and the Spirit was richly poured out, and the Lord gave Sister White the following vision, which was contrary to her former opinion and feeling relating to our going after Bro. Rhodes, up to the time that the Spirit took her off in vision.
"While in vision the Angel pointed to the earth, where I saw Bro. Rhodes in thick darkness; but he still bore the image of Jesus. . . .
I saw that Jesus was pleading his blood for Bro. Rhodes, and that the Angel was ready to enroll his name, as soon as he would come out of that dark place, and stand on all the present truth. The Angel pointed me to the snare of Satan that bound him; and I saw that he thought that there was no hope, no mercy for him; and it would be of no use for him to try. I saw that Brn. Edson and Ralph should make him believe there was hope, and mercy for him, and tear him away, then he would come among the flock; and that Angels would attend them on their journey. I heard an Angel say--"Can ye not see the worth of the soul! Pull him out of the fire." I saw that in Bro. Rhodes' mouth there had been no guile in speaking against the present truth, relating to the Sabbath, and Shut Door. I also saw that the Lord had laid Bro. Rhodes' case heavily on Bro. Edson." E. G. WHITE. --The Present Truth, vol. 1, no. 5, (December, 1849), pp. 34-35.
43. December 16, 1849--David Arnold's Article On the Shut Door: In 1844 Christ Shut the Door of the First Apartment and Opened the Door of the Second.
On January 3, 1850, James White, in Oswego, New York, wrote to Brother and Sister Hastings:
Ellen saw that Brother Arnold and I must put our lights together on the testimony of Jesus or shut door. This we have done and maybe all is done. Therefore I think I shall wait until I get new light. O, God have mercy on me, and teach me. Amen. Pray for me, do.--White Estate Record Book, No. 1, pp. 49-50.
David Arnold's long article, written under date of December 16, 1849, was published by James White in The Present Truth. Since Ellen White apparently endorsed Brother Arnold's views, we give the entire article here (emphasis in italics supplied):
THE SHUT DOOR EXPLAINED
"And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready, went in with him to the marriage; and the door was shut."--Matt. xxv., 10.
This text is the concluding part of one of the most important parables ever given by the Messiah, while acting in the capacity of a prophet. Its importance will be evident, when we consider the circumstances under which it was given, and the time of the fulfilment of those events it is designed to represent. The time of their fulfilment may be clearly known by the events which precede, and those that immediately follow.
This parable is a part of that memorable and last conversation that Christ had with his disciples, before the night of his betrayal, in which he portrayed to them the destruction of Jerusalem, and the signs and events which should immediately precede his coming, and the end of the world. Let us, therefore, waive every other consideration of minor importance, and candidly, and thoroughly investigate this all-important subject.
The text, according to its natural division, contains five parts:--
- 1. The buying of oil.
- 2. Coming of the bridegroom.
- 3. The going in with him.
- 4. The marriage.
- 5. The shut door.
1. The buying of oil is designed to represent a fruitless effort, on the part of the foolish virgins, to obtain that which would produce light upon the subject of the coming of the bridegroom. It also appears that they had previously a stinted share of oil, which for a short time produced a little light, barely enough to lead them to go forth at the first cry to meet the bridegroom. But while they were in the tarrying time, their light became darkness; and when the second cry was made at midnight, "BEHOLD THE BRIDEGROOM COMETH, GO YE OUT TO MEET HIM," they (excited more by fear than love) made an effort to obtain light; but not being ready, could not go in, and "THE DOOR WAS SHUT."
2. Coming of the bridegroom.
The definition of bridegroom is one newly married, or about to be united in marriage to a bride. Now if the term bridegroom, in this parable, applies to Christ, (which all will admit,) then all the scenes represented by this parable are to have their fulfilment in close connection with the marriage, or the giving of the bride to Christ. Here, two questions arise; first, what is represented by the bride, and second, where is she to be given to Christ, or where is the marriage to be solemnized?
First, what does the bride represent? The angel said to St. John, while in holy vision, "Come hither, I WILL SHEW THEE THE BRIDE, THE LAMB'S WIFE."
Here John was shown "that Great City, the Holy JERUSALEM." See Rev. xxi, 9, 10. St. Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, says, "But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all." Gal. iv, 26. From these quotations we learn that the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, which John saw "coming down from God out of heaven, prepared AS A BRIDE ADORNED FOR HER HUSBAND," is what is represented as the bride; and in being given to Christ is compared to a marriage. Second, where is the marriage to take place? Said Jesus, "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord, when he shall RETURN FROM THE WEDDING."--Luke xii, 35, 36.
"He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return." Luke xix, 12. Daniel also, in the night visions, saw one like unto the Son of man come to the Ancient of days, and he was brought "NEAR BEFORE HIM; and there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom." See Dan. vii, 13, 14. From these passages, it is plain that the receiving of the kingdom (which includes capital, territory and subjects) is what is compared to a marriage, or receiving a bride; and that it takes place near before him, (the Ancient of days,) a little previous to his "RETURN FROM THE WEDDING," in the "far country." If the above is the correct position in reference to the bridegroom, the bride, and the marriage, then it follows of necessity that the coming of the bridegroom is not to the earth; but "near before" the Ancient of days, to receive the bride, or New Jerusalem, the capital of the kingdom, in connection with the territory and subjects, previous to his second advent; and also, that the coming of the bridegroom, and Christ's second appearing, are two distinct and separate events.
3. The going in with him.
There is, evidently at this point in the parable, a change in the position of the bridegroom, and also in the relation he sustains to the church and world. Now, in order that we may arrive at a correct understanding of this important CHANGE, let us examine what inspiration has taught us of the priesthood of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, which plainly shows this change. St. Paul, in his letter to the Hebrews, written A. D. 64, says, "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the SANCTUARY, and of the TRUE TABERNACLE, WHICH THE LORD PITCHED, and not man."--Heb. viii, 1, 2. By reading the eighth and ninth chapters of Hebrews, you will readily discover that Paul, in order to lead us to a correct understanding of all things pertaining to Christ, while occupying the position and relation of priest, points us back to the Aaronic priesthood, the worldly sanctuary, with its apartments, furniture and services as figures, or true representations of the heavenly priesthood, sanctuary, furniture and services. O! how little is known of Christ and his work in the heavenly sanctury, through a neglect to compare type with antitype, and shadow with substance; and how ready are such neglectors to brand any one with fanaticism, who presumes to follow inspiration in this matter.
I would here state, that we have the best authority for referring to Moses and the prophets. Christ, after his resurrection, said to his disciples--"These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that ALL THINGS MUST BE FULFILLED WHICH WERE WRITTEN IN THE LAW OF MOSES, and in the prophets, [p. 30] and in the psalms, CONCERNING ME."--Luke xxiv, 44. Also, Paul, while a prisoner at Rome, when they had appointed him a day, and many came to him, into his lodging, expounded and testified to them "the kingdom of God; persuading them CONCERNING JESUS, both out of the LAW OF MOSES, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening."--See Acts xxviii, 23. "Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come."--Acts xxvi, 22.
The prophet Malachi, while describing the burning day, and addressing those to whom the prophet Elijah should be sent, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord, says, "Remember ye the LAW OF MOSES my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel," &c.--See Mal. iv, 1-4. From these Scriptures we see that we are not only directed to the law of Moses, but a positive injunction is laid upon us to remember it. Not to keep it; for its ordinances were nailed to the cross; but its types and shadows, as St. Paul has taught, were figures of the true. They were a true representation of the "good things to come" connected with the ministration of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary. Therefore, they are our positive, and only sure guide, contained in the oracles of truth, to lead us to a correct understanding of the work of Christ in "THE TRUE TABERNACLE, WHICH THE LORD PITCHED, and not man."
The Apostle Paul clearly shows that Christ, while fulfilling his priesthood, occupies a sanctuary containing two apartments; the Holy, or first tabernacle, and the Holiest of all, or second tabernacle, within the second vail. In the Holy is the candlestick, the table of shew bread, and the golden altar.--See Heb. ix, 2; Ex. xl, 24-26. In the Holiest of all, is the ark of the covenant, the mercy-seat, and the two cherubims overshadowing the mercy-seat, above which is seen the most excellent glory, or Ancient of days.--See Heb. ix, 3-5: Ex. xxvi, 33, 34.
I am now prepared to explain the third division of the text, viz. "they that were ready went in with him to the marriage." In order to make the matter perfectly plain to your understanding, let us go back, and see in what way they went in, under the typical services.
Under the Mosaic economy, a cycle of one year embraced all the ordinances, and services of the tabernacle, and typified all the services of Christ, while acting in the capacity of a priest. Under the type there was a daily ministration for the sins of the people, for three hundred and sixty-four days, then that ministration ceased. Then on the last day of this cycle of three hundred and sixty-five days, or the tenth day of the seventh month, the high priest, having washed himself in pure water, puts on the holy garments, made expressly for the services of this day. Thus prepared, he passes from the Holy, into the Holiest of all, bearing on the breast-plate of judgment the names of all the tribes of Israel. In this manner, all the true Israel went in with him.
Thus Christ, in the antitype, in the true tabernacle in heaven, closes the anti-typical daily ministration in the Holy Place, clothes himself in the holy garments, having on the breast-plate of judgment, on which is inscribed the names of the true Israel of God, who are described by the following words in the text, "they that were ready." Thus arrayed, he is prepared to perform all the services of the antitypical tenth day, and passes into the Holiest of all before the mercy-seat, and is brought near before the Ancient of days. Thus, they that were ready went in with him to the marriage as he went in to receive his bride, "and the DOOR WAS SHUT."
The cleansing of the sanctuary, blotting out the sins of all Israel, and sending them away upon the head of the scape-goat, &c. in the type, were performed by the high priest on the memorable tenth day of the seventh month, all of which were shadows of the services of Christ in the heavenly tabernacle, after his ministration in the Holy Place closes; some of which I may notice hereafter.
4. The marriage.
I think there are but three portions of Scripture in the New Testament that speak of marriage, which refer to Christ. The parable of the king's son, Matt. xxii, 2-14; the parable of the ten virgins, Matt. xxv, 1-12, and Rev. xix, 7-9; in all these it is used as a figure, to represent something that is not real marriage; but that which bears a close resemblance to it. Therefore, the only reasonable conclusion that I can arrive at is, that marriage, when used in reference to Christ, represents the receiving into close connexion, and perpetual union, the Kingdom, or some component part of the Kingdom.
When the prophet says, "thy land shall be married,"--see Isa. lxii, 4--he means that the territory or locality of the Kingdom is to be brought into close connection with the KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. When the New Jerusalem is adorned as a bride for her husband, and is given to Christ, and the saints or virgins go in with him, as guests to the marriage, then it is that he receives the capital of his promised and long looked for Kingdom.
And when, as described to John in vision--see Rev. xix, 1-9--God shall have judged her that did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and shall have "avenged the blood of his servants at her hand;" and when the voice as "of a great multitude," and "as the voice of mighty thunderings" shall proclaim "Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth, let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready;" and when to her is "granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white," which "is the righteousness of saints," then the subjects of the Kingdom become the bride; and in joint-heirship with the bridegroom possess "the Kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the Kingdom under the whole heaven."
5. THE SHUT DOOR.
A door supposes a change of scenery, or a change from one apartment to another. There are several things to which the term door is applied, such as "door of utterance," and "door of faith." "I am the door," said Jesus. But the door mentioned in the text represents not only a change in the position of the bridegroom, (Christ,) but it also shows a change in his relation to the world, from that which he previously held. Here, again, let us examine the services of the typical priesthood, that we may understand the services of Christ in the antitype. After the priests had performed the daily services, ordained especially for the Holy Place, or first apartment, and the memorable tenth day of the seventh month had arrived, then there was an entire change in the services of the sanctuary to be performed on that day.
By reading the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus, you will find that the high priest here washes his flesh in water, puts on the holy garments, and enters upon an [p. 31] entire new work. The offering up of the daily sin-offerings has ceased, and the high priest, on this day, atones for or blots out the sins of Israel, and removes them from the altar, where they have been imputed or laid during the year, through the blood of the victims daily offered. On this day of atonement, or of cleansing the sanctuary, the high priest (as above stated) passes into the Most Holy Place, bearing on the breast-plate of judgment the names of all such as, through obedience to the typical ordinances, have applied for a remission of sins, through the blood of their victims there offered; and THE DOOR of the first apartment IS SHUT. "And there shall be NO MAN in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.--Lev. xvi, 17. On this day of atonement, he is a high priest for those only whose names are inscribed on the breast-plate of judgment. Now just so sure as the Aaronic priesthood was a type of the priesthood of Christ, then the sanctuary, with its apartments and appendages, were figures of the true sanctuary in heaven; and the services and ordinances of the earthly tabernacle were shadows of Christ's ministration, which is the substance. With this view of the subject, it is plain that a time in Christ's ministration must come, (before he puts on the kingly robes, and girds his sword upon his thigh, and comes to execute judgment,) that he will cease to be a priest in the first apartment of the true tabernacle for the sins of the whole world, and put on the holy garments, and, with the true Israel of God inscribed on HIS breast-plate of judgment, go in with them before the mercy-seat, where John saw one having a golden censer offering the prayers of all saints (wise virgins) before the throne; and be a merciful high priest over the household of faith, cleanse the sunctuary and place all the sins of the true Israel upon the scape-goat, which is the devil. Then, he will lay off the priestly garments, and clothe himself with the garments of wrath, and come to gather his elect from the four winds, under heaven, and destroy the wicked, and burn up their city.
Having thus explained the text, I will now examine some ideas suggested in the foregoing exposition. And first, the time of the fulfilment of the events, contained in the text, may be known by those which precede, and those that follow. Christ, after giving the signs of his coming, and a description of what should take place at his coming, proceeds to give a history of some of the scenes which should be transacted previous to that event. It appears that just before his coming, his wise and faithful servants, seeing the signs fulfilling, and some of the events which were to precede his coming actually transpiring, would raise the soul-thrilling cry--"THE LORD IS COMING," and thus wake up others to an examination of this all-important subject by this "meat in due season." Then this cry would excite those professed servants, who were unfaithful in their Master's cause, and who loved the things of this present world, to raise an opposite cry--"My Lord delayeth his coming." While these opposite cries are being given, THEN commences the fulfilment of the parable of the ten virgins. Here some, by examining the arguments of the faithful servants, and seeing good evidence that the signs were fulfilling, were led thereby to go forth to meet the bridegroom. We here plainly see that the cry of the faithful servants is the cause of their going forth, and that their going forth is the effect produced by this cause; therefore, the fulfilment of the parable could never commence without the cry, "The Lord is coming," being first raised by the faithful servants.
Having shown how this important parable must commence, let us examine the different steps of its progression. First, the virgins go forth to meet the bridegroom; second, they meet with a disappointment; third, they wait or tarry, still believing that his coming is near, yet, by waiting, they become drowsy, and slumber and sleep; fourth, a cry is heard, "BEHOLD THE BRIDEGROOM COMETH, GO YE OUT TO MEET HIM;" fifth, a trimming of lamps, and an effort, on the part of the foolish virgins, to procure oil; and sixth, the scenes described in the text take place. Now has there been a succession of events, within our second advent experience, which bears an exact resemblance to the above named events in the parable? If there has, then we have, at least, some good reasons for believing that the door is shut.
When Bro. Miller, and those who became acquainted with him, and adhered to his expositions of the prophecies, went forth faithfully showing to the world that [p. 32] according to the best light they could obtain from the prophecies, the prophetic periods and the signs, that Christ would come by the end of the Jewish year 1843, then the faithful servants gave "meat in due season." And while giving this cry, the hireling priest, the infidel, and the drunkard, united in raising the cry, "My Lord delayeth his coming"--"These are fanatics who say he is coming;" and thus they smote their fellow-servants. Here were two events, perfectly fulfilling in all their features, the acts of the faithful and wise servants, giving "meat in due season," and the evil servants, uniting with the drunkard, in opposing the truth, who will reap their reward with hypocrites in bitter weeping, and gnashing of teeth.
While these two cries were going throughout the width and breadth of the land, the specified time came, and the virgins, with the word of God, (their lamps,) went forth fully expecting to meet the bridegroom at that point of time. Now for a disappointment, and tarrying time. Were these the next events that actually transpired in our experience after we went forth in the spring of 1844 to meet the bridegroom? Thousands, thousands can answer this question in the affirmative; and the evil servants have not yet forgotten to reproach and taunt us with this disappointment. Next in this series of events is a cry at midnight, or about the middle of the slumbering and sleeping time, "Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him." This also, was fulfilled in exact order as to time and event. It was calculated that the Jewish year, 1843, would end the twenty-first of March, 1844; and this was the time of the first going forth. The second going forth was on the tenth day of the seventh month, 1844. The tarrying time, or time of slumbering and sleeping, was the space between these two points; and at the centre point, or midnight, the second cry began to be heard, which increased in power and effect as it went throughout the land, waxing louder and louder, until the virgins were fully awake.
Thus we had in our experience, previous to the tenth day of the seventh month, 1844, a perfect fulfilment of all the events in the parable, as stepping stones to the SHUT DOOR; and since that time, the event, (knocking at the shut door,) that was to take place after the shutting of the door, has not failed to fill up the concluding scene in the drama. We are thus brought to a clear and perfect fulfilment of every feature of this important parable, and also to a clear fulfilment of those Scriptures connected with, and relating to the shut door; such as the parable of the great supper, Luke xiv, 16-24; the proclamation of the "mighty angel," "that there should be TIME NO LONGER," Rev. x, 1-8; the flying angel, proclaiming the hour of judgment come, Rev. xiv, 6, 7; and the cleansing of the sanctuary, &c. Therefore, we are brought, by the force of circumstances, and the fulfilment of events, to the irresistible conclusion that, on the tenth day of the seventh month, (Jewish time,) in the autumn of 1844, Christ did close his daily, or continual ministration or mediation in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, and SHUT THE DOOR, which no man can open; and opened a door, in the second apartment, or Holiest of all, which no man can shut, (see Rev. iii, 7, 8,) and passed within the second vail, bearing before the Father, on the breast-plate of judgment, all for whom he is now acting as intersessor. If this is the position that Christ now occupies, then there is no intercessor in the first apartment; and in vain do misguided souls knock at that door, saying "Lord, Lord, open unto us." The words of the prophet apply to the fulfilment of this point in the parable.
"They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the Lord; but THEY SHALL NOT FIND HIM--HE HATH WITHDRAWN HIMSELF FROM THEM.
"They have dealt treacherously against the Lord, for they have begotten STRANGE CHILDREN; now shall a month devour them with their portion."--Hosea v, 6, 7.
But, says the objector, does not this leave the present generation, who have passed the line of accountability, since that time without an intercessor or mediator, and leave them destitute of the means of salvation? In reply to this objection, I would remark, that as they were then in a state of INNOCENCY, they were entitled to a record upon the breast-plate of judgment as much as those who had sinned and received pardon: and are therefore subjects of the present intercession of our great high priest.
The professed conversions, through the instrumentality of the different sects, are also urged as positive proof that the door is not shut. I cannot give up the clear fulfilment of prophecy, in our experience, which shows the shut door in the past, for the opinions, fancies and feelings of men, based upon human sympathy and a superstitious reverence for early imbibed views. God's word is true, though it prove all men liars. As a stream is of the same character as the fountain that sends it forth, (see James iii, 11,) and does not rise higher than the fountain, so these professed converts will not rise to a better state than the low standard of the fallen sects; therefore, they are converted to the religion of the various sects, but not to God, and the high and holy standard of the Bible. The Prophet Hosea saw this time; and for "our learning" and guide has written--"They have dealt treacherously against the Lord; for they have begotten strange children."
Fulton, N. Y. Dec. 16, 1849.
--The Present Truth, vol. 1, no. 6, Dec., 1849, pp. 41-46.
44. December, 1849--James White: "We Still Believe . . . That the Door Is Shut."
WHO HAS LEFT THE SURE WORD?
We are often charged with following our experience, instead of the unerring word of God; but such a charge is unjust and untrue. It is true that we "hold fast" our holy advent experience in the past, which has so perfectly fulfilled prophecy; but in doing so, we do not neglect nor depart from the sure word. The Bible is our chart--our guide. It is our only rule of faith and practice, to which we would closely adhere.
In order to show the fulfilment of Prophecy, we have to refer to history. To show the fulfilment of prophecy relating to the four universal kingdoms of the second and seventh chapters of Daniel, we have to refer to the history of those kingdoms. Deny the history, and the prophecy is of no use. Just so with the prophecies relating to the second advent movement.
If we deny our holy experience in the great leading movements, in the past, such as the proclamation of the time in 1843 and 1844, then we cannot show a fulfilment of those prophecies relating to those movements. Therefore, those who deny their past experience, while following God and his holy word, deny or misapply a portion of the sure word.
It is cruel and unjust to represent us as having abandoned the PRECIOUS BOOK OF BOOKS--the Bible--to follow impressions, fancies, &c. when we have done no such thing, and when these very men that charge us thus leave or misapply a portion of the sure word. Once, the whole advent host believed that the parable of the ten virgins applied exclusively to the advent movement; and that the first going forth, in the parable, was fulfilled in us, as we came up to the first specified time; and that the cry in the parable, "Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him," and the trimming of lamps, &c. were also fulfilled by us, as we gave the seventh month cry. We still believe what the whole host once believed; and with holy confidence and energy published and preached to the world. And strange to tell, many of those who have abandoned the fulfilment of prophecy in our past experience, are ready to brand us with fanaticism, and rank us with Shakers, &c. for believing what they once believed, and for carrying out and showing a consistent fulfilment of the parable, in all its parts, which shows that the door is shut. These men should be the last to oppose our views, and complain of a lack of charity on our part, when they, in such an unsparing manner, rank us with apostates for holding fast and carrying out what they once believed and boldly proclaimed. When we in 1843 sang, "My Bible leads to glory," we sang a true sentiment. It did not stop in 1844, and "lead" us back around another way, no, no; but it led onward by the shut door, through the WAITING TIME, and keeping of "the commandments of God," into the kingdom. Glory to God, "My Bible leads to glory." Amen.
The truth, in answer to the question, "Who has left the sure word," is that we closely adhere to the sure word of God, which plainly marks out our holy experience, and acknowledge the mighty work of God in calling out the advent people from the world and fallen church; while those who deny this work of God and their own experience have "left" those portions of the "sure word" which relate to the advent movement. While standing on the sure word, and acknowledging our holy experience, wrought in us by the living word of God, set home to our hearts by the mighty power of the Holy Ghost, and while keeping the commandments of God, we are safe--yes, we are safe.--James White, The Present Truth, vol. vol. 1, no. 6 (Dec. 1849), p. 46.
45. January 9, 1850--Ellen White: Without the Church Paper Some Might Lose Their Souls.
I saw the paper and that it was needed. That souls were hungry for the truth that must be written in the paper. I saw that if the paper stopped for want of means, and those hungry sheep died for want of the paper, it would not be James' fault, but it would be the fault of those to whom God had lent His money to be faithful stewards over, and they let it lie idle; and the blood of souls would be upon their garments. I saw that the paper should go, and if they let it die, they would weep in anguish soon. I saw that God did not want James to stop yet, but he must write, write, write, write, and speed the message and let it go. I saw that it would go where God's servants cannot go.--Ellen G. White Ms. 2, 1850 (written at Oswego, New York).
46. January, 1850--Ellen White: The Truth Must Be Published.
I saw that a paper was needed, and all should be interested in it. I saw that the burden of the paper was laid upon James, and that it was as important to publish the truth as to preach it. I saw that James should not be discouraged if all did not feel the interest in the paper that he did. I saw that Brother Bates had not the interest in the paper that he should have, and that his lack of interest has discouraged James. I saw that James should set his face as a flint and go forward. I saw the flock looking for the paper, and were ready like hungry children to eat the truth published in it.--Ellen G. White Ms. 12, 1850.
47. January 11, 1850--Ellen White: Our Message Is to the Honest Who Have Been Deceived.
Oh my brother and sister, I wish all of God's people could get a sight of it as God has shown it me. The work of the Lord is going on. Souls are coming into the truth and soon the work will be all done. Keep up good courage, hope in God, let nothing weigh thee down. We have the truth. We know it. Praise the Lord. I saw yesterday our work was not to the shepherds who have rejected the former messages, but to the honest deceived who are led astray. I saw the false shepherds would soon be fed with judgment. Let the truth come out everywhere we go, the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord our God. Cheer up. There are better days coming.--Ellen G. White Letter 18, 1850 (identical to Letter 24, 1850).
48. January 26, 1850--Ellen White: It Is Not Yet Too Late to Be Saved.
Last Sabbath evening the Lord gave me a view of many things, which I will now try to relate. I saw the people of God--some were dormant and stupid, they were but half awake, and did not realize the time we were living in. I saw that the man with the "dirt brush" had entered, and some were in danger of being swept away. I begged of Jesus to save them--to spare them a little longer, and to lift them up so that they could get a sight of their situation, before it should be forever too late. The angel said destruction is coming like a mighty whirlwind. I begged of the angel to pity to save those who were attached to their possessions, and were not willing to cut loose from them, and distribute them to speed the messengers on their way to feed the hungry sheep, who were dying for the want of spiritual food.
I could hardly bear the sight of the sheep dying for the want of saving, present truth, while some who professed to believe the present truth, were holding on to their property, and were letting them die, by withholding the necessary means to carry forward the work of God. As it was held up before me the sight was too painful, and I begged of the angel to take it away, and remove the painful sight from me. . . .
Then again was held up before me those who were not willing to sell their possessions, to save one fainting, starving soul; while Jesus stands before the Father pleading His blood, His sufferings and His death, for those souls, and while God's servants were waiting, ready to carry them the saving truth that they might be sealed with the seal of the living God, and yet it was hard for some who profess to believe the present truth to even do so little as to hand the messengers God's own money, that He had lent them to be stewards over. . . .
While viewing these things, the burden seemed too heavy to be borne. I felt that I could have given my life, if it could be the means of helping any to see their awful situation. . . . I saw that there would be no chance to get ready after Jesus leaves the most holy place, thefore we must get right now, while there is a chance. Very soon it will be too late.--Ellen G. White Ms. 4, 1850, pp. 1-3 (written at Oswego, NY). See The Present Truth, vol. 1, no. 9 (April, 1850), pp. 71-72.
49. February 10, 1850--New Converts Include Those Who Had Not Been Part of the Millerite Movement.
In a letter written to Brother and Sister Collins from Oswego, New York, on February 10, 1850, Ellen White states:
We were very glad to hear from you that you were striving to be overcomers by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony. Be bold in the cause of God. Do not falter. God loves bold soldiers and they will get the victory. Oh how good is the Lord to us! Can we doubt His goodness for a moment? No, no. His watchful care has been over us or we should have fallen out by the way. . . .
Do not let the suggestions of Satan hold you down. Be of good cheer. The Lord is coming to reward His faithful children. Be diligent to make your calling and election sure.
Let us not rest unless we have the abiding witness that our ways please God. Souls are coming out upon the truth all around here. They are those who have not heard the Advent doctrine and some of them are those who went
forth to meet the Bridegroom in 1844, but since that time have been deceived by false shepherds until they did not know where they were or what they believed.--Ellen G. White Letter 4, 1850, pp. 1, 2.
50. March 18, 1850--Ellen White: "Children, . . . Get Ready to Meet Jesus."
I warn Arabella and the rest of the children to prepare to meet Jesus, and then they will meet their mother again never more to be parted. Oh children, will you heed her faithful warning that she gave you while she was with you? Let not all her prayers that she has offered up to God for you, be as water spilt upon the ground. Get ready to meet Jesus and all will be well. Give your hearts to God and do not rest a day unless you know that you love Jesus.--Ellen G. White Letter 10, 1850, p. 3 (To the Hastings family, March 18, 1850, from Oswego, NY).
This appeal was written by Ellen White to the Hastings children a few days after their mother's death on February 28, 1850. Concerning the effect Sister Hastings' death had on her family, Ellen White wrote later:
God works in a mysterious way His wonders to perform. Her death was indeed to save her children. Her earnest prayers had gone up to God, to save them in any way that He should choose. The mother was snatched away, and then her faithful admonitions, her earnest prayers and many tears were regarded, and had an influence upon the smitten flock. We visited the place after the mother's death, in June, 1850, and found the father bereaved and lonely, but living for God, and bearing well his double burden. He was comforted in his great grief by seeing his children turning unto the Lord, and earnestly seeking a preparation to meet their dear mother when the Life-giver shall break the fetters of the tomb, release the captive, and bring her forth immortal. My husband baptized the four eldest children.--Life Sketches of James White and Ellen G. White (1888), pp. 257-258.
51. March, 1850--Ellen White: Honest Souls May Still Accept the Truth.
My Dear Brethren and Sisters: This is a very important hour with us. Satan has come down with great power, and we must strive hard, and press our way to the kingdom. We have a mighty foe to contend with; but an Almighty Friend to protect and strengthen us in the conflict. If we are firmly fixed upon the present truth, and have our hope, like an anchor of the soul, cast within the second vail, the various winds of false doctrine and error cannot move us. The excitements and false reformations of this day do not move us, for we know that the Master of the house rose up in 1844, and shut the door of the first apartment of the heavenly tabernacle; and now we certainly expect that they will "go with their flocks," "to seek the Lord; but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself (within the second vail) from them." The Lord has shown me that the power which is with them is a mere human influence, and not the power of God.
Those who have published the "Watchman" have removed the landmarks. I saw, two months ago, that their time would pass by; and then some honest souls, who have been deceived by this time, will have a chance to receive the truth. I saw that most of those who preach this new time do not believe it themselves. I saw that our message was not to the shepherds who have led the flock astray, but to the poor hungry, scattered sheep.--The Present Truth, vol. 1, no. 8 (March, 1850), p. 64).
52. April, 1850--The Door of Salvation Was Still Open for the Children of the "Remnant."
James White reports the efforts made in behalf of the believers' children at Oswego, New York:
A very interesting work is now going on among the children of the "remnant" in this city. Their salvation has been the principal subject in our meetings for the last two Sabbaths, and God has wonderfully blest us. The truth has had a good effect on us, as well as the children. In the evening following the last first-day, we had a meeting for their special benefit, and the Spirit of the Lord was poured out in our midst. The children all bowed before the Lord, and seemed to feel the importance of keeping the commandments, especially the fifth, and of seeking salvation through Jesus Christ. This was one of the most interesting meetings that I ever witnessed. --The Present Truth, vol. 1, no. 9 (April, 1850), p. 72.
53. May, 1850--James White: The Shut Door Is Not the Same Thing As the Door of Mercy.
Jesus caused the "sacrifice and oblation to cease" in the "midst" [middle] of the seventieth week by "nailing it to his cross" in the spring of A.D. 31. To this add three years and a half, the last half of the seventieth week, and it brings us to the autumn of A.D. 34 for the termination of the seventy weeks [490 years]. Then add 1810 years, the last part of the 2300, which reach to the cleansing of the Sanctuary, and it brings us to the Autumn of 1844. Amen.
At that point of time the Midnight Cry was given, the work for the world was closed up, and Jesus passed into the Most Holy Place to receive the kingdom, and to cleanse the Sanctuary. . . .
That there is to be a shut door prior to the second advent, many will admit; yet but few seem willing to have it where it actually took place. Let us take a brief view of our past history, as marked out by the parable of the ten virgins [Matt. xxv, 1-11] and I think we shall clearly see that there can be no other place for the shut door but at the Autumn of 1844. . . .
Now we may see that the only place for the shut door was in 1844. Amen.
But says the objector--"The door of mercy will not be closed until Jesus comes." We do not read of such a door as "the door of mercy" in the Bible; neither do we teach that such a door was shut in 1844. God's "mercy endureth for ever." See Ps. cxxxvi: cvi, 1; cxviii, 1. He is still merciful to his saints, and ever will be; and Jesus is still their advocate and priest. But the sinner, to whom Jesus had stretched out his arms all the day long, and who had rejected the offers of salvation, was left without an advocate, when Jesus passed from the Holy Place, and shut that door in 1844. The professed church, who rejected the truth, was also rejected, and smitten with blindness, and now, "with their flocks and with their herds" they go "to seek the Lord" as still an advocate for sinners; but, says the prophet, [Hosea v, 6, 7,] "they shall not find him; he hath WITHDRAWN HIMSELF from them. They have dealt treacherously against the Lord; for they have begotten strange children."
The reason why they do not find the Lord is simply this, they seek him where he is not; "he hath withdrawn himself" to the Most Holy Place. The prophet of God calls their man-made converts, "STRANGE CHILDREN;" "now shall a month devour them, and their portions."
Says the objector--"I believe that Jesus is still on the mercy-seat." In answer to this oft repeated assertion, let me say; Jesus never was on the mercy-seat, and never will be. The mercy seat is the Most Holy Place, where Jesus entered at the end of the 2300 days. Its position is upon the ark of the ten commandments; and over it are the cherubims of glory. Before the mercy-seat stands our Great High Priest pleading his blood for Israel.
If the door (represented by the door in the parable) is not to be shut until Jesus descends from heaven in flames of fire, then where will be the knocking, and saying "Lord, Lord, open unto us"? It is evident that the door is shut prior to the second advent, and that unbelievers are ignorant of the fact of its being shut; therefore they knock at the shut door, and say, "Lord, Lord, open unto us." When the great day of God's wrath is come, and unbelievers are apprised of their lost situation, they will not knock, with a hope of being admitted, no, no; but they will flee to rocks and mountains for shelter. See Isa. ii. 19-21; Rev. vi, 15-17. Now their prayer is, "Lord, Lord, OPEN UNTO US;" but then their prayer will be to "rocks and mountains," "FALL ON US, and HIDE us FROM the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb."
It is impossible to harmonize such portions of the Word as Isa. ii, 19-21; Rev. vi, 15-17, with the idea of the shut-door, and knocking being at, and after the advent. The 2300 days and cleansing the Sanctuary of Dan. viii, 13, 14, the parable of the ten virgins, and other parallel portions of Scripture clearly fix the shut door in 1844. This view establishes our holy advent experience in the past, gives certainty to the "blessed hope" of very soon seeing Jesus, and causes our path to shine "more and more unto the perfect day." Amen.--The Present Truth, May, 1850, pp. 78-79.
54. May, 1850--James White's Burden Was for "Honest Souls."
We have recently visited the precious band in Camden, who have lately embraced the Sabbath, etc. They have been scattered and torn by spiritualism, and other errors; but God is uniting and healing them, and making them valiant for his truth. When I see what God has done for them within a few weeks, through his truth, my mind is led out after other honest souls, who are buried up with error.--James White, The Present Truth, vol. 1, no. 10 (May, 1850), p. 80.
55. May 15-July 20, 1850--The Whites' "Tour East" Included the Accession of One Brother Who Had Not Been in the Millerite Movement.
OUR TOUR EAST
We left Oswego May 15, in company with Brother Rhodes, to visit some of the little flock in the east. At Topsham, Me., we found most of our brethren, where we always expect to find them, strong in the faith. That little company have been sorely tried. Apostate Adventists have done all in their power, by flattery, and then by ridicule, to overthrow them, but they still remain established beyond all doubt, that the great leading movements in our advent experience, so clearly marked in the parable [Matt. xxv., 1-11] were fulfillments of prophecy, and the work of God. They are keeping the commandments of God, and have the faith of Jesus. Our interview with them was short, but sweet and profitable.
At North Paris the brethren and sisters needed help. They had formerly embraced some errors, which they fully renounced at the Conference there last September. And now Satan was tempting some of them to doubt their past experience in 1843 and 1844. Sadness and gloom seemed to rest upon them, and they felt and expressed a great lack of spiritual life. But thank the Lord, a review of the way God has led his people revived them, and the Lord was with us in power. His refreshing, melting Spirit was poured upon us, and the atmosphere seemed as sweet as heaven. We left them all firm in the Sabbath and shut door, rejoicing in hope of soon being gathered, with all the little flock, from sorrow and toil, to the saints' final repose.
In Dorchester, Mass, at the house of Brother Nichols, we met with a few friends of the present truth. A conference being appointed for us to attend at Sutton, Vt., June 8, Brother Rhodes left us at Dorchester to attend it. It was a very profitable and interesting meeting. Some, who were not fully established, at that meeting yielded to plain scripture testimony, and are now rejoicing in the whole truth.
At Fairhaven we found the brethren in a tried state; but the Lord was with us, praise his holy name. Confessions were made, order was somewhat restored, and on Sabbath, June 15, we had a melting, weeping, refreshing season.
Some, who have wounded the precious cause in Fairhaven, have been "purged out from among them" as "rebels"; but God has raised up others to glorify his name, and do honor to his cause in that place.
We next visited the house of our bereaved Brother Hastings of New-Ipswich, N. H. Sister Hastings, who has been a bold and consistent believer and advocate of the present truth for some years past, now sleeps in Jesus. She died February 28, 1850, of cramp colic, aged forty-two years. She embraced the Sabbath in 1846, and has ever believed that the work of warning the world closed in 1844. The unfinished letter from her pen, in this paper, was written a few days before she fell asleep. Her death has been the means of leading her dear children to Jesus: and on Sabbath, June 22, four of them were buried with Christ in baptism. Brother Hastings has sustained a great loss in having his dear companion torn from him by death, but the loss seems to be made up in having his children with him in the faith, and in the hope of soon seeing them with their dear mother in the kingdom. His cup is one of sorrow, mingled with joy. May the blessing of the Lord still rest on that dear family, is our prayer. There are other faithful souls in that vicinity, some of whom met with us on the Sabbath.
June 29 and 30, we held meetings at the house of Brother Harvey Childs in Sutton, Vt. Brother Rhodes, who had been laboring with good success in Melbourne and Johnson, was again with us. The brethren in that vicinity came together. Elder N. A. Hollis, his wife and four children, all in the truth, were among the number. The word of the Lord had free course, and it was a very precious season.
We formed a very happy acquaintance with Brother Morse and his family, who came into the truth last fall. They stated to us that Mr. Burnham, who has called on them since they embraced the Sabbath, after laboring without success to prove that the Sabbath was abolished, finally told them that if they would give it up, he would agree to stand between them and the Almighty in the day of judgment. [p. 40] But Brother and Sister Morse have concluded to "keep the commandments" for themselves, and be sure of a "right to the tree of life," and to "enter in through the gates into the city." They think it much more safe for them, than to violate the fourth commandment, and trust to Mr. Burnham for admission, and a right in the Holy City.
At Melbourne, (C. E.) we had a joyful time. There is about twenty, within a few miles around, who are strong in the truth. Brother and Sister Lothrop of Eaton met with us. They are also strong in the truth. We had one meeting in Hatley, and had a precious interview with Elder Warren. We hope that he will soon be sounding the third angel's message. There is a waking up to the present truth in Canada East, and we trust that the brethren there will be faithful, and patiently and perseveringly present the light to those who have an ear to hear.
At Irasburg, Vt., we had a profitable meeting, and three of the devoted children of our dear Brother and Sister Barrows were baptised.
July 6 and 7, we held a conference at Johnson, Vt. There were quite a number of the scattered brethren and sisters present. The brethren in Johnson and in other places in Vermont, have suffered greatly from the corrupt views and teachings of J. G. Bennett, John Libby, Noah Bailey, and others of the same stamp. Many in Vermont could not go with the "Advent Herald," and they have been like sheep without a shepherd. In this deserted situation, they have been exposed to wolves in sheeps' clothing, and have been, more or less, deceived by them. It is now very clearly seen that these persons, referred to above, have been acting a wicked and deceitful part, under the garb of what they call holiness, and what is falsely called "moral purity," which some have thought was taught in Zech. xii. 12, 14; Ex. xix, 15; Cor. vii, 29; and Rev. xiv, 4.
We were somewhat annoyed on the Sabbath, with the presence and foul spirit of some of the above named persons, who tried to bear a testimony to us; but being rebuked in the name of the Lord, they left us, and held a meeting on the first day in the school house. This was a great relief to us; and we enjoyed a refreshing season. Brothers Rhodes and Hollis were present with us. Brother Hollis walked thirty miles to the meeting on Friday, but the brethren at the conference provided him with a horse and wagon, and on Monday he started out to search out and "feed the flock of slaughter."
We left the brethren in that vicinity strong in the "commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." One brother, who had not been in the advent, and had made no public profession of religion until 1845, came out clear and strong on the whole truth. He had never opposed the advent, and it is evident that the Lord had been leading him, though his experience had not been just like ours. Such, who come in to the truth at the eleventh hour, may expect great trials.
At Waitsfield we had a very profitable meeting. The state of things there, and at Granville, is much improved, though some, we fear, are still under a sad influence. We hope that they will all see that God is now uniting his people, on the THIRD ANGEL'S MESSAGE, Rev. xiv. 9-12, and will all take hold, unitedly, to carry forward the work of the Lord. One year ago there were but very few in Vermont keeping the Sabbath, but God has blessed the faithful labors of brethren, who have valued the salvation of the remnant much more than their time, strength and property, and they now see the fruits of their efforts to spread the truth before their brethren. God is ready to bless the labors of those, who in their proper station in the church, will work for him. This should stimulate every one, who professes the present truth, to bear some part in this work.
Sabbath, July 20, we met with the dear brethren at Hamilton, N. Y., and on the 22d, eleven were baptised. The Lord was with us.-- James White, The Advent Review, vol. 1, no. 1 (August, 1850), pp. 14-15.
56. July 6-7, 1850--George I. Butler (1834-1918) Recalls the 1850 Meeting When the Brother "Who Had Not Been in the Advent" Was Converted.
We personally remember this time as though it were but yesterday, although it was in 1850. Mother had been keeping the Sabbath about a year. Father was much opposed to it, though a strong believer in the great Advent movement of the past. The light on the sanctuary subject brought him to accept the seventh-day Sabbath. We notice this meeting because the name of Bro. Churchill is mentioned. His was one of the very first cases of conversion from the world to the present truth, which occurred after 1844. As we have said, their work hitherto had been almost wholly for the "lost sheep of the house of Israel"--the old Advent believers. They saw that unbelievers showed no interest in the truths which were so precious to them, and therefore their attention was directed to those who loved the Advent faith, and they labored ardently for them. This, evidently, was in the order of God.
Heman Churchill, of Stowe, Vt., the one here mentioned, had not been engaged in the Advent movement of 1844. He had married, after this, a daughter of Sr. Benson, a '44 Adventist. I remember him well as he came to Waterbury, Vt., and attended meeting in my father's house, where a few met from time to time. They were quite surprised at first that one who had been an unbeliever should manifest an interest in the Advent doctrine. He was not repulsed but welcomed. He was earnest and zealous; and as they discerned in him sincerity, they accepted him as a true convert. I cannot remember the exact date when he commenced to seek God, though I recollect clearly his attending meetings in Waterbury, Vt. But we know from this letter of Elder Bates's, that it was previous to this meeting held in the fall of 1850; for he was then at the meeting referred to in Waitsfield, Vt., as a believer. Bro. Bates calls him "Brother." His conversion was noised abroad quite extensively.
Now if our opponents were correct in their statements that the believers held to a shut door which entirely excluded all except old Adventists, how could Heman Churchill have been received as a true convert? This is positive evidence that their assertions are untrue. There is not an instance which can be found in the early history of this cause where anyone manifesting sincerity in seeking God was ever repulsed.--George I. Butler, Review and Herald, April 7, 1885, p. 217.
57. May 15-July 20, 1850--It Was Almost Impossible to Obtain Access to Unbelievers in 1850.
Several decades later Ellen White recalled some of the problems she and her husband encountered on their "tour east." She stated:
In 1850 my husband and myself visited Vermont, Canada, New Hampshire, and Maine. The meetings were held in private houses. It was then next to impossible to obtain access to unbelievers. The disappointment in 1844 had confused the minds of many, and they would not listen to any explanation of [p. 42] the matter. They were impatient and unbelieving, and many seemed rebellious, coming out in a most decided manner against their past Advent experience. Others dared not go to this length, and deny the way the Lord had led them. These were glad to hear arguments from the Word of God which would harmonize our position with prophetic history. As they listened to an explanation of the disappointment which had been so bitter to them, they saw that God indeed led them, and they rejoiced in the truth.--Review and Herald, November 20, 1883, p. 721.
58. July 21, 1850--James White: Converts Are Coming Into the Truth and the Cause Moves On.
Dear Brother: I will pen a few lines only. I expect to get out a full account of our tour East in a week or so. I will here say that I saw tenfold more accomplished than I looked for in Vermont and Canada East. Elder Hollis is now in the field with all the armor on. So is Elder Lothrop of Eaton, Canada East. God is making His truth mighty. The Lord has shown Ellen that I must publish the testimonies of those who acknowledged the work done and the advent move of God after 1844. Now this is my first work. I expect to get out a paper called the Advent Review, 16 pages, the size of the Present Truth. I shall, if I have means, put in a slice of Cook's Testimony and the Way Marks, etc. The cause calls for it. I hope to get out six numbers; 3000 copies each will cost $250. I shall move as the means come in. In looking over these testimonies from Miller, Brown, Fassett, Shipman, Porter, Hale, Cook, etc., I am astonished to see how they preached a shut door. My way is onward. Men of Israel, Help. Now is the time to work for God. For your encouragement I will state one case where the papers did much good. Someone requested me to send the paper to Betsey Benson. I sent two copies. She read one and sent the other to Sister Thomas. Both came into the truth. At the Johnson, Vt., Conference, Sister Thomas gave me $25 to publish with. So you see the cause will move on.--James White Letter of July 21, 1850 (written at East Hampton, N.Y.), White Estate Correspondence File.
59. July 29, 1850--Ellen White: Conversions to the Truth Will Not Be Limited to Former Millerites.
The angel said some tried too hard to believe; faith is so simple ye look above it. Satan has deceived some and got them to looking to their own unworthiness. I saw they must look away from self to the worthiness of Jesus and throw themselves just as they are, needy and dependent and unworthy upon His mercy and draw by faith, strength and nourishment from Him. Said the angel, The desolations of Zion are accomplished. I saw He took away the first and established the second; that is, those who were in the faith would become rebellious and be purged out and others who had not heard the Advent doctrine and rejected it would embrace the truth and take their places.--Ellen G. White Ms. 5, 1850 (July 29, 1850), pp. 3, 4. Identical passages are found in Ms. 16, 1850, pp. 2, 3.
60. July 29, 1850--Ellen White: New Converts Must Be "Baptized in the Faith of the Shut Door."
Said the angel, Can ye stand in the battle in the day of the Lord? Ye need to be washed and live in newness of life. Then I saw that those whose hands are now engaged in making up the breach and are standing in the gaps that have formally since '44 broken the commandments of God and have so far followed the Pope as to keep the first day instead of the seventh, would have to go down into the water and be baptized in the faith of the shut door and keeping the commandments of God and in the faith of Jesus . . . . I also saw that those who have been baptized as a door into the professed churches will have to be baptized out of that door again, and into the faith mentioned above, and all who have not been baptized since '44, will have to be baptized before Jesus comes. Some will not gain progress now until that duty is done and then they must live anew unto God and serve Him faithfully.--Ellen G. White Ms. 16, 1850, p. 2. (July 20, 1850.)
61. August 24, 1850--Ellen White: Publication of the Truth Will Cause Many to Accept It.
I saw these efforts of Satan were to hinder the paper from coming out, for the lines that were being published were written in the Spirit of God, and would rejoice the hearts of the trusting ones, and Satan knew it would hurt his cause because it would be seen by these testimonies that most of the Advent people once believed as we do that there was a shut door in '44, and to have the plain, clear truth come out in the paper would cause many to decide for the truth and to take a firm and unyielding stand for God and His truth. I saw that the paper would strengthen the things that remain and would help build up God's people in the most holy faith. . . .
I saw Satan would work more powerfully now than ever he has before. He knows that his time is short and that the sealing of the saints will place them beyond his power and he will now work in every way that he can, and will try his every insinuation to get the saints off their guard and get them asleep on the present truth or doubting it so as to prevent their being sealed with the seal of the living God.--Ellen G. White Ms. 7, 1850, pp. 2-3 (August 24, 1850). Identical, in part, to Ms. 13, 1850.
62. September 1, 1850--Ellen White: The Paper Will Help Undecided Souls to Decide for God and His Truth.
The Lord showed me some weeks before we came to this place that we must gird on the whole armor for we were to have a great conflict with the enemy while we were getting out the paper, for he knew the paper would hurt his cause and would be the means of strengthening the things that remain and would cause souls that were undecided to take a decided stand for God and his truth.--Ellen G. White Letter 14, 1850, p. 1.
63. September 23, 1850--Ellen White: Efforts to Spread the Truth Will Have Their Effect.
September 23d, the Lord showed me that He had stretched out His hand the second time to recover the remnant of His people, and that efforts must be redoubled in this gathering time. In the scattering time Israel was smitten and torn; but now in the gathering time God will heal and bind up His people. In the scattering, efforts made to spread the truth had but little effect, accomplished but little or nothing; but in the gathering when God has set His hand to gather His people, efforts to spread the truth will have their designed effect. All should be united and zealous in the work.--Ellen G. White, The Present Truth, Nov., 1850, p. 86.
64. November 1, 1850--Ellen White: "Many Souls Have Been Brought Into the Truth."
Since we last wrote you, we have been to Fairhaven to attend a conference there. Brother Bates was present. We had quite an interesting meeting. James baptized two. Both were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Monday we returned to Dorchester where our dear Brother Nichols and family live. There in the night God gave me a very interesting vision, the most of which you will see in the paper. God showed me the necessity of getting out a chart. I saw it was needed and that the truth made plain upon tables would effect much and would cause souls to come to the knowledge of the truth. . . .
We have received an excellent letter from Brother Rhodes. He is valiant for the truth and God has been making him mighty. Many souls have been brought into the truth through his labors.--Ellen G. White Letter 26, 1850, p. 3. (To Brother and Sister Loveland at Johnston, Vermont; written at Paris, Maine.)
65. November 7, 1850--Ellen White: Many Will Decide for the Truth.
Our conference at Topsham was one of deep interest. Twenty-eight were present; all took part in the meeting.
Sunday the power of God came upon us like a mighty rushing wind. All arose upon their feet and praised God with a loud voice; it was something as it was when the foundation of the house of God was laid. The voice of weeping could not be told from the voice of shouting. It was a triumphant time; all were strengthened and refreshed. I never witnessed such a powerful time before.
Our next conference was in Fairhaven. Brother Bates and wife were present. It was quite a good meeting. On our return to Brother Nichols', the Lord gave me a vision and showed me that the truth must be made plain upon tables and it would cause many to decide for the truth by the three angels' message with the two former being made plain upon tables.
I also saw it was as necessary for the paper to be published as for the messengers to go, for the messengers need a paper to carry with them, containing present truth to put in the hands of those that hear. Then the truth will not fade from the mind, and the paper will go where the messengers cannot go.--Ellen G. White Letter 28, 1850, pp. 1, 2. (To the Church in Bro. Hastings' House, at New Ipswich, N.H.; written at Paris, Maine.)
66. December 12, 1850--Joseph Bates Urges First-Day Adventists to Accept the Sabbath.
We know that these people are saying, and will still insist, that they have reclaimed hundreds of backsliders, and that scores have been converted to God, under their teaching, since the Albany Conference, April, 1845.
We say, that as long as they continue rebellious against their lawful Prince, it is morally impossible for them to beget for Him one peaceful subject. God has a true test, by which to try every individual since the Midnight Cry. It is "the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus," Rev. xiv, 9-12. We have yet to learn, that one single one of their professed converts, or reclaimed backsliders, have reached this standard.
But we fully believe they have some honest souls that they have drawn away with them, into their delusive snares, by their treacherous dealing with the Lord, and false teaching. Our hearts yearn after these. We would use every right way to get them from this Laodicean state. This then is one strong reason why we send forth this article, to open the eyes of those who were, and still are honest, and may possibly be saved, if they will at once flee from this rebellious house of Israel.--Review and Herald, vol. 1, no. 3 (December, 1850), p. 24.
67. December 13, 1850--Ellen White: God Is Still Bringing Souls to the Truth.
Our last conference was one of deep interest. Two were dug from beneath the rubbish. The present truth was presented in its clear light and it found its way to the hearts of the erring. . . .
How plain our position is! We know that we have the truth. Brother Rhodes has now gone in company with Brother John Andrews to the eastern part of the State to hunt up the scattered sheep. We have received two letters from them. God is at work and is bringing souls from the rubbish to the clear light of truth. We have received cheering letters from different places. God is with Israel.--Ellen G. White Letter 30, 1850, pp. 1, 2. (To Brother and Sister Loveland; written at Paris, Maine.)
68. December 25, 1850--Ellen White: Both Apostasy and Restoration Are Possible.
I saw a faint hope for S. I saw that the course that had been taken toward her by disfellowshiping her had been right, for her jealousy, evil-surmising, and self breaking out every little while was enough to drag down [p. 46] and oppress a whole meeting. Yet I saw she loved the truth and cause better than anything else, although she had often wounded it and caused it to be reproached. I saw she must make thorough work speedily, and confess humbly her errors and wrongs to the children of God, and then she could be healed. I saw that the church in Fairhaven should not fellowship her unless she makes an entire reformation. . . . .
Then I saw souls that were needy. They were honest and they needed the prejudice torn from them that they have received from their leaders and then they can receive the truth. I saw the burden of the message should be the first, second, and third angels' messages, and those who had any hope in God would yield to the force of that truth. . . .
Then I saw Laodiceans. They will make a mighty effort. Will they get the victory? One who has the truth will chase a thousand, and two will put ten thousand to flight. They are coming to conclusions that bring them into close quarters, and they cannot tell where they be themselves, for they are lost in the foggy, terrible fear that takes hold of them. Anguish of spirit will seize them. Dare they admit that the door is shut? The sin against the Holy Ghost was to ascribe to Satan what belongs to God or what the Holy Ghost has done. They said the shut door was of the devil and now admit it is against their own lives. They shall die the death. Look ye at the Pattern. Follow Him, for He is meek and lowly in heart. Shut your eyes to everything but the present, saving truth.--Ellen G. White Ms. 11, 1850, pp. 2-4. (Vision at Paris, Maine.)
69. 1846-1850--Ellen White's Labors From 1846 to 1850 Were for the Unconverted, Backsliders, and Those Who Had Not Rejected the Truth.
In his 1885 series of articles on the "Shut Door," George I. Butler states:
In a letter recently received from Bro. Ira Abbey, of North Brookfield, N. Y., whose name is signed to the statement at the close of this article, I take the liberty of making the following extract:
"After the time passed I was a strong shut door believer. But when the third angel's message was preached, I with my wife embraced it. Between 1846 and 1850 Bro. and Sr. White came to our house, and were very zealous for the children and those that had not rejected the truth. They labored for unconverted souls, and never do I remember of hearing Sr. White say that there were no hopes of the unconverted; but there were hopes of the backsliders and those that had not rejected the truth."
This is an extract from a private letter and was not written for publication.--George I. Butler, Review and Herald, April 7, 1885, p. 217.
70. 1850--In 1885 Twenty-One Seventh-day Adventists Described Their Belief About the Shut Door in 1850.
We now present a very explicit and comprehensive statement covering this whole shut door experience, of believers in the third angel's message previous to the year 1851. There are a goodly number of living witnesses who embraced the truth at that early date, who know whether these statements are true or not. Why should not their testimony be considered in this connection? We have obtained the signatures of quite a number, all of whom embraced the truth as early as 1850, and all were in the '44 movement:--
"We, the undersigned, having been well acquainted with the Advent movement in 1844 at the passing of the time, and having also embraced the truths of the third angel's message as early as 1850, hearby cheerfully subscribe our names to the following statement concerning the shut door doctrine held by believers in the third angel's message from the time of its rise to the last mentioned date, and onward.
"They believed, in harmony with Rev. 3:7, 8, and other scriptures, that at the close of the 2300 days of Dan. 8:14 Christ closed his work in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, and changed his ministration to the most holy, and entered upon the work of the Judgment, changing his relation in this respect to the plan of salvation. Here was a door opened and a door shut.
"They believed that those who had the clear light upon the first angel's message and turned against it, bitterly opposing it, were rejected of God. But they did not believe that those who had not had the light or those who had not come to years of accountability previous to 1844, if they should seek God with honest hearts, would be rejected.
"While they believed with William Miller and the great mass of Adventists immediately after the passing of the time, that their work for the world was done, and that the Lord would come very soon, yet after the light upon the sanctuary and the third message explained their disappointment, they did not believe that mercy was past save for those who had rejected the light."
- J. B. Sweet, South Saginaw, Mich.
- Samuel Martin, West Ringe, N. H.
- Ira Abbey, North Brookfield, N. Y.
- Mrs. R. B. Abbey, North Brookfield, N. Y.
- Mrs. Diana Abbey, North Brookfield, N. Y.
- Mrs. L. B. Abbey, North Brookfield, N. Y.
- Herman S. Gurney, Memphis, Mich.
- Ann E. Gurney, Memphis, Mich.
- Wm. Gifford, Memphis, Mich.
- Mrs. Mary S. Chase, Battle Creek, Mich.
- Mrs. S. M. Howland, Battle Creek, Mich.
- Mrs. F. H. Lunt, Battle Creek, Mich.
- Mrs. Melora A. Ashley, Battle Creek, Mich.
- Mrs. Caroline A. Dodge, Battle Creek, Mich.
- Mrs. Sarah B. Whipple, Battle Creek, Mich.
- Mrs. Uriah Smith, Battle Creek, Mich.
- Mrs. Paulina R. Heligass, Moline, Kan.
- R. G. Lockwood, St. Helena, Cal.
- Mrs. R. G. Lockwood, St. Helena, Cal.
- Reuben Loveland, North Hyde Park, Vt.
- Mrs. Belinda Loveland, North Hyde Park, Vt.
--George I. Butler, Review and Herald, April 7, 1885, p. 217.
71. January, 1851--Joseph Bates: The Door of Salvation Is Closed to Sinners and Backsliders, But Not to Children and Honest Adults.
When the Master of the house (the Lord Jesus) rose up and shut to the door, all honest believers, that had submitted to His will, and children that had not arrived to the years of accountability, were undoubtedly borne in on his breast-plate of judgment which is over his heart. The names of all that fully keep the commandments are retained. Those that do not, will have their names erased before Jesus leaves the Holiest.
The children, that are taught, and that keep the commandments of God, as they come to the years of accountability, are believers just as fully as adult persons, that are now embracing all of the commandments, in addition to what they believed before.
It is true, some persons that are ignorant of this message may, and undoubtedly will be saved if they die before Jesus leaves the Holiest. I mean those that were believers before 1844. Sinners and backsliders cannot get their names on the breast-plate of judgment now. God in infinite mercy has borne with our ignorance on this subject until now; and our children have been neglected as they should not have been. Let us then do all that our hands find to do toward their salvation.--Review and Herald, January, 1851, p. 39.
72. February, 1851--A Convert to the Sabbath and Shut Door Writes of His Experience.
From "a letter written by a Second Advent brother to his son," we quote:
I have, from the presentation of truth, embraced the seventh-day Sabbath, and the shut door, as being my last refuge in this dark and gloomy day. I am well aware that this news may be astonishing to you, as you were well acquainted with my former views, and scriptural objections to this faith. But do not throw by the letter and refuse to read, and call your father a fanatic. Read a few of the many reasons that have led me to this change of views, with prayerful attention.
The embracing these truths has opened a light upon the book of Revelation, and on the Types (so freely used in proclaiming the Midnight Cry), as I have never seen before. I now feel that I am on the track of prophecy, and that the coming of the Lord is near. This to me is no small source of comfort, to have evidence on which I can rest that this state of trial is soon to end. My time and your patience might be exhausted, were I to undertake to bring to your view the whole subject connected with the Shut Door. Suffice it to say, it does not in my opinion, exclude all conversion. But it does exclude those who have wilfully rejected all these Messages. I believe that the names recorded in the Lamb's Book of Life, were brought in at the tenth day of seventh month. That he then bore in their names before the Father, as the antitype of the "Breastplate of Judgment." Ex. xxviii, 15; and xxxix, 8. Read the passages in their connection, and if you will read [p. 49] from Ex. xxiv, to chap. xl, you will see with what exactness God has had his Sanctuary made, and all that pertains to it. Were these things recorded with such precision for the Jews only? Since I began this, I have got the small tract on the Sanctuary, and Shut Door, which I will send you. Read it with attention, it will give you much light on the cleansing of the Sanctuary.--Review and Herald, vol. 1, no. 6 (February, 1851), pp. 46-47.
73. April 7, 1851--James White: The Shut Door Does Not Exclude All Conversions, But Those Who Rejected the Millerite Message Will Not Be Converted.
Bro. White: A few weeks ago I had my attention called to the Sabbath by reading a pamphlet, title, "Seventh-day Sabbath not abolished," a review of Bro. Marsh's article, and was surprised to find Bro. Marsh's position so feebly supported by Scripture. Soon after this, I saw your pamphlet, called the "Present Truth," which I carefully read, and after a prayerful investigation of the subject, I am convinced it is truth. Yes, a great and important truth. My prayer is, Lord show all thy children this important truth. I believe the Sanctuary to be cleansed at the end of the 2300 days is in heaven.
I am not ready to endorse your view of the shut door, but if it is truth I hope I shall see it. I would like to have you answer one question through your paper. Does the shut door exclude all conversions? I have received a few numbers of your paper, and I wish you to continue to send them. Brn. Holt and Edson have been preaching through this section of country, and a number have believed the truth.
Yours waiting for Jesus. MARSHALL M. TRUESDELL.
Conversion, in the strictest sense, signifies a change from sin to holiness. In this sense we readily answer that it does not "exclude ALL conversions," but we believe that those who heard the "everlasting gospel" message and rejected it, or refused to hear it, are excluded by it. We have no message to such. They have no ears to hear us, unless we lower the standard of truth so low that there would be no salvation in it. But there are those who may be converted.
1. Erring brethren. We believe there are many in the Laodicean church, who will yet be converted as the Apostle directs in his epistle to the waiting brethren. "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one CONVERT him; let him know, that he which converteth the SINNER from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins."--James v, 19, 20.
2. Children, who were not old enough to understandingly receive or reject the truth, when our Great High Priest closed his mediation in the Holy Place at the end of the 2300 days, are subjects of conversion from sin to holiness. Their names were borne in upon the breast-plate of judgment, and they are subjects of the mediation of Jesus. God's ways are equal. He will give every intelligent being a chance to be saved.
3. When Elijah thought that he was alone, God said to him, "I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed to the image of Baal." We believe that God has reserved to himself a multitude of precious souls, some even in the churches. These he will manifest in his own time. They were living up to what light they had when Jesus closed his mediation [p. 50] for the world, and when they hear the voice of the Shepherd in the message of the third angel they will gladly receive the whole truth. Such will be converted to the truth, and from their errors. But we think we have no message to such now, still "he that hath an ear to hear let him hear." Our message is to the Laodiceans, yet some of these hidden souls are being manifested.--Review and Herald, April 7, 1851, p. 64.
74. May 18, 1851--Ellen White: We Must All Labor for the Salvation of Souls.
I begged God to let His messengers go and work fast for the salvation of souls. I saw that God was willing to give us great blessings, if we would only have faith, and when we went out among the people we must go in the name of the Lord, for without Him we can do nothing. . . .
I saw that each one of us must labor for the salvation of souls, that we all can do something.--Ellen G. White Ms. 5, 1851, p. 4.
75. June 9, 1851--James White: The Nominal Church, As a Body, Cannot be Benefited by Christ's Mediation, but Individuals May Still Find Salvation.
"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that OPENETH, and no man SHUTTETH; and SHUTTETH, and no man OPENETH: I know thy works; behold I have SET BEFORE THEE AN OPEN DOOR, AND NO MAN CAN SHUT IT; for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name."
This language is addressed to only one church of the seven. Adventists have agreed in applying them to seven periods, or states of the church. This language does not apply to the Sardis [nominal church], neither to the Laodicean church; but to the Philadelphia, the church of Brotherly Love, that came out of the different sectarian bodies, and were united in the Advent faith in 1844. All denominational tenets were laid aside, and although the Advent brethren came out from the different sects, yet all were perfectly united on the great subject of Christ's coming. To this church, one door is opened, while another is shut. "Behold, I set before thee an open door." This door Christ opens, while he shuts another.
As the Philadelphia church applies to no other period than the time of the termination of the 2300 days, when Christ closed his work for the world in the Holy, and opened the door of the "Holiest of all," the conclusion seems irresistible that the open and shut door of Rev. iii, 7, 8, refers to the change in the position and work of our Great High Priest in the heavenly Sanctuary. He then closed the work or "door" of the daily ministration in the Holy, and opened the door of the Most Holy. "The tabernacle of the testimony" was then opened; but before this could be done, the "door," or work of Christ's continual mediation in the Holy had to be closed. This may well be "likened" to the shut door in the parable.
The idea that the door of God's mercy is closed, or ever was to be closed to those who do not reject the offers of mercy, is not found in the Bible. No such door is mentioned in Scripture. But that there ever has been a point, beyond which men may go, where, according to the plan of salvation, [p. 51] the intercession of Christ could not benefit them, is evident. The Jewish church, having rejected and condemned Christ, could not be benefited by his mediation in the Holy. The nominal Gentile church, as a body, having rejected the Second Advent, cannot be benefited by his intercessions in the Most Holy.
Says the objector, "I believe that Jesus is still on the mercy-seat." To this we reply, that Jesus never was on the mercy-seat, and never will be. The place of the mercy-seat is over the Ark containing the ten commandments, in the Most Holy Place. Jesus did not enter that apartment till the end of the 2300 days, much more, take his position upon the mercy-seat. This is one step further than we can possibly go. We do believe, however, that Jesus entered the "tabernacle of the testimony" at the end of the 2300 days, and now stands before the mercy-seat, pleading his blood before the Father, in our behalf. There he stands an intercessor between the Father and the scattered members of his body, ready to pour salvation and mercy on those who zealously repent of their backslidngs, turn to God with the whole heart, and receive the present truth. Oh, may God wake up the Laodiceans, and lead them by the power of his Spirit and truth to the open door, which presents to our view Jesus in the Holiest, standing beside the Ark of the ten commandments. Amen.--Review and Herald, June 9, 1851, p. 102.
76. June 21, 1851--Ellen White: The Message Must Go; Time Will Never Be a Test Again.
The Lord showed me that the message must go, and that it must never be hung on time, for time never will be a test again. I saw that some were getting a false excitement arising from preaching time; that the third angel's message can stand on its own foundation, and that it needs not time to strengthen it, and that it will go in mighty power and do its work, and will be cut short in righteousness.
I saw that some were making everything bend to this next fall, that is, making their calculations and disposing of their property in reference to that time. I saw that this was wrong, for this reason, instead of their going to God daily, and earnestly desiring to know their present duty, they looked ahead and made their calculations as though they knew the work would end this fall, without inquiring their duty of God daily.--Ellen G. White Ms. 1, 1851, p. 1. (Vision at Camden, NY.)
77. June 23, 1851--Ellen White: Though Sister Preston Was in Perfect Darkness, Salvation Was Possible for Her.
The Lord showed me the company in Camden. I saw that Sister Almira Preston was a child of God and that the band had been very wrong and had not stood in the light of God's countenance. I saw that the destiny of a soul should never hang on dreams or impressions, that these two things have governed the band much. I saw that Sister A. Preston was in the midst of perfect darkness, none to help or encourage her. Her being in the midst of wicked influences had weakened and discouraged her. Then was the time for the brethren . . . to strengthen her and pray for her and call down the blessings of God upon her and to try in every [way] that they could to [p. 52] encourage her, but instead of that they had pushed her off into the jaws of the lion because she did not appear to be as strong as others.
I saw that God loved her and frowned upon the course of the band; that if God bore no more with them than they had borne with some of their number, He would long since have withdrawn His mercy from them and left them wholly to themselves. I saw that if Sister A. Preston would be humble and hold this faith before God, that He would keep her and among all her trials bring her off victorious.--Ellen G. White Ms. 2, 1851.
78. 1851--Ellen White: Decisions Are Still Being Made.
I saw that God would separate the precious from the vile. There would be truth or something from God to call for a decision, and the corrupt have no disposition to receive that call for a decision, but are separated from the precious by the precious receiving this truth by the others neglected. Here is the separation made. God will work in mysterious ways to save the true, honest ones.--Ellen G. White Letter 2, 1851, p. 3. (To Brother Pierce.)
79. July 21, 1851--Ellen White Expresses Her Burden for the Salvation of the Thompson Children.
After we parted with you and came to Brother Thompson's, we felt a great interest for this family, especially the children; and Tuesday morning we felt agony of soul for them. We felt that God must work for them, and our earnest, united prayers ascended within the second veil; we claimed the promises for them, and for the first time their voices were heard in prayer. . . .
There is quite a company in this vicinity who are out in all the truth; and then there are others who are not fully established. T. M. Preble has been around here and has injured some, but our prayer to God is that He would palsy the influence that he has had, and that He would let the clear light upon His truth shine out, so as to establish the wavering.--Ellen G. White Letter 4, 1851, pp. 1-2. (To Brother and Sister Dodge, from Ballston, Spa, N.Y.)
80. August, 1851--Ellen White Published Her Early Visions in Her First Book, Omitting the Sentence that God Had Rejected "The Wicked World."
While praying at the family altar, the Holy Ghost fell on me, and I seemed to be rising higher and higher, far above the dark world. I turned to look for the Advent people in the world, but could not find them--when a voice said to me, "Look again, and look a little higher." At this I raised my eyes and saw a straight and narrow path, cast up high above the world. On this path the Advent people were traveling to the City, which was at the farther end of the path. They had a bright light set up behind them at the first end of the path, which an angel told me was the Midnight Cry. This light shone all along the path, and gave light for their feet so they might not stumble. And if they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, who was just before them, leading them to the City, they were safe. But soon some grew weary, and they said the City was a great way off, and they expected to have entered it before. Then Jesus would encourage them by raising his glorious right arm, and from his arm came a glorious light which waved over the Advent band, and they shouted Halleujah! Others rashly denied the light behind them, and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and got their eyes off the mark and lost sight of Jesus, and fell off the path down in the dark and wicked world below. It was just as impossible for them to get on the path again and go to the City, as all the wicked world which God had rejected. They fell all the way along the path one after another, until we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus' coming. The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake. When God spake the time, he poured on us the Holy Ghost, and our faces began to light up and shine with the glory of God as Moses' did when he came down from Mount Sinai.--A Word to the Little Flock, p. 14 (emphasis supplied).
While praying at the family altar, the Holy Ghost fell upon me, and I seemed to be rising higher and higher, far above the dark world. I turned to look for the Advent people in the world, but could not find them--when a voice said to me, "Look again, and look a little higher." At this I raised my eyes and saw a straight and narrow path, cast up high above the world. On this path the Advent people were traveling to the City, which was at the farther end of the path. They had a bright light set up behind them at the first end of the path, which an angel told me was the Midnight Cry. This light shone all along the path, and gave light for their feet so they might not stumble. And if they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, who was just before them, leading them to the City, they were safe. But soon some grew weary, and they said the City was a great way off, and they expected to have entered it before. Then Jesus would encourage them by raising his glorious right arm, and from his arm came a glorious light which waved over the Advent band, and they shouted Hallelujah! Others rashly denied the light behind them, and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and got their eyes off the mark, and lost sight of Jesus, and fell off the path down in the dark and wicked world below. Soon we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus' coming. The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake. When God spake the time, he poured on us the Holy Ghost, and our faces began to light up and shine with the glory of God as Moses' did when he came down from Mount Sinai.--A Sketch of the Christian Experience and Views of Ellen G. White, pp. 10, 11.
The 1846 and 1847 printings of Ellen White's first vision included the sentence emphasized above. The 1851 printing of the same vision omitted the sentence. Why was it omitted? Ellen White no doubt realized that the passage had been misunderstood by some of her readers, as well as by herself. At first she and her friends had apparently limited their missionary outreach to the "household of faith." However, as the years passed, she witnessed the power of God at work not only on "the Little Flock," but on others as well. This led her to a more complete comprehension of what she had written in her first vision. Apparently, in order to avoid any further misunderstanding, she eliminated the passage in her 1851 printing of her early visions. (See entry No. 9, above, for Ellen White's understanding of her first vision as described in 1883. Also see Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 61-62, for her discussion of this omission.)
Ellen White did not delete all the passages which had given rise to misunderstanding. In her 1851 book she included, for example, the following paragraph:
I saw that the mysterious signs and wonders and false reformations would increase and spread. The reformations that were shown me were not reformations from error to truth. 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 for their salvation is past.--Early Writings, p. 45. See entries 38 and 39 above.
81. August 19, 1851--James White: Now the Door is Open Almost Everywhere.
Many have looked on too long in silence, while they have seen those important truths connected with the present message impiously trampled under foot without making any effort to help vindicate and advance the cause of truth. Now the door is open almost everywhere to present the truth, and many are prepared to read the publications who have formerly had no interest to investigate. Now we may all do something for the Lord who has done so much for us.--Review and Herald, August 19, 1851, p. 13.
82. September 2, 1851--James White: Some Who Were Never With the Millerite Movement Are Now Joining Us.
We do not say that the "everlasting gospel" has ceased to have effect upon all, for some are now embracing the doctrine of the speedy coming of the Lord, who have not been identified with the Advent people in the past movements. But that the burden of the message of the first angel is in the past, let the facts in the case testify. We have only to compare the present state of the Advent cause with the past, say from 1840 to 1844, to see that the special flight and proclamation of the first angel is in the past. Neither do we say that the message of the second angel, setting forth the fallen state of the various sects, with the call to leave them, cannot now be obeyed by those honest children of the Lord who find themselves bound by sectarian creeds.--Review and Herald, Sept. 2, 1851, p. 20.
83. Late 1851--James White: Many Converts Had No Experience in the Millerite Movement.
Jan. 31st, and Feb. 1st we spent with the brethren in the vicinity of Pitcher, Bro. Baker went to Rochester. We were happily disappointed in finding so large a company of Sabbath-keepers in that vicinity. God has done much for his dear people there within a few months. We hope they will seek earnestly to be fully consecrated to God and his cause, and to be in possession of living, active faith.
Monday night, Feb. 2d, we stopped with Bro. E. D. Cook, of Manlius. We found Bro. and Sr. Cook, wholehearted in the present truth, and had a very interesting interview with them. They wish the brethren to call on them more frequently. Tuesday morning, after having a sweet, weeping season of prayer with them and their children, we left for Oswego. There the brethren are rising, and the Lord is adding to their numbers. We trust they will dwell more on the glories of the kingdom for the future, and less on petty trials. Those who have recently embraced the Sabbath in that city are very decided. We became very much attached to them.
Feb. 7th and 8th we were with the brethren in the vicinity of Lorain. Here the Lord has raised up quite a large company of Sabbath-keepers within a few months, many of whom had but little or no experience in the advent movement. They seem decided, and were much comforted as we presented the reasons of our faith and hope. We hope to be able to visit them again in a few months, and tarry longer with them.--Review and Herald, Feb. 17, 1852, p. 94.
84. August 24, 1874--Ellen White Insisted on the Integrity of Her Visions as Well as the Integrity of Her Public Statements Concerning Them.
With my brethren and sisters, after the time passed in forty-four I did believe no more sinners would be converted. But I never had a vision that [p. 56] no more sinners would be converted. And am clear and free to state no one has ever heard me say or has read from my pen statements which will justify them in the charges they have made against me upon this point. . . .
I never have stated or written that the world was doomed or damned. I never have under any circumstances used this language to anyone, however sinful. I have ever had messages of reproof for those who used these harsh expressions.--Letter 2, 1874; Selected Messages, book 1, p. 74.
This statement is in perfect harmony with all of Ellen White's writings, both published and unpublished.
Summary and Conclusions
1. For a few weeks after the Great Disappointment, Ellen Harmon and many others believed that the door of mercy had been forever closed for the whole world. Christ's return was expected at any time. (See entries 1-3.)
2. About a month or so after the disappointment, Ellen changed her mind. She decided that the Millerite computations were a mistake and that their interpretations of Scripture were wrong, and that no door affecting man's salvation had yet been closed. (Entry no. 4.)
3. In December, 1844, Ellen's first vision led her to the conclusion that the Millerite Movement with its interpretation of Daniel 8:14 was of God after all. This led her to reaffirm once again her view of a shut door. She concluded correctly that there was a shut door on October 22, 1844. She concluded incorrectly that the door of mercy was closed on that day for everyone in the world. She saw that two groups of sinners--the apostate Millerites and the wicked world--had sinned away their day of grace. She failed to recognize, however, that there was a third category--the honest in heart who had never heard or fully appreciated the Millerite message in the first place. (Entries 5-9.)
4. In February, 1845, the Lord showed Ellen that although one door was indeed shut in heaven on October 22, 1844, another door was opened. Ellen did not understand the meaning of this "open door." (Entries 14-16.)
5. At the Albany Conference, April 29-May 1, 1845, most of the Millerite leaders dropped all their previous ideas of a shut door and rejected their own previous interpretations of Scripture which had led them to the October 22, 1844 date. No door, they said, had been closed at that time. They became known [p. 57] as the "open door" Adventists. October 22, 1844, lost all significance for them. (Entries 18-19.)
6. By way of contrast, Ellen Harmon, James White, Joseph Bates, and their friends were now known as the "Shut Door" Adventists--those who held that prophecy had been fulfilled on October 22, 1844. This date soon became a major cornerstone in their developing theology. The phrase "shut door" stood for the integrity of the October 22, 1844, date. (Entry no. 23.)
7. The Lord never at any time showed Ellen White that no more sinners would be converted. She was always prepared to welcome honest souls who sought to fellowship with the little flock. Apparently, however, her missionary endeavors for several years were directed exclusively--or almost so--to former Millerites and to the children of those who belonged to the various advent bands. (Entries 24, 25, 84.)
8. After Ellen White accepted the Sabbath in the autumn of 1846 she felt the burden, with her husband, of carrying this new and important truth to the advent bands. The two principal doctrines dwelt upon by Joseph Bates, James White and Ellen White were the Shut Door (integrity of the 1844 movement) and the Sabbath. (Entries 26, 32.)
9. In November 1848, Ellen White saw in vision that the Sabbath-keeping Adventists should begin a publishing ministry. (Entries 34-35.)
10. On January 5, 1849, Ellen White saw that not every case was yet decided for salvation or destruction. The door of mercy obviously was still open. (Entry no. 36.)
11. By November, 1849, honest souls were "seeking for the truth," and joining the Sabbathkeepers. Their numbers were "constantly increasing." By now Ellen White and others must have been convinced that their earlier concept of the shut door was too limited. (Entry no. 42.)
12. One reason that the "Sabbath and Shut Door" Adventists did not urge their ministry upon the world at large was due to the strong prejudice against them. However, by 1851 this prejudice had gradually begun to dissipate. (Entry no. 57.)
13. The conversion of Heman Churchill, on or before July 6, 1850, must have made a deep impression upon James White. He took occasion to mention in the Advent Review that one had been converted "who had not been in the advent." (Entries 55-56.)
14. On July 29, 1850, Ellen White stated clearly that converts to the truth would include "others who had not heard the Advent doctrine and rejected it." Heman Churchill's example was to be followed by others. (Entry no. 59.)
15. By August 19, 1851, the door was "open almost everywhere." By late 1851 there were many among the Sabbath and Shut Door people who "had but little or no experience in the advent movement." (Entry no. 81.)
16. It took about seven years, from 1844 to 1851, for most Sabbath-keeping Adventists to realize that a major mission to the world still lay ahead of them in the proclamation of the third angel's message.
17. While the term "shut door" at first was used to indicate probation's close in 1844, it soon came to mean the close of Christ's ministry in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary. It stood for a change of Christ's ministry in heaven on October 22, 1844.
18. While Ellen White's personal beliefs underwent a gradual modification during this period, I find no evidence that she at any time taught theological error in her shut door writings.
Selected Issues Regarding Inspiration and the Life and Work of Ellen G. White