Spiritual Gifts Preface
In presenting this, my third little volume, to the public, I am comforted with the conviction that the Lord has made me his humble instrument in shedding some ray’s of precious light upon the past. Sacred History, relating to holy men of old, is brief. Inspiration has dealt sparingly in praise of the noble deeds and holy lives of the faithful. For example, the life of righteous Enoch is summed up in these words: “And Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”E. G. W. BATTLE CREEK, July, 1864.
On the other hand, the errors, sins, and vile apostasies of some, who had been the consecrated and favored servants of God, are dwelt-upon in Sacred History at length, as a warning to after generations.
Infidelity has seized upon the sad history of apostasy, which occupies so large space in the Old Testament, and has deceived many with the base insinuation that the men of the Bible, without distinction, revere bad men, and has even blasphemously asserted that the Sacred Scriptures sanction crime.
Since the great facts of faith, connected with the history of holy men of old, have been opened to me in vision; also, the important fact that God has nowhere lightly regarded the sin the apostate, I have been more than ever convinced that ignorance as to these facts, and the wily advantage taken of this ignorance by some who know better, are the grand bulwarks of infidelity. If what I have written upon these points shall help any mind, let God be praised.
When I commenced writing, I hoped to bring all into this volume, but am obliged to close the history of the Hebrews, take up the cases of Saul, David, Solomon, and others, and treat upon the subject of Health, in another volume.
Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 3, pp. 90-96
I was then carried back to the creation and was shown that the first week, in which GOD performed the work of creation in six days and rested on the seventh day, was just like every other week. The great GOD in his days of creation and day of rest, measured off the first cycle as a sample for successive weeks till the close of time. “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created.” GOD gives us the productions of his work at the close of each literal day. Each day was accounted of him a generation, because every day he generated or produced some new portion of his work. On the seventh day of the first week GOD rested from his work, and then blessed the day of his rest, and set it apart for the use of man. The weekly cycle of seven literal days, six for labor, and the seventh for rest, which has been preserved and brought down through Bible history, originated in the great facts of the first seven days.
When GOD spake his law with an audible voice from Sinai, he introduced the Sabbath by saying, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” He then declares definitely what shall be done on the six days, and what shall not be done on the seventh. He then, in giving the reason for thus observing the week, points them back to his example on the first seven days of time. “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day, wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” This reason appears beautiful and forcible when we understand the record of creation to mean literal days. The first six days of each week are given to man in which to labor, because GOD employed the same period of the first week in the work of creation. The seventh day GOD has reserved as a day of rest, in commemoration of his rest during the same period of time after he had performed the work of creation in six days.
But the infidel supposition, that the events of the first week required seven vast, indefinite periods for their accomplishment, strikes directly at the foundation of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. It makes indefinite and obscure that which GOD has made very plain. It is the worst kind of infidelity; for with many who profess to believe the record of creation, it is infidelity in disguise. It charges GOD with commanding men to observe the week of seven literal days in commemoration of seven indefinite periods, which is unlike his dealings with mortals, and is an impeachment of his wisdom.
Infidel geologists claim that the world is very much older than the Bible record makes it. They reject the Bible record, because of those things which are to them evidences from the earth itself, that the world has existed tens of thousands of years. And many who profess to believe the Bible record are at a loss to account for wonderful things which are found in the earth, with the view that creation week was only seven literal days, and that the world is now only about six thousand years old. These, to free themselves of difficulties thrown in their way by infidel geologists, adopt the view that the six days of creation were six vast, indefinite periods, and the day of
GOD’s rest was another indefinite period; making senseless the fourth commandment of GOD ‘s holy law. Some eagerly receive this position, for it destroys the force of the fourth commandments, and they feel a freedom from its claims upon them. They have limited ideas of the size of men, animals and trees before the flood, and of the great changes which then took place in the earth.
Bones of men and animals are found in the earth, in mountains and in valleys, showing that much larger men and beasts once lived upon the earth. I was shown that very large, powerful animals existed before the flood which do not now exist. Instruments of warfare are sometimes found; also petrified wood. Because the bones of human beings and of animals found in the earth, are much larger than those of men and animals now living, or that have existed for many generations past, some conclude that the world is older than we have any scriptural record of, and was populated long before the record of creation, by a race of beings vastly superior in size to men now upon the earth.
I have been shown that without Bible history, geology can prove nothing. Relics found in the earth do give evidence of a state of things differing in many respects from the present. But the time of their existence, and how long a period these things have been in the earth, are only to be understood by Bible history. It may be innocent to conjecture beyond Bible history, if our suppositions do not contradict the facts found in the sacred Scriptures. But when men leave the word of GOD in regard to the history of creation, and seek to account for GOD’s creative works upon natural principles, they are upon a boundless ocean of uncertainty. Just how GOD accomplished the work of creation in six literal days he has never revealed to mortals. His creative works are just as incomprehensible as his existence.
“Great is the LORD , and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” Psalm 145:3
“Which doeth great things, past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.” Job 9:10
“Which doeth great things, and unsearchable; marvelous things without number.” Job 5:9
GOD thundereth marvelously with his voice. Great things doeth he. which we cannot comprehend.” Job 37:5
“O, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of GOD!
How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
For who hath known the mind of the LORD? or who bath been his counselor? ” Romans 11:33-34
The word of GOD is given as a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path. Those who cast his word behind them, and seek by their own blind philosophy to trace out the wonderful mysteries of JEHOVAH will stumble in darkness. A guide has been given to mortals whereby they may
trace JEHOVAH and his works as far as will be for their good. Inspiration, in giving us the history of the flood has explained wonderful mysteries, that geology, independent of inspiration, never could.
It has been the special work of Satan to lead fallen man to rebel against GOD’s government, and he has succeeded too well in his efforts. He has tried to obscure the law of GOD, which in itself is very plain. He has manifested a special hate against the fourth precept of the decalogue, because it defines the living GOD, the MAKER of the heavens and the earth. The plainest precepts of JEHOVAH are turned from, to receive infidel fables.
Man will be left without excuse. GOD has given sufficient evidence upon which to base faith if he wish to believe. In the last days the earth will be almost destitute of true faith. Upon the merest pretense, the word of GOD will be considered unreliable, while human reasoning will be received, though it be in opposition to plain Scripture facts. Men will endeavor to explain from natural causes the work of creation, which GOD has never revealed. But human science can not search out the secrets of the GOD of Heaven, and explain the stupendous works of creation, which were a miracle of Almighty power, any sooner than it can show how GOD came into existence.
“The secret things belong unto the LORD our GOD; but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever.” Men professing to be ministers of GOD, raise their voices against the investigation of prophecy, and tell the people that the prophecies, especially of Daniel and John, are obscure, and that we cannot understand them. But some of the very men who oppose the investigation of prophecy because it is obscure, eagerly receive the suppositions of geologists, which dispute the Mosaic record. But if GOD’s revealed will is so difficult to be understood, certainly men should not rest their faith upon mere suppositions in, regard to that which he has not revealed. GOD’s ways are not as our ways, neither are his thoughts as our thoughts Human science can never account for his wondrous works. GOD so ordered that men, beasts, and trees, many times larger than those now upon the earth, and other things, should be buried in the earth at the time of the flood, and there be preserved to evidence to man that the inhabitants of the old world perished by a flood. GOD designed that the discovery of these things in the earth, should establish the faith of men in inspired history. But men, with their vain reasoning, make a wrong use of these things which GOD designed should lead them to exalt him. They fall into the same error as did the people before the flood — those things which GOD gave them as a benefit, they turned into a curse, by making a wrong use of them.Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts (Battle Creek, Mich.: Steam Press of the Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association, 1864), vol. 3, pp. 90-96. Reprinted in Signs of the Times, 5:90, March 20, 1879, and in Spirit of Prophecy (Battle Creek, Mich.: Review and Herald, 1884), vol. 4, pp. 85-89.