(Written August 8, 1883, to Elder and Mrs. Uriah Smith, from Healdsburg, California.)
I received Brother Smith's letter which related some particulars in regard to the death of Brother Stone, and the circumstances connected with his death were read by us in the papers.
I felt said indeed, for I had no evidence that Elder Stone was prepared for this change. I have been reading the testimony given for him and William Gage and have felt very, very sad. But I leave him in the hands of God. I have no evidence he acted upon the light given.
I was shown in the vision given me of the Judgment, that God would send warnings, counsels, and reproof. Some would take heed to their ways and seek the Lord, while some would follow their own judgment because it was more convenient and pleasing to their own natural hearts to do so, [and] while some others would kick against the pricks, rise up against the testimonies of reproof, despise the warnings, choose their own wisdom, be ensnared and overcome by the enemy, and so blinded by his infatuations [that] they would be utterly unable to discern the things of God and would work directly against the light, enshrouding themselves in darkness and error. Then these very ones would sustain and strengthen the hands of our bitterest enemies.
Some who had, like Elder Stone, had but little moral power, but little strength to resist temptation, would for a time feel the force of warnings and see his condition; but his traits of character were such that unless transformed, he would be no help to God's people, no benefit to the young. His influence would be to break down the barriers, to unite with pleasure lovers, and become tainted and polluted by lax morals.
He might become a man of excellent ability if he had a vital connection with God. He had superior talents which had not been employed to the advancement of the work and cause of God, because he loved ease and self-indulgence better than he loved self-denial and the cross of Christ.
I was shown that the time was in the near future that these whom God had warned and reproved and given great light but they would not correct their ways and follow the light, He would remove from them that heavenly protection which had preserved them from Satan's cruel power; the Lord would surely leave them to themselves to follow the judgment and counsels of their own wisdom; they would be simply left to themselves, and the protection of God be withdrawn from them, and they would not be shielded from the workings of Satan; that none of finite judgment and foresight can have any power to conceive of the care God has exercised through His angels over the children of men in their travels, in their own houses, in their eating and drinking. Wherever they are, His eye is upon them. They are preserved from a thousand dangers, all to them unseen. Satan has laid snares, but the Lord is constantly at work to save His people from them.
But [from] those who have no sense of the goodness and mercy of God, [those] who refuse His merciful warnings, who reject His counsels to reach
the highest standard of Bible requirements, who do despite to the Spirit of grace, the Lord would remove His protecting power. I was shown that Satan would entangle and then destroy, if he could, the souls he had tempted. God will bear long, but there is a bound to His mercy, a line which marks His mercy and His justice.
I was shown that the judgments of God would not come directly out from the Lord upon them, but in this way: They place themselves beyond His protection. He warns, corrects, reproves, and points out the only path of safety; then if those who have been the objects of His special care will follow their own course independent of the Spirit of God, after repeated warnings, if they choose their own way, then He does not commission His angels to prevent Satan's decided attacks upon them.[* SEE ALSO THE GREAT CONTROVERSY , P. 614, WHERE ELLEN WHITE STATES, "A SINGLE ANGEL DESTROYED ALL THE FIRST-BORN OF THE EGYPTIANS AND FILLED THE LAND WITH MOURNING. WHEN DAVID OFFENDED AGAINST GOD BY NUMBERING THE PEOPLE, ONE ANGEL CAUSED THAT TERRIBLE DESTRUCTION BY WHICH HIS SIN WAS PUNISHED. THE SAME DESTRUCTIVE POWER EXERCISED BY HOLY ANGELS WHEN GOD COMMANDS, WILL BE EXERCISED BY EVIL ANGELS WHEN HE PERMITS."] It is Satan's power that is at work at sea and on land, bringing calamity and distress, and sweeping off multitudes to make sure of his prey. And storm and tempest both by sea and land will be, for Satan has come down in great wrath. He is at work. He knows his time is short and, if he is not restrained, we shall see more terrible manifestations of his power than we have ever dreamed of.
I hear the muttering of the dragon from Marion [Iowa], but I expected worse than this because it is not the men who do this but Satan behind them. They are merely men, but agents of Satan. It is his power we meet in them. Jesus I have made my fortress, my strong tower, and I am not at all afraid.
I am not engaged in doing my work. If I were, I should expect it would come to nought. But it is the work of God, and I have not a fear, nor a doubt, as to the final triumph of this work although assailed by Satan and his legions of angels.
I do feel sorry for you, my brother, because God has bestowed upon you great light, great talents and ability, but the possession of these will not save you. They lay you under heavier responsibilities, and if these are not fully and entirely consecrated to Him who gave them to you, it would be far better for you if you did not possess them. I know you have been in the snare of the enemy, but I have kept your case on my soul. I have prayed in the night season. I have prayed in the daytime, and I have still the deepest interest for you that Satan shall not prevail over you but that you may break his bands and come boldly to the front in the very time when your earnest efforts are most needed.
I do not want you should lose your crown or the eternal reward, but as one who loves your soul I tell you [you] will surely do so if you continue to follow the path you have started in upon. You have been deceived, and will never come to the light until you have the moral courage and strength
to separate from your adviser and your counselor.[* TO OBTAIN AN ACCURATE PICTURE OF URIAH SMITH, THIS LETTER, WRITTEN IN AUGUST, 1883, SHOULD BE PLACED IN THE SETTING AND BACKGROUND TRACED IN CONSIDERABLE DETAIL IN THE ELLEN G. WHITE BIOGRAPHY, VOLUME 3. NOTE ESPECIALLY ELDER SMITH'S TURN-AROUND DURING THE GENERAL CONFERENCE SESSION HELD IN NOVEMBER, 1883. THIS LETTER FROM ELLEN WHITE SHOWED SEEDS OF LIGHT AT A PARTICULARLY DARK HOUR IN SMITH'S EXPERIENCE, AND POSSIBLY WAS A FACTOR IN THE DRAMATIC CHANGE IN HIS EXPERIENCE JUST THREE MONTHS LATER. READ IN THE BIOGRAPHY, VOLUME 3: CHAPTER 16, "THE YEAR BATTLE CREEK COLLEGE CLOSED," PP. 187-205; CHAPTER 18, "THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY CHALLENGED," PP. 220-229; CHAPTER 19, "A CHANGING BATTLE CREEK--THE COLLEGE OPENS," PP. 230-239. SEE ESPECIALLY PAGES 236, 238, AND 239.
IN 1887 URIAH SMITH WROTE: "CONSIDERABLE HANDLE, I UNDERSTAND, HAS BEEN MADE IN SOME DIRECTIONS OF THE FACT THAT THE EDITOR OF THE REVIEW HAS BEEN TROUBLED OVER THE QUESTION OF THE VISIONS, HAS BEEN UNSOUND ON THAT QUESTION, AND AT ONE TIME CAME VERY NEAR GIVING THEM UP. IT STRIKES ME THAT THIS IS QUITE A SMALL AMOUNT OF CAPITAL TO WORK UP MUCH OF A TRADE ON--"CAME VERY NEAR GIVING THEM UP"--BUT DIDN'T! I ALSO, AT ONE TIME CAME VERY NEAR GETTING RUN OVER BY THE CARS, AND ROLLED INTO JELLY; BUT I DIDN'T, AND SO CONTINUE TO THIS DAY. SOME HAVE MET JUST SUCH A CATASTROPHE. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM AND MYSELF IS THAT THEY DID, AND I DIDN'T. SOME HAVE GIVEN UP THE VISIONS. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM AND MYSELF IS THE SAME--THEY DID, AND I DIDN'T."-- REVIEW AND HERALD EXTRA , NOV. 22, 1887, P. 15.] His suggestions, his insinuations, his active, ready wit exercised even upon sacred subjects, have had their influence upon you nearly to destroy. If you fail, the blood of your soul will be upon William Gage.
This is a fascination that is wholly of the devil that binds you to influences that will ruin. Unless you show a determination to break these fetters, you will soon be unable to do so, and I know that adversity will come to you; and I love you and I love yours. I want you to see. I want you [to] break the fetters of darkness. I want you to stand free and whole in God. I want Satan to be disappointed. I write you this letter [that] you may be saved now from further deception if you will make one determined effort of resistance. I write you this letter although I know my enemies
would turn and twist and misconstrue and play upon words and misinterpret anything I may say or write. Yet I do not think you will do this, and I shall venture to send this letter.
William Gage will do the very work I have described. He has never known the experience you have had. He has never had the sweet connection with God you have had. He has moved by impulse, not by principle, not from deep, earnest conviction. He has had no power to resist temptation. He knows nothing by experience of what it is to walk with God. The Lord reads this poor, deceived soul as an open book, and he wants you to withdraw from him; separate your interest from him, for it is corrupting to your faith. I want you [to> come off victorious.
I would do this man William Gage good, if I could, but his course, I have been shown, was most contemptible in the sight of God. I do not think he sees it all so, but thus God regards it. I hope he will repent. I hope he will not wait until the Judgment before he sees that he has betrayed holy trusts and strengthened the hands of our worst enemies.
You are also doing this work--strengthening the hands of our enemies. But the Lord will work for His own cause and will bring to nought the smartest, the wisest-laid, schemes of wicked men, and that you should even by your silence sanction the work of Satan through his own agents is too dreadful to contemplate. I will write no more now in regard to the book. You are welcome to it and more, if you want it.
[P. S.] You may think there is no necessity for such letters, but I do not see as you see in this matter. I think there is necessity. No one knows what I have written.
I have not time to read this over. I leave Healdsburg today for Oakland. Leave Oakland Sunday for the east. I have written this by lamplight this morning while others are sleeping.
Please preserve this, for I have no time to copy. I shall want it again. EGW.--Letter 14, 1883. Ellen G. White Estate Washington, D. C. July 19, 1984 Entire Letter Released