Editorial — A Special Testimony

On March 14, 1897, Ellen White sent a special testimony from her home in Cooranbong, Australia, to the Oakland and Battle Creek Churches. This Special Testimony has much counsel on several different subjects that are just as relevant today as they were 100 years ago. Since this testimony is unavailable to many of our readers, we are going to give some excerpts from it in this editorial page.

Use of Tithe

“Ministers have just as much right to their wages as have the workers employed in the Review and Herald Office, and the laborers in the Pacific Publishing House. A great robbery has been practiced in the meager wages paid to some of the workers. If they give their time, and thought, and labor to the service of the Master, they should have wages enough to supply their family with food and clothing.

“The light which the Lord has given me on this subject is that the means in the treasury for the support of the ministers in the different fields is not to be used for any other purpose. If an honest tithe were paid, and the money coming into the treasury were carefully guarded, the ministers would receive a just wage. The auditing committee has often been composed of men who were farmers. These could dress in coarse clothing appropriate for the work they were doing. They raised all they needed as a family to subsist upon, and they knew not what the outlay of a minister must necessarily be when he goes into a new field to labor for perishing souls. The outlook is often hard and discouraging. Some fields when the work is first opened up, are encouraging; but there are other fields that are not so. Both must receive the truth. The minister must labor and pray. He must visit the different families. Frequently he finds the people so poor that they have little to eat and no room in which to sleep. Often means have to be given to the very needy to supply their hunger and cover their nakedness.

Extravagance in Dress

“Let those who take such delight in devoting so largely of their means to clothing their bodies, consider that they are using God’s money, that might be invested in bearing the truth to those that are perishing in their sins.

“The Lord will not serve with the selfish indulgence of these men and women. Had they clothed themselves with modest apparel, as the Holy Spirit has specified they should do, they would have the blessing of God. The atmosphere surrounding their souls would not be as spiritual malaria to others who newly come into the faith. Such examples of show and of the love of dress, of following the fashions of this degenerate age, this leaven of pride and extravagance, is gathering to itself, until the whole lump will be leavened.

Impending Judgments

“The church without living godliness is like the fig tree to which Christ, hungering for food, came and searched for fruit, and found nothing but leaves. This is as it is with many who profess religion; and our position, having as we have great light, great opportunities, great privileges, will bring the curse that came upon the fig tree upon all who have a name to live and are fruitless.

“The Lord is coming speedily, yet, notwithstanding His professed people read the signs of the times,—of famines, of thousands being swept away by earthquakes and floods, by fire, by calamities by sea and land, by plague, by war and bloodshed,—the love of self so deadens the spiritual sense that the day of the Lord will come upon them as a thief in the night, and He declares, ‘They shall not escape.’ The Lord is to judge both quick and dead at His appearing and His kingdom. Will these stand in their pride and self-glorification before that tribunal, when the judgment will sit, and the books will be opened, and every man shall be judged according as his works have been?

“Christ declares, ‘I know thy works.’ Does the Lord seem to be too far away, too indistinct, to produce any appreciable effect on the conduct of the human agent? Shall the hellish shadow of Satan ever be penetrated by living faith? Christ is a personal, present Savior, one who is ordering all things for His own glory. He is accessible at all times if we will come to Him in contrition of soul. I would urge upon all in Battle Creek to wake from your spiritual death-like slumber. Unless you do, it will pass into the slumber of eternal death.”

To be continued…