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The volume retains the prophetic status of The Destruction of Troy by reasserting a composition date on a separate title-page, although not in the initial table of contents. No date, either of composition or previous publication, is attached to Coopers Hill , and so it appears more straightforwardly as a commemorative poem. Continuing to recall Charles I in the hunted stag of Coopers Hill and Priam in The Destruction of Troy is symptomatic of how Denham felt he had compromised his sense of personal integrity between the s and s, and also of the larger fault-lines that ran through Restoration society that were ultimately never resolved.
In this article I retain the taxonomy of the Coopers Hill editions delineated by B. All quotations from Coopers Hill are from the relevant original editions, but line numbers have been supplied from EH. Sowerby, Lewisburg, henceforth EAV. Banks, 2nd edn, Hamden, For ease of reference, and because Sowerby has discussed how it is not possible to discern which particular editions of Virgil Denham knew and used see EAV , pp.
Rushton Fairclough, rev. Goold, 2 vols, Cambridge, The Loeb text has been checked against the seventeenth-century Virgil vulgate. All glossing translations are my own unless otherwise stated. Cain and R. Connolly, 2 vols, Oxford, , I, pp. Hooker et al. Lonsdale, 4 vols, Oxford, , I, pp. For Coopers Hill and topographical poetry and a survey of previous criticism on the topic , see D. Lynch, Oxford, , pp. For Denham and translation, see L. This manuscript translation survives in a commonplace book that belonged to Lucy Hutchinson.
Wilcher, The Writing of Royalism, — , Cambridge, , pp. Smith, Literature and Revolution in England , — , London, , pp. Summers and T. Pebworth, London, , pp. Knoppers, Oxford, , pp. Major, London, henceforth SP , pp. Thomas, Virgil and the Augustan Reception , Cambridge, , pp. For Coopers Hill and georgic, see EH , pp. See E. Outlined in B. Wasserman, Subtler Language n.
The revision in the application is also noted in Wilcher, Writing of Royalism n. See J. Destruction of Troy , ll. Identified in G. Healy and J. Sawday, Cambridge, , pp. Auden, Collected Poems , London, , pp. It is more likely to have been published after the first edition of The Destruction of Troy had appeared in Sowerby notes additional lacunae at Aeneid II.
The Destruction of Troy does contain a translation of this passage ll. Several accounts of this consultation, involving a number of alternative dates and key individuals, were in circulation by the second half of the seventeenth century. The most celebrated incident of this type of prophecy occurs in the account of the premature death of Marcellus at Aeneid VI. These occur at Coopers Hill , ll. Denham, Aeneid VI. Denham, Aeneid V.
Virgil, Aeneid II. Pengry, Coopers Hill , l. Quotations from Pengry are from the edition printed in EH, pp. Dryden, Works n. By contrast, EAV , p. See Wilcher, Writing of Royalism n. Discussed in Wilcher, Writing of Royalism n. For details, see G. Martindale and A.
Taylor, Cambridge, , pp. Potter, Secret Rites n. Carson mentions the Aeneid VII stag-hunt episode in passing, but does not link it to its connections to civil war. The Poems of Andrew Marvell , ed. Smith, Harlow, , p. Discussed in S. Gladish, Oxford, , p. Mentioned in Potter, Secret Rites n. See N. This augments the account of the strained relationship pre- and post-Restoration between Denham and Davenant outlined in M.
Raylor uses the stag-hunt passages of Coopers Hill and Gondibert as a means of distinguishing the differing poetic aesthetics of the two men, rather than on their shared status as royal elegies. Ross, Women, Poetry, Politics n. Virgil, Aeneid XII. Gondibert , p. Whilst Pulter likely draws on Denham, Marvell and Davenant, there is nothing to indicate that they were familiar with her writing.
See H. Charls the I. On whose Sacred Person was acted that execrable, horrid, and prodigious Murther, by a trayterous Crew, and bloudy Combination at Westminster, January the This possibility is discussed with regard to other texts in Potter, Secret Rites n. Sadler, The loyall Mourner , London, , p. Denham, Aeneid II. The death of Rufus during a deer-hunt also suggests a parallel with the stag-hunt passage of Coopers Hill. See Aeneid 7 , ed. Nicholas Horsfall, Leiden, , pp. Denham, Coopers Hill , sigs A2 r —B v. The use of such language supports the claim by Thomas, Royalist Career n.
Coiro does not capitalize on the fact that the two texts shared a publisher, Humphrey Moseley, who had also published the and editions of Coopers Hill. Milton: Complete Shorter Poems , ed. Carey, 2nd edn, Harlow, , p.
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Milton: Shorter Poems n. In relation to this approach, Potter, Secret Rites n. Virgilian retrospective prophecy does not play a role in Lycidas , but it is a key feature of Paradise Lost , as K. Martindale, Bristol, , pp. See S.
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Chalmers, Royalist Women Writers — , Oxford, , pp. Christopher Marlowe, Hero and Leander , London, , sig. Destruction of Troy , London, , p. Trotter, Poetry of Abraham Cowley, London, , p. For the literary culture of this period, see Wilcher, Writing of Royalism n. At EAV , p. See HD, pp. See Virgil, Aeneid II.
A prophet's, minister's, or politician's eloquence may lead people to do things they would not otherwise do. Because such a person lifts others up out of themselves, he is thus considered "inspired. There may certainly be some kind of secular, nonprophetic inspiration. We sometimes think of an artist, a sculptor, a musical composer or performer as being "inspired. In Biblical inspiration, the prophet is taken off in vision. He or she may lose natural strength only to receive a supernatural endowment. For the prophet, God breathes--literally; for in the vision state the prophet does not breathe.
And while in this state, the prophet receives infallible messages from the Lord. Ordinary individuals may be moved by the inspired words of the prophet; their lives may be fundamentally altered for the better. But that experience is not the "inspiration" that the Bible writers and Ellen White possessed. When ordinary people are "inspired," it is some other kind of inspiration than the biblical variety.
It is a difference in kind, not in degree. This idea of degrees of inspiration that is so prevalent in encounter theology has, historically, had a certain appeal with Adventism. Butler's series of ten articles in the Review and Herald posited this idea of degrees of inspiration. Ellen White wrote him a letter of rebuke  in which she pointed out that God had not inspired this series on inspiration, nor had He approved of the teaching of these views at the sanitarium, college, or publishing house in Battle Creek!
At this point, the reader may, rather wearily, say, "What practical difference does it make which position I take? Let us note some of the significant implications that result from accepting the encounterist view:. The reader's subjective experience becomes normative --the standard of what he will accept or reject as binding on his life and experience. However, if there is no objective revelation as criterion, then there is no way an individual can validate his experience, no way for him to determine whether this experience is from the Holy Spirit or from an unholy spirit. It is simply not enough to say that one's experience is "self-authenticating.
The subjective view is a distortion. It distorts the proper, legitimate place of context. It also distorts the proper place of experience, by making it the criterion for authenticity. The subjective view emphasizes "the autonomy of historical conditioning," and makes demythologizing of the prophet a necessity to contemporary understanding. Further, it distorts genuine prophetic inspiration by imposing the idea of degrees of inspiration upon it as a central category.
Creation, as taught in Genesis, is neither literal nor scientific. Rather, evolution becomes the favored view, with Genesis being seen as merely recording the quaint ideas extant in the time of Moses. With regard to the incarnation of Christ, Jesus was not really a divine-human being. He was only a man. The encounter view rejects supernatural events such as the virgin birth and miracles, as we commonly define them. In demonology, the Bible, says the encounterist, merely reports the common ideas of a time when it was popularly but incorrectly believed that demons possessed the physical bodies of certain unfortunate human victims.
Today, says the encounterist, we know that all mental illness and insanity are caused by external conditions such as chemical imbalances and unfavorable environment--but not by spirits. Plenarists can certainly agree that some mental illness, perhaps much of it, is caused by external, nonsupernatural causes; but they cannot accept a view that declares that all mental illness is so caused.
This author saw too much in his 12 years of mission service to believe otherwise! In the final analysis, then, the encounterist, subjective view of inspiration ultimately constitutes a denial of the "faith once delivered to the saints. And those who accept this view risk losing eternal life. Leslie Hardinge, a veteran Seventh-day Adventist college and seminary Bible teacher, once made a very profound statement: "Without analogy, there is no real teaching. The Apostle Paul repeatedly speaks of prophetic inspiration as the gift from the Holy Spirit--one of the so-called "spiritual gifts" Ephesians 4; 1 Corinthians A person may receive many kinds of gifts.
Some gifts are useless or even embarrassing. However, the most valuable gifts I have ever received were either utilitarian gifts that filled a particular need in my day-to-day existence such as a pen, an attache case, or a typewriter or gifts of love in which the sentiment that prompted the gift far transcended the inherent, immediate value of the gift.
This sentiment bestowed upon the gift a value it would not otherwise have possessed. The gift of prophecy can be described in the same terms. To some it is useless. To others it is a continual embarrassment and annoyance, for it cuts across their lifestyle repeatedly, dealing as it does with particulars of day-to-day existence. The purpose of this gift is to promote the work of the ministry of the body church of God--to strengthen and guide the church Ephesians Notice in particular its four purposes in this connection:.
The unification of the saints so that there will be no schism in the body of Christ. See 1 Corinthians The edification of the saints inspired writings provide doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. See 2 Timothy The stabilization of the saints that they may have an anchor to keep them from drifting about on every wave of doctrine. The Apostle Peter adds a second metaphor, actually borrowing it from one of David's psalms.
He sees prophetic inspiration as resembling a light that shines in a darkened place for a practical and necessary purpose--to keep us from stumbling and falling 2 Peter A millennium earlier David had likened the word of God to a "lamp" to the feet, a "light" to the path Psalm One of the main purposes of the prophetic writings although certainly not their only function is to reveal future events. Revelation thus helps us to make adequate preparation for coming events and enables us to relate constructively to these events when they occur.
Mortals cannot predict what will happen even moments in advance; but God can tell centuries in advance what will transpire. This function of inspiration was the particular burden of Isaiah. Equally important is the function of revelation as light to protect the believer. Inspired writings provide a light that exposes Satan's goals and his proposed methodology for accomplishing his objective. Truly, "where there is no vision, the people perish" Proverbs Inspiration has been seen as a process in which God uniquely imparts eternally important truths through "his servants, the prophets," who "at sundry times and in divers manners" have spoken to their contemporaries and to those who would later follow to enable them to understand the divine mind and will of God for their lives.
Especially in these closing hours of earth's history, there is an overriding need to understand how this phenomena operates, so that one may not only have an intelligent understanding of what God is trying to say, but also to avoid the perils and pitfalls that arise from the holding of false views. Paul's admonition to the saints of the New Testament--"Quench not the Spirit [don't let the candle go out! Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" 1 Thessalonians --is but the echo of the counsel of Jehoshaphat in the Old Testament: "Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper" 2 Chronicles In the second presentation in this series we will consider the question of inerrancy and infallibility--Does the true prophet ever err?
The experience of Ellen White will be examined in the light of the evidence of Bible prophets. The theological footballs of "infallibility" and "inerrancy" are agitating minds and hearts in evangelical Christendom today, especially as these issues relate to the question of prophetic inspiration. Much of the discussion revolves around semantical considerations,  and is rather closely associated with the verbal view of inspiration. Nevertheless, important questions need to be raised--and answered--such as: Does a true prophet ever err? Do all the predictions of a true prophet come to pass percent of the time?
Does a true prophet ever have to change anything he or she has written or said? Webster defines infallible as "1: incapable of error: unerring; 2: not liable to mislead, deceive, or disappoint: certain; 3: incapable of error in defining doctrines touching faith or morals. The issue of prophetic infallibility is raised because the Scriptures claim to be more reliable than ordinary literacy productions of human authors.
As was noted in part 1 of this series, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God" 2 Timothy It is not amenable to "private interpretation" because the message did not originate by private initiative or from private creativity. Instead, "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" 2 Peter Therefore, said Peter, "take heed" to it vs. In what may well have been the first book of the New Testament to be written, Paul, in the same spirit as the reference cited above from Peter, admonished the Thessalonian Christians: "Quench not the Spirit.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" 1 Thessalonians Peter responds, because we have a "more sure" word of prophetic writings 2 Peter More recent translators have rendered the passage: the word of the prophetic writers is "made more certain,"  "made more sure,"  "surer still,"  "firmer still,"  "confirmed,"  "reaffirmed,"  and "more fully guaranteed.
The question, then, is not the uniqueness of the inspired writings in being "more sure" than uninspired writings; it is, rather, what is the essence of this "more sureness"? In what way are these writings "more sure"? Several possible analogical models may be found among evangelical Christians and among Seventh-day Adventists:. The "straight-jacket" theory: This view holds that the control of the Holy Spirit over the prophet during the process of inspiration is so rigid, so tight, that the prophet is prevented from making any type of error.
This position is well illustrated in the words of one Seventh-day Adventist evangelist in a sermon explaining Ellen White to non-Adventists:. And by the way, Ellen White's predictions up to this very minute have been right every time. The psychics like to talk about their batting average. They are proud if they are right seventy-five or eighty percent of the time. A prophet of God with a batting average? A prophet of God is right one hundred percent of the time or he isn't right at all!
I think you are beginning to see the difference between a prophet--a true prophet--and a psychic. Three postulates are thus suggested: a The true prophet has a PAQ Prophetic Accuracy Quotient of percent, whereas psychics and false prophets typically have only a percent PAQ; b if a prophet of God is not right percent of the time, he or she is not right any of the time; and c a true prophet never has to go back and change anything he wrote or said in his professional capacity as a prophet. This position borrows heavily from the basic philosophy of inspiration held by the author of a popular book aboutEllen White published a few years ago:.
A true prophet [italics in original] is not a psychic who performs with the aid of a mental or "spiritual" crutch, but is someone who has no degree of freedom either in tuning or in controlling the prophetic impulses or prophetic recall. These impulses are superimposed over the prophet's conscious mind by a supernatural personal being, having absolute knowledge of both past and future, making no allowance for error or human miscalculation. This position has serious problems and implications with regard to both the Bible and the writings of Ellen White, as will subsequently be noted.
The "intervention" theory: This view holds that if in his humanity a prophet of God errs, and the nature of that error is sufficiently serious to materially affect a the direction of God's church, b the eternal destiny of one person, or c the purity of a doctrine, then and only then the Holy Spirit immediately moves the prophet to correct the error, so that no permanent damage is done. This position can be squared with the objective reality of Scripture and of the writings of Ellen White.
But before we apply the acid test of these two theories, we should pause to examine the nature and source of religious belief. Several penetrating questions are relevant here: 1 Which of the two theories presented above do you believe?
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Or do you have a third theory to which you subscribe? This second question may be even more important than the first. Is your belief based on source credibility --some favorite preacher, pastor, Bible teacher, or Biblical scholar whom you highly respect has taken this position, and because of your high regard for this person, you have accepted, uncritically, what you were told? Or do you hold your belief because you have objectively validated the position? In Paul's day the Christian believers in Berea were said to have been "more noble" than their counterparts at Thessalonica for two reasons that have great relevance for us in this discussion:.
Paul might have been forgiven somewhat had he told the Bereans, "I am not only an inspired prophet of the Lord, but I also have the highest spiritual gift--that of apostleship. You don't need to check out what I have told you; you can take my word for it, for I have the highest authority from God on this earth.
But he didn't tell them that. Instead, he praised them for not simply taking his word for things, but for going instead to the previously inspired writings to verify what he had said. How should one validate truth? By counting heads and accepting the position that attracts the largest number of subscribers? What is the best way to determine the correct time of day? If someone is asked, "What time is it? Incidentally, if you ask several individuals for the time of day, you may get as many different answers as there are persons with watches.
Furthermore, each person will probably assume that his is the only right time if others disagree. Many communities have a telephone number one may dial to get the exact time of day. Some radio and television networks have a "blip" signal that may be heard exactly on the hour, superimposed over the voice of the announcer giving the call letters of the station. Validating the time of day for most of us may not be crucial. Whether we are one or two minutes off may not be too important.
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But validating spiritual truth may be eternally important. And how does one validate truth? Louis was a great lover of the theater, and often had command performances in his court. Bossuet, on the other hand, was widely known to oppose the theater as being inimical to the development of Christian character and as being an instrument of evil.
One day, as the story goes, during a lull in the proceedings of court, Louis looked around and, seeing Bossuet on the periphery, called loudly in his direction, "My bishop, what do you think of the theater? Courtiers gasped, for they knew the views of both men. They also knew the peril of rendering a verdict contrary to the royal opinion. At the very least, the offender might be banished from court a fate, for these sycophants, almost worse than death ; at the very worst, he might be sent to his death.
Everyone waited breathlessly for Bossuet's response, wondering whether he would take the expedient way out of the dilemma on the theory that it is better to be a live coward than a dead hero , or whether he would risk all to speak the conviction of his heart. Bossuet gravely made his way into the immediate presence of the Sun King, genuflected, and said with great dignity, "Sire, you have asked what I think of the theater. I will tell you, Sire, what I think. There are some great persons in favor of it.
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It might equally be said of the "strait-jacket" theory of "more sureness. Validation is potentially a painful process, for facts sometimes force us to change long-held highly cherished opinions. But validation is an intellectual necessity to anyone who holds truth to be as important as life itself. In part 1 of this series we noted Paul's declaration that "we have this treasure in earthen vessels" 2 Corinthians and Ellen White's observation that "in the work of God for man's redemption, divinity and humanity are combined.
The "treasure" consists of truths revealed and inspired by God; the "earthen vessel"--the human packaging--is the words of men, chosen by them to communicate divine truth. The "treasure"--the God-given truth or message--is not only "an infallible revelation of His will" but is also "authoritative"  --normative and binding upon the Christian. Commenting upon the question of infallibility, Ellen White wrote, "God alone is infallible. Concerning the "earthen vessel," the human side of the equation, Mrs. White added, "Everything that is human is imperfect";  and "no man is infallible.
Some have stumbled over the fact that there are imperfections in the writings of Ellen White. Examples cited by the critics include her incorrect numbering of Abraham's allies; her early statement that God commanded Adam and Eve not to touch the forbidden fruit, later changed to state that these were Eve's words; her assertion that only eight souls received Noah's message, contradicted in another place by her statement that there were others who believed and who helped build the ark; and her account of the daily ministration in the ancient tabernacle,  which does not entirely square with the account given in the Pentateuch.
Some critics have gone on to ask if these imperfections, these inaccuracies, this demonstrated untrustworthiness, are not sufficient reason for not basing any doctrine upon her writings. There is no charge that can be leveled against Ellen White, in her professional role as a prophet, that could not and has not first been leveled against the writers of the Bible by the so-called "higher critics," whether such accusations allege misstatements of fact, copying uninspired writers a charge examined in detail in part 1 of this series , unfulfilled prophecies, or having to retract statements made at an earlier time.
Let us not claim more for Mrs. White than we would for the Bible writers; but let us not claim less, either for reasons that will be discussed in some detail in part 3 of this series. Coming back to Peter's forthright claim, "We have also a more sure word of prophecy," let us examine, successively, the lives of the prophets, and then the declarations of the prophets, to see if we are able to determine how this "more sureness" operates--or does not operate. The evidence of history and Scripture testify that the control of the Holy Spirit over the lives of the prophets did not preclude their freedom to sin.
If "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" Romans , this would presumably include the prophets as well. To verify this, one need but examine their lives individually, as recorded in sacred writ, to discover the nature and extent of their sins of omission and commission. One of the earliest prophets mentioned in Scripture is Abraham Genesis Repeatedly the canonical writers of both Old and New Testaments call him the father of the faithful, and indeed, both Jews through Isaac and Arabs through Ishmael consider him their lineal ancestor as well.
Abraham was not only made the progenitor of peoples too numerous to count, not only given the special relationship with God signified by the role and office of a prophet, but he was also given the title--by Jehovah Himself--"Abraham my friend. Islamic philologists state that the word in Arabic--a language noted for its nuances and fine distinctions of meaning--should not be rendered merely "friend" but rather " a very special friend. What kind of man was the "very special friend" of God?
In Genesis 12 we find Abraham and his wife Sarah in Egypt. Because Sarah is a very beautiful woman, Abraham fears that Pharaoh will want to add her to the royal harem, and will kill Abraham to pave the way for this conquest. So Abraham prevails upon Sarah to declare that she is Abraham's sister instead of his wife. Now Sarah was indeed Abraham's half -sister, so what she said was half true; but she was also his whole wife. And what is half-truth is whole-lie, because the intent is to deceive. God stepped into the situation in a remarkable manner to protect the life of His friend; and Abraham and Sarah were allowed to leave Egypt unmolested, with all of their possessions intact.
But eight chapters later, in Genesis 20, we find the same story being repeated--with the same results. God bore long with His very special friend--even as He bears long with us. But one somehow tends to expect a little higher standard of behavior of prophets! Surely Abraham should have learned a lesson the first time. But he did not, as we often do not. Abraham was not only a "royal liar" twice over, but he also sinned in acquiescing to Sarah's proposal that he take Hagar as a secondary wife in order to "help" God's plan to make Abraham's progeny as numerous as the sands of the sea and the stars of the sky.
Sarah was beyond normal child-bearing years Genesis ; and not believing that God would work a miracle, she sought a naturalistic solution. But in taking Hagar, one of Sarah's servants, as his wife, Abraham demonstrated a serious lapse of faith. God intended Isaac to be a "miracle" child--for he was in several ways to be a type of Christ.
And even if Abraham and Sarah's conduct was acceptable by the cultural standards of the day, it was contrary to God's plan. Paul uses this illustration in Galatians, chapter 4, to allegorize Hagar as salvation by works, with Sarah representing salvation by faith. The seriousness of Abraham's lack of faith at this point is underscored by a more recent prophet. Because he did not trust God to produce a miracle child, but instead took Hagar as his wife, Abraham was called upon, a few years later, to offer Isaac as a human sacrifice on Mount Moriah.
Wrote Ellen White, "If he had endured the first test and had patiently waited for the promise to be fulfilled in Sarah. Abraham's grandson, Jacob, a prophet, was also a sinner. In fact, his very name had to be changed to Israel after his conversion because the old name meant deceiver or supplanter; and God couldn't have a prophet going around with that kind of name in a day when the giving of a name had a significance far transcending the same event in modern times.
Then there was David. Twice in Scripture, once in the Old Testament and once in the New, David is given the title "a man after his [God's] own heart" 1 Samuel ; see also Acts And what kind of man was he? Well, among other things, he was first an adulterer with Bathsheba, and then a murderer of her husband Uriah in a cover-up effort 2 Samuel 1.
Is that any way for a prophet to behave--especially one so close to the heart of God? Incidentally, the experiences of Abraham and David have been used in recent times by lapsed Christians to condone polygamy, among other sins. However, the question persists, was Abraham the friend of God and was David a man after God's own heart because of their sins, or rather in spite of them?
Although the prophets were all sinners--and some of them rather lurid ones at that--their sins did not invalidate their prophetic gift! Jeremiah complained, charging God wrongfully chaps. Both Jonah chap. And then there was Peter.
Peter denied his Lord three times with foul fishermen's oaths that had not stained his lips for three years. Jesus forgave him, and restored him to the gospel ministry, and even gave him the gift of prophetic inspiration. And did Peter than live a morally impeccable, upright life forever after? He did not.
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Peter was subsequently guilty of gross hypocrisy. While with the Gentile Christians he was the epitome of friendship; but on occasions when Jews were present, Peter catered to their narrow chauvinistic prejudices by not according the Gentiles the same warmth of Christian fellowship as he would have in private. In fact, this was such a serious moral issue that the apostle Paul was obliged to rebuke Peter in a rather forthright and public manner Galatians And Peter was a prophet. What about Ellen White? She once wrote, "God and heaven alone are infallible.
In regard to infallibility, I never claimed it; God alone is infallible. A recent critic reportedly found Ellen White guilty of three sins if not crimes : 1 she was a literary thief, since he charged that she stole the writings of others; 2 she was a liar, for she allegedly claimed that those writings were from her own pen when they were not; and 3 she and her husband James were held to be shameless, opportunistic exploiters, writing for a guaranteed, captive market for the purpose of enriching their own family fortunes!
Now, for a moment, let us assume that the critics' worst charges about Ellen White are absolutely true. Although these charges have been answered in substantial detail,  for the sake of the argument let us momentarily assume the worst. If Ellen White were guilty, as charged, would that invalidate her prophetic gift?
And the answer comes quickly, No--not unless you are willing to invalidate Peter's prophetic gift, Jonah's prophetic gift, Elijah's prophetic gift, Jeremiah's prophetic gift, David's prophetic gift, and Abraham's prophetic gift, among others. We must be consistent; we must treat Ellen White exactly as we would any prophet of biblical times. If we don't tear out of our Bible the Psalms written by David, the prophecies of Jeremiah and Jonah and the two epistles of Peter, then we have no right to throw out the writings of Ellen White.
History and the Scripture testify that the control of the Holy Spirit over the lives of the prophets did not preclude their freedom to sin; and yet, their sinful acts did not invalidate their prophetic gift! At this point someone is likely to assert that Peter did not say we have a more sure prophetic life; but rather that we have a more sure prophetic word. What about the words of the prophet? Three categories of "problems" appear when we examine the utterances of the prophets, biblical and modern, in which significant questions have been raised: 1 unfulfilled prophecies; 2 inconsequential errors of minor, insignificant detail; and 3 major errors of substance.
Let us examine each successively, in detail. Some time ago I was holding a series of class lectures and public meetings at one of our educational institutions on the Atlantic seaboard. At the close of the Thursday evening presentation a denominational worker at this school asked if he might speak with me privately. I invited him to my guest room where we conversed for more than an hour.
As soon as he was seated, he began, "I really want to believe in Ellen White as a legitimate, authentic prophet of the Lord. Without answering my question directly, he went on, "Isn't the fulfillment of predictions one of the Bible's tests of a true prophet? Jeremiah chap. Then he went on, "Well, what do we do, then, with Ellen White's predictions that never came to pass? For example, I understand that in she said she was shown a group of our church members at a meeting somewhere. She said that some of them would be 'food for worms,' some would be subjects of the seven last plagues, and some would be alive and translated at the second coming of Christ.
Are any of the persons who attended that meeting still alive? His name was William C. White, and he was a babe in arms at the time his mother, Ellen White, made the prediction. Well, how do you handle it--in the light of this Biblical test of a prophet--that his prediction must come to pass, and if it doesn't this is evidence that the Lord has not spoken through him? But my policy, when people raise questions about Ellen White's prophetic role, is to go first to the Bible, to see how the situation is resolved there, before I examine Ellen White.
You see, I want to see her in the light of the Bible, not the other way around. And so we began a most interesting study of unfulfilled prophecies by authentic, acknowledged prophets in the Bible. Probably the best known example is Jonah. After finishing his celebrated "submarine" ride in the belly of the great fish, Jonah went to Nineveh to do the Lord's bidding.
Nineveh was a large city; it would take Jonah three days to cover it entirely. His message was as simple as it was stark: "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown" Jonah No hope was offered, no compromise, no conditional element. After delivering the message, Jonah went out of town and found a vantage place where he could witness and relish the massacre of his nation's most hated enemies. Jonah despised these people with a passion, for the Assyrians were the most warlike and fearsome of Israel's pagan foes. When they captured Jewish prisoners of war, they flayed them--skinned them alive--to extract every ounce of trauma in torture that they could before they killed the victim.
In such instances death, when it came, was a welcome, merciful release. The Jews quite understandably had no love for the Ninevites. Although there was no hope explicit in the message of Jonah, the Ninevites who may have had some prior knowledge about Jehovah from hearing other Jewish prophets, or from reading Jewish prophetic writings decided to mend their ways.
They expressed their repentance in the cultural manifestation appropriate to the times--they put on sackcloth and covered themselves with ashes. God beheld it all, and in love and mercy granted them a stay of execution. Meanwhile, the prophet was becoming more angry by the moment. One suspects that the real cause of this growing irritation was not merely his narrow chauvinistic Jewish loyalty, but rather a fear that word of this new development might get back to Jerusalem before he did.
Jonah may have been more concerned about his professional reputation as a prophet than about the fate of his , "converts. Perhaps he was afraid that when he got back to Jerusalem the little children playing in the street would chant after him, "Jonah's a false prophet; Jonah's a false prophet. Because his prediction didn't come to pass. Interestingly, in a footnote to history, we learn that several centuries after this event the Ninevites "repented" of their former repentance see 2 Corinthians and went back to their former ways.
God then "repented" of His reprieve, and sent the threatened destruction that Jonah had originally foretold. But was Jonah proved a "true" prophet years ex post facto? No, not at all. If the Ninevites had never subsequently been destroyed, Jonah would still have been deemed a true prophet, even though his prediction did not come to pass.
By the conditional element that exists in some prophecies, either explicitly or implicitly. A clue to this is found as early as B. More to the point, however, is the interesting and significant fact, that in both of the biblical books where the test of fulfillment is mandated, this conditional element is also explicitly stated. Ten chapters before giving the test of fulfillment, Jeremiah mentions this conditional element:. Moses also mentions the conditional element repeatedly in Deuteronomy.
Some have felt that this was a face-saving means of maintaining a prophet's professional reputation in the face of adverse evidence such as nonfulfillment of predictions,  but it is not. It is a biblical principle. One does not need an advanced degree in theology to be able to figure out what kind of prophecies are amendable to the conditional element and which are not. One could cite other biblical examples of unfulfilled prophecies given by authentic, legitimate prophets.
The category that comes most quickly to mind is that of a host of predictions made by a half-dozen Old Testament prophets about Israel's national honor and glory--predictions about the worldwide mission of Israel and the ingathering of the Gentiles, eternal rest in Canaan, and deliverance from political enemies. A few of these predictions were fulfilled, secondarily, through "spiritual Israel" the Christian church ; and some may be fulfilled to Christians ultimately, after sin and sinners are destroyed following the last judgment.
Despite these exceptions, the majority of these prophecies were not fulfilled in Bible times, are not being fulfilled today, and never will be fulfilled. Then do we say that the prophets who made these predictions--notably Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Zephaniah, and Zechariah--were false prophets? Nor do we say, as do the Secret Rapture theorists, that these prophecies will be fulfilled in our own time. Indeed, these latter expositors have built a whole theology on the misunderstanding of the conditional element in prophecy, and they posit a last-day fulfillment in order that these Old Testament writers may be proved to be reliable, authentic prophets of the Lord!
Let us now come back to Ellen White and the "Food for Worms" vision, to discover the facts in that case. During the latter part of May , a conference in Battle Creek was attended by members and denominational workers of a church which was still four years away from assuming a corporate name. Attendees came to the conference from various parts of the eastern and midwestern parts of the United States and from Canada. The conference opened on Friday afternoon, May 23, and closed on Monday, May On Sabbath the attendance was so large that it was necessary to leave the modest chapel that then served the Adventists and go across the street to a large tent pitched to accommodate the crowd.
On Tuesday morning, May 27, another meeting was held, this time back in the chapel, attended largely by workers who were still in Battle Creek. It was at this service that Mrs.
White was taken off in vision, and was shown some of those attending the May conference. The report of this vision is found in Testimonies for the Church, volume 1, pages , and is still published by the church, although some critics claim that the church tries to hide Mrs. White's unfulfilled predictions. Incidentally, carefully drawn lists of the names of those in attendance at that conference were compiled by a number of interested parties.
Some of these lists still survive in the archives of the Ellen G. White Estate in the General Conference office. The lists were actively circulated among Adventists in earlier days, and J. Loughborough tells, in a letter written in , about two ministers, a "Brother Nelson" and George Amadon, who took such a roster to Ellen White in to see if she could add any names that they had overlooked.
White is reported to have said, "What are you doing? White asked what use would be made of the list. Brother Nelson responded, "I am going to have copies of it printed and sent out to all of our people. White's instant rejoinder was, "Then you stop right where you are. If they get that list, instead of working to push the Message, they will be watching the Review each week to see who is dead.
Was the conditional element explicit in the angel's testimony to Ellen White in the vision? But then, neither was the conditional element explicit in the testimony of Jonah as he trudged for three days throughout the "exceeding great" city of Nineveh. In both cases, however, the conditional element was implicit.
From as early as to as late as ,  Ellen White's writings repeatedly suggest that if the Seventh-day Adventist church had done its job, "the work would have been completed, and Christ would have come ere this. The conditional element in some prophecy is exhibited both in the Bible and in the writings of Ellen G.
To accept it in one, but discard it in the other, is inconsistent and irrational. True, there are some unfulfilled prophecies by authentic, legitimate Bible prophets, but the existence of such prophecies does not necessarily discredit the prophet who made them. There are also unfulfilled prophecies in the writings of Ellen White, and the church has never denied nor tried to hide this fact from the public.
Those studying the prophetic writings should not ask more of Mrs. White than they would of the Biblical prophets. In inspired writings, ancient and modern, there are inconsequential errors of minor, insignificant detail. This is true of the Bible, as well as the writings of Ellen White.
Such errors--indeed, all of them added up together--do not affect the direction of God's church, the eternal destiny of one soul, or the purity of any doctrine. That the Holy Spirit could have corrected these minor mistakes, one cannot seriously challenge. He obviously chose not to do so, probably because the error wasn't vital to the message or the purpose of inspiration. Let us look first at the Bible. As we noted in part 1 of this series, the writer of the first Gospel informs us in Matthew , 10 of a Messianic prophecy, written centuries before Christ's birth, which declared that Christ would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver.
Matthew attributes that prophecy to Jeremiah. We noted also the slight discrepancies among the four Gospel writers regarding the exact wording of the superscription written by Pilate and placed upon the cross above the head of Christ. Matthew lists Christ's miracles in a different order than does Luke, even as both writers handle the Sermon on the Mount in different ways--Matthew as a sermon outline, Luke as an evangelistic tool to demonstrate the truths taught by Jesus. Mention might also be made of the fact that Hobab is described as Moses' brother-in-law in Numbers , while he is identified as Moses' father-in-law in Judges The author of 1 Samuel and 11 identifies David as the eighth son of Jesse, whereas the author of 1 Chronicles says David was the seventh son.
Luke mentions a Cainan in the genealogy of Jesus, a person not mentioned in Genesis Paul's account of the ratification of the first covenant in Hebrews is not entirely in harmony with the account in Exodus Nor have we exhausted the list of inconsequential errors of minor, insignificant detail.
The point we make here is, simply, that the "treasure" of God's good news is conveyed to mankind in "earthen vessels"; and that those earthen vessels--the packaging--contain mistakes, errors, discrepancies, call them what you will--that in no way deny the divine inspiration of the material nor the divine authority behind the messages. Ellen White is in the same tradition with the Bible writers.
The same kinds of minor errors found in Scripture also crop up here and there in her writings. A few were mentioned in the introduction to this presentation. Others could be cited. Just after the turn of the century a worker in southern California attempted to justify his loss of confidence in the inspiration of the Testimonies because of an inconsistency in an Ellen G. White letter. In this letter Mrs. White spoke of the 40 rooms of the Paradise Valley Sanitarium near San Diego; in actuality there were only 38 rooms. The man apparently believed that if there were any inaccuracies in detail in any writings of one claiming prophetic inspiration, such inaccuracies negated the claim, and his confidence in Ellen White was seriously impaired.
There are times when common things must be stated, common thoughts must occupy the mind, common letters must be written and information given that has passed from one to another of the workers. Such words, such information, are not given under the special inspiration of the Spirit of God.
On June 4, , Ellen White wrote a letter to a brother in the church who had written to her earlier concerning the inspiration of the Testimonies:. My brother, you have studied my writings diligently, and you have never found that I have made any such claims, neither will you find that the pioneers in our cause have made such claims. When writing about the St. White mentioned in passing that it was the ringing of the bell in the palace of King Charles IX in Paris that was a signal to begin the wanton destruction that cost the lives of tens of thousands of French Huguenot Protestants on August 24, After that volume was in print someone questioned the accuracy of her statement, suggesting instead that it may have been the bell in the church of St.
Germain, across the street from the palace. Still another said no, it was the bell in the Palace of Justice around the corner from the royal palace! Ellen White, in the revised edition of the book, redrafted the statement to read simply, "A bell, tolling in the dead of night, was a signal for the slaughter. Matthew's mistake in attributing the messianic prophecy of 30 pieces of silver to a wrong source Jeremiah, instead of Zechariah was duplicated by Ellen White in a Review and Herald article less than two years before her death. She wrote: "'The love of Christ constraineth us,' the apostle Peter declared.
Dates present unique problems. In two of her published volumes  Mrs. This was obviously a clerical error, for in that year Monday fell on August 5, not August 8. Of potentially greater seriousness is another problem in dating, misunderstood by some, and considered by one critic to be an unassailable argument for downgrading the nature and degree of Ellen White's inspiration. In a postscript to volume 2 of Spiritual Gifts, Ellen White wrote this rather unusual statement and appeal: "A special request is made that if any find incorrect statements in this book they will immediately inform me.
The edition will be completed about the first of October; therefore send before that time. Can you imagine, exclaims one critic, the apostle Paul putting a postscript on one of his epistles telling the members of that church that if they found anything wrong in the epistle that they should write back to him before it was printed and sent out to all the churches?
First, volume 2 of Spiritual Gifts was an autobiographical account of the experiences of James and Ellen White from to The twofold purpose in writing this work was explained in the preface to the book and therefore was quite likely overlooked by the critic; apparently very few people read the preface of any book! Further along in the preface is this clue explaining the rather odd request for reporting "incorrect statements":. In writing this autobiographical account Mrs. White relied for dates largely on letters retrieved from the Stockbridge Howland family of Topsham, Maine. They had kept her child Henry for five years while Ellen journeyed with her husband James.
Ellen had written the Howlands frequently as she and her husband itinerated from place to place. Possible evidence that the odd request bore fruit is the fact that two dates appearing in Spiritual Gifts, volume 2, were altered in parallel historical accounts from the pen of Mrs.
White in later publications:. In the earlier account of the first series of William Miller's prophetic lectures in Portland, Maine, the date is given simply as , and the date of the second series was given simply as A later parallel account, however, amends the dates for the first series to March ,  and the second series to June Ellen White certainly was not asking any reader to correct a message she had received from the Lord!
It is therefore incorrect to give that impression, as some critics have done. Perhaps one more example of the "earthen vessel" imperfections in the "packaging" of the prophetic message will suffice to show that Ellen White like the Bible writers before her was thoroughly human, and subject to simple mistakes the Holy Spirit never bothered to correct although He easily could have :.
Ellen White conducted a continuing correspondence with a colporteur named Walter Harper for more than a score of years. In one letter she asked to borrow one thousand dollars, offering him four to five percent interest over the period of the loan  while banks at that time were offering only three to four percent--more evidence against the "exploitation" charge. On November 9, , Mrs. White wrote Brother Harper in a state of great agitation. Her embarrassment and discomfiture are all too evident; they drip from nearly every line on the page!
Butler and which apparently was already well known generally in the field. It was not uncommon for these kinds of quasi-public letters to be circulated freely among church members at large at that time. After the letter had been dispatched, Mrs. White discovered to her consternation that she had sent the wrong letter! In writing to Colporteur Harper she first reminds him that what she sent him was "my special personal property," and then she asks for its immediate return, instructing him not to make the matter public, and if it has already been seen by other eyes such individuals should be instructed in the importance of confidentiality.
She concludes by instructing Brother Harper not even to make a personal copy of the letter before he returns it, telling him that she has, now, the letter she originally intended to send him. Although obviously embarrassed by the mistake, she does not hesitate to speak of "what I have done in mistake," admitting as she always did when asked directly that she was human, and subject to the frailties of human nature. Inspiration's "more-sureness" did not extend as the "strait-jacket" theory would erroneously suggest to precluding the prophet's making of minor errors. Only when such errors would materially affect a the direction of God's church, b the eternal destiny of one soul, or c the purity of a doctrine, would the Holy Spirit step in to correct the situation immediately through the prophet, so that there would be no permanent damage.
On occasion the prophets, ancient and modern, did make major mistakes that needed the immediate correction of the Holy Spirit. Probably the most prominent example in Scripture is the incident recorded in both 2 Samuel 7 and 1 Chronicles One day King David called in Nathan, a literary but noncanonical prophet, to tell him of his concern over the lack of a suitable building to house the ark of the covenant and other liturgical furniture of the Jewish ceremonial ritual, which dated back to Sinai and the Mosaic tabernacle tent.
In what was probably an expansive mood, David suggests that an appropriate building be constructed, especially since the king himself now lives in a luxurious palace. Perhaps he indicated that this building, worthy of the worship of Jehovah, be on such a scale of magnificence that any Gentile traveling within a hundred miles of Jerusalem would detour just to see this wonder of the ancient world.
Nathan, perhaps thinking of the tremendous cost of such an edifice, and possibly having some misgivings about the prospect that he might be asked to lead out in a fund-raising campaign, displayed some reticence. And quite possibly David, sensing that reticence, suggested further that he, the king, would pay the entire cost out of his royal treasury.
At any rate, Nathan now becomes as enthusiastic as the monarch; and gives his wholehearted approval of the project. That night, when Nathan was back in his home, God came to him and told him, in effect, that he had not properly represented Jehovah's will when he gave the prophet's cachet to the king's proposal. Nathan should have checked with "headquarters" first before endorsing the project.
Nathan was instructed to go back to the king the next day and tell the monarch that God appreciated the generosity which prompted such a magnificent plan, but that it was not God's will for the temple to be built by David. Instead, it would be Solomon's temple, for David had been a man of war, a man of bloodshed. David could draw the blueprints and specifications, he could hire the contractors and artisans, and he could even provide the money to pay for it.
But it would be Solomon's temple, not David's. Nathan, probably somewhat abashed, manfully returned to the king the next day to tell him of the heavenly amendments to the royal plan. And David, "a man after his [God's] own heart," concurred and said, "so be it. In more modern times, God's most recent prophet of record, Ellen White, had several experiences in which she took positions contrary to the will of God, and the situation was sufficiently serious for God to intervene to correct the matter, again working through the prophet to accomplish that end.
One such incident was the resolution of the question of the correct time to begin observance of the Sabbath. Some Seventh-day Adventists followed the example of the Seventh Day Baptists in this sunset-to-sunset observance. Three other positions were also taken by Seventh-day Adventists: 1 Some in Maine advocated a sunrise Saturday to sunrise Sunday observance, based upon a misunderstanding of Matthew "In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week". Captain Joseph Bates was the leader of this group, and he had strong support from both James and Ellen White for his position.
The sunrise group was taken care of comparatively early, for in vision on one occasion Ellen White heard the angel quote from Leviticus , "From even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath. In the summer of James White requested John Nevins Andrews, one of our earliest scholars, to research the subject. His conclusions were presented to the General Conference session in Battle Creek in November of that year.
On the basis of nine Old Testament texts and two New Testament texts, Andrews demonstrated that, for the purpose of the immediate discussion, "even" and "evening" were synonymous with sunset. Nearly all attending the conference accepted the Andrews conclusion. But the redoubtable Captain Bates held fast to his equatorial time theory. And Ellen White who first learned of the Sabbath from Bates sided with her mentor.
The conference was thus left divided and in confusion. God moved quickly. As this General Conference session drew toward its close, those present united in a season of earnest prayer for the prosperity of the cause, and during this prayer meeting Ellen White was taken off in vision and shown that sunset was the correct time to begin the observance of the Sabbath. Nearly everyone accepted the light from heaven, and the spiritual gift of prophecy again produced its fruit of unity. It was clear to everyone at the conference that God was speaking and leading, for Ellen White was not now merely repeating her personal, previously held views.
And the function of the Spirit of prophecy in the life and work of the church again was illustrated in this experience. For the gift of prophecy was never given to initiate, but rather to confirm and corroborate whether the church members were headed in the right direction on the basis of their Bible study, or to correct and redirect, if they had gone as far as they could and were headed in the wrong direction.
Another incident in which Ellen White had to reverse an earlier position had to do with the proposed closing of Southern Publishing Association in Ellen White returned from nine years' service in Australia in and located in the Napa Valley at an estate called "Elmshaven" near St. Helena, California. In she left early to attend the General Conference session, which would open April 2 at Battle Creek, traveling by way of Nashville, Tennessee, where her son Edson had begun a new private publishing enterprise.
She spoke of Edson's limited operation, and urged the brethren to take it over since a larger building was necessary for the kind of program she envisioned. This counsel to establish and equip a large publishing house was one of the first perplexities to confront Arthur G. Daniells, newly elected president of the General Conference.