Great Controversy Notes


by Walter Rea

It has been generally thought by those that have studied this chapter that Ellen White got most of her material for it from Wylie, but such is not the case. Again, as in the entire book, she is indebted to J. W. Andrews and his book The History of the Sabbath, as well as his articles on the same in the early Reviews. This chapter study will show how his work, Wylie, March and others were used to make up the total picture of what was supposed to be. When Dr. Kellogg complained about the material from Wylie appearing under her name, it is doubtful that he knew the full story.

Spirit of Prophecy - Vol. 4; Pp 66-67

Great Controversy - Pp. 61-78

History of the Sabbath - 1861 Edition, Also 1912, Pg. 295, Later Edition 524-570

Amid the gloom that settled upon the earth during the long period of papal supremacy, the light of truth could not be wholly extinguished.

With the accession of the Roman bishop to supremacy began the Dark Ages; and as he increased in strength, the gloom of darkness settled with increasing intensity upon the world.

The history of God's faithful people for hundreds of years after Rome attained to power, is known alone to Heaven. They cannot be traced in human records, except as hints of their existence are found in the censures and accusations of their persecutors.

The difficulty of tracing the true people of God through this period is well set forth in the following language of Benedict--

"As scarcely any fragment of their history remains, all we know of them is from accounts of their enemies, which were always uttered in a style of censure and complaint..."

It was the policy of Rome to obliterate every trace of dissent from her doctrines or decrees. Everything heretical, whether persons or writings, was destroyed. A single expression of doubt, a question as to the authority of papal dogmas was enough to cost the life of rich or poor, high or low.

It was the settled policy of Rome to obliterate every vestige of opposition to her doctrines and decrees; everything heretical, whether persons or writings, by which the faithful would be liable to be contaminated and led astray.

…Rome endeavored also to destroy every record of her cruelty toward dissenters. Papal councils decreed that books and writings containing such records should be committed to the flames. Before the invention of printing, books were few in number, and in a form not favourable for preservation; therefore, there was little to prevent the Romanists from carrying out their purpose.

…To conformity to this their fixed determination all books and records of their opposers were hunted up and committed to the flames. Before the art of printing was discovered in the fifteenth century, all books were made with the pen; the copies of course, were so few that their concealment was much more difficult than it would be now and if a few of them escaped the vigilance of the inquisitors, they would soon be worn out and gone.

Spirit of Prophecy - Vol. 4; Pg 67

History of the Sabbath - 1912, Pp. 530-32, 1861

In Great Britain a primitive Christianity had very early taken root. Faithful men had preached the gospel in that country with great zeal and success. Among the leading evangelists was an observer of the Bible Sabbath, and thus this truth found its way among the people for whom he labored. Toward the close of the sixth century, missionaries were sent from Rome to England.

The gospel must have been proclaimed in England as early as the second century…The Christians of Great Britain, before…A.D. 596 were not in subjection to the bishop of Rome. They were in an eminent degree Bible Christians.

G.C. - Pg. 62

History of the Sabbath - 1912, Pp. 530-32, 1861

From Ireland came the pious Columba…island of Iona…to Scotland…to Ireland…A school was established at Iona, from which missionaries went out, not only to Scotland and England, but to Germany, Switzerland and even Italy.

In Ireland…to Scotland and to the Continent…its missionaries. One of the earliest companies sent out was that of Columba…on the small island of…Iona…Iona has become one of the most venerable and interesting spots in the history of Christian missions…British missionaries carried the light of the gospel to the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Germany, yes, even into Italy.

G. C. - Pp. 63-64

History of the Sabbath - 1912, Pp. 530-32, 1861

Churches that held to this faith and practice existed in Central Africa and among the Armenians of Asia.

At an early date, Syria, Egypt, Ethiopia and Asia Minor were covered with churches…Christian power in Africa…The same is affirmed of the Armenians.

Among all nations great mountains would readily be taken as fit representative of the immutable righteousness of the infinite God. He has set fast the mountains, girding them with power, so that no arm less than almighty can remove them out of their place. They rise up before us, in awful and unchanging majesty, to tell us, with the roar of a thousand torrents and the voice of many thunders, that God changes not, and there is no variableness nor shadow of turning in his immutable word. (Pg. 82)

Conceive the power sufficient to uproot that adamantine barrier from its deep foundation and hurl it into the midst of the ocean. Such an act of power would be easier to perform than to defeat or change the word of promise by which God engages to fulfill the desire of them that fear him in all generations. (Pg. 82)

And it is to the shelter of this great power that the weak and the unworthy are invited to flee for protection. In this respect also the great mountains are fit representatives of the great righteousness of God. (Pg. 90)

In all time the hills and the high places of earth have been the refuge of the persecuted and the sanctuary of the oppressed. For a thousand years the unconquered Waldenses defied the armies of kings and emperors with their songs of thanksgiving to the Maker of the mountains amid the solitudes of the Alps. They sang upon their rocky heights in sight of their enemies, and all the legions of Rome had not the power to silence their hymns of lofty cheer. (Pg. 90)

Our Fathers House or the Unwritten Word, Rev. Daniel March. 1971

I was shown the Waldenses, and what they suffered for their religion. They conscientiously studied the word of God, and lived up to the light which shone upon them. They were persecuted, and driven from their homes, their possessions, gained by hard labor, were taken from them, and their houses burned. They fled to the mountains and there suffered incredible hardships…And yet the scattered and homeless ones would assemble to unite their voices in singing, and praising God that they were accounted worthy to suffer for Christ's name.

Ellen White, Vol. 1, Pg. 371

Behind the lofty bulwarks of the mountains--in all ages the refuge of the persecuted and oppressed-the Waldenses found a hiding place. Here the light of truth was kept burning amid the darkness of the Middle Ages. Here, for a thousand years, witnesses for the truth maintained the ancient faith.

…To those faithful exiles the mountains were an emblem of the immutable righteousness of Jehovah. They pointed their children to the heights towering above them in unchanging majesty, and spoke to them of Him with whom there is no variableness nor shadow of turning, whose word is as enduring as the everlasting hills. God had set fast the mountains and girded them with strength; no arm but that of Infinite Power could move them out of their place…The arm of man might reach his fellow men and destroy their lives; but that arm could as readily uproot the mountains from their foundations, and hurl them into the sea, as it could change one precept of the law of Jehovah, or blot out one of His promises to those who do His will.

…The mountains that girded their lowly valleys were a constant witness to God's creative power, and a never-failing assurance of His protecting care…They indulged no repining because of the hardships of their lot; they were never lonely amid the mountain solitudes. They thanked God that He had provided for them an asylum from the wrath and cruelty of men…From many a lofty cliff they chanted the praise of God, and the armies of Rome could not silence their songs of thanksgiving.

The Great Controversy - Pp. 65-66.

Spirit of Prophecy - Vol. 4

History of the Waldenses - J. A. Wylie

(75) Some of them were sent to complete their education in the great cities, where they could have a wider range for thought and observation than in their secluded homes.

(2) It was not uncommon for the Waldensian youth…to proceed to the seminaries in the great cities…There they saw other customs…and had a wider horizon around them than in the seclusion of the native valleys.

(76) It was a law among them that all who entered the ministry should, before taking charge of a church at home, serve three years in the missionary field…The missionaries began their labors in the plains and valleys at the foot of their own mountains, going forth two and two.

(20) It was an old law among them that all who took orders in their church should, before being eligible to a home charge, serve three years in the mission-field.

(76) To make known the nature of their mission would have insured its defeat, therefore they concealed their real character under the guise of some secular profession, most commonly that of merchants and peddlers. They offered for sale silks, jewelry, and other valuable articles, and were received as merchants where they would have been repulsed as missionaries.

(22) Their mission field was the realms that lay outspread at the foot of their own mountains. They went forth two and two, concealing their real character under the guise of a secular profession, most commonly that of merchants or peddlers. They carried silks, jewelry, and other articles…not easily purchasable…and they were welcomed as merchants where they would have been spurned as missionaries.

(76) They carried about with them portions of the Holy Scriptures concealed in their clothing or merchandise, and whenever they could do so with safety, they called the attention of the inmates of the dwelling to these manuscripts. When they saw that an interest was awakened, they left some portion with them as a gift.

(22) They took care to carry with them, concealed among their wares or about their persons, portions of the Word of God…and to this they would draw the attention of the inmates. When they saw a desire to possess it, they would freely make a gift of it.

(77) With naked feet and in coarse garments, these missionaries passed through great cities, and traversed provinces far removed from their native valleys…Veiled and silent, the word of God was making its way through Christendom.

(23) Their naked feet and coarse woolen garments made them somewhat marked figures in the streets of a city…Thus did the Bible in those ages, veiling its majesty and its mission, travel silently through Christendom.

(82) Again and again were their fertile lands laid waste, their dwellings and chapels swept away, so that were once were flourishing fields and the homes of an innocent industrious people, there remained only a desert…Many of the witnesses for a pure faith were pursued across the mountains, and hunted down in the valleys where they were hidden, shut in by mighty forests, and pinnacles of rock.

(26) Soon the fertility and the beauty of the region were swept away…and the plains…were converted into a desert…

It was resolved to pursue these confessors…across the mountains, and attack them in those grand valleys…where they lay intrenched, as it were, amid dense chestnut forests and mighty pinnacles of rock.

(83) When Rome at one time determined to exterminate the hatred sect, a bull was issued by the pope condemning them as heretics, and delivering them to slaughter. They were not accused as idlers, or dishonest, or disorderly; but it was declared that they had an appearance of piety and sanctity that seduced "the sheep of the true fold." Therefore the pope ordered, "that the malicious and abominable sect of malignants," if they refuse to abjure, "be crushed like venomous snakes."

(32) The first step of the Pope was to issue a bull denouncing as heretical those whom he delivered over to slaughter…It brings no charge against these men as lawless, idle, dishonest or disorderly; their fault was…they practiced a "simulated sanctity," which had the effect of seducing the sheep of the true fold, therefore, he ordered "that malicious and abominable sect of malignants," if they "refuse to abjure, to be crushed like venomous snakes."

(83) This bull invited all Catholics to take up the cross against the heretics. In order to stimulate them from all cruel work, it absolved them from all ecclesiastical pains and penalties, it released all who joined the crusade from any oaths they might have taken; it legalized their title to any property which they might have illegally acquired, and promised remission of all their sins to such as should kill any heretic.

(32) The bull invited all Catholics to take up the cross against the heretics; and to stimulate them in their pious work it "absolved from all ecclesiastical pains and penalties, general and particular; it released all who joined the crusade from any oaths they might have taken; it legitimatized their title to any property they might have illegally acquired; and promised remission of all their sins to such as should kill any heretic."

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