This excerpt concerns Ellen White’s vision at Oswego, New York, in June 1855. We’ve placed her comments in an interview format.—Editors.
Tell us, Ellen, your first impressions of the vision.
I saw that we should not put off the coming of the Lord. Said the angel: “Prepare, prepare, for what is coming upon the earth. Let your works correspond with your faith.”
I saw that the mind must be stayed upon God, and that our influence should tell for God and His truth. We cannot honor the Lord when we are careless and indifferent. We cannot glorify Him when we are desponding. We must be in earnest to secure our own soul’s salvation, and to save others. . . .
Perhaps you could describe some of the things you saw.
I saw the beauty of heaven. I heard the angels sing their rapturous songs, ascribing praise, honor, and glory to Jesus. I could then realize something of the wondrous love of the Son of God. He left all the glory, all the honor which He had in heaven, and was so interested for our salvation that He patiently and meekly bore every indignity and slight which [humanity] could heap upon Him.
He was wounded, smitten, and bruised; He was stretched on Calvary’s cross and suffered the most agonizing death to save us from death, that we might be washed in His blood and be raised up to live with Him in the mansions He is preparing for us, to enjoy the light and glory of heaven, to hear the angels sing, and to sing with them.
I saw that all heaven is interested in our salvation; and shall we be indifferent? Shall we be careless, as though it were a small matter whether we are saved or lost? Shall we slight the sacrifice that has been made for us? Some have done this. They have trifled with offered mercy, and the frown of God is upon them.
So what do we risk if we fail to take advantage of God’s offer?
God’s Spirit will not always be grieved. It will depart if grieved a little longer. After all has been done that God could do to save [humanity], if they show by their lives that they slight Jesus’ offered mercy, death will be their portion, and it will be dearly purchased.
Those who are willing to make any sacrifice for eternal life will have it.
It will be a dreadful death; for they will have to feel the agony that Christ felt upon the cross to purchase for them the redemption which they have refused. And they will then realize what they have lost—eternal life and the immortal inheritance. The great sacrifice that has been made to save souls shows us their worth. . . .
Tell us more about how we should prepare.
I have seen an angel standing with scales in his hands weighing the thoughts and interest of the people of God, especially the young. In one scale were the thoughts and interest tending heavenward; in the other were the thoughts and interest tending to earth. And in this scale were thrown all the reading of storybooks, thoughts of dress and show, vanity, pride, etc. . . .
The scale filled with thoughts of earth, vanity, and pride quickly went down. . . . The one with the thoughts and interest tending to heaven went quickly up as the other went down, and oh, how light it was!
I can relate this as I saw it; but never can I give the solemn and vivid impression stamped upon my mind, as I saw the angel with the scales weighing the thoughts and interest of the people of God. Said the angel: “Can such enter heaven? No, no, never. Tell them the hope they now possess is vain, and unless they speedily repent, and obtain salvation, they must perish.”
A form of godliness will not save any. All must have a deep and living experience. This alone will save them in the time of trouble. . . .
The young, as well as those who are older, will be required to give a reason for their hope. But the mind, designed by God for better things, formed to serve Him perfectly, has dwelt upon foolish things, instead of eternal interests. . . . Those who give up the mind to be diverted with foolish stories and idle tales have the imagination fed, but the brilliancy of God’s Word is eclipsed to them. The mind is led directly from God. The interest in His precious Word is destroyed.
A book has been given us to guide our feet through the perils of this dark world to heaven.
That’s interesting: what’s the significance of this book?
It tells us how we can escape the wrath of God, and also tells of the sufferings of Christ for us, the great sacrifice that has been made that we might be saved and enjoy the presence of God forever. . . .
The Word of God tells us how we may become perfect Christians and escape the seven last plagues. But [those whose minds were diverted by foolish stories and idle tales] took no interest to find this out. Other things diverted the mind, idols were cherished by them, and God’s Holy Word was neglected and slighted. God has been trifled with by professed Christians, and when His Holy Word shall judge them in the last day, they will be found wanting. That Word which they have neglected for foolish storybooks tries their lives.
That is the standard; their motives, words, works, and the manner in which they use their time are all compared with the written Word of God; and if they come short then, their cases are decided forever. . . .
What one character trait would you say is indispensable to our salvation?
None will enter heaven without making a sacrifice. A spirit of self-denial and sacrifice should be cherished. . . .
Those who are willing to make any sacrifice for eternal life will have it; and it will be worth suffering for, worth crucifying self for, and sacrificing every idol for. The far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory swallows up everything and eclipses every earthly pleasure.
This excerpt was taken from Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 1, pp. 123-126. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.