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1Among the materials once available but out of print at the time of Mrs. White’s death in 1915 were a number of special testimony pamphlets, including a series published in the 1890’s which bore the title, Special Testimonies to Ministers and Workers. This series of eleven is often referred to as Special Testimonies, Series A. In response to the request that the instruction found in these special testimonies be again made available, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers was published in 1923. This was one of the first E. G. White books of posthumous issuance.
Testimonies to Ministers First appeared in a Testimony-size volume. A second edition with larger typeface and page size was published in 1944. Several printings of both editions have supplied the field for four decades. For greater ease in handling and reference this third edition has been issued in the convenient Testimony-size page, but with no change in page content.
During the decade which followed the 1888 General Conference session held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, vital messages came from the messenger of the Lord to the central church at Battle Creek, to the General Conference Committee, and to other responsible men at the heart of the work. These messages rang with calls for regeneration and reformation of life, urging the reader to live by the vital principles of the word of God and to experience a personal relationship with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
After they had been received and read in Battle Creek, many of these messages were printed in tract form as Special Testimonies to the Battle Creek Church and Special Testimonies to Ministers and Workers. Copies were furnished by the general conference committee to leading ministers and workers throughout the field. These messages were heart-probing, soul-stirring, faithful in warning against evil, yet encouraging, as they continually pointed to the great love of God and the fullness of Christ’s power to save to the uttermost.
As to the selection of material for this volume, drawn as it was from the pamphlet testimonies, the publisher’s preface to the first edition issued in 1923 informs us that:
“The committee having it in charge have been limited by the size of the volume decided upon, and by the large number of these tracts of small circulation. Therefore not all that was contained in the eleven specials has been placed in this volume. The reasons are that (1) some portions have been reprinted in volumes issued since the specials were printed; (2) other portions pertained to matters that were purely local, or that are past and gone; (3) still other things are more fully and strongly covered in other documents reprinted in this volume.”
The source of each article, with date of first publication, is indicated in footnote references. Some “fillers” are credited at the close. In this third edition the lists of items “for further study” Have been somewhat expanded to include references to related material appearing in E. G. White compilations published subsequent to 1923.
Certain of the counsels and reproofs from the pen of Ellen G. White can be better understood if the reader is in possession of a knowledge of the circumstances which prevailed at the time of the messages were written. Certain details of denominational history which were familiar to the readers of the Testimony pamphlets and the first edition of this book are unknown to most readers of today.
A historical foreword, which follows immediately, has therefore been added to this third edition, to present those high points of denominational development which furnish the background leading up to the crucial 1890’s. The relevant historical events of that period have been concisely recounted. Appendix notes have also been supplied, keyed to the mention of certain places, situations, or events. These notes will aid the reader in ascertaining correctly the intent of the author in the messages here presented.
A survey of the materials comprising this volume will reveal that in the main the content of a given section was drawn from a single pamphlet. With these pamphlet materials there were placed a few related items drawn from the Review and Herald articles and other E. G. White sources of a general character. There are two articles from Special Testimonies, Series B.
General matter of lasting usefulness to the church, as first published in “Series B” articles, was Subsequently embodied in volumes 8 and 9 of Testimonies for the Church, and in Counsels on Health, Counsels on Stewardship, Medical Ministry, and Selected Messages. Two articles from the “Series B” Collection appear in this volume. They are: Jehovah Is Our King, 477-484 and Testimonies to the Church Regarding Individual Responsibility and Christian Unity, 485-505.
Working over a period of many years, Mrs. White often repeated certain lines of counsel. To reprint all that had appeared in the earlier pamphlets and writings would burden the reader with a repetition of subject matter and also with the details of local or personal matters not now of general significance. Concerning the material selected for this volume, the preface to the first edition stated:
“The Committee have earnestly and prayerfully sought to present in the one modest volume the best and strongest of the tract-printed matter, and believe that the portions omitted are more than covered by that which has been gathered from other tracts of limited circulation.”
Those responsible for this third edition of Testimonies to Ministers say with the Publishers in 1923 that this convenient volume is sent forth with the earnest prayer that it may be, to all to whom it may come, a source of instruction in the deep things of God; that it may revive the hopes and energies of God’s people; that it may help to bring reformation of life where needed, and in all of us the Christian graces that will reveal Christ to the world; and that it may bring us all nearer together by bringing us all closer to the heart of our blessed Lord.
The Board of Trustees of the Ellen G. White Estate.
May 10, 1962.