Spirit of intolerance

     Quotations from the writings of Ellen G. White with the phrase . . .

                S p i r i t    o f    i n t o l e r a n c e        (  2  RELATED  PHRASES )                     

                          The  phrase  'spirit of intolerance'  appears  16  times in the published writings of EGW               See page on Original site                                 Related Phrase:     encourage the spirit of intolerance (below)  - -  religious intolerance  ( 9 )

It was the desire for liberty of conscience that inspired the Pilgrims to brave the perils of the long journey across the sea, to endure the hardships and dangers of the wilderness, and with God's blessing to lay, on the shores of America, the foundation of a mighty nation. Yet honest and God-fearing as they were, the Pilgrims did not yet comprehend the great principle of religious liberty. The freedom which they sacrificed so much to secure for themselves, they were not equally ready to grant to others. "Very few, even of the foremost thinkers and moralists of the seventeenth century, had any just conception of that grand principle, the outgrowth of the New Testament, which acknowledges God as the sole judge of human faith."-- Ibid., vol. 5, p. 297. The doctrine that God has committed to the church the right to control the conscience, and to define and punish heresy, is one of the most deeply rooted of papal errors. While the Reformers rejected the creed of Rome, they were not entirely free from her spirit of intolerance. The dense darkness in which, through the long ages of her rule, popery had enveloped all Christendom, had not even yet been wholly dissipated. Said one of the leading ministers in the colony of Massachusetts Bay: "It was toleration that made the world antichristian; and the church never took harm by the punishment of heretics."-- Ibid., vol. 5, p. 335. The regulation was adopted by the colonists that only church members should have a voice in the civil government. A kind of state church was formed, all the people being required to contribute to the support of the clergy, and the magistrates being authorized to suppress heresy. Thus the secular power was in the hands of the church. It was not long before these measures led to the inevitable result -- persecution.  Great Controversy, page 292.3   Read entire Chapter 16

 

 
The lamblike horns and dragon voice of the symbol point to a striking contradiction between the professions and the practice of the nation thus represented. The “speaking” of the nation is the action of its legislative and judicial authorities. By such action it will give the lie to those liberal and peaceful principles which it has put forth as the foundation of its policy. The prediction that it will speak “as a dragon” and exercise “all the power of the first beast” plainly foretells a development of the spirit of intolerance and persecution that was manifested by the nations represented by the dragon and the leopardlike beast. And the statement that the beast with two horns “causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast” indicates that the authority of this nation is to be exercised in enforcing some observance which shall be an act of homage to the papacy.   Great Controversy, page 442.1   Read entire chapter 25

 

In 1844, when anything came to our attention that we did not understand, we kneeled down and asked God to help us take the right position; and then we were able to come to a right understanding and see eye to eye. There was no dissension, no enmity, no evil-surmising, no misjudging of our brethren. If we but knew the evil of the spirit of intolerancehow carefully would we shun it!—Gospel Workers, 301, 302 (1915). { CW 43.2} 
 
The course of the Presbyterian synod in condemning Eld. Morton without granting him a hearing, is an evidence of the spirit of intolerance which still exists, even among those claiming to be Protestant reformers. The infinite God, whose throne is in the heavens, condescends to address his people, “Come now, and let us reason together;” [Isaiah 1:18.] but frail, erring men proudly refuse to reason with their brethren. They stand ready to censure one who accepts any light which they have not received—as though God had pledged himself to give no more light to any one than he had given to them. This is the course pursued by opposers of the truth in every age. They forget the declaration of the Scriptures, “Light is sown for the righteous.” [Psalm 97:11.] “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” [Proverbs 4:18.]  It is a sad thing when a people claiming to be reformers cease to reform. { 4SP 185.2 } 

 

When a doctrine is presented that does not meet our minds, we should go to the word of God, flee to the Lord in prayer, and give no place to the enemy to come in with suspicion and prejudice. We should never permit that spirit to be manifested that arraigned the priests and rulers against the Redeemer of the world. They complained that he disturbed the people, and they wished he would let them alone; for he caused perplexity and dissension. The Lord sends light among us to prove of what manner of spirit we are. We are not to deceive ourselves. In 1844 when anything came to our attention that we did not understand, we kneeled down, and asked God to help us to take the right position, and then we could come to a right understanding and see eye to eye. There was no dissension, no enmity, no evil-surmising, no misjudging of our brethren. If we only understood the evil of this spirit of intolerance, how we would shun it! We join ourselves to the enemy of God and man when we accuse our brethren, for Satan was an accuser of the brethren. We bear false witness when we add a little to our brother’s words, and give them a false coloring; and in the sight of God we are not doers, but transgressors of the law. We are not on the Lord’s side; we are on the side of him who hurts, destroys, and tears down the cause of truth. We should pray for one another, instead of drawing apart. { RH August 27, 1889, par. 6 }
 
Those who cherish error have ever manifested a spirit of intolerance toward the obedient children of God. They are actuated by the spirit that led Cain to slay his brother. “And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.” Abel, the first martyr, was not old and feeble, but a youth, full of life and vigor; but he lay down his life for the truth of God. And all the way down through the ages there have been some who have lost their lives because of their adherence to religious principles. { ST December 23, 1886, par. 11 }

 

But when the State forms laws directly opposed to the laws of Jehovah, and thus strives to compel men to obey them, it is following the example set by the king of Babylon. When it takes the guardianship of the religious interests of the nation, a spirit of intolerance is manifested if men seek to practise the truth, which, by earnest study, they have found in God’s Word. Those who are actuated by such a spirit of oppression can not understand what religious liberty means. { ST May 13, 1897, par. 6 }
 
In Sweden, as in other countries, the most bitter opposition to the reformation was from the clergy. As the reformers gained the ascendency, and Protestantism became the State religion, they grew intolerant and oppressive. The priests of Sweden possess great influence, though their authority is limited. In every town there is a church council, which has power to forbid all preaching that is considered dangerous to the State Church, or that will cause division in it. Of this council the priest is a member; but while he may desire to enforce the law, he can do nothing if the other members of the council are opposed. The law is now very unpopular, and is not often enforced. There is a strong public sentiment in favor of freedom of speech and conscience, but as we have seen, the Lutheran clergy are jealous of any influence which shall weaken their hold upon the people, and the spirit of intolerance and persecution is not extinct. { HS 203.1 } 
 
The desire for liberty of conscience inspired the Pilgrims to cross the sea, endure the hardships of the wilderness, and lay the foundation of a mighty nation. Yet the Pilgrims did not yet comprehend the principle of religious liberty. The freedom which they sacrificed so much to secure for themselves, they were not ready to grant to others. The doctrine that God has committed to the church the right to control the conscience and to define and punish heresy is one of the most deeply rooted of papal errors. The Reformers were not entirely free from Rome’s spirit of intolerance. The dense darkness in which popery had enveloped Christendom had not yet been wholly dissipated. { HF 183.1 } 

 

                                                        encourage  the  spirit  of  intolerance                                                                
 
If the board should be able to bring Brethren H and J to their terms, would not these writers feel that they had been dealt with unjustly? Would not a door of temptation be opened before them, which would interfere with sympathy and harmony of action? Should the managers grasp all the profits, it would not be well for the cause, but would produce a train of evils, disastrous to the Publishing Association. It would encourage the spirit of intolerance which is already manifest to some degree in their councils. Satan longs to have a narrow, conceited spirit, which God cannot approve, take possession of the men who are connected with the sacred message of truth. { 5T 566.2} 

 

 
If the board should be able to bring Brethren H and J to their terms, would not these writers feel that they had been dealt with unjustly? Would not a door of temptation be opened before them, which would interfere with sympathy and harmony of action? Should the managers grasp all the profits, it would not be well for the cause, but would produce a train of evils, disastrous to the Publishing Association. It would encourage the spirit of intolerance which is already manifest to some degree in their councils. Satan longs to have a narrow, conceited spirit, which God can not approve, take possession of the men who are connected with the sacred message of truth. { PH102 8.2 } 

 

If the Board should succeed in bringing the workers to their terms, would the writers feel that they had been dealt with justly, would it not rather open a door of temptation to them, and break up sympathy and harmonious action between the brethren? If they should carry out this plan to grasp all the profits for the Publishing Association, it would be worse than they can imagine. A train of evils would grow out of such an arrangement that would be disastrous to the Association. And it would encourage a spirit of intolerance, a narrow conceited spirit, which God cannot approve but which Satan enjoys, and longs to have take possession of those who are connected with God’s sacred work. The Bible precepts must be carried out in every day life. They will be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path. The greatest of all deceptions is for a man to think that he can find a better guide through difficulties than is found in the word of God. It is the worst kind of policy to leave the Lord out of your councils and put your confidence in the wisdom of men. In your positions of trust you are, in a special sense, to be the light of the world, and in order that you may be clean channels of light you should feel an intense desire to place yourselves in connection with the God of light, of wisdom and knowledge. Important interests that relate to the prosperity and advancement of present truth are to be considered; and how can you be competent to arrive at right decisions, to give wise counsels, and to make proper plans unless you are connected with the source of all wisdom and righteousness? Your councils have been regarded in altogether too cheap a light, and common talk, and comments upon others’ doings have found a place in these important meetings. You should bear in mind that the all seeing eye of Jehovah is a witness in all your councils; he measures everyone of your decisions, and compares them with his holy law, the great moral standard of righteousness. Those holding the positions of counselors should be unselfish men, men of faith, men of prayer, men that will not dare to rely upon their own human wisdom, but will seek earnestly for light and intelligence as to what is the best manner of conducting their business. Joshua, the commander of Israel, searched the books diligently in which Moses had faithfully chronicled the directions given by God; his requirements, reproofs, and restrictions, lest he should move unadvisedly. Joshua was afraid to trust his own impulses, or his own wisdom. He regarded everything that came from Christ, who was enshrouded with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, as of sufficient importance to be sacredly cherished. He meditated day and night upon the words which had been spoken to Moses, the servant of God. Joshua desired to know and to do, God’s will, and he was commanded by God to study and meditate upon all the directions which had been given: “For then, shalt thou make thy way prosperous, and thou shalt have success.” The secret of Joshua’s victories was that, even amid his accumulated cares and responsibilities, he dared not trust to his own finite wisdom, but made God his counselor and guide. { PC 376.1 } 

 

 
 

 

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