We analyze. You decide!
"No lie can live forever." Thomas Carlyle

An Analysis of the Literary Dependency
of The Desire of Ages, Chapter 20

      Some critics have accused Ellen White of plagiarizing the contents of The Desire of Ages from the writings of various authors. But, did she really? Below is an analysis of the alleged comparisons.

      One problem with those who are "victims" of parallelomania is that they confuse the mere presence of a few words in both texts as being evidence of plagiarism. They completely overlook the context and meaning of the words that are similar, an even more importantly, the far greater number of words that are dissimilar.

      It has been noted by students of plagiarism that one can make a work look plagiarized when it is not by carefully using ellipses and discarding all the material that is different. What we want to do is determine whether the critics did a fair analysis, or whether their comparisons actually distorted reality. Accordingly, we have coded the text so that you, the reader, can easily come to your own conclusion.  Paragraphs that are not coded means that neither the critics, nor Dr. Veltman and his team of researchers, could not, or did not, find anything worthy of note.

Color Key

Material in Ellen G. White that is an exact, word-for-word match to her alleged source.

Material in Ellen G. White that is similar to her alleged source.

Words that are either an exact, or similar, match of the source, but are also an exact, or similar, match to Biblical material.

Material that is represented in either Rea's book or Dr. Veltman's study by an ellipsis.

Material dropped from the beginning or end of the paragraph of the alleged source in Rea's book.

Material clipped from the beginning or end of a sentence in Rea's book, without giving the reader any indication of such. (Either a capital letter or a period appears where it should not, hiding the fact that material is missing.)

Material that was mis-capitalized or mis-abbreviated in Rea.

      Typical author's caveat: all errors are, of course, mine. If you find any errors please let me know and I'll fix them.

W. Hanna The Life of Christ. (1863) Ellen G. White The Desire of Ages. (1898)
Hanna, page 151

      Cana lies farther north than Nazareth. The road to the one would lead close to, if not through the other. On this occasion Jesus appears to have passed by Nazareth. Perhaps it was to avoid such a reception as he knew to be awaiting him there, or it may have been simply because Mary and the family had shifted. their residence, and were now living near their relatives at Cana. The rumor of the first miracle which he had wrought there some months before may have spread widely in the neighborhood. It was done, however, so quietly, and in such a hidden manner, that one can well conceive of different versions of it going abroad. It was different with those reports which the Galileans who had been up at the last Passover brought back from Jerusalem. Our Lord's miracles there, whatever they were, were done openly; many had believed because of them. The Galileans who were at the feast had seen them all, and on their return home had filled the country with the noise of them, all the more gratified, perhaps, that he who had drawn all eyes upon him at Jerusalem was one of themselves. And now it is told abroad that he has come back from Judea and is at Cana.

      The tidings reach the ear of a nobleman in Capernaum, a Jew of high birth connected with the court of Herod Antipas, at the very time that a grievous malady is on his son, and has brought him to the very brink of death. lie had not heard, perhaps, that Jesus had restored the dying to health; so far as we know, the healing of his son may have been the first miracle of that kind which Jesus wrought but he has heard of his turning the water into wine, he has heard of the wonders wrought at Jerusalem. He by whom such miracles had been done should be able to rebuke disease. It is at least worth trying whether he will or can. The distance to Cana is but a short one, some twenty miles or so. He will send no servant, he will go himself, and make the trial. He went, saw Jesus, told him his errand, and besought him that he would come down and heal his son. Why was it that before Jesus made any reply, or gave any indication of his purpose, he said, as the fruit of some deep inward thought which the application had suggested, "Except ye see signs and wonders ye will not believe?" It was because he saw all that was in that man, all the motives by which he had been prompted to this visit; the strong affection for his son, which Jesus will not rebuke; his willingness to be at any pains on his behalf, to seek help from any quarter; his partial faith in Christ's power to help--for without some faith of this description, he would not have come at all; yet the absence of all deeper faith springing from a sense of spiritual disease, which should have brought the man to Jesus for himself as well as for his son, and which should have taught him to look to Jesus as the healer of the soul. It was because he saw in this nobleman a specimen of his countrymen at large, and in his application a type and prelude of the multitude of like applications afterwards to be made to him.

Hanna, page 155

      How far above all that he had ever asked! His child was dying when the father left Capernaum, was still nearer death when he arrived at Cana; had Jesus done what the father wanted, and gone down with him to Capernaum, his son might have been dead ere they got there. The word of power is spoken, and just as the disease is clasping its victim in a last embrace, it has to relax its grasp, take wings and fly away. The father has gone unselfishly, affectionately, on an errand of love, seeking simply his child's life, not asking or caring to get anything himself from Christ. But now in this Jesus he recognizes a higher and greater than a mere healer of the body: spiritual life is breathed into his own soul. Nor is this all; he returns to Capernaum to tell all the wonders of the cure; tells them to the healed child, who also believes--and strange would be the meeting afterwards between that child and Jesus--he tells them to the other members of his family, and each in turn believes. He himself believed, and with him all his house--the first whole household brought into the Christian fold.

Hanna, page 154

      The manner and the substance of the declaration told alike at once upon the nobleman. It satisfied him that the end of his visit was gained. He believed the word of Jesus, that the death he dreaded was not to come upon his son, that the child he loved so tenderly was to be spared to him. How exactly this had been brought about he did not as yet know. Whether the cure had been instantaneous and complete, or whether the crisis of it had passed, and the recovery had begun; whether it had been by his possession of a superhuman knowledge, or by his exercise of a superhuman power, that Jesus had been able to announce to him the fact, "Thy son liveth," he neither stayed, nor did he venture to ask any explanation. It was enough for him to be assured of the fact, and there was something in the manner in which that "Go thy way" had been spoken, which

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forbade delay. He meets his servants by the way, bearers of glad tidings. With them he can use all freedom. He asks all about the cure, and learns that it had not been slowly but instantaneously that the fever had gone, and at the time at which it had done so was the very time at which these words of Jesus, "Thy son liveth," had been spoken at Cana. He had gone out to that village but half a believer in Christ's power in any way to help, limiting that power so much in his conception that it had never once occurred to him that Jesus could do anything for him unless he saw the child. But now he feels that he has been standing in the presence of One, the extent of whose power he had as much underrated as the depth and the tenderness of his love. Awe, conviction, gratitude, fill his soul. A double sign and wonder has been done in Israel. A child has been cured of a fever at Capernaum by one standing miles away at Cana, and a father has been cured of his unbelief--the same kind of power that banished the disease from the body of the one, banishing distrust from the heart of the other.
Page 196

"Except Ye See Signs and Wonders"

[This chapter is based on John 4:43-54.]

      The Galileans who returned from the Passover brought back the report of the wonderful works of Jesus. The judgment passed upon His acts by the dignitaries at Jerusalem opened His way in Galilee. Many of the people lamented the abuse of the temple and the greed and arrogance of the priests. They hoped that this Man, who had put the rulers to flight, might be the looked-for Deliverer. Now tidings had come that seemed to confirm their brightest anticipations. It was reported that the prophet had declared Himself to be the Messiah.

      But the people of Nazareth did not believe on Him. For this reason, Jesus did not visit Nazareth on His way to Cana. The Saviour declared to His disciples that a prophet has no honor in his own country. Men estimate character by that which they themselves are capable of appreciating. The narrow and worldly-minded judged of Christ by His humble birth, His lowly garb, and daily toil. They could not appreciate the purity of that spirit upon which was no stain of sin.

      The news of Christ's return to Cana soon spread throughout Galilee, bringing hope to the suffering and distressed. In Capernaum the tidings attracted the attention of a Jewish nobleman who was an officer in the

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king's service. A son of the officer was suffering from what seemed to be an incurable disease. Physicians had given him up to die; but when the father heard of Jesus, he determined to seek help from Him. The child was very low, and, it was feared, might not live till his return; yet the nobleman felt that he must present the case in person. He hoped that a father's prayers might awaken the sympathy of the Great Physician.

      On reaching Cana he found a throng surrounding Jesus. With an anxious heart he pressed through to the Saviour's presence. His faith faltered when he saw only a plainly dressed man, dusty and worn with travel. He doubted that this Person could do what he had come to ask of Him; yet he secured an interview with Jesus, told his errand, and besought the Saviour to accompany him to his home. But already his

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sorrow was known to Jesus. Before the officer had left his home, the Saviour had beheld his affliction.

      But He knew also that the father had, in his own mind, made conditions concerning his belief in Jesus. Unless his petition should be granted, he would not receive Him as the Messiah. While the officer waited in an agony of suspense, Jesus said, "Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe."

      Notwithstanding all the evidence that Jesus was the Christ, the petitioner had determined to make his belief in Him conditional on the granting of his own request. The Saviour contrasted this questioning unbelief with the simple faith of the Samaritans, who asked for no miracle or sign. His word, the ever-present evidence of His divinity, had a convincing power that reached their hearts. Christ was pained that His own people, to whom the Sacred Oracles had been committed, should fail to hear the voice of God speaking to them in His Son.

      Yet the nobleman had a degree of faith; for he had come to ask what seemed to him the most precious of all blessings. Jesus had a greater gift to bestow. He desired, not only to heal the child, but to make the officer and his household sharers in the blessings of salvation, and to kindle a light in Capernaum, which was so soon to be the field of His own labors. But the nobleman must realize his need before he would desire the grace of Christ. This courtier represented many of his nation. They were interested in Jesus from selfish motives. They hoped to receive some special benefit through His power, and they staked their faith on the granting of this temporal favor; but they were ignorant as to their spiritual disease, and saw not their need of divine grace.

      Like a flash of light, the Saviour's words to the nobleman laid bare his heart. He saw that his motives in seeking Jesus were selfish. His vacillating faith appeared to him in its true character. In deep distress he realized that his doubt might cost the life of his son. He knew that he was in the presence of One who could read the thoughts, and to whom all things were possible. In an agony of supplication he cried, "Sir, come down ere my child die." His faith took hold upon Christ as did Jacob, when, wrestling with the Angel, he cried, "I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me." Gen. 32:26.

      Like Jacob he prevailed. The Saviour cannot withdraw from the soul that clings to Him, pleading its great need. "Go thy way," He said; "thy son liveth." The nobleman left the Saviour's presence with a peace

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and joy he had never known before. Not only did he believe that his son would be restored, but with strong confidence he trusted in Christ as the Redeemer.

      At the same hour the watchers beside the dying child in the home at Capernaum beheld a sudden and mysterious change. The shadow of death was lifted from the sufferer's face. The flush of fever gave place to the soft glow of returning health. The dim eyes brightened with intelligence, and strength returned to the feeble, emaciated frame. No signs of his malady lingered about the child. His burning flesh had become soft and moist, and he sank into a quiet sleep. The fever had left him in the very heat of the day. The family were amazed, and great was the rejoicing.

      Cana was not so far from Capernaum but that the officer might have reached his home on the evening after his interview with Jesus; but he did not hasten on the homeward journey. It was not until the next morning that he reached Capernaum. What a homecoming was that! When he went to find Jesus, his heart was heavy with sorrow. The sunshine seemed cruel to him, the songs of the birds a mockery. How different his feelings now! All nature wears a new aspect. He sees with new eyes. As he journeys in the quiet of the early morning, all nature seems to be praising God with him. While he is still some distance from his own dwelling, servants come out to meet him, anxious to relieve the suspense they are sure he must feel. He shows no surprise at the news they bring, but with a depth of interest they cannot know he asks at what hour the child began to mend. They answer, "Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him." At the very moment when the father's faith grasped the assurance, "Thy son liveth," divine love touched the dying child.

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      The father hurries on to greet his son. He clasps him to his heart as one restored from the dead, and thanks God again and again for this wonderful restoration.

      The nobleman longed to know more of Christ. As he afterward heard His teaching, he and all his household became disciples. Their affliction was sanctified to the conversion of the entire family. Tidings of the miracle spread; and in Capernaum, where so many of His mighty works were performed, the way was prepared for Christ's personal ministry.

      He who blessed the nobleman at Capernaum is just as desirous of blessing us. But like the afflicted father, we are often led to seek Jesus by the desire for some earthly good; and upon the granting of our request we rest our confidence in His love. The Saviour longs to give us a greater blessing than we ask; and He delays the answer to our request that He may show us the evil of our own hearts, and our deep need of His grace. He desires us to renounce the selfishness that leads us to seek Him. Confessing our helplessness and bitter need, we are to trust ourselves wholly to His love.

      The nobleman wanted to see the fulfillment of his prayer before he should believe; but he had to accept the word of Jesus that his request was heard and the blessing granted. This lesson we also have to learn. Not because we see or feel that God hears us are we to believe. We are to trust in His promises. When we come to Him in faith, every petition enters the heart of God. When we have asked for His blessing, we should believe that we receive it, and thank Him that we have received it. Then we are to go about our duties, assured that the blessing will be realized when we need it most. When we have learned to do this, we shall know that our prayers are answered. God will do for us "exceeding abundantly," "according to the riches of His glory," and "the working of His mighty power." Eph. 3:20, 16; 1:19.

Longest Phrases Index

(no phrase of less than three words are included here; I have found all these phrases)

      The Galileans who, page 196
      Passover brought back, page 196
      when the father, page 197
      his errand, and besought, page 197
      in the presence of One, page 198
      the word of Jesus, page 200

© David J. Conklin (January 22, 2006)

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