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

An Analysis of the Literary Dependency
of The Desire of Ages, Chapter 40

      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 one chapter of The Desire of Ages for which examples of alleged plagiarism are given. This particular one is from Walter Rea found online at http://www.ellenwhite.org/egw89.htm. In this case, Rea simply claims that Ellen G. White was "paraphrasing" pages 343-360 of Daniel March's Night Scenes in the Bible when she wrote this chapter. But, since the evidence was not actually presented the claim could not be evaluated.

      Since Rea failed to present the evidence to support his claim it is now presented here. What we want to do here is to determine whether the critics did a fair analysis, or whether their comparisons actually distorted the real situation. Accordingly, we have color-coded the text so that you, the reader, can easily come to your own conclusion.

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.

Material in Ellen G. White that is an exact match to Biblical material.

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

March, Night Scenes in the Bible.
(Zeigler, McCurdy & Co., 1868)
Desire of Ages. (1898)
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A Night Storm on the Sea

      The Sea of Galilee is sacred in the annals and memories of Christian faith and affection for all time. The devout student of the Gospel history from distant lands counts it a memorable moment in his life when, with throbbing heart and tearful eyes, he first looks down from the neighboring hills upon its glassy waves and silent shore. “Here,” he thinks, faster than words can utter his thoughts-“here was the earthly home and the heavenly work of the incarnate Son of God. Along this shining beach he walked in the light of the early morning. These lowly sands bore the impress of his feet, and these high banks echoed to the sound of his voice. The shadows of evening closed around him as he taught the multitude upon this once busy and populous shore. His sacred form was imaged in these bright waters. He was many times borne across from shore to shore in the fisherman’s bark. The hot and quivering air comes up from this deep cleft between the hills now as it did when he toiled all day in the fierce heat and gave himself no rest from his work of instruction and mercy.

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The wild winds that come down from these high banks heard his voice and were still. He walked upon the crystal face of this sea as if it had been solid ground beneath his feet. Yonder, on the desolate plain, was the little city which enjoyed the exalted privilege of being called his own. In its narrow streets he healed multitudes of the sick. In the white synagogue which the centurion built he spoke on the Sabbath day. In the mansion of the rich he raised the dead. Among the huts and homes of fishermen he made his abode. Up these steep hill-sides he climbed to seek the solitude of the mountain for midnight prayer. On one of these heights overlooking the lake he opened his ministry with an address which is destined to carry the words of blessing to every language of the earth and to every age of the world’s history. On yonder grassy slope, upon the other side, he fed five thousand men with miraculous food. From thence he departed alone into the desolate mountains beyond, to escape the importunity of the excited multitude, who would take him by force to make him their king. On the shore of this lake he appeared again to his disciples after he had passed through the awful mystery of death.”

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A Night on the Lake

[This chapter is based on Matt. 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-52; John 6:14-21.]

      Seated upon the grassy plain, in the twilight of the spring evening, the people ate of the food that Christ had provided. The words they had heard that day had come to them as the voice of God. The works of healing they had witnessed were such as only divine power could perform. But the miracle of the loaves appealed to everyone in that vast multitude. All were sharers in its benefit. In the days of Moses, God had fed Israel with manna in the desert; and who was this that had fed them that day but He whom Moses had foretold? No human power could create from five barley loaves and two small fishes food sufficient to feed thousands of hungry people. And they said one to another, "This is of a truth that Prophet that should come into the world." [John 6:14b]

      Thus the sacred memories of the Son of God throng upon the mind of the Christian traveler when, for the first time, he looks down upon the Sea of Galilee. The cities that lined the shore and the boats that darted across the sea when Jesus walked on the beach are gone. The pensive pilgrim who reads the Gospel story

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amid the ruins of Capernaum may lift his eye from the page and take in the whole compass of sea and shore, and not discover a single human being in sight, unless it be a wandering Arab stealing along under the high banks so cautiously that his appearance increases the aspect of loneliness that marks the whole scene. Silence and desolation reign where once Jesus had only to lift up his voice and thousands would gather to hear. The basin of clear, bright water is girt with bare, steep walls of limestone, two thousand feet high, and the whole surrounding landscape is indescribably drear and melancholy. The doom which Jesus pronounced upon Chorazin and Bethsaida and Capernaum, because they repented not, seems to rest upon the naked hills and silent shore. And the awful desolation that now rests upon the doomed cities of Gennesaret and the whole scene around the Sea of Galilee is a sign and shadow of the deeper and darker desolation that must come upon the soul when once the love of Christ has been utterly grieved away and his offered salvation rejected.

      All day the conviction has strengthened. That crowning act is assurance that the long-looked-for Deliverer is among them. The hopes of the people rise higher and higher. This is He who will make Judea an earthly paradise, a land flowing with milk and honey. He can satisfy every desire. He can break the power of the hated Romans. He can deliver Judah and Jerusalem. He can heal the soldiers who are wounded in battle. He can supply whole armies with food. He can conquer the nations, and give to Israel the long-sought dominion.

      With all the changes that have taken place in two thousand years, there is one aspect of this sacred sea which brings back our Saviour’s days with vivid and awful reality. It is a night storm, such as the disciples encountered when their ship was tossed with the waves. The word used by the Evangelist, in describing the agitation of the little bark, literally means “tormented,” and it refers to the writhings and convulsions

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of prisoners when subjected to the torment of the rack or the bastinado. And the Sea of Galilee is wrought into such convulsions by the peculiar manner in which the sudden and violent stroke of the wind comes down upon its waves.

Hanna, page 280

      And now he is alone. Alone he goes up into a mountain--alone he prays there. The darkness deepens; the tempest rises; midnight comes with its gusts and gloom. There--somewhere on that mountain, sheltered or exposed--there, for five or six hours, till the fourth watch of the night, till after dawn--Jesus holds his secret and close fellowship with Heaven. Into the privacies of those secluded hours of his devotion we presume not to intrude. But if, as we shall presently see was actually the case, this threatened outbreak of a blinded popular impulse in his favor--the attempt thus made, and for the moment thwarted, to take him by force and make him a king--created a marked crisis in the history of our Lord's dealings with the multitudes, as well as of their disposition and conduct towards him--this night of lonely prayer is to be put alongside of the other instances in which, upon important emergencies, our Saviour had recourse to privacy and prayer, teaching us, by his great example, where our refuge and our strength in all like circumstances are to be found.

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      In their enthusiasm the people are ready at once to crown Him king. They see that He makes no effort to attract attention or secure honor to Himself. In this He is essentially different from the priests and rulers, and they fear that He will never urge His claim to David's throne. Consulting together, they agree to take him by force, and proclaim Him the king of Israel. The disciples unite with the multitude in declaring the throne of David the rightful inheritance of their Master. It is the modesty of Christ, they say, that causes Him to refuse such honor. Let the people exalt their Deliverer. Let the arrogant priests and rulers be forced to honor Him who comes clothed with the authority of God.

March, page 346

      The lofty mountain wall on the northeastern side of the lake is tunneled down to the water’s edge by deep, narrow ravines. These wild gorges have been formed by the winter rains falling on the distant highlands, gathering into torrents and rushing down to the sea with a fury that sweeps everything before it but the solid rock. In midsummer, the air in the deep basin of the lake becomes heated like the air of an oven, and rises rapidly into the upper regions, while the heavy, cold air flows down through the deep channels in the surrounding walls to fill the vacancy. Sometimes, when the sun has set, the icy winds from the snowy heights of Hermon and the lofty tablelands of Bashan come howling down the narrow gorges, and shoot out upon the lake with such violence as to lash and torture its whole surface into writhing and convulsive waves. And these terrible storm-winds often come down suddenly as the avalanche when there is not a cloud in the sky.

      Such must have been the case on that memorable night when the disciples wearied themselves with rowing and were not able to reach the shore. The day must have been fair and peaceful in the balmy Syrian spring when Jesus taught the great multitude in the

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open air on the smooth grassy headland that pushes out into the northeast corner of the lake. The evening must have been as calm when he blessed the barley loaves and fed the five thousand seated in ranks by hundreds and by fifties on the green sward. And all was still calm on the sea and in the air when he constrained his disciples to enter the ship and start for the other side, leaving him to dismiss the excited people alone.
Hanna, page 280; this paragraph began on page 279, we have skipped over 33 lines of text
He calls the twelve to him, and directs them to embark immediately, to go alone and leave him there, to row back to Capernaum, where, in the course of the night or the next morning he might join them. A strange and unwelcome proposal--for why should they be parted, and where was their Master to go, or what was he to do, in the long hours of that lowering night that was coming down in darkness and storm upon tile hills and lake? They remonstrate; but with a peremptoriness and decision, the very rarity of which gave it all the greater power, he overrules their remonstrances, and constrains them to get into the boat and leave him behind. Turning to the multitude, whose plot about taking and making him a king, taken up by his twelve chief followers, this transaction had interrupted, he dismisses them in such a way, with such words of power, that they at once disperse.

      They eagerly arrange to carry out their purpose; but Jesus sees what is on foot, and understands, as they cannot, what would be the result of such a movement. Even now the priests and rulers are hunting His life. They accuse Him of drawing the people away from them. Violence and insurrection would follow an effort to place Him on the throne, and the work of the spiritual kingdom would be hindered. Without delay the movement must be checked. Calling His disciples, Jesus bids them take the boat and return at once to Capernaum, leaving Him to dismiss the people.

      Never before had a command from Christ seemed so impossible of fulfillment. The disciples had long hoped for a popular movement to place Jesus on the throne; they could not endure the thought that all this enthusiasm should come to nothing. The multitudes that were assembling to keep the Passover were anxious to see the new prophet. To His followers this seemed the golden opportunity to establish their beloved Master on the throne of Israel. In the glow of this new ambition it was hard for them to go away by themselves, and leave Jesus alone upon that desolate shore. They protested against the arrangement; but Jesus now spoke with an authority He had never before assumed toward them. They knew that further opposition on their part would be useless, and in silence they turned toward the sea.

      Jesus now commands the multitude to disperse; and His manner is so decisive that they dare not disobey. The words of praise and exaltation die on their lips. In the very act of advancing to seize Him their steps are stayed, and the glad, eager look fades from their countenances. In that throng are men of strong mind and firm determination; but the kingly bearing of Jesus, and His few quiet words of command, quell the tumult, and frustrate their designs. They recognize

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in Him a power above all earthly authority, and without a question they submit.

      When left alone, Jesus "went up into a mountain apart to pray." [Matthew 14:23b] For hours He continued pleading with God. Not for Himself but for men were those prayers. He prayed for power to reveal to men the divine character of His mission, that Satan might not blind their understanding and pervert their judgment. The Saviour knew that His days of personal ministry on earth were nearly ended, and that few would receive Him as their Redeemer. In travail and conflict of soul He prayed for His disciples. They were to be grievously tried. Their long-cherished hopes, based on a popular delusion, were to be disappointed in a most painful and humiliating manner. In the place of His exaltation to the throne of David they were to witness His crucifixion. This was to be indeed His true coronation. But they did not discern this, and in consequence strong temptations would come to them, which it would be difficult for them to recognize as temptations. Without the Holy Spirit to enlighten the mind and enlarge the comprehension the faith of the disciples would fail. It was painful to Jesus that their conceptions of His kingdom were, to so great a degree, limited to worldly aggrandizement and honor. For them the burden was heavy upon His heart, and He poured out His supplications with bitter agony and tears.

      The disciples had not put off immediately from the land, as Jesus directed them. They waited for a time, hoping that He would come to

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them. But as they saw that darkness was fast gathering, they "entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum." [John 6:17a] They had left Jesus with dissatisfied hearts, more impatient with Him than ever before since acknowledging Him as their Lord. They murmured because they had not been permitted to proclaim Him king. They blamed themselves for yielding so readily to His command. They reasoned that if they had been more persistent they might have accomplished their purpose.

      Unbelief was taking possession of their minds and hearts. Love of honor had blinded them. They knew that Jesus was hated by the Pharisees, and they were eager to see Him exalted as they thought He should be. To be united with a teacher who could work mighty miracles, and yet to be reviled as deceivers, was a trial they could ill endure. Were they always to be accounted followers of a false prophet? Would Christ never assert His authority as king? Why did not He who possessed such power reveal Himself in His true character, and make their way less painful? Why had He not saved John the Baptist from a violent death? Thus the disciples reasoned until they brought upon themselves great spiritual darkness. They questioned, Could Jesus be an impostor, as the Pharisees asserted?

      The disciples had that day witnessed the wonderful works of Christ. It had seemed that heaven had come down to the earth. The memory of that precious, glorious day should have filled them with faith and hope. Had they, out of the abundance of their hearts, been conversing together in regard to these things, they would not have entered into temptation. But their disappointment had absorbed their thoughts. The words of Christ, "Gather up the fragments, . . . that nothing be lost," were unheeded. [John 6:12b] Those were hours of large blessing to the disciples, but they had forgotten it all. They were in the midst of troubled waters. Their thoughts were stormy and unreasonable, and the Lord gave them something else to afflict their souls and occupy their minds. God often does this when men create burdens and troubles for themselves. The disciples had no need to make trouble. Already danger was fast approaching.

      But no sooner were they out a little from the shore than the wild wind came down through the mountain gorges with sudden and resistless fury, and swept them far away from their course toward the southern extremity of the lake. They were strong men, accustomed to the oar and not easily frightened by the waves. And so all night long, for full nine hours, they pulled with tireless sinews against the wind, toiling hard to recover their course and reach the point where they hoped to take their Master on board. But all in vain. The wind was too strong for them. The waves beat upon the boat as the blows of the bastinado fall upon the writhing and tortured victim in the prison-house. The strength of the rowers was exhausted, while the merciless storm was still at its height and the sea was raging under the lash of the winds.

      A violent tempest had been stealing upon them, and they were unprepared for it. It was a sudden contrast, for the day had been perfect; and when the gale struck them, they were afraid. They forgot their disaffection, their unbelief, their impatience. Everyone worked to keep the boat from sinking. It was but a short distance by sea from Bethsaida to the point where they expected to meet Jesus, and in ordinary weather the journey required but a few hours; but now they were driven farther

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and farther from the point they sought. Until the fourth watch of the night [Matthew 14:25] they toiled at the oars. Then the weary men gave themselves up for lost. In storm and darkness the sea had taught them their own helplessness, and they longed for the presence of their Master.

      Just then Jesus was seen coming to their relief, walking upon the waves. His watchful eye had seen them through the darkness from the distant shore, and

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he was ready to appear the moment when they needed him most. They were laboring hard to obey his command and reach the point where they hoped to receive him on board. And the Master does not assign a hard service to his disciples and then leave them to struggle unsupported and alone. At the every time when they think themselves utterly deserted and in darkness, they are watched by the eye of infinite compassion, as the mother watches the first attempts of the child to walk, withdrawing the supporting hand, yet always near enough to arrest a fall.

      Jesus had not forgotten them. The Watcher on the shore saw those fear-stricken men battling with the tempest. Not for a moment did He lose sight of His disciples. With deepest solicitude His eyes followed the storm-tossed boat with its precious burden; for these men were to be the light of the world. As a mother in tender love watches her child, so the compassionate Master watched His disciples. When their hearts were subdued, their unholy ambition quelled, and in humility they prayed for help, it was given them.

      At first the disciples were afraid when they saw Jesus walking on the waves. They thought it some bodiless messenger from the spirit-world-some awful shadow from eternity appearing to warn them that they would soon be with the departed. Nothing fills the strong heart of manhood with such indefinable and overmastering fear as anything which is taken to be a voice or form or living messenger from the state of the dead. Men who deny that there is an conscious existence beyond the grave tremble and turn pale when any sudden event brings them face to face with what they claim is nothingness, but which they fear is a dread and awful reality.

      At the moment when they believe themselves lost, a gleam of light reveals a mysterious figure approaching them upon the water. But they know not that it is Jesus. The One who has come for their help they count as an enemy. Terror overpowers them. The hands that have grasped the oars with muscles like iron let go their hold. The boat rocks at the will of the waves; all eyes are riveted on this vision of a man walking upon the white-capped billows of the foaming sea.

      When the disciples heard the voice of their beloved Master saying, “It is I, be not afraid,” their fear was changed to confidence, and the foremost of their number was ready to step over the side of the ship and go to Jesus walking on the water. And the wonder is,

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not that his faith failed him and he began to sink, but that he dared go at all upon such a sea in such a storm. The hand of Jesus was near and strong to save. With a gentle rebuke for his doubt, he rescued the bold and impulsive disciple from sinking. The two came on board, and immediately the wind ceased and the ship was at the land wither they went.

      They think it a phantom that omens their destruction, and they cry out for fear. Jesus advances as if He would pass them; but they recognize Him, and cry out, entreating His help. Their beloved Master turns, His voice silences their fear, "Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid." [Matthew 14:27; Mark 6:50]

      As soon as they could credit the wondrous fact, Peter was almost beside himself with joy. As if he could scarcely yet believe, he cried out, "Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water. And He said, Come." [Matthew 14:28-9a]

      The human heart is a great deep, troubled and tormented by the strong wind of passion, and finding no rest until Jesus walks upon the stormy waves with his blessed feet and brings a great calm to the weary soul. The great sea of human life is ever agitated with fear and conflict and change until Jesus comes with the message of peace. The whole history of the world, from age to age, has been a history of trouble and battle and storm, and the groaning earth will never have rest until the nations receive the Divine Messenger of peace.

      Jesus always comes to the sorrowing world and the weary heart with the blessing of peace. And yet somehow the unhappy world is afraid that he comes to take away its joy, and the weary heart is troubled and terrified at his approach. When we speak of Jesus to worldy and wicked men, dark thoughts of death and eternity come over them, and they look as if they feared some avenging angel had come to call their sins to rememberance and to torment them before the time. A man will sooner be persuaded to accept every article of the most profound and difficult theology than to

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believe that Jesus comes to him in the dark night of spiritual depression to take the burden from his heart and make him a contented and happy man. To him the offered sympathy of Christ is something to be suffered and submitted to, rather than eagerly sought and enjoyed.

      When I say to the sorrowing, the disheartened and disappointed, “Jesus is longing to come to you and take all your griefs upon himself and give you rest,” I see a shade of deeper sadness stealing over them. They are sorely troubled with their worldly cares and disappointments. But they seem still more troubled when told that a Divine Comforter, with infinite strength and sympathy, is ready to come to their relief. I go to the house of mourning, I stand up in the solemn presence of the dead, and I try to speak words of comfort to afflicted and bleeding hearts. I tell them that Jesus comes in the storm that has beaten upon their household. They have only to look and they will see his radiant form in the night of sorrow. They have only to listen and they will hear his voice saying, “It is I, be not afraid.” And yet, when I so speak of Jesus to the mourning and the afflicted, they often seem afraid to believe me. They see no light in the cloud which surrounds them. They hear no voice calling to them in accents of love. Jesus comes to them in the night and in the storm, and they are afraid.

      Under the dark cloud that comes over the mind in some forms of insanity the unhappy sufferer is sometimes most afraid of his best friends. He is most anxious to flee from those who have done most for his relief, and whose hearts are breaking with grief for the

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affliction that is upon him. And such is the strange and sad mistake of those who are afraid to receive Jesus to their hearts when he comes to make them happy. They may toil like the galley slave all their life long, rowing hard against the wind, and all the while they may be driven farther and farther from the rest, the repose of soul which they are seeking. They have only to receive Christ’s offered peace, and all the elements of change and trouble will become ministries of good to their souls, and every wind will waft them toward the haven of rest. Christ is the Lord of all the tempests that shake the world, as well as of the fiercer storms that rage in the human soul. He walks abroad in the bright sunshine of youth and prosperity, as well as in the dark night of affliction and sorrow. Wherever wanderers are astray, he is near to take on himself their burden. Wherever the young and thoughtless are in danger of mistaking the whole aim and purpose of their existence, he is near to offer the crown of life. He comes in the voice of his word. He comes in the lessons of providence. He comes in the strivings of his Spirit. He comes early and often, and continues to come when many times rejected. He comes only to bring the blessing of peace to hearts that will never find rest without him.

      And shall any be afraid of such a Friend? No not of him, but there is something of which even a brave

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man should be afraid. He should be afraid to sail upon the treacherous and stormy sea of life without Christ to calm the waves, to hush the winds and to bring him safe to the land of rest. He should be afraid to rush into the thick of the world’s cares and pleasures and temptations without Christ in his heart to keep him in the hour of danger, and to show him the safe path through all the changes and perils with which he is surrounded. He should be afraid to give himself up to the vanities and ambitions and frivolities of the world, with the expectation that when he has become weary of such a life, Christ will come and drive them all out of his heart and make him better and happier Christian, just because he has tried the world and found it wanting. He should be afraid to live in constant exposure to death, and yet without any settled and satisfactory preparation to enter upon the untried state of being beyond the grave.

      It is the strangest and saddest thing in the world that men should be afraid of such a friend as Jesus has proved himself to be in the blessed experience of all who have received him to their hearts--Afraid to be known as the followers of him who wore the crown of thorns for their sake, and who now wears the crown of heaven--Afraid of him who bore our sorrows in the bitter agony of the garden and the cross, and suffered unutterable things in conflict with darkness and death, that he might give us the inheritance of eternal life--Afraid to have their names written with

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the holy and the blessed of all ages of whom the world was not worthy, and who now stand before the throne of heaven with the palms of victory in their hands. They receive pride and envy and doubt and complaint and frivolity; they receive avarice and ambition and hate and selfishness to their hearts, and they are troubled all their life long with such unhappy and contentious guests within. But when the meek and gentle, the holy and pitying Jesus comes and asks to be received by them, they are afraid of him, they reject him. And they keep doing this, although it is impossible to find a single individual on the face of the earth who will say, “I have received Jesus to my heart and he has made me unhappy.”

      When the disciples saw Jesus walking upon the waves, they thought they saw a spirit, an unreal and ghostly shadow, appearing to terrify rather than to comfort and deliver them. And yet he was the most true and real man that ever walked the earth. Men are still prone to think Jesus something unreal, spectral, ghostly. They think that the religion which bears his name is something hard to be weighed and measured like substantial things; they think it depresses or excites or bewilders people, and makes them act unlike themselves. And yet Christ is the highest realization of truth. In him the troubled, longing, weary soul finds the only reality which satisfies its great want. He is more real, true, and satisfying to the earnest, thinking, aspiring mind than wealth or

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learning or pleasure or power. His grand purpose in all his instructions is to make us true men-not angels, not beings destitute of any of the passions, appetites, affections that are essential to our humanity: he would make us true men. He stands before us in his human nature, complete, perfect, wanting nothing. And he would make us like himself, true in every purpose, feeling and thought-true in our whole heart and soul and being. This it is to be a Christian; this it is to be a follower of Christ, this it is to receive Christ to the heart. It is to be a true man. It is to have our whole human nature purified, ennobled, consecrated by the truth. Christian faith, Christian duty, Christian character are at mortal and everlasting enmity with all pretence, falsehood, unreality. The man who has the most of the life of Christ in his soul in the most true, genuine and complete man on the face of the earth. If any man hears Christ always and follows him perfectly, he is just what he seems to be, just what he pretends to be, just what he ought to be. To be a Christian it is only necessary to be a true man-to love, believe and obey the truth. Whatever it is which keeps one from being a Christian, it is something false; something as unreal as the spectre which the terrified disciples thought they saw walking on the sea; something that has no right to control the mind; something that perverts the judgment; misleads the heart and makes the whole plan and purpose of life a mistake. It is only when hearing the voice of

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Christ and follows him that man finds himself in his true place, all the feelings and faculties of his mind rightly and happily employed, all his dearest hopes resting upon everlasting foundations. All appropriate preaching of the gospel of Christ is an attempt to call men off from the pursuit of shadows and falsities, and engage them in work worthy of their immortal powers and their endless responsibilities. Conversion is turning back from a false way and beginning a life of obedience to the deepest sense of right, to the most solemn convictions of truth and duty in the soul. And however much men may fear and hesitate to begin a true, earnest life of obedience to Christ, nobody is ever afraid that he shall die a Christian. Nobody is afraid that death will find him too much absorbed in the service of Christ. No man can think of a more desirable close of life for himself than that he may be found faithful to his convictions, true to his own deepest sense of obligation.

      When Peter stepped over the side of the ship to go to Jesus upon the water, he walked well enough while he kept his eye upon his Divine Master. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, and he looked at the wild waves and he thought of the peril, then he began to sink. And if he had not had faith enough left to cry, “Lord, save me!” he would have sunk to rise no more.

note the similarity in thought with Hanna
Hanna, page 282

     He gets the permission--he makes the attempt--is at first successful. So long as--he keeps his eye on Jesus--so long as that faith which prompted the proposal, that sense of dependence in which the first step out of the boat and down upon the deep was taken, remain unshaken--all goes well. But he has scarce moved off from the boat when he looks away from Christ, and out over the tempestuous sea The wind is not more boisterous--the waves are not higher or rougher than they were the moment before--but he was not thinking of them then. He was looking at-he was thinking of--he was hanging upon--his Master then. Now he looks at--thinks only of-wind and wave. His faith begins to fail-fearing, he begins to sink--sinking, he fixes his eye afresh and most earnestly on Jesus. The eye, affecting the heart, rekindling faith in the very bosom of despair, he cries out, "Lord, save me." It was the cry of weakness, of wild alarm, yet it had in it one grain of gold. It was a cry to Jesus as to the only one that now could help; some true faith mingling now with all the fear.

      Looking unto Jesus, Peter walks securely; but as in self-satisfaction he glances back toward his companions in the boat, his eyes are turned from the Saviour. The wind is boisterous. The waves roll high, and come directly between him and the Master; and he is afraid. For a moment Christ is hidden from his view, and his faith gives way. He begins to sink. But while the billows talk with death, Peter lifts his eyes from the angry waters, and fixing them upon Jesus, cries, "Lord, save me." Immediately Jesus grasps the outstretched hand, saying, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" [Matthew 14:30-1]

      I speak of Jesus to the young, the thoughtless and

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the gay. I tell them that a life of worldliness is only a voyage upon a restless and treacherous sea, exposed to the tempests of passion and temptation, and ending in the wreck of the soul. Jesus only can give the peace, the joy, the hopefor which they long. In saying so, I am warranted by the experience of millions who have found in one blessed moment of penitence and faith in Christ more joy than in years of devotion to the world. And yet the young and ardent and hopeful are afraid to receive Jesus to their hearts. They are afraid he will make them unhappy--afraid they will lose the dearest joys of life if he is to be with them always. When they become old and sorrow-stricken and disappointed, and are no longer able to enjoy the world, then they think they will be glad to have Jesus come to them. When they are tossed upon the sea of trouble, when the storm of affliction beats upon their heads, when the night of death is round them, then they think they will be glad to hear the voice of Jesus say unto them, "Be not afraid." But now, so young, so full of life, with so much in the world to enjoy, they cannot think of receiving Jesus to their hearts. It only makes them sad to think that he is near.

      Walking side by side, Peter's hand in that of his Master, they stepped into the boat together. But Peter was now subdued and silent. He had no reason to boast over his fellows, for through unbelief and self-exaltation

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he had very nearly lost his life. When he turned his eyes from Jesus, his footing was lost, and he sank amid the waves.

      Many try to walk on the treacherous waves of a worldly life at the bidding of the “prince of the power

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of the air.” They step forth cautiously at first, not meaning to go far if there should be danger. But they give themselves gradually more and more to pleasure and to pride and to mirth, or to money-getting and care and ambition, or to appetite and self-indulgence. They go farther and farther from the old safeguards of prayer and watchfulness, the Bible and the Sabbath and the sanctuary, Christian company and Christian influence. And all the while they are sinking deeper and deeper in the treacherous waves of a sea that they are tarrying to walk upon. They are becoming more worldy, more forgetful of eternal truth, more absorbed in things that can never satisfy the soul. By and by they begin to be alarmed. Trouble and fear come upon them, for they find they are sinking into an abyss which has no bottom. They are exposing themselves to a storm that no mortal can face. They are in danger of being overtaken by a night that is the blackness of darkness. Yet even then, if they will only cry as Peter did, “Lord, save me!” they will find the hand of Jesus near and strong. He will lift them out of the stormy sea and set their feet on the solid shore.

      When trouble comes upon us, how often we are like Peter! We look upon the waves, instead of keeping our eyes fixed upon the Saviour. Our footsteps slide, and the proud waters go over our souls. Jesus did not bid Peter come to Him that he should perish; He does not call us to follow Him, and then forsake us. "Fear not," He says; "for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour." Isa. 43:1-3.

      But, alas! too many will not look to Jesus in the hour of their greatest peril and sorrow. They look to the world for comfort, and they keep sinking deeper and deeper in trouble. They look to the world for pleasure, and they grow more unhappy. They look to the world for light, and they are all the while be-

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coming involved in deeper darkness. They look to the world for hope, and they are answered with the groan of despair.

      Jesus read the character of His disciples. He knew how sorely their faith was to be tried. In this incident on the sea He desired to reveal to Peter his own weakness,--to show that his safety was in constant dependence upon divine power. Amid the storms of temptation he could walk safely only as in utter self-distrust he should rely upon the Saviour. It was on the point where he thought himself strong that Peter was weak; and not until he discerned his weakness could he realize his need of dependence upon Christ. Had he learned the lesson that Jesus sought to teach him in that experience on the sea, he would not have failed when the great test came upon him.

      On a bitter cold night in mid-winter I was called from my bed to go ten miles away over a bleak and drifted road, and see a young man who was sinking in the deep waters of death. He was but twenty years of age. He had been a Sabbath-school scholar. He had been attendant upon the sanctuary. He knew all about the way of salvation. But he had broken away from all these hallowed influences of earlier years--he had yielded to the enticements of evil companions, and now he was dying without hope. The messenger who came for me in haste was one of those who had helped him on in the way of darkness, but he could not lead him back to the light. I bade the dying youth look to Jesus, but his wild and wandering eye could see no Saviour in the darkness that was gathering around him. I besought him only to whisper the prayer, “Lord, save me!” I offered myself the petition which I desired to draw from his heart. His despairing look and heavy groan only answered, “Too late, too late!” He kept sinking, sinking till the billows of death passed over him, and no word or sign of hope came from his dying lips. And as I went back to my home in the cold starlight of that winter morning, it seemed to me as if the icy north wind that swept the frozen earth and swayed the naked branches of the trees by the road-side, took up the refrain of

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those sad and despairing words, “Too late, too late!” And I thought how many there are who have great need to offer every day the prayer once offered by the sinking disciple in the storm, “Lord, save me from sinking in this sea of worldliness and temptation with which I am surrounded; save me from disowning Christ and denying the rock of my salvation; save me from giving up my heart, my life, my soul to the unsatisfying and perishable things of earth; save me from living a stranger to peace and pardon, and from sinking at last in the deep waters of death, without a hope that shall be as an anchor to the soul.”

      Day by day God instructs His children. By the circumstances of the daily life He is preparing them to act their part upon that wider stage to which His providence has appointed them. It is the issue of the daily test that determines their victory or defeat in life's great crisis.

      Again, in the same city, on a summer's afternoon, I was called to visit a dying man. I walked hastily down by the river's side, where his humble dwelling stood in the midst of the noisy workshops, and surrounded with all the sounds and activities of busy life. I entered his lowly room and approached his bedside with awe as well as compass, for I felt myself to be in the company of heavenly messengers, who were waiting to conduct an emancipated soul from the bed of death to the throne of glory. I felt that I must speak fit words for a redeemed and immortal spirit to rememder as the last accents of human lips in this world. And I spoke of Him who is the light of heaven and the hope of earth. The man was dying in great agony, but he could still signify, by the pressure of his hand and the glance of his eye, that in Christ was all his hope, and that beneath him was the everlasting arm.

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He had lost the power of speech, but he wrote upon a slate with a wavering hand words that he wished to have read. I looked earnestly at the irregular lines, but could see no meaning. One word in the middle of the sentence was larger than the rest, and he pointed to that as if it contained the meaning of the whole. Still I could not spell it out. With dying energy he seized the pencil once more and slowly printed, "VICTORY." It was his last effort and it was enough. I could now read the whole sentence: "Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." And as I went from that bedside to my home, it seemed to me as if the roar of the waterfall in the river, and all the sounds of busy life around me took up the word and echoed--victory. And for many a year, in the dark hours of spiritual conflict and discouraging toil, my waning faith has kindled into new life and my fainting heart has acquired new strength at the remeberance of that word written with dying hand in the chamber of death--victory.

      Those who fail to realize their constant dependence upon God will be overcome by temptation. We may now suppose that our feet stand secure, and that we shall never be moved. We may say with confidence, "I know in whom I have believed; nothing can shake my faith in God and in His word." But Satan is planning to take advantage of our hereditary and cultivated traits of character, and to blind our eyes to our own necessities and defects. Only through realizing our own weakness and looking steadfastly unto Jesus can we walk securely.

      No sooner had Jesus taken His place in the boat than the wind ceased, "and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went." The night of horror was succeeded by the light of dawn. The disciples, and others who also were on board, bowed at the feet of Jesus with thankful hearts, saying, "Of a truth Thou art the Son of God!" [Matthew 14:33]

Longest Phrase Index
(only three words or more are included)

      to take him by force, page 378; I found this phrase
      , leaving Him to dismiss the, page 378
      the point where they, page 380
      The wind is boisterous, page 381
      He begins to sink, page 381


      Daniel March has 22 paragraphs in his chapter while Ellen G. White has 21 paragraphs in her chapter. Of those, only six paragraphs can be thought of as being "parallel"--interestingly, these occur when March decides to return to the Biblical text.

      Given the far greater amount of dissimilarity in thought and the very little similarity of thought it is highly unlikely that Ellen G. White paraphrased any of the above material from Daniel March in the writing of this chapter. The little verbal similarity that we can find can be an artifact of what they called in those days "unconscious plagiarism" but which we now call "cyrptomnesia".

© David J. Conklin (December 12, 2005 - February 2, 2006)