The Ellen G. White Letters and Manuscripts: Volume 1


Lt 2, 1858

[Circa March 1858],1 n.p. 1EGWLM 563.1

Letter to
Azmon Woodruff.2
1EGWLM 563.2

This letter is published in entirety in Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, pp. 258, 259.

Problems of “wrangling and strife” in churches of Oswego County, New York. 1EGWLM 563.3

Dear Brother Woodruff:

I have seen things on the very points you have mentioned in your letter3 and at the time I had the vision for those in New York.4 I saw a few individual cases. I saw especially the cases of Brother Chapel and wife [Levi R. and Eliza Chapel],5 Brother Treadwell [William Treadwell],6 Manley Ross [Manley T. Ross], also Truman Finch [Truman P. Finch], who were the active ones in this matter. They have erred in feeling as they have felt, and the influence I saw was deathly. 1EGWLM 563.4

When in Ohio7 I saw again the wretched state of things in New York. Satan was standing right in your midst, his evil angels exulting that through his temptations—exalting some and tempting others to be very strenuous, professing zeal for the truth and crowding your brethren, thrusting with side and with shoulder, bringing a reproach upon the truth, making yourself a stink to the places around you—you make the truth disgusting, make it an abhorrence. You are as a people accountable to God for the wretched influence cast against the truth. 1EGWLM 564.1

I saw that Brother Chapel and wife, Brother Treadwell and others with them, have not seen themselves. They must see their wrong course in being so exacting and watching their brethren to magnify their wrongs. Their own hearts must have a work; self must die with them, and they must possess more of a spirit to live and let live. I saw while at Green Springs, Ohio,8 that the evil angels had much to do with the brethren in Oswego County [New York]. I saw that the holy angels had one after another left you, grieved, displeased, and disgusted with your wrangling and strife.9 There is the vision I wrote after the meeting. I will copy it: 1EGWLM 564.2

“I saw that the cause of God had been cursed in Oswego County by wrangling and strife. Some will have to unlearn almost all they have been learning for years, for it has been strife, debate, and to smite with a fist of wickedness. I saw that some have placed themselves in a position to watch others, when God has not placed them on the watchtower at all. They have climbed up there themselves and must come down. Some have noticed little things in the house, in dress, the manners, and have reproved and ordered about this, that, and the other. It only hurts their influence and places the individual beyond the reach of their help. 1EGWLM 564.3

“It is the duty of preachers to talk the truth, but when they come down from the work to reprove for little things, to bend the individual to see as they see, to feel as they feel, they take upon them the work that belongs to the Spirit of God. I saw that all have something to learn, an experience to obtain for themselves, and if the servants of God stand ready to reprove for all these little things, they will try to please the servants of God and yet they have not learned by their own convictions that these things are wrong.10 Their experience depends upon the one that reproved them. They look to and depend upon him to have an experience for them. Their trust and dependence is taken from God. 1EGWLM 565.1

“That is why they are so weak in New York. They fear the servants of God and one another. Their experience grows out of this fear and they do not form a religious character for themselves. They do not have an individual, independent experience. They learn to look to man instead of to God and are bent this way and that way, but are not steadfast, strong in a living experience they have obtained for themselves. 1EGWLM 565.2

“Something must be done for the individual by the Lord. They must learn to look to God for duty, not to their minister or brethren, and when an individual strives to bend his brethren to his own peculiar notions or ideas of things, he takes that upon him which God has not laid upon him. Minds are differently constituted; they cannot run in the same channel of ideas or impressions. I saw that it was notions and ideas that some think others must be brought to, that has destroyed spirituality and independent experience in New York. There is a depending upon one another for light and blessing. They have not learned to look to God for duty and counsel in this thing. Do you say in New York, man is made to lose his identity and is made a mere thing to be moved by another's mind, another's experience? God will surely judge for these things.” 1EGWLM 565.3