Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7

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Lt 32, 1891

Washburn, Brother and Sister [J. S.]

Battle Creek, Michigan

January 8, 1891

This letter is published in entirety in 1888 850-853.

Dear Brother and Sister Washburn:

I received Brother Washburn’s letter day before yesterday, and since then we have been having very much work. We had a favorable journey from Washington to this place. I suffered considerably with heat and somewhat with heart disturbance, but much less than I anticipated. We left the sleeper before we arrived at Toledo, at which place we waited about forty minutes. In that time we obtained a cup of hot drink and some crackers which made us feel very much better. We arrived at Battle Creek about three o’clock, [Tuesday, Dec. 30] and found the folks all well and glad to see us. 7LtMs, Lt 32, 1891, par. 1

We learned that Sabbath [Dec. 27] there had been a wonderful meeting similar to those we had in Brooklyn, Danvers, and in Washington. Nearly the whole congregation presented themselves for prayers, and among them, Brethren Prescott and Smith. The EXTRA in the Review and Herald [December 23, 1890] was read, and the testimony of all was that the power of God attended the reading of the article. They said that this made a deep impression. Brother Olsen made some remarks inquiring why the power of God attended the presenting before them the testimony to the churches in that article when the person who wrote it was not present. He asked them to carefully consider that matter. Was it not the Spirit of God speaking to them in unmistakable voice in vindication of the testimonies and the work He had laid upon Sister White? 7LtMs, Lt 32, 1891, par. 2

Professor Prescott made a confession dating back to Minneapolis, and this made a deep impression. He wept much. Elder Smith said that testimony meant him; said that he felt that it was addressed to him, but he stopped there and went no further. But both placed themselves as there repentant, seeking the Lord. Well, they said they had never had such a meeting in Battle Creek, and yet the work must be carried on, for it was just begun. Elder Olsen had appointments which he must attend, and Elder Loughborough had an appointment which he must fill. Professor Prescott went to Oregon to help locate their school. Brother Webber, another worker, had gone to help some other church. The Lord sent me here, I fully believe, and that threatened difficulty of the heart did not trouble me at all after we reached Battle Creek. 7LtMs, Lt 32, 1891, par. 3

Tuesday night [Dec. 30, 1890] I was in an agony of soul all night so that I could not sleep. Elder Smith’s case was weighing heavily upon me. I was working with him, pleading with God, and I could not cease my crying unto God. 7LtMs, Lt 32, 1891, par. 4

Friday night [January 2] I was asked to speak; the house was full, and I gave some account of the workings of the Spirit of God with me in the meetings which I had attended. I related as well as I could the success of these meetings. We had a special meeting of deep interest after I had spoken, and many excellent testimonies were borne, especially from those who were earnestly seeking the Lord. It was a good meeting. 7LtMs, Lt 32, 1891, par. 5

On Sabbath [Jan. 3] I spoke from Matthew 11:16-27. I made a decided application of this lesson to those who had great light, precious opportunities, and wonderful privileges, and yet their spiritual growth and advancement was not in accordance with the blessings of the light and knowledge given of God. There was a solemn impression made upon the congregation, and fully two thousand persons were present. I had great freedom in speaking. In the afternoon the meetings were divided, and I hear there were excellent meetings in these divisions. 7LtMs, Lt 32, 1891, par. 6

Monday [Jan. 5] Elder Smith came to me and we had an earnest, faithful talk. I could see that he had a very different spirit from that he had months ago. He was not hard and unimpressible; he felt the words I spoke to him, laying before him faithfully the course he had taken and the harm he had done through this position. He said he wanted to come into harmony with the testimonies of the Spirit of God. I had written to him thirteen pages [Dec. 31, 1890] and sent them to him—very plain words. Tuesday [Jan. 6] he called again to see me and asked if I would meet with a select few, that he had something to say. I told him I would. Yesterday, Wednesday [Jan. 7], the meeting was held in my room in the office, and Elder Smith read the letter I had sent him, read it to them all, and said he accepted it as from the Lord. He went back to the Minneapolis meeting and made a confession of the spirit he had occupied, casting on me very heavy burdens. Brother Rupert confessed also, and we had a very profitable, excellent meeting. 7LtMs, Lt 32, 1891, par. 7

Brother Smith has fallen on the Rock, and is broken, and the Lord Jesus will now work with him. He took my hand as he left the room, and said, “If the Lord will forgive me for the sorrow and burdens I have brought upon you, I tell you this will be the last. I will stay up your hands. The testimonies of God shall hold this place in my experience.” It is seldom that Elder Smith sheds a tear, but he did weep, and his voice was choked with the tears in it. 7LtMs, Lt 32, 1891, par. 8

Now you see I have reason to be glad and rejoice and praise the Lord. Professor Bell was present. Elder Smith confessed to him the wrong that he had done him in the school trial in 1882. Oh, how glad I was to see and hear and know that these things that had barred the Spirit of God from coming into our meetings were removed. 7LtMs, Lt 32, 1891, par. 9

Now, in reference to your question in regard to Sister Marks. Do not be in a hurry to accede to her request in dropping her name. Hold a little in the matter. It cannot do the church any particular damage. Meanwhile, I am more than ever convinced that if this work now going forward in Battle Creek had been done one year ago, Sister Marks would have been saved to the cause of God and would, with proper instruction, have been a good Christian worker. This is due to her. But the position that many held me in was such that I could do nothing unless I took my stand decidedly against the Battle Creek church. 7LtMs, Lt 32, 1891, par. 10

Has those with whom she held meetings been well-balanced in mind, they could have helped her instead of being molded by Sister Marks. I believe she had a genuine experience and might have done much good. She had newly come into the faith and needed to be led along step by step, kindly, compassionately; but as it was the fashion to turn from everything that was calculated to restore and to awaken the church, as my testimony was [regarded] at that time below par, what could I do? Any move I should make would, if unwise, indiscreet ones should go to extremes, be charged to me, and my work forever discarded. Do all you can for Mrs. Marks, for I tell you, the blood of her soul, I fear, will rest upon those who have been blinded by the enemy and done those things that have grieved the Spirit of the Lord. 7LtMs, Lt 32, 1891, par. 11

May the Lord continue to bless the church in Washington is my prayer. I know the Lord blessed me when I was with you, and He blessed His people. Much love to all in your household, and much love to those with whom we took sweet counsel together in our precious meetings. The Lord lives and reigns, praise His holy name. 7LtMs, Lt 32, 1891, par. 12

[P.S.] Now do not imagine that you have done a grievous wrong in the matter you mentioned. I am really inclined to believe that everything was ordered of the Lord, and I needed that tramping exercise to clear my head. But I freely pardon all you think amiss. So do not trouble any more about it. 7LtMs, Lt 32, 1891, par. 13