Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 29, 1897

Counsel and Warning


April 6, 1897

Portions of this manuscript are published in CD 493; 3MR 337; 5MR 143; FBS 73. +Note

I feel deeply over the sudden apostasy of Brother McCullagh. I cannot say the apostasy of Brother Hawkins, for he has been greatly deceived by one who is himself deceived by Satan. 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 1

Our association with our brother has been most pleasant. When a party visited Cooranbong, for the purpose of viewing the land preparatory to its purchase, Brother McCullagh was of the number. He was very much indisposed, for he was suffering from inflammation of the throat, stomach, and lungs. The morning after the decision to purchase the land was made, we had a praying season for Brother McCullagh. The Spirit of the Lord laid the weight of his case upon me, and indited prayer in his behalf. As we pressed our petitions for his recovery to the throne of God, the room seemed full of the presence of God, and there and then our brother was healed. He had come with his spring cot, designing to remain a couple of weeks at the least; but the next day he felt that his stomach and throat were healed, and he went back Sydney to continue his work. 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 2

Apparently an excellent work was done for our brother. He continued in earnest labor for a long time, until his last sickness. We regarded this blessing, which was given us, and especially to Brother McCullagh, as an evidence that our decision to purchase the land was according to the will of God. 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 3

Not one unpleasant word has passed between me and Brother McCullagh. In his last illness I visited him, and spoke to him in reference to his health, showing that there was great necessity of his having the proper kind of food. I told him that if we were neglectful in this, the Lord would not work a miracle to counteract the effects of wrong habits of eating and drinking. These are the first words I had spoken to him of a serious character, in regard to his diet. 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 4

I urged Brother McCullagh to come to the meetings which were held last April in Cooranbong for Bible instruction. I told him that we could take care of him and his wife, but that circumstances were such that we could not accommodate Christabel. Willie’s children and Edith Ward, whom I had taken as a member of my family, were enough children to be together. I told Brother McCullagh that if they could find a place for Christabel among Sabbath keeping friends, we would do everything in our power to care for him and his wife. But they came late and secured a place with Brother Sherwin’s family. This was quite a distance away, and they were often absent from the meetings. 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 5

I had spoken to Brother McCullagh in regard to his being careful of his diet, because I knew that his stomach was irritated. I have treated Brother and Sister McCullagh with great tenderness. A very few times I have sat at their table, but I never made a raid against them because I could not approve of the diet prepared for Brother McCullagh or his child. I have had great light from the Lord upon the subject of health reform. I did not seek this light; I did not study to obtain it; it was given to me by the Lord to give to others. I present these matters before the people, dwelling upon general principles, and sometimes if questions were asked me at the table to which I have been invited, I answer according to the truth. But I have never made a raid upon any one in regard to the table or its contents. I would not consider such a course at all courteous or proper. 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 6

I have ever shown the most tender sympathy for both Brother and Sister McCullagh, for I knew that Christ was touched with the feelings of their infirmities. When their harness was stolen from the stable, I gave them three pounds to buy another harness. When I have had a decided testimony for Brother and Sister McCullagh, I have not then presented it, but have tried to follow the example of Christ by presenting general principles. At Ormondville, New Zealand, we had a very profitable meeting. In a most solemn manner I presented the great responsibilities resting upon parents in their work of educating and training their children according to the Word of God. The parents are to work together in perfect harmony, with a single eye to the glory of God and the good of their child. Both Brother and Sister McCullagh knew that the Lord was in this message, and they acknowledged that improvement must be made in their manner of educating and disciplining their child. 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 7

While at Hastings, New Zealand, I wrote many pages to them, but I did not give it to them, hoping that the plain testimony I had borne to all would obviate the necessity of speaking to them personally. When I saw that other children were in danger because of their child, I spoke a word of warning to the parents of these children, telling them to keep their children under their own eyes. When Sister Hamilton came to me in deep distress, because her daughter was becoming changed and injured by association with Christabel, I opened my doors to the widow and the fatherless, although I had a large family, and it was quite inconvenient for me to do this. I did as I would be done by were I in her situation. 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 8

But the time came when all restriction was removed from me. I had written Brother and Sister McCullagh quite a lengthy testimony, a message from the Lord that Sister McCullagh’s influence was not helpful to the members of the churches in and about Sydney, that by visiting families, she was plainly sowing seed which would imperil the church. Her influence was not strengthening and upbuilding, but was of a character to create suspicion, and to suggest ideas that created disaffection and disunion. We knew that this work had been done. I thought that if we would correct the evil without making trouble, we would do so; but the church must not be injured by such conversations, such complaining, such jealous surmisings. Something must be done. I sent them the light given me by the Lord, but in the place of reforming, they have tried to destroy my influence. O, what a work has been done! 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 9

I have always been a true friend to this family. I spoke to them in regard to the education and training of Christabel; for I knew that they did not manage the child in a way that was in accordance with the Word of God. The words I spoke were not harsh, but were the truth that they needed. This was before they came to Cooranbong. On one occasion during this meeting, Brother McCullagh was especially blessed by God. He said that he had been blessed, and that he saw things in a different light than ever before, and his countenance reflected the light shining upon him. 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 10

I was very desirous that Brother McCullagh should have all the benefit possible from these meetings, for matters had been presented before me so clearly that I knew that he was in danger. I knew that his mind was under strong temptation. He talked these things to his wife, and together they were causing, in the churches in the suburbs of Sydney, a state of things which would produce a harvest that would not be pleasant to garner. Sister McCullagh’s missionary visits and Brother McCullagh’s influence tended to counteract the work for the accomplishment of which so much money and labor has been expended. And Fannie Bolton’s statements, which were cruelly untrue, were as seed sown in their minds, to produce fruit. 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 11

It was in mercy to them, and to Brother McCullagh in particular, that we wished him to attend the meetings in Cooranbong and receive all the blessing possible, for at that time he was really anchored no where, but was on the point of cutting himself loose from us as a people. Not one word was spoken to me by either Brother or Sister ----- in regard to Brother McCullagh’s feeling of disaffection, which existed before he left Sydney. We all hoped that during the meetings in Cooranbong he had received a blessing, and was strengthened to resist temptation. 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 12

Brother McCullagh has often said that Sister White was his best friend, and a great help to him. I have ever befriended him. He has often been entertained by me at my house, and eaten bread with me at my table. Our association together has been most pleasant. And now, without any change in my attitude toward him, without uttering one word to me of what he considered me to be guilty, he handles my name in a public meeting, pouring out upon me all the venom he can well present in words. Without any warning, without writing, without speaking one word to me, he pours out the venom that has been accumulating in his mind. He had no provocation to do this. What spirit could have taken possession of him but the spirit that inspired Lucifer and Judas? 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 13

The fury of the spirit that led to this unchristian step, to break up the friendship that has existed, the Christian unity that Christ prayed might be seen among His followers, speaks for itself in language that cannot be misinterpreted. I was not present to answer the charges brought against me. Had I been, I should have demanded a hearing just as soon as it could be arranged. It would have been my due. 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 14

Shall we call this step the moving of the Spirit of God? We see not one sign of Christlikeness in this way of treating matters. There is a moral as well as a mental mania; when this is the case, humanity seems to be displaced, to drop out of the <being.> Another power takes possession and control. In the case of Brother McCullagh, mental self-delusion was strongly combined with an infatuated moral perversion. He has been as deluded as those of whom Christ said, “They shall put you out of the synagogue: yea, the time cometh that whosoever killeth you will think he doeth God service.” [John 16:2.] How many will hereafter walk in the footsteps of Judas, I am not able to say, but to the end I shall meet and contend with this dragon spirit. 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 15

Christ warned Peter that he would deny him, but in his self-confidence Peter said, “No Lord; I never will.” [Mark 14:30, 31.] He thought himself perfectly secure, and protested against being misjudged, denying the necessity of any warning. He declared that though all should be offended in Christ, yet he never would. 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 16

Christ had before said to Peter, “Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not. And when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” [Luke 22:31, 32.] And when Peter denied Christ, declaring that he knew not the man, Jesus turned and looked upon him. Had he spoken, he would have said, “I pardon your transgression.” Satan has not power even to sift without permission from God, and Christ was watching the terrible sifting of him for whom He had prayed. The fall of Peter was the development of the natural elements of character. Under testing trial, these revealed themselves. When Peter saw this, his repentance was sincere, and light came out of the defection. 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 17

I am a vegetarian. I cannot eat the flesh of dead animals when I know that it is filled with disease of every kind. I have made no secret of testifying in reference to the health reform essential for Christians. I have never made this question a test; but I have given to all the instruction the Lord has given me, and I shall continue to do this. I shall continue to warn others of the dangers of meat-eating, giving facts which have come under my observation, and showing the dangers of meat-eaters. I have had my book, Christian Temperance, circulated everywhere, and it will soon be again before the public in an enlarged and revised edition. 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 18

In our camp meetings I have made it my practice to speak on Sunday afternoons on the question of temperance. In Groveland, Massachusetts, I spoke at one time to twenty thousand people on this subject. I have been solicited to speak in large cities. No sooner had our meeting in Groveland closed than twelve men came to the stand. One touched me on the shoulder, and said, “Will you speak in Haverhill, Massachusetts, Monday night? I will send a hack to convey you from the cars to the hall.” I was much worn with labor, having spoken twice to an immense crowd that Sunday, but I dared not refuse. I went to Haverhill, and stood on the platform with my husband, and with twenty men, leaders in the temperance work. The president's hair was white, and his countenance expressive. Eleven hundred people were before me, and the Lord Jesus was at my side. I was lifted above and out of myself. The Lord spoke to that crowd through human lips, and thus it has been again and again. 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 19

The greatest tirade may be made against me, but it will not change in the least my mission or my work. We have had this to meet again and again. The Lord gave me the message when I was only seventeen years old, and I have been engaged in public labor ever since. Next November I shall be seventy years old. The message the Lord has given me to bear has been in a straight line from light to light, upward and onward from truth to advanced truth. 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 20

As for the claims that these brethren make, that their conscience and the Holy Ghost has led them to take the position they have against me and the truth, the Lord has given them no such commission. They cannot do anything against the truth, but for the truth. The Lord God is a God of truth. He never leads a man to walk in crooked paths, directly contrary to the principles of truth and righteousness. 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 21

Why is all this tirade against me? Because I was faithful in the discharge of my duty; because I bore a decided testimony against existing wrongs, and the influence that would be exerted by Brother and Sister McCullagh unless there was a change in their religious experience. God is pleased with holiness of heart, and displeased with sin. Holiness may be much talked of and exalted, but if it is not taught and practiced in the home life, it is of no value to those who may think they have wonderful light on sanctification and holiness. 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 22

Those who think that the change in the sentiments of one or two will cause the whole body of Sabbathkeepers to turn aside and follow a new torch light, that has never been kindled from the divine altar, will find themselves disappointed. They will lie down in sorrow. “Pride, arrogancy, and a proud mouth do I hate, saith the Lord.” [Proverbs 8:13.] The action of these two brethren appears to God in a peculiarly sinful light. If the Sabbath keeping Adventists are all wrong, what evidence shall we expect to receive in the correction of supposed existing errors? Will the revealing of the dragon spirit have a convincing power? Will the betrayal of sacred trust give evidence of the teaching of the Holy Spirit? 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 23

To witness the gradual corruption of a child is most painful to my heart, because that child is a member of God’s human family. Can parents see their children becoming vicious and unclean in thought and practice without feeling deep sorrow? How is it, then, when the Lord’s children turn from light and the leading of His Spirit, and with their own hands tear down the pure and holy things in which they have delighted and reverenced, and which they have been building up for years? Does not God feel the rebellion of His children? And when, as a moral governor, He is called to pass sentence against them, as unruly and dangerous subjects, does it not grieve His heart of love? “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way, and live.” [Ezekiel 33:11.] 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 24

O, better, far better, would it have been for Brother McCullagh to have died in peace while he was anchored in Jesus. What confidence can he have in his future line of faith any more than in the past. God has seen fit to send him and his wife warnings in regard to his family. It does not please the Lord that the family should remain as it is, for mother and daughter are both in a state where their influence is not pleasing to Him. “Report, and we will report,” they say by their actions. [Jeremiah 20:10.] This mischievous gossiping sows seeds of evil. It is like the sinful leaven. Knowing all this, I gave them the warning. I did not parade their defects before a church or people; but I wrote to them, and they have the testimony now if they have not destroyed it, as some have done. 12LtMs, Ms 29, 1897, par. 25